Best Business Search

Analytics

Why Esports organizations are losing business due to lack of SEO

September 30, 2022 No Comments

SEO is a standard within a number of marketing strategies through a myriad of industries, but has someone found themselves outside of the gaming and esports industries? There is a non-factor within new marketing verticals such as influencer marketing despite its immense potential to impact.

During the latest edition of the Gamactica Podcast, I got a chance to talk about the lack of SEO, or Esports SEO, that exists within the industry with Michael Ashford, CEO of The Game Awards.

In this article, I share some highlights and key insights that are affecting the fate of many Esports organizations.

What Esports can learn from sports and other industries

“I guess where Esports has been very pioneering there are also a lot of things that it can learn from other industries in the same vein,” he said.

“The big controversial one is the sports and Esports gear compared a lot. I’m a big fan of it because sports do very well with media rights and distribution deals. They do very well with sponsorships, two things that are absolutely pivotal and critical to the future of Esports. Those two things go hand-in-hand, they ensure everyone continues to be stable and everyone wins off the back of them. Esports as a term has really only been popular for 10 years. Before that you would just be OpTic gaming, people would just type in “optic” and their website would come up, their socials were there, everything was great and now there are probably 10,000 companies that all call themselves Esports something or another, and it’s a very different problem.

Doesn’t matter to OpTic, because OpTic is still a leading name and people still search for OpTic on Google. OpTic still comes up but it does matter to new businesses coming in.

“There are three waves to Esports”

You have wave one which is all the teams, the TOs, and the publishing companies.

Wave two is supporting services, people like ourselves, agencies, creative agencies, sales, and talent specialists.

Wave three is all the supplementary services under that, and that’s where that trickle-down comes down with publishers at the top and everyone in these waves underneath waiting to get paid. That is where wave three is so pivotal and why you hear stories of these companies trying to get in now that are very challenged because they’re not using proven techniques that work outside of the market to get into the market. They are trying to conform to the market that already exists, and you can’t take on an Esports Awards because we own that domain, we own that optimization, and we have seven years of history working with Google, YouTube, Amazon, we have even worked with Lexus. All these brands have given us that domain authority that is very hard to purchase now.” said, Michael Ashford, CEO of The Game Awards.

The advantage of domain authority in Esports

Ashford goes on to discuss the competitive advantage the domain authority provides them, especially as the Esports landscape continues to evolve and grow.

“So, if you were going to take us on as a competitor, you probably don’t want to go against that unless you’ve got a big, realistic search engine budget to go against us. That’s where marketing gives you that advantage, when you do marketing you put yourself in the eye of the consumer, you look at their journey, you understand their peeves, and you gain a finer understanding of what they’re doing.”

Ashford talked about the difficulties that face new entities, such as Esports teams face as they are entering a fiercely competitive space.

“If you’re a team that just got into this and you’re saying ‘I really want a big sponsorship to land on my doorstep’ like you have to be in their consideration and that’s what it comes down to. If I’m buying for one of the biggest companies in the world and I have a budget and I type in “Esports teams” or “successful Esports teams” or “biggest Esports teams” on Google, if you’re not on that list you’re already outliers from the consideration perspective because all of those other brands have long term domain authority” he said.

“The OpTics, The FaZe, the DSMs have done it for years and they’ll be the first stable thing that people see.”

Despite the proven data, SEO remains on the peripherals of the gaming, Esports, and content creation industries.

While platforms such as Twitch struggle to effectively scale the monetization of creators and their platforms, SEO continues to be an absolute need, a critical of conversation which eludes these spaces.

The Game Awards will be taking place on December 11th-13th in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will air on platforms such as Twitch and Twitter.


Anthony DiMoro is CEO of Gamactica. He can be found on Twitter @AnthonyDiMoro.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Why Esports organizations are losing business due to lack of SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


In-house SEO vs outsourced agency talent: Who wins the debate?

September 27, 2022 No Comments

In-house SEO vs outsourced agency talent Who wins the debate

30-second summary:

  • SEO involves a lot of tasks, processes, and technicalities that are hard to master and manage
  • Investing in an in-house team can have lots of advantages, like building specialized talent, greater control over performance, productivity, brand and process alignment
  • However, outsourcing to an SEO agency may not deliver the above-mentioned benefits but can be easier on your marketing budget and overheads
  • So, how do you identify the right fit for your business?

There are too many parts of SEO and many of those parts are constantly moving and changing. The more a site grows, the more challenging SEO is going to be. So what’s a better approach: to start building your own in-house SEO team or rely on an agency or freelancers?

Let’s see…

Pros and cons of building your own team

Pro #1: You build your own internal talent and knowledge

Your team is your biggest asset. Your company is only as good as the people behind it. These are all cliches but they hold true.

Having an in-house team to rely on makes your SEO strategy more consistent and aligned with your company’s culture and your product positioning strategy. Plus, there is a smoother flow of ideas and communication that leads to better results. You also stand to gain from the cross-pollination of talent that feeds into innovation and greater problem-solving.

Con #1: Talents tend to move on

There’s one huge issue with talented people: They tend to overgrow their employing businesses, and they do that pretty quickly.

It often becomes hard (and expensive) to keep the talent, even if your organization was the one that grew it.

Pro #2: You hold someone responsible

If you are good at hiring, you will likely find someone responsible who will take their training and tasks seriously. The person will have clear ownership which makes everyone’s lives easier and your business more effective. 

Any business initiative is going to be successful only if there’s someone inside the company to “own” it.

In-house teams are easier to control, you can ask for and obtain reports within a day. You can ask for clarifications without running out of your billable hours.

Con #2: It is expensive

Not many businesses can afford to have an internal SEO that has nothing but SEO… Apart from regular and inevitable payroll, there are also HR processes that contribute to the overall expenses. And let’s not forget about employee insurance and other benefits.

Yes, growing your own team is generally a great investment but only if your budget allows it. Plus, there’s always a risk your investment will simply leave your company one day (see above).

Pro #3: You own your data

Privacy is a big issue when it comes to letting anyone do marketing for you. On the other hand, you can also control the technology and privacy much more efficiently ensuring that your data is accessible to your internal team only.

Additionally, when you outsource anything, you will inevitably miss lots of data, like contacts that were acquired, templates that worked better, and other assets.

When you have the work done internally, you end up accumulating contacts you can rely on going forward. You also eventually build your own data and find innovative ways to build it into your search marketing strategy.

Con #4: It is slower

Unless you have a huge team, SEO tasks will pile up. They are very hard to organize and scale without outside help because there are too many variables and most of them are done on a continuous and regular basis.

Relying on freelancers to outsource SEO tasks is often the only way to get things done and free some time for looking into analytics to align your SEO strategy better.

Pro #5: The process can be better integrated

SEO is no longer an island. It can only be really effective if it is well-integrated into all processes within an organization, including product development, IT, sales, and customer support.

The intersection of digital and physical consumer experiences is also a strong reason as to why SEO needs to have strong integration with digital marketing, martech, and sales. Your business can achieve its goals only if it has a unified footprint.

Con #5: You cannot build a team that is good at everything

The biggest problem with SEO is that there are several moving parts that require absolutely different training and skill sets.

Remember the graph?

SEO graph and relativitySource: Anthony Palomarez

SEO always includes content creation and optimization, technical support, and link building (which normally includes email outreach, relationship building, and linkable asset creation which, in turn, involves graphic design or video production tasks).

If you need to understand all of these moving parts better, I have a simplified flow chart for you:

the scope of SEO

Let’s not forget that many of those parts will have to evolve based on ever-changing Google guidelines and ever-developing search algorithms that are hard to keep up with.

With such a variety of skills required, building a team that would handle almost everything is next to impossible, even for corporate entities.

Of course, today’s technology makes it much easier. You don’t have a web developer to build a landing page, or handle on-page SEO essentials. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create visuals, or even put together an effective lead magnet.

But even with smart technology, to handle all the parts of an SEO strategy you will need a pretty huge team, which is – again – expensive.

The truth is somewhere in the middle

The takeaway from the above is somewhat of a dilemma: You want a team to control something that you may never be able to control.

The best solution is usually in the middle:

  • Hire an SEO manager who has thorough SEO knowledge
  • Let that SEO manager find companies and freelancers to outsource different moving parts to

This means having an SEO manager who is brilliant at both SEO and project management.

Yes, it will take time to find the right person but finding the right person is never easy. 

It is well worth your time though:

  • Your in-house person will be able to “translate” any SEO jargon to you whenever you need to understand what is going on
  • You will have someone owning the strategy and process 
  • There will be a person who will be inside your company to ensure your SEO strategy is aligned with your overall product positioning strategy and include other teams in the SEO processes

In reality, if you want your SEO strategy to deliver results, you need both: An internal person (or a team) and someone outside your company to rely on. This is not a question of choosing one.

Conclusion

Managing SEO is hard. Don’t feel discouraged. There’s no valid alternative to organic search traffic. Find the right person who will be able to manage the process for you and find reliable partners to outsource different SEO tasks to. This way you will keep the strategy under control while still being able to afford it. Good luck!


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post In-house SEO vs outsourced agency talent: Who wins the debate? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALL-E 2

September 23, 2022 No Comments

How AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALLE-2

30-second summary:

  • SEOs are always on the lookout for innovative technology that can help them amplify content creation effectively
  • One such innovation that is on the cusp of being the next big thing in SEO and content creation is OpenAI’s DALL-E 2
  • What is it, how does it work, and how can SEOs use it (or at least start experimenting with it)?

