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The Key to California’s Survival Is Hidden Underground

January 14, 2023 No Comments

The state is ping-ponging between severe drought and catastrophic flooding. The solution to both? Making the landscape spongier.
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Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes

January 13, 2023 No Comments

Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes

30-second summary:

  • If conveying the value to C-suite wasn’t challenging enough, SEOs are now having to deal with the GA4 shift
  • Does your SEO reporting take hours or days? Is it too detailed, or not detailed enough?
  • Buy back some time for a cuppa and a catch-up, use this super-detailed guide that will save you hours and get you the most effective GA4 reports

Have you experienced this… desperately trying to find where your favorite GA3 reports are hiding inside the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

The process can feel daunting for all teams–including SEO teams looking to trace the impact of their search engine optimization efforts on the website’s overall performance. That is because many GA3 (also known as Universal Analytics) reports are either difficult to locate or need to be custom-built from scratch inside the new GA4.

That’s where these three reports come in!

Here are the three GA4 SEO “P” reports we will be creating together in GA4

1. SEO Pages report

Which of our web pages are successfully ranking in the search engines and generating the most traffic, conversions, and sales for the business? With this report, you can instantly pinpoint the pages that need more “SEO” optimization so you can increase your website’s traffic, conversions, and sales.

2. SEO Profiles report

What locations, interests, age groups, and other characteristics define our SEO audience? With this report, you can confidently define or redefine your ideal customer–so you can attract more of them.

3. SEO Paths report

How do our organic search traffic visitors navigate our website? What is their most common path to conversion? With this report, you can quickly discover and remove any roadblocks that are preventing your visitors from converting into leads and customers.

So we’re all on the same page: Throughout this article, I will use the phrases SEO traffic, organic search traffic, and organic traffic synonymously. They all mean people who typed a query into Google, looked through the unpaid (non-ad) search results, and then clicked through to your website.

Step 1: Create your SEO Pages report

One of the time-saving beauties of Google Analytics 4 is the Explore feature which allows us to create fully custom reports from scratch. We will use this feature to create our SEO Pages report. Quick note: Google has announced a new landing page report in GA4 that you can use to build this report as well. For now, let’s keep going with the quick and easy steps outlined in this article.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu
  2. Click Blank. On the next screen, click Blank
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Blank, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Name exploration. Under “Variables” change the Untitled exploration to SEO Pages. You have now named your report.
  2. Create Organic Search segment. Click the + sign next to “SEGMENTS” > User segment > At the top, change the segment name from “Untitled segment” to “Organic Search Traffic” > Add new condition > search for and click on First user medium > click Add Filter > select contains > type and select organic > Apply. You have just created a segment (or filter) that automatically only displays information about your organic search traffic in the report you’re about to create.
  3. We’re going to bulk-add: Now that you have created your organic search traffic segment, it’s time to build a custom report, then apply your segment to it. In the coming steps, we will bulk-add all the metrics and all the dimensions we will need for all three SEO “P” reports.
  4. Add Landing Page dimension. Click the + sign next to DIMENSIONS > in the search box, type landing page and when it appears, check the Landing Page + query string box.
  5. Add additional dimensions. Repeat the previous steps by searching for and checking the checkboxes of the following dimensions:
    1. Device category
    2. Browser
    3. Country
    4. City
    5. Type “demographic” and check all the demographic dimensions you want to report on, such as Age, Gender, and Interests. Note: For these selections to report any data, you will need to enable the Google Signals functionality in GA4 which you can do by opening another tab and going to Admin > Data Settings > Data Collection > Get Started > Continue > Activate. Be sure to read Google’s policy to ensure that it complies with your organization’s privacy requirements If not, skip this bullet.
  6. Import all dimensions at once. After the final dimension’s checkbox has been checked, click the Import button to bulk-import all of the dimensions into your exploration report.
  7. Add Entrances metric. Click the + sign next to METRICS > in the search box, type entrances and when it appears, check the Entrances box.
  8. Add additional metrics. Repeat the previous steps by searching for and checking the checkboxes of the following metrics:
    1. Entrances
    2. Views
    3. Views per user
    4. Engagement rate
    5. Bounce rate
    6. Conversions
    7. Session conversion rate
    8. User conversion rate
    9. New users
    10. Returning users
    11. Total users
    12. eCommerce revenue (if you have an eCommerce website)
    13. Optional step: Add other metrics–If you prefer to use different metrics than the ones listed above, GA4 makes it very easy to do so. Just leave the search box blank and use the “All” column to expand and add additional metrics you’re interested in. Hovering over a metric shows a definition of the metric, which is very helpful. You are free to do this now, or later. For now, let’s keep going.
  9. Import all metrics at once. After the final metric’s checkbox has been checked, click the Import button to bulk-import all of the metrics into your exploration report.
  10. Name the report. Rename the Free form report to Landing pages by clicking and typing over it.
  11. Add dimension to the report row. Double-click the “Landing page + query string” item under DIMENSIONS > this will add it to the “ROWS” section under the “Tab Setting” section.
  12. Add metrics to the report column. One by one, Double-click the following items under METRICS and they will be added to the columns of the report we are building: Entrances, Views, Views per user, Conversions, Session conversion rate, User conversion rate.
  13. Change cell type. Under the “Tab Setting” section, scroll down and change the Cell type to Heat map.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Pages report.

