Tag Archives: Affordable SEO

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4 SEO Fails Keeping Your Website in the Rankings Gutter

Google SERPs are like a mosh pit at a heavy metal music festival – not only is it crowded, it can also be brutal. It may seem impossible to work your way up the results pages, especially when you operate in a competitive or niche space, however, it is possible. We’re going to jump right in and teach you about the top 4 reasons your website may not be ranking high on SERPs and what you can do about it.

  1. Subpar Content

There is a reason why people say that content is king. Content serves a dual purpose: to capture the eyes of your target audience and to gain the attention of Google search bots via relevant short- and long-tail. However, don’t think you can just stuff your content with keywords like a Thanksgiving turkey. Google algorithms will take note and your rankings will suffer as a result. Your content needs to fulfill a need and address your desired audience’s pain points.

The best way to write excellent content that converts is to do your research. See what your competitors are offering and do it better. Ask yourself what their content might be missing or what unique insight you can add. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find ideal search terms that are high volume, low competition and pepper these throughout your content naturally.

Additionally, if you offer more than one product or service, you’ll want multiple landing pages tailored to each unique product or service you offer. For example, SeoTuners offers a broad range of search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing services. You can visit our services page to see that we provide an overview of our offerings. Click on any service, such as Organic Search, and you’ll find a landing page dedicated specifically to that service. You should also have a company blog devoted to answering your target audience’s most pressing questions, which is a great way to show you’re an authority in your field.

Pro tip: After you’ve chosen your key search terms and sprinkled them throughout your content, you need to track their performance. Google Search Console is a free tool that shows your indexing status – but if you prefer the pros to take charge, call our SEO wizards instead.

  1. Unclear Search Intent

So, now that you’ve learned content is the supreme overlord of SEO, you need to make that content is relatable to the masses. This is where search intent comes into play.

There are three primary types of search intent, according to Search Engine Journal, to which we will add a fourth. Just remember Do-Know-Go-Compare.

  • Do searches refer to transactional queries where people are ready to follow through on a purchase. They might search “buy a dog collar with bow tie” or “red Mini Cooper Countryman for sale”. These types of queries are especially important for e-commerce businesses.
  • Know type searches are informational queries. These searches are for the deep divers and rabbit hole jumpers who want more information on a specific topic, product, service, or industry. They might search for “Mini Cooper origins” or “What are the Game of Thrones creators up to now?”.
  • Go searches are navigational queries. Users don’t need a map, they already know where they’re going. They want a specific website or page and might type in “Chewy dog collars with bow ties”. A Google ninja might even take it a step further and type in “what is inbound marketing site:seotuners.com”.
  • Comparison searches are commercial queries. Users with commercial intent are further along the sales funnel but not quite ready to make a purchase just yet. They want to know more about their options, so they might search “vehicle mpg comparison”.

Your content strategy will depend entirely on your target audience’s search intent. For example, if you own an online handmade jewelry shop, you probably want to gear your content more toward “do” searches and transactional queries. On the other hand, if you operate an educational site that aims to teach people about SEO, you’ll want to lean into those “know” type searches and informational queries by serving up in-depth content on various SEO topics.

Pro tip: If you really want to fine-tune your content, you should be running A/B split-testing on various versions of your site. Mix up your content style or keywords to see what resonates with your specific audience the most. If you want to learn more about A/B split-testing, click through to our article here.

  1. Low-Grade Backlinks

A backlink is essentially a vote of confidence. More specifically, a backlink is a link on another website that leads back to yours. Google Crawlers use these links to make connections on the web and to judge the authority or trustworthiness of your site. Backlinks essentially function a lot like word-of-mouth promotion – someone is linking to you because they find your content or offerings relevant and useful and think others should check you out.

There are numerous strategies that exist to help build backlinks and boost your rankings on Google SERPs. First and foremost, you should be scanning your competitor’s websites to see what types of sites are linking back to them. There are various auditing tools available that will provide you details on their backlink portfolio. (Of course, you can always reach out to the professionals like SeoTuners, too. We provide custom link-building services to earn you high page authority links to your site.)

Pro tip: You’ve probably heard the saying “someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure”. When you’re auditing your competitor’s backlinks, don’t ignore 404 pages. These may have broken backlinks that you can snatch from your competitors.

  1. Terrible Technical SEO

Although it’s not overly complicated, there are numerous elements to consider when improving your site’s technical SEO. Here’s a super-condensed checklist of the components of technical SEO that can boost your organic search rankings:

  • Meta titles are the subject lines that show up in blue. Most SERPs generally only display the first 50 to 70 characters.
  • Meta descriptions are the text that appears below the meta title. You want to make sure your audience knows exactly what they’re getting if they click on your link. Keep your meta descriptions to about 150-160 characters and don’t forget to include a call-to-action.
  • Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are just code that tells a browser how to display the text. Be sure to include relevant keywords in all header tags.
  • Targeted keywords. You should be including both short-tail and long-tail keywords throughout your content; however, as we mentioned above, there’s no need to overdo it, as keyword stuffing can hurt your rankings in the long run.
  • Website architecture is the hierarchical organization of your website pages. Homepages, subdirectories, breadcrumbs, contextual internal links, and navigation links are all examples of website architecture used by Google crawlers to understand your page.
  • XML Sitemaps are essentially lists of important URLs on your website. They make it easier for Google’s algorithms to crawl and index your site and show which site URLs are available for crawling. Check out our article about XML sitemaps to find out more.
  • txt files inform Google which URLs crawlers can access on your site; however, this does not mean your page will not show up on result pages. The primary benefit is avoiding a deluge of requests.
  • Page speed and loading time are key elements of a user’s on-page experience. Slow loading times will hurt your rankings. To evaluate your website’s page speed, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Pro-Tip: Speak with an SEO Expert

There are plenty of resources online that will teach you how to get better at SEO, but much of that knowledge comes from direct experience – and leveling up takes time and a lot of trial and error. To save valuable hours – and money – give SeoTuners a call at (877) 736-1112 or fill out our contact form here. Our SEO experts use proven strategies to boost rankings and conversions while maximizing your ROI.

A/B Split-Testing for SEO: Enhancing Intuition with Data

It seems that every year SEO experts and journals dedicated to inbound marketing compile a list of general trends in Google intent algorithms and user expectations – the keyword here being “general”. Their findings may be based on mountains of data pulled from research and case studies – and it’s probably a good idea to implement some of these recommendations to boost your own website’s performance – but they don’t necessarily reflect the reality of businesses operating in niche spaces.

To get an accurate picture of what your users are expecting from your content, you really need to conduct your own research and experiment with various website and content tweaks – that is, you should be utilizing A/B testing for SEO. Incorporating A/B split-testing into your routine SEO strategy will enable you to reach your ultimate goals when it comes to website optimization: greater organic traffic and higher conversion rates.

 

What Is A/B Split-Testing for SEO?

 

A/B testing or split testing is a process of trial and error, where you’ll test one or multiple versions of your site against an unchanged version (the control). Each version will have its own URL. Each variant usually only differs in one way from the control site, which makes it easier to attribute incoming data to a single source of change, such as variations of title tags or color schemes.

 

Your original page is version A and alternate test versions will be B and so on. You’ll set some test thresholds that control which segments of an audience are redirected to each page and then compare the performance of each variant against the control.

 

The ultimate goal of A/B split-testing is to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. This means that no matter the outcome, whether your hypothesis was proven right or wrong, the data is still immensely useful and can be applied to improve your website performance on the Google search engine results pages (or SERPs).

 

How A/B Testing Informs Smarter Marketing Strategies

 

The mind is a tricky thing. Unbeknownst to us, we often make decisions based on biases and preexisting beliefs operating in the background. Most of us would like to believe we are unbiased and objective when it comes to decision-making, but our brains have other ideas.

