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It’s not enough to ‘write content’. You have to publish resources.

Sometimes, having a great website with great content isn’t enough. Even if you’re doing everything right, you might still fall behind a stronger, faster, better-resourced competitor. In almost every niche, SEO is about more than just improving your site — it’s about beating every other site. If you want to win, you have to do more than put words on pages. To beat your competitors, you have to publish resources. Here’s my take on why, how, and what happens next.

SEO doesn’t happen in a vacuum

To succeed in search, you need to make sure that your website, content, and brand is the best possible fit for your audience’s needs. You need to be discovered, and be chosen. That takes time, effort, and resources.

But you’re not the only one trying to improve your content. Your competitors are also working to improve their websites, pages, and brands. Depending on your niche, and your location, there might be dozens of other companies who can meet your audience’s needs. Or hundreds. Maybe thousands.

Many of those competitors have goals, targets, and teams. Some of them have livelihoods tied to their success. Some of them are huge businesses. None of them are sitting still. They’re all hungry to win.

But when a user in your niche searches, Google will only surface content from a tiny fraction of those businesses. An even smaller number of results will get clicked. In many cases, there’ll only be one winner.

So, even if you follow all of the best SEO advice in the world, you may still lose to competitors who have better websites, better content, and stronger brands. Perhaps they spend more time, money and resources on improving their SEO than you ever could. And if that’s the case, then the gap is only going to get wider over time.

In competitive niches, SEO is about more than just improving your site – it’s about beating your competitors. It’s a fight for survival.

To win, you have to stand out from the crowd. You have to do more than just write more posts, and optimize more pages. To win, you have to publish resources.

Good content might not be good enough

Since the early days of online marketing, we’ve had a relatively level playing field when it came to content. One of the great things about the internet is that small businesses can compete with giants in the search results, just by writing compelling, relevant, useful information around their areas of expertise.

In some cases, small, local, independent site owners can beat a big business and national chains by writing authentic, passionate, content about their craft. We see lots of examples where users (and therefore Google) reward their compelling product information, detailed how-to guides, and blog posts, over the often generic information produced by larger or less personable companies.

But that’s not always the case. Words can be bought. Money can be spent, at scale, to shortcut the challenges of writing and publishing quality content. Mass-production and outsourcing of content production is a common practice for larger, well-resourced organizations. It’s often the case that the larger the company, the more resource they have to write pages (even if they outsource the work), and they drown out other websites.

That means that whether you’re a blogger, a baker, a beekeeper, or even a big business, it’s not enough to ‘be good’, or to ‘do SEO’. Your pages, your posts and your content has to compete with everyone in your sector, and you have to beat all of them.

To win, you must solve searcher problems

It’s a helpful mental model assume that each keyword (or keyphrase) you want to rank for represents at least one question, and that many of those questions represent needs, desires or problems.

To be discovered, and to win for that search, you need to have the best page on the internet for helping users to solve their particular problem.

But what does that mean? How is that different from normal SEO advice, which tells you to “write great content”?

To make this practical, we’re going to need an example.

Introducing Emily

Emily runs a local, independent interior design business. She wants to grow her audience and her sales, so she uses SEO as a marketing channel.

A woman sitting on a sofa, holding a laptop, looking at and smiling into the camera.
Emily, our imaginary interior design expert and website owner.

For the last year, she’s spent a few hours per week writing blogs post about her latest projects, and describing her products and services. Traffic to her site has grown steadily, because of the hard work she’s done optimizing her site and her content.

But now her growth is starting to plateau. She’s sees bigger competitors outranking her, and, she’s not sure what she needs to do to move the needle.

A problem of saturation

The core of her problem is that she’s already reached everybody in her addressable market. She’s already ranking for local searches (like “interior design company [city]“), and, for people who look for her business specifically. But she’s nowhere to be seen for broader or more generic searches around her products and services (like for the keyphrase, “living room layout advice“).

To understand why, we need to think about the intent behind the way in which her audiences search, and the problems those people have.

