8 most common SEO mistakes to avoid

“What are the most common SEO mistakes?” is a pretty common question. We’re all writing content primarily for humans, but search engines come as a *very* close second. So, it is no secret that content writing and SEO go hand in hand. With this in mind, we’ll be taking a look at 8 common SEO mistakes. These tips will help you to stay clear of common traps and correctly optimize content to get even better results on search engines.

Let’s say you just sat down and are ready to write a killer blog post for your website. You’re feeling confident in your topic and have high hopes for shares, conversions, all of it. The content is sitting in your brain, just waiting to get released into cyberspace.

You want your content to achieve its full potential, and it can, but it won’t be easy. You see,by having great quality content half the battle is already won. But in the great war of getting consistently ranked in the SERP (search engine results pages) you need a firm grasp of good SEO . Without it, it is likely that your content will never attract any significant organic traffic.

Unfortunately not all content writers make good use of SEO, which ultimately hurts their ranking. We’re here to guide you to write content in a way that performs well with both humans and robots. After reading this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of expressions such as “keyword stuffing” and “over optimizing”. This will prevent you from committing common SEO mistakes and help you in the long run! So let’s get started.

Common SEO mistake #1: writing without an audience in mind

This SEO content writing tip is number one for a reason. While this might sound obvious, sometimes businesses make content for all the wrong reasons. 

To avoid this and other seo mistakes, get to know your target audience first. Then, produce well-optimized targeted content. The blogs you write should appeal to them, their interests and their questions.

Consider where your reader might be in their customer journey and use this knowledge in your content marketing strategy. Not all posts need to be directly about your product or service. In order to satisfy the demand of informational searches for instance, it might be worthwhile to produce more informational content. This will help nurture leads and in the future, result in conversions. 

Be sure to write headlines that pack a punch.Don’t underestimate the power of an effective headline. Make it clear, interesting and make use of rich keywords. 

Common SEO mistake #2: underestimating the power of an effective structure

Regardless of the quality level of the writing, posts that are unorganized and presented in an overall inefficient format will hurt your ranking and cost you traffic. Great content deserves a great structure. 

Breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs with the appropriate headlines make it easier to follow and will keep your readers engaged for longer. Where applicable, include images and videos related to your topic. This works as a way to illustrate your point while also providing breaks in between text.

Making use of proper hierarchy when tagging headlines (H1 for titles, H2 for subtitles, etc) is very important for good SEO and structuring any text on your website.

Common SEO mistake #3: not choosing your keywords according to your audience

SEO is all about the keywords. Ok maybe not ALL. But keywords definitely play a big role in well-optimized content writing. Are you choosing the right ones?

One of the most common seo mistakes in selecting keywords is to neglect the way searchers might be referring to your product or service. While you might define it in a certain way, in this case it is more important to be able to understand what words your potential customers might be using when searching for what you have to offer. 

By anticipating your target audience’s wording choices, you might realize that the terms you considered correct at first mean something different for other people. It may also become clear they are too broad or possibly too technical. In any case – you wouldn’t  be optimizing for the right keywords.

It is best to do some background research before you start optimizing. Online SEO tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner and search engines themselves are a good place to start. 

Common SEO mistake #4: keyword stuffing

It would be a logical assumption that by using your target keywords on every sentence of your content would boost your ranking. While this was true once upon a time, nowadays this strategy could not be more wrong. 

Long story short, search engines’ algorithms are too smart for that. In fact, going overboard with keyword usage is registered as spam by search engines. It actually hurts your website’s ranking.

Along with that, “keyword stuffing” or overusing keywords will likely make your content unnatural and useless for its audience. Uninteresting or not useful text will cause readers to quickly leave your site. Consequently, your website’s bounce rate will increase. These examples of SEO mistakes will hurt your site’s performance.

Common SEO mistake #5: not aligning your content to the chosen keywords 

Here’s another trap in SEO optimization. Let’s say that during your keyword research phase, you’ve come across a keyword you’d like to rank for. So you include it in your text, but then fail to align the content to this keyword. Spoiler: this will hurt your SEO performance.

The reason behind this is that search engines such as Google aim at providing their users with the most relevant content for their searches. Or in other words, if your content does not directly attend to user needs it will also not rank well in the SERP.

This common mistake is usually a result of trying to fit many different topics within a single piece of content, placing quantity of keywords over quality of content, or simply producing low-quality content only for the sake of including keywords. In any case, the best strategy is to stay focused on your target audience’s questions and real needs. 

Common SEO mistake #6: not making use of title tags and meta descriptions

A title tag is what shows up in search engines and at the top of the browser tab for a page. A meta description is a brief summary of what your page is all about to be displayed on the SERP. As such, they are the first point of interaction between your site and the user. 

Make sure you don’t forget about these potential optimizing factors for the performance of your content. Always make sure to not leave your site with a default name – or no name at all. Think about it this way: you wouldn’t put up your business front without a name right? The same applies to your content page. We’d recommend that as you’re creating a good title tag, you should always make sure of the following:

  • Each page should have unique content and unique title;
  • Each title should have an adequate length with enough information about that specific page. This should range between 50-60 characters;
  • No keyword stuffing! While it is important to use keywords on title tags, be careful not to overdo it. Keep it easily readable and reflective of what that page is about.

And on that note, while title tags are the page’s “name”, meta descriptions are a 160 character sales pitch for your page on the SERP. They do not affect ranking directly (which leads websites to often neglect them) but in doing so they miss the opportunity to “sell” a page to a prospect customer and increase click-through rate (CTR).

Ways in which you can make the best possible use of meta descriptions include creating unique descriptions for each page of your website, including relevant keywords and engaging text with the goal of enticing the viewer to click. Including a call to action in this section is often a good way to finish your meta descriptions.

Common SEO mistake #7: poor linking strategy

Always keep in mind the quality level of the links you include in your text. From an SEO perspective, it is very important to make sure that you are linking to relevant websites with solid reputations. If you fail to do so, this could lead to search engines pushing you down the search results. 

