Understanding SEO can seem intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. With the baseball season underway, let’s use the familiar strike out analogy to observe three common mistakes that can affect the success of an SEO strategy.
Google is the umpire – they are responsible for calling the strike zone and have the authority to penalize your page.
Your brand is the back catcher. They call the shots to ensure the strike zone is protected and ensures your SEO campaign is climbing the rankings.
Strike 1- Duplicate Content (or lack thereof)
Be original! The importance of original content cannot be overlooked in the SEO world. Each page on your site should contain its own unique content. Why? Because search engines get confused when attempting to identify and prioritize content that is analogous; they must make a decision as to who’s the primary owner of the information. If this is unclear then they will have to make an educated guess and more often than not you are going to get caught looking. (You confuse, you lose!)
A great way to build fresh pages and avoid this guessing game is to include interactive or visual content Not only will your page be more stimulating to visitors, visual content has the potential to generate 567% more inbound links. If you think this may negatively affect the message you are trying to deliver recent studies suggest otherwise:67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings
Real-world examples illustrate this further. Companies like Arc’teryx have built an engaging user experience and promote their culture through multiple channels.
- The Facebook brand page provides an interactive experience for its followers including inspiring blog stories and active response management to their audience. The ‘Shop Now’ button links directly to their site for a seamless and subtle transition into the later stages of the buying cycle.
- The websites Product page is complete with captivating photos and videos aimed at educating the customer on the benefits of each specific piece of apparel. The integration of user-generated photos from social media platforms is also featured, showcasing the product in action in real
Outside of the content within an actual site, Meta Descriptions can provide additional SEO boosts and drive more traffic to a page. Deliver a unique message that includes relevant keywords and follow this up with a Call-to-Action.
Strike 2 – No Local SEO Optimization
Whether you are a single location business or a multi-national brand the guidelines are simple for optimizing visibility. Straight from the source, here are the rules our Google My Business umpire follows for prioritizing search results:
- Represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and other branding.
- Make sure your address is accurate and precise.
- Choose the fewest number of categories it takes to describe your overall core business.
Revisiting Arc’terx we see the brand following these guidelines to a tee. They are appearing at the top of the local map results page for “jackets near Vancouver” with accurate location data including hours, address, description, branded photos, etc. The website associated with this location takes us to a Local Landing Page with further information tied to this specific store. It includes hours of operation, directions, phone number and a call to action (invite to a Collection launch).
Not only does lacking local optimization deteriorate SEO rankings, it drastically reduces opportunities to capitalize on buying windows. More often than not local searches are conducted on mobile devices; consumers are on the move and so are their credit cards. Near me, closest and nearby are becoming the new norm when searching. These keywords scream buyer intent. Just look at some recent numbers:
Strike 3 – Missing Keyword Optimization
Last but certainly not least is your keyword selection. In fact, this might be the most important component to SEO. But how do you determine which keywords to include? The audience you are trying to reach should dictate keyword(s) to target and must align with their search behavior. Think of keywords as your team; if you don’t have quality ballplayers, you won’t have many fans coming out to watch your games.
The broader your keyword selection the more competition you are inviting into your campaign. However if your focus is too specialized you could be limiting your audience. The key is to find that sweet spot in order to rank higher and drive qualified traffic to your site. Keep your keywords within the strike zone, otherwise your customers are sure to take a walk.
-Carpets (too broad), Persian Carpets (optimal), Persian Area Carpets (too specific)
This is not to say avoid targeting long tail keywords (3-5 words). Just ensure strategic research is conducted prior to selecting the focus. Long tail search does provide less volume of results, however, the volume that it does produce is much more apt to convert.
In terms of resources, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool to refer to for generating ideas around a Long Tail Keyword Strategy. It allows you to analyze the breakdown of Average Monthly Searches, Competition Level and the Average CPC.
That’s the Ballgame!
With the SEO landscape ever evolving and innovating, the importance of a well-developed strategy is paramount in order to be impactful. Everything branches off from the magic question: Who is your customer? Defining and understanding the behavior of your target audience is the stepping stone to every component behind strong SEO. If you can master this, your campaign is sure to be a home run!
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