It’s exciting to start a new search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, whether you’re handling all the little pieces yourself or you’re outsourcing the work to an agency. You’ll invest time and/or money in creating outstanding content, promoting that content, and restructuring your site so you’re more easily seen and categorized by search engines. Then, you can watch the fruits of your labor develop and reap the rewards of your efforts.
But wait. How can you tell that your SEO campaign is working in the first place?
What Do You Mean By “Working”?
First, we need to be clear about what we mean when we say your campaign is “working.” It’s a vague term that means different things to different people. Accordingly, you’ll need to define what a “working” campaign would look like for your specific business:
- Deciding your main goals. What are your main goals for this campaign? The general approach is to seek ambiguous improvement, ranking higher and getting more traffic. But is that what you’re really after? Are you in SEO just to see a monetary return, or would you prefer to earn more brand exposure? Is SEO just an incidental pursuit, working in conjunction with your content marketing campaign? On top of that, what kind of results are you hoping to see? Is there a specific level of traffic volume you’d like to grow to?
- Evaluating pace. If you aren’t seeing results after a week of effort, there’s no cause for concern; SEO is a long-term strategy. Accordingly, you need to consider the pace of your growth and the time you’ve invested as variables when you measure results and success. Most SEO campaigns see few results at the beginning, see an explosion of results in the middle, and then level off in the late stages.
- Setting reasonable expectations. You should also set reasonable expectations for what results to see based on what you’re investing. Generally, the more you spend and the more time you invest, the more results you can expect to see—at every stage of growth. If you half-bake a blog post once a month, you can’t expect to get the same results as someone spending tens of thousands of dollars working with a professional content agency.
Key Metrics to Consider
So which metrics, specifically, are we looking at? Which numbers will illustrate whether or not your campaign is working the way you want it to?
- Keyword rankings. Keyword rankings are where newcomers usually start. They’re a good indicator of upward momentum in search engines, but won’t illustrate the total package. You can use tools like SEMRush or AgencyAnalytics to keep tabs on your previous and current rankings for any number of head and long-tail keywords you like—Google won’t give you the data directly, so a third party is all but necessary here.
- Inbound links. You’ll also want to use a link profile monitoring tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer, watching for new links and carefully evaluating your current link profile. New earned links are an indicator that your reputation is growing (and that your content is worth linking to).
- Organic traffic. From here onward, Google Analytics is the best all-around choice for measurement. Organic traffic refers to the number of people who visited your site after finding it in search engines. It’s better than keyword rankings alone, since it tells you not only how much visibility you’re getting, but how much traction you’re getting as well.
- Referral traffic. If you’re building external links, you should also look at your referral traffic. It’s more a pleasant side effect of your strategy than it is a direct result of SEO, but it’s still worth measuring; referral traffic can be a powerful indicator of how well your off-site content is performing.
- Conversions and revenue. Ideally, your content and SEO strategy will connect directly to your sales strategy. You can use your content to funnel visitors to conversion opportunities, and therefore drive revenue. Measuring the new sales and revenue you get from your SEO campaign is important to calculate your overall ROI—the figure that will indicate whether your efforts are turning a profit.
What Kind of Growth Should You Expect?
You know these numbers are meant to show growth, but how much growth should you expect, assuming a reasonable dedicated budget?
- The first month. No matter how much you spend, it’s unlikely that you’ll see results after only a month. It takes time to publish content, promote content, earn links, and establish a reputation. You might see higher rankings due to on-site optimization, but it will be minimal at best.
- The first year. After six months or so, you should start seeing more meaningful results (possibly after two or three months, if you’re working aggressively). By the end of the first year, you should be leagues ahead of where you were, and possibly even be breaking a positive ROI.
- Ongoing improvements. After a year or two of work, your results will probably level off, returning you slow ranking progression and similar levels of traffic. You’ll need to make ongoing improvements and changes to sustain those results, however; though the fundamentals of SEO remain relatively similar throughout the years, there are always new algorithm tweaks and opportunities you’ll need to account for.
So is your SEO campaign working? Hopefully, this article has brought you a little closer to an answer. If you feel like you aren’t getting the results you should with the time and effort you’re investing, you’ll need to make an adjustment and keep going; keeping things the same will only continue to breed the same results.
There is much you will need to do in order to attain satisfactory search engine results and SEO is the way to go.
Whilst most of us tend to relate SEO to big businesses, this is not the case as small businesses also have a portion in the SEO marketplace. If you run a small or local business, there is much you will need to do in order to attain satisfactory search engine results and SEO is the way to go.
The ultimate SEO guide for small business
Yes, we know for sure that no one would wish to start a business that doesn’t grow. In this case, taking care of your SEO is vital in ensuring that your business remains relevantly visible to search engines. This is critical in the sense that it enables your customers to easily find you; hence, improved viewership.
The fact that local page search results on Google are constantly growing and getting better, it is obvious that this topic is long from over. But meanwhile, let us have a look at this ultimate SEO guide for local and small businesses by downloading a free SEO Report PDF. Let us now follow the steps below to fully understand this:
Accessing your niche
The first step is basically having a good understanding of what your business is all about. Thus, deciding on a particular niche is critically important in relation to both local and small businesses. The moment you understand your niche, you can, therefore, focus on the things that make your service or products exclusive; hence, enhancing your chances of ranking highly for the same.
In the event that you have a highly comprehensive niche, then you have all the reasons to compete regionally with large nationwide brands – regardless of their well-established financial advertising budgets. The idea here is that you must know your target customers and the terms they use to search for your services or products. This is simply because; they are going to use the same phrases to access your site. These phrases come in handy when it comes to the optimization of your local business SEO by simply adjusting them to long-tail keywords and making them as relevant as possible.
This isn’t new as we have mentioned it quite a number of times – for a successful SEO. Branding must be well taken care of. Well, by mentioning the term branding, we refer to the things such as your tagline and logo. Are they relevant to your business? What do they reveal regarding your values and skills? It all concerns your identification!
Begin by creating stellar content
If you want you to significantly boost your small business SEO, then getting the correct content is necessary. While quite a good number of small business owners may tend to place their products along with their addresses on their sites and leaving them at that, there is actually much to explain and share.
Concentrating on creating an appealing first-impression on your customers is very important in this course. You will need to create stellar content regarding your company, its objectives and how superior you think your services or products are among other related info. You may also choose to talk about market developments or any other dealings relevant to your business.
