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google search on mobile

Keyword Ranking Fluctuations: Why Does it Happen, What Can I Do About It?

google search on mobile

You have worked hard and finally rank first overall in SERPs for that specific keyword you’ve been targeting. 

Your site is gaining more traffic organically, and you are starting to see conversion rates increase. 

Now that you rank highly,  your authority increases, and you can start targeting more competitive keywords. 

One day you check your traffic in Google Analytics to look for more non-branded keyword opportunities and notice that your traffic has started to decrease. Panicking— you look for reasons why you are no longer the top rank in SERPs. 

You aren’t even on the first page anymore! 

What have you done to deserve this? Why are you no longer ranking in SERPs when you were just a few days ago? 

You didn’t change anything about the article, and the information is still all relevant, so what gives? 

This is a common problem many marketers face— keyword ranking fluctuation

What is Keyword Ranking Fluctuation? 

Keyword ranking fluctuation is when the SERPs change for a keyword you are targeting. Google, like most companies, wants to provide as much value to the end user as possible. To do this, they roll out new algorithm updates, altering the search engine results page to find out which articles are best for the reader. 

keyword rankings example

These tests can last from a few days to a few weeks. Most companies who see a change in their SERP position will return to their natural position once the tests are over. At the same time, some companies may see a more permanent change in their position. 

When companies start to see a change in their rank, they begin to panic and change their article that already ranks highly. Sometimes for the worst. 

Keyword ranking fluctuation is natural, temporary, and should be expected. However, the most important thing is not to panic and make an impulsive decision. 

So why did Google choose your article to move down in position, and when should you start to care or panic? 

What Causes Keyword Ranking Fluctuations?

Websites that recently started ranking for a keyword are much more susceptible to keyword ranking fluctuations. The longer you’ve ranked for a keyword, the less likely you will see a change in position. 

However, how long your content has been published and providing value to the end user is not the only cause of keyword ranking fluctuation. 

Google has a variety of factors they consider when they shake up the positions in SERPs. Here are a few of the most common causes of keyword ranking fluctuations. 

Google Algorithm Updates

It is very common for Google to change its algorithm. It’s Google. They are always innovating and trying to be better.  

Often, Google will roll out an algorithm update without telling anyone and will make the information public months later after testing and perfecting the changes.

Algorithm updates try to weed out content stuffed with keywords and is more focused on SEO tactics than actually providing value to the reader. 

It’s always important to stay updated with Google algorithm updates to gain a competitive edge. 

At Tuff, we always explain to clients that Google is going to rank the content that provides the most value to the reader the highest. Regardless of keywords and vanity metrics.

To keep it simple, write to provide value for the reader. Use natural language when talking about a subject, don’t stuff it with keywords. 

Issues with the Platform You Are Using

There are a ton of great SEO tools to analyze your traffic and ranking in SERPs. Unfortunately, although they can be extremely helpful and provide valuable insights, they aren’t always 100% accurate. 

Issues with the platform you are using are a common cause that companies see their keyword ranking fluctuate. 

SEMrush is one of the best tools on the market, but it uses third party data that may not be up to date. The metrics they provide aren’t completely accurate. Your traffic could be higher or lower than what their data says, and the same goes for your ranking positions for certain keywords. 

Don’t panic. Take the information with a grain of salt and give it some time to become more accurate before you make any changes. 

Loss of Important Backlinks

Backlinks are essential in your page ranking. If other websites are linking to your content, it shows that you’re a thought leader and have authority in the space. 

If you start to lose those backlinks because companies are linking to competing articles instead of yours, you may see your backlinks and ranking decrease. 

You can analyze your backlinks with a variety of SEO tools, like SEMrush, and ahrefs

backlink audit

Google Penalty

Google penalizes websites for a variety of red flags they find when crawling your pages. For example, you can be penalized for duplicate content, keyword stuffing, hidden links, or not being easily accessible for all users. Some of these are automatic, but others occur when Google pushes updates and recognizes something negative in your site.  

If you are penalized by Google for duplicated content, it’s time to worry. Plagiarism isn’t acceptable, and neither is unoriginal content. 

Your content should be original and be unique compared to the other search engine results. For example, if your content simply summarizes the top 3 articles for a keyword and doesn’t provide any additional insights or value, you will most likely see your position change.

Backend Site Issues

Common backend site issues that cause your rank to change include slow load times and other backend issues that are inconvenient for users.

Google wants the users to have a seamless experience. If your site has extremely slow load times, users are going to leave. And if users leave your site, that hurts your ranking. 

If you notice a decrease in site traffic, it could be a result of your page speed. A page speed report can show you how fast your site is. Testing competing websites is a great way to gauge where to stand on the spectrum. 

