SEO for Whitby companies is more important now than it has ever been since the inception of digital marketing. It’s not enough to have a nice-looking, navigable website anymore. That would be like trying to work with an analog Nokia flip phone in the generation of AI. The right tools are everything, and when it comes to running a business, whether it’s online or not, SEO isn’t just another tool––it’s your entire toolkit. 

We are experiencing an unprecedented time in history, right now––and we’re all in it together. COVID-19 hasn’t left anyone out of its reach. The economic impact on Durham and the Whitby Region leaves many of us feeling unstable, uncertain, and unable to plan for the future. Logical Mix has seen first hand the devastation on local businesses from attending local meetings and events.

Whether you own a small, large, or medium-sized business, Change has grabbed you by the throat, sat you down, and told you how things are going to go––nowhere within your control. Indeed, that’s the way it feels. 

Foot traffic has slowed and people just aren’t shopping the way they used to. Restaurateurs are suffering from a lack of visitors, and even online businesses are getting slapped in the face by a major increase in competitors––seems everyone is scrambling to start on online business now just to make ends meet. 

The word of the day (year) is adjust and adapt. That’s two words, but as 2020 continues to show us, rules are just statements of intent––the real rules aren’t up to us.

Am I painting a frightening picture? Admittedly, I am not the artist, nor can I make any promises about a renormalized future for local business in Whitby, Durham, or the world. However, I can give you my strong recommendation that comes from a place of diverse experience and 10+ years in an industry that has seen a LOT of change: SEO for Durham companies is your greatest asset right now. That goes for small, medium, and large businesses, online or offline, in any industry, with any ROI goal.

Everyone is online, which means your presence needs to be relevant, current, and interesting. You need to reach customers with the motivation of a mother wolf protecting her pups, without making rookie errors out of desperation. You also need to do a little sweep of antiquated digital marketing methods (ie. last year’s)––a classic “out with the old, in with the new.”

SEO Is A Toolkit

SEO is easy to explain, but a bit tricky to implement. Many people think SEO is just about showing up on the first page of Google SERPs. Let’s use the word “just” with care––ranking in the top results is certainly a must-reach goal of SEO, but maintaining that status is what SEO is really about. It’s like losing weight. What’s the point of kicking off 20 kg, only to gain it back the following week? It’s a lot of hard work for nothing. 

SEO has a lot of moving parts––researching and analyzing the competition and strategizing how to be better. Loads of relevant, interesting content. The right keywords––not 100 of them slapped all over your page like a fiver-year-old’s sticker book, but a handful of the most effective ones, strategically placed. Backlinking done right. Meta tags. User experience. Local SEO, etc., etc.

Let’s use a few examples so you can understand where your business fits in. 

Restaurants need their locations optimized. Why? People don’t have the desire to waste time looking for stuff. This is especially true of the hungry. Their searches are very specific––”best ravioli in Whitby,” “sushi restaurants in Durham that serve hamburgers”––you get the idea. This is what SEO does. It researches those frequently-searched terms and uses them to optimize your location.

Local breweries too can capitalize on their delivery programs by tailoring their SEO efforts in that direction. Brock Street Brewery has done an excellent job of not only adjusting their business strategy to include delivery services, but also optimizing their site to target the right audience.

If you’re in ecommerce, SEO is critical for creating not just good user experience, but an intuitive one. People don’t want to read sales pitches or waste time navigating a site that is designed for the business, not the customer. They want an empowering buying experience where they feel in control of all the decisions they make because––let’s face it––the ability to feel any semblance of control in these times is worth a million.

In normal times I always recommend taking a stab at SEO independently, using the 12 SEO Steps To Success. A few tools of the trade are always useful and in most cases helpful. But in these not-so-normal times, you may wish to consult an SEO expert.

SEO for Whitby companies is available locally right now with Logical Mix. We can keep your business growing and your site optimized for buying customers. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help implement SEO for Durham companies.

Until next time. Stay safe during these uncertain times.

Logging Out,

Logical Mix

If you’re reading this, you already deserve a pat on the back because backlinking is a part of SEO that most people groan about. And because it’s the way Murphy’s Law goes, it’s also one of the most critical parts of SEO. 

We tackled Link Building 101 in a previous blog by taking a look at some simple ways you can get links to your site. 

For a recap, backlinking is one website linking to another website. It’s like earning a vote that positions your site as a credible and reliable source of whatever it is you’re providing.

In this blog, we want to break down why backlinks are important for SEO.

But let’s keep something in mind as we go through this: Backlinking can be done well and backlinking can be done poorly.

Like a Thai monk once told me when I asked him why there are monks who smoke, drink, and have sex while claiming to lead ascetic lives, he said, “just like people, there are good monks and there are bad monks” (I’ll stick a sic in here because monks are still people). 

In SEO, there are white hats and black hats. Most of us land somewhere in the gray area, but essentially, white hat tactics are going to give you better, more sustainable, long-term results,  especially when it comes to backlinking.

The moral? Don’t be a bad monk. And, take the honest route to gaining backlinks. At Logical Mix, we’re coining that route Backlinking-Done-Right.

What is Backlinking-Done-Right?

To start (with an embedded hint), we’ll share the primary reason backlinks are so important for your business:

According to MOZ, out of 200 possible influences, backlinks are the number one factor that affects ranking

Wondering what we meant by embedded hint? That info came from MOZ, which is an SEO authority. We’ll get into what that means for backlinking and why it’s important.

But first––

Backlinking-Done-Right has three main purposes:

  1. It generates more relevant traffic to your page
  2. It shows you’re part of a community, which helps establish trust
  3. It helps Google recognize you as a credible source of information and therefore, it improves your rank in the SERPs

That doesn’t mean that you want to get any and all backlinks to your site. Quality stands above quantity. Remember the monks? There are good backlinks and there are bad backlinks. Spammy links and irrelevant links don’t just not help you, Google can actually penalize you for it. 


What influences your chances of ranking when it comes to backlinks?

According to Neil Patel (an authority):

  • How many links you have
  • How many links you get over time (demonstrates a natural progression)
  • How related those websites are to yours to determine relevance
  • Domain authority (what that means below)

What are the features of high-quality backlinks?

