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January 16, 2017

Types of SEO Redirects

Redirects are often used in the SEO world. Redirection is how, in the internet world – one URL gets forwarded to another one. There are three main types of urls in the SEO world: 301 redirects, 302 redirects, and meta refresh. Types of Redirects 301 Redirects – Moved Permanently – […]

January 16, 2017

Do Exact Match Domains Rank Better

This is a continously growing case study, where we’ll look at top competitive keywords, and see if the websites on page 1 are exact match domains. While partial match domains are common – the focus of this case study will be to evaluate for which set of keywords, there exist […]

January 16, 2017

Can auto-translated websites get penalized by Google?

Today, I submitted a pitch to a reporter through HARO(help a reporter out). The question was really great – and it’s something every SMB should think about. Google has started to penalize websites for using auto-translated copy from tools such as Google Translate. What impact will this have on global marketers/website owners, […]

January 16, 2017Types of SEO Redirects

Redirects are often used in the SEO world. Redirection is how, in the internet world – one URL gets forwarded to another one. There are three main types of urls in the SEO world: 301 redirects, 302 redirects, and meta refresh.

Types of Redirects

301 Redirects – Moved Permanently – Typically done for SEO

302 Redirects – Moved Temporarily – Used Situationally

Meta Refresh – Outdated technique

 

 

January 16, 2017Do Exact Match Domains Rank Better

This is a continously growing case study, where we’ll look at top competitive keywords, and see if the websites on page 1 are exact match domains. While partial match domains are common – the focus of this case study will be to evaluate for which set of keywords, there exist exact match domains on page 1.

 

Legal Keywords

Keyword: NYC Criminal Attorneys

Here’s a list of domains that are exact match domains ranking from our observation

www.nyccriminallawyers.com

www.nyccriminalattorneys.com

www.criminallawyersnyc.com

 

Keyword: Personal Injury Lawyers NYC

www.personalinjurylawyersnyc.com

 

January 16, 2017Can auto-translated websites get penalized by Google?

Today, I submitted a pitch to a reporter through HARO(help a reporter out). The question was really great – and it’s something every SMB should think about.

Google has started to penalize websites for using auto-translated copy from tools such as Google Translate. What impact will this have on global marketers/website owners, and why is this move on Google’s part important? What do you think about it?

Below is my response.

Google’s Panda Algorithm Expanded

In 2011, Google unveiled its Panda Algorithm update, which targeted websites which poorly written content(English), and penalized them severely. Unfortunately, this update did not impact websites who had content in other languages.

That means that hypothethically, you could have a website in Spanish, with terrible content and grammar – rank like a King, even though it’s English counterpart would be penalized into the ground for having terrible content.

This new penalty, is essentially an expansion of Google’s Panda algorithm, which is now being applied, essentially, to non-english websites.  What you’re seeing now, with this update by Google – is to bring in alignment it’s policies towards websites in English, versus other websites. This was to be expected, and is something which was due.

Auto-generated translations lead to a poor user experience

Google’s goal is to provide the most optimal user experience. Websites that are essentially auto-generated translations, are often filled with grammar mistakes. That is a clear no-no, to Google’s goals. When you review Google’s new update based on this, it makes total sense why they are doing this.

SEO is one of the reasons websites auto-translate

If you’re in the city of Los Angeles, or NYC, where there is a large Spanish speaking population, it’s not implausible that some of them are typing search queries into Google, in their native tongue. For example, instead of typing in “lawyer,” a person who only speaks Spanish, might type in “Abogado”  into Google, in order to find Spanish-speaking lawyers.

Many businesses try to leverage this source of traffic, by auto-translating their website. This enables them to rank for those “non-english,” search queries using their translated website.

How should it be done?

The best way to avoid Google’s wrath when it comes to auto translating is to have a legitimate speaker, translate your content. When Google’s panda update was unveiled, websites owners realized quickly they could no longer write cheap content. Everything had to be properly written, as if a native-writer published it. The same rule now applies.

Who will feel the impact?

This algorithm update will probably be felt by small and medium sized businesses all over the world. Many websites in the USA, and other English speaking countries, have content in English only. Big brands, in rare instances, have content in other language – but because they are big brands, they can afford to pay for the content to be written properly, and avoid using auto-translation services.

Marketers in other countries, who don’t speak English and translate their native content into English have already been penalized by the Panda Algorithm of 2011. At this moment, anyone who is a small, or medium sized business – and auto-translated instead of manually translating, due to budget restrictions, will likely be hurt.

The penalties will not be limited

Algorithms like Panda, which are on-site content algorithms, typically will penalize an individual page on your website, or they’ll penalize your entire domain. It depends on aggressive you were in your black-hat SEO efforts. I have seen many marketers translate their English website, into 5-10 different languages. I suspect, these marketers will not only lose the SEO rankings from their “translated pages,” – but moreover, the penalty will flow into their English landing pages and cause them to lose rankings as well.

Depending on the seriousness of the black-hat SEO translations, entire websites could be penalized.

January 16, 2017The Definitive Guide on what makes an SEO company best for small businesses

Qumana is one of the leading small business SEO companies – not because we say it, but because of the small business owners we work with, who speak with conviction, from the heart, about the impact we’ve made on their business – with a mediocre budget at best.

We are a pragmatic small business SEO agency, that is utterly realistic on what to expect. We try to align realistic SEO timelines, with your business goals and budget, in order to ensure that you see a ROI from your efforts.

We have successfully helped a wide array of businesses, ranging from electricians, accountants, insurance and mortgage companies, to much more. The one thing they all share in common – is the fact that had a tight budget – but if the SEO company can produce an ROI – then they could continue the budget long term with the SEO company. Below are things we, and you, should take into consideration before hiring a small business SEO consultant.

