Category Archives: SEO

Is Keyword-Rich Anchor Text No Longer Necessary?

Is Keyword-Rich Anchor Text No Longer Necessary - Eminent SEOAsk any SEO specialist about anchor text, and you may unwittingly spark a lively debate. It’s often a source of both angst and confusion.

With the Google Penguin series of algorithm updates, knowing anchor text best practices is even more important. Here, let’s look into all about anchor text, its role in SEO, and how to make it work for you.

Anchor Text Defined

Anchor text is simply any text that is clickable on a webpage that links to another place on the web. For example, in the phrase, “Eminent SEO can help improve your email marketing strategy,” the anchor text (“Eminent SEO”) links back to our website.

If this link were featured on another website, then you have an example of a process called “link building,” and it’s good for SEO. However, the phrasing can either help your search engine rankings or harm it. The difference is in how you approach your own website’s anchor text, as well as that on other sites that link to yours.

Different Types of Anchor Text

Five Types Of Anchor Text - Eminent SEOSay we’re trying to rank for the keyword “marketing strategy.” There are several types of anchor text that other websites might use to link to ours:

Exact Match

An exact match only anchors the exact keyword we’re looking for:

Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Partial Match

A partial match (also known as a phrase match) anchors the keyword in a phrase:

Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Branded

Branded anchor text would link back to our company, Eminent SEO:

Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Naked URLs

A naked URL has no unique anchor text, just a web address:

Example: Eminentseo.com can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Generic

Generic anchor text provides instructions, but does not include any branding or keywords.

Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy. Click here to go to their website.

How Anchor Text Influences Search Rankings

Search engines such as Google use anchor text as a factor in determining a page’s topic and how it should rank. In other words, using the anchor text “marketing strategy” should indicate to Google that the page on the other end of the link is a good fit for that search engine query.

In theory, the more times we score a backlink with the anchor “marketing strategy,” the higher we should rank for that query. But SEO is rarely that simple.

The Problem with Early Anchor Text

When Google’s search algorithm was less refined, the search engine relied heavily on anchor text, perhaps too much so. Around 2008, the company explained that it thought anchors provided more accurate descriptions of websites than the sites themselves. While the practice was sound in theory, it proved to be too easy to manipulate.

SEO specialists could easily cheat the system back then and tie certain adjectival phrases to a specific group or individual. Fair or not, two of the more famous “Google bombs” prior to 2010 were the association of the search phrase “miserable failure” to George W. Bush and “worst band in the world” to Creed.

Google’s Crackdown on Some Keyword-Rich Anchor Text

As a result, the search engine giant began to crack down on the way people could use anchor text for search engine optimization. The largest shift came in 2012, when the first Google Penguin algorithm update released. Its aim? Punishing low-quality and manipulative practices for link building.

Anchor text was one of Penguin’s primary targets, and companies who pursued exact match anchors aggressively saw their Google rankings plunge overnight. The Penguin update was a sort of Black Tuesday for SEO practitioners, who then had to come up with another way to put their websites at the top page of web results.

Companies, too, became twitchy about anchor text, some believing that only branded anchor text was allowed – and that all others would be punished by Google.

How Does Google Punish Anchor Text?

Original Google Penguin Update Affected 3 Percent Of Websites - Eminent SEODoes Google punish everything but branded anchor text? In a word: no. But there’s a right way and wrong way to include anchor text.

Over-optimization of anchor text, for example, is frowned upon. Search engines such as Google and Bing want backlinking to occur naturally. In other words, links should only be in your content if they make sense or if they lead to relevant content. If you have too many links, or if your links look contrived, the Penguin filter could demote the page.

While this sounds harsh, in reality, the original Google Penguin update only affected some 3 percent of websites. If own your content contains links in less than 50 percent of the copy, chances are you will not be affected by Penguin.

What About Link Quality?

Penguin also punishes links that don’t lead to authoritative websites. This discourages rank inflation. Quality backlinking to reliable information ensures your page is relevant. Don’t use anchor text just to grab a keyword. It looks unnatural to Google and will hurt your ranking.

Exact and Partial Anchor Text Still Wields Influence

So, does Penguin punish exact and partial keyword anchor text? A study by Ahrefs sought to find the answer. The study involved analyzing 51 keywords in competitive niches from finance to health, both exact matches and partial matches. Ahrefs found that both exact and partial keyword anchor text continue to have some influence on the top spots in Google searches.

The key here is density. For exact keyword matches, aim for it to be in no more than 1 to 2 percent of all anchor text. Partial matches are more forgiving: 30 percent of anchors containing a keyword phrase are safe from Google penalties.

Anchor Text Best Practices

Google Has Over 200 Ranking Factors - Eminent SEOThe (not-so) final word on anchor text: It continues to influence the top spots in Google searches, especially in competitive niches. But … it’s not as heavily weighted as it used to be since Google now has more than 200 ranking factors.

Don’t be afraid to use keyword-rich anchor text in your own web content, though. If done well, it will help your search engine rankings. Observe some basic best practices:

Make Your Links Relevant

We talked a little bit about the importance of link relevancy in SEO, but it’s more easily understood with an example.

Say you own an aromatherapy store, and you love to blog about it. Ever eager to share your passion with others, you spend a little time each day reading about the newest in aromatherapy. You find an article about a study linking aromatherapy to increased levels of mood-boosting serotonin in the brain.

When you write a blog about this later, you could link back to the study in a couple of different ways:

“To read the study, click here.”

OR:

“A study outlines the effect of aromatherapy on the brain.”

SEO best practices dictate the second phrase (“effect of aromatherapy on the brain”) is more effective, because it is relevant to the topic at hand. Remember, search engines are interested in producing results that are beneficial to the user.

Vary Your Keywords

Google is wary of keywords and anchor text that appear over and over again. If your site’s backlinks all contain the same keyword-rich anchor text, it’s usually a sign those links weren’t acquired naturally.

Shoot for a variety of keyword anchor text, and don’t use the same one each time. This is where the statistics for partial match and exact match keywords come in. In general, try to earn only a few exact keyword matches. Partial keyword phrases are more forgiving, but variation helps in each phrase or term.

And when you’re linking internally or externally, don’t make your anchor phrases too long. Best practice dictates that they should be eight words or fewer for maximum benefit.

For example, if your aromatherapy store is the only store in Atlanta selling sustainable, ethically sourced essential oils, you might want others to link to your website with the keyword phrase “sustainable essential oils in Atlanta.” However, you want the keywords to be varied so you can avoid Google penalties. Similar phrases like these might help:

“Here’s a great site for sustainable essential oils.”

OR:

“Buy quality sustainable oils in Atlanta.”

Each anchor phrase carries pieces of the original keyword, yet they’re varied enough to pass the Google algorithm’s muster.

Bottom Line: Don’t Disregard the Power of Anchor Text

Although dwindling to a degree, anchor text continues to carry weight for current search engine algorithms. Early over-reliance on anchor text has led to a crackdown on the way we use anchor text for SEO purposes. Your mission is to keep earning relevant backlinks with varied keywords, which will help your site earn a place near the top of Google’s rankings.

Search engine optimization is essential for the success of your website. Eminent SEO can help optimize your content (including external links) as well as review your backlink profile. Just call 800.871.4130 if your company needs help with better content and earning stronger backlinks.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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How to Survive in the Current Organic Search Results Landscape

Organic Search Results Landscape - Eminent SEO

Internet search is a field in constant motion, with Google constantly shifting and updating the landscape to provide a more sophisticated product. One significant recent amendment to the search goliath is its update to local listings and how these appear to users on the results pages. These changes, while seemingly minute, have powerful implications when it comes to how your business is represented.

