Tagged: seo

Free SEO Tools: Optimizing Your Website

Posted on October 2, 2015 by - Development, Websites

If you haven’t already learned about Conversion Rate Optimization, now is the time to start. Testing different versions of your website is one of the easiest ways to maximize a website’s ROI. Whether you are writing new content, using new pictures or changing button colors, your website can always be improved to bring you more revenue, clicks, etc.

While Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) sounds complex, implementing it can be easy. Try it for yourself right now!  Optimizely is one of the most well-known CRO appliations available for free. The tool makes it easy for users to make basic edits to their website, then test those edits to see if it boosts conversions. Just type in your website’s URL in the tool to begin changing your website around.

Optimizely is free if your website receives less than 50,000 monthly visitors. This isn’t an advertisement for Optimizely though, this is a way to show business owners that CRO is for everyone. The tool is very user-friendly and makes it easy to start editing your website right away.

Take the picture below as a prime example of easy CRO. This is an edit to Thoughtwire Media’s homepage that took less than 2 minutes to perform. The products have been rearranged and the hosting column has been eliminated entirely. Let’s suppose that if we tested this new homepage that we saw a 15 percent increase in traffic to Thoughtwire Media and a 2 percent decrease in bounce rate. You can bet that we would implement this new page design as quickly as possible.

Thoughtwire Media Edited Page

Edited Thoughtwire Media Homepage

Thoughtwire Media Home Page

Original Thoughtwire Media Homepage

 

Basic changes like this to your company’s website can cause small 2 and 3 percent increases in goal completion per page. If you add up those small increases on every page, you may find that after a few months of CRO, your website is generating much more revenue. Even if changing button colors only increases revenue by 1 percent, isn’t it worth it? In the world of CRO, a little bit of testing can truly go a long way.

Interested in optimizing your website and increasing revenue? Contact Thoughtwire Media today to talk about how your website can make you more money.

Why You Need Schema Now

Posted on September 25, 2015 by - SEO, Websites

Periodic Table of SEO

 

Earlier this month we heard rumblings of a new change in Google’s algorithm thanks to a Hangout with Google Switzerland’s John Mueller (read more about the talk here). While no announcements have been made, what was said may create a new checklist item for SEO workers. The importance and utility of structured data and Schema has long been understood, but it may become a part of Google’s ranking algorithm. In order to understand what it means, we need to break this down into a few parts and answer some questions.

What is Structured Data?

Structured data (synonymous with Schema) is simply a very clear way to tell search engines what your website is. Typically, search engines crawl your website looking for keywords, titles, headings, etc. to find out what your website deals with in order to rank it. As a website administrator, you can add code to your website that clearly tells search engines your company name, hours, phone number, address and even cite specific reviews. This data then helps search engines place you in rankings and even show your information more clearly. For instance, if someone searches “ABC Restaurant hours” and ABC Restaurant has informed Google what their hours are, Google can display the hours of the restaurant without requiring the user to comb through search results to find this information.

Why Do I Need Schema?

Currently, the biggest benefit of Schema is given to users. While it allows companies to somewhat control their search engine presence, it eliminates a barrier between a user’s question and the answer. By doing this, not only are you helping search engines display your information, but you are answering some of the most common questions asked by your customers (both potential and current). Every company should be using structured data because it is an easy way to clarify what your website stands for, which both customers and search engines appreciate.

What if I Don’t Have Structured Data?

What Mueller’s comments suggest is that not having structured data could very well hurt your search rankings in the long run. While your rank is not affected by structured data yet, in the future it may be. Suppose that your company sells used cars. If you are Google and are trying to match a user’s question of “Used Cars near me”, would you rather show them a website that has clearly told you it sells used cars or take a chance that your algorithm has correctly defined another website. For Google, there is no guesswork in showing the website with structured data. If you are the company without Schema, it makes perfect sense for Google to rank your competitor above you.

If your website has yet to add structured data, contact Thoughtwire Media to begin helping your customers find you.

