Category Archives: SEO

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Why Obtaining Backlinks is a Lot Like Networking

Why Obtaining Backlinks is a Lot Like Networking written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Obtaining backlinks is an important part of building out your SEO strategy. When you have a fair number of backlinks from reputable sites, it signals to Google that your site is reputable, too. By establishing yourself as a trustworthy presence on the web, you’ll find your pages getting prioritized in Google’s rankings, ahead of your competitors that are relative unknowns in the Googleverse.

But the prospect of having to round up backlinks can be intimidating. How do you get people to link out to your content, anyway? Well, in many ways, it’s a lot like networking. Here, I’ll show you how to apply your existing networking skills to your backlink building efforts.

Start with Your Best Customers

When you send a new LinkedIn request, is it easier to write to your former colleague, or to cold-message a total stranger? The person who already knows and likes you in real life is a lot more likely to respond favorably to your networking request.

The same is true in the world of backlink building. If yours is a local business, turn to some of your most valued customers. Are they members of local communities where you can ask them to spread the word about your business?

Perhaps you own a dry cleaning business, and some of your regular customers are all members at the same church. Consider asking if they’ll include you in the church’s directory, which features local businesses that can help members prepare for special events at the church, like holidays or ceremonies (where they might be wearing their best dress or suit and need a dry cleaner after the fact).

Offer Something in Return

Once you’ve spoken with your customers, take a look at the list of businesses in your community with whom you’ve already established a strategic partnership. If you’re a local contractor, do you have an architect who you typically work with? Maybe you run a coffee shop that sells pastries from the local bakery. Anyone who’s an existing partner or supplier is a potential backlink-sharer!

Whatever the case may be, ask this business if they’re willing to link to your site from their site. And then offer to do the same for them. It’s a win-win, and another smart way to gain mutual benefit from your existing relationship.

Sponsor Local Events

Local events are a great way to get your name out there in the community. It shows that you’re invested in the town or city where you’ve decided to open up shop, and having your name attached to a good cause never hurt any small business!

When you sponsor a local event or donate to the cause, that’s a great opportunity to ask the event host to link back to your website. If you’re one of the event hosts, ask if they’ll include you logo on their homepage and link to your site from there. If you donated an item to their silent auction or provided a food booth free of charge, it’s fair to ask for a shout-out on the event webpage.

Take Advantage of Existing Networks

Beyond your personal relationships with people in the community, it’s likely that you’re already a part of certain local networks. Maybe you’re an alumni of the nearby college or private high school. Perhaps you joined the local Chamber of Commerce when you started your business.

Most of these existing networks are already doing outreach within their spheres. Your alma mater likely has a newsletter featuring class notes that highlight their graduates’ accomplishments. Your local Chamber of Commerce probably has a directory of businesses who are members or are part of the local community. Make sure that your business is listed in the resources that are maintained by these existing networks!

Get Mentioned in the Media

Local press releases are another great way to build up backlinks. Start by establishing a relationship with the people at your local publications. When you have a newsworthy event—say, you want to announce the grand opening of a new location or you just hosted your first-ever Halloween festival for local children—reach out to the person who handles business news or events at the local paper.

Take the time to research and find out their name, rather than sending a “To whom it may concern” email. If you didn’t know them before, that personalized touch can go a long way to getting your message noticed. Attach your press release, and rather than focusing on what getting published could do for you, provide a brief explanation of why the story would be of interest to the community. Finally, be sure to include links to your website within the press release, so that you can obtain backlinks when they post it on their online publication.

Building up backlinks is an essential part of a strong SEO strategy. And while it can seem intimidating at first, if you think of it as an extension of your existing networking efforts, it suddenly becomes less scary! Tapping into the relationships you already have within your community can help you quickly build up the backlinks you need to gain credibility with Google and other search engines.

Basics of On Page SEO

Basics of On Page SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

A great SEO strategy is focused on getting your entire website to rank well. Rather than using generic keywords across all of your pages, you can tailor your SEO page-by-page, giving each individual webpage the best shot at performing well in SERPs.

That’s what on page SEO is all about. When you focus on these SEO elements on each page of your website, you can spread the SEO wealth and work to get multiple pages ranking for specific, targeted keywords. Here are the elements of on page SEO that every business should be thinking about.

Create a Legible URL

Every URL on your website should be short, sweet, and keyword-rich. Establishing the keywords for your homepage and main product pages are usually straightforward. Your homepage will likely be your business name. Your product pages might feature the names of the specific products. Your contact page should say just that in the URL.

Things sometimes get a bit more complicated when you’re creating URLs for content pages. How do you name each blog post? What’s the best URL for your latest podcast episode? The same basic principles apply here.