On that note, linking away from the core topic of your page might also hurt your ranking. This could signal to the Google bot crawling your website that the page is about something that it is actually not.

Another counterproductive practice when it comes to links is to use meaningless anchor text.

The anchor text signals to the reader and to the search engines what the link is about and how it can be beneficial to users. By using words such as “click here to learn more” or “here” repeatedly not only you waste a precious SEO opportunity but it could also be seen by the search engine as spammy. 

Common SEO mistake #8: posting non-original content

Last but not least, beware of duplicate content. This is highly discouraged nowadays. Your SEO performance will be penalized by search engines. Google can usually determine the source of the content, and if that was not you not only will your page not rank but the overall website could be negatively impacted. So yeah, definitely not the best idea.

Also, non-original or thin content (content that has less than 300 words) simply does not work. It is always worth it to invest in creating original and meaningful texts – from both a human and search engines perspective. Quality should always come first.

Conclusion

The world wide web is a highly competitive market place. But by consistently writing quality content and staying up to date with the latest SEO trends you will get ahead of your competition by boosting your organic traffic. 

Stay persistent in your SEO efforts and know that search engine optimization does not happen overnight. By doing so your business is bound to have a successful and effective online marketing strategy, and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

Weekly Roundup #8

Welcome back to Ogno’s weekly round up. We have some great links for you to click, so read on to see what’s been happening over the past week!  

Get your free research template to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords

https://hello.ogno.io/keyword-research

Good keywords are the foundation of a lot of what we do in SEO and marketing. That’s why we put together a free keyword research template. You can access it at the link, feel free to reach out if  you want advice we’re here to help: info@ogno.io

Soapbox: as customers are forced to cheat on their favorite brands, will they come back? 

https://marketingland.com/soapbox-as-customers-are-forced-to-cheat-on-their-favorite-brands-will-they-come-back-279515

Supply chains have been disrupted, forcing loyal customers to buy from different brands that weren’t go-tos prior to the pandemic. For example, at the beginning of 2020, searching for coffee by brand made up 85% of coffee-related searches. However, during March and April, this has dipped as low as 61%, signaling a 24% decline in brand loyalty (but also an SEO opportunity to capture new brand champions). What will be key in bringing those customers back to brand-love living when things normalize? The answer lies in understanding the deeper connections customers have with the brands they love. 

5 Steps to Setting Up an SEO Strategy for Niche Markets

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-niche-markets/351286/?ver=351286X2

Being online is a must for any niche market, and as we know, SEO is an essential element of being online. Though it can take some time for SEO to produce results, optimizing properly can completely transform your business. This article details things to consider when building your strategy, in short: do your research, make sure your on-page seo as well as technical seo are in tip-top shape and that you’re writing the best type of content for your niche. A website can be seen anywhere in the world, which is great for a niche business with a small customer base.

Google Penalties Research: Detecting and Dealing with Unnatural Inbound Links

https://www.semrush.com/blog/google-penalty-unnatural-inbound-links/

A penalty from the Google Spam Team is a manual restrictive measure for violating Google’s Webmaster guidelines; it results in a websites’ organic visibility tanking rapidly. It’s no joke! This study details in depth what Google Penalties are, why they happen and how to avoid them.

Other things to click on:

Vincent van Gogh exhibition opens in Toronto next month and people can drive in to see it http://www.blogto.com/arts/2020/05/toronto-van-gogh-exhibition-drive-in/ 

This AI makes up words you won’t even find in the dictionary https://thenextweb.com/neural/2020/05/14/thisworddoesnotexist-ai-dictionary-generator/

Forget sewing your own mask. Now you can grow one from bacteria https://www.fastcompany.com/90504945/forget-sewing-your-own-mask-now-you-can-grow-one-out-of-bacteria 

Facebook is buying Giphy and integrating it with Instagram https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/15/21259965/facebook-giphy-gif-acquisition-buy-instagram-integration-cost?

The office is dead, according to most startup founders https://www.fastcompany.com/90507601/the-office-is-dead-according-to-most-startup-founders 

Weekly Roundup #7

Cheers for tuning in to our seventh weekly round up. We’re pleased to share an overview of some of our favourite links from the past week to help keep you on top of the latest trends & news in the digital marketing world.

Want this round up delivered directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter below! 

Brand Logos: The Good, The Bad, and The Most Questionable Designs

Your brand’s logo should be a visually memorable, versatile & consistent taste of what your business is all about. However, companies often fail at the task of designing a great logo. Check out this article for a couple of success (and failure) stories to learn from!

Read more

The voice search trend & SEO

Voice search is a hot topic right now and will be a key factor for successful brands in the future. Wanna know how your business can capitalize on it? In this article we provide you with the know-how on optimizing a site for traditional desktop searches as well as voice queries.

Read more

How to counteract dips in productivity as workflow disruptions become the new norm

Have you been feeling less productive lately? You’re not alone. 62% of companies have seen decreases in productivity since work from home policies have been installed. In this article you’ll find valuable insights on how to take actionable measures for getting your business back on track.

Read more

Google’s John Mueller: “Ranking isn’t always the goal”

According to Google webmaster John Mueller, website owners should always place valuable content for their audience before ranking well in Google. In his own words “Ranking isn’t always the goal”. Check out this post for the full response.

Read more

Link building for SEO: which strategies work in 2020 (and which don’t)

There is no denying that high-quality links are key for building your website’s authority. Click on this guide to learn about tips and tricks that are still effective to help you achieve that top ranking and domain authority. Whether you are an SEO pro or a total beginner, Semrush’s guide provides you with the complete information on link building.

Read more

Other things to click on:

The voice search trend & SEO

Voice technology is on the rise. According to Google, 27% of the global online population is already using voice search on mobile, and the global voice commerce is expected to be worth $40B by 2022. Or in other words – this rising technology may be the key for successful brands in the future. 

In digital marketing, working to take advantage of new SEO trends is a must. The voice search trend is shifting the scenario for online businesses online. Tapping into this fairly new market can be wildly beneficial for your business.Why not start optimizing for it today?

