Category Archives: Blog

Blog Posts: Writing Effective Content

In our previous blog, we explored some of the ways we can use content marketing to keep our customers engaged with our offerings and brand. With a variety of content types to choose from, it can be hard to get started. A good starting place for content creation is blog posts.

Blog posts are a collection of regularly posted articles that share information to your audience. Varying in length and content, blogs tend to be an informal way to keep in touch with your users. Blogs can be used to educate, promote, and push brand awareness for your company. Before we dive into how to write a blog, let’s explore some of the types of blogs we can write.

Types of Blogs

There are many types of blogs on the internet today. In order to determine what kind of content you want to create, you will need to have a good understanding of the way your audience communicates and digests content. A few types of blogs we can consider starting with are:

  • Tutorial Blogs: These blogs help teach and guide readers on a topic. They can be comprehensive, step-by-step blogs or even a collection of general tips. If your customer base is interested in learning, sharing your insights through blog posts can catch their interest.
  • News Blogs: These blogs aim to share recent information that may affect your audience. These updates could be directly about your company or about other important occurrences that will affect your business and customers. Keeping your audience up to date on factors that will impact them can be valuable to your readers.
  • List Based Blogs: These blogs can vary in terms of topics or goals, but generally share a list of similar topics. A list of the pros and cons of hosting products, for example, would fall into this category. Informing your users of multiple solutions or things to consider through a list blog can help them make educated decisions and even better understand your offerings.

What blog type you choose to write will depend on your expertise and customer base. What information or insights do you have or want to share? What are your customers interested in? Answer these questions to better determine what kind of blog may best suit your business.

How to Start blog Post

Getting started is the hardest part of most projects and writing a blog post is no different. There are three steps we must take when determining what we are going to write:

Choose a topic

When choosing your topic, consider your ideal customer’s interests and concerns. What problems do they struggle with? Why do they purchase your products? How can you help them? By connecting your expertise to something they care about, you can define a topic that will be both interesting and valuable to your customer.

Research your topic

One thing to remember when writing blogs is that you are not expected to be an expert immediately on the topic you are writing about. Consider your knowledge when thinking about what you want to write, but also research your topic by reading similar blogs, listening to podcasts, analyzing courses, and so forth.

Note: Gaps in Knowledge can Offer Opportunities to create something Unique

An important detail to note when researching a topic is what is missing or incomplete. If there are gaps in information being shared about your topic, you may be able to fill that gap in your own writing. By providing new knowledge to the context of your topic, your blog can stand out amongst others.

Write an outline

After your have collected notes on your topic, write an outline about what you want to share and how you want to share it. Creating structure helps you both share information in an organized way, but also see visually if your ideas are connecting like you thought they would. When writing your outline, consider the structure of your blog along alongside the topic you are discussing and the solutions you are providing.

Writing your Blog

Most blogs are structured with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this structure can help get your started on writing a piece that is complete and easily digestible. However, there are multiple details to consider while writing your blog.

Titles & Headings

When writing a blog, you will eventually need to decide on a title for it. Titles can be determined at any time as you write your blog. Some blog titles are clear and concise, such as “How to decorate a Christmas Tree,” while others are intentionally vague, such as “10 things you shouldn’t do when decorating a Christmas Tree.” Both of these hypothetical blogs could contain the same details and insights, but they work to attract different audiences. Consider what titles would attract your specific reader base.

Beyond titles, your article may contain multiple subheadings that divide your article. Headings make your blog more palatable and easier to understand. When considering your headings, or even your title, keep in mind the keywords your audience associates with the topic you are writing about. How do they communicate about this topic? What words are they using to search information about these topics? Determining important keywords around your topic can help you not only communicate effectively with your audience, but also improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Writing Introductions

Introductions are said to be the hardest part of writing a blog. However, the main goals of an intro are to catch your reader’s interest and provide them a brief explanation of what your blog is going to be about. Your introduction could present a problem that your readers are struggling with and then explain how the following blog will provide solutions or insight into that problem. The “hook” of your intro will depend on your audience, but overall, readers should understand who this blog is for and what value it will share when reading your introduction.