Have you ever wanted to feel like Salvador Dali? Maybe even create a small cute robot that could look like WALL-E? Your dreams very well might come true with the recent development of the technology behind AI. If that sounds interesting, let’s dive a bit deeper into this topic. Let’s talk about DALL-E 2.

Ok Google, what does AI Do?

Artificial intelligence (AI) aims to create unique algorithms that can behave like people in specific situations – recognize human speech and various objects, write and read texts, and the like. This technology is already far ahead of human capabilities in many spheres involving data processing. Until recently, AI was encroaching mainly on the fields that are linked with technical tasks – predictive analytics, robotization, image, and speech recognition. Today AI surpasses people by 40 percent on trivia

But can AI also take on creative functions? It seems this is the last field to be mastered by neural networks. Art is a complicated combination of skill, creativity, and aesthetic taste, which all are very human elements. However, in April 2022, the OpenAI group proved otherwise by releasing a powerful text-to-image convertor, DALLE – 2, that can transform any text caption into a visual presentation that has never existed before. Its most winning feature is that the tool can precisely and logically convey relationships between objects it displays.

What is DALLE-2?

This neural network was created by OpenAI. Originally, it was GPT-2, a technology that could work with languages – answer questions, complete text, analyze content, and make conclusions. It was improved to GPT-3 – its capabilities expanded beyond textual information and enabled it to work with the images. 

Already in January 2021, this technology was followed by its new mind-blowing version that could build a connection between text and images. This neural network was called DALLE. The most remarkable thing is that it can come up not only with objects known to us but also produce completely new combinations, creating objects that do not exist in nature. In simple words, DALLE is a transformer consisting of the decoder, which processes a sequence of 1280 tokens. These are 256 text tokens and 1024 image part tokens. The algorithm treats image regions in the same way as words in a text and generates new images identically to how GPT-3 generates new text. In 2022, the project was scaled to DALLE-2. The improved version creates an image just from a text prompt.

How does DALLE-2 work?

It is not the first attempt to create a text-to-image generation system. However, the capabilities of DALLE-2 are much broader. This neural network can effectively link textual and visual abstractions and provide a true-to-life image. How does the system know how a particular object is interacting with the environment? The algorithm is quite difficult to be explained in detail. Still, roughly it consists of several stages and uses other OpenAI models – CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training) and GLIDE (Guided Language-to-Image Diffusion for Generation and Editing).

  • Mapping the image description to its space presentation via the CLIP text encoder. CLIP is trained on hundreds of millions of images and their associated captions, figuring out how a particular piece of text relates to an image. The model does not predict the caption but learns how it is related to the image. This comparative approach allows establishing the relationship between textual and visual representations of the same abstract object. This stage is critical to the creation of images by the neural network.
  • Encoding the CLIP-learned image. The next task is to create the image, the details of which have been suggested by CLIP. Now, DALLE-2 uses a modified version of another OpenAI model, GLIDE, to create this image. It is based on a diffusion model – data is generated by reversing the process of gradual image noise. The learning process is supplemented with additional textual information, which ultimately leads to the creation of more accurate images. 

Based on the above, DALL-E 2 can generate semantically consistent images that naturally fit any object in the surrounding space.

DALLE-2 for SEO

The vast potential of AI image generation immediately attracted the attention of SEO specialists. They spend a lot of time finding appropriate pictures to support their text content. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to invent something that is not just copied and stitched together from the web. So DALLE-2 can become a great source of a never-ending flow of wholly unique and non-standard images. Interestingly, users will have exclusive rights to use the images they create, including for commercial use.

How it can help SEO

Nowadays, website and content promotion are not possible without attractive visuals. Images add more value to your SEO efforts – your site wins more user engagement and accessibility. But sourcing enough appropriate pictures has always been a headache. DALLE-2 can solve this task with ease. You just need to print a descriptive prompt of your future image, and AI will come up with a result. The text should not exceed 400 characters. But users should be ready to train a little to create explicit requests. It is highly advisable to study Prompt Book and master the basics to avoid weird results. You will learn the most valuable tips on how to get the most out of this fantastic image generator.

If you’d like to further automate your image creation process this tool will allow you to generate a prompt that can be used on DALLE-2.

Use cases (blog posts, product images, designs, digital art, thumbnails)

AI algorithms were already used in SEO before for naming objects on the images and creating descriptions for them based on data. With DALLE-2, this process is flipped around, and now you can generate images based on text prompts. No matter whether you are running an online blog or a store – you need lots of visuals to attract new customers and followers. And DALLE-2 can successfully be integrated into any project where you need image supplements –  create illustrations for your blog posts, product descriptions, design sketches, and much more. Moreover, you can further modify already created images. 

You can already see some successful use cases of DALLE-2. 

  • Blog thumbnail optimization. The Deephaven blog thumbnails have been replaced by images fully generated by DALLE-2. It took a couple of minutes and several prompts per image to get the desired result. However, it is a significant time saving compared to what would have been spent on the search for stock images. A nice bonus is that DALLE-2-generated images are fully unique and memorable.
  • Design development. DALLE-2 can become an efficient tool in the design field. And it looks like its capabilities are endless. For example, a picture of the existing garden was taken, and a rectangular swimming pool was applied to it via DALLE-2. It helps the client envision how it might look in reality.

For more use cases and live community discussions join r/dalle.

Currently, users are just experimenting with DALLE-2, but there is no doubt it will be soon actively applied in business, architecture, fashion, and other spheres.

Examples of DALL-E 2

DALL-E 2 is launched in beta version with a credit-based model open to 100,000 users. Another million applicants are waiting for approval to test this AI product. Some users have already shared their first experience with the converter, and the results are impressive. DALL-E 2 processes the craziest requests and offers its interpretation. Here are a few examples:

 

Prompt #1

A sad beaver in the sweater sitting in front of the screen and thinking about apples.

Examples of AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALLE-2 - Sad beaver

Source: Twitter

Prompt #2

A charcuterie board floating in a pool on the Amalfi coast.

Examples of AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALLE-2 - Amalfi coast
Source: Twitter

Prompt #3

Source: Twitter

Prompt #4

A person in the space suit walking on Mars near the creator with dried-out grass and remnants of the Voyager.

Examples of AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALLE-2 - Space man
Prompt:A person in the space suit walking on Mars near the creator with dried-out grass and remnants of the Voyager

Source: LinkedIn

Prompt #5

A Ukrainian on the field harvesting crops.

Source: Twitter

Conclusion

DALL-E 2 is a revolutionary text-to-image converter today. It will help you instantly generate a variety of unique images with only a short text prompt in failry shorter time spans than you would spend on photo stock sites. This technology is an absolute game changer and can rearrange a lot of things in SEO in the coming years. Yet, more live testing is still needed to benefit from DALL-E 2 to the fullest.


Dima Makei is Head of SEO at Omnicom Media Group. He is also passionate about teaching and has previously served as a Marketing Professor at Seneca College. Find him on Twitter @dima_makei.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How AI-generated images can streamline your SEO game with DALL-E 2 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to effectively optimize content

September 22, 2022 No Comments

How to effectively optimize content

30-second summary:

  • By using a range of techniques to optimize your content, you can make it easier for both search engines and users to consume your written text
  • Taking the time to plan your content topics and conduct extensive keyword research can make a big impact when it comes to performance
  • You should always write for the user first, but you can still implement SEO best practices while doing so
  • Understand the role of accessibility in written content and the importance of providing as much contextual information as possible

Content optimization is essential because it helps users and search engines to easily understand your written text. In addition to this, there are a huge number of other advantages you can gain by optimizing content. You can increase engagement rates, obtain links, generate brand recognition, and appear as an expert in your field. All while improving your organic search rankings.

Sounds good, right?

Let’s find out how you can benefit from all this, and more, by effectively optimizing your content.

Think about your topic

Before you write content, you need to decide on the topic you’re going to cover. This might sound obvious, but it’s worth thinking about. Spending some extra time planning will help you to identify specific subjects and talking points you can discuss. This will help shape your keyword research, which plays a huge role in creating SEO-friendly content.

At this stage, it’s worth thinking about what you want to focus on. You want the topic to be broad enough that you can produce detailed content about it, but not so broad that you won’t be able to cover it all. It might be the case that you need to split the topic into multiple articles. Or if your topic is too vague, you may need to home in on something more specific.

Conduct detailed keyword research

Keyword research is and always has been an essential part of producing good content. It’s the basis for content production and making sure you’re ranking for relevant keywords that you have a good chance of competing for. When performing keyword research, you should be on the lookout for several different types of keywords.

Short-tail keywords

Also known as the head or main keyword, short-tail keywords are made up of a maximum of three words. These keywords will typically have large volumes, but because of this, they have high search difficulties and therefore are highly competitive.

Because these keywords have a broad search intent, they should be used alongside more precise keywords to make it clear to users and search engines exactly what your page is about.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are terms made up of more than three keywords and are much more specific than short-tail keywords. These keywords generally have lower volumes, but they also have lower search difficulties, which means they are less competitive.

These keywords are important because they allow you to target a user’s exact search intent. A user who searches for the short-tail keyword ‘motorbike’ might be trying to buy a motorbike, find more information about a model or simply look at a picture of one.

A long tail variation of this search might be ‘Motorbike helmet with Bluetooth speakers’, which narrows down the user’s search intent to a very specific product.

LSI keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords that are loosely related to your head keyword. While these keywords are relevant to your main keyword and the overall topic, they’re not necessarily directly related.

Instead, they’re used thematically to build broader topical depth and make it clear to both search engines and users what the overarching topic of your content is. If your short-tail keyword is the trunk of a tree and your long-tail keywords are the branches, then the LSI keywords are the twigs.

