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We can all remember a time we’ve been told a story by someone that was so outlandish that it couldn’t possibly be true.

Most of us would follow up with a passive aggressive “can you prove it?”

That’s essentially how “RankBrain,” Google’s search algorithm, determines what is the most factual content to rank in search results. What is determined to be the most factual is based on several factors, but most notably: trust, authority, and quality.

These three factors are based on your reputation, and if you have a bad reputation, let’s say as a conman or failing to complete work on time, then it’s going to undoubtedly hurt your keyword rankings in Search.

Every small business owner with a website wants to rank #1 for things like “best plumber in Toronto” or “dentist near me”, but the top position must be earned in two ways: in providing high-quality informative content on your website and other authoritative websites that vouch for your own authority and trustworthiness.

You have complete control to optimize the keywords used on your website, as well as the quality, type and length of content on your site. However, receiving a backlink from an external authoritative site is much harder — but you can influence them through outreach and promotion.

How Backlinks Affect Your SEO Performance

What is written about your site, whether it’s positive or negative, can significantly impact your keyword rankings. That’s why it’s important to create concrete campaigns based around a strategy with a goal in mind.

For example, let’s say you’re a lawn care company in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Your business is seasonal so you want to generate as many sales as possible while in high season. This means hundreds if not thousands of leads you need to generate online in order to hit your revenue goal for the quarter. Therefore, you need to rank in Google for high search volume keywords.

You have a great web page, linking from the menu bar on your home page, with all your lawn care services listed on it. You’ve also included a paragraph at the top of the page that briefly describes the services listed below, as well as your location, target customers, and why your lawn care business is the best in Hamilton. Plus, you included a video that shows the visitor how you keep their lawn green and even created an interesting infographic that lists why your service is the most thorough.

You want this page to rank #1 in Google for “lawn care services” in Hamilton. So here’s how you would build backlinks to rank your small lawn care business:

  1.  Directories for Local SEO

Create as many listings on business directory sites in Hamilton, Ontario. Fill in all the fields with your business, address, phone number and be sure to include a link to your home page. There will be even more “link juice” if the local directory site is a .ca because it’s all about relevancy. Not only will a backlink from the directory pass on authority for organic keyword rankings, but will also rank you higher in Google My Business search results on mobile devices.

  1. Blog Content

Writing blogs not only shows Google that you’re active site admin who cares about improving the quality of their business’s website, but they can also be used for SEO. You could rank for a topic like “tips for maintaining a green lawn” and because you rank, someone writing a blog post may find yours during their research and link back to it as a citation. Optimize your blog posts by creating 1-2 internal links to relevant service pages on your lawn care site.

SEO Tip: use Buzzsumo to find blog topics that users find interesting then write a better version of the ones that already exist!

  1. Social Media

Social media is a tool you can use to amplify the number of visitors to your new blog post — plus, facebook.com and twitter.com still count as backlinks!

SEO Tip: Be sure to include links to your social media profiles in the top right of your site in the header and in the footer.

  1. Online Promotion

You’re a small business owner so you likely don’t have a PR rep and a publicist to reach out to magazines and newspapers for a feature on the cover. That’s why you need to take a bootstrap approach to promotion by joining in on conversations online then telling them about your business. Post on lawn care forums, preferably Canadian ones, and see if any on the thread is commenting from Hamilton or if there’s a thread already created that’s about lawn care in Hamilton, Ontario. If what you post is valuable/interesting, then there will be more replies in the thread by other users, which eventually will push your comment to the top of the thread where users will instantly see it. Just make sure to add a link to your lawn care site with a hyperlink (anchor text) over a keyword like “best lawn care service in Hamilton” pointing to your main services page.

  1. Outreach for links/guest posts

In marketing, there’s nothing more important than cultivating a relationship. So choose who you want to reach out to for help with promoting your lawn care services. Perhaps there’s a lawn care tips podcast for Canadian homeowners that has weekly episodes and a popular website? You can simply send them an email to your main lawn care service page and have them do a review of your business? It doesn’t hurt to ask, however, you likely wouldn’t get a response unless you’re business already has a strong online presence.

If you’re just starting to build your online presence, then it’s best to follow these three tactics:

Reach Out for Guest Posts

Email site admins of industry, small business, and local sites to ask if you can write a guest post on their blog. You should offer to let them write a one on your company blog in return so you have a higher response rate.

Link Poaching

Search for one of your target keywords in Google, then check the results on the first page. If you find a keyword like “eco-friendly lawn service” is hyperlinked in the copy, but the link is broken, reach out to the site admin and suggest they link to your page instead. The site admin will actually appreciate it!

Your Small Business Needs Backlinks

You can run Facebook ads and Google Ads to increase your sales, especially if you’re a seasonal business, however, the costs can add up quick. You also run the risk of having a high cost-per-acquisition, That’s why ranking your service pages organically in Google Search will give you the best return on investment. In order to achieve this ROI, you need to do the little things right — your website clearly explains what your business does and what’s special about it, you are active on social media and your blog which shows Google that you’re building your brand, and consistently pushing to build relationships with online influencers in your industry to elevate your brand’s authority even more. Follow these small business backlinking steps to be on your way to having a great ROI with a minimal marketing budget!

Could your business site use more backlinks? Then we can help! Call TechWyse today at 866.208.3095 or contact us here to learn more.

The post SEO Tips: Why Backlinks are Important for Your Small Business appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s quite natural that our attention primarily goes to images than it goes to text. Seeing a good image involuntarily triggers the viewers to check it out or even share it. Well, in that case, your webpage better have some cool new images! But the question is, will adding a number of images increase the visibility of your page? If only it were that simple! You have to go through a series of Image Optimization steps if you desire better results.

What is Image Optimization?

Doing image optimization for your webpage guarantees an increase in Page Load Speed, higher SEO ranking, and better user engagement. If your webpage contains high-resolution images and less size in the right format, then half the job is done. Basically, image optimization is what mentioned above. It can be done in many ways, be it manually or by using cool online tools.

But here, we aim at guiding you through each step of this process. Ready? So let’s begin!

Step 1: Choosing the Image

It’s obvious that the image you choose should match with the content. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The visual should be attractive, unique, and relevant to the subject. Now, where can you find images according to your requirement? There are a lot of image source websites like Flickr.com, shuttershock.com and unsplash.com.

Instead of images, you can also try animated GIFs which will give a sense of dynamism to the viewers. Plus the popularity of GIFs is immense so it will be a nice little touch for your post.

Step 2: Size and Resolution of the Image

Google always prefers high-resolution images. But keep in mind that with high resolution, comes a large image size. Large images make your page heavy, and thus load slowly, especially on mobile devices. This increases the likelihood of a bounce back (users clicking the back button even before your page fully loads), and you don’t want that to happen. A number of online services are available which can be used to compress your images without any loss in quality.

Step 3: Dimensions and Aspect Ratio of the Image

While designing your image, you should have a good idea about where you want to place it on your webpage. It will help you to set a particular dimension for your image. Even if images are visually more appealing than text, no one likes oversized images that block your content. It should have an optimum dimension which should be noticeable but at the same time should not be distracting.

The ratio of the width of an image to its height plays a very important role, even though most people don’t talk about it. Aspect ratios are chosen for an based on the objects in the image, and also its purpose. For a cool banner image, 3:2 aspect ratio is recommended as it gives a panoramic feel. Other popular aspect ratios which give better search engine rankings are 1:1 (square), 4.3, 16:9 (wide) and so on. When you select an aspect ratio for an image, make sure the image doesn’t have a lot of empty spaces in it. At least 35% of the image should contain the object you want to showcase. More than its technical side, the aesthetics come to play here.

It is recommended to have a basic idea about where you are going to place the image on your page. If you are making a fresh design, it is always better to fix your aspect ratio first and then go through the design process.

