Blog

HTTPS: Security is Now a Factor in Google’s Algorithm

Security is one of the biggest concerns that consumers face when doing business, making purchases, and sharing information online. In recent months, security breaches at Target and the hacking of millions of people’s personal data thanks to illegal groups in Russia and other countries have blanketed the headlines. Google has taken note of the Https Website Securityincreasing focus on security, and has introduced a new factor to its algorithm to reward sites that are taking security seriously. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about secure protocols and your website rankings.

The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

If you’ve paid attention, you’ve likely noted a difference between individual websites and how their URLs are presented. Many sites that handle sensitive information – like banks, online shops, and health portals – begin with HTTPS rather than the more traditional HTTP. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and refers to how information is moved between your browser and the end server. The S in HTTPS simply means secure. While the protocols used are far from perfect, it ensures that some level of encryption is in place and that the company is taking what steps it can to protect your information. Up to now, employing secure transmissions has been in a company’s interest from the perspective of smart business practices and customer security. But Google just announced that it will also have an impact on search rankings.

The Role of Security in Ranking Well on Google

In an August 6th blog post, Google announced its perspective on security via its Webmaster Central Blog. They used their own approach as the model: “Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Google Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google.”

The post then goes on to highlight the announcement of HTTPS Everywhere, an idea introduced at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. Google goes on to explain that “over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

What This Means For Your Site

Right now, Google is calling HTTPS a “very lightweight signal.” A number of other factors, such as well-structured SEO foundation, high-quality content, and regular updates are playing a more important role in ranking. Currently, the update is said to affect only 1% of global queries. While not expressly stated, it would be unsurprising to find that the queries initially impacted are probably in sensitive areas such as financial services and commerce.

But it’s fair that say that this focus on security represents a first step. Google has explicitly stated that it’s likely they will increase the roll-out so that it plays a bigger role and affects a higher percentage of queries. It is, in SEO terms, a warning shot over the bow. Now is the time to pay attention to your security configurations so you’re not penalized for it later.

If you’re already using an HTTPS protocol, it’s important to make sure that your configuration is truly secure. One of the easiest ways to do this is to test your site using the Qualys SSL Labs SSL Test tool. For businesses that have not yet taken this step, it’s time to consider your security set up and develop a plan for migrating to secure transfer protocols. Google has provided a full tutorial to help you navigate this highly technical process.

Do you need assistance assessing and implementing this for your business? Contact us at Be Locally SEO today to arrange for a website audit and personalized consultation.

Optimizing Long-Tail SEO & Social Media’s Small Content

SEO is relevant anywhere you have an online presence—including social media. However, many businesses (especially smaller ones) are challenged when it comes to ranking for their relevant keywords on social media. In an ideal world, when someone Googles “wedding cake toppers Napa Valley,” your wedding cake topper business in Sonoma Social Media Rubik's Cubeshows up on the first page of Google search results as both your business website and Facebook, Twitter, or other social media presence.

Getting those high rankings in multiple channels is the best way to increase your visibility. It’s how you reach the biggest, most relevant audience possible. It’s how quality traffic is driven. As more and more consumers look to social media as their primary marketing informant, there’s been a dangerous and unnecessary divide in the marketing world: Should you focus on SEO or social media marketing?

The correct answer is both.

Spreading Yourself Just Right

As a business owner, your marketing strategy requires short- and long-term goals. The micro content that’s created for your social media should mimic the kind of results you see from long-tail SEO strategies. Just because you only have 140 characters to improve your visibility doesn’t mean it’s not just as important as your blog or website.

There’s no denying that taking a long-tail SEO strategy works—eventually. It’s definitely a long-term strategy. Almost always, pursuing a number of long(er) key phrases is better than shorter ones from an SEO standpoint. Shorter phrases are much more competitive, and it’ll take a lot longer to see results. For example, compare the short phrase “auto mechanic” to the longer phrase “foreign car mechanic Provo, UT” and it’s easy to see why the long-tail phrase will provide more immediate traction: Less competition.

