When developing a unique SEO campaign strategy, a competitive landscape analysis is one of the foundations for the final plan. A look at the competitors that are actively ranking/pursuing specific search terms provides valuable insight into the eventual development of the SEO campaign.
We’re not fixing the wheel here. If a data point on your competitor’s website is working for them, it’s likely it’ll work for you, as well.
But how far can this go? How much can you look at competitors, especially the big conglomerates, and rely on their data? How do you even know if the on-page optimization they’re doing is also correct?
In a world of search results giving favoritism to large industry authority sites, our initial instinct is to believe that these websites have their SEO teams up to par. We’re expected to believe that their multi-million dollar budgets can afford to ensure they have the elite strategies behind them.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being local to New York City, I’ve had the advantage of collaborating with some of the top enterprise businesses in the city. Companies for brands we all use every single day. I’ve been brought in by these companies for SEO consulting & training, in-depth technical SEO audits, advisory roles & more. Much to my own surprise, the knowledge of SEO within these companies was severely outdated.
What I’ve Noticed…
Many of the Fortune 500 companies had what I’ll call “scattered marketing.” What this means is that their marketing team didn’t have a proper handle on all of the different forms on marketing, and instead of dedicated select team members to different platforms/marketing strategies, the entire in-house teams we’re doing everything.
One specific Fortune 500 company based in the city comes to mind when I think of scattered marketing. This company, which is considered to be among the largest life insurance companies in the world (estimated $800million profits in 2017), had days of the week dedicated to specific forms of marketing. Monday was Paid Advertising review & optimization; Tuesday was Search Engine Optimization; Wednesday was reconfiguration and audit of email marketing blasts; and so on.
Since they have the resources to maintain a full-time, dedicated in-house marketing team, there was no other reason than straight consulting as to which SEO Services New York could have been useful. They just needed guidance and the proper advice as to what’s taking place in a legit SEO campaign, that’s focused on results, longevity & ROI.
Big Brand (Bad) SEO in Real-Time
I’m not one to start controversy and begin bashing companies in hopes of minor publicity. It was simply to prove a point that they don’t always have their $#*! figured out and this should be accounted for in the strategy development. The point I’m going to share was reviewed with well-known industry colleagues who, as well as myself, had no proper explanation as to why.
If you know why… comment below, and I’ll edit the post to include your comment and a link back to your website.
I was researching for a prospective e-commerce client, and I was shocked to see what the footer of Overstock.com looked like:
click to enlarge in a new tab
Now, the red boxes… I have a Google Chrome browser extension that automatically highlights “nofollow” links. When a hyperlink in a page has a nofollow tag associated, it’s automatically given a red box.
For more information on nofollow links, here’s Google’s explanation.
When it comes to on-page SEO, we know that internal linking is a tremendous asset. It’s extremely important, and more importantly, the text of the links play a huge role. Given the nature of Overstock.com, I would think that there are many opportunities for them to take advantage of high volume search terms.
We would think Overstock would like to rank high on Google for the search term: “Overstock coupons”. This is a search term that brings in roughly 75,000 searches per month.
Unfortunately, at the time of this post, they’re sitting at #6 for that specific search term. I wholeheartedly believe that the removal of the nofollow link in the footer menu will give them positive results in the search engines.
This example could be shown for a few other of the items listed in their footer.
On The Other Hand…
Overstock.com does have history specifically regarding their SEO tactics. In 2011, they were penalized for using link schemes and maybe in their attempt to ensure they don’t ever get slapped; they’re taking overcautious measures.
What Do You Think?
Comment below if you think you know why Overstock.com is doing this. Have other examples of big brand (bad) SEO? Comment below.
A digital marketing campaign is not complete without an SEO strategy. You can have great content, an amazing brand, but without SEO, it will simply be lost in the Internet void. One survey of 226 small businesses found that 13% plan to invest in SEO, along with high-quality content, security, and user experience in 2018. SEO is essential and no easy feat, demanding a partner with a meticulous eye and technical know-how. As a result, finding a partner that is reliable and trustworthy is more essential in this field than most. Just as reviews are integral to an SEO strategy, they are necessary to build trust among consumers. Clutch, a B2B market research firm, based in Washington, D.C., provides a platform that helps build trust and confidence through verified reviews in the B2B space.
