How Social Media Plays a Role in Search Results and Rankings

Social Media and its Role in Search Results and Rankings

Does Social Media play a role in search results and rankings? Is there a correlation between social signals and Google rankings? Can you optimizing your posts for searches? Evidences has showed that there was an increasing weight on ranking signals from social media sources ever since 2010. Since then, they can impact personalized search results in Google.

The key to success in search engine rankings is to increase market share by providing the best possible results for the end user.

Correlation Between Social Media and Rankings

Moz did a study in 2013 that showed a correlation between Google +1s and rankings in Google. You can find the study here: https://moz.com/blog/google-plus-correlations

Users like proof from their peers that something is good, valuable or reliable. If a friend “liked it” on Facebook, then the user becomes more inclined to purchase the item since it has a trustworthy friend’s approval.

Bing has a relationship with many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Quora. Because of their relationships, Bing is provided with real-time access to any updates that occur on those sites. When someone posts an update on their Facebook page, Bing gets notified of that update via its API. Whereas, Google has to crawl Facebook to obtain comparable social update info.

Google is not able to get any data from pages that are not marked as ‘Public’ by the owner. Consequently, that is a very large crawling burden.

One note of significance is that links from Facebook to external pages use the nofollow attribute. This means that these links do not pass Page Rank to the pages receiving the link.

Perhaps Google might want to consider placing more emphasis on indexing posts from highly influential people.

Does Google Use Facebook as a Ranking Factor?

Stone Temple Consulting performed a study in 2013 showing Facebook pages indexed by Google. The study can be found at the following link: https://www.stonetemple.com/does-facebook-activity-impact-seo/

Due to the test they did to find out if 800 or more ‘Likes’ attracted Google’s attention, the study concluded that Google does not use the ‘Like’ data.

They also tried to directly measure indexing and ranking of Facebook shared links, which was inconclusive due to not having enough participation to be sure of the results.  But from the data they did have, it showed that Google did not even crawl the pages based on Facebook shares.

Another finding from Stone Temple Consulting’s study, show that there is no material evidence that posts are more likely to be indexed when they are new. However, one interesting exception is images.

Therefore, from their study, they concluded that Google does not use Facebook as an indexing or ranking factor.

It is very likely that this could change in the future as search engines continuously experiment with new ways to use different types of ranking factors.

Google Algorithms

Google+ is the social network owned by Google.  So unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google obtains information from Google+ in real time. Personalization is one ways that Google+ impacts the Google search results.  When the searcher is logged into Google, a listing might rank as #1 in the organic search results; however, the same listing might only rank #12 when that same user is in incognito. This has a major impact on a business.

Google+ also allows you to create a brand page, which a company can then connect that brand page with your website. If that brand page has some basic level of activity on the page, it can show up in the search results as well. This can really add to the brand impression of the business.

Google will try hard to develop Google algorithms that extract clear signals of value from Google+. The way Google is looking at these types of signals is not precisely known. However, we do know that Google will try to find ways to extract any value from them which will increase the quality of its results.

Indirect Influences of Social Media Marketing

Social media can influence search ranking in a number of indirect ways including direct branding impact, audience building, customer service, viral impact, link building, citations, and brand search generation.

When a business builds a following on social media platforms, this will create a greater engagement with their customers and this can lead them to become brand ambassadors as a result of feeling a closer connection with that business. The willingness to spread the word is greatly enhanced once an audience feels closely engaged.

Search engines count links in Facebook and Twitter. It is also likely that brand mentions are valuable since search engines look for ways to measure how much they trust a brand. For insistence, the number of times a brand is referenced across the Internet is one metric that could be used to measure.  If this metric is not already in practice, it is very likely it will be in the future.

Social Networks

There are a number of social media platforms and it can be too time consuming to use them all.

Facebook is the largest social media networks, with over 1.2 billion users in 2014. That is over 10% of the total population. In the US only, there were more than 7 out of 10 people were using Facebook. Therefore, Facebook is definitely worth including as part of your social media strategy.

Twitter reported 255 million users in 2014. They may be a smaller platform than Facebook, but still has a large number of influencers who can help create visibility for a business. Twitter also has a larger male following, with almost 50% more men on Twitter than women.

Instagram has over 200 million users and is quickly growing. Instagram is most prevalent amount teenagers.

Google+ has 540 million users, however, external research shows that almost half of these do not actively use Google+.

Pinterest had around 70 million users in 2014, but is rapidly growing, and lean more towards the female demographic.

LinkedIn had more than 300 million members in 2014, making it another major social network. LinkedIn is great for building a strong network of connections.

There are many other social media networks to consider, including Snapchat, YouTube, WhatsApp and Quora.

Effective use of social media results from nurturing relationships that build the brand’s reach, authority and trust.  Social media provides a great opportunity to build brand awareness and positive associations, so that when a customer is ready to make a purchase, the company’s brand is on the mind of the customer.

Backlinks are all about Link Building in SEO

Backlinks in SEO
“The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.” – Voltaire

 

Quality backlinks are one of the main ways that search engines establish ranking for a consumer. This is done by identifying the importance of a website by establishing link building and quality back links throughout the websites that the search engine crawls. As a beginner, learning how to establish credible backlink building is essential for a searchable and powerful website.

Backlinks in SEO

Backlinks were one of the initial thoughts for the Google search team on how to identify and capture top results for searches that were reputable and trustworthy. The logic evolved around credible link building websites where good websites linked to good websites, which linked to good websites in turn, gave good websites.

