BlackBrick Training https://blackbricktraining.co.uk The Ultimate Online Courses. Wed, 27 May 2020 14:48:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-circle-32x32.png BlackBrick Training https://blackbricktraining.co.uk 32 32 Google Analytics: Complete Guide For Beginners https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/google-analytics-guide/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/google-analytics-guide/#respond Wed, 06 May 2020 18:57:33 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17738 Do you want to know how to use Google Analytics to see how many people are using your website? If you have created a website but have no idea who your visitors are, where they are from, and how they found your site, there is no point even having a website. One of the most […]

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Do you want to know how to use Google Analytics to see how many people are using your website?

If you have created a website but have no idea who your visitors are, where they are from, and how they found your site, there is no point even having a website.

One of the most important reasons to have a website, is to know who your audience are.

With Google Analytics you can learn more about your visitors, which will help you to increase conversions, and understand what your audience are looking for.

This easy to follow guide will teach you the basics of Google Analytics including what it is, how to set it up, and how to use it.

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool created by Google to help you analyse your website traffic.

It is the hub for tracking all traffic and conversions that your website receives.

Google Analytics allows you to get in the mind of your customer by seeing what actions they take while they are visiting your website.

Over 50 million websites around the world are using Google Analytics right now!

Why You Need Google Analytics

Whether you run a blog, an eCommerce store or any other type of website, you need Google Analytics so that you can accurately analyse your site’s traffic.

With Google Analytics you can see very detailed statistics, including:

  • Which pages on your site are the most popular.
  • Which countries your website visitors are from.
  • How many people visit your website.
  • How many visitors turned into customers or leads.

Once you get used to using Google Analytics and no longer find the interface intimidating, you will be able to use it to maximise your website’s performance.

Create Account & Install Tracking Code

Before you start using Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic data, you need to create your account.

You will require a Google account to be able to have access to Google Analytics, so you will need to create one if you don’t already have one.

Once you have your Google account ready, you can go to the Google Analytics website to begin the process of creating an account.

Create Your Google Analytics Account

Head over to the analytics page on the Google Marketing Platform website, and click “Start for free”.

On this page you will be required to enter your account information.

First enter a name for your account.

You can leave all of the data sharing boxes ticked (or un-ticked, it’s your decision), and then click next.

On this next step you will need to select what you want to track using Google Analytics, Web, Apps, or both.

As I only want to measure analytics for a website I am going to select “Web”.

And then once again click next.

For the final step of the account creation process, you need to add the details for the property that you want to track the analytics for.

This includes your website name, website URL, the industry category for your website, and your timezone.

Once you have entered all of the information for your website click “create”.

Clicking the create button will finalise your Google Analytics account.

Once it is created you will be provided with a tracking code for your website.

The tracking code is what Google uses to collect the analytical data from your website visitors.

The next step you need to take is to add that snippet of code to your website to begin tracking your analytics.

Add Tracking Code To Your Website

To find your tracking code, click onto the admin panel, and then on the property column click on “Tracking Info”.

You will see a few different options appear, you want to click on “Tracking Code”.

You will then see your tracking ID, and your tracking code.

Copy the tracking code, also known as the “Global Site Tag”.

You need to add this tracking code to every page on your website that you want to track with Google Analytics.

If you have a website that runs on HTML files, you need to add your Site Tracking Tag to the html file for each web page.

To be precise, the code needs to be the first piece of code after the opening head tag that looks like this: <head>.

Simply hop into the text editor for each page file and paste in your code.

Once you have done this you need to upload the new files into your website hosting so that they are updated on the live website.

You can do this by using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol), or by manually uploading the files to your website’s server.

Once your web page files have all been successfully uploaded to your server with the Google Analytics tag in the correct location, Google will start tracking data.

To test to see if it is working correctly, on the page where you copied your tracking code, click the button which says “Send test traffic”.

This will send test traffic to your site to see if everything is tracking correctly.

If it is working properly, you will see it say “1 active user right now”.

And now it’s all set up!

Add Tracking Code To A WordPress Site

There are a few different ways to add the tracking code to a WordPress website, but this one is my favourite.

Manually add the code to your website, within the WordPress dashboard.

In order to do this you will need to know the basics of WordPress and be confident that you can edit the code within your website.

So, first copy the tracking code once again, and then open the dashboard for your WordPress website.

Hover over the Appearance tab on the left menu, and click onto the page called “Editor” or “Theme Editor”.

Now you want to find the file named “header.php”, this is where we will paste in the tracking code.

To find the file, scroll through the “theme files” on the right of the page until you see one titled “Theme Header” with the file name “header.php”

Once you find that file, click onto it.

The final step is to paste your Google Analytics tracking code into this file.

Look for the opening head tag that looks like this <head>, and paste it in directly after it.

After you have pasted in the tracking code, click “Update File”, and you’re all done!

You can test it by sending test traffic from Google Analytics.

You will start to see your real traffic appear within your Analytics account 12 – 24 hours after you have completed the setup process.

Check Basic Settings

Before you start using Analytics there are several settings you should check.

The settings I am showing you are suggested to all websites, but there are also other settings that you can look at depending on the type of website you have.

Property Settings

These settings will ensure your website or app is set up properly.

Once you have signed into your analytics account, head over to the Admin panel and then click on “Property Settings”.

Here are the settings you want to ensure are correct:

  1. Check your URL is correct, with https if you have an SSL certificate.
  2. Switch on “Enable Demographics and Interest Reports”.
  3. Switch on “Use enhanced link attribution”.
  4. Ensure you have connected Google Ads and Google Search Console correctly.
  5. Switch on “Enable Users Metric in Reporting”.

Once you have changed these settings, your tracking code may change slightly, so if it did be sure to update it on your website.

View Settings

These settings will improve the data that Google Analytics tracks:

  1. Double check your URL is correct.
  2. Make sure you have selected the right time zone.
  3. Select the correct currency.
  4. Filter out spam traffic by enabling “Bot Filtering”
  5. Enable “Site search Tracking”

Remember to click save after making changes.

Set Up Site Search

Site search tracking is one of the more straight forward features that Google Analytics offer, but that doesn’t mean its not a handy feature.

Setting up site search allows you to track and analyse the data surrounding your website’s search function.

Once it is set up, some of the information you will be able to analyse will include:

  • Which queries users search for within your site.
  • How many times the search bar is used on your website.
  • Which web pages searches lead to most.
  • Which web pages users on your site make searches from.

Luckily, setting up site search tracking is very simple and won’t take much time at all.

Step 1 – Admin

Head over to the admin tab on your Google Analytics account by clicking the cog on the bottom left of your dashboard.

Then click the “View Settings” button from the “View” column on the right side of the admin panel.

This will open a new menu with some settings for your property.

Step 2 – Site Search Settings

Here you want to scroll down until you see the section called “Site Search Settings”.

Toggle “Site search Tracking” so that it says it is “ON”.

Step 3 – Query Parameter

Now enter your Query Parameter.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what this is!

There is a nice and easy way to find out what you need to enter into the “Query Parameter” box.

Make a search using the search box on your website and take a look at the URL.

Here is mine for example:

www.blackbricktraining.co.uk/?s=random+search

The main thing that you want to take from this is the letter after the question mark.

If you look at my URL again you can see that for me, it is the letter “s”, so I will enter “s” into the Query Parameter box.

Yours may be different, so you should also make a search on your website, and look at your own URL to see what yours will be.

Then simply enter it into the box and that’s all you need to do.

 

Once you have done all of that, you just need to click “Save”, and you are all done.

Site search tracking is now all set up for your website.

Exclude Internal Traffic From Google Analytics

If your analytical data is filled with you visiting your own website, you may want to remove it so that you are seeing more accurate data.

Let’s say you are just visiting your website to test something you have recently added, it will still show on Google Analytics, this is bad.

Having your own traffic clog up your data will make everything confusing, and make your data useless.

You must remove it straight away.

Buy how can you do that?

First go to the admin panel within your Google Analytics account.

Then click onto “All Filters” on the “Account” menu.

Here you need to click the “+ Add Filter” button to add a new filter.

Now name your filter, I will simply name it “IP Address”, so it is easily recognisable.

Leave filter type as Predefined.

On the “Select filter type” drop-down menu select “Exclude.

For the “Select source or destination” drop-down menu select “traffic from the IP addresses”.

Then for the “Select expression” drop-down menu select “that are equal to”.

To find your IP address, go to whatismyip.com and take note of your IPv4 address.

Enter your IP address into the appropriate box.

Select your view, and then click add to apply your filter.

Then click save.

Now Google Analytics won’t track you visiting your own website.

Google Analytics Metrics

Here are some of the most important metrics that you should understand in order to use Google Analytics properly and sufficiently analyse reports.

These particular metrics are used the most and are more common within Google Analytics.

Users: The “Users” metric tells you the number of unique users who visited your website within your selected date range.

New Users: This is the number of users who are visiting your website for the first time.

Sessions: The “sessions” metric will show you the total number of sessions within your selected date range. A session is the amount of time that a user is engaging with your website or app. A single session can include multiple interactions, including Page views, product sales, and events.

Number of Sessions per User: This is the average number of sessions each user has on your website.

Pageviews: The total number of times that your web pages have been viewed. Repeated views on a single page are also counted, this can include reloading the page or returning to a page after navigating through the website.

Pages / Session: This is the average number of pages that are visited in a single session.

Avg. Session Duration: The average duration of time that a session lasts on your website.

Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of single-page sessions where the user does not interact with the web page. This means the user immediately left your website without clicking on anything.

% New Sessions: This is the percentage of new sessions which have occurred on your website, so it’s the percentage of sessions from users that have not visited your site before.

Set Up Goals

It is likely that your website has a certain goal that it wants to achieve with each visitor.

Some examples of goals that you can set up using Google Analytics include: Account creations, newsletter signups and product sales.

Whatever your goal may be, setting up goals within Google Analytics will allow you to track how often they are fulfilled.

This is one of the most useful features available, as it can give you some important analytical data which can help you to achieve your goals more often.

Step 1 – Admin

Once again, head over to the admin tab on your Google Analytics account by clicking the cog on the bottom left of your dashboard.

Step 2 – New Goal

From there you need to click onto the “Goals” option which is located on the third menu titled “View”.

This will open a new page within which you want to click the “+ New Goal” button.

Now the goal setup process will begin.

Step 3 – Goal Setup

Select either a pre-made goal template, or choose to create a custom goal.

The majority of Google Analytics users will find what they need in a template.

These are created by Google and are designed to track the most common types of goals, including account creation, confirmed sale, newsletter sign up and many more.

In this example we are going to use a goal template.

I am going to choose the “make a payment” goal template, this is the template you want to use to track sales on your website.

Then click “Continue”.

Step 4 – Goal Description

Here you will be required to add your goal description.

First write an easily recognisable name for your goal.

Add your Goal slot ID, this is only important if you are going to create multiple goals, as it allows you to put them into different sets.

Finally, select your goal type, for this example we will pick “destination”.

Once again, click “Continue”.

Step 5 – Goal Details

Now you need to add your goal details.

This includes your destination, and the option to add a value and funnel.

For destination, you want to enter the page URL for the web page that the user will see after making a purchase, this is usually a thank you page, or an order confirmation page.

To be clear, you don’t need to add the whole URL, if your thank you page is “www.example.com/thankyou” it is only necessary to type in “/thankyou” for the destination.

On my website, I have a separate thank you page for every course I sell, so my destination is “/thanks/backlink-building”.

Next, you can add a value to your conversion, so this will help you to also track revenue.

If like me you have a different thank you page for every product, you can enter the price of your product here so that you can track sales revenue for each product you have a Google Analytics goal created for.

Simply turn the value option on, and then enter the monetary value for this particular goal.

Finally we have funnel, this is only needed if you want to track where on the product purchase path your potential customers are giving up on making a purchase.

This can be helpful if you want to find out which pages are decreasing your product sales.

If you want to add funnel tracking, switch it on and then add the name and page URL in the correct order for each page in your product sales funnel.

Then click “Verify this Goal” at the bottom to test your goal and see how often it would have converted in the previous 7 days.

Now click “Save” to save and create your goal.

That’s your first ever goal in Google Analytics created successfully!

You should also go back to the main goals page just to make sure that the goal you have created is switched on.

Google Analytics Reports

There are five different types of reports on the left menu on the Google Analytics dashboard.

All of these can be used in unique ways, so we are going to look at each of them.

Real-Time Reports

Real-time reports display real-time analytical data about who is currently on your site and what they are doing.

Do you want to see how many people are currently reading your new blog post?

Are you interested in seeing where in the world the people visiting your site right now are from?

With real-time reports you can!

To access your real-time reports, click “Real-Time” on the left sidebar menu within your Google Analytics dashboard, and then select the report you want to see.

Real-time reports show you data from actions that have occurred on your website inside the last 30 minutes.

Now let’s take a look at some of the different real-time reports that are available.

Locations

Using the real-time locations report will show you the geographical locations of your active users.

With this report, you can also see how many different pages were viewed from each city within the previous 30 minutes, as well as which pages were viewed.

This is very useful if you like to see where in the world your real time website visitors are.

Traffic Sources

The real-time traffic sources report will display the sources that referred the active users who are currently on your website.

This report allows you to keep track of the percentage of active users on your site who were referred from a specific campaign or website.

So to simplify it, this shows you how your active users actually found your site.

Content

The real-time content report allows you to see which pages have been viewed within the last 30 minutes.

This will show you whether or not your new content is performing well.

You can also click on “Pageviews (Last 30 min)”, which is located below the number of active users, to see the total number of page views that each of your web pages have received in the previous 30 minutes.

Events

The real-time events report displays events that are played out on your site from active users in real-time.

