Top 3 Tips for Companies Brand New to SEO

Just starting your venture into ranking in online search?

Don’t worry! You’re not as far behind as you might fear, even though some companies have been working on their search presence for 10 years.

You can compete with anyone. You just have to know where to spend your time so you get the best results from your efforts.

Here’s what you can do to make yourself competitive in search, even if you’ve only just started, and perhaps don’t even know a ton about SEO yet:

  1. Take Your SEO Efforts Offline

What? Offline? Isn’t SEO online only?

Yes.

But let me explain a little more.

If you have industry connections and can sponsor an event or become a speaker, take full advantage of it. It can boost your SEO too.

If you’re going to speak at a local Chamber of Commerce event, make sure you get a link on their website. That’s a potent link right there. And, other SMBs or reputable websites may link to you as well.

Whenever you participate in an offline event, consider how you can work your real-world relationships to boost your SEO.

  1. Prepare for Constant Change and Challenges

Google cares first and foremost about offering searchers an amazing search experience. They want to deliver the results searchers demand.

If they falter in doing this, they risk their market-leading position (and billions of dollars).

So, Google has a couple choices:

  1. Stay the same, and risk a competitor overtaking them
  2. Constantly change and update their algorithm to improve the results searchers get

Right now, they focus on the latter.

For you, that means you’ll continue to experience frequent changes. You’ll have the challenge of keeping up.

Understand it’s simply the reality. Will Google make dramatic changes? Perhaps. But, most of those may already be done. Regardless, they’ll continue to adapt and improve to some extent.

You’ll have to spend time learning, or working with your SEO in staying on top of what’s happening.

  1. Understand SEO Works Differently in Various Contexts

No two websites are the same. You may read about a SEO technique that sent rankings and traffic sky-high at one website.

Then, you may try exactly the same with yours, only to find you fall flat. It does happen.

SEO has so many factors and variable in play at one time, that you have to know your own website and what you can do to improve.

If you have an old website (10 years+), you may have a much easier time ranking than others. It may take you just a few months what takes most websites a year or more to accomplish.

And the reverse could be true too.

Look, SEO isn’t easy. It requires patience, diligence, and hard work over a long time (usually at least a year). So hopefully these tips help you understand how it works and how you can improve the results you get from it.

2 Principles to Follow for Long-Term Local SEO Success

Look, I’ll just be honest and tell you: servicing an area and trying to rank well in many areas outside the city you’re physically located in is hard.

Google’s stacked the odds against you from the outset. You must have one heck of a search presence to have a chance at outranking another business with a physical location in the area.

But take heart – all hope is not lost.

You can compete. Just be aware that it’s not easy. Here’s the general principles you would follow if you wanted to outrank your competitors in their home city:

  1. Spend Much of Your SEO Efforts on Local Pack Rankings, and Realize Google’s Going to Hammer You From Time-to-Time, Even If You Do Everything Right

You must attract links to your location-based pages. You want reviews from customers in these locations. And you want those customers to mention the city name in those pages.

Sounds simple to do, doesn’t it? It’s easy to understand, but difficult to execute in a completely legit, non-spammy way. Some companies do try to manipulate this by hiring people from India to post fake reviews (BIG mistake!).

You may achieve decent rankings for a while. But eventually Google will pummel you down.

Smart SEO companies have strategies to do this in a 100% ethical, long-term way that doesn’t cause rollercoaster-like changes in your rankings.

  1. Do All the SEO Fundamentals Right

What are the fundamentals for ranking in local search? Generally, they’re this:

  • Optimizing landing pages for each city you serve. Load the pages with unique and relevant content.
  • Strategize ways you can get reviews from specific pages onto these pages. You could even do this by writing the review for your customer and asking them to post.
  • Use schema (a totally legit and highly underutilized SEO technique) to mark up the reviews and your name, address, and phone number. Use schema markup in every other way possible to make it abundantly obvious to Google you serve this city.
  • Earn a handful of links that use the city and state you serve in the anchor text.
  • Include links to each location from the rest of the site.
  • And if you’re really serious, open up an office in each physical location you service. Google also requires you to have staff and onsite signs to comply with their guidelines. So, make sure this is a totally legitimate effort to expand your company, and not just one you use to manipulate your search rankings.

This all sounds like a ton of effort. And it is. Google wants only the best businesses ranking in each location. It doesn’t want companies just trying to climb the rankings.