LSI keywords branch out from the main keyword but are still relatable enough to provide additional context and information. These can be a bit trickier to find, but by using the suggested search feature in search engines, you can get your hands on them.

Local keywords

These keywords won’t always be relevant, but if you’re looking to boost your rankings for local terms, then including local keywords is essential.

Luckily, this is a lot easier than implementing other keywords. You simply add your location into your content along with your main keyword. But remember, don’t stuff in keywords for the sake of it! Try to mix it up, using different variations wherever possible.

People also ask (PAA) key phrases

Like the suggested search function, the people also ask feature is an excellent way to obtain relevant keywords and phrases. These are phrases that users have searched for before, so we know that they hold value and have good search volumes.

So, how can we use this to our advantage?

By creating content that targets these queries, you’ll be increasing your chances of appearing in Search Engine Results Pages for these terms.

And the best thing is, these questions are often different to the main keywords you would normally target. This means your content will be more varied and unique and will specifically target pain points that your audience is looking for.

Always write for the user first

People skim content more than ever these days, so it’s important to keep it short, snappy, and engaging. The days of writing solely for search engines are long gone, and Google’s recent helpful content update has really cemented this.

This update emphasizes the importance of writing for the user first. Your focus should be on creating engaging, informative and easy-to-digest content. You can always go through your work afterward and make tweaks and edits to optimize for SEO best practice.

Just be careful not to make it too robotic as search engines can spot keyword stuffing from a mile away! Keep it free-flowing and try to insert keywords in a natural way; both users and search engines will appreciate it.

Include alt-text for your images

If you’re including images in your articles (which you should be) then it’s essential that you add alt text. Alt text is the written copy that describes an image to users who can’t see them or if the image fails to load.

First and foremost, alt text is a core principle of web accessibility for visually impaired users. Its secondary function is to provide additional context and descriptions to search engine crawlers, allowing them to index an image properly.

As some images contain critical information or provide context for the rest of the page, it’s crucial to take the time to write appropriate alt text. By doing this, you are adhering to accessibility standards and improving your SEO at the same time.

Remember internal and external links

Another way to optimize your content is to include internal and external links.

Internal links can be used to take users toward relevant, closely related pages that will provide them with further information they might be looking for. This makes it easier for users to navigate your website and helps to create a strong site structure.

External links are also useful because they can be used to point toward external data and sources of information that back up your content. In the eyes of a search engine, the use of valuable external links improves the authority of your content.

Just make sure you have a healthy balance of follow and no-follow tags on your external links.

Consider site speed

Site speed is always important when it comes to performing well in search engines. No one likes a slow website, and users are more impatient than ever when it comes for waiting for things to load. Even an extra second’s loading time could put some users off and cause them to bounce from your website.

You should regularly review your site speed and make sure your website is performing well. Consider removing unnecessary code and compressing large images as these are common factors that contribute to slow site speed.

Break up your content

Imagine you land on a webpage and the first thing you see is a wall of text with no paragraphs, headings, or subheadings. It’s not exactly going to draw you in, is it?

Users are more likely to consume your content if it’s broken up into digestible chunks. This makes it much easier for them to quickly take in the information they’re looking for.

It also provides you an opportunity to weave keywords into your headings and subheadings, which are strong signals for search engines. It’s a win-win!

Keep things up to date

Remember, even when you’ve produced a well-written, SEO-friendly article, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Google LOVES it when you go back and update existing content because it shows you’re keeping your website up to date.

Has there been a new development that affects the topic of your post? Or perhaps some new data that you could use to explore a new angle? If there is some way that you can update your article and add information that will benefit your users, then it’s worth taking the time to do so.

Enjoy the benefits of optimized content

Now that you know how to optimize your content, you’ll have a better chance of ranking for your chosen keywords. In addition to this, your users will be more likely to stay on your website for longer, increasing your engagement rates and the time spent consuming your content.

As a result of consistently producing high-quality content, you may well find that your site is attracting more links from external sources. This will boost your domain authority and help you to appear as a trustworthy and authoritative source of information.

So, if you’re looking for ways to give your content a little boost, consider implementing some of these techniques into your writing. It won’t always be possible to include everything we’ve mentioned here, but if you write for the user first and take care with your keywords, you’ll be on the right track.


Rob Phillips is Digital Manager at Coast Digital.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How to effectively optimize content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

September 18, 2022 No Comments

Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

30-second summary:

  • Relying on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for short-term gains and neglecting organic marketing will prove ineffective
  • Before pumping any money into SEO strategy, a business must ensure that its website is fully optimised for user experience
  • Once in a comfortable position, PPC advertising can be used to amplify brand reach by experimenting with new keywords
  • While short-tail keywords have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain vital
  • Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop and mobile users have less patience, so allocate more PPC advertising budget for mobile

When trying to grow a business, the importance of SEO cannot be understated. If people are unable to find a business, especially as ecommerce continues to grow into an unstoppable force, then attracting customers is an impossible endeavour.

In a bid to fast-track brand awareness, an inexperienced business owner might be tempted to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get fast results. However, finding the right balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising is crucial for brand success.

I have broken down six ways to find the perfect balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising so that any business owner can build awareness for their brand the right way.

Fully optimize your website first

Before focusing on paid or organic search for brand success, having a fully functional website is imperative. If a prospective customer has a torrid experience using a website, the odds of securing a sale drastically decrease. All the logistics of a website should be thoroughly inspected, such as broken links, load time and the volume of customers which can be hosted at once. It’s also important to avoid over-optimising a website and using too many keywords. Keywords should be implemented subtly so that the untrained eye would never notice, otherwise, they might add negative SEO value.

Rely on PPC whilst waiting for organic SEO improvement

While it would be great to be able to rely mostly or solely on organic marketing to raise brand awareness eventually, doing so when starting out is virtually impossible. Historically, PPC advertising has been encouraged to be used whilst a business is waiting for organic SEO improvement to land. This is not a licence to neglect organic marketing – far from it – as the goal is to improve a business’s SEO value whilst using PPC initially. In the longer term, results from PPC advertising should be used to guide organic marketing efforts.

Experiment with brand-related keywords

Once in a comfortable position, a business can shift its PPC advertising strategy towards experimentation. As and when organic brand-related keywords drop in place, the corresponding PPC advertising budget can be reallocated to test new keywords, thus amplifying the total reach of the brand. When improving SEO value, a business needs to constantly explore and update its targeted keywords for organic SEO improvement. As mentioned, results from PPC advertising should be used to inform organic marketing planning.

Focus on both short-tail and long-tail keywords

A short-tail keyword or ‘head term’ is a search term with one to three words that cover a general topic. Landing on the first search engine results page for short-tail keywords borders on impossible due to the sheer number of results, so even though they typically have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain important as users are more likely to be closer to a point-of-purchase when searching them. Searching for “shoe shiner” would be a short-tail keyword, whereas searching for “how to shine my shoes” is a long-tail keyword, as it is three to five words and more focused on a specific subject. Naturally, the short-tail keywords will garner more searches, but ranking well for the long-tail keywords will offer a business a meaningful advantage over competitors in the same market.

Don’t just rely on Google

Most business owners, executives and managers will be inclined to focus all their efforts on Google – and rightfully so as it’s the world’s biggest search engine platform by far. However, it can also be worth testing ads on the likes of Bing to see what returns are achievable elsewhere. If the results are favourable, it might be worth splitting SEO-related efforts across multiple platforms.

Use PPC advertising for mobile, organic marketing for desktop

Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop. At the risk of stating the obvious, using a search engine on desktop presents the users with more results because the screen is naturally bigger. As the window of opportunity – literally the size of the search window on a smartphone – is much smaller on mobile, using PPC advertising for mobile is critical. Furthermore, mobile users are less likely to make multiple searches using different keywords, than a desktop user with more patience might.

Growing brand awareness requires a streamlined and focused strategy for both organic marketing and PPC advertising. Solely relying on PPC advertising might seem like an easy solution, but slowly working on organic marketing will eventually allow a business to use PPC advertising to amplify brand reach. Business owners might underestimate the importance of SEO, but its importance can’t be underscored in the ever-growing digital marketplace.


Nick Swan is Founder of SEOTesting.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

September 9, 2022 No Comments

Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

30-second summary:

  • SEOs must improve the efficiency of ecommerce shopping ad campaigns to meet consumer expectations of a hassle-free online experience
  • Brands need to invest time, gather experience, and implement various new strategies to maximize their performance as the digital space is growing and evolving at a rapid pace
  • Setting up something like a Google Shopping Campaign may not be an uphill task; however, you need to implement smart strategies to make it more effective
  • The valuable tactics mentioned in this post will help you boost your ecommerce sales and get you started on the right track

We are witnessing a significant increase in digital ad spending across the globe. The pandemic has resulted in consumer behavior changes that have led to a new era of ecommerce. The majority of people around the world have increased their reliance on online shopping and brands have been investing more money and attention in direct-to-consumer activity.

According to a report by Oberlo, digital advertising spend in 2022 grew by 15.6 percent from 2021. The report further states that digital ad growth shows no signs of stopping and the growth is expected to continue for the next few years.

If you are running a business that sells products, you should absolutely embrace ecommerce to drive its growth. However, while neglecting ecommerce is not an option, there are numerous other brands online that could be fierce competition for your products, so it is important for you to enhance your strategy to remain both relevant and visible.

Important things to consider before starting a campaign

Ensure that your website is SEO-friendly (search engine optimized) and has a user-friendly design. A well-structured ecommerce website can help you achieve the kind of results you are looking for.

It is extremely crucial to create an ad that resonates with your potential customers. You should create a detailed customer persona with the following steps.

