Posts

Succeed on Google with 3 Basic SEO Principles

3-legged stool to illustrate 3 principles of good SEO

For Function and Simplicity, Nothing Beats a Three Legged Stool

Anyone who is familiar with my newsletter knows that I’m a big fan of keeping things ultra simple. Most of my connections on LinkedIn are C-suite executives like me who value the briefest explanation possible.

So here is a quick overview of 3 guiding principles that will get you the most visibility on Google. It’s what’s we teach in our digital marketing courses as the 3 pillars of SEO.

Relevance

What if you have a severe headache and you want to see what remedy Google can give you? So you type “best home headache remedy.” Now let’s pretend you get a page of results for home head cold remedies? Sure, the words are similar, but you’d be irritated (even more so because your head is hurting!) that Google isn’t giving you something that is…yes, you guessed it…RELEVANT to your search or your needs.

So Google prioritizes results that they feel are relevant to the searcher’s “intent” (in other words, what they really want, regardless of what words they use). Google has gotten pretty good at this over the years, by the way.

Relevance is determined by how well you write the content on your page. It has to be good quality, and structured the way Google wants to see it. We call this “content marketing.”

Also, you might want to do something called “on page optimization,” which goes a bit further in creating a relevant page.

Authority

Ok, so let’s stick with our headache example. Let’s say that you get a bunch of results that really do seem to be relevant to home headache remedies, but when you visit the pages you see that they are from very questionable sites. They might be full of ads, or perhaps they link you to dangerous and pornographic corners of the Internet. Well if you’re like me, you would also think that the search results were poor.

Knowing this, Google tries to show you websites that are authoritative to avoid getting you justly irritated. How do they do that?

Google has very sophisticated ways of looking at a given website and the sites that are linking TO that website. If your website is linked to by other websites that are high quality, with lots of sites linking to them, and (this bit is important) if the sites that are linking to your site have something to do with the subject of the page, then it helps you appear to have authority.

Getting more Authority is usually based on creating useful content that webmasters, online journalists and bloggers want to link to, along with outreach to make those people aware of it. We call that “link building,” although you can also think of it as link “earning.”

Technical Stuff

Ok, finally we come to the toughest bit of this. And here’s where having someone working for you, whether a contractor or an employee, who knows the technology of SEO and how Google works is extremely important.

To determine if your site is relevant and authoritative, Google needs to “crawl” all over your website with their analytical programs (a part of the mechanics of this is those programs that SEOs call “spiders” or “bots” or “crawlers” … although that’s only part of it). There are all sorts of things you can do to a website (usually accidentally) to make it confusing to Google. If you want Google to give you the best results, they need to easily understand your site. We call this “Search Engine Friendliness,” or SEF. This is not the same as SEO, but you can’t have S E O without S E F.

How do You Know if You’re Getting the Best SEO?

If you are working with an SEO company, or even in-house staff, make sure they can explain each of these three pillars of SEO to you and how they are addressing them. If they struggle to give you an explanation you, as an executive, can understand, then they probably don’t understand it themselves.

And while we’re adjacent to the subject of how to hire an SEO, here’s a video from former Googler Maile Ohye about “how to hire an SEO” that is as useful today as it was in 2017.

More Tips Like This Are Coming to You Soon!

The above explanation and tips come from my soon-to-be-published book, The CFO’s Guide to Demystifying Internet Marketing. The complete book addresses a need I’ve been aware of for years in business, especially for my colleagues who are extremely busy executives: a resource that can bridge the gap between the marketing department, the tech people, and the C-Suite. And don’t let “CFO” in the title fool you, any busy executive can get tremendous benefit.

SEO Tactics for Better Customer Experience

Driving organic traffic to your website is half the battle. The other half — and probably the trickier to accomplish — is getting these prospects to stay and become your loyal customers. To leverage customer experience as the ultimate marketing tool, you need to understand why SEO matters not only for ranking high in Google search but also for improving the customer experience you provide.

In essence, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a neat marketing strategy that, if executed correctly, can bring more attention to your site. This is great — the more visitors you get, the higher are the chances of your efforts proving worthwhile.

But what if your site visitors click on your web page and aren’t able to find what they were looking for? Or, worse, find it hard to interact with the site’s interface and bounce off when it’s taking too much time to load?

Here’s where adapting your SEO tactics to the customer you serve can shift the gears. You have to find the sweet spot between tending to Google’s search algorithm and preventing your customers from switching to your competitor because of the less-than-favorable experience they’d gotten from your company.

Read on to find out how you can tweak your SEO strategy to attract more customers starting today.

1) Make sure the content you post is relevant to your audience

Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how much irrelevant and poor content an a company’s website influences their rankings. Not to mention the potential leads who end up not converting because they didn’t find the information they were looking for in the first place.

To avoid this, make posting relevant content consistently a priority. Figure out what your customers would want to read about and pack as much value in blog posts as possible. Answering their queries in the form of long-form posts and guides that link to other important sources is how you appeal to your prospects and demonstrate your trustworthiness to Google.

