Competitor Analysis Tools: Learn How To Spy on Your Competition

While competitors may seem like a thorn in your side on a day to day basis, they can be used for very useful data. Try keeping your friends close but keep your enemies closer.

Competitive analysis tools are a great way for you to spy on the competition, to stay up to date on current trends, and to see where they are beating you. Even Google spies on its users by giving search data to other companies. That’s why you are always getting ads for the thing you last searched for on Google. While spying on competitors may seem immoral, it’s not, it’s just good business.

Learning how to spy on competitors used to be tricky, but now there on tools online that make it even simpler. There are also a few key areas that you will want to look at to see how you stack up against the competition.

What is Competitor Analysis?

Competitor analysis is looking at strengths and weaknesses of the competition. From a digital marketing standpoint, competitive analysis looks at a website’s traffic, rankings, advertisements, keywords, and more.

This is useful data because it can help see where you should be investing more or if you can continue to thrive ahead of the competition. Checking out competitors can help you make improvements on your own website or for your business in general.

Learn How to Spy on Competitors

Once you have discovered who your competitors are, you should look at a few key data points so you can see how to operate more efficiently. Keywords are a valuable source of data from you competitors because that will tell you what people are looking for. Also check for their paid keywords or Google Adwords – this will allow you to see what they are doing with search engine ads and where they are spending their money in ad campaigns.

You should also check into their social media. This is a valuable way to see when they will be announcing new products, providing updates, and how they interact with their audience.

Best Tools for Competitive Analysis

Competitor research is easier with great spy tools. There are tons of tools out there for competitive analysis, but some of them are better than the others. With the right tools, spying on your competitors will become even easier than ever. The tools that we have compiled are some that SEO companies and digital marketers use. These tools will work whether you are trying to get a leg up on your competitors or to find out how your website holds up against the competition. 

The Best Competitor Analysis Tools:

      1. SEMrush
      2. Alexa 
      3. SimilarWeb
      4. Quicksprout
      5. iSpionage

 

SEMrush

SEMrush is an extremely powerful keyword tracking tool.  This tool allows you to target competitors and analyze their websites for what keywords they are using to gain traffic. It also functions as a website SEO auditing tool, tracks backlinks, and more. It will give you your competitors keywords and give you more effective keyword research. This will help increase traffic and gives you valuable SEO competitor research. SEMRush is a comprehensive tool that reports on websites, so there are plenty of features to explore.

Alexa

Alexa, which is owned by Amazon, is a website traffic estimator. It has many features like competitor keyword analysis to find competitors keywords. This tool will help you target competitors to compare your sites traffic with competing websites. It even tells you the other websites that your audience is visiting and the topics that your audience is most interested in.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a content analysis tool and website traffic estimator that allows you to do almost anything. It is a powerful website traffic estimator and a keyword tracking tool. This will allow you to see competitor keywords and how many people visit their site. It will allow you to do thorough research on your competitors. You can see what drives their traffic and content through SimilarWeb.

Social Sprout

Social Sprout lets you look at how competitors are doing on social media, making ts a very important market research tool. This is a good way to either see your competitor’s growth or to see where your social media output should be. You can also see what consumers what and are posting about on this tool as well.

iSpionage

iSpionage allows you to track competitor’s ad campaigns and shows you their monthly budget. This tool allows you to access seven years of data on your competitors. This is important because if you are able to see where your competitors are putting their ads, so you can target similar areas as them.

Final Thoughts on Competitive Analysis Tools

Competitors are a valuable source of information for your business. They will help you see where and how much money you should be spending in certain areas. They also help you see what people are searching for on their sites so that you can use similar techniques. Use these tools that help you target competitors so that you can get ahead of them.

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Increasing Traffic and Leads with SEO + Content

About the Client

Platform: WordPress
Niche: Recruiting & HR
Goals: Increase Organic Search Traffic, Increase Resume Submissions, Increase Job Orders
Strategy: On-page Optimization, Content & Link Building

About the Campaign

This client is a recruiting and staffing agency with locations in Philadelphia, NYC, New Jersey, Connecticut and Boston. They had just completed a brand new site overhaul with a custom site built on WordPress, but they weren’t seeing the traffic and leads they wanted to come through organic search. 

This particular client had a few separate goals.

  1. Increase organic search traffic
  2. Increase resume submissions to add to their database 
  3. Increase leads for job orders

After a quick analysis, it was clear that the site was lacking in content and needed an aggressive SEO plan put in place in order to start ranking quickly. 

Our Strategy

In order to put together the best strategy, we needed to really understand the client’s business and the staffing and recruiting industry. We did a competitive analysis of other successful recruiting companies that were dominating the SERPs to determine what our on-page and content strategy should look like. 

It was also important for us to understand the types of jobs the client wanted to fill, what industries they worked in, and what industries were most important to them.

On-Page Optimization

Our on-page optimization first started with a cleanup of the landing pages that were already created. This is always one of the first steps we take when taking on a client. 

