Is SEO Effective? Results-Driven Search Marketing Trends
SEO and SEM specialists continually refine their SEO techniques and search marketing strategies.
SEO is not only effective, if done right, SEO is the Gift that Keeps Giving! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another angle and effective method to try and increase brand awareness and relevant traffic on your site. Whether you are an entrepreneurial start-up or a well-established business, you need a current and integrated SEO and SEM plan for long-lasting success. Every year the question “is SEO effective?” comes up and merits a review. More and more the answer aligns with just how consumer-centric your website is.
What does it require to be successful in SEO today?
SEO that works requires a lot more than yesterday! But the payoffs are bigger, too. By mobile-friendly optimization, providing value, the number of links built and targeting search terms that matter to users, businesses are seeing improved long-term search engine results that produce revenue. Higher page rankings can be gained by businesses whose overall marketing in search engine space ever evolves. Staying on top of current SEO trends and best practices is a difficult task. This article will help you stay on top of SEO news and changes that may impact your website and your SEO strategy.
Your SEO tactics for Google Maps and other ranking factors merit website owner’s due diligence to know that their marketing consultants are savvy on what to avoid and what to focus on.
Search professionals nearly daily hear of some new technique or strategy touted as the Next Big Thing in SEO. We love learning about the latest SEO enhancements; it is interesting. It’s fun; like being present in Google responses to voice-activated queries. However, nothing replaces the basics of SEO.
What is the Value Of SEO?
SEO is only as effective as it partners with agile marketing.
The value of SEO and SEM is most often questioned as technology and search advance. it is natural to wonder if something changed their role. Rather than comparing them as doing one or the other, today it typically takes a combination to increase online revenue streams. When used cohesively, companies can create integrated digital marketing campaigns that produce better results. Have someone at the helm that understands their individual values and benefits.
For a decade or more bloggers, businesses, and news writers have competed fiercely to win the first-page result for top search queries relevant to their website. A core aspect that every SEO strategist pays attention to is the competitive level that can take a business to the top of search engine result pages. Research continues to demonstrate that few searchers click on the second page or beyond. Differing from paid advertisements, knowing what your first page search result is actually worth can shape better content marketing decisions.
Some feel that long-term investments in organic SEO and SEM is often largely a matter of faith. Given the rise of the Google Knowledge Graph, featured rich snippets, and the mobile news carousel, does reaching the first page for the organic rank for a specific keyword promise to deliver the traffic you anticipated? We can assess click-through rates of first page results to learn how to identify projected traffic, and once published, how to assess the value of that ranking.
In-depth case studies over the years have helped to determine just how many clicks each spot on the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) actually produced. Taking a close look at the first page of SERP click-through rate studies and applying a balanced blend of math and logic offers a good idea as to the benefits of all your SEO work. Know whether or not your business shows up in local map packs, quick answers, and elsewhere. If so, it proves that your SEO is working effectively.
If companies had to pay for organic traffic like they do for ads, that cost from Google would have been ~$1T last quarter.
Invest more in SEO.
Rough calculations and poor assumptions based on paid/organic split of 4.5%/95.5% and based on Google's Q4 2021 ad revenue of $43.3B.
— Patrick Stox (@patrickstox) February 2, 2022
Are images important for SEO?
Images are important to SEO because when they are not done right, they can really bog down a site. There is a lot that goes into creating the image and preparing it before ever loading it to a site. Images can rank in position zero. Visual search is on the rise and can lead to more visitors. Images can also help search engines understand what your content is about. Your owned rich media content should be carefully considered as part of an SEO strategy.
Should you slack off in investing in SEO in the future?
Businesses will Spend Near 82 billion on SEO through the 2020’s.
SEO remains the best way to increase relevant web traffic to your blog or eCommerce storefront. “It’s estimated that by 2020, business owners will spend around 82 billion dollars on their SEO marketing plan”, according to Syed Balkhi in his June 5, 2019 article. How to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings discusses how SEO will continue to grow in value in coming years.
Marketers view SEO as Becoming more Vital
Whether a small business, medium-sized or a digital manager working with enterprise-level clients, the importance of SEO is clear. With 82% of marketers reporting effectiveness is on the rise and 42% of those queried believe that SEO’s effectiveness is increasing significantly. Analyzing the importance of your top SEO strategic priorities, matching them to who you have to execute them, and identifying the most challenging barriers to overcome yields a balanced and successful advertising strategy.
