Let’s face it: more than a decade has passed since SEO changed the way we do business, and a lot more had happened within. Various tips and tricks have been developed, tested, and used to boost traffic and convert audiences into customers-some of them worked and some did not, some lost their lustre after being trendy for quite some time. But there are also those strategies that proved to be fool-proof, meaning that they have stood the test of time.

You know what makes these tricks so good? It’s the fact that we have tried them first-hand, and what you will read next are insights from our experiences throughout the years of being in the industry.

But what exactly are these tricks? Surprisingly, they’ve been hanging under your nose all along.

  1. Get rid of everything that slows down your site.

Way back in the early days of SEO, everyone was after eye candy. Hence the glitter, the graphics, and eventually the fancy plugins that makes one site unique from its competitors. But aside from entertaining visitors for a moment or two, what else do they provide? Nothing. And mind you, these same visitors get annoyed once the pages start to lag, and in the end they feel like checking out your site was the biggest mistake they’ve ever done in their entire lives.

So yes, this is one of the primary things you need to consider in SEO. Remove everything that eats up your site speed. Fix your codes, make do with unnecessary plugins and widgets, scale down your graphics, and put videos only when necessary.

Aside from the practical need for site speed, when a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load, it puts you at risk not only to losing around 40% of your visitors, but also up to 80% of your target audience (consisting of people interested in your niche but won’t visit your site in particular). Also, Google has already cited site speed as a primary factor in putting a site on the top of search engine rankings several times throughout the years.

Would you be exposing your site to these unnecessary risks? We don’t think so.

  1. Link in. Link out.

SEO is a community. Site owners share content with each other to make their chosen niche industries stronger, and make them more credible as individual businesses to the same set of clients. Sure, you can stand out from the crowd, but hey, as the saying goes, “no man is an island.”

Linking out to relevant websites helps a lot in keeping you on top of the SEO rankings. Linking not only strengthens your online reputation, but also drives organic site visits from different audiences. You also get the support of other blogs and websites and they would be more than happy to pay your deeds forward by linking you up in their respective pages as well.

The same logic applies to linking in; you need to create the need for other sites to link to you, to use your content as reference, as these will strengthen your clout towards your audience. And yes, with inbound links on your site, the more enticed investors would be towards your business.

  1. Keep in mind that your readers are humans, not machines.

Back during the day we churn content not necessarily to reach out to audiences, but to make search engines happy. That’s no longer the case today.

Apart from Google doing random spot checks on websites, having quality content on your webpages establishes your credibility as an online business entity. Visitors come to your site to learn by reading your content, and if they see that your posts are merely for compliance and make no sense at all, they not only leave your site-they also give you a nasty review.

Besides, it is through well-written content that you get the opportunity to showcase your brand in a way no one else could, so why miss out on this opportunity? Humans love stories, and you have to tell them yours so they would love you too.

  1. Put your web analytics running first before even making your launch.

Let’s get straight to the point here: when setting up a project, it is important that you have your metrics in place, so you know how to track your progress anytime. The same applies to SEO. It is essential that you have your analytics up and running before you even launch your site, so that once you go public you can gauge your performance right from the very start.

It would also be easier for you to see which of your content are performing well, how your site is perceived by your target audiences, and from there you can make tweaks and refinements without the extra effort. And most of all, with your analytics running you know how to steer your site to the direction you want to go.

  1. Say no to duplicate meta descriptions.

Google hates duplicate meta descriptions. Humans may not realize it, but they hate reading the same descriptions over and over again. Thus, you should say no to duplicate meta descriptions. They not only make your overall content dry, they also catch Google’s attention in a not so good way.

It would be better that you write unique meta descriptions. This is your time to tell something about your content in a short but sweet manner, in a way your audiences would want to remember and for Google to keep cool about. Writing meta descriptions also hone your skills in copy writing. Just imagine-you get to sell your site in 60 characters or less!

  1. Use readable URLs.

Who says Google doesn’t know how to read? Well, it’s true, but Google, and other search engines, monitor search users. Thus, when humans do not understand what you placed on your URLs, then the more confused search engines would be as well.

While it doesn’t really matter if the URL is pretty long, you may want to consider using phrases that catch the gist of your content in the length of 2 to 4 words. The point here is for your audiences to get a grasp of your content through your links.

