How to use SEMRush Keyword Intent to Bid Against Competitor Traffic and Steal Conversions

How to use SEMRush Keyword Intent to Bid Against Competitor Traffic and Steal Conversions

Having utilised the full extent of the SEMRush platform over the last six years, we’re always excited to see the latest updates and utilise them to our (clients) advantage. The latest round of updates came with “Keyword Intent” within the Organic Research Section. 

As an integrated digital brand ad marketing agency, we looked at how we could integrate keyword intent into our own campaigns. We are testing it in a few ways, but one of our favourite “quick solutions” was learning how to steal conversions and leads away from Organic traffic. 

Here’s how we’re doing it. 

  1. Step 1 – Use the “Keyword Gap” tool to find where your competitors are ranking better than you. 
  2. Step 2 – View “Untapped” keywords and filter keywords using intents “Commercial” & “Transactional”
  3. Step 3 – Sort by lowest CPC and Keyword Difficulty and pull together the phrases you will use in a campaign.
  4. Step 4 – Bid against non-branded competitor terms, with low CPC’s whilst you create content to build up your rankings in these categories.
  5. Step 5 – Monitor conversions and use the data to target better landing pages with an SEO focus.
  6. Step 6 – Reduce reliance on Paid as rankings grow on converting keywords, rinse and repeat. 

Step 1. Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis

We used the term “Refurbished iPhone” for this comparison. We then picked a number of domains from different positions in the rankings that we wanted to compare against. 

We chose:

  • Theioutlet.com
  • Reboxed.co
  • Raylo.com
  • Tech-tiger.co.uk
  • Qwikfone.com

*If any of you guys want a link, all you have to do is let us do an audit and hire us, we have some brilliant experience within the mobile phone market…#justsaying

As you can see from the chart, there are a number of similar terms the domains share, but the majority are dominated by one competitor. 

Now we need to set-up the report we want to use. 

Step 2. Filter keywords by the intents and position

In SEMRush, we are using the Keyword Gap tool. 

Then we need to do two things

  • Change the Positions for “All in the Top 10”
  • Select the Intent Filter and tick Commercial and Transactional, then apply.

This gives us two types of keyword Intent, which represent customers that are close to the buying stages of the sales cycle.

Commercial

Commercial keywords indicate that the searcher is looking to investigate a brand or service in our case, its users that know the phone they want and are investigating their options around the model and refurbished versions. So in terms of our customer journey, this is a fantastic entry point and introduction of our brand. 

Examples of Commercial Phrases from “Refurbished Phone” Research

 

Keyword Search Volume CPC
iphone xr second hand 2,900 0.54
raylo reviews 2,900 1.77
rent a phone 1,600 1.45
best iphone battery life 590 0.62
iphone 11 pro max second hand 590 0.53
is raylo legit 480 2.17
sim free phone contract 480 0.88
ipad pro 2020 vs 2021 390 0.9
iphone 11 pro max used 390 0.53

 

Transactional

Transactional keywords indicate that the searcher is looking to make a purchase of goods or services. These terms should result in more conversions than any other type of traffic. So from a Paid perspective exact match versions can support strong campaign growth for low cost per conversions.

Examples of Transactional Phrases from “Refurbished Phone” Research

 

Keyword Search Volume CPC
iphone 11 unlocked 1300 0.91
iphone 8 unlocked 1000 0.97
iphone 11 pro max pay monthly 320 1.21
iphone xs 128gb 320 0.5
cheapest place to buy iphone 170 0.66

 

Step 3. Find the cheap and easy wins

What makes this method so powerful against other forms of keyword research?

The research uses the strongest organic profiles  in any niche, alongside the SEMRush data, to identify phrases or exact match bidding terms that you might not have stumbled upon using the Google Keyword Ad Planner, or by simply performing research through the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool. 

Not only that, but you are focused on terms that will drive sales. By utilising “phrase match” or “exact match” against these terms you can filter out a lot of campaign budget waste against broad match or even phrase match on more generic terms. 

Let’s compare some of the terms we found against some of the likely generic phrases that might be used to generate them. 

Generic Terms on Broad Match

 

Keyword Exact Match Search Volume Keyword Difficulty CPC Broad Match Variations Collective Search Volume
iphone 12 673,000 81 £0.88 6,500 2,700,000
iphone xr 301,000 79 £0.55 39,900 1,200,000
iphone 12 pro 201,000 63 £0.59 287 1,100,000
iphone 11 pro max 135,000 48 £0.62 5,000 338,000
samsung s21 ultra 74,000 62 £1.27 37 162,000

 

In this table we have:

  • The “Keyword” or Broad Match Phrase
  • Exact Match Search Volume – The monthly search volume for the Exact Match of the “keyword”
  • Keyword Difficulty – The keyword difficulty out of 100.
  • CPC – The average cost per click for the exact match phrase
  • Broad Match Variations – The number of phrases that could appear if this was set to Broad Match.
  • Collective Search Volume – The collective monthly search volume for all broad match phrases.

This would ultimately leave the bidding to the Google Adwords algorithm. If you have large reserves and a big budget then leaving keywords open and allowing the algorithm to find the best bidding strategy for your budget is an option. On tighter or controlled budgets this can destroy the campaign budget quickly.

