It’s exciting to start a new search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, whether you’re handling all the little pieces yourself or you’re outsourcing the work to an agency. You’ll invest time and/or money in creating outstanding content, promoting that content, and restructuring your site so you’re more easily seen and categorized by search engines. Then, you can watch the fruits of your labor develop and reap the rewards of your efforts.
But wait. How can you tell that your SEO campaign is working in the first place?
What Do You Mean By “Working”?
First, we need to be clear about what we mean when we say your campaign is “working.” It’s a vague term that means different things to different people. Accordingly, you’ll need to define what a “working” campaign would look like for your specific business:
- Deciding your main goals. What are your main goals for this campaign? The general approach is to seek ambiguous improvement, ranking higher and getting more traffic. But is that what you’re really after? Are you in SEO just to see a monetary return, or would you prefer to earn more brand exposure? Is SEO just an incidental pursuit, working in conjunction with your content marketing campaign? On top of that, what kind of results are you hoping to see? Is there a specific level of traffic volume you’d like to grow to?
- Evaluating pace. If you aren’t seeing results after a week of effort, there’s no cause for concern; SEO is a long-term strategy. Accordingly, you need to consider the pace of your growth and the time you’ve invested as variables when you measure results and success. Most SEO campaigns see few results at the beginning, see an explosion of results in the middle, and then level off in the late stages.
- Setting reasonable expectations. You should also set reasonable expectations for what results to see based on what you’re investing. Generally, the more you spend and the more time you invest, the more results you can expect to see—at every stage of growth. If you half-bake a blog post once a month, you can’t expect to get the same results as someone spending tens of thousands of dollars working with a professional content agency.
Key Metrics to Consider
So which metrics, specifically, are we looking at? Which numbers will illustrate whether or not your campaign is working the way you want it to?
- Keyword rankings. Keyword rankings are where newcomers usually start. They’re a good indicator of upward momentum in search engines, but won’t illustrate the total package. You can use tools like SEMRush or AgencyAnalytics to keep tabs on your previous and current rankings for any number of head and long-tail keywords you like—Google won’t give you the data directly, so a third party is all but necessary here.
- Inbound links. You’ll also want to use a link profile monitoring tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer, watching for new links and carefully evaluating your current link profile. New earned links are an indicator that your reputation is growing (and that your content is worth linking to).
- Organic traffic. From here onward, Google Analytics is the best all-around choice for measurement. Organic traffic refers to the number of people who visited your site after finding it in search engines. It’s better than keyword rankings alone, since it tells you not only how much visibility you’re getting, but how much traction you’re getting as well.
- Referral traffic. If you’re building external links, you should also look at your referral traffic. It’s more a pleasant side effect of your strategy than it is a direct result of SEO, but it’s still worth measuring; referral traffic can be a powerful indicator of how well your off-site content is performing.
- Conversions and revenue. Ideally, your content and SEO strategy will connect directly to your sales strategy. You can use your content to funnel visitors to conversion opportunities, and therefore drive revenue. Measuring the new sales and revenue you get from your SEO campaign is important to calculate your overall ROI—the figure that will indicate whether your efforts are turning a profit.
What Kind of Growth Should You Expect?
You know these numbers are meant to show growth, but how much growth should you expect, assuming a reasonable dedicated budget?
- The first month. No matter how much you spend, it’s unlikely that you’ll see results after only a month. It takes time to publish content, promote content, earn links, and establish a reputation. You might see higher rankings due to on-site optimization, but it will be minimal at best.
- The first year. After six months or so, you should start seeing more meaningful results (possibly after two or three months, if you’re working aggressively). By the end of the first year, you should be leagues ahead of where you were, and possibly even be breaking a positive ROI.
- Ongoing improvements. After a year or two of work, your results will probably level off, returning you slow ranking progression and similar levels of traffic. You’ll need to make ongoing improvements and changes to sustain those results, however; though the fundamentals of SEO remain relatively similar throughout the years, there are always new algorithm tweaks and opportunities you’ll need to account for.
So is your SEO campaign working? Hopefully, this article has brought you a little closer to an answer. If you feel like you aren’t getting the results you should with the time and effort you’re investing, you’ll need to make an adjustment and keep going; keeping things the same will only continue to breed the same results.
There is much you will need to do in order to attain satisfactory search engine results and SEO is the way to go.
Whilst most of us tend to relate SEO to big businesses, this is not the case as small businesses also have a portion in the SEO marketplace. If you run a small or local business, there is much you will need to do in order to attain satisfactory search engine results and SEO is the way to go.
The ultimate SEO guide for small business
Yes, we know for sure that no one would wish to start a business that doesn’t grow. In this case, taking care of your SEO is vital in ensuring that your business remains relevantly visible to search engines. This is critical in the sense that it enables your customers to easily find you; hence, improved viewership.
The fact that local page search results on Google are constantly growing and getting better, it is obvious that this topic is long from over. But meanwhile, let us have a look at this ultimate SEO guide for local and small businesses by downloading a free SEO Report PDF. Let us now follow the steps below to fully understand this:
Accessing your niche
The first step is basically having a good understanding of what your business is all about. Thus, deciding on a particular niche is critically important in relation to both local and small businesses. The moment you understand your niche, you can, therefore, focus on the things that make your service or products exclusive; hence, enhancing your chances of ranking highly for the same.
In the event that you have a highly comprehensive niche, then you have all the reasons to compete regionally with large nationwide brands – regardless of their well-established financial advertising budgets. The idea here is that you must know your target customers and the terms they use to search for your services or products. This is simply because; they are going to use the same phrases to access your site. These phrases come in handy when it comes to the optimization of your local business SEO by simply adjusting them to long-tail keywords and making them as relevant as possible.
This isn’t new as we have mentioned it quite a number of times – for a successful SEO. Branding must be well taken care of. Well, by mentioning the term branding, we refer to the things such as your tagline and logo. Are they relevant to your business? What do they reveal regarding your values and skills? It all concerns your identification!
Begin by creating stellar content
If you want you to significantly boost your small business SEO, then getting the correct content is necessary. While quite a good number of small business owners may tend to place their products along with their addresses on their sites and leaving them at that, there is actually much to explain and share.
Concentrating on creating an appealing first-impression on your customers is very important in this course. You will need to create stellar content regarding your company, its objectives and how superior you think your services or products are among other related info. You may also choose to talk about market developments or any other dealings relevant to your business.
The trick here is that you must be very realistic regarding the chances of the content you are creating ranking in search results. In case you are operating in a market that is quite competitive, then your content may be perfectly used both as a marketing tool and as social media input even though it may not be enough to move you to the top spot in Google, but it is good. Just be sure to be in control of your anticipations.
