Your efforts to establish your business and grow are damaged if you don't grasp and understand what is required when it comes to search engine optimisation.
There are still a lot of cowboys out there flogging SEO, but it's your duty and obligation as a business owner to understand what's required and demand an explanation as to what the SEO experts have been doing in your business, and for them to provide documented, before and after results via Google Analytics.
This page was published yesterday, 20th December 2021 at about 3:00pm and indexed on Google Search Console. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see where we appeared today 21st December 2021 @ 18:20.
Back in the early days of the internet there were terms such as black-hat and white-hat SEO practices. Later geurilla marketing and a mass of differing terms came out that described and explained what SEO was and wasn't.
Over time, this element of the internet has 'grown arms and legs'. More than ever it seems more complex and fraught with problems, leaving business owners wondering how on earth they can get exposure and traction through digital channels rather than having to revert to cold calling because of digital failure.
Let's be clear, getting on the first page means Google believe your article or page is readable, it conforms to their prerequisites of length, format or construction, your use of images and so on. It does not mean you'll be a millionaire next year. View getting on page one as getting a gold star from Google saying to you 'well done'.
Google presents relevant pages to its' own customers, they're not your customers! because Google wants those customers to keep coming back which means they can maintain their position as No.1 in the Search Engine business. It's not for your benefit! Like everything that's free, you're the product, or rather your data is.
It is essential your grasp the logic behind B2B Google search. If you demanded a member of staff jump over a house and they couldn't do it and they said to you, "why don't you do it" and your response was "that's what I pay you for" and then you fired them. It's no different than demanding to get on the first page of Google.
If your page ranks on page 3 and say position 25, it could be out of 40 million searches. Therefore, you MUST think of Google as a process of grading your written work. If Google highly rank you (page 1 to 5 my guess!), then you can rest assured that your customers will probably like and read your content too. Which means you can move on to another stage of digital selling and start driving traffic to your great content.
OK, so we're on page one #1 of Google for the search term 'digital selling uk', admittedly we're at the bottom and of those above us, mostly government pages and so on, but that's out of 4.5bn pages, presented in 0.59 seconds. So when you hear SEO experts tell you you've got to be on page one to get any business, my response is "really, are you sure about that?"
One final point; I have never heard of a business reviewing the top three or four Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP's) and obtaining their contct details and calling those businesses in to quote for a new product.
There's no point talking hypothetically. I am simply going to explain how our SEO and related website elements are set up and you will then understand what you need to ask your people to ensure you have the same of better in your business.
Our website uses Joomla! (www.joomla.org) as its 'base' engine, which is similar to Wordpress, Drupal and Magento, all are classified as CMS or Content Management Systems.
In addition, we use Yootheme Pro (www.yootheme.com) as the overlay template and page layout platform and Zoo 4.0, also by Yootheme, as the main document management for our content categories or blogs as they are typically known.
The elements I am going to cover are as follows: -
When it comes to the most basic element of a website, your navigation and naming convention is paramount. You’re in business to sell your products or services, so the acronym FAB comes in to play. Feature, Attribute, Benefit translates to; what it is, what it does and what it means.
In our case, applying F.A.B to salesXchange and looking at the above menu:
Customer journey and experiences flow, based upon SEO, facilitated by Google Search, that drives traffic to the content provided within our Resources dropdown i.e., articles, videos, podcasts, live streams and downloads.
Embedded in each article, is a call-to-action advert that links the article to the relevant Digital Selling components and in turn, each Digital Selling component has a link to our Services pages which explains what we do. The call to action invites the browser to book a call with us.
Check to see if your website menu structure communicates your FAB and that the overall navigation makes sense to a potential buyer.
Single pages have a menu link and description all to themselves. For example, on the Digital Selling menu dropdown above for Copywriting.
Category pages or blogs pages are presented differently in terms of the menu and naming conventions. In this example, I’ll use the menu etc. for our Articles. Typically, category or blog structures are used for multiple articles about a particular subject(s) and are accessible via a secondary menu or cloud/tags. You can see our Article Categories as: Strategy, Sales, Marketing, Launch, General and Collaboration.
The same keyword principle applies to articles within Categories or Blogs. Our platform Zoo automatically places the whole blog title in the url and it is up to us to leave in what is important without superflous words. the same appplies to the naming convention for images. If you save your image with a relevent name, including the keyword, and not 19034748.jpg, the system will pick up the name of the image and populate the Alternative Text Tag field, ALT for short. Again, this is an area to ensure population of your keywords.
Your category structure would be as follows:
The construction of pages within your CMS website must conform to the above and your page layout must conform the the illustration below.
Our recommended strategy is to set up Google Tag Manager to inform Google Analytics as to how deep your readers engage with your content. The fact you've got this far will show us that you've read 50% of this document. There's more at the bottom of this page.
Schema.org creates and promotes schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages and in email messages. Founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex, Schema.org vocabularies are developed by an open community process that better describes a web page for improved search and presentation by search engines.
A result of Schema and Structured Data, it means Google, for example, will recognise certain elements in your web page and create what is called a Rich Snippet and place the information at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) above any other pay-per-click adverts and above other organically presented SEO that does not have schema markup. This could include and video thumbnail accompanied by chapter markers for a video, an image and some text or a partial number extracted from your article.
