Entity-Based SEO: Everything You Need To Know

entities

Entity-Based SEO: Everything You Need To Know

There’s no denying that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most complicated aspects of digital marketing. It’s not helped by the fact that SEO keeps changing over time, with Google bringing out new ranking factors and ways of organizing the billions of sites on the web.

 

With that in mind, you might have heard about something called entity-based SEO. What does this mean and what else do you need to know about it? Needless to say, it’s a crucial aspect of the modern SEO strategy, so you need to know as much about this topic as possible. This guide will walk you through everything you need to understand:

 

What is entity-based SEO?

Previously – and we’re talking about the very early stages of SEO – keywords were the main thing used to rank websites. Google would look at how many keywords and synonyms were on your site, ranking you based on similar keyword searches. The more keywords you had, the better you’d perform. 

 

Nowadays, Google has moved away from solely relying on keywords. Instead, context is now a huge part of SEO, helping users find exactly what they’re searching for. You see, the problem with keywords is that, on their own, they provide absolutely no context behind what someone is searching for. A good example is someone searching for ‘Georgia’. On its own, Georgia can relate to so many different things – is the person searching for info on the state or the European country? Do they want to find information on a person called Georgia? There are countless options that can be considered if you look for further context behind the search. 

 

Adding context to keyword searches is, effectively, what entity-based SEO is all about. Instead of just looking at keywords, Google uses SEO entities. 

 

What is an SEO entity?

Google defines entities as:

 

“a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable.”

 

In more simple terms, it relates to pretty much anything: 

 

  • People
  • Places
  • Colours
  • Dates
  • Concepts
  • Companies
  • Events

The list is endless, but each entity is distinct and independent of all others – and of keywords. From an SEO standpoint, an entity is basically a subject that you can link to the knowledge graphs of search engines. If you’ve done a bit of research into this topic before, you’ll know that Google used Wikipedia as a primary trusted seed for its Knowledge Graph. What this means is that you can basically call an entity a subject that can be attached to a Wikipedia article page. So, if you look something up on Wikipedia, it will have a subject or category, which is basically what an entity is in the SEO world. 

 

An even simpler way of breaking it down is by saying that entities are basically the topics relating to keywords. However, the entity itself must link to a knowledge graph that has information and data across the web. A knowledge graph makes it easier for search engines to scan your site for information. 

 

How is entity-based SEO beneficial?

From both the marketer and the consumer standpoint, entity-based SEO has its benefits. Consumers will be directed towards the most relevant topics and websites for their searches thanks to entities. Going back to the Georgia example, if someone were to type this into Google, the dropdown box would already present a series of suggestions based on different entities. It can show famous people called Georgia, as well as the country of Georgia, and various information on the state in the US. Plus, if someone were to add ‘things to do in’ before Georgia, they’d get searches that showcase everything you can do there. This is because all of the websites include entities that let Google know they are talking about Georgia the place and what people can do there. 

 

For marketers, entity-based SEO gives you a chance to categorize your business better than ever before. You can attach entities to your brand, providing more context behind it and allowing you to use more keywords. If Google knows that your brand name is attached to the ‘business’ entity, you can start using keywords linked to what you sell. This is why companies like Dell can be found when people search for laptops or computers. You can also connect your business to specific place entities, ensuring that only people within that location will find your content. It’s useful when the area you work in has the same name as other places around the world. 

 

In summary, this whole idea lets you refine your SEO strategy to be found by the right people and grow your presence. 

 

How do you implement entity-based SEO?

For starters, it revolves around your content and the words you use in the text. You can call upon lots of words and phrases that aren’t keywords but add context to the keywords you’re focusing on. As an example, let’s say your business focuses on SEM. You know this term to relate to search engine marketing, but it can also be an acronym for scanning electron microscopy, which is an entirely different thing. How will Google know what you’re talking about? By including lots of content revolving around marketing and search engines it is easy to find the right entity and include your pages in results relating to search engine marketing, rather than the other topic. 

 

Secondly, listing your business online will be a massive help as it defines and creates your entity. Google My Business is a great place to start as Google will instantly recognize your brand and put you in the right category. Other business listing sites will further solidify this, establishing your company name as a business brand and letting you call upon keywords for searches relating to what you do. 

 

Ultimately, it’s all about adding context to your website. Entity-based SEO goes beyond keywords by helping search engines understand what category to put you in when people search. It’s all built around creating a better experience for the user and finding the most relevant sites for their searches. Yes, it can be confusing, which is why it helps to work with a digital marketing agency to fully understand the process and how you can benefit from it. 

 

How to make sure people actually READ your blog

So, you’ve written a blog – great! Now what?

 

From the smallest sole trader businesses right up to the largest corporations, we are all guilty or occasionally creating content but then taking a back step when it comes to marketing and pushing that blog into the eyesight of our target readers. In fact, we often hear about businesses who create blogs purely for the purpose of SEO, with no real goals or CTAs attached to drive action from their readers and prospective customers.

 

But what if we told you that great content can not only boost your SEO, but can also attract the right people towards your website, encourage them to engage with you, and help convert visitors into customers if you are trying to sell something?

 

In this article, we share some top tips on how to make sure that people actually read your content – looking at the best ways to increase traffic and encourage the most productive action from each and every piece of content on your website.