How to read your SEO Pages report

What the SEO Pages report tells you

Because the SEO Pages report uses the Organic Search Traffic segment that we created, here’s what the report tells you: The pages of your website that are responsible for generating the most organic search traffic, conversions, and sales to your business. (You can change the time frame on the left to adjust to different periods.)

Now what? 

Are these the pages you expected? Any pages glaringly missing from the report? This report helps you quickly pinpoint the pages that need more “SEO” optimization.

How? Because if you notice that key pages of your website–perhaps your core product pages, your main service pages, the big blog post your team spent weeks on, etc.–are missing from or are near the bottom of the SEO Pages report, this means those key pages are likely not ranking well in the search engines when your prospects are “googling.”

This tells you that it’s time to optimize these pages so they can start generating more traffic, conversions, and sales for the business. If you’re not sure how to optimize your web pages, see SEO Sprints on SprintMarketer.com.

Bonus Tip: Sorting

If you want to sort the report by another metric other than Entrances–for example, conversions–simply drag that metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.” In doing so, you will be able to quickly report on which pages of your site are responsible for generating the most conversions from SEO traffic.

Step 2: Create your SEO Profiles report

Because we’ve already created the SEO Pages report, we will use a shortcut to create the SEO Profiles report. Let’s dive in.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu.
  2. Duplicate the SEO Pages report. On the next screen, find your SEO Pages report > click the 3 dots to the right of your SEO Pages report > select Duplicate.
    GA4 SEO reports - SEO Pages
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Duplicate, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Rename the duplicated report. A new report will appear and it will be named “Copy of SEO Pages” > click the 3 dots to the right of that report > select Rename > change the name to “SEO Profiles” > Submit.
  2. Create your Device category report to profile the devices your SEO traffic uses to access your website.
    1. Open the report. Click on the name of your SEO Profiles report to open it > now it’s time to modify our dimensions so you only see the dimensions that give you insight into the “profiles” of your SEO visitors.
    2. Remove old dimension. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over the Landing page + query string dimension located under “ROWS” > then click on the X to remove it from the list of dimensions. This will make your report “disappear” because there is no dimension selected, but not to worry–we will bring it back right away.
    3. Add new dimension. Double-click the Device category dimension. This will move the Device category dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column. Voila, your report has now reappeared.
      GA4 SEO reports - adding new dimensions
    4. Rename your table. Now that your Device category report has been created, you need to change the name of the table from Landing pages > Click on the words Landing pages > type “Device” > click Enter on your keyboard.
    5. Sorting. I prefer to sort this report by Total users so I can know the device preference of my individual users–this way, I’m not sorting by Views, Entrances, Sessions, or other metrics that may be inflated by a small number of users who visit frequently. To sort the report by Total users, simply drag the Total users metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.”
    6. You’ve created valuable data. Your new Device category report gives you insight into the profile of your SEO traffic by telling you their preferred devices (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.). This is helpful in case your website experience is faulty or glitchy on certain devices, in which case if that device shows up near the top of your report, it should be a priority to fix those issues.
  3. Create your Browser report to profile the browsers your SEO traffic uses to access your website.
