Friday, 23 August 2019

Goodbye, Generic SEO Audit – Say Hello to Customization & Prioritization - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

It's too easy to fall into a rut with your SEO audits. If it doesn't meet best practices it ought to be fixed, right? Not always. Though an SEO audit is essentially a checklist, it's important to both customize your approach and prioritize your fixes to be efficient and effective with your time and effort. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins teaches us her methods for saying adios to generic, less effective SEO audits and howdy to a better way of improving your site.


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Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week's edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and today we're going to be talking about the SEO audit. We're going to be talking about how to take it from its kind of current generic state to something that's a little bit more customized and it has prioritization baked in so hopefully we're going to be doing these SEO audits for higher impact than we're currently doing them.

What is an SEO audit?

So I think it's safe to start with a definition of what an SEO audit is. Now, depending on who you ask, an SEO audit can mean a lot of different things. So if you were to boil it down to its just barest of bones, here's what I would say an SEO audit usually is. This is what someone means when they say SEO audit. 

An SEO audit is a checklist to see if your site is compliant

So it's a list of checks basically. You have all of these things that are SEO best practices, and you run your site through this sieve and you try to see is my site compliant or not compliant essentially.

So you have things like: Missing H1s, yes or no? Broken links, yes or no? Duplicate title tags, yes or no? So you end up with this whole big, long list of things that are wrong and not according to SEO best practices on your site. 

Purpose = improving SEO metrics

The whole purpose of this is usually to improve some kind of SEO metrics.

Maybe you're trying to correct a traffic drop or something like that. So you have this whole laundry list of things now that you need to fix as a result of this SEO audit. So usually what you end up saying is, hey, dev team or client or whoever you're giving this to, "You need to fix these things because they're SEO best practice." What's wrong with this though?

"Fix it because it's SEO best practice." What's wrong with this picture?

I think there are a couple things wrong with this. 

1. May or may not be hurting you

Number one, it means that we're addressing things that may or may not actually be the culprit of whatever issue we're facing. It's just a list of things that didn't meet a best practices list, but we don't really know and we're not really sure if these things are actually causing the issues that we're seeing on our site. 

2. May or may not have an impact

So because we don't know if these are the culprit and the things that are hurting us, they may or may not have an impact when we actually spend our time on them.

3. May be wasting time

Number three, that leads to a lot of potential wasted time. This is especially true, well, for everyone. Everyone is very busy. But this is especially true for people who work at enterprises and they have a very large website, maybe a really strapped for time and resources development team. If you give them a list of fixes and you say, "Hey, fix these things because it's SEO best practices,"they are just going to say, "Yeah, sorry, no.I don't have time for that, and I don't see the value in it.I don't really know why I'm doing this."

So I think there's a better way. Move over to this side. 

How to customize

Customization and prioritization I think are a lot better alternatives to doing our SEO audits. So there are three kind of main ways that I like to customize my SEO audits. 

1. Don't look at everything

Number one, it may sound a little bit counterintuitive, but don't look at everything. There are plenty of times when you do an SEO audit and it makes sense to do a kind of comprehensive audit, look through all kinds of things.

You're doing links. You're doing content. You're doing the site architecture. You're doing all kinds of things. Usually I do this when I'm taking over a new client and I want to get to know it and I want to get to know the website and its issues a little bit better. I think that's a totally valid time to do that. But a lot of times we're doing more work than we actually have to be doing when we look at the entire website and every single scenario on the website.

So maybe don't look at everything. 

2. Start with a problem statement

Instead I think it could be a good idea to start with a goal or a problem statement. So a lot of times SEO audits kind of come in response to something. Maybe your client is saying, "Hey, our competitor keeps beating us for this. Why are they beating us?" Or, "Hey, we've had year-over-year decline in traffic.What's going on? Can you do an SEO audit?"

So I think it's a good idea to start with that as kind of a goal or a problem statement so that you can narrow and target your SEO audit to focus on the things that are actually the issue and why you're performing the audit. 

3. Segment to isolate

Number three, I think it's a really good idea to segment your site in order to isolate the actual source of the problem. So by segment, I mean dividing your site into logical chunks based on their different purposes.

