Sometimes I think SEOs have lost the plot. Not all SEOs, mind you, but many, especially the newbies. It’s like they don’t understand the reason for doing the SEO things that they know they need to do. I think many walk around with a checklist of SEO-type duties and set off to do them, yet they have no clue as to why. “Title tags: check!”“Meta tags: check!”“Links: check!” “All done! Yay, that was easy!” But without knowing the ultimate reason for doing the things they do, they don’t get it done correctly. You don’t create titles for titles’ sake. You don’t get links for links’ sake. Everything that we teach people to do in SEO has a purpose, and that purpose is not to make the search engines think our site is better than it is. The purpose is to actually make the site better than it is. The search engines place weight on certain factors in their ranking algorithm for a reason. They didn’t … [Read more...] about Avoiding Clueless-Is As Clueless-Does SEO
Does seo work
How much does SEO cost? It’s the proverbial, “How long is a piece of string?” question. And if you think about it, this is not without good reason. SEO is not as easy to nail down as, say, sending out a direct mail campaign to 100 recipients. In some ways, it is not always as easy to measure, as many marketing activities may impact organic search traffic. The cost of SEO is also directly related to the potential rewards. Ranking nationally for a highly prized keyword that may be £10 per click in AdWords will have far more costs associated with it than ranking for a locally oriented keyword. But even on a local level, there can be huge variability — and whether you want to rank in a state, county, city, town or micro-area like a borough or village will influence how difficult this will be. This, of course, influences the price of SEO for your unique situation. In this post, I am going to look briefly at the benefits of organic search via … [Read more...] about How much does SEO cost?
Last year, Matt Cutts said in a YouTube video that Google didn’t count social media metrics such as likes or shares when ranking search results. But fast-forward 12 months and the landscape has changed, with social influencing all areas of search engine optimization, be it on the Web, mobile, or local. While Google doesn’t factor likes and retweets into its algorithm, it does use social to gauge what’s popular. Two key drivers that have impacted this change are “convergence” and “empowerment,” according to Jason Dailey, head of search at MediaVest. Convergence refers to the different channels coming together, whether it’s local, SEO, paid search, social, or video, whereas empowerment is all about consumers. “There are a lot of areas that are converging and these are becoming gray territories in terms of where one ends and the next begins,” says Dailey. “Consumers are also becoming more empowered than ever to control the … [Read more...] about Social and SEO Work Better Together
As I said before when looking at ways in which content marketing and SEO work together, content shouldn’t be created purely to improve search rankings, but SEO should be considered. If done properly, content that works for your audience can also be the content that works for the search engines. In this post I’ll explain what evergreen content is, look at some examples and stats from Search Engine Watch, and demonstrate how the creation of evergreen content can reward the extra effort required. What is evergreen content? What makes it so? Well, it’s content that works over a longer period of time. It delivers traffic, leads, social shares, and can occupy valuable positions in the search rankings for months or even years after the publish date. To do this, the content needs to be relevant to users, therefore it has to be well written, useful and to address the needs of your audience. For example, an article explaining that ‘mobilegeddon’ is arriving may date … [Read more...] about The power of evergreen content for SEO
Continuing my promise to deliver a slightly more wide-eyed ingenue spin on all things search related, here is an exploration of another important term that crept into the SEO conscience way back in 2013: semantic search. What is semantic search? It’s probably easier to give you examples rather than trying to paraphrase the rather verbose Wikipedia entry. Remember how ‘back in the day’ you would type a search query into Google and it would hit you with a result based purely on your keywords? Like if I had typed in ‘Portishead’ without context I would have been offered a mixture of results based on the band and possibly the town in Somerset. However right now in this modern semantic world of ours, if I type in ‘Portishead’ I’m purely given results about the band, mainly because most of my search history is music related and not at all Somerset related. That’s semantic search at its most simplistic. Taking various details about the … [Read more...] about What is semantic search and why does it matter?
