Archive for the ‘Basic SEO’ Category

User Engagement Metrics & SEO

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User Engagement Metrics & SEO

Website analytics, or user metrics, tell us how our site is doing when it comes to interacting with potential customers. Analytics are basically statistics that tell us where viewers were just before they got to the website (referral URLs), which page they landed on, which other pages they visited, whether they’ve visited the site previously, how long they stayed on page, and which page was the last they visited before leaving the site. All visitor metrics are aggregated, providing the statistics that give us the big picture.

Lots of sites incorporate Google Analytics (soon to be GA4) and this gives Google access to the same data available to a site administrator. While we can only see one site’s stats at a time, Google can see all of the stats from all of the websites that use its analytics software.

We can help you dominate your competition in search engines.

The term user engagement means interacting with a business, and can refer to communication, purchasing, or in this case, visits and interaction on a business’s website.

Google is updating its algorithm all the time, and being in the SEO industry, we need to keep up with it. Google has become quite interested in website engagement as a consideration in search results ranking. In the hierarchy of factors, engagement is at the top of the pyramid, so it’s only important after all other search engine optimization factors have been put in place.

Considering engagement makes sense. Google wants to provide search users with the most useful information it can. If others have found your site useful, then the next person doing a similar search is likely to find it useful too.

So what stats are we talking about relating to engagement? Time spent on the site is a big one. If a visitor spends five or six minutes on your site, that’s considered fairly high engagement. If they land on the home page and go back to the search page within seconds, that’s considered really poor engagement. If though, they are searching for an explanation of something, and are directed to a particular page on your site, and then only spend, let’s say, two minutes there, but don’t go back to the search page, that’s considered a quality engagement, since the interpretation is that you found the answer you were looking for. Let’s look at some of the stats you’ll find in Google Analytics.

Terminology

Time on Page

Another important factor is the amount of time visitors spend on your pages. You can track the average length of time a visitor spends on a particular webpage and you can also see the average time visitors spend on your whole site. 

Number of Pages Visited

This is the number of pages within your site that visitors look at during a visit. If people are spending time on multiple pages of your site, that’s a strong signal to Google that your website is a wealth of information for your visitors to explore. What fosters this is creating detailed articles/pages that link to other inner pages. The reason for separating out these pages is because you’re trying to create silos of information, where one article provides an overview, and is linked to several other articles that go into depth about the individual aspects.

Dwell Time

When you do a search on Google, you get a list of results. You click on one, go to the site, either find what you’re looking for, or go back to the list of results. Dwell time is the length of time a person spends on a webpage coming from the results list, before either going back to the list or closing the search page.

Google looks at how long the visitor spent on the specific page they’ve been sent to, what other pages on the same site they’ve visited, if they went back to the SERPs (search engine results pages) or if they closed the search. This is information that Google takes into account because it’s a good indication of whether or not the visitor’s goal was met. The actual dwell time Google expects from a page depends on the search intent. If it’s for information like the weather, for example, it’s much shorter than if the visitor is looking to make a purchase. 

Engagement metrics alone are not enough to have a direct effect on your rankings. Still, these numbers are good to keep in mind because they’re an indication of how well your viewers are engaging with your pages and website. 

With trillions of pages on the web, Google needs to keep finding new ways to sort it all out, and engagement is going to become one of those finer points. But, it may also have the ability to trump other factors because a site that is ranking lower for other reasons could also be pushed back up if engagement is high.

Increasing Engagement SEO

High Quality SEO

High quality SEO has become a basic necessity. Engagement optimization can be considered as part of on-page SEO but the tactics used to focus on engagement will differ depending on the type and purpose of the site.

Off-page SEO is important as well, since these links direct users to your site, and Google tracks the volume of these referrals.

Website Speed Optimization and Mobile Responsiveness

If your website is too slow, your visitors will leave. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you’ll lose at least half of your potential customers. purchase. Check out this Unbounce study.

The key here is the improved user experience. If the site takes longer than three seconds to load about 40% of visitors abandon the site. So this combined with the fact that speed affects conversion is all the more reason to make sure your website loads quickly.

Remove Errors

It’s really annoying for viewers to click a button and land on a 404 page. Having broken links on your site is a big no-no in Google’s eyes. What’s more, is that if the page was ranking, then people clicking from Google will find a 404 page and go back to the SERPs immediately, making your website look far less useful in the eyes of Google.

Create Engaging Content That’s Actually Useful

Thorough keyword research will tell you what kind of information people are looking for. Then you need to create detailed and useful content that provides that information, based on your target audience.

Summary

There’s a threshold for Google to recognize your website as trusted and authoritative enough to serve its users. High-quality SEO does that. Engagement SEO is one of the additional factors that will need to be taken care of eventually.

At no point will Google shrug their shoulders and say “actually, we don’t really think it matters if our visitors spend time on a website and if they’re engaged or not.” Ultimately, their goal is to provide the best results, and engagement metrics are part of that.

Keyword Research

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keyword research

Importance of Keyword Research

If you’re new to blog posts or digital marketing, you’re probably wondering, “What is the importance of keyword research for SEO?”

You can discover what people want to read and focus your content on those topics by recognizing famous words and phrases that people are actively looking for on search engines like Google.