Pro tip: Images typically make up about 75% of total page weight when they aren’t optimized, resulting in longer load times. Optimizing your images is a great way to increase page speed and reduce load times. 

Your Site Has Been Hacked

Site security plays a large role in how Google views and ranks your website. If your website has been hacked and no longer is secure or safe for users to enter, Google will reduce your rank to protect the user. 

When Do You Need to Worry? 

Keyword ranking fluctuations are only temporary for most companies and shouldn’t raise too much concern. It’s common for these changes to stay in place for 3 to 4 weeks. So don’t panic right away and give Google time to adjust. 

If you still see that you are no longer ranking highly after a month or two, that should be a red flag, and changes should be made.

One of the best things to do is to look at competitor sites. 

  • Where are your competitors ranking?
  • How were they affected, if at all? 
  • What are some of the websites that moved up in rank?
  • What are they doing differently than you? 

Odds are, the keyword ranking fluctuations didn’t only affect you. Your competitors should see a change in traffic and rank as well. Unless, as mentioned earlier, they have been the top result for years. 

If you notice that you are the only one affected by these changes and it’s been longer than four weeks since the change, that should raise concern and you should take action. 

What Can You Do About Keyword Fluctuations?

The true answer (the answer that no marketers want to hear) is that all you can do is wait and see. You need to give Google time to gather information and adjust accordingly. But, again, most websites will return to their normal position after 3 to 4 weeks. 

If you don’t return to your normal position, there are a few things that you can do. 

  • Site audit 
  • Backlink audit 
  • Content remediation 
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Learn about the algorithm 

Site Audit

Performing an audit on your own site is an easy way to evaluate your website’s overall performance and search engine friendliness. This is where you learn about page speed, site security, and how user-friendly your website truly is.  

Backlink Audit

Backlink audits are similar to a site audit, but they strictly analyze the external sites that link to your content. Therefore, when performing a backlink audit, you should pay attention to the types of websites linking to your content, the quality of the backlinks, and how often websites link back to your website. 

Content Remediation

Content remediation is something that most websites should do regardless of how high they rank or if their rank has changed. Information changes as time passes, and Google wants to see that websites are keeping up with the times. Your content might be missing key questions that readers have and want answered. Adding new relevant content and improving existing content can help get you back to the top of SERPs. 

Competitor Analysis

A competitor analysis is a great way to discover what Google is looking for. If a competitor jumps above you in SERPs analyze their content. 

  • How does your content stack up to theirs? 
  • What are your competitors doing in their content that you aren’t? 
  • What questions are they asking and answering that you’re missing? 

Competitor analyses are easy to perform and can provide valuable insight into what changes you need to make. 

Learn about Google’s Algorithm Updates

Like we’ve said, Google is constantly innovating and updating its algorithm to provide the most value to the end user. Learning about the algorithm and staying ahead of the curve can give you a better understanding of what Google is looking for. 

This is a lot easier than most people think. Twitter is a great place to gain some valuable insights. Both @RustyBrick and @DannySullivan are great Twitter follows that tweet daily updates on how Google’s algorithm is changing and how it may affect your website. 

Overcoming Keyword Ranking Fluctuations 

With so many different factors affecting your keyword rank, it can be hard to find the specific fault that is causing you to lose traffic and conversions. Therefore, the first step in overcoming keyword ranking fluctuations is knowing where to start and implementing the right strategy to improve results and increase conversions. 

It’s important to remember that keyword ranking fluctuations are typically temporary and shouldn’t raise too much concern right away.

If you find that your SERP positions are falling too low, not returning to your average rank, and you aren’t reaching your goals as a result, our team at Tuff can help. We offer free growth strategy sessions and will analyze your current content strategy/performance to correct any keyword fluctuations you may be suffering from. 

Need help overcoming keyword ranking fluctuations? Let’s talk. 

 

Content Remediation: How to Boost Your Ranking By Refreshing Old Content

So, you’ve done the heavy lifting making your case for content, doing your competitor and keyword research, identifying your best opportunities, creating a content strategy, etching in goals, and putting pen to paper.

But now that your content creation engine is chugging along like a sleek machine, you know there’s got to be other activities you can be doing to sneak up in the SERPs and capture more organic traffic. Enter: remediation!

Remediation is only a viable option if you already have a relatively deep well of content to work with (think at least 20 blogs published more than a few months ago). If you’re just starting out, no problem! Bookmark this page and revisit it next quarter or next year.

What is content remediation?

Content remediation is the systematic and strategic process of updating your growth content in order to give your readers new and up-to-date information and, debatably more importantly, send out the signal to search engines that there’s exciting fresh content that deserves a ranking boost.

As part of your bigger-picture content strategy, it can help fortify target keyword pillars and build greater authority in strategic areas.

