SEO As A Primary Marketing Tool

Paid advertisements have long been a staple of the marketing industry. Advancements in technology showed us how to organize content so that potential customers could more easily find our offerings on the world wide web. This began the great debate of whether it was better to attract customers by educating and enlightening them or by splashing attention-grabbing ads where they couldn’t miss them.

In my career as a digital marketer, I’ve learned the pros and cons of search engine optimization and pay-per-click through experience. Marketers can use both for any type business if they master one important concept — understanding why they need to put more effort and resources into one rather than the other.

Going Back To The Basics

SEO and PPC can complement each other nicely. Are you marketing a product or a service? How well-established is your business? I’ve found that answering these questions are good places to start when making decisions about which marketing approach is likely to be more effective, or whether you need to use some combination of both.

This is when it helps to go back to Marketing 101. Are you clear about who your target market is? Where will your potential customers be looking to find the products or services that you’re offering? What words would you type into the internet search box if you were looking for the same product or service?

PPC As A Marketing Strategy

PPC tends to work well for companies that are offering products. Paid ads also work nicely when you have a new angle or new use for an existing product or service. When paid ads are designed well, PPC helps attract new customers quickly.

PPC puts your brand front and center right at the top of your webpage. Google will typically show four paid ads on a desktop. Mobile apps leave room for three paid ads topping the page. Paid ads give you a lot for your money because they give you room for a brief written description and a few “sitelinks.” Sitelinks are subsections of your ad that will take your customers directly to a page on your website for locations, specials, blogs, news or your about page. PPC ads also allow you to select your target audience by day, time, location, language, previous visits and other important parameters.

You need to keep a tight handle on your budget when using PPC. Many clicks are bound to bring you new business, but they can also waste your budget. I’ve found that it’s important to set a realistic budget for paid ads and monitor them often.

Another nice thing about PPC is that analytics make it easy to see whether your PPC ads are effective in real time. Getting quick feedback helps me make decisions about pulling ineffective ads. It also gives me an opportunity to increase my budget for ads that provide a strong return on investment.

SEO As My Go-To Marketing Strategy

I tend to use SEO as my primary marketing tool. That’s because I’ve found that SEO works extremely well for our business, a senior home care company, as well as companies that are primarily service oriented.

Over time, I’ve worked diligently to build a strong brand within my company. My current goal is to keep the brand in front of our target market. I want to establish Caring People as the authority on home health care and continue to build trust and credibility in our brand. Organic searches deliver greater volume to our website than paid ads. SEO is the most cost-effective strategy for us at this time because content is working great for us.

Using PPC To Enhance A Strong SEO Marketing Strategy

I believe that SEO offers a better value for the home-care industry because we offer personal services. Our customers want to know more about our company before they’re willing to invest their money in our staff. Articles, reviews and positive testimonials are the key to getting clients to make that first call asking for more information.

Despite the fact that SEO takes center stage in my marketing plan, I still regularly manage a medium PPC campaign. I’ve found that adding PPC ads to my marketing strategy adds enough spice to our efforts to draw in some new clientele. I use PPC at various times to highlight certain campaigns or to tie our services into current events. For example, this year we had a huge marketing campaign for National Grandparents Day. In using SEO and PPC together, we get more clicks overall. Greater numbers of clicks lead to conversions.

As a rule, PPC tends to work better for e-commerce companies. SEO tends to work better for services businesses that want to keep their brand visible while getting new clients. PPC can strengthen your SEO efforts nicely and vice versa. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the rule. After SEO and PPC, monitoring and analytics are your next BFFs.

What exactly is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is basically the text in a hyperlink that is usually underlined and blue and is clearly visible for you to click.

The Anchor text can give visitors and search engines important information about the links destination as well as its content.

What search engines do is they use anchor text that comes from external sources as a way to measure the way others view your page and the relevance it has. Despite the fact that as an owner it’s hard for you to control how other sites will link to yours, it’s still crucially essential to use anchor text in your own site that is relevant, descriptive and useful. Below you can see a target link along with an anchor text.

