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STEP 1 to SEO: Keyword Research

Am I matching search queries to my service or product offering?

At its most basic, SEO is a game with Google–and a gazillion other online proprietors all vying for attention and page rank.

There are infinite, contrasting strategies for “how to do SEO”, but they all start with one thing: keyword research.

Keyword optimized content can increase traffic to your site and help your page rank higher in search engine results page (SERPs)–but you already know that.

What you really want to know is how to get more conversions.

You’ve come to the right place.

Every great enterprise starts with research.

I know, I know, who likes research, right? (Well, I do, but I swim in the nerd pool).

Keyword research isn’t hard. Some might call it exciting. But don’t take it from me. Take it from my non-nerd friend Rob who actually hates reading–a research requirement–but giggles like a small child on a merry-go-round when he nails down the right keyword to rank for.

How is keyword research done?

All research begins with a question (or two), and keyword research is no different.

Keyword research starts with identifying what your customer wants through two critical questions:

1. How are people searching for your product or service offering?

And,

2. How does your offering align with their queries?

To start, let’s tackle question #1.

How are people searching for your product or service offering?

The number, order, and meaning of words in searches inform us of the searcher’s intention and where they are in the conversion cycle.

Matt Diggity, founder of Diggity Marketing, identifies three phases of research (in a 6-stage process) that potential customers go through when they are seeking a product or service. They are:

  1. Actively looking for a solution to their acknowledged pain (the need that your product is going to meet).
  2. Actively looking for the best solution to relieve their pain.
  3. Looking for the best place to buy the best solution.

During the first two stages, your customer is in the research phase. They’re using 1-2 keywords in their searches. These are your head or seed keywords.

Example: “yoga retreats”

In the second and third phases (they overlap), your customer is seriously considering a particular product or service. They’re using 2-3+ keywords in their searches. These are your long-tail keywords.

Example: “best yoga retreats in Bali” or “best Bali yoga retreats” or “kundalini yoga retreats in Bali”

As their research deepens, the search becomes more specific.

Make sense? Great.

Let’s move on to question #2.

How does your product or service offering align with search queries?

By asking this question, we’re essentially seeking to know how to use keyword research for SEO.

This step is strategic. It’s where you begin to use the information you’ve gathered through rigorous keyword research.

You want to make your focus keywords those that represent the consideration and conversion stages of the journey–the long-tail keywords. Although your site will include head keywords organically, they are too general to focus your core efforts on.

You care more about long-tail keywords for two reasons:

  1. They are specific and therefore relevant to your customer’s queries.
  1. They are least competitive (because they’re specific) and therefore, have higher conversion potential.

Now, you need to find target long-tail keywords that are most relevant, more frequently searched, and are moderate or low competition.

How do you do that?

Luckily, some of the best things in life are free, including the best apps for keyword research.

For starters, try these:

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Keyword Tool

Keyword.io

Keyword Shitter

Next, compile a list of long-tail keywords generated by any one of these tools (I recommend all) and then rank them, first by their relevance to your offering and then by their difficulty. This will help you determine which keywords you should focus on because they address your customers’ queries and are least competitive.

Assessing keyword difficulty is a bit labour intensive and while several tools can help determine the difficulty factor, they can be expensive and aren’t 100% accurate because no one knows how Google ranks pages–we can only estimate.

However, as a tool for assessing MOZ puts out a free extension: MOZ Toolbar, which reports on the page domain (PA) and domain authority (DA) of each search result. When SERPs have a low PA and DA, you’ve got a good starting point for choosing keywords to rank for.

But we do know that high-quality backlinks and relevant content that also considers user-intent are significant.

(We’ll take a look at backlinks in another blog. Right now, relevant content is in the spotlight).

Low competition long-tail keywords exist because there is insufficient responsive content available.

Remember–you want to optimize your pages by writing content around those keywords that are most relevant and least competitive.

Don’t take this lightly because this where many SEOs mess it up.

We can make anything fit if we really want it too. Those too-tight jeans from ‘95? Nothing an hour worn wet can’t cure (a humble confession of a thrifty nomad). But when we try to make something fit that naturally doesn’t, it’s obvious and uncomfortable for all those involved.


We call it stuffing–don’t make this mistake. Stuffing irrelevant keywords into your copy increases bounce rates and signals to Google that your page is not providing useful information.