There is no guarantee

Anyone who wants your money upfront, in exchange for a financial guarantee, is setting themselves, and you, up for failure. There are no guarantees – because how can a consultant control a third party: Google? Typically, we recommend prospective clients ignore companies who want your money upfront in exchange for a financial guarantee. That’s not to say everyone’s a scam artist, but frankly more scam artists go for the, “too good to be true,” money back guarantees than not, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Your website is your weakest link

Search engines judge you based on your website. Most small businesses are cash strapped, and that can take a toll on your website. Many small businesses, often have viruses in their website, which if unresolved – can hurt SEO rankings. Search engines like Google, are unveiling new algorithms to fight hacked websites. Most recently, Google unveiled a new algorithm that is expected to impact over 5% of all websites. As a small business owner, before you hire an expensive small business SEO company to help – you should make sure you to resolve as many issues on your own as possible. Quite often, most SEO companies end up hiring out external web developers, and marking up the cost.

Content is king!

The amount of content you have on your website has a lot to do with your search engine rankings. The more content you have, the greater the chance you’ll rank well. Typically, you should consider creating content that is going to be relevant to your prospective audience, and will rank well in search engines. For example, if you have 100 pages, that all have 100-300 words, you should consider consolidating the content. One of the biggest reasons we see websites get into penalties, is because they create ton’s of pages, with a little bit of content on all of them. Unfortunately, this can result in a Google Penalty.

Many small businesses, in an attempt to save money, often “borrow” content from others in their industry. This is a big NO NO. It should be frowned upon and avoided. This falls under the category of duplicate content, and is one of the easiest ways to get into a Google penalty. We do not suggest this, at all.

Your citations matter

citations

Citations are links from websites like Yelp, Google places, Yellow Pages, and other such websites, that are trusted by Google. Links from places like these sites help search engines confirm that your business is in a certain city. For local businesses, i.e. electricians, its important that the SEO company you work with take care of local citations. If you get a proposal that does not include local citations as a part of the services to be rendered, you should not work with the company who sent it. In addition to being a source of confirmation that your business is in a specific city, the links you get from local citations are valuable and helpful. Often, you can get 30,40,50, or even 60, high quality links from citations. Its important that when citations are created, they have correct address, phone number, and website URL information on them. They should be the same on all the different citations websites, and be correct and as listed on your actual website.

What keywords are you targeting?

The keywords you select, as a small business, greatly influence what type of ROI you get. Typically, in order to make SEO work for a small business – you need to pick keywords with commercial intent. An example of a keyword with commercial intent would be, “NYC Electrician,” or “Best NYC Electrician.” An example of a keyword that is not desirable, or may not result in leads/business, is “Best electrical wire for home wiring.” This type of keyword involves someone who is still in the research phase. They are looking for information, and may not necessarily hire you to be their electrician. Most of the time, it’s easier to rank for informational keywords, versus ranking for direct commercial intent keywords. As a result, if the small business SEO consultant you’re hiring is trying to “game you,” – they’ll give you a list of target keywords that are informational, as opposed to commercial intent keywords.

One of the best ways to understand the value of the keywords the SEO company is offering to help you with, is to research them yourselves. One of the most popular tools to do this, is the Google keyword planner. You can use the tool by visiting: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. After you login to the tool, enter in your keywords/the keywords provided by the seo consultant. Using this tool, you can find out how much traffic the keywords get. In this case, I continued using the “NYC Electrician,” example, from above, and show you how much traffic these keywords get.

electriciannyckeyo

As you can see, Electrician NYC, versus NYC Electricians, have two very different numbers, in terms of monthly traffic the keywords get. There is almost a 100% difference in the overall traffic between the two keywords. In this case, I looked up the traffic for just six keywords. I’m sure if I had looked up other keywords – I would’ve seen other interesting facts.

What this goes to show you, is that the keywords you pick are extremely important. Just because a keyword sounds impressive doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Picking the right keyword is a combination of the overall traffic it gets, in addition to look at realistically, can you get to page 1 of it or not.

January 16, 2017What it’s like doing SEO for large enterprises

Enterprise SEO is a vague term, and it’s hard to define – what, and who, is an Enterprise SEO Company. Qumana is an enterprise seo company, but what does that mean?

When you google the phrase, “Enterprise SEO,” there’s over 7 million search results that appear in Google. But, unfortunately, there still isn’t a lot of information about what it means to be an Enterprise SEO company, and why you may need an Enterprise SEO firm specifically. Typically, if you’re looking for an Enterprise SEO Agency, it’s because you believe: you have SEO needs an ordinary SEO vendor cannot handle, or perhaps you believe that only an enterprise SEO company can handle your needs.

This resource  you’re about to read covers all aspects of what it means to be an Enterprise SEO vendor, in addition discusses how Qumana fits the criteria. We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an enterprise SEO vendor, and why you may, or may not, need one.

Who may benefit from this resource?

If you’re looking to hire: If you’re considering hiring an enterprise SEO company, or thinking of hiring a consultant in-house, to handle your needs

Education: Enterprise SEO is a vague term, and you’re looking to understand what it means.

You’re an SEO vendor: Many SEO’s themselves don’t know the difference between Enterprise SEO vs Corporate SEO vs “Regular” SEO. Hopefully, this resource helps you understand what it means, when you’re an enterprise vendor and what that entails.

So what’s Enterprise SEO Exactly?

It’s difficult to provide one definition that encompasses everything. In our opinion, enterprise SEO is a term that should be used when you’re dealing with a website that has thousands, if not, millions of pages. The difference is like comparing CNN.com to your local city newspaper. While both may face similar problems, the scale, magnitude, and ramifications of SEO actions are on a much different scale. If you screw up SEO for CNN.com, not only will there be a loss in the millions – but because it involves millions of pages, it’ll take far longer to recover (depending on the situations). In addition, Enterprise SEO has another element: politics. Doing SEO for a company like CNN means things like public relations, company shareholders, internal politics, and egos, are a much bigger element. If you’re not used to this, or know how to handle conflicting egos and personalities, you may find yourself crashing and burning. Often, there are a large number of parties involved when considering SEO on an enterprise level. It’s not uncommon for an SEO agency to be dealing with: Director of Marketing, Marketing underlings, PR Agencies, VP of Marketing, and probably 3-5 other individuals, all at the same time. There are numerous stakeholders, and there’s a lot of politics. Everyone has to look good, and that means you CANNOT screw up. If you screw up, someone will inevitably lose their job.

Other characteristics of enterprise SEO

Lack of control: Often, you’ll find yourself unable to touch the website or control the website directly. Typically, there will be any number of vendors. One who designed it, one who developed it, one who maintains it.