Savvy SEO & Social Moves

It’s been shown that long-tail phrases of four words lead to a better organic click through rate (CTR) by 56 percent. Short-tail (just one word) only boast a 30 percent organic CTR. SEO experts have compared long-tail strategies to lasering in on a number of social media sites instead of putting all your eggs in the Facebook (or Vine, or Pinterest…) basket.

A lot of companies get caught up in chasing the elusive viral social media post. It’s great if it happens, but it’s very rare and should be a bonus in an overall strategy—not a required end result. Instead, exciting, educating, and/or entertaining your market should be a priority. Just as your SEO campaign should be centered on long-tail approaches (for long-term results), focusing “micro-moments” with your social media campaigns can boost your relationships for the long haul.

How to Make Strides—and Waves

Obviously, you need the right long-tail SEO phrases in order to be successful. You also need it on your website whether the content is longer (think white paper) or shorter (hello, header). Both on-page and off-page SEO best practices need to be embraced. Using the URL, meta tags, etc. for keyword placement while also optimizing usability, quality links, and other SEO arenas will work in your favor.

For creating quality micro-content on social media, the focus needs to be on curating the best images, videos, content (long- and short-form), tweets, and other “social fuel” to keep your fire blazing. Simultaneously, you also need to be honing in on the right content and/or subjects that complement what your business does—and it needs to be featured at the right times on the right channels.

Whew, no wonder you let an SEO pro take care of this. Figuring out all these correctly takes skill, time, and manpower you can’t spare.

Why It’s Time to Start Boosting Your Facebook Posts

Many businesses have invested heavily in cultivating a thriving online community on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. One of the advantages of social media was that it was viewed as a great democratizer. Small businesses have had the potential to attract large followings without requiring the big advertising budgets needed to compete in traditionally advertising. But recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm left many small businesses feeling cut off at the knees. Visibility is tougher than ever before. An estimated 30 billion posts are uploaded each month. BranBoost Buttond pages have seen a decline in content, from posts reaching 12 percent to ultimately reaching approximately 1% for pages with less than 500,000 likes. One strategy to combat this is to boost your Facebook posts.

Native advertising vs. traditional advertising

Boosting your posts takes advantage of the latest trend in social and content marketing: native advertising. Native advertising, as a concept, isn’t new. Remember the advertisements you’d see in print magazines or newspapers with articles that looked like an editorial or feature story but were marked as advertisements? These were the journalistic predecessors of today’s online native advertising. In the digital world, native advertising takes the form of sponsored posts and sponsored status updates.

Facebook added its “Boost” feature to allow brands to promote a specific post. Rather than appearing in the margins like a standard Facebook ad, boosted posts simply have a higher probability of appearing in your existing fans’ newsfeeds. Boosting effectively allows you to market to your own audience, and make the most of an existing brand asset. Boosted posts appear in the feed with a small notation that it’s sponsored.

How to boost your posts

Boosting your individual posts is a simple process. The first step is to log into your Facebook account, and make sure that your advertising account has a valid payment form. Then visit your timeline, and select any recently posted content such as a status update, image, photo, link, or deal. Click on the “Boost post” button in the lower right-hand corner.

It’s helpful to be strategic with the posts that you promote. Consider:Facebook Boost Step 1

  • Posts with a clear call to action, such as a Facebook deal or post that announcing a sale.
  • Updates that link to your website, to help drive increased traffic.
  • Status updates that feature videos or images, which tend to perform better overall.

Once you’ve clicked the “Boost post” button, a window will appear that lets you select your audience. You can choose to Facebook Boost Step 2connect with your existing Friend base or to expand and target a wider audience with specific specifications.

Finally, you’ll set your budget in terms of a daily limit and a total campaign limit.

After you process payment, you’ll be able to see your progress and access detailed analytics that include how well your post performed and what actions your audience took.Facebook Boost Step 3

Increasing the visibility of your Facebook marketing efforts is critical to getting a high return on investment. The limitations that Facebook has recently placed on brand pages can be frustrating after you’ve invested in cultivating a fan base. But new native advertising solutions such as Boosted posts are letting smaller brands get back in the Facebook game.

