Tag : SEO

Make Your Website Stand Out

4 Ways to Make Your Website Stand Out to Google

Be a Straight Shooter Let Your Customer Know What They’re Getting With Meta Descriptions
Letting users know exactly what you have to offer is key to those coveted clicks. Compelling copy is going to get you noticed, especially if your competitors are ignoring it.

A well-crafted meta description can be the deciding factor between a customer clicking on your result or your competitors, and add in those colorful stars we talked about earlier, you’re really going to stand out. We don’t need to be reminded how important Click-Through Rates (CTR) are as a ranking signal for the search engines. Giving your potential customer a glimpse into the page they’re clicking on is going to help them stick around a little longer.

What’s going to make you stand out and get those valuable clicks? Well, fear not, those search results can get a little more colorful with some quick and often overlooked changes that you can make to add a little pizzaz to those search results.

Make Your Website Stand Out

Make sure you’ve done the legwork; set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, create a sitemap, watch out for duplicate content, get some search friendly URLs, write fresh content, and make sure all your social profiles are linking back to you. Those stars aren’t just for ads either, using schema you can get them in your organic results, too. Compelling copy is going to get you noticed, especially if your competitors are ignoring it.

Those stars aren’t just for ads either, using schema you can get them in your organic results, too. Adding a little flair to your search result is going to go a long way.

Optimizing your site, reaching out to customers, and honing in your language isn’t just going to help you rise in the SERPs, it’s going to help you connect with your customers and build lifelong relationships with them.

Invite Yourself to the Party & Get Your Site Indexed
Make sure you’ve done the legwork; set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, create a sitemap, watch out for duplicate content, get some search friendly URLs, write fresh content, and make sure all your social profiles are linking back to you. Sites never stand a chance if you forget to run down the launch checklist. Neil Patel has a handy guide on what you need to do to let the search engines know you exist.

What’s going to make you stand out and get those valuable clicks? Well, fear not, those search results can get a little more colorful with some quick and often overlooked changes that you can make to add a little pizzaz to those search results.

Think Local
If you’re a physical store you have your eyes on the map, you long to see your business name at the top of the snack pack. These days with fewer results it’s a tough ask, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting that spot. Insure NAP consistency, focus on local SEO, and yes, those reviews play a crucial role on nabbing a spot on the map.

Make Your Website Stand Out

Make Them See Stars
If you want your customers to be star-gazing, you’re going to need to incorporate user ratings into your search results. To get them you’ll need 150 reviews in the last 12 months. According to Google, ads with Seller Ratings get a 17% higher CTR than the same ads without ratings.

Conclusion
Sure, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the SERPs, but don’t let that deter you. By getting back to basics and focusing on the little things you have an opportunity to broaden your reach.

Using Google My Business to Generate Leads

Have you googled your business lately? Every small business can make a killer digital display, like the one below, that shows up on Google. By using Google My Business

The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business

Google My Business is a free marketing tool that connects customers with businesses. By spending a few hours creating an account, you can drastically increase your chances of being found online and collecting revenue. Use this free and quick scan to get a report on all your online directory listings.

The 10 advantages of Google My Business.

Google says 50 percent of mobile consumers that search for a local business visit it within a day of the search, and 18 percent of consumers make a purchase. Sound like something your business should be a part of? Absolutely.

Google My Business will do more than create the display above; it has a lot to offer.

It’s free. Yes, FREE.
It serves as the ultimate business directory with pertinent business information accessible to customers instantly.
All of the information you list is clickable. Customers can click your phone number to call on their smartphones, or tap your website address to see your site.
The information looks great on any device, including smartphones.
Both local and online businesses can use it.
You can post pictures and videos to your page.
You can access metrics to see how many people are looking for and finding your site.
It drives traffic to your website.
Customers can read and add reviews.
You have one centralized dashboard with access to Google+, Insights, Reviews, Hangouts and Google Analytics.
Set up:

1. Get started by signing up with Google My Business.

2. If your business has a physical address, you’ll enter it. If your business is online, you’ll create a brand page

3. If you don’t have a Google+ account, you’ll have to set up one up at the same time.

Verify your business by postcard or phone. None of the information you enter will appear online until you verify your business.

5. Enter business information.

Tips to enter attractive information on your page.

From the main dashboard, you’ll see this info bar at the top.

From this location, you’ll enter or edit the following:

-Identify photos. These photos include your profile picture and logo.
-Interior photos. Shots inside your store or business.
-Exterior photos. Shots of your building.
-Photos at work. Pictures that represent what you do.
-Team photos. Pictures of you and your employees.
-Additional photos. Any pictures that don’t fit into the categories above can go here.
-Google suggests adding three photos to each category. Some of the pictures, like your profile picture, have suggested dimensions too. It’s best to start with a picture that’s landscape (horizontal) and crop or enhance it with a tool like PicMonkey.

Make sure your pictures are clear and crisp. It probably goes without saying, but don’t use any picture that you wouldn’t put on a paid advertisement.

These statistics provide inside information that allows you to make decisions and customize content to your niche audience.

Aside from your business information, you’ll see several other features on your dashboard. Here’s a look at the additional components on your dashboard, along with things you need to know about each section:.

It provides a more in-depth look at your website traffic, whereas Insights is just looking at the traffic garnered on your Google My Business account.

Pick a business category, or several.
There are hundreds of business categories to choose from. You want to describe what your business is, not what it does. You would enter “Pet Supply Store” not “Pet food and toys.”.

Google Analytics.
Google Analytics provides the master key to all things analytics. This tracking tool, which is also free, provides statistics on your website traffic and audience. You can integrate Google Analytics with VerticalResponse to see how your emails impact our site traffic too.

Every small business can make a killer digital display, like the one below, that shows up on Google. Google My Business is a free marketing tool that connects customers with businesses. Google makes business suggestions to users based on the information you provide. If your business isn’t on Google+, you’ll create an account at the same time you set up your business page. Google My Business can connect your business with customers on the other end of those searches.

Insights.
How many people have seen your digital display? Are people interacting with your posts on Google+? You have access to a wealth of analytics under the “Insights” tab.

Reviews.
Google My Business hosts a review page so your customers can leave public feedback. You can monitor and respond to reviews through your dashboard.

Encourage customers to leave reviews. Remind them at the checkout, or send an email asking them to leave feedback with a link to your Google My Business page.
If you get bad feedback, don’t panic. If it violates the review policies, you can flag it and Google will review it and take action.
Respond to positive reviews too. Thank customers for taking time to share their comments.
Start a hangout.
Need to host a quick conference call? You can start a Google+ Hangout, which is a free video chat service, right from your dashboard. It allows you to talk with up to 10 people and share screens.

Conclusion: Four out of five consumers conduct local searches on search engines to try and find the right business to meet their needs. Google My Business can connect your business with customers on the other end of those searches. With just a small investment of time, you can create a free way to attract customers.

You can enter more than one category too. If your business specializes in more than one category, add it.

You can customize the information you see. Just pick the stats that you want to compare and they will show up on a chart. It’s an easy way to compare stats.

Business summary
Phone number
Website
Business category
Hours of operation
Address (if you have a physical store).
Pictures or a virtual tour.
Some of the information that you enter is self-explanatory. Your phone number is your phone number. We have a few tips to maximize your business introduction, category, and pictures.

