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How to Do Local SEO During the Holidays

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We’ve all got our favorite holidays scattered throughout the year.

I know plenty of people who begin planning their next Halloween costumes on November 1.

Others wait all year for Black Friday to roll around to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

When it comes to local SEO around the holidays, that word “season” is paramount.

You know you want to boost your rankings, generate more online sales, and, most importantly, increase foot traffic in your brick-and-mortar for the holidays.

But you obviously can’t expect much of that to happen if you start marketing the weekend before the holiday.

Many customers out there push themselves to complete all their holiday shopping well before the special days themselves, and you’d better be ready to receive them when they come calling!

Luckily, the holiday seasons do afford business owners enough time to optimize their local SEO before the mad rush begins, but there are smart ways to go about this.

In this chapter, I’m going to detail some common-sense local SEO tips that can really help you take full advantage of the marketing opportunities that are the holidays!

I call these tips “common sense” specifically because you don’t have to be a digital-marketing guru to figure them out, but nonetheless, you may not have considered them before.

1. Ensure Your NAP Information Is Updated & Accurate

This one is a no-brainer, right?

Well, you might be surprised at how many local businesses I myself have searched online that didn’t reflect accurate NAPs (names, addresses, and phone numbers) or business hours, including holiday hours!

It is important to ensure this information is available and correct across all digital platforms, including:

  • Google My Business.
  • Social media.
  • Moz Local.
  • Any other local-business directories you use.

While you’re at it, make sure you also update any on-site landing pages that contain outdated company information.

You can see the problems that may arise from any of your business’s online information being wrong – customers:

  • Call an old phone number.
  • Travel to a location you moved out of years ago.
  • Show up when you’ve already closed for the day.

The trouble isn’t only that none of these actions would convert to a sale.

You are actually in danger of losing those customers forever, as they may develop a negative image of your brand and see your business as unreliable.

Taking the time to update and correct your NAP, business hours, and any other relevant company information will go a long way toward getting yourself into a prime organic-search position.

2. Optimize On-Page Content for Holiday Keywords

Another local holiday SEO guideline is to optimize your on-page content for holiday keywords.

Use Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, and SEMrush to see what keywords are driving users to your website, and what pages people are going to after they arrive.

It’s always important to remember that SEO is not an evergreen product.

“Holiday window decals” may have been a top-performing keyword for you last year, but many things may have changed in the last 365 days.

Maybe holiday decoration trends have changed.

Maybe there’s a brand new Easter decoration product out there that’s become the new craze in springtime window adornments.

You must stay current on seasonal keywords from year to year, or you’ll risk becoming stale, and users simply won’t find your site.

The other element to keep in mind here is that typical holiday shoppers likely have some idea of what they’re looking for.

Perhaps they’ve collected wish lists from their family members and are simply looking for a specific product from the company with the best price and most convenient location near them.

In that case, you may want to optimize your landing pages for a good mix of general holiday and brand-specific keywords that will lead organic searchers directly to your site.

3. Stand Out from the Crowd

As long as we are talking about standing out from your competitors, don’t forget that unique content alone can’t generate your holiday sales.

People will be more likely to bring their business to your website if the site itself is easy to use and appealing to look at.

Yes, you will need some solid, optimized content on your pages, but if the pages themselves are cluttered with flash material, ads, blocks of text, or problems with your JavaScript, it will neither load quickly nor look attractive.

And the data shows that problematic webpages tend to lead to higher bounce rates and, of course, reduced sales.

Instead, keep your webpages relatively simplistic, with visually striking images that do just about as much to communicate with your customers as your written content does.

The optimized content should be to-the-point and broken up visually to create a kind of hierarchy of images and words.

Users should immediately know where to look for the most relevant information, and each successive element should contrast with the element closest to it to make for a smooth flow of content segments.

A basic example: suppose your holiday decoration store is gearing up for the Fourth of July.

You may want to use a large image on your homepage that shows an assortment of picnic and patriotic items you offer for sale.

Then display some visually contrasting buttons that users can click on to access certain categories of decorations.

As an aside, remember to update your site with holiday-appropriate images and other visuals. Showing customers you are engaged with the current holiday season will make them feel good about buying from your store.

Keyword-optimized content near these visuals can use pleasant, succinct language to inform users of what is available and also link them to additional items in your inventory.

Just remember to keep things simple.

A novella-sized piece of content is neither needed nor wanted. Customers want to know what you have and why your website is the best place to buy it, be it for your large product selection or competitive prices.

4. Don’t Forget the ‘Local’ Factor

Remember when I called these holiday-themed local SEO tips “common sense”?

Nowhere is that more applicable than in this final pointer: to remember that you are a local business trying to optimize your online presence for local SEO.

