Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SEO Trends to Look Forward to in 2016

The practice of SEO is ever-evolving, with Google constantly updating their algorithm. Because of this fact, it may be difficult to anticipate the future of SEO marketing.  There were a lot of changes in 2015 that affected search, and with 2016 right around the corner, it is only natural to eagerly await the new trends and updates that Google has planned.

Tandem Interactive visited one of the largest and most trusted SEO conferences this year, Pubcon, and found that there was a lot to learn about the future SEO trends coming in 2016. Here are a few of the biggest 2016 SEO trends that Tandem reported.

1. Keywords are still the base of your SEO campaign. Keywords and keyword targeting are the most basic and longest running aspect to SEO campaigns. They remain intact and will be one of your most useful SEO weapons in 2016.

However, Google’s Hummingbird update has shifted focus from targeting specific keywords to researching groups of related terms and synonyms. In 2016, your keyword research goal should be to group interconnected terms instead of individual keywords.

2. There will be an increase of Google’s rich answers. Rich answers are built upon public data or data licensed to Google. If your SEO strategy is built on public domain data, you better switch up tactics, since it will only become more difficult to get search traffic from Google.

If you have proprietary, high quality, and creative content that allows Google to answer a searcher’s question, then rich answers are a resourceful tool for your SEO strategies. There are a few tactics to get your site featured in rich answers:

  • Long tail keywords
  • Developing content that directly answers questions
  • Make sure the content is genuinely helpful and adds additional information on the subject that the consumer/searcher may not have known, exceeding their expectations.
  • Make sure to share your content through social media platforms.

3. The page speed of your site is of utmost importance. Page speed will affect your ranks and the site that loads faster will outrank an equivalent, competing site no matter what. A slow loading site will waste your allocated Google crawl budget, since the Google bot will not stay on your website for longer than a specific period of time.

4. High Google ranks does not translate to more organic clicks. Attention grabbing search engine results page (SERP) elements like paid ads, knowledge graphs, and rich snippets can draw clicks away from the #1 ranking website and will influence your organic clicks in the 2016 Google.

Before you dedicate your efforts to optimizing for a specific keyword, you should take a look at the search result page and determine if there are SERP elements that are stealing clicks from your organic listing. You should next determine if it will be more beneficial to launch a Google AdWords campaign for the particular keyword query.

5. User behavior is not yet a ranking factor, but it surely will be in 2016. User behavior affecting rankings is a debated topic. Even if user’s behaviors are not affecting your rankings right now, logic says that they will be in the near future.

Factors of user behavior that will surely affect your rankings in the future include, but are not limited to:

  • Engagement of content and how long users stay on your site due to usefulness
  • Social signals such as shares, likes, or linking back to your site, which all result in loyalty and relevancy to your site
  • The efficiency and accessibility of knowledge on your site.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Creative Strategies for Unique SEO Content

SEO is the bread and butter of online marketing, even though it is the sometimes underestimated and overlooked tactic to pump up your website’s ranks. However, as under appreciated as content may be, producing unique and captivating content is vital to the success of your website. In the reality of SEO, content is king, but it is important to keep in mind that not all content is created equal.
There are many concepts of content creation, but there are some key principles to creating unique content that can help your site continue to grow. Tandem Interactive uses only best practices for creating unique content for our clients and has a few tips to share.

·         Bring perspective, originality, and captivation to your SEO content. There are more than hundreds of thousands of content pieces written on similar topics as yours. You need to be asking yourself what you can do to make your content stand out and, best case scenario, be better than any piece of content ever written on that subject.

Bring unique perspective to the topic. Play up your own experience in dealing with the given subject using personal anecdotes. Provide a unique spin on the information that the user cannot find anywhere else by using a personable approach that users will relate. Use info-graphics, photos, charts, and anything else that is visually appealing for users. Grab their attention! Make it quirky, funny, easy to understand, etcetera. Make users want to continue past the first sentence and paragraph, and make it something that they want to share.

·         Evoke your reader’s emotions. There is a growing trend for purposefully writing content that will touch a reader’s emotions, and titling the post with a captivating headline that will draw users in. If your title is boring no one will want to read it and no one will click on it to even view your content.

Marketing messages have shown to be two-times more effective when they touch the reader on an emotional level. There are many emotions to play on when writing content, be empathetic when you are writing original content and place yourself in the consumer’s position.

There is a reason why a post of a dog that is best friends with a dolphin is getting over a million likes and shares on social media – it’s cute, it’s unique, and most people have never experience it so they are curious.

