Latest SEO Trends, Tips and Discussions to Improve Rankings in 2019

SEO… no matter what year it is, what your business focus, or what industry you are in, it’s always going to be a discussion.

When someone types something into Google, they actually are in buying or engagement mode. It’s not like social media where everything is scattered and your ads just happen to appear to an audience while scrolling through their feed. Throw voice search and mobile usage into the mix, and rules are changing at even faster rates.

If someone searches for something on Google, they are looking for information, to be entertained, or to purchase something. This is why Google Ads has always worked so well — as it’s hard to find a more targeted audience and monetization opportunity.

Even with all of that in mind, SEO and how to effectively rank content and websites in Google is still changing all the time.

What’s New In SEO In 2019

To help in the never ending journey to rank your site content higher, let’s take a look at some of the recent trends and discussions in relation to SEO in 2019.

Should you be linking out to other websites from your own?

With so much focus on link juice and getting the domain and page authority of your site up, there is often a concern for when sites should link out to other sites — and if they should at all.

This was actually a topic of discussion during one of the latest #AskGoogleWebmasters video series (a new series from Google) and was also featured on SERoundTable. You can see the short video and answer below.

This obviously isn’t brain surgery, and there have been many tests by site owners to see if linking out to other sites actually helps with their own SEO or not. This can also be affected y whether such links are DO or NO follow.

In summary, (as provided by John Mueller’s answer):

I would watch out for a few types of links though. In particular if you’re linking out to a site because of an arrangement, like you linked to me and I’ll link to you. Or because it’s an advertisement or if it’s being done in your site’s comments and you’re not really sure how good those links are.

So the best answer here? Leave the outbound links to high-quality sites and only those you are referencing to back up a statement or to provide further value to your audience.

How does Google Rankings actually work?

This has been one of the most commonly asked questions over the past two decades ever since Google first came out onto the scene. However, only the most important and secret people at Google really know the answer — and to be accurate, it’s actually changing all of the time.

Search Engine Journal has a recent article on this, which highlights and mentions the following:

There are hundreds/thousands of ranking factors. Google doesn’t tell us what they are in detail (which, by the by, seems to me to be reasonable).

They do tell us that they group them: Topicality, Quality, PageSpeed, RankBrain, Entities, Structured Data, Freshness… and others.

From a site owner and content marketer perspective, most of us are only looking at SEO from much smaller variables — which is often content, keywords, and building backlinks.

Val Zamulin, founder of Seologist, recommends that every site owner take advantage of every once of information Google occasionally leaks in reference to how their algorithm works. During a recent interview, Val went on to state:

One of the best ways to continually compete in the world of SEO and getting an edge ahead of your competition, is to track the performance of your main site and inner pages within a heavy data excel or Google docs sheet. Such information contained within the report should include the basics of site rankings, keywords, and in/outbound links — but to also include updated reports and data on pagespeed, rankbrain and last updated post data as well. By having all of this information documented and outlined in front of you, it will make for a much improved SEO report and strategy for tracking results and performance over time.

Such methods are also outlined within the full article from SEJ, as they have several documents and sheets ranking Google Ranking Factors, the power and influence of rich elements, bid based bidding, and how to also factor in multi-device rankings.

At what point should a website start focusing on SEO?

This is a very similar question to one we often hear in the monetization and affiliate marketing space — which is when should you try and start making money with your site? The difference between this question, and the original SEO-focused one we pose above are two completely different topics and worlds apart.

For the sake of this article, we will focus just on the SEO question, but if you would like to learn more about web you should focus on site monetization, you can read up/listen on that here.

In reference to when you should start SEO for a website or blog, the answer is FROM DAY ONE — even if your site isn’t ready to launch yet.

This can best be summarized into the following elements and factors: (source)

  • Creating an optimized Coming Soon page
  • Optimizing for mobile users
  • Increasing site speed
  • Using long-tail keywords
  • Creating an XML sitemap

If you are launching a WordPress site, this shouldn’t be hard to accomplish — as there are many free plugins that can help with this.

However, keep all of these elements in mind and try to improve the performance of your site to the MAX before officially going live with your site.

Making sure your site speed is fast as anything, that your site is already optimized for mobile and all devices, and also is already ranking in Google (even without any real content), are all ideal and a great way to give your site a mega boost when it’s first launched and ready to go.

SEO starts from day one… and never ends. This is something that every site owner needs to remember and keep working on for the life of their site.

SEO Today, Tomorrow… and Years To Come

SEO is changing all the time. It’s not just about content, keywords, and backlinks, but also adapting to the way Google ranks content and how audiences search for it.

With voice search and mobile now being used more than ever before, search phrases and keywords are no longer what they used to be. Forbes even went on to state “By 2020, 30% of all website sessions will be conducted without a screen.” — and that same article also went on to say “By January 2018, there was an average of one billion voice searches every month, proving that voice search is on the rise.

With this information now in hand, does that change or effect your SEO and content marketing strategy in anyway? It likely does.

SEO is here to stay and will greatly influence the way individuals search and find content online. And while it might be here to stay, the way it works today likely won’t be the same way it works tomorrow.

How to Improve Local SEO Results When Using a Digital Marketing Agency

Running a business can be very rewarding and exciting, but there are also many challenges that you have to try to overcome. One of these barriers is the stiff level of competition you face, no matter what industry you are in. If you want to be able to compete effectively with rivals, you have to ensure you have a solid marketing strategy in place and that the solutions you use actually work.

Unfortunately, just ‘creating content’ is never going to get you there. To rank in Google, your site will need powerful backlinks to improve the Domain Authority and Page Authority rankings of your site. Without these in place, your site will likely be found in Google for a wide range of long tail keywords, but likely somewhere between pages 10 to 100 — which is pretty much useless.

