SEO Strategies: Speedy Searches Yield Higher Rankings

In the age of the Internet, site speed is paramount. Smartphones and tablets, in particular, have revolutionized the way consumers search and shop for their goods and services. These days, consumers anywhere can, with a few quick keystrokes, connect with businesses both at home and abroad in a matter of seconds. Especially now that mobile search traffic has outpaced desktop search traffic, Google and other popular search engines expect all websites to load quickly on mobile devices of any kind. The bottom line, according to webmasters and SEO experts, is that optimizing for speed will enhance SEO and improve rank and visibility on results pages.

Google Unveils New “Speed Update”

Accounting for 3.5 billion searches daily, and approximately 1.2 trillion searches per year, Google has surpassed all platforms to become the leading online search engine. Every day, consumers rely on Google to answer questions, provide directions, and generate the most relevant and reliable results concordant with their searches.

To maintain its competitive edge, Google has been rolling out a series of policy changes and updates over the past several years that reflect the shift from desktops to mobile devices. In 2015, Google confirmed that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time, and as a response to this surge of mobile users, Google developed a “mobile-first” algorithm as a way to compel content developers to design their mobile sites first, prior to designing their desktop sites.

More recently, in June 2018, Google announced that site speed will be the primary ranking factor for mobile searches as well. Although site speed has been used as a ranking signal previously, it was focused exclusively on desktop searches. Google’s aptly named “Speed Update,” will prioritize page speed by down-ranking websites that deliver slow, low-quality loading experiences to users.

Although the “Speed Update” makes page speed a primary factor in determining the order of search results, Google has assured its users that page speed will not be the only criteria that websites need to meet. According to web analysts on Forbes, Google considers over 250 ranking factors to ensure that every website they index is delivering the highest quality results on the first page.*

Yet even with 250 ranking factors in play, webmasters agree that site speed and site design are two of the most important ranking factors Google takes into consideration, as they have the biggest impact on user experience. So let’s explore why site speed, specifically, is so important in more detail.

The Need for [Site] Speed

In today’s ever-changing and fast-paced world, speed is key. As consumers, we want everything—including food, information, money, and news—readily available to us with minimal wait time. This need for speed is most evident online, however, where consumers have even shorter attention spans and higher expectations than they do in the real world. Regardless of whether they are using a desktop or a mobile device, consumers expect the websites they visit to load quickly, without any issues or delays.

Recent surveys conducted by Google indicate that users expect websites to load within three to four seconds. Moreover, statistics show that 40% of users will likely abandon a website and attempt another search if the initial webpage doesn’t load within three seconds or less.** These statistics may seem unrealistic, but they underscore the fundamental truth that a fast site helps you rank higher among the competition.

The issue of site speed is most pronounced on mobile devices, where the average mobile webpage takes approximately fifteen seconds to load. For e-commerce businesses especially, time is truly of the essence when a faster website offering identical goods and services is only a click away.

****https://yoast.com/does-site-speed-influence-seo/#utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social_buttons

The goal for web developers, then, is not only to create a fast loading site, but to create the fastest mobile site possible. In so doing, web developers will simultaneously decrease their bounce rate, increase their conversion rate, and establish trust and brand loyalty with their client base.

Still, optimizing for speed is about more than enhancing SEO and improving rank and visibility on results pages. Loading speed is the first experience users have with a site; so if the site loads slowly, that first impression will likely be a negative one. Poor page performance and slow loading speed signals, at worst, a lack of respect for your customers and their time.

In sum, prioritizing site speed is the single most important factor when it comes to improving user experience. Sites that load quickly make for an enjoyable browsing experience, which means customers will feel compelled to browse more, buy more, and even tell others about your website. Additionally, adopting the “Speed Update” will keep you in Google’s good graces — and rankings! Users who frequent your site are satisfied not only with the individual site experience, but also with the quality of results that Google provides.

SEO and Site Speed: Analyzing the Metrics

When analyzing the SEO of websites, site speed is one of the first metrics to be measured. Free resources like Chrome User Experience Report, GTMetrix, Lighthouse, and PageSpeed Insights can offer a more comprehensive picture of such metrics.

These resources provide valuable insights into site performance including: advertising impressions, affiliate clicks, engagement rates, and conversion and revenue rates.  Additionally, these metrics allow you to see how well your site is reaching your target demographic, as well as how users interact with your site on both desktop and mobile devices.

**** https://yoast.com/site-speed-tools-suggestions/

It is important to note that these speed tools do not always yield consistent results due to changes in location and internet access. When taken together, however, they offer a broad overview of who your users are, how they access your site, and what they do during their visit. They also measure page speed and optimization, and make suggestions about how performance can be improved.