·         Write concise and pointed content. Eliminate all of the fluff in your content, which can be challenging, but will make for significantly better composition. A lot of online marketing agencies will fluff the crap out of the content they create for your company – look for one who won’t. If you notice that your content is being fluffed with nonsense, bring it to your marketer’s attention so that they can fix it and create a better strategy. Fluffed content is not typically original or unique, or engaging.

A brief, short, and to the point piece of content that is filled with information is better than a longer blog post. Users have a short attention span and you have limited time to tell them what your major points are – so do it wisely.

·         Communicate your message better with images. Everyone learns differently. Some people learn better by reading or hearing, while others learn better visually. An important thing to keep in mind is that no one learns any less through visual aids. Using visual aids such as pictures, videos, or diagrams can help illustrate the point of your content. Add images that add value to your content and that are interesting. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pubcon Las Vegas 2015: Branding, Mobile, and Beyond

Pubcon Las Vegas 2015 Registration Booth
Tandem Interactive's Organic Search Manager/Editor Kimberly McSweeney at Pubcon Las Vegas 2015.

This year, I was fortunate enough to attend Pubcon Las Vegas with Joe in the beginning of October, and to say that I learned a wealth of knowledge during those short four days would be an understatement. For those who may not know much about Pubcon, it is the world’s leading online marketing conference and has been named a must-attend conference by Forbes, and I have to say – they hit the nail on the head.

If you missed Pubcon you arguably missed the largest sharing of SEO/SEM and PPC knowledge to ever take place under one roof. With daily speakers, such as the leaders of the search marketing industry, this was the place to be for those who do SEO and/or have a business or startup.
After day one at Pubcon, it was clear that the theme for the year was branding. Pretty much, if your company is not creating content that serves consumers and gets your name out in the world as a reputable company that is not just there to take your business, you are not doing enough to meet the needs of users. Users don’t only want answers to their questions, they want answers that exceed far beyond the question they asked. Although this may sound impossible, with amazingly engaging content – it isn’t. As Founder of Seer Interactive Wil Reynolds put it, if you are not creating the best piece of content ever written on a subject, you are not doing content right. Users want content that will serve them in a way that will make them better. They want to read your content and be able to take something from it that makes them better, smarter, and…well…serves their egos.

“People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.” – Wil Reynolds

Once you have the most amazing piece of content created – you need to socialize it. Coupled with creating the best optimized content, socializing content will help build your brand. If you write amazing content and no one can see it on multiple social media platforms, your brand is not going to be engraved in their brains. Users’ minds need to constantly see your ads, your helpful content that answers their questions, your videos, your photos, and logos on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever the new social media platform will be, in order for them to build awareness of your brand, as well as trust.

Of course, every business with a website wants to know about mobile. As the industry leaders put it at Pubcon, if you are just now thinking about mobile, you are behind. If you are thinking that mobile is going to be big, you are behind. Mobile is here. Mobile is now. If your site is not mobile-friendly you can bet that users are going to your competitor who is mobile compliant. Not only should your site be mobile- friendly already, but if your mobile load times are slow – you can bet users are moving on to a competitor. It may be sad for you and your business, but it is true. With every new generation, attention spans are decreasing and demands are increasing – you need to take the heat and turn it into fire for your company, or get out of the kitchen.

Pubcon Las Vegas 2015

Pubcon Las Vegas 2015 featured the following keynote speakers and hyperlinked is Tandem’s live-blogged coverage for each:

Rand Fishkin: Founder of Moz:  SEO In A Two Algorithm World

Gary Illyes: Google: Generations XYZ

Wil Reynolds: Seer Interactive: The High Cost of Free Traffic

Daune Forrester: Bing: Data is the New Oil

John Brown & Richard Zippel: Google AdSense: Open Format Q&A

Other Pubcon Sessions Covered by Tandem:

Jeffrey Eisenberg (chief Executive at BuyerLegends.com) and Alex Harris (creative director at AlexDesigns.com): High Conversion Landing Pages and the User Persona, The Most Popular Tools for Creating Landing Pages and Campaigns, 8 Measurement Terms for Buyer Legends

Michael Gray (Atlas Web Services president and owner of GrayWolfSEO.com): Top WordPress Plugins to Clean Up and Speed Up Your Site

Barry Adams (founder of Polemic Digital): Barry Adams: Crawl Waste & Optimization

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Google's 100 Most Expensive Keywords: How Geo-targeted Long-tail Keywords Could Be Your Bread Winner

Google's Top 100 Most Expensive Keywords - by SEMrush

Businesses large and small typically are aware that bidding on the right keywords is the key to a substantial ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and in return, increased revenue. However, what are the right keywords for your company and can you even afford them? SEMrush (with the help of Google) was able to determine the top 100 most expensive keywords on Google, and 78% of them were all in the “legal” category. So how can your small legal firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida rank at all? Since the price of a keyword mostly depends on how often it is searched, if you are a small business owner it can be easier for you to dominate a different variation of that keyword.