  1. Your social mentions are gold.

When social media first came out, it was seen to be the kryptonite of SEO. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter dealt more on live, organic following, which is a stark contrast to SEO’s thirst to reach the top of the rankings by outsmarting Google algorithms. But in the next few years we have witnessed a marriage between the two, with SEO taking charge of the classic approaches to search engine rankings and social media nurturing human users.

Google has never made any clear study on the impact of social media in SEO, but case studies have shown how utilizing social media communities make a difference to your business. It is because through social media that you create a cult following.

With a following on social media, the more power you have in converting audiences not just to customers, but loyal and caring fans as well.

  1. Do your keyword research.

SEO is still about keywords. And if you want to make your mark in SEO, you need to use the right keywords that represent your business. But it’s not just about the relevant and related keywords that we’re talking about here. It’s about the keywords that rank and those that don’t.

Using vague keywords may not be helpful to your site rankings since you will be competing against other more established online entities in the same industry. This leads to a harder road to the search rankings, unless of course you use black hat techniques.

Hence, when trying to improve your site performance, it is important that you research for keywords that not only represent your brand, but also those that are effective in securing you a place in the relevant search engine rankings. You may be new in the industry, but with the right keywords at hand, you can be noticed by your audience without feeling the pressure of competing with other well-known sites.

And yes, no to keyword stuffing. Always a no-no.

  1. Content is King!

There is no other way to express this, but it is through quality content that you are able to shine in the world of SEO. Content has evolved from being mere text stories to photos, videos, and podcasts, but regardless of the format, it all boils down to one requisite: you have to be unique.

Unique content keeps your star shining. It maintains your fresh appeal to your audiences and with this at hand they will never be able to resist your charm. Remember, your audience is always hungry, so constantly feed them with content that they can digest, content they can absorb, and content that they can use. And yes, make them crave for more so that they’d keep coming back to you.

 

 

For the past year, SEO has been nothing but stable when it comes to several algorithm updates such as the Pigeon, Panda, and Penguin. These updates have raised questions and caused anxiety to different sectors of the industry.

Pigeon was released in 2014 and since then we have not heard of any disruptive updates from Google. They sent out announcements and couple of minor changes but nothing that caused major buzz online. This is likely due to the various updates, rollouts, and certain short-notice changes that hurl many websites. Another factor can be that Google has been more focused on artificial intelligence (AI) in online Search. Just like other big companies, Google is also headed to AI. Aside from the fact that it is directly tied to the Rank Brain update, another hint we have is that Google’s head of AI got promoted to CEO last February 2016.

Besides AI, Google has also been focusing on mobile optimization and its increasing importance. This is due to the fact that more and more people are starting to switch from using a desktop computer to using mobile phones and tablets. With the constant upgrade in the technology, people can now do almost anything on a mobile device that can easily fit in the palm of our hands. We also cannot deny the fact that through these gadgets, it is now easier for us to be a part of online forums, meet up groups, chat groups etc. Therefore, be it for work or pleasure, mobile gadgets make it easier for us to accomplish our day-to-day tasks.

The Search Engine Results Page or SEPR has also changed and now includes more social media related results than before. If you search something on Google or Bing, you will notice that some results are from social media platform posts such as Facebook posts, tweets, video links, and even pinterest posts. It is also noticeable that they have improved the rich snippets and more detailed answers to our searches. There are even times that you no longer have to leave the Google page just to find the answer to your queries. Lastly, the voice search has become more efficient.

The Great and not so Great News from Google for the Past Few Months

High quality sites are getting some serious rewards as Google has been raising the bar when it comes to defining what “quality sites” area. You might have also noticed a dip in volume of low quality sites in search pages since many of them have already been removed from top page positions. That’s why if you are planning to create a new website or improve an old one, better start creating high-quality content if you want Google to send you rewards. It might be time consuming but the results will surely be worth it. For those who have received penalties on their sites, don’t fret! Google’s algorithm switching has also improved, making it easier for you to get your site out of penalties.

