SEO / SEM Tools and Best Practices

Part
01
of seven
Part
01

SEO Best Practices, Part 1

Best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for consultancies are targeting Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, creating authentic and exceptional content, and building an organized hierarchy. These findings are also presented in the attached Google document.

Targeting LSI keywords

  • LSI keywords do not directly impact the search rankings. However, taking time to meticulously choose LSI keywords can help in covering necessary information related to the keywords and phrases you originally targeted.
  • The goal is to incorporate them in a natural, conversational way. LSI keywords can help website visitors find the answers they need if utilized properly, as well as help Google better understand the content created.

Create authentic and exceptional content

  • The best strategy for content creating is that you need to create a content that solves a problem, content that moves, motivates, and connects with people.
  • Content strategy in SEO is limited to answering a query and getting users to the page, it also involves the use of language to engage users and guide them to the next action.

Build an organized hierarchy

  • All websites are comprised of a topic hierarchy that is designed to communicate to users and search engines the purpose of each section of the site.
  • The best way to optimize hierarchy is by conducting user research to see what customers are searching for, using exact match keywords to optimize category pages and semantically related keywords for sub-category pages, and add breadcrumbs or links in footers for users to navigate back to a specific page.
  • An example of a site that is designed to create a topic tree under the umbrella of digital marketing is Search Engine Journal.

Research Strategy

To provide the best practices for SEO for consultancies, the research team conducted an extensive search for publications and articles published by experts on trends and best practices for SEO for consultancies. While we found a plethora of information on this topic, to determine the best practices, we have collated available information from different sources to base 'best' on practices that are recurrent across multiple sources.
Part
02
of seven
Part
02

SEO Best Practices, Part 2

Best practices for a successful SEO strategy include use of title tags, meta descriptions, and internal linking. These findings are also provided in the attached Google document.

The Use of Title Tags

  • Title tags help to specify the title of a web page. They are clickable headlines displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Title tags are very important for a successful SEO strategy. They tell search engines what the page is all about as well as its relation and relevance to the keywords used.
  • Title tags help search engines understand what the page is about. They are mainly used in three places: web browsers, search engine results pages (SERPs), social networks.
  • Title tags help determine the titles displayed in SERPs. A good title can be the make-or-break factor when determining whether one will click the link or not.
  • For best results, it is recommended to have keywords at the beginning of the title tag. Research shows that site visitors may scan as few as just two words of the headline.

Use Meta Descriptions

Internal Page Linking with Anchor Text

  • This refers to a web link that points to another page of the same website.
  • Internal linking helps strengthen keywords internally and further improves SEO results.
  • Google gives more value to pages that get more links. Internal linking helps Google determine the importance of a page to other page.
  • Internal linking can give significant boost to low-value pages that receive a lot internal links.

Research Strategy

We managed to get the best practices for Search Engine Optimization for consultancies from directly available sources. However, many sources talked about SEO best practices in reference to B2B marketing and not necessarily consultancies. We therefore expanded our search targeting SEO best practices for B2B marketing. We selected those best practices discussed by multiple sources.


Part
03
of seven
Part
03

SEM Best Practices, Part 1

Some best practices for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) include keyword research and analysis, SEO/web optimization, and pay-per-click.

KEYWORD RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

Description

Why It is a Best Practice

Example

  • For advertisers, keyword research and analysis is aided by tools such as the Google Keyword Planner to identify phrases and keywords that possible clients are seeking.
  • For example, a crossfit gym's keyword tactic may incorporate certain phrases such as "eating healthy around the holidays," "workout of the day," or "crossfit gym."


SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION/WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION

Description

  • Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of "getting a website to appear organically in the top of the search results for the keywords and phrases" being targeted.
  • After one has pinpointed the keywords individuals are seeking, the development of suitable content is next.
  • Having content that is useful and detailed and connects to the keyword strategy will allow a business to accelerate to the forefront of search results, and customers can locate it online.