As more businesses mature their search tactics, it’s no surprise that companies must continually improve to vie for a blue link in organic SERPs or AdWords auctions. People and bots are looking for who has the best answer, which means that your competitors are getting smarter at SEO, so the chance to get found by shoppers much be a major factor in your SEO strategy going forward.
Creating content is the most effective and most difficult SEO tactic businesses face, according to many seeking to address the challenges involved. Consistently publishing relevant, value-added, quality content and link building are demanding tasks. They are both time-consuming to implement and test. This is why 76% of companies execute all or part of their SEO tactics using external resources, according to some studies. It takes someone deeply involved to keep up with how keyword research is transitioning to entity mapping and the need for topical relevance.
SEM – Most Effective Acquisition Channel for 85% of Retailers
A 2014 study** by Shop.org and Forrester produced tallies showing that 85 percent of retailers surveyed said search marketing (including both paid and organic SEO) was the most effective customer acquisition approach. Participants said that it revolutionized their online marketing. Search Engine Marketing or SEM, as we call it, is a rapidly evolving strategy that requires persistence and the ability to make fluid updates as competition and search factors change. For every size business, this means that Google My Business optimization should be a priority.
In highly competitive markets it is nearly impossible for a small business to compete with a large competitor in an AdWords auction for the highest position on a Google search, but it is possible to gain and sustain a solid competitive advantage through smart SEO. For example, use Product schema markup for gain a lead in mobile product carousels.
What we find:
Users are Demanding Personalized Answers to Search Queries
Digital marketers must respond to the needs and questions of their site visitors and prospective buyers. Personalisation in the real-world means continual engagement online with real people. This is not to replace the more traditional tasks SEO’s have created to-do list for, it is that additionally the use of emerging technologies to drive personalisation will help your organisation to seize new opportunities to connect. Effective SEO demands understanding search intent, which contributes heavily to your chances to double your conversion rates.
Digital transformation is like changing a tire on your car while driving. Challenging… but possible. Impossible for many. Read the fascinating September 12, 2016 article titled Digital transformation is like changing a tire while driving. Challenging… but possible. Author Marc Sirkin talks about the migration to cloud-based enterprise markets, which we also encourage along an SEO professionals need to grasp how Artificial Intelligence is shaping digital marketing trends.
Artificial Intelligence is now more approachable and actionable for every marketer and SEO practitioner.
12 CHANGES IN SEO BEST PRACTICES
1. Your SEO Strategy Should Focus on Topics Vs Keywords
Search is more about concepts.
It is more about what you are trying to say and less about the actual word-for-word copy. Search ranking factors continue to evolve. Algorithms to understand what you mean better, so it doesn’t rely as it used to on keywords an E-A-T have come into place. It is now about providing what users want, what content has the answers to their search intent. Only focusing on content creation for the keywords your customers are searching for is both times consuming and incorrect.
Modern SEO strategies involve the process of organizing a website’s content by topic, which aids search bots in understanding a user’s intent when searching. By optimizing a web page around topics first, you can rank well for long-tail keywords related to that topic. Your site’s UX structure should rely on contextual content that is organized by taxonomies.
Sora Wondra from Braze* believes that, “Relevance is key for maximizing mobile conversion rates. When users feel known and trust your recommendations, purchases and subscriptions become easier. Respect their communication preferences and make use of user data to customize their experiences. Your goal is to be helpful at just the right time. Abandoned cart reminders are one of the best examples of this–you already know what the user is interested in buying and you’re just providing a timely nudge.”
ACTION: Make a Topic List
Keywords remain at the heart of what SEO is, but they no longer are an initial step to an organic growth play. Begin by creating a list of topics that your readers are most interested in from one month to the next. Scratch out 10 short keyword phrases and terms that users associate with your product or service. Both Google’s Keyword Tool and Google Trends are excellent to identify search volume on these phrases and for deriving new variations that make sense for your business.
In this way you can associate topics with the most commonly used short-tail keywords. However, individual blog posts should now include these keywords but not center on just one. Long-tail keywords are ideal for informational articles and are typically less competitive to rank highly for on Google. Develop content based on live metrics to instruct your content writers and tailor it to perform for a local audience
Know which keyword phrases you can target and win on. Your Google Search Console’s performance analytics will let you see how your category page ranks. Drilling down to specific URLs will reveal search terms that have demand but you are not winning clicks because you rank in position 75 or don’t have a sufficient answer in content. Check first to make sure that the page is indexed correctly.