Do you need help determining which social media promotion tools are right for your business? Contact us today to discuss how Be Locally SEO’s team of experienced social media experts can help you achieve your business goals.

Google Algorithms Force Arranged Marriage with Social Media Companies

Google’s own Noah’s Ark of Google algorithms—Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin—are seemingly constantly changing. That wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that these algorithms play a role in over 90 percent of all online searches. Their job is to pinpoint aPanda & penguin ny bad search results (i.e. sites filled with spam, keyword stuffing, or other black hat tricks) so that when you “Google it,” you get the highest quality results first. Obviously, it’s in any businesses’ best interest to play by Google’s rules.

But have Google’s algorithms changed so much that they’re nothing like they used to be? According to a director at Pinnacle Marketing Communications, Matt Wilkinson, “Yes, SEO is dead (technically) in the way we used to be able to build links. Now we are focused more heavily on content marketing.” While he stresses that SEO professionals are still necessary, creativity is now key. Where and how is content shared?

Social Media.

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

Like the sugar daddy or mama that scoops up a fine, young paramour, the relationship between SEO and social media is one where everybody wins. Wilkinson notes, “The basics of optimization may seem simple, but implementing it isn’t.” Of course, Google makes things even more complicated—just like any hot relationship—by refusing to say exactly how website engagement is measured. However, SEO experts are in agreement that content is paramount. Simply put, if content is created by someone reputable (such as a journalist or renowned blogger), it’s going to be ranked higher than something scratched up by a noob.

Econsultancy recently released a study showing that 88 percent of the 2,500 firms studied marry content marketing with SEO, while 74 percent link their social media marketing with SEO. However, the qualitative results are shocking, with notes from respondents like Dane Cobain: “Social media requires a human touch, something that a lot of SEO professionals aren’t equipped to deal with. SEO has always been tied to the performance of metrics, but you can’t carry out a social media campaign if you look at people as numbers instead of individuals.”

And therein lies the rub.

The Whole Package

Unsurprisingly, SEO “professionals” who use black hat tactics or bare bones approaches are quickly going out of business. But those who hone in on content marketing? They’re thriving. However, this is shifting the current relationship between SEO agencies and social media companies, PR pros and digital marketing experts. It’s becoming so that you can’t have one without the other.

“Boundaries are blurring,” says Branded3’s head of search, Tim Grice. “There are some people in PR that feel like SEO managers are stepping on their toes. To create brand value, you need good, creative content from all sides and you need to be technically sound in implementing it. It’s a collaborative gain.”

Google getting friendlier with the human touch is a great thing for consumers—especially since common search key phrases are getting more complex with more questions seasoned in. Of course, the answer is simple: An SEO firm that offers more comprehensive services with in-house PR, digital marketing, and social media services is the ultimate catch. And who wouldn’t want to put a ring on that?

Incorporating Customer Testimonial into Marketing Campaigns

Having an effective online marketing strategy is critical to customer relationship management and your sales flow. But when you stop to consider the number of emails your customers receive each day and the number of online advertisements that they see, Testimonial Definitionit’s staggering. One way to build trust and raise your visibility is by creatively integrating customer testimonials into digital campaigns. Over time, exposure to customer testimonials and success stories builds trust with your new customers and helps move prospective leads along the path to purchase. Here are key strategies for sharing your best customer testimonials in a way that creates value for your readers and doesn’t feel overly self-promotional.

Frame testimonials as case studies and success stories: People love to read case studies and success stories of other individuals who overcame the same issues they are facing. Whether your product helped solve a critical business process issue or your service changed someone’s life for the better, share their testimonial in the context of telling their story. What problem did they have before they worked with you? What product or service did they select, and how did they use the product? What did they love about it? How were they better off afterwards? Facts, figures, and statistics help address readers’ innate desire for data, while telling the story from a personal perspective that helps readers emotionally connect with your customer. Consider featuring one of these case studies in each newsletter that you send out, or as a regular monthly feature.

