Blog2019-06-09T08:12:17-04:00

How to write website content for good SEO

Just like people scan texts in a certain way, so does Google. Let me give you 3 examples of how Google uses text structure for its ranking:

1. Google defined, in some of its patents, ranking signals such as semantic closeness. Semantic closeness refers to the proximity of related words in a text while taking into account the formatting of that text. To be able to understand semantic closeness of words, your text’s structure must be clear.
2. In another Google patent, “the reasonable surfer“, Google explicitly talks about headings. Headings containing certain keywords are important for the topic of a given page.
3. With the Hummingbird update, Google became a lot better at recognizing synonyms.

There are more patents that hint at using a text’s structure to understand the text. Google, over time, has become much better at analyzing content. The better you write, the easier it becomes for Google to understand your content and therefore to rank it. Plus, Google is working hard to truly understand language. For example, in 2019, Google introduced BERT, a Natural Language Processing (NLP) model that helps Google understand language better in order to serve more relevant results.

Setting up articles with clear structure has a positive effect on the ranking for another reason as well. Well-structured texts have lower bounce rates and higher chances to receive social media attention. This, in itself, leads to higher rankings.

Tips on improving the structure of your text

If you want to improve the structure of your text, you need to pay attention to:

1. The first paragraph of your text
2. Your headings
3. The first sentence of every new paragraph

Some time ago, I wrote an article on how to set up the structure of a blog post. Make sure to read that article if you have trouble setting up the structure for a text.

First paragraph
You should clearly formulate what your post is about in the first paragraph. In printed texts, a writer usually starts off with some kind of teaser, but there is no time for that if you are writing for the web. You only have seconds to draw your reader’s attention. Make sure the first paragraph tells the main message of your post. That way, you make it easy for your reader to figure out what your post is about and: you tell Google what your post is about. This is also known as the inverted pyramid style. Don’t forget to put your focus keyword in that first paragraph!

Headings
Headings should be attractive and should clearly state the content of the paragraph below it. Headings allow your readers to quickly scan through your text and to decide whether or not they would like to read your article (or which parts). We would advise you to put a header above every long paragraph (or above a group of paragraphs which are thematically similar).

It’s helpful to search engines if a heading defines what a piece of text is going to be about. Whether they’re a ranking factor or not (and SEOs do quarrel about that), headings are of great importance to the structure of your text. Google will therefore probably use them to determine what the text is about.

Focus keyword in first paragraph. Another reason to have the focus keyword in your first paragraph is simple psychology. People recognize the word they sought for and think they’re in the right spot!

Core sentences
Make sure the first sentence of a paragraph is the most important, the core sentence, of that paragraph. After all, people tend to read the first sentence of every new paragraph as they’re scanning through content. The other sentences in a paragraph elaborate upon that first core sentence. Chances are Google will pay extra attention to these sentences, in order to determine the topic of a text. They are great places to use your keyword, if possible. If you’re writing a well-structured article and staying on-topic, your keyword will come up naturally in many core sentences.

Conclusion
Text structure is important to attract readers to your blog, as well as for SEO reasons. Writing well-structured and well-written texts isn’t easy, though. At Yoast, we are strong believers in the importance of quality content. That’s why the readability analysis makes part of Yoast SEO and we offer a Content SEO training subscription that includes a SEO copywriting course. In this SEO training, we teach you how to write the best copy for your audience and search engines, and how to structure your text well!

January 31st, 2020|

Systematically upgrade your existing content

The benefits of content upgrades

Unlike fine wine, the content on your site doesn’t necessarily age well, with some pieces degrading as time goes on. Creating new content is not always needed when you have a body of good content that can be made to work harder and deliver quick results with some refreshing.

