VERY happy times at DMEXCO 2018

How to do SEO sustainably

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When you read Fred, Penguin, Possum, Panda, what comes to mind? If you own or administer a website, it should be SEO: these are the euphemistic names (thank you Moz) of only a few Google algorithm updates over the last couple of years.

And that algorithm is key to your SEO triumphs and fails. Although these updates typically pose greater volatility to black-hat SEOs, it is important for everyone to understand what they are signaling.

Ultimately, all search engine algorithms are aimed at two goals; provide results that match user intent and prevent SERP gaming. Base your SEO strategies on these and they will be sustainable.

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The foundation of SEO: Intent

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User intent; many think that it is synonymous with the query a user is making through a search engine. But, there is a deeper picture at play; the search query merely signals intent.

For example, a siren signals an emergency and the type of emergency it is signaling depends on context, as well as the nature of the sound it is making.

Thus, begin with intent when considering what short- and long-tail searches you want to rank for…consider the why of the search. At its most basic, user intent is either transactional or informational.

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User intent and the buyer’s journey

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User intent is also dynamic; it changes according to the stage of the buyer’s journey. How you address each point along that path will depend on what you are offering.

To begin, plot the path-to-purchase and identify the intent of the user at each point. Next, formulate likely queries that the user will make and the content that is most likely to satisfy them.

Creating a visual aid, such as the diagram below from PPG Web Solutions, or a spreadsheet will help you organize the process. Be sure to include an intent column; in the diagram below, I would place it after the Buyer’s Journey.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Content Map Image” data-src=”https://ppgwebsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/buyers-journey-best-content.png” alt=”SEO” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Body” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] Why content? It is the most accessible form of SEO and content gives users a reason to visit and spend time. Besides, gone are the days of building content-light sites and hitting the high positions in Bing, Yahoo, and Google SERPs. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Your SEO well: Content” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Your SEO well: Content

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Content is popular now because it works, not only for lead generation and nurturing, but for SEO. Word Count is being touted as SEO hack for content; we now interrupt this blog post for a Public Service Announcement.

[bctt tweet=”Please stop looking for #hacks, they’re the refined sugar of the SEO world.” username=”Adcash”]The issue with hacks is that people don’t scrutinize them to determine why they work. Granted, there is a correlation between length and SERP position: [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Content Length Image” data-src=”http://searchengineland.com/figz/wp-content/seloads/2015/09/serp-iq-content-length.jpg” title_text=”SEO and word count” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”on” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” /][et_pb_text admin_label=”Image Reference” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”0px|||” text_font_size=”12″]

Image from SEL

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But, correlation doesn’t equate to causality; if it did, you could write a keyword stuffed series of unrelated sentences and rank. As with intent, the question is why does content with this word count rank?

Simple answer: meat, it has meat for bots and humans to sink their teeth into. That’s good news because if you can provide around the same amount of substance in a leaner piece, you don’t have to worry about word count.

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SEO currency: time

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Google wants to offer relevant results to user queries, but they can only infer relevance. They use metrics to accomplish this and one important metric is time on site.

The rationale goes that the more active time spent on a site, as measured by Session Time, Time on Page, and Session Depth, the more closely they must have hit their mark…and you will be rewarded with a higher ranking.

This is where tagging, page layout and internal linking strategies come into play. For example, we include internal links on our site pages that point to relevant content and vice versa: just make sure it makes sense.

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Can you spare a link? Link building and SEO

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Everyone’s talking about link building because this is an authority ranking factor. It is similar to the belief that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, i.e. quality sites associate with other quality sites.

While a good theory, it hasn’t always been the case. There are many black-hat link building techniques that worked very well to artificially inflate page rankings. But with Fred, the latest algorithm update, their days are numbered.

Aside from creating content that others want to link back to, start building relationships with relevant content producers. The keyword is build: read their work, provide sincere feedback to build rapport and DO NOT ask for a link when you first reach out.

I cannot tell you how many people have requested a link without reading our content. It is lazy at best…rant over. An easy way to find contacts is through paid tools such as Followerwonk and Buzzsumo; or, if you are the do-it-yourself type, try a web scraper.

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Let’s get a little technical: Schema markup

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You can do something right now that most publishers are not bothering with: implement schema markup on your site. You may have heard about it in terms of rich snippets that provide more information within individual search results.

But it’s more. As Kissmetrics puts it, “Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.” For instance, Top Gun can refer to a naval aviation school and a movie. Schema markup provides search engines the context they need to accurately place it…

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Example from IMBD Page Inspection

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…and it’s not that hard to implement. You can do it manually via HTML Microdata, JSON-LD or one of hundreds of plug-ins available. Note: it can be somewhat difficult to implement with certain WordPress themes.

