11 Do’s & Don’ts to Improve Your SEO and Conversions
By Jaclyn Sorese
The topic of changes in SEO is quite a familiar one. To say that SEO has changed or evolved over the last few years is just short of being one of the biggest understatements Vab Media has ever heard. Even if you only look at the industry-shaking implications of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, it’s scary. Then, add a massive litany of other adjustments and transformations and SEO, web design and marketing professionals have some serious work to do. SEO is no longer just about link-building and overboard keyword stuffing because we have seen a shift in focus to actually having quality content that is helpful to the reader. But, it’s not that simple- SEO is not just about keywords or content or getting people to your site- it’s about keeping people engaged, letting them know you are the trusted expert in your industry and converting them into customers.
Google owns 67% of search market share, and it indexes and crawls over 30 trillion web pages, as seen in the graphic below. At Vab Media, we don’t look at SEO algorithm changes that have taken place over the last few years, the last year, the last month or even the last week. We diligently focus on what developments or advancements happen on a daily basis. We want our clients and readers to be able to sort through the tremendous amount of information and conflicting data available, so they can know what is outdated and what is current and state-of-the-art. In order to facilitate this seemingly daunting task, Vab Media has compiled a list of 11 important industry developments that we have learned and implemented into our practices to boost our clients’ sales and conversions and listed a few points that you should do and not do (tactics that don’t provide much value). In no particular order, here we go!
#1 – IMPROVE USER ENGAGEMENT & MAKE IT SIMPLE
The acronym SEO does stand for search engine optimization but this acronym, in itself, is a bit outdated. SEO is not just about search engines any longer. It’s about users and how they view and engage with your content. Of course, the original meaning of SEO – to optimize for search engines- still applies because this will direct users to your site but what are you going to do when users click on your site and begin to read? The idea is keep users on your website and interested in what your site has to offer. Make your site user-friendly and make sure it flows intuitively. No one has time to endlessly search your website for the information needed- convert your users with clear content and clear calls-to-action; then you will see a better conversion rate.
#2 – FIND BALANCE: KEYWORDS, LINK BUILDING & CONTENT GENERATION
Talk about conflicting opinions…half of the people you talk to are advocating quality and sensible content and the other half are telling you that you need more links. The truth is that both schools of thought are right. You need links and they are crucial to the success and authority of your business, but it is the quality and not the quantity of your links that is most important. At the same time, terrific content written with a purpose by even the best professional author makes for a valuable read, but the question remains as to who will actually be directed to and read your website page or blog. SEO involves determining your target audience, an in-depth analysis of your traffic sources and why your top posts are performing well. The trick is to add assorted yet relevant links from reliable and recognized sources to a blog or post with exceptional content. In time, this will garner more leads, trackbacks and guest posts and you can assure that you are providing useful content, while continuing to improve your website’s online presence.
#3 – UNDERSTAND KEYS TO KEYWORDS
There is certainly no lull in a conversation when keywords in content for pages, post or blogs comes up. Are putting lots of keywords on your page the answer? No. In order for your content to rank, you need to satisfy the thresholds for all inputs/details that go into generating the ideal SEO equation. That quality equation that contains on and off-page optimizations, stellar user experiences and rankings should:
- Include keywords that are most likely to show up in a user-generated search. This would include putting your keyword or keyword phrases in an intriguing page title and headline. Intermittently, strategically insert your keywords into the body of your content. Also, include your keyword in your url. These suggestions will remarkably improve your chances of coming up in search.
- Keep the keyword stuffing to a minimum and, when you do insert your keywords or keyword phrases, don’t make it obvious or forced where it looks like you just wanted your page to rank rather than offer some valuable advice.
- Include different keywords that keep your same ranking expectation in mind. Readers will catch on very quickly if the same word is repeated verbatim in all your content- url, title, headlines and content body.
- Use synonyms of keywords- this will be prove to be crucial to understanding the needs of your readers, clients and potential customers. Neil Patel, one of the most credited and verifiable internet entrepreneurs, recently wrote on Copyblogger, about the importance of using semantic keyword research. Neil’s insight clarifies how and where Google’s algorithms are evolving- which all seem to be in the direction of a search engine becoming more human and lending a human hand to search. Is it the interpretation basic (context search) or up for interpretation (semantic search)…the industry will continue to evolve.
Remember that whoever clicked on your post had some expectations of receiving valuable feedback so don’t ruin what should be a good experience.