The table within the report shows the top 20 event categories from the last 30 minutes, this is sorted by the number of users that have interacted with each event.

You can also see the percentage of total users inside each row.

To see the event activity for a particular category, simply click onto your chosen event category inside the table.

To view the total number of events occurred for each category within the past 30 minutes, you just need to click the “Events (Last 30 min)” button.

Conversions

The real-time conversions report will show you goal completions in real-time.

The table displays the goals that active users have completed, the total amount of users who have completed each goal, and the percentage of total users who have completed each goal.

Click onto a particular goal in the table to see the conversion activity for that specific goal.
To see the number of goal conversions during the past 30 minutes, just click the “Goal Hits (Last 30 min)” button.

Audience Reports

The audience reports will provide you with an insight into the characteristics of your website’s users.

Do you want to see how many of your site’s users return to your website?

Maybe you want to see what percentage of visitors use mobile devices?

With audience reports, you can see all of this information and more.

To access audience reports, click “audience” on the left sidebar menu within your Google Analytics dashboard, then select the report you want to view.

Now lets take a look at each of the audience reports that can be accessed with Google Analytics.

Active Users

This audience report lets you track the amount of users who have visited your website in the past 1, 7, 14, or 28 days.

“1 Day Active Users” are the users who visited your site during the last day, “7 Day Active Users” are the users who visited your site during the previous seven days, and so on.

The data within this report helps you to measure the interest that your audience has for your content.

For example, let’s say you are running a promotion and you see a boost in “1 Day Active Users”, but a decrease after 7, 14, and 30 days, the promotion may be failing and your audience may be losing interest.

Lifetime Value

The lifetime value report calculates the long-term value of website users that you have acquired through social media, organic search, referral traffic, or direct traffic.

For example, with this report you can discover the lifetime value for users you acquired through an email campaign.

You can then use that data to determine your marketing budget for acquiring those particular users.

Cohort Analysis

A cohort is a group of users who share a common characteristic, for example, all users with the same acquisition date will belong to a cohort.

You can use the cohort analysis report to analyse the behavior of the users in that particular cohort.

For example, let’s say you launch a new product, you can set a cohort as the launch date and then view specific data about users who responded to your product launch.

See where they are from, what device they use, whether or not they purchased the product, how long they stayed on the page before leaving, and much more.

Audiences

Yes, this is an audience report within an audience report.

Using the audience report, you are able to create more defined audiences, and then apply them to other reports to look deeper into user behavior.

You are able to create up to 20 unique audiences at any one time.

These can be used as secondary dimensions in reports, and as dimensions within segments, custom reports, and custom funnels.

User Explorer

The user explorer report analyses the behavior of individual users that visit your website.

User specific data provides you with information for each website visitor, this includes total sessions, average session duration, transactions, bounce rate, and more.

Individual user behavior is recorded with either Client ID or User ID.

You can use this data to personalise or troubleshoot the user experience, this can help you to increase sales and decrease bounce rate.

Demographics

The demographics report displays the age and gender of your audience.

This information gives you the ability to add more precision to your advertising and content so that it is tailored to the right users.

For example, you can see the amount of users on your website who are both male and between the ages of 25-34 within your selected time range.

You could then use that data to tailor your website’s content to your specific audience.

Interests

The interests report provides you with information about your audience that you can use to make your advertising campaigns more accurate.

This report is split into three audience types:

  • Affinity Categories: People labelled as part as a group or collective. For example TV audiences, sports fans, people who like to travel, etc.
  • In-Market Segments: People who are in the market to purchase something. For example, people looking to buy a smartphone, sports equipment, holiday, etc.
  • Other Categories: This is a more in-depth version of affinity categories. For example, football fans, game of thrones viewers, people that often travel by bus, etc.

This information can be used to run specific accurate advertising campaigns.

Geo

The Geo Audience report provides you with the language and location data for the users on your website.

This information can be used to create ads and content that would better suit users from countries that you would not have previously thought about.

Doing this can help you to create more successful ads, and bring in more customers and website visitors from around the world.

Behavior

The behavior report will help you to determine whether or not new users return to your site.

The report is split into three sections: New vs Returning, Frequency & Recency, and Engagement.

Viewing this report will show you if your site is encouraging first-time users to come back in the future.

Technology

This report helps you to understand more about how users are accessing your website, this includes which Operating System their device uses, which web browser they are using, and more.

You can use this report to ensure your website is operating and fully functional on all operating systems and browsers.

For example, if you suddenly see a drop in users visiting your site through Google Chrome, you may need to check for any possible problems.

Mobile

Use this report to see which mobile devices are being used by your site’s visitors to access your content.

This data can be used to see if your site is properly optimized for each specific device.

The report will tell you the specific devices that your users are accessing your site with, such as Apple iPad, iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy Note 10, etc.

In some cases it may not be able to tell you the exact device, so for iPhone 7 it may just say “Apple iPhone”.

Custom

The custom report lets you define and compare more specific user segments.

It is split into two separate sections, custom variables and user defined.

The data within this report provides very comprehensive, personalised information about how your users engage with your website.

For example, you could compare the bounce rate of new users to those who use a mobile device.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking allows you to compare your site’s analytical data with aggregated data from other companies in your industry who share their data.

Having the ability to do this helps you to understand how you are doing in comparison to your competition, it allows you to set relevant targets, and get insights into trends that are happening within your industry.

Compare your channels, location, and devices data with others in your industry, this is extremely useful to make sure that you are not falling behind.

Users Flow

The users flow report helps you to learn more about what users do on your website.

This report provides you with a visual representation of the paths that your users took through your website, starting with the source, then through the pages they visited, and finally where they exited your site.

Understanding more about how users find your site, what they do on it, and where they leave can give you useful information that can help you to improve conversions and session duration.

Acquisition Reports

The acquisition reports display detailed data specifically on how your audience find your website.

Did they find you through another website, also known as referral traffic?

Or did they find your site through social media?

Maybe they found your website through an organic search…

These reports will show you exactly how each user found your website.

To access acquisition reports, click “acquisition” on the left sidebar menu within your Google Analytics dashboard, then select the particular report you want to view.

Now lets take a look at each of the acquisition reports that are on your analytics account.

All Traffic

This report will show you which websites send you the most traffic.

The report is broken down into four sections:

  • Channels
  • Treemaps
  • Source / Medium
  • Referrals

It also displays information about the actions these particular users take, including Goal Completions, Bounce Rate, Pages per Visit, Average Session Duration, and more.

Google Ads

If you are running an advertising campaign through Google ads, this report will show you how well it’s performing.

To access this data, you will need to link your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account.

You can view 6 sections of data:

  • Campaigns
  • Treemaps
  • Keywords
  • Search Queries
  • Hour of Day
  • Final URLs

View this report to fully understand the performance of any Google ad campaigns that you’re running.

Search Console

This report is incredibly useful if you want to understand how your website pages are performing in organic Google searches.

You will need to connect your Google Search Console account with Google Analytics in order to be able to view this data.

Once is it set up, there will be four sections of data you can view:

  • Landing Pages
  • Countries
  • Devices
  • Queries

For example, with this report you could find out which web page has the most impressions within Google search results.

You can also use this report to find out which search queries users are searching in Google to find your webpages.

Social

The social acquisition report shows you how people engage with your website through social media.

Sort this data by:

  • Network Referrals
  • Landing Pages
  • Conversions
  • Plugins
  • Users Flow

This data can be used to help you to identify which social platforms visitors find your site from, see if those users convert into customers, and more.

Campaigns

The campaigns report displays the performance of your paid advertising campaigns and compares them to other traffic sources.

This report also allows you to compare data from non Google ad campaigns by giving you the ability to import cost data from external sources.

You can sort the data within this report by:

  • All Campaigns
  • Paid Keywords
  • Organic Keywords
  • Cost Analysis

Use this report to see if your advertising initiatives are actually beneficial compared to other forms of exposure.

Behavior Reports

The behavior reports display analytical data about the actions users take on your website.

This includes, how fast the pages load, what content they view, how they use the site search function, and more.

The information that you discover from these reports will help you to ensure your website is performing as it should be.

To view behavior reports, click “behavior” on the left side of your Google Analytics dashboard, then select the report you want.

Now lets take a look into each individual behavior report.

Behavior Flow

The Behavior Flow report visualises the path that users take when moving through your site.

If you want to discover which pieces of content keep your visitors engaged, this report will show you.

As well as that, this report can also help you to uncover any potential problems that users can face when viewing your content.

You will be required to setup and track events before they will appear in this particular report.

Site Content

The Site Content report helps you to discover how well each of your web pages are performing.

Using this report you can see what device visitors use to view each web page, their traffic source, whether users made a purchase after visiting a particular page, and much more.

You can use this data to see which web pages and pieces of content have the best performance.

The report is available in four sections:

  • All Pages
  • Content Drilldown
  • Landing Pages
  • Exit Pages

For each web page you can see many data points including Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Avg. Time on Page, Entrances, Bounce Rate, % Exit, Page Value and more.

Site Speed

The Site Speed report shows how fast your web pages load for your website users.

You can sort this data by browser to see if your average page load time changes depending on the web browser.

There is also an option to sort the report into a map, so that you can see the average page load time by country, this will show you where in the world users will have a slower loading time when viewing your website.

This report will also offer you suggestions for how you can improve the loading speed for each web page, this will open the Page Speed Insights tool by Google.

Site Search

This report shows how your website visitors interact with the search function on your site.

Using the information that this report displays, you can see what terms are searched for the most.

You can also use it to see the conversion rate for users who made a search on your website.

The report is split into three sections:

  • Usage
  • Search Terms
  • Search Pages

This data is especially useful when it is used in a custom report.

Events

Events are independently trackable actions or interactions that are taken by website visitors.

This can include video views, file downloads, click to call, form submission, and many more.

This data is sorted into three sections:

  • Top Events
  • Pages
  • Events Flow

This report is useful for when you want to view in-depth information about what users are doing on your website.

For example, if you have a PDF that your website visitors can download for free by entering their email address, you can track exactly how many people have done so.

Publisher

If you are using Google Adsense, or Ad Exchange the Publisher report provides you with monetization data about your site, including ad impressions and clicks.

This report requires your Analytics account to be connected to an Adsense or Ad Exchange account.

You can view two sections of data, Publisher Pages, and Publisher Referrers.

Conversion Reports

This section of Google Analytics reports covers completed actions, also known as conversions.

Within these reports you can find out things like: how many users have made a purchase on your site, how many people have created an account, and of course lots more.

Conversion reports provide you with information that will help you to see how you can increase conversions and improve your website’s success.

Click “conversion” on the left menu on your Google Analytics account to open the conversion reports, and then select the report you want to view.

Lets take a look at the different conversion reports.

Goals

Setting up goals allows you to track particular actions users take on your website.

Once you have a goal setup, you can use this report to track how these goals are being completed.

The goal report displays data in four sections:

  • Goal URLs
  • Reverse Goal Path
  • Funnel Visualization
  • Goal Flow

If you want to find out what users do on your site before completing a goal, where in the world these users are, the source users found your site from before completing a goal, and much more, this report will give you the data you need.

E-commerce

This report helps you understand more about ecommerce statistics including: how well your products are performing, details on transactions, average order value and more.

The E-commerce report covers:

  • Product Performance
  • Sales Performance
  • Transactions
  • Time to Purchase

You will need to enable ecommerce tracking in the settings of your Google Analytics account, and add the ecommerce code snippet to access this data for your website.

Multi-Channel Funnels

The Multi-Channel Funnels report displays the different traffic sources that result in conversions, as well as that it shows you the value of each traffic source so you know what sort of marketing strategy you should be putting more time and resources into.

This report displays four different sections of data:

  • Assisted Conversions
  • Top Conversion Paths
  • Time Lag
  • Path Length

E-commerce businesses find this report especially useful for tracking conversions through social media.

There is also a tool included within this report called the “Model Comparison Tool” which you can use to compare different attribution models to each other to see which impacts the performance of your marketing channels the most.

An attribution model is a set of rules that are used to determine how conversions should to credited to various marketing channels.

Create Custom Reports

Setting up custom reports within Google Analytics allows you to put all of the most important analytical data in one convenient report.

Having the most important data in one place will help you to generate more leads, convert more visitors into customers, and grow your website.

Step 1 – Create Custom Report

To create a custom report the first thing you need to do is click on “Customization” on the left and then it will open a sub-menu.

Here you want to click “Custom Reports”.

Next, to create a new report click on “+ New Custom Report”.

Now you will have to name your custom Google Analytics report.

This is mainly so that if you create multiple reports you can differentiate between them.

Step 2 – Choose A Report Type

Your custom report will have one tab by default, but you can choose to add more than one.

For this example we will just have one, and we will also keep the default tab name.

The next step is to choose your custom report type.

There are three different options that you can choose from:

  1. Explorer: This is the standard type of Google Analytics report, It includes a data table and line graph with dynamic features.
  2. Flat Table: This type of custom report is a static, sortable table that displays data in rows.
  3. Map Overlay: This style of report displays your data within a world map, showing you where in the world your site traffic or engagement is from.

In this example, I am going to select the Explorer report type as it is the easiest for new users to understand.

Step 3 – Define Your Report Metrics

The metrics available to you will be different depending on which custom report type you are using.

For every type of report, the metrics you add will decide which data is included inside your custom report.

In this example, I am going to add three metrics: sessions, average session duration and pages per session.

To add a new metric, click on the “+ add metric” button, search for the metric you want to add, and then click on it to add it.

If you wish to be more specific with the data you are targeting in your report, you can add dimension drilldowns.

To add a dimension, click on the “+ add dimension” button and then search for the one that you want to add.

In this example, I am going to select “source” to get more data about the source that referred the traffic to your website.