Creating the Body of your Blog

The body of your blog will be where the meat of your insights reside. In the body, your audience should learn about the details or solutions your introduction said your blog would discuss. Making sure this information is easy to read and understand is key. A few factors to keep in mind to help readability are:

  • Keep your sentence and paragraph length in mind:When writing the body of your text, you will want to make sure your sentences are easy to digest. Keeping your sentences short can help readers take in your topic in small bites. The size of your paragraphs at first glance can also encourage or discourage your audience from reading your blog. Use paragraphs to break up your text and keep them as small as you can, maxing them out at about three to five sentences.
  • Highlight important aspects of your blog: While we want our audience to read our blogs, there are many readers who will want to quickly find the insights we are offering. Making our blogs skimmable can make them more valuable to such readers. One way we can emphasize important moments in our blogs is by bolding or highlighting them.
  • Link to existing content:While reading our blogs, some readers may find themselves confused or interested in specific factors surrounding our topics. If we have other blogs or resources that can offering our audience more reading or insights, we can link those into our current blog. By linking to other content, we also add more value to the page in terms of SEO.
  • Use images when needed: Images can be used in our blogs to break up text as well as provide further detail into complicated topics. For example, tutorials can be enhanced with the use of images to help guide the reader not only through words, but with visuals.

Concluding your Thoughts

At the end of your blog, not only can you finish up your thoughts, but you can also offer actions for your readers to take. If they liked this blog, what can they do next? In your conclusion, you can use Call to Actions (CTAs) to guide your reader towards a next step. These CTAs could be as simple as reading more blogs or could be a promotion for your products and services. Conclusions can also be a place to ask your users for feedback on the topic, opening a channel for communication.

Note: Consistency is Key

When writing blogs, the main thing to remember is to keep writing them! Having a regular schedule of blogs can keep your audience engaged and deepen the connection they have with your company.

Want to learn more about content creation?

Writing blogs is just one type of content we can use to connect with our customers and bring more traffic to our websites. Explore our other blogs to learn more about what you can do to improve your site! If you are interested in a more hands-on course about how to optimize your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into important factors that aim to increase the conversion rates of your site!

Make your Site Stand out with Content Marketing

While eCommerce sites are mainly virtual stores where we can sell our products and services, having other pages on your website can aid in making us memorable and attractive. One way we can do this is by offering a variety of content themed around your customers interests and what your business has to offer.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating content for your ideal audience that will aid in driving them to become customers. This method of marketing does a few things for us. It allows us to share valuable, interesting content that can attract customers, solidify our brand, and improve the user experience which can impact our SEO Rank. We are also encouraging customer loyalty through proving through our content that we are reliable and are experts in our field.  

What Content Should I Create?

There are a variety of ways we can approach content creation, and at the end of the day, it really depends on who your customers are. Knowing your customers is key to effective content marketing. For example, a few questions to consider about your customers are:

  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they hang out on the internet?
  • How do they like to communicate?
  • What is their general education level about your field?
  • What are problems are they currently struggling with?

Having answers to these questions can help you 1) figure out who your audience really is, and 2) what content are they needing right now. Some of the best content you can create will involve solving a problem or answering a question your customers may have, as well as content that helps them understand their desires and goals.

What Types of Content Should I Consider?

Once you understand your target customer, you can choose from a variety of content types that will depend on your customer’s communication preferences. Below are a few content types that you may want to consider.

Blogs

Blogs are one of the most straightforward types of content we can utilize on our sites. Writing about current content that is valuable to your users helps increase your credibility and also illustrate your brand as customer centric. Blog contents can range from news updates to advice, but overall should aid in informing the user on a topic they are interested in or that can help them in some way.

