Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about positioning content in front of a relevant audience during the most opportune time in the buying cycle. Because 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, SEO is an essential tactic to include in your digital marketing mix.

 

Recognized as a top source of information about search marketing and how it integrates with other digital marketing tactics, TopRank is dedicated to sharing our expert knowledge on SEO best practices and helping you take your optimization game to the next level. Heck, we wrote the book on optimization, Optimize: How to Attract, Engage and Convert More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.

 

Browse our SEO articles to find tips, guides, news, expert interviews and much more.

 

Knute Sands

Lee Odden Educates B2B Marketers on SEO for Content Marketing

Knute Sands     B2B Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO

As content marketing professionals, most of us would consider SEO a highly technical domain. Best leave that to the real nerds, right? Wrong. Google, Bing and all the other search engines have significantly altered their algorithms in the past few years. And these changes continue to favor the highest quality content, often rewarding smart content marketers with first position rankings.

With a bit of SEO sweet sauce, your content marketing sandwich will taste much better to search engines, and users too. Below, I will explore 4 major themes from TopRank Marketing CEO, Lee Odden’s recent Content2Conversion talk on SEO for Content Marketers, including:

  • The State of SEO in 2016
  • Understanding Self-Directed Buyer Behavior
  • How to, “Be The Best Answer”
  • How to Create Smarter Integrated SEO Content for The Web
Caitlin Burgess

7 Ways to Optimize Your Web Content for Humans & Search Engines

Caitlin Burgess     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

optimize for humans

In case you haven’t heard, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not dead. In fact, SEO is an absolute must for successful content marketing, but gone are the days where the first two words dictate how you execute the third.

Ever since Google dropped its Penguin update in 2012, user experience has become the primary focus of good SEO. Yes. Today’s SEO is about finding the perfect balance between user-centric content and convincing search engine crawlers that your content is supreme.

Now, I’m pretty confident that everything I just said isn’t news to you. However, actually accomplishing that perfect balance may be something you’re still working on. And that’s where I aim to help.

Below are some best practices and tips for optimizing your on-page content for human users and search engines:

Lee Odden

12 Major Brands on Where SEO Fits in the Digital Marketing Mix for 2016

Lee Odden     SEO

SEO digital marketing

Did you know? Google handles 100 billion searches per month and more than half of those are on mobile devices.

Did you also know? 15% of Google’s 3.5 billion daily searches have never been seen before.

I remember when you couldn’t search for anything on a smart phone and now people are searching for just about anything and everything, mostly on mobile devices. It’s an understatement to say search engines, consumer searching behaviors and search engine optimization have all changed.

As much as social media, content marketing and other marketing channels emerge, there is no mistaking the value of being the best answer for buyers at the moment of need. So how valuable is SEO going into 2016? More specifically…

Evan Prokop

5 SEO Considerations to Win with Both Customers and Search Engines

Evan Prokop     Online Marketing, SEO

Win with Customer Focused SEO

One of the cornerstones of any digital marketing presence is a company website. From being a destination for people to visit that are searching for your products and services to servicing existing customers, it’s difficult to understate the importance of a great website (or understate the missed opportunities that come with having a bad one). Of course, a great website isn’t much use if nobody can find it, which is where a solid investment in SEO can pay big dividends.

However, a question that often comes up when planning out an SEO strategy is: should you be more focused on optimizing for customers or search engines? Arguably, there was a time when this was a real trade-off. Many SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing or spam linking were effective for gaining search presence, but came at the cost of customer experience.

Ashley Zeckman

18 Tools to Help Content Marketers With Blocking and Tackling SEO

Ashley Zeckman     Online Marketing, SEO Tools

18-tools-content-marketers

In order to scale any content marketing program, every marketer must be equipped with the right tools. Not only is it essential that you create quality content on a consistent basis, but it MUST be optimized in a way that enables you to be the best answer wherever your customers are searching.

A recent survey of over 200 B2B marketers found that 85% listed content marketing technologies as their current top priority.  The following list of free and paid tools represents some of the core, “blocking and tackling” SEO tasks that content marketers can use to advance the findability of their work to better serve customers

Leila De La Fuente

How 3 Mega E-Commerce Websites Approach Title Tag & Meta Description Optimization

Leila De La Fuente     Online Marketing, Search Marketing, SEO

ecommerce-shopping

Here’s a test: Google “fairy wings” right now. Your job is to quickly find which result will sell you a set of glitter fairy wings and preferably include free shipping.

