3 Reasons Why an Active Blog is Necessary for Long-Term SEO Success

 
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates declared, “Content is King.” In his essay, Gates predicted that content would be where “much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” In 2010, when blogging really started to gain traction, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals took that phrase to heart.

At first, we saw an uptick in plain ol’ content—mostly words tossed together in a fashion that appealed to search engine bots, but not people. Meh. As Google’s algorithms became smarter and the masses flocked to the Internet, marketers came to understand that only quality content (content that appeals to BOTH bots AND people) is the only content that will do.

Today, high quality website content has become a major force powering SEO. Why? Because Google LOVES quality content—and if you care about getting found online: when Google talks, you LISTEN!

 

How an Active Blog Helps SEO

So what about blogs? Blogs have become a turn-key content solution used to capitalize on today’s top SEO tactics. When you create a blog and update it regularly with content that attracts your target market, you’ll be edging your way to the number 1 spot on page 1 of Google.

active blogBlogs have only become more and more powerful over the years. They’re simply a must for any business these days, as a great blog has proven to be a major sales-generating tool.

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand the meaning of SEO. Search Engine Land defines SEO as, “the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines.” Put simply: search engine optimization is what you do to your website to bring in more web traffic.

Why bring in more web traffic?
Because your customer’s purchase starts with search.

When you add a blog to your website (following current content marketing and SEO best practices), you’re giving the search engines what they want, which can really pay off.

 

#1. Fresh Blog Content Can Influence Search Engine Rankings

You may be asking, “Why do I need to update my blog?” Fair enough. There’s a great answer for that, and it’s the key to propelling your content up the search ladder.

Each time you update your blog, the search engines send out a little crawler that reads, then indexes your webpages. When this happens, the chance your content will achieve a higher search rank increases. When creating fresh, new content, keep in mind: Quality Beats Quantity. So “refreshing” an existing blog post won’t always cut it—instead, start new often and tell stories whenever you can. Stories sell.

 

#2. Blog Posts = More Backlink Opportunities = Higher DA

Every website has something called Domain Authority (DA). Developed by Moz, this is a score (on a 100-point scale) that predicts how well your website will rank on search engines. While DA is determined by a lot of different factors, authoritative backlinks pointing to your website can help boost your rankings.

To get those high quality backlinks, you need to give people a reason to want to link to your content. Typically backlinks happen when:

  • Your content is unique and engaging.
  • You have fans (not necessarily customers) who are passionate about your brand.
  • People feel some type of emotional connection to your company and/or your products and services.
  • Your content is quote-worthy and people see a reason to cite you.

 

#3. More Opportunities for Keywords

Keywords are an important part of a complete SEO strategy. With every new blog post you create, you have the opportunity to use new or existing keywords, all of which…you guessed it…get that great content of yours FOUND.

There are two types of keywords: long-tail keyword and short-tail keywords.

 

Long-Tail Keywords: Short-Tail Keywords:
  • Longer (include 3 or more words)
  • More specific
  • Include phrases
  • Target a specific audience

Examples:

  1. Find an SEO Agency in Wisconsin
  2. Hire a Content Marketer in Waukesha County
  • Shorter (1 to 2 words)
  • Less specific
  • Include single words
  • Target a broader audience

Examples:

  1. SEO Agency
  2. Content Marketer

 

Before getting started with blogging for SEO, do understand: it can be a large undertaking. But when it’s done right, an active blog can generate loads more leads and tons more sales. When done wrong, it can end up being a big waste of time and money.

We recommend hiring professionals, so give us a shout at Cultivate Communications!
 

5 Actions to Improve Your Search Engine Visibility in 2016

 
SEO visibility checklistSearch engine optimization (SEO) is not, and never will be, dead. Search engines will always use criteria plugged into algorithms to identify and provide the highest quality sites users are searching for. That’s just a fact.

If your goal is to popularize your brand, drive traffic to your site, increase conversion rate, and inspire customer loyalty, improving your SEO is a critical starting point.

You don’t have control over search engine ranking factors, but you can improve the known factors that affect your site. Here are 5 easy ways to improve your SEO.

1. Start with an SEO Audit

Broken incoming and outgoing links, bad redirects, duplicate content, and other SEO errors can hurt your search engine rank.

The Fix: Repairing on-page mistakes is the first step to SEO success.