For example, one thing that Tandem Interactive focuses on when it comes to keywords is LOCATION, something that we call geo-targeted keywords. A location specific keyword can target your area and allow you to rank highly for your industry in your designated area. According to Google, 73% of online activity is local content. When it comes to geo-targeting, it is best to use long-tail geo-specific keywords in order to rank for your precise location.

Google's Location Sensitive Keywords Examples

Some long-tail geo-specific keyword examples for businesses in Florida are:

Hurricane Shutters Sunrise Florida
SAT Prep Class Boca Raton Florida
Pizza downtown Fort Lauderdale Florida

In order to rank for geo-targeted keywords you have to think like a consumer. Thinking like a consumer is one of the best tactics you can use for nearly any part of your SEO and PPC campaigns. If I live in Florida and I am in downtown Fort Lauderdale after a night of partying and I want pizza, I will most likely search in my phone for “pizza downtown Fort Lauderdale”. Whatever the case may be, I am typically not searching for your company’s name.

Keep in mind that your website will also play a part in your ranking in search results. If your company has a well-established website it will organically rank better. If your website is new you can expect it to be one of the very last results. “Pizza Fort Lauderdale” yields 12.4 million results. So if you are a smaller and newer pizza restaurant and you are located in the heart of downtown it is easier for you to rank for “pizza downtown Fort Lauderdale Florida”, which yields less than 500,000 results instead. You want your keyword to still be something that locals would search, but also specific so that it is easier for you to rank in a category that yields less results.

Once you have searched Google to find which geo-targeted long-tail keywords would be best for your company to rank for, Tandem recommends that you keep an eye on your website’s analytics to see if your geo-targeted words are increasing traffic. If your new keywords are increasing traffic through your PPC campaign, find out where that traffic is coming from and then focus more pages and blog content around those keywords to help your organic rankings.

Google's Top Expensive Keywords - Legal and Water Industries
Google's Top 10 through 50 Most Expensive Keywords

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PPC Checklist You'll Want to Keep Handy

Whether you are a PPC guru or a PPC virgin you will want to keep this awesome PPC checklist handy when duplicating a new campaign by copy and pasting an old one.

Within AdWords Editor you can have a copy-and-paste frenzy. Copy and paste entire campaigns, keywords, negative keywords, locations, and sitelinks…copy and paste all the things!

However, copy and pasting leaves room for several errors. If you are not OCD or you are pressed for time, you may miss a crucial detail that can cost you (or worse your client) money. 

Fortunately, Tandem Interactive’s very own PPC Ninja has laid out a checklist of criterion that must be changed when copy and pasting ad campaigns.

AdWords Editor Check List:

Campaigns & AdGroups
        Rename the Campaign & Necessary AdGroups
        If location specific, assess the keywords (CRTL + H to find and replace text)
Keywords and Targeting:
        Evaluate which negative keywords are not inhibiting the new keywords
        LOCATION! If your campaigns are location-specific, then make sure that you are targeting the correct area.
Ads and Extensions:
        Change “Final URLs” – formerly known as “Dest. URLs”
        If necessary, change the Display URL. Making the Display URL specific to your campaign and AdGroup will allow your quality score to increase even further!
        Sitelinks will also paste across campaigns in Editor; however, if you directly edit the copied sitelink it will affect the original campaign’s sitelinks as well. If the sitelinks need rewording or a different Final URL, then be sure to delete the pasted ones and create brand new ones that are specific to your new campaign. 

AdWords Check List:

       Once the new campaign is posted, there are a few more areas to double check:
        Callout Extensions: These will not paste over. You need to manually add callouts to your new campaign.
        Call Extensions: Don’t forget to manually add the phone number to your ad.
       Other miscellaneous options are as follows:
        Add the new “Structured Snippet Extensions”
        If you had Day Parting on your previous campaign, double check whether it suits the new campaign.
        Double check that the campaign is optimized for mobile devices.

Lastly, set a reminder to double check your new campaign 24 hours after going live to ensure that everything is tracking and performing accordingly!

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Good Things That Can Come From a Negative Review

Perfect customer service is what every business strives for, but as we all know, perfection is not realistic. So, how can we take negative customer feedback and turn it into a positive? Here are 5 optimistic ways to interpret negative reviews, and why your business should be proactive when it comes to poor feedback.