So long-term, focus on building the best company you can. Then, use SEO to increase your reach.

It’s the ensures strategy for success.

The Little-Known Key to Consistently Winning High-Quality Back Links

Have you noticed all the changes Google’s made over the years?

Well, of course you have. Some say they make 200 – 500 updates to their algorithm annually.

With the major updates, the ones you actually hear about, Google dramatically alters the rules of the SEO game.

Inconvenient for you (and us too).

But ultimately, we have to admit, it has led to a higher quality web. Google’s ability to deliver the best result for what the searcher requests keeps it at the top of the search game. And as far as anyone can see, this will continue for some time.

(1) The Key to Getting Back Links Isn’t Content…

Technically, that’s a bit misleading. content is one of several keys to getting back links Google loves.

But this time, let’s focus on a different one: content promotion. 

(2) Why Has Promoting Your content Become Necessary?

Basically, because many niches have become saturated. They have an abundance of content on most topics. And that content, thanks to Google toughening up its standards of what makes it good, is excellent.

If you simply write content, optimize it for ranking in search, and do nothing else, that’s a losing formula. That used to work, oh, about 5-7 years ago or so. Today, your content simply gets forgotten if you do that.

(3) How Do You Promote Your Content?

Actually, you have a nearly infinite number of techniques available. But, as you might guess, the strategy begins with having content worth linking to.

So to create that, you have to understand what your competition does. Then, you offer more, take a unique view, improve your content’s entertainment value (even if you’re in a boring niche), or dress up its visual appeal.

It sounds so simple. But this takes hours of research and trial-and-error to do. So, it’s not easy.

Once you have content that tops what’s available on a certain topic, then you can begin outreach. “Outreach” doesn’t mean dropping a link on your social media profiles.

That’s good to do. But, you have to actively develop relationships with influencers in your niche. Using email and direct social media contact, you let people who have linked to the content you’ve topped know about your content.

Some will ignore you. Others get too busy. But if you’ve done your job and truly topped what’s available, you’ll begin to get attention.

These influencers have tens of thousands of social media fans. They’ll share your post. They’ll link to your content themselves. Some of their followers will link to you.

Then you simply repeat the process. It all hinges on the quality of your content.

And for now, and the foreseeable future, content promotion is a nearly indispensable tactic to have in your SEO arsenal.

How to Use Micro-Influencers to Gain Customers

 

You know the big-time influencers in your niche. They may have 100,000 social followers, and maybe even a million or more.

You know their name. Your co-workers know their name. Everyone knows their name.

You can’t doubt their status.

When you use the word “influencers,” that’s what most people think of.

Why Do Companies Care about Influencers So Much?

Today, they hold the key to lots of sales. And those sales come fast. They have a high level of trust with their audience, and when they tell them to buy something, their audience doesn’t hesitate.

But big-time influencers can be difficult to reach. Everyone wants to have a business relationship with them. And since they have such a high level of trust with their audience, they’re highly selective about what they recommend to them.

So, it can be nearly impossible to get through to big-time influencers on a consistent basis.

Instagram, in 2016, generated $570 million in sales through influencer marketing, for example.

So, Why Go After Micro-Influencers?

Because, they’re much easier to access, while still having a large enough audience (25,000 or less) in a focused niche that can drive serious sales.

Here’s how you might do that:

  1. Focus on Influencers Who Embody What Your Company Does

As you look at social media accounts, you’ll come across people who love to hike. If you sell products for outdoor enthusiasts who like hiking, you’ve found a natural connection.

Make sure they get a good amount of comments, likes, and shares when they post. That way, you know they have an engaged audience.

  1. Get Users to Generate content for Your Campaign

Say you run a company that conducts tours. Pretty boring on the surface, right?

Yep. But not when you involve influencers.

For example, you might ask them to post pictures of the amazing sights they see on one of your tours. You could offer them a free tour in exchange for their honest feedback, for example.

User-generated content works so well because it comes across as more authentic. Compare that to a $100,000 photo shoot depicting a celebrity doing the same thing.

Which would you trust more?

  1. Sponsored posts

These are logistically easy. Simply reach out to the influencer, ask them to create a detailed content piece about your product, but only after they experience your product firsthand.

It’s important you don’t show you’re trying to influence their opinion. You want their honest feedback…and not positive feedback just because they get their product for free.

Even if that feedback ends up not being positive, at least you learn how to improve your product to fit your market’s needs.

