Keyword research is an integral part of any search engine optimization strategy – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Keyword research takes up a significant chunk of time, and this is the case for many marketers, website owners and content creators. But it is something that has been expanding outward toward small and medium business owners as well, as having a fully optimized website is a necessity in running a company with any kind of online presence.
In the past, it was a matter of putting in the leg work – often for hours a day – to find the best keyword strategy. Today it is much simpler as more tools have been developed to make the job much faster and easier than ever before. Unfortunately, many of those tools are costly and over budget for anyone but enterprise level brands.
To keep things more affordable you can use alternative tools – often several to compensate – that are low cost, or even completely free. Here are some keyword research tools that you won’t believe don’t cost a cent.
Ubersuggest can be used for both content research (and to help surpass any idea blocks) and keyword research tool. By entering a phrase or keyword, choosing the medium (i.e. web, images, Yahoo) and language preference, the platform will give you a list of related searches, along with search volume, CPC, and rate of competition by percentage.
For example, searching for “content marketing” gives 913 results with an overall volume of 18,100, a CPC of $23.25, and a competition rate of 0.58. Scrolling down gives you a breakdown of all the variants and how that changes, such as “affiliate ads” having a volume of 140, CPC of $4.70, and a competition rate of 0.36.
The tool requires no login and, unlike Keyword Planner (which shows a range), it shows the actual search volume and competition level.
Everyone knows about Google Keyword Planner and probably uses it, as it is the most accurate keyword tool on the web if your aim is to target Google search.
However, you may not have heard about Google Correlate, which is a very helpful and effective tool that works by taking searches and correlating them with trends happening both on the web and out in the real world. It establishes patterns that you might have never realized existed, and even lets you compare based on time period – both long and short term.
Do you want to know what is popular on all major search engines, and not just Google? Keyword.Guru is a great tool that takes live searches and lets you know the moment you start typing what suggestions it has, so you can see what people are searching for at any given time.
There aren’t any real metrics, but not everyone likes to deal with numbers. This tool is less technical than some, but more accessible if you just want to see what searches are most common without all the associated information, which can be overwhelming to even seasoned keyword researchers.
Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Wikipedia, and YouTube: what do they have in common? Soovlecovers all of them, which makes it easier to get a good grasp of what is going on through multiple channels.
Being able to search YouTube for video content, Wikipedia for educational articles, and Amazon for sales info is especially helpful for getting a broader glimpse of the current state of search on the web. Soovle doesn’t generate any numbers for each keyword, but lets you quickly get a general idea of what interests your audience across a range of channels.
Akin to Keyword.Guru, it does it on the same page and with live search updates.
Bulk Keyword Suggest Tool
Bulk Keyword Suggest Tool allows you to dig into auto-suggest results from Bing, Amazon and YouTube. It was created by SEOchat and uses core terms to build a wider circle of phrases for use.
It is simple to use, easy to read and very fast to search. You can run a second or third bulk suggest and compare, then export your results or only specific ones based on how you click.
Bonus: Awesome freemium tools
Serpstat is a growth-hacking tool, and an effective at that. It has paid versions starting at $19 per month, allowing you to graduate to new levels as your business grows. However, there is also a free version that works with different iterations of Google based on country.
Serpstat calculates keyword difficulty for each search query, shows “special elements” (which inform us on search intent) and social media domains ranking for each term, and offers advanced filters to dig deep into each keyword list. It is also one of the few tools that also works on Yandex.
The graphs that are generated are simple bar graphs that effectively break things down and make it easy to understand at a glance.
WordStream has a freemium model and its full featured tool is around $260 per month with a discount option to pay annually. However, it also has a free, limited version that I like to use because it allows you to specify industry if you wish.
That makes it a little bit easier if the key phrase you are working with it more general and could apply to unrelated fields. You can also specify based on country, which is great if you don’t want to automatically target a US audience (something that many tools do since it is the largest Google market).
Do you have a tool you feel deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comments.
As if we didn’t already have enough to think about in any given SEO campaign, it is now imperative to separate and refine your approaches to mobile and desktop search.
While mobile has become hugely significant over the last couple of years, this shouldn’t be to the neglect of desktop. Although SEO for mobile and desktop follow the same basic principles and best practices, there are nuances and discrepancies that need to be factored in to your overall strategy.
Part of this is the keyword rankings: you won’t ever know how to adapt your strategies if you’re not tracking the rankings separately for each. Research from BrightEdge found that 79% of listings have a different rank on mobile devices compared with desktop, and the top-ranking result for a query is different on desktop and mobile 35% of the time. These are statistics that simply cannot be ignored.
Why do they do differ?
Before delving into how to compare keyword rankings on mobile and desktop, it’s first important to acknowledge the why and the what: why they are different and what it means for your SEO strategy.
It’s paramount to understand that desktop and mobile searches use different algorithms. Ultimately, Google wants to provide the best user experience for searchers, whatever device they are using. This means creating a bespoke device-tailored experience and in order to do that, we need to delve deeper into user intent.
It’s all about user intent
The crux of the mobile versus desktop conundrum is that user intent tends to differ for each device. This is particularly important when considering how far along the funnel a user is. It’s a generalization, but overall mobile users are often closer to the transactional phase, while desktop users are usually closer to the informational phase.
For example, we can better understand user intent on mobile by understanding the prevalence of local search. If a user is searching for a product or service on mobile, it is likely to be local. In contrast, users searching for a product or service on desktop are more likely to be browsing non-location-specific ecommerce sites.
Let’s also consider the types of conversions likely to occur on each device, in terms of getting in touch. Users on mobile are for more likely to call, by simply tapping the number which appears in the local map pack section. Alternatively, desktop users would be more inclined to type an email or submit a contact form.
What on earth is a micro-moment?
To better understand the different ways in which consumers behave, it may help to spend a little time familiarizing yourself with micro-moments. These refer to Google’s ability to determine a searcher’s most likely intent, and is particularly important for mobile users, when a consumer often needs to take immediate action.
For example, if a user is searching for a local product or service, the local map pack will appear, but if they are searching for information then the quick answer box will appear. These micro-moments therefore have a significant impact on the way the SERPs are constructed.
Once you’ve understood the user intent of a given searcher, you can ensure that you are providing content for both mobile and desktop users. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that content with longer word counts continues to perform well on mobile, despite the general consensus that people on mobile simply can’t be bothered to consume long form content. This harks back to Google’s prioritization of high quality content. Besides, anybody who has a long train commute into work will understand the need for a nice, long article to read on mobile.