So, for example, maybe you have product pages. Maybe you have category pages. You have a blog section and user-generated content. There are all these different sections of your website. Segment those, isolate them, and look at them in isolation to see if maybe one of the sections is the culprit and actually experiencing issues, because a lot of times you find that, oh, maybe it's the product pages that are actually causing my issues and it's not the blog posts or anything else at all.

So that way you're able to really waste less time and focus, take a more targeted, focused look at what's actually going on with your website. So once you've kind of audited your site through that lens, through a more customized lens, it's time to prioritize, because you still have a list of things that you need to fix. You can't just heap them all onto whatever team you're passing this on to and say," Here, fix these all."

How to prioritize

It's a lot better to prioritize and tell them what's more important and why. So here's how I like to do that. I would plot this out on a matrix. So a pretty simple matrix. At the top, your goal goes there. It keeps you really focused. All of these little things, say pretend these are just the findings from our SEO audit.



On the y-axis, we have impact. On the x-axis, we have time. So essentially we're ordering every single finding by what kind of impact it's going to have and how much time it's going to take to complete. So you're going to end up with these four quadrants of tasks. 

Quick wins

So in this green quadrant here, you have your quick wins.

These are the things that you should do right now, because they're going to have a really high impact and they're not going to take a lot of time to do. So definitely prioritize those things. 

Schedule & tackle in sprints

In this blue quadrant here, you have things that are going to make a really high impact, but they also take a lot of time. So schedule those after the green quadrant if you can. I would also suggest breaking those larger, time-intensive tasks into smaller, bite-sized chunks.

This is a good idea no matter what you're doing, but this is especially helpful if you're working with a development team who probably runs in two-week sprints anyway. It's a really good idea to segment and tackle those little bits at a time. Just get it on the schedule. 

Deprioritize

In this orange down here, we have things to maybe deprioritize. Still put them on the schedule, but they're not as important as the rest of the tasks.

So these are things that aren't going to make that high of an impact, some impact, but not that high, and they're not going to take that much time to do. Put them on the schedule, but they're not as important. 

Just don't do it

Then in this last quadrant here, we have the just don't do it quadrant. Hopefully, if you're taking this really nice targeted look at your site and your audit through this lens, you won't have too many of these, if any.

But if something is going to take you a lot of time and it's not going to make that big of an impact, no one really has time for that. We want to try to avoid those types of tasks if at all possible. Now I will say there's a caveat here for urgency. Sometimes we have to work on things regardless of what kind of impact they're going to make on our site.

Maybe it's because a client has a deadline, or it's something in their contract and we just have to get something done because it's a fire. We all have love/hate relationships with those fires. We don't want to be handling them all of the time. If at all possible, let's make sure to make those the exception and not the rule so that we actually get these priority tasks, these important things that are going to move the needle done and we're not constantly pushing those down for fires.

One last thing, I will say impact is something that trips up a lot of people, myself included. How do you actually determine how much of an impact something is going to have before you do it? So that can be kind of tricky, and it's not an exact science. But there are two main ways that I kind of like to do that. Number one, look for correlations on your website.

So if you're looking at your website through the lens of these pages are performing really well, and they have these things true about them, and they're on your list of things to fix on these other pages, you can go into that with a certain degree of certainty, knowing that, hey, if it works for these pages, there is a chance that this will make a high impact on these other pages as well.

So look at the data on your own website and see what's already performing and what qualities are true about those pages. Number two, I would say one of the biggest things you can do is just to start small and test. Sometimes you really don't know what kind of an impact something is going to make until you test on a small section. Then if it does have a high impact, great. Put it here and then roll it out to the rest of your site.

But if it doesn't have a good impact or it has minimal impact, you learn something from that. But at least now you know not to prioritize it, not to spend all of your time on it and roll it out to your entire website, because that could be potentially a waste of time. So that's how I prioritize and I customize my SEO audits. I think a lot of us struggle with: What even is an SEO audit?

How do I do it? Where do I even look? Is this even going to make a difference? So that's how I kind of try to make a higher impact with my SEO audits by taking a more targeted approach. If you have a way that you do SEO audits that you think is super helpful, pop it in the comments, share it with all of us. I think it's really good to share and get on the same page about the different ways we could perform SEO audits for higher impact.