Why remediate blog content?

I know what you’re thinking, your content is already great. And that’s probably true! But beyond adding some fresh information to make sure your post is as up to date and timely as possible, there are a lot of other reasons to implement a remediation strategy including but not limited to…

  1. You lost rankings because your competitors updated their content and you want to compete with them.
  2. You average time on page is low and you want to add new creative to the content to get readers staying on the page longer.
  3. The publish date is old and may discourage readers so you want to update the content and show the updated date to visitors. 
  4. Your bounce rate is higher than average and it’s because you don’t have enough internal links linking to your pillar pages. 
  5. You’re ranking on page 2 and you think with some minor improvements you’ll be able to rank on page 1.

The biggest takeaway: when we tell Google content is new, we’ll likely see a spike in traffic, making the relatively tiny amount of work required well worth it.

How to remediate content

First of all, it’s best to have a strategy in place before you start remediating old blog posts. If you have hundreds or thousands of blog posts, you’ll certainly need a plan for tackling all of these in bite-sized chunks over time. 

Process

Let’s begin with process and strategy. Before you begin creating content you typically start by building a content strategy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when we focus on remediation.

Similar to a content calendar, it’s useful to build out a content remediation process for each piece of content going forward. This is typically done on 30, 60, or 90-day basis, depending on how time-sensitive or evergreen your content is.

Once you’ve got the overall strategy nailed down, you’ll want to develop a strategy for each individual piece of content, which I’ll discuss now.

Improve

When setting out to improve an old post with good structure, it’s good to start with improvements in keyword targeting and general writing and grammar. You want to make sure that your blog post has a clear focus, targets a specific topic and keyword, and is doing so in proper English (or whatever language your blog may be in).

Once the content itself is in good shape, make sure to add any technical improvements that the piece may need, such as relevant internal links, alt text, or schema markup.

Then it’s time to make sure it’s pretty. Instead of big blocks of text, look for ways to make it chunkable and easier to read. This could be adding line breaks, paragraphs or creating bulleted or numbered lists. Visual improvements impact user experience and can keep people on the page longer, improving overall SEO. 

Expand and update

Another way to get more value out of your content is to repurpose or update the information contained to make old content fresh again. Data says that this is well worth the effort, with business bloggers who update older posts being 74% more likely to report strong results.

A few ways to expand or update a post are to explore a different take on the initial thesis, add newer data, or integrate more recent developments or changed opinions. Look to correct any data that is more than a year old with the most current information.  

Increasing word count has also shown to be beneficial, as longer blog posts typically perform better. This goes the same for adding images and other rich media such as infographics, videos, and charts and graphs.

Many of the blogs we recommend for remediation are under 750 words. We want to add more content as long as that content is good quality, answers FAQs, and provides the audience with useful information.

Update and add keywords

While remediating content, we also want to update the target keywords and add as many semantically related keywords as possible without crossing over the keyword stuffing line. The best way to add keywords is to include them within a sentence where it sounds natural. 

For example, in the sentences below, the keyword is in bold. Note how the first option sounds more natural, while the second one forces the keyword to create a jarring experience for the reader and the search engines.  

Do this: 

As a business owner, time is money. Save both by outsourcing bookkeeping services which allows you to focus on your company and not just your books.

Not this: 

Business outsourcing bookkeeping services tend to save time and money.

Add Images

Sometimes adding images to long-form content can completely rejuvenate the content by increasing the average time that readers spend on the page and in turn increasing its organic rankings. 

We recommend adding at least 3 images for every 1,000 words of content if possible. This can be done using a free stock image website such as Unsplash if you don’t have an extensive image library.

Content Remediation is The Low-Hanging Fruit of SEO Strategy

One of the things we find ourselves explaining most often: a great content strategy is one of the best long-term investments you can make when it comes to growth strategy. While, true, it’s a time consuming and can be more costly strategy to fire up and maintain, once you have a solid well of content, strategies like remediation can have you reaping riches for years to come.

Excited but not quite sure where to start? Let’s chat!

A person reviewing data on google search console

How Long Before you See Results from an SEO Content Strategy?

A person reviewing data on google search console

Your website is up and running. You’ve added some basic keywords to your landing pages and posted some thoughtful, organized blog articles. Maybe you even updated your HTML and other technical SEO factors. And yet…nothing. You’re left wondering, “How long does SEO take to start working?” 

The answer is: It’s complicated. There are numerous factors that affect your SEO results, and content while essential is only one of them. 

Organic SEO is a long-term play with a lot of moving pieces. But once the foundation is laid, you’ll be set up for success long into the future.

How long does an SEO content strategy take to show results?

