Make Your Content Search-Friendly

Make Your Content Search-Friendly

Google is dependent on good search results and makes it a priority to find the fest content for its search results. To do this Google is a totally automated search engine that relies on software called web crawlers that explore the internet regularly to find sites to add to their index. Many of the websites listed on Google’s search results have not been manually submitted to be included, thanks to these automated bots that crawl the internet periodically. In order to determine if your website is already on Google’s index by searching your website’s URL. Even though Google crawls and indexes literally billions of websites, it is possible that some get overlooked. When this happens, it likely one of a few reasons; Google may have received an error while attempting to crawl the site, the website design makes it hard for Google to effectively crawl the content, it’s a new site that hasn’t had time to be crawled yet, or the website isn’t well connected from other websites on the internet.

Google offers guidelines to help build a website that is crawler friendly. There can be no guarantee that a crawler will find the website, but when the guidelines are followed it makes it much more likely that it will be crawled, thus appearing in Google’s search results. Google’s Search Console is able to provide tools that aid in submitting content to Google, and are able to monitor how the website is performing in the search results. Search Console is even able to send website owners alerts on important issues that have been encountered with a website or mobile application.

Are You in Need of an SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization or optimizer, and hiring someone to do this is a huge decision that has the potential to exponentially improve a website. On the flip side, this can also potentially damage the website and its reputation. If you are thinking about it, you should research the advantages and disadvantages of hiring someone.

Many SEO agencies and consultants will provide useful services including but not limited to:

  • Content development
  • SEO training
  • Keyword research
  • Reviewing a website’s content and/or structure
  • Technical advice
  • Information on specific markets and geographies

You need to realize that Google’s search results pages will include both organic search results as well as paid advertisements. When you choose to advertise with Google, there will not be any effect on the presence of the website within the search results—the money paid isn’t for increasing rank in search results. It is totally free to appear in Google’s organic search results pages. There are many free resources from Google to provide information about how to optimize a website for organic search results, like Search console, their discussion forum, and the official Webmaster Central blog.

While starting a search for SEO, work to become familiar with how search engines actually work. Also, the earlier in the process of creating a website that you hire someone for SEO, the better. This can be when launching a new website, or even if you are thinking about a website redesign. That way, the website will be search engine friendly from top to bottom.

What to Ask when investing in SEO

If you hire someone for SEO you need to make sure that they are trustworthy. Some topics to ask them about include previous work, their familiarity with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, their marketing services, their experience regarding the industry and location of the site, their length of time in the business, and what is the best way to communicate with them. Those who work in SEO have the ability to provide valuable services, but those unethical SEOs have tainted the industry through overly aggressive marketing techniques and attempts to unfairly manipulate search engines. It is vital to know that anyone who violates Google’s guidelines will receive negative consequences, like a lower adjustment in search results presence or even total removal altogether.

These are some things to consider when looking for someone to help you with your SEO: there is no possible way that anyone can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google. A company should not be secretive and needs to be able to clearly explain what they intend to do. You should also not never be asked to link to their firm.

Make Your Website Google Friendly

You will need to give your visitors high-quality information, this is even more important on the main page. If the pages of the site contain information that is useful, the content is likely to attract more visitors and even provoke other webmasters to link to your site on theirs. To create the type of information that will get this reaction, the content should be helpful and rich in information that accurately and clearly describes your chosen topic.

While you want others to link to your website, you should be linking other websites on yours as well. This helps web crawlers to find the website and then give it greater visibility in the search results. This is possible because Google uses advanced text-matching software to provide pages that are important and relevant to the search. Pages that link to each other are essentially a vote of confidence in one another and shows to Google as being more important. These algorithms have the ability to distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links are those that develop as a normal part of the web when other websites discover your content and find it valuable and helpful to their audience. On the other hand, unnatural links are those that are placed with a specific strategy in mind in order to make a website appear to be more valuable. Do know that only those links that are natural are the ones that matter when crawling and indexing a website in order to determine the ranking.

