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A Quick Primer On "The New SEO"

While there are several ways to increase a website's search engine exposure, few SEO programs yield consistent and sustainable results. This is often because the focus of the program is too narrow (i.e. comprised of only on-site SEO or only link building,) or the SEO program is aimless and overreaching (i.e. expecting to rank #1 for a very competitive keyword like “luxury cruises.”) New SEO

The best SEO programs are data-driven and cohesive in that they target attainable keywords and leverage a combination of web marketing and branding strategies. In addition to basic on-site SEO implementations, a comprehensive program would include strategies involving: social media marketing and advertising, content development, public relations and guest blogging, link building, and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

What Defines a Solid SEO Program

Good SEO programs go far beyond optimizing pages for keyword relevancy. In fact, a solid SEO program is more comprehensive in that it includes a number of elements.

  • Optimizing Pages - Includes directly modifying or providing suggestions for new page titles, Meta descriptions, page copy, and other SEO-related components of a page.
  • Technical SEO - Focuses on coding the site for fluid crawling and indexing; website optimization for faster load speeds; URL naming, rewrites, and 301 redirects; usage of HTML/XML sitemaps and internal linking; image optimization; Schema markup when applicable.
  • Content Marketing - Developing a content strategy and working with clients to produce new optimized pages, blog posts/articles, press releases, and other forms of content that can be optimized for SEO and shared/distributed across many platforms, particularly social media.
  • Link Building - Generating link popularity using ethical, natural link building strategies. This takes a very mindful approach that should first include a thorough backlink SEO audit before starting.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization - Directly implementing or providing suggestions for conversion funneling, calls-to-action, and helping improve the website's traffic potential to generate leads.
  • Social media - Providing services in social media management, marketing consulting, and advertising (to boost and publicize optimized content for greater SEO potential.)
  • Reporting and tracking - Define specific metrics and variable (i.e. keyword rankings, monthly traffic, conversions, etc.)

Blended SEO Is Winning SEO

There are a number of benefits to leveraging a cohesive SEO strategy that blends social media, content marketing, and SEO. Blended SEO

  • The potential to generate highly-targeted inbound traffic to All-Travel.com directly from social platforms.
  • Pages that earn social signals (i.e. Likes, Tweets, Pins, +1's, etc.) have significantly higher ranking potential for SEO (and links from those pages have greater SEO value to other pages of the website.)
  • Creating and publishing content on a regular basis helps accelerate the crawling and indexing rate of the website (bonus for SEO).
  • Quality content can earn links naturally, in addition influencing domain authority and other SEO-related performance metrics.
  • Leverage SEO-friendly web design services and ensure your site is well-optimized for search.
  • Bolster online brand building efforts.

An overwhelming number of SEO providers will focus their services on generating traffic to your website. But if that traffic does not translate to conversions, then what's the point? And how relevant or meaningful is that traffic?

Embracing the new form of SEO is ultimately the best way to build a prominent web presence and sustainable search engine rankings that yields meaningful results.

3 Ways to Leverage a Cohesive Web Design for Better SEO

The front-end design of a website, which is often associated with usability, layout and aesthetics, can have a huge impact on seemingly irrelevant factors, SEO being one of the them.

Whether your starting a website from scratch or going through a re-design, there are a few ways in which you can ensure your site's web design is SEO-friendly. We explore these avenues and considerations in greater detail below.

Without Conversions or Lead Gen, Traffic is Meaningless

It's a common scenario: a website starts receiving a new influx of organic search traffic after just a few months of SEO, however no visitors are converting into leads or sales.

In short, if your site is not converting traffic from SEO, then what's the point? Are you truly realizing your site's potential?

It all comes down to creative web design and CRO. A conversion-oriented website is the foundation to a successful SEO strategy.

Ask yourself, or your web marketing team, the following questions to ensure you're on the righteous path for success.

  • have we set conversion goals or established a conversion funnel?
  • are we using and testing targeted calls-to-action?
  • are the site's pages boring and out-dated, thus contributing to high bounce rates and low time on site?