For each industry and location, we had two different target audiences; potential clients looking to fill open positions and qualified candidates for those positions. Each of these audiences searches different terms, so our on page strategy had to align with each searcher’s intent. 

The candidate may search for something like “accounting jobs in philadelphia” while a potential client might search “accounting recruiter philadelphia”. This meant we had to build two separate strategies in order to rank in search results. 

We then mapped out the different industries and created silos for each location and industry the client wanted to rank. This strategy ended up working out greatly for the client; they’re now dominating the SERPs for over 160 keywords related to the recruiting and temporary staffing industry. 

Content

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Content is King! 

After our initial competitive research it was clear that in order to rank, this client needed to pump out topically relevant content on an ongoing basis. We decided to publish one article a week that would also help support other conversion landing pages that we were building. 

The content kept the sight fresh, added relevance, and kept Google bots constantly crawling the site. 

Link Building

As with most of our campaigns, link building was one of our top priorities. This client started off with low authority, so we focused on the basics. 

We focused on building general directory listings for each location to improve rankings in the maps for the major cities where they had a physical office. Having these directories built out for each location helped the client rank for terms like “philadelphia recruiter” in the map pack. 

Summary Results

This campaign started in October 2017, and since then the client has jumped up over 8,000 spots in organic search results.

They’re ranking on page one for over 160 keywords relevant to their niche and are bringing in about 6,000 users per month to the site. 

All of this new traffic has lead to the submission of over 3,000 resumes to be added to the client’s candidate database. 

What We Learned

This campaign showed us that having a comprehensive SEO campaign can have a significant impact on a client’s organic traffic and organic leads. Implementing a cohesive off-page, on-page, and content strategy really helped this client’s rankings take off. 

In SEO we’re constantly up against Google’s algorithm updates and your competitors. Having a seamless SEO strategy paired up with content can help you outrank your competitors and adds topical relevance that helps Google recognize your site’s authority in your industry.

The post Increasing Traffic and Leads with SEO + Content appeared first on SEO Digital Group.

What is a SERP?

Digital marketers use a lot of acronyms – CRO, SOV, ROAS – the list goes on. One very common term is SERP, but if you aren’t well versed in the vernacular of digital marketing, this term may leave you confused. Learn what SERP stands for and how it relates to digital marketing and advertising. 

What Does SERP Stand For? 

SERP stands for search engine result page. This simply means the pages of results that appear when you search for any given term on a search engine like Google. 

Search Engine Results Pages

SERPs are important because they relate directly to SEO. Search engine optimization works to get website pages ranked on the first SERP for targeted keywords and search queries. If your business, blog, or other website page is ranked on search engine results page 1 for relevant keywords, then it will be easier for customers or website visitors to find your page. 

Types of Search Results 

Search engine results pages show different types of results. SEO campaigns aim to get your website ranked high on search results organically, but there are also paid search results. 

Organic Search Results

Organic search engine results appear based on a variety of factors. Optimizing your website so that it appears in the results for your desired keywords takes time, knowledge, and more. Google ranks SERPs based on over 500 factors, from the keywords on your page, the type of website content, trust factors, and many, many more. That’s why most websites hire an SEO company to handle their SEO campaign so that their website appears in the SERPs.

Below is an example of organic search results – they look just like standard search engine results. 

organic serps

Paid Search Results 

Have you ever searched for something and noticed that the first two or three results had an “Ad” bubble next to it? Those results did not earn their spot on the top through great SEO practices – they paid to be there.

paid serps

Paid search is a great advertising tool when used correctly. The advertisements at the top of search engine results were placed there by search engines like Google through a PPC campaign. Businesses can create PPC ads, set an advertising budget, and Google will serve the ad on a relevant search. Everytime an ad is clicked, the advertiser pays whatever their set cost per click budget allows. 

Paid search can be costly, but with the right targeting and copy it can be an extremely effective marketing campaign. 

Other SERP Features

Aside from the distinction between organic and paid search results, there are some other SERP features that you’ll notice when searching. One is a featured snippet – this is the text box that appears above other organic results that gives you a short answer to your search. Featured snippets can drive traffic, so many websites aim to get the snippet for their target keywords or questions. 

Image results also appear on SERPs even when you didn’t search for an image. You may also see product links if your search had commercial intent. 

serp product results

Another SERP feature is called a Knowledge Graph – this can include a variety of panels or boxes that appear to give you information without you having to click on a result. When you search for a famous person, for example, a panel appears on the side of the screen with some basic information. 

knowledge graph

If your search is more location-specific, you may also see a local pack of businesses nearby. Usually 3 or more results appear here along with a map. 

local pack serp

You’ve likely seen all of these SERP features plenty of times before and did not recognize their relevance, but having your website appear in one of these features can be great for business. Being featured in a snippet, image pack, knowledge pack, or local pack can seriously drive traffic and visitors to your site. 

How Search Engine Ranking Works

Every search engine results page is unique. Even a minor different in search, like searching for “SEO” as opposed to “SEO company” can show different results. There are also different results based on location, as some search results are recognized as location specific, like “bagels near me” as opposed to “how to make a bagel”. 