Upgrading existing content provides the following benefits:

Provides a better user experience: Users read your content for information, but if yours is out of date, it’s not useful anymore. Ensuring your content is current and accurate is the single best thing you can do for your readers’ experience.
Maintains URL authority: Every time you create a new page on your site, the new URL has zero authority. The URLs of older content have existing authority from any links they’ve acquired, and just from being aged.
Can be optimized for new or more keywords: As you’ll see below, one of the biggest benefits of checking your data is to see what types of search queries are resulting in impressions and clicks. Sometimes you’ll see a good keyword with a very low click-through rate. Simply editing content to include that keyword or its variations helps the content rank better and gain higher click-through rates.

How often should you update your content?

There is no set standard for updating frequency and realistically this varies by website and industry.

If you are just starting out, you won’t need to focus on updating content for at least 12 months. If you have an existing blog that gets traffic, every six months is a good timeframe to review data and determine which content is doing well or could benefit from updating. If your industry is often in flux, you may find that content needs to be updated much more often to stay current. If, however, you have more than 10,000 visitors a month, you might want to update your content quarterly.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to boost your rankings, improve your SEO and provide better information to your readers, consider updating your existing content. This is a good option to leverage your current SEO and avoid creating new content that will likely take time to start working. Don’t forget: Once you’ve updated your content, it’s time to share and promote it as well.

For a content evaluation don’t hesitate to contact us.

January 26th, 2020|

Increase Conversions with Google My Business in 2020

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is basically a listing of information that businesses fill in and lets Google use it for Maps or search results.

GMB was previously known as Google Places and now all Google Place accounts are automatically upgraded to Google My Business accounts.

Here is the official definition:

“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”

And here are the main features provided by Google My Business:

1. Receive and respond to Reviews
2. Post and get photos by customers
3. Post news
4. Insights

Why is Google My Business important?

Without it, your location will not appear in the Google Maps listings, especially for the main local queries when people search on Google from their mobile phones.

1. You have full control of what people see when they search for your business
2. Increase SEO performance and organic search
3. Updates reflect Search and Maps automatically, such as business hours or photos
4. Share photos to boost your offer and increase conversions
5. Post news or offers that people will in search SERPs Knowledge Panel
6. Get analytics on how customers searched for your business, and where those customers are coming from.

To sum up, if you invest enough resources to handle reviews, manage photos, post updates regularly, your Google My Business can turn into a new acquisition channel for your business.

Just think about it.

Google is very different compared to social media networks.

Search is intent-driven, which actually means that the user has the will and interest to do an action. And in some cases, such as the local search, they want to do that action NOW.

So that is why the intent-driven concept allows a business that can match the consumer discovery right at that moment, can win big in increasing conversions.

And if you already have accounts and manage Facebook Pages or Instagram profiles, then you must do the same and start managing your Google My Business.

We here at Blue Wave Concepts will gladly setup and manage your Google My Business listing.

January 26th, 2020|

Why Responsive Design is Important and Google Approved

Can you recall the shrunken version of a desktop site on your phone, where you have to pinch and zoom to see anything? It was likely not an optimal experience!

Because of this, back in 2015, Google rolled out a change to the search engine algorithms which now factor in a website’s mobile presence as a ranking signal. The date was aptly named Mobilegeddon. This reason alone can justify why responsive design is important!

Simply put, a website needs to be user-friendly on a smartphone.

If it is not, your brand may be losing out on leads and sales.

In fact, 40% of users have gone to a competitor’s website after a poor mobile experience.

What is a responsive website?
A responsive website changes the layout to offer an experience based on the device being used, especially ideal for mobile viewing.

A mobile responsive website includes design elements such as:

  • Readable text without requiring zoom
  • Adequate space for tap targets
  • No horizontal scrolling

Did you know the number of smartphone users internationally surpassed 2 billion in 2016?

Websites not optimized for all these smaller screens can experience a decline in their search engine rankings. This means that they are not getting found online.

It’s true that over 60% of searches online now come from a mobile device.

To ensure your website offers an experience tailored to handheld devices (without creating a separate app), consider why responsive design is important as a mobile solution.

Let’s get into the details about the why and how.

First of all…what the heck is mobile responsive design and why should you care?

