Are Google Ads Worth It?

Are Google Ads worth it? Yes, but…

 

  • It’s one piece of a larger strategy
  • It doesn’t guarantee results
  • It’s NOT a magic bullet for your online marketing

 

While many small business owners know about Facebook ads and other social media promotional materials, you may not know just how much you can use pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to your advantage when you pair it with search engine optimization (SEO) and solid web design.

 

At MLT Group, we’ve seen many successful uses of PPC marketing tools integrated into a strong digital marketing strategy. When those PPC techniques are combined with SEO capabilities, that marketing strategy can go beyond a single-faceted tool and become a fully fleshed out system.

 

There are many options for PPC marketing available to you as a business, but by far the most effective tool in the entire scheme of the internet is Google Ads. It’s a big leap for businesses to transition from little-to-no assertive digital marketing to building a full Google Ads account. However, if used correctly, Google Ads can be the single most “worth it” PPC digital marketing strategy.

 

Basics of Google Ads

The basic role of Google Ads is to put your search result before any organic results.

 

 

“Organic” results are the natural search results. “Inorganic,” or paid results, are what you buy with Google Ads.

 

 

Google Ads can make your business seen, improving placement in search results and exponentially increasing that improvement as the number of clicks on your site are made.

 

The money you pay for each click goes to Google, and that means the goal of Google Ads is just that: click count. On one hand, this can mean more prevalence of your site being seen, but on the other, it is up to you to write compelling calls to action in the ad, build effective landing pages, and have the kind of website that’s actually worth visiting and engaging with.

 

The best way to cultivate the way Google Ads will handle your placement and which search terms will put your URL in a spot that will yield the most clicks is to set your Ad Goals. By setting your ad campaign goal, Google Ads can understand better exactly what you want to get out of a click.

 

 

 

Other tools you can use to generate data that will guide how Google Ads establishes your PPC ad campaign are Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics.

 

 

Google Ad Conversions examine what clicks turn into other engagements and sales. However, most PPC experts recommend keeping an eye on the valuable information that Google Analytics provides. Based on the conversion data, Google Analytics uses an algorithm that will generate certain goals that are recommended you build a campaign around. Google uses the engagement results that clicks and further information about interaction with your website to build a goal that you may not be following now, but could benefit greatly from diving into.

 

Overall, Google Ads is a PPC marketing tool that will provide quick results, place your URL at the top of a search result page, and open the door for you to create new ad campaigns based on all the data Google gathers for you. When used correctly, Google Ads is a valuable tool worth the cost. There is no denying that it will increase traffic to your site.

 

 

It’s Not All About the Clicks

 

While, yes Google Ads will increase traffic, you have a lot more to consider if you want that traffic to mean anything. It doesn’t benefit you to have a user click on your Google ad if your website isn’t actually worth engaging with. Your Google Ad might hook a lead, but to reel it in you need a well-designed landing page and website. To get the full positive effects of Google Ads PPC, you have to consider several things that SEO can control:

 

  • Is your site visually appealing and user friendly?
  • Does your site load in under two seconds?
  • Did you build SEO correctly so that the search term used correlates to the goods and services you provide?

 

If you can use SEO to build a sleek, clean site and establish the right keywords in your content, you can combine Google Ads and SEO tools to maximize your investment in an ad campaign. Google Ads is an incredibly useful tool, but SEO still beats out Google Ads in internet traffic sources.

 

 

If you aren’t pairing Google Ads with good SEO and web design, then the money your business dumps into Google’s pockets won’t do you any good!

 

Stitching PPC and SEO Together

Organic traffic is the long game to PPC’s short game. Building organic traffic takes time, but it will generate a continually growing return as Google’s search engine and the Google Ads algorithms get to know what your website offers and what you are trying to accomplish with it.

When you invest in organic SEO, you build equity in your site. You invest in your site – not short-term gains from paid search results.

Overall, Google Ads is a tool you can use to increase traffic to your site, but PPC marketing only goes so far. You have to use good SEO practices to move your site to the top of a result organically.

If you use Google Ads as a crutch, you will soon see that users engaging with your site are not satisfied. SEO reveals whether your site is offering exactly what people are looking for even if it’s a PPC URL, and good SEO practices will allow you to expand and gain an even larger audience/customer base.

To help get the most out of your next Google Ads campaign, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

DIY SEO in Three Basic Steps (with Free Tools!)

So you’re interested in DIY SEO. No wonder. Outside SEO work is expensive. The best SEO results come from time or capital-intensive investments: content writing and backlink outreach.

But it’s still possible—sometimes even preferable—to be an SEO solo. Maybe you want to learn more about The Business before paying a professional SEO firm a lot of money. Maybe you have a small site and already enjoy writing. Maybe you just don’t have the capital yet to invest in SEO.

Toolboxes like ahrefs and Moz can be invaluable. We use them every day. But if you’re just stepping into SEO, investing in them right away is like buying a 4k 60” TV to watch old M.A.S.H. reruns.

If you want to try DIY SEO for your website, try out these three basic steps–with links to free tools–to get the ball rolling.

 

#1 – Build and Submit a Sitemap

Every second of every day the Googlebot scans the web. Googlebot is the software that Google uses to crawl through the internet and build a searchable index of websites.

A sitemap is file that describes the contents and organization of your website.

 

A sitemap describes your site’s organization to crawling software — not to your users.

 

Adding a sitemap to your website and submitting it to Google will make it easier for Googlebot to scan and understand your website.

Without being indexed by Googlebot, your site will not appear anywhere in Google search results. It is ESSENTIAL that your site is indexed and—if your site frequently changes—indexed regularly.

So how do you create a sitemap? You could do it manually. But you really don’t have to.

Thankfully, there are some free tools that will scan your website and automatically create a sitemap file for you. Here are two recommendations for free tools to create a sitemap:

 

Have a WordPress site? Use a plugin.

If your site is built in WordPress, just use a plugin to create your sitemap and upload it to your site. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin is used on millions of sites and is frequently updated. Let it do the work for you.

 

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog offers a free version of their SEO Spider Tool. If your website has 500 or fewer pages, you can download SEO Spider and use it to create a sitemap for free.

Screaming Frog does more, too, which is nice – it finds broken links and analyzes your metadata, among many other useful things. It’s excellent to help you maintain your technical SEO.

 

xml-sitemaps.com

Use xml-sitemaps.com to create a free sitemap, no downloads or accounts needed. If your website has 500 or fewer pages, you can create a sitemap file just from entering your website URL on their homepage.

 

Uploading and Submitting Your Sitemap

Once your sitemap file is created, you need to do two more things:

 

Upload the sitemap to the domain root folder of your website.

In other words, add the sitemap file to your website. Log into your cPanel for your website and open the file manager. The root folder will always be the folder titled public_html. Add the sitemap file to this folder.

 

Submit the sitemap file to Google and other search engines.

You can submit your sitemap a few different ways. You can do so directly through Google Search Console. This part’s pretty easy.

 

#2 – Keyword Research

Keyword research means figuring out the best language to use on your website to attract search traffic. Keyword research is a delicate balance between relevance, search volume, and competition.

Relevance

What do people search for when they want something that you offer? You need to figure out the most relevant keywords for your business and your goals.

Remember: think from your audience’s perspective. How would they understand and search?

This can be tough for business owners who know their own products and industries up and down, backwards and forward.

Step out of your expertise and imagine the common understandings of your offerings.

Search Volume

Search volume is simply how many searches are performed for any given phrase.

Many paid SEO tools like ahrefs give you valuable search volume data.

If you want to get a snapshot at search volume with just free SEO tools, try out Keyword Surfer.

 

 

This Chrome extension gives you search volume data for keyphrases while you’re using Google.

It’ll also give you ideas and data for keyphrases related to your search query. This can make it a great tool for discovering new, worthwhile keyphrases to target.

 

Competition

The competition are the other search results that are ranking high for the keywords you want to rank for. Trying to rank high for a competitive keyword could take far more time and money than you want to invest.

Competition can be difficult to gauge without paid tools, which can roughly calculate the difficulty of ranking keywords in the top 10 results.

A good rule of thumb, though, is to target “long-tail” keyphrases. That is, longer and more specific keyphrases.

A long-tail keyphrase has lower search volume, and that usually correlates with lower difficulty.

Long-tail keyphrases also make great targets because searchers who use specific searches are more interested and likely to convert.