Keep the URLs as short as possible. Write them in plain english, avoiding number or letter sequences that might represent dates or mean something to your team behind the scenes, but that will read as gibberish to an outsider. And include relevant keywords in a way that makes sense. Don’t simply stuff keywords into URLs for the sake of hitting an arbitrary keyword goalpost.

Craft a Keyword-Rich Title

Each page on your website should also have its own title. Don’t get your title confused with your blog post headline; they’re two different things. Your headline is what appears at the top of your post, whereas your title is an attribute that affects your search engine ranking.

A title is the blue header that appears in Google search results, so you want it to be matter-of-fact and contain a relevant keyword early on. While blog post headlines should be created to entice the reader and draw them in, your title should cut right to the chase. What is this page about? The title will be read by both human prospects and customers as well as Google’s robots, which are looking to understand the content of your page.

There are a number of tools out there designed to help you create an effective SEO title for each of your website’s pages. If yours is a WordPress site, I’d highly recommend the Yoast plugin.

Write an Enticing Description

Your description is the other half of your SERPs metadata. While your title is the blue link that Google searchers click on to travel to your page, the description is the blurb underneath that gives them more information about what they can expect to find on the page.

As I said above, your title should be matter-of-fact; it’s the description where you can get creative and really work to draw the reader in. I like to think of descriptions as an ad for the page itself. In SEO strategies of yore, people tried to stuff as many keywords into descriptions as possible, thinking they’d trick the search engines into ranking the page higher based on their keyword-heavy word salad.

In reality, it’s the descriptions that are written for your audience, not search engine bots, that will win out. When your descriptions draw readers in, they click on the blue link. And actual attention from real readers is better than sneaky attempts to cram keywords in where they shouldn’t be.

Descriptions are another metadata component that the Yoast plugin can help with. The plugin allows you to change the description for each page, so that you’re not stuck with generic information that Google pulls from your site.

Include SEO Elements in Images

Images can do more than add visual interest to your website. By doing a little bit of behind-the-scenes work on your images, you can put them to work for your SEO strategy.

Whenever you include an image on your website, give the file a keyword rich title. If you run a lawn care business and are including a photo of a garden you worked on, rather than leaving the image file as the date the photo was taken, change it to something like “[Business name] garden care Denver Colorado.”

The same approach should be taken when including Alt text on images. Alt text is designed to help search engines understand what an image is about. A rich Alt text description that includes relevant keywords is yet another way to signal to search engines just what this specific page on your website is about.

Focus on H1 Headings

When you think about how you want to organize your on-page content, you should consider both human and robot audiences.

Think about how to divide the content up in a way that makes it easy for readers to understand. Let’s return to the lawn care company example. Say you’re writing a blog post about how to eliminate common lawn and garden pests. Before you write the post, create an outline. Where do you need to start when it comes to explaining this topic? What basics should you include for those who know nothing about lawn care? Consider the most sensible order in which to present the information.

With the lawn pest example, maybe you start by outlining signs a reader’s lawn might have a problem, with descriptions and photos to help them figure out just what kind of pest might be causing their particular issue. Then, you can detail specific courses of treatment for each type of pest.

Once you’ve decided how to divide up your content for reader usability, you want to think about how to organize that information in an SEO-friendly manner. Your headline should become an H1 heading. Your sub-points should be H2 headings, and bullet points can help organize information under each subcategory. While this strategy for organizing content makes it easier for readers to skim and settle on the information they’re looking for, it also helps Google to better understand your content.

Include Internal and External Links

A well-optimized page will include both internal and external links. Including internal links to other pages with relevant content can help Google to better understand how all of your content is related. When you include internal links, make sure the anchor text has keywords in it. That can boost your rankings with search engines.

Some people are hesitant to include external links on their site. Won’t that just drive traffic away from me and to someone else’s business? In reality, high-authority external links create a better user experience and are good for SEO. When you can draw a connection between your brand and a well-established and respected business’s page, it benefits you in the eyes of both your prospects and search engines’ algorithms.

On page SEO is a critical component in your overall SEO strategy. It’s all well and good to have broad SEO goals for your site, but you also want to optimize each page individually to give it the greatest chance at standing out in SERPS in its specific area of focus.

The Most Useful Ways To Utilize Google Search Console

The Most Useful Ways To Utilize Google Search Console written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Even if you don’t have much marketing experience, you understand how critical a presence on Google is to getting your business name out there. It’s the world’s largest search engine, and it’s often the place people go to discover new brands that can solve the problem they’re facing.

All of this to say that how and where you appear in Google search results matters. If you want to develop a better understanding of your business’s presence on the search engine, you must set up your Google Search Console account.

This free tool is designed to help you measure traffic to your site, understand where people are coming from and what they’re searching to find you, plus fix issues that are holding you back from putting your best foot forward in search results.