2. Schema Structured Data is now a Core SEO Practice
While not a large ranking factor, Schema is very effective as an SEO technique because it is written in name-value pairs. And it is not hard to prove. Look for your SEO Data-Backed Reports that prove it. So we have entities, concepts, and things so then we can use schema markup to help search engines better understand our web content. We always start by getting the most essential schema types in place for every business. If you are wondering if the learning curve is a worthwhile investment, whether structured data for product recognition will be short-lived, many experts, including Gary Illyes indicate that it will be around quite a while. Schema is like “signposting”. Google’s machine learning is still not smart enough yet to be at its best without it.
While it may seem a stretch to say, if your business doesn’t plan to rely on search engines for traffic in the next 5 years, you can skip it.
Even if your business performed a structured data check recently, it’s worth double-checking now that Google’s switched to mobile-first indexing. Catching any overlooked structured data on your mobile rendered pages. Avoid the risk of losing rich snippets and SERP visibility if in error.
Structured data should test as being present and valid on both mobile and desktop versions of your site and that mobile pages should have URLs that are updated to your mobile version. Even though it’s technically permissible to use markup to communicate more information than Google requests, removing irrelevant schema markup from web pages ensures that mobile load times remain as efficient as possible.
If adding schema through the Google Tag Manager, it’s easier to combine schema and JSON to further boost the strength of your structured data implementation, resulting in a higher CTR and visibility in SERPs, without having to spend a ton. A professional who understands how to conduct a Deep Schema Audit of your site and opportunities, will reveal new ways to make your pages easier to be understood and found.
“In addition to per-link Rich Snippets, annotations in Schema.org are used as a data source for the Knowledge Graph, providing background information about well-known entities (e.g., logo, contact, and social information)”, according to Guha and Dan Brinkly, of Google. The December 15, 2015 Schema.org: Evolution of Structured Data on the Web article also said that “a few hundred thousand sites were marking up their pages with structured data markup”. Today that has vastly grown.
We find that industry rich schema implementation when it improves targeted content matches to search intent. John Mueller when replying to Glenn Gabe on Twitter when he asked about structured data: “Does it impact ranking or doesn’t it impact rankings?”
“There’s no generic ranking boost for SD usage. That’s the same as far as I remember. However, SD can make it easier to understand what the page is about, which can make it easier to show where it’s relevant (improves targeting, maybe ranking for the right terms). (not new, imo)”.*****
3. Ranking Online is More about Credibility and Trust
The CREDIBILITY aspect of your domain is more important in the e-commerce digital space, but matters to every site. Some have called this domain authority, but Site or Domain Authority does not exist as a metric that Google has ever mentioned using. It talks a lot about trust.
Jason Barnard, Freelance Search Marketing Consultant, stated in the April 4, 2018, SEMrush webinar, “Remember that Google is putting itself on the line every time it sends someone to your site. If you as a company put your customers first, the rest will fall into place. If you think you deserve the traffic, ask yourself, ‘why do you deserve it?’ Prove it!” If you cannot, look in your Google Search Console for ways to make improvements.
Building your domain’s authority may seem like an SEO tactic, but it’s actually a relational process. The customer relationship is more about them than you. First, determine whether there are mutual attractions and benefits. Just like people you meet in person, online relationships are based on respect and trust. Demanding, interruptive, old-school marketing techniques didn’t work today to grow your leadership as a trusted source of knowledge.
Relationships online are built with useful and relevant information. Developing them starts with a clear understanding of your company’s buying cycle and ideal customers. It recognizes the need for quality content. Come from the premise that, as a marketer, we are not in control—the consumer or searcher is!
Building a domain authority has its foundation is a service mentality and a sound SEO strategy. Understand what your company offers best in the marketplace and how others perceive your product or services. Then, provide solutions in multiple iterations—video, blog posting, infographics, podcasts, images, white papers, seminars, and presentations. Do the hard work upfront of deserving to be the best answer in search results.
“(Domain authority) signals can be social media mentions, links, brand name mentions, comprehensive nature of the content itself, ratings, user-generated content on the site that indicates site visitors are engaging with the site, and so on.