In order to effectively rank online and compete against already established sites, you will need to come up with a very creative and highly effective content creation and marketing plan. If you are a single person (or small) business, you will likely find that this task in itself could be a full time business, which is why many organizations outsource the process to a trustworthy digital marketing agency.

To help with the process of winning the war of online marketing and SEO, let’s cover some of the most important factors when trying to find a trustworthy digital marketing agency, and where/how you might want to focus your efforts and advertising dollars.

Local is Extremely Effective for Targeted Ads and SEO

When looking at the internet as a whole, there are more than a billion active sites online — which means they are all creating new content all the time, getting new social shares/backlinks, and ranking in Google. If you want to compete on this global scale, be ready for some massive competition.

At the same time, many smaller and local businesses don’t have the funds or resources to compete at these levels. For this reason, they should focus heavily on their local SEO rankings, paid advertising and demographic audience.

Neon Ambition, an SEO in Austin, has been working with companies for years now on how to improve their local reach and targeting, while also explaining the importance of how to find a positive ROI with SEO marketing, which can have a pretty much limitless ad spend cap.

They recommended the following take place:

“Having worked with hundreds of clients on a local specific ad campaign, we understand not only how hard it can be for a local business to rank, but also for them to spend a limited budget and see results at the same time. We have found great success with building localized content then targeting and remarketing location audiences to come back to the site once again. By additional social media and occasionally backlinking to such articles and resources, we continue to see progressive SEO growth month after month, while not requiring small mom and pops to spend thousands of dollars per month in the process.”

When it comes to local SEO and handing your business off to a digital marketing agency, it’s also important to have some basic understanding of how SEO works for your own personal and business expertise. You will also want to look for the following badges and certifications, as they will give you a better indication on how efficient and trusted an ad agency might be.

A great article on this topic can be found on Forbes, which ranks the following three factors as key elements that should be used when trying to rank in Google, target audiences, and find a positive ROI with local online advertising.

A company’s rank in Google My Business (GMB) results can be boiled down to three distinct areas of focus:

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence

How to Use Content and Social Networks to Improve Rankings

As previously mentioned, if you want to rank in Google, you need to have a powerful website and/or blog with established backlinks. If you don’t have this in place, it’s something you can build up over time. However, at the moment, not all is lost.

Thanks to the power of social media, you can rank Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and other social profile or local directories pretty fast and easy in Google. Since most of these sites are already trusted in the eyes of Google, it doesn’t take much to rank such inner profiles and pages on their site.

In that same Forbes article mentioned above, they highlight the following methods for relying on social media and local directories to improve site rankings and being found by your target audience.

  • Select a high-volume keyword phrase that has location intent. Typically, for an attorney, this will be “practice area” plus “city name.” For example, “personal injury lawyer Philadelphia.”
  • Create a page on your site targeting this phrase.
  • Include the phrase in your page title, headings, page copy, meta description and image file names.
  • Include your name, address and phone number on the page.
  • Include the phrase in your page permalink as such: example.com/city-name/target-keyword-phrase/

By following these simple tips, there is no reason why your brand shouldn’t be able to rank for all ten listings on the main page of Google for your personal brand or business name. It’s something I’ve been able to do for my “Zac Johnson” name for quite a while now.

Social media is out there and it’s free to use. So take advantage of it!

Quick Ideas and Tips to Improve Local SEO on Your Own

There are many advantages to using a digital marketing agency when trying to rank and promote your local business, especially if you have no idea where to start. But there are also many things you can do on your own time to help promote your site and grow it’s site rankings and power over time.

Here are some quick ideas and tips to get started.

  • Have a blog. This one is a no-brainer, as it will allow you to create content for your site and will also start ranking your site in Google for long tail keywords. Also remember to effectively promote each blog post, and don’t expect people to find them on their own.
  • Create visuals and infographics for social media. This is a great idea, as everyone is already on social media and if you have a new recipe or service coming out, if you can make a quick infographic or animated video, it’s much more likely to be seen and shared.
  • Contribute to expert round ups. Depending on your niche market and business, this one might work or it might not. Check out these expert roundup examples and you can learn more about this.
  • Guest blogging on other industry/local blogs. Again, this comes down to the process of creating content for your sited within your industry, and then gaining exposure and getting backlinks as a way of compensation for your time, expertise and articles.

It’s likely that your digital marketing agency will be handling a lot of this, but there is no reason why you couldn’t start working on some of this at the same time. If you end up securing some nice placements and start to get a good feeling for how local SEO and audience targeting works, it might be something that you want to bring in-house as well.

Finding the Best Local Ad Agency for Your Business

When going with any local ad agency or digital marketing firm, make sure you always do all of the necessary research. Also, try to stay out of a super long term contract. Most SEO campaigns and work can take anywhere from 3-9 months before you start seeing real results.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to shoot me an email and I can help out with any questions you might have.

5 Things Most Site Owners Do Wrong with Their SEO

For so many websites on the Internet, regardless of objective or industry, the biggest source of traffic is the search engine. Absolutely, you should invest resources into cultivating other traffic sources, but it is undeniable that ranking well for your target keywords and keyword phrases on those search engine result pages (SERPs) will always work in your benefit.

Before you can start working on all the things you should be doing right, you need to eliminate (or at least reduce) the things that you are doing wrong. The two really go hand-in-hand. And it is in that spirit that we present to you five critical mistakes that site owners do with respect to search engine optimization.

1. Writing for the Search Engine

To be perfectly fair, search engine optimization has gotten progressively more complex and nuanced over the years. In the past, the “rules” of engagement were much more straightforward with much more clearly defined lines in the sand. You must have your keyword appear in the title and in the first 50 words. The exact keyword phrase must appear X number of times in the text.

