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Which Is Better For Ecommerce: On-Page SEO Or Link Building?

Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Taha in Chicago, who asks:

My question is on ecommerce SEO. Currently, I am working as an SEO Executive for an ecommerce brand. They have zero content on the site and their total backlink profile is around 1,000 links (which is nothing compared to competitors).

Which area should I focus on first in order to rank category pages? Should I go for the content and on-page optimizations or create backlinks to compete with my competitors’ profiles?

Taha, great question.

The short answer is: you should start with content and on-page optimization.

Now, let me give you the long answer, which applies to more than just the category pages you mentioned.

Start With On-Page SEO
Backlinks are important and we know they are part of the ranking algorithm.

However, you must have optimized content on the website so the search engines know what to rank your website for.

Below is a brief checklist on what to focus on in terms of on-page optimization before you start investing time in link building.

  1. Determine Your Keywords & Themes
    If you haven’t already, spend some time identifying your keywords.

Go from broad to narrow as you create your list, but keep in mind that relevancy is the most important consideration.

Even as you identify broad terms, though, they should still be targeted and relevant to your categories and products.

Read more: Which Is Better For Ecommerce: On-Page SEO Or Link Building?

4 Reasons to Use Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads access your website content and deploy artificial intelligence to generate headlines, bids, and targeted search terms automatically. These easy-to-employ text ads are the Swiss Army knife of digital promotion: They work well in many situations.

Moreover, dynamic search ads (DSAs) are similar in concept to search engine optimization.

Something Like SEO

For SEO, you’ve carefully selected keywords and entities for all of your important pages. You focused on the technical side, ensuring that Google and other search engines can index your pages. You’ve also optimized the pages’ content, making them high converting.

In the end, you trust the search engine to present a specific page to a potential customer when that person submits a related query.

DSAs are similar.

When someone types a term into Google that closely matches the keywords and entities found on one of your pages, Google Ads dynamically creates a relevant ad and presents it.

Advertisers can optimize DSAs for sending traffic to a website or, if you have conversions set up, to generate ecommerce sales.

DSAs are a striking example of marketing AI. There are multiple reasons to use them.

4 Reasons to Use DSAs

No organic rankings. One of the reasons to pay for any search ad is to garner traffic for a term your website does not rank for organically — or at least not rank on the first page.

Unlike SEO, however, DSAs do not need from advertisers a list of keywords. Google Ads or Microsoft Ads do that for you.

Google could use its index of your site or a page feed to target landing pages.

The page feed takes the form of a CSV spreadsheet with a column for the page URL and a column for custom labels. Advertisers can use these labels to build ad groups within a DSA campaign.

Large business. One could argue that a well-organized, keyword-focused search campaign sending visitors to a popular, conversion-optimized landing page will outperform a DSA.

Read more: 4 Reasons to Use Dynamic Search Ads

Why Good Content Isn’t Always Enough To Compete In SEO

Not long ago, if you wrote good content on a regular basis, you had a decent chance of trouncing your competition in search engine results pages (SERPs), attaining a higher search ranking and therefore getting a higher share of organic traffic. These days, good content is still a major boon for your website — but it’s not enough to compete on the national level.

What do I mean by this? And how can you adjust your strategy accordingly?

SEO Basics: The Importance Of Content

I’ll start with some basic search engine optimization (SEO) background information. SEO is all about increasing your website’s rankings in relevant search results, most commonly targeting Google. For Google to rank your site highly, you need to establish both relevance (i.e., addressing the subject of a user’s query) and authority (i.e., proving that your site is trustworthy).

Written content is valuable because it accomplishes both — sort of. Good content lets you establish relevance for different keywords and phrases, while also building the trustworthiness of your site. If your content is good enough to attract inbound backlinks, which serve as major indicators of authority, it can assist your site even more.

So why isn’t good content enough to compete in SEO in 2021?

The Changing Landscape Of Consumer Content

First, the very nature of “content” is starting to change. Back in 2011, in the wake of the Panda update, written content was not only the norm — it was the only practical way to optimize a site for search engines. For today’s consumers, written content is often an afterthought — they want images, videos, podcasts, audio content and other mediums to consume.

If you want to stand out to both search engine algorithms and human content consumers, you need to diversify the types of content you’re creating and appeal to a broader audience.

User Experience And Technical Factors

Lately, Google has been making more of an effort to prioritize user experience and technical factors in its ranking algorithm. The company’s philosophy has always been to make the web a better place for search users, so websites that provide fast, reliable and technically polished platforms have always had an edge over their counterparts.

In 2021, Google is rolling out page experience, a new set of ranking signals for websites, based on “Core Web Vitals” that measure website performance. Good content can still anchor your site and provide you with opportunities with keyword optimization, but if that content is unreliable, slow to load or otherwise bothersome to users, it’s not going to have the same impact.

Read more: Why Good Content Isn’t Always Enough To Compete In SEO

13 SEO Tricks That Don’t Result In Google Treats

If you’re tempted to use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks in an effort to get organic search performance faster, cheaper, and easier, don’t do it. You’ll only end up scaring your rankings away.