For example, consider the difference between “wallets” and “mens slim wallets.”

Someone who’s searching specifically for “mens slim wallets” is probably a lot closer to buying a wallet than someone searching for “wallets.”

Even though there are fewer searches done for it, that traffic is more valuable.

And it’s even easier to rank highly for!

If you don’t have access to tools that give more insight into competition, keep long-tail keyphrases in mind.

 

 

#3 – Optimize Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Once you have an idea of which keywords to target on your site, the easiest thing you can do is use them in your meta descriptions and title tags.

These lines of text are valuable real estate for your SEO. They’re the most straightforward, plain description of what’s on your site. They matter.

Use your most important keywords in the title tag and meta description.

If you’re a local business, placing your city and state in the title tag and meta description also helps quite a bit.

In addition, these meta descriptions and title tags are where you start to really put your writing skills to the test.

These are the first impression you have on new visitors. It’s like your storefront on the internet.

Write these to be informative and compelling.

 

In these two examples, we’ve got strong calls to action: “Shop Men’s Leather Wallets” and “Upgrade your style.” They’re both informative, too.

The first description packs a ton of information in: brand name, product, and shipping/return info.

The second description makes an image argument, placing style and durability at the forefront.

Both of these are compelling meta descriptions, and they make good examples.

The point:

You should carefully write title tags and meta descriptions for each of your pages that you expect searchers to find. Use each page’s unique keyword in these title tags.

Do not repeat keyphrases between these pages.

If you’re targeting the same keyphrase with multiple pages, then you’re just competing with yourself. Don’t do that.

 

Headings

In addition, use your main keywords throughout the headings of your webpages.

Like the meta descriptions, headings are valuable real estate for SEO. Use the same keyphrase that you use for that page’s title tag and meta description.

The words used in the title tag, meta description, and headings are very important.

I once saw a page rank #1 for fireworks in their city even though the business had nothing to do with fireworks. For some truly unknown reason, they had “fireworks” in their title tag. That’s the kind of influence a title tag can have. (And that also indicates how easy the competition was for “fireworks” in that area.)

 

What’s Next? Backlinks and Content

So far this guide has focused on very simple, cheap, starter steps for DIY SEO.

Using these tactics will set a little groundwork for SEO. These alone will not bring your website to page 1 of search results unless you’re in a real backwater of the internet (i.e. no competition).

To rank high against some actual competition, you need two things:

  1. Content.
  2. Backlinks.

If you’re serious about doing DIY SEO, it IS possible to do this by yourself.

The problem?

Both take lots of time to do well.

There’s no way to get around it. You need to invest time (or money paying someone) to get worthwhile results.

However, backlinks and content are absolutely essential if you want to rank for competitive keywords.

Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the top ranking factors for Google search results.

A backlink is when another page links to your page. Google treats this like a vote of confidence in the quality of your page. Because Google’s in the business of serving quality results, they’ll put quality stuff up front.

The best way to get backlinks is to write and post quality content.

That means useful content for your audience or adjacent audiences. That could be blog articles, videos, how-to guides, infographics, podcasts, you name it.

If your content’s really good, easily shared, and promoted, you can get backlinks naturally. If you’re just starting out, this is less likely.

You can also convince people to link back to your content.

Say you’ve got a baking blog and you write this super in-depth and awesome guide about the different types of wheat flour and their uses for bread baking. White whole wheat flour. Semolina flour. Strong flour. AP flour (all-purpose, for you uninitiated). All that good stuff.

Find other sites who would be interested in this content and reach out to them to see if they’d be willing to link to your page.

Quick pointers for outreach: lots of people will say no or not get back to you. Make a convincing but nice argument for why your content’s worthwhile to their site’s visitors. And have good content.

 

Content

As you can see, backlinks and content go hand in hand. Good content can get you backlinks.

Consistently updating your site with relevant content also helps in itself.

Consistently updating your site helps signal to search engines that your site is credible and worthwhile.

That’s why we still recommend blogging for folks who are serious about SEO.

An active blog allows you to constantly add relevant content to your site.

A blog will allow you to target more longtail keywords and drive traffic to the rest of your site.

If you (a) already enjoy writing, (b) are an expert in your industry, and (c) have the time, then you can create content yourself that can provide potent SEO juice. It’s definitely doable. However, that’s quite the trifecta, and it’s pretty rare.

Content and backlinks are what you pay the big money for in SEO. Producing good content takes a lot of time and expertise. Performing outreach for backlinks takes a lot of time and a good, methodical plan. There’s no software in the world that’s going to make good writing easy.

After DIY SEO

You can get a lot done by yourself if you’re trying DIY SEO. If you have the time, you can do darn near most of the SEO work it takes to rank well (depending on the size of your site and your goals, of course).

If you want to take your SEO to the next level, though, give us a call. We do national and local SEO every day. It’s our bread and butter. We use all the above tactics and so much more. Ok, pitch over.

 




Essential Guide to Performing a Technical SEO Audit

Search engine optimization (SEO) remains a top focus of digital marketers across industries and niches. Understanding the basics of keyphrase research and usage, proper tagging, link building, and other on-site and inbound marketing techniques matters for ongoing success. However, leaving your efforts to chance can leave them incomplete or ineffective. If you want to ensure improved traffic, acquisition, and conversion numbers, a technical SEO audit makes sense.




 

What Is Technical SEO?

 

When Internet business owners and online marketers think about optimizing their site and its content for the search engines, they usually consider the types of things listed above: keywords, links, etc. However, these only represent part of the picture when it comes to ensuring higher placements on the search engine result pages (SERPs).

 

Technical SEO has to do with website ranking factors that make it possible for Google and other search engines’ bots to find, crawl, and index all of the pages effectively. It is about creating accurate code, ensuring fast load times, improving site security, and optimizing everything from design to database access.

 

For people without high degrees of technical knowledge, these types of things seem much more difficult and misunderstood than non-technical SEO practices like creating keyword-appropriate blog posts or creating a social media link strategy. However, options exist to make the process simpler. First, you can hire a professional team to take care of these things for you. Also, you can follow the steps below to get started on your own.

 

Why Perform a Technical SEO Audit and When Should You Do It?

 

The simple answer to the first part of this question focuses on the fact that badly operating or performing websites do not rank high in search engines. Things like slow load time, security issues, and errors indicate that the website is poor quality and Google should not recommend it to the people searching for information, products, or anything else. From a business owner’s standpoint, a technical SEO audit increases the chance of improving traffic flow, impressing site visitors, and ultimately snagging new customers or clients.

 

With all of these benefits, you may think technical investigations of your website’s optimization should be done as frequently as possible. Of course, no one has time to do this every day. Also, the search engine algorithms do not significantly change that frequently. Although some set up a monthly optimization check, most audit their sites every six months. If you make massive changes to the website or are aware of a Google algorithm update, do one sooner rather than waiting for a particular date.

 

Five Steps to an Effective Technical SEO Audit

 

Now that you understand why and when perform an audit that focuses on the technical side of things, follow these steps to set your site up for SEO success.

 

1 – Find All the Technical Errors

 

More than anything else, actual errors on your website will cause more problems with technical SEO than most other things listed below. These errors stop the search engine bots from accessing and crawling all the pages on your website. While crawl errors can cause considerable problems, understanding exactly what they are matters more if you want to fix them. Check for these common errors on your site:

  • broken links
  • 404 “page not found” errors
  • messy page URLs

 

There are free link-checking services that can scan your site and identify broken links. Use them!

When writing the URLs for pages, you want to ensure they’re concise and include the keyword for the page. Doing this helps both readers and search engines understand what the page is about.

 

Here are some examples:

 

 

Screenshot of a URL that's too long and contains function words.
Here’s a “messy” URL. This is the full title of the linked page, and full titles normally don’t make for good URLs. The keyphrase is at the end, and there are many filler words like “the” and “what” that can easily be removed.

 

 

 

Screenshot of a concise URL that emphasizes the target keyphrase.
Here’s that same page but with a concise URL. It starts with the target keyphrase and also includes a unique aspect of the page being linked.

 

 

2 – Check All Security Features

 

People and search engines prefer security when browsing, communicating, or shopping online. Although many factors go into overall safety when it comes to constructing a website, one of the most important for SEO purposes is the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) with security built in. If you do not have an HTTPS in front of your website URL, you may put people in jeopardy and end up penalized by Google and other search engines. As more consumers gain knowledge about security issues, they are much more likely to abandon a site if they do not see that S.