Let me walk you through the specific features of Google Search Console, so that you understand how to use the tool to its greatest effect.

Submit Your Sitemap

When you’re creating a new website—or making major changes to your existing site—you need to introduce this new site to Google. Google will only consider displaying your site in their search results once they understand what your site is about, and the way that Google comes to know the content of your site is through crawling and indexing.

Basically, Google has robots that crawl each site, looking for keywords, content, links, errors, and any other information that can help them understand what a website is about and whether or not it will be a helpful site for their users. From there, it indexes your site; essentially, it adds you to their roster of sites they might display in search results.

Google will eventually index all sites on the internet, but by uploading your sitemap to your Google Search Console platform, you can fast track the indexing process for your site. While Google might happen upon your site a few days after it’s been uploaded or overhauled, sharing your sitemap within Google Search Console cuts that indexing time down to a few hours.

Find Crawl Errors

While Google is crawling your website, they’ll be on the lookout for errors. If your site is sprinkled with broken links, 404 errors, or shows signs of having been hacked, Google will punish your website in SERPs. They’ll infer that your site will likely be unhelpful for searchers, and so they’ll move you down the results page (or omit you altogether).

Sometimes, though, there are errors on your site that you don’t even know about! If you’ve been in business for a while and have a website with dozens or hundreds of pages, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and the like, it’s hard to keep on top of finding broken links and 404 errors in that maze of content.

Similarly, hackers can basically piggyback on your website, without you knowing, and use your domain name to host their own spammy or dangerous content. This happens outside the bounds of your own website’s backend, so it’s impossible for you to see the hack through your WordPress site or other hosting platform.

Fortunately, with a Google Search Console account, you’re able to access all of the information about errors that Google finds on your site. They share a list of the issues with your pages, so that you’re able to go in and fix anything that’s causing Google to penalize your page.

Understand Query Keyword Ranking Data

Knowing how and where you rank on Google for certain search terms is vital information for a business owner to have. When you understand what search terms are leading real people to your website, you can tailor your existing content to better address their needs and create all new content designed to rank for search terms you’d like to be seen for.

Google Search Console is the place to see how you actually rank in Google. It will show you real search terms that led consumers to various pages of your site. Not only that, it will give you an assessment of your average ranking for that term.

For those pages that are ranking on the first page of SERPs (basically, anything that falls within the 1-10 ranking range), you know you’ve done some great SEO work. The content is strong, and the metadata and descriptions are enticing users to click on the content.

For pages that are ranking on that second page of SERPs, you know you’re almost there. Armed with this information, you can begin to tweak your approach on these pages. Maybe the on-page content itself is great, but the meta description needs work to draw readers in. Or perhaps you can add a video to accompany the existing content that will keep readers on the page longer and encourage them to move onto other pages on your site.

Discover Click Through Rate

Your click through rate (CTR) is a ranking factor on Google. If you have a great ranking for your page but a low CTR, Google might punish you in rankings. Any page that’s ranking within the first five links should have a CTR of between seven and 10. Anything lower than that indicates that the page’s content is useful, but for some reason people aren’t clicking through to it in search results.

Armed with information about results ranking and CTR, you can better identify the issue with your content. In the case of a high ranking page with low CTR, you know the issue isn’t the page itself. Once people land on the page, they’re loving the content—that’s how your page ended up ranking so well in the first place.

But the low CTR indicates that something’s off with the content as it displays on Google SERPs. Maybe the title isn’t compelling or doesn’t accurately describe what readers find on the page. Maybe the metadata and description are misleading. Whatever the case may be, you know to focus on that aspect of SEO, rather than wasting time trying to optimize the page itself.

Get Definitive Answer About Backlinks

Backlinks are another ranking factor. When your website is cited on other sites, Google infers that yours is a trustworthy page that is an authority in your area of expertise. These are major signals that you’ve got a useful website, which will in turn give you a boost in your SERPs ranking.

While there are other tools out there that can estimate your backlink status, Google is able to give you the definitive answer. Using Google Search Console, you can see exactly where your website is linked to elsewhere on the internet.

From there, you can work to build out more backlinks strategically, or even ask to remove links that are harmful for your site (more on that next).

Disavow Links

Sometimes your content can end up on strange websites. I’ve seen instances where clients’ content was shared by weird, seedy websites. While you want to build up backlinks, you want them to be with reputable companies and on websites that are related to your industry or field. Backlinks on untrustworthy sites can actually be toxic for your online presence.

Once you’ve seen where your site is linked to, you can submit a disavow list via Google Search Console to remove your backlinks from unsavory sites. Keeping your business’s online presence clean is a key part of managing your online reputation and ensuring you continue to rank well.