  • Domain authority (DA) shows that an authority supports you, which influences traffic
  • Relevance deals with the same subject matter or niche as your site
  • Traffic means they have a large number of visits, social media presence, and active followers (for example, a blog) 
  • Uniqueness means authority sites link to your page and not your competitors’

There are some general characteristics and some overlap with what influences your ranking chances. But there is a main difference, as there is in many aspects of life: the what and the how. The two can work in tandem and they can sometimes produce very different results. 

For example, I can have lots of links from highly-credible sources (the What) but if I gained them all overnight (the How), it looks a bit shady and it might appear to Google that I paid for those links (black-hat tactic).

See the difference?

Here’s another example:

Perhaps I gained all my backlinks over time, naturally, by way of a link-building campaign, but it wasn’t so well thought-out so I ended up with 79 crappy, spammy, irrelevant backlinks pointing to my site. (But obviously, if you’re investing time in a campaign you’re going to be choosy about what sites you’re reaching out to).

Weed Out The One Hit Wonders

In MOZ’s 2019 study of link-building as a ranking factor, both Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) scores combined were a stronger indicator of ranking potential than the number of links.

DA evaluates the predictive ranking strength of an entire page.

PA evaluates the strength of individual pages on a site. 

When we interpret this finding, quality stands out in a couple of different ways. 

First, DA and PA combined indicate that a link’s authority depends on both factors. A site may have one page that randomly ranks really well for a specific keyword (kind of like a one-hit-wonder band) but have a low DA. It’s not bad to have that page linking to your page, it’s just that there are better links out there that beat both metrics.

While both are important when it comes to evaluating quality backlinks, Google does not use DA as a ranking metric, and it has no effect on the SERPs. 

Jumping back to the authority hint I mentioned near the beginning, an authority link is super valuable because it means that a highly-credible source thinks your site or page is great. It means they voted for you.

What is Link Earning?

Remember that give-a-man-a-fish, teach-a-man-to-fish adage? Link earning is a bit like that. 

Whereas with link building you can acquire links easily, link earning is a bit more involved. 

If an authority just gives you a link because you asked for it, that’s great and obviously you’ll use it, but they don’t all come that easily. 

Link earning has greater staying power because it establishes trust in the name of fair exchange. You offer something to another site owner, not just in exchange for a link, but because you want to contribute something of value community to which you belong. 

You build your reputation as a fair player with a strong work-ethic and everyone respects those guys. As a bonus, you get a high-quality backlink. 

It aligns with teaching a man to fish because as he learns his power to draw on his inner resources (his fishing skill), he is able to feed himself his whole life long. You do the same with link earning.  

Round-up posts are an example of a great link-earning strategy from Neil Patel:

Email every expert in your niche, asking them the same question about a hot topic. Then write a blog showcasing their responses. Email the participants and ask them to share it on their favourite social network. 


Here’s another:

A website that links employers of schools with English teachers searching for international teaching jobs needs links to build a database of teachers. 

Where is the best place to find teachers looking for a unique international experience? Fourth year university. 

So the site owner contacts every university across the country offering its students the chance to win a scholarship. All they have to do to qualify is register for a free teacher profile and write a 500 word essay on why they want to teach abroad. 

Two winners are chosen each semester and receive a $250 scholarship. In the meantime, the site now has dozens (or hundreds) of universities (often authority sites) pointing to it.

Another BOOM. 

There’s some creativity required in link earning. The man who was taught to fish had to learn and learning can be a bit painful sometimes.

But you’ve got this. You’re going to be a master in Backlinking-Done-Right.

But if you need some help acquiring the right links, just us a shout here.

Logging out,

Logical Mix

Spam mail. How annoyed are you that a good chunk of what you receive every day is crap? Maybe you don’t have to sift through the clutter of false promos and boring marketing campaigns because you’ve got a good spam filter in place. Great––but where are all your leads? What’s happening to all your subscribers? 

Well, here’s a little something you may not know:

Sometimes leads are going to your junk mail. As an SEO company, we know from experience that people often send messages with words that get flagged as spam. That’s why we recommend checking your spam box at least once a day.

Yes, this takes time you probably don’t have. But trust us, devoting just ten minutes to scanning your junk folder is time well spent because, inevitably, you will find stuff hiding in there. It’s like looking for your glasses and discovering they’ve been on your face the whole time. It’s so obvious your brain never considered that what you’ve been looking for is right in front of your face.

The Over-Efficient Machine Vs. the Human Brain

Ninety percent of emails sent to Canadian businesses make it into the inbox (see Return Path’s 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report). Sounds pretty good, right? That means that your spam filters are doing what they’re supposed to do, right? They’re sorting out the junk and stashing it where it belongs so you don’t have to waste your time sorting the wheat from the chaff. 

Well, yes and no. 

As sophisticated as these algorithms are, they aren’t perfect so we can’t trust the process entirely. Spam emails may still be ending up in your inbox and viable leads getting dumped into your junk folder. Just like we suggest in Step One to SEO, your brain is your most valuable tool and an absolute necessity in a world where we’ve come to reply on machine-generated results and metrics––the dirty work is still in our hands.

Let’s take a look at what spam is and how those filters actually work. 

How Do Emails End Up in the Spam Folder?

Filtering tactics are increasing in sophistication and even the most strategically worded emails may not find their way into the inbox. 

Spam filters look mainly at sender reputation and email content. 

Sender reputation: The sender may be using an IP address that was once used to send spam so the filter understands that any email sent via that IP is useless.

Content: This is where things get a bit tricky. Understanding the meaning inside the email body despite red flags requires a sophisticated filter (ie. your brain). 

What are red flags in content?

  • Use of certain words
  • Links to non-reputable websites
  • Messages with bodies or subject lines all in CAPS

Terms are usually flagged within a certain context, not as stand alone words. The technology is so sophisticated that spam filters can detect when a predetermined spammy word is actually used in a meaningful context and will categorize it as legit. However, it’s not 100% reliable and some of your potential customers may use red-flag words without knowing it.

These spam offenses are tallied up and when a particular email meets or exceeds the spam criteria, it’s dumped in the spam bucket.

Here’s a nice little reminder for you to check your spam folder––an ear worm: k-os’s Crabbuckit, except replace ‘crab’ with ‘spam’:

No time to get down ‘cause I’m moving up…. CHECK OUT THE SPAM IN THE BUCKET

Spam filters can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. One in ten emails will end up filed as spam, which is great––if it’s spam, that is. However, that one email might be a juicy little lead and you’ll never know unless you’re regularly checking your spam folder. As spam filtering improves we can hope that we’ll reach a day when we’ll never have to venture beyond our inbox in search of leads. Until then, we need to know how certain emails end up there because although that 10% may not seem like much, even one lost lead can cost you.

Guess what’s behind every great, RANKING web page? Besides the right meta descriptions and title tags, that is.

Awesome copywriting.

Before we get into why you need a copywriter (because you do), let’s address a seemingly simple but commonly misunderstood issue.

What is a Copywriter?

When I identify myself as a copywriter as I occasionally do when someone asks me what my work is, I often get a quizzical look. 

“What does a copywriter do? You protect the rights of artists or something like that?”

See, that’s the problem with *homonyms in the English language. It also symbolizes a much deeper problem with the widespread lack of understanding of the difference between an adjective and a noun––a consequence of both our education system and our-self learning stimulus, but I won’t get into that––you’re welcome.

A copywriter is simply someone who writes copy. Copy is anything from blog content to product descriptions to meta tags to landing pages, resource manuals, curriculum, training guides, video scripts, or entire books. We’re a literary jack of all trades. 

There are different types of copywriters too. Some specialize in a particular niche, especially if they have industry-specific training, experience, or education. Some writers, myself included, are what we call generalist writers. We write about pretty much anything. We have excellent research skills and the ability to adapt to an increasingly dynamic digital landscape (not all copywriters tread the worldwide web, but since we’re in the context of SEO, we’ll assume most do).

Should I Choose a Niche or a Generalist Copywriter?

It depends on why you’re hiring a copywriter and what your budget is. Niche copywriters tend to cost more because they’ve honed their skills toward a particular market and are well versed in its vernacular (I love that word). However, in the land of You-Get-What-You-Pay-For, niche copywriters are usually better writers in a particular area because they have an in-depth understanding of a particular industry and market.

Let’s take pet copywriters for example. They know everything there is to know about pets, pet products, marketing in the pet industry, SEO in the pet market, etc. They may even have pets of their own. Their pets may even have pets of their own, but hey––let’s not get carried away.

Now, let’s not forget that sometimes people get too smart and are unable to express ideas at a beginner’s level. What that means is that if you’re trying to convey a tricky concept, a generalist copywriter may produce better copy because they have to learn it to explain it.

Although a niche copywriter may seem like the way to go, there are several benefits to hiring a generalist copywriter that you’ll want to consider because they might surprise you.

Generalist copywriters are adept at switching between industries, markets, and ideas. That means they can write a colloquial blog on the benefits of naked yoga with pop-culture references one day, and the next day, spin out a procedural handbook for air traffic employees. 

Besides interesting and creative brains, they have well-honed research skills because they’re constantly in search of how to find the highest quality and most reliable information. 

They also know that different pieces of content require a different structure, jargon, and SEO techniques.

Here’s something that many people haven’t considered when they’re looking for a copywriter:

Generalist writers have a wealth of knowledge in several areas and because knowledge is not linear. They can see clearly how different industries transect and interact. That means they can write cross-industry articles.

Let’s look at an example to better understand:

You have a natural health supplement that targets men with erectile dysfunction. Now, many people who are into alternative medicine are also concerned with the state of the global ecosystem. Health isn’t limited to our individual state of being after all, it’s integrated and holistic; the state of our planet affects our health too. 

So making a peter heater that’s tested on animals, uses animal ingredients, slave labour, and manufacturing methods that harm the environment isn’t really going to fly with your target customer. It’ll definitely be more cost efficient for you, but we’re assuming you work from a place of ethics.

Writing about such a supplement requires a trifecta+ of skill: the ability to research well, knowledge of alternative medicine, sustainable health & wellness, how particular manufacturing practices harm the ecosystem and impact social justice, as well as knowledge of (and perhaps experience with) the psychology of sexual dysfunction to craft an effective emotional appeal to your target customer. That requires a MASTER jack of all trades.

Why You Need to Hire an Expert Copywriter

Make sense? Good. So it really comes down to money and the level of sophistication you desire.

The point is, whether you choose a generalist or a niche-r, you definitely want a copywriter––full stop. Unless you enjoy writing, that is. Otherwise you’re committing yourself to days of teeth-gnashing work because writing isn’t easy, even for those who love it. 

I’m not saying all copywriters love what they do, but you’ll know when you read the copy whether they do. Apathy is as noticeable as bad grammar, missed punctuation, spelling errors, or metaphors that just don’t work. You want someone who cares.

How Do You Find a Good Copywriter?

Get in the freelance marketplace. Apps like Fiverr and Upwork are packed with people chomping at the bit to write content for you. Prices range anywhere from $5 to sky’s-the-limit. Venture with caution though. Many freelancers in this arena are not native English speakers. Always look at their ratings and reviews, request samples, and chat about your project before ordering work from them.

Ask around. Recommendations are usually more reliable than cold-call fishing for a writer in the freelance marketplace. 

Contact Logical Mix. I’m a generalist copywriter for Logical Mix. I write the weekly blog about SEO tactics and strategies. I also keep my own personal blog, and I write for other private clients. While my academic background is in education, I have studied, researched, and written in various niches including health, wellness & alternative medicine, sustainability, insurance, yoga, fashion, children’s literacy, etc. Aside from all that experience, the most significant part is that I LOVE WRITING, and I’m always pumped to tackle a new project, whatever it is.

Not Up for a Teeth-Gnashing Task?

So there it is––YES, you need to hire a copywriter. NO, they don’t need to cost a fortune, but remember––you get what you pay for.

If you have questions or want to chat about your project, give us a call or send an email.

*Just in case primary school English didn’t stick, homonyms are words that sound the same but are spelled differently.

Logging out,

Logical Mix

If you’re in the business of SEO (why else would you be reading this?), welcome to your life, it’s a good one. 

In fact it’s so good and so important, you could say that this life is an H1 Life.

There are few things more exciting than picking up SEO tricks, implementing them, and watching them succeed.

But let’s be clear, we’re not about hacks. We know that SEO involves hard work, patience, and most importantly, specific knowledge. That’s what builds an expert. 