Red tape: Red tape is 101 of enterprise SEO. Everything has to be approved, and anything important will take weeks, if not months, to get pushed through.

Diplomacy: If you’re not diplomatic, and can’t understand things from the point of view of others in the company whose reputation is at stake, you’ll most likely be unable to succeed in an enterprise environment. Everyone involved in the SEO campaign – is at risk of losing their job in case you screw up.

When conducting SEO on an enterprise level, you essentially become an external, internal, consultant. You are external, but have to operate very much so within the internal structure of the company.

Enterprise Search Engine Optimization Variables

The Website

The companies website will be the center of your strategy. The website will be different from anything else you’ve encountered in the past.

1. Enterprise size SEO campaigns have huge websites

Want an example of such a website? CNN.com has over 11,000,000 pages indexed by Google. Amazon has over 186,000,000 pages indexed. You make one false step, and it could impact 186,000,000 on Amazon.com.

You’re working with a strong brand typically

Typical,y when you do SEO for an enterprise, you’re working with a brand that commands respect, and authority. Typically, that means there are many benefits from an SEO point of view. Enterprises often have a large brand following, lot’s of backlinks, lot’s of content, and that means Google favors them heavily. Typically, brands and enterprises enjoy higher search engine rankings. In addition, because they have a social following – they can get backlinks a lot easier than a small business.

Enterprises are metric driven

Because of the size of enterprise websites, metrics are important. Because it’s hard to analyze each page, individually, when there’s millions of them – enterprise websites look at variables such as: monthly traffic, goals completion, conversion %, time spent on site, and other related variables. Metrics are NEVER ignored in an enterprise SEO setting, and all the various people in the company will rely on you to provide accurate information about the metrics. Everything you do, and report, has to be tied back to the metrics and the companies goals.

There are many people creating content

Creating content is one of the most important things when it comes to SEO. In an enterprise, it’s common for there to be many different players, creating content, and engaging. Most brands have a dedicated social media manager, whose responsible for creating new blog posts, content, etc. Content is the responsibility of many departments in an enterprise: it can be the PR firm, it can be technical writers, social media managers, and more. All of them are creating, influencing, content – and many will ignore you in this process. You will have to constantly engage them, in order to make sure you’re aware of what they are doing. If they do something which negatively impacts the SEO visibility of the enterprise, YOU WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for not coordinating with them.

Link Building in Enterprises Is Easier

Enterprises, are often brands, which means they have inherent advantages when it comes to link building. Often, journalists, bloggers, etc, are constantly looking for new information released by the enterprise to discuss, and consequently link to. This means you can create backlinks fairly easily, by crafting good content strategies. Enterprises often have higher budgets, which allows them to create great content, and promote it on a scale you can never begin to imagine. Many smaller SEO companies often fail with Enterprise SEO clients, because they simply don’t know/understand how to spend the budget.

It’s important that all links created be white hat, and that you adopt the latest industry trends and changed.

Local SEO is Important For Brands With Hundreds of Physical Locations

If your’e an enterprise/servicing an enterprise that has tons of physical locations, then this will be important to know. If the brand has landing pages on it’s main website for each location,  then that means you need to optimize each landing page separately. This means creating a Google+ page, Facebook page, and local citations for potentially hundreds of city landing pages. If you are doing Enterprise SEO with hundreds of locations, you need to have a thought out, and scalable, SEO strategy that can not only setup the SEO for all the various landing pages – but also be able to control the properties and citations long term.

Doing SEO on a Global Scale

Often, enterprises do business not just in one country. Often, they are involved in numerous countries, and continents. If you’re in charge of handling the SEO for USA, it’s likely that Canada, or Europe, has it’s own SEO company helping it. That means you need be aware of other assets and websites belonging to the brand. It’s common for brands to have websites that end up competing against other. For example, we service the BBC America, which has a shop: www.shop.bbc.com. The BBC of UK has it’s own shop: www.bbcshop.com. If you do enough searches in the USA for categories/products, you’ll eventually see the UK’s shop conflict with America’s shop and appear in Google USA.

Part of doing SEO on an enterprise level is being able to face these issues, and knowing how to resolve them. This means being able to communicate and express them, in a manner that is understandable by everyone at the company – and being able to propose a solution which resolves the issue at hand.

Capturing Brand Traffic

Enterprise websites often receive a large number of visits from branded searches/keywords. In some instances, it might make sense to focus exclusively on your own branded search terms, if there’s enough traffic. Often, many enterprise SEO companies fail to properly rank for their own “brand terms,” because they assume they’ll rank “automatically.” This is a major stumbling block, and a strategy is needed to capture this traffic, lest it go to competitors!

You Can’t Ignore Social Media

Social media is one of the most important channels you have to pay attention to. In an enterprise setting, social media is quite often the largest source of traffic a brand receives. This is a great way to create backlinks, and it’s a great way of generating revenue. When doing enterprise level SEO, you’ll be required to collaborate with other departments, promote the appropriate content, making content recommendations, and ensure that it all ties back to higher SEO metrics.

Analyzing the competition is mandatory

Doing competitor research is one of the most important elements of any SEO campaign. If you do SEO on an enterprise level, it’s extremely important you constantly evaluate your competition. Often, the company you work for will want to know what their competition is doing, as a way to make informed decisions and for validation.  Typically, analysis of competition can be generalized into the following steps

Analyzing current competition: Tracking and discovering what they are doing. Understanding what actions you need to take in order to improve your SEO campaign

Discovering new players: You have to be aware of your competitors, past, present, and newcomers.

Uncovering and reverse engineering: You need to be able to replicate, reverse engineer, and evaluate their strategies and create your own based off them.

The internal politics of enterprise seo

Many elements of enterprise SEO boils down to one thing: being able to play politics. Your success as a consultant is 100% dependent on the input, and consent, of executives at the company. If an executive wants you to fail, he can block all of your initiatives and make you fail without doing anything else. If an executive at a company doesn’t believe in you, or like you, it’ll be impossible to get his support. Here’s how you can work your away around the internal politics of large enterprises, in order to get what you want.

