Healthcare Marketing Trends and Tips for 2020

So, you are considering which are the best healthcare marketing ideas and top trends for 2020?

You want a progressive medical marketing plan that will set your practice apart, highlight its uniqueness, and attract ideal clients at scale.

This guide will show you 14 ways to market your medical practice, a clinic, a hospital in 2020 that are sure to convert.

One thing to note right from start: offline and online marketing methods are converging. What’s more, you’ll want to combine both strategies to win at medical practice marketing in 2020.

For example, local SEO techniques will continue to be a lucrative marketing technique for local practices that want to attract foot traffic through the door for both general consultations and treatment procedures.

Without further ado, here are effective techniques to add to your medical practice marketing plan starting immediately.

 

Use Live Video and Podcasts +

Wyzol made an interesting finding sure to concern any healthcare marketing plan for 2020.

96% of respondents said they’d watched an explainer video to learn about a brand’s service or product.

Perhaps you have a new medical procedure you are offering that the competition isn’t. Maybe it’s a new medical device that makes procedures safer, making a diagnosis more accurate, or your healthcare services quicker.

Show it in the video. But even more effective in 2020 will be hosting scheduled live videos, video podcasts, and streaming live events.

More people want to interact with your medical practice more directly.

They want to ask relevant questions they can get instant answers to during a live video.

See your practice establishing itself as an authority in your region because you offer practical advice on live videos—and at a convenient time.

And it’s never been easier to host a live video event. YouTube, Facebook. LinkedIn. Instagram. Twitter. Even Amazon. All these platforms now support live video.

Live video and podcasts are bringing an even more interactive edge to social healthcare marketing. Consider using this channel in 2020 to endear your medical practice to your target audience.

 

Use These Video Marketing Tips for Healthcare in 2020  +

About 68% of people said they’d prefer watching a short video to learn about a service or product.

Compare that to text-based articles (15%), infographics (4%), pitches and presentations (4%), and ebooks and manuals (3%).

Medical Marketing Plan - Video Content Preferences Statistics

Source: 2019 video marketing statistics – Wyzol

So, video marketing will continue to soar in 2020.

For your healthcare video marketing, you can use interactive, animated, and screen recorded demo videos.

That way, you can help leads to ask you questions about your practice, understand how you conduct a procedure, and how to use your medical practice app to make an appointment, payments, etc., respectively.

Another thing:

In recent times, the trend has been to share short-form videos.

In 2020 and beyond, using long-form video will become even more attractive.

Longer videos mean you have more people sticking around to get all the juicy health advice you have to offer—and often for free.

Search engines equate readers sticking around on a particular piece of healthcare content to valuable content it should rank high up in search results.

And the higher your ranking the more organic traffic you will attract to your website, blog, or brick-and-mortar clinic or hospital.

Video Marketing Tip 1: While it’s a good idea to only share videos on your YouTube and Vimeo channels, the above trick will work best when you embed videos on your website or within your blog’s text posts.

Video Marketing Tip 2: Before making a video go to Ubersuggest website and type in the topic your video is going to be about. Find the right keyword with the most search volume that is closely related to your topic. Use this exact keyword in the video title, in the video description and pronounce this exact keyword during your video multiple times.

Video Marketing Tip 3: Did you know that you can get your video or audio transcribed for less than $1 per minute? Do it with Trint or Scibblr and your videos will get a lot more views and engagements. Use captions in your videos too.

 

Simulcast +

Speaking of all those platforms…

You’ll want to present your case in front of a large audience to increase the number of leads at the top of your funnel.

But not only can it be expensive to create custom healthcare content marketing for all online marketing channels, but it can also take too much time and cripple your progress.

So Eric Siu and Neil Patel, two big names in digital marketing, recommend simulcasting.

Simulcasting is all about breaking up one piece of content, say a quality, useful video, into chunks suitable for sharing on different channels—online and off.

Tip 1: Multichannel online marketing will help you become visible to more potential clients by presenting your medical practice’s value proposition wherever they are. Simulcasting will make your marketing cheaper, more effective, and consistent across various channels.

 

Healthcare Ads: Online Paid Search and Media Buying +

Ten years ago, Facebook and Google weren’t big on paid advertising.

They are now, from selling any kind of advertising one could even imagine.

What you want is to get in front of a highly-targeted audience that is more ready to accept your medical calls to action at the right time.

So if somebody is typing “Rhinoplasty Denver Cost” into Google Search Bar you need to be in a position to be seen by that person.

Google generates almost $30 billion from the Ads every 3 months.

That’s because Google Ads can still be an inexpensive customer acquisition channel, for Medical Practices included. More Medical Practices now want you to advertise with Google than ever before.

Facebook Ads is becoming a really expensive marketing channel if you don’t get things right. Most of the Marketing “Gurus” will promise that Facebook and Instagram Ads for Medical Practices are the best for advertising.

But it’s not true.

The Leads from Facebook Ads don’t show up to the Clinics in 70% of cases. Is this is taken into account, Facebook and Insta become expensive if you track the conversions up to the number of sales.

Facebook and Instagram Ads are great for remarketing though. Choosing the Doctor for surgery is a tough decision.

That’s why potential patients visit the website and leave without talking to Clinics. To make sure your clinic is on the top of their mind for some time, you must show up in your potential patients’ Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Do it with Remarketing solutions widely available. The only prerequisite to this option is decent online traffic to your website already, from Ads, Organic Search or Direct online visits.

Top medical online directories (webmd.com or yelp are good examples) where you could consider advertising. However, for most medical clinics the SEO and Google Ads provide a better return on marketing investment.

The good thing about these ad campaigns is they are scalable, measurable, and according to multiple marketing surveys, effective.

You can spend as much or little as you want. Just pay per click. You can direct the clicks, calls, questions, and traffic back to a custom landing page.

You can measure the return on investment based off of incoming traffic from a specific ad, keyword, campaign, and medium of advertising used.

The only big disadvantage of the Paid Search Ads is the lack of long-term effect. You stop running Ads, you disappear from your audience’s radar. Completely gone.

While with SEO you build up the won asset that brings you targeted online traffic for a long time at no extra cost.

Healthcare Ads Tip 1: Use SimilarWeb’s free analytics tool to find out what your competition is doing to get more warm leads, make more sales, and get ahead of you. Then use those tactics yourself to achieve similar or better results.

Healthcare Ads Tip 2: Use iSpionage to see what Google Ads your competition is running, how much they spend and how well they are doing. That information is pure GOLD.

Healthcare Ads Tip 3: 72% of businesses run online Ads inefficiently by the latest statistics. By paying a specialized Agency with Google Partner badge you typically add to your cost but also bring a lot better return for your Clinic. So it’s worth it.

 

Improve Your Healthcare Referral Marketing +

Picture these:

But some doctors feel business referrals have been on a decline. While there are no clear studies to back this up, it could be for several reasons.

Some lament it is out of concern surrounding insurance scams, greedy liaison programs in healthcare, and concern that the referee may not get proper service.

So, what can you do to improve your medical referral marketing results in 2020?

And do so right after you perform a successful procedure. That’s when your customer is most excited about your product or service.

Follow up with the customer to see if they made the referral.

Ask if you can make it easier for them to make that referral by writing a referral draft.

If they agree, send it to them through email or text message. You’d be making it easier for them to spread your positive medical practice message around, so do it.

For physician-to-physician referrals, only ask for referrals from PCPs or specialists aligned to what you do to ensure you only get the kind of patients you can help.

By referring back patients that are highly relevant to your partner’s medical practice. You don’t want either of you sued for malpractice.

An incredible 25-50% of physicians do not know if a patient got treatment to a healthcare facility they referred them to. Don’t be like that in 2020 and you’ll build genuine, long-term relationships when patients and partners realize you care.

Every. Singe. Time. 70% of specialists complain that most referrals are not accompanied by accurate health information to aid in making sound decisions.

Keep in mind, 80% of serious healthcare blunders occur due to poor communication during care transitions.

To cultivate a professional yet emotional connection with other doctors in your referral marketing network, physically meet and get to know each other and each other’s medical practice strongpoints and causes for concern so you can seek solutions together

Send a thank-you note for a referral, too. And if it’s the first time they are referring a client to your practice, meet up for lunch (on you) or a handshake to demonstrate your appreciation

So do invite primary caregivers into your network

Applying these patient and doctor referral marketing tips will help your medical practice gain more warm leads ready to become your clients with just a bit more lead nurturing. Trust is EVERYTHING in medical practice patient acquisition. So build it up.

 

Use Retargeting in Healthcare Marketing Campaigns  +

Here’s the thing:

About 92% of your medical practice website visitors will not convert to customers on the first visit.

Unfortunately, when they leave your website, statistics have shown visitors rarely come back to the same website. So how do you regain the attention and potential business of bounced visitors in 2020?

That’s where retargeting comes in.

Also known as remarketing, retargeting is a newer digital marketing method. Here’s how retargeting works:

Remarketing is a cookie-based technology. You or your developer places a pixel (simple code) on your healthcare website. The code doesn’t jumble down your site’s performance. It isn’t meant to be obtrusive to your website visitors, either, although they don’t know it’s there.

When a customer visits your site for the first time, the pixel generates an anonymous browser cookie.

Even if your visitor leaves your website without taking the desired action, the pixel will follow them across the web, displaying your relevant ads to them even if they are browsing a different site.

While the average click-through rate for a Google Search Ad is 0.07%, that of a retargeted ad is 0.7%. That’s a clear indicator retargeting can help you attract more warm leads and convert more of those to customers.

And did you know Facebook retargeted ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular ads?

So, retargeting acts a bit like referral marketing—and offers some similar benefits, too.

When a prospect makes contact with you by visiting your online platforms, they demonstrate interest.

So they are likely to click on an ad back to your site because it all feels more familiar to them than conducting a new search.