Now you might be wondering “what exactly is voice search?” 

That is a fair question, and we’ll get more into that in a second. But here’s a taste: voice-only searches allow users to get results by speaking into a device as opposed to typing keywords into a search bar. As you might have guessed, this change in user behaviour calls for adaptations in messaging and website structure. 

via GIPHY

In this article we’ll tell you all about voice search, covering its impact on SEO and how people navigate the internet and most importantly, how you can capitalize on it!

The rise of voice search

While voice search seems like a brand-new concept, the technology behind it has been around for ~10 years. 

Programs such as speech-to-text and voice dialing are great examples of its early iterations. Popular programs such as Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa all utilize this technology as well.

Voice recognition technology has greatly improved since its inception.As of 2017, Google claims it has achieved a 95% accuracy rate. Voice is also increasingly present in people’s everyday lives in the form of smart home devices i.e. smart TVs, smart thermostat, home kit, and so on. At the moment search does not apply to most of these products, but it is increasingly popular among smartphones and smart speakers. 

Currently 31% of smartphone users worldwide make use of voice tech at least once a week. As data shows, people are getting more and more used to the convenience and efficiency of voice-based searches. 

The million dollar question is “how can my business website benefit from this trend?” 

The effects of voice search on SEO

The basis of voice tech’s transformative nature is that it improves user experience (UX) greatly. And, guess who else places high importance on providing its users awesome UX? Search engines! It should come as no surprise that SEO is placing more and more emphasis on voice search optimization.

After all, the whole point of SEO is to align your website with the search engine’s ranking factors in order to place higher on the SERP for relevant search queries. The search engines have the ultimate goal of displaying the best possible information for each query in the best way possible. Or in other words, improving user experience is the very soul of search engine optimization!

That being said, it is important to mention that voice search SEO and traditional website SEO are not necessarily the same. 

Some factors that affect traditional website ranking may or may not have the same effect on voice search – and vice versa. The secret is to balance both strategies so you can rank for both SERP and voice search results 😉

Which brings us to the question: “what is the difference between voice queries and written queries?”. After all, in order to successfully optimize for voice search, the first step is to understand some of its structural peculiarities. In a nutshell, voice-based queries usually count on conversational/natural language. Along with that, spoken language is usually not as concise as written words – which also means longer queries. 

It is also worth mentioning that voice-based searches often include question words such as who, which, when, where and how. According to Backlinko’s recent study on voice search SEO, Google prefers short and concise answers for voice searches – typically 29 words in average. 

How to adapt to voice search?

Wanna know what actions you can take to set your website up for voice search SEO? Here’s the know-how!

via GIPHY

1. Make sure your website’s loading speed is on point

Just like in traditional SEO, your website’s loading speed is a big deal for Google voice search. Therefore it is important to guarantee that the following are always *on point* :

  • High-speed loading
  • Optimized images
  • Compressed files
  • Website Responsiveness

In case you are unsure of your site’s current loading speed, try checking out Google’s PageSpeed Insights for your loading score combined with insights on how to improve.

2. Write in natural language

As previously mentioned, written and voice-based queries have a couple of their own particularities. 

One example of this can be observed for instance in a search for an SEO agency. While the user would probably type a query in the general lines of “top seo agencies” when performing a search on a desktop, a voice-based search would most likely follow the lines of “who are the top seo agencies in Germany?” See the difference?

In order to make sure your content is properly optimized for both kinds of queries, make sure to include long-tail keywords that sound more “natural” as opposed to the shorter more “to-the-point” keywords which usually perform well for desktop SEO. 

On that note, here’s another tip: try to keep it simple. Voice search results are typically written at a 9th grade level. So try focusing on shorter sentences and overall easy-to-read formats. However, this does not mean you should necessarily stick to short-form content. It is still true that long-form content tends to perform better for both traditional and voice search SEO.

In other words – shorter sentences: Yes. Superficial content: No.

3. Make use of structured data

Implement structured data on your website’s code in order to be featured on snippets. This can be wildly beneficial for your visibility both on the desktop SERP and voice-based results. By doing so, you’ll be using a language the search engine understands and help it deliver your information in a more dynamic way to users. Want to know how? Check out our full article on structured data.

4. Keep doing what you’re doing

Many traditional SEO actions are also known to be beneficial for voice search SEO. The first is a good domain authority score. This one will improve your ranking as well. Wanna give this metric a boost? Try focusing on high-quality links! 

Secondly, according to Backlinko’s study on voice search SEO, content with high levels of social engagement tend to perform better in voice search. In fact, the average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets. Or in other words – make sure to encourage social engagement with your content whenever possible.

Last but not least – desktop ranking! Approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 on the SERP. This means that traditional SEO in itself qualifies as a helping factor for voice search ranking. So – keep doing what you’re doing 😉

Aka Domain Authority, encouraging social engagement with your content, content that ranks highly in desktop search is also likely to appear as a voice search answer.

Conclusion

The impact of voice tech on SEO is certain. Investing in voice search optimization will improve your brand awareness, online purchases and revenue. Its popularity and professional use are on the rise – which means what better moment to get on board than now? 

By optimizing today, you’ll likely be ahead of the competition. Ensuring strong voice search rankings will play an important role for growing your brand long-term. Stay ahead of the change – and reap the benefits in years to come!

Get to Know Your Audience with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics platform. It allows you to track and analyze the performance of your website and the behaviour of the visitors it receives. It’s a pretty big platform that might seem scary at first – but we promise it’s not. 

If you want to improve your website, but aren’t sure where to start, Google Analytics – or GA for short – is it. This platform provides you with valuable insights that help shape the success of your business. There are great benefits in understanding how to use this powerful tool. This includes how you can use the overviews to understand your audience better. In this article we’ll go over the basics of 4 of Google Analytics sections and how you can use the main reports to elevate your digital marketing strategy.

Why should I use Google Analytics?

Think about your website as your business’ storefront. All the people who are ‘Googling’ a product or service just like yours are window shopping. They are looking for the most enticing door to enter. A shiny online presence is of the utmost importance for businesses to thrive – now more than ever. As such, being inquisitive about who your online visitors are (also known as your online traffic) and making sure you understand them comes in handy. 

If you’re still wondering “why should I learn how to use Google Analytics?” the answer is simple: good data is key for a successful marketing strategy. Data based on user behaviour should be the main driving force behind your website’s updates. Both go usually hand in hand so there’s no need to worry about here.

Google Analytics helps you collect that data and gain actionable insights from your website’s traffic. This can include where your visitors are coming from (channels, mediums, source, referrals, paid channels), who they are, where they are, which keywords look most promising to bring you traffic, what pages received the most visitors – and much *much* more. 

These metrics are valuable. They tell you loads about your audience’s behaviour as well as that of your potential audience.  All of this should be leveraged to help improve your communication strategy. 

Today nearly 30 million sites use Google Analytics. Yet, many site owners are still completely confused about what to do with their analytics. 

How great would it be to see the message in all the charts and numbers to get to what really matters to your business? In order to provide a customer-centric service and/or brand experience the first step is understanding your customer base. And what better way to get to know them than to learn more about their online behaviour on your website? Well, read on. We’ll give you the down-low on some of GA’s standard reports – aka the holy grail for understanding your online traffic.

1. Audience overview 

This is the Google Analytics section that provides you with the very first glance into who is visiting your website. In other words, audience overview provides data that displays a general profile of users who have interacted with your website. I.e. where they are located, what devices they use and how much time they’re spending on what web pages. 

The Audience section of Google Analytics overall is quite extensive. There are no less than fifteen sub-sections. And most of those have several different reports within their drop down menus. 

We won’t cover all of them in this guide. Instead, we’ll give you an overview and most importantly, what understanding your audience can do for your business!

The Audience Overview section displays a useful snapshot of the current audience metrics on your website. It includes information such as change in traffic over time, unique users, number of sessions per user, page views, average session duration, bounce rate and more. 

Along with that, you’ll be also given other reports which provide insights on your users. Including the number of active users over a given period of time, lifetime value, cohort analysis, demography, age, the technology they use, behaviours and interests.

So… How can audience reports help your business? 

Audience reports provide valuable insights on your existing audience. By working  these metrics into your marketing strategy, you can better approach the audience interacting with  your website to improve their experience. This will also provide valuable information on whether the customer you were targeting in the beginning is the right one. 

Formulating marketing strategies based on your customers’ behaviour will improve your engagement with them. For instance, knowing how many new vs. returning customers you’ve had in the past month or who is buying vs. who is window shopping, will help you tailor your messaging and targeting accordingly.

 Google Analytics helps you to better understand and adjust your website in order to increase your returning visitor count.

2. Customer acquisition 

Now that we’ve covered the basics on understanding who your customers are, it is time to explore where they come from. In other words, how did they reach your website. This will empower you to plan your marketing activity accordingly. You’ll increase relevant traffic. The place to look for this wonderful information is the Acquisitions section.

The Acquisition report will provide you with the channels and sources that led your visitors to your website. This includes channels (aka social, direct search, paid search, referral, display or organic search) and which of your on-going campaigns are currently driving how much traffic.

So… How can customer acquisition reports help your business? 

These metrics represent an overview of your marketing tactics, what’s working and what’s not. This will help you to understand what content  your audience is enjoying the most and which marketing channels seem to be most promising for your business. By using this data to your advantage, you can update your marketing strategy and enjoy the many benefits of increased conversions!

From an SEO perspective, if some pages present higher bounce rates than the rest this can also serve as a tip-off.  It might be worth analyzing why users are abandoning those pages and optimizing accordingly.

3. Real-time reports

As you might have guessed (the name gives it away), in the real-time section of Google Analytics you have  the option to monitor activity on your website as it happens. 

Through this metric, you can obtain information such as the number of people online on your website right now, where they are in the world, which device they are using, traffic sources, which pages they are engaging with, and which conversions have they performed.

Just don’t get too obsessed with watching the numbers go up & down 😉

So… How can real-time reports help your business?

This kind of report can be a great way of “taking the pulse” of your website. You’ll be able to track the response to specific campaigns in real time. The data informs you of how many people are currently on a specific page. This tells you a lot about your content’s level of engagement. 

Along with that, by gathering real-time data you’ll be able to better understand when more visitors online and schedule content based on this pattern. . This will give your latest posts the boost of increased exposure.

By observing your audience’s real-time behaviour on your website you can also get an idea of how engaging your content really is. If people are bouncing off too soon, it might be worth thinking of different formats and ideas. 

This also goes alongside alterations to improve user experience. For instance, let’s say lots of visitors land on your “contact us” page but a high number of people bounce off before ever filling the form. This could be an opportunity for you to test a more engaging call-to-action – which could improve your conversions.

4. Behaviour reports

Behaviour reports let you assess the performance of your content and the actions visitors take on your website. Or in other words, what pages people visit, and how they navigate between your site’s pages. 

A couple of insights worth mentioning include the behavior flow. This metric illustrates the path visitors take on your website and site content and provides information on the progress of your content. In other words, top landing pages, top exit pages, and average revenue per page.

Other highly relevant information on behaviour reports include site speed (aka how long does each page take to load vs. ideal  loading speeds), site searches, experiments – and more.

So… How can behaviour reports help your business?

Knowing how visitors move through your website and interact with your content lets you optimize your website performance and conversions.  By observing specific aspects of your audience’s behaviour towards specific pages you’ll be able to more efficiently change what needs changing. This will lead to, you guessed it, more engagement and a higher conversion rate.

Conclusion

So as we can see, Google Analytics is a powerful tool. The platform gives us the power to better understand our users,and leverage the data in future website updates. When used in the right way we guarantee it’ll  be a key ally for your successful marketing strategy. 

GA not only provides you with extensive data on your online visitors but also pushes you in the right direction when it comes to website optimization. 

