How To Do A 5 Minute SEO Audit of Your Website

If you’re struggling for page views and leads on your site, it is time for you to revamp your SEO, and you can start with a SEO audit. Why you ask? Well, gone are the days when you could add a new post or page to your site and expect that people will come to read it. Right now, experts estimate that there are almost 60 million new blog posts alone published each month, that is 2 million a day! And this number doesn’t even include landing pages and other published online content. That is a big sea of content and because of this, standing out has become increasingly difficult online.

This is where SEO comes in. Search engine optimization has always been important. This is probably something you knew before you started reading this post. But what you might not know is what you can do to improve your site’s SEO. That’s why you need to dive right in and do an SEO audit of your site!

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Five Easy Ways To Improve Your SEO You Can Start Doing Today

For those new to SEO, the concept of search engine optimization might seem like a combination of voodoo witchcraft and sheer good luck. But you don’t need a magic wand or a four leaf clover in order to improve your SEO on your website today. In fact, there are a few easy things that you can start doing right now in order to bump up your ranking across Google and other search engines. Starting to make small changes will help to drive traffic to your website, and we have 5 easy tips to get you started on improving your SEO today.

How to Improve Your SEO in 5 Quick and Easy Steps - Photo from istockphotos
Optimize Your SEO Easy Today!

First of All, What is SEO and Why Should You Care?

Simply put, SEO is a term used for optimizing your site and pages so they rank in a search engine. Optimization is key because search engines scroll through the content, find out what it’s about and analyze your site. Then the search engine ranks your page against your competition to give a list to a user’s search query. If you haven’t thought about SEO, the search engine won’t know what you page is about and you won’t rank.

Optimizing your content for the bots that scroll through your site, will give you the ability to be higher in the search engine. This may lead to more clicks and more traffic. It is good to know that search engines such as Google are smart. Search engines use advanced algorithms that not only search for keywords and titles of the content, but analyze it to find out what the content is about, how in-depth it is and if it would answer the user’s query they typed into the search engine. This means that SEO optimization your content has to be done properly, no black-hat tricks here!

So What Do Search Engines Look For?

SEO is not a static field, and there is no “end all be all” for what search engines look for. Algorithms that these search engines use change constantly, and so optimizing your site is something you need to be constantly aware of if you want to improve SEO.

If you asked someone how they did SEO 15 years ago, you would have gotten an answer along the lines of “put as many keywords as possible onto the page”. Easy as that was, it led to pages full of keywords and useless content. Now, content and quality are key! In order to improve your SEO, you need to improve your content and what you put onto your site.

So, How Do I Improve SEO on My Site?

SEO is still a difficult thing to master. But with the following 5 tricks, you will be on your way to optimizing your site.

1. Keywords are Key to Better SEO

You go to a search engine, type in your query and bam! In what seems like an instant, you are flooded with millions of results that are sorted to give you the best ones at the top. Can you imagine having to go through them all yourself? No? We can’t either. The top ten results aren’t there by accident either. Each result in your search is carefully configured to rank highly against whatever you typed into the search engine. One of the top reasons for high ranking are keywords, which are words or phrases that are put through your content so a search engine can figure out what the content is about. When keywords are used correctly are great for improving your SEO!

Quick way to improve SEO with Keywords: Choose 3-4 keywords and put them each 3 times in your content! Make sure they are relevant, and that they are specific. You want them to also blend nicely into the content. Choose 2 body keywords and 1 long tail keyword at least! Whatever you do, don’t make your keywords general like vehicle or SUV.

So when you think about choosing keywords in your content you should choose 3-4 keywords to use throughout. Here are some things to think about when choosing your keywords.

  • LSI Keywords
    • LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords. This sounds scary, but it means that when you pick your keywords you don’t need to choose them all to be similar. Using synonyms will rank the same as using the same word. This can be good and bad for you. Good because you can rank for “improve SEO” with “better SEO”, and vice-versa, but bad because you have to be aware of how many times you are using the keyword.
  • Body Keywords
    • Body keywords are 2-3 words long and get a good amount of searches per month. These are good for driving traffic, especially when used in your content.
  • Long Tail Keywords
    • Pick one long tail keyword for your content and use it throughout. These are 3+ words long, and you want to try to use it in your meta title and description too!

