Why Having a Blog for Your Business is Important

It doesn’t matter if you run an e-commerce or brick and mortar business, incorporating a blog into your marketing strategy can be a very effective and long-term investment into your company’s brand. Other than driving traffic to your website and properly increasing your domain authority, consistently publishing well-written content on your website can also have a positive effect on your website’s overall organic progress within search results. Here are five other ways that incorporating a blog into your business plan can help your company become a reliable, go-to source for important information relating to your industry.

Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert

Just because you understand the products or services your company offers, doesn’t mean everyone else does. At least not yet. Is what your company offers an everyday type of product or is it seasonal? By focusing on a certain aspect of your company within a blog post, you are able to answer questions consumers may have with an unlimited amount of characters. A blog post gives you the platform you need to explain to potential customers why they need your product, when they will need it, how it works, and what puts your product above the rest. By consistently publishing content in a way an interested consumer would search online, your brand will be taking the necessary steps to showing up in prime areas of search result pages.

Grow Your Keyword Data Base

If your company is investing in paid search, you already understand the importance of nailing down strong keywords that relate directly to your business model. By targeting long tail search phrases and creating valuable content about your company’s products or services, you are increasing your keyword set. Brainstorming key phrases that not only relate to your industry, but have a high search volume, can make it easier for interested consumers to stumble upon your website. To ensure you are putting your best foot forward for your business, it is important that you are familiar with Google’s recently updated Search Quality Guidelines.

Increase Your Chances of Gaining Featured Snippets

When you are consistently publishing content on your company’s website that users find valuable, you increase your chances of obtaining featured snippets. What is a featured snippet? A featured snippet is a summarized answer to a user’s search query that is taken directly from a webpage. A portion of the content not only shows up at the top of Google’s search results, it also displays the website’s title and URL. Even though Google has never released formal guidelines regarding featured snippets, a number of case studies have been conducted regarding the topic and explain how industries can potentially boost their chances of having their content appear in this highly sought-after spot.

Give Your Social Channels More Value

Are you looking to promote more engagement on your company’s social channels? Publishing blog content on your company’s social channels will not only build your target audience and promote website traffic, it is an easy way for potential customers to learn more about what your business offers on a more conversational level. Having social media is an easy way to connect with current and potential customers. However, when sharing content on your company’s social channels, you want to be sure that you are always providing your followers with something of value. Take your followers into consideration and create an easy-to-follow promotion schedule to avoid any practices that may resemble spam. With so many foolproof tools available, optimizing a blog post across a number of social channels has never been simpler.

Keep Conversion Rate in Mind

Have you ever been casually scrolling through a website or social channel and made a purchase that you didn’t set out to make? Chances are you have. How does this happen and why does it happen more often than we care to admit? The power of persuasion is real and is achieved through well-written content. It is important to focus your blog post and keywords on what a potential customer could be needing or searching for before they take a desired action on your company’s website. A blog post is the perfect platform to promote what your business does or provides in a way that appeals to those who may not have necessarily been in the market to buy.

Why is Keyword Management Important for PPC?

When was the last time you reviewed the keywords you are using to target traffic and referrals to your company’s website? Do you even know how to find the best keywords for your online ads? Keyword management plays an essential role in creating and optimizing an accurate data base for your company’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. This type of campaign management has various approaches and elements that need to be considered routinely to ensure you are getting the most out of your advertising budget each month.

“Keyword management is such an all-encompassing term, it’s no surprise that there are so many questions about the practice,” Dan Grossman, Senior PPC Account Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “Between auditing your current keyword portfolio, analyzing search queries for new keywords, and keeping negative keyword lists updated, clients can get overwhelmed at the thought of beginning this process.”

So what exactly are keywords? Keywords are specific words or phrases that users input into a search engine to find information or a specific product they are looking for. To ensure you are spending your advertising budget wisely, you need to be sure you are bidding on the correct keywords and grouping them accordingly.

“It’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed with this important work which is where we step up to the challenge to ensure your PPC accounts are running efficiently,” Grossman said.