You must also be knowledgeable to conduct effective keyword research.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is researching popular search terms that people type into search engines like Google and tactfully incorporating them into your SEO so that your website shows up higher on a search engine results page (SERP).

keyword research with an SEO keyword research tool is used to evaluate:

  • Keyword search volumes
  • Based on the competitive landscape, determine how difficult it is to rank for a specific keyword.
  • Cost of bidding. For brands to effectively budget for P.P.C. or search engine marketing campaigns, keyword research tools should provide ranges or average cost-per-click.

Why is keyword research important for SEO?

The only way to find out what people are typing into search engines  is to conduct keyword research. These Keyword research terms are associated with the products and services offered on your website. In reality, learning how to conduct keyword research is an essential SEO task that every blogger and digital marketer needs.

You can discover what people want to read and focus your content on those topics by identifying popular words or phrases that people are actively looking for on search engines like Google. Not all keywords are worth optimizing for, so focus on the important keywords that are simple to rank for on your site. Take time to know your customer and the questions.

Find ways to answer those questions in your content using keywords and phrases is a big part of keyword research. When it comes to redesigning your website, keyword research can help you edit your existing site architecture and improve the copywriting for your new site.

If you are updating your content for SEO purposes, keyword research will guide the enhancement for what other terms to Essential concepts of keyword research.

Proper keyword research is essential because it allows you to determine which search terms your target audience uses. Businesses frequently describe their products using one set of words, while their intended audience uses a different set of search words.

Focus keyword or keyphrase

The focus keyword, also known as the key phrase, is the search term you want a page to rank the highest. People should find you if they search for that phrase. It provides advice on improving the content to enhance the likelihood of ranking higher.

Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer, more relevant keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when nearing a point of purchase. The search volume for most long-tail keywords is lower than short or “head” keywords. They seem strange at first, but they can be extremely useful if you know how and when to use them.

keyword strategy
Using relevant keywords is always the first step in increasing traffic to your website or blog. A solid keyword strategy is essential for SEO because it improves site visibility and traffic. One of the most valuable aspects of enhancing SEO is developing a strong keyword strategy.

Search intent
The goal of a user’s search is defined as search intent. It is also known as the audience, user, or keyword intent. Google instantly interprets search intent and displays results that correspond to it.

Understanding search intention can assist you in developing compelling content that specifically targets potential customers.

Essential concepts

The following are the essential concepts of Keyword research.

#2
Indexing for Mobile Devices
Mobile-First Indexing indicates that your ranking signals will now come from the mobile version of your site rather than the desktop version. Mobile devices account for approximately 55% of all web traffic, which is only expected to rise.
#3
Automation and Machine Learning
Semantic search is closely related to machine learning. It's a method for search engines to make accurate predictions about what uncertain queries mean.RankBrain and other machine learning algorithms analyze user behaviour/engagement to provide the most relevant search results.
#4
E.A.T.
While E-A-T is not an algorithm, it indirectly affects rankings when best practices for ensuring your web page has the tone of EAT (Expert, Authority and Trust). It includes expertise and knowledge demonstrated by subject matter content.

Finding keyword ideas

I'll walk you through a keyword research process that will help you identify a list of terms to target.

Step 1:List Relevant topics
Based on what you know about your company, list relevant topics. Consider the generic buckets for the topics you want to rank.

Step 2: Insert keywords into the topic buckets
Now that you’ve identified a few topic buckets on which to concentrate your efforts, it’s best to recognize some keywords that fall into those buckets. These are keyword phrases you believe are important to rank for in the SERPs (search engine results pages) because your target customer is most likely searching for those terms.

Step 3: Recognize How Intent Affects Keyword Research and Analysis
It is more important that your website addresses the problem that the searcher was looking to solve. It’s easy to take keywords at face value, but they can have a variety of meanings beneath the surface. You must exercise extreme caution when interpreting the keywords you intend to target.

Step 4: Look up related search terms
You may have already considered this inventive step when conducting keyword research. It’s a great way to get those lists completed. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you’ll see some search suggestions.

Step 5: Take advantage of keyword research tools
Based on your ideas thus far, keyword research and SEO tools can help you generate more keyword ideas relying on exact match keywords and phrase match keywords. Some of the most well-known are:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Ubersuggest
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner
  • SECockpit
  • Keywords abound.
  • Moz
  • KeywordTool.io
  • KWFinder

Final Thoughts

As you've discovered, the basic idea behind keyword research is to figure out what readers want to read about and then focus your content on that. Certain keywords are more relevant to target depending on where a person is in the buyer's journey.

You now understand the significance of keyword research in digital marketing and how it can help you improve your SEO efforts. Hopefully, you now have answers to your keyword questions and new ideas to help you standardize your keyword research process.

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3 most important metrics to look at to know if SEO is working for you

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3 most important metrics to look at to know if SEO is working for you

Search Intent

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Search Intent

What is search intent?

Marketing agencies like to throw around the word ‘search intent’ these days – but what does that mean, exactly? To put it simply, it’s the reason why a person is making a search.

Are they looking for directions to the nearest grocery store? Perhaps they were too lazy to type out the full Facebook URL. Or maybe, they just want to buy an air fryer – RIGHT. NOW.

Why is search intent important for SEO ?

Search engines revenue models rely heavily on users continuing to return to their platform, so it’s important for them to serve results that are relevant to their user’s needs. Search engines have many goals but the more accurately a search engine can predict search intent, the better they can deliver on-topic results. 

