In Chinese philosophy, yin (the shady side) and yang (the sunny side) describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. In digital marketing, yin and yang apply to the way organic search and paid search work.
Organic Search (Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the the process of obtaining a natural placement on search engine rank pages using keywords, keyword analysis and link popularity. The goal of SEO is to attract users organically without paying for it.
Although 80% of people clicks on an organic listing first. Whether they go to organic search or paid search, 33% click on the web listing in the first position, and 90% of all click occur on the first page. So, as Ricky Bobby says, “if you ain’t first, you’re last”
How do you get the most out of organic search and paid search. Here are 12 ways to make organic search and paid search work better together.
MORE “SHELF SPACE:” It’s no secret, when you have 2 listings you own more real estate and chances of being clicked.
INCREMENTAL CLICKS: Google research shows even with a #1 organic search ranking, paid search ads provide 50% incremental clicks.
GREATER CONVERSIONS: Even though roughly 80% of clicks on a search page occur on organic listings, 42% to 48% of conversions happen against paid traffic according to Forbes. That means paid ads work after a would-be customer knows what they want to buy.
ORGANIC LINKS + PAID LINKS = MORE CLICKS: Studies show users have a higher propensity to click on paid links if your organic link is listed, as well the other way around.
MORE COMPELLING COPY: Take your best performing ads in terms of click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate and try applying those headlines and ad copy into your meta descriptions and title tags. Additionally, take copy from top performing organic pages and see how they work within paid ads.
FASTER RESULTS: It can take months to see progress in organic search rank. The ability to appear in the search results in a top position in paid search helps carry your brand while building an SEO presence.
BETTER HEADLINES AND LANDING PAGES: Paid search makes it possible to test landing pages, headlines and templates without hurting your organic traffic. When an advertiser can learn what is most effective and achieves better click through rate and more conversions, everyone wins.
COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: There are many ways and tools for organic search and paid search for competitive intelligence. Identify who the top competitors in organic search are for a particular keyword with Keyword Spy. Find relevant long tail keywords, see what competitors’ bid and their PPC ads with SEMRUSH. Use these tools to identify competitors’ keyword priorities and strategies.
ACHIEVE CAMPAIGN GOALS TOGETHER: Want to see how PPC & SEO work together to achieve your campaign goals? Link Google Webmaster Tools to Google AdWords which provides additional insight into the relationship between paid and organic search campaigns. Using the Paid & Organic report effectively shows any instances where a potential customer might have seen paid search results, organic search results and paid and organic search results together on the same results page.
MORE WEB TRAFFIC: It is plain and simple; with more links pointing to your website at any given moment there is more opportunity for increased visitors.
COMBAT NEGATIVE PR: Occasionally, someone will say something negative about your company. It happens, and when it does, combined PPC and SEO efforts can be great damage control. A great example was seen during the Gulf oil spill. For some time afterward, BP paid for PPC ads linked to the keyword ‘oil spill.’ The PPC ad led to a page on BP’s site about the cleanup effort. They wanted to make sure that whenever someone searched ‘oil spill,’ BP’s PPC ad was at the top of the list. Use this technique to help tell your side of the story.
TARGET MORE PRECISELY USING SOCIAL: The social media landscape is changing dramatically, and part of that change has been the emergence of highly targeted advertising opportunities. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (owned by Google) can serve up ads targeted to incredibly specific groups of people. Using Facebook user profile information, it’s possible to show an ad only to 22 year olds living in Kansas City who are interested in motorcycles and horticulture. It may be a small group, but it’s precise. The data that you collect from these campaigns uncovers granular details about your target audience to help refine your organic and paid search strategy.
Did this convince you of the yin and yang organic search and paid search? Could it benefit your business if they were working better together?
To achieve a top search rank for a website, it’s more like a marathon than a sprint. There are steps to be taken understanding top ranking factors. Each step gets you closer to your goal. So it’s important to know what the most important ranking factors are.
Here are 24 top ranking factors for a high search rank with search engines.
KEYWORDS: Create relevance with your audience. Here are the places where they should be seen on a website.
KEYWORD IN DOMAIN NAME: Exact match domains tend to perform extremely well in the SERPs. But if the desired domain name is taken or, for branding purposes, if it is better to go for a brand name as your domain name, there are other ways to pursue keywords.
KEYWORDS IN THE URL: Every URL on a website is a place to put keywords. And, there are up to 115 characters that search engines capture. Keep them clean and user friendly. For example, http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/seo-clean-urls is a simple description of keywords in a url title that describe what the webpage is about.