 

Digital marketing is an art whose foundation is research and data. Even if you’ve successfully relied on gut feelings in the past, data can only serve to enrich your intuition. You should really let data gathered from split-testing inform your creativity.

 

Testing your website’s performance against a control can shed light on assumptions that have been diverting valuable traffic from your site, allowing you to streamline your digital marketing strategy, save money, and increase conversion rates.

 

You’ll be able to identify the few most important inputs that affect most of your performance. We highly recommend you keep the Pareto principle in mind: 80 percent of the outcomes stem from 20 percent of the inputs.

 

Additionally, conducting your own SEO research gives you control over your own data. It provides you with real-world feedback for unique perspectives into how your content performs within your niche – not just generalized trends gleaned from an article written by someone else. You’ll be able to unravel Google intent algorithms and user expectations as they relate to your business and answer the question “what should your content actually deliver?”.

 

While A/B testing will require an investment of time in the backend, the money saved and the profit gained will be well worth it. The insight obtained into off-site performance within Google SERPs is invaluable.

 

Using the Scientific Approach in Digital Marketing Research

 

It’s time to put your lab coat on – safety goggles optional. Good SEO research is much like the research conducted in science labs. Whether intentionally or not, smart SEO marketers follow the scientific method, which involves a systematic gathering of evidence to explain the phenomena around us.

 

graph of method

https://www.thoughtco.com/scientific-method-flow-chart-609104

 

All research begins with observations that give rise to questions. You might notice, for example, your website has plenty of organic traffic but hardly any of your visitors hang around long enough to make a purchase. This leads you to ask, “Why do people visit my website but fail to take action”.

 

To answer this question, you’ll need to create a hypothesis, which is a tentative conclusion based on limited information meant to act as a starting point for further investigation. You’ll likely end up with a few theories. Sticking with our example above, let’s say you settle on a couple of hypotheses to test: (1) My website ranks high in Google SERPs for these keywords, but I’m probably not using the optimal keywords for my business niche. If I use more specific long-tail keywords, I will attract my desired audience and my conversion rate will increase. (2) The vast majority of people who visit my site do not make a purchase. If I restructure my content to make it easier to navigate, my conversion rates will improve.

 

Now it’s time to test your theories. This will require three sites with separate URLs: (1) The unchanged control website. (2) Version B with long-tail keywords. (3) Version C with rearranged navigation menus. Set your thresholds and let the data stream in.

 

As far as the appropriate duration of your experiment, this will vary depending on a variety of factors. The long and short of it is you want to continue the experiment for as long as it takes to answer your question, but not so long that your ROI becomes insignificant. A digital marketing expert, such as SeoTuners’s own “Google Wrangler”, can help direct the process for optimal ROI.

 

Once all the data is in, it’s time to analyze it. Perhaps you conclude the results support your first hypothesis but refute the second. This doesn’t mean the first experiment was a success, while the other was a failure. Even if your theories are proven incorrect, there is still plenty to learn from the data of a wrong hypothesis.

 

The Takeaway

 

With A/B split-testing, you can evaluate pretty much anything that affects SEO, from header and title tags and CTA messaging to color schemes, and use what you’ve learned to massively improve your website’s performance.

 

With that being said, we’ll leave you with these final thoughts:

 

  1. Intuition without data is misleading.
  2. You must prioritize in-house experimentation and research over following trends.
  3. All data is golden, whether or not it proves your hypothesis.
  4. The amount of time invested upfront yields triple the gains.

 

Are you ready to take your website to the next level? Then it’s time to reach out to the pros. You can contact SeoTuners by filling out our contact form here or giving us a call at (877) 736-1112. We leverage the data to boost website traffic that will convert to sales.

How to Submit a Sitemap to Google – And Other Important Info

How to Submit a Sitemap to Google in 6 Steps

  1. Create a Google account if you don’t already have one
  2. Sign in to your Google Search Console account
  3. Select your website
  4. Select “Sitemaps”
  5. Delete any outdated or invalid sitemaps
  6. Add your updated sitemap and click SUBMIT

Yup, that’s it. Real easy.

But BEFORE you go hitting that SUBMIT button, there are some important things you should know about sitemaps that will help you ensnare those Google crawlers in your web(site) and get more organic traffic.

What is a sitemap?

So, you’ve already learned how to submit a sitemap to Google. Perhaps you should know what a sitemap actually is to understand how important they are to your technical SEO strategy.

A sitemap is simply a technical directory of all the important pages on your website that indicates to Google crawlers the relevancy and usefulness of certain portions of your business site.

Google’s bots use these directories to index your site. Search engine indexing essentially means an algorithm is collecting, analyzing, categorizing, and storing data from various websites to increase the speed and accuracy of information retrieval.

In other words, when you increase the crawlability of your website, you increase your organic traffic opportunities as well.

Google algorithms automatically crawl the web to discover relevant links; however, submitting your sitemap directly through Google Search Console greatly increases your website’s visibility to bots, allowing them to index, understand, and rank your website quicker.

Types of Sitemaps

While there are several sitemap formats, the two most common are XML and HTML.

Let’s compare:

What is an XML sitemap?

An XML sitemap looks something like this:

codehttps://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/sitemaps/build-sitemap

This is just a very short snippet of what your XML sitemap would look like. To humans outside of programming, this might as well be a bunch of ones and zeros, but this is a Google crawl bot’s favorite reading material – they tend to be picky though, so be sure to read through to our “Sitemap Best Practices” section to find out the minimum standards your XML sitemap must meet.

If you haven’t already guessed, XML sitemaps are meant for search bots only. They also include meta-attributes, such as <lastmod> (as seen above) and <changefreq> to signal to bots how your URL changes.

Site updates tell Google’s search algorithms that your website is likely relevant and useful, which increases your ranking over time. Some dynamic content to include in your sitemap are customer testimonials and blog posts.

Overall, your XML sitemap should only include the most important web pages on your site and exclude more static pages, such as contact forms, and ones you don’t want to be crawled, such as seasonal pages.

What is an HTML sitemap?

An HTML sitemap is simply a list of URLs found on a dedicated webpage. The link to a sitemap is generally found at the very bottom of the main website pages, such as on our SeoTuners website:

website bottom bar

Here’s just a snippet of our HTML sitemap (as HTML sitemaps can be quite long):

screenshot of links

One thing you should notice is that we’ve grouped our most important content by topic. Our main categories are “pages” and “posts”. Under our “posts” category, there are subcategories, which include Advertising, Content, Ecommerce, Local, Marketing, Mobile, Penalty Updates, PPC [pay per click], SEO [search engine optimization], Social, and Web Design Posts.

You can visit our sitemap here to get a better feel for what to include on your HTML sitemap and how to organize it.

HTML sitemaps are used by Google bots but are also a convenient way for users to navigate your site by having all your most relevant pages on a single webpage.

Sitemap Best Practices

1) Make sure your sitemap meets these minimum standards:

  • BUTF-8 encoded
  • Compressed into .gz format
  • Is referenced in the robots.txt
  • Contains only canonical URLs with a 200 status code
  • Does not exceed 50,000 URLs or 50MB uncompressed (whichever comes first)

2) Include only the most important pages of your website:

How do you decide which pages are important?

  • Prioritize dynamic web pages over static pages. Dynamic pages are web pages such as blog posts, customer testimonials, and calendars. Static pages might include dedicated contact pages that don’t need to be a priority.
  • Categorize your content. Group like with like – and if a page is unrelated to your primary purpose, ditch it.
  • Exclude “noindex” URLs. These are pages that you wouldn’t want to be crawled or indexed to ensure they don’t show up on the results pages. Such pages might include internal search results, admin or login pages, thank you pages, custom post types, and author archives. These can cut into your crawl budget and divert bots from your site entirely.

3) Use multiple sitemaps as needed.

The sitemap file size limit is 50,000 URLs or 50MB, which might sound like a lot, but can actually be exceeded rather quickly for larger sites.

