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.
Local SEO proved to be one of the biggest trends throughout 2016 and 2017, and is expected to continue doing so throughout 2018.
Businesses that have been able to optimize their on-page and off-page SEO strategies are already reaping the supreme benefits of local SEO. For others, there are undeniable opportunities to begin their local SEO journeys.
Google suggests that 80% users conduct online searches for local businesses, while 50% of users who do a local search on mobile for a business visit its store within a day. Yet businesses continue to miss the opportunities that local SEO provides.
Don’t be that business. Instead, use the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide to get started with local SEO.
Claim your Google My Business page and optimize it
Google+ might have mostly fizzled out, but Google My Business continues to be a cornerstone for implementing local SEO. If you’ve not claimed a Google My Business listing for your business yet, this is the time to do so. The chances of your business featuring on the front page in a local relevant search improve manifold purely by having a well optimized and filled out My Business Listing.
Go to google.com/business, start the registration and verification process, and wait for Google to send you a postcard to your physical store location.
Make sure you understand that Google only allows real business owners to have their My Business pages; so you need to work out an arrangement with your digital marketing consultants so that you continue to own the My Business listing even if they depart.
Your business name, address, and phone number (abbreviated as NAP) must match what you have been using for digital marketing till now. Also, lay special emphasis on selecting categories, business hours, types of payment accepted, etc.
Then, have top quality photographs of the office front and insides uploaded on to the profile. Digital businesses without a location can hide the address to still be able to claim their My Business listing.
Here’s what a well maintained and optimized Google My Business profile could look like on a search page.
Understand and master the art of citations
Here’s it, put simply – every mention of your business online is a citation. More citations are good for your business’ local SEO. How does Google consider a mention as a citation? Well, your business NAP has to be mentioned for it to be counted as a citation.
Too many businesses have already lost several months of efforts in getting themselves mentioned online, purely because of inconsistent NAP. Though increasingly there’s consensus among digital marketers that Google actually triangulates data and identifies slightly different business names as belonging to the same business using NAP, we’d recommend you play it safe.
Keep on optimizing your website for mobile
Though this is something every website owner must do, local business website owners need to speed up their game particularly well. That’s because a majority of local searches are done on mobile devices, and are intent-backed.
Responsive layouts, intuitive user experience and interface design, etc. are the basics; you need to step past them! Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool is a great starting point. I did a test on a post I was reading recently, and was impressed with the tool’s validation.
Add business directories to your to do lists
Apart from giving you a valuable citation online, business directory pages for your business also garner more visibility for your business. Here are some action points for you.
- Start with the most notable business review directory websites such as Yelp and CitySearch
- Next, use this list of business directories and create your business profiles on each (target at least 7 complete profiles per week)
- Look for niche specific business directories and create your profiles there
- Look for local business community websites, and grab your listing there
- Check if the state government has a Chamber of Commerce or equivalent website, and look for a way to get a mention there
- Use the services of citation aggregators like Infogroup, Acxiom, and Factual
- Look for an opportunity for a citation via local newspaper websites
- Of course, remember to get your NAP spot on every time.
‘Localize’ your website’s content
You can do a lot to help search engines understand your business’ local appeal by optimizing your website for the same. Local content, for instance, can help search engines contextualize your website’s niche to its local service. Then, you could include an interactive map widget to further enhance the local SEO appeal of your website.
Also, consider creating a separate local news section on your website, wherein you could post content about niche-related local events. This will serve you well in terms of allowing the usage of local SEO relevant keywords.
Businesses such as restaurants, lawyer services, house repairs and interior décor, etc. have a lot to gain by using these basic tactics.
Be very hungry for online reviews
A Moz report attributes 8.4% of ranking value to online reviews. It doesn’t sound much, but considering how 88% users depend on online reviews to form opinions on quality of businesses, brands, and products, the eventual impact of reviews is significant.
Google My Business reviews are the primary source of SEO juice; you need at least 5 reviews for Google to start showing your reviews. Facebook Business reviews must be the next on your radar, because of the trust they inspire among online users.
There are several other review websites you need to take care of, to maximize the local SEO benefit from the same. To get more reviews, try out these tactics:
- Motivate store managers and field sales personnel to get reviews from customers on handy mobile devices, asking them log in to, for instance, Zomato or Yelp, and doing it on the spot (consider giving them a little discount for the same)
- Use email marketing, with a single link that takes users to the reviews page
- Consider using a social listening tool such as HootSuite to be alerted of your business and brand mentions, which you can transform into reviews
- It’s worthwhile seeking services of online reputation management agencies for this.