 

Types of Anchor Text.

There are different types of anchor text and it is important to keep them in mind. Here is a breakdown of those different types of anchor text:

  1. Exact match: An anchor text is considered an exact match when it uses keywords that are the same as the page that it is linked to. For example, if we have ‘seo writing’ linking to a page that covers everything about SEO writing.
  2. Partial-match: This is the case when there is a slight change or variation to the keyword that is being used. Such can be the case when using ‘seo writing strategies’ when linking to a page about SEO writing.
  3. Branded: This is when a brand named is specifically being used as an anchor text. Let’s say ‘Nike’ linking to an article in the Nike website.
  4. Naked link: As the name would imply, this is when we use the full naked link such as www.google.com
  5. Generic: The most popular case is when a generic term is used like: ‘click here’
  6. Images: If an image is linked, then Google will use the alt attribute on the image as the anchor text.

SEO Best Practices

When it comes to SEO, it’s always good to keep in mind the best practices not only to help the page get a better rank, but also to avoid penalties for over optimization. Therefore there are certain guidelines when it comes to best practices for applying SEO-friendly anchor texts.

Good SEO anchor text is succinct and completely relevant to the page it’s linking to as well as avoiding keyword-heavy text.

  1. Succinct anchor text:

    There isn’t a length limit to anchor text, but it’s best to keep the link as succinct as possible. The bottom line is. It’s important when picking the terms in your anchor text to consider two important factors:

First of all, what is the most accurate and succinct way to describe the page you’re linking to?

What phrase or keyword can you choose to get users to go ahead and click on the link?

Link relevancy happens naturally when pages are linked out to other relevant content on the web. There are two things that determine link relevancy:

 

  1. The topic which is on the source page
  2. The content which is on the anchor text on that page

 

  1. Anchor text keyword density

It’s important to highlight at this point that this is where we must consider Google’s Penguin algorithm update. This is because with this update, Google started to closely analyze keywords in anchor text. For example, if a sites inbound links contain the same anchor text, it may give the impression that the links are not natural.

Of course, it is important to use keywords in anchor text, but this must be done wisely using different strategies to avoid being penalized by Google for over optimization. Therefore SEOs will benefit from using a wide variety of anchor text phrases instead of overusing the same keyword.

Most importantly, when linking internal pages together, it’s best not to over do it with keyword-heavy anchor text. Google might find this as spam, thus risking they way your page would rank.

However, to go deeper into Anchor Text, it’s best to analyze how Anchor text is used after the Penguin Algorithm.

Anchor text after Penguin Algorithm

Long gone are those wonderful days in which you could go crazy with your anchor text. Back then you could perfectly use exact match anchors for your backlinks and you’d rank. But that was the main reason why Google had to change the algorithm.

In the beginning, the first Penguin update (2012) was the first major change that Google made to stop users from over optimizing and saturating their backlinks with anchor text. Penguin aimed at websites that were using spammy link building in an attempt to cheat the search engine. But how exactly did they know if a website was building spammy backlinks?

Well, the answer was simple. It was through Anchor Text. And that’s because it doesn’t make sense for a website to have all of its backlinks with the same Keyword. And what exactly is the process that Penguin uses to determine this? Here’s a breakdown on how Penguin does its job:

  1. The user builds a backlink.
  2. The backlink is then indexed by Google.
  3. This new backlink is put into a database for your website. This is commonly known as “link profile”.
  4. This process repeats itself thus creating a link profile that is easily analyzed by the algorithm.

In this case, the algorithm goes through your link profile to compare it to the keyword optimization set up that you have on-site. For example, if your page is optimized with the keyword “SEO writing” and all of your anchors are using the same keyword, you will definitely get penalized for over optimization. This type of activity represents two things for Google:

  1. You’re building artificial links
  2. You’re trying to rank with the keyword “SEO writing”

So remember. The formula to get a Penguin penalty is having an exact match anchor text along with keyword rich optimization. As long as you stay away from this kind of link building you’ll be fine and your page will benefit from it.