Since the late 1990’s the ‘good links’ have been used as votes in evaluating the best websites on the web. Because of this premise, a websites credibility is based largely on quality back links. Although back links in SEO are not everything to website development, it is a very viable way to establish your website for search engine results. In 2011-2012 a large rise in social media sharing through the use of Google +, twitter, and Facebook had drastic effects on search engine results.  Because of this Google began to add social signals into its search results. This was shown through personalized results tailored to logged-in users that included searcher’s social circle.

Although these results might not always appear as the front-runner they were promoted due to social influence. Even though social shares are not links, there is evidence that suggest social shares can affect ranking. In turn as backlink monitoring algorithms continue to improve social media could potentially be a larger player.

Good Backlinks in SEO

In the beginning stages of website development all backlinks in SEO need to have an SEO link building strategy. In order to determine what will be the best SEO link building strategy we must look at important link signals that will be identified by search engines. Moz considers the following to be important link signals based on experience, which include global popularity, local/topic-specific popularity, anchor text, link neighborhood, freshness, and social sharing. Although each one of these factors is important to link building the foundational link signal for a beginner is anchor text.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the basis for creating backlinks for SEO. It is one of the strongest signals used by search engines. If many links point to a page with all the correct keywords it is highly likely that the page will rank well for what is found in the anchor text. Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. For example if a consumer is searching the web for dog training techniques I can name a webpage http://www.dogtrainingtechniques.com/Dog-Training-Techniques with the bolded portion being the key anchor text. This factor is one of those things that enables control within a website. By naming web pages in accordance with the desired anchor text, the power to buy high pr backlinks is in the website owner’s hands and is a simple way to capture relevant terms. Some important points to remember when deciding on the type of anchor text to use is that it is succinct, relevant to the linked page, not overly keyword heavy, and not generic.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor link analysis is another great way to identify how to get a website on top. This provides a simple way to dive into the market that the website is being built for and find keywords to provide a website with traffic. This also provides a beginning website the ability to see what it is up against. By analyzing what a competitor has, it better allows for identification of strategies that are used to acquire links and identify resources that didn’t acquire many links.

Bad Backlinks in SEO

In the past there have been many ways that website developers have tried to scam search engines. Over time search engines have developed more complex ways to identify spamming backlink generators. Although it is impossible for search engines to identify those who buy links they strive to search these out. Websites that are caught buying links risk adverse penalties and typically, the ability to buy high quality backlinks is virtually impossible. Typically backlink buyers get their sites scoured with backlinks on extremely poor websites. It is also important to insure that backlinks stay away from low quality websites. This can be avoided by using a backlink finder such as Majestic. Websites like Majestic allow for an SEO backlink checker and provide trust flow as well as other dependable statistics.

Backlinks in SEO Final Word

There are good ways to start a website and there are bad ways to start a website. From a beginner to a beginner there are simple ways to optimize websites that can allow a website to overcome many of the growing pains. Whether it is having the best-looking website to the most user friendly, if a search engine can’t find it what’s the point?

Easily Increase Blog Traffic Using Image Optimization

How To Increase Blog Traffic Using Image Optimization

One hugely overlooked tactic to increasing blog traffic is with the proper use of website and blog images. Knowing how various algorithms calculate ranking of image search results is key. They aren’t analyzing the actual picture, but rather, the information. The actual blog images provide very little information that can increase search engine ranking. Using minor image optimization, proper image filenames, and image size and quality, anyone can increase blog traffic. Search engines don’t know what content the physical blog image contains. Keywords found in HTML image tag, alt tag, and image quality are what they rely on.

HTML Image Title To Increase Blog Traffic

It seems easier, when adding blog images to not change the HTML image title or image filename that your camera assigned. Although easier, sadly, when search engines crawl data, this is useless information in image search. Make sure to name your images descriptively and that the image filename or its source tag (SRC tag) contains the primary targeted keyword because this is the first information that is analyzed and sent through their algorithms.

 

Before uploading pictures to a website ensure to make these image filename changes or you will need to edit them later. For example, if you wanted to increase blog traffic relating to a blog post about a cool Pink Lemonade Recipe, you could change the image title or SRC tag to pink-lemonade.jpg to help both for a improving ranking in a vertical search engine ranking and a better ranking in the image search. Studies show that 63 percent of google image search clicks turn into site traffic. This is a very overlooked and easy way to increase blog traffic.

Image optimization With Alt Text or Alt Tag

Alt text, or alternate text, was originally an attribute to help the vision impaired to better understand the web and blog images were. Alt tags are used to aid the reader know what the picture was when there is a problems loading the site. They are used to help know what a faulty image was. Search engine rank algorithms use the alt tag to try to understand more about what your blog image is a picture of, and this is why it is important to be extremely descriptive even with the HTML Image tag, both image filename as well as alt tag.

Image Optimization With Alt Text
SRC Text And Alt Text Example

The alt text should be descriptive  enough to both describe what the blog image is about, if at all possible, use any targeted keywords or key phrases that will help increase blog traffic along with an improved search engine ranking. Alt text should NOT be spam crammed bundles of targeted keywords, but rather be clear and cohesive and optimized for clear image search. If these blog images are piled too high with targeted keywords, the search engine’s crawling algorithm may overlook, or degrade the quality of image.

Importance of High-Quality Images

Image size may not seem like it would be very important, besides, you can always size the photo inside of the HTML code, right? Wrong. Uploading a blog image that is too large means that it will slow down your website. Increasing blog loading speed will actually lower your search engine rank and position on image search.