Last year, Google rolled out a new local search format worldwide. The verdict is still out on whether it will be better for businesses or for consumers – or neither. It’s all so confusing! No need to fret: Here are a few changes we can be sure of:

Organic Still Crushes

Organic Results Keep Your Eye On The Ball - Eminent SEOThe SEO firm Nifty recently performed five different search studies of both desktop and mobile platforms with the new local listing setup implemented by Google. Across all studies, organic search results performed the best, receiving nearly 50 percent of all click throughs. Compare this to average click-through rates of 25 and 24 percent for paid ads and local packs, respectively.

If you caught our previous post, it should come as no surprise that it pays off for businesses to aim for high organic rankings rather than placing too much focus on paid search engine spots and other channels, such as social media.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Organic results remain the No. 1 way search users are likely to click through to your website. It makes sense, because when someone searches, “I’m looking for [service] in [location],” a keyword search matching the words they type seems to fulfill their search query much better than paid ads or local results, which are essentially suggestions from Google.

Nifty took the results of its study and implemented an SEO strategy that “moved away from a laser focus on maps and really focused on growing organic traffic for phrases that show map results and phrases that don’t.” Overall, the company claims to have had great increases of traffic across all clients since the shift.

Decrease in the Local Pack

Google’s local pack in the search results used to feature seven entries. Now, it’s down to three, although the resource is more visual than it used to be.

What does this mean? For starters, featuring fewer local businesses means that your business could receive less visibility. A keyword search for “plumbers in San Francisco” will yield paid advertisements, local listings and organic search results. Of the local results, your business may show up, or it may not.

The factors contributing to when and how your business show up include the internet provider of a given user and his or her relative location. For example, two people could search the exact same keywords next door to one another and receive two completely different sets of local results in their SERP (search engine results page).

Some have speculated that the new layout is simply a way to streamline the user experience, while others have argued that it’s foreshadowing a larger Google plan to monetize local packs. Searching for different keywords will yield an even wider variety of local listings.

How to Adjust to the New Organic Search Results Landscape

Positive Reviews On Yelp And Google - Eminent SEOSo, how can you keep your business and your website relevant given all the changes to Google’s search layout? Here are a couple of good places to start:

Fill Out Your Google My Business Page Properly

Even though a link to your Google My Business page is no longer available for searchers, you can still claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t yet.

Be sure to fill out the important details on your GMB page:

  • Add a unique, properly formatted description that includes links.
  • Choose the correct categories for your business.
  • Upload as many hi-resolution photos as possible.
  • Add a local phone number to your listing.

Earn Positive Reviews Within Google Maps

Even though they’re no longer called Google+ Reviews, the reviews on your Google My Business page are still used for local pack snippets. Users generally leave reviews by finding your location in Google Maps and then clicking on “Write a review.”

Your business card will not only include your overall review rating, but your negative reviews as well. This is especially crucial for businesses in the hospitality industry to pay attention to. Why? Because Google has added an option to filter searches to include only businesses above a certain rating, such as four stars or higher.

Pay Attention to Opening and Closing Hours

Since each local listing’s snippet now includes the business’s working hours, make sure to include correct opening hours on your Google My Business page.

Keep Earning Reviews Elsewhere

Business reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so you need to spend some time acquiring them. And these are not only Google reviews, but also reviews on your Yelp page and other local directory pages.

Optimize Your Storefront

At the end of the day, your spot on a search engine results page is your storefront. Getting people to see your storefront was already tough, but Google continues to keep raising the stakes.

You want to do everything in your power to get users to walk through your door. Are you getting seen? How does it look when users see you? Get started on finding out the answers to those two questions.

If you’re looking for some help on optimizing your website for search engines as well as filling out your Google My Business page properly, give Eminent SEO a try. We have several new marketing packages available to help your company rise to prominence on many fronts. Just call us today to learn more about our new offerings: 800.871.4130.

 

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Your Guide to Keyword Research in 2016 Going into the New Year

Keyword Research In 2016 And 2017 - Eminent SEO

In the past, keywords were crucial to search engine optimization (SEO). Times are a-changing, and now keywords are only one of the many factor for rankings. While they are still relevant, keywords should be researched alongside a variety of other optimization factors.

To get a page of content noticed, understand that what’s behind the keywords is just as important as the keywords themselves: Think demographics, personas and intent. Consider keywords carefully, but also keep in mind who’s behind the keyboard. Understanding your user can help you not only bring traffic to your site, but it can also impact who is coming to your site.

Regardless of the type of business you own, you have a target audience. With careful research, you can accurately predict their searches – as long as you understand that keywords aren’t powerful enough to justify your entire focus.

The ‘Why’ Behind the Search

Consider user intent. It’s all about why a person is looking – the motive behind their search. The why impacts what keywords are used. Like a detective, you must divine a motive for the search before you can understand how to use keywords.

Google understands the intent behind a user’s search. Try Googling “hair dye” as an example. What comes up is an option for a beauty supply chain store. Google assumes that the intent of your search is to make a purchase. If a user gets more specific and types in “hair dye effects,” the search results offer information on the correlation between hair dye and cancer risks. So by adding a single word, user intent changed – and Google picked up on it.

Basically, specific words that users choose for a search reveal their intent. This is valuable information, and your goal is to make your product or service match the intent and be the answer they need. Understanding audience intent will help you choose the right keywords and phrases to generate traffic on your site and for your business.

The ‘Who’ Behind the Query

Search Queries Informational Transactional Navigational - Eminent SEOWho is searching matters. People have different motives when searching, and this is why demographics matter so much. Demographics and personas are the details about a group of people or a specific person, such as:

  • Who they are
  • Where they’re from
  • What their professions are
  • What their likes and dislikes are

Obviously, demographics matter. They can tell you whether you should be putting ads on Snapchat or Facebook (depending on age). They can give insight into who is making the purchase. For example, men’s shoes may be the purchase, but women may be the purchaser. Do your keyword research with demographics in mind. It’ll pay off.

Personas are even more helpful in determining who’s on the other side of the search engine. Maybe you want to target 20-year-olds who stay up late to read books, or 30-year-old men who eat spaghetti. A persona is different than a demographic, as it’s more specific. It’s the details that make people who they are, and thereby explains the why behind their search.

Beware of the specific demographics you’re trying to reach because, depending on your keywords, you could miss your target audience. For example, your target demographic might be women combating hair loss. If “hair loss” is your keyword, you might find that the demographic searching “hair loss” is primarily men, so you’d then have to adjust your strategy.

Why Search Queries Matter

Queries are another topic to consider. This is different than a keyword search: It’s “Mexican food” versus “where to find good Mexican food.” Queries tie back to intent. They carry a specific purpose – much more so than keywords do.

Queries are often used by people who know exactly what they want, and there are different kinds of queries with different intentions. Queries are generally categorized as:

  • Informational,
  • Transactional, and
  • Navigational

In other words, users are searching for one of the following: to find information, to make a purchase, or to find a specific website.

Understanding these different types of queries will assist you in navigating user intent and help lead you to a greater understanding of the demographics that are being led to your site.

Decide What Your Goals Are

Before you can understand demographics, personas and intent, you need to have a goal in mind. Increasing site traffic is probably one ambition, but what else?

What about sales? Gaining user awareness of your business? Multiplying ad clicks? These are all important goals to think about when establishing what you want to achieve through keyword research.

Your goals will inevitably assist you in deciding your course of action for keywords. Start putting your keywords in categories, and use them effectively. Perhaps your goal is sales and you want to use “money phrases.” Or maybe your goal is awareness, so you want to use specific phrases that your demographic is likely to use.

Money phrases matter, too. These are all about one thing: the sales funnel. An example of this is “shoe clearance.” Words that dictate selling (like “buy” and “sale”) are commonly used in money phrases.