1. Customers Trust Businesses With Varied Feedback – A lot of the time, customers can become suspicious if a company has only 5-star reviews. On the other hand, if a businesses has more of a variation of reviews, customers are more likely to believe the truth behind all of the feedback.

2. There’s Opportunity to Show You Care – You may have lost a customer for one reason or another, but there is opportunity to gain more when you respond publicly to a negative review. Customers appreciate when a business tackles poor feedback head-on, and attempts to correct a problem with an unhappy consumer.

3.  Try to See the Good in the Bad – When reading reviews, it’s common for potential customers to go straight for the negative to better understand what past customers have been displeased with. If the reasoning behind the negative feedback is something the potential customer feels they can live with, chances are your company is still in the running for their business (especially if they can see you have responded to the negative review and made an effort to correct the problem).

4.  Negative Feedback Can Lure Customers That Are a Better Fit – Just because one customer doesn’t like an aspect of your business, doesn’t mean other customers will dislike it. In fact, a negative review can show a potential customer something they really like about your business.

5. Audit Your Negative Reviews – If you are seeing a distinct pattern in the negative reviews of your business, think of it as a free auditing tool. Your customers are repetitively telling you they don’t like something - so change it!

To learn more about the pros and cons of online reviews and how you can use them to increase the business of your company, contact Tandem Interactive. We are a well-established, trendy online marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing, PPC, analytics and online reputation management.      

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are You Missing Out on Business From Our Northern Neighbors?

It’s Canada Day, so let’s talk Canadian conversions and your company’s potential for international business. In 2012, The Canadian Internet Use Survey reported that 56% of Canadians used the Internet to make online purchases. Of that 56%, the survey stated that 63% of them ordered from a United States-based company. So, if you think Canadian internet shoppers shouldn’t be a part of your online marketing strategy, you may want to rethink incorporating them as a target.

4 specific industries that benefit from directing online marketing efforts to Canada:

Travel - According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 23 million Canadians spent a whopping $27.2 billion dollars in 2014, on traveling to and within the United States.

Retail - eMarketer reported that Canadian retail e-commerce sales reached $22.97 billion last year and they are expecting that amount to rise 16.8% this year.

Software and Technology – Much of Canada’s language and culture is parallel with that of the United States. Therefore, U.S.-based software and technology companies that choose to market online to Canada have much to gain from their northern clients.

Machinery – According to U.S. Government statistics, U.S.-based companies exported a combined $124 billion worth of machinery to Canada in 2013. This machinery included automobiles and other vehicles like trackers and heavy machinery.

Before marketing online in Canada, U.S. companies should do their research and pay attention to significant differences in Canadian dialect of English, and the use of measurements. For example, in the U.S. we use the word “color” while Canadians use the word “colour”. We use miles to measure distance and Canadians use kilometres.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

5 Ways to Dominate Local SEO

 If you are not optimizing your business locally, chances are you are missing out on exposure while your competition scores customers. As smart phones continue to play a larger role in our mission to search for local businesses, it is less likely that we will be cracking open our Yellow Page directories. With that being said, local search engine optimization should be an important piece of any company’s marketing strategy.

Tandem Interactive has a few tips to get you started:     

1. Get Your Google My Business Page Created and Build it Out - You may think customers don’t run to Google+ for local business information; however, when searching for a specific business or service, this is often what results on a SERP (search engine result page). You want to keep your Google My Business page updated with correct contact information and posts about what is going on in your industry. Also, acquire reviews! These are not easy to come by, but if you can get them - the more visible your company will become.  

2. Create Your NAP and Stick With It - Your Name, Address, and Phone number identify your business and should be as consistent as possible. Each mention (known as a “citation”) on a local directory or website, is a feather in your business’ cap, as long as it is a relevant directory or site.

3. Good or Bad…Respond to Reviews - Consumers respond to both great customer service and businesses that are proactive about negative feedback. If a customer leaves a positive review, thank them for their support. If a customer is unhappy about your services, publicly apologize and try to rectify the issue, it could lead them to gain respect for your company.

4. Be Mobile-Friendly - Again, customers are likely searching for your business on their mobile devices, you don’t want to scare them away with an ill-equipped site.

5. Acquire Local Citations - The more accurate citations you have on other websites and local directories, the better your local search engine rankings will be. Use a local citation finder to optimize your efforts.   

Friday, June 5, 2015

Whoop Whoop! New Changes to AdWords

In the digital marketing industry, marketers understand that our space is always changing. With an awesome partner like Google, the innovation and design made to enhance search results and to help consumers find what they are looking for has endless possibilities.