Where do I find keywords so I can put them in my content to get better SEO? Well, we love using Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and SERPstat. We encourage you to do your own research though, including searching on Google, looking at Amazon and browsing social media for the things you want to rank for.

2. Write More Content – But Make Sure it is Unique, Useful Content that is SEO Friendly

Blogging, writing more pages and increasing the words on your pages is a great way to increase traffic, but only when it is done right! Just because you have 500 blog posts, doesn’t mean you will automatically rank higher in a search engine. Your content needs to not only be there, it needs to be well written, understandable and useful to the person searching for it.

You want to constantly be updating and adding to your website. One of the best ways that businesses do this is by starting a blog. This will give relevant information to your customers and answer the questions they might be searching for. But before you start writing more content make sure that:

  • Write about you, and what makes you different
  • Don’t use duplicate content
  • Make sure you use keywords
  • If you want people to find you try making your posts location specific
  • Make it easy to read, but also well written

3. Structure Your Content, Make It Easy to Read

Once you’ve sat down and written your amazing page or blog post, you need to make sure that you make your content easy for a user to read. Always remember that where people read it will vary a lot, some will see it on their desktop, some on their tablet and many on their mobile. Creating easy to read and follow content is one of the easiest ways to improve SEO on your page. To do this use headings, subheadings, keep your paragraphs short and sweet, and break up your text with graphics!

Using headings, blockquotes, pictures and short paragraphs will make your content easier to read, and give you a higher rank in search engines!

4. Optimize Your Graphics for SEO

You might be writing amazing content, but without graphics that are optimized you are missing out on points towards your placement in search engines. If you want to use different multimedia elements including photos, videos and infographics to increase your ranking then you need to optimize them for search engines.

Make sure you give your images descriptions, relevant titles and alt tags! This lets search engines “read” your graphics.

Adding graphics won’t immediately increase your SEO but it helps your user experience. Also since search engines don’t have “eyes” you need to make sure they can “read” your graphics. Since they cannot see a photo, you need to add titles, descriptions and something called an alt tag to each of your graphics. Alt tags are the description that search engines read to understand what the photo is of. In WordPress, you will see a section for Alt Tag when you upload a photo.

5. Make Sure You Use Meta Tags and Descriptions For Your Search Results

If you are writing a blog post or page on your site, you want to customize your meta tag and description. These are what a search engine will show when you come up in the results. Using your keywords and logical information will keep you relevant, and make sure people who see the result actually click on it. On every page or post of your Strathcom site, you will find the Yoast plugin, if you click on the auto generated content you can change it to be better for SEO.

What Else Can You Do?

SEO is something you could spend all day everyday doing. This is why there are companies that specialize in it. These five tips are just the icing on the cake to improving your SEO. From there you can get into more technical SEO and link building practices, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet.

3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google

In a recent edition of Google Best Practices they laid out the difference between auction-time quality and the 1-10 quality score. Regarding your quality score, here are 3 things that matter:

  1. The User’s Device
  2. Relevance
  3. Performance on Related Keywords

Hands typing on laptop computer - there are several misconceptions about quality score on Google

I don’t think that there is anyone out there that can argue that these factors do not effect your quality score. But here are some factors that, contrary to some opinions, do not matter:

How You Structure Your Account

This article says it best by saying “If it doesn’t affect user experience, it shouldn’t affect quality or Quality Score”. Accounts should be set up in the way that you can best manage and optimize them.

Running Your Ads in Other Networks

If your goal is to drive more traffic, targeting the Google Display Network or Google’s Search partners in your AdWords account won’t affect your ad quality on Google.com.

Your Ad’s Placement on the Page

I want to highlight, underline and bold this sentence: Your ad’s placement on the page does not matter when it comes to ad quality. Having a high position on the page might have some benefits, but at the end of the day it does not necessarily effect the ROI of your ads. As mentioned in a different article by Search Engine Land:

“I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been contacted by both clients and prospects with the statement, ‘Company XYZ is above me. We’re better than them, and we need to outrank them.’

