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As more and more people join the ranks of those currently using their smartphones to complete secure business transactions, it's become increasingly vital to get with the content marketing trend. So yes, it's critical that you create high-quality, reliable content specific to your niche. However, if you don't know how to optimize content for SEO, all the great content in the world is unlikely to boost your online visibility.

There is both an art and a science to creating helpful content while balancing that against remembering how to optimize content for SEO even as it is being produced. Today there are plenty of diagnostic tools to help you grasp the basics, such as Yoast SEO. But there's much more to it than just the effective use of tools.

For example, you might use Google Docs and Grammarly to put a spit shine on your writing, but you're going to need more than that. Being talented in one area of SEO is great, but to get a boost in search engine results pages (SERPs), you will need to be highly skilled in other areas. Someone highly adept in only one area is roughly analogous to someone who only knows how to change a flat tire thinking they are a certified car mechanic.

Great Content Fuels SEO-Powered Sales

Well-planned and executed content contributes powerfully to your overall SEO strategy. Learning how to optimize content for SEO makes your website content more readable and enjoyable to consume overall. It also helps readers and search engines understand what you've posted.

There are many simple ways to optimize content for SEO. Below are eight industry practices you can use to help you get started. Think of them as checkboxes that must be ticked, such as including onsite and offsite links, using the right keywords to help you optimize your onsite content, and ensuring you are addressing issues about which people care.

Before you start learning how to how to optimize content for SEO, it will help immensely to put together what experts refer to as a client creative brief. A client creative brief is nothing more than a rough outline of what you hope to achieve. Think of it as a blueprint containing project details, both short-term and long-term objectives, and what you need to get from here to there.

If you are not planning to outsource your SEO project to an agency, you should nonetheless put your ​​client creative brief together. Feel free to modify your brief as your project progresses, but don’t dive in without a roadmap. Getting lost and muddled in strengthening your domain authority and showing up prominently in search engines is too easy.

How to Optimize Content for SEO

1. Use heading tags.

If you are coding your written content by hand, you already know that H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags provide readers with a taxonomy of information. H1 is the coding equivalent that signals Header 1, H2 signals Header 2, and so on. These tags help provide a helpful taxonomy of data for the human eye and for the search engine "spiders" that repeatedly crawl your website, digesting your information.

Nowadays, though, no one needs to learn to code HTML to generate these codes.

WordPress, for example, does this automatically, behind the scenes. Writers leverage a user-friendly interface to raise and lower the status of their headings, subheads, bulleted lists, and more. Once the content has been published or updated, search engines use these automatically inserted tags to answer one straightforward question: "What is this piece about?"

If you publish content without providing these distinctions, it quickly becomes monotonous. Human readers and search engines alike see what you've written as one big, long, perhaps sleep-inducing blob of text. Human beings will quickly bounce as they can't scan your content. A huge part of learning how to optimize content for SEO is making effective use of hierarchical elements, especially heading tags.

2. Include internal links.

An internal link is a hyperlink inserted into your text that links to additional content on the same site. This link should be germane to the topic as you’ve rendered it in the text and images. An internal link communicates an expectation in the mind of a human reader, something along the lines of "there’s more to learn about that subject if I want it."

When you interlink the content on your site, it signals to search engines that you are an expert on specific topics. It creates a web of authority that strengthens the value of your domain. Links should tell readers you know a great deal about a particular niche. If you have great information about a certain topic, this fact will become immediately apparent to readers and search engines. Therefore, pick your links and keywords with the utmost care.

3. Add value with external links.

Avoid trying to be an expert in everything. No one can do this. Better by far to recognize where your expertise ends, and the expertise of another begins. When you hit that boundary in your online content, insert external links to high-authority, helpful content on external websites.

Keep in mind that your site's authority is at stake as you choose the external sites to which you plan to link. Let’s face it; you can probably find something on the internet to back up just about anything you write, no matter how ridiculous (or worse, untruthful). Consequently, it’s critical that you use domain authority tools such as Moz to make sure you are only linking out to high-quality, reliable information. Your reputation is on the line here!

