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What is on page optimization?

The optimizations that you can do on-page of the site. These optimizations include most of the on-page tags of the website.

What are the most important SEO On Page Tags?

What are the on-page tags that we can optimize?

  • Meta Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Page URLs
  • Content on page
  • Alt text for images.

It is important that the work that we do on these tags is aligned with the Keyword map that we put together in the previous chapter.

Meta Title tags

What is an SEO Meta Page Title Tag?

HTML: <title>Page title goes here</title>

This is the first thing that we see in the search results.

In the page below it is “5 Best National Parks Near Montreal | Top 5 National Parks in Quebec”

Based on Moz, https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag

They recommend that we use both the Primary Keyword and the secondary keyword with the brand in the title.

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

If we are to go back to the keyword map that we put together in the previous chapter, here is how the title would look:

Page/Topic KW 1 KW 2 Related Terms
“5 neighbourhoods to visit in Montreal” Montreal Famous Neighborhoods Places to walk in Montreal. Montreal Downtown

NDG – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Mile End

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal

Gay Village

Mont-Royal

Westmount

Title Montreal Famous Neighborhoods | Places to walk in Montreal

It is important to note that the title should be within 65 characters if it has more than that, it will show the three dots at the end and Google will not show the full title.

 

Meta descriptions

What is an SEO Meta Page DescriptionTag?

Meta description no longer has a direct impact on the page’s SEO. Yet it does have an indirect impact.

What does that mean?

Well for search engines right now the most important ranking factors are mostly user behaviour related. Meaning CTR (Click through rate) and number visits for example.

As much as a description may not have a direct impact on the site, it may still have a direct impact on the user behaviour which in turn will have a direct impact on the SEO of the site.

What does that tell us as marketers?

Well when we are creating a description for our site, it is more important that we create the descriptions for the user’s engagement rather Search engines.

It is definitely important to include consistent keywords yet it is also important to have a call to action, and enough information to peak the searcher’s interest.

 

Page URLs

How to optimize page URL for better SEO Results?

As for the page URLs. Well, it goes back to the site structure chapter. Where I highlight the importance of having a clean and well-organized site.

Yet to emphasis, good site structure leads to a good URL structure. What I tell my students at Concordia University is the following:

“I should be able to understand what the site is about and what the pages are about, and where it fits by just looking at your URL”

So when creating URLs always bear that in mind.

But also bear in mind that you should not use:

  • Capital Letters: having different caps in the URL that makes a URL inconsistent. Not only that it will dilute the URL as it will create a different version of it. So always keep your URL in lower case.
  • Underscores: The reason be is that search engines and browsers view underscores as nothing, but hyphens as spaces. So if as search engines see this in the URL “best_montreal_restos_for_date” it will read bestmontrealrestosfordate.

So instead use a hyphen, a proper way to have a URL should be “best-montreal-restos-for-date”

  • NON- ASCII characters. Since URLs can only communicate using ASCII characters, when they see a non-ASCII character, they replace it with a “%” that causes URL issues and broken pages in the long run.
  • Spaces: Avoid spaces at all costs, if you leave a space when you are creating a URL, it will convert that space into a “%20” when the site is live. That also causes the URL to have issues and might affect your SEO negatively.

 

Content on-page

How to optimize on-page content for better SEO Results?

You might see it everywhere by now. That content is just king.

SEO and Content on the page go hand in hand. Based on research by SEMrush, sites that are rank number one have on average 45% more content than the sites ranking number 20th.

Using the right content and the impactful content on the site will help a lot.

Put it this way if Google doesn’t know enough about you and they need to make sure that you are an expert on the subject, so the more details you give the better it is, the more you can proof you are knowledgeable on the subject the better it is.

When it comes to content the quantity off content is as important as the quality of content. So as you fill up your site with information, make sure that it is as meaningful as possible.

Alt text for images.

How to optimize image alt tags for better SEO Results?

Alt image tags are made first and foremost of the visually impaired.

Meaning when someone with visual impairment is checking out your site, they will be able to know what the image is about, by moving their mouse over it.

As this is the main purpose, we shouldn’t look at this tag from an SEO perspective, yet from an ethical and purposeful perspective.

I this tab it is not only a best practice but our duty and responsibility to fill in this tag properly.

Check the example that follows:

A large scale Mural of Leonard Cohen on the side of a building in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

A large scale Mural of Leonard Cohen on the side of a building in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

ALT tag: A large scale Mural of Leonard Cohen on the side of a building in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

 

To learn more about SEO and how to take your optimization to the next level: Get your copy of “The SEO Way” here.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS & SEO

 

The Search Engine’s Mission

The role of search engines is to crawl the web and index the pages that they deem worthy, in an order that provides value to users.

In doing so, their mission is to ensure users can quickly and easily find the information, products, services or content they’re looking for.

Google’s mission statement, written in 2013, is as follows: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Source: https://www.google.com/about/

 

Bing’s mission statement, also written in 2013, is as follows: “At Bing our central mission is to help you search less and do more. To that end, we’re constantly looking for ways to make your search experience more efficient.”

