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What is a meta description? 3 reasons it matters to know 1

Posted on May 08, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

 

meta-description-seo

By Matt Press

A meta description is an extremely powerful marketing weapon that you’re almost certainly not utilizing.

Imagine this:

You’ve got a website that’s regularly showing up in online searches and yet you still aren’t getting any fresh leads.

Sound familiar?

It’s gutting.

After all, competition on the internet is tough.

And if getting noticed is hard, when you do top the rankings, surely you should be entitled to a constant flow of new customers?

That phone should be ringing off the hook…

… except it isn’t.

 

Meta Description tumblewee

 

Something’s not right.

  • You’ve optimized your website.
  • You’ve created some quality content.
  • You’ve been busy promoting your brand.
  • You’re ranking highly for loads of great keywords.

You’ve done it.

You’ve fought off the competition. And you’ve sweated blood and tears for months in the process.

However, despite a strong digital presence, nothing’s happening.

Zilch.

Zero.

I can feel your pain.

But… hold on.

Don’t throw in the towel.

The chances are, you just need to look at your meta descriptions.

I’m not sure how familiar you are with meta descriptions, but they’re really important [especially these days].

They can build or bust a business.

So today, help is at hand.

In this post, I’m going to do 3 things:

  1. Explain what a meta descriptions is.
  2. Reveal just how important meta descriptions are.
  3. Show you how to write them [by way of a demo and some tips].

 


BONUS: click here  to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].


 

And if all that wasn’t enough, I’m also offering some FREE help.

That’s right, if you get in quick, I’ll write the meta description for your website’s home page for nothing and get you well on the way to increasing your marketing ROI.

[More on that at the bottom of this post.]

 

1. What are meta descriptions?

A meta description probably sounds like it’s going to be something overly technical, but in reality, it isn’t.

It’s simply the little snippet of information that displays in a search result:

 

Meta Description example #1

 

Sometimes, a meta description is known as a meta tag. The copy doesn’t actually exist on the page in question; instead, it’s ‘tagged’ onto it.

They can be created for most types of content.

From normal web pages to blog posts, case studies to ebooks, if it’s published on a website, you can write a meta description for it.

The purpose of a meta description or meta tag is quite simple.

Google cares deeply about user experience, so meta descriptions exist to give anyone using a search engine a better understanding of the content they’ll see if they click on the link in question.

In other words, they’re there to help users work out which search result best suits their needs.

Ideally, then, a meta description should be descriptive and appealing [through persuasive language or some sort of clever hook].

By way of an example, let’s look at my post on copywriting tips.

On a set of search results, Google displays this:

 

Meta Description example #2

 

My meta description for this blog post contains:

  • the number of tips, demonstrating that this is an in-depth guide not a flimsy opinion piece.
  • how the tips will help a website and business, addressing popular pain points such as traffic generation.

Can you start to see the importance of this meta description?

It’s my marketing ammo.

If someone is searching for ‘copywriting tips’, those 2 lines are all I have to convince them that I’m their best option.

If I don’t make the most of them and no one clicks on my link, from an SEO point of view, the entire post is a complete waste of time.

Get it right and I could have a potential new customer arrive on my site.

Do it wrong and they’ll head to a rival.

Are you ready to make the most out of your search presence?

 

2. Why you dare not ignore your meta descriptions.

A meta description is the last stop on a search journey.

 

Meta Description saloon

 

If you don’t create a good meta description then you’re wasting a golden marketing opportunity.

Someone has found your site.

A new lead.

Do you want them to start getting to know you… or someone else?

It’s a bit like being a second-hand car salesman, spending hours talking with a customer trying to sell them a car…

… and then walking away just as they’re ready to buy.

This guy would never do that:

 

Bad Meta Description

 

[And let’s face it, who doesn’t aspire to be like Swiss Toni?]

You’ve got to clinch the deal.

The vast majority of descriptions are of extremely poor quality.

Businesses tend to fall into one of 2 camps…

Scenario 1:

Most people are completely oblivious as to what meta descriptions are.

They aren’t aware of the critical part they play in your online success and they completely ignore them.

But here’s the thing:

Google WILL display something as a description or tag.

So if you don’t provide a meta description for them, they’ll just extract any old copy from the content and essentially make what amounts to nothing more than an automated guess.

