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12 Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses You Can’t Ignore

12 Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses You Can’t Ignore

As a small business, ranking for keyword terms can be difficult. With larger, more resourced businesses targeting those same terms, it can seem impossible to nudge your way to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

How are small businesses expected to rank highly on SERPs? Fortunately, with the use of local SEO, there’s more than a good chance.

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that local SEO has never been more important for small businesses than it is now. Just consider that “where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200 percent from 2017 to 2019.

In addition, a recent study found that 69 percent of digital traffic is organic and local—meaning it’s more important than ever that your small business tightens up its local organic SEO strategies.

This guide will introduce local SEO for small businesses. We’ll then cover 12 local SEO tips and the tools you need to begin your journey.

What Is Local SEO for Small Business?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website to increase the chances of it being seen when people search terms related to your business. Local SEO is a similar venture but with a particular focus on local keyword terms.

The goal is to drive local traffic to your website—traffic that’s more likely to convert, whether online or offline.

Why Is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?

With more people relying on online information to make offline purchases, local SEO for small businesses has never been more important. In fact, one study found 78 percent of local searches on mobile result in an offline purchase. You can’t argue with those results!

Other reasons to optimize your website for local SEO include the opportunity to build your website up as an authority and educate your target audience on your products and services.

Your local SEO efforts don’t have to center around increasing sales. You can also use local SEO strategies to drive traffic to your website for the purpose of informing or educating.

12 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Many local SEO tips can be implemented within minutes, while others take considerably more time. However, each of the tips below can greatly benefit your local business, both online and offline.

1. Optimize for Google My Business

Google My Business is a business directory owned and operated by Google. The goal of the platform is to provide the most accurate business information for local businesses to searchers.

With this in mind, most businesses will have a Google My Business listing within a year or so of starting their business. This is done automatically as Google learns of your business through its website crawl bots.

The problem with an automated listing, though, is that information may not be complete or accurate. Only when you claim your listing can you ensure you’re getting the most from the platform.

If you need even more reason to claim or create your own listing, then consider that businesses with 4 or more stars on Google My Business outrank those with less than 4 stars by about 11 percent. As a small business, you can’t afford to lose out on that edge.

How can you completely optimize your Google My Business listing? Here are a few essential steps to get you started:

Claim or create your Google My Business listing.Complete profile data and publish your listing.Add photos and videos of your business and offerings to your profile.Respond to ratings and reviews in a professional and timely manner.

It’s important that your business information is accurate and updated. You should ensure updates are made at least monthly, though weekly monitoring of your listing is important to success.

2. Claim All Business Directories

Speaking of business directories, you must be sure to stake your claim in all business directories. The most popular include Google My Business mentioned above and Yelp.

You may think that a Google Business Profile is sufficient to bring in traffic, both online and in-store. However, consider that a Yelp page is present in the top 5 results for 92 percent of search queries that contain a city and business category.

What difference does it make for your listing to be in the top 5 results on Google? The top 5 results on the SERPs account for 80 percent of click-throughs on the first page of Google. The first organic result alone accounts for almost 40 percent.

All of this to say, you can’t afford to not claim your business on all directories wherever possible.

Fortunately, business directories make it easy to claim your listings. To claim your Yelp business page, for example, you can begin the process by verifying your business information.

While Google and Yelp are the big dogs, other business directories to consider are Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, and Yellow Pages.

3. Perform a Local SEO Audit

Now that you’re established on business directories, it’s time to understand the landscape. This enables you to see what your competitors are doing so you, too, can make the same improvements (and better) on your website.

Results on the first page of SERPs provide the most insight and inspiration. After all, the first three positions alone account for 66.5 percent of the click-throughs on the SERPs!

As you begin your audit, first consider free tools and analyzers like the SEO Analyzer. These tools give you a detailed overview of your website’s current status and what you can do to optimize.

Next, use your target keywords (which you’ll work out in the next section), and compare your website to the top five of each SERP. Consider types of content, website structure, page elements, and keyword density.

