Posts by AndrewF

14 Ways To Improve Your Search Ranking With Video

Are you disappointed with your company’s search ranking? Have you tried a video strategy yet?

Nobody can deny that video is the king of content: a billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every single day. And YouTube is the second-largest search engine. With numbers like that, it stands to reason video content could help you improve your ranking.

But with 400 hours being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s easy for any one video to get buried in search. Be aware that not just any video will drive up your ranking. You need to create the perfect video for your audience and optimize it to rank high.

In this article I’ll teach you how I got the number-one spot on YouTube and some tips for your video to shine on search engines, helping to improve your ranking, as well.

How to Improve your Search Ranking with Video
1) Include Your Brand Identity
Your video is one key element of many that will build a sound brand identity. If that personality is unique, your brand will be recognizable for your prospective client. Ask yourself: Who would your brand be if it was a person? What would it sound like? Why is it different from other brands?

Watch this example to understand how to do it with an animated video:

2) Define Your Target Audience
One of the key steps for a successful video is to define your target audience.

Gender, age and location are basic demographics that you need to narrow down in order to develop a successful creative strategy. You could also think about psychographic data such as periods in the life cycle or social class.

Don’t forget to analyze seasonality and purchase behavior: Is there a time customers buy your products more than others?

If you build a well-thought-out profile, your video will deliver what they need.

3) Focus on Giving Solutions to Their Problems
What are your audience’s pain points? How can your brand help them to solve those problems?

An easy way to address your audience’s needs is to create a story in which somebody has an issue (your target audience) and your brand will be the hero who help them to sort it out.

Check out how you can achieve that by combining live action with animation:

4) Keep It Entertaining
You don’t need to use a formal tone to be taken seriously. Even if you have a B2B product you can entertain your audience with a hint of humor. Don’t forget that this can be applied to what you say and what you show.

Here you have an example:

What could be more serious than financial transactions? This video, however, uses animation to be dynamic and entertaining.

5) Bring Out Emotions
Don’t forget that emotions underline most of our purchase decisions. Apart from the product’s features, try to think about what kind of emotions it triggers. This could be a key element in your video.

How will your client feel while enjoying your product? Happy? Relieved? Powerful? Whether your video is 30 seconds or three minutes long, you need to tell a powerful story that includes a start, a development and an end.

That story should be driven by well-developed characters to whom your audience can relate. Emotions—no matter if it’s love, disgust or awe—make your video more shareable, which will have a drastic impact on your rankings.

Watch this short video in which a brand tells a short story about a family and their feelings when they enjoy their product.

6) Use the Power of Educational Videos
First, you need to know that Google’s algorithm prefers video content to answer certain kinds of search queries:

Tutorials (“Photoshop tutorial,” “How to paint a wall”)
Fitness (“Yoga class”)
Reviews (“New Galaxy S9”)
Funny videos (“Cute babies”)
Explainer videos (“How a business works”)
search-rankings-video-example
In general, people are visual learners, and they prefer a short explainer video to a long-form article. So they look for videos on a wide range of topics to help them solve everyday problems, whether that be learning a new skill, deciding which phone to buy or losing a few pounds.

When creating an explainer video, think about what problem you can solve for potential customers. Then think about how they would search for the answer to that problem online. Tailor your video to that search and your video should gain some serious organic traffic.

7) Hook Your Audience
Whatever length you choose, bear in mind that YouTube’s algorithm rewards audience retention. If people watch the whole video (or most of it) the platform assumes it provides useful information and quality entertainment.

Nothing is more important than hooking your audience from the beginning. The topic should be stated as soon and as clearly as possible but, don’t show all your cards too soon.

Ask questions that your viewer wants to know but don’t answer them immediately.

For example, this is how our relative audience retention graph looks for our video “What’s the best explainer video style?”:

search-rankings-video-audience
8) Engage Your Audience
Subscribing and liking are two of the most important metrics that YouTube values. Take advantage of YouTube Cards to encourage your audience to take any of those actions.

Comments also have great value when it comes to driving up your rankings. Have you tried to ask questions directly to your audience? You could even let them get involved with the creation of a new product, for example.

Check out this video to know how an outdoor gear company provides useful information to its target audience by teaching them camping recipes. In the end, they encourage the viewer to subscribe and watch related content with this image:

9) Make Sure Your Video’s Length Is Friendly
To establish the ideal length of a video is tricky because it depends on how complex the topic is. Some experts say “the shorter, the better.”

But in a recent analysis of 1.3 million YouTube videos, Backlinko found that longer videos significantly outperform shorter videos. According to the research, the average length of a first-page YouTube video is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.

search-rankings-video-length1
You should think about your particular needs to establish the perfect length for your video.

10) Optimize Your Video Using Strong Keywords
The first step to optimizing your video is to know what your potential clients are searching for. First, brainstorm words that are related to your business and your video topic. Think about the questions users would ask Google to find the information on your site.

For example, if you have a tutorial video on how to snake a drain (and you sell drain snakes), think about the things people would search for: “how to snake a drain,” “snaking a drain,” unclogging a drain,” etc. Those are your long-tail keywords. Keywords related to your business — drain snakes, plumbing, clogs — would be your short-tail keywords.

You can then research your keywords in a keyword planner tool like Google AdWords and compare how many search queries that set of words has had on average.

You’ll notice a lot of the short-tail keywords have hundreds of thousands of monthly search queries, meaning that a lot of companies will fight to rank for them. Your ultimate goal is to rank higher for those keywords, but that’s hard to do when you’re just starting out.

Instead, you should try for some more specific long-tail keywords that will be less competitive.

Let’s see an example:

Our company, Yum Yum Videos is an animated video production company and its keyword was “explainer video” which has huge competition:

search-rankings-video-keyword-high
To rank one of our videos on YouTube, we chose a long-tail keyword, “Explainer video styles,” which has a maximum of 1K average monthly searches:

The strategy is to start with a medium-competition keyword that’s easier to rank for and rank on the high-demand keyword in the long term. Following this strategy — and the other techniques that I explain in this article — it’s high in the Google ranks, being one of the first videos to appear.

search-rankings-video-google
11) Optimize Your Video on YouTube
YouTube looks at many features to understand what your video is about. Those features also grab your audience’s attention.

Title

Include your long-tail keyword toward the beginning of your title and be brief and clear about your content.

Video Description

Write a paragraph telling the viewer what your video is about. Use two or three keywords without repeating them too much. Add a link to your web page and your social media profiles. Remember, that’s why you‘re creating a video! You should also include the keyword-optimized video transcript like we did here:

search-ranking-video-yumyum
Tags

Use your keyword first and some variations of it later. You can also add tags about other topics that your video covers. Don’t be afraid to use the same tags as your competitors. That way, your video will be added to their suggested video sidebar.

You can see YouTube tags with apps like VidIQ. These are the ones we’ve chosen for our explainer video:

search-rankings-video-tags
Customized Thumbnails

When viewers see a list of YouTube results, they’ll click on the most engaging one. The percentage of people who click on your video is your click-through rate, or CTR, and YouTube’s algorithm pays close attention to that.

When a video is uploaded, you can choose a thumbnail from the three options that YouTube randomly generates, but those are probably not the best ones.

To boost your CTR, create attractive thumbnails that clearly state the topic of the video. For example, between these four options we chose the upper-left image for our video:

search-rankings-video-thumbnails
Captions and Text Overlays

Most users are mobile, and that means they probably won’t turn the sound on when watching a video. aIf they don’t understand the content, they will keep scrolling.

