7 Elements of a Winning SEO Strategy

7 Elements of a Winning SEO Strategy

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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The goal of SEO is to make it easy for your target audience to find your website. It’s about assisting your clients and creating value for them. On top of this, you’d also want your company to be the top result on Google when someone searches for your brand.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

On-page SEO and off-page SEO

Not every content on your website is going to rank well but when you plan each one carefully, you can drive traffic to every page on your website. To do this, you start with a mixture of on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO allows you to control the aspects of your search ranking directly within your website while off-page SEO involves contacting outside domains and encouraging them to link externally to your site.

So, how do you go about creating an SEO strategy that works?

1. Get to know the people you want to visit your site

This involves your buyer personas. The process also takes on a different approach if you are an established company or a brand new company.

For established companies:

  • Look at the explicit information associated with your clients.
  • Consider the size of their company.
  • Consider the industry they’re in.
  • Types of pain points your company solves for them.

Then, look for search terms and keywords related to these issues to build out your keyword strategy.

For new companies:

  • Decide on what types of customers you want to attract
  • Determine what problems you’d like to solve.
  • Ensure that the traffic you generate is being converted to customers.

You have to make sure that when prospects get to your website, they are guided through a conversion path to turn them to customers with each action they take. Creating relevant content can help move your prospects through your sales funnel. This is the value of SEO.

2. Conduct proactive keyword research

One simple way to do this is by paying attention to autofill words that pop up on Google’s search bar. From here, you will get an idea about what keywords are often used and what types of articles are popular. You can also go to your competitor’s sites and audit their content. If they have content about a relevant topic that you don’t have, then make sure you also come up with one. This way, you can show up against them on searches. You can also do additional research on the topic so you’ll know what people are thinking about. This thought process can help a person get to your company.

A good SEO strategy helps bridge the gap between what people are searching for and what your company helps solve for. You have to create content that will rank for what they’re looking for and then guide them to how your company can help with that.

For more in-depth keyword research, you can use tools like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz to dig into specifics like search volume and competition.

3. Write valuable content

Create a post that your personas would find interesting and would want to read. Avoid keyword stuffing and talking entirely about your company. Keep in mind that your personas are looking for something of value to them. Your content should be useful and contain valuable keywords too.

4. Work on getting your content to rank

Once your content is published, Google will index it and you need to get it to rank. How?

  • If you’re an established company, you can share your content with your database of people through email promotions, a newsletter, or a blog subscription. Make sure it’s relevant and well-spaced — you wouldn’t want to spam them!
  • Make use of your social media to promote your content and think of ways to fuel interactions from readers. Quality is better than quantity when creating leads so always aim to provide value first. The traffic will follow.
  • Make sure you are linking internally. Every time you publish a new post, go through your existing content, look for keywords related to your new post, then add links from those posts to the new content. Don’t have pieces to link from? Then, you need to come up with them immediately.

Internal linking can help you create a topic cluster, which is an organizational map where a core idea and corresponding points are linked, creating comprehensive coverage of a subject. With a topic cluster strategy, you will have a relevant core topic that you want to rank for.

A popular topic cluster strategy is by using a pillar page and subtopic structure. When building a pillar page, you take the core topic from a topic cluster and create a long-form, comprehensive piece of content about it. Then, you can create detailed subtopic posts related to the main idea which you will then link to the core pillar page.

The pillar and subtopic page should be promoted to outside domains that can provide links as well. Whether you’re using a pillar page and subtopic structure or not, you should leverage off-page SEO to improve your ranking. If you’re planning to ask someone with a complementary website to link to your site, give them a reason to get do so such as a social media promotion offering or a link to their site in return.

5. Be Patient

Once you’ve done all the steps mentioned above, the next thing to do is wait. You should be able to see any movement within 30 to 60 days. Until then, you should continue to identify new relevant keywords for your buyer personas and create content around them.

Characteristics of growth-driven design:

6. Optimize

Posts should always be relevant and optimized. Otherwise, they might not do well over time. Group your posts to high, medium, and low performers and look for ways to reduce the number of low performers. To do this, you can either unpublish them if they’re no longer relevant or pull them up to medium performers through optimization.

Keep in mind that in doing this, you are aiming to increase your domain authority which is intended to predict how well a given site is going to rank on Google. Having a higher domain authority will naturally rank you above a site with lower authority. Same goes for page authority. If you’ve got more pages with high authority, your domain authority will be higher.

Google considers authority from both a user and a technical point of view. The content you produce can be measured as high performance by Google through traffic, time-on-page, click-through rate, and bounce rate. This can make you more authoritative since Google perceives you as creating more value, which increases your SERP rank.

From a technical perspective, having more pages in the 20 range can pull your average down so if you’re trying to get your domain authority to be a 50, eliminate your low performing pages to boost your average.

7. Fix Technical Errors

Correcting technical errors is part of SEO. For example, if you get 404 errors, search crawlers will notice that your site cannot provide optimal value for searchers. This will have an impact on your search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

Use tools and documentation from Google, Moz, and SEMrush to resolve errors on your site. They can categorize the errors into high, medium, and low priority issues. Once you’ve resolved even just the high ones first, you’d be surprised to see a spike in your site’s traffic.

Conclusion

It may take a while to see your SEO strategy take form so don’t be too hasty to change your content. You can first pay attention to the trend lines and leading indicators. As your domain gets older, your authority and rankings on different keywords will increase. Just keep on with the best SEO practices and you’ll soon reap the benefits.

5 Inbound Marketing Strategies You Should Have

5 Inbound Marketing Strategies You Should Have

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is a very useful tool that can help you draw customers to your products and services. It comes in the form of social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, and branding. However, blasting customers and prospects with messages hoping that they’ll buy from you is not a good idea. You need to engage and provide them with valuable content which will help them better understand their challenges and pain points.