Meeting search intent is one of Google’s primary goals, which in turn makes it a primary goal for anyone performing search engine optimization. When users search for a specific term and find information that isn’t relevant, it alerts Google that the search intent is likely misaligned.

Closely meeting search intent has a multitude of benefits for your website, such as:

  • your page is likely to rank higher in search results
  • you have better chances to be placed in Google’s Featured Snippets
  • your clickthrough rate will be better
  • it may decrease your bounce rate
  • meeting search intent helps build your website’s authority. Visitors are likely to remember your website’s high-quality content and return the next time they have a similar question.

Most major search engines rely on machine learning algorithms to determine what content best fits each search query. When users visit a site and quickly leave for the next site in the results (often referred to as “pogo sticking”), it signals to the search engine one of three things. Either:

  • the content on the website may be poor
  • the user’s experience may have been poor, or
  • the content didn’t fit the user’s search intent

When this occurs, it tells the search engine’s algorithms that the webpage wasn’t a match and reduces the likelihood that your page will appear in the top results for a similar search in the future.

As a website owner or digital marketing expert, the more accurately we can predict search intent, the better we can optimize our website’s keywords and content to be the most relevant to the user’s needs; in theory, this would result in our pages ranking higher in search results and (hopefully) increasing conversions!

Fully understanding the user’s search intent can help reach a wider audience in various stages of the sales funnel; from those who haven’t yet discovered your brand, to those ready to convert immediately, you can greatly improve your odds of reaching them by focusing your efforts on matching their intent.

Four types of search intent
#1
Informational
#2
Navigational
#3
Commercial
#3
Transactional

When someone uses a search engine, their search will typically fall into one of four primary categories of intent; informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional. Sometimes, however, their search will fall into more than one category, as each individual search is different.

So what does this mean for your SEO service or strategy? By dissecting each category of search intent, you will better understand the goals of your website’s visitors, allowing you to tailor the content specifically to their needs and interests.

Informational

One of the most common types of search intent, searches with informational intent come from users looking for, well, information – this could be in the form of a recipe, an overview of next week’s weather, or even the dictionary definition of a word.

People with informational intent usually have a specific question or are looking to learn more about a specific topic. For example:

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Weather Portland Oregon
  • Bill Gates
  • How to fix a flat tire

Navigational

When someone performs a navigational search, they are trying to get to a specific website. For instance, it’s likely that someone searching Google for “facebook” is trying to go to facebook.com; it was just more convenient for them to type it into Google than the URL bar.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure your website appears in the top results when someone searches for the name of your business. In some cases, users may also search for specific pages on your website, such as the login or support page.

Some examples of navigational searches would be:

  • Twitter
  • eBay login
  • Codecademy
  • Gmail support

Commercial

When someone is interested in making a purchase, they will often turn to search engines to perform a commercial investigation – this is when they will search for reviews, comparisons, and more detailed information regarding a product or service.

In this stage, they are beyond the informational stage and have committed to making a purchase. They have transactional intent but are still in the research phase, determining which product or service best fits their needs.

Some examples of commercial searches would be:

  • Best VPN service
  • MacBook Pro vs Razer Blade
  • Best chiropractor in Ottawa Canada
  • Mailchimp vs ConvertKit

Transactional

Those making transactional searches have the immediate intention of making a purchase – armed with their credit card in hand, they are ready to punch in numbers and part with their hard-earned cash.

Typically, searches in this phase of intent will be branded; consumers have already conducted their commercial investigation and have determined which specific product they want to buy. Now, they’re looking for the best place to purchase that product.

Some examples of transactional searches would be:

  • Cheap air fryer
  • Converse shoes sale
  • Men’s Patagonia jacket large
  • 2005 Honda Accord for sale Austin Texas

How to determine and optimize for search intent

Now that you’ve done your research and determined which keywords to target with which pages, it’s time to optimize your website.We’re specifically talking about your on-page SEO. Most experts recommend starting with your page’s metadata; this includes updating your page’s title tags and headings to incorporate your desired keyword targeting.

To improve your click-through rate, you can upgrade your title tag with some witty copy – just don’t over-do it and fall into the realm of clickbaiting.

Another great idea is to analyze your competition’s web pages; what are they doing successfully that you could implement on your own site? Take a look at some of the top-performing sites in your niche and examine their website’s formatting, tone, and topics, or look for anything that they might be missing.

Final thoughts

Overall, understanding your user’s search intent is one of the most important factors in your search engine optimization strategy. Hopefully, this guide gave you a bit more insight and overview of SEO and what search intent is, and how you can utilize it to create the most relevant content for your audience.

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Four Google Updates that Impacted Ranking

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Four Google Updates that Impacted Ranking

Google has updated its processes for ranking search results many, many times. Some of these updates have resulted in major changes to the ranking of results. In this article, we look at four of those process updates.

Panda

The Panda algorithm update focused on the quality of a website overall, rather than just the repetition of a keyword. “Keyword stuffing” had become a way to increase ranking and Google saw the problem with this. 

The new algorithm paid more attention to the structure of the website, as well as things like grammar. Nonsense content that used a keyword over and over again, began ranking lower, while meaningful content now ranked higher.

