Given that the average small business is set to spend around $75,000 on digital marketing this year, it can be hard to budget for extras. That budget could get depleted quickly, leaving you to handle some do it yourself SEO.
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However, when you take SEO into your own hands, you not only have more control but you can learn more about how business is conducted online.
Here are four ways you can improve SEO for your landscaping company.
1. A Better Domain Age
If you want people to go to your landscaping website, you need to look great on search engines, probably one of the easiest things to fix is your domain’s age. If your domain is set to expire in a few weeks, search engines could see you as less serious.
While search engines heavily factor in your past and current state, they also consider where you’ll be in the future.
Check out your domain expiration date either at the company where you hold your domain or at whois.com. If it’s set to expire this year, renew it for two years.
When you buy a new domain, buy your domain for several years. This says to search engines that find you that you’re serious about your business and plan to stick around for a while.
When you have a strong and steady domain age that you can maintain for years, you’ll win respect and climb up the rankings. By buying for years in the future, don’t expect to jump from number 300 in your results to number 1. However, it will still factor into your search engine profile.
2. Use Local Keywords
When people search for businesses and services online, search engines often assume that they’re looking for a product closest to them. If you don’t believe it, go ahead and test this algorithm out. It’s easy.
Type in “pizza” and start your search. You won’t be directed toward the history of pizza or a website called pizza.com. Search engines will try to figure out where you want pizza from that’s nearest to where you’re searching from.
The way that search engines can find your landscaping company is if there are local keywords all throughout your website. You’re probably aware of the importance of using keywords on your website, but you might not realize that it’s more than just littering your page with terms. You need to add some specificity.
You need to define your most important target region for service and buckle down. Your terms should talk about what city you’re in, which neighborhood, which ones you want to serve, and what’s nearby. If you’re near a major highway or a massive landmark, let your potential customers know via your keywords.
To maximize your ROI and make sure you aren’t losing visitors who come to your site and quickly leave, every site owner and brand should be investing time and money into their remarketing efforts. This will bring high-quality traffic back to your site at a fraction of the cost of acquiring a completely new visitor.
When they’re in that area searching for businesses like yours, you’ll come up high in the results.
3. Better Title Tags
When search engines are looking through the information on your site to decide whether or not you’re a good match for a search, they see more than you do. There is metadata that can be cleverly hidden or scattered throughout your site that can reveal things about your site. Your site itself has a title tag that should be around 50 characters long.
With these tags, you can tell search engines what they’re looking at, what type of content you offer, and where you’re located. If you’re based in Beverly Hills and specialize in exotic flowers, a title tag like “Beverly Hills exotic flower tropical garden landscaping” is an ideal choice.
Title tags can be added to images that you have as well as every page. If you have a photo of a lovely bird of paradise, don’t just leave the photo on its own. Add a title tag that says “bird of paradise Beverly Hills landscaping” so that search engines can send you more visitors.
Use the meta descriptions that are placed at the top of every HTML page as well. In these descriptions, which should be around 150 characters, write short descriptions about your pages. Search engines will display this information below your URL to let visitors know what they’re about to click on and whether it’s relevant.
Do your research so that you know more about websites than your competitors.
4. Take Advantage of Directories
Since very few cities are bothering to deliver you a printed book of the yellow pages anymore, it’s important that you take the digital replacement seriously. Online business directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and Yahoo! Even better, is if you take the time to get extremely niche focused with you directly, like what is being done at CBD Hemp Finder and Canada Bridal Directory. The more niche you can get, the better you audience targeting, and also the easier it will be to rank your site. Local are the next best thing for local business owners. They offer more information via maps, photos, open hours, and even customer reviews.
When most users look for products and services in their area, they’ll get results that point them to these directories. If you’re not taking advantage of them, claiming your listings, and verifying all the information on them as true, drop everything and take care of that now.
If someone has a problem with Franklin Landscaping and you run Franklin and Sons Landscape design, there’s a possibility your information could get mixed up. Someone could have entered information about your company under Franklin Landscaping or vice versa. This might seem trivial, but not when you start considering that the other Franklin could be getting bad reviews.
If you don’t clear things up, someone getting bad service from Franklin could take your ratings down. To prepare for this and to build strength for your own business, ask your best customers to rate you on Yelp, Google, and Yahoo.