I would recommend keeping a spreadsheet of your findings to easily track and implement your changes.

4. Target Local Keywords

As a small business, keyword targeting can be daunting. You know you’ll be lost in the sea when you target high-volume keywords, but lower-volume keywords tend to yield little return.

As a local business, you actually have an edge when it comes to keyword targeting. “Near me” search term variations increased as little as 150 percent (e.g. “near me now”) to as much as 900 percent (e.g. “near me today/tonight”) in just a few years. This means that targeting a combination of high volume and local keywords can work in your favor.

What do I mean in practice?

Let’s say you own a local flower shop. Your website naturally contains many high-volume keywords, such as “florist,” “flower shop,” and “flowers for sale.” The fact is you’re unlikely to beat out national flower providers, like 1-800-Flowers and Sam’s Club, with those keywords.

The goal should be to optimize your website with local keywords.

For example, search your website for every instance of “flowers for sale.” You’ll want to be wary of keyword stuffing, but take care to change most of these instances to more specific, local terms, such as:

“flowers for sale in [city or zip code]”“[city or zip code] flowers for sale”“flowers for sale [city or zip code]”

You don’t have to target only your specific town and zip code, though. Consider areas within 10 or 15 miles of your business and target those local keywords, too. This is especially good practice if you live in a smaller town outside of a larger city or metro area.

5. Encourage (and Reward) Customer Reviews

When was the last time you visited a restaurant or purchased an item without researching ratings and reviews? If you’re like 82 percent of consumers performing an online local search, then the answer is never.

Customer reviews are the lifeblood of your business. This is particularly true for new and small businesses.

How can you obtain online customer reviews?

First, ensure there is a place for customers to leave reviews. If you’ve claimed your Google My Business profile and Yelp business listing, then you’re off to a great start.

Second, offer an incentive to customers who leave reviews. Whether by word of mouth or marked on in-store receipts, let customers know they will receive a discount or a complimentary item for their rating and review.

The work doesn’t stop there, though. You must respond to all reviews, negative and positive. This gives you an opportunity to engage with your customers, and it can also instill faith in your brand by those who have yet to purchase.

6. Create Local Content

Above we talked about targeting local keywords while avoiding keyword stuffing. The best way to do this is to create local content for your website or website’s blog.

Local content can be a blog post, a news release, or a static web page. You can use these various content types to highlight local events (past and upcoming), local offerings, local business roundups (e.g., local businesses that complement but don’t compete with yours), or even to educate the public on your product or service.

The more natural content you have on your website, the more easily you can target local keywords. It can also help to establish you as an expert in the field, which is crucial for small business owners competing against larger businesses.

Continuing with the example of a flower shop, here are a few content ideas that will naturally target both the audience and the keywords:

Blog post: #X [your state] Flowers for Year-Round DecoratingStatic web page: Our Local [your state] Flower OfferingsStatic web page: [your state] Garden Flower OfferingsBlog post: [your state] Flower Events for [season/year]

7. Implement a Local Backlink Strategy

A backlink is a link to your website from another site. Depending on the quality of the third-party websites and the number of links to your website, this can have a considerable impact on your website’s authority.

Authority is a critical piece in determining how high your website ranks on the SERPs. How do we know this? Consider that the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2 to #10.

How can a small business website begin to build its backlink profile? A few things to consider are:

writing guest posts for relevant, high-quality websites in your industryengaging in influencer outreachparticipating in link outreaches“listening” for brand mentionswriting shareable content

Speaking of shareable content, the key to any successful backlink strategy is quality, reasonably lengthy content. After all, it’s known that long-form content receives 77.2 percent more backlinks than short articles.

You don’t want long content for content’s sake, so keep the post relevant, valuable, and free of fluff.

8. Become Mobile-Friendly

Considering 82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct “near me” searches, you can’t afford not to have a mobile-friendly site.

The hard work isn’t getting traffic to your site, but instead keeping it there once it arrives. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then local searchers will quickly leave your site and consider a competitor instead.