There are three main sections: visibility, engagement, and audience.

Here are a few tips when it comes to reviews:.

Uploading pictures.
There are more photos to upload than just your profile and cover art here. Pictures are broken into six categories:.

You can post to a Google+ account right from your dashboard. You can type in an update, or share photos, links or videos. You can even create an event with a simple click.

Google+.
If your business isn’t on Google+, you’ll create an account at the same time you set up your business page. While many businesses flock to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is the up-and-comer in the social world. Searchmetics predicts Google+ will overtake Facebook in social sharing by 2016.

Business introduction.
Provide a clear, concise summary of your business. A sentence or two will work. Use descriptive words that paint a picture for your customers.

Why is this so important? Google makes business suggestions to users based on the information you provide. If you enter the wrong category, it’s not likely your business will show up in the recommendation area.

Visibility shows you the number of views that your profile, photos, and posts get. You have access to graphs and can change the data to show the last 7, 30 or 90 days.
Engagement shows you how your audience is interacting with your posts. You’ll see stats on +1 clicks, shares, and comments. You can set the graphs to show the last 7, 30 or 90 days.
Audience shows you a breakdown of the people following you. If you notice customers are interacting with your Google+ posts mostly on Friday, save your best content for that day. If your Insights show a strong presence in anther country, consider sharing more links that pertain to those customers.

39 Website Improvements to Encourage a Better User Experience

One way to improve your website is to tackle small, but meaningful tasks one at a time, over time, on a regular basis. If your website is built on a user-friendly content management system (CMS), you should get in the habit of identifying things that can be improved quickly and making the changes.

There are two kinds of website improvement projects.

The first, and most obvious one is creating a new website. Done effectively, the process requires careful planning, the collaborative efforts of a team of talented specialists, and of course, time – usually months.

Here is a list of ideas for refining your website, so visitors are quietly and smoothly swept deeper into it.

Have a user-first mindset

Let’s get serious now about UX website improvement tactics you can jump on fast without overly taxing your time and resources.

When a restaurant, store, airport, stadium, or any place, satisfies its customers, it profits from the experience, draws them back again and cashes in on word-of-mouth marketing.

Your website might be beautiful. The content might be the best in the business. If your website introduces unnecessary challenges to its visitors, it’s bound to impede your success.

Website Design Stats
A great website needs to do the same. It needs to deliver a great user experience (UX). You can define UX a number of ways, but in an effort to keep it simple, I’ll tell you – it means the customer got what they came for with no hassles.

The interesting thing about designing for user experience is that you succeed when the design is invisible to the customer. The user doesn’t experience fussing with your website to find the content they’re after.

Branding

– Your logo shouldn’t be gigantic or puny, and it shouldn’t be crowded by other elements or lost in the mix. Place it top left and give it breathing room.

2. Color me simple – You don’t want to dump the entire box of crayons on your site. Shore up your color palette all across your site with 2-3 main colors that work well together.

Voila! There’s a favicon, the company’s logo mark is used to also mark the website itself. It’s a smart branding play and simple to execute.

Add one to help brand your website. Favicons are also used when your site is bookmarked.

Messaging

4. Clean up a headline – If there’s a muddy message where a clear and concise headline should be, clean it up and clarify.

5. Sliders be gone – If you have a multi-frame slider kicking off your home page, it’s time to nix that old trick. Determine your most compelling message and focus readers solely on it.

– Don’t know what your main message should be? Perform an A/B test and allow the results to guide this important decision.

7. Get to the point – Chances are you can easily find a page that’s overly wordy. Your busy readers appreciate brevity and clarity, so edit pages that are slow to get to the point.

Split Test A

In one corner we have A (above) and in the other we have B (below). One will produce better results, which effectively removes opinion or intuition from the equation and allows user interaction to guide the website improvement process.

Split Test B

8. Replace your stock – Do you have stock photography screaming, “we’re fake” on a key page? Put a more authentic image there.

9. Prove some points – If you’re stashing all your best testimonials and other forms of social proof on one predictable page or burying them deep, resurface them on popular pages where they’ll reach more eyeballs.

Testimonial pages don’t draw well, but testimonials on pages that do generate traffic perform a valuable role for increasing credibility.

Readability

10. Break it up – Even a wonderfully written page or post may feel monotonous if it’s not broken up into sections. Add subheadlines to improve readability.

11. Whiten and lighten up – Lighten the perceived “weight” of the copy by increasing white space between lines and sections. Avoid dreadfully long line lengths.

12. Bring in some bullets – Find a paragraph that’s overly dense and laborious to read and turn it into a skimmable list of bullet points.

Use a small number of elegant fonts consistently. Consider making the text a bit bigger.

Layout

14. Use a grid – Examine pages that contain multiple messages and make sure each earns a rightful place in your design hierarchy. Create an attractive grid with borders, backgrounds and column variations.

15. Relocate your social media icons – Put those social media chiclets somewhere that says we value you following us, but we value you visiting our website more.

Navigation

16. Too many items on the menu – Menus with an overabundance of choices may prompt users to make no choice at all. Demote items in the navigation to interior pages when possible.

Jump to it – Did you feel the need to write a massively long page? You can help readers navigate with a menu of links atop the page that “jump” straight to the relevant section.

18. Decrease defections – One way or another, usually as a result of a missing page or visitor mistake, a generic 404-error page is served. Make yours helpful with links to favorite pages to keep visitors from bailing on you.

19. Enable onsite search – If yours is a deep website or blog, add onsite search functionality to help readers find what they seek. (Doing so will also help you gather insights for content planning).

20. Serve up specific routes – If your site means to serve multiple personas, partners, clients, applicants, media writers, etc., create signs to point the way.

Conversion

Call out your call to action – Can you find a call to action (CTA) that doesn’t call attention to itself? Are some pages actionless?

22. Fussy forms – Generally, forms that don’t convert at the rate you ‘d like are simply too demanding. Remove fields that request information you really don’t need.

23. Slow growing email lists – If you’re trying to build an email list, carefully consider the tools and tactics used wherever you’re asking visitors to opt-in. Experiment with new value propositions until your subscription rates rise.

24. Email addresses are dangerous – You invite spammers to your inbox by publishing email addresses as CTAs. Put contact forms on pages from which you ‘d like visitors to connect.

25. Want foot traffic? – If you want site visitors to make actual physical visits to your store or office, offer a map and directions on your website.

Engagement

Watch this – If you’ve so far refrained from creating video for your site, make one. Your ‘About’ page is perfect place to insert your first video.

27. Promote sharing – Feature social media shares bars on your blog and make sure they can be found instantly. Turn the counters on.

Make links look like links – Have you tried to make hyperlinks an art form? Make them longer than one word to help make them obvious.

29. Add scroll cues – As more and more webpages are designed with border-to-border artwork single-column style, content below the fold is more likely to be missed. Add arrows or other visual cues to encourage scrolling.

30. Be there for your buyers – Far too many sites hoping to sell products and services make it cumbersome for prospects to get answers. When possible, man your website with a chat feature (and attendant).

pr 100 image

Site Speed

31. Got bloat? – Identify images that are bandwidth hogs and optimize them for an acceptable screen resolution and faster page loading.

