Posts

Writing for SEO

Most of us want our online content to be found, and the most common gateway between you and your readers is a search engine. To get search engines to find and connect people to your content, you need to write with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.

Start with Keyword Research

Writing for SEO starts with keyword research. If your content is not optimized to rank for search terms that people actually use, it may live in obscurity. Take time to think about the terms you want to be found for and do research to confirm how people are searching for that type of content. Using the same vocabulary as your target audience is critical to SEO success.

Understand Intent

As you determine the right keywords, you need to be sure that when people are using the words and phrases you find, they are actually looking for what you offer. This is referred to as search intent.

You want to optimize with the words and phrases used by searchers who are looking for what you offer. Tricking people to get to you will not lead to success. If you don’t meet the searchers needs they will move on.

As you’re doing keyword research, analyze the search engine result pages (SERP) for the keywords so you have an idea of the intent behind the keyphrases you’re targeting.

Don’t Get too Creative

Search engines are not your high school English teacher. They are not wowed by your creative vocabulary. They don’t give extra credit for finding new ways to say things. Instead, they get confused.

Search engines do understand that some words can have the same or similar meanings. Use that to your advantage! Don’t stuff your text with contrived occurrences of your exact focus keyphrase. Instead, make sure you use synonyms of your keyphrase.

Write from the User Perspective

When you write, put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Speak to their interests and questions. In short, write about the things they care about.

Readers don’t care about your internal structures, product jargon and preferred way of looking at things. They want to know what problem of theirs you will solve or what they will get out of reading your content.

Make your content about your user, not yourself!

Google Local Pack May Be Your Best Online Marketing Asset

Have you noticed how localized Google search results are these days? Search for a plumber and you get listings of businesses nearby. A lot of that information is derived from Google Business listings that are featured in what is known as “local packs.”

A local pack is a list of businesses that provide a product or service in the area that the searcher is locating. There are two major types of local packs:

  • Local Teaser – displays three listings beneath a map. Results have a photo and business name. Clicking on the name takes the user to a map with more businesses and a link to the websites of each of the businesses.
  • Local Pack – the most common. Lists several businesses with their contact details under a map of the area. Information can include the name of the business, address, phone, and reviews star rating.

Google gets the information for all types of local packs from Google business listings. To be featured in a local pack, you first need to claim, verify and complete a Google My Business page for your business.

To get your business featured in local packs:

  • Create and verify your Google business page. Be sure to complete all the fields, select the most accurate category for your business, and include pictures.
  • Make sure your website information matches your Google business listing for name, address, phone and hours. These must be an exact match or Google will consider the information suspect!
  • Know your keywords. Use the words and phrases that people use to search for businesses like you on your business listing and on your website. You don’t need to worry about local modifiers, Google has that covered for you with its location sensing technology. So “lawyer” will give the user listings of lawyers near their location, regardless of whether they include “near me” or a specific location in their search.

Is Your Business Ready For Local Search?

Guest Post by Josh Wardini, Community Manager

The world of SEO is undergoing some fundamental changes. For starters, recent years have seen a global shift to the internet use on mobile devices. Forecasts for this year and beyond only anticipate mobile trends to exponentially rise due to a number of factors.

Aside from mobile devices becoming increasingly available, virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are getting smarter.

Plus, it’s hard not to get accustomed to the level of convenience that voice technology provides. Brands are continuing to develop everything from Alexa powered refrigerators to smart speakers with visual capabilities.

All of these combined have made it easier for people to rely on search engines for finding everything from how-tos to the restaurant with the best tapas nearby. And consumers are certainly making use of local search, with over 70% heading straight to a store once they’ve found the information they need.

Leveraging the Power of Local SEO

According to the research team at Serpwatch, almost a third of searches that happen on mobile are location-based. That’s a huge market share your business is missing out on if you fall behind on adapting your strategies.

This checklist will help ensure that you don’t. Read on for the fundamentals that’ll get you local-search ready.

Optimize for Mobile

A lot of local search happens on the go. So it’s crucial that your business is mobile ready too. Ensure that your website is properly adapted to smartphone views.

The same goes for your content. Structure articles in a way that makes information easy to digest. Keep in mind that users view videos on their phones mostly in portrait mode and use buttons with touch navigation. Invest in providing tailor-fitted online experience through responsive design.

Optimize for Voice

Your site might be optimized for SEO, but that’s no longer enough. Voice search queries are more conversational. You’ll have to tweak your strategies to include long-tail keywords. These are short phrases that more closely replicate natural speech. Instead of “carrot cake recipe,” the voice search equivalent would be more like “how do I bake a carrot cake?”

In that same vein, digestible content that’s neatly structured tends to show up more in voice search results. Loading time is another key aspect in voice search, with results loading much faster than desktop ones.

Clean up your Business Listings

Businesses fail when they overlook their listings. Various reports have found that not only do users search locally, they often act on the information they find. They’ll call the business number or even walk on over to the physical address.

Now, just imagine how it affects their perception of a brand when the information turns out to be incorrect. As it turns out, many industries fail on this particular point, from consumer protection companies to business attorneys, so make sure to exclude yourself by updating your company information.

Consider Signing up For Google Guarantee

As consumers, we love guarantees. Google leverages this in the Google Guarantee program. It offers a $2,000 coverage for “Guaranteed” businesses so that dissatisfied customers can always get their money back.

Imagine being on the business side of this deal. Not only does Google’s extra seal of approval add an “oomph” to your advertising, and the coverage makes hiring your company practically irresistible to customers.

Because Google is effectively staking its reputation on a business, getting that nifty green shield can be a trying process. It involves the business undergoing security checks, and not just online digital scan of some kind.

The inspection is on-site and includes social security number and criminal history checks. It extends to any employees that’ll potentially interact with customers. Once you pass inspection though, it’s worth it.

For starters, advertising through the program is charged on a per-lead basis – much cheaper than going through normal PPC ads.