A website needs to have a logical structure of the links. Each page needs to be reachable from one or more static text links. It is recommended to use a text browser like Lynx to review your website. Viewing it like this is similar to how many web crawlers will see it, so just in case any extra features keep you from seeing the entire site through it, you’ll know that it is difficult for a bot to crawl it.

What To Avoid

Do not stuff your content with lists of keywords, attempt to hide pages, or make pages only available to crawlers. If there are pages, text, or links that are not intended for visitors to see, then Google sees this is deceptive and could ignore the website.

You should also not feel obligated to pay for an SEO service. Some companies will claim to give you a higher ranking for your site, while others will realistically improve the content and flow of the website. It is vital to be able to distinguish the good from the bad when looking at SEO services.

Images should not be used when displaying important names, links, or content. The crawlers do not recognize the text within the graphics. If images are needed, you should be using the ALT attributes to give information about these graphics.

You should also not be creating more than one copy of a page under different URLs. Many websites opt to have text only or printer friendly version of their pages, and they contain the same information as their graphic-rich counterpart.

Appear as a Featured “In-depth article”

These are the articles that appear when searching for things like a specific person or an organization. They are highlighted in the search results, as they provide high-quality content that will help users to learn more about a topic. This feature is based on an algorithm, but there are certain steps that can be taken as a webmaster that will help Google to discover your high quality, in-depth content for users that are looking for it.

You should have all of the following features in place: a headline, alternative headline, an image that can be crawled and indexed, a description, the date published, and a body for the article. If the content is broken up into multiple parts, it should have proper pagination that will aid the algorithm in being able to correctly identify the extent of the articles. Also, it is very important to correctly canonicalize the pages of the content broken up into multiple pages.

A logo is a great way for any user to recognize the source of content in just a simple glance. Being a webmaster, there are a few ways that you can let Google know which logo should be used for your website. You can generate a Google+ page and then link it to your website. Here, you will choose an icon or official logo to use as the default image. Or, you can use organization markup in order to pinpoint your logo. If either of these things are done, it may take a little time for the changes to be reflected in the search results.

Follow these Basic Principles

Keep in mind your target audience and provide quality content for them and not search engines. You should not be working in a way that will deceive users that visit the page—more often than not it will also try to deceive the search engine as well. You should be avoiding tricks that are used to improve rankings in search engines. One way to think about it is to ponder whether or not you would feel comfortable explaining what you have done to the website to a brand that is your competition or to an employee of Google. Ask yourself, will this help my users? Would I still do this if search engines did not exist? Think about what it is that makes your website valuable, unique, and engaging. Your website should be developed so that it will stand out among others in the same field.

Additional Things to Avoid

Some of the things that seem like a good idea, really do nothing but negatively impact a website. This is because Google’s algorithms are privy to all of the tricks.

Here are some of the things that should be avoided:

  • Link schemes. This is when links are added with the intention of manipulating a site’s ranking in Google’s search results, including buying or selling links, excessive link exchanges, and large-scale article marketing/guest posting.
  • Cloaking. This is when different content or URLs is presented to the human users and search engines. It is a clear violation of Google’s guidelines.
  • Sneaky redirects. Sending a visitor to a URL that is different than the one that was originally requested.
  • Doorway pages. These are created only to rank highly for certain search queries. They will lead to many similar pages while each result will take the user to the same destination.
  • Text or links that are hidden
  • Scraped content. Copying and republishing content from a website and not adding any sufficient original content or value to it.
  • Affiliate programs that do not add sufficient value
  • Stuffing irrelevant keywords
  • Pages with malicious behavior (viruses, etc.)

Good Practices to Follow

Doing the right things is not difficult. You should always be monitoring your website for hacking, and then removing any content that has been hacked as soon as it is discovered. You will also need to work to prevent and remove any spam that is user-generated. These things may cause your website to violate Google’s guidelines, and they will take action on it. Once the problem has been taken care of, it can be submitted to be reconsidered.

If you have questions or need help Digital Marketology provides content services as part of our overall SEO Services.  We are here to help.