Include on your website, brochures, and autoresponder series: Customer testimonials are incredibly valuable in the digital world, where trust is naturally lower. When customers have used your product and are testifying to its value, this helps potential customers see you as trustworthy and overcome natural barriers to making an initial purchase. Feature testimonials on your website, blog, brochures and white papers, case studies, and autoresponder series. Wherever possible, associate pictures, names, and locations with your testimonials to lend additional authenticity and credibility.

Claim your business listing on review sites and ask your customers to post there: Review sites such as Google and Yelp give customers a voice to share what they loved and disliked about interactions with a particular business. By claiming your business listing, you’re able to include up-to-date information about your business and respond to customer reviews as they come in. Don’t be afraid to point visitors to your website to your online reviews via a link so that they can see your glowing customer testimonials.

Provide snippets on receipts, invoices, and other printed collateral: Many items your business uses don’t have enough white space to include a full testimonial – but if there’s a great one-liner that you can use as a pull quote, this can be featured in a number of places. Receipts and invoices are one place to share short customer testimonials. Other small businesses have integrated snippets of top customer feedback into executive bios, product packaging, and the back of corporate business cards. Take stock of what feedback you have and see if there are non-traditional places you might be able to feature this compelling social proof.

Harness the power of video testimonials: YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google; it’s used for more than watching kitten videos and the latest music releases. If your customers are tech savvy and are willing to create short video testimonials, these can be an incredibly powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. It’s also smart strategy to produce a professional video featuring your most compelling customer case studies. Upload the videos to a dedicated YouTube channel; imbed them on your website and in your email campaigns; and run email promotions specifically geared to attract customers to watch and share video testimonials. Videos speak to certain audiences in a way that written content never does, and can dramatically increase conversion rates.

Customer testimonials are a valuable asset to any business’ marketing campaign. Most businesses list a few customer testimonials on a page on their website, and fail to leverage it to the full extent possible. Contact Be Locally SEO today to learn more about how our team of SEO professionals can help you use customer testimonials and other forms of social proof to reach your digital marketing goals.

SEO Pro Gets Fined in France

Too much of a good thing? Apparently that now applies to search engine optimization (SEO) if you’re in France. One French bar just couldn’t take any more rotten reviews, so the owners decided not to tackle the service or go after the food, but instead target a food reviewparticularly well-known foodie blogger who happened to have killer SEO skills. The food blogger had the highest ranked (bad) review for the restaurant and she found herself caught up—and guilty!—of being too easy to find on Google.

The French judge ruled in favor of the restaurant, demanding that the blogger change the title of the scathing review. Worse, she was ordered to pay almost $3,500 in damages and fines simply for doing her job and being very good at it. According to the blogger, she was charged with “being highly ranked.” However, the restaurant says the prominence of her blog was ruining their business and that her review was unfair.

It’s a good thing SEO wasn’t around when the Broadway show Cats made its debut.

Care to Hear the Specials?

While the legality of this decision is up for debate, and can be tricky for American SEO pros considering it took place in Europe, there’s a bigger issue at hand: Did Il Giardino restaurant’s suing of the blogger really do them any good? According to the original post written by Caroline Doudet, it took her asking three different waitpersons just to get one round of drinks—this was well before she even got around to how terrible (supposedly) the food and service overall was.

SEO professionals claim that the publicity from the lawsuit is doing more harm than Doudet’s opinion ever did. Since the lawsuit was filed, the restaurants reputation has hit rock bottom. That likely wouldn’t have happened (at least not as quickly) had the mud slinging from the restaurant’s side not begun. Sometimes bad reviews happen, and it would be strange if an established company with a decent amount of online reviews boasted nothing but glowing ratings.

