Consider these 10 tips to get the right Domain for your Business

choosing the perfect domain

Your domain name and URL play a big role when it comes to search. Not only is this the destination where your visitors will find you and your content, but the domain you choose also can and does impact your search visibility. While there are more domain options than ever before, there are still some best practices you should adhere to if you want to see optimal results.

As of our publishing date in August 2017, ICANN recognizes 1,547 top-level domains (TLDs). While this means you have more choices than ever before, it doesn’t make choosing a domain any easier. To ensure you get the right domain for your business, consider these 10 tips.

1. Start with keywords

Before logging into to your favorite domain registrar, take some time to brainstorm a few ideas. It can be helpful to have three to five keywords in mind when doing this exercise. These words and phrases should clearly define what you do (or want to do). Mix and mash them together and see what looks right and makes sense. Don’t force the process — just let it flow.

For example, let’s say you are starting a local bakery. Some terms you want to include would be your city, fresh bread, baked goods, bakery and so on.

Here’s a pro tip: Use prefixes and suffixes to help you create a good domain that grabs attention. For this example, you may end up with a domain like superfreshbread.com.

2. Make it unique

Your domain is part of your brand. Making sure it stands out is extremely important for you and your users. Having a domain that closely resembles another popular brand is never a good idea, as it can lead to confusion.

Be careful that you’re not trying to be too unique, however. Forcing an alternative spelling of a common word can lead to big trouble. An example cited in the book, “The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization,” is that of the popular image site Flickr.

When the site founders established their domain, they did not use the standard spelling, flicker.com, and they may have lost traffic as a result. They ended up having to purchase the correctly spelled domain and have the additional domain redirect to Flickr.com.

3. Go for a .COM

If you are serious about building a long-term brand online, there is nothing better than a .com. Using a 301-redirect to drive traffic to a .net or .org is totally fine, but owning the .com or the equivalent TLD for your target market country is critical.

There are a number of reasons why this matters, but the most crucial one is for your users. While there are thousands of TLDs to choose from, .com still carries the most trust with it.

Many internet users are still unaware that the other TLDs exist and may hesitate to click when they see one. Make it easy for your users and choose a .com. You’ll thank me in the long run.

(Note for transparency: I am currently working on getting ownership of the .com for my site’s domain. When I rebranded a few years ago, I was unable to claim it and now have to bid to own it.)

4. Make it easy to type

If your URL is hard to type, people won’t. Difficult words to spell and long URL strings can be extremely frustrating to your end users.

Sure, you may be able to add a nice keyword with a long URL, but if the user experience is negatively impacted, you’ll ultimately suffer.

5. Make it memorable

Word-of-mouth marketing is still the best of all. If you want to help your brand spread faster, make your domain easy to remember. Having a great website won’t matter if no one can remember your domain name.

6. Keep it short

Shorter URLs are easier to type and remember. They also allow more of the URL to show up in the SERPs, they fit on business cards better and they look better in other offline media.

7. Create and meet expectations

What is the expectation you want to set when someone hears your URL for the first time? If they can’t instantly grasp what you do or who you are, you have a problem.

While sites like Amazon, Trulia, Google and Trivago sound cool, it takes a lot more marketing and branding to make them work. Domains like NYtimes.com, Homes.com, and Overstock.com all let you know what to expect up front.

8. Build your brand

If you can’t find a good domain that meets the previous rule, use branding to distinguish yourself.

Using a unique moniker is a great way to build additional value. Take note that, because of this need for brand-building, you’ll likely be slower to gain traction than if you used a more simple and straightforward domain. But, if done correctly, the effort can pay off in the long run.

9. Don’t fall for trends

Just because something is trending now, it doesn’t mean it always will. Copying what someone else is doing can lead you down the wrong path. Stay away from odd spellings and lots of hyphens or numbers. Keep it simple, focused and easy to remember.

10. Try a domain selection tool

If you are having a hard time brainstorming for an idea, no worries, the internet has your back.

Try using a domain selection tool to help you find the perfect domain. Tools like DomainsBot or NameMesh can help you find that perfect domain. But remember to adhere to the advice above when using these tools.

Conclusion

Your domain is where you do business online. Just as in real estate, location matters. Having a domain that clearly tells your user and the search engines who you are and what you do can help you establish your brand online. Don’t just pick a domain; take some time and choose the right domain for your business.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

Improving Your website’s SEO and user experience

website-design

At my startup, LSEO, we recently ran an internal link audit to help inform and refine our growth marketing strategy. With multiple freelancers and staff writers constantly contributing content, our site has more than tripled in size in the past two years.

Unfortunately, running a massive content marketing initiative with no central internal linking strategy in place had limited the spread of link authority throughout our website.

I highly recommend auditing your own internal linking structure to make sure you aren’t inhibiting a blog post from being crawled or receiving “link juice.” This is not only bad from an SEO perspective, but also from a business standpoint. Content that is not properly interlinked may not live up to its full organic ranking potential — or be found easily by users.

Let’s review some of the best practices of internal linking and show you why interlinking should still be a central concern of your SEO development.

The function and benefits of internal links

Function

A sophisticated internal linking structure provides SEO and user experience (UX) value for your website. Here are some highlights of internal link functionality:

  • Opens pathways to web pages previously less accessible to search engine spiders.
  • Helps organize web pages categorically based on the keyword used in the link’s URL and anchor text.
  • Improves user navigation by providing further ways to interact with your site.
  • Uses anchor text keywords to aid user intent.
  • Passes “link juice” between web pages (a purported ranking factor).
  • Organizes site architecture and communicates to search engines your most important web pages.
  • Helps promotional campaigns by visibly highlighting or featuring links on a home page or next to content.

Of course, there are instances of links that search engines can’t parse. It’s important to mention them so you don’t mistakenly use them:

  • Links in web pages that are disallowed in your robots.txt file.
  • Links in search bars or submission fields.
  • Links in embedded plugins, such as Java or Flash.
  • Links on web pages with more than 150 links.

User experience (UX)

Setting aside all of the SEO value of internal links, interlinking is valuable to your UX. A savvy interlinking structure should feature a functional drop-down menu and navigation bar with links to relevant topical content to satisfy user intent.

Providing clear labels for each link encourages further website interaction, which also has lots of SEO value. Not only does this increase user dwell time and session length, but the longer a user stays on your website, the more likely he/she is to complete a desired conversion.

Imagine landing on an awesome web page from a referral traffic source and a day later trying to find it. Unfortunately, without optimized anchor text in the URL or deep links to index the page properly, it may be impossible to find it through direct traffic methods, which is frustrating.

Link authority

Unlike backlinks, internal links have no direct impact on Google’s algorithm. But they do increase the flow of backlink authority that circulates from one page to another.

New blog articles are born with virtually no authority or recognition. With a deep link from the home page or a cornerstone page, you instantly transfer previously earned authority to that web page. That piece will be indexed faster and rank higher as a result.

Interlinking structure best practices

Site architecture

Your internal linking structure should follow a pyramid formation. Your home page rests at the top. Directly beneath lie cornerstone pages or category pages that deep-link to relevant blog or product pages. All pages directly within one link of the home page will be perceived as the most important to search engines.