Invest effort in local SEO relevant rich schema
Schema markup can be added to your website’s code to enhance its readability for search engines. There are several scheme markup tags that specifically focus on local attributes of your website.
Local schema markup tags assists local SEO in two ways:
- First, it allows search engines to understand your business’ local relevance
- Second, it means search engines can show your business page result along with rich snippet info such as phone number, address, business working hours, ratings, reviews, etc.
Here’s an example of how web results with local SEO schema markup appear on SERPs.
Local schema markup is beyond the scope of this guide, but here’s a good tutorial from Schema App.
Don’t forget to run your website through Google Structured Data Testing Tool to understand if the schema markup is done correctly.
As you read this, there are hundreds of potential customers searching for businesses in your neighborhood. Your website could be staring at them through their desktops and mobile phones, as soon as you get started on local SEO with the tips, tricks, tools, and methods described in this guide.
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.
The coming year is going to be a landmark year for local SEO. Google has begun to roll out its mobile-first index, putting more focus than ever on mobile optimization.
Mobile searches are intent-driven, with an immediate local focus at play. Local and national brands will reap big rewards by targeting users when and where they search.
Approximately 50 percent of individuals who perform a location-specific search will visit a store location on the same day. Given the increasing trend of high-intent searches and limited search-engine results page real estate, brands need to work harder to get in front of consumers when they are most likely to purchase.
By adopting a mobile-first focus and aligning with on-the-go user intent, brands can succeed at the local level even if they are competing with brands several times their size at the national level.
What this means is that local search-engine marketing is one way small businesses can truly compete with huge brands — and succeed.
So, how can you put a limited marketing budget to use to reach high-intent customers, edging out bigger brands? Here are five ways to successfully implement location-based targeting in your SEM campaigns in 2018.
1) Adopt a mobile-first mentality
The rise in location-based targeting goes hand-in-hand with the surge in mobile searches. Google noted that searches including “nearby” or “near me” (hyperlocal searches) increased twofold between 2014 and 2015.
Interestingly, this trend is already changing with “near me” and other location-modified searches declining as searchers know their results will be relevant because they were conducted on their phone. Eighty percent of those hyperlocal searches occurred on mobile devices, so you should stop treating mobile optimization as optional.
Implement a responsive design on your mobile website, prominently feature your contact information above the fold and include a click-to-call button to make the path to purchase simple for mobile users.
2) Optimize Google My Business
How can anyone hope to find your business on a results page if you haven’t properly optimized your Google My Business profile? Get featured on the local three-pack when users conduct hyperlocal searches by making your business appealing to Google and to customers.
Pay attention to the details: Ensure that your business is connected to the correct categories to appear in relevant searches; upload attractive, professional photos of your business; and encourage satisfied customers to leave a review to boost your visibility.
3) Account for voice search
At the Google I/O conference last year, we learned that one in five queries via the Google app and on Android devices come from voice search, and that number is poised to increase substantially in 2018. Digital assistants like Siri are improving, and voice searches are becoming more convenient.
Voice searches are all about convenience, and users who are walking or in transit will be posing hyper-specific queries with an intent to buy that day.
To take advantage of this rise in voice search, center your SEO around long-tail search keywords that reflect conversational language. And remember, voice searches aren’t limited to smartphones: Smart home hub sales increase every year, and voice search is a substantial component of these devices.
4) Consider in-store customers
Many shoppers look to their smartphones for information even after they’ve entered your store. This is not cause for alarm. Often, they are searching for product reviews or clarifying which model, size or color of a product they want to purchase, according to Google.
Optimize mobile functionality to assist customers in these moments. Tools like Google’s Proximity Beacon API can help developers create in-store messaging associated with promotions or featured products. Leverage APIs to create an app that can connect in-store customers with product reviews, discounts, related products and helpful FAQs in order to increase conversion and drive brand loyalty.
5) Create compelling local content
An organic method of driving traffic to your website is to write content that is useful for local customers. For example, if you sell mobile devices and electronics in the Houston area, consider writing an evergreen piece of content highlighting the best neighborhoods for cell reception.
In addition, write content featuring any popular geographical landmarks around your business. If anyone searches for businesses near that landmark, your content will improve your location-based targeting capabilities, placing you on more users’ search results.