Step 4 – Add Report Filter

The final step is to add a filter to your report, although this is optional.

Adding filters will limit the report to specific dimensions.

You can use filters to exclude, or include specific data.

For example, if you add the “Traffic Type” filter, you can restrict the report to show data from specific types of traffic, this could be organic traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic, or another type.

To add your filter, you just need to click on the “+ add filter” button and then pick the filters that you want to add to your report.

Your custom report has been created successfully!

Once you are done, remember to click save, and you will be sent straight to your new custom report.

If you want to view this report in the future, just go to “Customization”, and then “Custom Reports”, and click onto the report that you want to view.

Add Additional Accounts And Properties

Another thing that you may want to know how to do before diving into your analytical data, is adding new accounts and properties.

To do this you need to head over the the admin menu within your Google Analytics account.

To create a new account, simply click the “Create Account” button, or to create a new property, click the “Create Property” button.

Decide which one you want create and then click the relevant button, after that you will have to go through the step by step process of creating an account or property, just like we did earlier on.

Having a new property will allow you to track the analytical data for multiple websites.

If you want to organise or separate multiple properties by putting them in different accounts, you can do so by creating a new account.

You can have up to 100 Google Analytics accounts, and each account can have up to 50 separate properties.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is by far the best platform for tracking your websites analytical data, and it’s free, so make the most of it.

You can use this platform to learn more about your audience, and by knowing who visits your website you can maximise conversions.

I recommenced every website to use Google Analytics, whether it’s a blog, eCommerce store, forum, portfolio, or anything else.

It is the easiest tool to use to track analytical data, and also the most comprehensive.

Want more?

Learn how to optimize the content on your website pages by reading this article.

Leave a comment if you need any more help.

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Black Hat SEO: What NOT To Do When Optimizing Your Website https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/black-hat-seo/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/black-hat-seo/#respond Sat, 04 Apr 2020 21:42:43 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17641 There are many types of SEO that can increase your ranking, but there are some things you need to avoid that will decrease your ranking, or result in a penalty. When building a brand or developing a website, you always want to take all of the steps that will make sure you are doing everything […]

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There are many types of SEO that can increase your ranking, but there are some things you need to avoid that will decrease your ranking, or result in a penalty.

When building a brand or developing a website, you always want to take all of the steps that will make sure you are doing everything correctly.

Never try to skip a step, or cheat, as it will only slow things down, and end badly.

In this guide, we are going to be talking about types of Black Hat SEO, and how to avoid doing it.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO refers to the process of trying to cheat to receive a higher search engine ranking.

It is very unethical, and can result in receiving a penalty from Google, and a large decrease in search engine traffic & rankings.

Using Black Hat techniques can also tarnish your brand, giving you a bad reputation.

You must avoid all of the following strategies when optimizing your website, as they may result in losing your search engine rankings.

Why Should You Avoid Black Hat SEO?

In the worst cases, black hat SEO can result in having your website banned from Google and other search engines.

Google will not hesitate to give your site a penalty if you are using black hat methods, a penalty could result in having your site de-indexed.

Using black hat strategies will also give your brand a bad reputation.

With the amount of people that use Google to search for content every day, can you afford to have your website de-indexed?

You want to avoid using any techniques that are deemed as unethical or black hat, if you want your site to succeed.

Thin Content

Essentially, thin content is content that offers little to no value to the user.

Content that is not relevant to the user’s intent, provides no quality, and wastes their time.

This can include:

  • Doorway pages
  • Automatically generated content
  • Duplicate content
  • Pages with small amounts of text
  • Low quality affiliate pages

The most common methods to deal with thin content are:

  • Remove the page
  • Update it by adding high quality, relevant content
  • Redirect the page
  • Add a “noindex” meta tag to the page to stop it from being indexed

Try your best to avoid publishing any page that would be deemed as “thin content” to save yourself the effort of having to fix it in the future.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of over-using (or spamming) keywords to try and manipulate their position in search results.

These keywords will often appear in a list, or completely out of context and irreverent.

Over-using keywords will result in a negative user experience, which will make users less likely to return to your website.

Keyword stuffing can negatively impact your search engine rankings, as Google and other search engines can tell when keywords are being abnormally added to a site’s content.

If the same keywords appear too closely in your content, your website will effectively be demoted in search results and you will lose your ranking position.

Your sole aim should be to create useful content that provides value to the user, and appropriately uses keywords within the right context.

Examples of keyword stuffing can include:

  • Lists of phone numbers which add no value to the content.
  • Blocks of text listing locations, cities, or places that a web page is trying to rank for.
  • Repeating the same words or phrases an unnatural amount.

Here is the example that Google gives:

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to a block of content that appears on more than one web page within the same website, or across multiple.

Search engines aim to give the user the most relevant and helpful search results for their search term, when the exact same content is seen in multiple places, it is considered unhelpful.

If the content on your web page is seen as duplicate content, search engines are less likely to rank your page in search results.

Duplicate content can refer to you copying other people’s content, and it can also refer to other websites copying your content.

To see if anyone has copied your content, you can enter your page URL into Copyscape.

This tool will scan your web page and see if the exact same content has been copied anywhere else on the web.

If another website has stolen your content there are a few methods you can take to try and get it removed:

  1. Contact the site owner and kindly ask them to remove it.
  2. Use whois to find the website owner’s name and phone number to contact them directly.
  3. File a DMCA Copyright notice with Google and other search engines to have the page removed from search results.
  4. Find proof of which site published the content first by using the Internet Archive.

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are web pages that manipulate search engines by ranking highly for particular phrases and keywords, but provide very little value to the user by containing low quality content.

These pages are usually created to create multiple “doorways” into a website by having multiple listings in search results that go to the same destination.

They are bad for users because they block up search results, and often lead to a bad user experience.

Here are a few examples of doorway pages:

  • Multiple web pages which are indexed separately but offer more or less the same content.
  • Separate domain names targeting geographical search queries, but direct visitors to one page.
  • Pages with many keyword or link variations that only exist in order to rank in search results and direct users to other web pages.
  • More than one websites that direct users and searchers to the same content.

Buying Backlinks

The process of purchasing backlinks that pass positive ranking power to your site.

Buying backlinks can include many payment methods, including: exchanging products for links or exchanging money for links.

Trying to manipulate your website’s ranking by purchasing backlinks can be considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Doing this can result in earning a penalty on your website, which can lower your rankings or have your site de-indexed from Google.

Here are some examples of link schemes that can negatively impact your search engine rankings:

  • Using an automated service to gain links to your site.
  • Buying or selling links that pass ranking power.
  • Requiring a link as part of your website’s “terms of service”.
  • Link exchanges, for example “Link to me and I’ll link to you”.
  • Large scale guest posting with keyword rich anchor text.

Other types of link schemes include creating links that are not in context to your content, or vouched for by the website’s owner.

These are known as “unnatural links”.

Here are some examples of what can be seen as unnatural links:

  • Text based advertisements that pass ranking power.
  • Low-quality directory links.
  • Forum comments with links in the signature.
  • Paid articles that include links with ranking power.
  • Distributed press releases with links that have optimized anchor text.

You only want to earn high quality, natural, and relevant backlinks in order for them to effect your site positively.

Hidden Text & Links

Hidden text or links are simply sections of text that are nearly, or completely invisible to the user.

Hiding text or links within your content to manipulate your search engine rankings is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

For example, if you try to add an excessive amount of keywords into your content, and then make them invisible, Google will still see them!

This will result in Google penalising your website, or de-indexing it.

Text can be hidden in several ways, including:

  • Putting text behind an image.
  • Using white text with a white background.
  • Setting the font size of your text to 0.
  • Hiding a link by only linking one character rather than a full word or phrase.
  • Positioning the text off-screen using CSS.

When evaluating your site to see if it includes hidden text or links, look for anything that’s not easily view able by visitors of your site.

When optimizing your website’s content, it is important you make sure that all of your text and links are clear and visible, so it is not seen as deceptive.

Conclusion

Just don’t do it.

It will always end badly, and will ruin your chances of earning genuine search engine traffic.

When creating a website you want it to be user friendly, trustworthy, and definitely not deceptive.

If you are deceiving users, your site is very likely to receive a penalty.

Write high quality content, don’t copy other website’s content.

Don’t create spam, or try to cheat your way into ranking higher in search results.

Google and other search engines are smart, and they will know if you are trying to manipulate your search engine ranking.

While you’re here, take a look at our comprehensive keyword research guide, or our guide to local seo.

Please leave a comment below if you think there is anything else we should add to the article.

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Tools For Makers: List Of Tools & Resources For Makers https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/tools-for-makers/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/tools-for-makers/#respond Thu, 12 Mar 2020 10:45:09 +0000 http://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=16606 To help you when working on a project, we have complied the ultimate list of tools & resources for makers and entrepreneurs. This list will cover everything that you may need and the list covers both free and paid tools & resources. If you are building your startup and want to start to rank higher […]

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To help you when working on a project, we have complied the ultimate list of tools & resources for makers and entrepreneurs.

This list will cover everything that you may need and the list covers both free and paid tools & resources.

If you are building your startup and want to start to rank higher in search engines, take a look at our free SEO eBook here.

Lets go straight into the list…

Design Tools

All of these tools will help you when creating graphics for your brand, including stock photos, icons, mockups & more.

  • Canva– A freemium web-based design application.
  • Palette.App – Free palette editing and remapping tool.
  • Unsplash – Free & paid Stock images with completely free commercial and non commercial license.
  • Dafont – Library of community made fonts.
  • Flat Icon – The largest database of free vector icons.
  • Google Fonts – Catalog of open source developer friendly web fonts.
  • Flat UI Colors – Over 280 handpicked color palettes.
  • Dribble – The best place to discover designers and creative people online.
  • Witeboard – Simple online whiteboard for drawing, planning and fun!
  • DesignBase – Database of free resources for designers.
  • Freepik – Graphic resources including: vectors, photos, PSDs & icons.
  • Magic Mockups – Free real life mock up generator on laptop, phone, iMac & more.
  • Biteable – Create stunning videos for ads, animations, trailers, marketing, education & more.
  • Kawping – Free slide show video maker, with addons including: subtitles & trimmer.
  • coolors.co – Fast & free colour palette generator.

Marketing Tools

All of the tools below will help you during the process of marketing your brand, this includes analytics, SEO, content, research & more.

  • Grammarly – The best grammar checker for articles, emails, social media & more.
  • marketgoo – Easy to use SEO tools that anyone can use.
  • Ahrefs – SEO tools & rescources used by the industry professionals.
  • SimilarWeb – Analyse the market traffic & statistics.
  • Google Analytics – This is the most recognised analytics platform on the internet, made by Google so it is trusted, it has many incredible features, and it’s free.
  • Google Keyword Planner – Google’s free keyword research tool (made for ads, but can be used for generic keyword research).
  • Google Trends – Take a look at insights into what is trending around the world.
  • Google My Business – Add your business to google maps and search with a GoogleMyBusiness listing.
  • Browseo – Web app that allows you to view a webpage without distractions.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights – The free tool by Google that tells your your site speed on mobile and computer that also tells you how you can improve your site’s speed.
  • Yoast SEO – Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress websites no questions asked.
  • Copyscape – Scan content for plagiarism and duplicates.
  • Ubersuggest – One of the most comprehensive SEO tools, covering backlink data, content idea generation, keyword suggestions & more.
  • Quuu – Automate content curation.
  • Buffer – Plan and schedule social media content for your business.
  • CoSchedule – Organize your brand’s marketing all in one place, keeping everything together.
  • Hootsuite – Manage your social profiles from one place.
  • Hello Bar – Convert website visitors into customers.
  • Publicfast – Find influences that will run your ad.
  • SalesHandy – All in one email tools, templates, tracking & more.
  • Streak – Manage your workflow through your Gmail inbox.
  • Linkbuildr – Automate the process of emailing people when you mention them in your blog posts.
  • AlsoAsked – Take an in-depth view into the information from the “people also ask” section on Google’s results pages.

Learning Resources

Everyone loves to learn more, especially if you are running a startup on your own. These resources cover many topics including design, marketing, SEO, website development & more.

  • Udemy – The largest online course platform. (Sales always running which offer courses at around $10)
  • Skillshare – Online course platform based around creating & designing.
  • StackSkills – Online course marketplace, with courses covering: design, marketing & coding.
  • freeCodeCamp – This completely free website will teach you to code, build projects and earn certifications. Graduates from freeCodeCamp have gone on to work for companies like: Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify & Microsoft.
  • StackSocial – Full of tech deals & online course bundles.
  • BlackBrick Academy – In our academy, we offer digital marketing courses that will help you to grow your brand.
  • Neil Patel’s Blog – Arguably the most comprehensive digital marketing blog with new strategies you won’t find anywhere else.
  • BlackBrick Marketing Blog – Our blog covers SEO, digital marketing, graphic design & more.
  • Startups.com – Platform full of resources that will help startups to grow, including eBooks, videos, startup community, tools & more.
  • SERP University – The hub for learning all things SEO.

Website Tools & Services

The following tools and services will be useful when you are building and setting up your website & domain.

  • WordPress – An open source CMS for building websites, blogs, eCommerce sites & apps.
  • Templated – A collection of responsive website templates with a free Creative Commons license.
  • HTML5 UP – Responsive, intelligent & customizable HTML5 website templates.
  • Divi – WordPress theme with built in page builder & 100+ pre-made layouts.
  • Strikingly – Make a website in minutes with 0 coding required.
  • Envato Elements – Unlimited digital assets under one subscription.
  • Namecheap – Buy your perfect domain name at a great price.
  • Buildbox – Build and design mobile games & apps without coding.
  • Webflow – Responsive website design, CMS & hosting platform all in one.
  • Cloudways – Managed VPS hosting, fast secure & affordable!
  • Brixly – Web hosting, reseller hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting & more.
  • G Suite – Business email hosted on gmail & a suite of tools including Google drive, docs, calendar, etc.
  • Bubble – Build software without writing code.