Remarketing increases the number of visits hence trust-building and lead-nurturing opportunities you can have with them. That, in turn, increases their likelihood of converting to customers on subsequent visits.

Here are some retargeting tips for healthcare you can start using immediately:

You’ll provide multiple touchpoints where your target customer can interact with your ads, messaging, videos, and other forms of information to help you nurture them to become a trustful customer.

Show relevant ads or content to the bounced visitor for between 2 and 4 weeks. If they still won’t visit your website, maybe it’s time to focus on other leads.

But if they do, redirect the lead to the most relevant landing page(s). The best retargeting software helps webmasters to recognize the visitor’s initial intent based on their behavior on your online platforms.

So it can serve the visitor relevant information when he or she decides to continue their search on your landing page or website.

You probably already know using multiple channels to marketing your practice yields higher conversions.

Adding remarketing to your marketing arsenal can help you sell up to 50% more medical products or services, according to a Google retargeting report.

You’ll want to keep a keen interest in privacy policy updates such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act for a guidebook on prudent retargeting techniques that don’t turn invasive for your target market.

If you are wondering if you can use Google retargeting ads, the answer is a fat “No”. Google recently revised its privacy policy and banned healthcare retargeting to protect searchers from privacy data abuse.

Try retargeting on other platforms such as Facebook instead.

 

Healthcare SEO: Organic Traffic

Organic Traffic 🔝🔝🔝 is still one of the top inbound healthcare marketing channels. Period.

Now that we’ve mentioned organic traffic. Search engine optimization will continue to influence how your customers do the research and find a medical practice.

What we see often is one major mistake the Clinics make. They go after general search terms, e.g. “Is LASIK dangerous”, “Rhinoplasty Before and After”, without localizing the search terms. This way they get organic traffic nationwide. What the Clinic needs to do instead is double down on Local Search Terms, e.g. LASIK San Antonio, Rhinoplasty Orlando, etc.

The money is in Local SEO! Both Google Maps listings and Organic Search Results (SERPs).

Local SEO marketing will continue to expand and offer more walk-in traffic-based business in 2020.

For example, if you aren’t already using Google My Business, you need to in 2020. Website traffic from GMB grew a chunky 29% and direct searches by 38% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018, according to BrightLocal.

And maybe you already use GMB. But is your GMB profile optimized for your medical practice SEO marketing plan?

Over the years, organic traffic has been the highest business driver for online businesses. Recently, optimizing your online marketing for successful local SEO continues to bear fruit—and will continue to in 2020 for healthcare services.

Prudent keyword research and application, useful content that seeks to provide value before asking for value back (inbound marketing), and consistent, quality content production and placement where your ideal clients frequent will help you draw more leads to your funnel.

Tip 1: Of note is the growing number of “near me” search queries. People want to know which is the nearest quality medical center, especially when faced with an emergency scenario. For example, people who’ve dealt with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and elderly people would be interested in your services. Optimize for “Near me” terms.

Tip 2: Try this. Search for “Procedure/Service (LASIK, Drugs Rehab, Urgent Care, etc.)” + “City Name”. Open the top 5 results and compare the Content. If your web page has slim content and doesn’t mention the Procedure and City in Headings and Paragraphs enough, you won’t be able to compete. So if your competitor has 2 keywords in the Headings and 5 in the Paragraph copy, you need to have at least the same number, or just a little more.

Tip 3: Your Google My Business (Google Maps) listing position depends on many factors. The distance from Searcher to your Clinic you can’t control. All the rest you can. Tackle the major ones. (a) ask your happy patients to leave a review on GMB with the name of the procedure, with location and with your clinic name inside the copy of the review, (b) check if the Clinic Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) is the same across all business directories you are listed on and it matches the NAP listed on your GMB Listing and your Website – BrightLocal’s Audit will do just that.

Tip 4: Reach out to your Specific Medical Association and ask if you can publish articles on their website. Write an interesting article with a link to your website. Publish it. The more of those links you have from multiple websites, the more Trusted your website gets. Google rewards Trusted and Authoritative Medical Websites with lots of visitors and high rankings.

Tip 5: Do not write short articles on your Blog. Do not write several articles on similar topics. Combine the topically related articles into one big article and update such articles regularly by adding more content. Sign this article with Author Bio if the Author is a medical doctor. If the Author is not a Medical Doctor, please a Medical Doctor to read the content, verify it and then write “Verified by Name Surename, MD” on each Article. When Google reviews the websites, it needs to know if the content is written by an expert or not.

 

Voice Search in Medical Marketing +

Voice assistants and tools such as Alexa and Siri have gained popularity over the years.

While they are aren’t as useful as we’d have hoped by now, more people are using voice search to find answers to queries and local services. Especially those up to 35 years of age.

How do you use voice search in your healthcare marketing strategy?

Learn from brands successfully getting Google snippet features.

Use scannable content. Quit medical jargon and find out which terms, phrases, medical lingo, and references your target clients are using to describe medical services, procedures, and related conversations.

Does this search image look familiar?

Voice Search in Healthcare Marketing  - Tips

It is a clue you can use.

Utilize a healthcare marketing agency or virtual assistant to find questions patients use in social media groups, online forums, offline seminars, groups and so on.

Then create questions & conversational answers or content relating to those questions.

It’s just a small change in your Content Marketing daily task. And it will get you a big reward over time.

Heathcare Marketing Voice Search Tip 1: Review your Blog Content. Rewrite some of your Headings and Paragraphs so you have simple questions and short answers in the first sentence of the paragraph. This will help you earn the chance of being featured in Voice Answers as well as “Position 0” in search results.

Heathcare Marketing Voice Search Tip 2: Use Tables in your Blog Posts. As of September 2019, Google tends to give higher priority to the content with tables when it comes to Featured Snippets selection.

 

Live Events +

In-person marketing will continue to be a big marketing technique for the healthcare industry in 2020.

People still want a personal touch, especially when it is about intimate, delicate, care-driven matters such as medical diagnosis and procedures, personal health records, as well as medical insurance covers.

Hosting or participating in live events provides a solid networking platform.

You can interact with current and future customers.

You can get instant feedback on your procedures or services from people so you know what their objections to buying are—and how you can change that narrative.

Tip 1: Find the common patterns in your patients’ daily routine, learn where they hang out and what they do online and offline. Once you found the place where they are receptive to information, you’ve found a sweet spot. To raise your profile even higher than your competition, consider presenting a useful talk on a trending medical topic or problem in your niche. DO NOT SELL. Just offer value.

Tip 2: Offline events lead to an increase in the Branded search on Google. When many people search for your Clinic Name, Google registers a positive ranking signal. This will help you gain more website authority and improve your rankings, provided that your on-page SEO is well done already. Therefore, make sure your brand name is communicated multiple times during the event. Some clinics that do many events do not provide their website URL in the presentation anymore. This forces the people to find the website by the Brand Name = helping your online visibility long term.

Tip 3: If the goal is to increase the number of Leads for your Medical Practice, do less healthcare industry events and focus more on the lifestyle events of your target audience. If you run a Plastic Surgery clinic, do events related to Arts, Golf, Polo, etc.

 

Are Sponsorships Worth It in 2020 for Medical Practice/Hospital? +

It could be you are interested in a specific cause, community drive, or healthcare policy. Or the trend is towards a medical device or product by a particular brand.

Do you stand for affordable, sustainable, and high-value health programs? Who you can partner up with?

Can you sponsor an event, non-profit, health associations, researchers, caregivers, and families providing a united voice for people with disabilities and chronic diseases?

Are you going to be sponsoring sports teams, medical students, healthcare technology programs, and more?

Make contact and request to sponsor their live event, seminar, offer first aid services at their event, be on their banners, and so on.

Tip 1: Sponsorships empower you to align with a solid brand or lifestyle, helping your practice gain more brand awareness, positive brand perception, and even general support in your field. However, if you want to a quick return on your sponsorship investment, choose your sponsorship target with Precision. For example, if your ideal client is above average income level individual, why not sponsoring a Local Golf School?

 

2020 Influencer Healthcare Marketing Solutions +

Influencer marketing has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years.

For example, Instagram, the backbone platform for the marketing strategy, saw a sizzling rise in brand-sponsored influencer posts—from 2016’s 9.2 million to 21.7 million in 2018.

Statista forecasts the trend to blast past 32.2 million paid posts in 2019.

But influencer trust may be dwindling.

Media agency, UM, surveyed 56,000 active internet users across 81 countries, including in the U.S. and U.K. The study showed a 7% drop in the number of people that now trust influencers’ opinions (specifically bloggers and vloggers) in 2019.

The drop could be associated with influencer scams, fake and inflated follower counts, and undisclosed sponsorships.

More strongly, though once-loyal followers now feel their influencer has since “sold out” to paid-posts to make money and lost their authenticity.

However, 47% of global consumer respondents said the opinions shared online influenced their decisions.

To make the most of influencer marketing in 2020:

Bonus Tip: So influencer healthcare marketing is not dead. Neither will it die in 2020. Know your ideal buyer’s habits and you’ll know which influencer is worth collaborating with. Never guess. Use the tools to check if the Influencer is legit. There are way too many scammers out there.

 

Radio and Television Medical Marketing +

For purely digital brands, including radio and TV in a marketing strategy may not be a smart move in 2020—it hasn’t been for the last few years, either.

What about medical practices?

Traditional marketing channels are still influential in healthcare marketing strategies and can still help. But it can be really expensive and inefficient. People dislike TV or Radio advertising. That’s why they move away to their Streaming Apps.

The problem with both radio and TV advertising has been they’ve both been tough to measure…

…until now.

You can now check Google Analytics to grasp the number of searches people are making based in a particular region based on your radio or TV campaign.

