89% of marketing professionals can’t be wrong. According to a survey conducted by Ascend2, 89% of professional marketers said SEO is an effective strategy for driving traffic to their website, moving up the search rankings, and ultimately, growing the business. 

In a world where anyone can become an expert by watching YouTube videos, SEO is a skill that requires experience. 

If your attempt at making Steak Charlemagne ends with you ordering pizza delivery, only your ego is affected. But when your SEO strategy doesn’t deliver the expected results, you lose opportunities to place your business, its products and services, in front of prospective customers. 

Here are 5 reasons why you need to consult an SEO expert for your business.

1. Get the Desired Results From Your SEO Efforts

To be clear, hiring an SEO expert will not guarantee results. At least not right away. SEO is a strategy that involves different processes and it takes time for these processes to click together and produce the intended outcomes. 

Think of SEO as a machine that has many moving parts. These parts include:

  • Website mobile responsiveness
  • Proper meta, image, and title tag descriptions
  • Webpage speed
  • Keyword research
  • High-quality content
  • Keyword integration
  • Link building
  • Pay-per-click advertising

You simply cannot handle all of these key areas of responsibility yourself!

An SEO expert is a professional who has enough experience under his belt to organize these moving parts and get them running efficiently. 

Whether you hire an individual or an agency, an SEO expert has a team made up of experts in each key area of responsibility. 

The SEO professional functions like a project manager. He’s focused on achieving your goal, staying within the budget, and providing high-quality work. For these reasons, he assembles a team of talent he can trust. 

The team SEO would usually include the following skills: a website developer,  a few content writers, a keyword researcher, a graphic designer, and a social media marketer.

2. Because Mistakes Can Be Costly

As mentioned above, SEO will not guarantee results right away. It will take time. Even the most well-thought-out SEO strategy will have its share of kinks and flaws. 

An SEO expert will track and monitor the performance of the current SEO strategy. He will identify the processes that are not delivering results and use data to find out if these processes can still be improved or if they should be replaced. 

By staying on top of the strategy, the SEO pro can put it on the straight and narrow while assuring that you get a good ROI on your investment. He will recommend allocating more resources to the processes that are delivering results and set aside funding for new platforms for content distribution. 

You can say that an SEO expert doesn’t only optimize your content, but also your marketing budget! 

Why? Because mistakes can be costly in terms of foregone opportunities and reputation. 

Here are 3 examples of how some of our clients lost money on ill-planned SEO strategies:

  • Client A hired writers who didn’t know how to optimize content and delivered articles that averaged over 2,000 words. The client spent hundreds of dollars for content that couldn’t be found and indexed by the search engine bots. 
  • Client B built his website from a free WordPress template. He ended up with a website that wasn’t functioning properly, had poorly written content, and images and tags that weren’t optimized for search engines. 
  • Client C added links to his content but didn’t conduct the audit necessary to find out if the web pages he linked to were still active or existing. Likewise, he didn’t keep track of webpage downloading speed that had significantly slowed down. 

In each case, the client lost opportunities to drive traffic to his website. The more visitors go to your website, the higher the probability of generating leads that can potentially be converted into sales.

The clients also risked the reputation of their brand. 

If visitors can’t download your webpage in under 3 seconds, they’ll click out and go to your competitors. If someone lands on your website and can’t find what he’s looking for, he’ll leave the page right away. 

If your content isn’t engaging, informative, useful, and is poorly-written with meandering paragraphs, errors in spelling, and grammar, your brand, and reputation will get tarnished. 

The scoreboard will read Your Competition: 1, Your Business: 0.

SEO for Your Business

3. Allocate Productive Time on Your Business

Let’s assume YOU’RE the SEO expert. You’ve taken courses and have been certified as a professional who’s qualified to do SEO. You know how to optimize your website and content – but you run a business consultancy company that provides services to a wide range of industries. 

Should you do SEO yourself or hire an expert?

We recommend hiring an SEO expert because your time is best spent managing tasks that add dollars and cents to your bank account. It’s better to provide consultation services to clients that generate US$400 per hour than spend 2 hours per day writing optimized content. 

More so for entrepreneurs who don’t have the knowledge or experience doing SEO. Not only will you lose productive hours trying to manage your SEO strategy, but as mentioned in the previous section, mistakes can be costly and risky for your business.

4. SEO Constantly Evolves

SEO is both a science and an art. It’s a science because SEO uses digital tools that automate processes, improve efficiency, and provide real-time data to measure results. 

But SEO is also an art. How these tools and processes are used depends on the type of business, goals, and content to be produced. 

For example, blogs such as this one are more conscientious of keyword usage. If you notice, we use synonyms a lot. Instead of using the keyword “SEO Expert”, we would alternatively use “SEO Professional”, “SEO Pro”, or “SEO Professional.” 

Also, we’d add the keyword SEO to “business” and “strategy” because these keywords could originate from different searches.

In contrast, a product review guide might perform much better in the search engine rankings if it’s packed with the same keywords. The reason is that the blog is more informative and the product review guide is intended to sell. 

The product review guide includes:

  • Detailed product descriptions
  • Detailed product specifications
  • Pros and cons
  • Customer reviews
  • Editor’s rating

These sections will require the same high-ranking keywords that customers will use to search for the product. 

It used to be that SEO practitioners were more conscientious about the frequency of keyword usage, but based on our experience, the level of keyword density would depend on the type of content to be created. 

As consumer behavior changes, so will the application of various tools and optimization principles when developing an SEO strategy. 

This is the job of an SEO professional – to keep track of changes in the behavior and preferences of consumers as well as to stay updated on developments in the industry. 

5. Keep Up With the Competition

According to a study by Deloitte, the budget for digital marketing increased by 11.5% in 2021 despite businesses incurring heavy losses. 

73.8% of the investments businesses made in digital marketing were focused on optimizing their website while 65% spent on strategies that improve search rankings. 

When your business is losing money, you want to recover by working on your business, not for your business. 

Businesses hired professional digital marketing agencies to design, develop, implement, and track their campaigns so that they can spend more time getting their respective enterprises moving again. 

Your competitors are doing it – hiring SEO agencies or professionals – to get their businesses found on the Internet and to drive more traffic to their websites. If they’re doing it, so should you. 

Doing what your competitors do isn’t a case of following the leader. It’s about mitigating the risks of making costly mistakes by going DIY with your SEO strategy and maintaining productive work hours. 

Conclusion

Let’s get real. When it comes to SEO, leave it to the experts. 

Yes, hiring an SEO expert means shelling out cash to pay for professional services. Going DIY might save you money but by making your business a testing ground for YouTube acquired skills, you’re essentially gambling on your SEO strategy. 

Done correctly, SEO is an investment that will pay out big dividends for your business. 

Do it once, do it right! Give us a call and we’ll get your SEO strategy back on track. Our team has the best web developers, content writers, and graphic designers. Find out first-hand how we helped our clients get more traffic on their website and climb up the search rankings. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

Since 2014, the main players in the Information Technology industry from search engines to software developers and web designers have actively promoted the need to make websites mobile responsive. This was in response to the growing influence and presence of mobile technology in the lives of consumers and the conduct of business. 

Fast-forward to the present as the world enters the third decade of the new millennium, and the industry has taken on a different advocacy: to make websites more accessible.

What Does Website Accessibility Mean And Why Is It Important?

A website is deemed accessible when it features technology that makes its features useful and pages navigable to persons with disabilities. The drive for website accessibility is a call for the Internet to be accessible to everyone and create an inclusive community that doesn’t discriminate against disabled persons. 

To not include the needs of the disabled when designing a website further adds to their disabilities. It’s not just the able-bodied who want to find and access information about business, employment, healthcare, and more. 

Website accessibility gives persons with disabilities a better chance of finding opportunities and becoming more productive members of society. 

Likewise, disabled persons can provide YOU with business opportunities as well. Many disabled persons have found successful careers in the corporate world as employees or entrepreneurs. 

They might be looking for third parties that offer products and services the company needs. Your business might just be the one they’re looking for! But they can’t find you if your website isn’t accessible. 

That said, prioritizing website accessibility is in line with the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – having your website found by your target audience with or without disabilities. 

The American Disabilities Act Of 2010 And What It Means For Your Website

If Google’s warning in 2015 that websites that aren’t mobile responsive would be penalized in the search rankings got you moving, this time if your website isn’t accessible, you’ll be dealing with the U.S. government. 

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2010 was promulgated by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010. According to the ADA, companies that invest in electronic and digital technology including websites will be required to undertake the necessary steps to make these technologies accessible and useful for people with disabilities. 