Eliminate Duplicate Content

Google will punish websites that have duplicate content across their pages. In some cases, this duplication is necessary (like if you have the same content on your standard webpage and then have the exact same content on a printer-friendly page). However, duplicate content can theoretically be used for nefarious purposes, so Google flags all large chunks of duplicate content as suspicious.

Through Google Search Console, you can see what content Google has taken issue with on your site. From there, you can either remove the duplicate content, or take steps to consolidate your duplicate URLs.

Google Search Console is a powerful tool that allows business owners a behind-the-scenes look at how Google is assessing their website. Using this information, you can optimize your online presence to address Google’s concerns, create content that resonates with your ideal customer, and ensure that your site is achieving its greatest ranking potential.

5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the 5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

Every business needs SEO. If you’re a consultant or marketing agency, every single one of your clients is looking for you to get them results. They want to show up in search engine rankings—and not just show up anywhere, but rank competitively so that they get noticed by new audiences.

For experienced marketers, SEO isn’t complicated or difficult. We all know that there are certain things we need to do, like creating a website with the proper structure and implementing a content plan. Once you’ve covered the basics, you want to take your efforts to the next level so that you can really deliver for your clients.

These five techniques can help you take what your clients already have and turn it into even more valuable SEO fuel.

1. Optimize Your Old Content

Many business owners have produced lots of content over the years. If your client has been blogging for 15 years, there’s a ton of valuable content to tap into! The key is to go back and re-optimize that older content. Removing broken links, getting rid of outdated resources, and updating to be relevant for today’s audience is a great way to give your client’s existing content a boost.

This is also an opportunity for you to link to newer internal content. If your client has since created several explainer videos on the topic, plus a great podcast episode, why not include links to this newer material?

2. Embrace New Formats

Today, content is about so much more than blog posts. And fortunately a format like video can help you create exponentially more content in the same amount of time.

Take, for example, what I’m doing with this podcast. I’m actually recording this as a video, and will pull the audio separately to create the podcast episode that you’re listening to now. I’ll also create a blog post to accompany this episode. That means that in about ten minutes of work, I’ve suddenly created content in three separate formats (video, audio, and written word).

3. Add Video to Your Pages

Speaking of video, if your client doesn’t already have video on their website, now is the time to include content in this popular format. Not only are people more eager than ever to consume content in video format, video also helps increase your ranking with the search engines.

One of the ranking factors for Google and other search engines is dwell time (essentially, how long a visitor stays on a given web page). Longer dwell times lead search engines to infer that the content on the given page is relevant to the viewer, which they reward by giving you a boost in SERPs.

I’ve noticed on our site that pages that have video embedded on them encourage people to stick around. Visitors usually stay on these pages one to two minutes longer than pages lacking video. Even if they don’t watch the entire video, a video clip that can hold their attention for even 30 seconds will keep them on the page for longer than blocks of text would.

4. Get on Podcasts

I’ve talked before about the SEO benefits of guest podcasting. Lately, there has been a shift away from guest blogging and towards guest podcasting. Lots of businesses have started podcasts, and they’re hungry for guests to fill those episodes. Why not get your client on relevant shows?

Guest podcasting is great for a number of reasons. The time commitment is minimal; in 20 minutes of talking, you can create an entire episode. Plus, since you’re a guest, it’s up to the podcast host to edit the episode and do all of the behind-the-scenes work.

Podcasters are happy to link to your client’s website, ebooks, and other resources. This creates backlinks for their site, which are an important external element in building reputation and SEO. Plus, the podcaster will promote the episode through their networks and channels, bringing additional exposure to your client.

5. Collaborate with Clients to Produce Content

The final step to boosting your client’s SEO is a bit more involved, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Each month, work with one of your clients to produce content. This could be a video or podcast interview on your own site, a case study, a co-created survey, or just about anything else you can dream up.

Put together a package of content featuring and partnering with your clients. Through this process, you’ll generate backlinks and great content for both of you. Collaborating with your clients is great for strengthening your relationship with them, plus it can help you close more deals for yourself!

Prospects love to see examples, case studies, and the like. Co-created content touches on all of those elements. And when you’re producing and promoting your own content, you’re showing off your marketing prowess to potential clients.

As a marketer, you understand how to nail down the basics of SEO. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, these five steps are a great place to start. By amplifying your client’s existing efforts, you’re getting the most out of each piece of content they create and generating great SEO results with less heavy lifting.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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What to Pay Attention to in Google Search Console

What to Pay Attention to in Google Search Console written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Are you using Google Search Console for your business? If not, now is the time to verify your domain so that you can dive into the mountains of useful data available to you through Console’s reports.