The trick here is that you must be very realistic regarding the chances of the content you are creating ranking in search results. In case you are operating in a market that is quite competitive, then your content may be perfectly used both as a marketing tool and as social media input even though it may not be enough to move you to the top spot in Google, but it is good. Just be sure to be in control of your anticipations.
Share your piece on social networks
Even though it is possible to trade your services or goods through social media networks; often, it is considered a good practice making use of the social media platforms for brand advertisement or for redirecting customers to your site for a purchase. As such, social media will help to promote your niche, business as well as your products in order to determine your image and obtain the correct customers to your business’ website. If correctly utilized, social media can greatly boost small business SEO.
Just as we have mentioned above, there are actually several things you may do to help improve your small business SEO. Concentrating on your particular niche and highlighting your exclusivity is basically your starting point. In any given business, gaining visibility is very important and that is actually the work of SEO.
I’ve been working in the search engine optimization (SEO) space for years, yet I’m still pleasantly surprised to learn new things about the industry. I’ll discover a new update, or witness a trick used by one of my colleagues, and rush to the drawing board to incorporate it into my running campaigns. SEO is truly an industry of constant evolution and discovery, so I try not to succumb to the illusion that I know everything about it.
But on the other hand, the fundamentals of SEO have remained more or less the same, despite two decades of progression. And, in part because people never bothered to learn how SEO really works and in part because of myths that are still circulated by uninformed writers, most people still don’t fully understand how those fundamentals work.
In my conversations with SEO newcomers (including some people radically opposed to the idea), I’ve discovered there are eight main points that most people get wrong about SEO:
- It’s a gimmick, trick, or scheme. The way some people talk about SEO, it’s natural to think it’s some kind of gimmick. It may have been presented to you as a sequence of tricks designed to get your site to rank above others in search results; but this is only partially true. The white-hat search optimizer isn’t trying to deceive Google’s search algorithm or game their way to the top. Instead, they’re trying to figure out what website features and content are most important to users (and search engines), and provide it to them. Most of the time, this results in organic, well-intentioned website improvements—not spam, hacks, or short-term tricks.
- Keyword rankings are all that matter. Yes, one of SEO’s biggest priorities is getting you ranked as high as possible in search engine results pages (SERPs), but this often leads to an error in prioritization, with marketers believing keyword rankings are all that matter. In fact, there are dozens of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be measuring to gauge your campaign’s success, and keyword rankings are only one of them.
- Google penalties are a major threat. The way some people write about Google penalties, you’d think they were handed out more often than speeding tickets. But the reality is, the most severe Google penalties are a result of a manual action—in response to truly egregious behavior that most webmasters know to stay away from. Automatic penalties, or temporary ranking drops, are more common but far less severe. If you follow best practices, you have nothing to worry about.
- The less you spend on SEO, the better. SEO is known for being a cost-effective strategy with a high return on investment (ROI). Accordingly, many newcomers think the best approach to SEO is to spend as little as possible to avoid risk and maximize long-term returns. However, low budgets often come with amateur work and minimal strategic execution; in many cases, it’s better to spend more on better services.
- SEO is too technically complex. It’s true that there are many technical components to SEO, and to a first-timer, things like robots.txt file editing and canonical tags can look intimidating. But even without coding experience, it’s possible to learn the basics of areas like these within a few hours. I maintain that SEO is highly learnable—so long as you’re dedicated to mastering it. And to help people learn it, I wrote SEO 101: A Guide for the Technically Challenged.
- SEO is easy. That said, I’ve also seen people on the other side of the fence, insisting that SEO is so simple anyone can do it without experience. That isn’t quite true either. You can learn many SEO concepts in an afternoon, but there are so many variables to remember and so many strategic directions you could take, it takes years of practice before you can consider yourself a master. And even then, you need to keep up with the latest industry changes if you want to stay relevant.
- Link building is spam. Link building can be spammy—if you execute it poorly or without strategic planning. But capable link builders know that the tactic isn’t about stamping your links on as many off-site pages as possible; it’s about creating relevant, valuable content that people want to read, and including natural, informative links within that content to boost your search relevance. If you’re doing link building right, you’ll be adding value to the web (and boosting your own domain authority as a fortunate side effect).
- The process is always the same. This is one of the biggest misconceptions I see; people seem to think the SEO process is always the same. They expect an SEO agency to use a reliable procedure, step by step, and get the same results for client B that they did for client A, within the same timeframe. But the truth is this is nearly impossible; SEO is an art as much as it is a science, and different clients will require different targeting strategies, execution methods, and investment levels to get comparable results.
If you’ve held any of these beliefs or assumptions, I can’t blame you; with so much content in circulation, and few opportunities to learn the basics of the strategy, it’s natural that you may have a skewed vision of how SEO really works. Of course, even if you do have a grasp of the fundamentals, there’s always something new to learn coming up around the bend.
Hopefully, this article has given you grounds to challenge one of your underlying assumptions, has taught you something new, or has sparked a renewed interest in SEO. There’s much to learn, even from a ground level, and plenty of time to learn it.
Did you know that small businesses should allocate about 8% of their revenues to marketing?
That’s right, according to the SBA, a small business with under $5 million in yearly revenue should have a marketing budget consisting of around 7-8% of their yearly revenue. The SBA points out that in certain industries, a small business may even need to earmark up to 20% of revenue during their early branding years.
But wait, we’re not done with the small business math lesson yet. Research shows that in 2017, an average of 51% of all web traffic came from organic search.
If your small business marketing strategy is predominantly digital, you should be spending at least 3-4% on search engine optimization (SEO). The challenge is that most small business owners don’t know much about search engine optimization. You’re an expert in your industry, not SEO.
Although it probably won’t benefit you to learn how to SEO your site from top to bottom, you should know enough to talk the talk while shopping around for the right marketing services.
At the most basic level, you should understand the basics of on-page vs. off-page seo, and what each of these SEO segments encompass.
What Is On-page and Off-page SEO?
At the highest level, search engine optimization can be broken down into off-page and on-page SEO. On-page SEO consists of factors that a website owner can directly manipulate on their site. Off-page search engine optimization refers to the digital signals outside of one’s own website that marketers can influence indirectly.
There are notable differences between on-page and off-page optimization in SEO which we will go over in the following sections. On a strategic level, off-page SEO is the more difficult and tedious of the two, so we’ll cover that first.
What is Off-page Optimization in SEO?
Off-page optimization consists of the actions that can be performed outside of your actual website to improve your organic search rankings.These measures are meant to reflect your website’s social credibility and industry authority. Because these search engine ranking signals come from other websites, they cannot be easily manipulated.