#4- OPTIMIZE A WEBSITE FOR MOBILE SEARCH WITH RESPONSIVE DESIGN
With smartphones getting less expensive, more and more people are using them to search the web. Google’s latest mobile search study conducted in March 2013 identified a few key findings about the behavior of over half of all smartphone owners. The study noted that smartphone users are using their phones to make buying related searches- “55% of conversions (store visit, phone call, purchase) happen within the hour”. Optimizing for mobile is especially important in local search. In 2013, smartphone local searches are expected to bring in 46 million queries. Even though laptops and desktops still remain the most used devices for search, ignoring smartphones can end up hurting your website’s bounce rate and conversions because you will lose potential customers to your competitors that have invested in the appearance of their mobile sites. What does Google think about responsive web design? “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device”.
What does a responsive design for your website mean?
Even big name sites like Mashable and Microsoft have started adopting responsive web designs. Until fairly recently, you needed to have separate laptop and desktop versions, a separate mobile version and a separate tablet version. Each type of layout needed to adapt to the format in which it is being viewed- meaning that you must take into consideration the size of a screen, the resolution on that screen as well as the very type of device itself. A user need to view a site that flows. Basically, to avoid having to create multiple versions of your website, responsive design allows you to build a design conducive to all viewing platform devices. Depending on if a visitor comes to your site on a desktop, iPad, iPhone or Android, your website will adapt. For example, on a laptop or desktop, the screen will adjust and expand wider, and elements can and will spread out. On a iPad or smartphone, where the screen is more narrow, elements will stack like your images, links and contact forms. Vab Media recently redesigned a New York CPA’s website into a responsive HTML5 website . Less than a week after launching the redesigned mobile friendly site, the CPA was excited to capture new customers and see a rise in visits as well as a rise in the number of contacts he was receiving because of the presentation of his mobile site and how it looked on a smartphone. As you can see from the screenshots of AberCPA, the layout adjusts itself:
Are there some cases where the business has too much information or traffic and investing in an expensive mobile application or site might make more sense? The answer is yes! That’s why large news sites like NYTimes.com and Online.WSJ.com have separate mobile versions that only display a small portion of all the articles and links that they have on their desktop versions. If your site falls into that category of viewer numbers and content, your business can afford a fancy and expensive mobile application or website.
#5 – AVOID REDIRECT LINKS FROM SITES YOU OWN & MICROSITES
These days, search engines are very savvy, smart and meticulous. Sure, there are still so many ways that they can be improved but search engines can very easily detect commonalities between registrants for domains. In the same way that you cannot expect to vote in an election 10,000 times and have that count as 10,000 votes for yourself, you cannot expect a search engine to actually think that those 50 links you have to yourself count for anything more than one link. It is not true that linking back to your own site or another site that you own will help your cause. So, just continue to add more content to your primary website and do your internal linking there, and you will be well on your way to increased traffic.
#6 – KNOW GOOGLE CAN RECOGNIZE A “BAD SITE” OR “SPAMMY LINKS”
Long gone are the days when Google was oblivious to the fact that you had links on your pages, posts or blogs to sites that were lacking substance, or were just plain illegitimate. Google is top-notch and nothing seems to slip by its search engine. Especially in the post-Penguin and post-Panda game, don’t mess with Google. Your rankings can drop drastically when Google discovers bad links and will arrange its search engine to seriously lower the rankings for almost all your website content.
#7 – DEFINE WHAT RANKING MEANS
High rankings have never really defined or promised success. Studies have indicated that ranking high (especially in the top 3) mean more traffic to your site and elevated clickthrough rates. However, the introduction and implementation of rich text/snippets and Google Authorship tags combined with a fresh bunch of users who are searching for distinguishably relevant information, have decreased the importance of a site’s pure placement ranking in a search engine. Click behavior has been revolutionized because of smarter search engines and users who know what they want. In sum, you no longer need to rank 1st position anymore to realize success.
#8 – KEEP YOUR HOME OR LANDING PAGES SIMPLE
At Vab Media, we come across too many website home pages that are overloaded with content, on one side of the spectrum, or landing pages that lack content, on the opposite end of the spectrum. The best place to be is in the middle of the spectrum where users that come to your site are neither overwhelmed by a plethora or abundance of information nor are they disappointed with too little data and too much simplicity. Think about it, your homepage is usually the first visual that users get of your business. For example, just as your are reading this blog, you are being introduced to Vab Media’s website…so think of every single page as a mini-website. The content of your home page should:
- Clarify who you are and what you do
- Clearly state your location and the areas/industries you service
- Identify the value proposition of your offerings
Your home page and landing pages are not just about targeted keywords and sometimes useless on-page components- it’s about testing and figuring out what things will stand out the most to your potential customers and followers.