 

The Power of a Great Piece of Content

 

A great piece of content can:

 

  • Let Google and other search engines know what your website/webpage is about, proving credibility and reliability.
  • Show users and prospective customers that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
  • Start conversations and encourage engagement.
  • Provide you with a landing page for campaigns or social posts.
  • Give you some leverage for email campaigns and social campaigns.
  • Support your SEO with keywords.

 

But in order to tick all of those boxes and ensure that every piece of content you upload adds value to your website and draws the right readers and potential customers, you first need to make sure that what you’re writing about is targeting the right audience in the right way.

 

Introducing our step by step guide to creating content which will benefit your business and/or online presence.

 

STEP ONE – Know your Audience

 

Whether you’re writing a blog to support a new product or service launch, to provide insight into a specific topic within your industry, or to share an opinion and start a conversation with your readers, knowing who you are talking to lies at the heart of every word on your webpage.

 

This includes knowing where your target audience spend their time online, so that you can target them and use those same platforms and channels to market your blog once it is complete – enticing the right people to engage in the right way with your content. You will find that the more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to write in a way that organically engages and entices them.

 

STEP TWO – Think about Keywords

 

Organic traffic is easily the best way to bring in new readers if your blog or website is fairly new, or if you are trying a new approach to content creation – mainly because focussing on organic traffic allows you to write and use keywords to connect with the kind of users who are searching for your industry and the keywords you prioritise. And the best way to gain organic traffic to your blog is to focus on identifying and using those keywords.

 

Keywords refer to the words and phrases that your audience will type into the search bar and that can bring them to your blog if you play your cards right (and use your keyword strategy correctly), so it’s important to think both big and small – with more generic industry-specific keywords, and more targeted niche ones as well.

 

TOP TIP: Think about problems that your audience might search for and how you and your blog can link. Factor the keywords relating to those problems into your blog and frame yourself as the best solution.

 

STEP THREE – Decide on a Perspective for your Blog

 

Once you know your audience, it will become easier to know how to approach each topic and new piece of content. The first thing to do in terms of perspective is to decide on an area of expertise that you and your blog will become known for – and then build on that, becoming a go-to resource for your target audience.

 

You can support this by using research and keyword tools to anticipate trending topics in your industry and write about them as part of a growing trend.

 

STEP FOUR – One vs. A Series

 

Before you start writing on a specific topic, consider if it will all fit nearly into one blog or if it could be better presented as a series. While this will inevitably take more time, it will also give you a lot more material to work with and implement into a marketing campaign, social media, and even a larger downloadable resource in the future.

 

STEP FIVE – Start Writing

 

Ready to go? Make sure that as you write your blog(s) you keep on track, refer back to your audience and what they are searching for, and implement those keywords effectively and productively.

 

Publishing and Promoting your Content

 

Once your blog or piece of content is complete, it’s time to publish and promote – and that means more work from your end in getting your blog link out among relevant communities, in the right industry groups, on your social media and email campaigns, and across your customer base.

 

If you decide to put some financial backing behind your blogs and content, then you can use PPC campaigns to build on the reach of your page. Alternatively, you can create some social media campaigns that are targeted towards your blog and promote these. Or you can keep it simple and throw your weight behind gaining an organic following – using the power of recommendation, sharing, and discussion to drive prospective readers towards your blog.

 

And remember, consistency is key – so don’t give up if your very first blog only draws in a handful of readers. Keep providing value and the followers and customers will come.

How to build links for SEO

How many times have you visited or found yourself browsing a specific website, then spotted a link to another website or another webpage, clicked, and continued your journey there? Sometimes this link will take you to a different page on the same website, sometimes it will provide extra value by taking you offsite to another source of information, and sometimes it will change the course of your journey completely.

This is an example of link building, and when done right can benefit your SEO hugely.

The Benefits of link building for SEO

Before we get into how to build links for SEO, it first pays to understand the benefits and why links are so important. Links are one of the main criteria used by Google in ascertaining the quality of a webpage and its information. As such, every link you use should direct the user towards a reputable and high quality source which is entirely relevant to your own website and industry.

Some of the best ways of doing this include linking guest blogs written by you for other sites, and blogs written by other sites and individuals for you, bolstering each other’s position and credibility in the eyes of Google; and finding sources that supplement the information provided on your website. Crucially, every link you include in your website must directly take the user to a source of great value, with no dead pages and no redirections. This is one of the main reasons why digital marketers always recommend regular assessments of your site SEO, as this is the best way to establish any broken links that you may otherwise have missed.

If this all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. It’s time to introduce some of the best ways of building links for SEO.

How to build links for SEO

The best way of building links is through professional relationships and partnerships. This could mean that you partner with other relevant sources and create editorial content for each other, or it could be more of a PR exercise where you create content which recommends and guides your users to check out their content or products too.

TOP TIP: If you decide to do this, always ensure that a link clicked on your website opens a new window or a new tab, rather than simply taking the user away from your website completely. The former aids their journey without ending their experience on your website, while the latter is a sure fire way of ending the transaction instantly.

Let’s look at an example of valuable link building in action.

