The Importance of Video Content

The Importance of Video Content

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Video Content

The Internet Isn’t Just for Cat Videos

Many people have heard the story about how Google scientists connected 16,000 computers together to create the world’s largest machine learning neural network and then gave it access to YouTube, where it found so many cat videos that it taught itself to recognize cats. But YouTube isn’t just cat videos and tutorials. It’s also the second-largest search engine on the Internet. YouTube

An Audience of Millions

There are 1.3 billion users on YouTube watching almost 5 billion videos every day. That’s a huge audience that you can capitalize on by adding video content to your marketing strategy. Creating video content and uploading it to your company’s YouTube account can help build your brand and share important content with over a billion people.

Videos Rank

Reaching more people isn’t the only benefit of creating video content. Videos that are optimized will also rank on Google for relevant searches. If you’ve been on Google at all in the past few years (who hasn’t?), then you’ll have noticed that videos show up not only on the Videos tab of the search engine results page but also on the main results page as well.

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Going Viral

Videos have a much greater chance of going viral than any other type of content. Videos are easily, and therefore frequently, shared content. Users share videos on social media and from there they generate likes, pins, upvotes, shares, and other social signals. Google pays attention to these social signals and will adjust the ranking of your video accordingly.

Videos for SEO

Users like to watch videos and their very presence on your website can actually increase the number of conversions that you get. In addition, if your videos are properly optimized, the video script can be transcribed by Google and then used for your SEO just like your website content, blogs, and social media posts.

Put a Face to the Name

Videos are so popular for a variety of reasons. Users don’t always want to read and the visual content can be incredibly compelling. It also humanizes your company, putting a face to the name. People like to follow other people. They like to know who they’re buying from, or who they’ll be working with. content marketing

Valuable Content

Your blogs and your text can tell your visitors about your company and products. Videos, on the other hand, can show them. If you sell a physical product, then you can use videos to demonstrate your products. Videos can also be tutorials or even just glimpses into your company’s culture and what it would be like to work with you. If you can get customers to provide testimonials, having those in video form is incredibly powerful. Real customers’ experiences with your company will be considered more credible than anything your company could say.

Videos Are the Future

The popularity of video content doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Videos are here to stay and will only increase in the future. Not only is video content a good addition to your marketing strategy now, but it is also a great way to future-proof your SEO, as video optimization will be a major part of SEO for a long time to come.
Why You Shouldn’t Cross-Post on Social Media

Why You Shouldn’t Cross-Post on Social Media

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Why You Shouldn’t Cross-Post on Social Media

Cross-posting is sharing the same content (in the exact same way, with the same image, the same wording, etc.) across all social media platforms. It can also be sharing the same post again on the same platform. It’s easy to do, as it reduces the amount of work you have to put in to your social media posts.

And it’s okay from time to time, for special posts or things that you need to make sure everyone sees. But for everyday posting, it’s also a bad habit to get into.

Different Platforms, Different Needs

What makes a great Tweet won’t necessarily make a great Instagram or Facebook post. By using the exact same post across multiple platforms, you’re actually missing out on the opportunity to optimize your posts for each social media platform.

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Hashtags

Some social media sites encourage almost unlimited hashtags while on others it should be limited to only a few. Twitter, for example, has character limits on all posts and so too much of the post shouldn’t be taken up with hashtags, while Instagram posts generally have many hashtags.

CTA

CTA Vocabulary

CTA vocabulary can differ across platforms. If you’re not careful about how cross-posted content is worded, you’ll end up inviting users on Facebook to retweet your post. Using the appropriate language for each social media platform is an important part of engaging users with a CTA. If you don’t use the language of a platform at all in an effort to avoid using the wrong words when cross-posting, you may also be limiting your engagement with users on social media.

Target Audience

The target audience may different between different social media platforms. LinkedIn in general has an older audience that is more professionally focused while other platforms may have a higher concentration of different ages groups, genders, etc. Instagram users, for example, tend to be younger and are more often women. Posts that do well with one demographic may not perform as well with others.

