28/02/22 Content Marketing , SEO # ,

Bad SEO Practices That Can Kill Your Ranking in 2022

bad seo practices banner image

One of the most impactful strategies for business success is search engine optimization (SEO). Every day, there are 3.4 million searches conducted on Google alone. Since you’re competing with around 1.8 billion other websites to attract viewers’ attention, it’s critical that you do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Part of that strategy is knowing what bad SEO practices can kill your search engine ranking placements (SERPs) and avoiding them at all costs.

When done well, SEO increases brand visibility, drives traffic to your site, and boosts conversion rates. Good SEO is a powerful tool for attracting the right audience and generating revenue for your small business. By avoiding SEO killers, you can ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to provide a positive user experience and catch the eye of consumers and search engines alike. This can help secure you higher SEO rankings and drive overall business success.

Why are Good SEO Techniques Important?

There was a time when all consumers cared about was finding the best product at the lowest price. Now, with the advent of the internet and a wealth of information at their fingertips, today’s consumers are much more discerning. They’re able to conduct their own research, read about other shoppers’ firsthand experiences with brands and products, and make informed decisions about the product that most effectively meets their needs. Today’s consumers are looking for answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, and timely, accurate information to help influence their buying decisions.

This means that today’s companies must create quality content that resonates with their audience. The more valuable a website is to online users, the more likely search engines are to suggest those companies to their users. After all, the goal of search engines is to be a helpful resource delivering original content to their audience so those people will return in the future. To do this, they must provide valuable results that answer questions and solve problems.

By creating valuable content and delivering a positive user experience, you can earn higher SERPs. This is important because it helps to increase your visibility. Research shows that 75% of people don’t look past the first page of Google’s listings. If you can’t secure a high website ranking, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

How Does SEO Work?

To maximize your business opportunities, it’s essential to understand how SEO works, and it’s essentially achieved through five main steps.

1. Create Original Content

You must first create tailored content that users will find beneficial. Through research, you can understand who your audience is—this includes their needs, pain points, expectations, and what kinds of words and phrases they’re using to search for products and services like yours. You also ensure your website delivers a positive user experience with fast load times and intuitive navigation.

2. Search Engines Crawl Your Web Pages

Search engines use bots and spiders to “crawl” your web pages when you post your content. This scanning process helps them gain an understanding of your pages’ content. They’ll start with web pages, then explore links to other material. Content could include blog articles, downloadable files, PDFs, and social media posts.

7 bad seo practices infographic

3. Link Acquisition

Backlinks are a powerful tool for SEO, but there’s a right and wrong way to do link building. When another reputable site in your field links to your site—thus broadening your reach, expanding your audience, and helping to build credibility—you’ve established a quality link. Backlinks can be obtained through various means, from guest posting on another site to contacting commenters and working out a link exchange. 

It takes a lot of time and effort to ‘win’ a backlink, so hiring an experienced SEO agency you can trust is the safest way to build quality links to your website’s pages. The key here is that these backlinks must be authentic.

Another reason why having your SEO agency acquire links for you is that, because of their experience, they know exactly which kinds of links will be most beneficial to your ROI. Non-spammy, quality links will keep you from being penalized by Google’s webspam team.

4. Outdated Content

Even the best-written posts need to be updated over time. Viewers look to your website for current, accurate information, and research and data are constantly changing. Third-party websites continually update their content, which means your links to their sites may have changed. To ensure you’re providing the most beneficial information and the best user experience possible, it’s critical that you avoid hosting outdated content.

Technical errors like broken internal links or pages not found are frustrating for web users, and if left uncorrected, they can cause other issues to accumulate, signaling to search engines that you aren’t providing valuable content. Take time to review your older content marketing efforts and ensure it still contains the most up-to-date information possible. This will help build trust among your audience and set you apart from businesses that aren’t maintaining this key aspect of their SEO strategy.