Imagine that you are a beauty brand looking to launch and sell a new product. As well as creating your own content and sharing it on you platforms, a partnership with a renowned beauty blogger who then writes a blog for your website means that both your followers and their network will likely check out your blog – helping to establish your brand by linking it to someone who people trust.

This is the value of link building: it widens the reach of your website and your brand, and when done right can help to establish you as a credible go-to in the industry

 Our tips for building links for SEO

  1. Establish long term partnerships with people in your industry. This means competitors, authority figures, customer facing and back end professionals. You never know when or where you might get some valuable support from – and a variety of different industry touchpoints can help to build some fruitful and effective links on your website.
  2. Find out where your competitors are getting featured as guest bloggers and industry experts and get yourself on there too. There are tons of tools out there which can help you to discover where your competitors are getting their backlinks from, making it easy to follow their lead and bolster your own SEO.
  3. Testimonials! These are so important, because if you review a big brand or a supplier you use and they decide to mention or share your review, you are getting free marketing and backlinks to your online presence without even trying.
  4. If it fits with your brand, build a resources page and add all your favourite external sites and brands to it. This is a great way of implementing external links to your site without even really having to try and will likely lead to positive exchanges with other professionals who want to be featured on your page too. This also bolsters the user experience on your site as you make the customer journey super easy for them and provide even more value.
  5. Build links into your content. This may seem like a simple one, but not every link has to have a dedicated CTA and bright coloured button. Some of the best links are those you embed into a piece of content, telling the user exactly which piece of information or statement the link is going to support.

The Takeaway

Link building is a way of showing your website to be full of value, authority, and credibility – and it all starts with the importance of working partnerships and industry relationships. By building external links into your own site, and getting your site mentioned and integrated into other reputable external sources, you continue to show Google that what you are sharing, selling, and/or offering is high in value and relevant to the target audience.

As part of an SEO strategy, link building is up there as one of the most important areas of focus.

Does SEO really work?

SEO, known in the industry as Search Engine Optimisation, is one of those buzzwords thrown around by digital marketing experts as a service that they offer and can use to help your business drive more customers and make more money.

But what does it actually mean, and does SEO really work?

What is SEO?

SEO refers to the use of organic search results to drive a high number of the right customers through to your website. In short, it relies on the use of different content streams and sources to show Google and other search engines what you do and how you can help the end customer – so that they can, in turn, highlight your website on the results page of a relevant customer search.

Much of what we do for SEO is built around keywords and search terms, and this stems from research into the industry you operate in, and the kind of words being used by your competitors to drive traffic.

An effective SEO strategy looks at two different types of keyword for effectiveness:

  • Short-tail, generic keywords. For example, a jewellery brand could use terms like ‘jewellery’, ‘necklace’, ‘jewellery gift’, ‘gift for her’.
  • Long-tail, more targeted keywords. For example, that same brand will now use ‘jewellery maker in the UK’, ‘sapphire ring with diamonds’, etc. These are the keywords which are specific to what you sell and are the kinds of terms that customers search for when they know what they want.

How does SEO drive customers and sales?

The biggest focus of an SEO strategy is on driving high quality customers to your website, who are actually interested in your brand and your products, without you having to pay a penny to attract them. Paid ads are a whole other ballgame in the digital marketing sphere and have nothing to do with your SEO plans – so park those where they are and let’s talk more about keywords and optimising your search terms.

Search engines send crawlers out into the big wide world of the internet, every time a user makes a search. The results that they feed back to the user are based on the match those crawlers find between the search terms and high quality websites available – matching those crucial keywords, and any other credibility factors it can find quickly and easily.

It’s not all keywords when it comes to these search engines, with crawlers also looking at high quality links (both internal and external on your website), the quality of the user experience on your site, the content and context of the copy on your site, and even the positioning and formatting on the images and videos you include. But SEO is the main driving force in framing the way that Google sees your site, and the way that users find and interact with it – by optimising and fine tuning every element of the site from load times to content and the customer journey as a whole.

Does SEO really work?

This is the big question, and for the most part the answer is yes – provided you have a strategy in place and don’t just throw keywords around for fun. The first thing to realise is that Google algorithms change regularly and so your approach to SEO needs to be fluid, flexible, and adaptable at a moments notice. Having said that, having a high quality user experience which delivers on what you promise and is designed to provide solutions to users never goes out of style, and so provided that your website is authentic and safe to use, SEO is simply there to help you guide the right audience towards it.

One of the major misconceptions we see is the idea that SEO is a quick fix that you can implement overnight and instantly see results. This is not true. SEO is a long game solution to ensuring that your organic traffic is higher in both quantity and quality – which in turn leads to more website visitors, more customers, more sales, and more profit. And that’s just the top level wins. Some of the other benefits that businesses will recognise as they implement an effective SEO strategy include:

  • Keyword Growth – as your website grows and becomes more SEO-friendly, you will find that you rank more highly for better keywords. That is, more of the common search terms will be built into your SEO strategy, meaning you appear on more search results pages in a higher position, and attract more website visitors.
  • Traffic Growth. Not only will you see more website visitors, but you will find that these visitors are actively engaged with your website, your brand, and your product – which also means that you get…
  • Higher Quality Traffic. Genuine customers who are looking for what you can offer.