A holistic SEO content strategy will typically take 4 to 6 months to start showing results. The amount of time depends on many different factors, including the current status of your website, your competition, and the resources you have to put into SEO. The quality of your content is also a big factor.

Remember: SEO results are cumulative. While you’ll start to see results in 4 to 6 months, after a year your results will compound even more. A solid, ongoing SEO strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. Have you noticed that certain types of searches always seem to return the same websites, over and over? Once you become a trusted, knowledgeable source in the “eyes” of the search engines, they’ll start amplifying your content automatically.

Why does organic SEO take so long?

There are dozens of ranking factors and signals that determine the overall organic health of your website and therefore your SEO results. Let’s go over the major ranking factors you need to know about.

Two coworkers brainstorming content strategy on a white board

Keyword competition

Do you have a unique product, or are there a lot of competitors in your space? The more competition you face, the longer it will take you to rank for those keywords. Selling neon-colored unicycles? Not a lot of competition. Selling kids’ bicycles? Probably really competitive. 

Domain age

You can’t get around this fact: If you have a new website that is not as established as your SEO competitors, it will be tougher to rank. New websites automatically have a lower domain authority because the search engines aren’t yet familiar with your content. They also have fewer backlinks pointing to them one of the signals search engines use to determine the ranking of your site.

On-page factors

On-page SEO includes anything your website visitors see: landing pages, product pages, blogs and so on. This is the most visible part of SEO and likely what you’ve been working on. But it goes beyond cranking out content and hoping for the best. You need to think about quality, duplicate content, hyperlinking, images and more. An on-page SEO analysis is a good place to start.

Technical factors

Technical SEO is the backend of your website. Don’t ignore these factors they’re an important piece of the SEO puzzle. In fact, page speed optimization is the top tactic marketers use to improve search performance. You should also make sure the search engines can easily crawl your website, understand your site architecture, read your hreflang, and canonicalize your URLs. Sounds like a lot of big words, right? That’s what we’re here for.

Off-page factors

Off-page SEO is often the last factor you think about, but they can make the difference between making page one or being bumped to page two. Your domain authority, bounce rate, geographic location, and target market all affect your off-page SEO. The best ways to improve this category is to work on your backlink strategy, improve your social media presence and create off-page content like guest blogs to increase your authority. 

Ever-changing algorithms 

Search engines are fickle beasts. Changes in the Google algorithm (that is, the way that Google ranks pages) send SEO specialists everywhere scrambling to update their technical and on-page SEO. Penguin, Panda, EMD (Exact Match Domain), Page Layout Algorithm … the algorithms never stop. Luckily, Tuff is here to help you keep up.

Is an SEO content strategy worth the wait?

In short yes! There’s a reason that 61% of inbound marketers say that growing SEO/organic presence is their top priority. In second place at 55% is blog content creation, a closely related topic. High-value organic traffic can result in better leads and faster acquisition times, and ultimately helps drive revenue. 

While PPC can give you instant results, you have to keep the money pumping. Organic SEO results are sticky: if done right, a good content strategy will keep delivering long after the 4 to 6 months have passed. In fact, we’re living proof. Tuff increased our own organic traffic by 630% over 12 months, which drove a 60% increase in monthly revenue. 

The key is that you have to take the time and effort to ensure that your content is fresh, good quality, and a valuable resource for your customers. A growth marketing agency like Tuff can help get your organic SEO on the right track, while also serving other channels and helping you to create a holistic strategy for growth.

How We Outranked Home Depot for the #1 Position

Early in 2020, Renogy approached Tuff to handle all of their SEO needs for their US and international websites. 

Tuff had previously been creating blog content for Renogy’s US website but was not managing technical SEO or anything else.

We analyzed all of their existing websites and put together a comprehensive SEO strategy to increase organic traffic and revenue. This is how we did it.

Technical SEO

When we first took over SEO implementation for all of Renogy’s international sites nobody had previously been maintaining their technical SEO. With that being said, it’s no surprise that there were quite a few errors that needed to be addressed.

This isn’t to say that the websites were in bad shape, they just weren’t SEO-optimized and there’s a big difference. So our first step was to make sure that all the international websites were SEO-optimized. This is how we did it…

International SEO (hreflang tags)

The first issue to tackle was the hreflang tags, and Renogy had about 16,000 of them. 

If you have multiple versions of a page for different languages or regions, hreflang tags are a way to tell Google about these variations. 

For instance, you may have a US and UK website and they’re both in English but one is in US English and one is in British English. Aside from having two different URLs – either uk.domain, domain.uk, or domain.com/uk – we need to specifically tell Google about the language differences.

