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Semantic Search and its Impact on SEO

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Keyword-based search engine optimization, as traditionally practiced, is dead as we witness the rise of long-tail keywords and semantic web technologies. These are now intrinsic to almost every operation performed by the major search engines including Google and Bing. As a result, if you are a search engine marketer and you are serious about maximizing the visibility of your website in the SERPs, you need to have a sound knowledge of how the semantic web works and the incorporated technologies.

semantic-search

But do not take this to mean that keywords are no longer relevant to SEO in 2015. After all, the search engines do require some text to make sense of what it is your company actually does. But what they take great pains to understand (and subsequently store) are other information including places and concepts that ultimately gives the pages on a website their meaning.

In short, semantic search is this creepy functionality within Google and adopted by a few other search engines whereby the engines derive meaning from the words on your website rather than focusing on the words themselves. This was introduced as part of the Hummingbird update released in the summer of 2013.

The Value of Semantic Search

Search begins when words are typed into a search box. This makes ranking for the right keywords one of the most important activities in search marketing. But most people don’t search with one keyword. For example, someone is very unlikely to type “laptop” in Google’s search bar. They would type additional words to give additional clues. For example, they could be looking to:

  1. Buy a new laptop
  2. Buy a used laptop
  3. Have a laptop repaired
  4. Upgrade a laptop
  5. Buy laptop accessories
  6. Or do research for a paper due at school about the evolution of laptops

In turn, the search engines explore the semantics of those additional words and understand the meaning behind them to guess what the user might really be looking for. This has an application in SEO because by incorporating semantic technologies in your SEO campaigns, you can help Google deliver your website pages as the best results possible to user queries. This means you have to determine the right keywords based upon user intent and then create content based on those terms.

Semantic keyword research has many advantages:

  1. Semantic keywords inform high-converting blog posts.
  2. It can improve your click-through rate when the elements of your conversion funnel are aligned semantically, including your landing pages and emails.
  3. It can improve your quality score, which in turn leads to better rankings.

Some Tools You Can Use for Semantic Keyword Research

1. Google’s Advanced Search

Google’s advanced search results is a quick and effective way to generate semantic keywords. Using the example above, say you’re an online laptop store and you are currently having a 30% off promotion. To find keywords that visitors actually type into the search engines, type “laptop discount codes” in Google’s search bar. Scroll to the bottom, and ignore everything in between; at the bottom is a harvest of keywords. Read more

Is WordPress the Best Platform for SEO?

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There are many paid and free platforms you can use to build your business or personal website. But WordPress is one of the most popular?

wordpress seo

Why? The biggest reason is that it is an open source site, which means anybody can use it for free. That means the price is right for many web page builders, especially those without a huge budget to spend on their websites.

The other reason WordPress is so popular is that it is easy to use. Like the iPhone or the iPad, WordPress is purposely designed to be used instinctively by users. You don’t need to have a technical background or have to wade through a lot of technical jargon to get started. Just turn it on and go. Read more

7 Things You Ought to Know about Referrer Spam

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If you haven’t heard of referrer spam, don’t worry. You’re in the majority.

referrer spam

Referrer spam is a type of spamming aimed at search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others that involve making repeated web site requests using a bogus refer URL, that actually is aimed at the site, the spammer wants to promote.

You may have heard of referrer spam by other names, which includes log spam or referrer bombing. Whatever they are called, all are considered to be “black hat SEO” strategies, or search engine optimization techniques that seek to exploit the weaknesses of search engine algorithms for commercial, financial or personal gain.

Here, then, are seven things you need to know right now about referrer spam and how it could be affecting your websites. Read more

How to Captivate Your Audience & Increase Conversions Through Effective Calls-To-Action

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In the world of online marketing, especially on landing pages and sales pages, it is not uncommon to come across phrases like

  • Buy now
  • Start a free trial
  • Learn more
  • Or Sign up for our service

These are call-to-action triggers, which are simple commands designed to direct customers to take some sort of action. The question at this point is: “Why are they needed?”

call-to-action

Here is the deal: As an online marketer or business owner, one of the things you need to be able to do, is to fight the human inclination to shift our attention to new and unanticipated directions. For example, how many times does it happen that you go online with the intention of reading a news article but 10 minutes later, you are on YouTube, devouring one video after another? After all, one click is all it takes to jump from one topic to the next and everyone online including businesses, media outlets, and bloggers are competing to get that click.

Therein lies the value of calls-to-action or CTAs. They are tools designed to let you survive in this attention seeking economy. The perfect call to action captivates your audience, educates them and increases your conversions. After all, you can write the perfect landing page for a campaign that gets the attention of your customers, draws them in and then pulls them down the slippery slope to the end of your copy but if you fail to close the deal, it would all be for nothing.