Hacks aren’t easy, anyways. Just ask any hacker. They work hard at that stuff because breaking through firewalls isn’t a bowl of Fruit Loops. It takes some pretty astute expertise acquired through nature, luck, experimentation, but mostly through a very shrewd connecting of the dots.

So what I present here as it concerns The H1 Tag, is a hack in the traditional sense of the word, but not in the sense that it’s come to mean today, which is a shortcut to success.

Simply put, you can’t put all your SEO eggs into an H1 basket and expect all American breakfast with bacon, hash browns, and buttered toast. 

Using a combination of strategies is necessary for ranking. That’s why we wrote the 12 Steps to SEO Success

But let’s get cracking on the H1 Tag for now and worry about the other stuff next.

What is an H1 Tag?

The H1 tag is the first header in a piece of content following the title. In technical terms, it’s the HTML code that wraps a line of text to display it as the largest and most important message in the content. In a lineup of 6 headers, it comes in first place and has the most value for SEO.

In some cases, the H1 is the title tag, but not always. The title will have its own code as the title tag, which may or may not concern SEO. Sometimes, the title is used to creatively capture a reader’s attention rather than for indexing purposes. The H1 on the other hand, should tell the reader exactly what the page is about, which makes it naturally indexable.

A classic example is the H1 here: What is An H1 Tag? There’s no room for confusion, is there? For readers or Google’s web crawling bots.

‘Cept the bots are viewing the source code, which we can do too because not every page makes the H1 so apparent.

Try this now, right here, on this page:

In Chrome, right click and select “view source code”. Up pops the HTML view of this page. Go to your search/find function and type in H1. Look for the highlighted H1 that appears at both the beginning and end of a statement within the < >.

That’s all it is, and you can notice the same for H2, H3, and so on.

Image: The HTML version of How to Write SEO Content Like a Pro.

Why is an H1 Tag Important?

I hinted at it earlier when I stated that it had more value for SEO than other headers. Other important tags include the title tag, previously summarized, and the meta tag, also known as the meta description. You can read about it in detail HERE, but in a nutshell, it’s a brief description about a page that appears beneath the title in the SERPs. It’s critical for indexing but also for influencing a reader to click on your page instead of a different related page.

Let’s get something straight. There are lots of trends in SEO, and they fade just as quickly as acid-washed denim jackets with pleats and leather tassels did in the 80s (and should have stayed that way). 

Optimizing your H1 is not a trend. It has been a consistent ranking factor since the dawn of SEO. 

That’s the technical significance of the tag. But that doesn’t mean you go around tagging every line of text an H1. Google has rules. 

A second reason by the H1 tag is so important is for user experience. It’s vastly improved when a page has noticeable headers because most readers aren’t actually readers, they’re scanners. They want clear, obvious answers to their questions. And just like the words quickly, easily, and free are the most effective words in ad copy, they also apply to the user experience.

How to Use an H1 Tag

Like any SEO “hack”, there’s always going to be a bit of controversy. The following are themes that have emerged from all the work I’ve done with clients over the years. They’ve formed my general, slightly-bendy (though less bendy than this) rule kit for H1 tags.

Photo credit

Use one only. You want to avoid diluting the power of The Very Important H1 Tag. More than one of anything automatically decreases its value. (Imagine there was more than one Superman? Suddenly he’s no so super without an average point of reference).

Describe what the article is about. 

You might have taken care of this already with the title tag, in which case, be more specific. 

Keep it between 20-70 characters. 

That’s roughly 4-14 words, not a lot. Too much overwhelms and remember, most readers are scanners. They’re spending less than a second glancing at your H1. Make it noticeable but know that the semantic element is most important. 

Choose words that pack some punch

Go heavy on the consonants and use alliteration when possible (alliterations are a string a words that begin with the same sound, eg. What one-word weapon wins the war? (the answer is sorry, in case you were wondering).

Use a long-tail keyword for indexing. 

You may also use this keyword in your title tag. This makes it more specific, which means it’s also more relevant and will rank better than a seed keyword, which, incidentally, your long-tail keyword may contain anyway.

Satisfy the user’s intent. 

Deliver what people are searching for quickly, easily, and explicitly. Think, what words are they using and in what order to research their question? For example, someone wants to find out how to better train their dog. You have a dog training website that offers free video tutorials. They may type: “how to train my dog” or “dog training guide” or “dog training help” or even “dog training videos”. Though technically not a long-tail keyword, “dog training” is relevant, satisfies their search for info on dog training, and helps Google properly index your page.

This Is Your One and Only H1 Life

Tuck this little philosophy in the back of your brain when you’re slugging through the SEO grind of developing the real hacks that are going to put you in a position of privilege in the SERPs.

Writing a header isn’t rocket science. 

(Oh, by the way, don’t use cliches like that in your H1 because, well, notice how it made you cringe a little? I only put that in there to demonstrate what not to do).

But for it to be effective, you should know why it’s important, which, as you’ll see, will help naturally guide the process of constructing it so you can make the most of it.

Like Foucault argues, it’s the order of things, both in life and in SEO (‘cept SEO was a nonexistent term back then), that require us to understand, not blindly accept, the way things are.

Logging out (and tipping my top hat),

Logical Mix

You wrote an extraordinary piece of content for a new dog training product you’re about to unleash (ahem). 

You also gave it a wicked awesome H1 tag (or so you think). Concise and optimized.

The only things left are the title tag and the meta description. You’re a little stuck because even though all your site content is compelling, interesting, and unique, you’re not getting the traffic you expected or hoped for. 

You’re wise to stop where you are and do some research on writing title tags and meta descriptions that will actually convert. 

In total, only a handful of words comprise both tags. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to choose the right ones. But that’s precisely why it’s difficult. Not only that, but you also have to include the right keywords so Google will relevantly index your page. 

This guide will help you write clickable title tags and meta descriptions.

You might be asking, why should we look at both simultaneously? 

Let’s review each one separately for a better understanding.

What Is A Title Tag?

A title tag is the fastest way for a reader to recognize relevant (or irrelevant) content. 

Technically, a title tag is a line of code that surrounds the title statement, which we can see through “view page source” when we right-click on any webpage. 

