8 Ways You’re Wasting Money on SEO Without Knowing It

My Post - 2019-04-18T161423.699SEO requires an investment of time – and usually monetary resources – to achieve results over time.

Because SEO is a longer-term investment than other digital marketing channels, it can have hidden challenges, issues, and costs.

These issues can impact performance and push the opportunity to break even and become profitable on the investment further into the future.

Unfortunately, many companies and organizations have been burned. The rime and resources invested in SEO were wasted due to specific aspects of the process, people involved, or business challenges that derail even the best-intended campaigns.

Here are eight specific ways you can waste money on SEO without even knowing it. Being aware of each and taking action can help increase your chances of success.

1. Not Defining Goals up Front

Without clear goals, a lot of money can be wasted focusing on and chasing the wrong performance metrics.

I hate it when I hear about SEO professionals talking about one set of metrics and business executives or owners talking about a different one.

It can all sound good up front. But relationships go sideways when things are left open-ended or assumed.

Make sure every stakeholder understands how “performance” is defined whenever money is being invested. – Read more

How do I get my Website on the First Page of Google Search

My Post - 2019-04-18T153932.649.jpgThere is no denying the power of Google.

The search engine has become so popular that the term “Googling” has become synonymous with the very idea of looking something up. The only problem is that while people look to Google for answers, they do not look very hard.

Most people never look past the first page of results. This means that falling to the second page is almost as bad as being on the tenth page. Given that the vast majority of people begin online by using a search engine, this is not something any successful website can afford.

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the key to landing a prime position on the front page. However, competing with big businesses who have monopolised all the most popular words and phrases can be more than a little intimidating. That is not even mentioning all the other businesses and blogs out there who are fighting for the same position.

Not to worry though! There are several relatively simple tips and tricks that can give anyone the edge they need. The reason why everyone is not taking advantage of these techniques is that they are not the most intuitive since it involves working with the inherent disadvantages rather than trying to get rid of them.

The Disadvantages

In order to turn these so-called weaknesses into strengths, the first step is to understand what they are. To begin with, no-one is going to be able to compete with big industry names when it comes to popular phrases from the start.

Websites have a domain authority score rated out of 100. This score is heavily influenced by how many external links there are to that particular site. The big-name popular sites will have tens of thousands of links meaning that their domain score is often 70+.

So competing directly is very hard. Achieving that kind of domain score would require years of work and a huge monetary investment. Fortunately, there are other ways to make it on to Google’s front page. All that is required is a little creative thinking.

Long-Tail Keywords

Since no-one can fight the big names for popular phrases, the next best thing will have to be used instead. Long-tail keywords are longer and more precise phrases used to search for items.

Take this guide for example. The popular “head” keyword would be “ First Page of Google “. A long-tail search might look something like “ How do I get my Website on the First Page of Google Search “. The thing is, that the majority of Internet users search with phrases that are long-tail keywords. People want answers to their specific problems. So, if these searches can be predicted then there is no need to fight over head keywords. It is like casting ten smaller but more accurate nets instead of one larger one. – Read more

7 Terrible, No-Good SEO Tactics to Abandon Forever

My Post - 2019-04-18T152128.085.jpgDespite the evolution of Google and the internet, bad and outdated SEO tactics still proliferate.

And the worst part is they continue to wreak havoc to webpages, search rankings, traffic, and conversions because website owners themselves have no idea they no longer work.

So, what are some of the craziest and most common “do nots” of SEO?

On April 10, I moderated an SEJ ThinkTank webinar presented by Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers.

McCoy discussed the most common bad SEO tactics that are still happening all over the web along with smart solutions and replacements to help you avoid them for good.

Here’s a recap of the presentation.

Google Is Pro-User

Why should we care about what “NOT” to do when it comes to our website and Google-friendly practices?

We care about Google and avoiding bad practices for search because more than half (60 percent) of all traffic on the web starts with a Google search.

To forget, or even worse – ignore! – how your website is performing in search, is irresponsible.

The good news?

If you put the right practices in place, you might be on the verge of a success story.

Here are seven bad SEO tactics Google really hates and how to avoid them. – Read more

Why You Must Stop Obsessing About These 5 Things in SEO

My Post - 2019-04-16T151507.326As SEO professionals, we tend to obsess over every detail.

Really, though, not everything in SEO is worth our full time and attention.

What follows is a list of trends that many in SEO believe are overrated or misused.

Before writing this, I reached out to the wonderful SEO community on Twitter to help contribute to this list of things you must stop obsessing over. Thank you to Search Engine Journal for extending my reach to get submissions.

At the end of my list, I’ve included a few submissions that I believe still hold value and are not overrated.

Most of the entries on this list are debatable, so if you have any strong opinions or data to counter these points, please leave a comment below!

1. Voice Search

Surprise, surprise! I’m pretty sure 99% of you expected this to be on this list. Figured we could get it out of the way early.