Using these strategies, you can structure an SEM campaign around hyperlocal searches, driving conversions and increasing overall brand awareness. And the best news for small business owners is that these hyperlocal strategies can help your company compete against competitors and budgets many times the size.
There’s a joke that asks, “Where should you bury something that you don’t want people to find?”
Answer: On the second page of Google.
Sure, it’s corny. But there’s still some truth to that statement.
75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search.
That means you can’t afford to be ranking on the second, third, or fourth page.
You just won’t get the clicks and traffic you need to make SEO worth your time and money.
And you need that organic traffic because 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
On top of that, there are over 1 trillion searches every single month!
A good SEO presence has the power to drive inbound traffic that could grow your business for years to come.
But the average-joe website owner doesn’t have the power to rank on the first page of Google for the best keywords.
There are already countless high-profile websites capitalizing on the top industry keywords.
And there are thousands of other bloggers trying to rank for that keyword as well.
That means the deck is stacked. And it’s not in your favor.
You shouldn’t give up, though! There are a few proven methods that I’ve used and found success with to show up on the first page of Google.
And the best part is that you don’t need the authority or links to rank for many of these keywords.
I can teach you how to show up for them anyway.
First, I’ll explain why you’re doomed for now.
And second, I’ll show you how to use this problem to your advantage to rank on the first page of Google despite your shortcomings.
Ready to get started? Let’s do it.
Why you probably can’t rank on the first page of Google anytime soon
I’m going to be straight with you:
You’re pretty much doomed. If you’re trying to get noticed and rank organically on the first page for popular industry keywords like “SEO Guide,” it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
If you’re just starting out, you’ve got no domain authority, a tiny backlink profile, and hardly any traction as a result.
And if you take a look at Google’s first page results for “SEO Guide,” you’ll quickly see what the major problem you’re up against is:
See what I mean? The domain authorities of these top page rankings are going to blow any new website out of the water.
Moz? 93 domain authority. Kissmetrics? 85.
How many backlinks does that #1 spot have? 18,389 to be exact.
That’s more than most of us will get on our entire site. Ever.
Plus, these guides have been up for years!
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz has been up for five years or so. Their website claims that over three million people have read it.
You get the idea.
Sites that have been around for a long time are going to dominate the top page rankings for popular industry keywords.
These people are producing stellar content and getting countless backlinks to their content.
If you’re just starting out, you need to pursue different strategies.
You can’t afford to wait around for five years to rank on the bottom of the first page for “SEO Guide.” Not with the number of hours and dollars it would take.
But that’s OK!
Just realize that you’re not going to rank organically for it right now.
The good news is that you don’t need to. There’s still hope.
The trick is to readjust your strategy and use different methods to still show up for your target keywords.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Start by dominating long-tail keywords
There are more long-tail keywords out there than big, popular ones.
Here’s a simple comparison to explain the difference:
And my own beautifully simple example:
- ‘Head’ keyword = “SEO guide”
- Long-tail = “SEO guide for small businesses 2017”
Each might not send you a ton of traffic. However, long-tail keywords do in total when you add a bunch of them up.
For example, I was able to increase my organic traffic to 173,336 visitors monthly using a long-tail strategy.
Long-tail searches also make up the majority of searches on Google.
You should target these long-tail keywords because they’re easier to rank for. And that means they’ll usually take less time and money.
So you’re not going up against the mammoth, industry-leading companies on these search engine result pages (SERPs).
Still skeptical of the power of long-tail strategies? I was, too, at first!But then I read about how Amazon makes 57% of their sales from long-tail keywords.
How? Because long-tail searches are looking for very specific information, whereas short-tail keywords are more general.
If you can give the searcher specific information, they’re going to stick around and convert.
Here’s an example SERP of a long-tail keyword search to help you get an idea of how it’s possible to rank for them.
Do you notice that the SERP isn’t overcrowded with industry influencers and top blogs?
Sure, there are still a few in there, but the top-ranking sites are ones that you’ve probably never heard of.
Instead of going up against a website with a 93 domain authority, here’s what the first ranking page for this long-tail search query looks like:
Now I’ve got your attention, right?
So sure, this keyword might have lower search volume than “SEO Guide.”
But remember that these long-tail keyword conversion rates are almost always higher.
