Tag: SEO

3 Ways to Use Google AdWords to Help Your SEO

3 ways to use Google AdWords to Help your SEO

There are a lot of tools out there to help you with your on-page SEO. We use many of these tools here. But there’s one tool that gives you the ability to see what Google sees in terms of keyword rankings and search volume. That tool is AdWords. AdWords is Google’s main driver of revenue, and in it, they give their buyers insights that Analytics and Webmaster Tools doesn’t offer.

We’ll discuss how to use AdWords to help your on page SEO and your overall SEO strategy. We will take a look at both the paid and “free” things that AdWords offers to help you make the right choices to drive traffic to your website.

Use the Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner is undoubtedly the best tool out there to help you track the phrases that have the best ROI for your AdWords spend. What people may not use if for, but should, is to help them plan the targeted SEO keywords on their page.

For example, if you’re looking to have a page rank for “graphic t-shirts” you might find that the search volume is through the roof, and the cost-per-click is low. This would tell you that a lot of people search for something and that it takes a lot of clicks to get a sale from this.

In SEO terms it means, this phrase is going to be hard to rank for, and your bounce rate will probably be high. Using the keyword planner you can find terms that might be more applicable to the exact product you’re selling. While the traffic volumes may be lower, the conversion rate would go up as it’s more specific to your searcher’s needs.

Find Your Easy Wins

By finding terms that are the most focused on user intent and directing them to pages that are specific to that intent, the ability to have a lower cost-per-acquisition can get a lot easier. AdWords gives you the ability to quickly try different phrases that match the optimal intent of a potential buyer without having to wait for organic rankings to happen.

Going back to the t-shirt example, if you specialize in humorous t-shirts, instead of using the term “funny graphic t-shirts” using several specific long-tail phrases will help you find which of them lead to the most sales. Once you have that, optimizing your page against the winning term will mean your organic rankings for that will be more effective for sales.

Test Quickly, Test Often

It’s hard to A/B test your SEO strategy quickly. Because of the amount of time that it takes for pages or whole websites to rank, knowing which language will have the best outcome can take months if not years. AdWords give you some unique advantages to do this.

You can have 4 ads in an ad group all pointing to one page or product. You can then have other experiments in terms of the page’s language, the ad text, call-to-action, etc. that can all be running simultaneously. You’ll get your answers to what is working and what is not much faster than through organic means.

The ability to test is crucial to finding your optimal language and on-page SEO strategy. This, in-turn, is crucial to creating your optimal outcome in terms of lead generation and sales.

Conclusion

While the keyword planner is great starting resource, leveraging the full capabilities of Google AdWords is a fast and effective tool to building the best website you can for your goals. Buying AdWords obviously has a cost associated with it, but, so does any marketing activity. The difference between AdWords and other marketing activities is that you can see the results faster, and when you’re done,  you can just shut it down.

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SEO FAQs: How Long Does It Take to Rank for Keywords?

SEO FAQs How Long Does It Take to Rank for Keywords

How long does it take to rank on Google? Let us count the ranking factors…

One of the most frequently-asked SEO questions boils down to: How long will it take for my content to rank for keywords on Google? It’s not a dumb question—in fact, we often want to be ready to answer it for our clients because it helps set appropriate expectations. However, there is no easy answer.

A 2017 study from SEO tracking and monitoring company Arefs showed that about 95% of fresh content takes over a year to rank in the top 10 on Google. It’s an interesting article, but the most important findings boil down to:

  • Longevity matters. Pages with strong domain authority that have been around long enough to earn the #1 spot are hard to displace.
  • Keyword volume matters. The higher the keyword volume, the harder it is to claim the number one ranking.
  • Domain Ranking matters. The more credibility your domain has earned from Google, the faster new pages go up in the rankings.

That said, the study focused heavily on very high-volume keywords. Even their “low volume” group (which was most successful in ranking quickly) measured keyword volumes in the range of several hundred a month. This means that, while their data is very insightful, small businesses targeting niche keywords have more hope than large corporations targeting high-volume terms.

For low-competition, long-tail keywords, most small businesses can expect to start ranking after 3–6 months. That’s a lot better than a year +, but it still depends on a lot of factors, and no company can guarantee specific search engine results. However, if you’re interested in the different factors that can affect your search engine rankings, here are the top contributors.

You did your SEO, right?

First off, if you haven’t done any keyword research, haven’t optimized your content, and haven’t ensured your pages are findable by Google, then you’re not going to rank. You can’t expect whatever you write to simply start ranking for things if you haven’t your part of the work. Optimizing your pages for certain keywords is how you help Google understand what your content is about and how it should rank.

How new is your domain, and what is your domain authority?

If you’ve only had a live site for less than six months, it’s probably not going to rank for anything. You’re too new to the game to have the heft to outrank companies who have been posting and updating content every few days for several years. It takes time to build credibility, unless you already have such a huge amount of real-world credibility that everyone already knows who you are.

How difficult are your keywords, and who are you trying to displace?