  • Decide who your target audience is. Are you targeting young men who like outdoor activities? Middle-aged mothers? Adults with aging parents?
  • Once you determine your target audience, you should understand what they are looking for. Analyze their requirements and try to find out their interests. What hobbies or goals might your target audience have? What interferes with their ability to do these things?
  • Turn these obstacles – these pain points – into your guidestones and try to address the problems that they pose.

How to maximize efficiency for your ecommerce paid campaigns

If you are looking to establish sustainable positive brand awareness online and improve your revenues from online sources, it’s critical to fine-tuning your online strategy.

Here is a list of key tactics that you must employ in order to achieve optimum results. While we will be specifically speaking about Google ads, many of these tactics are broadly applicable across any paid advertising service you use.

Optimize the product data feed

  • The data in your Google Product Feed determines your campaign performance, which seriously impacts your ROI. Therefore, optimization is key.
  • Make sure that the title is simple so that your audience can understand everything they need to know about your product just by reading it. Such titles can also help you gain maximum visibility on search engines like Google.
  • Instead of the Google Product Feed, if you prefer using a spreadsheet, make sure that you include all possible information about the product such as color, size, material, the age range of potential customers, and so on.
  • Select the right product categories and subcategories and align them with the appropriate product types. Failing to do this can seriously hurt your sales.
  • A quality Product Feed Management tool helps you track your performance, which is crucial, as you can make the necessary adjustments to your ad campaigns based on your performance.

Fine-tune your campaign by using negative keywords

  • Nothing is perfect in this world, and that includes the Google Shopping system as well.  Even though Google Shopping listings are a boon for marketers, imperfect keyword targeting is a big issue as search results can sometimes display your products with irrelevant search keywords. For instance, if you sell running shoes, but not other running accessories, you don’t want your ads coming up for shoppers who won’t purchase. 
  • If you’re showing up for these keywords that won’t generate buys, your ad campaigns could experience high spending but terrible conversion ratios, low click-through rates, and low ROIs and ROAS.
  • Implementing a negative keywords strategy in your Google Shopping ad campaigns can prevent your ads from showing up when certain search phrases are used. This in turn can boost the campaigns’ ROAS and ROI.
  • Using negative keywords in your ad campaigns can prevent unwanted clicks, thereby helping you save money by improving the click rate of your advertisement.

Highlight your sales, discounts, and special offers

  • Every customer loves a great offer as they are getting an opportunity to save while purchasing something.
  • If you want to move your products quickly, showcasing discounts and special offers is a great way to achieve that. While running special offers and deals, you need to specifically mention that, and if you really want to stand out in the field, you should run ads regarding these offers and deals.

Use Single Product Ad Groups

  • Single Product Ad Groups (SPAGs) enable marketers to set bids for each product individually. An SPAG allows you to pause individual products that aren’t giving you the expected results. SPAGs also give you the option to create negative keywords for specific products.
  • An SPAG allows you to identify your best-selling products and least-selling products, which will help you to group them into performing and non-performing categories accordingly.
  • An SPAG is a very useful tool, as it allows you to make modifications at the product level and create keywords for your product and control the bids at the market level.

Try Google Showcase Ads

  • Google Showcase Ads feature product images and prices directly on the results page. These ads expand when clicked and display a custom description of the product and a catalog of related products. These ads allow you to group together related products and present them together to introduce your brand or business.
  • Google Showcase Ads can improve your sales performance and efficiency of your paid campaigns as they allow you to highlight your products using high-quality digital images. You will be able to see them at the top of the SERP (search engine results page), above the paid search ads.

Create a good post-purchase experience

  • Considering the fierce competition from other brands and competitors online, it is very important to encourage repeat purchases, as they are often much less expensive than converting first-time shoppers.
  • A strong check-out experience and post-purchase considerations will help build strong customer loyalty which will make second and third purchases more likely.
  • Use customer data wisely once it is acquired. This will improve your customer retention rate. You can group your customers based on how much they have purchased and how many times they have purchased. You can then provide exclusive discounts and offers to your loyal customers accordingly.

Important points to remember while creating an ecommerce website

Here are a few key points that you must consider while creating an ecommerce website.

  • Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Many users use mobile devices for online searches, in fact, most online searches are executed on mobile devices. Making your site mobile user-friendly ensures that customers will be able to navigate your site on their mobile devices seamlessly.
  • Different users prefer different payment methods. Therefore, it is important to offer multiple payment options, as customers may cancel the purchase if they don’t find their preferred payment option on your ecommerce website. For instance, you could offer a normal credit card payment option, as well as PayPal or Google Pay.
  • Keep the sales process simple. Even customers who are not computer or mobile-savvy should be able to complete their purchase without trouble. A simple and straightforward experience can give your customers an effortless and seamless experience while purchasing.

Final thoughts

It is important for every brand to put the time in to ensure that they stand out and speak to their audience. Try to identify the ways in which you can keep your audience engaged as it can help in driving greater data capture and increase brand loyalty.

The strategies mentioned in this post can help you improve the efficiency of your ad campaigns, and implementing them correctly will pay off handsomely in the long run.


Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to enhance your ecommerce branding strategy with Google Trends

September 1, 2022 No Comments

How to enhance your ecommerce branding strategy with Google Trends

30-second summary:

  • In the wake of the helpful content rollouts, Google Trends can be a strong gateway into search trends
  • How do you spot a trend and differentiate it from a fad to justify resource investment?
  • Hands-on tips to unearth Google Trends and apply them to your ecommerce SEO strategy

A successful digital marketing strategy grows through exploiting online visibility that results in conversion. Organic traffic and SEO generate the most leads in a digital marketing strategy, according to 61 percent of marketers using B2B initiatives.

Statistics for 2022 capture the situation as they show that a search engine is the point of departure for 68 percent of online activity. The internet offers plenty of advice on building a digital marketing strategy. Still, we cut through the chase and focus on how you can harness the power of an SEO strategy and keyword research to grow your business this year and beyond.

The role of Google Trends in enhancing your SEO strategy

If you exploit its capacity, Google Trends can be a game changer for your SEO strategy. Consider the following steps to exploit this tool to develop your digital marketing strategy:

1. Monitor trends

Google Trends is a free tool that scours the internet, collects data on search behavior, and helps you capitalize on popular trends when developing a marketing strategy. It collects information from platforms such as YouTube, Google Images, Google News, Twitter, and Google Shopping on which web users engage.

The analytics from Google Trends looks at the total search volume over a specific period. In addition, it identifies how often users looked up a search query time on the Google search engine. Though said to be a reliable tool, it gives estimates of the levels given to the value of a keyword, ranging from 0 to 100. It establishes seasonal variations in a keyword.

A value of 100 on user intent means the keyword is a high-interest, while zero does not mean that no one showed interest but that the interest level was shallow. For example, if you search the term “swimwear”, you will notice it has more searches during summer than in winter. If you track such analytics, you can judge the relevance levels of your niche to users and know when to jump on and off a trend.

2. Google Trends unearths new keywords

When you have a website, keywords are the pointers that show search engines what you have on your website. Keyword research shows you what your potential customers might be looking for and the estimated size of the audience with that search intent.

Try the following steps:

  • Identify the main idea with which your potential customers associate the product or service your business offers, such as cashmere scarves. Avoid using adjectives.
  • Narrow down on the product or service specifics by anticipating a unique aspect of your niche that would send users to your website. For example, cashmere scarves from Italy.
  • At this point, you can add a link from a website to your search for better results.
  • Include brand names of your products or well-known names in the industry to improve product association but do not include an unknown brand name in your search.
  • Try different keyword phrases on the topic in different variations, such as “Italian cashmere scarves”, “designer Italian cashmere scarves”, and “affordable Italian cashmere scarves”. Use keywords related to the topic to narrow down the results.
  • Considering there are over six billion worldwide searches daily, you should use tools like SEMrush to identify keywords that rank on a page and include related keywords for comparison to other viable keywords.

Beware, though, some new search terms could be popular but just fads that later disappear, making your content redundant.

Understand the difference between a trend and a fad

Here’s a quick look to help you discern what is a trend and what is not, further giving you stronger clarity on whether to invest time and resources in content creation.

A trend is –

  • A general development, situational change, or a shift in the way people are behaving
  • Can be traced to a starting point in time
  • Evolve gradually
  • Have a broader influence on culture and consumer behavior

A fad is –

  • A very popular style or activity that can be compared to a “one-hit wonder”
  • Can not be traced into a starting point as fads blow up on scenes out of nowhere
  • Fade away as fast as they show up
  • Does not have a substantial impact on consumer behavior

3. Research your niche

Even as you search for the best keywords to boost your SEO strategy, Google Trends ensures you do not miss any relevant topics in your niche. Your niche should provide value to remain relevant.

The variances between the dips and increases on charts generated by Google trends show the following at a glance:

  • Seasonal changes in prices
  • Seasonal changes in demand
  • The stability of a niche depends on the sustained search volumes over a given period
  • Whether the niche is still a viable business idea

The metrics from that search guide you in making data-driven decisions for your brand and exploit your niche because it will enable you to:

  • Identify target regions
  • Determine the viability of your niche
  • Know the relevant terms to search
  • Make decisions using real-time data
  • Optimize your campaign
  • Know if you have loyal customers who can build a community

4. Track the latest popular searches

When your business dealings center on a dynamic niche, Google Trends helps you stay abreast of changes. People’s needs keep evolving, and to stay ahead, you must get real-time results on their search engine queries and act accordingly.

Invest in that research to adjust your marketing tactics to address the new concerns that arise in the market due to emerging issues.

