Search Engine Optimization (lovingly referred to as SEO) is one of the most overlooked areas of digital marketing for Local Business Executives (LBE’s). Let’s just say eBirthday Deals would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the optimization of the original GR Birthday Deals website. After a great first year of amazing success stories for local businesses, I had to put more time into other areas of my life, but not without keeping my dream business on autopilot for the clients who stayed. Through a handful of events over the next few years, I continued to watch this program work – sometimes too well. When my new life began, I moved into an office space and hired interns again, then we began digging in. Here’s where the story gets really good and why I’m able to share this cheat sheet with you.
In reviewing the Google Analytics of the original website, we realized the optimization that had been done in 2013 was delivering big time. I was fortunate to learn the best of Search Engine Optimization knowledge from a friend, mentor and SEO whiz – and it paid off. To explain this simply – we were only spending advertising dollars in West Michigan, but receiving a fair amount of traffic from the East Side of the state. To get even more granular – for every 100 visitors in the GR market, we were getting 50 visitors from the Detroit Metro. This was not a fluke. It was month after month after month. The search engine optimization treatment that was applied to the website in 2013, and never changed, was outperforming itself in 2018!! Not only were clients still having a great response from consumers, we began the shift from GR Birthday Deals to the eBirthday Deals brand for growth into other markets.
In this Simple SEO Cheat Sheet, you’re going to find each of the areas that made a difference in our optimization and what eventually grew our digital footprint and response to the simple digital marketing program that could. The three areas of SEO that have positively impacted our growth are On-Page Optimization, Site Technology and Content.
One of the most important SEO priorities is on-page optimization. This tells your story, which is passed on and found when people are searching for what you have. Everything should flow together from the URL to title, description down to the headings, paragraphs, image tags and top keywords used within them. Notice in the example, when it comes to punctuation, deliver your message in the simplest form possible. Commas, colons, semi-colons, pipes are best, but don’t overuse them. Periods stop searchbots. Less is more. So “…” is not the best choice. Less is more. The easiest way to do this? Create a spreadsheet and write everything out first (makes character count easier, too!). Then go into the Content Management System (CMS) and plug it in.
To see meta tags, right click on the page where there is content that’s not a live link, then choose “view source” from the menu. This will show you the site code. The top meta tags will be toward the top of the page. Title and Description are the most necessary. Keywords are no longer given power due to keyword stuffing.
Here are explanations for each of the Meta Tags used:
- URL – Short and simple. Your business name or as close as possible. When calling for your DNR (Domain Name Registration) – The longer you have it, the better. Longevity shows that you’re planning to be around.
- Title – 50-60 characters. Hover in the browser and that’s your title. If it says Home, your site is not optimized correctly. People are not searching for “Home” and usually not searching for your business name either. Top searches are for keywords, which should be here first. Your business name last.
- Description – 155-160 characters. This may show in organic search, depending on the space available. Share what people are looking for, which will be the top three to five keywords in title in a loose sentence form followed by your business, what you do and geo-target.
- Keywords – Decide on your best three to five keywords to use in your meta tags and content for anchor text. Use the competitor keyword tools to see what’s being used by national competitors. They have R&D departments and large budgets.
- Headings – H1, H2, H3, H4 … H1 is most important, H4 is less important. In WordPress sites, it goes to H6. H1 was GR Birthday Deals. H4 is where we added the actual client deals.
- Paragraphs – This is your content. Use strong keywords, but do not overuse them. The better the content, the better you’ll land in search. Keep it consistent with the rest of the on-page content.
- Alt tags – Images and links. Match with the remainder of the page.
Competitor Keyword Analysis
Aside from receiving keywords from Google Tools, find the keywords that your top national competition uses. Since they have R&D and agencies in place, this is a great way to know exactly which keywords are best to use. Each of these services are free – at least the areas being shared – and authorities in search. You’ll find a bit different info on each, but keywords are included in all.
- Moz.com—Choose “FREE SEO TOOLS” on the top right-hand corner of the page
Think about the attention span of a gnat. Yup. That’s also the attention span of website visitors. If a page does not load, guess what happens … they “bounce” or leave. Recent research shows that if a page takes longer than two to three seconds to load, you’ll most likely lose the visitor. Top factors include your server, page file size and images. We found out the hard way (Yes! Still!) while developing eBirthday Deals version 1, we had a whole lot of loading speed issues and even crashed when two of us were working on the site. When I say we were having technology issues, there’s no kidding involved. It was a pain. As soon as we changed themes, voila!!! It was like magic. The culprit was a voucher system we were developing that was taking up a ton of space; it eventually bombed. Thank goodness it did! The program that continued to run itself since day one, stood up and waved at us with the exact updates we needed and said, “Hey! Over here!”
According to SearchEngineJournal, “Responsive web design makes your website much easier for visitors to read and navigate. The result is an improved user experience and typically a greater time on site. Good usability scores lead to repeat visitors and increased conversions. As noted above, Google is in the business of satisfying user queries.” This also assists with faster loading speed, decreased bounce rates, keeping you from having to create two websites with duplicate content (which dings you) and more sharing – all things Google loves. We can vouch for this being important – our platform is moving from “email and mobile” to “mobile only” because 87% of all Americans have a mobile phone and we’ve seen the trend moving toward increasing visits on mobile. The analytics do not mince words.
One simple post like this can give you never-ending traffic! As you can see, this was posted five years ago. We had traffic from it consistently every month! Once the new website is ready for public consumption, we’ll go back in and post the new address and will see immediate traffic from this again!
Google My Business – The Top Must-Do for SEO in 2020
This is the former, “Google Business Listing.” When you’re google searching something and see “Near Me” pop up on the screen, that’s Google My Business at work based on your browser location. In prioritizing your Content, this is tops and takes very little time to set up.
Blogs – Once per week is plenty. You can still write 300-500 word blogs, but they won’t get as much traction as one that’s over 2,000 words. Choose your top three to five keywords as your anchor text to work into the content and add a backlink to the page on your website that is fitting to the content.
According to HubSpot, a digital marketing industry leader and content go-to, “ The ideal blog post length is roughly 2,100 words, but that will vary depending on your topic. Medium found posts that took seven minutes to read earned the most engagement and attention, and serpIQ found that most of the top-10 Google results are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.”
Faith Megna, President of eBirthday Deals, first experienced couponing while selling radio in the mid-2000s and didn’t agree with how the big company programs took hard-earned dollars away from local businesses. After consulting media throughout North American on social media, content and digital sales 10+ years ago, she brought what she knew back to local businesses. Since then she’s been taking the road less traveled with digital couponing, found the sweet spot and has helped local businesses grow on autopilot and make 100% of their profits. Since 2013, the eBirthday Deals program has kept more spending dollars where they belong – in the local economy. eBirthday Deals shares local business birthday deals at 50% off to FREE through a simple digital marketing program that includes SEO, web, mobile, email and social media. If you’re a Local Business Executive and want to learn more on how to get hundreds, even thousands, of paying customers, while making up to $100,000 plus in year one using digital marketing, contact the eBirthday Deals team for more details.