The goal is to reduce the total number of links that occur between a web page and the home page. Your home page is your most authoritative, in part because it is the page that will receive the most backlinks. Leverage your home page’s authority to spread link juice evenly throughout your site, and position each web page to rank highly.

This leads us to the importance of navigation bars and menu functionality. As your website grows with blog posts, content and resource pages, these sophisticated navigation features will ensure that all web pages are still within two to three links of the home page.

Let’s explore the anatomy of link placements and which ones serve our UX and SEO campaign more.

Content links

Content is not simply a clever place to insert internal links for indexation, but they also aid our site’s UX. Placing a link in a piece of content serves as a source material and communicates to readers that you can stop reading to gather more information “here.”

Bolding content links makes them visually stand out from the rest of the content and beckons users to click on them. Ideally, you’ll want to place links in blog posts to other relevant blog posts. Relevancy is key because irrelevant links will disrupt your UX and result in bounces.

You should ensure that your web page contains no broken links. If so, redirect those links to relevant web pages. It’s also important that your web pages load fast to ensure a positive user experience and to stave off bounces. Additionally, make sure that any linked web page is not more than one click away from a conversion page and always contains a call to action in reach.

Some experts speculate that content links are more valuable than other navigational links, which brings up an interesting topic with interlinking: Do links in different page spots affect my SEO, and what are the best practices?

Hyperlink page positions

According to John Mueller of Google, “position on a page for internal links is pretty much irrelevant from our point of view.”

This doesn’t mean the position of important internal links is irrelevant from a UX standpoint. Ideally, you’ll place your most important internal links on your home page, in the navigation bar, or on a drop-down menu.

Within lower authority pages, it’s unnecessary to link back to your home page or contact page within content. It does not pass “link juice,” nor does it promote a positive UX. It is best to link only to other relevant posts here.

Footer links and sidebar links should link to relevant content or product pages. While a link to a cornerstone page in your footer will not be less valuable than placing it in a navigation bar, it’s generally a bad practice from a UX standpoint to have an expansive footer bar.

Placing links at the end of articles or on a sidebar to relevant web pages will encourage users to keep interacting with your website. This provides positive user signals to Google, which may indirectly affect website and page rank.

A great way to help index your content is to place link tags or keyword tags on content that will communicate to search engines the topic of that landing page.

Breadcrumb links and an XML sitemap also contribute greatly toward user and site crawler navigation.

Link relevancy

The essential component of Link-building 101 and Internal Linking 101 is relevancy. Optimize all anchor text to reflect the title or topic of the landing page being linked to. Placing irrelevant anchor text on a link will qualify your website as spam.

Be sure to create keyword variations for your anchor text structure. Constantly using the same anchor text for each link could qualify as spam and, if used for different landing pages, will result in keyword cannibalization.

Leverage your keyword research, and conduct a link audit to identify areas of content where relevant internal links can be placed. Ideally, you’ll want around three internal links for a piece of content, at least — perhaps more, depending on the word count.

Call-to-action links

I can’t fail to mention the importance of optimizing your call to action (CTA) to maximize your conversion rate. A CTA button should be big and bold and should be optimized for each device. Make sure your CTA is distinguishable from the background.

CTA positioning is important, and I recommend placing a CTA above the fold. QuickSprout often uses a slide-in CTA that gathers massive conversions.

Ultimately, you want your CTA to be present on each web page so that users are always one or two clicks away from creating a conversion.

Nofollow links

If you don’t want a search engine to count the link juice flowing through a specific web page, then you can place a rel=”nofollow” attribute on your link tag. These are often used in links found in comments and user-generated content to protect against spam penalties.

Unfortunately, this tag can sometimes cause a ripple effect and limit the authority flowing through other pages directly linked to that page. Google specifically advises against what it refers to as “pagerank sculpting,” and the nofollow attribute generally shouldn’t be attached to internal links.

Conclusion

When we think of link building, we often ignore the UX and SEO value of building out our own internal link structure. While backlinks remain the crown jewels of SEO, their effects can be amplified through a sophisticated internal link structure that spreads the wealth evenly throughout your site.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

Google has been trying to help Publishers make more money

google-news

Google effort appears to be a modified version of existing tools and approaches with some new, unspecified wrinkles.

Google has always been treated by the news industry as a kind of frenemy. Many news organizations have a tortured history with Google, including some who’ve successfully lobbied against Google in Europe. Yet for roughly a decade Google has been trying to help publishers make more money while continuing to try and serve users and its own commercial interests.

Google news-industry outreach has taken multiple forms over the years. For example, in 2009 Google proposed a range of tools and services built around the notion of “micro-payments” to publishers. The proposal included multiple components, including search, e-commerce and advertising for news organizations.

Out of these efforts eventually came Google’s First Click Free program, whereby users could gain access to otherwise subscription-protected news content in search results — with the intention of improving the outlook for subscription revenue, though Google hasn’t uniformly enforced it. Google’s Consumer Surveys provide payments to publishers (take a survey for content access) and so on.

AMP is also an effort to improve the performance of news and other content publisher sites on mobile devices. And the recent redesign of Google News was partly intended to showcase and make news-publisher content more discoverable.

Bloomberg reported earlier today that Google is making a renewed push to help publishers increase subscription revenue. The plan appears to be an updated version of the 2009 proposal, including revamping first click free (reducing the number of daily articles), enabling payments and subscriber recruiting:

Google’s latest foray arrives on three fronts. The first is a revamp of its feature, called “first click free,” that allows readers to access articles from subscription publications through search. Google is also exploring publishers’ tools around online payments and targeting potential subscribers. It’s all part of Google’s broader effort to keep consumers and content-makers returning to the web, the lifeblood of its ads business.

Bloomberg also says that Google is collaborating with the New York Times Co., News Corp and the Financial Times on the new initiatives. However the Wall Street Journal, now owned by News Corp., dropped out of first click free earlier this year. “After the newspaper ended the program, subscriptions ticked up, but traffic from Google fell off a cliff,” said the company.

As ad money has declined for news publishers they’ve had to find ways to increase subscription revenue. For example, the New York Times recently made its popular Cooking site a paid product.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

Bing Ads (DSA) is expanding to and now available to US advertisers

bing-teal

Ads are automatically matched to queries based on advertisers’ website content.

Bing Ads’ testing of Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) is expanding to and now available to US advertisers.

From Thursday’s announcement:

DSA is designed to help advertisers increase their impression volume, increase search term coverage and drive incremental clicks and conversions, while reducing the burdens of campaign set up and day-to-day management.

Advertisers using DSA in Google AdWords will find the DSA structure in Bing Ads familiar. Ads are served by landing page content rather than keywords the advertiser enters. Bing Ads crawls the advertiser’s website to identify a landing page that’s related to the search query and dynamically generates ad titles that fit the query. The ads are then served with the generic ad copy the advertiser has entered.

bing-ads-dsa

To get started, select “Dynamic Search Ads” when setting up a new campaign in Bing Ads. Advertisers can target all pages on their site or limit the crawl to specific pages.

DSA can be set up in the Bing Ads UI, the API and through the Google Import tool. Kenshoo also supports Bing Ads DSA setup and management.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

 

Google allow free-calling via Google Home

google-home-orange

At Google I/O, the company announced that it was going to allow calling via Google Home. Now, Mountain View is rolling out the capability for the US and Canada in English, with Canadian French coming soon.