Business Tools

These tools are all business and branding related.

  • Namechk – Check the availability for social media usernames, domains & more.
  • Stripe – The best & most reliable online payment processor with low fees.
  • Braintree – Global payment processor by PayPal.
  • Invoice Generator – Generate PDF invoices fast & free.
  • QuickBooks – Simple accounting software for small businesses and self employed.
  • Recuritee – Use recuritee to acquire new talented employees.
  • Bambee – Hire an HR manager for $99.
  • Freshbooks – All in one cloud accounting platform.
  • StartupNameCheck – Fast & comprehensive brand name availability checker.

Productivity Tools

All of the following tools will help you to improve your productivity.

  • Trello – Create lists, cards & boards to help you and your team prioritize & organize projects.
  • Slack – The ultimate way to collaborate with your team, with conversations and integrations.
  • Dropbox – Easy file sharing for everyone.
  • Evernote – Take notes, stay organised and save time.
  • Pocket – Save content from the internet straight to your pocket.
  • Nomadlist – Explore communities of remote workers around the world.
  • Noisli – Improve your focus & boost your productivity by mixing sounds to create a relaxing environment.
  • Soon – Plan what you are doing next.

Conclusion

Whether you are starting a new brand or you have been running one for years, having tools and resources that will help you grow all in one place is always helpful.

If this comprehensive list of tools for makers helped you out, save this post so you don’t lose it and share it so that it can help others too.

I hope that you found a tool or resource on this list that is helpful to you and your startup.

Thanks for reading and have fun growing your brand!

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Local SEO Guide: 9 Part Guide to Local Search Ranking https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/local-seo/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/local-seo/#respond Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:28:30 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=16904 When optimizing your website for search engines it is now crucial that you also do local SEO, this helps your business appear in local searches. Local SEO is mainly for businesses who don’t just have a website but also have a physical location for their customers to visit, like a bakery or a gym. A […]

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When optimizing your website for search engines it is now crucial that you also do local SEO, this helps your business appear in local searches.

Local SEO is mainly for businesses who don’t just have a website but also have a physical location for their customers to visit, like a bakery or a gym.

A local business is any location where a business operates that a customer can buy products or services from.

This includes places that offer products / services, and it also includes places that offer entertainment like a cinema or a zoo.

The main reason to optimize your business for local SEO is to make it easy for local people to find the products and services that you offer.

If you want more people to find your company online, local SEO is what you need to do!

To learn about on page seo, read this guide here.

So, let’s jump straight in to our comprehensive guide to local SEO…

Local SEO Basics

The basics will cover what it actually is, why it is important to optimize for local searches, and what type of businesses will actually benefit from it.

What Is Local SEO?

Local search engine optimization is all about increasing visibility on search engines for businesses that sell to their customers in a physical location, as well as or instead of online.

These types of businesses could be anything that operates offline from a local bakery to a service based company, like a plumber or a window cleaner.

Local SEO can include anything from setting up a Google my business page, to adding your businesses local information to your website.

Local search includes all of the search terms where you are asking for local business information, such as:

  • “Plumbers in London”
  • “Cinema in San Francisco”
  • “Bakery near me”
  • “Electrician near me”

These can also be made as voice searches on devices like the Google Home, or Amazon Echo.

With devices like these becoming more popular, local search will become more and more important in your SEO strategy.

Why Is Local Search Important?

Local search optimization is important because it can quite simply increase the amount of eyeballs on your business, therefore increasing sales.

Here are some statistics that will give you an idea of how important it actually is:

  • More than 45% of Google searches are from people looking for something local.
  • Over 50% of users visit a store within a day of finding it through a local search!
  • 28% of all local searches end in a purchase.

After seeing these stats, you should realise just how vital local search currently is, and it is only getting bigger!

For more stats like this, check out this article.

Local SEO Appearance

If you are doing Local SEO, it is important to know what the Local search results actually look like.

Let’s look at a few different examples of how local search results are displayed to the end user.

First we have a typical local search made on Google:

This is usually known as the “Google Map Pack”, or the “Local 3 Pack”, it displays a map with three local listings and then the normal organic results are shown underneath it.

You should already be fairly familiar with the organic Google search results.

But … what are the “Map Pack” results that appear when you make a local search?

The “Google Map Pack” is what Google uses to display the most relevant three results when a local search is made.

It takes into consideration the user’s location to make sure that the results that appear are relevant to both the search that has been made, and also the physical location of the user.

There are also many more places where local search make an effect.

Google Maps Mobile:

On Google maps mobile you see a map with the different businesses below, with the more relevant and popular appearing first.

As you can see each business has a star rating, a category, location, opening times, and also a short description.

Google Maps:

This is how Google Maps displays businesses if you are on a computer, each business gets star ratings, location, opening time and a short description.

These are ranked my most relevant and by popularity, as you can see, it helps if you have a large amount of reviews.

Google Knowledge Panel:

The knowledge panels are boxes of information that appear on Google when you search for people, places, businesses that are in Google’s knowledge graph.

You can claim one for your business by getting a free Google My Business listing.

All of the examples that I have shown are from Google, but you need to remember that other search engines have special results for local searches too!

Local search is becoming increasingly important if you are a brick & mortar business, or a service based business that offers services in a specific location.

Keep reading as we will cover everything you need to know in order to increase the chance that your business will show up in relevant local searches.

Local SEO Keywords

For this section we are going to look into local keyword research.

Local SEO keyword research is actually very simple compared to keyword research for a blog or eCommerce website.

This is because most local keywords are generic across your business, and local keywords are usually a set few phrases.

As an example, let’s say you run a local bakery in London.

Your goal would be to rank in search engines for phrases like:

  • fresh bagels in London”
  • bakery in London”
  • “bakery near me”

And of course many more phrases like this.

The easiest way to find keywords and phrases like this, is to use keyword research tools or the ‘suggest’ feature on search engines.

Some good local search engines that you could use include: Yelp, Google and Bing.

To show you how to do this we will have a look at a few of these different sites.

Once you have found a selection of keywords and phrases that you like, put them in a list or write them down so that you can use them later.

Google

This can be very helpful when looking for local keywords as it is the most used search engine for local searches.

You need to put yourself in the mind of a potential customer and start making searches.

For example, I have typed “fresh bagels” and this is the list of suggest searches that Google has given:

fresh bagels google suggest

You can take any local keyword from here that would be relevant to your business and then add them to your list.

So, if you are a bakery in London, you could add all of these to your list:

“fresh bagels near me”

“fresh bagels London”

“fresh bagels delivered”

“fresh bagels nearby”

As these are all somewhat relevant.

Bing

Once again, this is another search engine that can be used to find local businesses.

All I have done is type “bakery l” and bing has given me some suggested phrases that other people use frequently.

From here you just want to take the phrases that are relevant and add them to your list.

bakery l bing suggest

As I put bakery followed by the letter “l” I have been suggested different phrases that actual people search for.

Now not many of these would be relevant to me, so let’s make another search.

fresh bagels bing suggest

Now I have just searched for “fresh bagels”.

Once again, if they are relevant you should add them to your list.

If I run a bakery in London, all of these are relevant to me, so I’ll add them to my list.

It is also a good idea to use your favourite keyword research tool.

As an example, we will use ubersuggest to find local keywords for a bakery in London.

Ubersuggest

Simply enter a keyword that is relevant to your business and you will be given loads of phrases and keywords that are similar (some local, some not).

You just need to sift through to find the ones that are both local, and relevant to your business and then add them to your list.

First I searched for “bakery london” , I have been suggested many phrases and also given the search volume for each.

bakery london ubersuggest

Here I searched for “fresh bagels london”, once again

bagels london ubersuggest

And for the final try, I searched for “bakery near me”.

bakery near me ubersuggest

Google Keyword Planner

The final tool I will show you is Google Keyword Planner.

The best part about it is that you know the data will be accurate because it is made by Google.

First head over to the keyword planner, and then select “discover new keywords”.

Once you have done that you will be able to enter the information to help find your keywords.

In the box that says “add a keyword”, I have put “bakery London” (You should put a keyword for your business followed by the location you operate).

I have also unticked “include brand names”, so that it does not add other brand’s names to my keywords.

And then you want to select your chosen location below the keyword box and to the right of the language selector.

Finally click “Get Results”, and Google will give you loads of keywords.

I have sorted it by average monthly searches, so that the phrases that are searched the most appear first.

Boom!

That’s it, now you have loads of local keywords with accurate search volume and competition difficulty right in front of you.

Now that you know how to find good local keywords, you want to put them into a list.

To build a good keyword list, you could use a spreadsheet, a text document or a tool that will store your keywords for you.

Local Ranking Factors

It is important that you learn exactly what factors influence your local search rankings.

We will look at some of the most important ranking factors that you will need to keep in mind.

The two most important Local SEO rankings are:

  1. Google Map Pack
  2. Organic Local Search

Google Map Pack Ranking Factors

Take a look at this Google Map Pack Ranking Factors study by Moz.

Google My Business Signals

According to the study run by Moz, your Google My Business profile is the primary ranking factor for ranking in the Google Map Pack.

This means it is crucial that you properly optimize your Google My Business profile, but don’t worry, we will cover that later.

Citation Signals

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) citations are key Google Map Pack, and Local Search ranking factors.

NAP citations are online mentions of your business’s name address and phone number.

Search engines look at your NAP citations to confirm whether or not your business information is correct.

The higher amount of NAP citations that your business has, the more confident that Google and other search engines will be to trust you are giving them legitimate information.

Your goal is to get your business’s NAP citations on as many reputable websites as possible.

Review Signals

Reviews also play a huge role in ranking in the Map Pack.

Negative reviews on your Google My Business profile, can damage your reputation and rankings, so reply to all reviews and be as helpful as possible.

You want to get legitimate positive reviews from customers on Google My Business, and other reputable review websites.

Replying to all reviews, negative or positive is beneficial to your Local SEO strategy.

Organic Local Search Ranking Factors

In the same study, Moz also researched the factors that go into ranking organically for Local Searches.

These are the different factors that go into your site ranking organically in localized searches.

Link Signals

Links play a huge role in ranking both in local searches and, the Google Map Pack.

Backlinks improve your site’s authority, tell users that your content is high quality, and make it easy for search engines to crawl your website.

On-Page Signals

The optimization of your website’s pages still helps when ranking your site for local searches.

This includes all of the normal on page seo strategies, just with some extras for local search, including: having your NAP on your site, improving domain authority, and using the right keywords within your content.

Behavioral Signals

This includes your website’s click through rate (CTR), mobile clicks to call, bounce rate, etc.

Google looks at how long people spend on your site before leaving, the click through rate from search results, and many more user behavioral signals before ranking your website.

To keep users clicking on your site, and spending more time on it, you need to write intriguing titles, high quality content, and create content that is relevant to your website’s niche.

Google My Business Profile (And Other Local Business Listings)

Local business listings will play a huge role in many different things including: local search ranking, business reputation, collecting reviews and more.

This makes it crucial that you claim and optimize local business listings that are relevant for your business.

Your Google My Business profile is also one of the top ranking factors, so it is important that you do it right!

Google My Business

To claim your free GMB profile, head over to the sign up page here.

Enter your business name, you will either need to claim a business that has already been added to Google, or create a new business.

Just start typing and Google will suggest businesses that are in their database.

If they have it, select it.

Should your business not appear, click the option that says “create a business with this name”.

You must enter your exact business name and nothing else as if you add words that are not in your business name, Google may reject you.

Step Two

Chose to add a physical location for your business.

If you have an office of physical store that your customers can visit, enter that address.

If you work from home, or run an internet based business and do not want customers to see your address, tick no so that you don’t need to add your address.

If you didn’t add an address, Google will ask if you want to chose a service area instead.

This is also good if you run a takeaway style business, as it allows you to select the area that you serve your customers in.

If you chose to add your business’s address, Google will now let you pin point exactly where on the map you are located.

If you didn’t add an address, you can skip to adding a category.

Step Three

Add the category that your business operates in.

Just start typing and different options will appear.

If you don’t know what to put, have a look at your competitors on Google Maps and put the same category that they put.

Step Four

Enter the phone number and website URL for your business.

It is best to add both, but you can just add one or the other.

If you are adding a phone number, make sure that it is the same as the one on your website so that Google trusts you, be consistent with your NAP!

Step Five

Now you just need to verify your listing to allow your GMB profile to go live.

Google will give you some instructions to follow, but usually they will send you a card in the post with a pin you will need to enter on the setup page.

Once its verified, your listing will be live!

Other local listing sites that you should definitely sign up for include: Bing Places, Apple Maps, and Yelp.

Local Listing Must Haves

Whether it’s Google My Business, Bing Places, or any other listing, you need to follow these steps.

Consistent

You must be 100% consistent across your website, local business listings and NAPs.

Search engines look for information that is consistent across your website, your GMB profile, social media, review websites, and other local listings.

It is key that your local info matches up everywhere!

If Google see a different address for your business on on two different sites, it is a big red flag.

Changing your business address, or phone number? Update your data ASAP.

Your business data must be consistent across the internet in order for it to positively effect SEO.

Comprehensive

Enter as much information as you can, and complete all profiles.

Let’s look at GMB, on the info page you must add as much information as you can, be very comprehensive.

The more information you fill in on your different local listings, the better they will perform.

Keep Data Updated

If any of your business’s information changes at all, you must updated it ASAP.

