Top 2015 Google Search Ranking Factors According to Moz
18/08/15 SEO

Top 2015 Google Search Ranking Factors According to Moz

What should you do to rank at the top of Google in 2015? Find out Moz’s research-driven opinion.

When you read something in Time, Forbes, or Newsweek, you pretty much accept it as true because they’re the foremost authorities in their niches, aren’t they?

Well in SEO, Moz holds that position. They do extensive research to back what they say – far more thorough than anyone else.

Every 2 years, Moz surveys the world’s top SEO professionals and runs correlation studies to learn what helps and hurts your search rankings. In 2015, they surveyed 150 search marketing pros on 90 ranking factors. Dr. Matthew Peters ran a correlation study for Moz to learn which website features are associated with good search rankings. And for the first time, Moz partnered with other leading authorities in the space – SimilarWeb, DomainTools, and Ahrefs, to learn even more.

They do qualify all this with the fact that this does not “prove” how search engines rank websites. But websites with these factors present, in general, rank higher than those without them.

So take a look at what they found:

  1. Of All Attributes Studied, This One Was Found to Be More Closely Associated with Search Rankings than Any Other…

And again, in 2015, links have a stronger relationship with higher rankings than any other search ranking factor. They’ve held this position for several years now. But these days, Google’s pickier about the links pointing to your site than ever before.

They have to come from high-quality sites, can’t have over-optimized texts, should come from as many unique domains as possible, and they have to look like they were placed naturally.

  1. Isn’t Content Supposed to Be “King?”

Marketing experts think so. In fact, in terms of how influential content is for your rankings, they ranked it #3, just behind two different kinds of linking.

So in the opinion of professionals, content is important. But, the correlational study doesn’t even discuss content all that much.

What it does say is that content length has a moderate association with good rankings. So it’s important to discuss interesting information, but you don’t need to be an encyclopedia.

  1. On-Page Optimization Has a Low Correlation with Rankings

This doesn’t mean on-page optimization isn’t important. You still need to get your target keyphrases on your pages 2-6 times. What it does mean, though, is you don’t need to spam the living daylights out of your keywords to rank high.

Moz theorizes this is because Google’s more adept these days at understanding what web pages mean.

  1. Social Shares Are Good, But May Not Help Your Rankings Directly

Moz notes that this factor remains “controversial.” They’re not convinced Google’s algorithm uses social share counts, but their study shows a positive correlation between social shares and good search rankings.

This may be because social media helps spread awareness of your content, leading to more links.

  1. And You Have a Strong Chance of Getting a Penalty If You Do These Things!

Okay, so these things get kind of geeky and harder to understand. But, you should be aware of them. Definitely don’t do them:

  • Don’t have a high ratio of ad content, navigation content, or links compared to total page content
  • Don’t have pages with a high number of links relative to your page’s total content
  • Don’t have a high amount of visible text relative to total html/JavaScript code
  • Don’t get a large number of total spam flags
  • Don’t have a large number of external links in your sidebars and footers

And That’s a Wrap!

Wow, that was a lot of great SEO information from a company with an awesome reputation for accuracy and reliability. Check those things often so you keep the king of search happy!

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Google Changes on the Horizon for Home Service Providers
18/08/15 SEO

Google Changes on the Horizon for Home Service Providers

This is just a quick report to help make you aware of the Google changes on the horizon, if you are a home service provider. And who knows what other licensed service providers this will roll out for next. I am not going to spin the news right here and now, so to get the details see these two articles on Search Engine Land’s website:

  1. Google To Launch Search Service To Connect Searchers To Home Service Providers
  2. Google Home Services Ads For Locksmiths, Plumbers Hit San Francisco Market

If you Google “San Francisco Plumber” you will see an example for this new Google offering being beta tested, or you can try using this link:

Below Are My Preliminary Observations as an SEO

I only see the beta results on my laptop. Right now the results on my iPhone are the same results we are used to seeing. But, on my desktop there are no local map listings showing for any combo of search you do related to plumber with San Francisco? I’m not saying local listings are going away, but that I hope they aren’t. I know it’s just in the beta testing mode, so who knows but Google?

Many people don’t click on paid ads because they know they cost the companies money, or they just don’t trust them, but for whatever reason Google knows this. It appears to me as if Google might be doing this partially as a way to encourage higher click through rates on paid ads, thus increasing their revenue by styling them to look like map lisitngs. I heard a rumor two or three years ago from an ex-Google employee, who said they were eventually going to start charging for the first spot map positions exactly because of how many click throughs they get. Maybe this is what they came up with instead?