KEYWORDS IN PAGE TITLES: It’s much easier to stick your keyword in page titles. Make sure that your titles also look natural and appealing because people buy what you’re selling, not search bots.
KEYWORDS IN H1 TEXT: H1 is an HTML tag normally used to mark headings. When your keywords stand in H1 tags, they carry more weight.
KEYWORDS IN IMAGE ALT TEXT: Image alt text is what gets displayed instead of your image when it cannot be loaded. If image alt texts reflect the rest of the keywords on your page, this sends the search engines a signal that your page is relevant to the search query, and they rank it higher.
KEYWORDS IN ANCHOR TEXT: Internal linking is important for higher rankings. To attain the desired effect, use your keywords in the anchor texts on web pages.
KEYWORD DENSITY IN COPY: Keywords should be present in copy. The exact number of keywords to increase search rank the on the industry. There is no ideal keyword density that’ll work for every site.
LINKS: Establish authority with your area of expertise. Here is how to use them.
OUTBOUND LINKS: Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals to the search engine. It shows you want your audience to learn more of the subject. This is a huge trust factor for Google.
INTERNAL LINKS: Interlinking pages on your site can pass their strength between them. It also makes it easier for your audience to get to specific areas of the website.
NUMBER OF LINKING DOMAINS: The number of domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors.
AUTHORITY OF LINKING DOMAINS: Not all links are equal The authority of the domain used is an influencing rank factor too.
SITE FACTORS: Help search engines and your audience understand what your site is about; the better is the understanding, the higher the search rank.
INDEXED PAGES: The number of pages on search engine that a website appear. More is generally better.
SITE MAP: A sitemap helps search engine to index all pages on your site. It is the simplest and most effective way to search engines what pages your website includes.
SITE LOADING SPEED: To search engines and your customers, site loading speed impacts search rank. 47% of web users expect a website to load in under two seconds. 51% of online shoppers in the U.S claimed if a site is too slow they will not complete a purchase (source: Search Engine Journal)
SITE ERRORS: Numbers are often used to account for errors that may be occurring on a website. A 404 error occurs when a webpage is served to a user who tries to access a page that cannot be located at the URL provided. A 401 error happens when a website visitor tries to access a restricted web page but isn’t authorized to do so, usually because of a failed login attempt. A 500 error is a general-purpose error message for when a web server encounters some form of internal error. For example, the web server is overloaded. There are some of the most common site errors.
MOBILE OPTIMIZED SITE: 46% of searchers used mobile exclusively to research. And the number are increasing. Having a mobile optimized site is having a bigger impact on search rank as time goes by. (source: Positionly)
GOOGLE (OR BING) WEBMASTER TOOLS INTEGRATION: If you site is verified by Google Webmasters Tools, it help with your sites indexing. Webmaster Tools in general provide valuable data to better optimize your site.
GOOD CONTENT: Amplifies relevance and authority. No website get to a high search rank without good content.
CONTENT LENGTH: Searchers want to be educated. They won’t satisfy with basic information. The authority and informativeness of content is very important.
DUPLICATE CONTENT: Not all factors can influence your rankings in a positive way. Having similar content across various pages of your site can actually hurt your rankings. Avoid duplicating content and write original copy for each page.
CONTENT UPDATES: Search engine algorithms prefers freshly updated or “dynamic” content. It is one reason blogs have such strong value for search rank. This does mean that you have to continually edit web pages. It does mean, on an annual basis, you should have a strategy for freshening up page content.
IMAGES AND VIDEOS: Good content doesn’t have to always involve words. Images and videos are just as important. They provide opportunities for Alt Text with Keywords and Links.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Provides additional sources of traffic, links and web pages. They are important contributors to a high search rank.
SOCIAL REPUTATION: Just as search engines don’t count all links equally, they don’t view all social accounts as being the same. Having your own social presence that is well regarded is important. You want to gain references from social accounts with good reputations. Participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way.
SOCIAL SHARES: Similar to links, getting quality social shares is helpful. Good things happen when more people see your site or brand. Nowhere is this more apparent than Google+.
SOCIAL PRESENCE: Having more than one entry on a search page can only increase the chance of a click. Your social network are additional web pages that help people get to know you and drive traffic to your website. And people like to do business with people they know.
Do these ranking factors help you understand search rank? Does you business need help getting to a top search rank? Are there top ranking factors you would include that we missed?
SEO is the approach to optimizing a brand’s web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles and press releases. SEO in the digital marketing mix is here to stay.
