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6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design) Final Part: Failing to think like a human

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We’ve reached the final pitfall in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design).   Failing to think like a human. This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked during the development process.

Designing your website with only SEO in mind can be a mistake. It is important to remember throughout the process that you are ultimately developing your website to try to reach your target audience. Develop a website that delights both your audience and search engines. Make sure there is a balance between creating your website for SEO and creating your website with your ideal customer in mind. Focus on creating value for your audience and delivering the user experience they would like.

The end goal is designing and developing a website that is easy for your audience to search and understand and is simple for search engines to crawl and rank.

Here are some things to think about when designing your website for a human and not a search engine:

  • Clean Design – Cluttered, randomly scattered or unorganized websites are distracting for visitors. Today’s trend is clean and clear design.
  • Colour Palette – Ensure your colour palette reflects your brand’s purpose, message and positioning.
  • Use Obvious Navigation Terms – Label your navigation items in plain English using the most universally understood terms so that users know where to go to find what they are looking for.
  • Content Creation – Focus on creating content your visitors will get value from and enjoy reading. Make sure to speak the language of your target audience.
  • Including Testimonials – Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.
  • Make it easy for your audience – It is great when you go through a website that has exactly what you want, relevant information everywhere and fits within whatever device you are on.

Keeping your target audience in mind when you are planning a website (re)design is a critical factor in whether your website is going to be effective.  Understand your target audiences’ goals and beliefs and use this knowledge to guide your SEO strategy.

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Recently (re)designed a new company website? Have any website redesign and SEO tips that worked well for you? We’d love to hear about them.

 

The Most Common Social Media Mistakes Financial and Insurance Advisors Should Avoid: Part 1

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Social media can be a very powerful marketing tool and I often speak with financial advisors about how social media can help grow and support their business objectives. Here are some common mistakes I often talk about as the ones to avoid when using and engaging on social media:

1. Failing to have a plan or strategy

Social Media should be treated with the same level of thought as every other part of your business strategy. Many businesses on Twitter fail to have a clear strategy around why they are using social media and what they want to accomplish with it. Without a strategy, it can be difficult to deliver an effective message to your target audience. You need a well-planned social media strategy in order to succeed. Some key questions to answer for your social media strategy include:

  • What are the goals of the your selected social media platforms? Are you educating your audience on LinkedIN? Perhaps you are interacting in a group to provide thought leadership?
  • What are the themes of the content you will stick with when sharing content through social posts?
  • How often will you post to social media? Once a day? Once a week?

2. Inconsistency in content themes

If you are an Advisor, it’s unlikely your audience is going to be interested on a restaurant review. While a bit of variety is great, your social networks should have a clear theme that is related to your business. If you specialize in families, produce or share content that would be useful to that audience. Topics on talking to your children about money or how to plan ahead to transfer wealth to your children would be relevant to that specialty. Your prospects and clients should be able to look at your content and have a notion of what your business is all about.

3. Using too many social media platforms

One key theme I’ve consistently heard from business owners is that being on more social media platforms implies you have increased reach. If someone visits your Twitter page and only sees a couple posts from last year, it can send the wrong message to your visitor and impact your credibility.Ask yourself whether your audience exists on the social media platforms that you are considering. Commit to the platform or platforms you choose and execute against a plan. Being good at one thing is much better than being average at many.

Additionally, it’s also important to ask yourself whether social media is right for your business based on your current time availability and the stage of your business. Social media is a great way to connect to other people but the networking aspect of social media is as important as the sharing of content.

4. Expecting instant results

The promise that social media delivers ROI is not false. Much like how going to the gym and eating right promises weight loss and other health benefits. The results, however, in both of these examples are not instantaneous. Approaching social media as a habitual part of your day, understanding that followers and social media engagement take time, and putting trust in the fact that it can deliver a return on investment are the keys to getting results. It is important to remember that social media is all about relationship building, and relationships don’t build over night. It takes time to build up a following on your social networks. Embrace social media as part of your business every day.

5. Pushing Product or Services

There is room for self-promotion on social media but doing it without permission can often send your prospects away. Your audience needs you to deliver content that provides real value to them and helps to solve their problems. Sharing useful and insightful information will help build a level of trust with your audience. Building trust will lead to higher levels of engagement and a captive audience. Having a captive audience is marketing gold.

