2015 SEO AND Beyond. Enter the Search Engines for Business.

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1 2015 SEO AND Beyond Enter the Search Engines for Business

2 Including SEO Into Your 2015 Marketing Campaign SEO in 2015 is tremendously different than it was just a few years ago. What should you expect for 2015 and how should you prepare? According to a recent Gartner survey, we will continue to see an increase focus on SEO and improving the customer experience. These statistics show that on average, businesses will spend at least 10% of their annual revenue on marketing; and of that budget, 50 percent of these companies plan on investing in Digital Marketing and better SEO practices. SEO has changed, and for the better. The purpose in making these search engine modifications is to minimize or eliminate the positive positioning low-quality, spam websites in the search engines; and to offer more credit to websites with good quality content, those that perform good search engine optimization practices. This guide serves as a paradigm for SEO experts. We will be demonstrating the top 2015 Internet trends that help with one of the highest exposure for Branding, fulfilling organic search aspects of online targeted traffic, optimizing your website to get higher search engine (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) ranking, and dominate your business online presence. As you concentrate and use tips found throughout this guide, keep in mind that SEO is not a one-time process but a series of activities that need to be monitored, maintained and updated consistently, especially because every SEO strategy out there is likely to change over time.

3 Latest Google Algorithm Updates You Should Know In the past there were people who abused search engine technology; using keywords and link building in an unethical way through spam and irrelevant content. This led to audience dissatisfaction and the inability to search for information that was useful. A few years ago, when a reader conducted a search for a keyword, the listings came up filled with ads and skimpy content; these usually didn t have any real relevant or quality information; and when this was available, it was often skimpy information written by inexperienced writers. As a result Google and other search engines took action back in 2011, with a first, very important, search engine algorithm update. Ultimately, this and other updates allowed the search engines to distinguish sites filled with good content from those that were spam filled. The following are the updates that Google has recently implemented: Google Panda The first notable change to the way SEO related processes had to be changed came out in This was the update that sent many first page search engine listings with low quality content decreased in rankings, and brought many websites that cared about fresh and useful content into search engine visibility. Google Penguin Followed in 2012 by what is known as the Google Penguin update, this was an algorithm created to penalize webmasters who continued to find an unethical way around Google s new SEO guidelines, and continued to build spam links. Today, links are still an important part of SEO; however, these need to be quality links that come from sites that are also relevant. Google Hummingbird An update released in 2013, which continued to perfect the capabilities of listing a website based on its key search term. The focus is to understand what the user is searching for based on his intent more than on the exact keywords. Google Payday Loans Released in 2013, with the purpose of counter acting the unethical practices of businesses with large digital marketing budgets such as the Payday loan industry, this update was created to clean up the results obtained from queries, especially those that were spam filled. Google Pigeon By mid-2014 Google had implemented another important update, called the Pigeon. This algorithm was directed at how the search engine ranked and displayed local listings. Regardless of the updates that Google implemented within the last 4 years. The purpose has always been to perform high quality and effective indexing, and to promote websites who use these effective SEO practices and guidelines.

4 Word Press, recommended by Search Engines When it comes to effective SEO, one of the best content management platforms you can use is WordPress. In fact, over the years WordPress has become so much more than just a blogging platform, and many website owners prefer to create an entire website using the platform. Why? Precisely because of the tools, plugins and structure that allows for better Search Engine Optimization. WordPress is a platform that has evolved into a versatile and very robust content management system (CMS), and while there are site owners who still use it to create a simple blog, many people use it to create a functional business website and even mobile applications. In fact, according to recent data, WordPress now powers about 22.5% of all websites on the Internet. Advantages of CMS Freshness of Content Use of Templates Access &Update Websites from Anywhere Easy Availability of Plugins & Widgets Good For SEO Mobile Optimization Mobile traffic currently makes up 10% of the overall traffic. They have become an important element in the SEO process as they increase sales and generate more organic traffic. So websites that are created to display on mobile devices just as well as they do on computers will lead to more purchases; especially those that are impulse buy, as people will visit mobile optimized sites while waiting in line, on break or when using public transport systems. If a site is not optimized for mobile, those shoppers will more likely to go somewhere else, and a bad mobile experience can damage the company s brand. Google are implementing into their algorithm to check if a website may or may not work on certain devices. Check if your website is optimize for mobile by using the Google Mobile Test.

5 Preparing Your Website With Webmaster Tools Most Search Engine Optimization professionals rely on important tools that helps guide their way. One of these tools is the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), this tool help sheds insight into the technical aspects of the website, illustrating search queries, and areas that are lacking or missing. GWT offers important analytical data like crawl stats (how many pages the crawlers have found), page errors, keywords found, rich snippets, code errors and more. GWT is an important tool for finding basic on-page improvements for on-site SEO. The following are a few indicators where Google Webmaster Tools can bring insight into how well your website is performing. HTML Improvements GWT shows you where your site s HTML needs improving. It takes snapshots of issues your site may have in the metadescriptions, title tags or any other content that isn t indexing or duplicate content. Content Keywords Here you ll also see how Google sees your site and what it believes your site is ranking for. This allows you to verify whether those are the proper keywords for your site by determining their quality of Impressions, Click Through Rate, or Average Position. Sitemaps A section that allows you to see the sitemap that Google has found and indexed. Essentially the Google Webmaster Tools helps you streamline the website and create easy on-page SEO fixes. The above features are just a few of the features available. There are many more ways in which GWT can help, and most of these are easy to understand and use.