Title tags appear in three key places: the SERP, the web browser, and social networks. The SERP and social networks concern us the most because they’re what people see before they decide to visit your page. 

What is a Meta Tag?

A meta tag is a brief description of an article that appears in the SERP and social media. It’s what people read after being drawn in by a great title tag. 

While Google has stated that it’s not used as a ranking factor, it will influence the click-through rate through the less technical SEO strategy of User Experience (UX). 

Now, let’s return to the previous question:

Why Title Tags & Meta Descriptions Belong Together

The first thing someone sees in the SERP is your page title. If your title is compelling enough, they’ll probably click right away. Most times though, they’ll check out the meta description before they click because they’re looking for a little reinforcement that leaving the SERP for another page will give them what they want.

Most of us are afraid of commitment. Even very small pseudo-commitments like the one required when we click on a link that will take us away from the page we’re on to another one. There are thousands of micro impulses firing off that move us toward clicking or continuing to scroll. 

I won’t get into the meta psychology of decision making, but it’s enough to know that a great title tag isn’t enough. It’s just the free bread and butter. You need to back it up with a mouthwatering appetizer that’ll make their decision to click on through to your page a no-brainer.

Your title should grab their attention. Your meta tag should reinforce that attraction and compel them to click. 

Know that we know the What and the Why, let’s get into the How.


A great title tag and meta description is really about writing skills. Now people study writing, practice for years to become better so I’m not going to lie and say that just anyone can write well and convincingly. That’s why expert copywriters are in such high demand. However, a few tricks will go a long way. 

How to Write a Title Tag

Punch ‘em with your words.

You want in your title what just about everybody wants in their lives: Power. Just type any keyword into the search bar and see all the boring, totally uninspiring titles that appear. If that doesn’t motivate you to make yours pack more punch, then maybe you should hire a copywriter (cause the good ones LOVE doing that stuff). Remember, power words are simple because they’re understandable and easy to remember. 

Keep it short.

60 characters is about your limit, which is roughly 10 words. I argue that’s even too much. The title of this article is verging on too long and it’s only 7 words plus 2 ampersands. 

Use a keyword.

Use one or two main keywords, if it makes sense, without stuffing or repeating. It should blend naturally into a sensible statement. 

Make it unique.

There are a ton of title generators out there, which spit out clever title ideas, none of which are unique in structure. While they’re easy to fall back on when you’re stuck, I recommend using the best title generator created: your brain. This is your best chance at producing a unique title. If you’re stuck, write the content first. In many cases, the title writes itself. If you’re still stuck, brainstorm a flurry of related words then look at how those words fit together. If your brand is powerful, include at the end.

Write it for the reader. 

Write your title, then dumbify it. In her popular course The Copy Cure, Marie Forleo suggests using the “blockhead method”, which is essentially dumbifying your title over and over and over, like you’re trying to explain what your article is about to a not-so-bright friend. I’m not suggesting your readers are dumb, only that “quick-and-easy” is the best way to serve up any kind of information if you want people to read it.

Make it relevant. 

This seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Remember what people type in the search bar and use that to guide you. “Dog training” while in the right category, doesn’t let us know if it’s relevant to our search. What about dog training? Tips? Tutorials? Products? Schools? 

Although this falls a little outside of relevancy boundaries, I recommend writing your title as a proper sentence with a verb. For those of you who skipped too many English grammar classes, verbs are action words and when used correctly, they inspire people to act, which in this case, is clicking.

How to Write a Meta Description

Make it clear, convincing, and compelling.

Avoid sounding like a greasy marketer whenever possible. Be upfront and honest and use simple, non-slimy words to show rather than tell people what the article is about. Remember, you’re writing a brief description, not an ad.

Create curiosity.

But don’t give it all away. Leave room for a little intrigue. Example: “Make training your pup a cinch with this #1 dog training command. Hint: it’s not sit or stay.”

Keep it short. 

You have more wiggle room than you do with a title tag but 160 characters, or 30 words is about the max (the previous example is only 93 characters, or 18 words).

Use keywords.

A couple of juicy long-tails could slide in here quite nicely if you’re strategic about it. Even if meta tags aren’t ranked (which we don’t really know for sure), people still want to see familiar keywords that reflect what they’re looking for.

Use rich snippets.

Also called schema markup, rich snippets are pieces of code that you include in the HTML content on your site page to make it more informative. They more richly describe what your page is about because they contextualize the content so it’s meaningful. 

You’re probably wondering if rich snippets make a difference in SEO. According to Search Engine Land, they don’t:

“While structured data markup for rich snippets does not work as a ranking signal, it can generate indirect SEO benefits by making your page more easily indexable and providing more accurate and targeted metadata. … Rich snippets help you achieve this by pre-qualifying visitors.”

According to other experts, they do, but Google puts them through a somewhat vague incubation period until they pass. But one thing’s certain, like meta tags in general, they make for a better user experience.

You Don’t Have To Do It All Yourself!

Writing great title tags and meta descriptions doesn’t require an expert, but it certainly helps. Even if you do decide to hire a copywriter to do the creative work for you, it’s still wise to know what each should contain and why.

I hope you got what you needed from this guide. Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. We always want to hear from you. And if you’re looking for an expert copywriter, let us know and we’ll hook you up.

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Do you want to increase your ROI dramatically? 

Then you need to create a website that is user friendly, optimized for search engine indexing, and offers something the competition doesn’t.

If you’ve said check, check, check to all three of those but you’re still not getting the results you want, there’s something you’re missing and it might be a killer landing page, or at the very least, some key elements of a killer landing page. 

It may seem like a tiny detail but it has exponential significance in busting the barrier between you and an ROI that makes all the gruelling hours you’re putting in worth it.

Take five minutes and perform a mini audit of your current landing page. If you don’t have one yet, use these points as a little warm up:

Does it…?

  • Convert visitors for free
  • Make a compelling offer
  • Have a clear call to action
  • Appear well on mobile devices
  • Enable sharing to social media platforms
  • Have a clear headline and supporting, scannable copy
  • Contain important keywords in the title, URL, and metatag
  • Include attractive images that show people what they’re getting
  • Clearly outline the benefit to the customer in as few words as possible
  • Say thank you

Don’t be overwhelmed. We’re just putting it all out there so you begin to understand why landing pages are so important. 

