SEO Rankings – is #1 your only goal?

Rankings are a big part of every SEO effort and it is great to see numbers change and watch SERPs display your site nearer to the top.
It’s widely understood that viewers tend to click on sites near the top of the page but here we take a closer look at the fickle world of rankings from a few different angles.

It’s more than a number

Discerning customers use the web so regularly now to shop for products and services that it only takes a glance at a page and a quick skim of the text to decide where the next click is being taken.
This means that the top choice is maybe first to be skimmed through but maybe doesn’t win the next action. Think about when you search the web yourself, do you scan the page first before clicking? So what other factors could be overriding the top position?
  • you recognize a brand name you like in a lower position
  • the title or description of the top ranked page doesn’t resonate with you or your particular search
  • a title or description of a lower ranked page grabs your attention
  • a site looks unprofessional (perhaps the title or description are truncated)
  • the site is not mobile friendly and you’re currently searching from a mobile device
  • the title or description are ambiguous and another ad sums up the service you need better
  • the site looks annoying because some of the text is in ALL CAPS
  • the text is clearly out of date – perhaps it has an old date displayed or is promoting an event which has already taken place.

seo rankings blog

All this scanning is done very quickly. The key takeaway is that first impressions count. If your keywords are showing great rankings but that is not converting into clicks there are a few things to check immediately
  • Are those keywords (or strings) still right for your business (in other words, are they still relevant enough to invest time in further investigation)
  • How popular are those keywords
  • Is your ranking analysis accurate
If your keywords are no longer relevant then a keyword review is long overdue. It’s better to start off with a new list and let go of the old reports with their months of historical data.
If the keywords are not popular then ranking at number 1 may sound nice but is not going to generate much interest. The logical step is to look for a new string which you can focus on in the rankings which maybe has a bigger share of the searches.
Double check your rankings and look at which search engine they are being recorded from. (Ranking #1 on Yahoo and bing is a good start but are those engines the main funnel into your site?)
It is normal for rankings to fluctuate so also look for a trend. In the absence of an SEO toolkit to report on rankings, just key in the searches on your own device and see how your business is presented on the search engine results page.

 

The aim for a business is not to rank highly for a string of 10 or 20 keywords. The aim is to attract new potential clients to your site, so when rankings are looking good but traffic isn’t being won, it’s time to dig deeper and understand the data. A good SEO agency will take the time to understand your business to tailor a plan for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the keywords and their rankings should be a part of the discussion. If you are ready to explore a new SEO strategy and pin down the keywords which will work for your business, contact us today.

 

SEO – Making the most of Impressions data

Search Console offers a treasure trove of information when running an SEO campaign. In this blog, we’re exploring the role of ‘impressions’ and how they can help steer your keyword strategy.

Where to find the Impressions data

Within Google search console, log in then

  • click on Search Traffic
  • click on Search Analytics
  • check the box next to ‘clicks’ for ‘impressions’ (the other data available from the same line is CTR (Click Through Rate) and Position

By default, the clicks should already be graphed so after checking ‘impressions’, the timeline should have 2 lines. Ensure ‘Queries’ is selected in the box immediately below.

What are Impressions – Why should I look at them?

Impressions are a count of the number of times your site appeared in a search result. The site may or may not have been in direct view. On some devices, the site may have been presented lower on a search page and the viewer would have had to actively scroll down to see it. Whereas initial keyword research at the onset of an SEO campaign takes an educated ‘best guess’ at the keywords your site may want to focus on, the impressions will show which words and strings are flagging as relevant to your content. If they are the terms which are predictable then the site is matching its content to the relevant searches. If they are unexpected, then it may be that the site is missing the niche market being aimed for or perhaps you are missing an opportunity to tap into a new keyword which is not part of your current SEO strategy.

 

Check your Sample Size

Depending on the popularity of your site and the frequency of the keyword searches being entered that your site attracts clicks from, the sample size of data could be small or large. If the site being studied gets hundreds of clicks per day then the default date range of the last 28 days is enough to give a representative range of information. If the number of clicks and impressions is low then consider changing the default date range to extend the analysis. This will extend the sample size so that anomalies are evened out and valuable insights are less likely to be overlooked.

Changing the data sample timeline

  • Click on the drop down arrow next to ‘Last 28 days’
  • Click on Set Date Range
  • Either select ‘Last 90 days’ for approximately 3 months’ data or enter a custom date range (this works particularly well if you have a seasonal window where searches are not typical of the entire year)

Looking at the chart, there will probably be a correlation between impressions and clicks. The higher the number of impressions, the higher the number of clicks. In the chart below, the blue line is ‘clicks’ and the red line is ‘impressions’.

clicks vs impressions

To display the queries in order of popularity (ie the words or strings which were entered into a Google search in which this site made an impression), simply click on ‘impressions’ and ensure the arrow is pointing down. (Clicking it again so that the arrow is pointing up will list the queries in order from the least popular to the most)

What to look for

An increase in the number of impressions over time means that your site is ‘on the radar’ of more searchers which is a good thing. The first step to getting a click is to be presented on a search engine results page.