Step 4: Format of the Image

TIF is the highest quality available for an image. Original photographs mostly come in this format but you can’t use it on your page. The answer is obvious, right? Large file size. So, the image should be exported to an ‘affordable’ format before using it on your page. Even if you are creating a new design for your page, you should export it into a specific format.

There is no definitive format for an image to be used online. It is purely contextual. For example, JPEG format is preferred by most because of its negligible loss in quality during compression and its small file size. But if your image comprises mostly of texts, lines or drawings, PNG is recommended. In addition to this, GIFs are great especially for decorative images but it comes with large file size. So, the bottom line is, always choose the format of your image according to the content and context.

There are other formats gaining popularity these days like WebP, which is made especially for internet images. WebP images can be downloaded quickly and obviously, that makes it apt for downloadable content. Icons and logos are best uploaded in SVG format.

Step 5: Adding Attachment Details for the Image

Okay, now that your image is ready and uploaded, it’s time to add its details. Most of us forget or ignore this step, but it can’t be stressed enough, it is very important from an SEO perspective. How to add image details is a different topic altogether. It depends on what kind of website content management system (CMS) you use. You might be familiar with CMSs like WordPress which allows you to easily add image details through a software. If you follow a more conventional way, you can add these using HTML codes too.

The most basic details of an image are its title, caption, alt text and description. Adding all these to your image will help the search engine to recognize the image’s content and purpose.

The title of the image defines its permanent link. It should be something which reflects the content. For example, it is not advised to give the title as image-1 or image-2 because it doesn’t mean anything to the search engine.

Even if you have a text embedded in your image, the search engine probably is unable to crawl that text. Simply put, the search engine cannot see or understand what your image is. That’s where the alt text comes in. Alt text of the image is fundamentally a transcript of the image and it makes your image ‘visible’ online. Ideally, it should describe to the search engine about exactly what is in the image but it can also be used to describe the content of your page too. Either way, the alt text is very powerful and shouldn’t be unused. However, if the image is only for decorative purposes, then you can skip this small step. Another important feature of the alt text is that it gets picked up by screen readers, the browsers used by blind people. The screen reader cannot comprehend the content of the image unless there is an alt text present in the image.

Don’t forget to add a small description about the content of the image. You can use your keywords wisely over here, but as usual, don’t do keyword stuffing.

Step 6: Enhance User Experience With Your Images

This doesn’t have anything to do with the search engine ranking directly, but if you look at the big picture, it’s all about user experience, right? If the user does not like the look of your page, it’s all for nothing. Images can both enhance and diminish the user experience of your webpage.

  • Always use an optimum number of images for your webpage. A large number of images will appear cluttered, decreasing the visual appeal of your page. Not to mention this increases the data size, making your page slower to load.
  • Place your images in such a way that they are visible and not distracting at the same time. They should not hinder the reading experience of the user.
  • Use colour psychology in your images to drive your target users into your site. Different age groups respond to different colour combinations and you can select the appropriate combinations based on what kind of content you are publishing.
  • You can use Content Delivery Network (CDN) for the images in your page. With the help of CDN, you can host your static content (images, videos, animations, etc) on a different server which provides high-speed delivery, thereby making your page load faster. CDN services like imgix will serve the image based on the platform on which your webpage is being accessed. This will increase your search engine rankings.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, once you get the hang of it, image optimization will become a routine. When you achieve the boost in organic traffic which we guarantee, you won’t ever leave the image optimization box unchecked.

The post Image Optimization for Your Website: A Complete Guide for Beginners appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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Everyone with a phone has a map and a directory of businesses right at their fingertips. As a business owner, it’s more important than ever to be focusing on local SEO to make sure your can be easily found. If you’re not taking advantage of local SEO, your competitors likely are.

Over the years local SEO has become more and more complex, so we’ve put together a list of the most important optimizations you can make to take full advantage of local SEO.

Meta Titles, Descriptions, and Content

Although meta titles and descriptions seem like old-school, regular SEO, these can have a significant impact on your local standing. To refresh your memory, meta titles and descriptions are HTML elements that are added to your website’s pages that are displayed in search results. 

Meta Titles

The meta title is an important place to be adding your service/product keywords as well as your local keywords (ie. either the city name or province/state, depending on how broad you want to be seen). Creating these titles require a delicate balance; you could overstuff your title making it untrustworthy to both the search algorithm and searchers, and on the other hand, you can do too little which will result in little to no benefit.

A good rule of thumb for your meta titles is to place your priority keyword at the beginning, add your local keyword in the middle, and end with your business name. But be warned, there is no cookie cutter for meta titles; you will need proper keyword research and a writers touch to get the most out of your meta title.

Meta Descriptions

Unlike meta titles, the meta description does not have as much pull in affecting your ranking. It does, however, help entice people to click through by giving them more information about your business and the page they are about to visit. Just like the meta title, proper research and a writer’s touch will get you where you need to be.

Content

As for the content on your site, it should include local information and local keywords where relevant. I cannot stress enough to not keyword stuff your content with your services and location (be it city or province/state). It won’t help you rank — thanks to the Panda update — and it won’t help visitors on your site because they can see you’re trying to game the system.

To help boost your local information make sure your contact page (and any location pages) is easily accessible, have your accurate business information listed there, and include an embedded Google map that points to your business.

Google My Business

Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is another important aspect of local SEO. These listings can show up on the right-hand side of a regular Google search, and show various information about your business.

We’ll focus on optimizing your Google My Business listing, so for more information on how to create and claim your listing, check out this helpful article from Google.

Above is an example of a GMB listing that shows pictures, the business name, overall rating and number of reviews, business category, and the business’ location information. All of these individual parts are extremely important in ensuring your listing is properly optimized.

Pictures

Humans are curious by nature and want to know more about something before making any decisions. Pictures on your GMB listing gives potential customers a better feel for your business; it’s a personal touch that shouldn’t be skipped. Adding pictures on a regular basis is also a great way to stay relevant and showcase your business.

Your Business Name

When optimizing your GMB listing, you want to make sure your business name is accurate to your marketing materials. This goes for anywhere your business is located online — consistency is key!

Keeping your business name consistent is also imporant because without your accurate name, you’d be breaking Google’s guidelines for proper listing management. It’s very common to see listings include keywords in their business name and this has helped people rank in the past, and currently — but it is against Google’s guidelines. This listing is free and hosted by Google, so you should be playing by their rules. If you don’t, your valuable listing could be suspended, can cause you to lose any reviews left by customers. Google has written an article for representing your business on their platform that is very helpful. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Reviews and Rating

As I’ve mentioned, humans are curious by nature; we need information before making decisions. On your GMB listing, that information comes from reviews left by past customers. It creates a sense of trust for your business. You’ll want a good number of reviews to show potential customers that people liked your business so much they had to tell the world. The number of reviews varies, but more is always better — especially if it’s more than your competition.

The higher your rating is (5 being the max) is also preferable. Don’t worry if you get a few bad or mediocre reviews and ratings; not having 5 stars is not the end of the world. Having less-than-stellar reviews is perfectly fine as long as you respond to them in a personal and professional manner. Leaving them alone could show that you’re guilty to their claims, and trying to remove them could spark a new wave of bad reviews. My best advice is to own up to these reviews and give your customers the best service you can.

Business Category

Although not as noticeable as the other sections (located just below the Rating), your business category is important for Google to understand what kind of services you offer. Your primary category should be the most relevant to you and your customers. You can also add secondary categories depending on your other services. However, going overboard with categories can hinder your ranking and spread your business too thin, so be sure to pick the most applicable categories.  

Location Information

Having accurate location information on your listing is imperative for ranking and allowing customers to find your business. This section — much like the business name — should be consistent across the web wherever your business is listed.

Keep an eye on your listing as competitors and other users (Google Local Guides) can suggest edits to be made on your listings. These suggestions are sent to Google, and they’ll either approve or deny them. Depending on other sources like your website, social media, and directories, they could approve edits with incorrect information.