The Panda update was incorporated into Google’s core algorithm, which means that it still applies today. If you optimize your site for your users, provide meaningful and helpful information, with high-quality writing, Google will reward you in their ranking.

Penguin

The Penguin algorithm update was introduced to solve another problem that was interfering with Google’s objectives. Prior to Penguin, the number of backlinks pointing to a website was a significant consideration in ranking. The problem was that the links could be coming from anywhere, and the algorithm was being gamed by link schemes.

So, the Penguin update started assessing incoming links, the relevancy of the links, and the sites they were coming from. If these didn’t make sense, or the originating site was poor quality (per Panda), the site was downgraded, despite the overall number of incoming links.

There are a few things to note about Penguin, which has also been incorporated into Google’s core algorithm. 

The originating sites for backlinks need to be assessed individually. 

You can’t assume that a major news site, social platform, or big brand site will pass the Penguin test. When you go about getting backlinks there are a ton of different links you can get. Some are really easy and some are really hard. It is way better to get one link that has high-relevance and high-quality rather than 1,000 low-quality links that have no relevance to your site.

The anchor text on the originating sites is also important.

Anchor text is the word or words that contain the link going to your site. Penguin looks at all of the anchor text on all of the sites linking to your site, and the content on the site and page where they are linking to. What the algorithm actually looks at is the ratio of incoming links and the anchor text used. If the originating site has too many outbound links, or your site has too many incoming links, Penguin will send your site way down in search results.

Google’s bots are so good that they actually look at the on-page SEO of the backlinks that are linking to your site, as well as the on-page SEO of the backlinks linking to the website that’s linking to your site!

One of the keys to ranking higher is the strategy for getting a cloud of relevant and high-quality sites linking back to your site.

Hummingbird

The Hummingbird algorithm update was part of the effort to understand a searcher’s intent. The direct matching of keywords became less important, as Google tried to streamline the user’s efforts. As one example, the results included a particular page of a website, not just the homepage. Prior to Hummingbird, if you searched for “TD investments login,” the top results would be pages matching those words, most likely the TD bank home page. After Hummingbird, the top results are the actual login page for TD investment account holders.

RankBrain

Technically speaking, RankBrain isn’t so much an algorithm as it is an artificial intelligence machine learning system. To make results even more relevant to searchers, Google introduced RankBrain to learn about relationships between search terms and the other information it has access to, in order to better understand the searcher’s intent.

RankBrain made simple keywords less important in ranking, as it looked more at a whole topic, content related to that topic, and content related to the searcher. It understands that one searcher might enter four words in a different order than another searcher, but both are looking for the same thing. It also understands that some phrases are different than their individual words, and go together as one thing, not two. For example, a search for “Chinese Food Toronto,” means the same as “Toronto Chinese Food.” It also knows that Chinese and food go together, and that “restaurant” is implied. It ALSO knows what part of Toronto you are in, based on your IP address, and will show you the Chinese restaurants in your area.

RankBrain creates clusters of similar information and then finds the relationships between the clusters. It continues to learn from every search, every new page published, and from user behaviour and engagement.

With this learning, Google has an even better understanding of the quality and relevance of a web page or web site. It’s looking for indicators of actual knowledge, like a comprehensive narrative on a particular topic, that uses different words to describe the same thing (rather than repeating a single keyword over and over again). 

Summary

Google’s search engine ranking formula is complex! As an SEO Agency, we have to keep up Google’s algorithm because it has been updated many times, and now includes machine learning. The way Google now assesses your website is much more like the way a human would, so plain language, logical structure, answers numerous questions about a topic, and allows the user to do what they intend to do.

Creating a website with your target audience in mind, is exactly what Google wants you to do.

Off-page SEO – Building backlinks

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Off-page SEO

Off-page Search Engine Optimization refers to everything you do outside of your website to rank your website higher on Google.

What is off-page SEO?

The core basics of off-page SEO is the backlinks you create for your website. There are many different types of backlinks you can get and a lot of different types of relevant and quality links you can get too. The main factors Google looks at when they’re trying to evaluate how good the link is that’s pointing to your site is the relevance, trust and authority. That’s why sometimes a thousand links are not better than 1 link.

Why does Off-page SEO matter?

A good analogy we use is the car analogy. With off-page SEO that’s the engine that takes you from point a to point b. For SEO it’s the power that gets you from page 10 to page 1. So even though On-page SEO is crucial because it’s the “steering” you still need an engine that provides power.  

Backlinks are important because Google looks at them to see which websites are the most important.

Now, another analogy for how computers work is if we’re back in high school and Google’s this judgemental kid ranking everyone based on popularity. Then if you have a new kid come to that school (a new website) Google’s going to think that that new kid is a 0 on the popularity scale. But if that new kid starts talking to all the cool kids and those cool kids start talking to him and about him then Google re-evaluates the kid and thinks “Hm… He’s actually more popular than I thought. I’ll raise him in my rankings.“ The opposite effect would happen if the new kid started talking to all the smokers/gangsters/druggies of the school. Google would lower his ranking.

So this analogy is the same with websites and backlinks. The higher the quality and the more relevance the websites have with each other the more weight Google will give to that link. 

Google will rank you higher, the higher your “authority” score is. 

If you don’t have a link-building strategy, you are unlikely to get any success in ranking your website for valuable keywords.