Look for popular queries or phrases which you are missing from your current campaign. Should you switch out some of your lower volume terms for some of the more popular ones? This is a trade-off as it may be a very competitive market. Is it better to rank #6 in a high volume term than #2 in a lower volume term? Only time and experimenting will show how the balance works in your niche market. If you make changes, do so deliberately and record them so that you can revert if a change does not produce the results you hoped for.

If you are looking for customized search engine optimization that is tailored to your small or medium sized business, contact us today for a fresh look at your SEO.

 

How to choose Hashtags

If you’re active on social media you’ve probably seen hashtags even if you aren’t using them. A post may end with words or phrases prefixed with the # symbol.

It might seem like a fad but there are real benefits for a business to jump in and adopt a hashtag strategy. On certain social media platforms (like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram), the hashtags are a great way to extend your reach and present your content to new potential clients.

Hashtags basically act as a filing cabinet across the social media world, they pull together similar posts so that they can be searched for and seen together. Think of a big file with all the #food posts, then each file can be subdivided further to make it more specific eg. #donut or #cake

It’s, therefore, important to stay on track and relevant to the use of hashtags. It would be pointless to post a picture of a waterfall with #delicious, but there are many options which would be more appropriate like #nature #scenic #scenery

There is no need to separate hashtags with commas, just a space, and if you want to use a phrase, run the words together like #naturephotography

It’s best not to get too long and complicated, as it can be difficult to read and it’s very unlikely someone will find your content through a search.

Choose hashtags that reinforce your brand or the quality of your product. For example #businessname #bestnatureshots

One way to find popular hashtags is to click on the magnifying glass within Instagram, click on tags and start to enter one of the words you want to use. A list will come up showing some of the most utilized terms. Here is an example:

instagram hashtags

It’s important to think about the audience you are trying to connect with, reaching thousands of people may not deliver one lead. The secret is to hashtag to hone in on your target demographic. If you are selling honeymoon packages, a good hashtag may be #futureMrs for instance.

As a business, it is likely you will not only connect with potential clients but will also build a network of like-minded professionals who may follow your feed or ‘like’ your posts. If you see a business similar to your own and like their content, click on their profile and look at a couple of posts to see how they are targeting their audience. Are they using a hashtag strategy that could also work well for you? Your inspiration may come from the other side of the world as the searches yield international results. If your business is multilingual, use hashtags in different languages.

Actively searching the hashtags you are using also demonstrates how your posts compare to the competition out there. Are your posts of the best quality? Are others using filters and editing to create more original content?

Taking the first step is the most daunting. Once you get started, experiment with new hashtags, see what works for you. There are many who say don’t use more than 1 or 2 hashtags but every business is unique and your hashtag journey is yours alone.

If you want help planning a social media marketing campaign or want to explore a new internet marketing strategy, contact us today.

Which social media platforms are right for your business?

Like it or hate it, social media is an important marketing tool. Chances are when you go to a place where people are having some ‘downtime’, like the airport lounge or riding the train, they’re not talking to each other but instead looking down at their ‘phones busily scrolling away. Along with all the personal catch up with “friends” and family, they’re checking out reviews on the latest restaurant or pricing services that they’re researching. These links matter as they not only represent your business in a different way, they are part of the net you cast to filter potential clients to your door. If your social media posts show your products or services in an engaging and positive manner, you’re one step closer to selling your product or initiating a new dialogue.

social media platformsChoosing which platform to use largely depends on what you are showcasing. A starting point may be to launch in the social media zone you like most and are most familiar with – if you look for ideas on Pinterest and it works well for you, look at if that tool will work for your business. If you don’t have help from a team experienced in social media, this will get you off on the right path and once you’ve taken the first step (no matter which tool you use), the next will follow more easily.

What factors are most important?

  • Who are you trying to reach? What social media platforms will they be using?
  • Do I need my posts to be seen quickly (for instance if you want to post a flash one day sale event, Facebook and Twitter are perfect for spreading the word. Facebook has far and away the most active users and is a good fit for virtually everyone.
  • For building a gallery or portfolio which can build over time and represent your brand, Pinterest is accessible and popular, primarily to females, which is great if they are your core demographic (eg wedding planning). Instagram is another image driven application (with more active users than Pinterest) allowing you to share instantly or filter and enhance your content, allowing you to highlight your brand and set yourself apart from your competitors. A plethora of supporting apps help morph your image into a piece of art!

social media platforms Trulium social media blog - after edit

Use supporting apps
to stand out from the
crowd

 

  • For professionals who want to network and build contacts, LinkedIn was designed just for you.
  • For local business visibility and for the power that Google brings, Google+ will continue to become more relevant – get in early and build your social platform.