 

Without an SSL certificate, modern browsers will warn users about unsecured connections. You don’t want this on the mind of anyone visiting your site!

 

3 – Test Website Load Time

 

Google’s PageSpeed Insights test allows you to understand not only how quickly your website loads for search bots and users, but also gives specific information about what is causing the hang ups. In this world of ubiquitous high-speed Internet access and short attention spans, things need to load in three seconds or less to capture attention. A technical SEO audit must include an examination of how fast your content, navigation, and interactive elements appear on each page.

 

When it comes to maximizing search engine placements, speed matters. It influences things like bounce rate and stickiness. For a competitive edge over similar websites and content pages, you want all of these numbers to be as good as possible.

 

4 – Analyze Content and Keywords

 

Although both on and off-site content marketing and keyword research usually focus on non-technical SEO, they also represent a large part of every website from a technical standpoint. Make sure you focus on individual keyword phrases for different pages of your site to prevent keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization is when you have multiple pages targeting the same keyword—it’s like competing against yourself.

 

You want to compete with other businesses, not yourself. Avoid duplicate content that can confuse the search engines and make them view all your pages as less focused and thus less important. Likewise, perform investigations to ensure that all of your metadata and descriptions are unique and powerful.

 

5 – Check for Mobile Friendliness

 

Google and other search engines reward mobile-friendly websites. The internet is becoming increasingly driven by mobile devices, so you need to ensure that your site looks great and is functional on the smaller screens. Tools like Google’s Mobile Test allow you to see how the layout, graphics, and content work on different devices.

 

 

A technical SEO audit done every six months or so ensures that your website is operating effectively for the two main audiences you need to target: your human readers and the bots that index your site.

 

Unlike traditional optimization methods, technical SEO creates the architecture and atmosphere that all of the content, keywords, and links exist within. Both aspects of your optimization strategy are essential for ongoing Internet business success.

 

Free Website Audit

Staying on top of your technical SEO is essential to maintaining your search result rankings. MLT Group provides regular SEO maintenance to many clients. Checking and redirecting links, monitoring loading speed, even updating old content—we do what it takes to keep your site running on a solid foundation for great SEO results.

Contact us today for a free site audit from our SEO professionals!




Manufacturing Marketing Essentials: How to Develop an SEO Strategy

Effective search engine optimization (SEO) for your manufacturing marketing needs a craftsman’s approach: methodical, deft, patient.

The target audiences of SEO are always people, not algorithms, as some people think at first blush. You provide real value to your audiences, and the search engine will recognize that and reward your website with a higher relative ranking.

The problem:

People make slippery targets. There’s no way to precision manufacture persuasive messaging like you can gaskets. There’s a reason Aristotle called persuasion a craft rather than a science.

Here are the three basic steps to craft a worthwhile SEO strategy for your manufacturing marketing strategy:

  • Keyword Research
  • Content Creation
  • Backlinking and Citations

Below you’ll find how these abstractions can be applied in manufacturing marketing.

Although you simply must know the technical foundations of SEO, always remember to think about people before you think about algorithms and analytics.

The sales cycle in manufacturing is long. Decision-making is deliberate and rational. Smart SEO will attract visitors and, along with your other marketing, help nurture leads into conversions.




 

Keyword Research for Manufacturing Marketing

Keyword research is the process of analyzing your audiences, your own company, and your search-result competitors. At the end, you should produce a document that lays out the keywords most worth investing your time and resources into.

Do it right, your website will rank highly for keywords relevant to your business’s services. That means higher quality leads.

Long-Tail Keywords

Develop a keyword strategy that targets what SEO experts call “long-tail” keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer keywords that are more specific queries, e.g. “motorcycle helmet” vs. “bluetooth motorcycle helmet.” “Bluetooth motorcycle helmet” receives considerably less search traffic, but someone searching for it has a better idea of what they want and so is likely further along the sales lifecycle.

 

 

Long-tail keywords receive less traffic, but they convert customers more effectively because the person using a specific keyword has a specific purpose in mind. These keywords are also easier to rank higher in search engine results because there’s typically less competition.

Let’s take an example relevant to manufacturing:

“CNC machining” vs “CNC machining services” vs “5 axis cnc machining”

Using a keyword analysis tool like those from ahrefs, we can see the search volume for each of these keyphrases:

 

Search volume is monthly, e.g. 6600 searches nationwide/month for “cnc machining.” “KD” is keyword difficulty, a metric created by ahrefs to estimate how difficult it is to rank highly for the keyphrase. “Clicks” refers to how many of the clicks on results users performed for the given keyphrase.

 

Think about the people behind these searches:

Anyone from a first-year engineering student to a fan of How It’s Made, could be searching for “CNC machining.”

Someone who’s searching more specifically for “cnc machining services” or “5 axis cnc machining” is more likely to actually be searching for the service. That makes these phrases efficient targets for search optimization.

If your company can provide 5 axis CNC machining services, then ensure that keyphrase is a part of your keyword strategy.

Research long-tail keywords that are relevant for your services, and use them on your site’s metadata, in your website content, and in any other content (like blogs) you publish.

 

Competitor Analysis

While you figure out which keywords will best represent and drive traffic to your services, you also need to analyze your competitors for which keywords they rank highly with.

Ranking is always competitive. There’s not an abstract quality you must reach to rank high in search results; you just have to do better than the people ahead of you.

You want to see what they’re doing to rank well. If the top-ranking pages are mostly pages with 1000+ word content with images, links, or other elements, then you know you’ll need in-depth content to have a shot at ranking up with them.

Looking at your competitors’ high-ranking pages will inform how your team approaches content creation to beat them. Which brings us to…

Content Creation

Once you have a solid keyword strategy, you need content to execute it. If you’re serious about SEO for your company, you need to make quality, keyword-optimized content the backbone.

Competitor research also helps determine the kind of content you create. You need to put out better stuff than the high-ranking competitors.

Say your company does precision machining parts here in Minnesota. Check out the top 10 results for “precision machining.”

 

Screenshot showing the top 4 results for the Google search "precision machining"
Results are based on our Rochester location, so you’ll see different results depending on your location.

 

Read through each of the competing pages to see what kind of content they have to help rank this high. What’s the word count? How do they organize their information? What keywords are being used in titles, headings, content?

 

Content That Helps You Rank

Remember to keep your audiences at the forefront of manufacturing marketing strategy at all times. The smart use of keywords will attract searchers, but the job of good SEO doesn’t stop there.

The content on your site must keep your visitors engaged and satisfy whatever purpose they had for visiting in the first place. Google’s eternal quest is to track user satisfaction with their search results, so if you optimize a page for “5 axis cnc machining,” it better have the substance to back it up!

When your visitor comes to your website through a search result and sticks around for a while, we call that “the long click.” Google loves the long click because that (more likely) means the user is satisfied with their search and result. That means Google wants to keep your site around, and higher, in their results for that search.

Consistent content creation also matters for optimization purposes. The more you add useful content to your site, the more you signal your website’s credibility and authority. It can also provide more entryways to your website.

For example, if your website has a well-written post about “thermoforming vs injection molding,” you can rank highly for that phrase and pull in that traffic to your site – generating more leads for customers who are earlier in the sales lifecycle and trying to decide which service to choose.

There’s much more to know about content creation for manufacturers, but we’ll cover that in a future post and stick strictly to the aspects of content that relate to optimization here. (This post will be updated when the new post on content drops.)

High-quality content creation is essential for manufacturers—it takes a lot of time and resources to switch suppliers, so you need to make persuasive arguments.

To sum it up for SEO’d content: satisfy user intent!

 

Backlinks and Citations

A Brief Explanation and Example

Backlinks and citations refer to other websites referring to your website and your company. It could be a link to a page of your website (a “backlink”) or name-dropping your company (a “citation”).

See our earlier post for an in-depth explanation of citations.

Other sites linking to your site lends your site more authority. Essentially, a backlink is another site stating its confidence in your site.

Backlinks are essential to building your site’s authority in Google’s eyes.

Here’s an example from one of our clients:

Northland Fastening was featured in a commercial by North American Banking Company. North American Banking Company also included a write-up on their website about their long relationship.

