Category Archives: SEO Strategies

Internal Links: The Secret to Effective SEO?

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When you hear the term “SEO”, short for Search Engine Optimization, you probably think of web content elements like keywords; however, there is so much more to SEO than just a few well placed words. Internal links that take readers to different pages and content on the same website are essential to keeping web visitors engaged in your content rather than going elsewhere to learn more. Read on to discover what solid internal links can add to your visitor experience.

The three most important aspects to consider when using internal links are: placement of the links, the first link, and the relevance of the linked page to the original content. Lets discuss each of these elements in depth.

Link Placement
Search Engines are able to tell when a web-address is trying to manipulate their way to the top of the search engine ranks by placing the same internal link at say, the end of every page, initializing clicks and traffic. These tactics can actually make your rank on the likes of Google and others drop drastically. Search Engines are quick to penalize and index a site, but they are also quick to forgive. Fix this common error and you may be surprised at how quickly your ranking bounces back.

The First Link
Make the first link on the page the most important link in the entire piece of content. Why? It turns out that Google has been experimenting with anchor text and typically only counts the first link on the page in cases where a page is attempting to link to multiple other pages internally. Incorporate internal links into your web content in order of importance, with the link you value most.

Relevance
If search engines hate when you try to drive traffic to a single page by placing the same link at the end of every page, then imagine how much they appreciate content directing at the same irrelevant link. If you guessed “not so much,” then you hit the nail on the head. If your content is about the fabrication process of one product and links to a relevant page, you’re on the right track. If this page links to a page about another topic, it could look like you’re trying to manipulate your rank.

By following these important tips and ensuring all pages have links to and from them, pages can increase their relevance on search engines. Take a good look at the internal links you already have and analyze how they can be improved and added upon. Get rid of content that doesn’t hold much value and play off the good stuff with internal links to content that people actually want to see.

Taking these steps will allow for a multi-faceted improvement. SEO efforts will not only assisted by this practice, but also the value your website visitors will get from viewing your content. This generates more shares, more views, and most importantly, a well-deserved higher ranking on the search engines.

How to Handle Tag Sprawl

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Nothing operates in isolation in a market situation. Products and services on offer are either complementary or supplementary. Hence, pushing your products towards success requires more than just offering them for sale due to the immense competition. Gaining a competitive edge over these other brands is the key to having the upper hand in any market. The online platform works under similar terms as well. To make massive sales, you have to make your products unique, such that they stand out from the rest. User-generated content will work out perfect for you.

User-generated content (UGC) is exceedingly valuable when well utilized. It is a rich source of content and site organization. More so, it helps in building natural language descriptions and human-propelled arrangement of site content. Most sites, be they blogs or e-commerce sites, benefit mainly from the use of tags that are a product of user-created content. Webmaster can use these tags to create taxonomies and categories of products for browsing, power site search, and provide well-endowed descriptions of site content. However, their use if not regulated can lead to SEO problems. Their submission in bulk could be cumbersome or even impossible. Leaving them unchecked, on the other hand, can lead to thin content, duplicate content, bad content, and general content sprawl. Fortunately, several forces have teamed up to solve massive tag sprawl problem.

Many site users have little or absolutely no idea what a tag sprawl is. In simple terms, it is the unchecked growth of unique, user-contributed tags that result in a lot of duplicate pages and unnecessary crawl space. It creates URLs of pages appearing to exist for the sole purpose of building an index across a complete range of keywords. The approach is an efficient solution for small blog sites but not the big ones like the e-commerce sites, which heavily depend on tags for products categorization. Users maximize on tag placement in an attempt to optimize exposure of their products.

To correct tag sprawl, useful review of each tag in the database and placing them in groups so that further action can be taken is paramount. The process starts with the determination of the quality of a tag and followed by finding out if there is another tag similar to it that has a higher quality. These tags could either be good tags or bad tags based on the numerous methods that could be used. The methods assist in the determination of whether the tag is valuable or in the identification of other tags that are valuable.