Other factors like your browsing history or social settings could also affect your specific search results. Two people using the same search engine and searching the exact same term may not get the same results. 

How search engines rank the results on their SERPs is complex; that’s why digital marketing companies learn the ins and outs of SEO to help others rank their website for relevant search terms. 

Generally speaking, it is the goal of search engines like Google to show their visitors the most accurate, helpful results for their search queries. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to give better results so that searchers find what they were looking for faster. This means that SEO companies must keep up with Google’s changing algorithm to keep websites ranked for their relevant target keywords. 

Rank in the Top SERPs

Need more traffic, leads, or conversions on your website? Contact SEO Digital Group today for help ranking at the top of search engine results for your target keywords.

The post What is a SERP? appeared first on SEO Digital Group.

What Is a Featured Snippet?

If you’ve ever heard someone in digital marketing refer to a featured snippet, you probably know what it is and just don’t realize it. Featured snippets are the target of many SEO campaigns, as they generate a huge amount of organic search traffic if your website can land a featured snippet. Read on to learn all about what these snippets are and how you can rank your website for one.

What Is a Google Featured Snippet?

Have you ever searched a question and the answer appeared in a box at the top of the search results? That’s a featured snippet. Featured snippets provide answers to search queries without having to click through to the website.

Google Answer Box

People who are unfamiliar with the term featured snippet may also call it a Google answer box. This isn’t the technical term, but it gets to the heart of what a snippet is. The point of a featured snippet is to give searchers an answer to their question. Google is always looking to improve its site to provide the best, most relevant information for its users, so the featured snippet box is one way that they provide answers more easily.

Google answer box can also refer to another type of answer that does not have a link. This is not the same as a featured snippet. An example is this mathematical conversion box, which provides the answer searchers were looking for, but does not link to another site.

google answer box

Google Position Zero

Those in the world of SEO and digital marketing may also refer to a featured snippet as Google’s position zero. This has to do with search engine rankings: position one is the first result, but featured snippets appear before position one, making them position zero.

High search engine rankings are what SEO works towards, so a featured snippet is ideal. People are more likely to click a featured snippet rather than scroll down to find another website, so ranking for one is extremely worthwhile.

Featured Snippet Example

For reference, this is an example of a featured snippet from our client website, Social Buddy. This snippet also shows a featured image. Not every search query has a featured snippet; it’s more common to see featured snippets for searches phrased as a question, or for listed answers.

featured snippet

Why Are Featured Snippets Important?

Featured snippets are important because they receive the bulk of the search traffic for those searches. Research from Hubspot has shown that featured snippets get a 2x higher click through rate, meaning that you can steal a major portion of traffic from other results when you have position zero.

If you want to drive relevant traffic to your website, getting a featured snippet for a question related to your industry can go a long way.

Types of Snippets

Not all featured snippets look the same, and not all content or searches can become a featured snippet. A study from Ahrefs estimates that about 12.29% of all search queries contain a featured snippet. While that may not seem like a huge number, featured snippets have actually been on the rise in the last few years, as Google tries to provide answers more quickly to its users.

The main types of snippets include paragraph snippets, list snippets, and table snippets. There are also featured images and videos.

Paragraph Snippet

A paragraph snippet is the most basic: the given example above was a paragraph snippet. These featured snippets give an answer in short paragraph form. Some paragraph snippets include a featured image as well. Paragraph featured snippets are the most popular form, making up over 80% of all snippets according to GetStat.

Paragraph featured snippets tend to be about 50 words long, around 272 characters on average. Google often pulls snippets based on the headers they appear under, so it can help to have the question you want the snippet for as a header with a short answer underneath.

List Snippet

Featured snippets also come in list form: either numbered or bulleted. These lists often appear for searches including terms like “best” or “top”, as many articles list the top products in list form. Here’s another example from Social Buddy:

list snippet
Table Snippet

Table snippets provide even more information than a list, and Google tends to pull this data from tables that are already created on the website it links to. A table featured snippet tends to include more data or statistical information, like this one:

table featured snippet

Featured Image and Video Snippets

Very often, any of these types of featured snippets have a featured image included. The featured image is not necessary from the same website as the snippet, and very often comes from a competing website.

Featured videos are often pulled in from YouTube if Google believes that the video best answers that question. Since some tutorials are better seen than read, certain search queries will result in video snippets rather than text, like this one:

featured video snippet
How To Get a Featured Snippet on Google

Theoretically, anyone can get a featured snippet on Google. In practice, it isn’t always so easy. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible answers to their searches, so you must have quality content marketing to make it into position zero.

More than that, SEO experts will tell you that it’s no small feat to get close enough to get a featured snippet. Search engines rank results based on over 500 factors, so your website must be in top shape to get in the top results or the featured snippet spot.

Who Gets Featured Snippets?

Any website can get the featured snippet with great content and SEO. In terms of search engine rankings, however, most snippets go to a result that is already on page 1 for that keyword.