But even more effective:

Radio & TV Healthcare Marketing Tip 1: Set up a custom website or landing page with a unique URL per large campaign. Be sure to set up tools such as Google Analytics to show you how many people are “landing” on the page or website. In your TV or radio ads let people know the URL they need to visit to learn more about your medical service, product, or device. You can then see your campaign’s impact by the numbers.

Radio & TV Healthcare Marketing Tip 2: Subscribe to call tracking service like CallRail and use one separate phone number per each large campaign. This way you can measure the Return on your Marketing Investment and draw the right conclusion based on the real data.

 

Should You do Billboard Marketing in 2020 for Your Healthcare Business? +

Putting up an ad on strategic billboards is an important move to consider for your healthcare service’s local marketing strategy.

If you can afford it, do it. And in multiple, strategic places.

The important question to ask:

Which area(s) do you want to get in front of your current and future customers?

Billboard marketing can help grow your brand recognition in a particular area.

Tip 1: Set up a custom website or landing page with unique URL per area where the billboards are. Be sure to set up tools such as Google Analytics to show you how many people are “landing” on the page or website. In your billboard lets, people know the URL they need to visit to learn more about your medical service, procedure. You can then see your campaign’s impact by the numbers.

Tip 2: Subscribe to call tracking service like CallRail and use one separate phone number per each area where the billboards are. This way you can measure the Return on your Marketing Investment and draw the right conclusion based on the real data.

 

Celebrity Endorsements +

In 2020, you’ll still attract a ton of credibility by aligning your healthcare brand with a reputable, ideal celebrity.

So how can you utilize brand ambassadors in your hospital marketing in 2020?

You know how Angelina Jolie adopted several children from orphanages around the world and demonstrated compassion for refugees. The U.N. appointed her as its Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees.

Other brands have reached out to celebrities struggling with various medical conditions or have a close family member or friend doing so.

Can you spot an opportunity to demonstrate your quality, cutting-edge, and/or specialist healthcare services by working with a relevant celeb?

You can provide free medical consultations for mentions. Or invite them to raise their humanitarian profile by teaming up with your practice on a community health cause dear to both of you. Or offer cash to get in front of their loyal audience.

Implementing these medical marketing strategies can help your practice attract more warm leads you can convert to paying customers soonest.

Remember to measure your impact using online tools. Have a custom landing page for each marketing campaign.

That way, you can tell which methods are offering desired results so you can double down on them and avoid losing marketing dollars on ineffective campaigns.

And if all these feels like a lot of ground to cover, feel free to work with a reputable medical marketing agency that understands your specialty, what your target customers are looking for, and which healthcare marketing techniques resonate best with them.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, Founder, and CEO of SONDORA MARKETING, an agency helping healthcare marketers and CEOs with reaching an explosive growth.

Google Search Quality RATER Guidelines: SEO Takeaways for 2020

In 2019, the search giant made several noteworthy changes to the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines. Here are what they are, why they matter, and how you can use them to boost your SEO in 2020.

The web search giant, Google, is famous for stating it updates its search algorithm to improve the quality of results searchers get for specific queries.

But what the online search behemoth needs to do is to provide accurate, rich, and timely information that matches a searcher’s intent. Search is meant to serve humans.

To do that, Google recruits an army of real people. Their work is to evaluate the quality of search results from its search engine algorithm displays in response to a particular query.

In Google’s own words, Search Quality Raters “must represent the user”. So these are usually normal people with average browsing skills. The Alphabet company – the owner of Google – offers raters a Guideline. It is more like a booklet.

In it, the company instructs quality raters to look out for certain page properties and signals.

The purpose is usually to use those elements to evaluate the quality standards of those pages.

 

Do Search Quality Rater Guidelines Hint at How Google’s Algorithm Works?

Some people think so. Others doubt it.

The consensus is webmasters that pick up on the page properties and signals the guidelines cover, wind up ranking on the top of SERPs.

When you seek to know what the algorithm is supposed to display, you’ll know the kind of signals and page properties to optimize to increase your ranking, site traffic, and, ultimately, sales.

Here are lessons from the 2019 Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines that you can start using immediately to boost your SEO strategy in 2020.

 

You Have Got to Use Testimonials on Your Website

Here are some interesting facts.

In short, online reviews increase click-through rates, conversion, and sales.

When a customer provides a testimonial, they are availing first-hand information on what you offer, an overview of their experience working with you, and why they recommend you to other leads.

That’s powerful information for people considering working with a reliable brand.

Positive testimonials encourage trust and engagement—even when they are displayed on your own website.

Testimonials are especially useful to potential customers. Leads want to avoid the risk of working with someone they have no reason to trust.

The best testimonial pages make it easy for a potential customer to lower their resistance to convert and increase the chances that they’ll buy from you or take the desired action.

 

Know Where to Place Customer Testimonials on Your Website

Many websites place testimonials at the bottom of a landing page, sales page, or homepage.

Yet, many readers don’t make it that far.

They end up leaving unconvinced to trust that you can provide what they need and how they need it.

They never come back.

The best place to place testimonials is where website visitors will see them. Use a heatmap tool to see where visitors are scrolling and when they rarely do.

Then place a relevant testimonial along a busy scroll path.

Some brands prefer to display a collection of positive customer testimonials on one, dedicated page.

That may work.

But the best place to place a testimonial is where it is most likely to influence a positive action, reinforce trust, and reduce resistance to act.

For example:

Let’s say you offer a particular service.

You claim to offer desired results within a short time.

Then obtain a customer testimonial from a customer that feels you did, indeed, offer them the results they wanted within short and sweet turnaround time.

Placing that testimonial (including the customer’s facial photo and where they work) next to your claim turns it into a credible fact.

 

Ask for Testimonials

The simplest way to create great testimonials is to just collect customer feedback.

You can do that by asking happy customers if they can provide the feedback in an interview.

Obtaining the feedback in the client’s own words is most powerful because potential customers can relate.

That perspective is what a potential customer and Search Rater look for to see if they can trust your website, product, or service.

 

But Don’t Coerce or Buy Testimonials

Buying testimonials will get you in trouble.

And so will posting fake customer testimonials. Human Page Quality evaluators read through the testimonials page.

They are humans. They can tell exaggerated reviews from genuine, happy customer recommendations.

And you don’t want to risk your site reputation flushing down the drain. So only obtain customer feedback from people you’ve worked with before.

Those people should be willing and able to provide a testimonial.

 

Use Google’s New Link Policy for Paid Links

Google now wants you to mark sponsored content. So, if you buy a link or receive a payment for link placement on your site, mark it accordingly.

Simply use the link attribute:

Rel=”sponsored”

That way, Google’s algorithm will detect if you have complied.

But to ensure human quality raters pass your site as compliant, make sure to explicitly state the content is sponsored in the text of the site.

TIP: Mark user-generated content using the attribute: Rel=”ugc”. To use the Nofollow attribute with a paid link, use: Rel=”nofollow sponsored”

 

Emphasize Topics Over Pages

In the new changes, Google has asked raters to put more weight on the topicality of a page in their Page Quality rating.

That means human quality scorers will be looking at the topic of a page and how relevant it is in the grand scheme of your website theme.

That also suggests they will also look into how consistent the content is throughout the page—in a way that affects how a human interacts with the information on it.

Here’s a quote from the guidelines:

SEO Topics versus Pages - New Google Assessors Guidelines

So, create your content pages around a particular topic as much as you can.

 

Ensure Your Shopping Page Has This Information

If you’ve considered using genuine customer reviews and adding shipping information to your shopping pages as a nice to have, think again.

In line with its goal to help users find the information they need to have exemplary experiences online, Google directs raters to check shopping sites have customer reviews, shipping, and safety information.

The content behind Safety, Reviews, and Shipping tabs will also now be considered a part of the page’s Main Content (MC).

 

But SC and Ads Matter, Too

Google Search Quality Raters are looking out for two more types of content, not just the main content; Supplementary Content and Ads.

Supplementary content includes comments, links to other resources, recommended products, and recommended readings.

SC can also be internal links to relevant information, which will boost your on-page SEO.

And yes, CTAs also count as supplementary content. They direct users where to go next, improving their user experience on the site, so include them in your content in 2020.

Ensure SC such as comments do not contain malicious links or links to thin or banned content as that will hurt your reputation. And also that they are relevant to the topic of the page 

 

Monitor the Quality of Ads Displaying on Your Site

Will ads affect the quality ranking of your website in 2020?

Yes!

Google explicitly explained that it will consider you, the webmaster, responsible for the “overall quality” of the ads displayed on your site.

Check this out:

Google Rater Guidelines Quality of Ads Displaying on your website

Google requires raters to disable adblocking extensions for this purpose.

Try to ensure ads displaying on your site are not malicious and are relevant to the nature of the content on the page they display as much as you can.

 

Use original, relevant, and high-quality artistic content

Another MC related update touches on artistic content such as writing, photos, images, and videos.

Raters are now encouraged to look out for unique MC that goes beyond rehashing what text content anywhere else already offers.

If you are creating content in Your Money Your Life (YMYL) topics such as medical/health, finance, shopping, law, provide accurate information that indicates the primary data source.

In 2019, Google added “News” and “Government/Civic/Law” as YMYL content.

TIPS: You’ll want to shoot, edit, and brand your original videos. Also, use original illustrations or animations in your text content.

 

Increase Your Mobile Page Speed

Mobile traffic statistics show mobile traffic has and continues to dominate over desktop traffic.

That means you’ll also want to boost your mobile page loading time to decrease wait time, bounce rates, and boost overall user experiences—a signal that raters are on the lookout for, according to the Search Raters Guideline.

 

Improve Your Site’s Mobile-Friendliness

Picture this:

In 2019, 53% of traffic for online shopping sites came from mobile devices. Compare that to 37% for desktops.

