Small Business SEO: 6 Ways to Simplify Your Weekly Approach

My Post - 2019-09-10T123603.621.pngI doubt many small business owners wake up in the morning and think to themselves, “I can’t wait to do some killer SEO today!”

If SEO crosses an small business owner’s mind in the morning, it’s typically accompanied by feelings of dread and confusion.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Contrary to what most people think, SEO is actually quite simple.

SEO Doesn’t Have to be Overwhelming

Want to increase your visibility on Google? You could make any of hundreds of changes to your website right now.

There are also hundreds of websites, blogs, and online courses designed to teach you about SEO.

There are dozens of tools that promise to help you do everything from automating content marketing to boost your search rankings.

Then there are books, podcasts, webinars, events, and conferences.

Becoming an expert in SEO requires months, even years, of a steady commitment to learning. And the cherry on top is the fact that Google can (and does) decide to change its algorithm at a moment’s notice.

When it does so, the clock resets, and you have to re-familiarize yourself with SEO practices and rules.

As intimidating as SEO is, many small business owners simply decide not to worry about it.

Either they spend way too much hiring it out to someone else, or they just don’t deal with it at all.

The first approach takes a big chunk out of an already limited budget.

The second approach suppresses digital marketing and exposure, which leads to fewer sales.

But here’s the truth:

SEO doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

So much of the information, advice, and strategies that you see circulated in the industry are nothing more than noise.

When you learn to block out these distractions, you’ll discover that SEO success ultimately comes down to doing a few things really well.

For the best outcome, develop a weekly approach to SEO and stick with it. Doing so allows you to organize your efforts behind tangible actions that produce demonstrable results.

Here are six things you should do weekly.

1. Develop Two Internal Blog Posts

Content is the catalyst for SEO results. You can optimize your website all you want, but unless you have content, you won’t ever consistently rank for the right search terms.

A lot of businesses think they need to publish one blog post every day. In theory, this sounds great. However, it quickly becomes overwhelming. – Read more

A 5-Step Guide to Diagnosing Technical SEO Problems

My Post - 2019-09-10T123105.194.pngI’m going to keep the intro short, because I’m assuming you’re coming here amid technical SEO chaos, a fire, maybe even just a fire drill (that has a lot of executive attention).

Below is a process for fighting technical SEO flames. It may help your life, or it may not, chance are we don’t know each other, so why should I make assumptions about what’s useful to you.

Anyway, if you’re looking to a quick audit list, you should probably just skip to step 4. I won’t hold it against you.

You may miss out on some good random takeaways along the way, but most people don’t read anyways. Well, except you, since you’re still here and it turned out to be not that short of an intro after all…

Step 1: Panic Disengaged

Close your email. (This process works better if you actually follow the process).

OK, now take in a deep breath in 1.2.3.4.5… now breath out, 1.2.3.4.

Alright, now stop reading this blog. Maybe go grab some water, coffee, tea.

Take a walk outside (unless it’s frigid, then definitely don’t do that). This post will be here when you get back.

(Hopefully, you came back…)

Now to lessen your nerves – turn into a robot. Just kidding. But you get the point – nerves, anxiety, and the mental load – life can serve us a lot.

It can be hard to reach a place where emotions and nerves aren’t intertwined, especially when faced with stress. At the same time, it’s important to approach technical SEO problems with a clear, analytical, logical mindset.

Sometimes this “mode” comes with more experience, genetic, personality type, or horoscope. – Read more

How SEOs can master voice search now

My Post - 2019-09-06T160542.386Optimizing for voice search means answering questions in featured snippets, paying attention to local SEO and perfecting your mobile-friendliness.

You already know the entry-level SEO factors you need to think about constantly to make your rockstar brand visible to your audience. You’ve covered your keyword research, content strategy, domain authority and backlink profile. It’s all solid.

But at the same time, it’s 2019, and those elements won’t always cut it in the same ways they did ten or even five years ago. As we prepare to enter the 2020s, digital marketers everywhere need to stay current with changing trends in the SEO space. In this post, I’m talking about the mostly untapped opportunity of optimizing your SEO for voice search.

