Why does Google keep changing its algorithm?

Why does Google keep changing its algorithm?

Google has been known to make significant changes to its algorithm each year.

Why? Why does Google keep changing its algorithm so regularly?

Google’s algorithms (as there are multiple algorithms that actually work together) ensures that search results bring up the most relevant content to a user with the amount of information available on the web. This can be difficult to sift through millions of websites in milliseconds and find exactly what you need that helps you (or me) – the end-user of Google’s main product (search engine).

Hence, Google ranking systems are made to do just that: sort through billions of web pages in its search index and present you with the best information in a fraction of a second.

As mentioned, a whole series of algorithms make up Google’s ranking system. Each search algorithm looks at a plethora of factors such as the relevance of content, the expertise of sources, location and settings as well as the words of a query to give the best possible suggestions. The importance given to each factor differs based on the nature of the query.

This is Google’s official statement on how and what it considers as part of the search experience:

Google's official definition from their site on how search works extracted in picture format for the blog - Why does Google keep changing its algorithm

Source: How Search Works

Pandu Nayak who has been with Google for the last 14 years and is now the vice president of search explains the company’s mission statement about producing great results. Nayak and many others study and incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence and scrutinize every search to give ease to users.

The strive to perfection leads to optimization

Have you ever wondered what Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is? Well, simply put it is the practice of directing traffic to your website by including content on your site that will potentially improve your site’s visibility to search engines and users.

Related: Enterprise SEO, SEO Packages and Starter SEO Packages         

Most digital marketing is at the mercy of Google’s algorithms which keep on getting updated, changed or altered which results in having an indirect or even a direct impact on search traffic for many businesses and brands across the world wide web.

In fact, because of these, in the SEO community, there has been a ton of players who track these movements in search algorithms, notify and communicate findings with each other to help stay on top.  The impact of losing first page rankings of some brands can in the millions (yes in USD) – so there is a reason to stay on top of it.

Here is a sample of ranking fluctuations by various Search Engine specialty brands keeping track of algorithm updates:

Image Source: Search Engine Land – Unconfirmed Google Search Engine Ranking Update Feels Big

Image Source: Search Engine Land – Unconfirmed Google Search Engine Ranking Update Feels Big

It is important to note that Google’s core updates drastically impact search engine optimization which has led popular websites and businesses to fall to mediocre or poor ranking.

Updates have revolutionized Google Search so that it has moved from the stereotypical robot to be able to interpret subtexts and contexts through natural language processing.

Marketers have had to keep this in mind to churn out search engine optimizing content to promote their businesses which could be at stake due to a major emphasis on keywords. Researching and understanding Google Analytics tools can prove to be particularly helpful in understanding a website’s search engine trends.

Our recommendation is to study both Analytics and Search Console to find insights into what posts, pages and sources of traffic are driving movement on your brand’s online presence.

Image Source: Google Search Console Homepage

Search engine optimization is an imperfect solution to an imperfect search engine.

However, each tweak in the algorithm can result in an easy connection between customers and businesses.

That’s also not to say that at times the algorithm is going to make wrong ‘guesses’ as part of the optimization efforts.

There really is an awesome article and opinion piece by Robert Epstein (a senior research psychologist that has published 15 books) on USA News that gets into the power of Google on our daily lives, the mistakes it can and does make and how it changes can impact everything from elections to businesses crashing and burning.

It is a 5-year-old take, but its arguments hold even more true today.  Check out The New Censorship. How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?

No surprise that he is a major critic of Google and some of its practices on privacy, censorship, and impact on psychology on the society from its algorithms.

Image Source: USNews.com

Don’t cheat the system

Many businesses try to trick the system by resorting to keyword stuffing in their website’s title which DOES improve their ranking but can also get their profiles suspended for months as it goes against Google’s guidelines. Keyword stuffing is the practice of cluttering as many seo keywords on a website’s page as is possible even if the keywords are irrelevant and the site contains no real content.

Look at the keyword stuffing example below:

Are you looking for cheap running shoes? If you’re looking for cheap running shoes, look no further. Our cheap running shoes website is the best place to order your new cheap running shoes. Feel free to check out our selection of cheap running shoes from our cheap running shoes selection below.

I would be annoyed when reading this (as I am sure you would be as well)…but as an SEO professional in 2021, we still get too many clients that have been suffering in their rankings because their past SEO agencies took shortcuts like the above.

This can be taken as probably one of the worst examples of keyword stuffing which leads to “over-optimization” and leads to a terrible user experience because nobody wants to see ‘cheap running shoes’ repeated a gazillion times in a sentence.

Google’s own Matt Cutts warned webmasters about keyword stuffing and how it overshadows great websites with great content.

In 2011 and 2012, the company released algorithm updates called as Google Panda and Google Penguin respectively which were aimed at combatting bad practices such as spammy content, keyword stuffing and/or hidden links in copy.

Related: Google’s History of Algorithm Changes

There is a right way to optimize to ensure your pages rank

Many businesses are using SEO to stay at the top of the first page therefore understanding how they can improve their website’s ranking in search engines is very crucial.

Apart from working on title, headings and page URL structure – marketers must ensure that they publish quality, optimized content with the relevant keyword phrases and keyword density.

So here is the kicker and the important takeaway in the last sentence.  “Quality”.

This word is so overlooked when it comes to SEO.  When is an article published – is there a comparison done to see if it answers the search queries better? 

Are the articles or web pages engaging? Is it structured well?  Does it explain the concepts in an easy-to-consume way and get the messages across?  Does it hold media, slides, videos or other visual assets to keep the users happy, aid in the explanation when they are reading?  What about linking to other research or authoritative sites or articles when building arguments or making a case?

All these things matter.  A good content writer knows this.  Great leaders know this. Great brands understand this well. They do not take short-cuts here. And guess what – so do search engine algorithms.

It is worth emphasizing here that quality takes time, effort and resources. 

There is so much content published on the world wide web daily.  To stand out and really rank, you have to produce content that is better than the folks that have “earned” the organic listing on the first few spots of the first page of search results by publishing already decent content.

Produce content regularly that is better than the first page results and over time, the content will rank.

That great piece of content will naturally attract links, increase dwell time and time on site from users.

Brands must also remember to update their content regularly as this is one of the best indicators of a website’s relevancy.

Marketers should also use relevant, descriptive links in the text which are in keywords and will improve their search engine optimization.

Given the sheer volume of content produced – quality alone is not sufficient anymore.

Your website needs to be publishing quality and quantity regularly to get on top of readers and keep having it discovered from new users to help it stay on top. 

That is why “content is king” and other such axioms are so widely used.

So, both quality and quantity are the key ingredients for the SEO formula.

A simple formula – but one that takes a dedicated team and processes in-house for any individual, brand or large-scale enterprise to execute on.

Some other tips on optimizing

Avoiding “click here” links and writing out the name of the destination can improve greatly. (I know I am guilty of this at times 😊)

Using ‘alt tags’ or alternative text descriptions to describe the video and visual media is another great way to climb up the rankings.

There are many agencies and companies that now guarantee high rankings in search engines to business owners.

However, no SEO company can control how Google ranks websites!

Since Google changes its algorithm ever so often, companies can work on understanding these changes and building strategies according to them instead of falling prey to agencies that are only a scam.

There is no guarantee that should be provided in ranking on the first page or first position.  Organic growth, leads or increased visibility is the name of the game. Keyword themes can be targeted but anyone giving a guarantee on 1st position should be taken with a hefty amount of skepticism. 

So what happens next?

Well, there are no shortcuts to rank on search engines the way they were in the late 90s (when Google was in its infancy and Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask Jeeves ruled the internet search engine world). 

Besides short-cuts that try to cheat the system end up hurting the brand more in the long term (as mentioned in our keyword stuffing example above).

There is a lot written on this, but it is worth repeating here – create content for humans and not bots. 

Understand that Google is not perfect (nothing is actually), and it will need to keep updating its algorithms regularly to match the user intent of the search query with a better answer or search result.

Play the long-term game and keep updating your content with better quality to stay on top. 

There will be times that your page rankings crash (even with the best written or relevant content for the query) – but if the content is good and there are regular updates, you will bring some and all of those rankings back over time (unless there was “cheating” happening, then be willing to part ways with your initial traffic on your pages). 

Other times there still may be content that does not rank because of Google’s own agenda (not placing content that puts their brand in a negative light or gives it bad publicity).  There is not much that brands can do about this – ultimately, Google owns its search engine and it’s in their interest to protect their reputation and they will favour their reputation and products over other search results.

Questions/Thoughts or concerns?  Drop us a comment below or reach out on our contact-us page.

Happy Optimizing!

What Are Algorithms? (a 4 min read)

What Are Algorithms? (a 4 min read)

For most marketers and digital nomads, algorithms are a bit like a blockchain.  Everyone understands a bit of it, but ask them to explain what and how it works – good luck or expect a long complex answer that seems to go off topic but does not really answer the question. 

You know it.  We have all been there. So what are algorithms exactly (without going off on a tangent)?

What Are Algorithms – The Official Definition:

I like BBC’s definition:

An algorithm is a sequence of instructions or a set of rules that are followed to complete a task. 
Source: BBC Bitesize

So what does that mean exactly?  Let’s demystify some of this term loosely bounced around in the context of someone who has an attention span of a 2-year-old on YouTube (yes I have a 2-year-old at home and yes he has been getting too much screen time).

It is like asking your computer to run a program with a specific goal in mind.  The algorithm’s goal can be to provide good search results that answer the query in the easiest and quickest time possible using complex data technology (if you thought of Google’s algorithm here, you get a star!)

Or it can be showing you videos on your streaming app feed for ones you have watched a lot in the past or have shown interest in (you guessed it, YouTube)

Or it can be your friends’ updates and or ads on topics you have shown interest in by browsing on their platform (Facebook, Twitter, or really any other social media platform is using an algorithm for this).

The internet runs on these algorithms. Websites have algorithms.  Search engines have algorithms. Online or mobile apps have algorithms.  GPS has algorithms. Video games have algorithms. Artificial intelligence?  Dating Sites?  Social Media sites?  Well, you get the point.

In a nutshell, this task or guidance provided to machines in a form of code is not easy to do and there will never be 100% correct results for every user, every query, or every action that takes place online.  Because of this, these algorithms must ‘optimize’ – keep trying to feed you things to ensure your satisfaction remains high (or keeps going in the right direction), so you a) spend more time on their platforms or b) come back often and or tell your friends about it.

Hopefully, you can see that algorithms aren’t as mysterious as you originally thought before starting down this post 😊. We are talking concepts here and not technical definitions, so you understand what they are designed to do and the intricacies around them.

Related: What Should Businesses Do Today To Establish Trust Online?

Related: What Is Web Development

Why algorithms have gotten a bad rep lately?