Unlike similar sites, clients don’t just visit the Clutch site, find a provider, and leave a short testimonial. Their analysts speak directly with our clients and dive deep into the full scope of a collaboration to understand not just the services provided and results, but also the nature of team dynamics, project management, and other similar factors. We’ve really appreciated the time our clients have spent to provide feedback. Their insights have not only been used for the purposes of continually improving our processes but just recently, has allowed us to be named a top SEO company in New York on Clutch.
Being listed alongside other reputable companies is a huge achievement for us. Founded in 2013, our company started off small but has grown to have clients of all sizes and reputations. Our goal is to provide to longevity in search results for our clients, and we’ve accomplished this for many of our partners.
We’re thrilled to see that the final reviews published in our profile speak to our high level of expertise and customer service.
Digitization is quickly changing the rules of business for everyone. A strong SEO strategy is an essential piece of this puzzle, and with Clutch, we’re very hopeful that businesses will select us as an ideal partner to make their digital transition as seamless as possible. In all, this achievement puts us at the forefront of the industry, and we’re confident that our team will continuously grow and work hard to maintain this reputation!
The year 2017 has been a witness to many innovations in online marketing. The rules keep on changing depending on the needs of the market, and to find solutions to loopholes in the system. That is why search engines are always looking to get ahead of their game. Proper regulation is crucial, so everyone gets a fair game online.
Lots of online marketing strategies come and go. While some strategies get to stay for the long haul, many others disappear even before people know of them. What makes some tactics tick? The answer, of course, is relative, depending on the times and needs of the market.
Strategies that work for the long haul have a far-reaching vision. These don’t intend to work just for the short-term where you get instant gratification. But the more stable an online marketing strategy is, the harder it is to implement and maintain. So, don’t get fooled if you seem to get a tactic efficiently working.
We’ve learned a lot of marketing lessons this year that we can take with us for the coming year. One essential idea that we’ve learned this year is the value of integrity. Search engines now pick up sites that uphold integrity in all of their posts, may it be a text article or photo. Fake reviews, likes, and backlinks used to get looked over by search engines. These days, there’s been a big crackdown on these phony strategies to encourage people further to uphold authenticity online.
What have we learned from 2017? Here is an overview:
1. Mobile sites are now mandatory
In the past, having a desktop site was acceptable, and most businesses just had one. However, with more people using smartphones to browse the internet, having a mobile website is key to any business’ success with online marketing. If you want to improve your SEO ranking, curate and publish a mobile version of your site right now. If you’re unsure of how to do it, contact your local SEO agency for professional advice.
With the rise of responsive design, having a mobile version of your website is easier than ever. Many website platforms including WordPress have “ready-to-go” themes that are mobile responsive by default.
It has been confirmed by Google that having a mobile responsive website is acceptable in the Mobile-first Index.
Even though Google keeps going back & forth on this topic, there may be the case in the future where the search results will display a permanent notification that a website is not mobile friendly.
2. People start to question promoted stories
It used to be that sponsored or promoted stories & affiliate links ruled online articles, especially those published by bloggers. These days, however, more readers frown upon this practice as they find it a cheap form of advertising. Sure, as a blogger you feel proud that a company would want to sponsor you. But with the overuse of this type of marketing, people have become overwhelmed with being fed advertisements. You may be reading a blog, and you find the article interesting. And then, at the end of the post, you see a label that says, “sponsored post.” It can be disappointing for many since even though you find the service or product a good one, the fact that it is sponsored makes people think twice about what you are saying.
Furthermore, in 2017, the FTC reminded the brands & influencers of the world that they are required to disclose a paid relationship.
With social media influencers, as seen with the Kardashians, you may now notice that social posts contain “#ad” or “#partner” type, legally disclosing that they are being paid for the upload.
3. Small sites built for easy revenue won’t last
While it will be never officially confirmed, it was suspected that Google rolled out a new algorithm filter on March 8, 2017. As usual, these algorithm filters are put out to minimize the amount of spam in the search results & provide a better user experience for search visitors.