5. Keyword Stuffing

Before the main focus of SEO turned to content and user experience, keywords were huge in matching with the right searches. As a result, people would try to cram as many specific keywords into their content as possible to boost their chances of aligning with more queries. Known as keyword stuffing, this practice is now highly frowned upon in the world of SEO, qualifying it as an SEO killer in 2022.

Two things happen when too many keywords are stuffed into one piece of content. First, the content often doesn’t make sense as the keywords take over the focus of the material. Quality is jeopardized, and the information no longer aims to solve the user’s problems but rather to trick the search engine algorithms. This leads to reader frustration, damaging the business’s credibility and reputation.

Second, search engines pick up on this tactic and see how little value this content brings to readers. Therefore, those sites are penalized with low rankings and fewer indexes. This reduces visibility, damages confidence, and dissuades people from conducting business with those companies. Today’s web content must be written for the reader, not the search engine.

6. Cloaking

When users click on a link, they visit a site expecting to find specific content. Cloaking is when a company intentionally shows one kind of content to search engines and something entirely different to human visitors. This tactic is used to disguise or hide information so search engine crawlers won’t discover things like excessive ads, generated content, or paid links. 

Cloaking is highly frustrating to online users and typically deters them from visiting that site again. While it might help increase click-through rates (while people try to locate the information they thought they would see), it definitely reduces customer loyalty and damages any chance of building a lasting relationship for future purchases.

Search engines don’t just dislike this SEO mistake; it’s in direct violation of Google’s SEO guidelines. Search engines want to deliver results that meet expectations. If they recommend a site for clothing that actually sells automobiles, users will be dissatisfied and blame the search engine for the poor result match. Cloaking is an SEO killer that creates a bad experience for everyone involved.

7. Negative User Experience (UX)

A website’s intuitive navigation is essential because so much of today’s successful SEO is all about providing a positive user experience. When a shopper walks into a brick-and-mortar store and sees products strewn around the floor, no signage to guide them, and no clerks to ask for help, chances are they’ll leave pretty quickly. A business website is very much the same. Jumbled products, incorrect information, and hard-to-read text can be a huge turn-off for potential customers.

Make sure your website uses a clean layout with an overarching theme to help an audience identify crucial information. Prominent clearly labeled call-to-action (CTA) buttons direct people where to go. A chat feature or customer service contact information instills confidence in getting the answers they need before committing to a purchase.

Webmasters should break up content into brief paragraphs that are easy to digest. All links should direct people to the right place and deliver current information. By making your site intuitive and easy to navigate, your audience will feel comfortable browsing, shopping, and converting to customers.

Enlist an SEO Expert

SEO is a crucial part of any business’s digital marketing strategy. Best Dallas SEO offers expert digital marketing and SEO consulting to help you understand how SEO works and what bad SEO practices to avoid. Let us help you maximize your SEO efforts by providing a top-notch user experience, driving quality traffic to your site, and boosting revenue. 

Contact us today for a free SEO audit.

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06/07/21 Content Marketing # , ,

Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From Marvel Film Reboots

Captain America from Marvel

Marvel Studios has grown into a force to be reckoned with. Through innovative marketing strategies, they have developed a fan base that is dedicated and unwavering. When Marvel movies are released, they are packed and often sold out. Here are three marketing lessons any business owner can learn from Marvel Studios’ marketing campaigns. 

1) Plan Ahead

Early on, Marvel Studios planned out the phases of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). They did this because the series of 24 films, as of July 2021, are all interwoven. Each film builds upon the ones previously released, featuring call back jokes and a continuation in story lines. 

One of the most notable examples of this is in Captain America: Winter Soldier. About halfway into the movie, the Winter Soldier’s mask falls off during an epic fight scene. A scene that involves the famous Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. At that moment, long-standing fans recognized who the Winter Soldier was: Captain America’s best friend, Bucky Barnes. This was a major plot twist since we all thought Bucky Barnes was dead in Captain America: The First Avenger. 