Notice it only says sponsored at the very top and not next to each paid ad like usual (see Dallas Plumber search results for comparison on a desktop). And they do look just like local listings for the most part to the untrained observer. Most people would not know any better. It’s hard to believe there will be both this style of paid ads and map listings together on the left hand side of the results page, and there sure aren’t any together in the beta testing examples, which I find odd. If they are keeping them why not include them in the beta test?

At any rate, I just felt like sharing my initial knee jerk reactions, right or wrong. Maybe this is the real reason they went to a 3 pack recently instead of a 7 pack.

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How (And Why) to Grow Your E-mail List
11/08/15 SEO

How (And Why) to Grow Your E-mail List

Your e-mail list is the best way to make money online. Learn why, and how to do it, in this post.

What kind of web marketing do you think has the best ROI? Organic SEO? PPC? Social media? Mobile marketing?

All are effective, but they’re not nearly as efficient as old-school e-mail marketing. In fact, the E-mail Marketing Industry Census of 2014 says 68% of companies rate e-mail marketing as having “good” or “excellent” ROI.

Of all channels surveyed, it got the best ranking. On top of that, e-mail marketing revenue increased by 28% within the past year of the survey.

By the way, organic search came second in effectiveness, with 67% of companies ranking it “good” or “excellent.” Content marketing was a near third, with a 63% score.

Great ROI Isn’t the Only Reason to Market to Your E-mail List!

There’s actually three more good reasons:

  1. Once you have your list built, e-mail marketing is so comparatively cheap. Write the e-mail, schedule, and send. That’s it. It doesn’t require constant upkeep to sell like organic SEO (although you do sell more with frequent updates).
  1. Google can’t tank your e-mail list. With organic SEO, you can do everything right, and Google might still trash your rankings overnight. Not so with your e-mail list. However, if you do lose search rankings and traffic, that reduces your opportunity to earn subscribers.
  1. Customers on your e-mail list buy from you repeatedly. That’s because it takes a lot for someone to part with their e-mail address and trust you’ll give them high-quality information consistently. Your e-mail list is like “marketing gold” – it contains your very best customers.

How do You Grow Your E-mail List?

Growing your list can be tough. Basically, the idea is the same as organic SEO.

You have to write the most useful content in your niche! That’s the best form of advertising for your list.

If people visit your website and see how helpful you are, they’ll naturally think,”Oh. This company’s e-mail newsletter must rock too.”

So if you’re a local HVAC contractor, you might write a guide that tells people how to do a routine checkup that you normally charge for – for free! No HVAC company does that.

1 of 2 things happen:

  1. Some customers would do it themselves, they respect how useful you are, and then they buy from you in the future when they realize they can’t do something on their own
  2. Others realize they don’t have the time or expertise to do what your guide recommends, and they hire you to do it for them now

With that Concept Down, Here’s Specific Techniques for Growing Your List

  1. Have Multiple Sign-Up Options

Your website needs a sign-up option in the right or left sidebar, and at the end of every blog post. You might also consider a pop-up that appears after people read 35-40% of your post because you know they’re interested in you at that point.

  1. Make it Shareable

When you send your newsletter, make sure you have social sharing icons for all social networks. Plus, you should have a “forward to a friend” link inside your e-mail. The web’s all about word-of-mouth.

  1. Offer an Incentive for Signing Up

For example, give customers who sign up a 10% discount. Make it clear they’ll be able to access special discounts available to no one else.

I’d Love To Tell You More about E-mail Newsletters!

…But that’s enough information for time-strapped small business owners like you. Armed with that knowledge, you can start making money from your newsletter today.

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How to Spot Missed Opportunities for PPC Success
28/07/15 SEO

How to Spot Missed Opportunities for PPC Success

It’s easier to find opportunities to improve your PPC campaign than you think. Learn more in this post.

What’s better than throwing up your website and making profit in just a few days, maybe a week or two?

That’s the benefit of PPC.

But, everything comes with a catch, including PPC. Go after highly competitive keywords, and your costs can quickly spiral completely out of control.

So how do you find those low-competition, high-profit margin keywords?

Some ideas:

  1. Listen to How People Actually Talk about Your Company’s Services

Do they search on “HVAC contractor Dallas,” or are they more likely to use terms like “AC repair Dallas,” or do they use other terms like “air conditioning repair Dallas, TX?”

The long-tail terms, the ones with 3, 4, or 5 or more words, have lower competition. It may cost you less per click to acquire new business.

