Websites for growing businesses

SEO Terminology Defined: An SEO Study Guide

Though search optimization tools seemingly make SEO easy for everyone, true SEO mastery only comes with experience and a bit of study. One of the most important aspects to learn is the key terminology. This post provides an SEO cheat sheet of the most commonly used terms that can be confusing to SEO novices.

1. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a term ‘bounced’ around when you are viewing page analytics. The term refers to when a site visitor only views one page of your website and then leaves.

A high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing if a viewer peruses your blog and then exits. The goal of your evergreen content, however, is to entice your viewers to either purchase a product or request your services. If a landing page has a high bounce rate, it may be time to edit the content or conduct on-page optimization.

2. Alt Text

Alt text, often referred to (incorrectly) as alt tags, was originally created for accessibility purposes. The text describes the images on your site and is read aloud to visually impaired site visitors using specialized software.

Alt text also acts as a signal for search engines. Search engine bots are getting better at understanding the images on your site, but the alt text aids in image identification. Additionally, alt text displays when an image won’t load.

3. Keyword Cannibalization

Basic SEO guides remind website owners not to “keyword stuff” as the practice violates Bing and Google’s webmaster guidelines. In other words, don’t fill a page with the same term over and over again in hopes it will improve your appearance in search queries. It’s a black-hat SEO practice that is frowned upon in the digital marketing world, and can negatively impact rankings.

The more advanced problem is keyword cannibalization. This term refers to when a certain keyword is overused throughout an entire website. Not only will this practice create low quality content, but search engines won’t know which page to display in the rankings. Thus, Google will guess which page best matches the search, and the displayed page may not be the most relevant to the search.

4. Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to the words contained in a hyperlink. Too many website managers simply use “click here” or “read more” as anchor text, which is neither user-friendly nor helpful for SEO purposes. Anchor text is used by search engines as a ranking signal, so anchor text should include keywords relevant to topics covered on the link’s target page.

5. HTTP Status Codes

HTTP status codes are response messages sent from a server in response to a site visitor’s actions. There are dozens of these codes, but there are 2 very important numbered SEO terms that website owners need to recognize. A 404 error refers to a broken link. Thus, if an internet user goes to a page that no longer exists or was moved, they will see a 404 error.

In order to prevent 404 error screens from appearing, redirects are needed. A 301 redirect is a permanent change that sends users and search engines to a different webpage than the one that was broken or removed

6. Link Bait

While the term may sound a bit like spam, link bait is a good way to receive links—if the material is done well. Link bait is essentially high quality, highly viral content that will garner links from other, valuable sites. In truth, this is done by applying strong content marketing skills. The goal is to create text, an image, a video, etc. that is either highly entertaining or particularly informative.

7. Meta Tags

“Meta tags” is the name for a group of the terms many web managers recognize; namely the title tag and meta description. The tags appear in the HTML source code and help describe the content to the search engines. Meta descriptions no longer contribute to rankings, but their information can help persuade a searcher to click on your site if the information is descriptive enough.

8. Backlinks

Backlinks are inbound links from other websites, which may improve your search rankings. Guest blogging, blogger outreach and paid advertisements are common backlink options, but there are dozens of possibilities depending on your industry. A link from a link farm or other poor-quality site may have little or no value for SEO and could potentially harm your site’s performance in search.

9. Conversion

A conversion, for SEO purposes, refers to the measurable completion of a marketing goal, usually on your website. For ecommerce businesses, conversions typically refer to product sales. For professionals like lawyers and doctors, a conversion goal might be a contact form submission or the scheduling of an appointment. Conversions can also be small goals such as the number of content shares or the percent increase of followers or email contacts.

10. SEM

While SEO and SEM are very much intertwined, SEM refers to “search engine marketing.” Thus, SEM encompasses SEO as well as PPC (pay-per-click) and other digital marketing techniques.

Focusing on one aspect of SEM, such as SEO, will certainly improve your website’s performance, but a comprehensive digital marketing campaign will yield the highest return on investment. This kind of campaign takes time to develop and apply and often requires the assistance of digital marketing experts.

Paramaya Web Consulting has a team of digital marketing professionals ready to apply high-quality SEM techniques to your website. When you reach out to us, we’ll conduct a quick SEO checkup to identify the key areas where your website can be improved.

You have nothing to lose and only site traffic and profits to gain! Call 678-824-5560 now or complete our contact form and put your website on the road to success.

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Make Search Performance Fireworks with 10 SEO Quick Fixes

SEO Fireworks

Don’t let the “lazy, hazy crazy days of summer” make you lax about your company’s website. Create SEO fireworks with some quick SEO fixes that anyone can implement. These easy adjustments help you increase your rankings and search presence, thus increasing your site traffic and profitability.

Here are 10 easy search engine optimization techniques to stay afloat in the digital marketing pool:

1. Adjust your URLs.

The content in URL’s is an often overlooked area of SEO content. Google reviews the text within your URL to determine whether or not your page contains high quality content. Keep the content concise—less than 60 characters—and avoid too many unnecessary words like “and,” “of,” “the,” etc.

If you do change your URLs, however, be sure to update your internal links and redirects. You don’t want to run the risk of a 404 error while trying to optimize your site.

2. Address key SEO content areas like titles, headers and alt tags.

Search engines pay more attention to your content than you may think. The phrases and keywords you highlight in areas such as the titles and headers will impact your search ranking, as Google considers these items to be summaries of the content on your pages. Don’t get overzealous, though–these elements need to as concise as they are informative. Webpage titles, for example, need to be somewhere between 50-60 characters.

3. Make your content shareable.

Having a blog is good. Making your blog shareable is better.

The key to a successful blog post is to establish yourself as an information authority through conversational content that your readers want to share. Have links to share your content on social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter. If your business does B2B work, LinkedIn is another important platform for sharing your content.

4. Establish a local search presence.

Local search optimization helps target potential customers or clients who include geographic qualifiers in their search terms. These searches include phrases like “top lawyer near me” or “bakery near Lithonia, GA.” If you are a brick and mortar business, be sure that you mention your location within your content. Additionally, check with community sites like your local chamber of commerce or local review sites such as Yelp to be sure your name, address, and phone number (your NAP) is correct.

Most importantly, be sure to create a Google My Business listing. For more information regarding how to create a GMB listing, read our detailed post on the topic.

5. Edit duplicate content.

Duplicate content may seem like a harmless, content time-saver, especially if the duplicates are for geographic landing pages. Unfortunately, this SEO cheat is one that will harm your pages in the long run, particularly if you are an ecommerce business. Perhaps surprisingly, duplicate content causes a host of technical concerns including indexing issues and problems with how the pages rank.

The true, technical fix require adjustments such as 301 redirects and canonical tags that may be too advanced for SEO amateurs. The quick SEO fix is to edit the content yourself and make the pages as distinct as possible. Pay close attention to the SEO content such as headers and titles, when making the changes.

6. Create imaginative anchor text links.

All too often, hyperlinks use phrases like “click here.” Only the more invested site visitors will click on those links as you aren’t using language to attract or engage your visitors. Instead, you should be more descriptive with your anchor text.

Short terms like “click here” or “read more” are unnecessary most of the time, as internet users recognize a link when they see it. Phrases like “click here to view our clearance table lamps” or “legal consequences for refusing a field sobriety test” are much more relevant and compelling.

Even beyond appealing to your visitors, search engine spiders consider the anchor text when crawling a website. By incorporating descriptive links, your page will seem more authoritative and will likely perform better in searches.

7. Write for real people.

When drafting content for your webpage, are you considering your target audience? Your content should always be inspired by the keywords and search phrases that your ideal customers or clients are using.

On the flip side, keyword stuffing is big no-no in the SEO world. Not only will your site visitors be unimpressed, but Google and other search engines consider repetitive content to be a form of “spam,” and will penalize your site in terms of its ranking.

8. Correct broken links.

A broken link is one the easiest problems to correct and one of the most important. Bounce rate increases dramatically when a 404 error appears.

It’s an SEO myth that 404 errors cause Google to penalize your site. Though there is no penalty, the errors still negatively impact the crawls conducted by search engines. Thus, the errors still have SEO consequences.

Redirects are a quick fix to this problem, and tools like Google Search Console are helpful to ensure you are aware of the potential issues.

9. Create a reasonable plan for backlinks.

An entire blog post could be written about how to gain backlinks. (For SEO amateurs, backlinks are where you get other websites to include a hyperlink to your business’ website.) The more, high-quality, backlinks you have, the better your search performance.

There are dozens of ways to earn backlinks, so pick the ones that are the most “doable” for you. If you’re a medical doctor, try to guest blog on a parenting or local sports website. If you’re an attorney, verify your address in the important legal directories. If you’re a B2B business, ask your clients to include a link to your page on their website. Whatever you have time for, make it your goal to earn at least one strong backlink a month.

10. Conduct monthly audits.

Just as you go to the doctor to check your health, you need monthly SEO checkups. Reviewing site data monthly with tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Screaming Frog helps you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your website. With this information, you can create a stronger business strategy and earn your website long-term success.

It’s important to note that monthly audits are not necessarily a quick fix, but it is certainly the most efficient way to maintain a high-performing website.

Though this post is focused on DIY SEO techniques, there are countless other techniques to best increase your traffic and profits.. SEO is a complex aspect of digital marketing that is best achieved by skilled SEO experts who have the time to properly monitor and enhance your site.

Paramaya Web Consulting is a comprehensive SEO firm with a variety of services available. With everything from SEO coaching to monthly retainers available, we have options that fit every business and budget. Give us a call or complete our form to get started with a free SEO review and consultation.

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How to Use Rich Snippets to Boost Ecommerce Sales

ecommerce computer screen

As digital marketing campaigns continue to evolve and become even more competitive, many ecommerce businesses are looking for ways to stand out from the pack. Employing less common marketing techniques is a strong strategy, and dedicating resources to the creation of rich snippets in search engine results is a wise investment. With only an estimated 17% of marketing campaigns focusing on rich snippets, it’s relatively easy to take advantage of this area of search engine optimization (SEO).

What are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets provide extra details about your business during internet searches. Technically speaking, this descriptive information comes from structured data in coded bundles within HTML. Though Google admits that the rich snippets do not assist with rankings, the snippets help search engines understand your content and present the appropriate information.

Rich snippets often display above or below the general snippet on the search engine results page (SERP). The extra information, a result of structured data added to your website, helps searchers learn more about your products and business with the key details you highlighted for Google to possibly display.

Rich Snippets for Ecommerce Websites

Many types of structured data can benefit an ecommerce business, resulting in rich snippets that stand out in search results. Five of the most common types of rich snippets proven to increase clickthrough rate and online sales include:

1. Product Details and Additional Products

Though this may seem to be a common sense explanation, a rich snippet product description helps you clarify information. For example, if a person had only searched for a broad term such as women’s shoes, the product rich snippet would include links to items such as women’s sandals, women’s athletic shoes, etc.

Product type rich snippets may also include links to related products. An online retailer of baked goods, for example, can showcase links to additional cookies, though chocolate chip may have been the initial search.

2. Price

There are pros and cons to displaying a price as part of a rich snippet. On the one hand, if your price is competitive, you can draw your potential customers in to your online shop. The other option is to not display the price in order to encourage traffic to your site. Displaying price ranges are still another option. There is no wrong choice, though a web consultant would be able to advise you as to the best marketing strategy. Sales and promotions, however, should definitely be noted.

3. Availability

Though you may lure potential customers to your online business by concealing a product’s availability, this decision will do more harm than good. An out of stock item should be noted, as customers are likely to be disgruntled if they complete the shopping process only to find the item is no longer available.

Limited quantities should also be posted as rich snippet content. Items in short supply appear to be in high demand and could attract customers to your site. Mentioning that an item is in stock also helps your potential customers know they can easily make a purchase.

4. Images and Videos

If your ecommerce business offers specialty items, perhaps words won’t do your items enough justice. Rich snippets with video and images can make your products stand out on the SERP page, as well as allow unique characteristics to be more visible.

5. Ratings and Reviews

If your website allows customers to submit reviews of your products or if you can link to a distributor’s page with reviews, such as an Amazon page, it is a compelling marketing strategy to include the reviews as rich snippets. Reviews of products increase sales anywhere from 60-80%.

While you may not want to highlight negative ratings as a rich snippet, bad reviews can still increase conversions over 60%. Reviews provide online shoppers with a sense of trust and credibility for your business, so their inclusion is often encouraged.

Though the above are the 5 most common rich snippets, other options include:

  • Store Name
  • Site Architecture
  • Event Details such as a sale, product launch, etc.
  • Search Box

Again, the use of rich snippets involves the application of marketing and SEO strategies. Thus, a digital marketing firm is perhaps the best choice to make these creative decisions.

Implementing Rich Snippets

The creation of rich snippets involves a bit of coding. Each variety of snippet has a unique installation process and requires manipulation of the HTML source code. Google has both the Structured Data Markup Helper and the Structured Data Testing Tool to assist with the process, but it may not be enough for proper installation. Instead, the expertise of a web consultant or web developer is strongly encouraged.

Paramaya Web Consulting is a web consulting firm that handles digital marketing and web development. With over 17 years of experience, let us expand the reach of your ecommerce business. Call us or use our contact form to schedule a free site review.

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