 

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Social Media has the ability to be a very effective method of connecting to the right prospects, engaging with current clients and helping to grow your business.  But just like any other business strategy, social media activity should be continuously monitored and adjusted to optimize for impact.

In Part 2 of this series, I will discuss 5 more common social media mistakes made by Advisors.

Do you have stories to share about your social media experiences or mistakes? We’d love to hear about them.

 

4 Reasons Why Financial and Insurance Advisor Websites Struggle

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There’s nothing more frustrating than investing in an amazing looking advisor website only to suffer from a lack of website traffic and visitor engagement. Here are 4 reasons and actionable tips you can use to help solve this very common yet solvable problem.

Reason 1: Not enough content and pages

The old saying of quality over quantity does still matter in the world of digital marketing but many advisor websites I’ve reviewed lack a volume of web pages and content, and by content I mean words, images and video. Not enough content implies not enough keywords and not enough pages leads to low page views and low engagement. Search engines require “food” and need to be given the chance to figure out whether your content is useful and relevant. Simply adding more content is an effective way to increase your site’s traffic.

ACTION: Add more content. I know, seems obvious. Avoid adding content for the sake of adding content. Really think through what you are missing on your website. Have you told the complete story of your practice? Your philosophy? How you engage with your clients? How you solve you client’s most mind boggling problems? If after your assessment you feel as though you have told the complete story, consider starting a blog. Blogging is the web’s most effective way to generate organic traffic to websites.

Reason 2: Poor Site Flow

One of the things that make a dancer a good dancer is that their movements follow a logical and progressive pattern and flow. The same logical and progressive pattern is required of any good website. Many advisor websites that I’ve seen have “dead ends” — a place where visitors are not given a choice to continue their journey within the website. It’s also important to remember that your visitors may not always start their visit from the home page. An easy way to determine whether your website has poor site flow would be to take a look at your bounce rates and your time on site. Websites with poor site flow tend to have really poor bounce rates (a bounce rate greater than 50% would be classified as poor) and have visitors who spend seconds instead of minutes on a website.

ACTION: Add more calls to action on your website. Thinking about your website from the perspective of calls to action will force you to think logically about your website’s flow. A call to action provides your visitor with direction and it provides you with a number of different progression points for the visitor. It must be logical and it must be related to the content on your web page. For example, let’s say you think of a call to action that asks your visitor to “Schedule an assessment of their RRSP investment mix”. What’s a logical path to that call to action? It could be, 1) Visitor enters by searching for some tips on effectively saving for retirement, 2) Visitor likes the article and decides to look at what your practice does with respect to Retirement Savings advice and 3) Visitor sees your call to action to schedule an assessment and clicks on it and submits their contact information (first name, last name, email, etc.). Think about what your calls to action will be and plan out the path to get there!

Reason 3: Your Value Proposition is all about You

Writing a solid value proposition can be a challenging and time consuming task. I’ve read a significant number of different value propositions and the most common mistake I run into is the fact that value propositions are always about the advisor or the practice. Very seldom does it ever speak to the visitor. Remember, the first goal of your website is to provide enough incentive for the visitor to click again. That’s it. When someone visits you for the first time or is trying to learn more about you they are trying to figure out how you can help them and not so much about how great you are (that comes later).

ACTION: Re-evaluate your value proposition. Does it speak to your visitors? Does it clearly indicate the problems you help them solve? Or does it talk about what you do and how many awards you’ve received? If you need more tips on writing an effective value proposition, take a look at this blog post.

Reason 4: Where did all the Keywords go?

SEO is critical. With the sheer volume of content that exists on the web, advisors can no longer afford to launch their online brand without knowledge or consideration of Search Engine Optimization. Advisors don’t need to be experts in SEO, but they should understand a the key fundamental aspects of SEO that will help their website rank in a Google or Bing search. Many advisor websites I’ve reviewed have volumes of content, however, there aren’t enough long tail keywords on the page. Before defining a long tail keyword, let’s define “keyword”. A keyword is defined as a word or concept of great significance. For example, “apple”. In search, keywords are used to match search queries, for example, “what is an apple?”. Search engines, attempt to match queries with keywords as a part of their ranking algorithm. Content containing common keywords puts you in a more competitive search rank scenario. For example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung” brings up a ton of other “Andrew Chung” in the world and puts me in a very competitive search competition. Taking the same example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung Veriday”, puts me right at the top. This is an example of a long tail keyword. Even though it still contains “Andrew Chung” (a very common keyword), appending “Veriday” to the end of it makes it unique and enables you to rank high for that particular search. Best practices in keyword optimization state that using your audience’s common language is critical to your keyword strategy.

