Category Archives: SEO Blog

Zenergy Works SEO Blog

Voice Search is Trending Up-SEO Implications

Voice search continues to increase according to a new survey from Stone Temple Consulting. 80% of consumers still prefer to use text search in most cases, but the survey data suggests that consumers have a mostly positive experience with voice search.

The top three rationales behind voice usage were:

  • Speedy response.
  • The answer is read back to me.
  • Not having to type.

Voice SearchAbout 40 percent of both men and women said that voice made using their smartphones easier. Most voice search users wanted more direct answers and fewer conventional search results that required going to a third party site for answers.

Bottom Line: This study suggests that the continued emphasis on a positive mobile UX experience and long-tailed Keyword research is becoming more and more important as consumers demand more exact responses to their searches.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO of Zenergy Works and zentiv agency, A Santa Rosa California based digital, design and branding agency.

When Good Internet Goes Bad

When Good Internet Goes Bad

If you use sites like Slack, Imgur, Medium, Huffington Post, or even Apple, you might have noticed the major hiccup last week that left them running improperly or not loading altogether. There’s a lot of technical jargon that explains exactly why, but we’ll make it simple: Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing and storage arm, bugged out and affected up to 100,000 sites, some which experienced loading and delivery issues and others which went offline completely.

When we think of Amazon, we think of the retail powerhouse. However, Amazon has its fingers in many pies, and one of those pies happens to be providing servers, storage space, databases, network connectivity, hosting and lots more to companies in need of reliable web service. As with anything the company touches, they’ve become a go-to source for thousands of businesses, large and small. That’s understandable, given Amazon’s long history of being at the technological forefront of basically everything, but this incident reveals a bigger issue. Amazon reports that the glitch that caused this major outage occurred in a single data center in Virginia. Because of this one localized bug, huge swaths of the internet had a bad day.

When Good Internet Goes Bad

For many businesses, this sort of connectivity issue is anything but a minor problem. Companies that see large returns from online sales and services could really feel the sting of losing almost a day’s worth of sales. This is the trouble with entrusting your hosting and storage services to such a giant — they’re serving so many other people across so many different facilities that it’s difficult to keep any sort of direct control over the situation. If your site hosted through AWS goes down, who exactly do you call? Do you know which facility your servers are housed in?

Granted with Amazon’s extensive reach and manpower, they were able to remedy the issue within a day, but even so that’s multiple hours of inaccessibility. With such an enormous chunk of the internet under their control, it’s concerning that a single glitch in a single datacenter can bring so many sites down. For reference, a 2016 Gartner study revealed that 31% of the global cloud market is controlled by AWS. That’s nearly a third! It’s amazing how rarely we stop to consider how much we rely on the internet until it suddenly becomes inaccessible.

So, is there anything you can do to prevent issues like this in the future? Unlikely. As our technology expands, so to do the weaknesses we have to account for. When a single entity holds such a huge share of the global cloud market, it becomes more likely that a hiccup on their end could directly affect you and your business. It might be prudent to consider obtaining your hosting, storage and web services from a smaller business that isn’t spread so thin, and that you can contact directly with issues.

If you have any questions for us, please send us an email or give us a call!

EMAIL – Small Business Marketing Solutions

Email marketing has been forgotten by many Small Business Marketers because it has just been “done to death”. For most of our clients, email is still a viable marketing medium, and I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the positives of email marketing, and share a few things that have been done, but still bring results.

Email Marketing

2 Reasons that you should continue your email marketing campaigns:

Email has a strong ROI.

According to eMarketer, email marketing campaigns enjoy a median ROI of 122 percent, which exceeds social media, direct mail, and paid search by a large margin. Email is still my favorite medium of communication, and it allows marketers to reach a focused market in their favorite way of communicating. This does not work for all products and target markets, but the majority of our clients get strong returns from email campaigns.

Email Marketing Platforms have raised their game.

Email templates are now mobile responsive allowing them to adapt to the device they’re being viewed on. You can add all kinds of content like surveys, contests and other means of increasing engagement within a professional looking email template without having to be a programmer or website designer.