For best results, you would do well to hire a professional marketing company with the expertise to develop websites that optimize for page speed on both mobile devices and desktops. If you need assistance making your website fast, responsive, and mobile-ready, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help! Our qualified professionals specialize in managing and maximizing clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

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* https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2017/07/17/why-site-speed-design-can-make-or-break-your-google-ranking/#770de3a83ce9
** ^Same
*** https://yoast.com/does-site-speed-influence-seo/#utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social_buttons
**** https://yoast.com/site-speed-tools-suggestions/

Brace Yourself, Big Changes Coming with ‘HTTPS’

For webmasters, content developers, and business owners alike, search engine optimization, or SEO, is an essential part of driving search traffic to your website. There are several ways to enhance SEO and improve rank and visibility on results pages, but switching your website from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” is an important, effective, and recommended strategy for increased optimization results, as well as increased privacy and security.

HTTP versus HTTPS: What’s the Difference?

You probably recognize the familiar acronym “HTTP” that magically and mysteriously appears in your address bar every time you visit a website, but do you happen to know what it stands for or what purpose it serves? Moreover, are you aware of why the shift to “HTTPS” has gained so much traction and attention over the past four years? In 2014, Google officially announced that switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS will give you a minor ranking boost, but is that the only benefit? Let’s explore the evolution of HTTP to HTTPS, including the pros and cons associated with each, in more detail.

HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, is the means by which information is sent and received across the Internet. In technical terms, HTTP is an “application layer protocol,” which means that the data being communicated between the browser and the website is sent over in plain text. Although HTTP is said to be stateless, meaning that no attempt is made to remember specific information that is entered, the lack of a secure connection increases the likelihood that your data may be intercepted and exposed. This is especially concerning for those of us who use the Internet to pay bills or make purchases — two common activities that require our most sensitive information!

To prevent massive security breaches of personal information, HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, was developed to ensure that all information we view or send is secure. The chief difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that instead of acting as its own application layer protocol, HTTPS works in conjunction with two separate protocols — SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) — for added privacy and security.

Neither HTTP nor HTTPS are particularly concerned with how information gets from one point to another; so the SSL has the incredibly important task of ensuring that all information travels through a secure ‘tunnel’ to its ultimate destination. Without getting overly technical, the SSL also encrypts the information that is being sent, which means that the true meaning of your most sensitive data (bank statements, credit card numbers, and login information) is disguised, making it more difficult for a third party intruder to access or decipher.

The Benefits of Switching to HTTPS

  • As you might expect, HTTPS has faster speeds and connections than HTTP. This is because encrypted websites supporting HTTPS have already been certified as secure, whereas unencrypted websites supporting HTTP need to be filtered and scanned before connections can be established and user access can be granted*.
  • Most popular browsing platforms—Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome—support HTTPS for more secure and streamlined Internet browsing.
  • Switching to HTTPS can improve SEO and the rank and visibility of your website on results pages.
  • In 2014, Google confirmed a rankings boost for websites supporting HTTPS. Although the exact percentage is hard to quantify, the value of switching has increased significantly over the past four years.
  • More accurate referrer data is another benefit of switching from HTTP to HTTPS. When traffic comes through HTTP websites, for example, it shows as “direct” traffic in the analytics report even though no information has been saved. Conversely, when traffic comes through HTTPS websites, referral traffic data is preserved. As a result, you can determine precisely where your search traffic is coming from**.
  • Websites supporting HTTPS provide enhanced privacy and security. First, by verifying that your website is the one the server is supposed to connect to, and second, by encrypting all communication (including URLs) which protects browser history, credit card numbers, and passwords.

Google Gets Serious About HTTPS

In June 2014, Google launched its “HTTPS Everywhere” Campaign in an attempt to create a more secure internet. Two months later, in August 2014, Google announced that switching websites from HTTP to HTTPS may give webmasters a minor rankings boost, as an added incentive to switch. Since then, Google has taken additional—some might argue even controversial—steps to compel more webmasters to upgrade to HTTPS.

One way Google is taking control of the HTTPS movement is by marking websites that do not support HTTPS with a bright red “X” over the padlock icon in the URL bar. The purpose of the red “X” is to classify HTTP supporting websites as unencrypted, and therefore, unsafe. Last year, in January 2017, Google took their campaign one step further, and began showing “NOT SECURE” warnings on HTTP pages featuring credit card and password fields.

Presently, even more serious changes are on the horizon for users of Google Chrome, and they will be rolled out in two stages. In the first stage, which is set to begin September 2018, Google Chrome will no longer display a green “warning” icon in the URL bar for secure websites.

In the second stage, beginning October 2018, Google Chrome will display a prominent red warning on all HTTP supporting websites indicating that those sites are “Not Secure.” This new interface serves as an aggressive reminder that all HTTP websites are insecure, and that HTTPS will officially be the default state of safe websites.

Data source for both images: SEJ
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/chrome-browser-https/253801/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Takeaway: Embrace the Changes

For those of you who have been on the fence about switching from HTTP to HTTPS, the time has come to make a decision. Not only will upgrading to HTTPS keep you in Google’s good graces, but it will also protect your website against third party hackers trying to intercept sensitive information.