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive web design (RWD) creates a system for a single site to react to the size of a user’s device—with one URL and one content source. A responsive website has a fluid and flexible layout which adjusts according to screen size.

The importance of responsive web design is that it offers an optimized browsing experience.

Basically, your website will look great and work well on a desktop (or laptop), a tablet, and a mobile phone’s browser.

Get this:

In the past, developers built more than one site in order to accommodate different screen sizes. With the number of device types out there on the market today, this seems completely inefficient right?

Now you can understand why responsive web design is not a shiny trend anymore, but more of a shift in the thinking behind building websites. The term was actually coined in 2010 by web designer Ethan Marcotte.

“Responsive web design offers us a way forward, finally allowing us to design for the ebb and flow of things.” -Ethan Marcotte

Having a mobile responsive website is not just another option—it’s a requirement!

Benefits of Mobile Responsive Design
The number one benefit of a responsive layout is the guarantee that any user on any device will have the best experience possible on your website. And, the most consistent.

Website responsiveness is also a great way to refine the content on your site, making sure that people using a mobile device are only seeing the most essential information.

With the Google algorithm update, a responsive web design increases visibility on search engines—because it is mobile-friendly. A site with an effective mobile experience will show up in search results above one without.

Why Responsive Design is Important for Business

  • Increase reach to customers and clients on smaller devices (tablets & smartphones)
  • A consistent experience that can increase lead generation, sales and conversions
  • Analytics, tracking, and reporting can all be in one place
  • Time and cost on-site content management is decreased
  • Stay ahead of the competition (even 44% of Fortune 500 companies are not mobile-ready at this time!)

Note, that there are two other methods by which to offer a mobile-friendly experience. The first is called Dynamic Serving, which uses the same URL but different HTML and CSS code. Pages recognize the device they are viewed on, and serve up the correct code.

The second method, is a separate mobile site altogether. When users visit on a mobile device, they are sent to a different mobile-specific URL.

As long as the correct steps are taken to optimize fully for mobile users, the most useful method really depends on any given situation. Figure out which works the best for your online presence, before diving into it.

Google accounts for over 5.7 billion searches conducted on the web daily.

The Google-recommended configuration for smartphone-optimized sites is responsive web design.

Google even offers a mobile responsive test, so that you can see how easily a visitor is able to use your page on a mobile device. You simply enter a page URL and receive a score.

January 24th, 2020|

How We Create a Brand Strategy For Your Business

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from over a decade of helping brands tell their story, it’s that a successful business can’t survive if it doesn’t have a strong brand strategy. Without a unified identity, everything from your content, to your culture, to your core business can suffer. But there’s a reason why this problem is so pervasive: Building a strong brand strategy takes time, effort, and commitment. And that’s where many people (including ourselves) can get stuck.

We started doing brand strategy work a few years back after encountering various clients who came to us for content strategy work but couldn’t articulate who they were or what they were really trying to achieve. We soon realized they needed more than content help; they needed a total brand realignment. We were eager to help guide them, but we also had two big realizations:

1. Brand strategy work seems really complicated—and it shouldn’t be. Once we started learning more about brand strategy, we ran into so many schools of thought, conflicting perspectives, and outdated exercises. If we wanted to give our partners a simple framework, we’d have to create it ourselves.

2. We didn’t know our own brand as well as we thought we did. The more we explored our clients’ brand problems, the more we realized we were struggling with many of the same issues. If we wanted to confidently guide our clients through the brand strategy framework we created, we’d have to be the guinea pig and test it on ourselves first.

So we dug in, got dirty, and did the work. Thankfully, after an entire year of tweaking and testing (first on ourselves, then with a few brave clients), we emerged with a tried-and-true brand strategy process that was simple, intuitive, and adaptable for any brand of any size. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it worth it? Oh yeah.

We think it’ll be worth it for you, too. In this article, we’ve taken everything we’ve learned about brand strategy—the books, podcasts, articles, and personal experience—and distilled it down into a simple step-by-step process to create an effective, flexible brand strategy that will help you…

  • Understand who you truly are and use your beliefs and values to guide your decisions in ways that are better for your people, your business, and the future.
  • Communicate your brand consistently and effectively through every piece of content you make.
  • Attract the right customers to build a strong, lasting brand.
  • Position your brand in a way that helps you compete now—and tomorrow.