So why the heat lately?

Well, on social media – let’s take Facebook for example – it keeps giving you posts, ads, and content on topics you have shown interest in.  These algorithms track all the online behaviour of users, and slice and dice your profile to match you with ideas, products, communities that they think you will engage with well. Well, that on the surface is not bad, but it allows you to create a more tunnel vision and groupthink.  Polarized topics can form groupthink and it becomes harder for us to connect with others who may not hold our viewpoint over a period of time.

This leads a more divided society that is constantly only fed their own view point on mass (now this is getting a bit political here – so I am not going to expand here, but I think you can see what I mean by this. Hopefully).

Case in point – ever heard of mySpace and their child exploitation scandals that gave this social platform a bad reputation and lead the likes of Facebook (and others) to take its place? mySpace used algorithms and did not put checks in place to ensure bad behaviour and criminal activity is not rewarded.

Also, more research is emerging that talks about predictive analytics used in algorithms punish the poor.

So use of algorithms without proper checks and constant oversight can lead to outcomes that are less than ideal and may even be construed as “trust breaching” or ‘unethical’ to many.

Privacy Concerns 

Algorithms aren’t always perfect.  

What Are Algorithms? Code screen on black background.

Ever heard of cookies?  Well, these are pieces of code that are saved on your browser on the machine you accessed it from and are used to track your behaviour, interest, demographics online by other websites that can then advertise to you.

A lot of folks have been becoming uncomfortable with this idea of being tracked so we can be advertised at a later date.  This means online surveillance by companies is only increasing and people are starting to learn about how this impacts their behaviour including security concerns, purchasing intent, and more. 

Companies can and have taken advantage of it and some as a result may have also suffered because of it.  Take Facebook and their scandal with Cambridge Analytica where the consulting company (not the social media giant) was able to acquire personal and private data on Facebook’s platform and sold it to US election campaign officials.  This constituted a breach from Facebook (and conceded it as a “breach of trust” after being caught).  Facebook was later fined $5 billion.

We are still figuring out as a digital community, world, and society at large what impact these pieces of code have on our daily lives.  Some of it is good and some of it is not so good.

With innovation, many companies have been very accepting of adapting these tools (these algorithms) to help them stand out, deliver more with less, and find ways to get more people dependant on their platform.  If people keep coming back and keep sharing their personal and online behaviour traits, it makes it easy for these companies that use algorithms to market to them.

Our job at Web Worx Labs is to give our voice to technologies and use them ethically where possible.  We bring light to this issue as we recognize and understand the legitimate concerns many have come to express over the years with these technologies.

Have thoughts to share?  Questions or need more clarity.  Comment below or reach out at info@webworxlabs.com. Contact us via email by filling out our contact form: https://www.webworxlabs.com/contact-us/

 

7 Simple & Easily Adaptable Design Tips For Display Ads

7 Simple & Easily Adaptable Design Tips For Display Ads

7 Simple & Easily Adaptable Design Tips For Display Ads

Display ads are a significant investment for the business. An ad help consumers get familiar with your brand. Retargeting with a display ad is known to provide high ROI.

With approximately 11% of internet users blocking display ads while others are tuning them out,  it means you have to work hard to make your ads get those clicks.

For users to click your display ads, you need compelling copywriting and outstanding visual creativity.

However, not every business leader or marketer who wants to run a display campaign is an expert in designing ads.

Fortunately, we have taken the time to help you know how to take your design game to make your ads more click-worthy.

Distinguishable Structure

If you want to get at a competitive edge, ensure the ad structure is outstanding. The ad must have defined borders and should never be confused with the normal web content.

As you think about the structure, remember sizing should also be right. It would be best to put the ad in different sizes as people use different-sized screens for viewing ads.

Before displaying an ad, ensure it’s the best choice for you. Google offers different ad sizes from leaderboard to half-page ads to huge mobile banners.

The most sort after size is 300 x 250, which is known as the medium rectangle. 336 x 280 is the large rectangle, while 728 x 90 is the leaderboard. 360 x 600 is the half-page format that provides a large space for marketers to message the target audience.

Source: Google Support

The half-page is the fastest-growing size where publishers offer more visually impactful and impressive ad sizes. The large mobile banner (320 x 100) can be used as an alternative to 300 x 250 and 320 x 50.

Ensure you get the right yet flexible structure, not forgetting to pay attention to the best

Apart from choosing the right size, consider other elements that will make the ad distinguishable. This includes:

·       Your Logo

A logo is an effective advertising method that is always overlooked. Most companies use logo design to promote public recognition. Logos boost brand identity and brand marketing.

In the above example – a simple question-based display ad targeted to sign up people for our landing page uses both the logo right on top and our website to form those impressions.

Including a logo or company name in your ad campaigns helps in building your brand identity to the general public. The more your logo is displayed, the more identity and trust you’ll build from your target audience.

·       Visual Representation

“A picture is worth 1,000 words.”

The phrase is always true!

Any advertising piece has few seconds to grab the attention of the potential customer.

Pictures beat texts and audios. Humans are incredible at remembering pictures. You can only remember 10% of the content you heard after three days. On the other hand, you’ll remember 65% of the content if a picture is included.

Images and other visuals trigger emotions, creating a stable connection with your customers.

If you’re trying to convey the message to your prospects, leads, and current clients, visual content will effectively and efficiently speak to them.

Use attractive images that will grab attention promptly. Ensure you use genuine pictures that are appropriate and resonate well with your audience.

Here is an example of a simple photograph used with the right captions and our logo:

This is another campaign we ran for another event on Marketing Psychology.

Get genuine pictures from reliable websites like Pexels.

·       Value Proposition

This is a promise by the company to consumers. It’s an easy-to-comprehend reason why potential and current customers should buy a service or product from your company.

The value proposition explains how the product will benefit, fills a need, and why it’s better than the rest on the market.

A value proposition’s main idea is to appeal to customers, who are the strong decision-making drivers. A successful value proposition has an impressive headline that incorporates catchy slogans. There is usually a subheadline underneath the main headline that explains why the service or product is superior on the market.

A value proposition follows various formats as long as they appear unique to consumers. Value propositions should be easy to understand and illustrates specific results for people using the product or service.

Ensure you avoid corny marketing buzzwords. A value proposition should be communicated within the shortest time possible. Current and potential customers like it short and sweet.

·       The CTA Button

The CTA or call-to-action is a simple directive statement that tells prospective customers what to do, how to go about it, and where to go next. It makes the user’s journey clear and simple. The CTA eliminates confusion and allows visitors to take the necessary action.

With CTA, there is no doubt about the intention of the content. The content builds excitements and intrigue and convert the reader to a paying customer.

CTA should be as simple as “call us today for more information” or “Follow us on Instagram.”

So, how do you arrange these elements?

You can see the CTA button clearly labelled for this example of an ad for a glove manufacturing company.

The CTA and value proposition are the most crucial. Thus, they should be visually distinct elements. Place the logo on the sidelines or ensure the image doesn’t block any of the copy.

Colour is Vital

When it comes to ads, color plays an important role. Colors grab customer attention and educe emotions. When marketing and product or service, it’s important to consider that when customers are shopping, they place color and appearance above other factors.

Colour increases recognition that’s directly linked to customer confidence. It’s a non-verbal form of communication. It can enhance understanding, learning, and reading. And since it’s a visual element, it’s understood by the brain faster than a text.

Consumers associate your color theme with your company or brand—for instance, consumers associated Coca-Cola with red.

Color psychology is something you need to understand when designing ads. Men have different color preferences from women. Men can resonate well with blue and green colors.

Red, black, orange, and royal blue connect easily with impulse buyers. Sky blue, pink, and other soft colors are associated with cloth shoppers. Other colors can be a bad fit for consumers.

For instance, gray or brown color for feminine hygiene products is not the right combination. The colors feel wrong, and they don’t match consumer’s expectations. Red is an excellent color for food brands, and red fruits are ripe and ready for consumption.

Consumers make purchasing decisions based on how colors make them feel.

Let’s have a sneak peek at what different colors mean.

Blue– Blue is a masculine color, and it’s associated with tranquility, stability, relaxation, hope, and calmness. It’s a popular color for banks since it communicates stability and authority.

Purple– This is a mysterious, mystical, and sensual color. It depicts luxury, royalty, magic, military honor, mystery, and wealth. A financial planning firm dealing with the military and their families can utilize this color.

Green – Green is a cool color best for mature, calm, and professional brands. It’s known to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Green reminds you of good health, the environment, good luck, finances, wealth, renewal, and harmony.

Red- Use red when you want to grab attention. It’s a hot, vibrant color associated with warmth, high energy, confidence, and love. It’s also linked to anger, fire, danger, and warfare. Red can also boost consumer’s metabolism, making it suitable for restaurant signage.

Pink – Pink is more girlish than boyish. Use if in ads that promote feminine products.

Related: Learn About Colour, Typography & Iconography In Our Courses & Training Page

Consider Simplicity

Your display ad should be visually impressive and simple. Use the KISS (Keep It, Simple, Stupid) principle. The ad should be compact, simple, and convey your message across quickly and easily.

Alternatively, you can use the three C’s to create a display ad. The three Cs mean compelling, concise, and clear.

A seamless, simple design creates a superior user experience, which leads to more conversions.

Wrapping Up

Creating a good ad design with accurate audience targeting will boost your brand’s visibility. Keep the overall design simple, not forgetting that CTA and value proposition are the most prominent.

Choose an impressive yet simple color palette that resonates well with your marketing goals. If you adhere to these principles, you can create high-performing display ads for a successful ad campaign.

If you have questions, thoughts & need help with your display ad campaigs – feel free to reach out at 1 833 WEB WORX or fill out our contact form  Or simply comment below!

Taking A Deep Dive: Marketing Technical or Complex Engineering Brands (With Examples)

Taking A Deep Dive: Marketing Technical or Complex Engineering Brands (With Examples)

Taking A Deep Dive: Marketing Technical or Complex Engineering Brands (With Examples)

So you are wondering how to resonate with your prospects when your brand offers very technical or complex solutions?

Marketing strategies and approaches often differ across the board based on the nature of products and services or even industries.

To do marketing right requires careful observations, strategizing, and that is well through and planned with good research and expertise.

Technical, engineered or complex manufacturing products or solutions are especially different from a lot of other offerings in the world because they usually require a lot more education upfront, come with a high price tag and the actual implementation can take weeks if not months or years.

Customers always want to be sure that they are making the right decisions. The right combination of convincing marketing tactics and strategies should help consumers make well-informed, yet comfortable buying decisions.

Ultimately, the more informed and comfortable the customer, the better it is for your brand trust and loyalty and business growth over the long-term.

So in this blog, we dive deep into three strategies for marketing technical or complex engineering solutions.