Look Sir, Droids 

 

 

 

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If too much of your content looks the same, whether it’s across different social media platforms or even repeated on the same platform, it will begin to look automated. Not only will users think your posts are from bots (which may make them disregard your posts), but the social media platforms themselves may think the same thing. Sites are increasing their efforts to curb spam and bot accounts and you risk getting your accounts banned if your posts look too automated.

 

 

Diminishing Post Quality

If a post is ideal for one social media platform, it can lose a lot of what makes it good in the transition to another platform.

  • Captions
  • Images
  • Links
  • Handles
  • Hashtags

These are all features of social media posts that can easily end up being lost in the transition between one social media platform to another. Not only will users miss out on the benefits of having these in the posts, it’ll also end up looking sloppy. Sloppy posts may make users think that it’s spam and therefore may be ignored.

Creating Unique Posts

Creating different posts for sharing the same content across different social media platforms will take more time and effort than simply cross-posting the same material, but not by much. The content of each post doesn’t need to be wildly different for each post – it just needs to be different enough that it looks like human effort was put into it and so that it is created with each social media platform in mind.

Small Changes Across Platforms

Even the tiniest of changes can make a big difference. Posts will look different to your users who may see your posts on different social media sites. If you’re reposting, having a slightly different headline or caption and a different word order will prevent your posts from looking like they’re from a spam account to the social media platform.

Platform Optimization

Special attention should be paid to optimizing your posts for each specific social media platform. This can include making sure that media is properly formatted for that site, including captions, handles, internal links, tags, and more that will make your post platform-specific. This attention to detail can make your posts stand out – they’re designed specifically for that social media site and are better able to engage users there. They also won’t look like spam.

Schedule Posts Differently

Just like social media platforms have different optimization techniques, they also have different times at which content should be posted for optimal viewing. You can make the most out of your post by making sure it is scheduled for the best time for each social media platform. These times and days may be wildly different depending on when users of each platform tend to be the most active on that site.

Mix It Up

While much of your content may be similar with some tweaks for different platforms, not all content will be appropriate on all platforms. Memes may work better on Twitter than on Facebook, for example. Sharing a new product might garner more interest on Pinterest where it would be totally ignored on LinkedIn. It’s best to determine exactly what kind of content will do well on each platform and make sure you’re tailoring your content to each specific social media site’s audience.

Improved User Experience

As easy as it might be to fall into the trap of cross-posting, ultimately it will benefit both you and your users to spend the extra time and effort in making different posts for different social media platforms. Users will be more engaged with posts tailored to their needs and expectations on social media, which will improve UX with your content, which will in turn send more users to your website. Social media is a part of what brings users to your website and so improving your social media game can ultimately improve your SEO strategy as well.

If you need help evaluating your user experience or SEO strategies, don’t delay – contact us today for a free consultation!

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Click This Now! Calling Users to Action

Click This Now! Calling Users to Action

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is a call to action and why should you have one? An effective call to action, or CTA, is an integral part of any marketing campaign. It’s what gets users to perform a desired action, whether that’s to click on a link, to sign up for a newsletter, to buy a product, or to visit a web page. A CTA is also a way to tell users what to expect once they’ve clicked and can help ensure that only users who are truly interested in your page or product. 

Creating an Effective CTA

An effective call to action is one that appeals to users’ emotions and gets them enthusiastic about the action you’d like them to perform. Using strong command verbs (download, subscribe, sign up, click, find out, fill out, buy, order, shop, etc.) and phrasing that shows excitement can encourage that same enthusiasm in readers.

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Be Creative

While it’s always a good idea to see what the competition is doing (which can also be used as inspiration for your own marketing and content), it’s also important to make sure that you separate yourself from the crowd and stand out. Your CTAs shouldn’t just be a reiteration of jargon that’s used in your industry. Not only is that annoying to users, who’ve by now heard that same phrase hundreds of times over, it also doesn’t give users a reason why they should click on your post over others.