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Sustainability is in: Shift your SEO focus to the long-term

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If you have read this far, congratulations: I have not provided hacks or step-by-step tactics on how to improve your SEO. That is not what you need because hacks and tactics have a shelf-life; they become irrelevant.

For example, it is only a matter of time before everyone is using Schema markup and any edge you gained from it will disappear. Besides, it is not really a hack and something that search engines actually support.

No, what you need is a mindset that will help you build sustainable SEO, one of curiousity, focused on providing value, and strategic. Build out your buyer’s journey, plot each stage, identify intent, formulate queries, develop content and build links. See you down the road.

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Additional resources:

MOZ Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Kissmetrics Minimalist Guide to SEO

Schema.org

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Sound off, let the community members know your SEO tips and tricks!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Author Box” name=”Kyle Buzzell” position=”Content Manager” image_url=”http://blog.adcash.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/img_kyle.jpg” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” twitter_url=”twitter.com/ksbuzzell” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-buzzell-879a7171″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” custom_css_member_image=”width:100px;||-webkit-clip-path: circle(50% at 50% 50%);||clip-path: circle(50% at 50% 50%);” saved_tabs=”all”]

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

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Your Performance Marketing Rundown

How to get started in digital marketing

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Got a product and want to start promoting it using digital marketing? Look no further.

if you’ve just setup a business, whether it’s selling cookies (the tasty kind) or software, you’re probably going to want to invest some time and money into growing that business using the power of digital marketing.

But what do you actually need to get started in digital marketing? Before we dive into the detailed stuff, let’s quickly summarise the key elements of what you need when you’re looking to promote your business online.

What do you need?

A product
What are you selling? Is it a product, a service or something that falls completely outside the standard realms of accepted logic?

An audience
Who are your dream customers? Whatever it is you’re offering, know who it is you want to sell to.

An offer (kind of optional, kind of not)
Offering some kind of incentive to drive sales is a great way of growing your customer base. Although be careful if you’re working with tight margins.

A website
Kinda like your store front, especially if what you’re selling is digital. It should be clear, concise and engaging. It should let whoever’s looking at it know what you’re about and drive them to convert.

Some channels
This is where / how you will reach your audience. There’s a huge range of options to choose from – social media, email, display search etc.

Some creatives
Or ad banners as they’re also know. They come in many different sizes. Experimentation and optimization are the key here.

Some landing pages
If you’re doing any kind of digital marketing, you need somewhere for your potential customers to reach. Make it short, sweet and totally geared towards converting them into a customer.

A budget
Money, as they say, makes the world go round. And it’s pretty much the same in digital advertising. Have a budget for advertising online if you truly want to succeed.

Okey dokey, now you’ve got a vague understanding of the key elements needed to start putting together a digital marketing plan, let’s dig a little bit deeper and explore each of these elements a little further…

Know your product

This should be kind of obvious, but it can get overlooked. Before you plow through and start creating your ad campaign(s), take a step back and try to truly understand the nature of what it is you’re trying to sell.

This is key, because it will help you make more informed decisions later on in the process and, most importantly, avoid throwing money away on things that won’t help drive your revenue.

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  • What problem does your product solve?
  • How does your product fix it?
  • Why should someone use it?

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Your dream customer

OK, so, you’ve figured out what it is you’re trying to promote, now comes the question: who are you selling it to? Being able to effectively identify your audience means that you can build a more reliable plan, message, business, product. Everything, pretty much, can be improved by knowing your customer.

This may sound a bit counterintuitive but, when you first start out, try to reach a specific, potentially small group of customers with particular demographics, identify a problem they are having and solve that problem for them. Make yourself look incredibly special and unique for those people.

When you start out, you’ll probably have limited resources, so trying to fix the world ain’t going to happen (unless you’re Elon Musk or something). So, find the people you know you can help, and go after them. Once you’ve established a solid base, and found your feet, then you can begin to scale up and expand your audience.

An offer they can’t refuse

A great way of driving your conversions are offers. Whether they take the form of coupons, discounts, deals, multibuys, whatever – for the sake of argument, we’ll refer to them all as “offers”. When used properly, they’re incredibly powerful, but you should exercise caution; without proper thought and planning they can, potentially, become unprofitable.

Deciding whether or not to use offers goes back to your audience and your product. If you’re a high-end brand or have slim profit margins, offers may not be for you. On the other hand, if you have decent margins, deep discounting can really help you grow your business.

