The Truth About Traffic

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The Truth About Traffic

Website traffic comes from a variety of sources—by going straight to a website without using a search engine (direct), through linking referrals, paid ads, or social media. However, organic search is still king and is responsible for 53% of all traffic coming to a website on average [1]. While organic search traditionally delivers far more traffic to websites than any other channel, tracking organic traffic continues to be difficult.

There are 4 core intents when it comes to organic search. Each of these intents ties into different search layouts and results. This helps the searcher accomplish their goal (or intent) as quickly and accurately as possible.

Each intent has different features that become part of the search result to make the result more useful and accomplish the intent better/faster. For example, navigational and transactional searches will likely yield map results with direct click-to-call actions and directions—while informational search results have a featured snippet or direct answer at the top of the SERP, requiring no further action (or “zero-click ). In fact, informational search results are often the main culprit in lost traffic—zero-click results are great for the end-user but require no additional action which means often there is no click or conversion tracked by your website.

Other results, like research, typically yield expanded search features like Google tools (job listings widget, direct booking, etc.), related images, carousel results, and recommended videos. Each of these additional search results/features detracts from a website s overall clicks and traffic, which is why we typically see a rise in impressions (the amount of times content is displayed) rather than direct visits (clicks/traffic leading to a website).

Core intent sample

Important Note:
Good SEO can help capture zero-click customers! For example, if there is a phone number in the meta title or description of your website, this is easily clickable by searchers using a smartphone or tablet. When SEO is done right, searchers can also click on local listings, maps, and features snippets without ever going to a website.

Updates & Traffic

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Updates and Traffic

“My keywords are ranking on page 1 but my traffic went down”, is a common concern in our industry. Traffic has a number of elements that no one can control, including seasonality, industry trends, bots, and Google algorithm updates. When BERT was implemented in October of 2019, many business owners saw a drop in low-intent traffic as BERT was used to better understand context and nuance in search queries. This update helped computers understand language more like humans do and helped match a searcher s intent with more relevant results.

For example, let’s say someone from Brazil wants to know if they need a visa to visit the USA. According to Google, the word to and its relationship to the other words in the query are particularly important to understanding the meaning. It’s about a Brazilian citizen traveling to the U.S., and not the other way around.

Previously, our algorithms wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection, and we returned results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query [4].

Before and after BERT's implementation sample

When small business owners saw their traffic dip after BERT’simplementation, it was largely traffic that was not relevant to their business, to begin with.

While it’s important to always keep an eye on organic traffic, it is not a metric that should be viewed in isolation when deeming whether an SEO campaign is successful or not.

If traffic is viewed correctly in year-over-year data, accounting for as many controllable variables as possible (correct installation, spam/bot/internal filtering, goal/conversion tracking, etc.), then it is a metric that can be viewed and used accurately to help support the benefits of increased organic rankings and organic leads/conversions. Otherwise, it is best to keep organic traffic as a tracked side metric, but not touted as a guaranteed byproduct of SEO.

Tracking Organic Traffic

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Tracking Organic Traffic

How and where you get your organic traffic data can affect what you see and how accurate it is. The most common tools used for website analytics are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Omniture (AdobeAnalytics), and SEMRush. Each of these tools collects and measures data in different ways.

It is the slight differences in how traffic data is collected that cause discrepancies from one tool to another, affecting data accuracy between +4% to -11% of visits received [3]. Even something as simple as a visitor’s default internet browser can affect reported traffic by up to 26% [3]. Because no single tool can provide all the data needed to track a visitor to your website, it’s important to pull data from multiple sources and piece it together to form a more comprehensive data picture.

Currently, the best source for keyword data is Google’s Keyword Planner (previously known as Google Adwords). However, this platform no longer provides average search volumes but instead provides average search volume ranges.

Tracking Organic Traffic Sample

That means we don’t truly know what kindof search volume a keyword has since itfalls within the fairly large ranges providedby Google and depends on a variety of factors. Missing data miscategorized traffic, and spam also continues to be consistent and ever-changing issues with organic traffic. These issues have a larger impact on websites with smaller amounts of traffic (generally those with less than 5,000 visitors a month). While these particular concerns can impact any website, it’s often less impactful to sites with higher traffic data.

