Why Your SEO Strategy Isn’t Working

It’s your worst nightmare as a small business owner.

You finish a long and arduous search for a SEO company you trust.

You shell out thousands of dollars per month for 6-12 months.

…And nothing.

In fact, you don’t even hear the sound of crickets. You’d love to because that at least means something happens.

But after all that time and money spent, you end up with no noticeable change in your business.

Now, many factors can cause this.

But for now, simply consider ones that affect your website:

  1. Choosing the Wrong Keywords

This happens. And it ruins your strategy from the start.

You choose keywords with the wrong searcher intent. Or you go after keywords with too high of competition.

To find the right keywords, you must first research them, analyze the competition, and then re-analyze your keywords.

You can’t expect a specific ranking for a certain search term after a specified period of time.

Not even the best SEOs can promise that.

But you should notice improved rankings, more traffic, and increased business after 12 months.

And this should come from at least some of your keywords.

  1. Not Enough Time and Attention Focused on Your Web Page’s Title and Meta Description

Yes, your title should include your keyword. But first, it should be written to grab attention.

It works just like the headline of your local newspaper used to work.

Remember?

They had highly persuasive headlines featuring provocative stories. That gave people a reason to get the newspaper.

Well, searchers need a reason to click your search listing too. They don’t just want to see “HVAC Services Dallas, TX.”

They want to see what they’ll get from you. For example:

“HVAC Services in Dallas that Keep You Cool + Comfortable.”

People want to be cool and comfortable.

The same process should then follow for your META description, which is the 3-4 lines of text just below your search listing’s title.

Explain other benefits you offer, like a free quote, affordable repairs, long warranties, and then maybe a sentence explaining how you can do this to improve credibility.

Your title and META description should work as lethal marketing weapons, and not just some random text you need to rank.

  1. Irrelevant Internal Linking

Links from one of your web pages to another should absolutely be used. But, they shouldn’t be used with the intent of boosting your SEO.

Instead, adopt a mindset of making your website easier and more convenient to use by linking internally where it makes sense.

Think of what your users may want to have a link to on each page as you create it.

A couple links or so makes sense.

But, don’t go all-out and make each page on your website look like a Wikipedia page. Your website visitors will notice, realize you’re just doing this to boost your rankings, and then they’ll get annoyed and leave.

Focus on the user experience first with your internal links, and your rankings will follow.

 

The Single Most Overlooked Key Ingredient to Online Marketing Success

 

SEO. Backlinks. Social media. Content. Keywords.

They’re all necessary for online marketing success.

But one strategy’s superior even to these.

…And most small businesses don’t know what it is.

Those things all listed before?

They’re tactics.

Anyone can do them. Everyone does them.

They make a difference.

But imagine you found a real game-changer. One special thing that completely blows your competition out of the water.

And when you find it, you have no problem attracting more business. In fact, you have to figure out how you’ll manage it all.

Is this some hypey clever marketing tactic?

Absolutely not.

It’s 100% legit.

…So what is it?

Why Differentiation Makes All the…Well…Difference

It’s rare you find one business that offers a certain product or service. Today, you always have more options than you can count on one hand. And sometimes, more than you can count on all your hands and feet.

What makes customers choose your company over another?

Personal service?

Well, yes.

But other companies offer that too.

Lower prices?

Again, yes, but it’s tough to provide a high-quality product or service at low prices unless you’re a massive corporation. And even then, it’s difficult.

Let Me Tell You an Amazing (And 100% True) Story To Show You How This Works

“Our beer is 100% pure!” yelled and screamed nearly every American beer company in the 1900s.

The company that won the advertising war usually had the most dollars to front to keep their market position.

That’s one way to win.

But what if you’re a small business and don’t have massive spending power?

Schlitz, at the time, ranked somewhere between 8th and 15th in beer sales in America.

And here’s the thing: consumers then had no clue what “pure” meant. So, they only bought from the company whose name they could most easily recognize.

Poor Schlitz typically wasn’t that company.

So they hired advertising legend Claude Hopkins. They were desperate.

He wanted to know what “pure” really meant. So he asked Schlitz to give him a tour of their facilities.

He saw 4,000-foot deep wells dug to provide the purest and cleanest water available then. Schlitz showed him the 1,200 experiments it took to produce their beer’s flavor.

Blown away, he asked,”Why don’t you tell consumers you do this?”

“Because every beer company does it,” Schlitz replied.

Hopkins had to convince Schlitz to let him talk about their processes and how they yielded “pure” beer. He argued it would work because no other company approached marketing the same way.

Consumers would finally understand what “pure” meant and how pure their beer really was.

That resulted in ads like this:

Within six months, Schlitz became the top selling American beer.

Consumers understood what pure meant and why they should care.

They thought Schlitz was different than all the others!

How Can You Be Truly Different?

Yes, marketing and advertising really work. They should produce measurable sales results.

