17 Oct

How Long Does It Take To See Results After SEO Is Applied?

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As a website owner, what one wants to do is drive enormous amount of traffic to one’s website so as to maximise the conversion rate with a view to increasing profitability of one’s venture manifold.

To be able to achieve the desired results for the website, one needs to engage in something called ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO)’, which refers to the process of enhancing the visibility of a website across a number of search engines, such as Google & Bing, in an organic manner.

SEO, as simple and easy as it may seem from a distance, is very intricate process in reality and could consume considerable amount of time before producing noticeable results for any website.

Owing to a number of intricacies involved in its implementation, SEO is often assigned to digital marketing experts by business clients with web presence. In return for certain amount of fees, the experts make all the efforts required to optimize the websites for search engines.

Soon after the task of SEO implementation is handed over to online marketing professionals, most of the businesses start to grapple with a nagging question, i.e. How Long Does It Take To See Results After SEO is applied to their websites?

While the above-mentioned question posed by business clients is a genuine one as every firm wants to make the most of each dollar spent, it is not often addressed or answered to the clients’ satisfaction by online marketing specialists.

This article is an attempt to shine some light on the question that has been the cause of worries to many so far.

Generally speaking, an effective SEO campaign for a new site should start working or displaying results 4 to 6 months after it is first put into practice. However, it might take longer for results to crop up if any website is constrained by small budget or has been penalised by Google or other search engines in the past for its adoption of black-hat strategies.

As a website grows older, its overall performance improves on account of continuous efforts into SEO application. This is why one would see a 12-month optimized website ranking much better and attracting much more traffic than a website that has been optimized for search engines for 6 months only.

Outlined below is the structure of SEO and how it evolves over time to give clients an understanding of why it takes 4-6 months to see SEO-driven results:

 

First Month – Focus On Research

The very first month is dedicated to carrying out research work, encompassing keyword research, competitive analysis, assessment of technical requirements and content audit, for the assigned website by an SEO professional.

Please note that the amount of time needed to conduct research work would vary and mostly depend on size of the website as well as scope of the SEO project. Hence, small-sized websites may be researched in less than a month, whereas other websites containing large number of pages might take more than a month to be thoroughly researched.

Investigation into the scope of damage resulting from previous implementation of black-hat SEO strategies is also to be conducted in the first month itself as this would help offset the impact of any such damage in the following months.

By the end of the first month, the the online marketing specialist should have all pieces of research work documented for future reference.

 

Second Month – Focus On Technical Aspects Of Website

The digital marketing professional enters the second month with access to meaningful SEO insights (derived from the analysis of research data gathered in the first month) that enable to proceed further with a clear sense of direction and purpose.

The second month is basically devoted to fixing the technical loopholes of the website so that it could be easily crawled, indexed and ranked by search engines. The volume of technical issues to be dealt with in this stage is determined by the result of ‘site audit’ conducted in the very first month.

In line with the technical concerns pointed out by the ‘site audit’, the website may need to be either completely modified or tweaked slightly so as to allow the web spiders to crawl through it easily.

In particular, the following technical aspects are looked into and any issues related to the same are dealt with by the online marketing specialist:

Meta Tags-

Meta Tags are the key components of HTML web pages that must be optimized for gaining visibility on search engines.

Of all the meta tags, there are four in particular that need be paid utmost attention to – Title, Description, Keyword and Refresh.

The online marketing professional ensures that main keyword for every page of the website is included into the title, description and keyword meta tags so that each page gets better ranking for its specific relevant keyword across all search engines.

URLs (Universal Resource Locators)-

The SEO professional is also to check if URLs contain specific keywords for the pages that one gets directed to. A URL with a keyword helps optimize a web page for search engines and hence, is given due consideration.

Sitemaps-

A sitemap is the structure of a website with links to all of its pages that are available for being crawled and indexed.

