6 tips to help you create content that will impress humans and Google

My Post - 2019-11-08T153107.332In partnership with the UK Domain, we explain how to create content that is pleasing to humans as well as Google and other search engines.

Quality content is central to a successful marketing strategy.

But what is ‘quality content’? Unfortunately, much of the answer lies in personal taste. The upside is that there are things you can do to impress both human and robot.

So, it isn’t merely a case of just writing something and shoving it out. The content creation requires some finesse.

We’ll share some tips to help you write posts that will rank high on Google and be a valuable resource for your readers.

Content for humans or for Google: which is more important?

SEO specialists will tell you to write for the human first. Though search engines scan your content for essential assets, it’ll be people that are relying on it for information that’s both informative and entertaining.

Google’s main priority is ensuring your content meets the searcher’s purpose. This flows on to the second tier of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

‘Google’s main priority is ensuring your content meets the searcher’s purpose’

One thing you must do is include information about who is responsible for the content with a byline or a link to the creator’s bio or website. Articles with generic ‘staff’ or ‘team’ credits will be down-ranked by Google.

Finding trending topics

The quickest way to find topics is to look at what’s in the news and on Twitter’s own trending topics. It can give you a hook for a more detailed explainer or feature.

For longer term pieces you need to know what questions people are asking around the topic which either aren’t being answered, or at least not from the angle of the demographic you’re looking to target.

Answering reader questions and pinning down keywords

As time becomes increasingly scarce for readers, they’ll want answers to their questions – fast. A lot of browsing time is spent asking questions in search engines, giving you the opportunity to drive traffic if you know what they’re looking for.

Search engines work in a simple way: people ask questions, the search engine finds webpages it thinks will answer the questions. If a reader clicks on your page and clicks straight off that generally means that you haven’t answered their question.

Google Trends will, of course, tell you what’s trending on Google in different parts of the world. You should also try websites like answerthepublic.com and Keyword Sheeter. They generate keywords and commonly asked questions around a topic of your choosing. If you want detailed results, use paid-for platforms like SEMrush and ahrefs which are more sophisticated.

Look for searches that are higher in volume and lower in competition. They’ll be more obscure, so it helps to know exactly who your target reader is to maximise the reach of your posts. – Read more

Google Ads New Lead Form Extensions Beta

My Post - 2019-11-07T163020.232.pngGoogle announced, ten days after it launched, a new beta called lead form extensions.

This gives customers who click on your ads a faster way to give you their information, so you can follow up with them later with more details.

Lead form extensions capture interest when potential customers are searching for your company, products, or services on Google. A fast, mobile-optimized experience makes form submission easy and eliminates the extra step of navigating to your mobile site lead form.

Read more

What to Do When Google Is Ranking the Wrong Page for Your Keywords

My Post - 2019-11-07T144916.470.png

It’s typically a good thing when you find out your website is ranking for a keyword you’ve been targeting, right?

But what happens when, upon further investigation, you learn that the page you wanted to rank for a particular keyword isn’t the page that Google wanted to rank? (And that it’s another page on your site altogether?)

Whether the page is irrelevant or just not the best fit in your eyes, means that all the traffic that’s visiting your site from this newfound keyword isn’t going where you want. This might result in less conversions or a higher bounce rate than previously anticipated.

But don’t worry – this problem is more common than you might think, and it is fixable. Here’s how.

How to Improve a Page’s Ranking Signals for a Specific Keyword

Step 1: Evaluate the User Intent of Your Focus Keyword

User intent is essentially defined as the goal a person has when they type in a search term into Google.

Over the past year or two, ensuring the page you want to rank for a query matches the user intent has become vital.

  • Is the goal to buy something? (Transactional)
  • Is the goal to find a particular website or page? (Navigational)
  • Is the goal to find helpful information to further answer a question you have? (Informational)

Tailoring your content to the intent is crucial.

For example, if your focus keyword was “best laptop computers” and you wanted your product page or category page to rank for this, you probably have no shot.

What to Do When Google Is Ranking the Wrong Page for Your Keywords

In the example above, you can clearly see that all the top ranking websites are from third-party aggregators and review sites where they list a comparison of the best laptops.

In fact, not one manufacturer or retail site is ranking on Page 1 for this so you need to shift focus away from this keyword altogether or understand what you are dealing with to better align.