Compare this against our new targeted phrases

iPhone 11

 

Keyword Search Volume Keyword Difficulty CPC Keyword Intents
iphone 11 unlocked 1,300 44 0.91 transactional
iphone 11 pro max second hand 590 33 0.53 commercial
iphone 11 pro max used 390 37 0.53 commercial
second hand iphone 11 pro max 390 33 0.58 commercial
iphone 11 pro max monthly payment 320 39 0.7 commercial
iphone 11 pro max pay monthly 320 42 1.21 transactional
second hand iphone 11 pro 320 29 0.55 commercial
used iphone 11 pro 320 30 0.66 commercial
used iphone 11 pro max 320 39 0.75 commercial
 

 

In this example, we ultimately end up with terms we can set to exact match and build bespoke adverts around. The competition levels are lower, the CPC’s are more achievable and we are more likely to generate conversions, whilst a lower budget will allow us to dominate the Ad Space. 

Step 4. Building & bidding

Build a list fitting to your budget of terms like this to bid on for the most possible ranking gains for the lowest possible cost. Of course you want to avoid any branded terms since people searching for “coca cola” don’t really want to find pepsi.

In this case, no, Pepsi is not ok!

Alongside this you want to create content to build your rankings for these keywords. You can use Pillar pages to direct more authority and encourage ranking diversity through to key service pages. 

Utilising the data from your paid accounts, you can see what converts and what drives the most leads.

When you have this as an understanding, you can create content on your site that reflects the conversions. The great thing about this is that if you’re smart about it you can create Pillar / Landing pages that encourage better conversion rates for your PPC, whilst also supporting your organic rankings. 

Step 5. Monitor & adapt

After making these changes you need to constantly monitor your analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. If certain keywords aren’t working then stop spending on them and reroute those funds into the keywords that are working.

Find the pages on your website that are keeping people there for the longest amount of time and direct as much traffic there as possible. Check your goals / objectives, if you’re seeing high bounce rates, this may be an indication the conversion path isn’t resonating with the target phrases. 

Create more content around the topics that are generating you the most traffic. Even when you are on top of rankings it can’t hurt to secure your place even further so that it’s even harder for someone else to dethrone you.

Step 6. Reduce paid advertising reliance as organic traffic grows 

Across our campaigns, one of the most asked questions is at what point can we start reducing paid budgets in favour of organic? 

The answer is never as simple as switching off paid in favour of organic, but over time we work with clients to reduce their reliance on paid advertising, or at the very least reposition the budget into new target areas as the SEO builds. 

In reality, we find that around 80% of our clients continue to grow spend across both channels as they see a strategy that produces consistent growth and results. You can see more about our successful search strategies in our case studies.

SEO is an ongoing process so in reality you’ll be constantly looking to replicate these steps.

If you’re still unsure about anything here and need some advice on SEO for your website, feel free to reach out to us at hello@brand-ambition.com and we’d be happy to have a no obligation chat and see if we can help you out. Even if it’s just a bit of free advice!

Writing to Take Advantage of Featured Snippets

Writing to Take Advantage of Featured Snippets

As part of the ever-evolving digital world, search engines are always trying to find new ways of feeding users with creative ways of displaying information. 

Quickly digestible and often presented in an attractive way, Featured Snippets are an effective way to grab the searchers (often short) attention with concise definitions, step-by-step instructions, tables and lists.

Source: SEMRush

Position #0

Due to its ability to sit in a league of its own, and impressively, above organic rankings, featured snippets are often referred to as ‘Position #0’. As a result of this, this directs taps into the click-through rate from the search term.

A study by Ahrefs found that the top-ranking result of an average search term had 26% CTR, whereas a search term that had a featured snippet claimed 8.6% of traffic with the top search term claiming 19.6%.

This turns the featured snippet into something of a magic bullet, discounting all of the traditional SEO rules and practices to get ahead of the rest. 

But it can also act as a useful tool for someone who is quickly looking for an answer and might not necessarily have to click on anything to get what they are looking for. 

The versatility of the snippet itself can result in a no-click search, where all the information is quick and easy to follow, and depending on the complexity of the answer this can be answered in a short concise paragraph, a step-by-step guide a diagram.

Because of this, the snippet may have in appearing in Position #0 this may inform a wider keyword strategy, as this might divert what normally would be the organic traffic that is placing high up the rankings away from you.

The Main Types of Snippets

To help optimise your snippet for the search term, there are different types that Google and other search engines use. This means that you will have to identify the best way to format your snippet in order to have it feature.

The Paragraph

Using a brief and concise description, definition and other information on a topic, the paragraph snippet is a useful answer to queries.

Of all featured snippets on Google, paragraph snippets account for around 70% of all of these, as they can be quickly digested when the search is clear and direct.

As well as using the paragraph to answer specific questions, they can also be used as a definition box, where it can give the basic meaning of something. This allows the user to then decide if they have got enough information, or if they want to read on.

The Table

A useful way of visualising data when making comparisons. The ultimate goal for the user is to be able to spot large gaps and differences.

The table snippet is especially useful when you are comparing clothes or products sizing, comparing big and small data and as another way of displaying a list, which leads us nicely onto the next type of featured snippet.

Lists

Lists are a great way to quickly solve a question or give instructions. The key to it is understanding what the searcher is expecting to see before optimising the format in the most attractive and user-friendly way possible.

Useful in different ways, they can also vary in their appearance. There are numbered lists, which lend themselves to step-by-step instructions extremely well. There are also bulleted lists that don’t have to follow such a rigid structure.

Videos

With YouTube becoming one of Google’s subsidiaries in 2006, videos are a great way to weave a snippet in.

These are usually used as a how-to query, where it is easier to demonstrate the steps visually rather than as part of a list.

Looks Like a Snippet… But Isn’t a Snippet

As time goes by Google always likes to treat us to new flashy new ways of showing off their capabilities. These fall under special content resource blocks.

Rich Answers

These are instant answers that Google have preloaded without having to give credit to other websites.