The same goes for international versions with completely different languages such as German, French, or Chinese, etc.,

Some of the most common hreflang tag errors are:

  1. Not having any hreflang tags
  2. Having incorrect hreflang tags (Ex. having your French tags on your German site)
  3. Hreflang tags being incorrectly coded
  4. No self-referencing hreflang tags

The most common issue is not having any self-referencing hreflang tags, and that’s the issue that we were dealing with on Renogy’s websites. Fortunately, this can be solved programmatically so it’s not extremely time-consuming to fix all 16,000+ errors.

Meta Descriptions

Once the hreflang tags were fixed, one of the most common technical SEO errors across all websites has to do with meta descriptions. Whether it be missing or duplicate meta descriptions, this is something that commonly goes unnoticed.

Sometimes these fixes can be done programmatically by pulling the first sentence on the page and setting it as the meta description but for a variety of reasons, this wasn’t possible for Renogy. One of those reasons is that their website is hosted on Big Commerce and this makes it more difficult. Another reason is that the first sentence wasn’t ideal for a meta description.

So long story short, I began manually fixing and creating hundreds of meta descriptions so that there weren’t duplicate or missing meta descriptions across all of their international websites. 

Internal Linking & Broken Internal Links

Internal links are a very important part of technical SEO, whether it be improving the internal linking throughout the website or fixing the broken links. We did both, starting with the broken links. 

Having broken internal links on your website is another common SEO issue that can not only harm your organic performance but also your user experience and revenue. 

When fixing the broken links, my initial focus was on top-performing product pages to make sure we weren’t losing revenue due to users not being able to purchase the product. 

This is another manual fix so some of it was done in unison with the meta description fixes since I was already going through the pages manually.

No-indexing Pages

It’s important to remove low-quality pages from Google’s search engine. 

Most of us have a habit of wanting all pages to be indexed in Google and I understand it. But when we think about how Google ranks a website, it doesn’t make sense to have our blog tag archives, author archive pages, and other similar pages indexed in Google, for a few reasons. 

  1. When you search for something in Google, you are presented with its search engine results page (SERP) and for that reason, Google doesn’t like to direct traffic to another SERP, even if it’s your own website’s SERP. 
  2. This typically isn’t a good user experience. If someone is searching for 
  3. For these reasons, Google won’t rank these pages very well and if you have a lot of low-quality pages, it will eventually harm your whole website.

For these reasons, we no-indexed any low-quality archive pages that were on the Renogy website. 

Content Creation

Now that the technical SEO is all done, let’s talk about the SEO content strategy and content creation that we executed. 

We began by creating a few pillar pieces of content that we could build a cluster strategy around. We defined a few high-traffic keywords that were essential to the business and created high-quality content around those topics. These pieces of content live at the top of the Renogy blog. 

We then created 3 to 4 pieces of related content that we used to link to these hub pages as well as internally linked dozens of existing content.

Aside from the hub pages, we consistently produce one new blog post each week for each of Renogy’s website properties. 

The other main piece of content that we created was what we refer to as customer service content.

E-commerce Customer Service Content

E-commerce Customer Service Content is essentially FAQ data that is specific to the page that it is on. Not only is it helpful for SEO, but it’s also helpful for the user experience. 

You can find this content on all the major ecommerce websites. 

Ex. Amazon

Ex. Best Buy

Renogy was missing this content on their core category solar panel listing pages, including their solar panel kits listing page, and by adding it, it helped us increase organic rankings of these pages and in return, drive more sales.

We’ve seen the most significant organic improvements to the pages that we added this customer service content to.

Results

After all of these improvements and about 6 months’ time, we are ranking #1 in Google for ‘solar panel kits’ – outranking Amazon and Home Depot when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100. We also rank #4 for ‘solar kit’ when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100.

In addition to that, we increased our ranking for ‘solar panels for sale’ from position 12 to position 5.

We’ve also seen significant improvements in tons of other organic keywords that are essential to Renogy’s business and bottom line. 

As I write this, organic traffic is up over 32% from when we finished our implementations and organic revenue is steadily increasing and growing about 37% quarter over quarter.

 

typing on the computer

How to Create a B2B SEO Strategy in 2020

typing on the computer

In this post you’ll learn:

  • What is B2B SEO?
  • How B2B SEO works
  • How SEO for B2B is different than B2C SEO
  • How to create content that turns into leads
  • B2B SEO Best Practices
  • And more…

What is B2B SEO?

B2B SEO is about driving professionals to your website via organic traffic. 

It doesn’t matter what professional industry you’re in. If you’re in a B2B business and have a website, you can and should take advantage of SEO. By effectively implementing these SEO best practices, B2B organizations can improve lead quality, build valuable relationships, and drive organic sales.

Some examples of B2B SEO search terms are:

“enterprise cybersecurity software”

“YouTube ads agency”

Assuming the person searching these keywords is a business professional, this is an example of B2B SEO. 

