Google Says, Quality Content is Key

When it comes to developing a winning social media strategy, Google says quality content is key in terms of earning a higher ranking on their results pages. Since 2011, Google’s most popular ranking algorithms—panda, penguin, and hummingbird, respectively—have been focused on indexing and ranking as much quality content existing on the Internet as possible. Intuitively this makes sense, but it also begs the questions: what exactly is high quality content and how does Google define and/or recognize it?

In order to answer these questions, you first have to understand Google’s ultimate aim for their search engine; how it is evolving; and what steps you can take in order to generate content that is consistently well-written, well-researched, and relevant.

The Endless Evolution of Search

Accounting for 3.5 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 generate the most relevant and reliable results concordant with their specific searches. While there are multiple search engines competing for our attention, Google sends the most traffic to your site, and thus, remains the most popular.

Despite its market dominance, Google must work to maintain its competitive edge over other popular search engines like Bing and Yahoo. Over the past several years, Google has rolled out a series of policy changes and algorithm updates aimed at ranking quality sites higher in search results and demoting and removing lower quality sites. With each new and improved iteration, Google strives to create a more seamless connection between users and the knowledge they seek.

As technology continues to evolve, so too, will Google’s search features. Google wants to be the default search engine; the one that instinctively understands user’s intentions when they ask a question and then immediately provides them with the exact information they want and need. With each new algorithm, Google is making it clear that the focus should be on publishing quality content that is the best of its kind rather than ranking for keywords.

While keywords can provide useful context to your digital content, they have become a bit of a hindrance when it comes to conducting online searches. Without the proper context, the intent and use of your selected keywords may confuse/mislead users, or even direct them to a different website altogether, thereby returning the exact opposite results you want.

Google has decided that keyword-heavy, low-quality content is out; high-quality content is in. Webmasters, content developers, and business owners alike have little choice but to shed their allegiances to traditional SEO tactics and follow Google’s lead.

How Does Google Define Quality Content?

So, how does Google define quality content? While there is no set definition, here are a few factors that Google uses to define quality content:

1. Learn your audience and engage your core clientele. A successful social media strategy begins and ends with consumers, so it is imperative to understand who your target demographic is and how to appeal to them. In other words, create content that establishes trust and credibility among your users.

2. Provide valuable information that users are looking for and will actually benefit from. Be transparent and don’t confuse or mislead users with deceptive titles merely to improve your ranking. Whatever you write about should be informative, interesting, and meaningful.

3. Become a resource. Link to high quality content from other sources and refer to them from your own page to increase the legitimacy of your site.

4. Publish new and innovative content as often as possible. For Google, what you publish is more important than how often you publish, but you should strive to be consistent as possible when it comes to producing fresh content.

5. Differentiate your website as much as possible (especially from those with very similar objectives). Think about what makes your website unique, and create content that emphasizes your individuality.

6. Establish a call to action that allows you to connect and interact with your customers and vice versa. Encourage them to ask questions, leave comments, and share your post — anything to stimulate interest and keep consumers active and engaged.

The Bottom Line

As quality content becomes an increasingly crucial tool for business growth and development, it is necessary not only to have a refined strategy that encompasses the preceding points, but to frequently assess whether your content is helping you meet your short and long-term business goals. Creating quality content that is easy to read and navigate should be your primary goal, and Perfexion, Inc. is here to help! Our qualified professionals specialize in producing high quality content on a consistent basis that can increase your ranking and reputation, while also keeping you in Google’s good graces.

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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/

BACKLINKS

What is a Backlink?

Backlinks, SEO Backlinks
Backlinks for SEO

When a webpage links to another webpage, it’s called a backlink. Backlinks are essentially incoming links to a webpage from another website. Commonly known as “incoming links”, backlinks connect through external websites. The number of backlinks can be an indicator of the importance and originality of that website. Not only are backlinks one of the factors that determine how well your webpages rank, these links can also determine how those webpages are found.

Some Key Terms Related to Backlinks

Anchor Text: This is the text that is highlighted in a hypertext link. It usually appears as blue underlined text, but it can be changed to different colors. Anchor text should be relevant to the webpage you’re linking to, instead of generic text. Clicking on this text brings the user directly to the webpage.