Let’s take the keyphrase “fitted cupboards“, for example. A searcher who has typed this into Google may actually mean “how much do fitted cupboards cost?“, or, “what’s the difference between a fitted cupboard and a normal cupboard?“, or even, “what kinds of fitted cupboards are there, which might work in my home?“. All of these questions represent a singular problem — that the searcher isn’t an expert in the market, and they don’t know what their options are.

In the real world, it’s rare for people to just decide to buy some furniture, then act. It’s more likely that they’ll start by searching with questions about types, colors, materials, and other topics. They do research, and try to understand their options.

A mismatch between her content, and her audience’s needs

The product pages and blog posts which Emily has been writing are designed to showcase her products and her experience; they’re not designed to answer those kinds of questions. They’re probably not “the best pages on the internet” for users who’re trying to understand their options.

Most of the people searching in this ‘research phase’ aren’t ready to buy yet, so Google is unlikely to show many product pages or stores in its results. It’ll favor informational resources, guides and media.

Emily’s pages are unlikely to be discovered by people who are asking those kinds of questions. Google will return the websites of competitors, household furniture chains, or media giants like Pinterest — sites which either spend more time and money on SEO and content than her, or, which provide types of content, advice and media which she doesn’t.

When those people do know what they want or need, and are ready to spend, it’ll be too late for Emily. Many will already have found inspiration, solutions, or other businesses in the sites and channels they moved through. They’ll have solved their problems without ever getting as far as searching for a specific local business, or encountering Emily’s website.

So, how can she compete?

As an expert in her subject, she’s better positioned to answer the questions — and solve the problems — of her audience better than many her competitors. But to do this, she’ll have to produce a different type of content. She’ll need to make something much deeper, more interesting, more engaging, and more useful than her current pages.

For example, the simplest version of this might be a guide which answers all of these questions, and which does so better than any other competing resource. That might mean writing long-form content, producing videos, creating an interactive tool, or some combination of each of these.

A resource like this is much much more likely to get the links, shares and engagement — which she needs to grow her visibility — than her day-to-day content.

The best version of this, most likely to transform her visibility, rankings and business, would be a piece of ‘10x content‘ — a resource at least ten times better than the current best result for her target keywords. In Emily’ interior design niche, that might be a rich, interactive, media-heavy browsing experience — something much more than just a textual product guide.

A chart visualising the effort vs quality ratio of 10x content, depicting that the minimum effort required to rank highly is somewhere between "professional writer over a day or two" and "The best thing we can create".
Image credit: ceralytics.com

Of course, regardless of the scale of her ambition, she still needs to think about SEO. The content production process should start with keyword research, and still needs to get all of the basics right. But, unlike her day-to-day content, she needs to go above-and-beyond in making sure that it comprehensively answers all of her audience’s questions.

If she creates something genuinely good, useful and helpful, then it stands a chance to earn the links, social amplification, and positive user signals that it needs in order to outperform the competition.

She must create content with different objectives

Until now, most of Emily’s content has been written with the intent to rank for a relevant keyword, then to try and convince the visitor that her products and services are the best choice for them.

But the objective of this new type of content isn’t to convince people to buy — it’s to make a resource which users will bookmark, link to, and share with their friends when they have problems. Remember, the majority of this audience isn’t ready or willing to buy — they’re still asking questions and learning about their options.

So, for this different kind of content, she needs to be much more impartial. Answering the questions of her audience means not trying to sell to them, and not trying to convince them that her products the best answer to their questions.

Instead, she has to genuinely help her audience, and provide them with the best answers. Sometimes that might mean helping them to solve their own problem without her, or, even sending them to competitors.

It doesn’t matter that those visitors don’t buy from her, or even if they’re not her core audience. Because over time, the links and citations she her content gets not only help her SEO, but they also grow her brand awareness. Then, when users reach the point when they’re ready to buy, they’re much more likely to think of her, or recommend her.

Solving problems is resource intensive

Creating this kind of content takes huge amounts of time, research, energy and expertise. It might mean that, instead of spending an hour writing a page, you need to spend ten, or a hundred hours. Maybe even more.

