Monday, May 29, 2017

5 Things You Need to Know for Better SEO

1. Optimize metadata

Metadata helps organize and describe information on your site that search engines index your site. Search engine companies send programs called “spiders” out to gather information about your site and determine how to display it in the search results page (SERP). Metadata tells your users and the search engines what your site is about. If your metadata is consistent with the intended theme of your site, it increases your chances of ranking well in the search results and increases the odds of attracting qualified traffic.
There are three kinds of metadata: (1) Meta titles are the titles and subtitles on your landing pages and blogs. They should be identified with H tags—H1, H2, etc. (2) Metadescriptions are the 160 character descriptions that you identify on the backend that encapsulate the message of each landing page. A good way to think about a metadescription is that it’s like a little classified ad. It shows up on your SERP, and it helps promote each webpage. (3) Meta keywords aren’t visible to visitors, but they tell search engine spiders those keywords for which your site is optimized.

2. Page speed

No surprise here. Everybody’s in a hurry these days, and more than 60% of users are accessing everything from their phones, which can be challenging. As a result, web design has adapted and gotten simpler and more streamlined. Simpler code, design and navigation. If your site is taking too long to load, you’re going to lose your audience before they even get a chance to land on your homepage. Google has an easy page speed measurement tool that give you a quick analysis and recommendations for increasing your speed.

3. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the web in multiple locations. It could be content that you’ve repurposed on several pages on your own site—an easy thing to do, after all—the page that’s about the company and the one about you as a business owner could be duplicative in some places. But Google hates this—take the time to modify it.

Duplicate content confuses the search engines

If you’ve stolen content from someone else, that’s another example of duplicate content that Google dislikes. Search engines have to choose one or the other page to return for a query, so they are forced to evaluate which version or form is more credible/meaningful to that user who’s searching. A question comes up about content curation—what if you’re curating, or borrowing great content from another source, giving credit to the author, of course. I’ve begun curating content when I find something that I really like. But I never just copy and paste it into my blog and identify the author. I personalize this with an intro and a conclusion. Explain why this is a great article—the reasons for its insights and relevance.

4. Relevant content

Search engines have become more sophisticated. You can’t fool them anymore by keyword stuffing or filling up a page with nonsense just to create mass. (To rank well in search engines, we recommend landing pages and blogs be 300 words or more.) Google is increasingly intuitive; it seeks out high-quality landing pages, blog articles, videos, infographics, guest articles, forums, etc. Good content has become nonnegotiable.

5. Internal links

Create an internal linking strategy. When you post a blog or new landing page, spend another 10-15 minutes and create internal links—link key words or phrases to related blogs or landing pages. Use one relevant internal link for every 400 words. Internal links help encourage drilldown–people will click on the links and stay longer on your site.

6. Social sharing

If you’re not distributing your blogs and other relevant content across your social media network, you’re missing important opportunities to build your online presence. It just takes a few minutes to log in to your social sites and post a headline or brief description with a link back to your site to drive traffic. Do include an image—the chances of someone’s engaging with your post increases dramatically with a relevant image.
Are you thinking about optimizing your website to increase its SEO value? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing experts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alt Text: Optimizing Images for Enhanced SEO

You may or may not be using alt tags when you post your images on your website, blog and social media posts. If not, you’re missing opportunities to increase your SEO value and provide valuable information to the reader who may not be able to see the image.

What do alt tags do?

Alt tags help describe the appearance and function of each image that you upload. As you upload an image from your iPhones, stockphoto or other source, you’ll be presented with fields where you can provide a description, caption and alt tag. In general, if there’s a field, fill it out—it’s an opportunity to use your keywords and reiterate the name of your business.

Start by labeling your images

Rather than the default numbers that are automatically attributed to your images, start relabeling them with brief descriptions. My favorite naming convention is to label the image with the name of your company, underscore, brief image description, such as FordMotorCo_2017redSUV.

Why is alt text important?

  1. Never forget that your audience will be reading your blog, post or website on a wide range of devices and sometimes images don’t load. In those cases, alt tags will be displayed to show readers what they would have been viewing. Those who are visually impaired, by using screen readers, will be able to read an alt attribute to better understand the intent of an on-page image.
  2. Image SEO. Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly.