Off-page SEO Factors
There are several off-site SEO factors, including:
- Backlinks to your website
- Brand mentions
- Social signals around your website
Think of rankings as elections of web pages in the search engine results. Your page has to get the vote if it wants to be on page one. In the world of off-page SEO, those votes come in the form of backlinks. Backlinks are hyperlinks from external websites that send users and search engine crawlers to your website.
Depending on their relevance and authority, backlinks can affect your organic rankings to different degrees. Think of the importance of each of your backlinks as being located on a Cartesian plane, where the X-axis is authority, and the Y-axis is relevance.
You can have the most authoritative backlink in the world, but if it’s not relevant to your niche or industry, your pages will have difficulty ranking well. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a highly relevant backlink from a site that doesn’t have any authority in your industry, you’re still going to find it difficult to rank.
Your page rankings will not see much benefit if your links are one-dimensional on the relevance-authority spectrum.
To many startups and small businesses, branding is a buzzword that only holds merit if you have venture capital money backing your organization. Bootstrap entrepreneurs tend to avoid paying for branding because it can result in exorbitant costs with very little ROI.
In this particular case, we have concrete evidence to verify that a brand mention may very well be one of the most critical off-page SEO factors for your site. According to Google’s Panda Patent filed in September 2012,
“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”
When it comes to off-page SEO, brand mentions seem to be just as important as backlinks to your website.
Since off-site search engine optimization is meant to reflect the authority of an entity in the real world, it makes sense that having social credibility in the digital world is a ranking signal.
To show that the use of social signals for organic rankings isn’t entirely theoretical, take a look at the US 2016/0246789 A1 Searching Content Of Prominent Users In Social Networks Patent. Without reading through everything, this patent indicates Google’s ability to augment rankings based on what your social media connections find valuable.
What does this off-page SEO signal mean for you? The more shares your content gets, the higher it will likely rank. Social shares also create nofollow links and generate real traffic, so even if you’re not concerned with improving your SEO, a social share will bring relevant traffic to your site.
How to Do Off-page SEO
Now that you know about the different types of off-page SEO, consider how they can be used in your digital marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, getting another website to link to your site or mention your brand is no easy feat. In today’s digital landscape, the most scalable off-page search engine optimization techniques are the least effective.
Most off-page SEO experts will leverage local or niche directories, and guest blogging to build backlinks.
Local and Niche Directories
Yext and BrightLocal are commonly used tools for local directory listing. You simply enter your business’s information, and the tools manage the footwork so that you don’t have to.
When it comes to niche business listing sites, the process is typically more involved. For example, imagine that you’re doing SEO for law firms and you’d like to get listed on several lawyer directories. You’ll most likely have to enter your profile information manually on each site.
Building Backlinks with Guest Blogging
When done correctly guest blogging is one of the most effective methods for building links to a website. The trick is finding websites in your industry that aren’t in direct competition with your own, and asking the site owners/managers if you can contribute a blog article for their readers.
They get free content to publish for their audience, and you get to cite any of your own resources that you mention and link to within the article you contribute. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind while guest blogging:
- Your article must be high quality – it is a reflection of your brand, and the publisher is more likely to keep backlinks for off-page SEO intact if your content is valuable
- Don’t be self-promotional – your article might be denied
- Don’t stuff your article with links
- Target sites that don’t compete with you – trying to get competitors to promote your ideas is usually a waste of time
- Use advanced search operators to search for sites that use “write for us,” “contributor guidelines,” or “guest blog” to promote their acceptance of guest authors
What is On-page SEO?
On-page optimization in SEO refers to direct measures that can be taken on your website to improve it’s rankings in search results for related queries. Examples include using related keywords in the visible content and in meta tags like your page title, image alt and meta description.
6 On-page SEO Factors
On-page SEO boils down to six main factors. There are more than six factors, but the six below will get you 95% of the way.
Page titles are by far the most important on-page search engine optimization factor. If your site framework doesn’t have special functionality to create a unique page title, it will usually use whatever you set as the page name in the backend of your page.
If you’re using WordPress as your CMS (which I highly recommend), then you can easily use the Yoast SEO plugin to create a unique page title.
The HTML for your page title will be within the <head> tags, and will look like this:<title>Your Page Title Here</title>
The page title is what shows up in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and in the browser tab at the very top of your screen. For this reason, it’s important to optimize page titles for SEO, and for user click-through.
Keep the page title length under 70 characters, and closer to 50 characters if you can. This will prevent your title from being cut short in the SERPs, while keeping it concise and appealing. It has been best practice to include your keyword near the beginning of the page title if possible. However, you’ll probably see better results if you create a title that is appealing to users and include your target keyword where it seems most natural.
After the page title, heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) are the next most important on-page optimization factors. Use the page headings like you would an outline for a paper. Headings should follow a logical hierarchy without skipping steps.
It’s best to only use one H1 on a page. That being said, it’s also important that your web page is about one organized topic to begin with. This helps Google and other search engines identify and better understand what your page is about, and if your page deserves to rank highly for related user queries.
Some marketers without an understanding of technical SEO use headings for their styling characteristics. For example, content marketers sometimes use H2s when they want to emphasize text by making it large, despite that text not actually being important to the main content on the page. Avoid this practice, and instead use the cascading stylesheet (CSS) to style your text. This will help you avoid emphasizing text to search engines that should really be taking a backseat.
Keyword usage within the body of your page is important. I am not a proponent of focusing on using a certain keyword density, as was common practice in the early days of SEO. However, if your page is about a certain keyword topic, it’s only logical that you would use your target keyword and closely related terms within the body of the page.
Similar to the primacy and recency psychological principles, it is typically a best practice to include your target keyword near the top of your page and the bottom of your page. You can use related keywords throughout your page to avoid keyword stuffing while still following on-page SEO best practices.
As an interesting aside, in 2016, one of my clients’ web pages was competing with another site’s page for a high-competition keyword. The keyword was not visible anywhere on the competitor’s page, and still they were ranked page one, position two for this 1600 per month national keyword. The takeaway: though it’s best practice to use your target keywords in the body of your page, Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more advanced each day and exact match keyword usage isn’t do-or-die.
Including the target keyword in your page URL is a best practice. This used to be an important on-page ranking factor, but it’s speculated to account for less than 1% of your page’s SEO value today.
The biggest benefit of this practice is that when someone links to your page with a naked URL (the actual URL is used as the anchor text), the link anchor text will still include your page’s target keyword.