And you know what I preach:
Traffic doesn’t mean anything if people don’t convert!If you’re getting 50,000 visitors a month from a popular keyword, but nobody is converting, it’s not doing you much good.
Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket for “SEO Guide,” create more content and optimize it for long-tail searches to dominate the SERPs!
Now let’s talk about a few ways to rank for the more popular terms that you just can’t seem to resist. And let’s do it without any ‘classic’ SEO.
2. Pay to reach the top of the AdWords search network
Now, you may be thinking, “Neil, my friend, my mentor, you do know that AdWords is not organic search, right?”
Well, just hear me out on this one, okay?
I’m going to start this one off with an example because it’s the only way to understand how truly effective this strategy can be.
So let’s fire up a search for “Best CRM.”
Here’s what the results page looks like:
It looks a bit different, doesn’t it? There’s not a single organic result until you scroll past the fold.
You’ve got four AdWords search network ads and a featured snippet from a single organic result.
It takes the user multiple steps just to reach the organic results and decide what to click on this SERP.
But something even more important jumps out at me here.
The keyword intent and the results that appear don’t line up.
Here’s what I mean.
Check out the first three ads:
They all talk about their own CRM and say that they’re the best in the industry.
That’s not surprising, necessarily. Everyone wants their products and services to be seen as the best.
But for this search, that’s a problem.
And more importantly, this is an opportunity for you to show up for that keyword.Here’s why.
What are people looking for when they type in “Best CRM?”
Are they looking for Salesforce or Zoho or Pipedrive right now?
No. They’re looking for a CRM comparison to see which one is the best. They want to consider their alternatives and options before deciding.
You can validate this by looking at the organic results, which all feature comparison articles and reviews.
Google wants to help the searcher find what they’re looking for as fast as possible.
That means the top organic results usually reflect the searcher’s intent.
So instead of looking for a branded PPC ad about one product being the best, a searcher is looking for CRM comparisons!
Now, do you remember those top 3 PPC results? They’re probably not getting any clicks because they’re not answering the searcher’s question.
The content doesn’t match the intent behind the search query.
But look at the 4th result:
If I were a betting man (which I am), I’d bet you that this low-domain-authority website is getting countless clicks for “Best CRM.”
I’d bet that this ad outperforms the ones above it.
This no-name site can rank with the big boys because they’ve done a better job matching keyword intent with their ad.
It’s practically cheating the system, and it works perfectly.
Now check out all of the traffic you have the opportunity to steal without competing for it head-on with massive brands in the organic rankings:
Instead of preaching about their product, the fourth ad lines up their content to look exactly like the organic results.
However, they show up before the organic results with no effort spent on link building.
You don’t need to organically rank for a keyword to get traffic for that keyword. Just remember to match the searcher’s intent and mimic the organic results to drive traffic.
3. Write more blog posts than your competition
What’s the downside of a long-tail keyword strategy?
You can’t stuff a bunch of random keywords onto the same page. You should still focus on one or two keywords per post, max.
That means you’re going to have to create a lot more content!
This is no great secret.
If you write more content, you’ve got a better shot at ranking on the first page of Google.
The more you write, the more pages get indexed, and the more traffic you bring to your site.
If you’re writing 5-10 posts a month, it’s still not enough.
Your competition and industry leaders are writing 16+ every single month.
You can’t reasonably expect to outrank a competitor or catch up to an industry leader by writing less, can you?
You need to write like your business depends on it. Because based on the information above, it does!
And it can’t be any old 500-word blog post that you slap together in an hour.
Here’s what the top content on Google looks like on average.
Everything on the first page of Google is over 2,000 words.
That means that you need to write more in-depth content that guides users through the process of solving their problems.
This content should be actionable and filled with images, examples, and step-by-step instructions.
Now is about the time when you start thinking, “How on Earth am I going to carve out time to write more?”
If that’s the case, maybe you need to hire someone.
The good news is that content marketing costs 62% less than other marketing mediums. All while generating 3x the number of leads.
If you want to start ranking for the top keywords, you need to produce valuable, unique content — and lots of it.
On top of that, you also need to optimize your content to generate the highest CTR possible.
Why? Because optimizing headlines and meta descriptions for searchers can result in a 10% increase in CTR.
And an increase in CTR means you’re on your way to ranking higher.
Here’s an example:
Why do you think this Search Engine Land post outranks the post below it?
Take a look at that headline!