Strategy 1: Market Your Solution With A Powerful Website That Engages & Educates

In this digital age and especially in this COVID-19 era, an enterprise should not be taking short-cuts when it comes to managing their online presence

Websites continue to reveal how useful they are in marketing several products and how effective they could be in sealing deals with customers.

You can use it as a way to add elements that enhance the customer experience for your prospects with your unique solutions.

A Website Should Be Robust
You must invest in a robust website if your business motive is to sell technical and complex product solutions. Robustness in this case does not represent how big your website is or how much you have spent on designing or developing one.

From a sales and marketing point of view, some of the things you have to perfect to keep your website robust as much as possible are to ensure simple and minimalist designs as well as web optimization for mobile.

The truth is that over 90% of daily internet users have access to the internet with their mobile devices. That is a very high penetration. People will access your website via mobile and if the experience is poor, you are telling your customers to bounce from your site and look for alternatives.

The Website Should Communicate Outcomes

Aside from perhaps a gallery of your technical products and other information about yourself, focus on the customer.

Customers are always curious to know how products work and what your customer will be able to achieve after they are using your products.

There is storytelling that has to be done the right way on websites.

You need to highlight your customers’ pain points, the solution in action (perhaps with a quick video), and then your happy customer state.

Having a well-documented FAQ section for your business on your website could solve the challenge when the emphasis is on the outcomes that your customer derive when using your solution.

Focus On Benefits In The Homepage

(& Features In the Subpages)

Sometimes buyers need assurance on why they should buy from your website. Whatever tactics you use, kindly have it at the back of your mind that the motive and purpose of doing this is to build trust with your brand when visiting your website to bring them down to the commercial intent or purchase phase of the buyer’s journey.

Having the above 3 goals when using your website as a selling tool will prove useful for complex product offerings or solutions.

There is a lot science and art behind creating a good website. Do not take shortcuts for your number 24/7 online selling tool (your website) and invest in a good design, good experience that focuses on your customers. Your prospects and existing customers will thank you!

Strategy 2: Educate Customers With Content

Report] LinkedIn shares content marketing predictions for 2017 - Social  Samosa

Content can be anything and be provided in pretty much any format today; it can be text-based to images, videos, or even audio files.

Content can be created on your website or other platforms associated directly and indirectly with your business.

You are selling complex solutions and they are not easily understandable.

Should you invest in a content marketing machine that educates your customers about your offering, your values, and builds trust over time?

From our perspective: ABSOLUTELY!

Creating content about your technical products on your website is serving two important functions.

First, it is a way to develop an elaborate SEO structure for your website so it will be ranked highly on the search engine results page – which is important for discoverability.

Secondly and more importantly, you are providing your customers (potential or returning) with useful and valuable details as well as information about your values, sharing interest, solutions to the pain points, and increasing brand awareness at the same time.

Build brand awareness by showcasing your product solutions subtly, providing content that matches the values of your target customers will all help bring the right people to your sales pipeline over the long-term.

You will be building trust and assurance that you have good enough knowledge of your products when you share with them content around your customers’ value and your offerings.

Again, your company is not only associated with a specific product or service. It is committed to delivering a solution (perhaps a complex one) for your customers in the best and most feasible way possible. If you showcase that you are more interested in solving not only the problems of your customers with your solutions (in a friendly yet passionate way), but also provide other tools, tips or support that will help them succeed in their lives – you win them over with content.

Case in point – see two examples below – why Oracle & Idium (both complex solution providers) maintain a vibrant blog strategy?

Example 1: Idium Blog Page

Image Source: Idium.com/blog

Example 2: Oracle Blog Page

Image Source: Oracle Data Cloud Blog

Because they understand that their prospects who will buy from them are engineers. So the blogs are very technical but useful that will resonate with that type of audience. Investing in blogging allows the sales team to use content to showcase expertise, specific scenarios where the solutions are applied, and more!

Building trust can be quantified with content marketing. There are ways that you can track visitor behaviour with analytics that tells you how many times a user has visited your website, or if they have provided their email or contact information.

Once they enter your tracking cycle, you can review their behaviour, and if they have provided their contact details, then there are steps you can take to take them from marketing to sales over time.

A great read by an industry leader on this topic (SalesForce) on Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) can be read here.

All this can be automated when they visit your content pages on your site.

There are many ways and content types you can use to educate your existing customers and prospects.

Blogs, pillar pages, events, conferences, videos, and webinars are some examples of many content formats that can be used to describe your solutions in an engaging and bite-sized format.

White papers are especially powerful for technical and complex engineering products.

They take more resources to accomplish and do right – but your sales team will thank you over the years as they use them to showcase the success your existing customers have had in detail that your prospects would love to hear about!

Helping close sales with content that attracts, builds relationships, and helps in closing is what good content marketing is about.

Blogs and Whitepapers

Blogs are written pieces of content that are relevant to your values, target customer interest, packed with actional tips, your products and services solutions, features, and use cases.

While blogs could be unofficial and conversational style documents offering maximum flexibility to your writers (inhouse or outsourced), and written to discuss important subjects with your audience the goal is always to provide enough details to showcase your thought leadership, impart value to the readers and look to build a relationship with regular updates that your customers find useful.

A white paper is on the other hand is a much better designed and detailed document (usually a PDF) provided by the company to promote or highlight the features as well as the problems addressed and solved by your products.

This piece or type of content should not be easily accessible unless someone is willing to share their company details, email, or contact information.

The beauty of embedding whitepaper offers within your blog is that it is the next step in building trust and qualifying casual visitors from more commercial intent buyers.

It is also a good one-two combination where you bring people in with a blog, and ask them to share their contact or company info with a whitepaper.

Again, whitepapers are gated pieces of content that should only be provided if the visitor is willing to part away with the name and contact details.

This process of creating gated vs. non-gated content and capturing this initial prospect info is vital to really leverage content marketing to keep your sales pipeline full, qualify leads, and grow your business.

Once you have the info of more serious visitors from casual browsers (or even your competition 😊), there should be a mechanism in place to follow up with a drip campaign (that can be automated). This helps qualify the leads even more as it filters out less serious buyers or prospects from serious ones.

Sales team should be notified of the lead quality and should reach out them these prospects based on the success criteria you define in your pipeline process.

Common events that help you qualify visitors include:

  1. Explored the website for more than 3 minutes
  2. Visited the About Us Page
  3. At least visited the website 3 times
  4. Subscribed To Blog
  5. Reads blogs regularly

These are some of the simple criteria that you can define when using some of the tools we shared in our other blog.

Including a good call to action near the middle or bottom of the blog with a nice designed white paper that calls its features will be the stepping stone to help transition your readers to the next stage in their buyer’s journey.

Pillar pages

If you prefer to reach out to your audience and customers via content on your websites or blog, then you might need a pillar page to make this adventure effective enough as a marketing strategy.

Pillar page refers to a web page that covers the overall topics on your website in-depth.

In-depth is the focus here. The length of these whitepapers, the design does require a ton of research.

Just like whitepapers, these types of content require great thought and resources to put together, but provide a ton of benefits that have allowed many companies to showcase thought leadership.

It also possesses lots of link to related content in and outside your website.

There are techniques to creating quality pillar pages that will drive your marketing objectives. There are;

  • Choosing your core topic
  • Outlining relevant subtopics
  • Research, write, edit, format, and organize pillar page
  • Share, market off-page, and promote
  • Keeping your pillar pages up to date with relevant information to ensure they rank and continue to provide more up to date information on your pillar page topic.

The good thing about a pillar page is that it can help your readers judge you as someone who is committed to a particular cause.

Your job as a complex solution provider is to match your pillar page with topics that are of deep interest to your target audience to ensure you make the most out of this content investment.

Here is an example of a great pillar page by Cloud Elements:

Image Source: Pillar Page For API Integration By Cloud Elements

Definitive guides, very detailed blogs, best practices with a ton of examples are all great examples of pillar pages.

Think great user experience, comprehensive, subtopics and problem solving when it comes to pillar pages.

They are usually lengthy pieces of content that allow for lots of call to actions to allow businesses to capture email while providing expert advice, research and thought leadership on the subject matter.

Webinars, Events, Workshops & Conferences

Audio and video content can also be shared to educate your business audience, but majorly in form of seminars, webinars, and conferences.

All three are proven sales drivers in their own respects. However, with the recent rise in the numbers of video and audio conferencing software following the 2020 pandemic, you can easily host events, webinars, and conferences online on subject matters relating to your brand, product, and business.

You will be building trust, earning more exposure, and creating more

More importantly, people who show up for your solutions related webinar are likely your target audience.

So you getting a chance to showcase your product in a webinar or in a live conference is ideal. It is almost as asking for that initial sales meeting or discovery session!

Here are examples of workshops, webinars, and online educational content and training done by a complex manufacturing brand to educate, build trust and grow their business.

Example 1: MSA Safety Company Does A Safety Training Workshop

Image Source: MSA Safety Company Online Training & Videos

Another example of an engineer presenting solutions in a webinar format is for 3D System that produces a ton of webinars and workshops and saves them on their websites.

Here is an a quick peek at their webinar gallery right on their website here:

Image: 3DSystems Webinar Page

The above examples showcase that brands invest in educating their prospects and customers about their company values (everything related to safety in MSA’s case and a ton of knowledge sharing for 3DSystems for 3D Printing, Materials, Software, Manufacturing and more).

Strategy 3: Social Media

So let’s talk about the platforms of fun; social media.

A lot of customers would love to hear about your products and what problems they solve.

Bringing in fun, humour or social elements to your brand offering can open up new ways to grow your awareness.

Why not make marketing fun by infusing some forms of amusement and simplicity into it?

Social media marketing has increased in popularity.

However, marketing on this platforms are not expected to be bland and lacking in content because most of these spaces are primarily designed for people in their ‘offtime’.

If you focus on too many technical details in your message in your content, then you may not be able to achieve the outcome you are looking for.

In fact, according to Marketing Land, the average view time on Facebook is only 10 seconds.

People are constantly bombarded with ads while scrolling and have learned to tune them out.

If you are creating content for your complex solutions – focus on powerful ways to grab their attention in the limited time you have with them.

Investing in powerful stats, beautiful photography about your products, or catchy videos is the way to go when creating content for social media.

Related: Learn about how we help brands stand out in social media here.

Relate: Learn about our case successful case studies here.

Here are a couple of examples of social media done right for complex industries:

Social Media Example 1: Midas Safety Shows Their Commitment To A Sustainable World

Image Source: Midas Safety LinkedIn

Full Disclosure: Midas Safety is our long-time customer and we do design and LinkedIn marketing for them 😊.

Social Media Example 2: Plant optimization post at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Image Source: Goodyear LinkedIn

Showcase Behind-The-Scene Videos

Another type of content that has tons of appreciation on social media is behind the scenes videos.