For example, e-commerce sites generally have many individual product pages along with their primary web pages. Ecommerce businesses can create separate sitemaps for their product pages, categories pages, and main website.

These individual sitemaps can then be organized into a sitemap index file that allows you to submit all your files at once. These sitemap index files direct Google crawlers to each section of your website through various sitemaps.

4) Create sitemaps for videos and images.

Google provides extensions that allow you to create a separate sitemap for videos and images embedded in your website. You can even include these video and image maps within existing sitemaps. They provide additional scaffolding for Google bots to crawl, providing more information to help bots better understand and rank your files for relevant search terms.

5) Fix any sitemap errors you find ASAP. (That’s it. Get them fixed or see your rankings drop.)

6) Submit your sitemap through Google Search Console.

As we previously stated, you don’t necessarily need to submit your sitemap directly to Google, but it is advantageous to do so. Submitting your sitemap to Google allows their bots to be more efficient in indexing, parsing, and understanding the relevance of your page for ranking.

7) Conduct a website audit to ensure it’s up to spec.

You should really do this before you even submit your sitemap to Google to make sure there are no broken links, missing images, faulty meta tags, etc. You should check your website’s site speed, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and meta descriptions. You can check out our SEO audit checklist for more details or use our free SEO audit tool to see if your landing page or blog posts are optimized for keywords.

8) Hire an expert.

The above steps might seem easy enough, but as you probably know by now, there’s much more to creating a sitemap than just logging into Google Search Console and hitting the SUBMIT button.

Don’t let your rankings suffer due to technicalities. Hire an SEO professional like SeoTuners. We offer innovative internet marketing solutions that will increase your online visibility and help you outrank your competitors. You can call for a free SEO consultation at (877) 736-1112 or drop us a line via our contact form.

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SeoTuner’s Jeremiah Weilert Is named “The Google Wrangler” by Swagger Magazine

On May 10th, Swagger Magazine released a feature on our co-founder Jeremiah Weilert, referring to him as a self-made man stocked with “gumption and go-getter-ism”. And to think it all started with going door-to-door in second grade to sell polished rocks (which he made a $20 profit off of)!

So how did he go from his rock selling days to running a multimillion-dollar SEO company alongside Tony Durso?

What Inspired Jeremiah to Begin SeoTuners?

Jeremiah used to work in a “cookie-cutter sales role” as Swagger put it, which is typically how the business world works—you have to put in your time at the bottom. Learn the ropes as a cog in the machine of the company, and hope that with enough hard work and overtime, someone in higher management will eventually notice you and invite you to move up a step.

Of course, there’s definitely something to be said for putting in your time to learn the lay of the land while working your way up—but sometimes you can become stuck in a business hierarchy that is not functioning well. This can happen when a company refuses to reconsider the way it does business even though circumstances are changing, or when management consistently

turns a deaf ear to innovative suggestions from employees.

Jeremiah was not unwilling to do the work—he became sales manager within six months of starting the job, and in another six months, he became the director of the whole department. This quick advancement is owed to his driven personality—he was passionate about learning and challenging himself, and willing to pivot his management style when it wasn’t working.

But even in this role with perceived leadership power, he found himself constrained by upper management’s inability or unwillingness to change—which ultimately resulted in the company’s dissolution due to Google’s Penguin update. As he notes in the feature:

“When you get as big as they were, and you can’t pivot, you leave yourself vulnerable to Google,” he recalls. “We were running this ginormous SEO company going, ‘there are so many ways for this to go better,’ but upper management wouldn’t take the advice we gave.”

Jeremiah wanted to create a company that would value the ability to anticipate new changes and welcome innovation—and that’s exactly what SeoTuners became.

Creating An Even Playing Field

Cracking the myth that one had to start at the bottom and slowly move to the top, Jeremiah set out to use SEO to ensure that small, budget-conscious companies could consistently show up on the first page of Google, even beating out major brands.

SeoTuners is all about efficiency, adaptation, and resilience. Rather than doing the same things that used to work before, the business focuses on continually trying new and different things that might work even better. And it turns out, this is exactly the type of attitude that’s needed as Google continues to update its algorithms.

The only way to stay at the top in SEO is to change, adapt, and mold one’s strategy as the digital landscape continues to change. And SeoTuners does this by keeping up to date with all of the latest news, statistics, and algorithm updates that are constantly rolling out.

And as Google’s algorithm continues to favor quality, relevance, and credibility, it becomes easier and easier for businesses (no matter their size or wealth) to rank on the front page so long as they showcase these qualities.

Merit Over Profit

For a multitude of industries, bigger doesn’t mean better. SeoTuners wants to help businesses big or small reach their audience so that they can do whatever it is they do best—and sometimes they have to win out over others who only care about making a profit.

This is especially true when it comes to the drug and alcohol treatment center niche. SeoTuners now works with over a hundred of these organizations across the U.S. to help them rank higher on Google so they can better reach the people who need them.

SEO done right is a way to “level the playing field” and help smaller businesses “compete with the big boys online”. It’s a chance to have how high a business ranks on Google have much more to do with the quality of the service than the budget of the business.

So Why Come to Us?

If anyone can do SEO, why come to us? We offer as many tips and tricks as we can on our website, in our blogs, and on our social media posts. There’s nothing we do that anyone else ultimately can’t do.

However, maintaining great SEO takes a lot of time, energy, attention to detail, and a willingness to keep us with the constant changes of the ranking algorithms.

Rather than devoting a significant chunk of your business to that work, we can take this on to let your business devote its time and resources to what it does best, while we do what we do best.

We keep up to date on algorithm changes, trends in the industry, and your businesses’ personal SEO stats to ensure that we’re making a continual effort to improve.

No matter your budget, we are very flexible to meet the needs of your business. Whether you want us to do all of the work or just some of the work, we’ll make it work.

We’re very passionate about what we do—we have swagger—let us help you focus on what you’re passionate about!

If you’re curious about our services in avenues such as e-commerce, conversion rate optimization, local Google ranking, or link building, get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. 

blackboard with title

Understanding SEO Terminology

Have you ever wondered why certain sites show up during a web search? The reason is SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing strategy that can increase the visibility of your website’s pages in a web search on search engines such as Google or Bing. Why does this matter for your website? Sites with better visibility are usually those that are higher ranked on the search engine results page, which means more web traffic.

How SEO Works

Search engines will “crawl” your pages, collecting information on them and then indexing that information. When a search is executed, an algorithm analyzes the pages it has indexed, evaluating elements such as site reputation and a user’s location to generate the most relevant results for the user. Sites with large amounts of content and good reputations have a better chance of ranking higher.

Two SEO strategies can improve your website's visibility: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.

On-site optimization: also known as on-site SEO, this component focuses on optimizing elements on your website as a way to improve its position in search rankings, thus increasing the amount of internet traffic to your site. This type of optimization is something that, for the most part, you can control. Elements such as the title of a page on your site or keywords used can improve your site’s visibility.

Off-site optimization: this includes the components that aren’t actually on your site but can still improve your site’s position in search rankings. These components are typically out of your control such as attracting links from social media and other websites.

Algorithms

While there are a variety of search engines to choose from, the most popular by far is Google. Google has a variety of algorithms that are designed to improve user experience such as:

Hummingbird: the name of a 2013 algorithm in Google Search; this algorithm uses phrases rather than keywords to better understand the intent and context of search queries to match them with relevant pages and results.

Penguin: an algorithm that penalizes websites for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Reasons for penalization include keyword stuffing and manipulating the number of links that led to a site’s page. 

Panda: a Google update that penalizes "thin" sites with "low-quality content" by ranking them lower on SERPs (see definition below). This algorithm aims to prioritize higher-quality sites.

Other Key Terms That Can Help You Understand SEO

SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages; the results and pages that come up in response to a search.

Local SERPs: the results that come up in response to a local-based search; the site visitor’s location affects these results.