But what exactly can you do to avoid getting penalized and still rank?

The answer is simple. There’s a When and a How when using keyword rich anchors.

Following Best Practices when building relevancy

Best Practice 1: Anchor Text Percentages

While there are different views in terms of the percentage of the type of anchor text that should be used on your profile, one thing still agreed on by all SEO specialists. Which is the importance of branded anchor text?

If you don’t have a branded homepage profile, then a smaller mistake can result in huge penalization. Aside from the fact that this will definitely make your page difficult to rank, you’ll notice that your ranking will fluctuate daily making it difficult to maintain the proper relevance you desire. But following the best practices mentioned here will help you rank safely.

You can create natural inner page links with a branded anchor text despite your high margin of error. Once you’ve gotten this part clear regarding the importance of using the brand in an anchor text, the question is, what exact percentages of anchor text should you use to rank your target keyword?

As of the beginning of 2018, the percentages are roughly around the following according to a 2017 case study

  • 50% — Branded anchor texts
  • 10% — WebsiteName.com
  • 10-20% — Naked URL
  • 1-5% — LSI- partial match keywords
  • 1-5% — Generic anchor texts
  • 1-2% — Exact- match keywords
  • Other

Of course, this is a general overview of how to break down your percentages but it can help to do further research depending on your industry. SEO is constantly changing and Google’s algorithms are getting smarter as AI is being introduced into almost everything nowadays.

Best Practices 2: Get links to your Website from the right sources

Although backlinks are important for ranking your website, this has to be carefully done. It’s not smart to just simply have any backlink sending traffic to your site. This is because traffic coming from low authority websites will be considered by Google as spamming links and unethical practices. Thus turning your optimization efforts counterproductive, not to mention, the penalties incurred for not taking this into more consideration.

The best practice is to earn high-quality links from truly authoritative websites. And though this may take more time, it’s definitely better to have 2 to 3 links from good websites than 30 from low authority websites. As in everything else, an investment of time and effort is necessary to help your site rank superbly.

Best Practices 3: Keeping Succinct Anchor Text is Key

Although there is no limit regarding anchor text length, it’s still vital to keep your link text succinct.

First, it is important to accurately describe the page you’re linking to. So for example, if you’re linking to “SEO writing best practices”, think of the best and most concise way to describe the page, while avoiding exact match anchor text. A good way of doing this for this particular case would be “Great SEO Writing Tricks”.

A Second and final thing to consider are the words and phrases which will attract users to click. Despite having an accurately described page, readers may simply ignore the link if it doesn’t catch their attention. So this is important to consider if you’re trying to drive traffic to your page.

When it comes to building anchor, accuracy is important, but also attractiveness. You want to entice your readers to click on the link, and using the right words will achieve this ultimate goal.

Whenever you are building an anchor, always try and figure out how you can entice readers with your text to ensure that they click on the link.

Best Practices 4: Anchor Text Relevance

Another important consideration when working with anchor text is the relevance of the other anchor text. In other words the relation of the topics on both pages. Therefore if your article is about “SEO Writing Basics” but you link to “SEO 2018”, then the anchor text would only have a medium level of relevance. If you were to link to something with a title like “Cat Toys”, then your anchor text would have low relevance.

Therefore search engines are constantly cracking down on low relevance links. Obviously to avoid spamming links. Long gone are the days in which bloggers could include links to irrelevant sites for some extra pay. With Penguin, all of that has changed. Which has improved the quality of the content on most websites and the internet overall?

Best Practices 5: Focusing Anchors on “Deep” Links

Another way in which beginners affect their website ranking negatively is by building a link profile that depends on top level pages. They design their anchors to link to irrelevant sections of pages such as the homepage, contact, and product page. In the end, this results in an unnatural link profile.

Instead of doing this, it’s better to link to relevant content. This can’t be stressed even more in this article. But relevance is the key! Linking to archives, relevant pages, or pages that are deep in your website can result in positive ranking and improve it considerably.