To prevent that, your video should be able to stand on its own without sound. Adding captions and overlaid text will help your audience understand the content even on silent mode.

12) Boost Your Video With YouTube Ads
Investing some money on YouTube Ads will give your video an initial boost and increase the chances your video will be liked and shared.

Once you get some traction, stop investing and see how your view rate grows organically. The more it grows organically, the more your brand gains credibility.

13) Increase Views by Embedding Externally
It’s very hard to make YouTube rank your video on the first pages from the start, that’s why viewers have to find it somewhere else first.

Embed your video anywhere you can: on social media, blogs, newsletters, etc. That will increase the views of your video. Eventually, YouTube will notice and start suggesting it.

On this graph based on our “What’s the best explainer video style?” video, you can see (in red) how in the first three months around 95 percent of our viewers came from external sources (outside YouTube).

Later, that number dropped to 35 percent and the rest (green and blue) comes from YouTube’s suggested videos and YouTube’s searches, getting 300 percent more views per day if we compare it with day one.

search-rankings-video-views
14) Embed Your Video on Your Webpage
When a video is displayed on a site, people tend to stay on the page longer to watch it. The longer people stay, the more trust Google will give your site and the higher it will rank.

That time will also allow your brand’s message to sink in. Your visitor will probably have a higher level of interaction, clicking on different pages, another positive signal for Google’s algorithm.

Conclusion
An engaging video can help you communicate your core message and values in a compelling way that will build up your brand reputation online and boost your rankings effectively.

Take your time to think about what is the absolute best video for your product, who is your target audience and what they need.

To prevent your video from getting buried in the results, don’t forget to use keywords strategically.

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SEO Title Tags (The Meat and Potatoes)

SEO Title Tags (The Meat and Potatoes)

Optimizing your title tags for SEO is simple:

Just throw your keyword in the title and you’re good to go, right?

Yes and no.

You could stop there and probably do pretty well (if you’ve done everything else right).

But the truth is:

There’s so much more you can do to optimize your title tags.

That’s what this guide is all about.

Make sure you read until the end because I’ll be sharing some title tag optimization tactics that will skyrocket your organic search CTR.

Let’s jump in.

What is a Title Tag?

As the name suggests, a HTML title tag is an element of your web page’s HTML code that indicates its title. It is often used to let both search engines and people know what the page’s content is all about.

You can only have one title tag per page. It will appear in your code as:

<head>
<title>Example of a Title Tag</title>
</head>

Most people will encounter your title tag in four places:

1. Web Browser Tabs

The title tag can be seen on your web browser when you open your page in a new tab.

This is especially helpful when a user has many tabs open and would like to go back to your content. Because of this, it’s important that your title tags are unique, easily recognizable. and can be immediately differentiated from other open tabs.

2. Browser Bookmarks

Browser bookmarks on Chrome show the website’s title by default. As you’ll notice below, the titles are usually truncated when it’s on the “Bookmarks Bar”.

However, you can see most of a page’s title if you’re using folders. This is a good reason why you should use short, but descriptive titles. More on this soon.

3. Shared Media on Social Media Platforms

You know those little previews on Facebook and Twitter when someone shares content on those platforms? Your title tag will show up there as well, letting people know what the page is about and what they can expect to find when they click on that link.

Some social networks will allow you to customize your title tag just for their platform. An enticing title tag helps draw in more visitors.

If you’re on WordPress, you can customize your OG data using Yoast and All-in-One SEO pack. You can also download download this OG plugin. It doesn’t require any set up and it will ensure that your “Featured Image” shows up when people share your content on social.

If you’re having issues with your Featured Image not showing, use the following:

Facebook’s Debugger tool (you can force Facebook to recrawl your page).
LinkedIn’s Post Inspector
Twitter’s Card Validator

4. In the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)

One of the most important places where your title will show is in Search Engine Results Pages (that includes Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc).

The title tag shows up as a big, blue clickable link above a short meta description or summary.

This means that if someone found your web page by searching a term that is related to your business, this is your first chance to make a lasting impression and convince them to click on your website.

It’s very easy to add a title tag to your website, but writing an effective one takes time, research, and a little skill (that’s easily developed).

But first:

Why are Title Tags Important for SEO?

Some blogs will tell you that title tags are obsolete in 2018. This is misleading. While title tags may not play the same role in SEO as they did a decade ago, there are still many reasons not to neglect this low-effort, high-impact SEO action.

Here are the benefits of optimizing your title tags (the right way):

1. Keyword Rankings

Do you need to place your target keyword in the title tag to rank well in Google?

The short answer is “Yes”.

The longer answer is that it may not be as important as it once was.

Brian’s research found that having the keyword in the title tag does impact rankings, but it’s a small factor in comparison to other factors:

Image Source: Backlinko.com

Ahrefs also found that “there’s a slight correlation between the usage of keywords in the title tag and rankings.”

Image Source: Ahrefs.com

And finally, one last case study from Matthew Barby also indicated that “The presence of keywords in the page title” does correlate to higher rankings.

Image Source: MatthewBarby.com

Truth be told:

I’ve never attempted to rank pages without using the target keyword phrase in the title tag.

That’s because it wouldn’t make sense me to stop doing what’s working.

My recommendation will continue to be that you should place your target keyword in the title tag. Just keep in mind that it’s a small factor in the larger ranking equation.

2. SERP Click Through Rate (CTR)

Although there’s some debate about CTR being a ranking factor, there’s no denying that increasing your CTR will increase your organic search traffic.

And just to be clear:

The goal of SEO is to get more organic search traffic. When you change your mindset from “rankings” to “traffic” it changes the way you operate.

Optimizing your title tag for maximum CTR is an intelligent action to take.

I’ll explain some tactics you can use to achieve that goal in a second.

Side note: I lean towards CTR being a direct or least an indirect ranking factor. The way I look at is there’s no benefit of NOT optimizing for CTR. Even if it isn’t a ranking factor.

Ross Hudgens from Siege Media has an excellent video on this topic, worth a watch:

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

TL;DW: CTR may not be direct ranking factor, but it likely impacts rankings indirectly.

3. Social Sharing

Your page’s title is a focal point when it’s shared on social media. Does that mean you need to use clickbait titles like this?:

No, but you should think about why clickbait works.

The truth is clickbait is only annoying when the actual content doesn’t add real value.

4. Headlines Matter

What you place in your title tag is nothing more than a headline. You’ve probably heard the idea that only 8 out 10 Internet users will read past the headline.

Or that:

“Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963) by David Oglivy

The truth is:

If you’re reading this, then you’re in the minority.

In fact:

Most people only make it through around 17-20% of my content before returning back to watching cat videos.

But regardless, the copy you use within your title tag is the first touch point for readers.

You have to do it well or your engagement will be low.

Those are four important reasons why you need to optimize your title tag, but now I need to cover a few important questions:

Does Google Rewrite Titles?

If Google doesn’t think that your title is relevant, readable, or provides value to your site’s visitors, it can and will completely rewrite it – and often in ways that you won’t like.

In fact, here’s what Gary Illyes said:

“We will never quit rewriting titles. We’ve seen so many sites whose title really suck. A lot of sites have no title; a lot of sites have a title saying “Top Page”. In fact, Google almost always rewrites titles. We couldn’t provide useful results to our users if we quit rewriting titles. Experiments showed us users preferred written titles. So, we’ll continue to write titles.” – Gary Illyes (Source)

It’s pretty clear based on Gary’s words that Google’s algorithms will rewrite your titles (and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon).

