Tag Archives: SEO

March 2024 Google Algorithm Updates Are No Joke!

March 2024 Google Algorithm Updates Are No Joke!

As a business owner or manager invested in the digital realm, staying abreast of Google’s algorithm updates is paramount to maintaining your online presence. The March 2024 Google Core Update, in particular, carries significant weight, influencing the visibility and relevance of search results across the board. As someone deeply entrenched in the world of SEO and digital marketing, I feel compelled to shed light on the implications of this update and provide actionable insights for navigating its impact.  

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Understanding the Significance of Google Algorithm Updates

Google’s algorithm updates are not arbitrary adjustments; they represent strategic shifts aimed at enhancing user experience and delivering more accurate search results. The March 2024 update is no exception. Designed to refine the assessment of content quality, relevance, and trustworthiness, it demands attention from businesses reliant on organic search traffic.

The Evolution of SEO in Response to Algorithm UpdateÎs

In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, adaptability is key. As algorithms evolve, so must our strategies. Gone are the days of relying solely on keyword stuffing and backlink quantity. Today, successful SEO hinges on content quality, user experience, and ethical practices. Embracing this evolution is crucial for sustainable digital growth.

Navigating the March 2024 Google Core Update

So, how can businesses weather the storm of algorithm updates and emerge stronger on the other side? Here are some actionable steps:

  1. Prioritize Content Quality: Invest in creating valuable, engaging content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. Quality content not only attracts visitors but also earns credibility in the eyes of search engines.
  1. Enhance User Experience: User experience (UX) is a cornerstone of SEO. Ensure your website is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and optimized for speed. A positive UX not only improves search rankings but also encourages repeat visits and conversions.
  1. Build Authoritative Backlinks: While the quantity of backlinks may have lost its significance, the quality remains paramount. Focus on acquiring backlinks from reputable sources within your industry niche. Leverage relationships, guest posting opportunities, and content collaborations to build a robust backlink profile.
  1. Embrace White Hat SEO Practices: Black hat tactics may yield short-term gains, but they come with the risk of penalties and long-term damage to your online reputation. Instead, prioritize white hat SEO techniques that adhere to search engine guidelines and promote sustainable growth.
  1. Monitor and Adapt: The digital landscape is dynamic, and strategies that work today may become obsolete tomorrow. Stay vigilant, monitor performance metrics, and be prepared to adapt your SEO strategy in response to algorithm updates and shifting industry trends.

Conclusion

So far, our clients have not been affected by the changes that Google has made. I believe it is because of our commitment to creating a strong UX (user experience) on our client websites. We focus on quick loading sites that offer valuable content for website visitors.

For businesses seeking guidance on navigating the complexities of SEO in light of the March 2024 Google Core Update, Zenergy Works offers tailored solutions and expertise. Our team of seasoned professionals specializes in ethical, results-driven SEO strategies designed to elevate your online presence and drive sustainable growth. Get a free SEO analysis and quote today.

Additional Resources:

Stay informed, stay proactive, and together, let’s navigate the ever-evolving landscape of SEO with confidence and clarity.

How Can Digital Marketing Help Grow My Business?

How Can Digital Marketing Help Grow My Business?

When it comes to growing your business, tapping into the power of digital marketing is a game-changer. However, for your efforts to be most effective, it’s essential to understand the wide range of digital marketing tactics available and what they have to offer

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When you employ multiple tactics simultaneously, your digital marketing strategy becomes a robust toolkit that propels your business’s growth forward and becomes a driving force behind its success. 

For example, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps improve organic search placement, while paid ads (primarily on Google and Bing) ensure immediate visibility by placing your business at the top of the search engine results pages. This combination gives you both long-term visibility through SEO and instantaneous visibility through paid advertisements—ultimately driving more traffic and potential customers to your website. 

Email marketing uses an organic collection of customer email addresses to stay in touch with existing and prospective customers; social media marketing utilizes social media platforms frequented by your customer profiles to promote your unique selling proposition, brand image, and products. 