OK… let’s take a beat and wrap our heads around what’s really being said here. While the statement seems logical, what is actually being said is:

Company XYZ is above me for the phrase I looked up. We’re better than them, and we need to divert all energies away from pursuing ROI goals and focus on one single vanity phrase.

What we need to remember is that none of this is actually about ranking for a specific phrase. In fact, the goal of our efforts is not rankings at all, but rather revenue. I don’t know about you, but if there were higher revenue from ranking in position 21 than position 1, I’d be working hard to get all our clients to the top of page three”.

All any advertiser wants is for their advertisement to result in a sale. Whether that advertisement is number one or number three on the page does not matter as long as it doesn’t negatively effect user experience and it converts.

So there you have it; 3 things that matter and 3 things that don’t according to Google. If you need more information about how you can succeed on Google or anywhere else online, drop us a line today!

HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Marketers are making the mistake of not integrating search and social strategies, or choosing to ignore social all together. Keynote speaker Jason Dailey of Facebook’s US Agency Development team stressed the importance of running a social campaign along with search ads, and how to properly run the content together.

To no surprise to anyone, mobile is the leader in performance marketing channels, and is the key platform to integrating search and social. Jason mentioned that people are on their phones from when they wake up to when they go to bed, and are less distracted by things around when consuming content on their smartphones (as opposed to TV).

The key to integration is recognizing that search and social advertising have the same outcomes, but with different signals. On social media, we can identify our audience based on their profiles and engagement, but cannot identify their intent online. Paid search allows us to discover our customer’s intent with keyword targeting, but cannot identify who they are as a person. Integrating social and search brings us to the middle ground of the two to execute a successful online advertising campaign.

Making Sure Your SEO & SEM Get Along

My favorite session of the week was keynote speaker Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive. Wil brought an exciting insight as an SEO expert on how paid listings should complement organic. As PPC analysts, it is so easy to forget why customers are using Google, and focusing too much on getting them in our sales funnel.  His key take way was optimizing for the real world, and making sure you answer the customer’s question. If your organic or paid listings don’t help the customer, another source will. A true example below shows that both ads on the top of the page have no mention of the price of a Toyota Rav4, and the answer is provided by a non-dealer website.  Making sure ad copy or ad extensions match the “why” of a consumer’s search will improve the quality of traffic SEO and SEM listings receive."how much is a rav4?" typed into Google Search

It would be difficult for me to include everything I have learned in a single blog post. HeroConf 2017 was a great experience and provided so much insight into how to succeed in PPC in 2017. Can’t wait to return next year in Austin!

Reputation Management & How Dealers Can Use It To Make More Money

2016 was the beginning of the big push toward establishing your dealership’s brand and ‘brand management’, and it has only continued in 2017. What most dealerships seem to miss is the difference between their brand and their reputation (or that there is a difference in the first place).

Your brand creates an impression that makes a customer think or feel something when they think of your dealership. Your reputation is what gives your customers an expectation of your future behavior based on past experiences – either their own, or from other customers who have dealt with you.

Young Businessman using Tablet device in a car dealershipCustomers aren’t going to love your brand – they’re going to love you, and your reputation because that’s what’s tangible to them. The two pieces absolutely go hand-in-hand, but brand recognition alone is not going to spontaneously generate engagement; there has to be a reason why the consumer should pick you over your competitor.

You’ve probably heard before that the three major differences between businesses are product, price, and perceived value. Especially with new vehicles, you don’t have a better product than the next guy selling the exact same vehicle. Those identical vehicles cost the same amount from the factory, so if you want to differentiate yourself by price, you’re going to be giving up profit (and that’s clearly not a sustainable plan if you want to make money). That leaves only one option – perceived value.

Over and above an extra set of weather tech floor mats, or priority service appointment bookings, most customers just want to know that they’re going to be treated fairly.

86% of customers will pay more for a better experience

This is where your reputation comes in. When 84% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, reputation is the clear call-to-action for your dealership over the next one. If you’re spending any amount of money on a brand awareness campaign (print, radio, outdoor, television, branded PPC ads, and so on), why wouldn’t you care about what happens once the customer remembers who you are and decides to look you up?Businessman hand giving five star rating

And this is where we come in. Register for our Reputation Management webinar with Melina Beeston, our Manager of Dealer Development, to learn about how you can leverage your dealership’s reputation to make more money.