Both HTML sitemap and XML sitemap are to be created (if not already generated), showcasing clear and logical structure of the site in question. While there is not much to be done in relation to HTML sitemap after it has been created, one needs to submit XML sitemap to the search engines via webmaster tools to allow for smooth crawling and indexing of website pages.

Site Performance-

Many site performance factors, including page load time, size of images and site responsiveness to wide variety of devices, are worked on by the online expert with a view to enhancing the visibility of overall website on search engines.

Internal Links –

Linking one page of a website to another page of the same site makes it SEO-friendly. So, the digital marketing specialist has the responsibility to incorporate internal links into various pages of the site so as to make it easily crawlable.

Crawl Errors –

Webmaster tools may point out certain errors, including DNS errors, server errors, robots failure and URL errors, which make it difficult for search engines to crawl the given website. These errors have to be appropriately resolved by the SEO specialist so that web spiders could easily crawl the website.

Content –

The SEO consultant is also to look at whether pages of the given site have duplicate content or not. If some or all of the pages are found to contain duplicate content, these are re-drafted in this stage itself.

 

Third Month – Focus On Content Creation

In the third month, the task for the digital marketing professional is to create meaningful content around specific keywords and target audience in various formats with a view to enhancing the site’s ranking for the chosen keywords across various search engines over time.

While content creation may seem an expensive affair, business clients must invest into it to be able to reap benefits, including increased brand loyalty, recognition as a thought leader, high number of leads and growing sales, quality back-links to the site and enhanced visibility on search engines, in the long-term.

The types of content, which are known to fetch benefits, include blogging, whitepapers, case-studies, infographics, videos, product catalogues and e-books. Take a look at this useful infographic on content creation for more tips and information.

Please note that content creation has to be an ongoing activity for any site and must be continuously worked on by the SEO professional in the following months too.

 

Fourth Month – Focus On Links

As stated earlier, the fourth month would also see relevant content creation with a view to drawing quality back-links to the site.

Additionally, issues related to toxic links and manual penalties are supposed to be dealt with by the digital marketing consultant in this month.

In order to further gain natural back-links to the site, the online marketing professional engages in offering guest posts to other authoritative and relevant websites.

While gaining ‘follow’ links is vital to rank higher, bringing in ‘no-follow’ links is equally important to allow the site to appear normal and natural to the web spiders. So, both types of links should be aimed at by the specialist in this stage of SEO implementation.

 

Fifth Month – Focus On Being Social

As the digital marketing expert moves into the fifth month, he/she engages in setting up social media accounts across the relevant platforms with a view to increasing brand awareness, distributing the produced content, and enhancing the overall profitability resulting from the increased traffic.

Importance of social media has increased manifold lately, and owing to the same reason, search engines have started taking into account social media activities of online brands while deciding on their rankings.

In spite of social media being an expensive matter, a client must stick at nothing to invest into building a strong social media presence in order to gain better visibility on search engines.

Inclusion of social media into overall SEO strategy is what the digital marketer does in this particular stage.

 

Sixth Month – Focus On Analytics-Driven Optimisation

By the 6th month, the client should be able to see some traffic and results on the site on account of efforts put in by the hired digital marketer in the previous months.

In addition to being engaged in content creation and distribution of produced content via social media platforms, the online marketing specialist, at this stage, gets on with digging into analytics to tweak the ongoing campaigns for achieving better SEO results in the following months.

The online marketing expert logs in to analytics tool to check on a number of performance metrics, including but not limited to ‘total number of page views’, ‘average time spent on the website by a visitor’, ‘bounce rate’, ‘demographics of visitors by language, country and city’, ‘behaviour flow’, and ‘conversion rate’.

After all the performance metrics are thoroughly analysed, useful insights come into existence. These insights are then fed into content creation strategy, link building strategy and social media strategy with the aim of improving the site’s visibility across search engines further.

 

The essence of the article is that there is no short-cut to success in any walk of life. If a site tries to gain good ranking fast using black-hat SEO strategies, it will have to eventually suffer from penalties because algorithms deployed by search engines are now smart enough to catch and punish those who engage in spammy activities. So, SEO campaigns need be nurtured over sufficient amount of time to produce quality traffic and other desired results for any given website.