Which organizations are required to follow the ADA?

  • Government agencies of the United States, both state and federal.
  • Private companies that have 15 or more employees on their payroll.
  • Businesses that cater to the needs of the public.

What happens if your website doesn’t comply with the ADA?

For one thing, your company can be exposed to lawsuits filed by persons with disabilities. Even if it wasn’t your intention to make your website inaccessible to those with disabilities, you might be accused of discrimination and end up paying thousands of dollars in damages. 

The U.S. government might penalize you with a US$150,000 fine for not adhering to the ADA. You might argue that you built your website on a WordPress platform and WordPress has stated that its websites are accessible. 

But if you customized certain features of your WordPress website, you might have compromised its accessibility.

Guidelines For ADA Compliant Websites

To comply with the ADA, let’s refer to the guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG 2.0. 

Essentially, your website should have features that adhere to the 4 principles of WCAG.2.0:

  1. Perceivable – All site visitors must be able to perceive the types of content available on your website – Images, videos, and text to name a few. You must provide options for site visitors who cannot read or listen to your content. 
  1. Operable – All visitors to your website must be able to navigate around pages and operate its features. 
  1. Understandable – The instructions on your website must be understandable by all visitors. These instructions might include how to fill out contact forms or how to access the built-in calculator.
  1. Robust – This principle requires that all users of your website must get the same level of experience regardless of how the content is delivered. If you applied certain processes to improve delivery, the quality of the content must not be compromised. 

Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to apply these principles to make your website accessible. The WCAG made it easier for businesses to follow by providing different levels of accessibility:

  • Level A – The website is accessible to some users.
  • Level AA – The website is accessible to almost all users.
  • Level AAA – the website is accessible to all users.

Many compliance experts recommend having your website meet the requirements for Level AA accessibility. 

WebsiteSecurity.Protection.Monitoring

4 Ways To Check Website Accessibility

Now that you know about the importance of website accessibility, how do you check if your site is compliant with the ADA? 

Here are 4 tools that you can use to check if your website is accessible to persons with disabilities.

1. WAVE

WAVE is the acronym for Website Accessibility Evaluation tool. It’s not a WordPress plugin and instead, was developed by WebAIM, a company that’s focused on developing technology that makes content more accessible to disabled persons. 

To know if your website is accessible, simply go to the WAVE home page and type in the URL that you want the program to check. After the program runs its check on the web page, a sidebar will appear that summarizes its findings. 

WAVE will list down the errors, flaws, and shortcomings that make the particular web page inaccessible.

Unfortunately, you can’t download the results in report form. It’s safe to assume that the results on the web page you ran a check on will apply to the rest of the pages on your website.

2. Accessibility Suite

Have you heard of Section 508? It is an accessibility law that applies to federal or government agencies instead of private corporations. Section 508 mandates that federal agencies use and maintain technologies that can be accessed by people with disabilities.

Accessibility Suite is a WordPress plugin that can scan your site for Section 508 compliance. In addition, installing Accessibility Suite has other benefits for your website.

Unlike WAVE, with Accessibility Suite, you can download and share the results of the scan. The program will also offer suggestions on how to rectify the problems found on your website and make it ADA compliant. Lastly, the results can be stored and used as references to monitor the website’s performance. 

3. WP Accessibility Helper

WP Accessibility Helper is a WordPress plugin that can scan your website for compliance issues and offer analysis on what you can do to improve its level of accessibility. 

Likewise, WP Accessibility Helper has built-in tools to help you implement improvements that can make your website more readable and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities. 

However, the program doesn’t guarantee that following its recommendations and using its tools will make your website ADA compliant. For that, WP Accessibility Helper recommends that you hire the services of a compliance professional. 

4. WP ADA Compliance Check Basic

WP ADA Compliance Check Basic is a program that does exactly as it’s described. It can conduct a check on your website and evaluate its level of accessibility. This plugin has a feature that can be enabled to automatically perform improvements based on its findings. 

Similar to Accessibility Suite, you can download a copy of the program’s website audit. The paid version of the program can be expensive and entail a one-time fee that can range from US$150 to US$4,950.  If you opt for the free version, the scan will be good for up to 25 pages. 

Conclusion

If you’ve decided to make your website accessible to persons with disabilities, installing any one of these plugins will put you on the right track. The plugin will scan your website for design features and functions that hinder accessibility and provide suggestions for the necessary improvements. 

However, as we mentioned, these suggestions won’t make your website fully compliant with the ADA. Also, there are a few things to consider before installing a plugin.

First, you have to be sure that the version of the plugin that you plan to install is updated. Second, some plugins are designed with features that could affect the functionality of your website. And third, if the plugin does have features that affect website performance, you have to be 100% certain that the developer can help resolve these issues. 

A better option for you would be to hire a professional web developer to redesign your website and make it 100% ADA compliant. The agency can run a thorough analysis of your website and implement the necessary changes to improve its accessibility according to ADA guidelines. 

The good news is that we can do this for you! At Mountaintop Web Design, we have experience working with clients who need to be sure their websites are ADA-compliant. 

We’ll run a scan and let you know exactly what must be done to confirm with the ADA’s compliance guidelines. Give us a call or drop an email and let’s set a schedule to audit your website.  

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and associates who also need to know if their website is fully accessible. 

WebsiteStandOut

Our readers who were around when newsstands and bookstores were commonplace know what it was like looking for the best publication among a sea of titles. 

Books and magazines would fight for your attention by coming up with compelling and thought-provoking tags or catchphrases. Chances are you’ll choose the one that resonates with you the most. 

In this age of the Internet, title tags serve the same purpose. But first, your content has to be found by the search bots. Optimizing your title tags will help your content get noticed by the bots and indexed as relevant for Internet searches. 

What Is A Title Tag And Why Is It Important?

A title tag is an element of HTML that establishes the title of your web page. Title tags appear on the search results page as the headline that users click on after running a search inquiry. 

Title tags are important for the following reasons:

  • Help search engines understand what your webpage is about.
  • Create an immediate impression on the user about your webpage. 
  • Encourage the user to click on your URL.
  • Enhance the manner in which your URL is displayed when shared in social media and the web browser.

Optimizing your title tags is important because users want to find answers to their search queries as fast as possible. 

9 Best Practices To Optimize Your Title Tags 

If your title tags aren’t properly optimized to be found right away, the user won’t click on your URL even if it ranks high on the SERP. 

Here are 9 best practices that will help you optimize your title tags to get the desired results. 

1. Use the Right Title Tag Format

Consider using the following formats:

  • Primary Keyword|Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword & Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword- Click-through Optimization Phrase|Brand Name

These formats allow you to present short and descriptive title tags that match the average length of search queries. Use hyphens (-), colons (:), or straight pipes (|) to separate phrases and words.  

You can also use characters like ampersand (&), comma (,), period (.), plus sign (+), exclamation point (!), and question mark (?).  Using separators, characters, and punctuation will improve the readability of your title tags.

2. Be Mindful of the Length of your Title Tags

Search engines cut off long title tags by inserting ellipsis (…). Your Titles will lose their impact if they get cut midway.  To avoid title tag truncation, limit the length to 50-60 characters. 

Google also takes into consideration the pixel width of your title tags. The maximum width allowed is 600 pixels. Take note that some characters occupy more space such as wide letters and all Caps.

If your title tag is too short, search engines such as Google will use one of your headings instead.  Your title tag should have at least 30 characters or 285 pixels.

Make sure to use online pixel width checking tools to test your title tag length. Remember, keep your title tags brief, descriptive, and in sync with your page content.

3. Place The Most Important Keywords at the Beginning of Your Title Tags

Users tend to scan only the first three words of title tags so your primary keywords should be placed in their first line of sight. 

This will generate better traffic and increase click-through rates (CTR) because your title tag will immediately gain users’ interest.

Also, the right placement of the most important keywords will prevent them from getting cut off in SERPs when your title tag exceeds the length limit.  

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

4. Come Up With Unique Titles for Each Page 

Create a unique title tag for every page on your site. Your titles should give readers a clear idea of what the page content is all about. It can be a taxing process but it leaves a positive impact on search engines.

Unique title tags for each page help search engines identify your content as fresh and valuable. Duplicating title tags will only confuse users and search engines.

Do not use auto-generated or generic title tags because search engines will assume that you have duplicate content on your website.  It will also decrease the number of clicks because this kind of title tag does not elicit interest.  

Avoid repeating targeted keywords across multiple pages on your site because your pages will go up against each other for rankings. As a result, the CTR and conversion rates of the pages with similar or the same targeted keywords will drop.

5. Go Easy on The Keywords

One of the most common SEO missteps is keyword stuffing – placing multiple keywords and variations of keywords in the title tag.  People often think that this practice will result in higher search engine rankings.

However, search engines can quickly identify different versions of keywords so it is pointless to stuff them all in your title tag. If your title tags are too crammed, search engines will cut them off or rewrite them.

6. Feature Your Brand in Your Title Tags

Including your brand in your title tag can do wonders to your CTR especially if it is already well-known. Users will click if they see a familiar brand attached to the title tag.  

Whenever you can, fit your brand in your title tag whether it’s popular or not.  Featuring your brand in your title tags is a good opportunity to establish brand recognition.  

Besides, Google recommends the inclusion of the brand name in your website’s home page title.   

We suggest that you add your brand to the end of your title tag. Remember to keep your title within the 60 characters length limit so that your brand name will not get cut off.

7. Use Action Verbs

Using action verbs is an effective method of prompting searchers to take a desired action. If you go over the SERPs, the title tags that entice clicks are the ones with action verbs.

Choose action verbs that are relevant to your page content.  For example, use “Learn” if your content aims to inform or instruct.  Use “Buy” if a new product or service awaits users.

Here are some good examples of call-to-action words you can use in your titles:

  • Access
  • Buy
  • Download
  • Discover
  • Get
  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Read
  • Search
  • Take

Keep in mind that users will be turned off if they do not find what they expect to see on your page.  

For example, if you write “free download” in your title tag, make sure that the users will be able to get it when they read your page.  If they do not see what they clicked for, they will immediately leave your site.  

8. Keep Your Target Customers in Mind 

Write for your target consumers. Think of keywords and action verbs that will draw them in. Do not discount the importance of a well-written title tag. 

If you just jumbled words without thinking of how the searchers will react to it, your click-through rate will suffer.

Use your title tag to stir interest and to send a clear description of your content.  Take time to research keywords that can woo users to go to your site.

Keep in mind that the SERP is a very competitive platform. For your site to rank well you need to align your SEO strategies with the searcher’s intent. Give them click-worthy title tags, valuable page content, and a good user experience.  

9. Use Numbers

Title tags with numbers get higher click rates because they stand out more.  Numbers naturally trigger our brains to understand better because they are precise and quantifiable.  

Users are impatient and they want fast search results. When they see numbers they get the impression that they will find what they are looking for.

Marketers claim that title tags with odd numbers get clicked on more than even-numbered titles.  While this is just a claim, marketers have the experience to see the options that work best. Test the theory by using odd numbers on your title tags. 

Conclusion

With close to 2 billion websites on the Internet, you need every advantage to get found by your target audience. Your SEO strategy must be on point and tick off all the boxes. 

Title tags play an important role in getting your content noticed right away. Internet users are not patient and you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention. 

Follow the 9 best practices to optimize your title tags and you could be on your way to a higher search ranking.

Better still, give us a call or send an email and we’ll do it for you. We’re more than just professional web designers. Optimization is a service we’ve successfully provided to our clients for the past few years. 

Let’s schedule a quick call and get you started!

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

SEO for Your Business

For many entrepreneurs, 2020 was not a great year. It will be remembered as the year a virus caused a pandemic that shut down the world and changed the way we lived and worked. 

Since 2014 there has been a steady shift toward Internet-based businesses that accommodated mobile technology. The events of 2020 accelerated the shift from 0 to 60. 

Entrepreneurs that recognized this, have invested in strategies that will capitalize on opportunities on the Internet. And one of the investments that’s expected to pay big-time dividends in 2021 is SEO.

What Is SEO And Why Is It Important In 2021?

How did you find this article?

According to a study by BrightEdge, there’s a 53.3% chance that you found our blog after running a Google search. You probably ran the following search queries on Google:

  • Invest SEO 2021
  • SEO investment 2021
  • Why invest SEO 2021
  • SEO business investment 2021
  • Why invest SEO business 2021

In comparison, paid ads and social media only accounted for 14% and 5% of all website traffic respectively.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of developing strategies that utilize various techniques and tactics with the goal of giving a website a boost up the organic search rankings. 

“Optimization” in SEO means increasing the visibility of your content to the search engines. One technique that SEO practitioners use to optimize content is by embedding it with high-ranking keywords. By optimizing your content, web crawlers can find and index your pages. 

When an Internet user launches a search query with the keywords you used to optimize your content, the search engine can pull your web page and include it in the search results page. 

Over time and with consistency in your optimization strategies, your website may find itself in the top 3 spots on the first page of the search results page. 

How important is it to rank in the top 3 of the SERP?

According to a landmark study by Digital Ad Agency Chitika, the top 3 URLs in the SERP accounts for 61.5% of all search traffic for that particular topic search. 

The number one spot accounts for 32.5%!

You can read up more about SEO in our article “The Basics of SEO”.  

Take note that the study of BrightEdge was done in 2019 – a full year away from the 2020 pandemic. 

We’re sure that if BrightEdge updated their study to reflect consumer online behavior in 2020, the numbers would be much different. 

A study by Skyword showed that organic search traffic dramatically increased last March 2020 when the world entered into lockdown. 

In particular, the following industries experienced a massive surge in online traffic:

  • Healthcare – 358%
  • Consumer Goods and Services – 83%
  • Consumer Media – 61%
  • Business Services and Consulting – 47%

Does this mean that businesses that aren’t in these industries shouldn’t expect to reap dividends from their investments in SEO?

No, because overall Internet usage has increased by 70% since the lockdown. More consumers are going online to find products and services that address their needs. 

The ballgame has changed. The playing field is now on the Internet. Are you ready to play digital ball? For sure your competition is. 

SEO Vs. Paid Ads – Which One Is Better For Your Business In 2021?

Have you met with digital advertising agencies? For those who have, some of you may have noticed that when discussing a digital marketing strategy, the agency will tend to push for paid ads over SEO. 

This is because paid ads generate quick results. If you want to drive traffic to your website immediately, PPC or Pay-Per-Click ads will do the job for you. Once someone clicks on your ad, he will find himself on your landing page. 

In contrast, SEO strategies take time because it focuses on organic or natural growth. 

Think of your content as a seed that’s planted on various locations on the Internet – website, social media, newsletters, and guest blogs. Optimization strategies will help the content take root while your content branches out to people who will recognize and appreciate the fruits it bears. 

Meanwhile, there are many reasons why a person might click on your PPC ad:

  • Need
  • Curiosity
  • Attracted by the Design
  • Accident

Compared to a blog, a video, or an infographic, the information that can be fitted on a PPC ad is very limited. He might visit your website but eventually be disinterested and just opt to log out. 

Therefore, while paid ads may generate quick results these results may not be sustainable or represent your desired outcome. 

With SEO, you’re building relationships with your audience. As you become more consistent in creating and distributing optimized content, in time, you will develop a strong reputation and encourage more consumers to trust your brand. 

While the results take time, the results are sustainable and reflect your desired outcome. 

Research firm, Conductor, performed a study on how various digital channels drove traffic to websites. The results showed that when it comes to driving inbound traffic, SEO is king.

  • Organic Search – 64%
  • Referral Visits – 15%
  • Direct Visits – 12%
  • Paid Ads – 6%
  • Social Visits – 2%

Now, let’s factor in cost. 

Cost Variables in Paid Advertising

What does a paid ad campaign look like in the age of digital?

A typical digital ad campaign will include the following strategies and processes:

  • PPC ads
  • Guest posts 
  • Blogs and vlogs by micro-influencers
  • Endorsement arrangements with macro-influencers

The cost of the PPC ad will depend on the keywords you are bidding on. Although you pay only when someone clicks on the ad,  in order to generate better results, and improve positioning, you’ll have to pay more and run the campaign longer. 

Micro-influencers are individuals with social media platforms that have followers in the upper hundreds of thousands or millions. Macro-influencers are celebrities who are willing to endorse products or services.

Arrangements with influencers can be very expensive but if you land a deal with a reputable influencer and carry out an effective campaign, then you could end up with a windfall. 

The reported ROI on influencer marketing is US$5.20 for every US$1 invested.

Conversely, land a bad arrangement, and your business could be in big trouble! 

Likewise, your consumers could be sensitive to your influencers. For the reason that the arrangement is paid, the endorsement might not be perceived as sincere. The question for you is to figure out if the cost – and risk –  is worth it. 

