Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO)’ Category

How To Turn Video Marketing Into a Successful SEO Strategy

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Guest post by Jason Parks.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, yet the SEO aspect is often overlooked. The simple truth is that a majority of search marketing specialists do not invest the necessary resources into the largest video-sharing website in the world. Videos can raise brand awareness and appear in Google’s organic search results, so it’s smart to take advantage of that.

YouTube SEO tips and techniques

IQ Visibility states that you can double your search traffic by having a video thumbnail in the search result. While doubling your search traffic from a YouTube video certainly isn’t guaranteed, the thumbnail appearing in the search results is more likely to capture the users’ attention than a standard search result. If the video is of a high quality, this rich media can allow users to learn more about your product or service.

Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube, summarized our sentiments perfectly when he noted, early in YouTube’s existence, that YouTube is becoming much more than an entertainment destination. It can be educational while also helping businesses gain exposure.

Merely posting any video onto YouTube though will not generate desired results.  A marketing strategy behind the video must be in place in order for Google to recognize the content as compelling and deserving of a rank on the first page of Google’s search results. For instance, we implemented a video SEO strategy for a local tennis club in Columbus. They are now ranking in the first overall position on Google for an extremely popular search query in the tennis world. The video has been viewed all over the world and now has over 150,000 views. This tennis club has established themselves as a leader in their industry for creating tennis videos on a wide variety of topics. Moreover, the video has generated an influx of clients for the tennis club. Specifically, the instructor featured in the video has been in high demand for lessons due to the video’s popularity.

Video search result example for tennis

Here is the six-step process we use to ensure tremendous success for your next video marketing campaign.

  1. Select a Topic That Will Be Beneficial To The User
    When we deliberated with the tennis club, we determined there were very few “how to” videos on “how to hit a faster tennis serve.” By reviewing Google Adword’s keyword planner, we were able to recognize the popularity of this query and concluded tennis players would benefit from this professional advice.

We created a script with the club professional instructor and set a date to film the video. Selecting a topic that users will enjoy and benefit from is a crucial component for laying the proper foundation down for your video marketing strategy.

  1. Invest in a Quality Production
    If you are going to take the time to create a video, you want the user experience to be good. Google can detect whether or not someone visits your video and drops off within five seconds, just like they can on your website. By creating high-quality video content, you are going to receive higher quality traffic that Google will take note of.American Relocation Connections spent a lot of time creating a video on the topic, “Best Tips for Hiring a Mover.” {Watch video}. An attorney for the law firm Alvin H. Broome and Associates created a video showing off the personality of his firm. {Watch video}.This video content needs to be informative and benefit people seeking this information on Google or on their website.

    If you think you can stuff keywords into the title of a mediocre video, think again. This might work for a low competitive keyword but the strategy won’t pay off if you really want to achieve true video marketing success.

  2. Upload a Transcript
    After selecting a topic, the next step is to create a script. The script can actually be uploaded to YouTube as a transcript. It automatically syncs with the speakers and voiceovers in the video and allows those who are hard of hearing or deaf or those without volume or working sound on a computer to read the transcript and comprehend the content of the video.How to add a video transcriptGoogle offers support on proper formatting of transcripts and proper implementation of transcripts into a video.
  3. Make Your Content Desirable To Share
    After the tennis video was complete, we developed a list of 50 websites that would benefit from having this video embedded on their website. We then reached out to each website on our list, requesting they embed the video on their websites, describing the advantages of the video’s existence, and offering an article to correlate with the video written by the tennis club’s head professional instructor. Five different tennis sites agreed to feature the video on their website, including TennisNow.com, one of the most well-known and visited websites in the industry.Once the video was embedded on these sites, the visibility increased dramatically on YouTube and within the search results of Google. Once the visibility increased, the video took off.
  4. Advertise Your Video 
    Video advertising on YouTube can be a great bang for your buck if implemented correctly. When you create a video, it is helpful to allocate advertising dollars to the videos to give the media momentum. With a cost per view as low as $0.02, you can get 2,500 views on your video with a $50 budget. In the eyes of Google and YouTube, this adds legitimacy to the video and can help catapult your video higher on the YouTube and Google organic search results.
  5. Proper Title Tags and Description
    Title tags are an extremely important element that Google detects when determining the ranking power of a video. For the tennis video, we had previously performed our research on popular search queries. If you are a business, you cannot merely stuff keywords into the title tag. Make the title organic. For example, if you are a Dentist in Dayton, Ohio, you should not make the title tag, “Dayton Dentist.” If the video featured client testimonials, a better title would be, “Testimonials for Dr. Smith, a trusted Dayton Dentist.”In following the six steps for a successful video campaign, you will add a key component to your marketing efforts, which will give you a leg-up on the competition.  If you dedicate the proper time and implement a memorable strategy, your YouTube video will receive great exposure across numerous marketing channels.

