Key Factors to Consider When Analyzing Your Website’s SEO

Key Factors to Consider When Analyzing Your Website’s SEO

Your website, in many cases, is the first thing a potential customer sees about your business, so you want to make sure that they can easily access it. When a user conducts a search on a search engine, there’s an algorithm in place that determines the pages which best match the searcher’s intent or answer their question.

By having a good SEO strategy in place, the more likely you’ll be to end up in the top rankings of these search results and generate more clicks to your website. Well-rounded SEO can also help you best your competitors who are trying to rank for the same keywords and phrases as you are.

To understand whether or not your website is drawing in this traffic, it’s important to perform an SEO analysis regularly. Here are a few of the components that should be taken into consideration when performing at SEO analysis.

Page Speed

Google has indicated over and over that site speed is one of the main signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. To be blunt, the faster your pages load, the more it will help your SEO. It also provides a better user experience for customers visiting your site and can subsequently lower your bounce rate and increase the average time users spend on a page. Such impacts can also help improve your keyword rankings.

Most certain engines have page speed tests that will provide suggestions for improving page speed. Google, for instance, utilizes PageSpeed Insights, where users can type in their websites and are provided with page speed and optimization scores for both mobile and desktop. Here is an example conducted for www.Target.com:

Additionally, the analysis will show page stats, as well as suggestions for improving optimization. Small businesses can use this tool to improve their page speed and their overall SEO.

Keyword Rankings

Arguably the most important aspect of SEO, keywords are the ideas and topics that tell what the content on your website is about. They are also the words and phrases that users enter when conducting a search. Thus, the keywords present on your website should match up with your business and what you do, as this is how searchers looking for a business that provides products and services like yours will find it.

In order to understand what keywords make the most sense for your business, you must conduct keyword research. If you’re unsure of where to begin, look to your competitors see which keywords are present throughout their websites. This is also beneficial because you’ll want to create better optimized pages to increase your chances of ranking higher than your competitors in search results.

Once you’ve determined some good, useful keywords, use a keyword tool to check how often its being searched for, as well as if there are other variations of the word or phrase being used. Keep in mind, keywords can also be “long-tail,” which indicate 3-4 word phrases that are specific to products and services you’re offering. You’ll want to do your best to optimize for both.

Be sure to type these keywords into Google and see what comes up in the SERPs (search engine results pages). That way, you can gain a better vision for the types of content you’ll create on your site to rank for said keywords. WordStream offers a free keyword tool to help you get started.

Backlinks

When another website links back to yours, that’s a backlink, and they are an incredibly important component of SEO. This is because backlinks help increase your website’s credibility. They are an indication to Google and other search engines that someone deemed your content valuable enough to link to it on their own website.

Certain backlinks mean more than others. Meaning, the more trustworthy and popular a website is, the more beneficial it is to have them backlink to your site. Moz’s Link Explorer tool can help you see the pages and domains that link to your website.

If you’re looking to gain backlinks, you can submit your website to online directories or comment and post your blogs on blogs and forums that are relevant to your industry. You can also ask to guest blog for these relevant websites, then place backlinks to your site within the blog.

Each of these components plays a crucial role in your SEO strategy, so it’s important to monitor them regularly. Use tools and conduct research to gain insight into what’s working and what needs improvement.

Search Marketing 101: How to Track and Measure Your PPC ROI

Search Marketing 101: How to Track and Measure Your PPC ROI

Measuring your success and return on investment (ROI) should be a key part of your search marketing strategy. Measurement helps you to understand if you are meeting your goals, forms a benchmark for future budgeting and justifies your marketing spend. Furthermore, effective measurement helps you to optimize the elements of your campaigns on the fly.

Use these insights and tips for tracking and optimizing your search marketing investments.

From Impressions to Conversions: A Primer

Before diving in, it’s worth taking the time to review the various opportunities for tracking search marketing success. Paid search networks offer plentiful opportunities to measure the success of your campaigns. The most basic measurements include:

  • Impressions: The number of times your ad appears during a campaign.
  • Click-throughs: The number of times your ad is clicked on.
  • Click-through-rate (CTR): The number of click-throughs divided by the number of impressions.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The cost of each ad click-through.

