Posts about search engine optimization

What Does an SEO Analyst Do for You?

SEO analysts are experts at presenting your website to major search engines. They prepare your website for indexing and improve its rankings by poring over the wealth of data available through analytical tools. Then they draw conclusions, brainstorm ideas for improvement, and implement those ideas.

The process sounds simple, but once you start breaking down the individual tasks that an SEO performs on a daily basis, you’ll find that the big picture for search engine optimization is actually made up of thousands of tiny little pictures. Each task that an SEO performs is part of a smooth-moving engine, and those tasks require analysts to pull skills from wildly differing fields, such as:

  • upward trending line for seo analysisHTML and CSS
  • Web Design
  • Content Creation & Curation
  • Statistics
  • Data Analysis
  • Business Administration
  • Management
  • Information Technology

Want to appreciate the lengths that SEO analysts go to when working on your website and business? Take a closer look at what technical skills they are using and deep analyses they are performing nearly every day.

Data Analysis

Using tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, SpyFu, and ahrefs, SEO analysts watch and organize countless charts and tables rich with data about your website. On a daily basis, they monitor such dimensions as:

  • Unique entrances to your website
  • Time spent by visitors on specific pages
  • Rises and falls in organic traffic
  • Demographics of website visitors
  • Traffic acquisition types and sources
  • Marketing campaign successes and failures

line graph with two upward trending leverage colored lines

Using the data they collect, SEO analysts develop a picture, over time, of what kind of people are visiting your website, how they are interacting with it, and why. Watching and building an understanding of what types of web content bring in traffic and keep it there helps augment the success of your website and the knowledge of your brand.

Technical SEO (Making Sure Googlebot Can Read Your Site Efficiently)

You may have heard the term technical SEO if you’ve worked with a digital marketing agency before. We use the term because the technical part of search engine optimization comprises so many tasks that an umbrella term for those tasks has become necessary.

spectral lines representing multiple seo jobsTechnical is a fitting term because SEO analysts have to use a breadth of technology-related knowledge to accomplish tasks under the category of technical SEO. The goal of technical SEO is to prepare and maintain a website that can be read efficiently by web crawlers such as Googlebot.

Sitemapping and Hierarchy

Reorganizing and mapping out your site allows web crawlers to extract information from your website that helps index the site properly.

For businesses who already have a website, SEO analysts take a look at what pages are important to your site and how they are organized, then come up with a plan to restructure the site so users and web crawlers can enjoy simple navigation in a logical hierarchy.

For businesses who are just getting started, SEO analysts gather information about your most important products

and services, then plan a website structure based on a seamless user experience. The plan is made with bots and users in mind.

Activity Moderation

As users engage with your website, you’ll have to provide feedback to those users to keep them engaged. SEO analysts help by moderating comments on websites, ensuring smooth interaction with ecommerce integrations, and refining email marketing campaigns and outreach campaigns.

Whitelisting & Blacklisting

The realm of moderation goes even deeper into whitelisting & blacklisting.

Blacklisting is the creation of or addition to a list of users or websites that have been disavowed by your business. A disavow is a denial of responsibility or support for entities that interact with your website, such as other websites who link externally to your website.

More simply, blacklisting is the same as severing ties with people and websites who are destructive to the success of your business. Similarly, whitelisting ensures that entities that have been incorrectly identified as disavowed are allowed to access and interact with your business.

Content Planning

whiteboard for content planningThe content of your website is one of the first things major search engines such as Google look at when deciding how and where to rank your website. Optimizing your site for search engines relies heavily on the creation and curation of quality content that helps your visitors make that vital decision whether to purchase your product or service.

Content Additions and Changes

Creating that content starts with the content plan of a seasoned search engine optimization expert. After reading and analyzing your data, SEOs decide what kind of new articles, service pages, product pages, graphics, and videos your website needs to help your potential customers interact with your business. They can then offer solutions to you for improving website rankings and customer interaction through new or repurposed content.

Keyword Research

SEOs dive deeply into researching trending keywords (words used by searchers to find web content) and their value in major search engines. They spend time and effort deciding what keywords are most relevant to your business, how users are searching for those keywords, and what kind of content will help draw visitors to your website according to those keywords.


Once the content is created by an online content specialist, your SEO takes care of implementing the content into your website. Analysts help minimize code so the content is crawlable, integrate it into your web design, and optimize it for user interaction.

Business Expansion

blocks representing the growth of business

The goal of search engine optimization is to bring in organic traffic. Organic traffic is traffic that comes to your website free of charge

through the use of a search engine. Doing so naturally helps your business grow by increasing the number of available and potential customers. But a quality SEO analyst is aware of more than just organic traffic increases and is invested in helping your business grow in whatever ways with which he or she can help.

New Content

Analysts don’t just plan for content that’s already relevant to your site; they can also help you discover new avenues of reaching larger audiences through new content. SEOs may bring potential new audiences or products and services to your attention, and sometimes have ideas about how to create content that markets to and for them.

Implementation of Your New Services and Products

Similarly, when you have a new idea for a product or service, SEOs will help you integrate that new product or service into your website in a way that is search engine and user friendly. Using their specialized set of skills, they will analyze how customers are already interacting with your website and find the best way to ensure that your new products and services see as many eyes as possible through today’s search engines.


clipboard representing seo reporting

Often, your SEO analyst will prepare a report for you that lets you take a look at the most important data regarding the performance of your website. He or she will observe relationships between page visits and interactions, pair that data with engagements, and explain to you how all the pieces fit together.

Reporting helps you understand how the SEO work that you don’t see is helping to improve the performance of your website. It also helps you understand how and why your SEO is making essential decisions regarding the future of your website and your business. The opinion of your SEO analyst is well-informed, and we encourage all digital marketing customers to pay careful attention to his or her reports.

Search Engine Optimization Directs the Future of Your Website

It’s difficult to trust, initially, that an SEO has your best interests in mind. It takes sustained effort over long periods to see results, and you rarely get to see what’s happening in the back end of your website. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of an SEO and a content team, major search engines such as Google may even drop rankings for websites. Part of the reason the digital marketing industry exists is the closely guarded secrecy of search engine algorithms, and legitimate, white-hat SEO teams have to contend with the whims of an automatic indexing system.

Still, it is the efforts of search engine optimization analysts that are shaping a better future for the internet – in conjunction with the ever-improving indexing of search engines, of course. The goals of SEOs and search engines align to create ever-improving web content that is easy to find instantly. SEO shapes the future of the internet, and we encourage you to find an SEO analyst you can trust to put forth his or her best effort.


You guessed it – we’re experts in SEO at Leverage Marketing. Our agency is built on trust, and we’ve got client success to back it up. Talk with us today about what SEO can do to improve your business.