Why It is a Best Practice

  • For Search Engine Marketing, SEO helps increase the value of organic search engine traffic, and hence, improving brand/product visibility.
  • Optimization offers tools such as Google Analytics which provides detailed insights related to traffic reaching one's site, such as user behavior and sources. Meanwhile, the Google Search Console distributes alerts from Google about problems it is experiencing with the site as well as search performance.
  • When one executes SEO, they produce an XML sitemap, which they can submit directly to the Google Console. These sitemaps assist search engines with comprehending a website's structure, along with the pages it must index.

Example

  • SEO is used in assisting the growth of site traffic. For instance, the Content Factory, a consultancy firm, used search engine optimization to help JP Griffin Group, which is a worker benefits consulting agency, advance their site traffic.
  • The outcome was organic traffic began generating unsolicited leads for the first time in JP Griffin Group's history, enabling the company to attract brand-new clients, while producing new business.
  • Regarding SEM, SEO was employed by The Content Factory in helping Astroglide improve the value of its organic search traffic from around $8,778 monthly to approximately $103,000 monthly, or more than $1 million dollars every year.

PAY PER CLICK

Description

Why It is a Best Practice

  • Through PPC advertising, one can utilize their keyword tactic to obtain ad placement within the search results' sponsored ad section.

Example


Research Strategy:

To provide the best practices for SEM for consultancies, we conducted an extensive search for relevant publications and articles published by experts. While we found a plethora of information on this topic, very limited information was established that directly related to consultancies. Owing to this, we expanded the scope of our research and collected available details from different sources to define 'best' as practices that are recurrent across multiple sources. Hence, the information we gathered form general SEM best practices.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

SEM Best Practices, Part 2

Some additional best practices for SEM for consultancies include aligning campaign and business goals, re-engaging past customers or website visitors, and testing new SEM platforms/features.

1. ALIGNING CAMPAIGN & BUSINESS GOALS

  • According to SEJ, aligning search engine marketing campaigns and business objectives is a SEM best practice because, by so doing, a company can measure the impact of ads relative to their business goals.
  • Aligning campaign and business goals allows a company to bid competitively for relevant branded, non-branded, and competitors' keywords.
  • While non-branded searches highlight the starting point when potential customers research a product, branded searches indicate when they are closer to the buying stages. Knowing these different stages gives a company more insights into how to bid on keywords pertinent to each stage and relative to their business goals.
  • About 72% of brand search ad clicks by potential customers had non-brand search queries in the user journey, which resulted in the click. This data revealed that up to 30% of searchers would go on to perform a branded search if they were previously exposed to a brand after conducting a generic search.
  • This finding of how generic searches go on to influence branded queries, when aligned to campaign types and business goals, is applied to reach and convert customers at every stage of the buyers' journey by structuring campaigns to user behaviors, according to a report by Big Drop Inc.

RE-ENGAGING PAST CUSTOMERS OR VISITORS

  • Re-engaging past customers or site visitors is a SEM best practice, as it allows a company to reach out to customers or prospects who showed interest in a company's offer previously.
  • SEM re-engagement campaigns are important because they help to re-ignite a spark of interest in the minds of an existing customer or prospect.
  • This SEM best practice is employed most effectively by creating remarketing lists and pairing the same to relevant SEM ad groups or campaigns. To create these remarketing lists, a company needs to identify and segment customers or previous site visitors; then, pair them with different ad messaging, accordingly.
  • Each remarketing list created should represent a unique audience. When used for re-engagement campaigns in SEM, best practice is to avoid over-segmentation of an audience, as this increases to ability not only manage it, but to create more targeted ad campaigns, which boosts engagement and conversions.