Share your piece on social networks
Even though it is possible to trade your services or goods through social media networks; often, it is considered a good practice making use of the social media platforms for brand advertisement or for redirecting customers to your site for a purchase. As such, social media will help to promote your niche, business as well as your products in order to determine your image and obtain the correct customers to your business’ website. If correctly utilized, social media can greatly boost small business SEO.
Just as we have mentioned above, there are actually several things you may do to help improve your small business SEO. Concentrating on your particular niche and highlighting your exclusivity is basically your starting point. In any given business, gaining visibility is very important and that is actually the work of SEO.
I’ve been working in the search engine optimization (SEO) space for years, yet I’m still pleasantly surprised to learn new things about the industry. I’ll discover a new update, or witness a trick used by one of my colleagues, and rush to the drawing board to incorporate it into my running campaigns. SEO is truly an industry of constant evolution and discovery, so I try not to succumb to the illusion that I know everything about it.
But on the other hand, the fundamentals of SEO have remained more or less the same, despite two decades of progression. And, in part because people never bothered to learn how SEO really works and in part because of myths that are still circulated by uninformed writers, most people still don’t fully understand how those fundamentals work.
In my conversations with SEO newcomers (including some people radically opposed to the idea), I’ve discovered there are eight main points that most people get wrong about SEO:
- It’s a gimmick, trick, or scheme. The way some people talk about SEO, it’s natural to think it’s some kind of gimmick. It may have been presented to you as a sequence of tricks designed to get your site to rank above others in search results; but this is only partially true. The white-hat search optimizer isn’t trying to deceive Google’s search algorithm or game their way to the top. Instead, they’re trying to figure out what website features and content are most important to users (and search engines), and provide it to them. Most of the time, this results in organic, well-intentioned website improvements—not spam, hacks, or short-term tricks.
- Keyword rankings are all that matter. Yes, one of SEO’s biggest priorities is getting you ranked as high as possible in search engine results pages (SERPs), but this often leads to an error in prioritization, with marketers believing keyword rankings are all that matter. In fact, there are dozens of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be measuring to gauge your campaign’s success, and keyword rankings are only one of them.
- Google penalties are a major threat. The way some people write about Google penalties, you’d think they were handed out more often than speeding tickets. But the reality is, the most severe Google penalties are a result of a manual action—in response to truly egregious behavior that most webmasters know to stay away from. Automatic penalties, or temporary ranking drops, are more common but far less severe. If you follow best practices, you have nothing to worry about.
- The less you spend on SEO, the better. SEO is known for being a cost-effective strategy with a high return on investment (ROI). Accordingly, many newcomers think the best approach to SEO is to spend as little as possible to avoid risk and maximize long-term returns. However, low budgets often come with amateur work and minimal strategic execution; in many cases, it’s better to spend more on better services.
- SEO is too technically complex. It’s true that there are many technical components to SEO, and to a first-timer, things like robots.txt file editing and canonical tags can look intimidating. But even without coding experience, it’s possible to learn the basics of areas like these within a few hours. I maintain that SEO is highly learnable—so long as you’re dedicated to mastering it. And to help people learn it, I wrote SEO 101: A Guide for the Technically Challenged.
- SEO is easy. That said, I’ve also seen people on the other side of the fence, insisting that SEO is so simple anyone can do it without experience. That isn’t quite true either. You can learn many SEO concepts in an afternoon, but there are so many variables to remember and so many strategic directions you could take, it takes years of practice before you can consider yourself a master. And even then, you need to keep up with the latest industry changes if you want to stay relevant.
- Link building is spam. Link building can be spammy—if you execute it poorly or without strategic planning. But capable link builders know that the tactic isn’t about stamping your links on as many off-site pages as possible; it’s about creating relevant, valuable content that people want to read, and including natural, informative links within that content to boost your search relevance. If you’re doing link building right, you’ll be adding value to the web (and boosting your own domain authority as a fortunate side effect).
- The process is always the same. This is one of the biggest misconceptions I see; people seem to think the SEO process is always the same. They expect an SEO agency to use a reliable procedure, step by step, and get the same results for client B that they did for client A, within the same timeframe. But the truth is this is nearly impossible; SEO is an art as much as it is a science, and different clients will require different targeting strategies, execution methods, and investment levels to get comparable results.
If you’ve held any of these beliefs or assumptions, I can’t blame you; with so much content in circulation, and few opportunities to learn the basics of the strategy, it’s natural that you may have a skewed vision of how SEO really works. Of course, even if you do have a grasp of the fundamentals, there’s always something new to learn coming up around the bend.
Hopefully, this article has given you grounds to challenge one of your underlying assumptions, has taught you something new, or has sparked a renewed interest in SEO. There’s much to learn, even from a ground level, and plenty of time to learn it.
Did you know that small businesses should allocate about 8% of their revenues to marketing?
That’s right, according to the SBA, a small business with under $5 million in yearly revenue should have a marketing budget consisting of around 7-8% of their yearly revenue. The SBA points out that in certain industries, a small business may even need to earmark up to 20% of revenue during their early branding years.
But wait, we’re not done with the small business math lesson yet. Research shows that in 2017, an average of 51% of all web traffic came from organic search.
If your small business marketing strategy is predominantly digital, you should be spending at least 3-4% on search engine optimization (SEO). The challenge is that most small business owners don’t know much about search engine optimization. You’re an expert in your industry, not SEO.
Although it probably won’t benefit you to learn how to SEO your site from top to bottom, you should know enough to talk the talk while shopping around for the right marketing services.
At the most basic level, you should understand the basics of on-page vs. off-page seo, and what each of these SEO segments encompass.
What Is On-page and Off-page SEO?
At the highest level, search engine optimization can be broken down into off-page and on-page SEO. On-page SEO consists of factors that a website owner can directly manipulate on their site. Off-page search engine optimization refers to the digital signals outside of one’s own website that marketers can influence indirectly.
There are notable differences between on-page and off-page optimization in SEO which we will go over in the following sections. On a strategic level, off-page SEO is the more difficult and tedious of the two, so we’ll cover that first.
What is Off-page Optimization in SEO?
Off-page optimization consists of the actions that can be performed outside of your actual website to improve your organic search rankings.These measures are meant to reflect your website’s social credibility and industry authority. Because these search engine ranking signals come from other websites, they cannot be easily manipulated.
Off-page SEO Factors
There are several off-site SEO factors, including:
- Backlinks to your website
- Brand mentions
- Social signals around your website
Think of rankings as elections of web pages in the search engine results. Your page has to get the vote if it wants to be on page one. In the world of off-page SEO, those votes come in the form of backlinks. Backlinks are hyperlinks from external websites that send users and search engine crawlers to your website.