So hopefully that was helpful for you. That's it for this week's Whiteboard Friday. Please come back again next week for another one.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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* This article was originally published here

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Fresh Features & Functionalities: A Six Month Look back at What’s New in Moz Pro

Posted by rachelgooodmanmoore


If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering how the heck it's already August — where did the first half of the year go? 

As we move into the last months of 2019, it’s a great time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished so far this year. And here at Moz, we’ve been hard at work getting a bunch of cool features out the door.

We’ve made these improvements with you in mind, to help your day-to-day workflows and make your experience in our tools easier and more efficient. Ready for a quick look back at the new functionalities we’ve rolled out? Let’s do it!

Not a Moz Pro user yet?

Start a free trial today!

Domain Authority 2.0

Gauging the strength of a website can be a complicated task. Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) metric has served the SEO industry for years as one such method of measurement. In March, we updated the algorithm that powers DA — to keep pace with the search engines and predict ranking ability better than ever before. You can use DA to identify the growth of your own site over time, understand the strength of your website against competitors, determine the difficulty to rank on a particular SERP, and much more.

Pro tip: Always use DA as a relative metric in comparison to your competitors’ sites, rather than as an absolute metric in isolation.

Want to know how others are using Moz Pro to get the competitive edge? See how TopSpot increased their organic traffic by 29 percent within 90 days of switching domains by leveraging Link Explorer, Page Authority, and DA.  

Read the Case Study

Keyword Clustering

Keyword clusters are groups of closely-related keywords — and tracking keywords as clusters (rather than as individual terms) allows you to more accurately track your ranking, understand your search visibility, and stay ahead of your competitors. In June, we introduced fresh functionality in Campaign setup that supports clustering of semantically-related keywords. We’ll even help you get started by automatically suggesting potential clusters and keywords you might want to track as part of these groups!

As you set up a Campaign to begin tracking a site, you’ll have the opportunity to group keywords into different clusters. Once you’ve got your Campaign set up, the Search Visibility graph in the Rankings section will allow you to compare multiple clusters to each other. To see a keyword cluster’s performance, use the filter. Click the plus sign, and type in the names of the clusters you’d like to compare. This will give you a visual representation for how each keyword cluster is performing – including which are your strongest topics, and which are your weakest, to identify what areas need more attention.

Pro tip: Consider building separate clusters for each of the product types you offer, the types of services your business provides, or related query types that you hope to rank for.

Bulk upload keywords by CSV

Speaking of labels and keyword clusters, we’ve made one of your most-requested features a reality and added the option to bulk upload keywords to a Campaign. Rather than adding keywords manually, use a CSV to quickly and easily upload keywords, with labels and locations tied to them. In your Tracked Keywords Overview, simply click Add Keywords and toggle to the Upload CSV tab.

Filter by SERP Feature in Keyword Lists

Having trouble prioritizing keywords? Identify opportunities for featured snippets and other SERP features faster than ever. If you already have a keyword list in Keyword Explorer, simply hop into the list and refresh all keywords. Once the list is refreshed, you’ll be able to quickly view, filter, and export SERP Feature data for your keywords.

Don’t have a list yet? Just add keywords from Keyword Explorer into a list, and you’ll be off and running!

Pro tip: Want the inside scoop on which content is most likely to win you a particular feature snippet type on a SERP? Use this filter to get a glimpse into which terms already have featured snippets; then apply what you’ve learned to drive your own content creation.

Advanced filtering in Keyword Suggestions

Keyword research can take even the savviest SEO quite a bit of time to navigate. Advanced filtering in Keyword Explorer helps you to keep your keyword research laser-focused and saves you major time and effort. Filter your keyword suggestions to include a particular term that is important to you— or exclude a term that you don't need mucking up your suggestions list. Stack up your "includes" and "excludes" to refine your suggestions list and ensure you're seeing the types of keywords that meet your needs.

Pro tip: Try excluding branded terms (your own, or your competitors’ branded terms) to keep keyword suggestions brand-agnostic.