As I have previously mentioned, product marketing may become really boring to your audience when they appear too serious or too technical when they are looking to offload and relax after work.

Focus on outcomes and showcase the product or solution in action or being prepared with videos is a powerful way to bring a spotlight to your expertise.

One of the ways to make marketing appear less serious and yet pass the technical information of your objective is shooting and uploading behind the scene videos of product events and uploading them on your social media spaces. Behind the scenes videos showcase your brand as being transparent and honest and nothing builds trust quickly than transparency.

You build trust with prospects and loyalty with your existing customers with this format of content.

For a second just imagine the delight and joy that fills your heart each time you see behind the scene part of videos and bloopers of movies.

Here is an example of Ansell doing behind the scene videos:

Image Source: Ansell Social Media Post August 24, 2020

Funny right? Even the thumbnail is engaging and entices you to click and watch.

And the best part, it uses employees from Ansell so they have an incentive to showcase their video to their friends and family.

This creates a viral effect if done frequently enough as it taps into the power of the network.

93 likes and 41 shares from employees who want to spread Ansell’s good core values to others.

And yet it creates that the right feeling that you want your customers, fans, and prospects to associate your brand with.

Your customers will feel more attached to you with simple behind the scene videos of products, team members, or leadership team.

Whether it’s b-roll or simple videos that capture your production, assembly, packaging, distribution, or even delivery processes.

Every detail matters. Make it count!

Produce & Share Photography

People tend to remember more the things that are presented to them in images than a series of texts and or simple copy.

People also buy from people, not machines or companies.

This is why making stellar and attractive product designs and photographs will help your customers remember your products easily and quickly.

I am sure that right now you are recalling memories of products that stick in your head only because of the unique images or video presentations you have seen of them.

How powerful are these two galleries for highly technical and engineering-oriented brands?

Example 1: General Electric’s Instagram:

Image Source: GE’s Instagram Account.

Example 2: Honeywell’s Instagram does it right as well:

Image Source: Honeywell’s Instagram Gallery

Humanizing your brand on social media with employee updates such as the ones above are a great way to showcase the right company values:

  • Sharing employees promotions and development stories as touching your brands and products
  • Showcasing and praising researchers’ milestones
  • Releasing updates on expected big-name recruits and recruits that are expected to add values to your brand and your customers business
  • Intimating your audiences with strides and achievements accomplished by employees to help push your brands and product forward

Doing these, you are preaching messages of quality as well, as product development to your customers.

Your customers will be able to see all the good people who help in serving them.

If you can showcase the great work that your team puts into servicing their customers, then you make it easy for your customers to better understand your company’s values and culture.

That’s transparency.

And transparency means your willingness to be vulnerable.

Being open about your vulnerabilities the right way makes you confident.

And that is how the pride and power of such posts helps build great brands.

Let’s Recap

There are a lot of ways that technical and complex engineering-based brands can grow your top line.

We only touched on three of them today; a solid website that focuses on outcomes, a powerful content marketing strategy with 3 must-have types of content, and leveraging the power of social the right way.

If you need more help in implementing the above strategies, reach out and we would happily talk through how and where can help.

Do you have any more questions or comments on the above topics? Feel free to contact us or comment below.

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

Opening Thoughts On SEO And Social Media

The two of the most in-demand digital marketing tactics are Social Media & SEO:

Source: Google Trends

SEO generates a lot more search volume and interest on Google than even terms like “digital marketing”

Search Engine Optimization & Social Media are hands down two of the most popular and sought after solutions when it comes to digital marketing. The demand for them even is higher than email marketing, digital marketing in general, pay per click and other tactics within online marketing.

Rightfully so, because unlike paid traffic, you really do not pay per click for every time someone discovers your brand online. (Google makes money and bulk of their revenue with pay per click advertising – and it seems people are more interested in getting clicks without having to pay for each of them).

Well, we also know that people are using social media now more than ever with the world in the new normal.

However, did you know that there is SEO involved in Social Media as well?

People are in search of a product or service on social media sites all the time.

In 2021, with Facebook Marketplace and Shopping becoming mainstream, SEO within social media will become more of a necessity than ever before.

As social media marketers tend to skew towards content creation for the social media platforms they specialize in and go after goals such as brand awareness, customer and follower growth, or building a community – SEO has not been sought after skillset required when managing social channels for brands.

However, as SEO and social converge, how can social managers and marketing managers adapt to this new requirement of bringing SEO elements to their daily tasks and deliver great content that gets discovered on social channels as well?

Well, the two are more closely linked to each other than it would seem at first pass.

Content That Drives Both SEO & Social Discovery

Social media contributes a lot to the search engine. It creates tons of new content every day.

Websites tend to upload reviews, blogs, news, and discussions daily, where do you think most of the relevant information is coming from?

Search engines get much content from social media sites, and that is why when you search for something, the reference/source can sometimes be derived from a social media platform.

For example, when we type in “Starbucks” in Google – the 3rd to 5th results I get is their Instagram feed which is appealing with beautiful photographs and immediately stick out. This allows people to discover the brand in the way they want and use social channels and media optimization as a powerful way to put their best foot forward right within the search results.

So social profiles optimized with a ton of relevant content get discovered right on the first page of Google when someone is exploring your brand.

Create Content For SEO & Make It Easy To Share

Running with the same example earlier, if we search for a specific solution on the market for a search term such as “iced latte” – here are the results we get:

The first result is the featured listing of Starbucks with detailed step by step instructions on how to create a recipe for home. So obviously, their pages are optimized for discoverability and search engine there. Good job Starbucks!

(no surprise here – Starbucks knows how to market 😉).

However, unless someone does click on their site and go to their recipe page for the details, they have focused their user experience on driving the buyers’ journey towards the online transaction.

Where they missed the mark in our opinion is that they did not make the recipe on their page that is optimized for search engines easily sharable on social media.

See the snippet below – no social ribbons right at the top (missed opportunity).

Source: Starbucks Ice Latte Recipe Page

On the other hand, the listing right below with a structured snippet 5-star rating has not only optimized for search but is using search discoverability to give a boost to their social engagement. See social buttons right at the top with Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

Source: Snack And Sips Iced Latte Recipe Page

Snacks And Sips are not only doing good SEO but leveraging SEO to boost their social engagement and integrating the two digital tactics for maximum exposure online.

(Beating Starbucks on marketing is no easy feat, but at least they have one point on them 😊).

Integrating social media deeply and optimally into your site is critical for having a one-two powerful combination to help get discovered and social.

Optimize Social Media For Search

If for whatever reason, your site is not optimized, but you have a good social presence, your brand can still get discovered on search engines.

When we have worked with many small clients that have virtually no SEO on their site (or some times, they may not even have a site), but they have a Facebook presence or a LinkedIn presence (this has been true for some of the budding authors we have helped market their brands online) – they still get discovered.

Example 1: Optimizing Search Profiles

You have key factors to optimize on social including

  • Your profile titles,
  • Descriptions
  • Your Posts & content
  • Your use of hashtags

Keywords Play A Role In Social & Search

Your profile should contain the keywords in the descriptions, the titles, and the names of the profile if possible.

You want your brand to be discovered both on search engines and social media when people search for a keyword you want your brand to be associated with.

Here is an example of an author who has the right keywords in their profile, in the title they have given themselves to rank when people search for a keyword “Strategy Author”

Image Source: Searching Strategy Author in LinkedIn Search – profiles optimized in LinkedIn Search Engine.

In this case, the author and expert Tricia McKinnon understands the importance of having the right keywords that you want to be discovered for.

Example 2: Your Brand’s Social Profile Showing Up On Search

Another example we can share with you is showing your brand on search engines when people want to find out about you through social media. When people type in “Web Worx Labs” – the results not only show our website ranking right on the top but also shows our LinkedIn Profile, Our Facebook profile, and other directories that we want to be associated with:

This helps build the right impression to others who are searching for your brand. They get to see that not only are you active and accessible on your website, but you have an active profile on social media networks where you can be contacted through.

You also get to showcase your values, expertise, and behind the scenes with social media.

To rank on search engines, your profile has to be optimized with the targeted keyword.

The Indirect Affect Of Social Media On SEO

Ultimately, the traffic coming from the website comes from many sources.

If your brand is active on social regularly, then it is getting discovered when people engaged with your brand on your social media profiles.

The goal is to get your traffic to your site where conversions can happen.

A conversion can be a sale, a sign-up a contact-us, or any event you describe as behaviour that your visitor does.

When people come from social sites, this is considered “Referral” traffic in Search Engine Optimization Terms (particularly in Google Analytics – which is a website analytics tracking application freely provided by Google and widely adapted and used across most digital marketers).

The more engagement you have on social media, the more people visit your site. Given they visit your site and spend time there, and share your content from your site to others, the better it is for SEO.

Google and other search engines take into account behavioural factors that show how the users are behaving when visiting your site. The positive user behaviour is tracked & accounted for when comparing your site vs. your competitor’s site. If your site has better content and better engagement, it is optimized and it gets a boost from social, then your site will rank better on SEO over time as well.

See how your referral traffic had an indirect impact on your site’s rankings?

Your positive on-site behaviour from users that were directed from social had a positive impact on your search rankings.

So in essence, user satisfaction plays a huge role.

Your website can drop in search rankings based on the user satisfaction metrics which include such things as:

  • Dwell time (Dwell Time is the amount of time that a Google searcher spends on a page from the search results before returning to the SERPs)
  • Bounce rate (people coming to your site and exiting without performing another action on your site – clicking, leaving, etc).
  • Pogo-sticking (going back & forth on search results until they find what they are looking for)

So if people come to your site from social media & add to the user experience metrics positively, it will be factored into your ability to rank.

To find out more about how the on-site behaviour impacts your ability to rank – you can read up in detail in the great guide produced by Brian Dean and the team at Backlinko.com here.

Image source: Baclinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

Leverage Traffic From Social Until You Rank On Search Engines

SEO takes time to get on the first page where you get the visibility and traffic your brand needs.

However, if you have a good social strategy and have frequent content updates, your referral traffic from social will give your brand the visibility it needs right away.

In this case, we are referring to a blog, a news update, a new product release that you have done on your website and can now promote on Social Media to direct traffic from Social to your website.

Given the social platforms algorithm updates that are now all moving towards the “pay to play” model for brands, we recommend that you put some ad dollars behind your website content updates that you post and share on social media.

A simple boost with relevant targeting can give your website the immediate clicks it needs to get exposure top to the middle of the funnel audiences.

Better on-site behaviour when people have been directed from paid traffic sources can act as a positive signal to search engines that track user activity when helping it rank – as mentioned in our previous section.

Conclusion

Now you know how social media marketing and search engines are related.

You also have a good idea of how social media marketing affects discoverability when combined with SEO.