That’s a big ask, and not just in terms of the hours of writing. It’s not enough just to write more, because an enormous wall of text likely isn’t a good answer for your audiences. Creating something truly useful and valuable means doing more than writing a page.

To win, you must craft and publish a resource, like one of these examples of 10x content.

An image of the https://www.howacarworks.com/ homepage.
This incredible, multi-page guide to how cars work is a great example of ’10x content’

Because, chances are, at least one of your competitors already has. They’re already winning the hearts and minds of consumers in your niche — consumers who’ll no longer search for, and find your website. And they’re getting links, social shares and traction which pushes them further and further ahead in the search results.

If you want to grow, you have to create this kind of content.

If you represent a small business, or independent site owner, this undoubtedly sounds like an unrealistic requirement – especially given that these pieces are often the work of more than one person. You’ll need input from designers, developers, writers, subject matter experts and more, otherwise, you content might fall flat.

That’s a lot of work, right? Well, maybe not.

It’s only a lot of work if you’re doing it from scratch

In the examples I’ve referenced, one of the common themes is that these pieces often don’t look, feel, or behave like conventional text-on-a-page content. They have structure, layout, and design components.

That’s often one of the scariest, and most resource-intensive requirements for publishing these kinds of pages.

blur pattern line paper close up brand designer font focus sketch drawing design logo diagram handwriting detail document wireframe mockup
10x content often requires complex, sophisticated layouts and page structures

Until recently, this was one of the largest barriers which prevented smaller and independent content creators from taking on their better-resourced competitors.

But as the tools available to us continue to become more powerful, intuitive and accessible, this kind of content can become a lot less challenging to produce.

The continued evolution of WordPress is making it easier for content producers to construct more complex, sophisticated layouts, without needing development resources.

You still need to do the hard work thinking up and authoring the content, but the construction part of the process is getting easier and easier. In fact, we may not be away far from a time when the technical resource required to publish 10x content goes away entirely, and the playing field between small and large business becomes just a little bit more level.

Cue, Gutenberg

WordPress’ new ‘block editor’ has caused waves and divisions within the community.

The premise is that, rather than writing in a big content editor, you compose your content from blocks. Blocks structure and contain content, and can also have styling/presentation settings.

Love it or hate it, it’s important to understand that Gutenberg is rapidly becoming the backbone of a new era of structured content publishing. Even beyond WordPress, Gutenberg is being adopted as the de-facto content editing experience on the web.

Why is this relevant to us? Because, Gutenberg is (the early stages of) a framework which will make the production of 10x content cheap enough, fast enough, and easy enough to enable everybody to compete on equal footing.

The 'Row Layout' tool in WordPress' block editor
Block editor features like the column selection tool enables authors to structure their content more easily

One of the most common objections to adopting WordPress’ new editor is that people say they like to just write. The added complexity of thinking about blocks, structure and layout – of composing a page, rather than just writing it – is an imposition.

That’s fine, if you’re writing just for enjoyment.
But if you want to grow your visibility, grow your audience and rank higher in the search results, then your content needs to compete.

If you’re going to beat everybody else in the search results, you need to do more than just ‘write pages’. You have to use every opportunity, and structuring your content with blocks is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Instead of just writing, you must compose. You must consider the structure, layout, design and flow of the stories you tell, and publish resources. Gutenberg gives you the tools to do this (and when it doesn’t, chances are that there’s a block plugin which will).

What about other page builders?

Gutenberg isn’t the only tool which allows you to structure content. Other extremely popular page builder plugins (like Site Builder and Elementor) provide similar functionality.

But each of these (and many other) products will increasingly find themselves ‘reinventing the wheel’, as the WordPress editor’s core capabilities begin to deliver the same kind of functionality.

At some point, these tools will likely need to reinvent themselves, and become an interface layer on top of Gutenberg. That’ll be necessary if they want their content and structure to integrate seamlessly with other plugins, and, if they want to produce the kinds of structured data which will power the search engine results pages of the future.