Step 2: Evaluate the Content on the Page

Once you have ensured your content is matching the intent, you can then move on to ensuring the content on the relevant page is optimized.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself to further analyze are:

  • Is my primary focus keyword in my page title?
  • Do I reference my primary focus keyword in my description?
  • How does the length of my copy compare to that against the Top 10 or Top 20 ranking sites?
  • Do the competitor sites use shared semantic keywords that I need to incorporate into my page?
  • Does my page answer questions a user might have to understand more about this topic?

Two tools that both do an excellent job helping you analyze and answer the questions above are SEMrush Writing Assistant and Clearscope.– Read more

How to Track Offline Conversions from Your Google Ads

My Post - 2019-11-07T141457.261.pngEven if you work strictly as a digital marketer, you know that marketing doesn’t take place solely in an online bubble.

Someone who requests a free trial via an online form may have several conversations with salespeople before buying a service.

A homeowner desperately needing a furnace repaired might find a heating company via paid search but then pick up the phone to schedule an appointment.

A shopper might discover a new energy bar via a banner ad and then drive to their favorite grocery store to purchase it.

For many brands, simply tracking online interactions isn’t enough to provide full attribution.

Thankfully, Google Ads offers a few ways to tie offline interactions to your ad campaigns.

In this article, you’ll learn about three methods to track offline conversions in Google Ads:

  • Conversion import.
  • Call tracking.
  • In-store visit tracking.

Importing Conversion Data

Google Ads allows you to import offline conversion data and associate attribution with your campaigns, as long as you have a way of saving the GCLID (Google Click Identifier) for the conversions.

For instance, you may want to import data for closed sales deals that initially entered your CRM via Google search ads.

Setting Up the Conversion

To start, create a new conversion and select “Import” from the list of conversion types.

You can then choose the source you want to import from.

Import Conversions

If you use Salesforce, they have a direct integration into Google Ads that allows for importing data based on milestones in the platform.

Otherwise, you can import data via a spreadsheet format.

Import Types

For this example, we’ll choose Other data sources or CRMs.

From here, you can choose to import call-based data or click-based data.

We’ll focus on data from clicks and address calls in more detail further on.

On the next screen, name your conversion and choose the category.

You can associate a specific value or choose a dynamic value if revenue will vary per conversion.

Set Up Conversion

Once you’ve defined all parameters, save the conversion, and you’re ready to start importing data. – Read more

11 Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate

My Post - 2019-11-06T133015.218.pngThe dreaded high bounce rate.  It makes the shoulders of online marketers tense up and causes their foreheads to wrinkle up with concern.

What Is Bounce Rate?

As a refresher, bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that leave your website (or “bounce” back to the search results or referring website) after viewing only one page on your site.

Before you start worrying, consider that “high” is a relative term.

Most websites will see bounce rates between 26% to 70%, according to a RocketFuel study.

average bounce rates

Based on the data they gathered, they provided a bounce rate grading system of sorts:

  • 25% or lower: Something is probably broken
  • 26-40%: Excellent
  • 41-55%: Average
  • 56-70%: Higher than normal, but could make sense depending on the website
  • 70% or higher: Bad and/or something is probably broken

The overall bounce rate for your site will live in the Audience Overview tab of Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Audience Overview Bounce Rate

You can find your bounce rate for individual channels and pages in the behavior column of most views in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Landing Pages Bounce Rate

There are a number of reasons your website can have a high bounce rate.

Let’s review 10 common ones and how to fix them.

1. Slow-to-Load Page

Site speed is part of Google’s ranking algorithm, so it’s just good SEO to focus on it.

Google wants to promote content that provides a positive experience for users, and they recognize that a slow site can provide a poor experience.

If your page takes longer than a few seconds to load, your visitors may get fed up and leave.

Fixing site speed is a lifelong journey for most SEO pros and webmasters, but the upside is that with each incremental fix, you should see an incremental boost in speed.

Review your page speed (overall and for individual pages) using tools like:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Pingdom.
  • GTMetrix.

They’ll offer you recommendations specific to your site, such as compressing your images, reducing third-party scripts, and leveraging browser caching. – Read more

5 Metrics Crucial to SEO Success

My Post - 2019-10-31T182827.412.pngAs you probably know, search engine optimization is a technical term to describe what people do to help a website rank on search engines like Google.

Before I dive into today’s topic, let me first share a few statistics in case you don’t believe in SEO:

  • SEO is an $80 billion industry, and that number continues to grow each year. More and more businesses are heavily investing in SEO for organic results.
  • On average, more than half of website traffic comes from organic search.
  • 81% of online shoppers conduct online research before buying. And where’s the best place to do that? You guessed it—Google.