Organic SEO: natural methods and strategies that help a site get high rankings on SERPs. With organic SEO practices, high rankings on SERPS are achieved through optimization strategies mentioned under white hat SEO rather than paying for ads. In fact, with organic SEO, you cannot pay search engines to get higher rankings. There is still the option to increase the visibility of your website by paying for ads, but this visibility ends when the payment ends. Organic SEO is a longer-lasting way to attract traffic to your site, and it’s free. Think of organic SEO as an investment – the more content you build for your site, the more likely it is that your site will generate traffic.

SEO UX: UX stands for user experience; the added “UX” emphasizes how SEO has shifted its focus to the user’s experience in an effort to move away from highlighting pages that are chalked full of keywords.

Sitemaps (XML and HTML): Sitemaps allow search engines to efficiently "crawl" a website to index the information on a site's pages. The two main types of sitemaps are XML and HTML. XML is used by the search engine; it indexes information on a site's content and the general importance of a site's pages. One of the benefits of an XML sitemap is that the site's owner can choose the specific pages or information it wants the search engine to crawl and index. HTML is used primarily by the site visitor; it structures the site's content in a way that is user-friendly.

The above definitions are some of the many terms used in the world of SEO. However, SEO, like all things on the internet, is constantly changing, and search engines like Google are constantly releasing new algorithms or programs that are sure to affect how these practices are done. Constant tweaks to your site are necessary to ensure all the proper tools are in place for SEO optimization. SEO Tuners can help maximize your website’s potential through our organic SEO services, which follow a white hat approach. We also offer a variety of SEO packages that are customizable to fit your company's budget. We are available to answer any questions you may have on SEO or any of our other digital marketing services. For more information, visit us at www.seotuners.com, or call (877) 763-1112.

 

balls bouncing down stairs

8 Tips to Reduce Bounce Rate

If you’re fighting the good fight working to increase your website’s SEO, Google ranking, and conversion rates, you’ve likely come across this pesky percentage showing up in your Google Analytics (GA) page called a “bounce rate”.

So, what is a bounce rate and why should you care, if at all?

If you’ve ever clicked on a website and then left without visiting other pages of the site—you’ve participated in that website’s “bounce rate”.

Google’s definition of a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits made to a website. It’s calculated by taking these single-page sessions and dividing them by the total number of page sessions a website has to get a percentage. That percentage then shows up on your Google Analytics (GA) page as the bounce rate.

So, the higher your bounce rate, the more often people click one of your pages and then simply exit your domain. This could be through clicking on a link that goes somewhere else, hitting the back button, closing the open tab/window, typing a new URL into the search bar, or even just session timeout.

Google claims that bounce rate does not directly affect your search ranking, but common sense tells us that this percentage can give us some important intel. Bounce rate is ultimately a measure of how well we’re engaging with our target audience and getting the desired action, whether it’s a purchase, a subscription, or a phone call.

A high bounce rate can indicate a poorly designed website, confusing user experience, or low quality of content. Users may leave your page because they are not finding what they need—whether that’s because you don’t have it or it’s just not obvious enough.

On the other hand, depending on the context, a bounce may not always be a negative thing. For example, looking at the bounce rate for a particular page rather than the entire website, we expect that there will be a higher bounce rate for informative content like blogs that don’t have a specific call to action.

Users may follow your business and click on blogs via social media posts, read the post, and leave the page. Their opinion of your business may have increased, and they may make a mental note to return to your website at a later date— all positive things that are not reflected in that percentage.

Ideally, you would like for a user to click on your services, contact, or products page and purchase something or connect to you every single time they click one of your pages. However, in reality, conversion is often much more nuanced than this. We don’t just create content to get immediate conversions, we create it to make a connection with our target audience, build trust, establish our expertise, and offer information or entertainment to the community.

That being said, having high traffic does little good for your business if users aren’t interacting with the rest of your site. Looking at your bounce rate can help you narrow down what might be going wrong in the space between a click and a conversation, whether for the whole site or particular pages.

If you’re looking to reduce your bounce rate, increase user satisfaction with your site, and potentially increase your conversions, here are 8 tips to help:

1. Install, Configure, and Utilize Google Analytics (GA)

This step is crucial because GA tracks your bounce rate across all your pages, including the number of bounces, where the user “bounced” to, and where they came from in the first place. This can really help you narrow down what might be affecting your percentage.

Is it particular social media sites? Locations? Pages? Or was it during a specific time period, maybe when your website’s speed was significantly slower?

It’s also important to ensure that your GA is configured correctly. This includes making sure that your GA tracking code is properly set up on your website and that there aren’t any duplicates.

2. Avoid Pop-ups, Excessive Ads, and Auto-Play Content

According to a study done by Search Engine Land, 65% of users would block sites with too many ads from their search results. Ad blockers are becoming more and more popular—popups, excessive ads, or content that plays automatically can trigger users to bounce from your page before they even give it a chance. Why? Well, they’re annoying. They hijack the user experience and can be overstimulating, overwhelming, and for some, they may not even be viewable.

Even if the content of your popups is quality and there is nothing malignant or dangerous, users often have an automatic reaction to close out of the page due to their overuse and association with viruses and scams.

Popups can be effective, but you have to be very careful about their design. If you’re not willing to put in this time and effort along with some split testing to see if they’re successful or not—you should probably air in the side of not using them at all.

If you do consider using a popup, stick to offering no-strings-attached benefits to the user. Things like discounts, exclusive access to free services, or limited-time offers can make for a good popup. But if you plan to renege on these promises, your popups are likely doing more harm than good.

3. Clear and Concise Content—More is Not Better!

It’s not uncommon for a user to click on a page that may have a plethora of very useful content on it, but then they click away because it’s formatted in a wall of text that’s hard to read.

Or maybe the user is looking for a breakdown of complex information but the information they’re finding is more of the same, complex, jargon-filled content that is entirely inaccessible to them.

Here are some tips for making your content more accessible:

• Subheadings to separate different sections
This helps to break up blocks of text, and it also allows a user to skim the subheadings to get a general summary of what’s included in the content.

• Short, concise, and straight-forward sections
Have you ever looked up a recipe and had to read the poster’s entire life story when you’re just trying to get to the ingredients? Please don’t do this to your users.

• Bullet points & numbering
Hey, it helps, that’s why we do it. It’s easy on the eyes and helps mentally break up dense content.

• Images, graphics & screenshots
Not only does this make your content more engaging, but it can also add so much to the experience if done right.

• Customized examples
This is a way to connect with your audience and offer them something that another source may not do as well.

• Avoid “jargon” and define your terms
Be careful to avoid unnecessarily complicated words. If it’s relevant, unavoidable, or helpful to the user to know the term, make sure to define it.

• Consider a clickable table of contents
Like subheadings, this can help the user get what they’re looking for without having to wade through everything else, leaving them more likely to be satisfied.

• Include a clear call to action with a relevant internal link
This is so important because it gives the user a clear directive on where else they can go once they have finished reading the page! Consider offering specific and relevant links in your call to action depending on what the page was about.

Long-form content and informative guides tend to score the best for SEO purposes, but it’s worth going the extra mile to ensure that your content is actually engaging and helpful, rather than just a slew of keywords strung together.

4. Target the Right Audience

Sometimes a bounce rate might be high because it’s not the correct audience that’s clicking on your content—they might realize once they hit your page that this is not what they were looking for.

So, what can you do about this? Check-in on the keywords you’re using and how you might be marketing your page. You may need to adjust which audiences you’re targeting or the message that you’re delivering to make a better fit.

The goal is not to have everyone in the world clicking on your website—it’s to have the right people clicking on it.

5. Optimize Your Site

If your website is not visually appealing and well organized, this may become clear in your bounce rate. Double-check your site menus and layout to make sure that it’s intuitive and easy to navigate. There are tools that can assess your site’s readability quickly and for no cost.

test tool screenshot

You’ll also want to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Often when a business creates their website, they recreate a separate version just for mobile, which might leave out certain aspects of the desktop site or not be updated as frequently.