With the use of relevant content that answers prospects’ questions and helps them understand the potential solutions to their problems, inbound marketing can help you attract your target market. This experience helps when they’re ready to avail of the solution that they need from you.

These five inbound marketing strategies can help you attract and engage with your prospects.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

1. Social Media

When it comes to facilitating the creation and sharing of information, interests, and ideas, nothing beats social media. The virtual communities and networks do only aim to automate posts to drive people to a brand but also to create an impactful experience for the audience on the platform they are already using. This is why when utilizing social media, you should be authentic and align your content with your brand.

A good example of this would be creating an infographic that summarizes information in a way that is easy to understand. When you provide value to your audience, you can increase your social media engagement and organically attract people to your content.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is a must-have tool in inbound marketing since it helps increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It makes it easy for the people you want to find your website navigate there organically. This is why there’s a great deal of value in having a website that is designed for lead generation.

SEO and inbound marketing work together, revolving around the creation of valuable content for your prospects. Your SEO strategy should be centered around your buyer personas and before crafting content, you should conduct proactive keyword research to understand what your personas are searching for. This can simplify your task and as you continue observing SEO best practices, it will drive high rankings and make it easy for your prospects to find your content.

3. Email Marketing

The goal of email marketing is to send valuable and relevant emails to your prospects. It provides you with an opportunity to choose who you want to talk to and how you want to go about reaching them. To develop a stellar email campaign, you need to gain a better understanding of the type of content and messaging your prospects are likely to engage with.

Keep in mind that CTA’s may work for some personas while newsletters may be attractive for others. A downward trend in your open and click-through rates in your emails means that you should reevaluate who you’re sending them to. You should also ensure you are providing value to your contacts otherwise, you won’t be able to drive successful conversions.

4. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing gives you the opportunity to provide a personalized approach to doing business online. By providing an automated conversation with your website visitors, it will move your buyers through marketing and sales funnels.

Conversational marketing techniques apply seamlessly to an inbound marketing strategy. However, it can only be successful when supported by relevant content. Chatbots are engineered to be engaging and are a good form of communication tactics. They can also help you drive your lead generation as long as you provide your prospects with something they’ll gain value from.

5. Partner Marketing

In partner marketing, two or more brands collaborate using a variety of marketing programs to achieve their business objectives. It can help boost awareness and scale business by growing the network through link building. Customers are also more likely to react positively when two or more companies collaborate on new, valuable content together. This is a great way to build authentic relationships while organically attracting high-fit leads.

To develop your partner marketing strategy, make sure you establish mutual goals, co-host events, create co-branded content, ensure careful reporting, and set partnership tiers. These best practices can help your customers find the authenticity and credibility they are looking for.

Conclusion

Take advantage of multiple strategies at once so you can diversify your risk and allow your marketing efforts to be successful even if one tactic doesn’t seem to work. This can help you leverage your content. Make sure you also evaluate their performance constantly to find out which one is the most effective and which one needs more push.

12 Tips That Will Make Your SEO Strategy Successful

12 Tips That Will Make Your SEO Strategy Successful

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Is your SEO strategy failing? Well, you can always blame it on Google and claim that it’s beyond your control. However, we have bad news and good news. The bad news is, your SEO is failing because you’re doing it wrong. The good news is, we are here to help you set it on the right track using these strategies:

Your Website: To DIY or Not

1. Use Updated Tactics

SEO is always changing so you need to keep up with the updated SEO algorithms of Google and other search engines. How?

  • Avoid content machines - Content marketing works but large quantities of low-quality content don’t. So think twice about content machines. You have to make sure your posts are addressing your users’ questions which will help Google show your page in the SERPs.
  • Use the Skyscraper Technique - If you’re creating little pages that rank for one specific long-tail keyword, it can let you down. Instead, do topic-based keyword research, find comprehensive content, work on improving it and making it your own, and share it.
  • Use Fresh and Alternative Keywords - If you’re stuffing your content with keywords and not place them in a useful context, they do not only fail to work but keyword stuffing can get you a Google Penalty.
  • Build Useful Links - High-quality links from an authoritative source can help your SEO strategy. See strategy Number 7 below for more.

2. Boost Your Website User Experience (UX)

You need to increase your UX so that customers and visitors would spend at least 10 minutes on your site. This will help Google rank you high. How?

  • Improve Your Site Speed - Every second it takes to load a page is equivalent to lost sales so make sure to speed up your load time. Check your site speed using PageSpeed Insights which is a free Google tool.
  • Use More Media - Interactive or engaging images on your website can help improve dwell time. Include videos, images, and charts as well as take advantage of white space to help increase user experience.
  • Use Accurate Article Headlines - Your headlines should precisely describe what the page is about. Give your readers exactly what you say you will.

One more thing you have to keep in mind is that you should optimize your website for your customers, not for Google. They are the ones buying from you, not Google!

3. Install Analytics and Goal Tracking

Analytics and goal tracking programs can provide you with all the information you need to determine what’s working – and what’s not – on your site. This is why you need to set it up. You can begin by setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console and track the following elements in Google Analytics:

  • New or unique visitor conversion
  • Sources of incoming traffic
  • Interactions per visit (pages/sessions)
  • Return visitor conversion
  • Value per visit
  • Bounce rate
  • Lead generation costs (costs per conversion)
  • Exit pages
  • Page views
  • Average session duration

Tracking these can help you look into the past to see the effect of previous choices on your current performance. Once you get the hang of it, you can learn advanced settings and other tools that can help grow your business.

4. Get a Loyal Following

If you are competing against big brands, you might find it hard to rank well so you need to stop depending entirely on SEO. Building a loyal following is one of the keys to success. Together with a user-friendly website, interactive and engaging media, and up to par site speed, you’ll generate leads in no time.