1. Forecast and projections

The best way to compel executives to listen to you, is to provide forecasts. Executives rely on facts – because that’s what there superiors demand from them. If you can show an executive, like a Director of Marketing, what type of forecast and projection you can provide through SEO – then you’ll have less trouble getting their support and “buy in.”

The best way is to provide the enterprise with a set of keywords which will have an impact on the visibility of the enterprise. Explain why these keywords are appropriate: discuss the commercial intent of the keywords, and the overall historic traffic and forecasts for the keywords. Discuss what are the traffic estimates from the keywords, and discuss how the keywords ill impact KPI’s. The more information you give the executive and stakeholders involved in the decision making process, the easier you make their job and the more likely they are to defend you.

The better you make an executive look, the more likely he’ll support your initiatives in the future. All anyone cares about is keeping their job. Help them keep their job, so they can help you keep the client!

2. Reporting is Key

Many enterprises have a lot of departments. Data is the one thing that helps organize these departments. Metrics are what govern jobs. Each department has it’s own KPI’s and expected metrics. You have to employ a custom approach, when reporting to the head of each of these departments.

Send different reports to different people

Working as an enterprise SEO specialist, means being able to take data, and distill it depending on the person you’re talking to. The CMO or VP of Marketing will care about different metrics, than a Director of Search. If you want the “buy in,” of a CMO – discuss revenue, and metrics that impact revenue, because that’s what he will be responsible for reporting to the CEO and Board of Directors. The Director of Search will be responsible for overall SEO traffic, and growing it – so discuss things like impressions, and overall visitors, because that’s what directly impacts his job!

It’s important that you be able to understand the importance of different reports for executives in different roles. In order to succeed in an enterprise level, you have to be able to organize your data to align with what they NEED to look good. Focus on exhibiting how your efforts are helping the executive improve the KPI’s relevant and pertinent to his job. If you can do that, then you are an invaluable resource – necessary for the job security of the executive – which is key to becoming a member of his “inner circle.”

Become ROI focused exclusively

Metrics like overall visitors, are great, but they don’t keep the lights on at the office, nor do they pay for the executive’s fancy vacation. ROI is the key variable that most enterprise SEO consultants/agencies forget to consider. It’s important that you establish ways to determine the ROI of your efforts, and be able to measure it to over time. Your goal, as a top rated Enterprise SEO service provider is to not to rank the website —- it’s to bring revenue, through ranking the site. Your work will constantly be measured up against what the company is investing in the SEO strategies, and what is the ROI. If you forecast specific revenue growth from an increase in organic rankings, you have to be able to validate this forecast, or explain why it did not manifest. Often, executives will grill you about why it didn’t happen, because they need to be able to answer to their “superiors,” as to why forecasted revenue was not attained.

Pro’s and Con’s of Doing Enterprise SEO

There are many pro’s and con’s of doing enterprise level SEO work. If you know what you’re doing, enterprise SEO can be one of the most rewarding, and enjoyable things. At the end of the day, if you can demonstrate a significant increase in revenue, everything else doesn’t matter.

Pro’s of Enterprise SEO Consulting

Google loves brands: It’s not a secret, search engines love brands because they create tons of content, and are recognized by the audience. As a result, if you can help a brand, you have an inherent advantage, and step up, from others.

Resources: Brands have tons of resources, and tons of knowledge. If you face any obstacles, it’s likely they can give you the budget, or resources, to handle them.

Expertise: Talent is important when conducting enterprise SEO. Brands often have huge teams of creatives, PR specialists, marketers, and others, who can contribute or take over large components of your work, if needed.

Scalability: It’s a lot easier to show a 10% increase in traffic with an enterprise, than small brand. When a brand has 10,000,000 pages, a 10% increase can come from any one of the pages, or from any ten’s of thousands of those pages. The sheer number of pages makes it easier to create an increase in traffic, while doing very little work.

Budget: This goes without saying, brands and enterprises have larger budgets, which means more sophisticated tools, and campaigns, can be paid for.

Con’s of Enterprise SEO Consulting

Unfortunately, doing SEO for an enterprise isn’t all fun and games. There are some SERIOUS obstacles, when it comes to doing SEO for an enterprise that can seriously hinder your ability to innovate and generate traffic.

Brands are slow: Brands, and large enterprises are very slow. Often any decision has to go through many departments, and department heads.

Lot’s of rules: Brands often have to think about public opinion, and this means even though there’s a lot of things you can potentially do, you have to play by the rules and get things approved.

You can’t take risks: Every dollar an enterprise spends has to be accounted for. You need an ROI for every dollar, and you can’t take risks.

Red tape: Any initiative you take will require permission from lot’s of people. That means if you’re not diplomatic, you’ll crash and burn miserably! Any process or thing you want to do, will require tons of time, and in many cases will require substantiation – especially if it involves an extra budget. Often, every campaign or change has to be discussed and proved worthy of being implemented.

Tons of reporting: Executives will often use your reports when discussing your work with their superiors. Without proper, and digestible reports, you will be given ton’s of grief.

Conclusion

Not everyone is cutout for doing SEO on an enterprise scale. There are more factors, and more permutations, than doing SEO on a small, local level. If you aren’t able to produce results on smaller businesses, then you’re probably not cut out of enterprise search engine optimization campaigns.

BBC Shop – Enterprise SEO Case Study

In 2014, the BBC of America approached our founding partner, Max Soni, in order to get assistance with their website’s PPC and SEO campaign. The brand had recently switched platforms, and changed their domain name, at the same time. We were brought on board, after numerous SEO vendors failed, in order to improve the overall visibility of the shop, for dozens of different product lines, and thousands of products.

Our SEO Recommendations resolved technical issues with the new platform, aligned content creation strategies with product lines that matter, and in addition we we were able to transfer all of the SEO value from the previous domain name into the new BBC shop domain name. 

example

 By focusing on on-site, and off-site, variables, our team was able to increase overall monthly SEO traffic by over 200% The exact values have been “blocked out,” but above is a Google analytics screenshot of what a successful enterprise SEO campaign should produce.

January 16, 2017What are the most commonly used enterprise SEO tools?

