Should You Use PPC If You're Ranking Organically?

Posted on August 18, 2015 By

So your website is on Page One of Google’s search results. And you haven’t given a cent to Google for PPC and paid search advertising. You’re feeling pretty complacent; now all you have to do is just sit back and let customers find you, right?

We all know business doesn’t work like that—not on the Internet. Especially when you have powerful online tools like Google AdWords and Bing Ads offering you customized paid search solutions. These tools can help you gain a serious edge over your competition.

So should you invest in paid search campaigns if you’re already ranking highly on organic search listings? What about for brand terms?

The answer to both is YES. And we’ll tell you why.

Paid Search and Organic Listings: Two are better than one.

Fighting for organic rankings can seem like swimming upstream in a flood. You are constantly against the ever-increasing tide of other businesses competing for consumer attention. But the numbers are in: PPC can give you the edge you need.

Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Building Partnerships

How much of an edge, you ask? Well, try this statistic on for size:

An in-depth study from NYU proves that a company that uses both paid and organic search listings increases its profits 4.5% higher than only using one.

You read that right—using paid search advertising in tandem with organic rankings CAN increase your revenue. They have what the study calls a “positive interdependence.” This means that both paid search advertising and organic search can further your reach and get you clicks on their own—but they really shine when used together.

Why is this, exactly? It has everything to do with how your customer processes the information on the search results page.

Searchers are encouraged by a “second opinion effect.”

Page results matter. It’s why your high organic rankings are making your site trustworthy in customers’ eyes. However, paid ads offer them a “second opinion,” making customers more likely to click on websites that show up in both organic listings and the ads at the top of the page.

Just like how seeing your company’s name high up on the first page of Google can cause customers to click your website over others, the NYU study shows those same customers will feel persuaded to click your page if it also shows up in a paid ad. It’s all about being visible. If you’re already ranking highly, paid search ads get you double the visibility.

Double the visibility, double the chances of getting clicks. That’s why using PPC search advertising with organic SEO is an absolute no-brainer.

For this reason, it is also important to bid on your brand terms. Seeing multiple instances of your company’s name adds familiarity, offering a recognizable name that customers are more likely to trust. And once they do, the clicks—and conversions—will follow.

Search results showing SEO Inc. in the top spots for both organic and paid search results.

Bidding on your brand can increase the chance that customers will click to your site.

So what do you do with this info?

So you’ve learned that PPC and organic search have a lot of good chemistry. Great—but what does this mean for your SEO campaign? Well, good SEO provides a boost to your organic rankings; that’s the bread and butter of all SEO services. But when used with PPC, you’ll benefit all the more.

There should be no “organic search vs paid search” argument any longer. You can’t be holding your business back by only choosing one; you’ve got to use both.

It can be hard to understand the complex relationship between pay per click and search engine optimization. But one thing’s for sure: Using the tools available to you—both SEO and PPC—will have a positive effect on your business. The data is there; it’s up to you to take advantage of it.

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Michael Taggart speaks about Building Auhority at Hush VIP

Posted on August 15, 2015 By

Michael Taggart is back at the HUSH VIP event once again. For the second time, Mr. Taggart has been asked to speak at HUSH VIP event this weekend. In April 11th, 2015, Michael Taggart spoke at the HUSH VIP Breakout Session where he discussed building authority using new cutting edge techniques. Many in the audience were looking for solutions on how to get more customers, as well as generate publicity and increase visibility of their businesses using SEO tactics. Taggart wanted to share with others how to become an expert in any niche using the power of press releases. The audience would learn the importance of topics such as: brand authority, customer loyalty, brand recognition, and SEO. The audience was drawn by his discussion of these key strategies. The energy of the crowd was definitely something not to miss.

Taggart said, “Many businesses struggle to get their brand into the news.  By co-founding Press Advantage, a complete news and PR distribution service,  and using the power of press releases, we are able to get companies the leverage and publicity they need to succeed in today’s competitive market.”

Attendees learned the immense experience and success Taggart has had with the use of press releases. Michael Taggart has always been on the forefront of SEO and online marketing. Building websites since the age of 22 ignited his passion to influence others in the internet marketing world. Over the last 10 years, Michael has provided extensive one-on-one training which has led others to turn their companies into a highly profitable and recognizable company.