Instead of a basic headline, they make you think about what you just searched.
It goes against the grain of normal, acceptable advice. It’s like a pattern interruption that causes you to stop what you’re doing.
Now you’re rethinking everything you once thought was true!
Here are a few powerful headline templates to try immediately to boost your organic CTR:
[ ______________ ] Using These 5 Strategic Moves
10 Quick Moves to [ ________________ ] and Increase Revenue
How I Used These 5 Moves to [ ____________ ]
Interested in more headline tips to increase your CTR and boost your rankings? Start with my in-depth guide on headlines.
4. Get reviewed and featured in round-ups
Sometimes, spending money on PPC ads to rank higher for keywords isn’t an option.
Spending too much time and money on creating long-form guides to rank for your desired keywords also may not be feasible.
Luckily, you can still get your name featured in top-ranking content! All while doing a fraction of the work.
Rather than having your official site placed on the top page of Google from AdWords or organic rankings, you can get featured in round-up posts with minimal time and effort.
Here’s what I mean:
Just go to Google and search “best SEO tools 2017”:
All the results are roundup-style posts in which the authors review and analyze the top tools.
It’s basically free advertising.
You can get your name out to thousands upon thousands of consumers a month who are clicking on those top-ranking posts.
For example, let’s click on the first result from PC Magazine:
They cover each SEO tool, providing reviews of each feature the tools have and then helping to prioritize them for everyone else.
Now, you can use these roundup-style posts to your advantage. Rank well on these posts, and you’ll get tons of traffic in return.
For example, thousands of people are already searching for “SEO tools.”
Then you can conduct outreach to have your tool featured in those comparisons.
And that traffic can be huge:
If you’re featured on all of the comparison posts that already rank on the top page, you’re going to get traffic from each one of those.
And this traffic will already be primed to buy from you.
A few simple outreach efforts can now save you years of grinding away in obscurity to get your brand in front of eager searchers.
No time, no money, and just a little effort can still get your brand in the top results.
If the deck is stacked against you in one game, just switch the game that you’re playing.
Showing up on the first page of Google is nearly impossible if you’re just starting out.
That’s harsh, but it’s also true.
Industry leaders who’ve been producing content for years dominate all of the best keywords and SERPs.
Many of them have been spending millions on big-budget ad campaigns, too.
So you can’t expect to rank first when you’re new.
The competition is already so far out ahead. They’ve been accumulating thousands of links and countless shares while this business was still a twinkle in your eye.
Their brands are well-established, and their authority is too high.
But you still need organic traffic to thrive and keep your business growing.
Thankfully, there are a few workarounds.
Try researching and producing content for long-tail keywords. The volume might be lower, but so is the competition.
Use sneaky tactics like PPC ads to rank above the organic results for an extremely popular ‘head’ keyword that you know you’ll never be able to rank for organically.
Try getting reviewed in roundup-style posts to get featured on top articles.
There’s plenty of unconventional methods to get your brand in front of the traffic that you crave.
You just have to get a little creative and understand that you might not always rank for the top terms.
But other methods exist to get similar results if you know where to look.
What strategies have you used to rank on the first page of Google?
Done right, city pages can be an integral part of a local SEO strategy. Done poorly, they can get you penalized, or worse. Here’s the right way to do it.
City Pages: Good or Bad for SEO?
Google became critical of pages that do not add additional value to a customer a few years ago. They initially rolled this out algorithmically as the Panda algorithm, which penalized sites for using what Google considered poor content techniques. This was initially targeted at doorway pages, article spinning, and various other nefarious methods.
However, a more common (and generally more legitimate) type of content was caught in this algorithm as well: the city page. The Panda algorithm worked so well that Google integrated it into their main algorithm, and it now evaluates sites in real time.
For nearly a decade, local business owners have created pages around individual cities that they service, in hopes of catching someone looking for items in a particular town, borough, or neighborhood.
So, on the surface, what you’re proposing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The tricky part is making sure that each page provides some unique value to the visitor.
And you have to be honest with yourself as to whether you’re providing value. The search engines know if all you change is one or two words here and there. They still consider that duplicate content.
If the content is almost completely identical except for unusual terms like “arms-on” instead of “hands-on” and it’s pretty clear that it was written by a machine, Google will flag it. Pages like that are what will trigger the Panda part of the algorithm.
