Tag Archive: seo

  1. Improving Local SEO for Your Small Business

    It’s always a good time to revise and revitalize local SEO efforts, but with consumers staying close to home this year, what better moment than now? Today, 76% of people searching for a nearby business to suit their needs visit the location within 24 hours, and 28% of these searches result in a sale. With COVID-19 still in our midst, it’s crucial to fortify your small business in every way possible. Revisiting how you’re managing SEO in your area may be the boost you’ve needed. Whether you occupy a brick-and-mortar space that’s seen less foot traffic since March or operate your shop via webyour search to strengthen local SEO ends here. 

    Create a Google My Business Account 

    Without a proper Google My Business listing, landing optimal local SEO rankings proves to be difficult. In fact, using the free tool is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to increase local visibilityA Google My Business account helps your company rank higher on Google Maps, which is an undeniable win for traffic both in-store and online. 

    By creating a Google My Business account and adding the appropriate information (phone number, website URLphysical addressphotos, category, etc.) you’ve released another piece of content into the wild and gain insight into how nearby customers interact with your business on Google. Enter complete data and keep information current and engaging to get the most out of local rankings. 

    Optimize Mobile Performance 

    The digital consumer expects peak performance from mobile sites. With around 60% of online searches happening via mobile in 2020, ensuring your mobile site is operating at full force is essential to effectively reaching local audiences. To enhance accessibility and your website’s mobile experience: 

    • Prioritize speed (ideal load time for mobile is 1-2 seconds) 
    • Simplify menus and make links and navigation easily clickable 
    • Prominently and clearly display CTAs 
    • Keep forms short and sweet 

    Being mobile-friendly improves the consumer’s journeyand in turn, generates in-store traffic. Last year, Forbes reported that shoppers often purchase more when physically shopping at a location. Prioritizing your mobile site strengthens local SEO rankings and your overall business. 

    Embrace Customer Reviews 

    Positive reviews about your business are equally positive for SEO. We previously spoke to the power of customer feedback and its impacts on SEO, but let’s break it down on a local level. Customer reviews improve local Google rankings because every review acts as a testimonial complete with keywords relevant to your business. Signals from feedback and reviews account for approximately 16% of the search engine decision-making process in terms of local rankings. Metrics like number of reviews, frequency, and diversity of reviews play an important role as well. 

    If you already have a Google My Business account, encourage customers to leave feedback. This will boost your account’s presence and lead to more potential purchases and more awareness of your product or service. 

    Implement Local Keywords 

    When you’re speaking to the community, optimize keywords within reach. If you have multiple locations, expand your keyword collection to a state level. If you’re operating from one space, focus on how a consumer would search for your business and be sure to include your specific city or county. By identifying the search queries that are leading people to your business, you can create a mix of broad, specific and long-tail keywords. For example, if you owned a flower shop in Winter Park, “Winter Park flower shop” works as a broad keyword while “best bouquets in Winter Park” highlights your products and exactly what buyers are looking for at that moment. 

    Despite the hard hit SMBs have taken throughout the pandemic, many communities have rallied around their favorite mom-and-pops. As locals continue to shop to show their support, take the proper steps to get in front of your audience. There’s a good chance they’re searching for you. 

  2. The Key: How Keyword Research Can Get Your Content Read

    keyword research

    It’s not sexy. That’s the first thing I need to get out of the way before I tell you more about keyword research. Smart use of keywords, however, is a highly effective way to help readers find your content. Before I jump into some simple strategies for choosing the right keywords, let’s back up and define exactly what they are and how they function.


    What is a Keyword?

    First off, you may be surprised to find that when most experts say “keyword” they often actually mean “keyword phrase.” Keywords (or keyword phrases, when discussing multiple words) help search engines figure out what your content is about and whether it’s the right content to share given a certain search. For instance, say I’m looking for a plumber to fix my sink. Being an Orlando resident, I might pop into Google with a search query like “best Orlando plumber.” 

    Turning the tables on this example, if I’m Johnny the Plumber and serve the Orlando area, I’d be wise to craft content that includes the keyword phrase “best Orlando plumber.” This will increase the chances that I’m found when Orlandoans search for plumbing services.


    How Does it Work? 

    Google and other search engines are notoriously tight-lipped as to exactly how their algorithms work. However, we do have some idea about how keywords help your content. Google does something rather remarkable: It takes all content published to the internet and has bots review and test its relevancy and reputability. These bots can often sniff out copy/pasted content, spam and other less valuable resources, throwing them to the bottom of search results. 