Free Tools:

BONUS HARDCORE SEO TIP:

Go one step farther. Check out this SEO article: 5 Components of a Comprehensive SEO Audit.

2. Assess Your Content

Google relies heavily on quality of content. Everything on your site should be relevant to your industry, authoritative, and original. If you must use duplicate content, identify it with canonical tags. Be sure keywords are represented, but not overused.

Before you decide to remove an outdated or poorly written page, be sure there are no incoming links directed to that page. If a quality site is linking to your content, it’s better to update or rewrite than remove it.

The Fix: Quality content is absolutely essential. Add fresh, relevant content, and rewrite bad content.

3. Search Competitor Keywords

search engine visbility
If your competitors are outranking you in search engine results, there’s a reason.

The Fix: Discover the keywords your competitors rank for and build new content around the same or similar words.

Free Tools:

4. Analyze Visitor Behavior

One key SEO factor is bounce rate. Bounce rate is measured by how fast visitors decide to leave your site. It’s not always bad—visitors might go straight to a landing page that directs them to an affiliate link, for example. If your site visitors are clicking through to where you want them to go, no problem. If they’re clicking to escape your site—that’s a problem.

Top reasons visitors immediately leave your site:

  • Slow loading. You have 2-3 seconds.
  • Confusing navigation or layout.
  • Poor quality website.
  • Content isn’t what they were looking for (which means your metatags are poorly crafted).
  • No matter how cool you think it is, anything that plays when your page loads is annoying to the vast majority of people.

The Fix: Figure out why people are leaving your site and fix the issue.

Free Tools:

5. Go Mobile

More than 60% of all searches come from a mobile device these days, so you can’t afford not to go mobile. Google recommends mobile-friendly responsive design—and when Google talks, SEO pros listen.

The Fix: Design and implement a mobile-friendly website. Read more about mobile-friendly website design in this FREE downloadable guide.

Mobile-friendly responsive design is the KEY to great SEO. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

While there’s no guarantee you’ll get to the very top of search engine results, ignoring SEO will ensure you never get there. It’s a complicated issue involving ever-evolving algorithms. Only one thing remains constant: Google’s quest to provide the highest quality user experience.

If your website is high quality and up-to-date, you can’t go wrong.

 

3 Undeniable SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Everyone is talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and a heck of a lot of people are talking about the benefits of responsive web design (RWD)—both for good reason. Know why?

Because RWD comes with loads of SEO perks. It’s true! First off…SEO benefits of responsive design

RWD explained: Put simply, when you create your website using responsive web design (RWD), your webpages automatically reformat to display on screens of all sizes, from small mobile phones to oversized desktop monitors. Responsive web design benefits your users because they experience essentially the same experience every time they visit your website—from ANY device. With a well-designed RWD website, your pages and posts will load fast and work fabulously on any sized screen.

Responsive website design first made the news in 2012, so if you haven’t invested in a new website in quite some time, it’s HIGHLY likely your SEO is falling by the wayside. Here are 3 reasons you should consider updating…ASAP.

1. Google Likes RWD

We all want to be BFFs with Google. After all, while there are plenty of other search engines in the sea, Google is unquestionably King of Search. The Google Gods have made their preference for RWD unquestionably clear, and their reasoning is sound.

While there’s no direct evidence that Google uses RWD as a ranking signal and assigns a higher rank as a result, Google engineers have noted (on several occasions) that web rank is affected by indirect factors that can be avoided with RWD in place. For example:

  • Redirect Errors: When you create a separate mobile-friendly website, both of your websites may be prone to faulty redirects, mainly because there’s a lot to keep track of between versions of your website, so some redirects might be overlooked between updates. If your redirect is broken and Google can’t find your mobile site? Too bad. Your site won’t appear in search results. Responsive design employs the same URL for all devices, eliminating this potential issue.
  • Duplicate Content: When you’re designing multiple sites for multiple device sizes, you’re essentially creating multiple copies of your original site. If each webpage doesn’t have proper canonical links, for example, or if you release a ton of duplicate content at the same time by updating all your sites at once, this could be misconstrued by Google as an attempt to skew search engine results and gain more traffic. Do not want.
  • Bounce Rate: While responsive design adapts to every device (whether desktop, laptop, phone or tablet), other types of design (including adaptive and separate mobile site design) don’t always fit any device properly. When elements don’t make sense, visitors get frustrated and they leave your website in a hurry. Bounce rate is an SEO ranking factor!