It is one of the top three ranking factors

Backlink Checker

Before you go about building backlinks you may want to look at the types of backlinks you have already.

The reason why checking your backlinks before creating a whole strategy for building backlinks is that your current backlink profile can change the approach you want to take. 

Your backlink profile is just an overview of the backlinks pointing to your website. 

Using the proper tools, you’ll be able to see how many links you have, where those links are coming from, the strength of those links and other factors.

There are some tools out there that will let you see how many links you have, where they’re coming from, the authority of the links as well as the relevance and many other factors.

Building Backlinks

This is the backbone of your Off-page SEO. I would argue it’s the backbone of your overall SEO strategy as well. 

The key thing to understand is that you’re trying to do 2 things

In no particular order, you want to increase the authority of your website and increase the relevance of your website to its industry.

The #1 thing is to get links that have high quality and are highly relevant to your business/website. It’s also important to know the link gap between your website and your competitors. 

Authority

https://www.semrush.com/kb/747-authority-score-backlink-scores

What is an authority score? 

Depending on the tool you use, The score is based on the following:

  • Quantity and quality of the backlinks pointing to that site. 
  • Ratio and number of referring domains vs the referring IPs
  • Follow vs nofollow backlinks
  • How well that website shows up on Google
  • How much traffic they get

Topical Relevance

This is a factor based on if those sites are topically aligned with yours. For example, If you run a plumbing company, you should aim to get most of your links from home improvement sites, renovation sites, other plumbing sites, industry-related board sites etc. 

Google knows that sites typically link out to other sites that cover the same topic. Aim to have most of your links come from sites that are topically close. ( you can use a tool like Majestic for topical trustflow)

Types of Backlinks

Guest Posting
A guest post is an article/blog that’s written and posted on another person’s website or blog. These guest posts are very effective in building relevance to Google which results in higher Rankings. They can also be valuable for reputation marketing.

Outreach
This is a tactic for building backlinks. As the name suggests, it’s reaching out to webmasters and people who own websites to see if you can get a link pointing back to your site. There are different ways of convincing people to add your site as a resource or pointing out a couple of broken links and using your article instead. 

PBN
This is short for Private Blog Network. It is more of a black hat technique and it’s essentially a network of authoritative sites you own that you use to build links to a site you want to rank higher. PBNs are against Google’s guidelines and although they work you should be very cautious because if done incorrectly it can penalize your site.

Broken Link Building
It’s the practice of finding broken links on websites and reaching out to the webmasters to let them know. A broken link is when there used to be a link from one website to another but now the content is non-existant. So if you have an article or resource that is useful you can suggest to the webmaster to link back to your content. Here are steps you can take to start doing some broken link building.

edu backlinks
An edu backlink is harder to get because it refers to getting a link from a website with the extension “edu”. These sites are the official sites for schools and other academic institutions. For this reason, they are very valuable to get. They pack a very powerful punch and will pass along a lot of domain and page authority.

web 2.0 links
Web 2.0 are websites that let you build social microsites usually for the intention of blogging. Some example sites are weebly, Tumblr, Reddit, Alexa, Slideshare, Medium, Quora etc. These are very simple links to obtain and because of this, they aren’t very valuable to attain. 

Social Media Link Building
These are also some of the easiest to build. If you’re posting your link on a wall or sending a direct message it won’t help at all with rankings. But if you’re setting up a Facebook page, for example, That actually does help Google identify you as a legitimate business. Most legitimate businesses will set up a business profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. There are 300+ social media profiles you can build; Having a hyperlink back to your site definitely helps. It counts as a social signal and creates a cloud of trust around your website.

Directories
These sites are often just websites that list business websites in different industries and categories. These sites are sort of like yellow pages. Some directories are more spammy than others and although having your business website listed there won’t hurt, it probably won’t help either. The main thing you want to make sure you have correct is the URL of your website, the business name, address and phone number. 

Citations 
Citations commonly overlap with directories. The main thing with a citation is that it contains these three points of information on top of your website. It’s important to make sure that this information is exactly the same for all your citations,

  1. Business name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number

SEO press releases
A press release is very common for some industries and it’s usually an official announcement or statement about a newsworthy event. Companies often use a press release when they’re launching a new product or they made a significant hire in the company. 

Spammy links
These are just low-quality backlinks. There are plenty of places you can get 1000s of backlinks from. These are often from websites outside your country and the website has nothing to do with your industry or niche. They also have very low Authority scores. 

Blog comments
This is useful if used very specifically. But it is another type of link that is typically very low quality and spam. It’s useful if you find a relevant and useful blog that’s about your business and you get a link back to your website by leaving a thought-out comment. The incorrect way to do it is to spam 1000s of websites across the world in order to get links to your website. 

Forum links
This is similar to blog comments. It depends on the quality of the forum. You can tell just by looking if people are spamming with messages that don’t make sense just to get a backlink to their website. 

Profile links
There are 300+ social networking and media sites. Many companies brand themselves by trying to build their own business profiles on as many of these social sites as possible. These are great for branding your business and solidifying Googles’ trust in your website.

No-follow links vs Do-follow links

A no-follow link is denoted by the following HTML tag: rel=”nofollow”. This theoretically stops power and authority from flowing to a website. 

A do-follow link is just a normal link without the “nofollow” tag. Theoretically, this link does pass on link juice and will help the website receiving the link to have a higher authority.