Understanding the ‘Fully Meets’ Rating and SERPs

Your Website Meet Potential Customers Needs - Eminent SEOSearch engines judge and rate websites by how well they meet their user’s needs. This goes back to the importance of intent. Because websites are rated this way, it means keywords must be used correctly and with user intent in mind to gain more traffic from the right demographics. Aim for a “Fully Meets” rating, which is when a site fulfills all of the user’s needs. This means that the user doesn’t need to see any other site.

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are important. Review them on a regular basis to understand how your keywords are functioning: Who is searching those keywords and why. SERPs will be paramount in your keyword research. By reviewing SERPs regularly for keywords you’re considering, you’ll begin to recognize trends and more closely deliver what users are searching for.

Talk to Your Team About Intent and Keywords

You don’t have to always turn to the web to gain an understanding of user intent and how it affects keywords. Your teammates, particularly in sales, probably have valuable information about your users and what their intentions are. Use this information to form an understanding of user needs and to create appropriate keywords. Ask your team about the questions they’re frequently asked.

Creating a help center on your site can be useful as well. Such a location will give you valuable data about what questions people are asking: Essentially, what is user intent? Use this crucial information to guide your keywords.

Keyword Research Is Not a One-Time Occurrence

How Are Search Users Finding Your Website - Eminent SEOUnderstand that to be effective, keyword research isn’t something that you do once and never return to. It’s an ongoing field of research that’s always changing. You’ll need to consistently review your keywords and queries to see how they are stacking up in search engine results. Look for relevance to user intent and if your keywords are still hitting the mark.

Deciphering keyword research could be as simple as, well, Googling it. Use Google to gain an understanding of user intent. The search engine is excellent at understanding the intent behind words and phrases. The results produced by typing in specific keywords or queries can give you an idea of user intent. And since Google’s algorithms are what guide all other search engines, what the company is doing matters – a lot.

Based on your search results, think about whether your own keywords are describing your product(s) and service(s) correctly. Are they relevant? Do they present an honest representation of your business and what you have to offer?

Those are questions you should be asking yourself when conducting keyword research. Then consider who’s searching for your services exactly the way you’re describing them through keywords. This is paramount. Answering this will enlighten you about user intent.

The Takeaway on Keyword Research in 2016

Keyword research is only one factor among many when conducting research on SEO. You want to not only understand user intent to increase traffic to your site, but to also increase traffic among the right demographic. Otherwise, users are visiting your site without utilizing your products or services – and you’re accomplishing little.

By taking advantage of relevant tools, such as your team members, SERPs and even Google itself, you’re setting yourself up to gain a strong understanding of how users find your site and what steps they take next.

If the keyword-research process sounds too daunting or complex for what you can take on right now, expert help is always available. Click to find out about Eminent SEO’s Keyword Research Services or call 800.871.4130 today.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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How Easy Website Builders like Wix, Muse and Weebly Hurt Your SEO and Growth Efforts

Easy Website Builders - Eminent SEO

Websites today are getting easier and easier for the average user to create.

You don’t even have to be a programmer or web developer to see a website come to fruition. Some website-building services don’t even require you to know a lick of code in order to launch a new site. You can just pick a design template, drag and drop content, write a little copy, and then it’s up and live in a matter of minutes.

Because of the low level of technical skill, you’d think such a site would look pretty basic. However, some of these properties actually look pretty good on the surface, boasting modern layouts and large, high-quality images. And that’s a good portion of the battle right there when it comes to having a successful web presence.

While it’s nice to be able to put up a presentable site quickly for your customers or just anyone following you closely, these types of websites struggle with long-term growth. Such a shortcut can only get you so far.

When it comes to complying with the latest SEO developments, most easy website builders get left behind – or at best take months or years to catch up. Let’s take a look at why codeless website builders like Wix, Muse, Weebly and similar services aren’t built to help businesses scale.

How Easy Website Builders Struggle with SEO

If you’re using your website to try to reach new markets and build your clientele, using a codeless website builder is going to make that task difficult for you. This is because it’s going to be a battle to get (and keep) any page from your website to show up on the first page of search results.

Even though these easy website builders allow you to type in your own meta tags for each page, and they offer proprietary SEO-related plugins, they still fall short in many ways when it comes to helping your rank higher in search.

Here’s why:

Poor URL Categorization and Structure

When you’re organizing the navigation of your website, it’s best to keep the URLs of your main categories and sub-categories clean and succinct. The homepage and the main menu items are all considered Tier 1 pages. If you have any categories that have drop-down options beneath, those are Tier 2 pages.

In short, it’s best to not have any Tier 2, 3, etc. pages branching right off the homepage, URL-wise. For examples, for our site you will see the URL of our Services pages as https://www.eminentseo.com/services/. We then have three Tier 2 options (not counting Service Overview) that stem from our Services page (and even some Tier 3 pages not shown in the main navigation).

Eminent SEO Services Page

If you visit our Website Creation page, you’ll see this URL:

Eminent SEO Website Creation URL

It’s very important to have the main page of the “silo” in the URL before “website-creation/.” Otherwise, everything just looks like it branches off from the homepage, and Google’s web crawlers will have trouble understanding how your site flows and which pages deserve more emphasis than others.

With a Wix-created website, any page other than the homepage starts with a “#!” (sometimes referred to as a hashbang) right after the main address. Not only does this make for a messy URL, but it looks to Google like every page is just a direct extension of the homepage. Thus, it’s going to be hard for the website to rank for any of its Tier 2 or 3 pages – unless you search for the site name and specific service directly.

For example, we’ll look at one of the featured Wix sites: Butcher & Sons, a restaurant chain in Mexico.

Butcher And Sons Homepage

This site has a main menu category called “Sucursales,” which basically means “branches” or “locations” in English. The URL for the Sucursales page is:

Butcher And Sons Sucursales URL

And if you click on any of the six drop-down items under the Sucursales category, the URL will be structured as such:

Butcher And Sons Polanco URL

Notice how the top-level category, Sucursales, is disregarded when it comes to these Tier 2 pages.

Not good. And that’s no fault of Butcher & Sons.

With Tier 2 items branching right off the homepage, it’s like telling Google that all Tier 1 and 2 content is equally valuable. And for most websites, this is not the case.

As for Weebly and Adobe Muse websites, they don’t suffer from having hashbangs show up in their addresses, although many sites contain URLs ending in “.html” for their non-homepage content. This isn’t necessarily an SEO-killer, but it makes the URL longer and less eye-appealing. The best practice is to end your URLs like such: “services/.” Yes, ending with a forward slash is ideal.

Weebly sites appear to not be able to structure URLs optimally either. Tier 2 pages all seem to stem right off the home address. As for Muse, I had trouble going through its “Site of the Day” list and finding any website that even had Tier 2 pages visible from the main menu. Many of them had a menu that just directed to an anchored section of the homepage below the fold. In fact, I only found 2 out of the first 16 featured sites that had navigation that went deeper than the first tier. And when I did find such a site, all Tier 2 pages, you guessed it, branched right off from the home address. Tsk tsk.

Excessive Code

With the rise of codeless website platforms, many web developers noticed that excessive code was needed in order to make creating a website easier, particularly in Muse. In other words, lines and lines of code were used to offset the user’s lack of HTML knowledge.

Codeless website creators will have a hard time getting their content pages to rank well because search engine crawlers often have difficulty sifting through all of the extra code and figuring out what each page is about.

Excessive code also can lead to slow loading times, especially in the ever-growing world of mobile search. It should be noted that a site with slow loading times will prompt many visitors will bounce rather than wait for the entire page to load. Both slow loading times and high bounce rates cause rankings to suffer in Google Search, and people who use codeless website builders should be aware of these potential risks.