    It’s in Google’s (and any other search engines’) best interest to deliver only the most relevant, most helpful results to any search query. Keywords come into play because these bots are also looking for recurring phrases that users often search for in part or even verbatim. If a Google bot notices your content mentioning the user’s search terms (keywords), it may deliver your content above others.


    What’s the Catch?

    So, what’s keeping content creators from stuffing their content with keywords? In the early days of search engines, nothing. But Google has pulled the curtain back on their algorithm enough to tell us that simply stuffing content with keywords isn’t going to get you far – in fact, doing so will be counted against you. If a keyword is obviously thrown into your blog or webcopy in an attempt to game the system, Google will spot it and flag it as less-than-quality content. 


    Picking the Right Keywords

    Keyword research is invaluable to finding the right phrases for your content. You may think that you need expensive apps and years of training to conduct such research but I promise it’s not as intimidating or complex as it sounds – at least when it comes to understanding the fundamentals. 

    At its core, keyword research is driven simply by understanding who your audience is, what they want and how they will ask for your product or service. By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, you can more accurately assume what they’re searching for and, thus, what keyword phrase to use in your content. After all, it’s not you, as CEO or brand manager, who will be searching for your product or service – it’s your audience.

    Still not confident in your keyword research skills? As a common blind spot for many marketing and brand managers’ content strategies, there are plenty of keyword research tools available, some including free versions or free trials. Though helpful, it’s important to think of these tools as supplementary as opposed to a singular solution. The most powerful keyword research tool at your disposal is your deep understanding of your audience.


    Boiling it Down

    Though all of this information is good to know, you may be asking yourself what takeaways you can bring to your company’s content strategy. Here are some key questions you need to ask when trying to choose the right keywords.

    • What is my content about? Remember, the main job of search engines is to connect people with the content they’re looking for. If your keywords don’t match your content, the search engine gives you a big thumbs down and throws your content lower on the results list. Ensure the keyword is indicative of the content itself, and not just a poor attempt at gaming the system.
    • Who is my audience? As stated earlier in this post, knowing who is asking the question will help you better guess how they’re going to ask it. If you know how your audience will search for your services, you can choose a more effective keyword.
    • How vague or specific is my keyword? Something else to consider is the vagueness or specificity of your keyword. Though you may assume selecting a keyword like “plumber” would net you into more searches, it might be too vague to make an impact. Why? Well, the person searching for “plumber” could be looking for anything from a stock photo of a plumber to the definition of plumber. Something more specific, like “best Orlando plumbers,” would be more effective.

    At the end of the day, SEO and keyword research are far from exact sciences and, no, they’re not the sexiest of content marketing topics. However, producing original content that includes well-strategized keywords is, and will remain, a vital best practice. As long as search engines prioritize quality content that best serves users’ queries, keywords are a component of content strategy you can’t afford to ignore. 

  3. Should I Start a Google AdWords Campaign? What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Campaign

    Appearing in the number one spot on Google by simply shelling out some cash may sound like a no-brainer, but there are a few items to consider before you start re-allocating your marketing dollars. Just like any campaign, Google AdWords requires (you guessed it) strategy–and lots of it.

    Should I Start a Google AdWords Campaign? The Good, Bad & Ugly of This SEO Tool

    AdWords allows for rapid visibility. Unlike organic search, you don’t have to rely on slow increases in search rankings after months of accumulating links to your site, crafting valuable content, utilizing proper title tags, etc. This type of campaign allows you to bid on keywords, target specific locations to reach your audience and show up as one of the top results in the search listings. Alternatively, display ads and retargeting can be used on specific websites to meet your audience where they are.

    These quick results come with a price tag, however. It can be costly to ensure you outbid the competitors and actually show up in position one to three on the search listings. In addition, it is time consuming to maintain ads the proper way. After the initial setup, someone with sufficient AdWords experience should be dedicated to reviewing and making tweaks to the campaigns nearly every day. Rather than a slow-cooker-esque, “set it and forget it” strategy, proper planning is recommended for an ad campaign to work effectively, including putting thought into the ad copy and imagery (if applicable), keywords and landing page that the user is sent to.