There are three main pieces to image SEO:
- Optimized image alt tag
- Image filename includes target keyword
- File size is kept to a minimum without hurting user experience
An optimized image alt tag should include the keyword and be under 15 words. The true best practice here is to craft an honest description of the image while including your target keyword. With their image recognition technology, it is likely easy for Google to determine when someone is keyword stuffing in an image alt tag, and when someone is accurately describing an image for good user experience.
Since there are limited ways to optimize an image, including your target keyword in the filename is also a good practice. This can be difficult to do when you’re optimizing images on a website that already has images without filenames that have been optimized for on-page SEO. You’ll have to save the images to your local machine, then upload them again with the keyword-focused name.
As a last step, you’ll want to compress images before uploading them to your web page. You can use a free online image compression tool for most .jpg and .png files. A tool like Tiny PNG is usually a safe bet, and Google also released an open source file compression program called Guetzli in 2017. Guetzli is not as easy for marketers to implement since you cannot simply run the program with an online tool.
Meta descriptions are not visible on your web page, but will show up under your page title in the organic search results. Your meta description should be around 300 characters, with an absolute maximum of 320.
Many times, Google will choose their own meta description from the visible content on your page that best aligns with searcher intent. This probably has the biggest effect on an eCommerce SEO strategy, as meta descriptions and on-page product descriptions play an integral role in the overall page’s SEO value.
How to Do On-page SEO
Many of the on-page search engine optimization factors above come with insight about implementing these components. When it comes to on-page seo and off-page seo, on-page is easier because of a site owner’s ability to make direct changes.
You can implement best practices on your target pages, and while blogging for SEO. You’ll just have to adjust your approach for the different searcher intent behind your keyword topics.
Read more at https://www.business2community.com/seo/whats-difference-page-off-page-seo-02043800
This is a sponsored post written by SEMrush. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.
According to recent SEMrush research, finding the balance between the creative element and search optimization is the most challenging task for copywriters. Some even believe there’s a clash between SEO and human-centered content creation.
It stands to reason that producing texts appealing both to people and search engines requires thorough research, and many writers see as a restriction on their creativity.
Is it still possible to marry SEO and content and make this alliance a happy one? We believe so.
Here are three points any writer should take into account in order to create catchy content that will also attract organic traffic:
- Choosing a trending topic.
- Increasing semantic relatedness.
- Raising chances of getting into Google’s Featured Snippet.
1. Choosing a Trending Topic
Point: Picking the right topic is way more than just a free flight of imagination. You have to define what content your target audience prefers, what factors influence their choices, and what exact words can drive them to action.
Tip: Dive deep into local communities, learn the joys and sorrows of your “buyer persona.”
It may also be advantageous to take a closer look at those who are already successful in your niche. What lets them dominate the minds and the SERPs? What subtopics do your rivals cover, what headlines do they use, etc.?
Topic Research scrapes, organizes and sorts popular search queries and Google suggestions. It also provides examples of the headlines your SERP rivals used.
Meet four needs with one deed: gain insights into real needs of your audience, find original topic ideas, reveal common patterns in your rivals’ content strategies, and increase your chances of getting a featured snippet.
2. Increasing Semantic Relatedness
Point: As time passes, Google continues to evolve and get smarter about how it understands words and term relationships.
Tip: To keep pace with the search engines you need to enhance your keyword research and include more semantically connected words in your writing to rank higher.
SEO Content Template comes in handy when you need to optimize the text on a single page without going into too much detail. Enter one or more target keywords, and the tool will analyze the first 10 pages from Google that rank for these keywords, and give you recommendations on which ones to use. The tool will also show you excerpts of your rivals’ texts with your target keywords highlighted.
SEO Content Template tool uses TF-IDF to provide you with the list of keywords with the highest potential. The list is automatically sorted by each word’s frequency.
SEO Writing Assistant is an extension for Google Docs that generates instant content optimization recommendations based on best-performing articles in Google’s Top 10. This gives content marketers an opportunity to check if their texts or the texts of external writers meet various requirements, such as general quality of the content, readability (appropriate reading-ease score, target and recommended keyword density.
3. Raising Chances of Getting into Featured Snippet
Point: Google’s featured snippet is something all content creators dream about because it guarantees maximum visibility for their texts and a serious increase in traffic inflow.
Tips: There are no surefire recipes to take you to so-called “position zero,” but some tactics are worth trying out.
- Identify the pages of your website that already rank in the Top 10 and try to optimize them for popular queries.
- Target question-based keywords and provide structured answers (paragraphs, lists, or tables may come in handy here).
- Make sure you use header tags correctly.
Just find what can be improved on your page and keep working. When you are dealing with highly competitive keywords, it is worth the effort.
Position tracking is a versatile tool that will among other things let you find the keywords with the potential of taking you to the featured snippet. You’ll see your position in Google’s Top 100 and the SERP features available for each word on your target device and in your target location. You’ll also be able to compare your progress against your competitors.
As you get closer to your goal, you’ll able to monitor your target snippets (whether you or your rival is featured) and the new ones that appear for your target keywords.
In the 21st century content just can’t do without SEO and vice versa. The amount of information offered to users is so great that even the best content is at risk of being lost if not carefully dealt with in accordance with basic SEO principles.
Will it harm creativity? With the right tools and a well-thought-out approach you’ll be able to automate the most burdensome part of the routine and uncover more inspirational insights and opportunities to get as close to your audience as possible.
If your sales and SEO team need a refresher on how to work together, Columnist Casie Gillette has the answer with five communication tips that will get them talking in no time.
It’s no secret that marketing and sales don’t always see eye to eye.
The sales team gets mad at the marketing team for lack of leads and marketing gets mad at sales for not closing deals.
For two areas so closely tied to one another, the lack of cooperation is pretty amazing.
In fact, according to a recent study from InsideView titled, “The State of Sales and Marketing Alignment in 2018,” only 37 percent of salespeople reported meeting with marketing to discuss lead scoring.
Even more telling, Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report noted only 44 percent of marketers feel they are aligned with sales. Yikes!
Breaking down silos isn’t simple, and it certainly isn’t a new concept. We’ve been talking about this for years, and while technology has made it much easier for sales and marketing to align, many companies still treat these departments separately.
How can we better align our sales and marketing efforts, specifically when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO)?
Obviously, there isn’t one answer, and for each organization it will be different. However, when thinking about SEO and sales, there are a few things we can do:
1. Set up monthly integrated meetings
When I worked in-house, the marketing team held weekly calls with the support team. The goal was to discuss common issues facing customers, identify problems or gaps on the site and ensure the marketing and support team were aligned with communication.