Businesses that modify their strategy to emerging, real-time needs thrive while the rest that don’t naturally see a drop in returns.

5. Compare keywords

Google Trends searches accumulated data from people’s search history in Google and the search terms used most in those searches. The Google Trends landing page has a search bar tailored for search terms. On this bar, you can type up to five keywords you wish to compare, separating them with a comma.

The search avails much when focused on related topics and shows the less obvious needs of customers. When analytics terms the results on a term as rising, it means it had the most considerable volume in growth. Breakout is a percentage that shows the search query volume exploded to over 5000%.

6. Optimize for video and ecommerce

Videos on YouTube offer another avenue for studying the market scene besides web results. Through videos, Google Trends can unearth the video topics fueling trends. You will also know if it is time for you to create video content for ecommerce and the relevant tags you should include for optimization.

You can also use the tool to follow up on the success of your video. Consider that 88 percent of people say that watching a video on a brand convinced them to buy their product or service. While 0ver 70 percent would rather watch a short video on a brand than read text about it.

7. Target local audience

It’s no longer a hassle to find geo-specific data and evaluate the popularity of a search item by region. You will reliably establish the region with the highest demand for your product or services.

There are different ways of conducting this search. One is by typing the name of what your business offers into the search space and then scrolling to the map section on the same page to determine locality.

The second way is to use search filters to compare keywords and identify different regions where web users showed interest in your products or services. Effective campaigns should have geographical relevance.

8. Google Trends for analyzing competitors

Google Trends not only guides you on what your potential customers use the internet to seek from your industry. It also gives you insights into what your competitors have been up to, for example, it shows the search queries trending for your competition, now and within the past year.

You can use the tool to narrow down your search into seasons to see any variance in their market presence. For instance, you can see if there were any changes in pricing, such as seasonal offers and supply during different times of the year. Such findings can help you strategize how to promote your brand depending on your competitor’s business tactics.

9. Plan your yearly calendar

In the end, you must create a search marketing plan with time-specific events. The yearly calendar will guide you in planning and creating schedules for seasonal events according to the needs of your customers. This calendar is a dynamic tool subject to review and adjustment not only to create goals but also to track them to completion.

It takes into account all the above-discussed steps and integrates them into an ecommerce marketing strategy for both web-based establishments and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Make Google Trends work for your campaign

Google Trends is a great tool to provide valuable insights into your digital marketing and content strategy. Use this knowledge to plan for content, measure the most optimal times of the year, and understand your audience.

Contact us for consultations and support for result-driven branding strategies.


Eric Ritter is the Founder & President of Digital Neighbor. He can be found on Twitter @EricRitter.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How to enhance your ecommerce branding strategy with Google Trends appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Shopify SEO: How to limit your reliance on canonicals and boost crawl efficiency

August 30, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Reducing reliance on canonical tags can improve product URL discovery on Shopify
  • How you structure your products on Shopify can determine how well these pages perform
  • Shifting reliance from canonical tags to rich internal anchor text helps build relevancy

Can anything stop the relentless rise of Shopify? Back in 2012, the landscape was dominated by WordPress, Magento, and Joomla. Fast-forward 10 years and many in the industry now see Shopify as the leading ecommerce platform, with the others going from leaders to laggards.

Shopify SEO graph

There are of course multiple reasons for Shopify’s rise to prominence, but arguably one of the biggest factors is that the platform is much more technically accessible than other ecommerce infrastructure providers. Getting your head around a fresh Magento install or working out how Joomla works (which is still a mystery to me till date!) often requires a certain level of technical know-how. And, if you don’t possess it, then you need to spend extra resources outsourcing that work to someone who does.

Shopify understood that baking simplicity and an “it just works” ethos into their platform would allow everyday entrepreneurs to get their sites up and running quickly, without needing a degree in computer science or a huge budget to maintain their online presence. However, as user-friendly, as it might be, there are still a few technical and SEO hurdles to overcome if you want your Shopify site to succeed on the SERPs.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at a key “out of the box” SEO issue that often limits the relevance of product pages within Shopify and creates significant site bloat. More importantly, I’ll also share four potential solutions that can be used to fix the problem and maximize your product page potential. Let’s dive in.

The cost of inefficiency

Something that we often discuss with our clients is ensuring that Google can crawl their websites as efficiently as possible. We explain this by breaking down the cost to Google of crawling the web. Every time Google visits a webpage on the Internet there is a physical cost to Google: the price of electricity consumption, water consumption, hardware, software, and all the other assets needed to visit that page. While this cost might be a thousandth of a penny per URL, with the sheer amount of URLs crawled by Google each day, the total cost is likely staggering.

Therefore, if you are serving Google webpages that are duplicated or not relevant, you are wasting resources. Google has made a point of stating that in their article on managing crawl budget:

“Without guidance from you, Googlebot will try to crawl all or most of the URLs that it knows about on your site. If many of these URLs are duplicates, or you don’t want them crawled for some other reason (removed, unimportant, and so on), this wastes a lot of Google crawling time on your site. This is the factor that you can positively control the most.”

The key message here is that you can control how much of Google’s crawl time is wasted. By aiming to reduce this waste, you are ensuring that the time Google spends on your website is as productive as possible. This means Google will spend more time crawling URLs that have true value, picking up changes to existing URLs, and discovering new pages much faster.

Use canonicals as a temporary solution and not the final fix

A canonical tag is used when there are multiple duplicate pages, allowing you to define which of the duplicates should be deemed the correct page for Google to index.

While they are effective in the short term, the existence of a canonical tag highlights that there are structural issues within a website, and this can impact crawl efficiency. Even though the canonical tag will indicate to Google that you have selected a preferred URL to index, the search engine still needs to crawl all duplicates that contain the canonical tag to come to the consensus that you have set.

Rather than using a canonical tag as a permanent solution, it’s important to take steps to fix the underlying structural problem, therefore negating the use of a canonical tag. This in turn will have a positive impact on crawl efficiency.

What does this have to do with Shopify product pages?

Put simply, product URLs on Shopify rely on canonical tags to be discovered. Let’s look at the two main causes of this.

Products in multiple collections

The URL below is a product page from a Shopify website.

https://www.bellfieldclothing.com/collections/mens-jackets/products/naota-mens-funnel-neck-quilted-puffer-jacket-navy

You will notice that the URL has the collection the product is in is seen in the URL as well. If this product is in multiple collections, Shopify creates multiple product URLs. As these are duplicates, Shopify handles this by using canonical tags. These canonical tags point to the preferred product URL, which does not contain a collection:

The product highlighted above is currently in four collections, meaning there are now five different product URLs for Google to crawl to find this one product that it needs to index. There is, however, another issue that further increases this number: product variants.

Product variants

A product variant is a product attribute that can implement within Shopify. This could be color, size, weight, or any other type of attribute that a product may have. Creating variants of a product within Shopify allows a user to select attributes on the product page. This can be seen below on our example product URL as “size”:

Shopift SEO canonical URL product page example

In this setup, Shopify adds a parameter to the product URL called ?variant. This contains an ID that references the selected variant. The URL below is our example product URL with the medium variant selected:

https://www.bellfieldclothing.com/collections/mens-jackets/products/naota-mens-funnel-neck-quilted-puffer-jacket-navy?variant=39593265954876

This is of course another duplicate, which is handled via a canonical tag. If we begin to calculate the total number of URLs this single product has that rely on canonical tags, you will notice how this can have a detrimental impact on crawl efficiency.

Based on this product being in four collections and having four variants, there are a total of 20 product URLs that rely on a canonical tag. This means Google needs to regularly crawl 21 product URLs to discover the single product URL that needs indexing.

10,000 URLs crawled to index 600

When you factor in the sheer number of products across an entire website, it’s easy to see how this figure can add up. If our example website has 600 products, and each product appears in four collections with four variants each, then Google will need to regularly crawl in excess of 10,000 product URLs to find the 600 that have been requested to be indexed.

How do you fix this on Shopify?

There are two distinct problems we need to fix here: the issue with products appearing in multiple collections, and the issue with product variants. There are solutions for both — however, implementing them will require compromise in certain areas.

Products in multiple collections: The fix

This fix works by removing links to product URLs with the collection name in the product URL. The main culprit here is the collection URL — specifically the theme file that powers collection URLs. On Shopify, this file is called product-grid-item.liquid.

You can navigate to this file via the following route within your Shopify admin.

Online Store > Themes > Customize > Theme Actions > Edit Code > Snippets

Within this file there are HTML hyperlinks that reference product URLs containing the collection name:

Shopify SEO code

The “within: collection” element is what is responsible for pulling the collection name into the product URL. Removing this ensures that the collection name no longer appears in the product URL.

However, before you jump in, there are a few things you’ll need to bear in mind:

  • It is recommended that you consult with your web development team before making this change.
  • Apps that you use may need the “within: collection” functionality, so it is worth checking with app support on whether or not this can be changed.
  • This change impacts the breadcrumb on product URLs. If this is problematic, then I’d suggest building breadcrumbs manually using META fields with a dedicated META fields app.
  • You will also need to ensure that manual links that use this format are changed.
  • There may be other template files that contain “within: collection” so it is worth liaising with your development team to identify these.

Product variants: The fix (or is it?)

Unfortunately, the solution to product variants is more complex and ultimately depends on how much SEO value you are getting from your existing product variants. The recommendation here is to first find out how viable product variant keywords are in terms of search volume and market opportunity.

For example, if our imaginary Shopify store sells Ralph Lauren polo shirts, then my variants are likely to be color and size. By running a quick search for the product type plus these variants, we can see that there is search volume and therefore it will be important that my variants are indexable and optimized.