Why User Experience Is Vital to Your SEO Strategy

Gone are the days when website owners can simply stuff targeted keywords into their website, write catchy, keyword optimized title and meta tags, and then expect to rank on the first page of Google. Our team at Leverage Marketing has proven time and again that SEO works best when a holistic strategy is used – user experience, site speed, content, and site crawlability all play an enormous role.

User experience (UX) and SEO depend heavily on one another to achieve a desired outcome: better organic rankings and higher conversions. Let’s explore how user experience and SEO are inseparable from one another.   

First, understand that Google’s SEO algorithm is always changing. Only focusing on SEO rules as a strategy is simply not enough.

Many of you might be thinking, “But if I just write lots of quality content, get a ton of backlinks, and use the right keywords, then my SEO should be great. A good UX is just a bonus for the user, right?” This is the wrong way to look at the importance of UX as it relates to SEO.

It’s true that by only focusing on Google’s algorithm, you can still drive traffic to your site. However, by not focusing on providing the best possible user experience to your desktop and mobile site visitors, you are limiting the effectiveness of your website.

Think of it this way: understanding your customer is much more important than understanding Google’s algorithm (which is constantly changing). 20,000 website visits per month mean nothing if those visits aren’t contributing to your conversions, revenue, or other site goals.

The Relationship Between SEO and UX

If you look at both SEO and UX, you will see that they are actually very similar in their goal: to make it easier for users to find what they want and be satisfied with what they find. Today, we have many indications that Google cares about user experience and accounts for factors like time on page and bounce rate. What is important to Google must also be important to you if you want to rank competitively.

For starters, we already have numerous page elements that influence both SEO and UX. Let’s take a quick look at a few examples:


<h1> Headers are used by search engines to determine what a particular page is about, but they are also used by visitors to do the same. Furthermore, <h2> and <h3> tags are used by both site visitors and search engines to scan the page and determine the subtopics.

Great Content

Quality content results in users sticking around for longer on the page as well as potentially clicking deeper in the site. This is excellent for the SEO and also shows that the site is providing a strong UX.

Easy Navigation & Site Structure

website navigation conceptA solid navigation and logical site structure allows Google’s bots to easily crawl a website and determine what it is about and which keywords it is targeting. A website that has an organized, intuitive structure and navigation also provides a more pleasant user experience. Visitors are more likely to stay for longer on the website, to convert, and to possibly later link to or share a valuable piece of content.

Some other examples of where SEO and UX meet on your site include:

Beyond the previously mentioned common page elements that affect both UX and SEO, we also know that Google can currently understand other aspects of a website’s UX, such as page layout.

Recently, Google’s Pierre Far shared a post on Google+ telling publishers to make sure that they expose Javascript and CSS files to Google. Apparently, Google is able to use this knowledge to value links differently based on where they are placed on the page. Links that are placed in areas where the user can easily benefit from them will be given more SEO value.

The Future of UX and SEO

As Google becomes better at mimicking human behavior, UX is becoming more relevant in its search engine rankings. Its importance is only going to increase as we move into the future of search marketing.

Beyond this type of measurement of content quality, at this point in time, little is known for certain about the other UX aspects that Google might use as ranking factors both now and in the near future. According to Eric Enge at Stone Temple Consulting, the following are a few likely possibilities:

future of UX and SEO conceptThey could look at user engagement data.

“Search Engines may look at something more specific than just ‘bounce rate’ as a ranking factor.” Enge believes that Google could possibly look even more closely at how users behave once on a website.

They can do other types of on-page content analyses.

“For example, they can try to evaluate whether or not your page provides complete experiences: i.e., if they send 100 users to your page, what percentage of those will be satisfied?”

Think of the relationship of SEO and UX like this: UX targets your website’s visitors and SEO targets search engines. Both share a common goal of giving users the best possible experience. They are (and will remain) inseparable as we move further into the future of search marketing. Embrace them both!

The Big Picture for SEO

We know that a winning recipe in search marketing is not just SEO, but a great user experience combined with an excellent SEO strategy.

Will Reynolds, the director of digital strategy at SEER Interactive, agrees.

“The biggest way UX impacts SEO is simple. I think most of us can agree that Google is trying to understand user behavior and interaction with content. They might not have that completely figured out TODAY, but we know where that puck is going.”

At the end of the day, having a high SEO ranking and getting a user to your website is only part of the equation. You must be equally as interested in making sure that your website is providing solutions and solving user problems. A high quality user experience helps in making this a reality.

Leverage Marketing’s SEO and web design teams are ready to help you improve your site’s user experience. Contact Leverage today to learn more about our services.

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Debunking Myths About Writing and Blogging for SEO

“Blogging” sometimes earns an eye roll from business owners. This is probably at least partially because a lot of business blogs have a reputation for being:

  • Woefully neglected
  • Run by a cadre of proofreading-averse interns
  • Run by someone who has read about the importance of blogging for your business, but who doesn’t know quite how to execute for maximum effect

The reason that a lot of company blogs are unloved often has something to do with the fact that businesses don’t have the time or knowledge to execute a great blog strategy, and without a great strategy, blogging doesn’t always demonstrate a lot of value. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Blogging is just as much about building your site’s SEO value as it is about engaging your customers. Blogging and SEO are a match that is meant to be, and neither is quite as good without the other involved. If you’re pursuing some SEO tactics on your site but not blogging, you’re missing a huge opportunity to expand your SEO work, and if you’re blogging without an eye to SEO, you’re not getting all the value out of your blog that you could be.

With all this confusion about how blogging and SEO are actually related, a lot of myths about blogging for SEO have begun floating around in business’s collective consciousness—hence the spread of intern-run company blogs. Don’t fall prey to these myths: get the full scoop on how blogging does actually help SEO.

Myth #1: Blogging for SEO reasons is a waste of resources – search engines don’t care about my business’s blog.

Contrary to what you may think, search engines care a lot about what you’re blogging about or if you’re not even blogging at all.

Search engines are a lot like your customers—they’re more likely to trust information from sources that look authoritative. Think about it; if you were shopping for something, would you rather buy a product from a site with no product description, or would you rather shop at the well-organized site with lots of helpful information?

Search engines would rather serve up a site that’s full of useful info for searchers. This is a simplified explanation of a concept known as “authority”, and it’s one reason why blogging is important to the long-term prosperity of your site. Blogging is a straightforward method of building up your site’s stock of useful info, which helps make your site look like an industry authority, no matter what your industry is.

Blogging also helps SEO by building up the amount of information on your site that other sites could link to. This is one of the ways that search engines determine which sites should rank highest in search results. If there are lots of different relevant and trustworthy links pointing back to your site, Google is going to see you as an authority and will grant you higher rankings in the results pages because of it.

creative blog conceptMyth #2: Blogging is only for companies with “fun” offerings – nobody’s going to read our blog, ever.