Do-Follow Link: These links can be added into a blog post or webpage. They allow search engines to follow and reach a website. Do-follow links can boost SEO optimization by helping improve the webpage’s ranking. A Do-Follow link can pass the SEO strength, or “PageRank” of the page it resides on, to the site that it links to.

No-Follow Tag: This indicates to search engines that a given link should not influence the ranking of the link’s target in the search engine’s index. It is a way to tell search engines that a given link should not be counted as a “vote” in favor of that content.

No-Follow Link: These are links that link to another website, but the link contains a no-follow tag. They don’t boost page ranks to improve the overall ranking and SEO optimization of the site. No-Follow links do not improve your ranking, pass you DA, and from a Google index perspective have no value. There are ways to get value from no-follow links, which would be its own blog topic.

High-Quality Link: A high-quality link is a link that comes from a high-quality site, containing consistent readership, traffic flow, ranks for valuable relevant keywords to your business, offering value to the sites visitors. The link should link to your website preferably using your keywords or keyword phrases that you wish to rank for. These links can give your website a ranking boost.

Low-Quality Link: These are the links that come from websites that have a low ranking potential or value and should not be trusted (i.e. automated sites, spam sites). If the link does not appear to be natural, it probably isn’t. If a link violates Google’s guidelines, consider it a low quality link.

Internal Link: Internal Links are hyperlinks that point at the same domain as the domain that the link exists on. They are the links that go from page to page within the same domain. They are commonly used in main navigation for a website or as a way to connect website content in a positive way for the user of the site.

Linking Root Domain: Linking Root Domains are the number of other sites that link to your page/site. These are the backlinks coming into the website from a specific domain. These do not include multiple links to a website if the links come from the same domain.

Link Juice: Link Juice refers to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another. This value is passed through hyperlinks. Search engines see links as votes by other websites that your page is valuable and worth promoting.

SEO Backlinks, Technical SEO
Backlinks for SEO

Why are Backlinks Important?

Comparable to a citation, backlinks are crucial for successful SEO campaigns. Backlinks are one signal that impacts a website’s ranking when searching online. Backlinks can indicate an interest in your website or company. If numerous sites link to the same website or webpage, search engines will more likely value that website’s content, providing the content is unique, accurate, and well written. Essentially, backlinks are similar to ratings. The more rankings or links a particular webpage has from another website, the more likely a user would go to that website and actually use it to their benefit.

Important aspects of backlinks are that they should be natural, valuable, and relevant. A backlink should not seem forced or artificial, should relate to the website or webpage it is linking to and should positively contribute.

For example, let’s say a restaurant webpage receives a backlink from a popular food review or critic website. The restaurant site has gained a valuable and natural backlink from the food review site because both websites can compare and share information about food and similar topics. For example, the restaurant may want to determine how to develop a larger business by catering to the surrounding area. The food review website can share what they have seen as positive and negative attributes of surrounding restaurants and pass that on to the restaurant.

More Advantages of Backlinks

Backlinks encourage better search engine rankings, and thus, improving overall organic search and rankings. If your webpages are receiving valuable links from other sites, those links will most likely rank higher. Backlinks help search engines find links to your site to improve crawling and indexing processes. Lastly, they help gain referral traffic, which allows for more users to visit your site from valuable/legitimate websites.

In order to develop a strong ranking profile, it is better to obtain good quality backlinks (from trusted sites with good content), rather than just trying to increase the number of backlinks with low quality backlinks. Often, websites have too many backlinks that don’t contribute to the value of their site and most importantly their clients and potential clients. Having backlinks that supplements your content and improve your website or webpage’s ranking is much more important than just having a large number of low quality backlinks that do not help improve your site. Content is perhaps the most important aspect of a websites profile. Websites that produce valuable content have more successful SEO campaigns and websites. Good backlinks signal to Google that your website is a quality and reliable resource.

How Do You Get Backlinks?

The easiest way to get backlinks is to start writing and publishing quality content. If you write relatable and interesting articles, people will want to click on them and share them. Once articles are being shared at a fast pace, the higher the chances the writing will go viral and grab attention of companies, websites and individual people.

Commenting on well-liked and shared blogs will help with getting backlinks because of an increase in traffic and search visibility. Commenting on relevant blogs will be the most useful.