The same thing can apply to sales and marketing.
Set up monthly meetings to discuss goals, strategies, results and campaigns. The key to being successful is ensuring everyone knows what is happening, why it’s happening and how to address it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a marketing team launch a campaign without telling the sales team. How are they supposed to sell something they don’t know anything about?
Consider creating a Slack channel for the teams to communicate. Open lines of communication and shared knowledge equate to a more cohesive team.
2. Use sales data to inform SEO tactics
When we bring a new client on board, we spend a considerable amount of time talking through the sales process, evaluating existing sales materials, and in many cases, sitting through product demos and sales pitch decks.
We ask questions like:
- Who is the target buyer?
- Who is the decision-maker?
- What are key issues you hear during the sales process?
While these questions may seem basic, they help determine how and where buyers search and what type of content we need to give them.
For example, if a client only sells to companies with over $100 million in revenue, addressing the challenges facing small business doesn’t make any sense. If the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the decision-maker, their main concern is likely tied to how your product or solution will help them financially.
Understanding the nuances of the buyer, the sales process and everything that comes with it is key to creating an SEO strategy that helps drive sales — which leads us perfectly into our next point.
3. Map your keywords to the customer journey
What is the goal of an SEO program? To be found by the right people, at the right time, in search results. More or less.
Easier said than done. We need not only to understand the buyer but also to understand the keywords our buyers are using and the search intent behind them throughout the entire customer journey.
That feels like a lot!
Fortunately for us, the data found in the material used to bring on a new client, the sales process, the pitch deck and common problems can help form the keyword research process.
A keyword research process must also adapt. It has to focus on themes and intent and can no longer be about selecting a few phrases and calling it a day.
Once you have your keyword themes, you can review with your sales team, start mapping them to the customer journey, and more importantly, begin applying them to the overall content and SEO strategy.
4. Create assets that work for everyone
As an SEO, you typically have firsthand knowledge of what content is needed, what content is being created and where that content lives. That isn’t the case for every department.
A few days ago, a client mentioned she found a bunch of really great content on the site that wasn’t linked from anywhere and was only being used for sales. The marketing team didn’t know about it, and we didn’t know about it. What could we do with it?
Understanding what is out there and how it can be used across marketing and sales can be beneficial to your overall strategy.
Let’s take webinars, for example. Most companies hold a webinar, and then you never hear about it again. But what if we took that webinar and used it across departments? What if we took that one piece of content and turned it into several? We could have:
- A blog post summarizing the webinar which can be optimized for search, shared across social and sent out to everyone who registered for the webinar to re-engage them.
- Short clips from the webinar which can be shared on YouTube, added into the blog post and embedded into landing pages for the sales team to utilize.
When creating assets, we have to think beyond search and consider how we can create something that benefits the organization as a whole.
5. Use SEO data to inform sales
We already talked about using sales data to inform your SEO strategy, but it also works the other way around.
As SEOs, we spend a lot of time in analytics working to understand how our site is performing, what our visitors like, what they don’t like and where we can improve. We also spend a lot of time looking at search results and competitors.
How much of that are you sharing with your sales team?
During the monthly meeting I mentioned above, make sure your sales team is aware of the following:
- Top-performing content themes. They don’t have to know the exact pieces of content, but if specific areas are resonating with visitors, they can push that topic during calls or share the materials with prospects.
- Competitor updates or campaigns. Very few people are looking at one solution and one solution alone. They are also looking at your competitors. The team should be aware of how competitors are performing, the type of messaging they are using and any other updates coming from them.
- Customer reviews or complaints. What are people saying about you on the internet? What are the positives and the negatives? By sharing these with the sales team, they can proactively address potential concerns and promote positive reviews.
Sharing information between departments will go a long way in helping the organization. While the three bullets mentioned above may not seem significant to your efforts, they could be to someone else’s.
Tying it all together
Aligning efforts across the organization, specifically between SEO and sales, can make both teams better and drive growth faster. It may not be easy to get a process in place, but if you start with communication, the rest will follow.
You know there are more platforms besides Google to exercise your marketing prowess, right? Yes, the Silicon Valley-based juggernaut still remains the bread and butter for digital marketers by a mile, but this doesn’t mean alternative or niche search engines should be left in the dark.
As you map out your strategies and campaigns for 2018, consider these five tips to help you optimize your presence on some of the web’s other heavy hitters including YouTube, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and eBay.
YouTube: Focus on Descriptions and Thumbnails
From the drawing board to the edit bay, video production can consume so much time and effort. As a result, some miscellaneous, but nevertheless important, elements of the process might get put on the back burner.
Take it from Wpromote Senior SEO Manager, Justin McKinney: “Take advantage of product descriptions and thumbnails. Long-form product descriptions help YouTube understand what your video is about, and thus help your rankings. Compelling thumbnails entice people to click through to your videos.”
When writing out your keyword-rich description, be sure to put a link to the product page at the top. YouTube only displays around the first 100 characters of description. So, if viewers don’t click the “show more” button, make sure they at least see a strong call to action and link. It’s recommended to keep your description between 250 to 500 characters, but this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Depending on the length of your video, a transcript might be a suitable option if you’re looking to utilize all 5,000 characters that YouTube allots.
Thumbnails can determine whether a potential customer clicks on your video. Creating a compelling thumbnail might take some A/B testing, though. Experiment with bright-color backgrounds, text, close-up face shots, animation and other tactics to see what works. When you decide what’s best for you, ensure your thumbnail design stays consistent across the channel. Take a look at Klipsch’s YouTube page to understand this concept of consistency.
Amazon: Conversion > Content
Anyone who visits the world’s largest e-commerce store is obviously there to do one of two things: purchase something or dream of purchasing something. Therefore, it’s best to think like a buyer when it comes to your marketing strategy on Amazon. McKinney points out that “unlike traditional search, content is not king on Amazon, conversion is. Optimize your product listings for conversion and you will see ranking improvements.”
While the titles of your listings must include relevant keywords, they should also be easily readable and descriptive enough for buyers to know exactly what the product is.
Images are vital for conversion, too. Ensure your pictures are professionally shot, easy on the eyes, and at least 1,000 pixels by 1,000 pixels so buyers can enlarge the photo. Take time to brush up on Amazon’s image standards before posting anything.