You know voice search, that on-the-rise realm of online querying that’s performed with nothing more than your voice and a virtual assistant, be it Amazon Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant or Siri. You can buy things online, set reminders for yourself and, of course, perform searches.

I don’t know anyone who denies that advanced voice search is one of the coolest pieces of technology to come out of the 21st century so far. But what does it mean for SEO going forward? Here’s a statistic to give you an idea: Comscore has forecast that 50 percent of all online searches will be performed by voice search by 2020. That’s a sufficient reason for any digital marketer to take pause and think. Half of all online searchers will soon be finding results using their voices.

With that in mind, ask yourself: Is your SEO optimized for voice search? If it isn’t, you may be missing out on about a billion voice searches per month. In 2017, 13 percent of Americans owned some kind of smart assistant. This number was 16 percent by 2019 and is predicted to skyrocket to 55 percent by 2022. Let’s face it. Users like the convenience of interacting with the internet using only their voices and this should affect the way you do SEO.

With all of that said, here are four actionable tips for optimizing your SEO for voice search.

1. Think featured snippets

Voice queries that can be answered directly with a featured snippet almost always are. The Google Assistant specifically tries to do this wherever possible, reading most of the snippet aloud to the user. Position zero is a great place to be and digital marketers, of course, are already vying for that coveted spot. So how do you get to be the featured snippet for a voice search? How can you ensure that Google will read your site’s content out loud to a voice searcher?

  • First, featured snippets are not always pulled from position one. Only about 30 percent are, while the other 70 percent generally come from positions two through five. What does this tell you? It says that once you’re on page one, relevance matters more than position.
  • To become the featured snippet, your content should be optimized to answer specific questions. A large portion of featured snippets are related to recipes, health, and DIY subjects, but don’t be discouraged just because those aren’t your industries. Use SEMrush’s topic research tool or the free Answer the Public tool to generate content ideas for answering specific user questions.
  • Your content will be more likely to be featured in a snippet if it’s presented as a paragraph, list or table. If you go for the paragraph, try to keep it below 50 words, and make the sentences brief. You should also optimize the paragraph with your targeted keyword. Lists and tables are likely to get featured as well, since they’re easy to follow logically and visually. Whichever direction you go with your content, make sure it’s easy to understand and free of advanced terminology. Remember, you’re going for a large audience here, and jargony content is a huge turn-off.

Combine all of these steps – getting to page one, researching one specific query and answering that query briefly and in an easily digestible format – and you’ll be well on your way to getting your time in the spotlight with one of Google’s featured snippets.

Once you’ve done that, just imagine millions of virtual assistants presenting your page’s content as the best answer to a user question. That’s the power of voice search-optimized SEO. – Read more

 

Why Your SEO Keyword Research Needs to Evolve & Focus on Topics

My Post - 2019-09-03T141607.168.pngFor most of us, one of the first things we do when optimizing a site is to perform keyword research.

Millions of pixels and column inches have been spent outlining various different keyword strategies.

SEO professionals spend millions of dollars each year to track keyword rankings, much to Google’s chagrin.

The Evolving Search Query

The real estate in organic search is shrinking.

There have been countless articles written around this phenomenon, but all you have to do to see this for yourself is to Google a few high-volume terms.

I urge you to go to Google and type in any competitive term.

Most likely, you won’t see any organic results above the fold of the SERP page.

For years, Google has given marketers the ability to get “free” traffic and leads through organic search.

I don’t believe that Google and the other major search engines are going to stop providing this type of traffic – but the way we will need to capture this traffic is changing very quickly.

This is partially because Google wants to keep the traffic for itself, and partially because search queries are continually evolving and becoming more sophisticated.

Increasingly, people are using more sophisticated queries to find out what they want.

Back in 2012, Google said that 16%-20% of the searches that occur every day have never been searched before.

I suspect that number is even higher today.

And people are searching more.

The number of searches on Google grows roughly 10% every year.