It’s hard to meet anyone in the digital industry who hasn’t heard about RankBrain. And it comes as no surprise that this system along with its impact on search results raises endless questions and disputes. We’ve made an attempt to understand the way RankBrain operates and if there’s anything we can possibly do to optimize for it. Let’s start from the very beginning. What is RankBrain? RankBrain is a machine-learning system developed by Google to help improve search results and to interpret brand new queries that haven’t been previously searched for. Some experts consider it to be part of the Hummingbird search algorithm, which was launched to help Google better understand the meaning of the entire query behind exact keywords. The first official statement about RankBrain was made by Google senior research scientist Greg Corrado on October 26, 2015. Here’s how Greg explained the operating principle of the algorithm: “If you’re … [Read more...] about How does RankBrain work and what does it mean for search marketers?
Local SEO has just seen the biggest shake-up since Pigeon in the last few weeks. We now have a single standardized set of local results across both desktop and mobile devices. The big change, of course, is that the variable pack of one, three or often seven results is now replaced with only three results across the board. The real impact here, beyond UX changes, is that many businesses have just fallen out of sight. This is a reduction in visibility of almost 60 percent in many cases, so the competition for local visibility stands to get somewhat more fierce in the coming months. We also have the threat of sponsored local results on the horizon, which look eerily like the new standardized local results. Is a standardized local pack a step toward a sponsored local pack? Is the local SEO free ride about to come to an abrupt halt? Will this approach roll out across all local search or be limited to service-type businesses? Will we see local sponsored listings and local organic listings? … [Read more...] about Local SEO Is Not An Island (Or At Least It Shouldn’t Be!)
If you manage a local business website, then you likely have a series of pages for your targeted locations. You may even have some supplementary pages to target cities surrounding your physical locations. Done well, this can be a solid strategy to scale your marketing and make local customers aware of your business. Unfortunately, these pages are not always finely crafted, and all too often, they are simple template pages with one or two key details changed for each location. Sometimes there is location greed with too many pages created; sadly, this approach is often abused by businesses and those nefarious SEO types to grab a tiny bit more SERP real estate than they really deserve. To combat this, Google has promised (and possibly released) an update to the Doorway Pages algorithm, which could also catch many (relatively) innocent local businesses in the crossfire. As with all quality-focused Google updates, it is the problems and woe that get all the column space and not the … [Read more...] about Local SEO Landing Pages 2.0
The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.Sun Tzu, The Art of War The Art of War is a book written around 500 BCE in ancient China. The author, Sun Tzu, was a military general, strategist and philosopher. As popular history would have it, the book has influenced many military operations and conquests over the years — from Japanese Samurai to France’s Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, the book continues to hold influence in various spheres of modern life. A quick Google search will reveal many tales of the book’s use in the business world. One story that sticks out is when the fledgling Snapchat resisted an acquisition by Facebook, and the CEO, Evan Spiegel, gave all of his staff copies of The Art of War as inspiration to finish the fight. Can lessons from military strategy really be used to inform our marketing and business … [Read more...] about Local SEO & The Art of War
There are many, many variables at play in an SEO campaign, so successful campaigns rely on a control system to ensure the work undertaken delivers results. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) act as this control system and allow you to identify what is working — and often, more importantly, provide the SEO with an early warning system if something is not moving the needle as expected. KPIs also provide a means to illustrate success to your clients (or company higher-ups if you’re in-house). Typical SEO KPIs like keyword rankings and metrics from tools like Moz or Majestic SEO may be useful for you, but the clients you serve want to see an increase in sales and leads — not simply improved positions and hikes in Domain Authority. In this post, I’ll take a look at how you can use KPIs to better track success and improve results of your SEO campaigns. And possibly most importantly of all, I will show you how to use KPIs to better illustrate the value of the SEO … [Read more...] about KPIs for SEO: measuring SEO success