SEO Trends Every Small Business Should Know in 2022

2020 unleashed a historic disruption on a global scale.  Pandemics.  Shutdowns. Civil unrest. In the aftershock of all this, an unprecedented number of American workers quit their jobs.

Remote work, uncertain company futures, and more contributed to many people taking the risk of starting their own business.

With this influx of small businesses and the need for companies to set themselves apart from the competition, SEO is more important than ever. It can help to:

  • Earn higher search engine ranking placements (SERPs) that lead to increased visibility.
  • Drive more traffic to your website, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Develop brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for future purchases.

Every day, people conduct more than 3 billion searches on Google. To maximize your digital marketing strategy and succeed in the fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace, every small business should know current SEO trends in 2022.

Why SEO is More Important Now Than Ever

It isn’t enough for a company to simply offer quality products at affordable prices. Today’s consumers are more discerning. With the world at their fingertips, shoppers can conduct their own research to find the product that best meets their needs and provides the most enjoyable experience. That’s why SEO is so crucial to your business’s success.

SEO is a robust marketing strategy that aims to improve multiple aspects of your online business. SEO forensically examines website performance through crawl-ability, speed, and indexation. Off-site, SEO serves as a form of digital PR that connects websites to other publications and circles of influence.

Ultimately, SEO ensures you’re creating meaningful content that resonates with consumers’ needs and provides the best user experience.

This helps earn you higher SERPs, which is critical to the success of SEO.  As you can probably relate to,  75% of online users won’t scroll past the first page of Google search results.

SEO has far-reaching effects on numerous aspects of your business and your bottom line. It strengthens credibility, increases visibility, and ensures that you provide a positive user experience.

To capture your share of the market and appeal to today’s judicious consumers, you can see why SEO is more important now than ever.

8 SEO Trends to Follow in 2022

Today’s face-paced market is packed with consumers with desires and expectations that are constantly changing. Search engine algorithms are ever-evolving.

Here are eight SEO trends every small business should know in 2022.

1. SEO-Related Google Advancements

Google continues to find ways to improve the ranking process, and its most recent significant update is BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers).  It utilizes machine learning to understand search intent through natural language processing.

google bert algorithm

In the past, directional models had to read an entire chain of words to understand their meaning. BERT can scan a series of words and instantly recognize their contextual relationships.

This update enables bots and spiders to be more conversational, making it quicker and easier for them to realize the aim of a search.

For example, if a user were to search “algebra books for adults”, their listings would include a general listing of books for a range of ages.

With BERT, the listings still include those results, but a book actually entitled “Algebra for Adults” would be ranked higher.

What does this mean for you? Your content must be created around users’ search intent. If not, Google may find that your competitor’s site contains more relevant information for their users’ queries. So while we already know content is crucial, BERT affirms the need to create content thoughtfully.

To maximize this opportunity, you should:

  • Write naturally focusing on users and the way people would speak.
  • Keep sentences short and sweet, simple and conversational.
  • Identify the questions people are asking online.
  • Make the content relevant by answering users’ questions and addressing their problems.

By keeping your audience in mind, you’ll create content that meets their needs and satisfies BERT’s requirements.

2. Organic SEO focused on User Intent

Organic SEO is built around a company’s website and refers to unpaid methods of earning high SERPs. It focuses on on-page content like metadata, meta titles, descriptions, internal link building, and outbound links.

Organic SEO gives businesses a platform to communicate relevant and meaningful information to their target market by developing content that resonates with users and search engines alike.

To succeed at organic SEO, you must:

  • Know your target audience and understand their motivators.
  • Conduct in-depth keyword research
  • Study your competitors.
  • Develop a content strategy with informative material that addresses the needs of your target audience.
  • Build relationships with reputable online sources and build healthy backlinks.

With organic SEO you can better position your brand and earn higher rankings in search engine results.

3. Local SEO

Local SEO focuses on the use of a geographic brick-and-mortar location. It’s an ideal digital marketing strategy for businesses looking to increase traffic, leads, and brand awareness from local searches.

Local SEO capitalizes on the foot traffic of shoppers searching online within your area via their mobile devices. Oftentimes, these users are in a purchasing mindset and are actively looking for businesses like yours to solve an immediate need.

google local algorithm

To establish a strong local presence, you need to understand how Google’s local algorithms work.

Local algorithms are based on 3 primary signals:

  1. Relevance
  2. Proximity
  3. Prominence

Google’s Business Profile Manager (BPM) is the best place to start if you want to improve your local SEO and build a local brand. Simply create an online profile that includes all the essential information about your business, like your name, store hours, address, and phone number.

Optimize your profile to help your brand become visible in nearby results from Google Search and Maps. If your business profile is engaging and meets the geographic reach of the user’s search, your location will appear among the top results. This drives foot traffic to your building and website, increasing sales opportunities.

Recent updates to BPM have made updating and maintaining your company’s profile easier than before. Business owners can now access their profiles directly through Google Search and Maps.

This allows you to see whether your profile is visible to consumers and make whatever edits are necessary. More importantly, you can better understand your performance and how to boost your online presence for maximum results.

Here are a few tips to optimize your local brand to dominate the competition:

Claim and update all local listings: Not just GBP, but also claim and update Bing and other secondary platforms like FaceBook, Yelp, Apple, Foursquare.  Make it a point to have a consistent Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) for all claimed listings.

Publish content on GBP frequently: Posting regular updates to your profile is a great way to boost visibility. Be diverse in your approach by promoting a product, highlighting an upcoming event, sharing a new feature, or providing a special update and offers.

Also maintain your media library by uploading photos regularly. Use quality images that accurately reflect products, services, and team culture to your online audience.

Build and manage your reviews: Encourage and welcome feedback from your customers. Interact with customers who leave reviews – especially the bad ones.

Most people will skim through good reviews.  But they will read bad reviews – and how the owners respond.

By responding to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. Be prompt in your responses.

bing seo

4. Bing Webmaster Tools

When people think of search engines, Google is usually the first company that comes to mind. But Bing handles around 12 billion global search requests a month and shouldn’t be overlooked as a valuable SEO opportunity. A free Microsoft tool, Bing Webmaster, helps businesses add their websites to Bing’s index to ensure they can appear on Bing Search and gain more organic traffic.

Bing Webmaster offers a suite of tools that helps track performance and identify areas for optimization improvement. These tools include:

  • Keyword research: find new words or phrases that searchers are using to find sites like yours.
  • Backlinks: identify sites that are linking back to yours.
  • Site scan: locate any technical issues on your website that could be impeding SEO results.
  • SEO reports: pinpoint errors quickly with a prioritized list of issues to resolve.

With Bing Webmaster, you can manage your content easily and effectively. Take advantage of this tool and:

  • Remove pages you don’t want to be included in search engines’ index.
  • Monitor your website’s performance and manage potential security issues.
  • Submit your own content to be crawled and see how Bing indexes your site.