And differentiation is the easiest way to get results.

So, how can you be truly different in your niche?

Why should customers do business with you, and no one else?

Find a persuasive answer to that question, and you get all the business you want.

Apple’s New iOS 11 Will End Cookies and Change Online Advertising Forever

You know what cookies are, right?

In case you’re not exactly sure, they’re small files some websites store on your computer that include information a company has tracked about you. Most commonly, they get used for advertising. Those retargeted ads that seem to follow you around from site-to-site have their data stored in cookies.

Cookies may also be used to store information regarding whether you’ve seen a particular newsletter subscription offer. For example, you get 10% off for joining a website’s email list. Once you sign up, you don’t get shown that ad again thanks to the cookie.

They also may store information about how you like to view a certain website. For example, ESPN lets you select your favorite teams to follow, and that info gets stored in a cookie.

That’s what cookies do. They allow the web to be customized to you in a more personal way.

But now, as is often the case with Apple, they’re changing that. iOS 11 now shifts the web to “intelligent tracking prevention” (ITP).

After 24 hours, advertisers will have their cookie data blocked by ITP. Publicly, Apple says they’re doing this to safeguard user data and deliver even more relevant advertising.

But is that the case? Learn a little more about ITP and what it will do:

  1. The Good For Consumers

You’ve heard about all those massive online data breaches in recent years. Apple’s ITP truly does offer better data protection. That’ll help you feel more at ease.

And, since those retargeted ads will have to disappear and be replaced after 24 hours, that’ll give you more relevant and useful ads. Ideally, this makes shopping online easier and more enjoyable.

  1. The Online Advertising Industry Will Consolidate

More automation and real-time activation will be needed to successfully advertise online. Companies will have to switch their focus to devices and identity resolution, rather than cookies. Any company that refuses to change, or without the capability to do so quickly enough, will fall out of relevance themselves, or have to close their doors.

  1. ITP Technology Won’t Have a Massive Effect

Though groundbreaking and disruptive in concept, only about 15% of mobile browsing happens in a browser, notes an Adage article. And 30% of that 15%, or just 5%, of mobile browsing happens in iOS.

What about all the rest of mobile advertising? It happens through apps.

Why Should You Care about This?

You’ll definitely notice the changes – both as a consumer and business. While it’s not likely to devastate your bottom line (thankfully), it will affect your approach and personal experience.

What’s Different about Your Content

Does just any old content work?

Kind of.

But you get limited results from that content.

Because, as you know, now you can read a blog post about any problem you have.

Don’t know how to fix your water heater?

How do you prepare your house for the winter?

Can you get rid of a cold faster?

Got ants in your pants and need a quick solution?

No matter how small, large, or absurd your problem, someone else has written or recorded the solution.

And usually, dozens of people have.

Having a solution available, whether by blog, email, or social media, gives customers a reason to keep listening to you.

Creating a unique solution gives customers and prospects a powerfully persuasive reason to listen to you.

What if you don’t have a unique solution?

How can you stand out with your content?

You can actually do quite a bit to differentiate your content so you get more links, followers, and customers than your competitors:

  1. Get to the Point Already 

Internet searchers want a quick answer to their question. They may need help with just a step or two to solve their problem.

Don’t blabber on about the entire history of the problem.

Get to the point.

Identify the problem. Explain why it happens. Show the fixes.

Don’t make your reader endure even one more sentence than they have to.

  1. Entertain

Erin Williamson at Design Crisis knows how to entertain while discussing various interior design topics.

Giving just the facts bores most audiences. It may be appropriate for audiences who like facts, like lawyers or doctors.

 

Here’s an example of a facetious comment she makes:

“I took trig, calculus and physics, and none of that equipped me to figure out how to specify the length and width of a panel with pinch pleats and rods and rings.”

If you crack jokes in person, do it online too. You get the same response, even though you don’t necessarily experience it.

  1. Go Meticulously In-Depth…Farther Than Anyone Else

Again, don’t tell your readers about the history of a problem. That bores.

But do offer details that only an experienced professional like yourself would know.

 

Give your readers everything. And don’t hold back.

Will some take your secrets and do their project for themselves?

Perhaps.

But even more will realize you know what in the heck you’re doing. And they’ll want to hire someone with a sharp mind like yours.

Consider writing a single blog post and going all out on the solution to a problem.

 

Brian Dean of Backlinko uses this approach in the SEO/internet marketing niche, which leads the innovation of content.

He goes way further in-depth and delivers more value than anyone else, which makes it no surprise he’s one of the top minds in his niche.

And don’t be afraid to constantly share stories of personal experiences. Nothing is more credible or convincing to your readers. Plus, the human mind is wired to remember stories far better than lists of boring facts.

How can you make your content stand out?

It should be no problem now!