What is a mobile-friendly site? The four basic elements that every mobile-friendly site should contain include:

responsive page displayreadable fontsproper text formattingoptimized media display

Beyond a mobile-friendly website, you must also produce mobile-friendly content. The good news about mobile-friendly content is that it’s also viewable for desktop readers.

What does such content consist of?

short paragraphswhite spacesubheadingsa summaryimageslistsstyling (e.g., bold, italics)

If you’re not a web developer, the idea of creating a mobile-friendly website can be daunting. The good news is that most website platforms incorporate mobile-friendly elements into their themes and overlays. Keep an eye out for “responsive” as an indicator of such options.

9. Optimize Page Structure

Local SEO for business goes beyond business listings and content. An often-overlooked element is page structure.

Page structure includes title tags, headers, meta description, and URL. When used correctly, these can further enhance your content and improve your rankings on SERPs.

Perhaps you’re wondering just how much of an impact these elements can have on your rankings. Here’s the deal: To employ elements that your competitors may not be, you can get ahead.

Which page structure elements are most overlooked by small businesses? From greatest to least, here is what percentage of small business owners use the following key SEO features:

Title tag: 99 percentRobots.txt: 88 percentSitemap.xml: 73 percentMeta description: 72 percentH1: 68 percentSchema.org: 44 percent

You can address the title tag, meta description, and H1 most easily. However, robots.txt, sitemap.xml, and schema.org also have their place on a well-structured website.

10. Get Involved on Social Media

Social media isn’t just for big brands and influencers. A local business page can benefit from social media usage, too.

More specifically, a local business page can be a great place to keep customers up-to-date on the latest sales, events, and changes (e.g., hours of operation). That’s because even with a website, a social media profile is more like a “living” version of your business.

Perhaps Facebook users benefit most from local business pages. After all, ⅔ of Facebook users across all countries surveyed say they visit the Page of a local business at least once a week. However, other social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can also offer your business an edge.

A few examples of the benefits of maintaining social media profiles for your small business include relationship building, trend tracking and analysis, and social commerce.

Here’s how small businesses can get involved on social media:

Decide which platforms are right for your business based on features and target audience.Post quality content on a regular basis.Use scheduling and automation tools to test and improve engagement.Participate in local events and roundups.Make it easy for customers to purchase your products and services online.

Depending on your business and target audience, social media may or may not make up a large percentage of your sales and traffic. However, either way, a strong social media presence is a must for small businesses.

11. Participate in Local Business Events

Would you be surprised to learn you can do a lot offline to improve your website’s local SEO? 48 percent of marketers invest at least 20 percent of their marketing budget in live events.

Participating in local business events, especially those with a strong social media presence, can help grow your business in a few ways. They’re an opportunity to market your business but also are an easy way to get to know your audience and the community you serve. There’s likely to be a return on such events, too.

As a small business, you have the versatility to host your own event or sponsor and join with larger community events. An event you host yourself would likely yield a larger return, but a community event may be ideal for smaller budgets.

12. Invest in Google Ads With Local Keywords

Small business usually means small budget. It’s important that you invest wisely in the growth of your business online. Where should you hedge your bets? For most businesses, Google Ads is a good place to start.

Google Ads is a paid advertising platform that enables you to appear in prominent places on the SERPs.

You may think that you could never compete against big businesses. One way around this is to highlight your local status by targeting local keywords and local audiences. For example, instead of targeting “flowers for sale,” target “flowers for sale in [your city or zip code].”

How can we know this will be successful? According to Think with Google, 72 percent of computer or tablet users and 67 percent of smartphone users want ads that are customized to their city or zip code. Users want to find the options most local to them, so give them what they want.