#9 – MAKE YOUR WEBSITE LOCAL
As straightforward as this proposition might seem, it takes considerable effort to make your website local. This is because you have to determine what your business wants to actually define as local. A few things to remember that, assuming your users are not searching in an incognito fashion, search engines can determine where they are located and normally provide search results that are specific or closer to a user’s physical or IP address location. If you are a geo-targeted company, definitely include your city, state and county or region. If your business only operates in the United States, you really do not need to include the fact that you are located in the USA. Any on-page references, reviews, title tags and social media outlets (especially Google+ Local) should also include all your location information.
#10 – CONNECT YOUR SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA
What has come to be known as “social search” is the junction where your SEO and social media operations meet. SEO and social media are not separate entities or silos that can go about without each other- they work hand-in-hand in an increasingly formal manner. Search and social are connected in a countless number of ways now- something that we have anticipated for years. Look at Google+ and Google’s author rank profiles. They both represent the intersection of harmonious, authoritative and relevant content which will, together, determine the direction (hopefully, it’s a good direction) of your overall social search practices.
Your content has a connection to you and the extent of your social media efforts via venues like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ make your existence known and prominent to audiences around the world. If your social search campaign is conducted properly, strong social media influencers can even become your strongest advocates. Regardless, social search is the combination of your SEO and social media and the overall success of your business depends on an effective and bulletproof social search strategy.
#11 – INTERACT WITH IT BUT DON’T HAND THE PROJECT OVER
Like most projects, various teams with various levels and types of expertise are required for a venture to be successful. SEO is no different. It’s no secret that the technical aspects of SEO are of enormous portions- your IT department makes your website crawlable, which is paramount. Your IT team also includes web designers who code, create your XML sitemap files and enable robots. Every project requires joint efforts though so partner with your IT team, your content writers and your SEO specialists to get the best results possible.
The bottom line is that anyone can put a lot of wasted effort and time into SEO and marketing. SEO has to be done right though- but what is right? With so many assumptions, rumors and information sources, Vab Media wants to make sure you are headed in the right direction and successful in sorting through mountains of details, that may or may not be outdated. SEO is an investment and you need to make sure that investment generates profit and return.Contact Us to Start Converting More Read More
Business Owners: SEO is an Investment, Not a Cost
By Andrew Broadbent
Bottom line…if you want your business to rank for very competitive search phrases or “money terms”, expect your content marketing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns to take time. This means patience is key if you want rankings, leads and sales. Incredible search rankings can definitely be achieved but companies need to realize that, particularly for highly competitive industries and phrases, these high rankings may not appear in the first month.
Quality and profitable SEO campaigns can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to realize the return on investment (ROI) you want. Some business niches are easier to rank for, but for highly competitive industries like insurance, diamonds, jewelry, travel, jet charter, you are looking at a longer timeframe. This is because competitive industries often witness competitors having higher budgets for advertising.
Being “Page 1 of Google” is usually what our customers want to see immediately for their services and products. Here at Vab Media, we have to explain that short-term SEO campaigns are not the best marketing mechanism because they generate short-term results- this is just an instant gratification that will not ultimately lead to a sustainable ROI. SEO is a craft, not a science- and every SEO venture is unique requiring time consuming, extensive and consistent research.
It would be interesting for us to see the long-term results of an SEO firm that promises immediate results. Usually, that means essential aspects of a company’s SEO campaign will probably be missing because this SEO firm is taking some major shortcuts. If you don’t go with the right firm, your site could be top ranked one day, and not ranked at all the next day. Just to use Google as an example, they operate a search engine that is relentlessly changing, adding and improving their algorithms in an effort to provide the most reliable results. On average, each member of the Vab Media team spends hours each week to keep up with Google’s never ending and evolving process changes, tactics and reasons for updates.
The only way a company can see these immediate results is with Pay Per Click (PPC), but even this is an extremely expensive, not to mention unreliable and risky, investment and venture. Keyword competition is paramount and competition research is just as difficult. The structure, quality score, look and feel of a PPC ad also is a huge priority.
Vab Media SEO Case Study as an Example
Our client, V1 Jets international, a private jet charter brokerage, came to us last year looking to increase their charter quotes and sales via an improved web presence and search rankings. Although V1’s Jetcharter.com website had significant brand recognition within its industry, and ranked number 1 for the search phrase “jet charter”, they were only on the 4th page for the more specific and competitive phrase “private jet charter”(see first image below). Fixing this problem was not simple considering some of their major competitors like Blue Star Jets have been investing thousands per month in SEO for the previous seven years. V1 hired our team to address weaknesses in both the site’s content and its overall architecture in order to drive additional traffic from both search engine results pages and popular social networking sites.