32. An auto accelerator – Plugins such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache will cache parts of your site, so return visitors enjoy an even faster user experience.

Search Engine Optimization

33. Titles that matter – The title tags of your pages should describe the page and indicate relevance to search engines. Swap in meaningful keywords where pages are tagged generically with terms such as home, about, or services.

34. Descriptions that pull – If you find a page with no meta description, write a keyword-rich meta description you hope will attract clicks when it’s served as a snippet in search results.

35. Image alts – Search bots don’t see images, but will see the alt text (or tags) you mark them with so be sure use keywords and make this change to your nameless images.

36. Keep linking – You probably publish blog posts then move on to the next one. With each new topic and angle, your blog explores comes new opportunities to create internal links, so dig through older posts and optimize them further with new links to recent content.

37. Boost a second page post – Use your analytics to identify a post that ranks on page two of search. Give that post new life and greater search potential with something new: a video, expert quote, graphic, SlideShare or a new section.

Analytics

38. Get smarter – Google Analytics is an essential tool for monitoring your traffic, page views and goals. Make sure you have your tracking code in place.

39. Tool up – Search Console is another free tool Google offers to help you monitor, diagnose and optimize your site. Have it setup properly.

Go forth and improve your website

My job is done here. Now it’s your turn. Do something to improve your UX today.

It’s on you to create a user experience that engages visitors and converts them into leads, buyers and brand advocates. The process need not call for a website overhaul, but rather, a commitment to perpetual improvement.

Website user experience impacts your customers’ experience with your brand in a big way. A great user experience ensures visitors can find what they seek easily and fast.

Off Site SEO Image

How to Optimize for Off-Site Content

Optimizing off-site content
Optimizing the content living outside of your website is not always easy to do. If you use a persona-based strategy, be sure to optimize content based on who you believe will be reading it and engaging with it in each specific channel.

What is off-site content?
Let’s start with a very obvious question for anyone who is new to the game or perhaps knows it under a different name. What is off-site content? The quick answer is any content you own, control or have earned which is not published or living on your existing website.

You can use much of your existing keyword research for your digital marketing strategy and apply it as suited to off-site content. You may also want to do some additional keyword research specifically for each channel, such as determining popular hashtags in to include in your Twitter posts.

When marketers think of SEO, their initial thoughts probably revolve around on-site content and their website in general. While every organization is aware of life beyond their own site, they may not always be thinking about how to best optimize their digital presence in those spaces.

Off-site content can also help to build brand awareness with new audiences. When done with a proper distribution strategy in mind, these audiences can be developed in alignment with your desired target market.

Off-site content can also improve the authority of your on-site content by increasing content frequency and reach. Off-site content can be an excellent source of referral traffic and authoritative backlinks.

Several digital marketing studies point to the new reality of the customer journey, 60 to 90 percent of which occurs outside of your brand’s website. Consumers are relying on review sites, social networks and influencers to inform their buying decisions. You need to ensure your brand is visible in these places, via organic search or otherwise.

Why should you care about off-site content?
The first reason you should care about off-site content is Google’s stated goal of diversifying search results so as not to include content from the same domain on Page One. With this in mind, brands can only benefit from owning or earning optimized content on other authoritative domains, thereby increasing their chances of being discovered in the top search results.

It could be content you’ve initiated but do not own, such as content created via influencers, press releases distributed through third-party sites or client case studies published on client websites. Off-site content can also include content you did not initiate and don’t own, such as third-party reviews.

Social – Yes, social media is actually a BIG part of SEO!

You will also want to optimize your content to be found within the search feature of each social network. Content in each should be titled, described and tagged with appropriate keywords and hashtags to ensure maximum discoverability.

Social media posts are increasingly showing up in Google SERPs, as well as those of other search engines, so optimizing them has become vitally important. You ideally want to try to optimize them just as you would any blog post or page on your website.

Influencer marketing

Don’t be afraid of off-site content ranking greater than your on-site pages. Some companies view any outranking content as competitive, but in reality, you’re only competing against yourself. Those pages and posts simply drive a different customer journey and strengthen your brand image and awareness in the process.

When combining the performance of off-site content with the corresponding landing pages of your site, try using conversion path metrics to understand further opportunities for off-site optimization along the way.

What is off-site content? Off-site content can take a number of different forms. It could be content you’ve initiated but do not own, such as content created via influencers, press releases distributed through third-party sites or client case studies published on client websites. Off-site content can also include content you did not initiate and don’t own, such as third-party reviews.

Treat your influencers like an extension of your marketing team. The majority of influencers are very professional and are open to working with brands to get the most life out of the content for everyone involved.

Tracking off-site content for SEO
Be sure to track all ranking content relevant to your brand. This includes any of the content you own, both on-site or offsite, as well as the stuff you don’t own. Any URLs containing content about your organization should be on your radar for how they are performing in search.

Gain visibility into off-site content with smart URLs
As mentioned in our previous post, smart URLs (unique links containing additional data for tracking purposes) can help provide in-depth insights into engagement with your off-site content. By tracking this content in search and using smart URLs within the content and in distribution, you can gain full insight into not only which content is ranking, but also which content is driving interaction with your audience.

Don’t be afraid of off-site content ranking greater than your on-site pages.

Many organizations try, but that only stands to dilute the sincerity of the content and true strength of the message. You can also provide them images with optimized file names and, of course, trackable links to the content you are wanting them to help promote and build authority for.

Google Local Ads

What You Need to Know About Google Ads Coming to the “Local Pack”

We all know that mobile searches…well, mobile everything is certainly making waves, however, local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Which is a really good development for small and local business. Whether you’re an eCommerce operation or you’re a brick & mortar business, local optimization can be crucial to your growth for the near future.

Important Local SEO review:

Now, why are we telling you this? Well, if you’re new to the local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) realm, having your business optimized on a local scale can mean more business faster & more easily than traditional SEO that may bring your consumers from all over who are searching for your terms or what your business does.

Since becoming a prominent marketing strategy, Local optimization has become extremely competitive.

For example, when a consumer would search for a product or service, but inserted a geo-tag along with the rest of the search, Google’s algorithm would see that as you trying to find goods and services closest to you and therefore, you were scouring the local market closest to you that would be able to facilitate your need on a local scale.

Now that we think about it, who wouldn’t want to search for their desired outcome locally, right? It just makes sense.

Well, Google thought so as well. So, after adding the geo-tag, Google would bring up what they called the “7-Pack” into your search results, where you would have the top 7 LOCAL goods or service providers to fulfill your need. Sounds amazing, right? By just being semi-locally optimized, you may only have to compete with 6 other local providers for that sale. You’re probably thinking, that’s a heck of a lot easier than on a national scale (as with some traditional SEO strategies).

Google 3-Pack Ads

 

As we all know Google wants to make life as easy as possible for the consumer, however, they also cut local businesses a break to! When conducting a local search, consumers would be supplied with only 3 search results now or the “3-Pack.” Sounds even too good to be true to local businesses, right? In a sense, yes, however, now Google is saying that you must be as locally optimized possible for us to place you in the “3-Pack” of local search.

So, the local optimization craze was boosted even further, however, recently, there has been a HUGE change…

Google Ads to Local Pack

On June 21st, at the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, Google confirmed that ads are coming to the Local Pack. The timing and precise appearance/placement are to be determined.