Why Keyword Research is So Important

Providing relevant content is one of the most important ways to respond to your customer’s needs (I argue it’s the pinnacle of SEO success). It starts with knowing what people are actually searching for and then responding with information that doesn’t relate to but explicitly answers their questions.

If someone asks about the gestation period of unhatched turkey poults, you’re not going to tell them about the sexual activity of turkeys. While it’s related, it’s not the question they asked.

You know how annoying not having your question answered is–don’t be that person.

And don’t insert those well-researched keywords into lousy copy. Instead, craft your content around those target keywords to provide your customer with on-topic, quality information.

Providing meaningful, relevant content means potential customers stay on your page longer,

their trust in your brand deepens,

they’re more likely to convert,

And Google ranks your page higher–it’s a happy place for everyone.

But, before we wrap up, we also need to consider user-intent. Words have double, sometimes triple, meanings. For example:

Someone searching for “chocolate labs” might actually be looking for one of three things:

A dog,

a factory that makes chocolate, or

a dog-shaped chocolate treat for their favourite uncle (unlikely but don’t cancel it out).

There is greater belief now that Google looks first at whether pages accurately respond to user-intent, which makes relevance a moot point. So, consider all the different ways people interpret the keywords you want to rank for.

Go Keyword Hunting…

Now you’ve got something to start with on your way to SEO success. Keyword research is a necessary first step–a strategic one.

My advice to you is to use every keyword tool available to you. The most valuable one is your brain.

Metrics are important, but they’re machine-generated. Investigate by performing your own search queries and analyzing the results. Read available content and note what is lacking–that’s your opportunity. It requires manual labour, but it supports a greater understanding of how Google ranks pages and why (before it changes again).

Then, write awesome, engaging content built around your target keywords, that feeds your potential customers exactly what they want. Write your own or hire an expert copywriter with SEO knowledge.

Happy researching!

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Logical Mix Chats with Nat from Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce

I recently had the pleasure of catching a ride through Brooklin with Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce CEO, Natalie Prychitkoas, a guest on her YouTube series “Chat with Nat”.

I was a bit awkward at the start. I tend to wear an expression that makes you expect to see a couple of stray feathers sticking out my mouth, a little tweet tweet echoing from inside me. That expression intensifies when I’m a bit nervous and then I stumble over my words a bit.

For example, she asks me––

“You’ve got young kids, don’t you? You know how I know? Because your front porch is full of young kid plastic stuff,”

I reply as my usual witty self with this awkward gem:

“You didn’t think that was me?” I joked, as if to suggest I spend my afternoons wearing swimmies, splashing in a kiddie pool or practicing my golf swing with a Little Tykes 3 Wood.

Because as a guy in the digital marketing biz, that’s exactly the image I wish to portray.

But permanently-etched mental images aside, Nat was correct. Our house is overflowing with every kind of plastic toy you can imagine because my wife and I have two young boys (three, if we include my afternoon antics). The point is, I know I’m awkward but that perma-grin is really because I’m just kind of a big kid inside.

She asked me about my history and why my family and I moved to Brooklin from Toronto. My wife and I grew up in Toronto and we loved living there but once we had our first son, our house became a bit too cramped for us so we entered Suburbia. We chose Brooklin because it’s a little bit like Pleasantville––everyone waves and smiles, and smiles and waves. There are paths connecting this street and to that park and to Heber Down (if you haven’t been to Heber Down, do yourself a favor and check it out), and there are some really great burgers right in town. What more do you need in a community than great neighbours, nature trails, and good grub?

And then we moved onto business. Nat asked about what I do and why I do it and what I’m anticipating for 2018.

I love this question and it’s one of the reasons I’m happy I got the chance to chat with Nat. I love having an SEO company in Whitby and I want to tell everyone who will listen.

In addition to being a dad and a husband, I’m also a digital marketing geek who started up his own biz in 2011. Before that, I worked for a company called Contractors.com, which did internet marketing for tradespeople. It was awesome and the site was receiving 200K visits per month right up until Google changed its algorithm that removed ranking authority from domain names. I sat in on one of their meetings and was fascinated by how Internet search engines could be so strategically manipulated. That was essentially how I got started in digital marketing, which led to the creation of Logical Mix.

Nat asked––“Why did you join the Commerce and what are you anticipating for 2018?”

When I moved to Whitby, it felt like a good time to immerse myself in the community so I joined the Java Jolt––a member-led group of business people who meet up to help each other out and build a supportive network. They opened my eyes to the Chamber so I checked them out and like their vibes––Bob’s your uncle.