V1 Jets International now ranks number 2 on the first page for many important search phrases like “private jet charter” and “private jet charter quote”.
Our approach to increasing V1 Jets’ inbound traffic relied on the use of several different white-hat SEO best practices. Our Marketing efforts were focused on crawling / indexing issues, duplicate content concerns, on-page optimization improvements, increasing calls to actions, network leverage and social media marketing.
Don’t just take our word for it though- look at the praise we received from V1’s James Matta, V1 Jets owner and investor. “The SEO job you guys did, as you said took time but with tremendous success. Thanks for the great job and anytime you need to provide a recommendation to a new client it will be my pleasure to do so.”
Don’t give up hope if you don’t see the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results you want right away. SEO is a long-term process and a balancing act with constantly changing methods for success- what was considered “good” SEO a few years ago, will not work for you now. SEO best practices are always changing, and so is general industry news. Though this might seem like a lot of time consuming effort, it will pay off in the end. It’s critical that you look for three things if you want your SEO endeavour to be successful: brand level, domain age and competitiveness.
Keep in mind that the goal of a good SEO and social media marketing campaign shouldn’t just be rankings and traffic- it should also be be new leads and sales closed! While high rankings and tons of visitors are great, you’ve wasted your time and energy if this traffic isn’t putting more money into your companies bottom line. Also keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process if you want to maintain your desired results- and you need a reliable team for this to be achieved.
Contact Vab Media for a consultation and quote on your next inbound marketing SEO campaign. We can help you develop a plan that works and will continue to provide a good ROI for the long term.
How You Can Add Trust and Credibility to your Google Search Results with Authorship Information to Boost your Companies Web Presence and Rankings
By Jaclyn Sorese
Attention business owners: ever been surfing Google’s search engine page results (SERP) and notice certain results accompanied with a thumbnail-sized profile picture of the content’s author? The profile picture lends instant credibility. Ever wonder how your picture could accompany results for the content you’ve authored? If so, then this post will certainly help you and your business! Google recently debuted it’s Authorship markup initiative, part of it’s “social search” signal efforts, with a mission to highlight great original content and rank the search results attributed to authors.
If you use Google Authorship, Google allows you to associate the content you’ve published with your Google+ profile. It then takes your Google+ profile image, along with other profile information, into search engine results for the content you author. The catch? While the application process is relatively simple, there appears to be no clear time frame or method as to which authorship requests Google chooses to approve. Without this minor glitch, the application process is fairly simple so it’s definitely worth applying. In this post, we’ll cover exactly why this new feature is beneficial to marketers. We will explain the simplest way to apply while covering some Google-related hints you should know before your application process begins.
Why Apply for Authorship?
Having Google Authorship benefits makes your search engine listings more inviting. This is in addition to giving your results heightened professional credibility and transparency factors. Let’s take a closer look at the screenshot below which depicts a search engine results page (SERP):
Ask yourself- which results stand out the most on the page? You are probably noticing the two results accompanied by their respective author images, right? Taking this into account, it’s pretty easy to understand the benefits of having Google Authorship privileges. Listings with author images and information attached will benefit from a perception of credibility and calm any spammy content concerns.
And, these two listings aren’t even at the top of this particular SERP, which means Google Authorship gave their content priority. These authors now have a significantly better chance when slated against other results that might organically rank higher. This is especially notable considering not many users have taken the opportunity to apply for Authorship. So, that is another reason to apply as soon as possible before everybody’s doing it.
Nevermind a certain lack of metrics or data-driven reports documenting the benefits of Authorship…yet. At Vab Media, we’ve experienced a marked and noticeable improvement in the ranking of our content associated with our various authors. In other words, it would appear Google rewards its Authorship users with improved search engine rankings. That’s not a bad perk if you’re a content creator!
Last but certainly not least, authorship status gives you access to even more data and statistics about the performance of individual author content in search results. For a more in depth overview about these improved Google metrics, read here.
How to Apply for Google Authorship
Hopefully, you are now convinced it’s worth taking those few minutes to apply for Google Authorship.
Here’s how to do it:
- Confirm your Google+ profile page has a profile photo that is a recognizable headshot.
- Make sure you have an email address (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) on the same domain as your content (http://vabulous.com/). If you don’t have an email address on the same domain, Google has an alternative method for linking your content to your Google+ profile. Learn how here.
- This method is very helpful to authors on sites in which they can’t edit any anchor tag code, but its use is not limited to that scenario. If certain criteria are met, email verification can be the primary method used for establishing authorship verification. Your author byline can link to an email address using the same domain name as the content page, making that email address registered and verified in the author’s Google+ profile, as shown the image below:
- In the “About” section of your Google+ profile, add this email address so it’s easier for Google to associate your Google+ account with your domain.