Other Areas

There are more sections to your listing that should be optimized, but they typically are not as tricky as the above sections. Go through the Info section of your Google My Business listing and fill out all applicable fields so your listing is complete. If something isn’t relevant to you, don’t worry and just skip it.

Google Posts

Within your GMB listing is a section called Google Posts. Google Posts were created back in 2016 and have grown over time to become much more relevant in marketing strategies. These posts are treated similarly to social media posts but are seen within your Google listing. They are a great place to advertise new products, sales, and discounts or anything new happening with your business.

Content from Google Posts is now being seen within search results that show your business. This gives searchers more information about your business even before clicking on your link. Although Google hasn’t made an official statement confirming a connection between Google Posts and local ranking, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t in some way affecting your rank or trustability.

A regular post lasts 7 days on your listing, and you can have multiple posts on your listing at a time. If you have a month-long event you can set your post to show for the whole month as well. Adding the right call-to-action can also help with click-throughs to your website. If these posts are relevant to your business, give them a try and see what works best for you.

Online Directories and Citations

I’ve mentioned a few times now about Google pulling information from “other sources.” These other sources I’m referring to are directories. A directory is a website that houses many different business listings that are called citations. Think of a phone book — within a phone book are listings for people and businesses. If you’re too young to know what a phone book is, think of Facebook but with less social posting.

These citations are an important source to have your accurate business information shown. It is valuable online real estate that allows more people to find you and have search engines trust and understand you better. Some also have review sections which Google can see and use to determine how to rank you in searches. Consistency is key, so it’s important to have consistent and accurate information on each directory that you’re are listed on.

You’re probably wondering how many directories you should be listed on. My rule of thumb is the top 50 directories. Now you’re probably wondering what the top 50 directories are. These vary by location and industry, but WhiteSpark has created a great source to find the top directories in various countries. Diversify your directory management by adding your business to these top directories as well as industry niche directories, such as this directory for Self Storage Units. Try searching for “[industry] directory” (ex. “Self-storage directory”) and you might find some niche directories to add your business to.

Online Reputation and Reviews

Although I’ve already touched on this topic, it’s very important when conducting local SEO for your business. Your online reputation and reviews can make or break your business when competing against others local businesses.

The golden rule in getting these reviews is being the best company you can be, and let your customers know from time to time that you’d appreciate an online review.

What you should not do is:

  • Buy fake reviews
  • Ask friends, family, coworkers, and other people who have not used your services to leave reviews
  • Bribe customers for reviews with discounts or freebies
  • Have a device in your business for customers to leave reviews (these reviews come from the same IP address and can be flagged as fake reviews)
  • Conduct review gating by emailing customers and only asking the positive responses to leave an online review

It is not worth your time and effort to create a fraudulent image of your business online. Just be the best business you can be and have excellent customer service.

What We Learned Today

There is a lot that goes into local SEO and what we’ve gone through is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Overall, the key to ruling local SEO for your business is to ensure your location information is consistent and can be found on many sources, as well as building trust with both your customers and the search engines. To accomplish this you will need to optimize your website, your GMB listing, and citations while also gathering positive reviews on your GMB listing and citations.

Remember, the golden rule is to be good at what you do and have excellent customer service.

If all of this seemed daunting to you, don’t worry. That’s what we are here for! If you don’t have the time or ability to try your hand at local SEO, we have you covered. If you’d like to know more about our local SEO services, give us a call at 866.288.6046.

The post 5 Ways to Rule Local SEO appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s quite natural that our attention primarily goes to images than it goes to text. Seeing a good image involuntarily triggers the viewers to check it out or even share it. Well, in that case, your webpage better have some cool new images! But the question is, will adding a number of images increase the visibility of your page? If only it were that simple! You have to go through a series of Image Optimization steps if you desire better results.

What is Image Optimization?

Doing image optimization for your webpage guarantees an increase in Page Load Speed, higher SEO ranking, and better user engagement. If your webpage contains high-resolution images and less size in the right format, then half the job is done. Basically, image optimization is what mentioned above. It can be done in many ways, be it manually or by using cool online tools.

But here, we aim at guiding you through each step of this process. Ready? So let’s begin!

Step 1: Choosing the Image

It’s obvious that the image you choose should match with the content. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The visual should be attractive, unique, and relevant to the subject. Now, where can you find images according to your requirement? There are a lot of image source websites like Flickr.com, shuttershock.com and unsplash.com.

Instead of images, you can also try animated GIFs which will give a sense of dynamism to the viewers. Plus the popularity of GIFs is immense so it will be a nice little touch for your post.

Step 2: Size and Resolution of the Image

Google always prefers high-resolution images. But keep in mind that with high resolution, comes a large image size. Large images make your page heavy, and thus load slowly, especially on mobile devices. This increases the likelihood of a bounce back (users clicking the back button even before your page fully loads), and you don’t want that to happen. A number of online services are available which can be used to compress your images without any loss in quality.

Step 3: Dimensions and Aspect Ratio of the Image

While designing your image, you should have a good idea about where you want to place it on your webpage. It will help you to set a particular dimension for your image. Even if images are visually more appealing than text, no one likes oversized images that block your content. It should have an optimum dimension which should be noticeable but at the same time should not be distracting.

The ratio of the width of an image to its height plays a very important role, even though most people don’t talk about it. Aspect ratios are chosen for an based on the objects in the image, and also its purpose. For a cool banner image, 3:2 aspect ratio is recommended as it gives a panoramic feel. Other popular aspect ratios which give better search engine rankings are 1:1 (square), 4.3, 16:9 (wide) and so on. When you select an aspect ratio for an image, make sure the image doesn’t have a lot of empty spaces in it. At least 35% of the image should contain the object you want to showcase. More than its technical side, the aesthetics come to play here.

It is recommended to have a basic idea about where you are going to place the image on your page. If you are making a fresh design, it is always better to fix your aspect ratio first and then go through the design process.

Step 4: Format of the Image

TIF is the highest quality available for an image. Original photographs mostly come in this format but you can’t use it on your page. The answer is obvious, right? Large file size. So, the image should be exported to an ‘affordable’ format before using it on your page. Even if you are creating a new design for your page, you should export it into a specific format.

There is no definitive format for an image to be used online. It is purely contextual. For example, JPEG format is preferred by most because of its negligible loss in quality during compression and its small file size. But if your image comprises mostly of texts, lines or drawings, PNG is recommended. In addition to this, GIFs are great especially for decorative images but it comes with large file size. So, the bottom line is, always choose the format of your image according to the content and context.

There are other formats gaining popularity these days like WebP, which is made especially for internet images. WebP images can be downloaded quickly and obviously, that makes it apt for downloadable content. Icons and logos are best uploaded in SVG format.

Step 5: Adding Attachment Details for the Image

Okay, now that your image is ready and uploaded, it’s time to add its details. Most of us forget or ignore this step, but it can’t be stressed enough, it is very important from an SEO perspective. How to add image details is a different topic altogether. It depends on what kind of website content management system (CMS) you use. You might be familiar with CMSs like WordPress which allows you to easily add image details through a software. If you follow a more conventional way, you can add these using HTML codes too.

The most basic details of an image are its title, caption, alt text and description. Adding all these to your image will help the search engine to recognize the image’s content and purpose.

The title of the image defines its permanent link. It should be something which reflects the content. For example, it is not advised to give the title as image-1 or image-2 because it doesn’t mean anything to the search engine.

Even if you have a text embedded in your image, the search engine probably is unable to crawl that text. Simply put, the search engine cannot see or understand what your image is. That’s where the alt text comes in. Alt text of the image is fundamentally a transcript of the image and it makes your image ‘visible’ online. Ideally, it should describe to the search engine about exactly what is in the image but it can also be used to describe the content of your page too. Either way, the alt text is very powerful and shouldn’t be unused. However, if the image is only for decorative purposes, then you can skip this small step. Another important feature of the alt text is that it gets picked up by screen readers, the browsers used by blind people. The screen reader cannot comprehend the content of the image unless there is an alt text present in the image.