It’s true that starting with Google Ads can be daunting, but fortunately, you have the option to invest in an advertising agency to help you set up and manage your account and keywords. If you want to go it alone, though, follow these essential steps:

Conduct keyword research: This will include keywords you want to target but also keywords you want to exclude from your campaigns (negative keywords).Decide how your ad groups will be structured: Ad groups are ad campaigns grouped by a common element, like target audience, target keyword, or even location. Decide how your groups will break down so you can begin to create your campaigns.Create your first campaign: A campaign is a step above ad groups in that it encompasses a larger target audience. For example, you can have a “Wedding Flowers” campaign that includes ad groups like “Wedding Flowers in Queens” and “Wedding Flowers in Brooklyn.” This is where you will set campaign-level goals and settings.Create your first ad: Google Ads has multiple ad types. A text ad is a good place to begin, though your ad groups can contain multiple ad types, and it’s important to experiment with what works for your audience.

Continuous monitoring and tweaking of your campaigns are necessary for success.

Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses Frequently Asked Questions

As a small business, should I get an agency to help with my local SEO?

As a small business, budget can be a constraint. While you can make many changes yourself, a consulting agency can offer invaluable advice and resources.

How does local SEO help small businesses grow?

With local search intent being what it is, local SEO can be a boon to small businesses. It can put you on the map (or SERPs, as it happens) for keywords you may not have ever ranked for on a larger scale.

How much should a small business pay for local SEO?

The amount you invest will vary depending on what you find to be meaningful and valuable to your business. If you must invest, I recommend you do so in two places: 1) in an SEO consulting agency, and 2) in paid advertising.

What kind of small businesses need local SEO?

Local SEO can benefit small businesses of all kinds. If you provide products or services in a specific area (or multiple areas), then you can benefit from its use.

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Conclusion: Local SEO for Small Business

As a small business owner, you know that hard work and dedication is needed to grow your sales. Much the same can be said for local SEO. While SEO can take time and patience, it can pay off in the long run.

With the 12 local SEO tips outlined above, even the smallest businesses can benefit. From keyword research to social media marketing to paid advertising, you can begin to make changes today to see benefits in the future.

Which of these local SEO tips for small businesses will you implement first?

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Google adds nine policies to three-strike Ads system

Google has added nine new policies to its three-strikes system that punishes advertisers who don’t follow the rules.

The three-strikes system was announced in July. Testing then began in September.

When the program was announced, Google said they planned to include more policy types to avoid. Now they have announced nine additional policies. 

When this change takes effect. It starts June 21. Google said it will then gradually ramp up over a three-month period. 

The nine new policies. Running advertisements on any of the following could earn your account a strike:

Compensated sexual actsMail-order bridesClickbaitMisleading ad designBail bond servicesCall Directories, forwarding servicesCredit repair servicesBinary optionsPersonal loans

What else to avoid. Google Ads has three main buckets for ads that earn violations, none of which are new. If you need a refresher, you can find them all here: 

Enabling dishonest behaviorHealthcare and medicinesDangerous products or services

Strikes and punishments. If your account receives a warning or strike, you will be notified via email and in your account. As a reminder, here’s what happens if your ads get flagged. 

Warning

Trigger: First time an ad violates one of Google’s policies. Penalty: Ad is removed.

First Strike

Trigger: Violating the same policy, for which you received a warning, within 90 days.Penalty: Account is placed on a three-day hold and no ads are eligible to run.

Second strike

Trigger: Violating the same policy, for which you received a first strike, within 90 days.Penalty: Account is placed on a seven-day hold and no ads are eligible to run. 

If you have received a first or second strike, but don’t violate Google Ads policies for 90 days, the strikes will expire.

Third strike

Trigger: Violating the same policy, for which you received a second strike, within 90 days.Penalty: Account suspension.

Why we care. Anytime Google updates its Ads policy, it’s important to know what’s changing. Knowing what the Google Ads policies should help keep your account safe and avoid earning any warnings, strikes or an account suspension.