By leveraging the knowledge you just learned here you can set your online business for success, improve your SEO and make both search engines & humans happy! So why not start now?

Weekly Roundup #4

With another week of social distancing behind us, marketers and google alike continue to adapt to the resulting changes in behaviour. It’s not all bad though, we’re seeing lots of creativity and agility in the marketing space and this is certainly not the end of it. 

Read on for this week’s hot tips and fun clicks from the digital marketing world and beyond. 

If you’d like this delivered directly to your inbox weekly, subscribe below. 

Google has some tips on how to cope with change in consumer behaviour

https://www.ogno.io/google-tips-changes-in-consumer-behaviour/

Google has released data on changes in search trends – and tips for how brands can best adapt and navigate the crisis. In this article we go over each of their findings while providing expert insights & advice on how to best apply them to your business.

How to use Youtube to grow your blog traffic

https://bloggingwizard.com/grow-blog-traffic-with-youtube/

Ever thought about using Youtube as an extra source of traffic for your business blog? In this article you can learn the know-how behind setting up an Youtube channel & optimizing your content/keeping up with your progress in order to get the best results possible! 

Google provides new options to help you during COVID-19: Google News Update

https://www.semrush.com/blog/new-options-google-news-digest/

Google has been implementing new services & options to help users cope with the covid-19 crisis for over a month – and this past week was no different. It has just been announced that merchants will be allowed to sell for free on Google, a free relief for New partners, the availability of the Cloud Healthcare API, new schema for government benefits – and more. 

7 Brands experimenting with new Social Media marketing approaches During COVID-19

https://www.business2community.com/social-media/7-brands-experimenting-with-new-social-media-marketing-approaches-during-covid-19-02303851

This post talks about 7 real-life examples of brands who (quite successfully) adapted their marketing strategy to the new online environment. From taking on the role of spreading important information, supporting those in need, to creating a whole commercial purely out of Zoom footage – in case you’re looking for inspiration check this one out!

Other things to click on:

  • Google created a two-week series of Doodles as a way to thank essential workers who provide services that keep our society moving forward.

https://www.blog.google/inside-google/doodles/two-weeks-doodles-thank-essential-workers/

Google has some tips on how to cope with change in consumer behaviour

This is not news: people’s routines and life in general have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. As such, there has been a massive, sudden change in consumer behaviour. Some of us are working different hours, in different settings, some of us aren’t working at all – and we have all become completely dependent on our devices …  for everything, from communication to consumerism.

It should come as no surprise that these disruptions in working habits & social gatherings turned to distancing have been greatly affecting search trends too. So much so, that Google has published data on search trends they’ve been observing. In a recent post they revealed the top 5 topics in the change in consumer behaviour during the pandemic – and how brands can best navigate them. 

Now you might be wondering “how can I understand change in consumer behaviour and use this information in favour of my business”? Well, you came to the right place.

In order to understand change in consumer behaviour and effectively implement the necessary actions to your business strategy, you should first be aware of the importance of keywords. Your audience’s change in keyword usage (aka search trends) should play a big role in your future marketing strategy and brand positioning. 

In this article we’ll go over Google’s 5 published findings in search behaviour trends (as illustrated below) and insights on how to apply them to your business to help you stay ahead of the ever changing curve. The topics are divided as follows: Assembling critical information, discovering new connections, adjusting to changes in their routines, praising everyday heroes and taking care of themselves and others.

Screeenshot from Google's article on the latest changes in consumer behaviour.

So – let’s get started!

Assembling Critical Information

As we all know, the coronavirus outbreak has  created a “new normal”. The reality at the moment is that schools are currently closed, most of the workforce is staying home and most retailers have adapted to ecommerce models. 

This (not surprisingly) plays a role in the switch of most searched terms on Google. People seem to be looking for clear information on where/how/when they can get the things they might need/want. 

What does this mean for your business? Stay mindful of people’s needs. Search interest is spiking for the following topics: 

  • Retail
  • “Can you freeze” types of food
  • Home delivery 
  • Short term work employee 
  • Mortgage rate suspension

Creating informative content and anticipating consumers’ needs are ways in which businesses can reinforce their presence right now. 

From an SEO perspective, take this time to strengthen your use of structured data. By doing so, your target audience will to stay up to date with where/when/how to get a hold of you. This also helps search engines to better display your business information on the SERP.

To this end, some of Google’s additional recommendations include giving regular, updated and detailed information about operations; being flexible with cancellations/refunds; providing high-quality customer service. In other words, showing consumers that your business is here to help them through this difficult time. 

Discovering new connections and nurturing relationships

Ironically, the practice of social distancing has given people the need to connect and nurture relationships – both virtually and in their own households. 

A couple of ways in which this tendency manifests itself are through the rise in search for the following topics:

  • “With me” videos on Youtube (according to Google, videos containing “study with me” in the title are seeing an increase of 54% compared to one year ago). 
  • Multiplayer video games
  • Virtual happy hour

This could be an opportunity for your business to get closer to its target audience. Ask yourself this: Does your brand have a role in creating or enhancing shared experiences between people? (virtually or not). If so, now is the time to go for it! 
Explore ways in which your brand can be there for your consumer-base. Adjust your content marketing strategy. Empathetic messages go a long way, as we’ve seen in the example of IKEA’s latest campaign in which they reinforce the importance of connection. The video encourages people to use the time given to them right now as an opportunity to enjoy their family and home.

Adjusting to changes in their routines

People’s online habits are changing according to adjustments in their routines in order to meet the demands of isolation. This can be seen by the spike in search interest for topics such as “do it yourself” and workout routine related searches i.e. “stationary bicycles” & “skipping rope”. 

Another rising point of interest seems to be in watching others adapt to their new routines. One example of this being increase in viewers for late-night TV since the hosts began producing content from their homes.

Wondering what this might mean for your business? Well, Google’s recommendation is to adapt to people’s “non”routines. In other words, think about when people search for your service/product the most and adjust your communication strategy accordingly. This can be done via analytics, email opens or Google Trends.