TripAdvisor: The More Photos, The Better
Based on a 2018 digital transformation report, the bar graph below shows travel review sites, most notably TripAdvisor, as the number one source of information during the travel-planning phase, beating out word of mouth and traditional search engine results. These statistics prove that businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, should establish a presence on TripAdvisor now more than ever.
Garnering high-rated reviews, responding to reviews and adding booking links to your page are all crucial tactics for optimizing your business on TripAdvisor. The quantity of photos posted on your listing helps keep potential customers engaged with your business longer.
“Imagery is very important to attract the customer, so show them what they want,” according to Wpromote SEO Director Bart Peters. “For hotels, people want to know what the room looks like. For restaurants, people want to see the food. TripAdvisor promotes that businesses with 30-plus photos have a 41 percent higher engagement than locations with 10 or fewer.”
Yelp: Respond to Reviews Regularly and Quickly
Although responding to reviews can be a time-consuming task, your business will thrive in the end since engaging with reviewers helps improve local SEO. Your response times can also affect your Yelp ranking, which can give you an edge over your competitors. A clever way to boost your Yelp ranking is to weave keywords into your responses. For example, if you own a computer repair shop and receive a positive review, write: “Thank you for letting us repair your computer. Please recommend us to your friends who live in the San Francisco area.”
You do not need to reply to every single review. Use your best judgment to decide when it’s appropriate to respond. As for negative reviews, always try to make amends. According to Moz, it’s 25 times more expensive to earn a new customer than to retain an existing one, so be sure to apologize sincerely and accept complete responsibility.
eBay: Be as Specific as Possible
Online shoppers don’t have time to scroll through thousands of listings, especially if they type a broad keyword like “men’s shoes” into the search bar. That why it’s imperative to fill out your item specifics when posting products on eBay. The photo below shows all the specifics that can be included for a men’s shoe listing. The number of specifics vary from item to item, but whether there are 5 or 25 specifics, make sure to provide as much information as possible so shoppers can find your product easily, which can lead to more conversions and higher rankings.
For your listing description, write at least 200 characters with relevant keywords at the beginning and end of your description. To help improve rankings and conversions, you could apply the 80/20 rule. This means 80 percent of your content involves the product itself, while 20 percent is used as promotion for your eBay store.
If your business needs help optimizing on alternative platforms in 2018, these five suggestions are sure-fire ways to improve your rankings and boost conversions.
Read more at https://www.business2community.com/seo/5-tips-alternative-search-engine-marketing-02044433
Viral marketing and building a social media following are common initiatives among startups and established businesses alike. Every executive and entrepreneur thinks they need to create a viral piece of content and get extremely lucky to win viral publicity. But if that’s your strategy, you have little chance of success. Instead, ride an already existing viral wave.
Don’t just create content and hope it goes viral. Use content that has proven to be viral and then post it to your website and social media accounts to gain web traffic and followers. For this to work, you need to have established social media profiles. You don’t need to have a hundred thousand followers, but you do need real followers who are related to your niche.
1. Create social media accounts.
The first step is having company social media accounts across major social channels that pertain to your target market. These may include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit. These social media channels are all high-authority websites that help your company rank high in search engines. The more content you post on social media that receives shares, likes and comments, the higher your company’s SEO ranking will climb.
2. Identify your customers.
Your dream customers are already online and are most likely following the top leaders in your niche. Tap into that audience and redirect them to become focused on your offerings. For example, if your niche is B2B sales consulting, figure out where that audience is online now. Make a list of all the B2B sales leaders like Grant Cardone, John Barrows, Jeffrey Gitomer, Jay Abraham and Tony Robbins.
3. Follow your competitors’ audience.
Once you have identified who your dream customers are, the next step is to engage them. Follow your indirect and direct competitors’ audiences on social media. Spend some time identifying power followers — followers with their own audiences of over 2000. Apply this strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This works well because if you’re in the same niche as the accounts they are currently following, there is a good chance they will want to follow you as well. These power followers tend to look at their audiences carefully as they build their networks. Your goal should be to spend 30 days adding at least 200 people on each social channel until you follow a few thousand people. Once you’ve done this, you should see at least a couple thousand people on each one of your social media accounts now following you in return.
4. Leverage existing viral content.
This step will start to throw fuel on the fire with your social media following and help you generate a ton of traffic to your website. Identify existing viral content related to your niche. One way to do this is with news stories. Just go to Google News and type in your niche in the search bar to find stories that are gaining traction. Look for a story with an eye-catching headline. You can also go to YouTube and search for viral videos in your niche. Once you have found a relevant viral video, copy the YouTube link, post it to your blog, add an image and a description and then post it on all your social media channels.
5. Tweak the viral content.
If you find a news story that is going viral and getting a lot of social media shares, leverage it. Write a new article on the same subject with an even more eye-catching headline. You can add an exciting image as well. Then post your new “viral content” on your website. Apply the same strategy with existing viral videos. Simply create a new piece of content and plug in that existing viral video in your post.
6. Post content on your social channels.
Remember when I told you to find and follow people in your niche? Now, this is when you’re going to start seeing some amazing results. Because you now have targeted content that is relevant to your niche, people will start to share it, like it, comment on it and go to your website. Every time someone interacts with your content on social media, it creates a unique backlink to your website. This is a great way to boost your SEO ranking and will help you gain customers for free.
You can get free traffic, brand awareness and customers by leveraging content that has already proved to be viral. You don’t need to create a customer base — you need to find your customer base. Your customer base likely already exists and you can find them on social channels. If you can gain their attention with relevant content, there is a good chance they will be interested in what you’re selling.
Would you like more traffic to your website?
Of course you do. I have yet to meet a business owner who doesn’t.
And yet, most small business owners aren’t doing any search engine optimization for their websites. Only 28% of them – about one out of every four – do any search engine optimizationat all.
If you’re in this group of owners who aren’t doing any SEO, maybe it’s because you’re worried it will be too technical. Or you don’t trust the advice you’ve gotten before.
Or maybe you’re leery about changing your website just to please a search algorithm bot. Good SEO involves making some changes for the bots, but your site visitors should figure into this, too.
How people behave on your website – how they interact with it (or not) – effects how well your site does in the search results.
This makes a lot of sense in the broader view. After all, Google is obsessed with delivering the best results for each search. So is it any surprise that they’re watching how people behave on your site? That they’re ranking your site based on whether visitors seem to like what they see – or not?
These “user engagement metrics” may not be as influential as other search ranking signals (link inbound links and proper on-page SEO), but they do affect your site’s rankings.