SSL Certificate Difficulty

If you’d like to upgrade the security of your website, obtaining an SSL certificate can be problematic with Weebly and impossible with Wix. SSL certificates create trust with your visitors and customers, and they’re projected to become a ranking factor in Google Search in the near future.

More on SSL certificates here.

With a Wix-created website, you actually don’t own your own content. They do. And since they basically own your website, you can’t add an SSL certificate whatsoever.

If you decide to add Wix’s shopping cart to your website, that will be SSL-protected, but otherwise, you’re out of luck with adding a site-wide security certificate. I’ll further explain the pitfalls of not being the sole proprietor of your website in a moment.

Weebly and Muse both allow you to add an SSL certificate to your domain, with some stipulations.

  • Weebly highly encourages you to purchase your SSL certificate through them. However, what they offer isn’t among the strongest types of such certificates on the market.
  • For an SSL certificate on a Muse-created site, you’ll have to go through your website host and a third party.

From looking through the featured websites on Weebly and Muse, it’s noticeable that most site owners aren’t utilizing an SSL certificate. Perhaps quite a few in the bunch don’t even know what an SSL certificate is – speculation of course.

You’re Not in Full Control of Your Content and Website

With Wix, you’re actually not in sole control of your own website. It may appear that way, but that’s all smoke and mirrors. While Wix’s Terms of Use says that you own all rights to any content you upload to your site, there’s this stipulation:

Wix Terms Of Use Ownership

This means Wix can modify the content on your site, remove it, or even feature or reuse it elsewhere. Your entire site could even be included on the platform’s featured websites page. But what if you don’t want to shout to the world that you’re using the Wix platform?

Wix Example Websites - ESEO

Other codeless website builders don’t infringe on your submitted content as deeply as Wix does, but they still retain to right to move or delete your material, especially if it’s copyright-protected, indecent or spammy. These platforms make it clear that you’re on your own if material you upload gets you into legal trouble.

Also, if you try to move your codeless-created website over to another content management system, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible. With Wix, you can pretty much just copy and paste what you have, but you can’t download a page into a file that can be uploaded elsewhere.

As far as all Wix, Weebly and similar codeless website builders go, don’t even think about taking any of their graphics, templates, proprietary stock images, etc. over to another site. Only your original content can be taken and reused if you decide to create a website elsewhere.

The Times When Codeless Website Builders Can Work

Looking over the featured websites on Wix, Weebly and Muse, I see a lot of small restaurants, web design agencies, architecture firms and individual actors, pastors, public speakers, local bands and the like. Basically, these sites are like a slightly bigger about.me page.

You can think of a codeless-created website like a starter home. It’s affordable, it’s manageable, it works for the time being, and it allows you to get a sense of what you like and don’t like before you upgrade your space down the road. It’s also better than not having any site at all when it comes to handing out business cards or imploring your social media followers to visit your personal online space.

Like I mentioned earlier, many of the sites created this way actually look pretty good, as they are heavy on the visuals. Most codeless website builders even support shopping cart integration, so you can get a small ecommerce business off the ground. Overall, these types of sites are decent if you’re a one-person business or a startup with no coding experience and a tight budget.

Other popular easy website builders that require little to no coding include:

  • SiteBuilder.com
  • WebsiteBuilder.com
  • Web.com
  • Webs.com
  • Sitey.com
  • Sitelio.com
  • eHost.com
  • Squarespace.com

But You Want to Grow, Don’t You?

If you want to use your website as a means to help your business grow, relying on a codeless-built site is going to make that mission difficult. This is because an SEO strategy is hard to execute with these platforms. You saw that not only does Wix produce messy URLs, but Weebly and Muse both struggle with proper URL structure. That’s just one of many drawbacks.

Although Wix had the most minuses in the SEO analysis above, a common theme among all easy website builders is they seem to lag behind when it comes to Google’s changing standards, such as algorithm updates and ranking factors.

For example, Wix and Weebly didn’t jump into the responsive design game until somewhere between late 2014 and early 2015. Adobe Muse’s homepage didn’t tout the platform’s responsive capabilities until late 2015, and it still advertises this feature like it’s a new thing.

Adobe Muse Homepage Responsive Design

Your best bet at long-term growth is to find a digital marketing company that can not only create and host your website, but also implement a sound SEO strategy so your content ranks high in the search results. Eminent SEO has a team that excels in these and related strategies in order to help clients large and small succeed with their online presence. Click to learn more about our Website Creation services, or call 800.871.4130 today.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Top 7 SEO Tricks and Lessons We Learned as a Team in 2015

What We Learned In SEO In 2015 - ESEO

New Year’s Day has come and gone, and the month of January has almost disappeared before our eyes here at the offices of Eminent SEO. But, before we preview digital marketing and SEO developments to look out for in 2016 on our blog, I want to take a look back at the skills we picked up and the lessons we learned as a team last year.

Google hardly stayed static in 2015, so we had to consistently adjust to keep up at every turn. Therefore, at the end of 2015, the strategies we employed and our methods of execution on behalf of our clients were quite different than they were a year prior. The evolution of Eminent SEO was even further showcased in 2015 by our expansion as a team and ensuing move into a larger office space.

After doing a quick survey around the office, I’ve arrived at the top seven SEO tricks, skills, lessons, etc. we learned in 2015 (in no particular order), along with an explanation of how each item made us stronger as a team and better benefited our beloved clients:

1. Local Search Optimization

We found local search rankings to be increasingly important in 2015, especially considering the nature of our clients. Google now localizes search for most users anyway, so it’s best to pay attention to what residents in a target market are searching. Even businesses with a national audience should still make sure their online local info is in order. What this entails is clearing up any inconsistencies with a business’s name, address and phone number across all online listings, as well as creating more listings in local and even national online directories.

In some cases, we would even use pay-per-click campaigns to test keywords in a client’s geographic area to see what’s working. Once we figured out the answer, we would implement that keyword onto the client’s site as part of their longer-term organic marketing strategy.

To learn more about how to dominate local search, see this blog post we published last May.

2. Adding Schema Markup

Related to local search optimization is adding schema markup to a website. This has to do with code that doesn’t show up on the front end of a website but that tells Google precise data that could show up in the local map or even in the “knowledge graph” of the search engine.

Schema markup helps with local search by telling Google exactly where your business is on the map. This means that if a user searches for a certain product or type of service and uses the map to find businesses in their area, your company’s name and location could show up because you fed Google the right information.

Eminent SEO Google Map

Not only can you get the company’s logo or a custom photo to show up in Google Maps, but you can also use schema to tell the search engine exactly what kind of business you are. When you take out the guesswork for Google, it will know where to rank you in organic search better and when to show your location on the map for certain search terms.

3. Tailoring User Experience to Search

In 2015, we gained a better understanding of what engages users on a website, so we tailored our content delivery accordingly. We fine-tuned our landing page optimization practices by thinking like a consumer would when finding our clients’ content in search and clicking through.

We realized that if we could build content around what users are expecting to see and learn after landing on one of our clients’ pages from search, then we could keep them on the page and site longer. These “long clicks” routinely elicit better search results and higher chances of making a conversion.

4. Better Storytelling

Online storytelling became a big trend among marketers in 2015, and we started incorporating it on behalf of our clients for better engagement. This manifested in the forms of video and other interactive content, some of it coming from the use of newer digital tools.

Basically, if you’re a B2B company or a no-frills B2C entity, you should do more than continually make a sales pitch online. You’ve got to offer content that users find personally valuable and that costs them nothing, whether it’s entertaining or informative.

Storytelling in all its forms helps accomplish this. To learn about some tools that will help you boost your online storytelling efforts, see this recent blog post.