Make Your Most Important City Pages Unique
My recommendation is to focus only on those pages that are most important to you – don’t make a page for every small town in the North Georgia mountains. If you want to list out all the cities in a region, just list them on the page – you don’t need an individual page for each city to rank in most cases.
In terms of making the pages different, write original content for each area or city. Focus on what makes that city unique or different, but give it value beyond what you can get in a census listing.
Too often, I see city pages that have just restated population data that they could have gotten anywhere else.
- If you offer services in real estate, talk about the way the community in that area differs.
- If you offer plumbing, mention that a common problem in that area is hard water.
- If you’re a florist, talk about the climate, or how you source or grow plants in the area.
Find ways to make it different and unique so that you’ll actually add some information for the potential customer. In addition to making Google like the page better, it also gives the consumer confidence that you know the area and can really address their needs.
And finally, these listed locations should appear on all versions of the website – a common problem is that site owners will only have these links appear on a desktop site, but if you access the site on tablet or mobile, the links go away.
Because Google will be moving to a mobile-first algorithm, not having those links on the mobile site may make them drop out of the index. At worst, it could make it look like you’re trying to hide these pages; that they don’t add value.
Done right, city pages can be an integral part of a local SEO strategy.
Done poorly, city pages can get you penalized – or worse.
With the advent of handheld devices, more and more people depend on these products to stay connected and navigate the virtual world. Suffice it to say, many people are mobile-first in their online usage.
Recently, the ‘mobile-first indexing’ concept of Google changed the manner in which SEO companies planned and organized their SEO and online optimization strategies. This holds true not just for the well known SEO firms across the globe but local SEO services offered by firms also strive to migrate to the new concept.
Prior to delving deeper into the mobile-first indexing concept, let us find out what it is. Essentially it means that Google will begin ranking (indexing) the mobile version of any website first, followed by indexing of the same website’s desktop version. Aside from that, the various factors that determine ranking of a page will be decided upon taking into account both the mobile as well as desktop version of any website.
In this write up, we will find out how you can enhance the visibility and ranking of the websites on mobile devices and how you can rework your SEO strategies to get the optimum results.
Factors to consider
You can work upon these factors to get better results from SEO strategies.
Over the years, Google has developed a sound understanding of the behavior of users. If it finds that in any search result listing, a user clicks but leaves the page promptly, it does not give Google a good impression about the website. Eventually, the name of the website will be dropped in the search result listing. As such, it is important for every website owner to keep in mind that the content that the users are looking for should by all means match the results. This concept is referred to as Dwell Time, which is being emphasized immensely in 2017.
Focus on mobile devices
Google is undoubtedly shifting focus on mobile devices. As such, the SEO strategies aimed at getting the right kind of attention and ranking of websites has to be in accordance. And for the same reason, it has made few changes in the manner in which the advertisement banners appear on the screen. You will be able to make out the changes that have taken place in this regard as in the case of “horizontal” appearance of advertisements in desktop versions against “vertical” appearance of advertisements in case of mobile version of websites.
An important aspect that has been conveyed well by the changes made by Google of late, in the context of “mobile-first indexing” is that greater emphasis will be laid on mobile version of websites, a trend which will continue to rule the virtual world.
Do away with Flash
Since Google is aiming at improving mobile user experience, it is best to avoid Flash, which mobile browsers do not support. You can insist on asking the same of the local SEO services firm that you have hired for your SEO success.
Why is it necessary to focus on mobile SEO?
Reports suggest that consumers look for their stuff more on mobile devices as compared to desktop versions of the website. Studies revealed that searches on mobile devices account for 58% of the searches in the United States. The survey/test was carried out taking into account more than 10 prime categories as well as millions of searches on various hand held devices. Interestingly, it was found that people shopping on their mobiles have higher “buying intent” and most importantly, end up taking a purchasing decision. As such, Google has aptly shifted focus on mobile devices to offer an excellent user experience to surfers on the virtual world.
Facebook wants advertisers to speed up their mobile websites and plans to limit where and when ads appear across its service if they point users to slow-loading sites.
Advertisers might soon find their ads aren’t delivered to mobile users with slow internet connections, for example, if their websites load slowly when users tap on those ads.
“Our goal is to give people the best ad experience possible on mobile. By considering website performance and a person’s network connection, we can improve that experience and help drive the outcomes advertisers are looking for,” a Facebook spokesman said.