First, we need to understand that there’s a fundamental difference between voice search and voice assistance. Most studies that declare that voice search is on the rise are using examples that are voice assistance.

  • Voice Assistance: “What time is it? What’s the weather? Set a reminder!”
  • Voice Search: “Find breakfast spots that are open now. Best barber near me.”

Why Is Voice Search Overrated?

Voice search is often overhyped as the future of technology and is often predicted to be the primary way that users will interact with businesses.

When SEO professionals talk about voice optimization, they’re mostly referring to getting their sites to answer frequently asked questions.

While that’s fine and dandy, think about what kind of benefit this brings to your site? How is your voice strategy going to generate revenue for your site? – Read more

Web Design & Seo: Everything Designers Should Know

My Post - 2019-04-12T160607.830.jpgUX design and a solid SEO strategy go hand in hand.

Design is here to boost user experiences, inspire users to spend more time on your pages, and ensure they don’t leave your site frustrated. This way, it minimizes bounce rates and turns your visitors into leads and, ultimately, sales.

However, designing a spotless website is pointless if it’s not visible on Google. This is where SEO shines. It increases your site’s exposure in the SERPs, drives greater traffic to it, and gives you the opportunity to delight a visitor with your gorgeous website design and quality content.

When merged together, web design and SEO are indicators of your credibility and professionalism.

So, let’s see how to combine them for a better online performance.

The Basics of Implementing SEO and Web Design

In the world of digital marketing, building your online presence on strong foundations is critical. If some basic aspects of your site are poorly managed, you cannot expect your web design or SEO to deliver exceptional results.

Here are key elements of any strong web design:

CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME

Stuffing your domain with a bunch of keywords won’t help. They look spammy and may hurt both your rankings and user experience.

Remember that there are millions of domain names out there. So, your goal is to make your domain name catchy and memorable. It needs to be relevant to your business’ focus and be easy to spell and pronounce. To make your site easier to find, it’s always good to use your brand name as your domain name, too.

INVESTING IN THE RIGHT HOSTING PROVIDER

Choosing the right hosting plan directly impacts your website speed, server performance, and uptime/downtime. These are all important UX factors Google considers while indexing and ranking your site.

BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE USING A RELIABLE CMS

A solid CMS is one that is easy to use and manage. You should be able to design your site however you want, without taking additional courses in web design. It should also help you make your site mobile-friendly, add social media integrations effortlessly, and use various content management tools. The most popular CMS option is definitely WordPress, followed by Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3, and Squarespace.

When choosing the right CMS for your business, ask yourself how it will impact your online performance. For example, does it allow you to customize your URLs? Can you make on-page changes without changing the URL? Some systems create meta tags (meta descriptions and title tags) automatically, so you should check whether you can modify them. – Read more

17 Simple & Effective SEO Tweaks Brands Should Make This Year

My Post - 2019-03-19T113913.526

SEO is an involved and strategic process, but not every SEO change you make needs to be a difficult overhaul.

Instituting small but important fixes and tweaks can have an important impact on your rankings.

Here are some fairly simple changes we recommend making over the course of the year.

1. Optimize Your Titles & Headings

Make sure that your target keywords are mentioned in your page title tags.

If you are already doing this, update any old page titles that were created before you started incorporating keywords into your titles.

If your H1 tags are different from your titles, make sure that they mention your target keywords as well, if perhaps a slightly different variation on them.

Include secondary keyword targets in your H2 and H3 subheadings.

2. Use a Mobile-Friendly Theme

This should be old news for most of you, but if your site isn’t mobile-friendly in 2019, this needs to change immediately.

If you are using a CMS, update to a mobile-friendly theme, otherwise, have your developer update your site so that it uses responsive design.

3. Repurpose Your Content By Creating Hub Pages

Create a hub page for every top-level keyword your site is targeting by repurposing the information you have collected in all of your shorter, more targeted blog posts.

Compile all of the information from your long-tail blog posts into a list of summaries that address the entire concept as a whole.

4. Implement a Keyword-Oriented Hierarchical Taxonomy

Update your new hub pages with links for deeper dives on pages that cover longer tail keywords.

Your hub page can act as a series of summaries of smaller, more targeted blog posts, uniting them together into a cohesive whole, and linking to the subpages for more in-depth information.

Each subpage can then act as a hub page that links to even deeper pages targeting even longer tail keywords. Each subpage should also link back to its hub page.

It’s best if this is done both through the navigation and through contextual links within the content itself. This can be accomplished simply by updating by updating your existing content and the navigation. – Read more

How to Set & Achieve Realistic SEO Goals for 2019

My Post (81).jpg

What milestones does your company need to reach in 2019?

As marketers and SEO professionals, charting the path toward our goals is one of the exercises we should be mapping out at a minimum each year.

Here’s a three-step framework for setting SEO goals and developing a plan to achieve them:

  • Measuring targets: Where do we need to be?
  • Establishing SEO benchmarks: Where are we now?
  • Developing an action plan: How are we going to get there?

1. Measuring Targets

Every marketer on your team should be able to answer, “What does success look like 3/6/12 months out?”

Are we looking at revenue growth from new customers, existing customer account expansion, retention, and/or lowering churn?

In consulting with teams over the last decade, it’s often only the most senior person on the team who knows this answer.

In order to get your entire team on board with your marketing plan, every teammate should know the answer to this question.

Revenue targets (or lead value via a specific quantity/quality of leads) are the most common type of goal that marketing departments are tasked with achieving.

Revenue figures can then be translated into the number of new customers you need to bring in monthly based on average order size. Here’s the equation:

Number of new customers you need to acquire = Revenue needed / Average order size

Once you understand the number of customers you need to acquire, you can work backward to figure out the number of opportunities, SQLs, MQLs, leads, and website visitors you need to bring in to hit your goals. This is all based on conversion rates.

Your CRM and/or marketing automation platform should be able to provide these conversion rates across lifecycle stages and channels (organic vs. paid vs. referral).

Here is a helpful calculator your team can use to figure out these metrics. – Read more

How to keep your SEO team (and yourself) relevant

My Post (76).jpgOngoing education, conferences and case study discussions not only help clients but also your own career growth.

Weekly rank tracking. Optimization meetings with the media, copy, UX and dev teams. Monthly analytics reporting with the client. And decks. So many decks. With so much on one’s plate, it can feel like there is not much room for actual strategy, optimization and implementation – let alone continuing education.

By profession, SEOs should be data-driven digital experts. But with so much data – and so little time – it can be challenging to keep yourself relevant in an industry that changes, sometimes hourly.

GSC will be shutting down the old API. Google added new Activity Cards for mobile in the SERPS. Are you considering AMP now that they’re testing highlighting answers on AMP results? Were you aware of the newest addition to Google’s Link Scheme Guidelines?

Those are just some of the updates that came out in the month. It takes an SEO village these days.

The following is my agency’s foolproof plan to ensure that our team stays up-to-date. It ensures optimal career growth for SEOs and the best results for our clients.

Education as an onboarding requirement
Continued learning is so integral in this industry that we make it part of our onboarding process. While we require training for our proprietary SEO tool, we also require our SEOs are Google Analytics certified, trained in Google (and Bing) Search Console and experts in various SEO tools.

Additionally, we strongly recommend (but certainly do not require) that they participate in certain Facebook groups, Reddit communities and follow certain key figures on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Possibly the most valuable continuing education group for our team is Ahrefs Insiders. Finding a group of ~8,000 industry experts that continue to add strategic value – as well as continuing to highlight how team members can utilize tools – is essential for team growth and client success. – Read more

5 Must-do Things to Improve Your SEO in 2019

My Post (66).jpg

Search Engine Optimization – SEO for short – is a crucial part of a website’s marketing strategy.

Content is and will always be important – it is the core of your marketing campaigns. However, all your efforts may prove to be quite useless if that core is not shielded, anchored by something. And that something is SEO, the process which actually helps you reach out to the audience and deliver your message/content.

Optimization allows your website to be found, increases traffic, visibility and lead generation.

In order for it to be effective, however, you need to create a lucrative strategy. You should think about SEO while you are creating the content and you should think about it outside of the creative work as well.

Furthermore, you need to keep on constantly learning about the phenomenon and stay up to date with everything that happens in this area of expertise.

What can you do right now?
First, you should learn everything that is to be learned about SEO and search engine ranking. There are a lot of courses and valuable guides available online, and they will most certainly help you get the most out of your campaigns with minimal time investment.

However, everything depends on you industry and your goals. Learning SEO is all about accomplishing specific objectives and seldom about mere generalities.

For instance, a medical related blog would benefit from courses such as this one while a more generalist blog will benefit more from guides similar to this one. Or, if you want to promote a B2B company, you might find useful a guide/course that specializes in this type of activity such as this one.

All in all, it is better to make sure you know the basics before embarking on such an endeavor.

Then, try to study the phenomenon on a daily basis and keep up to date with everything that happens, all the changes, the additions, plus the trends. – Read more

7 Tips That Will Help You Optimize Your Keyword List for SEO

My Post (39).jpg

Tweaking your keyword lists is like regular car maintenance: you have to do it, or else things stop running properly.

Evaluating and optimizing your lists on a regular basis keeps your content high up in search engine rankings.

However, keyword optimization is not always straightforward.

Google’s algorithms grow more sophisticated constantly, and your old bag of keyword tricks becomes less and less effective.

Still, keyword optimization is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy – it’s just more nuanced now.

Best practices change from year to year based on Google’s changes and user habits.

This list will help you keep your content among the top results and bring in more visitors.

1. Map Your Keywords to the Buying Journey

Not every potential customer starts their journey with the exact product they want in mind — just like not everyone needs to do extensive research.

Your keywords should be targeting everyone whose interests match the content on your website. – Read more