But what can you do to prevent it?

The #1 thing you can do is make sure that your title matches your page’s content/intent. If your title is “Buy Shoes”, but your page is all about “buying blue Nikes”, then Google will likely rewrite your title.

Your title should be a 100% match of the page content.

One other factor you need to consider is title tag length.

How Long Should Your Title be?

There are technically no character limits to your title tag, but search engines can only display so much of your title before cutting it off.

If your title is too long, Google will cut it off with an ellipsis (…), which could potentially prevent site visitors from seeing important information about the page.

According to Moz’s research, Google usually displays the first 50-60 characters (including spaces) of a title tag, but the more accurate limit would be 600px. This is because some characters (like M, W, etc.) take up more space than others.

Staying under 60 characters is a good rule of thumb, but you can also use many title tag preview tools like this one just to be sure.

If you’re on WordPress, Yoast and All-in-One SEO pack will do the job.

If you want to find titles tag that are too long at scale, then I recommend using Screaming Frog.

Open up Screaming Frog, enter your target domain, click on the “Page Titles” tab, and select “Over 65 Characters” from the filter:

You can click on each individual URL and preview what the title tag looks in the SERPs. Just click “SERP Snippet” at the bottom:

Can Your Title Tag and H1 be the Same?

The short answer is, yes. You should try to keep your H1 tag consistent with your title tag, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an exact match. For example, this page has a different title tag and H1 tag:

One method you can use is to vary your H1 from your title tag to rank for more long-tail keyword variations. I prefer keeping my H1 nearly identical to the title, but it’s elements to test for sure.

You can use Screaming Frog to find all titles that are the same as your H1 tags.

Open up Screaming Frog, enter your target domain, click on the “Page Titles” tab, and select “Same as H1” from the filter:

With some of those important title tag questions out of way, let me show you:

22 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Title Tags for SEO

Since we’ve already established that a good title tag is a low-effort way to optimize both your SERP ranking and your CTR, how exactly do you go about writing one?

Here are 22 ways to optimize your title tags for better rankings, CTR, and social sharing:

1. Focus on the Content First

That’s right. The first action you need to take is to make sure your SEO content is the highest quality possible. It doesn’t matter how well you optimize your title tag if the page itself is low-value.

Getting the click is important, but getting visitors to dwell longer, visit more than one page, or complete a goal is what the objective should be. That’s only possible if you’re crafting effective SEO content.

Don’t take this step lightly!

2. Identify the Page Type

How you craft your titles will depend on the page type. For example, optimizing a title tag for a product page will be much different than a blog post.

There are a few different types of SEO-driven pages that a website will have:

Homepages

If you decide to optimize your homepage for a target keyword, there’s a good chance it will have middle or bottom of the funnel intent. For example, Hubspot targets “inbound marketing software” with their homepage.

This keyword phrase has transactional intent so their homepage is structured to drive leads for their software (not educate).

Notice the effective use of a curiosity gap at the end of their title tag as well.

Category Pages

E-commerce websites are the most likely candidate to try to rank category pages. However, there are some information-driven websites where it makes sense.

For example, RTINGS have a beautifully-structured category page for the target keyword phrase “tv reviews”.

Although the keyword phrase “tv reviews” may lead to sale in the future, I still consider it to be top of the funnel intent. Or, informational in nature.

Notice that RTINGS front-loads their primary keyword phrase and use not one, but two modifiers (“Best” and “2018).

Product Pages

Many product pages will target a combination of Navigational/Transactional keyword phrases. For example, take a look at the keyword phrase “Nike trout 4 cleats”.

Someone searching this keyword is primed to buy, so the title tag needs to reflect that intent.

Local Pages

Keyword stuffing title tags seems to be a common practice on the local level. After digging around, I was able to find an interesting example for the keyword phrase “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer”.

Although I don’t love the idea of jamming “car accident lawyers” in the title, I do like a few things about this title. First, they’ve front-loaded their primary keyword. Second, they’re using numbers within their title, which makes it much more eye-grabbing.

Blog Posts

Crafting title tags for blog posts is the easiest to understand.

Your goal should be to make your title as accurate and interesting as possible. The following tips can drastically improve your blog post title performance.

Most blog posts are going to target keyword phrase with Informational intent, so you need to satisfy that.

3. Satisfy Searcher Intent

This applies to both your title and the page itself. The best way to satisfy searcher intent is to think about it from a funnel or buyer journey perspective.

There are four primary categories of searcher intent:

Informational – These are top of the funnel search queries such as “what is SEO”.
Comparison – These are middle of the funnel search queries such as “Ahrefs vs Moz”.
Transactional – These are bottom of the funnel search queries such as “Moz free trial”.
Navigational – These types of search queries are branded like “Gotch SEO”. This means the searcher already knows your brand or may already be a customer.

Most keyword phrases will fall under one or more of these categories.

Your title must satisfy the search intent behind keyword phrase you’re targeting. You do not want ambiguity. Make it as clear as possible for the searcher.

4. Front-Load Your Primary Keyword

If you approach crafting your title tags from a searcher intent perspective, it would make sense to have the keyword phrase front-and-center. If someone’s searching for “best baseball cleats”, they’re likely to click on a result that showcases that keyword right away.

Keep in mind that “front-loading” doesn’t mean that your keyword phrase needs to be first in the title tag. It just needs to be towards the beginning.

5. Write for Searchers, Not Search Engines

Yes, place your keyword in your title, but don’t do this:

“SEO Company | SEO Agency | Chicago SEO Company”

You wouldn’t believe how often we find this type of keyword stuffing in our SEO audits (check out our SEO audit service if you need help).

There a few reasons why you shouldn’t stuff keywords in your title tag:

It’s Not Necessary

Google’s algorithms are much more sophisticated than before. More specifically, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is designed to understand content better.

That means it can identify synonyms and variations of your keywords. You don’t need to jam keyword variations into your title tag. Instead, you can place keyword variations or synonyms naturally throughout your copy and you’ll still perform well for them (given you did everything else right).

You Should Only Target One Primary Keyword Phrase Per Page

Although there are some exceptions to the rule (super authoritative websites), you should aim to target one primary keyword per page.

You’re Losing Precious Real Estate

Most keyword phrases aren’t persuasive in any way. When you stuff your title tag full of keywords, you’re losing the ability to add elements of effective copywriting and persuasion. I’ll be explaining some of these tactics in a second.

6. Use Shorter Titles

Matthew Barby’s research found that shorter titles tend to perform better in Google:

Image Source: MatthewBarby.com

Try to stay below 60 characters (including spaces).

If you’re struggling to keep it below 60 characters than you should try:

Avoid using all-caps in your title tag. Capital letters take up more space than lowercase letters.
Avoid using punctuation when necessary
Remove redundant or repetitive words
Use short phrases instead of long, complicated ones

7. Avoid Duplicating Page Titles

No two pages (that you want indexed in Google) should have the same title. The best way to find duplicate page titles is to use Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Open up Screaming Frog SEO Spider, enter the target domain, and click on the “Page Titles” tab:

Then click the “Filter” dropdown and select “Duplicate”:

Sort the list by “Title 1”:

You only need to be concerned about duplicate title tags if your page is indexed. The new version of Screaming Frog makes this super easy with their new “Indexability” column.

8. Write Unique Titles for EVERY Page

Every page on your website should have a unique title. In fact, according to Google:

“Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.” – Google

The best way to find pages with missing titles is to once again, use Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

The steps are identical as above except you’ll select “Missing”:

9. Use Title Modifiers

If you dig through my content on Gotch SEO, you’ll discover that I love using title modifiers. I believe using title modifiers is one of the best ways to drive more long-tail traffic (without much effort).

I actually call this The Phantom Technique because many of these keyword variations are largely untapped.

Here’s a free video from my paid training course, Gotch SEO Academy explaining how to execute this tactic:

Like this training? Join Gotch SEO Academy today and save 20% when you use coupon code “titletag” at checkout.

With that said:

Some simple title modifiers you can use are “top”, “best”, or the year.

Important note: If it’s relevant to use a year in your title tag, make sure that your URL doesn’t include it. For example, I update my anchor text guide every year and change the year in the title tag, but the URL never changes.

That means I can continue to build the authority of that page because my URL isn’t changing every year.

10. Build a Keyword Variation List

I also build a keyword variation list every time I find a new primary keyword phrase to target. For example, my primary keyword phrase for my backlinks guide is “backlinks”.

But obviously my title couldn’t just be “Backlinks | Gotch SEO” because that’s A) boring and B) I would lose out on long-tail traffic.

Instead, I searched for relevant keyword variations I could naturally add to the title.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is perfect for this task.

Enter your primary keyword phrase, start the analysis, and then click on “Phrase Match”:

This section is a goldmine for finding keyword variations for your title.

You can also use UberSuggest and Keywords Everywhere to build your keyword variation list (both are free).

Although you won’t use 99.9% of these variations in your title tag, a large percentage of these keywords can dispersed throughout your page.

11. Emphasize Freshness

Do you know anyone that prefers old content? I don’t and that’s why emphasizing “freshness” in your title works really well.

One persuasion principle that I picked up from Frank Kern is that people love “new” things. In fact, something simply being “new” can be a big driving force.

Hence the reason why you’re more likely to buy a newer model car than a car from the 80s.

Another example if when you see a training course use “2.0” or “Revamped” in their headline. They’re emphasizing freshness.

Some ways to incorporate freshness into your title tags are to use the word “new”, “updated for YEAR”, “new data”, etc.

12. Use the H & W Strategy

The H & W strategy simple: Just use one of the following words in your title tag:  “How,” “What,” “Why,” “When,” “Where,” or “Who.”

How to {Create|Learn|Build|Use|Leverage|Increase|Get|Do}…

Example: How to Tie a Windsor Knot

Total Organic Keywords: 5,079
Total Linking Root Domains: 161
Total Social Shares: 819 (Buzzsumo)

What {are|is}?

Example: What Are Second Cousins vs. Cousins Once Removed

Total Organic Keywords: 2,600
Total Linking Root Domains: 59
Total Social Shares: 1.9 Million (Buzzsumo)

Why

Example: Why the Myers-Briggs Test is Meaningless

Total Organic Keywords: 2,500
Total Linking Root Domains: 77
Total Social Shares: 19,000 (Buzzsumo)

When

Example: 21 High-Protein Snacks To Eat When You’re Trying To Be Healthy

Total Organic Keywords: 1,800
Total Linking Root Domains: 32
Total Social Shares: 28,000 (Ahrefs)

Where

Example: The Complete Guide to Where to Put Your Eye Makeup

Total Organic Keywords: 5,200
Total Linking Root Domains: 33
Total Social Shares: 26,000 (Ahrefs)

13. Use Numbers

We’ve all been victim of consuming numbered listicles at one point or another. That’s because they’re super effective.

According to a study by Conductor, they found that 36% of respondents preferred headlines that included numbers:

Image Source: Moz.com

An example of an effective listicle post is “18 Unforgettable Countries Where You Can Roll Big on $50 a Day“. This example ranks for “cheapest countries to visit” (~3,600 searches/mo), has 45 linking root domains, and over 81,000 social shares.

Outside of the traditional listicle, you can also use monetary values such as: “Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze

Or, you can use percentages in title tags like this: “Nike’s online sales jumped 31% after company unveiled Kaepernick campaign“.

14. Use This Secret Title Tag Hack (Copywriters Hate It)

Ahh… yes, the classic clickbait headline.

I know I’ve fallen for many, but that’s because they work well! Mainly because they leave open loops in your mind and engage our natural human curiosity.

The trick here is to give readers a sneak peek into what they can find out by clicking on your link without giving too much away.

Employ as much tantalizing language as necessary; remember: you need to evoke surprise, amazement, or speak to a deeply-rooted fear. You can combine this technique with the other techniques above to create a truly click-worthy headline.

Example: 7 Unbelievable Exercises That Will Help Keep Your Nose In Shape

Total Organic Keywords: 3,500
Total Linking Root Domains: 17
Total Social Shares: 12,000 (Ahrefs)

Note: Use clickbait tactics few and far between because they can be annoying or unauthentic. Overuse could hurt your brand’s perceived value.

15. Be the Most Comprehensive

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) applies in many different scenarios, but especially with knowledge gaps. People want assurance that they aren’t missing out on any important information.

That’s why {Complete|Ultimate|Definitive} guides work well.

Example: The Ultimate Guide To Brunching In NYC

Total Organic Keywords: 3,300
Total Linking Root Domains: 62
Total Social Shares: 48,000 (Ahrefs)

16. Emphasize Speed (or Time Savings)

One of the most powerful benefits to emphasize is saving time. Although this usually applies to products, it can be emphasized in title tags as well.

Use words like “fast”, “quick”, “simple”, etc.

Example: How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks Fast

Total Organic Keywords: 4,200
Total Linking Root Domains: 113
Total Social Shares: 160,000 (Ahrefs)

17. Break the Pattern

Pattern interrupts are common in video content, but there are ways to break the pattern in the SERPs as well. Some the best methods are use [brackets], {curly brackets}, (parentheses), equal signs (=), plus (+) or minus (-) signs, or pretty much any unordinary symbol.

You can also test using Emojis in title tags as well. Google doesn’t always show them though.

18. Use Title Tags to Find Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization occurs when two or more pages on your website are optimized for the same keyword phrase. Auditing your title tags using Screaming Frog SEO Spider is actually one of the fastest ways to identify keyword cannibalization.

Open up SFSS, enter your target domain, click on the “Page Titles” tab, and keep the filter set to “All”:

You can then use SFSS’s built-in search function to find pages that are similar. In this example below, I searched “backlinks” and identified two pages using that primary keyword phrase.

In this case, it doesn’t make sense to consolidate these assets because the intent behind “how to build backlinks” vs “buy backlinks” are much different.

Identifying keyword cannibalization issues requires manual analysis, but it’s time well spent.

19. Test Your Titles

How do you know if your title will be effective? Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. I recommend using AM Institute’s tool to test and refine your titles before going live:

You can also use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer tool as well.

20. Incorporate All the Methods

The good news is that you don’t need to be exclusive with what techniques you use. Mix and match the title tag optimization methods to get the best results possible.

21. Measure Performance with Google Search Console

Google Search Console shows you CTR data for your organic keywords. Just click on the “Performance” tab and you’ll access to all kinds of useful data:

Although your CTR is determined by more than just your title tag, it’s one of the most important factors. If you are ranking well, but your CTR is subpar, then you should test changing your title.