As you can see, building relationships with micro-influencers doesn’t need to be difficult. Just make sure you take time to qualify each one first.

Do they seem to be the perfect fit for your product?

Do they have an engaged audience?

If so, reach out. It could be just the spark your business needs to catch fire.

3 Easy-to-Fix SEO Mistakes Your Business Blog Makes

Does content still remain king?

Yes.

But any king who does their job well has numerous advisors helping them.

To do its job well, content still needs help from SEO. You don’t simply crank out some “good content” every month and get amazing rankings.

That helps you with SEO.

But you’re missing out on some nice gains if you don’t do these things:

  1. No Keyword Optimization

Yes, Google still needs keyword optimization in 2017. And it always will.

Google needs some way to identify where your content should rank. And it has no problem when you use keywords to help it understand that.

The big change between Google now and the Google of the past is how you do SEO.

Blog posts and web pages need the focus keyword in their title. It can’t be obvious.

That keyword, and variations of it, need to appear in your content 1-2x. You can possibly do it slightly more frequently than that.

That’s it. But, that can make a huge difference because you may have the ability to rank for a particular keyword and get more search traffic from that ranking.

Otherwise, Google may simply rank you how it wants. And possibly, you’ll never hit the top 5 for the keywords it chooses. That means less or no traffic. And a dent in sales.

  1. No Strategic Internal Linking

Besides helping your users navigate to areas of your website they’ll find useful, internal links also boost your SEO.

The “link juice” from external links points to your website’s pages. On each of your pages, you have a few links. They get some of that juice, and then they pass that juice on to the pages they link to.

You can do internal linking strategically to pass link juice to pages you want to rank high.

You’ll also want to optimize the anchor text of your internal links with various keywords you want to rank for.

  1. You Don’t Optimize Your Videos or Images

This still gets over looked. Images have “alt text.” This tag gives info on the image. It’s an appropriate place to put your keywords. These keywords display if the image fails to load for whatever reason. And they also improve your SEO too.

With videos, put them all in a single directory on your web server and create a site map. This makes it easy for search engines to find and index them.

Videos also have a “meta description,” where it’s natural to insert a keyword or two.

See?

None of these tips are hard. Or time-consuming.

With them in your arsenal, you’ll get better rankings for more phrases. And that leads to customers and sales.

3 Guidelines for Determining Your Marketing Budget

A couple decades ago, you simply needed to take out an ad in Yellow Pages. Maybe send out a few brochures. That was your marketing budget.

Now, when marketing online, there’s dozens of channels and tactics you can use. How much do you budget for each?

Which don’t you use? How do you know if you’re overspending, underspending, or spending the right amount?

…And then Google changes how the game works! How do you account for that in your budget?

Those are hard judgments to make. You don’t have any easy answers.

Realistically, you have to understand your own business’s needs and budget accordingly. Here are some things you might think about as you do:

  1. How fast do you need to profit?

Most digital marketing tactics don’t have a quick return. Yes, we’re a digital marketing company. But, that’s the truth.

Social media, SEO, content marketing, website redesign…they typically take at least 6-12 months before you see any benefit. And often, longer than that to realize the full benefit.

PPC can get you qualified leads in your doors within a month. But it’s not as cost-efficient. So, it’s something you may want to hit aggressively at first, and then allocate less budget towards in the future.

  1. How much should you spend?

Public companies spend anywhere from 5-15% of their total annual revenue to increase their growth. About 10% is the average. Public companies who spend less than 5% of their annual revenue experience slow growth, if any at all.

Further, the company who wrote that report found that even for mediocre marketing programs, companies got $10 in revenue for every $1 spent. So now you have guidelines on the gross amount to spend.

  1. 70% of Surveyed SMBs Will Increase Their 2017 Marketing Spend

Get Response, one of the leading email marketing tools available, asked Gartner, a leading tech research firm, to survey SMBs and share the results. Here’s what they found:

  • 70% of SMBs will increase their 2017 marketing budget
  • 40% would increase it “somewhat”
  • 30% said it would increase “considerably”

Another online survey by Gartner (and again requested by Get Response), found high return-on-investment in online marketing, regardless of industry.

Online Marketing Simply Works…You Have to Decide Your Budget

Just like anything else, you get what you pay for. Online marketing offers high ROI. At the same time, you have to be willing to budget for it to make it happen.

Only you can decide exactly what your budget should be. And now, you have perspective and information so you can make the most sensible decision for your business.