5. Marketing to Millennials

Last year, most businesses stopped deriding millennials and decided to center their marketing efforts on this group instead. Millennials are poised to become the top age group online, and they make up a good chunk of the workforce now. They also boast considerable buying power, especially since the economy is getting better and more of them are finding viable jobs.

Advertisers understand that the later you get in life, the more loyal you will be to certain brands and products. Millennials aren’t generally as set in their ways, so they’re usually more easily persuaded into buying from a brand they haven’t tried before.

In 2015, our team started focusing more of our efforts on appealing to millennials, whether on clients’ social profiles or websites. Undoubtedly, we’ll keep this initiative going in 2016.

6. Quality over Quantity

You’re probably seeing the title of this header and asking, “Quality over quantity in what area?” The answer is in many areas. We found that one quality backlink from a highly authoritative website can do more for a client’s search rankings than a bunch of backlinks from mediocre sites.

Likewise, one rock-solid page that summarizes a number of a client’s services can often generate more traffic than breaking the services down into individual pages. Also, writing one great, in-depth blog post will usually do better than separating some of the ideas into their own smaller posts. One outstanding social media post can often gain more likes, shares, comments, etc. than a dozen or so run-of-the-mill posts combined. You get the idea.

A stronger commitment to quality over quantity is why we’ve introduced new services like Authority Content Marketing (evergreen, in-depth content that’s designed to earn shares and backlinks). It’s also why we’ve placed a newfound focus on each of our client’s website architecture, including how each site’s navigation makes for a better user experience.

7. Clearer, Customized Reporting

Custom Reporting - Eminent SEOA client won’t stick around forever if we can’t provide proof that their website is moving them in the right direction, or if they don’t understand the numbers we’re reporting to them. We’ve always done full monthly reporting for all of our clients, but it used to be somewhat of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Last year, we realized that reporting that way doesn’t work for all clients. This is why we introduced customized, more in-depth monthly reports. Each industry is going to call for a different type of report because their goals are different, and the way their potential customers search is different. Many of our clients gauge success by the number of phone leads their website has generated, but others measure conversions by the number of online shopping cart sales, such as in the case of ecommerce clients.

In almost all cases, we had positive news to report monthly to our clients, but some of them had trouble seeing that because of the way we framed the data. Therefore, we’ve customized our reporting methods by client, collecting the right data for long-term success.

Looking Ahead Through 2016

Now that we’ve recapped what we learned last year, here are some marketing trends we’re keeping our eyes on in 2016:

  • Video and video ads will evolve dramatically, such as a shift toward the vertical format, which works better with today’s heavy smartphone usage.
  • Google will continue to index more content from mobile apps, so more companies might jump into that arena.
  • Mobile traffic will take over and dominate desktop.
  • Virtual reality will continue to emerge.
  • Wearable technology will pave new ground.
  • Google will continue to de-value thin content and place stronger emphasis on high-quality backlinks.

If you’re looking to stay on top of the ever-evolving standards for digital content and search engine optimization, Eminent SEO is ready to help keep your business ahead of the competition. Whether you need a whole new website or just more compelling content, Eminent SEO has a full range of services for your digital needs, with custom monthly reporting available to tell you which of your online assets are making progress.

We’ll take all we’ve learned in 2015 and apply it for the benefit of your company. Just call 800.871.4130 today to learn more and get started.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Understanding the Future of SEO: What to Expect in 2016 and Beyond

Understanding the Future of SEO

Search is an ever-changing landscape of different variables that quantify what makes a website strong enough to rank. As we approach the end of 2015, some of us may be wondering what to expect in 2016 for SEO. My team had the opportunity to attend the Pubcon event in Vegas recently, and I’m happy to share what we learned in terms of the future of SEO.

A lot of businesses owners are still behind the times and are really going to feel it this coming year. If your business has yet to implement a responsive design, semantic markup, and a website that speaks to users, now is the time to implement those things. Otherwise, wait and fail because the future of search isn’t about the older demographic, but millennials and how they’re buying.

Focus on Mobile or Fail

We need to start looking at mobile optimization first since mobile search has finally reached a tipping point and has surpassed desktop search. Because of that, there are now mobile-specified algorithms that focus on mobile location and providing fewer results to the mobile user, but more qualified results than ever before.

As business owners and marketers, mobile optimization strategies need to speak to the mobile audience. This encompasses mobile voice search, mobile website design, mobile apps, and mobile website usability.

Mobile Effect for the Future of SEO

Optimizing for Mobile Voice Search

Traditionally, websites have been optimized for important key phrases because that’s how users would use a search engine. Now, with mobile voice search services such as Siri and Google Voice, users are approaching search in a different way. Google’s Hummingbird update directly speaks to voice search users, which allows the search engines to interpret full questions.

Instead of only optimizing websites with important keywords, start thinking about your audience and what questions they may be asking when your product or service will provide the solution. Simply adding a FAQs section to your website that answers these questions with well-researched answers would help optimize the site for voice search.

Optimizing Mobile App Traffic Sources

Since millennials are using their phones for more than just texting and searching Google, we need to be forward thinking when it comes to how they are searching within other apps. Social apps alone are a huge data source for search. Think about Pinterest. Have you searched for recipes on Pinterest? It has become its very own search engine. Therefore, businesses need to be optimized on social apps as well.

Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users

When designing and optimizing a website, mobile design needs to be the first thought, since it’s where the majority of your traffic is going to come from. If it hasn’t happened already, it inevitably will happen soon. Optimizing the following website considerations will help provide a better mobile user experience:

  • Optimize website speed times.
  • Javascript, CSS, and image files should not be blocked from search engines.
  • Use Schema.org structured data to enhance the rich snippets for mobile.
  • Prevent the usage of pop-ups.
  • DO NOT use any Flash, since mobile devices cannot read Flash.
  • Make sure buttons and navigation are designed for big, fat fingers.
  • Localize your footer with the correct Name, Address, and Phone Number for local search.
  • Make sure the content reads well on mobile by optimizing headers and calls to action.

Use Responsive Design

Responsive design allows your website to scale to fit all devices seamlessly. There are still certain tweaks that need to be made to make sure the content is optimized correctly for mobile, but the website is pretty much the same on mobile as desktop, whereas mobile-specific sites may only show mobile users selected areas of your website, not the entirety of the site.

Mobile Optimization

Include Schema Markup in Your On-Page SEO Strategy

Schema markup can enhance your presence in the search engine results by telling search engines exactly what your data means. When search engines understand what the data means, they can provide valuable rich snippets of your content right in the SERPs.

There are different schema markup types available for different content types, including: local, restaurants, products, reviews, recipes, ratings, events, articles, apps, and more. Implementing schema markup will help increase your website CTR, which can lead to higher rankings. We’ll talk more about that later. Take advantage of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to determine what schema to use for your site.

Optimize Content for Long Clicks

A valuable metric which I’m sure is overlooked by many is the average time on site and whether a user is bouncing off a specific page right away. Long clicks influence rankings, which was once a speculation but now is reality, per Rand Fishkin at Pubcon.

Answering Your Users’ Direct Questions

This can be done by having an interactive website with user-engaging content that walks visitors through the funnel, page by page. This also goes back to optimizing for voice search. Having a solution to a problem will help keep visitors on your site and engaged with your content longer. Directly speaking to your audience with your content is CRUCIAL!

Social Platform Sharing and Headline Optimization

How else can long clicks be established besides from the search results? Social signals can also be a huge advocate for creating long clicks on your blog posts and website content offers. For so long, we’ve been focused on the amount of shares, when in reality, it’s the amount of long clicks your content receives from social that will be the breadwinner in achieving higher rankings for that article you spent so much time on.

To do this, your headlines must match your content and be straight to the point. That way, users aren’t surprised when they click on your article to find that it is completely irrelevant to the title, causing them to bounce off.