Source: https://blogs.bing.com/search/2013/08/23/find-it-faster-with-bing-product-search/

 

Yahoo’s mission is to “make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining.”

Source: Yahoo.com

 

What can we take away from this?

Essentially, search engines exist to send us away from them and to what users search for. Ironic, isn’t it?

Google Search Console on Google Analytics

Google Search Console on Google Analytics

 

Think about it. You visit a search engine, perform a search and then leave. The better the experience you have with a search engine (i.e. the greater success you have at finding what you want) the more likely you are to use that one again. With that in mind, you can rely on them wanting to return search results that are as closely related as possible to what it thinks” you are truly looking for.

There is a lot to learn from this.

My grandpa used to say, “Tell me what someone wants and I will tell you how to control him.” And I tell you today that if you want to control how your web property shows up in search engines, you have to understand that the primary mission of the search engine is around what people want and nothing else. Yes, the companies behind them want to make money through advertising, sales, etc., but they know that these things are most profitable when driven by that primary mission of providing value.

User driven metrics control search, and likely always will.

If you are able, through your site, to provide useful, accessible, engaging, inspiring and entertaining information, then you are golden. If people want you, search engines will want you. This should be the guiding principle behind your SEO strategy.

Thankfully, GA can help you understand what searchers want, like, enjoy, engage with and how you can act on that knowledge to improve your ranking.

Google Search Console on Google Analytics                                                               

Going back to chapter 14, where we installed Google Search Console, you may recall that GA alone is not enough for us to capture adequate data to take a knowledge-driven approach to SEO.

To be able to make educated SEO decisions, you need Google Search Console. Once you connect Google Search Console data to your web property, you will have access to a wide array of reports that will help you understand how pages are performing, what keywords are sending the most traffic, what pages are getting the highest engagement, what is relevant and what is not.

The goal of this chapter is to help you capitalize on GA to optimize your site’s organic search performance in the best way possible.

Let’s jump back to the GA dashboard.

Under “Acquisition” scroll to “Search Console”.

Without Google Search Console, the default analytics results are extremely limited. In fact, GA will often return “Not Provided”.

With Search Console, you will have access to extensive data, which is enough to optimize, improve and plan ahead.

Also, Google Search Console is the best SEO tool out there that you can use for free. Make sure that you are using it and learning from it as much as possible.

 

Search Console Landing Pages Report

Search Console Landing Pages Report

Search Console Landing Pages Report

As you can see in the report above, GA provides a list of the most popular landing pages on your site that visitors have arrived at through organic search.

The table shows a lot of valuable info, which is the result of the merge between Google Search Console data and on-site behaviour data. This helps you not only know what people did to find your page, but what they did once they arrived there, and whether they took the actions that you want them to take.

These are the terms you should know to get the most out of this report:

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Impressions – This is the number of times your pages popped up in search results.

Clicks – The number of times people clicked on your page from an SERP.

CTR (Click Through Rate) –  The number of clicks/the number of impressions * 100, meaning, it reflects the rate at which people see your listing in organic search results and choose to click through to your site.

Average Position – This is the average ranking of your page in organic search results, taking into account all the keywords that this page ranks for. If your page has an average position of 3, for example, that means your page usually shows up around the third spot in SERPs (which is a very good position to have).

Sessions – This is the number of visits that you get to your site from organic search.

Bounce Rate – This tells you how many visitors to your site (from organic search) left without taking any action.

Goal Metrics – This shows how your traffic from organic search is converting on the site.

The Landing Page Report gives you a view into how your different pages are performing from an SEO perspective. It helps you see what pages are performing well, which ones can be improved, and which pages you can capitalize on elsewhere, maybe through paid search or social campaigns.

 

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

In this report, you can see the amount of organic search traffic you’re getting from each country.

This insight can help you tailor future content for different countries, with different languages and different information that caters to specific audiences.

I use this report to understand who is coming to my site and how I can tailor new content for them. It also helps me identify opportunities I may be missing out on. For example, if I’m getting a lot of traffic from a specific country, but it isn’t converting, I can start looking into why that may be, and what I can do to better serve that traffic and increase conversions.

In the sample report above, you can see that the US is the second biggest source of traffic to my site. Because of that, I try to tailor some content to that audience instead of only concentrating on Canadian traffic or local traffic.

 

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

As small as this report is, it packs a big punch.

This gives you a quick overview of where you stand as a brand and site, as it shows your average position on mobile, tablet and desktop.

If you see that you have a lower than usual CTR on mobile, for example, it may be a sign that you are not appealing to users of these devices. You may find that you need to a better job with meta title and meta descriptions, or even that your site isn’t rendering properly on mobile devices

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

This report is, for SEO purposes, the most important one in the Google Search Console reports, as it shows what terms and keywords visitors used to arrive on your site.

This shows what you’re good at and what you can improve, in terms of keywords.

It is a great place to see what type of content to concentrate on more, and gives you the start of a model for how to approach future content and what types of terms to concentrate on for a more targeted and sustained approach to the details on your site.