Leveraging social and SEO together will require multiple disciplines in digital marketing to come together. You can develop and execute the strategies outlined in-house or hire an agency to get.

The beauty about hiring an agency is that it will help you get the expertise in these functions at a fraction of the costs if you were to hire this team internally.

There are a ton of great agencies that can help integrate your social & SEO campaigns seamlessly. Some of these Search Engine Marketing Agencies are worth checking out.

Our customers know we make the top list among the best at Web Worx Labs as we leverage social and SEO for most of our campaigns to generate the greatest visibility and returns for our partners.

Want to know more about social media marketing and how it can be optimized also for search discoverability?

Find out what social media marketing can do for you or your business – learn more on our blog for more interesting insights and research.

We would love to hear from you – feel free to contact us, or comment below!

The Most Powerful Digital Marketing Skills

The Most Powerful Digital Marketing Skills

The Most Powerful Digital Marketing Skills

Digital marketing is a rapidly changing field. It is a powerful combination of marketing and information technology that comes together seamlessly to deliver for businesses and brands everywhere.

There are a lot of skills digital marketing professionals are required to have these days. Any digital marketing agency will have lots of different experts in their team to deliver projects for their clients. At Web Worx Labs – we know how different experts need to come together to deliver beautiful products – be it social media posts, google ad copy, reporting/analytics, web design, development project or video editing.

Digital Marketing Skills Needed Today

Here is a breakdown of some of the different types of digital marketing skills that are a necessity in the field:

  1. Branding
  2. Web development
  3. Web Design
  4. Marketing Manager
  5. UX/UI Design
  6. Graphic Designer
  7. Copywriter
  8. Social Media Management
  9. Social Media Design
  10. Search Engine Optimization
  11. Pay Per Click Expert
  12. Content writer
  13. Copywriter
  14. Video Editing
  15. Video Shooting

HubSpot has a great blog that gets into the nitty-gritty of what, who and how is digital marketing practiced. Here is a link to their blog.

In our agency, we know that these diverse skills are required to deliver full-stack solutions. We have in-house expertise for most of these solutions and our team members come together to deliver for our clients.

And trust us – to deliver outstanding projects, you need specialists in the areas mentioned above.

That is why there are so many niches out there. Many companies either focus on back-end IT development, while others focus on Social Media Management and while others are solely SEO practitioners since these are distinct expertise on their own that provides a solution to one aspect of digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Skills Needed Today Graphic

Among all of this expertise, there is one skill and one skill from our point of view that trumps it all. Can you guess what that skill is?

The skill is writing.

Yes, you can say it is content writing or copywriting – but it’s essentially writing. This simple and fundamental skill that was powerful in the 17th century when running print ads (an example will be shown later) is still the most relevant one today.

Why is writing the most sought-after and needed skill in digital marketing?

It is simple – because it’s the one skill that connects every other digital marketing solution.

Why Content Writing Is The Number One Skill In Digital Marketing?

By content writing, we do not only mean writing blogs – we mean writing for ads, copy, email, web copy and anything in between (and yes it also covers blogs).

To us, a content writer and copywriting are almost interwoven disciplines. A good copywriter is a writer that can write blogs, ads or web copy.

One can argue that even in copywriting, there are areas of specialty. A copywriter can specialize in ads vs. another who is better at writing blogs while another can have their primary focus on writing social media copy.

A copy or content writer can have a preference – but intrinsically they are writers. Rules of engagement are slightly different, but the skills are very transferable.

Content is King

Ever heard of the saying – “Content is king”?

That phrase was written way back in 1996 by a famous entrepreneur named Bill Gates – the founder of Microsoft. He may not have coined the term as there is a debate that it pre-dates him, but he made it famous with his essay.

He wrote an essay on the subject and in it he emphasized that content will dominate the internet the same way it did in broadcasting.

His prediction has turned out to be right and will continue to be right in the foreseeable future.

Even Google – one of the biggest companies in the digital marketing industry and the biggest referral network relies on content to do its job. It ranks and answers millions of queries a day by scanning billions of sites with its sophisticated algorithm that scans the content on the sites to provide users the answers they need. All in milliseconds.

So yes, content drives the internet and digital marketing is marketing using the internet. Hence, content marketing is essentially digital marketing.

Related: Up for a technical read? Get to know a lot of the Technical Google Updates and why they happen.

Content is the Glue That Binds Every Other Skill

The great thing about content writing is that it is needed for every other digital marketing skill.

Does a web developer need content for his or her website? You bet! No matter how fast the website loads – she or he will not be able to do anything with it unless the content on the pages connects with the audience.

It is the fundamental marketing skill that is needed in every solution, skill or service to complete its delivery.

Let’s break down other digital marketing skills that need content writing to deliver their products:

  • Search Engine Optimization – It’s a fundamental requirement. White hat SEO is about content creation, website optimization, on-page, meta tags, descriptions, and outreach.
    • For all of those activities, we need great writing
    • Reporting & Analytics also requires a writer who can articulate the work performed
  • UX/UI Designer.
  • For any web design, the content drives the design.
    • Words are used as a direction to help guide the designer to create the WOW factor web experience begins with great writing initially

Web Developer – we already mentioned it earlier 😊

  • Pay Per Click Specialist. Copywriting for PPC has been an age-old industry and professional since the direct mail days.
  • Social Media Management. Whether it’s designing the posts or writing the caption, it starts with writing the content out for the design and then having to design them.
    • Then you create the caption and call to action.
  • Email marketing. This is more obvious. Writing great emails comes from well – great writing.
  • Videography.

Everything from writing a great screenplay or script to editing and video call outs requires content to makes it all come together

Related: Read our blog on what is email marketing & how does it work.

Now it could be argued that many of the web designs, for example, can be mediocre at copywriting to get by and make up for it with their other skills. However, to go after the market and stand out, your copy and content writing is what will need to be consistent to beat out the competition.

Whether it’s through writing blogs, or running podcasts, hosting seminars or writing amazing copy – to market your business, you will need great writing. Period.

And that is the main point here. Once the website is developed and hosted – people will not show up to it. It will need to speak to people, it will need to be marketed. Content and great writing will be needed to drive traffic.

To showcase thought leadership in digital marketing – it begins with great words first getting organized to get the right message across to the right audience.

Great Writers Are Strategist & Marketers

To be a great writer, you have to understand your subject and your audience well. To entertain, engage and keep the reader turning the page or read the whole blog or finish the website copy, you need to understand your customer or reader at a deeper more psychological level.

This means that you are already getting into the mind of the audience and thinking like a marketer.

Does a web copy or ad copywriter know who they need to speak to? How about a great blogger?

To execute and come up with a plan to get great ideas, thought leadership or the target customer engagement is required to achieve the goals (whether it’s clicking on an ad or signing up for conversion) and this also requires a solid plan.

The development of the plan at this point means you think critically, look at the numbers and come up with a plan to achieve. This is, in a nutshell, is in fact strategy development. You need to think critically and write content that attracts, engages and converts.

The simple fact is that writing is the oldest marketing skill out there. It was true in the days of marketing in classifieds or newspaper ads published in the 17th century and it is true in today’s digital marketing age.

The copy used in the advertisement in the ca the 1740s

Source: V&A Collections UK

Related: Our Blog – Marketing Fundamentals 101

Closing Thoughts

If you are in the market for an ad agency or a digital marketing firm, ask them if they have copywriters or content writers? Who writes blogs for their SEO campaigns? Who writes the copy for the ads?

Or if you are a digital marketing professional that is not a natural writer, then we recommend take the time and brush up on your writing skills or partner with a professional writer to help create complete digital marketing solutions.

Writing captivating copy, engaging blogs, and awesome emails will only help in marketing digitally.

Now, we turn it over to you.

Do you agree with this assessment?

Do you feel that there is any other skill that is more important in digital marketing that is as important as writing?

Reach out or drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

Things You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

Things You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

Things You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, but most don’t know what it is.

“AMP” is a play on the words “amplify” to speed up, in this case, the load times of the site.

An AMP is a page created to improve the performance of the mobile web experience by creating fast-loading mobile pages. It is a project announced by Google on 7th October 2015.

You can learn the details all about AMP on their primary site: Ampproject.org.

Amateur digital marketers are not aware of what it is and how it works.

If you are new to AMP – then this blog will give you an overview with a slight bit of technical background and detail.

If you a Web Development Ninja – then we hope you find it a refresher and entertaining read!

So what is AMP again? It is a library that allows users to create light pages using best practices and optimized code.

This project was initiated by Google and Twitter to be super lightweight and fast loading.

Companies like Google, Twitter, and others use AMP.

They use AMP because it is intended to be an open response and an open-source framework.

AMP pages are distributed across a comprehensive range of consumer platforms.

Some of these platforms are Google, Twitter, Bing, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Medium, and more.

We are in a mobile-first world.  Speed is important – super important.

The world is moving towards mobile and given mobile is slower technology than desktop ISPs, the need for faster lighter pages arises.

Google wants fast websites to effectively reach and engage users.

Whether users are browsing the net using 3g network or now the 5G networks that are becoming mainstream these days.

Fact – people do not like to stick around on slow-loading sites.  Studies done by brands like Amazon have quantified the bottom-line impact to slow loading pages.  1% revenue drop for every 100ms decrease in speed – yikes!  Learn more about the study here.

You’ve probably been frustrated with slow-loading websites (we know we have been).

And the cherry on top that makes you run away from slow-loading sites is that they usually are dated in design, and some may even contain obtrusive ads.

All this can lead you away from the purpose of visiting the site in the first place.

This is why the biggest referral network that wants to improve the internet experience for all users is behind this initiative (we are talking about Google here).

Despite half of the users abandoning slow sites, keep in mind that over 75% of websites on mobiles take more than 10 seconds to load on 3G connections fully and significantly longer on non-3G connections.

However, the research also indicates that 53% of users will leave a mobile page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

There is a disconnect in the needs of an average user vs. what he gets by the webmasters across the world wide web.

In fact, in several cases, the need to monetize the website has created bloated sites and lousy user experiences.

Remember, it is not a simple adjustment of monetization vs. performance.

Building a fast, attractive, well monetized, and functional mobile site often requires much effort and constant updates.

It is not an easy task to maintain a fast-mobile website on your own and often requires the assistance of a large team of skilled developers.

All of these reasons are why an AMP project was started.  You do not need to learn advanced HTML or have an army of developers.

The AMP project has made it easier for even novice developers to rely on the library of code to design fast loading pages that are beautiful in look and feel.

I know by now, after this brief context and history lesson, you are probably wondering – so how does it work?

How does it affect my site’s user experience and why a smaller business that isn’t the size of the tech giants mentioned, really care?

So let’s get to it – here are some details that provide clarity to these questions!