Starting public forums and linking to blog posts in those discussions is another way to increase the chances of getting backlinks, but make sure these forums are easy to navigate and credible. Submitting to top social media networking sites will aid in helping blogs go viral.

Writing the right post for the right site is crucial. You should not writing posts for random sites in hopes of getting your backlinks posted on those websites.

To build backlinks to your site, each link should be monitored to ensure it carries value to your SEO campaign. If you build your backlinks in a smart and cautious manner, you will receive positive feedback.

What Should I Not Do With A Backlink?

Although backlinks can seem complicated, the simpler they are, the more successful they tend to be. Backlinks should not have only specific anchor text. This can look automated and this type of behavior may lead search engines to penalize your site.

There shouldn’t be any inappropriate or odd behavior when creating backlinks. This includes asking websites to put your links on their site, offering to pay for links, cross-linking with another site and excessively publishing content to your site related to your links. Regardless of the amount of backlinks a site gets, it will fail if the content is not original with high quality.

Conclusion

Increasing SEO campaigns, encouraging better search engine rankings, improving organic ranking and search results, and developing a stronger website are just a few reasons why using backlinks is beneficial.  Remember, creating good quality content that is easy to read and navigate, should be your primary goal. Backlinks can contribute to higher rankings and a better user experience.

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References
https://moz.com/learn/seo/backlinks
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/natural-link/209256/
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/local-backlink/213290/
https://www.searchmetrics.com/glossary/backlinks/

Which is Better – Organic Search or Paid Search?

Can Organic Search and Paid Search Co-exist?

Every business owner has different goals for their website. These goals could include increasing the number of web pages viewed by visitors, decreasing bounce rates, or increasing traffic from new visitors in general. Whatever your goals for your company website, the overarching goal is for your business to first be found online. How does that happen? Someone – a prospective or existing customer – has a need for a product or service and performs an online search. Where that search ends up could make or break your ability to meet your goals, depending on how well your online marketing strategy performs.

Online marketing involves the use of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to draw traffic. While Yahoo and Bing still get some amount of search traffic, Google is the search engine used in the vast majority of online searches. Google’s two main vehicles for returning search results are paid search and organic search. But, is one better than the other? Does organic search provide better results than paid search (or vice versa)? Online marketers everywhere have been trying to find the answer to that question for some time. Let’s next review what each type of search is as well as the main differences between the two.

SEO Philadelphia

A user who performs a query based on entering specific keywords and key phrases is performing a natural, or organic, search. Proper implementation of search engine optimization is the strategy used in this type of search, as SEO must align with the words and phrases a user enters to perform their search. A business appears in organic search results based solely on the content on their website/webpage and its usefulness and value to the user. Google looks for content that users will find relevant and valuable.

According to Search Engine Watch*, more than 90% of web traffic occurs as a result of a business’s website appearing on the first page of Google search results. Using relevant key words and having quality SEO content is the best way for that content to eventually get indexed in search engines and thus ranked higher in Google’s search results. (Yes, it takes time and effort for your web pages to be indexed so that they generate traffic.) Other benefits of proper SEO include increased leads and improved close rates.

Online searching and shopping has been on a swift and steady rise in recent years – and the trend shows no signs of slowing down or decreasing. Additionally, Google is, by far, most people’s preferred internet search engine. Savvy web developers and internet marketers understand this and continue to rely on proper implementation and ongoing management of SEO to keep websites as highly ranked on search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible.

SEM Philadelphia

Search engine marketing, on the other hand, involves the use of certain keywords in paid/sponsored online ads that appear when a user performs a search using those keywords. In contrast to SEO’s organic search quality, SEM is a paid search function in which a business actually pays for visits to their website rather than earn them through an organic search. With SEM, a business bids an amount of money on specific keywords to ensure their ad appears if it matches a user’s search query. Sponsored search results are identified as ads and appear at either the top of the search engine results page (above the list of organic search results) or along the right side of the page.

Business owners and digital marketers have found that paid search strategies such as pay-per-click pay off for them – big time. Because of the prevalence of paid ads, users have come to view these listings as normal search results, in spite of them being labeled as ads. And, a business no longer needs to wait months to be indexed and appear on a SERP, as they can pay for the opportunity for their ad to appear in search results immediately and be seen by targeted users. A well run paid search strategy can yield a hefty return on the paid ad investment.

SEO, SEM, or Both?