Don’t forget to add a small description about the content of the image. You can use your keywords wisely over here, but as usual, don’t do keyword stuffing.

Step 6: Enhance User Experience With Your Images

This doesn’t have anything to do with the search engine ranking directly, but if you look at the big picture, it’s all about user experience, right? If the user does not like the look of your page, it’s all for nothing. Images can both enhance and diminish the user experience of your webpage.

  • Always use an optimum number of images for your webpage. A large number of images will appear cluttered, decreasing the visual appeal of your page. Not to mention this increases the data size, making your page slower to load.
  • Place your images in such a way that they are visible and not distracting at the same time. They should not hinder the reading experience of the user.
  • Use colour psychology in your images to drive your target users into your site. Different age groups respond to different colour combinations and you can select the appropriate combinations based on what kind of content you are publishing.
  • You can use Content Delivery Network (CDN) for the images in your page. With the help of CDN, you can host your static content (images, videos, animations, etc) on a different server which provides high-speed delivery, thereby making your page load faster. CDN services like imgix will serve the image based on the platform on which your webpage is being accessed. This will increase your search engine rankings.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, once you get the hang of it, image optimization will become a routine. When you achieve the boost in organic traffic which we guarantee, you won’t ever leave the image optimization box unchecked.

The post Optimizing Images for Your Website: A Complete Guide for Beginners appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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Rebranding is the process any business, regardless of its size and influence, needs to go through. Almost any brand you can think of, from Apple to Uber has rebranded at least once. And, that’s fine. However, there are a few popular misconceptions I always come across when reading about rebranding. First, refurbishing your brand doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on what you’ve done so far. On the contrary, it usually means establishing something better and greater on the foundation you’ve already built.
Second, rebranding doesn’t mean failure. Businesses rebrand for numerous reasons; when they outgrow their initial goals, values, and messages, when their name doesn’t reflect their brand identity anymore, or when they decide to expand to new markets.

Finally, rebranding isn’t all about picking a catchy new name your target customers love. In the hyperconnected era we live in, if you don’t have a well-optimized site, you don’t exist. Therefore, when building a brand, you need to consider your online presence, too. If you’ve already had a well-working site and you’re now planning on moving it to the new domain, you need to keep your SEO in mind. When not planned and implemented properly, domain migrations and website redesign may cause a significant brand-related traffic and rankings loss.
This is why you need to make your rebranding strategy SEO-friendly. Here are a few things that you may encounter when rebranding, and advice on how you should approach them.

 Changing Your Business’ Name

Changing your brand name is totally fine. There are numerous famous corporations that did exactly the same, including:

  • Backrub- Google
  • PC’s Limited- Dell
  • Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo- Sony
  • Blue Ribbon Sports- Nike
  • Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice, Il Giornale Coffee Company- Starbucks

These are common changes. As your brand grows, your products evolve, your niche expands, and your target audience changes. And, if your brand name doesn’t reflect its main values, ideas, and mission anymore, you need to change it.
Still, this is one of the most radical decisions you may make, as it may hurt your overall brand awareness and loyalty, as well as your position on Google. This is why you need to execute it wisely.

Changing Your Domain Name

When changing a company name, you need to give it a related domain name. There are a few rules you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure your company name and domain name are the same to boost your site’s visibility on Google and allow your customers to remember you easily.
  • Keep your domain name concise, simple, easy-to-spell, and memorable.
  • Check whether your domain name is easy to rank on Google.
  • Adding keywords to the domain name is desirable, but only if it’s done organically.
  • Use the same name on other platforms, too. Before you register it, make sure it’s available on your major social media platforms.
  • Choose the right TLD. Apart from the most popular.com that now has over 133.5 million users, some other popular domain extensions are .cn, de, and .net. There are even creative options like .me or .ly that may add a pinch of creativity to your new domain name, as in Videofy.me or Bit.ly.

Now, you need to ensure your migration to the new domain won’t endanger your SEO efforts. If someone clicks on the link leading to your old site, they can be simply redirected to your new one. But, when a user googles your previous name, they won’t find anything. One of the simplest ways to resolve this problem and help Google understand the connection between your old and new website is to create a page on your new domain that would be dedicated to your old brand. You could use it to tell a story of your brand development and show how your brand has changed over time. This is a great way to boost your new site’s visibility and, at the same time, engage your target audience. Sure, this landing page should link to your new home page and vice versa.

Changing a Product Name

Changing the name of your product works in a similar way. You should make sure your old and new product pages link to each other and include relevant explanations. They should be helpful not only from an SEO viewpoint but also from your customers’ perspective. Your product pages need to explain why you decided to change the product name and when.

Changing Anchor Text in Backlinks

Apart from the issue of redirection mentioned above, there is also the problem with your anchor text in your backlinks. Simply put, even when you redirect the traffic to your new site, your anchor text on the sites you’ve built links on will remain the same. For example, if the anchor text contains your old brand or product name, this may hurt your SEO efforts. So, what to do?
Even though this process is not that complicated, it is extremely time-consuming. Namely, you need to audit your backlink profile and check which links contain old names in their anchor text. There are numerous backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, and Monitor Backlinks that may help you out. The next step is, unsurprisingly, reaching out to each blogger individually and asking them to make the changes needed. You could even invest some time in contacting them before your rebranding strategy takes place.

Refurbishing Your Website

A solid rebranding strategy is not all about changing your company or product name. It stands for reinventing your brand identity and building a recognizable brand that stands out. And, in the online world, such changes always begin with your site.

Your site is your online ID. It tells your customers who you are, how professional you are, and what your biggest dreams, missions, ideas, and core values are. This is why its design needs to be impeccable. Here are a few practices that will serve as a nice foundation for building a user- and search engine-friendly website.

Increasing Your Page Speed

Two seconds. This is how much your visitors will wait for your site to load. And, it doesn’t, they will leave it immediately. High bounce rates and poor engagement rates will clearly show Google that your site is not user-friendly. Not to mention that page speed is itself one of the most significant ranking factors, especially now, after Google’s recent Speed Update.
Some of the  most effective ways to boost your website speed are:

  • Using a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Minimizing HTTP requests.
  • Cutting server response time.
  • Taking advantage of browser caching.
  • Enabling compression.

Becoming Mobile-Friendly

We’re living in the mobile-first era, where the number of mobile users is rising impressively fast. Precisely because of that, Google’s main aim is to make mobile users’ experience smoother. This is why they’ve introduced the mobile-first index earlier this year. In short, the search engine is now indexing the mobile version of your site when ranking it, not the desktop one.
Another significant trend that has skyrocketed the importance of mobile-friendly website design is voice search, which revolves around providing authoritative answers extremely fast. Therefore, to rank high in the SERPs, your new site needs to be highly responsive and mobile friendly.

  • Your content should be easy to follow. Leave lots of negative space, choose nice, legible fonts, and break the text into smaller paragraphs using headlines.
  • Use HTML5 to display your videos and animations, as Flash doesn’t work on smartphones. Add social buttons to a sidebar.
  • Your clickable elements should be easily tappable.
  • Your forms should be mobile-friendly, brief, and easy to fill out.
  • Calls to action should stand out and be unique and informative.
  • Use Google AMP to boost your mobile customers’ browsing experience.
Improving Your URL Structure.

When migrating to your new domain, you need to pay special attention to URL redirection. Namely, if you fail to guide your visitors from your old domain to the new one, you will ruin their experience with annoying 404 error messages. Not to mention their impact on your rankings and the mess they cause to your backlinks and internal link structure.
This is why you need to crawl your current site carefully to get a full list of its pages. Then, you need to map your previous URLs to the new ones and get 301 redirects to lead your visitors and search engines to your new site. This way, your pages will retain their authority and rankings.

