How to Optimize Your Landing Page SEO

My Post - 2019-11-14T150701.433.pngOptimizing a landing page for SEO to bring in organic traffic is slightly trickier than ranking a blog post.

When creating a page with landing page software, the goal is to lead visitors to a call to action and ensure that they follow through.

When creating an SEO-rich piece of content, the goal is to engage the reader and have them spend as much time on page as possible, then leave with the answer they were looking for.

This means your landing page needs more content, more links, more compelling copy, and more calls to action.

Though this may sound like a bit much, organic traffic means warm leads – leads you may not otherwise have had if you weren’t ranking your landing page. These leads are worth the effort, but your copy still needs to convert them.

So, there’s a fine line to walk between optimizing your page for search engines and conversions. Here’s how to approach optimizing your landing page for SEO.

Determine the goal of your landing page

Before creating your landing page, you need to determine if you want your copy to focus mainly on converting visitors or if ranking your page in search engines is your top goal.

There is a major difference between the two.

Conversion-focused pages need to take visitors on a smooth path to a clear and prominent call to action.

SEO-focused pages tend to have more content. They answer all the questions someone might search for, there is a deliberate effort to cover topics in detail, and they have multimedia elements and carefully-positioned keywords.

Some landing pages can do both. It depends on where the user is in the funnel. Your main consideration needs to be where your traffic is coming from. If you have a large list in your email marketing software or will be running PPC ads toward a specific call to action, a conversation-focused page will do.

However, If your goal is to use long-term organic traffic for lead generation, you should optimize your landing page for SEO.

Determine the right tool to use for your landing page

We’ve tried every landing page tool under the sun and we have even surveyed our audience to discover their favorite tool for building SEO optimized landing pages. Based on our ConvertKit reviews, customers love that you can use the tool not only for landing pages, but for email marketing and automation as well. – Read more

SEO Keyword Research: 13 of the Biggest Mistakes You MUST Avoid

My Post - 2019-11-13T125626.456.pngKeyword research is an integral part of any SEO marketer’s job.

But according to a study compiled a few years back, few people actually love keyword research.

Keyword research was ranked as one of the top three most difficult tasks by SEO professionals (behind link building and content creation).

That might be because 66% of us perform our keyword research in-house as opposed to finding a specialist or outsourcing it.

Keyword research can also be a daunting task – as almost 44% of us only do it when we have to.

It makes sense.

When you do your keyword research sparsely, it can feel like a huge project, and there are quite a few pitfalls that make it feel even more laborious.

When I polled SEO pros on Twitter about what they think are the biggest mistakes businesses and marketers make when performing keyword research, I got almost 40 responses – but many hit on the same themes.

Here is a list of the top-named biggest keyword research mistakes to avoid:

1. Forgetting Searcher Intent

So many people mentioned that the biggest keyword research mistake was forgetting to truly examine searcher intent.

What’s the point in ranking your site or content for a query that doesn’t match what the user is looking for?

So many marketers are more obsessed with driving traffic than they are with the bottom line – driving conversions.

And that’s where the searcher intent comes in.

Searcher intent examines what the user is actually looking for when they look for something online.

If you have a recipe site, chances are people want the recipes – not a 2,000-word essay on what this meal meant to you in your childhood.

Match your content to what people are actually looking for or ensure that the right types of queries are driving traffic to your site.

2. Not Looking at Actual SERPs

 

Part of understanding searcher intent and what search engines understand the intent behind users’ queries to be – is to actually look in the SERPs.

Too many people spend too much time in the tools, and don’t look at what’s actually ranking for keywords.

You may see that the content that Google serves users for a particular query doesn’t match the content you have for that keyword. Maybe you’re writing a blog, but search engines interpret the query to need a product page result.

Look at what type of content is ranking for that keyword and model your content on that framework. – Read more

7 To-Dos Before Launching a Business Website

My Post - 2019-11-12T143714.170.pngThese seven steps will increase your ranking on search engines and boost conversions.

Launching your new website can be very exciting. You’re about to unveil a new look for your brand. It’s important, therefore, to have everything in place to ensure a successful launch.