We’ll slice it and dice it for you, but first we need to understand what a landing page actually is.

What is a Landing Page and Why Do I Need One?

Think of a landing page like a landing strip at an airport. What do people want to do when they arrive? Get off the plane. 

And how to they want to do that? With as little fuss as possible. They don’t want delays, distractions, or any other nonsense that is going to keep them from their goal.

So to start, ask yourself, what is the goal of someone arriving at my landing page? 

A landing page is a target page on your website where you offer a resource in exchange for information. 

In many cases, a landing page captures information, such as an email address, and provides the user with something for free, such as memberships, an e-book, a consultation, or a free product trial.

You need a landing page because it generates leads for your business that help increase conversions.

Is a Landing Page Different From a Home Page?

In some cases, yes, though it doesn’t have to be. 

It depends on how your business is set up to capture leads. If you have a few lead captures, then creating a landing page that targets each one is ideal for giving your potential customer exactly what they want. 

A home page is a bit too general for the reader who is interested specifically in your e-book offer, for example. You want to serve it to them straight up, without any further navigation required. We’re hungry consumers. We want what we want as quickly and as easily as possible.

To bolster my last point, I broke this landing page business down into three steps so you know exactly what to tackle and why.

STEP 1: Create the Structure

Start with what you’re offering to determine how to structure your page. 

Do you want to rely more heavily on graphics or text? Whatever your offer is, you want to get your customers to convert and shouldn’t cost them anything in time, money (just yet), or effort. 

Quickly, easily, and free are three of the most effective words in ad copy. Make the essence of those words the backbone of your user experience.

Use a 3-step process: 

  1. They arrive at your landing page & click “sign me up!”
  2. They complete the lead capture form to receive their freebie
  3. They receive a confirmation email (if applicable), and an onsite thank you message

Here are some extra tips:

Landing Page Dos:

  • Optimize for mobile
  • Include sharing buttons
  • Use high-quality images
  • Make the page scannable
  • Include 1 or more testimonials
  • Include a relevant lead capture form

Landing Page Don’ts:

  • Make it confusing to convert
  • Distract readers with a navigation menu
  • Use a default token in your confirmation email. Personalize it
  • Forget to include a thank you page

STEP 2: Write SEO Content Like A Pro

You need four basics here: 

  • Attention-grabbing title
  • Scannable copy
  • Title, H1 & Meta Description
  • URL

Each one should be keyword optimized. 

The metatag is arguably the most important piece for users finding your page through an organic search. It needs to be short, descriptive, and compelling enough to make them click through.

Depending on your product or service, the copy should also be short and feed the scanners everything they need to know to convert. 

While some experts recommend longer copy for more expensive offerings, remember, no one is buying anything at this point. They’re just giving their email (or some other information) in exchange for your free offering, which will hopefully (certainly) have them converting with cash soon enough. 

You don’t have to hire an expensive copywriter to do this for you. However, we recommend you find a creative that has experience with digital marketing and SEO, and knows the difference between a landing page and her left thumb (believe it or not, so many don’t). That doesn’t have to cost what a bulletproof Starbucks every day for a month does (if they actually made them), but understand that price is usually indicative of quality so try to get the best quality content writer you can.

A couple takeaways here are:

  1. Focus on the benefits (what the customer wants to achieve), not the features 
  2. More isn’t better; copy should be short and strategic to elicit the right kind of attention

STEP 3: Customize Your Call to Action

Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some personality in your CTA but know that clear is more important than clever.

Buy now, complete form, submit request, get access, are clear commands but they graze the edges of boring. How can you spice up these commands without losing the directness of the message?

Tailor them to your product or service offering. 

If you’re offering an e-book about dog training, a command like “undumbify my dog” is clever but not totally clear (and potentially offensive for the serious dog owners). 

What If You’re Crazy Indecisive?

If you’re looking through piles of images and banging out awesome copy and having super ideas for CTAs and lead capture forms and all the creative ways to say thank you, you might be curious to know which ones are winners.

If in doubt, split test the crap outta several templates (see Crazy Egg’s Complete How To Guide).

This isn’t rocket science, but you also don’t want to treat it like a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey either. 

Image credit

Here are your key (free) takeaways from all of this:

  • Don’t make your homepage your landing page
  • Use a 3-step structure: landing page, lead capture form, thank you
  • Customize at every opportunity
  • Make it fast, easy & free
  • When in doubt, test it out
  • When 100% sure, still test

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Am I building authority to my site from external websites?

We’ve arrived at the final step. And last certainly doesn’t mean least. Building authority to your site from external websites, also called link-building, is one of the most critical steps in SEO.

But with all the work you’ve done up to now, you probably already know that. In fact, we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share any stories, challenges, or wins from your SEO journey in the comments below.

First of all, what is link building and why is it so important?

Link Building 101

Link building is the act of getting other websites to link to yours. Not only does having lots of high quality links pointing to your page increase your traffic, it also helps search engines crawl the web and between individual pages on your site.

Link building can involve a very basic strategy and set of techniques, or it can be the most difficult part of SEO. It just depends on how you do it.

Anatomy of a Hyperlink

There are four parts in a hyperlink. Links can point to other sites, graphics, sounds, files, email addresses, and other locations on the same page.

The first ‘a’ is the anchor tag that tells search engines a link is going to follow.

Second is the ‘href’ which stands for hyperlink referral and indicates the URL the link is pointing to. (A # indicates a local link to somewhere else on that page).

Third is the visible text, meaning what users will see on the page. It’s the front end of the hyperlink usually highlighted in some way to signal that it’s a link.

Finally, is the link tag closure.

Image Source

Link building helps search engines discover new webpages, extract and index content, and determine how well they should rank in the search results. So when we type a keyword into Google’s search bar, we’re not actually searching the web, we’re searching Google’s index of the web, that is, what it has determined good enough to store and show in the search results.

Page ranking is dependent on more than high quality, relevant content. Lots of high quality external links to your site mean a better report card with Google, which is great news for you because you’ll rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) than without them. It’s a vote of confidence in your favour.

But there are more benefits to link building that just ranking. A well defined and executed link building strategy can:

  • Help you build relationships with key influencers in the industry
  • Send referral traffic to your site
  • Boost brand building

Whether you’re collecting natural links or manual outreach links, we’ll take a look at what types of links you want pointing to your site and how to make that happen.