Author-Profile-Digital Escalator International

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20 Nov

Top 3 Free Tools To Study Competitors On Social Media

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Presence on social media is no longer a matter of choice for organisations in today’s digitally-connected world. Rather, it has become a necessary requirement for them to meet, so as to survive and thrive in this competitive landscape.

With almost each and every organisation including social media into its marketing mix, competition for visibility, attention of the target audience and market share has intensified among brands across a number of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others, to a great degree.

While some organisations are thriving amid tough competition by setting clear goals, using the appropriate social media platforms, implementing well-thought strategy for each of the chosen channels and analysing the results to improve future performance, there are other competing brands that do not seem to be gaining much ground, mainly, due to their lack of understanding about the world of social media.

One of the ways to enhance understanding of any particular industry or domain is looking into the actions or strategies of the successful rivals and comparing against their overall performance. Taking a cue from it, non-performing brands can also benchmark their social media performance against that of their competing rivals to learn how they could use social media as a means of achieving their corporate goals in the best possible manner.

In this article, we shall discuss 3 free tools that can help the non-performing brands bring up their level of social media performance to the required standard by way of benchmarking against their rivals’ performance.

Fanpage Karma

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Fanpage Karma is a great online tool that was founded in 2012 with a view to providing social media managers with insights into ‘posting strategies’ through the analysis of their competitors’ social media profiles along with their own.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ are the platforms that are scanned by this wonderful tool to produce meaningful data that, in turn, allow for better engagement with fans and followers.

You could avail yourself of the free version of Fanpage Karma that offers complete 90-day analysis for one fan page, a basic dashboard showing comparisons with any number of competitors and weekly reports and alerts.

The comparative analytics offered by the free plan highlights a number of metrics, including but not limited to user engagement, growth in the number of fans, most-used content sources & keywords, top posts, frequency, best times for posting, best and least engaging posts, and influencers. When presented in graphical formats, these comparative metrics showing data from rival firms act as an eye-opener and can be very helpful in raising the level of any brand’s social media performance to a great extent.

In short, Fanpage Karma is what you must try out to see a glimpse of how your brand compares against other competing brands on social media, what your page’s strengths and weaknesses are, what types of content your brand should post, how often and when the various types of content should be posted, and what not.

If you feel that the free version offered by Fanpage Karma is limited in its scope, you could scroll through the list of its paid plans as well as the features that each plan offers and pick out the plan that best meets the needs of your brand.

Klear

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Klear is another social media analytics product that can help your brand keep up with other competing brands across three platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With the free version of the product, you can access meaningful insights, such as influential topics, top performing content, close network, audience demographics and much more, about your brand’s rivals across the three above-mentioned platforms.

In addition to keeping an eye on the counterparts, Klear can help unlock the list of relevant and reachable influencers who your brand can connect with in order to expand its overall reach.  With the free plan, a list of 10 influencers in multiple categories (e.g. celebrities, power users, casual etc.) will be generated by Klear after you have searched for them by skill and/or location. In order to see more results, you will have to switch over to the pro plan from the free one.

Overall, Klear is a great resource for building a list of relevant influencers and examining the profiles of competing brands across the three platforms. The dashboard generated for any profile by Klear is visually appealing and easy to understand, and the audience analysis tools are worth appreciating, for these tools dig deeper into the audience to assess their overall quality or usefulness.

LikeAlyzer

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LikeAlyzer is a free tool that is dedicated to improving a brand’s performance on Facebook.

With this tool being at your disposal, you could get to know what’s working and what’s not working for both your own brand and other competing brands on Facebook.

Unlike Fanpage Karma, this particular tool does not display side-by-side comparison. But, you could easily take the screenshots of the insightful dashboards generated by LikeAlyzer for your brand as well as the rival brands and combine them all into one document to produce a meaningful comparison with a view to addressing the areas of concerns and bringing the level of Facebook marketing up to the required standard.