Here’s a simple title tag testing framework I use:

Create 10-20 title variations
Qualify the idea using AM Institutes tool
Execute the change
Annotate the change in Google Analytics
Wait (at least 3-4 weeks) – You need to give Google time to recrawl the page and see whether there’s a positive or negative impact.

The goal of these tests is to increase CTR.

Keep in mind: Navigational search queries (that aren’t your brand name) like “Blogspot” (I’ve been floating between the #2 – #5 spot) will have low CTR:

Changing your title tag won’t do much in this scenario because it’s based on intent.

On the other hand:

Navigational search queries that ARE for your brand (branded search) should have exceptionally CTR:

22. Be Realistic

All of these methods will help you optimize your title tags for peak SEO performance.

But don’t forget:

Placing your keyword in your title tag is a micro ranking factor.

Think of it as the bare minimum for ranking well.

That’s All for Title Tags!

I hope this guide helped you learn a thing (or two) about title tags.

If you got a lot of value out of this post please share it and drop a comment below because I respond to every single one

 

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Ultimate guide to small business SEO

SEO isn’t just for big business. As a small company or a local business, there is actually a lot you can do yourself to get good results from search. This ultimate guide for local and small business SEO will help you get the most out of search by finding your niche, optimizing your pages and using social media.

Way back in 2014 we promised you in our post on local SEO that we’d write more about local and small businesses. As local SEO is basically about optimizing for local search engine results, it’s fair to say that local SEO and small business SEO are closely-related, which is why we’ll cover both in this article.

We’ll discuss a variety of related topics in this article:

 

As long as Google’s local search result pages continue to grow and improve, we’ll never be done with this subject. But in the meantime, here’s our ultimate guide to local and small business SEO. Let’s start at the beginning of your SEO process.

Finding your niche

Determining your niche is vital for local or small businesses. When you know your niche, you can emphasize what makes your brand or products unique, therefore improving your chances to rank well for them. If you have a clear niche, you can compete locally with large national brands – despite their multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

Find out who your customers are and which words they use to describe your product or service because people will use the same terms to find your website. These terms can really help you optimize your local business SEO when you turn them into long-tail keywords and these keywords should be as specific as possible. Once you’ve done all of this, remember to regularly assess your niche as it evolves with the growth of your company.

Find your shop’s niche

Low budget branding

We have talked about this time and again: branding is very important for SEO. Branding means stuff like your logo and tagline. Do they represent your company without further explanation? What do your logo and tagline reveal about your values and your field of expertise? It’s all about recognition.

Read more: ‘Low budget branding tips for small businesses’ »

Here’s a tip for branding: share your expertise! You can do that in blog posts and on social media. We’ll talk more about this later on.

Start writing great content

Your small business SEO will get a significant boost from the right content. Too many small business owners just put their products and contact details on their website and leave it at that. But there is so much more to tell and share!

Focus on making an awesome first impression on your potential customer. Write about your business, your business goals, how great your products are and things like that. You could also discuss market developments or events that relate to your business. These are just a few tips for your local SEO content strategy.

When writing your content, be realistic about the chances of getting that content to rank in search. If you are in a highly competitive market, content works very well as a marketing tool and as input for social media, but it probably won’t get you that number one spot in Google, and that’s OK. Manage your expectations.

Picking the right keywords to optimize for is very important. Usually, it’s a good idea to pick mid-tail keywords, including the local area you are targeting. It really doesn’t matter if you add this content to your site as a page or blog post. Just make sure that you write about things that people want to talk about or things that make people talk about your business in a positive way.

Keep reading: ‘Improve your small business SEO today’ »

Share your content on social media

While you can actually sell your products on social media platforms, in most cases we recommend using social media for brand awareness or to lead potential customers to your website for a sale. Using social media as a small business is all about promoting your brand, your company, and your products to establish your image and to get the right traffic to your company website. When used in this way, social media can really help small business SEO.

I like to compare social media to a market where all the stall owners know each other and customers browse the products. At some point, someone will tell other visitors where to go to for a product: “The cheese over there is delicious”, “you should really check out the fruit over there”, that kind of thing. So make sure people start talking about you. And start talking about yourself online, to make others start talking to you on social platforms. Lastly, actively engage in social media conversations, to let people know you are listening.

Use Social Media to increase your sales

Local ranking factors that help your small business SEO

There are many things that influence your local rankings, but there is one very obvious one: your address details or NAP, which stands for Name, Address, Phone number. Be sure to add these in the correct formatting (in code), using schema.org details – our Local SEO plugin can help with that. Also, ask your web developer to look into AMP, as Joost says in this Ask Yoast article on AMP for small businesses. As well as this, it may help to add your city, and perhaps your state, in the title of your pages for easier recognition as well.

Also, if you want to start optimizing your website in order to rank better, but you are not sure where to start, you might want to have a look at our new, free SEO course for beginners!

Google My Business

Make sure you use the exact same NAP details on both your website and your Google My Business listing and include your website link to your listing too. This is the only way for Google to understand the relationship between them. Add these details – for example in your footer – and of course, on your contact page. Google My Business really is your friend if you want to rank in your specific geographical area, so get your details right!

Improve local SEO with Google My Business

Add ratings and reviews

Google My Business, like Facebook, allows others to leave a review of your company. If your company has a good rating, people will be more likely to click through to your website from either of these two platforms. Make sure you monitor and maintain these reviews.

If you get a negative review for any reason, react by responding and solving your customer’s problem. Then, once you have, ask them to change their review afterward. In other words, turn that dissatisfied customer into a brand ambassador!

It’s easy to make use of these reviews and ratings. If you need some tips, find out more in this article:

Read on: ‘Get local reviews and ratings’ »

Links from related small businesses

Social ‘proof’, like the ratings and reviews mentioned above, should be backed up with a few links from local directories, such as:

  1. Yelp
  2. SuperPages
  3. YP.com
  4. ReferLocal.com
  5. Bestoftheweb

You should get a listing on these sites, for the obvious reason that this means you also get a link to your website. If you can get some links from other related local websites in that directory, that will also help your site’s findability. Note that links from other local websites should be from sites that are in a related profession. It’s of no use to have your bakery website linked from an accountant’s website.

 

If your small business is closely related to other businesses that are not located in the same area, you should definitely also ask those businesses for a link. Google spiders the web link by link, so if your business is linked to from a website in the same field of business, that link is extra valuable to you.

Near me searches

When talking about local rankings, we also have to mention near me searches. These are searches and search suggestions that include words like “near me”, “closest”, “open” and “nearby”. Optimizing for these searches is similar to optimizing for local, but applies for global brands as well (“buy Lego near me”). So you’ll have to think outside the box – there’s probably more to optimize for. Google really focuses on search terms like these, as you can read here:

Is that a Possum near me?

In conclusion

As we’ve seen, there are many things you can do as a small business to improve your site and rank better. You should start by focusing on your niche and emphasizing your uniqueness. Think about how you present your brand: logos and taglines are important to give your customers an idea of who you are as a business.

You can increase your visibility by creating great content on your site, optimized for the most appropriate keywords. Also, it always helps if you are active on social media. There are several factors related to local SEO that help small businesses. Make sure Google My Business has the right details, keep track of your ratings and reviews, and try to get links from related small businesses. Finally, try to optimize for ‘near me’ searches.