It won’t matter which design tools you’re using to compose and lay out your content; the back-end will all be powered by the block editor, and you’ll need to shift from writing to publishing with blocks.

Changing roles and workflows

Switching from writing to publishing is a big leap. It means changes to processes, mindsets, and skill sets.

It won’t be enough to just write, to ‘just be a writer’. If you’re trying to grow your visibility, you’ll need move out of your comfort zone and consider layout, user experience and design.

Your writing environment will need to shift from starting in Microsoft Word or Google Docs (then pasting your content into WordPress), to working directly into the editor. Because you’ll need to compose the structure and layout of the content as it’s written, as part of a combined, iterative process. It’ll be hard to produce a 10x resource if either the structure or the content is added an afterthought. Your words, and how you present them, need to be considered in parallel.

All of this represents a difficult shift in workflow; most good writing happens when a person is ‘in the zone’, and distraction-free. Having to write and consider layout together is a complex process; but it’s what it’ll take to beat your competitors. We’ll need to re-train ourselves to take advantage of these new opportunities.

All of this may feel understandably uncomfortable. It’s a huge disruption to how we currently write and publish content. But competition will drive change; as other site owners take advantage of these tools, you may be left behind if you choose not to.

“This isn’t fair”

If you just want to write great content, that’s fine. You’ll still be able to reach, help and convert your audiences.

But if you want to grow your reach in a competitive market, but really don’t want to think about blocks and layout, you’ll have to over-invest heavily in other areas of SEO in order to attract, convince and convert audiences — because your website and content will feel comparatively bland to your audience, when held up against your competitors’.

This isn’t necessarily fair. If you have the best product or service in the market, but you can’t (or choose not to) invest in creating rich, ‘top of funnel’ problem-solving content, then, you’re going to struggle to compete against people who do.

In a perfect world, you’d rank first, automatically. But Google is an imperfect system, and it relies on content — and the ways in which users interact with it — as a proxy for quality. That’s unlikely to change any time soon; so for now, you must play by their rules.

What’s next?

If you’re reading this post, you have an advantage over many of your competitors. Chances are that you have a WordPress website, and that you’re familiar with the Gutenberg editor.

That gives you a head start.

Take this opportunity to think about what publishing resources might mean for your content, website or business.

Master the block editor, using advanced layout tools like groups and columns.

Explore new approaches to writing and content production, which bake the design of the piece into its ideation and production.

Surprise and delight your audiences with rich, interactive, problem-solving content, which makes them remember, prefer and recommend you.

Grow your visibility, your rankings, your traffic, and your revenue.

Get there first, because if you don’t, your competitors will.

Let us know how you get on?

The post It’s not enough to ‘write content’. You have to publish resources. appeared first on Yoast.

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Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO

This is a 2 part series written in conjunction with Aktify.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

Growing one’s business and leads are two of the top goals of every businessperson. Lead growth and business growth go hand-in-hand. You won’t get one without the other. Many business owners, particularly start-ups think business and lead growth begin with the salespeople making phone calls. This view of building a business is outdated and unsuccessful.

While the good old telemarketing phone calls are still around, most communication happens online. Computers and smartphones grant people 24/7 access to information and each other. If your sales team isn’t complimenting their phone calling with online communication via email, social media and SEO, you won’t be growing your business or number of leads well any time soon.

The acronym SEO in the last sentence may have caught your attention. What does search engine optimization have to do with leads and growing one’s business? In short, a whole lot.

With the readily accessibility to the Internet, users expect to find information and answers to their questions immediately. Websites provide the content containing this information users are hurriedly looking for. However, there are millions of websites out there on the Internet and not all of them appear in search results. Only the ones deemed most relevant and credible appear. After all a user is in a hurry to get specific information so they don’t want to waste their time reading irrelevant website content.

This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in. Behind every search query typed in by a user, a Google SEO or search engine robot indexes and collects data from every website published on the web. Spiders crawl websites looking for keywords that match or are related to the words used in a user’s search query. The search engine robot uses a formula to then rank certain webpages in the search results that are seen by the user.

