In many cases, hearing the words Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes our client’s eyes glaze over. It’s a very technical aspect of marketing, and one that requires an understanding of technology and how search functions work on the web.
Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%. – Outbrain
Basically – SEO is key. With search queries being the most popular way for web visitors to find your business on the web, you can’t ignore the need for a proper SEO strategy.
But what is a proper SEO Strategy?
That’s hard to define because there is one thing about the SEO world that drives business owners bananas – it is always changing. Google is the mother of all search engines, and arguable, the one that matters the most. Google is constantly changing its search algorithm to ensure that its users are discovering quality content.
If you’re not keeping up with these changes, you’re going to be left in the dust, and maybe even knocked off the first page of your top keyword – “gasp!”
For more information on how you can boost your SEO, contact your local NJ SEO agency to discuss re-vamping your website for better visibility.
We spoke with 19 SEO professionals and asked them the most important question for you – what do you need to do different in 2015? What changes need to be made to your SEO strategy this year to ensure the success of your business and your website?
Tip: Regularly Post Quality Content
We have worked with a few small businesses over the course of 2015 and the most successful strategy we have seen is setting up a company blog and regularly posting quality content. This is also a demanding and time consuming strategy so we often supplement with paid advertising while we produce the content and promote it. We are often surprised by how many small businesses who do not have a blog. By producing reports, guides and white papers around the industry the companies were able to collect leads and then nurture these into customers. Due to the success of previous business blogs we help manage we now consider a blog a necessity for all our clients moving forward.
Paul Manwaring is Design & Marketing Consultant for Outsprung.
Paul is part of Outsprung, a multi-disciplinary design and marketing agency based in London.
Their aim is simple; to help small businesses
They also help bloggers grow.
Tip: Focus on Mobile
The most promising SEO change today, is building (if not available), updating and optimizing the mobile version of the company’s website. Since the recent update (Mobile-Friendly update) happened on April 21, 2015, there has been serious evidence that Google (the major source of organic traffic) is shifting towards and giving more gravity to mobile traffic (organic and paid). More to that, it is imperative for local businesses to be found online e.g. when a visitor to their local area uses his smartphone to find local stores. Google Places is a major source of targeted local traffic and having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for getting more customers. When the SMB’s competitors are doing it, I don’t see any reason why staying behind.
Ted Politidis is a SEO Consultant occupied with Search Engines Strategy and Quality Issues closely related to technical and/or content issues.
He is also interested in getting the best of content marketing and user-experience techniques.
He publishes articles on Projectweb.gr and answers to people technical questions on Quora.
Follow him on Twitter @politidis
Tip: Optimize Images
My top SEO pro tip (especially for a visual company or an eCommerce business) would be to optimize images! This will help your products photos show up in Google Image search, as well as improving the overall SEO rating of the page they sit on. Image SEO starts with the file name. Having a file name that contains the page key words and is descriptive of the image itself is essential!
Alt-description is the next most important thing – you can specify this when you upload your photo to the website. Its original purpose is to describe what the image would be if it can’t load, but it’s great for SEO if you make sure it contains your keyword.
Sophie Mangham is from Rockstar Marketing.
Sophie is a digital marketing consultant
she helps soloprepreneurs and small businesses to launch and grow.
Working with those who don’t have the time
or marketing knowledge to promote themselves.
Tip: SEO is Not about Keyword Stuffing
My #1 tactic that SO many people miss is to not try to do too much. SEO isn’t about cramming as many keywords as possible into your site, it’s about trying to be the perfect match for exactly what someone is looking for. Google and other search engines care much more about depth of relevance than breadth – meaning they want sites that are VERY relevant for something specific instead of kind of relevant for a bunch of things. Design your site to be the perfect match for one search. Build out from there afterwards if you find you’re having success, but pick your focus keyword carefully and just drill it into your site from the inside out.
Eric is a Vice President of Digital/Social at Mullen Lowe, Boston.
He also manages all marketing for the family furniture business –
You can reach him on Twitter.
Tip: Focus on Mobile Friendliness
One of the most crucial tactics that small to mid-sized businesses must have implemented by the end of 2015 is mobile-friendliness. As of April 21st, 2015, Google added ‘mobile-friendliness’ to its ranking algorithm, significantly lowering the rankings of sites that aren’t mobile-optimized. Since smart app usage surpassed traditional PC usage in 2014, and BYOD is on the rise, more people are using mobile search methods. Ensuring that your website has a responsive design and dynamic serving for mobile & smart devices will enable you to maintain not only maintain a higher SEO ranking, but helps establish opportunities that may have otherwise been lost.
