Posts

What questions should a business ask before introducing SEO to their site?

10 questions every business should ask before kicking off an SEO project.

People always come to me asking, what I should ask my agency before I get them on my site SEO? Being an important question as is, I always mention that it really depends on the offer itself.

Yet there is some basic Q & As that should be considered by all business before any online engagement of that type.

Before we start with the list, it’s important to know that getting someone to do your SEO is like giving them the keys to your backdoor. It is important that you trust that person, or that company is of high authority in the market.

One of things that frightens me, is when I do SEO for a client and I discover that the person who did their SEO prior left some back links of the other clients he was servicing. Not only this is illegal, it will also negatively impact your site authority and cause lose of SEO juice.

That being said it is important for you to know that you are dealing with the right person.


Let’s start with the main question you should ask your SEO agency:

  1. What is the most recent Google algorithm update and what should I be considering when it comes to my site?
  2. What is the process that you will follow when it comes to optimization ?
    1. The brief answer should be as follows:
      1. Audit
      2. Meeting
      3. Recommendations
      4. Optimization
  3. Can you give me a list of the keywords that you optimized for and what did you rank for?
  4. When will I start seeing results?
    1. The best answer should be 5 to 10 months depending on the size of the site and the level of the competition in that industry.
  5. Who will be implementing the optimization?
    1. It is preferable that you do your own implementation if it is your first interaction with this agency.
    2. Yet the option of having the agency implement these optimizations will ensure full liability on them. And it will ensure that everything is done professionally.

It is your call on this one.

  1. Make sure that they integrate the SEO strategy with content strategy at hand.
  2. Make sure that they integrate the SEO strategy with the social strategy at hand.
  3. Make sure they address both off-page and on-page optimization.
  4. How often will the agency be following up and updating you, is really important.
  5. Who will be responsible for reporting?
SEO agencies tool box

SEO tool box

Even if this is brief it will already show the agency that you know what you are doing.

Finally and most importantly, make sure that you have a proper scope of work and a quote that matches it.

 

Source/Reference: 

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/20-questions-to-ask-before-you-hire-an-seo-agency-in-post-pandapenguin-era/62504/

 

SEO friendly site migration tips and avdvice

Site migration is the process where you move a site to a new domain or directory.

Migrating happens to almost every company out there,and more often than we tend to realize.


All Marketers and Digital Specialists aspire and aim for a site migration that does not create any loss in traffic, revenue, SERP rank, or SEO strength.

What I hear most often is that it is as simple as redirecting the old domain to the new domain with a simple 301 redirect – SEO friendly redirect. This is a good start and better than nothing. But it is important to follow a more detailed procedure that will allow you to make this transition without losing value, while getting rid of any mistakes on the current site.


So How to conduct a smooth SEO Friendly site migration while maintaining good rankings on Google, Bing or any other Search engine ?


1. First step is understanding the objective behind an SEO friendly migration.

The main Goals you should keep in mind are the following:

  1. Maintain Traffic
  2. Maintain Rankings
  3. Seamless User Experience and Transition

2. Second step is to know what to pay attention to.

Understand that there is no magic Bullet. we need to do the best we can to ensure that we maintain the highest ranking possible.
And here are Main Factors to pay extra attention to as an SEO Specialist:
1. URL structure
2. Duplicate content
3. Canonicalization
4. Indexed pages


3. Understand the process

Here are the 3 different phases that make an SEO friendly site migration:
  1. Premigration
  2. Migration
  3. Post-migration

 

Phase 1: Pre-Migration Phase

Here is what to account for and work on:
• Know what you have on your current site/platform
For an ideal SEO friendly site migration; the best place to start is with an SEO audit of the site on hand. It is important not to bring the current site’s mistakes with you to the new one.
• Understand and map current site architecture
Download your current sitemaps, and export the list of indexed pages from the Google Search Console.
This will allow you to know the pages that should be redirected to the new site.