Your mobile site is as important if not more important than desktop—the number of users searching primarily from mobile devices is increasing year after year.

Growing your internal links where it makes sense is always a good strategy. It allows users to stay on your domain rather than clicking off. This is always good for your SEO, too.

Another issue that can cause an increased bounce rate is broken links. Using tools like Dr. Link Check can do this for you pretty quickly.

stats

It can also be helpful to make all external links open in a new window. By default, they usually open in the same window which can cause a user to leave your site even where they don’t intend to.

If they’re using your site for reference, they may end up doing a lot of back-button clicking, which can be irritating and can also jack up your bounce rate. If your site is on WordPress, there is a WordPress plugin that will do this automatically for you.

6. Timing Is Everything

Page loading speed is a Google ranking factor, albeit a small one. But it has a big impact on bounce rate and user satisfaction.

If your site is running on the slow side, the following are some things that could be slowing it down:
• Large, uncompressed images
• Your website hosting
• Plugins, apps, and widgets
• Themes and other large files
• Redirects/broken URLs

According to research, 40% of users will exit a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can check your site’s speed using tools like Lighthouse or Cloudfare if you’re on WordPress. PageSpeed Insights will rate your site’s speed and even give you tips on how you can improve it.

search results

One quick and easy way to increase your page speed is to compress your images with services like Optimizilla.

7. Write Accurate Meta Descriptions

30% of websites don't even use meta descriptions. Why? Because Google regularly ends up rewriting them when they don’t match a user search, but this is often because there isn’t one written to begin with, or because it doesn’t accurately describe the webpage.

seo tuners listing

If you write accurate meta descriptions, you’re more likely to increase your click-through rates (CTRs), which is going to have a positive impact on your bounce rate.
Here are some quick and easy tips for writing meta descriptions:
• Keep them between 150-160 characters for web pages or between 138-148 characters for blog posts or pages with publication dates.
• Put the most important information about the post or page in the first 100 characters, such as keywords.
• Summarize the web page or post in simple, accessible terms without keyword stuffing.
• Be specific. Avoid gimmicky sales talk and really focus on what a potential user might be searching for that your page would be a match for.
If you haven’t already been writing meta descriptions, start now, and we also suggest going back to previous pages and creating them. This can increase your CTR for older pages and content.

8. Don’t Fix It If It’s Not Broken

Remember, a high bounce rate is not necessarily something to fret about. In fact, most blogs have a bounce rate of over 80%. For blogs, in particular, a high bounce rate may mean that users are coming to your page, finding exactly what they’re looking for, and “bouncing” away happy and satisfied.

There are good bounces and bad bounces, so it’s important to think critically about your bounce rate and consider whether those percentages fit what you would expect for your content, or whether they might indicate an underlying issue.

Do you need assistance optimizing your web pages? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs.

man smoking pipe

Smart Google SEO Tips

Google is such a household word that sometimes we forget that other search engines even exist. Google has become practically synonymous with the internet and SEO at large, and with constant updates to its search algorithm, it’s hard to keep track of what your business should be doing to increase its ranking factors.

We’ve put together a guide that’s simple enough to implement but that will pack a punch when it comes to optimizing your website’s ranking for Google.

Complete & Optimize Your Content Descriptors

When you create content, there are a lot of descriptors that you can fill out—so many that oftentimes they get skipped over or skimped on. Plus, how can you know which ones are really important for SEO, and how exactly to optimize them to get an SEO boost?

Let’s start with meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the tagline for a web page that shows up under the title in a Google search:

google listing

While a meta description doesn’t directly impact your ranking on Google, it does impact your click-through rates (CTRs). That’s because the meta description is what people see when your website pops up in their search results and likely influences whether or not they actually visit your website.

Google can sometimes rewrite meta descriptions. As a matter of fact, they do this over 70% of the time because they are trying to match the meta description to the keywords that someone is searching for. However, when Google does this for you, they are just guessing at what might be a match by pulling from random snippets on your page that they think might be relevant. This can often make you end up with some funky meta descriptions that might even turn a user off from clicking on your site.

Many times, people don’t even bother to write them, thinking that they don’t impact SEO and that Google will just rewrite them anyways. However, meta descriptions are less likely to be rewritten the higher your search volume is—so if you write a quality meta description and your website is ranking well, it’s pretty unlikely Google is going to scrap that hard work.

Here are some quick and easy tips for writing meta descriptions worth keeping:

  • Keep them between 150-160 characters for web pages or between 138-148 characters for blog posts or pages with publication dates.
  • Put the most important information about the post or page in the first 100 characters, such as keywords.
  • Summarize the web page or post in simple, accessible terms without keyword stuffing.
  • Be specific. Avoid gimmicky sales talk and really focus on what a potential user might be searching that your web page would be a good match for.

If you haven’t already been writing meta descriptions, now’s the time to start - and we also suggest going back to previous pages and creating them. This can increase your CTR for older pages and content.

Next, let’s talk about alt tags or alt descriptions. These are HTML attributes that are applied to images to provide a text alternative for those images. These have two purposes:

  • First, search engines cannot read images, so providing alt tags allows Google to interpret the content of your images and include this in their indexing information.
  • Second, alt tags allow people who are using screen readers or browsers due to sight disabilities to “read” the images.

Creating alt tags directly impacts your SEO in two important ways - by allowing Google to index your images and because Google favors ADA accessible websites.

Be sure to keep your alt tags simple and specific. Explain what’s in the image so that someone who couldn’t see it would be able to visualize it themselves. Avoid keyword stuffing or simply adding more description and focus on describing what the photo is.

The last content descriptor we’ll address is titles and boilerplates. Now, titles may seem pretty straightforward, but there’s actually a lot of nuance to designing a title that’s effective for Google’s SEO.

It’s worth testing out some different title formats to see which ones seem to have better CTR’s and rankings. We recommend front-loading your keywords in the title and adding dates in title tags (if it makes sense to do so).

You may also want to try out titles with (or without) boilerplates. Boilerplates are part of a title that repeats with every post you make.

Help Google Crawl Your Website

It’s important to realize that if your website isn’t indexed properly, it won’t even appear in Google’s search results at all. Indexing is what lets Google know that your website exists. To see if your website is already indexed, search “site:yourdomain.com” in Google and see if there is a list of results that are similar to your domain name. If there aren’t any results, that means that your site hasn’t yet been properly indexed.

google listing

Google also has a tool that lets you check the indexing of a specific page of your website: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9012289?hl=en

You’re also going to want to set up schema. Schema is a form of microdata that you add to your webpage to create a rich snippet of a page that appears in search results. This has become especially important since the recent Google algorithm updates like Hummingbird and Rankbrain.

Schema doesn’t directly improve search rankings, but it does likely have an impact on your CTR. Only about 1/3 of Google results currently include a rich snippet with a schema, which leaves this open as a big opportunity for your website to take advantage of. Google has a structured data testing tool that lets you see, test, and modify your schema.

Another tip to help Google crawl your website is to be sure that all of your webpages work on mobile as well as desktop, and that they use the same links. Google moved to a mobile-first index in 2018, so whatever you see on mobile is the only thing Google can see, and that’s what’s going to determine your ranking factor.

Oftentimes businesses will actually reduce their site for mobile, making a separate version of their content, but this would cause you to lose out on the benefits of all that desktop content.

Having a mobile-friendly website is part of your Google ranking factor and also makes it more accessible to increase your CTR. Google has an easy mobile-friendly test you can use for each of your web pages.

Finally, you’ll also want to ensure that your website is ADA compliant which also impacts your ranking directly (for example, with alt tags as we mentioned above) and indirectly through increasing your website’s accessibility. It also can protect your business from potential lawsuits, which can be directed towards any business with 15 or more employees that operate for more than 20 weeks out of the year according to Title I of the ADA.