6 Setting Up Google Analytics for Tracking Once you start optimizing your website for search and traffic sources; when you start any online marketing campaigns, you will want to know which of your efforts are getting you better results, and the best way to get these metrics is to use Google Analytics. Four of the main areas that SEO experts look at when using Google Analytics are: Acquisition The amount of traffic the search engines send to the site, the growth rate over a period of days or weeks. Keywords The terms people are typing into the search engines to get to the website and which terms are bringing in the most traffic. Content Performance A feature that indicates which pages perform better and bring in more search traffic. Bounce Rate This is the percentage of people that arrive at a site and leave too quickly. As Avinash Kaushik, Google evangelist says, I Came, I Puked, I Left. The bounce rate informs you of the type of content that works well and of the content that doesn t.

7 How to Optimize For Search Engines There are two key elements to the way search engines work, and you need to understand these before you start jumping into any SEO process. The first is to understanding how the search engine work and the second is to understanding search engines relationship to a website. Search Engine Spider Bots The job of the search engines is to provide lists of pages that relate to a search term that a reader inserts into the search box. Consequently, the search engines need to distinguish the pages that relate to certain specific keywords (search terms). To list a website correctly it must determine what keywords or topics to which your website relates. Bots are designed to crawl a website s content - just as a person reads a newspaper page. They start at the top left hand corner and read the content line by line from left to right. This reading allows the search engine to index the site according to the content it finds. One of the most basic principles of effective SEO is to provide clear paths for the search spider bots to follow throughout the website. This is accomplished by offering easy to follow text and links that are directed to important pages on the site and to an overall text based sitemap, which lists and updates every page on the site. Even so, offering clear and concise directions for the website bots is only half the battle. The other half lies in the orientation of the site content. Complete Website Audit Help search engines build a relationship with your website by initiating a website s analysis process. This is especially important when the website is an existing one. But you should take your time to analyze this step even with a new website.

8 Ask yourself these questions to determine what your SEO activities should focus on: 1. Are your chosen keywords used in the content? And are these consistent throughout? 2. Are the images optimized for keywords? 3. Does the site have strong Meta descriptions? 4. Is there an SEO Title? 5. Does the site use properly structured data markup? 6. Is there a proper URL structure and are keywords used in at least some of the page URLs? 7. Do the pages link to other pages contextually within the site? 8. Are there content links to other authoritative websites? Those questions that you answer No to will give you an idea of what SEO activities you need to focus on.

9 Begin with Keyword Research, Analyze, and Optimize The best place to find your targeted keywords is to use the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner, a tool that helps you identify the keywords people have actually searched for that relates to your niche. This offers statistics on the average number of searches people have made for a keyword per month. Types of Keywords Once signed up for the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, you can type in any general keyword pertaining to your industry and get a long list that you can select those that best refer to your niche. When selecting keywords, you want to place these into two categories, that of commercial keywords and informational keywords. For instance, if your site were about dentistry, you might choose dentstry as an informational keyword and dental services as a commercial keyword. Why? Well because someone looking for dentistry may only be looking for information on Dentists, whereas someone who types in dental services may actually be looking for the actual commercial service. Search Volume vs. Competition When you type in a keyword inside the Keyword Planner, the tool will return a list of related keywords. Keep in mind that keywords with the highest search volume will likely have the most competition, but these also tend to be the keywords that are only one or two words long. Note: The Keyword Planner displays the competition column; pay no attention to this as this is for advertisement usage with Google Adwords. That s where long tailed keywords can come in handily. These are keywords that are three to four words. So again if your keywords were dentistry a long-tailed version might be the best dental services. The advantage to using long-tail keywords is that you can rank easier for and a higher chances that the competition may be much lower.

10 Competition Analysis Before you start targeting a new keyword, you should also evaluate the difficulty in competing for the market under that term. You do this by analyzing the difficulty for a particular keyword to rank on the search engine. This difficulty varies depending on how the competition is ranked for the keyword. We can determine this by using Site Explores such as MajesticSEO, ahrefs, or OpenSiteExplorer by Moz. Usually the higher their Domain Authority, Page Authority, Age of Domain, types of Links pointed to them, and even their proper use of On Page SEO would mean the higher the competition. Primary, Secondary, Additional Keywords Once you find the best keywords for your website, you ll want to prioritize them by determining which main keyword you want to rank, then the second keyword to rank for after, and so on. Depending on the competition to rank a keyword, it is recommended that you focus on one keyword before going after the next.