The audience was convinced and inspired by Michael’s offering of products and services. It was clear that many of these people could utilize such offering to better their businesses as a whole. One attendee was ecstatic with Michael’s ideas and stated that he can’t wait to see how Michael will help him extend his wealth and ideas.

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Contact Adventure Marketing:

Michael Taggart

208-908-0626

support@adventuremarketingllc.com

33 East Idaho Ave. Meridian, Idaho 83646

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Google Hires SEO Experts: Ranking Solutions Comments

Posted on August 14, 2015 By

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Burnley, Lancashire — (SBWIRE) — 08/14/2015 — A posting for a role as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert at Google was placed on its job board earlier this week. The post has caused a furore in the digital marketing industry as people wonder why the creator of the ubiquitous search engine requires help with its ranking on its own search engine. This is not necessarily the case – but highlights Google as showing interest in n increasingly competitive world of website optimisation. It confirms something which most businesses have already known: quality SEO is crucial to business success, something which cannot be ignored – with the specialists able to offer the most important information, key to keeping relevant.

After all, it seems that competition on Google has heated up. Keeping high in the rankings on the search engine itself involves skill and expertise. This news is particularly important for businesses that have perhaps not invested in their online marketing strategy as much or have single-handedly relied on methods such as social media or PPC – as a strong digital marketing strategy is groundless without a good foundation in SEO. This applies to all industries and businesses no matter the relative degree of success they may enjoy. With more and more companies getting clued up on their digital marketing strategies, particularly SEO, it is essential to remain ahead of the competition, or at least on par if you wish to be assured some long-term success. SEO ultimately helps websites secure a place in the search engines, which is not necessarily assured by other methods.

About Ranking Solutions

Ranking Solutions are one of the UK’s leading providers of digital marketing services. With quality consultancy on SEO, PPC, web design and social media strategies, they have established a name for themselves in a field which can be over- saturated. They were eager to comment on this latest news and a spokesperson had this to say, ‘It seems ironic that Google are hiring an SEO expert of their own – when they are the search engine itself! But we think this is indicative of the condition of digital marketing at the moment. Companies simply cannot afford to overlook their online presence, and the truth is most will try and find you on Google before they look elsewhere. And if you’re looking for new sales, again internet search engines are absolutely vital for traffic. This is why we invest in experts of an exceptional quality, people who are visionary and able to see into the future of the digital marketing industry so that they can predict and ensure success for their clients. The fact that even Google themselves aren’t overlooking this aspect of their business operations, sends a message which is both loud and clear for everyone to hear: you need to keep up and stay ahead no matter your standing.’

PR Contact:

Ranking Solutions

Company name: Ranking Solutions Ltd

Tel: 01282 452096

Website: www.rankingsolutions.co.uk

Contact person: Gareth Owen

Email: Gareth@rankingsolutions.co.uk

Address: 7 Kestrel Court

Bridgewater Close

Hapton, Burnley

BB11 5NA

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/google-hires-seo-experts-ranking-solutions-comments-617063.htm

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The Missing Link: Merging Social Media With SEO

Posted on August 14, 2015 By

Social Media and SEO

Has your SEO strategy flatlined?

Are you interested in leveraging social media to improve your SEO?

Well, I will let you in on a little secret. Nowadays, social media has a huge impact on the success of your SEO strategy. How? This blog post will uncover five ways to utilize social media to improve your organic search rankings.

While most people may be slightly aware that there is a growing synergy between SEO and social media, most organizations aren’t using them collaboratively.

Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Building Partnerships

So where do you begin?

  1. Link-Build Socially

A few years back, it was common knowledge that Google placed a huge emphasis on link building. Quantity wasn’t the only thing that truly mattered. You wanted to outrank someone? It was as simple as obtaining more links than them in any way possible. But ever since the dawn of Penguin and Google’s changed perspective of links, the digital world is not so black and white.

So now, you must have high quality links. Toughest part? You can’t buy them, they must be obtained organically.

Links found on social media accounts usually are considered high quality, because most social sites have a high domain authority to begin with. Even if you create a brand new Facebook page, that has a high chance of outranking your own website, thanks to Facebook’s high domain authority that passes down to your profile.

This may sound super simple, but making sure that you provide a valid link to your website from all of your social media accounts can go a long way. Also include links to your website in all of the content that you publish on all of your social media accounts.

What type of content should you be posting on your social accounts? Post relevant content to your industry, hot topics, and even promote your own blog posts. This is a great way to drive organic traffic back to your site.