- Make sure each article you publish on your domains has a clear byline identifying you as the author (for example, “By Andrew Broadbent” or “Author: Andrew Broadbent”).
- Important: Verify your bylines begin with the word ”By” followed by the name that matches the exact same spelling author name used on your Google+ profile.
- Visit Google’s Authorship page and submit your email address to Google there. Remember that, regardless of how many articles you publish on this domain, you’ll only need to go through this process once.
- In the “About” section of your Google+ profile, make sure the profile discovery box, “Help others discover my profile in search” is checked.
Once Google approves your Authorship request, your Google+ profile will be updated with the domain(s) on which you’re a content contributor. The screenshot below shows this in the “Contributor to” section of your Google+ profile. As a default setting, your email address is visible to the public. If you want to keep your email address private on your page or have certain visibility restrictions, you can alter them here.
Be on the lookout for a possible email confirmation from Google once your request for Authorship has been approved. As mentioned, Google has no clear timeframe for approval and, at Vab Media, It took about a week or two for Google to confirm some of our Authorship requests.
According to Google’s Authorship information page, “Google doesn’t guarantee to show author information in Google Web Search or Google News results.” This is most likely a Google-clause explaining different Authorship approval timelines along with other less common glitches, such as the appearance and subsequent disappearance of Authorship benefits. As far as we can tell, Google is addressing all these possible glitches and we are extremely happy with the benefits we have seen so far.
When Google grants your Authorship request, you’ll start noticing search engine listings for content you’ve authored are accompanied by your Google+ profile image:
Also, notice that the purple “by (author name)” link above directs people to your Google+ profile page. The “more by (author name)” link directs visitors to a more detailed page, shown in a screenshot below, which outlines indexed content authored by you:
Don’t forget- if your website/blog has multiple contributors, it would greatly benefit you to encourage your various authors to apply for Authorship. This way, even more of the search engine listings for your website’s content will be associated with its individual author.
Authorship Markup is Now a Key Ranking Strategy
Moving forward, Google really wants to recognize people who write web content by allowing them to use start Google Authorship and its markups. Google is now making use of a human involvement factor through social media platforms in ranking of its search results.
In sum, this product will provide all of the following- in one neat package:
- Google can identify content you write and associate it with you.
- Google search engine results will show a picture of you next to content you created.
- Google search engine results will link to your Google+ profile.
- connect with other reputed authors on Google+ is really very important.
- Google search results aren’t just prioritized organically- they can now take into account the reliability factor of content authors, particularly those authors who use this program.
- Google provides a quick and easy, hassle free enrollment process. The process and the benefits it garners are further outlined in a Google web master tool-produced video here.
By utilizing authorship markup in your website and content that you share, Google will give you credit as the author and, as a result, your website will rank more highly on Google search engine results.
Recent press releases from Google reveal the following, but perhaps the most important, singular attribute of the Google Authorship program. We would like to end this post on that note, which is that Google wants to add the human element to the internet. Google wants to give props to diligent and reliable content authors and provide search engine results which are credible and less anonymous. Google Authorship puts a face to a name and allows for trust. Activity on Google+ helps with search engine optimization.
Build Up Circles and Engagement on Google+
Its no secret that one of the reasons Google developed Google+ is that Google wants to take market share and compete with Twitter and Facebook in the social network sharing industry. And, since Facebook and Twitter are not sharing social sharing activity metric data with Google, the birth of Google+ solves that for Google. All of the content/activities/posts you author are being indexed by Google’s search engine. Connect with industry leaders and expert authors on Google+. Here are few tips to keep in mind and focus on with engagement on Google+:
- Famous authors are in thousands of circles. Connect with them and get them to add you back to their circles.
- When you share content, you are increasing the chances of your posts being shared more and considered more valuable.
- Share and mention reputable author content in posts. This can make some of them thankful and notice you.
- Add variety- share content outside of your particular industry.
- Quality of connections is just important as quantity. Getting more people to add you their circles can lead to higher search rankings.
If you want help using Google+ and search rankings to boost your business in search results, contact us for consultation.Read More
Creating Online Content For Lead Generation
by J. Henrickson for VabMedia.com
Inbound Marketing now dominates because it costs a lot less than traditional outbound marketing (i.e. billboards, television ads, direct mail).