Tuesday, April 25 at 10:30AM MST

And remember, for every Strathcom Media webinar you attend, you will be entered into a draw for a signed McDavid jersey! 

How to Reach More Customers in January, According to Google

As we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Google has shared 4 ways that you can optimize your online strategy this year according to their data.categories seeing higher traffic from Google in January 2016 than October 2015

Use click share to drive more engagement

We all know that, generally, the closer to the top position you are on Google, the higher engagement you will see from shoppers; especially on mobile. As shown in the chart below, for the Vehicles & Parts category you will need about a 15% click share to be competitive in reaching the top positions. How do you increase your click share? Increasing your bids as well as your ad relevance are good places to start.

Create a strategic seasonal campaign

Having a separate campaign for certain products at certain times (winter tires, for example) allows you be more flexible with your budgets for these products.

Use custom labels to create seasonal product groups

Use custom labels to create a segmented product group in your campaign for products like winter accessories for vehicles. This allows you to adjust your bids for winter accessories and to monitor your click share.

Remarket your products to previous shoppers

Remind your customers of the products they viewed in the holiday season but didn’t convert on – chances are they are still interested in finding the best deal!

For more information on how to optimize your site for the Google SERP, give us a shout or subscribe to our newsletter!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html

Penguin 4.0 is Live!

After a 2 year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm has finally been updated!  The Penguin filter was designed to capture sites that are spamming Google’s search results in ways that Google’s regular spam detection systems might not have noticed.  Previously, the Penguin filter would “catch” sites deemed as spammers, and they would remained penalized even if the site improved or changed until the next time the filter would run (which could take anywhere from several weeks to several months).

Google's Penguin 4.0 program has launched!

With this latest release, Penguin now operates in real time.  Now when Google recrawls and reindexes pages, these pages will be assessed immediately by the filter and then released or caught as a part of this process.

Penguin will now also devalue spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the whole site.  Previously, Penguin was a site-wide penalty, but now only specific pages on a website may be impacted rather than the entire site.

For more information on how this can affect your site’s ranking, contact one of our friendly OMM’s here at Strathcom Media!

5 Ways to Improve Your Google Ranking

seoEveryone wants to have that number one spot on the Google Organic Search Results page.  Here are 5 simple things that can help to improve how you rank on Google:

1. Create useful, relevant content

Quality content created specifically for your intended users will not only help with user engagement, but will improve your site’s authority and relevance, which will increase your rank on the Google Search Results page. It’s also important to update your content regularly.  Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy. Be sure not to use duplicate content throughout your website, though; this could harm your ranking.

2. Have a blazing fast website

Page speed is an important factor on how you will rank on Google. A slow page speed means that search engines crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budgets, which negatively effects your indexation. Page speed is also important for user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates, and lower conversions.

Not sure what your page speed is? Google has a great tool to test it!

3. Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile users

Responsive sites are designed to provide optimal viewing and easy navigation on any device or screen size. This makes it great for users viewing the site on a mobile device. Even though you may have a separate mobile site, Google has started to punish sites that are not responsive or mobile friendly, causing them to rank lower in the search results pages.

4. Make sure all of your citations are correct and up-to-date

Citations are online references to your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Some examples of citations are your Google+ Page or YellowPages. Google uses these citations when evaluating the authority of your business website, and is a key component in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Citations from well-established portals will help increase the relevancy of your business.  Make sure your address, website url, phone number and business name are consistent across each website.

5. Blog!

Blogging is a great way to help boost your ranking on Google. Google crawls blog content more frequently than your web page content because blogs are constantly being updated.  A blog page is essentially another web page and every web page is another opportunity to rank in the search results page.

Blogs can also help you become a local source of knowledge and with lots of great keywords written into the content you can rank for many different topics related to your brand and dealership.

If you have any other questions on how to improve your organic ranking on Google, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team or subscribe to our newsletter!

Does Your Website Reflect Your Brand?

How do customers remember your brand? What jumps out to your consumers and sets your company apart from your competitors? What are the benefits that set your brand apart from others? These are the types of questions people responsible for positioning brands focus on.

Continue reading “Does Your Website Reflect Your Brand?”