While blogs can be intimidating in terms of word length, they are quick to implement as well as the cheapest approach when compared to other types of content. However, the effectiveness of this method all depends on the quality of your blogs. Knowing what you customers want and providing them with information that can benefit them is key.

Infographics

At times, certain topics will be too complicated to explain with words alone. That’s where infographics come into play. These graphics are visual representations of information and can aid in illustrating more complex topics with a mix of words and pictures. This type of content should be easy to understand and visually compelling. An example use case of an infographic could be to put a statistic into perspective by using visuals to show the value of that stat. You can also use it to illustrate the flow or steps of a process, the visuals helping users comprehend complex processes quicker and easier.

This form of content can be eye catching and engaging, but remember that just like with our other types of content, they need to provide value to our customers. They should help customers understand a subject and ideally remember that subject with the help of recognizable visuals.  

Videos

Videos are great ways to share information quickly and in an engaging way. Company stories, product reviews, tutorials and more can be shared in the form of video, giving users the chance to get to know you, your values, and your products better. Since we can’t show customers our products physically and some products are not tangible to begin with, videos can help put them into perspective. They are also a great way to establish the voice you want your company to have.

While videos are a bit more involved than other content, they can be useful in moderation on your site and can generate great results. Afterall, videos are very popular way to consume information as seen with successful social media platforms such as YouTube or TikTok. If you are worried about length, videos don’t have to be that long, just long enough to convey some value.

Reviews

Sometimes, you will have potential customers that are interested in your products, but still uncertain about buying. The use of customer reviews and testimonials on your site can help relieve the ambiguity about your product’s credibility as well as help people under what your products and services do. While you can write up content explaining why your business is useful, hearing real stories from customers that have been helped by your business can do wonders.

Getting reviews and testimonials could take time, but once you have them, they are free, valuable content that you can share in multiple places around your site. Keep in mind which review you decide to share as they will impact how people see your brand and your products. Aligning your selected testimonials with your goals and desired brand can help create clarity on what you are offering to your customers.

Want to Learn More?

Bringing traffic to your site is a constant process and it can be hard to know where to start or what you can do. BCS Engineering is always here help if you need changes made. If you want a deeper dive into what you can do on your own to optimize your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into important factors that aim to increase the conversion rates of your site!

Using Social Media to Increase Traffic and Boost Sales

There are many ways we can work to bring traffic to our online shops and websites. Optimizing user experience, refining our searchability, and using effective email marketing are just a few of the ways we can broaden our visibility. However, to create an effective marketing plan, we must keep in mind the many channels a potential customer can discover us through. One such channel is social media.

Many of us may already use social media for marketing or on a personal basis. These online communities are great places to establish your company’s presence. While brick and mortar stores can rely on foot traffic to gain awareness and engagement, eCommerce businesses don’t have that luxury. Unlike customers who walk in a mall and are exposed to a select number of companies, online customers have a worldwide range of shops to choose from, and many online shops can drown in the sea of competitors. Due to this, it is important to use every channel we can to reach our target audiences, including social media.

Why should I use Social Media?

Beyond creating a company presence, there are many reasons why we should include social media channels into our marketing strategies.

Increase traffic and conversions

Having multiple channels where users can discover your products and services can lead to more traffic on your site, and more traffic means more potential customers. Utilizing social media can help increase our conversion rate by increasing our business’ visibility and engagement.

Establishes your brand

With any medium we use, whether it be emails, videos, blogs, and so forth, maintaining a consistent brand can do a lot to attract new customers and retain reoccurring ones. With more visibility with the help of social media, we can increase the awareness of our business’ through exposing our brand to people on a more constant basis.

Creates opportunity for customer engagement

One benefit to social media is that it can keep your users engaged with your business even when they aren’t buying your products and services. Users can interact with your posts and content with comments, reactions and shares, keeping your company in their memory for when they may decide to buy.