5. It’s Okay to Stop Focusing on Keywords

Modern SEO has changed and super specific long-tail keywords don’t work anymore. So how do you go about it?

  • Produce Great Content - Make sure you thoroughly answer all the questions that your customers are asking. Keep your content up-to-date with a personal style. Once you do this, you shouldn’t have too much trouble gaining a following which will help grow your brand.
  • Associate Yourself with Bigger Brands - You can do this through guest posting on the sites of industry leaders, having an influencer on your podcast, or other creative ways you can think of. Trade the deal with something useful for them that you can do really well.
  • Tell a Great Story -. Build a bond with your audience by telling relatable stories. Gaining a following this way can help you beat your competitors with superb SEO.

6. Target Keywords With High Search Volume

It is important to measure keyword search volume, no matter how hard it is to do. Make sure that each of the keywords you’re targeting has a search volume that’s consistent with your website goals before you start working on your campaign.

Using keywords that are searched for by regular users, even if it is a fairly high-difficulty keyword, should rank for some keywords. You can go back and check your post after six months to see which keywords have stuck. Revamp, upgrade, and reoptimize for those.

7. Build the Right Links

High-quality, natural-looking links are crucial to land you on the top of SERPs. Building links using spammy profiles and link promotions is not a good idea. Therefore, you should avoid the following when building links:

  • Link Directories - Links placed in a directory won’t fool Google. They don’t have any value so stop using them.
  • Links in Footers - If you see a website linking to you externally from the footer, it could be harmful so you should disavow them in your Google Search Console. However, Google can assess which links can be trusted so most sites do not have to use this tool.
  • NoFollow Links - If you’re planning to do a guest post in exchange for a link back to your website, make sure to ask if your link will be followed. You can check this yourself by downloading the Chrome extension “NoFollow” and it will box any nofollow link in red.
  • Low DA Website - Links from websites with low domain authorities won’t hurt you, but won’t boost your website either. You can check the DA of a website by downloading the MozBar Chrome extension which will allow you to see it in Google’s SERPs. Once logged in, you can also see the DA under the URL at the top of a website’s page.
  • You can also login to SEMrush to see the links you already have. Click Backlinks > Referring Domains > drop-down arrow next to the number under authority score > DA
  • Irrelevant Topic - Make sure the links that are pointing to your website are in the same niche as you are. This will help make Google see you as a major authority in your industry.
  • Reciprocal Links - Though top-ranking pages do this, it is against Google’s guidelines so avoid “I’ll link to you if you link to me” scenarios.

8. Stop Over-Optimizing Your Anchor Text

Make sure your anchor text is not an exact match with the URL or title as this might give you problems. Use no more than 50% of SEO keywords in your anchor text and use varying keywords to avoid being dinged for manipulation. Here is an example of an over-optimized anchor text:

We offer the best flower delivery in the USA at the lowest price ever!
Link to www.example.com/best-flower-delivery-in-the-USA

How do you do it correctly while still including the keywords?

We offer one of the most sought after flower delivery services at competitive pricing.
Link to www.example.com/best-flower-delivery-in-the-USA

Here, you can see that the keyword has been expanded and takes up only a percentage of the anchor text.

9. Understand Your Target Audience

Good SEO begins by identifying your target audience and knowing what their needs are. This can help you select the right keywords and the right SEO techniques that will bring positive results. It will give you a complete picture so make sure to get to know your ideal customers on an intimate and personal level.

10. Use Social Media

Social media are powerful sites with increasing daily social shares and relative user authority in the Google ranking algorithms. Without one, you will leave out plenty of search traffic which is what you are looking for. They can also help improve brand search volume by helping people remember your label. Take a look at how social media helps an SEO campaign:

  • Creative, informative, and inspiring content is published.
  • Content is shared and linked to.
  • Social media collects followers while the site gains traffic.
  • A community grows around the brand.
  • Consistent interactions made through social media and authoritative SEO reinforces the brand reputation.
  • Search engines index the website higher.
  • Users find the site organically through search engines.

Even if social media users don’t click on your post initially, there is a high chance they’ll remember, go back, and search for it.

11. Don’t Ignore Your Customers

When customers engage with your website and talk about your brand in the social sphere, it gives you a tremendous amount of important information that you can use in your SEO strategy. This is why you should listen to them!

What do you look out for? Pay special attention to the keywords that they are using to describe your brand and how they navigate through your website. They may dictate the keywords you target in both your internal and external link-building campaigns.

12. Be Patient

SEO results don’t happen overnight. If you don’t see your desired results in the timeframe you have set, keep going using the best practices you have learned. You will get there sooner or later.

Your Brand Story, It Matters

Your Brand Story, It Matters

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Are you creating a new brand or revitalizing your existing one? Keep in mind that a smart business needs to speak and connect with its market and good branding is an important tool for this communication. Not only will your brand story help you reach larger and new audiences but it will also set you apart from your competitors.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

Brand development is more than just an eye-catching logo and a website

Branding is how to you speak to your customers. It is about creating a story, lifestyle, and experience around your product or service for your customers and audience. To be effective, it needs to highlight your business’ principles, values, and mission and strengthen your promise.

Look at one of Australia’s most enduring Agricultural brands

Change is constant and no business can standstill. The surviving ones will always be those that have adapted to the changing market place. A good example is RM Williams which had taken stock and remained current in order to adapt to the new global retail landscape. They were traditionally known for their classic riding boot and has now evolved to include green and blue leathers and even biker boots.

An essential part of this evolution was preserving the substance of the brand which is based on authenticity, honesty, and craftsmanship. To communicate this in a modern way, they worked on their packaging, creative work, and product development.