The Cost Variables of SEO/Organic Search Campaign

The cost of running an organic search campaign is generally lower and more manageable. To streamline costs, you can write your own blogs and utilize free online channels such as social media and search directories to distribute content. 

The objective of content marketing is to drive traffic to your website so you can capture leads, and potentially convert interest into future sales. 

The generated leads will be used for your email marketing campaign. Every month, you’ll send at least one newsletter to your subscribers. The content of these newsletters should have great value to the recipient. 

You have to factor in the cost of the email marketing service provider and of course, the cost of your giveaways to get the website visitor to surrender his email address. 

The ROI for email marketing is even higher than influencer marketing at a reported US$44 for every US$1 spent

That’s 4,400% ROI! 

For your organic search strategies to succeed and deliver the targeted results, you must consistently create high-quality, well-researched, and properly optimized content. 

To achieve this, you may have to hire the services of experienced content creators. Even if you have the experience and required training for optimized content writing, we advise you to outsource the task so you can allocate more time to managing the core functions of your business.

If you consider that organic search strategies are more affordable and generate better results than the more expensive and less sustainable paid ads, then investing in SEO is the smarter move in 2021. 

Conclusion

If you’re willing to grind it out, SEO will be one of your best investments – if not the best digital marketing investment in 2021. 

Many businesses want short-term results and allocate more resources to paid advertising. They want an immediate return and hear the cash registers ringing. That’s to be expected and understood. 

However, the results might not be sustainable, and in the long-run, you’ll end up spending more while experiencing diminishing returns. 

As a business, you want your short-term goals to support your long-term objective. SEO can do this for you by building strong relationships with your audience and customers. 

Be patient. Remain persistent. Keep pushing! 

The results will soon come!

If you’re serious about growing your business organically, give us a call. The prestigious B2B website, UpCity has recognized some of our blogs as the best in Digital Marketing and small business marketing.

Let us do the same for you!

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Getting your SEO game on point is more than just optimizing content through keywords or coming up with a mobile responsive and user-friendly website. You want to make sure the search engines have a clear idea of what your website is about so it can index your content and put up your web page on the results page. One area of SEO that has been overlooked by digital marketers is the importance of HTML tags. 

What Are HTML Tags?

HTML tags are components of code that are used in the back-end development of a website. The purpose of HTML tags is to help search engines read and understand your website content. 

HTML tags became overlooked by SEO practitioners because they believed search engines had evolved or gotten smarter to a point that diminished the value of the tags. 

Because research had shown that 70% of traffic was generated by organic search, SEO practitioners focused their efforts – and the digital marketing budget – on offsite SEO techniques such as content creation, social media marketing, and email marketing. 

While this is definitely a step in the right direction, HTML tags are actually a good fit in that strategy.

If your content has high-ranking keywords and meets the criteria of Google – no keyword stuffing and a keyword density of 2% or lower – web crawlers will be able to find it. 

When a web crawler finds your content it will look for the HTML tags on your website to help it understand your website and how to categorize your content. 

Thus, with HTML tags, you have another tool that will help your website connect with the right audience – those who really need your products or services. 

7 HTML Tags Essential For SEO

Now that you’re well aware of what HTML tags are, let’s discuss the 7 best HTML tags and how they can optimize your website. 

1. Title Tags

As professional web developers, we recommend that the Title Tag should be number one on your list of essential HTML tags.

To move up the search rankings, the search engines should know what your content is about. The Title Tag does this job for you. It makes it easy for search engines to understand the content of a specific web page. 

Your web page is presented on the search results page as a Title Tag. Think of it as a headline that catches your eye and makes you want to click on the URL. 

But first, it must be found. Therefore, your Title Tag must be optimized by containing the keyword that you want to rank for. 

That’s why when we create blogs for our clients or for our website, the main keyword is always included in the title. In this article, we are trying to rank for the keywords “HTML Tags” and “SEO”. 

2. Meta Description Tags

The Title Tag and the Meta Description Tag should be 1 and 2 on your list of essential HTML tags for SEO. 

These 2 tags work hand-in-hand and are complementary to each other. Let’s assume you made a click-worthy Title Tag. You might entice an Internet user to click on your URL but chances are, he will pause before taking the desired action.

During that pause, he will come across your Meta Tag – a brief description of what your web page is about.  The Meta Tag description should answer this question in the mind of the Internet user:

“Is this what I was looking for?”

Likewise, the Meta Tag must be optimized by containing the same keywords as the Title Tag. 

To learn more about how to make effective Meta Tag descriptions, check out our recent blog “6 Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Your Meta Descriptions”.

3. Header Tags

Here’s a stat that will help you understand why Header Tags are important for SEO:

55% of web page visitors only spend 15 seconds reading your content.

With that little time, Internet users are not reading – but skimming your content. The statistic highlights the importance of creating content that’s easy to read. 

Headers make your content easier to read by breaking it down into sections. The Header tag informs the reader what the section is about. 

Header tags are differentiated as H1, H2, and H3. Where, when, and how do you use these tags?

  • H1 – Reserved for the title; presented as boldface and uses the largest font size. 
  • H2 – The section gives the reader a description of what the title is about. In this article, our H2 defines what HTML tags are about to help our readers get a better understanding of the concept before digging deeper into the content.
  • H3 – Discusses the topic. Thus, after defining what HTML tags are about, we go into the meat and potatoes of the article, the 7 HTML tags that are essential for SEO.
  • H4 – Supports the points discussed in H3. In this blog, the H4 is the Conclusion and sums up the main points discussed. 

As you work down the header tags the font size becomes smaller but still remains boldfaced. In some long-form blogs, the writer includes an H4 and H5. 

4. Image Alt Tags

Here’s a statistic that supports having Image Alt Tags:

Content that includes graphics or images generates 94% more views.

Image Alt Tags are important because search engines cannot interpret the messages of the images that you use for your content. 

An Image Alt Tag informs the search engine what your image is about.

For example, if you have an image of a person grilling steak, the image alt tag would give the following information to Google:

<image src=”grilling.jpg” alt=”grilling steak”>

In this case, the alt image tag is letting Google know that the image embedded on the blog is of someone grilling a steak.

Without an Image Alt Tag, the power of your image to bring in more views will be greatly diminished.

5. Anchor Text Tags

Linking to websites that you use as references is a great way to enhance the credibility of your blog. It validates the statistics, figures, and other key information presented that you’ve used to support your topic. 

Search engines are wary about the links used on a webpage. There are content creators who stuff a page with links that aren’t relevant to the topic. 

Anchor Text Tags will help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding on the links you used because this type of tag will inform the search engines on what the links are all about.

The use of Anchor Text Tags also creates reciprocity with the websites you link with and improves their search rankings as well. 

6. Meta Robots Tags

A Meta Robots Tag establishes the ground rules on how web crawlers index your web page. Not all of your rules should be obligatory. Some should “suggest” to the web crawlers how you prefer they perform their functions when crawling your content. 

Will the web crawlers comply? Some won’t but the good news is that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will. 

Meta Robots Tags have 2 characteristics:

  • The Meta Robots Tag should specify the web crawler by its name. For example, Google’s web crawler is called Googlebot.
  • The provisions of the Meta Robots Tag should support your preferences and goals. For example, there might be pages that you don’t want the web crawlers to index. 

Conclusion

If you’re consistently publishing high-quality content that is optimized with the right keywords, then you’re on the right track to move up the search rankings. 

But don’t stop there. 

There’s more to optimization than just the smart use of high ranking keywords. Offsite SEO is just one part of a holistic optimization strategy. Use HTML tags to further enhance the visibility of your website. 

As the Internet grows in size and influence, you need every advantage to stay ahead of the competition. 

We hope you were enlightened by our discussion on HTML tags. Give us a call and we can set up the HTML tags for your website. 

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends. 

When you hear the term “SEO” chances are the first word that comes to mind is “keywords”. And that’s perfectly alright because the smart use of keywords is an important part of the strategy of getting your website optimized for search engines. People regularly search for content and without high-ranking keywords, your content won’t be found – no matter how well-written it is.

But is the strategic use of keywords the only crucial component of optimizing a website for search? SEO is a process that involves a variety of techniques to make your website more visible on the Internet. These techniques are all related to optimizing content. 

A lesser-known component of optimization is the aspect that deals with non-content related issues. This component is called Technical SEO. By focusing on both SEO and Technical SEO components, you will have a holistic strategy that will cover all the bases of website optimization. 

7 Important Tips To Improve Your Website’s Technical SEO Strategy In 2020

Technical SEO addresses the technical issues of your website that run contrary to the ranking factors included in Google’s search algorithm. Generally, Technical SEO focuses on 3 main considerations of your website:

  • Security
  • Site Speed
  • Crawlability

At Mountaintop, we perform a Technical SEO audit on our clients’ websites to find out if these 3 areas of concern are on point. 

A Technical SEO report will identify the possible factors that could affect the expected outcomes of your content optimization strategy. 

Here are 7 important tips that you can implement to improve your Technical SEO strategy in 2020.

1. Improve Page Loading Time

From personal experience, how long do you wait for a web page to load before abandoning the search? 

According to a study by Kissmetrics, Internet users expect a web page to load in under 2 seconds when using a PC and faster than 3 seconds with a mobile device. 40% of Internet users surveyed reported that they would abandon the search if the web page takes too long to load.

A slow-loading web page can become a double-whammy for your web page. First, site speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. Second, if more people are abandoning the search, your website’s bounce rate will increase – which will get you flagged again by Google.

To know for sure if your webpage is loading fast enough for your visitors, go to a site speed test site such as WebPageTest.org and have it tested. 

2. Address Issues On Mixed Content

Hyperlinking data, figures, and other forms of information to their references is a great way to build credibility for your content and drive traffic to your site.  However, some of these references could be websites that aren’t secured by SSL certificates.

If your website has SSL certificates, having links to content from websites that aren’t secured with SSL certificates will cause search ranking problems due to having mixed content. 

A site visitor will see a mixed content warning appear on his browser. Here’s an example of a mixed content warning:

“Your connection to this site is not fully secure.”

Even if a visitor sees the padlock symbol preceding your URL, chances are he will click out of your website rather than risk exploring a page that isn’t safe and secure. 

A quick Technical SEO audit can reveal these pages with links to websites without SSL certificates. Removing these links will help fix the problem and have your website visitors feeling safe when they land on your page.

3. Remove Toxic Backlinks

From unsecured links to toxic backlinks!

Backlinking or having other websites link to your web page is a great SEO strategy for driving traffic to your website. 

But if the backlinking website is spammy, irrelevant to your content, or outright violates Google’s quality guidelines on linking practices, the site is considered toxic and you should immediately remove or disavow it from your website.

Getting rid of these spurious links is easier said than done. The usual approach is to simply reach out to these websites and ask them to remove the links to your website. 

For the most part, these websites will not comply with your request. The next recourse would be to report the situation to Google by submitting a reconsidering request via the Search Console. 

From here, prepare the list of backlinks that you want to remove and submit them to the Google Disavowal Tool. 

4. Secure Your Site With SSL Certificates

We mentioned SSL Certificates earlier and we’ve written extensively about the subject. 

Given the ever-present threat of cyber-theft, seeing the padlock symbol before your URL will be a welcome sign for your website visitors. Trust us when we say the first thing a visitor looks for when he lands on a website is THAT padlock symbol.

Without SSL Certificates, Google and the other search engines will mark your website as “Not Secure” and you will lose visitors.

Since 2014, Google has included SSL Certificates as a ranking factor in its search algorithm. Thus, SSL Certificates are not just a requirement for e-commerce websites.

5. Remove 404s, Broken Links, and Pages

Have you clicked on a link and this text comes out on the screen:

“404 Error”

This means the page no longer exists or is broken. If your web page has links to broken links, Google’s search bots won’t be able to crawl it and this will affect your search rankings.

The situation becomes worse if you linked to the broken page from another website or if other websites link to your page. The net effect of these linking arrangements would lower your domain authority score. 

A higher domain authority score means a higher probability of ranking higher in the search results. 

6. Remove Duplicate Content

If 2 or more pages on your website have duplicate or similar content, Google will have a hard time knowing which page to rank higher. A keyword tool such as SEMRush has features that can identify the web pages with duplicate content.

The solution is quite simple. Once these duplicate pages have been identified,  review them carefully, and perform the necessary edits or changes until each page is unique. 

7. Include an XML Sitemap

After we’ve done all the improvements to address the issues that were uncovered by our Technical SEO audit, the final step is to inform Google about these changes by creating an XML Sitemap.

The XML Sitemap informs Google of all the changes implemented on the website and where the search engine giant can find them.

Of course, nothing escapes the eye of Google and it would surely find the improvements on the website. However, giving Google a formal heads-up will make its job easier. 

Your show of courtesy may be rewarded with a boost up the search rankings. 

Conclusion

Google has always pushed for content creators to put more emphasis on the quality of their content. The search engine’s guidelines highlight the need for content to be unique, relevant, informative, useful, and engaging. 

How the content is presented – its format, structure, and readability – are also key considerations that content creators need to keep in mind. Integrating the right keywords into your content will make it more searchable to Internet users. 

Once your content has been optimized – how about your website? Is your website ready to receive visitors?

Combining content optimization strategies with Technical SEO techniques to improve your website will surely improve the site visitor’s overall user experience. And that will make Google very happy.

Technical SEO may sound like a complicated topic. To a degree, it is because Technical SEO involves the development of your website. However, it’s important to understand and learn its basics so that you’ll know there are other ways to improve your website’s search rankings in addition to basic SEO. 

We’ve also done our best to make the topic of Technical SEO easy to understand. The most important thing is to keep in mind is that your website needs it.

What Is Technical SEO? 

Put simply, Technical SEO refers to implementing on-page technical changes or improvements that will further optimize your website and give it a boost up the search rankings.

A good way to differentiate basic from Technical SEO is that the former refers to off-page strategies and processes designed to drive traffic to your website. Examples of these strategies include blogging, social media marketing, and email marketing. 

6 Qualities Of A Technically Optimized Website

For sure you have a list of go-to sites that you click on to get information about topics that interest you. Chances are, you enjoy these websites not only because the content is useful, relevant, engaging, and compelling. 

You love going to these sites because the overall experience is just amazing. Time going to these sites is time well-spent. They make it easy and convenient for you to get the information you need.

Now compare your experience with these sites to those that get you frustrated and angry because it requires too much time and effort to get things done. 

Sites where you get awesome user experience are technically optimized websites. Most likely, you’re not the only one who clicked off the website feeling satisfied. There are others who came away with the same wonderful experience. 

And collectively, these wonderful experiences are pushing these websites up Google’s search rankings.

The same can’t be said for the sites that are a nightmare to access.

What makes a website technically optimized compared to other websites? There are seven qualities that define a technically optimized website:

1. The Webpage is Fast and Easy to Download

In boxing, the popular saying is “Speed Kills” which means a faster boxer will always win versus his slower opponent. In the world of Technical SEO, a slow-loading website will kill your chances for moving up the search rankings.

Digital technology has spoiled Internet users. They have grown impatient and want information available as fast as possible. If a user clicks on your site and the web page does not load within three seconds, he will abandon the search.

Search engines are well aware that slow-loading pages affect user experience. If your page does not load to the satisfaction of the users, Google will penalize you in the search rankings.

Conversely, fast-loading pages will be rewarded with a boost up the search rankings. 

If you’re unhappy about your page loading speed, give us a call or email us at Mountaintop Web Design. We’ll get your web pages downloading in a flash!

2. Searchable by Web Crawlers

Practitioners of off-site SEO optimize content by integrating high search volume keywords that can be tracked and indexed by the search engines’ web crawlers. Keywords are the most frequently used search terms by Internet users to launch a query.

Embedding keywords in your content makes it easy for web crawlers to find and index your web page for future reference. 

Technical SEO functions as a control center on your website. You can block web crawlers from accessing specific web pages or create parameters such as identifying the specific pages that can be indexed. 

If the idea of restricting to certain pages appeals to you, connect with us. As experienced web developers, we can do this for you by using the following:

  • Robots.text.file
  • Meta robots tag

These are files containing code that guide the web crawlers on your site. The robots.text.file instructs the web crawlers on the pages they can access while the meta robots tag sets page restrictions. 

We recommend having a professional web designer or developer handle this because one mistake can be costly. You might unknowingly block access to the most important pages to your site. 

3. The Website is Secure

Would you continue the search if you see the “Not Secure” notice before the URL? 

At a time where hackers attack a site every 39 seconds, it pays to secure your website especially if you’re engaged in e-commerce. Online shoppers are wary of giving their confidential information to e-commerce sites that are not secure. 

There are many ways for us at Mountaintop to secure your website. But the most basic step that you have to take is to acquire SSL certificates. 

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificates encrypt data that is transmitted from your website. You can read more about SSL certificates in our article, “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

SSL certificates are not expensive and are easy to install. Most importantly, SSL certificates assure the user that your site is safe to explore and transact with. 

Another good reason to have SSL certificates is that Google has included it as a search ranking factor. 

4. You Can Find a Sitemap

Do you remember your first time at Disneyland? Being in such a massive place for the first time in your life can be an overwhelming experience. 

“How do I get to Tomorrowland?” 

“Where can I buy an ‘Alien Turkey Leg’?” 

“Where are the restrooms?”

The site map that they give you at the entrance sure comes in handy!

An XML Sitemap does the same thing for search engine web crawlers. It’s organized in terms of images, text, posts, tags, and includes details on when the pages have been updated. 

With an XML Sitemap, the web crawlers won’t miss the important content on your website. 

Web designers will incorporate an internal linking structure on your website. The purpose of the internal linking structure is to connect all of your site’s content. However, having an XML Sitemap ensures the search engines that your website is well-organized and will make the web crawler’s job easier. 

5. No Duplicate Content

Let’s assume you have an e-commerce website in the U.S that sells disinfectants and sanitizers. Your analytics show that there is tremendous demand for your products in the Philippines. 

You decide to open a distribution network in the Philippines and set up an e-commerce website with the “.ph” suffix. To maintain consistency, the Philippine website has the same content – text and images – as your U.S website. 

It’s a good idea to standardize content. However, having duplicate content will confuse the search engines. Which URL will the search engine prioritize? In the end, you might be ranked lower for the same content.

The quick fix is to download a canonical link plug-in from Yoast. A canonical link plug-in tells the search engine which URL you prefer to rank for. By installing this plug-in, you eliminate the problem of duplicate content.

6. No Dead Links

Your website must remain dynamic. You should always look for ways to make it better by improving user experience. Sometimes, you might decide to remove certain pages that are no longer relevant. 

If this is the case, make sure you have the URL redirected to the new page. Otherwise, your user will end up in the dreaded “404 Error Page”.

You know what we’re talking about! It has probably happened to you several times. You probably felt frustrated as everyone else does. 

What we can be sure of is that your user experience is less than desired. You don’t want your site visitors to experience the same frustrations as you have. 

Conclusion: Why Is Technical SEO Important?

Why is Technical SEO important? Can you achieve the desired result with just off-page or basic SEO?

Yes, but adding Technical SEO to your optimization strategy will make it better.

Google’s search ranking algorithm goes through frequent adjustments because the Internet’s biggest search engine is continually looking for ways to improve user experience. 

Many of the search ranking factors that influence Google’s algorithm are based on user experience. A good example is site speed. If your website does not load within 3 seconds, the user will abandon the search. 

Search bots are constantly collecting information about your web pages to assess how it responds to its users. 

By improving the technical aspects of your webpage – page loading speed being one of them – search bots will have a favorable assessment of your site. To reward your efforts, Google may push it up the search rankings. 

Combining off-page or basic SEO with on-page or Technical SEO is a great way to improve the visibility of your website to the search engines, increase site traffic, and help it climb up the rankings. 

Let’s technically optimize your website! In this age of the new normal, more people will be using the Internet to get things done. If you’re not ahead of the competition, you may have a hard time catching up.

Give us a call and let’s come up with a Technical SEO gameplan!

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

If you ask 2 different writers about how to create content for SEO, you will get 2 different answers. Ask a few more content writers and you’ll likely get variations of how to create SEO content. 

Why are there so many different approaches to SEO? Copyblogger described SEO as quite possibly the most misunderstood concept of Digital Marketing. The reason for this is that SEO has exploded in popularity in the past few years. 

In the race for the top spot in the search rankings, SEO practitioners are continually looking for an edge over the competition. The techniques and principles of SEO evolve as the online behavior of consumers change. 

You have to find out the “how” and the “why” people are searching for content before you can create the “what”.

In this article, we will simplify the process of creating content for SEO. We will give actionable tips that you can immediately use to get your webpage climbing up the search rankings.

Writing For SEO – The Dilemma Facing Content Writers

SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps your content get found on the Internet by using a combination of techniques and processes to develop strategies with the purpose of increasing your visibility to the search engines. 

Search engines like Google track and index content with web crawlers. These web crawlers are guided by a search algorithm that evolves to reflect the online behavior of Internet users.

That’s the dilemma facing content writers – creating content that conforms to the search engine algorithm while at the same time writing content that appeals to the audience. 

“How do I write content that is optimized and yet, still appreciated by my readers?”

With the rules of the SEO changing frequently, it’s hard to keep up with the discipline’s best practices. 

For example, one of the fundamentals of content writing for SEO is to maintain a keyword density of 2% or lower. 

In other words, if your blog has a total word count of 1,000 words, the number of high-ranking keywords used should not exceed 20. Otherwise, Google could flag you for keyword stuffing and penalize your webpage in the search rankings.

On the other hand, you can create a 5,000-word Buyer’s Guide that’s stuffed with more than 200 keywords and still rank high in the SERP. 

Keywords are a crucial component of SEO because they reflect the search patterns of Internet users. Keywords give you an idea of how a consumer launches a search query. 

Integrating these high ranking keywords into your content will enable the web crawlers to find and index your content faster. 

However, the fundamentals of SEO state that the keywords must be used in the content exactly as how they are phrased by consumers when launching a search.

So how do you use “digital marketing Colorado” in a sentence? 

There are SEO practitioners who say adding “in” or using punctuation marks to make the keywords grammatically correct will render the keyword powerless. 

At this point, you can see what all the confusion is about. A content writer is taught to create impeccable content – one that is grammatically correct, free of spelling errors. 

With the growing influence of the Internet, now, he has to reorient his way of thinking and create content that “appeals” to the search engines. 

So how do you reconcile the dilemma?

Creating Content For SEO – Writing For People

The truth is, there is no dilemma. 

SEO best practices will change to reflect how people search for content. The algorithm is in a constant state of change – and it’s people – your audience that’s leading the search engines. 

Thus, to simplify the process of creating content for SEO, only focus on the golden rule:

Write for people – your audience- first.

Here are 5 actionable and useful tips on how to create content for SEO:

1. Establish a Writing Process

Content writing for SEO involves a different process because you are trying to laser-target your audience. You have to know what they want to read about; what topics interest them and how best to present the content to entice them to click on your URL over another.

Establishing a writing process gives you an organized manner of uncovering the interest of your audience because it reduces the guesswork. When writing for the Internet, research is not limited to the subject matter itself.

Here’s a writing process for you to consider:

  • Topic Research 

Review the numbers or metrics of your current content. Which ones generated the highest engagement rates? Which types of content got the most likes or shares? Which types of content have resulted in the longest time on your page?

As we discussed in our blog “10 Must-Have Tools For SEO Content Writers”, Google Keywords Planner is a wonderful tool for topic research. 

Another online platform you can use to get topic ideas is “Answer the Public”. This is a keyword tool that gives you ideas for topics based on what people are talking about in your industry.

Create a large database of topics, organize these on a spreadsheet, and categorize them according to the subject matter.

  • Keyword Research  

Google Keywords Planner is an effective tool for keyword research and it’s free. Another free SEO tool you can use is Ubersuggest which was developed by Digital marketing wizard Neil Patel,

If you don’t mind paying US$99 per month, subscribe to SEMRush which is an amazing SEO tool that streamlines the keyword research process. 

Similar to the topics list, organize the keywords in a spreadsheet, and arrange them in order of monthly search volume – from highest to lowest. 

  • Subject Matter Research 

By now, you should have an idea of what to write about. The next step is to read up on the subject matter. 

Even if you’re an expert on the topic, doing a bit of research will do some good. At the very least, you can update your knowledge or get a quick refresher.

Identify at least 3 reputable sources of information particularly if you plan to include statistics or numbers on your content. 

These websites will be used as hyperlinks to verify your information. Adding at least one reputable link to your content will improve SEO and enhance your brand as a reliable resource. 

  • Create an Outline

An outline helps you structure the content of your article. It gives you a perspective on the continuity or flow of information of your content. 

What’s important is that readers have an easy time following the “train of thought” of your content. Within the first few seconds of reading your blog, they should be convinced that they clicked on the right URL.

One of the best techniques is to use statements or ask questions that make the reader think to himself “Yes!” within the first 100 words. We applied this technique on this blog – which is probably why you made it to this section!

  • Set a Timeline for Drafts

You can go about this in 2 ways.

First, set a timeline based on a target number of words. For example, review a draft after every 1,000 words.

Second, set a timeline based on the time spent writing. Studies show that we can maintain 100% focus no more than 90 to 120 minutes at one time. After 90 minutes, it’s possible you can no longer maintain 100% focus.

It could be time to step back and review the draft thus far. 

Setting timelines for drafts keeps you on schedule and lowers the risk of making embarrassing mistakes on your content.

  • Implement QA Measures

Before you publish your content, run it through a QA or Quality Assurance process. Here’s an example of a QA process that we implement at Mountaintop Web Design:

Step 1 – Run content through Copyscape to check for originality.

Step 2 – Run content through Grammarly to check for spelling and grammar errors.

Step 3 – Perform a “manual review” or read the content one more time to check for continuity, tone, and look for errors in grammar and spelling. 

Once you publish content, it’s there for people to read. When it comes to brand building, first impressions last. Don’t take chances. Perform QA procedures until you’re 100% confident about the quality of your content.

2. Choose the Type of Content to Write About

77% of Internet users read blogs. 

Businesses that blog regularly get 97% more website traffic than businesses that don’t blog. 

These stats prove frequent blogging helps build businesses. 

But content isn’t just blogging. There are other types of content that you can create for your audience:

  • Articles – Think of content that’s good enough to get published in a newspaper.
  • Buyer or Product Guides – A type of long-form content that’s packed with information such as product reviews, recommendations, technical specifications, pros and cons, images, and shopping links.
  • Infographics – A type of content that delivers information via images or graphics. 
  • How-To’s – Informative, well-structured, and organized form of content that is very popular with the audience and gives your webpage a boost in Google’s SERP.
  • Listicles – Similar to How-To’s, listicles rank very well in Google’s SERP. If someone writes an article “10 Smart Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”, you can outrank him by coming up with a larger list such as “15 Top Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”.

The key takeaway is to give your audience a variety of content to read. You can create a Content Calendar and schedule the publication of each type of content. 

3. Summarize the Parameters of Your Content

The parameters of your content refer to its qualities. For example:

  • Length – How long is your blog? Generally, long-form blogs or those that exceed 2,000 words generate higher traffic and are more effective in building your business brand. 

However, the average time spent on a blog is only 37 seconds. How long is a blog that takes 37 seconds to read? The average person reads 265 words per minute. 

The bottom-line: If you consistently publish optimized content that is well-researched and impeccably written, your reader will spend more than 37 seconds on your blog. For better results, go for long-form content.

  • Images – Adorning your content with high-resolution images that are relevant to the topic will surely increase viewership. 

For the purposes of optimization, use original images. There are plenty of stock photos that you can download from the Internet but Google rewards webpages with images that are unique to its own.

Keep in mind that high-resolution images can slow down the webpage’s download speed.

  • Purpose – Are you using content to build your brand or to sell products and services? The purpose of your content will determine your choice of keywords.

For branding purposes, use keywords that have the highest search volume per month. However, if you’re selling products or services, you can opt for low search volume keywords but the competition is high. 

A situation where the search for keywords is low but competition is high indicates businesses in your industry are getting good results with these keywords in their PPC or Pay-Per-Click ad campaign.  

This low search/high competition SEO strategy can be used if you’re running a content marketing campaign alongside a PPC campaign. 

  • Tone – The golden rule when creating content for SEO is to write for people – your audience. You’re the acknowledged expert in the field – that’s why people click on your webpage. They want answers, not more questions.

Write in a manner that your audience will easily understand. Don’t try to impress them with technical jargon. They’re here to learn not to be confused. 

Your tone should be conversational; informative but never dismissive of your audience. 

4. Create a Posting/Distribution Schedule

Once you have completed your content and are confident of its quality, you may now shift your focus on creating a posting and distribution schedule.

Identify the channels or platforms where your content will be posted. In addition to your social media pages, you can reach out to other relevant websites and ask if you can post your content on their page.

You should also come up with a posting schedule. How often will you publish content? 

In social media, you can publish at least one piece of content per day. But choose the correct social media channel for your business. 

Image-driven products are best posted in highly-visual and generally “social” networks such as Facebook and Instagram. In these types of social media networks, it would be better to post 3 to 5 times a day.

5. Monitor the Performance of Your Content

Which types of content are performing very well and which ones aren’t? Website analytics and social media insights will give you valuable data on how your content is performing. 

Consistently monitoring the performance of your content will allow you to streamline your efforts and repurpose more resources toward creating content that delivers the desired results.

Conclusion

Writing for the Internet is much different than writing an article and sending it over to the editor of a glossy magazine for review. 

Before the Internet, all a glossy magazine needed was an eye-catching cover with compelling headlines to stand out from a hundred other glossies at a newspaper stand. 

When you’re publishing content on the Internet, the objective is to get found. How can your webpage stand out and be highly visible versus millions of other websites in your industry?

This is why you need SEO to create compelling content that ranks high with the search engines. 

Do you need help writing SEO content? Give us a call or drop an email. At Mountaintop, we have a track record of writing high-quality content that ranks very well in Google. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has continued to gain popularity over the years because it helps businesses maximize the returns on their digital marketing investment. SEO has become the difference-maker for content writers. 

Writing online content means writing for your customers. For your efforts to yield results, your content must be searchable on the Internet. 

As most entrepreneurs have learned, being an expert in your field is not enough to ensure your website’s ranking in the search results. For your valuable information to be found, it must be optimized.

To give your optimization strategies a boost, we’ve created this list of 10 must-have tools for SEO content writers.

1. SEMRush

SEMRush is a favorite SEO tool for content writers. It’s easy to use and effective. What SEMRush does is to extract the high-ranking keywords used by the websites that are ranking high in the search results page.

An interesting feature of SEMRush is the Writing Assistant.

Writing Assistant is a tool that gives immediate recommendations on the best keywords to use for your content. It does this by analyzing the keywords used by the highest-ranking web pages.

For example, you can download the Writing Assistant app and have it installed as an add-on for Google Docs. 

Turn on Writing Assistant before you start composing on Google Docs. As you type, Writing Assistant will run a check on your content for SEO quality. It will break down your content into 4 categories:

  • SEO friendliness
  • Readability
  • Tone
  • Freshness or originality

To get Writing Assistant, you must first have a SEMRush account. A free version of Writing Assistant is available but if you want more in-depth features, sign up for the Guru Plan which costs $199.95 per month.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a definite must-have for digital marketers who want to run a laser-focused SEO campaign. 

Google Search Console gives you all the necessary information you need to assess how your website is performing. You will know which web pages are popular with the audience and the keywords they use to access your website.

You will also get data about the number of pages that have been indexed by the search engines. 

Its search analytics feature will give you the following insights about your website:

  • Total clicks
  • Total impressions
  • Average Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Average position in the SERP

All of these data can be used by the content writer to fine-tune your optimization strategies. Your content writer will know with certainty the types of content he needs to create to increase the visibility of your blogs and other forms of online content. 

3. Yoast Real-Time Content Analysis

Yoast is one of the most popular plug-ins for WordPress especially for content writers looking to shore up their SEO strategies. Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis is a valuable resource for SEO advice in addition to providing features to help your website move up the search rankings.

Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis is a cloud-based tool that won’t cost you a cent. You can hop on the cloud at any time and use this valuable tool to sharpen up your content and make your web page more visible on the Internet. 

Create and then, edit your title. Optimize your meta description. Use its integrated analytical tools to guide your content writing process. To be more certain, Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis will give you sneak peek and see where your SEO efforts will place you in the search engine results page. 

4. Google Keyword Planner

Similar to SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner is another mainstay in the SEO toolbox of many content writers for 3 very good reasons.

First, Google Keyword Planner is free! All you need to access Google Keyword Planner is a Gmail account. 

Second, Google Keyword Planner is customizable and easy to use. Simply set your desired settings – target country, language, and list of keywords – and you’re good to go. 

Third, Google Keyword Planner is complementary to SEMRush. How? Use Google Keyword Planner to check the monthly search volume of a particular keyword. Not only will you see data on volume but Google Keyword Planner will give you Keyword Ideas. 

Choose a high volume keyword idea and type it into the Google search box and launch a query. Google will present a list of websites that are relevant to the search query.

Copy and paste the URL of the website in the first position of the SERP onto the search box of SEMRush then click enter. SEMRush will retrieve all of the keywords used on the web page. Repeat the procedure for websites from the 2nd to 5th positions in the SERP. 

You will have a spreadsheet of keywords that have been proven to help web pages rank high in the SERP.

5. Website Auditor’s Content Auditor

Website Auditor has come up with its own SEO tool called Content Editor. Think of Content Editor as Word with SEO features. This wonderful SEO tool will give you tips on how to optimize your content as you’re transposing ideas from your mind to the keyboard.