Provides an avenue for social proof

While you can create content to establish the quality and validity of your products and services, user reviews and stories are the best way to create social proof. User comments, tagged posts, and reviews can be created through social media channels and shared to our pages to increase the value of our business.

Cultivates an open dialogue with your customers

Social media offers a two-way street between us and our customers. Opportunities for customer feedback as well as competitor visibility can aid in our decisions on what to improve and optimize to create better user experiences.

What Social Media Platforms should I use?

With many social media platforms to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. The key to this decision is knowing where your target audience can be found. Depending on factors such as their age, demographic, occupation, location, interests, and favorite hang out sites we can narrow down which social media platforms we should put our time and effort into. Choosing a platform to establish your company on can also depend on the content you plan to produce. Let’s explore a few of the most popular platforms we could potentially use.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform out there. With a structure that is based on connecting with friends and following pages, its simplicity attracts a broad range of age groups. Facebook also offers a variety of content types to share such as text, links, images, and videos, making it versatile. Ideally, your customers would follow your business page and share your content with their network of friends and family, bringing more customers to your page that can share your content to their networks, and so forth.

Note: Successful Facebook Marketing can cost money

Due to how large Facebook’s user base is, it attracts many competitors. Due to this, being visible on Facebook can be difficult without the help of Facebook itself. Many Facebook marketing plans involve a mix of paid and organic posts to work effectively.

Twitter

Twitter is popular with young to middle aged adults. The platform focuses on sharing user generated content with other users based on their interests. Entertainment and news are the most popular genres of content. Twitter is a great medium for creating a brand personality and for sharing company updates and blog posts.

Instagram

Instagram and Facebook are run by the same company but have different approaches to social media. Instagram has a more focused approached to content, allowing users to post only images and videos with small amounts of text. While Facebook is used to connect with people and businesses, Instagram mainly attracts an audience that looks for content based on their interests. It also boasts the title of being the favorite platform for Gen Z users. Posting high quality photos and videos of your products, services, and general experiences can aid in increasing the visibility of your business as well as make it more relatable to users.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the most popular places for people to visit on the internet. Currently its most popular videos concern video games, music, and reviews, but a decent chunk of watchers also dive into tutorial and “how to” videos as well. YouTube can be utilized to share product demos, tutorials, customer testimonials, and more.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform that is less about your customers and more about your team and business connections. The majority of users of LinkedIn are college educated professionals either looking for a job or promoting their business. It is a great platform to see what other companies are doing, hire new workers, and discover business opportunities with other companies or large clients.

How do I Create an effective Social Media Presence?

While strategies can vary per social media platform and can vary in cost, there are some basic best practices that can be followed no matter what channel you decide to pursue.

Be Consistent

Posting the same amount of posts at the same time per week can help make your business more visible. Once you know your audience, you can learn what times they are most active on social media and follow that time frame when posting your content.

Post Often

In the end, quantity outweighs quality when it comes to most social media strategies. We want our businesses to be fresh in the minds of our customers, and to do that we need to be sharing a lot of content. Posting at least twice a week is a good starting point as you get a feel for these platforms.

Note: Automation tools can streamline the process

While posting often and at specific times may sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! There are both free and paid tools available that will allow you to quickly create and schedule content to multiple social media platforms at once. Some examples of such tools are MeetEdgar and Hootsuite.

Have Variety

When creating content, you want to add some variety to it to grab the attention of your various ideal customers. Some examples of content we can share are news updates, inspirational quotes, promotions, giveaways, user reviews, Q&As, product advice, and many more.

Tailor your Content to your Audience

Since each social media platform is different and attracts different kinds of users, we will want to make content suited to each platform and audience. This will vary depending on who your ideal customer is and what platform(s) you decide to utilize in your marketing strategy. Create content that your specific audience will want to see by using words they will understand and addressing their interests and pain points with your products and services.

Want to Learn more about Optimizing your Website?