These metrics are great at giving you a partial picture of success. But for a more comprehensive view, you also need to understand how to track conversions.

Conversion tracking helps you measure campaign ROI by counting the type and number of specified activities consumers complete on your website. How conversion rates are defined can vary between campaigns.

For example, for an online retailer with the goal of increasing sales, their conversion rate may simply be the number of clicks that led to a sale. For a B2B that is trying to generate leads, the conversion rate may be the number of people who downloaded a white paper or subscribed to a newsletter.

In general, tracking the following metrics can help you assess conversion rates:

  • Destination URL: The number of visits to a specific web page.
  • Events: The completion of a specified action such as subscribing to a blog.
  • Duration: The amount of time user spends engaging on a web page.
  • Pages viewed per visit: The number of web pages a consumer visits.

It’s important to note that once you have an idea of how you want to track conversions, you will need to use your search network tools to define and track those conversions.

Dealing with a Longer Conversion Cycle

One of the strengths of paid search is the ability to connect a click to a sale, and for e-commerce businesses selling products to consumers, tracking is often one-to-one. However, for B2B businesses, the conversion cycle can be much longer. The path a customer takes from initial research, to comparison shopping, to becoming a lead, and ultimately, to converting can be a long one.

Dealing with a longer conversion cycle can still be done. Target customers with appropriate messaging based on their current stage in the cycle. Understand that an early-stage click that doesn’t result in a lead may still have value. Setting expectations and having a long-term strategy can help you overcome this hurdle.

One-to-one conversion tracking is difficult for B2Bs when customers are interacting with your business through many channels and on different devices. To deal with this challenge, make sure that you have systems in place through your customer relationship management (CRM) system and call-tracking software to help tie everything together and give you the clearest view of how paid search is performing. When you know which campaigns are doing best (or worst), you can optimize and invest accordingly.

Determining Your Key Performance Indicators 

To track success, you must set relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of your campaign planning process. KPIs align to your specific business goals and will help you select the right ways to measure success and to quickly see what’s working and what’s not in your campaigns.

For example, if your goal is to build your customer base, your KPIs may define the percentage of new customers and conversion rates. If you want to increase call volume, you can set KPIs that measure increases in the number of calls and call conversions.

Dealing with Attribution

Even with advanced analytics and lead tracking in place, many businesses deal with the challenge of attributing everything correctly. An attribution model is a way to give credit for leads to different touchpoints in the conversion path. Choosing the right one for your business is important.

The most common attribution model is last click, but that doesn’t make it the best for your business. The last click model assigns credit to whichever channel drove the user to convert (for instance, if a customer clicks an ad and then converts on the site). But what if a user clicks an ad, leaves the site, and comes back a week later via an organic search?

Put a model in place to help you determine what channels are driving your leads. For B2B businesses with long sales cycles, multi-touch models like time decay make the most sense because they account for many interactions with different channels over time.

Strategies for Targeting the Entire Conversion Funnel

Paid search can play a role throughout the conversion cycle. It’s easy to focus efforts on the bottom of the funnel because that’s where most sales and leads come from. Such ads are valuable, but you can attract so many more potential customers by also targeting people in higher stages of the funnel. This is especially important for B2B businesses.

Target customers at each stage of the conversion funnel with different types of ads.

  • High: Customers high in the funnel are far from converting. They are often unfamiliar with your brand and what you offer. To target these customers, use non-branded search and display.
  • Mid: Customers in the middle of the funnel are aware of your brand but are still researching all the options. These customers may respond best to more specific non-branded search keywords and some branded search.
  • Low: Customers low in the funnel are interested in your brand and are ready to convert. Target them with remarketing and branded search.

To learn more about building your KPIs, measuring ROI, and more, download The growth marketer’s guide to search.

5 Online Marketing ‘Shortcuts’ That Will Actually Sabotage Your Success

5 Online Marketing ‘Shortcuts’ That Will Actually Sabotage Your Success

When it comes to marketing your business on the Internet, cutting corners can hurt your visibility and the impression you leave on potential customers.

Here are 5 marketing ‘shortcuts’ that will actually sabotage your success.

1. Using a free, plug-and-play website service.

Your website is the foundation of your digital presence.

Like any foundation, you want your website to be strong and sturdy, built with the best materials and the best technical know-how available. Something that reflects the quality of your brand, and is optimized for search engines.