For years, we’ve had the unique opportunity to service some of the leading brands in the world. Whether it be helping a large number of local dealerships, for KIA and VW, or whether it be helping large e-commerce websites, such as the BBC Shop, we’ve learned a lot about which SEO tools are useful in enterprise settings. It takes a savvy, and knowledgable marketer, to understand the power of natural search. Harnessing it, and leveraging it, can be difficult.

One of the most common reasons behind why enterprises succeed when it comes to SEO, is having the necessary tools to understand what competitors and prospective consumers are looking for, and doing, online.

How Good Is Your Data?

The timing and the quality of your data is essential in making SEO decisions.Without good data, it can be difficult to get year after year growth. Especially, if you’re in the e-commerce industry, having good data is critical to making decisions that result in new revenue. There are many tools that can help you identify patterns when it comes to e-commerce trends.

Using SEMRUSH To Identify Keywords You Should Target

There are numerous tools out there that can fill this void. Typically, many are paid solutions. For example, if you’re wondering what SEO keywords your competitor ranks for, the tool SEMRUSH is a great asset. If, for example, you’re online store is going to pick up a new line of products – it’s important you do keyword research, in order to understand which keywords should be targeted when writing content for the various product pages on your website.

semrushkeywords

Once you’ve added your phrase into SEMRush, it’ll give you a list of other phrases that match your original keyword. If you’re looking to find all the relevant keywords that are pertinent to your niche, this is a good place to begin. Using SEMRush, you can find high value keywords, that are relevant, and will produce results.

Another way to use SEMRush, is to type in your competitor into the tool in order to find out more information about what they rank for organically in search engines. One of our clients is the BBC, so i’m going to use the BBC Doctor Who Shop. When we first started with them, we needed to find out which keywords they weren’t ranking for, and who was. We looked at the highest traffic generating keywords, listed in SEMRush, and then started looking at who was ranking, and what they were doing.

Drill Down The Keywords in SEMRush

Upon clicking on one of the keywords, such as “Doctor Who Episodes,” will then drill-down the SEMRush data further. Upon clicking “Doctor Who Episodes,” you’ll see a list of other sub-keywords, that fall under the “Doctor Who Episodes,” category.

doctorwhoespideso

Thanks to SEMRush, you can now see all the different keywords similar to the keyword: Doctor Who Episodes. More importantly, you can see the trend, of the keyword. When making business decisions, about which product line to add to your website – this data is extremely important.

If a category of keywords is on a down-trend, in terms of traffic, it means that there’s possibly going to be less competition – since less people are competing for the traffic, since it’s decreased. If you’re looking for new ways to increase traffic, this can be a good way to improve you’re e-commerce shop.

How good are your backlinks?

Backlinks are huge, when it comes to getting Google to recognize you, as a leader, and player, in your industry. Contrary to popular belief, Enterprises need backlinks just like common small businesses. Often, Enterprises are under more scrutiny than SMB’s when it comes to HOW and WHERE they do link building.

Not too long ago, Thumbtack.com, a huge marketplace, came under fire for it’s link building strategy. It can be hard to create organic SEO links. There are many backlinks tools which can help you analyze the links of your competitors.

MajesticSEO.com

MajesticSEO is one of the leading SEO research tools. It helps you identify where, and what, are the backlinks that a website has. It is used when doing competitor research, and trying to understand how/why a competitor ranks. It shows you a websites backlinks, their quality, etc. If you’re competitor is outcompeting you, use MajesticSEO to understand why. Let’s look at a competitor of our clients(bbcdoctorwhoshop.com): teepublic.com

mjseoteepublic

For the keyword, Doctor Who Tshirts, this company ranks on page 1 of Google. When we look at their backlinks, they have over 450,000 backlinks, with numerous EDUCATIONAL(links from .edu websites), in addition to numerous government links. All in all, that means the website’s powerful. Another segment of the data, is looking at the top 5 powerful backlinks. You can identify them, by scrolling down on the page, and looking. Below is a screenshot of the top 5 links the website as. It seems like many of them are coming from very strong websites. You can identify whether a website is strong or not, by looking at it’s TRUST FLOW AND CITATION FLOW.

top5

Depending on your link building strategy, it’s very common for SEO experts to look at which websites link to their competitors, and then to reach out to them in order to get similar links. While “replication,” is not a suggested strategy, it can be quite effective if done properly and for the right reasons.

What’s your keyword density?

Keyword density is one of the most important elements of an on-site strategy. If you screw it up, you can literally ruin the rankings of your website. If you over-optimize it, you’ll instantly see a drop in rankings. If you continue screwing around, and over-optimizing, you’ll see your rankings drop due to algorithms like Panda, which penalize websites for spamming the search engines. Below are some great enterprise SEO tools which can help you understand your keyword density.

SEOBook has a great tool

SEOBook, a great resource for SEO related information, has ton’s of great content. One of it’s free tools, is a keyword density analysis tool. You can use the tool by going to: http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/. The tool has a lot of options, which have to be configured in order to get the most accurate data.

seobookscreenshot

You can enter “content,” into the box, or enter your web URL. Typically, most people will have a webpage already created, and so it’s better to insert your URL address into the box. Typically, you can run the tool as-is, without editing the “minimum word length,” or “minimum occurrences,” fields.

January 16, 2017How to get .edu backlinks for your website

One of the most common questions we get asked, when a “well-versed in SEO,” client approaches us for assistance is: do backlinks from colleges and universities carry more weight than normal links?

There used to be an assumption that simply getting a link from a page on a .edu website, would result in more SEO value being passed on to your website. The mere presence of the .edu, even if it were an inner page, was given significantly more weight and thus resulted in higher SEO value being driven to your site – if you could get that link!

It’s hard to say if simply because it’s a .edu – you get more value. It certainly makes sense – that Google would assume that the .edu has a higher standard of quality controls, and thus any link coming from a .edu has a higher value. Certainly, when the internet was young, and algorithms like Panda and Penguin weren’t around – this was probably true. Assumptions were made, in order to make life easier for search engines, and to potentially improve search results for patrons of Google.

