Topic: Search Engine Optimization

6 Search Engine Optimization Trends to Watch

The world of Search Engine Optimization is always changing. A trend that happens today may completely change the next. SEO continues to be an affordable way to send relevant traffic to a company website

Based in Markham, we’ve had the pleasure of providing SEO consultation services for clients throughout Toronto and surrounding areas. Big or small, our clients want to incorporate the latest SEO strategies into their online market mix.

In this blog post we decided to take a look at six emerging SEO trends that we’ve noticed so far in 2016. These strategies, along with established SEO practices will help get your website ranking in Google.

2016: The Year of Mobile

How often do you check your phone during the day? If you’re like most people, it’s probably hard to keep track. Mobile devices continue to be an essential part of an average Canadian’s day-to-day life.

Many of our clients are finding that people use phones to access their websites more than traditional desktops.

This is a trend that Toronto business owners need to pay attention to. During April last year, Google recently changed their entire algorithm to reward sites with ‘mobile friendly’ designs and penalize the sites that do not.

Your website should present the same content, regardless of the size of the reader’s display. We work with clients to ensure their websites look great on any device. It’s also important to make sure everything loads quickly and can be easily crawled by Google and other search engines.

People Are Asking Google Questions

Another big trend that’s happening is an increase in the amount of rich answers appearing in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Basically, a rich answer is an attempt by Google to answer a question someone searched for without requiring a click to an external website. Locally, there’s been a huge increase in rich answer content appearing in Google over the last year.

Having your content appear in Google as a rich answer is an amazing way to generate some high quality online traffic.

The best way to have your site referenced to provide a rich answer is to regularly post detailed and informative online content. You need to establish your brand as the online source of information within your market. Focus your content on answering common questions. The more detailed information you post, the more likely it will be used for rich answers in Google.

Use Structured Data

Google can sometimes have a hard time reading HTML and other online code, structured data is the best way to solve this problem. Structured data clearly labels your website’s code so that Google can quickly read, understand and rank it.

We’re seeing more and more business achieving SEO success by incorporating structured data into their website’s code. It’s important to use structured data to clearly explain the meaning of a page’s content.

When They Ask Questions, Answer Them

As mentioned before, people are typing their questions into Google and expecting a quick and reliable answer. It’s important to pay attention to common questions your customer ask you (both off line and online) and use this information to write your content. Social media can be a great source of ideas. Focusing on answering common questions with your content will make you a hit with both your online audience and Google.

Remember, detail is your best friend. Be sure to include lots of it. In addition to ranking better you’ll establish your brand as a trusted source of information with your market.

Optimize Your Site for Your Own Backyard

Geo-targeting your website for your local area is a very important SEO strategy. People want local information and Google is working hard to provide it. They’ve done this by making their algorithm more geo-centric. It’s important to include localized information such as your city name and phone number in your site’s content, META tags, titles and even filenames. The more localized you can make your site, the better. People want to visit local websites, it allows them to identify with your brand much quicker.

Localized traffic tends to convert very well. We’ve found that a lot Toronto and area web traffic comes from mobile devices, so it’s important to have a clean mobile design with strong Call to Actions.

Data is Your Best Friend, Listen to It

Tools such Google Analytics allows you the ability to constantly view and make data driven marketing decisions. People are telling you every day what they think of your online marketing with the click of a mouse or the tap of a thumb, it’s important that you pay attention.

Google Analytics is only the beginning. There are a lot of excellent tools on the market that allow you the ability to collect and understand your marketing data. Some are free and some will come with a cost. It’s important to have access to as much data that’s relevant to your business. Combining analytics tools with your CRM data can really give you a marketing advantage and help you budget your marketing spend properly.

SEO is an ever-changing thing. Throughout our time providing SEO consulting services to businesses in Markham and Toronto, we’ve seen many changes first-hand.

At the end of the day, companies succeed at SEO when they provide a user-friendly online experience with noteworthy and interesting content. Staying on top on SEO trends allows your business to have a strong competitive advantage in your market.

Blogging

Building Your Business with Blogging

As the year unfolds no doubt one of your business goals is to drive more traffic and attract more customers to your website. Fortunately, with the numerous social media platforms at your disposal you have many options to assist you with your goal.  One of the most tried and true methods though, and one which has been in active use for over ten years, is the creation and maintenance of a blog.  Since 2002 Insiteful Solutions has successfully assisted numerous clients with this popular form of online marketing.

Blogs, which began appearing in the 1990’s but caught traction in the mid-aughts (awkward term for mid-2000’s), has the advantage over other social media platforms by providing the option of writing without limited word counts. Blogs allow you to post and share up-to-date and useful information about your business with current and potential customers.  While the blog will ‘live’ on your website, you can easily amplify your message by sharing the link to your post on your social media channels.  You can tailor the introduction to your blog for each platform and include any corresponding images or videos.  Linking all of your communication channels around your blog post enables you to drive visitors to your business website.  Blogs with comment capability can also can start a valuable dialogue between you and current and/or potential customers.

To assist your business in the increasingly competitive world of search engine ranking, blog posts can be an integral and cost-effective part of your strategy.   To maximize this potential the content of your blog should be rich with relevant with key phrases and words that would connect a search engine to your business.

Blog posts should be topical and targeted. Ideally, a person should be able to read a blog post in seven minutes. It is important to remember that blogs aren’t the domain of extensive white papers or case studies; rather they are meant to introduce new or re-visit topics of value to your customer.   As all things associated with social media, blogs continue to evolve.  Currently the ideal blog post is between 1200-2000 words.  When writing and posting your blog don’t underestimate the power of the title.  It is recommended that a blog title comprise of 8 to 12 words and does not exceed 70 characters (source: http://www.hubspot.com/ ). The title of your blog can then be modified for posting on your social media platforms.  Twitter allows 140 characters per tweet, but for linking articles it is recommended you use 120 characters.  Research on Facebook has found that a title with 12-14 characters generates the most ‘likes’.