However, the 2019 Wolfgang Digital KPI Report showed desktop still ruled in sales, accounting for 56% of online purchases compared to just 32% for mobile devices.

But the 32% was a 9-point jump over 2018’s figure, suggesting more people are now able to easily browse, locate the “Buy” button, and checkout on smaller screens as they like.

So, ensure your mobile site design and app development cater to these needs, too.

Want to find out you’re your site’s mobile-friendliness score by Google?

Use this Google Mobile Testing Tool.

Also, head over to Google Search Console to find a report of your mobile-friendliness rating on a page level.

 

Compress Media to Boost Load Speeds

Media can bog down a site’s loading speed and lead to poor user experience ratings. That can lead to increased bounce rates that tell algorithms your site isn’t well-optimized.

For example, Images make up about 21% of a typical site’s weight, according to a November 2018 HTTP Archive report.

Go beyond mobile-friendliness and mobile page speed to deliver quick loading platforms across your online presence; desktop website, blog, library, portal, and other pages.

To do that, use media compression software to decrease the size of media files on your site. Those files include videos, original photos, and other images.

Wondering how to compress images for your website, for example?

You can use these image compression tools and reduce the weight and wait time of your site.

 

Resize Media Files

Avoid squeezing images into tiny spaces they don’t fit. They appear less-well-thought-out, especially when you have a human being looking at them.

And that can cost you points in terms of credibility and user experience.

Don’t just use high-quality images. Go all the way. Use image resizing tools such as Canva to make your images fit into your designated spaces.

They look and feel great when blending into your website design cues.

This applies especially well to photos, illustrations, drawings, clip arts, and even infographics.

 

Then Optimize Image ALT Descriptions

You may already know that Google has stepped up efforts to help people with physical challenges experience the web better like the never before.

YouTube already encourages content creators and channel owners to provide video captions so people with hearing challenges can follow along.

Image Alts can be read to a visually challenged person now. So use them. That’ll let Search and voice assistants read out your image descriptions to every person that’s interested in your content no matter their challenges.

 

Use Longer, More Useful Videos (and Shorter Ones, Too)

In recent times, Google has shown intent to rank longer videos higher up search results on YouTube.

That’s not surprising considering both human and algorithm evaluators now routinely rank long-form text content higher than shorter text content.

But wait…

…don’t just extend the length of your videos.

Human readers can tell if the video is just a long-fluffy watch or a pack load of useful content that warrants the increased watch time.

However, the best practice is to provide a combination of the two video lengths in your video content strategy.

Let’s take an example, shall we?

Say you are explaining a step-by-step procedure. Or you are using explainer videos to describe how a product works.

Use a combination of short and long videos. Like a short video for a single step, followed by a text description. And a longer video to show the entire procedure fluidly from start to finish.

The average word count of a top-ranking post on Google is 2,150 words. Extend your videos with useful information in 2020 to benefit

 

There are New Signals that Will Affect E-A-T Page Quality Rating

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In the 2019 guidelines, E-A-T rating is now under “Page Quality”.

Here’s what you need to improve to boost the quality rating hence build up to a great SEO ranking on Search:

Google wants raters checking if a human reader can easily find what they are looking for on the particular page they land on directly from the SERPs.

Ensure your content answers searcher intent.

For example, if your title said “How to…”, ensure your Main Content is describing how to actually do something or achieve the specific goal you mentioned in the title.

Use well-formatted titles, headings (H1, H2, H3…) and other subtitles to make your content easy to scan, follow-through, and digest in a fluid manner.

That does not mean you have to get a formal education on a subject matter to write about it.

Google has mentioned before that what’s that supposed to mean is you need to ensure you create reliable content.

You can be an “everyday experts” capable of making E-A-T content.

See Google’s own words here:

Google Search Quality Rater Guideline on E-A-T

EAT Google Rater Guideline revealedHere are two examples:

Now, note that Google encourages its raters to raise the E-A-T states higher when evaluating YMYL topics, especially health/fitness and money topics.

TIP: Use social media posts that embed links in your content to compile the reactions, comments, and feedback from experts on the topic in that piece of content. That’ll boost your credibility (E-A-T) rating. Embedding video content will help as well.

 

Show Out Your Content Creator Expertise

Raters are looking at who wrote your main content, their credentials, and whether those credentials are relevant to the subject matter of your MC.

That is something an algorithm can’t do well—yet.

So, go ahead and fill in your or your contributors’ credentials, showing people why they should trust what you or the contributor says.

For example:

If you are a medical site, you’ll want to use written by medical professionals or written by skilled content creators that sourced accurate data from credible medical sources.

Here are more tips:

The bio should link to the profile.

 

Moderate Your User Generated Content

User-generated content is a good thing.

The more of it you have on your site, the higher the chances you are engaging your target audience well.

But user-generated content out of control is a wilderness you don’t want to trend.

The killer punch comes in the form of malicious links and spammy comments.

While Google’s algorithm can detect spammy links, only human evaluators can tell helpful and spammy comments apart.

Only real humans can tell a discussion went off-topic and turned into a gossip thread or personal attack mill.

You don’t want a few out-of-control slurs to shoot down the reputation of your site.

You want both the main content and user-generated content to blend together in harmony. You want to be a platform for useful discussions that encourage further meaningful discussion.

So do the best you can to moderate user-generated content.

 

Respond to Messages on Social

Do invest in social media customer care.

Most of your existing and potential customers are used to snappy responses from their interactions on say, Messenger and WhatsApp.

You want to encourage more people to reach out to you with their concerns, aspirations, and questions, and suggestions.

That kind of feedback can help you to better understand your target customers. You can use the insights to create a plan to provide solutions to your target market.

TIP: Use autoresponders to let people know you’ve received their message and will respond soonest possible. 

 

Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

You can claim a URL and Short Name for your listing.

BrightLocal analyzed the profiles of 45,000 anonymous local businesses. The study gives actionable insights into what makes a great GMD listing.

Those are the same signals a human evaluator would look out for when assessing the quality of your GMB profile.

And then they’d tie your GMB profile trustworthiness to the rest of your online presence, reputation, and local SEO.

For example, BrightLocal found people searching for local hotels, use Search and Maps most.

So, if that’s your niche be sure to pinpoint your location and directions on a map in GMB.

GMB offers tips and tricks as you fill your business details. That will help if you are new to the listing.

 

Secure Your Site

Start with ensuring you have SSL installed so your site is in HTTPS instead of just HTTP.

Second, secure all online form pages.

Avoid adding form fields on unsecured pages. So do deploy best practices in web form security to assure your visitors their sensitive information is safe from malicious third-party extension and phishing schemes.

So what’s one of the best secure form tips to use now?

Brand the form so people instantly recognize it is from your organization to boost trust.

Make the look and feel of your web forms are consistent with that of your overall website, blog, logo, design, and even your brand voice/tone.

 

Revisit Your About Page

Before there was Google My Business, there was the website About Page.

When people want to know who you are, what you do, and your “Why”, they’ll head straight to your About page.

They’re looking for trust-building signals. Such include your credentials, personality cues, experience in the site’s subject matter.

People also look at the about page to feel whether they can relate to your brand story. Or not.

And that’s the first place Search Quality Raters are encouraged to visit.

So focus on sharing your story with personality, offering a glimpse into your reason for creating the brand, and what you have to offer.

 

Shorten Long URLs

The longer the URL you use the more people are likely to ignore clicking it.

If you send a long and short URL together, people are likely to click the shorter URL. Perhaps shorter URLs encourage more trust than their longer versions.

Certainly, longer URLs are not appealing to share, are they?

Users also associate long URLs with spam.

Still, you want readers, Search Quality Raters, and Google’s algorithms able to read your page’s entire URL.

Notice how top-ranking posts have the keyword visible within the link?

Aim for that.

That’ll mean using a top URL shortener and minimize using subfolders and subdomains to get a clean-looking URL.

 

Should You Use URL Parameters?

The “rule of thumb” is to avoid using URL parameters.

But if you are going to do it, check if you meet the requirements for using URL parameters:

URL Parameters Google Rater Guidelines revealed

Google URL parameters use requirements

Then let raters, and in turn, Google, know you are doing so.

Just log in to your Google Search Console account. Open the URL Parameters Tools. Then follow the instructions on the URL parameters page right under the URL requirements.

If you have to deal with multiple parameters, scroll down the page to learn how to manage URLs with multiple parameters.

 

Link Up

You already know, using internal links will boost your site’s on-page SEO.

Getting backlinks from sites that have high Domain Authority (DA) will help your site rank higher up the SERPs, too.

But have you tried reaching out to a high DA site owner or editor to let them know you linked to their content?

Have you tagged a content creator when sharing their high-quality stuff on social media?

Try it.

Relationships thrive on reciprocation. Before you do, though, ensure your site also offers quality content the other party would want to associate with as well.

Otherwise, they risk hurting their reputation by association.

 

Use Topic Clusters to Boost User Navigation Hence Experience

Google crawlers can follow internal links and backlinks more easily to index your site.

But your readers need you to make it easy for them to move around.

Consider creating dedicated pages where readers can find related content in one or a few clicks.

You can have a broad keyword as the page title.

Then use long-tail keywords to create pieces of quality content that approaches the broad keyword from different angles, offering deeper dives into user intents and reader segments.

From there, they can have a big picture or bird’s-eye view of the subject, what they are currently learning, and what else on the cluster they may want to know to add to their knowledge base.

It’s about being helpful, a human touch that a Search evaluator will appreciate and award points.

 

Match Your Content to User Intent

Help your website visitors find exactly what they cane to find.

You can do that by aligning searcher intent to your content.

For example, provide an informative post if someone entered a “How to…” query in Google’s Search Box.

On the other hand, align a product page with a search query about a product.

Search Quality Raters are encouraged to look out for a page’s primary purpose.