During the pre-conference Workshop, Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, discussed some of the new AdWords features as they pertain to local. Among them, he showed a screen shot (below), which Joy Hawkins tweeted, but which is not officially authorized for distribution at this point.

First Look At Google Ads to 3-Pack

The image (above) showed a smartphone featuring a local 3-pack. The top listing was an ad, followed by two organic listings. Turhan said that this had been shown at Google’s Performance Summit in San Francisco several weeks ago. However, the announcement had not been part of any of the keynotes.

Turhan, who did an extensive Q&A with the audience, explained that Google was still testing, and the ultimate result might be different from what he showed. Accordingly, it’s possible (though Turhan didn’t say this) that there might be a Local Pack ad and three organic listings. However, that wasn’t what the screen shot reflected.

For the top Local Pack listing to be an ad is obviously a major development, especially in a local-mobile search context.

Google has experimented with ads in Google Maps off and on for years. But in the “mobile first” era, it’s getting much more serious about ads on Maps.

Among a number of announcements coming out of Google’s Performance Summit today, the company is introducing the “next generation of local search ads” on Google and Google Maps (apps and mobile web). The company is also bringing what it calls more “branded and customized experiences” for marketers to Google Maps.

Recently, it began showing ads in the Local Finder. Now, the company is introducing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” on Maps (below). Users will see branded pins along their route or nearby. It’s worth noting that Mapquest has done this for quite a few years.

Google's Promoted Pins

Marketers will need to use location extensions to appear in promoted pins. Google also says it’s still testing and experimenting with formats, so we’re likely to see an evolution of this over time.

New-look local pages will also offer new features and customization.

Businesses will be able to include a range of content types, as appropriate to their category.

  • For example, retailers can include local product inventory (provided they have an inventory feed going to Google). Marketers can also include promotions and discounts to encourage store visits.

Indeed, the purpose of these ads is to drive offline foot traffic and conversions, which Google says are outpacing e-commerce transactions for many marketers. To capture and illustrate that phenomenon, Google discussed its AdWords Store Visits, which has to date only been available to large brands and retailers. The company says that it has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” in the two years since the introduction of Store Visits.

During the Performance Summit, Google’s AdWords VP, Jerry Dischler, indicated that the company was seeking to greatly expand availability of Store Visits data, including to small businesses over time. He said, however, that was a more challenging proposition and probably would require a “hardware solution” (e.g., beacons) because of challenges with accuracy and scale.

It’s very much in Google’s interest to make online-to-offline metrics available to as many marketers as possible. In a case study presented during a press briefing on Monday, Dischler said that Nissan in the UK found, though Store Visits, that “six percent of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, delivering an estimated 25x return on investment.”

While Google has offered a wide range of different “local as a percent of overall mobile search” metrics in the past, the company said that local searches on mobile devices are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.

Is Your Online Marketing Broken?

Quickly & effectively analyze your Social Media, Website, & SEO structures in order to maximize leads & sales!

Is a “Broken Website” really going to cost you money??

Yep….

A website SEO audit is a full analysis of everything related to your website’s level of search visibility. A complete and detailed audit will give you a deeper understanding as to why your site is not generating the traffic you think it should or why your sales and conversions are not improving.

Download Your FREE 30-Minute Online Marketing Audit Here!

Can’t I Just Use One Of Those Automated Reports?

There are many “automated” audit tools where you can do it yourself. You may visit other SEO or web developer websites and see a cool tool that says “What Is Your SEO Score” or “Get Your Free Website Analysis” – and then you put in your website URL and voila’ in a few minutes you have this really pretty report with some great information! While this can be a useful overview of your website these reports are meant to be “lead generation” tools and not meant to be a real audit. Often when you use these tools you will have to enter your email – or the report will come back showing issues and they encourage you to contact them for help.

These tools are in no way a true representation of the health of your website and do not offer you a real value in terms of what needs to be fixed to improve traffic and conversions.

Why Do I Need An Audit?

Over the last year we have seen incredible changes from the search engines in how they compute the search results when someone does a search. It used to be that you could just add keywords to your title tags and content and header tags – get a few back links and there you go you are ranking!

Download Your FREE 30-Minute Online Marketing Audit Here!

It is NOT AT ALL like that anymore and most business owners have not been able to keep up! There are hundreds of factors used by the search engines to determine how your site will be returned in the results. Some of the more recent additions to these factors include:

–Site speed

–Responsiveness

–Content

–Authority

(NOTE: Click the image to receive your FREE download!)

Does Social Media Marketing mean TROUBLE?

Ultimately, the results of a social media marketing audit should reconcile the difference between the current situation and where the brand social media efforts need to be. Just like the other online marketing audits companies will perform, a social media audit is not a “one and done” situation. They should be repeated periodically as part of being accountable for the social media investment.

Why do an audit? If you don’t know where you’re starting from, a lot of time and resources can be wasted improving things that don’t need it and neglecting things that really need your attention.

Who should do an audit? Companies that are new to social media marketing, companies that have been unorganized and uncoordinated in their social media marketing, companies that have used an outside agency and are pulling social media inside (or vice versa), or companies that have matured in their social media marketing and need to jump ahead a few steps.

Maintaining a social media presence can be a full-time job, which makes it kind of difficult if your full-time job requires your time and attention be spent elsewhere. Social media profiles can fall into disrepair quickly when left alone. An audit can help get things back on track.

On the flip side, there are those of you who actively maintain social media profiles and take great pain to keep everything updated and cohesive. Audits are helpful in these instances, too. They can serve as much-needed opportunities for reflection and growth.

Basically, audits are helpful for everyone, no matter where you’re at with your social media marketing.

(NOTE: Click the image to receive your FREE download!)

[IMPORTANT] SEO!

As Google gets more stringent with its penalties for everything from obvious link spam to having too high of a ratio of ads to content, getting a semi-annual or yearly site audit has become a business necessity. If you aren’t, you should be lest you get a surprise message from Google letting you know why your site visits have turned into an upside down hockey stick.

But just what is a site audit? What kind of audit do you need and what should you expect in the final report of the person auditing you? What follows is everything you need to know about website audits.

What is a Site Audit?

Site audits are, in the simplest terms, when you pay someone to forensically examine your site with tools and their eyes utilizing their knowledge and expertise to tell you what is good and what is not so good about your site (or as we say – where you have challenges and opportunities).

Download Your FREE 30-Minute Online Marketing Audit Here!

Types of Site Audits

There are many types of audits and they cannot all be covered here, but the most common types of site audits related to SEO needs are:

  • Site Health Audits: Assessing general site health or when there is a site health issue such as a downturn in traffic or positioning of unknown causation.
  • Red Flag Audits: Assessing a site for potential penalty issues. This should be part of a site health audit, but can be an audit unto itself.
  • Competitive Site Audits: Analyzing your site gaps, in its vertical and among your competitors to see what opportunities there are for site growth. Some will use this as a time to copy what their competitors do, but this can be a risky strategy.
  • Conversion Optimization Audits: Analyze conversion issues, which can be onsite or technical.
  • Negative SEO or Attacked Site Audits: Analyze downturns in site metrics when we know a site (or thought very likely) has been attacked by negative SEO methods.
  • Penalty and Recovery Audits: Analyze downturns in site metrics when a site is known (or thought very likely) to have been algorithmically or manually penalized.
  • Security Audits: Security audits for site vulnerability especially important in high-risk verticals and high value sites, but everyone should have one.