  1. Increase Your Follower Base

Google has stated that “sharing is an obvious validation of quality”. So what exactly does this mean for websites? It means that social signals are now used to help your rankings.

What is the number one factor that distinguishes one social profile from another? The amount of followers.

You need to start following relevant people within your industry. You want to engage with high-quality followers since they are the ones who are constantly communicating on different social channels. Over time, these high-quality followers will being interacting with you.

So interact as much as possible to grow your following. Distributing relevant content on Pinterest, retweet interesting tweets on Twitter, share relevant blogs and articles on Facebook and Linkedin. When people see you taking these organic actions they will start drawing to you like a magnet.

Social signals are becoming more and more of a ranking factor across multiple search engines. Search engines are starting to visit your social channels to see how often you are posting, how many people are reacting to your posts, and how well do your profiles relate to your site.

Make sure that you are steadily gaining a loyal base of followers that are willing to interact with you and your content.

  1. Use Hashtags, EVERYWHERE

Some people are stating that a hashtag is the new version of a keyword in 2015. When it comes to SEO, everyone knows that keywords are a main ranking factor. The same logic applies to social media and keywords.

Hashtags make your content super quick to find! This applies to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Content that can be easily found will always outrank content that is never interacted with.

If you are looking to leverage social as a means to join a global conversation, then a hashtag is the shortcut to joining that conversation instantly.

  1. Be Smart With the Way You Use Keywords

Using the right keyword can make a world of difference on your site, blog post, and ad campaign, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that keywords matter in your social content too.

Always make sure that your content is easily searchable. If you post something on Facebook, centralize it around one topic/keyword. Similarly, on Pinterest, a great way to rank higher in the SERPs is by incorporating keywords into your pins and your boards. You can follow this same logic for YouTube videos, by placing the correct keywords in the description of the video.

Following this tip will ensure that when people type a keyword into Google, you have maximized your potential to show up and be clicked on.

  1. Create and Optimize Your Local Listings

Ensure that your business has a local listing within Google. Include your business Name, Address, and Phone number (N.A.P), and make sure that you consistently use the same format across any other location on the internet. This will go a long way. It guarantees that potential customers can rest assured that you are a trustworthy business, and uniformity always gives you an advantage with Google.

Having a listing allows people to review your business directly on Google, and Google does place a huge weight on your review average. Most of the time, Google will place a business with the highest review rating at the number one position within the Map-Pack.

Also, make sure that you have an accurate list of all of your locations, or even a map for your business on your Facebook page. This not only helps your social media channels, but it will make it easier for your new and existing customers to find you and check in. This is HUGE for local SEO.

Conclusion

Using social media the right way can be extremely valuable in its own right, but when you use it in conjunction with SEO, you begin to separate yourself from the pack. And everyone will notice!

SEO is an environment that is constantly changing and growing. Social media is also an environment that is exponentially growing. You must merge the two in order to see a true impact on your organic rankings.

So what do you think? Have you tried any of these methods out recently and seen some positive growth from it? Please share your comments below, I would love to hear more about your experiences.

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30 Days as Geek For Hire – Day 11: When One Door Closes…

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

doorsI had a great start to Day 11. In the morning I managed to get in touch with the potential Hawaiian client and had a promising 30 minute phone conversation about what they were looking for. It ended with an invitation to pitch for the management of their site migration from one domain to another, including related SEO clean-up and fun with 301’s, canonicals and lost links, oh my!

Then I received a message on Elance. I’d been invited to pitch for a 6 month SEO project for an Australian-based female apparel company. I was really intrigued by this one and put my proposal together quickly, before anyone else had the chance to respond. The client contacted me within 30 minutes of receiving my proposal and asked for a project plan and budget. So I requested access to her Analytics, set her up on the Google Search Console and ran a mini SEO Audit.

She’s also keen to trial Google AdWords and have someone run A/B split testing on social media campaigns. What I’m most excited about the project is that it plays to all my strengths and gives me the opportunity to work on SEO, AdWords and social media, ensuring I won’t be bored. Hopefully I’ll hear something back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I had been asked by my long-time friend Kim Krause-Berg to join a team of web veterans in contributing some low-cost web-based services to webmasters in the US via her site Creative Vision Web Consulting. So the rest of the day I spent in a WordPress cloud, creating my service pages and packaging my skills into logical digital products that wouldn’t break the back of a small business. I decided to keep all my services at the USD 99 price point, as they say $100 is a psychological barrier when it comes to online purchasing.