That’s the core value a visitor is supposed to take away after browsing the page. Important to note, ensure you only have one primary purpose.

For example, create a dedicated product page for one product.

Unless it is a comparison-purpose page, you don’t want to confuse readers with multiple products that serve different purposes.

 

Make it Easy to Contact You

Maybe you already have a clear call-to-contact in the top-right corner of your website.

Time to go beyond that.

Provide several contact options. Some people prefer to talk on the phone. Others want to use email. Yet, others want a quick, live chat to get going.

If you can provide all three options, that’ll encourage visitors to connect with you.

That’ll help you start building the kind of rapport that turns into a long-term, profitable relationship you want to have.

 

Put More Effort in Your Online Reputation Management

Your online reputation directly affects how people perceive your brand, trustworthiness, professionalism, service delivery, and brand personality.

You could have a great product or service, but a poor online footprint can see to it you barely scratch your goals.

People don’t want to buy or work with a tainted-reputation brand or associate with one.

Raters know this. They are even encouraged to look around the web. The goal is to see if your brand or notable staff members have mentions on high authority sites, discussions on social media, and third-party online reviews sites.

So you’ll want to keep your online presence as positive as possible.

Now, marketers said they spend about 17% of their time managing their online reputation. That’s a lot of time.

To reduce the time you spend finding that information across multiple channels, consider investing in reputation management software.

Examples include SocialMention.com, SEMrush, and Mention to know what people are saying about your brand on social media.

Or set a Google alert to notify you when you are mention elsewhere.

 

Localize Those Web Pages

If you have a local store and want to direct foot traffic to it, focus on localizing web pages.

There are several ways to do that. The most effective include:

If you are a purely digital brand, you’ll also need to localize your website if the local population is your target audience or market.

 

Conclusion

The main takeaway to bag here is to remember Google’s Search Quality Raters are real humans. What an algorithm can’t do, a human rater will.

The guidelines Google asks raters to follow are a lesson in improving a website’s user experience. Not for machines (algorithms). But for human use.

Using the 31 SEO takeaways from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines discussed here will help you know what to optimize starting right away to boost your SEO performance in 2020.

Would you like to share a secret SEO hack you learned from the Search Quality Rater Guideline?

The world is listening in the comments section below. Go on.

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO, and Founder of SONDORA MARKETING. SEOes and Ranks websites straight to the top, over and over again.

What Does SEO Stand For?

Here is the deal: SEO is a big deal. And it has been for the last decade or so. If you own any piece of internet real estates like a website, blog, YouTube channel, or an app, you’ve heard of SEO. But, what does SEO stand for?

SEO Theory and Techniques (The Complete Guide to Ranking for a Newbie)

agency-seo

This post is not another “What is SEO. SEO helps you rank well” type of guide.

You are in the right place if you are not only searching for an advanced SEO meaning but also want to discover what you can do now to increase organic traffic to your website, or another online asset.

 

So, what is SEO?

The initials SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization.

We’ll break that down further. Shall we?

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to present the most relevant information to the searcher.

Picture this:

The internet is a massive, global library. When you want to find information on the internet, you are more likely than not to fire up your internet browser and type in what you are looking for. Sound familiar?

Say you want to learn how to start a business blog or how to create a niche blog on WordPress. What words, phrases or questions would you type into the Google Search box?

Here is an all too familiar example:

seo blogpost wordpress

Notice the first three search results are online advertisements (Google AdWords). But they are right on the money because they are relevant answers to your question.

So, what’s that got to do with search engine optimization in 2019 and beyond?

SEO is all about making your content visible to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Search engines, in turn, make it easy for people searching for information online to find relevant, helpful, and genuine information on different digital platforms.

Search engines do this by ranking websites ideally in order of how relevant, helpful and genuine the content they contain is.

The words, phrases, and questions a searcher types into a search engine box are collectively referred to as keywords.

The likes of Google search engine use keywords to help web browsers like you and I find the best information as fast as possible. Not to oversimplify it, the thinking is if the content of an online platform uses the same words, phrases and questions searchers are typing into search boxes, then that content is likely to give the latter satisfactory answers.

The combined mix of keywords and need for user satisfaction invented Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs).

 

What Does SERP Mean in SEO?

Here’s another familiar sight:

 

 

SERP example

An example of a Google search engine result page (SERP).

 

What Does Search Engine Optimization mean for Business?

SERPs are a big deal for businesses and marketers, and here’s why.

The higher up a SERP your website ranks, the more visitors you’ll get. In fact, websites that rank on the first page of Google search results take 92% of all traffic, according to Chitika.

google search results

Google web pages

Ranking on the second page of Google search results will see you get about 5% of the traffic. And it gets worse from there.

 

What Does SEO Mean in Marketing?

SEO helps you rank on the top pages of search results so you can be visible to your target audience. And you already know that buyers buy what they know exists.

Here’s the most interesting bit:

Improving your website ranking to number one on Google will help you fetch 33% of all traffic. Number two gets about 18%. And if you rank on page two of Google, you are likely to fetch only about 1.1% of visitors.

These visitors are also referred to as traffic. And the more traffic you get, the higher your chances of encouraging the visitors to consider your call-to-action.

Studies show providing useful content establishes you as an authority in your industry; that you know your stuff, and the visitor can trust you to help them learn to solve the problem they are looking for online.

 

SEO marketing

By providing the information they need, you can further provide calls-to-action visitors can take to get more answers to their question. For example, in the SERP screenshot above:

The first result is a WordPress ad inviting you to create a blog with them. The second is about Udemy, an online platform where you can learn new skills—which is what the search query is asking to learn: how to create a blog on WordPress. The next screenshot shows other sites that can teach you what you are looking to learn.

Poor SEO techniques can have you buried in, for instance, a position 3 of Page 9 of a SERP, where not many people are looking. Proper SEO techniques, on the flip side, can have you attracting free traffic to your website in the tens of thousands of targeted visitors.

SEO marketing is a set of activities that involve using search engine optimization methods to help you boost your online visibility as a brand.

SEO process

And what are these methods?

 

Types of SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

A web searcher (visitor) will click on your site from the SERP when they think you provide the best value for their time. Again, by providing high-quality content; relevant, helpful, and genuine content.

One of the most powerful SEO methods to implement for business is using geographical location; targeting searchers in a specific area.

Here’s how.

 

1.    Local SEO

What is local SEO?

Get this:

What that means…

…whether you are a local brick-and-mortar business or digital brand, you can benefit from becoming visible to potential customers in your area (or target area).

By using keywords your local target audience would use to find a product or service similar to yours, you can direct local online visitors to your local business—whether online or through foot traffic.

search from mobile vs desktop stats

Courtesy of Blue Corona

A robust local SEO strategy will involve listing your business on Google My Business. If you are a brick and mortar with a verified address, you can list. But if you take services to your clientele, you’ll want to register as a service area business; carpenter, plumber, cleaner, courier, and so on.

search result on mobile

google listing spot

Source: Google My Business

This is a good example of letting prospects know where to find you, what you offer locally, and whether they can reach you when they want to buy from you. You can also use online business directories like YellowPages, FourSquare, and Bing Places for Business.

Remember, you are not listing your business based on the market you serve, but where you are located. You can use a professional local SEO expert to help you set up your GMB mini-website and local SEO strategy if you need expert guidance.

Let’s take an example.

Searching “hotels in Lugano Switzerland” gives:

lugano hotels search results

Example of a Google local 3-pack listing via GMB

Potential customers can use this to find the best hotels in Lugano based on price, proximity, customer reviews, open hours, menu, description, nearby attractions, hotel class, discounts, amenities, directions, and so on.

In fact, a Moz Study showed while 44% of local searchers click on the local 3-pack listing, only about 8% search for more information past it. They get what they want. Fast.

All that information has to do with optimizing a hotel’s local SEO. It is about providing the information they need when they need it to decide their next action.

You can:

There is more. If you like to see some great ways to improve the organic traffic from the Local-Based Keywords to your web pages please read our blog post here.

 

2.  National SEO

As the name suggests, national SEO is about targeting a nationwide audience with that nation’s keywords.

National SEO is similar to local SEO in that you’ll want to target potential customers that are looking for products or services based in a specific area. It’s also based on localization optimization.

Only this time on a national scale as opposed to the neighborhood, city, county approach used in local search marketing.

Instead, you can target keywords and on-page SEO techniques (such as Maps) based on your state or country.

 

3.  International SEO

With International SEO, you’d be looking to appeal to regional and global audiences. That means your SEO needs to use keywords that encourage anyone from anywhere to find your business online.

This SEO strategy is ideal for companies that serve global markets. Otherwise, it would be a waste of resources to market locally sold products or services to a worldwide audience that is unlikely to ever buy from you.

So, how do you do that?

By optimizing your website pages for relevant keywords to your intended global audience.

 

How to Do SEO: What is the process of Search Engine Optimization?

So when someone is trying to understand what does SEO stand for, it is crucial to learn the process of website optimization.

Clearly, the importance of SEO to business cannot be understated. But how do you know what people are searching for online so you can use similar phrases in your SEO strategy and content marketing campaigns?

How do you attract traffic to your site using keywords? How do you know which keywords to use and which ones to leave out of your plan? What makes one SEO strategy more effective than the other?

 

Keyword research is the start for the SEO process, and it defines if you are going to get visible in front of the right audience.

You chose the wrong keywords you waste a lot of resources, including time.

 

And what is keyword research?

Simply, it is about finding out the words, questions, phrases, sayings, and more your target audience are using to find the relevant information to search query (and related products, services, or a combination of both)?

 

What is the importance of keyword research?

By understanding the terms and related terms potential customers enter into search engines to find relevant products and services, you can strategically inject similar terms into your content, so it is easily discoverable by the very people looking for it.

Keyword research is to search engine optimization what fuel is to fire.