A great video by Full Stack that talks about why, where it is used and some of the mechanisms behind it.   Here is a screenshot presentation on a short but powerful video explaining how and where it works;

Image source: FULL STACK – ACADEMY of CODE.

What is AMP made of?

Technically, there are three main components AMP is built on for creating mobile web pages.

The combination of these three elements yields the super-fast AMP experience.

AMP HTML

This is an extension of HTML with some restrictions for better and reliable performance.

The HTML is extended with some custom AMP properties.  These custom elements allow common tags to implement with site performance in mind quickly.

The AMP library is linked within the code, for example, execute an action that is written with the best industry practices in mind.

The tag within the HTML references one of the scripts and links to an AMP script library – allowing the webmaster to leverage the clean code that is optimized for performance (instead of writing the code for the same action in less than the optimal way that can slow the load times).

Now you are wondering here why it is faster or how is it faster vs. other code?

This is because unlike traditionally designed pages, the browser may not know how the content will be laid out until all the code is loaded.

AMP bypasses by making sure that each element size and position is determined within the HTML before the actual resource is loaded.

So AMP loads the resources of the page, before waiting for any resources to be downloaded – this concept is called “static layouts.”

All this is done to ensure the loading time is reduced as fewer resources are needed to load the page.

AMP JS

This is a library that ensures the fast rendering of AMP HTML pages.

Like the AMP HTML – these scripts in the library are linked to allow good clean code to be used.

Use these instead of using bloated code that can prevent poor rending to occur and thereby add to the load times.

Most pages contain code that is synchronously downloaded and can block the rendering of the page.

Using the AMP library allows for Java Scripts to be loaded asynchronously (in parallel) instead of sequential (or in the order specified) to allow for faster load times.

AMP Cache

This element fetches and caches APM HTML and is used to improve the performance of pages automatically.

The most notable benefit is the most obvious one too.

AMP speeds up the load times of web-page by about 40%, and Google search results prefer it.

This key benefit enhances user experience and stops users from bouncing to another page or page by enhancing the load time.

This allows your pages to be discoverable quicker with search engines through the <link rel=”> tag.

what is google amp and its effect on seo

Image Source: SEOpressor

Higher Performance, Engagement & Flexibility:

AMP gives websites a great boost by giving users a smooth, more engaging experience on mobile and desktop.

Let’s assume; you want your average business to rank on top in the search results.

You want your brand to be associated with all the good things, especially when someone visits your site.

If the above-mentioned goals are your concern, then we strongly recommend that you use AMP pages!

If Google is behind AMP and it you want to on Google results, it makes sense to use AMP in your site.

AMP provides publishers and advertisers with flexibility.

It allows them to choose how to present their content and decide what technology vendor to use.

The library allows users to show content in different ways on different screens.

The screen renders faster, fewer resources are used, and the user gets to see what is on the page.

There are a lot of optimization techniques offered to webmasters to help their businesses to win and engage their customers.

The great developers provided all the techniques at AMP Projects.

However, the best part is, the wider internet community is the real winner!

A win-win-win (users, large tech giants, internet webmasters)!

Conclusion:

As digital marketers, we must stay abreast of the latest technological updates, and AMP is no exception.

We all understand the importance of fast loading sites.

And AMP provides a comparatively easy way to upgrade the speed of mobile websites for publishers.

To know more about AMP and how to bring it in use, you can reach out to us, and we feel excited to help you become an AMPed.

If you are a publisher or manage websites, then hopefully you are using AMP.  If not, we highly recommend you start thinking about Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Want Your Website To Rank Higher?

Want Your Website To Rank Higher?

Want Your Website To Rank Higher?

The first thing that comes to mind when we are confronted with the idea of our website ranking higher, “what is the fastest and easiest way for my website to rank higher?”

You have to build trust to rank higher, and trust is a relationship that needs to be consistent over time to develop.

In a nutshell – there is no shortcut, and please, for the love of Google – avoid the tempting alternatives for the longevity and health of your website & brand!

Some people do not abide by good search engine guidelines and game the system, hence their websites suffer over the longterm.

Instead, one must change their thinking and approach this question with a mindset of adding value to the user experience by providing great content for whoever lands on the pages of the website.  The better the content and engagement, the more the site will rank over the long term.  Providing relevant and high-quality content regularly to your viewers is the key here.

In turn, Google Algorithms will reward you with higher rankings in search results, which automatically bring more traffic to your website.

In my experience, there have been many surprises from the search engines changing rules and advancing their algorithms.

But one of these remains the same – if you need your website ranking higher in search results, you must put in the hard work and create value for your visitors.

Here are a few of the most common Website Ranking Shortcuts to AVOID at all costs.

Keywords manipulation to improve website rankings

Image Showing Words Are Key - Search Engine Journal - Rank Higher With Well Written Words - Web Worx Labs

Image Source: SearchEngineJournal

Many novice SEO practitioners try to fit their content and messaging within the confines of their keyword research (and not much else) just to tap into the high-volume keywords.

In other words, marketers shape their content on the website to represent keywords for which they have not adequately aligned for the high-volume keywords.

Because of this, the website loses its chance to engage the customer to display the real message.

The results in analytics for this practice speaks for itself. You will notice lots of traffic to your website but minimal conversions.

The reason here is because the traffic (visitors) were not looking for you.

Don’t try to mislead the visitors or direct them to content that is misrepresented by high volume keywords to increase visibility.

Website Ranking Shortcut: Purchasing Links

Picture Showing Dollars and a link on a laptop sign on a laptop. Source Search Engine Journal. For Article on Rank Higher By Web Worx Labs

Image Source: SearchEngineJournal

J.C. Penney was publicly punished approximately five years ago by Google for purchasing links.

According to an article on Practical Ecommerce, Google and other search engines alike hate paid links since they go after the algorithmic reliance on links as signs of quality.

If a site has earned numerous links, it must be fantastic, correct? Not if those links are paid for or given in return for the item, corresponding links, or different favors.

Therefore, Google has explicitly created algorithmic advancements to distinguish and debase links from link rings, link farms, link exchanges, and paid link schemes.

Without a doubt, there are some paid links accessible that haven’t been caught by Google yet.

However, how much longer will they have value, and what will happen if Google finds them?

The risks far outweigh the brief reward.

Keywords stuffing to improve website rankings

Keyword stuffing is probably the oldest trick in the book. Many people still think that SEO is only about keywords.

It’s not, there is a lot more to that goes into search engine optimization SEO and search engines are well aware of this practice of adding in-text combinations which are unnatural.

Search engines notice these attempts to manipulate search results and demote the content as such.

Black Hat SEO Practitioners that are just looking for shortcuts have tried all sorts of ways to trick the search engines.

Some have tried to add all different variations on the keywords in the footer of their website.

Some have even gone as far as adding these stuffed keywords in the same color as their website background so that the visitors could see them, but web crawlers would.

Remember, keyword research is essential; also, you are writing for humans and not for a search engine.

 Writing content for Robots

Image Source: Yoast

Remember you are writing for humans and not for search engines.

There is still this belief out there: if you write variations on the same keywords and sentences plural/non-plural versions, that means you have covered all your bases.

Repeat the same targeted keywords repeatedly in variations, and you will rank high for these keyword variations. Wrong!

This strategy does not work anymore.

Today the search engines are advanced enough to catch repeated keywords and also variations of keywords.

Most importantly, you are going against the cardinal rule.

You are not writing for value-added or quality content for the visitors.

Instead, you are writing for Robots.

Write for humans!  Or be warned.  There are now even keyword density checking tools that you can use to ensure there is no “keyword stuffing”.

Write your content, and check if it is written to appease to robots.  If you have someone write content for your site, test their work through this tool.

Closing Thoughts

Alright, folks, these are the most common search engine optimization shortcuts to avoid when you are looking to get your website to rank higher.

I will repeat this once again, don’t go looking for shortcuts when it comes to SEO, they never work.

Even if they do – sooner or later, search engines are going to catch on to your practices through algorithm updates, and your rankings will plummet.

The practise of search engine optimization is of patience and hard work, and there are no shortcuts to either one.

Ranking higher in search results is not rocket science (although, I am sure some may make it seem that way).

However, it demands determination and persistence to improve your Google ranking by applying efficient SEO strategies that help you style a properly optimized website.

All you have to do is make sure your site speed is up to bar, your content should be relevant, readable, and of high quality, keyword research must be on point.

All of these will help your site win in the search engine ranking race.

Don’t forget to consider hiring SEO professionals to help you rank higher in search engines.

I hope you enjoyed my article; I would love to read what you have to say and share your stories and experiences with SEO journies.

Do let me know what SEO strategies you have used for improving your Google rankings.

Get to Know the History of Google Algorithm Updates

Get to Know the History of Google Algorithm Updates

Get to Know the History of Google Algorithm Updates

 

 

A Complexed design representing how Google changes its algorithm itself.

Image Source: Techwyse

Google algorithm is a term known by all of those who are in the realm of internet marketing.

To provide better search results, Google updates its algorithm every year.

However, those not familiar or in the industry may not be aware of its importance.

In today’s world, having familiarity and knowing how it can impact a company’s top or bottom line is an essential step in doing a strategic assessment and risk management.

Not staying up to date can impact a company’s organic search ranking, visibility, traffic, conversions, revenue, and finally, income.

The point is, it’s all connected.

Google’s algorithm can indirectly impact your bottom line.

Let’s get into what the heck is a Google algorithm and how you can safeguard your business from it.

To understand Google Algorithm updates, you first have to understand what an algorithm is.

An algorithm is defined in several ways. Here are a few of them for you to understand it better.

Algorithms are a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps.

So it is a big sophisticated computer program using a set of commands to perform a particular task.

This still doesn’t explain it, does it?

Let’s switch gears to apply the concept to a more well-known example of an algorithm that is used by billions daily “Google”.

So what is the Google Algorithm?

Here is how Encyclopedia has defined Google Algorithm:

“The formula Google uses to rank the resulting Web pages from a user’s query.”

Google algorithm is responsible for 80% of all searches done on the world wide web.

This algorithm is adaptive and offers a wide range of personalized results.

Google’s sophisticated search program uses numerous criteria to deliver more relevant results for users who use it.

It keeps adjusting the results based on the behavior of the users.

Following a strict criteria, it evaluates all the web pages it has indexed to ensure the user gets the best possible answer from the billions of web pages out there.

And it does this in a fraction of a second with tens of thousands of queries a second.  That is a crazy piece of tech.

Google continues to update its algorithm all the time,  which can affect search engine results – and thereby, your site’s traffic.

How people prepare themselves when Google is about to release the algorithm.

 

In one way, Google is the traffic police!  You have to comply with its strict search content criteria for your pages to rank.

You can comply knowingly by managing your SEO efforts (or have someone manage it for you), or you can simply be ranking without knowing unintentionally.