(Note: All of these can be part of the same audit, however these are how they are most commonly broken down when we receive client requests.)

Which audits are most needed? Site audits are all determined by a site’s needs. However all site audits should start with the Site Health Audit.

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5 Ways Financial Companies Boost Marketing Success

The “Financial Game” is littered with all kinds of firms claiming to do something different than the other. So as you can imagine, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the mix. Being that MatchPLUS eMarketing Group(MPeMG) deals with many financial firms as clients, we came across this article while doing some customer work & thought we’d share a few tips on how to separate yourself from the pack.

5 Ways Financial Companies Boost Marketing Success

James Daniels | April 1, 2016 | Video Email Marketing | No Comments

Financial companies benefit from having the right online marketing strategies in place. If you own a financial company, continue reading for five ways to boost your marketing techniques to increase profits.

1. Refine Your Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is a great way to connect with customers with whom you’ve already worked, as well as promote yourself to potentially new customers who are interested in what you have to offer them.

To make the most of your email marketing campaign, you should only email those people who have given you permission to do so. They may have signed up for your email list via social media or your website, for example. A good rule of thumb is: “Never send unsolicited emails.” 

21 Proven Conversion Tricks with eMail Marketing

Your emails should also be personalized with the recipient’s name, should be sent from an individual email address, should be formatted simply, and signed by the individual sender. Finally, include a strong call to action and references to current events, as well as helpful and relevant information that your recipients will appreciate. You also want to include a video in your email, as that has proven to increase engagement with viewers.

2. Advertise on Social Media Through Video

Many companies today are taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise products and services affordably on social media websites , from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

As a financial business, you can use social media video ads to target the audience that will be most interested in seeing your ads. This means that you make every dollar you spend on your video ad campaign work to your advantage. Video is one of the best ways to advertise to social media users, and is likely to result in many more likes and shares than a standard text based ad.

5 Steps To Build & Star In Your Own Video Marketing

3. Connect with People on Social Media

Another way that you can use social media to promote your financial company is by connecting with users who have addressed you directly or have mentioned you in a hashtag, whether they have positive or negative things to say about your company.

If you are a company that often has reviews from customers, reaching out to people who have complaints will give you the chance to make things right and salvage the relationship. Plus, this looks really good because it proves you care about your customers’ feelings.

Social Media Marketing 101 - Membership Site Graphic

4. Start a Blog and Use SEO

In addition to creating a website that’s attractive, functional, uncluttered, and easy to navigate, you should also set up a blog that you can fill with useful and relevant information that your customers would be interested in reading. This content should be helpful for learning about the industry, new ideas to help their business, and how your products and services can help them achieve their goals.

Establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and providing valuable information for free in this manner, entices more customers to want to work with you and trust you. Just be sure that you incorporate the latest SEO strategies throughout your website copy and blog so your site will rank high in search engine results.

5. Advertise Locally

Local websites, including directories of local businesses, can help put your brand in front of more people who would be searching for companies like yours. Therefore, focus your advertising on local customers, who need your help. This could help get more customers through your door.

So while you think about finding and investing in the right insurance to protect your company and financial business assets from companies as www.bizinsure.com, you can also watch it grow by boosting your marketing strategies on a consistent basis using intelligent marketing techniques.Local SEO - Membership Site Image

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.

Of course, these items take some time to execute, however, getting them implemented into your marketing strategy early would be very wise. Believe it or not, the digital world is still in its infancy. We hope that you start seeing some success with these tips from James, however, if you’re having a hard time figuring them out or implementing them, relief is just a click away: Digitally Speaking – All of your Digital Marketing answers and needs in one convenient spot each month!

See You Inside!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

The Perfect Google Cocktail

We found a great post for proper SEO “Cocktail” parts, enjoy!

Cheat sheet: Google’s 13 top ranking factors

A step-by-step recipe to ranking in Google’s top

It’s no secret that a top Google ranking is made up of over 200 ingredients, or “ranking signals”. And while it may be useful to know what all those ingredients are, the original recipe is an incredibly time-consuming (and a little depressing) read. It’s unreasonably vague in terms of proportions, and it just doesn’t seem doable if you try to follow it line by line. With the news about another Google update or algorithm change rolling out every other week, how can anyone keep up, ever?

But SEO bartenders have their tricks of the trade. The thing is, the 200+ ingredients in Google’s recipe aren’t all equally important. In the cheat sheet below, you’ll find 13 top ranking signals that we’ve seen make the biggest impact on Google rankings ourselves, from over 10 years of experience in the industry. Read on to find out which SEO factors carry the most weight, and get quick how-tos on mixing yourself the ultimate Google mojito. Optimize responsibly! 😉

Equipment

Here are the tools you’ll need to measure and optimize for the top 13 ranking signals in this guide.


1. SEO PowerSuite

In the how-tos, we’ve used SEO PowerSuite to illustrate the steps. All features described below are available in the toolkit’s free version; mind that to save your project data, you’d need a Pro or Enterprise license.

Download free Order license


2. Google Search Console

3. Copyscape

Links (1.5 oz)

1. Link quality

The talk about link quality has been on for years, and most SEO-ers agree it remains the strongest ranking signal for Google. While high quality links can boost your site’s link score (and therefore rankings), lower quality backlinks can get your site penalized (and even out of the SERPs completely).

For the latter not to happen, make sure you run regular link audits so you can spot any dangerous links early and have them removed in time.

How to check Launch SEO PowerSuite’s SEO SpyGlass and create a project for your site. Once the app has collected the list of your site’s backlinks, select all those links and clickUpdate Factors. Navigate to the Link penalty risks tab and click on the header of the Penalty Risk column (this will sort the links by penalty risk). All links with a penalty risk above 30% are worth looking into — these can potentially be low quality links. All links with a penalty risk over 60% need your immediate attention as they are the ones that might get your link score below Google’s low quality threshold, and have your site penalized as a result.

How to improve If you have just a few links that appear spammy or come from a low quality resource, it’s best to reach out to the site owner asking them to take down the link.

If you don’t hear back from them, or if you’ve got a substantial number of low quality links, disavowing them is your best option. Disavowing is basically telling Google to discard that link (or linking domain) when evaluating your link profile. To disavow backlinks, you’d need to put up a disavow file following certain syntax and formatting rules, and upload the file to Google Search Console.

You can create a disavow file right in SEO SpyGlass in a few clicks. To do that, select the links you’d like to disavow, right-click the selection, and hit Disavow backlinks. Most of the time, you’d want to disavow links on the domain level; so make sure you select Entire domainunder Disavow mode. Then, go to Preferences -> Disavow/Blacklist backlinks and hit Export to save the disavow file to your computer, and upload it to Google Search Console.

2. Number of links and linking domains

A few years ago, link count was perhaps the major quality signal for Google. Over time, the search engine learnt to identify the so-called link schemes, or low quality links created solely for the purpose of obtaining higher rankings. Since then, it’s often said that quality comes before quantity for Google — but this is in fact only partly true. The number of links and linking domains still has a massive impact on your ranking potential; it’s just that you can’t afford to have any spammy links in your profile anymore.