Those are a lot of signals that help a site rank better. taken together they can signal that a site has authority. But they are not a site authority metric. They are a vast amount of signals common to Google’s Core Ranking Algorithm.” – Roger Montti, SEO Consultant at Search Engine Journal***
4. Mobile-First Indexing Rolls Out
When it comes to mobile-first indexing, if your site completely qualifies and you are already in this mobile-first indexation, it may impact your ranking. If you are being indexed by mobile metrics, and that is lower than your desktop, this should be looked into. If it is just a change in how Google gathers information versus ranking information, then the question is more, what information is it gathering?
Check whether or not your domain is being reached by an increase in user percentage coming from mobile devices; any site not mobile-ready will do best by prioritizing this as an SEO-focused task. No one knows search engines as well as better-than-average Search Engine Marketing experts. They also know where >speed matters to Internet users and what it takes to be fast enough. Even if your AdWords is on point, if you have only the lowest prices SEO or an average SEO, most likely some aspects of your SEO efforts have been overlooked. This can compromise your site’s rank. This is where proven search engine optimization experts have the ability to increase your profits with better Internet Marketing Solutions than your competition is implementing.
Notably for our site, after being mobile indexed, our Google Search Console Search Analytics showed the impact. For our page The Key Types of Website Audits, mobile conversions jumped to 14.29% and our regular HTML page version dropped to zero. The interesting factor was that this was higher than our previous 12.3% conversion rate on desktop.
Website’s not ready for mobile users may face a BIG problem. As Google goes mobile-first they’re considering the mobile version of your page the “true” version. Sites with hidden content will be 100% ignored by Search Giant. You need to display 100% of the content found on your desktop version to mobile users as well. And it needs to fit your niche with relevancy at all touchpoints. For example, healthcare queries often want more reviews and factual answers. E-Commerce sites need JSON-LD schema to be competitive.
5. Changes in Online Purchasing
Shared shopping baskets and a one checkout process is being tested with a limited number of retail websites across the United States. Amazon has become the retailer that offers one payment option for many marketers. Instead of Google having one place to shop like this, it is now offering a way for purchasers to buy multiple products and then check out via a Google service. Anti-trust legislation and privacy rights are taken into consideration. It also takes into consideration how many people have a Google account that produces consumer datasets that provide insights.
Google has rolled out “shopping actions” and AdWords Aversion History is useful for tweaking Ad copy to blend your organic search efforts for maximize benefits. Shoppers can see inventory levels, the number of product reviews, product versions, and much more right in the expanding use of Knowledge Graphs in organic search results. Not only that, purchasers can easily send feedback on these featured results without out ever going to your website. If a product arrives broken, late, is different from what was ordered, your quality of customer service, or anything else that they wish to let the next purchaser know, is now easier than ever.
The biggest change comes in the form of new expanded Google SERP features. In addition to achieving page one, there are “zero position” results, top three rankings, sites leveraging be expanded schema usage are winning varied featured snippets.
6. Domain Name Changes
Geo politics is playing a larger role worldwide. EU domain extensions have new criteria and agreements. If a US business is operating in the UK without any presence in the EU, or a physical store presence there, there are new risks. After the UK leaves the EU, some businesses will no longer be allowed to use the domain name that they have history on. Grabbing a domain name that looks good for SEO, needs to be reevaluated. Global SEO plays and the use of location keywords in a URL may end in the long run with having that domain name and authority taken away from you. Site migrations have new factors for SEO agencies to consider.
After the UK leaves the EU, some businesses will no longer be able to use the domain name that they have history on. Know where your sites are strong, take stock of what backlinks are giving your domain authority, otherwise, you may botch a website migration to a new domain name. For US site’s having a UK inbound link, audit as it may become lost.
7. Link Building is Harder
Another great way to draw inbound links is to make your blog or articles related to current events or popular news topics. This often provides a way of winning links from an industry influencer or other bloggers in your industry.
In today’s current SEO climate, a no-follow may provide as much weight as a do-follow. Some assume they do internally, which makes sense for showing what content your business prioritizes, but knowing for sure in an evolving search world is tough.