With total transparency, Bing allows you to see what you need to do to improve optimization efforts and boost your rankings.

5. Authentic Backlinks

Link building serves as an effective inbound marketing strategy. It provides an opportunity to generate traffic back to your website from other authoritative online publications and resources.

This helps give credibility to your website and online material. When a reliable outside company links to your website as a source of information, it’s like receiving a vote. The more votes (backlinks) you get, the more search engines will recognize you as a trusted and valuable source of content for their users.

When it comes to creating backlinks, authenticity is key. Not only do links alert readers and search engines of your credibility and establish you as a leader in your field … they also help search engines gain a better understanding of what your content is all about.

Sites like Google and Bing find relationships between web pages, so it’s more beneficial to receive backlinks from companies within your industry.

In an effort to combat link spam, Google has implemented an update that identifies spam links and disregards weak or low-quality backlinks.

As a result, businesses using link spam on their site earn lower rankings (if ranked at all). To build authentic backlinks, you should:

  • Watch for companies or individuals who mention your brand.
  • Reach out to them and ask about exchanging backlinks.
  • Rework your current content to include shareable lists, guides, videos, and infographics.
  • Repair broken links and alert external websites about those updates.
  • Create guest posts for relevant sites.
  • Post links on social media to reach an audience that could benefit your site.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to maximize backlinks in your SEO strategy.

6. Video Content Marketing

Research shows that 83% of internet users are compelled to watch video content, making it a powerful digital marketing tool.

Video is engaging, entertaining, and allows people to consume information while multitasking. It’s also an effective way to earn backlinks and is highly shareable, which is great for boosting SEO.

To maximize this opportunity, follow these best practices to ensure your videos provide a positive user experience for your audience:

  • Integrate a variety of videos throughout your web pages, but embed the one you want to rank first.
  • Write enticing headlines and descriptions that include valuable keywords to improve user engagement.
  • Use a quality video hosting platform like Youtube.
  • Include video transcripts for people who don’t want to watch the full clip, but still want to receive all the information.
  • Choose a compelling thumbnail image that attracts users’ attention.

Video provides an opportunity to create engaging, informative content that is tailored to your audience. Platforms like FaceBook and Linkedin allow direct uploads to help businesses expand reach.

With a strong CTA, video can the likelihood of earning higher SERPs and strengthening your brand loyalty.

7. E-A-T

To determine whether online content delivers value to its readers, Google’s Search Quality evaluators assess three main focal points of online material:

  • Expertise: is the writer knowledgeable on the topic?
  • Authoritativeness: is the writer an authority in their field? Is the content commanding?
  • Trustworthiness: is the writer and information reliable, accurate, and convincing?

While E-A-T isn’t necessarily a ranking factor, it does impact a company’s SERP indirectly. By providing companies with guidelines for producing quality content, Google is revealing what it considers important in its ranking process.

As you craft custom content, be sure to:

  • Write about topics you’ve studied and researched and link to other knowledgeable sources.
  • Take an authoritative stance to present yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Fact check, confirm sources and be sure all data and links are current and accurate.

Keeping E-A-T in mind will ensure you’re providing relevant, meaningful information that delivers value and quality to your audience.

8. Core Web Vitals

Since user experience is a high priority for consumers, page experience is an essential element of SEO. Core web vitals ensure a user enjoys the best browsing experience possible.

As you assess the page experience your site provides, consider the following vitals:

  • First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for a web page to respond.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how long it takes for a page to reach visual stability.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time between a user’s click to when they can see the majority of the content on-screen.

By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your website’s performance, you minimize user frustrations, reduce pain points, and help deliver a positive experience.

This not only boosts your rankings through SEO, but also positively impacts your bottom line. After all, 80% of people who have a negative user experience are less likely to return to a company’s website.

To earn higher SERPs and build a loyal following of satisfied customers, attending to your site’s core web vitals is imperative for SEO..

Hire an Expert Austin SEO Company

At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed.  We understand.  Most small business owners want to invest their best energy in what they do best.  Which is usually not SEO.

We can help.  Our team of experts at JS-Interactive knows that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO.

As a digital marketing, web design, and SEO company in Austin and Milwaukee, we help people build their dreams by helping companies build targeted, sustainable, and relevant web traffic.

From local SEO to content marketing strategies, our team knows what it takes to generate qualified leads, establish you as a leader in your industry, and help earn higher SERPs for maximum success.

Reach out today for a free 30-minute consultation and let us help you reach your goals.

9 Strategies for Strengthening Your Digital Marketing in Uncertain Times

Those of us working in digital marketing have always understood the importance of a holistic online presence.

Back in April, however, countless brands who previously put their website, SEO, and overall digital presence on the back-burner found themselves scrambling to make up for the lost time.

45% of B2B marketers report using digital channels for the first time. Meanwhile, 88% doubled down on digital tactics.

Consumer brands are no different. Major companies like Target and Walmart reevaluated their digital marketing strategies to compete with Amazon—and they’ve seen much success. Walmart’s online sales rose by 97% last quarter while Target’s skyrocketed by nearly 200%.

Fortunately, digital strategy helps level the playing field for small and mid-size businesses in all industries. With the right research, SEO, web design, and tactics, you can compete with the big guys.

Now’s as good a time as any to rethink your digital approach and hone your arsenal.

How to Strengthen and Focus Your Digital Marketing During Times of Uncertainty

Digital marketing is fluid. It’s not something you can just set and forget. Much has changed over the past year, so it’s smart to reevaluate your digital marketing strategy and look for ways to improve.

1. Evaluate and Audit Your Current Digital Marketing Strategy

Before making any changes, you first must look at your existing strategy to see what’s working and what’s not.

Grab a notebook or spreadsheet. Write down everything you’re currently doing to maintain your digital presence. Now, look at how your metrics have changed over the past year.

Ask yourself:

  • Where is your website traffic coming from?
  • How many backlinks have you gained? Lost?
  • How many email subscribers and social media followers have you gained?
  • Which keywords are you ranking for?

2. Rethink Your Audience Personas

The needs of your audience have changed over the past year. The personas you developed when you started your business most likely don’t apply to your audience today.

As of June, nearly half the US population was unemployed. Although official figures have improved as unemployment benefits expired, the situation is still dire. For example, between two-thirds and half of Americans are behind on their rent or mortgage as of October and facing eviction.

Some people have become stay-at-home parents balancing homeschooling. Others have turned into caretakers.

Everyone faces a different reality right now. You might even find that you need to target different demographics entirely.

3. Center Empathy in Every Digital Marketing Message

With so many struggling right now, it’s especially important to center human empathy in everything you publish. Your website pages, blogs, videos, and social posts should all reassure your audience that you’re aware of their problems and here to help.

Don’t make any assumptions. Instead, just offer sincerity in your messaging.