Do It Yourself SEO Is Easy
If you’re worried about the prospect of do it yourself SEO, you’ll find that it’s much easier than you thought. With a few quick google searches, you can find a few ways to fix up things on your site, hammer out the kinks, and prepare yourself for much more traffic.
If you’d never considered it before, you might be surprised at how you can increase your business by blogging. Check out our guide to find out more.
SEO 101: The Essential SEO FAQ for Bloggers
I don’t provide SEO services and I am self-taught – which hardly makes an expert. But I’ve been blogging for a lifetime and for all these years I’ve been reading about and implementing SEO practices – which means I know more than an average blogger.
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With that said, I’ve decided to put together this SEO FAQ for those who want to quickly understand the concept without going too indepth:
What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO is about making a website easy for search engines to discover, go through and understand.
- creating content (based on search engine users’ needs),
- making your content “link-worthy” (i.e. attract backlinks),
- using HTML and structured data to make content easier to understand for the machine, etc.
SEO is NOT trying to “fake” any of positive signals search engines use to rank web pages. Search engine friendliness should be authentic and SEO professionals should work together with website owners to achieve that.
Do Bloggers Need to Know SEO?
SEO aims at helping a page rank on top of organic search results, and search engines are known to bring the most qualified leads (people turn to Google when they know what they want).
No traffic source is as effective as search traffic. Unlike driving clicks with ads (PPC), organic search is NOT interrupting user’s surfing the web. Instead, it serves them content exactly when they ask
This makes SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels. It can drive highly targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads to your site on a continuous basis (no need to keep investing in ads)
How Has SEO changed over the years?
SEO is maturing fast and it has been exciting to watch. The biggest driving force behind this evolution is Google that has been working hard on their search algorithm to understand natural language and search intent, as well as penalizing any manipulating tactics.
The result: SEO has become more integrated into other marketing channels. Furthermore, SEO is more about focusing on long-term goals rather than quick traffic gains
If ten years ago SEO was all about creating fake signals (keyword stuffing, link buying, etc.), these days it’s all about creating linkable assets that rank and engage potential customers.
Can SEO Be Handled “At Home”?
WordPress bloggers generally don’t have to worry about getting SEO help. WordPress is pretty well set up and there’s a variety of free plugins to help.
Here’s a detailed guide to get yourself educated: Google SEO: Should it be your only priority?
What is The Most Important SEO Element?
Content… by far! Content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Content ranks, attracts links, spreads, engages customers and turns them into believers.
Content is not just an article or a blog post. By content I mean any kind of text you put on your site, from a landing page copy to your “About us” page or a product description.
Many businesses jump into digital marketing without willing to invest in content, and this strategy is doomed to failure. Building on-site content should be everyone’s SEO priority.
Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create better content by providing you with the mindmap of associated concepts and questions. It uses semantic analysis to process Google’s search snippets and break any keyword into subtopics.
While it’s primarily search intent optimization tool, it’s also helpful for overall content research showing which topics to cover and how to structure your article.
You can read my own Text Optimizer case study here.
What Are the Most Dangerous SEO Myths?
- Keyword density… This is one of the most persistent SEO myths out there. Why I dislike it so much is because it fills the web with trash content. Keyword-density focused strategy spoils the brand image and creates lots of problems which take lots of time to fix.
- On-page SEO alone will get you to #1. There are so many SEO agencies there that are happy to keep “optimizing” your website but rankings won’t come. The reality, you still need outbound tactics to gain backlinks and external visibility (branding) to achieve higher rankings
- SEO is dying… SEO death has been predicted for years now. These days with Google’s new SERPs features that aim at keeping the user using Google, and the fast growth of voice search, SEO is predicted to die soon again
The truth is, SEO is full of ingenuous tools and people. It is evolving together with search engines and it will survive Google’s death one day.
What’s the Best SEO Advice You’ve Received?
There’s a real human being behind each query.
Really if you stop thinking of keywords as “word strings to optimize for” and start seeing them as a real person’s question, SEO becomes much clearer (and more fun).
This mindset helps build more helpful content, optimize for search intent better (why would anyone type this into the search box? What are they willing to do once they find the answer?)
On top of that, by looking at keyword research as something that helps you serve your customer will help you understand your audience better and come up with better products and offers, on a higher-level.
Answer The Public is a nice free tool that turns keyword research into question research helping you to clearer see your readers’ struggles behind their search queries.