How can you know if your website is ADA compliant? There’s a lot that goes into this determination including alt tags for images, ease of access, PDFs that are convertible to text, and closed captioning and transcription of videos.

Make the Most of Your Content

Content is king, but that doesn’t mean you should just keep churning out content mindlessly. Relaunching top content using the same links can actually improve your SEO and get new traffic to older posts. You can also receive an SEO boost from editing and updating old content.

Google favors long-form content that’s heavy with internal and external links that use a lot of headers. Rather than creating tons of short-form blogs, consider creating fewer more extensive “guides” and returning to them to update and add on to rather than starting fresh.

You can also get more internal link action going by releasing similar topics so that you can link from one to the other. Don’t forget to link back to previous content in new posts, and also to go back into previous content and link it to new pages as well.

You might also consider deleting old pages and content that isn’t performing well. More is not always better. Your ranking signal is in part based on link equity, which is an average rating of how often your links are clicked. So, if you have tons of pages but some of them get almost no traffic, this is actually bringing down your ranking.

And of course, when it comes to SEO for Google, you should always do your keyword research. Be aware, however, that you want to avoid too much of a good thing—as “keyword stuffing” can negatively impact your SEO. A good strategy for this is to optimize each piece of content around one keyword—ideally a “longtail” one if you’re newer to the game. Longtail keywords don’t get as much search volume, but they are much less competitive, giving you a better chance of ranking higher by using them.

You’ll want to use the keyword in the first 50-100 words of the content and a handful of times throughout as well as in the title, page URL, and alt text for any images on the page. Don’t go overboard—using synonyms and variations of the keyword will be helpful as well.

Once you have a keyword, think of different questions that someone might search revolving around this keyword, and plan to make content around this. There’s a useful tool called Answer the Public that will take a specific keyword and map out commonly asked questions about it for you.

word graph

It doesn’t hurt to put some love into your page links either. Customized links on social media tend to have better CTRs, which indirectly affects SEO, and Google favors shorter URLs as well. There are tools for shortening links like Bitly.

You’ll also want to go through every so often and make sure that you don’t have any broken links. Using tools like Dr. Link Check can do this for you pretty quickly.

screenshot of stats

Use Google My Business, Search Console, and Analytics

Last month, we wrote about how to claim, set up, and optimize a Google My Business (GMB) page for your business [ https://www.seotuners.com/a-guide-to-optimizing-your-google-my-business-gmb-listing.html ]. Even though this is one of the easiest ways to gain web traffic and customers, 53% of local retailers haven’t done it!

For the Google Local Pack, GMB is the #1 ranking factor. But before you start a new profile you’ll want to check if your business already has a listing. If it’s already been claimed, Google has steps for you to follow to contest ownership.

The two most common ranking issues are duplicate GMB listings and inconsistent Name, Address, and Phone information (NAP), so you’ll want to check these things carefully.

You’ll also want to set up Google Search Console to track your site’s Google ranking, submit a sitemap to Google to help it crawl more efficiently, fix website errors, and see which keywords bring you the most traffic. Similarly, Google Analytics will also make your life easier by telling you how many people find and use your site, how much traffic you’re getting, and on which pages, your bounce rate, and dwell time.

Make Your Website Secure

Google is all about security and even maintains a list of sites that have been hacked or are suspicious. There is also a boost for webpages that are Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured (HTTPS). Although most desktop and mobile pages have adopted HTTPS, some of them still aren’t, and most browsers now signal that a page is insecure, which can deter potential traffic and decrease your CTR.

If you didn’t set up your website as HTTPS originally, never fear, you can still secure it with HTTPS without hurting your SEO.

Timing is Everything

You don’t want it to take a long time for a user to get to your webpage when they click it, but you do want them to spend a long time on it once they’ve arrived. Dwell time, or the amount of time someone spends on your page is indeed a ranking factor and is tracked by Google Analytics.

While site speed isn’t a ranking factor yet officially, it likely will be soon. According to research, 40% of users will exit a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can check your site’s speed using tools like Lighthouse or Cloudfare if you’re on WordPress. PageSpeed Insights will rate your site’s speed and even give you tips on how you can improve it.

screenshot of crawl

Google SEO is a monumental and ever-evolving beast, wrought with a changing algorithm and a whole lot of unknowns. But you don’t have to navigate it all on your own.

Do you need assistance optimizing your web pages? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. 

woman on phone

A Guide to Optimizing Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform associated with Google released in June 2014 that catalogs local business profiles. A business profile includes things like:

 

  • The name of your business
  • Your business address
  • Contact information
  • Website URL
  • A Description
  • Category
  • Attributes
  • Reviews
  • Questions and Answers
  • Media (photos, videos, posts)

 

So, if it came out in 2014, why are we still talking about it now?

 

Claiming your business on GMB and optimizing your profile is one of the easiest ways to gain web traffic and customers, and yet 53% of local retailers haven’t even claimed their listing.

 

 

graph from Moz

Image Source: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

 

Google is the king of search, and local SEO (tapped into by GMB) is the most prevalent form of SEO. But with all the information that’s out there about how to optimize your content and platforms, with no real evidence that they actually influence your ranking, is it really worth doing?

 

In the spirit of simplicity, let us offer the following advice on how to cash in on GMB without spending tons of time on factors that may or may not even influence your rank:

 

Claim Your Business and Create Your Profile

 

The most simple and yet effective way to boost your search ranking is just to create or claim your business profile on GMB so that when users are searching for your or your service, your information is out there.

 

One of the most common ranking issues on GMB is having duplicate listings, so before starting a new profile, it’s crucial to search GMB first to see if your business already has a listing. If someone has already claimed your listing (and it’s not someone who should have), follow these steps to contest ownership.

 

To set up your business, you’ll need to include some basic information such as the business name, description, address, and contact information. You’ll verify your business address by postcard in the mail. This ensures that your business is legitimate and should only take about 5 days.

 

Google’s local pack assumes the searcher’s intent is local unless they specify otherwise. Typically, a search includes the name of the company and the location and shows three business listings with a map, though you can click “view all” to see more.

 

screenshot of google page

google screenshot

 

Optimize Your Profile

 

Be sure to enter complete and accurate data while including keywords where they’re appropriate. Stuffing keywords is frowned upon by Google, and the attributes category was actually added to give businesses a chance to highlight more specifically what they offer. There’s no need to overwork yourself here—just be clear and to the point.

 

description and atributes

 

Treat your business description like any other piece of content. Write from the perspective of highlighting the problems you solve for your customers rather than focusing on the brand image of the business. For example, talk about your services and why they matter rather than how long you’ve been in business and your mission statement.

 

Accuracy is incredibly important to your SEO on GMP. If your business name, address, or phone is inconsistent with what’s listed on your website or incorrect, your ranking will be affected. In fact, consistency with this data is the #1 cited ranking issue among businesses according to Search Engine Land.

graph on ranking issues

Along with filling out the basics, including photos is likely to increase the activity on your profile. According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. This is no different than SEO for your website or social media, for example.

 

Follow Google Places Guidelines and Consult Your Dashboard

 

It’s possible that guideline violations may be causing more ranking issues than can be gathered by data because it’s difficult to trace.

 

Become intimately familiar with the guidelines and what violations can cause your listing to be removed or penalized. GMB has an extensive volunteer support platform that you can use to ask about problems with your listing if you’re concerned about a violation, or you can also speak directly with Google.

 

GMB’s dashboard (Insights) can also provide really helpful information for your SEO plans such as whether searches landing on your page were direct or through discovery, or whether they were done through search or maps. You can also get information about where customers are based gathered from their direction queries, what actions they take on your page, and the number of calls or messages as well as what time of day they typically happen.

 

The information gathered from your GMB listing could be helpful for your SEO and digital marketing strategy with other platforms as well.