With that context, we can now return to the matter at hand: rankings. Of course, you could record the rankings for both desktop and mobile the old-fashioned, manual way, but who has time for that? In short, any good SEO tool worth its salt will enable you to track both desktop and mobile rankings separately. Here are some favorites:
- SEMRush is a personal favorite among the plethora of fancy SEO tools. SEMRush provides a comprehensive breakdown of mobile vs desktop results (as well as tablet if you really want to geek out) and displays the percentage of mobile-friendly results for your domain.
- SearchMetrics offers Desktop vs. Mobile Visibility metrics, detailing individual scores for desktop and mobile, as well as overlap metrics which show how many keyword search results appear in exactly the same position for both. You can also drill down further to view how a website performs with regard to localized results.
- Moz. Through Moz Pro, you can track the same rankings metrics for both desktop and mobile. Filter by labels and locations to dig further into the data.
- Google Search Console. Don’t have access to any of the above tools? Don’t worry as you can still rely on the trusty Google Search Console. When looking at your search analytics, filter devices by comparing mobile and desktop. Even if you do have access to an SEO tool that allows you to do comparison analysis, it’s definitely still worth checking in on your Search Console insights.
Rankings are only part of the picture
It’s important to remember that rankings are only a tiny part of the picture; it’s essential to take a more holistic approach to the mobile vs desktop issue. This means taking the time to dig around Google Analytics and unearth the data and meaning beyond the vanity metrics.
You may have higher rankings for mobile, but those users might be bouncing more regularly. Is this a reflection of the user intent or is it a poor user experience? Does higher rankings for one device correlate to higher conversions? If not, then you need to consider the reasons for this. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so you must take a tailored approach to your strategy.
Quick tips for differentiating your strategies
You’ve got your mobile and desktop rankings sorted. Now you need to create or amend your strategies for both devices. Here are some quick tips to do so:
- Separate mobile and desktop-specific search terms in your keyword research
- Factor in voice search for mobile devices
- Consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages where appropriate
- Carry out a mobile SEO audit on your site
- Include mobile vs desktop into your tracking and reporting, going beyond the rankings
- Revisit your content strategy to ensure you are factoring in both mobile and desktop optimized content – cater for both types of user.
In short, tracking your keywords on mobile and desktop is absolutely essential for both reporting accuracy and supporting separate SEO strategies for each device. But don’t stop there; it’s more important to understand why the rankings differ and how you can use that information to refine your SEO strategies.
Branded content and pay-per-click (PPC) aren’t ordinarily included together in the same section of a digital media plan, but there are definite synergies between these two marketing disciplines.
One way to increase the efficiency and profitability of a PPC budgetis to examine how PPC can be used to support really fun and creative branded content.
Branded content is evolving
The category of branded content has exploded online within both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, according to data from PQMedia and Polar.
Branded content goes by many names, but it originated as “advertorial” content (in print) and as “infomercials” (in broadcast TV). This form of content is still very popular, particularly in certain industry segments in which the use of the brand in advertorials can be authentic and compelling.
In the digital domain, branded content has now evolved to more closely resemble the soap opera model of days long past.
The media strategy behind soap operas was brilliant: Unlike product placement within shows (another form of branded content), large soap manufacturers collaborated with the major television (TV) networks to underwrite the production cost of shows they knew their target audience would love and watch religiously.
Of course, the soap brand names were announced prominently at the beginning and end of any particular episode, and sponsorship arrangements also specified the airing of a certain number of regular advertising spots mentioning the brand.
Where PPC comes in
If the stats are any indication, your company (or client) is probably doing some form of digital branded content already, and this content lies somewhere along the continuum of advertorial, digital product placement (influencers) to sponsored content.
Like the soap opera sponsors of yore, the hope is to make sure the content is interesting, too, and resonates with the right audience.
That’s great news for you as search marketers. With the tools at your disposal, you can make sure more people who are interested in the branded content actually have an opportunity to see it.
In nearly every case, the branded content is centered around keywords that are NOT currently in your PPC campaigns.
The team working on that initiative probably isn’t thinking about amplifying the impact of that branded content (much of which is expensive to produce and place) using PPC search. Branded content opens up a whole segment of keywords you can potentially bid on (some might require specific contractual language).
Here are some general buckets of keywords that probably are new to your campaigns (unless you’ve been developing and hosting a lot of informational and educational content on your site):
1. Keywords related to the topic of the article or content your marketing team is sponsoring. A food brand might be paying for inclusion within a section of an online publisher’s pages where recipes are featured (including that brand as an ingredient). Why not bid on keywords relating to each recipe?
For an athletic-wear brand sponsoring the college soccer coverage on a sports publisher site, why not bid on team names and/or team member names (in conjunction with the sport or team name)?
Or (my favorite), if I were on the marketing team of Smith & Forge Hard Cider, I would be using PPC search to support the amazing Thrillist-produced content in which Thrillist disguised competitive athlete Kenneth Leverich as a senior citizen at Muscle Beach to challenge bodybuilders.
In this example, keywords could be included that include the terms “muscle beach” along with each of the lifts, tricks, moves and even equipment names related to this fun video.
2. Keywords related to the problem solved by the content. When Chase, Ritz-Carlton and The Wall Street Journal teamed up for “Inside the Moment,” they could have bid on the cities, neighborhoods and featured places in their virtual reality (VR) tours of notable cities and places.
3. Keywords related to celebrities or other VIPs used in the content. This may require a line in their contracts to allow their names and likenesses to be used to promote the content, so be sure to check that out before getting started.
For example, 1800 Tequila and Billboard Magazine’s features of “Hip-Hop History” by city included mentions and participation of a lot of popular performers. (To further filter this and other alcoholic beverage PPC support campaigns, remember to use “age” as a demographic filter for bid depression and bid boost.)
Bridging across marketing silos
Agencies play an important role in making sure branded content is on-message and on-brand, particularly if it talks about the brand.
If the content being sponsored is more of an audience-focused strategy to get the brand in front of the right people, then the level of editorial control exerted by the agency should be less, particularly if a very important person (VIP) or influencer is being used.
Things need to be authentic.
I’ve always said PPC search doesn’t sit in a silo. Expanding a PPC campaign to support branded content that costs a pretty penny to produce is a great way to get involved in the broader marketing of your brand.