How to write good alt text

  • Describe the image as specifically as possible.Alt text should provide text explanations of images for those users who are unable to see them.
  • Keep it (relatively) short.The most popular screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters, so it’s advisable to keep it to that character count or fewer.
  • Use your keywords Alt text provides another opportunity to include your target keyword on a page, and another opportunity to signal search engines that your page is highly relevant to a particular search query.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Google won’t dock you points for poorly written alt text, but you’ll be in trouble if you use your alt text as an opportunity to stuff as many relevant keywords as you can think of into it. Aim for description and context. Be smart. Remember that just as good content has become nonnegotiable, so are good alt tags.
  • Don’t include “image of,” “picture of,” etc. in your alt text. It’s already assumed your alt text is referring to an image, so there’s no need to specify it.
  • Don’t neglect form buttons. If a form on your website uses an image as its “submit” button, give it an alt tag. Nothing surprising here—the button is a graphic and deserves an image label and alt tag in the same way that all of your other images do.
Do you have questions about the importance of images and alt tags in your content marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and internet marketing experts.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Want Better Response Rates? Write Better Calls to Action!

I’m religious about adding a call to action (CTA) to blog and social media posts. But time for a confession: I’m clearly not doing all that well because I’m not getting much response to my CTAs!

A CTA provides your reader with an actionable task

it generally appears as a button, an in-text link, or an image, and it’s usually at the end of an article or blog—but it doesn’t have to be. Play around with this a bit and try adding this after the first paragraph. I always try to frontload the most important information for lazy readers. Adding a CTA right after that first paragraph makes a lot of sense—don’t expect your reader to read the entire article, no matter how great a writer you are. A CTA provides direction; it should answer the question: “Now what?”
A CTA should help drive business–more clicks, sales and engagement
CTAs are especially useful in the online space because they’re trackable, and switching up a few words or the placement of your CTA can dramatically affect analytics. Get this: When SAP switched their CTA color to orange, it boosted their conversion rate by more than 32.5 percent. But even if you’re not specifically asking your audience to act on something, you do want to be taking action and asking them to engage with your brand further.
Asking your followers to share or reply is an excellent way to find out just how many people are listening and are interested in what you have to say. 

Here are some CTA best practices that will help generate better response to your posts. 

  1. Use action verbs. Discover, find, or explore; it will help draw visitors in and nudge them towards the action you want them to take.
  2. Value proposition. What’s in it for me? You need to make it clear how your audience will benefit.
  3. Consistency. Keep the tone consistent with the rest of your content and your brand.At the end of a great article, you don’t want to jar your audience with a trashy CTA.
  4. Clarity is key. Avoid jargon and be wary of trying to be funny—this can backfire.
  5. Transition. Lead into your CTA with supplementary copy so there’s some context, a smooth transition.
  6. FOMO. Americans suffer from an acute case of FOMO—the fear of missing out–and it can be incredibly powerful. Include expiration dates, offer ending dates. Call right now is better than Call anytime.
  7. Make it mindless. Which is easier: Call today or Fill out this form?
  8. Align with landing page. Align your CTA with landing page content. If you’re sending your reader to a landing page to sign up for something, let them know where they’re going and what the expectation is. Set the expectation to build trust.
  9. Make contacting you easy. Make sure your contact info is clearly visible in multiple places. Transparency and open communication are huge selling points that are often overlooked by brands.
  10. Personalize whenever possible. Grow your profits today vs Grow profits today.

In conclusion 

Take a look at your website. Is it easy to find your contact information or does it take a little gumshoe work to find your phone number and intake form? Most people these days are attuned to looking for the Contact tab on your website—it’s generally the last item on the right if your navigation schematic is on the top of the page, the bottom item if it’s on the left.

But you can do more

You can make the intake form visible on all pages so it’s really easy for people to contact you. I just redid my own website, and I added a Schedule a free consultation button to all pages, but looking at it now, I realize I should move this up to the header area. Now the big test: how does this look on mobile devices? Make sure that you don’t lose your accessibility for mobile users.
Contact Top of Mind Marketing today for a free consultation about your website or content marketing program. We’re writers and content marketing experts.