Search-engine optimization is the offensive-line marketing play: unheralded, but full of subtle maneuvering and crucial to success. Here are six SEO pointers for content marketers for the new year, courtesy of Forbes’ experts.
1. Tattoo “MOBILE FIRST” on your body.
“Given that over 50 percent of searches are now happening on mobile,” Richards said, “content marketers should structure their stories for mobile first and foremost.”
Think about page design, Richards said. “How does the page look on a phone? Is the font easily readable? Can users control the zoom if buttons are hard to access?”
Also, make sharing on mobile easy. “Use social icons instead of text, since images are more effective at capturing the eye. That will come in handy when their content is so good that the reader has no choice but to share,” Richards said.
2. Make sure all of your content is available on mobile.
Google is about to move to a mobile-first index that takes into account, and makes visible in search results, only mobile versions of websites.
“If marketers want to maintain their reach, they should make sure all their content exists on the mobile versions of their sites,” Pinsky said. “Websites with separate URLs for desktop and mobile experiences will need to make sure that all their desktop content maps one-to-one to their mobile URLs.”
3. Page speed will become more important than ever.
“No one wants to wait for a phone to load,” Pinsky said, “and that will play a role in SEO.” Page speed, of course, is a key SEO ranking factor.
“Marketers can reduce photo size by up to 40—and sometimes even 90—percent,” Richards said. “That’s a quick win in the battle against slow loads.”
Getting AMP’d takes work on the development side, Richards says, but it’s worth it.
4. Get ready for voice search dominance.
While traditional searches consist of two- to five-word phrases, Richards said, voice searches tend to be in full sentences. That implies a different method of structuring content.
Richards advises that marketers “include in their title or subhead the verbally-expressed question that they want to answer, to increase the chances that Google will feature that answer.” For example, if you have a page that answers the question, “Will the bitcoin bubble burst”? make sure that question is right in your page title—verbatim.
“Marketers should use voice search themselves as much as possible,” Richards added. “That will give them a feel for how queries are structured in it, and let them better create content that can satisfy those queries.”
5. Remember how your demo actually talks.
“What words do they use? Optimize for that language, that sound, and those words. People looking for information about Sean Combs will more often than not search for ‘P. Diddy.’”
And imitate success. “Study the sites that Google points you to and you’ll learn how to structure your content the way Google likes it.”
6. Get close to your social team.
“Google is all about making sure users get the most relevant content possible,” Pinsky said. “To gauge relevance, Google may start looking at how content is discussed in social. Marketers should reach out to influencers and share their content on social media.” So make friends with your social team. You’ll need them as the new year develops.
Follow these pointers and you’re on your way to SEO excellence in the coming year.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model where you pay a small amount of money each time someone clicks on your ads. It’s currently attracting the largest percentage of search traffic. If you aren’t running pay-per-click marketing campaigns, you’re obviously leaving lots of money on the table. Here are some of the top reasons why you shouldn’t ignore this channel.
Pay-per-click advertising allows you to target the right customers. As a result, you know where exactly your dollars are going to and only pay those who are interested in clicking your ads. And if your business only serves a particular region, you are able to target just that region alone with PPC.
Measurable Advertising Dollars
Since you can easily tell where you adverting dollars are going and also set conversion goals, you are in a position to see clearly how much it’s costing you to attract any given number of visitors to your website and then convert them to your customers. And also because you are able to see what’s working for you and what’s not working, you can optimize your marketing efforts and confidently scale up your spending.
Complements Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) often takes a considerable amount of time to deliver results. In the meantime, you have to do a few things here and there to increase your chances of success. With PPC, however, nothing stops you from gaining top visibility immediately. This means it can result in an instant increase in leads and sales for your business.
You just need to have the budget to compete with top bids. When your SEO efforts result in an increase in your organic visibility, you have all the two areas fully covered, and your audience then can have the impression that your business is extremely relevant and popular.
Complete Control over Your Budget
In the current fast-paced business world, businesses are working with strict budgets. Small businesses, in particular, are looking for ways to realize their goals without spending too much money. With PPC, they are able to set their own daily budgets and change it at any time. While it’s appropriate to have huge budgets to compete effectively with established businesses, pay-per-click advertising gives them a chance to get started and run some tests.