Together, SEO and SEM as digital marketing strategies produce results; they can increase and improve your online presence and ensure targeted users receive information that is the most relevant and valuable to them. Improved conversions, increased web traffic, more qualified leads, and ultimately, business growth and profits are all realistic with SEO and SEM campaigns that are designed to work for you. When you understand the timelines for both strategies – SEO can take months to yield results and SEM can provide virtually immediate results – you are well prepared to implement the strategy (or strategies) that best meets your digital marketing needs and overall business objectives.

If you want to learn more about how to combine SEO and SEM to boost your website’s ranking on Google, contact Perfexion, Inc., Philadelphia’s web design and development company. The professionals at PERFEXION are digital marketing experts. They collaborate with business owners to design and deliver SEO and SEM strategies that are sure to improve your bottom line.

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* https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2276184/no-1-position-in-google-gets-33-of-search-traffic-study

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.

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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.

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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.

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Blog Writing

How Blogging Can Work for You

The term blog derives from the word weblog, which originally referred to a personal online journal in which a writer documented activity, reflections, thoughts, etc. Over time, the word weblog shortened to blog, and the meaning expanded to include information and commentary that a business uses to market or promote itself, develop brand awareness, establish itself as an expert in a specific area, and remain relevant and active in front of followers, customers, even the public in general. Blogs are chronicled on a website and usually link to articles and information contained on other websites.

Blogs can be a powerful information source for those who follow and read them. For those who write and post them, the intent is to attract traffic to a company website and convert followers into buyers. Marketing experts and web developers understand just how good blogging can be for a company’s bottom line. Their objective is for blogs to rank high in Google searches, which also increases a company’s web presence and visibility.

The key to achieving these results lies in using and applying search engine optimization – SEO – properly and consistently when blogging. Keep in mind the following tips to help your blog content get ranked higher in Google.

Keyword optimization

First, research which keywords are best for your blogs, then incorporate them into your blog content. Use keywords in the title of your blog, and place one or more close to the start of the blog title. Use keywords strategically and naturally throughout your blog article; overstuffing an article with keywords is artificial and can backfire.

Use keywords in subheadings

Different sections of a blog article should have their own heading. These subheadings should also contain the keyword or key phrase.

Enhance content readability

How easy is the content of your blog to read and understand? Unless your industry or subject matter has complex jargon, it is always better to keep your writing simple. Online apps are available to assess the readability of your content. These apps will indicate if your content contains complex or confusing phrasing, unnecessary words, or if you have written in passive, rather than active, voice. Experts recommend keeping the reading level to a 6th to 8th-grade level.

Keep content relevant and optimized

Google loves quality content and ranks blogs containing quality content higher in search results. What is quality blog content? Content that is usable, informative, helpful, and fully detailed. Lengthy content is always better if you want to improve search ranking. Article length should be over 1,000 words, but over 2,000 words is even better.

Keep blog content updated

Since Google prefers to present search results with the most up-to-date information possible, by updating the content in your blogs frequently, you improve your ranking in search results. Simple updates are all that is needed to achieve the desired results within Google.

Link to other articles, link internally, and be shareable

When your blog contains links to other articles, you establish a relationship with the owners of those other articles, which can lead to a reverse situation in the form of backlinks to your article – great for improving search rankings. In addition, linking from your blog to other pages within your own website can help rankings, as does including buttons for readers to share your content with friends and followers on their own social media sites.

The meta description and URL matter

Have your web manager address the technical elements of your blog. For example, the URL for the blog should contain keywords and be easily readable, rather than present a generic numeric ID. By having keywords in the URL, you help Google find it. Also, make sure the meta description – how the message that describes your blog shows up in search results – is directly relevant to the content.

Your website should be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly

Google likes websites that provide a positive user experience, including those that are mobile-friendly and can be viewed on any type of mobile device. When your website is easy to navigate and users can easily find what they’re looking for, you improve SEO and site ranking, which also helps your blogs rank higher.

Other site technicalities

Ensure the web site where your blog appears loads quickly, contains no broken links, and adheres to the usual web content rules for HTML and CSS coding.

Do you have what it takes to write your own blogs?

You might be an expert in your industry and an excellent writer, but if you don’t follow the guidance contained here, your blogs could go unseen and your blog efforts wasted. Professional web developers, marketers, and copywriters can support your blogging and SEO efforts to improve the web rankings of both the information you post and your website.