Run Continuous Audits

Before your site goes live, you need to assess its performance. Your goal is to detect any problems that may affect your SEO efforts, such as missing meta tags or broken links, and eliminate them on time. If all elements of your sites are in order, you should add a new sitemap to your robots.txt file. All you need to do is submit it to have it crawled by Google once again and you’re golden.

Once your site is up and running, make sure you keep track of your key performance indicators regularly, including:

  • Organic search traffic
  • The click-through rate
  • Pageviews
  • Average time to new content
  • Keyword ranking
  • Domain authority
  • Landing page performance optimization

Comparing your new site’s performance to your old site’s one is important because it shows you the effects of your rebranding strategy. At first, you will see major fluctuations in terms of your rankings, website traffic, page authority, and indexed pages. It’s critical you keep tracking your KPIs to make sure they’ve gotten stable over time. This way, you will be able to see what practices work or don’t work for you and tailor your further SEO actions to them.

Over to You

As you can see from these examples, the process of rebranding goes far beyond choosing an awesome company name. Your goal is to build a solid brand identity that aligns with your company’s values and, at the same time, keep your rankings high. Precisely because of that, you shouldn’t consider migrating to the new domain and refurbishing your site a waste of time and resources. Build a solid and SEO-friendly rebranding strategy, plan your every step carefully, and start reaping the benefits of your rebranding efforts.

Any additional tips on rebranding? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Building an SEO-Friendly Rebranding Strategy appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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A company’s reputation can go south quickly, both from a traditional PR perspective and digitally. There are few things worse than when a bad piece of press or an article containing a scathingly poor review of your company makes page one of the SERPs for your target search terms.

Ian Lurie, EVP of Portent, a digital marketing agency in Seattle, in his white paper “Digital Marketing Strategy Done Right” calls these events “digital chaos factors” and says that’s it crucial to plan for them. He says that a proper digital strategy can either make or break you — and you can’t rely on just one tactic, or one channel on your team to combat this digital chaos. Preparation, and prevention, he says, can go a long way in softening the impact.

So how do you use SEO to manage your reputation? These nine powerful tactics will help you do just that.

1. Craft Unique Content In-House

During the wild west of SEO, the name of the game was volume at any cost. Many digital marketers equated creating content as executing a strategy. With enough volume, the gurus said, your brand would get all the traffic it needed. But content, Lurie says, “has become the zombie movie of digital marketing. If two zombies make a good plotline, five hundred thousand must be better.”
Too many marketers tried to do this, and now we’re in a content glut.

We should have always been creating strategically-crafted content for our audiences. But some marketers tried to cheat by outsourcing our brand messaging — this doesn’t work anymore.

To establish a brand identity that works, you need to craft unique content. This can’t be content cheaply produced for the sake of having it; your content must reflect your team’s unique expertise, be informed by real customer behaviour, and be data-driven.

It’s hard, and most firms don’t do it well. That means those of us who can execute effectively have a great opportunity to beat the competition.

2. Create Your Own Personal Brand

People love to do business with people, not with companies. Even B2B companies can anchor their branding around individual keywords that describe their brand.
For example, what unique services do you offer your customers? Are there search terms associated with your industry that your customers use when searching for solutions? Once you’ve identified these things, see which specific terms you can leverage in both your personal branding and SEO efforts.

One of the best examples of combining personal branding and SEO comes from Joanna Wiebe, the first “conversion copywriter.” Early in her career, she coined the term “conversion copywriter” to describe her niche. By using that term as her main SEO keyword, she dominated the “conversion copywriter” search results.

By marrying her personal brand and SEO keywords together, Joanna has created a highly-successful company.

There’s “conversion copywriting” in every industry – you just have to find yours.

3. Respond to Reviews

One survey reported that positive reviews make 73% of customers trust a local business more. Additionally, 85% of customers trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a friend’s recommendation.

More importantly, legitimate user reviews can affect your site rankings. The more users see good reviews, the more they’ll click through and share your site content. Search engines see this and reward your hard work with higher rankings. On the other hand, bad reviews – or worse, no reviews – can harm your ranking.

So how do you ensure reviews contribute to your SEO instead of harming it?

  • Appreciate good reviews: When someone takes the time to give your business five stars, show your gratitude. A simple “Thanks for the good review!” is enough to merit goodwill.
  • Clarify errors in bad reviews: If a customer claims something negative about your business, politely correct them without dismissing their feedback.
  • Apologize for bad reviews: Even if a customer is being unreasonable, apologizing for their bad experience shows other users you’re fair, polite, and worth giving a second chance.

Responding to user reviews properly seems easy – when you’re not doing it. In the moment, when someone personally insults your employees or makes an unfair comment about your business, responding well is a challenge.

4. Concentrate On Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction has a direct impact on your reputation and site ranking. Remember how we mentioned massive amounts of content used to help sites get higher search rankings? That all changed because Google figured out how to measure user satisfaction.

If a search result delivers on the promise, users spend longer on your site. This signals to Google that your content is high quality and delivers on what users are searching for. This, in turn, increases your site ranking.

That means you need to focus on giving value to your audience on every page you rank. Like planning content, you should rely on your site analytics to let you know what customers really want from your site. What pages are they visiting? Do you have insights into the kinds of search terms they’re using? How can you add more value to your organic traffic user experience?
Taking the time to consider these questions as you develop your site experience and content naturally results in a better reputation with customers and higher rankings.

5. Conduct Online PR

From pitching stories to distributing press releases, conducting online PR can be a cost-effective way to expand your brand reputation. Not only does this coverage build your brand, but it also provides your site with high-quality, trusted backlinks – that’s a recipe for great rankings.

Depending on how in-depth you want to get with PR, there are tools to identify opportunities for press coverage and guest blogging opportunities.

Just make sure to optimize those press releases for SEO before you send them out.

6. Deal with Copyright Issues

Google doesn’t like pirates. It regularly removes search results due to DMCA takedown notices. These happen when a copyright owner files a complaint stating a website is unlawfully sharing intellectual property.

Since Google has a legal requirement to respond to DMCA notices within a certain time frame, the search engine often errs on the side of caution. To avoid getting slapped with a copyright infringement penalty, respond to DMCA takedown notices quickly if you receive any. If you serve user-generated content on your site, create an easily-accessible link in your footer.

7. Brand Advertising

Though organic SEO can deliver a remarkable ROI over time, paid advertising lets you immediately gain brand awareness. Remember, your brand doesn’t actually have to be big to feel big. If you’re everywhere around the web through brand advertising, your potential customers will be much more aware of your brand than if you relied exclusively on organic awareness.

For example, you can retarget website visitors with cost-effective brand advertising to reinforce your message. Here’s an example from Birchbox:

(Image via Unbounce)

In a simple ad, Birchbox reinforces its brand image, audience, and positioning.

Here’s another example of brand advertising from Monday, the project management tool:

(Via Hubspot)

In this ad, the brand proposition from Monday is clear: it’s a visual project management tool designed for Mac users.

Brand advertising has another upside besides awareness: paid social boosts SEO, so you’re getting a double-benefit through your brand advertising. While you wait for your SEO work to kick in and start attracting organic traffic, create a brand persona and make it more familiar with the world (with examples).

8. Monitoring Brand Activities

The key to managing your reputation is responding quickly to your brand mentions. Positive mentions are an opportunity to leverage new relationships and grow your presence. Negative coverage should also be dealt with and resolved quickly before issues grow into bigger problems. But often, you don’t know if your brand is being discussed at all unless the dialogue is happening on channels you own. That’s where tools like mention.com, Google Alerts, and Brand24 help.

With these tools, you can receive reports whenever someone across social and web channels mentions specific keywords – including your brand. This makes it simple to spot mentions early, helping with your reputation management.

For example, say you find an influencer is mentioning your brand and saying how much she or he is a fan. You might send this influencer a thank you gift to build your relationship, and possibly earn more social links in the future.

Remember, social signals affect rankings. Spending the time to monitor and engage with brand activities can have a direct effect on your search rankings.