Understanding the importance of micro moments plays an important role for most businesses. The average internet consumer is spending a considerably higher amount of time online.

On that note, you should also mind the demand for fresh & updated content – be that informative, entertaining, wellness related, etc. Now is the time to invest in high-quality content marketing!

Praising everyday heroes

From health care workers to supermarket cashiers –  essential workers deserve all the praise in the world. Those who often risk their own safety to help others are trending and rightfully so. This trend can be measured by the increase in search interest for the words “clap NHS workers” and “thank essential workers”. 

As a business, here’s Google’s advice for you: try and find ways to support and celebrate essential workers in your promotional content. Even if the “heroes” in this case are nonhuman – aka your technology, operational rigor or equipment.

 We should all take this opportunity to  express appreciation for those who are currently working in occupations with a higher exposure to the COVID-19 virus, while encouraging others to engage in self-isolation practices.

Taking care of themselves and others

There is only so much a person can do when confined to one space all the time. As such, there seems to be strengthening efforts towards self care and taking care physically & psychologically – for these reasons, searches related to the ease of boredom, anxiety and uncertainty are experiencing a considerable increase.

A couple examples of this are the rising interest in relaxation methods such as “meditation” and “puzzles” as well as “beyond the walls of home” experiences virtual tours of museums and even zoos.

When it comes to your business, it might be worthwhile to pivot to platforms and formats that make sense for people staying home while also taking part in the conversation about home-based health and well-being. If possible consider virtual collaborations with outdoor spaces or cultural institutions people might be interested in visiting (but can’t).

Conclusion

Keeping up with the latest changes in consumer behaviour is sure to help your own marketing strategy moving forward. In order to get ahead of your competition in the future, take this time to focus on adapting your business to the current setting. Learn about your audience and new channels & markets that might be worth switching to. 

Keep in mind: now is the best time to reevaluate your positioning, so that your business can easily navigate the crisis – and even grow from it!

Weekly Round Up #3

Hello ladies & gents – welcome to OGNO’s third weekly digital marketing roundup!

In today’s roundup we’ll be sharing some of our favorite articles on the topics of digital marketing, search engines, business, startups, scaleups and innovation with you 😉  

Since last week was a holiday, this week’s roundup is going to be extra juicy – so sit back and enjoy some interesting & valuable reading material we chose specially for you!

We hope you and your loved ones are all doing well during these crazy times – we’re in this together.

Wishing you a great Friday & weekend,

– Team OGNO

5 SEO myths debunked

https://www.ogno.io/debunking-seo-myths/

There’s tons of advice & information on SEO out there – but how to tell the truly helpful ones from misconceptions and myths? This article explores some of the 5 most common SEO myths and (finally) puts them to rest once and for all! Definitely a must-read for those who are often unsure of what information online is trustworthy and what is not.

Let’s talk about structured data (aka schema markup)

https://www.ogno.io/structured-data-for-seo

Structured data plays an important role in helping search engines to  provide the right answers to users’ queries i.e. serving your content as it relates to a question posed through a search engine. This post breaks down the somewhat daunting topic of structured data to help you understand why it’s so important for your content and how it helps your website speak to robots as well as it speaks to humans.  Read till the end for important updates from Google and Schema.org that were fast-tracked in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Should insurance companies invest in SEO?

https://www.ogno.io/should-insurance-companies-invest-in-seo

Well, yes, everyone should. For specific services – like insurance – SEO is the thing to set a company apart and capture the leads attention. Stepan saw the importance of this first hand when looking for an insurance provider after arriving in Berlin. SEO makes your website more engaging, making it so people not only find your website, but spend more time on your pages. Click the link above for the ROI break down. 

Consumer Behaviour is Changing – How to adjust

https://www.markettap.com/consumer-behavior-in-marketing/

What better way to adjust your brand’s positioning than to stay up to date with changes in consumer behaviour? This post provides insight on changes observed over the past 3 months – such as longer customer journeys, increase in online shopping & new consumer priorities – and offers valuable advice on how to successfully align your marketing strategy in order to satisfy your target audience’s needs. 

Marketing in Times of Uncertainty – Whiteboard Friday

https://moz.com/blog/marketing-in-times-of-uncertainty

It’s quickly becoming clear that brands who adapt to the times are going to come out on top. While purchasing cycles are not the same as before, we are building affinity with brands as they show their true colours. This white board session from MOZ outlines the three ways that businesses need to change their tone and attitude. Focus on ROI-positive marketing tactics like SEO, invest now for the future (folks who invest in marketing, in sales during a recession tend to outperform and more quickly outperform their competition as markets resume) and since people are paying attention to web marketing like never before,  learn to read the room.

SEO will be a primary focus for marketers during the downturn, says survey

https://searchengineland.com/seo-will-be-a-primary-focus-for-marketers-during-the-downturn-says-survey-332372

As the situation continues forward, the world is actively collecting data to predict where we’re headed and how we might get there. A new survey outlines the importance of maintaining your SEO efforts through the coming downturn. This comes as no surprise as organic search was seen by 66% as these marketers’ top performing channel last year, followed by paid search (50%) and email (50%). SEO and raise the ROI threshold for marketing decisions. This comes as no surprise as organic search was seen by 66% as these marketers’ top performing channel last year, followed by paid search (50%) and email (50%).

Jägermeister’s Virtual Charity Brunch Will Offer Cold Brew Cocktail Lessons

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/jagermeisters-virtual-charity-brunch-will-offer-cold-brew-cocktail-lessons/#summary-section-2

Brands that show how they are adding value to the lives of people and employees will leave a lasting impression on consumers. A great example of this is Jägermeister’s Virtual Charity Brunch in which the brand forges an experience & connection with its consumers while raising funds to support various charities. 10/10 initiative – and great inspirational read!