On top of that, the tool also mind-maps the retrieved keywords / questions helping you in brainstorming.
Where Does a Blogger Start with SEO?
As stated above, there’s not much a blogger can do to start with SEO except for creating useful original content.
Here’s also a nice clutter-free introduction into SEO: SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization . Here’s a much easier guide but also one that lists the most essential step: 3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly. Here’s also a helpful writing checklist that will help you handle the basics:
As you may have noticed, I am not listing a ton of tools here as I don’t want this guide to overwhelm the reader. Those mentioned are a good start!
Top 5 Best SEO Practices to Dominate Google Search Results In 2019
Who doesn’t want to dominate Google? We all love first page rankings, right?
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But there’s one thing about dominating Google search results: SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is almost a rocket science for most bloggers. The good thing is, you don’t have to be an expert at SEO to be able to generate first page rankings to your site.
Just learn and implement “few” most important SEO techniques and you’ll be way ahead of your competitors in search results. If you’re looking to improve your search traffic, here are a few of the best SEO practices you can implement in 2019.
5 Best SEO Practices for Bloggers To Dominate Google
1. Perform in-depth keyword research
If you don’t understand keyword research, you’re missing out on huge amount of traffic and sales from search engines.
Keyword research is all about finding “low competitive yet profitable keywords” so that you can create highly informative content (by keeping your target keywords in mind) to your audience.
Here’s the key to successful keyword research: “find low competitive keywords”.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, if you’re going after high competitive keywords, you’re not going to get any traffic from search (especially if you’ve a new website). So the key here is to find long tail keywords which have less monthly searches.
Quick note: Always have access to SEO tools like SEMrush if you want to find highly profitable yet low competitive keywords.
If you’ve a fairly new blog or website, I highly recommend you to go for those keywords which have less than 500 monthly searches. Why?
Low competitive keywords are easier to rank for. You can get first page rankings by creating informative content (you’ll get great results even without building too many backlinks).
That being said, here are a few helpful keyword research tools you can use in 2019.
While doing keyword research, target long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords usually contain 4 or more keywords and they are easier to rank in Google search.
For instance, you can get better rankings for long tail keyword phrases like “best fitness apps for Yoga teachers” instead of targeting short tail keywords like “best fitness apps”.
So that’s how you can perform long tail keyword research to dominate Google search in 2019 and beyond.
2. Content creation and optimization is essential
Content is really the king. No matter what niche you are in, if your content is mediocre, it will not perform well in the search engines. That said, here are few incredible tips to create exceptional content that performs well in search engines.
Understand your target audience: This is the first step to creating great content. The better you understand your audience, the easier it is for you to create “high converting content”. Make sure to find their wants and needs. Make a list of all the questions they might have by browsing through platforms like Quora or taking surveys.
Create in-depth content: If you want to dominate Google search results with your content, make it extremely detailed. According to many researches, it’s proven that in-depth content (which contains over 2000 words) performs really well in search results.
In fact, we’ve been creating long form of articles for more than 4 years now at Bloggers Passion and the results are amazing both in terms of search traffic and sales.
Use platforms like Quora: Q & A platforms like Quora help you find out what your target audience truly wants. You can follow all the topics that you blog about, find all the questions and start creating content around the topics that you’re interested in.
Last but not least, properly optimize your content for search engines which we’re going to discuss now.
When it comes to content optimization, the following factors play a crucial role.
- Page title
- Meta description
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, etc.)
- Image optimization
- Internal links
If you’re using WordPress, I recommend you to check out the following 2 plugins (both are great) for content optimization.
WordPress SEO by Yoast: This is the most downloaded SEO plugin in WordPress history with over 20 million downloads worldwide. It helps you easily optimize all your contents (including posts and pages) for your primary keywords. From page titles to meta description to image optimization, you can do everything using this plugin.
SEO By Rank Math: This plugin is getting a lot of positive buzz and it’s considered as the best alternative to SEO by Yoast. In fact, it offers all the premium features of plugins like Yoast where you can optimize your posts for 5 focus keywords per post. Not only that, it also lets you track your keyword positions in Google and offers a wide range of other helpful features to optimize your contents like a pro.
3. Make sure your website ticks all the boxes
Here are few things that your website must have for better performance in search.