• Understand and map new site architecture
This will allow you to understand what URLs you will be matching from the old site to the new site.
• Account for technical limitations
In some situations while moving domains, directories, or hosting, it is important to understand if the new site can support all the changes being made.
• Create a URL redirect map
Map out all the old URLs to the new URLs on the new site.


Additional Things to Account For:

• URL structure
Ensure the new site is well structured and categorized, so that there is a consistency across all the pages, posts and properties.
• Content – avoid duplication
Ensure you are using the right tags on the new site to avoid any duplicate content.
• Messaging/New design/Site
As there is a new design and there is a new domain, we tend to get too familiar with it that we forget to notify our visitors about the changes made.
It is important that you have a notification mentioning the changes, and if it is going to affect your visitors in any way.
Smart marketers turn new designs into marketing advantages, by creating a buildup, a release date and a feedback request.


Phase 2: Migration Process

• Keep the old site (in parallel while using the right redirects and SEO tags)
The most common mistakes I see in this market is when an old site is put down by the time it is redirected.
The ideal approach is to keep the old site and the new site running in parallel after performing the redirect.
• Tag the new site page properly to avoid penalization
It is important to have all the pages canonicalized to the new site before your redirect, to avoid any duplicate content.


Phase 3: Post-Migration

• Perform an audit for the new site (Fix any broken links, loop, or missing URL)
Check your Google Search Console and Bing Web Master tools.
This will allow you to discover: crawl errors, mobile usability, pages indexed, top keywords driving traffic, organic search traffic.
• New sitemap, new robots, and submit new site for indexing
Submit the new site map and robots.txt file to search engines, and keep an eye for any errors, broken links, and redirects.
• Check redirects
As a final check on the new site, check redirects to ensure there are no redirect loops or inconsistencies.
Also, ensure that all the redirects are 301 redirects. The 301 status code means that a page has permanently moved to a new location.


Site migration might be a bit of a tedious process, but it is crucial that is done correctly.
As it is done once every couple of years, it is best to pay extreme attention to details through out this process. If one is not vigilant in the process, they can suffer a loss in visitors, or SEO strength that might take a much longer time to bring back.

 

Sources:

 

Are SEO and Content Marketing supposed to be separate?

Should we be treating our Search Engine Marketing and content marketing projects with different strategies?

I get a lot of client calls asking the same question, which is normal. And more specifically, where do we draw the line between content and SEO.

Well, the problem is this:

Most of the clients, currently and historically, seem to hire 2 different agencies, 1 for SEO, and 1 for Content marketing. In a situation like this, the creative agency will be the one with less technical skills, and with a lot of content writing experience; while the SEO will be optimized by a more technically oriented agency.

Solution:

Clients and agencies should work together to integrate your SEO and content marketing efforts. The benefits of marrying search engine tags with content will yield a bigger reward and a higher ROI to clients.

SEO - Search Engine Marketing using content

An Integrated Strategy

3 important quotes on this matter:

Successful SEO, is the one that is done with Content and the Client in mind.

Successful SEO is the one that is created with real human readers as an audience, and not Bots.

Successful content marketing is the one the embraces SEO completely.

What should you know as a marketer of a business owner?

Content marketing is a great way to establish trust, authority and build a strong relationship with your clients and partners, it will help position you as an expert in the subject matter, a reference.

Most of the people will come across your brand, with a question, and looking for an answer. Make sure that you are there for them with the right information, listed and categorized.

How will they find you?

  1. Through search engines
  2. Social Searches/Social timelines

How will you rank?

  1. By using good content
  2. Using the right content in the right spots
  3. Tagging the right content with the right tags
  4. Getting the right (high search volume) keywords to best describe your content

How to stay ranking?

  1. Use engaging content, Content that will keep people on your pages for more than just 10 seconds.
  2. Use visuals, infographics, graphs, pics, etc.
  3. Use videos
  4. Use strong references

So where do content marketing and SEO actually converge?

How to use content marketing and SEO

Content Marketing and SEO Working Together

 

What can Content and SEO build together?

Transforming how your marketing works, into a more successful mix.