Look for fresh opportunities to meet your audience halfway as well. Free shipping, discounts, giveaways, and free returns are all smart ideas, but figure out what your specific audience would appreciate the most.

4. Get Creative and Thorough With Your Digital Marketing Content

People have no time for generic content and Google’s algorithms are no different.

Follow Google’s EAT in everything you publish: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness.

Your content should always aim to solve a specific problem or add value to the reader’s life. Google pays attention to this because its job as a search engine is to answer questions and queries with effective, thorough, and nuanced results.

As you evaluate your new audience personas, include research to find creative content ideas. Consider frequent questions you hear from customers in your industry. Can you address these in blog posts or landing pages?

Start with some keyword research. When you find a great keyword to structure a blog, run a Google search for it and study everything on the first page of results.

Aim to outdo everything on the first page in some way:

  • More thorough content with more details and explanations
  • Updated statistics, best practices, or trends
  • A new angle or perspective no one has addressed yet

Don’t stick with a single type of content either—diversify!

Not everyone learns best through reading. Plenty of people prefer videos, infographics, and podcasts for audio-visual content.

5. Personalize and Diversify Your E-Commerce Experience

Your website’s e-commerce experience should be personalized and seamless. Make it easy for shoppers to find exactly what they need—and then some.

Urban Outfitters provides a smart search with immediate suggestions as you type along with trending items:

smart search filter urban outfitter Urban Outfitters

Relevant filters and categorization are also important to the experience. WordPress plugins make it easy to personalize your shopping experience without coding knowledge.

It’s shrewd to accept the fact that not everyone is going to buy your products through your website. Diversify your e-commerce shop across all relevant shopping platforms where customers can discover you—and be sure to optimize each one for searches.

Consider all the platforms where your shoppers might hang out:

  • Instagram Shopping
  • Facebook Shopping
  • Pinterest product pins
  • Rakuten
  • eBay
  • Etsy

6. Focus on Organic and Sustainable SEO and Reputation

Organic search engine optimization through content is affordable and sustainable if done correctly.

SEO isn’t an overnight solution and you shouldn’t trust anyone who says otherwise. Black hat SEO tactics can produce quick results but the traffic isn’t targeted and you risk getting exiled by Google. It’s not worth it.

Instead, play the long game. Focus on your overall reputation.

When you prioritize branding and content, Google notices. Reviews, consistent quality content, genuine and relevant backlinks—these are all part and parcel of sustainable SEO practices.

7. Prioritize Transparency in Your Digital Marketing

Sadly, millions of people facing hardship has also given rise to more scammers and shady fly-by-night e-commerce stores. For every new problem, there are a hundred people looking for ways to exploit the victims.

Transparency is key to earning trust with your digital marketing.

Both Google and your visitors need to know who you are, your background, and what you represent. Run through this checklist to boost your transparency and trustworthiness:

  • A clear return policy
  • FAQ pages about your company and products
  • Legitimate author names attached to every post (don’t use names like “news desk”)
  • A thorough “About” page explaining your relevant background and experience
  • A public address or location listing, especially in Google Maps

8. Ensure Your Web Design is 100% Accessible for Everyone

Everyone deserves the option to shop and conduct business online, no matter their disabilities.

Accessible web design ensures that people of all mental and physical abilities can use your website as intended like anyone else.

Experiences we take for granted online—like scanning image contents and adding things to shopping carts—can take hours for someone with vision impairments or other conditions.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative offers detailed guidelines on how to create an accessible web design for people with vision, hearing, intellectual, cognitive, or physical impairments.

It’s worth mentioning that ADA lawsuits regarding web design accessibility have increased since lockdowns as well—with many levied against small businesses. Professional web designers with an understanding of the ADA and associated guidelines can help you avoid costly and embarrassing situations like these.

9. Properly Leverage Your Data

With more business and activity happening online, you have more opportunities than ever to track each customer’s digital footprint.

Tools like Facebook Pixel help you collect and leverage data on your website visitors across multiple platforms. You can do things like:

  • Measure cross-device conversions and impressions—great for tracking elusive branding metrics!
  • Optimize ads for users most likely to convert
  • Create custom audiences that mirror certain segments of your audience in terms of demographics and browsing behavior
  • Learn about your customers and their online behavior

Facebook Pixel and related tools give you a deeper understanding of your audience and more digital marketing strategies to target them with relevant content.

Take a Comprehensive and Balanced Approach to Digital Marketing, Web Design, and SEO

Digital marketing is more than a full-time job. Between SEO, content marketing, web design, branding, and social media, you need to manage several moving parts—and you must do it well.

People trust our team at JS-Interactive because we treat their brands like our own. We take all the details of your mission, audience, and goals to heart as we develop your strategies.

Have a look at our diverse portfolio to see how our experts have helped consumer brands, B2Bs, and nonprofits reach their full potential online with remarkable results.

4 Critical Focus Areas for Every Digital Marketing Strategy in 2020

We’ve all gone through so much this year – and it’s not over yet.

2020 has changed our lives in many ways, collectively and individually.

However, one thing is certain: the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across all industries and sectors.

We were already moving towards more online sales and business, but that’s skyrocketed over the past few months, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Whether B2B or B2C, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is critical in 2020 and with moving forward. There are four key components: a content strategy, search visibility, optimized user experience, and thoughtful automation.

Why is a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy So Important in 2020 and Beyond?

It hasn’t been a fun year for brick and mortar retailers. Over a dozen major brands have declared bankruptcy since lockdowns began:

bankrupt retailers amid covid-19
Digital Commerce 360

However, online sales have skyrocketed. E-commerce sales have steadily climbed over the last few years, and they’ve only accelerated since the pandemic began.

online sales growth slows july

Digital Commerce 360

In fact, not a single region has dropped back down to its pre-pandemic e-commerce level yet:

online transaction trends
Emarsys Insights

That tells us when people feel safe enough to visit physical stores, they still choose to keep shopping online.

A thorough digital marketing strategy is critical for reaching your audience and sustaining business – no matter your industry.

Too many businesses, especially local ones, have the attitude of “Well, I have a website – isn’t that enough?”

They’ve been told for years: “you need a website” and “you gotta have a website” without anyone explaining why it’s so necessary.

That’s why I’ve always implored businesses to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. It takes more than a website. You need a solid online presence and consistent content.

Companies who followed through with my recommendations understand the value of online visibility and what it takes to build a strong brand today.

A website is your digital storefront.

Your website doesn’t exist just so you can print the URL on business cards and point to it when people ask. You need a website to function as an independent marketing tool. To do that, you need a digital marketing strategy.

The primary reasons a website and digital marketing strategy are critical are because they:

  • Demonstrate your industry authority via content
  • Build brand awareness
  • Reach new audiences through organic search traffic
  • Share links on social media
  • Show up in local apps like Google maps

Critical Focus 1: Content Strategy

Content strategy is first on this list for good reason. You need regular high-quality content to show search engines your expertise, increase rankings, build genuine backlinks, and, most importantly, earn the trust of your audience.