Check your opening hours, phone number and other basic business information is up to date and accurate.

This is all super simple to check, so why wouldn’t you do it?

If a change needs to be made, make sure to do it on all of your business listings!

Media

Give the people that are finding your business online a visual idea of what you offer.

Add pictures and videos of your office, daily business operations or even employees.

If you are a bakery, show off your bread, or the bread baking process!

Company Description

Add a detailed description of your business to all of your listing, that way people that find you can actually see what you do and who you are.

In your description, write about your business’s mission, culture and core values.

Let people know what you have to offer and why you are the best that do what you do.

Local Citations (NAPs)

In any complete local SEO strategy, you will have to build local citations.

These are usually known as NAPs, because they display your business name, address and phone number.

A local citation is any online mention of the name, address and phone number for your local business.

They can be found on social platforms, apps, websites, blogs and of course local business directories.

The reason behind them is to make it easy for users to find local businesses.

Another good reason to build them is because they can also improve your local search rankings.

Local citations are actually one of the most difficult parts of local SEO, so make sure to give it your full attention.

It is very important that the NAP citations for your business are consistent across the web!

You goal is to have a high volume of consistent NAP citations in order to help your local ranking.

Why Are Local Citations Important?

It is stated that local citations are key for all local search ranking opportunities.

When determining how you rank in local results, search engines scan the web for mentions of your business name, address, phone number and website URL.

It them compares them to the data that they already have, and if the data is consistent across the board, it can positively effect your local search rankings.

Local citations also help customers to find your business information, so if they are inaccurate, you could lose a customer, or get a negative review.

NAP Citation Audit

A lot of businesses will already have some citations.

If you have not yet done any local seo, these citations could be incorrect, incomplete, or just useless.

To see if you already have some NAP citations, or to check your current ones, the best thing to do is run an audit.

The best free NAP citation audit tool is the Online Presence Checker by Moz.

All you need to do is enter your country, company name, and address.

This tool will look at the most common citation listings for your business.

It will then tell you if there are any erros, duplicates, inconsistencies or incomplete listings.

Correct NAP Errors

Now that you know which of your citations have errors, you need to fix them.

Keep your list of NAP citations that need updating, and gather your business’s current information.

There are some tools that will edit all of your information for you, but they are not free.

If you want to use one of these tools, I recommend: TheHoth and Moz.

Usually there are two types of NAP citations:

Citations you can change (for example: Yelp, or Google My Business).

To update these, you can simply log into the account for the NAP you need to edit.

If you have an outdated address on Google My Business, update it ASAP.

Do you have a new business phone number?

Login to each of the profiles that need to be changed, and simply update the phone number on all of them.

Citations that were credited to you (for example: a local blog or resource page).

If you have NAP citations that were given to you by a local blog or website that you cannot simply login to, you will need to email the website owner and kindly ask them to update the information.

If you don’t know what to say, here is a simple email template you can use:

Hello {Name Of Website Owner},

It’s {Anthony} from {Anthony’s Apples}.

I am writing this email to let you know that we have updated our {business phone number}.

Our new number is {number here}.

I noticed that where you mentioned our business on your blog you still have our {old number}.

If you would be so kind to update it to our new number, I’d be very grateful!

Kind regards,

{Anthony}

A short an sweet email like this will let them know that you have new business information, and will nudge them to update it on their website.

Build NAP Citations

All businesses are different, so you will need to build citations based on your specific industry and geographical location.

So, now you have discovered any existing citations, you want to build some more.

The easiest way to start is to build some citations that are the most used in your area.

This list by whitespark covers the best local citations in each country, so I recommend building all of the citations that are top in your country.

If you are from United States, this list is for you.

If you are from Canada, this list is for you.

If you are from the United Kingdom, this list is for you.

They also cover a lot of over countries , so make sure to look for yours.

Next, you want to look at industry specific citations, including:

TripAdvisor (for holidays, hotels, etc.)

Edmunds (for car dealerships, etc.)

Taxifarefinder (for taxi, car hire.)

HomeAdvisor (for plumbers, etc)

To find a complete list of citations sorted by industry, use this list.

Your goal here is to build as many relevant citations as possible within your geographical location and specific industry.

*Remember, the information that you put onto the citations must all be accurate and also consistent!

Over time you will have more and more citations which will hugely help your local search rankings.

Local On Page Optimization

If you are a local business, you will need to have a slightly different on-page SEO strategy.

This is because you will want to rank for location based searches.

There will be a few major steps you will need to take that differ to a regular On Page SEO plan.

Here are some key steps to making sure your local seo plan runs smoothly:

Every Location Deserves It’s Own Landing Page

Of course every page has unique content, but you want to do the same with the locations that your business operates in.

If your business operates in multiple areas or cities, and your goal is to rank for each of those locations, you must set up a landing page for every single one of them.

Even if you just operate in a single location or don’t have a physical location for customers to visit, you should still do this for the areas that you offer your services to.

A simple structure for area based landing pages would be something like this:

  • yourbusinesswebsite.com/location-1/
  • yourbusinesswebsite.com/location-2/
  • yourbusinesswebsite.com/location-3/

This gives each location it’s own landing page that it can then use to rank in search engines if someone makes a search for your services in that particular area.

You don’t have to be physically based in a location that you want to appear in search results for, you just need to create a landing page for it.

A good example of a business that does this well is Autotrader.

They have separate landing pages for each location that cars are for sale in.

Take a look at some of their web pages that are ranking.

  • www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/derby – ranks for “cars in Derby”
  • www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/norfolk – ranks for “cars in Norfolk”
  • www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/essex – ranks for “cars in Essex”
  • www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/newcastle – ranks for “cars in Newcastle”
  • www.autotrader.co.uk/cars/london – ranks for “cars in London”

All of these web pages are location specific, and this is the way to go if you want to rank for multiple locations.

Here is an example of what one of their landing pages looks like:

The URL, page title, heading, sub-heading, and content all include their keyword and the location that they are trying to rank for.

This is a very good example as they are actually ranking for all of they locations that they are trying to rank for.

Local Landing Page Tips:

  • Only create one page per location.
  • Create landing pages that are relevant and not spammy.
  • Write unique content for each page.
  • Don’t create landing pages for locations that you do not operate in.
  • Include engaging headlines and media in every landing page.

Information You Must Add To Local Landing Pages:

  • Opening hours (if applicable).
  • Products / services you offer.
  • Relevant keywords for that area.
  • NAP Info (if you have an office / store in that location).

Add Schema Markup

It may sound complicated, but don’t worry, it’s not.

Schema markup does’t necessary help SEO, but it is a good way to attract attention in search results.

There are many variations of schema markup, so you should do some research before adding it to your site.

It can be confusing when you first try using schema, but it is simple once you know what to do.

First you need to open the Structured Markup Helper by Google.

From here you want to select the schema markup that you want to use, this should be easy to choose if you know what your business does.

For this example, I am going to select “Local Businesses”, as this article is covering local seo.

When you have entered that information, click “Start Tagging”.

google structuted data helper select type

It will open an interactive version of your webpage which allows you to highlight different parts of your content.

You will be required to select different set of data based on the type of structured markup that you originally chose.

You simply need to use the selector to highlight the required data and put it under the correct item.

For the image I’ll select the logo, for the address I’ll select the address, and so on.

For local business structured data, you should select: business name, address, phone number, image, opening hours, and reviews.

Remember the three most important data values being name, address & phone number, which is the NAP.

Make sure that it matches the data you added to your Google My Business page, as it must be correct.

Once you have selected all of the information, click “create HTML”, and make sure that the JSON-LD format is selected.

You will see a snippet of code.

You now want to test this code by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

On this tool select “code snippet” not “fetch URL”, paste your code into the box, and click “RUN TEST”.

Ignore any warnings in orange, but fix any errors, which appear in red.

If you have any errors, you may need to go back to the structured data markup helper to fix them, and then paste the code back into the testing tool.

structured data testing tool

Once there are no errors, copy the code once again, and paste it into the header section of your website.

Remember, you don’t have to use the local business structured data, there are multiple options to choose from depending on the type of website / business you operate.

You can preview the code to see what it will look like in Google search by clicking the green “preview” button in the testing tool.

If you run a WordPress website, there are multiple plugins that will do the bulk of the work for you.

A good WordPress plugin for schema markup, is Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP, or there is another good plugin just called Schema.

Optimize Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, etc

Optimizing the content within your website, is still crucial for local SEO.

Here is a simple checklist to help you optimize the content within your website:

on-page-seo-checklist

Just remember to use your local keywords so that you are optimizing your site for localized searches.

Once you have completed the list, your content should be properly optimized.

Local Link Building

When you get to building links to your local business website, a regular link building plan should do the trick.

In fact, with local businesses, you will actually get more link building opportunities so it is an easier process.

Links are one of the most important factors when it comes to Local SEO, so having people link to your site is crucial.

Here are some of the best ways to build links to a local business website:

Partner With Local Charities

Most charities have websites, if you partner with a charity by donating regularly, or by helping the charity to grow, you may earn a link on their site.

Focus on local charities that are in your area.

Even if you don’t get a link, helping a charity is never bad.

Create Content People Want

Create high quality content that people will actually read (or watch)!

Do keyword research, and competitor research to see what type of content you should make.

Some content ideas can include:

Lists: 

If you are a bakery, make a list of the best vegan breads.

Maybe you run a pet store, write a list of best organic cat foods and post it to your blog.

Talk About Trends:

If there is a trend going on that is somewhat relevant to your business, use it to your advantage.

Write a blog post around it.

Use it in a promotion.

Make a video on it!

Run A Contest:

Every one loves a contest.

Offer a prize (cash, one of your products / services), and run a contest for your fans.

If your content is good, people may share it on social media, and link to it on their site.

Business Directories

Get your site on local business directories!

Just search for “business directory your city”, and you will get results for business directories in your area.

As you can see here, I have searched for “business directory Norfolk”

business directory Norfolk google search

There are loads of different local business directories listed here, simply do the same for your location and submit your business to them.

Some of these will cross between local backlinks and also NAPs, so that’s a bonus!

Sponsor Local Events

The majority of local events in your area will probably need a sponsor.

If you sponsor an event, you are likely to receive a link on the event’s website, usually on a page designated for sponsors.

To find events in your area, just Google “events in location”, and you will get many results for events happening in your area.

events in Edinburgh google search

You don’t have to give money, you could offer your businesses services or products depending on what the event actually is!

Sponsoring events will also help to build your local area, as events bring more business.

Customer Reviews

Getting reviews from your customers is one of the best ways to build your businesses reputation.

Reviews are also one of the top local search ranking factors.

So, how can you capture and display more reviews?

Ask For Reviews Within Your Emails

Most businesses send many many emails every day, so at the end of any email to a customer simply add a link to leave a review.

This should be quite simple to set up, and won’t take too much of your time.

Let’s take a look at my example:

gmail email signature

This is my email signature within gmail.

As you can see, I have all of the usual information including: name, website, email address, social media, and even the logo.

I have also added a button which says “Submit Your Review”, this button links to my Google My Business customer review form.

Any email that I send will have this button within the email signature, so if anyone that sees it want’s to leave a review they just need to click the button.

I built this email signature using the free email signature generator by Hubspot, and you can too!

hubspot email signature generator

The email signature generator is free, easy to use, and has tutorials to add the signature to any email client (I use gmail).

Create A Web-page Dedicated To Reviews

Dedicate a page on your website to collect and display customer reviews.

You can optimize this page and it will be easy to organise with reviews and testimonials in one page.

Many people search for “company name reviews” to find reviews on a company before making a purchase.

You can rank for searches similar to that by creating a page on your site just for reviews.

Set Up A Business Profile On Review Sites

GoogleMyBusiness, trustpilot, feefo, these are some of the most popular review platforms that you should get your business on.

Having your business on these review sites (and others) will make it easier for people to review your business, and also boost your brand recognition.

When internet users search for reviews for a particular company, review sites like these will almost always appear in the results.

I recommend focusing on the well known review sites, as they are the ones users will click onto.

Google My Business is a must have for all local businesses, as it’s Google’s official platform, and it is trusted by customers.

I also suggest trustpilot, as it is another review website that is known around the world.

Offer A Discount In Return For A Review

Everyone loves a discount.

To get customers to leave a review, offer them a discount on their next purchase if they review your business.

You choose the discount, keep it low, any incentive is better than no incentive, watch your reviews sky rocket!

This is one of the easiest ways to boost the amount of reviews that you receive.

Share Your Reviews On Social Media

Of course you only want to do this with positive reviews and ratings.

Sharing reviews like this will grow brand recognition and also brand perception.

People are also more likely to leave a review if they think that you may share their review on social media.

Google recently launched Small Thanks with Google, which will make it even easier!

Add A Review Widget To Your Website

Certain platforms will have easy to use widgets that you can add to your site to make it nice and easy for customers to leave a review.

You want to be able to collect and display reviews within your website for the best results.

Add A Button

The easiest way would be to add a button on your website that directs a user to a review form.

Use A Widget

You might find one you like more, but I find reviewsonmywebsite.com to be the best option for a widget that does it all.

It collects reviews, displays them on your website, and helps you to request reviews from customers.

collect reviews

Bonus Local Strategies

To give you some extra help, this section will give you even more local SEO tips, tricks and strategies.

They may help your local rankings, but they are more likely to just give your business a boost in terms of online presence.

Embed A Google Map On Your Site

Embedding a map on your website, especially on the contact page, will make it easy for customers to find your businesses location.

This is crucial if you have a business like a cafe which you need customers to visit in order to make a transaction.

Google have a guide on how to embed a map onto your site here.

There are many options to the map, you can even set it to be street view.

Once you have built your map, Google will give you the code to paste into your webpage.

Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly

The majority of website traffic is now through mobile devices, in fact in 2018 52.2% of internet traffic was from a mobile device.

To check if your website is mobile friendly, use this free tool made by Google.

The Google mobile friendly test will give you a simple and fast answer to whether or not your website is mobile friendly.

Display Reviews & Testimonials

Displaying reviews on your website will go towards improving conversions, as it will give users confidence in your brand by showing your reputation.

If you use WordPress there are many plugins that you can use to display reviews within your website.

Here is a good plugin for generic reviews: Site Reviews

Here is a plugin that embeds Google reviews: Google Reviews Widget

However, if your site is not made with a CMS like WordPress, you can use a tutorial from w3schools to learn how to display reviews.

For testimonials, use this tutorial.

To create a user rating scorecard, use this tutorial.

Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast

If your site is slow to load, visitors may just click off.

Keep your site fast to keep users engaged in your content.

Optimize Images

Before uploading any images to your website, you should optimize them.

Run all of your images which have a large file size through tinypng, this will compress them and then give you your image with a smaller size.

The smaller the file size, the faster they will load while on your website.

Use The Right Web Hosting

If you want to have a fast website, you should look at which hosting plan and provider you have.

It is important that you use hosting which uses web servers in a geographical location near to your target audience.

For example: If you have a website which has mainly got an audience from India, you want to use web hosting which runs it’s servers from India.

This information should be clear on the website for the hosting plan that you are purchasing.

Enable Compression

On WordPress you can install a plugin like Autoptimize, this will compress the files that contain the code for your site, making it more light weight.

Some plugins like this also compress your images, and most of these plugins are free!

Conclusion

Hopefully you now know more about local SEO, and this guide has helped you to rank your business for local searches.

This guide alone shows just how important local search is, and you need to remember that it is only growing in importance.

To read more of our SEO and marketing guides, take a look at our frequently updated blog here.

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What Is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation Explanation https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/what-is-seo/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/what-is-seo/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2020 15:44:19 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17192 It is one thing doing SEO, but before doing anything you must know what it is and why it is so important. Knowing this will give you a better view when you finally go to optimize your site. What Is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a collection of techniques and methods […]

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It is one thing doing SEO, but before doing anything you must know what it is and why it is so important.

Knowing this will give you a better view when you finally go to optimize your site.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

It is a collection of techniques and methods used to help improve your search engine ranking.

In other words, it is the all the work done that will go towards increasing website traffic through search engines.

When done correctly, SEO will result in an increase in the quality and quantity of traffic your website receives through organic search engine results.

SEO is done to increase your website’s organic ranking and is completely unrelated to paid traffic.

As you can see in the image, the paid results do appear first, but the organic results have not needed to be paid for in order to appear here.

This alone shows how important SEO is, because you can organically get onto the first page of search results without needing to pay for any ads.

The key parts of SEO:

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the practice of individually optimizing web pages in order to earn a higher ranking in search engine results pages.

It refers to all content including text, images, videos and the html code for the website.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the work you do in order to find the keywords and phrases that your target market are typing in search engines.

The end goal is to optimize your website’s content to rank for those keywords / phrases or ‘terms’.

Off-Site SEO

It refers to the actions taken outside of your website to help increase your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Off-Site optimization includes improving your site’s popularity, trustworthiness, authority and relevance.

This can be done by having other relevant and high authority websites linking to your website.

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is all about increasing visibility on search engines for businesses that sell to their customers in a physical location, as well as or instead of online.

These types of businesses could be anything that operates offline from a local bakery to a service based company, like a plumber or a window cleaner.

Local SEO can include anything from setting up a Google my business page, to adding your businesses local information to your website.

Technical SEO –

Technical SEO usually refers to the work that needs to be done in order to optimize your website for crawling and indexing, it can also include any technical process that is used to improve search engine ranking and visibility.

The main reason that it is called “technical” is because it has less to do with the content on your site, and focuses on the more technical aspects including page loading speed, URL structure,XML sitemaps, mobile friendliness and more.

If you do all of these correctly and comprehensively, you have a higher chance of ranking on the first page of the search engine results.

How Search Engines Work

Search engines are quite complex, but the way they process can be put into three simple to understand steps.

1- Crawl: First search engines crawl the internet for content, looking at each page they find and following every link on those pages.

2- Index: Then they store and sort all of the content that has been found from crawling the web, once sorted, the content is ready to be displayed to users.

3- Rank: Finally the content is displayed in search results, ranked in order of how relevant and useful it is deemed to be based on the search query.

So to simplify it even more, search engines like Google scan through all of the content on the internet by crawling it, then they store and sort it, and then finally display the most relevant content in the search engine results pages.

Why SEO Is Important

You can just use paid ads to generate website traffic, but organic search engine traffic will cost nothing, and will give better results in the long run.

Visibility

One of the most important aspects of SEO is to increase your site’s visibility, this is done by making it easy for users to find your website when they type a query into a search engine that is relevant to your content.

If your SEO efforts are successful and you manage to get a high ranking the visibility of your site will increase massively.

Web Traffic

Increased website traffic is one of the most sought after goals in an SEO campaign, it is achieved when you increase your site’s search engine rankings.

If you want more users to find your website through Google or another search engine, you must optimize your website for search engines.

Getting your site to the first page of search results will increase website traffic, and if you manage to get into the top five results, you are definitely doing it right!

The first five organic results on Google search results pages amount to over 65% of all clicks.

User Experience

A good SEO plan also forces you to improve the quality of the content that you produce, and optimize the user experience / usability of your site, in turn making it easier for users to navigate your content.

If your site has a good user experience, for example: the menu is easy to navigate, and the pages are mobile responsive, you will increase the time that users spend on your website and lower the percentage of people who close your site after viewing just one page (bounce rate).

Other great ways to improve user experience include: optimize page loading speed, use images & videos, and make content that is easy to read.

Authority

Your website’s authority and trust is improved when you optimize properly, mainly by building relevant links to your site and creating high quality fresh content.

With age brings trust, if your site’s pages are being updated when needed, receiving quality backlinks, and contain high quality content – over time the authority and trustworthiness will continue to build on their own.

Should I Hire A Professional?

Whether or not you should hire a professional is all down the size of your website, and your ability to learn the ins and outs of SEO.

Reasons to hire a professional:

  • You don’t have any time to put aside to do SEO work.
  • Google has penalised your website.
  • Your website traffic has been declining and you don’t know why.
  • The website is very comprehensive, meaning the SEO work will be more complicated.

Reasons to do SEO yourself:

  • You will save the money that you would have spent hiring a professional.
  • You can learn search engine optimization, which is a very valuable skill.
  • The website is very simple (only a couple of pages), meaning SEO should be straight forward.

It is all down to how you view it and whether or not you think you have the time and learning ability to do it yourself.

How Much Time Does It Take?

The SEO process can take a different amount of time for every website.

The average site will start seeing some results after 6 months, so don’t think you will be at the top of Google in just a couple of days!

However, there are some aspects that can change how quickly you will start seeing positive results.

The design of your website:

A badly designed website that is difficult for users to navigate can negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings.

The size of your audience / target market:

If your site is focused around a very specific niche which is easy to target, it may be easier to rank on the first page of search results.

The competition:

If your website is in a highly competitive industry, where you have massive competitors, it can be difficult to get into the first page of search results.

Conclusion

Hopefully this has taught you all about the basics of what SEO is, and why it is so crucial.

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8 Crazy Statistics That Prove The Importance Of Local SEO https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/local-seo-statistics/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/local-seo-statistics/#respond Mon, 20 Jan 2020 18:12:55 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17281 If you are a business that has a physical location for customers to visit, you must optimise for local SEO so that more people can find you through search engines. Think about it, if you are looking for a local shop in a place that you have not been to before, what do you do? […]

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If you are a business that has a physical location for customers to visit, you must optimise for local SEO so that more people can find you through search engines.

Think about it, if you are looking for a local shop in a place that you have not been to before, what do you do?

Take out your phone, open a search engine like Google, and search for it.

Your own customers are no different, and if your business appears at the top when they make a search on Google, they are more likely to go to your store.

In fact over 45% of all searches made on Google are from people looking for something local.

A successful Local SEO plan will massively impact your business by increasing the amount of people that find your store via Google.

Carefully read these 8 statistics that prove the importance of Local SEO.

Local SEO Statistics

1. Over 45% of Google searches are made from people looking for something local.

2. 78% Of location-based searches made on a mobile device convert into an offline purchase being made.

3. Google offers a free local listing called a ‘Google My Business’ listing and 56% of local businesses have not claimed theirs.

4. Over 50% of users visit a store within a day of finding it through a local search!

5. 28% of the time local based searches end in a purchase.

6. When making a local search 92% of users will only look at the first page of search results.

7. 33% of people who use smartphones to search for a company, are looking for it’s location.

8. The average mobile user spends about 4 hours a day on their smartphone.

Conclusion:

Local SEO is incredibly important when it comes to helping your store be found on search engines when a local search has been made.

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10 Creative Ways You Can Promote Your Blog For Free https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/promote-your-blog-for-free/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/promote-your-blog-for-free/#respond Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:15:06 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17114 Are you worried about not getting a high amount of traffic to your blog? Just writing content is not enough to promote your blog to increase traffic. But don’t worry, in this article I will tell you about 10 ways for you to promote your blog for free. Yes!! You heard it right, you can […]

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Are you worried about not getting a high amount of traffic to your blog?

Just writing content is not enough to promote your blog to increase traffic.

But don’t worry, in this article I will tell you about 10 ways for you to promote your blog for free.

Yes!! You heard it right, you can do blog promotion for free.

It is important that you reach your target audience and this can only be done with promotion.

So, Let’s jump in to see how you can promote your blog without paying a penny.

Blogging has a misconception that you can only get targeted traffic if you use paid promotion, but that is not true.

There are multiple ways that bloggers can reach their desired audience without needing to spend money.

Now let’s take a look at what they are!

Social Media

I can’t stress enough about how vital it is to use social media as a platform for promotion and growth.

Billions of people around the world are attached to the different social media platforms and are using them to voice their thoughts.

Social media platforms such Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many more have given bloggers a platform to share their thoughts and reach their target audience through it.

Posting blog posts and sharing them on social media can increase the prospect of reaching your desired audience.

Things to keep in mind while promoting on social media:

  • Blog posting has to be frequent
  • Relevant data attracts relevant audience
  • Use hashtags on social media to drive the relevant user attention to your post
  • Join pages and make groups with users that have interests within your particular niche

Email Marketing

A Conventional yet effective method of increasing blog traffic is through email marketing.

Using email marketing you can keep track of exactly who is in your email list, and have more people join by having an email subscribe form on your website.

You can also maximise email by adding a link to your blog in your email signature.

Things to keep in mind while driving traffic via email marketing:

  • Always create an email list, and only send emails to people who have subscribed to receive your emails.
  • Never send spam emails to people who have not subscribed as this will give your brand a bad name.
  • If you don’t have an in-house email marketing team, you can use tools that are available for free, these include: Mailchimp and MailerLite.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is the most effective way to generate blog traffic.

In Guest blogging, bloggers who have just started or who want to get more traffic can request to submit an article that they have written to a well established website that is in their niche.

By doing this the guest bloggers are taking advantage of the traffic the established website already has.

Initially it can be challenging for budding bloggers to get the approval for the guest blog post.

But it will change and always focus on the value you are adding to their blog.

Things to keep in mind while guest blogging:

  • Always request for the post which would add some value to their blog
  • Pitching for approval becomes easy when you are selling an idea.

Share Interactive Videos On YouTube

YouTube is another platform which is being used by many bloggers to expand the audience that they can reach.

Bloggers can make a more personal connection with their audience through video.

You can turn your blog posts into videos and share them on YouTube to grow your audience.

Consistently making videos will help you to reach your target audience.

Things to keep in mind while making YouTube videos:

  • Have the same branding & name on your YouTube channel that you have on your blog, so that you can be recognised.
  • Start with simple videos that you can post regularly.

Implement SEO

SEO is an organic way for your website to rank on Google for relevant keywords.

Some examples of tasks which websites follow while implementing SEO include: optimizing titles, images, URLs, etc with your chosen keywords.

The better the website’s SEO, the faster it will rank in Google for high volume keywords – which will lead to an increase in traffic organically.

Things to keep in mind while doing SEO:

  • Have a plan in place BEFORE starting the work. This will allow better implementation of the strategy.
  • While SEO is important for any website, it’s important to not overdo it, as Google may blacklist your website.

Answer Questions On Quora

On platforms like Quora, people ask questions that they are looking to find a genuine answer for.

That’s why, bloggers can look for questions which are relevant to an article on their website and simply answer the question while subtly mentioning a link to the article on their site.

Things to keep in mind while using Forums:

  • Don’t spam, forums like Quora are strictly against spamming, and doing so will lead to your answer(s) getting deleted from the website. Don’t let your efforts go to waste due to an avoidable mistake!
  • Don’t forget to subtly mention the link to your blog within the post / answer that you are writing.

Interlink Articles

Do you have a published article on your website which is relevant to the article you are writing?

Link back to that article!

This increases the chances of a reader to interact with more content on your website instead of dropping off from the first article that they read.

That could only lead to positive results, right?

Things to keep in mind while creating internal links:

  • Only link articles which are relevant to the article you are writing.

Use Images And Infographics

Just having written content can make readers lose interest.

Using images and infographics will keep users engaged when reading your articles.

People are unlikely to read every word of an article, so using infographics will help them to get an idea of your whole post.

images increase the quality and make your blog more interesting to read.

Images and infographic together increase the value of your blog.

Things to keep in mind while adding Images and Infographics:

  • Free tools like Canva are available for creating interesting infographics.
  • Add images to old articles if you haven’t, and add to new ones as you go.