 

 

This link here lends the banking site’s authority to Northland Fastening System’s site.

 

How to Get Backlinks

When you pursue backlinks from other sites—and yes, you should invest time doing outreach if you’re serious about SEO—it’s best to get links from high-authority, credible sites who aren’t competing for the same keywords.

Some backlinks come from directory sites. For example, if you’re an industrial supplier, you’re going to want a listing and a link from www.thomasnet.com, a longtime name in the industrial marketplace and a website with good authority.

You also leverage high-quality content to get backlinks and references to your site. This veers into content marketing, which can’t be reasonably covered in this post.

Essentially, you want to create high-quality content about your business, your services, your industries, your people. Create informative content to become an authoritative, trusted. Publish content about your people and your teams to humanize your company.

After posting on your website, your best content must also be shared in appropriate platforms for different audiences. It’s easiest to share on social media—and you should do so—but it’s not guaranteed to drive traffic to your site.

You can do some outreach to relevant organizations and people in the industry. For example, if your company has expertise in plastics manufacturing, you could reach out to https://www.plasticstoday.com/, a “community for plastics professionals.”

Their website has a domain authority of 60, which would make them a great domain to get a link from.

You also want to do competitor research again. Use a link analysis tool (like from www.moz.com) to see where your keyword competitors get their best, most authoritative backlinks. Try outreach to get backlinks from the same and similar sources. If you have the right purposes and right content, classic sources of high-quality backlinks are news and education websites.

 

SEO for Manufacturers

Effective search engine optimization will boost your manufacturing marketing and increase quality leads. This post has focused on keyword research for content creation and distribution. However, there are other critical factors to SEO, like your site’s metadata and other more technical aspects.

It takes time and effort to build and maintain a working SEO campaign, and the information above is just the basic starting point.

To do it well, your team needs skills in research, analysis, writing, and (some) coding. SEO needs a craftsman’s approach. It’s unique for each business, and it takes a set of specialty skills; don’t count on a quick-and-dirty approach to get sustainable results.

If you’re looking for a team who’s got the skills, tools, and time to develop and maintain an SEO strategy, learn more about MLT Group or get in touch with us today. Contact us and we’ll get a site audit to you in 48 hours or less.




 

SEO Question of the Day: Which Kind of Hits Does Google Analytics Track?

Which kinds of hits does Google Analytics track

Which kinds of hits does Google Analytics track?

This is a simple question on the3 surface that has many different answers.

Google Analytics is a software created by Google to track different user metrics on your website. Many marketers and business owners don’t use GA to their full benefits. Doing so can give you insights you can use to grow your traffic, build your brand, and leapfrog your competition.

If you want to talk one on one with one of our SEO experts about analytics tracking, reach out to us below:




If you’re looking for an in-depth answer to the question  “Which kinds of hits does Google Analytics track?” Keep reading.

Google Analytics Explained

The Google Analytics tool has a menu you can use to look for different metrics about your website traffic.

This is just one of the sections you can use in the tool to get useful data.

You can go into quite a bit of depth into how Google Analytics works, but for today, we’ll focus on the most important and easiest to understand metrics.

Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic measures people who visit your website directly by entering a page on your website into a browser. Quick example, if you shop on Amazon, you give Amazon a direct visit when you type in amazon.com.

The question is, what do you do with this data and how can you use it to improve your traffic?

When looking at direct traffic, here are some things to consider:

  • Watch growth over time – If your direct traffic is growing over time, it could mean that your brand recognition is growing. The more you promote your business, the more people will come back to your website because they already know your brand.
  • Understand your business – If you are a company that does not have repeat business, this metric might be less useful than it would be for a business that relies on brand recognition for repeat business.
  • Watch relationships – You can analyze whether or not the organic traffic you receive from Google keeps pace with your direct traffic. If it does, it means your site isn’t just attracting search traffic, but converting it into repeat visits.

Organic Search Traffic

Organic search traffic is one of the top measurements you can use to judge the success of your SEO campaign. While you can’t predict the future, it’s safe to say you want your organic traffic to grow over time. You can analyze organic search traffic in many ways.

Here are some of our best recommendations:

  • Geography – If you run a local business or a service area business, you can track which region of the country your search traffic is coming from.
  • Top pages – In Google search console, you can check which pages receive the most organic traffic and which keywords they rank for. You can use this information to improve your website pages, which will increase your overall organic search traffic over time.
  • Timelines – Data takes time to make enough sense to make smart decisions. It also takes time for pages to rank on Google. With our clients, we measure organic search traffic quarter over quarter, which is a good length to get more reliable data.

average age of page one rankings chart

 

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic measures the number of people who visit your website from other websites that link to your website.

You could use this data to find the following insights:

  • Backlink quality – Backlinks from other websites build your site authority. The best backlinks also provide referral traffic. You can analyze which backlinks drive the most traffic and copy what you did well to acquire that link when trying to acquire new ones.
  • Promotion techniques – There are many promotion techniques you can use to get referral traffic like posting a thoughtful comment on a blog in your niche. You can measure how much traffic you get back from this and other techniques to refine your promotion strategies.
  • Site behavior – If you notice the referral traffic you get doesn’t stay on your site for long, you can make the pages they land on more attractive. If you notice they do stay on your site but don’t convert to leads, you can improve the conversion rate of those pages by adding forms, calls to action, and even media

Social Media Traffic

This metric is pretty self-explanatory, but it can be analyzed in different ways:

  • Channels – Note which channels drive the most traffic. Double down on the ones that work first, then seek to improve your other platforms
  • Ad tracking – If you want to know how well your social media ads are working, you can add custom tracking codes to measure the performance of your campaign.
  • Overall traffic – If you find yourself spending a lot of time with social media promotion, but not getting the traffic you want, you can adjust your strategy or focus more on strategies that move the needle.

Paid Advertising

Google also tracks traffic from paid advertisements.

You can use insights from other portions of Google Analytics to make changes like

  • Behavior metrics on landing pages you’re sending ads to
  • Boosting new pages with Ads to increase traffic
  • Increasing the ad quality for better conversions.

Google Analytics Behavior Metrics

Google and other search engines measure behavior metrics to index and rank websites.

This makes sense. The search engines want to present the best results possible. Knowing what turns visitors on and off can help them make better decisions. With Google updates like ‘Rank Brain‘ and the fact that search engines use AI and machine learning to understand sites, these metrics will grow in importance over time.

Here are some of the behavior metrics Google Analytics measures and how they relate to the SEO success of your website.

Bounce Rate

A ‘bounce’ happens anytime someone visits a page on your website and leaves right away. Search engines use bounce rates to answer the question “Do people like and want to view the content on your site?” A high bounce rate tells them “no” which lowers the value of your website pages.

Some of the reasons for a high bounce rate are:

  • Site performance – If your site doesn’t load quickly or has other technical issues, this will increase your bounce rate and harm your SEO results.
  • Mobile friendliness – More people use Google search on their phones than desktops. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, people won’t use your site on their phone. This is a website development and SEO  best practice you must following in 2019.
  • Content – The content on your pages need to compel users to engage. To increase time spent on your site you can rewrite the content, add media, and improve design elements of your pages.

Average Session Duration (Time Spent on Site)

Each time someone visits your website, it counts as a ‘session.’ Average session duration measures how long someone stays on your website. Usually, the longer the better, but the type of page you’re trying to rank does come into play.

For example, for something like a simple service page where the visitor lands on it and does the desired action like fill out a form or call doesn’t need a long session duration.

If you’re trying to rank an in-depth blog post you wrote, you’ll want to see a decent time spent on page, at least two minutes or more.

Here are some things you can do to improve the time spent on the page:

  • Improve your copy – Omit needless words and help people find the information they need faster and earlier on
  • Site performance – Many of the site performance issues that cause high bounce rates also drag down your average session duration
  • Content – You shouldn’t just create content. You should analyze how that content performs. If you notice certain types of content create longer sessions, consider changing your strategy and writing content that relates to your top performers.

Number of Pages Visited

In general, you want to see that visitors are visiting multiple pages on your website. In Google’s eyes, this means you’re providing quality information and have a good internal link structure, which just means you’re linking between pages on your website in a way that makes sense to search engine crawlers and helps your visitors find the information they need in a simple way.

Again, if you are driving traffic to something like a sales page, you might not want visitors to view multiple pages on your site.