As for my 2018 goals––well, basically, I’m a community guy. I want to help people and the way I do that is by helping local businesses grow and build their online exposure. It’s what I know and what I do. It’s why I’m so proud of the work the Whitby Chamber of Commerce does for the community. They are true ambassadors for businesses in Whitby and the Durham Region.

I’m grateful to Nat for her time and for sharing our chat on YouTube––check it out below:

DeltaGrowth logo

DG’s Roundup Summary: What SEO or PPC Advice Would You Give Yourself?

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Delta Growth (DG), a big boy in Toronto’s SEO & SEM industry, specializing in e-commerce. Eugenia, DG’s SEO/PPC Implementation Specialist reached out to some of the industry’s local brainers to ask a SEO/PPC question that few of us ever ask ourselves during our careers:

What advice would have changed your SEO or PPC career?

It’s the kind of question that encourages us to reflect on our business moves of yesteryear. But it also makes us want to nail our thumbs to the floor for the dearth of knowledge our brains now overflow with. If only a DeLorean time machine were as accessible as a Zipcar.

But alas, DG talked to leading SEOs, so we did something right even back then! As a SEO Specialist in Whitby at Logical Mix I was humbled to be regarded in this mix and appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the ghosts of SEO past.

Whether you’re a blogger, consultant, strategist, or a newbie copywriter, Delta Growth’s Round Up about SEO/SEM career advice from leading industry experts may surprise you. It seems success lies in some good old-fashioned values and technical know-how.

Make Great SEO & SEM Relationships

Relationship building is the cornerstone of success in any business. Regardless of how great we are at the technical stuff, there is a person behind every move we make and that person is either going to trust us or bounce. We don’t want bouncers. Stoney Degeyter, Founder and CEO at Pole Position Marketing urges us to always, “focus on the customer, not the algorithms”.  Make the user’s experience your priority. It’s not enough just to know SEO. A grasp of marketing fundamentals is essential to reaching your audience and garnering the staying power that will bump up your conversion rates. What is the crux of Marketing 101? Know your customer. So, know your customer.

Tor Refsland says that if he could go back in time he would have told himself “to grow some b*lls and become uncomfortable much sooner!” He would have started getting new clients right away, face-to-face. So get out there and show face.

Check in with industry peeps too. Nobody gets very far alone. The e-comm community is huge. Learn from as many people as you can. Garner good quality links by offering something of value. Bump up your social media presence.

Give TOFu and BOFu Equal Opportunity

We want to pay attention to everybody at every stage of the conversion cycle so we’ve got to know how to structure our content appropriately. The experts give a few suggestions here. Nail in on long-tail keywords to reach the BOFu kids. Stick to one topic at a time. Create pages to rank for individual head terms and focus on the low-competition keywords in your niche.

But the awareness phase is critical and you can’t gain interest unless you give people something useful. Steve Wiideman insists on links to free tools, guides, and checklists as a marketing strategy for garnering tons of TOFu interest.

Invest In Yourself

It’s easy to forget about our own brand when we’re focused on making it awesome for our clients. John Rampton and Michael Cottam urge us to take the advice we give our clients. Clients come and go with their millions. “What will stick with you is your own brand and assets. Build those and invest as much resources (sic) in those as you would your clients’ sites” (John Rampton, Founder and CEO, with over 1 million Twitter followers). Capitalize on what you practice everyday and know one or two things really well – this is your expertise. And study what you’re not practicing everyday to maintain an edge in the industry.

Craft Awesome New Content Every Week

The demand for high quality content won’t change anytime soon so unless you’re a blackhat you’ll want to maximize your content and repurpose it – a ingenious hack from Oleg Korneitchouk. Several experts commented on how they wished they’d known the value of investing in a marketing campaign, with regular, meaningful content at the top of the priority list. Josh Steimle, Founder of MW1 says it’s simple: “High quality work will attract high quality links. It’s a lot of hard work to create great content, but it’s a simple recipe.”  Good quality content helps the customer alleviate their pains and achieve their goals. This points back to relationships and making our brand trustworthy. But it has to be ongoing. Fresh content each week is essential to high organic ranking and traffic.