So let’s recap thus far.

  • There aren’t as many places to get organic clicks.
  • People aren’t searching the same way they did in the past – searches are more complex.
  • There are more searches occurring every year. – Read more

16 Things That Can Hurt Your Site Rankings (SEO Checklist)

My Post - 2019-08-29T185344.993.pngThe worst nightmare for a webmaster happens when they find a sudden drop in their site rankings and all their hard work is gone!

Are you one of those? Well, take a deep breath! You are not the only one.

Every website has faced or will face a drop in rankings in the future. You can’t avoid it, but you can certainly minimize the impacts of it.

A drop in rankings can happen for a variety of reasons. Both the obvious ones and not so obvious ones are explained in this article. Here are 16 things that can hurt your site rankings:

1. You Are Busy Creating Lots of Low Quality Links to Your Site

Any link that is created or purchased with the intention of manipulating the PageRank that directly impacts a site’s ranking in the search results is referred to as a low-quality link.

Examples of low-quality links are links from low-quality web directories, low-quality article directories, low-quality guest posts, or spam comments. A complete list of link schemes that are counted as unnatural by Google can be found here.

How To Identify Low-Quality Links?

Look for site messages under Search Console. If you have lots of unnatural links pointing to your site, the chances are high that Google will directly send you a message asking you to fix those links. An example of an unnatural linking message is provided below:

Read more

How to Do Technical SEO for Ecommerce Websites

My Post - 2019-08-09T170524.451.pngEcommerce is one of the fastest growing sectors and is often perceived to be dominated by the likes of Amazon and Walmart.

However, with appropriate marketing strategies, small ecommerce websites can also get their fair share of customers.

That’s where technical SEO comes in. It is crucial for improving your online store’s searchability.

Here are 12 technical SEO tips that will help increase your web traffic and generate more sales.

1. Don’t Miss Out on Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords may not attract more traffic, but they do have higher conversion rates as they allow you to understand the consumer intent correctly.

For example, a keyword such as “maternity yoga pants” rather than simply “pants” clearly shows what a consumer wants.

You have plenty of opportunities to use long-tail keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and product description.

Think about the various search phrases people may use to find a specific product. They will help identify the best suitable long-tail keywords.

You can use tools such as Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Trends for this.

2. Use Unique Title & Meta Descriptions

Create unique titles and meta descriptions for each product page. Try to include the relevant long-tail keyword in both the title and the meta description.

Make your meta descriptions as attractive as possible to encourage users to check out the product page.

For example, “Maternity Yoga Pants – best deals, big discounts, and free shipping on all orders. Order Now!” would be a fitting meta description for a maternity yoga pants page.

Ask your developer to insert such unique titles and meta descriptions dynamically into every page. – Read More

Will Swapping Fresh Content Help Your SEO?

My Post - 2019-07-24T105031.432.pngWelcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! A reader asks:

Would it help my SEO, if instead of creating 1 piece of content, I create 3 pieces of content, which swap out every 30 days for a page. This way the freshness index of my page stays up. Or is writing so much content too much effort for a minimal SEO increase in value?

Simply, does “freshness” affect rankings?

This is not a simple yes or no answer, as in most things SEO, it depends.

In this particular situation, I would not write three pieces of content and then change the single page on a monthly basis. This does not meet the freshness requirement, anyway.

Google is trying to understand what your webpage is about topically. If you’re changing that regularly, then it would more likely do more harm than good.

So what does freshness mean?

Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)

In 2011, on the heels of the Caffeine Update that allowed Google to crawl and index the web more quickly, Google released a change to the search results that would favor, in some use cases, fresh content over more traditional “evergreen” pages. – Read more

The Truth About Domain Authority: What Every SEO Needs to Understand

My Post - 2019-07-18T171030.075.pngI want to preface this article by stating that it could have been written about any SEO tool’s metrics. All the major tools have ways of measuring things that are important to the link builders and SEO professionals of the world.

Domain Authority just happens to be the one that seems to most often be erroneously viewed as being an actual Google metric, at least from my experience.