Because I have a strong interest in nonprofit causes, I especially liked a piece of branded content done by Gawker to educate on the risks of smoking, not just to humans, but also to cats that live with humans, in a simple game called “Catmageddon.”
I’ve become such a fan of branded content and the power of collaboration between publishers/broadcaster/influencers with agencies and clients that I’m actually crazy enough to be bidding on Gawker to apply cause marketing best practices to publishing.
Check with your teams and see if they are doing branded content, and take the opportunity to add significant value to the company and expose you to new PPC strategies.
Whether paid or organic, when it comes to search marketing, keywords are king.
Good keyword research is at the heart of any successful search marketing campaign, so it pays to get it right from the get-go.
Good keyword research, however, isn’t just about search volume, competition level, suggested bids or any of the other metrics you see in a keyword research tool like Google’s keyword planner.
While all of these metrics are helpful, the most important trait of any keyword is the intent behind it.
From a data perspective, a keyword can look like a perfect fit, but if most of the searches related to a term aren’t related to your business, that keyword probably isn’t worth your time or money.
Unfortunately, Google’s keyword planner doesn’t tell you a lot about the intent behind a keyword. But that doesn’t mean you have to guess. Google can still tell you a lot about the intent behind a keyword; you just have to know where to look.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why intent is such an important part of keyword research, how to get at the intent behind a keyword and ways to use intent to guide your search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) keyword strategies.
To begin, let’s start by taking a look at how the intent behind a keyword can affect your SEM and SEO efforts.
Intent and SEM
The easiest way to demonstrate the importance of intent in search marketing is to look at a search engine marketing example.
Why? With SEM, you pay for every click, so if you’re targeting the wrong intent, you can waste a lot of money… fast!
For example, one of my company’s clients offers business translation services (documents, international deals and so on). During our initial audit of their accounts, I noticed something interesting: They were bidding on the keyword “translate.”
At first glance, this keyword seems to make sense. Their business is all about translation, so “translate” seems like a no-brainer keyword, especially when the keyword gets hundreds of millions of searches every month.
Not surprisingly, bidding on “translate” had won them a lot of clicks: $150,000 worth of clicks, to be precise.
This would have been great, except for one little thing: Those clicks didn’t turn into sales.
Despite the fact this keyword and many others looked relevant to their business and had great search volume, their SEM campaigns were a colossal waste of money. The intent behind their keywords was wrong.
While “translate” is a great match for what this business does, most people who use the word “translate” in an online search aren’t looking for business translation services. In other words, the keyword was right, but the intent was wrong, and the end result was $150,000 down the drain.
Intent and SEO
Intent isn’t just an SEM problem, though.
For example, someone in my company recently wrote an article focused on pay-per-click (PPC) tactics. It was a cheeky piece that used Wes Craven’s Freddie Krueger slasher film as a framework for discussing why different PPC branding tactics were so effective.
Almost overnight, traffic to our blog increased 497 percent. It was our first real blogging breakthrough!
Which would have been great… except that no one was converting.
Our traffic wasn’t finding us because they were not searching for things like “PPC branding” or “branding tactics,” they were searching for “freddy krueger tactics.”
Somehow, we had ended up as the #1 article for “freddy krueger tactics,” and we were getting hundreds of clicks a day from fans of the knife-fingered serial killer.
Our content was targeted on the right keywords, but the intent we were targeting was wrong, horribly wrong.
Bad traffic is bad news
Now, before you argue that free traffic is always good for your content, even if the intent is wrong, try searching on Google for “PPC branding tactics”:
Yes, our company article ranks #1, but it isn’t our Freddy Krueger article. Even after all those thousands of clicks, that article doesn’t rank on the first page for the keyword it was optimized for. In fact, it doesn’t even show up for this search.
Instead, the article that matches the intent behind the keyword “PPC branding tactics” is the one that ranks.
Wondering why? Because Google is dedicated to understanding intent. For Google’s algorithms, an article that gets a lot of clicks from people searching for “Freddy Krueger tactics” probably isn’t a good match for people who are searching for “PPC branding tactics,” even if that’s what the article is actually about.
Obviously, we didn’t write this article with the goal of dominating the keyword “Freddy Krueger tactics,” but the article was written to catch the eye of “Nightmare on Elm Street” fans, so we inadvertently ended up targeting the wrong intent and completely missing our target audience.
Whether it’s SEM or SEO, the intent behind your keywords has an enormous effect on the success of your marketing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get clever with your content or ads, but if you want to succeed at search marketing, you need to match your marketing to the intent behind your keywords.
Figuring out intent
Fortunately, when it comes to intent, you don’t have to guess, Google has actually done a lot of the work for you!
Google is dedicated to understanding search intent. It has invested enormous resources into creating algorithms that can identify the intent behind a search and deliver the results you’re looking for. Instead of picking keywords that seem right and hoping for the best, why not use Google’s algorithms to identify the intent behind your keywords?
To show you how this works, let’s jump back up to our translation company example and take a look at the search results for “translate”:
First off, the fact that the first result is a giant Google Translate widget should be a big red flag.
If so many people type in “translate” because they want to quickly translate a word or phrase that Google has created a dedicated widget for meeting that need, that keyword probably isn’t one a business to business (B2B) translation business should be targeting.
Even if we ignore the widget, none of the first-page results are related in any way to business translation. Same goes for the second page of results.
In fact, translation services of any type don’t show up until the third page, and those translation services are for individuals, not businesses:
Now, I’m not saying Google is perfect at predicting or interpreting intent, but based on the results Google is showing here and 450 million other times a month, I’d wager that almost no one who types in “translate” is looking for a business translation service.
On the other hand, let’s take a look at what we get if we search for “business translation”:
First off, unlike the “translate” keyword, the first thing you see from this keyword is ads.
If you’re thinking about running SEM ads, that’s actually a good sign. Yes, it means you’ve got competition, but it also means that other companies think the intent is good enough to run their own ads on the keyword.
But let’s see what Google thinks people who search for “business translation” are after. Here are the organic search results:
The keyword “business translation” could imply a lot of different intents, ranging from educational intent (“what is business translation?”) to the actual desire to know what the word “business” is in another language.
However, from these business listings, it looks like Google thinks people who search for “business translation” are looking for a business translation service. This seems like a good intent to target.
Of course, the monthly search volume for “business translation” is several orders of magnitude lower than the search volume for “translate,” but it’s much better to get 100 conversions a month than 1 million clicks a month from the wrong traffic — especially when you’re paying for those clicks.
