Posts

SEO Tools

I find there is no one tool that helps with all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). Here I offer some SEO tools that I recommend.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO strategy. Different tools will provide you with different information, like the number of searches, related searches, and competitiveness.

Site Speed

Search engines downgrade slow sites. And, people are quick to move off of a site that doesn’t load quickly.

Search engines favor sites that other related sites link to.

Duplicate Content

If Google finds the same content within a site or across more than one site, it can downrank the sites with the duplicates.

Mobile Experience

Search engines assume every site will be accessed on mobile. In fact, today many websites get more traffic from mobile devices than desktop computers. Google’s Mobile-Friendly test rates your site on various aspects that matter for the user’s mobile experience.

Benefits of SEO to Businesses

Guest Post by Josh Wardini, Community Manager

SEO or search engine optimization is the process by which a business can optimize its website’s content to make it rank higher on search engines like Bing and Google. It goes without saying that most search engine traffic goes through Google (75%). Incorporating SEO practices can lead to the overall success of your website, helping you have the edge over your direct competitors.

In today’s competitive market, SEO has gained traction as one of the essential marketing strategies ever. It can increase your brand visibility, and provide you with free traffic from search engines, among many other things. Also, it improves the usability of the website, as well as the user experience.

Here are a couple of other advantages of incorporating SEO practices into your content marketing strategy.

Impressive ROI

SEO has proven to be more profitable than most other marketing methods one can employ. Still, do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself. That is because SEO might take six to twelve months and, in some cases, even more to show any results. If you have a dedicated budget that can only keep you going for only a few months, such a strategy is unlikely to yield any results. It is equivalent to throwing money out of the window. If 40% of revenue is generated from organic traffic, you can only imagine how much traffic you can drive to your website if you are diligent in optimizing your content.

On a long-term basis, it has been shown that it is a better investment than pay-per-click advertising (PPC). It brings in about 15 times more clicks than PPC campaigns. Also, it is approximately 5.66 times better than paid search. Although calculating ROI is not so straightforward, you can use analytics to set your short-term and long-term goals.

Quantifiability

This is one of the biggest perks of SEO. It provides you with a lot of data you can use to evaluate your progress. The only drawback is that it might be a bit tricky to single out relevant information. However, you will quickly get the hang of it. You can utilize different tools that can help you collect data, such as Google Search Console. It gives you detailed information about your website’s performance and allows you to check indexability status.

Google Analytics is another important data analytics tool. It provides you with information about your audience, sources of your website’s traffic, and your website visitors’ behavior.

Conclusion

SEO has proven to be an essential part of any marketing campaign. It is therefore fitting that businesses, no matter how big or small, are incorporating it into their marketing strategies. Compared to other paid search marketing tactics, SEO is cheaper and more effective in the long run.

It attracts more customers to your website. It also provides insights into your leads and their behavior. Optimization of your websites’ content helps you understand your customer’s behavior and buying habits to help you improve user experience.

Avoid These SEO Mistakes

Search Engine Optimization is nuanced, with best practices being influenced by your industry and your target customers. However, there are best practices every brand should follow. Common SEO mistakes that I see: slow site speed, content not optimized for keywords, lack of meta data, and no attention to the mobile experience.

Fast Sites Win

Search engines give the best rankings to fast websites. Why? Because people expect fast websites. Slow sites don’t meet expectations, no matter how great the content may be.

The faster your site, the better. Google has a free tool to check your site speed: Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool gives you a speed rating as well as suggestions on how to boost your speed.

A common recommendation is to optimize your images. Large images take a lot of time to load. Resizing your images can speed up the loading time. If you have a WordPress site, you can do this easily by installing a plugin that does that for you.

Speaking of WordPress, the activated plugins can also impact speed. Less is more. The fewer plugins that are activated, the faster your WordPress website will be.

Incorporate Keywords in Content

Put simply, keywords are the words and phrases that your target customer is using when looking for a business like yours. Use those words! If you aren’t using the words that people actually use when searching, you aren’t going to be found.

Make your keywords as specific as possible. For small businesses, you need to look beyond your business area (such as real estate, plumbing, recruiting, etc) and find more specific phrases that reflect your business. Otherwise, you’re competing with all like businesses all over the world, which is impossible to do!

The longer and more specific the keywords are, the higher your chances of ranking. Search volume will be less, but since the keyword is accurate for your site, click through rate will likely be high. Your site will eventually gain more traffic for your keywords, than it ever would if you optimized for one broad keyword.

Provide Content People Need

Your website needs to provide the content people need. Your website is actually not about what you want to say, it is about what your target audience needs and wants.

Every page of your site that you want searchers to find needs at least 300 words. Google won’t rank a page highly for a topic unless there is sufficient content about that topic.

Write for your visitors and not for Google. Google seeks to provide the best answers possible to every search query. Therefore, writing quality content for your audience will lead to good search rank.

Provide Useful Meta Data

Meta data is still important for search rank. When the meta keyword field was abused and set aside as a ranking factor, many people mistakenly assumed that no meta data mattered. The meta page title and meta description are important search rank factors.

The page title is still one of the most important ranking factors for Google, so you have to make sure it’s optimized correctly for every page. This means adding the relevant keyword to each particular page and making sure that your page title isn’t too long. If your page title is too long it will get cut off in Google. You don’t want potential visitors to be unable to read the full title in the search results.

The meta description is not a ranking factor, but it does play an important part in your click through rate (CTR). Meta descriptions that are optimized with clear and attractive extracts on what potential visitors will find on your page, increases the likelihood they will click your result. If searchers think your site will provide an answer to their search query, the more traffic your page will get.

Tell Visitors What to Do Next

Once visitors are on your site, you want to keep them on your site. The best way to encourage  visitors to click further into your site is to create call-to-actions (CTA). These are usually presented as a button. “Read more,” “Buy now,” and “Visit xxx” are common CTAs.

Make sure that every page has one call-to-action. If you have multiple buttons, you lose the focus of the page and your visitors won’t get where you want them to go. Know the goal of every page, and include a call to action that achieves that goal.

Make sure that the CTA stands out from your design and is clearly visible. If the button blends into the design of your page too much, it will get fewer clicks.

Pay Attention to Mobile

Google looks at the mobile version of your site to decide how high you should rank. So if the desktop version of your site is awesome, but your mobile site is jumbled or spans off the side of the screen you won’t rank well at all.

Google offers a mobile test to give you an indication if your site is fit for displaying on mobile devices. Also, be sure  to visit your site on your mobile phone and have otheers with different devices do the same.

Next Steps

Many SEO best practices are easy to implement once you know what they are. However, sometimes site structures are outdated as compared with the expectations of search engine crawlers. And, there are often specific requirements based on the type and scope of a business. If your SEO efforts aren’t getting the results you want, it may be time to get some professional SEO support.