It is best to not be so trusting of who you are linking to and hoping to gain a link from. Higher levels of research are necessary. A quality site at one point, may not be one today. Some have a belief in the old stigma surrounding no-follow links as being of less value. Consider Wikipedia; everyone wants a wiki link as they are solid links, but they are also no-follow. Getting a link of this type from a relevant and trusted site with lots of traffic is more important than worrying about this tag as in previous years.
James Murray, EMEA product marketing manager at Microsoft Bing, and Laura Hampton of Impression clued us into Bing’s plan to lessen the power that links play in their general search ranking algorithms. Clearly, they are still a significant contributing factor, if only less so. Relevance and speed are gaining.
Here is a quote directly from that interview by Murray, in the interview conducted in Paddington, London:
“We’re still not at the stage where links are going to go away, and so they will continue to be a factor that we look at. What we might see is that links start to decrease in importance that they have in the general context of the various factors that we use to determine relevance.”
Wheb content is tailored to every audience with a focus on earning links versus buying them, they come naturally more often. Natural backlinks speak volumes about your content. We like using SEOquake, MozBar, SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, SEMrush, BuzzStream, Majestic, Screaming Frog, and Google Sheets. You don’t need a ton of expensive tools to build links. Focus more on high-value content.
Mentions of your business matter and we expect that they will continue to in the future. Building inbound links has long been the backbone in SEO, but unlinked website mentions carry weight, too. That changed in 2017 when Bing updated its algorithm to consider unlinked mentions. Many SEO experts believe Google is doing the same or will soon. This is recent news that small businesses can leverage on local SEO.
8. New Ways to Target Voice Search Advertising
More Internet users are reaching out to businesses directly from Knowledge Graph Cards and featured snippets.
Many voice searches seek quick answers to users’ questions and, increasingly, Google’s providing these in its knowledge graph section on the right of SERPs. The knowledge graph is regarded as a coveted position zero since it stands visibly above conventional listings. It features more often in voice-activated results.
Target and Google jointly crafted the first voice-activated coupon on Google Assistant, which opens up new ways to reach shoppers who have never heard of your Minneapolis business before. The promotion intended to run longer but because its goals were reached so quickly, a Target spokesperson told Adweek****** that it ended early. All people had to do was say or type “spring into Target” on their Google Assistant app on iOS or Android or other devices that provide voice-based abilities.
In August 2017 Think with Google reported that more than 20 percent of searches in the Google app is now made by voice.******* To be sure that number is climbing. Conversational UI importance is increasing due to deep learning and Artificial Intelligence
9. Marketers Must Now Obtain User Consent
As the GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018, digital marketers will be required to obtain user consent. The Facebook news stir about its Custom Audiences update is just another reminder that the SEO game is changing and SEO consultants need to be prepared for the marketing teams that they manage if they want to keep playing the Facebook platform. The AMPhtml platform now offers a new component that enables a publisher to get consent from readers and manage their consents***.
If your business site is on the Google Cloud platform, GDPR compliance options are provided. On January 25, 2018, Jon Krafcik, Google AdWords Group Product Manager, Data Privacy and Transparency, announced new Ad settings are given to users to permit or block ad preferences.
“Millions of people use Mute this Ad on a daily basis, and in 2017, we received more than 5 billion pieces of feedback telling us that you mute ads that aren’t relevant. We incorporated that feedback by removing 1 million ads from our ad network based on your comments.” – Google
Google expressed intentions to expand this feature to additional services, like YouTube advertising, Search, and Gmail, in future months. Any space that you track users in, should be reviewed for how your business will answer queries and how it handles its data.
10. Relying More Heavily on Data-Backed SEO Decisions
In 2018, we already see more ways that location intelligence provides businesses with the information needed to guide better data-driven decisions and increase local revenue streams. For one, maps marketing using location data; your analytics can yield a ton of data used for targeting the audiences already interested in the products your company offers.
Owning, and finding ways to use data-driven decisions is key to retailers gaining a competitive advantage. When you can respond to consumers’ buying behavior, then you will know first-hand why the State of Digital Marketing in 2018 ranked Big Data (including market and consumer insight and predictive analytics) as second on the list of the most effective marketing actions. Survey participants believe that data mining has the most commercial impact on their business. Both SEO and SEM professionals, who are focusing more on data-driven campaigns, are finding positive figures that they credit to insights drawn from location data and analytics.
There are plenty of studies and consumer reviews that prove that SEO is effective. Ask us if you’re in doubt.