According to web experts***, more than 50 percent of internet browsers worldwide use Google Chrome, so these changes will impact users across the globe. Even if your HTTP website is safe, the blanket warning issued by Chrome may scare off potential visitors, prompting them to leave your site. In short, failure to upgrade to HTTPS may negatively affect advertising impressions, affiliate clicks, site traffic, and overall revenue.

Heightened privacy and security for your site, increased optimization, and a safer Internet for all users are just a few of the reasons why switching from HTTP to HTTPS is beneficial. If you want to learn more about HTTPS, or need assistance changing your entire website from HTTP to HTTPS, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in managing and maximizing our clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

Contact us to learn how we can make your website more secure and keep your SEO efforts and strategy strong.

WEBSITE pfxn.com
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* https://blog.easynews.com/http-vs-https-whats-the-difference/
** https://www.searchenginejournal.com/pros-cons-using-https-small-businesses/168937/
*** https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-sets-https-deadline/236225/
“Google Sets Deadline for HTTPS and Warns Publishers to Upgrade Soon”

Clickthrough Research Data Reveals the Importance of 1st, 2nd or 3rd Position in Google

How Website Ranking Affects Click-through Rates

Business owners everywhere understand the importance of keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as they relate to how well their website ranks on a search engine results page (SERP). Also important is understanding the relationship between click-through rates (CTR) and a website’s SERP ranking. When comparing CTR between sites with SERP rankings in the first, second, and third positions with CTR of sites that rank lower in search results, the difference is significant. In other words, the higher the ranking, the higher the click-through rate.

The data is indicative of when, where, and how a business might change or enhance their SEO which, in turn, enhances their ranking on search engine results pages and which can lead to improved click-through rates.

CTR for Branded/Navigational Keyword Search Results

How a user searches for a product or service is one factor that comes into play in the click-through results. If a user already knows the product they want, they type in the company name or product brand, for example, “Kellogg’s®” or “Froot Loops®.” This type of search is called a branded or navigational search. Their intent all along is to get to one specific website. The desired website appears at, or close to, the top of the search engine results page. Because the user has been presented with the exact information they searched for, the likelihood of the user clicking through to the website is high. In this scenario, it is easy to understand why a website or webpage would have a high CTR.

CTR for Keyword versus Long-tail Keyword Search Results

CTR statistics also differ depending on the length of the keyword used to perform the search – that is, when a user searches by using a one-to-two-word generic term versus a long-tail search term that contains four or more words. (Long-tail search terms typically narrow the search results field.) If our same user as above performs a search using the term “fruity cereal,” the results are naturally more general, and quite possibly not what the user is looking for.

The user next searches for “fruity cereal with marshmallows,” which narrows down the search results considerably. There are fewer fruity cereals with marshmallows than there are fruity cereals in general. Because the results are narrower – more exacting – when a long-tail search term is used, there is less competition among websites for the top positions in the search results and probably fewer ads that compete for the user’s business. The user is apt to find what they are looking for more quickly, and thus more likely to click on the search results presented. The bottom line for website owners who track SEO performance is understanding that click-through rates are better when a search is performed using long-tail keywords instead of a simple generic search.

CTR for Search Results Based on Keywords that Express Intent

Users often perform a search with a specific intent in mind and when there will be some form of interaction. For example, they might want to buy a product, compare hotel prices, or find directions to a particular location. In these cases, the user’s intent is commercial, informational, or based on location, respectively. A fourth intent – specific intent – combines all three intents in the keywords used. Competition for the top three search results positions is fierce, so intent-type keywords, especially those for commercial and location types, usually present more paid ads and other SERPs results features such as a map to show location. CTRs for website may be lower here, depending on the intent type for which the search is performed.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Matter!

While the data varies among digital marketing and web experts, they all agree that the top three positions on a search engine results page, in particular Google’s, garner the highest click-through rates, with the first position racking up the most click-throughs. For example, one study indicates click-through rates for results based on a natural (organic) search range from 36% for first position, to 13% for second position, to 10% for third.

The data also indicate that more than half of users are highly likely to click on the first three results presented when the searched based on a branded term. Of further note, only a very small percentage of users who performed a natural search clicked on paid ads that appeared (versus the natural results).

The takeaway for business owners who want to improve their click-through rate is to get their website ranked at or near the top of the first page of search results. How you do this will depend on a number of factors, with
SEO
and keywords just one. An online marketing professional can show you all the ways to improve your presence in search results and start earning your own portion of the click-through business.

If you want to learn more about how to boost your website’s ranking on Google as well as improve your click-through rates, contact Philadelphia web design and development company Perfexion, Inc. The professionals at PERFEXION are digital marketing experts. They provide website audit and consultation services that give clients clear information and direction on the steps they can take to enhance their online presence.

Contact us to learn more!