How B2B SEO works

SEO is SEO. Whether we’re talking about YouTube SEO, B2C SEO, or B2B, we typically follow the same best practices and break SEO down into three categories.

  1. Technical SEO is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Technical SEO ensures that your website is functioning properly and is SEO-optimized for your target audience. 
  2. Onpage SEO is typically what B2B companies will focus on most when it comes to SEO. This may include landing pages, white papers, blog posts, case studies, and more.
  3. Offpage SEO is tough no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C company and involves getting other websites in your industry to link to you. 

How SEO for B2B is different than B2C

Where B2B SEO really differs is in the keyword and topic research. B2B companies typically have a narrower target audience than B2C companies and we want to make sure that we’re properly targeting that audience of professionals correctly. We do that by choosing the correct keywords and using content to lead the user through the buyer journey. 

Generally, B2B companies that focus on SEO face less competition than B2C companies. From my experience, most B2B companies focus their resources on paid advertising, causing paid advertising to be more competitive, CPCs to skyrocket, and organic search to be less competitive. 

One reason for this is because B2B companies put their most valuable content in white paper downloads, PDFs, and behind paywalls. This makes it difficult for this content to rank in SERP because it is not easily accessible to search engines.

This offers an advantage to most B2B companies, depending on what industry you’re in. The SaaS industry is super competitive and SEO is no exception, but I still find that most SaaS companies have a ton of room for improvement when it comes to SEO.

One SEO ‘hack’ that a lot of B2C companies don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of is optimizing your support and knowledge base content.

DigitalOcean is an example of a company that does this very well. They blend their tutorials, guides, and knowledgebase content very seamlessly and optimize it so that it is generating a ton of organic traffic.

SEO keyword research & how to create content that turns into leads

When conducting B2B SEO, we want to make sure that we have a clear sales funnel in place and that our keywords fit within that sales funnel. We also need a clear buyer persona to truly understand the target customer and to understand where they’re in the buying cycle. I won’t dive into how to create a buyer persona in this article but it’s certainly one of the first steps to consider when building a content strategy.

content funnel

What I mean by this is that we need to be aware of where in the funnel our keywords fit and that is going to dictate what type of content we create. For instance, is it a top of funnel keyword or is it a keyword with direct buyer intent?

After finding 5 or 10 target keywords that we want to rank for, we need to know where in the buyer journey these keywords belong. Is this keyword going to be for an introductory informational blog post or is it going to be on the landing page where we are collecting leads? The difference is super important. 

Whenever creating content that is top of the funnel, we want to have another piece of content that follows it up. That way we can lead the user through the buyer journey using content. For that reason, it’s important to understand the whole buyer journey before creating the first piece of content.

Unlike B2C SEO where you can target high-volume keywords that don’t necessarily have buyer intent, B2B content is a lot more strategical and focused on low-volume keywords with real benefits to the business. 

B2B buyers want personalized content so it’s important to think from the buyer’s perspective when building an SEO strategy.

B2B SEO Best Practices

Let’s take a look at some of the top B2B SEO best practices that all B2B companies should be aware of. Following these best practices will certainly improve your SEO strategy in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Publish content strategically that targets decision-makers.
  2. Target low-volume keywords that have buyer intent.
  3. Utilize CTAs within the content to convert that organic traffic to leads.
  4. Optimize technical SEO before focusing on content.
  5. SEO-optimize your support and knowledgebase content if you have it.
  6. Publish high-quality landing pages that target different decision-makers.
  7. Create a buyer persona.

Conclusion

For the most part, SEO is SEO and for that reason, the same SEO best practices that work for B2C companies will also work for B2B corporations. With that being said, there are a lot of differences between B2C and B2B SEO when it comes to content and SEO strategy. 

B2B SEO focuses more heavily on the target customer than B2C SEO does. It makes sense considering that a B2B customer typically pays a lot more than a B2C customer and the sales process is considerably longer.

When it comes to B2B, your target market isn’t typically a broad audience such as “newlyweds” or “college athletes” and for this reason, your content and SEO strategy needs to be significantly more targeted and thought out. 

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How to do SEO Link Building in 2020 [Free Email Template]

Google search console results.

Behind only quality content, content is always king, high quality link building is arguably the most important SEO ranking factor. So it’s no surprise that companies and SEOs put a lot of effort into building backlinks. I stress the term high quality, because the majority of link building that goes on is not high quality in my opinion. So what exactly does link building entail?

Link building can be both technical SEO and content SEO. It usually involves public relations, partnerships, and communication. In simple terms, link building is the process of getting another website to link to your website. This can be done naturally or it can be done strategically. 

Why is link building important?