Some of these methods include spell correction feature, which utilizes built-in spell checkers and enables the fixing of large volumes of issues and bid value feature, which assists in determining whether a tag is commercially viable. In addition, the tag search volume method seeks to know the potential value of a tag while unique visitors feature helps protect tags that receive traffic from Google.

The tag count function is used to count the number of time a tag was used on the site while Porter stemming is used to identify the root word from a tag. Other methods include lemmatization that maps the tag to a dictionary form; Jaccard index that uses similarity coefficient; Jaro-Winkler distance that measures the difficulty of changing one word to another. Keyword planner grouping method is also common, and it helps identify highly related words while Wikipedia disambiguation feature assists in the determination of the master term to represent related terms.

The Offline Organic SEO Tactics Your Local Business Needs Right Now

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Onsite SEO is the foundation of your company’s online reputation, but a strong local customer base is what keeps business thriving. Merging organic SEO with offline tactics designed to draw local traffic powers up your marketing strategy and brings your brand to the attention of new customers.

Shifting SEO Landscapes
To jump-start offline promotions, you have to let go of outdated SEO practices. Keyword stuffing and lengthy meta tags worked in the past when search engine algorithms had a lot of loopholes. Today, the same approach is considered “black hat” SEO and is usually penalized. Smart business owners stick with “white hat” tactics, focusing on the customer experience instead of trying to trick search engines. Including keywords naturally, providing relevant links and maintaining a positive online reputation does more for organic search results than any amount of manipulation.

Linking Organic and Local
Consumers find nearby businesses by using local keywords, often while searching on mobile devices. Being near the top of organic search results is key if you want to attract the attention of these hurried users. To ensure the maximum amount of visibility, make it a priority to claim listings on location-based directories, including sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook. A greater number of listings means more possible links in search results and more places where potential customers can interact with your company.

Being the Genuine Article
To populate your online listings with positive reviews and useful customer feedback, amazing service must be the hallmark of your physical location. If you advertise a special, stock enough inventory to make good on it, and have a backup plan in case the response is more overwhelming than you expected. Strive to create an inviting, friendly atmosphere in line with the “voice” of your online presence. When customers have consistently positive experiences across channels, it can generate good reviews and improve local organic search visibility for your business.

Grabbing Good Feedback
To ensure customers remember to say something about their great in-store experiences, include links to review platforms on receipts, business cards and promotional items. Ask if they’d like to be included in your mailing list, and send follow-up emails asking for feedback. Short surveys with the option to leave a review at the end not only gather comments but also provide ideas for how to improve service in the future.

Tracking Offline Results
Sending out email surveys or directing customers to online review sites helps you keep track of how people found your store. Monitor all channels to determine the most lucrative, and make these the focus of your SEO strategy. Pay attention to how many people from each channel leave reviews or take surveys, and note the balance of positive to negative feedback. Higher traffic means a better ROI and can help you maximize your advertising budget to continue improving offline SEO.

Following honest marketing practices when promoting your business online and off is the best thing you can do to improve rankings in local search results. The combination of smart onsite SEO and stellar offline customer service creates a dynamic designed to bring in good reviews and encourage first-timers to become repeat customers. Keep your local audience in mind as you refine your marketing strategy to maintain long-term connections and make the most of local organic SEO.

Five Title Tag Hacks Guaranteed to Boost SEO Rankings

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You may be thinking that title tags are too outdated to still be useful in today’s competitive world of search engine rankings. Though they have been around as long as the Internet itself, they are still one of the simplest, most useful search engine optimization, or SEO, tools in your arsenal.

The Benefits of a Great Title Tag

There have been plenty of studies conducted that prove there is a definite correlation between the right kind of title tag and a significant, measurable increase in site rankings.

In addition to this, it has also been proven that you can increase your click-through rate drastically with a great title tag. Click-through rates can ultimately boost your SEO ranking, so it’s worth taking the extra time for this.

Below you will find several strategies you can experiment with. While there are always certain SEO best practices, it is important to remember that much of your success will come through trial and error. Once you find what works for your site, you’ll be set.

1. Be Specific With Numbers and Dates

The human brain is trained to look for patterns, which means anything that breaks away from a pattern will automatically stand out. When scanning search engine results, your brain is desperately looking for something to latch onto. This is where numbers and dates come in handy.