You can find ideas for these terms by checking out competitor social media profiles, reading their customer’s testimonials, or talking to your customers in person. Write down the exact words and phrases they use to describe what your company does. They use the same language to search for your services online.

  1. Spy on Your Competitors

SpyFU is a tool you can use to check out what keywords your competitors use. While many internet marketing tools are free, unfortunately SpyFU comes with a cost. But you can use it for a month or two to gather data and then cancel your subscription.

You can generate all sorts of strategic PPC ideas, like:

  • Finding low-competition areas to test against the competition
  • Entering markets your competition hasn’t even considered yet
  • Identifying inexpensive long-tail variations of high-converting terms

SpyFU gives you data for all three major search engines. And often, you can find great opportunities with Yahoo/Bing. Remember, everyone’s on Google.

  1. Use the “Opportunities” Tab in Adwords

Almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? To find new opportunities, just click “opportunities.”

There’s so much this tab does that you can’t list it all here. For starters, you have to run your campaign and get some data before you can do anything with this tab.

Once you have some data, you can do cool things like these:

  • Learn how much you can expect to increase your profit if you increase your budget
  • Adding extensions like sitelinks (which allow customizable links in your ads to promote special offers) and the call extension (add your phone number to an ad to increase clickthroughs by 6-8%)
  • Get new keywords relevant to your business as searchers use different terms

You still have to be careful with the ideas that come from the “Opportunities” tab. Remember, Google needs to profit, and they’re comfortable letting you overspend a little. When you do something new, always watch your data closely to make sure you benefit from the change.

Spotting Missed PPC Opportunities Isn’t So Hard After All!

That’s nice. Because a lot of internet marketing is tough…like really tough.

But at least this part of PPC is comparatively easy.

Hope it helps!

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5 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Failed to Increase Your Rank
23/06/15 SEO

5 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Failed to Increase Your Rank

Did you just finish an SEO campaign and not even come close to getting the results you wanted? Find out why that might be in this post.

I personally hope this nightmare scenario never happens to you. Imagine spending 12, 18, or even 24 months with a SEO company or consultant…

And you have nothing to show for it!

It happens. I’ve had customers who have come to me in the past because of it.

Your SEO campaign may have failed because:

  1. You Gave Up Too Quickly

Maybe a decade ago, you could have a small budget (few hundred bucks per month) and achieve results quickly. But, Google’s onslaught of updates, like Panda and Penguin, make fast results impossible today.

Not on page 1 in 3, 6, 9, or even 12 months? You might have to give it some more time, and especially so if you’re in a competitive niche like law, finance, or insurance.

And you guessed it…you need a bigger budget to make those results happen.

  1. You Haven’t Differentiated Your Business Enough

A couple decades ago, you were happy to find a personal injury lawyer you liked. Now, Google’s results are loaded with personal injury lawyers.

Don’t like the first one? Move on to the next, or even number 20, 30, or 50 if you’re in a big market like DFW.

You can sort through personal injury lawyers until you find one:

  • Whose personality you like
  • With significant experience working cases exactly like yours
  • Who’s the same gender as you
  • Near your age

…With your same hair color!

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated on the last one. But you get the point.

If your market can be that choosy, you have to put much more time into showing why you’re different, and how that matters to your ideal client.

  1. Your Niche’s Competition is Too Intense

Speaking of a niche like personal injury lawyers, you can bet the competition there is about as tough as it gets. If you have a newer domain name, and haven’t done SEO already in the past, you might be better off with social media or content instead.

Yeah, SEO’s that rough at times.

  1. Your Website Doesn’t Communicate You’re a Thriving Business

These days, on-site factors play just as big of a role in your rank as your off-site factors (like links). So if you have:

  • A high number of visitors who “bounce” (visit your site once and leave)
  • Few social shares in your content
  • Social media profiles with virtually no followers
  • A non-responsive web design

Then you’re going to have a much harder time ranking!

  1. You Picked the Cheap SEO Company or Consultant

Let’s be honest: you’ve heard countless stories of people feeling “ripped off” by the SEO they hired.

It happens, but you have to take responsibility for your part too. You have control over who you talk to and hire.

Yeah, some SEOs cost more – much more – than others. But then again, you get good results and service too!

It’s tough in an industry where you can pay hundreds of dollars per hour, or less than $10 per hour. But you have to take ownership and make a choice based on quality, not price. If the price’s too high for you, don’t do it at all.

Hope that Prevents You from Having Bad Experiences in the Future!

Focus on those 5 reasons…and you’ll put yourself in a good place before you start your next SEO campaign.

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