If that happens to you then you could end up with a meta description that’s completely useless, like this:

 

Meta Description example #3

 

This is how NOT to do it.

Who is going to be drawn to this search result?

No one.

Why would you want to leave your marketing success in the hands of a machine?

It even happens to the big boys [this one is pure gibberish]:

 

Meta Description Example #4

 

Scenario 2:

The other common scenario sees meta descriptions just bunged in as a lazy after thought.

This gives a really sloppy feel to the search result:

 

Meta Description example #5

 

This description has no hook or incentive, and no specific information about the web page in question. I don’t see any reason for visiting this page at all.

[The copy doesn’t even make grammatical sense.]

Also, poor meta descriptions won’t fit in the given space properly.

Google requires a meta tag to be 150-160 characters. If you write more, the copy will just trail off:

 

Meta Description example #6

 

Again, this will greatly reduce the impact of anything you’re saying.

As further proof of their importance, don’t forget that social media platforms use meta descriptions when a web page is shared on their site:

 

Meta Description example #7

 

Did you catch Google’s latest announcement?

The need to create good meta descriptions gets even more apparent when you consider Google engineer Paul Haahr’s recent talk.

In what is groundbreaking news, Haahr confirmed that Google now uses click-through rate (CTA) data as a ranking signal.

Technically speaking, meta descriptions have nothing to do with SEO.

As Google announced in 2009, meta descriptions aren’t part of Google’s ranking algorithm.

[Perhaps that’s why they get ignored?]

However, Google’s latest announcement makes meta descriptions the very last piece of your SEO jigsaw.

Not only are they your FINAL opportunity to convince someone to click through to your website, they’re also something that will indirectly affect your ranking position.

Let’s use an example.

Suppose one of your web pages is ranked in first place on page one of Google:

 

Meta Description example #8

 

Google is saying that it’ll constantly monitor how many people click on your link.

If no one clicks on your link, Google will think your page isn’t relevant and the ranking position of your page in the search results will start to drop:

 

Meta Description example #9

 

However, let’s assume you had a web page in second position.

If you think of a brilliant marketing hook and create a great meta tag that hoovers up all the clicks, Google will think your page is a big hit with people.

As a result, it’s likely to get a bump up the search rankings:

 

Meta Description example #10

 

This process is happening continually, across every web page and every piece of content all over the internet.

To be fair, I guess this is a pretty logical path for Google to take.

If a web page was to rank in the top position for a keyword and no one ever clicked on it, why would Google want to showcase it in a set of search results?

 

3. How do I create a meta description?

Meta descriptions live and work behind the scenes of a web page, so they need to be entered into your content management system (CMS) for every page on your website.

[Please note: for completeness, it’s worth pointing out that no one can guarantee that Google will use the meta description you provide. But they usually will.]

Unfortunately, there are so many different types of websites that it’s impossible to give you a one-size-fits-all guide to entering your copy.

However, I’m going to show you how I write mine because even though I have a bespoke system, you’ll probably have something fairly similar.

In addition, because of the popularity or WordPress, I’m also going to demonstrate how to find the meta description field for a WordPress site.

[Please note: if neither guide helps and you need still can’t locate the meta description field in your CMS, just leave a comment at the end of this post.]

After that, I’m going to give you some great tips for writing meta descriptions that are based on real-life data.

Firstly, when I create a new blog post in my CMS, I have a field for meta descriptions under the ‘SEO’ tab:

 

 

For a WordPress site, it’s just as easy.

You’ll need an SEO plug-in like Yoast installed. Assuming that’s been done, here’s how you’d enter a meta description:

1. Go to an existing page or add a new post:

 

Meta Description - Plug-in #1

 

2. Scroll down and, immediately under the section that will contain the main body of your post, you’ll find the Yoast SEO options (or the equivalent):

 

Meta Description - Plug-in #2

 

3. Locate the section for the meta description:

 

 

4. Craft a great description:

 

Meta Description - Plug-in #3

 

5. Either save, publish or update (depending on what you’re doing):

 

Meta Description - Plug-in #1

 

Now let’s move onto the writing tips…

15 techniques for writing great meta descriptions.

What better way to get to grips with meta descriptions than by learning from those of the biggest companies around?

I’ve taken Forbes’ 2015 list of the 100 most valuable brands in the world and analysed their meta descriptions.

Take a look them – you’ll be surprised.

 


BONUS: click here  to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].


