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The Science of SEO

The Science of SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is anything but a perfected science. What used to work years ago is now considered a negative, and just when you think you have it all figured out, Google goes and changes their algorithms. While SEO should be used hand-in-hand with SEM in a well rounded internet marketing strategy, it’s important to understand all the factors that go into a successful SEO campaign, and align expectations correctly.

If you look at the wonderful infographic put together by Column Five for Search Engine Land, we can see that the top factors that go into a well rounded SEO strategy are broken up into two categories; on-site SEO and off-site SEO. Let’s take a quick look at the key factors we feel are the most important when addressing each of these areas.

SEO Periodic Table

 

Firstly, on-site SEO. Content is King (or Queen). You want to make sure that your content is fresh, new, and unique. Most importantly, you want to make sure that your content is is relatable to what people will be wanting when they come to your site/blog. What you want to avoid with your content is keyword stuffing. This used to be what a lot of companies would do to “fake” the quality of their content. For example, if you are a painter that services Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, you do not want to have on your site: “home painting Toronto, office painting Toronto, condo painting Toronto, home painting Mississauga, office painting Mississauga, condo painting Mississauga, home painting Brampton, office painting Brampton, condo painting Brampton.” Instead you would just say: “We specialize in home, condo or office painting in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton.” The second thing that is very important with your on-site SEO is what we call the back-end of your website. You want to make sure that your website has a responsive design, meaning that if someone views your website on their mobile device, or on a tablet, that it loads in a user-friendly way that is easy to read and navigate. If you do only one thing on this entire periodic table of SEO this would be the one that we suggest!

Off-site SEO can be a trickier endeavour. Ultimately you want to have reputable sources link to your website. This helps tell the search engines that you must be very credible. One of the best ways to do this is to offer to write content for industry publications and have them link that content back to your website. You can also respond and engage on public forums, with links to your content. You also want to make sure that all of your profiles on other websites have consistent information (think: social media pages, review sites, directory listings) and that you have updated and completed the profiles as well as possible. Finally, try to put yourselves in the shoes of your consumer. What would people want to share and engage with? If you create good, relevant content, and people engage with it and share it with their community, that will help boost your results even better.

As we can see, there are many factors involved with search engine optimization. To have the most long lasting results you need to take your time and do it properly. There are no short cuts, and anyone suggesting such should probably not be trusted. It takes time to build credibility and reputation, and depending on how much your competition is doing could have a huge impact in what your realistic expectations should be to pass them on a search engine results page. If you would like a free assessment of your current website and what is suggested for you to start making some positive growth with your SEO, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation. We know this stuff can be tricky and confusing, and we will do whatever we can to help you out!

Creating Better Landing Pages

We get asked often about strategies on creating amazing landing pages. Truth be told, there’s no one perfect answer! It depends completely on why you are creating the landing page to begin with, and also what you plan on doing with it once it’s created. Let’s examine reasons why someone would want to create a landing page, and what they may be using the page for once it’s created.

Reasons for creating a landing page:

  • You have a special offer or event that you want to provide certain people, and don’t want it listed on your ‘main’ site
  • You want to focus on a single product or service and make a page that is more conversion friendly for that product/service
  • You want to test different strategies for marketing purposes to see which type of content, imagery, styles convert better

How to market your landing page:

  • Advertise on social media to drive awareness and sales for your special offer/event
  • Run a SEM (AdWords) campaign to capture the audience searching for your product/service
  • Stand on top of a building and yell your landing page domain into the streets for all to hear hoping someone remembers your URL when they’re in front of a computer again

Ok, but seriously, there are two ways that we find are the most productive for advertising a landing page. Social media is very effective if your trying to promote a sale, or an event. That one’s easy. But how should you create a landing page that will be more effective with your SEM strategy? Here’s one super helpful tip and suggestion that will help you take advantage of perhaps the greatest extension available to you in AdWords, the sitelink extension. And even better, you can put this information into practice right away! Instead of a landing page, creating a landing hub.