Missing traffic can also come from ad-blockers, empty referral data, timed-out sessions, missing cookies, or even disabled technology like javascript. All of these things lead to gaps within Google Analytics data.

Given today’s analytics toolset and functionality, we don’t have a feasible or scalable way to tie keyword rank to organic traffic. Most people can make a general case about improved traffic gains from improving keyword rankings, but tying this directly to a singular keyword or keyword phrase is simply not possible at this time.

SEO Timeline

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When you’ll start seeing results

First 30 Days

During the first month, we lay a strong foundation for your campaign’s success.

This includes:

  1. Initial Campaign Set Up
  2. Keyword Optimization
  3. Website Optimization
  4. Business Profile Development
  5. Dashboard Performance Reports

2-5 Months

Keywords begin to move up the rankings.

We act as an online marketing extension of your business, promoting it everywhere your customer searches.

You will experience keyword fluctuation as Google starts to recognize your website, so don’t worry if keywords move around; it’s totally normal.

We work on optimizations and link building to build your website’s trust and relevance.

6-9 Months – Keywords begin to reach page 1!

Success!

Once reaching page one for your selected keywords, we want to keep them there!

We continue working hard to ensure your campaign maintains top page rankings while nurturing and elevating more keywords to help you rise above your competition.

Note: Implementing our keyword recommendations is the key to success we know how to target the right keywords for your business so you get optimal results!

9+ Months

Stay ranking & expand your reach!

We build on your success. Now that you have Google’s attention and your online presence is growing, we continue to leverage this momentum and optimize for new keywords.

What Happens to Your Keyword Rankings When You Cancel SEO?

Keyword Rankings

SEO is like going to the gym or practicing an instrument. If you miss a few days, you’re not going to see a massive difference in your skill level. But over time, as muscle strength and memory decline, you lose your ability.

For SEO, stopping a campaign won’t make a difference right away. However, typically after six months of ending an SEO campaign, a website s keywords drop off the first page of Google — sometimes even out of the top 10 pages. Stopping SEO is a slow slide back to the bottom.

 

 

Let’s Extend Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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Handicap Accessibility

Let’s make sure Global Accessibility Awareness Day lasts beyond May 19th. We can start by sharing helpful photos that showcase accessible attributes like wheelchair ramps, handicap parking, and accessible menus. 

Please send your pictures to ada@scottidesign.com or use this form, and ScottiDesign will upload them to your Google Maps listing. This would be a great time to show off any accessibility improvements you have made in your business.

 

Handicap Accessibility Photos Upload

Send us your photos and we will add them to Google Maps.
Max. file size: 1 GB.

Keyword Strategy

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Keyword Strategy

Our Keyword Selection Process: Initial Research

Once your account is set up, our SEO experts conduct extensive research on your keywords so we can select the right ones for your business. It’s the first step in doing what we do best—getting your website on the first page of Google!

Business

We examine your website and discover more about your business. Your input is very important to the success of your SEO campaign. Knowing what you do, why you do it, who your clientele is, and how you position your products/services gives us invaluable insight into selecting the right keywords.

Industry

We research your industry, compiling a list of keywords people search for within that industry to strongly position you against your competitors. Competitive research is also conducted and taken into account for possible gains in keyword positioning.

Region

We research search trends so we can craft regional keyword phrases that will drive as much traffic to your website as possible.

 

4 Stage Keyword Quality Vetting Process

When research is complete, we’ll have a list of strong keywords for your campaign. To select the best keywords from that list, we put each keyword through a rigorous system of testing and scoring in four key categories.

Competitively Balanced

Instead of looking for keywords with the most search activity around them, we choose words and phrases with enough activity to drive significant traffic to your site, but not so much activity that they re too competitive to rank for.

Intent to Buy

We interpret “searcher intent”—the action searchers intend to take—for each keyword. This helps us identify people who are more likely to come to your site ready to make a purchase rather than targeting users who are simply looking for information.

Cost

We look at your budget, compare it to the keywords on your list, and select ones in the right price range—we want to make sure there is enough budget to fund the amount of work necessary for a successful campaign.