Get Your Hands Dirty

We’ve gotta be ballsy in this industry. If we want to know what it feels like to jump out of a plane, we’ve got to jump out of the plane. Take risks with what we know. Research. Experiment. Learn from the results. Experiential learning is the key to forming a knowledge base that will compound over time and support innovation. According to the experts, research and risk are our most profitable investments. Know how to code. Use PPC as a learning mechanism for SEO. Don’t be afraid to try and share with others – remember relationships? Eric Enge sums up SEO & PPC advice the best: “Establish yourself as knowing one aspect of it very, very well. Then, when you’re ready, work on adding a second area of expertise, and get to the point where you are recognized as an expert on that. Keep expanding on those things over time.”

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*Full article here: Round Up: What Advice Would’ve Changed Your SEO or PPC Career?

Shopify logo

What Lessons Can We Learn From Shopify?

What Makes Shopify One on the Most Innovative eCommerce Solutions on the Planet?

We’re glad you asked.

Did you know that in just one year, Shopify increased their revenue by 90%? It’s probably why some short sellers are questioning the business model.

In the matrix of digital marketing, Shopify has found their niche: customized, SEO-rich lures that have made them one of the most innovative and effective ecommerce solutions in the world.

Find out how Shopify cracked that egg better than the other guys in the industry–but who are they again?

They Help Customers Before They’re Even Customers….

Shopify’s “try before you buy” free trial provides time and tips to get your business up and running before you’ve paid a cent. Once hooked, their pricing system has budget-friendly options.

Then, they break down new business start-up step by step, right from the home page, and provide real examples that everyone can relate to.

Shopify discovers what people want and own it. They create ToFu content and subdomains from highly searched keyword phrases. Their useful content draws in and assists all kinds of folks.

Daily blogs. In-depth guides. Instructive podcasts. Video courses taught by industry experts. All expertly optimized. Shopify create interesting, usable, and varied content, a little something for everyone, without email opt-in. One stop shopping for ecommerce education.

Shopify address new business owner concerns through a seven-day email series. Each one takes you one baby step further in set-up. But it’s not entirely altruistic. The introductory email congratulates the new business owner, while the CTA button reminds of the extra goodies available with a paid plan.

In addition to baiting new customers, Shopify go fishing… at the competitor. They identify and solve the primary pain problem competitors’ customers have with straightforward copy.

And of course, Shopify make good with their old friends too.

Their Twitter support channel broadcasts their awesome customer support, which makes them look really good too, like that 22nd selfie…nailed it!

They Take Smart Risks….

Shopify inspired the entrepreneurial spirit of thousands through Build a Business. Seemingly crazy, and $uper risky, it was the motivation behind the start of thousands of new, successful businesses, for a total revenue of $3,543,191 by shop owners. BOOM.

They make evergreen webinars available almost as soon as you sign up. Then they advertise them as a limited time offer (except they aren’t). This creates a speed-laced dangling carrot that turns traffic into regular users.

They Roll With the Big Guys….

How about a brilliant affiliate marketing scheme that benefits everyone? Shopify’s done it. With their affiliate referral system, Shopify have turned their customers into a mass-marketing, super-bomb Shopify team. And they use industry innovators to create awesome apps and designs just for Shopify–so they can hoard the good ideas for themselves.

And, for every app they partner with, they create keyword-rich, integrated landing pages that lead potentials to their free trial.

They Juice Up the Dry Stuff….

Shopify get how significant those little CTA buttons are. Theirs use a different kind of speak to respond to email subscribers. Totally refreshing. But who cares about the newsletters? It’s all about the free-trial, right?!

They have designed an attractive, interactive, and current product update page that gets thousands of social shares without any buttons.

They make meat of ToFu with perfectly-matched ad copy, super specific PPC landing pages, and MoFu keywords that lead the searcher to exactly what they want.

And all those little things, like logging and out stating the terms of service (yawn)… They take them to the next level, to be just that bit better than the other guys–remember them?

This all just smacks of clever business sense.

*All material researched and used can be found at: Shopify’s Website

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Banner with text of 12 Steps to SEO success.

12 SEO Steps to Success

This SEO Checklist will send YOU down the Path of Internet Success.

Ask yourself these 12 SEO questions frequently during your marketing campaign:12 SEO Steps to Success printable jpeg

This list has taken the length of my career to make. Creating 12 summarized sentences to get to the heart of search engine optimization was a hard task indeed and by no means complete. It is worth noting, that over time, some of these practices will shift or become extinct altogether.