Furthermore, at the end of Winter Soldier, there’s a fight scene between Captain America and Bucky Barnes in which Captain America refuses to hurt Bucky. Captain America tells him “I’m with you to the end of the line.” This was another call back to the first film, when Bucky tells Steve Rogers (before he’s transformed into Captain America) the same thing as a show of support after Rogers’ mother’s funeral. 

Marketers can take the success of these strategies, and put them to work for their own clients. With three years between the release of these highly successful films, it’s indisputable how successful this meticulous planning is because the box office performance of both films shows the growth in popularity with consumers. Captain America: The First Avenger grossed $370.5M worldwide, while Captain America: Winter Soldier grossed $714.2M worldwide. Winter Soldier performed nearly twice as well given the planning and anticipation Marvel Studios consistently builds between movies. 

2) Build Anticipation

In a world with the internet and many avenues for instant gratification, marketers’ ability to build anticipation for a product proves to be a challenge. However, Marvel Studios is a case study in why it works. In a bid to increase fan anticipation, nearly every MCU film contains end credits scenes. Often consisting of two separate scenes, these end credit scenes allude to what’s to come in the next movies. 

In the final arc of the Infinity Saga films, there are several end credit scenes that further heightened fans’ anticipation. Avengers: Infinity War ends with Thanos successfully acquiring all six infinity stones and wiping out the existence of half of all life across the galaxy. The end credit scene for this movie shows Nick Fury witnessing people turning to dust in the city, so he runs to the trunk of his car to pull out a beeper. As he reaches it, he begins to turn to dust. He manages to send a transmission and when the camera zooms in, the audience can see that he was contacting Captain Marvel. This successfully built anticipation for Captain Marvel, which fans got to see the following year, prior to the final (and highest growing) film in this arc, Avengers: Endgame. 

3) Be Consistent

Delivering a consistent product with a devoted consumer base is a skill that Marvel Studios has mastered. The Infinity Saga films, consisting of 22 of the 24 Marvel films, consistently delivered Marvel’s signature combination of action, adventure, and humor. Fans knew that when they saw a MCU movie, not only would they experience whichever challenges the marvel characters would have to overcome in that installment, they would also receive the next bit of the overarching infinity saga storyline. 

This level of consistency led to great success for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: End Game. This movie concluded with the Infinity Saga storyline. Furthermore, fans consider Avengers: End Game the best performing movie of the whole franchise. Earning $2.7B gross across the globe, End Game became the highest grossing movie of all time (until Avatar regained the top spot nearly two years later). 

Marketers can learn a lot from Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe. By replicating Marvel’s protocol marketers can increase the success of their marketing strategy. This would require marketers to plan in advance. As well as to create a consistent product and brand for your clients.

At Best Dallas SEO, we analyze and put to practice the tried and true marketing strategies for our clients. If you want a marketing and SEO strategy as effective as Marvel Studios’ marketing, contact us today!

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25/05/21 Content Marketing # , ,

Content Writing in 2021: 3 Trends You Should Be Aware Of

content writing concept

Creating new content for your website can be an extremely useful tool. This is because content helps with brand marketing and increases site traffic. However, writing content for your page or blog can be very time-consuming. You need to research which topics are relevant for your industry. For example, research on keywords that your target audience uses, and create the content to be published. Because it requires so much time, many companies rely on professional content writers like those available here at Best Dallas SEO for assistance.

3 Top Trends with Writing Content for SEO in 2021

For content writing to be effective, it needs to comply with the current rules for search engine optimization (SEO). Because these rules are ever-changing, it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends for writing content.