Inform Your Marketing Channels
Do you want to know whether a particular keyword is converting well? If you do, use PPC to get this information and be able to plan better. And if you want to test the waters with new offerings so as to know the demand and find some valuable information insights, PPC can still be of great help to you and your marketing team. What’s more, it can help you to promote events such as oddball and others that wouldn’t be best for other advertising channels.
Now it’s likely that you can see how PPC is a viable marketing channel for your business. You can get in touch with organizations such as www.ppcpro.com.au for guidance if you need help to power up your own pay-per-click advertising model.
Getting the most out of an SEO campaign is all about measuring the results — everything comes down to data. Examining KPIs sheds light on what’s working and what’s not. That’s all well and good for most metrics like keyword rankings, organic search traffic, referring domain volume and so on. We have plenty of tools and data to do just that. However, there’s one particular SEO metric that’s impossible to measure but incredibly important.
Measuring The Unmeasurable
The unmeasurable metric I’m referring to here is — drum roll — brand signals. Brand signals contribute to your business’s credibility and authority. When I say brand signals, I mean going beyond just signals in the technical sense and looking closer into the actual perception of your brand in the mind of the user. I’m talking about going deep into the essence of how people truly perceive your brand.
Unfortunately, there’s no section on Google Analytics that tells you this straight up. You’ve got to do some digging. So how do you measure what your audience thinks about your brand and how much equity you carry? How do you measure the unmeasurable and make tactical brand mention measurements?
Here are a few ways to connect the dots:
I’m going to start with the absolute basics. While direct traffic doesn’t enable you to measure the number of brand mentions per se, it can give you a reasonable idea of how your brand equity is growing. That’s because the vast majority of direct traffic consists of visitors either typing in your URL directly or bookmarking your site on their browser, both of which are obvious indicators of brand knowledge and a receptiveness to your brand.
While there are other instances of direct traffic that essentially boil down to data “not being provided,” the volume your site receives should allow you to make an initial assessment. Any change in direct traffic is an indicator of changes to your brand awareness. In other words, a spike in direct traffic tends to mean an increase in brand awareness and vice versa.
Branded Terms In SERPs
A bit of research with Google search can also lend some insight. It’s very simple, but it should give you a good idea of what the current state of your brand equity is like. For starters, you’ll want to enter your brand name. Ideally, you will appear in the No. 1 organic position or close to it. That’s a good sign.
If you’re a local business, you’ll also want to enter a targeted keyword phrase and a local term. For my company NAV43, an example would be “digital advertising agency Toronto.” Popping up in the local three pack is ideal, but appearing near it is good as well. For instance, we’re ranked fifth overall in organic search results beneath the local three pack.
These two simple searches should give you a better idea of what overall user knowledge is like.
Addressing The Aspect Of Perception
Now it gets a little trickier. How can you measure perception in the mind of the user? Perhaps the most obvious route is to simply examine social media follower volume and growth. This can provide some level of insight, but let’s take it one step further and really get into the crux of the matter. What you really need to find out is how many people are talking about your brand and what they’re saying.
One of my favorite ways to quickly generate some tangible data is to use BuzzSumo. Just type in your brand name to see how many people are sharing your content and how many people are talking about your brand.
According to Search Engine Land, “88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” So you can bet that the quantity and overall sentiment of your customer reviews heavily impact your brand equity.
This is especially true for local brands, where a few negative comments can potentially kill your foot traffic. Taking a look at some of the major customer review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp and so on should give you a bird’s eye view of things.
Finally, you can learn a lot by monitoring the volume of mentions your brand receives along with the context. One of my favorite tools for this is Mention. This aptly named platform allows you to monitor your brand’s reputation online and provides real-time updates whenever something is said.
It also includes a scoring system that lets you know how much influence someone has when mentioning your brand. For instance, praise from someone with 100,000 followers would carry much more weight than someone with only 100. There are, of course, several other platforms that offer similar services, which you can find out about here.
Brand signals are an extremely important SEO metric and contribute to the success (or failure) of your company in several different ways. Although they’re not measurable in the conventional sense like many other elements of SEO, you can still get a baseline reading with these techniques and work your way up from there.