Format annotations in Custom Reports

Custom Reports allow you to share your hard work and SEO efforts with stakeholders, providing the opportunity to pull in areas of your Moz Pro Campaign. Drag and drop modules from your Campaign into your custom-ordered report, and add customizable notes to help your readers understand and interpret your SEO work.

All-new custom formatting of those notes allows you to add in your preferred formatting — from headers to font formatting, to bullets, links, images, and more, using Markdown. Ensure that the stakeholders reading your reports know exactly what your work means and see the value of the SEO efforts you've been working on.

Improved Moz Pro navigation

We’ve improved navigation within Moz Pro to help you quickly access all areas of the tool. In the left navigation, you’ll have the option of toggling between Campaigns, navigating around a Campaign easily, and hopping straight into the research tools.

"Make a Suggestion" button

If you’ve ever been in the Moz tools and thought, “I wish I could tell Moz how I feel about this feature!” this one is just for you. 

When you hop into a Campaign, you’ll notice a button on the top of your Dashboard that says “Make a Suggestion.” A click of this button will give you the power to tell us what you want to see. We love hearing from you and we're always looking for ways to iterate and improve our product for you so that your job as an SEO is as easy as possible.

Outside of Moz Pro, other big things are happening

Moz Certification

We launched the Moz Certification in April — an instructor-led, six-part course covering the SEO Essentials. The Certification brings six hours of online content that you can take at your own pace and includes exams to test your knowledge as well as and a LinkedIn badge to share your credentials with your network.

Client Onboarding Course

Outside of the Certification, we also have standalone courses on additional topics, including our newest addition: The Client Onboarding Course — perfect for when you've just signed a new SEO client and want to know what the next steps are. This course delves deep into internal communication processes, how to best get to know your new client, setting expectations—and even provides a new client questionnaire that Moz’s SEO experts have developed.

New Moz Local

As local search continues to evolve, we’ve been working to evolve our toolset in a number of ways. 

The launch of the new Moz Local in June brought features like real-time profile management and sync, data cleansing, automated duplicate detection and deletion, and deep integrations with Google and Facebook. The new platform also provides the chance to manage your reviews and post to social networks, straight from the Moz Local interface! Check out how PAPYRUS saw a 42 percent increase in direction requests and a 26 percent increase in click-to-call requests after Wpromote harnessed Moz Local to optimize their business listings. This drove 90,000 more potential in-store shoppers annually and was celebrated by the US Search Awards!  

Read the Case Study

And there’s more to come! 

That's just the tip of the iceberg. We have oodles of exciting more launches on the docket before the end of the year is through. Stay tuned!




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* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A: Using New Schema Types to Create Interactive Rich Results

Posted by LilyRayNYC


Structured data (Schema markup) is a powerful tool SEOs can use to efficiently deliver the most important information on our webpages to search engines. When applied effectively across all relevant entities, Schema markup provides significant opportunities to improve a website’s SEO performance by helping search engines to better understand its content.

While Schema.org is continuously expanding and refining its documentation, Google updates its list of supported features that are eligible to be displayed as rich organic results far less frequently. When they happen, these updates are exciting because they give marketers new ways to affect how their organic listings appear in Google’s search results. To make things even more interesting, some of this year’s new Schema types offer the unique opportunity for marketers to use Schema to drive clicks to more than one page on their site through just one organic listing.

Three new Schema types worth focusing on are FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema, all of which present great opportunities to improve organic search traffic with eye-catching, real estate-grabbing listing features. By strategically implementing these Schema types across eligible page content, marketers can dramatically increase their pages’ visibility in the search results for targeted keywords -- especially on mobile devices.

Pro tip: When rolling out new Schema, use the Rich Results Testing Tool to see how your Schema can appear in Google’s search results. Google Search Console also offers reporting on FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema along with other Schema types in its Rich Results Status Report.

FAQ Schema

According to Google, FAQ Schema can be used on any page that contains a list of questions and answers on any particular topic. That means FAQ Schema doesn’t have to be reserved only for company FAQ pages; you can create a “frequently asked questions” resource on any topic and use the Schema to indicate that the content is structured as an FAQ.