- SSL integration
- Mobile-friendly design
- Faster website loading times
Now, let’s talk about the above most important things to make your website great for both search engines and users.
SSL integration: Google considers https as a ranking signal, which means, Google is giving weightage to websites on https version. To get https version, you need SSL integration. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which makes your site go from http to https and it’s a secured protocol which is used to establish a secure connection between server and client.
If you’re using hosts like Bluehost, WPX hosting etc, you’ll get SSL integration at free of cost (all you need to do is to turn on SSL to make your site https). Otherwise, you can free SSL integrations from sites like Cloudflare.
Super fast page loading times: If your site takes more than 3 to 4 seconds to load, your website visitors will most probably abandon your site. Your website speed is so much important not only for your users but also for improving your search rankings.
Did you know that Google takes page loading times into consideration while ranking web pages? Yes, that’s true. Here are few quick tips to have a faster loading website.
- Move to a faster web host (at Bloggers Passion, we’re using WPX hosting and it’s really faster when compared to any other web hosting companies)
- Use less plugins
- Optimize your image size before you even upload them on to your dashboard
- Leverage browser caching
- Enable GZip compression (Gzip is a file format that essentially locates strings of similar code in your text files and then temporarily replaces them to make the files smaller which helps in faster loading times)
- Minimize your redirects
Mobile responsive design: Is your blog mobile-friendly? If not, you’re missing a lot of traffic and sales on the table which can be beneficial to your competitors. So why leave your traffic and sales to them?
If you’re on WordPress, you can simply install a plugin like WP Touch or buy a premium responsive WordPress theme. Problem solved!
4. Research your competitors
If you see your competition as an opportunity, you’ll thrive online but if you see it as a threat, you’ll fail in the long run.
Do you know who your competitors are? Do you know who you are competing against? By knowing and carefully analysing your competition, you can learn so much.
Here are a few things to analyse while researching your competitors.
- Find out their top performing blog posts (which are bringing them the most traffic)
- Find out their top “income generating” pages (so you’ll have a better idea about what type of products to promote)
- Analyse your competitors website traffic (along with their traffic sources)
- Research your competitors backlink sources (so you can find link building opportunities to improve your own site’s backlink profile)
In a nutshell, the fastest way to your website’s success is to make a list of 10 to 15 competitors, find all their top performing pages along with their backlink sources and try to get links from those sites using various link building strategies.
5. Link building is the key
It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if it’s not attracting any links or you’re not building back link to your content, it’s not going to rank in the first page.
The sooner you realise the importance of link building, the faster you’ll start generating better results from SEO. It’s as simple as that. That being said, there are various ways to build quality backlinks to your site but the following strategies work like a charm in every industry.
- Roundup links
- Guest posting
- Build relationships
Let’s briefly talk about each one of them now.
Guest posting: Guest posting is the evergreen strategy to build links from relevant blogs in your industry. You don’t always have to aim for authority sites for guest posting as publishing and high quality, relevant and small blogs can also work like a charm.
Just make sure to write high quality guest posts so you can improve your authority as a blogger apart from getting relevant links to your site.
Roundups links: One of the easiest ways to build quality and highly relevant links to your site is to find and participate in roundup posts. There are a ton of bloggers (especially new bloggers) from all kinds of niches publish roundups on a regular basis.
You just need to be active on social media or use search strings on Google like “expert roundups + [your topic]” to find such sites. Make friends with them by sharing their stuff, commenting on their posts. That’s how you can get into their radar to start participating in their roundup posts.
Link building by building relationships: Networking and building relationships with other bloggers is often the most underrated strategy to build links. Make sure to focus on helping people instead of solely focusing on getting links and that’s the secret to successful networking.
We’re currently building a Facebook group where we share mostly blogging and SEO related stuff. The whole purpose of the group is to help beginners to build a money making blog and to connect with other bloggers in our industry. The best part is that, there are so many bloggers who interviewed me (by linking to my posts) and they mostly came from the Facebook group.
That’s the power of networking. So go and start networking with other bloggers using email, blogs and social media sites.Final thoughts on the best SEO practices to use in 2019
Practicing the best SEO strategies is the key to long term SEO success. Don’t look for shortcuts as increasing your organic traffic takes time.
Focus on learning and implementing just 2 to 3 evergreen SEO best practices and you’ll be way ahead of your competitors. Just be consistent and regularly create content that adds value to your target audience.