Our digital marketing strategies focus on building sales while improving your company image and brand recognition; these proven tactics can be effectively applied to any business, whether B2C, B2B, retail, or a professional service. 

Leveraging Digital Marketing to Build Sales

SEO and Paid Search Ads on Google and Bing have immense potential in terms of driving sales. These techniques specifically target keyword searches used by potential customers who have moved past the casual browsing phase and are ready to make purchase decisions:

  • Keyword research: Understanding what your potential customers are searching for is key to visibility. Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your audience uses when looking for products or services like yours.
  • Highlighting key products and services: Showcase your most popular and profitable offerings; this will direct attention to them and increase the likelihood of conversions. 
  • Create conversion-oriented landing pages: Develop dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors to customers. These pages should contain clear, concise information about your products or services backed by testimonials from previous clients. Additionally, incorporating credibility statements focused on E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) will bolster customer confidence in your brand. 

Email marketing is a powerful, cost-effective way to announce promotions or incentives for new and improved products or services, as well as an opportunity to improve products or services through upsells. It serves as a direct line to your audience and encourages them to make purchases or take advantage of special offers. 

Social media is a less formal platform for driving sales and promotions. However, for your campaign to succeed, it’s crucial to provide useful and relevant information. Share content that helps your customers use your products or services more efficiently or offers valuable industry-specific tips. Once you’ve established credibility through your content, call-to-actions to purchase your products or engage your services will be more effective. 

Building Your Image and Brand Recognition

Not all SEO content needs to be sales-oriented. In fact, Google (and other search engines) view content that provides value to users as the best content—and therefore worthy of being ranked higher in the search results. 

In addition, valuable content that educates and informs your audience positions your firm as an esteemed authority in your field. Blog posts and FAQs are instrumental in sharing your knowledge and establishing credibility. 

Likewise, Paid Display and Performance Max campaigns aren’t solely about immediate conversions; they’re designed to reach a curated customer profile and expand brand recognition. While this isn’t meant to imply that you won’t receive conversions from this platform—you certainly will—you’ll also have the benefit of amplifying your visibility in a way that drives both immediate action and long-term familiarity with your brand. 

Email marketing is an excellent platform for distributing content to existing and potential customers already familiar with your business, whether it’s a new blog or essential updates. This regular engagement deepens your relationship with your customer base, fosters brand loyalty, and encourages repeat business—all of which are key to helping your company grow. 

Social media platforms offer a window into your company’s culture and values for those in your target markets, which allows you to forge online relationships and cultivate brand recognition among your target audiences. 

Crafting a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

While this guide doesn’t cover every digital marketing platform and its nuances, it does offer a general roadmap for crafting a successful digital marketing strategy. 

Keep in mind that the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing strategy lies in having a website that delivers a robust and seamless user experience; your website is the foundation that drives the success of all of these strategies and ties them all together. Learn more about creating a strong online presence here

SEO Blog Optimization Checklist

SEO Blog Optimization Checklist

The primary goal of any blog is to create unique and useful content. The strategies outlined here are designed to get content found in search engine results and help to build the reputation of the author of the blog content. The following is a very basic checklist designed to help with SEO Blog Optimization.

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Keyword Research

If you use tools from Google, Ahrefs or SEMrush, keyword research is a vital start to your blog process. It is the basic step of understanding how many searchers are interested in your blog topic, how competitive the keyword or keyword stream is in search results, and what related topics may be available to optimize in your blog post. It is also wise to check trending topics in search for the terms that you have chosen to optimize.

Quality Content

Content should use short sentences, short paragraphs and use simple words whenever possible. The content should be easy to read and convey a useful message.  E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is also very important under current Google Guidelines. Be sure to write about what you know. Most of our blog topics are inspired by questions we get from our clients. Don’t be afraid to update past content as it becomes outdated.