What’s a landing hub? To us at CTA, a landing hub is simply a sub section of your website focusing on a product/service or even a type of customer, that has multiple links and information tailored to that one specific thing. Before we get into two examples, if you are unfamiliar with what a sitelink extension is you can click here to read up on it! Here are two examples on what we’re talking about.

Example 1. You are a company that offers products and services to businesses. You have, say, 3 products that you focus on, but they each have their own information, pricing, service guarantees etc. so you decide to create a landing page for each one. You could have all of this information on one page, making it very easy to read, navigate, and user friendly, OR, to take advantage of the sitelink extension and having your landing page with a few different links; pricing, FAQ, a contact page, an about the company. Ultimately what this will allow you to do is use the sitelink extension to take up more space on the search engine results page, which we have seen have an incredible influence on our client’s AdWords campaigns.

Example 2. You are a home service company looking for consumers in your area who are looking for your services. In this example, let’s say that you are a painter. You decide that you want to have a very simple page that lets people know about your home painting services. Like the example above, you could very easily have a 1 page landing page for your business, OR, to take advantage of the sitelink extension, you could break out the page into a home page which is about your business and your home painting services, a page on interior painting, a page on exterior painting and a contact us page. That would allow you to take advantage of the sitelink extension and run a much more effective AdWords campaign.

If you have any questions about how to take advantage of the sitelink extension for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we’d be happy to brainstorm some ideas with you!

Get The Most Of Your Internet Marketing

Get The Most Of Your Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing

Many of us have come to the realization that having a digital presence for our businesses is a must. That it is only going to become more important with each passing year. As attention of people shifts to their mobile devices, we must also shift our direction in how we are found. While there are many forms of internet marketing, we thought it was important to take a look at two of the main forms of internet marketing, and why they are both so important.

It feels like buzzwords are a necessity these days when talking about internet marketing. Let’s break down two of them and give some details about if and how you should be using them effectively.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a term that is thrown around a lot, and for good reason. It is the engine that is driving new traffic into your site. It is also incredibly difficult and frustrating. Search engines change their algorithms constantly to try and improve the results for users who are conducting the searches. Efforts that may have your website at the top of the page yesterday, may have you nowhere to be found today. This is why it’s important to practice White Hat SEO.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, White Hat SEO is the contrast to Black Hat SEO. For years Black Hat SEO professionals touted big claims that they could get you to the top of Google overnight. While there were plenty of methods to achieve this years ago, Google and the other search engines have spent countless resources preventing such tactics. In some cases, black listing websites that tried to take advantage. White Hat SEO instead focuses on things that search engines care about and not on tricks. This could include relevant and fresh content, positive reviews, technical improvements to the site to assist the search engines, and having 3rd party websites and content link back to your site.

Ultimately you can do everything right with SEO and it can still take months, if not years, to get the presence you want. This is why we always suggest that our clients pair effective SEO, with a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign. The pair help to get the boost in traffic that they are looking for.

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is also commonly referred to as PPC (pay-per-click) or AdWords (Google’s search advertising platform). SEM, a pay-for-play system, allows businesses to pick search phrases and keywords that are most important to their business and show up at the top of search engine searches. The allure of this is that if someone scrolls past the ads, or clicks on your competitors ad, but not on your ad, you don’t pay anything. You only pay when someone, in your defined search area does a search for a keyword, and clicks on your ad that leads to your website.

The challenges with effective SEM campaigns are knowing which keywords to use, how much you should bid, and what you should be looking to spend a month. A lot of factors go into coming up with budgets, when specific strategies are deployed the cost of each visit can decrease, resulting in a budget that stretches further. Ultimately, if you want traffic to come to your site right away, SEM is the best way to go.

Looking at SEO and SEM they really go hand-in-hand for the starting point of any successful internet marketing strategy. The example that we use to think of SEO and SEM is as oil and gas for a car’s engine. While one is necessary right away to get where you want to go (SEM). Having regular oil changes (SEO) over a long period of time gets the most out of your vehicle. Any questions about your own campaigns, fill out the form on this page and we will be happy to discuss it all in more detail with you.

 

Click here for more information on SEO

Click here for more information on SEM