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What is Google E-A-T and Why it Matters

Way back in 2013 Google released a 160-page search quality evaluator guidelines paper. The document revealed that good content is among the top three webpage-quality factors. It went on to define high-quality content as content that demonstrates a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). In August of 2018, Google released an algorithm update, and SEO experts determined that sites with low E-A-T suffered the most from the algorithm update. If you’re looking to optimize your SEO in Omaha or to improve your web marketing, this is an essential read.

Expertise

Google’s search quality guidelines have identified two types of expertise: Formal and Everyday Expertise.

  • Formal: Especially in the medical, financial, and legal industries, a certified professional is considered the most reliable source of expertise. This is because if incorrect information is published in these areas, the chances of putting consumers at risk dramatically increases.
  • Everyday Expertise: The Google guide document states “For some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc.”

The takeaway here is that you won’t necessarily need someone with credentialed expertise to fulfill the “expertise” factor is you’re working with a professional writer or are one yourself.

Authority

Authority is all about proving to your audience that the content on your website is legit. If your website falls under the “everyday expertise” category showing credentials aren’t as important. You can show authority by adding the author’s job title to their byline or linking to their professional website or full bio.

  • Cite Your Research – If your content creators aren’t “experts” thorough research and proper citation will make up for it. Linked sources is a signal to Google that you’re correctly attributing sources. Make sure your sources are high-quality backlinks. 
  • A Good Reputation – Reviews, and good reviews are critical. Most people rely heavily on reviews when considering using a company’s product or services. The Google guidelines state “Popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation.” Responding promptly and providing top notch customer service should be a part of your social media content strategy giving your customers plenty of motivation to leave you a positive review.

Trust

Transparency builds trust with your audience. Your website should clearly communicate who you are, how you make money, and that you will do what you say you will do.  If you’re accepting payments on your website users need to feel like payments can be accepted safely and appropriately. Your site should have a proper SSL certificate even if you’re not accepting any form of payment.  Providing helpful content rather than just trying to sell is another way to build trust.

  • Secure & Transparent – Be crystal clear about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Make sure your site is secure and people know it.
  • Be Helpful – The whole idea behind content marketing is to provide value to your audience. Google is continually refining their algorithm with this in mind. They’re also using real people to determine if websites and web pages are meeting these criteria. Your content should either help or teach your audience something about a topic that is relevant to your business. Just trying to sell without giving value first is a trust buster.

The Big Takeaway for Google E-A-T

If you’re thinking that creating content that satisfies the E-A-T guidelines will take time, you’re right. The Google guidelines state it clearly, “We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”

The good news is you don’t need to become a content creator to satisfy Google E-A-T. There are plenty of affordable experts you can outsource who can create valuable user experiences for your customers. And before you know it, Google will recognize and reward you.

Google+ Cutting Dead Weight

google+ logo

Google has considered Google+ a failed experiment for a few years now and eventually led to the creation of Google My Business (GMB) in late 2014. The G+ social media network has been plagued by low participation and engagement since the start, and due to those same issues Google has decided to cut the dead weight. In late June, Google began sending notifications to business owners that unused G+ Business pages are scheduled for deletion.

How will the deletions affect local business owners and their online presence in search results?

Does Google+ Still Have Any SEO Ranking Value?

It is important to first note that the deletion of Google+ pages will not have any affect on Google My Business pages. Your GMB reviews, information and Maps data will remain untouched. As G+ Business pages evolved into the current GMB pages, reviews and data were periodically stripped out leaving empty pages with virtually zero value. Google+ pages have been nearly wiped off Google search results as well, minus the extremely occasional appearance of posts from major national brands, which tells us that Google’s own ranking algorithms have zeroed out the value of Google+ Business pages.

Our Omaha SEO and Web Marketing team find that G+ Business pages only have true value if they have built up a community of engagement with a large volume of consistent +1s, Shares, Comments or Follows. A common misconception is that posting to your Google+ business page means you’ve given it immediate value. True value comes from how other users engage and interact with the content you have posted by sharing, discussing with others outside the core group.

Should I Keep Using Google+?

google+ icon on phone

Our SEO and Web Marketing team has created several G+ Business pages over the years through our website builds and marketing efforts. However, in our experience those same accounts have fallen by the wayside and joined the masses of other small business accounts that have gone nearly unused since creation or been completely abandoned all-together. Unless your G+ Business page has been carefully curated over the years and has garnered a high amount of engagement, we suggest taking a deep breath and letting it go. Focus your SEO efforts elsewhere.