How Machine Learning Affects Your Search Rankings (And What You Should Do in Response)

Google’s algorithm learns on its own, without human intervention. Yes, programmers need to alter how its algorithm learns with updates from time-to-time.

But Google’s algorithm can absolutely do much of its learning on its own. That’s artificial intelligence.

Google’s RankBrain update does this with new search queries it’s never encountered before. When evaluating the search terms entered, it compares them to similar words and keyphrases which have been searched before. Then, based on its understanding, it delivers the most relevant results for the new search term you enter.

The big deal about this is that Google can understand the actual intent of your search. For searchers, that means they get results more in line with what they want.

Maybe Google isn’t always perfect. But it’s far more accurate than any other search engine.

Big Deal! What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Well, it dramatically shifts your approach to SEO. For around a decade, it’s been all about optimizing your page using the right techniques and keyphrases. And many SEOs still swear adamantly to this approach. For example, you should:

  • Include your most important keyphrase in your page’s URL
  • Make sure it appears in the H1 title at the top of your page
  • Include it in a H2 sub-header, or maybe even a couple of them
  • Keep it in the regular body text of your page a few times
  • Make sure each of the pages on your website is at least 500 words
  • Keep your page load times at less than 3 seconds

Now don’t get us wrong. That stuff’s still important. But almost everyone understands to do it now.

So, you can’t sneak ahead of the competition when you use these techniques. It’s simply a standard of practice you have to do to keep pace.

Today, ranking’s all about content quality.

What Makes content Amazing?

Let’s take a typical small business niche: DIY home repair. You’ll have no problem finding thousands of articles on nearly any DIY subject online.

So what makes one so much better than another?

Take a look at industry expert Bob Vila’s website. It’s loaded with dozens of “how-to” guides. They’re filled with:

  • Detailed info which explains all steps and concepts so anyone can understand them
  • Image examples to clarify ideas
  • Product recommendations

Once you’re done reading the article, you really don’t have any questions left.

But Won’t That Cause Most Customers to Simply Do Everything Themselves and Not Use Your Business?

No. Of course, some readers will go the DIY route. But, remember you’re not going to change what they want to do.

Some readers will always want to DIY. Your goal isn’t to change their minds so you can do it for them and charge them a fee.

Your goal is to provide such amazing value in your content that readers bookmark you, share your content on social media, and otherwise never forget you. Then, when they do have a need for your services (and of course many customers will want to pay for them because they have no desire to DIY), they remember you, and not your competition.

Content is a long-term game in this regard. And those shares and links you earn only come with amazing-quality content. But it creates consistency and predictability you can’t win using any other marketing technique.

3 Best Practices to Make Your Internal Links Your SEO Secret Weapon

Think of “SEO” for a second.

What comes to mind?

Keywords. Backlinks. Content…

Those are all extremely important. But the humble internal link, one from your own site to another page on your site, often gets overlooked.

Why?

Honestly, I don’t know.

But internal links undoubtedly have a huge effect on your search rankings too. Once they get juice from external links, their owner power is amplified to a massive degree.

How do you get the most from your internal links? That I do have the answers to. And they go like this: 

(1) Internal Links Always Focus on User Experience (UX) First

The best SEO gets your visitors to what they want fast. They want to learn more about a topic, or research your product or service for potential purchase.

Whatever your search listing’s title happens to be, the resource visitors arrive at must deliver on what your title promises.

Internal links can be used to answer further questions users have. They can also drive users to product or service pages that try to sell (if users originally land on a blog post or report, for example).

When users have good experiences on your website, they stay longer, come back, and link to you.

Internal links indirectly drive SEO value this way.

Compare that to an internal link that’s just present for SEO purposes. It shows up in the first paragraph of a blog post where users aren’t yet ready to buy or learn more.

They’re confused. Or annoyed. They don’t click on it.

Yeah, you get SEO value. But not as much as you would if you waited until the end of the post to promote your service.

(2) Use Internal Links to Drive SEO Value to Pages You Want to Rank Most

While user experience is your first concern, you can more directly drive SEO value by linking to pages you want to rank most.

You can do this easily, and naturally, from your blog.

Focus on that word “naturally.”

Why?

Because, say you link to your service page from every single blog post. That looks “unnatural” to your users and search engines.

You won’t get as many clicks or as much love from the search engines. But, link to your service pages from a few posts, where it makes sense, and you have a natural fit.

Users don’t notice anything unusual. And neither do search engines.

By controlling the SEO value flow in this way, you give exact website pages greater opportunity to rank high.

(3) Optimize Internal Links for Your Keywords

With external links, you should only optimize the anchor text on 1 in 100 links. And it’s fine if you do it 0 times.

Google just does not like it much at all.

But with internal links, Google doesn’t mind you doing this. So go ahead and do it to get a little more out of your internal links.

Internal links may not get the attention they deserve. But that’s no problem for you.

And now that you have this information…you’re a big problem for your competitors.