On Page SEO

It is vitally important to create the following to optimize your blog post: Title tag that contains the keywords and geo targets, a compelling and descriptive meta description to let online searchers see what your blog post is about and want to get the information that you provide in it, H1 tag that includes your target keywords and matches the Title Tag, alt text for images on the post-again to match your target keywords, and please include links to valuable information that matches the blog post on your website.

Backlinks

If you are optimizing for competitive keywords, you may consider building quality backlinks to fully complete SEO Blog Optimization. The links should be from relevant sites-a great guideline is to only build links that a human being is likely to find in relevant online searches and use to reach your content.

Conclusion

This checklist is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to introduce you to the general practices for SEO Blog Optimization. For a more in depth discussion of this topic please see optimizing your blog for SEO on SEMRush.

I know that our firm struggles with being consistent with blog posts, but that is one of the keys to success and staying relevant in search results.

If you have additional questions about SEO, please see our white paper on Local SEO Optimization  
Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California SEO Firm.

Increasing Sales 3x with Local SEO

Zenergy Works began working with this client in November of 2015 and in the last 5 years that we’ve worked together we’ve:

  • Increased sales over 3x
  • Increased their website traffic 12x
  • Established this client as a presence in local search

This particular client is an Auto Body Shop with one location in Santa Rosa, California.  (The client’s name will remain anonymous for strategic purposes). When we first connect with this client, we did an exhaustive debrief of the client’s marketing strategy, their ideal customer, as well as the types of services they prefer to provide and are most profitable. The initial diagnostic was this:

  1. A new website had been launched, but it needed a great deal of work in functionality like contact/quote forms, content, and mobile load time.
  2. Poor organic placement for significant search terms.
  3. No presence on Social Media.
  4. No strategy to take advantage of extremely positive customer reviews.

We made significant gains for this particular client by employing a geo-focused SEO campaign that allowed them to be found in search and build relevant website traffic quickly.  We emphasized our core values (ie.  OEM parts) using Google Text Ads to augment organic search positioning.  We began using blog posts and social media to give relevant tips on auto maintenance, OEM parts v. aftermarket parts, and how to evaluate if a body shop has the proper certifications to return a vehicle to factory specifications.

By making marketing a priority, and getting constant input and assistance from the client, by the middle of October 2020, we have been able to accomplish the following:

  1. Web traffic now is coming from results for search terms that emphasize the core and most profitable services offered by this firm.
  2. The company has grown and enjoys 3x the sales the firm had in 2015.
  3. The company is now competing with market leaders in its service area for all businesses instead of relying solely on insurance company referrals for new business.
  4. The company maintains top of mind awareness with its target market through social media.
  5. We designed and built a new website for the company that reflects the services offered, is structured for good SEO, and converts website visitors into customers.
  6. We have also helped the company to ensure that the brand of the company is consistent from website to business cards and in all advertising platforms, including social media.

Overall, the marketing strategy and tactics we’ve implemented for our client has led to dramatic increases in sales.  Additionally, our targeting has allowed them to focus on the type of business that they prefer to complete and clients they wish to work with.

Here is a quote from our client about our services:

My company, ———————-, has been using Zenergy’s services from web design, graphic design, content writing, eblasts, social media content, etc………. Eric, Vanessa and their team do a terrific job. They always following through on their promises and are quick to respond to any matter.

If you would like to find out more about how Zenergy Works can help your business to grow, please contact us.   Your initial consultation is free.   The client outlined here is available to discuss how their business has been changed by our marketing efforts.