By preserving the true, proud Aussie essence of the brand through storytelling and video content, they were able to take the product online and grow. Their boots, accessories, and clothing can be seen in the paddock as well as the boardroom all over the world.

Empower yourself with brand clarity

The most important thing is to know who you are and why you get out of bed each day. Identify your company’s personality and tone of voice. How do you go about speaking to your customers? These factors can guide everyone working in your business and unite them to your brand’s cause. Employees are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals you have set when they understand your mission and reason for being. It can also help you make decisions and keep you on track.

Why you should consider rebranding

Like most businesses, your company may have grown or evolved beyond its original mission. Are you looking to reach a new audience and broaden your appeal? By rebranding, you will also be able to reposition your brand, look at your strategy, and see how this is communicated.

There may be some parts of your brand story worth keeping. You can easily determine which ones are irrelevant, and which needs to be tweaked. It all depends on how it is presented as media and digital channels evolve. You can always ask your web developer to help you make wise decisions.

Tell your brand’s story using impactful visual communication

Once you have decided on which strategy will work for you, your web developer can easily work with you to ensure that your logo, colour scheme, images, written and video content are consistent. You should also make sure that you do what your brand says it will. Customers value honesty and integrity and by delivering on your promises, your brand is going to stay around for a long time.

Why You Should Make Google My Business Your Business

Why You Should Make Google My Business Your Business

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Google My Business (GMB) is the successor to Google Places and was launched in 2014. Since then, local businesses have been using it to extend their reach in local search and connect with new customers. It features an extended functionality of the Google Places program, giving you control over how your business appears on Google properties like Search and Maps.

Your Website: To DIY or Not

How a Google My Business Listing Can Help You

If you are a new player in local SEO, creating and optimizing a Google My Business (GMB) listing is a smart move. It can help improve your visibility and effectively showcase your brand to the local market. With a GMB listing, your business will show up when consumers search for “near me” or “close by” searches which have grown more than 900% in over two years time. What’s more? 50% of those searches end up in a store visit. In terms of local mobile searches, an in-store or online purchase results 78% of the time.

These numbers show that when consumers search for a local service, they have already made up their mind about buying and are just looking around for the best provider of the product or service they are searching for. GMB helps you be one of their top choices.

What a GMB Listing Does

When you create a listing with Google My Business, maximize its use and take complete control over the visibility of your business name, business locations, and operating hours. Doing so ensures three things:

  • You make your business visible and make it show up in relevant local searches.
  • You present your brand effectively with a high-quality listing drawing more customers to you.
  • Your business is easy to find and contact in GPS systems using the information you provide such as phone or email.

What’s more? GMB allows you to keep track of customer reviews and respond to them, add photos of your products, and learn more about how people are searching for your business. You end up not just being visible but learn how to be competitive with other business in your area and stand out from them.

The Cost of Google My Business

Surprise! Google My Business is free of charge. Yes, you heard it right. All you have to do is create an account and verify your information to get started. Then, you can regularly update your information as you go along, optimizing your profile to draw in more customers and see where you stand in local search. Want to advertise? You can use Google Ads to promote your products or services and increase their visibility in Google Search.

8 Easy Steps to Creating Your Free Google My Business Listing

Now let’s get started and create your very own Google My Business listings in 8 easy steps. You can always verify and edit it later on.

  • Log in to your existing Google account - Create your GMB listing using your existing Google account which will have administrator rights over the listing moving forward. Make sure that your account recovery and security measures including two-factor authentication are in place so you can always retrieve your account in case anything goes wrong. Recovering a breached Google account is a complicated process and you don’t want to go through that.
  • Go to the Google My Business page - Once you’re on the GMB page, look for the “Manage now” button at the upper right-hand corner and click it. You can also log in to your Google account here if you haven’t done so. You will then be taken to a new page where you will be asked to input the details of your business.
  • Create your account and input your business name - If you have a Google My Places listing, a drop-down menu will show and let you select your previously enrolled business name.
  • Input the details of your location - Here, you will provide the physical location of your business, if any. If you click “Yes,” the “Next” button will take you to another page where you’ll be asked to provide your business address. Make sure it's an accurate one so that searchers can easily locate you.
  • Inform Google all the locations your service covers - If you provide home services such as pest control, home cleaning, and appliance repair or services requiring no specific location such as car towing, emergency car lockout services, and shuttle services, make sure you input all the areas you cover so you don’t miss out on search queries that would otherwise be applicable to you.
  • Choose your business category - On the business category page, make sure you choose the right option so that Google can sort your business and show it for relevant industry searches.
  • Input your business’ contact details - Here, you provide your business phone number and website address. Don’t have a website? Google can provide you with a free, basic auto-generated website.
  • Ensure the correctness of your details and submit - Click “Finish” to submit when done. You can always go back and edit your information anytime.

Ways to Verify Your GMB Listing Information

There are several ways in which Google can verify all the information in your Google My Business listing. These are:

  • By postcard - Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a postcard via snail mail? Google can verify your GMB through this method. You just have to provide an address, typically your business address, where they can send it to you. It should arrive 4 to 5 days after your request, and once you receive it, follow the instructions and use the verification code included therein to complete the task. If the postcard never arrives or you misplaced it, you can always request for a new one in your Google My Business account.
  • By phone/text - This is way faster than the postcard method but unfortunately, not all businesses are eligible for phone/text verification. However, if you qualify, then you'll be in the system in a matter of minutes. To do this, log into your GMB account and select verification by phone. You’ll receive a verification code and instructions via text message to complete the task.
  • By email - Again, not all businesses are eligible for email verification. If you are, log into your GMB account and select the “Verify by email” option. You’ll receive an email with a verification button that will take you to the verification page.
  • Bulk multi-location verification - Service businesses that handle customers in multiple locations and agencies attempting to verify locations for different businesses are not eligible for GMB bulk multi-location verification.