TEST NEW SEM PLATFORMS/FEATURES

  • Testing new SEM platforms or new features by a particular platform is one of the most important search engine marketing best practices, according to the Search Engine Journal.
  • Search Engine Journal's reported that testing new platforms/features is a SEM best practice, as it enables a company to try out new channels to try out their search engine marketing campaigns and reach new audiences relevant to their business.
  • The report highlighted that it was becoming increasingly critical to try other SEM platforms like LinkedIn (to reach professionals), SnapChat (to reach a younger people between 13-34 years), and Pinterest (to reach more females).
  • On the popular SEM platform, Google Ads, marketers are employing this best practice by testing new features such as outstream video and promotion extensions campaigns, as per a report by SEJ. On Bing Ads, the new feature being tried out is Audience Network, an AI-powered tool, helping to drive more results for search engine marketing.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

The research team located reports by credible directories, including Google, Search Engine Journal, Big Drop Inc., and others with insights into the best practices for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for consultancies. However, these resources discussed SEM best practices in reference to B2B marketing and not explicitly to consultancies. Therefore, we expanded our search, targeting SEM best practices for B2B marketing, as they applied to consultancies, as well. We included those best practices discussed by two or more sources.
Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Best SEO Tools

Some of the best SEO tools include Bing Webmaster, SEMrush, Ahrefs, AnswerThePublic, and Netpeak Software. Complete details are located below and within the attached spreadsheet and document.

BING WEBMASTER

  • Bing Webmaster offers a suite of website and search analytics, it also includes useful keyword reports, keyword searches, and crawling data.
  • This is one of the top free websites available according to the MOZ blog which provides detailed comparisons and rankings on SEO software in the market.
  • Bing Webmaster works alongside Google analytics and allows users to send sitemaps to both search engines and enables feedback on any user websites.
  • It provides clarity with an easy to use navigating system and gives more visibility than google research consoles into how users' websites rank specific keywords.
  • It also has a good reputation amongst SEO experts in the field, as it is directly compared and linked to Google analytics which is also a top SEO tool used, hence it was identified as one of the best.

SEMrush

  • SEMrush provides an all-in-one solution to increase online business, from SEO to SMM, this tool helps drive more sales, teaches how to drive more traffic with paid and organic research, builds brands and manages marketing team work.
  • SEMrush has various packages: two of the most acquired packages refer to the PRO Package ($99.00) and the GURU Package ($199.95).
  • This tool's competitive advantage is that it has a high reputation as it provides technical SEO audits, semantic core collection, position tracking, offers ideas for gaining more organic traffic and offers competitive intelligence.
  • According to industry expert opinions, professionals who choose to use SEMrush gain a competitive advantage over their competition as the tool suite provides data about their competition; for example, keywords competitors used to boost their search engine ranking, allows users to come up with information to counter them, hence it is listed as one of the best.

AHREFS

  • Ahrefs is a system that offers users the world's largest index of live backlinks, providing businesses of all sizes and individuals with a reliable and solid backlink checker tool that delivers detailed backlink profiles for any URL website.
  • Ahrefs most acquired pricing packages include the Lite Package ($99.00) and Standard Package ($179.00).
  • Through Ahrefs the user receives the best backlink checking platform in the industry. Through a simple process, users get a very clear profile of any website or URL, from links to anchors, as well as the strength of the backlinks.
  • Ahrefs competitive advantage is that it is a one-stop-shop for the most common SEO tools being (e.g., keyword search, competitor analysis, and rankings tracker). It was highly rated by industry analysts and experts as one of the best SEO tools available on the market.

ANSWER THE PUBLIC

  • AnswerThePublic finds questions that people have asked on forums, blogs, websites and social media, then converts these questions into specific keywords that can be found through searches.
  • This is one of the free keyword searching tools available on the SEO tools market.
  • There are various keyword searching tools around but this one has specific segments for each type of question such as "vs" questions (e.g., Android vs. iPhone). This allows consultancies searching for specific answers to find answers with more efficiency.
  • AnswerThePublic is rated number 12 on the "Top 21 Best SEO Tools in 2019: Highest Rated SEO Software." Its value is its unique selling point as it is available for free whilst providing high search efficiency compared to other products on the market.