A crucial part of keyword research lies in determining which keywords are the low-hanging fruit, and which are going to involve some stiff competition. If you’re a small cola company, trying to outrank Coke or Pepsi for the top spot on Google is an exercise in futility. Don’t bother. You can still rank for keywords, but you’re going to have to find look for more refined terms such as “natural sugar Coke alternatives” or “organic Coca Cola alternative.”

Is anyone linking to you?

One of the biggest signals to Google that your content is valuable to other people are the number of other sites linking to it. If you post an article that attracts a lot of attention, there’s a good chance it will rank highly with relative speed. However, the quality of those backlinks also matters. A link from a .edu or .gov site will have significantly more authority than anyone else.

A lot of businesses have made the mistake of trying to build backlinks through illicit means, such as by leaving links in the comments section of other pages, or by purchasing backlinks through a scam company. Google is aware of these tactics, and using them could land you in trouble. Which brings us to the next point…

Have you used any black hat techniques?

Of course, none of this matters if, in your rush to get to the top page of Google, you engaged in some questionable SEO strategies. Link stuffing, purchased backlinks, and other black-hat tricks can result in a serious penalty from Google that might banish you from search engine rankings altogether.

No one owes you rankings. You have to earn them.

Probably the biggest misconception many people have when it comes to page rankings is the idea that businesses should be able to guarantee a certain page ranking. They’re looking at their content, and they believe that if it’s good, then it deserves to be number one in the search results.

The problem is that you are not Google’s customers—at least, not where page rankings are concerned. The users typing in search queries are Google’s customers, and it is in Google’s best interest to connect them with whatever site best matches their query. You might want that to be your site, but Google’s algorithm may say otherwise.

Because of this, your best strategy for earning long-term rankings lies in a prolonged SEO and content marketing campaign. You won’t rank overnight, and if you don’t put your time into a sustainable effort, whatever you do publish probably won’t ever rank, because other ranking factors (such as frequency of fresh updates, backlinks, or overall domain authority) won’t ever reach the levels they need to help you rank.

As a marketing strategy, SEO is about the long-term. But with enough patience, your hard work will pay off. You just have to give it enough time.

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Is Your SEO Specialist Promising the Impossible?

Is your SEO specialist promising the impossible?

Understanding the good/cheap/fast of content marketing and SEO.

There’s an old truism in marketing and other customer service-related fields that you can have quality, efficiency, or cost, but not all three.

good cheap fast pick two

Good, fast, cheap: pick two.

It’s a broadly-accurate statement that applies in all sorts of conditions, and content marketing and SEO are no exceptions.

Of course, that doesn’t keep clients from asking. And that’s not entirely their fault: you can’t blame someone for unrealistic expectations if they have no context for understanding what is or isn’t normal. Not to mention that each of these qualities are subjective, and what my seem cheap for one person may seem exorbitant to another.

And then the Internet complicates everything by providing so many conflicting takes on what is or isn’t doable that it’s easy to be misled.

Unfortunately, because they’re such new fields, SEO and content marketing are prime targets for misleading information and false promises. It’s all too easy to find purported SEO specialists selling snake oil instead of real solutions. And when businesses fall victim to bad SEO advice, it tarnishes the field’s good name.

SEO and content marketing have a lot to offer businesses, but only when they’re done right. Here’s how we break that down for you.

Good + Cheap = Blogging.

SEO involves a lot more than blogging, but if you want to witness the fruits of your strategy unfold, you need content on your website that will attract your audience. This is what blogging provides, and it’s one of the most effective SEO strategies at your disposal.

And, for the returns you get in traffic volume, it’s hard to beat. Yes, it still costs money. And as we said before: cost is relative. Spending thousands of dollars over the course of a year may be your entire marketing budget, or it could be the amount you spend on AdWords in a week. But for most businesses, blogging is a modest marketing investment that can return steep dividends.

More importantly, blogs have staying power. If you write a blog and it starts to rank, that single blog post can continue drawing in organic search traffic for years to come. It doesn’t just disappear after you publish it.

That said, it takes time for blogs to begin ranking in organic results—usually about six months or so. Like exercise, you can’t expect to see results overnight. You have to keep working at it, and the cumulative effect of blogging over time will draw in the business you need.

Good + Fast = Targeted Advertising.

At this point, you might be thinking: Hold up, what does targeted advertising have to do with SEO? Isn’t that advertising and not content marketing?

And you’d be right. While all good advertising pays attention to audience demographics and target personas, it’s going to be bringing in paid rather than organic search traffic.

The reason why you can have it fast is because you’re promoting it. But your promotions can still be for content marketing pieces. If you’ve recently written a killer e-book describing your products and services and how they can help businesses succeed—well, why not put some ad spend behind it? You will be able to track who downloads your materials, then use your email workflows to convert those leads to customers.

Or you can use your ad money differently. The point is, it will be expensive, and it will be ongoing. When advertising doesn’t have content to back it, there can be no longevity to the campaign. Stop running the ads, and the campaign ends.

Because of this, it’s best if you can combine it with blogging. That will give you the best of both worlds: Immediate results backed by steady content generation that’s sure to build your SEO.

Cheap + Fast = Black Hat.