Finding a good resource that achieves results is like hiring a good electrician, plumber or auto mechanic. Find the right one and and you’ve found an invaluable asset.
How do you know? One way is to ask for a proposal. Fortunately, there are ingredients that distinguish great SEO proposals.
What makes a great SEO proposal? Here are 11 ingredients to look for.
STRATEGY: SEO is a business building activity. So a strategy that spells out how business is built should be spelled out. It should be results-oriented and measurable. Here are key strategy ingredients.
DESIRED RESULTS: An increase in search rank as measured on Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) is usually the #1 result most people expect. But an increase in rank doesn’t translate to an increase in business unless specific increases in web traffic and conversions occur. A good SEO program should take into account how this is going to occur.
SITE AUDIT: To understand how to drive business, the way people use your site now should be examined. In an SEO proposal, a Site Audit should be included that evaluates: 1) Top Keywords, 2) Number of Inbound Links, 3) Unique Visitors, 4) Bounce Rate, 4) Traffic Sources (including percent of Visits from Organic Search), 5) Key Pages and 6) Conversion Activities. A Site Audit also specifies any errors or pages not found as well as if a site map is available. A Site Audit sets up activities that need to occur and benchmarks what is realistic to expect and when.
KEYWORD RESEARCH: Search engines look for a relevant match to the keywords that a consumer writes in a search query. Words are the most important ingredient in SEO. Keyword Research is a foundation to an SEO proposal. Search volumes, keyword search trends, competitiveness, CPC ((Cost Per Click) – what others pay) leading to keyword recommendations are a key phase in an SEO proposal.
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Your business isn’t likely to be the only one competing for the same consumer. So an analysis of competitor’s keywords, web traffic and links should be present. A Competitive Analysis informs keyword decisions and desired results. It’s also a valuable source for ideas:
INBOUND LINK ASSESSMENT: Search engines look for other website that mention your website for a consumer’s keyword query. This occur by Inbound Links from other websites that reference your website. This has a high value to the search engine because it signals your business is an “authority” on those keywords. A Link Assessment specifies the number of links you currently have and should spell out the plan for securing more. Inbound Links are a timely topic. If done in a disreputable way, your site can get discredited. Authentic or “White Hat” ways are important to understand. HubSpot offer some sound advice.
EXECUTION: With a strategy for building business in hand, here is what should be included in the execution.
SITE ARCHITECTURE: To take advantage of priority keywords, every page should represent one. When search engine crawl your site, Site Architecture ensures a comprehensive overview of what the site is about. Search engines and visitors understand better if you focus on one keyword per page rather than put them all together in “keyword stuffing.”
OPTIMIZATION STRATEGY: There are a number of places search engine go to understand the reason for being for a website. They are: 1) URL, 2) Page Title, 3) Body Copy, 4) Meta Description and 5) Links. The proposal should specify that this work is going to be performed on every page of your site.
ON-PAGE IMPLEMENTATION: A good SEO person performs these services. However, at some organizations, there is a company webmaster or IT department that oversees website development. How the On-Page Implementation is to occur should be worked out beforehand at it can impact price and timing. There should also be a check of the activities to make sure they have occurred on site as they should.
CONTENT MARKETING PROGRAM: Reputation matters in business and in SEO. In the latter, a good reputation occurs if a website continually put out good content reinforcing the keywords and providing links to other websites (which are ofter reciprocated back). This occur through a blog, newsletter, PR releases and social media sharing. It should be specified how this occurs, how often and who does it.
MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING: Monthly reporting against the desired results should be a part of the program. The impact of SEO generally occurs in the range of 2 to 6 months. Once desired results are achieved, they generally stay with the content marketing program. The reward of a good SEO program are substantial.
PRICING: Pricing for SEO occurs on a: 1) Retained monthly amount, 2) project or 3) hourly basis. If a retainer is used, the initial months are usually higher as there is strategy and research work involved. According to MOZ in a survey of 600 agencies, Project Pricing was the most commonly used and ranged from $1,000 to $7500. Hourly costs, which are the common denominator for all types, ranged from $76/hour to $200/hour depending on who did the work and what country it was performed.
To give you an example of a great SEO proposal that follow these principles, here is one from [LINK]Caffeine.
Did this help you understand what makes a great SEO proposal? Would your business benefit from this type of SEO program?
These statistics say there are big changes in marketing coming. But we live in budget cutting times, and marketing budgets are among the first to get cut. Why? When non-marketing executives take a hard look at the numbers, they often can’t see a direct link to revenue.
The secret is having – and correctly using – the right measurements.
Here are 12 data driven measurements every marketer should know.