This is why using numbers in your title tag is so useful. Numbers are specific and break that monotonous pattern of text, which causes the brain to perk up and grab onto it. This can increase your click-through rate.

2. Find the Appropriate Length

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to tag title length, but the general consensus is to stay within the 50-60 character limit. The trick here is to be aware of what keywords are most likely to be searched when someone is looking for the product or service you provide. Fitting those keywords within that character limit will usually be a winning strategy.

3. Know Your Synonyms

You may think people will be searching one way, but then find out they’re actually searching a completely different way. This is why it’s important to know which variants of common keywords are most likely to be used and optimize accordingly.

Keyword tools are incredibly useful for this. Most, like Google Search Console or Keyword Explorer will point out popular variants of the keywords you input, which you can use to improve you title tag.

4. Engage the User

Action words and questions are extremely effective tools for crafting an attention-grabbing title tag. Action words give your page a little extra boost of excitement, and questions can create a curiosity gap that incentivizes searchers to click through.

5. Make That Connection

This is a bit advanced, but if you can match up your title tag with the exact keyword phrases that are most often used to find your site, it will give your site traffic a serious boost.

When people see a phrase in the search results that exactly matches their query, they are much more likely to click on that result. This may take a few tries, but it’s well worth it.

To boost your SEO rankings, try out these five title tag hacks and see what works for you.

Launching a New Website? Don’t Neglect These SEO Basics

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You’re excited about building a new website and can’t wait to share it with the world, but how will people even know it’s there once you launch? Nobody will unless you plan a solid SEO strategy right from the start. Take a look at these essential steps for making your site stand out to visitors and search engines the moment it goes live.

Map Out Keywords
You should know by now keyword stuffing will only get your site ignored, but smart planning does just the opposite. Make a list of site pages, and choose one or two keywords to target for each. Use these phrases in the URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, and image ALT tags. Be natural when including keywords in content to maintain a consistent voice across the site.

Make Smart Connections
Users and search engines need to be able to move between the pages of your site in a logical manner. Create a link structure in which every connection is relevant and works to point visitors on the most direct route to the pages they want to visit. Use a tool like Google Search Console to perform a crawl before the site is live and confirm the links actually point where they should.

Ensure a Universal Experience
Choose a mobile-friendly responsive layout for your site, and test every page in all major browsers. Users on smartphones and tablets should have the same smooth experience as those on PCs, and visitors using Chrome, Firefox and Edge should see all pages without any errors in layout. Run your site through Google Speed Test to identify pages with sluggish load times so that you can improve the overall user experience.

Expand and Track Your Online Presence
If you don’t already have social profiles set up, create them using handles representative of your new site. Update existing profiles to include the new URL and reflect any rebranding associated with the site’s launch. Now is also the time to set up an SEO tracker, such as Moz or SEMRush, to monitor keyword performance and sign up for webmaster tools from Google and Bing to start collecting analytics data.

Enrich Content
If you can enhance any page with schema markup, star ratings or reviews, do so. These elements improve visibility by identifying page elements for search engines and highlighting popular content. Do everything you can to make your site easy to share, such as including OpenGraph information or creating Pinterest-friendly images.

Generate Buzz
Create a robust promotional campaign to let the world know your site is about to go live. Use your social profiles to talk up the impending launch. Reach out to friends, family members, clients, brand ambassadors and anyone else you know who might be willing to give you a shout-out. Influencers and bloggers in your niche may also be up to making a little noise on your behalf if you’ve developed connections through other projects.

Don’t wait until your site has languished for weeks without visitors to implement an SEO strategy. Build keywords, links and a stellar user experience into the design as the site comes together to create a final product with appeal for both people and search engines. Make every tactic work toward increasing visibility, and watch performance begin to increase.

3 Questions You Need to Be Asking About Your SEO Link Strategy

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Links have long been key players in SEO strategies. A strong network of inbound links is considered a vote for authority, quality and relevancy, three factors search engines take into account when determining page rank.