Use Intriguing Titles

Titles play a critical role in whether a user will click through to read your article.

That’s why, the title of each article needs to be exciting and something that a user will be intrigued to click onto.

To read our article on how to write the perfect title, click here.

Things to keep in mind while writing the title:

  • Make sure that it is straight to the point and precise.
  • Be unique so that your article will stand out from others.
  • Write with the reader’s intent in mind.

Blog Contest / Giveaway

Being creative will give you an edge over your competitors.

Always try to do things that other bloggers in your niche are not doing.

This will help you to stand out in your market and make promotion easier.

Running a contest or a giveaway is one way in which your target audience can participate and interact with your blog.

Things to keep in mind while creating a Blog Contest:

  • All the planning should be done before hand to save you from confusion.
  • Plan the contest with your end goal in mind.

Conclusion

Take your time and start with just one or two of these techniques so that you can see the real results.

You must remember that getting traffic to your content is more difficult than it is to actually make it.

Simply having content is useless if you have no audience that will see it.

Start using our methods to promote your blog for free, and watch the results fly in.

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5 Reasons Why Blogging Is Still Crucial For Your Business https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/why-blogging-is-still-crucial-for-your-business/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/why-blogging-is-still-crucial-for-your-business/#respond Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:25:21 +0000 https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=17019 People have been blogging for decades now and text based content has for a long time, run the internet. As video content is becoming more important, it is crucial not to forget how valuable it is to have a blog on your website. That is why I have put together this simple list of 5 […]

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People have been blogging for decades now and text based content has for a long time, run the internet.

As video content is becoming more important, it is crucial not to forget how valuable it is to have a blog on your website.

That is why I have put together this simple list of 5 reasons why blogging is still crucial for your business.

Before we start, if you are wanting to learn how to optimize your blog posts, read our guide covering on page SEO here.

Increased Website Traffic

When you have a blog which you regularly publish articles to, you can use it to drive traffic to all parts of your website.

Blog posts are a great way to find a new traffic source for your website, this can be through social media, search engine traffic, or even word of mouth.

Publishing regular high quality articles to your blog will increase your traffic and keep current visitors coming back.

You can maximise on this traffic by creating inbound links from your blog posts to your products or other website pages, but remember to only do this if it is relevant to the article that you are writing.

Brand Recognition & Authority

If you are writing high quality articles that are giving readers useful information, over time your brand will be seen as an industry leader.

By doing this, you are showing that you have knowledge in your area and that will form into a trust with your readers.

Becoming a trusted brand within your industry will allow you to stamp your authority on your market so that customers and website visitors keep returning.

If you are a service provider and you frequently publish well researched articles that cover topics within your niche, you will be the place to go, within that particular industry.

You will be building trust and providing quality which will keep customers coming back.

Improved Customer Relationships

High quality blogs provide website visitors with the information they are looking for.

When you are providing someone with valuable information, you are gaining their trust and respect.

Over time, a visitor will come back to your blog as a source of trusted information.

To a business, having a relationship like this with a potential customer is gold.

Just by providing someone with information, you are saving them time, money and displaying that you have knowledge in the subject.

Trust equals sales, a visitor is more likely to turn into a customer if they trust you.

Search Engine Optimization Improvement

Blogs improve SEO, there are no doubts about that.

If you are publishing fresh content on a regular basis it is an unbeatable way to out rank your competitors on search engine results pages.

All search engines love content that is both fresh and relevant, so blogging is one of the simplest ways that a business can improve their SEO.

Posting consistently, whether it’s daily, twice weekly or weekly, will constantly provide search engines high quality content to index.

It is important that you only write articles that are relevant to your website by using the right keywords, that way you will give your website the opportunity to rank in search engines for the same keywords that your potential customers are using, giving them a higher chance to find your site.

You Can Re-purpose All Of Your Blog Content

Don’t forget that you own all of the content that you write for your blog, so you can re-use it in any way you like to maximise it’s usage.

You can turn your blog posts into videos and publish them onto other platforms like YouTube and Facebook, this will grow your social presence and also send people to your website.

Depending on the type of articles that you write for your blog, you could turn them into online courses that you could sell or give away as a lead magnet.

Or you could turn them into informational Instagram posts to help grow your Instagram page which will in turn grow your brand presence in your field.

So there are many ways to re-purpose your blog content, and it is a great way to maximise it’s potential.

Conclusion

Blogging is not over.

Evidently, blogging is still incredibly crucial when you want to grow your brand online.

It will help you to gain trust, authority and keep customers returning.

Related Articles

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On Page SEO: Optimize Your Website For Search Results https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/on-page-seo/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/on-page-seo/#respond Sat, 30 Nov 2019 23:05:22 +0000 http://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=16598 Learn how to optimize the pages on your website for search engines, this guide will cover every aspect of on page SEO. You will learn everything that you need to know, all lined up in a nice checklist. On page SEO is specifically important because it will improve the user experience for your site’s pages, […]

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Learn how to optimize the pages on your website for search engines, this guide will cover every aspect of on page SEO.

You will learn everything that you need to know, all lined up in a nice checklist.

On page SEO is specifically important because it will improve the user experience for your site’s pages, and also help search engines to understand what your content is about, making it easier for search engines to rank your pages.

Before we start, I suggest using a free tool like marketgoo or Yoast SEO, which will help when optimizing your website’s pages.

Let’s dive straight into it!

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO refers to the practice of individually optimizing web pages in order to earn a higher ranking in search engine results pages.

On-page refers to all content including text, images, videos and also the html code for the website.

If you are new to On-page SEO and SEO in general, this will be perfect for you.

On-Page SEO Checklist:

This checklist will cover all the steps that you need to take in order to correctly optimize the pages in your website so that they have a higher chance of ranking in search engine results pages.

Keyword In Page Title

To help work towards improving the optimization of your page, you should include your keyword or phrase in the title of your page.

I also suggest that you put it at the beginning for best results.

The majority of search engines only display the first 60 characters of your title, so keep it to the point but also relevant.

If the title that you have written is too long, it may not be displayed in it’s entirety in search results.

Double check that the title you have written is unique and will stand out from other pages on your site and on search engines.

Don’t just give your pages one word titles that simply title your blog page ‘blog’, take a look at the title of our blog page below as an example.

blog page title

It is important that you never write your keyword in your page title more than once, this is seen as a negative by search engines and it is spammy to users that are reading it.

Avoid ‘stop’ words, these are words like: if, that, and, an, a – these types of words will not simply help the SEO for your page.

The title of your page is the first thing that users will see when they find your page in search results and it tells search engines what your page will be about.

Optimizing the title of your page will give a good first impression to users, which will increase your click through rate (CTR).

Search engine crawlers also pay a lot of attention to your title tag when scanning your website, so it should be relevant, descriptive and to the point.

When done correctly, a well optimized title tag will help towards increasing search ranking and it will also increase the click through rate when the page is ranked on search engines or linked to on social media.

To learn more about how to write the perfect title, read this post.

Keyword In The meta-description Tag

For your meta-description tag you need to pin down what your page is about in under 150 characters.

Once again, it should be relevant and descriptive, but to the point.

This will make it easy for users to see what your page is about and it should draw them in, it also be well written and should not feel spammy when you read it back.

You must write a unique meta-description for every post, page and product and you must also remember to include your focus keyword when writing your meta-description.

I recommenced that you use call to actions within your description, these are words & phrases like: Read more, buy now, learn more and download.

These words and phrases make the reader more likely to click onto your page, but remember, it must be contextual to your page and not just a random description.

The meta-description should ‘sell’ your content and make a user want to click onto your page to see your content.

Writing high quality meta-descriptions does not technically improve your SEO or page ranking, but it does increase the chance of a user clicking onto your page, so this is still a very important part of your SEO plan.

Let’s take a look at what a meta-description will look like in search results.

good meta description example

The meta description is the snippet of text below the url, as you can see it is written in a way that it will entice a user to click onto the page and read more.

Keyword In URL / Slug

In order to have your URL display properly, it should have no more than 95 characters.

When writing the URL for a webpage, you want it to be relevant, descriptive and also snappy.

If you look at the URL and more importantly the slug for this page, you can see that is is short and simple, but descriptive.

You know what you are going to get.

The part of the URL you can easily change when writing a blog post, is the slug.

Usually, it is a shorter version of the page title, as it will explain the page in a concise format.

Keyword In Introduction

Ideally you should include your keyword at the beginning of your page’s content, this means within the first 50 words and in the first paragraph.

It should make sense and should fit in naturally, you must also make sure that it is grammatically correct.

Keyword In The H1 Tag

The H1 tag is the most important heading tag that will describe the content beneath it, it will appear larger than all of the others.

It is important to naturally include your keyword within your H1 tag as it stands out to both readers and also search engines.

You should include the keyword in your heading tags when you can, because it helps the search engines to understand what the content is about and it will help when the content is being ranked.

Keyword In Sub-heading

As well as including your keyword in your main headings, it is also important to include it in your sub-headings.

Once again, it will help to show readers and search engines what your content is about and it helps when organising the content on your site.

Keyword Density

The keyword density is the amount of times that your keyword or keyphrase appears in your written content.

You don’t want to over use or under use your keyword.

It is recommended that your focus keyword appears in about 0.5 to 2% of your written content, so if your article is 500 words, you should aim to naturally include your keyword 3-10 times.

If you spam your keywords, search engines are likely to stop indexing your site as spammy websites are seen as low quality and are not trusted by users or search engines.

Over using your keywords like this is known as keyword stuffing.

It’s important to find the right balance of how often to mention your keyphrase, as it must be natural.

Your keyword must be a word or short phrase that describes your content, so it is important that it is written within your content as it helps search engines understand what the topic of your article is about.

Realistically, if your keyword describes your content, you should naturally include it multiple times when writing so this should not be too difficult.

Image Alt Text

Adding images to your articles is proven to increase engagement in your articles and will also increase your SEO strength.

The image alt text is read out by screen readers for the visually impaired, so you should use the alt tag to describe your images.

All of your images should have alt text, it will usually be a sentence or two as it does not need to be too long.

If possible you should use your focus keyword within your image alt text, but only if it fits naturally for that particular image.

Never stuff multiple keywords as readers and search engines see this as spam and can negatively effect your site’s SEO.

So when writing alt text for your images, you should focus on being informative, using keywords (only when relevant), and keep it snappy.

Let’s say you are writing an article on how to bake a carrot cake and you are including an image of the carrot cake, a great alt tag for the image could be: “Classic carrot cake”.

Although this is very simple, it explains exactly what it is (so it’s informative) and it also has the keyword “carrot cake”, so it will help to rank the image in google images and the web page in search engine results pages!

Meta Description Length

The meta description for your page should be no more than 150 characters.

If it is too long, it simply will not be readable for some users.

So when writing your meta description it is important to keep it relevant, concise and of course below 150 characters.

Outbound Links

Linking out to other relevant websites is a signal of relevancy that helps Google to figure out what the topic of your page is.

For example: If you are writing a blog post about a particular type of food, you could link to another blog that has written about something similar.

Outbound links also help your audience by linking them to more relevant information that will be useful to them.

It is important to only link to relevant websites.

Internal Links

You should add 2-3 relevant internal links to every post.

A website that does very well is businessdictionary.com as you can see they link to other word explanations, you can also link to blog posts, products, etc.

The internal links must naturally fit in to the context of your article, if I am writing about SEO it is relevant for me to link to our article on how to generate a free SEO audit.

Types of internal links:

Navigational links –

These are the links within your header, footer and navigational bars which help users to find other pages within your website.

Search engine crawlers also use internal links to understand the structure of your website.

Contextual links – 

These links are usually found within your own articles and they are created when you link to another relevant article.

Once you have various articles on a certain topic, you can link them to eachother.

Contextual links show search engines and also users, that those particular articles are topically related.

These links also have higher SEO value.

Text Length

When you are writing content it is important that your content is not just high quality but also of a good length.

It is best to always write articles with at least 300 words but it is also recommended that you write one article a month that is over 1000 words.

Studies have shown that longer content does tend to rank much higher in Google’s search results, but I also suggest that you also focus on quality and not just the quantity of your content.

Original Keyword

It is important that your focus keyword has not been used on your website before, otherwise you will be competing against yourself as you will have multiple pages tying to rank for the same keyword.

If you want to learn how to properly research your keyword, read our complete keyword research guide here.

Search Intent

Optimize For Search Intent

The search intent is the reason that a user makes their search.

Why they are making that specific search, are they looking for an answer to a question, or a specific website, or are they looking to buy something online?

There are four different types of search intent:

  • Informational Intent

Firstly, we have informational intent.

This type of search intent is found when a user is looking for information about a particular topic, in many cases this involves searching a question.

  • Transactional Intent

The transactional intent is when a user is looking to purchase something online.

Users can browse the web to find the specific item they are looking to buy.

  • Commercial Intent

Commercial intent is when a user is looking to do research before buying something.

For example they could search: What is the best 4K television? Or Which vacuum cleaner has the best suction?

By searching these questions the user is trying to find out specific information on a product or which product they should buy.

  • Navigational Intent

The final type of search intent is navigational, this is when a user is searching for a particular website.

If they search for Amazon it is likely that they are looking for the Amazon website.

How can you optimize for search intent?

The best way to do this is to try and optimize the pages on your website so that they fit the search intent of your audience.

If someone is just looking for information, you don’t want to try and sell them something straight away as they are likely to click away.

Your main focus should be to satisfy the search intent of the user.

For example, if a user searches: ‘How to re-wire a light switch?’

They are looking for a post with information that will show them how to do just that.

They are not necessarily looking to buy a light switch, although what you can do is promote your product or service after you have given them the information that they were originally looking for.