2 Tips for Success:

Focus on a Specific Target-Content and List

Talk to a focused group of customers about what is valuable to them. Segment by vertical, job title, geographic location, gender, etc and give that specific target market the information that they want and need. This will build trust and loyalty and make your emails relevant to those you target. Remember, your customers, like you, are getting more and more email every day. Make it count!

Mobile is important.

Mobile friendly is not just a responsive template any more. Every bit of content needs to be mobile friendly and cross browser tested before it goes out the door. Mobile use is growing, and it is not just for kids anymore. Can you imagine attempting to manage all of the information that you see in a day without using a smart phone?

We have all seen the the trends come and go, and some of the new stuff is truly exciting and awesome, but email needs to be considered as part of each and every digital campaign.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO of Zenergy Works and zentiv agency in Santa Rosa California.

Influencer Marketing? Really?

Influencer Marketing? Really?

Yes, Really. Imagine if you wanted to sell a new kind of cookware, and you had a celebrity chef (Hello, Mr. Fieri) on social media explaining how this new line of cookware could make your time spent in the kitchen more enjoyable and produce better tasting, more appetizing dishes? Mr. Fieri would definitely have a following of food lovers and they would be interested in what he has to say on this subject. Your brand would have instant recognition and credibility, and this would dramatically influence your ramp up time for social media and digital campaigns.

Influencer Marketing

Here are a few suggestions (rules are so absolute and limiting) on how to put together an effective and valuable influencer marketing campaign:

Influencers are social media “mavens” and high visibility bloggers. To find the right influencer for you, first determine the best social channel for your product. Soft drinks might use SnapChat, a baby carriage manufacturer may use Instagram or Facebook, etc. and look for the biggest names in those arenas, preferably those that have a potential connection to your product or service. Ie. A mom of younger kids for the baby carriage. Also, research hash tags to find out who has the most posts and related content for those hash tags. Be sure to also be conscious of the relevance of the audience of any potential social media influencer. Social Media followers can be a commodity in today’s market, so the influencer’s length of time in the social media platform and the geographic distribution of those followers are key indicators of the relevance of the audience.

You should include blogging in your influencer marketing campaign as well. Sites like Inkybee, BlogDash, and GroupHigh are excellent sources to reach out to bloggers that can be qualified by their organic traffic rankings, audience demographic and engagement per post.

How do you recruit influencers into your campaign? Most of the larger influencers are all about being paid for endorsements, and most of these resources are outside of the budget of the average online advertiser. Some may only want free product and will endorse only products that they actually use and are enthusiastic about. Some influencers are willing to trade customer lists and influence posts in related product verticals. The real find is an influencer who is passionate about your product-that can take time and effort, but is well worth the end result.

This is a step by step guide for implementing your influencer marketing campaign:

Identify and Qualify Influencers:

This is doing your homework. Find influencers that make sense, track their activities and product mentions via social media and blogging before reaching out to them.

Create a Plan:

Define your budget, write up a campaign brief and establish your goals and how you plan to pay or trade for reaching those goals.

Recruit your Influencers:

Create a pitch letter that is in your voice, and explains your passion for what you do, as well as how that passion will translate to the influencers audience. Influencers remain Influencers by providing valuable information. Be valuable.

Track Results:

Track your influencer marketing campaign results. Make sure that site visits and conversions are tracked, as well as level of customer satisfaction with the product from the customers who purchase from you as a result of your campaign.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO of Zenergy Works and zentiv agency, located in Santa Rosa California providing services from SEO to product packaging, marketing and website design and construction.

Another Google Algorithm Update?

Algorithm Update

Google may have made some more adjustments to their algorithms in the first week of February. The adjustment appears to affect how Google targets spam links and other forms of spam. Google would not officially confirm or deny there was an algorithm update. Most of the discussion of this Google update on line is from sites who routinely use “black hat” tactics and have run afout of the former Penguin update that is now part of the Google core algorithms.