In search engine marketing, ranking is important. Every internet marketing company strives to get their own website and the websites of their clients to the coveted #1 search result position.

Why is ranking important? Well, going back to the previous points of 24/7 Internet access and people’s expectations for immediate answers and information, the first handful of search results will be read while those on the following pages will likely be ignored. After all, who is going to click through multiple websites when their time is precious and short?

It is only through implementing  a good online marketing with SEO optimization of one’s website that there is a greater chance of your website receiving one of these top rankings and thereby increased website visitors and possible leads and customers.

SEO not only brings more traffic to your website, but it also attracts quality leads who are interested in your brand, product or service.

Start tracking your keyword rankings with a serp ranking tool to monitor the results of your SEO efforts.

If search engine optimization is a foreign concept for you, it can be overwhelming as to know where to start and what to do. Here are some simple SEO tactics you can start to implement in order to catch the attention of search engine robots and gain a higher, more visible search results ranking:

  • Utilize Keywords

An excellent starting point for an SEO strategy is the implementation of keywords. When you set up an account with Google Search Console, you  can access a handy keyword tool where you can find which industry or niche specific keywords, keyword phrases and keyword groupings to target and implement throughout the content on your website. When determining which keywords to target, look for ones with lower search volume, but high monthly searches.  Those with lower search volumes mean they aren’t as competitive so your company has a better chance of ranking for them.

You may be tempted to go after broad, short keywords and phrases, but so will everyone else. When you decide to target long-tailed keywords (keywords or keyword phrases that contain more words that are also more specific), your website’s chances of getting ranked increase and the people who find and visit your site will be more likely to be interested in your product or service.

  • Write Good Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the one or two line blurb that appears under the clickable web page heading. It gives a brief description of what that specific page is about. The length of the meta description has been lengthened  from 160 to 300 characters. Meta descriptions longer than this are truncated, which is something to avoid. Meta descriptions are to be short and concise. They are also prime places to insert some of your targeted keywords. When writing meta descriptions, think of the web user and the questions he or she may be asking when they are conducting a search. Let your meta description be your answer to one of their questions.

  • Make Your Website Mobile Responsive

More people now browse the Internet on their smartphones than on a desktop or laptop computer. You likely have noticed the difference in screen size between a smartphone and a computer. Websites that aren’t mobile responsive will fit the screen size of a desktop or laptop computer, but won’t shrink to fit the small screen of a smartphone. The result is an ugly, hard to navigate website when a user uses his or her smartphone.

Search engines, like Google don’t like unhappy Internet users and since mobile responsiveness is a big deal  for user experience that it is now a ranking factor in its search ranking algorithm.

By having a website that is mobile friendly you not only satisfy search engines and possibly get a boost in search results rankings, but you’ll also give your site visitors a pleasant experience.

  • Get Active on Google Business Listings

Google My Business (GMB) is a great way for local businesses to get listed online. With GMB, businesses are listed on Google maps with directions, a summary of the company’s products and services, the company’s address, telephone, hours of operation, pictures, reviews and a link to the company’s website.

To take advantage of GMB, one must “claim” their business. The provided business summary section is another prime place for inserting keywords. Here, however, try and implement local keyword phrases like “hair salon in X city.”

Reviews are also crucial. Aim to generate as many positive reviews as you can. With people conducting more business transactions online without interacting with the company, reviews are an invaluable way to gauge whether someone should work with a company or make a purchase from a business. Online users making their first purchase from a business will automatically read reviews about the company first.

  • Regularly Produce Quality, Optimized Content

While it is great to include keywords in the URLs, titles, meta descriptions and images used on each page of your website, a blog where one regularly publishes fresh, informative content is the sweet spot to implement keywords. Search engines also look for fresh, new content that would provide users with useful information that they are looking for. Blog posts provide users with relevant, informative, interesting content as well as places where you can implement keywords and links. Consistent blogging also shows web users and search engines that you’re a credible  and reputable source of information which goes a long way in boosting your website’s search results ranking.

