how search engines work

 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice that involves utilizing search engines’ indexing algorithms to your advantage to drive traffic to your website. SEO can apply to your blog posts, web pages, and even your photo captions, so the more you learn about it, and the better you understand it, the more likely your website will help your company or brand grow.

 

How Do Search Engines Work?


Search engines like Google and Bing are businesses just like yours, so much like you, they want to optimize those businesses for success. In order to provide the best possible customer service to the people using their services, they must be able to return relevant information based on searches. For example, if you were to search for “red elephant,” you would expect to see information about red elephants on your screen. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you will leave that search engine and go to another one, instead.

 

Search engines index billions upon billions of pages of website content according to highly specific algorithms in order to ensure that the results they provide are relevant. To do this, these algorithms look for things like keywords, relevance, content length, photo quality, meta tags and descriptions, and much more, and the websites that fit these algorithms the best are those that show on the first page of search results. Ultimately, getting your website on the first page of search results should be your goal as this will drive plentiful traffic and spur growth.

 

How to Please Your Audience (and Search Engines!) with Your Content


When it comes to your content – your web pages, blog posts, press releases, and more – it is important that you remember two very important things.

 

  • Content must please the search engine. All search engines are different, but with Google dominating the market and Bing coming in second, there isn’t much room for others. You’ll want to make certain that you have optimized for Google first; Bing is important, but it should be second on your priority list. If these search engines’ algorithms don’t pick up your content because it isn’t properly optimized, people aren’t going to see it, even if it’s the best and most informative content on the internet.
  • Content must please your visitors. You can optimize your content for SEO all you’d like, but if it doesn’t make your visitors happy when they read it, this will cause them to leave your site (referred to as a “bounce” and go back to the search results. This will hurt your SEO ranking a great deal, so it’s crucial that you make sure your content is not only optimized, but also informative, easy to read, concise, and free from spelling or grammar errors.

 

When your content makes both your visitors and the search engines happy, you will undoubtedly begin to see a gradual uptick in traffic, and the more traffic you get, the higher your search index ranking will climb.

 

Understanding the Differences between Static and Dynamic Content


There are two types of content on your website: static and dynamic. Understanding the differences between them can help you improve your site’s visibility a great deal, as well.

 

  • Static content is any content that stays the same across every page no matter who the visitor is or what he or she does while viewing your site. Common examples of static content include any information in the site’s header or footer, such as a logo or contact information, as well as navigation menus that are present on every single page.
  • Dynamic content can be defined as content that changes from one page to the next based on virtually any factor. If a customer chooses to buy a cake, but must select the size, flavor, decoration, and more, then this selection process consists of dynamic content that changes based on that customer’s unique selections. If you add a blog post to your site a couple times each week, this is also dynamic content.

 

In order to get the best possible results, you will need to make certain that you are satisfying these algorithms by adding content to your site regularly. The most popular (and often simplest) way to do this is to publish a new blog post one to two times a week, making sure that the post contains relevant keywords, helpful information, and high-quality photos with the proper meta descriptions, titles, and more.

 

The Importance of the User Experience


Imagine again that you’re searching for a place to have lunch, but rather than looking up Mom’s Diner, this time, you look up “diners near me”. The search engine will show you a list of all the diners nearby, and at this point, you can click the links to go to those business’s websites, where you can then look at the menu before you drive to the restaurant. Now assume for a second that the first link you click takes you to a website that loads incredibly slowly doesn’t load at the right resolution for your smartphone, or has a font and layout that makes it almost impossible to read.

 

Most people – your website visitors included – won’t spend much time on a website or page that is problematic in any of these ways. If they get a negative user experience in the first few seconds of their visits, they will bounce, and that will have a negative effect on your rankings. This means that user experience, more commonly known as UX among the professionals, is every bit as important as the type, quantity, and quality of content on your website. Improving your user experience improves SEO, and in turn, that improves your traffic.

 

Quality Photos and Videos Matter


No matter which industry your business is in, photos are going to be incredibly important for your overall success. People want to see what they are about to buy, and if you’re selling a service, they like to see photos or images that visualize the benefits they are likely to receive. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with using stock photography to boost your SEO, tossing together some random images and calling it done won’t do much to improve the user experience.

 

  • For images, you can use stock photography or your own photography – but never random images you find online. Copyright laws can be very, very tricky. Make sure you choose images that are relevant to the section of text they accompany and make sure that their resolution makes them easy to view on PCs, tablets, and mobile phones alike. Choose captions and descriptions that suit the page or the content, as well.
  • For videos, once again, you will need to make sure the resolution is high enough that your visitors won’t see a blur, but also not so high that they take longer to buffer than they do to play. Videos should be concise and short, and they should be 100% relevant to the content at hand. They can entice customers to buy, give demonstrations of products or services, and more.

 

Social Media and SEO


Google, Bing, and other websites aren’t the only search engines out there. In fact, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others also act as search engines, and optimizing the content you share with them can help your business grow, too. If you really think about it, when people wake up in the morning and start the day, one of the very first things they do involves picking up their smartphones or tablets, navigating to Facebook or Twitter, and checking out what’s going on in the world. Social media platforms have their own built-in search functions, and just like Google or Bing, all the major platforms strive to be the best because the more members they have, the more money they can make.