If you have a site that this metric matters for, here are some ways to improve it:

  • Internal linking – You should always link between relevant pages when it makes sense for the user. Adding internal links is an art. You want to create a situation where visitors want to visit multiple pages because you create content that relates to other content on your site. Check out the wiki strategy by Nat Eliason for a deep dive on this topic.
  • Link depth – Many experts say no content should be more than 3 clicks away. Some debate whether or not this is true. In general, though, you don’t want to bury pages on your site, or worse, create orphan pages — pages with no internal links to it.
  • Site navigation – Your site navigation should be simple and easy to understand. That way, visitors know where to find your most important content regardless of what page you’re on. If you have a site with a deep linking structure such as an e-commerce site, consider creating a ‘breadcrumb’ navigation that shows people the steps they took to reach the page they’re on.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking

While traffic is a good metric, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Getting people to visit your website is the first step. The second step is getting those visitors to do what you want.

This is where conversion tracking comes in. Google analytics allows you to track different behaviors people take on your site that matter to your business like:

  • Sales – If you have an e-commerce business, you can track how many sales you receive and from which channels. This can help you get exact ROI numbers for your marketing.
  • E-Mail List Signups – Email marketing can help you get more sales and grow your brand over the long term. Conversion tracking can help you figure out which pages drive the most sign-ups.
  • Contact/Request a Quote Forms – You can also set up conversion tracking to see what percentage of people reach out for more information after they visit your website.

So, what should you do with conversation tracking to improve your marketing?

Pay attention to the data. You want to know how well your website pages are converting. Your conversion rate is the number of times people perform the desired action divided by the total number of people who visit the page.

Take a look at this chart for conversion rates across all websites and visit this page for data based on industries:

conversion rate by industry

A two percent conversion rate is good. A five percent conversion rate is great. Conversion rates of 10 percent or more are amazing.

For an in-depth look at conversion rate optimization, some good resources are:

conversion rate optimization

Conclusion

As you can see, the answer to the question “Which kinds of hits can you track in Google Analytics?” has many different answers and insights.

The key isn’t the insights themselves, but the process of actin on them.

If you work with MLT Group, you’ll get data-driven SEO by an expert agency and team who will use those insights to not just grow your traffic, but your business as a whole.

Want a free SEO analysis and marketing proposal in 48 hours or less? Just fill out the form below:




 

Manufacturing Marketing: How to Promote Industrial Companies the Right Way

manufacturing marketing

Manufacturing marketing has a ton of room for growth and potential.

Why? Because most manufacturers, machining companies, and engineering companies aren’t great at marketing their own businesses.

This is understandable.

If you work in or own one of these types of businesses, you know this truth: time is of the essence.

You have to meet deadlines, make sure your operations are efficient, and constantly monitor the output of your facilities. Although many of the employees in your business may be knowledgable enough, they just don’t have the time to do things like create content, run PPC ads, promote the business through social media and other marketing channels, or keep track of SEO data to keep growing traffic.

So what’s the best manufacturing marketing solution?

How Agencies and Manufacturers Can Work Together

From time to time, we publish industry-specific guides like our post about real estate SEO.

We write these guides because we’ve gained expertise in working with these types of companies. In the past 18 months, we’ve worked with several companies in the manufacturing space in areas like precision machining, stud welding, and industrial services.

We’ve found that while different strategies are always needed for each individual business, manufacturing companies have some similarities when it comes to growing their business with SEO

Competition

Niches like marketing and SEO are very competitive. Often, you need to create insanely in-depth content and promote the “you know what” out of it to get your content to rank on search engines.

This isn’t the same for manufacturing companies.

We use a tool called Ahrefs to measure how competitive certain keywords are. Take a look at these screenshots from the tool showing the large difference between the keywords in our niche and the keywords in the manufacturing niche.

keyword research example

keyword research example 2

You still have to use a solid strategy to rank, but there is a pathway to getting a great amount of traffic with a little bit of persistence.

Content Depth and Quality

Often, the type of content that works well in a manufacturing marketing campaign has both depth and quality.

Studies have shown that content length is a ranking factor for SEO:

This is especially true for manufacturing companies because:

  • Many manufacturing techniques, machinery, and processes require an in-depth explanation to understand
  • Each type of term or phrase used often counts as an LSI keyword, which is a fancy way to say a secondary keyword. In-depth content x industry jargon = a keyword rich piece of content
  • Most companies who write content for their blogs in the space write thin content, meaning writing in-depth content can help you stand above and beyond the crowd

The Need for a Smart Agency

Most manufacturing companies can benefit from using an agency because of their lack of time to market the business.

Interestingly enough, many companies are convinced an agency can’t help them because they’re not technical experts. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

First, we have a staff of copywriters, many of which focus solely on writing technical content.

Second, we listen. Proper SEO discovery and studying resources can lead to a content campaign that meets SEO needs and maintains technical quality.

Last, we’ll go the extra mile to make sure we understand your business. If that means coming to take a tour of your plant, meeting key employees, and scheduling calls for content until we have the perfect content recipe, that’s what we’ll do.

In the beginning, there is usually some back and forth to get the technical terms right, but after that, our content doesn’t need much editing on your end to be worth publishing.

Want to see how we can improve your website? Fill out the form below for a FREE site audit!




So what are some of the components of a successful campaign?

On-Site SEO

On-site SEO is the process of adding keywords — words people use on Google searches — into important areas of your website like:

  • Page title
  • Page content
  • Image file names
  • Alt tags
  • Anchor text for links

The terms themselves aren’t that important.

It’s important to know that your entire website should be covered for SEO. This is especially true for manufacturing companies who run an e-commerce business.

Each product and category page on your website should have on-site SEO as well as keyword rich content on that page:

on-site SEO example

If you have a larger website, it may take time and money to create content for each and every category and product on your website. Often, we work with companies with large inventories by adding content to a handful of pages to start and gradually add it and boost their SEO with a monthly content creation package.

This way, you can dip your toe into marketing without breaking the bank and steadily grow over time.

Content Marketing For Manufacturing Companies

So why type of content should you create if you want to make a splash as a manufacturing company?

Content marketing for manufacturing companies usually follows a few simple rules of thumb:

  • Keyword researched topic – Some manufacturing topics get a high amount of traffic, some don’t. We focus on finding a balance between high-traffic keywords and competitive level.
  • Industry expertise – It’s good to establish a niche and focus on creating content in a narrow area first then going broader over time, e.g., a precision machining companies focusing on aerospace machining to start then branching out to something like medical devices.
  • Persistence – Creating a large volume of work over time leads to compound rewards. As pages get indexed by Google, they start to rank for more and more keywords.

We provide free marketing proposals and consults that walk you through just the type of content we will create and how it will benefit your site. Each proposal is custom-researched with no cookie-cutter components.

Enter your information into the form below and we’ll have a proposal to you in 48 hours or less:




 

Website Authority

Website authority factors into search engine rankings.

What is website authority?

Google uses links from other websites to yours to measure the quality of your site.

Each link to your site, called a backlink, is like that site ‘voting’ for yours.

So how do you get more votes?

There are a few different ways we’ll show you:

  • Directories
  • Outreach
  • The rich get richer strategy

Directories

Google likes links from high-quality business directories. They are also a huge part of local SEO.

Manufacturing has many quality directories you can submit your site to like Thomas Net:

manufacturer directories

 

Industry-specific directories provide the following benefits:

  • Topical relevance – Getting backlinks from strong websites matters, but so does getting backlinks from industries in the same niche.
  • Reputation – High reputation directories provide more authority than low reputation sites. Manufacturing has many high-quality directories to choose from
  • Real business – Often, you can actually get sales from these directories as customers actually use them to find products and services.

You can also use local directories and general business directories, which help build your authority by:

  • N.A.P – The more times your name, address, and phone number shows up on the web, the better. These are known as citations
  • Local signals – If you do have a local manufacturing business or a service area business, using these directories can help with local SEO
  • Reputation – Google loves industry-specific directories, but it also loves gold-standard general and local directories like chambers or commerce and websites like Localeze.