10 Sentiment Analysis Tools to Measure Brand Health

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/10-sentiment-analysis-tools-to-measure-brand-health/

Brand health, which started as a quirky definition, has become an important indicator of success for most companies. It refers to a collection of metrics which represent brand awareness, brand reputation, and brand’s share of voice. Now might be a good time to check in on how yours is doing. These tools are a good place to start. 

Challenges of remote work during COVID-19: Talking with nomad marketer Jason Barnard

https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2020/04/13/challenges-of-remote-work-during-covid-19-talking-with-nomad-marketer-jason-barnard/

Remote working for many people is difficult. Check out this post for a couple tricks on how to get the best out of your #wfh routine! Some valuable tips include taking 10-minute breaks every two hours, getting a designated work space and getting dressed (out of pajamas) everyday. Read till the end for additional tips for getting the most out of your online meetings.

Other things to click on: 

Bored? This page is full of ideas on how to fill your time:

https://bored.solutions/

YouTube reportedly working on TikTok competitor called Shorts:

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/21203451/youtube-tiktok-competitor-shorts-music-google-report

10 Things You Didn’t Realize Were Invented in the 1980s:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171

11 Heartwarming Photos Of Koalas Returning Home After The Australian Bushfires:

https://allthatsinteresting.com/koalas-released-after-bushfires

This article gives tips on how to celebrate birthdays during the Coronavirus shutdown:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/well/how-to-celebrate-a-birthday-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown.html?algo=identity&fellback=false&imp_id=179070762&imp_id=769206356&action=click&module=Smarter%20Living&pgtype=Homepage

Let’s talk about structured data (aka schema markup)

Structured data? What’s that?

Structured data, aka schema markup, plays an important role in helping search engines to provide adequate answers to users’ queries.

We have to take a step back in order to answer the question “what is structured data”? Think about it… where do you normally turn to find answers to your questions? Probably Google, right? Statistically, so would approximately 93% of internet users. Structured data/schema markup help the search engines understand and locate your page.

As we are well aware, Google’s interface is always evolving in order to deliver information in more intuitive & captivating ways. The way it displays results is continuing to shift. It all started as something like this:

screenshot of google's old interface used as a comparison with a more modern layout

And now counts on special features like the ones shown here that signal more about what the page is about:

screenshot of google's interface used with the goal of showing the page's special features aka rich snippets

Now you might be wondering “ok, but why is this relevant to me and my business?” or “what does it have to do with marketing?”. The answer is quite simple: structured data is critical to being found. By understanding what structured data is and how it works, you can apply it to your website. In doing so you will be able to enjoy the great benefits of a stellar website that’s loved by search engines … but first things first.

What is structured data?

You might have heard of structured data or schema markup when talking about building your website. Both refer to the same metric. It is, code you can put on website to help return more informative results for the search engines.

In other words, structured data translates what the data means, not simply what it says. By including a vocabulary search engines understand, your content gets indexed and returned in search results in a whole different way.

Here’s an example: let’s say the name “Anthony Hopkins” appears in a blog post reviewing movies. The search engine takes this piece of information and produces a SERP entry. However, by using the right structured data around the name “Anthony Hopkins”, you just told the search engine that Anthony Hopkins is in fact an award winning actor, sir, director and film producer – and not a combination of random words. Therefore, users searching for “Anthony Hopkins” will be displayed more accurate information about his background in the form of the previously shown “special features”.

Much like most SEO efforts, the whole point behind structured data is to make the search engine’s job a little bit easier by *hinting* what a website’s content is about. Keep in mind Google is essentially a robot, and it does not understand what us humans would call “context”.

For this reason, you should be taking SEO measures such as using an appropriate amount of relevant keywords throughout your text, ensuring quality backlinks from websites in the same industry as you are, implementing structured data, and so on. By doing so, you communicate more clearly to Google what your website is about. And consequently why do you deserve to rank above your competition.

How to implement it into your website

Long story short, in order to introduce structured data into your website, you should add bits of schema.org vocabulary into your website’s HTML microdata.

I’ll explain. Schema.org is a collaborative resource created by Google, Bing & Yahoo in 2011. It reads a little bit like a foreign dictionary – an agreed-upon set of code markers that tells all the major search engines how to interpret your website’s content.

Schema.org’s classes aim to identify & describe what is being talked about. Once that is narrowed down, the resource offers properties which describe the primary topic. The code basically tells search engines what to do with the data on your website.

screenshot from the website schema.org with clear demarcations of classes and properties

To make it even easier, there’s Google markup helper. This free web tool helps you figured out what tags to add to complete your structured data

Once incorporated into a webpage (click here for a step-by-step guide), structured data creates a better description of the content which appears in the SERP. This makes the search results more dynamic and quickly understandable. It may not sound like much at first but plays a key role in CTR, as we’ll see later on.

How can structured data help my website?

As you might have guessed already, implementing structured data is widely agreed to be beneficial from an SEO perspective. It might not be a ranking factor in itself, but by making your content more understandable to search engines your site ultimately appears more attractive on the SERP. This will generate more clicks, aka a higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR).

Also, as we approach the age of voice search, schema.org markups are gaining an increasing sense of importance. Why? Well, voice queries depend heavily on implied context. Structured data helps provide that context to an otherwise ambiguous piece of content.

There are hundreds of different structured data types. From local coffee shops to medical dose schedules. If you have got any type of data on your website, you can likely find and implement corresponding structured data types.

And yet, less than one third of websites make use of schema.org. There are currently millions of websites missing out on a great source of SEO potential. This means that if you use structured data, you’re automatically one step ahead of the majority of your competition!

The importance of structured data during the COVID-19 crisis

Due to the pandemic, many organizations such as government agencies, health organizations, schools, and many more, are publishing urgent announcements which have direct effects on schedules and other aspects of everyday life. These might include the closure of facilities, rescheduling of events, travel restrictions, quarantine guidelines – and the list goes on.

As of March 17th, schema.org has released new structured data types which were fast-tracked in face of the covid-19 outbreak. These include improvements to existing markups which should help with the migration to working from home (i.e. helping event organizers indicate when an event has been moved from a physical location to being conducted online), official announcements, finding COVID-19 testing facilities – and so on.