There are several common mistakes that developers and business owners make when launching a site. You can avoid them by planning your launch carefully and well in advance. These seven tips will give your business a great new start as you launch your website.

1. Use calls to action.

A well-designed website with compelling content is ineffective without calls to action. CTAs give users something to do with the information they’ve received from your site. It makes their interaction on your website feel complete. It can also direct the user further along your sales funnel.

It’s important to place CTAs on nearly every page. You can use them to influence user behavior. It’s very common to ask visitors to read more content and stay on your site longer. You can also ask them to share a post or sign up on your site. Membership sites often use CTAs to convince people to sign up to access gated information.

You can use CTAs strategically to increase conversions. Launching your website without them leads to missed opportunities.

2. Add analytics.

When you’re creating a website, you may put off adding analytics until later. Very often, the front end of the website is a priority, which leads to back-end features being neglected. If you don’t add analytics before your website launches, you won’t have the ability to measure web traffic and glean other insights from day one.

Tools like Google Analytics let you know if your marketing strategies are working. It also tells you more about your site visitors so you can figure out what’s not working. If you have an online store, you need Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports to understand what products are making the most conversions. You can track your lead conversion rate or the changes and your website revenue in Google Analytics.

3. Create a Coming Soon page.

Build anticipation and create user engagement before your website launches. You can create an attractive Coming Soon page to give users information about your business in advance.

You can also use it to create an email list while your site is still under development. If you don’t have a Coming Soon page, you miss a lot of opportunities to make your brand memorable. Use a tool like SeedProd to create a Coming Soon page and to get analytics before your website launches.

4. Apply SEO before the website launch.

Incorporating search engine optimization before you launch your site saves time and resources later. Ranking on search engines matters, because 95% of people don’t search beyond the first page. You avoid having to redesign your website when you make SEO part of the design process.

Search engines rank websites that are well structured and offer good user experience features. By applying SEO guidelines, you get a faster-loading site and good navigation. SEO best practices also ensure that you use keywords appropriately in page titles, URLs and metadata.

It’s an enormous challenge to add SEO to your site once it’s done. Apply SEO strategies before your website launch, or you may find yourself redesigning your website. – Read more

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

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

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

Ongoing Education: Your Secret to SEO Success

My Post - 2019-10-25T162252.468.pngBecause Google won’t tell us exactly how their search algorithms work (come on already Google!), oftentimes the answer we get in SEO is “it depends.”

While this is an unsatisfying answer, there are many valid reasons for it – different websites, different niches, different audiences, different competition, etc.

But what if I told you there was a foolproof SEO strategy you could leverage to succeed in SEO regardless of your vertical or type of business?

That would be great, right?

Well, this is possible and the only thing you must do is… keep learning!

OK, so that might not be as cut and dry of a strategy as you were hoping for, but it’s true.

Ongoing education is essential to SEO success.

It’s how the top SEO professionals, and the brands they manage, stay on top.

SEO is an ever-changing industry and landscape. The same rule that applies to search rankings applies to SEO savvy: if you remain status quo, you’re losing ground.

What would your SEO strategy look like if you were still following best practices from 2010? 2000? 1996 when search engines rose to prominence?

You would have keyword-stuffed pages and be chasing blog comment links, and you would not be performing in search.

As an SEO, to avoid getting left behind you must constantly educate yourself to keep up with the changing times and best practices.

Just Look at 2019!

To understand how rapidly SEO changes and why continuous education is necessary, we don’t have to look any further than this current year.

In 2019 alone, we’ve seen major changes and important trends emerge that have a drastic and lasting impact on the SEO landscape. These trends include:

  • The evolution of how Google measures E-A-T and its significance in terms of search rankings.
  • And Google’s continuous push to answer queries within the SERP and the emergence of zero-result queries.

This is not the entire list of everything that happened in 2019, but it demonstrates how quickly things can move in SEO. Let’s take a quick look at each of these developments.

The Influence of E-A-T on Search & Our Understanding of It

Right off the bat, I want to explicitly state E-A-T is not a ranking factor.

However, this does not mean E-A-T doesn’t influence rankings, or rather, our understanding of and investment in E-A-T influences our ability to rank.

Ryan Jones explains this concept well in a tweet from Pubcon: