Category SEO

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6 most effective strategies for SEOs to create a fertile website for increasing lead conversions

It’s true, SEO techniques have changed again with Google’s Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon updates in mid 2014. Since the updates, many SEO professionals have been confused about where to go from here.

Today, we’ll review the changes, the new methods and most importantly, how to create a fertile website where a higher percent of conversions can take place.

 

Penguin and Hummingbird updates in a nutshell

The Penguin and Hummingbird updates were intended to make a big difference in the quality of search engine results. For us, this translates into revising digital marketing and SEO strategies.

Google sent out the message loud and clear on May 22, 2013: the Penguin update is intended to reduce web spam and uninformative content. In fact, they are so serious about it, they are asking all Internet users to report websites that continue to spam.

The Hummingbird update changed the way searches were handling the “more conversational approach” to searches. Both updates were huge steps in the right direction because it had gotten so bad that searches stopped yielding quality results.

 

What do these updates mean to SEO strategies and tactics?

Successful SEO has always been about publishing highly informational content that people are seeking and can use. The difference is that now the technology will reward this high quality material by improving its ranking. It’s not like Google was rewarding all of the poor content out there, they just weren’t stopping it.

Publishing blogs, articles and other web content that contains meaningless drivel, stuffed with eywords and repetitive phrases, is not going to work anymore.

It barely did then, as conversions were still elusive and bounce-rates high, but the SEO pros could at least show their clients increased traffic and visibility.

Note: Always keep an eye on bounce rate and conversion rate when working with an SEO agency.

 

How to work your magic to increase traffic and conversions

Assuming you have a concise idea of the target audience for your product or service and you have selected keywords that are aligned with reaching them, you are on the right track. The next step is to take that to the next level and make sure your content is outstanding and appeals to those potential purchasers. This and a few other tweaks are now more important than ever before if you want to build momentum and convert traffic.

In terms of content ideas, if you are isolated and don’t have others with whom to brainstorm, try a few of the online helpers, such as: Content Idea Generator or Help Scout. They will help jump-start your creativity and development of a topic guide. Developing a content plan in advance will help guide your readers and users into the sales funnel with ease.

 

    1. Provide solid information and answer before askedIt pays to be seen as the authority on the subject of your product or service. As you know, authorities are leading the pack by providing information that answers questions in advance.For example: Your online business sells athletic shoes. Your customers and potential users are all different ages, but the common denominator is they are athletes. So content-rich articles that provide insights into the various aspects of athletic shoes that answer their questions will be the winning tactic. Headlines such as: “How Great Athletes Select Their Shoes” will speak to your audience, set up the peer pressure/hope methods of persuasion and provide useful information they may not be able to find elsewhere.
    2. Be seen as a winner by the company you keep
      Surround yourself with winners and you’ll be seen as one also. Nuzzle up to your competition, if they are successful. Your audience is always faced with deciding between competitors, so don’t worry about what seems to be a counterproductive strategy. Even though there will be competitors alongside who will also be contributing comments, blogs or information to the same authority sites, your site will be noticed and seen as higher quality by Google.This is key for those who are still growing their site’s popularity, as being with higher-ranked sites will bring it up a notch. The best way to find sites with which to align is to check the backlink profiles of your competitors or with the authority sites in your niche. There are tools that can help, such as: Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO.
    3. How does on-site structured data help with ranking and conversions?
      The way content is presented to Google, is referred to as its schematic structure, often called schema. (If you’re not familiar, a quick explanation: it is the structure of a database system that relates to the way the information is stored and categorized.) What that means is you, or your tech professional, will want to ensure that your content is replete with rich snippets and relevant attributes. Rich snippets are basically the capsules of information that describe a website in the search results. Review the tutorial for an in-depth “how-to”, if you’re not familiar because there are three steps to marking up snippets. Briefly, here are the three steps:

      1. Pick a markup format. Although Google recommends using microdata, you can also use microformats and RDFa. For more specific information on formats, use the Structured Data Markup Helper.
      2. Markup your content: Google supports snippets that pertain to: people, products, businesses, organizations, recipes, events and music. Make sure your snippets are on track!
      3. Test your markup. Use the structured data testing tool to make sure that the marked-data can be read and easily extracted by the search engines.(Note: steps are different for videos.)
    4. Synonyms and similar phrases that are optimized, add greatly to visibility
      People use words differently depending on where they live, their age and how they were introduced to search engines. For example, we used the terms schema, structured data and schematic structure above and we were always referring to the same thing. So it is important to remember that when you are planning keywords, content, blogs or advertising copy on the website.Consider the alternate ways people may word their searches. Some savvy marketers even take misspellings into consideration. If you want to give the website its best chances for success, then this is an avenue that shouldn’t be ignored.

      Note: This tiny tip could add a large quantity of visitors just by opening the door to different phraseology.

    5. Is the home page giving a quick snapshot of the website’s purpose?
      Your website is your calling card. Assume your website visitors only have time for a mere once-over:

      • Will they get the picture?
      • Will they know exactly what your website is offering?
      • Is your page load speed maximized?Your bounce rate will show you how many people are stopping in for less than a minute and if the percentage is high, then they aren’t able to make a quick connection or your site is optimized for search words that are attracting the wrong people.
    6. Entertain, Educate, Persuade and Convert
      Although not a new paradigm, it encompasses the newest strategies for internet marketing. You know how it works, as you are the recipient of these methods over 1,000 times a day. Every effective ad you see or hear has been created to entertain, educate, persuade and convert you into being a user.But it all starts with understanding your target audience. You can’t convert your traffic without tuning into your potential buyers. Once you have determined what they want and need to hear from their authority (you) within that industry, charm the pants off them by using these content techniques. But don’t mistake any of this for creating content that barrages them with overt sales messages. Again, think about what types of advertising, infommercials, etc., work on you!

 

Address each one of these tactics in your content marketing and you will be on track.

      • Entertain your audience: It’s not rocket science. People want to be entertained when they are not working or having to be responsible about other aspects of their lives. Check out “Mad Men” for insights into the creativity that goes into successful campaigns. Brevity and creativity are key.
      • Educate and inform: Remember, educating your audience doesn’t mean boring them to death, like schooling of yesteryear. Even when you are providing useful information, it should be delivered in bite-sized chunks and in imaginative and interesting ways. Using bullet points, eliminating excessive words and repetition will help. Adding visuals will increase interactivity and readership exponentially. According to one study, readership increased about 70 percent when even one visual was included, particularly above the fold of the website.
      • Persuade: Easier said than done. First off, remember that everyone is exposed to sales messages nearly every waking hour. So how do you do it differently? By establishing rapport and showing your audience the path that leads to finding the perfect product or service. There are a few tactics that are effective in the art of persuasion. Paying attention to advertising techniques will help, but in a nutshell it is all about appealing to the heart and the mind. Emotions are generally at the bottom of purchasing decisions, so tactics like: fear of being left behind, peer pressure, keeping up with the Jones, early adopter reputation and more are all effective methods, when properly used.
      • Convert: This is more about making it super simple for someone to buy rather than strong-arming them into submission. How many steps does the visitor have to go through to purchase the product or service? Can they purchase on a whim? Or do they have to go through a lengthy process? Make this process seamlessly simple.

 

Conversions Make the World Go Round.

Conversions are always the goal of a website and following these simple, but highly effective, tips will affect your bottom line greatly. It’s no longer about being on page one of the search engines, although that will always be a part of it. The most important change in tactical thinking is that we want to do more than increase traffic. We want to reduce bounce rates, interest qualified traffic and increase online sales.

That can only happen if your website offers more than smoke and mirrors. It’s time for substance and giving the user or visitor a fascinating, interesting or educational experience. The goal is to ensure they will walk away with the full intention of coming back to learn, hear or see more.

In summary:

      1. Penguin and Hummingbird updates are shaking things up in the content and blog departments. We think it is for the best and will bring progress and evolution to the Internet instead of a slow decline into a pit of useless information.
      2. Use common persuasion techniques that have been used in the advertising industry for years. Build rapport and use techniques that appeal to both head and heart. Emotions often rule purchases.
      3. Build your content based on the way the search engines look for and find information. Use rich snippets and other assets to provide clips that can be indexed.
      4. Research other phrases and words people might use to find the subject of your site and address them in your content and optimization strategies.
      5. Ensure your website addresses all questions, concerns and reasons to buy, particularly above the fold, when possible.
      6. Entertain and educate your audience with tactical content, so they will continue to

return out of sheer interest. If there is quality content they will stay engaged and it will be reflected in Google search results. Make sure the site is set up for easy purchasing!

Google’s updates might be a pain in your SEO professional’s or website owner’s side, but in truth these changes will affect all of us in a positive way. The value of the Internet is seriously at stake, which translates into a useless tool for everyone. So it is up to all of us to turn this around and make it an experience that everyone can benefit from and enjoy.

We’d love to hear from those of you who have interesting anecdotes, examples and additional ideas on how you expertly address content and conversions. We’re all ears and want to hear from you!