9. Dealing with Negative SEO Attacks by Competitors

If your site suddenly drops in search rankings, it’s possible you’re experiencing a negative SEO attack from a competitor. This is when a site owner deliberately points spammy, low-quality links at your site with the intent of having your site penalized by Google.

If you’re using a tool like SEMrush to monitor your site’s backlinks, you’ll probably notice when you’re under attack fairly quickly. A sudden influx of backlinks from low-quality sites is a good indicator something’s up. Other times, you may receive a manual penalty notice. When this happens, you’ll need to use Google Webmaster Tools to manually disavow any bad links. This in-depth article from Ahrefs discusses how to detect and fight negative SEO in detail.

The days of focusing on a single aspect of digital marketing – such as content or keyword optimization – have ended. In order to build an organic, relevant audience for your business, you need to consider all of the above methods for SEO-based reputation management. Lurie points out that planning for this digital chaos can prevent a lot of heartaches and work down the road. Call out your potential digital chaos factors, then create a plan for each one of them.

To learn more about the importance of reputation management and SEO, call TechWyse Internet Marketing at 866.208.3095 or contact us here.

The post 9 Powerful Tactics in Reputation Management SEO appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already using Google Analytics (GA) to help you gather data to assist you in making better business decisions. Though everyone’s goals and objectives are different, analytics data can be invaluable in providing insight regarding the type of customers that visit and engage with your site, as well as their journey from start to finish. It’s safe to say that the commonality would include increasing qualified traffic through various sources and increasing conversions via phone call, forms or sales through a checkout cart.

The beauty with GA is that you can break down traffic into various categories known as advanced segments. GA segmentation allows you to group visitors depending on the characteristics they may share. GA collects this data through cookies on browsers and/or sites they visit, how long they stay on a site, their screen size, and their specific page views. The good news is, GA already has segments laid out for you in order to capture certain data. It also allows you to customize your segmented traffic into different categories that can be further segmented into sub-categories or groups.

What Segments Should You Have?

The type of business you have will determine the type of advanced segments you will create and pay attention to. For example, you may want to A/B test two landing pages to see which performs better, including figuring out which of the two pages visitors tend to click on more often. You can compare whether various site pages are performing better with this data. Perhaps you want to find out the behaviour pattern, demographics or age group, what device they are using and what country or the city they are located in. All this can be captured by creating advanced segments within GA.

GA has an awesome comparison feature that allows you to compare data. You can, for example, use this feature to compare whether mobile devices convert better than desktops, perhaps because it loads faster. Depending on the demographics, they might be using mobile devices more than desktops to visit your site. Consumers often look for the most efficient way to buy a product or service; filling a form or adding items to a cart needs to be immediate and effortless. As a result, creating a page that has a responsive design is critical to ensure leads turn into conversions.

The question is, where in the GA dashboard do you create the segmentation filters? We’ve got you covered.

First, you need to go to the advanced segments menu located in the reporting area at the top left of the page. There you will see the advanced segment selection box.

When segmenting data for the purpose of A/B testing, it’s best to use behavioural data. This kind of data can provide better context as to how consumers behave on your page by providing engagement data for your pages. Below is a breakdown of groups that you can create that can provide more detailed insights to the various groups.

Customer Journey of Your Most Valuable Traffic Source

This can vary in the customer journey, and knowing where your customers come from can be valuable information when assisting them throughout their journey.

-Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc.

-Google search engine,

-Display Advertising,

-Direct Traffic,

-Search Engine Marketing,

-Email and Newsletter.

Paid Search Visitor Type

This can generate massive potential value and help with your business analysis:

-Paid Traffic: Google, Bing, Facebook

-Organic Traffic: Google SEO

-Brand Name Keywords

-Keywords with specific keywords included

Type of Visits

-New visitor

-Returning

-Current client/customer or new client/customer

-Type of device used: mobile, desktop, iPad, type of browser

Location

Markets can be broken down into towns, cities, countries etc.

-local

-national

-global/international

A custom report is a great way to review this.

Content Viewed

-entrance or landing page

-service or product page

-e-commerce cart checkout completion

Landing Page

This data can be valuable, as it’ll help you determine how your website visitors behave. Customers can come to your landing pages with their own expectations as to what they’re looking to buy. The landing page group can pinpoint the point of entry for your customers to give you a clearer picture on where they are on their buyer journey. Information like bounce rate, pages per visit, and conversion rate can paint a picture as to how well your landing pages are performing.

Action Taken

-form filled out

-downloaded a pdf

-completed a checkout

Demographics

In setting up this advanced segment, you will have to create custom variables to capture customer data. They, therefore, would provide their age, gender, business type, business sector, business size, and business role.

To do so, you have to set up custom variables on GA via Google Cookie. These variables will trigger when customers fill out a form with their profile details and browsing information, as well as undergoing a search or making a purchase (product or service).

You should be aware that Google can penalize you for adding personal information to cookies without a consumer’s consent. This can include collecting email addresses, or unique visitor personal details.

Engagement

-Less < or greater >  than

The engagement group can be very handy if you are looking to test whether a page is performing well or not. The group can provide customizable data specific to your needs. For example, if you are looking to analyze how well the engagement on your website is, you can filter the data so that only metrics greater or less than what you want to analyze will appear.

Technology Platform

-mobile

-desktop

-browser and version

-screen resolution

You can set up the segments that allow you to compare behavioural traffic and website performance year over year or month over month. With a responsive design, you may find a difference in desktop popularity compared to the following year, an increase in the use of mobile to surf your website. The insight thus is valuable in allowing the business owner to focus on making sure the mobile version is conversion friendly.

So, there you go. Setting up GA will not only provide great insight into your web traffic it can assist in making the best and most accurate business decisions for you. Good luck and happy (advanced) segmenting!

For more information on how you can use Google Analytics to take your business to the next level, call TechWyse Internet Marketing at 866.208.3095 or contact us here.

The post How to Use Advanced Segments in Google Analytics appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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We’ve come a long way from the rotary phone. With our mobiles, we can text and call anyone from anywhere, but even more revolutionary is the ability to search for real-time business information. You can find store hours, if a new book is in, and even order food with the press of a button. Now, we’re entering a new age of mobile functionality and SEO optimization thanks to voice search.

Small businesses everywhere are starting to add voice search for local SEO to prepare themselves for the near future where 50 percent of all searches on Google will be voice and image searches by 2020, according to ComScore.

People are using voice more every year as leading mobile devices increasingly develop proprietary voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant on Androids. The opportunity voice search SEO optimization provides is incredible for driving traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. Now you know you why Amazon is opening physical stores…

Voice search for local SEO is your best bet to take on Amazon and the big box stores by leveraging mobile voice search to create the most convenient and intuitive user experience that drives foot traffic to your store.

Voice Search SEO Facts:

(source: @PurnaVirji)

  • Voice labs found that there were a total of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation
  • In a keynote speech, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches
  • Teenagers are savvy users of voice search, but Thrive Analytics found that people in all age groups use mobile personal assistants
  • In 2015, 1.7 million voice-first devices were shipped. In 2016, that number increased to 6.5 million devices. VoiceLabs predicts that in 2017, 24.5 million voice-first devices will be shipped.
  • Google disclosed that “near me” searches have grown more than 130% YoY
  • Recent data from NPR and Edison Research shows that 16% of Americans now own a smart speaker
  • 75 percent of smart speaker owners perform searches for local businesses on a weekly basis, and an astonishing 53 percent say they perform these searches every day, according to BrightLocal
What is Voice Search?

(source: Moz)

“Hey Google, what’s the best Indian restaurant near me?”

Voice search lets you be conversational with your search queries and is contextual with the information your business has included on its Google My Business listing. Location, store details, and business hours is just some of the information Google will quickly crawl to provide the most relevant answer to a user’s search query. The algorithm will also take into account reputation. This is done by accessing your reviews and star in order to provide credibility for voice search long tail optimizations that include keywords like “best.”