Shopify SEO keywords

Fix Option #1: Optimize ?variant URLs

This first option is viable if you believe that there is search volume opportunity across a wide range of your product variants. The premise of this fix is to build logic into your theme code, so that when a variant is selected, the variant name is appended into the page title tag and where possible, the product description.

This change will likely depend on your theme setup and, as with any change, it is recommended that you consult with your web development team. More details on how to do this can be found via the Shopify community thread below:

https://community.shopify.com/c/shopify-design/different-product-titles-for-different-variants-for-the-same/td-p/620113

Another thing to bear in mind with this solution is that you will need to remove the canonical tag that is currently in place on ?variant URLs. The main drawback to this approach is that you may need to implement it sitewide across all product variants — but not all variants will necessarily have available search volume.

Fix Option #2: Optimize main product URL for variants

If you want more control over which product sets have optimized variants, then this option might be for you. By optimizing the main product URL for variants, by including variant keywords in the product description and META data, you will stand a chance of being visible for these product variant keywords.

The drawback here is that product URLs could become over-optimized and not as relevant as a dedicated, optimized product variant URL.

Fix Option #3: Disallow ?variant parameter

If it turns out that your product variants have minimal or no search value then disallowing the ?variant parameter in your robots.txt file might be the best option. This will stop Google crawling ?variant URLs, therefore making crawl activity more efficient.

Fix Option #4: Individual products per variant

If your product variants do have search viability, then creating individual products per variant might be an effective option. This is something we have seen retailers like Gym Shark do with color. The product below comes in a number of different colors, each of which has its own product URL and does not rely on variants, e.g.:

https://www.gymshark.com/products/gymshark-element-baselayer-t-shirt-black-aw21

Shopify SEO Example

With more control over both META data and optimized content, this approach means it is easier to build deeper relevance for product variants. The downside here is that there are simply more products to manage within the CMS.

Shopify & SEO issues: Final thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for Shopify’s meteoric rise has been the “it just works” ethos that makes the platform such a cinch to use. But that’s not to say that the platform doesn’t suffer from a few SEO snags.

In addition to the canonical issue, Google’s Core Web Vitals can be another source of headaches for SEOs who work with the platform. But there are generally workarounds for those who are willing to take the time to implement them. You can learn more about how to navigate these in our ultimate guide to Shopify SEO (2022).

There are also hopeful signs that the Shopify team are increasingly receptive to the needs of the SEO community. The team have regularly taken on board feedback from SEOs to improve their product, from allowing users to edit the robots.txt file, to allowing for sub-folder international structures. So, we can hope that easy-to-implement solutions around the use of canonicals and other issues will be rolled out before too long.

Can anything stop the relentless rise of Shopify? Back in 2012, the landscape was dominated by WordPress, Magento and Joomla. Fast-forward 10 years, and many in the industry now see Shopify as the leading e-commerce platform, with the others going from leaders to laggards.

There are of course multiple reasons for Shopify’s rise to prominence, but arguably one of the biggest factors is that the platform is much more technically accessible than other ecommerce infrastructure providers. Getting your head around a fresh Magento install or working out how Joomla works (which is still a mystery to me to this day!) often requires a certain level of technical knowhow. And, if you don’t possess it, then you need to spend extra resources outsourcing that work to someone who does.

Shopify understood that baking in simplicity and an “it just works” ethos into their platform would allow everyday entrepreneurs to get their sites up and running quickly, without needing a degree in computer science or a huge budget to maintain their online presence. However, as user-friendly as it might be, there are still a few technical and SEO hurdles to overcome if you want your Shopify site to succeed on the SERPs.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at a key “out of the box” SEO issue that often limits the relevance of product pages within Shopify and creates significant site bloat. More importantly, I’ll also share four potential solutions that can be used to fix the problem and maximize your product page potential. Let’s dive in.

The cost of inefficiency

Something that we often discuss with our clients is ensuring that Google can crawl their websites as efficiently as possible. We explain this by breaking down the cost to Google of crawling the web. Every time Google visits a webpage on the Internet there is a physical cost to Google: the price of electricity consumption, water consumption, hardware, software, and all the other assets needed to visit that page. While this cost might be a thousandth of a penny per URL, with the sheer amount of URLs crawled by Google each day, the total cost is likely staggering.

Therefore, if you are serving Google webpages that are duplicated or not relevant, you are wasting resources. Google have made a point of stating that in their article on managing crawl budget:

“Without guidance from you, Googlebot will try to crawl all or most of the URLs that it knows about on your site. If many of these URLs are duplicates, or you don’t want them crawled for some other reason (removed, unimportant, and so on), this wastes a lot of Google crawling time on your site. This is the factor that you can positively control the most.”

The key message here is that you can control how much of Google’s crawl time is wasted. By aiming to reduce this waste, you are ensuring that the time Google spends on your website is as productive as possible. This means Google will spend more time crawling URLs that have true value, picking up changes to existing URLs and discovering new pages much faster.

Using canonicals as a temporary solution and not the final fix

A canonical tag is used when there are multiple duplicate pages, allowing you to define which of the duplicates should be deemed the correct page for Google to index.

While they are effective in the short term, the existence of a canonical tag highlights that there are structural issues within a website, and this can impact crawl efficiency. Even though the canonical tag will indicate to Google that you have selected a preferred URL to index, the search engine still needs to crawl all duplicates that contain the canonical tag to come to the consensus that you have set.

So, rather than using a canonical tag as a permanent solution, it’s important to take steps to fix the underlying structural problem, and therefore negating the use of the canonical tag. This in turn will have a positive impact on crawl efficiency.

What does this have to do with Shopify product pages?

Put simply, product URLs on Shopify rely on canonical tags to be discovered. Let’s look at the two main causes of this.

Products in multiple collections

The URL below is a product page from a Shopify website.

https://www.bellfieldclothing.com/collections/mens-jackets/products/naota-mens-funnel-neck-quilted-puffer-jacket-navy

You will notice that the URL has the collection the product is in within it. If this product is in multiple collections, Shopify creates multiple product URLs. As these are duplicates, Shopify handles this by using canonical tags. These canonical tags point to the preferred product URL, which does not contain a collection:

The product highlighted above is currently in four collections, meaning there are now five different product URLs for Google to crawl to find this one product that it needs to index. There is, however, another issue that further increases this number: product variants.

Product variants

A product variant is a product attribute that can implement within Shopify. This could be color, size, weight or any other type of attribute that a product may have. By creating variants of a product within Shopify, it allows a user to select attributes on the product page. This can be seen below on our example product URL as “size”:

Shopift SEO canonical URL product page example

In this setup, Shopify adds a parameter to the product URL called ?variant. This contains an ID that references the selected variant. The URL below is our example product URL with the medium variant selected:

https://www.bellfieldclothing.com/collections/mens-jackets/products/naota-mens-funnel-neck-quilted-puffer-jacket-navy?variant=39593265954876

This is of course another duplicate, which is handled via a canonical tag. If we begin to calculate the total number of URLs this single product has that rely on canonical tags, you will begin see how this can have a detrimental impact on crawl efficiency.

Based on this product being in four collections and having four variants, there are a total of 20 product URLs that rely on a canonical tag. This means Google needs to regularly crawl 21 product URLs to discover the single product URL that needs indexing.

10,000 URLs crawled to index 600

When you factor in the sheer number of products across an entire website, it’s easy to see how this figure can add up. If our example website has 600 products, and each product appears in four collections with four variants each, then Google will need to regularly crawl in excess of 10,000 product URLs to find the 600 that have been requested to be indexed.

How do you fix this on Shopify?

There are two distinct problems we need to fix here: the issue with products appearing in multiple collections, and the issue with product variants. There are solutions for both — however, implementing them will require compromise in certain areas.

Products in multiple collections: The fix

This fix works by removing links to product URLs with the collection name in the product URL. The main culprit here is the collection URL — specifically the theme file that powers collection URLs. On Shopify, this file is called product-grid-item.liquid.

You can navigate to this file via the following route within your Shopify admin.

Online Store > Themes > Customize > Theme Actions > Edit Code > Snippets

Within this file there are HTML hyperlinks that reference product URLs containing the collection name:

Shopify SEO code

The “within: collection” element is what is responsible for pulling the collection name into the product URL. Removing this ensures that the collection name no longer appears in the product URL.

However, before you jump in, there are a few things you’ll need to bear in mind:

  • It is recommended that you consult with your web development team before making this change.
  • Apps that you use may need the “within: collection” functionality, so it is worth checking with app support on whether or not this can be changed.
  • This change impacts the breadcrumb on product URLs. If this is problematic, then I’d suggest building breadcrumbs manually using META fields with a dedicated META fields app.
  • You will also need to ensure that manual links that use this format are changed.
  • There may be other template files that contain “within: collection” so it is worth liaising with your development team to identify these.

Product variants: The fix (or is it?)

Unfortunately, the solution to product variants is more complex and ultimately depends on how much SEO value you are getting from your existing product variants. The recommendation here is to first find out how viable product variant keywords are in terms of search volume and market opportunity.

For example, if our imaginary Shopify store sells Ralph Lauren polo shirts, then my variants are likely to be color and size. By running a quick search for the product type plus these variants, we can see that there is search volume and therefore it will be important that my variants are indexable and optimized.

Shopify SEO keywords

Fix Option #1: Optimize ?variant URLs

This first option is viable if you believe that there is search volume opportunity across a wide range of your product variants. The premise of this fix is to build logic into your theme code, so that when a variant is selected, the variant name is appended into the page title tag and where possible, the product description.