These days, Google sees right through that. And the old practices of keyword stuffing and almost mechanical content production have only led to robotic, unnatural content that actual people don’t want to read. If you’re focusing all your efforts on “writing for the search engine” rather than addressing what readers actually want, you’re missing the point entirely.

Done correctly, it is perfectly possible to write for both humans and search engines at the same time. At the end of the day, the best SEO strategy is to provide what actual humans want to get out of your content.

2. Skipping the Competitive Analysis

A critical component to starting and running a successful business is formulating a successful business plan. This involves analyzing the market, for instance, to determine the anticipated level of customer demand. You take the time to formulate your unique selling proposition (USP), the key feature or benefit that differentiates you from the competition. Search engine optimization works in much the same way.

When putting together an SEO strategy for how and where you want to build backlinks, you must start with a competitive analysis. This involves identifying the competition, and reviewing it with a backlinks checker to see what they have (and the ones that you don’t), and analyzing the most important keywords that you want to target, the ones that represent the biggest and best opportunities for growth.

By skipping the competitive analysis, you’re almost going into your SEO efforts blind. You’d be starting with what you think might work, rather than what is already working for the competition. This establishes expected benchmarks and reveals how and where you may be able to achieve those benchmarks. Why re-invent the wheel?

3. Overlooking Dead Links

In all your efforts to optimize new content moving forward, it’s easy to overlook old content that can still be a great source of traffic. When you have a lot of old content that isn’t very good, that can actually weigh down your entire domain. This means that, in effect, Google is docking points on your new content because your old content is just bad. And the only thing worse than bad content is content that isn’t even there.

A practice overlooked by so many site owners is that they forget to find dead links and work to recapture them. This is true in two different contexts. First, you should check to see the URLs that are generating 404 errors for visitors. Determine how you can best redirect those visitors to relevant content instead. Second, you should check your own content to ensure you are not linking out to 404 errors too.

There are tools and tutorials available for both of these concerns, and they can largely automate the process. It’s a routine you should be doing at least every month or two.

4. Focusing Only on High Volume Keywords

Keyword research is a critical aspect of search engine optimization. What many site owners do wrong with SEO, in this respect, is that they’re devoting far more time (and resources) on the big, high level keywords. That’s where you’ll find the highest and most cutthroat competition, even if it’s also where you’ll find the highest search volume. Compete with sharks and you can only expect to get bitten.

Instead of focusing too much energy on getting the tiniest of slivers out of the bigger pie, it can be much more fruitful to find several smaller pies where you can carve out a much larger slice. High volume keywords are great, but they’re remarkably difficult to crack. Low and moderate volume keywords, however, have much less competition and you can reap the rewards of highly targeted, highly motivated search from users.

It takes time to identify these opportunities, to be sure. It’s also true that the riches are indeed in the niches.

5. Including Irrelevant Internal Links

A common SEO practice is to integrate a number of internal links in your own content. The idea is that this “helps” the search engines crawl through the rest of your content, and it helps to keep users on your site longer because it introduces them to content they may not otherwise seek out on their own. That’s partly true, but it only holds water if the internal links are actually relevant.

Just as you should avoid keyword stuffing for the sake of keyword stuffing itself, you should also avoid internal link stuffing purely for the sake of including internal links. Point your site visitors toward relevant, useful content that you have on your site, and even link to the same resource more than once if it’s something that’s really important; however, don’t just link to something just because you feel like you need to include an internal link there.

Just as linking to an irrelevant external site with little usefulness or authority hurts your site’s reputation, the same is true if Google detects that your internal links aren’t actually providing real value to users. Think first: will visitors actually benefit from this link?

SEO and Link Building in 2019 and Beyond

Search engine optimization will always be a moving target, because the cryptic complexities of the search engine algorithms are in a constant state of flux. At the end of the day, great content is still great content, and your number one priority should always be to deliver what the end user actually wants. And to do that better than anyone else.

12 Essential Digital Marketing Tools Guaranteed to Grow Your Business

A craftsperson is only as good as their tools. Companies deploying growth strategies using digital marketing tools need to make sure they are investing the right time and money.

But with the digital economy changing so fast it can be difficult to know where to invest your time and money. There are new companies and new tools springing up every day.

Each one promises huge returns and low cost. Make sure you have the right investment or the competition could leave you behind.

You need these 10 tools today:

1. Feedly

It isn’t enough to have great content. Your content strategy needs to be curated, scheduled, and tracked.

Feedly will help you curate your content calendar across platforms.

2. CRM Software

What is CRM Software? CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a must for companies that need to make use of valuable data across all departments.

This means you! Without CRM you aren’t able to target the right people, turn insights into conversions, or avoid redundancies.

3. LeadPages

Your bounce rate could be killing your SEO. Even worse, all those bounces could be symbols of your business going elsewhere.

Leadpages is the answer. You can test new landing pages and deploy for success with Leadpages.

4. Splice

If you aren’t using video content, you should be. And if you aren’t optimizing your video content for social media you are missing a huge opportunity.

Splice, from the makers of GoPro, is the tool for your video content.

5. Google Analytics

There is no replacement. You need this.

From within your Google Webmaster Account, you can manage all aspects of your site when it comes to SEO and making sure you are good in the eyes of Google.

Not sure if your site was affected by one of the latest penalties, or if it’s indexed in Google? All of this and more is tracked from Webmaster Tools.

6. Yoast

If you are using WordPress and struggling with SEO, Yoast is the tool for you. Yoast comes in a free version and offers insight into your text.