How people interact with your website helps your real live visitors, too. If real human beings like your website, they’re more likely to place an order or go to your physical store.
So as you take a look at these different ways to measure user engagement, think about the search engine algorithms. But more importantly, think about how your website visitors will respond. On that point, you and Google are perfectly aligned:
You both want to deliver the best possible experience for everyone who comes to your site.
- Dwell time (aka “long clicks”).
This is a measurement of how long someone stays on your website’s pages. The more time someone spends on your website (the longer the dwell time), the better your pages will perform in the search engine rankings.
Here’s an example of how it works:
Say someone does a quick search for “Belize vacations.” They see your Belize vacations page among the results. They like what your listing says, so they click through. They like what they see enough to stay on your page for twelve whole minutes.
When they’re done reading that page, they go back to the search results and try a competitor’s page. They don’t like what they see there, and click back to the search results in just 30 seconds.
Google’s algorithm monitors and remembers that interaction. If your pages consistently keep people on them for longer than average, the algorithm will adjust the search results to favor your site. This happens on a page-by-page basis, but the performance of individual pages also contributes to how Google ranks your website as a whole.
Here’s the key takeaway: The longer people stay on your website pages, the higher your pages will appear in the search engine rankings.
That’s why dwell time matters.
So now that you know about this, what can you do to improve your pages’ dwell times? Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t alienate visitors right out of the gate. Namely, have a website that
- Loads in 2 seconds or less
- Looks attractive
- Is easy to scan (few people read closely online)
- Is easy to understand
- Add an embedded video or two.
Many visitors will prefer the video, and will stay on a page longer if there is one. There’s also evidence that the Google algorithm is partial to pages that have at least one piece of multimedia content on them.
- Experiment with interactive content like quizzes, polls, and calculators.
- Make sure your page is laser-focused on what visitors expect to get from it. In other words, match the content of your page to the keywords people are using to find it.
- Click-through rate.
If you’ve done any email marketing, you’ll be familiar with this term. But for SEO, “click-through rate” refers to how often people click through to a page from search results pages.
- Return visits.
How often do your website visitors come back? According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google does consider returning visitors in its algorithm.
Not sure how many of your website visitors are coming back. You can find out if you’ve got Google Analytics installed. Log into your account and go to Audiences > Overview. Look for the blue and green pie chart.
What’s a good percentage of return visits? Really, all that matters is you out-perform your competitors on this metric. But according to HubSpot, “A healthy rate of repeat visitors is about 15%.”
- For local sites: Driving Directions and Clicks-To-Call Metrics.
I’m lumping these engagement metrics under one point because both of these measurements tie into how users interact with your Google local listing. And because local results are a different animal than regular search results.
That’s why there’s a different ranking factors study for Local SEO.
Here are the results from it:
For right now, we’re most interested in the “Behavioral Signals.” As you can see in the pie graphs, these are not the most important ranking signals for either the Local Pack or for Localized Organic Rankings. But behavioral signals do play a role.
The Moz ranking factors study specifically says “Google is paying attention to things like dwell rate, click-through rates, driving directions, and clicks-to-call metrics.”
We’ve talked about dwell rate, and click-through rates happen in the SERPs (not on your site) so we’re interested in driving directions and clicks-to-call metrics.
As you’ve probably guessed, both of these metrics are mobile-based. Driving directions are almost always used from a mobile device, and by definition, click-to-call actions happen on mobile phones.
- Leaving a comment.
This only applies to blog posts, of course. But you do want to encourage people to leave a comment on your blog posts. And you definitely don’t want to turn off comments entirely. If you’re worried about spam comments, use a plugin like Akismet, which protects tens of thousands of blogs from the spam comment bots.
- If they share your page on social media.
There’s been some dispute about this, but the matter is mostly settled: Social signals boost search results. So if your visitors happen to tweet or share your pages on Facebook, that will help your rankings.
These social signals aren’t as powerful as links, but they can help. So consider asking your site visitors to share your posts on social media. Or actively recruit your employees to share new content to their social media accounts.
It also helps to have active Twitter, Facebook accounts (and a company LinkedIn page) associated with your account according to Backlinko. Google figures that real companies will have a decent following on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s a reasonable guess, right?
- They subscribe to your RSS feed.
Google owns Feedburner, so it makes sense that they’d value this metric. Again, this is not anywhere near as powerful a ranking signal as inbound links or your on-page SEO, in fact, you might think of it as a third-tier ranking signal. But it can give your rankings a nudge.
As search engines get more sophisticated, they become more sensitive to user behaviors and preferences. We’re no longer dealing with algorithms that can be fooled by keyword stuffing and artificial link schemes.
But it continues to be obsessed with the primary goal of search: To deliver the best possible result for every query.
If your site can be that best result, and you can demonstrate it to the algorithm through these engagement signals, you won’t have to worry about getting enough organic search traffic. Or about getting penalized in the next algorithm update.
Digital marketing is like playing the drums; everyone thinks they can do it.
Inevitably, the layman writes content stuffed to the brim with a target keyword and cannibalizes his/her own webpages by using the same five keywords across all of their webpages.
As infallible as we sometimes think we are, even the best of our industry can make some pretty hairbrained mistakes.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to take a step back and go back to SEO basics.
As Google and Bing’s algorithms continue to evolve and incorporate new technologies for search, so do our strategies.
Between optimizing our content for voice search, desktop visitors, mobile swipers, and our social media followers, the task can feel impossible and overwhelming.
Breathe a little, you’re not alone.
As much as the medium may change, the same principles still remain in place and so too do the same basic errors.
Here are eight common SEO mistakes that even the experts still make.
1. Presenting a Poor Internal Link Structure
As your website balloons in size with all of your awesome content, you’re bound to encounter some pretty basic internal linking errors. This includes everything from producing mass duplicate content to 404 page errors cropping up.
Internal links provide five valuable functions for your website:
- Providing clear pathways to conversion pages.
- Spreading authority to webpages hidden deep on your site.
- Providing additional reading or interactive material for users to consume on your site.
- Organizing webpages categorically by keyword-optimized anchor text.
- Communicating your most important webpages to search engine crawlers.
Resubmitting an XML sitemap to search engines is a great way to open up crawl paths for search engines to unlinked webpages.
Along the same lines, it’s important to use your robots.txt file and noindex tag wisely so that you don’t accidentally block important webpages on your site or a client’s.
As a general rule of thumb, no webpage should be more than two clicks away from the homepage or a call-to-action landing page.