How and Why of Video Advertising

How and Why of Video Advertising

The expanding reach and connectivity of digital video advertising provide marketers with improved outlets for engagement.  Increasingly, consumers are cutting their ties to traditional media and turning to digital video for discovery, entertainment, and brand awareness.  It has been reported that digital video reached $5 billion in ad revenue in 2016 due to developing delivery channels, amplified engagement and the highest average click-through rate (1.84 percent) of any digital format.  Both the amount spent and the click-through rates are expected to increase in the future.

Cross-channel video advertising has transformed how brands reach users at key points of the customer journey and influence conversions with highly engaging media. Digital video advertising empowers brands to build stronger connections along the path to purchase with niche-focused content delivered across an increasing variety of digital channels and connected devices.  Over the last few years, research firms have tracked the maturing value of display advertising, noting extensive growth across all digital channels over the last few years. Display ad spend from videos, banner ads, rich media, and sponsorships is set to surpass total ad spend for search advertising. This shows that marketers are flocking to more visual and connected forms of advertising that adapt to changing user behaviors.

Today’s users expect advertising to be brief, targeted and convenient. Consumers engage with content at a feverish pace and scroll past ads that fail to capture their attention.  Video advertising creates a more stimulating environment for consumers by meeting their expectations for content. It allows brands to quickly inform and visually entertain, which generates a powerful platform for conversion when accurately targeted across user behavior patterns.  With integration throughout content networks, brands can deliver extremely relevant, engaging videos to users across social, mobile and traditional outlets — improving brand awareness, conversions and retention.

 

Video Impacts Purchases

The structure of video advertising is changing as the range of digital content continues to expand. With more channels for delivery and improved targeting features, video advertising now allows brands to reach audience segments across their preferred platforms to stimulate the highest levels of ROI.  Cross-channel video campaigns connect with users across websites, social networks, mobile devices and connected TVs, delivering content fluidly along different touch points of a consumer’s journey. This increased exposure with engaging targeted content positions brands for purchase in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Imagine the progression a user goes through when making a big purchase like a car. They initiate the process by building a consideration set of possible brands and models that fit their needs. As users collect information across relevant and trusted sources, video ads can reach users on those sites with content targeted around the needs specific to different stages of search (such as product information or nearby stores). Additionally, video ads can reactivate a user’s search by connecting during lulls in their research process with social, mobile and programmatic TV advertising.

Successful cross-channel video advertising campaigns will reach users with targeted content across their entire path to purchase and identify their point of conversion. Actionable exposure can aid conversion whether users encounter video display ads on trusted websites, in-stream videos from their mobile device, sponsored content across social networks or targeted video content displayed across connected TV devices.  Visibility at each of these touch points allows users to build trust and awareness with your brand. Enhance your overall value with connected strategies in each of the following video platforms.

 

Video Advertising

Video Advertising displays content within a video player before, during or after a piece of video content. This is a great way to target niche audience segments already searching for video content to solve a need.  Typically, 15- to 30-second pre-roll video ads are used to display an advertisement before a video begins. According to Google, these ads are most effective when focused on branding, as conversion rates are often lower than with other forms.  Keep your message tight, and offer value to users with as little disruption as possible. Many in-stream ads can be skipped after five seconds, so convey your message quickly, and incorporate strong calls to action early in your video.

Direct traffic from your ads to additional video content on your website to foster a user’s video experience and further stimulate engagement. Ensure that you create a positive experience for users by directing traffic to relevant landing pages that correlate with the targeting used initially to trigger a view. Incorporate remarketing code on your landing pages to continue delivering targeted ads that grow awareness and stimulate conversion as users move around the web.

Display Video Advertising

Advanced audience targeting allows your brand to display relevant video content within banner ads and text links on websites that users have already explored and trust. This lets brands piggyback on the authority these pages hold, building trust and driving conversions with targeted solutions.  For example, a user may come to a site to view an article about designer shoes and experience a targeted auto-play video from a shoe retailer in place of a standard banner ad. This can be an effective way to stimulate action from users already engaged in discovery and at key points in their research process.