What do all these benefits prove? That once you start to build an SEO strategy in your digital marketing, your SEO possibilities and options will only serve to grow and develop even further. What better proof could you ask for to show that SEO really does work?!

The Takeaway

Provided you spend the time researching your place in the market and finding the right keywords for your SEO strategy, the question of whether SEO really works is all down to implementation and getting the buy in of your entire digital team. One of the easiest ways of ascertaining the best keywords is to use analytics and immerse yourself in research around your main competitors – what words are they bidding on, and how do they implement keywords across their website. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel – just finetune your own plan based on examples that are already working.

As time goes on, you will find that more doors are opened to your business and search engines becoming increasingly friendly towards you – all because of a little SEO focus that you can start right now.  

8 ways of putting your website on Page One on Google

If you hear the term SEO being banded around but don’t understand what it means in practice, this article is for you. From exploring the value of SEO through to identifying 8 ways of improving your own website to help it achieve that page one search ranking, following the steps laid out in this article will help to improve your website’s visibility and give it the best possible chance of being found by the right, active audience.

What is Google SEO and why is it important?

Google is always adding and changing its algorithm for being well ranked, but SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is always up there as one of the most important things to focus on. What SEO does is help ensure that your entire website is as well written and laid out as possible for Google to assess it and rank it as high in value and strong in user experience. This in turn means that when users search for the keywords your website is built around, your site will be ranked highly by Google and will show up early in the search results – ideally on page one.

This is when organic traffic is at its highest and click through rates are at their most competitive – after all, does anyone really search for a website beyond the first page of search results? We all know that page one is where the real value and quality lies.

Let’s take a closer look at how to get there.

The 8 steps to Page One

The following steps are all things you can do to give your website the credibility and assurance of quality that Google looks for in ranking different sites. Remember that Google has always been invested in the user experience, and with the release of the new Core Web Vitals algorithm has become even more focussed on how a website creates a seamless and productive experience. As such, you will find that some steps are content based while others are all about the customer journey.

  1. Identify your top ranking pages

We call these your ‘threshold pages’ – pages that are on the cusp of ranking at Page One status for certain search results but haven’t quite made it. These are the pages to focus on first, because they are already proven to be delivering high quality, credible content… we just need to give them that extra push to Page One.

  • Identify and explore the direct competition

This isn’t about just knowing which brands and businesses are your competitors – this means identifying your threshold pages and then identifying those same pages on other sites and assessing why there are ranking more highly than yours.

We often hear business coaches saying that you don’t need to build a new strategy or work frame from scratch – you can simply take the structure of what someone has already built and adjust it for your own business. And that’s exactly what you need to do here.

  • Look at the way you use internal linking

In a breakdown of things to do to improve your website, this is one of the easiest to implement and can lead to a significant improvement in the way your site is viewed and assessed by Google. Internal linking refers to the way that different webpages on your own site allude to other pages and posts on your site – creating a chain or network of different experiences that customers can follow to enhance their understanding of certain topics.

A great way of improving this includes linking within blogs and guiding the reader towards certain products, services, or even other blogs that you mention within the content.

  • Mobile optimisation!

This one needs no explanation. Mobile optimisation is one of the most important things you can do for the modern user – and is a huge factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.

  • Breathe new life back into previously high performing content pages

This is another point which takes us back to that “don’t reinvent the wheel” mindset. If you have pages that have performed highly in the past, take a look at how and why, and see what you can do to build them back up again into a high performing position.

Some things you can do include building new internal links into content, updating the copy and imagery, and adding new features or keywords. 

  • Build a network of external links

One of the best ways of becoming a reputable source in your industry is building a network of external links between your site and other well regarded sites in the same industry. Once one or two other sites link and mention your website within their own blogs, you will find your SEO ranking jumps right up – as Google will see that other reputable sources trust you and see you as a valuable resource.

This is something you will have to actively pursue for optimum results, but it’s worth it!

  • Update your navigation

Reassess your customer journey and look at how far away the quality content is from the homepage. Remember that the longer the journey, the more customers you will lose along the way – and it’s important to keep people engaged as they go. Identify your most valuable and popular pages and turn them into the main pages on your website – rather than second or third tier pages that have to be searched for and found.

Make the process as easy as possible and watch as the reader rates stack up.

  • Look into the value of Featured Snippets

This is a feature of Google Search which pops one of the top search results into a featured box – a bit like being given a gold star for content and jumping straight to the top of the class. There is no defined way of getting there and there are no guarantees you will make it, but we recommend analysing the structure of past snippets and replicating their format and the way they use keywords as a good starting point.

For more tips on giving your website the boost it deserves to reach Page One, get in touch!

Everything you need to know about… Google Core Web Vitals

Everything you need to know about… Google Core Web Vitals

So, you’ve got your business online, and you’re ready to start building your profile and getting your website out there in the eyes of your target audience. You’ve heard of SEO and are currently working on a strategy to ensure that Google finds your site whenever your industry or specialist subject is mentioned.


But of course, in typical Google fashion, things are constantly changing and the focus on user experience is always shifting to accommodate new ideologies and preferences.


Google Core Web Vitals first came to fruition in 2020, and over the past year has made its mark in quantifying the user experience through a set of three new ranking tools which join the generic user areas already being ranked by Google (which include mobile usability, safety while browsing, and HTTPS).