Storytelling with Your Content

Instead of writing some plain, boring product description, use storytelling to explain that specific product and how it can relate to your consumer. Ask yourself this, if your content was removed from the web, would anyone miss it?

Be Creative with Your Link Building Strategies

In a recent blog post, we spoke about how you can create valuable content that will increase backlinks. This is the future of link building and what every site needs to have in order for high quality sites to link back to you. Other ways to generate quality backlinks include:

  • Scraping competitor backlinks, sorting out low quality sites and going after high quality sites.
  • Crawling competitor sites to find broken links. Now look at the links pointing to that page and outreach to those sites with your page that’s not broken.
  • Discovering new sites by utilizing Twitter and other social platforms in your niche.
  • Creating infographics that speak to your audience and share them until they go viral. Once your infographic goes viral, you will see the backlinks increase.
  • Creating content on your site that speaks directly to a site you would like a link from.

Data, Data, Data: You Gotta Have It

The final important SEO factor for the future and now is accumulating as much data as you possibly can. At Pubcon, we learned that “data is the new oil.” It’s that important.

Data Capturing for Marketing

So, what kind of data should you be collecting? All of it.

Audience-Specific Data

Data-driven marketing starts with understanding the consumer and audience. Collecting this information up front is crucial to the content strategy, since you’ll want to know whether to tailor content to a specific gender, age group, geographic area, etc. Develop your ideal buyer persona based on current audience data, which can be collected from social platforms and Google Analytics.

Identify Patterns in Data Sets

Patterns tell a story with the data. There are different types of data that can provide different patterns. For example, when running a crawl report on your website, look for patterns in page types. Start by collecting the page data via crawl, identify footprints, and then sort/filter/pivot by page type. Page types can include: blog posts, archive pages, static pages, paginated comments, attachment pages, etc.

Once filtered, what do you see as the majority page type? If there’s a huge amount of a certain page type over all the other page types, chances are something is off technically with the site. You probably wouldn’t know that existed without identifying the pattern.

Other SEO patterns to be keep a lookout for may include:

  • On-page link to content ratios
  • Footer links with exact match keywords
  • Off-site anchor text exact match percentages
  • Duplicate pages and content

Use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics

Understanding your audience can be two-fold: the buyer and the learner. In order to understand their separate ways of navigating through your site, you must use custom dimensions in Google Analytics. Once you’ve tagged a visitor as a buyer or learner, you will be able to identify patterns in how each user follows the funnel. This data is extremely important because you can better optimize for each audience, which will help increase your conversions.

Takeaways

In order to keep up with SEO, you must have these big factors in play. SEO is NOT dead, nor will it ever be dead. It’s just gotten a lot more complex. Basically if your website isn’t mobile friendly, has minimal content for users, and you’re not tracking your success, you will eventually fail. You can’t have a SEO plan without any of these factors in play. We’ll leave it with this closing quote from Pubcon:

“SEO success is adaptation. Data is critical to growth.” – Duane Forrester from Bing

If you’re overwhelmed by what goes into SEO today, don’t be. We are here to help. Give us a call.

Eminent SEO Max Swag Pubcon 2015

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Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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How to Earn Backlinks with Valuable Website Content

Earn Backlinks with Linkbait

In order for any website to obtain any sort of search engine rankings, high quality backlinks are still necessary. Back in the day before Google updated its algorithm to get rid of spammy, manipulative link building practices, website owners could easily place their site in low quality directories or participate in some sort of link scheme to gain high rankings on Google.

Today’s link building has to be much more strategic, and you have to have content that webmasters want to link to on your site. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours because they aren’t going to link to just any site. It needs to provide their readers with something valuable. In short, the strategy for gaining highly authoritative, .edu, or .gov backlinks is to create content that’s meaningful and considered “link bait.”

What is Link Bait?

Link bait can be characterized as creating content on your website that encourages web users to share or link to, also known as viral content. Since a lot of websites are competing for the top positions in search engines, many websites are beginning to see the importance of content marketing, even for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.

Examples of what link bait can entail:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • How to’s
  • Stories
  • FAQs
  • Landing pages
  • Apps
  • Interactive websites or features
  • Product giveaways
  • Lists
  • Visuals

How to Create Link Bait That Encourages Users to Link to You

Creating link bait can be simpler than you think. Don’t overthink the situation. What you must understand first is your target audience. Ask yourself these primary questions to help you understand your audience and how you can develop content that will speak to that audience:

  • What is their primary problem?
  • What is the solution to their problem?
  • How can you help nurture them to reach that solution?
  • What educational content can you develop to help them potentially solve their problem?
  • What statistics can you provide to help sell your customer into learning more?
  • What is your final offer?

Create Useful Content

Now that you have those questions answered, you should have a pretty clear understanding of what kind of content can be developed on your website that would speak to your ideal audience. It’s important to keep in mind that only useful content is going to gain any sort of visibility online. You have a lot of competition that has already been creating useful content.

If you’re still stuck on the type of content that’s going to attract the right users and be shareable for their networks, think about creating content that is educational and entertaining, such as ways you can add humor to it. Keep the content highly relevant to your industry, but non-promotional. The last thing users are going to want to share is a page on your website talking about your product or your company.

Valuable Content for Backlinks

Create a Plan of Action for Your Content

Once you’ve developed a list of ideas for content, there needs to be a plan in place to promote this content so that it can start to receive the visibility it deserves. For example, if your link bait piece is an eBook, there are several things that need to be thought out in order for the promotion to be successful. Here is some additional collateral that can go into eBook promotion:

  • Dedicated landing page with quality content and optimization. This will most likely be what your users will link to, so make sure this landing page is fully optimized and speaks to them.
  • Where the content will be promoted throughout the website. If the eBook is relevant to a specific service or product you offer, promote the eBook on those relevant pages with a CTA.
  • Create link bait with other forms of link bait. Think about other content that is going to promote this offer and where to promote it. If you’re a B2B business, think about B2B social networks that would find your eBook most valuable. Create a meme or statistic graphic to give users something enticing to click on and share when sharing the link to your eBook landing page. Consider other educational content that could be turned into a blog post, and, at the end of the blog post, have the eBook be the final CTA. Do you have email contacts stored that can be segmented into lists? Send an email to those contacts and show off your eBook.
  • Promote your content in the right places. If you’re strictly targeting other business owners, think about where those business owners would spend their time online. What social networks might they be part of? What big brands might they be following? Make sure you have link bait visible to your audience in the right places online.
  • Develop the right messaging for the eBook. You want people to link to your eBook, but you have to create the right message for users to want to link to you. What do you want people to take away from this eBook? This is where those statistics can be a big help with enticing users to share and learn more. Also, this is the perfect time to add a little humor to your message, because humor can really catch someone’s attention.
  • Outreach to the right websites. Develop a list of websites that are relevant, have high authority in Google, and have trusted backlinks. Don’t be generic with your outreach approach, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you: trying to get a link. Don’t be naive and think these websites are just going to link to you when you approach them with a generic email. Be creative with the approach and have some key talking points ready about their website and EXACTLY where you see a fit for your eBook to be promoted. Whether you think a guest post would suffice or if there’s already a blog post on their site relevant to your eBook messaging, have an idea of how you’d like to promote your content on THEIR website. Being thoughtful goes a long way.

Include a Call to Action as a Final Message in the Content

Since the content shouldn’t be about your product or service, you can lead to a final CTA in your content. Every piece of content on your website should have an end goal, which is your final CTA. Make that CTA clear and concise so users are not only sharing your awesome content, but know how to reach an industry expert if they need more help. This works together with your sales funnel, nurturing website users to become qualified leads. Boom.