SEO Outreach

On top of adding your business to quality directories, you can use outreach to get quality backlinks.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Create stellar content – Your content needs to be worth sharing to get backlinks
  • Find related websites – Many websites in the space keep resource lists and link pages. Finding them is as simple as doing a Google search like “precision machining + resource list”
  • Pitch – Send a custom email to each site telling them why your content is great and how it will benefit their website to link to your content

The last point is key. It’s easier to land a backlink if your content adds value to other websites. Google uses outbound links as a ranking factor, too. They want to see that pages link out to other sites and get links back.

They want this because it shows your site is a “resource hub” that makes a good faith effort to give users the right information. Having this mindset when creating and pitching your content makes a huge difference.

Of course, we keep this in mind when we do outreach for you. Just talk to us and we’ll show you exactly how we work.

The Rich Get Richer

Once your pages rank higher, it’s easier for them to stay there.

Often, pieces of content on page one naturally get backlinks.

Think about it.

If you write an article and need to cite sources, you go to Google.

Then, you find the best article on page one to link to.

As your content ranks high on Google, you can improve it to get even more traffic by:

After you establish some top ranking pages, you can create more content and link between old and new pieces of content to spread around ‘link power.’

Other Manufacturing Marketing Ideas

We always consider content marketing and SEO the bread and butter for marketing any business. But after you establish yourself on Google, you can use other channels for marketing, too.

Adding more marketing channels leads to more growth.

They can also help your SEO efforts because Google measures user experience, too. A great example is having videos on your site to increase ‘dwell time.’

Here are some other great marketing channels you can use.

Video

Do you have company videos or instructional videos on how to use your technology?

They make a great addition to your campaign because data shows that people like to have more than one medium to enjoy the content.

This video is a great example a manufacturer could draw from:

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is a bit more complicated than figuring out how much you are charged per click, but it can be a worthwhile investment if done the right way.

Often, we use PPC campaigns at the beginning of an organic SEO campaign.

This option is great for companies who want fast results and a quick way to establish ROI on their marketing efforts. Organic SEO takes time to kick in:

average age of page one rankings chart

If you want tangible results asap, try a PPC campaign.

Social Media Marketing

Is social media marketing a great route for marketing manufacturing?

It can be if done right.

You can use social media to highlight the quality and innovation of your company. It’s a great way to show how your company grows their expertise over time.

Some great social media marketing ideas in this space are:

  • Technology – Anytime you create a new technology or process, create a press release and share it on social media
  • Conferences – Sharing insights gained from attending conference works well on social media. Turn this to a video format for even better results
  • Employees – Highlight employee achievements shows you’re a forward thinking company who helps smart employees grows. It also makes your employees feel good about themselves. Win-Win.

Conclusion

The manufacturing space has a ton of SEO and marketing potential.

It’s one of the few unsaturated markets out there.

Take advantage of these opportunities and you can grow your traffic, business, and brand all at the same time.

SEO Best Practices for 2019

Most SEO best practices posts don’t tell you anything new.

The posts usually contain the same old SEO information and the writers simply add the current year to the title.

We want to be different.

This post is going to cover the SEO best practices you won’t hear anywhere else.

Above and beyond the normal advice like “create epic content or use the Skyscraper technique” we’re going to look at SEO insights that really move the needle. 

Let’s dive in.

The Most Important SEO Best Practice of Them All

The SEO industry has a lot in common with the weight loss, self-help, and finance industries.

Every year, millions of articles come out in these spaces with either the same old advice:

“Count calories”

“Write down your goals”

“Save 20% of your income”

Or there’s a hot new fad everyone wants to jump on:

“Do the Keto diet”

“Wake up at 5 a.m. and meditate”

“Buy cryptocurrencies”

In the case of SEO, the common advice would be something like “perform outreach to get backlinks” and the advice of the day might be in relation to the latest algorithm change.

In all cases, you’re choosing the wrong strategy if you dwell too long on either type of advice.

The most important SEO best practice is simple:

  • Experiment with new strategies
  • Analyze your findings
  • Double down on what works

Instead of reading articles about writing epic content, write epic content (or hire someone to do it) and measure the results.

Instead of watching videos about blogger outreach, take the last piece of content you wrote and promote it as hard as you possibly can.

If you’re a business owner who’s on the fence about working with an agency or getting marketing help, stop reading blog posts about “finding the right agency,” pick one and give them 12 months to build a successful campaign.

SEO has much more to do with implementing sound advice than it does being an expert.

Someone with less SEO knowledge but more commitment can rank their websites higher than the competition. Speaking of…

The Easiest Way to Outshine Your Competition

Imagine you’re a local business owner in Cleveland, Ohio who sells plumbing services.

You think you’re in a “boring” business.

With that belief in mind, you don’t go the extra mile when it comes to marketing. Maybe you try writing some SEO content, but you don’t take it any further.

You can’t see past ranking #1 for “Plumbing services in Ohio.” You have modest goals because you run a modest business in a modest industry.

Instead of doing what every other plumber in the city does and wishing for the best, why not go above and beyond your competition — not just in SEO, but building a brand that stands out in your entire industry. 

For local SEO, here are some techniques you can use that most of your competitors won’t:

  • Write detailed blog posts about interesting ways your business connects with related topics, e.g., your new green plumbing system/fighting climate change
  • Add humor and personality to your content marketing like Dollar shave club and Blendtec
  • Create an animated infographic showing how easy it is for normal objects to clog a drain
  • Ad humor and flair to your PPC ads

In your case, look for these two simple and easy ways to differentiate yourself from the competition:

  • Break one of your industries “norms”
  • Use a content marketing technique that requires either too much money or effort for your competitors to even think of copying

Don’t Start with SEO in mind at all

You’ve heard that backlinking is a key piece of the SEO pie, but what if I told you there were websites earning tens to hundreds of thousands of visitors per month without actively backlinking at all?

Enter the Cup and Leaf Blog.

Nat Eliason, owner of Cup and Leaf, Growth Machine, and a fascinating personal blog, has been growing his tea blog by using something called the wiki strategy.

Here’s an excerpt from the post discussing the strategy:

The first principle of the strategy is that you should only write something if it’s going to be the best article on that topic on the Internet. Anything less than that is a waste of time. If there is already a better article on the topic out there, then you’re only adding to the infomania pollution of the Internet by publishing yours, so you must only publish something if it is truly the best article on the topic.

Why does this strategy work?

Because it focuses on the user first and SEO second.

Google is not (just) interested in your website’s authority score. It’s interested in whether or not your website — and business as a whole — serves the needs of searchers.

When it comes to creating content, designing your website, creating a site structure, and more, start with the premise that you want to provide the best user experience possible.

This means:

  • Writing in-depth content that answers readers questions
  • Having a great user experience
  • Adding entertaining elements like media

After you’re done, go back in and use the core SEO techniques.

Understand this Core Behavioral SEO Best Practice

Remember when I said SEO and marketing are a lot like finance, weight-loss, and self-improvement?

These industries have another thing in common:

The need to commit to goals.

Consider adding the commitment to your company’s marketing to your list of goals for 2019 and follow through with it.

SEO can take up to a year before it really starts to kick in  — just like losing weight or saving money.

This year, consider suspending your judgment and spending a full 12 months — either on your own or with the help of an agency — doing a full scale 100% effort digital marketing campaign.

What would that look like?

Research Keywords to Create Content for a Full Calendar Year

You want to have enough keywords to create as many new pieces of content you decide you need for the next 12 months.

How do you decide how many pieces of content to create? Some useful guides are:

Keep these thoughts in mind while you research.

Go In Through the Side Door

In our article about real estate SEO, we talked about how hard it would be to rank on the first page for a key phrase like “Homes for Sale in Minneapolis,” without a big brand with a lot of authority.

We suggested focusing on less competitive long-tail keywords like “Condos for sale in Stillwater, MN. (Stillwater is a suburb of Minneapolis.

Creating unique pages for these types of key phrases can help you grow your organic traffic as a whole over time.

Use This Obvious But Under-Utilized Technique

There are a ton of articles about ways to verify the quality of your keywords.

One piece of advice many business owners — and even SEOs miss — is taking the time to read and analyze the content that appears on page one.

It seems simple and obvious, but reading and analyzing 10 blog posts or website pages requires time, patience, and effort.

Our analysis found the following.

All the posts in the top 10 results talked about what to do, but not the mindset you need to follow through with SEO best practices:

SEO best practice example

 

This led to us creating tips not just about SEO best practices, but the behavior and mindset you need to pull them off.