People have questions about pretty much everything, even boring stuff. I don’t get really excited about filing my taxes, but I still have questions about it that I turn to Google to answer—which a lot of big companies know, and why they spend time and money writing blog content that targets confused taxpayers like me who are looking for answers. I can almost guarantee that your product or service isn’t more boring than taxes, and even if it is, that probably just means there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding it.

This is where blogging, SEO, and content marketing all need to work together to achieve results. Even if you answer tons of relevant questions and impart lots of relevant info in your blog, your content is still going to be hard for people to find without a great SEO-focused keyword and content promotion plan. That’s a big and multi-faceted topic that doesn’t quite fit into this post, but we write a lot about this kind of stuff on our blog.  We can also just do all this hard work for you, because we know you have plenty of other things to do besides trying to learn how to write the perfect blog post for a business.

Myth #3: Blogging isn’t necessary if you’re doing other SEO stuff.

Run your business however you want, but if you focus solely on product and service pages, you’re missing the benefits of an SEO-focused blogging effort. Why? Well, like trying to scratch an itch on the middle of your back, there are just some search queries you can’t target with your top-level site content.

For example, pretend you have a website for your llama rescue ranch. Obviously, your homepage, “About Us” page, and other key pages on your site will target search queries such as “llama ranch” and “llama rescue”. But think about a long question query like “what do llamas eat”.  This search query gets 500+ searches a month, not a lot of other sites are trying really hard to rank highly for it, and it’s relevant to your industry. You can’t really target that query on your homepage without sounding awkward, but you shouldn’t just give up on those 500 searchers a month that could be learning about your ranch, either. Why not write a blog post for your business that targets this query?

Sure, maybe those searchers aren’t actually looking to visit a llama rescue ranch today—but maybe they’re really into learning about llamas, and they didn’t even know your llama rescue ranch existed until they read your blog post. That’s a future visitor you just ensnared with the power of blogging for SEO.

Myth #4: We should use every single blog post to directly promote our offerings.

Promotional blogging for SE) mythThis is a myth best busted by putting yourself into a non-digital scenario. Say you want to buy a car but have very little idea what you’re looking for, which model or features you want, or even what your budget is. You’re just kind of scoping out the market—you’re not even sure you’re going to get a new car. Then you head to a used car dealership to just walk around and look at the selection of cars for a bit, and the salesman pops out and says, “I CAN SELL YOU THIS CAR FOR $5,000 LESS IF YOU BUY THIS CAR RIGHT NOW, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!”

That’s essentially what you’re doing to potential customers when you try to make every blog post into a big promotional sales pitch. It’s a version of a bait-and-switch technique, in that you’re working to draw in a reader who is likely just seeking information or tips, and then you try to close a sale with someone who isn’t even close to ready to buy. By doing this, you’re practically asking visitors to bounce from your site.

Let the main product or service pages on your site be the sales pitches. If you want to use your blogging for long-term SEO impact, spend your time more wisely by giving readers answers and information and a call to action that will either keep them on your site, or will stick your brand name in their mind or in their browser’s bookmarks bar. That way, when they’re actually ready to buy something, they’ll know and trust your site, and they’ll come to you first.

Myth #5: Blogs don’t ever convert readers into customers.

There’s a nugget of truth to this SEO blogging myth: blogs aren’t good at converting customers right on the spot. If you are expecting your blog to immediately turn casual readers into paying customers, you are going to be disappointed, no matter how good your call to action is.

Most people aren’t going to enter your site for the first time through a blog post and slide right into the checkout process or lead form fill, and it’s a little unfair to expect them to. Think about it – how many times have YOU done that? We’re willing to bet it’s not many.

We get it: you want to pursue marketing activities that deliver immediate ROI and boost results sooner rather than later. But blogging for SEO benefit is a long game—and there are a LOT of perks to running a long game. While a reader may not make a purchase or submit your full form after reading one blog post, think about what DOES happen when someone hops onto your site for the first time via a blog post.

  1. They see your brand name.
  2. They get a sense of what your site offers, and associate your brand name with that offering.
  3. They may feel some level of affinity for your brand for answering their question, providing them with information, or offering a solution to their problem.
  4. They could sign up for your newsletter, download your eBook, or perform another action that allows you to keep their contact information and convert them down the line.
  5. They could share the post with other people, extending your reach and repeating the cycle.

Advertising agencies are literally paid thousands of dollars just to get companies’ brand names in the consumer’s mind. A good SEO-driven blogging strategy accomplishes this, and you don’t have to pay for an ad on a billboard or stick your logo on the rear end of a bus. Sure, following a bunch of SEO blogging tips and strategies is going to take some of your time and resources, but the reason why blogging is important for your business is because it is a sustainable method of building your site’s authority and bringing in first-time visitors. Show me a bus sticker that does that.

Still not convinced blogging for SEO is worth your time? We get that you don’t want to put money into something that doesn’t give back. That’s why our team has become experts at squeezing every drop of SEO value out of your blog. Get in touch with the Leverage Marketing team today and let us do the lifting with your blog for a while.

The 4 Most Critical SEO Strategies for 2018

With the new year just a month away, most digital marketing blogs and other SEO thought leaders are publishing their “Top SEO Trends for 2018” articles in droves. More often than not, these articles will contain some key SEO trends to focus on in 2018 but also reiterate many traditional ones as well.

Backlinks, rich, quality content, and focused keyword usage are essential for a healthy SEO ranking. However, these are tactics that have been crucial to search engine optimization for years and are not going anywhere in 2018 (or the foreseeable future). Let’s take a minute to move beyond these long-standing trends and take a focused look at the most critical, up-and-coming SEO strategies for 2018 and what you can do to ensure that your organic Google presence is as strong as possible next year and beyond.

Strategy #1: Focus on Creating a Superb User Experience (UX)

SEO strategy is all for nothing if visitors come to your site only to leave after a few seconds. Thus, our first vital trend for 2018 is creating an excellent user experience on your website.

It is essential for your website to have an easy-to-navigate design, quick load time, and a mobile-friendly user interface. As we will see, making sure your site functions seamlessly on mobile is no longer optional, but rather the new law of the land in the SEO world (more about this later).

The main goal of a business website is typically to draw in the largest amount of visitors possible and get them to convert. This conversion usually comes in the form of the visitor providing some personal information in exchange for receiving some sort of value in return, such as a newsletter, free course, audiobook, or study guide. Another type of conversion (our favorite kind) is a purchase. Google is increasingly gravitating towards approaching SEO and websites more as a real user and less as just an algorithm. Conversion matters!