Read more: ‘5 questions: Talking local SEO with David Mihm’ »

The post Ultimate guide to small business SEO appeared first on Yoast.

 

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Facebook’s Panda Update

So far this year publishers have lost 52% their Facebook distribution due to:

Instant Articles may have worked for an instant, but many publishers are likely where they were before they made the Faustian bargain, except they now have less control over their content distribution and advertising while having the higher cost structure of supporting another content format.

When Facebook announced their news feed update to fight off clickbait headlines, it sure sounded a lot like the equivalent of Google’s Panda update. Glenn Gabe is one of the sharpest guys in the SEO field who regularly publishes insightful content & doesn’t blindly shill for the various platform monopolies dominating the online publishing industry & he had the same view I did.

Further cementing the “this is Panda” view was an AdAge article quoting some Facebook-reliant publishers. Glad we have already shifted our ways. Nice to see them moving in the same direction we are. etc. … It felt like reading a Richard Rosenblatt quote in 2011 about Demand Media’s strong working relationship with Google or how right after Panda their aggregate traffic level was flat.

January 27, 2011

Peter Kafka: Do you think that Google post was directed at you in any way?

Richard Rosenblatt: It’s not directed at us in any way.

P K: they wrote this post, which talks about content farms, and even though you say they weren’t talking about you, it left a lot of people scratching their heads.

R R: Let’s just say that we know what they’re trying to do. … He’s talking about duplicate, non-original content. Every single piece of ours is original. … our relationship is synergistic, and it’s a great partnership.

May 9, 2011

Kara Swisher: What were you trying to communicate in the call, especially since investors seemed very focused on Panda?

R R: What I also wanted to show was that third-party data sources should not be relied on. We did get affected, for sure. But I was not just being optimistic, we wanted to use that to really understand what we can do better.

K S: Given Google’s shift in its algorithm, are you shifting your distribution, such as toward social and mobile?

R R: If you look at where trends are going, that’s where we are going to be.

K S: How are you changing the continued perception that Demand is a content farm?

R R: I don’t think anyone has defined what a content farm is and I am not sure what it means either. We obviously don’t think we are a content farm and I am not sure we can counter every impact if some people think we are.

A couple years later Richard Rosenblatt left the company.

Since the Google Panda update eHow has removed millions of articles from their site. As a company they remain unprofitable a half-decade later & keep seeing YoY media ad revenue declines in the 30% to 40% range.

Over-reliance on any platform allows that platform to kill you. And, in most cases, you are unlikely to be able to restore your former status until & unless you build influence via other traffic channels:

I think in general, media companies have lost sight of building relationships with their end users that will bring them in directly, as opposed to just posting links on social networks and hoping people will click. I think publishers that do that are shooting themselves in the foot. Media companies in general are way too focused on being where our readers are, as opposed to being so necessary to our readers that they will seek us out. – Jessica Lessin, founder of TheInformation

Recovering former status requires extra investment far above and beyond what led to the penalty. And if the core business model still has the same core problems there is no solution.

“I feel pretty confident about the algorithm on Suite 101.” – Matt Cutts

Some big news publishers are trying to leverage video equivalents of a Narrative Science or Automated Insights (from Wochit and Wibbitz) to embed thousands of autogenerated autoplay videos in their articles daily.

But is that a real long-term solution to turn the corner? Even if they see a short term pop in ad revenues by using some dumbed-down AI-enhanced low cost content, all that really does is teach people that they are a source of noise while increasing the number of web users who install ad blockers.

And the whole time penalized publishers try to recover the old position of glory, the platform monopolies are boosting their AI skills in the background while they eat the playing field.

The companies which run the primary ad networks can easily get around the ad blockers, but third party publishers can’t. As the monopoly platforms broadly defund ad-based publishing, they can put users “in control” while speaking about taking the principle-based approach:

“This isn’t motivated by inventory; it’s not an opportunity for Facebook from that perspective,” Mr. Bosworth said. “We’re doing it more for the principle of the thing. We want to help lead the discussion on this.” … Mr. Bosworth said Facebook hasn’t paid any ad-blocking software company to have its ads pass through their filters and that it doesn’t intend to.

Google recently worked out a deal with Wikimedia to actually cite the source of the content shown in the search results:

it hasn’t always been the easiest to see that the material came from Wikipedia while on mobile devices. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we’ve been working to change that.

While the various platforms ride the edge on what is considered reasonable disclosure, regulatory bodies crack down on individuals participating on those platforms unless they are far more transparent than the platforms are:

Users need to be clear when they’re getting paid to promote something, and hashtags like #ad, #sp, #sponsored –common forms of identification– are not always enough.

The whole “eating the playing field” is a trend which is vastly under-reported, largely because almost everyone engaged in the ecosystem needs to sell they have some growth strategy.

The reality is as the platform gets eaten it only gets harder to build a sustainable business. The mobile search interface is literally nothing but ads in most key categories. More ads. Larger ads. Nothing but ads.

And a bit of scrape after the ads to ensure the second or third screen still shows zero organic results.

And more scraping, across more categories.

What’s more, even large scaled companies in big money fields are struggling to monetize mobile users. On the most recent quarterly conference call TripAdvisor executives stated they monetize mobile users at about 30% the rate they monetize desktop or tablet users.

What happens when the big brand advertisers stop believing in the narrative of the value of precise user tracking?

We may soon find out:

P&G two years ago tried targeting ads for its Febreze air freshener at pet owners and households with large families. The brand found that sales stagnated during the effort, but rose when the campaign on Facebook and elsewhere was expanded last March to include anyone over 18.

P&G’s push to find broader reach with its advertising is also evident in the company’s recent increases in television spending. Toward the end of last year P&G began moving more money back into television, according to people familiar with the matter.

For mobile to work well you need to be a destination & a habit. But there is tiny screen space and navigational searches are also re-routed through Google hosted content (which will, of course, get monetized).

In fact, what would happen to an advertiser if they partnered with other advertisers to prevent brand bidding? Why that advertiser would get sued by the FTC for limiting user choice:

The bidding agreements harm consumers, according to the complaint, by restraining competition for, and distorting the prices of, advertising in relevant online auctions, by reducing the number of relevant, useful, truthful and non-misleading advertisements, by restraining competition among online sellers of contact lenses, and in some cases, by resulting in consumers paying higher retail prices for contact lenses.

If the above restraint of competition & market distortion is worth suing over, how exactly can Google make the mobile interface AMP exclusive without earning a similar lawsuit?

AMP content presented in the both sections will be “de-duplicated” in order to avoid redundancies, Google says. The move is significant in that AMP results will now take up an entire phone screen, based on the example Google shows in its pitch deck.

Are many publishers in a rush to support Google AMP after the bait-n-switch on Facebook Instant Articles?

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Local SEO Mistakes and How To Fix Them #SEMrushchat Recap

82% of smartphone users are turning to search engines to identify local businesses, and this is just one reason why it is essential for businesses to nail their local SEO strategy to improve foot traffic that will eventually lead to sales. This post by Paul Paquin offers quick hacks to win at local SEO, but if your site still doesn’t rank, then you may be making mistakes that need to be corrected.

To get expert insights on this topic we invited a special guest, Greg Gifford, to join us in our latest #SEMrushchat. Greg is a pro at local SEO and has assisted more than 2,000 businesses across the US and Canada to improve their sales. Greg, along with our chat participants, shared some great insights with our community on the usual mistakes with local SEO and how to rectify them. Here is what they had to say:

Q1. What is the biggest mistake you see all the time with local SEO?