One of the best uses of external linking is to help your readers access information to back up your statements with statistics, charts, and data. When you use external linking to educate and inform your readers, you send a signal to search engines that you are a reliable source. This helpfulness, too, will contribute to helping your site rise in popularity and SERPs.

4. Do your keyword research.

Perhaps the most labor-intensive task in constructing an effective content marketing campaign is not (as many might guess) producing the content itself. That’s a crucial piece of the puzzle, obviously. However, before generating the content, you want to be locked in on your target keywords. Making sure you’ve selected the right keywords will pay off handsomely when you begin the content development phase.

Experts recommend choosing longer-tail keywords that bypass the more obvious choices if you don’t quite have the authority you need for those more difficult keywords. If your onsite content is solid and optimized to a longer-tail keyword, you’re more likely to rise in SERPs specific to your service area and area of expertise. You will want to optimize as much of your content around those longer-tail keywords as possible. You will want to steer clear of what’s known as "keyword stuffing" and opt instead for related keywords only as necessary.

5. Work to match the search intent of your intended audience.

Have you ever experienced an internet "Gotcha!" moment? Did you click on a link expecting one type of content…only to land on a site that has nothing to do with your intended purpose? Chances are better than even that this misdirection was intentional, the result of manipulating keywords and SERPs to nefarious ends. No one likes misleading links. In all likelihood, you bounced from the site immediately. You should expect the same treatment if your chosen keyword in any way defeats user expectations.

Treat your internet audience with respect. Ensure the content you create matches the search intent for your selected keyword.

For example, an educational blog might be best for a keyword if the purpose is primarily informational. A well-built product or service page may be best if the user's intent is commercial. When you work to consistently meet (or exceed) the expectations of search intent, your users are far more likely to reward you with repeat visits.

6. Be sure to include an intuitive URL and meta description.

Believe it or not, many users still scan the entire URL displayed in the dialog box of their web browser of choice. Set up your site's hierarchy and posts to provide a logical "trail" for your users. This practice reinforces the web of authority around the topic or theme and (let’s face it) is much easier on the eye. Which of the two URLs makes the most sense to you? Perhaps more significantly, which URL are you more likely to copy and text to a friend or family member?

When you begin building links, remember that brevity is the soul of wit. Keep the slug for every page and post as short as possible yet meaningful to human readers. Four to five words are optimal. This will not always be possible for every site. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to implement it whenever and wherever possible.

Similarly, every piece of content you post should include a META description. These descriptions offer search engine spiders a concise overview of the subject matter of your content. Your online content will begin to show up in its niche when your URL, META, and keyword work in unison.

7. Use titles and descriptive ALT text for images.

Making your content available and accessible to the broadest possible audience makes good business sense…and it’s the right thing to do. In the U.S., for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990. Yet, even today, many websites implement ALT tags and descriptive language as an afterthought. Sadly, many still ignore these online content attributes altogether.

Search engines, however, have brought commerce to bear on this issue. Many sites to this day consistently lack ALT tags for images. Other portions of the site are inaccessible to adaptive computing equipment. Consequently, those sites are likely to get dinged for it. Today, search engines more or less serve to police the ADA by lowering site rankings and domain authority.

When including ALT tags, use your selected keyword where it makes sense. Again, don’t try to "stuff" keywords into your ALT tags and other hidden fields. Search engines long ago figured that one out. As stated above, attempts at deception will get you dinged. Plenty of online testing tools are available if you’re wondering how your site scores for adaptability. "Listening" to your website content through a screen reader can also prove an enlightening experience.

8. Write for the reader.

At this point, you might well be wondering if you should be writing content for Google or your intended audience. Well…can it be both? If you are doing your job well, your ranking on SERPs will go up if you keep an eye on your customers and search engines. However, if you must fall off the fence one way or the other, fall in favor of your readers.