NETPEAK SOFTWARE

  • Netpeak Spider is an efficient tool that assists SEO experts and webmasters to conduct their daily tasks and helps them improve their websites' search engine ranking in the process.
  • This software gains competitive advantage through its low prices which include two packages: 1 Month ($19.00) and 12 Months ($182.40).
  • Another advantage is that this is one of the highest-ranking programs used by consultancies. Through using Netpeak Spider, users save time and money through its functions (e.g., optimal RAM consumption, focus on eliminating SEO issues, unique data segmentation, quick export of any data, and internal page rank calculation, among others). Its advantage is value and industry expert reviews about the software.
Part
06
of seven
Part
06

Best SEM Tools

Some of the best SEM tools include Marin, Wordstream Advisor, and Acquisio. Below is a brief overview of the findings we've presented in the attached spreadsheet.

BRIEF OVERVIEW

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

The low-cost SEM tools are Wordstream and Acquisio. The best SEM tools were determined using information from a research organization site that listed the best SEM tools. The first three SEM tools were skipped because they're both SEM and SEO tools and were included in the SEO section.
Part
07
of seven
Part
07

SEO / SEM for Consultancies, Case Studies

The best in class SEO & SEM for consultancies include WordStream and the Content Factory. WordStream offers a range of SEM consulting services to help businesses make sense of paid search. The Content Factory, which is a digital PR agency that specializes in SEO, content writing, social media marketing and making our clients (more) famous. It consults on SEO. For each of the consultancy, their case studies have been provided. These findings are also provided in the attached Google document.

CASE 1: SEM CONSULTING SERVICES- WORD STREAM

  • The consultancy under consideration is WordStream. WordStream offers a range of SEM consulting services to help businesses make sense of paid search.

What the Consultancy Did

  • Through the advice, it helped ESH Genealogy & Marketing define how to use the budget more effectively and the educational side was just great when it came to understanding how to set negatives and other aspects that Google isn't always clear about.

How They Did it

Remove duplicates

Bid management

Ad optimizations

Keyword URL updates

Ad extensions

Integration

Metrics for Success

  • Decreased monthly PPC costs of more than $1,000 while maintaining click volumes.

CASE 2: SEO SERVICES- THE CONTENT FACTORY

What the Consultancy did

  • The Content Factory helped JP Griffin Group, an employee benefits consulting firm founded in 2010, to grow their site traffic through search engine optimization.

How They Did it

  • Content Factory then built out an editorial calendar to support this strategy. As they published content for the company, they would evaluate the results each month to iterate their SEO strategy.

Available Metrics of Success

  • 1,591 new keyword rankings, 312 on the first page of Google.
  • The JP Griffin Group reported that their sales team was seeing unsolicited leads come in from organic traffic for the first time in company history. It allowed them to sign new clients and generate new business.

CASE STUDY 3: SEO SERVICES

What the Consultancy did

  • The Consultancy was tasked with helping Astroglide in improving its organic search traffic through search engine optimization. With plenty of big-name competition targeting the same set of keywords, they needed a rock-solid content marketing strategy to get to the front page of Google.