    So You Want to Start an AdWords Campaign

    Your End Goal

    Because there’s an entire painter’s palette of ads to choose from, it’s important to identify the goal of the specific campaign. Whether your goal is to increase leads, sign-ups, or brand awareness, the type of ad used, as well as the landing page, should reflect and service the given goal.

    Search vs. Display Ads

    • Search Ads: These are the ads that appear at the top or side of the search listings, which are typically the ads people are most familiar with when they hear the term “Google AdWords.” This type of ad is best for the “active searcher.” Namely, someone who is on a mission to find a particular thing (think: plumbers, locksmiths, etc).
    • Display Ads: These ads display on a particular website, typically on the sidebar, header or footer of the site. These work best to familiarize people with your brand or if your product requires a lengthy sales process or has major visual appeal that you want to showcase.
    • Retargeting: Have you ever abandoned your cart on a particular website, only to be “followed” by an ad for that same product when you visit Facebook? A little creepy, right? This form of modern-day, digital haunting is also known as retargeting, and it’s an effective sales tool for companies with longer sales cycles.

    Be Specific

    It’s important to include specific keywords, ad copy and landing pages that all come together like the pieces of some kind of sales-driving jigsaw puzzle to complete your campaign’s goals. Create a landing page with a call-to-action and content that is specific to the targeted keyword rather than sending a user from an AdWords listing to your homepage with no action step. Negative keywords can also be targeted to steer an unwanted audience away from your ads. For example, if you are creating a campaign around VIP ticket sales to an event, you may want to target “cheap” as a negative keyword so that your ads are not served to those whose search query includes that word.

    Set Expectations

    Understand that every new campaign includes a test period–we’ve all had to work through our awkward phases, after all. It’s best to target an array of keywords, use different sets of ad copy and/or imagery, as well as landing pages to see what resonates best with your audience and adjust your campaign in response.

    Depending on your goals, AdWords can be an effective tool when you utilize the right ad type and create a specific and well-monitored campaign. For the greatest chance at success, we recommend this simply as a tool in your toolbox of an overall strategy that includes other tactics to support it, such as organic SEO, content marketing, email marketing, public relations and social media. There’s no quick solution for long-lasting SEO success, but taking the time to adopt the best practices and learn tools of the trade can go a long way toward getting your site seen.  

  4. 5 Reasons Why Google’s Just Not That into You

    “Why am I not ranking for this word/phrase?” is a question we hear frequently when discussing search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a tough question to answer, because the truth is, Google has an algorithm it uses to rank websites that goes far beyond keywords. So before youy pull your hair out trying to climb the rankings, read our list to find out why your site may be invisible to Google.

    1. There’s too much competition

    Ranking for general keywords is not an easy feat because of the volume of online content and websites that exist. This is why keyword research is incredibly valuable, as it’s important to review not only the search volume, but also the competition level. In Google’s world, if you’re not first you’re last, since the first page of search results receives 94% of the clicks, and ranking on the first page of google for general terms is tough. It’s important to get creative with the terms you want to rank for and think outside of the box. Consider the questions you receive from your clients on a regular basis, and write content around those questions. More likely than not, they are typing those same questions into search engines as well.

    2. You don’t post valuable content

    It’s important to keep in mind that every search engine’s goal is to provide the most relevant content possible to the user. People turn to search engines to answer a specific problem and to research the best products/services by reading reviews. This is why when you search for something like “vacation rentals,” a few major companies show up and the rest of the results are review sites and blog articles written about the top rental companies. It’s become more evident over the last few years that search engines value blog content, and it’s important to have timely content posted to your site that would be of value to someone searching.

    3. You’re trying too hard

    More often than not, we hear people talking about SEO in a very tactical manner, when in reality, SEO should be strategic. Placing X amount of keywords on a page is not going to make you rank for that keyword instantly. In fact, if you are “keyword stuffing” your content, search engines may actually punish you for it by lowering your rankings. SEO is not all about keywords, either. Other marketing initiatives, such as social media and public relations, can play a large role in your rankings. For example, if public relations efforts leads to an article written on your company on Forbes and the article also links to your website, that will have a positive impact on your rankings.

    4. Your site isn’t mobile friendly

    In case you haven’t heard of Mobilegeddon yet, we’ll be the first to tell you: if your site is not mobile-friendly as defined by Google, the search engine will actually lower your rankings in mobile searches. That being said, Google clearly favors mobile-friendly websites. It’s obvious that mobile devices are taking over. Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out if your site is mobile friendly, and if it’s not, do something about it!