The importance of building a link network is based on the assumption this metric is a big part of their algorithms used by Google and other search engines. However, a closer look at the patterns of click-through rates and visibility in search results suggests there may be more going on.

What Does Google Think About Links?
All search engines use formulas to determine where sites appear in organic results, but Google is often considered to be the most influential. As of 2016, the search giant still considered links to be “valuable” sources for determining authority. Their Senior Search Quality Strategist placed links in the number two spot on their list of “greatest ranking factors.”

Inbound links drive organic traffic, and more traffic is a signal of increased popularity. A large number of authoritative links can also signal trustworthiness. The more links a site has, the more popular it’s considered to be, at least in theory. However, it’s always been difficult to tell exactly how search engines, including Google, calculate page rank, and some models show click-through rates may be influenced by rank independent of the number of inbound links.

Are Links Still Relevant for SEO?
In the past, link directories, link exchanges and link “farms” were reliable ways of getting your site noticed by users and search engines. However, these outdated forms of link building have been replaced by more natural, organic strategies:

• Contributing high-quality content to authority sites
• Leaving valuable comments on blogs or forums
• Maintaining an active presence on social media

These approaches not only create inbound links but also build brand awareness, and this can generate a greater number of links without additional effort. Google may also consider high search volume to be a signal of a site’s importance, so don’t neglect keyword research when working on SEO.

What Does a Real Link Strategy Look Like?
You don’t have to understand the hidden metrics of page ranking to execute a successful link strategy. Follow these best practices to increase placement in search results and make your site stand out:

• Create a strong internal link structure with a logical progression for easy navigation and indexing
• Include outbound links to relevant, authoritative sites
• Avoid linking to low-quality sites
• Use keywords sparingly in anchor text
• Focus on the user experience first

The goal of any link building tactic should be to make your site easy for users and search engines to navigate while setting yourself up as an authoritative source of the information visitors expect when clicking through from search results.

Whether links influence page ranking or the other way around, this aspect of SEO is still important to the visibility of your site. Continue to build a network of internal and external links as part of your search marketing strategy. Focus on both inbound and outbound quality, and monitor which sites bring in the most traffic. Don’t get discouraged if your page rank shifts when search engines change their algorithms. Consistency will help keep your site prominent in organic search and contribute to a steady stream of traffic.

How Faceted Navigation can Impact SEO

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If you want to give your prospects the best possible experience, then you likely use a faceted navigation system to allow your visitors to navigate your website with ease. The problem, however, is that using this layout can harm your search engine optimization rank more than you would think. Unless you take steps to address the issue, you will get less organic traffic than before, impacting your bottom line in a negative way. The good news is that you can make your website easy to navigate without harming your position in the search engines.

Faceted Navigation Overview

Before you do anything else, let’s review what a faceted navigation system looks like so that we can get an even better understanding of the issue at hand. The layout allows your visitors to find the exact product they want by filtering their search results. It’s important to remember that each combination has a link pointing to it, and this can trigger Google to flag your website for having duplicate content. Also, a faceted navigation system will spread your domain authority to pages that you don’t need to index, wasting your SEO potential.

Noindex Tags

Those who want to reduce the harm of a faceted navigation system often turn to noindex tags to get the job done. At the surface, this solution seems to make a lot of sense, but you will need to take a close look if you want to get a clear picture. Although using noindex tags will prevent Google from flagging you for using duplicate content, it won’t stop your extra links from consuming your crawl budget. If the search engines spend too much time crawling links that don’t matter, your SEO efforts might not draw any attention.

Nofollow Tags

Nofollow tags are another option that you can try when your goal is to maintain your SEO rank. These tags will tell the search engines not to crawl your faceted pages and prevent you from wasting your crawl budget. But this solution is not without its setbacks. If you opt to take this path, it won’t stop Google from picking up duplicate content on your site, which will put you at risk for a penalty.

JavaScript

If you are building a new website, you can implement your faceted system with JavaScript to avoid common pitfalls. Doing so will allow you to get the same benefits without putting your SEO rank in harm’s way. With JavaScript, you can use the same link for different filters, and you won’t need to worry about wasting your crawl budget or domain authority on pages that don’t matter. When you use this method, you will need to manually ensure that Google and the other search engines can index key pages if you don’t want to be overlooked.