 

Your goal, then, is to provide social media platforms with content they can feel confident about sharing with their users. When you create a Facebook post, follow the same guidelines as creating a blog post. Use a high-quality video or image that accurately represents your company or mission, and make sure the links or the text you share are beneficial to people in some way. Finally, make sure your social media posts are designed in such a way that they drive engagement, because the more people engage with your post by liking, sharing, retweeting, or taking any other action, the more the social media platform will share it with other viewers.

 

YouTube and SEO


YouTube is one of the biggest search engines of our time. Though it started as its own independent entity, it was acquired by Google in November 2006, and because it is now a part of the Google family, many of the same algorithms behind the standard search engine also dictate which videos people are shown when they perform a search on YouTube. If you truly take the time to get to know how SEO works – and to discover how Google’s algorithms affect your rankings – you can also leverage YouTube to your advantage regardless of your industry.

 

Optimizing YouTube content for SEO is a bit different. When you upload your video, you are given plenty of opportunities to use text to your advantage, and you can even enter multiple “tags” that will tell YouTube’s indexing algorithms what your video is all about. However, AI has gotten smarter over the years, so you can’t make a video of your kids playing with your puppy and tag it with “how to make a burrito” when there is no relationship between the two. Your video must be relevant to its description, and the description must be helpful to the visitor. The better you can get at this, the more people who will inevitably see your videos, and the more traffic you will get – as long as you make sure to include your website’s URL in the description box.

 

Keeping Up with Algorithm Changes


Whether you optimize your content for YouTube, Facebook, Google, Bing, or even a combination of all of these, it’s important to keep in mind that nothing ever stays the same, especially when it comes to the algorithms used to index and rank pages. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide a breakdown of the way its algorithms work; much of it is proprietary since these algorithms have made Google the successful company it is today. As a result, SEO specialists, webmasters, marketing experts, and others must make the equivalent of educated guesses by determining what the sites ranking at the top of the search results have done to get there.

 

As a result of their research, they have determined that regardless of how the algorithms change over time, there are three crucial components of SEO: quality content, a great user experience, and a website that loads quickly (and correctly) on every device and platform possible. While it may seem simple enough, perfecting these three components takes time, expertise, and patience, and that’s exactly why so many companies large and small rely on marketing and SEO experts to get the job done.

 

Search engine optimization isn’t going away. In fact, it’s the only way entities like Google, Bing, YouTube, and others can be certain they are providing their users with the best possible experiences. Their success relies on their ability to serve their customers’ needs by delivering them excellent websites and pages that are not only relevant to those customers’ searches, but also easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. If you can provide these search engines with the pages they find most appealing for their visitors, then pretty soon, you’ll find your website getting more traffic than ever before.

 

 

seo smo lead capture

 

Generating leads through online marketing can be tough. On the internet, every industry is crowded, so you really have to work for every single quality lead. Once upon a time, all you needed was the right keywords and the right density to get attention. Today, you need to employ a variety of search engine and social media marketing optimization tools to stand out. The tips below will help you generate more leads than you ever thought possible.

 

Optimize Your Content for Search Engines


First things first, if you haven’t updated your website in many years, it’s important to remember that Google now bases your rank on user experience rather than just keywords. It considers everything from the quality of your blog to the relevancy of your content and even the quality of your links and photos. Some of the things you need to do right away to generate more leads with your website and fulfill the requirements of Google’s algorithms include:

 

  • Updating your site frequently. Dynamic, ever-evolving content will help you climb the rankings remarkably well. A good, informative blog is by and large the best way to achieve this goal.
  • Using only quality content. If you’re hiring outside writers to create your content, don’t settle for less than the very best. Content should be concise, informative, and authoritative – never “fluffed” with excess content or filled with spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Making sure your URLs are search friendly. Your URLs should contain terms that people use frequently, so go over them from time to time to make sure they are still relevant.
  • Improving your site’s aesthetics. Things like font size, font style, picture quality, and navigability are all important parts of your site. If they don’t look nice, or if they make it difficult for your visitors to figure out how to use them, this could have a negative effect on your rankings.
  • Building trust with your readers. If your site seems too sales-y, it will be hard (if not impossible) for you to build trust with your readers. Include some information about your company, and if you do any volunteering in the community, show some photos. These things help you become more trustworthy, and that will go a long way toward generating traffic.

 

Find Out What Your Audience Really Wants to Know


When writing your blogs or your website content, it’s hard to go wrong if you answer common questions. “How to….” and “Why should I….” are both excellent points to consider, and you can relate them to any industry. However, it’s important to look beyond the hows and whys to think of other ways people may think to ask their questions or search for information.

 

Rather than a post titled “Why Should I Bathe My Cat?” try one titled “5 Benefits of Bathing Your Cat.” While people certainly do ask “why” when they search Google, they also want to know about the benefits. Along those same lines, you might also think of titles like “Why is Bathing My Cat Important?”, which include the same information, but allow you to approach things with a totally different key phrase that could attract even more attention.

 

Don’t Forget Google Local Business Listings


Another outstanding way to use SEO and SMO to generate more leads is to make certain that you’re using Google local business listings to your advantage. If you head over to GMB (Google My Business), there is an option within the insights section called “My Business Keywords.” In this section, you can specify which keywords you want to associate with your website. You can even use this tool to see what’s currently trending, and you can ask the tool to give you that information for the past week or month. By verifying what people are searching, then associating those keywords and phrases with your website, you can start snagging the clicks, improving your ranking, and generating leads.