Link building is important because one of the most important ranking factors that Google uses to determine how and where to rank your page in Google search results. Acquiring backlinks from authoritative domains can be very beneficial for your company. 

For SEO purposes, search engines crawl two different types of backlinks. A dofollow link and a nofollow link. A dofollow link simply tells the search engine crawler to follow that link, whereas a nofollow link does the opposite. So if you’re receiving a backlink from another website, a dofollow link is preferred, since a nofollow may not be crawled at all, though Google has recently announced that using nofollow is now seen as a hint, not a directive.

Beyond just getting a link from a high-quality website, there are a lot of additional factors that Google is looking at to determine how high quality that link is. The links that appear in the body of content with related anchor text are some of the highest quality backlinks you can get. For instance, if a news outlet covers a story on your company and links to your web page with text that is related to your core business, that is seen as a high quality backlink.

Link building research

When crafting a link building strategy, research is one of the most important factors. You’ll want to know exactly what type of link building you’re going to be doing, what websites and blogs you’re going to be focusing on, how you’re going to reach out, and what you’re going to offer.

Link building is certainly not easy. If you’re asking someone to insert a link to your website you better have a good reason why they should do so.

Let’s look at some different types of Link building strategies.

Link Building Strategies

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some of the most common link building strategies.

Mentions – using a tool such as Mention to find all mentions of your brand name and then reaching out to that webmaster and asking if they will link to your website because it will be beneficial to their readers.this has a higher success rate since they are already talking about your brand name and are familiar with your company.

Lost backlinks – this technique involves using a tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs to find backlinks that you have lost, for whatever reason, reaching out to the particular website or blog owner and asking if they can add back the backlink. This has varying degrees of success because maybe they removed the link on their own or maybe the link was broken, which takes us to our next method.

Partnership building – This is the most common form of link building. General outreach to bloggers and webmasters in your industry. Just like any other outreach, its success depends on how targeted the outreach is, how enticing your offer is, how relevant your content is to their audience, and so on. NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream can be great tools for mass outreach, though I’ve always chosen to do it manually.

Since I’ve had pretty good success with this method in the past, I’m going to share with you some things that have worked well for me in the next section. 

Broken links – this method is very tedious and has a lower success rate than the previous methods. For this method, you use a tool such as ScreamingFrog to crawl a website with related content and find broken links. Once you find a broken link that is linking out to a piece of content that is similar to a piece of content on your website, you reach out to the blog owner and ask him/her if they want to replace the broken link with your new link.

HAROHARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and provides writers with daily opportunities to be featured in high quality articles. Each day you receive an email with stories that reporters are working on and if you are an expert on any of the topics, you respond and have a chance to be featured in the article. This doesn’t always guarantee a backlink, but they usually make it clear whether or not they will link to you.

Guest posting – guest posting is one of the most common forms of backlinking and involves writing a guest post to be featured on another website. Within that guest post you will ideally link a few times to specific pages on your website. This is okay as long as you’re not paying to post the guest. Google has recently said selling paid links on blogs is against its webmaster guidelines.

Partnership Building Outreach Template

Here is an email template that has worked well for me in the past. One important thing to note is that you usually need to offer a link swap, or a way to drive traffic back to their website as well. Nobody wants to do anything for you for free. Before I include the template, lets talk about the steps that lead up to it.

  1. Build a spreadsheet of 5 target pages that you want to build link to and save it in Sheet 1
  2. On Sheet 2 (if doing manual outreach) build a list of target blogs and keep track of the URL, website name, DA, contact’s name, and contact’s email.
  3. Once you have that information, you can create a mail merge directly in Google Sheets.

Email template

Hi,

My name is Derek, and I’m reaching out on behalf of [Your Company].

I wanted to see if you’d be interested in exploring ways we can collaborate on content sharing between your blog and [Your Company]. I’ve been reading [WEBSITE/BLOG] for some time and have noticed a lot of content overlap. I think we could benefit from driving our audiences back to relevant content where applicable.

Let me know if you’re interested in discussing further.

Thanks,

Conclusion

These are just a few link building strategies but the best strategy is always to create high-quality content and share it with an interested audience so that they will naturally build backlinks for you. 

tuff-growth-marketing

YouTube SEO: 12 Ways to Optimize YouTube Videos

SEO for youtube search results.

YouTube is many things. It’s a place to share your creativity with the world. A platform for aspiring artists to garner fame. A source of unlimited entertainment. It also happens to be the second-largest search engine in the world, behind its parent company – Google. 

Luckily for us, a lot of SEO best practices for ranking in Google also apply to ranking in YouTube. Additionally, a well-optimized YouTube video may also appear in Google search results so it’s important to follow the YouTube SEO best practices. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO or YouTube best practices, it may be best to hire a YouTube Ads agency to manage all of your YouTube marketing needs.