Depending on their relevance and authority, backlinks can affect your organic rankings to different degrees. Think of the importance of each of your backlinks as being located on a Cartesian plane, where the X-axis is authority, and the Y-axis is relevance.
You can have the most authoritative backlink in the world, but if it’s not relevant to your niche or industry, your pages will have difficulty ranking well. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a highly relevant backlink from a site that doesn’t have any authority in your industry, you’re still going to find it difficult to rank.
Your page rankings will not see much benefit if your links are one-dimensional on the relevance-authority spectrum.
To many startups and small businesses, branding is a buzzword that only holds merit if you have venture capital money backing your organization. Bootstrap entrepreneurs tend to avoid paying for branding because it can result in exorbitant costs with very little ROI.
In this particular case, we have concrete evidence to verify that a brand mention may very well be one of the most critical off-page SEO factors for your site. According to Google’s Panda Patent filed in September 2012,
“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”
When it comes to off-page SEO, brand mentions seem to be just as important as backlinks to your website.
Since off-site search engine optimization is meant to reflect the authority of an entity in the real world, it makes sense that having social credibility in the digital world is a ranking signal.
To show that the use of social signals for organic rankings isn’t entirely theoretical, take a look at the US 2016/0246789 A1 Searching Content Of Prominent Users In Social Networks Patent. Without reading through everything, this patent indicates Google’s ability to augment rankings based on what your social media connections find valuable.
What does this off-page SEO signal mean for you? The more shares your content gets, the higher it will likely rank. Social shares also create nofollow links and generate real traffic, so even if you’re not concerned with improving your SEO, a social share will bring relevant traffic to your site.
How to Do Off-page SEO
Now that you know about the different types of off-page SEO, consider how they can be used in your digital marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, getting another website to link to your site or mention your brand is no easy feat. In today’s digital landscape, the most scalable off-page search engine optimization techniques are the least effective.
Most off-page SEO experts will leverage local or niche directories, and guest blogging to build backlinks.
Local and Niche Directories
Yext and BrightLocal are commonly used tools for local directory listing. You simply enter your business’s information, and the tools manage the footwork so that you don’t have to.
When it comes to niche business listing sites, the process is typically more involved. For example, imagine that you’re doing SEO for law firms and you’d like to get listed on several lawyer directories. You’ll most likely have to enter your profile information manually on each site.
Building Backlinks with Guest Blogging
When done correctly guest blogging is one of the most effective methods for building links to a website. The trick is finding websites in your industry that aren’t in direct competition with your own, and asking the site owners/managers if you can contribute a blog article for their readers.
They get free content to publish for their audience, and you get to cite any of your own resources that you mention and link to within the article you contribute. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind while guest blogging:
- Your article must be high quality – it is a reflection of your brand, and the publisher is more likely to keep backlinks for off-page SEO intact if your content is valuable
- Don’t be self-promotional – your article might be denied
- Don’t stuff your article with links
- Target sites that don’t compete with you – trying to get competitors to promote your ideas is usually a waste of time
- Use advanced search operators to search for sites that use “write for us,” “contributor guidelines,” or “guest blog” to promote their acceptance of guest authors
What is On-page SEO?
On-page optimization in SEO refers to direct measures that can be taken on your website to improve it’s rankings in search results for related queries. Examples include using related keywords in the visible content and in meta tags like your page title, image alt and meta description.
6 On-page SEO Factors
On-page SEO boils down to six main factors. There are more than six factors, but the six below will get you 95% of the way.
Page titles are by far the most important on-page search engine optimization factor. If your site framework doesn’t have special functionality to create a unique page title, it will usually use whatever you set as the page name in the backend of your page.
If you’re using WordPress as your CMS (which I highly recommend), then you can easily use the Yoast SEO plugin to create a unique page title.
The HTML for your page title will be within the <head> tags, and will look like this:<title>Your Page Title Here</title>
The page title is what shows up in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and in the browser tab at the very top of your screen. For this reason, it’s important to optimize page titles for SEO, and for user click-through.
Keep the page title length under 70 characters, and closer to 50 characters if you can. This will prevent your title from being cut short in the SERPs, while keeping it concise and appealing. It has been best practice to include your keyword near the beginning of the page title if possible. However, you’ll probably see better results if you create a title that is appealing to users and include your target keyword where it seems most natural.
After the page title, heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) are the next most important on-page optimization factors. Use the page headings like you would an outline for a paper. Headings should follow a logical hierarchy without skipping steps.
It’s best to only use one H1 on a page. That being said, it’s also important that your web page is about one organized topic to begin with. This helps Google and other search engines identify and better understand what your page is about, and if your page deserves to rank highly for related user queries.
Some marketers without an understanding of technical SEO use headings for their styling characteristics. For example, content marketers sometimes use H2s when they want to emphasize text by making it large, despite that text not actually being important to the main content on the page. Avoid this practice, and instead use the cascading stylesheet (CSS) to style your text. This will help you avoid emphasizing text to search engines that should really be taking a backseat.
Keyword usage within the body of your page is important. I am not a proponent of focusing on using a certain keyword density, as was common practice in the early days of SEO. However, if your page is about a certain keyword topic, it’s only logical that you would use your target keyword and closely related terms within the body of the page.
Similar to the primacy and recency psychological principles, it is typically a best practice to include your target keyword near the top of your page and the bottom of your page. You can use related keywords throughout your page to avoid keyword stuffing while still following on-page SEO best practices.
As an interesting aside, in 2016, one of my clients’ web pages was competing with another site’s page for a high-competition keyword. The keyword was not visible anywhere on the competitor’s page, and still they were ranked page one, position two for this 1600 per month national keyword. The takeaway: though it’s best practice to use your target keywords in the body of your page, Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more advanced each day and exact match keyword usage isn’t do-or-die.
Including the target keyword in your page URL is a best practice. This used to be an important on-page ranking factor, but it’s speculated to account for less than 1% of your page’s SEO value today.
The biggest benefit of this practice is that when someone links to your page with a naked URL (the actual URL is used as the anchor text), the link anchor text will still include your page’s target keyword.
There are three main pieces to image SEO:
- Optimized image alt tag
- Image filename includes target keyword
- File size is kept to a minimum without hurting user experience
An optimized image alt tag should include the keyword and be under 15 words. The true best practice here is to craft an honest description of the image while including your target keyword. With their image recognition technology, it is likely easy for Google to determine when someone is keyword stuffing in an image alt tag, and when someone is accurately describing an image for good user experience.
Since there are limited ways to optimize an image, including your target keyword in the filename is also a good practice. This can be difficult to do when you’re optimizing images on a website that already has images without filenames that have been optimized for on-page SEO. You’ll have to save the images to your local machine, then upload them again with the keyword-focused name.