Thinking I had reached my opportunity quota for the day, I was surprised to receive an email from a local client and friend, whose partner was interested in meeting me. Apparently he runs a local web agency and was looking someone with SEO skills to provide related advice to digital start-ups. Perfect! So I got in touch with him and we are scheduled to have a coffee next week.

My promising day ended with a glass of wine and a smile on my face. Bring on Day 12.

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Strategically Spilled Milk Details New Hangout SEO Strategy For Business Owners

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

Strategically Spilled Milk gas released new information on Hangout SEO. The goal of the company is to teach online entrepreneurs how to attract more visitors to their websites, set up branding campaigns, and convert website visitors into customers. They have innovated several strategies that have helped countless entrepreneurs, and it is hoped this new strategy with help others achieve their online marketing goals.

“The idea behind using Google Hangouts for SEO is something I innovated in 2013 when they first came out with Hangouts. While everyone was using them as “webinars”, I was using them to generate traffic. I have refined and templated the process so anyone can do it” say Ryan Mckinney from Strategically Spilled Milk. “This strategy has helped countless entrepreneurs and has even taken some from their full time day jobs, to full time entreprenuers!”

Strategically Spilled Milk’s Ryan McKinney is a Hangout SEO expert who has taught this strategy to countless business owners. He points out that everyone was looking at these Hangouts as a way to perform a “webinar” or online training, but no one was looking at them for traffic! The most important thing your website needs. Instead of ignoring Hangouts or only using them for training purposes, he suggests you use them as a long term traffic and branding strategy. The key is embeding the code on several different websites. This gives you more exposure.

“Hangout SEO is changing the way online entreprenuers build trust, generate leads, and sales” say Ryan McKinney “One local gym had been open a couple of years and had a decent membership of 151 members in it’s dingy 2500 square foot location upstairs above a grocery store in an old apartment building with zero free parking.Fast forward to April of 2014 and the membership boasted an incredible 457 members at higher prices and most on 1 or 2 year contracts. By the end of summer 2014, the gym moved from the original location to a new 10,000 sq ft space across town! All of this was doing using my Hangout SEO straegy!”

For futher information or to speak with a Hangout SEO expert please visit Strategically Spilled Milk’s website or use the contact information listed below.

 

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Contact Strategically Spillled Milk:

Ryan McKinney

703-932-4069

rymac@ssmilk.co

ROCKET LAWYER CORPORATE SERVICES LLC 8670 WEST CHEYENNE AVENUE, SUITE 2008

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Why Active SEO Doesn't Always Result in Ranking Changes

Posted on August 12, 2015 By

active seo changesJohn Mueller was put in the hot seat a bit in the last Google Webmaster Hangout when he was asked about why it seems there are no changes happening in search results, despite active SEO being done by multiple sites in a vertical.

It’s hard to say what you’re seeing there.  In general, we are working on search and we are bringing updates all the time.  I think last year we made over a thousand updates in search. And these are things that you’ll always see resulting in fluctuations and rankings, changes in the way that we rank things.

Also, of course, we pick up on all the new content, all the signals that are associated with that, and try to take that into account.  So if we see that signals for one site changed significantly, then that should be picked up within a fairly short time, maybe like minutes, hours, that kind of time frame even.

The person asking the question added some clarification, saying that in the past, you’d see some kind of movement within a couple weeks after making changes, but he isn’t seeing much changes in the results at all.

I don’t really have anything specific where I’d say “oh, we all went on summer vacation the last couple of months and nothing is happening in search.”  People are working here and pushing changes.

We have our algorithms that are picking these things up automatically so it’s not that there’s an artificial freeze on the search results where we’d say for this niche or for this kind of website or even for search in general where we’re freezing things and not changing things at the moment.

Things should always be changing but of course if you are making a lot of changes on your website and you aren’t seeing any results then maybe some of those changes aren’t really relevant for that site’s ranking at the moment.  That might be one aspect there.

So Google isn’t putting a stop on search results movements at all, but if you aren’t seeing any changes, have a look and see what you are changing, and what you might be missing that could boost your rankings.