I Want to Keep My Google+ Business Page. What Should I Do?

If you have been notified your G+ Business page is on the chopping block and want to keep the page, the process to do so is simple. Log into your Google+ account, navigate to your G+ Business page and create a post. You can also avoid deletion by commenting on another user’s post. Don’t stop there, dig deep and keep up your posts and comments to build your page presence and influence.

Contact Us With Questions

Increase SEO with Traditional Marketing

While web marketing is our jam, we still believe in the power of traditional marketing to reinforce your online brand. Even at JM, we use traditional marketing efforts in the Omaha metro and we believe the branding power it gives directly effects our SEO.

For years, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been thought to be a keyword game. Yes, using strategic keywords and regularly contributing rich content is still a factor in organic ranking. But search engines use many factors to determine a site’s rank and most do not rely on keywords.

What factors do search engines use for SEO rank?

semrush ranking factors

In 2017 SEMrush conducted a ranking factors study, analyzing the importance of 17 different factors for organic rankings. The top five factors are:

  1. Direct website visits
  2. Time on the site
  3. Pages per session
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Referring domains
  6. Backlinks

The factors that I’d argue can be strongly correlated to traditional marketing efforts are:

Direct Website Visits: Users arrive at your website directly, typing in your domain. This indicates to Google that the domain has high authority and value.

Backlinks: A backlink is any link from another website to your website. This indicates to Google that other people believe in the value of your website.

So what…?

dart board bulls-eye

Your marketing strategy “in-real-life” reinforces your company’s online presence. When people discover your offline brand, they are more likely to visit your website than to drive to your storefront and walk in.

Search engines know this and they recognize these direct visits as a mark of a strong, real life business. Since direct website visits are one of the greatest factors of high search rank, branding your business offline is a crucial part in strengthening your business online.

Also, develop relationships and partnerships in your community. Think speaking engagements, guest blogging, newspaper articles, supporting public charities. All of that community involvement and the publicity connected with it can bring even more potential customers to your site. It’s good for the place you love and it’s good for your SEO.

The point is…

If people see a bus ad, hear a radio ad, see your logo on a sponsorship banner, hear you speak at a seminar… they are more likely to look up your company directly, giving your business domain a powerful boost.

Being involved in your community by doing good and providing education can give you brand power AND SEO power through direct visits and backlinks.

So look at your current marketing efforts. Are they working together? Do they elevate your brand offline AND increase the value of your SEO efforts online?

Google Analytics can tell you a lot about the results your efforts are producing. And if you don’t know how to analyze that data, we do. Let our Omaha-based SEO team help you put together a comprehensive SEO strategy that can help you build power!

Help me with SEO strategy

Pay-Per-Click, SEO or Both?

In an ideal world, you would be focusing efforts on both SEO and paid advertising to increase website traffic and increase sales. Both can serve you more traffic and increased qualified leads. Maybe you’re not sold on Pay-Per-Click, or SEO is not going to give you the instant results you need, OR you just straight-up don’t have the budget to do everything. We get it.

So, this begs the question – which should you choose?

SEO and PPC are both efforts to place your website in front of quality customers above your competition, but through different means. So, before you have your mind made up about what’s best for your business, let our web marketing and SEO team give you some basics.

graphic comparing SEO and PPC services

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of visitors to your website through organic search engine results. So not only do you seek MORE traffic through SEO, but also users who are interested in your company/product. Organic results are results served without paying Google.

We recently wrote a post on quality website content that details how Google search works. Every search engine has a crawler that gathers information across the internet, brings back information and builds an index. This index goes through an algorithm that matches a search query with data.

There are many factors that play into SEO, and because of endless algorithm updates from Google and other search engines the factors are always changing. And while I won’t get into all the factors we consider when dealing with an SEO client, here are a few things you’ll want to consider about SEO to see if it’s a good fit for your business:

Long-term strategy: SEO is a long-term strategy. To gain a significant increase in traffic and quality leads can take up to a year or more. Depending on the equity your website already has in the search engines, you may be a tiny ant climbing up a huge mountain. The task is not impossible, but it will take time and money.