As a last step, you’ll want to compress images before uploading them to your web page. You can use a free online image compression tool for most .jpg and .png files. A tool like Tiny PNG is usually a safe bet, and Google also released an open source file compression program called Guetzli in 2017. Guetzli is not as easy for marketers to implement since you cannot simply run the program with an online tool.
Meta descriptions are not visible on your web page, but will show up under your page title in the organic search results. Your meta description should be around 300 characters, with an absolute maximum of 320.
Many times, Google will choose their own meta description from the visible content on your page that best aligns with searcher intent. This probably has the biggest effect on an eCommerce SEO strategy, as meta descriptions and on-page product descriptions play an integral role in the overall page’s SEO value.
How to Do On-page SEO
Many of the on-page search engine optimization factors above come with insight about implementing these components. When it comes to on-page seo and off-page seo, on-page is easier because of a site owner’s ability to make direct changes.
You can implement best practices on your target pages, and while blogging for SEO. You’ll just have to adjust your approach for the different searcher intent behind your keyword topics.
Read more at https://www.business2community.com/seo/whats-difference-page-off-page-seo-02043800
If your sales and SEO team need a refresher on how to work together, Columnist Casie Gillette has the answer with five communication tips that will get them talking in no time.
It’s no secret that marketing and sales don’t always see eye to eye.
The sales team gets mad at the marketing team for lack of leads and marketing gets mad at sales for not closing deals.
For two areas so closely tied to one another, the lack of cooperation is pretty amazing.
In fact, according to a recent study from InsideView titled, “The State of Sales and Marketing Alignment in 2018,” only 37 percent of salespeople reported meeting with marketing to discuss lead scoring.
Even more telling, Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report noted only 44 percent of marketers feel they are aligned with sales. Yikes!
Breaking down silos isn’t simple, and it certainly isn’t a new concept. We’ve been talking about this for years, and while technology has made it much easier for sales and marketing to align, many companies still treat these departments separately.
How can we better align our sales and marketing efforts, specifically when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO)?
Obviously, there isn’t one answer, and for each organization it will be different. However, when thinking about SEO and sales, there are a few things we can do:
1. Set up monthly integrated meetings
When I worked in-house, the marketing team held weekly calls with the support team. The goal was to discuss common issues facing customers, identify problems or gaps on the site and ensure the marketing and support team were aligned with communication.
The same thing can apply to sales and marketing.
Set up monthly meetings to discuss goals, strategies, results and campaigns. The key to being successful is ensuring everyone knows what is happening, why it’s happening and how to address it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a marketing team launch a campaign without telling the sales team. How are they supposed to sell something they don’t know anything about?
Consider creating a Slack channel for the teams to communicate. Open lines of communication and shared knowledge equate to a more cohesive team.
2. Use sales data to inform SEO tactics
When we bring a new client on board, we spend a considerable amount of time talking through the sales process, evaluating existing sales materials, and in many cases, sitting through product demos and sales pitch decks.
We ask questions like:
- Who is the target buyer?
- Who is the decision-maker?
- What are key issues you hear during the sales process?
While these questions may seem basic, they help determine how and where buyers search and what type of content we need to give them.
For example, if a client only sells to companies with over $100 million in revenue, addressing the challenges facing small business doesn’t make any sense. If the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the decision-maker, their main concern is likely tied to how your product or solution will help them financially.
Understanding the nuances of the buyer, the sales process and everything that comes with it is key to creating an SEO strategy that helps drive sales — which leads us perfectly into our next point.
3. Map your keywords to the customer journey
What is the goal of an SEO program? To be found by the right people, at the right time, in search results. More or less.
Easier said than done. We need not only to understand the buyer but also to understand the keywords our buyers are using and the search intent behind them throughout the entire customer journey.
That feels like a lot!
Fortunately for us, the data found in the material used to bring on a new client, the sales process, the pitch deck and common problems can help form the keyword research process.
A keyword research process must also adapt. It has to focus on themes and intent and can no longer be about selecting a few phrases and calling it a day.
Once you have your keyword themes, you can review with your sales team, start mapping them to the customer journey, and more importantly, begin applying them to the overall content and SEO strategy.
4. Create assets that work for everyone
As an SEO, you typically have firsthand knowledge of what content is needed, what content is being created and where that content lives. That isn’t the case for every department.
A few days ago, a client mentioned she found a bunch of really great content on the site that wasn’t linked from anywhere and was only being used for sales. The marketing team didn’t know about it, and we didn’t know about it. What could we do with it?
Understanding what is out there and how it can be used across marketing and sales can be beneficial to your overall strategy.
Let’s take webinars, for example. Most companies hold a webinar, and then you never hear about it again. But what if we took that webinar and used it across departments? What if we took that one piece of content and turned it into several? We could have:
- A blog post summarizing the webinar which can be optimized for search, shared across social and sent out to everyone who registered for the webinar to re-engage them.
- Short clips from the webinar which can be shared on YouTube, added into the blog post and embedded into landing pages for the sales team to utilize.
When creating assets, we have to think beyond search and consider how we can create something that benefits the organization as a whole.
5. Use SEO data to inform sales
We already talked about using sales data to inform your SEO strategy, but it also works the other way around.
As SEOs, we spend a lot of time in analytics working to understand how our site is performing, what our visitors like, what they don’t like and where we can improve. We also spend a lot of time looking at search results and competitors.
How much of that are you sharing with your sales team?
During the monthly meeting I mentioned above, make sure your sales team is aware of the following:
- Top-performing content themes. They don’t have to know the exact pieces of content, but if specific areas are resonating with visitors, they can push that topic during calls or share the materials with prospects.
- Competitor updates or campaigns. Very few people are looking at one solution and one solution alone. They are also looking at your competitors. The team should be aware of how competitors are performing, the type of messaging they are using and any other updates coming from them.
- Customer reviews or complaints. What are people saying about you on the internet? What are the positives and the negatives? By sharing these with the sales team, they can proactively address potential concerns and promote positive reviews.
Sharing information between departments will go a long way in helping the organization. While the three bullets mentioned above may not seem significant to your efforts, they could be to someone else’s.
Tying it all together
Aligning efforts across the organization, specifically between SEO and sales, can make both teams better and drive growth faster. It may not be easy to get a process in place, but if you start with communication, the rest will follow.
Digital marketing is like playing the drums; everyone thinks they can do it.
Inevitably, the layman writes content stuffed to the brim with a target keyword and cannibalizes his/her own webpages by using the same five keywords across all of their webpages.
As infallible as we sometimes think we are, even the best of our industry can make some pretty hairbrained mistakes.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to take a step back and go back to SEO basics.