The verification process for companies and franchises with more than ten locations can be time-consuming and may lead to listing mistakes which not good for the business nor Google. A filled out verification form with the business name, country, operation locations, contact names, and company information is required for this. A Google Account Manager should also be accessible to help in the process. Need more information about bulk verification in Google My Business? Read Google’s help document.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Optimizing your Google My Business listing is very important if you want to attract more customers. It will help you show up first in search engine results pages (SERPs) since you will become a business that Google tends to recommend.

How do you start? Log in to your GMB account and click the “Info” button from the sidebar. Input as much information as you can for your customers. These include:

  • A profile photo for your business
  • Your service area
  • Your operating hours
  • Your phone number
  • Calendar and holiday information
  • The year your business was established
  • Your website URL
  • Wheelchair access
  • Wi-fi access

Providing your information establishes your credibility thus helping potential customers make the decision to eventually choose you.

Your Google My Business Photos

The photo you display on your Google My Business listing plays a big part in its optimization. It also creates a first impression with new customers, so it is important that you choose your photos wisely and appropriately. Now, let’s discuss the different photos that are required from you:

  • Your Google My Business cover photo - Your GMB cover photo is the largest and most important photo that shows up in your listing. It is also the most visible to customers who are checking out your business. To be effective, it should accurately show a picture of your location, product, or service.
  • Google My Business profile photo - Your GMB profile photo shows up next to your business name whenever you upload a new photo, respond to a review, and share a new post. Most companies usually use their logo for their GMB profile photo, which you can also do.
  • Other photos - Uploading as many photos as you’d like to your GMB account can help would-be customers understand your business better. You can upload photos of your place of business, your products, your team delivering your service, and your satisfied customers with your product. These are very helpful in helping you connect with new customers.

Google My Business Videos

You can also upload videos to your GMB listing. To ensure that your uploads go without a glitch, keep these in mind:

  • It must be 30 seconds or shorter.
  • It must be 100 MB in size or smaller.
  • It must be 720p in resolution or higher.

Short business introductions and descriptions of your product or service are also a great way to introduce interested local customers to your business and help you stand out from the competition.

Google My Business Reviews

Google My Business allows you to monitor and respond to reviews from your customers. Whether positive or negative, responding to reviews in a professional manner can help establish a connection, especially with satisfied customers. This section is one of the first places that potential customers go through to learn more about your business and read what others have to say about your business so make sure to display professionalism all the time.

A Powerful Local SEO Tool

Google My Business is an easy-to-set-up and powerful tool for local businesses. Aside from being able to display eye-catching photos and videos, it gives them the ability to communicate with their customers and build bridges. Make sure to utilize this tool to the fullest by keeping your information up to date and Google will do the rest.

12 Must-follow SEO Tips and Tricks to Help You Rank High in the SERPs

12 Must-follow SEO Tips and Tricks to Help You Rank High in the SERPs

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Improving SEO and growing your organic presence should be your top inbound marketing priority. However, some of the quickest and easiest optimisation fixes are often overlooked even by the SEO experts. With these 12 quick and easy SEO practices, you will surely get ahead of the competition.

12 SEO Tips & Tricks

1. Make sure to check your website for broken links and fix them

Broken links are a no-no when it comes to SEO. It leaves a negative impression on your visitors as well as on Google. When gone unnoticed, they build up and lead to link rot, the term used for broken hyperlinks which results in a 404 error, including a message that says the page cannot be found. This can damage your website’s organic ranking and traffic, and put off the people you are trying to reach. You have to know that if one broken link exists, more will follow.

To look for broken links, you can use online tools such as SEMrush or the brokenlinkchecker to gather and fix or remove them. Why do broken links occur? Not everything is your fault. Yes, you may have entered an incorrect URL when linking to the destination page but there’s more to it. Here’s why.

  • The linked destination, which could be one of your pages or a page on an external site, no longer exists. This causes a 404 error.

  • The destination website itself has permanently moved or no longer exists.

  • The page or site that you’ve linked to is behind a firewall that prohibits outside access. This could be an Intranet site or a restricted access area on a website.

If you find an outbound broken link, replace it with a healthy, functioning one, leading to respectable websites with solid domain authority and content that your readers will find helpful.
What if it’s an internal broken link, one that leads to another of your pages? If it’s not because of a typo in the URL, simply set a redirect in place. This way, when visitors next visit that URL, they will automatically be sent to a different URL.

2. Create unique title tags

What is a title tag? A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page and is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a web page’s content. They are the clickable headline for a given result displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing.

A title tag, along with your meta description, lets you convince your next customer to click through to your website from the search results. If Google sees that a lot of searchers are clicking on your entries, they will be favoured when someone next searches for that term.

How do you create an eye-catching title tag?

  • Make it accurate and concise – Your title must accurately tell the reader what the page behind the search result talks about, explains, or offers. It tells the reader that if they click on that result, they will find what they are looking for. A title tag is restricted to 50–60 characters so make sure the important elements are within this limit or can be found at the start so readers can see them.

  • Include your primary keyword – This helps people find the exact term they are looking for in your title tag.

  • Review the competition – Go through your competitors in the SERPs and see if your title stands out from them. Make yours awesome and tempting to encourage a click-through.

  • Add your location – Include your location in the title tag to catch the attention of people targeting your area.

  • Do your research – Check for phrases or wordings that are making improvements on click-throughs and try them on other pages, experiment, and see what works best.

3. Create unique meta descriptions

A strong meta description is a simple but effective SEO tip for any business who wants to improve its organic performance and attract more visitors to its site. What is a meta description?
It is a snippet containing 150-160 characters that summarise a page’s content. It is the first thing the searcher sees when Google displays your page in the search results.