The device will permit calling to your Google contacts and businesses by voice alone. Alexa devices can call one another or users with Alexa apps on their smartphones. Microsoft’s Cortana has also promised calling capabilities via Skype. However, Google Home’s calling range is broader and more useful than the Amazon feature because it doesn’t require a corresponding app on the other end. Most business owners, for example, aren’t going to have Alexa devices to receive calls.

I wasn’t able to test the new calling feature because my Google Home told me, “Sorry, I can’t make calls yet.” Once it fully rolls out, users are supposed to be able to initiate calls by simply saying, “Hey Google, call…” Calls will then be routed over WiFi. Google says that “premium rate numbers as well as international numbers outside of the US and Canada are not supported unless you link your Project Fi or Google Voice account.”

Right now, call recipients will reportedly see “Unknown” or “No Caller ID.” But Google says that by the end of the year, your mobile number will be displayed.

Calling businesses appears to be more straightforward than calling contacts, which requires a setup process that, at least for iOS users, isn’t very intuitive. It’s not entirely clear right now what the user experience will be like when you call a business (but see the video below). For example, if users do a category search and then get a business result (“best pizza near me”), will they then be able to select and call a business, or will there need to be a second “search” where they ask to call that business by name?

It appears that Google Home will operate as a speaker phone, allowing the conversation to happen totally through the device.

Turning smart speakers into calling devices — and potentially replacing your landline (if you still have one) — has been an implicit use case since day one. Now we’re starting to see that capability roll out. Simplicity and ease of use matters; convoluted setup processes or the requirement to use stilted or magic phrases (see Alexa) will limit adoption.

Ultimately, however, it should be simple to do a voice search and then immediately call a business result. The implications for marketers and business owners are relatively obvious. Smart speakers and home assistants could become a major driver of calls, leads and conversions.

Postscript: It’s now live for me. I was unable to get it to call contacts but I did successfully call a variety of local businesses. I was not able to initiate a call from a general search result — “Mexican restaurants near me” (which provided a list of three results). However I could say “call the closest Mexican restaurant” and successfully call the business (which it identifies before putting the call through). Of course it works by mentioning the business name: “Call restaurant X . . .” — another reason to have your GMB listings claimed and accurate.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

3 Possible reasons rich Snippets aren’t Showing up in Search

google-snippets

An SEO asked Google’s John Mueller why his rich cards (rich snippets) aren’t showing up in search. John responded with three possible reasons over Twitter.

The question was “How do I debug why my Google Rich cards are not appearing when the webmaster console says everything ok and the help article doesn’t apply?”

John responded:

(1) Technically incorrect (use SDTT)
(2) Not compliant with policies (eg, wrong markup type)
(3) Or general quality issue with site

Got it? He fit it all into a tweet:

 

SOURCE URL: https://www.seroundtable.com

AMP testing tool in the Google search results

google-amp-speed

Yesterday we reported that Google added a mobile page testing tool to search, right in the search results page. In April, Google added a submit URL box to the search results. Now I am seeing an AMP testing tool in the Google search results.

Go to Google and search for [amp page test] or something similar and you will see the box at the top of the search results:

Here is what it looks like:

google-amp-test-search-results

 

SOURCE URL: https://www.seroundtable.com

Checking Competitor’s Backlinks

Finding Backlinks Of Your Competitor’s

Welcome to the newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last episode, Brian Childs equipped copywriters with the tools they need to succeed with SEO. Today, he’s back to share how to use Open Site Explorer to find linking opportunities based upon your competitors’ external inbound links. Read on and level up!

In Moz’s SEO training classes, we discuss how to identify and prioritize sources of backlinks using a mix of tools. One tactic to quickly find high Domain Authority sites that have a history of linking to pages discussing your topic is to study your competitors’ backlinks. This process is covered in-depth during the SEO Link Building Bootcamp.

In this article, I’ll show how to create and export a list of your competitor’s backlinks that you can use for targeting activities. This assumes you’ve already completed keyword research and have identified competitors that rank well in the search results for these queries. Use those competitors for the following analysis.


How to check the backlinks of a site

Step 1: Navigate to Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a tool used to research the link profile of a website. It will show you the quality of inbound links using metrics like Page Authority, Domain Authority, and Spam Score. You can do a good amount of research with the free version, but to enjoy all its capabilities you’ll need full access; you can get that access for free with a 30-day trial of Moz Pro.

How to check the backlinks of a site

Step 2: Enter your competitor’s domain URL

I suggest opening your competitor’s site in a browser window and then copying the URL. This will reduce any spelling errors and the possibility of incorrectly typing the domain name. An example of a common error is incorrectly adding “www” to the URL when that’s not how it renders for the site.

Enter your competitor’s domain URL

Step 3: Navigate to the “Inbound Links” tab

The Inbound Links tab will display all of the pages that link to your competitor’s website. In order to identify sources of links that are delivering link equity, I set the parameters above the list as follows: Target This – Root Domain, Links Source – Only External, and Link Type – Link Equity. This will show all external links providing link equity to any page on your competitor’s site.

Navigate to the "Inbound Links" tab

Step 4: Export results into .csv

Most reports in Open Site Explorer will allow you to export to .csv. Save these results and then repeat for your other competitors.

Export results into .csv

Step 5: Compile .csv results from all competitors

Once you have Open Site Explorer exports from the top 5–10 competitors, compile them into one spreadsheet.

Step 6: Sort all results by Page Authority

Page Authority is a 1–100 scale developed by Moz that estimates the likelihood of a page’s ability to rank in a search result, based on our understanding of essential ranking factors. Higher numbers suggest the page is more authoritative and therefore has a higher likelihood of ranking. Higher Page Authority pages also will be delivering more link equity to your competitor’s site. Use Page Authority as your sorting criteria.

Step 7: Review all linking sites for opportunities

Now you have a large list of sites linking to your competitors for keywords you are targeting. Go down the list of high Page Authority links and look for sites or authors that show up regularly. Use your preferred outreach strategy to contact these sites and begin developing a relationship.

 

SOURCE URL: https://moz.com

Google Has Confirmed They Have Blacklisted Some Ad Buyers

These ad buyers set irresponsible campaign parameters, which caused a decline in ad coverage and a drop in fill-rate.

hacker-privacy-security

Google has confirmed they have blacklisted some ad buyers after they exploited their ad system, which resulted in AdSense publishers noticing declines in their CPCs over the past few days. Google has addressed the issue by blacklisting those ad buyers and identified the issue going forward.

If you saw your AdSense CPCs decline starting on Sunday, August 5, you are not alone. A Googler posted a statement at WebmasterWorld:

Over the past 48 hours, a number of AdSense publishers alerted us to an issue with declining cost-per-click for ads on their sites. We were able to identify the issue and resolve it quickly: Several ad buyers were using irresponsible campaign parameters, lowering query coverage for specific creative types in some countries. The ad buyers responsible have been blacklisted and impacted publishers should see that their coverage is back to normal in their AdSense account.

It seems that these ad buyers were able to manipulate Google’s ad auction platform which resulted in this decline for publishers. It led to a decline in ad coverage and a drop in fill-rate, which is why the CPCs dropped along with it. This was not a user interface bug or reporting glitch, Google confirmed. The CPCs that were relatively low for publishers over the past few days will not be updated, but going forward, you should see CPCs that do not surprise you.