The Doudet Impact

At the time of the original review, Doudet had about 3,000 people following her blog. Then she published “The Place to Avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino.” According to experts, such a lawsuit wouldn’t happen in the US since Doudet would be well within her First Amendment rights. There’s a chance for a defamation claim, but for those who read the entire review, there are much more severe bad reviews posted every day in the US.

It seems that Doudet was really only “guilty” of having the right SEO skills to rank high on Google. Doudet told US reporter Hillary Dixler that, “I regret not having left the restaurant from the beginning and therefore never having written the article. That would have been easier, (but) I stand by the review.” Doudet isn’t alone as many French writers have been found guilty in defamation claims.

However, if you’re asking a writer not to write—particularly a writer with SEO chops (likely finer than the cuts from Il Giardino), what’s the point of criticism? Critics and food bloggers don’t abide by the “If you don’t have something nice to say…” mantra, and taking criticisms is something that should be expected from establishments.

5 Strategies for Reducing Your Site’s Bounce Rate

If you check your Google Analytics data, you’ve probably noticed one factor that gets a lot of attention: your bounce rate. For readers unfamiliar with the term, bounce rate refers to the number of people that visit your site and then leave immediately without visiting a second page. It can also be described as a single page visit. High bounce rates can bounce rateindicate a number of problems, from an ineffective web design to a mismatch between your online marketing messages and your website content. Reducing your bounce rate means that you are effectively engaging visitors and increasing your chance of conversions. Here’s a closer look at why websites have high bounce rates and what you can do to reduce yours.

Compare your ratings

A bounce rate in isolation doesn’t mean much. It’s important to look at your overall performance and your historical performance. For example, a bounce rate of 70% may seem high but if it’s dropped from 90% then you’re trending in the right direction. You also need to compare your rates against industry and site type averages. The team at KISSMetrics put together a helpful infographic that reveals some important statistics: the average bounce rate is about 40% for all websites. Retail sites range from 20-40%. Content-focused websites range between 40 – 60%. Simple landing pages are in the region of 70 – 90%. Your bounce rates are relative, both to your performance over time and your competitors’ sites.

Improve your design

One of the first areas to evaluate if you have a high bounce rate is your website design. Does your website have an attractive, professional overall look and feel? Is your message and positioning immediately clear to visitors at a visual level? Does the navigation menu make it easy to find what you’re looking for? It’s also important to ensure that your site is optimized for mobile devices, renders correctly on a full range of browsers, and that your page loads at a reasonable speed. Each element of a strong design reinforces a good visitor experience and high search engine rankings.

Showcase recent activity

Is the content on your home page fresh? If your site is currently showing dates of postings that are more than one month old, it’s time to update your content. Websites with fresh, regular content rank higher in Google’s search results. Regularly updated sites also build trust with customers and visitors. A site that hasn’t been updated in months leaves prospective buyers worried they’re interacting with a digital ghost town. Let visitors know that you’re working hard to bring them valuable information and actively serving clients or selling products. A quality blog is an excellent way to make sure your website has fresh content regularly.

Check your keyword/messaging alignment

A bounce rate can also indicate a mismatch between the search terms you’re ranking for and the messaging on your website. It sometimes happens that websites rank for irrelevant terms, as a natural byproduct of content generation and indexing. But overall, these type of visits should account for a low percentage of the people visiting your page. Understand what terms are driving your traffic. If the content is connected but you’re using different language, it’s time to evaluate your copywriting. Should your findings reveal that you’re simply not ranking for the terms that your customers are searching for, the fundamentals of good SEO will help overcome this issue.

Evaluate image and content quality

Another factor that’s important to consider is the quality of your site’s writing and images. Is the imagery professional, consistent, and appropriate to your business? Does it resonate with your audience’s expectations? It’s also helpful to audit your content. The quality of writing, editing, formatting, and thinking all play a role in whether visitors read and share your content. Weaknesses in either area can be addressed by identifying better imagery or hiring a professional editor or writer to whip your content into shape.