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Jennifer Slegg is a longtime speaker and expert in search engine marketing. When she isn’t sitting at her desk writing and working, she can be found grabbing a latte at her local Starbucks or planning her next trip to Disneyland. She regularly speaks at Pubcon, SMX, ClickZ and more, and has been presenting at conferences for over a decade.

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Ghost Marketing Launches New Web Site on 1st Anniversary of Business

Posted on August 12, 2015 By

CARDIFF, UK – Ghost Marketing, an independent search engine optimization (SEO) consultancy founded by Tom Buckland, the #1 SEO freelancer in the UK, announced today that is has launched an updated version of its Website, http://ghostmarketing.co.uk.  The new site adds expanded service descriptions, a proposal request form and a video called “Why SEO Matters: Why Websites are Useless without SEO.”

“Our approach is to provide professional SEO without the headache,” said Buckland.  “We work in the background and will speak to you on a personal and professional level.  Our goal is to get you to the top of the search rankings. We offer 1 on 1 service and we’re reachable 7 days a week.”

Ghost offers a broad range of SEO services at both the local and national levels. New clients receive a full SEO audit including a short term (3 month) and longer term (6-12 month) strategy on how to improve the site to develop into a globally recognised online brand.  For local SEO, the firm is able to help clients find placement on Google Maps, a critical factor for businesses that need to be easily found for driving directions.  Ghost has proprietary methods for enabling a client to dominate a local category, such as auto repair in Cardiff.  Ghost will also rank additional Web properties such as YouTube channels, sister companies or social media properties for a brand or selected keywords.

Ghost takes a value-based approach to campaign design and delivery.  Its campaign pricing is set according to return on investment (ROI.) “If we do not believe we can create a positive ROI in 6 months, we won’t take the project on,” Buckland added.  Buckland has achieved notable success in the competitive SEO field at a young age. He has been a professional digital marketer since 2010, both privately and in-house before becoming a freelance SEO consultant and establishing Ghost Marketing in late 2014.  Ghost now serves clients worldwide.

For more information, visit http://ghostmarketing.co.uk/about.

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Contact Ghost Marketing:

Tom Buckland

07766 783396

tom@ghostmarketing.co.uk

132 Ely Rd, Cardiff, CF5 2DA United Kingdom

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12 Reasons I Won't Buy From Your Website

Posted on August 9, 2015 By

Why I won

You’re wasting your money.

Every time you spend big on AdWords, SEO and social campaigns – it’s all pointless.

Because people are clicking, but your website is scaring them off.

First impressions count. In fact, research shows us that web design drives a whopping 94% of first impressions.

Recommended for YouWebcast: How to Get Demand and Amplify Viral Growth

Bad design leads to lower trust and higher friction. This means, no matter how much traffic you drive to your site, if your design isn’t right, your leads will walk straight out the door.

Make your website earn its keep, put it to the litmus test of these common design mistakes.

Here are 12 common mistakes that mean people won’t buy from your website – you don’t have to be making them.

Mistake 1: Low quality visuals

I’ve seen thousands of websites in my online marketing career and most have something in common. They don’t sell. Rather they are simply online catalogues.

Here are some samples of what some study participants of the research Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites had to say about poorly designed sites:

  • “[On] one of them I didn’t like the color of [it]. I couldn’t wait to get out. It was an insipid green backdrop. It just put me off reading it.”
  • “There was nothing I liked about it at all. I didn’t like the colours, the text, the layout.”
  • “I found the screen too busy. I couldn’t quite latch onto anything straight away.”

Take a look at this example of the Gordon Vet Hospital.

Before

Gordon - Won

The ‘before’ home page represents fairly typical mistakes. It’s a list of the services on offer—an online catalogue.

After

Gordon 2 - Won

Notice the difference in the ‘after’ web design? It uses real staff photos instead of dated stock images. There’s a call to action above the fold and solid reasons to choose Gordon Vet Hospital. And there’s a visual tour of the hospital facilities and staff, which encourages great impressions of a well-functioning medical centre.

Mistake 2: The site doesn’t appeal to the target Audience

Who is your target audience?

Do you sell to consultants, academics or truck drivers?

Now examine your website.

Does it speak to your demographic? Has it been translated into the same vernacular they use? Is it comfortably within their education level? Will the design, images and content appeal to them?

It’s unlikely that a truck driver will willingly read the Financial Review, or an MBA-graduate read a trucking magazine, so don’t try to make them.

