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Episode 9 | 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2017

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarThis week I reviewed an article on Forbes “7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2017“.  I also received a question during the show.

What is the most important aspect of SEO currently?

I spent some time on the answer.  Content is still the most important part of SEO but not quite the way it was even a few years ago.  Keep the focus on developing content (of all types) for your audience.  Make your content engaging and unique.  Use all types of content in your plan (Video, Audio, Blog).

Here are the 7 SEO Trends the article talked about:

  1. The Increased Importance of AMP
  2. Creating Deeper Content
  3. Artificial Intelligence/Rankbrain
  4. Personal Branding
  5. User Experience/UX
  6. Mobile Apps
  7. Personal Digital Assistants like Siri, Cortana and OK Google

If you want to feature your business website on my show fill out the form and we will talk to you about your website and business on a future episode.

 

SEO is for the people

5 Things Your SEO Forgot to Do, & They’re Hurting Your Business

Almost daily I am asked what a business owner or web designer do as it relates to SEO.  The truth is there is no one simple answer.  There are tons of guides out there including my own on-page SEO checklist.  Some of the guides are great and some not so much.

There are some things that SEOs are overlooking especially if they’re not staying up to date.  The SEO world evolves at a very rapid pace.  That leads me to this blog post.  Hope you find it useful.

  1. Share with Other Blogs-It is critical to have an ongoing content plan for your website (usually in the form of a blog) and most business owners and marketers know this. If your marketer doesn’t know this then stop reading right now and find a new marketer.What a lot of business owners and marketers miss is the opportunity to share that content to other blog sites.  Now this is the part where I get attacked for having duplicate content on multiple sites.  Yes, it is true that Google will only favor one site (usually the one with the most authority) for a piece of content but here’s how to navigate around that.Create an awesome blog post and add it to your site.  Now, wait a few days or weeks.  Check to see if Google has indexed it.  Checking to see if Google has indexed a page is very simple.  Use Google.com and search using the info search operator.

info:http://52.91.7.33/one-simple-step-eliminate-marketing-funnel-immediately/

info search operatorIf the blog post or page has been indexed Google will return a search result.  Now that you’ve confirmed your content is indexed you can add it to other blog platforms.  I am including a list of a few to get you started.  This is not an all-inclusive list and a quick Google search will reveal much more.

  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • Business2Community
  • Blogger

You should also look for industry related sites that will accept your content.  For example, I also add my blog posts to Inbound.org and Social Media Today.

  1. Develop Content That Encourages Engagement-This should seem like a no-brainer but it’s easier said than done. Again, having a blog is the first step but let me reintroduce you to RankBrain.  RankBrain is the artificial intelligence arm of the Google Search Algorithm.  RankBrain takes into consideration several items that were not considered on the Google SERP before.Create Engaging PostsOne of those things is engagement.  Engagement is simply the interactions that occur with your content.  This includes shares, comments, and likes.  It also includes page views and time spent on the page (meaning people read the content).How Do You Encourage Engagement?  Well, I am glad you asked.  Write content that doesn’t suck while thinking about your audience.  If your audience is not technically savvy as it relates to your industry then you have to talk to them in their language.

    Here’re More Ways to Encourage Engagement:

  • Ask questions
  • Ask for feedback
  • Using interesting images
  • Ask people to share (yes, it’s OK)
  • Use bullet points
  1. Make Your Website as Fast as Possible-I still believe it’s coming. Google will eventually make the next big algorithm update all about speed.  More and more people are browsing on mobile and we live in a very fast-paced world.  Even a few seconds can seem like an eternity in our instant gratification society.  People do not want to wait.  Your website needs to be fast.There is a ton of ways to increase the speed of your website.  First, check it using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check for opportunities within your website.Google has already launched the Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP) so the first step would be to set this up on your website.  It’s quite simple if you’re using WordPress.  In short, AMP creates a stripped down version of your web pages and stores them on the Google servers for faster loading on mobile devices.

Side Note:  You should also set your site up for Facebook Instant Articles

Some other items that can speed up your site:

  • Minify CSS and HTML
  • Use as little JavaScript as possible
  • Optimize images
  • Don’t use the cheapest host/server you can find
  • Minimize the amount of external content that loads on your website
    Make Your Website Fast
  1. Other Types of Content-There is a lot being said about video lately. Furthermore, podcasts are on the rise so people are also consuming audio content.  I’ve talked about this before.  Different people consume content in different manners.  I personally prefer video/audio/written in that order.  I don’t like to read and usually when I do I skim.  With that being said I sometimes prefer to read or I am somewhere that I cannot use the volume.It is very easy to create video and audio content now.  A few years ago this was a huge undertaking and most business owners avoided it because of the cost, time commitment, and equipment requirements.  Today a laptop with a microphone, or a Smartphone with a microphone, goes a long way.  I have used both successfully and still do.My podcast series, Growth Success Radio, is done using a laptop and a microphone that was very inexpensive.  We record live using Huzza.io and then the content is uploaded to most major podcast platforms, YouTube and GrowthSuccessRadio.com.  I have also used my Smartphone to create short videos and screen capture software (Camtasia) to create tutorials to add to my content.Because people consume content in different ways you are more likely to get people to engage.  Images and infographics are also great pieces of content.  If your site is set up properly the images will be added when shared to social media, and this will encourage even more engagement.
  2. Keyword Variations-So much is made of keywords still and rightfully so. People still search using keyword phrases (long tail keywords).  Here’s a question for you.

How often do you try different variations of your search query before you find what you’re looking for?

Google recognized that this happens often and that in part is the reason for RankBrain.  RankBrain takes a searchers input and tries to identify the intent of the searcher.  In other words, you may enter “What Do I Do After a Car Accident” and Google might return “Personal Injury Lawyers” in your area.  RankBrain tries to return what it thinks you really meant to search for.

That means you should not be developing content with a single long tail keyword in mind.  You should be developing content with different variations of that long tail keyword.  If you download my on-page SEO checklist you will get a list of ways to check on those keyword variations.

An easy way to ensure you’re not focused on the single keyword/single post method is to just develop the content for your audience, not Google.  Google has stated this multiple times.  Don’t try to game the system, just write for your audience.  If you write content for the people who are reading it then you have already won.

SEO Is For The People

You may have heard that SEO is dead.  I have written about this as well.  SEO is not dead, it has just morphed into what it should have been all along.  You should no longer create an SEO plan for Google.  You should be creating an SEO plan for your intended audience.  After all, SEO is for the people!

SEO is for the people

Frustrated at Google

Are You Making a Big Mistake With Google?

CT Social Media ExpertThe face of search is Google.  It still is today and it shows in the metrics.  Nearly 70% of all search queries take place on Google but you may be making a huge mistake by putting all your eggs in the Google basket?

Consider this.  You’re the passenger in a car.  The driver says I’m hungry and could go for some Chinese food.  You’re not in an area you’re familiar with when it comes to restaurant options.  What do you do?

Today many people ask Siri, Cortana or Google using a voice search.  Unless you’ve been under a rock you know that iPhones have a large share of the smartphone population.  This means that when an iPhone user uses Siri to perform a search they may not be using Google for their search results…a decrease in their search dominance.

With one example you can see that the face of search is evolving.  However, it goes so much further than that.  There are numerous ways to for things now.  Let’s cover a few.

Google Search Alternatives

Voice Search on Your Smart Phone-As a mentioned earlier many smart phone users will use Siri, Cortana or Google to perform a voice search from their phone.  Obviously if you’re using an Android then you’re still using Google to search but if you use Siri or Cortana you can change the default search engine.  Keep in mind that a large share of the smart phone market belongs to Apple so Siri is used often to perform a search.

siriYouTube-The second biggest search engine today is YouTube.  Yes, I know it’s owned by Google but it is still a different platform.  Many people use YouTube to find how to videos, DIY videos, entertainment and much more.

Facebook-Do I need to go into details?  Facebook is by far the largest social media platform on the planet.  That means people are searching for things.  They’re looking up people, businesses and asking questions and so much more.  Facebook has been developing their search functionality for years in an effort to be the face (pun intended) of the internet.

Pinterest-Pinterest has a very large audience of women.  That means that when it’s time to look for recipes, clothes, shoes, home décor and things often associated with women they may be using Pinterest before going to Google or Facebook.  I smell opportunity for blue collar businesses!

Bing, Yahoo, Ask-Some of the other search engines.  I say some because there are more.  These are the more popular ones.   Bing has been chipping away at Google for years but has gained very little ground.  Can you guess what the default search engine is for Cortana?

LinkedIn-It’s where the professionals go.  If I want to find information on a business owner, sales person or solopreneur LinkedIn is the default search engine.  If you’re a business owner not on LinkedIn there’s a good chance you’re hurting your business.  It’s not enough for you to be on LinkedIn though.  Your company should also have a presence on LinkedIn.

People also use LinkedIn for Job Search.

Reddit, Digg, Delicious-These are social bookmarking sites.  Essentially they’re another way to share content.  However many people on the internet use these to “discover” the web.

Twitter-Twitter as a platform has a large number of users but also may have the largest number of idle or abandoned accounts.  However that is changing as people who once ignored their Twitter accounts are suddenly seeing the value thanks to Periscope and Blab.  Twitter has also introduced moments in an attempt to keep people on the Twitter platform.  Searching hashtags (#) started on Twitter and it’s still a relevant search mechanism today..on most social media platforms.  Twitter search is used in large part to discover currently relevant conversations.

