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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!

Avoiding or Correcting Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is any substantial portion of content that appears anywhere on the Internet more than once. Content is considered duplicate when it appears on your website AND someone else’s website. It’s also duplicate when it appears more than once on the same website URL.

Sometimes duplicate content is deceptive, meaning it is deliberately duplicated on different URLs to manipulate the search engines. One of the main reasons Google does not favor this is because it can result in a poor user experience, and Google updates it’s algorithms regularly mostly because of its dedication to enhanced user experience. If Google thinks duplicate content is malicious, ranking will drop for all URLs with this content or a website could be removed entirely from the Google index.

copy cut paste icons

How does duplicate content happen?

Many times duplicate content is not intended to deceive the search engines. Here are some examples of non-malicious duplicate content:

Printer-friendly website pages: These pages are often a duplicate of an already existing page. It’s also common to use an alternative version of a URL in these instances. For instance, http://www.exampleurl.com/product and http://www.exampleurl.com/print/product. URL variations, like this, cause duplicate content issues.

HTTP vs HTTPS: If your site maintains versions at both http:// and https:// they are both live, visible and indexable to the search engines.

Copied Content: Some people will copy blog posts from other websites. Other times it’s less obvious… like duplicating large portions of content for each service page on your website, or for eCommerce websites it can exist in product information.

These few examples are among the most common causes of duplicate content.

Why should you care?

Duplicate content really cannot provide you any benefit. The only thing it can provide is decreased rankings and traffic loss. Consider that Google will rarely show duplicate content in it’s search results, reducing the chances that a page will be served. And if whether you are competing for local or national SEO success, duplicate content will not benefit you.

Duplicate content will only be acted upon (punished) by Google if a review indicates that you engaged in deceptive practices. But, if your website does suffer from duplicate content issues then Google will select a version of the content itself to show in the results.

How can you address duplicate content?

While Google can do a decent job of addressing and ranking pages with non-malicious duplicate content itself, there are a few steps you can take for best SEO practice to ensure your website is indexed and ranked appropriately and fairly, despite having the same content in more than one place.

Nonindex meta tag: This is particularly useful for those printer-friendly webpages. You can block the printer-friendly version of the page using the nonindex meta tag and Google will not index it.

301 redirects: We’ve discussed this previously, but if you’ve restructured your website or launched a new one with a new page structure, use 301 redirects to redirect users and Googlebot.

Consolidate Duplicate URLs: A page accessible by multiple URLs or different pages with similar content can be considered duplicate content/duplicate pages. Google will choose one as the canonical version, but you can tell Google which URL is the canonical version. Consider doing this if you have a mobile and a desktop version of your website.

Use Google Search Console: Here you can indicate how you wish Google to index your site and select a preferred domain. An example of this is HTTP vs HTTPS or WWW vs no WWW

Minimize your duplicate content: Review your website content and see where it’s repetitive. Take action yourself to reduce the words being duplicated on multiple pages. You can provide unique and valuable content on every page and then link to another with the content you need to be repeated. If you have an eCommerce website, take care to rewrite your product descriptions so they’re different than the manufacturer, or create ONE product with variations instead of 6 of the same product – the size being the only difference.

Need help?

If you have repetitive content across your website, but aren’t how to rewrite it, we can help. If you switched to https:// recently and are questioning if you have duplicate content issues as a result, we can help. If you need assistance implementing redirects after a website restructure, we can help. If you copied website content from your competitor and put it on your website… and now you’re a bit worried, we can help with that, too.

Help me review my content

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 James.

And if you’re going to writing 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!

Your Website Content Matters

Many businesses seek a new, updated website to build credibility. And really – isn’t that what we all want for our businesses? Professional branding backed by the expertise and knowledge of trusted staff.

A sleek, professional website can go a long way in building credibility. But it’s the content that matters. Website content matters to Google and it matters to potential customers.icon with hands and keyboard

You’ve likely heard it before…. “Content is King.” And your website is no expectation to this often-understated mantra. So, if you REALLY look at your website content, does it do the following?

  • Clearly and concisely inform users of your product or service?
  • Carefully and thoughtfully utilize keywords for increased organic SEO rankings?
  • Portray the expertise and professionalism of your staff?

And while website design preferences have changed and search engine algorithms have adjusted over the years, good content has remained a constant for a successful website. Website content creates a connection with customers and prospects. Good design partnered with good content builds credibility with customers – letting them know you are the expert, your staff is capable and your products/services are the best around.

Good website content also increases conversions, because valuable information will help consumers to gain a complete understanding of what you do, the services you offer and how you can help them. As a result, your website will generate high quality leads from consumers who are truly interested in utilizing your products or services. And, most importantly, high quality website content that is optimized for the search engines will result in improved rankings (SEO) – bringing these high-quality leads through your virtual door.

Do you want improved performance for your website? Improve your content! Content is king. It matters to Google, and it matters to your customers. So, get writing, or ask us to help!

Website Content: Strategy for SEO Value

Have you ever been to a website and felt overwhelmed by the amount of information?

Many businesses think they must build their credibly online by telling visitors every detail about themselves, services, products, etc. The purpose of a website, for many small businesses, is to briefly introduce visitors to their business, and provide just enough information to cause prospective clients to pick up the phone. Providing good calls to action (a contact form, survey, prominent phone number) along with quality content will encourage prospects to contact you.

Another important point about a website’s content is it’s relevancy to the business, the service and industry news. It’s no longer acceptable in the web world for, say, a web design company to write about their employee’s dentist visit and throw in a few relevant keywords, such as Omaha web design. With the advanced nature of Google algorithms and Google bots, it’s important that your website content be concise, relevant and full of pertinent keywords – to both the article and the industry.

All of this advice points back to some work on a business’ behalf. If you are a business owner or an overworked employee you may not have time to review the website and consistently post quality articles. With so many companies competing for high organic search engine rankings, it’s important to stay on top of website content. Look at it as time and money spent toward a marketing budget. This is why companies like JM offer copywriting and SEO (search engine optimization) services. If you do have time – GREAT! Review your current content and evaluate it. Also, add a blog to your site, through which you can easily manage your website’s content.

Just remember – give a prospect a reason to call you. Your website is just a window into what you do and who you are.