Seeing the Future of Responsive Websites

Posted on September 23, 2015 by - Websites

Responsive Website Design

 

With a few months having passed since mobilegeddon, now is the time to start looking at the future of responsiveness in websites. Search engine results are now customized based on what device you use, but only to a certain extent. As search capabilities are delivered to more and more devices, how will algorithms adapt? While no announcements have been made, it is expected that search algorithms will change to tailor results to TVs, gaming consoles and even cars.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that Siri would be integrated with the new Apple TV. While this may seem like a small step, it could mark the beginning of a major search market. If customers embrace this search technology, it would not be surprising to hear that Google will change their algorithm to rank “TV-friendly” websites. Perhaps instead of mobile-only websites, companies may begin creating TV-only websites. This will cause companies to embrace responsiveness as a standard instead of a trend.

Back in 2014, Dominos worked with the Xbox One to develop an application that allows users to order pizza while gaming without interrupting the experience. This was the first time we saw non-gaming companies beginning to integrate with gaming consoles. More and more, companies are finding ways to integrate themselves with alternative forms of media. With search capabilities only growing on gaming consoles, we may eventually hear about algorithm edits to help rank “gaming-friendly” websites.

Only recently has Wi-Fi become available in vehicles, so it is ripe time for speculation. Just like with gaming consoles, as search becomes more available in vehicles we might see companies developing websites that do not interfere with the driving experience. For instance, restaurants might begin to develop a “website” that allows drivers to make reservations at a nearby location while driving. Perhaps GasBuddy will adapt their application to find the cheapest gas near a driver that takes into account a vehicle’s MPG. As search becomes more and more integrated with vehicles, search engines may once again adapt their ranking algorithm.

The future of the responsive website may be one that not only adjusts to screen size, but one that adjusts completely to the device. Whether you are searching for walkthroughs on your Xbox or finding the top 10 parks while driving, the idea of responsiveness will continue to change, with search algorithms following closely behind.

Quick Tips to Use YouTube for SEO

Posted on September 17, 2015 by - Marketing, SEO

YouTube Logo

 

In an age when video dominates how people receive information, SEO experts have looked to YouTube as another tool to be optimized for search engines. YouTube SEO is still a new field, but already there are tips and tricks to making your videos work for you. Whether your company is currently running a YouTube channel or is still in the planning stage, here are a few quick tips for using YouTube for SEO purposes.

Use Keywords in Your Video

No matter what type of SEO you are doing, keywords are king. Even with YouTube, including the right keywords in your title, description and video are important. Make sure to write long descriptions for every one of your videos (over 150 words) and include keywords in those descriptions. Also be sure to include your company name, address and contact information in the description of your video. If you want to take it one step further, then you can work to actually use certain keywords in your videos. By using keywords in your videos, Google will use its auto-caption technology to capture those keywords and associate them with that video. You can even transcribe your own videos if you want to be sure those keywords are captured.

Choose Your Topic Wisely

Your topic is even more important than your keywords. Your company does not want to be competing for markets of millions of customers. Finding a niche market in your industry that would benefit from videos the most is the best method for success. Use this SerpStats tool to discover what topics are best for your industry. Be sure to click the “only questions” filter once you enter your search term to discover what questions customers might be asking. Use your videos to answer those questions.

Understand How YouTube Recommends Videos

Now it’s time to understand how YouTube ranks videos. The best thing to understand is that subscriptions hold far more SEO power than likes. If YouTube sees that a viewer subscribed to your channel after watching a video, that video will rank much higher than if that viewer simply liked it. You need to build your YouTube campaign around gaining subscribers. So instead of doing a company overview video, create a playlist of specific videos that detail your company’s products. Be sure to answer industry questions and consider making a “Debunking ______ Myths” series to continually answer questions viewers might have. By building video series instead of single videos, you give viewers more reason to subscribe instead of like.

YouTube SEO is still a new field that is constantly changing. If you or your company needs help building a YouTube community, contact Thoughtwire Media today.