To prove the claim that UX is a top, critical SEO trend for 2018 and beyond, look no further than Google’s recently launched UX optimization platform, Optimize 360. This should be a clear signal that Google is invested in a continued, growing convergence of user interface and SEO goals. Focus on having the best all-around user experience possible for your website and you will be setting the foundation to not only rank higher in the search engine results, but also have customers who will be much more likely to convert.

Strategy #2: Begin Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search  

voice search SEO trend for 2018

The next important trend that you should prepare for in 2018 and beyond is the rapid emergence of voice search. If you look closely at the rapidly budding technologies like Apple’s Siri,  Amazon’s Alexa, and Google voice search, you will agree that it’s only a matter of time before voice search dominates the billions of queries made every day. Most business owners are unaware that, according to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. This is vital for business owners who want their website to rank competitively.

The continued rise of voice search means that there will be a rapid increase in long-tail keyword research and a focus on natural spoken language. More and more, long-tail conversational search queries will become the norm. For example, in the past, a local business might want to rank for the SEO keyword phrase ‘downtown bars Austin’. Soon, in order to solidly rank consistently for something along these lines, a keyword phrase will perform better if written in a more conversational way. For example, the search phrase “Where’s the best place to grab a drink in downtown Austin?” is a much more natural, conversational sentence structure.

The sooner you begin taking action to implement voice search into your SEO strategy, the further ahead of your competition you will be as we move into the 2020’s, where voice search will become the norm for the vast majority of all search queries.

Strategy #3: Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing

It’s official. Google mobile searches now make up for the majority of all search queries. According to Google, between 50 to 60% of search queries now come from mobile devices. This is why the third crucial SEO strategy for 2018 is to fully optimize your website for mobile. You must optimize the mobile version of your site in such a way that it is a true equal to your desktop version in terms of content and user experience.

Note: If you have a mobile version of your site or if you have a responsive site, don’t worry. There is nothing special you need to do in regards to mobile as of 2018.

Many SEO articles today mention that a “mobile-first index” is coming soon, but what does this mean exactly? To put it simply, an index is just another name for the database used by a search engine, and Google will soon begin to index data (taking it from the site and adding it to Google’s database) from a mobile site instead of the desktop site as it has always done.

We know that most Google searches are now mobile, but Google’s ranking is still focused on the desktop version of the website. Google wants to fix this, and fix it they will. Google’s mobile-first index began live testing last year, in 2016.

An official mobile-first indexing for all websites will happen more quickly than you or I probably expect. 2018 could be the year that a full-fledged mobile-first index goes into effect. If you want to invest in SEO and truly have your efforts pay off, you must begin taking action to ensure the content, user experience, and web design of your site is fully optimized for mobile users.

Strategy #4: Begin Strategizing to Rank for a Google Featured Snippet

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to rank in spot “0” of the search engine results page without having to pay for advertising? Google’s Quick Answers, or “featured snippets” as they’re more commonly referred to, make this a possibility. Getting your site into this highly valuable spot can do wonders for your organic visibility.  

First, what is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet is a summarized answer to someone’s search query, and it is placed at the very top of the Google search results page. You have probably seen them many times before when casually searching for “how to” do something.

Example: “how to bake chicken legs”

This is going to be the first thing that you will see in Google’s search results page:


Most SEO experts agree that as voice search continues to grow, quick answer featured snippets will become more prevalent on Google search results page.

Second, how do you rank for a featured snippet?

Although featured snippets have been around for years, many SEOs and business owners are just now wising up and starting to take a serious interest in how to go about ranking for them. Let’s quickly look at a few fundamental things to keep in mind when building a strategy to rank for Google’s quick answers. For more detailed information, check out this helpful article featured in the Search Engine Journal that covers 9 Steps on How to Rank for Featured Snippets.

If your goal is to achieve a spot as a featured snippet, it’s important to know how Google operates.

“When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.”

The core thing that you can do to increase the likelihood of landing a spot as a featured snippet is to create value by answering questions that people are asking in search engines. The following are mediums by which you can provide value by answering questions online: graphs, lists, tables, and quality Q&A information about your area of expertise.

Dominating SEO in 2018

As we move towards 2018, it is evident that SEO is rapidly moving in a new direction. Traditional SEO tactics such as quality content, backlinks, and focused keywords will remain as powerful fundamental SEO strategies for the foreseeable future. However, we must embrace new trends as well. In order to succeed, SEOs and business owners must integrate a strong user experience, voice search optimized content, mobile optimization, and focus on developing content that it’s in line with the requirements to compete for a spot as a featured snippet.

6 Steps to Rank for Competitive Keywords Using Long-Tail Keywords

One of the essential metrics that a clever SEO uses to determine how viable it is to pursue ranking for keywords is keyword difficulty. Various SEO tools use custom algorithms to determine keyword difficulty for words or word strings in their databases, but most of them agree on which keywords are most difficult to rank for in today’s search.

As a rule, we try to avoid going after highly-competitive keywords with a high keyword difficulty. That’s because the most competitive keywords are dominated by websites with a long history on the internet and vast, nearly unmatchable resources. But if you have the patience, you can take the slow-and-steady approach to ranking for competitive keywords by building your authority (over time) for long-tail keywords related to your target keywords.

Try these six steps with several different keyword sets. Tweak and experiment to find a strategy that works consistently for your target market.

Identify Competitive Keywords

moz keyword research result for space

Find highly-competitive, high-difficulty keywords using keyword research tools. Most tools are designed for use by marketing agencies or large businesses, and they require a subscription to use. However, you can do limited keyword research with free accounts on some keyword research websites. Try some of these:

Most sites label the metric you’re looking for as keyword difficulty, but you may also find it labeled as keyword competition or something similar. Keywords with a difficulty factor of 70+ (usually on a scale of 100, but may differ between sites) are well-established keywords that you’ll need to employ long-term strategies to rank for.

Find Related Searches

related keyword suggestions from moz keyword research tool

Using the same keyword research tools, plug your competitive keywords into a search that looks for and indexes related searches. Most keyword research tools are very clever and have an advanced understanding of the semantics of searches, which allows them to produce lists of less-competitive keywords that searchers use to find the same or very similar results.

Discover Long-Tail Keywords with Similar Meanings

related searches for space with similar keywords highlighted

Log the related searches and check their search volume. Start compiling lists of long-tail keywords that are nearly identical. Look first for keyword strings with minor lexical or grammatical differences. Then tack on strings with similar meanings, and find minor variants of those as well.

Be as thorough as you can – the object is to build lists of low-competition long-tail keywords around which you can base your upcoming content strategy.

Produce Content that Targets Long-Tail Keywords

keyword list in excel for brainstorming long-tail keyword targeted content

Once you’ve recorded a few lists of low-competition long-tail keywords, use your lists to build a plan-of-action for content. Consider themes that the long-tail keywords represent and brainstorm concepts around those ideas. Vary your content style between written content and visual content, and create similarly-themed content pieces that have a unique message but overlap in subject matter.