The dashboard produced by LikeAlyzer for any Facebook brand displays ranking for the same that could range between 1 and 100. The ranking is based on a number of metrics that are believed to be important in relation to Facebook marketing by LikeAlyzer. These metrics include but are not limited to total number of likes, growth in the number of likes, PTAT (people talking about this), engagement rate, number of posts per day, types of posts (video, image or link), length of posts, timing of posts, hashtags and posts by fans. Each of the metrics appearing on the dashboard is stamped with either a green check mark or a red X mark, indicating its overall strength or weakness for the brand in question.

After analysing all the important metrics, LikeAlyzer offers important suggestions to improve the health of the brand’s Facebook page, and you must pay utmost attention to such recommendations for your brand’s page as well as the rivals’ if you want your brand to thrive in the Facebook arena.

In addition to the above-mentioned metrics, the dashboard demonstrates the average score of the industry (relevant to the brand) and average score of other similar brands, thereby giving an overview of how the brand’s Facebook page ranks in relation to those of its counterparts in the industry.

The overview of competition should give your brand enough motivation to check on the profiles of its competitors on LikeAlyzer and gather useful insights into what types of content to post and when to post, with a view to spurring maximum engagement and improving the overall presence on Facebook.

In short, whether you want to increase interaction with existing and potential fans, or obtain a candid feedback on areas for improvement, or get insights into competitors’ performance on Facebook, LikeAlyzer is the tool you must resort to.

Hopefully, the above-mentioned free tools would help you carry out detailed competitive analysis across a number of social media platforms and produce meaningful insights that will translate into enriched understanding of rival brands and their social media strategies which, in turn, will result in stronger social media presence of your brand.

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14 Oct

‘Real-Time’ Penguin Update: What It Is And Why You Should Care

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In a recent statement, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, revealed that next Penguin update was going to be released by the end of 2015. However, SEO industry predicts that release of the said update would be brought about much sooner as Google tends to not play with its algorithms during busy public holidays, which happen to be too many in the month of November and December 2015. Therefore, you might expect to see the roll-out of next Penguin update this month too.

Now, you must be wondering what this soon-to-be-released ‘real-time’ Penguin update is all about and how it is going to impact your website in the foreseeable future. Well, you will have to read on to find the answers!

Let us get to understand what Google means by ‘real-time’ update now. If you have been in the field of SEO, you might well be aware of the 6-12 month window for Penguin recovery, meaning one will have to spend 6-12 months recovering from penalties. With the introduction of ‘real-time’ update, the 6-12 month waiting period is going to be reduced to next-to-nothing.

In keeping with its nature, Google has not shared great deal of information about the wider effects of the ‘real-time’ update on online businesses. However, it is expected that close-to-continuous Penguin data refreshes would take place, and impact of any link-related activity could be felt soon after websites have been re-crawled. This means that you should be able to restore the reputation of your website in no time after incorporating required link-related changes if it has been penalised in the past on account of low-quality or spam links.

The said update, once in effect, would also result in reduction or elimination of ‘churn and burn’ techniques used by some websites for reaping short-term benefits as their window of opportunity would be reduced from 6-12 months to almost next-to-nothing.

While the update, once implemented, is meant to further streamline websites’ rankings on Google, it may become a cause of concern for some genuine websites that end up losing their rankings in ‘real-time’ soon after ‘Negative SEO’ techniques against them have been used by their competitors.

In light of all the pros and cons discussed in relation to soon-to-be-released update, what action should you take to give your website an edge over other ones? Well, you should ideally analyse quality of all the links associated with your website and then remove low-quality links either manually or through Google’s Disavow tool. Removal of such links pointing to your website would ensure that it does not suffer in terms of its ranking on Google badly as the discussed update is rolled-out.

If you have a website and you’re not sure about how to fix link-related issues in order to avoid penalties from Google in the foreseeable future, get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to assist you with the same.

Author-Profile-Digital Escalator International

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