2. Better User Experience (UX)

As we’ve said, responsive design offers a better experience across all devices. Site visitors (read: your potential and current customers!) using any type of device—or even switching from one device to another—can easily navigate a responsive design on any screen. They can access the same content, plus your branding looks consistent as well. Who wants to lose a potential customer because they’re forced to view a stripped down version of your website with confusing navigation?

Better user experience means a lower bounce rate and, ultimately, more website visitors. Bonus points: those visitors are more likely to share and recommend a user-friendly site.

3. Oh-So-Easy Single URL

When your website is crafted with one URL that displays nicely on any device, you’re also increasing your social media share count. No matter what device your readers use to favorite, tweet, or share your content for their friends to view, your share value goes up on just one URL. Number of social shares is another clear ranking signal.

Any web team must consider SEO when planning a website design or redesign, and responsive website design (RWD) delivers some powerhouse SEO benefits. If you agree that your customers deserve the best possible experience when they visit your website, responsive web design is the best choice for a great website that displays optimally on any device.

Mobile-friendly responsive design is the KEY to great SEO. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

 

8 Great SEO Basics For Small Business Owners

SEO BasicsWant to learn to DIY SEO? Well, turns out SEO is a complicated subject. Figuring out how each new Google algorithm impacts search and how to deal with all the new changes are subjects of endless debate.

However, SEO Basics are well within your reach—even if you’re new to SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of strategically tweaking all the elements of your website to earn the highest possible placement in search engine results. Higher search results = more customers = money for you.

Searchers tend to click on websites that show up on page one, so that’s where you need to be.

Check out these SEO Basics to help you capture and keep that top slot.

1. Avoid Duplicate Content

Copying content is a fairly common practice, but it’s bad for SEO. You can avoid getting penalized by using special tags that identify the content as duplicate. But, for non-experts, a better answer is: don’t do it. Your website should be bursting with your own unique content. Multiple websites? Even if you own other domains, each one needs unique content. To play it safe, ensure each page and every post is different.

2. Gather Intelligence

Monitor social media and document customer service calls to learn what your customers are asking, what they’re complaining about, and what they like most. Your customers are your key to SEO success.

3. Focus Your Content

Unless you’re running a pet blog, you should probably keep your Pomeranian off your website, no matter how adorable he is. Keep your content industry and product focused—but don’t oversell it. Provide informational, helpful and relevant website content for best results. It’s not only great for SEO, it’s a great way to turn your site visitors into customers.

4. Include Keywords

Semantic search has taken the place of simpler keyword search, but keywords still have a place. Instead of using the same keywords repeatedly, make a list of words and phrases your customers might be searching for. To get started, write down your top 5 customer FAQs. Write content that answers those questions, using your keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content.

5. Understand What Your Audience Wants

When your content answers questions asked by your customers, you’ll naturally earn more traffic. If you’re not seeing more site traffic, it’s time to get back to brand basics. Create buyer personas to get to know your audience better. (Check out this free buyer persona template from Hubspot!) Consider how your products or services make your customers feel. After all, even B2B customers respond to emotional connection.

6. Change Up Your Content Delivery Method

Don’t stop at what your customers want to know, discover how they want it delivered. Trying to deliver complicated technical knowledge or dense statistics to a general audience may serve only to alienate them…unless you present it in a way they can understand. Kick-ass infographics and fun, yet informative videos are great ways to show complex information in an easily digestible form. Step-by-step photos are a great way to walk even a novice through a recipe or repair project. When you find a way to help your customer be successful, they’ll come back for more.

7. Go Mobile

Mobile search is becoming more important every year. Did you know that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t show up in mobile search? Yikes. That’s a huge chunk of business you could be missing out on. Your website content must be optimized for mobile.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

8. Build Authority

How do you outrank your competition? You produce all the information your customers need to rank you as the leading authority in your field. No matter how crowded the field, a voice speaking from a new perspective can shine through. Find gaps in knowledge and fill the holes. Talk about what every other expert isn’t talking about. Make it personal and always about the customer. Build out your authoritative content over time for even more SEO juice.

Today, SEO is more about content and customer relationships than about tricks and shortcuts. You can’t game the system, you just have to be that good. These tips are low-tech ways to bump your SEO by improving your content and building your audience.

Have a question about SEO Basics? Let us know in the comments!