 

Use Social Media to Your Advantage


Your website is only one tool in your online marketing arsenal, and when you pair it with social media, the results are even better. Like Google, Facebook and other social media platforms utilize algorithms that will ultimately determine the number of people who see your posts in their newsfeeds. With that in mind, there are things you will need to do to ensure that your posts reach as many people as possible:

 

  • Update your profile. Simply posting to your social media accounts isn’t enough; you also must keep your profile updated with the most recent information about your company. If you change business hours, change your profile. If you add a 24-hour telephone number, add that to your profile, too.
  • Do not use copyright or duplicate materials. This is a surefire way to cause your business some problems. If you need photos, check out one of the awesome stock photography sites – or perhaps even take your own. Today’s mobile phones take excellent high-resolution photos and allow for some extraordinary effects.
  • Reply as quickly as possible. If someone messages you on Facebook or Twitter, they should receive an instant response. This is easy enough to set up through your business page, so be sure you’ve taken the time to do it.
  • Post positive things regularly. It’s best to post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts once or twice each day, and it’s also important to vary the content in such a way that it reaches a broad audience. Link to your blogs, share photos, and make people aware of any special savings, such as sales, discounts, and free trials.

 

Above all else, when it comes to social media, make sure that you are always positive when responding to comments on any of your posts. Even if the feedback is negative, you should address it as quickly as possible. This shows your leads that you provide outstanding customer service, which is a great way to make your brand more likeable and relatable.

 

Because so many industries have saturated the online space, there’s little doubt that capturing leads is more difficult now than it was just a few years ago, but it is certainly not impossible. Employing the tips shown here will improve your reach, help your brand become more authoritative, and drive far more traffic to your website than ever before.

Product Marketing

 

Marketing has certainly changed over the last three decades. People no longer rely on newspapers, magazines, and television ads to gather information about the products and services they buy. Instead, they can find everything they need online. Because of this, digital marketing has taken over the world. The principles and guidelines that apply to selling physical products and digital products have a huge effect on your marketing tactics, so understanding the difference is crucial.

 

The Difference between Physical and Digital


A physical product is one a consumer can hold in his or her hand and analyze up close. He or she can view pictures of the product online, head to a local store and look at the product and/or packaging, and even watch a friend use the product to see how it works. As a result, the tactics for marketing a physical product are fairly straightforward, whether online or on the web.

 

A digital product, on the other hand, is not quite tangible. It exists only inside computers in the form of software. This can make it a bit trickier to show consumers how it works and what it does because they can’t just go into their local shop and pick it up. For this reason, the tactics you will use to market a digital product are quite a bit different, and if you are used to advertising physical products, you will need to make a few adjustments.

 

The Most Important Concepts in Marketing a Digital Product


If you’ve developed a digital product, whether that product is an awesome CRM for small businesses or perhaps even a lightweight application designed to track workouts, you will need to take a much different approach when it comes to selling that product. Here are some things to keep in mind:

 

  • Your Target Audience: Who is your digital product for? Is it a workout tracker that will work for anyone, or is it a very specific CRM application that is only ideal for certain industries? Be sure that you know exactly who you need to reach before you start putting together your campaign.
  • Your Product: Of course, the quality of the digital product you’re offering is also important to your overall success. It should do something different or better than any similar products that are out there, and you should focus on this within your marketing campaigns, as well.
  • Your Reach: Do you have a website for your product? What about a social media page? Do you have a YouTube account? All these platforms give you more reach. In other words, the more ways you can contact the people who might buy your product, the better.
  • Your Demonstration: No one – not a person and not a company – will buy a piece of software from you without first understanding exactly what it does and how it works. You will need to come up with a way to show them, and for most successful companies selling digital products, free demos are the way to go.
  • The Value: Finally, you need to be certain that the product you are offering brings value to the people who will most likely buy it. What kinds of problems will your software solution solve, and why is it better than any of the alternatives that may be available to your audience?

 

Search Engine Optimization and Content


Whether you are selling a physical or a digital product, search engine optimization and quality content are going to be some of the most important tools in your arsenal. Either way, the goal is to attract people to your website where they can learn more about your product and the value it can bring to their lives. Case studies have proven that proper SEO, both onsite and onpage, along with outstanding content and an easy-to-use site will go a long way toward helping you rank highly in search engines like Google.

 

When Google shows your website to people who type in certain phrases on the internet, you are well on your way to success. It’s getting there that can be tricky. You’ll need competitive keywords, optimized URLs, the best possible meta tags, and constant sitemap monitoring to ensure that you have done all you can to impress Google’s algorithms and climb the search results ladder.

 

Don’t Forget the Free Trial


Marketing a physical product on the internet is all about getting people interested, and for the most part, the same can be said for digital products. However, there’s one big difference: there are still plenty of people who prefer to buy their physical products in person so they can see exactly what they’re getting. Why take the chance of ordering a pair of jeans online when they could just as easily go to a local shop, try them on, and make sure they fit? In this case, the consumer needs a pretty spectacular incentive.