Over time, as more users begin taking in and backlinking to your site, the usefulness of your content will become apparent, even if you don’t tailor absolutely everything to please the almighty algorithms.

As you write, produce photos, and develop your content, keep the reader foremost in your thinking. Imagine yourself in the position of someone trying to learn more, solve a problem, or find information. As your audience validates your usefulness through repeated clicks and more extended amounts of time spent on the site, your commitment to reader service can only contribute to greater domain authority and positioning on SERPs.

"Cabbie, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?" Practice, practice, practice!

That corny old joke has become a cliche and stuck around in the collective unconscious for a reason. It points to an enduring truth. You're unlikely to achieve perfection whenever you take your first shot at anything. Whether playing the violin or optimizing content around a longer-tail keyword, you will need to keep at it until it becomes second nature.

Don’t despair if your initial efforts at optimizing content to your niche are less than stellar. That’s completely normal. You need to keep spinning so many plates that it can initially feel overwhelming. Use the guidelines above, refer back to them often as you develop your content, and keep at it!

Even if you plan to staff up in-house, you may need to engage the services of a professional SEO agency on the front end. If you find that you do need help, consider reaching out to one of our sales associates for a no-cost consultation. At Relevance, we eat and sleep SEO, but then we are quick to admit that we’re a bit odd that way.

Whether we like it or not, search engine optimization is a constantly evolving technical skill. What worked yesterday may fall completely flat next week. Constant research and updates are the meat and potatoes of every SEO agency.

Search engine companies, for their part, continue to update their algorithms to provide a better user experience. Frequently, they will release an algorithm update into the wild without much in the way of advance notice.

To better understand how successful SEO tactics really work, it might help to check out the 2014 film "The Lego Movie." In that cinematic masterpiece, the protagonists Emmet and Wyldstyle elude their murderous pursuers by constructing a high-powered getaway vehicle out of random bits of Lego as they run at full speed down an alleyway. At the last possible second, the engines snap into place, and our heroes launch themselves to safety.

Putting together a successful SEO campaign and keeping it afloat is only slightly less harrowing. Any number of factors can influence the results showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Given the ever-shifting terrain of SEO and your need to focus attention elsewhere, hiring an agency can be a somewhat daunting, albeit necessary, task.

Ideally, you will partner with an agency that will grow organic traffic to your website. They'll work to improve your search rankings and help you generate more leads. Should you elect to go this route, there are several questions you can ask that will help you determine if potential agencies really know their stuff and can help you move ahead in your market niche. Listed below are nine to consider.

1. Can you guarantee specific results?

Be wary of anyone who answers "Yes." Why? Because it is almost impossible to promise a specific ranking status. If the company you are considering "guarantees" a certain number of visitors to your website, a percentage of increase in sales, or a specific ranking position, you might be hearing more hype and hustle than anything else.

Most agencies will tell you they're confident of the results they can produce based on past clients. However, anyone who promises a specific ranking or traffic level is not being entirely truthful. (Let's just say it that way.) Instead of being drawn in by extravagant promises, focus on doing business with companies that commit to following search engine protocols established to provide benchmarks for quality of work. Go with verifiable "best practices" rather than pie in the sky.

2. How long will it take to see results?

Committing to effective SEO practices represents just the first step on a journey. Again, if anyone you are considering promises overnight results, they are showing you that they haven't been working in the SEO niche very long.

First, your digital footprint must have a solid foundation and strategy. That foundation often takes the form of reliable, high-quality content on a well-maintained and mobile-optimized website. After that, you'll need that onsite content to support your link acquisition goals. Once you have a stable platform, you can begin securing link acquisitions.

Anyone who promises instant results isn't using sustainable techniques. Simply stated, they aren't being honest about the realistic possibilities or working with SEO.

However, that reality shouldn't prevent an experienced agency from giving you an estimated time frame for results. You should generally expect results from reliable providers within six to twelve months, depending on how demanding your goals are. Any number of factors can rise up to skew your hoped-for results. It all depends on the competition, your site's domain authority (DA), and how difficult it is to rank for your specific keyword.