There is however disagreement between SEOs if there is any significant differences between the two. 

Conclusion

There are many types of links you can build for your site. 

The two most important factors is:

  1. The quality of the website
  2. The relevance of the website to yours

It’s better to have one really high quality backlink to your website than to have 1000s of low-quality, spammy links. 

This is a crucial piece for your campaign. If you’re looking for an SEO company to take you to the next level by ranking your website on Google, reach out to us today.

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On-page SEO

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On-page SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of facilitating a high ranking in search results when your target market is looking for what your business offers. Search engines like Google assess hundreds of factors and use conditional mathematical equations and artificial intelligence to provide searchers with the most helpful results.

SEO helps Google understand and rank the value of your website in terms of usefulness to the searcher, primarily based on the search query that they’ve entered in the search box.

There are two parts to the optimization process, often referred to as on-page and off-page. On-page SEO optimizes the structure and content of each page of your website, as well as all of them combined. Below, we look at eight of the key aspects of on-page SEO.

URL/Permalink

Your website address or “universal resource locator,” known as a URL, is based on your domain name. Ours is iias.ca. It’s also called a permalink because it stays the same and is part of all pages on our site. For example, the address of our SEO services page is iias.ca/search-engine-optimization/.

 The URL is the first thing that Google assesses. Since the domain itself is often not helpful, the URLs of the individual pages is the focus of this part of on-page SEO.

For example, John Smith is a plumber in Langley. His domain is smithandsons.com, which he’s been using for more than decade, but it doesn’t tell Google anything about the business. So, rather than having the “Services” page at the URL smithandsons.com/services, we make it smithandsons.com/langley-plumber.

 This is the first step in helping Google understand what your website is about. Put the keywords right after the end of the domain. Using smithandsons.com/langley-plumber is better than smithandsons.com/locations/serving/Langley-plumbing.

Meta Title and Description

For each page of your website, you have the opportunity to add a “meta title” and a description. This is the information that Google shows on their Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The easiest way to put this on your website is to use a plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO.

A few tips:

  • Have the main keyword near the beginning of the title and description tags.
  • Keep the meta title less than 60 characters.
  • Keep the description less than 160 characters.
  • Give each page a unique title and description.
  • Remember that you’re writing for Google AND for your target market, so you’re basically writing an ad to get your potential clients’ attention.

Content

It is important to make sure that you have quality content on your website. Keyword density was once very important to Google, but it has long since shifted to a more holistic approach. In fact, if you use a keyword repeatedly, your ranking will drop. (Learn more about the Panda Algorithm

 Google’s goal is to provide the most useful web pages to a searcher. Useful means helpful, comprehensive, plain language, informative, and meaningful. (Learn more about the Hummingbird Algorithm.)

Within the content there are places that are more important than others. For example, the headings you use (H1 and H2 tags) tell Google that the content below is more detailed information on that topic.

 As part of Google’s analysis of your site, it is pulling out topics and concepts, relating these to other parts of your website, to other websites, and to what it knows about the searcher (like their location). It’s also tracking how long people stay on your site, how many pages they look at, and other measures of engagement.

 The more useful your site is to viewers, the higher its value will be in Google’s eyes. Some tips:

  • Use caution hiring someone to write for your website. If it’s not unique and written specifically for you, Google will know and downgrade your site.
  • Use natural language that doesn’t repeat your keyword too frequently.
  • Keep your content relevant to your target market and what you offer.
  • Put your main keyword in a main heading (H1 tag).
  • Describe all images with alternative text.

Semantics

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is the analysis of words that are related. Google uses LSI to better understand website content, so it can match a searcher’s intent to relevant pages.

Optimizing to make use of LSI is the process of using a variety of different terms that mean basically the same thing, and ensuring that all of the keywords relate to the main topic.

For example, on Smith and Sons’ website, they might want to use the terms: plumber, plumbing contractor, and plumbing services. These are all related words, and any of these terms might be used by the searcher.

In addition, if Smith and Sons’ website just says, “We provide all types of plumbing services,” Google doesn’t know if it should match your site to someone who is searching for a new hot water tank. On their services page, they need to list at least the most common services customer’s need; e.g., hot water tank, fixing water leaks, installing a new toilet, etc.

These are all things that a plumber does, but stating these specifically allows Google to confirm that your site contains relevant content, and will meet the needs of a searcher looking for a particular item or service.

Semantic SEO also adds more depth to your content, and helps you rank for a variety of different keywords. The best way to find related terms that searchers use is through keyword research.

seo silos

An SEO silo structure is the best way to organize the pages of your website. A silo structure looks like an org chart. You have a main topic, a few sub-topics, and then more sub-topics below each of those. This structure assists Google’s bots to understand your website better when they’re crawling your site. It’ll let them index your site faster and rank your website higher.

Internal Linking

Properly linking your website's pages and content together is a really good way to build relevance in Google’s eyes. Then Google can understand the relationships between the pages, and also how valuable the page is.

Schema (structured data)

Schema.org is a resource you can use to help Google categorize your website. It’s a semantic vocabulary of tags you add to your website for bots to read. Schema helps the search engines categorize your website and then represent your page on their SERPs.

Page Speed

This is a measurement of how long it takes for your website to load. This is so important that Google spent their own time, money and energy building this speed insight tool so that people like you and me can see exactly what needs to be done to improve your website’s speed.