Jason Parks, owner of The Media Captain, contributed content to this article. The Media Captain is a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO, web development and online advertising. Jason has been quoted in the New York Times, Success Magazine and Yahoo! News. Jason has assisted in launching successful digital campaigns for publicly traded companies, national brands, and local, family-owned companies that have gained national notoriety.

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The SEO Journey – How long before you start seeing results?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Guest post by Jack Dawson.

Everyone implementing SEO usually has the same question – how long before I rank first for my keywords? This question does not have a simple answer, mostly because it’s not in itself a legitimate question. It comes from misunderstanding the current nature of SEO and it is stuck in the rudiments of what SEO used to be.

Old vs. new SEO

In the past, SEO was about identifying the best keywords for businesses. These are relevant words with little competition and high organic traffic. You had to pick out 5-10 of those “golden keywords” which would help you capture the majority of your online traffic. If you’re still telling your SEO professionals that you want first rank for this keyword or that, then you’re stuck in the old paradigm.

Old SEO tactics vs. new SEO strategies

Today, there isn’t a single keyword, or keyword group that can solely drive most of your traffic, especially when long-tail search is considered. If your focus is on a group of keywords, you’re missing out on the majority of users looking for you.

Currently, natural language searches drive SEO, i.e., users are searching in much the same way they would ask a normal question, instead of inserting a keyword or two. Google in fact offers voice search options, so that people can speak out their questions. This allows people conveniently to carry out more detailed searches that will provide them with better results.

The result is long-tail keywords, which are less competitive and therefore easier to rank on. They are also more relevant and hence lead to higher conversion rates. Therefore, you should base your ranking objective on a larger group of natural language queries, which is constantly shifting.

Rankings are important, but not quite

There are more important metrics you should focus on rather than just ranking. If you stay focused on getting top rankings, you will have a skewed view of the really important things. It’s not just about getting top rankings. Your rank is worthless if it does not come with leads, conversions and revenue increases, which are the real outcomes.

How to do SEO in 2015

The right question

Rank is a mere output, your SEO firm/professional should be focused on these more than just getting you higher ranking. As you search for the right SEO partner, your question shouldn’t be how long it will take for you to get the top rank but rather how long before efforts culminate in leads, conversions and sales.

How long SEO takes to work

The real answer to this question is highly subjective. A lot of factors come into play to make SEO efforts effective, or not. A few of those include:

  • How long the website has existed
  • How much and what SEO techniques had been applied in the past
  • The layout and general shape of the website
  • How much content is uploaded on the site
  • The website’s link profile, among many others

Even when there are two businesses in the same field competing for the same target market, SEO won’t work the same for both of them because of the above differences. However, here is a brief outline of the kind of results to expect from a valid SEO strategy over time:

Month #1

Website audit, discovery and research, keyword strategy building and general planning. If you get through the research fast, you can start to make technical changes by the first month of operation. For larger or more complicated sites, the research and discovery phase can spill over longer than a month.

Month #2

Implementation of major technical SEO techniques. Basing on results of the audit, you will make modifications to the site. Sometimes, the site requires a complete overhaul, a process that can take several months. Other SEO techniques include building one’s link profile and content marketing, which you can carry out along with technical changes.