FAQ Schema is a particularly exciting new Schema type due to how much real estate it can capture in the organic listings. Marking up your FAQ content can create rich results that absolutely dominate the SERP, with the potential to take up a huge amount of vertical space compared to other listings. See the below example on mobile:


Like all Schema, the FAQ content must be a 100 percent match to the content displayed on the page, and displaying different content in your Schema than what is displayed on the page can result in a manual action. Google also requires that the content marked up with FAQ Schema is not used for advertising purposes.

Impacts on click-through rate

There is some risk involved with implementing this Schema: if the content is too informational in nature, it can create a situation where users to get the answers they need entirely within the search results. This is exactly what happened when we first rolled out FAQ Schema for one of our clients at Path Interactive — impressions to the page surged, but clicks fell just as quickly.



This conundrum led to us discover the single most exciting feature of FAQ Schema: The fact that Google supports links and other HTML within the answers. Look for opportunities within your FAQ answers to link to other relevant pages on your site, and you can use FAQ Schema to drive organic users to more than one page on your website. This is a great way to use informational content to drive users to your product or service pages.

Note that this tactic should be done within reason: The links to other pages should actually provide value to the user, and they must also be added to the page content so the Schema code is a 100 percent match with the content on the page. Check out my other detailed article on implementing FAQ Schema, which includes recommendations around tagging links in FAQ answers so you can monitor how the links are performing, and for distinguishing clicks to the FAQ links from your other organic listings.

HowTo Schema

HowTo Schema is another new Schema type that can be used to enhance articles containing instructions on “how to” do something. Like FAQ Schema, Google lays out certain content requirements about what can and can’t be marked up with HowTo Schema, including:

  • Not marking up offensive, violent or explicit content
  • The entire content of each “step” must be marked up
  • Not using HowTo markup to advertise a product
  • Including relevant images, as well as materials and tools used to complete the task
  • HowTo should not be used for Recipes, which have their own Schema

Unfortunately, unlike FAQ Schema, the text included within each HowTo step is not linkable. However, the individual steps themselves can become links to an anchor on your page that corresponds to each step in the process, if you include anchored links and images in your HowTo markup.

HowTo has two visual layouts:

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

One layout includes image thumbnails for each step in the process. With this layout, users can click on each step and be taken directly to that step on your page. Anchored (#) links also appear separately in Google Search Console, so you can track impressions and clicks to each step in your HowTo process.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

The second HowTo layout uses accordions to display the steps.

One added benefit of HowTo Schema is its voice search potential: properly marked up HowTo content is eligible to be read aloud by Google Assistant devices. When voice searchers ask their Google Assistants for help with a task that is best answered with a “how to” guide, content marked up with HowTo Schema will be more likely to be read aloud as the answer.

Like FAQ Schema, HowTo markup presents pros and cons for marketers. Given that the rich result takes up so much space in the SERP, it’s a great way to make your listing stand out compared to competing results. However, if users can get all the information they need from your marked-up content within the search results, it may result in fewer clicks going to your website, which coincides with Google’s rise in no-click searches.

In rolling out HowTo markup, it’s important to monitor the impact the Schema has on your impressions, clicks, and rankings for the page, to make sure the Schema is producing positive results for your business. For publishers whose sites rely on ad revenue, the potential loss in click-through-rate might not be worth the enhanced appearance of HowTo markup in the search results.

Does HowTo markup earn featured snippets for “how to” queries?

Given that virtually every “How To” query generates a Featured Snippet result, I wanted to see whether there was any correlation between implementing HowTo Schema and earning Featured Snippets. I conducted an analysis of 420 URLs currently ranking in Featured Snippets for common “how to” queries, and only 3 these pages are currently using HowTo markup. While this Schema type is still relatively new, it doesn’t appear to be the case that using HowTo markup is a prerequisite for earning the Featured Snippet for “how to” queries.

Q&A Schema

Q&A Schema is another new Schema type used for pages that contain a question and a way for users to submit answers to that question. The Q&A Schema should be applied only on pages that have one question as the main focus on the page — not a variety of different questions. In its documentation, Google also distinguishes between Q&A and FAQ markup: If users are not able to add their own answers to the question, FAQ markup should be used instead.