Making sure your company’s keywords are correctly managed as they grow and become more granular has a number of benefits for your company’s ROI. Having your company’s PPC campaigns managed by a professional can help move your advertising efforts toward a high Quality Score. What exactly does that mean? A high Quality Score is a Google rating that focuses on the overall quality and relevance of your keywords within your company’s PPC ads. If your ads are proving to meet the needs of users, a high Quality Score is rewarded with a lower minimum bid for the keywords that best represent your business.

This score is just one aspect used to determine what your cost per click (CPC) would be for your ad rank during the auction process. Having a high Quality Score on your campaign will also have a direct impact on your company’s cost per conversion, the cost your company pays when a user takes action on your website such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Simply, the higher your overall Quality Score, the lower your cost per conversion will be.

“More than a ‘do it once and forget it’ notion, keyword management is a constantly evolving process that grows with your business. Here at Intertwine, we try to communicate all of these processes directly with the client and help them understand the importance of ongoing account management,” Grossman said.

Contact our PPC team today to learn more about keyword management and what it can do for your business!

Google Rolls Out Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty

On January 10, Google announced that they launched the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty. Discussion about this ranking penalty first surfaced in August 2016. What exactly is an intrusive interstitials? An intrusive interstitial is a pop-up ad or anything that blocks a user from easily accessing content on a website after they have left the search results page. However, since the launch of this recent penalty, Google has made it clear that not all mobile interstitials would be affected.

Here are a list of intrusive interstitials that webmasters can expect to see penalized.

  • Pop-ups that block the main content on a website soon after the user has visited the page or while they are navigating through the website
  • Standalone interstitials that users must exit before being able to access the main content on a website
  • Layouts where the above-the-fold area of the website appears to be similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold

Here are a list of interstitials that Google will allow as long as they are used responsibly.

  • Pop-ups that require age verification or alert users to cookie usage
  • Private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall
  • Ap install banners that use up a large portion of screen space
  • Page-to-page interstitials are still allowed

By launching this ranking penalty, Google’s goal is to improve users overall experience on mobile devices and make sought after information immediately accessible. This change could also result in more page views per visit and a decreased bounce rate. As of now, webmasters do not have to get rid of interstitials on desktop search. Google reiterated that this signal is just one of many they use to determine page rank. The intent of search query and relevant content continues to be a very strong signal.

The Biggest Advertising Announcements of 2016

Soon after 2016 began, it quickly became a year of big announcements for the online advertising industry. Between the launch of Penguin 4.0 and the removal of right side desktop ads, industry experts have had a full year of navigating adjustments. These adjustments will bring a very busy and new way of structuring business campaigns in 2017. With the New Year upon us, here is a quick look at some of the biggest updates, launches and affects 2016 had for PPC and SEO experts.

1. Google Stops Showing Ads on Right Side of Desktop Search Results

Google made a huge change in 2016 when they announced that they would no longer be showing AdWords ads on the right side of the desktop search results. Since that announcement, Google ads only appear at the top and bottom of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Officials at Google said this change came after deciding that the right side ads on the desktop search were “less useful.” Google said another reason they made this change was to keep the user experience consistent across all devices and to have a better understanding as to how users engage with campaigns.

2. Expanded Text Ads Went Live

Soon after Google did away with the right side ads in desktop search results, expanded text ads became a hot topic of conversation. By giving advertisers more room to work with, it has allowed agencies to revamp their creative strategies and become more granular with messaging and their overall campaign goals. Soon after Google’s announcement about ETAs, Bing announced that they would also support the new text ad format. Both search engines giants have encouraged advertisers to rethink their overall creative instead of just adding to their existing content.

3. Google Accelerated Mobile Pages Launched

Another huge adjustment also surfaced in February when the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project launched. This launch promised to enhance user’s overall mobile experience, and so far as delivered! The AMP format has since helped eliminate slow loading searches and has helped users identify AMP friendly websites on their mobile devices. Since the launch of this project, Google has recognized which websites have implemented the new HTML format with a boost in search rankings.