During this phase, and especially if a complete overhaul is in progress, you’re likely to see little or no results for SEO efforts. You must complete the changes before seeing any real impact.

Month #3

Major focus on improvement of content and content marketing. These include whitepapers, FAQ section updates, blogging, expanding product descriptions and company information. Where the budget is not a severely limiting factor, you can do this simultaneously with the technical overhaul phase; otherwise technical changes come first.

You may see some ranking improvements towards the end of the month. This may or may not lead to conversion and sales improvement yet, but if they’re not there quite yet that’s okay.

Month #4

Involves a continuation of content creation, technical optimization and link profile building, including link audits to clean out bad/low quality links. This month should produce a notable rise in rankings, traffic as well as lead generation. It won’t be as big as what you’d see after a year, but enough to show that efforts are paying off.

Month #5

By now, social media management and marketing is also part of the SEO strategy to increase direct traffic and promote content created. This simultaneously builds up healthy natural links. Content creation goes on, coupled with PR and other media outreach techniques (collectively, these techniques encompass a web presence optimization strategy). You’ll see more traffic by now, and your leads and conversions should also be increasing.

Month #6

If you have traffic of 5,000 visitors monthly and higher, you can begin to direct SEO efforts towards conversion rate improvement. This converts the traffic coming in to leads and eventually sales. After this, your strategy revolves around content creation and promotion. Any other specific techniques will differ depending on the nature of your business, your website and your business goals.

Conclusion

The majority of SEO professionals and firms tell clients that results are visible in 4-6 months. This is an accurate description, but clients must remember that results only start to show within this time, growing as the time passes. By the time your hit one year, your results should be significantly better than what you saw at the sixth month.

Also, you may notice a tapering in results after a certain point, after which SEO efforts will be directed at maintaining the results as opposed to improving them. The key is not to stop just because there aren’t any results in the first 2-3 months. The minimum budget time for SEO should be 6-12 months, because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Plan properly and invest knowing you’re in for the long haul.

Author bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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10 Valuable SEO Resources: Keyword Research, Tools, and Local SEO

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

As noted here last week, ranking highly in search requires writing great content, making smart use  of Google Webmaster Tools, and building or earning high-authority backlinks.

keyword ideas  tool

Image credit: Small Business Ideas Blog

But there’s more involved in generating high, and highly relevant, organic search traffic.

At its core, search still relies on words, whether typed or spoken. How can you identify the highest-value keywords for your content? Which keyword research and other SEO tools are most effective? What tactics are most valuable for local SEO success?

Find those answers and more here in 10 expert SEO posts.

SEO Keyword Guides and Tools

How to Find Keywords Your Competitors Don’t Know About by Feldman Creative

Barry FeldmanWriting that “By strategically implementing long tail keywords, you’re far more likely to rank high, attract the audience you desire, and show motivated prospects the way to your website” but “Your challenge is to identify the right long tail keywords,” Barry Feldman outlines six sources for finding those valuable-but-undertargeted phrases, including tables of contents on Wikipedia and common questions on forums.

Fast SEO Competitive Analysis by Search Engine Watch

Ben GoodsellBen Goodsell explains how to identify top competitors in search, how to use SEMrush to discover how people are finding competitors in search, and how to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool along with Excel to identify search trends and quantify search volume.

Google Didn’t Want Us To Use The Keyword Planner This Way. But It Works Nicely. by Advanced Web Ranking
***** 5 STARS

Dan ShureNoting that “This landing page tool in keyword planner is primarily designed for when you have created a landing page, and you want to place ads to get paid traffic to that page specifically,” Dan Shure proceeds to demonstrate eight other “unintended” ways to use this tool for keyword research, such as by entering competitor sites, then using filters to find high volume / low competition phrases from the resulting list.