Increasing Sales 7X with National SEO

Case Study: Increasing Sales 7X with National SEO | Nation Wide SEO

Zenergy Works began working with this client in November of 2016 and in the last 36 months we’ve worked together we’ve:

  • Increased sales 7x
  • Increased requests for pricing from 0 to almost 300 in the past year
  • tripled their website traffic
  • Established this client as a presence in national search

This particular client is a Printed Circuit Board Manufacturer with locations in Silicon Valley, Connecticut, Texas and Southern California (The clients name will remain anonymous for strategic purposes). When we first connect with this client, we did an exhaustive debrief of the client’s marketing strategy, digital presence, their ideal customer, as well the types of services their prefer to provide and are most profitable. The initiation diagnostic was this:

  1. A new website had been launched, but it needed a great deal of work in functionality like contact/quote forms, content and mobile load time.
  2. Poor organic placement for significant search terms.
  3. No national presence in search

We made significant gains for this particular client by employing a geo-focused SEO campaign that allowed them to be found in search and build relevant website traffic quickly.  We helped in national expansion by strategically using Google Text Ads to augment organic search positioning and Google Display Ads to increase brand recognition.

By making marketing a priority, and getting constant input and assistance from the client, by the end of September 2020, we have been able to accomplish the following:

  1. Web traffic now is national and international as opposed to being just from Silicon Valley in 2016.
  2. The company has grown and is forecasted to have 7x the sales the firm had in 2016.
  3. The company is now competing with the national leaders in its field instead of being a regional presence in 2016.

Overall, the marketing strategy and tactics we’ve implemented for our client has led to dramatic increases in sales. Additionally, our targeting has allowed them to focus of the type of business that they prefer to complete and clients they wish to work with.

If you would like to find out more about how Zenergy Works can help your business to grow, please contact us.   Your initial consultation is free.   The client outlined here is available to discuss how their business has been changed by our marketing efforts.

Google Ranking Factors – Get Onboard To Do What You Can Do

AI, Rankbrain, BERT, Content Creation, and others are all parts of the list of Google Algorithms that determine the placement of websites in search.  Many of these algorithms are so complex that little or nothing can be done to directly optimize for the algorithm.  There are, however, a few general tactics that can be done to optimize your site for Google search.  I have listed and explained a few of these in this post.  I know, sounds boring, but the results you will achieve from understanding and following these guidelines will likely be worth it.

Unique Content And Search Intent

It is not enough anymore to create unique content around a keyword that you wish to rank in search.  You must also analyze the “intent” of the search query for that keyword.  Does someone searching for “Best SEO Company” want a sales statement about how your firm is the best, or are they looking for case studies, examples of success, positive customer reviews and at least a hint at what tactics are used to gain placement for your clients?   I think that the latter outline is what most searching for that term have in mind, and that is the information that one should provide.

There are four types of search queries according to Google:

  1. Informational queries (e.g., how do you do SEO?)
  2. Navigational queries (e.g., SEO firm near me)
  3. Comparison queries (e.g., SEO v. Paid Ads)
  4. Commercial queries (e.g., SEO Pricing)

Page Content and Code

The best indicator of what needs to be on your page to move up in rankings is to review what Google has on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for your search terms.  If there are images in the search results, then images with optimized alt tags are important.  Featured Snippets on the SERP?  Be sure to use the proper schema data to highlight your content.  If you are in local search, your Google My Business listing is critical.  Optimize with posts, photos and correct NAP (name, address, phone number) info.

Increase Page Speed

Page speed is an important factor of the User Experience (UX) of your site.  It is also a ranking factor.  You may assess your load speed by using Google’s Pagespeed Insights for load speed and Google Search Console to identify mobile and desktop usage issues and 404s (broken links) and other site structure issues.  Google is using mobile first indexing almost universally now, so page load speed and UX are key to gaining rankings.

E-A-T factors

E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. It is difficult to say if optimizing this is going to improve rankings, but it should improve conversion knowing that the person or people behind the ideas being presented in the website are experts in their field.  Be sure that you have contact info on your site, and that you have a profile page explaining who you are and outlining your experience and training. 

Backlinks That Help You Find Information

The most important things about backlinks (links to your site from other sites) is that you want them to be from a variety of sites and that they be links that a human being would actually follow.  Ahrefs.com and SEM Rush both have link building tools that will help to identify sites that link to competitors or have information relevant to your site.

Conclusion

There are so many things in SEO that are outside of our control   The factors that we can influence are vulnerable to constant change.  It is important to focus on strategies that are able to be improved, and trust that creating a website that has unique, relevant and valuable content that is presented in a fashion that allows a user to gain the answers to the questions they ask (keyword searches) will be valued not only by those who visit, but by Google Algorithms.  The above list represents a few improvements that can be made to help a site to rank in SERP.  

Mobile-First Indexing and The REAL Effects On SEO

Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile-first Indexing was one of the biggest changes that Google has brought forth in the past year. Google is correct to acknowledge the explosion in mobile search queries and the need to force website owners to optimize for mobile search. As time has gone by, the practical methods of optimizing a website for mobile-first indexing. I will list a few that have worked for us in the past:

Search Queries 

have changed because of voice search and search habits of those looking for goods and services “near me”. Some of the searches that are now being emphasized are long-tail queries (ie. Best tire store for Goodyear tires), informational queries (ie. What is a mud and snow rated tire?), how do I searches (ie. How do I put snow chains on my car?), and local search (ie. Best tire store near me). According to Google, the fastest-growing types of queries are personal search (ie. How do I know when my car needs new tires?), and conversational search (ie. Can I buy tires online?). Personal search and conversational searches are growing because of the continued use of handheld devices to help us navigate our lives. No doubt, this trend will continue and is a vital need for websites to remain relevant moving ahead.

Relevant Content 

has always been the key to successful SEO. Content that is unique and valuable and addresses the needs of those searching for the keywords that you wish to feature is the key to being prominently featured in Google search results. The change in search queries has necessitated a different keyword research and content approach. Focus is now directed to the intent of search queries, understanding that intent, and fulfilling the need. Google has become much better at gauging whether or not website content fulfills the intent of the search. It is vitally important to watch the performance of website content on different devices. Searches vary depending on the type of device that is used for search. Mobile-first indexing does not mean that the search terms that are more relevant for desktop search should be eliminated, but rather that the content and search terms that apply best to mobile search should be added and constantly evaluated.

User Experience (UX) 

in the context of mobile-first indexing has become far more complex. The use of machine learning in search algorithms is designed to evaluate page performance and the level of engagement with searchers who find and use the page. With mobile search growing, the demands of having site content fulfill the needs of different searches on different devices with different intent become daunting. The practical solution seems to be a combination of identifying and prioritizing what searches are the most relevant to the core business of the company, and (taking a page from the paid marketing handbook) creating more landing pages to be certain to address the exact intent of the visitor to the page.

Google Algorithm Intent 

is the same: to deliver the best content that matches the intent of online searchers and remain relevant in an era of increased competition for the online space from internet giants like Amazon and Facebook. A close evaluation of recent algorithm changes is true to this original intent. The practical part of this is that SEO is now more complex and requires consideration of the intent and keyword use of different users on different devices. The key is to decide what is relevant to you. The intent of a typically older audience may be more or less relevant depending on the product offered and the positioning of that product. The technical aspects of SEO should not cause online marketers to lose sight of their target audience and the search intent of that audience. Most goods and services that are offered have a unique selling proposition, and taking the time to understand how search queries are designed to find this uniqueness is a key to SEO success in the new mobile-first search environment. 

Google’s Algo Intent Hasn’t Changed

Looked at a certain way, it could be said that Google’s desire to show users what they want to see has remained consistent. What has changed is the users’ age, what they desire, when they desire it and what device they desire it on. So the intent of Google’s algorithm likely remains the same.

The mobile-first index can be seen as a logical response to how users have changed. It’s backward to think of it as Google forcing web publishers to adapt to Google.What’s happening is that web publishers must adapt to how their users have changed.

Ultimately that is the best way to think of the mobile-first index. Not as a response to what Google wants but to approach the problem as a response to the evolving needs of the user.

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