The advertisers were using “irresponsible campaign parameters,” Google said in the statement above. This led to their being able to lower the query coverage for specific creative types in some countries.

Why these ad buyers were doing this is not 100 percent clear. Google would not comment on the hows or whys, but it is possible that these ad buyers were trying to artificially inflate their click-through rates. We are not certain, so this is speculation.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

Tactics and Strategies for Technical and Non-Technical SEOs

legal-law-scales

In SEO’s earlier days, technical SEO was largely about coding. For a fun throwback, check out this 2008 SEL article on search-friendly code by Jonathan Hochman, an internet marketer and computer sciences grad from Yale. Technical SEO was all about how to optimize (and often, manipulate) code, metadata and link profiles to achieve better results.

And you know what? That basic purpose of technical SEO hasn’t changed.

As black hat tactics and manipulation became less effective and more dangerous, they fell out of favor. This gave rise to the more creative, non-technical SEO tactics designed to show search engines the value and relevance of each piece of content.

Technical and non-technical should never be pitted against one another, as both are critical to the health of your site and the success of your campaigns. Technical SEO is the framework on which truly great content is built, ensuring that each piece is structured and optimized for search engine discoverability and human consumption.

Here are a few tips to help you find balance between the technical and creative:

1. Understand the role of technical SEO in your organization

Today, in most organizations, technical SEO is a function entirely separate from development. You might still have some spillover between development and SEO in small companies or with freelancers. Typically, though, SEOs are an entity unto themselves, tasked with working alongside:

  • the uber-technical IT team, who manage the reception and storage of critical customer data.
  • web developers.
  • the non-technical SEOs (including link builders and content marketers).

As a sort of translator between these fundamentally different teams, technical SEOs understand the needs of each. They can anticipate how a new data security policy implemented by IT might affect a forward-facing marketing campaign or activity. They know the limitations of the site and can knowledgeably consult with developers to see whether what marketing wants is possible, or offer alternatives. Most importantly, they inform each of these teams on how their activities can stay compliant with (and be optimized for) search engines.

The second part of the technical SEO’s job is then implementation, adding the structure and optimizations to assist the engines in retrieving, indexing and ranking content.

This is why it’s critical that a technical SEO is a part of the planning process. Too often, they’re seen as “fixers,” brought in to identify and correct problems that were perfectly preventable. Instead, SEO and content teams should be working together to establish shared goals, work as a cohesive unit, measure and analyze, and continually adapt.

2. Balance your on-page & off-page optimization

On-page and off-page strategies each offer very different benefits, but both impact your content performance dramatically. As you strive to find balance between the technical and non-technical, factor in your on- and off-page optimizations:

On-page SEO:

  • Your site’s structure, hierarchy and design
  • Title tags and meta descriptions
  • Coding errors
  • Crawl- and index-ability
  • Internal linking
  • Sitemaps
  • Page content
  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness

Off-page SEO:

  • Social content and sharing
  • Influencer content
  • Articles and guest blogs
  • Inbound links

3. Define the responsibilities of each type of SEO

So, which tasks belong to technical SEOs, and which belong to non-technical SEOs? There are tasks that are very obviously one or the other. For example, deciding how to use subdomains and designing your site’s architecture are clearly technical tasks, while authoring engaging, optimized content is for your non-technical/creative team.

Technical-vs-Non-Technical-SEO-600x300

But there are areas of overlap that can cause confusion, or get missed altogether, unless you clearly define who is responsible for which SEO tasks. This can create site issues that have a devastating impact on consumer experience — and ultimately, your sales — as a result. On average, organic search drives fully 60 percent of website traffic. Chances are, it’s your largest channel. It’s worth getting right.

On-page and off-page, the technical and the non-technical, the scientific and the creative — each is powerful on its own, but it’s in the combined effort of both that the real magic happens. We saw a perfect example of this in the multi-faceted approach to content marketing undertaken by business products retailer Quill (disclosure: customer).

In their pursuit of increased organic traffic and e-commerce revenue, Quill’s SEO program manager, Eugene Feygin, devised and implemented a new company-wide content strategy. Within it, he restructured the brand’s content housing, factored in external partners’ research, and developed new content agency partnerships. Quill’s website got a user experience-centric overhaul to simplify navigation and make the content journey more intuitive. Feygin deployed BrightEdge’s Data Cube tool to identify Quill’s most pressing content gaps and greatest opportunities.

The results of this holistic approach marrying the science of content data and site structure with the creativity of ingenious promotion and partnerships was astounding.

Quill’s balanced approach to SEO grew their organic blog traffic by 270 percent in a single year. Their page one keywords exploded by 800 percent, and they achieved 98 percent search engine indexation.

4. Work SEO into your content workflow

Traditionally, magazines and other publishers used an in-house style guide to make clear their content rules and expectations. These are an important tool for brands not only to create consistency in style and tone, but to ensure that each piece of content gets the same SEO treatment pre-publication and during promotion.

How are images optimized? Which types of sources are approved as citations and for external linking, and are there any you avoid? When and how should you use H1, H2 and H3 headings? Who creates title tags, and what rules are there around those? Who are your readers, and what is their assumed level of knowledge about your topic or industry? (This can help guide keyword selection.)

Getting all of this documented provides a quick reference baseline for your content creators. It gives your creative team a resource created with technical SEO input that guides the content creation process. When you place this optimized content into the technically sound framework managed by your technical SEO, ready to be promoted by your content marketers, it’s a truly powerful combination indeed.

5. Balance technical & non-technical at budget time, too

Local media forecaster Borrell expects SEO spend in the US to reach almost $80 billion by 2020. C-level decisions around budget allocation need to reflect this holistic approach to SEO as an integral component of your overall marketing strategy. Technical SEOs shouldn’t have to fight for a piece of the content marketing budget; that’s the mentality that supports silos and keeps teams competitive.

Budgeting for SEO can be difficult, as organic doesn’t have direct media costs. The potential for high returns is there, but it takes organization-wide acceptance of a data-driven strategy to make it happen. Earlier this year, I shared a few tips to help SEOs learn to evangelize their practice to colleagues across departments and the C-suite. Doing so builds a strong case for the organization-wide implementation of and adherence to holistic SEO with the budget to make it possible.

Finding your SEO balance and bringing it all together

Technical and non-technical SEO tactics and strategies differ greatly; you might have entirely different teams executing each. Even so, it’s critical that they find ways to work together, as those intersections are where your greatest opportunities lie.

In the increasingly competitive SERPs, where you’re vying for the eyes and minds of intelligent, informed consumers, the marriage of technical SEO with the art of content marketing enables the creation of the intelligent content you need to stay on top.

 

SOURCE URL: http://searchengineland.com

Best Blogs to Follow About Failed Link Building Campaigns

link-building

We’ve created more than 800 content campaigns at Fractl over the years, and we’d be lying if we told you every single one was a hit.

The Internet is a finicky place. You can’t predict with 100% accuracy if your content will perform well. Sometimes what we think is going to do OK ends up being a massive hit. And there have been a few instances where we’d expect a campaign to be a huge success but it went on to garner lackluster results.