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* https://moz.com/

Understanding Website Authority

Understanding Domain Authority – The Basics

If you are the owner of a website, you would do well to understand the meaning of the term domain authority and how domain authority applies to your website. Even nontechnical types should understand this important concept, given the impact it can have on the bottom line of a business.

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain authority, also known as website authority, is a ranking, or score, given to a website that indicates how well the site ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs). This score quantifies just how relevant and authoritative a website is. Domain authority is ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 the highest score possible and 1 the lowest. Experts commonly agree that a domain authority score of 80 or better is a very good score indeed one only the top, most trusted websites receive.

Domain authority takes into consideration the strength and quality of your website’s SEO as well as how likely your site will rank in search results as a function of your SEO. The stronger your SEO, the higher your domain authority, the higher your ranking on SERPs. The SEO experts at Moz* developed the concept of domain authority and its corresponding scores.

Caveats Regarding Domain Authority

  1. Do not view domain authority as the means to determining how well your website is performing based on your own SEO; instead, use domain authority as an indicator of how well your website stacks up against the competition.
  2. Your domain authority score is not a static number; as you update and change the content on your website, blog, social media, etc., your domain authority score will also change. Remember, SEO factors into the score, and new content implies a variation in SEO.

How Is My Website’s Domain Authority Determined?

Domain authority is determined based on multiple factors and components. The most basic include the following:

  • The number and quality of the links on your website – fewer high-quality links always ranks better than a large number of links of poor quality
  • Other website links – includes both those that link to yours and how many you link to – links should be to/from trusted sources and never to spam or illegal sites
  • The quality/relevance/value of the content on your website as it pertains to your industry – high domain authority sites like long-form content, video, and infographics and also content that can be shared and linked
  • The quality of your technical SEO, which looks at factors such as overuse of keywords, site speed, if images are optimized, use of heading tags, etc., to ensure the compatibility of a website with how well search engines can crawl the site and index and rank the information on it
  • The overall structure and how user-friendly a website is
  • People liking/sharing/commenting on site content on social media – website owners should share content on their own social media sites and provide links for others to do the same; include social media icons with all web content to make it easy for readers to like and share it

Various online tools are available that let you determine the domain authority score for your own website. Additionally, you can check the average score for your industry overall – information that is helpful if you want to know if your site is on par with the competition or if it is lagging far behind.

Do not underestimate the value of your domain authority. Some consider it to be the most accurate measurement available for determining how a website ranks in search engine results which is the ultimate determinant of how much organic web traffic you receive.

If you want to learn more about domain authority or what you need to do to improve your domain authority ranking, Perfexion, Inc. can help. The professionals at PERFEXION understand domain authority and SEO and provide a full range of website audit and consultation services for their clients. As a Philadelphia-based web design and development company, PERFEXION stays abreast of all the latest changes in the industry and wants to keep their clients up to speed as well.

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* https://moz.com/

Marry SEO Content and Marketing Strategies

Content Marketing and SEO Go Hand in Hand

Web developers have traditionally viewed search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing as two separate and distinct tools for driving qualified traffic to a website. More recently, however, that thinking has changed. According to entrepreneur and online marketing guru and influencer Neil Patel, “SEO is all about content marketing. And content marketing is all about SEO.” In other words, these two areas are not mutually exclusive; using one does not negate the need to use the other, and vice versa. In fact, SEO and content marketing need each other, and each should integrate the other.

To understand this, you must first be clear on what each area does individually. The job of search engine optimization is to make sure your website and web content are visible on search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone performs an internet search (through Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engine) for your service or product offering. On-page SEO activity is all the technical stuff you can do relative to keywords and key phrases behind the scenes of your website, while off-page steps you can take, such as social media, improve your site’s organic search results.

On the other hand, according to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” With content marketing, customers and prospective customers find the information on your website to be interesting and engaging, and useful in that it helps them solve a problem or fulfill a need. Your content marketing establishes you as an authority in the market and helps you build relationships and trust with customers. The objective of content marketing is to increase sales and drive customers to your online business who are qualified and likely to become repeat clients.

When SEO and content marketing combine/intersect/overlap/converge, etc., the results are powerful indeed. To achieve the desired results, the technical aspects of your SEO efforts must cross into your content marketing efforts, and SEO techniques should be applied as you implement content marketing – neither should be developed or applied in a silo.

How SEO and Content Marketing Combine Forces

    • Keywords: The primary component of SEO involves using the right keywords (including keyword phrases and long-tail keywords), plus tracking how well they rank in SERPs. Since long gone are the days of loading up a page of content with keywords and phrases that appear to have been combined by a robot instead of a human, web content must use keywords strategically in content that is well-written and relevant to the user.

 

    • Links and linkbacks: When the content you produce is good – really good – others will want to link back to it. Consider this: If other users or websites find the content on your blog to be relevant, interesting, and valuable, they will link back to it from their own site – a situation SEO thrives on. Let your content marketing specialists develop the content you need to attract attention and drive others to click on links to your site.