Yoast will scan your content and rate all of it, traffic light style, for SEO.

Best of all, this tool is extremely easy to use, and free!

7. LiveChat

Customers want support in real time. Make sure you are on the cutting edge of user experience with LiveChat.

The next time you visit a website or ecommerce site and see a little chat popup window appear, this is exactly how LiveChat works.

There are plenty of alternatives out there, and many of them are powered with artificial intelligence.

Take a look at the different options available and how other brands are using these chatbots to grow their business — then think about how you could do the same.

8. WooCommerce of Shopify

If you want to start selling products online, you need to have a great ecommerce platform.

Two of the most popular and best solutions out there are WooCommerce and Shopify.

Discover how to boost ecommerce sales with either of these platforms, while also improving your SEO and revenue in the process.

9. Social Shark

With over 1 billion users worldwide, there’s never been a better time to make the most of Instagram. But for marketers new to the social media platform the results can be disappointing without the right tools.

Social Shark is the right tool to grow your Instagram presence.

10. Ahrefs and DA/PA Checkers

All those SEO hunters out there already know about Ahrefs. The tool will track your rankings as well as link-building campaigns.

The tool also helps you improve local SEO.

Another useful tool to add into this section, is TheHoth’s DA/PA checker.

It’s free to use and if you are looking up other solutions, be sure to run through this list of the best SEO tools reviews.

11. MailChimp

Email marketing represents the highest return on investment in terms of digital marketing. But if your company is only dabbling in the email marketing field you are missing out.

Email marketing needs to be targeted, managed and tracked to be effective. MailChimp is a great tool for small businesses.

12. Famoid

Everyone is obsessed with social media and making sure they reach as many people as possible. This can clearly be seen by how much the top influencers are getting paid when posting content and showing brands and products within their updates.

While everyone starts at ZERO, there are ways to speed up this process.

Famoid is a social media marketing platform that allows people to grow their following fast — no matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

In addition to growing your follower, they also have options for increase shares, likes, and views as well.

Moving Beyond Digital Marketing Tools

Remember, digital marketing tools are only a means to an end. Many business owners and marketing professionals feel that once they have the right tools the rest will take care of itself.

Not so. You need to lead your company into growth.

Now that you have the 10 essential tools covered, make sure you are headed in the right direction.

Learn more now about the hacks that will make your company grow faster.

Why Isn’t My SEO Working? 10 Reasons Why (And How to Fix It)

According to statistics, there are over 3.5 billion searches on Google every single day. If you are not getting the traffic that you want, you need to figure out why isn’t your SEO working, and what you can do to fix it.

SEO is the bread and butter behind every website, it will help people find your business and turn them into buyers.

It does not matter how beautifully designed the website is or how perfectly curated your content is written, if you do not have your SEO working properly, your business will greatly suffer.

But how exactly do you know if your SEO is optimized properly, and even harder, how do you know how to fix it if it isn’t? The last thing you want to do is keep making the same mistakes.

Keep reading to learn how to get your SEO working optimally so you can start rolling in the sales!

Let’s get started.

You Do Not Have an SEO Strategy

If you think that SEO is just the simple action of stuffing some keywords into your content, you are, well, wrong. You need to have a clear and concise plan of action, just as you would with a business plan.

An SEO strategy is where you organize your website’s content by topic, which helps Google to understand the user’s intention when hunting for relevant information. A great SEO strategy has their content organized by topics, then incorporates the long-tailed keywords that relate to each topic.

The more specific you are, the more you will attract specific clients who will turn into customers.

Your Website is Horrendous

There is more to building a website than just choosing pretty color schemes and writing awesome blogs. Sure, they are great and play a large part of your results. However, they are not the core of the SEO portion of your website.

If you used a free or cheap website builder, chances are that your website is slow, and not optimized with keywords embedded properly within. Some things to check for are;

  • Is there a call to action on every page?
  • Is it optimized for mobile searching?
  • What is the loading speed?
  • Is it simple and easy to read, or busy and convoluted?
  • Is it clear about what your business is about right off the bat?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Does it take the user easily to the checkout page?
  • Is there a search function?
  • Was SEO included during the entire design process?
  • Does it include basic SEO elements?

All of these are essential components of a well-designed, SEO working website. If you can agree to all of these, you are now on the right track!

Your Website Speed is Slow

With mobile searches more popular than ever, the speed of your website has become an essential SEO ranking factor. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is designed, in our current instant gratification culture, if it is not loading right away, it will turn prospective customers away.

There are many tools online, especially on Google, that will help you discover your website’s speed and what to do about it.

You Are Not Optimizing Keywords Accurately

Now we get to the juicy stuff, the keywords. We now know that keywords are not the be-all-end-all, but they are sure extremely important. Keywords are the words and phrases that a user types into the search engine to find and discover content like your website.

The more relevant your keywords are to your content, the easier your target audience can find you in the world wide web amongst all your competitors. A great example of this done perfectly is done through various local-targeted SEO agencies. You can see an example of there where one agency correctly incorporates keywords in all the right places without overdoing it, check it out!

On that same article, you will also find the following recommended tips when trying to decide on the best agency to use:

  1. Establish Your SEO Goals
  2. Set Realistic Expectations
  3. Consider Your Budget
  4. …But Don’t Go Cheap
  5. Look at Reviews and Testimonials
  6. Ask For a Consultation
  7. Don’t Buy Snake Oil

Your goal as a website is to drive traffic from the search engine result page (SERP) to your website by implementing what the specific words your ideal traffic would include in their search. This can include long-tail keywords, single words, and even full sentences.