To be successful, ensure that you and your media buyer have a good understanding of audience segments targeted within campaigns. Align your video content with relevant user interests and websites to improve the impact of your investments. To increase retention and ROI, make your content actionable, with clear value and strong calls to action displayed early within an ad.  Additionally, display ads can be a good platform to draw additional engagement with interactive and expandable media that rewards users who click to learn more.

 

Social Video Advertising

Social media networks offer a unique platform to deliver video content that goes beyond promotional advertising. Unlike in-stream and display advertising, videos advertised within social media channels are inherently more shareable, as they are well integrated within the content users have come to interact with. Additionally, sponsored videos within social networks often look very similar to organic content and are equipped with additional features that allow users to share, like and discuss.

Most social platforms allow marketers to share videos directly in the news feeds of targeted audience segments, which can stimulate additional reach organically. Create video content tailored to the detailed user interests and demographics accessible in social channels, and leverage paid amplification to heighten exposure and engagement.  On some social networks, marketers can choose to have videos silently auto-play. Adapt content to offer value and stimulate interest without sound.

According to another study, viewers on Facebook watch videos for 18.2 seconds on average, despite the average video length being 55.3 seconds. By incorporating compelling content and imagery within the first three seconds of videos, brands can increase viewing and retention rates from social videos. Furthermore, make sure your thumbnails are compelling enough to encourage users to stop scrolling and engage with your content. Combined, these tactics can lower your cost per acquisition and enhance conversion rates.

 

Mobile Video Advertising

Digital Video Advertising spend will double by 2019 in response to a surge in mobile video. With mobile leading online access, user trends in content consumption have shifted. There is a massive, growing market of mobile consumers looking for quick, valuable and relevant content on the go.  Video is the preferred content platform for mobile users and will soon make up two-thirds of mobile online traffic. To be visible in such a fast-paced market, brands must adapt to changes in consumer behavior.

Mobile video advertising presents many of the same targeting and delivery options as desktop, with two distinct advantages.  First, studies from Google have found that mobile video holds more attention and provides additional opportunities for real-time engagement.  Second, 68 percent of video on mobile devices is non-skippable, meaning your mobile views are more valuable and present the opportunity for higher completion and click rates.  To take advantage of this opportunity, keep your videos actionable, between 16 and 30 seconds long, and develop content that adapts to different screen sizes. Additionally, coding videos in HTML5 VPAID allows marketers to run interactive pre-roll/mid-roll/post-roll video regardless of device, screen size or most in-application environments.

 

Programmatic TV advertising

Perhaps the most exciting advancement in video advertising is programmatic TV, which allows marketers to deliver digital video advertising through television sets. Instead of conventional show ratings, this platform leverages advanced audience data to deliver targeted videos to niche segments already engaged with related video content.  Unlike traditional channels, programmatic TV advertising allows brands to deliver highly focused and measurable video content across connected TV (linear TV and addressable TV outlets) creating value and operational efficiency for marketers and consumers.

Create your video content to be flexible with all screen sizes, as users may be streaming from large smart TVs or small mobile devices. Programmatic TV advertising allows for extremely niche targeting to user segments already watching video content and comfortable with video advertisements. Additionally, targeting features expand audience reach, allowing marketers to retarget website visitors who did not convert, competitors’ customers and user segments as they move across devices.

Conclusion

Video Advertising is growing in importance don’t surrender your market share to competitors. Expand your digital reach with video advertising that connects your target audience segments with the digital content experiences they desire.  For information on how to get started with adding videos to your marketing campaign visit our Video Advertising Services at Digital Marketology.

SEO vs. PPC:  Which One is the Right Choice

SEO vs. PPC: Which One is the Right Choice

Do you have a new business or established business and are not sure about how to begin promoting it properly?  Are you thinking about expanding the company’s marketing efforts to include Digital Marketing?  If the answer is yes, you may find yourself frustrated asking questions that lead to more questions, with the original questions still needing answers. What are SEO and PPC?  What is the Difference?  Which one should I use?  What should I expect?