In short: If it’s done right, SEO can improve both the quantity and the quality of your web traffic.

SEO usually plays off of communications quite well, too. When used cohesively, you can build a powerful, integrated marketing campaign that produces data-driven results.

If you recently started an SEO campaign, you’ll need a way to track the performance—and success—of your work. But which analytics are the most important to track?

Here are five SEO metrics you simply can’t afford to ignore.

1.   Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is one of the primary results of optimizing your website for search engines. The higher your organic traffic, the better your website is performing in Google’s rankings.

The primary goal of investing in SEO is to see this number go up, especially for your desired keywords. Hence, keeping an eye on this metric is super important.

There are several tools to measure this metric, but the most accurate and reliable one is Google Analytics. Here’s a Google Analytics screenshot of a currently inactive site:

SEO panel

2.   Bounce Rate

Another crucial metric is your bounce rate. Tracked in Google Analytics, your bounce rate is a user experience factor, making it an important metric for SEO.

SEO panel

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

A lower bounce rate means a better user experience, and thus, the better your search rankings will be. Tracking this metric gives you an idea of what pages your visitors don’t find helpful, and how you can improve your website.

3.   SEO Score

Now, this is something you won’t find in Google Analytics.

SEO score, as you might have guessed, is a rating/score that displays how well-optimized your site is from the search engine perspective.

starbucks SEO

Looks like Starbucks has some work to do!

At SureOak, we’ve developed our own SEO checker to check your site’s score. To use it, simply plug in your domain and click the button. The engine will scan your entire website, give you a score based on your performance and offer you personalized tips on how to improve your website for search traffic.

Pretty cool, right?

4.   Domain Authority

Another metric essential to your SEO is your Domain Authority.

starbucks domain authority

In a nutshell, this number shows how reliable/authoritative your site looks to search engines. It’s a metric calculated based on factors related to your backlinks—other websites that link to your articles. Keeping this number higher than your competitors’ usually means that you’ll rank higher than them. – Read more

80 SEO & SEM Statistics That Prove the Power of Search

My Post - 2019-10-31T175256.513.pngWhen it comes to getting found online, there is no better medium than search.

Since the creation of search engines, SEO has been a powerful strategy to ensure that your brand gets noticed by the right user, at the right time. While the search industry has shifted over the years, one thing remains solid; SEO is essential for online marketing success.

Good SEO takes time and dedication. It’s more than just link building or content creation. Depending on the industry and the type of search you are trying to increase your visibility in, you’re going to need to use different strategies and tactics. Today’s search engines give users more options, making them more lucrative for site owners than ever before. Below are 70 SEO statistics that prove the power of search.

Organic Search

  1. The top 2 online activities are search and email.
  2. Ranking highly for organic search results is crucial; between 70% and 80% of users completely ignore paid advertisements.
  3. 66% of distinct search queries result in 1 or more clicks.
  4. 21% of searchers click more than one result.
  5. Over 63% of all searches are performed using Google.
  6. 94% of all mobile and tablet search traffic comes from Google.
  7. Search engines drive 300% more traffic to sites than social media.
  8. 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine at least once per day.
  9. 60% of clicks go to the top three websites in search engine results.
  10. 50% of search queries are four words or longer.
  11. The average time spent on a search session is less than 1 minute long.
  12. 50% of visitors are more likely to click a result if the brand appears multiple times in search engine results.
  13. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to only 1.7% for outbound leads such as print advertisements.
  14. 75% of users never click past the first page of search results.
  15. Inbound leads, such as SEO, cost 61% less than outbound leads, such as direct mail or cold calling.
  16. Marketers using both organic SEO techniques and pay-per-click ads see an average of 25% more clicks and 27% more profits compared to using a single technique.
  17. Companies are predicted to spend $79 billion on SEO by 2020.
  18. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  19. 57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
  20. 81% of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase.
  21. 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.
  22. 61% of internet users do research on a product online before making a purchase.
  23. Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (ex. cold-calling, direct mail, etc.) have a 1.7% close rate.
  24. 70-80% of people ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic listings.
  25. 55% of searchers don’t know which links in the Search Engine Results pages are PPC ads, according to a new survey. And up to 50% of users shown a Search engine Results page screenshot could not identify paid ads.
  26. Bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes 2 seconds extra to load.
  27. Conversions fall by 12% for every extra second that it takes your website to load.
  28. Marketers see SEO as becoming more effective, with 82% reporting effectiveness is on the rise, and 42% of this group stating effectiveness is increasing significantly.
  29. Total Organic search visits fell 7% Y/Y in Q2, down from 11% Y/Y growth a year earlier, as organic listings face increased competition from paid search ads, particularly on mobile.