With this update specifically, the data collected shows that the target of this filter was a small site with minimal content for the sole purpose of generating revenue with providing a great user experience.
While Google confirms that user-experience is the most important factors in their eyes, the algorithm continues to show low-quality websites in the search results. This just proves that it’s obvious that Google is looking to crack down on thin-content affiliate sites and/or sites that serve no real purpose.
While 2018 is definitely bound to bring in some really significant changes in the way we utilize digital marketing, these are a few of the many lessons we’ve learned in 2017. To stay up to date, kbeep tabs on your online marketing strategies, analyze your data and assess your strengths & weaknesses so your brand can emerge stronger in 2018.
Wix is a website building platform that has started with the drag-and-drop feature, making it easy even for starters to build their websites. There are a lot of templates to choose from, and editing site layouts are straightforward even if you’re not adept at coding and website building.
Wix is different from WordPress in that Wix is a visual platform that allows you to build and maintain websites even if you haven’t tried building sites before. Wix claims that it is the most user-friendly building platform, giving people the opportunity to start their websites without having to go through the hassles of learning programming.
Lately, we have seen more businesses using Wix to build their sites. The idea of building sites using visual drag-and-drop tools is appealing to many people, especially starting entrepreneurs and bloggers.
It is free to set up your site with Wix as long as you are okay with .wix.com attached to your domain. However, if you are publishing a company website, it is but imperative for you to get your domain because this is one of the many ways by which you can cement your brand’s integrity.
But while Wix has pulled in many starting entrepreneurs and bloggers, there are also many current and past customers complaining about its service. Is Wix an excellent platform for building company websites? Or is Wix only for hobby bloggers?
For one, Wix may be easy to use, but the platform has many limitations. You cannot set up SEO tools, input advanced programming codes, and change layouts. You also cannot integrate plugins that are commonly present in other web building platforms, such as in WordPress.
Even if you pay for additional plugins, the items to choose from are limited compared to what’s available in other web building platforms. You also have to pay extra for SEO tools that are already integrated on the WordPress.org platform.
While Wix.com has affordable starter packages, it can be expensive as you go up the ladder. But don’t get fooled by the prices because you can’t get rid of the Wix banner advertisement unless you commit to upgrading to the Unlimited plan which is priced at $12.50 a month. This is a high price to pay because storage is only up to 10 GB. And this price does not include private hosting just yet.
Compared to WordPress, you get 10 GB for the basic plan of $2 per month, and that’s with private hosting already.
On Wix, you also have to pay extra for plugins that are already integrated into other website platforms as you pay for plans.
Current customers complain that Wix websites load slower than sites built with other platforms like WordPress and Squarespace. It may be because of the small storage allocation for all plans, and the restriction of hosting your site on your server.
Wix may be easy to set up with drag-and-drop tools available as you build your site. However, there are many restrictions as to how you maintain and improve your site. You have to pay extra for SEO tools and plugins, and you pay more for fewer features.
If you are a starting business or blogger, you may want to consider using other website platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace because they offer more features for less the cost. For the long-term, it is best not to go with Wix.
2016….whoa! What a year!
While 2016 had its ups & downs, I can say one thing for sure, Google gave us an on-your-toes year. Matt Cutts joined the U.S. government; Google placed ads in Maps; We were introduced to AMP.
We have also partaken in a lot of amazing experiences. We introduced our parent company, Break The Web, Inc. We have effectively improved our internal systems to satisfy clients with smaller budgets. We have also networked and gathered intel with some of the greatest SEO minds of the world.
Even more so, throughout 2016, we were presented with a few algorithm changes:
- Core Algorithm Update – January 8th, 2016
- Core Algorithm Update – May 10th, 2016
- Mobile Friendly 2 Update – May 12th, 2016
- Possum Update – September 1st, 2016
- Penguin 4.0 #1 – September 23rd, 2016
- Penguin 4.0 #2 – September 26rd, 2016
- Penguin 4.0 #3 – October 6th, 2016
- Core Algorithm Update – November 10th, 2016
Throughout all of these algorithmic changes, as you would expect, we remained completely unaffected, not receiving any sort of penalty, and 85% of the time, our clients’ rankings have improved tremendously.