Free, plug-and-play website services are the digital equivalent of lean-tos — hastily-built structures that provide your business with the bare minimum in form and function.

Don’t go for the “economy option”—hire a professional web design agency with a history of building high-quality websites that help businesses like yours grow.

2. Trying to keyword stuff.

Keyword stuffing (if you’ve never heard of keyword stuffing, here’s how Google defines it) is the internet’s quintessential “get-rich-quick” scheme.

Build a website —> Load it up with keywords people are searching for —> Climb to the top of search engine rankings

But keyword stuffing isn’t OK and hasn’t been OK for some time.

And search engines will punish you if you do it.

Algorithm updates like Hummingbird (Google), allow search engines to focus on semantic search (the language of Internet users’ queries beyond keywords), and on picking up content cues (like synonyms and related topics) to determine whether your website should rank highly in search.

And if you artificially stuff your website with keywords? Well, search engines like Google will push your website way down in the search engine results of your potential customers.

Use keywords, but use them naturally. Most of your focus should be on the creation of high-quality content that answers questions people are asking.

3. Copying content from other websites.

“Borrowing” content from other websites seems like a fast, easy way to get new ideas and new material for your website.

But in reality it’s a terrible idea that will damage your business’ visibility in search engines — Google, Bing, and other search engines reward websites that deliver unique, original content… not repurposed (stolen) content.

The more original your content (and the more relevant it is to someone’s search query), the higher your website will rank in search engine results.

Write, record, and create your own unique, high-quality content — don’t copy or mimic the work of others — and then paste that high-quality content all over your website.

4. Trying to lie about your location.

If you want your website and your company to appear as a “local business” in search engine results, you can’t just list your address as a P.O. box in the area you want to be seen as “local.”

Google and other search engines will punish you severely if you do this.

The only way to be seen as a “local business” in multiple areas in the eyes of a search engine is to classify your business as a “service-area business” and then list the cities, neighborhoods, and zip codes that you regularly service.

This is especially important if you own a business that doesn’t serve customers at your physical location (for example, a plumber doesn’t help customers at his office…he drives to the customer’s home).

When it comes to listing your business in an online directory, always follow the guidelines — use a “service-area business” classification combined with selected zip codes, towns, etc. to rank in “local business” search results.

5. Leaving cookie-cutter responses for customers.

People can spot a canned statement from a mile away, and when they see one, it makes them feel unimportant.

Yes, prefabricated responses to questions and comments online can save your business time, but at what cost?

If you don’t take the time to personalize your engagement online on platforms like Facebook and Yelp, you’ll leave people feeling like they’re just another number — that your business doesn’t care about them — which will send them into your competitors’ waiting arms.

Take the time to read as many comments and reviews as you can (all of them, if possible).

Then write custom responses that address each comment or review posted.

Whether you’re thanking a customer for a social media shout-out, or offering a solution for a negative customer service experience, a personalized response will deliver big results for your marketing in the long-term.

Organic SEO vs. Local SEO: Which Do I Need?

Organic SEO vs. Local SEO: Which Do I Need?

Each of these digital marketing disciplines — organic SEO and local SEO — involves boosting online visibility for businesses and their websites. In other words, both strategies focus on making websites easy to find when potential customers search for relevant products and services of a business. Each discipline comes with its own distinct strategies and techniques and, when strategies for organic and local SEO dovetail with one another, they can become even more powerful.

Organic SEO

Components of organic SEO include selecting relevant keywords for a website that have reasonable levels of traffic with achievable levels of competition. These keywords are then used in page and blog copy, tags (title, meta description and H), internal links and so forth to send signals to the search engines about what keywords are important on that URL in particular and the site, overall.

Optimizing for keywords, though, is not enough. It’s important to also have a diverse set of quality inbound links pointing to a site. In addition to using common SEO tactics to improve your website’s ranking, you should also ensure that your site is well structured and easy to use. Equally as important, make sure the website aids in converting traffic into sales.

As part of organic SEO, it’s important to rank well for keywords that are appropriately paired with the locations of brick and mortar stores, if applicable, so strategically using geotargeted keywords (for example, Jacksonville blue widgets) is crucial. And, this is the point at which organic SEO and local SEO intersect.