If you find the thought of writing a regular blog post too onerous or time consuming there are other options to keep your website full of fresh, relevant content.

Top Ten Lists

Top 10 lists are a quick and interesting way to fill a blog post. If there are certain areas of your business or industry news you wish to highlight you can create a ‘top ten’ list and occupy each section with one or two bullet points with information.

Reference Industry Articles

Re-posting and commenting on recently published industry articles that relate to your business is a quick and easy way to occupy to your blog. An added bonus to this strategy is that it lets current and potential customers know that you are watching trends within your industry.  Another option is to add a ‘feedback’ section where you can encourage your customers to share their opinions about the article; thus opening another line of communication and drawing more attention to your website.

Guest posting

By having another industry leader guest post for your blog you accomplish three things:

  1. You provide your customers another expert opinion on your industry
  2. You increase your potential customer base by exposing your audience to the guest blogger’s followers
  3. It allows you to take a break from posting to focus on other areas of your business

Many bloggers within similar industries have reciprocal arrangements where they will guest post for each other’s blogs.

Create a Video post

If you are more comfortable speaking about your business than writing about it, creating a short video is an option. Fortunately it is now simple enough to create a short video and include the link to your blog and social media channels.  If this is your preferred method of communication you can also create a YouTube channel for your business.  It’s important to note that to increase your search engine ranking you will require a text component to your video.  You can either transcribe your video content or create a separate written introduction which mentions the key words and phrases associated with your business.

Post an infographic

An infographic is a great way of posting information about your company in an accessible visual manner. Built on the shoulders of bar graphs, infographics often contain interesting statistics and facts about a business in a bold branded fashion.  Similar to short videos, search engines do not index graphics, so it is important to include text with key words and phrases associated with your business.

Hire a Copy writer

If your budget allows, hiring a copywriter is always an option. It is important to find one who specializes in your industry and is open to collaborating with you.  When starting work with a copywriter it is imperative to communicate the tone and voice you wish your blogs to convey.  If you decide to open up a dialogue on a blog post written by a copywriter, it is highly recommended that someone within your business respond to customers’ questions or comments.

Writing a blog post using one of the aforementioned methods is an effective and timely way of communicating with current or potential customers. By writing and keeping your business blog up-to -date you are connecting with your audience and sharing with them that your business is current with industry trends and can therefore deliver on its mission.

Insiteful Solutions are online results specialists. For over 14 years we have provided over 610 global companies with targeted strategies for increasing profitability.  If you would like to discuss ways in which a regular blog would grow your business please contact us at: http://www.insitefulweb.com/contact-us or 905-947-8235.

 


 

How do you get 1st page rankings on Google?

It can be very difficult to get listed on the first page of Google’s ranking results.  There are so many tools, services and companies out there that will guarantee that they can get your website listed on the 1st page of Google!  First thing to look out for is any company that guarantees first page organic search engine results. No one can guarantee organic search results, if this were the case why wouldn’t everyone? The search engine ranking algorithms are constantly changing.  Your SEO person or company will need to keep up to date on the algorithm changes to keep your rankings high.  It can be very hard to guarantee or even figure out exactly what will get you on the first page of Google’s ranking results. Here are some proven practices to get you started.

Before you begin your search engine work make sure you know what you’re doing.  Research the keyword terms or phrases you want to be found for.  Find the words people are searching for that will drive traffic to your site, not only driving traffic you want the right type of traffic that will convert into a sale or have them complete your call to action. Don’t believe anyone who tells you SEO is something you can do one and you don’t have to worry about it again, SEO is not something you can do once when you build your website and then forget about it.  If you want to get higher rankings you will have to continually update your content and search engine work.  There are over 200 different factors the search engines take into consideration before they determine your ranking position and this is constantly checked and re-checked.  Search engines really like to see websites that are regularly updating relevant content, as the goal of any search engine is to serve the most relevant results based on the searches search phrase.

SEO Start-up Checklist:

  1. Keyword research, to find the most relevant targeted keyword phrases that are searched most often
  2. Measure you content and optimization against your online competition
  3. On page optimization for the chosen keyword phrase or phrases
  4. Make sure there aren’t any coding errors
  5. Test page speed
  6. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
  7. Stay within the relevancy and keyword density guidelines

Search engine optimization requires a great deal of time and work to become known as an authority in your industry or area.  If you ignore this practice of the overall optimization you won’t get the best results. While there are so many services, tools and companies out there that it’s hard to know which one to trust or where to go for white hat seo.

Search engines rank quality websites in their search engine results.  We mentioned the Authority term earlier and this is referred to often when discussing SEO.  This always comes back to showing the user and the search engines that you really know your subject and you are the “go to” company because you have proven you are an authority on your subject in your content.

There are several elements involved in building a website that has ranking authority.  You need to make sure your web page content is good quality content, arranging your content in such a way that you engage your audience. If your website has the most relevant properly optimized content based on the searchers phrase your website will rank.  If it’s not relevant and as current as possible it won’t rank well.

You know have the issue that everyone wants to be listed on the first page of the search engine ranking results.  The person or company that does the most will generally get better rankings.  If your competition is spending more time and energy on search work they will get better rankings.  Make sure you are investing your time and energy on the right keywords or keyword phrases that are going to drive targeted traffic to your website. Do your research if you haven’t  you could ultimately be wasting your time getting great results that don’t generate a great ROI, make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you can expect great results.

Search Engine Optimization does take time and the old saying that slow and steady wins the race definitely applies here.  There are no quick short cuts that will provide quality ranking results that will remain in the top ranking results.