Knowledge Graph

Pulling different answers sometimes from a variety of different sources, appearing in a neat box with accompanying images, and in the example’s case, secondary information that compares the individual tiles.

When navigating through the carousel of images, you are able to click into each one, which opens up wider links. These are usually used when searching for landmarks, brands, people and organisations.

Rich Snippets

Slightly different to other snippets, Rich Snippets use a range of different features compared to others, where the format is more fixed. These are created by the search engine by reading code, using it to create rich results.

The extra information embedded within them enhance the detail, giving it its title by making it a richer result. Recipes are usually a good example of a rich snippet, as the pancake recipes have the ingredients, prep time and ratings, which gives you a lot to take in.

How Do You Get a Featured Snippet?

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as sending a message to the good people at search engines asking for them to use a pre-designed snippet. 

However, the good news is that as a form of organic content, the featured snippet box is available to anyone who knows how to optimise their content well. 

Answer Questions

With the majority of snippets informational in their nature, your content should be created to answer questions. In-depth content indexed by Google’s crawlers that gives the best answer can take the content to use in the form of a featured snippet. 

Get Inside the Mind of the Searcher

SEMRush and Brado studied over 160 million keywords on desktop, as well as 46.1 million keywords on mobile, and it found that questions are an especially rich land for Featured Snippets. 

29% of all queries that trigger snippets start with question-based words like “why”, “do” and “how”. Within this, 77.6% of all queries that start with “why” return featured snippets.

With this in mind, you can draw up a list of questions that you think your content could accurately answer. This involves research into the search itself, giving you a better chance of getting the snippet if there isn’t one currently. 

 

If you are in need of inspiration on what sorts of questions people are asking, simply start searching a question in your search bar and let Google’s suggested search bar do the work for you.

There are other free resources that can help inspire your question-based keyword research, including Answer The Public.

Polish Your Content

The best way to think about achieving a featured snippet is that it is a reward for having truly high-quality content. 

Just imagine it as if you are trying to rank something in an organic way, but instead, there are also sub-targets within it to answer the specific questions.

This goes for all content that you want to rank, but try and make sure your content is high quality, comprehensive, entertaining and engaging and user-focused. 

Take a Deep Dive

What better way to show off how much of an authority you are in a subject than to take a deep dive into it, demonstrating what a pillar of knowledge you are on it. 

This means that you can’t expect to achieve a featured snippet if you only touch the surface with your content.

Ways of achieving this include:

  • Cover every question that could come up from this topic.
  • Vary your content – from videos to step-by-step infographics and screenshots.
  • Try and tailor the content for beginners, no matter what it is.

Always have an eye on the competition, if you are often left scratching your head wondering how some content is ranking highly that is a good sign. It shows that you have identified that you can create something better.

Use Q&A’s

Q: Why is it a good idea to have a Q&A section on your page?

A: Because it is a great way to display all relevant questions with a pre-formatted answer oven-ready for featured snippets

Q: Great, so does this mean that they can replace the content? 

A: No, they should consolidate the information already on the page. When creating this section, imagine it as it being a conversation where you are giving a concise answer. 

Q: When you say concise, how much does that mean?

A: The ideal answer should be somewhere between a short answer that doesn’t give much away and a long-winded one that waffles on too much. This can be in effect roughly how you want your snippet to appear.

 

Featured Snippets The Future?

As search engines become more advanced, with a continual focus on user intent and experience, they will carry on gaining importance, becoming even more of a feature of a searchers life. 

What we might not be able to predict is what form they will take. As the web develops, user and search engine trends start to shift. This could open the door up for even more ways of displaying information through a snippet in years to come.  

Whatever happens though, one thing that we can be sure of is that by following the best practices in optimisation now, it will always keep you in a strong position. Content that is designed for people to consume in the most efficient and effective way possible is something that will always be key in making you an authority in a crowded digital world.

3 things you can do right now to get into SEO.

3 things you can do right now to get into SEO.

We started Brand Ambition with a clear ideal; Marketing for Good is Good for Marketing.

One of the goals we set when starting the company was to help and encourage the next generation of Digital Marketing professionals as we grow.

Our job adverts for our most recent hiring round generated over 200 CVs and we reviewed every single one. We don’t care about direct experience in digital marketing and SEO, but we do care about passion for the subject.

The biggest thing that stands out for us is when someone has gone above and beyond to make something themselves.

It might be:

  • An active YouTube channel.
  • A Shopify store
  • A website for a parent
  • Started a business
  • Got to 10,000 followers on a social media channel.
  • Started a blog
  • Been a contributor to a magazine

But honestly, some of these skills are so rare that even demonstrating a sound knowledge of how the internet works beyond social media can be a fantastic asset.

So you wanna be an rock SEO star?

I don’t believe that anyone growing up dreamt of working in digital marketing, SEO Sam doesn’t quite have the same ring as Fireman Sam, but here we are.

My first ever personal project and learning ground was a “Geek Blog” on the now-defunct blog Battletoys.co.uk. As you will see from the link, it now points to my latest passion project. The blog wasn’t a huge success, but I did manage a few minor successes.

  • I blagged a number of products from tech and toy companies to review
  • I created connections with other blogs and managed to get guest posts on other websites.
  • I earned money (about £5.80) on Amazon Affiliates by creating a Marvel T-shirt affiliate store.
  • I taught myself how to use WordPress, how to code, how to read code and also how to utilise plugins to my advantage.

I had hundreds of little learnings from simply setting up a blog and learning how to make it look similar to what was in my head.

So, the Brand Ambition first tip is a simple one.