Does your business website have a high bounce rate? Contact Be Locally SEO today to discuss how to refine your website, content, and marketing strategies to help you engage prospective customers and keep them coming back for more.

Why You Can’t Just Copy the Competitor’s Keywords

It makes sense at first blush. If your competitor’s have already done the research and hard work to determine what the best key words and keyphrases are, why not just follow their lead (assuming you otherwise have completely original content, of course)? Unfortunately SEO/Keywords Signit’s not that easy, according to new research from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences.

You might have been able to piggyback when you were in school by cheating off your smart neighbor’s paper, but things are a little trickier in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). According to the study featured in Marketing Science, buying keywords from top competitors who appear on the biggie search engines like Google and Bing can seriously backfire.

Bait and Switch

The research revealed that most companies that engage in keyword purchases don’t limit themselves to “just” generic keywords but also buy up the actual brand names. It’s like if a local coffee chain decided to buy keywords like “Starbucks” and “cookie Frappuccino,” which are clearly Starbucks brands and products. Even if you reel in someone with those shoddy tactics, they’re going to know right away you’re not Starbucks and back click to find what they really want.

Company leaders might think this is a means to get some virtual real estate space close to their industry leaders via search ads, but do you really want to stack yourself up (literally) against bigger and potentially better competition? Plus, sometimes these brand purchases can get so extreme that it’s borderline plagiarizing and definitely a bait and switch scheme.

For example, if a brand like Volkswagen Passat decided to buy “Ford Mustang” (which never happened), that’s a pretty comparable brand even though they’re clearly not the same thing. But if No Name Model decided to purchase “Ford Mustang?” That’s a problem when it comes to quality comparison.

Inferiority Complex

According to Woochoel Shin, one of the authors of the study, when you put an inferior product next to a superior one, you’re not fooling customers—you’re just highlighting the disparity that isn’t in your favor. Shin, also a professor at the Warrington College of Business Administration, points out that this will actually just raise the brand reputation for the superior product (your competition) while simultaneously making the inferior product (ahem, yours) seem even worse.

Of course, if you are the superior product, that begs the question of why you’re buying up inferior keywords to begin with. The only brands and companies engaging in competitor keyword purchases are inferior.

Let Go of the Coattails

It might seem like an SEO hack to ride the coattails of your competition, but it often comes back to bite you. Of course, optimizing keywords for search advertising is challenging and constantly evolving. However, there are no real short cuts in SEO, and you’re better off having a pro research and analyze the best keywords for you instead of taking the road of least resistance.

Play your cards right and someday inferior companies might be buying your keywords. And when that happens, you’ll smile all the way to the bank knowing they’re doing nothing but making your brand look even more appealing.

What You Need to Know About Panda 4.0

If you’ve recently noticed a drop in your organic search engine rankings, you might be a victim of Google’s latest Panda update. Panda 4.0 was rolled out in early June, and has been affecting many webmasters. Some estimates suggest that the numbers may be as pandahigh as 7.5% of searches having been impacted. Let’s take a closer look at what Panda 4.0 is, why your site may have been targeted, and what steps you need to take to fix any penalties.

The Background of Panda Updates

Panda was originally rolled out by Google in February of 2011, and has been one of the most impactful changes that the search engine has made. Panda was designed to penalize thin sites that were ranking well for specific key terms using unethical SEO practices. As a result, site owners began to pay attention to the length, volume, and quality of their content. There have been several iterations and fine tunings of the updates, but it’s fair to say that Google’s Panda updates played a leading role in setting off the content marketing boom that drives much of SEO and online marketing as we know it today.

The Panda 4.0 update

Panda 4.0 continued the mission of the earlier Panda updates. Thin sites have been penalized. There seems to have been an expanded definition of thin sites. High volume sites such as Retailmenot and Ask.com seem to have been penalized. On the other hand, some experts are calling it the “softer side of Panda,” which means that small businesses have been less affected than anticipated and will continue to recover from previous penalties.