As a quick aside, if you want a real eye-opener, take a look at your search terms report and try typing in the searches your ads are showing up for. Your ads just might be showing up in some of the most unexpected places.
SEM vs. SEO: Targeting the right intent
While checking the search engine results page (SERP) for a keyword seems simple, in my experience, many search marketers, especially paid search marketers, never bother to look at what Google thinks is relevant content for a keyword.
That is unfortunate, because the wealth of insight Google offers can save you from wasting a ton of money and/or time on the wrong keywords.
Depending on whether you’re trying to pick the right keywords for an SEM or an SEO campaign, however, the “right” intent can mean very different things. Here are some things to keep in mind while picking SEM and SEO keywords:
- SEM keywords. SEM keywords are expensive. Every click costs you, so if you’re going to target a keyword in your SEM campaigns, you need to target keywords with high purchasing intent. So, if none of the first page search results for a potential keyword indicate purchasing intent (home pages of sales or lead-gen orientated sites, product pages, services pages and so on), it may not be a good SEM keyword. No matter how right a keyword seems, a SERP filled with links to forums, question and answer (Q&A) sites, blog posts, Wikipedia pages or other informational sites usually isn’t worth spending money on. People in information-gathering mode usually don’t want to buy right away, so paying to get them to your site or landing page is usually a waste of money. However, if the SERP is filled with links to businesses, especially competitors, you’ve probably just discovered a great candidate for your SEM campaigns.
- SEO keywords. SEO keywords, on the other hand, are fairly cheap. As long as the intent behind a search is relevant to your business (i.e., not “Freddy Krueger”), an SEO keyword doesn’t need to be particularly high-intent to be profitable. That is important, because ranking organically for high-intent keywords can often be difficult and time-consuming. With SEO keywords, it’s often a good idea to target a wide range of keywords that indicate an interest in what your business offers. Even if those keywords don’t translate into an immediate purchase, they help you build brand awareness with a relevant audience. So, if you type in a potential keyword and see a lot of blog posts, Q&A sites or forums that are discussing topics that are directly related to your core business offering, you’ve found a great keyword.
Creating content around those keywords will help put you in front of the right audience and will eventually improve your organic ranking for high purchasing-intent keywords. So it’s a double win!
Whether you’re trying to pick SEM keywords, SEO keywords or both, the key to successful search marketing is picking keywords with the right intent. No matter how much search volume a keyword might have, if those searches aren’t relevant to your business, they aren’t worth your time and/or money.
Fortunately, you don’t have to guess why people use certain keywords in their searches. By conducting those searches yourself and taking a hard look at the results, you can use Google’s algorithms to get at the general intent behind a given keyword.
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.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you’ve likely run into a serious obstacle: money. Big-name agencies charge upwards of tens of thousands of dollars a month to manage a campaign, and hiring a new full-time manager and/or a suite of specialized contractors to help you execute the work could cost you just as much.
So is there a way to start an SEO campaign without a significant monetary investment?
The Three Ingredients of SEO
Let’s explore the question by first describing the three main pillars of SEO:
1. On-site optimization. On-site optimization is all about making sure search engines will index your pages, providing a functional website for users, and including enough content so that search engines will be able to present your site for the right types of queries. Most on-site optimization tactics are one-time changes with occasional tweaks and upgrades in the future.
2. Ongoing content development. Publishing new content for your site on a regular basis increases your site’s domain authority, which in turn increases your likelihood of ranking. It also provides more keyword-rich content for search engines to index, and gives you a chance to earn more inbound links.
3. Link building. Finally, you’ll want to spend time building or earning links for your site. The quality and quantity of links you have will dictate your overall authority, so it’s not something you can afford to neglect.
All three of these strategic areas, when developed over time, will cumulatively result in higher domain authority, which will lead to higher rankings for all queries relevant to your site.
What You Can Do With (Almost) No Money
Let’s say you don’t want to spend much money a campaign—or that you want to try to spend no money whatsoever. What can you do to get started in SEO?
- Choose a website builder that supports SEO. If you’re trying to save money, you probably won’t be able to afford a custom build. Instead, you’ll need to rely on a free or inexpensive website builder, using design templates to put your site together. Thankfully, most modern website builders support SEO, offering professional coding that search engines will index cleanly, and guides to help you set up your site to be found in search engines. This will help you get off to a good start.
- Choose strong keyword and topic targets. Next, you’ll need to spend some time researching which keywords and topics you want to target in your on-site optimization and ongoing content. Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool is relatively accessible to newcomers, with helpful descriptions to guide your research and final decisions. Once you have a set of keywords and topics to work with, you can make progress in other areas.
- Optimize your titles and meta descriptions. The titles and meta descriptions of your site’s pages are what will show up in searches for your site. Make sure they’re optimized with keywords relevant to the on-page content, and are phrased in an enticing way (to maximize click-throughs). Depending on the size of your site, this will likely only take a few hours.
- Write strong content on all your core pages. Every main page on your site should have at least several hundred words of content on it; this is the “meat” that Google will use to analyze the purpose of your content, and the context by which it will judge the quality of the page. Be accurate, concise, and descriptive.
- Produce new content at least once a week. You don’t need to spend money if you create your own content, but make sure you’re writing high-quality material that your audience actually wants to read. If you’re just getting started, a post a week should be enough to help you build momentum, but you’ll eventually want to scale up.
- Build your off-site presence. Spend some time building up your off-site presence; make sure you’ve claimed your brand’s social media profiles on each major social platform, and write rich content for their description sections. Start posting regularly on each channel, with occasional links to your on-site content.
- Encourage sharing and linking. Through your social media channels, off-site forums, and other outlets, try to encourage your earliest audience members to share and link to your content as much as possible. The more links you earn naturally, the higher your domain authority will grow, and the more shares you get, the more people you’ll have reading and engaging with your material.
- Start building links. Link building is usually difficult for newcomers with a small budget, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to invest time in landing guest authorship spots on external publishers, and work to get your content featured in as many external sources as possible. You’ll also need to support your work with ongoing syndication and sharing, maximizing your chances of earning links from your audience. Without links, you can’t build authority, so make sure this is a part of even your earliest fledgling strategies. Link building is the most difficult of the SEO pillars, but I’ve written a full guide on how to do it called SEO Link Building: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide.