Research from Ahrefs shows that 30.9% of featured snippets are already the first search result, and 99.58% are in the top 10 results. Before you can push for a featured snippet, you’ll have to push for a page 1 ranking.

featured snippet rankings

Source: Ahrefs

What Searches Get Featured Snippets?

As we’ve said, not all searches get featured snippets – only a little over 12% of all keywords. Long-tail keywords are more likely to have a featured snippet position than larger search terms, so targeting low-hanging fruit and long variations tends to work if you’re aiming for some snippets.

Usually, searches in question form or those that can be answered in list or table form get featured snippets more than other searches. Ahrefs compiled a list of words that are most likely to be included in featured snippets, which you can see here:

featured snippet search terms

Source: Ahrefs

As you can see, recipes make popular featured snippets, as well as questions, comparisons, and best/top lists. Why “windows” and “chicken” are included so often is beyond me.

Featured Snippet Optimization

There are a few tips to optimize for a featured snippet position. Google provides no surefire way to get your website a featured snippet, but based on research, there are certain ways you can improve your chances.

  • Use keywords, search terms, and “people also ask”. Keyword research will reveal what people are searching, so it makes good sense to use those keywords and search terms in your content to optimize for a featured snippet position. Google’s “people also ask” box is a good clue as to what kinds of questions may lead to snippets, and often these boxes have a snippet of their own.

people also ask featured snippet

  • Put the search term in a header. H2s, H3s, and H4s are picked up by Google, and often these can trigger a featured snippet. Place the question you want the snippet for in a header, and then answer the question below it to optimize for position zero.
  • Answer in a snippet format. If you want a list featured snippet, then obviously you should make your content work in a list to improve your chances. For paragraph featured snippets, stick to the ~50 word count and answer the question succinctly.
  • Optimize for CTR. Featured snippets are great to have, but if you answer the question in its entirety in the snippet, people won’t click through to your website. This means you won’t get any actual traffic from the snippet. Provide enough information to be helpful, but try to grab the readers attention or leave a piece of information out so that users click your link to read more.

Need Help Getting Featured Snippets?

Getting a featured snippet takes time and effort. Contact SEO Digital Group for help with all things SEO and content marketing.

The post What Is a Featured Snippet? appeared first on SEO Digital Group.

Content Marketing Case Study: How To Get 100K Website Visitors per Month

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”. Today’s digital marketers are constantly repeating the phrase “content is king,” but Gates anticipated the potential success of content marketing over 20 years ago. He wrote that “broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small,” and he was right.

If your website lacks the traffic you want, content may very well be the answer. Our client website, Social Buddy, which markets an Instagram growth service, had very little traffic six months ago. It is now on track to surpass 100,000 visitors a month. All we had to do was consistently publish relevant, keyword researched, well-written, SEO optimized content.

Organic Traffic Increased Over 985% in 6 Months Through Content

When I began writing content for Social Buddy at the end of December 2018, the website had peaked at about 8,000 visits per month. For the last few months, it had lingered in the 6,000 to 8,000 range. There was some blog content, but it wasn’t based on research and wasn’t focused.

My strategy began with in-depth keyword research to develop a plan on what to post and when. I began regularly publishing content to the blog – articles that related to Instagram like how to’s, tips, and other social media related informational posts – and traffic took off.

social buddy organic traffic

Five months later, posting consistent, quality content, we hit over 100,000 visitors per month. The only thing we did differently was publish smart, research-based content, and in only 5 months organic search traffic increased more than tenfold.

How? Through content marketing and search engine optimized content.

Content Marketing 101

Content is any form of media that shares information and (hopefully) drives traffic to your site. Content can come in the form of blog posts, images, videos, infographics, quizzes, and more. It’s really any type of informative media that you post to your site for the purpose of sharing information, not selling products or services.

Good content will not only bring visitors to your website, but keep them there. This increases the chance of them visiting other pages or eventually converting into customers. You can see below the increase in average time spent on Social Buddy pages as we improved content.

time spent on page

Content marketing does, eventually, work towards customer conversion and sales, but it’s not the same as the ad copy on the sales pages of a website. Content aims to provide pertinent information that is relevant to your brand, answering questions that potential customers may have about your industry.

There’s a big difference between publishing any content and publishing smart, SEO content. If you don’t do the necessary keyword research and optimize your content for search engines, it won’t bring in any traffic. Good content takes time and effort.

When done correctly, content drives traffic, improves SEO by helping your website rank for relevant keywords, leads potential customers to your website, and keeps your website fresh with consistent updates and new pages.

How We Used Content to Grow Social Buddy Traffic to 100,000 Visitors per Month

Our strategy that led to success on Social Buddy was simple: we published well-written, informative content that answered questions and searches asked by our target audience. We used our knowledge of SEO tactics and extensive keyword research to create great content and it got results. Here’s how we did it:

Our SEO Content Strategy

    1. Finding Relevant Topics
    2. Keyword Research
    3. Writing Long-Form Content
    4. Linking and Creating Structured Silos
    5. Tracking and Auditing Your Content

 

1. Finding Relevant Topics

Before you can publish any content, you need to plan what to write about. There are many ways to find relevant topics, but what makes a topic relevant and worth posting on your website?