Boom Backlinks

Creative Link Bait Campaign Examples

There are so many ways to create link bait on your website, and existing brands have already established pieces of content that have gone viral. Some examples of existing link bait from other brands include:

Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors

This content piece went viral because of the visual content developed by Moz’s team to showcase different Google algorithm ranking factors. This spiked the interest of many other SEO companies who have used this content in their own blog posts and articles as a valuable source for understanding Google’s ranking factors.

Moz Search Ranking Factors Backlink Analysis

By developing this valuable piece of content, Moz has boosted the Page Authority, increased social indicators, and increased the total inbound links. You can say this content was pretty successful.

RSS Tutorial

Every blog needs to have a RSS feed. The following How To tutorial walks you through how to set up a RSS feed and why these steps are so important for websites.

Rss Tutorial Link Bait Backlinks

The success of this content lead to 2,403 backlinks, increased social indicators, and a domain authority of 74/100.

Psychology of Color Infographic

Understanding color psychology is important for any website designer or digital marketer to understand in order for websites to convert at a higher rate. showcases different colors and how they can effect moods, emotions, and more in a nutshell.

This specific infographic did better socially by creating more than 2,100 likes, more than 2,300 tweets, and more than 780 Google+1s.

100+ Ways to Conserve Water Interactive Landing Page

This page shows more than 100 tips on how to conserve water usage to help educate the world about excess water consumption.

Water Conservation Link Bait Backlinks

By creating an interactive way to educate the audience, the page authority alone is a 76/100 with more than 4,500 natural backlinks. That doesn’t even count the number of social indicators happening here. There are more than 7,900 Facebook likes, 8,240 Twitter tweets, and more than 5,500 Facebook shares.

Takeaways

Creating viral link bait is not an easy process. It definitely takes a lot of creativity, optimization, content marketing, and strategy development in order to attract natural backlinks. Many times, there is a lot of trial and error that goes into developing the right piece of content in the right form that’s going to attract the right audience. Once you’ve established the type of content users are going to share naturally and webmasters are going to link to without any issues, you can develop out your content marketing strategy to include this type of content more on your website, which leads to more backlinks and higher search rankings. The key takeaway is to create valuable content that users are going to share and want to interact with.

Don’t have time to create a content link bait strategy? Our digital marketing experts can help by developing out a viral marketing campaign tailored to your audience.
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Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Top 10 Ecommerce SEO Tips to Maximize Organic Traffic and Sales

10 Ecommerce SEO Tips

Online stores need to have a strong organic presence in search engines, which are a vital marketing source for producing online sales, only if it is done properly. With these tips, your ecommerce website will start producing qualified organic traffic that will lead to more sales. Not interested in more sales? Don’t bother reading this full article.

Now that I have your attention, let’s start thinking about what ecommerce SEO really is. SEO is an umbrella term for hundreds of tiny details that need to be monitored, or optimized, for your website and marketing strategy. They all work together under the “SEO” umbrella to create a solid foundation for search engine crawlers and users.

So what is ecommerce SEO? Ecommerce websites are their own entity because they are an online store versus a service provider. The end goal is essentially the same for both business types. However, the online store is where your customers actually convert, versus a customer service rep answering the phone engaging with a customer. In both cases, the website is the online storefront. Wouldn’t you want to make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for?

These ecommerce on-page SEO tips will help:

  • Increase visitor behavior metrics
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Increase leads from organic traffic

Excited About Ecommerce SEO

1. Research Keywords and Develop a Plan

This part is easy right? You know what term you want to rank for. Just optimize the entire site with that one term, right? Wrong. Over-optimizing is irrelevant with today’s search engine algorithms. They’re a lot smarter than five years ago.

Run a crawl report of your website and compile all of your top level navigation pages, product category pages, and sub-category pages into a priority list, starting with the top level navigation first. From there, you want to identify a focus keyword that could be potentially optimized for each of these pages. This is where keyword research and strategy development come together.

A tip here is to think of terms that are going to actually convert if that page started ranking for that term. Is it long-tail enough? If not, consider trying out long-tail keywords, since they are going to provide fewer but more-qualified visitors to the page.

2. Optimize Each Page with Focus Keywords

Now that you’ve identified what the focus keywords are for each important landing page of the shopping cart, it’s time to optimize the page with that term. Some important areas of the page you could potentially place the term include: header tags, alt tags, meta title, meta description, website copy, and call to action.

If the page is lacking in content, consider beefing it up. Search engines will not understand what the page is about without a little snippet of content. Adding unique, high quality content to that category page could help tremendously.

3. Optimize the Website Architecture Structure

This is where a lot of ecommerce websites drop the ball. Website architecture tells the story of your website and how it’s supposed to be laid out.

To know if your website needs to be architected, take the crawl report that was organized by priority order. Do the URLs show exactly where in the site that product or category page lives? For example, when looking at a product category URL, it should be structured as follows: example.com/parent-category/sub-category/.

The URLs are your website’s breadcrumbs for search engines. If there is not a clear path laid out for the search engines, they will not see the value of a page, since all of the other pages on your site are weighted as the same value.

Certain shopping carts will have the option to structure the URLs so that when a product is added, it will automatically create the correct URL for the product. Talk to your shopping cart support team for more information about setting up a proper website navigation structure.

Not only are the URLs important to optimize, but also the navigation itself. What makes sense for users? What are your most important product categories that you would like to promote? Having an easy-to-navigate website will reduce confusion and help users easily find the top products that you’re looking to sell.

4. Write Unique Product Descriptions

Shocked Gif for Unique Content

Yes, UNIQUE. I know this can seem like a huge task to some, but it’s worth it. Having duplicate product descriptions from the manufacturer site will just devalue your product pages and even prevent them from obtaining higher rankings. Rewriting the product descriptions in your own words will help crawlers and users understand the item better. If anything, the product page is your sales page for the product. It needs to be well written and optimized for both users and search engines in order to get the sale, period.

5. Optimize Individual Product Pages

Product pages make up the majority of most ecommerce sites. It can take months to optimize each and every product page, but it should be an ongoing effort to optimize each individual page. If product pages don’t have any SEO, how are potential new users going to find your product? Optimize, test, and optimize more.

6. Encourage Customers to Review or Rate Your Products

Enabling the reviews feature on each individual product page will help entice customers to rate the product. Understandably, it can be difficult to rate a product that hasn’t been received by the customer yet. One way to lure your customers to rate the product is to utilize email marketing and send a follow-up email after they’ve received the shipment. Encourage them to rate the product with some sort of counter offer.

Rate Your Product Purchase within the Next 24 Hours and Receive 10% off Your Next Purchase!

Giving your customer a reason to rate your product will help increase product rankings because unique content is being added by others to that specific page. Also, positive rating stars can be great clickbait for your product when it shows up in the search results.

7. Include Product Installation Videos When Applicable

Selling a product that requires installation? More content is needed for these types of products. Videos are a great way to show your customers how to properly install or assemble the product when they receive it at home. Include these videos on your website or even the product page itself.

The more user engagement on your website, the more trusted your site will become in your industry.

8. Optimize the Mobile Shopping Experience

It was predicted a few years ago that mobile search would eventually exceed desktop. That prediction is now a reality. According to Smart Insights, so far in 2015, users are spending more time on their mobile device than their desktop. If your website is optimized for mobile with a responsive design, then your website will most likely provide a positive mobile experience. If it’s not, your organic traffic could suffer if your competition is already ahead in the game.

It’s important to test your website on a mobile device to make sure users can easily navigate from a product to the shopping cart checkout. Having a one-page checkout option would be a perfect way to optimize your website for a better mobile shopping experience. Users can easily become frustrated when they have to go through multiple pages just to purchase the product when they’re on their phone.