Because there is a lot of valuable data to sort through, it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re new to the platform. Don’t worry, I’m here to walk you through all the most important reports, filters, and numbers to pay attention to.

Search Analytics Report

You should get things started with the Search Analytics Report. This will give you valuable information about how your site performs in Google searches. You can slice and dice this data in a number of different ways, but these are the most important elements to consider.

Impressions

Impressions measures how many times your site came up in a search result. Now, there are no qualifiers on this number—Google will count any appearance as an impression, even if your site was on the tenth page of SERPs and likely wasn’t actually seen by the searcher.

Still, this number can give you a general sense of how broad an audience your site is reaching, and it can help you set realistic goals as you try to get noticed by more people.

Clicks

Clicks represent the number of times someone clicked on your website from the Google SERPs. This number can be a bit of a misnomer because Google doesn’t tell you about all of your clicks—they’re vague about why this is, but cite some privacy concerns. However, like with impressions, clicks can give you a general sense of interest in your website coming through search results.

Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. This number can help give you a sense of how relevant your pages are for certain search terms. A high CTR means that the title and description for your page are grabbing the attention of searchers. But don’t stress if you have a low CTR; because some impressions are for searches where you were on page 10 of results, this number is not always indicative of a poorly optimized meta description.

Position

Position is all about where your page ranks in search results. Each page of Google’s organic results has 10 links, so if your position number is 10 or lower, that means your website is displaying on the first page of search results.

Search Query Report

The Search Analytics Report can help you understand how your site stacks up against competitors on results pages. The Search Query Report, on the other hand, helps you see how people are finding your site in the first place.

This report is valuable because it tells you the real-world terms, questions, and phrases that your pages are ranking for. Sometimes there are some real surprises in here, and knowing what customers are actually keying into Google can help you refine your SEO and even tweak your products and services to better address their real needs.

Go Landing Page by Landing Page

One of the major benefits of Google Search Console is that it allows you to break all of this data out by individual landing pages. You can see what search terms are ranking for each individual page, which is hugely valuable.

If you have a low CTR for a given page, it might mean a few things. Either your title and meta description aren’t compelling, your SEO is off and you’re ranking for a term that doesn’t really make sense for the query, or the term is general (and therefore competitive) and you need to find a better way to stand out.

On the flip side, a high CTR can tell you that you’ve struck gold. Maybe this isn’t a term you thought would speak to customers, but something about it is obviously resonating and getting results. Once you see the term that the landing page is ranking for, what else can you do to make the content on that page even more relevant to that search term? And are there ways to tailor other pages on your website to speak more directly to the intent behind this term?

Find and Fix Errors

The mobile usability and crawl reports on Google Search Console are also helpful for identifying issues with your website and making it more user-friendly.

Mobile usability allows you to see which pages on your site don’t perform well on mobile. Maybe elements are jumbled or the type is too small; whatever the case, the site is not well suited to smaller devices. Once you know that, you can make a fix (which is important, because the majority of searches today start on mobile devices).

The crawl report allows you to understand what Google sees when it crawls your website. Google crawls websites to learn what the site is about, and the information that they find on their crawl affects how you rank in their results. If your site is difficult to crawl, you could be falling behind on rankings even if your website content looks great to the human eye. Use this report to make your site as appealing as possible to the Google computers that are indexing websites to give your site the best shot at ranking well.

Google Search Console is one of the most powerful tools available to small business owners. Unfortunately, some are unaware of its benefits or are intimidated by the wealth of data it provides. However, when you know which reports to run and which numbers to look out for, it can completely transform your approach to SEO and marketing.

5 Steps to Effective Keyword Research

5 Steps to Effective Keyword Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you want to rank well in search results, you have to undertake keyword research. This is the process of researching the search terms that users actually enter into search engines.

The way that you think about the solution your business offers might be different from the way a prospect thinks about their problem they’re looking to solve. This disconnect can lead you down the wrong keyword path and keep you from finding the most interested prospects.

That’s why keyword research is so critical. It gives you real-world knowledge, which empowers you to show up in the right searches. Not sure where to start? Here are my five steps to effective keyword research.

1. Brainstorm on Your Own

Any good research project grounded in the scientific method, begins with listing out your hypotheses. Brainstorm a list of the words, terms, and questions you think people are searching for when they’re looking for your business or the type of solution you offer.

These may be terms that are related to what you do or sell, they may be based on your location, or they may be questions people could have about your area of expertise.

Let’s say you’re an electrician in the New York metropolitan area. What are the kinds of things people who need an electrician might search for? They might have a question like, “How do I install a hanging light fixture?” They might also search for your services more directly, using the phrase, “electrician near me.” Or maybe it’s something more specific to the kind of service you offer, such as, “same day service electrician NYC.”