Your Content Is Horrible and Not Optimized

We have touched on the keyword importance, and what is even more important is how you use those keywords within your content. A keyword is no good unless it is naturally placed within a well-written article or page on your website.

Make sure you are writing content that people will actually read, become engaged with and hopefully even share. Do not just write content just for the sake of getting content on your website or else you will definitely have troubles getting your SEO working. If your site design and content is just a mess and you don’t know where to start, then you can ask any of the top web design agencies to clean this up for you. While this might cost some money, it will definitely speed up the process and likely be done by a professional at the same time.

People want fresh, relative content that is easy to read and straight to the point. They do not want to feel like they are being sold on something, and will definitely pick up if you are keyword stuffing. Once in the title, first paragraph, one header, conclusion and a couple throughout the article (depending on the word count) are optimal.

You Are Not Tracking Conversions and Traffic

How are you supposed to know if your SEO is optimal if you do not have a method of tracking the progress? Using software such as Google Analytics will help you monitor your sales, conversions and incoming traffic. It will also teach you your bounce rates, and give you hints on how to improve them.

Learn More About Getting Your SEO Working Optimally

If you realized that you do not have your SEO working optimally, do not worry! You still have time to fix it, however, we suggest doing that sooner than later because most changes take about 6 months to start seeing the increase in traffic.

There are also many other factors that will come into play when looking at SEO as well. This can be anything from the DA/PA and ranking power of your site, to the length and focus of your content, to also how many backlinks you have pointing towards your site. Be sure to look at all of these variables when trying to improve your site rankings.

If you are fed up with trying to do it yourself, that’s ok, you probably shouldn’t be doing your own SEO anyways. Before you hire anyone, read this article on hiring an SEO specialist,

SEO Video Marketing: How to Approach Video SEO and Optimization in 2019

The Web is overwhelmingly addicted to online video content. Cisco forecasts online video traffic comprising 82% of all IP traffic by 2022. In the stat’s regards, creators forgoing SEO video marketing face obscurity.

Here’s the kicker: There’s no excuse why your brand shouldn’t explore video.

Video creation is easier-than-ever thanks to inexpensive video cameras and editing programs. The camera in your smartphone is often enough to create engaging videos. Even YouTube offers a free editing suite in its platform!

Video and SEO happen once you embrace the “something is better than nothing”. It’s overcoming your fright of being on camera and perfection. Those saying, “Yes, I’m ready!” keep reading because you’re about to learn how it’s done.

Why SEO Video Marketing Matters

Consider this: YouTube is the 2nd most used website and shares the same rank as a search engine. Yes, a search engine! YouTube is where many begin their discovery — appearing there has similar effects to the top 10 in Google.

Let’s not discount the 1-billion videos viewed on YouTube each day, either.

YouTube benefits are too good to pass — they include:

  • Presenting a face to your brand
  • Tapping the massive user base
  • Creating new marketing funnels
  • Building bigger brand awareness
  • Integrating with promo efforts

Video content is also among the most shared viral content types. A well-received video could change your business overnight! Given YouTube’s insane traffic, your efforts may prove more fruitful than written blogs alone.

Convinced yet? Let’s explore what you’ll do.

How to Create and Optimize Videos for YouTube

Your video SEO efforts do better when the content is good, that’s a given. Aim for high-quality videos covering in-demand topics. Read your audience and deliver what they want by looking at video stats and analytics.

Likewise, spend as much as you need for great video and sound quality. The mix of good content choice and video fidelity will boost engagement. The engagement is what you’re aiming for since this is one of the biggest SEO signals.

Now, let’s get into the video SEO techniques and strategies you’ll use.

1. Do Your Research

YouTube keywords are similar but different from those used in Google. Remember how YouTube is a search engine? Use its search features for topic and keyword discovery — type in your query and take notes!

Look how others use keywords:

  1. Let YT autosuggest keywords in the search bar
  2. Sort videos by ‘Most Popular’ with the given keyword
  3. Look at the creator’s keyword placement

Use this time to make a list of creators in your space and follow them. The list keeps a tab on their efforts and shows content gaps between their channel and yours. The content gap is the missing topics yet covered — giving you an advantage if you choose to cover these items.

2. Define Your Goals

Consider the video content type and how it relates to user intent:

  • Informative
  • Sales and marketing
  • Brand awareness
  • Internal resources

Your keyword selection often reveals the user intent by way of its topic. Create a spreadsheet and brainstorm a dozen ideas for each category. Then, define the direction and call-to-action used in these video types.

Examples would include tutorial or explainer videos for informative pieces. Or, reviews and product overviews for sales videos.

When knowing the intent you can:

  • Define where the video gets shared/embedded
  • Who you’ll work with for its promotion (influencers)

You can also use a tool like mysimpleshow to start creating whiteboard and animation videos through a simple drag and drop platform. There is no need to create your own videos, audios, or even being a coder or video producer.

mysimpleshow storyline

3. Keep Viewers Engaged

YouTube wants users spending a lot of time on their site. The longer users engage the better chance it shows positive ranking signals.

You can increase video engagement by doing the following:

  • Create video around interesting topics
  • Including video transcripts (they’ll linger while reading)
  • Use enticing thumbnails to boost clicks/views
  • Interlink videos on the platform and resources on your site
  • Ask for comments, subscribes, and shares

Aim at creating longer videos, too, if the topic supports it. Longer videos keep viewers hooked and could spur comments (and shares).

4. Wrap It with Content

Give your video a boost by embedding it on a page featuring relevant information. Examples include a product review on a product page. Or, crafting a video in tandem to a blog post either covering everything or acting as support.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Convert a popular post into a video
  2. Optimize the video on YouTube
  3. Embed the video back onto the page

Worry less about technicals like keeping it above the fold and more about its context. Give visitors a reason to stop and view the video by calling out its value in the content leading up to the embed.