It’s not one-size-fits all: SEO strategies, and service costs, vary depending on where you are, where you want to be and how fast you want to get there.

Website design: To execute an SEO strategy your website needs to be optimized. This can be a large investment, but it includes a robust CMS, optimal site structure, valuable content, mobile friendly design and usability, among MANY other things. Without a solid foundation you cannot expect to see success in the search engines.

Build credibility: SEO strategies are often partnered with regular, valuable content. Investing in quality, relevant and consistent content as part of your SEO strategy not only builds credibility with the search engines, but with your customers and the community you’re serving. It’s also about about making yourself a valuable resource for the community your potential new customers come from.

Pay-Per-Click

PPC marketing through Google Ads offers advertisers two ways to reach people: 1. through Google Search Network and 2. through Google Display Network. Both use a PPC auction system, where advertisers bid to have their ads shown to matched audiences.

Google Search Network, or “search ads”, appear above organic results. The Google Search Network allows you to show your ads to users who are actively searching for the keywords that you’ve selected. So if you own a contractor business, for example, you bid to have this texted-based ad show up every time a user types in Windows Omaha.

PPC text ad example

Google Display Network shows ads to users who are searching for your product or service. These “display ads” are placed on websites you think your target will be on. These image-based ads work well for re-engagement campaigns, showing ads to visitors who have already been to your website, in hopes they will come back and purchase/convert. This is often called remarketing or retargeting. For instance, we purchased something from Williams Sonoma six months ago… and they are still retargeting us.

banner ad example

These Google search and display ads are a great opportunity to capture quality leads and is an excellent way to reach your target audience. So here are a few things you might want to consider about PPC advertising:

Long-term strategy: PPC, like SEO, is a long-term strategy. You’ll want to run ads and refine your reach/budget based on the data. These ads may bring much quicker results than trying to gain traction in organic rankings.

Cost: The cost is mostly dependent on your Google budget. If you’re in a highly competitive industry it can get pretty pricey.  If your AdWords campaigns are well-targeted, optimized correctly and have an appropriate CPC bid, you’ll be able to show your ads to a responsive audience, nearly guaranteeing a positive ROI. Many businesses can run successful AdWords campaigns for a reasonable cost relative to the amount of money you make with each conversion.

Remarketing: While retargeting is great for most businesses, it’s especially useful for eCommerce websites. You can create and target audiences of users who have already visited your website with tailored banner ads, including image and video ads. Through these dynamic ads, a product from your store can follow a prospect until they pull the trigger!

Target niche terms: PPC can provide an affordable way to advertise for a niche phrase. Often more specific keyword phrases can run much less expensive than a short keyword. So, for instance, instead of ‘tires’ consider ‘winter truck tires.’

Either/Or, or Both: You can choose to do text ads, or banner ads, or both. If you have little traffic to your website, you’ll want to consider text ads to drive quality traffic to your website. If you have a lot of traffic, but want to reengage that traffic, you’ll want to consider banner ads.

Assessing Your Marketing Goals

Your decision to invest in SEO and/or PPC Google AdWords should be based on your company’s marketing strategy. By assessing your long and short-term goals, your budget and your competition you should have a starting place for which service you should invest in.

Also, looking at the data can be difficult. Assessing where you are and where you want to be can be easier with the guidance of an experienced SEO and web marketing team. Let us know if we can help answer your questions, if you want to explore an SEO or PPC campaign for your business, or need help assessing your current SEO or PPC situation. We’re happy to help!

What is Quality Website Content?

Website content is, perhaps, one of the most critical components of success for your website. In recent years, Google has put more and more emphasis on valuable content. So much so, that you’re likely to struggle with SEO success without putting thought into your website content and content structure.

We’ve said it a million times, but content is king. Google analyzes the value of your content and ranks it accordingly.

google search bar

So, how does Google search work?

Google delivers instant results to a user with three key processes: crawling, indexing and serving.

Crawling: Googlebot, a computer that crawls billions of pages across the web, discovers updates and new pages. The process begins with a list of URLs that have been determined from previous crawls in partnership with sitemap data provided by webmasters. When visiting each web page, Googlebot detects links on each page and adds them to its list of pages to crawl. New sites, changes to existing sites, and dead links are noted and used to update the Google index.