Curious to find out more on YouTube SEO? Read on for our top optimization tips.

1. Rename your video file to include a target keyword.

If you’re familiar with the SEO best practices for images, then this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The same way that naming images for SEO will improve your search engine rankings and website traffic, naming your YouTube videos will have the same effect in YouTube search results. It’s another way to tell YouTube’s algorithms what this video is about so that they can display it accordingly.

2. Naturally Insert your keyword in the title of the video.

Although you may have a target keyword in mind that you want to rank for, it’s important that it matches when a viewer will be searching on YouTube. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t.

I’ve mentioned targeting keywords a bit but exactly how do you conduct keyword research for YouTube? YouTube keyword research has a whole new set of keyword research tools. There are a few to choose from but I recommend VidIQ to find new keywords, tags, and categories for your YT video. 

Example of keywords in a title of a YouTube video.

3. SEO-Optimize your video description.

YouTube uses your video description to understand what the video is about. A well-optimized description can boost your video’s rankings in YouTube search and Suggested Video. According to SearchEngineJournal, “More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, so you need a mobile-first strategy for suggested videos.”

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters

4. Transcribe your video and include the transcription in the description.

This is another best practice that comes from Google SEO. Transcribing the video and including it in the description allows you to add a lot more indexable content to your YouTube video page. This way you can be discovered for a lot more content than was originally included in the description. The best part is that YouTube automatically transcribes all videos, you just need to edit it and include it in the description.

An example of transcribing a video for YouTube SEO.

5. Tag your video with SEO-optimized relevant tags.

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests including tags to let viewers know what your video is about. Just like normal SEO, you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself.

Don’t use irrelevant tags because you think you’ll get more views – Google might penalize you for that.

According to VidIQ, “58% of viewers arrive at your videos because of YouTube Search and Related Videos. We’ll help you increase your library of tags by 10x in less than 10 minutes, and discover content opportunities you’re missing out on.”

6. Categorize your video.

After you upload your video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it ends up in other playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience. If you’re a musical artist, this is similar to adding a genre to your music with the hopes that Spotify will include it in a genre-specific playlist. You don’t want a country song to appear on a hip hop playlist so it’s important that you categorize your video correctly. 

Look at some of the top creators within the category. Research what they’re known for and see what they do well and how you can replicate their success and make it your own. Figure out if your video fits into this category before categorizing it.

Try to look for patterns between audiences to discover new categories and content ideas. 

Also, make sure that your video production quality is on par with some of the other videos in the category. If you accidentally

7. Promote your video.

A lot of the YouTube ranking factors depend on how much engagement your video is receiving. YouTube algorithms take into account how many comments your video has, how many views your video has, how many upvotes it has, and how many views it has. By sending your video out to friends on Facebook or an email list, this will help speed up the process and show YouTube that people are interested in your video. 

8. Upload a custom thumbnail.

The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

Choose a great thumbnail that teases a great scene from the video and makes people want to click on it.

Custom thumbnail example for YouTube SEO.

9. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.

Subtitles and closed captions can improve YouTube search visibility and improve the user experience by highlighting important keywords. The more visually appealing the video is, the more likely it is to be organically shared with friends, thus improving your YouTube rank.

To add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you need to upload a text transcript or subtitles file. I recommend reading the Creator Academy caption guidelines if this is your first time doing so.

10. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.

Cards

When you’re watching a YouTube video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner of your video? Or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  • Channel cards send viewers to another channel
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of a U.S. nonprofit
  • Fan cards to ask viewers to help support you
  • Link cards, which send viewers to external sites
  • Poll cards allow viewers to vote on a response
  • Video/playlist cards link to other YouTube videos and playlists.

End Screens

End screens display information similar to cards, but they only appear at the end of video. They’re usually a bit more visual and take up the whole screen. If a user watches your whole video, this may be a good time to ask them to subscribe to your YouTube channel to check out more of your videos. This is your chance to persuade viewers why they should go and watch another video in your series.

11. Create playlists

If you have a lot of videos then it’s best to split them up into different playlists to make it easier for your viewers to find them. If you have a lot of videos, then I recommend developing a series of videos that are organically connected so that YouTube will use one of those videos in the Suggested Videos when someone is watching another one of the videos in the series.

Example of a playlist on YouTube.

12. Great content

This one is a no-brainer so I saved it for the end. It’s also a bit discouraging to click on a post about how to optimize your content only to have it say “create amazing content that people want to share”. Duh. So why did I include it at all? Because content is king now more than ever. Similar to an article or a song, you need to create a compelling intro that will keep your viewers interested.

 

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your videos, SEO, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to help you supercharge your YouTube SEO efforts.