Our Philadelphia-based web development company Perfexion, Inc. can help. Our team of professionals specializes in optimizing clients’ web content and enhancing their website rankings across all search engines. We are located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia and specialize in optimizing our clients’ web content ensuring their sites perform to the best of their ability.

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Technical SEO

Don’t Let Your SEO Efforts Go to Waste

Any web developer worth his or her salt is an expert at both off-page and on-page SEO. Simply put, good on-page SEO means a website contains content that is optimized for certain keywords and phrases so that the site’s search rankings and relevance to users are improved. Good off-page SEO means a site gains authority and relevance by building and effectively managing backlinks from other relevant, authoritative sources.

All that attention and focus on having just the right on- and off-page SEO will go to waste if the technical aspects of SEO are ignored or improperly handled. The following checklist contains recommendations for achieving the best results in terms of your site’s user experience, search engine crawling, indexing, and of course, ranking.

  • Set up and manage your website’s sitemap: A sitemap informs search engines about how your website is structured. Make sure your sitemap is clean/error-free, updated when content is posted or removed, concise so crawls can be more effective, and registered in Google Search Console.
  • Check the pages on your website that are indexed by the various search engines, including those that have been restricted from indexing, to make sure the number of pages indexed is about the same as the number of pages on your website.
  • Use an SEO crawler, not just robots.txt, to check that every critical resource on your website is crawlable and not blocked from indexing. An SEO crawler performs a more comprehensive check that includes CSS and JavaScript files, orphan pages (those that are on your site but are not internally linked), and more that might be restricted but should not be.
  • Enhance the frequency with which search engines crawl the pages of your website during a specific period of time – your crawl budget. Google statistics provide the average number of times the pages of your site are crawled daily, and from that you can calculate your monthly crawl budget. Use that intelligence to maximize the crawls that are being performed. How? By removing duplicate content, restricting indexing on pages that don’t support SEO, making crawling more efficient by adding URL parameters, and fixing broken links and redirects.
  • Audit your site’s internal links to make sure the structure of your site is both logical and shallow. For example, check to ensure your site’s important pages are reachable within three clicks of the homepage (the depth of your pages). When fixing broken links, look for those that could be hidden in link tags, sitemaps, and HTTP headers. Address linking on orphan pages to make it easier for visitors and search engines to find them.
  • Audit your website for HTTPS issues that could affect your site’s ranking. Check the different types of content on pages you believe are secure; if you have mixed content, it could be coming from an HTTP connection that is not secure which, in effect, makes your page less secure and can even stop a browser from loading it altogether. Make sure all the links, redirects, and canonical URLs point directly to HTTPS pages to reduce/eliminate the number of unnecessary redirects, which make a website appear slow and eat away at your crawl budget. If your site is still HTTP, consider migrating to HTTPS, given that Google uses HTTPS as one of its ranking signals.
  • Make sure your site’s pages load in two seconds or less. Google factors speed when ranking a site, and a page that loads quickly and efficiently provides an optimum user experience as well as improves your bounce and conversion rates because users will be less inclined to click away from a page that has loaded quickly.
  • Prioritize the mobile friendliness of your website and perform an in-depth audit of the site. With search queries from mobile devices on a steady rise, Google is planning to change how it indexes website pages. They will soon begin indexing mobile versions of websites first, rather than their desktop versions. Google provides a mobile-friendly test that lets you check a variety of criteria such as text size, plugins, how pages are viewed, and more. The key is to perform the test on every landing page of your site, since Google determines mobile friendliness on a page by page basis.
  • Just as you need to restart your computer for software updates to take effect, you should have search engines re-crawl your website to make sure fixes and changes you make to your site go immediately into effect. You can submit requests to Google and Bing to re-crawl and re-index on a URL basis or on your entire website.

By systematically addressing the technical areas of your website that impact SEO, you both improve the ability of your site to rank well in searches and enhance the user experience across the entire site. The end results are well worth the effort. At Perfexion, Inc. we specialize in making sure clients’ websites are technically sound and perform to the best of their ability.

Note: Thanks to Link-Assistant.com (https://www.link-assistant.com/news/technical-seo-audit.html) for the valuable tips presented here.

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