It's difficult to justify an SEO investment if your website sucks (and is not generating leads.) There are numerous web development and design resources available, so cost is no excuse for a crappy website.

Integrate Rich Media, Strategically

In most cases, boring, text-heavy pages typically imply a poor web design. However for SEO, text-heavy pages are often a good thing to establish keyword relevancy.

With respect to SEO, integrating rich media is a balancing act. Why?

It's easy for web designers to make pages look prettier with high-resolution images and video. Yet, such media can have large file sizes and slow page load speed as a result. Not only does this negatively impact usability, but it hinders SEO performance.

Conversely, when rich media files are properly optimized (to minimize file size,) they can actually enhance a page's SEO (and CRO). When integrating rich media, it's important to:

  • optimize large file sizes to help minimize the time it takes for a page to load.
  • optimize images for keyword relevancy, which contributes to better on-page SEO (and helps your images and videos appear in Google's blended search results).
  • leverage rich media as creative and effective calls-to-action

Engagement Metrics Influence Page Authority (and SEO)

A well-designed website can significantly influence user engagement. Typically clean and cohesive pages that are alluring and user-centric promote higher levels of engagement. In turn, greater engagement will empower page authority and increase SEO potential.

How?

Google looks at behavioral metrics (like time on site and bounce rate) to weigh a page's authority. So, in essence, web design and SEO are close cousins in the genetic code of a healthy website.

In cultivating any solid relationship, quality first impressions are key. When designing the pages of your website, avoid cluttered layouts and use media that's unique, engaging, and purposeful.

When crafting the content of your optimized pages, be creative with your copy. Focus on content that is inspiring, educational, and/or enlightening to your target audience. Not only will keeping your visitors engaged, but it will help accomplish your conversion goals. However, because they're hanging out on your site longer, Google will see that your site offers value (and that will grant you greater page authority.)

5 Indicators of Spammy SEO Companies

In today's digital marketplace, there are thousands of SEO companies on the Web. Although each entity will claim to be adept in providing SEO services, only few are truly capable at generating substantial results and sufficient ROI.

In essence, the quality spectrum of SEO companies is incredibly vast. The majority of firms fall on the lower end of that spectrum, and as a result, interested businesses need to be careful who they invest their marketing dollar in. Spammy SEO Companies

There are some clear indictors that red-flag these spammy SEO companies. In this article, we'll highlight five warning signs that you should look for when seeking a credible SEO services provider.

Prides Link Building Service on Numbers (and Not Relevancy Nor Authority)

Many SEO companies advertise link build services in numbers. "We'll build 1,000 links to your website in the first month!" Now does that really seem natural through the eyes of Google?

Crap like that will only hurt your site's SEO potential. Links need to be built strategically and meticulously over time, using relevant and authoritative link sources. Additionally, link building must respect using a diverse and natural blend of anchor text. Unfortunately, only some SEO firms grasp this concept.

Preaches That "Content is King"

In the SEO profession, "content is king" is an overused statement that underlined keyword-rich page copy as the essence to higher search rankings. The fact is content was king when SEO starting gaining momentum. But over the last five years or so, that old adage has evolved.

In today's SEO era, traffic is the new king of search. You can spend countless hours creating content all day, but if it's failing to drive traffic to your website, content is meaningless. That's not say content has no purpose, but rather the context of using content has changed. The forms of content you produce (e.g. engaging videos, podcasts, and infographics) and where you promote that content (social media sites and high-traffic blogs) is what truly results in quality traffic.

Fails to Include Social Media in the Overall Strategy

SEO companies that still consider social media and SEO as mutually exclusive strategies are destined for failure. Social media is beginning to have an immense influence on search rankings, and without a socially-integrated SEO strategy, any decent keyword rankings will be short-lived.

Strong SEO companies will always factor-in Google+, and in most cases Twitter and Facebook. Although there's plenty more options depending on the client (e.g. Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.,) the latter three are essential for SEO.