Local SEO

A primary goal of local SEO is to have a website place well in the Google Maps local pack for relevant keywords. Not all keywords trigger a local map — only the ones that Google determines have local intent, such as for a pizza parlor or an attorney, a dentist or an ice cream stand.

When a local map does appear for a term, Google is currently showing three listings (the three-pack) and then a “More places” link. Ideally, you want your site to appear in the three-pack. To help make that happen, local SEO strategies include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Google My Business (GMB) optimization
  • Google reviews
  • Citation strategies, which involves verifying name, address and phone information wherever listed online, and correcting errors whenever possible

Local SEO became a unique discipline in 2005 by starting to distinguish itself as a separate branch of SEO. That’s when Google released its Local Business Center and then combined that center with its Google Maps. Although, as searchers, we now take this convenience for granted, that’s when we began to be able to access store information, including hours and contact information, with driving directions and more in one spot.

You can find more information about local SEO strategies here.

Strategic Synergy

Although organic SEO and local SEO each have unique features, commonalities exist, including:

  • Keyword research is essential for both, with organic SEO requiring a broader strategy and local SEO focusing on more niche ones.
  • Location pages on a website play a key role in both disciplines, as they can appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) as well provide key signals to help the site appear in Google three-packs for relevant keywords.
  • Online optimization is important for each, with NAP consistency central to local SEO.
  • Schema, a specialized form of HTML coding, helps Google “understand” the purposes of content; one area of specialization is for NAP, as one example, while another is for online reviews shared on the site.

Reverse Engineering Rankings

To rank well organically, it’s important to create keyword-rich content that engages readers, and to optimize back end tags and new URLs, to steadily increase the number of inbound links and so forth. Creating a quality user experience is also important, which includes (but is not limited to) boosting page speed. You can find more about organic SEO ranking factors in 2018 at Moz.com.

Ranking factors for local search, though, are somewhat different, focused on “relevance, distance, and prominence,” according to Google. “These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”

To become more relevant, it’s important to comprehensively provide local information about the business. That’s because, the more easily Google can match your business and site with prospects searching for your products or services, the more often this will likely happen.

Distance is an important factor in local search, and Google will look at geotargeted terms used in a searcher’s query and then compare potential search results and their distance from the person. If the searcher doesn’t use a location-specific term, Google will still use what is known about that location when offering up results.

Then there is prominence. Being a well-known brand never hurts. But, even if you’re not a well-established brand, you can build a quality online presence to boost your authority signals. This can include regularly getting Google reviews, building relevant links and citations and more.

Clearing Up Misconceptions

People new to SEO sometimes have misconceptions about local SEO. As one of the most common examples, they might associate “local” with step one and “organic” as a broader step two. In fact, the most powerful SEO campaigns focus on how these two disciplines can be used in tandem to gain the most powerful online presence possible, being found right where potential customers are searching.

So, as a final piece of advice, we recommend you create a customized SEO strategy for your site that, from its inception, includes a focus on both local SEO and organic SEO.

5 Unique Ways to Repurpose Old Blog Content

5 Unique Ways to Repurpose Old Blog Content

If you’re operating a unique niche business, and your website is packed with relevant articles relating to said business, then you should definitely be recycling your old content. A good content marketing plan consists of not only creating new content, but of recycling what you already have and putting a fresh, updated twist on it.

It’s important to revisit old content to help with improving your overall SEO. By restructuring your meta information and keywords, you can increase your chances of improving your overall ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages). Once you’ve updated the article’s date or added a note, you’ll be letting Google know that you’ve refreshed that content. Additionally, you can backlink to newer articles and improve your off-site SEO.

Other benefits include improving your blog overall and earning the trust of your customers by presenting them with high-quality, relevant information.

Here are a few ways you can repurpose your old content:

Use Old Articles to Create New Ones

This is one of the best ways to recycle your old content. The ideas are already right in front of you, but it’s up to you to make them new and fresh, while still educating your audience on a relevant topic. You might consider taking an article with several components (like a how-to or “5 ways”) and breaking down each component individually.

If a topic is still relevant and your customers are still interested in learning more about it, then repurposing old articles makes sense. If you have any articles in mind already that you know have performed really well, it might be best to start there.