Many Google search results tracking tools, like MozCast, Algoroo, RankRanger are showing significant turbulence in the first week of February. This movement is despite the fact that those of us in the SEO trade that practice “white hat” optimization did not really even notice an update. All of this evidence points to an algorithm update of Google evaluates and discredits or penalizes for spam links.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO of Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa California based SEO firm and zentiv agency, a 360 advertising agency also located in Santa Rosa.

Google Changes in 2016

google

2016 Google Updates

The search engine started the year with a flurry of activity – an intense weekend of ranking fluctuations led many to predict that a new Penguin algorithm was imminent. This was denied by Google at the time but it preceded a series of major changes to the search index through the year, some of which will continue to be felt in 2017.

Panda (Content…..Mainly)

Google Panda

The first Google update came in early January with large changes being reported by webmasters. We do know that Google made changes to the core algorithm and that they incorporated Panda into the algorithm as well. Google have remained tight lipped however, about exactly what happened when.

Google’s search quality senior strategist Andrey Lipattsev made the statement below. Panda itself may or may not have evolved or that any major changes had been rolled out to that algorithm as it was added to the core algorithm.

What are we talking about here [with regards to the core algorithm]… it’s less about the functionality of the thing which probably doesn’t change that much over time. It’s more about how we perceive it in the context of the algorithm itself. Do we still think this is an experimental thing which has been running for a while and we’re still not sure how long it is going to last or is it …like PageRank, it is part of it, it is always going to be there at least in the foreseeable future and therefore in certain context we might call it [a] core part of the algorithm.

Penguin (Links)

Google Penguin

Google rolled out Penguin 4.0 in September of 2016 and included the incorporation of Penguin into the core algorithm. (Some Say the date is September 23rd, but that was the date that Google went public with the change). Penguin filtered the web to detect spammy sites. Penguin, instead of running periodically as it had in the past, was now running in real time, and the impact on some site placements was dramatic. Since Penguin was now part of the core algorithm, no future updates to Penguin would be announced.

Penguin became a signal rather than a penalty. Google said on its Webmaster blog,

Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools changed in February of 2016. The content splitting information was changed to show how to help Google find content and how to help visitors and the search engine correctly review information on the pages. One interesting new recommendation was to include a human readable version of the sitemap. Google also said that a few thousand links per page would be more than enough.

Google Adwords

The biggest AdWords news of 2016 was saying goodbye to the ads in the sidebar and the adoption of the 4 ad format at the top of the SERP. While the change had a major impact on how ads were bid competitively and how adwords budgets were spent, this change also brought ad results in line with the mobile experience.

We don’t expect there to be any additional major changes to the way ads are displayed in 2017, but this change is still affecting the way AdWords accounts are managed. Social Media, with improved dashboards and lower costs, may become more and more an option for online advertisers.

There were changes to the Keyword Planner as well, with Google grouping search numbers instead of giving individual search volumes. In other words, if you want to know exactly how a keywords performs in adwords, set up your account and go for it!

Google Adwords launched a new IOS app, offering more flexibility and making it easier to stay on top of campaigns when away from the desktop. Expect changes through 2017 as the app is further refined.

Mobile Search (First, Not Last)

It is now officially and AMP world. Google let the world know that page load speed would now be a ranking factor, that the new mobile index would be the primary ranking index (although the desktop index, for now, still is in existence).

Mobile targeting options were perfected in 2016, and text ads, and bid processes on Adwords catered to the mobile browser.

What Does This Mean?

Mobile Search is king, and website content and User Experience (UX) are queen. The only constant in the world of online marketing is change, and as long as Google is the primary search engine in the world, change will continue to happen to make sure that users (and Mobile Users) have a positive search experience. The key to a successful website is being part of that successful experience.

Eric Van Cleave is the CEO of Zenergy Works a Santa Rosa California SEO, Website Development and online marketing Firm. Zenergy now has a sister company, zentiv agency, providing design, branding, market research, and packaging, brochure and collateral design.

Silo Website Structure for Successful SEO

The primary goal of SEO is to improve the website so that the site is organized with the themes matching the targeted keywords and keyword phrases.

Siloing a website will establish the groundwork for high keyword rankings. Siloing has become fundamental for search engine optimization and is no longer a high level theoretical topic.