If you’ve not launched your business yet, you may want to consider pre-launch offers to help drive interest. There’s a great example of this over on Shopify: a shaving goods retailer was able to net 100,000 subscribers before they’d even launched their site.

Build an awesome website

Remember when you defined your product and who your customer is? Yeah, that’s going to come in handy here. If you’ve done a SWOT analysis even better. With your audience, your product and its strengths in mind, think about the problem you customer base is facing. Think about how your product solves that problem for them.

Then, condense that into a very short, easy to understand message that will form the basis for your communication on your website. Think like, 7 words or less. Then expand on that a little bit, to form the key benefits and arguments of your product.

You should also consider including pictures of you and your team along with a little bit of info about them, to help build trust. If you already have customers that you’ve been working with (during a beta phase, for example), include them to help reinforce that trust.

Building a website that converts and performs well is a huge topic, but like many other things in this industry, the key is to test, test, test. You can nearly always do better, so try!

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  • Make it shockingly easy for your customers to convert
  • Keep everything clear and simple
  • Keep your “conversion funnel” steps to a minimum
  • Experiment with new ideas
  • Seriously, I can’t say this enough: TEST!

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Choose your channels

Picking how you want to reach your audience largely depends on who they are – this is why it’s very important to establish who your dream customer is, because from that you can start to work out where they spend their time on the Internet and advertise there.

If you’re looking at social media, the obvious choice at the moment is, of course, Facebook. With nearly 2 billion users on the social media platform, the likelihood of you reaching your audience is pretty high. Keep in mind though that Facebook has many rules and requirements you need to abide by, like many other ad networks.

Then you have Search Engine Marketing. Google has the lion’s share of the reach in this department, so you’ll probably want to check out their AdWords product. If you’re going to run ads on search having landing pages for your campaigns is very important.

Finally, display – banner ads. They can take on many forms, and appear on many, many devices. You also have the option to run things like “pop” ads, which typically perform better than standard banner ads. If you’re looking for an ad network to run display or pop ads on desktop, mobile or in-app, give Adcash a try (of course we’re going to say that 🙂 )

Creative creatives

There are lots of different sizes of creatives, or ad banners as they’re also known. Generally, most advertising networks offer the IAB standard sizes, as well as some of their own.

We’ve already covered what you need to create engaging creatives on this blog,  but to summarise; you should keep it simple, in terms of text (some creative sizes can be quite small, so you don’t have a lot of room to play with). You should also include a clear call-to-action. Your creatives are another area where you should be experimenting and testing.

Finally, when your potential customer clicks on your ad, you should make sure they land on a page that reflects the information and design of that ad. Which leads us nicely to our next topic: landing pages.

Give them a soft landing

You should already have a nice, pretty website by now. But proper landing pages, pages that potential new clients when they click on an ad, can really be the key to turning a visitor into a customer.

In fact, really, should always have a landing page (or several landing pages) setup before launching any marketing campaign.

Generally speaking, landing pages fall into two main groups:

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A page designed to capture a visitors information, usually their email address, allowing you to market to them in the future

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A page designed to “warm up” a potential customer to your product, before moving them further along the sales funnel.

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With the first kind, the most important piece of information you can get from your potential customer is their email address. And to do that you need a form of some kind. It can also be a good idea to offer them something in exchange for their email, like, say an eBook.

 

The other kind is about persuading your potential customer that what you’re offering is right for them, usually using pictures and video and a very clear, clickable call to action button.

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  • Test!
  • Use one, clear call-to-action
  • Choose whether you want to capture leads, or move the customer along your sales funnel and build the page around that one goal.
  • Make your landing page only receive campaign traffic (make it “noindex, nofollow”) so that you can more easily analyze its performance.

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Money makes the world go round

Last, but by absolutely no means least: money. Or more specifically, a budget. Set yourself a budget, allocate parts of the budget to all of the different channels you want to engage with and try and stick to it.

All through this article I’ve been going on about testing and experimentation. If you’re at the early stages of your businesses digital marketing lifecycle, testing your ads, on every channel – social media, banner ads, email, video, whatever – can mean the difference between you “just doing enough” and truly succeeding.

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GET OUR FREE EBOOK!

If you want to go further down the rabbit hole and learn some more about how to succeed in digital marketing, we’re giving away a free eBook, handcrafted by our very own head of marketing, Liis Ristal. It’s called “The Definitive Guide to Digital Marketing Success” and it’s, frankly, brilliant.

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