While you can’t control the whims of the Internet, you can avoid or include certain things in your content to help your chances of success. Through careful analysis we’ve pinpointed which factors tend to create high-performing content. Similarly, we’ve identified trends among our content that didn’t quite hit the mark.

In this this post, I’ll share our most valuable lessons we learned from content flops. Bear in mind this advice applies if you’re using content to earn links and press pickups, which is what the majority of the content we create at Fractl aims to do.

1. There’s such a thing as too much data.

For content involving a lot of data, it can be tempting to publish every single data point you collect.

A good example of this is surveying. We’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of not only sharing all of the data we’ve collected in a survey, but also segmenting the data out by demographics — regardless of whether or not all of that data is super compelling. While this can give publishers a large volume of potential angles to choose from, the result is often unfocused content lacking a cohesive narrative.

Only include the most insightful, interesting data points in your content, even if that means tossing aside most of the data you’ve gathered.

One example of this was a survey we did for a home security client where we asked people about stalker-ish behaviors they’d committed. The juiciest survey data (like 1 in 5 respondents had created a fake social account to spy on someone — yikes!) ended up getting buried because we included every data point from the survey, some of which wasn’t so interesting. Had we trimmed down the content to only the most shocking findings, it probably would have performed far better.

Furthermore, the more data you include, the more time it takes for a publisher to wade through it. As one journalist told us after we sent over an epic amount of data: “Long story short, this will take too much time.”

Consider this: It shouldn’t take a publisher more than 10 seconds of looking at your project to grasp the most meaningful data points. If they can’t quickly understand that, how will their readers?

2. Turning published data into something cool doesn’t always yield links.

If you’re going to use data that’s already been reported on, you better have a new spin or finding to present. Journalists don’t want to cover the same stats they have already covered.

A great example of this is a project we created about the reasons startups fail. The majority of the data we used came from CB Insights’ startup post mortems list, which had performed really well for them. (As of the time I’m writing this, according to Open Site Explorer it has 197 linking root domains from sites including BBC, Business Insider, Fortune, Vox, CNBC, and Entrepreneur — impressive!)

It worked well once, so it should work again if we repackage it into a new format, right?

We used the startups featured on the CB Insights list, added in a handful of additional startups, and created a sexy-looking interactive node map that grouped together startups according to the primary reasons they went under.

FRACTL DATA

While the content didn’t end up being a failure (we got it picked up by Quartz, woo!), it definitely didn’t live up to the expectations we had for it.

Two problems with this project:

  1. We weren’t saying anything new about the data.
  2. The original data had gotten so much coverage that many relevant publishers had already seen it and/or published it.

But of course, there are exceptions. If you’re using existing data that hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage, but is interesting, then this can be a smart approach. The key is avoiding data that has already been widely reported in the vertical you want to get coverage in.

3. It’s difficult to build links with videos.

Video content can be extremely effective for viral sharing, which is fantastic for brand awareness. But are videos great for earning links? Not so much.

When you think of viral content, videos probably come to mind — which is exactly why you may assume awesome videos can attract a ton of backlinks. The problem is, publishers rarely give proper attribution to videos. Instead of linking to the video’s creator, they just embed the video from YouTube or link to YouTube. While a mention/link to the content creator often happens organically with a piece of static visual content, this is often not the case with videos.

Of course, you can reach out to anyone who embeds your video without linking to you and ask for a link. But this can add a time-consuming extra step to the already time-intensive process of video creation and promotion.

4. Political ideas are tough to pull off.

Most brands don’t want to touch political topics with a ten-foot pole. But to others, creating political content is appealing since it has strong potential to evoke an emotional reaction and get a lot of attention.

We’ve had several amazing political ideas fail despite solid executions and promotional efforts. It’s hard for us to say why this is, but our assumption has been publishers don’t care about political content that isn’t breaking (because it’s always breaking). For this reason, we believe it’s nearly impossible to compete with the constant cycle of breaking political news.

5. Don’t make content for a specific publisher.

We’ve reached out to publishers to collaborate during content production, assuming that if the publisher feels ownership over the content and it’s created to their specifications, they will definitely publish it.

In general, we’ve found this approach doesn’t work because it tends to be a drain on the publishers (they don’t want to take on the extra work of collaborating with you) and it locks you into an end result that may only work for their site and no other publishers.

Remember: Publishers care about getting views and engagement on their site, not link generation for you or your client.

6. Hyperlocal content is a big risk.

If you focus on one city, even with an amazing piece of content featuring newsworthy information, you’re limited in how many publishers you can pitch it to. And then, you’re out of luck if none of those local publishers pick it up.

On the flip side, we’ve had a lot of success with content that features multiple cities/states/regions. This allows us to target a range of local and national publishers.

Note: This advice applies to campaigns where links/press mentions are the main goal – I’m not saying to never create content for a certain locality.

7. Always make more than one visual asset.

And one of those assets should always be a simple, static image.

Why?

Many websites have limits to the type of media they can publish. Every publisher is able to publish a static graphic, but not everyone can embed more complex content formats (fortunately, Moz can handle GIFs).

In most cases, we’ve found publishers prefer the simplest visualizations. One classic example of this is a project where we compared reading levels and IQ across different states based on a analysis of half a million tweets. Our Director of Creative, Ryan Sammy, spent a painstaking amount of time (and money) creating an interactive map of the results.

What did most publishers end up featuring? A screenshot of a Tableau dashboard we had sent as a preview during outreach…

8. Be realistic about newsjacking.

Newsjacking content needs to go live within 24 to 48 hours of the news event to be timely. Can you really produce something in time to newsjack?

We’ve found newsjacking is hard to pull off in an agency setting since you have to account for production timelines and getting client feedback and approval. In-house brands have a more feasible shot at newsjacking if they don’t have to worry about a long internal approval process.

9. Watch out for shiny new tools and content formats.

Just because you are using cool, new technology doesn’t automatically make the content interesting. We’ve gotten caught up in the “cool factor” of the format or method only to end up with boring (but pretty) content.

10. Avoid super niche topics.

You greatly increase your risk of no return when you go super niche. The more you drill down a topic, the smaller your potential audience becomes (and potential sites that will link become fewer, too).

There are a ton of people interested in music, there are fewer people interested in rap music, there are even fewer people interested in folk rap music, and finally, there are so few people interested in ’90s folk rap. Creating content around ’90s folk rap will probably yield few to no links.

Some questions to ask to ensure your topic isn’t too niche:

  • Is there a large volume of published content about this topic? Do a Google search for a few niche keywords to see how many results come up compared to broader top-level topics.
  • If there is a lot of content, does that content get high engagement? Do a search in Buzzsumo for keywords related to the niche topic. Is the top content getting thousands of shares?
  • Are people curious about this topic? Search on BloomBerry to see how many questions people are asking about it.
  • Are there online communities dedicated to the topic? Do a quick search for “niche keyword + forum” to turn up communities.
  • Are there more than 5 publishers that focus exclusively on the niche topic?

11. Don’t make content on a topic you can’t be credible in.

When we produced a hard-hitting project about murder in the U.S. for a gambling client, the publishers we pitched didn’t take it seriously because the client wasn’t an authority on the subject.

From that point on, we stuck to creating more light-hearted content around gambling, partying, and entertainment, which is highly relevant to our client and goes over extremely well with publishers.