But let’s start with some basic education.

What Is a Brand?

There are a million definitions of a “brand.” Often, when people talk about a “brand,” they’re referring to the physical mark (or logo) imprinted on something to identify the business that manufactured it. But a brand is more than a physical mark. It’s an emotional mark—more specifically, an emotional experience, strengthened or weakened through every interaction with that business.

We define brand as what people think, feel, and say about your business. (This differs from marketing, which is what you say about your business.)

What Is a Brand Strategy?

As branding guru Marty Neumeier says, a brand strategy is “a plan for the systematic development of brand in alignment with a business strategy.”

A brand strategy helps you understand who you are and acts as a blueprint to help you communicate it.

Our brand strategy process is broken into three distinct parts. We guide you from your Brand Heart (the core of your brand), to the articulation of your Brand Messaging (how you talk about who you are), to your Visual Identity (the visual expression of your brand). By the end, you’ll have a full brand strategy, summed up in fresh brand guidelines to help you bring your brand to life.

Why Do You Need a Brand Strategy?

When you don’t know who you are, why you exist, what you believe in, or what you’re trying to achieve, your business suffers. From customer communication issues to employee retention, a lack of brand strategy causes problems at every level of an organization.

Having worked with hundreds of clients over the last decade, we’ve learned to spot the telltale signs of a brand in crisis, often caused by a lack of strategy. (Some of these issues might sound familiar to you. Before we documented our brand strategy, we suffered from them too.)

When you have no brand strategy…

  • You don’t understand your purpose, vision, mission, or values, so you make marketing and business decisions that don’t reflect them.
  • You don’t have a documented marketing plan, but you hope that whatever you’re doing will work.
  • Your team is fractured by disunity, confusion, and conflict, making it hard for employees to feel engaged and interested.
  • You don’t have cohesive brand messaging, so your content tends to be inconsistent at best, and contradictory at worst. As a result, it’s difficult to attract people who share your values (customers, employees, etc.).
  • You can’t clearly articulate your brand, and as a result, you can’t carve out a discernible place in the market.

In short, without a brand strategy, you lose.

What Team Do You Need To Build Your Brand Strategy?

You can’t build a brand strategy alone. You need a brand team to craft, revise, and bring it to life at every level of your organization. Without this designated team, the work you do here will likely get sidetracked or steamrolled.

Our brand strategy process is broken into three distinct parts. We guide you from your Brand Heart (the core of your brand), to the articulation of your Brand Messaging (how you talk about who you are), to your Visual Identity (the visual expression of your brand). By the end, you’ll have a full brand strategy, summed up in fresh brand guidelines to help you bring your brand to life.

Luckily, you don’t have to hire a ton of people to form your brand team. You can even have a two-person team, so long as both people can cover these essential roles.

January 23rd, 2020|

Why you should be using social media for your business

One of the biggest mistakes by small businesses is not utilizing the tools they have.

One of the biggest tools people often miss is social media. Here are a few reasons why, if you aren’t using social media for your business, you are losing out to your competitors;

– A strong branding presence: if I search a product and there is no website, no Facebook group or page or any other social media, then I’m not going to remember your item and product.
– Get great cost per click: While a lot of you may have used Google Adwords (and often I hear people complaining that they spent tonnes of money without any results), Facebook can be a great tool. Facebook’s cost per click is 10% of the Google Adwords price.
– Insights: It gives you a clear insight into what products your customers love. The like and share buttons are very visible to your customers, and they can easily use it to show yo what they like – and you can post more of this content.

Now, doing pay per click via Facebook isn’t as straightforward as just adding the URL to your website and hoping people buy your product, there’s lots more to it. To learn more, send me an e-mail at sales@bluewaveconcepts.com

January 9th, 2020|