In SEO, cheap and fast aren’t just low quality, they’re actually damaging to your business. These bad SEO tactics—commonly referred to as “black hat” SEO—usually involve a promise of immediate results for a nominal sum that seems almost too good to be true (because it is).

For instance, black hat practices include tactics such as keyword stuffing, where they hide keywords in places where the users aren’t likely to notice (such as alt tags or white text on white background), but where they will get picked up by Google. Or they offer to purchase backlinks for your site, giving it the superficial impression of having a lot of credible and valuable content, when really the backlinks all come from bad domain sources.

These tactics are based on manipulating ranking factors to rig the system in your favor. If that sounds dodgy, that’s because it is. It’s not just bad SEO—it’s bad business.

Google strongly penalizes these tactics if they catch them—as is their right. Google doesn’t owe you rankings. In fact, if you do things to unfairly skew rankings in your favor, you’re damaging the integrity of the product Google offers (which is fast and relevant search results).

More importantly, by rigging the system you’re trying to punch above your weight. Because you haven’t done the background SEO work to have fairly earned your rankings, you’re not going to have the product or services that your visitors want. You may temporarily outrank some of your competition, but when your visitors don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll bounce.

You really can only pick two.

If at this point you’re asking “why can’t I have good marketing that delivers fast results and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?” the answer is simple: you’re asking the impossible. No self-respecting marketer or SEO specialist is going to promise results they can’t deliver—and if they do deliver them, it won’t be cheap.

So if you don’t have six months to watch your content marketing strategy start to pay off, and you don’t have the budget to boost it along with paid advertising, none of this is going to work for you.

But, if you have one of those two things (time or budget), then content marketing combined with good SEO and a well-executed advertising campaign can draw traffic to your site, build leads, and convert sales.

It may not be cheap, or it may not be fast. But it will always be good.

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Top 5 HTML Tags to Improve Your SEO

Top 5 HTML tags to improve your SEO

All too often people (more often than not they’re designers) ask, do header tags even matter anymore? I know that it can seem like content is content now, and to a certain extent SEO is secondary. Well, I’m going to have to whole heartedly disagree.

While tagging has lost some of its importance over the years, it’s not just about your search engine rankings. It’s also about proper structure a website, and the benefits that it can have.  Those benefits aren’t just for search engines, but also for readers with disabilities. So let’s take a look at 5 HTML tags that can improve your SEO, but also improve your website as a whole.

Title Tag

Title tags are the the simple tags that you put on your page to do exactly what they say. They tell the search engine and the visitor the title of the page. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, in it’s simplest form, yes. But for the purpose of optimizing for SEO, there are a few items to keep in mind.

  1. Does the title tag contain the keyword you’re seeking to get ranked for?
  2. Does the tag contain the correct amount of characters? (Google displays 50-60 depending on screen size)
  3. Is your brand also included?

Example:

Meta Description

There are a lot of people out there that will say that meta descriptions aren’t really important to search engines, they will say they’re important to gaining user click throughs. Well, if history has taught us anything, user click throughs, are important to search engines deciding which pages have the best answer to the question a user asks.

So yes, meta descriptions are important. When you’re writing them a few things to remember:

  1. You can now go up to 320 characters in a meta description, but Google generally shows 160 characters on the screen.
  2. Make sure you have your keyword included in the meta description. If searchers are looking for a specific term or item, it should have that in there.
  3. If you’re a local business ensure your meta has a store location (city) in there.

Example:

Header Tag

You may have also heard them called h1,h2,h3 tags. While in many instances header tags are used as style elements on a page, they also have some SEO value, especially H1 tags. I’ve run into instances where the business hadn’t used an H1, just a larger version of their body tag. It certainly didn’t help their SEO.

A header tag, is like the beginning of a book chapter, it tells you what the rest of the page is going to be about. Like your title and meta descriptions, it’s helpful for your H1 tag to have your keyword in it. If you have subheadings, use an H2 or H3 tag. They carry less value, but won’t confuse a search engine about what the page’s main theme is.

I say use h2 or h3, because sometimes the design doesn’t fit one or the other. In this instance I’ll appease a designer who had a stylistic reason for choosing that font over a search engine.

Example:

Alt Attribute

Alt attributes are descriptions of the photo in your blog. While yes, these have SEO value, their main value is to screen readers for the visually impaired. They tell those readers what the image is and what it contains. To enhance your SEO at the same time, it’s often helpful to use your keyword in the alt text.

Example:

Canonical Tag

If you’re like us and you write a lot of content, often you write about the same subject more than once. But within all of that there’s a cornerstone content piece that you want the readers and the search engines to get to. Internal linking can help this, but to really push content that direction using a canonical tag will let Google know, this is the best piece about this subject.

If you have a content piece that is ranking well, you don’t want to cannibalize it with similar or even identical content that you’ve written afterward. Instead, using this tag will tell the bots that this is the content you’re really looking for.

Example:

Conclusion

Tagging your pages properly, especially in WordPress, is a pretty simple way to help your pages rank better. While it’s not a silver bullet in terms of SEO, it’s another tool in your bag to make sure that your website gets found by the visitors you want, for the subject that you want them to find you for.

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