Marketing Used to be a One-Way Street because the marketer published and the consumer consumed. Today though, it’s a twisty road. For one thing, consumers are publishers also. They’re publishing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, among other social media venues. What does this mean for your company, the overall marketing community and lead generation? In sum, it indicates that your brand’s popularity with these social media outlets matters for front-page search engine rankings. You need to create content that’s shareable. Effective marketing today isn’t limited to pure product promotion. Effective marketers provide online content that the consumer/creator will both engage in actively and ideally share on a regular basis-not just when either party have purchasing in mind. Providing consumers with a constant stream of entertaining or useful content helps build relationship networks and establish a brand in the markets subconscious.
First this article articulates types of content that your company can market. Next, it suggests ways to maintain a steady stream of inspiration for fresh search optimized content.
What Does Content Marketing Look Like?
Blogs are one of the best ways to provide content online. Online marketers advise blogging because of its three major benefits:
- Frequent updates help keep your brand fresh in the minds of current leads.
- Your leads might share a great blog with any leads’ social networks.
- The blog expands your website’s overall reservoir of keywords for the search engines and can attract new traffic.
An excerpt from a content marketing blog written for Honduran Joe, a coffee fundraising company, is a good example of these benefits. The blog isn’t about coffee fundraising at all; rather, it’s about the difference between two major types of coffee. Content marketing involves providing useful and/or entertaining content.
The above blog can also be used as a Facebook post on the company’s page:
In addition to blogs, content marketing exists in other forms:
- Facebook posts
- Google+ posts
- YouTube videos
- Press releases
- Pinterest boards/pins
How to Generate Content Ideas
Posting to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other sources several times per week might sound overwhelming. How can you maintain a constant stream of ideas for content creation? Here we describe four strategies that foster inspiration:
- Study Your Audience.
- Create Customer Persona.
- Align Content to the Sales Cycle.
- Beg, Buy & Borrow
Study Your Audience
Imagine your standard customers. Develop several detailed customer profiles and use them to create niche campaigns of content marketing. The more targeted a campaign, the more effective it can be. Targeting is especially easy on Facebook. You can see the 3,000 most popular Facebook profile keywords at PurposeInc.com.
When creating a customer profile, ask yourself questions that identify needs and interests:
- What are the customer’s values?
- What motivates them?
- What are their daily and long term goals?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- What industries do they work in?
- Where do they spend time online?
- What search terms would they use?
- What headlines would they respond to?
- Can you best reach them through blogs, videos, social media, free downloads or something else?
Want to learn more about your audience? You can always ask them directly. However, if you’d rather be quick and anonymous, reference the website www.socialbakers.com. It provides detailed statistics for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other forums. For example, selecting “Facebook” and “Hong Kong” reveals that about 52% of Facebook users in Hong Kong are female. As a group they seem to like “Groupon Hong Kong” and a shop called “BusyBee.” Google Insights might also be helpful. This website helps assists in comparison of keyword search volumes among geographic regions, time frames and other demographic statistics.
You Need to Start Creating your Customer Persona
The first step is to start developing a persona by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your products and services. Customers may have several types of buyers. Creating a detailed description for every customer which encompasses a name, job title/role, industry and other relevant company information is essential. For example, a luxury market residential contractor’s biggest customers may include first time home buyers, people trading up and affluent luxury homeowners. In this case, the contractor’s marketers might name these profiles “Wall Street Trader Ernesto” and “Realtor Bruce” while extrapolating details about their responsibilities, ages, type of business, household income level, and geographic region- just to name a few. Based on the information gathered from such research, outlining the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona is simplified.
What are their Pain or Problem Points?
You’re in business because you’re solving a problem for your target audience. How does that problem affect their day to day life? Go into detail, and focus on the nuances that illustrate how that problem makes them feel. Using the example of “you’re a residential construction company ” is helpful in outlining this method. One of your personas may be a first time home buyer that just bought a home which requires some upgrades. What are the pain points of a first time home buyer? They could be intimidated by the prospect of pursuing home improvements on their own or feel overwhelmed on how they should choose the right contractor. Do they make a decision based on the lowest estimate, builders reviews or case studies? Considering all these factors, they may not be sure where to begin. In contrast, the pain points of a high end luxury client may not be reliant on price, but instead be focused on the quality of the work and whether or not the contractor will finish the renovation schedule on time. Understanding the difference in the motivation factors for each buyer more will assist in figuring out useful content to write such as “10 home renovation tips to consider before your renovation begins”
Align Content to the Sales Cycles
Different content is of different value depending on the stage of a sales cycle. Your content marketing efforts should:
1. Create awareness of your product or service
2. Educate people about your product being a solution
3. Provide comparisons with the competition
The above steps will lead into the fourth step of a sales cycle: making the purchase. Marketing data has shown that certain types of content work better at different stages of your customers buying process. For example, “awareness” pairs well with blog posts, and social sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Another example of content that fosters awareness comes from Home Depot. The construction supply company provides free do-it-yourself video guides for scores of home improvement projects:
If they are in the “research or education phase” a downloadable eBook may give them a more informed perspective. If they are now in the “comparison stage” considering case studies and customer testimonials may build trust and show real life examples of how your product or service helped or solved a problem. Whatever your product or service, ensure that you address each step of the sales cycle leading up to purchase. Considering the benefits that you will provide by addressing the questions your prospective client has at each step will inspire you to develop friendly, helpful and valuable content for your business.