Decorative images can add appeal to the website or blog and can improve image search presence. It also can increase the ability for more targeted keywords. Adding too many of these images, with large file sizes, can dramatically slow down a website. If these decorative images are important and useful to the page, make sure to decrease the image size before uploading and fill out all of the HTML image tag and alt tag information. If these images are just only decoration, do not use alt tag or src tag on them, because you want the crawling algorithm to skip the blog image.

Use of original images is very helpful for blog or website search engine rank. Using original images will ensure no use of copyrighted photos.  Also, it will ensure that the image contains quality links. It also is more eye catching when every other website uses stock photos, or the same photo. Original images stand out, and if they are high-quality images, can drastically increase blog traffic from the image search.

Other Easy Ways to Better Image Optimization

  • Allow others to use your blog image if they link it back to your website.
  • Enter a description including targeted keywords under the image.
  • Turn on Photo geotagging. Enabling photo geotagging will allow for location oriented image search.
  • Link your Flikr photo pages to your blog or website, or related blog page. You should add hyperlinks to the Description field below the blog image.
  • Post as many fully optimized blog pictures as possible. This will allow the search engine rank to increase blog traffic little by little. Adding up little fractions of results does increase the whole result.

Things That Destroy Search Engine Rank with Blog Images

  • Do not store the blog image in the sidebar column, header, or footer. Search engine rank crawling algorithms generally ignore these sections.
  • Avoid unnecessary or unrelated photos.  Search engine rank algorithms  can become confused by what the blog is about. They won’t know now to help drive traffic to your blog.
  • Make sure that your alt tag parameter is valid, error will degrade the quality of your blog.

What Next?

There are many ways to increase blog traffic and improve your search engine rank. Image optimization is definitely not the only, or best way, but is a great place to start. With proper implementation, you should be able to start using image optimization to increase blog traffic. The blog’s traffic will increase by having your blog images noticed by the search engine’s algorithms. High-quality images will help your blog rank on image search.

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Successful mental health app must include deep links

deep linking, mental health app

Why create a mental health app?

I decided to write this article on why I became interested in creating my own mental health app and my journey on what it entails to have a successful app including the concept of mobile app deep linking. As a mental health therapist for the past 15 years, I have mastered and trained with some of the best clinicians in behavioral health.
I always look for additional  ways to educate my clients in order to create change  by using  different mediums such as art therapy, music or sandtray therapy . Then one day a few years ago,  I came across an app that teaches how to decrease anxiety, or “self-help anxiety management”. I thought that it was an amazing idea and started to use it right away.  I then realized that this app has its drawbacks.
I had difficulty accessing  the coping skill without going first to the homepage then finding the link to the coping skill then clicking on it.  It was time consuming and frustrating; especially when the internet is down or working really slow.

Understanding Deep Links

I was venting to my 14 years old daughter about this issue, she responded that this app is missing deep app linking.  I suddenly became aware of my lack of knowledge and old age.   You may be wondering what is deep linking and why does it matter? The best way I can explain it that it provides the ability for any type of user to  share a link directly to the product bypassing its homepage.

Problems related to not having deep links

Let’s say you have a website that provides all of your basic information but also offer specific therapeutic skills, your client or user could click on the skill and it will directly lead them to that exact spot of your website.For some reason, I identified mobile app deep linking with the image of Spiral Jetty, one singular link can take you deep into the center of the Jetty. Here is a great article to read for additional information; deep linking article.

Limitations with deep links

Another issue arose such as only being able to use this app on an I phone or provide IOS app deep linking.  Thus, I could not suggest this app for clients who had an android phone or only have android app deep linking capabilities. I began searching for additional apps or tools to provide to my clients. It became confusing and frustrating to search for various apps that allow both deep linking android app and app deep linking IOS. I  quickly realized that these apps had issues and was not always easy to use; which again can cause frustrations for my clients.

An idea was formed

I decided to create my own app by soliciting my 14 years old daughter as my partner in order to create both google app deep linking and deep linking website to app. I already had my own website about my practice. Why is this a brilliant idea? It sets me apart from other mental health therapists by creating a competitive advantage. As you may know ,we tend to work with very impatient clients who want results right away, if you direct them to your website and they cannot find your skill immediately, it will cause more pain for them  and  you may possibly lose this client due to their frustration and impatience.  
Another possibility is that they will become distrustful of you and will most likely not use the skill. The reality is that the majority of clients hate doing homework or actually make the necessary changes in their lives.  In order to simplify this process and increase the likelihood of clients using the counseling tools,  I would highly recommend creating a self-help app that connects to your website and ensuring that you have the ability to have deep linking mobile app set up. More importantly, there is an increased number of people who are getting more comfortable in using apps. It is essential now to have therapy apps established with your business website.  It is also getting easier and more effective to use apps, thanks to Google.

In 2012, Google + was able to create a platform that led IOS and Android apps to be able to share and open each other deep links.  This tool will then allow any type of user to share links to their friends without worrying if they have the IOS or Android apps.  Here is another great article on google platform and deep linking. This is great news for anyone interested in creating their own mental health therapy apps. Here are some examples of popular interest amongst our clients and apps users based on a recent survey delivered at my outpatient clinic: online therapy free, therapy online, meditation apps for anxiety, mental health facts, mental illness or online advice.