Be Yourself

Keep in mind that everything you post, from advertisements to blogs to social media posts, is a part of your brand. CTAs should therefore reflect your brand and what you stand for. The wording should still match the content on your site and fit into your overall narrative. Don’t let your CTAs sound out-of-character and keep them consistent with the content you already have.

Sell… But Don’t Sell?

This may sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re selling something. An effective CTA is bold and clear about selling something (Buy now! Shop Here! Limited-time Sale!), but at the same time needs to not make users feel like they’re being sold to. Keeping a post and a CTA personal may make users instead feel like they’re part of a conversation rather than just being the recipients of a sales pitch.

While Supplies Last

Many users experience FOMO, or the fear of missing out. If your promotion/sale/event is not going to last forever, you can take advantage of FOMO and inform users that they have only a limited period of time to click/register/purchase, etc. Not wanting to miss out can actually be another form of enthusiasm about your product/site/newsletter.

Click Here Now

No matter how excitingly worded your CTA, if there isn’t a good reason for users to click, they won’t. Make sure that the benefits of clicking (or performing the desired action) are made clear to them. Including what makes your product, your newsletter, your site, etc. special is therefore a must – why should users visit your site/buy your product/watch your video?

Make It Easy

The content of the CTA should be easy for users to read and understand. If there is industry jargon that only people already in the industry would understand, don’t use it in your CTA. Be as informational as possible without overwhelming your users with too much text. Users have hundreds of CTAs (or more) coming through on their social media feeds/e-mail inboxes/Google searches/etc. If yours is too long or too difficult to understand, users won’t consider it worth their time to read or take the desired action.

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Social Media CTAs

Social media posts are already great opportunities to share new content on your website. A CTA can therefore be included to get users to click on the link/visit your website/watch your video/etc. Social media CTAs can be used to:

  • Direct users to a new blog post
  • Feature a specific product for users to buy
  • Encourage users to follow/like you
  • Ask users to sign up for a newsletter or e-mail campaign
  • Ask users to register for an event
  • Inform users of a limited time offering/opportunity
  • And more….

Creating CTAs for social media is similar to creating CTAs for advertisements or for your website, but have a few additional characteristics you should keep in mind:

Platform-Specific CTAs

It’s better for SEO purposes to not have social media posts be exactly the same across all of your social media platforms. The same goes for CTAs. Different social media platforms have different CTAs that perform better. For example, Twitter posted a blog that analyzed the top-performing CTAs on Twitter:

  • Download
  • Retweet
  • Follow
  • Reply

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Other social media sites may have similar trends that can help you create posts and CTAs that will perform the best on that site.

Media-Enhanced Messages

CTAs in social media posts can be enhanced by eye-catching media, including images, gifs, and videos. These are eye-catching and can entice users to look at your post when they may not have if it had text only. Images and videos can also provide users with information that they may have ignored if it had been text.

Do the Work for the User

Make sure that the user has the least possible amount of work to do when they click on your social media post. Instead of having it link to your home page, if you want users to sign up or to register for something, the post should instead lead them directly to the page they need. If they have to search for the right page, they may click off without performing the desired action.

Testing CTAs

Some CTAs are more effective than others. Some CTAs are better for certain social media platforms than others. The best way to find out is to do your research and to try out different CTAs to see which ones perform best. Fortunately, CTAs are a measurable quantity and once you’ve got a CTA posted, you can see which ones have the best results.

Tweak Your Tests

Before starting your CTA tests, it’s important to realize that what works on one platform is unlikely to work as well on another. If you have a CTA you believe will get good results on Twitter, it may not be worth your time to try that exact same CTA on LinkedIn or Facebook. Research ahead of time what each social media platform reports are its most successful CTAs, if the information is available. Also check out what competitors are doing on each social media platform for ideas and a place to start.

Factors to Test

Everything that goes into creating a CTA, from the image chosen to the exact wording, can be tweaked and tested for effectiveness. Testing one thing at a time to see if it improves your click-through-rate. These factors can include:

  • Text wording
  • Image
  • Post length
  • Style of post
  • Bulleted list vs. numbered list
  • Emoji usage
  • Post tone, including casual vs. formal and active vs. passive
  • Use of punctuation
  • Headline
  • Etc.