Beg, Buy & Borrow
The task of creating new content isn’t entirely upon your shoulders. You can:
Beg. Ask another blogger in a related field to write a guest post on your website, reciprocate– ask bloggers to allow you to guest post on their blog. It’s a win-win situation if a lead arises.
Buy. Pay a professional to create Facebook ads or other content, such as custom video ads, Facebook posts, blogs and other forms of content marketing.
Borrow. Find a trending article. Then have a professional copywriter rewrite it for added value or simply repost it with proper attribution. One of our favorite sources for finding trending material is this free tool from SEO Gadget. It pulls stories from Google, Bing, Twitter and organizes them into one keyword spreadsheet.
Of course, content alone cannot generate inbound marketing success. Whatever you create needs to be nestled within a smart overall strategy of SEO, social media engagement, lead nurturing and conversion tracking. But with a stockpile of content and the means to make more, your company can significantly increase its return on marketing investment.
Google’s Makes 86 Algorithm Changes in June & July!
These are a few of the many changes Google recently made to its algorithm, so in addition to all the previous changes. Here is a link to Google’s Inside Search blog.
The amount of search algorithm adjustments carried out by Google in June and July can be categorized under three major elements: Computational, Cross-Referencing or Global. Computational tweaks are focused on the evolution to Semantic Search. This is a really crucial change to pay attention to, as it will affect the way search engines and SEO are going to work in the future. In Google’s usual semi vague behavior to the public, we are seeing small steps being taken towards the direction of search engines being able to interpret context and meanings of the words people type in more accurately.
Cross-referencing changes take into account the way Google crawls content that is both relevant and new. This gives weight to real time and social discussions that are out on the web. The more fresh your content is both on your website and on the social communications you manage, the more likely your website will be listed among the top links on google. It also takes into account how semantically related your content is to the phrase being searched. We feel that google will definitely give more weight to long tail keyword phrases because they want to give people information that most closely matches the longer phrase request.
Global changes are part of the latest updates in Google search which were until now restricted to only Google.com. Google is now making it easier for people to access universal search results whether at home or when traveling. Google will add to its collection of data migration patterns of people based on where they are when they perform a search if they are logged in to google. This is good news for business owners who have local pages and who mention their locations in their social status updates. Calls to action are always good, especially if it will help tourists find what they want while they are traveling in your city.
Conclusion, what changes should business owners and marketers be paying the most attention to? There are two areas of major importance to think about. The first one is making sure your website is designed to be mobile friendly. If you do not have a fast loading mobile version of your website or if it is not currently optimized for Smartphone and Tablet viewing, then you are already losing out on potential business to your competitors that have invested in technology optimization. The next crucial thing to focus on is page quality and this covers many SEO factors such as: writing good data driven quality content, having nice large high quality images properly optimized, having a fast-loading site, correct cross-linking of pages, and so on. Google is supposedly planning on fully switching over to using Semantic Search by Christmas time. Subscribe to our blog to get the latest in SEO tips and stay up to date on future search engine changes.Read More
Businesses, there are so many reasons why you should adopt HTML5 now.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘HTML5′ a lot recently, but what does it mean for companies and business owners? Should you have your website built or redesigned in it?
HTML5 is the updated version of the online code used to design and build websites. This updated browser-based programming language can make your sites content a lot more interactive and accessible, with app-like usability and mobile-friendly delivery. HTML5 is still under development but many companies are interested in recruitment. In fact, the Mobile Search Study by Google expects that 80% of the world’s 2,000 largest websites will take on HTML5 before New Year’s.
What’s the appeal? This fifth generation of web coding language is highly skilled at facilitating interactivity and integrating multimedia for standard and mobile websites. Basically, it lets programmers integrate multimedia -videos, pictures, graphics and words (that are not stagnate) with its mainframe, omitting the need for Flash and other third parties or plug-ins. It also enhances SEO and is cross-platform; you can code just once and cover Firefox, Google Chrome, iPads, iPhones, Apple Safari, Opera, and other platforms. People with font fetishes will also be pleased; HTML5 opens a new world.