On the other hand, the game in the top-fold space is also changing. Due to the fact that pages are being customized for mobile phones and tablets, the searches are becoming smaller. This change results to having to remove paid ads on the right sidebar of many pages, and placing them only at the top or bottom of the page instead

seo_goal_target_2016 growth

When search engine optimization or SEO was introduced, many said that this marketing discipline was just a fad, and will eventually be irrelevant. However, with the recent development in this discipline, it seems that SEO is and will be playing a great role in improving companies and businesses for years and years to come.

In fact, according to data analysis of Borrell Associates, different agencies and brands will be spending $65.26 billion for SEO. In 2018, the budget for it will skyrocket to $72.02 billion, and then $79.27 billion come 2020.

According to a recently conducted survey where 357 marketers participated, they have found that over 90% of the marketers plan to either increase their SEO budgets or maintain them over the upcoming year. Online marketers are willing to invest in SEO as they are optimistic about its great impact on their business.

The survey has also shown the following results:

  • 75% of the marketers are planning to increase their budget on on-site SEO
  • 74% want to dedicate more funds on link building
  • 71% aim to fund their local SEO projects
  • 82% are planning to improve their social media presence

These budget estimates will also be used to develop SEO-dedicated teams and site visitor analysis. Although this data could change, this suggests that SEO has improved even more as compared to what experts previously expected.

Having SEO-dedicated internal staffs are important investments as they will be responsible in interacting with different social media, web development and website CMS platforms,  marketing tools and analytics. Moreover, having internal staff gives you better knowledge of what kind of SEO techniques are being used to promote your brand or service.

As for the site visitor analysis, it is vital for companies as it will give them leads as well as opt-in list members. By the year 2020, spending for site visitor analysis will triple up to $4.66 billion.

With these investments, what could be the reasons for SEO’s constant growth? And are these reasons enough for business to invest in building an SEO team? Below are some of the reasons why SEO could continue to grow in the years to come:

Increasing number of user searches – Researchers seem to think that the number of searches per user will likely grow well in the future. This is especially since Google has recently made it official that there are more searches now on mobile than on desktop. Mobile phones have made it easier for different demographics to do an online research about everything that they are curious about. The older generations, who are not really fans of the technology, will make way for the younger ones as they mostly rely on technology for almost everything. With the recent development, users will have easy access to technologies, and it will become faster. This will enable a bigger number of search traffic for every user in circulation.

Bigger number of users – Today, almost 40% of the world’s population has access to the Internet. Compared to the number of users in 1995, which was less than 1 percent, the number of Internet users has increased massively. Since the Internet is becoming more affordable and easier to access to different demographics, the sheer number of search users will possibly increase. It will also affect the per-user search growth. With the fast-paced and innovative technology, it would not be a surprise if soon we wake up enjoying universal availability of the Internet. The convenience of self-driving cars may also be easily available, giving users more time to do online research.

Decreasing need for traditional ads – we will be seeing less and less of traditional advertising methods on billboards and radios. According to marketers, traditional ads have been dying for years.  And with the continued rise of modern ad methods, the old ways of promoting brands and services will continue to dwindle in power until they fade away. When this happens, a bigger number of businesses that depend on traditional ads to promote their products will move to modern advertising. They have no option but to try the inbound marketing campaigns in the online world in order to supplement their achievement strategies. The reason behind its death is that traditional ads only talk to the consumers, and the consumers cannot immediately communicate back. On the other hand, online advertising allows consumers and advertisers can to effortlessly engage and have an interactive conversation. Brands can even depend on their loyal clients to promote their products, making it a cheaper and more efficient way to advertise.

Better SEO sophistication – SEO specialists are becoming better at managing and creating more effective SEO campaigns, and they are becoming even more competitive in understating SEO methods.  Take keyword research or link building for example – with the improvement in SEO ranking algorithms, these processes became intricate strategies for content development as well as publication.

Despite these great potentials, there are also possibilities of SEO having limited or little growth. For example, since more businesses are getting involved and are investing in SEO, this could mean that there will be more competition to deal with. But with lots of potential technological developments happening in the recent years to come, it’s more likely that SEO will continue to grow in popularity rather than dying outright. This is good news for those who are planning to shift from traditional to modern advertising methods as this could mean better job security. Just be open to possibilities and learn to adapt to changes.