Is it true now? Maybe. I doubt it’s AS significant though. With new algorithms that can better crawl pages and understand their spammy nature, or not, it’s likely that Google has removed any “automatic,” benefits that were given to .edu websites. That’s not to say, though, that .edu backlinks are “the same,” as normal website, or have negligble value. Any normal university, or educational institute, will have 10’s of thousands, if not hundred’s of thousands of links coming to it. This makes them a great source of links.

In 2015, it’s more likely that a college university will have higher SEO link metrics than the average website on the internet, and thus 9 times out of 10, if you pick any university and get a link from it – it will be valuable. That’s our opinion, at least, on the matter.

So to answer the original question, yes – at the end of the day, it’s much harder to get an .edu backlink, but will be far more valuable at the end of the day. If you’re interested in learning about how to get more backlinks, keep reading!

One of the most popular methods, recently used by many marketers, is the creation of a scholarship page. One of our partner agencies, Zogby Legal, recently created a blog post discussing how they’ve been able to help lawyers create a scholarship, reach out to colleges, and get them to link to the scholarship page and thus create .edu backlinks for their attorneys.

You can read their blog post here

In essence, they discuss a genius way of helping colleges, students, and attorneys, all win! By creating a legitimate scholarship, attorneys have in essence created something which will entice other institutions, such as: colleges, to link to. Colleges WANT to link to your scholarship page, because they want to help their students get financial support.

It’s a pretty clever, and genius way of attracting .edu backlinks without engaging in blackhat, and questionable, tactics – that may hurt your website later on.

January 16, 2017Long Tail Keywords For More Traffic

Best NYC SEO Company

That, right there, is an example of a long tail keyword. In the example above, a visitor typed in a multi-word phrase, that has many different keywords in it – in order to find a narrow and specific company. The visitor wants to find the best SEO Company, in NYC. Long tail keywords have been around for a long time, but in light of recent Google algorithm updates, they have become increasingly more and more important as part of new ways to generate traffic from old, and forgotten, tactics.

When you create content, one of the most overlooked things is targeting long tail keywords. If you switch gears, when writing content, and consider thinking about things like long tail keywords, you can greatly improve the amount of visitors that come to the content on a monthly basis.

Benefits of long tail keywords?

If you consistently create content, which is in-depth, and utilizes a wide array of long-tail keywords, you’re going to see an increase in overall search engine traffic, in addition to attracting targeted customers. Create great content, and you’ll grow your brand.

What will we cover in this article?

My goal in this article is to help you do the following

-Research long tail keywords

-Understand the elements that influence long tail keywords

-Leverage keyword research tools to help you understand which long tail keywords are right for you.

How can I research long tail keywords?

Many people oversimplify the concept of doing keyword research. Doing research on keywords is more important now than ever before. Not all keywords are the same. Even if you find a set of long tail keywords in your industry, some can be more appropriate than others. More importantly though, when creating content, it’s important to do research on long tail keywords so that you can create content which is inspiring and engaging.

How long is a long tail keyword?: Traditionally, a long tail keywords is 4 or more keywords, strung together in a phrase. The longer the keyword/phrase, the easier it is to rank for it.

Below are some great examples of keywords pertaining to “long tail keywords”. As you’ll see, many are 3 or more words long 

examplesoflongtailkeywords

In order to begin researching long tail keywords, it’s important to follow the steps below. There is no one complete source of long tail keywords. Often, marketers find themselves leveraging multiple keyword research tools in order to get a comprehensive set of ideas.

Step 1: It’s important you have seed keywords. That means starter keywords. For example, if you want to rank for long tail keywords related to “body building,” you should go to the Google keyword planner and then type in “body building.” After doing that, click on “Get ideas,” followed by clicking on “Keyword ideas.”

screenshot-2-long-tail-keywords

Step 2: Look at all the different “adgroup” ideas presented by Google, and look to see which ones are 3, or more, words long. Once you a long tail keyword that seems like it could help you identify other long tail keyword due to “similarity,” you plug it back into the “Your product or service,” field.

long-tail-from-keyword-suggestions

Let’s take the keyword, “best supplement for body building,” and use it as a sample. Plug the keyword back into the field for “Your product or Service,” and then repeat the process above again. When I did it, here’s the new suggestions the keyword gave.

long-tail-second-generation

By doing this process, I just got about 10-15 long tail keyword that have good monthly traffic.

Using UberSuggest to generate long tail keywords

There are many 3rd party tools out there, besides Google keyword planner, that can help you generate long tail keywords. One of the tools we love using, when we’re looking for new ideas is using: Ubersuggest. This is probably one of the most useful, free, tools. Visit the website, type in a “generic” short-tail keywords, into the search field.

ubersuggest-how-to-use

This will act as a starting point. What uber suggest does, is adds different permutations and variations to the “generic keyword,” you inserted. In our example, we added the keyword: branding agency. After typing it, click on suggest. This will then generate the list of permutations.

Below is an example of keyword suggestions provided by uber-suggest.

branding-agency-uber-suggest-variations

Using uber-suggest, I now have NUMEROUS ideas on different landing pages I can create. For example, now I can create a landing page with the keyword: branding agency for startups. This is a long tail keyword, and now you have two options. You can create a landing page for it directly, such as qumana.com/branding-agency-for-startups, or you can insert the keyword “Branding-agency-for-startups,” when writing content on a more  generic page, such as: qumana.com/branding-agency.

Using Keywordtool.io to generate long tail keywords

Keywordtool.io is another great tool which provides hundreds of long-tail variations. Using it to generate a list of ideas, is free. The way this tool makes money, is by charging you for data such as the keyword’s associated CPC, monthly volume, and other such traffic.

So what should you do with these keywords?

Well, the first thing you can do is create 1 large article, and include these long tail keywords in the content of the article. By integrating these long tail keywords into your article, you increase the diversity of keywords for which the article can rank for, and most importantly – you can 1 article generate immense traffic from a wide array of keywords, all of which get traffic.

OR

You can create 1 targeted landing page for each of the long tail keywords. For example, you can make 1 landing page for best body building supplements and 1 for best supplements for muscle gain, while the keywords are similar – you can still make a landing page for each of the keywords separately, and find success.