The main purpose of a meta description is to encourage the searcher to click on your result. This is why you have to treat your snippet as free advertising copy that aims to get the searcher to choose your entry among the rest.

Tools such as SEMrush or Screaming Frog are useful in determining whether all of your pages have meta descriptions. Make sure to fill in the pages that don’t have any, check for duplicates, and edit those that are similar. Make them unique, not generic. You should also add meta descriptions to your blog category and tag pages. This gives the search engines more clues to what your content is about. So, how do you create an effective meta description?

  • Include a focus keyword to make your meta description more engaging to people searching for that term.

  • Add a call-to-action in your meta description by adding a phrase like “click here to find out more” or “take a look here.”

4. Use alt text to search optimise your images

Google and other search engines depend on alt text to understand what an image is showing. This is why you have to add a short description to each and every image so that they’ll know when to return it in a search result. This is a sure win when it comes to SEO so use it! Now, how do you help Google show your images with a winning alt text?

  • Check if all your images have alt text using SEMrush or ScreamingFrog or other SEO tools you are comfortable with.

  • Make sure your alt text describes your images accurately and get straight to the point. It is important to consider what the image is and what context you’re using it in.

  • Incorporate a page’s primary keyword into one of the images on that page. You can use keyword variations so as not to spam your target keyword into every image’s alt text. To find alternative keywords, you can use tools such as LSI Graph.

  • Make sure the alt text description is fewer than 125 characters.

5. Go over the indexing status of your site

Indexing is the process of adding data from web pages into search engine databases. This helps process data and display the most relevant results to the users. Having a no-indexed page makes it impossible to drive any organic traffic to it since it won’t show up in Google’s SERPs.

A lot of factors can contribute to a no-indexing issue, one of which is human error. To avoid this, check the indexing status of your site. Simply go to Google, type in ‘site:yourdomain.com’, and the result will show how many of your pages are indexed by Google. If the result is lower than what you expected, it means that Google is having a hard time indexing all your pages. If it’s higher than anticipated, it could mean that there is duplicate content.

To fix any discrepancy, go into — or set up — your Google Search Console account — formerly webmaster tools — and test and submit sitemaps.

6. Boost pages that are close to ranking on page one

According to numbers, a minimum of 75% of clicks happens on the first page of search results. This is why if you’re ranking at the top of page two and you’re able to level up to page one, there’s a big chance that a user will select your result. If you can get more of your entries on Google’s first page other than focusing on ranking first, there’s no doubt you’ll see more traffic and visitors on your website. This can be easily done if you correctly optimise your pages. How? Read on.

  • Track your pages in SEMrush — use its Position Tracking feature which can reveal other useful metrics — to know where your pages are currently ranking for their target keywords.

  • Pages that are ranking low need to be optimised as discussed above.

  • Create new content to show your authority on the topic. You can build pillar pages that cover all aspects of the topic on a single page while giving room for more in-depth and detailed cluster blog posts that you can hyperlink back to. You can also add sections to the pages you want to boost to give them more value.

7. Build skyscraper content

SEO is unpredictable and can slide up and down on a daily basis. To make sure you’ve got yours planted firmly on the ground, you can use the skyscraper technique. Aside from telling Google that you deserve a top spot, this technique can also impress your visitors. The trick here is to build a page of value that looms over other results for the term in SERPs, answering questions and thus helping searchers out. It is also an excellent way to build backlinks to your site. How do you build a skyscraper technique?

  • Search for popular trends, topics, and well-received content that cover your business then think of a way to make them uniquely yours. It can be in the form of using an engaging medium, updating stats, or creating a new and better design.

  • According to reports from Search Engine People, posts that contain a video gets more organic traffic by 157%. Include one in yours!

  • Ask folks who have linked out to similar content to consider linking out yours.

An experienced content writer should be able to do this fairly easily so if you’ve got one on your marketing team, make this a standard practice and done on a regular basis.

8. Make sure your pages are properly formatted

Properly formatted content and web pages can boost your SEO. Google and readers give preference to them too. To format your content, do the following using SEO tools such as SEMrush and ScreamingFrog:

  • Use an H1 tag for your main heading, H2 tags for subheadings, and then H3 tags for any smaller headings.

  • Make sure your H1 tag contains a unique keyword.
    Include your keyword or a related keyword in the H2 or other subheadings as well as in the body.

  • Make sure you do not spam your content with keywords by using a variety of related terms.

9. Review your keywords

First, ask yourself if the keywords you’re planning to use will be valuable to your visitors. They need to be relevant to your content to keep visitors engaged on your website while providing the value they are looking for.

Like everything else, Google has the answer when it comes to what’s the best and most relevant keyword to use. The goal is to match the keyword to your intent. You can use these free tools to help you do so.

  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool – Google Keyword Planner is designed for advertising but it’s the best place to begin your organic keyword research. You can base your search on your product or service, your competitor’s landing page, or a specific product category. What does the Keyword Planner do?
    • Gives you ideas for new keywords and ad groups.
    • Show search volume and other useful metrics for a list of keywords, or group them into ad groups.
    • Give you traffic forecasts for a list of keywords.
    • Use an existing keyword list to get new ideas.

Keyword Planner also helps in determining which keywords are better to target organically or use with advertising if you plan on doing SEO and paid-advertising together.

  • Moz Keyword Explorer – Like other keyword research tools, Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help you figure out the keywords people are searching and ranking for, the demand for certain keyword searches, and the strength of competitors against your target keywords. When you use Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can see:
    • Standard volume and keyword difficulty metrics
    • Relative click-through rate (CTR) of the organic results on a SERP
    • Importance of the keyword to your campaign
    • A combination of all keyword metrics

Moz’s Keyword Explorer generates its data based on Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, and Related Searches. It is perfect if you already know the keywords you’re targeting but are just looking into more insight.