Nailing Down Your Personas and Audience Segments

Think back to middle school composition: who are you writing for, and what do you want to teach them?

Use forums like Reddit to see what your audience segments are talking about and what they’ve already read. You want to add nuance to the discussion – not repeat the same thing they’ve heard 30 times.

Conducting Keyword Research

Keywords tell Google and potential readers what your content is about. They also give you guidance for structuring your topics and brainstorming ideas.

Use tools like SEMrush or KWFinder to figure out what your audience is searching for.

Creating an Editorial Calendar

Once you get some keywords, put them together in a calendar with:

  • A catchy headline
  • Notes on the topic
  • Format for the content (blog, video, eBook, podcast, etc.)
  • Date to publish

Plan your content a month or two in advance, so you always have something in the works.

Developing Authoritative Content

A blog you just threw together for the sake of publishing something isn’t worth creating.

Content needs some meat on its bones. It must answer every question thoroughly and accurately. Use tools like SEMrush to conduct your keyword research and figure out what people are typing into Google.

With BuzzSumo, you can search for topics to see what’s already been read so your content will always stand out.

Ideally, shoot for blogs over 1,000 words. Make sure to write on topics you understand at an expert level.

Promoting Your Content in the Right Places

It’s so important to understand your audience because you want to share your content places you know your target audience will see it.

For some brands, that’s YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest. For others, it’s Facebook, Instagram, and email.

You can also use guest blogging as a way to promote your content while earning quality backlinks to your website.

Critical Focus 2: Search Visibility

A lot of local brands think if they’re showing up on the first page of results for their branded keywords, their work is done. Really, that defeats the purpose of search engine optimization.

Sure, branded keywords are important – but those visitors already know who you are. That’s why they typed your name into the search bar.

You must also rank for keywords that aren’t specific to your brand but somewhat related to your business. That’s how you reach new audiences and earn new loyal customers.

Organic Traffic Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing your website for branded keywords AND related keywords is important for securing your online real estate and driving free organic traffic. Choose long-tail keywords as much as possible. They suggest a searcher is farther along in the buying process. Plus, they’re more specific, so you can create the most relevant content.

Optimize Local Searches

If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing yet, now’s the time.

If you have, don’t think of it as a one-and-done deal. People will want to know if your hours or information change.

Pay special attention to your business description. This is your chance to hook customers and grab attention. You also want to choose the right categories – get specific. If you run a bookstore with a café, for example, you’d choose bookstore and create a second listing for the café.

You can upload pictures of your business/products regularly and encourage customers to do the same.

Reviews are especially important for local search optimization. 91% of people read reviews. I’m almost certain Google considers reviews as a ranking factor in local searches.

google my business

The Importance of Bing

Don’t count Bing out of the race! Bing integrates with tons of apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Fandango.

Plus, Bing’s local app, Bing Places, prioritizes local small businesses.

Look what happens when we Bing “Asheville coffee:”

asheville coffee bing search

There’s no Starbucks, Dunkin, or Caribou shown – it’s all local coffee shops!

Critical Focus 3: User Experience and User Interface

This point could have gone in the first spot because it’s that important.

If you don’t have a user-first experience and design, it doesn’t matter how wonderful your content is: no one will stick around to read it.

Focus on Functional Web Design

The word “offensive” comes to mind with bad web design. Offensively bright colors, strange graphics, artsy fonts, and unique navigation can all push people away.

Don’t design a website to impress designers. Design a website to impress visitors.

It should be easy for visitors to find exactly what they need when they get to your site.

Speed is also a top priority. Websites should load in less than three seconds. As more people switch to 5G, websites will need to load even faster. Not only is a slow website bad for visitors, but Google’s algorithms don’t like slow sites either.

Don’t Forget a Mobile-Friendly Interface

Mobile-friendliness is so important that Google switched to mobile-first indexing a few years ago. Your rankings could suffer if your website isn’t fully optimized for smartphones.

Plus, mobile-first design is just the smart thing to do. It demands a concise and clear layout. Some tips include:

  • Using large buttons instead of hyperlinks
  • Making sure links and buttons aren’t too close together
  • Using a responsive design, so users don’t have to scroll horizontally to read your copy

Critical Focus 4: Automation

You can automate plenty of processes on-site and off with the right tools. Not only does this free up time for you and your team, but it also creates a better experience for your visitors.

A Seamless User Experience

Automation can help visitors find what they need on your website – even if they aren’t sure what they’re looking for.

For example, take your website search. Top brands like Urban Outfitters use AI-driven smart searches to suggest popular and trending items:

search automation

Urban Outfitters

It also suggests related terms when we start typing ‘hoodie” into the search bar.

search automation urban outfitters

It’s all about making your experience easier and better for visitors.

Effortless Email Marketing

Email marketing is the easiest place to dip your toes in the water if you’re new to automation.

You can set up triggered emails and plan everything with full control before sending them out.

Email automation lets you design customer journey campaigns with welcome messages, thank you’s, information about your brand values, and transactional emails.

Building a connection with your audience is important because email can be so personal. It can also help you win back abandoned carts and optimize your transactional emails for upselling.

Easy Analytics and Backend Processes

Technology makes it seamless to integrate all your marketing processes from one location – even if you’re no expert.

WordPress, for example, lets you install plugins and connect APIs from tools like Mailchimp, Salesforce, Twitter, Hootsuite, Medium, Google Analytics, and any tool you can imagine.

Don’t aim to automate everything. Just look for your biggest time wasters and seek out tools to let a computer handle it.

Need Some Help Creating a Growth-Driven Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital marketing isn’t an overnight hack. It takes time to prove your value to search engines and leads. An effective digital marketing strategy also demands consistency and quality. Slacking and publishing content just to publish won’t get you anywhere with visibility or leads.

At JS-Interactive, we understand it’s overwhelming trying to manage a digital marketing strategy on your own. Schedule a free 30-minute call so we can talk about your goals – no strings attached.

Quality Backlinks for SEO: What Should You Really Focus On? [+6 Tips]

OK, so how many emails have you opened this week asking you to insert backlinks across your site?

I am referring to emails like this:

identify link spam
Gmail

(Note: The recipient never requested a domain link quote, btw) :/

Companies spend thousands for marketers to earn them backlinks. Entire agencies exist for the sole purpose of building backlinks.

So what’s big deal about backlinks? Google bots scan your site to choose your page rankings,  external links, or links associated with other websites that point to your site are key factors. These links are called inbound links or backlinks. Every website that points links to your website is an endorsement of your content in Google’s eyes. The more sites that vouch for you, the better.

backlinks seo website
Source

This has created an entire industry dedicated to inserting inbound links around the web. Some strategies are legitimate – others not so much.

So is a link building campaign really worth the time, money, and effort?