Build Authority

example SERP for long-tail technobabble space keyword search

Put your targeted content out on an ongoing basis and keep your expectations grounded. Again, the objective isn’t to immediately push high-authority sites out of top-ranked positions for competitive keywords; your mission is to dominate associated long-tail keywords, then begin to target the most competitive keywords.

It’s a win-win: You get traffic and leads for searches related to your high-keyword-difficulty keywords, and you build domain and page authority (two vital SEO metrics) over time. Most of your competitors don’t have the patience or resources to do so, which gives you a distinct advantage that will take your competition years to catch up to.

Produce Content that Targets Competitive Keywords

keyword list in excel for brainstorming competitive keyword targeted content

It’s going to take lots of time, but long-term strategy is at the heart of business success. Once you begin to rank highly for long-tail keywords, start producing content aimed at your short-tail, high-competition keywords.

Because you’ve spent time building your authority for the highly-competitive subject matter, you’re likely to get an automatic and significant boost in authority for high-keyword-difficulty keywords. You’ll benefit from:

  • An audience who trusts your expertise on the subject matter
  • A measurable history of content production for the subject matter
  • A hearty page authority and domain authority that gives you an automatic edge in search algorithms

However, it’s vital to stay realistic in your expectations. Keyword difficulty measurements exist to allow marketers like us to weigh the risks of pouring resources into target keywords against the benefits. Be prepared for a tough road with plenty of bumps – but if you make it to the end, you could achieve rankings and business growth unmatched by even the most robust SEO strategies to date.

How do we know so much? We’re no-kidding, all-out masters of SEO. Start ranking better with our help.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you’re an ecommerce retailer, you likely deal with the reality of abandoned shopping carts every day. According to the latest statistics from Listrak, an industry source on abandoned cart strategy, the 6-month average abandonment rate sits at 78%. There’s up to $260 billion in lost annual revenue due to people placing items in online shopping carts and leaving them. How can your business reduce shopping cart abandonment and start bringing those customers back?

There are several strategies for cart abandonment solutions, but it’s ultimately about creating trust with the customer, so they feel comfortable using your site.  While there are certainly shoppers who leave their carts, or who had no intention to buy in the first place, many are merely put off by the checkout process, and leave the site due to frustration. By removing barriers during the checkout process, you can lower cart abandonment and begin increasing revenue.

Why Do People Abandon Their Shopping Carts?

There are countless reasons why people abandon their shopping carts. It’s your job as an ecommerce retailer to ask, “How do I reduce shopping cart abandonment?” and discover new methods of appealing to customers. Some shoppers are distracted by a video, a family member or colleague, or they just leave their computer or mobile device without checking out.

Sometimes, the checkout is complicated or requires too much information. This process can be especially frustrating when checking out on mobile. Cart completion rates for desktop are higher than mobile, with 13% compared to 9% according to Listrak. By optimizing for mobile, you can try to recoup some of these lost purchases.

Ultimately, people abandon shopping carts for a multitude of reasons, and the best cart abandonment solutions are designed to make the process as seamless and secure as possible for the customer so that you can reduce shopping cart abandonment.

How Should I Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Implementing cart abandonment solutions means getting creative and removing obstacles that stand in your customers’ way. With these ideas, you can lower cart abandonment, increase your revenue, and build a relationship with your customers based on trust.

  • Show Shipping Prices Up Front – A common cause of cart abandonment is high shipping prices, especially when they aren’t transparent throughout the checkout process. A shipping estimator can minimize this problem, while free shipping can solve it almost entirely. There will still be customers who abandon their cart due to the cost of the item, but showing the full price up front, without hidden fees, will reduce shopping cart abandonment.
  • Don’t Trick the Customer– Avoid making the customer add items to the cart or create an account to see the price. People don’t like jumping through hoops to make a purchase, including going through additional steps. Offer simple, transparent pricing on product pages, and don’t hide it behind any paywalls.
  • Don’t Require an Account to Purchase- While it’s quickly becoming the norm to offer guest-checkout and options like Amazon and PayPal sign-in, many ecommerce websites still don’t do it. By providing additional payment options, you can reduce the barrier to checkout and increase your site’s trustworthiness.
  • Create a Seamless Navigation Flow Between Cart and Store– Make changing items in your cart easy, so the customer can view the store, make modifications, and more. If the cart is a segregated part of your website, this can lead to frustration and abandoned carts.
  • Allow for Sharing and Saving Carts– Not everyone is ready to make a purchase right away. Include functionality that allows your customers to save their cart, share it with friends, or even automatically save their items, so they’re there when they come back to the site.
  • Use Remarketing Ads to Target Cart Abandoners– Since we know some potential buyers will inevitably abandon their carts, we can still take advantage of the fact that they’ve shown interest in a specific product or brand. Use Google AdWords or Facebook remarketing ads to capture that market share; this customer base is far more likely to buy than other Internet users.
  • Send Emails with Special Offers to Follow Up- Depending on the size of your company, you can send automated or personalized emails to follow up on the abandoned cart. Offer 10% off or another exclusive deal if they complete their purchase. While sending too many of these emails can turn customers off, it can also remind them of their potential purchase and help them pull the trigger.
  • Improve Your Mobile Checkout Process- Use a simple progress bar that tells your customer how far along they in the process. This simple solution can reduce frustration and lead to more sales. Add a quick sale option so they can go straight to check out, without wading through various forms. With any necessary forms, ensure you’re only asking for need-to-know information and that your keyboards are field-sensitive, reducing their time spent.

Implement Your Cart Abandonment Solutions

Reduce shopping cart abandonment on your ecommerce site today with these cart abandonment solutions. You can build trust with your customers, create a more seamless checkout process, and increase your revenue over time. Avoid having customers leave your site in frustration and annoyance and begin building positive customer experiences with your checkout process.

Still stuck on why people are abandoning their carts on your ecommerce site? Contact Leverage Marketing to learn more about our web design services for ecommerce businesses. We can help you design an intuitive website and checkout process that lowers cart abandonment.

What to Know About Keyword Rankings (and How to Check Them)

Let’s face it: almost nobody looks companies up in the phone book anymore. Whether you’re a local or national business, you’re probably aware that people are largely finding your business online, be it through your own website or through third-party sites like Amazon or Yelp. Marketing channels such as word-of-mouth still play a huge part in growing a business, and old-school promotional tactics such as direct mail still have a place in the game, but if you’re looking to grow a business in 2017, you’re going to want to show up on the search results pages when people look for what you offer.