As Google and Bing’s algorithms continue to evolve and incorporate new technologies for search, so do our strategies.
Between optimizing our content for voice search, desktop visitors, mobile swipers, and our social media followers, the task can feel impossible and overwhelming.
Breathe a little, you’re not alone.
As much as the medium may change, the same principles still remain in place and so too do the same basic errors.
Here are eight common SEO mistakes that even the experts still make.
1. Presenting a Poor Internal Link Structure
As your website balloons in size with all of your awesome content, you’re bound to encounter some pretty basic internal linking errors. This includes everything from producing mass duplicate content to 404 page errors cropping up.
Internal links provide five valuable functions for your website:
- Providing clear pathways to conversion pages.
- Spreading authority to webpages hidden deep on your site.
- Providing additional reading or interactive material for users to consume on your site.
- Organizing webpages categorically by keyword-optimized anchor text.
- Communicating your most important webpages to search engine crawlers.
Resubmitting an XML sitemap to search engines is a great way to open up crawl paths for search engines to unlinked webpages.
Along the same lines, it’s important to use your robots.txt file and noindex tag wisely so that you don’t accidentally block important webpages on your site or a client’s.
As a general rule of thumb, no webpage should be more than two clicks away from the homepage or a call-to-action landing page.
Reassess your website architecture using fresh keyword research to begin organizing webpages by topicality.
HubSpot provides a great guide for creating topic clusters on your website that arrange webpages by topic, using semantic keywords, and hierarchy to their shared thesis.
2. Creating Content for Content’s Sake
Best practices dictate that you should produce content consistently to increase your brand’s exposure and authority, as well as increase your website’s indexation rate.
But as your website grows to hundreds of pages or more, it becomes difficult to find unique keywords for each page and stick to a cohesive strategy.
Sometimes we fall for the fallacy that we must produce content just to have more of it. That’s simply untrue and leads to thin and useless content, which amounts to wasted resources.
Don’t write content without completing strategic keyword research beforehand.
Make sure the content is relevant to the target keyword and utilizes closely associated keywords in H2 tags and body paragraphs.
This will convey full context of your content to search engines and meet user intent on multiple levels.
Take the time to invest in long-form content that is actionable and evergreen. Remember, we are content marketers and SEO specialists, not journalists.
Optimized content can take months to reach page one results; make sure it remains relevant and unique to its industry when it does.
3. Not Investing in Link-Worthy Content
As we understand it, the quantity and quality of unique referring domains to a webpage is one of Google’s three most important ranking factors.
The best way to acquire links is naturally, leveraging stellar content that people just want to link to.
Instead of investing time in manual research and creating hundreds of guest posts a year, why not invest in a piece of content that can acquire all of those links in one day of writing?
Again, I bring up HubSpot, which provides a great example of this. Every year, they provide a list of industry statistics they scour from the internet, such as “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics”, which serves as an invaluable resource for anyone in the digital marketing industry.
As previously stated, invest the time in crafting long-form content that adds value to the industry.
Here, you can experiment with different forms of content, whether it’s a resource page, infographic, interactive quiz, or evergreen guide.
Dedicate some of your manual outreach strategy to promote a piece of content published on your own website and not someone else’s.
4. Failing to Reach Customers with Your Content
Continuing this discussion, you need to have a strategy in place to actually get people to view your content.
I believe that much of the industry and many businesses don’t invest as many resources into content promotion as they do production.
Sure, you share your content over social media, but how much reach does it actually acquire without paid advertising?
Simply posting your latest article on your blog, social media channel, and e-newsletter limits its reach to a small percentage of your existing audience.
If you’re looking to acquire new leads for your business, then you’ll need to invest more resources into promotional tactics. Some strategies include.
While it’s rather chicken and egg, you need to promote content to get links to it. Only then can you begin to acquire more links organically.
5. Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords
So you invested the time in crafting a piece of long-form content, but it’s not driving large-scale traffic to your website.
Just as bad, your visitors have low time on page and are not converting.
More than likely, you’re optimizing for the wrong keywords.
While most of us understand the importance of long-tail keywords for informational queries, sometimes we run into some common mistakes:
- Failing to segment search volumes and competition by geography.
- Relying too much on high volume phrases that don’t convert.
- Focusing too many resources on broad keywords (external links, internal link anchor text, etc.).
- Ignoring click-through rates.
- Trying to insert awkward exact match phrases into content.
- Ignoring AdWords value.
- Allocating target keywords to irrelevant content.
- Choosing keywords irrelevant to your audience.
It’s important to actually research the search phrases that appear in top results for both national and local searches.
Talk to your customers to see what search phrases they use to describe different elements of your industry. From here, you can segment your keyword list to make it more relevant to your customers.
Use keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush’s keyword generator for relevant keyword ideas.
Don’t forget to optimize for informational and commercial search queries.
6. Not Consulting Paid Media
As the industry currently stands, SEO focuses on acquiring and nurturing leads, while paid media focuses on acquiring and converting leads.
But what if we broke down those silos to create a cohesive message that targeted the buyer at every step of the journey?
As an SEO provider, do you even know what your client’s advertising message is or the keywords they use? Are you promoting the same products/service pages with the same keywords as the paid media department?
There is a lot of insight that SEO consultants can learn from PPC keyword research and landing page performances that can aid them in their own campaign.
Beyond this, Facebook and Twitter’s advertising platform offer robust audience analysis tools that SEO consultants can use to better understand their client’s customers.
By focusing on a unified message and sharing in each other’s research, SEO consultants can discover keywords that convert the highest and drive the most clicks in the search results.
7. Forgetting About Local
Google’s Pigeon update completely opened up an entirely new field of local SEO.
Between local directory reviews, customizing a Google My Business page, and the local three-pack, local SEO is highly targeted and high converting.
Consider some of the statistics:
- 50 percent of searches over a mobile device result in an in-store visit that day.
- Half of local, mobile searches are for local business information.
- Anywhere between 80-90 percent of people read an online review before making a purchase.
- 85 percent of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
It’s important to segment your keyword research for both local and national intent.
If you provide local services, be sure to create content that reflects local intent, such as including city names next to target keywords and in the body of content.
While most of us focus on growing business at the national scale, the importance of local SEO should not be ignored.
8. Not Regularly Auditing Your Own Website
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is not continuing to optimize our own site and fix mistakes that crop up over time.
A site audit is especially important after a site migration or implementation of any new tools or plugins.
Common technical mistakes that occur over time include:
- Duplicate content.
- Broken links.
- Unoptimized meta tags.
Duplicate content can occur for a number of reasons, whether through pagination or session IDs.