 

  • Fresh content delivers: Content marketing, with full attention to SEO, is not a once-and-done deal. Don’t think you can post amazing content and then sit back and wait for the results to pour in. For this dynamic to deliver the best results in terms of search engine indexing and ranking, you need to produce fresh content on a consistent basis – and ensure the new content is just as valuable and makes just as good use of SEO as the content that came before it.

The importance of content marketing combined with proper SEO cannot be overstated. Done right, your SEO strategy should mean your business is found organically online and your content marketing strategy engages users and converts them into paying customers.

If you would like to learn more about how SEO and content marketing can work for your business, contact the experts at Perfexion, Inc. Perfexion’s qualified professionals specialize in managing and maximizing clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

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Together, Local Business Listings and SEO Get Results

The longevity and prosperity of local businesses is largely determined by the ranking, reputation, and revenue they generate over time. There are many ways to maximize ranking, reputation, and revenue, but inclusion in local business listings, both in print and online, remains one of the most effective and essential strategies to increase visibility and enhance bottom line results.

The Evolution of Local Business Listings

Local business listings provide the foundation for successful business marketing. In fact, listed businesses have significantly higher ranking, reputation, and revenue than their unlisted counterparts; especially if they are listed on multiple online platforms. Today, internet marketing is all but a necessity for local businesses. If your brick and mortar business does not also have a robust online presence, it might as well be invisible to consumers. But, how exactly did we get here and what are the advantages of web-based listings? Let’s explore the evolution of business listings, including their ubiquitous online presence, in more detail.

In many ways, phone books were the progenitors of contemporary search engines like Google and Yahoo. Prior to the advent of the internet and the smartphone, the Yellow Pages were our main source of information for local businesses, products, and services. For local business owners, paid advertising in the Yellow Pages was the single most effective way to increase visibility among consumers. Over time, savvy business owners expanded their marketing efforts to include additional forms of offline advertisement such as newspapers, brochures, coupons, radio ads, and television commercials

While many of these marketing strategies remain prevalent, the growing consensus among business owners and marketing experts is that traditional, offline advertising is costly, competitive, and untenable in the long-term. Our fingers may still be doing the walking, so to speak, but customers no longer need to leaf through print brochures, directories, magazines, or newspapers to find the local businesses they need. In the Information Age, consumers anywhere can, with a few quick keystrokes, instantly connect with local businesses via digital listings on major platforms like Bing Places for Business and Google My Business Listing. Welcome to the future!

The Internet is Open for Business… Local Listings

Smartphones, tablets, and PCs have facilitated a vast and virtually constant online presence. Consider the following statistics: 96% of local searches are conducted by PC owners; 64% of local customers use search engines and directories to find local businesses; 50% of local mobile searchers search for business information (company name, address, or number); and 46% of all Google searches are local.* These statistics suggest that customers use the internet exponentially more than any other medium to search for local businesses.

Online listings are popular, in part, because they combine aspects of both digital and print marketing into one comprehensive index. Moreover, inclusion in many online directories like Bing Places for Business, Foursquare, Google My Business Listing, and Yelp is free. Whichever platform(s) you use to market your business, the
following components should be included**:

  • Business name/title
  • Address
  • Phone/fax number
  • Website URL
  • Categories
  • Description
  • Tagline
  • Social profiles
  • Images
  • Additional media
  • Certifications
  • Brands carried
  • Payment types accepted
  • Attributes

 

Done correctly, local business listings are extremely informative. From a single listing, customers can discover your business, find out where it is located, learn what products and services are offered, what offers and promotions are available, who the core clientele is, and how satisfied former and current customers are. Many local listings also support images, videos, virtual tours, and live links to social media profiles, thus enabling customers to interact with the business and/or business representatives directly.

Local Listing, Local Business Listing, Local SEO
Local Business Listing for SEO

The quality of your business listing is directly related to your search engine optimization and how well you use keywords and key phrases. SEO is an essential component of improving your local search engine rankings and driving search traffic to your website. The more consistent and comprehensive your business listing, the higher your ranking, reputation, and revenue.

Choose Platforms with Caution

Digital listings have certainly revolutionized how local businesses promote their products and services. That said, however, the advertising potential of local business listings is contingent upon the platform(s) you use. A strong online presence is important, so you must choose local business directories that will enhance your Local SEO efforts. Ideally, you want your business information listed on platforms that generate high volumes of search traffic. Presence on major directories such as Bing Places for Business, Google My Business Listing, Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, Superpages, and Yelp means your business will be visible to a vast audience of local searchers.

Anyone who has performed a search for a local business recently knows the extent to which local directories dominate the initial pages of their search results. It stands to reason, then, that local directory marketing has a higher conversion rate than most other advertising options. Listing your business in the most relevant, quality directories increases the probability that your business will be searched for, and found by, the quality – and qualified – customers you want. As your business gains traction and spreads across the web, you can join more niche platforms specific to the industry and geography of your company.