Current Rankings

We look through your list of keywords to identify any you might already be starting to rank for. With a little extra help, we’ll get these keywords on the first page. Once they stabilize, we’ll target new keywords. These medium-ranking keywords will take priority as we make final keyword selections.

All these factors help us choose keywords that have the best chance of reaching the first page of Google in 6 months. Targeting quality keywords helps build your online presence and attracts new customers looking for your products/services!

86% of our clients get on the first page of Google within 6 months.

What happens to the other 14%?

SEO campaigns typically don’t reach the first page within six months because of the following reasons:

1. Insufficient budget — there was not enough budget allocated to fund the amount of work required to move to page one within six months.

2. Clients choose unrecommended keywords — rather than relying on our expertise and experience to guide them.

3. Clients stop communication — they are unresponsive and miss out on important recommended optimizations we ask them to approve.

 

Before a client is educated on keyword strategy, they often suggest keywords that have too much competition or have poor searcher intent. Many clients believe that casting a wider net and choosing broad keywords will result in more traffic to their website. Although this could be true for certain digital marketing strategies, with SEO the opposite is true; the more specific the keywords, the better chance they’ll have landed on the first page of Google.

According to a study of over 5 million data points by Backlinko in 2019, 99% of searchers never go beyond the first page of Google’s results. If you aren’t on the first page, you don’t exist to most searchers. This is why it is so important to choose keywords that have the best chance of landing on the first page of Google.

We have SEO performance data from over 115K small business accounts. While our clients always have a choice in what keywords we target, we’ve identified exactly what makes our keyword recommendations the best.

Setting Expectations

The biggest reason businesses rank for highly competitive keywords is they often have years of history optimizing for them. Clients who wish to overtake their top-ranking competitors need to do more to build their trust and relevance with Google, which takes time; even more so if your client has a smaller budget.

For local campaigns, we build your presence in your physical location before expanding your reach to surrounding areas. Google won’t recommend a business outside their searcher’s area if that business isn’t trusted in their own circle of influence first.

Our SEO clients are incredibly successful ranking online because we advise them to avoid going after the most highly competitive keywords in their industry or region—at least at first. We target keywords that have the most realistic chance to succeed and build Google’s trust in the quickest and most effective way possible.

Follow our keyword recommendations to be part of the 86%!

Our Top 5 Onsite Recommendations

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Our Top 5 Onsite Recommendations

Onsite recommendations (OSRs) are critical updates to your website that allow search engines and users to quickly and clearly understand what your business is all about. Our OSRs ensure your keywords are prominently featured in key sections throughout your website. If a website has clear, purposeful content it will be rewarded with higher rankings.

Our Top 5 Onsite Recommendations

Onsite recommendations sample

 

1. Page Title – This is what a user sees in their browser “tabs”.

2. Meta Description – This generally appears in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and is used to explain the purpose of the page to a searcher.

3. H1 Tag – Just like a chapter heading in a book, this highlights the importance of a term on a page.

4. Additional H-tags – These are used to emphasize key phrases on a page.

5. Alt Image Tags – These are used to describe the content of a picture/image.


In order to make your SEO campaign a success, it’s imperative to implement our onsite recommendations ASAP. We generally see a large spike in rankings 2-8 weeks after customers implement OSRs. If you give us access to your website, we can even implement them for you.

The faster OSRs are implemented, the faster you’ll see results!

 

Map Packs

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Search Engine Map Packs

What is a ‘Map Pack’?

As search engines scour the web, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others will return search queries with a list of the top two or three closest businesses that best fulfill the request of the consumer. Physical businesses at the top of the search results under the map are known collectively as a map’ or local pack’. Search engines provide crucial information about each of the businesses in the pack, giving them a competitive edge.

Sample of a map pack

Each point has its own ranking strategy. Take extra care when providing this information to Google.

Building a Strong Foundation

Best practices have broken map pack ranking into two categories: foundational factors and competitive difference makers. Foundational work gives you the authority search engines look for first when answering a query. Competitive difference-maker methods are used to bring your business closer to the top of the list and score you a better spot on the map pack leaderboard.

“The more you can do to teach Google
about your business, the better off you are
going to be.”