Resolve any URL parameter errors or duplicate content from your cookies by inserting canonicals on source webpages. This allows all signals from duplicate pages to point back to the source page.
Broken links are inevitable as you move content around your site, so it’s important to insert 301 redirects to a relevant webpage on any content you remove. Be sure to resolve 302 redirects, as these only serve as a temporary redirect.
Auditing your website is paramount for mobile search. Simply having a responsive web design or AMP is not enough.
Be sure to minify your CSS and JS on your mobile design, as well as shrink images, to provide a fast and responsive design.
Finally, one part of the audit that is often overlooked is reevaluating your onsite content strategy. Most industries are dynamic, meaning that new innovations crop up and certain services become obsolete overtime.
Remodel your website to reflect any new product offerings you have. Create content around that topic to showcase its importance to your hierarchy to both search engines and users.
Continually refresh your keyword research and audience research to find new opportunities to scale and stay relevant.
Everyone is susceptible to mistakes in their craft and one of the best ways to rectify them is to consult the best practices.
My best bit of advice: Keep your mind nimble and always take a step back here and there to evaluate whether you are doing the best to scale your or a client’s business.
In 2018, you need to understand copywriting and SEO – and a whole lot more – to write content that will rank well and return a great ROI.
If you have a head for marketing, UX and research, too, you’ll be in a commanding position. As our discipline evolves in response to a changing search engine landscape, demarcation lines become blurred, and it’s been difficult not to venture into featured snippets, schema and other on-page aspects of SEO.
Instead, with proper focus, you’ll need to know about your audience and how they’ll read your content, what they will be looking for, the continuing role of high quality, in-depth content, where offline historic copywriting skills still live on today, why you should still be using key phrases, and why structure is important.
How will your audience read your content in 2018?
Google’s recent announcement of the first set of sites being migrated to mobile-first indexing reflects the fact that the majority of searches worldwide are carried out on mobile devices. My direct experience is that the move to mobile is very much in the B2C space; less so in B2B, where people are still at their desks with their laptops or desktops.
And then, we see the start of an explosion in voice search and devices – our smartphones and home devices from Google, Amazon and Apple – reading content to us.
Of course, we’re still seeing how voice pans out, and its implications for SEO copywriting, but I’d say if you stick to simple language and shorter sentences within a well-structured piece (think about making the main points right up front in case the listener’s attention wanders).
High-quality, in-depth content
However your audience interacts with your work, it needs to be excellent. Make your content unique, high quality and written to professional standards. Google will reward you. Buying 300-500 spun monstrosities, while never being a great thing, had better not even pass through your mind today. They’ll kill your SEO and content marketing ambitions stone dead.
While we’re thinking about copy lengths, one popular strategy recently has been to write a longer piece than those above you in the rankings. Theirs is 2,000 words? Then leapfrog them by writing 2,500!
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Take a look at the webpages above you in the SERPs. How good are they? Are they well-written? Do they answer the questions customers are asking? Do they understand searcher intent and how to respond to it?
If the 2,000-worder in your sights fails on any or all of these factors, you may be able to kick the ball out of the park with a shorter, tighter, laser-targeted 1,500-worder.
Writing shorter pieces for mobile’s smaller screens may be tempting. Don’t, though. You’ll lose out to those more extensive pieces, written without such an artificial restriction. Instead, leave it to your UX people, designers and developers to get the presentation right.
Write for people
Now that Google can understand the words on a page, you have to raise your writing game. Get your grammar and stylistic chops up with the best and Google should reward you for it. But don’t forget your audience. Deliver them precisely what they’re looking for.
Before you start writing, ask yourself:
- Who is your audience?
- Where is their pain?
Put yourself in their mind; imagine how they will react to your content.
You may want to go the whole hog and spend time developing Personas. Personally, I’m happy to use them if there’s the budget and someone else to do most of the donkey work. Otherwise, I find I can usually visualize the target group more easily than the series of sometimes-unconvincing individuals that can come out of the Persona-building exercise.
Bridging the offline past with the online present
Let’s see how the long-established rules of copywriting work in today’s SEO copywriting environment.
- Do your research: Advertising industry king, David Ogilvy, stressed the fundamental importance of research in producing great copy some 50 years ago – decades before the age of keyword research or the internet. Don’t you forget the keyword research, though – more on that later .
- Write an attention-grabbing headline based on related key phrases from your research.
- Involve the reader further with subheads – don’t skimp on them, either.
- Make it easy for the reader: In addition to inserting subheads, write in short paragraphs and short sentences. And ensure you put spaces between paragraphs.
- Calls to action: No matter how good your copy, you’ll need a CTA to see the full return on your investment, through sign-ups, purchases or other goal fulfilments.
- Treat editing as separate from writing: Get some time between the two processes and see your work with new eyes. If you’re writing more than a couple of screens of copy, consider printing out your work. You’ll see it entirely differently.
- Get someone else to read your work: They’ll notice your mistakes and pick out where you’re unclear
Don’t listen to people who say ‘Key phrases are dead’. They are very much alive. And they will remain so all the time we use the paradigm of typing or speaking language into a search engine. But their use in digital marketing today has changed.
While you’re doing your research, think audience and marketing. How big is the online audience (market)? Where are they? What can we find out about their demographics? What should my content be about?
With my main key phrases selected, I look for questions and semantically related key phrases to flavour and shape what I’m writing. I find Answer the Public invaluable here.
- Talk to your client and/or customers: Find out about problems, solutions, products and services
- Build a list of seed key phrases
- Do your research
- Select your key phrases: Be sure why they’re relevant to your audience
- Assemble your questions and semantically connected key phrases
- Write for your audience
You can’t sidestep key phrase research. It’s still at the core of copywriting for SEO and the framework for everything you write.
Don’t let key phrase density hang on
Back in the day, before Google understood semantics and had AI, copywriting for SEO was many times more difficult than it is today. The trick was to use the key phrases precisely as they appear in the research (give or take a stop word or two), the requisite number of times or density to help the search engine understand your content. And it all somehow had to read as if a human had written it for another human!SKIP
But why am I talking about key phrase density in 2018? It’s nothing to do with my greying beard and pathological need to relate stories about the past (honest). It’s about WordPress.
The WordPress CMS powers more than 28% of the sites on the Internet. And its most popular SEO plugin, Yoast SEO is getting millions of content producers, both site owners and professional writers to adjust their key phrase densities via Yoast’s traffic light system.
If you’re making this mistake, for everyone’s sake turn off the traffic lights and write according to the rules and advice here. You should start seeing better results.