Tip 1. If you want to learn how to do SEO, start a passion project online and put something on a website. Go through the process of buying a domain, getting hosting sorted and a CMS uploaded and set up.

You do that once. I guarantee you come out the other end of it with a better appreciation and understanding of how websites work.

Unlimited Online Resources but who do you believe?

Understanding theory and application are two very different things. I was lucky enough to have a brilliant mentor in Andrew Ash at Enjoy Digital. He let me apply knowledge, make mistakes and was patient, even when I wasn’t.

One of the things I learnt, very early on, in my career was that everyone in SEO has an opinion on how they think the Google Algorithm works…All of them are right and all of them are wrong at the same time. SEO is a testing process, not an exact science. The technical elements and Google guidelines are open to interpretation and often something that works for one site, might not have the same impact on the next site.

I start every employee off with resources collated by my peers, because it also provides a good list of websites to check in with when you want to learn something new.

Tip 2. Learn and Read. Put what you learn into practice. Here are a few resources to get you started.

The Brand Ambition Top SEO Resources in 2022.

Let’s start directly from the horse’s mouth…

Google SEO Resources

I love this video from Google on how to hire an SEO. It’s exactly right, yet they’ve done it in a way, that makes you not want to trust it.

The 7 Best Beginners Guides to SEO Rated by Brand Ambition.

    1. Learning SEO – I point every new starter to this ultimate list of SEO resources, learnings and support network. The list, compiled and most importantly constantly updated by Aleyda Solis is the one resource that makes most SEO professionals say “I wish I’d had that when I was starting out”.
    2. Moz – Beginner’s Guide to SEO – For those just starting out and looking to get an understanding then the Moz guide is a good, simple guide to understanding the basics of SEO. The information is still fairly relevant and the fundamentals are in easy to read chunks.
    3. The Google SEO Starter Guide – Getting an understanding of how Google talks about SEO is a great way to start out. Google is idealistic in its approach to SEO. Focusing on the user experience and getting people to the right answer in the quickest time. Actual Search Engine Optimisation is a little more complex than that, but it’s certainly a good place to understand the fundamentals.
    4. Ahrefs – SEO Basics – A simple chapter utilising Ahrefs data to get a clearer understanding of the most important elements within SEO. Definitely worth a read to get an understanding from a data powerhouse whose SEO software powers the analysis of more than 50% of the SEO community.
    5. SEMRush SEO Checklist – The other 50% use SEMRush and this checklist is a great basics list for ensuring SEO health. Super digestible and easy to understand once the other guides have provided a bit of context.
    6. Sitebulb Hint Explanations – Our favourite Technical SEO tool belongs to the team at Sitebulb. As well as some truly witty release notes, the team have put together a full list of the hints their software checks for and an explanation of why they look at that hint, whilst providing further reading to give an indication of its importance. Getting a proper understanding of each one of these hints essentially makes you an SEO expert, so it’s a great learning manual. Note down anything you don’t understand, do further reading and some testing and you’ve got a pretty great learning structure to understand and implement Technical SEO recommendations.
    7. Backlinko’s Link Building Guide – You can’t do SEO without building links and this is one of the most comprehensive guides on beginner link building strategies I’ve found to share with SEO execs.

Find a mentor.

You don’t need to read a thing or start up your own business to be an SEO. Another route is simply to find the right person to teach you. Read that again…I said The Right Person. I’ve worked alongside enough people to know when they’ve had the wrong SEO mentor and it doesn’t turn out well for the websites or the clients that belong to them.

Tip 3. Linkedin can be a fantastic source for discovering talented SEO professionals looking to give back, but the SEO Twitter community is one of the most active online resources. It can be a bit…cutting with embelished opinion sometimes, but through the noise its one of the best places to get insight and news on SEO. Check out @techseowomen & #SEOtwitter to get started.

When looking for a mentor, my advice is to check out their portfolio utilising some of the free tools that are above. If you can see a dip in traffic, or simply a pattern of constant decline, then you know you can speak to the person you’re about to trust to teach you SEO and get them to explain why a website isn’t performing.

We regularly review our accounts, to get a clear understanding and most SEO’s I know would be more than happy to take people looking to learn through the progress, what we are doing to fix issues and when we would expect to see positive results.

Where we love to recruit from

My favourite place to recruit from at the moment is a mixture of journalism graduates, who end up with an incredibly solid understanding of PR and often come ready to learn the basics of SEO and Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Graduates.

I’m increasingly impressed with the quality of the candidates that do a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, their rounded knowledge often surpasses Degree level marketing graduates for real-world application. So if you’re considering a Digital Marketing career path and want some formal education, as an employer, I’d strongly recommend the Apprenticeship scheme.

I hope this insight into our hiring process helps anyone looking to get into SEO. Of course, this is just our opinion and there is no clear path. If you want to get into SEO as a career, ultimately the key is just to learn and put it into practice. We spend a lot of time talking about what digital marketing is, but the true success stories are those that put their plans into action. You can read all the articles you want to on a subject, but until you apply it, you have no idea how things will play out in reality.

Five Ways to Boost your Local SEO Rankings

Five Ways to Boost your Local SEO Rankings

For a business that prides itself on serving the local community, the location of the premises, and more importantly, customers knowing where you are based is what you rely on most for sales. 

Studies have shown how consumers’ habits have changed, accelerated in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with more of a focus on shopping locally to support smaller businesses. 

To inform their decision on where to shop, most people turn to Google to find out where to go. But what if your business isn’t appearing when the search is made? 

To capitalise on this shift in shopping trends, local businesses can use their Shopify e-commerce stores to create local search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies that will push your business up the rankings on Google. 