With local SEO, it is not just enough to do it – it is important that you do it right! For instance, having reviews about your company on Google gives you a huge local SEO boost, but, if your reviews are fake, this mistake can cost you when you get caught.

SEMrush

@semrush

Q1. What is the biggest mistake that you see all the time in Local SEO?

View image on Twitter

Kim Doughturkey 🦃@Howdy_Doughty

A1. Clients who make fake reviews for their own business. 😐

See Kim Doughturkey 🦃‘s other Tweets

Our chat participants also discussed certain mistakes that, according to them, are absolutely unacceptable. Check to see if your business is guilty of any of them:

Content Related Issues

The content you put on your website for local SEO can sabotage your rankings or reduce your store visits if it has these three major flaws:

1. Content that isn’t geo-specific – Nearly 2/3 of smartphone users are more likely to buy from stores that customize information to their location. So, ensuring that your content is geo-specific is extremely important.

2. Location keyword stuffing – Inserting a city or pin code in the header or footer is easily picked up by Google’s algorithm. It is now more likely to get you a penalty than a boost in ranking. It is also important to remember that the location-specific keywords you target should not include areas you don’t serve.

Tim Capper@GuideTwit

A1. Targeting cities that you literally dont and cant serve.

See Tim Capper’s other Tweets

3. Poor quality or unhelpful content – 7 out of 10 customers visit a business or make a purchase based on the information that they find online. If they do not find your content helpful, they probably won’t buy from you either.

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

Q1. For me, it’s seeing location-keyword stuffed content. And crap content. Never REALLY good useful/relevant localized content

See Greg Gifford’s other Tweets

Inconsistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)

Having your contact details searchable in the SERPs is essential, as most of us know. For local businesses, however, it is even more important to have the same contact information across all directories and platforms. Citations are considered to be one of the most important signals to Google; it shows that your business is authentic and that you are providing accurate information to your users. Inconsistent listings confuse users and search engines, and therefore, trust is lost.

Simon Cox@simoncox

A1 Inconsistent NAP – Name Address Phone number across all media.

See Simon Cox’s other Tweets

Heather Harvey@Fizzle_Up

A1: I think a lot of people will agree on inconsistent information (including NAP etc.) across different platforms/ listings. And does anyone ever have the logins to be able to access & update the stuff – NO!!

See Heather Harvey’s other Tweets

Not Using Your Location in Keywords at All

As stated earlier, you shouldn’t be keyword stuffing with cities all around you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your location in your keywords. Customers are more likely to visit stores near them than those that are farther off. So, just including your location on your website may not be enough. Instead, optimize for keywords like ‘Florists in Trevose’ rather than just ‘Florists.’

David Gossage@dgossage1983

A1. Having a generic 500 word block of text about the location with the odd smattering of the word “plumber” https://twitter.com/semrush/status/996768734843953152 

SEMrush

@semrush

Q1. What is the biggest mistake that you see all the time in Local SEO? #semrushchat

View image on Twitter
See David Gossage’s other Tweets

Not Claiming Google My Business (GMB)

“While most local SEO pros think claiming a GMB listing is an important step in their SEO strategy, a surprising 56% of local retailers have yet to claim their Google my business listing, according to Brandmuscle’s State of Local Marketing report. This is a serious oversight in the local SEO efforts.

Not Using Structured Data Effectively

Using schema markup communicates to the search engines where your office is located, which then allows the SERPs to serve the most relevant content to your users. This is especially important for multi-location businesses with a single website, since results will be based on structured data, as opposed to websites.

Bill Slawski ⚓@bill_slawski

A1 Biggest Mistake seen in is not using Structured Data effectively or correctly

See Bill Slawski ⚓‘s other Tweets

Danny Ray Lima@dannyraylima

A1: The biggest mistake is not using schema markup for location citations and entities

See Danny Ray Lima’s other Tweets

Not Tracking Attribution and Not Optimizing

Taking advantage of ways to track attribution to find out where your customers come from, and why, will help you to optimize your site’s content. This will also give you great insights on your customer’s search behavior, thus helping you to identify top performing channels.

CallRail@CallRail

A1: Not taking advantage of ways to track attribution–it’s just as important for local businesses and the agencies who serve them as it is for the big guys. Figure out where your leads are coming from + optimize those channels.

See CallRail’s other Tweets

@greggifford said that DealerOn has started using Google Posts for car dealers and has gotten a ton of visibility and click-throughs to their sites, but only if they are done right, like this example that he shared:

Bill Slawski ⚓@bill_slawski

A2 Specials or Events seem like ways to capture people’s attention with Google Posts

See Bill Slawski ⚓‘s other Tweets

Kim Doughturkey 🦃@Howdy_Doughty

A2. We aren’t using Google Posts currently, but in my previous job I dabbled with it. Specials and events were the most successful use cases, like others have mentioned.

See Kim Doughturkey 🦃‘s other Tweets

Similarly, in the hospitality industry and co-working spaces, Google Posts can be used to promote different offices, tours, and events for greater visibility.

Marccx Media@marccxmedia

A2: We’ve helped a hospitality/co-working client use Google Posts to promote their offices, tours, and events. Another hospitality client uses them for their restaurants (food, events, etc.). Great visibility, but middling interaction.

See Marccx Media’s other Tweets

@Ashok83 stated, remember to keep your posts short and to the point.

Q3. Q&A is a minefield that most businesses don’t even know about – what should business owners and marketers know about Q&A and how to use it?

The minute you have a GMB listing, your business automatically has a Q&A section that displays on Google Maps. This feature allows anyone to ask and respond to questions in regards to your business. Unfortunately, not many businesses are aware of this feature and even fewer bother to check it regularly.

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A3 – OMG, Y’ALL – it’s SO BAD out there… business owners should be checking Q&A daily (but really, shouldn’t they be checking their listing daily anyway?)

See Greg Gifford’s other Tweets

Simon Cox@simoncox

A3 Own Q and A – make checking it someones responsibility and don’t skimp – it is a front line interaction with customers. Can damage brand if you are not careful. Anyone remember Exxon – I’m sure it was Q and A that did for them. Probably

See Simon Cox’s other Tweets

Here are few reasons why you shouldn’t ignore Q&A and how it can be used to help your business:

It Can Help to Build Your Brand Reputation Online

Q&A is a great opportunity to build and maintain your business’s brand reputation. Make sure you check your listings every day and respond to questions quickly and politely.

Express Writers | Your Content Writing Team@ExpWriters

A3: It’s worth checking regularly. You don’t want questions from people going unanswered.

Respond swiftly and politely!

See Express Writers | Your Content Writing Team’s other Tweets

How you respond to these questions can help many future customers make their buying decision. Since the questions are ranked from most recent to older, time is of the essence when you respond.

Danny Ray Lima@dannyraylima

A3: Businesses need to treat Q&As like reviews, these can play a major influence in a perspective client’s decision process. Since Questions are ranked from most to least recent, always try to answer the most recent questions in a timely manner.

See Danny Ray Lima’s other Tweets

Heather Harvey@Fizzle_Up

A3: Remember to read & respond accordingly! Put some thought into it as potential clients read this stuff. It’s more valuable than a lot of people realise.