It’s OK to create content that is tangentially related to your brand (we do this very often), but the connection between the content topic and your industry should be obvious. Don’t leave publishers wondering, why is this company making this content?”

Learning from failure is crucial for improvement.

Failure is inevitable, especially when you’re pushing boundaries or experimenting with something new (two things we try to do often at Fractl). The good news is that with failure you tend to have the greatest “a-ha!” moments. This is why having a post-campaign review of what did and didn’t work is so important.

Getting to the heart of why your content is rejected by publishers can be extremely helpful — we collect this information, and it’s invaluable for spotting things we can tweak during content production to increase our success rate. When a publisher tells you “no,” many times they will give a brief explanation why (and if they don’t, you can ask nicely for their feedback). Collect and review all of this publisher feedback and review it every few months. Like us, you may notice trends as to why publishers are passing up your content. Use these insights to correct your course instead of continuing to make the same mistakes.

And one last note for anyone creating content for clients: What should you do when your client’s campaign is a flop? To mitigate the risk to our clients, we replace a campaign if it fails to get any publisher coverage. While we’ve rarely had to do this, putting this assurance in place can give both you and your client peace of mind that a low-performing campaign doesn’t mean their investment has gone to waste.

 

SOURCE URL: https://moz.com

SEO Ideas, Strategies, and Tactics

SEO

“You don’t have an SEO strategy problem. You have an organizational efficacy problem.”

That is typically what I tell our new clients at Red Door Interactive (RDI). Poor organizational efficacy can be caused by several things, most commonly a lack of labor, a lack of knowledge, or a lack of senior executive buy-in and direction. Many people would say “efficiency” is a more accurate term than “efficacy,” but I like to remind people that you can do ineffective SEO in a very efficient manner. If the work doesn’t move the needle, then there’s a fatal flaw in your SEO program.

At RDI, we specialize in marketing services for mid to large enterprise clients with annual revenues of our ideal client ranging from $50M/year to $20B/year. The size of clients that we work with have 50+ person marketing departments, and some with more than 1,000. Implementing profitable and evolving SEO programs is much more difficult for non-agile companies and those with marketing that predates the internet. Despite having more resources and built-in topical authority, enterprise SEO can be much harder than SMB SEO — not only because the SEO challenges are greater, but because it introduces another layer of organizational challenges.

What is enterprise SEO?

This same question was on a slide at a recent SEO meetup lead by Ratish Naroor, Director of SEO at Overstock.com. Ratish’s opinion of what constitutes enterprise SEO differed from mine in a few areas. Ratish’s main qualification was that the site in question had one million organic landing pages. At RDI, we work with companies that drive hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue through organic search. Often these sites have less than 5,000 pages, yet their digital marketing departments are twice the size of many marketing teams at e-commerce-first companies. In my opinion, there’s more to consider than just the number of pages. I like to focus on the organization itself and not the size of its site; organizations whose website is its product take SEO more seriously. E-commerce retailers like Overstock, real estate sites like Zillow, and travel sites like Trip Advisor or Expedia all invest heavily in SEO programs. Many times, “old companies” that have been around 40+ years will have “old management” stakeholders who are a little late to the digital marketing party and more resistant to change. Does this late adoption of SEO and digital marketing make the organization itself any less enterprise? I don’t believe so.

If it’s not just page count that matters, where do you draw the line for “enterprise SEO”? Here’s how I classify it:

  1. Corporate team structure, budgeting, and approval process. There’s no hard number here, but typically 20 or more people are involved in taking web pages from an idea to a 200 status code. Some companies are so lean it will blow you away, so think more than just the total head count.
  2. Organic search as a channel can drive realistic business. SEO isn’t for every company, so it’s crucial that the company can drive top-line revenue growth through organic search.
  3. Unique and difficult SEO challenges. This may include large page counts where scaling on-page changes and crawl control is important, competitive industries where search terms have high paid CPAs, or international SEO operating in multiple languages and countries.

How do you succeed at enterprise SEO?

When working with an enterprise organization, there are three major areas to address in order to minimize internal SEO challenges and to see real follow-through in implementing high-value SEO ideas, strategies, and tactics.

1. Create a culture of SEO through visibility

SEO can’t succeed in a silo. To get your strategies implemented, you will need full participation and cooperation with content producers, developers, legal, and department heads. It’s important to remember that companies of this size will have an established culture. Sometimes this culture is dysfunctional, and overcoming it will be an uphill battle. Tom Critchlow recently described this culture as a “grain.” The direction and depth of this “grain” is going dictate how much time you spend on this step, and the best way to get people involved is to keep your work visible to the decision makers:

  • Automated reporting: Focus on showing each team/person metrics they can control
    • Dev teams: Technical crawl reports with issues such as internal redirects or 404 reports are relevant things that they can control. We like DeepCrawl for crawl reporting.
    • VPs and directors: High-level performance reports like M/M and Y/Y traffic and conversions give them a bird’s eye view of the site and the effects of your SEO efforts. Tying this data to a dollar figure will help make your case. This can include simple analytics data from Google Analytics, or more advanced tools such as our favorite BI tool, DOMO, or its competitor Tableau.
    • Product owners/business units: Keyword-level data and traffic to a specific site section that a team works on. An enterprise SEO tool like BrightEdge or Conductorcan make these reports easy to manage.
    • Pro tip: Include the email of the SEO lead on these reports and encourage questions.
  • Trainings
    • Many marketers still think SEO is something you sprinkle on at the end of a content project, or “something our IT team handles.” It’s up to you to break down those assumptions and educate their team on the idea that that SEO is symbiotic with every marketing channel and department. These trainings can vary quite a bit, so find what works for the company you are working in/with. We have seen success with the following formats: lunch and learns, video recordings for SEO suites mentioned above, team-specific trainings focused on the area the team controls such as development or content research. While I’d love to say that we turned all the marketers into great SEOs, that’s rarely the case. What we typically see — and are thrilled when it happens — is an email from a product manager that says, “Hey, we are launching a new product next quarter and you mentioned it’s good to do keyword research for new pages; can you help?”
  • Open brainstorms
    • Share your knowledge and promote contributions to the program. When I started at RDI 2.5 years ago, our SEO program was good, but it was siloed. We had 3 people working on their own projects for clients and not really collaborating with each other. To share ideas between the (much larger) SEO team and other teams, we started hosting weekly meetings called the “SEO Brainshare.” Each week, one team member picks a topic or challenge and we workshop it with whoever wants to participate. We typically see 5–10 people from other teams at RDI join the meeting, which increases SEO knowledge and keeps our department top of mind. After a year of hosting these meetings religiously, we have seen a large influx in SEO work being incorporated into new and existing client programs, as well as a more multi-channel approach to everything we do at RDI.

2. Teamwork and navigating a political environment

As an agency, we have to be clear with our main point of contact: “You can’t change your SEO results without changing your site. We need you to be the driver of change at your organization. RDI will arm you with the ideas, rationale, and detailed instructions, but you have to get the people in your organization to act.”

While my experience is very agency-focused, in-house SEOs will have to explain a similar scenario to their managers, and the managers of the content, creative, and development teams. The best way to enable yourself for success is make sure you have access to all the players needed for SEO greatness, and they each know what’s at stake and have a certain degree of ownership from their managers. If the product owner doesn’t have a KPI tied to organic traffic or conversions on their pages, it’s highly unlikely they will prioritize and take ownership of organic traffic to those pages.