 

Post and Update Regularly

 

The key to SEO is doing whatever it takes to get your business on the front page of search results—75% of people will never scroll past that first page. Sometimes businesses underestimate the power of posting regularly on GMB because posts only last for 7 days or less, but regular posting increases your chances of placing in the top 3 business listings for a search term (the Google local 3-pack) which is the front page of search results.

 

Google posts can be used to highlight upcoming events, new products and services, and recent company updates. They can include text, photos, gifs, and even call-to-action buttons that can contain inbound links.

 

They do have to be regular to be effective, but they don’t have to be long or complex (and in fact, they shouldn’t be!). A regular post could take you as little as 5 minutes per week.

 

Interact with Your Profile

 

Using GMB to reach your target audience and create a connection with them is ultimately what’s going to draw in clients. While some platforms discourage businesses from directly asking for reviews, GMB actually encourages it. Generating as many reviews as possible and responding to those reviews (especially negative ones!) Shows that you’re active, professional, and care about the image of your business.

 

It’s also a good idea to set up the messaging feature on GMB. SMS has been shown to generate a higher response rate than mobile advertising for purchases, appointments booked, and apps downloaded.

 

Setting up the feature is as easy as inputting a phone number and verifying it with a text message code. You can even turn it on and off as needed and update the phone number it’s linked to. Keep in mind that an average response time will be generated based on how long it takes you to respond to inquiries that will be included on your listing.

 

Remember, SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. Google and other search engines are moving towards algorithms that value conciseness, accuracy, quality content, and good customer service above all else. A GMB listing is just another way for you to make yourself available to potential clients and connect with them on a local level.

 

Do you need assistance optimizing your webpages? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. 

shopping cart and computer

Etsy SEO Tips to Help Your Customers Find You

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the optimization of your content in terms of quality and quantity to maximize your business’s visibility on search engines.

While there are elements of SEO that apply across all platforms and search engines, there are also those that vary considerably depending on the function or origin of that platform. For example, SEO is going to look different on Instagram than on Google results. This is due to the focus that Instagram’s algorithm has on connecting someone with results based on their previous searches and purchases.

Etsy’s SEO is unique in part because its algorithm may look different from other apps like Instagram and Facebook, which are owned and operated by the same conglomerate. While it may not be a social media giant, Etsy is definitely a major player in online sales, reporting 81.90 million active buyers in their 4th Quarter of 2020, which was a 79% increase year-over-year from 41.73 million.

chart with numbers

Image Source: Market Place Pulse

Etsy’s popularity has been steadily increasing since its launch, and with more and more businesses moving online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can certainly expect that trend to continue.

If your business hasn’t crafted an Etsy SEO strategy yet, better to start late than never! Etsy has a detailed guide that walks you through the following crucial elements of optimizing your shop and listings:

  • Learning how Etsy search works
  • Finding and using keywords
  • Adding relevant attributes
  • Maximizing conversions
  • Improving customer service
  • Understanding search traffic & analytics
  • Optimizing your shop
  • Perfecting titles and tags

It also tells you explicitly what its ranking factors in search are:

  • Relevancy: When tags, titles, categories, and attributes match a user’s search term, listings have a better likelihood of appearing higher in the search results.
  • Listing quality score: This essentially means how well a listing converts to a sale (the higher your conversation rate, the better). The number of people that view your listing and make a purchase increases that listing’s quality score and position in search results.
  • Recency: When a new listing is created, Etsy temporarily boosts it in the search results to help determine the listing’s quality score.
  • Customer and market experience score: This score is based on customer reviews, the completeness of your shop’s informational sections, as well as negative feedback.
  • Shipping price: Etsy boosts the search position of shops that offer free shipping because shipping price influences a consumer’s decision to buy.
  • Translations and language: Having all of your titles, tags, and listings in the language you selected when you created your Etsy account.
  • Shop location: In the EU, Australia, and Canada, local items are slightly favored in search results.
  • Shoppers’ habits: Etsy customizes its search results for buyers based on their previous searches and purchases.

Now that you have all of this information, what do you do with it and where do you start? We’ve got you covered with some quick tips you can use to work with Etsy’s SEO to help your customers find you:

  • Add Quality Images to Your Listings

According to a survey done by Etsy, shoppers rate the quality of images as the highest influencer in deciding to make a purchase. By appealing to what Etsy values in its ranking system, you can boost your SEO scores and make your shop more appealing at the same time by upgrading your listing photos. 

bar graph

  • Choose a Competitive Price 

Etsy shoppers mark the cost of the item as the second-highest influencer on whether or not they buy. It’s worth saying, though, that your product is worth what it’s worth—don’t sell yourself short! Think critically about the cost of your materials, expenses, and labor, and do some research into similar products to decide on a fair but competitive price.

Also, consider building the cost of shipping into the product and using this as a selling point. Research shows that the majority of people prefer not to pay for shipping rather than having their purchase delivered quickly—so factor the cost of shipping into your listing price and write it off as an added convenience in your description.

  • Offer Free Shipping

Not only is the shipping cost one of the major factors customers consider in making a purchase, but it’s also a ranking factor for Etsy’s search results.  Consider offering free shipping, even temporarily or during promotional events or holidays to boost your SEO rankings.

Another option is to create promotions that are incentivized by shipping for free. For example, offering free shipping if a customer buys more than two items or makes a purchase over a certain dollar amount. 

  • Prioritize Reviews

The importance of having an abundance of positive reviews for SEO is nothing new. But how do you actually accomplish this? It’s against Etsy’s user policy to offer free products in exchange for reviews, but sellers often have luck by including surprise gifts, personalized notes, and coupons when they send out an item and ask nicely for feedback. Making a personal connection with your customer base through social media posts and live streams can also make them want to connect with you in return by giving you positive feedback.

Another way you can address this is by responding personally to the reviews you do receive, even the negative ones. Having a negative review with an authentic response that non-defensively addresses and possibly corrects the problem can be more powerful and real to sellers than just having a ton of positive reviews.

  • Refresh Listings

When a new listing is made, Etsy temporarily boosts the listing in its search results to help determine its quality score. Take advantage of this by updating and refreshing your listings. However, keep in mind that this is a very temporary boost, so it might be something worth doing only during peak shopping hours, holidays, and promotions.

This also incentivizes you to keep editing and optimizing your listings to ensure they’re current and up to a high quality.

  • Ensure Relevancy

It’s crucial to ensure that your tags, titles, categories, and attributes utilize relevant and specific keywords. For example, naming your business after the service or product you provide will increase your SEO.

Because SeoTuners has “SEO” in the name, and as the first word, it would have a high relevance score on Etsy. Alternatively, if we called ourselves “Weilert and Durso”, we may not score as well. However, there are situations when naming your shop after yourself can be more advantageous, especially if you think this is how your potential customers will most likely be searching to find you. 

  • Completeness Matters

Etsy awards each shop a customer and market experience score based on customer reviews and the completeness of your shop’s “about” section. Score some easy SEO points by filling out everything fully on your shop’s page.

You also maximize your potential visibility by filling out as many tags, categories, and attributes as you can. You can add as many as 13 tags to each listing, and it’s recommended that you add all of them!

In order to come up with 13 tags that are relevant but varied, consider synonyms, different regional expressions, and long-tail keyword variations. If a keyword is already included in attributes, you don’t need to duplicate it as a tag. You also can skip plurals, misspellings, or multiple languages—Etsy handles all of this automatically, and you can actually be penalized in your search rankings for this.

  • Optimizing with Keywords

As always, an exact phrase match is going to give a higher search ranking than if the search terms are matched individually. This means that if you have used the keyword “SEO targeting” and that’s what your customer searched, it’s going to be more likely that your page will show up for them than if you simply had the words “SEO” and “targeting” separately somewhere within your listings.

Similarly, long-tail keyword matches boost your ranking the most. These are key phrases that contain three or more words strung together, for example, “SEO Ventura County” as opposed to just “SEO”. These are more likely to be strong matches because there’s going to be less competition and the people searching for that long-tail keyword have more specifications in mind, making them more likely to purchase something if you happen to match.