    1. Duplicate. Creating this report will be a breeze because you only need to duplicate the previous report and make some quick changes. Click on the arrow next to “Device” > select Duplicate
    2. Rename table. A new table will appear. Let’s rename it > Click on the words Device in the new table > type “Browser” > click Enter on your keyboard.
    3. Remove old dimension. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over the Device category dimension located under “ROWS” > then click on the X to remove it from the list of dimensions. This will make your report “disappear” because there is no dimension selected, but not to worry–we will bring it back right away.
    4. Add new dimension. Double-click the Browser dimension. This will move the Browser dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column. Voila, your report has now reappeared.
    5. Sorting. Make sure your table is sorted by Total users. If not, here’s how: To sort the report by Total users, simply drag the Total users metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.”
    6. You’ve created valuable data. Your new Browser report gives you insight into the profile of your SEO traffic by telling you their preferred browsers. This is helpful in case your website experience is faulty or glitchy on certain browsers, in which case if that browser shows up near the top of your report, it should be a priority to fix those issues.
  4. Create your additional profile reports. Follow the steps in bullet 5 to create tables for all the additional dimensions such as City, Country, Age, Gender, Interest, and any other dimensions you may have added in Step 3 when you created your SEO Pages report.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Profiles report.

How to read your SEO Profiles report

What the SEO Profiles report tells you

Each tab of your new SEO Profiles report provides an insight into your SEO audience. For example, you know their device preferences, their browser preferences, their ages, their interests, their top locations, and more. (You can change the time frame on the left to adjust to different periods.)

Now what? 

With this information, you can confidently define or redefine who your ideal customer is and use this invaluable information to:

  • Rework the wording your use on your website so it’s more effective for this group
  • Redefine the audiences you’re using for your ads (if you’re running ads)
  • Update the wording you use in your offline messages to align with your audience and more.

Understanding who your audience is and speaking their language is a marketing superpower that can create emotional connections between you and your potential customers, and drive up conversions and sales.

Step 3: Create your SEO Paths report

IMPORTANT: Do you have events set up? This SEO Paths report requires that you have added events and conversions to your GA4 property. For example, have you configured your “purchase” or “lead” events so GA4 knows how to spot your conversions? If not, search for articles on this site, or see Analytics (GA4) Sprints on SprintMarketer.com.

 

In this step, we will build two powerful reports. The first one is your Traffic Flow report which tells you how all SEO visitors navigate your website, and the second is your Conversion Flow report which tells you how your *SEO visitors who converted into leads or sales* navigated your website.

Ready? Let’s go.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu.
  2. Duplicate the SEO Pages report. On the next screen, find your SEO Pages report > click the 3 dots to the right of your SEO Pages report > select Duplicate.
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Duplicate, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Rename the duplicated report. A new report will appear and it will be named “Copy of SEO Pages” > click the 3 dots to the right of that report > select Rename > change the name to “SEO Paths ” > Submit.
  2. Open the report. Click on the name of your SEO Paths report to open it > now it’s time to modify your report. Let’s dive in.
  3. Start new report. Click the + sign next to the Landing Pages report > Select Path exploration.

