You might have heard about SEO back in 2014, but never really implemented it into your business. Why? You must have thought it would be too problematic or that you can’t afford to make that extra expense. The truth is that SEO is an invaluable tool to any business that has used it. Your competitors may be ahead of you, and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to manage to lead the pack. These are some of the SEO practices you need to start making the most of in 2015.
Aligning your content
The SEO efforts you put in should be as good as the experience you create for your target audience. SEO usually works hand in hand with creating great content. Recent studies show that businesses are embracing blog content and web content for content marketing. Many people believe the best way to approach this is by starting with strategic content while applying the best SEO practices out there. This sounds relatively simple right? However, most companies still struggle with properly delegating duties to their teams and deciding which SEO company does this and which one does that. Try and choose a professional team of individuals that specializes in SEO to handle this field and relieve all your SEO headaches.
Find measurement and reports that works
While research studies help us gauge how we’re performing as an industry, we can still have problems when it comes to measuring our efforts, quantifying results and proving our position for SEO budgets. Most marketers use intuition instead of data when it comes to thinking about where to invest their marketing efforts. Reporting is not entirely complex. This year, try and focus on simplifying your data sources. How do you do this? Identify KPIs that impact your business and pull multiple sources of data that can provide real insight to the performance of your business.
It’s 2015. You have probably tried to find ways to escape mobile SEO for a while now. Instead of fighting the inevitable, join the team of professionals already using this very important aspect. Take advantage of mobile SEO by creating opportunities for consumers to gain access to your site on the go. You can include videos which briefly explain how to use your product or what your product does, testimonials which show potential buyers what others are saying about your product, etc. Remember that slow sites could reduce your rankings.
Integrate SEO data across a team
Your SEO team is also working toward achieving similar goals as other teams. When this team works with other teams in your company, the outcome can be greater than when they performed alone. For example, if SEO and PPC were to work together, would you not expect greater results to be accomplished?
SEO is one of those things you need to stick with while continuously improving it so as to enhance your brand, increase visibility, create a great experience for users, establish relevant content, maintain your online presence, etc. There is nothing SEO can’t do. It isn’t something you can implement in a day, but you can decide to make it work for you in 2015 by implementing one or two of the points discussed above.
The 2015 consumer will let the way a company handles itself online be the deciding factor on whether they make a purchase or not. Handling here refers to how your online presence looks like. Your brand needs to be authentic, relatable and highly recognisable. This is what sets you apart from the competition. High visibility increases your credibility. Creating an online presence is about capturing the attention of consumers. After all, it is what people think of you when you are not available.
Feature a catchy headline
The headline you use can either make or break your sales. It is often the first thing visitors see so it must be interesting enough to grab their attention. In addition, it must be compelling enough for them to read what you’re actually talking about. Do you know what a successful headline does? It highlights a problem your audience faces every other day. It shows the audience that there is a solution to this problem. At the end of the day, your target audience is probably not going to remember your product’s name. Instead, they’re going to sing praises about how much it changed their lives.
Adding images can end up boosting your product’s desirability. However, this method can work either in your favour or end up killing the sale. You need to be careful. Images of your products make it real and tangible to consumers. On the other hand, revealing a product too early can have damaging effects. If you don’t want to take too big a risk on this one, do an image test first. Test place images near the top of the page or near the call to action tab at the bottom. This is something you must always do. By test placing, you can analyse which methods maximise sales (whether people respond more to images or the opposite).
Focus on THEM, not you
Increasing your online presence is all about knowing your priorities. Yes, your business is a priority that you feel you need to talk about every single time. However, you should not try to sound like you’re constantly pitching new products to your audience. Too many uses of ‘I, me and we’ makes you come across as a selfish organization that is on social media to further their own agenda. Instead of saying something like ‘I designed this with the busy homeowner in mind…’ say ‘The busy homeowner will love how this design cuts up their time in ½’.
SEO is one of those things that has great results that are dependent on its application. Sometimes you can employ all the important aspects of SEO, but still end up not getting the right kind of traffic. Why? Because you may have applied all the aspects, but who says they work as well for you as they have for others? SEO is not just something you wake up and do. You need to spend time on keyword research, keyword optimisation, analysing content, link building, etc. You can do all this by yourself or you can get a competent online marketing team to work with.
All these methods can do wonders in increasing your online presence when combined. These are just some of the basics. Pick up one or two and see how it affect your traffic. Operating a business is all about taking risks. Are you the kind of risk taker your business needs?
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The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.
Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.
Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:
Most people will link simply using the terms “Acme”. This is alright, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.
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The debate between absolute links and relative links continues to live on in the SEO world. The individual significance of each has been contested, but it is widely regarded that absolute links provide better SEO value on the whole than relative links.
Many believe that absolute links have less potential for getting messed up when search engines index your page. It shouldn’t really make a difference, but many conclude that this is reason enough.
Furthermore, content scrapers and RSS services may ‘repurpose’ your content legitimately (or not). In either case, shouldn’t a proper back-link be attributed to your site? This situation favours absolute links. Although this is a minor argument, it’s still worth considering.
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SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky to say the least. On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases. On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.
Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation. In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company, while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution. This is simply a general statement and should not be taken word for word.
The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no-one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus around your offering rather than your company. As you build loyalty and credibility, branding becomes more important. It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand.
One final thought about branding: if a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyways. This is due mostly to anchor text and back-links. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases.
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When assessing page structure and layout, there is a subtle, yet strategic way to use images in an SEO-friendly manner (beyond ALT tags) that improves your search rank while allowing you to integrate the necessary marketing message(s). Confused? Let’s look at an example:
Suppose you operate a travel site and you want to optimize a given page for the term “Las Vegas hotel”. Suppose that you also want to include an enticing marketing message such as “Book now and save 20%!”. The aforementioned tagline lacks descriptive text, but possesses persuasive characteristics. That being said, you may want to place the tagline in an image and the key phrase (i.e. Las Vegas hotel) in a header tag. This places emphasis on the desired term, yet still provides a marketing opportunity without compromising keyword consistency.
In other words, images are a great place to insert marketing messages that lack the necessary keywords and phrases. Leveraging this technique will ensure that descriptive text is indexed, while less marketing jargon is overlooked. The combination of keyword-rich content and enticing messaging will satisfy both sides of the strategic equation.