Stay tuned for our next installment on: Landing Page Optimization Techniques for Local Businesses

Rank Higher With Page Speed Using Most Effective Tools, Tips & Resources

 

Whether you’re someone who works on or with websites or simply a Business Owner, slow load times are frustrating and often a huge deterrent for proceeding to the site.

Research shows that load latency creates impatient users who are more apt to move on. Now, more than ever, websites need to capture and hold the attention of potential users and purchasers, as online competition continues to increase. Add to that, those who are vying for the ever-increasing mobile device shopper’s time and attention. It’s a technological jungle out there.

 

Studies Show Page Speed Matters

Many Google experiments have indicated that an increase in web search latency by 100 to 400 ms can reduce the number of searches by .2 to .6 percent per user. That number may not sound substantial, but it adds up and can make a difference between success and failure. More time per search means fewer total searches, which lessens the chances that potential users will make it to your site. In fact, in that same Google study, results showed that the slower the page speeds, the fewer searches conducted. Worse yet, users were not apt to return to the slower sites even when the page speed increased.

 

Here is a quote from Moz.com;

“websites with a faster TTFB (Time to First Byte) in general ranked more highly than websites with a slower one”. Read the full article here.
Faster loading speeds provide a better user experience, which, in turn, increases user satisfaction. The web plays such an important role in consumer decision making and purchasing, that a faster loading speed also means better ROI because the user can accomplish more in less time. Google’s search algorithm includes page speed for those reasons.
In a study done by Google, it became apparent that even a one-second delay can decrease conversions by seven percent. Even more stunning, 75 percent of the respondents in a 2006 Akamai study said they would not return to websites that took 4 seconds or longer to load; 47 percent expected a page load of two seconds. That same study cited the increasing importance of load times on mobile devices, as they are considered the “shopping tool of the future”. One of the most important findings is that 40 percent stated they would only wait 3 seconds before leaving the site and moving on. The differences in results by seconds makes us realize the importance of page load times.

So today, we are stressing the absolute importance of ensuring that your website or your clients’ websites have page load times less than 2 seconds. These statistics are more than suggestions; they are clearly demonstrating the necessity for optimal loading speed for all devices.

 

Page Speed Tools Every Business Needs

There are a few things you can do yourself, such as fix non-optimized images, delete unnecessary plugins and ensure that browser caching is being applied. More about that later. First we recommend using some of the free tools that are available that can help zero in on specific issues.

We’ve researched the best and created a list of tools that are easy-to-use and very effective at finding issues you may not be considering. We recommend going down the list and testing each one for yourself, so you can decide how to proceed. It will also help you determine if you can handle correcting the problems yourself or if a professional service might be required. Either way, it’s time for a successful strategy. Latent load times could be the cause of latent or no sales, right?

When you run these programs, you will be able to see if the issues are page-specific or if they pertain to the entire site. That will also help you see whether the issues are simple fixes or if a professional might be needed. If you start at the top, you will get the best overview from Google. Google has more helpful tools and articles than most webmasters and coders realize and the answers are often a quick page away.

Google’s Best Practices for Web Performance

Reading and reviewing this page will get you started so that you will have a more complete understanding of how it all works and what it takes to create and maintain a site that will provide optimal performance each and every time. There are helpful links that are categorized into six groups: caching, round-trip times, request overload, payload size, browser rendering and mobile optimization. Each link will take you to tools that were designed to elevate the performance within those areas.

Google Analytics

Most people don’t think of Google Analytics as the place to go for much more than reviewing traffic and usage statistics. Not so, as Google’s trackTiming method can substantially help in speeding up the page load of a website on a PC or mobile device. The trackTiming method will track a period of time, send the information to Analytics and then provide reports that will show exactly what is stalling the load and how to fix it. Some of the methods may be advanced and may required a professional, however, so don’t let it intimidate you. It’s worth reviewing.

Pingdom.com

The Pingdom Website Speed Test is a very simple tool. The home page will provide an easy testing field and within less than a minute, you’ll have your site’s performance grade, load time, page size and more. It also specifies any server or client errors and other useful analytical information.

It’s a great site for a quick overview, but doesn’t give specific information on how to correct the issues.

 

Feedthebot.com

Feedthebot will provide a summary within seconds that checks your website against Google guidelines, as well as provide explanations that may help guide you on how to correct the flaws. It also provides page speed and other tools that will help iron out the bugs and reduce load times.

The explanations are excellent so if you are new to some of the jargon, it will bring you up-to-speed, but still falls short in the “how to fix” area.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that analyzes the content of a web page and generates ideas that allows you to see the choices that will increase the performance of your website. When you run this plugin on your pages, you will obtain respective scores for each web page along with recommendations for improving its performance.