 

In the digital realm, a consumer can’t go try on a piece of software to see if it’s the right fit for his or her company. In fact, the only way to do anything like that is to actually try the software you are offering. You should provide a free trial – long enough to show your potential buyers or subscribers why they need your product – to entice these individuals to buy. Depending on the type of software you’re selling (and who you’re selling it to), your trial could last a week or a month before prompting the user to buy. On the other hand, if you are selling something like POS software, you could set it up so the first 5000 transactions are free; afterward, the user must purchase the software to keep using it.

 

As you can see, there are some huge differences between physical and digital products, and that means there will be significant differences in the best and most successful marketing tactics for them, too. Learning more about marketing best practices as they apply to selling digital products online is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.

 

 

SEO Keywords

 

The term SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a technique used by marketers and business owners to help their overall website and individual webpages rank high in the search engines. The higher these things rank in popular search engines like Google, the more people who will likely find their company. Obviously, this increases the total number of leads, which in turn increases the total number of sales.

 

The most common thing people think about when it comes to SEO is keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that are inserted into the written content to help pages rank on appropriate searches. If, for example, you have written a page with the keyword “digital marketing agency,” and a person types this phrase into the search bar at the top of Google, you will rank somewhere in the search results.

 

It is a common misconception that this is the only thing important in SEO, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there are a lot of things which go into getting a webpage to rank high in the search engines. Many marketers have found that, while still relevant, keywords are no longer even the most important thing in SEO.

 

User Experience is More Important


In the dark ages of the internet, keywords really were one of the only things attributed to search results. Over time, however, Google’s algorithm shifted to one that values user experience over words on a page. That doesn’t mean those words don’t contribute to user experience, but we aren’t talking about keywords here.

 

Nobody knows the exact algorithm used by Google. It’s a giant mystery that SEO specialists are constantly trying to solve. Google feeds marketers small bits of information on what is relevant, and we have a pretty solid idea of the most important aspects of how a webpage gets ranked – but nobody (not even Google, actually) knows everything.

 

What we do know is that Google ranks a lot of page aspects that can only be described as user experience, commonly referred to as U/X. This includes important items like page bounce rate, page loading speed, layout, ease of page navigation, and mobile optimization.

 

Content is Still King


The most important thing to take away from this information is that content is still king. You still need high-quality content to rank high, and (of course) to keep customers on your website long enough to think about purchasing from you.

 

Content does not only revolve around blogs, articles, and on-page copy that is crammed with a certain percentage of keywords, however. It means you want to create high-quality written materials that are easy to skim through, interesting, and relevant. Easy to skim through means using H2 headers, short paragraphs, bullets, and numbered lists.

 

Content also refers to other format types. Video is more in-demand than ever, and it can really keep people on your webpage. High-quality images are equally vital. Not only will they draw in people’s attention, but they can make written content both more readable and add significant value to blog posts or articles if used properly.

 

TV & Print

 

For years now, digital marketing experts have predicted that someday soon, digital marketing would overtake traditional marketing on television and in print. As it turns out, someday has arrived. In 2019, the digital marketing giants known as Facebook and Google will officially surpass TV, radio, and newspaper advertising, leaving it in the virtual dust.

 

The Proof is in the Spending


Per estimates released by eMarketer, advertisers across the United States are slated to spend $129 billion this year on digital advertising, which overtakes the $109 billion they plan to spend on traditional means of advertising. This is the first time in history that this has occurred; in fact, it’s the first time that more than 50% of the market will be dominated by the US digital ad business. The same source predicts that with each passing year, the gap in spending will continue to increase. In fact, by 2021, it is expected that advertisers will spend some $172.29 billion on digital ads compared to only $104.32 billion on traditional ads.

 

Facebook and Google


There’s little denying that Facebook and Google have driven these numbers forward for several years. Both multi-billion-dollar companies operate internationally. Surprisingly, back in 2015 (only four years ago), the digital advertising market was only about half the size of the traditional market, and most advertisers still preferred television commercials, print ads, and even radio ads to paid ads on sites like Facebook or Google. Since then, though, these two companies have played a tremendous role in those numbers creeping closer and closer together, and they are hugely responsible for this tremendous shift in the American marketing dynamic.

 

Fears of World Domination


Though it is an exciting time for advertisers, this number also spurs some fears among businesses that could be considered Facebook or Google competitors. Just last year, both Google and Facebook’s CEOs found themselves before Congress defending their companies’ ad businesses. Many believe that both companies will inevitably face some heavy regulation both at home in the US and abroad, their ad business was left untouched. In fact, in 2018, the two massive companies generated $65 billion in revenue between them.

 

This means that these two single companies generated more than 60% of the digital marketing revenue in the country last year – and this worries some. For 2019, their combined revenue is estimated at some $77 billion despite losing a percentage point or two of the overall market share. Smaller companies struggle to compete, but it’s the traditional media companies that are truly paying the price for Facebook and Google’s quest for world domination.

 

Amazon is Bridging the Gap


Back in 2015, Amazon only had 1.2% of the digital ad market in the country, but the same eMarketer estimates claim that this number will climb to 8.8% in 2019, making the retail giant a distant third competitor – but one that is closing in. The next two biggest contenders – Microsoft and Verizon – are actually slated to lose some of their market share next year. Microsoft’s share will fall from 2018’s 4.1% down to 3.8% while Verizon will fall from 3.4% down to just 2.9%. Believe it or not, Google’s share is expected to fall, too, if only very slightly. Their 38.2% market share for 2018 will likely be higher than the anticipated 37.2% for 2019.

 

What Consumers Want


Consumers, for the most part, understand that advertising is just a part of being online. Companies pay the websites hosting the ads for the right to the space, allowing those companies to get their ads in front of the people who might

 

find them relevant. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, spoke with a Harvard law professor and backed his long-time claim that Facebook must be free for users in order to connect the world. He also acknowledged some users’ concerns (and annoyances) with Facebook ads, but he made it clear that an ad-free Facebook experience is not likely to happen – at least not soon – since those ads keep Facebook funded.

 

This means that Facebook (and Google, and likely Amazon) will only continue to take on more of the digital marketing share in the US and around the world. Though consumers may have some power over which ads they see, and while continuously-evolving algorithms get better at predicting the sorts of ads that specific users should see, there remains a fine line between benign data collection for ad relevancy and invasion of privacy – something that Zuckerberg has promised to rectify with his social media platform by giving Facebook users more control over their experience.

 

2019 is slated to be an exciting year for advertisers, companies like Facebook and Google, and consumers alike. The ability to collect and advertise data in such a way that ad relevancy has skyrocketed in the last few years will continue to drive these huge companies forward, even though concerns remain about these same companies taking over the world, so to speak.

 

Searcher Intent

The SEO field is full of a lot of trending buzzwords, to the point where it’s easy to get a little cynical. However, some of these trends have substance behind the style, and searcher intent is a great example of that. Think of it this way: no marketing initiative ever succeeded without knowledge of the target audience and its goals. Searcher intent is the equivalent of this for SEO initiatives.  In addition, searcher intent is one of those things that you’re going to need to keep referring back to in order to create an effective long-term SEO strategy. Here’s how it works and what you need to do to implement it successfully.

 

What Is Searcher Intent?


The fundamentals behind searcher intent are easy to understand, and likely something that you go into every time that you use a search engine. Basically, searcher intent is what the goal of any Google or search engine user is any time that they put in a query. This is important because even searches on the same topic can lead to different keywords used, and searcher intent is the reason why. For example, say a person wanted to learn more about how to create an effective blog. They may put in something like “blog writing tips for non-writers” or “blog ideas.” However, if they are looking to outsource their work, you’ll likely see a query like “freelance blog writers” or “blog writing services. The good news is that generally, you can boil the types of searcher intent into a few key options.

 

People who want a specific brand

 

People with this searcher intent literally have only one goal in mind—to go to a site they are already aware of. For example, someone who may want to go to Wal-Mart’s site for a deal they heard of elsewhere will literally type in Wal-Mart in the search engine and be on their way.

 

Informational searches

 

This is close to the “blog writing tips for non-writers” example that we gave earlier, where someone wants to learn about a subject or topic. In general, this will be reflected in the type of queries people use. Expect lots of “how to” “what is” “can I” and other similar expressions used in these searches.

 

Action searches

 

These are the searches that many business owners are hoping for, based around some sort of conversion. Things like “deals on” “for sale” “near me” are all indicators that someone is ready to buy something with their search. However, there are other types of SEO conversions that call fall under this umbrella as well, like signing up for an email list or heading to a physical location.

 

Free action searches

 

Technically, these are the same as action searches, but for people looking for free services. It can be hard to get a conversion for people who aren’t looking to pay, unless you have an e-book or something similar on free options for a certain niche.

 

How To Use Searcher Intent For SEO


For typical marketing, you would simply gear your marketing materials in order to align with your marketing intent. However, there are a few different ways to do this for SEO. The main way to make this happen is to optimize for keywords that match with the type of searcher intent that will match your content. For example, if you were working on a blog post, you’d probably want to use primarily informational keywords. However, if you’re working on e-commerce pages, you’re going to want to make sure that your keywords are mainly transactional in nature. The goal here is to make sure you’re getting the customers most likely to be interested in your page in front of it via a search.

 

There are some tangential ways that you want to customize your site to fit with searcher intent as well. For example, when people are using action keywords, they ultimately want to make some sort of conversion. If you’re optimizing for those keywords, make sure that you work to make your Call To Action prominent so people can follow through on their searcher intent.

 

As a final addition, it’s important to note that certain growing SEO trends are going to change the nature of searcher intent in the future. For example, voice search is growing in popularity, especially through mobile devices. However, the way that different queries are spoken is different than the way they are typed. As a result, people may need to adapt their SEO optimization down the line.

 

Author

With over 10 years of experience helping hundreds of businesses succeed online, Paul Teitelman is one of the most respected and top ranking SEO consultants in Toronto & across Canada. A passionate SEO expert that works directly with clients and offers custom white-labelled services to search marketing and digital advertising agencies in Canada and the United States. Add Paul on LinkedIn or check out his SEO blog for more great tips. To learn more please visit – https://www.paulteitelman.com/

SEO Takes Time

 

Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a phrase used to describe the creation of content in such a way that search engines can easily find a website or specific page easily. This marketing endeavor is accomplished using several different tactics.