  4. Click Start over. Click Start over to clear everything in the existing report.
  5. Delete old report. Click on the old Landing Pages report > click on the arrow next to its name < select Delete.
  6. Rename report. Let’s give your report a more intuitive name. Click on the words Path exploration in the report > type Traffic Flow > click Enter on your keyboard.
  7. Add new dimension. Double-click the Device category dimension. This will move the Device category dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column.
  8. Apply segment. Double-click the Organic Search Traffic segment to apply it to the new report (since we started over).
  9. Remove old metrics. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over Event count located under “METRICS” > then click on the X to remove it from the report.
  10. Add new metric. Double-click the Total users metric. This will move the Total users metric under “METRICS” in the “Tab Settings” column and apply it to your report.
  11. Build your Traffic Flow report. This report shows how your SEO visitors navigated your site once they landed on it. This is a fantastic report for confirming whether the path you think people should take is indeed the path they are taking.
    1. Set Starting Point. Let’s begin by telling this report what we consider a starting point for traffic to our website. Click Drop or select node inside the Starting Point text on the report > select Event name > select session_start

    2. Rename steps. Click on the dropdown menu under STEP +1 > select Page title and screen name. This will expose the names of the pages that your visitors visit during their session. The bigger groupings represent the most visited pages.
    3. Reading this report. For example, in the screenshot below, I can see that, for the date range selected, after leaving the Google Online Store, the majority of the SEO visitors navigated to the Home page followed by the Men’s / Unisex Apparel page, followed by several other pages. I now know that people go back to the home page when I don’t expect them to–which could indicate that the calls-to-action on the Google Online Store page may not be clear.
    4. Add more paths. (1) Double-click any blue bar to expose additional visitor paths and see how your visitors navigated from one page to another. (2) Hover your mouse over any blue bar to see that page’s visitor breakdown by Device category. See the screenshot below.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Traffic Flow report.

  1. Build your Conversion Flow report. This report is a superb companion to the Traffic Flow report because it shows how users who converted navigated your site before they converted. This is a fantastic report for verifying if the funnel you think people should take is indeed the funnel they are taking.
    1. Duplicate. Click the arrow next to the Traffic Flow report > Duplicate > Rename the new report Conversion Flow > click Start over to clear the existing report. It’s now time to quickly create your Conversion Flow report.
    2. Set Ending Point. Let’s begin by telling this report what we consider to be an ending point (conversion event). Click Drop or select node inside the Ending Point text on the report > select Event name > search for and choose the event that represents the conversion you’ve set up for your website, for example, purchase, generate_lead, or etc.

    3. Rename steps. Click on the dropdown menu under STEP +1 > select Page title and screen name. This will expose the names of the pages that your visitors visit during their session. The bigger groupings represent the most visited pages.
    4. Reading this report. For example, in the screenshot below, I can see that, for the date range selected, the weakest link in the checkout process is from the Shopping Cart to the Checkout. Now I know that we need to get better at encouraging people to check out once they’ve added items to their cart.
    5. Add more paths as needed. (1) Double-click any blue bar to expose additional visitor paths and see how your visitors navigated from one page to another.(2) Hover your mouse over any blue bar to see that page’s visitor breakdown by Device category. See the screenshot below.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Conversion Flow report.

How to read your SEO Paths report

What the SEO Paths report tells you

With your Traffic Flow report, you can now observe exactly how your SEO visitors experience your website and make fixes where unexpected behavior might be occurring.

With your Conversion Flow report, you can now observe the most common steps your SEO visitors take while converting into leads or customers–and you can use this knowledge to make fixes where unexpected behavior might be occurring.

Now what? 

How do our organic search traffic visitors navigate our website? What is their most common path to conversion?

Maybe you need to add a call-to-action on one of your drop-off pages, so visitors know exactly what their next step should be.

Maybe you need to add an upsell to your checkout process so you can increase your transaction value.

Maybe you need to remove or completely rework a certain page because it’s proving to have the highest drop-off rate in the funnel.

Understanding and removing roadblocks from your users’ experience is a powerful marketing technique that can help you generate more conversions and sales from your existing traffic without having to generate new traffic.