Some aren’t as good at marketing themselves as you might think.

A few meta descriptions in the list are great.

The vast majority are pretty mediocre.

Some, believe or not, are absolutely terrible.

Regardless, there’s much to learn.

Your marketing approach will differ depending on what your meta description is to be used for. For instance, a meta description for a home page will be very different than that of a product page.

Regardless, here are 15 tips to help you create some killer copy.

 

Tip 1: Make your descriptions fit.

As I mentioned earlier, a meta description needs to be 150-160 characters long.

Here’s a less-than-optimal effort from Nescafe:

 

Meta Description example #11

 

From that first sip of coffee to what?

You might be tempted to think that Nescafe as so big and successful that they don’t need a good meta tag. But compare that to the tag for Disney’s homepage:

 

Meta Description example #12

 

Point is, as the saying goes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And that’s certainly true with search marketing.

 

Tip 2: Make your descriptions unique.

All the meta descriptions on your website need to be different.

This is the description for Gillette’s homepage:

 

Meta Description example #13

 

I really like how they’ve highlighted their core mission, but they’ll have to be careful that they don’t duplicate this sales-style copy across their product pages.

On a related note, Google doesn’t care about the keywords you use in a meta description. In this sense, your meta tag won’t contribute to your search success at all.

Always write your meta descriptions for humans, not search engines.

Avoid the temptation to wedge a keyword into your copy.

If it makes sense to have a keyword in your meta tag, then by all means include it. But it’s got to be natural. Because cramming in keywords won’t get us the results we want.

 

Tip 3: Use power words in a search snippet.

Like all good copy, the best meta descriptions are impactful.

This effort from Cisco is pretty bold, mentioning how they’re a ‘worldwide leader’ who have a range of services that ‘transform’ our lives:

 

Meta Description example #14

 

Likewise, AT&T’s marketing strategy is to call our popular products like the iPhone 6 and talk about ‘special offers’ and ‘incredible deals’:

 

Meta Description example #15

 

Tip 4: Make the most of your meta title.

A meta title sits on top of a meta description (or meta tag) in a search result:

 

Meta Description example #16

 

A good title can sometimes really add to the effectiveness of a description. They can work in tandem to reinforce a key message:

 

Meta Description example #17

 

A meta title is inserted into your CMS [the field for a meta title is normally right next to where you’d enter a meta description].

Titles need to be much shorter than a meta description if they are to fit.

They to be 50-60 characters or the copy will truncate:

 

Meta Description example #18

 

So if your blog post headline is more than 60 characters [like the one you’re reading], you’ll need a slightly different meta title.

 

Tip 5: Embrace your brand identity.

A meta description is a great place to reaffirm an ethos or some kind of brand promise [especially for home pages]:

 

Meta Description example #19

Here, Santander are showing marketing consistency.

 

Tip 6: Showcase what you do.

There’s no need to be shy (since when is being shy in marketing a good thing?).

If possible, work on a description that gives an overview of your business.

Check this example out:

 

 

If I knew nothing about MTV, I can instantly know everything about this website from this description alone. One search and I’m clued up.

 

Tip 7: Flag up any special offers.

A meta description is a great place to advertise any discounts or offers you’ve got going on.

Basically, the bigger the incentive, the better:

 

Meta Description example #19

 

Tip 8: Have a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Whether we like to admit it or not, consumers like to be told what to do.

There are far too many options available to us these days, so you can’t risk a potential visitor skimming past your site.

If you want a searcher to do something, tell them:

 

Meta Description example #20

 

Tip 9: Proofread your description.

Make sure your copy makes sense, otherwise you end up with something like this:

 

Meta Description example #21

 

Tip 10: Be creative and have fun.

This description tells me that if I click on this link, I’m probably going to have quite a boring experience:

 

Meta Description example #22

 

However, although it doesn’t use the amount of characters at their disposal, the Frito-Lay description gives me the exact opposite feeling:

 

Meta Description example #23

 

Tip 11: Offer a solution to a problem.

Searchers have found your website because they’re looking for something.

Let’s suppose I want to buy a new Kia car. Their description tells me everything I need to know:

 

Meta Description example #24

 

Do they sell second-hand cars? Yes.

Can I book a test drive? Yes?

Is there a dealer near me? I can use their tool to find out.

Plus, I like the use of the word ‘browse’.