 

And how do you do keyword research?

You can go at it manually.

You can search on online platforms such as reviews sites, online forums, and social media channels. You’d be seeking to find how potential customers discuss, describe, word, phrase, and even lament about your industry niche.

Also, you can pick some time-relevant, popular and effective keywords from the bottom of Google’s SERP pages in the “Searches Related to…” section free of charge.

related keyword research

Google’s free keyword research tool

But this can be a lengthy process. And even the best SEO companies take time to gather actionable, long-term keywords.

Alternatively, you can use online search tools to almost automate your search, get suggested keywords and volume data for each keyword. Some of the best keyword research tools include:

Still, if you prefer to hire an SEO expert to do the search and integrate results into your SEO strategy on your behalf, that is okay too.

Whichever way you choose, you’ll want to be keen about using the keywords you find. Because how you use them matters a lot.

 

Targeting long-tail keywords vs Short length keywords

A particularly important portion of SEO and search marketing is to be precise on longtail keywords vs. short-tail keywords.

And what are long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords?

A Long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that typically comprises of three or more words. Short-tail keywords have less than three words and are broad in their target. Long-tail keywords generally are smaller search volume and less competitive phrases. So if you find it difficult to rank for “dental clinic Leeds” you’d rather choose a long-tail keyword “the teeth whitening dental clinic in Leeds”.

Let’s take an example:

If you entered the keyword “shirts” into a web search engine or an e-commerce search tool, you’d get a massive catalog of shirt results—from Hawaiian shirts to formal shirts.

Would that be satisfactory?

Not when you want to find formal cotton shirts.

Now picture your target market. If a web searcher is looking for shirts, it likely means they are yet to be specific enough to make a purchase decision.

On the other hand, a web searcher that types “official cotton shirts” is advanced in the buyer journey.

They already are aware of the kind of shirts they need. So a long-tail searcher is also much more likely to convert faster. This is a prospect not a lead, a potential customer who is actually looking to make a purchase—not learn what you do.

It gets deeper.

For example, you can use specific LSI keywords to target specific segments.

By using an LSI such as “best notebooks under $650” is likely to connect with potential notebook buyers who are on a budget and need a right mix of quality components, stable performance, and at an affordable price.

Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are also easier to rank for than short-tail keywords.

In fact, long-tail keywords are ideal for small businesses SEO strategies because not only are most small businesses niche by nature but also because long-tail keywords have less keyword competition hence low keyword difficulty.

Large businesses (which have big SEO budgets to spend) tend to rank much better for shorter keywords, making it tough for smaller companies to rank well. And it can take years for the latter to break into the first pages of Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc.

Now that the time issue’s come up, how long does it take to rank at the top of SERPs?

 

How much time does SEO take?

 time-SEO

The answer is…

…it depends.

 

Really.

Here’s why:

There are literally hundreds of search ranking factors that come into play when creating a sound SEO strategy and in implementing one.

A more complex one is to do with keyword matrices. The combination of various, relevant keywords, including long-tail and short-tail keywords is also known as practicing Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword optimization.

LSI is about using a combination of keywords in contextual format and optimizing how they relate. For example, keywords like “dog”, “puppy”, and “breed” relate to the same context.

Link building is another influential ranking factor worth implementing.

Warning! Please be careful with link building because Google penalizes over-optimized websites with unnatural links. Your content needs to be so good that other websites start referring to your webpage to help the searcher get all the relevant answers. That is a natural link building technique and gives Google a strong signal that your webpage deserves a higher ranking. But if you buy spammy links, then it’s almost a guarantee that your website is going to be banned or penalized (Google called such action “a manual action”). Google’s algorithm is very advanced nowadays.

So to answer a question on how much time does it take to rank a webpage or a website we’d say it really depends on your website quality and on the competition. The SEO industry pretty much agrees that a website owner needs to be patient and work hard on natural optimization. On average, some good positive results can be achieved within 4-8 month unless you are up against the competitor that has been optimizing the web pages professionally for years.

But to avoid turning this SEO guide into a book, the most important search engine optimization stages can come down to three, which we’ll discuss here.

Let’s break each down, shall we?

 

Technical SEO

It is not as mind-boggling tough as it reads.

technical-SEO

Technical SEO is all about the search engine optimization aspects that do not involve content or links. So, no keyword density, keyword difficult, and long-tail keywords to deal here.

But what does technical SEO involve?

Here are the major factors to keep in mind:

These are just some of the most important technical SEO factors to look out for.

 

On-Page SEO

What is on-page SEO?

The term refers to all the tasks you can do on your website to rank higher on search engine results.

on-page-seo

Such factors include:

Ensuring your site nails these search engine ranking factors is the first step to boosting the visibility of site online.

However, there is one MAJOR factor that has been increasing with lightning speed in importance – USER EXPERIENCE and USER BEHAVIOR. You absolutely must make sure your web page provides a great user experience so the website visitor does get all the answers to their query. If they don’t, they move from your website and keep on reading on your competitor’s website. If they stay longer on your competitor’s website than on yours, move to other relevant and engaging web pages on that rival’s website, it’s a matter of short time for Google to place your competitor higher in search results than your web page. It’s a simple concept. Write better content, provide a better user experience, and you’ll be rewarded with more online visibility by Google.

The next step is to execute your off-page SEO strategy.

 

Off-Page SEO

So, what is the meaning of off-page SEO?

off-page-SEO

Contrary to on-page SEO techniques, off-page SEO involves all the things you can do directly off your site to rank high up the SERPs.

Some of the best off-page SEO ranking factors include:

Therefore, the answer to how long it takes to rank on top of Google is it takes as much time as you and your SEO professionals can get technical, on-page and off-page SEO factors in order.

 

White Hat vs Black Hat? What’s the danger?

White hat SEO techniques are the legitimate SEO methods to use to rank high in search results. They include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO best practices—as discussed in the above section.

Blackhat SEO techniques, on the other hand, violate Google Guidelines because they involve manipulation of the ranking algorithm. Black Hat techniques can lead to website penalization or even de-indexation from Google Search.

black-hat-seo

It is important to keep track of white hat vs black hat ranking techniques by occasionally conducting a thorough SEO audit of your site.

Because white hat methods do change to black hat approaches, you might find your site penalized for a mistake you didn’t even realize you were making.

To be safe and safeguard your ranking, even when the latest Google updates strike, you’ll want to avoid using black hat SEO methods and rely on white hat SEO principals instead.

But what if you need to rank fast?

What if you need to outrank your competition to stay in business? What can you do to boost your visibility fast and tidy?

Search marketing could help you boost your digital marketing campaign.

 

Search marketing definition

Search marketing leverages both paid and unpaid online advertising to promote a site and get traffic to your web pages. SM branches further into Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Organic Search.

Primarily, SEM involves using pay-pay-click (PPC) advertising to increase a site’s visibility faster compared to using organic methodologies (organic keywords and link building methods over some time).

And what if you want to learn SEO on your own, so you can practice search marketing on your own sites? You can tap the best SEO tips from the best in the field.

 

How much should a business allocate to SEO:

seo-budget

This question is frequently asked by the business owners and marketing executives. According to Forbes, every business needs to invest in the SEO – in-house or on professional external SEO agency or a consultant. An amount of USD 1,000 per month is a recommended bare minimum for a small business. Large organizations spend millions on SEO monthly.

 

Biggest SEO influencers worldwide:

  1. Google

The most dominant search engine on the planet receives over 2 billion monthly searches. Want to keep ahead of all the latest Google Search algorithm updates and more? For example, get some tips & tricks and learn how Google Search Console works from the horse’s mouth by following the Google Blog.

  1. Ahrefs Blog

The platform brings together keyword research, backlinking, content and technical SEO in one place. Ahrefs is recognized as one of the most advanced tools by SEO community.

  1. MOZ Blog

Rand Fishkin and team create educative blogs, videos and hold weekly podcasts to share their SEO and link building strategies with a solid following—which gets what it deserves.

  1. Backlinko

Brian Dean is one of the most influential figures in SEO. He is particularly celebrated for inventing the Skyscraper Technique of white hat link building.

  1. Neil Patel

Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top digital marketers in the world right now, Neil teaches both simple and advanced methods to increase website traffic. Neil provides great tips for those starting their SEO journey.

  1. Matt Cutts

The former webspam team head at Google has a wealth of Google, SEO and gadgets’ wisdom to share on his blog.

Or perhaps you preferred a more strategic, step-by-step and guided SEO tutorial or SEO agency to help you along?

 

SONDORA SA – SEO agency in Lugano, Switzerland

Search engine optimization is a sophisticated and highly technical internet marketing strategy. But it is worth every effort. You can attract high-quality traffic to your website with almost zero financial strains compared to other methods.

What if you had a professional SEO service at your disposal?

As a Sondora SA client, you can get all the search marketing hacks you need to attract more business. You can focus on serving your customers instead of tweaking 301 redirects on edge.

You’ll have a full-fledged team of professionals on call.

Here is how our SEO project team looks like:

Best SEO team setup

You’ll get a complete SEO audit done to reveal what is hurting your search engine ranking. And have them corrected to help you increase your visibility among other benefits for your business.

 

About the Author:

Matteo Iannelli is the Digital Marketing Manager at SONDORA MARKETING. He has been optimizing clients’ websites locally, nationally and internationally for over ten years. Matteo is always on the toe to create another most-proud-client-moment—like when the team helped a client skyrocket his e-commerce website traffic from 100 visitors to 15,000 visitors per month. After a thorough SEO audit and research that focused on buying intent keywords, it took only 12 weeks to start ranking for multiple significant keywords.

2020 Local SEO: Awesome & Easy Hacks to Dominate the Google Maps Listings

Over the past couple of years, Google has made clear its commitment to websites that focus on local business SEO. This significant shift in policy has spurred millions to revisit their search strategies and bring expert external local SEO services on board. For others, working in-house with a handful of tried and tested local SEO tips is the preferred approach.