When you’re searching for relevant topics, consider these questions:

  • Is this topic relevant to my brand or our products and services?
  • Are people searching for information on this topic? What questions are they asking?
  • Can we write a post that answers their question in a helpful and informative way?
  • Who is asking these questions? What audience does this topic attract? Does it match our target audience? Will this topic attract potential customers?
  • Can this post lead to conversions? What is the searcher’s intent?

Let’s look at these answers in regard to Social Buddy.

Social Buddy is an Instagram growth service. The target audience is Instagram users, particularly users who want to grow their following. That demographic is probably younger and more social media savvy than every single person with an Instagram account.

Relevant topics for Social Buddy are abundant: anything relating to Instagram and social media is on the table. There are many questions about Instagram or related topics with huge search volumes, so the potential for traffic is enormous.

An easy way to find relevant topics to write about is searching for your main keyword and looking at the “People also ask” box on Google. This shows you what other people are searching and can give you ideas on what to write about.

people also ask on google

When you consider “Who is asking these questions?” it’s easy to assume that most of them are on Instagram, especially when the topics are directly related to Instagram and how to use it. We did publish other topics that are less focused and more about social media in general, but those don’t stray too far from our target.

Ask these questions for your own website, brand, and business before you begin writing content.

Content That Converts vs. Content That Won’t

When you consider “Will this topic attract potential customers?” and “Can this post lead to conversions?” things get trickier.

A lot of the content on Social Buddy, and even the content that is driving the majority of the traffic, is not necessarily conversion optimized content. Some of the top posts include simple questions people have about Instagram, like how often or when to post.

Many of the top performing pages are hashtag articles, sharing useful hashtags by industry to tag your photos. These site visitors could convert, but many are probably just interested in finding their answer or hashtags and going on their way.

Regardless, this content is useful. Don’t shy away from content that is purely informational that won’t necessarily convince visitors to buy your products or services.

The reason that this content is still great for our website?

  • These posts drive traffic. Traffic is essentially proof to Google that your content is good, visitors are engaged, and that the website shares relevant information regarding social media and Instagram. This will only help Social Buddy in the future, as Google will recognize its authority on Instagram and social media-related topics and continue to rank its pages.
  • Even if visitors don’t convert, they may return. If they found good information on Social Buddy before, they may return next time they have a question about a similar topic. And eventually, they may click through to the sales page and buy Social Buddy’s services.
  • Visitors can be retargeted. If a visitor to your site provided information like a name or email address, or if your site has cookies or a Facebook retargeting pixel, you can retarget your services to them through email or advertisements.

 

Consider The Intent of the Search

Intent is important when it comes to content. What is the intent of the person searching? This is important because you want to provide the information they’re looking for to keep them on your page, but some intent is more valuable than others. You can look at this in terms of the sales funnel.

Top of the funnel: Searches like “how to block someone on Instagram” have pretty clear intent, and these visitors very likely won’t convert. They are potential customers, however, since they have an Instagram account, but they may or may not care about followers.

Middle of the funnel:  Searches like “how to get verified on Instagram” have a better chance of conversion. If the searcher wants to get verified, they probably want more followers, and therefore may be interested in buying an Instagram growth service. They haven’t reached the point of looking for an Instagram growth service yet, but they are on that path.

Bottom of the funnel: Searches like “how to get more Instagram followers” are much more likely to convert, as these searchers are already looking for followers. They may not be willing to pay to grow their followers, but if we optimize the content for conversion, we’ll be able to convert some percentage of those visitors.

Search intent is a valuable consideration. You should optimize content for search intent on every post, regardless of where it falls in the sales funnel, because your goal is to write helpful, informative content. Conversion optimization is another beast to tackle, but to get traffic to your site you should aim to provide well-written, useful content that is relevant to your brand.

2. Keyword Research

Keyword research is vital to writing content that will rank well on Google and bring traffic to your website. Your content should be optimized with highly searched, topical keywords.

If you want to write about and rank for a certain topic, you need to do the keyword research first. This research will tell you what people are searching in relation to that topic, what questions they’re asking, and what you should include in your post to catch their attention. Keyword research will tell you what to write about, what to title your post, what headers to include, and more.

The general idea is to use the keywords that are most frequently searched for your chosen topic, and place those keywords in the right places within your post. Highly searched, relevant keywords and phrases should always be used in these places:

  • Title
  • Headers
  • URLs
  • Meta descriptions
  • Image titles and alt text
  • Throughout your post

While you should use the best possible keywords, you shouldn’t force awkward headers or titles just because that keyword is the most frequently searched term. One example of a post from Social Buddy is titled “What Happens When You Report an Instagram Account?” This title isn’t the highest searched keyword for this topic.

If I made the title the keyword with the largest search volume, it would be “Report Instagram Account”. This title wouldn’t make sense and wouldn’t convey what the content of the post is actually about.