Some niche businesses may see results within a few months. Others could take significant time to see any return. Keep in mind that many third-party factors lie outside anyone's ability to control. This is all part of the SEO process. Consequently, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Have you ever worked with a similar company before?

One of the best ways to know if any SEO agency can handle your project is if they've already achieved similar results in the same niche as your company. If they have, they'll already know some of the strategies it takes to get results. They should be able to explain clearly how taking you on as a client wouldn't result in a conflict of interest.

However, if they haven't previously worked in your niche, that shouldn't immediately disqualify them, either. Many of the tools and tricks that work for one niche are transferable to another.

What you're trying to learn through this question is whether or not your company is a fit with their agency and vice-versa. One positive sign is the courageous sales rep who is transparent about never having worked in your niche.

4. How has SEO changed within the last few years?

Be careful if an SEO agency you're considering explains that SEO is more or less the same today as it was a few years ago. While it is true that the core fundamentals haven't changed much, many specific tactics have been updated to keep up with changes.

Recall that search engine companies frequently announce significant changes to how they index websites. As the online marketplace shifts attention from one highlighting metric to the next, these algorithm changes can't help but affect site rankings and SERPs.

If you want to walk in better prepared, spend at least a few minutes charting the various updates to the Google search algorithm over time. Take notice if the people you're talking to can't walk you through specific updates and demonstrate how they'll impact your business. You need an SEO agency that can speak both technical and business in understandable terms. If, on the other hand, you feel your head start to spin in technical jargon, that's not a good sign. Say something about it and gauge the response this request receives.

5. What metrics do you think are most important to measure?

Rankings, traffic, and backlink numbers are all essential to monitor constantly. However, leveraging effective SEO tactics means doing more than simply increasing rankings, decreasing bounce rates, or improving traffic levels. People spending more time on your website means very little if that loitering traffic never actually purchases anything. Rankings matter most when they're helping your business generate qualified leads.

What you've defined as your business needs should drive which yardsticks you use for measuring success. It's essential to look at various metrics based on specific goals you might have. For example, some metrics could include the ranking position for a keyword or how much traffic a site is getting for that keyword. Tracking these metrics will help you understand the progress being made and if an agency fully grasps what you mean by success.

Ultimately, you want an agency that can tie its SEO efforts back to your bottom line. You need an agency that can visualize the big picture and articulate that vision to you. An SEO agency's success metrics should be based on your personal business goals. Individualization of statistical reporting will be critical for your review sessions.

6. How do you choose the keywords to target?

Effective keyword research requires considerably more effort than most realize as they begin their initial foray into the world of SEO. The overall relevance of any selected keyword is crucial, of course. However, trying to understand the default headspace — a.k.a. "search intent" — of the person conducting an internet search is equally as important.

What's typically going on in the thinking of someone who might have at least some interest in your products or services? What terms are these people likely to type into search engines? That might sound like an impossible question to answer, but it isn't. Meaningful statistics can be harvested and brought to bear, providing a solid starting point.

Make sure any potential agency you're considering refers to search intent as their basis for crafting your SEO campaign. They should also be taking into consideration keyword difficulty, as well as search volume. Not all keyword targets are created equal, so a good agency knows the balance between what is achievable and worthwhile and what isn't.

Ask them to speak at some length about the specific tools and techniques they use to determine keyword intent. If the entire conversation revolves around the number of searches for a keyword they've targeted for your needs, they're more than likely operating on outdated SEO practices.

7. What's your link-building process?

Some SEO agencies will promise to build thousands of links on your behalf within a short period of time. However, the unpleasant reality is that those links may not be valuable if they originate from a bunch of low-quality, low-DA sites.