Let’s summarize

Google Analytics 4 can feel daunting for all marketers, and SEOs are no exception. But with these quick and mighty GA4 SEO “P” reports, those of us who manage search engine optimization campaigns can easily monitor and communicate the impact of organic search traffic on the business.

Bonus: Sharing your GA4 SEO reports

When you first create an exploration, only you can see it. Would it be valuable for you to share your 3 reports with other members of your team? If so, this bonus is for you.

Sharing your Explore reports

  1. Click on the report you want to share
  2. In the upper right, click Share exploration
  3. That’s it. Anyone who has a Viewer role (or higher) in your GA4 property will be able to see your report when they log in and go to Explore.
  4. If you’re not sure how to create Viewers or any other roles inside GA4, it’s very easy. Just go to Admin > click Access Management in the Account or Property column > Assign roles to new or existing members. If you get stuck here, check out this access management article from Google.

Exporting your Explore reports

  1. In the upper right, click Export data.
  2. Select the export format:
  • Google Sheets
  • TSV (tab-separated values)
  • CSV (comma-separated values)
  • PDF
  • PDF (all tabs)

When you export to Sheets, TSV, or CSV formats, all the data available in the selected visualization is exported. This may be more data than is currently displayed. When you export to PDF, only the data currently displayed in the visualization is saved.

Happy SEO GA4 reporting!


Mary Owusu is CEO at Sprint Marketer, Professor of Digital Marketing & Analytics, President-Elect at the Digital Analytics Association Board. Mary is also an ATHENA Award Winner and FOUR Under 40 Emerging Leaders (AMA).

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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The post Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Download Videos to Watch Offline (2023): Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and More

January 12, 2023 No Comments

Losing your internet for a few hours? Here’s how to keep watching media from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, and Prime to pass the time.
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January 11, 2023 No Comments

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The Best Cars, Rides, and Auto Tech of CES 2023

January 7, 2023 No Comments

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The Slow Death of Surveillance Capitalism Has Begun

January 6, 2023 No Comments

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Is your SEO performance a dumpster fire? Here’s how to salvage it

January 5, 2023 No Comments

Is your SEO performance a dumpster fire Here’s how to salvage it

30-second summary:

  • A failing SEO strategy can happen to the best of us
  • No doubt it’s disheartening when your competitors are miles ahead and your business is struggling to bring in new leads
  • Founder of LSEO and best-selling author, Kristopher (Kris) Jones provides comprehensive steps and advice on how you can salvage your SEO performance

Dumpster fires: surely they can’t happen to you. Right? But before you know it, your website’s traffic has tanked, your competitors are getting all the organic love, and you couldn’t get a conversion if your life depended on it. Folks, if your SEO performance sounds like that, you might just have a dumpster fire on your hands.

A failing SEO strategy can happen to the best of us. There’s no doubt it’s disheartening when your competitors are all miles ahead of you and your business isn’t bringing in new leads.

The good news is that it’s never too late to turn things around.

When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago.

When’s the second-best time? Right now, so let’s get to it.

Here’s how to salvage your dumpster fire of an SEO strategy.

1. Review and optimize all your current content

I’m going to talk about content a few times in this post.

That’s because content has long been and remains the most important element to focus on in your overall SEO strategy.

Websites are nothing without content.

You can see a website getting by with no meta descriptions, you can see them getting by without optimized images, but without content, what do you have?

Not a website!

But if you’re focusing on content first to turn around your SEO strategy, where do you start?

Yes, you optimize everything you already have.

You don’t want to get ahead of yourself by constantly creating new content when you have a whole slew of old pages and posts that may have fallen into SEO disrepair.

Google treats optimized content the same as new content, so to start out, you’ll want to audit your existing content to see what’s good, what’s bad, and what you can fix up to be good again.

You can use a content audit tool like that found in Semrush, or, if you have a more manageable load of content to work with, checking things out manually would work well, too.

This is about more than just deciding what content you like or do not like, although you should be able to tell at a glance which topics are still relevant to your website.