The post Google adds nine policies to three-strike Ads system appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Beware of fake DMCA link requests by AI-generated lawyers

Beware of fake DMCA link requests by AI-generated lawyers

Have you recently received a DMCA copyright infringement notice through email from a personal claiming to be a lawyer? Well, that email might be a scam and the lawyer who emailed you might not be a real person, but rather an AI generated persona for a lawyer at a fake law firm. That is what The Next Web uncovered in a recent report about such a DMCA request.

What is a DMCA request. A DMCA request is when someone requests the removal of content or a web page due to copyright violations. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and it is used to have hosting companies, Google and web site owners remove content that infringes on copyright.

What is the scam. In this case, the fake machine generated lawyer is emailing sites claiming DMCA copyright infringement and instead of having the site remove the content, they are asking for a link instead. The email says first starts off threatening, as most legal notices sound, but it ends saying “our client is happy for their image to be used and shared across the internet. However, proper image credit is due for the past or ongoing usage.” The proper image credit should be done with “a link to” the site “within 7 days.” “Otherwise, we are required to take legal action,” the email continues.

In short, the scam is to threaten copyright legal action for a link to a site.

Here is a copy of the email:

Fake lawyers. It gets even more creepy, as this reporter dug into this issue, they investigated who Arthur Davidson Legal Services was. The law firms site looked legit but the domain name was only registered this year but the site claims the firm has been around for many years. He then dug into the profile of Nicole Palmer and learned that she never existed, that she was made up by AI, by a generative adversarial network, a deep learning model that can be trained to create faces, art, or anything else. This is her photo, notice how the earrings and other aspects don’t exactly line up:

It is just pretty wild how far scammers will go to manipulate the Google search rankings.

Why we care. Just beware of such legal threats, do your research to ensure the firm exists, the lawyer who emailed you is real and that this is not a scam. I can see many folks just reading the email, quickly adding the link attribution credit and emailing back saying this was done – without asking for more details or without verifying this is a real issue.

Online scams are only going to get more sophisticated and look more real with AI and machine learning at their disposal. So we all need to get more sophisticated in questioning everything we see, every email we receive and every request that is made from us.

The post Beware of fake DMCA link requests by AI-generated lawyers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Brands plan to invest more in search in the next 12 months

With more people working from home, the lines between work and personal time are more blurred than ever. As such, a new report by Forrester, done on behalf of Microsoft, says there is a new persona that brands and marketers need to be aware of: the “workday consumer.”

What is a workday consumer? They are online more often than before the pandemic. They switch between work and personal to-do lists throughout the day. And they use work devices, tools and software for personal purposes. 

Why we care. Consumer habits and preferences have shifted. Brands already recognize this and are planning to invest more in search and other types of advertising, according to the report. Search continues to be an important touchpoint during multiple phases of the buying journey – from initial research, to produce exploration, to purchase (and everything in between).

Key search stats. 

75%: The number of respondents who said search has become more important to their brand’s online advertising strategies.70%: The amount of budget going to digital channels within the next 12 months, including search, social, online video and display advertising. (Before the pandemic, 58% of paid media went to digital).60%: The percentage of companies planning to increase advertising budget for search, online video and display advertising in the next 12 months.16%: The percentage of brand respondents who said their brand plans to increase its paid search advertising budget by more than 10% over the next 12 months.88%: The percentage of respondents who said their brand plans to advertise on three or more search engines over the next 12 months. Currently, 92% of brand respondents said their company advertises on two or more search engines.

Key recommendation for search marketers. Workday consumers research products and services in between work tasks. So if you want to attract, convert and retain these people, make sure your messaging, content and ads go beyond simple demographics and past behavior.

What Forrester recommends. “Brands must consider more nuanced cues such as working mode (e.g., desk-based or frontline, office-based or remote), mindset, activity, and emotion to understand and target workday consumers.” Also:

“Use existing demographic and digital-behavior analytics to deduce these cues and employ methods such as self-reported studies, observational studies, location tracking, and time-of-day data.”“Beyond planning for the workday consumer, develop other nuanced target personas by infusing emotion data into personas. Understand the facets of emotions including feelings, neurophysiology, social-expression, and behaviors along with the observable traits for each and the software that can help measure them.”

