You’ve done everything right. You’ve researched your keywords (and those of your competitors), you’ve beefed up your meta tags, you’ve created highly optimized and compelling content, you’ve optimized for local search . . . heck, you’ve even optimized the file names of the images you’re using! You take a deep breath, look and log in to view your analytics, and, drum roll . . . traffic is static? Or worse, it’s a little down? What could have gone wrong?
Actually, something may have gone very right. If you’ve done a thorough job with SEO, you may have met the needs of your users so well that they don’t even need to click through to your site. “Come again,” you say?
Here’s the thing: depending on the nature of your business, customers may not need to get to your site once they see you in search results. This is exactly what happened to one of our clients, a surfing company in Hawaii. We optimized its site heavily for local search, and as a result, users now see the business name, address, website and phone number near the very top of the results for "Surf lessons in Waikiki."
At that point, it's just as people to call up and ask about lessons and tours as it is to visit the site (this is doubly true if the person is searching on a smartphone).
If a lot of users bypass your website but call instead, then you won’t see a bump in traffic. But you should—like Big Wave Dave—see a bump in sales. And if sales are up, then your SEO has paid off—literally!
It's that time again. At CDG, we're beginning work on our fifth iAd. We've set the bar high for ourselves, and we're trying to out-do our extremely high metrics for user engagement and conversion rates. Let the concepting begin!
Above, the newest addition to CDG's design team, Marina Linderman, pitches ideas to Creative Director Matthew Snyder.
Matthew records the ideas provided by the design team. At this stage in our creative process, no idea is too out-there or strange. We'll edit and refine them over the next week as we hone in on a creative concept on which to base the iAd.
search engine optimization is a bit like playing whack-a-mole. Just when you
have your eye on a sure-fire SEO tactic, it becomes moot (or less effective)
and another one springs up somewhere else. Anyone who tells you they have the
secret to perfect SEO probably also has a very affordable bridge to sell you.
are tried and true methods to optimizing your site for search, and some are not
as obvious as you might think. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to
focus on the best way to optimize copy on a page-by-page basis. This is only
one part of any solid SEO strategy (we’ll tackle other pieces, like
link-building later), but it’s of course one of the most essential.
creating your content, pay attention to these items:
keywords are at the heart of any well-optimized page, so before you start
writing, do you research. Be thorough, and make sure to not only look at the
keywords you’re currently planning to target, but also research the keywords
for which your competitors are optimizing. Google trends is a great starting point,
and it’s free. It will tell you the terms people
are actually using, what’s becoming more popular, and much more. Paid tools like SpyFu and SEMRush
are handy in looking at your competitors.
Once you’ve got keywords, you’ve got to
know what to do with them. Which leads us to .
Page Title (Meta):
title is the first thing people will see. Think of it as the subject line for
your content. Only the first 65 characters of the title will be viewable to
users, so keep it short. And for best results, lead off with your key words.
For example, if you’re optimizing on “car insurance quotes.”
Free & Fast Car Insurance Quotes from ABC Insurance
Insurance Quotes: Free & Fast at ABC Insurance
Example of a well-optimized page title for the search term "budget hotels in San Francisco"
Description Tag (Meta)
the title, your description is your most important meta content, as it also
shows up in search engine results and can be very effective in convincing a
user to click. When you write your description, use your keywords judiciously
and focus it on what the user most wants to see. If they’re searching for the best price on a
hotel room, lead with your special rates, not the fact that you’ve been open
for 25 years. If you take the time to craft a
descriptions that are relevant to each page, you’ll increase the odds that
people will find what they expect—and that will reduce your bounce rate. And remember: Keep those descriptions to 165
characters or less.
be surprisingly effective weapons in your SEO arsenal. Make sure every
contextual image has a caption and alt tag peppered with keywords. The alt tag
is especially important, as the first 255 characters of it will show up in the
increasing powerful Google image search. Use your keywords to intelligently label
OK: “child on a swingset”
Better: “child on a
swingset with a nanny from ABC Agency”
Best: “A certified nanny from ABC agency plays on the
swings with a child in New Jersey”
not all. You can even improve your results by using keywords in the file name (e.g. ABC-Agency-nanny-with-child.jpg).
well-optimized page relies primarily on the content itself. (And really, what’s
the point in driving people to a page with crappy content anyway?) When writing your content, use—but don’t
overuse—your keywords. There’s no magical formula to figure out optimal keyword
density, but you definitely don’t want the page to sound like it’s been optimized. If you can
read it aloud and it has a natural-sounding flow, you’re probably on the right
track. Equally important is the structure of your page. Make sure to use
keyword-rich headers and subheads, and make sure your code uses <h1> and
<h2> tags to call those out.
Et voila! Implement these five steps and
on your way to the world’s most dazzlingly optimized page. That’s only the
start, though. Once you’ve dealt with your own pages, you need to look beyond
your own site, with link-building, blogger outreach, social media efforts, etc.
But we’ll save that for another post. Check back soon for more!
Need help understanding how to optimize
your site for search? Contact CDG & let our experts work with you on a
comprehensive SEO strategy.
Signs have begun to emerge that Google’s ranking algorithm, the formula it uses to
determine where a website or page should appear in search engine results, is using authorship signals as a factor. (Originally, many referred to this as AuthorRank, anticipating that Google would eventually assign specific search value to authorship the way page authority is assigned PageRank.)
Authorship is Google’s way of identifying individual
creators of content and tying that content to each author. The more quality
content an author produces and the more relationships that author has online,
the higher the individual's authority.
In turn, the content produced by highly rated authors is
going to be ranked higher in Google's search results than similar content by
authors that have lower authority, in the same
way that pages with more inbound links are given more weight.
Although authorship clearly has benefits to individual
writers, it has implications for publishers, too. If your business’s marketing
strategy includes content marketing, such as a blog, it benefits the company
blog if the individual contributors have strong authority.
Let’s say you have been outranking your competitor’s blog by
a combination of link-building, commenting and other promotional tactics. But
your competitor takes steps to increase the AuthorRank of the contributors to
its blog. By doing nothing else, your competitor may now begin to outrank you.
How Can Businesses
Maintain or Increase Their SEO in an Authorship World
First, don’t take your foot off the gas with your regular
SEO efforts. Those factors still apply.
But now is the time to start building up the authorship
factor for the authors of your business’s content, whether it’s on a company
blog or the company website.
Ways Authors Can Increase
Claim authorship of content. The first step is
to have a Google Profile—which is now the same thing as a Google+ Profile.
Same domain. Ensure that either your work or personal email
address is from the domain where you're claiming content.
Link up. Add a link from this profile to the company blog
under the "Contributor to" section.
Follow the rules. On the blog (or other content), there are a few
specific criteria: each post must have a byline, and you should have an
identifiable photo. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a contributor
page where you can create the necessary author tag. Insert the tag <rel=”author” link=”your-googlplus-url”
/> (replacing the link URL with the URL to that person’s Google+ Profile).
Create shareable content. Volume of content isn’t
sufficient to improve an author’s authority. Quality is much more important, and
Google seems to define quality by shareability: likes, shares, +1’s. Although
shares across the web will help, it’s a safe assumption that shares within
Google+ will be weighted more.
Grow Google+ followers. Quality content is one
part of the puzzle. Quality following is the other. The greater
an author’s network, the greater the author’s influence, especially if the
author interacts with high authority profiles. Think of it like Google’s
version of Klout.
Check your stats. See your progress in Webmaster Tools under
Labs-Author Stats where you can see information about pages for which you are
the verified author.
Have you noticed that Google’s own social network, Google+,
plays a big part in authority? It’s no surprise. The impact of Google+ on
overall search rankings on Google continues to grow, as we first noted last
It’s rapidly moving from optional to mandatory as a part of
a social media marketing strategy—as Google no doubt intended all along.
Most businesses are
too busy growing to be experts at social media marketing and SEO, too. That’s
why we’re here. Instantly expand your marketing expertise with a consultation
from CDG Interactive. We’ll cut through the buzzwords and tell you what to do
next—and why. Contact us today.
no surprise that Google properties account for 66.7% of search queries, making
Google the most popular search engine. What may surprise you is that many
people go directly to YouTube (a Google property) and begin their searches
there – it’s the 2nd most popular Google property for search. As video becomes more popular and easier to
upload and stream, particularly on mobile and especially tablets, video is
going to become a more and more important element of many businesses’ digital
does this mean for businesses?
The short answer: the creation of shareable video content
needs to be part of your marketing efforts.
(Fun fact: 92% of videos viewed on a mobile device are shared.) Here are a few quick tips to start building out
your video assets, and getting them seen.
Finding the budget
you can now make many videos without a huge budget. In fact, most people don’t
expect high production values from short, informative videos and screencasts. Just
be sure you have enough time and resources to shoot and edit the video. Don’t
expect that you’ll capture anything all in one go.
sure your video has a specific purpose, and that it conveys something that can’t
be communicated as well or better in other ways. You can get inspiration for
your video content from several sources:
Search analytics from your website - what
questions are driving visitors to your site and what questions are they typing
in the search box on your site? Can you provide an answer in video form?
What can you show rather than tell? If your site
has directions or explanations about products or services (how to hang
curtains, how to take better photos, how to accessorize an outfit, etc.), see if
you can demonstrate those activities on video. It can be a great learning tool
for your customers.
Publishing your Video
No matter where you get your ideas, and no matter what you’ll
be showing in a video, here are some tips to help you create an effective
Think about the audience you want to reach – tailor
your content to their sensibilities. Your video should be neither to elementary
nor too complex for your desired audience.
Sketch out the story or tasks to complete in the
Practice ahead of time to be sure you don’t
leave out any steps.
Speak clearly and take your time .
Include contact information at the end of the
Edit, edit, edit.
Don’t include music you don’t own. (You don’t
want your video taken down because of copyright violations.)
Promote your video on your social networks and
A Few More Words of
At CDG, we have found that short, single task videos are more effective than
longer videos. Rather than providing an entire product tutorial, break up the
most common questions into short, question specific videos. This also allows you
to target the search terms for each video more effectively and make the specific
videos more shareable (not to mention more suitable for mobile viewing.) Other
To improve the searchability and the
accessibility, post it with a transcript.
Add keywords to your video - consider what
specific keywords people will look for in a video (versus a Google search).
Share your videos – once you posted your videos
on Facebook, be sure to promote them. Post them to Facebook and on your
Not sure how which content is video-worthy or how to create
winning videos for your company? Contact CDG Interactive. Our award winning
creative team can help.
That headline is not a rhetorical question. If you can’t
answer it, you should absolutely, positively avoid any temptation to follow the herd onto Pinterest. Like any social media channel, Pinterest is
just another way to reach out to a wider audience, and like all the others, it
requires significant care and feeding. So let’s take a minute and figure out if
it’s right for you.
Pinterest Could Work
for You If . . .
Just because “everyone’s” on Pinterest doesn’t mean you have
to be there too. (Remember what your mom said re: jumping off bridges with
friends?) Yet Pinterest is potentially an great channel for many different
kinds of businesses, particularly if:
You have something to sell—If you’re selling
something—from earmuffs, to gourmet meals, to hotel reservations—Pinterest
could be a fantastic marketing tool for you. Consumers like to see what they’re
getting and the richness of Pinterest’s layout allows you to showcase your
products and services in a visually compelling way.
You have something to say—Non-profits and
advocacy groups can use Pinterest to highlight key facts, slogans and taglines
that support their mission. (CDG’s client, the Ms. Foundation for Women) does
You have something to teach—Data visualization, when
it’s done well, is an incredibly effective way of communicating. Take a look
here for some great examples.
If you have key facts or numbers that you want your audience to remember,
Pinterest might be able to help spread that message.
You have a story to tell—“Show, don’t tell,” is
a tenet of good storytelling. Pinterest can aid you here. If your company or
organization has a long history, an intriguing backstory, or compelling
customer service stories, you may be able to tell those very effectively via
images on Pinterest.
Great! Your business meets one (or more) of the criteria
above. Hooray! Off to Pinterest!
. . . But Wait! There’s the Little Matter of Content
Yes, now I’m going to be a killjoy. Pinterest might be a
great fit for your business in theory, but a terrible idea in practice. As with
all social media channels, it boils down to one word: CONTENT.
Remember all of those Pinterest boards for your wonderful products? And your
great infographics? And your snazzy quotes? They’ll need to be filled and
updated with a steady flow of images. Before you get on Pinterest you’ve got to
be darn sure that you have the assets to support your presence, now and into
Do you have a photographer, a designer, and/or a graphic
artist to produce your images? If not, think twice and three times about
Pinterest. Because Pinterest is not only about images, it’s about beautiful, compelling images. The
absolute worst thing you could do is to have a Pinterest account filled with
Make an Informed,
Using Pinterest well is
a tall order for a lot of businesses. If it’s not right for you, that’s not the
death knell for your social media efforts. In fact, it can be a great boost to
them. Instead of wasting valuable time and resources on Pinterest, use them to make
your Facebook page and Twitter account work better for you. In other words,
it’s OK to walk away and say, “Hey, Pinterest, it’s not you, it’s me.”
Worldwide, mobile now accounts for 10.01% of total web
traffic. In the US, more than 120 million people now own a smartphone, and 48
million people own a tablet. Half of all
local searches are currently performed on mobile devices.
Clearly, you've got to make sure that your site is ready to welcome traffic from mobile devices, and to provide those visitors with a great user experience.
Even if you're not ready to completely overhaul your site, there are several quick and easy steps you can take to vastly improve the mobile experience.
Here 5 fixes you can implement right now to ensure your mobile
visitors stay on your site:
Control Pop-Ups: Either eliminate pop-ups for mobile users or ensure
they are resized to not be larger than the screen. Visitors will spend little time scrolling
around looking for a way to close the window. If you must use a pop-up for some
reason, be sure to watch your bounce rate for mobile visitors in your web
analytics to ensure you’re not losing visitors.
Push Your Buttons:Test the target areas of buttons and links for
touching with fingers. Most websites were designed and built for clicking with
the more precise mouse which allows for items to be placed in close proximity.
At the very least, ensure that your purchase and cancel target areas don’t
overlap and can be touched separately.
Select the Right Keyboard: In any situation that requires user input, make sure your site serves up the correct keyboard to match the input you/re requesting from
users – using the options for email, URL, telephone numbers and numbers will
help your mobile visitors provide the correct information with fewer typos,
resulting in fewer errors and less frustration.
Turn Off Auto-Correct: Disable the auto-correct function for form entry.
Nothing is more frustrating for a visitor than having to re-input information
because the device “knows” better.
Depending on the form fields, you may also choose to turn off
auto-complete and auto-capitalize.
Never Think You're Finished: Okay, this isn't exactly a quick fix, but it's important. Between new products
and user expectations, mobile standards are constantly evolving, so you can't simply "fix it and forget it." You need to keep vigilant and continually evaluate whether your site is still performing optimally, and whether you can improve it. (That goes for us too! At CDG, we regularly revisit and improve previous work.)
If you need help refining what you’ve done or
aren’t sure where to get started, CDG’s mobile development and design teams are
ready to help. Contact us to get started.
CDG Interactive is a full-service digital marketing agency in metropolitan Washington, DC. Founded in 1991, CDG provides website marketing services, website design, website development, brand developement and extension, and offline and comprehensive marketing strategies.