Reassess your website architecture using fresh keyword research to begin organizing webpages by topicality.
HubSpot provides a great guide for creating topic clusters on your website that arrange webpages by topic, using semantic keywords, and hierarchy to their shared thesis.
2. Creating Content for Content’s Sake
Best practices dictate that you should produce content consistently to increase your brand’s exposure and authority, as well as increase your website’s indexation rate.
But as your website grows to hundreds of pages or more, it becomes difficult to find unique keywords for each page and stick to a cohesive strategy.
Sometimes we fall for the fallacy that we must produce content just to have more of it. That’s simply untrue and leads to thin and useless content, which amounts to wasted resources.
Don’t write content without completing strategic keyword research beforehand.
Make sure the content is relevant to the target keyword and utilizes closely associated keywords in H2 tags and body paragraphs.
This will convey full context of your content to search engines and meet user intent on multiple levels.
Take the time to invest in long-form content that is actionable and evergreen. Remember, we are content marketers and SEO specialists, not journalists.
Optimized content can take months to reach page one results; make sure it remains relevant and unique to its industry when it does.
3. Not Investing in Link-Worthy Content
As we understand it, the quantity and quality of unique referring domains to a webpage is one of Google’s three most important ranking factors.
The best way to acquire links is naturally, leveraging stellar content that people just want to link to.
Instead of investing time in manual research and creating hundreds of guest posts a year, why not invest in a piece of content that can acquire all of those links in one day of writing?
Again, I bring up HubSpot, which provides a great example of this. Every year, they provide a list of industry statistics they scour from the internet, such as “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics”, which serves as an invaluable resource for anyone in the digital marketing industry.
As previously stated, invest the time in crafting long-form content that adds value to the industry.
Here, you can experiment with different forms of content, whether it’s a resource page, infographic, interactive quiz, or evergreen guide.
Dedicate some of your manual outreach strategy to promote a piece of content published on your own website and not someone else’s.
4. Failing to Reach Customers with Your Content
Continuing this discussion, you need to have a strategy in place to actually get people to view your content.
I believe that much of the industry and many businesses don’t invest as many resources into content promotion as they do production.
Sure, you share your content over social media, but how much reach does it actually acquire without paid advertising?
Simply posting your latest article on your blog, social media channel, and e-newsletter limits its reach to a small percentage of your existing audience.
If you’re looking to acquire new leads for your business, then you’ll need to invest more resources into promotional tactics. Some strategies include.
While it’s rather chicken and egg, you need to promote content to get links to it. Only then can you begin to acquire more links organically.
5. Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords
So you invested the time in crafting a piece of long-form content, but it’s not driving large-scale traffic to your website.
Just as bad, your visitors have low time on page and are not converting.
More than likely, you’re optimizing for the wrong keywords.
While most of us understand the importance of long-tail keywords for informational queries, sometimes we run into some common mistakes:
- Failing to segment search volumes and competition by geography.
- Relying too much on high volume phrases that don’t convert.
- Focusing too many resources on broad keywords (external links, internal link anchor text, etc.).
- Ignoring click-through rates.
- Trying to insert awkward exact match phrases into content.
- Ignoring AdWords value.
- Allocating target keywords to irrelevant content.
- Choosing keywords irrelevant to your audience.
It’s important to actually research the search phrases that appear in top results for both national and local searches.
Talk to your customers to see what search phrases they use to describe different elements of your industry. From here, you can segment your keyword list to make it more relevant to your customers.
Use keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush’s keyword generator for relevant keyword ideas.
Don’t forget to optimize for informational and commercial search queries.
6. Not Consulting Paid Media
As the industry currently stands, SEO focuses on acquiring and nurturing leads, while paid media focuses on acquiring and converting leads.
But what if we broke down those silos to create a cohesive message that targeted the buyer at every step of the journey?
As an SEO provider, do you even know what your client’s advertising message is or the keywords they use? Are you promoting the same products/service pages with the same keywords as the paid media department?
There is a lot of insight that SEO consultants can learn from PPC keyword research and landing page performances that can aid them in their own campaign.
Beyond this, Facebook and Twitter’s advertising platform offer robust audience analysis tools that SEO consultants can use to better understand their client’s customers.
By focusing on a unified message and sharing in each other’s research, SEO consultants can discover keywords that convert the highest and drive the most clicks in the search results.
7. Forgetting About Local
Google’s Pigeon update completely opened up an entirely new field of local SEO.
Between local directory reviews, customizing a Google My Business page, and the local three-pack, local SEO is highly targeted and high converting.
Consider some of the statistics:
- 50 percent of searches over a mobile device result in an in-store visit that day.
- Half of local, mobile searches are for local business information.
- Anywhere between 80-90 percent of people read an online review before making a purchase.
- 85 percent of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
It’s important to segment your keyword research for both local and national intent.
If you provide local services, be sure to create content that reflects local intent, such as including city names next to target keywords and in the body of content.
While most of us focus on growing business at the national scale, the importance of local SEO should not be ignored.
8. Not Regularly Auditing Your Own Website
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is not continuing to optimize our own site and fix mistakes that crop up over time.
A site audit is especially important after a site migration or implementation of any new tools or plugins.
Common technical mistakes that occur over time include:
- Duplicate content.
- Broken links.
- Unoptimized meta tags.
Duplicate content can occur for a number of reasons, whether through pagination or session IDs.
Resolve any URL parameter errors or duplicate content from your cookies by inserting canonicals on source webpages. This allows all signals from duplicate pages to point back to the source page.
Broken links are inevitable as you move content around your site, so it’s important to insert 301 redirects to a relevant webpage on any content you remove. Be sure to resolve 302 redirects, as these only serve as a temporary redirect.
Auditing your website is paramount for mobile search. Simply having a responsive web design or AMP is not enough.
Be sure to minify your CSS and JS on your mobile design, as well as shrink images, to provide a fast and responsive design.
Finally, one part of the audit that is often overlooked is reevaluating your onsite content strategy. Most industries are dynamic, meaning that new innovations crop up and certain services become obsolete overtime.
Remodel your website to reflect any new product offerings you have. Create content around that topic to showcase its importance to your hierarchy to both search engines and users.
Continually refresh your keyword research and audience research to find new opportunities to scale and stay relevant.
Everyone is susceptible to mistakes in their craft and one of the best ways to rectify them is to consult the best practices.
My best bit of advice: Keep your mind nimble and always take a step back here and there to evaluate whether you are doing the best to scale your or a client’s business.