Software Plugins or Components are available for most CMS platforms website platforms. We use Google Structured Data (GSD) by Tassos. Other Comp’s are available from Yoast on Wordpress and so on, just ask your web developers.
As a result of implementing GSD, we have structured data for the following elements and page types:
Because the search engine knows what the page type is and how it should be categorised, it is able to extract more information and present it within a search. This means voice search is enhanced because transcripts of videos can be included.
Part of the commonly used approach for SEO is to use an add-on software element called a Component for a CMS platform. In our case we use JSitemap Pro which provides a variety of SEO functionality.
There is a certain sequence that needs to be understood when it comes to sitemaps and manual/automatic submissions to Google via API's when using JSitemap.
New - Page/Document/Article
Once you have created or written your document, you will save it. When this is done, two things happen;
(1) JSitemap creates an entry in the sitemap page and is instantly updated. IT DOES NOT automatically forward the new XML sitemap to Google.
(2) JSitemap triggers the internal Google API and tells Google that a new document has been created, which instructs Google to visit your/our website to crawl and hopefully index the page. HOWEVER, at the instant you save your document and trigger the API, Google will look at its XML sitemap file it has on Google Search Console. At this point, assuming you have a well structured document, when Google crawls your page, you will get a respponse that allocates your URL to 'Indexed, Not Submitted on Sitemap'.
A common error with many websites is that either pages are created without sitemaps and businesses simply wait for Google to crawl their sites. Or they do not have a strategy to ensure that updated site maps are submitted to Google once new pages ARE created.
To ensure consistency, I recommend once the document has been saved and the entry made on the internal page, at that point the new XML sitemap is to be submitted to Google and then the author returns to the new document and does once last read-through and makes any necessary adjustments. Even if it does not need any - make some! This triggers the API again and tell Google to reindex the page based upon the last modification date that is automatically inserted by the website CMS software into the XML file.
Editing and Existing Page/Document/Article
CMS websites are designed in conjunction with Google, meaning that you are expected to imporove content. You might change the title, content, images, videos, who knows, but each time you make a change, the 'MOD' time and date is updated. This date is registered on the XML file, which corresponds to the exact file held on Google's Search Console.
When you make a change, it triggers the API. Google responds by adhering to your request. It also makes a 'Fetch' action whereby it returns periodically to your website to collect the updated XML file to see whcih files have been updated, at which time it will instruct the crawl 'bot' to take a look at the changes and re-index accordingly.
You have to bear in mind there is a thing called a crawl budget. Think of this as the processor cost of sending a robot to crawl and process what you've done on your website. It's all 'cost' in one form or another. This is why the use of an API is important to ensure timely updates are achieved at a low cost to get re-indexed.
The only way I can write about this is because I have gone through the frustration of figuring out what the techies say versus the actual business processes that need to be understood. Just because there is an API liking to Google does not mean that the XML sitemap will be updated at the same time. I tell you this so you're not waiting for something to happen that never will. So manually resubmit your sitemaps to Google Search Console if you're using JSitemap.
One final point. Google can often re-index immediately because you are requesting one URL at a time and not a whole website. However, it can take a few days before Google will update the Search Console pages, so don't be like me and think it's not working. I know, I'm impatient, but I did work it out in the end :)
Google makes its money out of providing the most efficient search results. If your website is slow, Google knows its customer, whoever is entering the search, will not be happy if they’re served up a poorly structured, slow, badly written and messy web page. Therefore, you have no choice but to create best experience possible.
To help us with this, we use an add-on Component called JCH Optimize. This, whilst very easy to install enables us to compress and enhance multiple elements of our website. This includes:
The component we use is called Admin Tools by Akeeba and provides essential security and protection for our website and, through using a short script at the time of loading, tells servers how long images and website elements need to be kept before being deleted, what type of fonts can be referenced and so on. This has an impact on page speed.
They also provide a backup solution whcih can be activated manually or vi a cron job (automated). These two packages are key to maintaining a clean, safe and protected CMS.
You might have the best web page in the world, but it takes forever to load, then your page will be penalised by Google. Google wants to keep its customers happy, which is why Page Speed plays a big part in Google Analytics and features in many of the website testing platforms with Google providing the backend technology from their platform Lighthouse.
There are a number of well-known free and paid platforms to help analyse and assess your website, the ones we use are as follows:
And that's it. I hope you're able to get something from this page. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a properly organised website and SEO strategy. It's not even as if it takes forever to get place on Google. I have written an article and got on the the first page of Google without simply searching on the whole extended title.
They key is to understand that you can create content and get to page one as long as your content and pages are structured properly and there are no 'blockages'.
Once you achieve the optimate website structure, that adheres to Google's conditions, then you can start concentrating on the content itself and the digital selling strategies that will help grow and develop your business.
I know it's a long image, but it is important to drive home that a well crafted article can get on to the first page of Google within hours and it's not some long drawn out process.
As you can see, the search term I used was simply 'digital selling and seo'. So my suggestion to you is to think about how and what you can do with your own content that means it's not hidden behind a marketing automation email form that no one can see.
If you would like us to take a look at your operation and recommend a new strategy, you only have to get in touch - oh look, there's a Book a Call button just below, how convenient :)
Digital marketing is about providing the content your prospects are demanding before they'll speak to you. So speak to us first...
To learn about how we can help your business, take a look at What We Do - Professional Services