Here are the top three trends content writers and website owners should be aware of for 2021:

#1 Creating Content Communities

The interest in content communities has grown as much as 2.5 times since 2016. Since the pandemic, more people are using tech platforms that focus on personalization in marketing. Likewise, companies are creating a demand for more content communities. Building communities around the sharing and creation of content allows marketing teams to expand their reach. This is happening even if they have access to fewer resources than before. Expanding your company’s reach is ideal for brand awareness as well as metrics. Plus, the inclusive feel of these content communities provides a sense of belonging, making the content creators feel more valued. Such feeling allows the trend to gain more popularity as time goes on.

#2 Improving the Content Experience

We have all clicked on an exciting article’s headline that took us to a page with ads and pop-ups. Adds can sometimes be helpful for marketing. However, if your ads are making it difficult for people to read the content, they will leave the site quickly. It’s essential to focus on the visitor’s experience while viewing the content and make it as pleasurable as possible to ensure they remain on the website for a long time. To drive the return-on-investment (ROI) with content, creating a user-friendly content experience that helps them find the answer to what they were initially searching for is ideal. Doing so will guarantee they will remain on your site, see what they are looking for, and enter into a successful sales funnel.

#3 Double Down on SEO

While trends with online marketing will sometimes come and go as technology improves, SEO will always remain relevant, even if there are a few changes along the way. High-quality SEO is just as important in 2021 as it was years ago. Having the ability to capture a niche, using the right keywords, and creating truly engaging content is still the driving force behind successful content writing. To achieve this, you need to dedicate time to creating a reliable SEO strategy for your business and researching the best keywords and keyword phrases for your industry.  

Do You Need a Content Writing Company for your Blog?

Fresh content is the key to a successful website or blog. Unfortunately, many business owners do not have time to create new and engaging content for their websites. At Best Dallas SEO, we have content writers on staff you can hire to create original and unique content for your company’s website or weekly blog. If you are having difficulty coming up with unique content for your site or do not have time to research long-tail keywords for SEO purposes, it is time to give us a call.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about our content writing pricing and the additional SEO services we have to offer in Dallas, Texas.  

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06/07/20 Content Marketing

Why Consistent Content Is Essential for High Rankings

SEO illustration

Because Google says so…that’s why! 

Well, that’s the easy answer. But it really doesn’t go into enough depth. 

However, Google does make the rules of the internet. See this chart that shows the percentage of searches done on Google over the past year: 

SEO metrics screenshot

Source: Statcounter

If you follow the above link and look back for years, the chart looks exactly the same. The only reason Baidu and Yandex get any market share lies in the fact that they serve China and Russia. 

DuckDuckGo also gets an honorable mention. It averages around 30 million searches daily, but as you can see, that doesn’t even put a measurable dent in comparison to other leading search engines. 

Even though Google enforces the rules, they really base their policies on what search users just like you and I want. 

Everything you do through Google gets measured. Every time you click on a website. The length of time you stay on a website. The pages you visit or don’t visit. 

Google collects all that data and compiles it into its search algorithm. So every action you take works like a little vote. And then Google figures out how to rank websites and return search results you like. 

Understand that Google’s business model revolves around advertising. In 2018, for example, $24.1 billion of the company’s total Q3 revenue of $27.77 billion came from advertising. 

If Google fails to return the best search results in comparison to other search engines, they have a lot of money to lose. So they work their tails off at making sure you get what you want and fast. 

Google isn’t perfect. I’m sure you’ve clicked on really crappy and useless websites on Google’s first page and wondered,”How did that get there?” 

Google still makes mistakes. People still figure out ways to manipulate it. But on the whole, it does a far better job than any other search engine. And that’s why people like you and I think of it first when we need to search, despite the availability of other search engines. 

So now you understand why Google ranks websites the way it does. Take a look at what is arguably the most important ranking factor: consistently useful content. 

How Do You Know Content Is So Important? 

The amount of evidence, and the word directly from the mouths of the folks at Google, overwhelms. 

You would have to be insane to claim anything else. 

Google’s John Mueller is now the go-to when it comes to questions about the algorithm and how it ranks websites. 