KEYWORDS: 90% of consumer buying decisions begin on the internet according to Forrester Research. The journey most often begins with a consumer typing their unmet need into the query box of a search engine. 54% find websites through natural search engines results says Forrester. Do you know keywords you want for your company? If you don’t, how do you expect to attract the people who are looking for what you have to offer?
LINKS (HYPERLINKS): The best way to establish authority and improve search visibility is to have reciprocal links with other authorities in your area. Do you know how many inbound links there are to your website and who they are? You should. Where once low-quality tactics worked for a long time, link building has undergone significant changes in recent years due largely to recent Google changes that discredit dark hat tactics. Now, blogs, guest blogging and social media represent authentic ways to build links and relationships that are mutually beneficial to businesses.
SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGE (SERP): 85% of people click on a website listing on the organics side of a search engine page; 53% click on the website that is listed first. Within the top five listing, 88% of the clicks are made according to Search Engine Watch. This means, if you want people to come to your wevsite, it’s important to know your Search Engine Rank Page for your most important keywords.
COST PER CLICK (CPC): If you can’t get to a top rank with your top keywords, it’s better to pay for a top rank than believe search engines are going to drive visitors to your site anytime soon. Paid Search ads should be considered. They are bought on a cost per click basis. Paid search operates like an auction where the buyer sets the price, budget and time frame. CPC’s also provide a valuable benchmark on the value of keywords. Based on the price, they show what others are willing to pay for them.
CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR): Is the percentage of people who viewed a page that contained your ad and also clicked on the ad. This is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of ad impressions. CTR is an important metric to measure performance and whether the ad is relevant. Google Adwords says the average CTR is 2% for ad placements on Google.
UNIQUE VISITORS (USERS): Is the number of distinct individuals visiting a website during a given period, regardless of how often they visits. It is a key metric for measurement if your web business is increasing its visibility and customer base.
BOUNCE RATE: is the percentage of visits where the visitor view a single page and left. Bounce Rate is considered a key measurement of website relevance. Because, generally speaking, if the site is relevant, the visitor will view more the one page. As Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist at Google says, a high bounce rate generally reflects visitors who “came, puked, and then left”. To reduce Bounce Rate, here are 20 Things to Consider from Search Engine Watch.
TRAFFIC SOURCES: Every visit to a web site has an origin, or source. There are three main categories: 1) Search Engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing – either organic or paid, 2) Another Web Page (Facebook, Twitter, another website) or 3) Direct (type a website url in the browser). This show how your audience finds your business and a very valuable measurement for tracking your time and investment into driving website traffic.
KEY CONTENT (PAGES): Once a visitor gets to your website, what pages are most viewed? Key Content or Top Pages tells what is their hierarchy of needs from your business.
CONVERSION RATE: What is the action(s) you want visitors to take when they get to your website? Conversion Rate is the percent of visitors that take the action you want. If you sell products or service from your site, it means the percent who buy. But, if you don’t (and most websites don’t), it means the percent who may subscribe to an email, register for a trial offer or download information. Any action or event that indicates they are a step closer to being a customer. In fact, a business may have multiple conversion rates. Macro Conversions are primary conversions like completing an order for an e-commerce site or filling out a contact form for a lead generation site. Micro Conversions are the usual actions that are precursors. They may include signing up for an email newsletter or downloading a PDF.
AVERAGE ORDER VALUE: If you sell a product or service on your website, a key means for maximizing revenue is to know your Average Shopper Value. The calculation is: Revenue/Number of Transactions = Average Order Value. If you know this measurements, you can determine what you need to do to get customers to buy more (Free shipping on orders over $75; Buy 2, get 1 Free, Deal of the Day).
WORD OF MOUTH: The number of positive Reviews, Rating, Facebook Likes, Tweeter Follower, Shares, Comments and YouTube Views can have a relationship to website traffic which has a relationship to revenue. People like to do business with people they know. If your business is generating word of mouth, potential customers are going to want to get to know you through your website.
Do you think these are data driven measurements every marketer should know? Any there others that you recommend?
If you were to hire a resource to help with SEO or social media, most people think to choose either an SEO specialist or a Social Media agency because the two are different marketing disciplines. That’s an even bigger mistake.
Recent Google algorithm changes underscore how SEO and social media are inextricably linked. Panda is a Google algorithm filter aimed at fighting low quality content; Penguin is one aimed at fighting web spam. Google has concluded the best match for a keyword is the one that is focused and other people follow.
If you don’t think SEO and social media work together, like peanut butter and jelly, here are 25 reasons they do.