In a post published to its Business News page on Wednesday, Facebook outlined a number of ways advertisers could technically improve their websites for better load times. It suggested improving their sites for mobile by minimizing landing page redirects, using less code and compressing files.
“Many businesses haven’t optimized their website for mobile yet and still have very slow loading times. This can lead to negative experiences for people, and problems for businesses such as site abandonment, missed business objectives and inaccurate measurement,” the post said.
As much as 40% of website visitors abandon a site once there has been a loading delay of 3 seconds, Facebook said, citing a report by technology research company Aberdeen Group.
For its part, Facebook said it would begin “prefetching” advertisers’ websites to help speed up their loading times even further.
This will essentially involve Facebook’s app pre-loading a version of an advertiser’s site before a user even taps on an ad, which Facebook said can shorten mobile site load time by up to 29%, improving the experience and decreasing the risk of the consumer leaving the page and moving on to something else.
The social network has already been “prefetching” content posted to its service from publishers’ websites, a Facebook spokesman said. It’s now extending that functionality to advertising.
Advertisers won’t need to opt-in to have their sites preloaded by Facebook, nor will they have the option to opt-out. Facebook will determine which content it will preload, based on how likely it believes users are to tap on different ads.
Facebook also pointed to “mobile-optimized” publishing solutions it offers, as an alternative to advertisers driving users off Facebook to their own websites. It offers an ad product called Canvas, for example, which enables advertisers to publish detailed advertising content directly to the social network itself.
Meanwhile, Facebook offers a similar feature for publishers in Instant Articles, whereby they can post their content directly to Facebook’s systems and have it load faster for users as a result.
Facebook’s online ad rival Google has similarly been pushing marketers and publishers to speed up their mobile websites. The company uses page load speed as a signal to rank websites on its search engine results pages, for example, and it launched a project called Accelerated Mobile Pages in October.
As part of that initiative Google also announced its AMP for Ads project, which is designed to help marketers and their agencies build faster ads with a set of collaborative industry technology standards.
Want some simple SEO tips that will help move the needle without breaking the bank? Columnist Stephan Spencer has seven for you.
Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were: good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.
You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.
Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement. You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.
1. Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages
You’ve probably already ensured that your most important category pages are included in the top nav. But how about including links to your most important products (or the ones that you most want to rank) in the body of the home page? If you don’t have product pages, then feature things like articles and landing pages in the body. Links in the body of a page will typically pass more link authority than navigational links, especially footer links.
Creating clear, prominent links is useful from a user experience standpoint as well, because it ensures people can easily find your best stuff quickly.
2. Stop using such huge images
At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.
A 600 dpi image that was “resized” to be tiny using the width and height attributes in an IMG tag isn’t merely lazy, it’s an affront to website visitors. A huge image (I’ve seen single images as large as 6 MB on a home page) can substantially slow down the time it takes for the page to load, hurting both your rankings and the user experience (and consequently, the site’s conversion rate).
It is incredibly easy to optimize that image to a more reasonable size and then re-upload it. This is probably the number one “quick hack” for improving your site speed.
Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you can use the Developer Tools built into the Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.) Check your images, and have your designers optimize them. Train the people who create and upload your content to get into the habit of checking image sizes before they publish anything.
3. Check that people aren’t linking to pages that 404
Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have a externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”
To do this in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on each URL returning a 404. Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.
As you get more advanced at this type of link reclamation, you’ll probably also want to augment GSC with other link analysis tools, such as Link Research Tools’ Link Juice Recovery Tool andAhrefs’ Broken Links report. But we’ll save that for another time.
4. Leverage that microsite, article or video that’s not on your main site
Videos, articles and microsites can be a fantastic way to garner brand awareness and attention. However, if you’re hosting the content on others’ domains, then you may be wasting the SEO opportunity. Once the buzz has subsided, the content is hopefully left with great links. If those links are pointing somewhere other than to your main site, you’re not getting much SEO benefit.
Victoria’s Secret missed an opportunity when they got featured on the BuzzFeed front page for their article, “12 Things Women Do Every Day That Are Fearless,” because that article failed to link back to the victoriassecret.com website. Thus, all the inbound links solely benefited BuzzFeed. Unless brand awareness is your sole goal, at a minimum, you need a link to your site from the syndicated content.
The best option, however, from an SEO perspective, is to host that content on your own site. And even then, try to find ways to direct traffic and authority from that content to your most important landing pages and products.