Ben Fisher, GMB Platinum Product Expert

Foundational Factors

GMB Optimization – Google My Business directly integrates with Google and Google map searches. The more accurate your information, the more likely you are to appear closer to the top.

Citations – Uploading your Name, Address, and Phone Numbers (NAP) to business citation sites can help search engines recognize your business as a fully operational entity.

Location – Your business location in relation to the searcher will be a huge factor in your appearance on a map pack. Make sure you have a GMB setup and that the information is up to date. This will help you with Google’s SERPs.

**Interactive numbers connect customers directly to you for an instant, zero-click traffic.

 

Competitive Difference Makers

Reviews – Just like social media, Google and other search engines watch for engagement as they determine result ranks. Updated business photos and new reviews show Google that you are an active, popular business.

Domain Authority – Repeated, specific business claims increase your authority on a given topic. List your business on as many local business profile directories as you can.

Inbound links: Improve your chance of being mentioned by local stakeholders by engaging with the Consider marketing to locals:
community.

• chamber of commerce

• fairs, charities, and fundraisers

• online communities

• non-competing local businesses

 

Our Link Building Strategy

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Ranking on the first page of Google takes two things: relevance and trust.

Relevance = onsite work

We optimize the content, keywords, and code of your website. This gives users the information they need about your services/products and supports what is being said offsite.

Trust = offsite work

We create content about your industry and place it where other people can like, share, and click to route back to your website.

A website’s trust is determined by the number of other websites that link back to a website. These links, called backlinks, are like a “vote of confidence” from one website to another. It’s a
signal to Google that other people can vouch for and recommend your services and products.


Link Diversification

We place active, clickable links in all the places people gather online (industry sites, blogs, business directories, etc.). These links direct users back to your website. The more links you have, and the more relevant and trusted they are, the more you will be, too.

Link Location

We don’t focus solely on high-profile websites. We ensure you have links from a variety of relevant sources.

 

 

Link Type

To make your link portfolio natural and organic, we supply an appropriately balanced mix of do-follow and no-follow links.

 

 

Link Quality

A small business doesn’t need hundreds of links to gain trust, and too many links can look suspicious and unnatural to Google.

 


Link Location

We create backlinks that appear natural, as if a small business owner were manually creating their own.

The “quality” of a link is subjective and varies greatly from one SEO expert to another. Because Google doesn’t share their algorithm with anyone, it opens the door to a wide variety of opinions on what effective SEO is. Many of those are just that, opinions.

Links relevant to our clients’ services and products are far more impactful than links from a website with high domain authority.

We performed a case study that targeted higher domain authority sites and the performance was nearly identical to sites with low domain authority. Focusing on sites with high domain authority took significantly more effort and doubled the price of our SEO.

 


This is what our method is all about; using diverse link-building efforts to get our clients the best results for the best price. It doesn’t matter what our company thinks good SEO is, or what the internet at large thinks good SEO is — Google is the judge and our track record indicates they like our link-building strategy.

In fact, they like it so much that 86% of our clients reach the first page of Google within 6 months.

 

 

 

 

 

10 tips to registering a domain

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10 tips to registering a domain name for your business.

 

  1. Your domain is the address of your website, and it does not have to be your legal company name. Avoid adding things like LLC, Corp, Inc; they really don’t mean much to a searcher or search engine; you would be better off adding a descriptor like if your market was regional, you could add NJ,  NY, or a county or town,  Morris, etc.
  2. Keep it short! You will have to add your domain to all your marketing material, and you may have to spell it for people, so the easier, the better.
  3. .COM domains are usually the most effective, but if you need to use something else, make sure it makes sense, like .shop for an online store.
  4. Register possible misspellings or alternate spellings of your domain so that even if a user does not enter your correct domain they will still get your website
  5. Pay extra for a private registration. This will cut down on spam and scammers.
  6. Don’t register a domain that can be confused with another business.
  7. Set your domain to auto-renew
  8. Check if your domain has been used before and who used it at https://web.archive.org/
  9. Use a trusted domain registry 
  10. Avoid doubled letters and Hyphens

We are having a sale on domains starting for as little as
$11.99 per year.