Once you’ve come up with your own list, ask your team to do some thinking, too. They might have a different perspective that opens you up to terms you wouldn’t have hit upon on your own.

2. Let the Googling Begin!

Next, you want to open things up to the broader world. You can start getting a sense of how people actually search by going to Google and seeing how it auto-completes your terms.

Sometimes you find something interesting or unexpected. Going back to the electrician example, say you type “lighting installation” into Google. What you find as you begin to type in the search term is that two of the suggestions are about lighting inside cabinets. Perhaps you were thinking of that as more of a niche request, but it actually seems like a pretty popular search term. If this is a service you offer, maybe you want to think more deeply about trying to rank for that term.

You should also check what search terms you already rank for using Google Search Console. This will help you identify the terms that are working for you and how you can improve them further.

3. Narrow it Down

Now that you have a healthy list of potential terms, you want to create your short list. Ideally, these are approximately five foundational phrases and eight to ten long-tail phrases.

The foundational phrases speak to the heart of what your business does. These are the keywords that you want associated with your home page and with specific landing pages related to your most popular offerings or areas of expertise.

How you select the foundational keywords should be strategic. They can’t be too narrow (that’s what the long-tail keywords are for), but going too general means that it will be harder to rank for that term. Returning to the electrician example, “electrician” is likely too broad, but “electrician with expertise in kitchen appliance installation in NYC with quick turnaround time” is likely too narrow. Aiming for something in between the two, like “same day NYC electrician,” is best.

Long-tail keywords are about intent. The person who Googles “NYC electrician” likely has a different intent than the person who Googles “how to install recessed lighting.” With long-tail keywords, you want to target the second type of search, one with a clear intent and specific problem. These keywords will link up to detailed, related content you have on your website. In the above example, that might be a blog post or explainer video about the work involved and costs associated with installing overhead lighting.

4. Use Google’s Keyword Planner

Now that you have a list of 15 or so search terms, you want to run them through the Google Keyword Planner. This is a free tool that allows you to check the popularity of the keywords on your list, find new keywords you hadn’t thought of, and get bid estimates.

At this point in your process, nothing should be set in stone. You might find that one of the keywords on your list is highly competitive (and therefore costly), so it might be back to the drawing board. Alternatively, you might happen upon a great keyword you hadn’t thought of on your own—don’t hesitate to throw that into the mix.

The thing about keyword research is that it’s an ever-evolving process. Once you do select your final keywords, you should revisit your Google Search Console once a month to see how things are going. If you find that one of your keywords remains unsuccessful month-over-month, replace it with something else.

5. Aligning Your Keywords with Content

As I said earlier, these keywords are page specific. While you want to use your broadest keywords on your homepage, you can get more granular on the other pages of your website.

That being said, you want to make sure that the content on the page aligns with the keywords you’ve selected. For example, if you’re that electrician and you have the long-tail keyword “how to install recessed lighting” for one of your web pages, you better be sure there’s detailed information about recessed lighting front-and-center on that page! If someone clicks through a search result and finds information about appliance installation crowding out the top of the page, they’re going to be confused and frustrated. That’s not what they were looking for, so they’ll bounce right back to the SERP.

More broadly, you want to ensure that this content is the voice of your strategy. Yes, the keywords and content should line up, but the content should also speak to your larger strategic goals. If your business doesn’t make much money on installing recessed lighting and you’re trying to get away from offering those services, don’t include those keywords and content as a focus on your site, even if it is a popular search term. Or, if it is a popular search term, perhaps there’s a way for you to restructure your pricing and offerings to make that service more profitable for you so that you can meet the demand in the market.

As with all things in marketing, keyword research really about something much bigger than just picking out some search terms. An effective approach to the process will take your larger strategic goals into account and will help you to reach your broader business objectives. By being systematic about your keyword research approach, you can find the terms that give you the best shot at ranking with those prospects who are most in need of the products or services your business provides.

Why Being a Podcast Guest Is Your Secret SEO Weapon

Why Being a Podcast Guest Is Your Secret SEO Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

We all know that there’s a lot of SEO value in generating your own content. Blogs, videos, webinars, and podcasts are all great ways to build your brand’s online reputation, drive more traffic to your site, and boost your SERP standing.

But creating your own content takes a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, guest podcasting allows you to generate the SEO benefits that come from content creation without all of the legwork of building the content yourself from scratch.

Want to learn more about how being a podcast guest can supercharge your SEO? Read on!

Build Your Reputation

When you’re a guest on a podcast, you immediately gain trust and credibility. Someone who produces a show invited you on as an expert in your field; that means something!

Not only does this help you build trust with your audience, it gets your name out to their audience. People who are listening to this podcast are likely already loyal followers of the show and the host’s brand. They trust the host’s opinion, and the host’s endorsement of you is noteworthy for their audience.

