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

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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.

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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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8 Tips for Effective PPC Landing Pages

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8 Tips for Effective Landing Pages

OK, so you have a Pay-Per-Click campaign running, but you think it could be better. You are probably right. Consider where you are sending your potential clients… what is on that landing page. Does it do your product/service justice? Or is it more “ho-hum, seen it before”?

The most effective campaigns will have a dedicated landing page properly optimized for a specific product or service with a clear call-to-action. Do you want them to buy right there? Do you want them to fill out a form? Or would you rather get them on the phone right now? These are some questions to ask yourself when designing your landing page.

In order to have a PPC campaign that produces a high amount of conversions, leads, and sales, you need to have dedicated PPC landing pages that are optimized.

Here are some PPC landing page tips to getting the best bang for your buck with your campaign:

1. Make Customer Testimonials Stand Out

Is this the right product/service for me? What do other people think of this? Am I making the right choice? A real customer testimonial can answer all of these questions and seal the deal. Make it prominent, give it a unique design element. You can even make it a video. This creates trust between you and your readers.

2. List the Benefits. How is Your Product/Service Better?

They are there because of what you are selling – you need to convince them why yours is better. Make sure your key benefits are listed out clearly, in a bullet list. This helps your potential buyer quickly determine whether or not they landed where they need to be… and whether or not your product or service is worth the time to buy or call.

3. POW! Catch Them with a Knock-out Headline

Take time to come up with an amazing headline – you have 3 seconds to capture your readers attention, tell them why they are here, and that you have EXACTLY what they are looking for. Use headline tools to test the effectiveness of your headline. (Have more than one killer headline? See Step 8.)

4. Keep it Simple, Silly!

This is a landing page – not your whole website squished into a page. Focus on the key points – this is to turn this prospect into a qualified lead – not to tell them everything that you are or what you offer. Keep the layout and content simple:

  • Headline – strong and clear (remember, 3 seconds!)
  • Sub-headline – support your headline with a compelling thought
  • Pictures – these should show the benefits of why they are there
  • CTA Buttons – strong and compelling
  • Break up your content with Large Font Headlines
  • Bullet Points – get to the point right away, list the benefits of your service/product
  • Short Paragraphs – under 10 sentences, use simple words and thoughts that are easy to understand. Don’t use 10 dollar words where 2 dollar ones explain just as well.
  • Image Captions – don’t forget to explain the pictures (not just for Google, but for your readers, too)

5. Be Yourself

Write as if you are talking to your reader face to face. Sound human. Your readers don’t want a robot, even on ‘paper’. Add some humor, too.

6. Get Your Facts!

Be real. Nobody believes “Your conversions will increase greatly” – but “Our clients have seen increases in conversions up to 30%!” Write compelling facts that mean something to your clients. Hard facts are the real deal.

7. Don’t Be Bossy

No one likes to be told what to do. So ASK your readers to act. Use a 2 line method: 1 line to ask, 1 line to reassure it’s the right choice.

For Example:

We create beautiful websites and unique marketing strategies that drive targeted traffic and high conversions.
Get Started Now!

Let us create a custom website and marketing campaign for you so you can get back to what you do best – running your business.
Call us now.

8. A/B Test

Come on, you think you hit a homerun right off the bat? Possibly. But to be sure, you should test it. Compare your headlines (Remember step 3? This is how you choose!). Compare your sub-headlines, your CTA copy, or even change up your benefits – which ones really matter to your readers?

Did you catch all of that? It’s a lot to remember, and it’s not easy to come up with the right formula to get the results you are looking for. However, these are the key elements to look at if you are trying to beef up your PPC campaign.

Want a hand? Give us a call: 800-871-4130 or fill out a form today.

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Let’s Talk SEO

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The search engines are looking at a LOT of things, but one primary way to ensure your site gains authority and ranks for the keywords people are searching for to find your site – is to build links. So, we thought we would give you a few Link Building Tips:

*Tip: Use longer tailed and geo targeted keywords in your link building for better conversions!

It’s important to understand your client base and what they are searching for, but it’s more important to target keywords that will CONVERT than those with just the highest search volumes. Many times the long tail keyword phrases (think: “bankruptcy lawyer in Phoenix Arizona”) are much better for conversions than the root term (ex: “bankruptcy lawyer”) even though they have lower search volumes. Also, long tail keywords are generally much less competitive and therefore much easier (and less costly) to rank for!

*Tip: Use variety in your keyword selection to avoid an artificial backlink portfolio! (Panda Update says so!)

It’s always been important to target multiple keyword phrases and pages within your website, but after the Panda update it’s become even more important. Google is sophisticated enough to detect a pattern in the keyword usage. So, if you want to rank for an important term, use it – but also use similar supporting terms in a variety of ways to ensure Google doesn’t flag your new links as potentially phony. Example: Want to rank for “Nike Shoes”? Build links using terms like: “Buy Nike Shoes”, “Buy Nike Shoes Online”, “Discount Nike Shoes”, “Mens Nike Shoes”, etc

*Tip: Your links should come from many different types of websites for a more natural looking portfolio!

Sure, there are high quality sites, strong in the key elements that make it an ideal site for hosting your link (think: higher Page Rank, Aged Domain, Strong in Relevancy, etc) but if every link pointing to your site uses the “perfect” criteria, it actually creates suspicion with Google. Not everyone that would naturally chose to link to you would come from high quality sites. Mix it up and make sure there is variety in your backlinks. The more diverse, the more natural the link building efforts appear.

Need links? Just call us! We are awesome at keyword discovery, research and link building: 800.871.4130

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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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