5. Use forums and social hubs to uncover valuable keywords and topics before your competitors
Seize a valuable keyword even before your competitors take notice by monitoring conversations in social media and in forums within your niche. Notice a recurring mention or a recurring question? Find a way to work it into your site’s content or blog.
It will not only help you rank for that question or phrase, but it will also seat you in a position of authority by knowing the answers to the questions everyone has. Having that content first, before your competitors, can give you an advantage, not only in thought leadership, but in ranking and traffic as well.
Sometimes this will also uncover keywords that you wouldn’t imagine would relate to your product. For example, a baby furniture retailer could consider “baby names” as a valuable keyword to target, even though they have nothing to sell around that topic. If the topic is only tangentially related but is being searched on by your exact target market, consider including it in your content strategy.
6. Increase the visibility of your SERP listing with rich snippets
Which one of these would you rather click?
Snippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute cat. Cute cats on their own are great, as are first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that kitty and you’ve got something that few can resist. Rich snippets are among my favorite SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing meta description and title tag, they make your snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case, if you’re looking for the best slackline to give to your outdoorsy significant other, you are going to want to look for the listing that looks like it is an awesome product from a quality supplier.
Each rich snippet added to the SERP is an opportunity. The rating shows the searcher that this product is high-quality, as evidenced by pleased past buyers. The price and the “in stock” markers tell searchers what they need to know to invest in your quality product.
The extra product information and review stars naturally draw the user’s eye to your listing and increase your click-through rate. Rich snippets won’t increase your rankings, but for the rankings you already have, they will drive more visitors to your site.
7. Use link analysis tools to mine for your competitors’ best links
It’s common knowledge that authoritative links are critical to high Google rankings. Acquiring such links is where people get lost. One simple thing you can do is find hubs that link to multiple competitors. A hub is a site that links out to the major players within a niche. It could be a trade magazine, a review site, a blog or a forum. Identify such hubs with a tool like Majestic‘s “Clique Hunter” or SEOprofiler. Hubs are already linking to similar sites, so in all likelihood it won’t be a huge leap for them to link to you as well.
Search for the sites linking to your competitors, examine them to see which might link to you (Not all will make sense to approach), and reach out to them. This is probably the easiest link building you can do, as your competitors have already done the hard work of not only finding the sites, but also qualifying them as ones that will link to sites like yours.
Pokémon Go may not even have a worldwide release yet, as it’s only available in US, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s rapidly surpassing WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat in terms of usage.
Over the past few days, we’ve seen several examples of brands using Pokémon Go as a jump off, and I’m sure there’ll be many more.
Not every mention was successful, so here we present the best and the worst mentions from Twitter.
Our favourite example comes from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and it raises awareness regarding the increased dangers of playing while driving.
Whataburger in Texas and the Australian ME Bank were among the funniest and most relevant brand mentions we came across on social media, as they managed to skilfully blend their focus with the trend.
However, they were not the only ones:
Well played, Amazon.
The not so good…
Sometimes a brand should think twice before posting about a trending topic, as the expectations are already high and the competition even higher.
Only refer to a popular topic if you can really support it and be relevant to your audience, or else your message will be ignored, and even worse, it may be used as an example in posts like this 😉
The example above is not too bad, but it may be too direct for some consumers. If you had to target Pokémon users, it might have been a better idea to provide them free charging inside your shop, as a way to make them stay longer.
And of course, there are more examples of tweets that probably didn’t offer much of a value for the brands.
How to include Pokémon Go in your content strategy
Even if it’s not relevant for a brand, there is still a way to create appealing content for its audience, provided that there is the right connection.
Users will certainly appreciate a clever post, or a funny reference, but don’t expect that a popular topic can instantly boost the engagement of a post.
Some cases were not very successful, as they simply used a hashtag, or a reference to Pokémon Go to promote their own message, which usually doesn’t turn out to be very effective.
Make sure that the content you’re creating is a good fit for your audience and find ways to expand it or even discover new marketing opportunities.
For example, there is an interesting potential for local businesses to seize the trend of Pokémon Go and increase the business prospects.
Some businesses are already trying to promote their presence on the game, and it actually seems like a good idea, provided that they’re okay with having people around that may not necessarily end up being customers.
Do not hesitate to join the popular discussion if you feel that your brand can benefit from it. However, whether brands are aiming to engage with their users or increase brand awareness, context can make a difference.