As mental health therapists in private practice, you must set yourself apart from the thousands of other therapists. By creating your own app that is linked with your website, it does set you apart and again gives you that competitive edge. Before embarking on the creation of your own app, ensure that your mobile app deep links are working effectively! Just think of the Spiral jetty! Or your app will miserably fail.

Bounce Rate: Why Is It Important for SEO?

Bounce Rate

Whether yUnderstanding the factors affecting bounce rate can improve a website's relevance to specific search topicsou are the digital marketing manager for a retail company or a poor sole proprietor trying to find more business, optimizing your website for higher user engagement and site visitor retention is key to your company’s success. When you hear the term bounce rate, intuition would lead us to believe that this should be a low number. Depending on the industry, the number of visitors leaving your page without clicking through to another page located in your site can vary. Trying to determine acceptable bounce rate may be difficult to determine until the factors affecting bounce rate are understood.

What is bounce rate?

As stated above, bounce rate analytics is the percentage of visitors to a given website who leave the site after viewing only a single page. Bounce rate in the SEO (search engine optimization) world is an easy metric for determining the efficacy or usefulness of your website. These single-page visits can affect how your site stacks up when a user on Google and Bing conducts a search. The point of calculating bounce rate is to measure the effectiveness of your site. Once a visitor lands on your page, how engaging is the information to make the searcher want to click on more of your other pages?

Sites with a low bounce rate are indicative of effective content which causes visitors to click deeper and view more pages within the site. Google Analytics defines a website’s bounce rate as the number of single page visits with zero actions divided by the number of entry page visits. This simple formula is used for every page on the internet, so there isn’t a standard by which a site needs to adhere. There are average bounce rates for each industry. Therefore it would pay to research them and make the necessary changes for users to stay on the site and consequently lower your rate. An illustration outlining the equation and the metrics of an average website are available from multiple sites, including Kissmetrics.

What factors affect the bounce rate?

Anything that a user can do to leave a site will cause an increase to the bounce rate, such as:

  • clicking the back arrow
  • typing a new search in the URL bar
  • session timeouts
  • closing the browser tab
  • closing the browser

How can a high bounce rate be improved?

  • The website is not mobile friendly. Since 2007 people are increasingly using cell phones for the internet. If the site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, visitors won’t click through and stay on for long.
  • Pop-up ads. These have been evil words since the beginning of the internet. Limiting or abolishing them from your site will most assuredly help to reduce bounce rate.
  • The website did not pertain to the user’s intent. For example, a Google search for the term organic website brings a list full of companies offering organic foods. The user would click away from all the sites offering food and continue to look for the definition of an organic website.
  • The content is not easily seen at first glance. Web surfing is basically free, and time is very valuable. The user has little incentive to spend time searching around the page for the tidbits of information. Make the information easy to see with minimal special effects.
  • The page takes too long to load. Again, time is valuable. If it takes more than a couple seconds to load, users can click on the next link on the list. Google has obtained a plug-in that measures the time it takes pages to load and assigns them a score. Investing in faster servers and other optimizations will help alleviate the problem.
  • Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are indicative of poor quality. If a company can’t spend time to make sure its website is free of simple mistakes, what does that say for its dedication to produce a quality product? Run spell check and have a few friends look over the content before launching the site.
  • The site is difficult to understand. The majority of the population doesn’t read Shakespeare and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Tough words are not going to impress many people. Keep the information easy to understand.
  • It is difficult to click through various pages and leave the page. Can the visitor get deeper into your site easily? Make links to other content easily available from the home page to encourage more site navigation.
Is a low bounce rate critical for your site?

There are many different types of sites on the internet for many different types of companies. Making sure you have an acceptable bounce rate compared to other sites may not be necessary. It also may not even be an issue for you. The bounce rate on a single page site such as a site for a plumber with information about services offered and a way to contact him or her, a site showing recipes, or the yellow pages showing a phone number would not be nearly as significant of a factor as an e-commerce site which requires many click-through opportunities. Think about Apple’s former website. The scroll wheel on the mouse gets a workout on their long page, and they may want you to stay on the first page of the website. A lot of the information about their products was readily available on the first page. Some industries almost require face-to-face interaction for business interactions, so perhaps your landing page may also be a very simple site which guides users to a phone number or contact form, like www.academymortgage.com for example. A site such as this may expect to have a high bounce rate. If your website is so good that the user gets the information he/she wants after visiting the first page, aiming to achieve a low bounce rate should not be a priority.

Getting a favorable impression from Google and other search engines is very important, therefore each site needs its own rate metrics defined. Defining what exactly counts as a bounce for your website is critical. More information about stating your site’s own bounce rate and other metrics is available from Moz.com.

See more related content on the Utah SEO Class site.

A Mobile SEO Future Means Using Google Voice on Wearables Now

As an entrepreneur with some guerilla marketing experience, I started to build an e-commerce store for my coffee business. After some research, I found out about a wearable future. I learned that a mobile SEO future means using Google Voice on wearables now.

I’m a  beginner when it comes to online advertising and I quickly learned  Google mobile ads is the best place to start. Mobile is becoming the way most people use the internet and that will soon turn into using Google Voice and wearables. I learned that 80% of social media use is on mobile. Mobile is the natural entry point for online advertising for small businesses.

A 2015 eMarketer study states that mobile ad spend will represent 72.2% of total U.S. digital ad spend by 2019. Taking advantage of this increase will be key for small business owners like myself.  Mobile ads are an easy and affordable way to build a marketing campaign since they use the Google search engine. For most people it’s already very easy to type things like “Movies near me”, “Food near me” or “Restaurants near me” into my Google search bar.