ACTION: As a start, look at the headings in your content; these are typically titles that have a larger size than your regular text. Are these keywords relevant to your practice? Are they written in your target audience’s language? Are the headings too common (for example “Our Practice” is too common)? Take the 5-10 weakest headings and simply re-write them or enhance them with long-tail keywords relevant to the financial advice industry and your business.

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What kind of techniques have you used to help combat low traffic and low engagement websites? Or, if you’ve tried any of these techniques, what were you results?

CRM 2 will empower clients, but will it empower Advisors?

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The Client Relationship Model Stage 2 (CRM2) model will change the way clients view the service their financial advisors provide. It will empower the clients to asses the relationship with their advisor and how they are progressing towards reaching their investment goals.

The CRM 2 bill is generating a fair bit of uncertainty and fear within the advisor community. Some feel the transparency is good for everyone, while others would disagree. Some see it as an opportunity, while others will see it as a major challenge.

We’d like to know what you think. What will CRM2 mean to you? Will the CRM2 empower Advisors, and if so, how? Share your comments and insights below.

3 Easy Steps to Start Your Advisor Blog

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Many of the insurance and financial advisors that I speak to on a regular basis find the task of blogging to be a very daunting and time consuming task. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic and is also a critical sales and marketing tactic to connect with your audience. One of my favourite questions that I like to answer tends to be “How do I get started?”. It’s a great reflection of an advisor who’s ready to incorporate digital and content marketing into their practice and of someone who’s ready to do something different in an industry where blogging is not yet pervasive.

Here are 3 steps I commonly talk about to get started.

Step 1: Coming up with topics

If I sat you down in front of a typewriter and asked you to write a book and I didn’t give you a topic that would be pretty hard and you could potentially sit for a few hours and come up with nothing (maybe a title and an introduction). If I did the same thing and asked you to write a book about financial planning you might also come up with nothing after a few hours.

This analogy is often how I think advisors look at content writing. One critical success factor of content writing is the plan. Ok, the plan, what do I mean? Well, much like how you might put together a financial plan for your client, you would put together a plan for content writing. A plan helps to regulate the frequency at which you write and produce a tempo. It also helps take a lot of the guess work out of what to write about next. If I planned on saving up $1200 a contribution of $100 a month for the next 12 months, would arguably be easier than me thinking about the amount to save each month to reach my goal.

So, just how do you come up with the topics? Simple. Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you meet with clients and prospects?
  2. Do your clients and prospects ask you questions?
  3. Do your clients and prospects ask you the same questions?

You probably answered ‘Yes’ to all three of those questions. Now, take the next 5-10 minutes and write down as many questions as you possibly can on a piece of paper and then move onto step 2. Write down the questions that come to mind first.

Step 2: Mine for Blogging Gold

Now that you have a list of questions we’re going to do a quick scan of each of your questions. The reason for this is that blogging effectively, involves writing about single topics as opposed to writing an essay. There will be a subset of the questions that you wrote down that might simply result in too large of a blog post. This is where we can dig for blogging gold because the questions you’ve already thought of, might themselves, break into other blog posts. So what do I mean by single topics? Well, it’s kind of analogous to how you might look at a book. An effective blog post would be equivalent to a single chapter while a not-so-effective blog post would be an entire book. Writing too many concepts into a single blog post can cause you to lose reader interest and also make it more difficult for you to complete a post. Here are some good and bad examples of titles that might lead you to write about more than one topic:

Good

  • What is a TFSA?
  • 3 keys to saving effectively for retirement
  • How to save for your next big vacation

Bad

  • Financial Planning 101
  • The INs and OUTs of an RRSP
  • How to choose a financial advisor

Now, take 10 minutes and look at your list of questions and for each topic, determine whether you can break the topic down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic. For example, “What is a TFSA?” cannot instinctively be broken down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic as everything points to the topic of a TFSA. “Financial Planning 101”, however, can be broken down into Tax, Retirement, Investments, etc., all of which are mutually exclusive topics. No need to think too long on each question as it should be instinctive and easy to identify the questions that can be broken out. Then move onto Step 3.