But what if you don’t know if a strategy you’re planning is a trick at all? The simple litmus test is this: Are you doing something for your customers’ benefit or to get better rankings? If the answer is better rankings, you might be about to engage in the kind of SEO trickery that Google and other search engines take a dim view of.

Google in particular publishes clear webmaster guidelines on the types of strategies that constitute bad behavior, including the following 13 SEO tricks.

  1. Automated Content: Using shortcuts like spinning content — a process that runs existing content through a software program to create “new” content — or using other automated methods to generate content typically produces garbage. Poor-quality content is one of Google’s pet peeves. Searchers hate it, and as a result, Google doesn’t rank automated content highly.
  2. Link Schemes: Increasing the number of backlinks from high-quality sites is key to SEO. Buying or bartering for links, reciprocal linking, link rings, and overly optimized guest posting, press releases or articles with embedded links are all examples of link schemes that violate Google’s guidelines.
  3. Thin Content: To earn the right to rank, your site needs to have valuable content that contains relevant keywords. Creating pages with little content or content cobbled together from different sources just isn’t good enough.
  4. Cloaking: Don’t show keyword-rich content to search engines, and then show humans a clean page of images, videos, or other streamlined content. Humans and search engines must always be shown the same content when the page loads.
  5. Sneaky Redirects: Similar to cloaking, sneaky redirects are used to show search engines one highly optimized page of content while sending humans to a different page. The same tactic can also be used unethically to send desktop and mobile visitors to different, spammy pages of content.
  6. Hidden Content: Text and links need to be clearly visible to both humans and search engines, not hidden from human view. Common tactics include using white text on a white background, hiding text behind images, and other ways of deceptively serving richer content to search engines than to humans.
  7. Doorway Pages: Highly optimized pages of content created to rank for similar keyword variants that then funnel searchers to one page rather than providing value on their own are known as doorway pages.

Read more: 13 SEO Tricks That Don’t Result In Google Treats

SEO vs Google Ads – ultimate guide to understanding the two

You might be wondering what the difference is between SEO vs Google Ads. You’ve heard that one is more important than the other, but you’re not sure which one it is SEO vs. Google Ads are both great digital marketing strategies for your business.

It is important to understand the difference between the two to make an informed decision about which one will work best for your company’s needs. This blog post will help you understand SEO vs Google Ads, so you can decide how to spend your marketing budget!

What is SEO, and how it works?

To solve your SEO vs Google ads confusion, we’ll start by explaining what SEO stands for – search engine optimization. Search engine optimization and search results pages help boost your website’s ranking in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!

To rank higher in search engines for keywords related to your business or industry of expertise, many things need to happen, including having quality content with tags on all site pages, link building from authoritative websites within the same industry, and others outside of the industry.

SEO focuses on target key phrases and keywords that target audiences for your site are looking for. Through keyword research, you’re helping your website to rank higher in the search engine results.

By using the right and relevant keywords, you’re directing traffic to your website. While using SEO involves website optimization, content creation, and establishing your company’s goals, you also need to track progress over time.

You need to monitor and check what contents are working and what is not.

Also, if you’re aiming to rank faster or have a specific target time, SEO won’t do that for you.

However, it’s a guarantee that SEO can give you a long-term solution between SEO vs Google Ads. Looking for a long-term solution might work best for you, depending on your business, quality score, google analytics, and marketing models.

In explaining SEO vs Google Ads, it’s important to understand how SEO can help optimize your website’s conversions. These conversions are the actions fulfilled by someone who visited your site.

Read more: SEO vs Google Ads – ultimate guide to understanding the two

4 ways to use local SEO to attract more patients

The typical healthcare consumer’s journey often begins with extensive research. In fact, search engines drive 3 times more hospital visits than nonsearch visitors.1

Therefore, if you are not getting enough patients through your door, there is a good chance that your company has a poor local online presence. Not enough patients are coming—they are going to your competitors instead simply because they found them first while doing a local search.

But all is not lost.

With a well-designed health care search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you can improve your medical practice’s digital presence and attract more patients.

Below are some of the best ways to leverage local SEO and get more patients through your door.

1. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing

All local businesses, including health care providers, should claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing. Not only does GMB significantly influence search engine rankings, but it is also one of the first things that potential patients see (Google’s Local Pack) after conducting a local search query.

Fortunately, claiming your GMB account is easy and free.2 After signing up and claiming your listing, you will need to provide the following information:

• Name of practice

• Address

• Phone number

• Email address

• Hours of operation

• Photos of the practice

• Short description about the practice

The idea is to bring the GMB listing to life by providing complete information about the practice to potential patients. To optimize a GMB listing, make sure that you frequently update it and answer questions that people may have.

What about multiple locations?

Even if you have a main phone line for answering calls and booking patient appointments, all office locations should have their own Google My Business listing.

Otherwise, when a patient searches for your secondary locations (satellite offices), they are likely to end up finding the Google listing for the main location. This can result in patients

Read more: 4 ways to use local SEO to attract more patients

Why Do Pillar Pages Matter For SEO?