Disclaimer: We have obtained an award from Google for Google My Business optimization so we are biased.

In any case, the importance of local search engine optimization cannot be overstated. Nor can its potential for delivering an exceptional ROI. 35% of the clicks and this number is growing, land on Google My Business Listings.

 

What is Local Search?

As the name suggests, the term ‘local search’ applies when a web user carries out an online search for a product or service within a specific geographic area.  Basic examples of which may include:

Local Google Search Example

Today, approximately 46% of all searches carried out on Google are local. In addition, the local ‘Three-Pack’ appears right at the top of the rankings for around 93% of searches with local intent. Two figures that highlight the relevance and importance of local search.

Building a successful local search engine optimization strategy means combining a series of elements in a unified, local-focused campaign – ensuring your business information is consistent across the web, registering your business with Google Maps, claiming your Google My Business listing, localizing your content and so on.

These are the basic fundamentals of a local business SEO strategy, but not nearly enough to position you ahead of your competitors. If your goal is to climb the rankings and top the table for the most relevant search terms, you need to think about more dynamic and creative local SEO solutions.

 

Local SEO Tips and Hacks You Probably Didn’t Know

Figuring out how to do local SEO properly as a newcomer to search marketing can be tricky. Precisely why most outsource their requirements to established local SEO agencies. But even if you bring in outside help, it’s useful to know the kinds of local SEO tactics that deliver the strongest possible results.

The following local SEO tactics have demonstrated their capacity to deliver an unbeatable ROI:

 

Take Note of Competitors’ Google My Business Categories

When you create a Google My Business page, you will be asked to select a category for your business. A basic example of which being ‘Construction Equipment Supplier’. The main category you choose is the category that will show up in the SERP listings when your business appears. However, it’s perfectly possible to add a further 10 categories to your Google My Business page invisible categories – categories that could boost your local SEO performance.

For a good idea of the categories, you should be adding to your Google My Business page, find one or more of your closest competitors’ Maps listings, right click and select ‘Page Source’.

findgin GMB Listing Source Code

Ctrl-F to search for their primary category and you’ll find it (highlighted in red), complete with their other categories (highlighted in yellow) as in the example below:

Finding Competitors Google My Business Categories

A quick and easy way to pinpoint which categories you should choose for your Google My Business page.

 

Localize Your Images

This is a useful hack for businesses and professionals who carry out most of their work on location and away from their primary business address. It’s simply a case of using the tool available at www.geoimgr.com, which can be used to put a geo-tag on any specific image for your business location.

Simply enter the name of your business and find your listing in Google Maps, drag and drop your image into the pane on the right-hand side of the screen and it will be localized with a location tag. This will help Google determine that this image is connected with your business, ultimately contributing to stronger performance in the local SERP rankings.

The more high-quality images of relevance and value you localize in this way, the bigger the impact on your local business SEO strategy.

Additional: use the filename ‘keyword-location.jpg’ for each of your localized images to maximize its local SEO value. Keywords should be selected strategically on the back of your on-going local keyword research.

 

Remove Spammers from the Local Three-Pack

Unsurprisingly, the local SEO tactics adopted by some businesses aren’t what you’d call white-hat or ethical. Adding keywords to your business name can help you climb the rankings and appear more prominently. However, these are the kinds of local SEO tactics that actually contravene the terms and conditions set out by Google.

If your business name appears in the title of any Google Business Page, you’re probably looking at a spammer.

spammy GMB Listing example

 

One option for dealing with spammers is to use the ‘Suggest an Edit’ feature to directly report the inaccuracy to Google. Some prefer to avoid using this tip that takes direct aim at the competition, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to play by the rules.

 

Track Missing Google My Business Traffic in Google Analytics

One of the issues with Google My Business and your knowledge panel within the search results is when it shows up in Google Analytics, it shows up as Google organic. This means you don’t have any real idea of how much traffic is coming from maps or locations, along with what traffic is coming from the actual SERP listings.

This is where a tool called ‘Campaign URL Builder’ can help. Created by Google, it allows the user to create custom tracking links that make it possible to distinguish between Google organic traffic and Google My Business traffic.  Once up and running, you’ll find the information you need presented as follows:

Tracking Google My Business Traffic in Google Analytics

This will enable you to keep a much closer eye on the performance of your campaign and make adjustments accordingly. If you want to know how to do it exactly, please ask me in the comment to this blog post.

 

Get Stars for Your Google Search Listing

It’s hard to deny the appeal or influence of an organic SERP listing that’s accompanied by five bright shining stars. A tried and tested approach to ensure your listing stands out from the crowd and attracts attention.

dding stars to your Google Business Pages is a process that takes place over four separate stages:

  1. Collect unique and genuine reviews
  2. Add the reviews to your website, but don’t feature them on your home page
  3. Drive internal or external links to the page
  4. Modify the Schema Markup code

For WordPress website users, there’s a significantly easier option. Head to the Rich Plugins website, find the Google Reviews widget and add it to the footer of every page across your entire website. Activate the widget by turning on Google Rich Snippets as follows:

insert Google Reviews widget

 

After which, your reviews should be automatically converted to stars in the organic SERP listings.

 

Local Link Building Hacks

Winning links from similar local businesses and relevant local sources tell Google that you’re the real deal. It also confirms you’re a genuine local business, making it one of the most important local SEO tactics at your disposal.

Effective link building can be complex, but it’s nonetheless possible to find hundreds of local links in seconds by carrying out an advanced search. Simply enter into the search bar:

Then, add to the end of the resulting URL:

You’ll then be presented with a list of 100 results on one page, rather than the usual 10.

Next, download the Moz toolbar (which is free) and this will allow you to download a CSV file of the results, which can then be saved in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. A spreadsheet packed with local businesses you can reach out to as part of your local link building campaign.

 

Keyword Optimized Google My Business Reviews

The reviews that appear on your Google My Business page are among the most important of all ranking factors. Whatever kind of business you’re in, it’s important to take a proactive approach to the collection of reviews.

Along with the unique appeal and influence of this kind of social proof, you can also bring your keyword research strategy into your Google My Business review project. Research has shown that keyword optimized reviews can have a dramatic impact on a wider local SEO campaign – particularly where the local Three-Pack at the top of the rankings is concerned.

Getting more relevant keywords into your reviews can be achieved as followed:

  1. Survey your customers, rather than asking them for reviews.
  2. Take the best answers within the responses and tweak them with keywords.
  3. Send the text back to the customer with a link to post it.

Despite being one of the simplest local SEO tips going, it’s also one of the most effective. Google is paying closer attention than ever before to the content of your reviews – why not take more proactive control of them?

!Additional: You can enhance the impact of this local SEO tactic further by also adding keywords to your replies.

 

Stand Out in GMB with Emojis 😜

Google takes an active interest in the way people, in general, engage with your business. From clicks to bounce rates, popularity and engagement count for a lot.

It may not be the most complex of local SEO solutions, but using emojis to stand out and make your presence known can be surprisingly effective. Your Google Business Pages allow for emojis to be added to your business name, which can significantly increase visibility in the SERP rankings. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that comparatively few businesses are using emojis to their advantage.

 

Links to Google Search Pages

How often people search for your brand name is taken into account by Google as a measure of popularity and engagement. Hence, if there’s anything you can do to encourage more searches for your brand, you probably should.  Traditional marketing and online/offline advertising is an option, but there’s a neat trick to try out that’s easy to pull off.

When you send emails, newsletters or general marketing materials to new or existing customers, you probably include links to your home page. Instead of sending traffic directly to your home page, try linking to a Google search for your brand. The users will be directed to a Google SERP with your link right at the top, boosting your perceived value and popularity in the process.

You can also do the same with links to company contact information or directions, which could divert the customer to a Google My Business/Google Maps directions request accordingly.

 

Reach Out to Google Without the Usual Hassle

Last but not least, if you encounter any difficulties with getting approvals with your Google My Business page – initial approval, edits/alterations, etc. – there’s a useful hack for getting in touch with Google much quicker and easier for those living outside of the US.

Contrary to popular belief, the best channels to use when reaching out to Google are in fact Twitter and Facebook.

In the vast majority of instances, Google replies to queries significantly faster on Twitter and Facebook than they do via own channels. What’s more, to contact Google via social media is to reach out to Google’s primary support team in the United States. As opposed to a local representative branch, which may not be quite as helpful.

 

Expert Local SEO Services – Full-Service SEO Solutions

So what are the benefits of hiring professional local SEO services, over and above the DIY method? Or, if you choose to go it alone, what kinds of local SEO tips should you be prioritizing?

By its nature, local search engine optimization can be both complex and time-consuming. If you have neither the skills nor the resources needed to front a multi-dimensional SEO strategy, it pays to hire help.

Outsourcing local SEO requirements can open the door to the best possible ROI while allowing you to focus on running your business. Whether you’re new to local SEO or you have a campaign already in progress, bringing in the right people at the right time really can make all the difference. We’ll be happy to help if you need any assistance.

Googlebot in 2019 – How Does It Actually Work?

If you take a proactive approach to SEO, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the term ‘Googlebot’. If not, here’s its official definition as provided by Google:

“Googlebot is the generic name for Google’s web crawler. Googlebot is the general name for two different types of crawlers: a desktop crawler that simulates a user on the desktop, and a mobile crawler that simulates a user on a mobile device.”

In a purely matter-of-fact capacity, Google provides a fair amount of information on positive SEO practices. Nevertheless, they aren’t typically in the habit of providing the answers SEO specialists and webmasters really want.

As something of a break from the norm, Google’s Martin Splitt and Microsoft’s Suz Hinton recently sat down to discuss all things Googlebot in 2019. What it does, how it behaves and the more general information marketers and webmasters need to know.