Q&A Schema is great for forums or other online message boards where users can ask a question and the community can submit answers, such as the Moz Q&A Forum.

Google strongly recommends that Q&A Schema include a URL that links directly to each individual answer to improve user experience. As with HowTo Schema, this can be done using anchor (#) links, which can then be monitored individually in Google Search Console.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/qapage

Blending Schema types

Another exciting new development with these new Schema types is the opportunity to blend multiple types of Schema that generate rich results on the same page. FAQ Schema in particular works as a great supplement to other Schema types, such as Product or Professional Service, which can generate stars, review counts, or other attributes in the SERP. Below is an example of how these combined Schema types can look on mobile:

If it makes sense for your content, it may be worth testing adding FAQ or HowTo markup to pages that already have other Schema types that generate rich results. It’s possible that Google will display multiple rich result types at once for certain queries, or it could change the rich appearance of your listing depending on the query. This could potentially lead to a big increase in the click-through-rate given how much space these mixed results take up in the SERP.

Note: there is no guarantee Google will always display blended Schema types the way it currently does for websites who have already done this implementation. Google is always changing how it displays rich results, so it’s important to test this on your own pages and see what Google chooses to display.

Risks involved with implementing Schema

It would be irresponsible to write about using Schema without including a warning about the potential risks involved. For one, Google maintains specific criteria about how Schema should be used, and misusing the markup (whether intentionally or not) can result in a structured data manual action. A common way this occurs is when the JSON-LD code includes information that is not visible for users on the page.

Secondly, it can be tempting to implement Schema markup without thoroughly thinking through the impact it can have on the click-through-rate of the page. It is possible that Schema markup can result in such a positive user experience within the SERP, that it can actually cause a decline in click-through-rate and less traffic to your site (as users get all the information they need within the search results). These considerations require that marketers think strategically about whether and how to implement Schema to ensure they are not only complying with Google’s guidelines but also using Schema in a way that will provide meaningful results for their websites.

Lastly, it is possible that Google will update its quality guidelines around how rich results are displayed if they find that these new Schema types are leading to spam or low-quality results.

Avoid misusing Schema, or it’s possible Google might take away these fantastic opportunities to enhance our organic listings in the future.




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* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

SEO Doesn’t Have to be a Long-Term Game: There Are Quicker Ways to Get Results

Everyone thinks SEO is a long-term game… that you have to wait months if not years to see results. And, maybe that was the case a few years ago when content was still king.

With Google making 3200 algorithm changes in just one year, their goal isn’t to make a website wait a year or two before they are able to achieve a top spot.

Instead, they want to show the user the right site as quick as possible. It doesn’t matter if the site has been around for 10 years, or 10 days.

How SEO has changed

It used to be that if you want to rank well, you would have to create tons of long-form content and build links.

Or have a really aged domain with history. But as Google has clearly stated, having an older domain or even a new domain won’t affect your rankings.

And sure, those things still matter today. But there are over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm.

In other words, there are other tactics that produce quick results.

For example, a few weeks I wrote a blog post about FAQ schema and how you can see the difference with your Google listing in 30 minutes.

Literally, 30 minutes.

That kind of stuff wasn’t possible before.

And SEO is no longer just a game of ranking on Google. There are tons of popular search engines like YouTube, in which you can get results in 24 hours.

Their algorithm is a bit different than Google’s in which if a video does really well in the first 24 hours of it being released, it will get shown more and rank higher.

In essence, you can take a top spot on YouTube in just days, no matter how competitive the term maybe.

You are full of it Neil?

Look, I’m not trying to say you can rank for “auto insurance” on Google within 24 hours or achieve unrealistic results, but you can drastically grow your search traffic in a reasonable time if you follow the right tactics.

It doesn’t matter if you have a new website or an old one.

So how do you get results faster? What’s the secret?

Well, I have a Master Class that will teach you how to double your traffic, but you’ll have to wait till Thursday.

I’m going to be introducing something new in which you can get more search traffic in 30 days.

All you have to do is take one simple action each day. And the action is so simple that it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes.

Stay tuned!

PS: Don’t forget to add the Master Class to your calendar. That way you’ll get notified on Thursday when it comes out.