When You’ll Need Money
These strategies can get you started with an SEO campaign, even if you don’t have much money to spend, but alone, they probably won’t earn you the results you want. If you want to be successful in today’s highly competitive SEO market, you’ll need to invest some serious time into the quality and frequency of your published content.
You’ll need to earn links on high-authority publishers, and you’ll need to build a loyal audience, and relatively quickly. And while it’s certainly possible to do all this yourself, it’s far more efficient, especially if you’re new to the world of SEO and you’re wearing many startup hats, to pay an expert to help you out, providing direction and accomplishing the legwork.
Every dollar you spend on SEO, so long as you spend it with the right agency or contractor, will provide more than its share of returns.
The power behind search-based marketing has always been intent. Search engines like Google gave us the ability to put our ads in front of people at the exact moment they were searching a specific keyword. Because people were searching, we could safely assume they were ready to buy and it has worked beautifully for years.
However, over time a couple of problems started to crop up. First, with the success of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising we began to see lots and lots of competitors. Anyone could bid on a keyword and the auction-based nature of the platforms meant that average cost-per-click (CPC) continued to rise. Secondly, as Google became its own verb, people began searching for lots and lots of things. They wanted to find out the answer to trivia questions, learn details about upcoming events, get pictures of celebrities, etc. This watered down the intent. Someone searching for “King James” might want to learn about Lebron James or buy a Bible.
Get Past Keywords Keywords
Most new PPC advertisers focus heavily on keyword research and selection. They believe that if you pick the right keywords you’ll get clicks that you can turn in to sales. While I agree that you must choose the correct keywords, the attitude above forgets that each search has a unique intent. It further ignores the fact that search engine results pages offer numerous options to click.
With increased cost and competition, the key to success is less on what keywords you choose and more about what message you’re presenting, aka your ad copy. Ad copy influences who you get to click, how well qualified they are and how well prepared they are to respond to your product/service. So how do you write more compelling ad copy?
While economics assumes that all people behave rationally, marketers realize that people are complex mixtures of emotion and logic. Virtually every company I have worked with could explain logically why someone should use their product/service. These appeals usually center around cost, time savings and ease of use and can be quite effective. However, consider these alternatives:
- Lowest prices on product X
- Don’t overpay for product X, buy from us
Our first option is matter-of-fact and gets the message across, but the second option evokes fear. People don’t want to overpay (very negative emotional association) and you offer them relief from that fear. That’s how you get the click.
Here is a handy cheat sheet of emotion-loaded words that you can incorporate into your ad copy:
I recently attended a presentation about the use of pronouns in ad copy. Mark Irvine, of Wordstream, shared the 3 most effective pronouns to use in ad copy:
#3 – “We” sells a solution
#2 – “You” speaks directly to your audience
#1 – “Him/Her” connects with a relationship
Notice that all of these pronouns shift the focus away from you as the product/service provider. People stop thinking about cost or features and start thinking about how it benefits them or how it will benefit their significant other. See the results from Mark’s analysis. Spoiler alert: They dramatically increased CTR.
Always Be Testing
Over the years I’ve had a lot of really good ad copy ideas fail. I’m not too proud to admit it. Sometimes that bone-dry descriptive ad copy is exactly what your customers want. But many times I’ve seen significant improvement in performance by testing a “crazy” idea. What will work best for your customers?
I don’t know. Your marketing people might not know either. But the only way you’re going to find out if your current ad copy can be better is if you get out there and test it. Put 2-3 ads in all your AdWords ad groups and change the campaign setting to “Optimize indefinitely” (that forces Google to give all copies a fair chance, though it won’t guarantee equality of impressions). Let your customers tell you what they prefer and what they don’t prefer with their clicks and conversions.
Source: How To Write Compelling Ad Copy
Common PPC keyword mistakes (Understanding broad match vs. phrase match vs. exact match) | Search Engine Watch
Google AdWords offers three major keyword match types: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. It’s safe to say that if not you don’t know how to use each correctly, you could be wasting your PPC budget.Choosing the right keyword match types can help you target your ads better so you get higher-quality traffic to your site. Match types are simple to understand, so it’s important to take time to learn about them before you do anything else with your PPC campaigns.
What are match types for PPC advertising?
The first question is easy: What does match type mean? In short, the match type you choose for each keyword specifies which searches Google can show your ad. Your match type determines whether a wide audience will see your ads or whether your ads will only show for a few highly targeted searchers.
Your first step is to create a keyword to track by navigating to the “keywords” tab and clicking the red “+Keywords” button, as shown below:
After clicking the red button you will be taken to a page where you can add multiple keywords, as shown below:
Once you save that keyword, you can select the keyword to change the match type. Consider the specific differences below:
Of all the keyword match types, broad match casts the widest net. When you choose broad match for a keyword Google will show your ad to people who type in all kinds of variations of your keyword, as well as the keyword itself.
For example, let’s say your keyword is ceramic pots. If you set this keyword to broad match, your ad won’t just show up for people who type ceramic pots into the search bar. Google will also show it to people looking for blue ceramic pots, ceramic cooking pots, and cooking pot ceramic. Your ad can even show up when people type in synonyms of your keyword, like pottery cookware.
Simply click in the keyword to change the match type:
Broad match is the default match type for keywords, so if you haven’t adjusted your keywords’ match type, they’re currently set to broad match. You don’t need to use any special symbols to set a keyword to broad match, although you do need to use symbols for other match types – more on that in a minute.
It’s a good idea to use broad match keywords when you want to reach the widest audience possible. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, though, this strength could become a weakness. The impressions you get from broad match keywords aren’t very targeted, and that could mean you’re paying for clicks from people who weren’t interested in your offer to begin with.
Modified broad match
You can get around some of the downsides of broad match keywords by using a modified broad match type instead. This lets you specify which words must be in a search query for your ad to show.
If you do this, your keyword still falls under the broad match umbrella, but you have a little more control over who sees your ads. Modified broad match is a powerful tool for keeping your keywords flexible while cutting down on irrelevant traffic.
To modify a broad match keyword, place a + sign directly in front of any word that must be in a query for your ad to display. For instance, to re-use our example above, you could modify your keyword by changing it to +ceramic pots.
This tells Google not to show your ad unless “ceramic” is somewhere in the query. For instance, your ad could show up for ceramic bakeware and stockpot ceramic, but not for pottery cookware.
You can also insert a “+” before more than one word in your keyword. If you wanted your ad to show only for queries that included both the words “ceramic” and “pots,” you could modify your keyword to +ceramic +pots.