Title and meta descriptors are very important to optimize your page. As you’re preparing your respective descriptions, Content Editor will give you a preview of what your SERP will look like plus an idea of what your competitors’ SEO strategies are. 

A challenge for content writers, especially for those writing Buyer’s Guides or Product Reviews, is to keep track of the keywords used in the content. Sometimes a 6,000-word Buyer’s Guide will need more than 100 keywords integrated into the content at least once. 

Content Editor has a keyword counter that will help you keep track of the keywords you need to include on your content. 

6. nTopic

Writing online content is much different than writing for a glossy or submitting a research paper to your college professor. The ideal content for online publication goes beyond well-researched material and having no errors in grammar and spelling.

Content writers often write without knowing if the words they use are relevant to the topic or not. Some words may not be associated at all with the subject matter you are writing about. 

Google considers topic relevancy as an important ranking factor. If Google does not consider your content as relevant, your web page may find itself down in the search rankings. 

nTopic is an SEO tool that works to improve your content by letting you know if the keywords are relevant to the topic by giving you an nTopic score. If the score of your content is low, nTopic will give recommendations on how to make it better.

nTopic claims in its website that a web page sees a 4% increase in the search rankings after implementing the improvements the software recommended. 

7. KWFinder

KWFinder is almost like an all-in-one SEO tool for content writers. 

Similar to the other SEO tools discussed above, KWFinder will give you a good number of keyword suggestions. In addition, KWFinder will give you other useful data such as:

  • Search Volume per Month
  • Cost-Per-Click Figures
  • History of keywords – how popular these keywords have been over the years

You will also be given comprehensive information on the current position of the keyword you are using. 

KWFinder is not a free SEO tool. The Basic Plan will cost you US$49 per month and will help you find 100 keywords per day. 

The most expensive plan is the Agency which costs US$129 per month and will help you find up to 1,200 high-ranking keywords per day. 

8. Scoop.it

According to studies, to drive more traffic to your website and to increase search rankings, the ideal blogging frequency is 11 times per month.

Even the best content writers will have a hard time sustaining a pace of 11 optimized blogs per month. But you need content – high-quality content – to give your website a boost up the SERP. 

Your next best option would be to pack your website with high-quality and optimized curated content. 

Scoop.it will do just that for you!

Scoop.it is a content curating machine that scours the Internet in search of articles that are unique, useful, informative, and relevant to your website. Of course, these articles have been optimized for search engines.

By publishing high-quality curated content, you can enhance your brand, open up potential connections with influencers, and provide your followers with relevant information. 

9. SpyFu

SpyFu is an SEO tool that does exactly what you think it’s all about -spy on your competitor’s SEO strategy!

Simply type in the domain name of your competitor and SpyFu will retrieve a number of valuable pieces of information that you can use to fine-tune your own SEO strategy.

The treasure trove of SEO information includes the following:

  • Organic keywords your competitor is ranking for.
  • Adwords for PPC your competitor is using.
  • Keywords your competitors have used that yielded poor results.
  • Keep track of the keywords your competitors are actively bidding for.

Then, type in your website. 

SpyFu will recommend the best keywords you have not used or spent on for your PPC campaigns.

This is a wonderful SEO tool to have because you will know exactly how your SEO strategies are measuring up versus the competition. 

10. WooRank

WooRank is an online tool that does a comprehensive audit of your SEO strategy. In real-time, WooRank will give you valuable information on how your SEO is doing – the strengths that deliver results and the weak points holding it back.

But WooRank won’t stop there. 

Once the weak points of your SEO strategy have been identified, WooRank will propose an action plan that can help deliver the desired results. 

An interesting feature of WooRank is its Keyword Tool that helps you find the best keywords for your content, keeps you updated on your ranking versus your competitors for targeted keywords, and tracks the performance of your keywords over time. 

Conclusion

To compete for the top spot in the search rankings, SEO is an absolute must but your SEO game must always be on point. 

The rules of SEO are constantly changing because the online behaviors of consumers are likewise shifting from time-to-time. You have to stay on top of your audience and find out what motivates them to perform a search. 

The 10 SEO tools we discussed in this article will eliminate the guesswork and ensure you have solid data to design an effective content marketing strategy or improve upon your current one. 

If you need help in fine-tuning your SEO strategy, give us a call or drop an email. We will get in touch with you right away.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

If you have made it to 2019 without ever doing a PPC campaign, and have been thriving as well, you can consider yourself very lucky.

PPC is considered one of the best ways to drive all sorts of things: traffic, sales, revenues, engagement, brand awareness, and so on.

The only catch (and there’s always a catch) is that you can’t always afford your own in-house PPC specialist, and need to outsource this task.

Here is what you need to know about the process in order to make it work to your advantage. 

What are your goals?

Before your campaign is launched, you need to define the goals you wish to achieve with it. This will determine the way your campaign will be crafted, the audience it targets, and ultimately the money you spend on it.

These goals can include:

  • Raising brand awareness: great for small or up-and-coming brands that have yet to establish a reputation with their audience
  • Generating more leads: great for established businesses looking for new clients
  • Driving conversions: great when you want to increase sales

Depending on these goals, your campaign will need to be set up, managed, tested, and optimized in a different way. When talking to your prospective PPC expert, make sure you communicate your goals so they can know where to start plotting.

While we are on the subject of goals, all of them need to come with a certain set of KPIs that will measure their success. According to Search Scientists, the four best ones you can choose to track are phone calls, impression share, conversion volume, and CPA. They will depend on your set of goals though.

What will this service cost?

The price of PPC campaign management will depend on a lot of different factors:

  • Length of campaign
  • Business niche
  • Competitors in your niche and what they are bidding 
  • Keywords you are targeting, etc. 

Ultimately, if you are running a small to mid-sized campaign, outsourcing this task will cost you less than hiring, training, and having an in-house PPC manager coming to work every day. Also, outsourced experts often have more experience and expertise than someone you could hire full-time.

You will not have any additional charges either: no tools, no study materials, etc. The expert will already have everything they need to succeed. 

How to choose an expert? 

If you want the best for your campaign, look for a Google Premier Partner, as only about 3-5% of PPC Google Partner companies achieve this status. However, you will most likely pay more for these Partner companies.

You are also advised to hire a specialist rather than a generalist. Just because someone has experience with SEO, email marketing, copywriting, design, and PPC, doesn’t mean they will actually have the expertise to make your campaign a successful one. 

Learn more about the website services we off

What is your bid budget?

Determining your bid budget can be tricky, especially if you don’t know who you are bidding against (and you won’t know this until the campaign is running). An outsourced expert who does nothing but PPC for a living can help you come to a figure you are comfortable with, which can also bring in the best ROI.

Then there are also the strategies you may not know how to use to your advantage, like Geo Targeting, Dynamic Search Ads, or Ad Scheduling, which can affect the cost of your bid, but can also bring in a lot more clicks and impressions. Leave this part of the strategy to your expert, rather than trying to force a decision on them. 

What sort of time constraints are you working with? 

This is another point that should be communicated clearly, and something you need to know the answer to before you outsource your PPC management to someone. 

Do you have a specific deadline by which you need to reach a certain goal? Are your ads time-sensitive, i.e. are you promoting a holiday sale? How fast do you need to get things off the ground?

All of these things will determine what sort of specialist you need – someone who can get things done asap, or someone who has a couple of hours a week to monitor your campaign. 

Bear in mind that when working with PPC campaigns that run on a tight schedule, you need to be available to your specialist, and answer any questions they may have about your company or products.

How to manage your own business while someone else is managing PPC 

While we’re on the subject of availability, another very important aspect of outsourcing PPC campaign management is what you do with your own time and business while the campaign is running.

If it goes according to plan, you will need to be ready to handle the increase in calls and sales. Is your customer support team ready for this? Does your sales team have everything they need to close deals? Is your storage ready to handle more orders over a short period of time?

Before you launch the campaign into the world wide web, make sure you, as a business, are ready for it. If you offer next day delivery, don’t go back on this promise due to the unexpected influx of orders. If you offer customization options, don’t allow your customers to wait for ages to get their products, just because you were not ready. 

Once all this is in place, try to stay focused on the work and the business side of things. While it is important to be aware of the analytics of your PPC campaign, don’t micromanage or try to assert yourself with your PPC manager. Give them the space they need to do their job well and be available for answering questions if need be. 

Be aware that there are plenty of PPC companies out there that are not exactly experts – so come prepared to your meetings, ask the right questions, and be ready to make a switch if you need to.

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