For a real-world example, I’ve presented challenges and opportunities to Senior VPs and CMOs at Fortune 100 companies where executives have said, “Wow this is a huge opportunity. Why haven’t we done this yet?” and our main client contact responds, “Because XX department hasn’t been tasked with supporting us from their management, so this isn’t their problem.” That’s where the politics really start to come in. You typically need to go high enough up the marketing department ladder to convince someone with power to back your initiative and direct people outside of your department to support you, holding those other people accountable for the results of the team.

Teamwork and navigating a political environment

3. Don’t get lost in the noise — focus on return

This is undoubtedly the hardest to nail. SEO results by nature are highly ambiguous. There is a constant flux of right vs wrong, causation vs correlation, and my least favorite, the best choice between two “good” options. I recently listened to a podcast where Bill Hunt (an OG of SEO, BTW) said, “If you can’t put a dollar number on it, you won’t get a dollar for it.” The hardest thing for me to do as I grew my SEO strategies from local businesses to enterprises was to eliminate SEO busy work. I needed to move away from tasks like updating ALT tags because a crawl tool flagged them as “errors,” and start focusing on projects that would have a monetary impact — like creating new site sections, reworking high-ranking titles for CTR, and consolidating competing content.

There are a few ways to estimate the impact of a fix. Most involve some form of search volume X expected CTR X conversion rate. Here’s the formula in theory:

(Expected click-through rate at current position X search volume for that term) X (conversion rate of site section) = Current non-brand conversions for a keyword

Now you need to see how many non-brand conversions you would get if you achieved the rank you feel is plausible (this is more of an art than science; I like to use the rank of the top competitor as “achievable”):

(Expected click-through rate at target position X search volume for that term) X (conversion rate of site section) = Target non-brand conversions for a keyword

Then run a percent change for delta for those two numbers and you have the amount of new conversions for your project.

Ideally you want to do this at scale, since you want to look at more than a single search term for a site change. Here is the excel formula for that:

=IFERROR(B3*(VLOOKUP(G3,’Rank CTR’!A:B,2,0)),0)

For this you’ll need to have a CTR curve table in a table labeled “Rank CTR.” We used the CTR table from AWR for unbranded search, but feel free to use any CTR curve you feel is most accurate for your industry. You can even build upon your own data in Google Search Console.

Don’t get lost in the noise — focus on return

You will need to do this once for current estimated traffic and again after you have set your target rank numbers, then run a delta to get percent change. (The above formula and CTR curve can be found in the Content Gap Analysis template on our site.)

Working in the agency world, the pressure for our recommendations to have a return is extremely high because those recommendations are measured against the cost of the retainer, even when the project might be something that tends to have a negative impact, like a domain migration. At RDI, the closest thing we have to a secret sauce for this is our Content Gap Analysis. Here’s a sample of how we present findings to clients:

Local keywords

You can grab the Excel template from our site linked above.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the Content Gap Analysis we look at what competitors are doing, then measure the estimated traffic for a topic area. This kind of analysis looks for gaps on our client’s site where competitors have content and we do not. We can examine the likelihood of us being successful in our next content endeavor and to put a number on the estimated traffic a competitor’s site section or page is getting. Once you find opportunities with a forecastable impact, prioritize them in content or site projects and try not to juggle too many balls at once — at least until some content projects have shipped. Don’t forget to quickly communicate the success of a project to accelerate the two factors mentioned above, even if it’s just a quick email with a screenshot from Google/Adobe Analytics.

Focus on the needle-movers and communicate the value of your ideas clearly

Enterprise SEO is great because it allows you the opportunity to work on sites with serious impact and serious challenges. Sometimes you must take the good with the bad, and in enterprise SEO the bad is typically the bureaucracy that comes with large companies. Focus on what matters, don’t piss anyone off, and don’t relent on the need for progress. Happy optimizing! Please share how you have conquered organization challenges in your work in the comments below!

 

SOURCE URL: https://moz.com

Six Helpful Tips for SEO for SaaS

SEO for SaaS

As with many industries, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses face unique tSEO challenges and opportunities.

Before I started Marketing Mojo, I spent many years as an SEO in the technology industry. The last position I had before starting my agency was working for an online survey company, WebSurveyor, that was a competitor to Survey Monkey.

Based on this experience and what I’ve seen since, I want to share six of my top search engine optimization tips for SaaS companies.

1. Lead generation or SEO?

One of the bigger questions that SaaS companies (as well as many B2B companies) face when approaching content optimization is the question of gating content for lead generation or leaving it open for SEO benefits.

If you choose to gate content for lead generation, you’ll likely want to block search engines from indexing that content directly. Otherwise, you risk visitors finding your content via Google or Bing and bypassing the lead generation form altogether, which may hinder your lead generation goals.

For example, here’s an asset I found on Marketo’s site a while back. It’s a pretty comprehensive guide, so they likely really don’t want to give this content away without at least getting my contact information:

Lead generation or SEO

However, a quick Google search for the name of this guide and a filetype of PDF allowed me to completely bypass the form and access the asset:

filetype of PDF allowed

Alternatively, perhaps you are using certain content primarily for SEO purposes, answering questions potential buyers have along the buying cycle and generating search engine indexable content to attract those individuals to your site. In those cases, you may have your content open and ungated.

But be wary! PDFs are not always the best way to present this content via search engines because PDFs lack page navigation and other avenues for a reader to connect with you and express interest or sign up for a trial. In the Google search result above, if a searcher clicks on the Marketo PDF link, it won’t present the best opportunity for a visitor to follow links and convert in some way to a lead or customer.

In cases where you do choose to utilize PDFs for indexing, be sure to add many clear opportunities for a visitor to continue to your website, convert to lead or trial or call you directly.

2. Password-protected content

Perhaps your online software provides information that is meant for customers only, but it is indexed and available to all (for example, a knowledge base or help section).

Because this content is password-protected, you likely don’t want it showing up directly in the search results. Be sure to mark content that you do not want indexed by search engines as “noindex” via a meta tag on the page or via the robots.txt file.

3. Indexing customer info

One of the bigger questions we had to face at WebSurveyor was whether we wanted to allow customer surveys to be indexed and listed in Google search results. Why is that a problem? Depending on the type of software and its purpose, it’s a question many SaaS companies face.

In the online survey world, customers may not want their surveys to essentially be public. Instead, they may want to control who receives the link to the survey to ensure the validity of the audience and results.

As an example, Survey Monkey’s basic survey URLs all begin with “https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/”. A simple search on Google shows the customer surveys that are indexed and possibly open to the public to respond:

Indexing customer info

This tells us that the surveys seen here are indexed by Google and could appear in search results. Depending on the type of online software your company sells, you may want to consider this possibility and determine if your customers will want the content generated with the software indexed. Again, as with other content, this could be easily fixed with a “noindex” tag on the surveys or an edit to the robots.txt file to disallow indexing on the /r/ subfolder.

4. Customer segmentation via custom dimensions

Inevitably, when customers log in to the online software, they will often perform a Google search to find your website and immediately migrate to the login link in your navigation. That generates a whole lot of organic traffic to the website that doesn’t represent how potential new customers are interacting with your site.