How to Get A High-Quality Link (or many!)

Start a Link Building Campaign

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of link-building, it’s important to mention that link-building takes time. If you manage to acquire 10 links in the first month of your campaign, that’s a job well done, but you’re not going to notice a difference overnight. It takes time for those links to have an impact on your site’s traffic.

Determine your hook.

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You need to reach out and offer up a relevant asset. What will make people care about your site and what you offer enough to want to link to you? This varies according to your business and industry. Examples are: content, data, products, services, and people.

If you want to offer content then you need to know what people want to know about. Social media can steer us in the right direction here when we scout out and analyze the type of stuff people are sharing. Offer content that is relevant and gives a unique angle on a particular subject. (See Step 9 to SEO for more info).

Get various types of links.

  • Links to your homepage
  • Links that contain your brand
  • Links containing your target keywords
  • Links to deep pages, eg. a product or category page

Identify targets.

If you’ve been following from Step 1, then you’re getting to know a little bit about dogs, if you didn’t already. Let’s stick with that example.

You have a dog training website and you’ve just created the Ultimate Guide to House Training Your Puppy. Who might be interested in this content? Pet bloggers, e-commerce shops selling dog merchandise, dog trainer apps, pet stores, and pet sitter companies.

Go through each one (yes, it’s time intensive), and contact sites that are relevant to your pitch. To narrow down results a bit, consider only looking at pet bloggers that have a resource page, to which you could contribute with your guide. Such a search looks like this in the Google search field:

Pet bloggers inurl:resources

That command will return a list of pet bloggers’ resource pages. Boom. Those are the ones you want to start with.

But don’t just cold call them. Learn about their ethos to determine relevance to your site. Also, check on whether or not they link to other sites.

Then, prioritize them first by domain metrics, influence, and the probability of them linking to your site.

Check up on the competition.

If you can become a master in link building you’ll be way ahead of your competition

Here’s an excerpt from Step 2 to SEO on how to get insight from your competitors:

“How many referring domains do your competitors have? This points to site popularity and strong SEO.

You can use the MOZ link explorer tool (free for 30 days) to generate a list of all the backlinks to your competitors’ sites. From there you can compare those links against yours (use a spreadsheet for this) to see where the gaps are, if any.

If you’re already ahead of your competition, this is not your current focus (but, don’t lose focus of this important aspect). If you are behind, time to step-up your link-building strategy.

What sites are linking to your competitors and not to you? Reach out to them.”

Become a Master Builder

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Link building is full-on. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time trying to get links. Compared to every other SEO task on your plate (creating content, on-page SEO, keyword research, etc., etc.), we recommend devoting as much as 30% of your SEO time to link building, at the very least.

Once you have your strategy in place, you may consider hiring someone to manage this task if you want to go all in. Otherwise, MOZ gives us a free downloadable link-building guide (for beginners!)  that helps out big time. Get it here.

If this is your first visit to Logical Mix, check out our blog for a comprehensive 12-step beginner’s guide to SEO. And feel free to contact us anytime you have questions about the process.

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Feature Image Credit

Have I been building relationships with non-competing companies?

Why would I need to build relationships with non-competing companies, unless they’re stakeholders in my business?

Two things:

First of all, everyone is a stakeholder in your business.

Second, It’s not all about you and your business.

Just kidding! It actually is, but it’s also all about the other guy and how you can help each other out. You know, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

But rather than risk collecting someone else’s dead skin cells and DNA under your nail bed, let’s view this idiom through the lens of online business and internet marketing.

Forbes noted that “the best way to create a consumer Internet company worth north of a billion dollars is to build a digital transaction business – a company that connects buyers and sellers so they can more efficiently transact.”

So north of a billion dollars is rather ambitious but hey, we also don’t want to limit ourselves so let’s just say that anything is possible.

Now, in my opinion, this statement doesn’t target a particular type of business; this is every company that’s in the business of selling a product or service online.

Let me illustrate:

You have a dog training niche website that sells every possible thing a dog lover could want. Out there in cyberspace, exists a really cool app that measures your dog’s health, sort of like Fitbit, but for your pooch.

With this app, you can time your dog’s walks (and yours, incidentally), find breed-specific diet recommendations, manage your dog’s vet check ups, create a feeding and med schedule, and monitor his vitals. It’s even shareable so when pooch goes to the sitter, they have an automatic detailed set of care instructions without you having to list everything out.

Photo source

This is an ideal non-competing internet partner. You can install a link to download that app on your site, and that app can link to your site for extended, comprehensive information and all the cool doggie merch you sell.

Further, you can also link up with local vets, doggie daycares, and pet insurance companies, so that you’re providing your customer with a toolkit of dog care products and services.

The most important thing in all of this is that they can all drive traffic to your site.

Why Should I Purposefully Create Internet Partners?

It’s probably going to happen organically and randomly after all, why is a strategy necessary?

Think about it this way:

When you hit the gym, it’s for a purpose: to achieve your fitness goals, whatever they are. If you just allow the randomness of Nature or Chaos Theory or the Cosmos to guide you to it, you’ll end up on your couch eating cheese doodles and watching Game of Thrones, wondering why you have to undo the button of your jeans every time you sit down these days (I speak from experience).

The same is true for digital marketing relationships.

Every success starts with a goal.

And every goal starts with a strategy for achieving it.

A strategy involves a set of actions or behaviours that help you reach your goal.

You simply can’t get the goal unless you have some idea of what you’re going to DO (binge eating junk food and watching Netflix ain’t it).

But this is not a blog about productivity (though we could all use a little brush-up on how to be more productive), so I’ll get to the point.

Let’s look at what those actionable steps look like in your Build-BOSS-Net-Buddies strategy (Yes, I just used the word BOSS as a synonym for awesome. No, I’m not 21 and hanging-10).

Step 1: Go Local

Start with citations.

Create online citations so other local online businesses can find you. To learn more about how to do that, check out our Step 5 to SEO blog: Local SEO.

Step 2: Be Present

Develop a social media platform and get active.

I can’t stress how vital this step has become in this Insta-age. People won’t even go to a restaurant these days unless they’ve scoped out entire menus, read related reviews, and seen a catalogue of food pics first.

You need an online presence to be anybody now.