It depends.

On one hand, link building certainly doesn’t matter as much as some SEO marketers claim. However, if you choose to do a link building campaign, there’s a right and wrong way to build backlinks:

  • RIGHT: Creating awesome content people want to link to, naturally.
  • WRONG: Buying unnatural inserted backlinks or using manipulative tactics – aka black hat SEO.

Here’s why and how to build a healthy backlink strategy for sustainable SEO and traffic.

How Important is Link Building Anyway?

Link building certainly matters. It plays a key role in a well-rounded SEO strategy and broader digital marketing strategy – but not in the way most marketers think.

Yes, Google’s bots look at your backlinks as they scan your domain and pages to rank your URLs. However, the algorithms don’t just look at the backlinks and call it a day. They also care about:

  • The trustworthiness and authority of the domain linking to your site.
  • The anchor text was chosen to hyperlink your website.
  • Whether the content on the linking page is relevant.
  • How the backlinks got onto the page.

Backlinks are one of the most common – and most exploited – ways to game the Google ranking system. You can bounce back from honest mistakes like minimal keyword stuffing, but Google takes link schemes more seriously than people realize.

google rules link schemes

Google

Google wouldn’t invest so much attention to punishing manipulative backlink tactics if inbound links weren’t a major ranking factor. So, they must be pretty important.

However, the real digital marketing value from backlinks comes from the fact that they’re links.

When you take time to research relevant sites, share quality content, and connect with other sites, the beauty of linking comes to life.

Backlinks let you build branding and relationships with other domains. You can reach new audiences and develop sustainable long-term traffic.

When developing a link building campaign, or better worded – building your brand through a link building campaign, relationships should always take priority over backlinks.

Think of it this way: If Google suddenly disappeared, would your brand identity and traffic still exist?

Diverse economies are more sustainable because they don’t rely on a single market – like oil – to survive. SEO and website traffic are both the same way.

Link building is only one part of a successful comprehensive marketing strategy. Brands must look at the bigger picture and create a holistic strategy. After putting forth goals and a content marketing strategy, you can figure out how links fit into reaching those goals. Look for ways links can amplify your message and structure the customer journey.

What is Domain Authority and How Much Does It Matter in Link Building?

Domain Authority (DA) or Authority Score is a ranking score Moz developed to predict how well a page will rank in SERPs.

Many people might not realize that Domain Authority is not a technical factor Google uses to rank pages – it’s comparative scoring, not absolute. It’s only meant to give you an idea and starting place.

Moz gives each domain a score between one and 100 – based on several factors (but mostly links) – to judge how well a website’s content should rank in SERPs.

moz domain authority on google
Moz

While your Domain Authority is useful for gauging your overall links and SERP rankings, it’s not a make-or-break metric you should stress over.

Why? I’ve noticed:

  • I’ve outranked countless sites with higher DA than my own likely because my domain is often more relevant than high DA competitors. (I focus on the value of targeted content marketing, user intent, and strong brand messaging over link building.)
  • A high DA backlink is useless to me in terms of both traffic and SEO if the website’s content isn’t relevant and high-quality.

6 Tips for Sustainable Link Building, Traffic, and SEO

Not every link is a “good” link – not for SEO and certainly not for traffic either.

For example, it’s easy to see why you’d rather have a bunch of links pointed to your site from Wikipedia rather than David Icke.

Don’t adopt a “take what you can get” attitude with your backlinks. Be proactive with link building—research every domain. Search out domains you’d LOVE to point at your site.

Kevin Rowe of PureLinq recommends developing your own set of criteria to evaluate and score site quality for potential backlinks.

(And don’t be afraid to strategically use the Google disavow tool when bad backlinks become a problem.)

1. Focus on Content – Yours AND Theirs

Study a potential website’s content, paying close attention to key points:

  • Is the content niche or general?
  • Red flag spam keywords like gambling, porn, or loans.
  • Is the website updated regularly?
  • Navigation should look useful and detailed.
  • Do you see a ton of sponsored (paid) content?

Ideally, you want to build links from sites with an audience overlap and avoid sites designed explicitly for link schemes.

2. Investigate the Administration Policies

Head over to the website’s About page to see what they’re all about. You should find a few names of real people or an organization and at least a brief background.

A physical address is also a good sign, signaling the domain belongs to a legitimate operation. Any legit publisher should include submission guidelines as well.

If any website blatantly advertises prices for do-follow links, that’s a huge red flag. Links pointing to your website from these domains can get you into deep water with Google.

3. Analyze Their Backlink Profile

If you see hundreds or thousands of links pointing to a single URL, that’s not a promising sign. This can happen when another site links to the domain in a footer or sidebar (Google doesn’t like that, btw).

Also, note where the links are coming from. If the domain in question claims to publish content about fitness equipment, but you see hundreds of links from music forums, that sounds like spam.

Look at the link anchor text. Is it all keyword-stuffed, or do they have a nice balance of branded, naked, and partial keyword anchors?

link anchor text spam

WordPress

Pro Tip: SEMRush is one of many tools I use to scope out backlink profiles of other websites, including competitors.

4. Perform Some Recon

Who’s creating the site’s content? Do you recognize the brand and the contributors?

Not everyone is famous, obviously. You should, however, at least find a byline and link to their social media profiles.

Writers should be proud of their work. WordPress author labels like “staff writer” signal you’re dealing with some kind of spam.

5. Investigate the Writers and Pages

Reputation matters. That’s the whole reason you want to build links, right? You want to improve your reputation in both the eyes of your audience and Google bots.

Check the domain’s presence on social media. They might not have the most massive following, but are their followers engaged?

Are there any key influencers associated with the operation? (Pay attention because any links will associate your brand with them, too.)

If the outlet only has a few dozen followers or no page at all, run away.

Pro Tip: You can use tools like Buzzsumo to identify Influencers in your industry

6. What’s the Site’s Traffic and SEO Like?

Your target sites should have engaged and targeted traffic. They should rank for more keywords and pages than just that of their homepage.

Look for sites with low bounce rates, decent time spent on each page, and active (regular) visitors.

You take your own metrics seriously, right? The sites that point to yours should, too.

Build a Well-Rounded SEO and Link Building Strategy

Our award-winning experts at JS-Interactive focus on the bigger picture behind backlinks. Relationships come first; links come second.

There aren’t any overnight cures for traffic or SEO, but there are tactics to build a sustainable long-term strategy.

When was the last time you updated your SEO strategy? Check out our vast SEO services and then schedule a free consultation to talk about your goals.

Why Digital Marketing is Critical to Surviving in COVID-19 and Beyond

The world is a drastically different place than it was when we celebrated a new year in January:

  • Worldwide, over 8 million people have contracted COVID-19 and almost 450k have died.
  • Experts believe at least 20% of US workers are unemployed.
  • Billions of people have locked down in their homes for months to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Businesses have shifted all operations online.
  • Entire sectors of the economy have ground to a halt while others have surged.
  • Uprisings have swept across over 400 cities in the US and even more around the world.
  • The required response to COVID-19 has triggered an unrivaled recession.

On paper, it looks pretty bleak but make no mistake: there’s still plenty of good in the world. Businesses and individuals have stepped up to the plate in response to these catastrophes and dire situations to help their communities.

Digital marketing isn’t so much a solution to any of these problems but more so a tool to help you persevere.

Because the truth is, no one knows what the future holds. Coronavirus cases might plateau in places like Michigan, but they’re surging for the first time in the Carolinas, for example. In other words, you shouldn’t write off another lockdown on non-essential business over the summer or fall.

Here’s why digital marketing is so important for rolling with the punches right now and beyond.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Traditional Business and Why Digital Marketing Helps

Digital marketing works because it’s dynamic.  Here is an example of what I mean:

  • You can’t rely on foot traffic, but you can use digital SEO tools to make your brand visible to new customers.
  • You can’t count on seasonal holiday events, but you can bring the celebrations online to your social accounts and website.

The secret is to understand your customers on a personal level and develop the right strategies to reach them. Here’s why and how to do it.

Breaking Free from Essential Vs. Non-Essential with Digital Marketing

Your status as essential vs. non-essential is directly linked to your survival as a business right now.

As soon as the lockdowns began, a wave of industries started lobbying governments to gain that coveted “essential” label and remain open.

A comprehensive digital strategy helps you rise above the essential business conundrum. Instead of relying on customers to come to you, you can go directly to them.

It works too. Several brands and non-essential industries you’d think would have vanished have grown exponentially since lockdowns began.

Most online retailers have experienced 65% growth on average. Some home goods companies and athletic companies have experienced more than 200% more sales than the previous year.

You can’t control the economy and job losses, but you can control your digital marketing presence. Staying afloat – or even experiencing massive growth – relies on more than a functioning website. You need a comprehensive digital strategy across multiple channels.

Embrace Dynamic Retail Trends with Digital Marketing

Consumers are shopping for everything online now.

E-commerce sales have risen steadily over the past five years as mobile shopping experiences have improved. However, a recent report from Adobe shows that e-commerce sales under COVID-19 have surpassed sales from the previous holiday season by $52 billion.

e-commerce sales adobe analytics
Adobe

As of May, Adobe says apparel and computer sales rose by 12% and 11% respectively.

To take full advantage of e-commerce and online marketing, it’s useful to know what’s in-demand in your own community. UPS, USPS, and FedEx are all overwhelmed right now and shipping times aren’t always reliable which makes for less-than-pleased customers.

Google recently released a retail tool for you to monitor what’s trending in your own backyard. The tool lets you search by category and location to figure out which brands and products are tending where.

Here you can see the top metro areas looking for office supplies:

google retail tool monitoringGoogle

From there we can zoom in on metro locations like Detroit to see which brands are in-demand:

metro locations google retailGoogle

This information is especially useful for stretching your social media ad spend.

Digital Marketing Offers Versatile Options to Help Your Audience

Brands have gotten pretty creative with their e-commerce sales over the past few months. Creativity is good! It forces you to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and adapt to best meet their unique needs.

Some families are struggling with a single income right now while others just can’t wait to get on a plane to visit Europe. Where does your audience fit?

Here are a few interesting ways brands have adjusted their tactics and digital marketing outreach to build momentum during COVID-19:

  • World Market: Offering a 10% discount on all curbside pickup orders to take the burden off shipping companies.
  • Panera Bread: Opening their online store to groceries and family-style meal services for pickup.
  • HBO: Providing their entire streaming catalog to Prime customers for free.
  • Staples: Offering free delivery while encouraging customers to consolidate orders.
  • Planet Fitness: Free online fitness classes streaming from its Facebook page.

Customer demand for these freebies and services will not vanish with the pandemic. Plus, Walmart just surpassed eBay in e-commerce sales for the first time, probably due to curbside pickups and deliver-to-store options.

Use Social Media Digital Marketing for Local Outreach

You can’t rely on foot traffic to draw casual shoppers into your store but you can develop highly targeted social media advertisements.

Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all offer extensive audience insights and tools to help you reach customers in your local community (or anywhere you please).

Beyond sponsored ads, social media platforms are vital tools for keeping your customers posted on the ever-changing environment. Use your page to alert customers about your current store hours, capacity restrictions, and social distancing practices before they step out the door.

bee hive coffee social media
Facebook

Post your hours regularly so customers see up-to-date information as soon as they visit your page. It’s also worthwhile to create an “official” post on your current status and pinning it to the top of your page. You could also create a special header photo so the details are clearly visible right away.

Rely on Content Marketing to Replace In-Person Trust-Building

Without foot traffic, you don’t have the same opportunity to speak with customers and build relationships in-person.

That’s where content marketing comes in handy.

Even before COVID-19, small businesses with active blogs enjoyed 126% more leads than those without. Content marketing gives you a chance to educate shoppers about your brand’s values, mission, personality, culture, and products.

Regular blog posts, videos, and infographics give your website visitors more information to consume when they come to your website which encourages them to stick around for a while.

Content marketing also lets you position yourself as an industry expert and earn more links to your website. You can improve visibility, traffic, and consumer trust all in one fell swoop!

But for content marketing to work, it must be relevant. Your blogs need to solve real problems your customers face with answers they haven’t heard before. You also need to incorporate keywords and SEO to boost your exposure through search engines.

Boost Visibility with Local Search Platform Digital Marketing

Even with businesses shut down, local search is booming by 60% to 100% depending on the topic:

search increase home delivery covid-19

increase search for whats open near me covid-19

Like many other digital marketing strategies here, local searches were already on the rise before COVID-19 so you shouldn’t expect this trend to go away anytime soon.

Remember that conditions change almost daily right now. People expect your Google Business listing, for example, to include current information:

ashville comics local listing
Google

You should also expect the real-time traffic data to grow in importance as people seek to avoid crowds. Google is already working on improving its real-time traffic information for public transportation due to COVID-19.

local real-time traffic search
Google

Create a Virtual Shopping Experience with Digital Marketing

Your web design plays a huge role in building trust and encouraging engagement in your audience. Any business growing under COVID-19 has a 100% stunning and user-friendly website – guaranteed!

Here’s the thing with web design. You want to impress shoppers with your digital experience – not web designers.

A website optimized for visitor experience should:

  • Offer a guest checkout option (no need to register)
  • Create a seamless checkout experience on mobile and browsers
  • Allow customers to add products to their cart on one device and checkout on another
  • Provide simple navigation menus with clear instructions
  • Supply high-quality photos of your products
  • Offer VR or interactive features

Replace Cancelled Events with Digital Marketing

We don’t know how many holidays we’re in for yet under COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, events like concerts and fireworks displays have vanished for the time being.

Lots of artists like Common, Pearl Jam, Lady Gaga, and everyone with summer tours planned have switched to live stream formats.

The demand for digital events was rising before COVID-19 and you can expect it to remain important from here out.

Expect to see brands investing in digital holiday events over the next year for Independence Day, Halloween, and the winter shopping season. Get ahead now by looking for ways to create a unique experience for your customers and promote your products.

B2Bs, 84% of which rely on events for visibility and business success, should look for fresh ways to connect through intimate networking and skill-building events.

Connect with Industry Partners Through Digital Marketing to Benefit Customers

Competitor or colleague? COVID-19 is forcing companies to redraw the line.

Depending on your industry and location, this could mean coordinating with competitors on factors like inventory and logistics in the interest of your customers.

Of course, this is a touchy situation so consider what’s best for your long-term business strategy.

Replace Direct Mail Coupons with Email Marketing

Consumers overwhelmingly prefer to hear from brands through email.

email marketing growth
DMA

Plus, email helps you stretch your marketing budget. Instead of sending the same coupon to every household in your area, you can develop personalized campaigns for different segments.

For e-commerce, email marketing is vital during COVID-19 and beyond. Why? Email makes it easy to stay connected with shoppers and build loyalty. You can send exclusive discounts to your most loyal customers and personalized promotions based on their browsing behavior.

World Market sent an email containing the exact product a customer viewed on their site along with upsells for a rug the customer recently bought:

email marketing campaign
World Market

Any e-commerce company growing during COVID-19 is taking full advantage of email’s vast digital marketing tools.

Swap Out In-Store Conversations with Messaging Apps

Messaging apps help you answer questions and provide details. Something as simple as answering a question about store hours or curbside pickup could make the difference between a sale or not.

The goal is to meet your customers where they’re at – whether it’s WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, or Instagram.

Facebook, Telegram, and other messaging apps also make it easy to integrate chatbots for frequently asked questions about your products, shipping, or hours.

While live chat offers a nice touch, don’t bother if you can’t keep it staffed. People expect a response instantly. If they ask a question and no one answers, not only will the customer go somewhere else but the experience will leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Take Charge of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The demand for e-commerce and digital marketing isn’t going anywhere after COVID-19 passes. The pandemic is one of those things that shape our economy, business, and shopping behavior for a generation.

Our Austin-based team of reliable marketing consultants, SEO strategists, web design developers, and content marketers believes relationship building is the key to success.

15 years of working in the digital marketing field have taught us that honesty and transparency are vital to helping clients reach their goals. You need a trusted partner to guide your digital strategy and our team at JS-Interactive has the authority and experience to help you succeed.

Because it’s not about us, it’s about YOU.

We know how important reviews are for building trust. Read the latest client reviews of our work to see why so many Austin businesses trust us with their online presence.

Master These 14 SEO Strategies and Rank for Anything

Search engine optimization is never a one-and-done thing.

SEO strategies require consistent tweaking, maintenance, and adjustments based on current best practices.

What are those best practices exactly?

Well, it depends!

No really. Google could have updated its algorithms by the time you read this.

Not only do you have to appease Google but you also have to create an ideal experience for your visitors and customers. Here’s the good news: Improving your website experience for visitors also improves your SEO in the process.

Think of it this way: Google’s job is to answer search queries with the best websites on the internet for every search. Your job is to answer search queries, too.

The SEO strategies below outline a few (timeless) best practices for helping Google understand your content, making your site a better place for visitors, and boosting your search engine rankings in the process.

With These 14 SEO Strategies, You Can Rank for Anything

Look, there’s no “secret” to winning first-page rankings overnight. Any Austin SEO consultant who promises you otherwise is either lying or using black hat SEO strategies. Black hat strategies are a dangerous game. Sure, you might get a negligible boost in rankings, but trust me, it won’t be sustainable.

These SEO strategies below are the real deal. If there was ever a winning formula to SEO, these are it.

When employed consistently, you can eventually rank for any keyword you please. (Yes, even that one!)

1. Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategies Meticulously

If you want to rank in Google search results, you must first figure out what people are typing into that little white search bar.

Keyword research is truly an art. You must understand your audience thoroughly and know how to find “high value” keywords.

It’s tempting to shoot your shot at those broad high-volume keywords but it’s smarter to go for the longer ones (three words or more). Think “water bottle” vs. “buy glow-in-the-dark water bottle.”

Here’s why:

  • Long-tail keywords put you up against less competition.
  • They tell you more about the searcher’s intent.
  • People who search for long-tails are closer to making a purchase decision.
  • They’re more specific.

As you build rankings with long-tails, you’ll improve your chances of earning those high-volume broad keyword results too.

Tip: Finding long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy.

Use Google Suggest. This awesome yet simple process is a great resource of long-tail keyword variations. Type your primary keyword into Google search box and see what variations Google suggests.

long-tail-keywords google suggest

Use Google’s Related Searches. While you’re at it, scroll to the bottom of your search page in organic results and review the suggested related searches from Google.

google-related searches

2. Build a Comprehensive Content Marketing Strategy

Did you know websites that publish consistent blogs enjoy 434% more indexed URLs than those that don’t? By feeding Google more content to scan, its bots can learn more about your site.

Quality content trumps quantity every single time. Your SEO strategy is far better off if you publish two in-depth/well-researched blog posts a month compared to two short and general posts every week.

Use those awesome long-tail keywords to answer queries and tell Google why your site is amazing.

Tip: Develop the right content strategy

  • Define your goal. Understand the primary objective behind producing content.
  • Know your buyer persona. By really knowing your target audience, your content becomes more relevant and valuable to the market you serve.
  • Brainstorm content ideas. Use tools like BuzzSumo, AnswerThePublic, and SEMRush to brainstorm general ideas, develop ideas, and ultimately create great content. Make sure your content is trendy and up-to-date. content ideas

3. Take Local SEO Strategies Seriously

Any business with a physical location must perfect their local SEO. It will both improve your overall visibility while supporting your broader SEO strategies.

First, nail your location-centric keyword clusters – like “Coffee bar near me” or “Coffee shop in Austin.” Next, put effort into optimizing your local business pages on relevant sites like:

  • Google Maps
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • TripAdvisor
  • Apple Maps

Your profiles on these sites will include links to your domain which will push traffic to your domain’s URLs and improve your overall SEO.

local search for coffee bar
Google

Tip: Take Advantage of Online Business Directories.

Create Online Directories. Online directories are all great, and mostly free resources for building visibility. Create listings among popular directories like Yelp, Foursquare, MapQuest, and YellowPages. Make certain all listings are consistent with the following basic information:

  • Business name, address, and phone number
  • A thorough description of your business
  • A link to your website

4. Create Link Building SEO Strategies

When another domain points to your site with a link, that tells Google it contains valuable content and deserves more attention. When lots of websites link to your page, that’s even better! Each link to your website is considered a ‘vote’ by Google.