Additionally, the more that keywords show up throughout your page—including titles and tags for listings—the more your relevance score will be increased. However, this doesn’t mean that you should simply duplicate the same keywords as tags on the same listing, which won’t actually have any benefit. Using the same primary keyword for multiple listings also isn’t helpful, because you’ll end up competing against yourself in searches.

Frontloading your keywords also increases your chances of ranking higher. For example, if you know “SEO” is one of your best ranking keywords, you’re going to want to place it towards the beginning of your listing titles. Instead of titling a listing as “Get the Best SEO for Your Business” you might title it “SEO to Grow Your Business”. This applies to your item listings too—try to get those keywords into the listing as early as possible.

  • Finding Creative, Fitting, and Organic Long Tailed Key Words

The more specific and yet organically occurring keywords you can stumble upon, the better optimized you’ll be for SEO. When trying to come up with keywords for your business, try to put yourself in the mind of your target audience and think about what they might be searching for that would lead to your product and likely a purchase.

For example, Etsy users might use search terms related to occasions like “wedding gifts”, “white elephant”, or “first birthday”. Also consider what aesthetic, style, or lifestyle your product might appeal to, such as “minimalist”, “rustic”, or “antique”. You should also think about any problems your product might solve and the words a potential buyer might use to express this need, for example including words like “organizer”, “holder”, or “cover”.

Finally, consider using an SEO tool to research what keywords are most searched for such as Google Keyword Planner. There are also quite a few out there specifically for Etsy, including Marmalead, Keyword Scout, eRank, and Etsy Keyword Tool Dominator. Etsy even has its own analytics you can consult in your store dashboard.

Do you need assistance optimizing your Etsy store and moving up in the search rankings? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. 

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Backlinks Aren’t Dead

Rick Grimes probably wasn’t pondering backlinks in 2021 when he said, “We don’t kill the living” in AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Oddly enough, Grimes’ quote can be applied to backlinks today. It beckons the question: Why kill backlinks if they’re still alive?

Don’t!

Backlinks aren’t dead – and there’s certainly no reason to squash them in 2021.

Backlinks, “inbounding links” or “incoming links” connect webpages through incoming hyperlinks and are created when websites link to each other.

Backlinks signal greater Google (and other search engine) authority, upping search engine rankings. Backlinks can be a leading benchmark performance indicator of stellar content marketing and SEO strategy.

In fact, the number of domains linking to a page was the top factor in correlating the highest rankings in Google, according to Backlinko.

Backlinks for the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2021? Fingers crossed.

The positive correlation coefficient between authoritative backlinks and website ranking is real: As your website develops authoritative backlinks, Google recognizes that and boosts your ratings. Your website is power-hungry for king or queenship as the top #1 spot on Google, right? Finding cutting-edge ways to maximize quality, authoritative backlinks to improve SEO can only help. Hard-earned backlinks can bolster a site’s ranking position and search visibility with Google.

Google’s algorithms are a beacon of constant change – but backlinks remain.

Sure, business owners may hear about the mélange of options to boost SEO in 2021. This may give the impression backlinks are not in-vogue, wandering aimlessly in Myspace forgotten-land.

Not true ­– backlinks are alive and well.

Backlinks remain one of Google’s top three ranking factors. Link building and backlink maintenance will continue to be a part of a successful SEO strategy heading into 2021.

There are many reasons why backlinks aren’t dead in 2021.

‘Yes’ votes still count. Backlinks represent “votes” for specific pages, according to rankings for Google and other search engines like Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo. They’re a signal to search engines that other web pages “vouch” for your content. It makes sense that more backlinks equal pages with boosted organic search engine rankings. Linking one website to another is still perceived by Google as votes of confidence and authority. Well-earned backlinks coming from topically relevant, authoritative websites remain beneficial.

Public relations still benefit from backlinks. Backlink development from websites with high authority such as Search Engine Journal, Wine Enthusiast, and Forbes Magazine certainly isn’t a one-recipe-fits-all situation, and it may require some top-level groveling from the public relations department. Leveraging public relations is all about offsite SEO building in this case. You can build brand mentions through your business connections or become a source for bloggers and publication writers, for example. Provide value to clients you want a backlink from.

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More resources, more backlink potential. As resources grow, your resource backlinks must keep pace. Resource link building adds value to the audience by asking, “How can I help my audience?” Resources can change, expand, be modified, or even be eliminated. If you’re a private entity, think about relevant outside resources for your client, as well as the plethora of business associations in your local area that you might be able to network within.

Backlinks still establish relevance. With tons of websites competing for Google's top search results, it’s evolutionarily advantageous to stand out amongst “unverified” sources. Keep two qualities in mind. First, seek backlinks from quality, authoritative sites. The degree of technicality in your field can oftentimes dictate whether it’s a common-sense decision or one worth investing in researching. Second, seek backlinks with a solid contextual connection – there are more now than ever before with the wide variety of businesses springing up. Relevant backlinks aren’t easily attainable. Supercharging SEO strategy with the correct backlinks can start with identifying ways to earn these authoritative backlinks – think of human networking potential as a valuable backlink commodity.

Business-related services need backlinks. Many local businesses provide professional services that need backlinks. If you’re a business servicing the public with medical, legal, financial, engineering, or science-related services, having quality backlinks is important as your search results will likely be narrowed according to a specific field of expertise. Specificity demands specificity in this case. For example, a medical products manufacturer in Ventura, CA may have a very limited demographic scope of potential buyers keying in on “silicon-based medical products,” so the power of backlinks that connect relevant sources within that field is even more relevant today than ever.

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Backlink analytics can help you. Edging out the competition requires knowing the competition. A thorough analysis of your competition’s backlinks’ performance can offer key insight into how to adjust backlink strategy to match performance – or how not to make the same mistakes. Traffic analytics will remain a steadfast portion of the diet of every business looking to capitalize on organic website traffic from backlinks. Curious how to build backlinks with authority? Analyze competitors who do.

The fact of the matter is that it’s all interpretation, as the exact logarithmic equation of how Google ranks content is a moving and complex target. Despite what some may say to the contrary, most internet marketing experts agree that backlinks will remain a ranking factor you should pay attention to – at least for the near future. There also appears to be an overarching consensus pointing to original, quality long-format content as a driving force in backlink potency.

Read ‘em and weep: Backlinks aren’t dead, according to data collected from many authoritative online sources for SEO and SEM. Here are some statistics that speak to their importance:

By the numbers: Backlinks

  • 2% of content generates links from multiple websites (Backlinko)
  • 92% of respondents said links will be an algorithmic signal in five years (Aira)
  • 69% said links will be an algorithmic signal in 10 years (Aira)
  • 69% believe buying links can positively affect Google rankings (Aira)
  • 71% said Google still relies heavily on links for ranking (Aira)
  • 52% expect organic search engine ranks to stay constant in the future (Aira)
  • 77% said it takes 1-6 months to observe any changes in organic rankings after a link-building effort (Aira)

You have now heard the “why.” It’s time for the “how.” How exactly do you improve backlinks in 2021?

If backlinks aren’t dead, then it’s in your best interest to feed the monster. Be sure to stay up-to-date with SeoTuners’ blog for more information on how to improve your backlinks.

If you’ve seen The Walking Dead, you know Rick Grimes drove his friends to survive against all odds during the apocalyptic, zombie-infested cult classic. If you think about it, maybe Rick was onto something – maybe it is best to let backlinks walk amongst the living.

Contact a Google Premier Partner

Small, medium and large businesses alike can benefit from a thorough analysis of backlinks. At SeoTuners, we understand the difference between quality and quantity, and our custom link building and outreach approach can help you earn high page authority. Based in Ventura, Calif., SeoTuners is proud to also service the greater Los Angeles County area. Contact us today for a consultation at (877) 736-1112.