  • LSI Graph – If you already know the main target keyword for your content but need alternatives to avoid keyword stuffing, LSI Graph is the best place to go to.

One of the good things about LSI Graph is that it has an easy to use interface. You just have to enter your keyword into the search bar and it’ll present you with a list of related keywords that have been previously searched for.

To help you evaluate keyword statistics which will get you ahead of the competition, you have to learn these things:

  • Volume – This is the number of times a given keyword is searched for. The stats can be based on monthly data but may also vary depending on the tool you’re using.

  • Keyword difficulty (KD) – This gives you an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank organically for a specific keyword.

  • Cost per click (CPC) – This is the average price that users pay for an ad that’s triggered by a keyword search.

  • Competition – This tells you how many advertisers are using a given keyword to display their ads.

Analyze the stats to determine your keyword selection. Volume isn’t always the answer. A mid-length or longer-tail keyword will be easier to rank for and provide more context since 50% of the search queries are four words or longer. This makes it simpler to target with page content.

A good idea would be to target a keyword that has a good amount of volume with an easy to medium level of difficulty. This will allow you to rank as highly as possible without having to compete against other websites.

10. Optimise your pages for featured snippets

Featured snippets are selected search results that are shown between paid-for and organic results. They can take the form of a short paragraph, a list, or a table and aim to immediately answer the user’s questions without requiring them to click through to a webpage. Though most people don’t click through them, being featured in the answer boxes can get you additional brand exposure in search results since reports have shown that content with a featured snippet gets twice the chance of getting a click-through.

A study of 6.9 million snippets run by SEMrush and Ghergich & Co. showed that 42% of searches that included questions generated snippets. On the other hand, 18% of searches included prepositions such as ‘for’ or ‘with’, 23% of searches included comparisons such as ‘vs’ or ‘compare’, and 7% of searches without questions, prepositions, or comparisons showed a featured snippet.

Featured snippets also take up a lot of screen space, up to the point of obstructing top ranking search result. To get your page in featured in a snippet and send free traffic to your website, do these:

  • Decide which pages to prioritise – Focus on the ones that can answer questions and provide information, rather than those aimed to sell or entertain.

  • Tell Google which question you’re answering – Create an area on the page where the search query appears in a header such as H2, H3, or H4. The content you want to appear in the featured snippet — the answer to the query — should be between 54–58 words long and placed in a tag directly below the header mentioned above.

  • Optimise – Apply everything that you have learned in this article and focus on long-tail keywords. Think of it like your website talking to search engines using clean and structured data. The more words typed into a search box will bring you greater chances of bagging a featured snippet.

11. Review your page’s content

Produce content that your prospects would actually want to read and find useful since it is the driving force behind a page’s ability to rank. Make sure it is at least as good if not better than your nearest competitors. Create a strategy from these tips:

  • Determine the type of content you want- Content such as articles, white papers, case studies, and guides attract people. You can look on the first page of Google for a pattern. If you see that the majority of the results are in the form of guides, then you should be doing the same thing since this is what the readers want!

  • Determine the age of your content – If you see an old content ranking, this could only mean two things. One, the content is evergreen or stays valuable no matter how old it is and two, there is no new content being produced. Now, if you see the latter, act on it! Rewrite and get ranking!

  • Check for duplicate content – Every page on your website have a specific purpose and if more than one page features the same content, it sends Google a confusing signal. Rewrite your content to reflect its specific and unique purpose.

  • Check the length of your page content – Articles on Google’s first page average 1,890 words and the ideal length of a blog post is 1,600 words which is equivalent to a seven-minute read. Writing longer-form pages has its advantages. It gives you room to explore your subject at greater depth and hit more related keywords. Make sure to format it properly and link out to your other related posts.

  • Attribute the author of your content to a person of relevance – Improve the credibility of your content in the eyes of both your site visitors and Google’s bots by attributing the author of your content to a relevant expert, specialist, or authority within your company.

  • Include video content – According to HubSpot, video content has 50 times more chances of driving organic search results than plain text. Use it alongside plain-text content to create more effective content with significant organic presence.

A guide to Google My Business in 2019

Optimise your Google My Business

A guide to Google My Business in 2019

Optimise your Google My Business
Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly

Web Design & Digital Growth Specialist

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Google My Business (GMB) is the successor to Google Places and was launched in 2014. Since then, local businesses have been using it to extend their reach in local search and connect with new customers. It features an extended functionality of the Google Places program, giving you control over how your business appears on Google properties like Search and Maps.

How a Google My Business Listing Can Help You

If you are a new player in local SEO, creating and optimising a Google My Business (GMB) listing is a smart move. It can help improve your visibility and effectively showcase your brand to the local market. With a GMB listing, your business will show up when consumers search for “near me” or “close by” searches which have grown more than 900% in over two years time. What’s more? 50% of those searches end up in a store visit. In terms of local mobile searches, an in-store or online purchase results 78% of the time.

These numbers show that when consumers search for a local service, they have already made up their mind about buying and are just looking around for the best provider of the product or service they are searching for. GMB helps you be one of their top choices.

What a GMB Listing Does

When you create a listing with Google My Business, maximise its use and take complete control over the visibility of your business name, business locations, and operating hours. Doing so ensures three things:

  • You make your business visible and make it show up in relevant local searches.
  • You present your brand effectively with a high-quality listing drawing more customers to you.
  • Your business is easy to find and contact in GPS systems using the information you provide such as phone or email.

What’s more? GMB allows you to keep track of customer reviews and respond to them, add photos of your products, and learn more about how people are searching for your business. You end up not just being visible but learn how to be competitive with other business in your area and stand out from them.