My question of “What is SEO?” turned into an understanding of the future of wearable technology. I found that in the wearable technology market, wearable technology trends predict a growth in the wearables market of 35% by 2019. And if you are targeting a young audience like my coffee company is, most people who use wearable tech are young; 48% are between 18 and 342. This is good news for companies seeking millennial customers.

A mobile SEO future means using Google Voice on wearables. What is a wearable? In its simplest term, it’s “an item that can be worn”.

Mobile SEO future means using Google Voice on wearables

 

SEO for mobile is super important if you want to be a first mover into the smartwatch market or try to get part of users of the Fitbit market share. Mobile will be the transition point that will lead to wearable SEO optimization.

Mobile web at the basic level must be:
Fast
Functional
Finger-friendly
Free from redirects and errors
Use responsive web design and dynamic serving

MOBILE SITES MUST BE FAST:

Google cares about how fast your site is and ranks it accordingly. Pick the right hosting provider and test your upload and download speeds on as many devices as you can, in as many locations as you can. Test your home Wi-Fi, a public Wi-Fi or use your mobile devices cellular network.  Mobile site speed is a crucial component of mobile SEO success, a point that has been driven home by Google for a number of years now. You can test download and upload speeds with network hosting tools. It’s useful to try it yourself and see how it actually feels for your customers if it’s slow.

MOBILE SITES MUST BE FUNCTIONAL:

Make sure your mobile site actually works, like no 404 errors (web page not found). This may sound like a simple thing that isn’t worth paying much attention to. But, you’d be surprised how often a random unlinked and non-working html page gets put in a public site directory. Google crawls your site and your customers can find broken pages. An error page for a growing business can be the kiss of death. And don’t, don’t publish non-mobile friendly content (bye-bye Flash videos).

MOBILE SITES MUST BE FINGER FRIENDLY:

Phones come in different shapes and sizes, just like humans and human fingers do. Make links easy to click. Use button links instead of text. Make it easy for bigger hands and fingers to move around your site easily.

MOBILE SITES MUST HAVE RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN AND DYNAMIC SERVING:

This is where things get a little more complicated. You can find many easy to customize templates that use technology like Bootstrap HTML that are responsive. Responsive sites will automatically adjust to the user’s device so  it displays correctly on desktop or mobile devices. These responsive designs use the same site.com for all pages and the magic happens in the CSS code. However, this could slow down the site if it loads unnecessary files on mobile.

If you have the resources (meaning building the equivalent of two sites), you can build your site.com and also mobile.site.com. Redirecting mobile users to a custom mobile site that’s optimized for mobile devices will give you better SEO results. But if you are a small business, building two sites can be too costly in time and money to be worth it.

An easy thing to do for your mobile site’s SEO is to include a mobile sitemap using current search engine guidelines. Google’s search engine guidelines can be found here: and Bing’s search engine guidelines can be found here.
Google even has a tool to test your site for mobile optimization.

 

Once you’ve got your mobile SEO strategy figured out, I found one easy way for small businesses to enter the wearable market space. Small businesses can differentiate early by capitalizing on Google Voice.

For your customers that use a wearable and have access to Google Assistant, it’s really just a window into Google: “anything you might want to type into a search engine works here, and works especially well when the answer is going to be a simple one.” according to Wareable.

Mobile SEO future means using Google Voice on wearables

This is where your customers could say “movie theaters near me” instead of typing it in their search engine bar. It’s called proximity marketing and it’s hyper-local for customers.

According to Forbes, Super-mobile technology will “demand hyper-local content, such as content that changes based on your current location, and local optimization down to the street or block level (rather than focusing on a city or region).”

Warren Kay, the Austin, Texas-based vice president of advertising at Under Armour Connected Fitness says “while today’s U.S. consumers might own one wearable device, by 2020, the typical U.S. consumer will have eight”.

And wearables aren’t just for the Pokemon Go younger crowd. Accenture data shows 17% of Americans over the age of 65 use wearables to use biosensing to track fitness or vitals such as blood pressure or heart rate. And, about half of Americans over 65 and half of those under 65 are willing to wear them.

My company’s mobile SEO future means using Google Voice like this:  When people search for coffee, I want them to talk to their wearable and say “Coffee Pops near me” instead of “Starbucks near me”.

 

From desktop, to mobile, to wearables – small businesses that want to transition to wearables can take advantage of mobile SEO to get there. Mobile SEO will continue to be one of the most valuable marketing tools in the small business toolkit.

As of June 2017, there is a course offered on Udemy to demystify wearable technologies, so you can begin utilizing wearables now, as part of your small business product or marketing strategy.
https://www.udemy.com/wearable-technology/

 

SEO and Social Media Marketing – Do Social Media Metrics Matter?

SEO and Social Media Marketing

Google’s Search Ranking Algorithm

It is no secret that businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their Google ranking. Thus, Google SEO strategy is an essential part of any company’s marketing plan. As any SEO practitioner can tell you, Google’s search ranking algorithm currently has around two hundred ranking factors. Among those factors are several which most SEO people agree have a high impact on Google’s ranking. This includes domain-level link authority features, page-level link metrics, page-level keyword and content, domain-level brand metrics, usage and traffic/query data, and domain-level keyword usage. Less clear is whether there is a connection between SEO and social media marketing. If there is, many wonder how large the impact is.