When Google identifies a website, it uses an algorithm to determine what searches it should appear under. When someone performs a local search, Google considers three main components: relevance, prominence and proximity.  

These three key components will cover all the bases for the consumer. This will mean that the search results are appropriate, the business has Google’s unofficial seal of approval and can be easily discovered, standing out to the searcher. 

But what are the steps that you have to take to put your business in these high-flying positions in a local search? Below are a few tips that are quick and easy to implement that will set you and your business on the way to local hero status.

1. Optimise the website.

Although the whole process of optimising a website can be a complex and time consuming one, the wide range of tasks means that there are plenty of basics that are quick and easy victories that will provide instant improvements.

Below are some tips and actions that you can do that will help optimise the site:

  • Update your on-page SEO.

Google recognises the structure of a website, and by conforming to what it understands will help build the prominence and authenticity of your website. For this, you have to complete some keyword research – something that will be touched on a little later on in this article. 

By making sure that everything from your website header to title and meta descriptions are populated in a consistent style, with the targeted keywords, will reinforce the site. 

  • Add name, address and phone number (NAP) to the HTML of the website.

This simple yet effective step will help hugely with your local SEO. By having consistent information across the HTML of a website, as well as on your find us page, social media channels, Google listings and any other directories. 

  • Build relationships for local backlinks.

A huge part of optimising your website for search engines involves help from third parties. By building good relationships with local bloggers, journalists – and even other businesses – you could explore the option of building backlinks by pitching any content or interesting stories that you have. Every time a website shares a link to your website, this provides reinforcement that is recognised, further improving your status. 

  • Create local news

Tying in with building backlinks, this is essentially arming yourself for a pitch for the local bloggers and journalists that you feel worthy of telling the local community about. To get an idea of what sort of stories will work in your area, get to know what sort of things the local journalists like. By understanding what individual people like you can tailor your pitch accordingly for them. 

2. Do the relevant keyword research

When trying to rank higher on Google, one thing to remember is that you are not trying to be unique in your strategy. Look at your local competitors who are leading the way and identify what they are doing.

A good place to start is to do a search as if you are trying to find your website. Once you have done this, find websites that were in the top results and study their web pages. Identify their URL structure, titles and meta-descriptions.

There are a variety of free and paid search tools available that will give you even more insights and data on keywords. 

One of the best ways of understanding what ranks best with Google is by just starting to type keywords and phrases into the search bar and noting what suggested searches are coming up.

Another important thing to remember when strategising your keyword targets, is to understand who you simply can’t compete with. Larger organisations will always have the advantage to outrank you. This means that the keywords with medium to low competition are easier to rank on. 

3. Get listed on Google

This is something that all new businesses should look to do almost immediately after its formation. 

Using the Google My Business application, this free service is straightforward and easy to populate, allowing you to create a listing to your company that has a link to your website, the opening hours, your location on a map and other extras.

Having this listing set up will further authenticate your online presence, by actually having a pin on the map. The resulting listing will also give the customer all the information that they need at a glance, improving their trust in you. 

And furthermore, there is a wide range of other directories and websites where you can list your local business that will benefit in different ways, providing backlinks as well as having your information listed on other websites. The more you get your name out there, the more likely it is that someone is going to find your details. 

4. Reviews

Everyone has experienced reading reviews and knows what their benefits are. And this is backed up by data from studies.

It found that as many as 57% of people use Google primarily to find other people’s experiences and reviews of a particular business. As the reviews can be posted by anyone through an open forum, this also improves the trust customers have towards them – much more so than if it was a business telling them how great they are.

The main problem is getting people to actually leave reviews. The best way of getting people to leave a review is to actively encourage them to. This can be done in a variety of different ways; by email, on social media or even in person. 

Should you start with this strategy and struggle, you could even try and incentivize it. Could you include an offer for customers who leave a review? Are there any other exclusive products or services that you could give people priority access to?

The benefits of having good reviews on the surface are clear to see, but they can also have a positive effect on your SEO rankings.

Good reviews are recognised by Google, as it uses them as a signal as to what people think of your business. Additionally, having these positive reviews that are easy to see on Google can increase your click-through rate, build social and local engagement and improve your rankings for the targeted keywords that you have already researched.

5. Social Media Check-Ins

Although a smaller cog in the wheel, this job could be seen as a longer-term project. But by having your location set up within the accounts, will make your outreach in the local area extremely wide.

Every time that someone checks in to the location of your business, it reinforces the link between company and address. The more check-ins you have, the more authentic you become and pushes your business ratings on Google up.

Similar to leaving reviews, you are probably going to have to ask people to check-in rather than relying on them to do it without prompting. 

Depending on your business, some may face a challenge to get a check-in, as it is down to customer in-store experience. However, there can be ways to incentivise this.

One way would be to offer promotional offers and products. You could even offer to donate money to charity every time a milestone number of people check-in.

All of the above fundamental tips are quick and easy to implement, but the main thing to be aware of with any SEO strategy is to constantly monitor your results.

Things may take a little bit of time before you see an impact of your changes. There are naturally going to be short and long term ‘wins’.

By actively staying on your toes and keeping an eye on local competitors will give you the sought after visibility on Google.

Top 7 Coact Tips

Top 7 Coact Tips

Coact is a great reporting tool but does need some finesse to use well. We’ve put together seven top tips to help you get started creating easy to understand reports.

  1. Automatically updating reports

One great thing about Coact reports is the fact that, since they are connected directly to data sources, they constantly update as new data comes in. This means that your reports no longer need to be presented as static data. This prevent

s you having to build them every month and can instead send an online link that constantly updates with new information allowing you to pretty much set it and forget it.