The post SEO Doesn’t Have to be a Long-Term Game: There Are Quicker Ways to Get Results appeared first on Neil Patel.



* This article was originally published here

Friday, 16 August 2019

5 Common Objections to SEO (& How to Respond) - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

How many of these have you heard over the years? Convincing clients and stakeholders that SEO is worth it is half the battle. From doubts about the value of its traffic to concerns over time and competition with other channels, it seems like there's an argument against our jobs at every turn. 

In today's Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins cover the five most common objections to SEO and how to counter them with smart, researched, fact-based responses.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week's edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and today we're going to be going through five common objections to SEO and how to respond. Now I know, if you're watching this and you're an SEO, you have faced some of these very objections before and probably a lot of others.

This is not an exhaustive list. I'm sure you've faced a ton of other objections, whether you're talking to a potential client, maybe you're talking to your friend or your family member. A lot of people have misunderstandings about SEO and that causes them to object to wanting to invest in it. So I thought I'd go through some of the ones that I hear the most and how I tend to respond in those situations. Hopefully, you'll find that helpful.

1. "[Other channel] drives more traffic/conversions, so it's better."


Let's dive in. The number one objection I hear a lot of the time is this other channel, whether that be PPC, social, whatever, drives more traffic or conversions, therefore it's better than SEO. I want to respond a few different ways depending. 

Success follows investment

So the number one thing I would usually say is that don't forget that success follows investment.

So if you are investing a lot of time and money and talent into your PPC or social and you're not really doing much with organic, you're kind of just letting it go, usually that means, yeah, that other channel is going to be a lot more successful. So just keep that in mind. It's not inherently successful or not. It kind of reflects the effort you're putting into it.

Every channel serves a different purpose

Number two, I would say that every channel serves a different purpose. You're not going to expect social media to drive conversions a lot of the time, because a lot of the time social is for engagement. It's for more top of the funnel. It's for more audience development. SEO, a lot of the time that lives at your top and mid-funnel efforts. It can convert, but not always.

So just keep that in mind. Every channel serves a different purpose. 

Assists vs last click only

The last thing I would say, kind of dovetailing off of that, is that assists versus last click only I know is a debate when it comes to attribution. But just keep in mind that when SEO and organic search doesn't convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually assists in the process. So look at your assisted conversions and see how SEO is contributing.

2. "SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads."




The number two objection I usually hear is SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads. To that, I would respond with a question. 

What SERPs are you looking at? 

It really depends on what you're querying. If you're only looking at those bottom funnel, high cost per click, your money keywords, absolutely those are monetized.

Those are going to be heavily monetized, because those are at the bottom of the funnel. So if you're only ever looking at that, you might be pessimistic when it comes to your SEO. You might not be thinking that SEO has any kind of value, because organic search, those organic results are pushed down really low when you're looking at those bottom funnel terms. So I think these two pieces of research are really interesting to look at in tandem when it comes to a response to this question.

I think this was put out sometime last year by Varn Research, and it said that 60% of people, when they see ads on the search results, they don't even recognize that they're ads. That's actually probably higher now that Google changed it from green to black and it kind of blends in a little bit better with the rest of it. But then this data from Jumpshot says that only about 2% to 3% of all search clicks go to PPC.

So how can these things coexist? Well, they can coexist because the vast majority of searches don't trigger ads. A lot more searches are informational and navigational more so than commercial. 

People research before buying

So just keep in mind that people are doing a lot of research before buying.

A lot of times they're looking to learn more information. They're looking to compare. Keep in mind your buyer's entire journey, their entire funnel and focus on that. Don't just focus on the bottom of the funnel, because you will get discouraged when it comes to SEO if you're only looking there. 

Better together

Also, they're just better together. There are a lot of studies that show that PPC and SEO are more effective when they're both shown on the search results together for a single company.

I'm thinking of one by Seer, they did right now, that showed the CTR is higher for both when they're on the page together. So just keep that in mind. 

3. "Organic drives traffic, just not the right kind."


The number three objection I hear a lot is that organic drives traffic, just not the right kind of traffic. People usually mean a few different things when they say that. 