Voice search utilizes the full power of artificial intelligence. Algorithms like Google’s RankBrain can identify the nuances in your speech without the user having to rely on “computer language” SEO to find the most relevant answer. Since it’s artificial intelligence, it also becomes smarter with every conversation.

You might optimize your pages to rank for keywords like “hardware store Toronto” or “cheap clothes for sale Toronto” but with voice search, you need to optimize the copy above the fold to be long tail and sound conversational – usually five words or more. They’re also 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches, which plays a big role in user intent.

To create the optimal online reputation, here is what the ideal local business should have online:

  • have continually good or quick-growing review ratings
  • regularly get online articles linking to their websites
  • get talked about on social media
  • have listings in town directories
How to Optimize Voice Search for Local SEO

(source: BrightLocal)

Voice search optimization in 2018 is about including questions and answers to relevant questions about your business. The effectiveness of your voice search depends on how easily Google and Bing can crawl your site so optimizing with rich snippets so it’s in “position zero” on SERP. That way, it’s the obvious answer for voice search both on mobile devices and on at-home devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa.

  1. Structured Data Markup

By applying the correct schemas, search engines can better understand your site and its content. Use Schema.org to find the crucial markups for your site, because beyond keyword optimization, you need to provide search engines with context.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

Your FAQ page can be used for more than a reference for people on your site. Use your FAQ page to drive voice and organic traffic by optimizing with long tail keywords. Tools like answerthepublic.com are great for compiling exact keyword match phrases that you can markup with schema to answer voice search queries. Be sure your answer to each question is one to two sentences long. You may also need to create several pages in order for algorithms crawling for voice search queries to better pull information from your site.

  1. Rich Snippets

Perhaps one of the beneficial aspects of voice search for businesses is that devices like Google Home will actually cite the source of the information they’re pulling. It will even send the user a link to your site on the Google Home app. In order to create a powerful trust factor like being cited in the answer for a voice search query, you must add rich snippets that put your page in position zero on SERP. Optimize long tails to include keywords like “store hours”, “near me”, and “price” so that you can take advantage of a mobile user’s GPS to drive foot traffic.

Mobile Optimization

Most marketers aware that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches which is why it’s more important than ever to be optimized for mobile. This means compressing images and creating pages that provide a seamless mobile user experience. If a page is too slow to load, a user will bounce and hurt your keyword rankings and lose your snippet in position zero if you drop off the first page of SERP.

You should also keep in mind Google’s E-A-T (stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) core algorithm update back in April 2018. Essentially, it means the credibility of your site is based both on the credentials of the author and the site. Factors that influence your rankings include reviews, education and job experience of the author, and a natural, growing backlink profile. All of which can impact your success in voice search SEO rankings.

If you would like to learn more about what cutting-edge SEO and CRO can do for your small business, then call TechWyse today at 866.208.3095 or contact us here.

The post Why Small Businesses Need to Optimize for Voice Search SEO appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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To increase your website traffic on Google, closely following their frequent updates is a must. It’s everyone’s goal to be the #1 search result on Google, but have you ever considered the power of being #0? What does being #0 mean, and how can you jump over the #1 search result to be featured? Google’s featured snippets are definitely a topic of interest for SEO experts, and for good reason.

What are the benefits of a featured snippet, and how can you get your content featured? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know, so keep on reading to learn more about featured snippets.

 What are Featured Snippets?

You might have come across featured snippets while doing some research of your own on Google. For your question-based query, Google might have answered it with a snippet. Featured snippets are the answers to your questions given in a box in ‘position zero’ on the first page.

For example, imagine that you have searched for “how to write quality content?

Here, your question-based query has been met with a snippet providing answers. Usually, these answers are taken from a source on page one of the Google results, but it can also be pulled from page two, three or even down the SERP line. Snippets allow you to get answers without clicking on any links or pages. Google snippets will be displayed in numbers, bullets or in a paragraph. Here is an example of an answer displayed in a paragraph:

Why are featured snippets important for ranking?

By ranking in the position zero, you will rank above the first result in the organic search lists — and in this case, being #0 is the best place you can be in. There has been quite a bit of confusion among SEO experts surrounding featured snippets. Many believed that featured snippets would have a negative impact on the number of people clicking the pages, but this proved to be untrue — in reality, click-through-rates for sites with content in a featured snippet have drastically increased.

It’s true that getting featured increases the exposure of your brand in search results, and it has been reported that click-through rates (CTR) on a feature page increased by 6% (from 2% to 8%) when it is provided in an answer box. It’s also been reported that pages with a featured snippet see an increase of 30% in traffic.

Types of featured snippets

There are three types of featured snippet types:

  • Answers in the form of a list
  • Answers given in a table
  • Answers given as a paragraph

Getstat has reported that the most popular type of featured snippet are those presented as paragraphs. The percentage of total paragraph snippets is 81.95% whereas list snippets come in second at 10.77%, and table snippets are last in place at 7.28%.

Are featured snippets “answer boxes?”

Many individuals refer featured snippets as “answer boxes.” This is because sometimes a question is asked, the answer is presented in a box without linking to the source. Google gives quick answers to basic questions, as shown in the image below.

Let’s consider a featured snippet with a URL included in the box. The URL featured will have extra exposure which is quite helpful for those who publish content, as it will help drive traffic to their site.

What are the chances of getting featured?

Research by Ahrefs reports that almost 99% of featured snippets come from websites that rank within the first page of search results. This means that if your site already ranks well in certain search queries, you have a leg up on the competition when it comes to winning the spot as a featured snippet. Getstat states that pages don’t necessarily have to be the #1 search result to be featured; 70% of snippets come pages that are not in the first position.

How can you get featured on Google?

The factors that make your content appear in a featured snippet were unclear for some time. Some SEO experts concluded that Scheme.org was behind the snippets display, but this proved to be untrue. It’s also important to note that structured data doesn’t have any impact whether your site is chosen for a featured snippet or not.

According to Content Marketing Institute, you can increase your chances of your content appearing in a featured snippet by:

  1. Creating content specifically to answer questions
  2. Know the questions your readers are asking
  3. Create high-quality content
  4. Aim to provide the best answer
  5. Have question and answer pages on your site

In addition to these basic practices, good keyword research is a must. Studies reveal that long-tail keywords are a trigger to view featured snippets. In fact, the more the words entered into the search box, the greater the chance will be that a user will view a featured snippet.

You can also search Google for more options. Try to explore the “People also ask” section it in the search results. It will give you an idea of which questions Google relates to your query.

When you start detailing the queries, more questions will be added to the box at the bottom.

It is advisable to find out search queries even if you rank on the first page. Try to find out which phrases your rank is being given. To find out the number of clicks for your phrases, use Google Search Console.

source: Google search console

Here are a few additional tips to create content that has a higher chance of being in a featured snippet:

  • Beyond these steps, you can get answers by asking readers, followers, and customers about how they get answers to their questions.
  • Discover related keywords from your friends and followers using Seed Keyword tool and then share the results on social media to guide the followers to type the keywords they need to use to solve it.
How do you optimize featured snippets?

The first step to optimizing your page for a featured snippet is focusing on, on-page SEO.

Here are some tips to help you get featured easily:

1. Answer concisely

Google tends to feature an answer when it is given in a paragraph. The average length of their featured paragraphs are 45-97 words, so use this as a basic guideline when creating content for common search queries. This is the average range of words to get featured. But this doesn’t mean your content should only contain one paragraph. If you start employing useful tips like asking a question in the subheading and provide a one-paragraph answer along with an article elaboration, you will be more likely to get featured.

Source: Moz

2. Organize your answers and be factual

Having accurate information your website is imperative, especially when you’re trying to get featured in a snippet. When creating content, remember to include lists, numbers and steps in your answers. If your answer contains comparison charts and lists you will be likely to get featured, as Google picks up tables from other sites, even for branded questions.