Consistent and valuable content comes in handy for building links to your blog and webpages. These boost SEO across your whole site and drive more traffic.

Likewise, you’ll also want to include internal links (from your other pages or posts) because Google pays attention to this too as it scans your website’s structure and page importance.

Tip: Try broken link building

The process is simple:

  • Find a broken link on a website that is related to your industry.
  • Create similar content that related to the broken resource you found.
  • Ask the site owner to link their dead resource to your post instead.

While link building is a time-consuming process, it can be very rewarding for building search positioning.

5. Get Rid of Your Bad Backlinks

Not all backlinks are equal. When domains with a low trust score point to your website, this can damage your SEO. A few won’t hurt you but too many can make a serious impact.

SEO tools like SEMrush and KWFinder can help you run a backlink audit. If you find too many backlinks, you can either ask the website owner to remove them or use Google’s disavow tool.

An Austin SEO consultant can help you sort, audit, and disavow your bad backlinks too.

trust score ebay
SEMrush

6. Grow an Engaged Social Media Audience

Increasing traffic and links to your site are always good for boosting SEO strategies across the board. Your content marketing is useful for engaging your social media audience on relevant channels.

Again, quality is better than quantity. Publishing an awesome Pinterest post once a week is better than pumping out three posts each day.

7. Use Keywords in the Right Places to Boost SEO Strategies

Your keywords shouldn’t be obvious. They should flow naturally with the rest of your awesome writing. Nevertheless, you do need to stick them in a few key places to help Google scan your site:

  • Meta title
  • Headings and subheadings
  • ALT descriptions on images
  • Meta description
  • 1x in your copy for every 100 words

An expert Austin SEO content writer can help you develop user-friendly content around your keywords.

Tip: Optimize images for SEO when publishing content.

Image SEO is often overlooked. When publishing new content, optimize your images by using the following methods:

  • Choose the right scale and format. Try to match image size to image display.
  • Pick a good file name for the image. If by default your image is _img345.jpg.  Be descriptive instead. For example, crossfit-box.jpg
  • Use responsive images
  • Reduce file size for faster loading. I love using tools like Shortpixel or Imagify
  • Use image alt text
  • Add structured data to your images
  • Create an Image XML Sitemap

8. Schema Aka. Structured Data

Schema aka. “structured data” or “microdata” is another tool to help organize your website pages, categories, and posts to help algorithms understand the content and what’s important.

schema markup for websitesIf you run a WordPress site, you can find some free plugins to help with this. Keep in mind you do need a little technical coding knowledge to avoid screwing up your theme. An expert Austin SEO consultant can help you add schema markup to your website code.

Tip: Use Schema Pro to develop structured data for your WordPress website

Schema Pro offers a paid plugin and is by far one of my favorite solutions for adding structured data to your WordPress website.

schema pro wordpress-seo
Google

9. Boost Your Website Speed to Improve All SEO Strategies

Did you know website speed is one of THE most important ranking factors in 2020? Back in 2018, Google announced that mobile speed would play a critical role in how it ranks pages from on out.

Ideally, your site should load in less than three seconds. You can use a tool like Pingdom to see where you stand. Technical stuff like Google advertisements and HTTP requests seriously weigh your site down and they’re hard to fix without help from an expert Austin SEO consultant.

pingdom website speed test seo
Pingdom

10. Keep Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Google’s 2018 update also announced it would rank sites on a mobile-first basis. In other words, your website must look and feel perfect on every smartphone.

Little details like side-scrolling, small fonts, and hyperlinks too close together can all bite you.

Luckily, Google offers a free tool to scan your site and make sure every page is 100% optimized for mobile browsers.

11. Optimize Your Core Web Vitals

Your core web vitals are expected to play a bigger role in your search engine rankings in 2021.

With your core vitals, Google assigns a UX score to your pages based on factors like load speed, mobile-friendliness, intrusive pop-ups, and malicious content.

optimize core vitals

You can access a free tool through Google Search Console to check your current core web vitals. If you notice any discrepancies that don’t make sense, our SEO consultants can help you get everything straightened out well before 2021.

12. Launch a New User-First Web Design

A new web design theme can work wonders for improving your overall SEO strategies. Put yourself in the mind of your visitors to consider things like:

  • High-quality graphics
  • Easy to navigate and understand menus
  • Clean and crisp fonts and colors
  • Scannable headings
  • Concise copy with lots of whitespaces
  • Buttons instead of hyperlinks
  • Consistent brand logos, colors, and voice across your site
  • A lightweight theme

WordPress is awesome because you can easily update your entire web design just by swapping out a theme and tweaking the details to fit your branding. It’s best, however, to invest in a custom-coded web design unique to your brand.

13. Run a Deep Competitor Analysis

You never want to copy your competitors’ SEO strategies, but you should study them to see what’s working and what’s not.

  • Which keywords do they use?
  • Which top terms are they ranking for?
  • Can you beat their rankings for any top keywords?
  • What kind of keywords produce a high volume of traffic and clicks?
  • How competitive are the keywords or terms?
  • What blog topics do they publish?
  • Which social media platforms do they use?
  • Where are their backlinks coming from?

As you run competitor research, focus on their organic traffic. There’s no use studying their PPC ads unless you plan to run the same ones.

Tip: Use SEMRush or a reputable tool for a competitor analysis

SEMrush is packed with insightful data on your top competitors. With a paid account you can simply enter the competitors URL to gather

  • Where rivals concentrate most of their marketing efforts
  • Discover a competitors’ website traffic audience and lead gen sources
  • Get details on competitors’ most successful SEO practices
  • Explores competitor backlinks and referring domains and much more

top competitor analysis report

Other popular tools include ahrefs, Spyfu and UberSuggest.

14. Use a Secure HTTPS Domain

As of 2018, over half of the world’s website domains had switched to HTTPS. What does this mean? Well, nothing for regular visitors but to Google, it means a lot (and will mean a lot more in 2021).

HTTPS is more secure than HTTP. It requires you to “sign” a virtual certificate that verifies who you are and your intentions. In other words, it creates a safer browsing experience that Google doesn’t take lightly.

You can manage your HTTPS protocol through your backend server.

To determine whether or not your website is secure, simply go to the address bar. Look to the very top-left corner of the browser window. Your website is not secure when it read like this:

http not-secured website

Whereas a secure browser is indicated by a paddle lock icon next to the websites’ URL and looks like this:

https secure seo

Need Austin SEO Services?

JS-Interactive employs an award-winning team of Austin SEO consultants, content creators, marketers and web designers. Our experts take time to listen to your business’s unique needs and audience segments so they can craft stunning and effective digital marketing materials. With our help both behind the scenes and on the front stage, we can get your website ranking and boost local visibility in no time!

Got a burning SEO question or challenge? Schedule a free 30-minute call with JS-Interactive to discuss it!