See Heather Harvey’s other Tweets

It Can Help You Control the Conversation

Remember, anyone can post questions on the Q&A section, including you as a business owner. So, if you understand your target audience well, you can control the conversation by posting questions that you think are relevant.

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A3 – also, business owners need to know that they can ask their own questions, then answer them – people are reading this BEFORE they get to the site… control the conversation!

See Greg Gifford’s other Tweets

It Can Help You Discover New Content Opportunities

The kind of questions asked can highlight new opportunities for you to write specific content based on the answers to these specific queries. Jim Fuhs – @FuhsionMktg also mentioned that businesses using chatbots can also incorporate these questions for FAQs.

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A3 we’ve also had a lot of success using the questions asked in Q&A to figure out what sort of content needs to be added to the website (HUGE opportunity here)

See Greg Gifford’s other Tweets

 You Can Use It As An Engagement Channel

By simply making your customers aware of the Q&A section and encouraging them to post questions there, you have a new place to interact and engage with your customers. If you have a set strategy in place for certain questions, you can easily improve the quality of questions and the engagement.

Joshua Delbert Hermreck@thisisdelbert

A3: Make your clients aware of the Q&A section. Discuss strategy for certain question types (silos) and respond as the owner when relevant! If you know a Local Guide those answers might be useful too 😉

See Joshua Delbert Hermreck’s other Tweets

SEMrush

@semrush

Q3. Q&A is a minefield that most businesses don’t even know about – what should business owners and marketers know about Q&A and how to use it?

View image on Twitter

Carolyn Lyden@CarolynLyden

A3: Make sure to check it regularly. Answer all questions POSITIVELY and honestly and transparently (don’t go in and pretend to be someone you’re not). And just accept that ppl will probably use it to leave reviews bc ppl are … human.

Embedded video

See Carolyn Lyden’s other Tweets

They Can Help You Identify Misplaced User-Reviews

If you don’t make checking your Q&A section regularly a thing, you can run the risk of missing out on reviews that a less-than-savvy user has posted.

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A3. The worst part is when less-than-savvy users leave reviews in the Q&A section and dealers have no idea they’re there…

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Simon Cox@simoncox

A4 Setting expectations to clients, especially if they have tried to some of this themselves, is possibly the hardest part of Local SEO. Diplomacy is the key word. But give them other solutions they can work with.

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Heather Harvey@Fizzle_Up

A4: I had to do this in a meeting earlier today. It’s not easy but you have to break it down into a context the client will understand e.g. they wouldn’t be put in the phone book for the metro area so why would they show up in that area listing online?

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And, they have had to explain that, due to Google updates, many hacks that have worked in the past simply will not anymore:

Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A4 – this is a really tough one. You have to really be good at explaining that Google has made updates, and what you could do 3 years ago won’t work anymore.

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Danny Ray Lima@dannyraylima

A4: This is tough, but I always felt the need to educate clients on new updates. You can tackle this issue in a few ways; blog posts, client newsletter, or a simple Local SEO packet your agency develops to give out to new and prospective clients.

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However, the popular consensus was that it was easier to explain using an example, similar to this one from James Scroggie – @seoscroggie:

James Scroggie@seoscroggie

A4/1: I would try and make it simple for them. If you were ordering lunch, and the sandwich shop would only deliver within a 2 mile radius, why would you want to see sandwich shops over 5 miles away?

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Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A4 – we use the “pizza delivery” example to help here – have people Google those 2 words at work, and then explain that the EXACT same search at home brings up 100% different results. Easy way to demonstrate proximity factor

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Geeky Fox@TechKitsune

A4: Yeesh, well, I liked @GregGifford answer about pizza. I think that is a great example of a way to let a client know about mapping in Google as simplistically as possible.

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Another tip was to have your clients try out the service results for GMB in a particular area. This can help them to understand that distance is an important factor when it comes to purchase decisions or store visits. Therefore, targeting people who are more likely to buy from them (or use their services), due to proximity, will eventually work better for the business.

Bill Slawski ⚓@bill_slawski

A4 Explain how distance is an important aspect of ranking in Local Results, and that the most success will come from targeting people who might visit them in person (those suburbs are filled with people!)

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Netvantage Marketing@netvantage

A4: That’s tough! We always recommend using service areas for GMB if they are in the suburbs. Doing that sometimes helps them understand.

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Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

A4 – we also point out that it’s important to “own your own back yard” first – many times, the businesses asking for this don’t even show up well in their own town. They have to get the foundation right first.

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SEMrush

@semrush

Q4. Clients in the suburbs think they should show up in the map pack for the metro, but marketers know it’s not possible – how do you educate your clients so they don’t have misaligned expectations?

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Carolyn Lyden@CarolynLyden

A4: Try to explain service areas and zip codes. If you wanna show up for the city, move to the city. People (aka leads) live in suburbs too. So don’t forget those potential leads and customers just bc it looks like there’s more grass on the other side of the fence.

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Marccx Media@marccxmedia

A4: “You’re outside of the search radius in question. We can get you to rank in the map pack locally in the suburbs, though, and increase awareness of your suburban location within the metro area.”

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important to highlight in monthly reports, others argued that more important metrics should be reported. Others stated that their report will completely depend upon their client’s requirements and/or their business objectives.

Here are some examples of what you could include in your monthly reports:

Netvantage Marketing@netvantage

A5: Absolutely! We use the tool @UnamoHQ to track keywords rankings and GMB listings. We show how the keyword changed in ranking from month-to-month in a report.

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SEMrush

@semrush

Q5. in Local SEO, keyword rankings are drastically impacted by location and proximity – do you include ranking data in your monthly reports, and if so, how do you do it?

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Sam Charles 🌱🔎@SamCharlesUK

A5 My *lovely* ranking software exports the list of terms we’re targeting, where they appear in search and where they rank locally in brackets i.e. 5 (3). I provide a mini local report too with more details, if it’s a high priority for them

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Danny Ray Lima@dannyraylima

A5: No, you shouldn’t make keyword ranking a priority in Local SEO, focus on top traffic sources, top landing pages and entry pages. You can use a search term report to build out a content bucket list, but keyword ranking should not be a priority IMO

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Keep in mind, despite what your reports show, when it comes to local businesses, foot traffic and final sales are ultimately what matters the most.

Simon Cox@simoncox

A5 Yes but footfall in the shops and till takings is ultimately what counts and I have received great feedback about both when we have optimised for local.

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Greg Gifford

@GregGifford

a5 – plus, think about why clients pay us…

They don’t pay us to get them to rank better.

They pay us to get them more traffic and more leads.

Ranking reports don’t show anything about that objective…

16 people are talking about this

This is why many of our chat participants prefer to leave local SEO keywords out of their reports. However, here are some pointers to keep in mind for keyword ranking, if you do choose to report on it:

So, if your client wants you to show keyword rankings in your reports, go ahead and include it in your report. But, you can explain to them that, in the long run, building more local authority and optimizing your business listings are a better use of your time.

SEMrush

@semrush

Q5. in Local SEO, keyword rankings are drastically impacted by location and proximity – do you include ranking data in your monthly reports, and if so, how do you do it?

View image on Twitter

Sean Bucher@spbucher

A5: It depends on the client and their objectives. I think showing results of opitmzing a listing and building authority over time warrant more attention. GMB’s API allows for 16 month lookback on location data, so you can show growth YoY in calls, clicks, etc.

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https://www.semrush.com/blog/local-seo-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them-semrushchat-recap/

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