In fact Google recognized Twitter’s popularity and partnered with them.  Tweets are now indexed on Google…..again.

green-twitteriTunes-Speaking of conversations..iTunes is currently the most popular place for Podcasts.  If you’re seeking information on a particular topic and you think a podcast on the way to work or a meeting might be the perfect way to gain knowledge then you’re likely searching on iTunes.   Google is going to add podcasts to Google Play in 2016 but for now its iTunes or a plethora of 3rd party podcast submission sites.

About(.com)-says they are the largest source for expert content on the internet.  You can get questions answered, and find resolutions to some of your problems.  There is also Quora which is a social platform that basically does the same thing.

Yelp, YP, Angies List and others-These are local directories, and there are hundreds.  Generally speaking there are probably 5-10 high quality local directories.  The rest are largely ignored by marketers and most businesses.

Industry Specific Social Media Platforms-Just about every industry has their own platform to participate on.  For example Avvo is a platform for attorneys while Bigger Pockets is one for Real Estate Investors.  If you’re looking for a business or person in a specific industry there’s likely a resource for it.

There is a ton of other ways to search the internet for information.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

The Madness

Frustrated at FacebookOne thing I do want to point out is Google does index most of these sites and directories as well.  That means if you take to Google to look for something then it may show up on the first page in one of the aforementioned sites.  However you won’t always find what you’re looking for that way.  If you’re like me then when you search on Google you probably ignore the directories and social sites in most cases.

You’re probably wondering why a Google Certified Partner would write a blog post to talk about other ways to search the internet.  Well, there is a method to my madness.  Yes it’s true I am a Google partner and some would even call me an expert.  However it’s important to understand the changing landscape of search for your business.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up all the options as they exist today, and in the future.  I can compare this to the SEO companies that still practice link spamming and keyword stuffing.  These methods today will hurt you, but five years ago they worked.  It was wrong to do these things but it worked if you wanted to rank on Google.  Today your site probably doesn’t exist if you haven’t updated your methods.

I have always looked to the future to ensure that my clients and my business are prepared.  Clients are listed on local directories, all of the major search engines, relevant social media platforms and anywhere that will work for their business…even iTunes in some cases.

SEO is not just optimizing for Google.  It’s optimizing for the user.  Google recognized this about 5 or 6 years ago.  So should your marketer or SEO provider.

 

Google Search Results Explained

I speak with a lot of people who have a hard time understanding the results of a Google search.  The Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) can be confusing to someone who is not familiar with Google’s logic.  One client, in particular, insisted he was showing up as number 7 on the search results when in reality he was showing up as number 2.  I explained to him that the first few results are actually ads.

I decided to create this post to help everyone gain a better comprehension of how to rank higher on the different sections of a Google search.  It’s not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  The keys are diligence, testing, monitoring, and understanding..or just hire me!

Google Places for Business

The first image below the listings for Google Business.  If you have not claimed your Google Business listing I strongly encourage you to do so to prevent inaccuracies in contact and description information.  These results typically show up below the second or third entry of the organic search results.  So if you’re showing up 4th on the organic results it may appear that you are further down because of Google Business.    This is another reason to ensure that your Google Business information is accurate.

Google is going through some changes to these listings.  The plan is to incorporate Google+ with Google Places and as of this writing, it seems as though they are pretty close to accomplishing that.  Some indicators are there if you set up a Google+ Page today.

Google Plus Listings

Google Search Results

The next screenshot I have has 3 distinct areas.

The Blue section is Google Adwords.  These are listings that the business is paying to have placed on Google Search Results, and possibly partner sites.    Typically there are 4 ads at the top of the page and 5 at the bottom of the page but it depends on the search query.

Adwords are a great way to generate traffic, especially for new websites.  Imagine having your business listed in the ads, and in the organic results.  That would increase your credibility and potential clicks by 100% among users of Google.

Adwords uses a bidding system to determine how much your ads will cost.  Using appropriate keywords and good ad copy will decrease your cost per bid.  Careful research is critical to a successful campaign.

The Red section is Google Organic search results.  The people using Google to search for things almost never go past the first page.  In fact, 98% of Google users do not go past the first page.  While it’s impossible to rank for every keyword for most businesses you can rank for your most popular keywords.

You will want to research what keywords your business should be found with.  When I created this blog I used CT Plumber as an example.  I didn’t just use Plumber.   Google does narrow your search down based on your IP address but searching just plumber turns up sites like Wikipedia, BBB and List Directories dedicated to plumbers.   Broad keywords usually mean more competition which makes it tougher to rank at the top.  This is also true for Adwords although Adwords factors in ad copy.

The Green section is a map which places a peg with a letter in it.  The peg references a Google Business listing from a list similar to the one above.  Having an accurate listing is very important to your clients.  Potential clients do not like to be inconvenienced and will likely go elsewhere if you’re not where Google thinks you are.

GoogleSearchResults

 

Hopefully, that clears up any confusion for those of you using Google.  If you have any questions or want to move your business up on Google feel free to call 203-806-0736.

Have any feedback?  I’d love to hear it.