Plus, appearing as a guest helps you gain credibility with other podcasters. With each guest appearance you do, you should turn around and pitch other podcasts hosts—those who have even bigger followings. As you continue to be a guest on more shows with a greater reach, your reputation will grow and you’ll attract more and more attention to your business’s online assets.

Collect More Backlinks

With each podcast you’re on, you’re generating more backlinks for your website. Podcast hosts often post show notes and transcripts on their website to accompany each episode. You and your business’s name will be tagged in all of the content for your episode, creating backlinks and driving more traffic to your website.

And again, this has a cumulative effect. For each podcast you are a guest host on, you generate more and more backlinks (with more and more reputable websites) which is an important ranking factor in SEO.

Increase Social Media Mentions

It’s not just about directing more attention to your website. Being a podcast guest also gives you the opportunity to generate more traffic and attention on your social media pages.

Podcast hosts are excited to promote each episode, and will tag you and your business in their posts. You want to get involved, too. Share the link on your own social media, tagging them back. Interact with fans who are responding on social media, either on your page or the host’s page.

Engagement on social platforms can help you generate more followers and increase the SEO rankings for your social pages as well.

Generate Additional Content for Your Website

The great thing about podcasts is that, like video, the audio can be a jumping off point for even more content. You can easily transform a podcast transcript into a blog post about the topic at hand. Or you can generate a series of tweets based on quotable content from your episode. You can even use the audio to put together a video with relevant infographics and slides.

The more meaningful content you can generate on your website, the better off you’ll do in SEO. And repurposing that podcast episode is an easy way to generate additional content with minimal effort.

Get Visitors to Stick Around Longer

Google likes to keep all the specifics on how they calculate SERP rankings under wraps, but there is a strong indication that dwell time—the amount of time visitors remain on a given page—influences SEO.

Embedding your podcast episode on your website is a great way to get someone to stick on that page for a long time. While they might skim a blog post or watch a quick explainer video within a few minutes’ time and then bounce away to another website, a podcast episode requires that they stick on the page for 20 or more minutes.

Reap All the SEO Rewards with a Fraction of the Work

The best part of all this is that guest podcasting allows you to get all the benefits of SEO with very little work. Producing your own podcast requires a lot of time and effort. You have to record, edit, create accompanying blog posts and transcripts, promote it with your audience, and worry about building a following for your show.

If you’re a guest on someone else’s podcast, they have to handle all of that. You simply show up, share your expertise, and use the results to generate more attention for your brand. Yes, there is work that goes into being a podcast guest, but it is a fraction of the work you’d put into creating your own show.

Being a podcast guest is a great way to increase your exposure with potential customers and to boost your SEO. From creating more content for your own website to generating backlinks and building your online reputation, the benefits are many.

What’s Included in a Perfectly Optimized Homepage?

What’s Included in a Perfectly Optimized Homepage? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you’re trying to get your business noticed online, you need to create a website that stands out. While your site must have a great user experience and make it clear to visitors what your business does, you must also be sure it’s optimized to keep search engines happy.

Building a site with the following attributes will not only make it easy for visitors to understand who you are and to navigate through the rest of your website, it will also make for a strong approach to SEO.

An HTTPS Certified Site

First thing’s first: Both visitors and search engines want to know you site is secure. Google’s Chrome browser has started warning visitors that a site is not secure if it does not have its HTTPS certificate, and they’ve also made it a ranking factor.

Switching to HTTPS is simple, and most web hosting platforms will do it at little or no cost for existing customers. If you don’t switch, you risk falling behind your competition who have made the switch.

Fast Load Time

Another ranking factor is how quickly your site loads. Load time can vary from desktop to mobile devices, and you want your site to be quick on both. If you’re not sure where you stand, check out the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google. The tool gives you a rating—green, yellow, or orange—for your site.

If your site isn’t loading as quickly as you’d hoped, talk to your web developer about strategies to increase the speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as eliminating some of the bigger items and sticking to just simple text and images on your homepage.

Crawlable Content

Search engines like Google go out into the world and crawl websites, looking for information on sites that tell them what the website is about. This is how a search engine determines which queries you should be ranking for.

Let’s say you own a home painting business in the Atlanta area. They’ll likely see terms on your site like “home painting,” “exterior painting,” “contractor,” or “home repair.” They’ll also see your location and contact information. Google then determines, based on what they find, where you should be ranking in a given query. That’s why you’ll turn up in a search for “home painters near Atlanta,” but not “party planner in Seattle.”

Only some website content is easily crawlable, though. Using HTML and simple text on your homepage gives you the greatest shot at getting properly indexed, so that you show up in search results for the most relevant queries.