Your blogs should be written in a way that is easy to read and understand and be free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and contain a call to action or some form of engagement with the reader. When blogging, some things to be aware of include link bait and buying, keyword stuffing and plagiarism. Only insert relevant links from other credible websites into your blog posts, don’t excessively use the same targeted keywords and make sure your blog content is 100% unique and original. Website visitors and search engines will thank you.

  • Share Your Wealth of Knowledge Through Guest Posting

With guest posting, you write a blog post which is then published on another website. This is a great way for your blog content to get more exposure and more visits to your website. If your blog post is published on a reputable site within your industry, the credibility and reputation of your own website will get a boost which will catch the attention of search engines who in turn may reward your website with a higher search results ranking.

Ideally, guest posting should go two ways where you agree to publish someone else’s blog post on your site in exchange for them posting your blog post on their website. This is the best, and most ethical way to exchange links as well.

  • Improve Your Website’s Speed

Web users expect to get what they’re looking for almost immediately. They are not going to sit around and wait a minute or two for a website to load. Instead, they will immediately go to another website. Site speed is also a factor search engine robots use in awarding search results rankings. Some ways to improve the loading speed of your website include allowing caching, compressing the size of images and videos, remove unnecessary plugins and scripts and have a reliable web host.

  • Optimize Your Images

While most visitors to your website will have no problem seeing your images, those who are blind as well as search engines will be unable to view them. Search engines are computers and only read text and numbers. Blind visitors can have a description of the image read to them. To make it possible for everyone, including search engines to “see” your website images, an ALT tag is used. These are brief descriptions of a few words telling what the image depicts. It is a good idea to implement keywords in the ALT descriptions. With keyword rich ALT descriptions, your  website will appear more relevant to search engines.

Implementing SEO onto your company’s website can greatly grow your business and leads. It can be tedious and take time to see an improvement in search results page listing rank. The algorithm, or formula used by search results robots change frequently so it is important to constantly monitor your website’s SEO tactics and to continually adjust them.

While the basic search engine optimization tactics make for a good foundation and are easy to implement, it can be a challenge to keep it up. SEO isn’t a “one and done” thing. It requires constant maintenance and adjustments over multiple years. For many small and medium sized businesses, this can be more than what they can handle while also trying to manage the day-to-day operations of their businesses. As a result, many choose to hire an experienced, outside digital marketing company to handle and oversee their website’s SEO.

If you’re in this latter group and need help with your website’s SEO, be sure to check us out at SEO.com. We are an SEO company made of experienced internet marketers in the areas of web development, PPC, SEO, social media marketing, remarketing and content marketing. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help your website’s SEO generate more leads and grow your business.

SEO can help grow your business by attracting leads to your website. Once the leads are obtained, the sales team must take them through your sales funnel to convert them into paying customers. Some leads, however, become stagnant, or dead. These dead leads, however can be revived through products and services that help with sales funnel management like those by Aktify. SEO combined with platforms to revive dead leads like Aktify can help your business grow by leaps and bounds.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

The post Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO appeared first on SEO.com.

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Throwback: Old Online Trends That Have Gone Stale

If you work in any technology-based company or sector, you know things are always changing. What was standard practice and trendy and new one day or week becomes outdated and ineffective the next. As SEO trends constantly come and go, one simply can’t afford to not change. It is a company’s flexibility and ability to accept and support constant change that often succeeds.

If you’re interested in entering the technology field or you’re returning to the industry after a long break, here are some of the old online trends to avoid. You’ll notice these trends were once the accepted but have since grown stale and have fallen by the wayside:

Music Playing Website

 

As if hold music or elevator music wasn’t bearable, there was a time when companies welcomed visitors to their website with this awful, outdated music. This old online trend quickly became a no-no as website visitors quickly left a site.

“Click Here!” Linked Buttons

 

These forms of old online trends are still heavily used even though they aren’t as effective as other types of linked text. Web users now are in a hurry and want context to what kind of website a text link will take them to. The generic “click here” doesn’t tell the busy web user what the linked page is about and whether they would benefit by clicking through to it.