Mistake 3: Content is stale and boring

Users spend roughly 5.59 seconds focusing on a site’s written content. These statistics come from eye-tracking studies conducted at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. This means you don’t have much time to capture a readers’ attention, so make sure that you write great stuff.

Have you ever scrolled to the bottom of a web page to where a copyright date is listed, and found that it’s outdated by a year, or two? It doesn’t offer much confidence that the company who owns the site is doing any recent business.

A website that’s outdated, or looks that way because of an outdated design is an instant turn off to clients. Ensure that your website is current by implementing the latest technology, refreshing existing copy regularly, and adding new, quality copy every week.

The ideal length of a blog post is claimed to be 7 minutes or 1,600 words according to research from Medium. However, this assumes it contains interesting, informative material.

Long stories or page content with rambling copy about how great you are without any proof or examples to back up your claims, tends to have the shelf-life appeal of a month-old cooked prawn left in the sun.

Mistake 4: Under-estimating the importance of the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages

You’d be surprised at how many users check out your ‘About Us’ page. I used heatmaps to track users’ behaviours on our websites across 10 different industries and found that ‘About Us’ is one of the most visited pages on the website.

The ‘Contact Us’ page ranks almost on the same scale. Even if you run business from home, your website should have a phone number and email address for users to see and call or email. Having a simple web form without any basic contact information looks transient and suspicious.

Heatmaps 1 - Won

If you look carefully at this example, you’ll see the tiny little yellow dots on each of the menu items of the Gordon Vet Hospital website. These are heatmaps that show the most visited option is ‘About Us’ and ‘Our Friendly Staff.’

Users do actually want to know more about you so showcase what you’ve got. If you have great staff, tell them. If you have high profile clientele, let them know.

About us - Won

This is a poor example of an ‘About Us’ page. It does not provide any ‘personable’ information. It doesn’t say who they are. It doesn’t say how they operate. If there was a heatmap indicating trust levels, and wouldn’t that be handy, this page would be colorless.

Mistake 5: The shopping cart doesn’t work properly

Have you ever personally bought something from your website?

How many steps were involved? If it was more than one, then it was too many.

In other words, your checkout should be a one pager. Requiring guests to sign up before they can check out, or even view the home page, is another turn-off. You need to facilitate a checkout option for guests.

See below an example of a better way to do this – one page checkout process. It’s a website that Result Driven SEO built for Bean Offroad Camping.

Checkout example - Won

Mistake 6: Your trust indicators are missing

When users first land on your website, they don’t know you, they don’t trust you, they might not even like you, so how can you expect them to buy products from you?

Missing contact information, bad reviews, and a lack of social proof can damage a user’s confidence in your brand.

Prior to doing business with your company most clients will cast their eyes over online reviews from third-party sites such as Trip Advisors, Google Plus Local or other local directories. These independent reviews carry a lot of weight on the ‘trust’ scales. It’s important to generate them, and to ensure they are positive. Set up Google Alerts to monitor what other people are saying about your business and address their comments immediately to manage your online reputation.

According to research on Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites participants mistrusted websites because of these elements.

  • Busy or complex layouts
  • Pop-up advertisements and flamboyant ads
  • Small print that’s hard to read
  • Boring web design/lack of colour
  • Slow website intros and load times

Web marketing experts - Won

Take a look at this example. How do you feel about doing business with Web Marketing Experts now?

Partners - Won

On the flip side, noting company partners, media mentions, staff photographs, certifications and links to active social media accounts generates strong credibility for Delacon.

Mistake 7: Bad SEO

Bad SEO techniques can hurt your website and make it a complete waste of time.

Google will crack down on your website if it detects questionable practices such as links that are irrelevant to the website’s theme, keyword stuffing, cloaking, linking to irrelevant websites.

It will tighten the penalties and be harder on those who appear on guest blogs.

For information on how to recover from such Google penalties see here.

Mistake 8: Not being mobile friendly

Mobile search is the future and 72% of Consumers Want Mobile-Friendly Sites, Google Research indicated.

Search engine watch - Won

55% of respondents agreed, “A frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand overall.”

So what, exactly, are consumers looking for in a website accessed from a mobile device?

  • Site speed—loading time of 5 seconds or less
  • Big, finger-friendly buttons
  • Limited scrolling and pinching
  • Quick access to business contact information
  • “Click to call” access to phone the business
  • One-direction scrolling, either horizontal or vertical, but not both.