70+ Keyword Research Tool Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner by Small Business Ideas Blog

Brian LangUpdated for 2015, this bookmark-worthy post from Brian Lang now includes reviews of more than 90 keyword research tools, ranging from tools provided by the search engines (e.g., Google Correlate, the Bing Keyword Tool) to online research tools like Advanced Web Ranking to keyword suggestion tools, other desktop keyword tools, competitive analysis tools, browser add-ons and plugins, analytics tools, and “other ideas.”

Free Keyword Suggestions Tool by SerpStat

This simple free tool lets you search for general keyword ideas as well as questions only (e.g., what is…? type terms), and export results (with registration).

10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool by Pamorama

Pam DyerSince “the demise of Google’s Keyword Tool, the most popular of its kind, has left marketers scrambling for alternatives,” Pam Dyer helpful reviews 10 other options here, including both free tools like Ubersuggest (which “makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services. You can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries. It also offers vertical results for images, news, shopping, video, and recipes”) and paid tools such as KeywordSpy.

Other SEO Tools

Webbee SEO Spider Version 2.0 Official Release by Webbee

This free downloadable SEO analysis tool offers five different crawl modes including keyword intelligence: “This crawl option will crawl all the keywords from website. This mode takes keywords from titles, headings and anchor texts and do analysis on them either they are conflicted with any other webpage’s keywords or are good to go.”

SEO Tools: The Definitive Excel Plugin for Digital Marketers by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Joe CoxGuest author Joe Cox delves into the functionality of Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools plugin for Excel, which he believes “is without doubt the most outstanding and powerful Excel add-in available for SEOs.” Among the tool’s capabilities, the Google Analytics API “literally puts the power of Google Analytics into your Excel Workbook,” and “from HTML Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, H1, H2, H3 and Canonical URL Meta, the on-page section of Bosma’s SEO Tools is absolute dynamite.”

Local SEO Guides

Google+: No.2 Social Network, Ghost Town Or Key Driver Of Local Search? by MediaPost

Jeremy Walker writes that regardless if its shortcomings as a social network, “Google+ sits at the center of local search.” He outlines four steps for local businesses to make the most of Google+, from creating a Google+ account and verifying ownership to enhancing the content on your Google+ Brand Page: “you can add a custom cover photo, create posts, add photos and even videos.”

10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business by Search Engine Land

Chris Silver SmithChris Silver Smith lists 10 “local marketing myths that you should become familiar with (and banish from your own thinking),” such as as that your primary keyword must be part of your domain name; that Twitter and Facebook are worthless for certain types of local businesses (“social media profiles such as Twitter and Facebook pages provide you with assets to help proactively manage your online reputation, and they may help you outrank your competition”); and that mobile optimization isn’t important.

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How to Dramatically Improve Organic Search Traffic

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Guest post by Felix Tarcomnicu.

If you want to dramatically improve your organic search traffic, you have to make your website better. Think about what makes it unique, valuable and engaging. To dominate the search engines results, your website must stand out from all the others in your field.

A common mistake among webmasters is that they think their website is done way too early.  Because of that, they spend less time improving the website and eventually everything stagnates. The truth is that your website is never done. You have to continuously improve and give your users reasons to spend more time on your website and engage with your content.

If you are determined to get more organic traffic and make your website deserve to rank on the first page in Google, follow the below tips.

1. Use Google Webmaster Tools

By using Google Webmaster Tools you know when your website has coding- and search-related issues. The tool points out errors and gives you recommendations to improve your website.

Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and fix 404 errors and crawling or security issues.

Also from Google Webmaster Tools, you can highlight your data and tell Google how your content is structured. When your website becomes the authority in your niche, Google can use your structured data to show knowledge cards with data from your website.

To structure your data, click on ‘Search Appearance’ and then on ‘Data Highlighter’.

webmaster tools data highlighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Structuring your data is a very easy and straightforward process that can give you a lot of advantages. To understand your website’s pattern, Google will ask you to indicate where your information is located on your page. You can chose to highlight articles, review pages, books, videos and more.

webmaster tools data highlighter

2. Understand user behavior

Knowing what your users do on your website is the key element of improving the overall user experience. If your users think that your website is unique and valuable, then Google might think the same and reward you with higher rankings.