11. Online Security is More Important – Migrating to HTTPS
If your website still throttles at the migration to HTTPS, there is more pressure to consider the move. We see an improvement in page-one organic results across all sites that have moved HTTPS (and fixed other technical SEO issues). Both Firefox and the Chrome browsers are aggressively warning visitors of the risks of proceeding to a non-secure site. Whether or not one likes it, the pressure to switch is increasing.
The aim shouldn’t be to just provide the most relevant search results, it’s to provide the results that tend to best satisfy a searcher’s situation and information intents, let them be in control, AND feel secure on your site. Over 40% of the websites winning first-page visibility from Google is HTTPS, which is not surprising, since Google has confirmed that they favor HTTPS sites as a way of looking out for the people it sends to a site.
“If you haven’t made the move to HTTPS, at least spec it out. We’re seeing over 80% of page-one organic results on MozCast as HTTPS now, and Google is pushing alerts in Chrome aggressively.” — Pete Meyers, Moz’s marketing scientist
12. The pace of Change is Search Engine Optimization has Increased
SEO is always evolving in response to what users prefer and the search engines adjust in the process of serving up better results. Going into 2021, it includes having faster loading web pages. To help webmasters and SEO’s prepare, Google provides the Core Web Vitals in its Search Console. It by nature is meant to, anyway. SEO strategies must update and include current best practices in search engine optimization. “To diverge constitutes a biblical level of heresy”, according to Roger Montii, owner of Martinibuster.com.
For example, at one time many webmasters used keywords in H1 and Title Tags quite liberally, but today the evolution of search engines means that they are not dependent on keywords in traditional like headings in order to interpret what a page is offering. While it remains a trusted practice to use H1’s in a proven manner, Google is no longer as dependent on them to rank a web page.
SEOs who keep to the methods that you absolutely must have your keywords a specified number of times in content in order to rank- are finding such pages are dropping in SERPs. Rather than adapt and grow with how search engines today decipher the value of a web page, they are in the grip of old search engine optimization practices. What you can do right now is focus on providing the best answer to your audience’s questions.
Martin MacDonald shared with Cognitive SEO that “Doing SEO it’s no longer about finding ways of hacking the system, it’s about providing the best possible answer, but providing it in the most efficient way possible to Google. It has become much more complicated over the last ten years as well.”
TOP QUESTIONS ABOUT SEO’s EFFECTIVENESS
QUESTION: What Keeps my SEO effective?
ANSWER: SEO strategies that evolve with the needed flexibility to comply with user demands, GDPR compliance, and Google Best Practice Guidelines are effective in the long-term.
For example, we use the AMP Validator to measure both our success and any pages that say “FAIL”. The benefits are minimal in making a page “nearly AMP, but not truly AMP”. It is worth achieving the true benefits of fully indexed AMP pages for the best mobile search optimization. As AMP becomes more standard, an invalid AMP page, while still being a valid HTML page ‘rendering’ just fine in browsers, will not appear in Google’s dedicated AMP index.
Your site is doing its job when user engagement increases on it; that means how long you hold a user’s attention and they take action. There is evidence that indicates Google rewards sites that do this by granting them a higher page ranking. There is a logic here that if a user spends more time on-site or page, it’s probably because its content is topically organized, useful, and optimized. And since Google’s goal is to deliver the best possible results to people who rely on Google Search, it will reward sites with strong engagement and be more confident that future users will find it useful as well. Effective SEO is all about the user.
QUESTION: Why do I Still Need SEO?
ANSWER: According to Google, people are “researching early and often”. Can your business afford to not be providing answers that build relationships with buyers>
Today, people of all ages look to their phones for almost everything. From booking a flight, buying movie tickets, checking traffic, to browsing for a new designer purse, to learning about where their nearest bank office is. They have questions, have ideas, seek advice, and research every decision they make. No choice seems too small.
Why not invest in SEO? It is the gift that keeps giving. Once you achieve a top page number 1 position, it becomes less and less expensive to maintain, but the Gross Value typical stays within the same cost range.
SEO is far from an exact science. It needs continual testing. Multiple factors such as the strength of your competition, “Brand Related Searches”, “Mobile Searches”, Google and Bing Places (nap pins), ongoing algorithms and SERP layout updates, and many other factors continue to change these SEO task priorities but one that marketers count on is, they are a baseline for determining Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s and Return on Investment (ROI). As well as content, how your business handles user transparency is a part of building trusted relationships that last.