In April this year Google’s MobileGeddon started penalising mobile-unfriendly websites. To examine if an individual page is mobile-friendly, go here or to check the status of your entire site, go here .

If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, Google warns there ‘may be’ (read ‘will be’) a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But once your site becomes mobile-friendly, it will automatically re-process (i.e., crawl and index) your pages.

You can expedite this process here.

Mistake 9: Not having video to illustrate products

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is said to be worth a thousand pictures, or a million words.

Either way, video is powerful and provides a quick and easy way to impart a lot of information effectively and in a digestible format.

If I’m seeking a sales report extension for a Magento website, I am more likely to consider a provider offering a video that demonstrates how the extension works. See this blue ribbon example of an aheadWorks landing page for their Sales Report Extension. It offers video, demonstrations and plenty of reviews.

ahead works - Won

Your Google ranking for your website will be prioritised if it hosts a video, because Google now owns YouTube, so consider getting a 90-second corporate video to improve your SEO.

There’s a new breed of specialists emerging who do this quickly and cheaply. See a great example here of construction company AMG Constructions by YouTubeHelp.com.au.

AMG Constructions - Won

Mistake 10. Not having a clear value proposition

In a nutshell, a value proposition is a clear statement that:

  • explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy)
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value)
  • explains why the customer should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).

Your value proposition should be the first thing visitors see on your home page, and on all major entry points of your website.

Good value proposition

Good value proposition - Won

Why this works

  • It’s clear about what it is and for whom
  • There is a specific lead paragraph
  • Key features are outlined above the fold
  • There’s a relevant image
  • It features a booster – “100% rebrandable”

Bad value proposition

Bad value proposition - Won

Why this doesn’t work

  • It relies only on the video to do the job. Your value proposition should also be in words that people can read. Video supplements words, not replaces them.
  • Awful clarity: “We’ll supercharge your website”? Nobody will understand what that means.

Mistake 11: Cheesy stock images

Go Rapid

Example of Go Rapid’s cheesy stock image representing a movie-star good looking financial advisor who talks to a ‘bad credit car finance’ audience.

Harley Finance image example - Won

Example of Harley Finance using images that relate to their target audience—owner-drivers who might not have good financial resources.

Mistake 12: No available calls-to-action

You don’t want your website visitors to leave your website without doing anything. You need to at least capture their basic information so you can follow up.

You can do this by providing a free consultation or offering a great deal. Who doesn’t like free stuff, after all?

Techniques that entice visitors into signing up include:

  • “Download a Free ebook”
  • “Sign up for a webinar”
  • “Talk to our sales team”
  • “Request a demo”

You need to highlight the call to action you prefer users to take.

Two best practice examples of how to do this.

Square landing page - Won

This landing page itself appeals to small-business owners by highlighting the benefits of using their product, namely being able to accept credit cards for transactions – something that was previously out of reach for many merchants before Square came along.

The call to action itself uses simple language that can be successful for many types of business. The word “get” is often highly motivating. The fact that Square doesn’t charge for its product is likely to be genuinely surprising to many prospects, which reinforces the value of the offer and makes it more tempting.

Between the minimal form (just three fields), the strong indicator of potential benefit (“Start accepting credit cards today”) and the great offer (the free Square card reader), this landing page/call to action combo is a winner.

Headline from harely finance - Won

Another example of a strong headline and a clear call to action above the fold of the website

So, how does your website sell?

Share with me! If you can tick all the boxes, well done. If not, tackle each point one at a time and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.

Image credit: Search Engine Watch

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Are You Optimistic About SEO?

Posted on August 7, 2015 By

Searchmetrics’ recent report about Google’s ranking factors falls in with this columnist’s “5 R’s” SEO summary, and demonstrates the growing focus on content over keywords.

Since 2012, Searchmetrics has developed a report that looks at the ranking factors that Google uses which can help content marketers, webmasters, and SEO specialists to focus on those important criteria when developing content for websites, social media platforms, articles and blogs.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on this space for nearly two decades and in 2011, I summarized all of SEO into the 5 R’s of search marketing that were evergreen and constant. Focus on how content on your site must be (1) Relevant and build your (2) Reputation. It must also be (3) Remarkable, (4) Readable, and of sufficient (5) Reach.