9. Internal Search Feature Optimization

There is more than one search engine you should be considering when optimizing your ecommerce site. The internal search functionality on your website is just as important because it allows users to engage with your site easily and find exactly what they’re looking for, which means more sales.

Your internal search must have a customizable algorithm that can handle misspellings and keyword variations and be able to sort through all of your products, among other functions. There are third party search companies that have built this feature already and can customize your website’s search functionality for your specific products.

10. Check for Website Errors Regularly

Ecommerce websites often have thousands of pages. Errors can easily be missed if the site is not properly managed. Run a crawl report monthly or quarterly to know if there are any 301 or 404 errors. You want to manage the 301 redirects since you don’t want internal links passing through a redirect, so your internal links need to be constantly updated to be relevant to the current site architecture. Monitoring the site’s health in Google Search Console and other third party tools is a great way to maintain a healthy website that search engine crawlers will index regularly.

Closing Thoughts

Ecommerce SEO is never going to be “complete.” Optimization can go on and on, especially with a larger product website. When an ecommerce website receives ongoing optimization and maintenance, it begins to shine in the search results.

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Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Why You Should Outsource Your SEO to a Digital Marketing Agency Instead of Hiring a One-Man Show

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When it comes to growth, unless your business relies solely on word of mouth or printed collateral, you’re going to want to explore the huge potential that marketing in the digital realm offers.

More than likely, you already have a website established for your business, and perhaps you’ve already set up a few social media accounts. However, your business could be losing out on a huge stream of leads if your website is not showing up high in Google search rankings. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

SEO is more than just plastering a certain keyword across a website page and earning (or buying) backlinks to your site. It’s now about overall user experience and whether Google considers your website an authority on a particular topic.

Improving your website’s search engine visibility is a multifaceted approach, and it’s often a tall order for just one person to handle. Let’s take a look at the benefits of hiring a  full-fledged digital marketing agency to handle your SEO rather than hiring one person or an SEO-only firm.

Website Assessment: SEO Considerations

Certainly you can hire one individual within your company or a freelancer to look at each page on your site and optimize them one by one with keywords and headlines; however, the hired hand needs to consider the overall look and feel of the website – its design and the ease of navigation.

Getting the right keywords on a page should help your website rise in the search rankings, but even if you’re seeing any increase in clicks, you may not necessarily see a rise in sales or even incoming phone calls. If the website still has an outdated design and the copy is written awkwardly or blandly – even with the appropriate keywords – you will likely see a high bounce rate, which means potential customers have backtracked to their search results and are looking for the next company in your industry that’s going to catch their eye.

So when you hire somebody to boost your search rankings and conversion rate, that person (or team) needs to have the resources to improve aspects of your website from layout and design to even your company’s logo, should any of those items be problematic. If your website has a modern design and if the copy is written intelligibly and even authoritatively, you may start earning backlinks from other reputable sites, a concept which also boosts your visibility on Google. SEO is a dynamic and continually evolving process, and asking one person or even a small team to address every aspect of your website’s SEO is a tall task.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Does your website adjust well to handheld devices like tablets and cellphones? No? Well, not only will it frustrate people who have found your website via one of those devices, but you’re also holding yourself back from a higher ranking on Google.

To make your website more responsive, you’re probably going to want to look for a web developer, one who not only has a high degree of programming skills but also can distinguish a good design from a poor one. In many cases, those are jobs for two different people, but if you can find one person who is experienced in both areas – not to mention copywriting and keyword research, among other skills – then more power to you. It’s not going to come cheap though, whether it’s somebody you hire on staff or if it’s short-term freelance work.

The Cost-Effectiveness of a Digital Marketing Agency

Let’s recap the primary areas in which you have to be skilled to improve and maintain the SEO of your company’s website:

  • Keyword research
  • Copywriting
  • Web design and content
  • Programming
  • Graphic design
  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Website traffic analysis
  • Monitoring backlinks and mentions of your business online

There are even other factors that play into your website’s search visibility, but we’ll leave it at these for now. As you can imagine, you’ll have to search long and hard for even one person that claims to boast all of these skills, and if you do find him or her, it’s not going to be very cost-effective for your business.

The best route to take is to search for a digital marketing agency that can juggle all of these tasks and do so with a commitment to helping your company put its best face forward in the digital world. You may find SEO-oriented micro-businesses or freelancers in your area who can look up the most-searched keywords in your industry and rewrite the copy of your web pages, but it’s not likely they will possess the skills or resources to upgrade the look and user experience of your website, especially if those are glaring deficiencies.

Instead, opt for a digital marketing agency that can address every SEO consideration of your company’s website and digital presence. And if the marketing firm offers to manage your social media accounts, it’s only a bonus. You should be able to find an agency that will cost you less per month than you’d pay one person who may (or may not) possess all of the skills needed to improve your website and its search visibility.

An Agency that can Handle ALL of Your SEO Needs

Since everything from website design to social media strategy has search engine optimization implications, Eminent SEO has the resources to bolster every aspect of a company’s digital presence. We can assess your website and your online marketing strategy and then recommend and execute the necessary improvements.

Does your website need a complete overhaul or do you need a new one from scratch? Eminent SEO can show you some options and turn your wish into reality.

But maybe you just need to optimize a handful of landing pages on your site: We can work with you on a month-to-month or long-term basis – on whatever the size of project that works with your budget.

Looking to Boost Your Website’s Traffic and Conversion Rates?
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Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Dedicated Name Servers and IP Addresses: What is Actually Best for SEO?

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This conversation never seems to get old in the SEO industry. Everyone seems to have a separate opinion about what is best for SEO purposes and how Google can associate multiple sites on a single server.

Is it OK to have multiple sites on the same server with the same IP address? Well, let’s find out.

Dedicated IP Addresses vs. One IP Address for Multiple Sites

In a perfect world, it would be best to have dedicated name servers for every domain that you’re hosting. However, it’s not the easiest or the most cost-effective solution. Instead, most web developers will have a shared server for a number of websites that they’re hosting, and with that comes shared IP addresses for each site. The benefit of having a dedicated IP in terms of SEO is that other sites won’t be able to negatively affect the SEO with bad practices, meaning if a website on a shared IP is marked as having malicious content or negative SEO, it can affect the other sites shared on that IP. This is pretty rare, so if you’re not doing anything malicious, then it shouldn’t affect your SEO for each site. However, it can definitely hurt the SEO if all of the websites are interlinked with the same exact IP address.

Does Similar Content with Shared IP Addresses Affect the SEO for Multiple Sites?

If you’re developing websites using the same template or set of templates, have similar industry-related content and are interlinking between sites all on the same IP address, Google will most likely flag this negatively. The websites won’t necessarily be penalized if they are using best SEO practices, but the sites won’t do as well as they could in terms of Google organic rankings and traffic. The reason behind this is all of the interlinking and similar website templates and content for all of the sites. Google could easily distinguish this as a network of sites, which isn’t a good thing. In fact, Google is against any sort of site or blog network, so your websites will be devalued because of this.

Which One is Better for SEO?

It’s not necessarily bad to have shared IP addresses for SEO, as long as all the sites have unique content and don’t interlink at all. What is best is to have a cloud-based server, because those servers will automatically update the website IP addresses every so often. You also want to have an IP address that is associated with the location of the actual business, because it wouldn’t look natural to host a website meant for United States but based in India.

You also want to have a dedicated name server for your business to host your websites on. You don’t want to purchase a shared server that could have other potentially harmful sites on it, since you don’t know what sites are being hosted there.

Don’t purchase a cheap server that’s going to cause load time issues. This can be harmful to SEO, as well as conversion, because the sites aren’t loading quickly enough. Google will devalue a website that has slow load times, since the search engine wants to provide a better user experience for its consumers.

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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