Create 1 landing page for each long tail keyword

In order to understand why this style of content creation is important, you should put yourself in the shoes of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Their goal is to provide users, looking for information, with the most specific and relevant information. If a user is looking for the best supplement to build muscle then it makes sense for a search engine to rank your new landing page which specifically discusses the best supplement to build muscles.

Search engines prefer content that includes long tail keywords because it directly answers the need of a searcher, and it’s more likely to rank well in Google.

Why should you care about long tail keywords?

Searchers who are typing in long tail keywords into Google, are considered more qualified than those who type in “general” keywords. People who type in long tail keywords know exactly what they are looking for, they understand what they need – and have a very specific need. People who type in generic keywords are still doing, “discovery,” which means they don’t know what they need exactly. The analogy I use would be comparing someone typing in: Shoes, to someone who types in: Nike red shox basketball shoes. The person who types in shoes, has no idea what he wants. It means he may not find what he needs on your website. But if the person types in the latter keyword, they know what they want – and if you have it, you’re more likely to get their business instantly.

Below is an image, that can be found on NeilPatel.com, which really does a good job describing this principle.

image521

Looking at keyword intent when selecting long tail keywords

One of the most important things to consider when sifting through the large amount of keywords, is the intent of the keyword. Typically, there are two categories into which keywords fall into: people are doing research, people are ready to buy.

For example, if someone types: Nike mens running shoes reviews — they are doing research. Depending on what they read, they might convert into a sale – but it’s more likely they are doing research and looking to browse and learn about a product. In contrast, if someone types in “Cheap nike mens running shoes,” – then that means they know they WANT the shoe, but are looking for the lowest price possible.

When picking keywords, it’s important to understand what category into which the long tail keyword will fall. If your goal is to increase short term sales, then you should pick long-tail keywords that target consumers with buyers intent. That means you should pick keywords that have consumer intent.

Examples of consumer intent keywords

Typically, keywords that insinuate consumer intent appear as a prefix, or suffix, in a long tail keyword. Here are popular keywords, like: buy, reviews, discounts, deals, lowest, cheapest, quick shipping, etc.

commercial keyword intent vs informational keyword intent

Targeting Long Tail Keywords – Myths Debunked

Myth – 1: You should target long tail keywords only

Your target audience is typing in all forms of keywords. They are typing in long tail keywords, and they are typing in short and generic keywords. It’s not suggested that you focus on just one type of keywords. The best content writing strategy involves targeting both long and short keywords. When you over-optimize and tunnel-vision on just one type of keywords, you run the risk of getting into a Google penalty.

Myth – 2: Use long tail keywords as your <title> tag

Your <title> tag is the first thing a user sees, and it’s what motivates or dissuades them from clicking on your website. The general rule of thumb, is that if the keyword is appropriate and will encourage a visitor to click on your website – then consider adding it to your <title> tag. Because long tail keywords are generally long, they can be interpreted as keyword stuffing by search engines if done incorrectly.

Myth – 3: Running PPC on long tail keywords is cheaper

Many people think this is true. There are examples of expensive long tail keywords, and examples of generic keywords, which are expensive. Long tail keywords, due to their lower traffic, may have less competition – and thus may have a lower CPC.

ppc-cost

Myth – 4: The point of long tail keywords is to be on page 1 of the keyword

Many content creators mistakenly judge the success of their content by it’s ability to rank on page 1 of the exact long tail keyword. Obviously, your goal should be to rank on page 1 of Google for the keywords being targeted, but that’s a hard metric to stick to. The purpose of including long tail keywords into your content should be to: increase overall traffic, increase user engagement.

In Conclusion

SEO experts are making a killing, by targeting long tail keywords. In some cases, many people focus exclusively on creating highly targeted landing pages, for each long tail keyword. Due to the lower traffic long tail keywords get, many of the top marketers I know insist that they are easier targets, and convert higher due to their specialized search query. There’s a lot of evidence to support this claim. I hope this guide was helpful, and gave you new ideas and insights on how long tail keywords can add more revenue to your bottom line.

At the end of the day, the success of any long tail keyword content strategy will rely on the quality of your content, the amount of backlinks coming to your content, and the degree to which you take pride in your website/work. Remember, it’s not just about rankings – it’s about the overall increase in traffic you observe!

January 16, 2017Why hire a branding agency?

There was a time, when you could hand out your business card, put an ad in the paper, and call it a day. That’s all you needed to do, and quite frankly – the business would come in. Ask anyone who did business in the 90’s, and this is what people were doing. In many cases, businesses would put multiple advertisements in the paper – and saturate the market by spending ton’s of money on paper advertisements. It worked, and it worked really we. With the advent of rich media, the average customer has changed and is remarkably sophisticated. Most consumers today are busy, distracted, and could care less for what you have to say.

The digital age has changed, how, and what, consumers are doing. Regardless of what industry you’re in – there’s an influx of competition, and that means you need to be smart when it comes to advertising dollars and business decisions. Many business owners are seeing their advertising dollars fail, in terms of ROI – and are reevaluating how they do business. Many are coming to the realization, they don’t actually have a strategy – all they were doing is wasting money advertising. Times are changing, and as they say in Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming,” for businesses who don’t realize they don’t have a brand.

What is a brand?

The word, brand, is quickly becoming one of the most abused words in the english dictionary among marketers, and businesses. Everyone needs one, but no one can say what it means to be a brand, or what a brand is made up of. In simplest terms, a brand is an umbrella term that encapsulates a company, it’s values, it’s associated paradigm, and the feelings/emotions that consumers have toward a company, and its product lines.

If you ask a consumer what they think of Toyota – they would say: low cost, reliable, trustworthy. This is essentially what the Toyota brand represents. In contrast, ask the same consumer about Mercedes, and they’ll  say: expensive, exotic, consistentWhy? Because that’s the reputation they’ve conveyed, represented, and reinforced. In other words, the brand is a two way street: it’s what the company represents itself as, and it’s what the consumer feels about it. In this

Why hire a branding agency?