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Putting It All Together

Over time, through measuring and testing the effectiveness of your CTAs, you can improve your posts to bring in a larger number of users. And not just any users – your posts should be tailored to provide the information users need to know whether what you’re offering is something they want. This way, the wrong users won’t be stumbling across your site (and therefore increasing your bounce rate when they realize that your content isn’t what they’re looking for).

The better the fit between your users and your content, the more quality visits your site will get, which will ultimately affect your SEO and your search rankings.

If you need help with aligning your website’s content with both SEO and conversion goals – contact us today for a free consultation!  Fill out our form below.

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Help Your Users Find Your Content

Help Your Users Find Your Content

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Finding Your Website
While high quality content is important both for search rankings and for user experience, if your users can’t find your content easily, they are likely to get frustrated and leave your site. This would lead to higher bounce rates and, eventually, lower search rankings. Therefore, you should make sure that your website is designed to help your users find what they are looking for.

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Finding Your Website

So you have high-quality content you want users to see…but how do you get them to visit your website in the first place?

SEO and Search Rankings

Increasing your search rankings will naturally guide users to your website. Having a good SEO strategy can help improve your rankings for specific keywords. When users search for those words and phrases, the higher your site appears in their search, the more likely they are to visit your site.

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Social Media Sharing

Social media can be an excellent tool for getting your content out there. Maintaining a social media presence and engaging with users there can increase awareness of your content and can drive users to visit your website. You can share new content as well as resharing evergreen content to keep your social media presence active.

Navigating Your Website

Now that users have arrived on your website, how do you help them stay on your site and find more content? navigation menu

Navigation Menu

The navigation menu at the top of the page is perhaps the most important element in helping users find what they’re looking for. It’s their guidemap to your site. Any page on your site that you want users to be readily able to find needs to be linked to the navigation menu. The menu also needs to be organized into categories that will make sense to your users. This can make your site clearer and easier to explore for users. Also make sure that your logo is a home button that will return users to your home page.

Links

Internal links are important tools that can help you guide users to other content on your website that is relevant to what they’re already reading. These links can also be useful for SEO, since both the link and the anchor text are visible to search engines. Don’t overload your page with links, however – too many and users will be overwhelmed and ignore the links. Also, Google has a limit of how many links it will crawl, so it’s best to keep the number of links to only what’s truly relevant and to what is a logical next step for the reader. If you include external links, make sure that they open in either a new tab or a new window – you don’t want to navigate users away from your own page.

Search Bar

Another useful tool that can help users navigate your site is a search bar. There are some disadvantages to having a search bar. For smaller websites, it can look cluttered on your website. If users don’t use the correct search term, don’t include a space, or have a typo in their search, which then returns no results, they may be led to believe that your site doesn’t contain the content they were looking for rather than improving their own search.

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However, especially on larger sites, a search bar can help users navigate directly to the content they’re looking for instead of having to look through a large navigation menu. Some search bar widgets actually use Google, which may result in more accurate results for users. Google’s algorithm may be better able to search within your site and to handle any mistakes users made in their search terms.

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Voice Search and Featured Snippets

Voice Search and Featured Snippets

Reading Time: 4 minutes
VOICE SEARCH & Featured Snippets

How to Rank at Position Zero

Since 2014, Google has been increasing the number of featured snippets available for search. Featured snippets are the answer boxes that appear at the top of SERPs (search engine result pages) – they’re the featured result and thus usually have a much higher click-through rate than the other results. Because the featured snippet box is located above the first result, it’s often called Position 0.
BV Snippet

Links with Voice Search

The featured snippet is important not only because it has a higher click-through rate. It is also important because it is usually linked to voice search. If a user searches with voice search, the answer returned is generally from the featured snippet.

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Answer a Question

Featured snippets answer a question. This is actually linked to voice search as well, because users tend to ask questions rather than using a single keyword when searching via voice. To create content that is eligible for a featured snippet, word your keywords and phrases in the form of a question, and then answer that question within the content of your web page. Think about how your current keywords can be turned into questions that users might be asking – for example: ‘How can I improve user experience on my website?’ instead of ‘improving user experience’.