In several of its patents, Google suggests that a site’s overall link score (arguably the biggest ranking signal) is made up by individual quality scores passed on to it by every incoming link. That literally means that more links will result in a higher score — as long as they aren’t low quality links, of course.

It’s also important to note that links coming from the same domain (especially site-wide links) carry little weight; Google will often only count one of those links when evaluating your link profile.

Checking on your top SEO competitors’ link profiles is a good starting point to understand what kind of link scores you are competing against, and how much work is required for you to catch up.

How to check In SEO SpyGlass, along with a project for your own site, create up to 4 projects for your major SEO competitors, one by one.

Go to the Projects Comparison module to see how your and your competitors’ link profiles compate. Total Backlinks and Total Linking Domains should give you a good idea on how much improvement your link profile may need, quantity-wise.

How to improve To find quality link prospects and start building new links, launch SEO PowerSuite’s recently revamped LinkAssistant. Create a project and click Look for prospects, selecting a search method you’d like to use (you can repeat the process for as many methods as you like). Once you’ve done with prospect research, you should have a list of potential link partners in your project along with their email addresses for outreach.

To pick the most reputable, high quality prospects, go to the Ranking factors tab, select the prospects you’ve just found, and click Update -> Update ranking factors to get all kinds of quality stats (Alexa rank, Google PageRank, Page and Domain Authority, social signals, etc.) on the link opportunities you’ve found.

When you’ve singled out top prospects, you can reach out to them right from LinkAssistant. Right-click a contact (or several contacts, if you’ll be sending them a similar message), and click Send email to selected prospects. In your email, feel free to either put up a message of your own or use some of the ready-made email templates, depending on the link building technique you’re using. You can check for replies and manage your correspondence with prospects in the Email module. Once you start to acquire links, remember to verify and manage them in Prospects under the Backlinks tab.

3. Link relevance and diversity

In general, you want your links to be coming from pages whose topic is similar to that of the page you’re optimizing. But how can Google identify relevance, exactly? Primarily, from the backlink’s anchor text. The title of the backlink page can also help to tell what the page is about, although it is a much weaker signal than anchor text.

The concept of relevance is tightly linked to that of diversity. While your backlinks are expected to be semantically relevant to the topic of your page, it’s important to note that too similar anchor texts can get your under Google’s Penguin penalty.

Understandably, there’s no universally right ratio of different kinds of anchor text in your link profile. However, below you can find some averages to give you an idea of what a natural link profile typically looks like.

But just as it is with about anything in SEO, it’s best to rely on the link profiles of your top ranking competitors instead of the vague overall averages.

How to check In the SEO SpyGlass project you created for your own site, go to Backlinks profile -> Summary for a breakdown of the most commonly used anchors (and keywords within those anchors). Do the same for the projects you’ve created for your top ranking competitors to spot areas for improvement in terms of your links’ anchors.

How to improve To change your current links’ anchors, you’d need to reach out to webmasters that link to your site and ask them to make the change. To speed up the process, you can export your links from SEO SpyGlass by going to File -> Export, and then import them to LinkAssistant in another click through File -> Import.

Now, select the backlinks you’ve imported and hit Update -> Get Contact Email. This way, you’ll be able to reach out to webmasters right from LinkAssistant and ask them to make any changes to the links’ anchor text (or contact them regarding any other matter). Once they’ve made the changes you asked for, you can easily verify the links and see what’s changed by clicking the Verfiy button.

On-page SEO (0.75 oz)

4. Keywords in title and meta description

Your page’s title tag remains the strongest relevancy signal to Google. Make sure to include your keywords or terms semantically related to them in your title; the closer these terms are to the beginning of your title tag, the better.

The meta description generally carries less weight for search engines in terms of relevance. However, using your keywords in the description is still a good practice and can also result in a minor ranking boost for the terms you are targeting.

How to check In SEO PowerSuite’s Website Auditor, create a project for your site and go to the Content Analysis module. Select the page you’re optimizing and enter your keywords (it’s a good idea to type in several terms, including synomyms and close variations of your major keyword). Once the analysis is complete, take a look at Keywords in title and Keywords in meta description to make sure these tags include your target keywords. Click on one of those factors for a closer view, and switch between the Competitiors tab for some inspiration from your 10 top ranking competitors, and the Recommendation tab for SEO best practices.

How to improve To edit your title and meta description, navigate to Content Analysis -> Content Editor in WebSite Auditor and switch to the Title & Meta tags tab. Here, you can type your new title and description right in, with a real-time Google snippet preview below. Feel free to try several options and see how they’ll look in SERPs.

When you’re done optimizing your page, hit Save page to save the upload-ready HTML file to your hard drive.

5. Duplicate titles & descriptions

Having duplicate title and meta description tags across several pages can result in Googleonly picking one of these pages to display in SERPs. To make sure none of your pages compete in search results against each other, remember to create a unique title and meta description for each one.

How to improve To check for duplication issues across your site, go to the Site Auditmodule in WebSite Auditor and locate Duplicate titles and Duplicate meta descriptions under the On-page section of SEO factors. If there is any duplication in place, you’ll see a list of problem pages on the right.

How to improve If you discover duplicate titles or descriptions across your site, you can edit them right in your WebSite Auditor project, just like you did when optimizing these tags for your keywords. Go to Content Analysis -> Content Editor, add one of the pages duplication occurs on, and in the Title & Meta tags tab, type in a new version of your title and meta description. Preview your Google snippet right below, and when you’re happy with the way your title and description looks, hit Save page and go on to upload it to your site.

6. Keywords in copy

While it’s undoubtedly true that Google is shifting towards semantic search, that doesn’t mean it’s shifting away from keywords. Far from it. Including your target keyword in your page’s body text, especially in the beginning of the copy and in the heading tags, is a strong relevance signal to Google. Remember that your H1 tag holds the most SEO weight out of all heading tags.

How to check In Content Analysis -> Page Audit in WebSite Auditor, take a look at theBody section of on-page factors on the left. Specifically, pay attention to Keywords in body andKeywords in H1.
How to improve To edit your page’s copy, go to Content Analysis -> Content Editor and feel free to make changes to your content right in the right-hand view. As you do that, you’ll see the on-page factors on the left recalculate in real time so you know right away when you’ve reached your keyword goals.

If your page does not have an H1 tag, or if you can’t tell where it is, click Edit source. Locate your H1 (to do it quickly, hit Ctrl + F and run a search for “<h1”) and edit it right in the page’s source code, like you would in an HTML editor. If the search returns no results, you can create an H1 tag in this view. It’s generally recommended to put your header tag right above the page’s main content, preferably at the top of the <body> tag. To create your H1, simply type <h1>Any text you want to put in your header</h1> at the beginning of the page’s body.

If you’re looking to optimize the page even further, and if your content is long enough to be using multiple headings, repeat the process above for your H2-H6 tags. However, make sure you don’t overuse the same keywords to avoid keyword stuffing; instead, think of related topics with the same user intent behind them.

7. Content length

In its search quality guidelines, Google mentions the length of content as an important criterion for the page’s quality — and therefore its rankings. Clearly, there’s no ideal content length you should aim for; still, the SEO world is full of misconceptions like “longer content ranks better” and “your copy should be over 2,000 characters long to rank in top 10”. These assumptions do have their ground, but it’s important to understand that the elusive “ideal content length” may vary a lot from niche to niche. For a realistic reference on the right size for your content, it’s best to look at pages that already rank well for the keywords you’re targeting.