This change will likely depend on your theme setup and, as with any change, it is recommended that you consult with your web development team. More details on how to do this can be found via the Shopify community thread below:

https://community.shopify.com/c/shopify-design/different-product-titles-for-different-variants-for-the-same/td-p/620113

Another thing to bear in mind with this solution is that you will need to remove the canonical tag that is currently in place on ?variant URLs. The main drawback to this approach is that you may need to implement it sitewide across all product variants — but not all variants will necessarily have available search volume.

Fix Option #2: Optimize main product URL for variants

If you want more control over which product sets have optimized variants, then this option might be for you. By optimizing the main product URL for variants, by including variant keywords in the product description and META data, you will stand a chance of being visible for these product variant keywords.

The drawback here is that product URLs could become over-optimized and not as relevant as a dedicated, optimized product variant URL.

Fix Option #3: Disallow ?variant parameter

If it turns out that your product variants have minimal or no search value then disallowing the ?variant parameter in your robots.txt file might be the best option. This will stop Google crawling ?variant URLs, therefore making crawl activity more efficient.

Fix Option #4: Individual products per variant

If your product variants do have search viability, then creating individual products per variant might be an effective option. This is something we have seen retailers like Gym Shark do with color. The product below comes in a number of different colors, each of which has its own product URL and does not rely on variants, e.g.:

https://www.gymshark.com/products/gymshark-element-baselayer-t-shirt-black-aw21

Shopify SEO Example

With more control over both META data and optimized content, this approach means it is easier to build deeper relevance for product variants. The downside here is that there are simply more products to manage within the CMS.

Shopify & SEO issues: Final thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for Shopify’s meteoric rise has been the “it just works” ethos that makes the platform such a cinch to use. But that’s not to say that the platform doesn’t suffer from a few SEO snags.

In addition to the canonical issue, Google’s Core Web Vitals can be another source of headaches for SEOs who work with the platform. But there are generally workarounds for those who are willing to take the time to implement them. You can learn more about how to navigate these in our ultimate guide to Shopify SEO (2022).

There are also hopeful signs that the Shopify team are increasingly receptive to the needs of the SEO community. The team have regularly taken on board feedback from SEOs to improve their product, from allowing users to edit the robots.txt file, to allowing for sub-folder international structures. So, we can hope that easy-to-implement solutions around the use of canonicals and other issues will be rolled out before too long.


Marc Swann is Director of Search at Glass Digital, a digital marketing agency offering SEO, affiliate marketing, and paid search services. Marc has been working in digital marketing for 12 years and specializes in technical SEO. At Glass Digital, his focus is on the organic search service, ensuring our teams are delivering maximum value for their clients.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Shopify SEO: How to limit your reliance on canonicals and boost crawl efficiency appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Four ways to get smart with no-code or low-code methods: a detailed overview of JSON LD

August 25, 2022 No Comments

Four ways to get smart with no-code or low-code methods a detailed overview of JSON LD

30-second summary:

  • Low-code and no-code technologies are becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes, and a leading example is JSON LD
  • They allow businesses to create websites and applications with little to no coding experience
  • There are many benefits including saving businesses a lot of time and money
  • They can also help your SEO efforts by presenting linked data in a format that’s meaningful to search engines

A burning challenge in a world of IoT and technology is the need to stay ahead of the curve. As more and more businesses adopt cutting-edge technologies, those that lag behind will inevitably be left behind. This is especially true in the field of SEO services, but also in website development and design. In order to stay competitive, businesses must constantly update their websites with the latest trends and technologies.

A prime example of this is low-code and no-code technologies. These technologies are becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes. But what exactly are they? And how can they help you get ahead of the competition?

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at low-code and no-code technologies. We’ll also explore how they can be used to improve your website in a number of different ways.

What are low-code and no-code when it comes to website tech?

Low-code and no-code technologies are exactly what they sound like. They allow businesses to create websites and applications with little to no coding experience.

Low-code and no-code platforms are becoming increasingly popular for website creation and management. These platforms allow users to create and manage websites without having to write code or hire a developer. This can be a great way to save time and money, especially if you’re not familiar with coding.

How do these low-code and no-code platforms actually work?

Typically, low-code and no-code platforms provide an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, similar to a traditional website builder tool. This makes it possible to create a website without any coding knowledge.

In some cases, you may need to use a bit of code to add advanced features or integrations. However, for the most part, these platforms allow you to create a fully functioning website without writing any code.

What are the benefits of using a low-code or no-code platform?

First and foremost, they save businesses a lot of time and money. Rather than hiring developers to create a website from scratch, businesses can use low-code or no-code platforms to do it themselves.

Not just that, these platforms are also much easier to use than traditional coding languages. They allow businesses to create complex websites and applications without the need for extensive training.

Finally, low-code and no-code technologies are constantly evolving. This means that businesses can easily keep their websites up-to-date with the latest technologies, without having to make any changes themselves.

What are the opportunities for SEO?

One of the great things about using low-code or no-code methods is that it opens up new opportunities for SEO. Opportunities include:

  • Better target customers through local SEO – Local SEO is a great way to improve your website’s visibility in search engines, especially if you’re targeting customers in a specific geographic area.
  • Optimized code – One of the best ways to improve your website’s ranking in search engines is to ensure that it loads quickly. Low-code and no-code methods can help you do this by optimizing your website’s code and eliminating unnecessary elements.
  • Create better-targeted pages – Another way to improve your website’s ranking is to create pages that are more relevant to your customers’ needs. By using low-code or no-code methods, you can easily create custom pages that are tailored to your customers’ needs.

All of these opportunities can help you improve your website’s ranking in search engines, which will ultimately lead to more traffic and customers.

These are just a few of the ways that code or low-code methods can help you get smart about your website optimization.

Does Google like websites that use low-code tech?

Yes! In fact, Google has stated that they “see great potential in low-code development.” They see it as a way to make website creation more accessible and efficient.

Google also notes that low-code platforms can help improve website performance since they often come with built-in optimization features. This means that websites created with low-code methods are more likely to rank higher in search results.

How do low-code and no-code impact user experience?

One of the benefits of using low-code or no-code methods is that they can improve your website’s user experience. This is because page data can be better organized and structured for search engines, meaning that users are more likely to find what they’re looking for.

Low-code example: using JSON LD

A good example of low-code is JSON LD. This is used for linked data and means that you don’t need to put unnecessary code on your site as it is all done in the background. It also can speed up page load times as there is less code for the browser to load. JSON LD is a great way to save time with on-page SEO and create better-targeted pages.

What is JSON LD?

JSON LD is a type of code schema that can be used to add structured data to a web page. This structured data can be used by search engines to better understand the content on a page.

It can replace traditional HTML tags and provide more information about a website’s content. This means that JSON LD can be used to improve load times, local SEO, content, and images.

What’s the difference between JSON LD and plain JSON?

  • JSON LD is a type of code schema that can be used to add structured data to a web page. This structured data can be used by search engines to better understand the content on a page.
  • Plain JSON, on the other hand, is simply a format for storing and transmitting data. JSON LD takes it one step further by utilizing JSON for website data.

JSON LD compatibility

For the developers among you, JSON LD has a wide range of compatibilities:

  • Javascript
  • Java
  • Rust
  • Python
  • C#
  • Typescript
  • Ruby
  • Erlang / Elixir
  • Go
  • PHP

Four key benefits of JSON LD

Low-code techniques such as JSON LD have the potential to transform the performance of your web pages. Here are some benefits of using JSON LD:

1. Improved load times

One of the great things about JSON LD is that it can help improve load times. This is because JSON LD code is typically smaller and more efficient than traditional HTML tags. This means that your website will load faster and be more visible in search engines.

2. Improved local SEO

JSON LD can also be used to improve local SEO. This is because JSON LD code can provide more information about your website’s content.

This means that your website will be more relevant to customers in a specific geographic area. Examples of additional information include your website’s address, phone number, and hours of operation. And in ecommerce websites, product information such as pricing and availability.

3. Richer and better-formatted content

JSON LD can also be used to improve content. This is because JSON LD code can provide more information about the content on your website. This means that your website’s content will be more relevant to customers’ needs.

For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can use JSON LD to provide information about your menu, hours of operation, and location.

4. Better-performing images

JSON LD can also be used to improve images. This is because JSON LD code can provide more information about the images on your website, such as size and purpose. This means that your website’s images will be more relevant to customers’ needs and better formatted for SEO.

How does this help your SEO efforts?

Low-code technologies like JSON LD can make your SEO easier in a few key ways:

Save time

Low-code and no-code methods can save you a lot of time with on-page SEO. By using these methods, you can quickly and easily create well-structured and targeted pages that are easy for both users and search engines to understand.

Potential for more traffic

This can help you attract more traffic to your site and improve your chances of ranking high in search results.

Higher conversion rate

In addition, low-code and no-code methods can help you create pages that are more relevant to your customers’ needs. This means that you can attract more qualified leads and convert more sales.

Top tips for getting started with low-code and no-code on your website

Now that you know more about low-code and no-code methods, here are some tips to get started:

  1. Start small – Don’t try to do too much at once. Choose one or two areas of your website to focus on first.
  2. Don’t forget the basics – Make sure you still have a strong foundation in place with things like keyword research and competitive analysis.
  3. Choose the right tools – There are a lot of different low-code and no-code tools available. Do your research to find the ones that are best for your needs.
  4. Test, test, test – Always test your changes before you implement them on your live website. This will help you avoid any potential problems.
  5. Monitor your results – Keep an eye on your website’s performance after you make changes. This will help you gauge the effectiveness of your efforts.
  6. Get help if needed – If you’re not sure where to start or you need help with implementation, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced SEO professional.