It has to be said. This report was shared by an ad network – Microsoft – and says you should spend more on advertising. All ad networks always want you to spend more on their platform. That said, paid search is a proven marketing channel. As with everything: test, analyze, optimize, repeat.

The report. The Workday Consumer Has Logged In

The post Brands plan to invest more in search in the next 12 months appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The 5 most important YouTube metrics for SEO

The 5 most important YouTube metrics for SEO

Are you using YouTube to host and distribute your videos? Then one of the main ways you’ll want to drive views is through search. Not just search within YouTube itself, but Google search as well. In this post, we’ll go over the five core YouTube metrics you should be looking at on a regular basis to understand and measure how your videos when it comes to driving organic search traffic on both platforms.

Note that this is not an overview of how to measure YouTube marketing more broadly. For that, check out our post on how to use analytics to optimize your video. This post discusses the YouTube metrics most important for tracking and optimizing traffic to your YouTube videos. From both Google and YouTube search. Metrics that you can all find in YouTube Analytics.

Metric 1: Views from YouTube search

A graph showing views acquired from YouTube search

The first metric that you should look at is the number of views acquired from YouTube Search. This data is available via the Traffic sources report in YouTube Analytics. “YouTube Search” is clearly marked as a source distinct from other YouTube discovery methods. This data shows you how many people find your videos via search within the YouTube platform (i.e. website, apps & integrations). It does not include traffic from Google search or other search engines.

Views from YouTube search is really your headline metric for YouTube SEO (although not Video SEO, more broadly conceived). When this metric goes up, this tells you more people are discovering and watching your videos through YouTube search.

Metric 2: Views from Google search

A graph showing views acquired from Google search

This data is also available via the Traffic Sources report in YouTube Analytics, but within the “External” category. Here you can see “Google Search” as a source alongside other websites where your videos are embedded or linked to. Views from Google Search tell you how many people have reached your videos on YouTube.com or the YouTube app through universal Google search or Google video search. It does not, however, include users that watched videos on your website and arrived at your website via Google search. These are captured and referenced as other “External” sources.

This metric is extremely useful if you trying to optimize your YouTube channel for visibility on Google search. Particularly by ranking for unbranded informational keywords. You’ll typically find that this graph may show a spike if a new video starts to rank in a video pack within Google universal search for a high-volume keyword. So this is a useful indicator of whether or not your videos are appearing frequently within those rich results packs.

Are you seeing a significant number of views on your channel coming from Google search, but very few from YouTube search? This is a good clue that you might be better off moving your videos to a different platform. Especially if you have a website with good authority and reputation. That way you can drive traffic exclusively to your website, rather than pushing everything by default to YouTube. My post on YouTube vs your own site: which is better for SEO? can help you decide whether this is the right course of action for you.

Metric 3: Average percentage viewed

A graph showing the average percentage viewed for all videos in a channel.

The third YouTube metric I want to discuss is the average percentage viewed for all videos in a channel. This data shows you how much of your videos viewers typically get through. It can also be viewed on an individual video basis via heatmaps or as aggregated data for all your videos. While this data doesn’t directly speak to your video performance in terms of rankings, it is a good leading indicator of wider visibility. YouTube either directly uses average retention data to inform rankings, or it correlates closely with factors that do feed into the algorithm. As such, if you improve average retention, you tend to find that you get more views.

The average percentage viewed also tells you, essentially, how good your content is and how much it meets user needs. Although it’s important to note that longer videos have lower average retention figures. The aggregated view is helpful. A downward trend (as above) tells you something might be awry with recently published content in terms of quality or targeting. But it actually gets particularly helpful when you drill down into individual videos via the Engagement tab in YouTube analytics. This helps you see which have the highest and lowest retention rates after 30 seconds.