Before getting into the specifics of SEO versus PPC, performance tracking and proper analytics need to be set up and working. It is vital to set up tracking prior to starting the SEO or PPC efforts so that you can assess the resulting performance changes accurately. One of the greatest things about digital marketing is that there is no need to ever guess how much revenue was generated, like what is needed when advertising is done through a TV commercial or ad printed in the newspaper. All of the data regarding the performance of the ad is available to you in just a few clicks.

 

Getting Setting Started with Analytics and Tracking

If you are not yet tracking your web performance, you will need to select a web analytics provider, acquire the appropriate tracking code to implement on the website, set up the goals for conversion actions that you will track, and then if applicable setup the eCommerce tracking. It is widely recommended to use Google Analytics—it is a free, comprehensive, and popular service used widely by thousands of professionals.  Additional resources for discovering information about your website’s information can be found in our Analytics and Tracking Service.

Once analytics has been set up, it is recommended to perform an audit of the account to make sure that everything is not only being tracked but being tracked correctly. It also gives users the opportunity to measure their website for other conversion actions that are to be tracked but are often overlooked, like micro-conversions like video views or newsletter signups.

 

SEO and PPC.  Knowing the Difference

Search engine optimization (also referred to as to SEO), as well as Local SEO, happens when a website is optimized so that it can achieve higher rankings within organic search results. The most used search engine, Google, boasts more than 200 factors in their algorithm that determine where a website will be ranked within the search results. Because it allows you to show up in organic search results, it is free. One the website has earned a high ranking in the search engine results page (SERP), the results will live there for a while and you will see sustained traffic from this. Also, organic results generally have a higher click-through rate than that of a paid ad. On the other hand, SEO is a long-term project that takes time to build authority and subsequently be indexed for search terms. While technically it is free, to fully optimize a website is a huge investment of not only time but resources as well.

SEO is more than just optimizing a website and its content to rank higher in organic search results via targeted keywords on the most popular search engines. It is also about being regarded as the authority on a given topic, providing a solution that is being sought. The top search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing will look at how individuals interact with a website, and if the visitors come back, and if other websites are linking about to your website, this makes it appear that you are the leading authority.

Pay-per-click (also referred to as PPC) is a model for advertising in which you will pay for each click that your ad gets. Advertising through search engines is the most common version of pay-per-click. It happens when you bid for your ad to show when an individual searches a keyword that is relevant to the business that you are offering. This kind of advertising can also be used on social media platforms like Facebook, where the ads are served to an individual based on their demographic, interests, or other specifications that the brand has chosen. The great thing about PPC campaigns is that once it has been launched, the boost in traffic is usually immediate.

There are many advertising platforms available for PPC, and you are able to choose an offering that targets the options that will aid you in reaching your target audience.  Pay Per Click options includes Paid Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Remarketing Search Advertising, Social Media Advertising, and Video Advertising. PPC traffic generally has a higher conversion rate than that of organic traffic. One of the downfalls of PPC campaigns is that you have to pay for your advertisements to appear. Also, the boost may be immediate but it is vital that time is invested in order to learn how to develop and optimize campaign ads. This is vital in getting the most out of a PPC campaign. Lastly, while good results for a short campaign are achievable, you should know that when you turn the campaign off the traffic associated with it will also go away.

Essentially PPC is paying for space used for advertising using targeted keywords on a search results page. Do not think that this is a “set it and forget it” type of situation—there is still search engine optimization that is done when creating a PPC advertising campaign.

 

What Gets the Best Results?  Organic Search Results or PPC

As earlier mentioned, it all depends. Long term, your web marketing strategy needs to include search engine optimization. The biggest advantage of SEO is that it will bring in better quality leads, statistically. And in fact, many users on the internet have become accustomed to ignoring the “paid results” portion of a page when looking through the web or searching Google. There is a lot of data that suggests organic search results visitors are more likely to trust you and the business or products. When you rank highly in Google’s search results pages through a keyword or phrase it is a great sign that you are seen as a more credible source and one of the important contributors in your industry. Considering this, do not trick yourself into thinking that SEO is really free. No matter how it is sliced, SEO will cost time and money but in the end, it is a worthwhile investment.

 

Which Platform Should You Choose?