 

  • Keywords – which are the short phrases your target audience might use, like “digital marketing company,” “website design services in Florida,” or “turnkey marketing”
  • Meta title – headline of 70 or fewer characters
  • Meta description – page/website description under 160 characters
  • URL – short, preferably with relevant keywords incorporated
  • Photograph Alt Tags – keywords and short description associated with graphics used
  • External links – links to outside sources you use, or your links used on other websites
  • Internal links – Helps Google build a more accurate image of your website

 

Many professionals and business owners question why it takes so long for their SEO efforts to prove fruitful. Other marketing efforts – such as paid advertising – can show significant results in a short period. Why not search engine optimization or organic traffic marketing?

 

The only way to fully understand the reason behind this is to learn how Google (the primary search engine used around the world) does what it does. Continue reading below to find out about Google indexing, crawling, and PageRank.

 

Google Index – The World’s Largest Website Library


Google uses crawls (explained below) to find new pages, as well as obtain a good idea of what is on those pages. Once it has done this, Google then incorporates the new website and its different pages into an indexing along with millions of other sites. When someone searches for a keyword your webpage targeted it pulls up the results most relevant to that keyword and somewhere in that listing will be your website.

 

Website Crawlers – Digital Bots, Not Bugs


We told you that Google crawls in the paragraph above, but we don’t mean it literally. Instead, “crawling” a website is accomplished using digital bots.

 

Although it’s a little more complicated, the bots essentially scan websites which already exist inside of Google’s index. If they discover a new external link (i.e. one which has not been indexed) then they follow that link, so they can add that site to the index.

 

It’s a constant process, with bots regularly scanning existing web pages so they can find new links to scan, which are then added to the index, so they can scan those for new links. It’s very circulative.

 

The Google Search Process – Broken Down by Steps


So how does the Google search process really work? We now understand some of the delay in SEO (remember the bots) but how do you end up in search engine ranking pages (SERPs)? Let’s break down the search process step by step for a clearer understanding.

 

  1. Someone types a query into the Google search bar.
  2. Google uses its algorithm (called “PageRank”) to decide which relevant pages will show up highest in SERPs. This includes your site, which could rank on any page for any targeted keywords.
  3. The prospective reader browses the page and clicks on the most relevant one. This is almost always a result from the first page and is rarely (if ever) a result from beyond the fifth page.

 

But wait… what is Google PageRank and how does it choose which websites are worthy of the highest positions?

 

Google PageRank – What We Know


The problem with this formula is that it’s top secret. We do know a lot of the items that help websites or content rank, but nobody knows for certain which are the most important. A few of these items, for example, include:

 

  • How new and well-written your website content is
  • How often content is updated
  • How many websites are linked to yours
  • How many website visitors you’ve already had
  • How well your meta title, article headliners, and URLs fit the search query

 

Another thing we know is that It is this system which is responsible for how long good SEO takes. Not only do web pages need to be crawled so they can be indexed, but PageRank then has to determine where it should fall on SERPs.

 

Since traffic and backlinks play a crucial role in this determination you can expect a slow, steady rise to the top versus an overnight first-page ranking.

 

Tips for SEO Success


You may not be able to improve your website traffic overnight but by focusing on other items affecting your ranking you can slowly start bringing people to your website. This, in turn, will gradually increase your traffic ranking which, once again, will bring more visitors to your website. It’s another cycle in the way SEO works.

 

Below we discuss some of the things to ensure if you want to have the most success in your search engine optimization efforts.

 

  • Ensure website content is grammatically correct and error-free. It should be clear, concise, and optimized for readability. This includes using short sentences, short paragraphs, bullets, numbered lists, and headers.
  • Ensure keywords are included in your article’s header, metadata, and used once or twice throughout your article. Don’t overdo keywords usage, because then it could get flagged as spam by Google.
  • Use the right keywords. Do your research and see which the correct ones for your specific niche and company are.
  • Make metadata (titles, descriptions, alt tags, etc.) obvious, relevant, and keyword-dense.
  • Share content on social media platforms to bring in more traffic.
  • Consider writing guests blogs on other sites to build backlinks.
  • Constantly update your website to stay relevant.
  • If you update a URL always redirect your old ones so anyone who has bookmarked the page does not receive a broken link or 404 error when trying to visit again.
  • Routinely check Google’s guidelines to see if there have been updates and, if there have been, what the updates targeted. A recent update to Google’s guidelines can be found here.
  • Remember to keep your target audience and/or buyer personas in mind with everything you do. All SEO efforts rely heavily on what those potential customers are searching for. If you don’t know the answer to that, your efforts have no direction.

 

While it can be aggravating when SEO takes more time than you’d hoped, know that if you stick to the best practices detailed above you will soon find great success in your efforts.

seo and user experience

 

If you’ve done the research, followed search engine guidelines, and otherwise optimized your site to rank highly you would expect results, right? But what happens when you aren’t receiving the results you’d expect?

 

You might be seeing a lot of impressions coming in, but those impressions have a very conversion rate to leads. Those leads have an even lower conversion rate to sales. If this sounds like the issue you’re facing, then your issue certainly lays in site design and overall user experience.

 

Site Design


Site design is more than the background or fonts you choose to use on our company’s website. The overall design will incorporate all graphic and non-graphic elements of your company page. A good site design is:

 

User Experience


User experience is just what it sounds like. It is the experience a user has when they come to your website. Even more important than SEO best practices, ensuring a good user experience is vital. But what makes an enjoyable experience versus a negative experience?