Rank on the First Page

Usually, only search results that appear on the first page of the SERP are considered for a featured snippet. If you’re on page two or three, then you’ll need to improve your SEO strategy. Many of the changes that would need to be made to earn a featured snippet would also improve your SEO – it may just take some time to move from your current position to one high enough for a featured snippet.

Find Opportunities

Just like with keywords, the featured snippet is all about finding the right opportunity. It’s difficult to rank for broad keywords that have a huge number of results. Similarly, it’s difficult to rank highly and be considered for the featured snippet for a question that is commonly asked. Your best bet is to reduce the competition for both search rankings and for the featured snippet by narrowing down your desired key question to something more specific that you have a better chance at ranking highly for. Google helpfully provides a ‘People Also Ask’ section underneath featured snippet boxes so you can check out some of the other possible questions you could answer.

Look at Current Featured Snippets

To see what kind of content ranks highly for your keywords, check out the websites that are currently ranked highly and which ones currently have the featured snippet. How do they word the answer? What keywords are they using? You can also look at the ads at the top of the SERP for ideas, since they have been researched by marketing teams to see what users would best respond to. While you can’t copy their wording, you can look at these for inspiration – what did they do to rank so highly?

Ask What Users Are Looking For

Websites that function as question and answer portals, such as Quora or Yahoo Answers, are excellent sources of questions. You can start by looking for more general questions and then let the site help you narrow the search down to more specific questions that users are asking about that subject. This can help you see exactly what users interested in your topic are looking for and you can target these questions.

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Make Your Content Featured Snippet Ready

It’s not enough to just answer the question posed in your keywords. The answer also needs to be structured so that it can easily fit into the answer box of the featured snippet. Structuring your content as FAQs can help – as can using bullet points, lists, tables, etc. – anything that puts your content into easily digestible segments that are a maximum of 50 characters long.

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Make a YouTube Video

Google also features videos (and favors one of their own children, YouTube). Since users are increasingly turning to video for their content, and many people are a little too nervous to get in front of the camera, this can be an untapped opportunity. YouTube videos can improve your user experience on your website, bolster your brand’s overall SEO efforts, and provide opportunities for additional featured ranking. Instructional videos that answer a user’s question directly about “how to” do something are especially good opportunities for ranking as Google’s featured video. And just a reminder – make the most of your content! Once that video is made, share it across social media, put it in a newsletter or email blast, re-invent it as a blog or ebook, and incorporate it into your email marketing campaigns. Truly high-quality content (in any form) can be used time and time again.

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Meta SEO: Creating an SEO Strategy to Meet All Needs

Meta SEO: Creating an SEO Strategy to Meet All Needs

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It can be difficult to decide what type of SEO strategy best fits your needs. Is it local SEO, or national, or does your SEO need to function globally? What about voice search, website health, and brand presence? And then you can’t forget about UX (user experience).

Fortunately, these are no longer separate entities when it comes to a well-tuned SEO strategy. All of these share the same nuts and bolts. While the weight of each factor may vary for each “style” of SEO, you can still hit on all of the major factors in one meta-SEO strategy that can meet all of your needs.

Or at least support all of your needs. The idea is to keep everything swimming in the same direction, and to maximize every effort (instead of contradicting or duplicating efforts).

Merge Your SEO Strategies

The first step is to identify what the most important factors of each different type of SEO are. For example, no matter what kind of SEO strategy you’re employing, high-quality content and link building will be important. Many of the SEO improvements that you can make to optimize your site for voice search or for mobile indexing, for example, will also improve your other SEO strategies as well.

Since all SEO strategies touch on the same factors and techniques, improving what you’ve determined to be the most important overall factors will benefit all of your SEO. Some strategies may still require SEO tactics that benefit only one type of SEO (Google My Business for local SEO, for example), but overall, your SEO strategies can be merged. Consolidating SEO strategies into one mega SEO strategy will also streamline all of your SEO efforts, making the process easier to keep track of.