A great tool that will help you to find what questions users are searching is AnswerThePublic.

This free tool lets you find questions people search based around the keywords that you input.

Make sure that you are optimizing your website pages, products and blog posts for the relevant keywords, questions and queries that people are searching to find the information that you are offering.

This can be somewhat time consuming, but search intent is a very important part of SEO, as you don’t want your website’s visitors to click off of your page straight away because you are not offering what they are looking for.

Social Sharing

Adding social sharing buttons to your website pages, products and specifically to your blog posts will give your audience an easy way to share your content online to other people using social media.

The better your content is and the more accessible the social sharing buttons are, the more likely your audience will share your content via social media.

Of course this will also help you gain even more traffic to the page, post or product that has been shared.

Fresh Content

Search engines prefer content that is fresh, fresh in more meanings than one.

First it means that the content is recently updated or published and secondly it means the content is original and not just copied from someone else’s website.

In order to keep your content ‘fresh’ be sure to keep your text and images up to date and you MUST only write unique content for your website or blog!

on page seo checklist

Conclusion

Once you have finished reading this guide, you should understand how to properly optimize your website’s pages so that they have a higher chance of ranking in Google and other search engines.

When optimizing your pages, you should go through every item on this list and apply it to your page.

Once you have properly optimized your page, you should use an SEO audit tool to check to see if you have done everything correctly, read this post here to learn how to generate a free SEO audit.

If there is anything that you need more help with, please leave a comment below, or email us.

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Keyword Research For SEO: Dominate The Search Results https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/keyword-research/ https://blackbricktraining.co.uk/blog/keyword-research/#respond Mon, 18 Nov 2019 09:00:58 +0000 http://blackbricktraining.co.uk/?p=16459 This is the most comprehensive guide to keyword research. We will cover keyword research tools, difficulty / competition, finding and picking keywords, special tricks and more! If you want to learn how to write the perfect title tags for your website in order to improve the SEO for your site, read this article. What Is Keyword […]

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This is the most comprehensive guide to keyword research.

We will cover keyword research tools, difficulty / competition, finding and picking keywords, special tricks and more!

If you want to learn how to write the perfect title tags for your website in order to improve the SEO for your site, read this article.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the work you do in order to find the keywords and phrases that your target market are typing in search engines.

The end goal is to optimize your website’s content to rank for those keywords / phrases or ‘terms’.

There are many places where you can build your keyword list: text document, spreadsheet, in a keyword research tool, or just on a sheet of paper if you want.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Well quite simply because it shapes the content that you make.

It is usually the first step you take when optimizing a website for SEO.

By researching the keywords you want to rank for in your content, you are giving yourself a much better chance in ranking positively in search engines, and also in getting relevant traffic to your website.

Generating Keyword Ideas

The easiest way to start coming up with ideas is to have a brainstorming session.

What you want to do is start by writing down a list of topics that are related to your business.

So, let’s say you run a real estate business, you will want to write down topics like:

  • Land
  • Houses
  • Condo
  • Flats
  • Apartments

Once you have a list of topics, you will want to start the process of narrowing them down into keywords.

The first step is to type each of them into Google, but don’t click search!

You will see some different options below your original search, this is called Google Suggest because these are searches that a lot of other users have made, which is why Google is suggesting them to you.

Now you should add all of these to your initial keyword list.

You can also do the same with any other search engine, like: YouTube, Bing or Amazon to see what searches users are making on there too!

The next thing you can do is use the related searches section that Google gives us.

Simply search for each of your topics (and actually click search this time), and then scroll to the bottom of the results where it says “Searches related to …”

Here you will see 8 more keywords that are related to the search that has been made.

Add all of those to your list.

Now click on one of the searches related to your keyword, and if you scroll down again you will see 8 new possible keywords that you can add to your list.

This is a great way to start building your initial list of keywords.

You should keep doing this until you are happy with the amount of keywords in your list.

The Best Keyword Research Tools

Tools make the whole process of finding and checking keywords much easier and faster.

Here is a list of some of the most helpful keyword research tools currently available:

marketgoo

An SEO auditing platform which also has a useful keyword research tool which is easy to use.

Just enter one or more keywords into their research tool and they will give you keyword ideas with the search volume and competition data for each keyword that they suggest.

marketgoo keyword research

Ubersuggest

This is a keyword research tool that scrapes data from Google suggest.

This will save you a lot of time and also gives you information on search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC and more for every keyword.

Just enter your keyword & click search and all of the information will be right in front of you.

Ubersuggest keyword analyse

It first analyses the keyword that you searched, and then below that it gives you keyword ideas, suggestions, questions & more, all related to the original keyword that you entered.

You can even filter the suggested keywords and export them or choose to copy them if you want!

Ubersuggest keyword suggest

Considering this is free, it is probably one of the best SEO tools available right now. (And that’s not even looking at all of the other features that Ubersuggest has, like it’s traffic analyser, SEO analyser and more!!)

SEMrush

This is one of the best paid keyword tools on the market!

It tells you what keywords other sites rank for, so enter a competitors web address into their tool and BOOM!

Now you can see every keyword that their site organically ranks for, along with A LOT of technical information.

Some of the information that you will see for each keyword includes: Search position, traffic amount, traffic %, volume, CPC and more!

You can now get inspiration from their keywords when building your keyword list.

KeywordTool.io

This is a free & paid keyword research tool.

It covers Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Play Store, Instagram & Twitter. The free plan is fantastic for finding keywords, questions & prepositions.

The paid plan gives you search volume data, CPC, competition & more! I would suggest that for building your keyword list, this is one of the best free tools available even without the paid information.

Google Keyword Planner

Data shown in the Google keyword planner comes straight from Google as the tool is made by Google, so it is certainly a trusted & accurate source!

The keyword planner gives you all of the information you need to find keyword ideas, along with large amounts of accurate data.

Use this tool like you would with any other by entering your term and clicking search.

They give you the EXACT information for every single keyword, including: CPC, competition & average monthly searches

I highly recommend Google keyword planner as it is free, it is made by Google and it works very well.

It was actually made to be used with Google adwords but it is a very useful keyword research tool, so many people use it for just that!

And then just like with the other tools, you can extract them by clicking “download keyword ideas” and it will download them to an excel document.

Take a look at the image below to see just how much data you get when you use Google keyword planner and them remember that it is completely free … incredible.

Ahrefs

This is probably one of the most comprehensive SEO tools.

It has EVERYTHING that you can think of, from backlink tools, to a keyword explorer, and even an SEO toolbar for Google chrome and Firefox!

The main subscription starts at $99 per month, so if you are a starter, this may not be for you.

It’s keyword explorer gives you massive amounts of data for each keyword, so it is great for helping you choose whether or not a particular keyword is worth using.

The UI is also very clear displaying keyword difficulty, search volume, CPC and global volume for each keyword that you enter into the tool.

It is very good, but I think that if you are just using it for the keyword explorer I would suggest using Ubersuggest, or Google keyword planner as they are both free.

So to recap, Ahrefs is an incredible suite of SEO tools, but it is not worth the price if you are only paying for it to use one of the tools that they offer!

ahrefs logo

Keyword Competition

You want to see the keyword competition (or keyword difficulty) because it shows you how many other websites are ranking with the same keyword.

The more sites using the same keyword, means the more difficult it will be to rank for that particular keyword, because you are not the only one!

If you try to rank for a keyword that has high competition, it is likely that you will not rank very high and your page will be hidden at the bottom of the search results.

However, if you find a keyword with very little competition or difficulty, you could see your site ranking well for that particular keyword.

This means it is important to research the competition of a particular keyword before using it.

Luckily, there are many easy ways to do just that!

First we will look at the easiest way to compare keyword competition and that is with keyword tools that just give you all the data you will ever need!

We have already looked at many brilliant keyword research tools, so now we will have another look at them to see the data they each give on keyword difficulty.

First we have marketgoo, their competition data is simplified with red, orange and green bars:

keyword competition marketgoo

The green bar means that the competition for that particular keyword is low, orange is in the middle and then if you see a red bar next to a keyword it means that it will be difficult to rank for as the competition is high.

Next, take a look at the competition data on the Google keyword planner:

keyword competition google keyword planner

The final tool we will look at the competition data for is Ubersuggest:

keyword competition ubersuggest

As you can see, Ubersuggest gives you the difficulty / competition data for both SEO ranking and also paid search.

Because of this, I would say that Ubersuggest is the overall best free keyword research tool.

Now Let’s Talk About “Long tail keywords”

Long tail keywords are keywords but longer, usually they are phrases of 4 or more words.

If you are struggling to rank your pages, you should definitely try using long tail keywords.

These are less competitive as they are more specific keywords, opposed to other broader keywords which are much more competitive.

Here is an example for you:

The keyword “dog food” is very generic which means many people are searching for it and many websites are ranking for it already.

generic keyword example

Now if you look at the keyword “affordable grain free dog food“, you can see that it is much more specific and the difficulty is lower.

This is because less users are searching that particular term, so less websites are trying to rank for it.

long tail keyword example

Even though less people are searching for the more specific long tail keywords, the people that are will likely be people that find your content more relevant.

So if you try to rank for long tail keywords that are more specific, you will have less competition, have a high chance of ranking higher, and also start seeing more relevant traffic to your site.

Picking Your Keywords

No tool can tell you which keyword to pick, that’s why there are a few more steps to take before finally picking the keyword that you will use.

Search Volume

The perfect keyword will be high in search volume, with ranking difficulty which is not too high, it also needs to be relevant to the content on your page.

When picking your keyword you first want to look at the search volume, as of course if 0 people are searching for it, there is no reason to try and rank for it.

Every niche is different, so it is down to you to research the optimum search volume for a keyword in your particular niche.

You should go back to some of the keyword research tools that we have looked at, and then pick out the keywords that have a good amount of monthly searches.

Google Trends

Next, you should look at Google Trends.

With this free tool by Google, you can see if your keyword is currently gaining or losing traction.

You just need to enter your keyword and then you can filter by country, time range and more.

You can also use it to compare two keywords side by side, so then you can pick which one has a higher search volume.

This is incredibly helpful as it shows you whether or not a keyword currently has high traffic and whether it is or isn’t currently trending.

Google trends also has some other features that you should try including: Interest by region, related topics and related queries.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The next thing you want to look at is the Click Through Rate (CTR).

The CTR is the ratio of searchers who actually click onto your page.

There are some tools that estimate the CTR, but I recommend you estimating it yourself.

To do this you need to look at the search results page for your keyword, and see if there are google ads and featured snippets above the results.

If there are, it means that the chances of someone clicking onto your page are lowered.

To improve your CTR it is also important to carefully optimize your page title and your meta description, as these are the first things users will see when looking at your listing in search results.

If the estimated CTR is low, I wouldn’t necessarily avoid that keyword.

If the search volume is high, but the CTR is low, you can still try to rank for that particular keyword.

It is all down to your decision of which keyword you think will be best.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Now let’s talk about the Cost Per Click (CPC).

The CPC tells you if people searching your keyword are spending money.

You can easily see the CPC by using any of the keyword research tools.

The CPC is the price that advertisers are paying Google for every click that their advert gets.

So if it is quite high they must have a reason for spending a high amount of money per click, and more often than not that is because their target market are spending a lot of money.

Competition

And the final piece of the puzzle when picking your keyword is to take a last look at the competition.

When you have a new website you want to start by ranking for keywords with low competition.

This will help you to increase your website’s authority in search engines.

Doing this will give you a strong base to help you rank for more competitive keywords.

But don’t forget, high quality and relevant content will be key to your success!

Keyword Research Tips & Tricks

You always want some sneaky tricks that will help you with your keyword research process.

These tips & tricks will save you time, money and also help you to sort the best from the worst keywords.

Let’s Go…

Write Evergreen Content

What is evergreen content?

It is optimized content that will stay relevant and fresh for a large amount of time.

Evergreen content keeps it’s relevance and can continue to drive traffic long after it is originally published.

Types of evergreen content can often include: How-to-content, product / service reviews, lists, recipes and more.

The two main reasons that makes writing evergreen content important are that it can continuously drive traffic to your website and it can improve your search rankings.

Examples of evergreen content:

  • How to Properly Clean a Fish Tank
  • Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe
  • 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home

It is important that you don’t only publish evergreen content, you want to write timely content on current topics too.

You should highlight your evergreen content, so that it can be seen in more places.

Some good places to put your evergreen content include: sidebar, home page, social media, etc.

One final thing to remember is that every time that you up-date, or add to your evergreen content, you should promote it again.

What is not evergreen content:

  • News Articles
  • Current Trends
  • Statistics & Reports that go outdated quickly

When you think you are writing evergreen content you should remember that it is only content that will keep it’s value for a long period of time.

For example: An article about a current trend will not be relevant next year.

‘Steal’ Keywords From Your Competitors

Many SEO tools actually allow you to enter any domain to see what keywords are ranking well for that site.

If you use ubersuggest and enter the domain for one of your competitors, you can see which keywords they are ranking for and which pages of theirs are ranking highest.

This is great because it allows you to learn from what your competitors are doing well, in order to help you shape your keyword research process.

Rank For Google’s Special Features

Google now has many special features that show up at the top of some search results pages.

There are featured snippets, people also ask, videos and more.

If you can get your content to appear in one of these, you are in for a winner.

You can’t ask Google to put your content in their featured snippets, but if you make high quality content that answers questions, you are in for a chance.

As you can see, these features are put above all of the organic rankings, so having your content here will massively increase traffic.

Conclusion

So, in conclusion, you don’t want to just pick a random keyword, instead you want to carefully research the keywords that you will use.

Taking your time and researching your keywords will massively help you when you are trying to rank your pages in search engines.

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