Summary

Writing for a website is a complex task that requires knowledge about how search engines work, as well as excellence in the craft. Make sure you work with a great SEO company so that you can get al the benefits of SEO.

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What are search engines?

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What are search engines?

Search engines are a tool used to find information on the internet. There are about 2 billion websites and more than a trillion pages of information on the world wide web. It would be impossible to find anything without search engines. Google is the most popular search engine and is used in 92% of searches.

Google’s goal is to find the information you’re looking for based primarily on the few words you enter in the search box. To do that, it first needs to know what information is available. Then it assesses the usefulness of the different sites that provide the information you’re looking for, and provides what it believes to be the best results.

As an SEO agency we need to know how search engines work.

Definitions

Crawling

A “bot” is a computer program that, once put into action, runs automatically. Google, and other search engines, use bots to read and assess web pages. The bots move from one page to the other, then on to the next site, continuously. This process is called “crawling”  so the bots are sometimes called crawlers or spiderbots (because they’re crawling a web.)

By comparing what they found the last time they completed a round of visits to their current round, they know which pages are new, which have disappeared, and which have changed.

Indexing

Indexing is the way a search engine organizes the information that the crawlers find. It’s similar to an index at the end of a book, but far more detailed and sophisticated. There are many proprietary and “trade secret” techniques that Google and other companies have for indexing. They are primarily looking at on-page signals, including words, phrases, headings, and image descriptions, as well as context, links, and other indicators of the topics covered and the quality of the information.

Query

A query is the term users put into Google search. These queries are often keywords that are really important to businesses because they can have tens of thousands of searches a month. A term like “New York City Plumber” or “emergency plumbing near me” can be very valuable keywords for a plumbing company to rank highly for because people in that local area put in those queries all the time.

Search Intent

For Google to provide the most appropriate results, it has to consider more than just the words in the search box. For example, if you type in “airlines that fly to Miami,” Google wants to know if you’re writing a report, want to sign up for a travel points card, or are looking to book a flight.

It uses four categories of searches to sort things out.

Informational – These searches are only to get information. The results might include a Wikipedia page all about vaccines, or a curated list of the top ten action movies.

Navigational – These are queries used to locate a specific page, like your online banking login page.

Commercial – These are searches people make in order to learn more about a product or service so that they can make a purchasing decision. Examples are “best webcam”, or “lawyer near me.”

Transactional – Also known as “action queries,” these are the types of searches people make when they want to buy right now. Examples are “buy flowers online” or “New York City to Vancouver BC flights.”

When a search engine is able to understand the different types of searches, it’s able to provide the searcher with more useful results. As explained above, on-page signals (maximized by SEO) are what help Google figure out what your site is about and what users can do there.

Learn more about search intent.

Where your website ranks in the search results depends on what Google thinks the searcher wants or wants to do, but also many other factors that tell Google about the quality of your site.

Learn more about ranking

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3 Factors of ranking higher

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3 SEO Factors of Ranking Higher

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the perceived value of your website on a particular topic by Google. While there are other search engines available, the vast majority of internet users rely solely on Google, so that’s the one you really want to impress!

Google’s ranking formula is very complex, but its goal is to deliver the most helpful information available to the searcher. To do this, Google’s algorithms look at hundreds of elements, but the process of optimizing can be categorized into two types: on-page and off-page. The strategy you employ with both of these impacts a third factor – RankBrain. That’s Google’s machine learning system that is influenced by relationships.

On-page SEO

Google’s assessment of “on-page” is based on the content of your website. In the early days, Google’s algorithm really only paid attention to the individual words it found, but this is not the case anymore. Scanning your site for words and phrases is still part of the evaluation, but the algorithm is quite sophisticated.

For example, Google knows when repetition of a keyword is too frequent to be considered “natural language.” Remember that Google’s goal is to deliver meaningful and helpful information to it’s search users. Repetitive “keyword stuffing” tells Google that you are more concerned with ranking than the user experience, so down you go in the rankings. (Since 2011, Google rolled out their “Panda algorithm update”. Google pays far more attention now, than it once did, to spelling and grammar, so errors will also lower your ranking.)

When we speak or write “naturally,” we often use different terms to say the same thing, or we delve into slight tangents to help explain more difficult concepts. In web content, users find this helpful in understanding what you offer and if it’s what they are looking for, and Google knows this and ranks your site higher.

That said, if you don’t use your keywords often enough, Google may have a hard time determining your primary topic and where you fit in, which also has negative ranking results.

So, balanced, natural, quality content are the keys to on-page SEO. Learn more about on-page SEO.

Off-page SEO

Google’s primary off-page ranking factor is backlinks. These are links on other websites that bring users to one of your website pages. Google’s evaluation of backlinks has also evolved in that sheer volume isn’t viewed positively. The relevance and quality of the backlinks are of greatest concern.

There are a lot of different ways to get backlinks but the Google algorithm is savvy to attempts at manipulation. Google’s Penguin algorithm update was designed to weed out link schemes focused on volume rather than logic and utility. Google’s bots go deep now, assessing your site, the sites your backlinks are coming from, and the sites linking to that site. That assessment includes on-page SEO factors, as well as the type and volume of “anchor text” on the sites where the backlinks are coming from.