Indexing: Googlebot processes each page after a crawl. It compiles a list of all the words it sees and the location of the words. It also processes title tags and ALT attributes. It’s important to note that Google cannot process rich media files or dynamic pages.

Serving: Google serves results based on relevancy and is based on more than 200 factors! These factors include keyword usage, site structure, site speed, time spent on site, number of inbound links, quality of inbound links.

website site map graphic

How to determine your page structure

The page structure, or site map, shows the pages in your main navigation, sub navigation, footer navigation, etc. For an eCommerce website, you’ll also include the structure of your products – main product categories and sub product categories. When building a site map you should consider:

Current Website Structure: If you’re building a new website, the SEO value your current pages already hold in Google is worth considering. If your website is established and doing well in the search engines, you’re likely going to want to keep the page structure nearly the same. This can help avoid a major drop in rankings after launch and avoid a huge list of crawl errors.

Useless Pages: While the above statement is true, quite often there are just some useless pages on a website that add no value. Maybe it’s a page about a service you no longer offer, or a page with only a few paragraphs that adds no value. Regardless, ridding your website of useless pages, even during a new website build, is positive. However, post-launch you’ll want to make sure to implement a 301 redirect to avoid crawl errors.

The Data: Data doesn’t lie, people! If you’re struggling to determine your site map, or honestly don’t know if a page is adding value to your website, you can always consult analytics. Assuming your website has analytics installed. Google Analytics can provide data that will show you what pages people visit, how long they stay on the page, user flow, and MUCH more.

Now… what to put on those pages

Once your site map is set, it’s time to start collecting and writing content. Admittedly, writing website content is not the most exciting thing. I know because I’ve done it. And I am still doing it as we seek to continue to restructure and rewrite JM’s current website based on the data we are seeing in our analytics and AdWords campaigns. BUT, time put-forth now will benefit you for years to come.

Many people have no idea where to start when building website content. But, you’ll be happy to learn that you likely have a lot of content already drafted in many places. So start with:

  • Your current website
  • Business plans
  • Emails
  • Internal training documents
  • Existing marketing pieces

Each page should have valuable content full of keywords, a nice image that adds value to the content and a call to action.

What keywords do I use?

Select one or two keywords or keyword phrases you would like to be found under. Even ask your current customers how they found your business online to determine what keywords your performing best at. You can use some free tools to help determine what to use. Moz and SEMrush both have some pretty intuitive and free tools that can help you analyze keywords and your competition.

If you want more exact data to select your keywords, our web marketing team can help with that. Basically, we take a list of your suggested keywords and pull some data (because data doesn’t lie) through multiple tools. We can then see how many searches there are for a keyword, what the competition is like, and a list of other possible keywords to consider. Ideally, we want a keyword with a decent amount of searches and low competition.

content is king graphic

Define quality content

Who better to ask what is considered “quality content” than Google? Here’s some basic guidelines from the source, and here’s a recap of the article:

Basic principles:

  • Page content is for your users, not Google
  • Don’t do something just because you feel like the search engines will love it
  • Make your website stand out from others in your field by touting what sets you apart
  • Don’t put false information on your website

Avoid:

  • Automatically generated content
  • Pulling content off another website
  • Hidden text or links
  • Using irrelevant keywords

To wrap it up

Your website content is critical. If you don’t have the time to do it well, hire a pro. JM’s copywriter has experience writing for all kinds of industries, so let us introduce you to our copywriter.

And if you’re going to write your website content, let this be a high-priority item on your endless to-do list. Don’t let months go by, foregoing countless leads and business because you don’t have the time to dedicate to writing good website content. Let us know how we can help!

New Website Launch: Restoration Now

Restoration Now of Omaha initially came to our SEO and web marketing team for our SEO and Pay-Per-Click marketing. After months of analyzing its web marketing campaigns and reviewing the data, Restoration Now has a new website design to assist in its marketing efforts.

The new website is built on a WordPress CMS, which gives us access to many robust plugins, including ones for SEO. With quality content, applicable H1s and a commitment in keeping his website blog updated through our monthly SEO service, Restoration Now’s new website is well poised for SEO and PPC efforts.

We’re thankful that Restoration Now continues to trust our guidance and expertise, and we look forward to continually analyzing data and refining the website for its success!

Visit Restoration Now’s New Website

 

Restoration Now new website homepage screenshot