Any data published about your business, whether in print or online, impacts the ranking, reputation, and revenue generated by your company. For this very reason, no local business owner can afford to publish information that is inconsistent or incorrect. In order for local business listings to be truly valuable, all data must be accurate, complete, and easily searchable. For best results, you would do well to hire a professional digital marketing company with the expertise to support all aspects of your online advertising, to include:

  • Ad design and development
  • Content development enhanced for SEO
  • Placement of the ad on the local listing directories of your choice
  • Monitoring and tracking how well your ad performs, and adjusting as necessary to improve results

 

If you need assistance creating an online listing for your local business, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help. Our qualified professionals specialize in managing and maximizing clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

Contact us to learn more!

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* https://www.brightlocal.com/about-local-seo/
** https://moz.com/learn/seo/local-business-listing-components

How Long-Tail Keywords Enhance Your SEO

For webmasters, content developers, and business owners alike, search engine optimization, or SEO, is an essential part of driving search traffic to your website. There are several ways to enhance SEO and improve rank and visibility on search engine results pages, but using long-tail keywords remains one of the most important and effective strategies for increased optimization. Long-tail keywords are specific keyword phrases, containing approximately three to six words, which generate the most relevant results concordant with your search.

Keywords: What Are They Used For?

Keywords provide the foundation for search engine optimization. They are the words or phrases that, when entered into search engines such as Google and Yahoo, yield hundreds of results pages in seconds. Search engines expedite and simplify the research process, but it is important to remember that the quality and relevancy of the results you see depends largely on the keywords and phrases you specified at the start of your search. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons associated with short- and long-tail keywords in more detail.

Short-tail keywords are succinct and consist only of one or two words. Many users, especially those conducting general research on a given topic, find the copious results pages generated by short-tail keywords both expedient and informative. From a business and marketing perspective, however, short-tail keywords are costly, competitive, and largely unsustainable. While popular head terms like digital marketing and online blogging generate high volumes of organic search traffic (that is, the shorter the keyword, the higher the volume), they tend to have abysmally low conversion rates. This may seem paradoxical, but it actually makes perfect sense. Remember that, of the millions of searches in which your chosen keywords appear, only a handful of the users who encounter them are your target audience. Although your search traffic volume is high, the trade-off is that very few users will actually browse your site and/or become a customer.

Conversely, long-tail keywords are lengthier and tend to yield more specific and relevant results. Many users, especially those looking for a certain business, product, or service, prefer long-tail keywords as a way to streamline and refine their search. Which of the following search terms do you think will return the best, most specific results – socks or red and black argyle socks for men?

While long-tail keywords typically generate less organic search traffic (that is, the longer the keyword, the less the volume), what they lack in volume, they make up for with consistent, stable conversion rates. The targeted nature of long-tail search traffic—coupled with lower costs, minimal competition, and relevant clicks and queries—increases the probability that you will find your ideal customers, and that your ideal customers will, in turn, find you.

Why Long-Tail Keywords Are Essential for SEO

• According to web experts*, long-tail keywords account for 70% of all search volume traffic, which suggests that most of your website traffic is contingent upon, and generated by, long-tail searches. If you want further proof, data from Google Analytics will likely support the assertion that a majority of the queries made with respect to your website or the products and services you offer contain long-tail keywords.

• A robust correlation exists between long-tail keywords and increased conversion rates. Statistics indicate that the average conversion rate for long-tail keywords is 36%. Although conversation rates are constantly in flux (and vary depending on the products being sold and the demand for them at a given time) the specificity of long-tail keywords increases the likelihood that customers will visit your site and purchase from your company.

• As an addendum to the preceding point, even if a customer does not make a purchase during their initial visit, if they find your website useful—that is, if your website features products and information specific to their needs—they are likely to return and share your site with others.

Long-tail keywords have a higher optimization ranking than short-tail keywords. While the type of search potential customers perform depends entirely on the type of business you own (and on the type of traffic you hope to generate), long-tail keywords outperform short-tail terms in four out of five categories including competition, focus, cost, and conversion rate.

Long Tail Keywords, Shorty Tail Keywords, Keywords
Long Tail and Short Tail Keywords for SEO

Data Source: SEOPressor

Short Tail Or Long Tail Keywords? — A Side-by-Side Comparison

• Done correctly, long-tail keywords provide useful and necessary context to your digital content. Without proper context, the intent and use of your selected keywords may confuse or mislead users, or even direct them to a different web page or website altogether, and thereby return the exact opposite results you want. Popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo give higher ranking and visibility to keywords that are contextualized in sentences, paragraphs, webpages, etc.

• How people search for information on the internet is, without a doubt, changing rapidly. Voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are revolutionizing information input, output, and the role of SEO generally. Long-tail keywords will drive voice searches in the future, but first, voice assistants must be trained to receive, process, and compute long-tail keywords into relevant information as effectively as search engines do.