Social media is just one channel that we can utilize to bring more traffic to our sites and to turn visitors into customers. Check out more of our blog to learn more tips and tricks that can help you improve your website. If you are looking for hands on learning, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into important factors that aim to increase your conversion rates through optimizing your website.

SEO: Google’s Search Essentials

Search Engine Optimization has a broad selection of approaches we can take to increase our rank in search queries. However, what exactly does Google look for when determining our web content’s value? Google has listed a few “search essentials” that we can keep in mind when improving our website.

An image of checklist with the title "Google's Search Essentials."

Google Search Essentials

Google has three main categories that determine where your content will appear and how it will perform overall on Google Search: technical requirements, spam policies, and key best practices.

Technical Requirements

While this category may sound intimidating and heavy, it is actually a placeholder for the bare minimum technical requirements Google needs to index your page. These requirements are easy to pass, and may already be fulfilled by your existing site. There are three boxes that need checked to be indexable:

  • Your site must be crawlable – For Google to even begin looking at your online content, Google’s bots must be able to access your pages. This means that your pages must be public and accessible for Google to successfully crawl.
  • The page must be functional – For a page to be functional, accessing your page must result in an HTTP 200 code, which just means that it was successfully reached. If your page is broken, has moved, or has other errors that make it difficult for Google to reach your page, then your page may not be considered reachable. Other pages, such as private client pages or server error pages are not indexed by Google.
  • Your content must be indexable – Content that is indexable by Google requires certain formats. This means that your content must be shared within specific file types to for Google to look at it. There is a variety of file formats that Google accepts, so this requirement isn’t as daunting as it may seem. HTML, Microsoft, Text, XML, WML, and other common file types are all accepted by Google.

Spam Policies

Spam is content that is irrelevant or inappropriate in some way. If Google deems that your site has broken its spam policies, your page may be ranked lower or even omitted entirely from Google search queries. Much of Google’s processes in guarding users from spam content is automated, so it is important to make sure that your content avoids certain behaviors that can negatively impact your searchability. To name a few:

  • Cloaking – When the content you say you are going to share to users in Google search queries is different from what you actually show them. An example of this could be telling Google’s bots that your site is about certain keyword topics, but when users arrive, those keywords are absent and not relevant to your content.
  • Hidden Text & Links – Hiding text or links in your page that Google can see but your users cannot. An example of this could be placing white text full of keywords against a white background.
  • Keyword Stuffing – Overusing desired keywords in your content in an attempt to artificially rank higher in searches for those topics. An example of this could be a paragraph that uses “best ice cream maker” an unreasonable number of times. Check out our article on the use of synonyms in SEO to learn more about how to avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Scraped Content – Taking content from other, more reputable sources, without adding more value to it. An example of this is having your site automatically copy another site’s content and republish it without adding your own spin to it.
  • Sneaky Redirects – When users click on a URL only to arrive at a different URL. For example, you could show Google one webpage, but be actually taking users to a different webpage entirely. However, keep in mind that not all redirects are spam. Moving our site to a new address, for example, is a valid form of redirect. Sneaky redirects are specifically aimed at misinforming users and Google on purpose.

Note: There are a variety of behaviors that break Spam Policies

While we mentioned a few types of behaviors that can negatively impact your searchability, there are many more behaviors that can break Google’s spam policies. If you are concerned that your site may fall into a spam behavior not listed here, review Google’s list of spam policies to learn more.