Read more

Here’s how to leverage long-tail keywords for your SEO

My Post - 2019-10-31T172209.386.pngThinking about long-tail keywords for local search, intent and conversational language can help your SEO efforts.

When it comes to improving your SEO, you should be reaching for every opportunity you can. For most people, one of the first things they’ll think to do is to find keywords that have a high search volume. However, as most people know, this can make you a small fish in a very large pond. We’d all like to think that we’re able to compete with huge websites for high- or medium-volume keywords that are usually more generic terms, but it doesn’t usually pan out that way. Fortunately, there are a few simpler ways of ranking higher, including using more specific, long-tail keywords as primary keyword targets.

While it might be tempting to overlook long-tail keywords that have a lower search volume, they could be exactly what your SEO needs. These keywords might get less attention than broad keywords that more people are searching for. As you make high volume search keywords more specific, the number of people searching for those terms is likely to decrease. Since longer tail has a lower search volume, there’s naturally going to be less competition over them. Depending on what industry you’re in, you might have no choice other than to go after niche and long-tail keywords. The good news is that focusing on longer tail keywords allows the vast majority of businesses to set realistic expectations with regard to SEO success.

Don’t let the potential of these keywords pass you by. To get the full benefit of long-tail keywords, you do have to be a bit clever when you use them.

1. Appeal to local searches

Local business owners will be able to get far more out of utilizing long-tail keywords than they would with broad ones. Most local businesses struggle to compete with large companies for broad keywords; there are always going to be those industry giants that no one can overthrow in the SERPs.

Whether via Google Maps or Google Search virtually everyone looks up a local business before going to the physical location. When your searching for businesses near you, you might simply say something like “restaurants near me.” Alternatively, you might specify what you’re looking for by using local-intent keywords such as your city, zip code or even your state. Searching for a business before going there or before making a purchase has become a natural instinct for most people.

Almost half of all Google searches are local searches, and 76% of people who made a local search on a smartphone visited a business nearby within 24 hours. Since the chances of someone searching for a local business are strong, it would be in your best interest to go after local-intent keywords. If you own a car wash, using “car wash” will put you up against more competition, and much of it isn’t relevant to your users. It isn’t beneficial for you or the user to use broad keywords to appeal to a local audience. By choosing keywords that are geared towards your city and surrounding areas, competition will tend to decrease. Not only will you be competing with fewer results, but the searches you get will also have a good chance of being more qualified than someone searching broad terms. These are people who are already interested in patronizing a business near them, so if you can become more visible in local searches, you could easily see new customers starting to come in.

2. Focus on intent keywords

When compiling long-tail keyword research for your site’s SEO content, be sure to include “intent keywords.” Intent keywords are often commercial in nature and tend to represent the later stage of a sales funnel.

Whenever you’re looking to buy something online, you’re likely doing at least a little research before making a decision. Prior to online searchers reaching any final purchasing decision, they’ll go through the buyer’s journey for the information they need. This is when people begin to gravitate more toward long-tail keywords to get more specific results for a service or product they’re interested in. The right keywords will reflect what people are searching for during this journey. At first, people might search for something general, like “black turtleneck,” which would have a high search volume but is too competitive for you to rank for. Getting further into the journey, people are likely to get more specific with their searches, going for long-tail keywords such as “ribbed” or “cashmere black turtlenecks.” Eventually, they’ll narrow it down to the best ribbed black turtlenecks, the cheapest or ones that are on sale.

Intent keywords such as “best,” “cheapest” and “discount” will have a lower search volume, but the few people who are searching for them can be worth much more than a larger, less interested audience. As the searches get more and more specific with intent keywords, search volume will decrease, but the searches that a keyword does get will be more valuable. With fewer searches, you can end up having a better chance at ranking higher when people are closer to the end of their journey.

A good practice to get into is to check your organic traffic in Google Analytics regularly. See what keywords are leading people to your site, and to what pages specifically. Then check out those landing pages to see what worked to get users there. After that, maybe have a look at your low-traffic web pages that you’re hoping start to rank higher soon. Why aren’t they being found? How can you optimize them? If you can think like a human, you can likely figure out user intent from your ranking keywords. But those low-traffic pages probably aren’t addressing those intentions. Use the lessons you’ve learned about intent keywords on higher-traffic pages to fix up your pages still languishing without much traffic. – Read more

How to Use a Landing Page to Test a New Idea

My Post - 2019-10-31T165528.705.pngEvery successful business starts with an idea, a simple “what if” question that unlocks a world of new possibilities.