We opted for a lower search volume keyword, and Google rewarded our quality content – Social Buddy on page 1 in the search results for “Report Instagram Account” and has the featured snippet for a few variations of “what happens when you report an Instagram account”. Google rewards quality.

social buddy featured snippet

Keyword research can also help you find relevant topics. While doing in-depth research on searches related to Instagram followers, I found hundreds of keywords with questions that I could answer, many in their own posts. This brings us to the topic of long-tail variations of keywords.

Long-Tail Variations Drive Traffic Too

If you find a relevant topic with a huge search volume, you’ll probably want to write a post about it – and you should! Keywords and topics with huge potential for traffic are also competitive, however, and it isn’t always easy to rank for those topics.

You could write a great, SEO optimized, long-form post about a keyword with over 100,000 searches per month, but you still might not unseat competitors. There are over 500 ranking factors that Google considers, and even if your content is better than others, you may not outrank them if they have better authority, traffic, off-page SEO – the list goes on and on.

That’s why most SEO experts will tell you to aim for the low hanging fruit first. In doing so, you can build up traffic and website authority to eventually tackle those bigger keywords, and you may find some gems along the way.

Let’s look back at Social Buddy again.

The highest trafficked post right now is titled “The Order of Instagram Followers and Likes Explained.” Surprised? So were we.

I found this topic while doing keyword research – when I was looking for search terms related to Instagram followers, there were a few asking this question. None had a very high search volume, but I thought it was an interesting topic and something that I would Google, so I decided to write a post about it anyway. You can see the keywords and search volumes below.

social buddy keywords

In the three months that this post has been published on Social Buddy, it has brought over 35,000 page views. That’s about 12,000 a month, way higher than the search volumes suggested.

So how did this happen? We went after some low hanging fruit, long-tail variations.

People seem to be interested in this topic, but there are a few ways to ask the same question. By using these low search volume keywords and writing an informative post, this post is the first search result and often the featured snippet for a few different search terms. By casting a wide net and catching all of these smaller keywords and search queries, a post that none of us expected to matter much is responsible for a huge amount of traffic.

featured snippet

How To Find Keywords

There are various keyword tools that you can use to find keywords and search volumes. Tools that I’ve used include SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Keywords Everywhere

It’s also helpful to simply search for your main keyword on Google and check out the “People also ask” or “Searches related to” boxes – these provide other keywords and search queries, and often make great headers within your post or can inspire a whole new topic.

searches related to keywords

SEMRush and Ahrefs are comprehensive, but expensive, tools that digital marketers use to analyze websites. I use these tools to check out what keywords competitor sites are ranking for and figure out what keywords are related to my main topic. These keywords become my titles, headers, or are included in the body of my content. They can also inspire new topics for me to write about.

Keywords Everywhere is a free Google Chrome extension that provides related keywords and their search volumes every time you search something on your Google Chrome browser. This tool can also provide helpful ideas and keywords that you can include in your post.

keywords everywhere related keywords

You can also find keywords simply by auditing competitor sites that rank for the search queries you’re targeting. Check out what they write about, their titles, headers, URLs, and anything else on their page that helps you focus your own keywords.

3. Writing Long-Form Content

Now that you have your topic and keywords, it’s time to get writing. Outline your post based on title, headers, and subheaders (all of which should utilize the keywords and questions you found) and start fleshing out your content.

Long-form content is simply that: long. Digital marketers have found success writing longer pieces of content compared to shorter content with the same topic and keyword optimization. The length of long-form content is heavily debated, and there isn’t one set word count that makes a piece long-form. My strategy has been to audit the top performing posts for the keyword I’m targeting and aim to write 20% more than the average word count.

Writing more helps you include more keywords, answer more questions, and seems to be favored by Google when it comes to ranking. Your content should also be well-written, proofread, and provide correct information, of course. If you can manage a longer post, you’ll likely find more success.

4. Linking and Creating Structured Silos

Website structure is important to the SEO of your site. This relates to content when it comes to creating structured silos. SEO siloing is the practice of organizing your website’s content into categories and subcategories. Search engines like Google can better recognize the topics and subtopics of a website if it is organized in a way that makes sense.

When you’re publishing content, consider the main categories and subcategories that posts fall into. If there is an important, highly searched keyword that you want to rank for, you’ll want to build structure for that post. The main post should be long-form, and there should be supporting posts that fall underneath it. All of these should link to one another to share link juice.

An example of this practice on Social Buddy is the hashtag post and supporting posts. The word “hashtags” is searched over 1 million times per month, and is an extremely broad term. Since Social Buddy shares social media information and advice however, this is a term that is highly relevant for the site.

silo structure social buddy

Instead of trying (and likely failing) to rank for simply “hashtags,” we wrote a series of posts with information on the best hashtags by industry and how to use hashtags across different social networking platforms. All of these posts linked up to a main post all about hashtags, and many link to one another as well.