It implies that they won’t be pushy. I feel that I could go onto their website or visit a dealer and have a good look around without being hounded.

Being pounced on when looking around a garage for a car is a huge pain point for most people. I haven’t engaged with them yet – my mind is eased from one simple search.

 

Tip 12: Show empathy.

To put it bluntly, emotion sells.

Does this meta description stir up any emotion in you? Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

 

Meta Description example #25

 

Thought not.

Well, what about this one:

 

Meta Description example #26

 

Not amazing, but a bit better, isn’t it?

While the phrase ‘for your driving pleasure’ is old-fashioned and quite jarring, I like the principle of what they’re trying to achieve.

Basically, they’ve got a bunch of really great cars that are just waiting for a test drive. Sounds like fun!

 

Tip 13: Have self-awareness: it’s not all about you.

Point is, someone is reading your meta description for a particular reason.

This isn’t the time to map out the structure of your business. What a waste of a search result this is:

 

Meta Description example #28

 

Tip 14: Don’t try to say too much.

When you know you’ve only got a certain amount of words to play with in a search description, it’s sometimes easy to try and cram in too many points.

Chanel say so much that they end up saying nothing at all:

 

Meta Description example #29

 

And sometimes, you can say so much that you completely lose sight of what your business is all about:

 

Meta Description example #30

 

Am I missing something or isn’t Subway a place where you can make your own [great] sandwiches?

You wouldn’t have guessed so from this meta description.

 

Tip 15: Preview your meta description first.

Check out this tool.

It will let you play around with your copy and preview what your meta description will look like [for free].

Here’s how I used it to come up with the meta title and meta description for my copywriting post:

 

Meta Description example #31

 

Now it’s your turn.

Without meta descriptions, you invariably weaken your ability to drive consumers to your website.

That could be an expensive mistake.

Don’t be one of those business who are rolling the dice with their digital futures.

Take the time to analyse how the big boys do it.

Learn from their successes…

… and failures.

Then you can put your feet up safe in the knowledge that you’re doing all you can to market you business effectively in the digital age.

 


BONUS: click here to download the meta descriptions for the 100 most powerful brands in the world [from Forbes’ 2015 list].


 

FREE help with your meta descriptions.

Want assistance from a professional copywriter?

I’m offering to write a meta description for your home page only.

All I ask in return is that you do 2 things:

Thing #1:

Download the meta descriptions from the world’s top 100 brands.

It’s going to be important to analyse these in your own time, so that you’ll be able to write the meta descriptions for the rest of your site.

Thing #2:

Leave a comment for this post directly under this message, telling me “I’m in” or something similar.

When I’ve been notified that you’ve downloaded the pdf and left a comment, I’ll get in touch.

Please understand that some of my posts have earned 1000s of shares.

For that reason, don’t panic if I take a while to contact you. I’ll do this on a first come, first served basis.

Equally, I also reserve the right to stop this offer at any stage.

[This post was written in collaboration with SEO expert Nikolay Stoyanov.]

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Matt Press is the founder, owner and Director of Splash Copywriters. He’s an experienced UK copywriter who worked for Sky for 11 years.

5 similarities and 6 differences of Desktop and Mobile SEO 0

Posted on March 21, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 desktop and mobile seo

60% of traffic on Google is from mobile.

Mobile SEO is helped by responsive web design. This means images have to be rendered on a website to fit the screen size. There also has to be a focus on improving website access speed, content visibility and easy navigation for mobile users.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is  the methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP).

Responsive web design is one of the differences between Desktop SEO and Mobile SEO. But there are others. There are also similarities.

Here are 5 similarities and 6 differences between Desktop SEO and Mobile SEO.

SIMILARITIES

  1. GOOD AND RICH CONTENT: Whether it’s Desktop of Mobile, good SEO content has to be created with the goal of attracting search engine traffic. But search engine don’t buy your product, people do. To gain the attention of both, well written content created with Keyword Research and Content Organization has to happen.
  2. NATURAL BACKLINK PORTFOLIO: Creating good content is the best way to build a natural backlink portfolio. Link building is still one of the most important things you can do in terms of off-site search engine optimization. Link Requests, Content Links and Social Links are practices to incorporate in Content Creation to build links naturally.
  3. SOCIAL SIGNALS: What impact do social signals have on our SEO efforts? Social signals let search engines know your site is being talked about. When those social signals (Tweets and Likes) turn into social shares, if your content is good, people will share and might  link to your content.
  4. SEMANTIC KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION: Semantic search is technology that tries to determine what users mean when they type in a certain keyword. If you used Google search on your smart phone to find “laptop repair.” Semantic search recognizes your location via your GPS on your phone and delivers you “laptop repair” results based on location. Semantic search takes into account related terms that often people use.
  5. CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION: Take a look at your site or pages as though this is the first time you’ve ever seen them. Is the navigation clear? Are the links visible? Conversion Rate Optimization involves an in-depth look at at structure, content and results of your site to make sure you are delivering the best user experience on all devices.