A summary of best-performing videos in terms of retention up to 30 seconds of watching

Metric 4: Views from non-subscribers

A graph showing views acquired from non-subscribers

Our fourth YouTube metric is the number of views from non-subscribers to your YouTube channel. Views from subscribers tend to come via notifications and recommendations within the YouTube platform infrastructure. Whereas sidebar recommendations, social media and search tend to be the engines that drive new viewers. 

As such, the number of views from non-subscribers is an important metric for search optimization. It holds particular relevance for those channels that have large engaged audiences and tend to use subscribers as the main engine of new views, but are keen to expand their reach.

Metric 5: Impressions click-through rate

A graph showing the average Impressions click-through rate for all videos

Our final metric is the average impressions click-through rate for your videos. This data tells you how many people click on your video when they see it presented in search results and sidebar recommendations. Although it only includes data from the YouTube platform itself and does not cover click-through rate as it relates to visibility in Google search. The metric correlates significantly with the number of views you are able to drive to your videos. And may even be a direct or indirect factor in determining rankings and wider visibility across YouTube.

More broadly, however, it speaks to how good your thumbnails and video titles are, and whether they match user needs for the queries you are targeting. You should be comparing this number to your own performance over time. Try to improve it as you create new content and further refine your channel value proposition. Small changes in click-through rate often lead to a big impact on the total number of impressions and views you can get for your videos. If you can move the dial by 1-2% over a number of months, this will have a huge impact on visibility and traffic.

While optimizing for impressions click-through rate on YouTube doesn’t necessarily translate into a better click-through rate on Google search, in most cases optimizing for one leads to a better performance in the other.

Use these YouTube metrics to monitor your organic traffic

In this post, I discussed five core YouTube metrics that can serve as a base for your SEO efforts. I hope it gave you some tools to monitor the performance of your videos when it comes to organic traffic. If you want to dive even deeper into the data to optimize your videos, make sure to check out my post on how to use YouTube analytics to optimize your video.

The post The 5 most important YouTube metrics for SEO appeared first on Yoast.

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Google Search launching Signed Exchanges for desktop users

In the coming weeks, Google will be launching Signed Exchanges in Google Search for desktop users. This primarily impacts sites that utilities dynamic serving with the vary user-agent header but should not impact sites using responsive web design or separate mobile and desktop URLs.

The announcement. This announcement was posted in the Google Groups by Devin Mullins of Google. Devin Mullins wrote:

Google Search is planning to launch SXG support for desktop users in the coming weeks.

Sites using responsive web design or separate mobile/desktop URLs don’t need to take action.

Sites using dynamic serving (varying by User-Agent header) will need to annotate their pages as mobile- or desktop-only, as documented here. For example:

Otherwise, desktop users may see the mobile version of the page.

We’re reaching out individually to SXG sites who we’ve found to use dynamic serving, but I wanted a broad announcement in case there are any that we miss.

More technical details. For almost all sites, since most sites do not use dynamic serving, no action is needed. Sites serving different HTML based on the user-agent header will need to opt out by adding a meta tag to your page. The meta tag is:

<meta name=supported-media content=”only screen and (min-width: 640px)”>

For more details on the meta tags, see this help document.

What are signed exchanges. Google defines them as “Signed HTTP Exchange (or “SXG”) is a subset of the emerging technology called Web Packages, which enables publishers to safely make their content portable, i.e. available for redistribution by other parties, while still keeping the content’s integrity and attribution. Portable content has many benefits, from enabling faster content delivery to facilitating content sharing between users, and simpler offline experiences.”

This is a solution Google came up with when publishers wanted to use their real URLs to serve AMP.

Why we care. If you are using dynamic serving and want to use signed exchanges, there is nothing for you to do. If you are using dynamic serving and do not want to use signed exchanges, you can opt out with the meta tag. If you are using another set up, Google says there is nothing changing and nothing for you to do.

Google also said it will communicate to those who will be impacted by this what is happening. So keep an eye out on your inbox and/or your Google Search Console notices for any messaging about signed exchanges for desktop.

The post Google Search launching Signed Exchanges for desktop users appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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