Long Sales Letters

 

There are multiple reasons the long sales letters disappeared. The largest two reasons being the fact that print is now largely out of date, being replaced with everything digitally, and the other being the short patience and attention spans of busy consumers who don’t want to read long text.

Buying Links

 

While a good link building campaign still has value today, the link building process has changed. The old online trend of buying links was common practice, but that technique of getting links is a serious no-no that violates SEO ethics and best practice today. Before buying links was a thing, anyone could link to whatever and however many of external pages as they liked. This caught the attention of Google, the largest search engine who put a stop to this form of link spamming with its Penguin algorithm. Since then it’s become important to consider where you’re linking to and the authority of that site.Linking to quality sites gains credibility for your site as well as the trust of Google and web users. Instead of buying links, it is acceptable to “trade” for links via guest posting and blogging outreach.

Yellow Page Advertising

 

Back in the day, the “Yellow Pages,” or phone book was delivered to each home. It contained a large, local business directory. If you needed a company’s phone number, hours, location or briefly see what they specialized in, you would look it up in the “Yellow Pages.” In addition to basic business information, some businesses would grab reader’s attention through sprinkling ads throughout the phone book. These old online trends was a good idea then. Now, however, with the widespread use and accessibility of the computer and Internet and smartphones, people now have immediate access to the same vital business information on the go.

Keyword Stuffing

 

In the past, SEO specialists and programmers were overzealous in their use of keywords. The use of keywords in a piece of content made it hard to read and understand. This caught the eye of Google who implemented the Panda algorithm to put a stop to the practice. The use of keywords in online content is still important today, but, now inserting an amount of keywords exceeding 3% of the content is looked down upon.

Artsy and Hard to Read Fonts

 

With all the websites out there, people use to use a variety of ridiculous fonts such as comic sans and papyrus to show the unique style and personality of the brand. However, these fonts were also distracting and

hard to read. Now, its more professional and credible to use an easy to read font such as a Times New Roman or Calibri and avoid the old online trend of overly artsy fonts.

Phony Stock Photos

 

While numerous organizations and companies still use stock photos on their websites and printed collateral, the stock photos of today are vastly better than their predecessors. The use of staged, grainy obviously noticeable stock photos are unpopular as these old online trends lower a brand’s credible perception.

Distracting Websites

 

Back in the day an overly busy website was seen as a way to impress the website visitor, make one’s website memorable in the sea of millions of other websites. Little did developers know how distracting and confusing these old online trends made their website. Today, developers are more focused on the user’s experience. This has resulted in an easy-to navigate, simplistic, yet creative looking websites.

Print Media

 

Print media has seen a similar to the demise of the “Yellow Pages” and phone book advertising. While print media is till widely used in advertising and in journalism, many consumers access information online via the internet on their smartphones. With the popularity of online media, many advertisers and news outlets have developed digital copies of their content.

Whether you’re an “old school” SEOer who has resisted changing with the times or you’re a new SEO specialist, avoid these common old online trends. They will keep you living in the “dark ages” and prevent you from seeing results in your company’s SEO strategies and campaigns.

If you’re a business owner and aren’t familiar with SEO and its current best practices, contact the specialists at SEO.com. We are a full-service internet marketing firm helping businesses both large and small with all aspects of their online presence.  Our staff has been in the industry for numerous years and know the current SEO online trends.  Contact us today to learn how we can help update your SEO strategy to be in alignment with current online trends.

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Spring Clean Your Website

Spring is often associated with a fresh, new, clean start and a renewed sense of life. For many, this getting rid of the old and in with the new takes on the form of spring cleaning.  While you may be thinking about the house, why not think of refreshing and reviving your business’ website?  After all, your website is your business’ presence online and is the first interaction customers have with your company.

Does your website accurately display your company’s character, personality and culture? Is it current and up to date?

Like your home, you may acquire a different taste in décor and choose to go beyond cleaning to overhauling a room’s look. Spring is a great time to do the same for your business website.