Your conversations should focus on building quality links over a large quantity of links. You want to ensure that the links you receive come from sites with some authority in their niche and that the content your links are in is relevant to the site where they are placed. If you're a health company and an agency secures you a link in a home renovation site in content that has no connection, it may not be relevant. While you can't stop anyone from linking to you as they wish, you'll get more positive backlinks when you publish consistently excellent online resources.

Online users are quick to click away when a link doesn't yield anticipated results. Modern link-building practices favor those who provide high-quality content relevant to the site on which it will be published. You probably won't move the needle if you're not getting that.

8. How should SEO be incorporated into our overall marketing strategy?

The most successful SEO initiatives are integrated into an overall marketing plan. SEO goes hand in hand with content marketing, public relations, and social media activities to create effective links. Your potential SEO agency should be open to collaborating with marketing, web development, and sales teams and your existing marketing initiatives.

The alarm bells should start to go off if the SEO agency you're talking to ignores or downplays what's worked well for your company in the past. The number of successful companies that need to "chuck it all and start over from scratch" are infinitesimally few. Instead, an SEO company that knows its stuff will take the base you've established and elevate it to new heights.

Properly understood, successful SEO is a blend of onsite content, link acquisitions, and even some aspects of digital PR. Strategic link acquisitions from external publications are also a vital piece of the SEO puzzle. Typically, well-regarded publications agree to link to your content using a specific keyword. Keep in mind that high-DA sites are only interested in linking to high-quality content as they realize that their linking practices affect their credibility.

External digital PR that mentions your brand helps signal search engines that you are recognized as an authority on a specific subject. Incorporating digital PR and boosting your domain authority will provide another shot in the arm to help you rank well.

9. What do you need from clients to be effective?

Reliable SEO agencies should have a long list of questions and needs. To conduct their work effectively, they'll need detailed information about your audience, industry, and goals. Pay attention to their eagerness to interview you just as much as you want to interview them. You can take that as a bad sign if you sense they're going through the motions.

SEO agencies need flexible and cooperative clients to make SEO-focused site changes. The clients who tend to see the most success are willing to let an agency guide onsite strategy and link acquisition strategies. Clients should be able to keep the high-level goal of ranking for a specific keyword as the focus of the relationship.

In a more traditional commercial transaction, you pay money to acquire a product or service. The extent of your commitment is cutting a check. Working with an SEO agency will require making payments, of course, but it's also better to think of the process as a relationship rather than a transaction. Both you and the agency have a vested interest in making sure you see results from the relationship.

Conclusion

Your goal is to make an informed decision when choosing an SEO agency. Hopefully, the questions above have laid the groundwork for that. It might initially feel intimidating to ask a lot of questions about different SEO options. However, asking the right questions at the outset will only set you up for success.

Agencies that know what they're doing will be open and honest about their processes. With a bit of homework on your part — and a willingness to walk away if you have misgivings — you're more likely to find an agency that delivers what you need by asking them these questions. Factor in some after-action time to evaluate their answers to determine the best fit for your niche. Knowing the techniques and policies an SEO agency employs before you dive in will serve you well as you seek to own the industry you operate in.

We all knew that marketing had changed forever once consumers began using smartphones to price-check products and services. True, in-person shopping still has the considerable advantage of immediacy — customers can take your products home right now — but profit margins had to shrink to overcome the willingness to wait a bit for competitors to ship to the doorstep. Suddenly, it seemed, SEO and content strategy were separating the successful from the dwindling.

This dynamic has affected every industry, whether you provide products or services. Consumers nowadays show an endless appetite for calling out price gouging or poor service on social media. Bad online word of mouth can sink a business seemingly overnight. On the flip side, prospective customers are more willing to believe positive reviews submitted by verified buyers. When someone speaks well of your company, it can help nudge others into action.

In this ever-shifting terrain, it’s no longer enough to be highly skilled in your specific niche. Your expertise must be visible online if you hope to achieve any significant growth. What you say about yourself is a great starting point, but what other people say about your business (both online and offline) matters now more than ever.