To some extent, this should be implemented by all businesses – as we all know this is definitely not business as usual and most companies have somehow adapted to the current circumstances in one way or another. And certain changes (and I cannot stress this enough) should be communicated.

Providing your customer-base with up-to-date information about any changes in working hours, initiatives taken by your company to help your local community, official announcements, etc will be key for navigating the next couple months. And being able to do so while also boosting your visibility is a big plus.

Bottom Line

May it be under extreme circumstances or just in general, one thing is certain – the more effectively you communicate with your public the better. And learning about structured data can only help your business.

Making use of the right structured data will not only help you stand out in organic search and improve CTR, but could also (and specially in times like these) be the deciding factor of whether your audience knows who, how and where to find your services.

COVID-19 is the time to build brand trust

Times of social distancing can be hard – not only for businesses, but for people like you and me. It might seem as if most days have started to look the same by now and (quite understandably) we all miss human contact. These are unprecedented times it is not business as usual. So – what to do? The answer is focus on brand trust.

Things will eventually get back to normal. So in the meantime, why not focus your energy on what this means for your business? Or now, your online business. Now is a key moment to build brand trust – when one should slow down in order to speed up later on.

I’ll explain. Although online usage is definitely at its peak right now (according to OpenVault downstream usage per customer in urban areas rose 98.3% while upstream usage per customer climbed 68.6%), the COVID-19 crisis has got most people cutting down on all unnecessary costs. In other words, though conversions may be down, people are most definitely online.

See an opportunity yet?

This is the time to work on building momentum for what truly matters long-term – your brand trust.

Your marketing goal right now should be to focus your efforts on strengthening your foundation, so that when things normalize (and they will) you will find your brand trust ahead of your competition – and sales will come.

Understanding Brand Awareness

Brand awareness might often seem like a vague concept – that’s because it is. Brand awareness represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how likely they are to associate it with what you over as opposed to your competitors’ brands.

For those who prefer dealing with easily quantifiable metrics (neat & tidy numbers), Brand Awareness will likely ruffle your feathers. But try to keep in mind that just because this is not a metric that can be perfectly determined it does not mean it is not incredibly important for business success – or that it cannot be measured in any way.

Try asking yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who is looking for your business?
  2. Who expects to hear from your business?
  3. Who is recommending your business?

Each of these questions represent important metrics, which help quantify brand awareness and play an important role in strengthening your website’s Domain Authority (DA). Or, in other words, improving the ranking which predicts how well your site is likely to rank on the SERP. But more on that later on.

Where does Domain Authority come in?

When it comes to building a solid brand name, visibility is a must. After all, how can you establish a strong place in your consumers’ mind without ranking on the SERP? Quite difficult nowadays. This is where Domain Authority comes in.

Domain Authority is a ranking score which predicts websites’ “ranking strength” based on multiple factors – including linking root domains and the number of total links. The Domain Authority, or DA, score can range 1-100 and plays a key role in a website’s visibility.

In general, well-established websites (such as Wikipedia or Google) with a larger number of high-quality external links tend to have “better” (higher) Domain Authority – while smaller/newer businesses and websites tend to have fewer external links, and therefore a much lower DA score.

However, the goal here is not necessarily to have a sky-high DA score – but to score higher than your competitors. This metric is comparative (rather than absolute), which means there are no “good” or “bad” DA scores – only better or worse. It all depends on your market.

Let’s think about this. Remember those 3 questions in the beginning? Now is the time to answer them.

via GIPHY

Who is looking for your business?

Want a glimpse into your current clients’ minds? The first step should be to understand who they are. By tracking the amount of branded search impressions, you could get a better understanding of who is currently looking for your business specifically.

Screenshot from google analytics interface displaying a website's acquisition overview

Consult & analyze your website’s data on your Google Analytics and come up with a strategy (not sure how? We can help). Take into account variables such as seasonality, day-by-day fluctuation, country of origin, etc. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of which parts of your current marketing strategy are having their intended effect on which audiences.

Who expects to hear from your business?

One of the strongest signals that people not only are aware of your brand but they actually expect a certain kind of interaction is for them to publicly keep up with you. This engagement level should be reflected by your number of social media followers, e-mail subscriptions, shared blog articles, etc.

via GIPHY

Even if your content is fairly light and non-promotional, this can only be a good thing.

During times of social distancing, there is an even higher demand for enjoyable content and humanized contact. Establishing a closer relationship with your consumer-base has never been so important – not to mention profitable once the crisis passes. In other words, in case you were looking for a signal to spice up your online content – consider this it. You’ll thank me later.

Who is recommending your business?

As mentioned before, Domain Authority and brand awareness go hand in hand. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that backlinks & rankings are a key aspect of measuring your brand’s online presence. Well-established websites linking back to you acts as a great endorsement, as it signals to Google that your website’s content satisfies searches as well as being actual & relevant – in other words, you are seen as an expert in your field.

via GIPHY

That said, the context and target of the websites linking back to you can also cause the opposite reaction. If you own a catering business and start getting backlinks from a business focused on renovating vintage cars, this is likely to send Google mixed messages about your content and could hurt your DA in the end. Getting quality endorsement is what matters most.

A good way to keep track of this is to analyze referral traffic – i.e. bounce rate & conversion rate could be good indicators of whether the traffic you are getting from other pages is performing as expected.

Playing the long-game

Brand Awareness and Domain Authority play a key role in any business, and have the potential for huge uplift for SMES and Startups. By building a brand trust with your customer base, your business will not only do well during this period – but actually see growth as soon as things normalize.

Don’t forget to play the long-game. Be strategic in how you spend your resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Now is not the time to cut your entire marketing budget or to let your online presence slide – quite the opposite. Instead of allowing all of your past SEO efforts to go down the drain by letting go of them completely, seize this opportunity to set your business up for success later on. In a couple of months it will all be worth it. More information on how we can help set you up for success @ bit.ly/ognopricingplan

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