How to check In WebSite Auditor’s Content Analysis module, look at Word count in body.When analyzing your page, WebSite Auditor also looked at the top 10 ranking pages for the keyword you specified, and determined an optimal word count range for your page’s content based on this data. If your page’s content falls within this range, you’ll see a green Correctsign next to this factor.

How to improve If your page’s content length is outside the recommended limits, you can edit it right in WebSite Auditor’s Content Editor module. As you type, keep an eye on theWord count in body factor on the left so you can tell when you’ve reached the recommended word count. When you’re done editing, hit Save page to save the newly optimized version of your page to your hard drive, ready for upload.

8. Unique content

Not surprisingly, your content has to be original to rank well in Google. It doesn’t even matter much what your site is about — starting from blog posts and on to e-commerce product pages, you need to bring unqiue value to the table if you are aiming for top rankings. In fact, plagiarized copy and duplicate product descriptions can well get you penalized by Google’sPanda update.

But are you totally safe if you haven’t been stealing anyone’s writing and put up all the content on your site yourself? Not necessarily. The trick is, Google may not always be able to identify the original if it’s given two instances of very similar content. And yes, that means being stolen from can sometimes get you in trouble, too.

How to check In Copyscape or any other plagiarism checker, enter your page’s URL. The tool will come up with other web resources that have very similar content.
How to improve If you spot anyone using your content on their sites without your permission, contact the webmaster immedately asking them to remove the copy, or use Google’s content removal form, indicating clearly why you are requesting the copied content to be removed, and specifying the link to the original.

Technical site factors (0.5 oz)

9. Page speed

Google has officially confirmed that it uses page speed in its ranking algorithm. Page speed can also influence your SEO indirectly, as search engines will likely crawl fewer pages if your site is slow due to the allocated crawl budget. This, in turn, could negatively affect your site’s indexation.

Load time can have a massive impact on user experience, too. Slower pages tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Research shows a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

So what’s the page speed you should aim for? Google’s mentioned they expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.

How to check In WebSite Auditor’s Content Analysis module, take a look at the Page speed (Desktop) factors on the left. Under this section, you’ll see the exact list of speed-related factors Google’s looking for in webpages, according to their PageSpeed Insights.
How to improve You’d want to concentrate on any factor under the Page speed section that has an Error or Warning status. The ones with an Info status have less weight but offer room for imrpovement, too. Click on any of the factors you’d like to improve on for how-to-fix tips.

If there’re any Uncompressed images or Unminified resources found on your page, jump to theRecommendation tab for a ready-made compressed version of your images and JS/CSS. Follow the link to download the lighter version of those, and feel free to upload them to your site right away.

10. Mobile friendliness

With over half of Google searches coming from mobile devices, Google’s increasing focus on improving mobile search results is only fair. From a nice-to-have, mobile friendliness has turned into a must — if your page isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it’s likely to bediscarded from mobile search results completely.

How to check To check if your page passes Google’s mobile friendly test, go to Content Analysis -> Page Audit in WebSite Auditor. Locate Page usability (Mobile) on the list of on-page factors on the left. Clicking on Mobile friendly will show you what your page looks like on mobile devices.

The factors in the Page usability (Mobile) section are the exact features Google believes mobile-friendly pages should have, according to Google Developers’ PageSpeed Insights, so you’ll want all of them to be marked with a green Correct sign.

How to improve If your page is mobile friendly overall, but some factors under Page usability (Mobile) are not marked with a green Correct sign, click on each of those for a detailed description and how-to-fix advice. Whichever factor you’re looking at, you’ll get straightforward steps on tackling the issue quickly.

If your page isn’t mobile friendly altogether, there isn’t a better time to optimize for mobile than now. While there’s a bunch of options available, responsive design is perhaps the simplest and most widely used solution — and it’s the one Google recommends, too. If you use WordPress (or any CMS, really), choosing a responsive template for your site is about all it takes.

You’re in for more work if your site is HTML-coded with no CMS in place. However, there’s a bunch of documentation available on adapting responsive design for web developers. It might take a bit of work to get every aspect right, but it’s an investment that’ll definitely keep paying off increasingly.

11. Sitemap

Okay, strictly speaking, having a sitemap is not a ranking factor — as in, it won’t actually help your site rank higher. But an XML sitemap will help Google spider your site, and make sure it can index your pages quickly and easily. It is the simplest and most effective way to tell Google what pages your site includes.

How to check Go to Site Audit in WebSite Auditor and click the .xml sitemap factor to see if your sitemap is in place and configured correctly.

How to improve Go to the Pages module and click on the Sitemap button. Review the list of pages that’ll be included in your sitemap (if you want any of them excluded, just uncheck the respective boxes) and click Next. Choose whether you’d like to save the sitemap locally on your hard drive to manually add it to your site, or upload it via FTP right away.

User Experience & Trust (1.5 oz)

12. Click-through rate

Numerous patents filed by Google along with real-life experements show that SERP click-through rates can have a massive impact on rankings. A click-through rate, or CTR, is a ratio of the number of times a given search listing was clicked on to the number of times it was displayed to searchers.

For every query, Google expects a CTR in a certain range for each of the listings (e.g. for branded keywords, the CTR of No.1 result is around 50%; for non-branded queries, the top result gets around 33% of clicks). If a given listing gets a CTR that is seriously above (or below) that range, Google can re-rank the result accordingly.

How to check The first thing you’d want to do is check your snippets’ current click-through rates. To do that, log in to Google Search Console and go to the Search Analytics report. Select Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Position to be displayed.

While CTR values for different positions in Google SERPs can vary depending on the type of the query, on average, you can expect at least 30% of clicks for a No.1 result, 15% for a No.2 result, and 10% for a No.3 result.

If the CTR for some of your listings is seriously below these averages, these could be the problem listings you’d want to focus on in the first place.

How to improve First and foremost, please do not try to artificially inflate your listing’s CTR (such as by using bots to manipulate clicks). Google’s very good at detecting such behavior, and uses safeguards so that no spam and noise get in the way.

So the only way to make your listing earn actual clicks from real users is to make it appealing and click-worthy. As you remember, you can edit and preview your Google snippet in Content Analysis -> Content Editor in WebSite Auditor, under the Title & Meta tags tab.

As you compose your title and description, make sure they clearly communicate the value of clicking through to your page to searchers. If appropriate, use a call to action and instead of simply describing what your page is about, address the searcher directly, and inform them about the benefits of navigating to your page, choosing your product, and so on.

Once you’re happy with your snippet, hit Save page to save the upload-ready HTML file to your hard drive.

13. Social signals

The discussion on whether or not social signals affect rankings directly is ongoing, and some real-life experiments seem to prove it’s causation, not correlation. Or is it? Google’s never confirmed it, but one thing we do know for sure is that pages with more social shares rank better. Period.

How to check In your WebSite Auditor project, go to the Popularity in social media tab in the Pages module for social share counts for every page of your site, including Twitter mentions, Facebook popularity, Google +1s, LinkedIn shares, Pinterest pins, and more.