Stephen Arthur, Google’s Financial Services Industry Director, says that “Mobile searches with the qualifier “should I ______” have grown over 65% in the past two years, including searches such as “what should I invest in” and “should I invest in ___”. The February 28, 2018 article titled When people are ready to invest, digital is their first stop talks about how “86% of potential investors spending more than an hour researching online”.
QUESTION: Should AMP pages be part of my SEO strategy?
ANSWER: Browsing behavior on tablets and smartphones is similar to that observed on desktops. However, individuals that use smartphones do so on the go, they demand much quicker response times. Mobile advertising continues to be less expensive overall than marketing to desktop users. Google stated that beginning in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile search as well; this follows Google’s move to mobile-first indexing. Nothing is as fast as AMP for load speed.
A page’s load speed is one of the most critical elements in technical SEO today. Users expect a page to load fast, and that if they are on your radar, you won’t keep them waiting. Abandon pages that take too long to load can really hurt. In fact, they often leave before it ever loads. A study for one online retailer found that just a 1-second increase in page load time resulted in a 56% increase
Kyle Mani, president and SEO of OWDT gots specific in his August 10, 2017 article as to why Maximizing Mobile Device Conversion Rates matters. I really align with his assessment that businesses that provide better access to product information, secure/fast payment systems, and who have earned their consumer’s trust are going to come out ahead.
How research clues Marketers into mobile-device user preferences:
- Smartphone users go online with their mobile devices 150 times a day on average
- Users are connected to their smartphones from 7 AM to midnight.
- Though smartphone browsing is brief, if your advertising is attractive enough, the user will return to the large screen version of your site when they get home.
- Smartphone sessions are 1.5 times shorter than on other devices.
- Mobile devices have become indispensable to answering important questions on the fly and making decisions—usually based on consumer ratings and advice found on social networks.
- Landing pages need to download quickly because the average user will wait for only a half-minute at most to access content.
- Smartphone users scan and leap—taking 40 seconds on average to decide whether to leave a page.
- Smartphone users spend 80% of their time on apps that have very limited e-commerce potential.
QUESTION: Is it okay to buy backlinks?
ANSWER: Earn your inbound links naturally. Former means of purchasing them are now labeled as generating spammy links. Avoid anything that points to an intermediary page, a “link wheel” or “link pyramid”. Many sellers may state that it’s supposed to protect you, but it not wise. This form of SEO may work for a while. But Google is quickly evolving and catching this. It is best to do the hard work and do SEO the white hat way.
A vast number of credible sources exist for Search Optimization and Search Engine Marketing education, but also, a ton of noise in our industry and outdated practices are still being published. It takes a lot of skill and dedication to cut through the noise to provide the best results for clients. It matters who you listen to for news, acclaimed leaders like Barry Schwartz, Bill Slawski, Aaron Bradley, Rand Fishkin, Jarno Van Driel, Dan Brickley, Gary Illyes, and Wil Reynolds are a few of my niche-specific gurus who have deep understandings of the SEO business behind trusted digital marketing tactics.
QUESTION: How do I Use Schema.org extensions GS1 SmartSearch?
ANSWER: This first of Schema.org extensions is meant to help businesses garner new sales by improved relevancy in search results.
Google relies heavily on aggregated data to make search smarter. The GS1 SmartSearch standard and guideline achieves these benefits by making it possible to create structured data about a product and relate this data to its GTIN. The structured data informs search bots about the product so that they can then be used to deliver a richer experience to the consumer.
GS1 SmartSearch announced steps that standardize the process and empower businesses to improve their sales by:
- Improving the relevancy of search results.
- Improving the details and product information displayed in search engine results.
The W3C works alongside search engine companies and many volunteers to make it easier for users to discover and business owners to describe products on the web. GS1 SmartSearch is an external extension to schema.org. SEO Best Practices include different factors relating to data publishing and user behavior and consumption levels, like data formats, data access, data identifiers, and metadata.
QUESTION: Why isn’t Google sending me the traffic I deserve?
The Blunt Truth about How Google Works
ANSWER: Google doesn’t feel like it owes websites free traffic. You have to earn that right. As well, how people find answers is evolving. So is search. It has to – in order to meet the new ways shoppers use the web. All the time.