2) Establish solid linking authority for searchability purposes

The backbone of great on-page SEO is the abundance of internal links. A well-structured website has plenty of links that refer the user from one page to another so that she doesn’t have to go somewhere else in search of answers. It’s also one of the reason why Google decides to prioritize these pages, along with the fact that they are more likely to get crawled.

A less obvious strategy to keep your churn rate low is to link to internal sources at the bottom of the articles under the premise of ‘you might find this helpful’. Along with external links that open up in a new tab, this is a sure way to keep your customers engaged while also building your authority with reliable backlinks.

3) Follow the simple NAP rule to rank well locally

Including your contact details on all the platforms you’re active on has more benefits than what meets the eye. One of them is acquiring more clients that find your business by searching ‘X near me’ in Google or typing ‘X service in Z city’ in Instagram’s or Facebook’s search bar.

Aside from letting your customers find you organically, featuring your company’s name, address and phone number (NAP) on relevant pages of your website also eliminates the need for them to turn to Google in hopes to find your contact information and come across your competitors.

4) Use Google’s Featured Snippets to your advantage

Speaking about catering to Google’s needs, it’s only right to adopt as many features as it offers to deliver the best customer experience. Featured Snippets is one of those instruments that can easily distinguish you from the crowd without having to try too hard.

Think of it as a short paragraph that pops up at the top of the Google search whenever someone is trying to find the most appropriate answer to their question. With nearly 30% of 1.4 million queries on Google showing Featured Snippets, you might want to do your own research for the most common questions relevant to your business and come up with a way to incorporate them into your website copy.

Example of featured snippets in search results

Image Source: SEMrush

5) Take it to social media platforms to boost your online presence

Omnichannel communication is taking over and, to stay relevant, you need to jump on this bandwagon. This means not only engaging with your customers on social media but also applying SEO tactics for a better customer experience.

In addition to using hashtags that are suitable for your business (still viewed as the easiest way to gain exposure), you should seriously consider optimizing your Instagram bio and adding appropriate contact details to your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Mention that you also have a website your followers can visit to learn more about the services you provide.

6) Improve the loading speed of your website

There isn’t a single person on Earth who doesn’t find a slowly loading website annoying and your customers aren’t exceptions. It gets worse — as many as 37% of website visitors will bounce off when they notice that it’s taking over 5 seconds to load.

Image illustrating how slow load times drive up bounce rate

Image Source: Pingdom

This might not seem like a big deal at first, but the longer your website takes to load, the higher is the likelihood of your leads losing patience and not even giving your company a chance to redeem itself. To not get on anyone’s nerves and rank well on Google, make sure your media files are compressed, your web hosting is of high quality, and your server isn’t burdened with too many plugins.

7) Optimize your website for mobile users

The 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide are proof that people are spending more time on their mobile phones than ever before. A report from Search Engine Land provides an even deeper insight — 60% of searches come directly from mobile devices. If you aren’t taking this into consideration when optimizing your website, we’ve got bad news for you.

The benefits of a mobile-friendly website include quicker page loading time, minimal scrolling, and fewer flash elements. Combined with the relatively short global attention span customers have these days, it’s only natural for you to adapt to this new reality. Besides, Google takes mobile traffic into account when giving you the rank in Google Search, so consider this SEO tactic to be absolutely essential.

In a nutshell

No matter the industry, there isn’t a shortage of competitors trying to make a name for themselves. And while some appeal with their innovative solutions to the old problems, those that ultimately win are the ones that sell experiences rather than products or services. To accomplish this, they put forward their best digital marketing practices that make it easy for customers to choose them over others.

Learn the rules of the SEO game and you’ll join them sooner than anticipated. When you put customers first, success follows naturally.


Mikkel Andreassen

Customer Experience Manager at Dixa

Mikkel is passionate about customer experience in every color of the beautiful customer engagement spectrum. He loves building great connections with his customers, which often lead to meaningful friendships that last a lifetime and inspire his work. Driven by the genuine belief that CX is the pivotal force that drives a successful business, he is currently at the helm of Dixa’s customer experience strategy.

 

Social media:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikkel-andreassen-4603b74a/

Twitter handle: @MikkelVes

Handling Google My Business Suspensions

Google Suspensions are a Hassle

It’s been a stressful year, to say the least. From an economy-crippling pandemic to a divided presidential election, it may feel like you’ve been walking through a war zone.

So, when you open your email or log in to your Google My Business account and see that your newly or previously verified listings have been suspended, you might want to throw your device across the room.

This is an issue that many business owners and SEOs have been forced to face more and more often this year. To add insult to injury, the cause of these suspended listings is often arbitrary.

Man Angry at Computer

“Your listing has been suspended”


You Aren’t Going Crazy

If you’ve been questioning your own sanity lately or reading through the guidelines until your eyes want to fall out trying to find out what you were in violation of, don’t fret. You aren’t losing your mind. Google has been on a capricious suspending spree in an attempt to cut down on spam listings.