 

Takeaway

GA, in partnership with Google Search Console, helps you understand how visitors search for your site, how they perceive it and if they find it relevant, giving you a starting point from which to build and improve on your content strategy for better SEO.

What makes GA so important as a tool, is that it taps into user metrics, and these user metrics are the main ranking factors of any website, as of this writing.

 

This is based on chapter 18 from the book “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics”

 

How and Why to Master Site Structure

Not all websites, pages and blogs are created (or ranked, searched for or indexed) equally. This is true when it’s a human interacting with it and when it’s a search engine.
If you are a marketer or business owner, you probably know the 80/20 rule of websites: 80% of your business will come from 20% of your pages. If you have a blog of 100 posts, about 20 of those will drive the majority of your conversions (whatever “conversion” means for your business model). This is totally normal and not something that necessarily needs to be “fixed”.

However, because a minority of pages drive the majority of conversions, site structure becomes extremely important, for both visitors and search engines.

When I work with a client, one of the first things I do is audit their website to get a clear picture of what we’re starting with. Having performed hundreds of such audits, I’ve come to realize that site structure if a common issue for many businesses.
Think about it like this: brick and mortar stores carefully layout and display merchandise to make it easy for customers to move around and find what they’re looking for, and to highlight particular items for quicker sale or to draw in street traffic. Site structure is the web equivalent of that practice.

 

Here are the main disadvantages of not having a well-structured site:  

  • Dilution of page strength
  • Site cannibalization (self-competing)
  • Lack of consistency
  • Potential for duplicate content
  • Harder for search engines to crawl and understand

 

Do You Know How to Master Site Structure

 

5 things you can do to get a more structured site:

 

  • Divide content into categories.

There are many ways that the human brain and search engines are similar. One of those is that we both LOVE to categorize things! We like it when information fits neatly into set categories. When someone else clearly defines those categories for us (whether human or search engine), we can find things more quickly.

Aggregate related content and organize it into categories or with tags. When you have a lot of content, it is ideal to create a new directory (subdirectory, NOT subdomain as a new subdomain is much harder to rank for). The content in your subdirectories should be specific and should not overlap with other content.

As you categorize and tag your site, ensure that highly related content is put in the right subdirectory as one of your main goals is to avoid cannibalization.

 

  • Create a sitemap and submit it to search engines.


XML sitemaps are important for your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages) because they make it easier for search engines to find pages on your site. Rather than have to follow a bunch of links, search engines know to look for your XML file so they can see all the pages in one place. Kind of like those giant maps in shopping malls.

Another key role of the XML sitemap is to tell search engines which pages are ok to crawl. This way, they know right away which pages not to bother with and can quickly crawl the others.

When creating your sitemap, it’s important to know which pages are your key pages, as you will need to organize the map accordingly.

Here is a great tool for creating an effective sitemap: https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

Once you have your sitemap, add it under your default sitemap URL, which should look like this: https://thecaminowithin.com/sitemap.xml. Use this URL (obviously with your own website, not mine) as your sitemap URL when connecting Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools.

 

  • Use canonical tags.


This is one of the most basic and impactful optimization tools. It’s a way of telling search engines that a certain page represents the original copy of a page in order to avoid duplicate content.

The word “canon” means, generally, “authoritative”. When a page is canonical, it means that’s the main one. The original. It’s the one that should be referenced above all others like it. So, if you have different URLs hosting the same content, designate one page as “canon” to instruct search engines to ignore the others. This ensures all search strength is directed towards your one main page, and not diluted among many.

Here’s an example of a canonical page: https://thecaminowithin.com. That’s my canonical homepage, but all these URL structures may be considered variations of that page:

https://thecaminowithin.com/
http://thecaminowithin.com/
https://www.thecaminowithin.com/

To the human eye, we can tell that these are probably all the same page. But, without canonical tags, a search engine will see all these as separate. Use a tag like this to tell search engines which page is your canon page: <link rel=”Canonical” href=”https://thecaminowithin.com”>

 

  • Remove duplicate pages, content or tags.


Duplicate content happens when content appears in more than one place within the same website. It makes your site repetitive and irrelevant for both humans and search engines.

When navigating through a website, both humans and search engines look for (and expect) unique information or content with each new page visit.

Duplicate content makes it hard to figure out what is original and what is not. It confuses search engines in deciding which version should get ranking strength and which should be ignored.

The best analogy is that you are taking a good piece of content and watering it down. Diluting its strength.

Aim for all your content to be unique, concentrating on the following areas:

  1. Duplicate titles and descriptions.
  2. Duplicate headers.
  3. Duplicate paragraphs.

 

  • Interlink properly.


An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage that links to another resource (page, image, document, etc) within the same site.

There are many advantages to interlinking, such as connecting relevant pages, enabling visitors to easily find information and helping them spend more time on your site.

But, when it comes to interlinks, you must stay structured, relevant, consistent and not overdo it.

A best practice is to use relevant and descriptive anchor text that relates to the content of the page or resource you are linking to.

Just like a brick and mortar business, your website needs to be well structured for it to perform optimally. Don’t ignore site structure. Master it.

 

 

 

References:

 

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