Neglects Website Usability

It's more than common for SEO companies to only focus on driving traffic without having any care or consideration toward usability and driving conversions. Without a solid website that promotes conversions, traffic potential is far from being fully realized.

Solid SEO firms will have a hand in their client's CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategy. This includes fine-tuning the usability of the website, testing different calls-to-action, and setting-up various conversion goals. These types of SEO companies truly respect their clients' investment and overall success, and are role models for future of SEO.

Doesn't Address Technical SEO Issues

Another common situation is an SEO firm that has no clue what technical SEO means. This is the nuts and bolts of website optimization and ensuring a website is in prime SEO condition for crawling and indexing.

Some of the top SEO companies will place a high degree of emphasis on technical SEO elements, such as:

  • making proper use proper mark-up language
  • fixing broken links or mishandled redirects
  • correcting issues of duplicate content
  • minimizing HTML coding errors and warnings
  • building and integrating complete HTML (and XML) sitemaps

Do you have any questions? We probably have the answers. Contact our SEO experts if you'd like to learn more.

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. In addition to spearheading most of the SEO campaigns here at OIC, he also develops programs for Click Centric SEO, one of the top-ranked ecommerce SEO companies. You can follow with Tyler on Twitter to stay connected with his work.

What a Professional SEO Audit Should Include

SEO audits can reveal a wealth of information regarding a website's SEO potential and current standing in the results.

In many cases that call for SEO auditing, website owners invest in SEO services, however fail to see desirable rankings and ROI. In other situations, insights are needed to advance an SEO campaign, or simply do a check-up on how things are progressing. SEO Audits

Regardless of the core reason or purpose, the SEO audit process should reveal certain data and information that provides actionable insights. Below we highlight what you should expect from a professional SEO audit.

Because there are numerous factors that are taken into consideration, such factors are typically best organized as on-page SEO and off-page SEO factors.

Auditing On-Page SEO Factors

Although performing on-page SEO functions are both cumbersome and critical for success, on-page variables only account for about 30% of Google's ranking algorithm.

When conducting on-page SEO audits, the following elements should be taken into consideration.

  • Keyword usage - Having a proper balance of keyword inclusion is important to establish relevancy. It's crucial to understand that overly keyword dense content can actually be at risk of penalization, whereas in most cases, not enough keyword relevancy is established in the proper places.
  • Technical SEO - This includes a wide range of elements, such as: HTML coding structure of pages; site health and prevalence of warnings and errors; proper use of a HTML and XML sitemaps; site load speed; use of internal linking.
  • Website structure, navigation, & usability - It's critical to assess how a website is structured, not only for SEO, but also Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). In short, search traffic is useless if it's not converting.

Auditing Off-Page SEO Factors

Off-page factors carry the greatest weight in determining keyword search rankings. For this reason, a successful SEO program will should place ongoing emphasis on the following components.

  • Integrating Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools - Although integrating these tools may not directly impact SEO, they are critical to conduct SEO analyses and measure success. Any good SEO auditor will request access to these programs to analyze key metrics and data. If they are not integrated, a first step is to get this done ASAP.
  • Building a natural backlink portfolio - The overall number and quality a site's backlinks is perhaps the most important contributor to SEO success. Google ranks sites that have natural backlink portfolios (a natural, non-overly optimized blend of link anchor text) that stem from relevant, authoritative sources.
  • Having a strong presence in social media - Social media is starting to have a massive affect on search. This mostly centers on "social signals" (e.g. Google +1's, Tweets, Facebook Likes, Shares, etc.) The more social signals a page has can equate to better rankings. So greater social authority can correlate to greater search authority as well. Although social media doesn't seem relevant to SEO, it should be included in any good SEO audit.

Although there is more that goes into a complete SEO audit, the latter outline entails the bulk of the overall process.

Here at OIC Group, we have experience providing a wide range SEO services for many business models. Spanning from ecommerce SEO audits and consulting services to local search marketing program that combine SEO and PPC, we offer a spectrum of capabilities that are individually-tailored.

 

Peoria Web Design Company Offices:
OIC Group, Inc.
Phone: (309) 680-5600

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653