Don’t think you have anything on your listing that could constitute spam? You might be wrong. Or, you could be completely correct. Here are just three of many common examples of violations liable to slap you with a Google My Business suspension:

 

  1. Keyword-Stuffed Business Name.

    Keyword stuffing means putting SEO keywords that are not officially part of your name. For example, if your business is “ABC Security Services,” and you describe yourself as “ABC Security Services, 24/7 Locksmith” to get the keyword “24/7 Locksmith into the business name, you’re keyword stuffing.

    Keep in mind, your listing’s business name needs to be your business name, word for word. If you are a practitioner, it should be exactly how you officially present yourself. Google considers all keyword stuffing spam.

    Sometimes Google will even suspend a listing with a legitimate business name because it contains a suspicious amount of keywords.
  2. Editing a listing too much in a short span of time can trigger red flags for Google and lead to a suspension.

    Sometimes this can mean waiting minutes between changes and sometimes hours. To be on the safe side, we recommend giving 24 hours in between your listing’s changes 

 

  1. The company is an online-only business and/or is using a PO Box/UPS store address. Google will only view your business listing as legitimate if the address has a physical location. This does not include virtual offices or coworking spaces.

 

These are just some of the reasons Google will suspend your listing.

Getting the Issue Resolved

Before reaching out to support about a Google My Business suspension, you should always read through the guidelines thoroughly and make sure you are not in violation of Google’s rules.

Once you have read through the guidelines, issue a reinstatement request, in which you can explain the issue in greater detail.

When they ask for your listing’s URL, they are referring to the URL of your listing in the Google My Business Dashboard, not the URL of the listing as it appears in search.

example of the Google My Business Dashboard URL

Make sure to copy the dashboard URL



If you have had multiple listings of a single business suspended, be sure to simply link the dashboard URL’s of these listings in your reinstatement request details, rather than submitting a request for each listing.

However, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes a suspension is a random fluke on Google’s part.  

You may not hear back from Google Support for a week or longer, and if they choose to escalate the issue (they will notify you if they do) it can take even longer, so it’s important to just hang tight and be as patient as possible.

No matter what you do, do not send multiple requests regarding the same listing unless a month or longer has passed with no response. 

This is Not Anyone’s Fault

(If you’re a professional SEO practitioner, you might have the added complication of your client freaking out because their listing is suspended. You probably know this drill: you are likely to get the blame. If it helps, give them a link to this article to illustrate to your client that many other SEO professionals — and their clients! — are in the same boat. Thanks again, Google.)






 

 

 

 



 

 

Google Reviews: Why They’re Important and What to Do About Them

Why GMB Reviews Are So Important

What we’ll cover in this post:

  • The importance of Google reviews to your online reputation
  • How to respond to both positive and negative reviews
  • A step-by-step how-to on the process

In order to get the most out of your Google My Business listing, it is important to keep up with reviews on a consistent basis.

Responding to Google reviews is just as influential as the reviews themselves. It provides prospective customers with a feel for what you’re like, encourages more customers to leave reviews, and can sometimes result in people amending their initial negative reviews and ratings to positive ones.

gmb review example Responding to reviews will also help you to stay on top of your online reputation, make improvements where necessary, and identify strengths to focus on.

It is important to take special consideration when replying to negative reviews. Be professional and calm when responding to these while also providing either an explanation for the negative experience the reviewer had or a resolution.

If there is no explanation, or if you feel the reviewer is being dishonest or misrepresenting their experience, it is never a good idea to express this in your response.

In the case that a disgruntled person or business competitor is deliberately committing libel or slander there are further actions that can be taken, but that is a bridge to be crossed when the time comes, and going about this is to be resolved circumstantially.

How to Respond to Google Reviews

Here is a step by step guide on how to respond to your Google reviews:

Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business

Access the Google My Business dashboard by navigating to business.google.com.

 

 

If you own or manage your business listing but are directed to a page with a search bar in the center that prompts you to “Find and manage your business,” no need to fret. Simply click on the Google My Business logo in the top-left corner of the page.

 

 

Step 2
Click the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner and click on your listing from the “Locations” menu.

 

 

Step 3

To the left, you will see a panel containing multiple options (“Home”, “Posts”, “Info”, “Insights”, and below “Insights”, “Reviews”). Click on Reviews.

gmb diagram
It will then, at the top, show you all of your reviews which you can sort by All, Replied, and Haven’t Replied. To the right of these options, there will be three horizontal lines. Click on this to see further ways in which to sort your reviews if you wish to, such as ranking them from highest to lowest or vice versa.

At the bottom of each review, you will see an option to Reply. Simply click on this, type your reply, and click Post Reply. If you have already replied to a review, instead of presenting you with the Reply button you will see the option to either Edit or Delete your reply.

 

Responding to these reviews, good and bad, is essential for local SEO. We hope that this has helped you understand Google Reviews the process so that you can climb your way to the top 3.

 

“Google My Business A to Z” – The Complete Course Is Now Live

Ross BarefootRoss Barefoot got his start in small business managing an importing company in the bicycle industry.  While there, he tried his hand at programming to find more effective ways to track, market and sell his company’s range of bicycle parts. He loved the web marketing side of things so much he became a professional […]