Integrated Content Digital Marketing

Transforming from Traditional Digital Marketing to Advanced Integrated Digital Marketing

Conclusion:

It is important for all of us to start looking at SEO and Content as Allies, and not rivals.

These 2 should work together, and there is no point in the future that one will replace the other.

Yet content will continue to drift more to become more technical, and SEO will continue to drift to become more resourceful and creative.

 

 

Resources/Sources

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/seo-is-content-marketing/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/combine-seo-content-marketing-explosive-results/97157/

http://searchengineland.com/content-marketing-seo-bigger-picture-219796

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/combine-seo-content-marketing-explosive-results/97157/

How often do we hear that SEO is dead, obsolete, or not as important as it was a few years ago?

It is true that the Search Engine Marketing industry is in a constant change. There are continuous updates and algorithm changes across all the search engines every couple of months. That makes it seem like more of a challenge to keep up, and small business owners and entrepreneurs can easily get overwhelmed.

But the challenge does not make the practice obsolete. The use of search engines to find products and services has certainly not decreased. As long as people continue to use search engines, optimizing to rank well will continue to be a solid and smart investment.

Over the past 7 years, I have worked in SEO for agencies, Fortune 500s and small businesses. In that time, I’ve learned that there are some SEO factors that never change.

If you are hesitant about ‘keeping up’ with the latest in SEO, at the very least ensure you are capitalizing on these 6 constants.

6 Un-obsolete SEO Tips for Entrepreneurs

1. Optimizing for humans, not search engines

Although “SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization, the optimization you do truly is more for humans than search engines. After all, the people are your customers. Not the engines

To rank well, think about the human experience rather than the search engines. Focus on human engagement, relevancy to searchers, what will be most attractive to the people, rather than stuffing in keywords just to appeal to search engines.

2. Focusing on what makes you different

What makes you different from anyone else selling a product or service? Be clear on what makes you different. Ensure you have content on your website and in your SEO strategy that highlights it. Your differentiator is what will stand out and attract attention when someone is doing a search.

I always tell my clients that SEO is more about you than it is about technical optimization and upgrades. It is about showing your business, service, product, values and unique selling point with the right content while tapping into the searcher’s intent. To do that, ask yourself, “What is my target persona thinking when they are searching for my specific product or service?” Your answer will often tell you what to highlight.

3. User experience

Always look at your own site from a visitor’s perspective.

People spend more time on sites that are easy to navigate, drive value and educate them. More time on site increases the chances of conversions (i.e. more clients/customers).

As long as there are users, the user experience will never go out of style. Make sure your site is responsive and fast to load, creating a seamless user experience.

SEO Infographics on factors that don't Change
Caption: Infographic on SEO | Source: Tarek Riman – CAP.TAIM

4. Clean site structure

Clean and organized goes a long way, especially in search engines. You can know a lot about a site just by looking at the URL. Any unconventional characters, a mix of upper and lower case characters, parameters, and excessive categories and sub-directories all make for a messy site structure.

Have a structured site and clean URLs. This makes it easier for search engines to navigate your site and index your pages.

SEO guide for businesses to grow
Caption: Infographic on SEO | Source: Tarek Riman – CAP.TAIM

5. Abiding by the rules

Search engines are smarter than we think they are. Whatever trick you are thinking of pulling on Google… trust me, Google has seen it before.

Avoid playing tricks, or any black hat SEO. More often than not, it’ll end up getting your site penalized by search engines. And that is hard to recover from.

Creating value and driving traffic through hard work is rewarding and effective.

Don’t put yourself or your client in a bad situation or at risk of getting penalized for petty rankings.

 

6. Creating great content and driving value

“Content is king!” Ten years ago, marketers and SEO specialists lived by this mantra. And it is still true today. Great content is simply great SEO.

Content is not only text. Content is video, images, slides, white papers, pdf, etc.

When you have a valuable piece of content that will educate your client, share it and tag it properly.