The Cost of Google My Business

Surprise! Google My Business is free of charge. Yes, you heard it right. All you have to do is create an account and verify your information to get started. Then, you can regularly update your information as you go along, optimising your profile to draw in more customers and see where you stand in local search. Want to advertise? You can use Google Ads to promote your products or services and increase their visibility in Google Search.

8 Easy Steps to Creating Your Free Google My Business Listing

Now let’s get started and create your very own Google My Business listings in 8 easy steps. You can always verify and edit it later on.

Step 1.

Log in to your existing Google account – Create your GMB listing using your existing Google account which will have administrator rights over the listing moving forward. Make sure that your account recovery and security measures including two-factor authentication are in place so you can always retrieve your account in case anything goes wrong. Recovering a breached Google account is a complicated process and you don’t want to go through that.

Step 2.

Go to the Google My Business page – Once you’re on the GMB page, look for the “Manage now” button at the upper right-hand corner and click it. You can also log in to your Google account here if you haven’t done so. You will then be taken to a new page where you will be asked to input the details of your business.

Step 3.

Create your account and input your business name – If you have a Google My Places listing, a drop-down menu will show and let you select your previously enrolled business name.

Step 4.

Input the details of your location – Here, you will provide the physical location of your business, if any. If you click “Yes,” the “Next” button will take you to another page where you’ll be asked to provide your business address. Make sure it’s an accurate one so that searchers can easily locate you.

Step 5.

Inform Google all the locations your service covers – If you provide home services such as pest control, home cleaning, and appliance repair or services requiring no specific location such as car towing, emergency car lockout services, and shuttle services, make sure you input all the areas you cover so you don’t miss out on search queries that would otherwise be applicable to you.

Step 6.

Choose your business category – On the business category page, make sure you choose the right option so that Google can sort your business and show it for relevant industry searches.

Step 7.

Input your business’ contact details – Here, you provide your business phone number and website address. Don’t have a website? Google can provide you with a free, basic auto-generated website.

Step 8.

Ensure the correctness of your details and submit – Click “Finish” to submit when done. You can always go back and edit your information anytime.

Ways to Verify Your GMB Listing Information

There are several ways in which Google can verify all the information in your Google My Business listing. These are:

  • By postcard – Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a postcard via snail mail? Google can verify your GMB through this method. You just have to provide an address, typically your business address, where they can send it to you. It should arrive 4 to 5 days after your request, and once you receive it, follow the instructions and use the verification code included therein to complete the task. If the postcard never arrives or you misplaced it, you can always request for a new one in your Google My Business account.
  • By phone/text – This is way faster than the postcard method but unfortunately, not all businesses are eligible for phone/text verification. However, if you qualify, then you’ll be in the system in a matter of minutes. To do this, log into your GMB account and select verification by phone. You’ll receive a verification code and instructions via text message to complete the task.
  • By email – Again, not all businesses are eligible for email verification. If you are, log into your GMB account and select the “Verify by email” option. You’ll receive an email with a verification button that will take you to the verification page.
  • Bulk multi-location verification – Service businesses that handle customers in multiple locations and agencies attempting to verify locations for different businesses are not eligible for GMB bulk multi-location verification.
  • The verification process for companies and franchises with more than ten locations can be time-consuming and may lead to listing mistakes which not good for the business nor Google. A filled out verification form with the business name, country, operation locations, contact names, and company information is required for this. A Google Account Manager should also be accessible to help in the process. Need more information about bulk verification in Google My Business? Read Google’s help document.

How to Optimise Your Google My Business Listing

Optimising your Google My Business listing is very important if you want to attract more customers. It will help you show up first in search engine results pages (SERPs) since you will become a business that Google tends to recommend.

How do you start? Log in to your GMB account and click the “Info” button from the sidebar. Input as much information as you can for your customers. These include:

  • A profile photo for your business
  • Your service area
  • Your operating hours
  • Your phone number
  • Calendar and holiday information
  • The year your business was established
  • Your website URL
  • Wheelchair access
  • Wi-fi access

Providing your information establishes your credibility thus helping potential customers make the decision to eventually choose you.

Your Google My Business Photos

The photo you display on your Google My Business listing plays a big part in its optimisation. It also creates a first impression with new customers, so it is important that you choose your photos wisely and appropriately. Now, let’s discuss the different photos that are required from you:

  • Your Google My Business cover photo – Your GMB cover photo is the largest and most important photo that shows up in your listing. It is also the most visible to customers who are checking out your business. To be effective, it should accurately show a picture of your location, product, or service.
  • Google My Business profile photo – Your GMB profile photo shows up next to your business name whenever you upload a new photo, respond to a review, and share a new post. Most companies usually use their logo for their GMB profile photo, which you can also do.
  • Other photos – Uploading as many photos as you’d like to your GMB account can help would-be customers understand your business better. You can upload photos of your place of business, your products, your team delivering your service, and your satisfied customers with your product. These are very helpful in helping you connect with new customers.

Your Google My Business Photos

You can also upload videos to your GMB listing. To ensure that your uploads go without a glitch, keep these in mind:

  • It must be 30 seconds or shorter.
  • It must be 100 MB in size or smaller.
  • It must be 720p in resolution or higher.
Short business introductions and descriptions of your product or service are also a great way to introduce interested local customers to your business and help you stand out from the competition.

Google My Business Reviews

Google My Business allows you to monitor and respond to reviews from your customers. Whether positive or negative, responding to reviews in a professional manner can help establish a connection, especially with satisfied customers. This section is one of the first places that potential customers go through to learn more about your business and read what others have to say about your business so make sure to display professionalism all the time.

A Powerful Local SEO Tool

Google My Business is an easy-to-set-up and powerful tool for local businesses. Aside from being able to display eye-catching photos and videos, it gives them the ability to communicate with their customers and build bridges. Make sure to utilise this tool to the fullest by keeping your information up to date and Google will do the rest.