5. Apply the Optimization

Apply optimization strategies to YouTube pages as you would your site:

  1. Place keyword(s) in the title, description, and tags
  2. Include a transcript or let YT transcribe for added content
  3. Add videos to catchy-titled playlists

Refer to your YouTube research for the keyword selection. Front-load the keyword in the title and early on in the description. Use secondary and long-tail keywords, too, if they add value to the video’s description.

You should take this time to craft an engaging channel about page, too. Fill the basics like channel description, details, and contact. Give people a reason to subscribe so they’ll return with each published video!

6. Get It Promoted

Invest in the video’s promotion as if it were a product:

  • Share it across your social channels
  • Tap influencers for mentions and shares
  • Interlink videos on popular platforms
  • Send the video URL to the newsletter
  • Promote it through paid advertising

To learn more about any of these methods and to see what’s working best for others, view this list of top influencers on YouTube. They don’t have millions of subscribers just out of luck. They actually know what they are doing when it comes to online video, and how to get viewers to click, like, and share.

The promotion satisfies two things:

  • Gets more views and potential shares
  • Provides feedback for new video ideas

Promoting like a product commands more commitment vs jumping to the next project. You’ll maximize the video’s potential and reach. This extra effort could turn viral — giving you a break in the industry!

Video Killed the Blog Star (Don’t Let It Be You)

Blogging has been the vehicle for business promotion for many years. Yet, this is changing as brands double-down on SEO video marketing. The Web has spoken and they want video content — will you deliver?

Don’t wait any longer nor overcomplicate the video creation process. Set up, press record, and shoot a video. Create something and use it when applying the video SEO strategies in this post.

Ready to take the next step in video production? Read our YouTube channel guide to grow with video content like you never imagined!

Local SEO Tips for Therapists, Counselors and Private Practices in 2019

For small businesses like therapy practices, search engine optimization is a crucial element of successful marketing. Improving your SEO can help you have one of the best therapist websites, which will, in turn, attract more clients.

When people are seeking new services–such as finding a new therapist–internet search engines are their primary source of research. If potential clients cannot find your website when searching online, they will never convert to actual clients.

SEO for therapists can be a difficult concept, though. Most therapists focus on how they can best serve their clients, which is important. In order to be able to reach and help more clients, though, you need to know how to market yourself.

Below, we’re sharing tips on marketing for therapists, and how you can create one of the top therapist websites that is search engine optimized. Read on to learn more.

1. Create Valuable Content

Incorporating popular and highly searched keywords into your website is an important way that you will be able to improve your SEO ranking. That being said, SEO for therapists is not as simple as just dropping keywords into random web pages. If you want your website to be one of the best therapy websites, you need to incorporate keywords in a thoughtful way.

You want the content you create for your web pages to provide value for anyone visiting your site. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a blog on your website.

You can use your blog to post long-form content about relevant topics that potential clients will actually care about, like how to overcome fear or strategies for combating stress. As an added bonus, you can create short videos to highlight the benefits and takeaways given within your blog content as well. You can can see an example of how this was done in the video below for the ‘overcoming fear’ article referenced above.

Once you’ve established your blog, incorporating keywords into your posts will become seamless. You’ll attract potential clients to your website, and you’ll provide them with value once they have found your page.

2. Don’t Forget the Basics

You probably already know that you need to list the address and contact information of your therapy practice on your website. But you may not realize that the way you list it matters and can have important SEO implications.

Rather than having one dedicated contact page, list your contact information on every page. You can do this in a header, or footer, or on a sidebar. Having this information on every page is a convenience to potential clients, but can also boost your SEO ranking.

For more guidance on this, take a look at any of the footer areas of your competition. A perfect example of this can be seen at the bottom of the GoodTherapy site. Depending on how many pages your site is going to have, you can also use the footer area to highlight different company locations, the top resources on your site, and also how to best follow the company on social media and get in touch with you directly.

3. Design Matters

The longer potential clients stay on your website and the more pages they navigate to, the better your SEO will be. That’s where your web design comes in. You want the viewing experience to be enjoyable, so users will stay on your page.

The top therapist websites are clean and simple. Don’t use too many colors or hard-to-read fonts. You’ll also want to make sure your web design works on mobile, as many people will be accessing your site from their smartphone.

You can see a bunch of relevant themes for WordPress here — which also features many similar to the one below.

The great thing about designing your site with a premium WordPress theme, is that most of the work is already done for you.

Since most of these themes are built with a professional look and feel, all you need to do is plug in your practice information and maybe add a couple new pictures.

Want to Know More about Marketing for Local Businesses?

As a therapist, your main goal is to help your clients. But if they can’t find your practice, they’ll never be able to benefit from your services. Marketing for therapists is an important way you can build your client base and help more people.

For more information on marketing tools, please contact us at any time.

9 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert in 2019

Now is a great time to bring in an SEO consultant. In the past, you could maybe get away with DIY SEO, but that time is over. The field has now gotten so complex that SEO is a whole career path in itself.

Are you considering hiring a local SEO consultant? Here are some of the key questions you should ask.

1. Do They Have Years of Experience?

Ideally, when you employ a search engine marketing consultant, they should have years of experience in the industry. Some so-called SEO experts rely on outdated or inappropriate techniques that could actually harm your website’s ranking rather than help it.

A good SEO specialist can implement different kinds of strategies depending on the situation. SEO is not a “one-size-fits-all” line of work. You need to use pick appropriate strategies for certain kinds of businesses.