    5. You’re giving up too early

    Organic SEO takes strategy, testing and time. It’s not a quick-fix, and you will not see results over night. What you should see is slow, stable progression over time. Stick with it until the results are where you want, but know that it takes time. Bottom line: don’t mess with Google. Play by the rules and publish valuable content that people are searching for.

  5. New Generic Top Level Domains: Should You Ditch Your .com?

    Search Engine Optimization

    By now, you’re used to .com, .edu and .org ruling the domain extensions, and you most likely side-eye the .net’s and .info’s of the world, questioning their legitimacy for not locking in a .com domain. But over the last year, a new type of domain extension has emerged, and it’s getting quite a bit of buzz.

    These domain extensions are called Generic Top Level Domains, or gTLDs, and they include everything from .technology, to .guru, .shoes, and everything in between. There are hundreds of these domain extensions, and more are being added frequently. So, why the buzz? These domains have the ability to contain keywords that relate to a company’s business. For example, if you own a construction company in Orlando, imagine your domain being orlando.construction. This has caught the attention of many because it gives businesses the rare opportunity to buy a keyword-rich domain that includes terms that users are actually searching for. These domains are typically already taken or too expensive when looking at a .com alternative. Another positive factor is that some of these domains require certifications in order for the company to purchase it, which should have an effect on a user’s trust of the site. For example, lawyers credentials are checked prior to purchasing a .law domain to ensure that all owners of .law are certified lawyers.

    New Domains Extensions

    What Does Google Say About Generic Top Level Domains?

    Wait before your purchase all kinds of different domains.Before you have a .party (yes, that is available as well) and buy all the domain extensions, consider what Google has to say about it. Google has stated that gTLDs do not have an advantage on search engines. They would be ranked the same way a .com site would. We also don’t know for sure if extensions are considered as part of a keyword when a user searches.

    Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, addressed this last year:

    “[Referring to gTLDs having no advantage on search engines] Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.”

    Regardless, there is still a lot unknown about these new gTLDs, and there’s a chance they could be beneficial in the future. A keyword-rich domain has a lot of text-linking benefits that could boost SEO, since there’s a good chance you could get a keyword-friendly text linking directly to the homepage.

    Why Should You Buy Generic Top Level Domains?

    gTLDs may be something to consider for new businesses with new products or services hitting the market for the first time. If the company is not established yet, they may have a better chance ranking for a keyword-rich domain name rather than a brand-specific domain. Sites that get most of their traffic from organic search terms that are non-brand specific would also be great contenders. If your company is established in the market, buying a domain like this certainly wouldn’t hurt with the right re-direct strategy in place, as it may prove to be more beneficial in the future.

  6. How to Create an Effective Pay-Per-Click Campaign

    Cat on Computer

    Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements are kind of like cats: you either love them or hate them. But before you pick sides on becoming a crazy PPC lady or adopting an allergy to them altogether, the ads that show up above the rest of your Google search results are a marketing tactic that can be very effective if used properly. With the right business, goals and strategy in place, pay-per-click can be a powerful way to gain leads for your business.

    1. Set clear goals

    We are never proponents of throwing spaghetti on the wall. Whether its branding, a website, blogging, social media, public relations or pay-per-click, we always recommend having a strategy with goals in place because it’s the only way to produce real results. Whether you want to build up business in a new location, a specific service, or just generate more leads to the website, you need to establish the purpose and expectations of the campaign clearly and early on.

    2. Think outside the box with keywords

    HeadlightsWhen PPC ads show up in your search results, it typically means that your search criteria matches the keywords that the advertiser is bidding on. The keywords chosen by the advertiser are extremely important to the advertisement’s success. So how do you choose the best keywords? It’s best to think outside the box.

    For example, let’s pretend you own a car wash in Orlando. While you might think “Car Wash Orlando” would yield the best results, the truth is, there is most likely a lot of competition for such a general keyword. Targeting more specific keywords like “headlight restoration,” for example, may generate more visibility and leads at a lower cost.

    3. Test, test, and test some more

    Pay-per-click advertisements require some TLC in order to be successful. This means actually logging into your Adwords account at least once a week to see how your advertisements are doing. Look at which keywords are and aren’t performing well and how your target audience is responding to your ads. You may notice that certain ad copy, devices (mobile, tablet or desktop) and landing pages are generating better results than others. Keep an eye on your campaigns and change it up to spend more money on what’s working and less on what’s not.