With over 7 years of expertise in brand management, social media and inbound marketing, Elizabeth Horodnyk lends her knowledge to diverse industries, from manufacturing and online security to performing arts and not-for-profits.
Elizabeth has received an honors degree in English and Communications from York University and holds post-secondary certificates from the University of Toronto (E-Business & Web Marketing) and the Ontario College of Art & Design (Digital Media Skills).
Currently, Elizabeth is focusing her experience on leading the communications and marketing efforts for Eclipse Automation Inc., recently ranked as both one of PROFIT Canada’s 500 Fastest-Growing Companies and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 2014.
Tip: Using Schema
Business owners should be sure that their site is mobile friendly and can render easily on mobile devices. More people than ever are using mobile and if a business website isn’t mobile ready they could start losing revenue.
Website should also be marked up with schema. ‘Schema’ enables Google to understand a website better and to pull certain information into the search results. Your site’s bread crumbs, reviews and business hours and just some of the items you can mark up.
Content strategy is a key marketing piece businesses need to allocate for. Content has always been a significant part of SEO without it you site traffic will stall.
Joe Balestrino has over 11 years in online marketing, SEO and paid search (SEM).
I’ve worked with companies such as Fox News, Readers Digest, Vibe Magazine, Ziff Davis to name just a few.
I’m also the author of “The Definitive Guide To Local Search.”
The book can be found on Amazon.
Tip: Build an Asset
My #1 tip in 2015 is to ‘Build an Asset’. What I mean is make it a priority to build out quality content that will be part of your website for years. While we all love the instant gratification of handing our money over to Google for AdWords and seeing our listing up there, you should also plan for the future with quality relevant content that others will be interested in and get some traction with links and shares. In the long run it will greatly benefit your SEO efforts.
Bill Fish is the founder and president of ReputationManagement.com.
We are striving to build the most robust resource on the web for all items pertaining to online reputation management. Prior to that I co-founded an online marketing company, Text Link Ads (now Matomy SEO) in 2001.
We were fortunate to grow the business enough to be acquired by a private equity firm in 2006.
I elected to stay on to run the company, and when I stepped away in 2012, we were at $25M in annual revenues.
Tip: Responsive Design
By the end of 2015, small to mid-sized businesses must have implemented responsive design or at the very least some mobile-optimized version of their sites (e.g., on a subdomain like m.domain.com). The impact of Google’s mobile algorithm update to search results wasn’t immediately felt once rolled out but months later we can now definitely see a decrease in mobile traffic coming from organic search for sites that were not optimized for mobile traffic.
As per Google, more searches are now conducted on mobile devices than on desktops this year and the trend doesn’t seem to be fading away any time soon so it’s now more important than ever to optimize your sites for mobile traffic, which also usually means making page speed improvements as well.
Smaller businesses don’t have the luxury to overlook mobile optimization today when competition is ever-increasing online and larger companies allocate more and more money to digital marketing!
Romain Damery is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Team Leader for online advertising agency Path Interactive in NYC where he drives organic and paid search campaigns performance for local and national clients across various industries.
He also has experience with marketing automation and holds various digital marketing certifications.
Tip: Use Interviews for Content
One great SEO strategy is to interview experts in a given field or industry. They’ll typically link to it on their press page or elsewhere on their site, and might even go further in promoting the post for you. And you can interview people very selectively based on the topics you want search
engines to look for, making this a surprisingly easy way to produce search engine-friendly content.
Interviews are often considered more ‘newsworthy’ than other forms of content, making press pages and roundups more likely to feature them. You might even see some links down the line, from people looking to quote the person you interviewed. For B2B companies, industry publications are especially likely to cover a quality interview. Besides all that, if you interview an expert, they’re likely to offer compelling answers – making many interviews great articles in their own right.
They say content is king, and interviews are an excellent example of high-value content. Because these articles are often insightful and feature proven experts, people are likely to link to them. For this reason, I think interviews can be an extremely valuable part of any small business SEO strategy.
Marc Prosser is the co-founder and managing partner of Marc Waring Ventures, a firm which develops specialty internet properties for high value audiences.
The company’s portfolio of websites includes Fit Small Business.
Fit Small Business provides product and service reviews for small business owners.
Started in 2013, Fit Small Business serves as the “Consumer Reports” for small business owners.
Tip: Guest Post and Use Pulse
Begin Guest Blogging – Where does your customer hang out online? There is a blog or site she frequents, write for them! Guest blogging is a great way to position your brand in front of an established audience and drive traffic back to your site. You’ll also receive an inbound link each time you write. Make sure you read the guest guidelines first, and pitch a story and not your product or service.