A pillar page is an organized piece of content on a website that can help search engines see its worth and connection with other pages on the site. If the page is structured well, it can impact the website’s rankings because of the high searched terms or additional highlighted useful information. Our agency has experienced good results with the value of pillar pages for SEO.

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is A Pillar Page?

A pillar page acts as an index of a particular subject that shows (and links to) related information that the reader might want or need. A pillar page cannot have all the information about a single topic, so it has to be spread on other pages.

For example, a blog post focuses on a topic with much information. For SEO, the blog post should include links that create a network for the search engines to crawl the content further. Even a homepage or product or service page can be tied to a pillar page.

Pillar pages are a valuable part of a content strategy. You can write about a topic and narrow down the post with relevant material. A pillar page surrounded by associated content can allow site visitors to dig deeper all in one place—your post.

How Do You Create A Pillar Page?

A pillar page should include a broad range of keywords, be useful to readers and promote taking action. Here are some important things to remember while creating a pillar page:

Read more: Why Do Pillar Pages Matter For SEO?

Google: Don’t Remove Old News From Your News Site For SEO Reasons

Google’s John Mueller said he would not recommend that you remove old content or old news from your news site for SEO reasons. He said “I don’t think you would get a lot of value out of removing just old news.”

John said this at the 50:12 mark into the last video hangout this past Friday. He was asked about removing old news from a news publisher site for SEO reasons. John said it is “not something I would recommend.” He said “from that point of view I wouldn’t do this for SEO reasons.”

I don’t think you would get a lot of value out of removing just old news.

It’s also not something I would recommend to to news websites because sometimes all the information is still useful. So from that point of view I wouldn’t do this for SEO reasons.

If the reasons why you want to remove content or put it into kind of like an archive section on your website for usability reasons or for maintenance or whatever.

That’s something that you can definitely do but I wouldn’t just blindly remove old content because it’s old. The advice is a bit different from a year ago but not totally different.

Read more: Google: Don’t Remove Old News From Your News Site For SEO Reasons

SEOs experiencing delays in data on Search Console performance reports

“We’re currently experiencing longer than usual delays in the Search Console performance report. This only affects reporting, not crawling, indexing, or ranking of websites,” said the Google Search Central Twitter account on the morning of Tuesday, September 21. “We’ll update here once this issue is resolved. Thanks for your patience!”

Many SEOs have noticed the change in their Search Console reports this morning and have taken to social media to ask if they’re the only ones seeing the issue. “Is there a GSC bug? Apologies if I am late to the party here, but the last day we even have partial data available is the 18th?” asked Tessa Bonacci Nadik, Director of SEO Product at Cox Automotive.

She’s not alone. Other SEOS say September 18 was their last day of data. Aleyda Solis reported that her last day of data was September 17.

We’ll continue to update this piece as we know more.

Why we care. If your data isn’t updated, don’t worry just yet. The glitch will likely be fixed soon, but make sure to inform your clients and adjust your weekly reporting to ensure no misunderstandings or data mistakes. If you’re using the Search Console API, it’s also likely you will see 404s until the glitch is remedied. Google assured SEOs that the glitch isn’t affecting how sites are seen or indexed, just how the data is being relayed back to them. It’s also a good reminder to go into Search Console regularly to check your data and not just rely solely on tools that may pull the data into automated reports.

Read more: SEOs experiencing delays in data on Search Console performance reports

5 common pitfalls to avoid so you maximize your keyword strategy’s business impact

As an SEO agency, you already know the role that keyword research plays in understanding the business opportunities of your clients and how to gather hundreds and hundreds of keywords for your SEO campaign.  

But how do you go from a large list of keywords to an articulated, coherent, data-driven set that ensures you’ve zeroed in on the objective and know where you’re heading?  

Jumping straight to execution, crunching tactics and tasks might work in the short-term, but without a well-defined strategy in place, the risk of wasting client resources and, ultimately, trust is high.   

And you’ll know a strategy is good when you trust it to leverage your performance and generate results for your clients while ticking all the following boxes:  

Having a diagnosis which details the challenge to be solved. This helps you narrow your focus to a clear, simple problem that your client faces. Deciding on a guiding policy that defines the approach you follow for solving the problem. Developing a set of coherent actions: the tactics you’ll use, step by step, in accordance with your approach to get the best results and solve the problem. This logical structure, called the kernel of strategy, can help your SEO agency at every stage of campaign development, but for the scope of this article, we’ll be looking at how to refine the guiding policy by avoiding common keyword strategy pitfalls.  

Let’s take them one by one, so you discover new ways to get the most out of your keyword list and set yourself up for success:  

Pitfall #1 You include branded keywords in the mix Branded organic traffic is not SEO traffic.  

The navigational keywords related to your client’s website or other websites (even competitors) won’t be valuable for your SEO campaign, as you can’t directly influence them. Plus, your client owns all the branded keywords, and they’re using other channels to amplify them (marketing campaigns, advertising, paid search, etc.). You don’t need rank tracking or SEO for that.  

Mixing the two will muddle your data and will make your client’s position in the search landscape seem better than it actually is — which, in turn, will alter the strategy and your desired objectives.  

Read more: 5 common pitfalls to avoid so you maximize your keyword strategy’s business impact
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