In fact, one of the main reasons why landing pages and sales pages don’t convert leads into customers is a weak call-to-action. So how do you create the perfect CTA? The trick is to use a mix of CTAs for the different stages of your sales cycle. Read more

8 Ways to Turn Insights Into Action With Google Analytics

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Whether you are new to analytics or an experienced user, Google Analytics can help you turn customer insights into actionable solutions for your business. It brings together the information you need to improve performance across your sites, apps and other marketing channels. Sadly, people only seem to look at page views or the number of visitors they get.

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In truth, Google Analytics lets you do a lot more than that. For example, you can use it to:

1. Measure sales and conversions

2. Get to know your audience

3. Get insights into how visitors find and use your site

4. And keep them coming back for more

The question is…How? In the spirit of helping you get the most out of Google Analytics, here are 8 ways you can use Google Analytics to make intelligent marketing and business decisions.

1. Link AdWords to Analytics

Linking your AdWords account and Google Analytics gives you a complete picture of customer behavior right within your AdWords account. This gives you an abundance of data that you can use to refine your AdWords campaigns and improve the overall performance of your business.

2. Optimize keywords

Ranking for the right keywords can make or break a website. This makes keyword research one of the most important activities in search marketing. One of the most useful resources to get knowledge about keyword demand and keyword referrals is Google Analytics. This includes targeting by location because you can see, geographically, where your visitors are coming from or where they are not coming from so you can optimize their experience and build your business. Read more

A List of 9 Popular Search Engines Besides Google

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On September 16, 2015, comScore released its monthly analysis of the U.S. search marketplace. As it has been the case for the better part of the last 15 years, Google remains the undisputed king with 64% market share. In fact, the popularity of Google is such that nobody “searches” online; they “Google” the information they’re looking for.

search-engines

Similarly, SEO to improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines, evolved to mean “optimizing for Google”. The continued strength of Google as a search engine is based on a number of factors, the most obvious of which is successfully providing the results people are looking for in a timely, efficient and enjoyable way.

However Google is not the only serviceable search engine available. There are numerous others that provide unique features. The trick is to determine if the extra effort it takes to optimize for the other search engines is worth the additional online visibility? For example, Google retains over 60% of all searches but it also has a long history of making constant changes to its search algorithm while incoming traffic from Yahoo! and Bing is more consistent. It’s also worth noting that different search engines are used by different demographics. You need to be where your customers are.

So while Google is king for a reason, if you want to maximize web traffic to your site, you could split your efforts to optimize for the major commercial search engines and reach people looking for what you offer. Aside from Google, some of the most popular search engines include:

1. Bing

Previously known as Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search, Bing is a search engine by Microsoft launched on June 1, 2009. The key features of the search engine include Smart Search, People Suggestions and Bing Rewards. Bing Smart Search, for example, is a faster way for people to find what they are looking for and get things done without the need to open a browser.

2. Yahoo!

Everyday millions of people around the world choose to make Yahoo! a part of their daily digital routines with its popular products such as Weather, Flickr, Tumblr and Sports, which is the world’s most visited sports site. Yahoo! is also one of the top three search engines, despite not producing its own organic results.

3. AOL

AOL is used by many people as a go-to destination for the latest stories impacting everyone including sports, entertainment, lifestyle, finance, weather and videos. It is one of the top 10 search engines with a market share close to 1.2%.

4. Ask.com

In the early days of the web, the question answering-focused search engine founded in 1995 was one of Google’s greatest competitors. Though not nearly as popular as it used to be before, ask.com is a remarkable question answering service that delivers the best answers from the web (and real people) in one place. One of the reasons for its persisting popularity is its accommodation of colloquial language but the results returned lack quality. Read more

A 5-Step Process to Outperform Your Competitors in Local Search

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Whether you’re running a small local business or heading an enterprise-level operation, your prospective customers are looking for your business online. To make that connection happen and outrank your competitors, you need to optimize your local search to bring in new website visitors, grow online sales, and keep customers coming back for more.

local

1. Have a Solid Online Marketing Strategy to Attract Customers via Local Search

It is absolutely undeniable that Google, Yahoo! and the other search engines have radically changed how we interact, collaborate and shop within our local communities. In fact, statistically, Google alone handles 100 billion searches per month around the world. Of these searches, 7 billion are unique local searches performed on Google per month in the United States.

So if you have a local business or one that targets audiences in a specific geographic location, you cannot under estimate the potential of local search as a form of marketing. Additionally, mobile search is absolutely exploding. According to a 2014 Google study, 4 out of 5 consumers use the search engines to find local information. Of that number, 88% search on their smartphone.

  • 54% search for business hours
  • 53% search for directions to a local store
  • And 50% search for local store addresses

The study also concluded that 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within a day. Read more