DIFFERENCES

  1. RANKING ALGORITHMS: To encourage global compliance, Google has made changes to its mobile SEO rank algorithm to rank websites that follow its recommendations higher than websites that do not. You can check your site by testing your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This tool shows how Google Search sees your pages.
  2. SCROLLS INSTEAD OF SCANS: Mobile search is condensed because the user scrolls instead of scans from left to right. Knowledge graph cards are in-line on mobile and push results down further. Meta descriptions are truncated at a shorter limit, so keep the most impactful part of your message within the first 100-110 characters.
  3. LOCAL LISTING OPTIMIZATION: 53% of mobile searches have local intent. Make sure you have location targeted pages with the targeted location prominent in all relevant places (such as title tags, descriptions, and unique content). Create a profile with Google+ Local (within Google Places for Business). Don’t forget to include images of your storefront in your Google+ Local listing. This will be shown in Google Maps.
  4. VOICE SEARCH AS A KEYWORD TOOL: You may or may not use voice search on your phone, but many people already do and more will be. In fact, 55% of teens use voice search more than once per day. People turn to their smartphones in moments when they need something completed — they want to find a hotel, they want to buy a sweater, they want to know how to get to a restaurant. Google refers to these intent-driven moments of decision-making as “Micro Moments.” Voice search increases the relevance of semantic search, mostly because users will be speaking naturally in order to enter a search query. Searches will become more conversational. That means they will be longer keyword phrases and questions.
  5. QR CODES: Although some think QR Codes disrupt SEO because they eliminate the need for a search engine, the lightning fast speed you get the info and often at the point of purchase is a difference that helps connect consumer with the information they are searching and the mobile device in their hand and that’s was SEO is all about.
  6. LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT: A mobile searcher (compared to a desktop searcher) is highly engaged, but is less interested in scrolling than a desktop searcher. First position matters even more in mobile. A drop from first to fourth position on mobile phone can mean a Click Through Rate (CTR) drop off of more than 90%.

These similarities and differences show people behave differently when they search on desktop and mobile device, but principles of effective SEO still apply.

Do they teach something new about Desktop SEO and Mobile SEO? Is your business paying attention to both?

 

Ultimate SEO Tool Kit for 6 Key Tasks (Infographic) 2

Posted on March 07, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

49124-seo-toolkit-box

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of strategies, techniques and tactics to increase the amount of visitors to a website from a high rank on a search engine results page (SERP).

Since 33% of clicks to the website go to the one in the first position of a search engine page and 92% of clicks occur on the first page, a plan to get a high rank is a requirement for any company doing business on the internet.

As a guide, here’s an infographic on the Top Most Powerful Latest SEO Strategies with Tools and Tips created by Dilate.

A summary on this ultimate SEO tool kit for 6 key tasks is as follows:

  1. KEYWORD RESEARCH: Is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. It is the SEO practice of researching and finding the actual search terms people enter into the query box of search engines. It’s best pursued with an understanding of your audience’s needs and interests, trending topics and longtail keywords your best prospects are likely to use. Tools such as the Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and SEMRush help research and identify the best keywords for your business.
  2. ON-PAGE SEO: Is the optimization of content on a website so it is friendlier to the search engines. This technique includes the optimization of text, images, URL structure, internal links, titles and headers. To help optimize your on-page SEO, tools to use are Lipperhey, woorank and dareboost.
  3. MOBILE FRIENDLINESS: Mobilegeddon is a name given by webmasters and web-developers to Google’s algorithm update of April 21, 2015. The main effect of this update is to give priority to web sites that display well on smartphones and other mobile devices. It’s enough of a motivation to make sure your site is mobile optimized and has a fast loading speed so it benefits from this development. Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom and W3C mobileOK Checker are tools to determine your website’s level of mobile-friendliness.
  4. LINK BUILDING: Is the process of acquiring links (also called inbound links or backlinks) from other websites to your own. Links are a key factor in establishing the authority of a website. Authority influences rank on search engine pages. Majestic, ahrefs and Moz are excellent tools for analyzing links.
  5. CONTENT MARKETING: Key to a high rank is to publish, long-form, natural, comprehensive content that engages the curiosity and interest of viewers. Reddit is a good tool for getting content ideas; Google Trends for gauging search interest on those ideas and topics and Google Analytics for examining results to your website.
  6. MOBILE SEO: More searches take place on mobile devices than computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. Compressor.io, varvy and MobileMoxie are tools to examine and learn steps to improve Mobile SEO.