Structure and <h> tags
Another area that people say has passed into history. I say otherwise. We’re recognizing the growing importance of UX (user experience). As a writer, UX isn’t something you can ignore, thinking it’s the domain of designers and developers. An enjoyable, involving read will be a better experience than a dry academic paper in a learned journal.
If natural, professional writing is a prerequisite for success, so is having a page that’s easy to read and understand. Think about the reader again. A big headline is the most important (use h1 tags), and a hierarchy from next biggest down to smallest (h2 to h6). So use them to make content’s structure clear and easy to navigate.
I’ve got through this entire piece without saying ‘Content is King’. To be honest, I’m not sure it is.
SEO is a much more wide-ranging game in 2018 than it was even a year or two ago. Just writing copy is unlikely to bring all the results you’re looking for. So you must consider SEO copywriting as a part of your digital marketing armory. A fundamental part, of course, but remember the lines are increasingly blurred.
This might come as an utter shock, but not everyone on the web plays by the rules.
The dark side of SEO can be particularly crippling to a business if they aren’t aware of how to fight back.
All those algorithms Google and other search engines use to identify sites that demonstrate genuine value to its audience – and to reward accordingly with higher search rankings – also include mechanisms to suppress sites that do a poor job at offering relevant, useful information.
Unfortunately, competitors, scammers, and other disgruntled parties that want to digitally damage a business’ reputation have a number of negative SEO techniques at their disposal.
Here are four negative (or black hat) SEO tactics to keep a keen eye out for, and how you can protect your site – and your business – from being a victim.
1) Link farms and spammy backlinks have framed your site as the bad guy
In this particularly infuriating technique, bad actors will use link farms to direct high volumes of spam-quality links to your site. The attacker’s goal here is making it look like your site is trying to cheat the algorithms with a horrendously executed link-building campaign. Yes, it’s a digital frame job.
The malicious party will likely repeat content associated with the backlinks across a range of sites that themselves have negative reputations. By doing so, the search algorithms are certain to flag your site as engaging in bad SEO practices, and you will be penalized accordingly.
Checking for potential spammy backlinks
Your solution: Link monitoring and reporting
Up-to-date and accurate knowledge of where your website’s traffic is coming from is critical to stopping this. Recognizing a negative SEO backlink campaign in its earliest stages will help mitigate its detrimental effects.
Allowing it to proceed unchallenged for even a few weeks can result in significant damage to your site’s reputation that will be much more difficult to repair.
Active link monitoring is also a good habit to get into to proactively combat link farms and nefarious backlinks. When bad links point to your site, submit a list of the domains through Google Search Console and disavow these backlinks. Do this regularly to ensure that any spam links from unscrupulous domains do not influence your search rankings.
2) Someone is duplicating your original content and spreading it with link farms
High-quality content takes a good deal of effort to create, so perhaps it’s no surprise that other sites might be tempted to copy it from yours and present it as their own.
This is, of course, copyright infringement, and it is bad enough when done just for the benefit of the stolen content itself.
However, black hat SEO types like to take it a step further by scraping content before search engines crawl it. They then duplicate the content across link farms so that confused search engines actually penalize your site for posting spammed blog posts, whitepapers, or whatever great content you created.
Your solution: Report copyright infringement immediately
Again, vigilance is the answer. When you find that your content is being used elsewhere, an appropriate first step is to contact the site and let them know.
Ideally at this point, a known content contributor is responsible and the website’s management was wholly unaware (and will gladly take down what is not rightfully theirs).
If that option is exhausted and you still have an issue, however, the search engines need to be made aware. Use Google’s Online Copyright Infringement form to establish yourself as the rightful owner of the content in question; doing so will protect your site from SEO penalties related to that content.
3) Your site is hacked and content has been altered
Hacking and malware attacks are growing concerns for just about any website today, but the subtle application of these methods to harm your SEO may come as a surprise to many.
This technique is especially dangerous because it may go completely unnoticed: attackers that gain access to your site may target older or less viewed pages, or they might make changes that aren’t apparent on the surface.
A malicious actor with access to your site – perhaps the lifeblood of your business – is a scary prospect. They might fill your site with duplicated, low-quality, or unwholesome content that is sure to be flagged by search engines. Links on your webpages might also be redirected to problematic external sites.
Making matters worse, your content can be altered in several kinds of ways, including at the HTML level where only a careful look at the code can reveal what has actually been done.
Your solution: Site audits and monitoring
A watchful eye on webpage performance across your site can usually expose any anomalies caused by hacked content. For example, traffic spikes on pages with normally consistent traffic, new backlinks to old pages, abnormal backlinks, or ranking increases for abnormal keywords can be telltale signs of subtle content changes that need to be investigated.
Websites should also be sure to take care in controlling access to content. It is not unheard of in these situations that the culprit is actually a former employee or contributor, intent on causing mayhem by using legitimate credentials that should have been revoked when the business (and the site) parted ways with them.
4) Fake reviews are bringing down your company’s reputation
It remains relatively easy to fill review sites such as Yelp, Google, and a host of others with false and/or negative sentiments in an effort to discredit a business. These efforts can absolutely reduce your local SEO, which will almost assuredly hamper web traffic and sales.
Fake reviews can be recognized by a few typical attributes. A sudden spike in negative reviews, with no corresponding event to explain them, should immediately be suspect. Negative reviews all posted in the same window of a few hours or days are worth investigating as well.
Fake reviews tend to be short and not very descriptive, since there’s no actual experience for them to describe. The reviewers’ profiles offer clues as well: if a reviewer lacks a history of posting reviews, it may well be an account created specifically for this negative SEO attack.
Your solution: Report fake reviews
Any business can expect some degree of negative feedback, and most might even view it as useful criticism when appropriate. However, fake reviewers don’t require feedback or courtesy.
Review sites – including Google and Yelp, two of the most important to many businesses and their SEO – usually offer the review subject a mechanism for flagging fake reviews. Protect your site by being diligent in doing so.
The solutions above contain a clear running theme: the price of freedom from negative SEO is constant vigilance. By monitoring key metrics of your site and your digital presence (and taking swift action when necessary), you can keep your site and its standing with search engines safe no matter what black hat SEO types try.
Quality score is a complex metric because it is a basic but fundamental component of ad rank.
Optimizing for quality score is a best practice, except when it isn’t. A high quality score is a sign of account health, except when it isn’t. Like any other paid search “best practice,” it is only a best practice when it works in your favor.
Because quality score is a fundamental element of an account and has been widely written about, it is a focal point for many advertisers. While some of that is fair, some of the attention it receives is unnecessary.
More than a few people have reached out and asked how quality score can be improved in their account. My first inclination is to suggest they first ensure that a quality score improvement is going to help drive them closer to the business goals they hope to achieve.