But to check out the SEO performance of each page and post, you can use Semrush as I said, or go manual with Google Search Console.

What I like to do is to put each URL into Search Console and check out how it’s doing as far as impressions versus clicks, click-through rate, and the average positions of its ranking keywords.

That gives me a decent snapshot of which pages need attention.

For example

A page with 10,000 impressions in a 30-day period but only 100 clicks will have a CTR of only one percent (not too great).

I would then go to that page to figure out what is causing the low CTR.

The page is obviously being ranked for the keyword, given its high impressions, but if few people are clicking, then maybe the page isn’t as relevant for the term as it once was.

If that’s the case, then optimizing the page for SEO could be a matter of creating new sections of content around that keyword, and certainly retooling what’s there already.

Optimizing your website’s content is a major part of improving your SEO strategy because it involves so many things that are going to help you.

For this first point, I focused only on the writing and editing part of the content optimization.

Let’s now move on to some other parts of an SEO strategy where you could update things (things that could nonetheless still be involved in content optimization).

2. Assess and update all meta tags

Your pages’ meta tags play an important role in your website’s overall SEO health.

Meta tags are also one of the easiest things to let slip by as you work on your website, because they’re so brief and simple, and there are so many of them.

The thing is, meta tags can go out of date as the landscape shifts around your industry and the keywords for which you were optimizing are no longer relevant.

Meta tags are a classic example of why you can’t set it and forget it with SEO.

Meta tags are another element to look at as you go through your content pages to improve their CTR.

Sure, a lot of your content itself could use updates, but retool the meta titles and descriptions, as well.

Remember, the meta information is what organic users see as they scroll a SERP.

If your title and description aren’t interesting or urgent enough to draw in audiences that are in the awareness stage, then those people will keep on scrolling.

Redoing meta tags could include using a new target keyword, rewriting the call to action, or making everything more concise.

Maybe start with a handful of pages only, say 20 or 30, and A/B test the old and new titles and descriptions to see how traffic and CTR change after your edits.

Doing that will confirm for you whether the updating you’re doing is worth it, and whether you should continue down this road with the rest of your pages.

3. Work on your technical performance

When you have to turn around your entire SEO strategy, you have to think about your website holistically.

That means focusing not just on your keywords and content, but also on how your pages perform technically.

I’m grouping issues such as image compression, site speed, mobile responsiveness, and Core Web Vitals all together under the umbrella of “technical performance.”

Although these factors are less “creative” and open-ended as compared to performing new keyword research or optimizing content, they matter just as well.

When people get to your website and are greeted with slow pages, a messy mobile appearance, and content elements that jump around as they load, their trust in you drops.

In a world as competitive as ours, you can’t afford to give people cause for distrust, because you can bet that there are a hundred competitors waiting in line to market to those customers if you can’t do so successfully.

If development work isn’t your forte, look into contracting out to someone who can clean up your website’s coding and otherwise speed things up while also optimizing for mobile.

Images should be compressed so they take up less space but don’t lose any of their quality, and each image should have optimized alt text.

Compressing and optimizing images is something you can definitely do yourself, either through a plugin (on WordPress) or manually if it’s feasible.

Even though page speed and load times aren’t always the most accessible kind of work to business owners and website owners, those are important issues to keep in mind as you labor toward turning around your dumpster fire of an SEO strategy.

4. Resume creating new content

You can turn around even the worst SEO strategy in the world.

Google isn’t going to hold you to the fire forever just because your SEO has been in the dumps even for the last few years.

Google crawls your site every so often whether you’re doing something with it or not, and as it sees that your SEO is improving, it can start to rank some of those pages higher.

So here is where we get into creating all-new, high-quality content.

Content in 2023 can mean a whole range of things, from blog posts to infographics to videos and podcasts and webinars and slide decks.

Whatever makes sense for your business and your industry is what you should do. Whatever types of media you know your audiences like to consume, give that to them.