In this article, I’ll be introducing you to the three new subsections of Google’s Core Web Vitals and letting you in on a few things that you can start doing now to ensure that your website is up to Google’s high standards.

Introducing the Core Web Vitals

Google has long been interested in user experience above all else, ranking everything from the value of your content to the layout of your website in determining which sites offer the highest value to users.

Core Web Vitals is a new initiative which is ultimately designed to make things easier for you, the website owner, by allowing you to ascertain exactly how effective your website is in line with Google’s expectations. It is essentially a DIY check that you can perform to quantify the experience your website is providing to users – drawing your attention to problem areas so that you can fix them yourself.

The three new additions to Google’s ranking are as follows:

  1. LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
  2. FID (First Input Delay)
  3. CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)


Any idea what they mean? No? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look at what these areas really look at – and what you can do to optimise the experience across all three avenues.


Largest Contentful Paint


This is the page user time from the perspective of your website visitor. It refers directly to the seconds from clicking a link to the page loading and can be impacted by poor connectivity as well as pages stuffed with images or other visual content. As the title suggests, it works on the load time of the largest piece of content on any given webpage.


Your LCP time should sit under 2.5 seconds in order to provide the optimum user experience, as anything longer than that can be problematic both in the eyes of Google and the increasingly impatient users who will be visiting your site.


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Check your images and videos. Chat to your website developer about ensuring the size is right across all devices, or else dive in yourself and conduct a page load time review in order to isolate the problem areas and compress the largest images.
  • Reduce the number of redirects on any one webpage.
  • Cache your website, keeping the webpages static so that when a user clicks a link, the page loads without searching for the most up to date content.


For more tips on improving your LCP score, chat to your website developer.


First Input Delay

First Input Delay is all about interaction and reaction, and how quickly your website is able to respond to a certain action performed by the user. Some examples include selecting clickable links and playing videos, with FID asking how long it takes for the webpage to become responsive.


It is important for website owners to understand that this is the area which deals with your CTA’s and action buttons. So much of your marketing and advertising will be designed to capture users and encourage them to take action – but a low FID rating can ruin all of that trust in seconds.


The best FID measurement is under 100 milliseconds, if you want your website to be ranked highly in the eyes of both Google and your website visitors.


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Optimise your Javascript. More often than not, a problem with FID will be caused by Javascript, and so you need to take steps to break tasks up into smaller chunks which can be achieved more quickly and optimise the front level load time so that your page is ready for interaction immediately.
  • Minimise the amount of data that needs to be processed on the user end.
  • Defer unused Javascript so that it doesn’t waste time and bandwidth.

(If this simply goes over your head, or you need support in achieving the recommended steps, chat to your web developer).


Cumulative Layout Shift


This is the area which deals with visual stability and how well your webpage is displayed across devices. Far from simply focussing on the aesthetic display of your website across different screen sizes, CLS looks at how stable each element on the page is – whether elements of the page jump around as the user scrolls, and whether or not a shift in page layout affects the user experience.

This is a crucial element of usability because shifting page elements and boxes can be aggravating and confusing for your website visitor – ultimately creating a poor experience.

The lower the better when it comes to your quantitative CLS measurement – under 0.1.


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Ensure that every element on your webpage has set dimensions – from adverts to images and more. This means including size attributes in the build of your website, so that elements sit in the right place and do not move around as the user interacts with your site.
  • Don’t overlay content.
  • Be careful with the way you use and implement animated elements in your website. Any features which move as the user scrolls can be problematic.

The key thing to remember is that Core Web Vitals are here to help and can introduce you to potential challenges and issues with your website long before Google picks up on them and penalises you for them.


Use these updates and three specific areas to get to know your website from a backend user perspective, and use the results as a way of guiding future upgrades and updates to your site.

How to give your SEO the boost it needs: DIY Style

Is there anything worse than knowing what your website or digital marketing needs, but at the same time having no idea where to start? Most of the time this lack of knowledge leads you down a rabbit hole of outsourcing, external audits and costly solutions, and time consuming online guides – which promise the world and deliver very little.

We know how frustrating the world of online marketing and the internet can be – because we’ve been there, and we’ve seen it all. No matter how great your content is, or how much value you are practically giving away for free, if you don’t do exactly what search engines like Google want you to do, they can hide you away and ensure that no one visits your site. Not only is this disheartening, but it’s mighty bad for business.

So, you call in auditors. They tell you where you’re going wrong, and then start throwing anagrams at you – namely SEO and PPC.

Well, this article looks at what’s holding you back before you even get to the content itself and considers the steps to take to resolve your issues. Consider this your DIY guide to auditing your own online presence and understanding the steps to achieve the ideal solution – all in-house, and without a single Youtube video or expensive guide in sight.

What does a DIY SEO audit look like?

When we talk about SEO, we are essentially referring to the quality of your content through the eyes of Google. Crucially, this doesn’t mean assessing the quality of the writing or the validity of your offers, but rather how well you have presented it according to what Google deems as high quality.

If Google likes what it sees, it will start to present your site as a search result when consumers search for terms relating to your business, what you do, and what industry you operate in. If Google doesn’t approve, you might as well delete your site altogether (except don’t, because that would be extremely counterintuitive…)

What IS Google Index?