4. AdWords Schedules a Redesign

Google announced early in 2016 that AdWords would be getting a redesign from “the ground-up.” This facelift will review how everything from bidding, measurement, navigation and overall workflow is managed. Google’s goal for the redesign is to give marketers a better way of connecting the digital world to the physical world. With Google testing still underway, advertisers can hope to hear more about this new interface sometime in 2017.

5. Individual Device Bidding Became Available

Google announced that they would be bringing back individual device bidding. This announcement was well received by the industry since it would give advertisers more control over device-level bidding within AdWords. This adjustment has since allowed advertisers to anchor their base keyword bid to the device most useful to their business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. Since the announcement, advertisers have also been able to have a wider range to adjust their bids.

6. Penguin 4.0 Launched, Becomes Part of Google’s Core Algorithm

This update came after many months of speculation as to when the update would actually go live. The original Penguin algorithm initially launched in April 2012, and was established to catch websites that were displaying spam-related behavior within search results. The original launch of Penguin affected webmasters who were buying links or gaining them through link network systems in order to strengthen their backlink profile. After the 4.0 release, Penguin now operates in real-time and is page specific. By operating in real-time, webmasters who were previously penalized for bad links or other faults within their website can see the benefits of the adjustments they made a lot sooner. By being page specific, rather than affecting an entire website’s ranking, this update allowed Penguin to devalue spam on specific pages.

7. Google Launches Mobile-Friendly Update

In spring 2016, Google rolled out a second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm. This algorithm gave an additional ranking boost to websites that were recognized as mobile-friendly in search results. Google assured users that if their website was already mobile-friendly, they would not be affected by this page-by-page signal. The great thing about this mobile update is that it is never too late to benefit from since it is conducted in real-time. Be sure to review Google’s mobile guidelines if you are looking to make your website mobile friendly in 2017.

8. Search Quality Rating Guidelines Gets Updated

In March, Google announced that they would be updating the search quality rating guidelines, reducing the document from 160 to 146 pages. The biggest changes that came with this revision included an emphasis on local which was renamed “Visit-in-Person.” An emphasis was also placed on the role of Your Money Your Life and Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T). A de-emphasis was made on supplementary content. It was also stressed that mobile is still very important. Examples were provided in the updated version of the document. You can review the recently updated guidelines through this PDF.

9. AdWords URLs Get Upgraded

In 2016, Google announced that destination URLs within AdWords would no longer be able to be used, edited or created. Since the upgrade launched, advertisers can now enter the landing page portion of the URL and their tracking information separately. Advertisers can also specify URL options at the account, campaign, ad group, ad, keyword, auto target, and sitelink level without stopping the ad or resetting their ad stats. Google released a URL upgrade guide to help advertisers ease into the transition.

10. Introduction of Google Premier Partners Status

In June 2016, Google not only launched new partner badges, but they also launched Google Premier Partner status. Intertwine Interactive is proud to be recognized as a Google Premier Partner! In order for an agency to be considered a Google Premier Partner, the agency must demonstrate a high level of expertise with AdWords and more importantly deliver agency and client growth.  Intertwine has been a Google Partner since 2011, but approximately only 3% of Google Partners were promoted to premier status.

The Best Ways to Improve Your Website’s SEO Strategy

When was the last time you reviewed your website’s SEO strategy? Chances are there are a number of aspects that could stand to be adjusted to ensure you are putting your best foot forward in 2017. When it comes to creating the foundation of a strong SEO strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Read on to learn some of the best ways to improve your website’s SEO.

Focus on Quality Links, Not Quantity

When it comes to reviewing your company’s backlink profile, quality over quantity is key. This aspect of SEO is more important than ever since search engines are becoming really good at detecting links that appear suspicious or an unnatural fit. Buying and selling links is also against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and could land you in hot water. Instead of buying links, focus your time on your content calendar and publish content that could easily gain links naturally.

Create Valuable Content on Your Website

The whole reason your business created a website was to provide your clients with useful information about the service you provide within your industry, right? Having a website full of relevant information about how you can help them navigate a particular industry not only helps your clients better understand what you offer, it can also help your overall SEO strategy. By ensuring you are not republishing industry-related articles from other sources or have the same content located on different URLs, you can avoid issues caused by housing duplicate content on your website. Having duplicate content on your website can have a drastic effect on your website’s overall search rankings.