    4. Create landing pages with specific content

    Cocktail PartyEveryone hates small talk, so stop creating ad copy that resembles an awkward dinner party. Give people a taste of your content with ad copy that is specific and eye-catching, then link your ad to a landing page with more specific content and a clear call-to-action. If you’re advertising a summer special, for example, create a landing page with a summer-theme that specifically addresses the products and services that are discounted during the summer season. This allows you to better-target your audience and in turn generate a high quality score, which is a large factor in how your advertisement gets ranked. The quality score is a metric that determines how relevant your ad is to the user by looking at components like click-through-rate success, relevance and landing page.

    5. Create clear, trackable conversions

    Every page your ad points to needs to have a clear call-to-action. Whether that is to submit a form, call your office or download a whitepaper, the call-to-action should be the focus of the page. Tracking conversions is essential to determining the success of your campaign and how you should alter it to make it more successful.

  7. SEO: 2014 in Review and New Year’s Resolutions

    If there’s one constant in the world of SEO, it’s that there is no constant. Between algorithm updates, best-practice tips, and users modifying how they search for information, you can always count on something changing.

    This past year may not have brought as many huge upheavals in search engine optimization practices as in years before, but there were still some pretty significant SEO changes from 2014 that are worth noting.

    SEO Changes in 2014

    This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but I’ve included some of the highlights and biggest SEO changes 2014 brought. I would say let’s put the past behind us and start prepping for 2015, but in order to effectively do that we need to know what changed this past year!

    search strategy

    • Guest blogging: Just say, “No.” That’s not to say you can’t ever utilize guest blogging, but make sure you’re following best practices. Over time it has become more of a spammy practice, and it’s not nearly as reputable or effective as it used to be. As Matt Cutts shares, “A trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains.”
    • Google’s 100% secure search: Have you seen that “Not Provided” keyword section in your Google Analytics, yet? You’ll be hard-pressed not to; more than 80% of Google traffic is lumped into this section now.
    • Google+ Authorship demise: Google Authorship, what was once a promoted and driving force in G+ land, went away. The authorships program originally lost author photos, and then Google did away with it altogether.
    • Mobile emphasis: Have you thought about responsive web design, yet? You should, if for no other reason than Google emphasizing its importance. When users are scrolling through SERPs on a smartphone, a new “mobile friendly” tag now appears next to websites that are responsive.
    • Panda 4.0: Beware poor content! If you want to have a site that’s user friendly, then make it user-friendly – this includes the copy on the site.
    • Pigeon: Local search got a refresh with this algorithm, which focuses on distance and location ranking parameters. It aims to deliver a relevant experience for those searching for local results.
    • Penguin 3.0: Designed to target sites that are spammy, this update was a major release for sites that had been penalized in the past. It provided the opportunity to submit a reconsideration request and maybe get on Google’s good side again.

    Make SEO Resolutions for 2015

    2015 SEO trends

    Now that we’re caught up to speed on some of the biggest SEO changes that happened this year, let’s start prepping for 2015.

    • Remember the intent of the searcher: Thanks to the Hummingbird algorithm, phrases and keywords in SEO don’t hold as much weight. Google looks at actual search intent. When crafting content, bear in mind that your audience probably isn’t simply looking for “flowers” around Valentine’s Day. They’re most likely searching for results using phrases like: “Valentine’s Day bouquets,” “fast delivery for Valentine’s flowers,” “Valentine’s Day flower specials,” etc…
    • Check your site’s structure: Think of a house. Even if all the cosmetics are in place and there’s new paint on the walls, if the structure is rotting and the foundation has cracks in it, at some point you’re going to have major issues. The same remains true with a site’s URL and coding structure. Take the time to make sure the coding is clean and the URL structure is streamlined and organized.
    • Quality, not quantity: It doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 back links if only 5 of them are reputable, trust-worthy, and viewed as an authority in your field and industry. However, if you only have 250 back links and 200 of them are authoritative and trust-worthy, your site is much better off.
    • Responsive Design: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – having a responsive website is becoming more and more important. You have to think about the entire user experience now, not just how a site looks and performs on a desktop. Google has already penalized sites that provide a bad mobile experience.

    That’s the basic game plan for 2015, though there’s much more that can be done and should be done to help ensure your site is at the top of its game (and SERPs) for the New Year.