Step 3: Plan your Tempo and Topics

By now, you should have a pretty healthy list of questions to answer. The next step is to set up your tempo. How often will you decide to blog. There are definitely rules of thumb when it comes to blogging and in general, the more often you blog, the better your results. That being said, if you’re just getting started, setting up the frequency of your blogging is more important than setting up how much you will blog. Blogging once a week is arguably better than blogging once a month which would arguably be better than blogging once a quarter and so on. Choose the frequency that you feel you can handle. If the frequency you set becomes very manageable, increase that frequency. Remember to start small and then move up from there. Choose the easiest questions to answer first.

Take the next 5 minutes, look across your questions, and line your topics up to your frequency. For example, if you have 12 topics and have chosen to write monthly, that’s one blog post per month. Also, decide whether you will release your blog at the beginning or at the end of the month.

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At this stage you’ve completed a very critical step and are well on your way to becoming perceived as an expert in your area of expertise! With all of your single topics and questions set up, it should be a relatively straight forward exercise to answer the questions you’ve documented! A few key things to remember when you write is that blogging is not about perfection. You’re not designing a rocket to the moon. Obviously spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are unacceptable but outside of that, the world’s your oyster. Write in the way that you would have a conversation with a client or a prospect. Make your readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Remember, your voice is unique. No other person in the world communicates like you. No other person has been exposed to the same experiences that you have.

What’s your greatest barrier to getting started with blogging?

 

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6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 6): Not implementing responsive design

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Not implementing responsive design is mistake #5 in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.

A responsive design refers to a website that has been designed in a way that all of the content, images and structure of the site remain the same no matter what device you are on. So, when a visitor accesses your site from their desktop, they will see a full view of your site. If they were to switch to their iPhone, the site will adapt to fit on the smaller screen. Responsive design ensures that your website runs properly and looks great on any device.

With the increasing amount of Internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it has become clear that responsive design is no longer a trend, but a must for any website. Now, more then ever, consumers expect their online experience to be consistent no matter what device they are on.

Here are 3 good reasons why every website should be responsive:

Mobile Use Is Only Growing…

The world is going mobile and so are our websites. Worldwide, mobile traffic has doubled between 2012 and 2013.  Not only are people using their mobile for social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the website, they are also making purchases from their devices.  By 2016, revenue from mobile content is predicted to reach $65 billion.

Your website is likely receiving a high portion of mobile users and given it isn’t responsive, nor has a mobile version, that’s a lot of visitors who are receiving sub-optimal experiences.  According to Hubspot, if a user lands on your website on their mobile and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there is a 61% change they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor).

Google Loves Responsive Design

Google has recommended responsive design as the primary mobile configuration and has referred to it as the industries best practice. This configuration makes it easier for Google to crawl your pages, retrieve your content, and ultimately, rank your page.

Provides Great User Experience

Responsive design provides users with a better and faster user experience, and does a better job of converting visitors into customers. When a user has to wait for a page to load, there’s a high change they will leave your site before it opens on their mobile phones. Responsive design eliminates the need for site redirects, improving the overall speed of the site allowing users to get their information quickly.

Responsive design is one of the most effective ways to ensure every visitor has the best possible user experience. Responsive design is still an emerging practice so chances are your competitors have not yet jumped on the bandwagon leaving you a chance to gain a competitive edge. What are you waiting for?

We are almost at the end of the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.  Stay tuned for the last pitfall coming soon.

Question: Is your website responsive? When on your mobile device, would you stay on a site and try to decipher and zoom in on small text, or would you move on to a site that adapted to your screen size?

 

Liferay Vs. SharePoint: Who is using these technologies?

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Portals continue to evolve as platforms gain new features that increasingly blur the boundaries between portals and areas such as content management. Customer experience, customer engagement, digital experience and marketing integration have been a large focus of portal platforms for the past couple of years as more and more enterprises have embarked on portal implementations. Today we will examine Liferay Vs. Sharepoint

Earlier this year, Gartner released its latest Magic Quadrant for horizontal portals. Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay were both named in the top 5 for leaders in horizontal portals.   But, who exactly is using Liferay and SharePoint and who are some of their top global customers? Below is a brief summary on the customers and industries using the Liferay and SharePoint platforms.