We also noticed the #1 result came in at about ~1,100 words. Is that really enough word count to explain SEO in detail. We don’t think so, so we doubled the word count with useful information.

Remember the standard best practice that content length matters for SEO:

word count and google rankings chart

 

Follow this Rule When it Comes to Choosing Topics

How do you become an industry thought leader?

How do you build an audience that respects your opinion?

You only talk about topics you know inside and out and avoid everything else.

Artificial intelligence and voice search are hot SEO topics — ones we’re fascinated about and plan on focusing on more in the future.

But, as of this moment, we’re not trying to become the go-to experts about these topics.

Why?

First, because we focus on providing useful content for business owners and marketing employees, we want to write about topics that are the most actionable for our audience.

We’re not discussing A.I. in strategy meetings with potential clients, so why write about it?

Second, as of this moment, we simply can’t write about those topics with a level of authority we’d feel comfortable with.

This is the exact opposite attitude of many other SEO companies and digital marketing agencies.

They might write a paragraph about artificial intelligence in their blog post, but if you reached out to ask them to build a custom A.I. based digital marketing strategy for you, they wouldn’t be able to do it.

SEO is at the peak of competitiveness in 2019. Writing “me-too” content isn’t going to work. Mentioning topics that are hot and trendy, but you know nothing about, won’t work either.

Focus on becoming the best at what you know and sharing it with your audience. This 80/20 approach will reap massive rewards.

Run Your Content Marketing Campaign, Add Experiments Along the Way, and Double Down on What Works

You have your content planned out for the year, but written content can’t be your only content marketing channel.

You’ll have to use a combination of these channels:

  • Social Media
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Visual/Graphic content

The goal and steps are simple — test marketing channels and run experiments until you find a channel worth mastering.

You don’t want to throw spaghetti at the wall forever. When you find a channel that works, do it again.

Model your thinking after this excerpt from a blog post about making $2.5 million dollars with an online course:

“Everyone who’s ever launched a product—a book, an event, a course—has asked this question. It’s the number-one question every amateur entrepreneur wants answers to. It’s the question I asked after launching my first product.

And it is absolutely the wrong question to ask.

I made the mistake of asking this question to Derek Halpern right after my first successful course launch.

I had released a brand-new course for writers called Tribe Writers. Even though I launched it to a list of less than 2,000 people, I sold over 400 courses and made $25,000… in a week

“What should I build next?” I asked Derek.

“Whaddya, stupid?!” Derek said in his most wonderful New Yorker accent.

“Uh, no?” I said.

“Why would you go build something new when you have a product that is selling?”

“…”

“Let me ask you something,” he continued. “Do you really think everyone who needs this product has heard about it yet?”

“Oh, definitely not.”

“Good. And do you think everyone who has heard about it and is going to buy it has bought it? Or do you think more people on your list will eventually buy it?”

“I think more people will buy it.”

“Ok. So why are you talking about another product? Why don’t you just keep launching this product and learning how to sell it better and better?”

Once you find a marketing channel that works for you – double, triple, or quadruple down on it.

Here are some excellent examples of people doing just that.

Neil Patel and Eric Siu

Neil Patel owns an agency called Neil Patel Digital and runs a popular marketing blog.

Eric Siu owns Single Grain, Growth Everywhere, and a SaaS product called Click Flow.

Together, they both host the Marketing School podcast where they create a short daily episode about marketing.

At the end of each episode, they use the same call to action – help them reach 1,000,000 subscribers:

 

marketing school podcast

They’re building towards an end goal.

They started the podcast as an experiment and doubled-down on it when it worked.

What do other marketers do? They either rest on their laurels or try a new strategy.

You should try new strategies – Eric and Neil both use many other marketing channels – but only after you’ve mastered and optimized a channel or technique that’s working.

Track Everything (And Don’t Forget to Do What I’m About to Tell You)

You want to track the success of your marketing efforts, but that’s not the most important part of a successful campaign.

What is?

Let’s (for the last time) take a look at one of the related industries we talked about earlier — finance.

Take a Look at this excerpt from a post titled The Psychology of Money:

[…] managing money isn’t necessarily about what you know; it’s how you behave. But that’s not how finance is typically taught or discussed. The finance industry talks too much about what to do, and not enough about what happens in your head when you try to do it.

This quote doesn’t just describe finance, but many other industries including SEO.

Add Sub-Head Here

See, it’s easy to nod your head when you work with an agency and they tell you that SEO takes 12 months.

It’s hard to stick with the campaign after you’re 6 months in, spent $15,000 on the campaign, and haven’t got the flood of traffic you hoped for yet.

Facebook ads seem like a great way to promote your content.

But sticking with them when your ads are bleeding money could mean the difference between disappointment and marketing pay dirt.

Our SEO best practices guide contains much less tactical information and much more behavior-oriented and psychological information.

Why? Because winning the SEO game is about what goes on between your ears, not the techniques themselves.

Trust the process long enough to get real insights.

Conclusion

The SEO best practices that work have nothing to do with simple techniques and strategies. Often, they have more to do with comittment, persistence, and long-term thinking.

What do you think?

Are there any SEO best practices you’d like to add?

Have questions about SEO?

Let us know in the comments.

Organic SEO Explained: 5 Steps for Improving Organic Search Engine Optimization

Organic SEO — also known as organic search engine optimization (SEO) has become an important factor in your business website marketing.

The process can be complex, but there are a few simple steps you must follow.

In today’s post, we’ll walk through each step and provide tips and insights you can use for your business right away.

Organic SEO Step 1: Keyword Research – What are people searching for?

If you’re like most people you get excited about a project and jump into it before doing all of the prep-work necessary to make it a success. The same rule applies to organic SEO. You need to do the right prep work before optimizing your website.

You need to first determine if:

  • people are actually searching for the phrase
  • how much competition you have for that chosen phrase.

Thankfully there are many tools to help you find great keyword information.

Say you are a website design company in Minneapolis, you probably want to people to find your website by searching “Minneapolis website design.”

Putting this phrase into Google AdWords returns some interesting data. The competition for that phrase is stated as “High” with around 5,000 searches a month. Competing for this phrase directly will take a considerable amount of time (and money).

What to Look For

Most businesses should look at the keyword ideas section and find keyword phrases that are either “Medium” or “Low” in the competition column. You can also take phrases from the keyword ideas section and add a geographic location to them, such as “corporate website design Minneapolis”. You can see that the competition drops considerably, however so does the number of searches. This is something in which you’ll have to weigh the return on investment.

These long-tail niche phrases can drive a considerable amount of traffic compared to the high-level key phrases and can be much easier to rank well with.

Before committing to a list of keywords for your website you should do some first-hand research and run the searches through Google to see who you are competing with online. Review their websites to see what they are doing in terms of keyword targeting, website structure, and on-site optimization to achieve the rankings.

After determining a list of phrases that fit your business you need to figure out how you want to work these keywords into your website content.

Each page of your website should cover a specific topic or keyword / key-phrase. Use natural language and sprinkle in the keyword. There’s no need to overdo it because Google wants you to write content for people, not search engines.

To recap, before optimizing your website you need to do some prep-work. Research your target keywords to see what the competition is and if people are actually searching for that phrase. Remember to be patient with your search engine results as they can take time to increase.

Organic SEO Step 2: Improve Your Website Structure

If you are starting with a brand new website, making sure you build your website with a friendly organic SEO structure. Make sure your code is clean and concise.

Google, just like people, will read and follow your thehttps://www.mltgroup.com/local-seo-services.php information on your website more often if the content is laid out in a straightforward manner.

An SEO friendly site structure follows a logical path and organization. From the main pages to sub-topics, and more, the site should be easy to navigate:

site architecture

Your website should validate at W3C (http://validator.w3.org/) although this is not completely necessary for good rankings, it does help with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and ensuring your code is well formatted.

Give Your Webmaster These Guidelines

Keep this note in handy if you work with a developer. Often, developers tend to overlook the website “head” (<head>…</head>). The head tags often contain Javascript, CSS and META tags for the page. Since the data in these tags doesn’t show up on the actual display of the website this area tends to get ignored and can become unnecessarily large. All CSS and Javascript code should be referencing external files. This not only speeds up the load time of the website (which is becoming more important to Google’s algorithms) it also makes editing the code later easier.