Write a Follow-up

If you’re a pioneer in your industry, then you likely know what your customers are most interested in learning more about. Think of some of the more complicated or popular articles you’ve written and create a follow-up article that goes into more detail about the topic. Or, if you can think of a particular trend or component of your business that’s changed over time, you can revisit that article and discuss the transformation from then until now.

Always make sure to add a “part 2” so that your audience knows that you’re building off an older article. This also provides the added benefit of backlinking to the older article. Simply add in, “To view the original post, click here.”

Turn Blogs into Podcasts

Podcasts have become an important piece of marketing content for small businesses. They provide a great way to tell your business’s story and dive into more specific details about the most unique components of your business. Listening can also sometimes be more beneficial than reading and can create a more personalized feel for your customers.

Blogs are a great platform for both promoting podcasts, as well as finding information that can be used to create new podcasts. If you can, try and bring another employee on board to give the podcast a conversational feel. That way too, you can gather the opinions of others within your organization on various topics. This can also showcase to customers that your employees are educated on the different elements of your business.

Create Infographics

It’s never a bad idea to take a visual approach when creating content. Infographics present your audience with a clear visualization of the content that you’re providing. To do this, you’ll want to pick apart an old blog, breaking it down piece by piece into smaller sections. Then you can replace some of that text with pictures. Try to emphasize interesting stats, facts, quotes and side-by-side comparisons where you can.

Create an FAQ Page from Old Articles

Rather than creating a new FAQ article, look back at some of your older content and create an FAQ page based on that information. Is there a topic that you’re often asked about by your customers? Or perhaps certain components of your business’s products or services that are particularly confusing? Start there and create blurbs that answer those lingering questions. This may also help improve your ranking in voice search results, as voice queries entail longer queries and keywords (like questions).

Rather than constantly look to create new content, take a step back and look at some of your old content. You’ll be surprised how efficient and easy it can be to breathe new life into old content and how much it can benefit your business in the future.

4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs SEO

4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs SEO

Consumers are utilizing digital channels more often than not to conduct research about businesses prior to making a purchase or visiting a store. Mobile phones, in particular, have become an invaluable resource for consumers in their moments of need. A Google study revealed that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in a store first turned to their devices for information relevant to that purchase. Additionally, 30% utilized a search engine specifically prior to purchasing.

When a customer conducts a search on a search engine like Google, there’s an algorithm in place that helps provide the searcher with the most relevant results. And if you want your business to fall onto the first page of those results, you must have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place.

With 93% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, a well-organized, tactical SEO strategy has never been more important in setting yourself apart from the competition. Here are a few reasons why SEO is necessary for small businesses in 2018.

Increase Website Traffic

You want your business to rank as high as possible for keywords and phrases that fall into your niche. That way, when consumers type in those keywords and phrases, you’ll be right at the top for them to click on. For Google specifically, 18% of organic clicks go to the number 1 position, while 10% go to the second and 7% to the third, so the higher you rank, the more traffic you’ll receive. This is a great way to educate potential customers and help them with their needs, which can eventually lead to increased sales and growth of your business.

Your Competitors are Doing it

Cutting to the chase, your competitors are utilizing SEO. And, just like you, they are vying for those top spots in organic search results. Gaining one of the top spots is difficult in itself, and you must then work constantly to maintain that position. And don’t be afraid of big brand name competitors. Small, local businesses have a great shot at ending up in the top of organic search results, so long as their SEO is properly implemented using the right strategies.

It’s Here to Stay

So long as search engines and algorithms exists, SEO isn’t going anywhere. SEO’s importance will only increase as time goes on, so there’s no better time than the present to start putting together your strategy. Tactics and best practices for SEO will continue changing and evolving, so it’s important to stay well-educated and updated on these trends in order to increase your chances of falling into and remaining in a top spot.

Build Credibility, Brand Awareness

Say you’re operating a salon and someone in your local area is searching for a place to get a haircut and some highlights. If you’ve implemented your SEO correctly and filled your website with high-quality content packed with these keywords, ideally, you’ll show up in those search results. And, that potential customer just may click on your site to learn more about your business. This type of educating helps build trust and credibility with consumers. It will also increase your chances of them choosing your business over a competitor.