However, it is important to brace yourself because the Google algorithm keeps updating regularly.

The search algorithm of Google is reportedly changing around 500 to 600 times per year and releases significant algorithm changes that have a substantial impact on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

Pro Tip: If you want to get into much more granular changes for Google – stay up to date with Search Engine Roundtable – where the SEO community tracks all the significant changes and reports on it regularly by the excellent work done by Barry Shawrtz at seroundtable.com.

However, we will spell out the most significant updates for you to look for when looking to understand the Google Algorithm updates better.

But what are these changes, and why Google keep releases new updates quite often?

Well, to help you understand the significant algorithm changes of Google in the past, we’ve enlisted all the critical updates and revisions of Google Algorithm.

Types of Google Algorithm Updates:

  • Panda Update.
  • Penguin Update.
  • Hummingbird Update.
  • Pigeon Update.
  • Mobile-Friendly Update.
  • Pirate Update.
  • EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update.
  • RankBrain Update.
  • Top Heavy Update.

Google Panda Update:

Panda update of Google's algorithm released by Google.

 

Google launched “Panda” in February 2011

Panda was designed to target the poor quality sites that made their way on the top of Google’s SERPs.

Sites with poor user experience can be hit by Panda too.

Panda keeps updating from time to time and cleans up occupied search result engine from low-quality content for high-quality content.

Google Penguin Update:

Penguin algorithm update of Google represented by real life Penguin

Google’s Penguin update was announced on 24 April 2012, which aimed to reduce the rankings of those websites which violate Google webmaster guidelines.

They did this by using the techniques of black-hat SEO, a practice entirely against search engine guidelines.

Penguin is a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm since late 2016, which means penalties are now applied faster than before, and recovering from penalizing also takes less time.

Google Hummingbird Update:

The hummingbird algorithm update released by Google

 

This search algorithm has a codename of “Hummingbird” was announced on 26 September 2013.

Google named this algorithm hummingbird because of being “precise and fast.”

The specialty of penguin is that it provides the best results by understanding the meaning behind the words searched.

Also, penguin enhanced semantic search by this process.

There are two significant hazards you need to avoid one is exact-match keyword targeting, and the other is keyword stuffing.

Know all about the  Google Hummingbird algorithm here.

Google Pigeon Update:

Representation of the pigeon update released by Google.

 

The pigeon was launched on 24 July 2014, to increase the ranking of a local business listing in a search.

This algorithm created closer ties between the local and the core algorithm.

In this algorithm, the same practices and factors can be used to rank local and non-local Google results.

Do you know why this algorithm was called “Pigeon”?

Well, its because Pigeons tend to fly back home.

And so does this algorithm after having a substantial impact on local search result rankings.

This algorithm provides more accurate, relevant, and useful local search results by improving distance and local search parameters.

FYI – Does anyone notice a “P” theme going with these updates is it just me (wait Humming Bird update was not a “P” theme)?

Google Mobile-Friendly Update:

Representing the Google's mobile friendly update.

 

The Mobile-friendly ranking algorithm was launched on 21 April 2015.

It was designed by Google to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in mobile search engine results.

The site version appears on desktops might get challenging to use or even view on mobile devices, and the number of mobile users increases day by day.

So, Google to improve user experience launched a mobile-friendly ranking algorithm to give priority to those websites that appear well on mobile devices.

A site can be checked through a tool that tells either it is mobile-friendly or not.

You can check on the internet if your site is mobile friently or not.

 

Google Pirate Update:

Pirate symbol to reflect an algorithm of Google that was called Pirate algorithm

 

In this digital era, piracy has become a significant issue.

However, to demote pirated sites to appear in search engine results, Google introduced the “Pirate Update.”

Google launched “Pirate” in August 2012.

The main intention behind this algorithm update is to prevent sites that have received a large number of copyright infringement reports from ranking well in Google listings.

This filter is updated periodically and also catches the new pirated sites, which somehow manage to escaped before being caught.

(And we are back with “P” updates!)

Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update:

Google launched EMD in September 2012.

EMD aims to prevent site and pages with the poor-quality content from ranking.

Its because they had words that matched search keyword terms in their domain names.

This small algorithm change has reduced low-quality exact match domains from showing up high in the search results.

Remember, there is no such problem with EMDs.

However, they could be a sign of a spammy for the website whose URL exactly matches with a search engine query.

Telling viewers not to rely on exact match domains for SEO

 

Google RankBrain Update:

pictorial representation of rankbrain - an algorithm of Google.

 

RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system launched on 26 October 2015.

It helps Google to determine the most relevant results in search engines.

This allows Google to become as smart as a human being in the sense of acquiring knowledge and can somehow summarize what a page is about.

The primary function of RankBrain is to identify query-specific relevance features of a page and then arrange the result in SERPs according to it.

Google Top Heavy Update:

Google launched “Top Heavy Update” in January 2012, to prevent the sites which are top-heavy with advertisements from ranking well in search result listings.

This algorithm affects the sites with less amount of content or if there are many ads displayed beside relevant content.

Because of the advertisements, these sites are too distracting for users. Hence, they are not user-friendly at all.

This distraction is because of too many ads that also influence their ranking.

Wrapping Up:

So here are all the major Google algorithm updates to date, maintain the ranking of your site by understanding these algorithm updates, and prevent your site’s ranking from dropping down.

Also, make sure that you keep yourself up to date with the changes in algorithms with time because you never know Google is always ready to surprise you.

Funny representation of how Google updates its algorithm.

 

Can you see a pattern here?  What do all these changes have in common?

Google is trying its very best with every update to help the user experience on its search engine be the most reliable and simple for the end-user – the searcher.

If you add up all those searches, the one item common in all of them is that it is trying its best to enhance the reliability and relevancy of its search results.

This change was to provide users with answers for questions better that they type each time they use its search engine.

The stronger the site that follows these practices, whether it is good content, high speed, and not spammy links – the better it will rank in Google’s search results.

Its logical and programmatic approach to help Google continue to dominate the market share it has.

Google wants to reward good sites and penalize the sites that have spamming or shady practices.

They want to improve the overall customer experience with this.

It knows the stronger the relevancy and reliability of the search results, the more likely the users will continue to stay on its engine.

The more people use its search engine, the more ad revenue it can make (as that is its primary source of monetizing the search engine).

In our practice at Web Worx Labs, we have seen national and internal organizations become penalized because they do not stay up to date with these changes or are using less than white-hat SEO practices.

Our advice is that you design your site to meet all the requirements of at least the above.

Also, stay within the “spirit” of the enhanced user experience for your target customer.

If you are wondering that what caused your website ranking to fall, feel free to contact us for a consultation and site audit.

Or you can do a FREE Site audit yourself on our page.

We are always looking forward to helping business owners and marketers with their website rank and visibility.

So what do you think?

Is there an update we should mention that you think we missed?

Let us know in the comment section, and if it is cool or fits, we will make sure to add it to our list!

Top 3 SEO Risks Worth Taking in 2020

Top 3 SEO Risks Worth Taking in 2020

Top 3 SEO Risks Worth Taking in 2020

 

SEO Risks - The Ones To Take & The Ones To Avoid - ITSguru

 

Image Source: ItsGuru

The decision to take risks in search engine optimization is all about calculation and hitting the right balance.

There will be moments when you may feel that the time is not right, especially when you are just above the danger mark.

Just like any other risk-taking venture, you need to look at the positives and negatives before you decide to take risky SEO efforts.

It is always a case of weighing your options for and against the decision.

Calculated SEO Risks Worth Taking in 2020:

How User Experience (UX) Design Affects Your SEO | SEO Optimizers

 

Image Source: SEO optimizers

User Experience

Any SEO expert or professional, would know that Google, the search engine that provides the largest platform to this industry, swears by user experience.

That is undoubtedly the prime factor of SEO rankings.

So, trying to improve the user experience offered by your website. It is worth taking a risk.

You can look at the bounce rate of your site, along with metrics like site duration and time on page, to figure out how you are faring for your visitors.

Any effort or change made to this effect is worth the risk.

 

URL Restructuring

A bronze-age site structure with an outdated eCommerce platform is a sure way to kill a website!

More often than not, SEO professionals are working with URLs that are not keyword-rich.

As a result, the response from Google is quite poor.

Also, when users are not clicking on your link even when you are ranking, Google takes a very dim view of your site’s ability to deliver the required content.

This implementation pulls down your rank even further.

How to Create SEO-Friendly URLs

 

Image Source: Backlinko

The above image by Backlinko will explain to you what we mean by a keyword-optimized URL.

Users don’t have any idea of your content from your URLs unless they are optimized with proper keywords.

So that is a path you should walk down and modify.

It may mean temporary slipping of rankings for your website, but it will be beneficial in the long run.

A/B Testing

 

Image Source: Optimizely

A-B Testing 

This method is the most radical risk that you can take.

You would change the whole framework of your SEO initiative and testing it against different keywords and meta tags.

As the name suggests, you need to work with structure A and compare the results with structure B.

Whichever gives you better results will be the way forward for you.

You can see the results on Click-through Rates or CTR.

Try not to overhaul the entire site at a single go.

Do it gradually for the most important pages and then expand it according to the results you get.

SEO risks should always be about finding the right way ahead, not about proving yourself right.

Being a professional SEO Agency, we ensure all the A/B Testing is done to compare the data and provide ROI focused strategy.

Search Engine Optimization – Why It Matters and How to Do It Yourself

Search Engine Optimization – Why It Matters and How to Do It Yourself

Search Engine Optimization – Why It Matters and How to Do It Yourself

 

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a common marketing strategy that businesses use to help their website rank higher in major engines’ search results.

Despite its popularity, some business owners remain skeptical or even unaware of the power of SEO.

This mostly stems from underestimating the value of SEO, or insufficient understanding of what SEO involves.

With all the resources available online, it can be overwhelming for the uninitiated to wrap their heads around what search engine optimization is or what it takes to achieve results.

If you’re fortunate to have enough funds, you can outsource SEO work to experts like us who will handle your SEO for you.

However, we understand some small businesses are on a tighter budget, but that does not mean they have to miss out on the benefits of SEO.

In this blog, we will explain the benefits of search engine optimization.

We will provide a checklist of what you need before starting SEO.

Also, we will walk you through how to do some basic optimization for your business website.

Want to develop or improve your business website? Give us a call, and we’ll give you a customized quote based on your business goals.

Related article: 3 Reasons Your Business Needs a Website

Importance of Search Engine Optimization

First, let’s talk numbers.

As of 2017, over 4 billion people worldwide have access to the Internet.

That’s more than half of all the people on Earth.

One thing most of these people know how to do? Use a search engine.

Search engines are not a new concept anymore.

Since their inception, they have become an integral part of Internet users’ behavior online.