This infographic was shared by Feroz from Dilate Digital, Perth Western Australia.

Does it help you to know the areas of focus and tools to use or SEO? Are there any others you’d like to share that are in your Ultimate SEO Tool Kit?

Top-6-Most-Powerful-Latest-SEO-Strategies-2016-with-tips-and-tools.jpg (1200×9060)

 

21 best and worst ways to do link building 0

Posted on February 09, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

link building

Link building is the process of acquiring links (also called inbound links or backlinks) from other websites to your own. Links are a key factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to a website’s rank on search engine pages.

That’s because search engines treat links as votes for popularity. As a result, they tend to move sites with a greater number of links on a particular topic up in search rank. The number of links to a website demonstrates not only popularity but the site’s trust and authority.

Maybe that’s why links have also been one of the most manipulated areas of SEO. The pursuit by spammers of black hat tactics for link building over the years has resulted in search engines now discrediting sites that don’t achieve links authentically.

Link building isn’t a secret. It also doesn’t happen overnight. It requires planning, dedication and tracking.

How to do it right? Here are the 21 best and worst ways to do link building.

BEST

  1. BLOG: If link building is important, your website must have a blog. Without one, you’re pursuing links with one hand tied behind your back. Your blog should be focused on subjects you want to be a trusted authority.
  2. AUTHORATIVE LINKS: Blogposts contain links (outbound links) to other trusted authorities and influencers. They are likely over time to notice your content and reciprocate or comment on your blog (which counts as an inbound link). Every new blogpost is also a new web page and another opportunity to create more links and have pages indexed by search engines. All of which should be a motivation to regularly publish content your audience values and to build relationships with thought leaders in your field.
  3. SOCIAL SHARING: Social influence is huge. The more you share your material, the more likely you are to see that material (and your authorship) promoted in search results. Since social network pages are also web pages, that can also add up to multiple listing on a search page too.
  4. KEY INFLUENCERS: It’s beneficial to have your content shared by folks with large social followings. For Google searches, this is especially true of content shared on Google+.
  5. ANCHOR TEXT: The visible characters and words that hyperlinks display on a web page is anchor text. Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked content. It not only creates a link but establishes link relevancy, a metric worth monitoring.
  6. TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS: Encourage customers to share their testimonials of working with you or review your product. It’s not only good PR, it creates valuable and relevant links.
  7. EXPERT INTERVIEWS: One of the easiest ways to build links is to interview experts. Most experts have a website. So, once you interview them, you can ask them to share the interview with their readers or even tweet and post it on Facebook.
  8. VIDEOS: YouTube (owned by Google) is the the #2 search engine and videos uploaded on YouTube have a higher chance of ranking in search results for longtail keywords. Videos can be an extremely powerful form of content and make a significant contribution to your overall SEO strategy.
  9. GUEST POSTS: If a website owner or editor trusts you to create high-quality content by a guest post on their blog, they are not giving you permission to start aiming backlinks at your website. They are instead trusting you to produce excellent content that their readers will love. If you have a byline or an occasion to mention some other articles you’ve written, then you’re entitled to a link.
  10. INFOGRAPHICS: This is one of the best ways to get popularity in a short time, and also one of the most effective ways to re-purpose content. Infographics are easy to distribute and naturally tend to get more shares. Some simple tools to create infographics are Piktochart, Infogr.am, Visual.ly and Easel.ly.
  11. SPONSOR OR SPEAK AT AN EVENT: Sponsoring an event creates a great opportunity for earning backlinks. Chances are you can get a considerable number of links from PR releases related to the event.
  12. SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: You can upload your slide deck on Slideshare (and include links on your slides). This approach is likely to drive more visitors to your website and a link from Slide Share is likely to elevate your site’s search rank.
  13. ONLINE TOOLS: Calculators, and interactive data earn links and citations. Sometimes, a single resource (think Statcounter’s Global Stats, Zillow’s price estimates, Walkscore’s Walkscore) can kickstart massive, on-going links.
  14. “BEST OF”: Best of blog posts are simply lists of the best blogs in a given niche. They are a good way to distribute quality content and built trust and authority in your niche using links to the best blogposts in your particular area.
  15. BROKEN LINKS: A link building tactic where you contact a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site. You recommend one or more alternatives that include your site. Begin with your targeted keywords to find other sites you would like to have a relationship. Find a broken link in an article where your site would be a suitable alternative. Contact the webmaster and see if they would be willing to substitute. You’re helping each other out.
  16. ASKING: One of the most underutilized linking tactics, is just asking your biggest fans if they’ll link to you, mention you or tweet you. If you have their email address, you can figure out if they have a blog. It’s pretty straightforward and easy, but you do have to figure out who your biggest fans are first.