A website that has an abundance of “anchor text” words and phrases linking to your site (and perhaps many others) is viewed as manipulative, and will hurt the sites it’s linking to. It is far more beneficial to have one backlink that is highly relevant coming from a site of high quality, than it is to have a ton of irrelevant ones coming from poor quality sites. Balance, logic, and quality are the key to ranking well with off-page search engine optimization. Learn more about off-page SEO

What is RankBrain ?

RankBrain is Google’s proprietary machine learning technology. It’s data sorting and relationship analysis capabilities are now the third most important ranking factor, after content(on-page SEO) and links (off-page SEO). 

The goal of RankBrain is to improve the quality of “answers” Google serves its users on its search engine result pages. It’s an AI (artificial intelligence) that expands on the Hummingbird algorithm update. The Hummingbird update was aimed at better assistance for the searcher’s intent behind their queries; e.g., did they want to purchase something or just get information? So, it sorted ecommerce sites from knowledge sites.

RankBrain goes beyond that by analyzing how sections of a website relate to each other, relate to other websites, and relate to larger or smaller topics. It combines what it knows about the searcher (like their location), what it has learned about the content relationships, and Hummingbird’s findings on the search intent is to provide a sort of personalized list of results. 

The reason why RankBrain has been a game-changer for search engine optimization is that we now have to focus on the structure of content, as well as relevance, quality, and all the other on and off page factors. To do well in ranking, content needs to be comprehensive and meaningful so that viewers will engage and interact with the website.

How RankBrain works is challenging to explain, but this video does a good job of showing how AI sorts and connects data.

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Basics SEO – (Parent Page)

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The Basics of SEO

(Search Engine Optimization) and Why It’s Necessary.

Having your business website appear in the top results on Google is the shortest path to long-term revenue. The method of increasing your website’s rankings in search engines, which brings more visitors to your website, is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search engine optimization is extremely important and has a very high return on investment for most businesses. Google is the first place most people search whenever they need something or have a problem to fix. That’s why ranking your business organically (not via paid ads) on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) is so important. It’s arguably the most important marketing strategy for your business.

What are search engines ?

Search engines, like Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go, are software systems that review and organize information on the world wide web. Their goal is to point searchers to the most relevant and helpful pages in response to the user’s search query.

To accomplish this, search engines are programmed with algorithms – complex sorting and valuing instructions that are applied to websites, pages, and content. These algorithms are composed of many, many factors with a lot of conditional formulas; e.g., “if this, check that.”

One of the reasons for the complexity of these algorithms is that search engines want to match the searcher’s intent with the results. For example, there are millions of websites that mention “leaky faucet” but what is the context or search intent? Are these sites plumbing businesses, how-to videos, or e-commerce sites selling new faucets?

So, using the same example, if the search phrase is “someone to fix a leaky faucet,” the results will show plumbers and maybe handymen, but won’t show do-it-yourself videos.

All major search engines have their own algorithms determining where to rank a website. They’re basically trying to find the most “popular” website relevant in content and context to the search phrase to suggest to their users. One factor, for example, is the number of times the site is referenced by other sources on the internet. The more references, the more valuable it is considered to be by the search engines.

What is keyword research ?

Keyword research is the analytical process of matching a description of what a business has to offer with the words or phrases that your potential customers commonly use to locate that offering. While anyone can do it, it’s not as easy as it might sound, and it is also very time consuming. 

One of the reasons for this is that there isn’t much on the internet that is totally unique. With so many other pages mentioning the same offerings you have, you need to really understand your target market, your competitors, and how search engine algorithms work.

There are tools that keep track of search terms and how frequently they are used, but the most frequent search phrase isn’t always the best one for you, not without modification at least. The word “electrician” is a high volume search term, but using that term alone puts your site in competition with every site in the world that also uses that term. You need to combine the word electrician with other terms that will help Google focus on your relevance to the searcher’s intent. Expanding the search terms and checking the volume of those searches within your target market, allows you to get more specific, which allows Google to make the appropriate matches.

Once you’ve found the best phrases, you’ll need to determine which content and on-page optimization strategies are best for them.

How do you optimize a website for Google (Basics of SEO) ?

On-page SEO” means optimizing all of the content on a page. It includes text, but also image descriptions, page titles, and headings, as well as the phrasing.

Google understands that you are not actually looking for the word electrician, but rather, are looking for an electrician, in a specific location, that you can call to repair a broken circuit or install a new chandelier. So, Google is looking for words or phrases that make your site more relevant like “same day repairs” or “lighting installations.” They are also looking for a web page that has a location, a phone number, and maybe a paragraph about what to do if a circuit breaker trips.

Off-page SEO” is reliant on the other websites that refer to yours. These are called “back-links,” and are the links that direct viewers to your site. 

Both on-page and off-page SEO are important to landing on the first page of search results and they should be the focus of any SEO services.

Summary

Search engines don’t just look for words on a page. They analyze all of the content and make judgments about the site based on their algorithms. They also look at how many other sites are linking to yours as providing helpful information. 

If SEO is done correctly, there should be an increase in the three key performance metrics, month after month, which usually means getting more customers.

The SEO process that we use will also put you at a higher ranking in the Google My Business  (GMB) section of results.

Tools to help you analyze your website’s SEO

If you want to try some of the tools that are used for SEO, start with these:

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