This tweet shows how he views what you should do to rank: 

Tweet screenshot

More on “awesomeness” later. 

If you’re curious how much content affects your rankings, I have some additional evidence for you. 

Backlinko, a leading SEO blog which studies what makes sites rank higher than others, found “Comprehensive content with a high “Content Grade” (via Clearscope), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth.”

Neil Patel, an independent internet marketing thought leader, adds that it’s not necessarily the length of content that matters (although that helps), but really Google wants to see

  • Depth
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Focus on a keyword

Finally, according to Content Marketing Institute, 56% of businesses increased their spending on content marketing in the past 12 months. 

So you really have no question about content’s utility for ranking in search. 

How Do You Make Content That Ranks High? 

It’s not easy. Sit down sometime and try to write a 1500-word article on any topic you think your customers will like. 

You’re smart and capable. But writing content takes a special skill all its own. 

So, creating “awesomeness,” in the words of Google’s John Mueller, could mean a lot. And it means different things in various niches. So let’s go right to where you and I operate: the small and local business level. 

You’ll find a big difference between how we and larger businesses treat content. 

Slightly larger small businesses, like ones with several dozen or hundred employees, have a content budget. They publish regularly on their blog, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or whatever channel mix seems most useful for their market. 

They may have a combination of in-house and contracted content writers. You get in-depth posts that contribute something specific and actionable. 

The content can include custom graphics and videos. It’s basically like reading a magazine. 

In other words, their audience, and Google, consistently have something to chew on. 

Now at the small and local business level, anything can happen. 

You have blogs that haven’t been updated in months. You have posts written in an awkward language (and littered with grammatical errors) by foreign writers with general information that doesn’t engage the audience. 

And every once in a great while, you have a splendidly solid blog consistently updated with super-useful information that people read, use, and remember. 

But effective blogs remain an exception, rather than a rule. 

At the small and local business level, it’s not hard to create a barebones blog that provides genuine utility to your audience. 

Create one post a month. That post has to be super-helpful. For example, if you rent dumpsters, teach your readers how to evaluate the associated costs. 

That’s useful. 

And over time, you learn more stuff your customers want to know. You simply answer that in a blog post. 

They read it. They remember you. Then they become a customer or share your content with their network later on down the line. 

To understand what “awesomeness” means, you simply research your competitors. Then you top what they have. As long as you aim to give your customers the most value for their time, you’re doing awesome.  

And of course, like any business process, you learn more about what your customers like and feed them more of that information. 

How Content Generates More Customers

Most small business owners think customers come to their website, read a blog post, think, ”Oh my gosh. That’s the most awesome blog post I’ve read on that topic. How do I hire this company?” and then they use your website’s contact form or make a call. 

…Nope! 

That’s not how it works at all. 

That’s how your sales pages work (home page, services pages). When potential customers come to those pages, they’re evaluating whether they should hire you. 

So on those pages, you do want to be salesy and talk up the benefits your business delivers.

But on your blog, they just want an answer to a question. 

In other words, when they read your blog, they’re a lot earlier in your sales cycle. They’re not ready to buy yet. They’re just researching, looking for answers. 

You really can’t make a sale to blog readers right now. You’ll only scare them away because they’re just not ready to buy yet. 

Think of it like asking for a long-term exclusive relationship with someone just minutes after meeting them on your first date. That’s strange. They don’t want that yet. 

But, you can use your blog to build the relationship. Your blog is all about winning attention and staying in someone’s memory. 

So, by consistently producing useful information, they have a reason to remember you and come back. 

When someone else they know needs your service, they remember your name. They share your company name on social media. Or they tell someone in person. 

And then you get the opportunity to turn that person into a paying customer. 

Eventually, you might come to a certain point where one of your readers needs your service. 

Well guess what? 

Because you’ve spent time building trust and credibility by creating a useful blog, they already feel like they know, like, and trust you. 

…And so you have a sky-high chance of being hired for the job. 