WORST

  1. WEB DIRECTORIES: Submitting your website to many web directories and getting a link in return. This was a technique that Google actually recommended at one point, but it became abused and overused, Google stopped passing as much value from those sort of links.
  2. LINK NETWORKS: Link building is important enough that some SEO experts have set up or will set up link networks; that is, a number of websites and/or blogs on a particular topic. Unfortunately, most of the content on these network is someone else’s or the site don’t exist for reputable purposes. Search engine discredit link networks and the site associated with them.
  3. FORUMS: Not all forums are regarded as trusted authorities. Contribute only to those where you trust the community, can contribute valuable content and provide a link with your name back to your website.
  4. COMMENT SPAM: Marketing your own site by making useless comments on blogs that add no value is not a good practice and rarely amounts to much.
  5. LINK EXCHANGES: If you are ever approached by someone who says they admire your site and content, never exchange links with someone that you don’t know, trust and want to build a relationship.

Below is an infographic that shows how best practices for link building have evolved over the year.

Does this give you a good idea how to go about link building? Which way do you practice? Is there any ways you would add? Does you company need help with link building?

link building

10 SEO case studies with proof positive ROI 0

Posted on January 10, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

SEO Case Studies

  • Top 5 results on a search engine page get 75% of clicks (Search Engine Watch)
  • 51% of visitors to a website come from organic search (Bright Edge)
  • Over 40% of revenue captured by organic search (Bright Edge)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing the visibility of a brand’s web presence in organic search. SEO is receiving free, organic and natural results on a search engine page by delivering content that matches what consumers are querying.

SEO in the digital marketing mix is here to stay. For these reasons, many companies hire a firm or consultant to do SEO for their website.

But do businesses see results from SEO? And why?

Here’s are examples of success. 10 SEO case studies with proof positive ROI.