If you thought this was going to be a basic exploration of keywords, think again. Because none of that matters if your site isn’t registered correctly in order for Google to find it. The very best and most effective websites – and thus the most successful businesses – start from scratch with Google Indexing, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do now.

To find out where you’re starting from, head to Google and, in the search box, enter this:

site:[YOUR DOMAIN NAME].com

For example, site:BBC.com

When you hit enter, what will appear is a list of all the pages that have been indexed as “searchable” by Google on your website. For a global site like NotOnTheHighstreet, the numbers are in the millions as every creator’s page is indexed to work alongside search results. For your site, the numbers will almost always be much lower – but if it’s not presenting all of your pages, including your Blog and your Services or Products page, then you immediately know your site is not performing as well as it could – or should.

What to do if hitting Enter throws up a big 0

Google doesn’t blacklist your site for no good reason. If there are 0 search results, ask yourself if your site is doing anything which could cause Google to ban or block your content. It may also be that you have accidentally done something in the backend of your website which blocks Google and other search engines from discovering you – likely something you will want to reverse, in which case have a chat to your web developer about isolating the issue and resolving it as soon as possible.

You can also do a quick check yourself by entering

[YOUR DOMAIN NAME].com/robots.txt

Any restrictions placed on search engine indexing will show here and can be easily changed.

Is everything you want to showcase on display?

If the number of indexed pages for your site was much lower than expected, it’s time to investigate and dig deeper to see what’s going on.

Most of the time, you will find that during development of your site, access to search engines was restricted and accidentally left behind when the site was made live. You may also find that full website folders and menu drop downs are missing – something you can check in the same way using the Robots.txt link.

Another reason why Google may be hiding content or particular webpages is if they contain duplicate content – either from another page on your own site, or through plagiarism from another site entirely. There are tools out there which can help bring your attention to any unintentionally duplicated content, or else you can perform your own review and refresh of your website copy and content.

Is there such a thing as TOO much on display?

Yes! If the number of pages on your Google Index is unexpectedly high, this can also be hinting at some underlying problems – especially when those pages are not providing any value at all. Not only will they damage your website’s viability on Google, but they will prevent consumers from finding the pages that actually mean something and can lead to customers and conversions.

This can often be caused by plugins which replicate pages or generate new pages to coincide with event links or calendar dates as advertised by your website. Another common cause is hacking, whereby hackers can put their own spam links onto the end of your domain so that the spam pages appear whenever a consumer searches for something linked to your website. This can be hugely damaging for your reputation and reliability as a business.

Plus, Google will penalise you – and that is arguably the biggest obstacle to overcome.

The importance of SEO when it comes to growing online – and offline

SEO is what gives you a leg up against the competition and enables you to reach out and provide valuable solutions to consumers who know you, who have heard of you, and those who don’t yet know anything about you.

Yes, content and keywords are important, but until you get the fundamentals right with a high level Google Indexing audit, all those words will never be read by anyone except you. 

An Open Letter to the DIY “I know what I’m doing” Crew

An Open Letter to the DIY “I know what I’m doing” Crew

If you’re of the mind that you can do everything and anything yourself, then you must LOVE the internet – and everything it has to offer. With everything from written guides to visual charts and Youtube videos available for every age group, industry, and user type, there really has never been a better time to branch out on your own, learn online, and do it all yourself.

And if you come across the odd article which shares content of little to no value, or which shares tips which will damage your reputation rather than bolster it – who cares! Because you know exactly what you’re doing without any support, right?

What is SEO – and do I REALLY need it?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation – which is the tool responsible for helping consumers and potential customers find your website and your content. However, in the eyes of more business owners than you would expect, SEO is purely a hoop that Google makes them jump through… and they’re not having it!

Enter the anti-SEO crew, intent on going it alone and using the power of their own content to drive conversion and attract customers. These are the people who DON’T need help increasing their revenues, and who aren’t that fussed about increasing profits. They’re the business owners who operate in such a clear and obvious niche, that they KNOW the right audience will find them, with or without SEO.

At the end of the day, SEO is a stepping-stone to greater business success. So, what do you do when your business doesn’t need help in succeeding?

Why you DON’T need SEO

If you’re a big fan of the internet and all of those DIY resources we mentioned earlier, you will likely already be aware of the number of businesses and SEO experts out there, keen to help bolster the value and reach of your content and online presence. These are people who boast both experience and knowledge, who understand the algorithms and who know how to play the system in order to ensure that their clients get the best results month after month.

Most of all, they are the businesses and experts whose job it is to boost the presence of their clients among their own specific industry and marketplace – using SEO and the various tools that SEO presents in getting content noticed and drawing the right people in to read it.

So, what about those who don’t need SEO? Are they right in believing that SEO is just another corporate demand made by the powers behind Google? Or are they missing a trick?

See for yourself….

  1. SEO keeps your target audience coming back

For many, gaining and retaining the attention of a target audience is the number one goal of any advertising campaign and marketing strategy. But if you’re truly confident in your ability to keep people entertained and interested, simply using great content and fun visuals, great! Never mind if they can’t find it once it’s been posted… the right people will get there eventually, right?

  1. SEO helps you to reach new customers

Do you really need new customers? SEO is one of the most useful, effective, and efficient tools in expanding your audience footprint and getting your message out on a wider scale – so if you’re perfectly content with your business as it is and DON’T want to continue to grow and evolve, SEO is really more of an obstacle than a valuable asset.

  1. SEO increases revenues

Increased revenues mean more profits and more growth, more recruiting and an increase in your business operations. For many, these are the signs of a successful company, but for others they are more stress than they’re worth. Which camp are you in?

  1. SEO helps you stand out against the competition

If you don’t want to stand out and are more than happy simply co-existing with your industry competitors, then avoiding SEO is the very best move you can make. Standing out from your competition means showcasing what your business has to offer, and really making a mark on the target audience through your vision and company values – ensuring that the right people find your company through search engines and SEO-bolstered content. Is this something you want to communicate, or are you happy just floating along in the industry current?

  1. SEO builds brand awareness, even outside your target audience

If you don’t want to increase revenues and build your business, then expanding your target audience and communicating with those outside of your core target market is a waste of time – time that could, perhaps, be spend indulging in a hobby or personal interest. For those businesses that are totally confident in their target audience and existing communications, to the point that expanding outside of that core audience to build wider brand awareness is detrimental to business success, then SEO is a problem to be avoided.

The simple fact is that SEO is only suitable for those businesses that want to succeed in a way that bolsters company growth, increases revenues, and continues to reach out to both the target audience and potential new customers – consistently and effectively. For those businesses and organisations who are happy to stay where they are, swimming among the competition rather than pulling ahead, SEO is an asset that they don’t need.

But before you decide that the second option is for you or dismiss SEO as just another hoop designed by the powers at Google, ask yourself this. Can I really continue to meet the constantly changing demands of a modern, technologically-able audience, on my own? Or might a little SEO support serve my business well in the long run?

The benefits of Facebook Messenger Marketing

How many times have you needed to get in touch with a company about a product you’ve ordered or a service they have delivered, only to find that the advertised means of contact is an online form which can take up to 24 hours for a response? 

As a species, technology and innovation are making us more impatient – and more demanding. When we have questions or issues to raise, we want to be able to do so immediately, and we want to know that our message will not only be acknowledged but also responded to. 

Enter the new world of social media marketing. 

We are constantly being told about how social media is an important, modern part of the customer journey – both during the discovery phase, the research phase, and the follow up phase. For companies who are on top of their social media and are utilising it seamlessly, this means that everything from reviews to complaints are likely to be received through social platforms – with Facebook ranking as the most popular platform for businesses. But what about the benefits of social media marketing, and messaging in particular? 

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing refers not only to the use of social media for advertising and marketing products and services, but also includes direct messaging and commenting as a means of contacting a company and/or responding to customers. Initially designed as just another means of online contact, advances across the industry have meant that automated chatbots are now an integral part of every social media strategy – especially when it comes to Facebook Messenger marketing, which is the outlet of choice for most modern consumers seeking a way to get in contact with a company at all hours of the day (and night). 

The benefits of chatbots when it comes to Facebook Messenger marketing

There are a broad range of benefits that come with using social media as an integrated part of your marketing strategy, but chatbots sit up there as the most beneficial aspect to come from Facebook Messenger marketing in particular. 

Far from the robotic images and flat responses that many envisage when they think about chatbots, modern chatbots are interactive, engaging, and able to use everything from words to visuals and videos by means of response to a variety of questions, issues and comments. Of course, in ascertaining and identifying the benefits of using chatbots in your Facebook Messenger strategy, the first thing to note is the simple fact that your communication lines are always open – unlike real team members, chatbots don’t need sleep. With this in mind, chatbots are especially popular with global brands where their customer base lives across a huge variety of time zones and thus may need assistance at any time of the day or night. 

Another benefit of integrating chatbots into your Facebook Messenger marketing plan is that they can provide consumers with simple answers to a huge range of questions – thus eradicating a huge load of admin for your social media team. More often than not, consumers contacting you through social media will be after a quick response – for example, the stock levels of a certain product, or the status of a delivery driver. These require factual, quick responses which can be delivered seamlessly by a chatbot. 

For those instances where a more personalised response is required, the developments in AI mean that this is becoming more possible every day. By being able to differentiate the products and services required by different individuals, and by using the details they provide in order to generate personalised responses, the future for chatbots – and for sales conversion – is bright. 

As well as the efficient and effective responses created by chatbots, additional information and benefits that can be gained through the use of chatbots include:

  • Data Analysis of your target audience
  • Communication learnings about how your audience interact with your brand on social
  • A broader understanding of where your target audience are and what they look like
  • Seamless payments through a central platform

Other benefits of Facebook Messenger Marketing

As well as being able to use chatbots to replicate and engage in personal and direct conversations, there are a handful of other benefits that come with using Facebook Messenger marketing as a company or brand. 

For one thing, the messenger platform allows you to integrate with your target audience on a platform which works for them and which they regularly use as part of their everyday internet activity. All too often we see brands and companies losing out on that crucial transition from browser to buyer, simply because they are not presenting a presence that is readily available across different platforms. If you only allow customers to ask questions through a contact form on your website, or by dialling a number and being put on a hold list, the likelihood is that you will lose a large chunk of potential business from those who would rather quick on a quick chat icon and receive an automatic response. 