Detailed below, you’ll find a selection of key questions raised during the meeting, along with a summary of the answers provided by both parties:

 

What Is Googlebot (and What Isn’t it?)

Much of the confusion surrounding SEO in general stems from the fact that most people have no idea how the Googlebot works. Even if they’re familiar with the concept, they may not understand its mechanics, its functions and its objectives.

According to Splitt, the Googlebot is simply a piece of software used to crawl websites, index web pages and help assign rankings. The system is designed to analyze web content, determine its value and decide who it should be presented to in the SERP rankings. The most appropriate content for any given query being prioritized and positioned more prominently.

However, Googlebot itself isn’t responsible for assigning rankings. Instead, it provides Google with the information required to make decisions and adjustments regarding SERP rankings. Googlebot essentially creates a ‘catalog’ of content by indexing web pages – SERP rankings are determined elsewhere.

 

Does Googlebot Behave Like a Web Browser?

Initially, Googlebot behaves in a similar way to a web browser. The software finds a website by way of a link or a sitemap submission, or through countless other detection methods. It’s also possible to direct site indexation or re-indexation if necessary. After which, the initial website visit occurs in a similar way as with any conventional web browser.

 

How Often Does Googlebot Crawl?

The frequency with which Googlebot crawls is calculated in accordance with the nature of the website and its content respectively. In the case of a dynamic website that’s likely to be updated with relevant content on a regular basis, it will be crawled more regularly than a predominantly static website.

A typical working example of which being news or current events website, which is updated around-the-clock with important news updates. Google wants to ensure it brings relevant information to its audiences the moment it is published, which in turn means crawling such sites more regularly to update its index accordingly.

By contrast, a retail store that’s updated once every few weeks needn’t necessarily be crawled as often. Just as an academic portal with relatively static content may not need to be crawled with any real regularity. Google also enforcers measures to ensure spammy sites are crawled infrequently, which can have a negative impact on their SEO performance.

It’s also possible to instruct Google not to index certain pages of a website if the respective webmaster doesn’t want the information to appear in the search results.

 

What About Crawlers & JavaScript-Based Websites?

Webmasters and business owners operating JavaScript-based websites have long been concerned with Google’s ability (or lack thereof) to successfully crawl and index their pages. Given how crawlers have been traditionally incapable of executing JavaScript, they’ve effectively see blank pages when attempting to crawl JavaScript content.

Contrary to popular belief, this is no longer the case with Googlebot. Today’s Googlebot is designed to effectively execute JavaScript and index the site’s content accordingly. Albeit at a later point, having been subjected to Google’s ‘web rendering service’ and the use of a second browser.

Google, therefore, recommends the mindful and strategic use of JavaScript, due to its capacity to significantly slow down the indexation and subsequent ranking processes.

 

How Can You Tell if Googlebot Visits Your Website?

Interestingly, Google makes no attempt to hide its crawling activities from webmasters and online business owners. It’s actually pretty easy to identify a Googlebot visit, as outlined in Google’s official webmaster support pages:

“Your website will probably be crawled by both Googlebot Desktop and Googlebot Mobile. You can identify the subtype of Googlebot by looking at the user agent string in the request. However, both crawler types obey the same product token (user agent token) in robots.txt, and so you cannot selectively target either Googlebot mobile or Googlebot desktop using robots.txt.”

 

What’s the Difference Between Mobile-First Indexing and Mobile Friendliness?

Addressing one of the most common questions among mobile-focused webmasters, Splitt explained that indexing is about Google ‘discovering content using a mobile user agent and a mobile viewport’. It’s essentially a case of prioritizing mobile-friendly content to be added to Google’s mobile index, rather than desktop content that may not be as appropriate for mobile audiences.

Mobile-friendliness – aka mobile-readiness – simply refers to the quality and appropriateness of a website’s content and layout for mobile access. If every aspect of a webpage or website can be browsed and interacted with using a mainstream mobile device, it’s considered mobile-friendly by Google.

Google’s efforts to index mobile content have been stepped up recently over the past couple of years, in order to satisfy the expectations and requirements of fast-growing mobile audiences worldwide.

 

What Are the Most Critical Quality Indicators for Ranking?

Last but not least, Google once again took the opportunity to confirm that more than 200 signals (or ranking indicators) are used to assign value to any given website. Mobile-friendliness has been cited as one of the most important quality indicators for websites in 2019 but by no means the only indicator taken into account.

Interestingly, Splitt also confirmed that the value assigned to each of these 200+ quality indicators is continuously moving and changing. One of the many measures making it increasingly difficult for black-hat SEO strategies to produce positive results.

The moral of the entire story being eloquently summarised by Splitt in one simple plea to the masses:

“Just build good content for the users and then you’ll be fine!”

 

Author: Matteo Iannelli, Head of Digital Marketing at SONDORA MARKETING.

Misleading Google Analytics: Why It Pays Off to Read Between the Lines

Introduction: Are Agencies Out to Mislead?

In my experience, it’s rare to come across a digital agency that makes deliberate attempts to deceive with misleading analytics. That said, this doesn’t mean that misleading analytics in a general sense aren’t rife. Agencies sometimes fall into the trap of presenting inaccurate findings and voicing misguided suggestions without even realizing it.
As is the case with many things in life, the key to successful use of web analytics lies in interpretation.

With growing regularity, I’m approached by clients looking for clarification of data that appears to paint an inaccurate picture. If you’ve been operating a website for more than a day or so, it’s likely you’ll already be familiar with Google Analytics. It’s also probable you’ve got to grips with the basics of GA and appreciate the significance of the data produced.
Nevertheless, I felt it prudent to present a few facts and findings on the subject of misleading analytics, which I believe could help almost any online business. Or at least, any business owner who takes a proactive interest in the performance and prosperity of their organization.

Table of Contents:
• Introduction: Are Agencies Out to Mislead?
• Not All Bounce Rates Are the Same
• On Page Time: More = Better…Right?
• What vs. Why
• Digging Deeper…

What vs. Why

In terms of keyword use and optimization, let’s consider another everyday example. You stock both tennis balls and footballs in your online store, only to find that tennis balls are converting 200% better. You’ve focused heavily on both keywords – ‘tennis balls’ just seems to be delivering better results.

On the surface, this would seem to suggest that ‘tennis balls’ is not only the better keyword but also the product you should be investing your time, effort and money in. The problem being that by placing your decisions purely on basic analytics alone, you could be making a big mistake.

For example, it could be that there’s a major tennis tournament taking place at the time and generating unusual interest in tennis balls. It could also simply be that the pictures and product descriptions you have accompanying your footballs aren’t nearly as impressive as those accompanying your tennis balls. Long story short, there are endless plausible explanations as to why you’re selling more tennis balls than footballs.

Explanations you won’t find in the most basic Google Analytics data.

It’s the classic case of focusing on what is happening as opposed to why it is happening. With Google Analytics, you’re provided with a detailed snapshot of what’s going on with your website at the time. Nevertheless, Google Analytics itself cannot be relied upon to accurately and effectively interpret its own data.

Ultimately, it’s down to you or your digital marketing partner to make sense of the data and optimize your campaigns accordingly.

Not All Bounce Rates Are the Same

For example, thousands (maybe even millions) of online businesses gauge their success or otherwise predominantly on bounce rates. The way they see it, the greater the proportion of people ‘bouncing’ from their website without taking action, the more urgent the action that needs to be taken. Bounce rates are calculated by way of a percentage of the total number of visitors who visit your website – those who fail to convert or interact.

But here’s the thing, not all bounce rates are created equally.

Think of it this way – how many times have you visited a website or a restaurant, in order to check out its menus and perhaps take its phone number? Or for that matter, looked up a product or service you’re definitely going to buy, but chose not to buy online at the time? Given the fact that you didn’t convert or take action, your visit is classified as a bounce…aka, a failure with the standard interpretation of bounce rates.

Hence, having a bounce rate as high as even 80% or so doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is bailing on your site dissatisfied or disillusioned. With bounce rates, it’s of critical importance to read between the lines and determine what your customers are doing when they pay you a visit.

On Page Time: More = Better…Right?

Another common metric used to gauge the quality and effectiveness of a website is on-page time. That being, the amount of time the average user spends on your website. For obvious reasons, it’s naturally assumed that more is better.

As with the example above, however, this again isn’t necessarily the case. If you’re running a relatively simple e-commerce business, an individual spending a good 5 minutes browsing your products or services is great. That’s more than enough time for them to see what you’ve got to offer, check out your products and maybe even make a purchase.

By contrast, individual spending more than 5 minutes on the website of a doctor or dentist could suggest they’re struggling to find the information they need. It’s a tricky yet important balancing act to pull off – you need to retain the attention of the visitor, but you also need to ensure they get what they need as quickly as possible.

So once again, you cannot base your judgments or decisions on on-page time alone. At both ends of the scale, you could end up reading into data that paints a wholly misleading picture.

Digging Deeper…

Over the last couple of years in particular, I’ve noted a distinct uptick in the number of clients I work with who’ve taken an active interest in analytics. The problem is that in the vast majority of instances, it’s only a passing interest. Unfortunately, a fleeting glance at the most basic analytics from time to time is the perfect recipe for misinterpretation.

Personally, I recommend investing a minimum of 15-30 minutes every week in Google Analytics, Google Ads Manager and Google Search Console observation and analysis. Irrespective of your experience with GA/GSC to date, this is the minimum amount of time required to dig deeper than the surface and figure out what’s really going on.

Once again, the key to effective and efficient use of analytical data lies in separating the ‘what’ from the ‘why’. GA can present all the factual data in the world, but it can’t tell you what to do with it or how to interpret it.

If you struggle to make sense of GA, it’s worth considering third-party involvement for the benefit of your business.

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA MARKETING