Closing thoughts

Low-code and no-code methods can be a great way to improve your website’s SEO. These methods can save you time and help you create better-targeted pages. However, it’s important to remember that these methods should be used in addition to, not instead, the basics of SEO. But when used correctly, they can be a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal.


Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Four ways to get smart with no-code or low-code methods: a detailed overview of JSON LD appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How do you use SEO to scale revenue and market share?

August 18, 2022 No Comments

How do you use SEO to scale revenue and market share

30-second summary:

  • When the economy and business take a hit, marketing is the first to suffer budget cuts
  • If you are asking, “should I give up my SEO?”, this article is all you need
  • Best-selling author and serial entrepreneur, Kris Jones shows you five ways SEO can help you achieve revenue

Of all the ways to start driving real growth and expanding a business, SEO might not be the first method people generally consider. After all, SEO doesn’t directly make you online sales, right? Isn’t it just all about Google and showing up in position one? Is it just about vanity?

This kind of view is shortsighted and doesn’t appear to take the whole story into account.

We live now in a time when online markets have gotten so competitive that some people are still asking if SEO is dead.

What’s the translation of that question? “Do I even stand a chance on Google anymore with all these competitors crowding up the SERPs? Should I give up my SEO?”

The answer, of course, is no. SEO isn’t dead, and you shouldn’t give up on it.

SEO is your way forward to scaling your revenue and market share. You just need to work harder at it than ever before if you want to play the Google game and get audiences to find and buy from you.

So, SEO really can drive your business growth, and I’m going to show you five ways that you can use it to achieve that end.

1. Stick with SEO long-term

I’m going to start with an item that some people might have expected to see at the end: if you want to drive your business growth beyond just the next six months or year, you have to stick with your SEO strategy long-term.

Everything that I’m going to talk about in this post–every item, from website architecture to keyword usage and on-page page optimization, to creating great content, to building backlinks–is something that will work for you, but only if it’s given enough time to breathe.

I understand that when times are tough, marketing can often be the first cost that businesses want to cut. After all, while it would be nice to be able to market yourself, is marketing really necessary to the business if you’re losing money in so many other places?

In the case of SEO (and marketing in general), the answer is a resounding “yes.”

SEO keeps your business’s online visibility evident no matter what the market looks like. And if you’ve been in business long enough, you know that–surprise!–markets recover, consumers start spending again, and businesses once again become profitable.

If you stop your SEO during a downturn with the idea that you’re going to be saving money, think of the harm you’ll actually be doing to your business when no one can find you through an online search anymore, and that includes after your market has turned around again.

See, SEO is a long game, it’s for those with stamina, those with a vision that their business will survive for many years to come.

Sure, downturns will negatively affect your bottom line, but only temporarily. Do you know what will really hurt, though? When your bottom line disappears completely, and your former place on Google gets swallowed up by all the others vying for your same audiences.

That’s what happens when you haphazardly cut your SEO after six months or a year.

When you stay with it, though, when you ride out all the storms and still make room for your SEO budget, you can really start to win.

You’ll benefit from seeing how your pages and other content are trending over time. You’ll see how you created a post around certain keywords but how that post is now ranking for other keywords and should be reoptimized. You’ll be able to continue building your backlink profile over time rather than letting it die after just a few months. And you’ll see how keyword trends change over time and allow you to target different phrases on your most important pages.

So, you see, long-term SEO is the way to go if you want to be precise and up-to-date in your digital marketing approach.

2. Use SEO to organize your website

If you want to make it easier for your business to scale its revenue and maximize its market share, you’ll need to put some serious work into your on-page SEO. This has to start with a clean website structure arranged in a logical hierarchy.

How your website’s architecture is set up depends on what kind of business you are, but let’s assume we’re talking about a fairly large ecommerce website here.

Ecommerce websites usually make good examples of good and bad website hierarchies because of the volume of pages they typically have.

Now, ideally, a website will be structured according to logic, or what will make its pages the easiest to find for users.

In the case of ecommerce websites, good main navigation would show all the main pages at the top and then have each one open into a menu when you hover over it. The menus are where everything else would be neatly broken down.

For example:

Shop Now > Categories > Products

Users could hover over “Shop Now” to see all the product categories. This structure helps because it starts more generally as shoppers are still thinking about what they want.

Once they click on a category, they will be taken to a category page that will show all the products in that category. From there, they can find the product they need or filter the results to browse until they find something.

That’s it, nice and easy.

This is the kind of structure that will allow your website visitors to convert once they reach you. Remember that confused visitors don’t make purchases, so it will pay to put some serious time and effort into simplifying your website structure if you haven’t done so already.

Clean navigation will help not only people to get around your site but also Google’s search crawlers. When Google can understand your site in the same logical way as people, it may rank it higher than a competitor with messy website architecture.

3. Target the right audiences with the right keywords

Now that your website architecture is set up right, the next step in positioning your website to scale revenues for you is to use the right keywords to target the right audiences in the right places.

Here the concept of keyword intent is key. There are businesses out there that get this all wrong, so it’s worth mentioning here.

By the way, I can understand anyone out there who is looking for the connection between keywords and driving revenues, but these are the SEO details that allow people to find you on Google, and there’s no way to make money from users who can’t find you.

We’ll stay with the ecommerce example from earlier. When you go to optimize your category and product pages with keywords, you’ll want to have intent in mind.

Keyword intent is something you should be thinking about at all phases of your keyword research.

The four main types of keyword intent are –

  • Informational – “I want to learn about something” – “how to start a website”
  • Commercial – “I want to investigate things to buy” – “best athletic items for 2022”
  • Transactional – “I’m ready to buy something right now” – “bulk printer paper buy now”
  • Navigational – “ Take me to this page on this website” – “Walmart privacy policy”

There are personas attached to each type of keyword intent. Think of it as a classic sales funnel. Users enter it with a few needs but have to do some research before buying anything. As they move down the funnel, they become more focused on taking action.

The ones who complete the funnel are the ones who end up buying something or filling out a form, basically just taking whatever action matters to you.

How does this factor into the keywords you target on your website’s pages?

Think of a category page on your ecommerce site. No one is buying anything from a category page. It may not even be possible to do so.

So, your keyword targets for those pages should be more commercial than transactional. Users who arrive on your category pages are thinking about buying, but not yet.

Maybe your keyword target for a category page of printer paper is simply “office printer paper” or “best office printer paper.”

Then, you’ll want to get more specific on the product pages, which is where people will be doing the buying. If you find search volume around them, you want to optimize for terms such as “buy hammermill printer paper now” or “hp printer paper 500 sheets.”

See how the product page keywords got more long-tail and specific? That’s called going after intent, and it’s the way to optimize each part of your website.

That way, the right users will find everything they need from you, no matter where they are on their buyers’ journey.

4. Create (genuinely) amazingly useful content for every buyer persona

Okay, so you want to continue employing SEO to accelerate your growth and increase your market share. Then you will also need to jump head-first into the content marketing game.

To an extent, this idea piggybacks on the keyword intent concept from earlier. Except that here, we’re looking at intent from the content perspective.

Once you have optimized and more or less perfected your website from a user-experience perspective, you might wonder what else you could actively be doing to bring in traffic to your website.

Content is your game at that point.

Content is what drives traffic to websites, and it’s always been that way.

From one perspective, that’s just common sense. What else would we do on the Internet if there were no content?

Taken another way, though, how exactly do you devise a content marketing plan for a website? What do you write about? How does content bring in the traffic and sales you need to bump up your market share?

Think back to keyword intent from above, specifically the informational intent.

People typically don’t navigate to a category page, product page, or other service page with purely informational intent. Traffic to those pages is more ready to do something than learn about something.

Informational keywords apply more to blog posts that elaborate on topics about your business or wider industry.

Since blog posts are often informational, that means you’ll be targeting top-of-funnel traffic that’s just learning about what you do and isn’t ready to buy yet.

But since you’re focusing on scaling revenue and market share right now, you can’t lose sight of the fact that top-funnel traffic has the potential to turn into real customers for you. Blog posts are there to nurture the leads down the funnel.

So, if content seems like a slow or pointless game to you, I assure you it isn’t. It’s one of the main ways you’re going to make it to the top.

5. Build those backlinks

Finally, if you’re looking to use SEO to drive your revenues and business growth, you’ll want to pay lots of attention to your backlink profile.

As you probably know, links mean so much in SEO. The connections among pages and domains fuel how Google understands content on the internet. They are what build authority for websites.

Why? Because Google knows that if people want to link to content from their own websites, the content must be trustworthy and worth ranking highly for people.

Higher authority usually means higher rankings, and higher rankings mean more customers that you want will see you.

But, you can’t depend on the Internet just to find your content and link to it. You have to do the outreach yourself to get your name and content out there.

When you create good content, get in touch with others in your industry to see if their audiences might find it useful. Ask the webmasters if they would like to link to it for their readers.

Or, you could use an SEO tool to find broken external links on other sites and offer up your content as a replacement for those links.

Whatever method you take, though, just be sure that you’re getting backlinks from relevant sources. It won’t matter if you get 10,000 backlinks from completely irrelevant sites. One backlink from a relevant site will count more for you.

The increased authority and rankings you get from your backlinking campaign should help you over time to sustain your showing up for the most relevant searches in your industry.

Bringing it together

All of these pieces are what you need to bring together and put in place to make the best use of SEO for scaling your revenue and growing your market share.

To the uninitiated, it can definitely seem like the tasks I mention here are not directly related to making sales and growing a business. But they are the moves that lay the groundwork for that growth.

Keeping that long vision is how you really put SEO to work for your business.


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.

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

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How do you use SEO to scale revenue and market share? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Powered by WP Robot