Post on Pulse – Unfortunately, just because you create your site doesn’t mean your customers will come. For sharing your brand story, look to social media and LinkedIn more specifically. LinkedIn drives 80% of sales on social media. It also converts 244% higher that Twitter and Facebook. Business owners can use LinkedIn to connect with influencers and drive decision makers back to their website.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media.
Marccx Media is a content marketing agency based in New York City.
Michael helps small business owners and large companies plan, produce and promote content that drives traffic.
Marccx Media generates more qualified leads and increases business for your brand.
Tip: Go Mobile, Go Social, Go Video.
Go Mobile. If your website is not already responsively designed for the small screen, you are likely being penalized by Google in search results. Unless your company is in the business of losing visibility, leads and revenue, this is the single most important action you can take in 2015.
Go Social. Google incorporates social signals (mentions and links to your website) into ranking factors for its algorithm. If you haven’t claimed and optimized social profiles for your brand and cross-linked them to your website, you are losing out on visibility and engagement opportunities.
Go Video. Video is the ultimate storytelling medium and end-user experience, and Google rewards a good user experience, so produce videos and post them to your website/blog, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other relevant video-friendly social platforms.
In 2000, Kent Lewis founded Anvil, an integrated marketing agency specializing in analytics, search engine, and social media marketing for growth-oriented companies. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal andInc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing and Most Philanthropic Company.
In 2008, Lewis created Formic Media, a sister agency to Anvil, providing a similar set of digital marketing services to small and multi-location businesses. Anvil and Formicmerged to better delight and elevate clients as an expanded account team in 2014.
He’s co-founder of a variety of organizations, including career community pdxMindShare, eROI and SEMpdx, a Portland-area SEM professional trade association. As a long-time entrepreneur, Lewis is an investor and advisor to a host of emerging Portland-based companies, includingFulcrum Fitness, Journey Fitness and Tixie.
Tip: Update each page’s Title Tag.
The title tag is the single most important “SEO” element in telling a search engine what each page is about. For each page, the most important keywords should be used with the most important keyword placed at the front of the tag. While you can emphasize more than keyword, I would recommend limiting it to no more than 3 keywords and limiting to 55-65 characters or less.
When looking across the breadth of a site, each page should have a unique title tag to prevent pages from competing against each other in search results.
Jon Clark is founder of Fuze SEO, Inc.
Fuze SEO is a full service Internet marketing agency, founded by Jon Clark that helps local, national and international companies of all sizes grow.
They focus on search engine optimization, content marketing, paid search marketing,
social media and integrated analytics.
Tip: Create Location Pages
Create location pages to highlight the areas you currently work in. These pages should be specific to the town or area you are highlighting, and contain unique content – no boilerplate templates allowed! For example, a local insurance agent may create a page focusing on flood insurance in a beach town, and another focusing on business insurance and a more industrial area. These pages will help you get found on search outside of your business location, while showing you have a local knowledge of what’s important in each town you write about.
Stephen Murphy has spent his career developing and implementing digital marketing programs that inspire and engage brands. Blending skills in strategy, execution and consulting, his integrated campaigns provide a holistic approach to helping clients achieve meaningful, genuine growth.
Prior to joining Red Bamboo Marketing as partner and CMO, Steve worked at several award-winning agencies and technology startups. He is the founder of Get Busy Media, ranked a top 100 SMB blog on the web, and has been featured in major media outlets like Fox, Business Insider and dozens of others.
Outside of work, Steve serves as a board member for the Hope for Children Foundation, an NJ based charity that helps children in need in Monmouth County. His hobbies include reading, drinking one too many craft beers and spending time with his beautiful fiancé Kelly.
Tip: Improve Website Health
The #1 SEO tactic for your business this year should be website health. The overall health and structure of your website is most important in Google’s eyes, especially considering their recent updates that have heavily focused on user experience (UX), such as mobility. What do we mean exactly by web health? We’re talking about your sitemap, redirected 404s, meta data, user navigational structure and as of late, your mobile optimization. Don’t forget your data markup and breadcrumbs, too.
Many of these items, while they do take some technical knowledge, can be easily implemented within most web content management systems and monitored through the free Google Webmaster Tools, which was recently rebranded as the Search Console.
With a background in all aspects of digital marketing, including social media, content development and search engine marketing, Christine Rochelle, the Director of Digital Marketing & Operations at lotus823, a NJ-based PR and digital marketing agency, has launched digital strategies for a diverse portfolio of clients in the consumer tech, pro audio, automotive and the food and beverage industries.
As a national conference speaker, Rochelle has presented on SEO, social media, and content strategies at numerous marketing events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, she is often invited to present on marketing strategies on related webinar series.