Although this blog focuses on using long-tail keywords to improve SEO, it is important to remember that keyword marketing is unique for every business; there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for keyword searches. That said, current SEO campaigns emphasize the importance of the user experience and intent, so, whichever keywords you choose—long-tail or short-tail—make them as user-friendly as possible. If you want to learn more about how long-tail keywords enhance your online SEO and/or how to successfully integrate them in your digital marketing efforts, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in managing and maximizing our clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

Contact us to learn more!

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Google Changes Ranking Algorithm Based on Mobile Website Readiness

Using Mobile-Readiness to Get Found on Google

Every so often, Google tweaks and refines how they return web pages in response to a search query. Google continuously assesses their search algorithms to make sure the results they provide are the most useful they can be based on the information input into the search query.

Understanding How Google Performs a Search

Without getting into the technical weeds about Google’s search algorithms and how they work, it helps to understand, in nontechnical terms, how Google performs a search and some of the information Google relies on when providing search results. One key factor that comes into play is the level of relevance of the content on a web page to the search being performed.

Google tries to determine how specific or broad a search is. For example, did the user type in cat or exotic Persian shorthair cat? Google analyzes the words a user types into the search bar, and even makes allowances for typos (cat bred vs. cat breed). And, depending on the words or terms a user included in their search (keywords), Google’s lightning-fast search for results includes looking at web pages and matching the keywords to web page content where they appear in titles, headings, and text.

A user’s personal Google search settings and patterns also inform Google and can come into play in helping Google return relevant search results. For example, a user’s previous or recent searches as well as their location can factor in the results Google returns to a search query.

Companies and website owners naturally want to be found when a customer or potential customer searches for a product they sell or service they offer. But, before Google will rank a website high in search engine results, they want to be certain that visitors to the website to have a good user experience. Businesses can help themselves in that regard by ensuring the content on their website is always fresh and the information they provide is of high quality and valuable to the people who visit their website. The business should come across as trustworthy, and the content on the site representative of a company that is an authority in its industry or on a particular topic.

Mobile vs. Desktop Search

Without a doubt, we have gone mobile. People everywhere rely on their mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – to shop, for entertainment, for conducting business, for learning and information, for communicating, and much more. As far back as 2010, industry experts predicted our use of mobile devices would surpass our use of desktop PCs. Those experts were right. According to a March 2017 report by comScore, 69% of the time we spend consuming digital media is done on a mobile device as compared to a desktop computer – and that includes performing searches on Google.

As a result, Google will be changing their optimization rules over time so that websites will only be ranked based on the mobile version of the website. Up until quite recently, it did not matter if a website was not optimized for viewing and use on mobile devices. In fact, countless sites continue to work today on only desktop computers and not on mobile devices. But, with every update to their ranking algorithms that Google performs, Google is moving away from ranking websites based on their desktop version to what they call mobile-first indexing, which ranks the mobile version of the site in terms of its content, links, certain data, and how viewable the site is on a mobile device.

Understanding Mobile-first Indexing

In anticipation of user behavior trends, Google has been slowly moving toward mobile-first indexing – a search ranking system that gives websites a mobile-friendly ranking boost. With mobile-first indexing, Google looks first at the mobile version of a website for indexing and for how they determine a site’s ranking. But, if a company has only a desktop version of their website, Google will still include that site in its index, but the sites rankings could be negatively affected.

In time, Google will no longer consider the desktop version of a website to be the primary version, but will instead give that preference to the mobile version of the website. To minimize the impact to your desktop site, you will want to ensure that your desktop and mobile sites are, in essence, created equal – that the desktop site uses responsive design and the content is optimized for mobile use.

Do I Need to Change My Mobile Site to Improve Indexing and Ranking?

There are ways to enhance your mobile website and prepare for when Google eventually makes the change to mobile-first indexing. First and foremost, the content on your mobile site should be just as high quality and valuable as the content on the desktop version of your website, whether you are using text, images, or video. Google should be able to both crawl and index all your mobile content. The key takeaway is to understand that Google will crawl mobile content, so content on your mobile website should be as relevant and valuable as possible, which ultimately serves to improve your rankings.

Other checks and updates you should make include, for example, the mobile site’s metadata and social metadata, structured data, XML, sitemaps, and more – to ensure you are using, tagging, optimizing, etc. versions of each that work within the mobile environment.

Companies can no longer ignore (or afford to ignore) the requirement to have a mobile-responsive website. In the past, a company created two versions of their website: one for desktop and another for mobile. Over the upcoming months, Google will rely more and more on a company’s mobile site or mobile responsiveness of a desktop website when it applies mobile-first indexing. Keywords, search terms, and quality content will continue to matter, perhaps even more than a URL that today is used to organize site content.

To better understand the ins and outs of webpage ranking and mobile responsiveness, or determine what your current website needs in order to address Google’s move toward mobile-first indexing, consult with a professional web developer.