Every day, search algorithms work to better match site visitors to solutions and filter out spammers. Their client is the user. Not you or me. What works today may not work tomorrow – it may even hurt you. Google has millions of websites it can serve up; follow its guidelines closely if you want to earn its trust.
Formerly, Google seemed slow to penalize a site for a webmaster’s mistakes. Today often it isn’t just about withholding benefits, a site-wide manual penalty could actually reduce your rankings or even make your business disappear from SERPs.
It is your job, our job, to meet customers where they are, on whatever channel they like, or in whichever buying stage they may be. It is no longer about just creating content; it must be of the best value to deserve their click. And then, marketing it with equal diligently across multiple channels is necessary in order to cement client relationships and nurture prospects to leads.
Coming up with Winning Search Marketing Strategies
Not all SEO consultants and specialists have the same ideas. Various kinds of SEO talents exist but being current is search best practices must be present in each and every successful SEO specialist. We actually love highly competitive niches and the skill of taking a business forward with cutting-edge yet proved and effective SEO.
I’ve seen marketing teams waste months or years because they don’t understand the current principles of search marketing. I hope it will save you months of time by moving forward with these SEO insights.
Helping your business gain better search results on the internet can produce sustainable online organic growth for your company. This means identifying together with your marketing team an actionable coherent set of successful SEO strategies that will improve your content, technical needs, social presence, linking and your brand reputation, all within the context of search engine marketing (SEM).
The bottom line is that effective SEO will yield higher search engine rankings. Undertaking an effective Local SEO campaign may be what your site is currently lacking to boost your business to appear on Page 1 of Google’s search engine results pages, both in the “Map Pack” and the blue “Organic Listings”. Ten or twenty years ago when SEO was easier, there wasn’t such a difference between SEO, e-Commerce SEO, and Local SEO. However, today there are several nuances that specifically and exclusively affect your unique business.
“The search engines are literally changing every day. That’s what those Core Algo Updates are all about. Our understanding of SEO and how it is practice should also be ready to adapt and evolve as well. It’s the best way to keep relevant!” – Roger Monttion Search Engine Journal
“Search engines are constantly improving the search experience and, as a result, search engine optimization (SEO) is in a nonstop transformation. For SEO marketers, the challenge isn’t to simply understand the complex science behind the strategy — it’s to be able to adapt to the ever-changing rules of the game.” – Forbes*
“As simple as SEO can be to utilize, it is a constantly evolving technique that needs a good understanding and a knowledge base of what is new or on the horizon for ranking schemes. This year is no different, as several SEO trends are coming to light that can help your organization achieve a top result in a Google search, giving your business an edge over your competition. – Forbes Agency Council********
“Jeannie Hill’s expertise of SEO far exceeds that of her competitors! She is constantly on top of all the updates in her field and provides relevant information based upon the client’s needs. I cannot recommend Jeannie enough! – Carol Osnes, owner of Wardrobe ReImagined LLC
Conclusion: Focus on Meaningful Relationships with Consumers
It works best if the intent of your SEO efforts is to build authentic relationships with your existing customers and prospective buyers. It will protect your messaging from slipping into “more about you” and “less about them” way of speaking. Building genuine relationships with consumers requires carefully planning; digital audiences are becoming more aware of product mentions, endorsements, citations, displaying in knowledge graphs, and placements in their feeds.
Patrick Reinhart published a February 7, article on Search Engine Journal titled How Important Is SEO in 2018? 4 Trends That Suggest Big Changes*********. We find that his answer is spot-on to the question of the importance of SEO, or if it is still effective, as businesses contemplate if they should invest more or less in organic search in the coming years. “The quick answer to that question is unequivocally ‘more than last year.’ When given the proper attention the organic channel can be the most powerful weapon in your digital arsenal and every year more and more businesses are realizing this”, he firmly states.
Hill Web Marketing interfaces daily with our international leaders in the search marketing world. This keeps our marketing teams and clients up on which results-driven search marketing tactics are most effective. Our approach is to support your team and oversee audits, implementation, and management. If you still wonder if SEO is effective, we would love the opportunity to prove to your company that it is. As well, you can learn a lot about SEO by reading these Search Marketing FAQs.
Our approach is to support your team and oversee audits, implementation, and management. 651-206-2410
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