  1. Different ways to display data

Data in Coact can be presented in four different ways that each fit specific purposes:

  • Simple numbers showing an increase or decrease compared to the previous date range.
  • Tables that show the value of different metrics.
  • Graphs that visually display data over time.
  • Pie charts that display the breakdown of different shares of a data set

Knowing when to use each of these methods can make your reports a lot easier to understand and also a lot more impactful.

  1. PDF Page Breaks

This one isn’t as obvious but it’s still incredibly important. When exporting reports to PDFs from Coact you have to make sure your page breaks are in the correct place and aren’t ruining your layout. You can tell where the PDF page break is going to be by a small arrow on the left hand side of the page.

  1. Tabs

Along the top of your reports you can see the tabs menu. Using this allows you to separate different sections of your data into totally different pages. This is useful if you want to make your reports more organised and easier to read, since all data of one kind can be found in the same place.

We use this to separate traffic and SEO data into their own tabs which means everyone can find what they are looking for.

  1. Don’t get too technical

As the one making the report, chances are you have a decent knowledge of what each and every metric means. However it’s likely the client you’re sending the report to doesn’t have this same level of knowledge so you need to be careful not to get too technical.

One good thing to include to keep things simple are a lot of visual graphs. Everyone understands graphs going upwards – generally – means growth and increases over time so including a lot of these will go a long way towards making your reports nice and easy to understand.

Another great thing to do is add a text box underneath all of your data to explain what it means. This works better on PDF exports since your explanation will match the data at the time you write it and may not make as much sense in a month once more data comes through.

Sometimes SEO and technical data can be a bit tricky to understand so adding both of these will make your reports much easier to read and understand for a client who may not be as well versed as you are. 

  1. Remove useless or irrelevant information

A lot of tables you pull from your data sources come with far too many metrics which can make them very difficult to read and require a lot of scrolling. For some people, the more data the better and for others it’s important to get to the point as quickly as possible with excess data just not relevant. Removing a lot of these pieces of data will focus your reports and make them much easier to understand.

7. Scale your blocks appropriately

In Coact you can change the size of every block you drop into your reports meaning every single piece of content is completely customisable. While it’s always good to fill the page and be large enough to read, it’s important not to make them too large so they look spread out.

If your table only has a couple of columns then keep the size small to avoid this. If you have columns that fill the whole page then by all means stretch them the whole way out.

With these tips you’ll be able to create better reports that are easier to understand and also easier to create. Coact is a great tool we’ve been enjoying and we think that more people should be making use of it in the industry.

The SEO And Search Engine Facts You NEED To Know in 2021

The SEO And Search Engine Facts You NEED To Know in 2021

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

If you want people to find your business online, there’s simply no better method than search.

From small startups to giant global brands, organic search is the lifeblood of successful business marketing, and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the dominant strategy for getting your brand noticed by the right audience at the right time.

Why? It’s simple…

  • Most online experiences start with Google search.
  • Almost everyone clicks on the first page of results.
  • To reach Page 1, you need high quality content with good backlinks.
  • Mobile optimisation is crucial in 2021.
  • Long-form content is essential, and increases your chances for voice search.
  • Your best starting point is to update your current content first.
  • Focus on audience-friendly content that Google will love.

The 15 Power Stats that Prove SEO is vital in a 2021Marketing Strategy

Much has changed about SEO over the years, but its vital importance to businesses hasn’t.

In fact, we’d say 2021 looks set to be the biggest leap for SEO yet, bringing audiences and brands closer after a difficult, “distanced” year.

According to Google Trends, 2020 is the first time that the UK has seen more demand for an “SEO Agency” than a “Creative Agency”, with Social Media following closely behind.

And in Northern Ireland specifically, the rise in searches for SEO and Social Media has reached new levels of interest.

SEO Trends Northern Ireland

So if you are looking for the stats to sell SEO services to your management team, or reviewing your marketing channels for the next financial year, we’ve brought together 15 of the most important SEO statistics around, ready to help you tap into the valuable world of digital traffic, all while attributing real value to your content investment.

The SEO Statistics you need to sell Digital Marketing for 2021

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

First and foremost, SEO isn’t just a digital priority, it’s a business priority.

These days, search engines are the starting point for almost any information we want to find out – from recipe tips to cinema times, which makes it the most important marketing arena there is.

As a result, businesses that aren’t paying enough attention to SEO are risking missing out on a wealth of customers. 

BONUS STAT: More than a billion people use Google Search every month. (Source: Business Insider)

With such eye-watering numbers in play, ask yourself – how much better would your bottom line look if everyone could easily find the information they needed about you online?

We want to make searching for you, your business and your content simple – and SEO makes that possible.

The stats don’t lie, SEO should be a key pillar of any marketing strategy going into 2021 and beyond if you want to keep pace with the modern world.

Last year, Google made up over 87% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 6%, Yahoo 2.85% and Baidu at 0.7%. (Source: Statcounter)

To score highly at SEO, you need to be where the web traffic is. And for almost 20 years, that’s been Google. As you can see, they hold the lion’s share of people making web searches on desktop.

On mobile, it gets, even more, one-sided, with Google pulling in 95% of traffic. That means whether you’re looking for recipes or the weather, they’re the ones you turn to.

So, when you want to get extra eyes on your website – you have to play by Google’s rules, and that means you need a smart, agile SEO strategy to get yourself rocketing up the rankings in 2021.

Global Search Share 2021

On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks. (Source: Zero Limit Web)

How often do you scroll to the 2nd page of Google? Or do you just keep narrowing down your search until you find what you want?

The sheer weight of searches and clicks towards the first page of Google makes it the holy grail of website traffic. In fact, 75% of people never make it past Page 1 when searching for something.