Storytelling: The only skill your business needs to last a lifetime

Storytelling: The only skill your business needs to last a lifetime

Listen up y’all: nobody cares about your business. But everybody wants to hear your story. If you got one to tell, tell them now. Or else.

A little over a decade ago, Lady Gaga was just another college kid who dreamed of becoming famous. She can play the piano and sing some tunes, but that’s all there was to her-at least in the eyes of record producers. She had no spark or glitter in her aura, not even a single hint that spells S-T-A-R.

Nothing is actually interesting about her. She was born relatively rich, graduated from a Catholic school, went to college and pursued music. It’s a pretty common path taken by most American kids, and mind you, only a few of them make it to Tinsel Town.

But how did Lady Gaga find the path to stardom? She told a story. No. She wrote her own story and sold it to the people who mattered. To record producers. To fellow musicians. To newfound friends in the industry. She wrote her story in her songs, in her personal profile, and into her image. She spread rumours about herself-some of them true, some of them need to be verified. But all of them she brought to life.

And the rest is history. Lady Gaga is now THE Lady Gaga we know. A multi-awarded musician, a top-grossing artist, a drag queen, a fashion icon, a stripper, a wig collector, a woman who wears raw meat to the red carpet, an occasional actress, and many other things you can think of.

Fans love her. Others hate her. Dreamers want to be like her. And yes, everyone can relate to her in one way or another.

But it’s not because of her musical prowess that skyrocketed her to the fame she’s enjoying today.

It’s all because she gave the world a story. The story of becoming-and being “Lady Gaga.”

The story behind the brand

If you’re going to use Lady Gaga as a case study of successful brand marketing, one key result surfaces and that’s about building a story behind the name. Without a story, your business, no matter how lucrative and promising it is for your target market, will not turn out as successful as you have envisioned. This is mainly because it doesn’t have a sentimental taste to it.

One open secret in the world of marketing is that consumers are always attracted to intrigue. Intriguing bits of information get them all excited, as they want to know more about the issue and find out what’s going to happen next. However, intrigues last for only so long, and if you are not able to keep the weave going, then the interest to the rumour and gossip that you have started will fizzle out within a matter of time.

But where does storytelling come in? Well, how else do you ignite the intrigue if you’re not going to tell it to your audience, right? It is through storytelling that you weave your pieces of intrigues together for your audience to follow.

A new buzzword is born every minute

Who says storytelling stops once you have reaped the profits of your investment? Whether you like it or not, once you have started telling your story, there will be no real “end” to it; you’ll be brewing a new arc and chapter each day. This is because a new buzzword is born in the industry you’re in as each minute passes by-and this directly affects the way you manage your business. In order to stay afloat, you will have to relate to these buzzwords and own a piece of them when marketing your brand.

Unlike the rest of the 20th century when the only means of spreading the word about your brand and business is via print, TV, radio, and hearsay, these days you have social media to do the task of broadcasting your story to the world. And the storytelling is made even meatier by your audience, since they will be spreading your story in their own networks, albeit with their own versions. This only makes your name and business more popular, not to mention get more recall from your targeted and related audience base.

Good stories vs. Bad stories?

If you’re going to look at it from a PR perspective, there’s no such thing as good or bad storytelling. But if you are after brand sustainability, the good stories always win at the end of the day. This is mainly because of two things: (1) audience recall, and (2) audience inspiration.

When promoting your business, telling a good story ignites a lot of positive emotions, and these make your brand worth remembering. Lady Gaga is often remembered for her enthusiasm for creativity and design, things she kept as the core values of her story. At the same time, these positive emotions lead to that feeling of being inspired and motivated. Audiences become attached to your brand because it makes them feel happy and alive.

Bad stories meanwhile are likewise useful, but do not last long. They can be used to spark intrigue, but have to be sustained by plot twists that lead back to the good stories otherwise they die out and leave nothing behind.

Storytelling is slow burn

Lady Gaga is no overnight sensation, contrary to the image she has created. She spent years writing her story, and even more years to spread the word to her targeted fans and networks. Nowadays she’s reaping the fruits of her labour, for despite experiencing career highs and lows, her name stays afloat in the business, standing strong. Honestly, she had contemporaries who were way ahead of her in terms of star quality, but their stories ended after achieving their 15 minutes of fame.

But Lady Gaga told her story differently.

And so should you.