Take the biggest search engine in the world, for example, Google. According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 searches every second on average.

That’s 3.5 billion searches per day and over 1 trillion searches per year.

For further clarification, look at the infographic image below:

Global social media research summary 2020 | Smart Insights

 

Image Source: Smart Insight

What do these numbers mean for you as a business owner?

It means lots of opportunities to reach your target audiences online.

But the Internet is dark and full of competitors.

So how do search engines sift through the noise?

They rely on complex algorithms that automatically crawl websites and rank them according to several factors called ranking factors.

Ranking factors determine where a website will rank in search engine results.

These include factors such as page speed, meta tags, relevant and rich content, mobile optimization, and more.

For your website to rank high in search results, it needs to be optimized for these factors.

Keep in mind that there are no guarantees when it comes to SEO.

But if you do the work right, and don’t try to trick the search engine algorithms, you should be fine.

When it comes to ranking, you want to aim for the first page of search results, and the top 3 results on that page.

Why? Because results in these positions get the highest traffic.

The screenshot below, based on research by Search Engine Watch, breaks down the traffic percentage for each result on the first page.

You’ll see that the first result gets the most traffic, while the last result gets the least traffic.

This number decreases the further down the result is.

 

Increase Your Sales with SEO

If the traffic numbers don’t convince you, let’s try dollars.

Using our extensive SEO expertise, we came up with a hypothetical scenario for a daycare business that charges $1,400/month per student to give you an insight into what your business numbers could look like with SEO.

These assumptions are just to show the potential for modeling and planning purposes only – but it will give you an indication of how the return and costs work.

 

The average revenue after the business has taken the first spot on the first page is $1,138 on the low end and more than double for the realistic scenario.

This means that there is additional revenue coming in every month.

Also, more traffic is being generated by the keyword through SEO efforts.

This can work on additional business models, where the average revenue per transaction is low – how?

By using more keywords and higher converting keywords.

Whether it’s an e-commerce website, a service-based business or something in between, search engine optimization can deliver results when done right.

We have a proven track record for helping businesses increase their sales through search engine optimization.

Read Our Case Studies

If you have questions about implementing SEO for your business, do not hesitate to ask.

We will create a scenario analysis for your specific business model.

But if you want to DIY it, keep reading.

SEO Starter Checklist

The first thing you need before you can even consider doing any search engine optimization is a well-designed, functioning website.

By well-designed we don’t mean a fancy site with a ton of features, it simply needs to have the main elements of a good website:

  • An easy navigation menu
  • Easy and quick access to the most important information about your business, including the address and phone number (if applicable)
  • Relevant, high-quality images
  • Relevant content
  • Fast loading times
  • Responsive design

You can learn more about the steps involved in website design here.

 

Once you’re satisfied with your website, you can start prepping for search engine optimization.

There are two parts to SEO work: on-page and off-page optimization.

This article will focus on on-page optimization, but the following are the basic first steps for any SEO work.

Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases a user types into a search engine to find information, products, or services.

They are one of the most important ranking factors for search engine bots (complex algorithms that crawl websites).

These bots help search engines categorize the billions of websites on the Internet.

Before doing any SEO, you need to select the best keywords that are relevant to your business.

Using a hypothetical chocolate business called Wonka’s Chocolates, relevant keywords for this business can look like this:

  • Wonka’s Chocolates
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies Ontario

Tip: The more specific your keyword, the better your chance of ranking.

Mobile Optimization

In 2015, Google announced an update to its search engine algorithms that prioritize mobile-optimized websites.

In other words, websites that are optimized for mobile will be prioritized in mobile search results.

It is very important to have a responsive website, not only for the benefit of search engine rankings but also for your customers.

Percentage of people who use their smartphones and tablets to browse the Internet has been increasing significantly for the past 4 years.

In 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones.

That’s more than half of all worldwide web activity.

If your website is not optimized for mobile screens, search engines will not show it to mobile users.

Even if your website shows up, the lack of a responsive design can turn away mobile device users, negatively affecting your brand image.

Don’t know if your website is mobile optimized?  Ask for your free site audit today!

Get Your Free Site Audit

Fresh, Relevant, & Engaging Content

As a business owner or an executive, your website is your online storefront.

It should be regularly maintained and updated with information that is relevant to your consumers.

Neglecting to do this will hurt your SEO rankings, as search engines prefer websites and web pages that are constantly updated with new and relevant content.

The best way to do this is to have a blog on your site where you regularly post high quality, relevant content.

This will signal to search engines that your website is always up to date, and that it provides relevant content to users.

Go the extra step and promote your blog articles on your business’ social media to generate traffic to your site and maintain interest in your brand.

Now that you have the essentials of SEO, it’s time to get technical.

On-Page Optimization Techniques

On-page optimization takes place on the website itself.

This is where some HTML knowledge comes in handy as this part of SEO work takes place on the backend of your website.

If you’re not familiar with HTML, don’t worry, we break down the steps, so it’s easy to understand.

Optimizing Content

We just talked about the importance of content and having regular, updated relevant content on your website.

But content alone is not enough.

The next step is to optimize it.

One way you can do that is with keywords.

Remember that list of keywords you carefully selected?

Now it’s time to put it to use so that when search engine bots crawl the pages of your website, they can associate your content with relevant search engine queries.

In other words, as the owner of Wonka’s Chocolates, you want your website to show for queries looking for chocolate products that you make or sell.

How do you add keywords to your content? Easily.

Let’s take one of Wonka’s Chocolate products as an example: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ideally, you would have a page on your website dedicated to this product.

It will have at least one image of the product and some information or details about it.

It so happens that one of your keywords is Chocolate Chip cookies.

This is your chance to integrate this keyword into everything on the page strategically.

Talk about the product and provide answers that your customers might have.

For instance, why are your Chocolate Chip cookies better than your competitors’?

Where do you get the ingredients? The more content you add that would be relevant to a site visitor, the better.

Optimizing Images

As far as search engine bots are concerned, everything on a web page is content.

Content includes text, images, videos, links, the works.

Your Chocolate Chip Cookies page will naturally have images of the product.

But search engine bots don’t have eyes, so they can’t see that beautiful photo of chocolate chip cookies you have on your page.

You’re going to have to describe it to them. How do you do that? Alt text.

Alt text is a text description of an image on a web page that is helpful to both people with visual disabilities, as well as search engine bots.

The best use for an alt text is to make sure it clearly describes the image while also including the relevant keyword, so your page can rank.

Adding alt text is fairly straightforward.

You go to the backend of your website, find the image you want to optimize and look for the <img> tag.

This is where you will enter your alt text.

Here’s what this looks like:

Optimizing Images

 

On the left is how the image appears on your website.

This is what it looks like in code: <img src=“https://wonkaschocolates.com/chocolate-chip-cookies.jpg” alt=“Wonka’s Delicious 12 pc Chocolate Chip Cookies”>

Simply add the alt text in between the quotation marks, save/update your web page, and you’re done!

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Optimizing Meta Tags

A title tag is what a user sees in their browser tab. It’s also what appears as the title of the page in search results.

This is another significant aspect of your website that gets crawled by search engine bots.

The title tag tells the bots what this page is about.

When optimized, your “chocolate chip cookies” page would have a title that looks like this:

<title> Wonka’s Chocolates | 12 pc Chocolate Chip Cookies </title>

Similarly, the meta description can include relevant keywords that are specific to each unique page on your website.

The meta description is what a search engine user sees when your website/page shows up in search engine results.

The title and meta description are very important as they tell the search engine bots what the page is about and how it’s relevant to what the user is searching for.

Using the same format as above, this is what your meta description could look like:

<meta description=“Made with fresh ingredients and crunchy chocolate chips, Wonka’s chocolate chip cookies are the perfect snack for kids and adults alike”>

Tip: Keep in mind that you only have a limit of 150 characters (spaces included) for your meta description before it cuts off from view. Keep it short and relevant to the page.

Optimizing Site Links & URLs

Links and URLs on your website are key areas you can optimize for.

You can even optimize your domain name, but only attempt that if you know what you’re doing.

For individual page URLs, make sure that the URL is optimized for the page-specific or content specific keyword.

Going with the ‘chocolate chip cookies’ example, the URL for this page can be “www.wonkaschocolates.com/chocolate-chip-cookies-sudbury-ontario.”

Tip: avoid using underscores (_) in URLs.

Optimizing Header Tags

Last but not least, header tags are important because they tell search engine bots what the content on the page is about.

Header tags look like this <h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, <h3> </h3>, etc.

<h1> has higher priority than <h2>, so you want to add the most important information/keyword in between the <h1> </h1> tags.

Also, there is only one <h1> on a single page.

This tag should be at the top of your page.

Moreover, <h2> and <h3> tags can act as subheadings for content. For example,

<h1> Chocolate Chip Cookies in Sudbury </h1>

<h2> Why our chocolate chip cookies are the best </h2>

<p> We use only organic, ethically sourced cocoa beans to make our delicious chocolate chip cookies.

We manufacture them in our factories in Sudbury, Ontario, to allow us to maintain high-quality production. </p>

Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

 

Search engines are smart, and they get smarter every day.

So, there’s no point in trying to trick them into getting them to rank your website higher.

You risk getting penalized if you do. When you’re doing on-page optimization yourself, avoid the following:

  • Duplicate content

It is extremely important not to have duplicate content on many pages of your website.

This includes other websites or sources online.

Avoid copying content from other websites.

Take the time to write your own unique, relevant content.

  • Overuse of keywords on a page

Keywords are an important ranking factor, but you’re not helping yourself if your content is cluttered with them.

Keep it simple, and don’t over-use your keywords on a web page.

  • Non-user-friendly content

It used to be that developers created web pages that had nothing but keywords on them, but search engines got smart about it.

Always remember to write content for your users first, and for search engines second.

Closing Thoughts

As any expert will tell you, the above was merely the ABC’s of SEO.

But it should be enough to help give your website a boost in search result rankings.

Like your blog, SEO work needs to be regularly maintained. If you do it once and forget about it, your rankings will suffer.

It can also be challenging to stay on top of Google’s constant updates, plus the smaller changes they apply to their algorithms without announcing it.

These are all aspects that a digital marketing agency proficient in search engine optimization can take care of for you.

The goal of this blog is not to turn you into an SEO expert as it is a rapid and ever-evolving field.

There are many challenging aspects in SEO work, from constantly updating and improving your website to staying on top of search engines’ algorithm updates.

Despite its challenges, good SEO work yields long-term results, providing a higher ROI compared to other digital marketing strategies like AdWords (now Google Ads).

Unlike AdWords, search engine optimization is essential for any business website.

An optimized website keeps both search engines and your customers happy.

Now you have the tools you need to take a shot at doing your SEO.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or want to avoid the hassle, reach out to us today.

We customize our plans to fit your business needs.