Because of this, I quickly gathered a few of our favorite rankings from 2016. All of these are current satisfied clients of ours who are experiencing tremendous traffic increases, as well as increases in sales and conversions.
*Shhhh: one of our clients is currently in discussion to have their company bought out by a HUGE competitor!
Take a look below at some of our favorite rankings from 2016…
note: to protect the privacy of our clients, all search terms have been blurred out
Campaign Started in July 2016; Page 1 by August 2016; #1 By December 2016
Being on page 1 is great and all, but being #2 is way better!
From Page 4 To Page 1 In Less Than 4 months, Yes Please!
#1 in 2 months
“Thanks for the holiday gift”
Bottom of Page 1 → #1 in a few short months
In 2015 we made you #2. We don’t accept shortcomings!
Do you even rank?
Many so-called “SEO agencies” talk about how they’re the best company. Where’s the proof? Where’s your website ranking?
I take in pride in the fact that my agency has been in the top 2 positions for every “New York SEO” term for over 2 years and that we deliver amazing results for every client.
Google+ was launched in June of 2011. It initially launched as a competitor to the social media giant, Facebook. Google+ has 2.5 billion users because every Gmail account automatically comes with a Google+ account. However, this raw data doesn’t tell the full story. At first glance, it would seem that Google has more than twice the amount of members that Facebook does. However, this is not the case. Active users is the number that holds the most significance because it shows how intimately the audience is engaged with the social media platform. When it comes to active users, Google+ only has about 300 million monthly active users. Conversely, Facebook boasts more than 1.4 billion active monthly users. The average profile of a Google+ user is a 28 year old male, most of whom come from a technology or engineering field. Conversely, the average profile for a Facebook user is pretty closely split between men and women. The average age is 38 years old, and there is a fairly equal representation of all industries.
Google+’s attempt to compete with Facebook seems like a failure. Google’s initial technique to attract users might have been their first step towards their ultimate failure. Rather than organically attracting users through a strong marketing technique or word of mouth, Google+ profiles were forced on everyone who already had an existing Gmail. Conversely, Facebook users were self-motivated to sign up, guaranteeing that Facebook had already captured the interest of their users before they signed up, heightening the stake that users had to engage in the Facebook community initially. Google’s attempt to directly compete with such an entrenched social network was an unwise move that had many opportunities for backfiring, because if Google+ tried to implement any improvements on Facebook’s features, Facebook would have quickly mirrored what they did, essentially negating Google+’s effects. Google+ didn’t offer any new, unique, or attractive incentives that Facebook didn’t already have. Users had no reason to uproot the established social media presence they already created on Facebook in order to move and start all over on Google+.
In April of 2014, Google experienced an early harbinger of the decreasing importance of Google+. Vic Gundotra, who was the head of Google+’s social arm, suddenly left Google. He had held the position for the past 8 years. No one currently knows where he is headed next. Rumors closely followed that Google had been slowly disintegrating the core team that worked for Google+, a team of roughly 1000-1200 employees.
During the last week of July 2015, Google announced on their blog that there will be a divorce between Google+ and YouTube, which means that you will no longer need a Google+ account in order to create a YouTube account, or be active in the YouTube community. This move comes at a time when Google is quietly but surely decreasing its presence of Google+ on the interweb. Google has finally been listening to the grumble of its users, who feel that the coupling of a Google+ account with a different platform makes their life more difficult, and was just a ploy to increase Google+’s user numbers.
What does this mean for SEO? Google+ still proves to be a valuable resource in terms of page rankings in Google’s search engine results. Google Authorship markup and Google Author Rank integration are two features of Google+ that still might prove useful. For instance, if you link your content page to your Google+ page, Google Authorship will display your stats and your Google+ profile next to search results with your content. This visually draws readers in, improving click-through rates. The more people who +1 your content, the more likely that page or article will show up for them on a search engine, as well as for everyone who follows them. This two fold attack allows you to build a strong following, as well as potentially attracting the attention of powerful players in your market. From an SEO standpoint, it may be valuable to continue to actively post on your company’s Google+ page. However, from a social media and personal life standpoint, this may be one that will have to be struck through in the books as a loss.