Now, remember that your blog works for you 24/7/365. Many people can read it. So you have the potential to generate many customers from your blog. 

And this creates a fly-wheel effect of positive momentum. The more useful your post, the more people who choose to click, share, and stay on the page for a longer time. 

Those signals all tell Google you have something your market likes. And that means you climb up the search rankings. 

That specific post benefits, and so do all the pages on your website. You’ve created something people want to find in search. 

But it’s important to note that this process takes months. You can speed it up a little by marketing your post and getting it in front of more people.

However, the primary thing you can do to make it work is to create useful content your customers need. 

And then everything spreads from there. 

Unlike a salesman who sells just once and moves on, your blog sells for years. It could even sell for decades, assuming the information remains relevant and useful to your audience. 

Just a Single Post Per Month Will Do

So, like I mentioned earlier, businesses with dozens of employees may have several writers creating a half-dozen or so blog posts monthly. 

As a small and local business, you’ll be fine with just one post. Most importantly, it interests your customers. And if it makes them happy, you’ll please Google too. 

That’s the simplest formula to staying at the top of Google’s rankings in 2020 and the foreseeable future.

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17/06/18 Content Marketing

A Minuscule 10% of Local SMBs Have Any Marketing Staff, The State of Local Marketing Report Finds

Of all the aspects of operating a business (customer service, production, service provision, sales, accounting, operations etc…) poor marketing gets the least attention.

And most often, none at all.

BrandMuscle’s State of Local Marketing Report for 2018 found only 10% of local SMBs use any marketing staff at all. 7% have a dedicated in-house employee on staff. Just 3% have a vendor’s help.

Why Do Most SMBs Overlook Marketing?

Typically, it’s because marketing’s ROI is the most difficult to prove. With sales, you know whether you’re closing deals or not.

But with marketing, how do you know exactly what brought a new customer to you?

Did they read your blog, view your website, talk to your staff, click a PPC ad, or respond to an email?

It’s hard to figure out how much each interaction with your company had to do with you acquiring the customer.

Since proving ROI can be difficult, SMBs often become reluctant to hire marketing out.

…But You Still Gotta Try Marketing Tactics

The best marketers are the biggest brands. They pour millions of dollars each year into marketing.

Think Old Spice, Dos Equis, Miller, Corona, Budweiser, Toyota, Lexus, Coke, McDonald’s, Nike – or any of your own favorite brands.

They keep their market share because they know how to appeal to their market segments.

That type of marketing takes decades to develop.

But even though it’s out of your reach, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be marketing.

So my advice is to try small, controlled experiments until you find what works well for your SMB.

Because, after all, 90% of local SMBs don’t do marketing. So when you find what works, you have a huge advantage over your competition.

8 Possible Marketing Tactics to Try

Take a look at just a few marketing tactics that make sense for you to try – and one pro and con for each:

  1. Website/SEO – Get the best ROI for the dollars you invest; may take 12-18 months before you see results
  2. Direct snail-mail – Easy to track results and fast response; can be hard to find someone who does it well.
  3. Google Paid Ads – Lots of data and easy to track results; can cost a fair amount early on while you work out the imperfections.
  4. Radio – Works well for name recognition and branding; hard to track ROI.
  5. Facebook – Great data and access to specific market segments; can have higher startup costs in early stages.
  6. TV – Excellent name recognition and branding; rarely generates a good response.
  7. Writing Expert Articles – Can quickly generate a flood of good leads; can be boom-or-bust and require months of trial-and-error before you succeed.
  8. Cross-Promotion with Other Local Businesses – A great way to reach customers with a likely interest in what you offer; you have to make sure you offer your promotional partner similar results they offer you.

So even though I’m an SEO and recommend SEO, it’s far from the only way to market your business locally in 2018.  

It’s a great long-term strategy when you have an agency you trust. But there’s other tactics you can use too that also create predictable revenue streams.

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