All together, that means your business is virtually invisible online if it slips to the search engine’s second page or beyond. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent marketing strategies for boosting your site’s presence, almost all of which revolve around smart, strategic use of SEO.

70% of marketers believe SEO is way more effective than PPC. (Source: Databox)

If PPC is one of the crown jewels of your marketing strategy, then it’s time to think about shaking it up.

Is it better to put in the time and effort to climb to the top of Google’s rankings organically, or pay to skip the queue and save time for other parts of the business? The arguments between SEO and PPC for search engine dominance have rumbled on for years, but in recent years SEO has emerged as the key priority for many businesses. 

BONUS STAT: SEO Leads have a 14.6% conversion rate vs outbound leads (direct mail or print), which has a 1.7% conversion rate. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

While it’s important to note that they don’t have to be separate parts of your marketing strategy (in fact, we would encourage using both to compliment one another, supplementing your SEO with PPC in the short term while climbing the search engine rankings), recent expert opinion has swung towards SEO as the superior method. And if you needed any more encouragement, SEO can often be a far cheaper method of improving your business’ marketing than the “pay-to-win” world of PPC – making it key for your budget priorities too.

In the long term, the benefits of working with an SEO agency should continue and last for a while, even if you switch it off, but if you switch PPC, you will see an instant decrease in traffic and revenue.

“Over a two year period, there was a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight.” (Source: Think with Google)

And then they kept on growing. The stat compared 2015 to 2017, in the three years since, we’ve seen further growth and in 2020 there was a further 40% increase on the previous year. Depending on your business, you need a marketing strategy flexible enough to promote you from the top down.

In 2020, search which included the phrase “near me” exploded in amongst the pandemic and local businesses online thrived with new, local customers.

Near Me 2020 Searches

When it comes to SEO, that means an awareness of more than just the wide-reaching search terms and general audience appeal. Instead, it’s a simple step to widen your net and target people directly with local results too.

Other buying phrases that saw huge increases included “best”, like “Best Burger”, which saw a 400% increase Year on Year and “promo codes” saw an increase of 100% in 2020 as we sought to redefine value and grab a bargain.

So, if you’re already spending money on local advertising, it’s essential to supplement your efforts by making sure your content is tailored for local search results too – as this crucial statistic shows.

Check out, how local search trends across the UK were impacted during 2020, which gives insight into how they will continue in the “new normal” during 2021.

Google hinted at over 200 factors in their algorithm for ranking websites…in 2009. We can assume there is a lot more in 2020 (Source: Backlinko)

We’ve already seen statistics that show a renewed focus on local search results and mobile optimisation, but what does Google actually use to measure your website’s ranking?

Unsurprisingly, the full quota of ranking factors is a closely guarded secret, but google hinted back in 2009 there are more than 200 in play, and through a mixture of reporting, feedback, testing and educated guesswork the SEO community has supported one another to improve websites and discover what helps improve a site in the rankings.

At Brand Ambition, we check well over 300 factors for every technical SEO website audit we run.

More importantly, though, it also reveals and reinforces the need for a multi-dimensional SEO strategy going forward. If there are 200 or more things to be aware of when creating or posting your content, then it means you’ll need even more strings to your business bow to be successful.

In 2020 alone, we saw three core algorithm updates and the introduction of BERT. A natural language processing AI that was said would impact “1 in 10 of all search queries”

High-quality content and link building are two of the most important factors for Google when it comes to your website’s ranking. (Source: Search Engine Watch)

 

As the famous saying goes, quality is more important than quantity – and that’s certainly true when it comes to organic traffic. As we’ve seen, there may be 200 or more factors that Google looks for, but high quality content is one of the most essential for pulling in consistent traffic and getting you moving up those rankings.

What’s more, the better your content’s quality is, the more likely customers and competitors alike are to recognise your expertise and link to it. As a result, the correlating impact is that number one rankings on Google have more backlinks than lower-ranking pages.

Top Ranking Pages in Google have more backlinks in 2021 Source: Backlinko

After all, search engines don’t just measure your content, but the links pointing to it too, making link building equally essential for better rankings. And if you can get the balance between the two just right? That’s the real magic.

The average length of an article on the first page in Google is 1,400 words or more. (Source: Backlinko)

SEO experts have suggested for a while that longer form content often ranks better than short form content, and now we’re able to put a number on it. Finally, we can ignore anyone who tells you to treat your audience like goldfish, that they can only handle simple, bite-sized pieces of information. Instead, this recent research proves that audiences prefer detailed, thought-through content instead.

And it’s not just word count that Google measures, but the structure and depth of your articles too. The better, richer and more detailed the content – the most benefits you’ll get, like quality backlinks from other sites. After all, if you’ve got the most informative and comprehensive information on a given topic, people will want to link to it.

BONUS STAT: The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. (Source: Backlinko)

What’s more, if your content is long enough, linked enough and content rich enough – it could be in line for the a new age SEO reward too, voice search. Not only will you be ranking high, but your content will be read out to the world for specific searches, demonstrating you (and your brand’s) mastery of a given topic.

Almost 25% of companies invest in mobile optimisation as a top SEO tactic. (Source: HubSpot)

If the majority of people are searching Google on mobile, then giving your business site a mobile-friendly makeover seems like a smart and sensible thing to do.

But clearly, not everyone is doing it, which leaves room for you to take advantage – optimising your mobile site in line with your desktop site to make it as easy as possible for Google to push you up the search engine rankings now and in the future.