Learning to Train Your SERP Dragon

Assuming you’ve been actively marketing your products or services online for more than 15 minutes, you already understand the incredible importance of search engine optimization (SEO).

By now, most of us are well aware that “The Holy Grail” for all forms of eCommerce is to have your content displayed on Page 1 of search engine result pages (SERPs). In a perfect world, a prospective customer or client would enter a keyword directly related to your niche, launch that query into the vast wilderness of cyberspace, and BOOM! Your specific expertise would land on the top of the SERP, prominently displayed for all to see.

If only it were that simple, right? Unfortunately, experts estimate that well over five billion — with a “B” — comprise our worldwide digital population. That number is hard to imagine, let alone compete with! Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to raise your odds of engaging with your target audience.

  1. Optimize all of your online content to the search intent of relevant keywords.
  2. If the goal of a keyword is to sell products, you must have a landing page for every product to perform well in SERPs.
  3. If the keyword intent is primarily to inform and educate, you must provide long-form content that offers lasting value.

Are you keeping tabs on what are other businesses doing?

To guide your content development, spend some time studying the competition. What type of content is currently performing well in your niche? In other words, what shows up today when you search your keywords? Where are the pain points? How can you provide solutions that address a problem that prospective customers are trying to solve? Can you narrow your content's focus to attract your ideal audience?

At this point, longtail keywords become crucial.

For example, suppose you hope to rank for the keyword “computer repair” but you don’t have any helpful content on that specific topic published to your website. In that case, your business is likely to struggle to rank well, if at all. It could end up all but buried on SERPs by the big box stores with massive marketing budgets. If, on the other hand, you effectively optimize all of your content to “computer repair,” your local shop can reasonably expect an uptick in clientele once you begin to rank.

Onsite Topical Authority Is the Meat and Potatoes for SEO and Content Strategy

If you are unfamiliar with the term “topical authority,” it’s pretty much what you would guess. In short, modern search engines crawl the web endlessly, sniffing out authentic expertise.

Suppose, in the example above, your computer repair shop in Biloxi has a website crammed with helpful content, an online reputation as affordable and competent, no shortage of stellar reviews verifying great customer experiences, and backlinks from other trusted providers. In that case, your topical authority should elevate organically.

Simply stated, you will rank higher on SERPs if search engines confirm that you know what you are talking about.

On the other hand, your team might very well comprise the most talented and efficient computer repair techs across the American South. But if you do not have trustworthy, authoritative onsite content — and the subsequent topical authority to go along with it — your business is unlikely to rank well in SERPs.

Of course, you may not have entered the computer repair business to spend your time optimizing and curating online content. However, this is what it will take if you want to grab the attention of someone using a smartphone to search for help.

The good news is that whether you realize it or not, you generate valuable content every day. Whenever you assist a client with a real-world issue, that’s valuable content. Developing strong, rankable online content is primarily a matter of communicating solutions in digital format. Build a website crammed full of helpful solutions. You are far more likely to attract the attention of Google and other search engines. You will also build customer loyalty as they look to you for the expertise and (you guessed it) increase your topical authority.

Better Optimized Content Grabs More Search Traffic

The best roadmap for pursuing a winning SEO and content strategy is (thankfully) reasonably simple. Solve problems for other people.

True, some of the people you help will never darken the doors of your business, but that’s OK. Keep in mind the thousands upon thousands of people in your local area. If every single one of them showed up at your door, you’d have a seriously tough time accommodating them. If millions (let alone billions) of people emailed you with a relevant question, your servers would spontaneously combust. You are not trying to interact with everyone but rather target those most likely to need what it is you have to offer.

What’s the Search Intent Behind Your Target Keywords?

Once you boil down the essence of your business to relevant longtail keywords, it’s time to focus your efforts on search intent. Is your target audience of that target keyword trying to find a specific online resource…or conduct research? Are they actively shopping to make a purchase…or just learn more before they commit? While you might hope to push all four of these online searchers to your product pages, long-term success comes by providing content tailored to each.