Include Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition must be clearly highlighted on your homepage. Again, when search engines crawl your website, they’re looking for relevant information about what your business does. Your value proposition not only makes that clear for search engines, it also makes it easy for human visitors to immediately know and understand what your business does.

Featuring your value proposition above the fold, front and center, and in a simple text format, keeps all visitors happy and well-informed.

An H1 Tag and Alt Text for Images and Logos

Another way to get more relevant keywords onto your homepage is to include them in your H1 tag and Alt text on images.

An H1 tag is basically the heading at the top of the page. It’s something that search engines will look to for information on what the website is all about. It will also let visitors know what they can expect to find on the rest of your site. So it’s important that the H1 tag accurately portrays what your business does, and includes keywords in a way that doesn’t make the language seem unnatural.

Alt text can be used to let search engines know about the content of a certain image. They are another way to include additional keywords on your homepage. The Alt text description should really describe what the image is, but you can also use keywords that you’re hoping to rank for.

Let’s say you’re the owner of a local art school in Dallas. There is an image on your homepage of students at pottery wheels, making bowls. The Alt text description could read “pottery students at XYZ Art School Dallas, Texas.” That not only accurately describes the photo, but also includes your business’s name and location.

The Right Metadata

Metadata is the information about your business that is displayed on SERPs. The title is the blue link that you’ll see on Google, and the meta description is the grey type underneath, which gives people a little more context about what they can expect to find if they click on the link.

Make sure that the title and meta description for your homepage are more than just your business’s name. Including something more specific about the products or services you offer, or your location (if relevant). This will help you appear in appropriate searches and also give people a greater sense of what you do.

For example, Duct Tape Marketing’s title is, “Duct Tape Marketing: Small Business Marketing Consulting” and our meta description is, “Simple, effective, and affordable small business marketing system and home of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.”

Your Contact Information

This may seem obvious, but you’d be shocked by the number of businesses who neglect to include their contact information on their homepage.

Not only is this wildly helpful to visitors who might want to reach out to you with further questions or to make a purchase, it’s also a ranking factor for search engines.

Your contact information should be correct, and should sync up with what search engines will find on your Google My Business profile and other online directories. If there are inconsistencies on your business’s name, location, or contact information, that can hurt how you rank in SERPs (and it can certainly confuse your customers).

You want your homepage to get noticed by customers and prospects who need the solutions your business offers. The best way to do that is to create a homepage that ranks well with search engines and is user-friendly for human visitors. When you optimize your page for both man and machine, you create an effective online base for your business.

If you want to talk more about how to optimize your business’s homepage and website, schedule a consultation with our team.

How Small Businesses Can Compete in the Online Marketplace

How Small Businesses Can Compete in the Online Marketplace written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Dan Breeden
Podcast Transcript

Dan BreedenToday’s guest on the podcast is Dan Breeden, senior manager of strategic alliances for Yahoo Small Business.

Breeden and the team at Yahoo Small Business have been helping entrepreneurs establish their presence and compete in the crowded online marketplace for 20 years.

On today’s episode, we discuss the seismic shifts in customer behavior that have occurred over the past 10 years, and how small businesses can leverage their strengths to compete with the giant corporates using AI and machine learning to create highly personalized shopping experiences.

Questions I ask Dan Breeden:

  • What is the state of Yahoo Small Business, and what do you offer?
  • How would you describe the evolution of customer behavior over the last decade?
  • How can small businesses compete on the tech that consumers have come to expect in their dealings with giants like Amazon?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How storytelling and personalization are linked, and why knowing your customer empowers you to build real relationships with them.
  • Why knowing your customers really well can help you compete with the AI and machine learning used by the big guys.
  • Why the most important part of analytics for a small business is deciding what to do with all the information you gather.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Dan Breeden:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

Getting Smart About the Business of Education

Getting Smart About the Business of Education written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Danny Iny
Podcast Transcript

Danny InyToday on the podcast, I chat with Danny Iny, founder and CEO of Mirasee. An education expert, Iny began his company to help other experts create and market online courses in their field.

In addition to running his business, he is the best-selling author of nine books, including his most recent, Leveraged Learning: How the Disruption of Education Helps Lifelong Learners and Experts with Something to Teach.

On this episode, we discuss the new book, how the educational landscape has shifted dramatically over the past few years, and how both learners and experts can take advantage of the online learning revolution.

Questions I ask Danny Iny:

  • How has the culture shifted to make entrepreneurship more appealing?
  • What is leveraged learning?
  • How is education changing, and can colleges keep up?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How we define the fundamental role of education.
  • Why it’s important to think about desired outcomes for education before committing to a program.
  • How the maturation of the online educational market is leading to a shift in expectations.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Danny Iny:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!