The Importance of Photographic SEO

Posted on September 16, 2015 by - Marketing, SEO

Photographic SEO

 

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the list of tips and tricks can stretch a mile long, but they will forever be overshadowed by one fact: content is king. What you put on your site to gain a visitor’s interest will prove more useful than any SEO tactic. Ask yourself this question: “If my website had the first search engine result for my industry, would I be able to keep it by engaging users?” The fact is, even if SEO strategies work perfectly to drive traffic to the website, if your content does not engage that traffic then SEO is pointless. The best way to engage your visitors is through your visuals. We are going to talk about Photographic SEO, or the practice of using your website’s visuals to help SEO efforts.

Taking a Clean Picture

For many small businesses, the photos that are used on their website are taken by the owner on a basic $100 camera. The sad truth is that visitors can spot this instantly. When it comes to Photographic SEO, hiring a professional photographer to take the pictures for your website can do wonders. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but clean, crisp photographs build a sense of professionalism to your site that builds trust and portrays quality. If you cannot afford to hire a professional photographer, then Shutterstock and iStockPhoto may become your best friend. If you plan on using stock photos, however, make sure that you exclusively use stock photos. If visitors see a high-resolution, edited photograph next to your cheap camera’s photo, the progress is destroyed.

Showcasing Your Business

Clean, quality photographs on a website are pointless if they do not show visitors what they want to see. Imagine navigating through a hotel’s website, but only seeing pictures of the outside or the surrounding area. Even if the pictures are absolutely beautiful, you won’t be purchasing a room until you see the inside. Better yet, imagine shopping for a car online, but never seeing an image of the entire car or the interior. Your pictures need to showcase what your business has to offer. If you are selling products online, then make sure to take multiple picture from different angles of each product. If you sell services then showcase customers using that service. Until a visitor sees what they are getting for their time and money, they won’t spend either.

If you are worried that your website’s visuals aren’t leading to sales, contact Thoughtwire Media online or by phone at (800) 367-2570.

New Search Changes—What You Need to Know

Posted on March 16, 2015 by - SEO

The biggest event in search this month was the SMX West convention where industry leaders came together to discuss the future of search.

Why is search so important? How big has search become? Well, in 2012, Google was crawling 20 billion websites a day. Now, it is 1 trillion. There’s no point in having a website if the user can’t find it. Most people don’t type in the URL exactly—they rely on search. Even when it is a URL they have memorized—if the URL is too long, the user will just search it for a quicker result.

New Search Changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some key takeaways from SMX West that you need to know for your digital presence and marketing strategies:

1. The search engine results page continues to change. It is even harder to have your website appear above the fold in organic search. With paid ads, the knowledge graph and format changes, you have to have amazing SEO or you will be lost online.

2. More users are finding direct answers. You need to create content and have your site set up so that Google and the other crawlers know what’s on your pages and can show the answers people want.

3. Search results are becoming flooded with pictures, ads, comments, reviews and general information. The results page is becoming convoluted, so your website and content must stick out to be noticed.

If you have any questions about the dominance of your digital presence or want to make sure that you get noticed on search, call Thoughtwire Marketing now: 800-367-2570.

How to Compete Against Google’s Knowledge Graph

Posted on March 2, 2015 by - SEO

Are you aware of Google’s Knowledge Graph? If you do a search for Picasso, for example, there will be a box on the right hand side of the search engine results page (SERP). That’s the Knowledge Graph. The point of the Graph is to show answers to questions before they are asked.

Using the above example, the Graph would show Picasso’s birthday, birthplace, famous works and other commonly-searched-for information. A lot of businesses, however, are losing clicks and traffic because of the Graph.

Knowledge Graph

If people are finding out the information they need before they click on your website, they will be less likely to visit your website. As a business owner, what can you do?

It starts and ends with search engine optimization (SEO). A solid SEO strategy that understands the different algorithm changes, implements social media and has content for both the user and the web crawler is what you want.

Without great SEO, you most likely won’t be showing up on the first page of the SERP. 75 percent of consumers never go past the first page, so between first page results and the Graph, you won’t be found.

Do you have the absolute best and most comprehensive SEO plan? Are your results reviewed with you live every month? To make sure you are first on search, call Thoughtwire Marketing now: 800-367-2570.