Creating these supporting posts for a main topic helps Google recognize the relevance of that topic for your website, and it allows you to target the easier topics below the bigger keyword. Linking to other posts within your silo, and on your website in general, allows for visitors to click through, stay on your website for longer, and allows search engine crawlers to re-crawl your pages, sharing link juice.

This concept may seem complicated, but the bottom line is this: creating smaller, supporting posts for your larger targets with logically structured silos will help your website rank better. Linking between those posts shares traffic and link juice and can also improve the performance and ranking of your content.

5. Tracking and Auditing Your Content

You’ve researched, written, and optimized your content for SEO purposes through keyword placement, linking, and silo structuring: now you’re waiting for results. Content is effective in driving traffic, but it won’t happen overnight. It takes time for Google to recognize your website as trustworthy and authoritative on the topic you’re writing about.

Use Google Analytics or any other tool of your choosing to track your content’s progress. It may not rank at all right away – just keep at it. At first, Social Buddy did not see a huge difference, but churning out relevant, quality content over time gave the website more credibility – you can see how the page views increased slowly at first, then quickly as more posts began ranking higher.

social buddy traffic

If you’ve waited and continuously published quality content with no results, consider auditing your content. We audit Social Buddy’s content at the beginning of each month, looking at what’s ranking well, what isn’t, and how we can replicate our successes and adjust the posts that aren’t so successful.

Because Social Buddy has been so successful through content, I tend to audit posts that were performing and then dropped, or posts that made it to search engine results on page 2 or 3, but need an extra kick to get to page 1. These posts are helpful to audit because Google already recognizes them as decent, so it often doesn’t take much to push them to page 1 so that they started getting more traffic.

When we audit posts for Social Buddy, we compare them against those that are ranking higher for our targeted keywords. We look at competitors titles, headers, meta descriptions, URLs, and more to see what they did differently. We also consider the searcher’s intent again to ensure that our post matches up, and check out KPI’s like bounce rate and click through rate to see if our post needs to better grab the reader’s attention.

Auditing can help you see where you went right and wrong – auditing a well-performing post gives you ideas on what you can replicate to improve upon poor performing posts. Checking back on your content is vital, and making minor edits can drastically improve rankings.

Drive Traffic To Your Website with Content

Content clearly works – it’s driven Social Buddy traffic from less than 10,000 monthly visitors to over 100,000 in only 5 months. This isn’t an isolated incident, however: content can work for a wide variety of websites if you find the right topics and keywords and work to publish helpful, relevant posts. Our content strategy is based on our knowledge of SEO and digital marketing and has brought amazing results.

If you need help with SEO, digital marketing, or content, contact SEO Digital Group. We provide SEO services, website design and landing page creation, content marketing, keyword research, and more. 

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Case Study: BigCommerce SEO

Platform: BigCommerce
Niche: Outdoors Gear & Equipment
Goals: Increase Organic Search Traffic & Revenue
Strategy: Technical SEO, On-page Optimization, Content Optimization

 

About the Campaign

This client sells outdoors gear & equipment online through a BigCommerce website.  They began as a traditional brick and mortar store with one physical location that expanded into e-commerce a few years ago.  Their website had a good start on reputation and authority, but their site structure for categories, products, and some other technical aspects were hurting their organic traffic results from Google.

*We are keeping the client’s business name confidential since we are reveling some revenue numbers.

The Challenges

The website has tens of thousands of product, category, and informational pages.  With a site this large, we can’t just jump in and start doing work.  It is more important for us to analyze the current state and see if we can find some low-hanging fruit to start a path for strategy.

After a technical audit we found thousands of errors which were holding them back from ranking in Google searches.  Some were easier to fix, but for others we needed a developer involved.  They also had someone inexperienced in e-commerce SEO working on the site previously.  There were classic over optimization and keyword stuffing issues throughout the pages.

We were excited about the project after the audit because we knew some technical cleanup would make a big difference.

Summary Results

After a few months of technical SEO and on-page optimization of this client’s website, we were able to significantly increase revenues.  Each month since beginning the campaign, we have noticed continual growth from organic search traffic.  April 2019 was a record breaking month for the business, hitting over $80,000 in online sales.  May is on pace to break that record.

bigcommerce seo revenue analytics monthly

 

Google organic search rankings significantly increased over the first few months of the campaign.  Both category and product pages have increased in rankings and traffic each month.  Our team has been focused on optimizing one category silo at a time before moving to the next.  Below are the changes in keyword positions on Google searches as we improved the pages.

 

bigcommerce search ranking changes

 

What We Learned

The biggest takeaway for our SEO Digital team was that every website and situation is different, even within the same platforms like BigCommerce.  We uncovered a few big technical issues within the setting of the platform and in the way their developers set up the website.  These issues were having a huge impact on the way Google crawled the website and indexed the pages.

Our team has an audit checklist with over 100 items we review on each technical analysis.   It was this list that helped us uncover the top level issues – and  we actually found a few new ones to add to our list based on this project and the BigCommerce platform.

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What is an Algorithm?