Branding agencies can help you align the internal processes of your company, with how you are perceived externally. It’s important to know that a proper brand knows “who” it is, and in addition – has to communicate that effectively. An effective brand strategy gives you an edge, when facing increasingly competitive marketplaces. Your brand is derived from who you are, what you want to do for consumer, and most importantly WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

The reason most brands, and branding agencies, fail – is because of a subtle, but extremely important mistake. They fail to adequately connect with a consumer on an emotional level. Consumers don’t choose you based on what you do, they choose you based on why you do it. If you believe in constantly providing the best product, and being innovative – then that’s a foundation for your brand, more importantly – it’s why a consumer will believe your product is the best, or is likely to be best. Having a brand allows you to tell your consumer what to expect from your product, or services, from that of your competitors.

Examples of brand positioning statements can be things like, “we’re the most experienced,” – or “we’re the most trustworthy, and believe in XYZ,” – it all stems from what you believe.

Branding Agencies Help You Discover Who You Are

In order to communicate effectively, you have to define your brand. This is a difficult process, and extremely time consuming. It involves being able to answer delicate, and important questions, like: whats your mission, why should someone trust you, what qualities do you want people to think of when thinking of your brand and what have you done to support that image?

It’s important that understand the needs, the habits, and the wants of your current/prospective clients. It’s stupid to rely on assumptions, speak to your consumers and understand what they are doing, and want.

Marketing isn’t Branding

Too commonly, companies assume that marketing is the same thing as branding. They aren’t. Marketing is akin to advertising, and it’s the process of getting impressions. It’s getting people to look at your message. Unfortunately, if your message is shit, then what’s the point? Most businesses focus on the marketing component of their brand, and do not succeed in creating a brand, or giving consumers a reason to care about their brand. Marketing is a push tactic, meaning you’re pushing out a message to an audience and expecting a response, i.e. sales. This isn’t branding – and in reality, it’s what comes before the marketing effort. Branding is about pulling a consumer to you, without having to get in front of their face. When you are genuine, as a company, and communicate that, through social channels, through outreach – you’re branding. When you buy a billboard, your marketing/advertising to anyone and everyone.

Still not sure what we mean? Here’s an example of a sales pitch that would come from “marketing,”

We have the most sophisticated laptops – they are faster, more durable, have more memory, and more battery life, than our leading competitor.

It’s meh. It’s what everyone’s saying. Who gives a shit

Here’s what a brand would say:

We believe in creating technology that enables you to live a better life. We create laptops that are constantly being improved in order to accomodate new demands your lifestyle may have. They are fast, light weight, and last long. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then buy me, or talk about me with your friends, or just give me some feedback on what I can do better

See how compelling the latter is? Your goal as a company is to create a brand message, like the one above – and then market the hell out of it through all the different channels. The branding and the brand’s messaging is the essence of who you are, and it’s why a consumer will choose you. It’s also what makes a customer loyal/

Marketing gets you a buyer. Branding gets you an advocate after the sale is over. This can be accomplished if you stop asking “why I should hire a branding agency,” and do it already!

There are many companies out there that are very successful. They have huge marketing budgets, and spend a lot of money advertising. On paper, they are successful. Unfortunately, if you turn off the marketing budget – they dissipate quickly. Fear sets in, they begin to fail. On face value, this sounds like an acceptable scenario. The assumption is that marketing is necessary, and you need to market yourself.

The difference between marketing, and branding – is that after a sale has occurred, marketing doesn’t really have any residual value. Having a brand, a consistent message, means that after the sale has happened – you now have a loyal customer, an advocate.

January 16, 2017Is Venda an SEO Friendly Platform?

Venda is a well known, and generally liked, e-commerce platform. Many large e-commerce retailers use it, including one of our clients: BBC America. The BBC Shop,(www.shop.bbc.com), is based on the Venda platform. You would think that if large retailers are using it, it has to be friendly. It’s not the case, and this blog post is about helping CMO’s and other Director’s who are considering Venda – to consider something else.

First and foremost, Venda is a nice looking platform. It’s a managed platform, meaning Venda owns the platform, the software, and you get a team on their end helping you. Managed care is a great asset for a Director of Marketing who needs less responsibilities. Being able to create tickets with the “Venda Team,” can sure make life easy. We have seen them be responsive, and helpful. Having said that, they make money by doing “consulting,” in terms of their team helping you. In one case, Venda tried charging one of our clients – several thousand dollars – in order to create  sitemap for the website. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of web design, or SEO, knows how simple it is to create one, and the necessity that it be included in any web site. To be extorted several thousand dollars is a bit aggressive, in my opinion. Some institutions, just don’t care and will pay it – but if you’re a savvy marketer – you’ll know you’re getting screwed, and there’s nothing you’ll be able to do about it.

SEO Ramifications

Venda, as a platform is mostly OK when it comes to SEO. Product pages appear properly in search engines, which is crucial for e-commerce purposes. In addition, they render quickly, and are pretty functional, following best practices.

However, there’s a serious flaw in it, and that flaw is huge. Because the platform is driven by javascript, in some instances it has issues when it comes to being indexed by Google. In particular, category pages on the website are essentially broken.

Below is an example of a category page, it’s blank – has no content, and doesn’t link to the internal page in the website.

Why is this important? Well, essentially, in order for google to know about your product pages – it will visit your category page, and then from there visit the product pages. This is also how “SEO juice,” flows to the product pages.

This is why big companies like Ebay rank for EVERYTHING, even though they aren’t SEO’ing all of their pages. It’s the juice, flowing, to the subpages and product pages. 

With the category page broken, your product pages are starved of SEO credit, and thus don’t rank as well. In the case of our client, the BBC, this one flaw was extremely fatal and caused an immense drop in SEO traffic.

upcomingreleasescategory

This one flaw, makes the entire platform worthless as a business tool (assuming you’re going to leverage SEO). Due to category pages appearing blank, essentially all your product pages are now “orphan pages,” making them seem worthless in Google’s eyes.

Internal links, are not created, to the product pages, which makes them look unimportant to Google. This is the one limitation i’ve seen with Venda, but it’s so huge I could never recommend them to a client.

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Max Soni

Founder & CTO,

Soni Consultants / Brand With SEO

Sasha Aksenov

Chief Creative Strategist

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Aaron Fischer

Director, Reputation Managemnt

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James Wallace

Director of Business Strategy

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