Google and Alexa rank all pages, black hat optimization, free and paid analytical tools
The following is part two of an excerpt from SCORE Business TV’s episode on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The complete TV show is available at: https://manasota.score.org/resource/digital-marketing-seo-non-techies
Consumers are bombarded daily by digital marketing messages. Business owners are aware that digital marketing is essential to their growth and survival. This show explains digital marketing and the fundamentals of using SEO.
My expert guest was Nabil Freij. In 1996, Nabil started GlobalVision, a translation software localization service. Nabil’s a certified SCORE mentor and the author of Enabling Globalization. Nabil holds a BS in electrical engineering from Northeastern University, an MS from Brown University and an MBA from Bryant University.
Q: Is there a hierarchy of authority for ranking websites?
A: Google ranks pretty much all pages. Amazon’s Alexa also ranks all pages, and that ranking is published. You can tell where your pages are ranked. When Google came into the picture, they established a pecking order of the various domains and websites. By ranking all these websites, they defined and determined how to gauge the value of each website and how to assign authority.
Q: For example, a local newspaper would have more authority than just somebody issuing a press release or printing something on their website?
A: Yes, definitely. Newspapers, magazines, even local TV stations have websites that relate to their stations. Those are typically high authority.
Q: How about joining a local chamber of commerce and being listed in their member directory where your company name will appear, does that rank?
A: That’s an easy way to gain a back link. If you join your local chamber of commerce, most of the time they will add a link back to your website. That will give you a back link that adds value.
Q: What is black hat optimization?
A: Black hat optimization involves using tactics or techniques that try to trick search engines into believing that your content either has higher value or is of higher authority. There are different ways of doing this. Search engines are getting wise to these tactics, and they can identify them. They will typically penalize the site by lowering its authority and its ranking.
Q: What SEO tools are available for monitoring the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns?
A: A lot of great tools exist, and many of them are free. For instance, Google gives you Google Analytics, Google Search Console and the Webmaster Tools. Learn how to use them and benefit from the data derived.
Q: What information does Google Analytics provide?
A: Google Analytics tells how many visitors your site gets every day, how long they stay on your content, what content they consume, and what content they bounce off-of. You can monitor the progression of these visitors through your website and see if they’re converting or not. By converting, I mean, are you capturing that lead? Are you capturing the sale? Google Analytics enables you to set goals and track them. You can monetize them to determine if the campaigns that you are pursuing are generating enough return on your investment.
Q: What about Google Search Console and Google Webmaster Tools?
A: Google Search Console shows what keywords people are using to find your content, what content they’re finding, and where it’s ranking on Google. You can analyze this data and determine ways to improve the optimization of your pages so you stand a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google.
Google Webmaster Tools provides tools that help you fix the technical aspects of your website, so you’re not penalized for having broken code or broken pages.
Q: What are some paid tools that you recommend?
A: SEMrush bills itself as the “All-in-one Marketing Toolkit for digital marketing professionals” and is a popular tool that costs about $70 per month. Another good one is Ahrefs ($82 per month), it advertises that its tools help “grow your search traffic, research competitors and monitor your niche.” I also recommend KWFinder.com ($29.90 per month+) (KeyWord finder), which PC Magazine ranked excellent as a go-to keyword research tool, great for keyword-specific querying. Moz (starting at $129 year+) has several tools that are useful.
Q: How would you hire a search optimization firm if you don’t want to do this yourself?
A: I would go online and search for the companies that I am potentially considering hiring. I would look at their websites and analyze them. Are they practicing what they’re preaching? Is their website showing up on the first page of Google? If it isn’t, it’s unlikely that they could get your pages to show up on the first page of Google.
Then I would talk to them and gauge the questions they ask. If they are interested in learning about my USP, my unique selling proposition, and my DTP, my defined target personas, then I know they’re homing in on what’s important to build appropriate channels. If they’re not asking these questions, that’s a red flag.
Q: How do you know if they are doing a good job for you?
A: In one word, metrics. Digital marketing is about the digital channels and the data that you’re capturing and tracking. Ask for monthly reports and analyze these reports. Make sure that you connect them to your KPIs, your key performance indicators.
SCORE mentors can do a good job at helping you do this. If those metrics end up improving your KPIs, if they end up improving the bottom line, then you know that what you’re doing with them is paying off. It will take time for that to happen. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Dennis Zink is a volunteer, certified mentor and chapter chairman of SCORE Manasota. He is the creator and host of “Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink,” a nationally syndicated business podcast series and SCORE Business TV (centreofinfluence.org). He facilitates CEO roundtables for the Manatee and Venice chambers of commerce, created a MeetUp group, Success Strategies for Business Owners, and is a business consultant. Email him at [email protected]
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