Search engine marketing for begginners
Caption: Infographic on SEO | Source: Tarek Riman – CAP.TAIM

Take Away

When it comes to investing in SEO, don’t hesitate to invest out of a mistaken belief that SEO has little impact, or that what you do today will be obsolete tomorrow. SEO is an integral part of digital marketing. The six factors above don’t get a lot of airplay these days, only because they aren’t shiny and new. They are tried and true tactics for ranking well. Use this article as a guide for your SEO efforts and the investment into your website will pay for itself many times over.

As we are moving more and more towards voice search, mobile-first indexing, and machine learning algorithms, search and SEO are becoming more and more… intentional.

At least in the sense that you must focus on the intentions of your market.

If the content is to successfully build strong SEO, it cannot be based solely on keywords. The intent of your audience must also be taken into account.

What do I mean by this?

An intention, in search, is the meaning behind a search query and not simply the words used.

Let’s say you are looking for a gym to go to so you type “gym” into Google. Go ahead. Give it a try.

Notice that Google doesn’t give the definition of the word “gym”. It doesn’t give you the history of gyms, or even an alphabetical list of gyms.

No. Google anticipates your intention. It assumes you are looking for a gym in your neighbourhood. The first results you see will be the Google local listing gyms near you, then a list of search results for gyms in your area and gym directories, typically listed based on an algorithm of user reviews, link popularity and many other factors.

Google’s mission is, “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

For me, the most important part of Google’s mission/vision statement, are the last two words: accessible and useful.

We are constantly moving to more relevant and smarter search results – results that are more and more accessible and useful. Relevancy, accessibility and usefulness depend heavily on understanding the intent of the audience.

To capitalize on relevancy and intent as a marketer, remember these four query types:

  • Informational
  • Investigative
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Each of these query types can be associated with certain phases of the consumer purchase journey:

  • Informational Queries – Researching non-transactional information

Informational queries are at the very top of the funnel – the awareness phase. Results are usually broad and informational, with no intent to sell.

The main intent behind informational queries is, well, to get information. Most search results associated with informational queries tend to be direct answers.

  • Investigative Queries – Researching options

Investigative queries come from consumers with the intention to discover options in the market or do additional research. In terms of the consumer purchase process, these searchers can be in either the awareness or consideration phases of the funnel. These queries may not necessarily lead to conversions. Indeed, they may not even be driven by any intent to purchase.

These are queries that involve researching specific details. Searchers may be looking for talent, competition or options available in the market.

The intention behind these queries may or may not be to eventually purchase, but what Google does know (or assume) is that the searcher is exploring options. Search results are, therefore, tailored to provide those options for investigation.

  • Navigational Queries – Looking for something you already know you want

By this phase, the consumer already knows what they want. Perhaps it is healthy fruits (from informational queries) and the consumer now knows the best places to buy them from (investigative queries).

For example, when a searcher knows the brand, product or service, but does not know the URL, they will just type the name into their search or address bar.

For example, when you want to access Gmail, you usually just type “Gmail” into the address bar rather than a full URL. Google does the rest.

As generations are getting lazier by the second, navigational queries are becoming more and more popular.

  • Transactional Queries are queries that involve an intent towards an action

The action doesn’t have to be money related, it could be a signup, newsletter, phone details, address discovery, getting direction.

For example, if you search “Buy healthy food”, then that is a transactional query.

So what can we do as marketers, entrepreneurs, and startups?

We have to capitalize on the searcher’s intent instead of keywords and capitalize on each query type.

I would recommend using this approach in your future content as well as for past content. Go to your current blogs, pages, and products; analyze the actual intent and value of the content and update accordingly.

The best way to test search intent is Google Search itself. Search the term you have in mind and based on search results, you will be able to categorize it accordingly.

Remember there are no right or wrong search intent queries, the right approach is to match the right queries with your brand and business goals.

If you are an e-commerce site, it is ideal to concentrate on transactional queries and investigation queries, while not fully ignoring the informational and navigational queries.

Intentions can no longer be ignored, they need to be a critical part of your marketing moving forward.

Source:

https://moz.com/blog/segmenting-search-intent

http://searchengineland.com/search-intent-signals-aligning-organic-paid-search-strategy-249601