  8. Do Keywords Really Matter?

    SEO Blogging 101 Series: Part One

    Writing a blog post may be pretty straight-forward, but making it SEO friendly is another story entirely. If you have a great topic that you think your audience will be interested in, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and write it!

    However, it’s also important to make sure that as many users as possible see the content you took the effort to craft. That’s why using an SEO strategy and different content marketing tactics is so important, and why we’ll be exploring the different tactics and strategies that should be applied throughout this series.

    What Role Do Keywords Play?

    To begin with, SEO is not just about the keyword in a topic.  Since Google periodically makes updates to its algorithms that changes how it crawls, indexes, and determines what should appear on search engine result pages (SERPs), knowing how to make each blog post count is important. However, focusing only on a keyword or keyword count won’t get you the ROI you’re looking for.

    Why? Because Google – and even more importantly your audience – doesn’t consider just one specific word when they’re trying to find an answer to something. SEO is an all-encompassing strategy now and takes many factors into consideration. Yes, engaging content is still a driving force and factor, but long-gone are the days of keyword stuffing to get a website to rank as the number one search result. The emphasis now is quality – not quantity.

    HubSpot shares the following,

    “It’s not about choosing the right words anymore — it’s about providing context. Google doesn’t want to return results anymore; it wants to return answers. So, if you’re not doing a good job of answering your prospective customers’ questions, it doesn’t matter what keywords you choose — your SEO will suffer.”

    So what does this mean when it comes to your blog content? Keywords still matter, but they shouldn’t be the focus. In Part One of our SEO Blogging 101 Series, we’ll cover the role keywords play and why they’re still important to consider, but shouldn’t be the sole focus behind online and digital content.

    What’s Your Topic?

    Do you know what you’re writing about? SEO experts have different schools of thought on how valuable a keyword is and what the optimization percentage should be – or if there should be an optimization percentage at all. There is one new update that most SEO connoisseurs agree on: content should be developed with the intent of the searcher in mind.

    I recommend that writers try to optimize the content with a percentage of 1.5% for the keyword in mind, using the following formula:

    SEO Keyword Optimization Formula

    The reason for this is because at the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often a keyword should be included in content. Writing with a keyword in mind, though, helps keep the main topic and intent of the searcher as the focus.

    This way the blog post will be included in search results for not just the individual keyword, but also long-tail queries such as: “How can digital marketing for restaurants help me get more customers?” or “What is social media marketing?”

    Remember to keep your writing, keyword phrases, and terminology natural as well. SEO has evolved from focusing on ranking and singular keywords to the overall intent of the searcher and user experience. So yes – write with the keyword “digital marketing” or “seafood for sale” in mind. But also write for what your audience wants to learn and know about. Is your audience really looking for seafood for sale, or are they trying to find a recipe that has seafood in it?

    Keywords have a role and a place, but be careful not to focus so much on one word or phrase that you completely miss the point of posting content in the first place: to engage with your audience. 

  9. What type of online search is right for your business?

    SEO strategy tipsDid you know that all search queries aren’t created equal? There’s more than one factor that comes into play where search is concerned. 

    Google gets about 3.5 billion searches a day, and the types of these online searches can be narrowed down into three main categories: 

    • Navigational
    • Informational
    • Transactional

    So what does this mean for your budding business and what you want to accomplish in search results? It means that users will use the search bar in different ways, you need to know the different factors that will influence the search engine results pages (SERPS), and whether or not your website will rank for it. 

    Dominate the search type that best matches your business

    Navigational Search 

    When a user is performing a navigational search, they’re using the specific name of the website (not the URL). 

    Why is this a big deal? Because navigational search is most often used by repeat visitors, though new visitors might find your site this way. Also, visitors who use navigational search are more likely to convert.

    • Does your brand have a unique name? If so, then you have a higher chance of not just coming up in SERPS but also dominating the results for the navigational keyword.
    • Use the navigation keyword in the page title: The most important SEO feature of any given page is the title. Sometimes using the keyword in this manner can take a little finesse to make sure it’s natural and isn’t keyword stuffing, but sometimes it can be as simple as “Brand Name: Mission Statement/Slogan.”

    brand promotion

    Informational Search

    When a user is looking for specific types of information, such as a recipe, or how to do something, then these types of searches involve a keyword or phrase like “how to make a chocolate cake” or “best restaurant in Orlando.” 