Domain Authority (DA) is Moz’s way of telling us how well a website should rank, using a 0 to 100 scale. The higher the DA, the better chance it has to rank, theoretically.

We do use various metrics, and we used Moz’s metrics for years. The majority of our clients used Moz so we did, too.

Now most of them don’t, for reasons that I’m not privy to, so neither do we.

We use what makes the most sense for us after all. That’s nothing to do with anything else.

Third-Party Metrics Are Not the Only Indicators of a Site

If you’re going to use a metric, pick one and stick to it, whichever one you prefer.

Just don’t use it as the only indicator of a site.

And please please please don’t confuse it as being an actual Google metric.

In any given month, I’d estimate that 75% of the requests for information that I receive in my Inbox mention Domain Authority.

It varies from “we require DA 50+ links” to “can you guarantee me that all the links will be DA 60 and higher?” – Read more

Why & How to Tackle Technical SEO Before Link Building

My Post - 2019-07-18T162401.876.pngWhen you consider a link building campaign, you may not be completely reaping the benefits of your SEO efforts if you ignore technical SEO.

The best results happen when you consider all the points of your website’s SEO:

  • Technical SEO.
  • Content.
  • Links.

In fact, there are situations when you must tackle technical SEO before ever thinking about getting links.

If your website is weak in technical SEO areas, or extremely confusing for search engines, it won’t perform as well regardless of the quality and quantity of backlinks you have.

Your top goals with technical SEO is to make sure that your site is:

  • Easily crawled by search engines.
  • Has top cross-platform compatibility.
  • Loads quickly on both desktop and mobile.
  • Employs efficient implementation of WordPress plugins.
  • Does not have any issues with misconfigured Google Analytics code.

These five points illustrate why it’s important to tackle technical SEO before link building.

If your site is unable to be crawled or is otherwise deficient in technical SEO best practices, you may suffer from poor site performance.

The following chapter discusses why and how you should be tackling technical SEO before starting a link building campaign. – Read more

How to Achieve Long-Term SEO Success for Your Business

My Post - 2019-07-16T170314.352.pngIn the past, SEO was considered optional, or at the very least, more important for newer businesses without substantial referral business. Over the past five years that has changed; small business owners know they need SEO. The thought of not being on page one of Google’s search results keeps most small business owners up at night as they need a steady stream of new customers to keep the lights on.

The biggest challenge facing most small business owners is understanding which strategies to implement as the internet is replete with how-to articles showcasing the latest SEO trends and fads. We recommend that you ignore the vast majority of articles positioning individual tactics as a solution to all your search presence challenges. Small business owners who typically refrain from following a disjointed strategy in other areas of their business will make an exception when it comes to SEO because of the dynamic nature of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

We ask that you maintain your discipline and not lurch wildly when it comes to optimizing your company’s website. We will review three tips that will work for you over the long haul and produce the kind of results you’ve always wanted.

Tip 1: User intent

Google’s primary mission is to understand the search intent of each search engine user and translate their intent into relevant search results. If Google failed to deliver relevant search results for their users, searchers would quickly turn to other search engines like Yahoo or Bing as well as Amazon and Facebook. If you implement any of the tips in this article, make sure you implement this tip.

The most important thing that you can do is create content that Google views as a valuable resource to show users on their search engine. For example, if you are a dry cleaner you may want to create a blog or video demonstrating how to remove a troublesome cherry pie stain. Equally important is to show up for what we call category searches.

Category searches are typically keywords that include the service you offer and the city in which your business is located. In our dry cleaner example, a typical category search could be “dry cleaner Clearwater” or “dry cleaner in Clearwater.” To understand the kinds of keywords people type in to reach websites in your business category, we recommend that you check your AdWords account if you are running one, use tools such as SEMRush.com and ahrefs.com, and lastly, check Search Console to view keyword phrases searchers used to find your website.

Now that you have completed keyword research, understand which keywords carry searcher intent, we recommend that you create keyword-rich content to help attract users to your website. – Read more