This is Logical Mix’s, 2017 version of the “12 SEO Steps to Success“.

I hope it serves you well!

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*Here is the text, if you are having a hard time viewing the image:

1. Keyword Research

Am I matching search queries to my service/product offering?

2. Competitive Research

Have I found usable insights from top organic competitors?

3. Web Analytics

Have I implemented Google Analytics & Google Search Console?

4. On-Page SEO

Am I using Step 1’s insights for page targeting & structuring?

5. Local SEO

Have I built & fixed online citations for my business?

6. Reviews

Do I have a strategy for gathering reviews from happy customers?

7. Technical SEO

Are my relevant web pages being crawled & indexed?

8. User Experience

Is my website intuitive & frictionless throughout?

9. Content Creation

Am I creating quality content that solves the searcher’s problems?

10. Content Marketing

Am I marketing the quality content I created?

11. Internet Partners

Have I been building relationships with non-competing companies?

12. Off-Page SEO

Am I building authority to my site from external websites?

cars in dark traffic jam at night with lights on

Does My Search Engine Marketing Have Dark Traffic?

Dark Traffic Makes A SEO’s Life More Interesting.

Dark traffic is statistically usually under “Direct Traffic” in Google Analytics, and is being referred from an unknown/untraced source (and for some reason being lumped into Direct Traffic).

As a SEO, you must try to figure out where this website traffic is coming from. Get the credit you deserve.

What does this Mean for My Search Engine Marketing?

It means you have to search for stats in other places and on your own. You can also help your company by adding some tools to your arsenal. You’ll never be able to track 100% of “Dark Traffic”, but from our research, this is the best article to read regarding Dark Traffic. That article should send you on the right path.

We Hope That Helped

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Stacked Gold Bars

Why Rich Snippets Help Your Company’s Search Engine Marketing

Rich snippets are a fancy way to spruce up your Google search results within search engine listings.

They don’t necessarily enhance your search engine optimization (SEO), but they do improve your Click Through Rate (CTR). The jury is still out on the search engine ranking effects. Some have reported a SERP improvement.

The most common rich snippets we see are reviews with “Star Rating”. Rich snippets come in many forms though, such as: videos, images, event times, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

The enhancement is real, and positively reflects your search engine marketing efforts.

The end is result desired is almost always quality website clicks funnelling into leads for your business. If this statement is true for your business, continue reading more about rich snippets and how to implement them on your website.

Get A Plugin.

This is the most cost effective way to get rich snippets representing your business online. You could get a developer to code it in for you, but that is a much pricier option.

Here’s a relatively new and great article about Rich Snippet plugins: 5 Best Rich Snippet Plugins

It’s an article about different tools you can use to get rich snippets showing up for your search engine results. Worth the read. Rich Snippets will propel you above the competition.

The Easiest Explanation:

Rich Snippets help your company control what the search engine user sees on the search results page.

This helps everyone in the end. User and Business win!

 

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SOME TAGS NEEDED FOR SEO

On-Page search engine optimization (SEO) is certainly an important part of the website building process. If you want to show up on the first page of any search engine’s search results, on-page SEO is a must. Logical Mix outlines the 3 most crucial elements needed to improve your on-page search engine optimization.
1) Title Tags: Can also be called ‘title elements’. The title tag is the text used to define an online document or the website page. Other than the relevant content on a web page, the title tag is the most important component to on-page search engine optimization.
2) Meta Description Tags: This is where your description is shown when getting search engine results. Your website’s content will be described exactly how you want the reader to interpret it on the search engine results page of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. This is created on the back-end of your website using the HTML tags properly. Ask your developer to code this accurately to your specifications.
3) Alt Image Tags:  Alt Image Tags allow search engines to understand the attributes of an image by describing them in text form. Search engine robots/spiders have a hard time crawling images for SEO purposes without text on them. Another advantage to Alt Image Tags is if the picture doesn’t load on a website, at least there will be a description of what image should be shown. Again, these tags should be applied by whoever is building your website (whether it is you or a developer).
Two extra things to mention are using ‘Header Tags’ (accurate descriptions to summarize the content on a web page) properly and applying proper ‘descriptions/ file names to the images’ you will be displaying on your website. For example, PICTURE-DESCRIPTION.jpeg or PICTURE-DESCRIPTION.gif.
We hope this helps with your internet marketing efforts now and in the future.
Please write us or post if you want to discuss more.
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