Final Thoughts

Using a faceted system without running into problems with SEO is not impossible, but you will need to weigh your options and consider what is important to you. Taking one path will force you to give up benefits from other areas, and making the wrong choice can hurt your progress. If you are not sure what solution makes the most sense for you, review your website and ask yourself if you prefer to save your crawl budget, domain authority or time, and the correct answer will become apparent. When you don’t get the outcome for which you had hoped, you can always try new approaches until you find one that meets your needs.

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Link Building And Analysis

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Every business that is operating online must be sure that they have taken steps to ensure they are using the proper links or link-building program. The program itself is quite easy too use, and it may be deployed to ensure that anyone who is attempting to widen their Internet presence may do so. This article explains how someone can take the necessary steps to change their overall brand image, and takes a look at how links will help.

#1: Links Are Built Slowly

Links must be built slowly with a number of different partners, and each of them must be given the opportunity to carry links for the company for some time. There are many people who think they may start a link program today that will show instant results, but that is not the case. Links take time, and link research shows that everyone who has a longstanding link program has better results.

#2: Links Must Have Variety

Any link will be flagged as spam if it does not have any variety. Posting the same thing time and again will alert the search engines that there may be something amiss. There is nothing wrong with the links, but they appear to be untoward, and that is a problem that is difficult to solve. Everyone who is using a link program must insert as much variety as possible into the program, and they will see better results with fewer red flags.

#3: The Overall Partnership

There are many partnerships that may be started with a link program, and they all look back to simple linking techniques that may share information. A link partner may have their links with another site, and the two are sharing link space. They are sending customers back and forth between one another as a way of offering good graces to everyone around them, and it may build a partnership wherein the two companies are thought of as one.

#4: SEO Content

Links must be written into SEO articles that have been produced in a proper manner. Someone who does not know the writing style of SEO must learn how to write with keywords that will be helpful, and they must track the success of all the work they have done. The writer may change their articles often to reflect which keywords should be listed, and they may do so many times during the year as trends change.

#5: Links Must Be Subtle

Links must be as subtle as possible when they are placed online, and they will be much easier to manage when they are dropped into articles without much fanfare. The links should catch the eye of the reader, but not be so heavy handed that the customer does not believe they should click on it. Every new link that has been placed subtly in a proper location will be more than effective.

Link building programs are helpful to a number of people who are operating online. They may start a new link program today that will be quite helpful, and it will show businesses how best to use their resources. They may partner with other companies that host their links, or they may choose to place their links all over the Internet where a reader may find them interesting.

From Shifting Rules To Managing Expectations: Common SEO Challenges

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Change is the norm in the SEO business. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and any marketing strategy needs flexibility ingrained in its very DNA to remain viable, let alone be successful. From the old days of the early internet when content didn’t matter, and spam was king, SEO has come a long way in the past 10-15 years. But is still faces considerable challenges at all levels, from managing daily operations to managing budgets and the expectations of clients.

Amidst constant change, one thing has remained a near constant: the challenges faced by SEO professionals. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about in-house SEO activities at an organization or SEO as a digital marketing agency service for hire. They all face the same kind of hurdles.

The central issue pertains to search engines, especially Google, and their near constant updates on search engine algorithms. And it is not just the major ones like Panda or Penguin which they roll out every year or so, but those innumerable unnamed updates, major and minor, implemented almost on a daily basis. SEO is one tough game where rules can change overnight, without warning too. Something that was previously considered a legitimate white-hat tactic can turn into spam, literally overnight. Rare are the days when SEO professionals don’t have to spend more than 15 minutes in the morning just to stay abreast of all the changes that happened in that past 24 hours!

And all this constant activity and changes bring out the next big challenge, of resource scarcity. Be it the financial backing or total staff hours required; almost every SEO campaign struggles to cover all the bases. The online marketing process alone can involve multiple platforms, from email to social media and Websites. Combine that with the fact that SEO has to sync with the organization’s other ad and PR initiatives, and you reach a stage where it seems like you are playing whack-a-mole with ever-shifting objectives on multiple fronts!