Liferay – who is using it?

Liferay is the leading Open Source portal server.  Many enterprises are using Liferay to build robust business solutions that deliver long-term value and results.  The company has seen a recent rapid growth in the past few years.  Liferay is an all-in-one enterprise portal with broad product capabilities that provide a user-friendly interface where you can centralize, share and collaborate.

Liferay has proven its real world performance globally with many clients across many diverse industries and business functions. It has been used in just about every industry around the world including automotive, education, government, healthcare, financial services, IT and Hi-Tech, media and entertainment and more.  It is primarily used for corporate websites, intranets and extranets but is highly scalable and easy to launch with many out of the box features.  Major organizations around the world choose Liferay for a wide variety of business functions beyond the traditional portal:

–  Intranet portals
–  Extranet portals
–  Content and Document Management
–  Web publishing and shared workspaces
–  Enterprise collaboration
–  Social networking
–  Enterprise portals and identify management

Liferay is growing year over year, and has over 150,000 community members, 5 million downloads, over 500 apps in Liferay Marketplace, and 650 employees.

Some of Liferay’s key customers include:

Learn more about their case studies and the enterprises using Liferay across industries and around the world.

SharePoint – who is using it?

SharePoint’s usage is widespread because of its complex collaboration structure. The platform allows you to develop your business collaboration solutions fast and effectively.  Similar to Liferay, SharePoint’s customers are spread globally across just about every industry including retail, education, transportation and more.

According to Microsoft, SharePoint is adding approximately 20,000 SharePoint users every day.  That is approximately 7.3 million new SharePoint users every year. Similar to Liferay, the majority of customers use SharePoint as an internal tool; intranet/extranets and enterprise content and document management.

Here are the 5 most common uses of SharePoint:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Enterprise content and document management
  • Public facing websites
  • Forms & workflow

Some of Sharepoint’s key customers include:

Check out some of SharePoint’s case studies here.

Which portal you choose depends entirely on your industry, and what tasks and objectives you are looking to accomplish.  In a previous article, we took a look at some Alternatives to SharePoint.

Question:  What portal technology are you using for your business?  Are you satisfied with it? If not, what frustrates you about your portal technology?  Share your experiences below. 

What is Google My Business?

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Getting your practice or business listed on Google My Business is a critical step that every advisor should consider to set yourself apart from your local competitors. It also helps provide a consistent user experience your audience receives when they are looking for you using Google. So, what is Google My Business?

Google My Business = Google Pages + Google Maps + Google Search

Google My Business is a service offered by Google that helps connect businesses and organizations to individuals. It provides a consistent user experience across all of Google’s key search related applications and across all devices like smartphones, tablets and desktops. Let’s look at each discreet component.

Google Search

You’re probably familiar with Google Search if you’ve ever tried to find something online. This is Google’s claim to fame and is still very much a primary revenue stream for them with the combination of Search and Adwords. The user experience you typically receive produces a combination of organic search results (highlighted in yellow below) and paid search results (highlighted in blue below). In this format, the search results provide you with some knowledge of what to expect for each search result. Paid search results, as the name suggests, require you to purchase that space, while the organic search results are free.

Example search result using Google Search

Example of a Google search result using “Financial Planning”

 

Google Maps

Then along came Google Maps, an application you’re also probably very familiar with if you’ve ever had to get directions to go somewhere. The ever familiar maps.google.com. Type in a search term and it visually presents little points on a map that it thinks matches your search term. However, going to www.google.com vs maps.google.com presents two very distinct experiences where one provides location context around the result.

Google maps search result

An example of a Google Maps search using “financial planning”

 

Google Pages

In November of 2011, Google launched Google Pages to help connect the online world with “businesses, organizations and other things that you care about” (Our history in depth, Google.com). When Google pages was first released, it attempted to match the same user experience as that of other social media technologies like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. It gave organizations the capability to provide their audience and publish quick and short updates such as promotions, events, etc. It also provided them with the ability to corporately brand and personalize the Google page and provide visitors with a user experience that replicated the brand as well as key pieces of information such as their website, address and other contact information (kind of like a business card).