Hence, the SEO world’s interest in tracking keyword rankings. You may have heard this general phrase thrown around by your colleagues or digital marketing consultants before, but how are these mystical keyword search rankings determined, and how do you keep track of them?

What Are Keyword Rankings?

coffee shop example search rankingsKeyword ranking positions are simple to understand. Basically, what rankings measure is where your site shows up on the search page for any given keyword.

Say you have a website for your coffee shop, and you want people to be able to find your website when they look for coffee shops in your area. The good news is, you see your website at #4 on the Google results page when you search for “coffee shops Austin TX” – yay! But when you search “restaurants Austin TX” or “cafes Austin TX”, you don’t see your site on the results page until you click into the 5th “O” in “Gooooooogle.”

This means that your site is ranking #4 on Google for the term “coffee shops Austin TX”, and, because each search results page includes 10 search results, it is ranking 50-something for “cafes Austin TX.”

How Are Keyword Rankings Determined?

It’s pretty straightforward: your page is ranked according to how relevant it is to the searcher’s query (keyword). So, as a coffee shop in Austin, TX, your site is going to be very relevant for that particular query, and will likewise rank well as long as other SEO factors are solid. However, your website just is not as relevant for someone searching “restaurants Austin TX”, because search engines realize that your café is not the best possible match for what a searcher is looking for when they search for a restaurant.

Can you game the system and hire an SEO firm to help your coffee shop’s site rank #1 for restaurant-related searches? You can try, but fair warning: failing to fulfill a searcher’s expectations by promising the answer to their query but not delivering is a dangerous game. When visitors don’t find what they’re looking for, they will likely bounce right off your site, and your rankings will suffer. Don’t stretch the truth – focus on your rankings for search queries that you can confidently fulfill.

Why Should You Care About Checking Your Keyword Ranking Position?

As we all know, the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google. Continuing with our coffee shop example, then, your business is essentially not showing up to anyone searching for “cafes Austin TX.” The websites on the first search engine results page receive almost 95% of web traffic, so not many people are going to find you on that 5th page.

Don’t let your site be the dead body. Tracking your average keyword rankings is a straightforward way of monitoring your site performance and comparing it to that of your competitors’. So, if your site drops from a keyword search ranking of #1 to a ranking of #40, you’ll know before your revenue starts dropping, and you can take action to regain your rankings.

What Keywords Should I Care About Tracking?

You probably already have a good idea of what keywords are most important for your business – if you’re the owner of a coffee shop, you’d be missing out if you didn’t really care about ranking highly for local search keywords like “coffee shops near me”. However, there are a lot of different variants on searches about coffee shops – maybe a potential customer will search for “coffeeshops” or “a coffee shop” or “coffee shop menu” or “find coffee shops nearby” or potentially hundreds of other variants. What about someone searching for the town’s best cappuccino or the best coffee shop for studying? You want to show up for those searches, too.

This is where keyword research and SEO come in. When you’re looking to use SEO to improve your site’s search rankings, keyword research is almost always the first project to tackle – why make the effort to improve the keyword ranking position for a search term that no one is searching for? Using keyword research to identify big ranking opportunities is a topic for another day, but if you’ve got questions now, the Leverage Marketing team is always happy to lend a hand when it comes to keyword strategy – we love that stuff.

So, let’s say you’ve done your research and put together an awesome keyword list. Obviously, with all these search terms you want to show up for, manually searching each term and marking your site’s position regularly would be a miserable and futile task, especially considering that rankings can vary by your exact location and your search history. There has to be a better way to check your Google rankings, right?

How Do You Check Your Website Ranking on Google, Bing, and Yahoo?

search engine ranking graphThankfully for every SEO and business owner’s sanity, there are a lot of ways to check your site’s search engine rankings that don’t involve a week worth’s of time spent on Google. There are so many tools that have been created specifically for this purpose that it often seems like a lot to sift through. Which tools are the real deal?

You can choose from keyword search ranking tools that are free or tools that are paid. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for – using exclusively free tools can give you spotty results that don’t always reflect your true rankings that well, though they do come in handy for some uses. Paid tools tend to make it easier to automate keyword rank reporting and usually take some of the legwork out of tracking your keyword rankings so you can sit back and watch your rankings roll in.

Google itself is a great place to go when looking for keyword rank tracking tools – you can probably find the perfect tool to fit your budget and your tracking priorities. A few of the top choices are:

  • SERPs: It’s usability as a free tool is limited, but it’s great for spot checking both global and local rankings to see where your site appears for some of your top keywords.
  • Moz: This paid tool has all the bells and whistles you could want in a rank tracking tool, and it can reveal a lot of interesting info about the movement of your site up and down the results pages.
  • Advanced Web Ranking: This tool automates the keyword tracking process so you can relax while thousands of keywords are tracked on regular intervals. Heck, you can even set this to track the movement of your site rankings every single day if you want to!
  • Google Position Checker Tool: Maybe not the most comprehensive keyword checking tool, but it is free and is a great way to get started with rank tracking and find out where your website stands.

Want to see what you can get out of keyword rank tracking, but not sure where to start? Sign up for the Leverage newsletter to get more info about maximizing your digital efforts, or get in touch with us today to chat about our SEO services – because we want people to visit your coffee shop just as much as you do.

What Makes People Bounce from Your Site?

If you’ve spent any time exploring Google Analytics or talking with a search engine marketer, you’ve probably heard the phrase “bounce rate.” This term refers to the percentage of people who viewed one page on your site and left without clicking anything or navigating to another page.

A high bounce rate on your website isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you have a single-page site or content that can be consumed on a single page. However, if your success depends on visitors landing on your site and then taking another step (such as placing an order or filling out a contact form), you don’t want your bounce rate to be high.

normal bounce rate pie chart

Source: Kissmetrics

If you’ve spotted some high bounce rates on your website, the first thing you should do is try to figure out why visitors are leaving. The reasons for high bounce rates aren’t always obvious (Google Analytics doesn’t provide a neat explanation, unfortunately), but chances are it’s a result of one or more of the factors below.

What Causes a High Bounce Rate?

Page Loads Slowly

Time isn’t on your side when it comes to engaging web visitors. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of people say they’ll abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. If you’ve been noticing unusually high bounce rates, one of the first things you should do is test your website speed. You can do this by plugging a URL into Google’s PageSpeed tool. (Try it out—we’ll wait.)

If a page is loading slowly on desktop or mobile, PageSpeed Insights will recommend some potential fixes. One thing that may help on an image-heavy page is to compress your images so that the file is smaller and takes less time to load.