The reality is that spending a lot of time and capital on increasing quality score doesn’t always pay off, as you will soon see.
Tie your account goals to business goals
To determine if something is “working,” you have to know whether or not it is contributing toward your goals. This is where things can get a little sticky.
Sometimes when I speak with people, increasing their quality score is their goal. If that’s the case, there may be a good reason — but I’d ask the account owner to dig into:
- What they ultimately hope to achieve with their AdWords account.
- Why it is that they want to increase quality score. Typically, the resulting answer to this question is something along the lines of “Because it’s a best practice.” Do you see where I’m going with this? I think this is the human version of Excel’s circular reference.
So let’s back up. Let’s step outside of the pay-per-click (PPC) account for a second and talk about business goals. Once those are written down, then we will write down PPC goals that support each of those.
Business goals are almost always something like: generate X number of leads at an acceptable cost, generate sales at X percent return on investment (ROI) or calculating return on ad spend (ROAS), and contribute to $X in revenue.
Quality score could possibly support one of the PPC goals, but there’s almost never a situation where it is a goal on its own because there is almost never a situation where it is a direct link to a corporate goal. I know. I said it. And I mean it! (Honestly, I can’t think of a single one.)
What you can learn from quality score
There are a lot of great insights that can be learned from quality score, most obviously:
- Landing page experience.
- Expected click-through rate.
Each item listed is important, even at the surface level, but, there’s more than meets the eye with these metrics. If your quality score is suffering due to relevance and your click-through rate still seems to suffer, there could be a deeper issue at play.
For example, it could be that the keywords you’ve chosen are too broad or don’t show enough intent and are being matched with queries that aren’t really the best fit.
This is pretty easy to dig into: Just look into the search terms report and make sure the terms are a good fit for your products and services. If there are just a few misses, it could be solved with negatives, but if the problem is widespread, you may want to rethink your keyword strategy.
When quality score matters
Quality score is an important metric, and it should still be evaluated as a potential optimization opportunity. For example, if one of your highest conversion-generating keywords has a low quality score, it would be reasonable to assume improving the quality score could improve the average cost per acquisition (CPA) on a high volume of conversions. That would be well worth your while!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might find quality score so low it is impossible for a keyword to get any traction. It can be worthwhile to focus efforts on those terms, which could result in expanded reach.
In addition, if you find there seems to be a quality score issue at scale (click-through rate, for instance), that might indicate an area of opportunity that could have a wide-reaching positive impact without a high level of effort.
There are times quality score optimizations can have a real, substantial impact, it just isn’t safe to assume that is always the case.
When quality score can be detrimental
Quality score is pretty well refined, too. The search engines have spent a lot of time improving quality score, the supporting factors and providing insight into areas in which advertisers can improve.
However, that said, it isn’t perfect. Although the cues quality score looks for are good indicators, there are times they can be counterintuitive. While you may be marching toward an increase in quality score, you could be marching away from more important performance metrics.
There are a few ways this can happen, even with the best of intentions. Here’s one: Ads with dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) often show increases in click-through rate over those ads that don’t have DKI, but that doesn’t always mean the ad is better quality.
Although the click-through rate (CTR) may increase, conversions may not. At that point, if you were basing your performance purely on CTR and quality score, it would be considered a win. However, if you were basing your results on performance against business goals, an increased cost per lead with no increase in conversions wouldn’t be considered a win.
This is just one example of many where making an increase in quality score your primary goal can come to the detriment of more important performance indicators.
Should that scare you away from making quality score optimizations when needed? No! It should only serve to illustrate why quality score shouldn’t be the primary account goal.
When optimizing for quality score isn’t the best use of time
There are times quality score optimizations just aren’t likely to have a worthwhile impact on your keyword’s performance. For example, if your keyword meets any of the following criteria, quality score optimizations aren’t likely to have a big impact:
- If the keyword is low-volume for any reason aside from quality score.
- If the keyword is already getting a decent amount of traffic that doesn’t convert well. There may be other optimizations that could help solve this, but quality score isn’t likely the best starting point.
- The keyword already has a relatively high quality score, even if not a full 10.
To optimize or not to optimize
The goal of this post wasn’t to suggest no one should ever optimize for quality score — in fact, you should! But, at some point, you will likely have to prioritize some account optimization efforts over others, and your quality score optimizations should be prioritized based on their likelihood to impact your account and business goals.
As we’ve seen from my examples above, there are times optimizing for quality score can come at the expense of other key performance indicators, which becomes an unjustifiable risk.
The most important thing is to always benchmark your performance against relevance, landing page experience and expected click-through rate as they apply to your business. Any optimization made to improve quality score should do just that, but without taking away from your primary goal.
Just 61% of 6,399 global professionals believe their marketing strategy is effective, with many putting SEO as their top priority for 2018, according to new research.
Online marketing and SEO firm Reboot sought to investigate how companies feel toward marketing in 2018 – establishing what is a priority, challenge and trend.
Key findings include:
• 61% of 6,399 professionals believe their digital marketing is “effective.”
• Generating website traffic/leads: This year’s biggest marketing challenge.
• Growing SEO/organic presence: The top marketing priority in 2018.
• Paid advertising named “most over-rated” marketing tactic.
To achieve this, Reboot extracted data from the report State of Inbound by HubSpot. It revealed, it is likely marketers will focus first on converting leads into customers (70%) and growing traffic to their website (55%.) To achieve this, global professionals will observe the following digital marketing priorities in 2018:
1. Growing SEO/organic presence – 61%
2. Blog content creation – 53%
3. Content distribution and amplification – 47%
4. Marketing automation – 40%
5. Interactive content creation – 38%
The most over-rated marketing tactics, and therefore the least priority, were defined as: paid advertising (print, outdoor, broadcast) – 32%, social media organic – 13% and online paid advertising (social media ads, PPC) – 11%.
However, with change comes challenge. Echoing their priorities, marketers today have expressed they feel “generating traffic and leads” (63%) to be their biggest challenge, followed by proving ROI (return on investment) – at 40%, and securing budget (28%) for marketing programs. The full five 2018 digital marketing challenges denoted as:
1. Generating traffic and leads – 63%
2. Proving the ROI of marketing activities – 40%
3. Securing budget – 28%
4. Identifying the “right technologies” – 26%
5. Managing the company website – 26%
Alongside this, global professionals identified the main disruptors in marketing – moving into 2018 – to be: Artificial intelligence (A.I.), Virtual Reality (V.R.) and social platforms.
Interestingly, just 61% of company respondents are happy with their marketing strategy, and believe it is effective. To combat this, Reboot chose to look at five effective marketing swaps to transform your business in 2018. Press information for immediate release Reboot
View an infographic from Reboot Online outlining the data below: