Monthly Archives: March 2016

Google Announces Top 3 Search Ranking Factors

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

The majority of the time SEO experts are left guessing as to what factors are used the most in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, thanks to a Q&A session with Andrey Lipattsev, one of Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategists, we now know the top 3 search ranking factors. These factors are RankBrain, Links, and Content. This probably isn’t shocking news for most digital marketers but it is helpful to get reassurance that the backlinks and content you’ve created for your site are being recognized and taken into consideration when ranking your webpage in Google.

Links and content have always been two of the most important aspects of good search engine optimization practices and the Q&A session mentioned above simply reaffirms that knowledge. RankBrain, however, is a new development that is still being researched by many SEOs. Because little is known about this new ranking feature, we are left to guess as to how it will affect SEO in general. What we do know is that RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm that helps better rank webpages in Google. Its purpose is to get the most relevant pages to the top of the search results, helping Google users find the information they are looking for faster. This means that competition for the top Google spots is going to get increasingly difficult as RankBrain weeds out any less than satisfactory webpages.

google-g-word-blue3-1920-800x450

That being said, even though we now know the top three search ranking factors for Google, not much should change for SEOs. It is still important for digital marketers to focus on getting good backlinks by utilizing tools such as private blog networks as well as creating lots of informative and interesting content for their sites. However, it is now more important than ever that webmasters are ensuring a positive user experience for anyone who visits their website. This means that all SEOs need to make sure their sites are easy to navigate, and are filled with useful information that will lead to overall user satisfaction. Having a high user rating will boost your page’s relevancy and should benefit you as RankBrain assesses your site and helps decide where it should rank on Google.

Problems Caused by Real-Time Algorithm Updates

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Gone are the days of manual releases for Google algorithm updates. With real-time algorithmic updates now taking place, a whole new batch of problems may arise for websites’ SEO.

google-penguin-2016i-ss-1920-800x450

For example, unlike manual action, you do not get notified when your website gets hit with an algorithmic penalty. Because of this, it may take weeks for digital marketers to identify the cause of the penalty and how to fix it.  SEOs will be spending an increasing amount of time and energy trying to diagnose the problem before they can begin making the appropriate adjustments to get it reversed. The quickest way for SEOs to determine if their site has been penalized is by comparing when the drop in site traffic occurred with the time of the algorithm update. However, as previously stated, this will only help identify the source of the problem and not the cause.

semrush-google-penalty-800x202

Unfortunately, this issue will also lead into a number of different problems. For instance, let’s say you made a lot of changes to your site by adding backlinks, updating content, etc. Then, a month later you see a drastic decline in your site traffic and wonder what went wrong. You go back and look through your data and realize that you’ve been hit with an algorithmic penalty. However, because Google may take weeks or even months before penalizing you for a change you made it is almost impossible to know what adjustment caused the penalization. You then have to go back through your records and reexamine all the modifications made to try and guess what raised a red flag. As you can tell, this can be a very time consuming and frustrating process to go through and unfortunately it will become increasingly common with real-time updates.

ahrefs-penguin-penalty-800x349

Real-time updates will also lead to a rise in dishonest SEO practices.  Search engine optimization businesses could attach spammy links to a website, wait until said site gets penalized and then charge that company a large amount of money to remove the links they attached in the first place. Dishonest digital marketing companies could also start charging people to remove penalties that they never had to begin with. Without being able to find the cause of the penalty themselves, users are forced to trust the SEO companies they hire to be honest with them concerning the amount of penalties incurred and the amount of work it will take to reverse the issues.

Although there are a number of problems that could arise from the real-time updates, there is also a lot of good that will come out of it. Only time will tell if this switch is more beneficial than it is harmful.

The Four Most Important SEO Strategies

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

Many of you have probably heard of the new ranking algorithm called RankBrain which grades webpages on a scale of 1-10. However, that is probably the extent of what you know about it as little information has been provided concerning this new ranking system; leaving many webmasters and SEOs wondering as to how this new algorithm will affect their search rankings.

penguinator

Our SEO experts in Indianapolis have come together and compiled a list of the four most important search engine optimization strategies to utilize as you prepare for the release of the RankBrain to help ensure your webpages keep their rankings and aren’t negatively affected by this new update.

  1. First, RankBrain will be looking for relevant webpages, and will be scoring a site’s relevance heavily based on its amount of organic CTR’s. Your goal should be to get more CTR’s then the expected amount of CTR’s for your ad spot. Do that, and your webpage should be able to maintain its ranking without any issues.
  1. Gone are the days when a basic title filled with keywords were enough to help your site rank well in Google. Now, not only does your webpage need a title with relevant keywords, but it also needs to be interesting enough to catch user attention and increase your click through rate. The best way to do this is by arousing certain emotions through the words you choose, causing more and more people to click on your ad out of curiosity.
  1. You need to focus your efforts on high task completion rates. That’s right, Google knows whether or not users are satisfied with the content your webpage is providing, and they can tell how high your conversion rate is. Therefore, it is vital that your SEO is focusing on achieving high task completion rates to make sure your webpage continues to thrive in the search rankings.
  1. Utilize social media ads to help boost your CTR’s and conversion rates. It’s proven that social media ads can do wonders for websites as they help increase familiarity among target audiences and ultimately lead to more website traffic. Therefore, if you aren’t already advertising on sites such as Twitter or Facebook start doing so as soon as possible! Increasing awareness on your brand will make users 2x more likely to click on your site when it pops up in the search results.

We hope the suggestions listed above will help get you started as you prepare for the release of the new algorithm RankBrain!

Local SEO and the Benefits of Offline Marketing

By | Local SEO, Marketing | No Comments

Marketing continues to get more and more troublesome as the competition for a wide variety of fields gets increasingly difficult. Nowadays, local businesses need a solid digital marketing plan as well as physical marketing strategies in order to keep up with their competitors.

marcus-miller-flyer-800 (1)

The best marketing tool you have for both the digital world and physical one is your reputation. Having a good reputation in your area and field of work will help increase your client base through word of mouth. Referrals from satisfied customers are the easiest and least expensive way to advertise your business. Having a reputable business will also lead to positive reviews left by clients who were pleased with the work you provided. For example, if you own a bed and breakfast in Indianapolis and have the best reviews on TripAdvisor for bed and breakfasts in your area, then more people are going to be interested in staying with you. Having a large amount of good reviews on sites such as Google+, Facebook and Yelp will help your local business thrive and ultimately increase profits.

dk-carpenters-800x452

Of course, referrals and a good business reputation can only occur after you have a solid customer base. To attract more customers to your local business you need them to be familiar with your brand. This means, having multiple ads both online and in your local area that will make your brand recognizable and will help people remember your company whenever they are in search of the products or services you offer. Utilizing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to advertise your business to a specific audience as you can pick the location, age range, interests, etc. of the people you advertise to. Handing out business cards and flyers in your area will also help people become more aware of your brand and will attract more people to your storefront.

While digital marketing and physical marketing are both individually beneficial, practicing each type of marketing in conjunction with the other is the best way to familiarize people with your brand and attract more customers to your local business.

Aspects of Modern SEO

By | Local SEO, SEO | No Comments

Ever wonder what exactly search engine optimization is referring to? What is it that makes up the service of SEO and why is it so valuable for websites? Below we’ve compiled a list of the different major aspects of digital marketing to help you better understand the world of SEO.

One of the most important elements of search engine optimization is content creation for all pages of your site and any other marketing outlets. It is vital that the content you or your digital marketing agency publishes is informative, helpful and will draw readers’ attention. Solid content for your site and other marketing websites can greatly increase traffic and ultimately boost your business’ profits.

puzzle-pieces-ss-1920-800x450

Utilizing social media sites is also another important aspect of good SEO tactics. We live in a world where almost everyone is active on social media in some form which means being involved on social media is a must for businesses. That being said, if you aren’t using sites such as Facebook or Twitter you need to start doing so as soon as possible. A good social media presence (combined with solid content posts as mentioned above) can do wonders for your website’s traffic.

Link building is crucial part of successful digital marketing. Link building can get you a lof of referral traffic and is extremely beneficial in regards to building relationships with other people involved in your field of work. However, it is important to remember when link building that you are taking full advantages of tools such as private blog networks to get the most out of your link building efforts.

Local SEO involves making sure your business’ information is correct and easily accessible and getting good customer reviews on various review websites. Of course, getting reviews on Google+ is highly beneficial but it is also helpful to get positive reviews on sites such as Facebook. Good reviews will greatly help your site climb the search rankings and ultimately attract more customers to your website.

Lastly, general website optimization plays an important role in the world of SEO. Basically this includes making sure your site is user friendly and easy to navigate, that it is structured well and is of course mobile friendly.

Google Local Business Cards and Their Effect on Your Business

By | Local SEO | No Comments

Google recently released a new feature called Google Local Business Cards. Basically, this feature allows local businesses to post content directly to the search results page in Google. When your business pops up on Google search pages your Google Local Business Cards will show up right under your website link, drawing the attention of potential customers. This is especially beneficial in the case of local business category queries, when a customer is searching for a general category but has not yet decided which business to purchase from.

Business-Name-Query-w-Google-Posts-800x551

 

For example, if a potential customer is looking for a photo booth rental service in the Indianapolis area, and they search for “photo booth rental Indianapolis”, a number of local businesses will pop up. However, the business with the content posted under their website link will draw the attention of clients away from other sites and toward the business that is utilizing Google Local Business Cards.

 

A side note: the content found under the site link is almost always content submitted by the business itself, and is most often drawn from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This fact further emphasizes the importance of local businesses posting interesting and informative content on both their website and various other outlets. Additionally, if you area not already taking advantage of social media sites such as Facebook or SEO tools such as private blog networks, I highly recommend you start doing so as soon as possible.

Engagement-Rings-Buffalo

So what does this new addition of Google Local Business Cards mean for local business SEO? Fortunately, as long as you or your digital marketing agency know how to create interesting content for you site, this feature should greatly boost website traffic. However, non-local business sites such as e-commerce sites and service area businesses will likely suffer as attention is drawn away from their links.

It is important to note that Google Local Business Cards are experimental and could be temporary but local businesses should still take full advantage of this new feature while they can.

How to Make Your Site SEO Friendly

By | SEO | No Comments

Wanting to get more traffic to your business’s website but don’t know how? Boosting your online presence may be easier than you think. Check out our tips on making your website more search engine optimization friendly to ensure you attract as many potential customers as possible!

First, websites with good SEO use high quality keywords by inserting them all throughout their site. This helps grab the attention of users and also makes them aware of what your site has to offer. This is especially important to remember when naming the images on your website. Many times people will search for a particular image with specific keywords, so it is advisable that your image titles are descriptive yet to the point.

A website with good digital marketing will also be easy to navigate and highly user friendly. Make sure there are no confusing links or pointless content making your site look sloppy and unappealing. It is also crucial that your website is mobile friendly, as more and more people are opting to use their cellphones instead of their laptops or computers when conducting a search.

searchengines_thinkstock-100616833-primary.idge

Solid content plays a huge role in search engine optimization tactics as it will not only attract users to your site but it will also help your website climb search rankings. Consistently posting informative and interesting content to your site should be one of your top priorities as you try to improve your SEO strategies.

However, when creating content for your site be sure to avoid the temptation of overloading users with weak content in an effort to improve your search rankings. Just because a site is doing well in the rankings doesn’t always necessarily mean it is attracting a lot of users. While a good amount of content is important, make sure you don’t overdo it. One easy way to space out your content is by utilizing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to post updates without adding them directly to your site. This not only will help you climb Google rankings but it will also ensure you avoid overwhelming users with information when they visit your site.

We hope the tips we provided you with above help you as you try to make your site more SEO friendly!

Your Site has Been Hit with a Google Penalty..Now What?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

First off, don’t freak out. No matter what happened to your website, its not the end of the world and almost every problem you encounter can be fixed with a little hard work. Once you’ve noticed the issue with your site, it’s time to identify the source of the problem. You need to determine if your site has been put under manual action or if it was penalized due to a change in the Google algorithm.

google-penguin-penalty-graphic

Check under the Search Traffic/Manual Actions section of your Google account to see if your site has been hit with a manual action. If not, then you can assume that the problem occurred as a result of a change in the algorithm. Thankfully, if your site’s issue is algorithmic that means that many people are experiencing the same problems. If that’s the case, my advice would be to first assess how big the setback is by checking your Google analytics then look on websites such as Moz to gather more information regarding the update. After you’ve done your research and are well informed about the update that took place and how it affected your site it is time to do some damage control.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-08-at-11.02.35

First, you need to make sure your site is still showing up in Google when someone searches for major keywords. If not, then fixing the problem might take longer than you originally thought. Next, you need to re-evaluate your search engine optimization strategies both past and present and make sure you haven’t utilized any questionable digital marketing tactics that may have lead to the penalization.

After you’ve reviewed your SEO strategies it’s time to take a look at your website itself. Google is placing more and more value on the content and overall user experience of your site when ranking pages and having an out of date webpage or spammy content can severely hinder your website’s ranking ability. Make sure your site has a solid structure and is filled with good quality content.

Once you’ve taken the steps above and are completely aware of the problems that have occurred its time to take the steps necessary to eliminate the issues and ensure they don’t happen again. Make sure your SEO agency as well as everyone else that was involved is mindful of the penalization so they can avoid any future setbacks.

What a Local Business Website Should Look Like

By | Local SEO, SEO | No Comments

Many small, local business have not taken the appropriate steps to attract local customers to their website because they don’t know where to begin or they have the false assumption that search engine optimization is only appropriate for large corporations. However, they could not be more wrong! Good SEO tactics are not only reserved for those who have the money to hire SEO experts, in fact, digital marketing for local businesses is fairly straight forward and can be managed successfully by almost anyone. If you own a local business and you’re not attracting a large amount of potential customers in your area then some serious changes need to be made to the way you approach SEO. We want to help ensure success for your business, so we’ve provided a list of things to do in order to improve your site’s search engine optimization and ultimately increase your company’s profits.

56b3cf40307ec2.24788953

First, you need to make sure all of your contact information is up to date and can be easily located by potential clients. This is especially important for local businesses wanting to attract customers from their area. One easy way to do this is by having a “contact us” page on your site that includes all of your information as well as an option to contact you directly through your site. It is vital that you make it as easy as possible for customers to locate your contact information.

It is also equally important that you are providing clients with informative and interesting local content. Don’t give into the temptation of copying your competitors or publishing content that is useless and unhelpful. I would highly recommend starting a blog and utilizing tools such as private blog networks as you begin creating content for your company.

Another helpful tip: get lots of reviews! Reviews will do wonders for your company as they help you climb Google quickly and provide other potential clients with useful information regarding your business.

Lastly, utilize social media outlets. We live in a world where almost everyone is involved on social media, and if you are not taking advantage of the various social media sites, it’s time to start doing so! Make your company a Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter page and start posting interesting content related to your company or products!

We hope the advice above will help your local business as you begin navigating the world of SEO!

2016 SEO Predictions

By | SEO | No Comments

While 2015 was a fairly uneventful year for search engine optimization, speculations have been made that 2016 will be quite lively in regards to digital marketing. Our offices in Indianapolis have gathered predictions made by some of the top SEO experts and complied them in a list below. Hopefully the information we’ve gathered will help you as you prepare for this year and plan your SEO strategies. Only time will tell if the digital marketing geniuses were right!

binoculars-see-view-visibility-ss-1920-800x450

First, as content-driven SEO becomes increasingly popular it is likely that the field will shift, making technical SEO work less desirable. Digital marketing companies will have to make the appropriate adjustments in order to keep up with the search engine optimization changes. It is reasonable to assume that SEO companies will have to focus their strategies towards content-driven search engine optimization and begin utilizing outlets such as private blog networks if they don’t already do so.

Next, we believe that brands will begin to shift their focus off of Google search boxes and onto other search websites. Other web portals will become more popular as companies try to climb rankings on sites such as WebMD or Walmart, depending on their product and target audience.

Additionally, it can be assumed that social media sites such as Facebook will continue to adjust their algorithm to focus more on internal search, once again requiring digital marketers to update their tactics to ensure high rankings. Gone are the days where searches lead only to external content!

Regardless of the changes that may or may not take place in the world of SEO for 2016, it is important for SEO experts to stay updated on the latest developments taking place. Websites such as Google are constantly revising their algorithms and the way they rank webpages and it is vital for digital marketers to be aware of these shifts before or as soon as they take place. Ensure success for your clients and their websites by staying in the loop and consistently checking site such as Moz to keep yourself ahead of the ever changing world of SEO.