A good SEO specialist will have experience doing SEO for multiple industries. And they’ll be able to implement a strategy that’s tailor fit to your business. Read more about such expertise from a Harrisburg SEO marketing agency that has been working with local clients for years now.

2. Do They Have a Passion for Learning More?

The world of SEO is constantly in flux. This means a good SEO consultant should have a genuine interest and passion about learning more about the industry.

When you have a good knowledge of SEO trends, you can predict what’s going to happen. Then, you can use that knowledge to give your clients an edge over the competition.

A good SEO specialist should have so much knowledge about their field that they can come up with multiple methods to accomplish any one goal. Of course, this takes experience, but to truly have an edge, you need to have passion as well.

3. Do They Have Good Communication Skills?

It’s no use being the most passionate and experienced SEO consultant in the world if you don’t have the right communication skills. When you hire an SEO worker, don’t underestimate the importance of communication skills.

Many companies make the mistake of hiring the best “on paper” candidates, only to find they’re very poor at communicating. This can result in an SEO strategy that doesn’t really suit your needs.

4. Are They a Good Fit for Your Company?

Sometimes, being a good communicator isn’t enough. Your SEO specialist also needs to be a good fit for your company culture.

It’s sometimes better to work with the slightly less qualified candidate if it seems like their personality will mesh well with your company. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit in well with your company culture, it could result in a lot of problems in the future.

For example, they could end up leaving the company within a short frame of time. This is undesirable because you’ve wasted time, energy, and money training this person. Hiring someone who doesn’t fit into your company culture could also result in workplace arguments, leading to huge losses of productivity and motivation.

When you interview a candidate, you should always make sure they have the skills they’ll need to do the job. But you should also make sure they get on well with the people they’ll be working with during their time at the company.

5. What Tools Will They Use?

Do you have any specific pieces of tools in mind for your SEO specialist to use? In this case, then you should ensure they have experience using those specific tools. Or you should be prepared to give them the necessary time to learn how to use them.

If you aren’t sure what the top SEO experts and bloggers are using, all you need to do is take a few minutes and read through any of the top SEO blogs in the market today. Names like Neil Patel, Brian Dean, and others are always discussing the latest methods and tools they are using to achieve their results.

Examples of good SEO tools include programs like Ahrefs, Long Tail Pro, or Moz.

6. Do They Have an Understanding of Marketing?

Some SEO specialists are great when it comes to doing SEO, but have a poor grasp of marketing. Ideally, you want your SEO specialist to have a good knowledge of marketing theory and techniques. Understanding the psychological aspect of marketing is just as important as making sure your website contains all of the keywords you need.

SEO content not only needs to make your page show up on Google, but it also needs to keep readers’ attentions once they enter the page. A good SEO specialist can create a page that’s not only a hit on Google, but is also great from a marketing perspective.

7. Do They Have a Proven Track Record?

When hiring a search engine optimization specialist, you need to look for someone who has a proven track record for getting the job done.

What results have they gotten for their clients on previous jobs? Do they have a proven record for increasing sales? Or getting the page ranked higher on Google?

Whenever you do an interview, make sure you focus on previous results. SEO knowledge is easy to come by these days, but actually getting results is not easy to fake. Make sure you ask for references and also follow up on them.

8. Can They Work Well With Your Web Developers?

A good SEO specialist will have full knowledge of all things SEO. They should be able to work very closely with your web developers to implement things like HTML tags.

Since your web developers will need to work with your chosen SEO specialist on a daily basis, you should be prepared to ask your web developers what they think of your chosen candidate. You might even want to include them in the interview process.

9. Do They Appreciate What You’re Trying to Achieve?

The ideal candidates need to understand exactly what it is your company is trying to achieve. SEO should be a central part of your digital marketing strategy and there should be very clear set goals.

For example, maybe the intention is to turn people who click on your website into paying customers. In this situation, it’s no good getting thousands of clicks if nobody is actually buying anything.

Take Your Time Hiring a Local SEO Consultant

Getting the right local SEO consultant can take time. It’s important you don’t rush into things too quickly.

Take the time to find the right candidate. You’re looking for someone who is not only skilled and knowledgeable about SEO, but also someone who’s a great fit for you and your company.

Need more tips on marketing? Then check out our marketing blog!

Is There An App for That? The Top 5 SEO Tips for Mobile App Ranking

In the world of Google and website traffic, you want to make sure all your work is as optimized as possible. Did you know that also pertains to your mobile app ranking?

Companies that sell and distribute retail benefit immensely from taking advantage of an app by creating a quick and easy way to browse their products and make purchases. The roadblock, however, is getting visitors to their website to download their mobile app.

You can actually boost the popularity of your app through search engine optimization (SEO). By combining the worlds of desktop and mobile, you can optimize your mobile app and increase your app download volume and quality ranking.

To learn how SEO affects mobile app ranking, get started with these top tips.

1. Make Sure the App Name is Branded

The name of your app can prove to earn you search engine rankings if it is named in line with your brand or named according to a keyword you are wanting to rank for. Getting the most popular mobile app marketplaces like the Android Market and the Google Play store will help drive more traffic to your mobile app site. Take advantage of these linking opportunities by using the anchor text wisely.

For example, if your company name is “We Heart Cats” and that is the branded keyword you’d like to rank for, then you should try and have the name of your app be the same.

2. Link Your App to Your Website and Profile Pages

Taking advantage of linking in the websites and pages that get the most traffic to your app is a great way to direct visitors to your mobile app. Consider taking advantage of some of your most important pages, such as your homepage or a services page, to make a link to your app download page as easily visible as possible.

You may even want to consider creating a landing page and an email campaign that is dedicated to highlighting your app. These pages may include a description of the app and its features, screenshots of your app in action, and reviews of your app. An out-of-the-box idea could include a tutorial on how to create an app that directs to your app at the end of the tutorial.