The Influence of Social Signals on Google ranking

Google has claimed that domain-level social metrics is not a factor in its algorithm. However, many SEO practitioners believe otherwise. “While Google has flip-flopped on their algorithm’s use of social signals as a factor in search rankings, the official word for now is that social signals (likes, retweets, pins, shares, follows, etc.) don’t factor into search results.”

One thing that is clear is that Google does use social signals to measure the legitimacy, authenticity, and credibility of a website. For example, if you have a large number of followers on Facebook, Google will factor this into your credibility and authenticity. In turn, this will boost your ranking. After all, if you only created phony clickbait content, you wouldn’t have been able to build a large community of followers in the first place. Not only should you be focusing on search engine optimization, you should also be dedicated to social media optimization. Optimizing your social media will boost your authenticity.

Social media may not be a direct SEO ranking factor, but it is an indirect one. Its impact on SEO is mostly due to the increase in the probability of earning direct ranking factors. This increased reach explains in part why there are correlations between content that gets a significant number of shares or likes, and that which ranks well.

It is important for you to keep these SEO and social media tips in mind in order to improve your website marketing. Getting more Tweets or shares, or increasing followers won’t directly impact your website’s SEO ranking within the search results. Social media marketing helps SEO rankings by enhancing the probability of earning direct ranking factors. It also helps by positively impacting user metrics that trigger algorithm variables.”

How to Improve Your Company’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

You can ensure that you are utilizing social media by regularly doing social media monitoring. This will help analyze and assess how your social media sites are performing. “It appears inevitable that eventually social media will tie directly to every website’s search rankings. For now, your social media should act as an extension of SEO. It should be an inbound marketing tactic that directly impacts your reach, popularity, brand identity, and influence online. Consider the rules of SEO when crafting your social content. Create messages that make you stand out from the crows. Keep your content smart, brief, and easy to enjoy at a glance. Most of all, make it irresistible!”

Target Audience: Learn to Create Shareable Content to Maximize Audience Reach

Creating Content to Reach Your Target Audience

There are many factors to consider and decisions to be made when content for a website or social medium use is being developed.  Considerations include what type of content to develop.  Where the content should be published. And who the target audience is the content is attempting to reach.  The identification of the target audience  you are attempting to reach should be at the forefront of decisions to be made.  This is critical for multiple reasons.  Ben Sailer shares that defining your target audience enables you to create the right content for the right people, have a better understanding of how to create content that connects benefits to needs, and increases conversion.

Know Your Product and the Demographics of Your Target Audience

Having a clear understanding of your product is a first step in defining your target audience.  Identifying what the benefits are of your product and why someone would want to consume what you have to is critical.   A definitive answer to these two questions is especially relevant as you take the next step on the journey to define your target audience.  This next step is determining the demographics of the audience you would like to target.

Top customer demographics to look for include:  gender, ethnicity, age, household income, home ownership, disabilities, education, employment status, children, location, type of car(s), marital status, and savings.  Use these demographics to make a clear identification of who your target audience is.  As a result of clearly selecting your target audience, you will be able to create content that is relevant and engaging to them and will connect the benefit of your product to their need.  If these two things are accomplished, increased conversion should follow.

Create Content That Makes Sense for Your Target Audience

There are multiple ways you can create content. AudienceBloom lists 101 Content Ideas For Your Website or Blog.  Suggestions include regular series features, memes, photography, calendars, influencer interviews, questions and answers, testimonials, general quotes and proverbs, stories, and “ultimate” resource guides.

Demographics of Your Audience Identified

There are many ways these suggestions can be put to use.  To demonstrate a real world example, assume your product is hiking gear.  Items such as bags, packs, water bottles, poles, etc.  From your careful demographic research you determine that you have a target audience of 18 – 25 year olds.  They enjoy the outdoors as a casual hobby.  Consequently, you are not going after hard core thrill seekers.  Further target audience breakdown shows that your target audience lives near the mountains, has an income of $25,000 – $45,000, has no children, and is single.  With this in mind, you are ready to begin brainstorming the type of content you feel would best reach your target market.

Examples of Content to Match the Demographics of Your Target Audience

A regular series feature such as a hike of the week or best practices and tips for safe and fun hiking is one idea. Inclusion of  links to various hiker’s blogs allows users to easily access supplemental content.   Making maps of popular hiking trails in various geographical locations accessible is another idea.  A photo gallery where users can post pictures of a recent hike, such as shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3, could be a fun way to engage your target audience.  Those who post photos could also share where they were at and submit a review of the hike.

Target audience hiking views
Figure 1
Target audience hiking trail
Figure 2
Target audience hiking trail views
Figure 3

Quotes by famous naturalists, such as John Muir, may enlist interest as well.  Memes can be made using nature photographs and famous quotations, see Figure 4, that users can download and share.  Additionally, links to meme makers can be made available.  This would enable users to create memes using pictures they have taken themselves.

Target audience meme
Figure 4

Another option is to have client testimonials.  Asking clients for testimonials is an effective way to look credible.  A satisfied customer sharing a positive review of how your product benefited them on a hike would build credibility for your product and brand.

Share Content for Maximum Target Audience Impact

With content created, the next question to answer is where to share it.  The answer to this question is contingent on the target audience the content is intending to attract and engage.  Especially relevant is an understanding of where the target audience you have identified goes for their information.  Jayson DeMers lists three motivations for publishing or sharing content in a particular place.  These include:  the brand name lending you credibility with a wider audience; your website benefiting from their high rank and relevant topical approach; and your potential customers or existing customers reading or watching the publication.