Let me know if you’ve any questions in the comments.
4 Strategies for Golden Long-Tail Keywords For Your Blog
Countless guides advise new bloggers about the benefits of SEO. However, far too few of them focus on the importance of proper keyword research. Many bloggers make the mistake of focusing all of their time and resources on short tail or high-volume keywords, such as “make money online”, “woodworking blog” or “pharmacy coupons.”
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Ranking for these broad keep words is going to take a lot of time. Many bloggers get very frustrated after not seeing any results and eventually give up.
You will see results a lot faster if you start your blog focusing on low hanging fruit. There is a massive number of longtail keywords in any given niche that you can rank for a relatively easily. Conversion rates also tend to be higher with long-tail keywords. The average conversion rate for long-tail keywords is 36%, which is 3.5 times as high as broad keywords. The trick is knowing how to find them.
Since there are so many longtail keywords, looking for them can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Don’t despair – there are a lot of great ways to find high converting longtail keywords. Here are some of the best approaches.
Use SEMRush to see what keywords other blogs are ranking for
SEMRush is an SEO analytics tool that monitors keyword rankings for various websites. Many bloggers use it to monitor rankings for their own websites. They also use it to gauge their rankings against major competitors. If they see that they are ranking for more keywords than a competing blog, then they know that their SEO strategy is on the right track.
Fewer bloggers and SEO professionals recognize the value of using SEMRush for keyword research. You can try using it to see what keywords other blogs are ranking for. If a competing blog is ranking for around 7,000 keywords, then you can dig through that list and see which ones you want to target yourself. It is best to use this tool with blogs that clearly have strong rankings. You aren’t going to build a very large list of keywords to target if you use it with a new blog that is only ranking for a handful of search queries.
You might want to find well ranking blogs by searching for relatively competitive keyboards in your niche. The websites that show up on the front page of Google for a competitive term are probably also going to be ranking for lots of less competitive, longtail keywords as well. Take the route URL and plug it into SEMRush.
You can see a list of the top 10 keywords for a blog for free. You will need to pay for a premium membership with SEMRush to see the rest of the list, but it can be worth it considering the value of finding so many great keywords to target.
Keyword Shitter is possibly the easiest to use keyword research tool available. To make things even better, it is totally free.
All you have to do is take a relatively broad keyboard and put it in the search box. Then you will need to click the button at the bottom of the form. The tool will start aggregating keywords that people search for.
If you use a relatively broad keyword, then you should be able to make a list of thousands of longtail keywords in as little as 1 to 4 hours. Although this is one of the easiest ways to perform keyword research, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of:
- You might get tunnel vision if you only start with a couple of base keywords for your lists. There might be a number of great converting longtail keywords that you would never think to add, because they don’t have common root words in them. For example, names of books, authors or products in your niche might be great keywords to focus on. They often don’t have common keywords in them, so they might not show up with this tool.
- A lot of the keywords are going to be loosely related to your niche. You will need to sort through the list carefully and remove any that don’t fit.
This is definitely a great keyword research tool to use, but you will need to take some time to get the hang of it.
Look at suggested keywords from Google
Google has become a lot better at recommending keywords for its users. Their suggested keywords are not just great for people trying to get better search results. They are also good for bloggers trying to find new keywords to target.
Keep in mind that Google recommends keywords based on your previous search queries, especially if you have not enabled privacy features in your Google account. You might want to try beginning searches in Google chrome incognito to find less biased suggestions for your search queries.
Look at product lists on Amazon and other sites
Most people use Google tools to conduct their keyword research. While they can be very helpful, it might be a good idea to branch out a bit and look for keyword ideas on other sites. If you are using your blog to promote products on Amazon, why not look at Amazon products? You can build keywords around them. For example, if you are writing blog posts on business cards, you might want to try searching for business cards on Amazon and see what products and books appear in your queries.
The benefits of this are two-fold:
- Most other bloggers are going to be focusing on broad keywords in their niche. They won’t be as likely to consider keywords centered around specific products. This means that there won’t be as much competition for a lot of these terms.
- The conversion rates are going to be a lot higher if you are trying to get visitors with these terms and refer them to Amazon.
You can search through thousands of possible ideas in your niche. Make sure that you find ones that are most relevant and do your research accordingly.
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