Prior to lotus823, Rochelle worked for Star Magazine, HRP, MTV.com, LifeStyler, Eatontown Patch and AOL.com. Her numerous projects have been featured in The New York Post, Crushable, Get Busy Media, DrivingSales, Wanderlust & Lipstick, and Daily Single.
Tip: Implement a Schema.org Mark-up
Implement a Schema.org markup. This strategy is widely unknown and underutilized, so learning and implementing it will put your business ahead of the curve.
Schema.org is one of the only collaborative projects and agreements between the three large search engines to digest and understand content. Marking up your page will assist accurate labeling of elements such as events, image, video, commerce, localization, brand development and much more. A schema microdata markup on your site can increase visibility, increase click-through rates, and help search engines label and interpret the elements on your site.
Tom Jacobs is SEO Manager / SEM Strategist at HY Connect in Chicago, IL.
Tom has nearly 5 years of marketing experience specializing in SEO and SEM for a variety of clients including healthcare, retail, financial and more.
Tom has a degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
as well as several certifications in the field.
Tips: Contribute Content to other Sites
It is crucial that your company has someone reaching out to websites within your industry or sites similar to your areas of expertise so your business can contribute content. This will allows for your business to forge relationships with these websites. If you can contribute content onto these sites, not only will you gain authority and get great referral traffic back to your website, you will obtain high quality backlinks, which will help from a search engine optimization perspective.
This is a very time consuming process. From the outreach to the content contribution, it can take an average of 10-hours per article by the time you get content posted on an authoritative site. If you are able to create 7-10 of these relationships though, you will be in a good spot with your SEO.
Jason Parks is a proud Columbus native and the owner of The Media Captain.
The Media Captain is a digital marketing agency based in Central Ohio.
Jason has been quoted in the New York Times, Inc., Yahoo News and Search Engine Watch.
Jason has assisted in launching successful digital campaigns for publicly traded companies, national brands, and local, family-owned companies that have gained national attention.
Tip: Content is King
Content is king. The more quality, relevant content that you have on your site, the better your site’s rating will be. Put together a team of writers that can set up a blog schedule, and then create great content for your site. Once you’re regularly cranking out quality content, you’ll be seen as a thought leader in your community – and you’ll see an improvement in your SEO rating.
Rich Kahn is the Founder & CEO of eZanga.com, and has been a thought leader in the digital advertising community since 1993. After founding several tech companies, he started eZanga.com in 2003 along with his wife, Beth.
Prior to starting eZanga.com, Kahn held positions with leading corporations including Verizon Wireless and Bloomberg.
This experience helped to make him a known industry expert and as a result, he has been quoted in several major publications including Forbes, ADOTAS, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, and Wired Magazine. Most notably, Kahn was named Ernst & Young’s Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010.
Tip: Use Google Tools
Sign up with Google My Business, Analytics and Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools) today! Make sure your business is represented on Google within the organic search results for your target audience and country before any changes are made on your site.
Set up a Google plus and maps page for your local business or branches including location and contact details. Get Analytics installed on all your pages and goals (i.e. successful contact or quote form submission) set up within your account, so that you can track and monitor conversions and user behaviour within your website.
David Kloeber is an SEO technician for WME Group.
WME was founded in 2008.
Since then, WMe group has built on their technical and creative success.
They are the largest digital marketing agency in Australia.
Tip: Follow the Five Page Rule
At Company Folders, our #1 SEO tactic is to create high-end content that provides the best possible answer to a particular question that our target audience may have. A good rule of thumb for making sure your content is top-notch is the Five Page Rule. Google the topic you plan to address, then see to it that your content is better than any of the results on the first five pages of Google. Once you produce the content, market it on social media to make it available for your target audience to discover it and reference in their websites and social media posts.
Vladimir Gendelman is Founder and CEO of Company Folders. He was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, where he rarely had access to the basic amenities that many of us take for granted.
High quality products and friendly service were few and far between, and above all, Vladimir found it intensely frustrating having so little access to different choices and options.
After immigrating to America, Vladimir made it his mission to help provide others with the things he never had access to growing up.
After a client expressed a need for high quality presentation folders, Vladimir was inspired to create Company Folders, Inc. in 2003.
If you implement these SEO tactics into your website, you should start to see it rising through the SERP’s. The bottom line is this: Avoid questionable tactics that could get your site penalized and give the people the content that they were expecting to see when they visited your site. Doing these simple things will put you a step ahead of your competitors.
Creative Click Media is a digital marketing agency that has helped hundreds of companies achieve success on the web. To find out how we can boost your SEO strategy with quality, targeted content and mobile optimization, contact us.