Online audiences tend to shy away from pushy content. Can you provide a link to your product or service on an informational tutorial? Absolutely! Just make sure that your tutorial is the primary focus. Your goal should be to establish trust and reliability. You are more likely to gain authority if the content you serve up directly relates to search intent.

Returning to our modest computer repair shop in Biloxi, a smartphone user might read an article stepping them through a confusing software upgrade. Assuming your information was easy to find, easy for anyone to understand, and easy to implement, that person is highly likely to commit some portion of the experience to long-term memory. Months or even years later, when the need arises to replace an outdated machine, they recall the excellent customer experience you provided. Your shop suddenly becomes the first stop on the shopping circuit.

Optimize Content to Relevant Longtail Keywords

Keep in mind that even small bits of additional online traffic can add up to a significant boost to your bottom line. No, it probably won’t happen overnight, but SEO and content strategy is a process that will yield results as you continuously create, post, monitor, evaluate, and tweak.

Your content establishes your authority. Your longtail keywords should act as arrows pointing to the center of your expertise. Marketers often refer to this as the hub and spoke strategy for content development. If you select keywords that garner a lot of online traffic but aren’t directly related to your niche, misled users will leave (quickly) with a negative impression.

When done right and appropriately maintained over time, your value-laden information can start an SEO and content strategy snowball rolling down the hill. You increase your domain authority by optimizing your blogs, videos, and online materials around longer-tail keywords. As third-party voices — customers, industry experts, influencers, etc. — begin touting the value of your product or service, you gain additional authority. Every time your niche SEO snowball rolls over in the hills of cyberspace, it will pick up even more credibility.

Putting Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes Meets Search Intent Needs

Why would someone go to the internet to poke around? Because they have a specific problem, they need to solve. Typically, in this realm, patience is at a premium. If your target customer happens to land on one of your resources and does not immediately find it helpful, they will bounce. Knowing your audience's search intent is the North Star for creating content designed to solve the immediate problem.

The best way to offer your potential clientele a rewarding online experience is — this may sound overly simplistic, but it’s true — treat others as you would like them to treat you. You can do this by being relentless about crafting an online buyer’s journey that doesn’t leave your target audience with cartoon question marks popping out of their heads. Treat your users' time as valuable (it is) and move them along with purpose and clarity.

How can I buy from you if I've never heard of you?

Your first step is to create awareness of your niche expertise. Awareness content is information designed to educate and inform, not sell. At this point in the buyer’s journey, overly promotional content simply does not work. Your goal is to solve problems, answer commonly-asked questions, and provide solutions. The user has a problem. You’re helping to solve it, regardless of whether it results in a sale or not.

If you can solve problems and make a sale, great! But keep your primary focus on offering helpful, evergreen, bulletproof content. If you can do that, just trust that your niche authority will rise over time…and so will your sales.

We understand that most businesses would prefer to reverse the sequence, but the online world doesn’t tend to work that way. You don’t have any customers “trapped” in your showroom. As a result, they feel zero reluctance to bounce off your site if they sense you are not trying to help.

Domain Authority Stems from Reliability and Trust

The world of SEO and content strategy can be complicated and confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. As you develop your online presence, it might help to remind yourself of a simple truth. People prefer to buy products and services from people who know their industry inside and out.

Hopefully, you also bring a great deal of enthusiasm to your niche. Is it your desire to help people find solutions to real-world problems? If that desire is authentic, that authenticity, combined with expertise, will put you on the path to sustainable growth. If you’re unsure as to your best next move, we can help. Schedule time with one of our marketing experts today.

There's simply no denying the fact that we all are dependent on our mobile phones today. Mobile devices are everywhere and social media (coupled with mobile SEO) now plays a huge role in attracting new business.

We still use desktop devices, of course, but we now depend on the internet and our mobile devices for our day-to-day needs. Isn't it somewhat obvious, then, what makes mobile SEO important?