Phrase match lets you specify an exact phrase that must be in a searcher’s query for your ad to appear. It lets you hone in on your intended audience more than the broad match type, but isn’t as restrictive as exact match.
To set a keyword to phrase match, put quotation marks around it. This lets Google know to only show your ad to people who used your exact keyword (or close variations of it) somewhere in their query. If your phrase match keyword is “ceramic pots”, your ad can show up for the searches “heavy-duty ceramic pots” and “ceramic pot with lid” but not “ceramic cooking pots.”
When you use an exact match keyword, your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword (or close variations of it) and nothing else. This match type will limit your impressions the most, so use it with caution. The impressions you do get, however, will be highly targeted, so they’ll be more valuable than the impressions you’d get from a broad match keyword.
Set a keyword to exact match by putting it in square brackets – for example, [ceramic pots]. Only people who type ceramic pots or close variations of it into the search bar will see your ad. There’s no way to turn off close variation matching in Google, so your ad will still show for people who search for ceramic pot or another very similar term.
Negative match isn’t a keyword match type in the same way as the ones above. Rather, it lets you specify words you don’t want your ad to show for. If you know your ad won’t be relevant if a certain word is in a search query, set that word as a negative match. Google won’t show your ads to any of those searchers.
For instance, if ceramic pot is your keyword and you’re selling cooking pots, you might want to set “vase” as a negative match. Otherwise, people looking for ceramic vases might stumble upon your site and then leave right away, which only wastes your advertising dollars.
Set a word as a negative keyword by including a “-” in front of it, like this: -vase. Below shows you how to navigate to the negative keyword tab. You simply click the red button once again, and here you have a choice if you want these negative keywords to be for one campaign or your entire ad group, as you can see below:
What counts as a close variation?
We’ve mentioned a couple of times that Google automatically lumps very similar terms in with your keyword. At this point, you might be wondering what a close variation actually is. According to Google’s page on keyword matching options, close variations include all of the following:
- Common misspellings
- Singular versions of plural words, and vice versa
- Stemmings, or words that all have the same root – e.g. cook, cooking, and cooked
How can you make sure you’re choosing the right match type?
Now that you know what all the match types do, how should you plan your keyword strategy? Google recommends starting out with broad match keywords and then narrowing them down as appropriate. Keep an eye on your search terms report, which tells you which queries people typed in to see your ad.
If you notice that your ad is showing up for a lot of unrelated or irrelevant queries, try adding negative keywords to weed some of them out, or use more restrictive match types for your keywords.
You can find your search terms report using a variety of tools. AgencyAnalytics is one such tool that allows you to also click the keywords tab (shown below) for all of your keyword data to help create a full picture:
It’s also a good idea to vary your keyword match types. Don’t use all broad match keywords, or your ad will display for too many people who aren’t interested. Likewise, if you only use exact match, your ads might not show up often enough to get you good results.
Mix it up based on what makes sense for each keyword, and aim for a good balance between reaching a wide audience and showing your ads to the right people.
You can choose great PPC keywords, but if you don’t deploy them well, they won’t get you the results you want. Choosing your keyword match types is an important way to determine which searchers see your ads, and this ultimately impacts your sales.
Monitor your search terms report to see how your match types are performing, and adjust them as needed, and you just might notice a big difference in your traffic and sales.
What’s your strategy for using keyword match types? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
The digital marketing landscape has evolved significantly over the last two decades. And between Google’s ever-changing algorithm and the deluge of misinformation floating through the digital marketing sphere, it’s easy to lose sight of basic practices we should be employing in our own SEO and content marketing strategies.
With every new algorithm update and technological shift in search, we become obsessed with how the field of SEO will enter a wholly new paradigm, and we shift our focus to reflect this. Yet as much as the medium may change, the core principles remain the same — and it’s time to get back to the basics.
We all understand the secrets and best practices of SEO, so why do we often fail to leverage these tactics? Let’s explore five common blogging mistakes you may be making right now.
Unoptimized keyword structure
Despite the rise of semantic search and machine learning technology, keyword research should still take precedence when modeling an internal content marketing campaign. All on-site content should be thematically linked by topics and keywords to your overall business objectives.
If our content is simply covering topics and not keywords, how do we know what users really demand? Without keyword research, how can you truly know who your audience is and who you are writing for?
Keywords serve as the bridge between user intent and informational/transactional content. Keyword-optimized content helps to position individual web pages to rank higher organically and drive impressions for targeted searches. This effectively makes blog content a lead generator.
For on-site blogs, the focus should remain on informational long-tail keyword phrases. Common examples include question phrases beginning with how, what, when, where and why.
Other keyword ideas could include actionable phrases that are often searched for, such as the top “tips” and “hacks” to improve upon some process.
Bloggers often fail to optimize their headers, meta tags and content with targeted keyword phrases. Consider the fact that specific keyword phrases will often be bolded within the meta description of a SERP listing, potentially increasing your click-through rate.
Inadequate keyword research runs deeper than failing to optimize your header structure (e.g., title, meta description). Many bloggers fail to leverage semantic SEO, or similar keyword phrases with the same meaning. Semantic SEO allows bloggers to create more thorough and readable content that can drive impressions for multiple keyword phrases, answer more user questions and qualify your content to be a featured snippet — think of the rise of voice search.
On the other hand, over-optimized content could cross a dangerous line as well. Keyword stuffing, or possessing a high keyword density, will qualify your content as spam. Keyword stuffing also obstructs your content’s readability, which results in poor user signals.
Following SEO best practices, it’s still important to optimize all relevant site elements, such as URLs and meta tags, with targeted keywords to categorize and rank individual web pages. And aside from signaling to search engines the main focus of your on-site content, keywords also serve an important function for your site architecture.
Inconsistent internal links
Internal linking is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO optimization, and issues with internal links frequently occur on SEO agency websites themselves!
There are many functions of proper internal linking for SEO:
- Establishes paths for users to navigate your website.
- Opens up crawling to deep linked web pages and increases crawl rate.
- Defines site architecture and your most important web pages to search engines.
- Distributes “link juice,” or authority, throughout your website.
- Indexes linked-to web pages by the keywords used in the hyperlink anchor text.
While backlinks remain the gold standard of search engine ranking factors, their magic can be amplified through strategic internal linking.
Ideally, you’ll want at least three to five internal links per blog post, and a drop-down or navigation menu on your home page to provide deep links to inaccessible web pages. Just because a piece of content is posted to your blog, it doesn’t mean Google or Bing can automatically access it.