Those familiar with AdWords knows that Google is always updating their system based on complaints and rolling out new features to help with better reporting – better reports mean better understanding of your demographic, which will allow you to serve better ads and HOPEFULLY result in more sales.

Here is a breakdown and explanation of the new features introduced by Google AdWords in the past 5 weeks.

Dynamic Sitelinks.
If you have seen ‘really long sitelinks’ appearing in your PPC ads that you didn’t create, DON’T PANIC! Dynamic Sitelinks, similar to traditional sitelinks, are pages within your site that you enable to show in addition to your PPC ads. When a search query is performed, Google will match your websites content to the search and link directly to the page. These dynamic sitelinks are not only relevant, but include many more characters than traditional sitelinks – consuming more real estate and therefore improving your chances of clicks and conversions.

You do not need to sign up for Dynamic Sitelinks, Google will automatically enable the feature when their algorithm believes it is a relevant fit.

True View Shopping.
If your company is currently participating in YouTube video ads and are an E-Commerce store get ready for YouTube’s newest roll out. In addition to showing a video ad on YouTube you now have the ability to feature your product as a Product Listing Ad within the video so your customer can purchase!

What this means is if you have a video running on “Best Make Tips for Contouring” by Sephora, Sephora now has the capability to showcase every item they are using in the video with a “Buy It Now” option in the corner.

Wayfair was among several companies that trialed the feature and showed 3x revenue increase per impression compared to their previous campaign; other companies have seen brand lifts as high as +80% and +54% in ad recall.

Enhanced MCC Reporting.
For agencies that manage multiple accounts, or franchises that monitor multiple locations within one MCC, your complaints have been heard! Google AdWords has recently released enhanced MCC Reporting that will allow high-level access and reports for up to 20 accounts.

Some of the formatting that has been enabled in this new reporting system are: columns, segmentation, and filter application. You are also able to make bulk edits to budgets and activating/pausing campaigns.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Keeping Your Website Safe From Malware

If your business depends on its website in any way, keeping it secure should be a top priority. While it sounds like obvious advice, many business owners and webmasters do not take even the simplest of steps to ensure their site’s safety. If this sounds like you, here is your warning!

With a few of Tandem Interactive’s easy tweaks, you can take preventative steps to secure your website:

1.     Logins and passwords. It is really common for websites to have an “Admin” login. Do not be one of these sites! Hackers know this is true, and if they have your login, they have won half the battle. You should also steer clear of logins that are simply your business’ name. When it comes to passwords, avoid using your business’ name or consecutive numbers. Incorporate random words, numbers and symbols.

If your CMS allows it, you should also limit login attempts. This will prevent a hacker from having unlimited “chances” at guessing your login and password combination. And it is also important to protect your login information. Only make logins for those who absolutely need it, and do not give out the information to just anyone who asks.

2.     Update everything. When using a CMS, you may have several plugins, extensions, applications and themes. It is important to keep these updated. When you do not take this precaution, you are pretty much inviting hackers in. Updates repair security issues, so take advantage of the bandages they provide. You should also ensure your website is running on the latest version of your CMS.

Before you install any plugins, extensions or applications, make sure you really need them.  Since they can cause vulnerabilities, you only want to install something if it is really necessary.

3.     Work with those you can trust. When you work with an internet marketing company, web developer, or programmer, make sure you trust them. If you were not referred, ask for former or current clients you can talk to. Your website is an investment that likely cost a lot of time and money; do not give just anyone access to your baby.

The same goes for your hosting provider. It is important to choose a reputable company, because they will have strong security measures in place. And if something does go wrong, you want a company with a responsive and helpful customer service team that will try their best to rectify the problem.

4.     Back it up. Back up your website’s files and database! If you do not do this, and you do not have a web developer, it is likely not happening. This small step can be the difference between your entire site being wiped out or not. Ask your hosting provider about site backups, and keep a recent backup on a local drive just in case.

5.     Monitor your web property. While it is important to check on your site and make sure everything is running smoothly, you need to put in just a bit more effort. That is because malware can be added to your site, and everything can look a-okay on the front-end (scary, we know!). Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) makes monitoring your website’s health pretty simple. The “Security Issues” section of Search Console will keep you up-to-date if it detects any malware, hacking or security issues. You just need to make sure to connect your web property to Search Console and keep an eye on the email address it is connected with. It also does not hurt to login from time to time. The same goes for Google Analytics. Monitor your traffic, and look into any irregular spikes.

While managing a website can be stressful, there are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard it from a security attack. Because trust us, there is nothing more stressful than trying to put the pieces of your site back together. Once your site is secure, contact Tandem Interactive for any of your site’s organic, paid search, or local needs!