Google started “Mobile-first” indexing by default for all new websites on July 1st, 2019. This means that all new websites (or those previously unknown to Google) will by default be initially judged for their “mobile-friendliness”. As of July 22nd 2020, Google announced that in March 2021, this would be rolled out across the whole web.

So in 2021, the focus of your website upgrades should be on making your site “mobile-friendly” as competitors that already have this in place will get a boost when the switch is made. For more details on Google’s announcement, you can view this here.

Sample advice from Google on Lazy-loading images Desktop vs Mobile

Sample Google insight on Mobile First Indexing

22.6% of all search queries on Google are for images. (Source: Moz)

We’ve seen the benefits of thought pieces, long-form content, link building and even voice search. But there’s one more piece of SEO knowledge missing – images. From Instagram to Pinterest and Snapchat, the searching and sharing of visual content is more popular than ever, meaning it should be a key tool in your marketing arsenal too. 

BONUS STAT: Across Gen Z and Millennial consumers, 62% demand visual search more than any other new technology.

Call it instant gratification, call it simplified information – visual search is set to be one of the breakout marketing methods of 2021, and SEO is right at the heart of it, especially among millennials and Gen Z. What does it mean for you? Simple – increasing the number of properly linked images on-site and in your articles will pay dividends.

40.7% of all voice search answers came from a featured snippet. (Source: Backlinko)

Featured snippets, or “Position Zero”, have been the top dog of SEO rankings since they were launched back in 2014, but if anything – they’ve only become even more important in recent years with the growth of voice search.

From Siri to Alexa, people all over the world are starting to ask Google questions without ever picking up their phone – and, as you can see, a growing percentage of the answers are coming from featured snippets. 

So, when we say that good SEO rankings are important, it’s not just to make your website and content easily findable from a Google search, but increase the likelihood of it being picked up for a featured snippet (and therefore potentially voice searches) too.

As a result of the pandemic, the smart speaker market has continued to see massive adoption rates, with almost three in ten Brits now owning and engaging with a Smart Speaker. Voice commerce is still a long way off being an established market, but brand engagement through voice search is more popular than ever and worth structuring your online content to pick up additional engagement in this manor.

47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to them. (Source: DemandGen)

There’s a reason that quality content is so important, and this stat shows exactly why.

Customers may have never heard of your brand before, so if they come across an informative piece they like organically, they often want to make sure it’s not a fluke – so they’ll read through more of your content before getting in touch.

If all of your pieces are optimised, content-rich, image-rich and up to date, they’re clearly far more likely to trust your brand than competitors that aren’t.

61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (Source: HubSpot)

Take it from those who are working on improving their ranking day in and day out, your competitors are most likely part of this 61% – which means there’s no time to waste. With rankings becoming the top priority for so many, we all need to start taking SEO and organic traffic seriously.

After all, ranking well on Google has the ability to drive inbound traffic that can give your business a boost for years to come. It’s a simple balance: improve your SEO, and it can work on bringing in the traffic.

Then, your inbound marketing teams can get to work converting that traffic into leads and eventually – sales!

Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%. (Source: HubSpot)

Writing new website content is not only time consuming, but can be a complicated process too – from research to proofing and rewrites. Which is exactly why more and more companies are revisiting their current content instead.

As this stat shows, simple updates to refresh already existing work not only delivery fast results, but effective results too. After all, even the best original content can become stale over time and lose SEO effectiveness. By enhancing its search engine capabilities, you’ve already got a mountain of content waiting to be processed, re-ranked and rewarded by Google’s ranking system without writing a single extra word.

Improving or maintaining your Google ranking is never an easy thing to do, but a few simple tweaks can make a real difference to you and your business. As these stats show, SEO makes a huge difference for bringing organic traffic to your website, getting you in front of the right customers, and proving your expertise through quality content to anyone that’s looking for it. What’s more, competition is only getting more fierce.

So, if you want to give your marketing a major upgrade in 2021 and beyond, it’s time to embrace the world of SEO.

91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google, 55% of pages don’t have a single backlink, and 30% have less than 3. (Source: Ahrefs)

It’s a simple equation – the more backlinks your page has, the more Google search traffic it gets.

So we say, stand out from the crowd by joining the 9%.

How?

With interesting content that people want to read or share, and make sure it’s presented in a way that gives it some ranking traction on Google and makes link building easier. After all, if your website is being glossed over for organic traffic, it puts unnecessary pressure on the rest of your marketing strategy, rather than supporting it.

With a few simple fixes and a focus on quality backlinks, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your business.

The Top 10 Facts to Headline Your SEO Sales Deck.

  1. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  2. In 2020, Google made up over 82% of all global desktop search traffic.
  3. The first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks.
  4. 70% of marketers believe SEO is way more effective than PPC.
  5. Google uses more than 200 factors in their algorithm for ranking websites.
  6. 91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google.
  7. Updating old posts with new content can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%.
  8. The average length of a top search position article in Google is 1,400+ words.
  9. Almost 25% of companies invest in mobile optimisation as a top SEO tactic.
  10. There has been a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight.”

Further Reading

Want to find out even more about SEO’s marketing power? Check out these 2020 SEO stats…

Hubspot: The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2020

SMA Marketing: 80 SEO & SEM Statistics That Prove the Power of Search

Ahrefs: Why SEO Is Important: 8 Undeniable Facts and Case Studies

Impact Plus: 26 SEO statistics for 2020 and what you can learn from them

Search Engine Journal: 10 Important 2020 SEO Trends You Need to Know

Want to chat about SEO?

Brand Ambition is an SEO First, Brand and Digital Marketing Agency based in Leeds and Belfast. If you are looking for someone to help get your marketing strategy on track for 2021, give us a shout today.