    Why does informational search matter when it comes to SEO? Because it’s where the power of content is in the spotlight, and where you can attract new users to your brand that may not be familiar with it (yet!). 

    • Use a brand name that has the search query: If your brand has a commonly searched for informational keyword, then your website and company is more likely to appear.
    • Target your niche: What keywords are most important to your brand, and what do you want to rank for? Once you narrow your focus, it’s easier – and more efficient – to create copy and content for SEO that will generate interest and begin to take over (in a good way) the SERPS you want to show up on!


    Transactional Search

    If someone is looking for something to purchase or take home, then this is viewed as a transactional search. The user is already a participant in and part of the buying process, and are ready and willing to spend money. Landing pages and product pages are both targeted to these kinds of searches. 

    However, having an ecommerce site or landing pages doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they will show up in SERPs. Using content that includes the keywords users are searching for can help a site rank higher over ones that don’t have transactional keywords in the content. 

    What type of search applies for your business? 

    Obviously not every user is looking for the same information, so it’s important to create an SEO strategy accordingly. When it comes to getting your business’ website to rank, what kind of search do you want it to appear for? 

    Knowing who is looking for your site, and what kind of search they’re performing (navigational, informational, or transactional) can help you tailor not just the website’s content but also the overall SEO strategy to help dominate SERPS and get the most high-quality traffic to your website possible! 

  10. How a Stack of Post-it-Notes Can Help You Win More Customers

    When I decided to sign up for the Authority Intensive conference put on by Copyblogger Media, I knew that assembly of speakers (keynotes were Seth Godin and Darren Rowse) would not disappoint.  Segments focused on Design, Content, Traffic and Conversion are all things that our clients are interested in.  The more we know, the more help we can be to them.  Suffice it to say that the conference experience was of utmost quality in every regard.  It far exceeded my expectations at every level.

    I went into the experience hoping to acquire a handful of practical tips and tactics that could help clients NOW–not later.  And while I did pick up more than a handful of tools and ideas (more on that later), I saw a common thread in a few of the speakers that represents a major shift in the digital marketing industry.  I’m not sure when it happened, but it became abundantly clear to me that SEO is undergoing a renaissance–a sea change.

    The first speaker who helped me see this was named Dennis Goedegebuure, who used to head SEO for eBay and now manages it for Airbnb.  He gave a great talk which included some practical wisdom on some well-known best practices (e.g. links, URL structure, content, etc.).  But he seemed to spend less time talking about tactics and more time talking about design, brand, and story.  Huh?

    When I approached Dennis G (don’t even try to pronounce his last name) to ask the question I was too afraid to ask on the microphone in front of the group, he cleared it up for me.  My question, quite simply, was: “How do you advise smaller businesses that don’t have the abundant resources of eBay to start with SEO?”  In essence, I was asking him to tell me which tactic was more important than the next.  To my surprise, his answer had nothing to do with keywords, link-building, or otherwise.  Instead, he said (and I’m paraphrasing):

    “The most important thing a smaller business can do to get started with SEO is to step back with a stack of Post-it-Notes, map out a customer’s journey to becoming a customer on a wall, and then work on the areas where your site, content, and social strategy are weak.”  He was more concerned about the customer’s experience than he was the latest SEO gimmicks and tricks.

    When it comes to how this process relates to SEO, John Doherty summed it up this way:

    People like good design. With good design comes a lot of trust that the company is legit and knows what they are doing. Good design is pleasing and therefore people feel pleasure. They keep coming back to the site, and buying, because it is a good experience for them.

    As the conference went on, other experts also emphasized this shift from tactics to experience.  Copyblogger founder Brian Clark alluded to the “good old days” when having the right words in the right places (anchor text) could make all of the difference in the world in generating traffic.  Ann Handley of MarketingProfs remarked that empathy and experience should be more important concerns than articles or blog posts.  Copyblogger Chief Content Officer Sonia Simone encouraged site owners to move users “closer to where they want to be because of something you’re doing.”

    The long and short of it?  Gaining customers through search has less do do about granular tactics and more to do with user experience and overall strategy.  So get out some Post-it Notes and start building a map that your customers can use to get closer to you through your digital presence.  Instead of thinking of yourself as a keyword strategist, position yourself as a tour guide–a concierge of sorts.  We’re in the process of doing this ourselves and encourage you to do the same.