Talking about being in sync with the organizational activities, budgets, and goals opens up the next big can of worms: managing expectations of your client/boss, and showing tangible ROI for the money and labor expended in a campaign. SEO is different from traditional marketing efforts. It’s the new kid on the block, it is online, and everything online is supposed to be fast. So this creates a lot of misconceptions about what the process involves and how fast results can be achieved. Impatience from senior management and or clients is a real issue for SEO professionals. It can take months of constant effort before any tangible benefits start manifesting in SERPs.

Things have come to a point where even Google has decided take the initiative to caution SEO clients against unrealistic expectations. Calculating ROI in the meantime to keep those holding the purse-strings happy is another major challenge. Benefits, if any, often show up in revenue streams and transactional data. But it is uncommon for SEO teams to have direct access this data. The only viable recourse is to try and gain access to said information from the relevant CRM platform/accounting system of the organization.

In SEO, the challenges are many and constant. An effective SEO strategy should involve regular updates, as well as audits, analytics, and tracking of multiple datasets across the organization. Keeping on top of all these can take a lot of effort and resources, but that is the only way to make life easy in this business. All else are but shortcuts to even more pain and failure!

 

 

 

 

How Not to Panic Over Lost SEO Rankings

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Working as an SEO, I’ve learned it’s imperative to make sure that rankings stay around the same daily average, as have most people in this field. When they drop suddenly, it’s hard not to panic and go into over-drive trying to figure it out. Hopefully, my guide will be able to give you some clarity and help lower that stress by pointing out where some issues might be and how to fix them.

Was There Really a Change?

Sometimes ranking trackers don’t update locally the way they should, or it could have picked up an online ranking experiment. Believe it or not, the best way to rectify this is to look at the organic traffic on your page and see if it has dropped. Here are some things to consider:

Did it drop over a holiday weekend?

Is it a more emphasized drop than the usual ups and downs of the month? Look at a week-by-week basis to find out.
• Are the drops on the same days of the week continually?
• Did another search console have the same results?
• Looking at your tracker, does it show continuous ranking drops?
• Try looking at specific keywords over time

If everything is still up except for your rankings tool data, be patient and keep checking it. There can be plenty of fluctuation, so wait to see if this is a real issue or not.

What May Have Gone Wrong

Many trackers updates their algorithms almost daily if not more often than that. If you think that yours may have updated their algorithm, look for any articles or blogs that might make a note of the change around the time that the changes started.

Have any of your friends noticed a change? As an SEO, I’ve been able to make a good network of friends in the SEO circle who would likely be having the same issues and have some good ideas for different tests to run.

If Google did decide to update, you’d have to figure a way to get your rankings back up. Most importantly, find out what change was made, and why? What is it that they are looking to cut out of SEO?

Changing or Losing Links

Look over the site and see what links are there and if any are missing. If multiple links have gone missing from the site, you’ll have to try and replace them. Is it for the whole site, or is it for a group of pages or one page specifically from the site?

Did any of the links that these went to suffer drops as well or have they decided to update their page? This can have an effect on your links. Even just the URL or content can make a difference. If this is your problem, it’s important to figure out how to get them back. Try fixing the problem by:

• Reach out to the site owner and original provider of the links
• Find out if the links being removed was an accident
• See if the links now go to a new source – and then figure out how to make your links better than theirs.
• Ask your team to buy new links to replace what’s been lost

Page Changes

If the page has been modified at all, they might be misread and may not parallel as much to the actual target keyword. To combat this:

• Never change your URL
• Check for the presence of the target keyword in the page titles, and H1 and H2s
• Check that the keyword density is still the same
• Make sure Google can read all content on your page
• Watch for server and crawl reports to ensure that search engines can find your site.

Also, check to see if internal links were changed, site navigation or key pages were updated.

The Competition

Sometimes, rankings drop because of outside reasons. If your competitor is ranking higher than it was before, it’s time to go through their sites and see what you need to change to make yours better.