Page Speed easily integrates with Firebug that comes as a standard in all Firefox SEO setups. The speed-enhancing recommendations are often supported by practical examples. For instance, if it suggests minimizing your CSS, it will also provide a useable example of your site’s CSS file in its smallest form.

 

Fiddler is a Microsoft tool that debugs any browser

Fiddler is a tool that monitors traffic from different browsers, such as Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. This ensures that all the requests and responses are efficiently transferred between clients and servers through the addition of precise headers, cookies and cache directives. It is an effective tool for testing a website, enabling you to check and flag performance issues, security and add custom software as needed.

 

JPEGMini

Images have a major impact on the loading speed of your website. Using an image compressing application can help save more bandwidth and enhance the performance of your site. JPEGMini helps in reducing the file size of your images by as much as five times, without affecting their quality or image clarity. That is a big difference to your users. The application allows you to drag folders containing images to the app and it optimizes each photo. The server package helps reduce bandwidth and storage costs by minimizing load time for image-intensive pages.

This software is excellent for sites that are image-intensive, ecommerce sites and photo repositories. It will give the choice of buying the software or paying a monthly service fee for larger users. There are actually three packages from which to choose, and start at $19.99 for the basic version.

 

Page Load Tips for Improving Your Website Speed

  • Eliminate Unwanted Plugins

There are thousands of plugins today that are available for free, making it tempting for site owners and webmasters to add as many as they desire. However, it is important to understand that every plugin added to your site will require a significant amount of resources, which means your site will gradually become slower. Add only necessary plugins and if possible check whether the plugin content can be coded into the theme of your site, saving even more load time.

  • Browser Caching

Enable browser caching for your site so that every visitor’s browser will store copies of your website’s pages. When a visitor returns, the content will get loaded from the cache instead of reloading the pages. Because this will reduce the usage of resources, it will reduce the loading time involved.

You can enable browser caching by using a plugin such as WordPress W3 Total Cache. Additionally, your web developer can also work on integrating browser caching into your site’s scripting.

  • Minimize DNS Lookups

DNS lookups consume a significant amount of time for looking up a hostname’s IP address, and the browser will not do anything until this process is completed. Reduce the unique hostnames to help improve your response times. Spriting your images is an effective strategy where you can put all the images referenced from a CSS file into a one large image. The browser will require less server connections, which can help to increase the parallelism.

  • Optimizing Images

Many images on your site may have unwanted comments. Some may even use unnecessary colors. When you reduce your website’s image sizes, it can help reduce the loading time, especially for users who have slower Internet connections. If possible, save all your images in JPEG. Plugins such as WP Smush.it for WordPress sites and Yahoo! Smush.it can help in optimizing your images. You may be able to save several KBs or even MBs on individual pages by optimizing all the images.

 

Advanced Tips for Improving Your Website Speed

We thought we’d include a few advanced tips for increasing page speed, so if you’re up to it give them a try. Although there are others, these methods can give immediate and positive results.

  • Testing by Traceroute

One way to test your network is to run a traceroute from your computer to the server. What it will show is the connection time it takes to go through various hops between the network and your server, which will tell you exactly where the load is hanging up. A simple, yet advanced, method.

  • Try a Proxy Server

You could also use a proxy server that will load your website through a third-party computer which will give you an indication of where time is being wasted . A couple options for proxies:

  • freeproxyserver.net
  • proxify.com
  • hidemyass.com

 

  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Using a content delivery network (CDN) will help provide more consistent results to your users as it will store and retrieve data from your website without your site taking the load. In case you’re not familiar, a CDN uses a group of web servers versus the consistent use of the one that is closest to your network.

When using a group, it selects the server that is the fastest or closest to respond to the user’s request, so it doesn’t rely on just one. CDNs, such as Amazon’s S3 service provides the same infrastructure to CDN clients as they use themselves, so the results will be additional reliability and speed. This is the best solution for sites that have thousands of visitors, lots of media and information. It will also be more scalable, should you have a surge of an extra few thousand users overnight.

 

  • Use CSS Sprites

Cascading style sheets (CSS), as you know, are where all the design and formatting commands can be found. Each site, most likely, contains upward of a thousand lines of code. Every single space, comma and bold-faced type is all there. So every time something is changed, the old coding stays right there. Easier for the coder, because they don’t want to have to deal with all of the extraneous bits of information, but not so great for the site’s performance. The goal will be to reduce and eliminate these extra bits of unnecessary information and you’ll be able to expect a 20-30 percent increase on average. This equates to faster load times, particularly for larger files.