3. Use Anchor Text Strategically

Make sure you include the name of your brand in the anchor text that links to your mobile app. Many make the mistake of simply saying “Download iPhone App” without including the name of the app. You may notice that larger companies don’t use their branded names in the anchor text to the app, but do not follow this path!

While it may be visually pleasing to see a clean button that directs to the “App Store” to a varying degree, you are losing valuable link equity in not having any anchor text.

Instead, include your app name. For example, if you want to link your “We Heart Cats App” then you want to have “We Heart Cats App” in your anchor text. Try “Download the We Heart Cats App Today”.

4. Offer a QR Link on Your Desktop Landing Page

You want to make it as easy as possible to download your app. That’s where QR codes come in. A QR code can allow desktop visitors to easily access the app by simply scanning the QR code from there phone. This will trigger the download of the app automatically.

Make sure you compress the link before you put it on your page. If your URL exceeds 50 characters then it will fail to scan and upload your app. Use a link compression or QR platform that can also show you bot QR crawl requests.

5. Cross-Promote Your App for Mobile

Make sure there is a link to your mobile app wherever your audience is! You already have an audience that regularly visits your desktop and mobile website. Now that you have an app, take advantage of the audience already there as well.

The tried and true cross-promotion trifecta means to make sure you are promoting your website to mobile users, searchers, and bots. These three cross-promote methods will allow browsers to come to your site and notice the link to your mobile app on your pages and will both drive users to your app or allow bots to crawl the link to boost your organic search results.

Make sure you have a link to your app on top of all your pages, whether they visit your site on mobile or desktop. You can also take advantage of crawling apps and link your app using optimized anchor text.

Next Steps: How Will You Optimize Your App for SEO?

When search engines index, display and rank mobile apps, they are simultaneously creating hundreds of backlinks for all those app downloads to boost mobile app ranking. This will give you a huge leg up in organic search both for your mobile app, as well as your mobile and desktop websites.

With that, higher mobile app and website traffic creates more downloads, which creates more backlinks, and so on. This phenomenon can create massive profitability in those that take advantage of mobile app optimization.

When you’re ready to take these tips and implement them in your SEO strategy, be sure to take advantage of all the tips and tricks on ZacJohnson.com. We offer professional digital marketing guidance for any level.

Contact us today for more information or to use our services.

Ditching DIY SEO: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Your Own SEO Expert

Since the digital revolution kicked off, three little letters have influenced every web-based marketing campaign: SEO. Indeed, search engine optimization is still the crux of any good campaign.

In fact, SEO is so significant that spending is fast-approaching $80 billion with no signs of slowing down!

So SEO is important. That much we understand. But you should also understand that you’re better off outsourcing your SEO services.

Here are five reasons why acting as your own SEO expert isn’t as good of an idea as you think.

1. A Barebones SEO Strategy Isn’t Enough

Perhaps you already have a basic understanding of all things SEO. You know how to research keywords, your site uses original content, and you’re already on Google.

Except you’re only the second page of Google. And as a result, you’re not seeing any traffic.

Knowing what SEO is and how to put in place a barebones strategy won’t get you anywhere.

Unless you’re one of the first three results on a search engine, you’re about as good as invisible. Together, the first three results make up 61.5% of all search traffic.

You have to be better than basic to generate the traffic you’re after.

2. Penalties Come With a Hefty Cost

Poor SEO implementation doesn’t only mean you’re missing out on search traffic. It could mean that your site gets removed from Google altogether.

Avoid common mistakes like:

  • Content scraping
  • Keyword spamming
  • Poor site optimization
  • Domain cloaking

An SEO misstep — whether intentional or not — can mean spending weeks trying to get your site visible to a search engine once again. Instead, consider contacting an SEO expert and crafting a proposal for SEO services. Even if you don’t end up going with the SEO company that writes up a proposal and plan of attack, you can still use it as a reference guide on the work required to hit their SEO and growth goals for your site.

3. Hiring an SEO Expert Can Save Time and Money

Even if you know the ins-and-outs of the SEO world, crafting a viable SEO strategy takes dozens of hours. That means spending precious time away from growing your business.

And each moment you take your eye off the prize is another moment where your competition can pull ahead.

SEO consulting is a wonderful investment because it lets you focus on doing what you do best. Let an SEO pro handle the research and details.

4. SEO Principles Change… A Lot

The scary thing about SEO is that what works today isn’t guaranteed to work tomorrow. In fact, what works today may still result in the de-indexing of your website!

Since 2003, there have been over 70 algorithmic changes.

What’s more, these changes aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. As the web begins to migrate toward a decidedly mobile market, you can expect changes to occur as often as consumers’ tastes.

5. SEO Requires a Multi-Platform, Multi-Faceted Strategy

Think you’re ready for the big leagues? Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to succeed:

  • On-site optimization
  • Off-site optimization
  • Social media marketing
  • Rich snippets
  • Knowledge of keyword bidding
  • Fresh, constant content
  • Optimized images
  • A mobile-friendly approach
  • Local and global approaches

Yikes. That’s quite an intimidating list. It’s far too much for most people to keep up with.

SEO is so much more than a few keywords here and there or a great click-through rate. Great SEO requires constant care and attention on a variety of platforms, with more coming all the time.

Leave It to the Pros: If You’re Not an Expert, Hire an SEO Expert

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, it’s understandable that you may want to save money by serving as your own SEO expert. But outsourcing your SEO consulting will benefit you in so many ways.

Have any SEO or marketing related questions? Maybe you want to see the benefits for yourself.

I’d love to hear from you! Get in touch today.