The term siloing describes grouping related website content into distinct sections within a website. A silo represents a group of themed or subject-specific content on a website. Siloing has become an SEO priority because search engines award keyword relevancy within their based on the page and the supporting relevant content.

There are many great websites that do not rank prominently in search engine results (SERPs) because they lack an organic search engine optimization strategy or their strategy does not include enough attention to siloing. rankings.

Siloing a website

Siloing a website is a multi-step process of planning and implementation.

  1. Begin the process of siloing by determining your website theme. Answer questions including:
    1. How would a user search for your content (main search queries)?
    2. How can you implement clear subject “silos” into your theme?
    3. What subjects/keywords/themes are currently ranking for your website?
    4. What subject themes are legitimately relevant for your website?
  2. Consider whether you can implement a physical silo through the site’s directory structure.
  3. Carefully examine the link structure implemented throughout the site, applying linking techniques between related content pages.
  4. Create and post relevant content that includes targeted and related keyword phrases within appropriate silos.

Website Theme

Google’s algorithm measures subject relevance in order to award rankings. By carefully reviewing search results and high-ranking pages, it’s possible to learn about the ranking factors of the algorithm.

In order to rank in the search engine results, a website must provide information in a clear structure and language designed to help search engines easily index the information.

Siloing is not all there is to ranking, but it has become a key element in optimal on page SEO optimization. The on-page process of achieving high rankings begins by having a clear understanding of a website’s subject themes.
What Terms Are Ranking for You Now?

One of the first steps is to identify the terms that the website currently appears for prominently in search engine results. You may determine this from data from the following sources:

Web Analytics Evaluation

There are several ways to obtain the data or logs for the history of search engine spiders and the footprints of visitors to your site The most popular is Google Analytics.

PPC Programs

Other clues to the words that your current site may be relevant for is to evaluate the words that your company bids on with Pay-Per-Click programs. It is also useful to look at pages with high Quality Scores.

Inside Knowledge

Interview Sales and Management to explore relevant keyword phrases that feature the core competency of the firm and its goods and or services.

Keyword Research

After creating a list of keyword terms that appear to be relevant to your company’s product and/or services. Please be sure to use more than one source for this research. Some of the most popular tools are wordtracker, wordstream and Google Adwords keyword tool. Use these keyword discovery tools to identify search terms related to the site’s subject matter.

Build Your Silos

Directory silos reinforce themes by grouping like content pages under one, highly organized directory. A minimum of five content pages are needed to establish the theme and each must be named to reinforce the subject matter. Without a clear directory structure, visitors and search engines are easily lost as to the purpose and theme of the site.

Conclusion

SEO has become complicated, competitive, and increasingly technical. Algorithm changes are not designed to kill SEO, as some claim, but rather to continue the mission of Search Engines to provide the most relevant results to any search. The key to good SEO is providing the relevant information and organizing it in a way that is user friendly and easy for search engines to index.

Eric Van Cleave is Managing Partner of Zenergy Works, and CEO of zentiv Agency, specializing in SEO, Website Development, Marketing, and Web Design.

All You Have to Do Is Ask…

Five Star ReviewsLook, everyone loves 5 gold stars for their business pages. Facebook, Yelp, Google, Trip Adviser, whatever it may be we want great ratings. Ratings can have an enormous impact on your business – but did you know ratings also make an impact on SEO?

Reviews on your site as well as third party sites make up nearly 10% of your overall ranking.

That is a big chunk that you simply cannot ignore. The search engine is looking at several factors when considering reviews, factors such as quality, diversity, customer experience, and relevance. So how do we receive more reviews for SEO purposes? To find out, just keep reading…

  1. Ask For Them – duh. The most effective way to ask for review is to have have a strong CTA – most reviews come post purchase so encouraging your shoppers to leave reviews can prove to be effective.
  2. Make It Easy – You will need a ridiculously low barrier to entry for people to leave reviews. Make sure your review page is mobile friendly with little to no hurdles to go through.
  3. Incentive reviews – reward your shoppers for leaving reviews. Points programs or discounts off future purchases always helps.
  4. Profanity Filter – Search Engines look down on bad words as well as customers. Use a profanity filter on the review sites to help keep the reviews clean.