  1. CANTON ALUMINUM: Wanted to increase online leads. They decided it was time to pursue responsive website design with integrated contact forms and prominent lead-generating callouts. The site was optimized with new engaging content and unique phone tracking to report on phone-generated revenue. Results were: 1) 21% increase organic traffic growth, 2) 53% of visitors are from organic search and 74% increase in Facebook audience growth.
  2. DELL: Was unsatisfied with its global search positioning. For example, if searching for Dell in Australia, it was possible that the first listing on the results page would be for Canada, France, or another country. Dell implemented aggressive strategies across multiple countries which reorganized Dell’s search presence and increased its organic search rankings, traffic and revenue worldwide. Dell saw: 1) 46% increase in organic traffic, 2) 177% increase in number of ranked keywords and 3) 1,000% increase in return on investment.
  3. HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It is hard to imagine that Harvard University had an opportunity to increase awareness. Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education expanded the digital reach of two established schools, Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School, and to build awareness for their growing professional development offering. The 12-month project used an audit to identify technical setbacks, content positioning to create new landing pages for search traffic, and top-of-funnel awareness campaigns with AdWords. Harvard saw: 1) 89% increase in visits from organic search, 2) 75% increase in registrations from organic search, 3) 30% increase in CTR with AdWords and 124% increase in retun on ad spend (ROAS) with AdWords.
  4. KAUAI VACATION RENTALS: Offers condos, cottage and villas in Kauai, Hawaii, nature’s answer for a perfect getaway. But the website’s rankings (all keywords) were stuck behind 4th page. They changed duplicate content. There were a lot of reciprocated links that did not relate to the industry. Some of them were low quality. Then, they started building links through advanced techniques like article submission, press release submission, directory submission, blog posts links and more. Overnight, the visits to my website increased 50%. It took consistent efforts for about a year to push the website from page 4 to page 1 on Google.
  5. NIKE GOLF: Is the golf-specific retail branch of Nike. They lacked a focused keyword strategy and a site built in a way that was very difficult for search engines to crawl for content. The lack of a focused keyword strategy so SEO elements that could have potentially aided the site (page titles, meta descriptions, internal links from blog posts) were far from effective. Keyword research helped make decisions like whether we should target “golf apparel”, “golf clothing”, “golf clothes”, or “golf sportswear.” And that visitors who landed on the Nike Golf site through “golf apparel” searches stayed longer, dug deeper, and were more likely to convert. High opportunity keywords were worked into specific pages. Nike Golf saw a 169% in total increase in organic search traffic and 250% increase in non-branded keywords.
  6. PLOW AND HEARTH: A retailer based in Madison, Virginia specializing in hearth and replace accessories, furniture and home furnishings, and lawn and garden accessories, wanted to make a push for their “fairy gardens” products. The goal was to increase SEO performance and ultimately revenue for these products and bolster the overall performance of Plow & Hearth. They focused on choosing strategic keywords to target for the fairy gardens pages. Then began to implement on-page changes for the pages. This led to a 550% increase in keywords on page 1, a 729% increase in traffic, and an 1157% increase in revenue on a single keyword topic out of the tens of thousands of products they carry.
  7. SOUTHLAND LOG HOMES: Has specialized in custom log home plans and cabin kits for more than 30 years. The company specializes in creating reliable, affordable and beautiful log homes that last a lifetime. They needed to improve the company’s rankings in the major search engines. The company didn’t have strong rankings for any competitive keywords and wanted its website to show up on the first page of the Google search results. Southland developed a marketing campaign that included identifying competitive keywords and aggressively pursuing improved rankings through link building and content optimization. Southland Log Homes currently ranks No. 1 in Google for the keyword phrase “log homes” and saw a 66% increase in Page 1 rankings and 85% increase in website traffic.
  8. SPANGLER CANDY: makers of Dum Dums, Circus Peanuts, candy canes, and other tasty treats since 1904, wanted to expand the marketing strategy for its e-commerce websites. A carefully planned strategy to build on content creation adding and optimizing fresh content in expanded product descriptions, developing videos, creating printable PDF games and greater social media involvement on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. From these improvement, SpanglerCandy.com saw: 1) 40% increase in organic visits, 2) 10% increase in online sales and 3) 30% increase in mobile sales.
  9. THE CONTAINER STORE: Did not have a methodical approach to content marketing and capturing organic traffic. They created page groups, populateD with logical keywords, on-page recommendations, and identified the best pages to map the keyword topics. They also used backlink technology to map backlinks and target new sources of links. In 7 months, the results were dramatic: 30% increase in keywords in 1st rank position (more than 1000 keywords), 93% increase in organic traffic, 68% increase in organic traffic conversion and 96% increase in organic traffic revenue.
  10. TIME INC.: Has 95 iconic media brands that serve 81 million online visitors every month who generate ad inventory they sell to advertisers. Time’s SEOs face duplicate content, lack of thematic grouping by keyword, non-optimal internal links, and significant crawl and redirect errors. They resolved over 500 crawl errors; executed fundamental internal link and anchor text recommendations. Sitemaps were improved, rich snippets were added, and duplicate landing pages were removed. In the 4th of July season Time improved its page 1 Food & Wine 4th of July rankings from 2 to 7 keywords, which led to a 30% gain in organic traffic vs. 1 year earlier. Overall Food & Wine page 1 ranking keyword count improved from 620 to 757 and that led to a 34% increase in traffic and ad inventory. Travel and Leisure keywords ranking and traffic increased 45%.

These case studies show the ways effective SEO improves search visibility, presence and sales. Do they prove the ROI of SEO to you? Does your business need an effective SEO strategy, plan and implementation?

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