We are a Philadelphia-based web design and development company located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia. The experts at Perfexion, Inc. specialize in helping clients market their business online – and on mobile – effectively and profitably.

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How to Improve your SEO with User-Friendly Interlinking

How Internal Links Improve Your Site’s SEO

Web developers, marketers, and business owners understand the importance of search engine optimization – SEO – for ranking a website high on search engine results pages. There are many ways to improve SEO, from publishing helpful and relevant web content, to regularly updating that content, to using the best keywords and key phrases, and more. Proper internal linking is another.

What Is Internal Linking?

Internal linking, or interlinking, occurs when one page of a website (domain) is linked to a different page on the same website. Internal links are helpful for several reasons. Externally, they help users navigate a website, which provides for a positive user experience (UX). Internally, they define the website’s hierarchy and site architecture and also set each page’s ranking authority on the site. Interlinking also provides a number of more technical functions – all related to website organization and how well the site communicates with search engines. For now, we focus on easy ways any web manager can enhance their SEO through interlinking.

Optimum internal linking provides a great user experience, as it keeps the reader engaged on your website – moving around and always looking for more information. Interlinking should flow logically and naturally to align with what the reader will find helpful and useful. As a rule, interlinking has a pyramid hierarchy, with the homepage at the top, which allows its ranking power to pass to the entire site. Think of the hierarchy as categories and subcategories, all organized and linked for relevance and a positive user experience.

In addition to enhancing your UX, web managers and marketing experts strategically link their site content for the main purpose of improving SEO, and ultimately, search engine ranking. Internal links have the capacity to increase page authority, which means the page will be indexed more quickly by search engines and rank higher in search results. As an example, a home page with earned authority that contains links to a new blog posting (one with practically no authority) transfers its authority to the page with the blog post.

Let’s look at some of the ways interlinking can help improve your SEO.

Ways to Improve SEO with Interlinks

  • Place links in web content. These links, usually formatted in bold so they are clearly visible, indicate to the user that they can obtain additional information by clicking on the link. The link should work properly and take the reader to the proper – relevant – page.
  • The most important and relevant links should appear on your website’s home page, in the site navigation bar, and in drop-down lists.
  • When deciding how many links to use, place as many as a user would find helpful within the content. There is no hard and fast rule, but use what you consider reasonable in light of the length of your web content or post.
  • Link lower authority pages only to other relevant posts on the website; linking the content within lower authority pages to your contact page, for example, does not pass any value that improves SEO. Similarly, links in sidebars should also go to pages with relevant content.
  • Ensure anchor text – highlighted text within a hyperlink that a user clicks on to open a page – is relevant and an accurate indicator of the page it is being linked to.
  • Make sure call-to-action (CTA) buttons are clearly visible and within a user’s easy reach. Each page of your site should have a CTA that prompts them to click for more information.
  • Perform a link audit. A link audit achieves two purposes: 1) It tells you if existing links in your web content are all working properly and 2) it lets you know if you have enough (or too many) links in a given content area.

Interlinking for SEO is Not Complicated

Though interlinking to improve SEO may sound complicated, it is not. Follow the guidance on interlinking best practices presented here, and you’ll soon see improvements in your site’s SEO.

If you want to learn more about how interlinking can help your SEO or know how your own website stacks up in terms of user-friendly internal linking, Perfexion, Inc. can help. We are a Philadelphia-based web design and development company located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia. We specialize in optimizing our clients’ web content and ensuring their sites perform to the best of their ability.

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Reasons Why Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate

9 Ways to Improve Your Website’s Bounce Rate

Every business owner should know the answer to the following two questions: What is the bounce rate of my website? What is the conversion rate? If the bounce rate is high, relatively speaking, and the conversion rate is low, it’s time to revisit the content on your website and the marketing strategy you follow to drive people to your site and keep them there.

First, let’s review the meanings of the terms bounce rate and conversion rate. The bounce rate is the frequency with which visitors to your website – the home page or a landing page – bounce away without any type of interaction on your page and return to the site that originally referred them. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who complete an action once they are on your website. That action could be buying something, downloading a coupon, completing a contact form to request more information – whatever you want them to do once they land on your website.

A high bounce rate means visitors to your site leave before you are able to convert them. The last thing a business owner wants is for a visitor to their website to leave without first taking time to look around. If you don’t know what the bounce rates are for your web pages, visit your site’s Google Analytics (under Audience Overview) to find out.

Here we look at 9 reasons why your website bounce rate might be high, and how to fix the problem.

High Bounce Rates, Improve High Bounce Rates, Technical SEO
Reasons for High Bounce Rates

If you want to improve your website bounce rate, first make sure you understand what the current bounce rate is, then systematically address each problem and measure improvement as you go. Without a doubt, by improving the bounce rate, you also improve your conversion rate and the ability of your site to rank well in searches. At Perfexion, Inc. we specialize in making sure clients’ websites are technically sound and perform to the best of their ability. We are a Philadelphia-based web design and development company located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia.

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