If you’re still baffled, look to a competitor that is reaching your audience now. Checkout their website to see their links to social media. When a potential customer likes what they see on your website, they often click on your social media links to be reassured by your professionalism and follow or connect with you whilst considering your product or service.  An important note to take is that your branding should be consistent across all of your platforms, present what make you unique so that customers know you will be a good fit for their needs. The landscape changes over time and the customers of the future are embracing social media as a powerful tool. Your campaign needn’t be a burden – have fun with it, start new avenues for conversation and opportunity.

It’s not a popularity contest, look to build a loyal following of potential clients and attract prospects through new channels. Be attentive to your social media traffic and respond promptly to deliver a good experience. Set up a plan and start the journey. Once you’re up and running, use the tool analytics to guide your next strategy. If you’re looking for a helping hand, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Ways to Prepare for Google Updates

Another update from Google is, at this point, par for the course. You expect to wake up every couple of weeks to news of updated Pandas and Penguins shining the way for new standards of SEO effectiveness everywhere. That means more steps to take to keep your business at the top of SERPS for your keywords, more research to help optimize your efforts, and more spiders crawling your site. At this point, do you even have any more hair to pull?

It’s not all bad. Google’s updates may be frequent and slightly inconvenient, but they’re customer-driven. The algorithm updates are essentially guiding you in the right direction, based on customer (i.e your leads) desires – which makes keeping up with Google the best way to reach those leads. So get some hair plugs and go with the flow!google-logo-Trulium-Sept

Four ways your business can prepare for those frequent Google updates:

Keep an Eye Out

Getting blindsided is a complete disaster, especially when it comes to search engine marketing. One week you’re feeling amazing at the top of the search results and then – BOOM – you’re suddenly all the way on the second page. How do you keep your page ranking when you don’t know when the algorithms change and what they want?

It’s like a blizzard coming right after you’ve locked your shovel away in confidence of a long Fall. Keep your walk clear by checking periodically for news on any Google Updates and what they might mean for your current SEO and search engine marketing practices. Thankfully, there’s usually a lot of hubbub around the unveiling of new updates from Google, so advanced warning is the least of your problems.

Be Flexible

Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something that is inflexible and unable to undertake necessary changes at the drop of a hat. Google makes hundreds of updates a year with major updates taking place about every four months, making it virtually impossible to understand and keep up with every single change. Your website designer should be on his/her/their toes just as much as you.

Many SEO practices that once had prominence (keyword stuffing, for one) have either changed or been completely obliterated. That means that, while keeping an eye out, you have to be diligent and willing to adjust accordingly.

Be User-Friendly

It actually helps the user (a.k.a your lead) out to have spam-filled, hard to navigate sites filtered out of search results. Sites with terrible speeds, little to no usability on mobile devices, and low-quality content are irritating in general and need to be updated. Whether Google updated or not, chances are you wouldn’t get far with a glitchy site.

Google essentially cuts out the less customer-centric sites and gives better rankings to those who put time, effort, and thought into providing great user experience.  It’s like being forced to take care of yourself – you may not like it, but at least it helps you survive.

Remember – It’s All About Business

Google is not some huge enemy breathing down your neck. They’re a business trying to keep their consumers happy with the best experience possible. Keeping up with their updates means a world of success for your site, SERP rankings, and business.

Do yourself a favor and go with the flow.

Use Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm to Boost Your SEO

Using keywords to boost SEO doesn’t have to sound as choppy anymore, thanks to the Google’s new Hummingbird Algorithm.

Named Hummingbird because it’s intended to be “fast and precise” Google’s new algorithm uses many elements to sort SEO information and rankings, including keywords and PageRank, but it’s also designed to interpret the tone and meaning of words and the content around them. This change has potential for  improvements in the world of SEO. After all, human beings speak to each other in conversations (not just in keywords) so naturally this carries over when we use search engines and type in phrases we’re looking for.

Google initially unveiled Hummingbird in September 2013 so time will tell how well it works overall, but already we’re seeing Hummingbird’s influence in the quality of keywords being used in SEO rankings as well as the words and phrases that surround those keywords; it appears to apply “knowledge” and “meaning” to them better. (Cite: SearchEngineLand.com: “FAQ: All about the Google Hummingbird Algorithm.”)

How will Hummingbird affect your SEO?

We believe the most important element is, and always has been, writing engaging, relevant content. With this new algorithm change, successful rankings will depend even more now on well-written content. Great content is still king and establishes your credibility. And yes, you still need to think in terms of keywords and PageRanking (legitimate page linking). Those are elements are still a part of Hummingbird, but also, don’t be afraid of using long-tailed keywords phrases. We believe in time Hummingbird will expand to recognize more of them, which should bring more people to your pages and ultimately boost your SEO, too.