11 The Ultimate On-Page Optimization We ve established that one of the most important factors is on-page optimization. And yes this involves the integration of keywords into content. However, when optimizing each and every page of a website, there are several ways to focus your efforts. Keyword Density Within The Page Content Within your webpage content you need to use your selected targeted keywords that tell the search engine spiders where to index these pages. In order to get these pages indexed, create copy that is relevant to your niche. It needs to be clear, engaging, easy-to-understand and attractive, but it also needs to have targeted keywords within the body of the text that are relevant to the audience you want to attract. The secret to doing this lies in targeting the right keywords but not using them too often. There is no official number of times or percentage to use keywords within a piece of copy, but if the focus is to overuse keywords, these can damage the content, making it incoherent, uninteresting and can even get you banned by the search engines. To prevent this from happening, use synonyms or phrase terms to create natural SEO within the body of text and prevent the dumbing down of the information; adding these intelligent keywords help optimize your website. SEO Title One of the most important places to locate a page s focus keyword is in the Title of the web page. The SEO title should always contain one of the keywords you are trying to rank on the search engines for. It is recommended that you use 55 characters; if you want an easy tool to determine this, use the Moz Title tag preview. Make sure you don t over optimize the title by repeating the same keywords; this usually gives more weight than then the content on your webpage.

12 Meta Description Most SEO specialists suggest that meta-descriptions no longer influence the way search engines index and rank a website. Yet, despite the fact that meta-descriptions no longer play an important role in Google Rankings, they are still important as these inform the reader of the content of your page and increase your click-through rate. This is a 160 character phrase that tells the searcher what your website is about. Image Optimization Images also play a role for on-page optimization. Changing the file name to your keyword will also let search engines know what your website is about. The image ALT text should also be used, it helps with relevancy, and it is the text that the search engine uses to understand just like the Title tag of the webpage. H1 Tags/Headlines/Sub-Headlines The titles inside your content can help search engine bots to determine what your content is about as well as providing ranking factors. However, just like the Title of your website, you don t want to over optimize with too much keywords. Silo Structure Pages To get a website to optimize correctly and allow the Flow through out your website, you need to create Inner links or a Silo Structure. Siloing refers to grouping information into sections, like the chapters of a book. As mentioned before, when a web page grows substantially in size and has 100 pages or more, creating inner links within pages offers better site structuring or authority, allows readers to access pages quickly and helps the search engine crawl all of the pages of the site more easily. Creating a Silo Structure to your site gives you an advantage when search engine bots crawls your site, possible giving you a better ranking position.

13 The Off-Page Optimization The optimization you do for your website off-site is also important in order to gain better rankings and higher authority in the search engines. SEO professionals use two methods to get this off-site search optimization. Link Building Link building is the process of getting links pointed directed back to your website using an Anchor Text. The best strategy is to outreach to get other related websites and have them link back to your website. When other refers to your site and link to it, Google and other search engines consider this valuable. The idea is to make content valuable enough for other website owners to want to refer and link to it. Anchor Text It s fairly simple process where you use certain keywords or term within the context of the content or copy and make these into a link for one of your web pages. These links should relate to the term and/or to the topic being discussed. It is the visible words that link to another document, website or location within your web. In this case, it is the words another document that link to another website. Brand Building This process includes Social Media profiles, Press Releases, submitting infographics about your business, getting mentioned in the media and becoming an authoritative source; guest blogging on other sites related to your industry, creating and claiming Citations of local business listings in websites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Merchant Circle. The idea is that by placing your brand throughout the web, a reader will find a link to your website, and click through to it to learn more about your business.

14 Maintaining Ranking Momentum Probably the most significant change in SEO is the fact that now more than ever it is a consistent process. To maintain ranking momentum, you need to continually add relevant content and build links. Things to Keep an Eye On Maintenance is an important step in the SEO process, and it helps your page maintain its ranking within the search engines. Algorithms frequently change, so you need to keep up and maintain your placement within the search engines. This SEO maintenance involves your following these steps: Monitoring Search Engine Rankings It s normal to see fluctuations in site rankings; especially because of the new algorithms and because of newer competing websites. Continued Keyword Research The popularity of a keyword can frequently change. So a ranking keyword may lose momentum after some time. Tracking keywords through tools can help you keep abreast of keywords that do well, and of those that need changed. Monitoring of Reputation Management Businesses must keep an eye out for their reputations and their online public opinion. Negative online reviews need to be addressed to keep control over a Brand s public image. Unstable backlinks Aside from adding content and building links, you also want to periodically check for broken links and outdated information. Keeping these aspects clear of your site will show you improvements in your SEO ranking and in your site s reputation.

15 Final Thoughts When you re in business, just getting a website up and running may seem like an impossible feat, so optimizing the website may not seem like much of a priority. However, by implementing a few simple SEO processes you can significantly improve your site s location within the search engine, which in turn will improve revenue that comes from your site. Set aside a few minutes day or per week to practice a few of the tips we ve illustrated in this e-book, and you ll see a significant improvement. Then after performing the updates wait a month before going to Google Analytics and checking your stats. Just remember that SEO is just one component to effective digital marketing. Need help setting up your SEO Marketing Campaign for 2015? For a free consultation call us at (844) or

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