3. Be sure one article has similar questions searched on Google

You might have seen that once a query is asked, a lot of similar queries will be featured. This means the questions must be asked in the content in a way that it can address similar questions, too.

For example: if the query is “How do you use vitamin E oil on hair?” the featured content should also have a similar question, such as”How do you apply vitamin E on hair?”

4. Proper organizing of questions is a must

Organize closely related questions in your article. Use generic keywords and specific questions that can be used as the main title; specific queries for subheadings will help to define a proper structure.

Source: Serpstat

4. Use images

Featured snippets in paragraphs with attractive hero images are aesthetically pleasing, and Google loves it. Creating a branded, eye-catching image to enhance aesthetic appeal, and get featured. You can also add your logo in all article images for increased brand exposure when you get featured.

5. Don’t forget to analyze your performance

Monitor your performance on Ahrefs for queries you’re featured for. By taking note of the type of content you’re featured for, you’ll have a better idea of how to tailor other content on your website to increase your chances of being featured for other queries.

Source: Ahrefs

Getting your content in a featured snippet and nabbing the place of #0 on Google is an attainable goal. Snippets are designed to give the best answers to queries, so if you have high-quality, reliable content, you have a great chance of getting featured. While there’s no ultimate rule you need to follow or surefire way to get featured, following the tips and tricks we’ve outlined here will definitely increase your chances. By integrating these practices into your content marketing strategy, it’s more likely that your content will be chosen for a featured snippet on Google.

The post How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets to Increase Traffic appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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When the topic of link building strategies is brought up, it’s usually followed by some confusion as to how these tactics actually work — and that’s totally understandable! Up until the last five years or so, the art of advanced link building techniques was shrouded in mystery, with most SEO experts opting to hold onto their “special sauce” rather than sharing it with the community.

But guess what?

The cat is out of the bag.

Not only are thought leaders in the industry unveiling their best types of backlinks in SEO, they are publishing step-by-step guides and even developing software and tools to help with the process of link prospecting and placement. At the time of writing this blog, this link building guide by Brian Dean has been shared almost 10k times.

If there was ever a time for marketing professionals, content creators, and business owners to empower themselves with a deeper understanding of off-page search engine optimization techniques, that time would be now.

Our Favourite Link Building Strategy

As you may have guessed by the title of this blog, one of our favorite link building strategies involves utilizing advanced search operators to uncover websites related to a particular keyword or niche that are actively looking for writers and contributors (that’s you).

What is a search operator?

A search operator is a query that involves a particular order of words and characters to generate a specific search result.

Why would a website owner publish your content on their site with a backlink?

The biggest challenge for any and every blog or editorial style website is having enough content to satisfy their audience and remain current. By opening up their submissions to the public via guest posts, website owners can have a steady stream of content pieces submitted, often times for free.

It’s a win-win situation: they get fresh content for their website, and you get your article published with a link back to your site or web page, which can improve your website rank in Google.

1. Use Search Operators to Find Opportunities

Here are the advanced search operators we like to use for link prospecting:

keyword intitle:”write for us”

keyword intitle:”write for me”

Keyword  intitle:”contribute to”

Keyword “submit a guest post”

Keyword inurl:/guest-post/

Keyword “guest post”

Keyword “accepting guest posts”

Keyword “guest post guidelines”

Keyword “guest author”

Keyword “guest article”

Keyword “become a contributor”

inpostauthor:guest keyword

inpostauthor:”guest blog” keyword

inpostauthor:”guest post” keyword

Copy and paste search operator into Google, replacing “keyword” with your actual topic or broad keyword phrase. To get the best results, try to search using broad topics and phrases related to your business.

For example, let’s say we’re looking for guest post opportunities for a local gym that’s just launched their new website. In the screenshot below, we’ve replaced “keyword” with yoga. This is one of the classes that they offer, and it has a passionate audience:

From one search operator and one keyword we’ve now uncovered 8000+ websites looking for people to write yoga related content! As tempting as it may be to scrape every one of those results into a spreadsheet using something like Web Scraper, try to avoid the temptation and stay focused on quality over quantity.

Go through each of those search operators, put in the topic you want to write about, and enter the sites you like into a spreadsheet organized by topic.

2. Qualify Prospects With a Little Detective Work

Personally, this is the fun part. As I mentioned, it’s not about contacting every single website that’s looking for content on the topic you’ve selected — it’s about contacting the right website.

Why?

Because the true benefit of guest blogging is in the relationships you build with other thought leaders in your community, who also happen to write for or own websites and likely have large email lists and social media followings. These relationships are critical when it comes to your long term SEO and content strategy.

So, you have a list of awesome prospects who are looking for content on your topic. The next step is to use paid (or free) tools to gather some metrics about that website, which will help you validate them as qualified opportunities.

Which metrics should I pay attention to when link prospecting?

Great question. Here are some of the metrics we look over when validating link prospects:

  • Domain Authority (DA) – Is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that gauges how well a website can rank in the search engine result pages.
  • Spam Score – Also developed by Moz, spam scores are calculated out of 17. The lower the score of your prospect’s website, the better. Anything over 3 is too high.
  • Website Traffic – How much traffic the blog gets each month and from where. If you’re trying to improve your website rank on Google.ca, then acquiring links from websites that receive Canadian traffic would be beneficial.
  • Social Media Following – How many followers does the website have on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. Are the lights on or off?
  • Blog Subscribers – Does their blog have RSS or email subscribers? Will the blog you contribute be distributed throughout their subscriber list?
  • Blog Comments – Is the blog dead in the water or active? If you see zero comments on every single blog post this might be cause for alarm, depending on the type of content.
  • Post Frequency – Do they post content every day? Three times a day? Or three times per year? Again, just get a feel for whether or not this is an active community.

Number of Backlinks – Are other websites actively linking to the blog? This is where the real “SEO juice” comes from. Getting a backlink from a website with a lot of backlinks ensures authority and trust passes on to your domain, boosting your ranking.

What are the best SEO tools for website analysis?

Another great question. Here are some of the best tools you can use to analyze potential websites for placement:

MozBar (Free) – Coined as “Your free all-in-one SEO toolbar for research on the go,” MozBar has become a standard for SEO analysis among amateurs and professionals alike. MozBar will give you metrics such as Page Authority, Domain Authority, # of Backlinks, and Spam Score.

Ahrefs Toolbar (Free) – Ahrefs has quickly become one of the leading all-in-one digital marketing tools out there. With their free SEO toolbar, you can pretty much pull any metric on a domain, whether it’s one you own, a competitor, or a prospect. We personally find it to have the most accurate backlink database out of all the tools available.

SEOquake Extension (Free) – With over 3 million downloads to date, SEOquake has definitely solidified its position within the SEO tools marketplace. Quickly audit domains on the fly, pull social, domain, and backlink metrics in one convenient browser extension. This is more of a toolkit, with a SEObar, dashboard, SERP overlay, and keyword analysis modules.

Note: Each of these SEO tools offers a paid or pro version, which requires a monthly subscription. Are they worth the price tag? Absolutely.

Under no circumstance should you rush your detective work? Be a stickler for quality and have a clear idea of the type of websites you want your website to be associated with. If this stage is done correctly, not only will you gain backlinks but you will also gain referral traffic, subscribers, and fans — all of which help boost your trust and ranking.

Anyone can leave a comment on a blog, or post up a question on a web forum for an “easy” backlink — but do those links really stick? Not really.

Link building has transformed over the years into link earning, and the practice of earning relevant, high-value backlinks for your business has evolved into such tactics as guest blogging, press release submissions, sponsored content, and content marketing.

As we’ve demonstrated today, with a little bit of search prowess and some detective work, almost anyone can uncover awesome opportunities to acquire backlinks, make connections, and grow your business online.

The post Link Building Strategies: Securing Relevant Backlinks Using Search Operators + a Little Detective Work appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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