You’ve heard the word before, but do you actually know what an algorithm is? Algorithms can sound intense and complicated, but the actual concept of an algorithm is simple. Learn what algorithms are, how they function in your daily life without your notice, and why they’re important to digital marketing.

Algorithm Definition

The Cambridge Dictionary defines algorithm as “a list of instructions for solving a problem”.

Merriam-Webster defines algorithm as “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end.” They also define algorithm as, “a procedure for solving a mathematical problem in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.”

The broadest definition of an algorithm is a set of rules, guidelines, or steps that produce a certain outcome or perform a specific task. While most people are scared off by the very technical sounding word, “algorithm”, at its root it is a simple concept.

The complex side of algorithms comes into play when there are many rules and factors included. Algorithms are commonly used to create complicated computer programs and solve intense mathematical equations. 

What is an Algorithm, Really?

Algorithms really can be any set of steps that complete an action. An algorithm has a finite number of steps, and is meant to solve some problem or achieve a solution of some sort. They are commonly used for calculations, data processing, or other computer and math operations.

Algorithms can manipulate data in various ways, and they are designed to do so to complete a certain task or discover a desired result.

From an everyday standpoint, we all follow algorithms frequently – we just don’t think of them as such. A recipe to bake cookies is an algorithm: you follow steps to complete a goal. Map directions are an algorithm, a set of instructions to guide you to your location. Following any set of instructions is really just following an algorithm.

On the technical side of things, algorithms are more complex. You don’t have to know how every mathematical and computer algorithm works down to the details to understand the concept of algorithms, however. They simply create a set of rules to follow and complete that process to find a result.

Algorithm Examples

There are endless types of algorithms, especially when you consider the fact that any set of instructions constitutes an algorithm. Most people think of intense code and programming when they hear the word algorithm, but there are simple algorithms as well. Here are the basics for the most common types of algorithms:

Computer Algorithms

Algorithms are strongly associated with computer science, and rightly so. Computers run on algorithms to function, performing tasks based on inputs like keystrokes or clicks on specific buttons. For a computer program to work, programmers create algorithms that tell the computer exactly what to do given any specific input.

Just like with any problem in need of a solution, there are many different algorithms that can achieve a certain task. Technology has improved as programmers create more efficient algorithms to solve problems faster, with less computing power, or by taking up less space in terms of memory and storage.

Mathematical Algorithms

Algorithms are also prevalent in mathematical equations. Since math is all about sets of rules, inputs, and answers, every math problem is essentially an algorithm.

Even when you learn basic math in elementary school, you are learning the rules to solve problems and the order that those rules must go in. You likely used algorithms without ever realizing it. Calculators use algorithms to compute answers for us, much like small computers.

Social Media Algorithms

Many people have probably heard of algorithms through discussion of social media algorithms. Social networking sites, like all websites, use algorithms to create their pages and also to display certain information to certain users. These algorithms take data from user experiences to determine what users are interested in.

The Instagram algorithm, for example, is designed to try to keep users on the platform for as long as possible. To accomplish this, their algorithm analyzes your behavior on the site – what kind of posts you like, whose posts you like and engage with, and other factors as well. The algorithm then takes that information and uses it to display content that it has determined to be most likely to interest you.

This algorithm based on your engagement and interests is why, now that Instagram’s feed is not chronological, you may notice that your friends’ posts or those of people that you like always appear higher in your feed.

Algorithms and Digital Marketing

Now that you have a better understanding of what an algorithm is and where it’s applied, you may wonder how it applies to digital marketing.

Since digital marketing is online, algorithms are really at the core of everything – the internet is essentially programmed through many algorithms, and computers are powered by them as well. Social media algorithms play heavily into digital marketing as well, since social media marketing is a huge and ever-growing field of marketing.

When it comes to SEO, algorithms are important to understand. Search engines run on algorithms to determine what results appear for what search queries, and search engines like Google have algorithms that are constantly changing and evolving.

Search Engine Algorithms

Learning how search engines work and how their algorithms display results in response to searches is vital to SEO. Since the point of SEO is optimizing websites for search engines, those algorithms affect the tactics used to get a website to rank in relevant search results.

In the earlier days of SEO, digital marketers used shady tactics, now called black hat SEO, to trick Google and other search engines into ranking their website for certain search terms.

Rather than creating a helpful, well-made website with relevant search engine-optimized content, they would just lace the page with the target keyword over and over, even where it didn’t make sense. This practice of keyword stuffing used to work, but now search engine algorithms have updated and become more complex to filter out spammy websites. 

Search engine algorithms consider a wide variety of factors to produce the results that best answer the search query. SEO experts study this algorithm and learn what works through trial and error, and there are many tactics used to help a website perform better by conforming to the algorithms.

Understanding Algorithms

The concept of algorithms is simple, but many computer and search engine algorithms are much more complex when you get into the nitty gritty. Luckily, SEO professionals can handle the details of optimizing your website for search engine algorithms, so you can focus on your business. If you’re in need of digital marketing assistance or want to learn more, contact SEO Digital Group today.

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