Keywords: Be Honest, and Be Specific!

Keywords are perhaps one of the most important considerations in SEO. Without a good keyword strategy, users won’t be able to find your website. Even if they do, they may not be the type of user you’re looking to attract.

When choosing your keywords, think about what your desired audience may be looking for in order to find you. How would they word the issue they’re having? How would they describe your service, the very first time they walk into your office – before they’ve picked up on your industry jaron? What are some of their very first questions when they call?

It’s also important to think about what your website is capable of ranking for. Even if your area of expertise falls into the category of marketing, for example, there are so many other sites competing for the top search ranks for that keyword that it will be difficult to rank highly. If you can narrow down your keywords to those that you can rank for, that can help you rank higher for that search, allowing users to find your site more easily.

For that matter, the more specific you can be about what it is that you do, the more specific your keyword strategy is, the better your on-site conversion rates will become because your website traffic will be more qualified.

So on that note, let’s review some common keyword styles:

Localized Keywords:
If your site is for a business with a physical location, that location can be included in your keyword – not only does this help with narrowing down your keyword but also helps with your local SEO strategy by helping you rank for your location.

Long-Tail Keywords:
The longer your keywords are, the higher you’ll likely be able to rank for that keywords. Having longer key phrases may also help guide more users to your site as more users search using longer key phrases now than single key words.

Question Keywords:
Wording you keywords as questions (and then answering them in the content of your website) is a good way to not only use longer, more specific key words and phrases, but it is the best way to engage with users who are using voice search.

Link Building

Link building is essential to your SEO campaign no matter what kind of SEO strategies you are using. It’s important to ensure that backlinks to your site are of good quality. Spammy backlinks will hurt your rankings overall, so for any SEO strategy, you can’t just get any backlink that comes your way, but need to be more discerning in your link-building campaign. Local SEO campaigns to engage with local businesses and local sites can result in backlinks that can help your overall SEO campaign.

Business Directories

Business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, and others are good resources for businesses. They give users an opportunity to review your company (5-star reviews are great!). Making it easy for them by having detailed information about your company, as well as links to your website, can help guide users from business directory listings to your site, improving your search rankings. Having directory entries can also improve your brand presence, as users may like to see what others have been saying about your website.

High-Quality Content

Content is king. Whatever your SEO strategy is, if you don’t have high-quality content on your website, your search rankings will suffer for it. In many cases, it’s actually beneficial to your rankings to just remove older, thinner content altogether rather than have pages with thin content on your site. Improving your site’s content and ensuring that it is useful to your users will improve your search rankings across the board and also keep users coming back, which will further improve rankings.

Mobile-First Indexing

Regardless of where your SEO focus lies, all websites are being indexed by their mobile version first. Therefore, optimizing your website for mobile use is vital to improving any SEO campaign. Optimizing for mobile improves your SEO across the board, whether users are accessing your site from mobile devices (which the majority are) or from a computer, as it improves user experience.

Website Health

The health of your website is an essential part of your SEO strategy. Website health affects page load speed, the overall quality of your content (as Google sees it), user experience, and even SEO directly (via title tags, alt text, etc.). Going through each page of your website and getting rid of thin content, improving the optimization of each page, improving page speed, and just overall improving the health of your website can go a long way towards improving user experience and your search rankings.

User Experience

User experience is the most important thing in SEO. All of your other efforts will have been for nothing if users have poor experiences on your site, your search rankings will still suffer because of a high bounce rate. Ensuring good UX should ultimately be the highest priority of all kinds of SEO campaigns and therefore should be the top factor in your meta SEO strategy.

Streamlined SEO

Having one overall SEO strategy that meets the needs of all of your different SEO campaigns can streamline the SEO process, hit upon all of the important factors for each type of SEO and improve your search rankings across the board. SEO isn’t separate from brand presence, user experience, and website health anymore. All of these things contribute to your overall search rankings and work together. Improving even one of these factors can affect the others positively.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.