Be Tactical With Your Keywords

Speaking of creating valuable content, the keywords you use within your website should flow naturally. Much like unnatural links, search engines are getting wise to websites that are stuffing keywords into their content in the hopes of boosting their overall visibility. By keeping the flow of your content natural and conversational, it will not only establish a foundation of credibility for your company, it was also be a lot easier for your current and potential clients to absorb.

Review Your Website’s Loading Speed

When we live in a world where anything you want to know can be answered at a moment’s notice, waiting for a website to fully load can be a huge deterrent for a potential client. Believe it or not, a website’s loading speed is a search engine ranking factor. Research has proven that 40 percent of visitors leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That high bounce rate is potentially a lost business opportunity, and is something you will want to address as soon as possible. There are a number of tools, such as Pingdom, that can help you check your website’s overall loading time.

Review Your Website’s Internal Link Structure

Other than checking the speed of your website, it is important to review your website’s internal linking structure and navigation. How your website navigates is a huge indicator of how much importance is placed on particular pages by search engines. It is essential to ensure that you are internally linking to pages that offer valuable information about your company. By cleaning up your website’s navigation system, you can be sure that PageRank is intertwining with the most valuable content on your website.

 Optimize Your On-Site Applications

Do you have title tags and Meta descriptions on every page? Be sure to check this aspect of your website and ensure that it is optimized. A well written Meta description can be a deciding factor for a potential client to visit your company’s website, and possibly extend a business offer.  Other than your title tags and Meta descriptions, it is good to make sure your images, text formatting and h1 tags are all up to snuff. Not sure how to find out if all your on-site applications are where they need to be? Contact our SEO department today to schedule a site audit.

Why SEO is an Important Business Investment

With so much conversation about the overall health of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) within industry news, it’s hard to know what to believe sometimes. Some believe that this online marketing strategy is no longer useful, but our SEO experts at Intertwine can tell you first-hand, SEO is not going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is this form of online marketing not going anywhere, it remains one of the most important aspects of establishing a company’s brand presence and an honest search ranking. Does your company not have an SEO strategy in place? Here are a few reasons why SEO is an important investment for your business.

SEO Boosts Your Brand Awareness

With the right SEO strategy, your company can be a household name! By working with an SEO expert, you can nail down important and accurate keywords that relate to the service or product your company offers. By adjusting your keywords when necessary, potential customers will be able to see your website every time they search, even when they slightly adjust their search terms.

“By having strong search engine visibility your brand message will be amplified to more and more places,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said.

By continually showing up within search results, you are establishing a strong brand awareness and instilling a sense of trust within those searching for a particular product or service. By gaining the trust of those searching for what your business offers, there is a big possibility that a potential client can become a lifetime customer.

SEO Contributes to Credibility

Let’s face it, how often are you contacting a company that shows up on Page 3 of a Google search? Do you even look as far as Page 3? Landing on that sought-after page 1 of a Google search not only gives your company visibility, it also aids in earning your company credibility. Even though it may be unintentional, consumers who are searching for a particular product or service are going to typically select a company that is listed early on in a Google search. How come? Because Google recognizes those particular websites as being valuable, so why shouldn’t the consumer?

“To be a leader in your industry, you need to be looked at as a reliable source. By showing up on the first page of industry-related search results, you will do just that,” Pitzl said.

If someone who is searching industry-related terms that pertain to your business continually sees your website with a high placement within search results, there is a big chance that they are going to view you as a reliable source of information and will be compelled to visit your website.

Understanding Your Potential Customers with SEO

Another great aspect of establishing a strong SEO strategy is that it can generate traffic to your website. An easy way to gain valuable insight into who is visiting your website is by reviewing your website’s Google Analytics. This data can show you not only the demographic of who is visiting your page, but also their region, how they are searching, when they are searching, what terms they are using and even what kind of device they are searching on. An SEO expert will be able to monitor your website’s Google Analytics and give you insightful information on when and how to tweak certain aspects of your website. By making small adjustments here and there, you can be sure that you are putting your best foot forward when it comes to reaching your target audience.