The great part is that it helps you find non-competing companies to hook up with. Even just a few minutes scrolling, searching, hashtagging, and commenting is time well spent.  

Photo source

Step 3: Network

Reach out to other companies and offer them something of value.

Remember the I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine idiom? Here we are. People love givers so be the first to give. You’ve got to give a little to get a little so don’t be afraid to spend your time or expertise helping other people.

This is where you get creative. How can you share your product or service with non-competing companies in a way that truly benefits them and also helps to promote your business?

For example, as a local SEO company in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, I’ve connected with dozens of local businesses in my community through a network called Java Jolt. It’s a member-led group of business people who meet up to help each other out and build a supportive network. From there, my network of contacts exploded and I’ve got partnerships with just about every industry you can imagine. (If you want to know more, check out my interview with Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce).

Now I had a starting point with which to offer my service to companies who needed some digital marketing expertise, perhaps a little nudge in the right direction. This contributed to my professional reputation in all the right ways and I got to meet and help some really cool people and be part of some interesting projects.

The Bottom Line…

Forging new relationships is a vital part of any business development but it’s absolutely crucial for SEO. It’s the other less technical, softer and squishier side of SEO because it deals with real, honest, and often face-to-face interaction if you’re sticking local.

Consider all the people, consumers, businesses or otherwise who search and buy based on recommendation. Consider all the times you’ve searched for a product or service based on someone else’s recommendation.

So the bottom line is, if you want to show up in an online search, Build-Boss-Net-Buddies. That is, create and foster giving relationships with non-competing companies.

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Am I marketing the quality content I created?

You spent hours (or a good chunk of change) creating content that answers your customers’ questions and solves their problems.

Your customer wanted to know the best way to train their dog so you went beyond the call of duty and collected resources on how to actually make their dog smarter. Then, you put it all together in some easy-to-read, 100% accessible, problem-solving, smart, snappy blog that would make your customers so happy they’d convert on the spot and share your blog with their dog-loving friends.

Job well done.

(Well, maybe it was your copywriter but we’ll give you the credit).

But hang on, what are you doing with it? Is it just sitting there, all dressed up with no place to go, and no one to hang out with?

Why isn’t anyone reading your fantastic stuff?

You didn’t create swipe files and outlines and sweat over the perfect headers and paragraph structures and learn everything there is to know about how to avoid raising a dumb dog just to sit back and watch your awesome copy call in the crickets and collect digital dust, did you?

Of course not.

You might recall from Step 9 to SEO that writing for a person and writing for SEO are different.

On the one hand, you’re speaking directly to your potential customer in order to give her something she needs, to solve her problem, to provide her with answers. It’s a tall order but you did it.

One the other hand, you’re structuring your copy to speak directly to Google, to say, “hey G-dawg, check out my keyword-optimized headers, my high-quality backlinks, my relevant, user-friendly content rich with answers to people’s questions. Please give me a front-row seat in the SERP so everyone knows where to find me.”

The goal of marketing your content is two-fold:

First––get people to your site, reading your content and buying your product or service.

Second––gain authority in your niche, which happens when you start ranking for a target keyword in Google’s SERPs.

How do you do both?

There are several ways to get the right traffic to your site, but the best ones are here:

Email List

The obvious way to get what you want is to ask for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to try.

Ask your readers to subscribe to your site. Once you’ve got their email keep them engaged with regular, useful information to get them back to your site again and again and to build their interest and trust in your product or service.

Pay the most attention to your email subject line. Make it short, relevant, intriguing, and urgent when necessary. In the body, include a short story or anecdote, dropping in buzz words like yummy snacks. Hint at how you’re going to solve their pain point and include your simple, direct call-to-action with a link to juicy new content on your site.

Then, your clever silo structure takes them on a delicious journey through your site. (Keep reading to find out what I mean).

But don’t miss the following stuff––unless you enjoy watching your ROIs plummet like a suicidal emu from a high rise building.

Link Building

Inbound links from authority sites are one of the number one ways to get people reading your content. Link building isn’t the most fun activity you’ll ever engage in but it’s necessary for building relationships and proving to Google that you are worth a mention and a visit.

Now don’t get the idea that you can approach link building passively because it makes you want to jam toothpicks in your nose. Hire someone. There are tons of people out there who can take over the task of reaching out to different sites once your strategy is in place. We’ll get more into this in Step 12 so stay tuned.

I came across a clever strategy one of my clients was using to get links to his site. As a database for ESL teachers searching for work, he knew that universities were high authority sites so he contacted schools across the US and Canada offering their students the chance to win a scholarship. All they had to do was write an essay about why they want to be a teacher and send it to him through their newly created profile on his site. See? It attracted thousands of soon-to-be-teachers to his site, massively increasing his database

Social Media Sharing

Get on Twitter, FB, LI, Instagram, and whatever else floats your boat, and engage. Connect with as many people as you can, especially your competitors. Comments on posts. Set up staggered scheduling so you’re not posting the same thing on every platform. Consult a social media expert, or check out this guide from Buffer: How to Schedule Social Media Content for Next Week, Next Month, and Next Year.

A final and absolutely necessary step in marketing your content

One of the most clever strategies I’ve come across is interlinking. Not only does this appeal to Google, it takes your customer on a little journey through your site, providing him with resources like a trail of cinnamon-raisin bread crumbs.

Check it out:

Your home page should link to your product pages, which should link to your content where your customer can get all the information they need to build trust in your offering.

Or more likely, they come at it the other way, from a link in an email you sent to a content page, perhaps an interesting blog or something about the awesome benefits of that dog harness you’re selling. From there, they can navigate through to your product page where they can buy said dog harness.

Or, if they’re not yet sold, you’ve left some yummy snacks throughout that content that leads them to more useful content, which also leads them to your product page so when they’re ready to buy, it’s an easy hop over.

Here’s a key takeaway:

  • Parent links to child and child links to parent.
  • Child links to siblings and uncle if useful, but not to cousins.
  • If child must link to cousins for UX, make it no-follow to avoid confusing relevance.

I can’t stress enough how absolutely critical this structure is on your site. This is your marketing, nicely structured on your site, doing all the work for you.  

Don’t forget to check out our next Step––Internet Partners. Until then, get writing, emailing, building, sharing, and structuring.

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