The Rise of Mobile Devices...and Mobile SEO Optimization

In this regard, it's useful to understand the importance of mobile SEO. Mobile traffic now outpaces desktop search. You can't leave your desktop user behind, of course, but mobile SEO should be your primary focus.

Today you get maximum sales, traffic, leads, and conversions via mobile users scanning through your content. The rise of search engine optimization is an unavoidable fact because people are always on the go and things on their to-do list are being done on the go, typically on a mobile device.

The advantageous ranking of your content today largely depends on the mobile experience, leveraging local SEO, using social media as part of your digital marketing, and how well your website is optimized for mobile search.

Also, you have to keep mobile-first indexing in mind as this is an important part of mobile marketing. Consequently, mobile SEO is critically important. In this regard, you may need to consult with an SEO agency to make sure you are optimizing your content for mobile without leaving the desktop user behind. Otherwise, the user experience is likely to suffer and you're likely to lose the mobile user.

Listed below are some best practices for tweaking content for mobile SEO. As you consider investing in SEO services and building a mobile friendly site, keep in mind all the relevant factors that influence search engine optimization. These include the site's design, fast-loading content, user interface across mobile and desktop, and navigation. They all influence mobile SEO either directly or indirectly.

1. Prioritize page load speed.

In the age of fast internet speed, your website content cannot lag. Mobile users are notorious for demanding responsive design and a lightning-quick user experience. Your content must appear super fast on any device. If you aren't working on mobile optimization, your user experience is bound to suffer.

You must optimize images for mobile search, invest in responsive design for all your content, use the minimum amount of code, reduce the number of redirects, and use browser caching to its maximum effect. Of course, there are many more tasks that can increase page speed on a desktop and a mobile device and position your mobile site for search engine success.

2. Let the Google "spiders" crawl all over your website.

Blocking Google search spiders can have a disastrous effect on your website. In all likelihood, the ranking of your website will suffer badly, both for your desktop user and mobile visitors.

There are some readily-available tools you can use such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics. When used correctly, these technical SEO tools (and others) can help identify and understand whether the spiders are reaching the important parts of your site or not. This leaves the window for desktop and mobile optimization improvement wide open.

3. Pay attention to your search engine result page (SERP) display.

Mobile search engine optimization requires attention to detail. When you add a number of microdata (tags) such as Schema.org and structured data to your mobile site, search engines can interpret or read them more accurately.

By working toward a mobile first index, you will boost your desktop SEO as well. This represents a true win-win SEO strategy.

Google search can also display your page in SERPs in a better way by facilitating the concentration of the rich snippets beneath the title of the page.

4. Mobile optimization holds the key to increased traffic.

Ask your dev team to make your website mobile-friendly and desktop compliant. Outdated plugins such as Flash might not be useful. It's always better to avoid using too many plugins. Pop-ups need to be avoided as well.

Instead, HTML5 represents a much better and more useful choice for your mobile website. For touch screen navigation on a mobile device, designing for the fat finger is always better. This means that the buttons must not be too small...or too big. Otherwise, scrolling your mobile page becomes tedious.

Less screen space means you have to reduce the length of titles, URLs, and meta-descriptions for the mobile version. What looks great on desktop might transform itself into a jumbled mess on mobile. However, you cannot compromise overall message quality as you tailor text for mobile use.

5. Content upgrades and optimization are a neverending process.

Optimizing your content while keeping local search in mind is another important mobile SEO best practice. Start by standardizing your business name, address, phone number, the name of the city you are operating in, and the metadata of your site for mobile users.

Mobile first indexing combined with local SEO is sure to increase the impact of your search result. Invest in responsive design, accelerated mobile pages, and some solid social media support as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Launching a mobile site means little, of course, if you don't attract visitors. Your mobile friendly website needs to have support from a digital marketing plan. Should you decide to work with a SEO agency to help you get started, make sure your agreed-upon mobile SEO strategy provides for regular check-ups and fine-tuning.

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