In many cases, Google will likely find the login link in your navigation and include it as a sitelink, which can help customers immediately navigate to the software section of the site:

Customer segmentation via custom dimensions

But many customers will still come to the site via the home page. Thankfully, SaaS companies have a unique capability to segment current customers from prospective customers using Google Analytics custom dimensions. Unlike many other companies that may experience offline conversions, SaaS customers are logging in online, allowing you to segment and tag current customers versus prospective customers. That’s also helpful for retargeting purposes.

5. Converting to free trial

If your SaaS company uses the freemium model, it’s critical for you as the SEO to try to convert as many visitors to free trials as possible. Be sure to identify visitors upon arrival to your site (if you can) and provide simple, clear ways for visitors to convert to a free trial:

Converting to free trial

Even on your blog, consider how you can move visitors into the free trial stage. Use conversion rate optimization techniques and A/B testing with tools like Google Optimize or others to always be improving conversion rates.

6. Measure ROI to lifetime value

Many SaaS offerings are subscription-based models or involve an ongoing commitment. Some may be monthly and others annual. Whatever your revenue model, be sure to track the value of your SEO beyond the initial conversion. The value of organic search (or any marketing channel) is likely much greater than the initial sale. Don’t sell your efforts short!

For example, let’s say that a monthly subscription to your software costs $20/month, and the visitor converted via organic search. Is the ROI $20? Well, let’s then say that the customer remains a subscriber for three years. The true ROI of organic search in that instance would be $720 (minus any SEO costs).

Be sure to track the lifetime value of customers who convert on your various marketing channels to truly ascertain the value and ROI for those channels.

 

Source URL: http://searchengineland.com

SEOs and SEMs making an impact in the Search Marketing Community

Search marketers are uniquely qualified to lead in the new “martech era”

Scott Brinker

We get it. Marketing is now a software-powered discipline that blends the art of creative and science of data. New technologies are deeply interwoven into marketing operations and strategy. Effectively harnessing them demands new capabilities, talent and management.

Scott will offer insights and tactics in his keynote at SMX East including:

  • the evolution of marketing from the “arts and crafts department” to a results-producing, software-driven dynamo,
  • how organizations are reinventing their operations and institutional metabolism to cope with the always-on and multichannel world,
  • and why search marketers are uniquely qualified to lead in the new “martech era.”

Meet Scott at SMX East

Register for SMX East to meet Scott and other expert SEOs and SEMs making an impact in the search marketing community. For only $1,795, you’ll learn fresh tactics to improve your search marketing campaigns, have unlimited expo hall access, networking, WiFi, meals, snacks and more! Register today and save $400 compared to on-site rates.

P.S. Add a full day pre-conference workshop for a deep dive into advanced SEO, AdWords, Social Media Advertising, e-Commerce or hardcore SEO tactics.

 

Source URL: https://searchengineland.com

Beta Google Search Console Release

Google Search Console

As you know, Google is working on a brand new look and feel and much more in a beta Google Search Console release where we posted screen shots. We even shared the beta URL, if you are in the beta the URL will work, if not, it won’t.

Now, Google’s John Mueller released more details about the upcoming release of the Google Search Console revamp. There are not dates or timelines but Google said the new Google Search Console will make things easier and more actionable for webmasters. Plus it looks great and all seems mobile friendly. Google wrote:

  • More actionable insights – We will now group the identified issues by what we suspect is the common “root-cause” to help you find where you should fix your code. We organize these issues into tasks that have a state (similar to bug tracking systems) so you can easily see whether the issue is still open, whether Google has detected your fix, and track the progress of re-processing the affected pages.
  • Better support of your organizational workflow – As we talked to many organizations, we’ve learned that multiple people are typically involved in implementing, diagnosing, and fixing issues. This is why we are introducing sharing functionality that allows you to pick-up an action item and share it with other people in your group, like developers who will get references to the code in question.
  • Faster feedback loops between you and Google – We’ve built a mechanism to allow you to iterate quickly on your fixes, and not waste time waiting for Google to recrawl your site, only to tell you later that it’s not fixed yet. Rather, we’ll provide on-the-spot testing of fixes and are automatically speeding up crawling once we see things are ok. Similarly, the testing tools will include code snippets and a search preview – so you can quickly see where your issues are, confirm you’ve fixed them, and see how the pages will look on Search.

They released details on two new reports in this new beta:

Index Coverage report

The new Index Coverage report shows the count of indexed pages, information about why some pages could not be indexed, along with example pages and tips on how to fix indexing issues. It also enables a simple sitemap submission flow, and the capability to filter all Index Coverage data to any of the submitted sitemaps.

New-Search-Console-index-status-report

AMP fixing flow report

The new AMP fixing experience starts with the AMP Issues report. This report shows the current AMP issues affecting your site, grouped by the underlying error. Drill down into an issue to get more details, including sample affected pages. After you fix the underlying issue, click a button to verify your fix, and have Google recrawl the pages affected by that issue. Google will notify you of the progress of the recrawl, and will update the report as your fixes are validated.

AMP fixing flow report

These reports will roll out to a small set of beta users in the “next few weeks” Google said.

 

Source Url: https://www.seroundtable.com

Tool from LocalSEOGuide tracks changes to local listings on Google

LocalSEOGuide

LocalSEOGuide is releasing a new Google My Business monitoring tool called “Locadium.” It’s conceptually similar to other local listings monitoring services; however it’s exclusively focused on Google My Business (GMB).

Yext, Moz, Brandify, Vendasta, BrightLocal, SIMPartners, Chatmeter, among others, also provide local listings scans and monitoring. However, according to LocalSEOGuide founder Andrew Shotland, Locadium is the only tool that will monitor both the “front end” (consumer fields) and “back end” (API) of GMB. It sends alerts when there’s any change on to a company’s listing in any of the data fields.

It will be marketed to agencies, multi-location brands and SMBs. Pricing is variable for agencies and brands but for SMBs it costs $5 per month.

Locadium-Location-Page

Similar tools on the market monitor local listings across the internet. However Shotland doesn’t see Locadium evolving into a broad-based listings monitoring service outside GMB. “We have no desire to compete with Yext,” he says. The appeal of Locadium is its focus and simplicity. “It’s a classic point solution.”

Shotland indicated the next piece of functionality he wants to add is a single report for GMB insights for multi-location enterprises so marketers working with them don’t have to check location by location.

 

Source Url: https://searchengineland.com

Google: The changes seem to have happened between June 11th and June 18th.

Google Maps Local Ranking Algorithm Update

There is a new thread at the Local Search Forums discussing ranking changes in the local pack that started happening mid-June. I did not see much or any discussion around this a month ago but now some local SEO experts are discussing it in the forum.

Joy Hawkins wrote “this change happened on June 8.” She shared examples of how the results change drastically based on proximity, even when the proximity is nearby, which is the big change. ” I definitely see a lot of changes since Possum but not quite this extreme. Normally the searcher’s location is the strongest of hundreds of factors so the business still *usually* needs some type of SEO presence and normally some type of organic presence,” Joy added.

“We’re seeing different results at the zip code level, said gyitsakalakis. “In fact, as I walk around our neighborhood, the local pack results change by block,” he added.

The changes seem to have happened between June 11th and June 18th.

Have you noticed such changes?

 

Source Url: https://www.seroundtable.com