Google’s Announcements Regarding Mobile-Friendly Search

Posted on February 26, 2015 by - Mobile, SEO, Uncategorized

This is not the first time Google has come out in favor of a more mobile-friendly search experience. Since last year, Google has officially supported mobile-websites and they have introduced App Indexing, which crawls deep links within certain apps and surfaces them in search results.

Today, Google made 2 significant announcements regarding mobile-friendly websites and their algorithm.

Mobile-Friendly Search

 

First, starting April 21, Google says they will continue to expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a search engine ranking signal. From Google’s Webmaster Central Blog:

“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Second, Google will continue to factor in content from apps in their algorithm.

“Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed,” said Google.

In the past, having a mobile app or a mobile-friendly website was mainly recommended for user experience. As Google continues to blur the lines between SEO-friendly and user-friendly and show more mobile-friendly websites and content within mobile apps in search results, having a plan in place for mobile has become necessary.

If your company or brand needs assistance building a mobile-website, building a mobile app, and boosting your search engine ranking, contact our experts here.

How Does Link Building Affect SEO?

Posted on February 17, 2015 by - SEO

How does link building affect SEO?

Image via Alexis Wilke

In the field of search engine optimization (SEO), link building revolves around attempting to increase the number of incoming links to a website or web page. Basically, a link from one website to another.

Search engines see links as the streets between pages and in the past, determined authority based upon the number of backlinks, or incoming links alone. Over time, determining authority on a given search engine became much more sophisticated.

Quality Over Quantity

SEO professionals used to be able to manipulate search engines by purchasing spammy websites and flooding their sites with links. With Google on the forefront, complex algorithms were devised by search engines that measured trust, spam and authority within backlinks. Now, webmasters must focus on the quality of backlinks and carefully acquire them.

How Relevant is Link Building Today?

Just last week, Google’s John Mueller gave an interesting answer to a question on the importance of link building in a Google+ hangout.

He was asked, “Is link building in any way good?” Here is his full response:

That is a good question.

In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.

That’s straight from Google. He just kind of shrugs off the practice of link building and lumps it in as an one of the many important factors in achieving PageRank.

The Importance of Content and Social Shares

As Mueller mentions above, quality and easy-to-link-to content is very important. Although, the end result of attracting high quality links is important, the process involves creating relevant, informative content on your website. That is the first step. Any SEO company that obsesses over link building before a content strategy is stuck in the past and probably has spammy practices up their sleeve.

Since roughly 2011, the rise in social media and social sharing has had a profound impact on search. Although the social media results don’t always appear on Google’s first page, there is no doubt that a brand with a large social circle is more likely to be seen as authoritative on search engines.

Social shares still aren’t as superior as a quality backlink, at least in the eyes of a search engine. But, the influence and reach content can achieve on social media platforms has skyrocketed.

How does link building affect SEO?

Yes, build a quality link building campaign. But, don’t neglect social media in the process! It has grown enough to stand on it’s own in terms on reaching and influencing others.

To summarize the question, “how does link building affect SEO?” –  A link building campaign, if done correctly can increase your website’s authority on search engines. However, the strategies of creating high-quality content and an influential social circle now have just as much power as backlinks and should be implemented first, as a means to achieving more links.

Contact our SEO experts at Thoughtwire, 800-367-2470, for a content and Social Media strategy that will help you become authoritative and achieve high search engine ranking. 

SEO Explained Simply

Posted on February 6, 2015 by - SEO

SEO Explained Simply

Image via Alexis Wilke

Billions of consumers search for products and services online. When the results come back, 75 percent of those users never go past the first page. When they want to buy, they click on the first-page results. If you do not appear on the first page, you simply can’t compete with the others in your industry or field.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing your website, including front end and back end changes, content refreshing and improving the user experience (UX).

Full disclosure: the art of SEO is extremely difficult because the search engine algorithms change almost daily. Think of it like a lawyer that would have to constantly re-study and learn new laws before court every time.

The key to finding an SEO firm that actually puts you first on search is through results. Do they review analytics and tracking and data with you, LIVE, every month? Can you see a steady and constant growth of your website ranking?

If profit is an end goal of your business, get the absolute best SEO with an easy click. It’s simply a matter of results. Results that you can see working every month.