Disruptive Advertising Scares Off Visitors

computer monitor with disruptive advertisingThink about the last time you landed on a web page that immediately launched pop-up ads, flashing banners, or an auto-play video with the sound at full volume. You probably didn’t stay on that page too long. And guess what? Your site visitors are equally turned off by these disruptive elements. Avoid these ad formats and focus on delivering content that’s useful to your audience. If you do want to try out a pop-up ad (to get users to subscribe to a newsletter or download an eBook, for example), consider setting it to only appear when a user has scrolled down a certain percentage of the page or completed a pre-defined action on your site.

Design Looks Bad

Visitors will judge your web page by its cover. If your design elements, color choices, or fonts look outdated or garish, you’ll make visitors think your business is unprofessional.

Even worse than an outdated-looking website is one that’s hard to navigate. If it’s difficult for visitors to find their way around, either on desktop or mobile, they’re unlikely to stick around. Work with your web designer to set up navigation and search functions that are intuitive and mobile-friendly.

Content Is Hard to Read

There are lots of things that make online content hard to read, including:

  • Small fontsorb with hard to read text causing high bounce rate
  • Weird font choices (hello, Comic Sans)
  • Font colors that blend into the background
  • Big blocks of text with no images or paragraph breaks

These issues can be jarring on a small mobile screen. And if visitors have to struggle just to read what’s on your page, they’re not going to bother with it. Keep your content easy to read—and skim—if you want to keep visitors on your site.

Content Is Poorly Written

Poorly written can refer to content that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors or content that’s bland and fails to deliver what the reader is looking for. In either situation, you’ll hurt your business’s credibility and risk driving visitors away from your site. Invest the time in developing high-quality content that delivers something your visitors can’t find anywhere else. Use a tool like Grammarly to thoroughly proofread each piece before publication.

Page Fails to Meet Visitor Expectations

burlap sack promising useful contentIf a visitor arrives at your site only to find that the landing page doesn’t align with their expectations, they’ll bounce. Consider the example of someone who is searching for tips to keep their lawn green during the winter and clicks a search result with the headline “How to Keep Your Lawn Green Year-Round.” The page, however, turns out to be a blatant promotion for Ron’s Lawn Fertilizer. The page doesn’t provide the tips the visitor was looking for, so they leave.

Avoid misleading your visitors by making sure your meta titles and descriptions line up with what’s actually on your page. This will help you reduce your bounce rate and attract more qualified visitors.

Visitor Doesn’t Know What’s Next

If you want visitors to go from one page to another on your site, you need to make that clear with a call-to-action (CTA). In many cases, this is a button that directs users to complete an action, such as Download the Guide or Start a Free Trial.

call to action example

Here’s an example of a CTA from the Leverage site.

If your CTA is hard to see or buried at the bottom of the page, your visitors won’t know what they’re supposed to do next. You also risk confusing your visitors if you place multiple CTAs on the same page. Make your CTA obvious so that it’s as easy as possible for visitors to take the next step.

Value Proposition Isn’t Clear

You may want to dedicate your website to reviewing all the cool features of your product or service, but features alone don’t motivate your site visitors—they want to know about the benefits to them. It’s especially important to make your value proposition clear if you have a product that’s very similar to a competitor’s and charge a higher price. It needs to be obvious to visitors why they should choose your product or service. If you can’t articulate that, they’ll head to a competitor’s site.

You’re Asking Too Much, Too Soon

large invoice on mobile phoneThis problem may come up if you’re in an industry with a typically long buyer’s journey, such as B2B software or luxury goods. If you have expensive offerings, asking visitors to make a purchase or fill out a quote form as soon as they get to your site could be too much. To keep visitors engaged with your site and business, you may want to start with a less intimidating introductory offer like an eBook or free trial.

Visitor Got What They Wanted

Certain types of web pages, such as blog posts, are likely to have a high bounce rate simply because visitors found all the information they were looking for on that one page. For this type of content, it’s more important to pay attention to metrics like Time on Page and Average Session Duration. By checking these engagement metrics, you can get a sense of whether visitors are leaving quickly or sticking around to consume your content.

Still baffled as to why visitors are bouncing from your site? Leverage Marketing can perform a website audit to reveal potential issues and solutions. Contact us and let us know what challenges you want to address.

Voice Search’s Impact on Digital Marketing

It’s hard to deny the increasing prevalence of voice search in everyday life. Everywhere we turn, there’s an Amazon Echo, a PC enabled with Cortana, or someone shouting, “Hey Siri” on their iPhone. Just a few years ago, voice functionality was in its infancy. It’s now becoming increasingly sophisticated. As devices with voice search stretch from the living room to smartphones and even laundry rooms, the way people look up information fundamentally changes.

18-49 year-olds perform more voice searches than older adults, using natural speech to ask questions to their devices, according to a Stone Temple study. With a variety of platforms including Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana, virtual assistants are synonymous with current technology. Users leverage these assistants to dictate texts, control electronics in their home, play music, and perform searches.

With this increase in voice searches, digital marketers need to adapt to new queries, optimize for more advanced keywords, and create specialized content. Writing quality content is still paramount, but it’s more about instant answers than ever before. As devices grow smaller and platforms like Alexa find a place in our homes, it’s necessary to develop voice-focused campaigns to succeed.

voice search seo image 2

Make Your Brand Accessible

To succeed in a new market where over 60% of people use voice search at home and 57.8% use voice search on their smartphones (according to the Stone Temple study), you must make your brand accessible. By optimizing your SEO and content toward voice, you can increase your organic and paid rankings for voice-based search queries. Determine how people are searching for your brand through voice by using the Search Terms report in AdWords.

It’s possible your brand is discovered through mobile voice search via local-based queries more than text searches. By creating more query-driven content and focusing on local ads, you can make your brand more accessible for voice searches. Creating more content that replies to questions can help your brand rank in answer boxes, improving its visibility.

By optimizing your brand’s assets for voice search, including mobile and local voice, you’re making your company available to a wider swath of people. Whether people are searching via an Amazon Alexa device or using Siri, they’ll be likelier to find and purchase your products or services.

How Does Voice Search Impact SEO and Keywords?

It might seem obvious, but people search differently using voice than when they type in a query. It’s necessary to consider voice search optimization to capture keyword market share. While SEO analysts often optimize for short-tail keywords that average two words, SEO for voice search requires a more nuanced approach. Using conversational long-tail keywords can boost your SEO, especially when they’re closely related to the product you’re selling. When people search for particular keywords, they’re also usually closer to buying something. Most people search in a longer, more natural fashion by voice, using speech-like search terms, often in the form of questions: Who? What? Where? When?