How to improve The very first thing to do to make your content shareable in the first place is, of course, adding the social media buttons to your page. For WordPress sites, there’s a selection of ready-made plugins available that let you do just that. For sites that don’t use a CMS, you can get ready-made HTML code for the social buttons here.

Now that you’ve got the necessary prerequisites in place, you’ve got to think about distributing your content for maximum exposure. Whatever your promotion strategy is (email marketing, social media marketing, or influencer outreach), remember that you need content that is truly unique and useful to be successful. If you’re only starting out at social media, here’s a great guide on social content promotion that can also help SEO and brand awareness.

One last thing…

Apparently, the best way to understand which of the signals above are making the biggest impact in your niche is to try them yourself and track progress. One great way of doing that is using SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker to monitor your Google rankings, and document the SEO changes you make with Rank Tracker’s Events. To do that, open your Rank Tracker project. Go to Preferences -> Events and click Add. Briefly describe the event and set a date for it. On the progress graph in Rank Tracker, you will now easily see how your SEO changes are affecting your rankings, and which ones have bigger impact than others.

 


That’s it! Now you’re all set to go into the real world of SEO and optimize for Google’s most important ranking factors. The best part is, you only need one toolkit to do that: grab your free version of SEO PowerSuite or get a fully featured paid copy, and go rock it! Oh, and please don’t forget to share the results you achieve in the comments below.

 

Here’s to your success,

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

 

Special Thanks to: Link-Assistant.com

Seriously, How Much Does SEO Actually Cost?

Nearly every business today must decide how much to spend on search engine optimization (SEO). If question, this isn’t an. Robust online marketing is imperative for survival in a web-driven world.

The question every business professional must ask is, “How much will we spend on SEO?” Keep reading for all the information you’ll need to make that decision, plus some helpful tips on how SEO agencies work so you can be successful as you forge a crucial partnership with an online marketing firm.


Average SEO Payment Types

To understand the dollars and cents discussed below, you must understand payment models used by agencies. SEO agencies typically offer four main forms of services and payment:

Monthly retainer: In this model, clients pay a set fee each month in exchange for an agreed-upon array of services. The monthly retainer is the most common payment model, because it provides the greatest ROI. Monthly retainer arrangements usually include regular analytics reports, on-site content improvements, press releases, link building, keyword research, and optimization.
Contract services at fixed prices: Nearly all SEO agencies sell contract services. The services that an SEO agency offers are often advertised on their site, along with a price.
Project-based pricing: Project fees are similar to contract services with the exception that they are custom projects created specifically for a client. Pricing varies according to the project. A local cupcake shop may ask an SEO agency to help them with their local online marketing. The client decides that they want the agency to establish their social media accounts. The cupcake business and the SEO agency will decide on the scope and cost of the project.
Hourly consulting: This familiar consulting model is an hourly fee in exchange for services or information.
Most SEO agencies use all of these payment models. Clients may work with an agency using more than one model. A client may choose to enter into a monthly retainer, purchase a contract service, and engage in a special project with the agency, thus entering into three of the payment models.

Average SEO Costs

What should you expect to pay? Here’s a survey of the range of the costs according to the payment models described above.

On the lower end of this spectrum are small SEO agencies that offer a limited range of services. On the upper range are businesses with greater needs working with full-service SEO agencies.
Contract services at fixed prices: price variable. Businesses that are just testing the waters in SEO usually choose a contract service as an entry point. Typical contract services include things like SEO copywriting ($0.15-$0.50/ word), site content audit ($500-$7,500), link profile audit ($500-$7,500), and social media site setup ($500-$3,000).
Project-based pricing: price variable. Since there are a variety of projects, there is a wide range of prices. Most projects cost from $1,000 to $30,000.
Hourly consulting rate: $100-300/ hr. SEO consultants, whether agencies or individuals, usually charge between $100 and $300 per hour.
(Some of these figures are taken from a 2011 SEOmoz survey of 500 consultants and agencies.).

Things You Should Be Cautious Of

Any discussion of SEO agencies and pricing isn’t complete without a few warnings. To help you guard against indiscriminate SEO agencies with unethical business practices, read and heed. Be suspicious of the following promises:.

Guarantees. SEO firms generally can’t provide guarantees due to the constantly changing nature of the industry.
Instant results. True, some SEO tactics can get “instant results” by gaming the system. Be warned that these can hurt you in the long run. Instant results often involve SEO practices that are against webmaster guidelines put out by search engines. Invariably, Google seeks out these techniques and penalizes them, resulting in lost rankings that can take months to recover.
# 1 spot on Google. It sounds great if an agency promises you the number one spot on Google. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get it. However, it’s not something that a firm can promise to hand over to you.
Costs lower than $750/month. When it comes to SEO, you aren’t shopping for the lowest price; you’re seeking the best level of service. Be wary of rock bottom prices or “unbelievable deals.”.
Shady link building services. Link building is a crucial part of SEO. Before you enter into an arrangement with an SEO agency for link building services, ensure that their link building services are ethical, white label services.
Things to Keep in Mind.

As you begin shopping for SEO agencies and making your decision, be mindful of the following points:

SEO takes time. A monthly retainer is best. Think of SEO as a long-term investment. Aggressive campaigns and major pushes may have their place, but the most enduring SEO results come from a long-term relationship. In SEW’s Mark Jackson wrote, “The real value of SEO efforts are, generally, not realized in the first month(s) of the effort.” It’s true. SEOs don’t wave a magic wand and get instant results. Instead, they perform extensive operations that will produce results months down the road.
SEO changes, and your rankings will change, too. One-and-done SEO tricks simply don’t work.
Not all SEO services are created equal. Again, SEO isn’t about shopping around for the lowest prices. It’s about finding the finest agency you can. Look for an SEO agency that defines its scope of services, and takes the time to educate you.
SEO is important. Do it. The point of your website is to increase and/or improve your business. Unless people are finding your website, it’s not even worth having one. The smart thing is to pay what it takes to keep your site findable by the people who are looking.
Hiring an SEO agency is best. You may be thinking, “Can’t I just do this SEO thing on my own?” A tiny percentage of business owners or professionals have the skill and savvy to do their own SEO. Even so, comprehensive SEO takes way more time than most business owners can afford. Even an employee who “knows a lot about SEO,” will be hard-pressed to deliver the level of services and excellence found in a SEO agency. You’ll rarely come out on top if you try to go it alone, and you’ll never get the same level of ROI that you would with a competent SEO agency.
You’re Turn

No longer do businesses decide whether they need SEO services. As long as they choose a quality SEO agency, their decision will lead to incredible amounts of revenue.

You can decide how much that’s worth to you.

Contract services at fixed prices: Nearly all SEO agencies sell contract services. The services that an SEO agency offers are often advertised on their site, along with a price. Before you enter into an arrangement with an SEO agency for link building services, ensure that their link building services are ethical, white label services. Look for an SEO agency that defines its scope of services, and takes the time to educate you.
Even an employee who “knows a lot about SEO,” will be hard-pressed to deliver the level of services and excellence found in a SEO agency.

 

To Higher Profits,

Alex, MPeMG

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

[We actually answer our own phones!]

 

Special Thanks To: WebsiteMagazine, WebpageFX & SearchEngineWatch

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