Branded vs non-branded

Number one, they could mean that organic drives traffic, but it's usually just branded traffic anyway.

It's just people who know about us already, and they're searching our business name and they're finding us. That could be true. But again, that's probably because you're not investing in SEO, not because SEO is not valuable. I would also say that a lot of times this is pretty easily debunked. A lot of times inadvertently people are ranking for non-branded terms that they didn't even know they were ranking for.

So go into Google Search Console, look at their non-branded queries and see what's driving impressions and clicks to the website. 

Assists are important too

Number two, again, just to say this one more time, assists are important too. They play a part in the eventual conversion or purchase. So even if organic drives traffic that doesn't convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually plays a role.

It can be highly qualified

Number three, it can be highly qualified. Again, this is that following the investment thing. If you are actually paying attention to your audience, you know the ways they search, how they search, what terms they search for, what's important to your brand, then you can bring in really highly qualified traffic that's more inclined to convert if you're paying attention and being strategic with your SEO.

4. "SEO takes too long"


Moving on to number four, that objection I hear is SEO takes too long. That's honestly one of the most common objections you hear about SEO. 

SEO is not a growth hack

In response to that, I would say it's not a growth hack. A lot of people who are really antsy about SEO and like "why isn't it working right now" are really looking for those instant results.

They want a tactic they can sprinkle on their website for instant whatever they want. Usually it's conversions and revenue and growth. I would say it's not a growth hack. If you're looking at it that way, it's going to disappoint you. 

Methodology + time = growth

But I will say that SEO is more methodology than tactic. It's something that should be ingrained and embedded into everything you do so that over time, when it's baked into everything you're doing, you're going to achieve sustained growth.

So that's how I respond to that one. 

5. "You can't measure the ROI."


Number five, the last one and probably one of the most frustrating, I'm sure this is not exclusive to SEO. I know social hears it a lot. You can't measure the ROI, therefore I don't want to invest in it, because I don't have proof that I'm getting a return on this investment. So people kind of tend to mean, I think, two things when they say this.

A) Predicting ROI


Number one, they really want to be able to predict ROI before they even dive in. They want assurances that if I invest in this, I'm going to get X in return, which there are a lot of, I think, problems with that inherently, but there are some ways you can get close to gauging what you're going to get for your efforts. So what I would do in this situation is use your own website's data to build yourself a click-through rate curve so that you know the click-through rate at your various rank positions.

By knowing that and combining that with the search volume of a keyword or a phrase that you want to go after, you can multiply the two and just say, "Hey, here's the expected traffic we will get if you will let me work on improving our rank position from 9 to 2 or 1" or whatever that is. So there are ways to estimate and get close.

A lot of times, when you do improve, you're focusing on improving one term, you're likely going to get a lot more traffic than what you're estimating because you tend to end up ranking for so many more longer tail keywords that bring in a lot of additional search volume. So you're probably going to even underestimate when you do this. But that's one way you can predict ROI. 

B) Measuring ROI




Number two here, measuring ROI is a lot of times what people want to be doing.

They want to be able to prove that what they're doing is beneficial in terms of revenue. So one way to do this is to get the lifetime value of the customer, multiply that by the close rate so that you can have a goal value. Now if you turn on your conversions and set up your goals in Google Analytics, which you I think should be doing, this assumes that you're not an e-commerce site.

There's different tracking for that, but a similar type of methodology applies. If you apply these things, you can have a goal value. So that way, when people convert on your site, you start to rack up the actual dollar value, the estimated dollar value that whatever channel is producing. So you can go to your source/medium report and see Google organic and see how many conversions it's producing and how much value.

This same thing applies if you go to your assisted conversions report. You can see how much value is in there as well. I think that's really beneficial just to be able to show people like, "Look, it is generating revenue.My SEO that's getting you organic search traffic is generating value and real dollars and cents for you." So those are some of the most common objections that I hear.

I want to know what are some of the ones that you hear too. So pop those in the comments. Let me know the objections you hear a lot of the time and include how you're either struggling to respond or find the right response to people or something that you found works as a response. Share that with us. We'd all love to know. Let's make SEO better and something that people understand a lot better. So that's it for this week's Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one.

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