You’ll likely take on HTML5’s services at some point. Should you make the move soon?
HTML5 is already being used by almost 50% of web developers. It’s a crucial tool for most game sites and mobile apps. As web developers and media managers, we know that virtually every other industry can benefit too. Here are a few reasons why.
Why Your Site Should Use HTML5
HTML5 is clearly poised to subsume the old guard (that’s HTML4, XHTML1, and their cross-platform interface, DOM Level 2 HTML).
Both Google and Apple are pushing its adoption in order to support advanced interactivity or “responsive web design.”
What is responsive web design?
The new Boston Globe website serves as a quick example: Visit the homepage and resize your browser window. Whereas an HTML4 page might truncate a news column, the responsive design of HTML5 resizes and repositions content to fit the new window dimensions.
Need more convincing? Here are additional reasons we recommend making the move soon:
- “Everybody” will be using HTML5. This isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses for pride’s sake. Even if “everybody” is just a few key competitors, you could lose your target audience’s attention when other websites become easier to find, faster and easier to use, and more engaging than yours.
- Your site might lose support. The HTML5 syntax is compatible with HTML4. Still, eventually during the reign of HTML5, it’s possible that your HTML4 website won’t just be slow and relatively dull – it will be incompatible with popular browsers and parsers.
- You’ll save money on coding. HTML5 eliminates the need to use time-consuming third-party programs such as Flash and Silverlight. Imagine that!
Furthermore, HTML5 is compatible with a wide range of browsers. You can build a site ONCE instead of tweaking code for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, iPhone/iPad and so forth. Thus coders can complete projects in less time.
- Your page structure will be clearer. New indicators in HTML5 clarify the roles of webpage items. This helps search engines identify relevant search results. (Translation: It’s good for SEO.) Some new elements include:
- Article – Indicates that content is a blog entry or news article
- Aside – Denotes content that is only somewhat related to the rest of the page
- Figcaption – Represents a figure caption
- Footer – Indicates an area for author information, copyright information, etc.
More Examples of How HTML5 Works
Loading speed is a major advantage of the new markup language. How is this accomplished? One strategy involves saving a step in data verification. With HTML5, coders can let users provide their own data verification. For example, HTML5 can work with the user’s iPhone calendar to submit a defined date format to the server. This reduces the time spent waiting for feedback.
You can read about the many reasons for performance differences between HTML4 and HTML5 in the official HTML5 editors’ draft. The latest draft lists dozens of changes to the HTML syntax, language, APIs and content model.
If you’re building a new website, then the new code is an obvious choice; you can layer it with CSS and get a great-looking site with the latest functions. But should you make the switch soon for an established website? At VabMedia, we say yes. We can’t say no to enhanced speed, superior interactivity and staying cutting-edge.Request a HTML5 Web Design Quote
Vab media’s Lead SEO Marketer, Andrew Broadbent, was interviewed, quoted and featured in an article about Youtube Monetization in the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Through our connections with editors, writers and journalists, Famous LA Times columnist, David Lazarus, called local Santa Cruz social media and outdoor adventure journalist Karen Kefauver. Karen Kefauver thought about Vab Media because of our love and expertise for the power of video search engine optimization and youtube channel customization. Below is a screenshot of the quote and article.
This article focused on trying to make money with google adsense and putting distracting ads on your channel and videos. For us and our customers, having ads that sometimes show your competitors’ ads is not recommended; we suggest disabling them. What was not really said and conveyed in this article is the real power of youtube for businesses and using video to rank for competitive search phrases.
Since people love to watch videos and there are a lot less videos that are optimized for search, compared to regular web pages. This creates a huge opportunity to use video to dominate search engine page results for your niche. As an example, we have helped our client SB&W a global manufacturer of custom engineered parts, to rank on 1st page for a very competitive search phrase “custom component manufacturing.”
Videos don’t only help you rank on search engines, but also give you the opportunity to show people who don’t know you or your business to see your business the way you want them to. Communicate with your prospective clients in a manner that shows the passion you have for your business; what makes you unique from the others. The more videos you have, the more people will be able to see what your business has to offer.
Even if you don’t monetize your video directly from adsense, you stand to gain more visibility, reach a wider audience, and ultimately make even more money from clients that want your products or services–compared to what you would make with ads.
We absolutely love helping large and small companies drive more traffic to their websites and increasing brand presence by using video content marketing strategies. We also customize youtube channels for large companies and organizations. Check out our recent video case study of B Corporation’s Youtube channel.
If you have a video and want to know more about how to get it optimized, call us (831) 205 -0164! Or–Request a Quote for Video SEO