If you’re like most content creators, coming up with new ideas isn’t the problem.

It only becomes an issue when you aren’t sure which idea you should pursue.

How do you know which idea to keep and which ones should be thrown out?

It starts with validating your idea.

As a content creator, you don’t want to waste your time developing a complicated website or an online brand based on ideas that turn out to be total duds.

You want to find a way to weed out the ideas that won’t go anywhere as quickly as possible, which you can accomplish by testing your idea with a simple idea validation landing page.

Reasons why you should test your idea with a landing page

By using a landing page for idea validation, you’ll be able to focus every element of the page on determining if you should move forward with the idea.

This means everything from the call-to-action (CTA) button to the headline should be optimized with the primary goal of understanding what your audience really thinks of your idea. We’ll talk more about this in a bit, but for now, let’s talk about a few more reasons why you’ll want to use a landing page to test ideas.

You can confidently launch your idea once it’s validated

Imagine if you created a full-blown, multiple-page website based around an idea that doesn’t pan out once you launch it into the world. You poured countless hours into writing the website copy and designing it with your visual branding in mind. What should you do now?

You might think about scrapping the website altogether, causing you to be more hesitant to pursue another idea you’re passionate about later on.

Luckily, there is a way around this! When you use a simple landing page to gauge interest in a product or service idea before you spend hours creating it, you’ll save time and feel more confident when it comes time to launch your validated idea.

You can target your messaging to your intended audience

Maybe you already have a website built for your company but you want to test a new product idea that introduces you to a new audience segment.

Instead of feeling like you need to update all of your website messaging to fit the new audience that may or may not be interested in what you offer (that’s what the test is for!), you’ll be able to create a landing page that will be directed toward them. You also won’t have to declare a niche yet, which can come in handy if you are still discovering how you want to position your brand.  – Read more

5 PPC Trends to Get Ready for in 2020

My Post - 2019-10-31T154955.746Predicting the future is never easy – particularly in the world of PPC.

Even with all the campaign data in the world, you don’t know the latest trends until they hit.

It’s a tough task staying on top of all the updates released by the likes of Google, Bing, and YouTube. It can be even harder to learn new things and quickly adapt to the changes.

On October 23, I moderated a sponsored SEJ webinar presented by Adzooma’s Puneet Vaghela and Sal Mohammed.

They shared the five biggest PPC trends coming up in 2020 and how marketers can increase paid search performance while staying on top of the latest industry changes.

Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.

We’ve all seen developments happening in the paid search front over the past 18 months from both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising. Some of the changes involve:

  • Ad copy.
  • Smart bidding.
  • Average position.
  • Audiences.

As innovation in digital marketing continues to grow at an exponential rate, smart PPC pros need to keep up with the market.

Here are five trends you should be looking at in 2020 in order to stay ahead of the game.

1. Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is based on taking a group of people who have interacted with you online – either on your website, your CRM database, through a YouTube channel or one of your other social media channels.

These people are then segmented based on:

  • What URLs they’ve visited on your website.
  • How they’ve interacted on your site (i.e., whether they’ve purchased).
  • What videos they’ve watched.

Then they’re placed into buckets that serve specific ads based on how they interacted with you.

This allows you to increase or decrease bids to make sure you’re more or less prominent to your audiences based on the value that they have on your business.

Although it seems very in-depth, this is still the most basic way to use audiences.

However, as we gather more and more data on our customers and audiences, we can begin to break them up into specific buckets and thereby making our messaging even more personalized and our bidding strategies more informed based on specific data points.

  • What type of user are they? Where did they leave your site? Did they purchase something?
  • What are your audiences interested in?
  • What age and gender are they?
  • What demographic group do they fall under?
  • Where are they searching and browsing for you or your products? What device are they on?
  • Are they coming from other websites? What keywords are they finding you through?
  • Where are they in their life? Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they angry?

The inclusion of specific data sets, as well as inferred emotional data, means that you can make your ads extremely bespoke to the people you want to target.

You can also identify exactly which type of person you should be spending your resources on to grow your business.

Make sure to create audience lists in Google Ads to leverage this opportunity. – Read more