Conduct a thorough internal link audit and record which web pages have the most authority. Simply insert internal links on these pages to other high-value internal pages to distribute authority evenly throughout your domain.
Many websites display featured posts in a drop-down menu or on the home page to distribute authority to their blog posts. A blogger’s home page will be his/her most authoritative. Limit the number of links between each blog post and your home page to evenly distribute link juice throughout your domain.
Don’t overlook the importance of a sitemap, either. This will ensure all web pages are properly crawled and indexed — assuming URL structures are clean and keyword-optimized.
Finally, optimize all anchor text to categorize and drive impressions for linked web pages. Be sure to use varying anchor text phrases for each link so that you can rank your web pages for multiple search queries.
Poor page copy
As we often say in digital marketing, it’s important to write for readers and not search engines. Keep content light, don’t try to show off knowledge with excessive jargon, and write for readers on an eighth-grade reading level.
In most cases, on-site content is not about publishing, but building awareness around a need. I always suggest placing actionable tips in informational content to provide value.
Content marketing is as much a branding exercise as it is a marketing tactic. Consistent content production establishes your brand’s ethos and also creates your voice as an author. In turn, this establishes you as an authority in your niche.
Don’t sacrifice this authority with poor body copy.
Look over your blog post as a whole. What does a reader experience when they first encounter your web page? Consider the fact that the average attention span is estimated to be eight seconds. Optimize your header structure and meta tags to encourage easy scanability and communicate a clear purpose.
Leverage a powerful headline to pique reader interest, and nurture this interest with a strong introductory paragraph. Always insert clear transition phrases, and consider using animated GIFs and videos to give users a mental break between long chunks of paragraphs. These will also increase your average user dwell time.
Make your content visually appealing by utilizing white space properly and inserting images after every 400 words or so. This essentially chunks content and prevents information overload.
Finally, edit fiercely. Many writers live by the rule that about two-thirds of writing should be editing and reworking. Use tools such as Grammarly and the Hemingway App to create concise and clean body copy.
Unoptimized images and videos
Speaking of poor page copy, most bloggers still ignore image and video optimization. Unoptimized image file formats and sizes are the most common load time mistakes that deteriorate SEO performance.
All on-site images should be formatted as .jpg, and all vector images as .png.
Always optimize image alt text to position it to rank in a targeted keyword image search. The alternative text is what’s displayed when a browser fails to actually display the image and tells search engines the content of your image. (It’s also used to describe images to those with screen readers.)
When optimizing video files, host all of your video files in a single folder and create a video site map for search engines to index your videos. You should optimize the meta description of all video pages with targeted keywords for indexation. Leverage a call to action in your meta description and video annotations.
Video marketing can be distributed from multiple channels, as well as your blog. According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 43 percent of consumers want to see more video from content marketers.
Poor content promotion
This leads us to probably the greatest error that plagues bloggers and stumps small businesses. We’re told that a good piece of content should serve as a natural link magnet and even rank highly based on the merits of the writing itself. To be candid, from experience we’ve discovered this isn’t always true.
Consider the idea that a 10-hour project totaling 3,245 words, featuring exquisite content and imagery, is just as useless as a poorly written 400-word listicle if it doesn’t drive conversions or traffic. This is what I refer to as potential energy. Without a proper technical structure or any content promotion strategy at work, your awe-inspiring content is a dud.
What if, after writing his Theory of Relativity, Einstein had simply posted his theory on his front door and waited for someone to discover it? Content distributed over a blog on a young domain won’t gather backlinks or social shares without promotion.
Leverage your connections, and follow these strategies to promote content and allow it to compound over social media:
- Have influential members of your organization share and promote a piece of content.
- Contact influencers over social media to share content.
- Request a quote from an industry thought leader to place in your content; advertise this in your rich snippet on social media channels.
- Repurpose content into a video or infographic for greater shareability.
- Contact websites that have linked to similar content in the past.
- Submit your content to replace relevant broken links on authoritative sites.
- Run a paid advertisement campaign over social media to place content directly in front of targeted audience members.
Content promotion involves thorough audience analysis. Segment audience members into one of three boundaries based on habits, demographics and psychographics. Investigate what social media channels each audience segment uses the most and the points of time when they are most active.
Understand which pieces of content perform best over specific social media channels. The most viral content examples include:
- “How-to” tutorials
- “Why” articles
Content serves as an effective pull marketing tactic and inbound lead generator. Yet, if content is simply sitting on the shelf and gathering dust, it’s a lost investment.
Social and user signals factor greatly into organic ranking. Essentially, social promotion will draw users to your content, which will determine — based on their engagement — the efficacy of your content.
SEO agencies and content marketers often tell clients about technical and onsite errors they may be making. But sometimes it takes a little realism to take a step back and analyze our own campaigns for greater success in the long run.
Hopefully, you’ll take the news that your SEO content strategy is imperfect in the right way. It’s an opportunity to refine and improve.
You just need to keep focused and follow some consistent strategies.
Amazon is the biggest online marketplace that can help many retailers sell their products online. However, ranking high on Amazon requires a better understanding of the Amazon product ranking algorithm, A9.
To boost your product’s visibility on Amazon here are 11 tactics that can surely raise your conversions and will help to improve your ROI.
1. Make products available for Amazon Prime.
Amazon’s revenue from prime members extends well beyond subscription fees. Recently, it was estimated that Amazon brought in about 90 percent of revenue from prime subscriptions.
Why select a product that ships at a low speed with an additional cost when you could purchase a product with fast and free shipping?
To give a lift-off to your product’s visibility, you need to make it eligible for Amazon Prime. If you are unable to ship from a warehouse, you can make your items fulfilled by Amazon Fulfillment (FBA). This means that you ship your products to Amazon’s warehouses and they will take care of shipping, handling, and returns.
But unfortunately, FBA fees are generally not expedient for sellers. You can use their FBA calculator in order to calculate the accurate fees and determine if this process is for you.
Use a warehouse (or garage) of your own, as seller fulfilled prime area. This course of action has been introduced by Amazon which allows merchants to ship from their warehouses directly. This saves the fees and cuts the cost to you of FBA fees. You can find out more about the program on Amazon’s YouTube Channel.
2. Optimize product title.
Noticeably, your product title will have the greatest influence on product performance in search. According to Amazon, your title should include components such as:
- Product type
- Product line
- Material or key feature
Your product title might look like this:
Brand Name + Series Name + Model Name + Form Factor + Unique Identifier (color, capacity, pack size, etc).