 

A negative experience would be a site with hard to read copy, eye-straining color scheme, difficulty in navigation, unclear directions, or is otherwise difficult to use.

 

Keys to creating a good user experience would be ensuring that:

 

  • The site is easy on the eyes (no neon colors, hard to read fonts, etc.)
  • It is easy (and obvious) to navigate from one page to the next
  • Simple sign up procedures which make it clear what the user will receive
  • Effective copy and content that utilizes best practices for readability (plenty of white space, short paragraphs, concise sentences, clear call to actions, bullets, numbered lists, headers)

 

Why This Matters


Wondering why this is important? The point is to get customers to your site, which is done through search engine optimization. Right? Kind of.

 

SEO will get users to your site, but user experience is what keeps them there. A bad design or ineffective copy can have potential readers leaving before they even scan your pages to see what is being offered.

 

A straightforward way to think of this is as a series of actions and rewards.

 

Action #1: Using SEO and a variety of advertisement options to increase search engine ranking.
Reward: People come to your website.

 

Action #2: Implementing best website design practices and ensuring a great user experience.
Reward: People stay on your site, where they find out what you offer.

 

Action #3: You offer your target audience something useful in return for their information. This can be content, discounts, or something else entirely. What is offered depends on your brand and customers.
Reward: You get their information, which turns them into warm leads.

 

The process goes on from there, but this is the part of the buyer’s journey where website design and user experience are most important.

 

8 Easy Ways to Improve Site Design & User Experience


Knowing how important these elements are is one thing, but how do you go about optimizing your website for them? The best option is to hire a professional design company who is efficient in best SEO and user experience (UX) practices. Often, these selfsame companies can operate after your site is live as an extension of your marketing company.

 

If you choose to go it your own, however, here are eight simple ways you can begin to improve your site design. Each of the following are simple steps which are broken down, so they can be executed one at a time if necessary.

 

1: Optimize Color Scheme

 

Get rid of overly bright, neon coloring which causes eyestrain and a difficulty in reading texts. Replace it with soft or dark colors. The text should contrast the background, so it is easy to read.

 

2: Check Your Fonts

 

Do away with overly stylized fonts which are difficult to read. While pretty, these offer no purpose or benefit to the reader.

 

3: Optimize Sign-Up Forms

 

Check your sign-up forms. It is ideal to have five or less boxes which need to be filled out, if possible. If your forms have more than five boxes, consider doing away with any optional ones to decrease the chance readers will become too overwhelmed to sign up.

 

4: Increase Readability

 

Check your webpage copy for easy readability. Have you used plenty of white space? Are bullets used when possible? Have you incorporated headers to break up the text?

 

5: Check Graphics

 

Make sure the graphics used on your website are just enough to help the user experience without being overwhelming. They should also be of the highest quality.

Holistic Digital Marketing

 

The marketing and advertising industry is changing quickly as digital marketing is overwhelming brands and businesses with a new way to interact with consumers. Not only does the concept of digital marketing seem new and daunting, but its trends and norms are changing constantly. As traditional marketers move toward digital, many individuals believe that simply participating in some of the online community is enough to keep their brand relevant. Unfortunately for these less integrated companies, they are losing out to digital marketing campaigns and platforms that are holistic.

 

For traditional companies, developing a multifaceted digital marketing approach might seem unnecessary because traditional marketing worked in the past. In order to keep a stable client base and establish new customers, brands and businesses must understand the importance of digital marketing.

 

Establishing a holistic approach might including hiring a professional marketing company or marketer or doing a whole lot of research. Whatever your approach might be, here are 10 reasons why it is absolutely important for you to have a well-developed digital marketing approach.

 

Information is Power!


Digital marketing offers a variety of resources for individuals to track information and analytics on their ad campaigns and customer relationships. If you have a website, you can track how many people access your site and from what general location. If you can extend this to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, you can compare data. Understanding how your campaigns run on different platforms gives you an idea of your target audience and how to appeal to them.

 

When you’re able to look at charts and data, you or your marketing manager can make informed decisions on how to proceed with future campaigns and areas that need improvement.

 

Your Business Will Appear Alive and Well


You don’t always know how users find out about your brand or service. In some cases, they are coming from a Google search, in other cases they are clicking through Facebook pages. You want your brand to reach out to consumers in a fairly universal way. If one part of your digital marketing is empty or unloved, you might be losing a large chunk of potential clients. For example, you might have a stellar website, but your Facebook account hasn’t been updated in three years. If a user ends up on your Facebook account that doesn’t have a link to your website, they might think you’re out of business!

 

Holistic digital marketing shows that you’re putting care into how your brand is viewed to consumers. If you put extra effort into making your digital marketing campaigns attractive and present, consumers will notice.

 

3. You Can Offer a Clear Voice


One of the most important elements of an effective brand campaign is cohesiveness. If you can establish a specific tone, look, and logo that is used across different forms of digital marketing, consumers will recognize your brand wherever they see it.

 

Similarly, you want to make sure all of your avenues are up-to-date on important information. When users search your service or product online, they don’t want to feel confused or uncomfortable when they access your website or social media platforms. If there is an conflicting information like price points, open hours, or contact information, consumers are less likely to trust your company.