And finally, why not consider Facebook Messenger marketing as a way to acknowledge and generate information about orders and delivery notifications? A massive 85% of people say they want to be able to text back after receiving a push notification – so it follows that using Facebook Messenger marketing to control those kinds of notifications could open up a channel for conversation and ongoing communication. 

Why you should integrate Facebook Messenger marketing today

Facebook is the OG of all the social media platforms when it comes to consumer – business interactions, and as such it is leading the way with the integration with direct messaging, consistent communication and advertising, and chatbots. The future of your business could well rest in the way that you employ and use social media in the coming weeks and months, particularly with the 2020 pandemic driving more and more people to browse and shop online. 

Create a seamless consumer experience using chatbots and messenger apps – and watch as browsers start to become buyers.

My SEO Predictions for 2021

My SEO Predictions for 2021

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has long been considered an integral part of the digital and online marketing world, using the power of keywords and valuable internal and external website links to increase your organic search results and increase the level of genuine audience traffic moving onto your website.

There are a huge variety of aspects which go into a high quality SEO campaign strategy, and as such more and more companies are looking to recruit experts and entire outsourced services which are dedicated to increasing and improving their SEO.

This article looks a little more closely at the areas in which SEO could grow over the next year, considering the ways that technical reliance will continue to adapt and change the ways that we use online to communicate with our customers and clients.

Taking our learnings from 2020 into 2021

If there has ever been a time that online strategy has been important, it’s been this year.

With businesses being forced to close their doors, limit their capacity and completely change the way in which they interact with customers, the value of social media and a strong online presence has been felt across the business world, regardless of industry.

From recruitment and advertising vacancies, to launching new products and services, sharing testimonials and internal stories, and simply communicating with clients and customers, everything in 2020 has been about finding new and innovative solutions – and a lot of this will carry on over in 2021 as more businesses herald the value of a strong online presence.

In terms of SEO, this means an increased focus on understanding who your target customer is and how to reach them.

It means knowing what search terms and solutions your customers are searching and looking for, and how they might come across your brand or website page.

It means producing high quality content which proves your worth as an expert in your industry or field.

Most of all, it means creating and maintaining a website which is as much written for usability and reader value, as it is designed for Google and a high SEO ranking.

What SEO will look like in 2021

One of my biggest predictions for SEO in 2021 revolves around a more connected use of search results which combine standard content with GIF’s, videos, images and other graphics. The world is becoming increasingly visual and more and more users are finding visual guides just as easy to use – if not more so – than standard written guides and chunks of content.

If you can elevate the value of your website with some internal and external video content, using the right keywords and meta tags for Google to trawl through, you will find that image recognition technology provides a boost in your company’s prominence both on Google and other search engines.

Another way that SEO will shift focus in 2021 is towards more of a well-rounded user experience, which combines and blends social media presence with email communication, influencer marketing and affiliate marketing.

If you can get high quality third party sites and influencers to repost and link back to your landing pages, as well as including relevant external content on your own site, the chain of high quality links will serve you well and will create seamless user experiences which not only read well in terms of Google but also mean that more active consumers will read more about and potentially click through to your site.

When it comes to link building, I do have two of my own top tips to share to help you harness the power of links in 2021 and beyond:

1.      Keep your links about quality rather than quantity.

2.      Don’t outsource your link building to just any another company, as the risk is too high: there are so many organisations out there which sell link building solutions and ultimately will end up packing your website with spam. Put the time in and build internal and external links up yourself.

And then we have content itself, and the way in which companies will continue to use content as the main driving force in their SEO strategy.

Keywords remain an integral part of a consistent and high quality SEO strategy, and so the higher the value of content you can create and share on your site and other online platforms, the better.

However, far too often I see bloggers and writers simply stuffing their content full of keywords which make little sense – and unfortunately, Google has outgrown us in terms of intelligence; now able to read and identify every time a keyword has been used as a space filler.

What this means is that, now more than ever, SEO strategy has to use keywords in a smart and intelligent way which highlights value and relevance, without going over the top. 

Steps you can take to improve your SEO in 2021

Google will often change its algorithms with little warning, and so one of the best steps you can take to keep your SEO relevant and up to date is continuing to watch and keep an eye on technical innovation and online reports about new ways that the internet is being used – across all devices.

One of the main areas that I predict Google will focus on in 2021 is mobile optimisation across all devices, in terms of delivering a high end user experience to every used regardless of how they interact with a site. It is no longer enough to deliver the same homepage on a computer and a smartphone – the sites must be tailored to the end user and the way that they are using the site.

I could go on for pages about the ways in which SEO will shift and change in 2021, but for me the key lessons to take and implement are these:

·        Put time and thought into the ways that you can prove and showcase expertise and authority in your industry or sector.

·        Create content which does more than share the keywords a few times. Make every blog and article count – and remember, the better the content, the more likely it is to be shared.

I hope that’s of some use to you, I’m happy to thrash ideas around, so if you’re looking at starting or improving your SEO in ’21 – give me a shout or head over to kaizen-digital.com for more info.