An example of good product title optimization.
Look below at some of the useful ways to optimize Amazon product titles.
- Use tools like Keyword Inspector and Helium 10-Magnet to determine the best words by looking at competitor listings.
- Use special characters like & – etc. to add some style and break up phrases naturally.
- Make the length around 80 characters of your product title.
- Product titles should be filled with the product information and its distinguishing features rather than with rebate offers, keywords, claims, sales messaging or anything else. An example of a perfectly executed product title is KIND granola that offers useful information relevantly with proper naming convention.
This is an example of a clear and an informative title that is listed favorably by Amazon and clicked-on without hesitation by potential customers.
3. Optimize product description.
Get HTML text formatting and images into your brand registered products description with Amazon’s enhanced brand content.
The advantage of enhanced brand content is that you can spark your listing page with more graphics and visuals. Thus it will become easy for potential customer to read through and it also enables you to break up your product page into logical sections with headers.
You should also get some more visuals, photography and infographics prepared for EBC content instead of using same images in the image carousel on your listing because all EBC content is checked by people at Amazon.
If your brand is registered then you would create your enhanced brand content into your seller central account as:
An example demonstrating how to create your enhanced brand content into your seller central account.
Look at some of the below mentioned ways that can help you in optimizing your product description.
- Use capital letters to spotlight features.
- Add powerful taglines to split the description to make it easily readable.
- Explain why consumer is going to love your product by giving your product a narrative.
- Use explanatory language (e.g. vigorous, effective, strong, beautiful and smooth).
4. Optimize for Amazon SEO.
The first step is to understand Amazon’s search algorithm (A9) to rank your product at the top of SERPs. Amazon sorts results by relevance and performance factors.
Use Amazon keyword research tool like Sonar to make suggestions according to search queries of Amazon shoppers, research keywords relatively and know the actual search volume of keywords on Amazon.
- Include relevant keywords and use long tail keywords in your listing text.
- Create your bullet points between two-three lines each. Use HTML and formatting to make them visually more attractive.
- Use Sellics keyword ranking tracker to see the daily changes in keyword rankings, adjust the date range to analyze a specific time period and make notes in the keyword tracker. Sellics also optimize your sponsored products ads and increase your organic sales on Amazon advertisement.
- Use product photos with resolution of at least 1,000 x 1,000 pixels to enable zoom function, ensure the clear visibility of your brand in at least one of your product images and use few photos to demonstrate benefits or uses.
5. Select right category for your product.
Your product category need to be correct for your listing to be visible on Amazon. While editing your listing in more details find item type to categorize your product.
Shoppers frequently browse by category. The simplest method to determine what category to select is to look at some batch of competitors and categorize accordingly. List your product by considering the following situation.
- If competitors are all in the same category and have high revenues, use that same category.
- If competitors are all in the same category and have bad revenues, what will you differently?
- If competitors are in various categories, examine their monthly revenues to find a connection among category and listing.
- If category does not affect revenue, select the category that is more relevant for your product.
- If revenue is affected by category then select the category having high revenue.
6. Make use of PPC keywords.
You should run Amazon pay-per-click ads. PPC has a positive approach towards listing optimization.
Look at your product ads and figure out your keywords having an ACoS below 25 percent. List them into your product’s description, headline and backend keywords for proper integration.
For example: A customer who sold silicone baking mats. After running Amazon PPC the keyword “silicone baking pan” earned $4 for every $1 spent. It wasn’t instinctive as that was a different product than a baking mat, but it turned out that people who were searching for pans bought mats.
They took this new keyword and put it into a bullet point. We can often call it reusability of a “silicone baking pan.” They generated some extra revenue. You will get the better listing with running more ads automatically.
7. List an ASIN in your product field.
This will surely generate traffic to your page. Just get your product listed on a product page that is ranking. This is a great option for those who can compete for cost with nearly identical product. You can simply search the ASIN in the URL.
For example: Amazon.com/gp/product/B011ZLWHOE.
B011ZLWHOE is the ASIN in the above mentioned URL. Add that ASIN to your product fields, change the brand in your product fields to the brand on the listing. Ensure that you have a lower price as compared to your competitor’s product.
8. Avoid duplicate content.
Ensure that all your product pages on Amazon must use content that are different from e-commerce website you are using. As they are two different search engines. This is very obvious mistake that businesses make by using the same content.
You can make an original content in the following ways.
- Read the product description carefully.
- Write new description for your products covering all the important points and ensuring not to use the same sentences.
- Offer extra important information that has not been covered previously.
9. Use product listing grader.
Improve your listing by using a free tool like The Jungle Scout Product Listing Grader.
This tool will provide you a rating and a breakdown of every element on the page performs:
(An example, demonstrating the breakdown of each element giving you a rate of your product performance).
You can calculate this by including points to each and every element.
(An image to depict where to spend the most time optimizing).
The more you work towards increasing the points the better rank you will get on Amazon.
10. Product rating.
The reviews you do get plays an important role because these will stimulate your rating.
Your product is doing actually well if you are in the top four-five star realm. But if your product is competing with a lower rating then no need to worry. Fortunately, take the following actions to get rid of struggling with product rating.
- Search out the reasons in the bad reviews and try to fix the wrong things with the product.
- Collect feedback from consumers with automated email campaigns to rectify a problem so as to avoid negative review.
- Gather more reviews and manage your overall rating with good reviews.
Ensure to provide a stunning product at a reasonable price and offer a great customer experience.
11. Split testing your way to the top.
Split testing is probably the most verifiable correct way to know what works and what doesn’t. This includes changing one element of your listing and serving both this and the original to customers of your product page.
Collect significant data by running a split tests in order to get flexible ways so as to improve your listing.
Running a split tests on an Amazon product listing will alter your price by increasing or decreasing 10 percent and test your main image.
Amazon’s only split testing tool, Splitly helps sellers to know where they can optimize their products by creating various experiments.
(An example where sellers get more than double their average daily sales).
The above test results clearly describes that the product listing change that was decreased in price of three dollars, has greatly improved conversion rate and average daily sales.
Amazon can be a very challenging and tough marketplace.
Though Amazon is tough, if you spend some extra effort and time in learning how to optimize your listings then it will be much easier for you to compete.
Simply, follow the above mentioned strategies and go get selling by focusing on the things that matters to be ahead of many competitors.