 

4. The Internet Gives You Room to Grow


Over time, your brand’s appeal and target group might change and expand. Multi-pronged digital marketing gives you the opportunity to adjust your brand’s message efficiently and effectively to cater to your target audience. Because your digital marketing approach is well-balanced, you can reach out to more consumers every day and make decisions based on what’s working and what’s not.

 

5. The Monetary Return Is Simply Higher


You might think it’s more worth it to save a little money on a few aspects on your marketing campaign that into the deep end. However, when you skimp on some areas of digital marketing, you lose more revenue from potential clients than the money you save.

 

When you’re paying for some elements of digital marketing, you’re really just wasting your money because without other pieces of the whole, you aren’t getting the full benefits of a digital marketing campaign.

 

6. Recognition


As a result of consistency across multiple platforms, people might start to recognize your brand even if they aren’t looking into your service or product. If there’s a logo that appears on multiple pages that they are accessing online–while searching something on Google, looking at pictures on Facebook, scanning through emails–it will start to become part of the norm. If your brand is part of the day-to-day, then you’ll probably be getting a new client once they need your service or product.

 

7. You Can Establish Pride in Your Employees


If your brand or logo is recognized by users, employees will be more interested telling their friends and family about their job and the company they work for. A holistic approach to digital marketing generally involves everyone within a company, so each employee will have a different role in promoting your brand. This way, employees will feel more comfortable talking about their work because they know the voice that their company is taking.

 

8. It Doesn’t all Rest on One Account


Chances are that mistakes will be made, maintenance checks will happen, and you don’t want it all to come down on your company when your single digital outlet fails. Let’s say you only want to develop your company’s website, but not the social channels. If someone forgets to pay the server bill or the site provider goes down for a few hours, your clients won’t be able to access information or contact your company. On the other hand, if you have a Facebook account with most of the pertinent information, clients can still reach out to your company, and nothing is lost!

 

9. You Learn More


Different outlets function in different ways. Updating a Facebook account is different from writing copy for email campaigns. As an individual, you probably can’t manage an entire brand’s digital marketing campaign on your own, but you can understand how different aspects of digital marketing work for the campaign.

 

When your approach is holistic, you can identify different areas of digital marketing that you want to focus on at a time. Maybe your Facebook is at a great place with likes, but website traffic has never been slower. Understanding a holistic approach to digital marketing means looking into the areas that are falling short of your expectations.

 

10. It Just Looks Good


There aren’t a lot of websites these days that don’t have social icons sitting at the bottom of every page. Having access to different kind of digital marketing makes your company seem relevant and willing to adapt to the time. Holistic digital marketing gives you a chance to reach out to consumers in a different way. There are benefits to different platforms, but no on platform trumps the rest. A multifaceted approach allows you to provide images, text, video, and audio content in a way that it has never been experienced before. So be ahead of the curve!

Holiday Season Marketing

The holiday season  is a time for family and festivity, but also signifies big opportunities for retailers. The National Retail Federation reported that in 2016, $658.3 billion was spent in November and December, signifying that with successful marketing, companies can thrive during this period. So how can you take advantage of this season to onboard new clientele and build your business? Let’s take a look at some key tips to keep in mind for your business this holiday season.

 

1. Start Early


Being prepared and spreading the word early about your holiday promotions is essential to a successful retail holiday period. If you start in November, for example, the season is over before you know it and not only do you not take advantage of people’s shopping habits but you don’t get the chance to optimize your marketing campaigns and maximize on sales. In fact, according to the NRF’s survey of the 2016 holiday season, more than half of consumers started either researching or purchasing in October or earlier. Imagine all the customer base you would miss out on if your promotions and inventory weren’t in order? In fact, Paige Gerber, the Head of Marketing at e-commerce company, Vantage, mentioned that in 2016, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shifted from just two days of sales to a whole long weekend, with bigger discounts, longer sales periods and with retailers acquiring up to 59 percent more customers. This proves that holidays such as Cyber Monday are an ideal environment for firms to expand their customer base, especially if you start early and have a couple of months to attract new business.

 

2. Be Creative With Your Marketing Tactics


Not only do retailers have to ensure brand awareness in-store and online, but nowadays a simple sales discount is not always enough when it comes to adding value. Being interactive, by organizing an event or getting involved with the community, is a great way for customers to get to know your brand and build a stronger relationship. It’s also important to have deals that directly benefit your customers during the holiday season  for candy and food stores, this seems straightforward, but if your business is not directly related to the holidays then try partnering up with appropriate businesses to offer a competitive advantage. You could even get as creative as McDonald’s did when they introduced a character across all their marketing efforts during the holidays. They created the store of Juliette, who was a doll that came to life  by featuring across all efforts, the character brought synergy to the campaign and perfectly aligned with the holiday festivities.

 

3. Communicate With Consumers


Especially during the holiday season, customers have their pick at hundreds of different retailers, experiences and promotions, making the market incredibly competitive, and easy for customers to remember everything. Initiate strong relationships with your clientele during this period by constantly communicating with them and ensuring you’re on their mind. Try sending regular text messages or emails with new promotions, follow up with people who have left items in their online cart and use geographical targeting to attract consumers in the area. Through a constant flow of content, your audience will remain aware of your brand and the chances of conversion therefore increase.

 

The holiday season is great time for retailers to expand their business and onboard new clientele. With shopping on everyone’s mind, try and use these tips to take full advantage of the season and deliver results.