You may want to consider developing specific landing pages and ad copy for voice-based queries. Decisions are made more quickly over voice search, shortening the buyer’s journey, compressing it into a process that often takes less than a minute. Ensuring that your site can meet the demands of voice search SEO will enable it to adapt as mobile devices capture additional market share and virtual assistants become ubiquitous. Developing a strategy for voice search marketing will help you prepare as the market continues to grow.

voice search seo image 1

The Future of Voice Search with Consumers

Within the next few years, voice search marketing will become a necessity for SEO, as more consumers use voice-enabled devices for search. With devices that run Windows 10, macOS, Android, and iOS all including virtual assistants, it’s easier than ever to search online by talking to your device. Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and other dedicated home speakers make voice-based queries accessible at any time. With quicker answers, consumers act faster, making decisions and buying within a shorter timeframe. Whether it’s ordering food, buying clothing, renting a car, or another activity, voice search makes purchases almost instantaneous.

Ads can become even more personalized with voice-based queries learning your buying habits from multiple smart devices, like your refrigerator, washing machine, thermostat, and more. As every device in the home becomes capable of always listening and allowing you to search and purchase, marketers can utilize this information to target consumers more accurately. Machine learning algorithms allow these assistants to get better based on user feedback and behavior. Through voice search optimization, Google, Amazon, and Apple will be able to work with companies to serve up better ads to customers.

Is your company interested in being a pioneer in voice search marketing? Leverage Marketing has the SEO skills to help you get optimized. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your company keep up.

Writing Great Content for SEO: Your Questions Answered

Let’s be honest: running a business is hard work. With all the things you’re juggling, The LAST thing you want to worry about is how Google is reading your site. That’s Google’s problem, right?

Unfortunately, throwing your offerings up on the World Wide Web and crossing your fingers isn’t going to cut it, which you probably know if you’re reading this article. You’re going to have to take some specific actions to drive traffic to your site.

Adding content to your site is one of those specific actions. But how does one even begin to create content that makes sense to search engine, sells to customers, and doesn’t ruin the user experience of your site?

Luckily, our team at Leverage Marketing has helped more than a few sites build out content that boosts search engine optimization efforts and helps businesses communicate their brand voice effectively. We’ve collected some of the common questions we are asked about SEO-optimized content so you don’t have to be in the dark.

Why Do I Need Content for SEO?

The answer is simpler than you think. Basically, search engines (like customers) need to know what you’re offering – you’re not going to rank #1 on Google if Google can’t tell what you’re selling. Thanks to this little bit of reasoning, when you search for “computer monitor”, you don’t have to weed through 20 pages of lawnmowers and blenders to find a site that sells computer monitors. Seems really obvious, right? That’s why we need words on websites – Google reads words just like you and me.

Here’s a fun fact: Google has begun to understand not only the words we type into the search bar, but the context and meaning of searches as well. In other words, Google is learning what the searcher’s intent is when they type in a query. That’s a big reason why it’s important to create great content, instead of just slapping a bunch of keywords onto a page. Google is trying to understand your site in the way your customers do, and Google, like your customers, demands high-quality content.

How Much Content Do I Need Per Page for SEO?

There’s no true one-size-fits-all answer to this question. To help search engines figure out what your site is all about, you’ve got to give them something substantial to work with. That means on all the major (and sometimes minor) pages of your site, you should consider having some decent content for Google to dig its robot claws into.

There’s a good way to figure out how long your content really needs to be. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the reader need to gain/learn/acknowledge from this page?
  • What questions might potential readers have when getting to this page? What if this is the first page on your site they see – is there enough info for them here?
  • What unique information can you offer on this page to give your reader a richer experience?

Once you’ve told the reader what they need to know, answered their questions before they have a chance to ask them, and offered all the information that makes the user experience on your site great, that’s probably a good stopping place.

Really try to get inside your user’s head here. You may assume that everyone knows all the basics about waffle makers, and that they don’t need to be informed of the differences between non-stick and stainless steel when they visit your product category page, but that just isn’t true for every single visitor – some people are looking for info that you should be providing. And don’t forget to tell them why they should buy from your site instead of your competitors’, or what your free shipping deal is, or how they can join your loyalty club for 15% off. There is almost always a reason and a way to add valuable content to a page – and if there isn’t, you might want to consider why that page even needs to exist.

Finally, remember that you are adding content for your users, not for search engines. Sure, adding good content will help your site’s performance, but that’s because Google and the other search engines are seeking out sites that best fit searchers’ queries. If your site ranks #1 for a keyword but your users aren’t finding what they need and are bouncing back to the search results page, you can safely bet that you won’t stay in that #1 spot for long.

What Are Some SEO Content Best Practices?

key to content for SEOWhen you’re creating content for your site, keep in mind a few things that will improve both your user’s experience and your rankings:

  • Do: Add a few keywords. What does your user type into Google when looking for this page? You’ll want that phrase in your content, too.
  • Don’t: Participate in “keyword stuffing.” If your content is unreadable because it has so many keywords stuffed into it, you’re going to provoke the ire of search engines, who correctly read this practice as spam.
  • Do: Put at least some of your content near the top of the page. You want your content to be one of the first things a search engine (or a user) reads.
  • Don’t: Put ALL of your content at the top of the page. Don’t sacrifice your user experience for SEO – make sure your users can find what they’re looking for.
  • Do: Make sure your content is readable and accessible to all users. Choose easily-readable fonts and font colors, and take advantage of features such as the alt attribute for photos, so that every user can understand your site.
  • Don’t: Stick your content in places where search engines can’t get to it. Search engines often struggle to read text within images and JavaScript.

Can I Do SEO Without Content?

Sure, knock yourself out. But just know that your results aren’t going to be anywhere near as great as they’d be by implementing a supporting on-page SEO effort.

Off-page SEO tactics, such as link building (gaining links from other reputable sites on the web), are certainly very important to growing your site’s authority, visibility, and ranking over time. However, only performing link building efforts while leaving your site sparse on content is sort of like going to a Halloween party as one member of a group costume. Sure, going to the party as a salt shaker is fine, but the costume makes a lot more sense with another person going as a pepper shaker. So yeah, you might see results from link-building alone, but if you want to really get the most out of your efforts, just tell Google what you’re selling.

What About Hidden SEO Content?

Hidden content SEO bad practiceI get it – you don’t want to mess up the aesthetic of your site with a bunch of boring words. Why can’t you just make all those words the same color as your background or stick them somewhere in your code where your users don’t see them but search engines do?

Short answer: don’t even think about it. Search engines view this kind of behavior as spammy and deceptive, so it won’t give you the long-term rankings boost you’re looking for. It will probably even earn you a big demotion that buries your site on the 25th page of Google. Fun stuff!

And really? You have no way to work in content that offers a better experience for your users in any part of the page? If your site isn’t designed to incorporate content or inform users… what’s the point?

Still stuck on how to make SEO content work for your brand and your site? The Leverage Marketing team has all the savvy to help both users and search engine bots fall in love with your site. Check out our Content Marketing offerings, or just sign up for our newsletter for a regular dose of digital marketing knowledge.