Macy Google+ page

Example of a Google+ Page

 

Google My Business

Google My Business is effectively the combination of all 3 of these features where the setup process begins with creating a Google Page for your organization, company or practice. By setting up your Google Page and as a result, your listing, you provide Google with key pieces of your company information that Google can leverage when it presents your company via the three aforementioned components. Namely, Google Search, Maps and Pages. Individuals using Google to find you and your business will receive a fully integrated experience no matter what device they are using and no matter from where they are performing the search query. At Veriday, we have ourselves set up in Google My Business. We have a Google Page and when performing a search for our business on Google Maps and Google Search, you receive a more useful and consistent experience.

As you will notice in the example, Veriday’s Google+ page has clear branding as well as detailed information about their address, contact information and hours of operation all within the banner at the top of the page. Below that, are the updates, articles and useful things they share with their audience to encourage additional engagement. In the Google search result, it provides a dedicated area on the right hand side showing the map, logo and contact information using the information and other assets collected when setting up the Google+ page. On the mobile experience, it provides a more targeted experience to the user and assumes that because you are on mobile, you are either looking for location and/or contact details to call. Each of these user experiences are automatically published in all three mediums by simply creating a single profile using Google My Business.

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Are you using Google My Business? Have you tried setting up a Google+ page? Share your experience by commenting below!!

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 5: Failing to consider your URL structure

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Failing to consider your URL structure is mistake #5 in Hubspot’s 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design).

One of the most important search engine optimization techniques is using SEO-friendly URL structures to help the indexation of your website.  A good domain name is simple and short so that visitors can easily remember it. Search engines, like users, prefer URLs that make it easy to understand what your page content is all about.

From an SEO point of view, a site’s URL structure should be:

  • Straightforward: URLs with duplicate content should have recognized URLs specified for them; there should be no confusing redirects on the site. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Meaningful: URL names should have keywords in them. Avoid numbers and punctuation marks. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Emphasis on the right URLs: SEO-wise, not all URLs on a site are of equal importance as a rule. Some even should be concealed from the search engines. Ensure the pages that should be accessible to search engines are open. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)

Separate words in your URL with a hyphen, or an underscore?

Search engines treat hyphens and underscores differently from one another. Google has made it clear that you should always use a hyphen to separate words in your URLs. Google treats a hyphen as a word separator, but treats an underscore as a word joiner. So, for example tips_for_advisors (using underscores) would be understood as tipsforadvisors. Using tips-for-advisors (hyphens) search engines can  identify the different words and return them in various combinations (ex. tips for advisors, tips, advisors) Using hyphens is better for SEO, making it easier for search engines to identify what your page is about.

Keep your URLs short and simple. Your user prefers it, and so does search engines. When it comes to choosing a good URL – if it’s good for users, it will generally be good for search engines.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to your SEO strategy? Share with us below.

 

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 4: Failing to identify (and include) commonly searched keywords

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Failing to identify (and include) commonly searched keywords is mistake #4 in Hubspot’s 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.

Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable parts of doing SEO right. Keyword research is about identifying which keywords and phrases are being used, in search engines, by your potential customers to find the products/and or services that you are providing on your website. It is the most important step to drive targeted traffic to your site, and it will help you decipher what topics you should write about and what phrases you should use while writing. If done correctly, it provides a road a road map for building your website and developing content.

Hubspot has provided an exercise for how to establish a keyword list:

  1. Make a list of important topics based on what you know about your business and what topics you’d ideally like to rank for.
  2. Fill in those topic buckets with keywords and phrases that you think are important for your website to rank for in search engine results.
  3. Check to make sure you have a mix of short and long tail keywords in each bucket (great for long term goals and short term wins)
  4. Research related search terms (scroll to the bottom of Google’s results and you’ll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original search)

After completing these steps, you will have a list of keywords and phrases that will help you focus on the right content and topics for your website. Building your business website around your keyword research can provide leverage from which you can further build your SEO strategy to continuously improve your search engine ranking.

In short, researching commonly searched keywords before your website design is a crucial first step in the process for the following reasons:

  • Keyword research reveals your target market
  • Keyword research informs your content
  • Keyword research will inform how you write your content

Do you have your own methods and tricks to identifying your website’s keywords? We’d love to hear about them. Share your tips and tricks below or drop us a line if you have any questions about your next website project.