 

Finally, we come to the meat of the website, the body tag <body>…</body>. Between these two tags is what your visitors will see on screen. This is also where the majority of your on-site SEO will take place. In keeping with an organic SEO friendly architecture, your site should make proper use of the HTML tags.

Don’t build your website with tables. Instead, use div tags modified with CSS (CSS based layouts). Although tables can produce a similar result on screen as a CSS based layout, the code to create the same functionality with a table can be 3-4 times as large. Remember: the more code a page has the longer it will take to load, affecting its results in the search engines.

Organic SEO Step 3: Your On-Site Optimization

On-site optimization is still crucial to help search engines and people find your products and services. Think of it this way: if you don’t put the right information on your website how will the search engines know what you do?

Your on-site website optimization goes hand-in-hand with a search engine friendly website architecture. If your site has a poor architecture, your on-page efforts won’t work as well. There are a few HTML tags to optimize properly that is a must for every page on your website, they include the “title” tag, “meta description” tag and “h1” tag.I’ll go into detail about each one below.

Title Tags

Search engines use your title tag to understand what that specific page is about. The title tag shows up at the very top of your browser window. Having a well-written title tag should be common sense if you are wanting your page to come up for that keyword, however many people overlook this and leave the default “Untitled Page” text in it.

This is great if you want to rank for “untitled page” however I doubt that is what you want.

Here are a few title tag rules to follow:

  • First: Be Concise. You only have 70 characters that the search engines will respond to, so make them count.
  • Second: Include Your Keyword. I can’t stress this enough: if you want to come up for “blue rolling widgets”, by all means, put “blue rolling widgets” in your title tag.
  • Third: Include Synonyms. If people search for “blue rolling widgets” you can also try variations on those words such as “rolling widgets” “blue widgets” etc. Each of those is words that your potential customers may search for.
  • Fourth: Be Local. Local business should include their location. Most people that are searching for a local service or product will put in the region they want to find it in. Adding a local identifier to your title tag greatly increases your chances of getting found locally.
  • Fifth: Don’t Duplicate. If at all possible never duplicate a title tag on your website. This confuses the search engines when serving up searches to your website.

Meta Description Tag

You can find this tag in the head of the website. This tag doesn’t directly affect your page ranking, but you want to have a compelling title tag to get people to click through to your website.

Here are some good guidelines for writing meta descriptions:

  • First: Be Concise. Again you have a limited amount of characters to use, about 150 for the description tag.
  • Second: Be Informational. Be sure to describe what someone would see on the page. For our blue widget example above our meta description tag could look something like this: “Buy blue widgets from ABC company, a provider of blue widgets to Anytown USA since 1988”.
  • Third: Don’t Duplicate. If at all possible write a unique description tag for every page on your website. This helps to tell Google what each page is about and gives them the ability to offer your customers the correct information.

Organic SEO Headings

Think of the H1 tag like a chapter heading in a book. It tells you what the entire section is about. H2 – H6 tags are for sub-headings and breaking up content logically on the page. The H1 tag has similar power as the title tag in the ranking algorithms of Google and other search engines.

Check out our rules for writing great headings:

  • First: Only One Time. Each page on your site must contain only one H1 tag. Use sub-headings to give directions for sub-topics
  • Second: Be Concise. The H1 doesn’t have a limit, but people should easily be able to tell what the page is about by reading it
  • Third: Include Your Keyword
  • Fourth: Don’t Duplicate. This actually is important for two reasons, you don’t want to have the same H1 tag across multiple pages and you don’t want to just copy your web page title tag. The H1 tag should compliment your title tag.

So to recap, your on-site website optimization is a critical step in making sure you are well optimized. Having well-written title, description and H1 tags give Google a good understanding of what your website is about, making it easier for them to give your users the correct page on your website.

Organic SEO Step 4: Off-site Optimization

On-site optimization is done at the front-end of an SEO campaign.  Off-site optimization moves you up the ranks.

While the off-site optimization can be the most difficult and tricky part of the search engine optimization campaign, I will help you through some of the most common issues.

Let’s discuss some techniques and tips on the best (and worst) off-site organic SEO tactics.

Link Exchanges

Most people think that a link exchange (where I put a link on my website to yours and you put a link on your website to mine) works well for improving SEO authority. They can be helpful if you’re getting a link from a well-respected site (ex: technorati.com).

However if both sites have a low page rank this can actually hurt as your links will “bleed page-rank”, basically meaning that you are passing page-rank from your site to someone else and canceling out the effect.

You want one-way incoming links to your website. These are much more effective because they tell Google “I am a good quality resource on this topic. Others have linked to me because of it.” The more one-way incoming links you can get to your site the better.

Poor Quality Links to Avoid

If you have been researching how to generate links back to your website you may have seen links or ads directory submission services. While you can get a ton of back-links to your site quickly, they are generally of lower quality and Google won’t pay as much attention to them.

If your link profile (the break down of links on your site) skews heavily towards the low-quality sites it will take considerably more links to compete with someone who has a better link profile.

 

Good Quality Back-links

A good quality back-link can be priceless to a search engine campaign.  These high-quality back-links require work on your end to foster a relationship with the website owner. These types of links can come from industry-specific journals or blogs, distributors or educational resources. You generally cannot simply ask the website owner to link to you (unless you are a well-known company), you will need to become an active member on their website. Show that you are an expert in a field and you may receive a link.

Write GREAT Content

This goes without saying for anything you do online. Writing good quality content helps you gain links to your website. If you have a blog, people may put a link to it naturally on their site as your information explains a subject they reference. You can become a guest contributor on authority websites to build your influence and link back to your website. These websites are usually looking for great content and having an experts view on the topics they cover can give you a lot of exposure.

Be Social

Social media and social networking is here to stay. Be sure that you fully utilize your online profiles. Be sure that what you are posting to these places is interesting and informative, not a sales pitch. Your social followers are much more fickle than the general website searcher as they are inviting you into their profile. Be respectful and don’t bombard them with posts. Unless your company has a lot of news, posting once a week or so would be ideal. You want to keep your users aware of your business but not get annoyed with you.

Press Releases and Articles

Both press releases and articles have their place in a well-rounded organic search engine optimization campaign. You can describe your company, services, and offerings all you want in them, just make sure it is newsworthy. Most press release services will charge a fee for submitting your release but for this fee, your press release is getting submitted to actual news organizations such as the AP, large market newspapers and high profile bloggers.

So to recap, your off-site optimization should be done on a consistent basis. Gathering a ton of back-links at once and then never looking at it again will give you a short boost but you won’t maintain your rankings. Always write good content. Be a good online neighbor and social friend. Link to people who you feel do a good job and you will tend to receive the same. As for social media don’t over post. You don’t want to be de-friended.

Organic SEO Step 5: Analytics (Measuring your results)

After you have made your website live the first thing you should to do is install Google Analytics www.google.com/analytics (or a similar program). I like Google Analytics for a few reasons. First, it’s completely free and second, you can gather a ton a data on the traffic to your website.

When you log into Google Analytics you’ll see a graph showing the traffic for each day. This is great to get a brief overview of how much traffic your website is receiving, but doesn’t give you a ton of data as to where people are coming from or what they are viewing.

Click on the Visitor’s Tab

This tab provides more detail about your viewers on the site including the number of unique visitors, bounce rate, time on site and new visits. Each of these sections can be clicked on to get additional data.

Next, look at the Traffic Sources tab.

This tab gives me a quick overview of where people are coming to my site from, whether it be search engines, direct traffic or referring sites. As with the visitor’s tab you can click on each of the sections to gather more detail about each site or search engine. If you drill down into a specific website you can see how many visits came to your site for a particular day.

Last, let’s review the Content tab.

This section shows you the amount of traffic that each specific page on the site is driving. If you are using a landing page for an advertising campaign you can see from this section if your ads are working.

You can also see if people are not following to a certain point on your site, such as a check-out page. If your customers are not flowing to where you want them you may need to revise your on-site content to help drive them to the correct locations.

As you can see Google Analytics can supply a ton of information about your website. Even just scratching the surface you can gather powerful information about your company’s website and find places to make improvements. Google Analytics has a great help section as well if you have additional questions on what you are looking at.

Conclusion

You’ve learned the basic steps of creating a successful organic SEO campaign.

Now you have two choices.

One, try it out for yourself.

Two, work with an expert to get “done for you” results. If you want to try the latter, fill out the form below to get a free marketing proposal.