 

  • Minimize Redirects

Redirects add time. Period. They set off an extra request, which slows down the process. So a few tips from Google on redirects are worth keeping in mind:

  • Never reference URLs in pages that are known to redirect to other URLS.
  • Never require more than one redirect to get to a resource.
  • Minimize the number of extra domains that issue redirects to no content.
  • Mapping from one URL to another, when the server supports “rewrites”, is recommended.

 

In Summary:

The importance of correcting slow loading problems can’t be stressed enough as you can see by the amazing statistics that clearly show the speed at which online users begin to get impatient and frustrated enough to change direction. Although it’s not always easy making the time to run through all of these diagnostic tests and tools, hopefully, you now see that it is an essential element to a website’s success.

If you have an ecommerce site and you are spending time and energy creating traffic, don’t let the load latency be the hang-up that stalls the business. It’s like having a sale and never opening the doors to the throngs of customers who are waiting outside. Never a good business strategy.

 

Follow these steps in this order to achieve a faster page response time.

  1. Read and run Google’s Web Performance Best Practices links.
  2. Run through the various online speed tests and print out the reports so you will have a benchmark.
  3. Take care of optimizing photos, reducing amount of plugins, browser caching, DNS lookup.
  4. Rerun the various online speed tests to see what areas of improvement remain.
  5. Determine whether you can handle correcting and adjusting the final speed latency issues.
  6. Correct and rerun the tests or hire a tech company that already offers a service of this nature.
  7. Rerun the tests afterwards and ensure your site is loading at its maximum speed and one that will invite, not deter, users.

To our readers: Stay tuned for future articles that will give you insights as to how to optimize your sites for mobile devices, as they are the future of computing. There is so much information to share, we will devote a series of articles on mobile device website’s best practices and troubleshooting for best performance.

In the meantime, if you have or find any additional tips and tricks on how to reduce load times and increase page speed, we really want to hear from you. Collaboration is the fastest and best way to successfully progress and we all want the same thing: Happy users!

“Not Provided” – Dealing with Google Search Organic Keyword not provided

 

Late last year MOZ set out to discover the top tools, tactics, and trends of the online marketing world. With the help of their partners, over 3700 participated in this year’s Industry Survey.
The infographic below presents the results of how do marketers deal with (not provided) Google Analytics keyword search data.

The loss of Google keyword data hit hard in 2013, and so MOZ asked people how they’re coping, strategically speaking. It’s interesting to note that, on average, respondents selected three different solutions. It’s going to take a diversity of solutions to solve “unprovided” problem. Respondents who track >100 keywords were more likely to rely on rankings and less likely to rely on social signals than those who track <100 keywords.

 

 

Here are the main strategies to incorporate with “not provided” results in a nutshell;

  1. 68.8% Focus on Conversion rate and performance metrics
  2. 66.2% Focus on Landing-Page traffic
  3. 57.9% Rely more on Google Webmaster tools data
  4. 40.5% Try to estimate traffic based on other data
  5. 36.7% Focus on social signals (Tweets, Likes, +1s, etc.)

 

The major participants to this data were;

  • Search Engine Land
  • Buffer
  • AimClear
  • SEOverflow
  • CopyBlogger
  • Econsultancy
  • Content Marketing Institute
  • TopRank Marketing
  • MarketingProfs
  • HootSuite
  • Entrepenuer.com
  • Distilled
  • Hubspot

How to create a business channel on youtube

 

You need to create a separate Youtube Channel for your business in order to properly market your business online both through Youtube and Google+. Here is a quick guide how to setup your Youtube channel not under your personal account but as a business.

Make sure you’re signed in to YouTube.

  1. Go to All my channels.
  2. If you want to make a YouTube channel for a Google+ page that you manage, you can choose it here. Otherwise, click Create a new channel.
  3. Fill out the details to create your new channel.

 

Read more here on Google

Google’s new keyword tool, the Keyword Planner

 

Keyword Tool is now Keyword Planner integrated into Adwords. Google has combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator features to make it easier to plan your next keyword research project with their new Keyword Planner tool integrated into the Adwords account.

Keyword Tool will no longer be available and instead you need to log in into your Adwords account to access Keyword Planner. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get

 

performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns.

Keyword Planner tool combines the functionality of the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator into a smooth, integrated workflow. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns.

Here are the four major options available when using Keyword Planner;

  • Search for new keyword and ad group ideas
  • Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups
  • get traffic estimates for a list of keywords
  • multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas

 

Here are a few helpful links to get to know Keyword Planner tool better;

 

  1. Building a Display campaign? Try Display Planner
  2. How to use Keyword Planner
  3. Learn how Keyword Planner is different from Keyword Tool