As you go through the ranking factors, see how neatly they all fit within the 5 R’s. The report focuses on user experience, content, social signals, backlinks and technical aspects. It includes information on which ranking factors are important this year, how these have changed and developed from previous years, and the benchmarks for the top 10 search results.

Technical

In terms of the on-page factors not directly linked with a page’s content:

  • These factors are the factors that contribute to the search engine crawlers “reading your website.”
  • The factor “keyword” is diminishing in importance. Google, like people, understands semantics, and they want you to develop content that is interesting to read, not stuffed with repetitive keywords.
  • Pages continue to be highly optimized and have a meta description and H-tags. These are some of the fundamentals to basic SEO. This is where you want to pay attention to the factors that will make your text skimmable and scannable. 
  • While page documents are increasing, loading time is decreasing.
  • Domains with a high SEO visibility have higher rankings with their URLs. They have built up a reputation in the search engine.
  • Good URLs have the equivalent worth to thousands of keywords.

User Experience

This is a new section this year, reflecting the emphasis on the user experience as it relates to design and usability as well as on-page optimization. The findings are:

  • More images are being used on websites, but there are fewer videos, relating to Google’s decision to only play video thumbnails in the SERPs.
  • There are fewer websites in the top 30 rankings that include Google AdSense advertisements. Don’t distract your users with ads that don’t improve their experience.
  • Higher ranking pages have better formatted pages with more interactive elements that are easy for both the user and bot to understand. They’re also more effortless for reading, which shows the value of creating text that is skimmable, scannable, and chunked for comprehension.
  • The top ranking sites were responsive sites that did not use Flash.
  • User signals are playing a bigger role in relation to content and rankings. This is the most critical signal for relevance that Google has. These signals could include your users’ click-through behavior on SERPs, data collected from users through a browser like Chrome, data collected in aggregate through Google Analytics, aggregated Gmail history, and all the personalized search history they have on that individual visitor, among others.

User Signals

User signals – CTR, time on site, bounce rate – are becoming increasingly important for search engines because these are a way to find out if the user was satisfied with their search experience. The availability of big data is assisting search engines in enhancing the experience provided.

Content

Relevant content is king and has usurped keywords as the most vital factor for rankings. Here’s what the findings say:

  • There is more content; however, it is not just quantity for the sake of volume, but for the sake of helping your prospect’s buy. 
  • Content has been simplified so that it is easier to read.
  • Pages with the most relevant content most often rank higher.

Social Signals

The correlation between more social signals and higher ranking URLs continues to be of great importance and shows the importance of reach. Other findings include:

  • There is a significant increase in the average number of social signals per URL and in corresponding ranking.
  • Social signals are involved in brand awareness, domain performance, and direct traffic.
  • Further research is still needed in this area to better understand the value of social signals on rankings. It is still believed that there are still other signals that are imperative to showing search engines where there is relevant content.

Backlinks

The overall belief is that backlinks are losing their power to influence the rankings because other factors will play a greater role in the future. Here are the other conclusions:

  • The domain name is more often found in the backlink’s anchor text than a keyword.
  • More backlinks refer to deep-link URLs, rather than the home page.
  • Thematically-related domains are now more often mentioning a domain or brand without having them linked.
  • There are more no-follow backlinks than the previous year.
  • Many of the changes related to backlinks might be tied to Google’s attempts to stop “unnatural” link formation.

Final Thoughts

With these findings, Searchmetrics has recommended focusing on creating relevant content that reflects people’s needs, search focus and devices used; moving beyond keywords because search intentions are often much more complex and diversified; leveraging mind maps and topic clouds, rather than using lists of keywords and subjects; and creating readable content that’s structured in an attractive, digestible way. 

I am hoping this will get people seeing that success in SEO is a long-term investment, not some short-term project or gimmick. The process of planning and developing with search in mind is a dynamic process that requires regular review and adjustment to ensure that strategies and tactics still reflect the needs, wants, and behaviors of the target audience.

In the next year or two, as the growth in mobile usage continues to rise at a meteoric pace, I highly suggest you invest the resources into improving how users are finding and interacting with your content through mobile devices. Even though conversion rates are lower on mobile devices, a lot of the research in search begins there. Those who understand this mobile-only design philosophy will have opportunities to see significant gains on all sides of their digital presence. Keep in mind that if you delight your visitors while they are researching on mobile, it will be much easier to have them come back to convert on a desktop or an in-store experience.

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