In 2023, however, you have to be incredibly mindful of being comprehensive and useful for people.

If there’s anything that we’ve learned from 2022’s helpful content update, it’s that you just cannot skimp on content creation (not that you ever could, but Google is smarter than it was 10 years ago).

Gone are the days of skirting by on SEO-centric content, created just to score some ranking for this or that keyword.

Google is paying much more attention now to the intent and usefulness of a piece, and rewarding those web pages featuring actually helpful content (get it?) with higher rankings.

A perfect example of how Google is thinking these days is the product review update, also from 2022.

Google is now deprioritizing the ranking of low-quality product reviews in favor of more expert-level reviews where the reviewer has actually used the product or service and can speak to its pros and cons.

Why? Because Google wants to direct users to content they can actually trust to help them.

When you take the product reviews update and helpful content update together, you can see why content marketing has gotten so much harder over the years.

You can’t just rank after spending an hour on a 400-word blog post anymore.

You have to be a real expert, or at least put in the time and effort to create deep content if you work for a client portfolio.

These are all things you must keep in mind as you create new content for your website in the name of putting out your dumpster fire of an SEO strategy.

Now, of course, there are the nuts and bolts you have to remember, as well, when it comes to new content.

You have to mine the SERPs, develop the proper keyword strategy, and understand the correct intent behind those keywords to be sure you’re creating what people expect to see when they search that keyword.

That stuff you can all learn.

What I want you to take from this section is the idea that you have to work to create that new content. You have to put in that time and dedication to do it well.

5. If you’re local, focus on reviews

I don’t want to leave out the local businesses here: if you’re a local business, do you know that one of the single largest factors in helping your SEO is getting positive Google reviews?

Now, local businesses need to perform all the on-page SEO work that anyone else does, but what do you do as an ongoing SEO strategy?

The play here isn’t keyword-driven SEO content so much, because your local audience isn’t really going to find you that way.

Local audiences find local businesses by performing local searches and checking out the reviews in the map pack.

In fact, 77 percent of local buyers always read online reviews while checking out local businesses.

Your reviews affect the level of trust the public has in you. More people are likely to visit your website and use your business when they see that others have had a positive experience with you.

The cycle goes on when you encourage your customers to leave positive Google reviews.

The more reviews you have, and the more positive they are, the better off your chances will be of rising to the top of your local map pack.

Being at the top should translate into more traffic and better SEO overall.

6. Build natural backlinks

Finally, I want to mention another pillar of Google’s list of known ranking factors: natural backlinks.

Links are what unite everything on the internet together.

They’re also vital in keeping the ranking juices flowing to your web pages when it comes to your SEO strategy.

Backlinks to your website from other websites show Google that you’re an authority in your market niche since people want to reference what you have to say.

Link building, then, is really about building relationships to get your name out there as a trustworthy resource for others.

When Google sees your links coming from relevant, authoritative websites, it will assign more trust to your own site.

Just remember to keep the links coming from websites that make sense to your own.

The quality matters much more than the quantity here.

To do it, create content that people would want to link to, something with a lot of useful stats and other data.

You can also scout other websites in your niche to see where they may have content gaps, and then create content to fill that gap and ask for a link back.

It takes time and effort, and you’re not guaranteed anything, but it’s the natural way to earn backlinks that will actually help your SEO.

Give your SEO time to turn around

You can put out even the biggest dumpster fire when you know what to do and how to do it.

I’ll say again that SEO dumpster fires can happen to the best of us. Sometimes we go all-in on things we think will work, and they don’t.

Sometimes we get lazy and let our SEO go for years.

But it’s never too late to correct things.

It will definitely take time to see things start to shift for you, though; SEO isn’t an overnight solution. It needs anywhere from three to six months or longer to start showing a difference.

If you keep in mind both the broad strokes and the specifics of everything I’ve described here, you truly can reinvent your SEO strategy and be on your way to business growth.


Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

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The post Is your SEO performance a dumpster fire? Here’s how to salvage it appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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