Now that you’ve begun your search, how do you know which result will bring you to the most qualified products? One way is to visually scan the title and description snippets in your search results.

There are nearly 12 billion Google searches per month. Consumers conduct searches for products or services they need, and often use the snippets in search results as deciding factor on whether to click, or keep scrolling.

The examples below show how three mega e-commerce sites approach title tags and meta descriptions, what they’re doing right and some additional opportunities.

Alibaba.com

alibaba logo

Evan Prokop

The New Era of SEO: Optimize for People Before Searchbots

Evan Prokop     Online Marketing, SEO

Human shaking hands with a robot

Dating back to when the first mainstream consumer search engines became available in the mid-nineties, digital marketers have desired to see their businesses succeed in the lucrative but often confusing search marketing landscape. And thus search engine optimization (SEO) was born.

Twenty years later, we’ve certainly come a long way, both in terms of the capabilities of search engines and in the strategies that SEO professionals implement in their attempts to master them. Given the complexity of modern search engine algorithms, it takes a lot more than just sticking keywords on your website in order to achieve prominent search rankings.

So, what does it take to win in search in 2015 and beyond? With hundreds of complex algorithms working 24 / 7 to serve up answers for over 5 billion Google search queries per day, that’s a question that can get very complex, very quickly.

Leila De La Fuente

A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Search Optimization

Leila De La Fuente     Local SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

small business owner

It’s a restaurant owner’s worst online nightmare – someone is searching for a restaurant in your neighborhood and your business doesn’t appear until page 7 of the search results, right below the creepy deli/gas station hybrid three towns over.

According to a 2014 Google study, 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit a storefront within a day of conducting a local search online. Over the next few years it’s very probable that these numbers will only continue to increase. With conversion rates like these, it’s clear that there are revenue driving benefits to optimizing your local presence so that you can be seen online by more of your potential customers.

Evan Prokop

Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration

Evan Prokop     Online Marketing, SEO

Website Migration SEO Considerations

Sometimes implementing a website migration an essential part of doing business in a digital world. There are a variety of reasons why a company may choose to migrate from one site to another. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to remember that your website is your virtual calling card to prospective customers and sometimes a website migration is a necessary step in providing your customers the best possible user experience.

Like botched plastic surgery, a poorly executed website migration can bring a host of SEO problems, including making your site difficult to find in search engines, confusing to use or filled with errors that make the searchbots run away.

To ensure that your website migration goes smoothly and leads to improved business, follow these essential migration SEO recommendations:

Lee Odden

Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix

Search Social Content Marketing

Whether your role is in search, social media, marketing communications or PR, the importance of content marketing is unmistakable.

Brand content budgets and participation are up with the vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers now using content marketing. The industry is coming together on best practices and organizations are evolving their structures to include roles like Chief Content Officer and Brand Journalist.

While there is growing synergy between search, social media and content marketing, they don’t often function collaboratively in organizations. There are also some misconceptions about what content marketing really is.

This post will dig in to some of the realities of incorporating an integrated approach that leverages the best of search, social media and content marketing, while dispelling some of the myths that keep integrated efforts apart.

Lee Odden

Content and SEO Beyond Marketing – Optimized Digital Communications

Lee Odden     Content Marketing, SEO

optimized digital communications

Content is the reason search began in the first place.

In the days before Google, directories, lists and forums were the way to discover new content on the fast-growing world wide web.

During those early days, the web was as much about the experience of discovery, aka “surfing”, as it was about finding specific answers.

Answers to what? Many marketers would have you believe the only content that exists is the information created in support of buyers to discover, consume and transact.

But there’s far more to the web than demand generation and advertising. Content is created by companies to serve a variety of business functions from customer service to corporate social responsibility to talent acquisition.

Lee Odden

6 Steps to an Optimized and Socialized Content Workflow

Lee Odden     Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media

optimized integrated content

Digital marketing tactics have changed over the years but one thing has not – Customers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the insights marketers need to deliver relevant, meaningful and useful content at the right time and the right place.

To realize the benefits of customer insight requires an integrated approach – especially when it comes to content – discovery, consumption and interaction.

Moving from planning to practice, especially within a large organization with regional operations, business units, divisions and departments, processes are essential for adoption, quality and scale. Operationalizing the integration of content, social media and optimization is one of the essential workflows that marketing departments can implement. But what does that look like?