Available Mediums for Sharing Content with Your Target Audience

There are many mediums available on which your content can be shared.  These include magazines, newspapers, websites, social media, blogs, TV, etc.  It is critical that you know the audience you are targeting when making the decision of where to share content.  Most of all, know what sources will provide the best chance to reach the identified audience and which will not.

Do not send created content out to every medium available with a hope the content will catch on somewhere.  The target audience for newspapers will be different than the target audience of Snapchat or the target audience of Facebook.  The same content shared  across newspapers, Snapchat, and Facebook consequently may not reach your targeted audience.   As a result of poor medium choice, the content may confuse the audience that is using the particular medium.  This confusion may harm your brand.

Opposite of this, the target audience of LinkedIn may share similarities to the target audience of the Huffington Post.  Consequently, created content shared across both of these mediums maybe effective in reaching the audience you are targeting.  Creating content that matches the characteristics of your target audience, and where they go for information, is a key factor to the success of any plan.

Returning to the previous example, consider where a target market with the identified demographics will go for their information.  As a reminder, the characteristics are:  18 – 25 years old, lives near mountains, has an income of $25,000 – $45,000, has no children, and is single.   This demographic most likely spends a lot of their time on social media sites. Sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.  They probably find most of their news online.  Therefore, these mediums, and similar apps and sites, along with your website should be the focus of content distribution.

A Final Thought on Target Audience Selection

Target audience selection can, and should, require careful thought, consideration, research, and time.  Developing content and determining which mediums to share content on also requires careful thought, consideration, and research.   Most of all, don’t let the result of your efforts to create effective content fail by taking short cuts or not putting in the effort needed to identify your target audience.

Creating a SEO Friendly Website

 

SEO Friendly Website

When creating a SEO friendly website it is helpful to know that a search engine will be impacted by everything on the webpage. With having a SEO friendly website someone would typically think that SEO would be Search Engine Optimization but to build a website that truly creates a memorable experience and is compatible with search engines SEO should or could be stated as Site Experience Optimization.

Building and improving your Site Experience Optimization is important to sustainable growth. With that the site needs to be able to evolve as there is a new age of SEO. According to a Forbes article that SEO is also becoming search experience optimization. SEO is expanding and becoming better that it is becoming harder to be gamed but necessary to still do the following things so that the website is SEO efficient. post will share following steps but your site needs to be relevant and an enjoyable experience for users.

Domain, URLs and Crawable Links

The domain name and URLs are two basic parts to creating a SEO friendly website. Make the domain name unique for better search results by doing this it will help the website be different but it is important to own other relevant domain names that the website is not confused with other websites. When deciding on available domain names only choose dot com available domains. Keep it as short as possible and easy to remember. When picking the right URLs it needs to describe the content and also keep it short just as the domain name. Static URLs improve SEO by connecting search results with relevant URLs.

Search engines use website links to see what other sites might link together or be similar. Some websites are created that aren’t crawable or limit spider accessibility but it needs to be able to link structures and pages. If websites do limit crawl abilities it impacts the page’s opportunity to be indexed in search engines. There are tools to help see how the webpage where is the PageRank, one of those tools is Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog runs reports to see how many outgoing links there are per page.

Indexable content, Structure and Achitecture

According to this Moz.com article to perform better in search engine results the most important thing to do is have the site content be in HTML text format. Going along with indexable content, when using images and videos on the website put titles and descriptions with the videos. Adding text to images for search results enables search engines to find and utilize in search results. Be sure that image or videos are relevant to the content on the page. Doing this will impact search results as well.

The more content that is on the website can increase the opportunity for search engines to find the website. Not only content but how its structured will impact SEO. What is structured data and how does it impact SEO? If the website has category structuring it will be able to crawl the website to find snippets to display in the search results. The category structuring will impact the user search experience and SEO by having navigation that helps the user.

Flat vs deep architecture will impact SEO by creating or having less clicks. It is decisive to have a flat architecture so that the user has less clicks to get to the desired page. Web crawlers favor flat web pages to find the content but having too much on a single page can work against SEO as well. It is significant to keep things simple where possible for a better SEO friendly website. Flat architecture will also help users navigate the webpage which creates a SEO friendly website as well.

Mobile Friendliness

Now is the time to become mobile friendly and embrace it 110%. This is critical to create a positive user experience. Mobile devices are becoming a priority browsing experience so it is critical to create the website a seamless experience. Doing this will help users navigate on the web or mobile web. With more users having mobile experiences if the website is a pleasant experience on a mobile device consumers will stay longer which will create a longer dwell time. This dwell time helps lower bounce rate and Google loves high dwell time. To continue to find success it is key to optimize a better mobile experience.

Cleaning up for a SEO Friendly Website

It is crucial to have relevant information and an up to date website. Most importantly having the site updated helps search engines find the site.  By cleaning up your website you remove errors and duplicates. This is not to say that linking is impacted because everything is connected and browse-able. These links will only connect to pages based on relevance and semantic worth and the links need to be standardized for SEO.

Cleaning up is simply keeping the content fresh, how do you keep the site content fresh? It can be from creating a blog, having a news section on your website and having videos or pictures. Google bots can see by the inception date if the content is fresh. The below image is a way to see that fresh content gets a better fresh score and over time fresh content becomes old. That being said some older documents might be more favorable than a newer document.