There are some things to consider when spring cleaning your website:

 

Update Content and Information

 

Does the content of your website still embody your company’s personality and mission? Is your last blog post or “news” item from a year or two ago? Is the company contact information and personnel biographies current?

Nothing is more boring or unprofessional looking as a website that is full of outdated, incorrect information. Additionally, consider adding regular blog posts so your site. This can give your site a constant stream of fresh content that piques the interest of customers and catches the attention of search engines.

For e-commerce websites with online ordering and a catalogue of products, make sure the description for each product is correct and updated. Be sure to display current inventory, not discontinued items.

Test Out the Website’s Usability

 

Is your website easy to navigate and do all the internal links work? If not, site visitors will be quick to leave. It is also a good idea to check if your website is compatible on different devices such as phones and tablets. Also, look through all the content for grammar, spelling, punctuation errors and industry jargon. The tone and style of the content should be consistent on each webpage and should reflect the image and personality of the brand.

A website that looks nice and is easy to use increases the time visitors spend on the website, whereby increasing their chance of converting.

Give it a Fresh Look

 

Like your personal home décor preferences, your business will undergo a brand refresh to update and freshen its look to match its evolving personality. The frequency of this change can also be attributed to the preferences of a business’ targeted customers and the industry a business is in.

When undergoing a brand or website redesign, it’s a good idea to work with a professional website designer as they  know their way around the colors and font styles and sizes and their emotional and psychological effects. He or she will know which complimentary colors should be incorporated as well as the appropriate website design and layout for the look and feel of one’s brand and the personality it wants its website visitors to experience.

In addition to changing up the layout, typography and color scheme, also consider adding new photos (that are optimized) along with fresh content. Adding an events calendar and current news can also revive the appearance of a bland website.

Make Sure the Links Work

 

Outdated or broken links can can lower your business’ credible, trustworthy, professional appearance. If the internal and external links point to pages that are either outdated or no longer exist, your page’s SEO and online visibility can suffer. One should check out each link on their website frequently and regularly.

Make Sure Third Party Website Apps and Extensions Work

 

Are your company’s social media and RSS feeds properly linked and connected to your website? Are third party on-page analytics trackers up and running? Is the spam filter on your blog post comments turned on or should you disallow all commenting on old blog posts to avoid spam? If your business has an app, does it work properly? If the third party apps and extensions installed on your website  fail to work properly, you miss out on  taking the biggest online advantage you have, making your content shareable, and valuable analytics information about your website users and their behavior and interaction with your website. Without these analytics data, it is hard to assess the areas of improvement.

Evaluate and Clarify Your Site’s Call-to-Actions

 

Are the calls to action (CTA) of each page of your website obvious and clear? If it isn’t noticeable or clear, website visitors won’t know what action to take which can lead to missed conversions, purchases and e-newsletter subscriptions. When people come to your site, they not only want to quickly find the information they are looking for, but they also want to be told what to do with the information you provide.

Renew or Re-evaluate the Domain Name and Web Hosting Plan

 

It’s always a good idea to look at your website hosting plan each year as many plans require annual renewal. Did the hosting provider take care of any or all the glitches of your website? Did they provide adequate website protection? Were they responsive and easy to work with? Did prices go up or do you feel like you’re overpaying for service? Your website can’t function without a hosting provider. You need to be sure the one you choose is skilled, experienced, trustworthy, responsive and are comfortable to work with.

Similarly, yearly evaluation of your website’s domain is also a good idea. Does it clearly communicate the company’s name and targeted keywords? Is it catchy, concise and memorable? If you’re overhauling a company re-brand, will the current domain name fit the new brand identity and personality?

Spring is a great time to clean up your website and bring new life into your business. This entails ensuring that your website functions correctly, that it is easy to navigate and that the content is accurate and current. Besides being easy to use and fun to interact with, one’s website may be in need of redesign and a new look.

Whether you’re undergoing a major re-branding or simply want to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, the professionals at SEO.com can help. We are a full-service digital marketing company with professional developers, website designers, content and SEO specialists and PPC professionals. Contact us today to learn more about we can help you in your website spring cleaning.

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