Best Practices 6: Avoid Extremely Rich Anchor Text

Beginners tend to make mistakes in focusing all their inbound link anchor text on one specific keyword. This will result in an unnatural link profile and result in a penalty.

That’s because it makes no sense that all your links would include keyword rich anchor text every time.

here are better ways to do this. So for example, instead of using “SEO writing basics”, you could use, “the most fundamental skills for SEO writing” Therefore you spread out your anchor text in a way that will seem more natural and avoid making Google suspicious of your optimization efforts.

Best Practice 7: Be careful who you link to.

Google pays a lot of attention to the websites you link to. This is known as Co-citation.

While it is common knowledge that the authority of the websites linking to your content plays a pivotal role in determining your search engine rank, Google also takes into account the websites that you link out to.

This is a relatively new principle known as Co-citation. This is when a website uses two different online sources creating an algorithmic relationship between them. Therefore it’s better to avoid linking to spammy websites.

A better approach would be to naturally build high authority backlinks focused on small niches. Be aware of linking to spammy websites. Even if they are offering to pay highly for it. The return, in the long run, will be greater.

Best Practice 8: Understand Natural Links

It’s important to create a healthy link profile. It must be clear and natural. But this doesn’t mean that you just let the web decide where you rank.

Instead, your focus should be to have your link profile follow Google’s white hat approved methods.

Web Page Optimization and its importance on SEO
Web Page Optimization is the process of optimizing the web page of a website. It helps in getting pages indexed on Search Engines.
Be aware of the following when you are optimizing Web Page because this things play vital rule for On Page Optimization.

the website content has to be optimized by using:

  1. Title Tags
  2. Meta Descriptions
  3. Meta Keyword
  4. URLs
  5. Optimizing Images
  6. Optimizing Videos
  7. Optimizing News

Web Page Optimizations Steps.
Title Tags

These tags are the elements that define what your page is about. Title Tags contain your main keyword. Furthermore, it will be used for Search Engines to show in SERP. Title Tags talks about your page by using few words. It is also display as a top of the browser, or name of the tap. Title tags are commonly used for social media shares to provide information about the page.

Meta Description
Is the description of the Title Tag. It is shown in the SERPs. Meta Tags give a better idea of the content of the page. Use your keyword in your Meta Description to improve SEO. Meta descriptions have maximum 160 characters. If you write more characters than 160 it will be cut and don’t make sense to people in SERPs. This step is a must for Web Page Optimization.

Meta Keywords,/span>

Is similar to Meta Description. Today, it is not used to optimize content. On the other hand the “Bad Practices” like overstuffing keywords can clearly hurt your ranking. That is called “Black Hat SEO

URLs-
Optimize your web pages URLs for better ranking. An URL rich in keywords related to the content will definitely improve the Content Optimization. It will also help the Search Engine to find better your content. This is very helpful for Web Page Optimization.

Optimizing Images-
Visuals are very attractive for consumers. Many people don’t want to read a long blog, but they can get a huge referral through a image/picture. A good picture talks more than one thousand words. As a consequence, the use of images is a must in a website. The images have to be optimized by using Alt Tags.
As the image above shows it is important to use Alt Tags that are related with the content. The Alt Tag provides not only what about it is the image. It also provides size.
If you don’t use Alt Tags, Search Engines will never find the image because images are difficult to be read. Images are the favorites of consumers; don’t lose the opportunity of ranking your website through your optimized images.

Optimize Videos-
Today; It is easy to reach the audience by using videos.

First, create a video channel; it can be done in YouTube, Vimeo etc. Then embed video in channel and optimized filling with a good title, description, and keywords related to your page content. Check it out this interesting article about Video Optimization for SEO.

Optimizing News-

Last but not least you can optimize news. Submit your blog or press release to Google News. They will review your content and decided if has the requirements. Well written and optimize blogs have a great impact on SEO. Likewise, Pay Press released can increase your visibility in the majors search engines in a significant way.

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”