Content Fresh Score helps the site to be a SEO Friendly Website
Newer or updated content get a better fresh score

In conclusion the main takeaway to build a SEO friendly website is to build your site in the way that search engines will be able to utilize the content. The website needs to be readable and that starts at the structure of the website. The webpage needs to be linkable and crawable for search engines. There are other factors to increase a SEO friendly website but these will improve it. The website needs to be memorable for the user and for search engines. For a SEO friendly website the search engine needs to be a factor with the customer. SEO success happens when you have a search engine-friendly website.

 

Long Tail Keyword Search: SEO Strategy

Long Tail Keyword Search: Small Businesses Can Compete

What is a long tail Keyword search?

Long tail keywords are phrases usually made up of three to five words that users more commonly search for when they are close to the point of purchasing an item or service. These phrases may be searched less often, but can be extremely valuable especially for small businesses where keyword search volume may be lower.

Take for example a local gun shop. There is almost no chance that the site for the local shop will ever appear near the top of an organic search for “AR-15” because there is just too much competition. However, by targeting searchers looking for “AR-15 for sale in northern Utah” the shop will significantly improve their chances of ranking for the more specific long tail keyword search.

The phrase “long tail” describes the shape of the distribution created by graphing the search terms by popularity (See image below).Long Tail Keyword Search Graph
Terms such as Youtube and Pandora fall within the high frequency searches at the head of the graph where a search for “shooting ranges in Utah with metal spinner targets” would be included in the long tail to the right of the graph.

The crux to long tail keyword search: Know your customer

People searching for these more specific terms are more likely to transact or make a purchase. It is also easier and less expensive to target longer more specific keyword phrases. The big challenge comes when trying to figure out which long tail keywords to target.

In order to find effect long tail search term it is essential to know your customer. One of the common pitfall that comes with knowing your customer is the temptation to make assumptions. Any assumptions about a customer’s wants, preferences, and beliefs must be thrown out. A strategy that was successful last year may be disastrous the next.

To find the best way to connect with the customer generic assumption must be ignore and research into the current desires and preferences must be discovered. Social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest provide a window into the customer’s life that reveal their likes, habits and what they are buying. That is why it is essential for any business to actively manage a social media account and encourage interaction with their customers. These accounts not only help manage relationships with current customers, but also provide opportunities to connect with prospective customers.

One of the biggest benefit of social media is having the opportunity to talk directly to your customers. Many companies skip this basic strategy that provides valuable knowledge about what the customer really wants and how companies can better serve them. The various social media platforms also serve as a place for customers to share product and service reviews. Honest reviews can provide important feedback to a company that helps refine and improve the customer experience. It also often gives companies that chance make amends with customers who may not be satisfied with their experience.

Events also offer companies a chance to not only gain knowledge about their customers, but to also gain knowledge about those who they associate with as well. A well planned event can also help companies develop a profile for the target market through observation of their behaviors in a social setting (see 10-ways-of-getting-to-know-your-customers-better for additional information)

How to find long tail keywords?

Once a company starts to know and understand its customers they can start to form long tail keyword searches that may appeal specifically to them. There are many tools that can aid long tail keyword research however most people begin by using Google Keyword Planner or Google Adwords keyword tool as their keyword suggestion tool of choice. The major problem with this strategy is that google gives the same exact long tail keywords to everyone who uses it that includes competitors. Some have speculated that Google intentionally does this to drive up the competition and price of the long tail keywords. There are however, several alternatives to Google Keyword Planner that can be instrumental in finding long tail keywords.

Google’s related searches can be a good starting point for your long tail keyword search. Start by googling terms related to your company, product, or service and take note of the terms that show up at the bottom of the SERP under the “Searches Related To…”. These suggested will usually be a mix of alternate phrases of your main long tail keyword. Another strategy is to take one of the related searches and enter it back into the google and see what additional “Searches Related To…” result for the secondary search.

Forums and Q&A sites, like Yahoo! Answers, can also be a good long tail keyword tool. Chance are that there are many people on these sites that have questions that can be addressed by the product or service provided by your company. Scanning related questing will help you understand how some people start their search process. The answers can also give you insight into how other are solving the problem or give you a chance to post a better solution. Another Q&A site that can be helpful is AnswerThePublic. This tool will show you questions that people tend to ask that are related to your business. These make good keyword ideas for site content or improve on long tail SEO.

UberSuggest is a time saving long tail keyword research tool that can quickly help you explore the Google Suggest functionality. What Ubersuggest does is take a provided keyword and adds every letter in the alphabet after it to create a list of hundreds of suggested keywords. For example entering the search term “Britney Spears a” into google returns short list of phrases that contain a third word that begins with “a” such as “Britney Spears age”. When “Britney Spears b” is entered an entirely different list of phrases is generated. UberSuggest is a great shortcut in long tail keyword analysis compared to the alternative of manually adding each letter of the alphabet.

Google Correlate is another possible long tail keyword generator tool that indicates words that tend to show up with one another. To search a keyword simply enter it into the search box and click “Search Correlations”. The words that are returned will have a number next to them and the closer the number is to one the higher the correlation between the two. These correlated words can then be entered into other tool such as UberSuggest to find phrases that include both.

What to do next with long tail keywords?

You don’t have to be a professional keyword analyzer to use one or many tools to generate long tail keywords, but the next step is where the real work begins. Long tail keywords can be used to develop quality content, start an advertising campaign, or structure a web site. With all of the tools available to find long tail keywords the very real challenge becomes figuring out which one appeal more to the target customer and how can they be used to drive traffic to your site?