To determine how your users are engaging with your content, Google uses several metrics, which include:

  • • Average time per visit
  • • Bounce rate
  • • Page view per visit
  • • Exit rate
  • • Number of comments per post

Always write content that engages with your users and ask them to place comments and share their insights. Be funny and natural.

You can understand more about where your users are going and clicking on your website, by checking Google Analytics. To see a click-map of your website, go to Behavior – Site Content – All Pages. Here you can select the page you want to analyze and then click on ‘In-Page’.

google analytics click map

Analyzing your website’s click-map helps you learn where users expect to see links. Alternately, you can use other tracking tools that provide heat maps.

3. Write the best content possible

Writing a 500 -word article is not even close to doing enough. Webmasters who set a limit of words per article are making a terrible mistake. Just because your content writer charges you per 500 words, it doesn’t mean that should be the standard length of your posts.

Your content can be as long as it has to be. Always provide value and bring something new to the table by giving your readers the information they expect to get. There is no maximum length for your posts.

Numerous studies has shown that websites with longer articles tend to rank higher in Google.

Concentrate on helping your readers find solutions to their problems. Remember that the key to making a user return to your website is to satisfy him with the information you have shared.

4. Get quality links to your website

Publishing top-notch content on your website is very important. Nevertheless, it will be very challenging to rank high without having some high-authority backlinks pointing to your website.

Google still uses backlinks as their main ranking factor, and therefore you have to build or earn some high-quality links to increase your website authority.

Note that backlinks can be your ticket to heaven or hell. The quality of your backlinks is extremely important, and you must avoid building links from untrusted sources.

The easiest way to find new link building opportunities is to look at the backlinks of your competitors. By identifying and replicating the links that helped them rank high in Google, you can outrank them.

With tools like Monitor Backlinks you can spy on your competitors link building campaigns. Every ten days, you get a report with all the links they have earned recently. You can sort them by their value and do your best to replicate the best ones.

how to find competitor backlinks

The tool automatically checks if you have a link from each domain, and if you do, it will highlight the backlink row in green.

If you can replicate 30% of the good backlinks each competitor has, eventually you will outrank them in Google.

Final words

To get more organic traffic to your website, start by making your website better. Never stop improving and testing methods that help you improve the overall user experience.

Keep an eye on what’s working best for your competitors and try to replicate their best backlinks.

About the Author

Felix Tarcomnicu is an online marketer. He blogs at ProOptimization.com. Connect with him on Twitter.

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2015 SEO Checklist [Infographic]

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

As the search ranking algorithms used by Google and the other major search engines have become more sophisticated, the practice of SEO has gotten easier to explain (create great content, earn links) but much more challenging to execute.

2015 SEO Checklist of TacticsThe infographic below illustrates SEO best practices—the key “do’s” and “don’ts”–for 2015. Most of this advice will be familiar to anyone who spends much time doing or reading about SEO, but a few points are worth noting.

  • • Do make your site accessible by including a site-search box and using breadcrumbs. Neither idea is new, yet many sites still don’t incorporate these two navigation-friendly elements.
  • • Don’t overdo links on your home page. It’s tempting, as pages directly linked from the home page tend to rank better in search. But if overdone, this tactic wrecks the design, slows page load time, and consequently harms search rank more than helping.
  • • Don’t duplicate content. “If your site differs across various geographic areas, create individualized content for those pages.”
  • • Make sure the most important content on each page is near the top, “above the fold.”
  • • Though social signals are important to SEO, “don’t spend money on bots that artificially share your content. These are detectable by search engines and can incur penalties thus negatively affecting your rankings.”
  • • Don’t overload pages with information to try to game rankings–but do produce some pages with longer, more detailed content. As noted here, “The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.”

Without further ado, here is the SEO tactics checklist for 2015.

SEO checklist 2015 infographic

 

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