Answering this questions is a bit complicated, but really it just depends. There are a handful of factors that go into deciding whether SEO or PPC is right for you. Best case scenario is that your long-term web strategy will include SEO, even if you chose to begin with PPC. For instance, some SEO efforts like improving page speed and page content will also give a better user experience for those visiting the site via PPC. These things will keep them engaged, making it less likely that they will abandon the website shortly after arriving at it. For many companies, using both SEO and PPC just are not an option when starting off, so there are some things to consider before getting started with one or the other.

In short, consider the goals of the company. Is there a lot of education involved in purchasing the product or service? Is the product or service brand new? Are you already well-known in your industry? There are just a small handful of questions that will need to be answered when considering SEO or PPC.

 

Don’t Overlook PPC Just Yet

There are a number of advantages to PPC over SEO organic searches. For instance, if your PPC campaign is set up correctly, you will see a significant return on your investment. This goes beyond who is paying the most to show up in the top ad spot—know that the top priority of a search engine is to give the best results for the user that is doing the searching—not the company that is paying for the advertisements. Another advantage of PPC is the power to advertise on other websites that have a large amount of traffic that fir your target user. If a user sees the advertisement but does nothing, and then later in the day sees the ad again on a different web page, there is a good chance that they will take a second look at the ad and consider the product.

 

Your Budget

To make it simple, SEO is free while PPC is not, though both do require a time commitment to get started.  If there is just no room in the budget required by a PPC campaign, starting with simple SEO may be the best way for you to proceed.  If you can do SEO on your own, all that it will cost is your time.  If you hire an SEO professional, that will require a monetary investment as well.  PPC is exactly that—pay per click so you will be paying for each click that the advertisement gets.

Company Timeline

If the campaign being promoted is time-sensitive, like and offer for an even or a sale, the results from SEO will simply take too long for it to pay off. PPC campaigns will see increased traffic immediately and may be turned off or deleted as soon as the deadline for the promotion is over. It is vital to begin real SEO from the inception of a website to make sure that you are not going back through old posts and pages to bring them up to par. This practice will require less time altogether in the long run.

Business Goals

If the goal is to put together a permanent informational website, SEO is the best choice. The crowning objective is for search engines to see the website as an authority. This can be achieved with high-quality content, links leading in from reputable websites, and also consistent traffic. If the goal is to promote and sell a niche product, PPC will be your best choice. Many PPC platforms can aid in reaching the specified target audience intended.

 

Conclusion

When choosing between SEO and PPC, what will work best for you really just depends on so many things?  PPC is a super way to give an initial jolt to your brand’s digital marketing efforts with an immediate spike in traffic. To make the most of a PPC campaign, it is important to take your time to get the correct training and certifications. Google actually offers this training in their process for certification for Google Analytics and Google Adwords—both of which are free for all businesses. If you do not have the time or resources to dedicate to this, it is vital that you hire someone that has experience and is trained in PPC, still understanding that when the PPC campaign is turned off, the traffic will halt as well.

Search Engine Optimization is very important and does take a bit of time to build page authority so that the pages will be indexed for the correct search terms. In addition to this, you should not be surprised by numerous changes in your rankings—especially if the market that you are in is highly competitive. It will be anyone’s guess when any number of competitors is going to put their game in high gear to become the authority in the industry. Do not feel forlorn, as a long-term SEO strategy will bring in the most qualified leads. In addition to this, your SEO efforts will directly help any PPC results. These are things like improving page titles, content, meta descriptions, backlinking, and more.

When done the right way, both SEO and PPC will work well to get you on the front page of a search engine’s results for the desired keywords. Knowing that each strategy has its own set of costs and benefits, it is hard to give a black and white answer of which is best, because it all depends on one’s needs. Take the time to think about where you are in the life cycle of your brand (still quite new or very well established), what you are considering for your budget, and how much work you are willing to put in to make your brand successful on the internet.

 

For More Information about Our SEO and PPC Services to increase Traffic and Company Growth

At Digital Marketology We offer both SEO and PPC Services  For a complete list of our services to help promote your business Visit Our Online Sharing Services at Digital Marketology