While it’s important to make the online checkout process easy for internet users, you’re also going to have a significant percentage of the population that actually prefers shopping in-store than online.

In March, Forbes contributor Greg Petro cited a First Insight study finding that 71% of survey respondents stated they tend to spend $50 or more when shopping in a brick-and-mortar location, as compared to only 54% of respondents who said they usually spend $50 or more online.

Petro goes on to say this is likely due to the simple fact of the brick-and-mortar offering more of a human element to the shopping experience. And it’s hard to argue with that logic.

People like browsing in stores. You can see the latest products up close and personal. You can read their details and specs and hold them in your hands.

When you’re in-store, you are better able to see yourself owning that product, and you may very well become emotionally attached to it.

Given this human psychological dynamic, it is of the utmost importance that any and all website users know that you do in fact have a physical location.

I mentioned in the first point that your NAP has to be updated and accurate across all directory platforms and on your webpages.

You may want to consider having a separate “Contact Us” or “About Us” page to call attention to your location, provide all your contact information, and show an image of your store.

As far as actual SEO goes for emphasizing your local presence, use Google Analytics, Search Console, Keyword Planner, and SEMrush to find high-volume, long-tail keywords such as “madison wisconsin christmas trees” or “father’s day gifts carlsbad california.”

Then, of course, optimize your on-page content with such keywords, and do this well in advance of the holiday to give search engines time to pick up on your freshly revamped SEO.

Try to drive customers into your physical store with incentives such as an in-store-only coupon discount, or a limited-edition item available only to the first 100 customers through the doors on a given day.

Feel free to get creative with this. You are a local business and proud of it! Run with this fact.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen, there are numerous steps you can take to do local SEO during holiday seasons.

The steps range from the administrative, such as adjusting incorrect NAP information and updating your website with holiday themes, to the more cerebral, such as devising ways to become more noticeable among your competitors and getting online shoppers to visit your store.

If you’d like, you can also do yourself a PR favor by quoting some positive Google reviews of your business on your website (with permission) and responding positively to any online criticism and negative feedback.

Ensure that everyone who comes into contact with your business knows that you appreciate praise and care about complaints.

Take all these tips into account when optimizing your business for local SEO. Like I said at the outset, there’s no need to be a marketing mastermind.

Anyone can follow these steps, or at least understand them enough to request them of your digital marketing agency.

Just work hard at it, and you may see your holiday sales are better than they have ever been.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita



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Why behavior analysis is important online business

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30-second summary:

  • A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
  • In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
  • Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
  • MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.

In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.

Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Mobile analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Segmentation
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Cross-device tracking
  • In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
  • Goal conversion tracking
  • Event tracking
  • A/B testing

Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?

Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.

Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop

Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.

Cohort table for behavior analysis

The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.

Cohort Curve - Behavior analysis

This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.

Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct

The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.

Cohort - Organic vs Direct - Behavior analysis

 

Visitor behavior analysis and its importance

It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.

Screenshot - Mouseflow - Understanding visitors' behavior analysis

If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.

Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:

Screenshot - Mouseflow_Filters

In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.

 GA Behaviour Flow

The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.

Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.



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Top 15 Chrome extensions for social media marketers

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30-second summary:

  • When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper.
  • As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera.
  • Bhavik Soni shares a list of the top 15 Chrome extensions that will make social media marketers more productive, smart, and efficient.
  • These are categorized into extensions for – Productivity, research and tracking, content creation and implementation, and digital marketing. Dive in!

When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper. From simple theme-based to technical coding-related, the extension list in chrome is practically endless.

This extension-packed list also boasts a wide variety of efficient social media extensions that boost professionalism, punctuality, and productivity. And, who wouldn’t love a convenient free plugin that makes life easier!

As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera. These extension apps create a focus-orientated and organized work environment by keeping marketers updated on project developments, sending to-do reminders, enhancing content, and more.

In short, these install-and-use plugins act as the ace up their sleeves for social network marketers. They work as useful gadgets and trained assistants. They are the must-have social media marketing tools for every marketer.

You can optimize and make Google work for you in a jiffy by adding these 15 Chrome Extensions to your browser today.

Chrome Productivity Extensions

1. StayFocused: App block & website block google chrome extension

Designed to boost productivity, the StayFocused extension limits the amount of time you spend on vanity Googling. It offers the brute force you need somedays to anchor your focus to what’s more important.

Pricing:

Free

2. Momentum: Personal dashboard new tab chrome extension

Perhaps, Momentum is the best Chrome extension for productivity. It steers your focus from idle to important by motivating you with quotes, encouraging positivity with mantras, and inspiring with serene photography. Features like Daily Focus, To-Do, Countdowns, Metrics, Event Reminder and Links help you browse the internet with intent. What’s more? The plus version is available for just $3.33/month.