If you are lucky enough to have customers who want to leave reviews for your business don’t screw it up by getting in their and your way. Make life easy for them, after all they are your valued customers!

7 Practical Tips for Implementing Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Strategic B2B Content MarketingYou already know that successful B2B marketing requires a solid strategy. You’ve likely even already attempted to nail one down once or twice. However, the content marketing portion keeps slipping through your fingers. Try as you might, you can’t get that piece to work. What now?

Here are seven practical ways to implement an effective B2B content marketing strategy.

1.) Revisit and Redefine Your Target
Your company probably already has your target markets well-defined. That’s not the problem. The problem is defining a target specifically for digital content. It’s vital to understand how your target uses social media, smart phones, mobile devices, blogs, and search. How do they read their news? Where do they read their news? Your target market can’t be general — it must be specific in order to understand the sort of content that will work for you. With B2B, it’s extra important to figure out which businesses you want to work with and who you’re marketing to within those companies — the decision makers.

2.) Find a Voice that Connects
Finding your B2B voice can take some experimentation. It’s a good idea to brainstorm and come up with a consistent tone before you implement your plan, but remain flexible. Make note of what’s resonating and what isn’t. Increase the successes, decrease the duds. Rinse, repeat.

3.) Create Editorial Calendars
Social media and blogging is at its best when it feels organic and in-the-moment, but that doesn’t mean you have to wing it. Create an overreaching calendar of all your properties that require content and plot out key dates, sales, information, industry news, and other relevant points. Leave enough room to slip in current news or spur-of-the-moment posts, but don’t rely on them. Make sure you’re planning ahead for building up big events or reveals. Keep a running list of topics that are always relevant (“evergreen” content). Use them when you need them, bump them when you don’t.

4.) Utilize Themes and Series Posts
Make your job easier by planning out multiple posts as a series. Tips, tricks, tutorials, webinar of the week, featured employee of the month… there are dozens of possibilities. This negates the need to come up with a fresh idea for every single post — you always have something on standby.

5.) Invest in Hi-Res Images and Sharable Content
Your content should be relevant, sharable, and interesting. Your images should be high-quality, high-resolution, and eye-catching. Infographics are a major draw, so consider ways to share relevant information for the industries your targeting in an succinct and attractive way. Aim for crafting content that is interesting, informative, or entertaining. Focus less on touting your own business and more on what’s relevant to your targets.

6.) Build Trust, Build a Business Case
Once you’ve established a level of reliability and interest in your target market by offering them what they want, move on to what they need and the solutions you offer. When they know they can come to you for good information and trust your knowledge, they’ll be more likely to consider how you can help their business.

7.) Experiment to Increase Conversions
Define your key content pages — the site-hubs on which you’re hoping to bring in inquiries and sales. Create multiple versions with different content, targeting different keywords for search or targeting unique audiences. Try different approaches, then review your site analytics monthly to see what’s hitting home. Use the knowledge for good!

Hopefully these tips have given you a solid foundation on which to build. If you need additional guidance or would like help getting your content marketing strategy off the ground, reach out to us here at zentiv. With over 13 years of experience in the business across dozens of industries, we know what works and we’re happy to share.

Google Gets an A+ for Changing G+ Reviews

A+Google just made a minor adjustment and that’s making everyone happier, users no longer need a G+ account to leave a review for a business. This is great news for anyone who simply wants to leave a review on Google, but doesn’t want to go through the time and hassle of creating a G+ account. Businesses no longer need to have a G+ page to receive reviews either. This simple adjustment made by Google can be a great improvement for businesses who have struggled to receive reviews from clients. This update is now easy to do on desktop and mobile – Google fixed an issue that wouldn’t allow mobile users to leave a review for a business if the business had no prior reviews. Now it’s as easy as pie! This simple modification means a lot for local businesses who operate and rely on word of mouth and reviews. Just make sure your business is giving great customer service or you’ll be wishing that Google never made this update! As always contact us for whatever internet marketing service you need.