What to do if you were hit with Panda 4.0

If you’re among the 7.5% of sites scrambling to understand what’s wrong and why your rankings dropped, the first thing you need to do is take a step back and look at your website and content. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your site have a clear content strategy?
  • Is your content in-depth, authoritative, and written with reader/audience value in mind?
  • Is the content original, as in it would pass a Copyscape check? Was it written by a human writer, versus spun by a technology product? Did you copy your content from another online source?
  • Is the writing high quality and professional?
  • Has the copy been edited for spelling, grammar, and flow?
  • Is each article unique, or is there a lot of redundancy?
  • Are your articles sufficiently detailed, or are you dashing off short posts that create little value?
  • Are you regularly publishing fresh content on your site, through a blog or another easily updatable means?

If your answers to these questions are murky, the best steps are to work backwards. Audit the content that’s already on your site. Identify gaps, areas for improvement, and things that should be removed. Take the time to create a content strategy that supports your messaging, business goals, and the value your want to deliver to your audience. Start creating that content and publishing it regularly, after ensuring that it’s well-written and clearly edited. Over time, you’ll recover from this penalty.
Are you facing a Panda 4.0 penalty? If so, contact us today to discuss how our content and SEO teams can help you stage your recovery efforts.

5 Actionable Ideas for Driving Traffic to Your Website

One of the most prevalent reasons that companies invest in SEO is to increase their visibility. At a concrete level, this goal translates into a desire for more traffic to your website. Ultimately the goal is that the traffic converts into email subscribers, leads, and buyers. Yet building traffic through SEO is an ongoing investment over time. There are a web trafficnumber of different strategies that you can take as a business owner to see more immediate returns in terms of traffic to your websites. Here’s a closer look at five suggestions that are working right now for driving traffic.

    1. Promote your blog posts and other content: If you have an active business blog, you’re already ahead of most of your competitors in terms of traffic generation. Get extra mileage out of each post by promoting it strategically. Share it via your email newsletter and your social media channels. It’s also helpful to consider posting it on sites that are dedicated to content discovery or discussions related to your specific field. A few to consider include StumbleUpon, Reddit, Inbound.org, and BizSugar. Depending on your niche, there are numerous opportunities to connect your content to your community.

 

    1. Strategically guest post: The best guest posting strategies focus on getting your content in front of audiences that are interested in your subject. Write compelling and highly engaging content. Craft strong headlines and include a clear call to action. Spend time responding to the questions, comments, and discussion that your post generates on the site and on social media. Focus your efforts on high return sites such as the Huffington Post or LinkedIn, or on branded authority sites in your own niche.

 

    1. Participate in question sites and discussion groups: Question sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora are forums where people ask questions, and experts (or interested readers) can share their expertise. If you choose your questions well, you can use question sites to help build your authority and share your knowledge. A similar venue that can be very valuable is industry groups on networks such as LinkedIn.

 

    1. Find cross-promotion opportunities with other bloggers: Bloggers are some of the most active people online, and getting them to promote your material can help attract a lot of attention. Websites like ProBlogger have active communities where you can form relationships. Sites like Triberr are dedicated exclusively to helping bloggers cross-promote each other’s materials. Finally, reaching out to individual influencers in your field and drawing their attention to specific posts is another strategy to increase your exposure.

 

  1. Experiment with paid search: Running paid search or PPC campaigns is a very focused way to get traffic to your site around specific keywords. As you build your organic search authority on specific keywords, PPC can help you reach those interested audiences much faster. Focusing on optimizing your ad copy, aligning your keywords with your ads and landing pages, and learning the ins and outs of bidding can help skyrocket your results from PPC.

Traffic is the heart and soul of an active website, especially a blog or e-commerce store. As you build your reach through internet marketing, it’s also helpful to consider opportunities to attract short-term traffic through strategically leveraging your content, trying paid search, and being active in “online fishing holes” where your audience congregates.

Are you a small business owner that’s struggling to gain the visibility that you need to grow your business? Contact us today to learn more about how the Be Locally SEO team can help you reach your marketing and business goals.