Pricing

$3.33/month

Research and tracking extensions

3. Diigo Web Collector: Highlighter and bookmarker for chrome

Diigo is a research chrome extension that lets you highlight important phrases, bookmark and save pages, write notes, and collect references at a single place. It comes in handy for social media marketers, who generally invest hours in R&D for planning a campaign, learning trends, and comparing the competitor’s strategy.

Pricing:

Free

4. Google Analytics URL Builder: Online UTM tracking

This is a tracking extension that lets you build UTM parameters. With the help of this plugin, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of the UTM tags used in the campaigns. Google Analytics URL Builder also allows you to share templates with others, saves time when you have to generate URLs manually, and shares progress with clients.

Pricing:

Free

5. Ghostery: Makes web cleaner, faster, and safer

Ghostery is designed to block ads and trackers, this productivity chrome extension makes a great social media marketing tool. With its help, you will be able to learn the trackers on the competitor’s sites that they use to attract, engage, and convert the visitors.

Pricing

$11.99 USD /month/user*

6. SpyFu: SEO and PPC tools for professionals

Yet another efficient tracker extension that lets you peek into the competitor’s site data. Spyfu reveals extensive information, including where the competitor appeared on Google in the past nine years. The social media marketing (SMM) plugin also shows all keywords bought on AdWords, every ad variation, and every organic rank for $33/month.

Pricing

$33/month

Content creation and implementation

7. Canva: Design is all around us

How social media advertising will perform relies a lot on visuals. Photo-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest yield better ROI than content-driven Twitter or Facebook. It is because photos get more engagement. To ensure you can make most of this social media trend, creating impressive and attention-grabbing posts become imperative. It is where Canva comes into the picture.

Pricing

Free

8. Figure it Out: Solve your time zone pain

A digital marketer works for clients and target audiences in different time zones. For them, Figure it Out proves to be a handy tool. It is an extension that lets you keep track of up to 10 time zones, and makes scheduling posts accordingly.

Pricing

Free and paid ($3/month)

9. WhatFont: Identify fonts on web pages

We get it, fonts are tricky. Download an app, and it gives you hundreds of fonts that are too similar-looking, too familiar, or too quirky for your campaign. One day you browse a site – may be a competitor’s – and find just the font you were looking for but have no clue which one it is.

That’s when WhatFont comes to the rescue. A single click and it reveals not only the name but also the family, style, weight, size, line height, and color of the font.

Pricing

Free

10. Unsplash Instant: Beautiful photos in your new tab

For every social media marketing post, there is a tedious task to find high-quality, professional stock pictures, usually for free. Unsplash Instant lets you find great photos ranging from flowers and skies to desktops and artsy portraits. You can save them for free and use it for all kinds of commercial use.

Pricing

Free

11. Colorzilla: Advanced colorful goodies

Colorzilla allows you to hover over any color shown on a webpage and learn about its hex code for future use in a social media ad post. With this plugin, you will be able to create consistent color themes, appealing visuals, and come up with perfect palettes.

Pricing

Free

12. Sniply: Drive conversion through content

Social media promotions through third-party content are more effective when they include a tempting call-to-action that takes the reader to your own online space. Sniply helps you make those conversion-generating posts by letting you add custom CTA to any piece of content. On the dashboard, the plugin will show how many clicks your links are getting and the level of engagement for tracking purposes.

Pricing

$29/month

Digital marketing extensions

13. IFTTT for Marketing and social media automation

IFTTT free digital marketing extension syncs multiple apps and automates them, thus saving a lot of time and effort. In simple terms, you could post a pic on a dozen different platforms all at once.

Pricing

Free

14. Buffer: Share content easily

With this social media extension, you will be able to schedule and manage posts across different platforms. Buffer will also let you follow up with analytics to track the performance of each post.

Pricing

$85/mo

15. LastPass: Free password manager

By downloading the LastPass Chrome extension, you will not need to remember dozens of passwords to each social media platform. This free password manager will do it for you. You could also create a master password through LastPass.

Pricing

Free

Let’s sum it up

Here’s a guide to 15 best Chrome extensions available for social media marketers. From saving bookmarks to managing posts and passwords, these plugins will work as assistants to digital professionals.

Note: Details like pricing are subject to change as per the respective tool provider.

Bhavik Soni is a Creative Writer at Auto Monkey. We provide an original analysis of the latest happenings in the social media industry. Connect with Latest Social Media Trends and News plus tips on Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools on the web.



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How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

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30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA-compliant) - Example

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.





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