How They Did It

Available Metrics of Success

  • A 23,303% overall increase in overall keyword rankings.
  • An increase of 3,605% in front page keywords.
  • In terms of ROI, that translates to an increase in the value of organic search traffic from $8,778 a month to $103,000 a month — a difference of over a million dollars per year worth of organic search traffic.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "5. Targeting LSI keywords, but not for ranking Latent Semantic Indexing keywords do not directly impact your search rankings. However, taking your time to meticulously choose LSI keywords can help in covering necessary information related to the keywords and phrases you originally targeted. In turn, this will help you get rankings for those relevant search terms and avoid keyword stuffing penalties. If you are not using LSI keywords, it will be harder for Google to pinpoint the SEO correlations and overlap between the content on your website. So, instead of trying to use the same keywords and phrases repeatedly throughout your content, incorporating LSI keywords is critical for helping Google bots understand your messaging and its relevance to user intent. The goal is to incorporate them in a natural, conversational way. If used properly, LSI keywords will help website visitors find the answers they need as well as help Google better understand your content. "
Quotes
  • "5. Increase Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness Establishing and growing your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness – better known as E-A-T in Google’s search quality rating guidelines – will be another key trend in 2019. “Although the E-A-T guidelines are written for Google’s algorithm raters, rather than Google’s algorithm itself, it helps us to understand where Google is heading in the short term,” said Dixon Jones, founder of DHJ Ventures. “I think this will help SEOs start to understand that ‘quality’ comes with context. You cannot rank so easily writing authoritative content unless you are already an authority on a given subject.” Grant Simmons, VP of search marketing at Homes.com, said you should look at content distribution and promotion from a reputation standpoint. “Hire experts to author, leverage data from known entities, and ensure credentials and credit is given to both, with appropriate affinity to the promoted brand,” Simmons said. “How can you get more of your employees to blog, write, and speak? How can you (the brand’s people) be the go-to source for journalists around your core topic expertise? Because that level of expertise is what Google is looking for to power their results.”"
Quotes
  • "1. Add Your Main Keyword Early On In Your Content It’s no secret that you want to use your keyword a handful of times on your page. But you may not know that the location of your keyword also makes a difference. Specifically, you want to mention your main keyword at least once at the top of your page. Why does this matter? Google puts more weight on terms that appear at the top of a webpage. 3. Optimize Your Title Tag for SEO When it comes to on-page SEO, your title tag is KEY. Google has even said that: “it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.”. High quality page titles Here’s how to get the most out of your page’s title tag: Front-load Your Main Keyword: “Front-load” simply means that you start your title tag with your target keyword. Why is this important? Well, search engines pay close attention to the terms that you use in your title tag. Which is why you want your keyword in your page title."
Quotes
  • "Generally, your hierarchy should be designed from a top-down approach, allowing search engines to crawl and index certain pages under buckets or clusters. Tips to Optimize Conduct user research to see what customers are searching for. Use exact match keywords to optimize category pages and semantically related keywords for sub-category pages. Add breadcrumbs or links in footers for users to navigate back to a specific page."
Quotes
  • "Prioritize SEO Quick Wins Rather than focusing all your efforts on ranking for new keywords, analyze which keywords your website already ranks highest for, and focus on boosting those; you’ll see faster SEO improvements that way. Take a look at the web pages that perform well and optimize them to their fullest. Look for opportunities to add value, update statistics and links, add subheads and format it for the ultimate user experience. You could even expand a short blog post on a manufacturing technology, for example, into a long-form expanded guide. Massively improve your content to help boost it to the top of the SERP results. Analyze the search results for target keywords to understand the kinds of content Google tends to feature for those keywords. It may not be possible to rank for a keyword if Google prioritizes content that’s dissimilar to yours, however. For example, you may want to rank for certain types of manufacturing job positions in your location, but Google is far more likely to rank recruiting sites that have those career opportunities listed. Your internal linking structure is important, too. Organize your content into topic clusters to help boost your search “signal.” In other words, separate content pieces and blogs into categories and then assemble them together via a central pillar page and hyperlink structure to provide a library of sorts that contains more comprehensive information. Search engines often favor this type of comprehensive approach and it will increase the overall visibility of the content."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Meta descriptions, while not as important in search engine rankings, are extremely important in getting users to click through from the search engine results page (SERP) to your website. Meta descriptions should use keywords wisely, but more importantly they should include a compelling description on which a user would want to click on."
Quotes
  • "Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page's content."
Quotes
  • "What this means is that when your ad ranks for a keyword, Google and other engines will often show the meta description as a summary of the page."
Quotes
  • "The more links a page receives, the more value Google gives it. Just like external links indicate an overall value with regard to other pages on the web, internal links help Google determine the importance of a page with regard to the other pages on your website"