Key Best Practices

As discussed in previous articles concerning ways we can improve SEO, there are a variety of factors that play into increasing your rank through your content. However, Google has a few core practices that it suggests. To name a few:

  • Create user centric content – Make sure that our content is focused on providing quality experience, value, and help to our users. No matter what we are creating in terms of our websites, our users should always be first in our thoughts during optimization and content creation.
  • Optimize your Keywords – Using the words that your users use to find your products and services is key to bringing traffic to your site. Finding the right words and placing them in your content strategically is important to helping Google understand your site’s purpose and value.
  • Promote your content – Sharing your content through other channels can bring more traffic to your site and thus make your content more valuable in the eyes of Google. Tell people about your content. We can do this by using mediums like email and social media.
  • Make your content translatable for Google – If your site contains elements that may be difficult for Google to understand, such as images, videos, or structured data, you should follow best practices that can help Google understand those elements.
  • Hide content that you don’t want in search results – While we want much of our content to be searchable, we may occasionally have pages that we want to keep hidden from Google. Content such as temporary pages, data sensitive pages, and pages that could bring down the value of your site are a few examples of content we may wish to hide from search queries.
  • Note: Even if your site is deemed indexable, it may not be indexed

Even if your pages meet these requirements, Google cannot guarantee that your pages will be indexed. These suggested steps by Google are just a starting point for a longer journey. Due to this, we must continue to improve the SEO of our page through other best practices that we have discussed in previous articles. Based on Google’s Search Essentials, focusing strongly on best practices and attracting traffic overall are key to making our sites valuable and relevant in search queries.

Want to learn more?

Beyond Google’s suggestions, there are many ways that we can optimize our websites for both SEO and improved user experience. Explore our SEO blogs to learn more tips and tricks to improve your ranking! If you want more hands-on SEO guidance, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into SEO and other important factors that aim to optimize your website.

SEO Page Titles: Bring More Traffic to Your Site

For many users, the first time they encounter your site is in a search query on Google. With a bolded title and a small description, these search result entries can get lost in a sea of other sites competing for your user’s attention. To stand out and bring more users to your site, optimizing our “Page Titles” can aid in convincing users to click on our content.

What is a Page Title?

Page titles are titles that are embedded within the HTML of a page within <title> tags. These titles are not necessarily shown on the page in question, but can be seen within search queries created by Google.

A search query result for the BCS Engineering homepage.

To see these page titles in the HTML of a page, there are a few keyboard commands we can use that depend on the device and browser we are using:

  • To see the HTML on PC:
    • FireFox & Google Chrome: CTRL + U
    • Microsoft Edge: F12 or CTR + SHIFT + I
  • To see the HTML on Mac:
    • Safari & Google Chrome: Option + Command + U
    • FireFox: Command + U

Once we can see the HTML of our site, we can use CTRL + F to search for the word “title.” If nothing comes up, note that it is possible for a page to not have a page title set for it. For the BCSE Homepage, however, we find that the page title for this page is BCS Engineering – Your choice for e-commerce solutions.

The page title for the BCS Engineering homepage.

Note: Page Titles VS. Headers

You may notice that on the BCSE homepage that the title BCS Engineering – Your choice for e-commerce solutions is not there. Instead, the first visible title we see is Providing eCommerce Solutions Since 2002. As we said before, page titles are not visible on our actual pages. Instead, the title we see on our page is actually called a header. A header is a piece of content that is within <h1> tags. If we look at the HTML of the BCS Engineering homepage again, we can find this header by searching for “h1.”


To distinguish the two, page titles are the titles that user see before they enter your page. Headers are what they will see once they arrive.

A header from the BCS Engineering homepage.

Why are Page Titles Important?

Page titles are what search engines like Google use to describe your pages when users search for your content. This means that, for first time visitors, these titles will be the first thing they ever engage with when deciding whether or not they should visit your page. Thus, Page titles an important aspect of bringing traffic to your site.

We want our page titles to attract new users to our content. These titles can also be used by Google to figure out what your site is about. This means that the words you use within your page titles may be the keywords that Google associates with your business, making these titles important in SEO.

At the end of the day, if nobody clicks on your search query results, your page will drop in rank. Attracting traffic to your site is key to keeping your position in search queries high and relevant, so making your page titles perfect can do a lot in making your business more visible and eye catching to both users and Google.

How can I Improve my Page Titles?

A good page title is one that makes users want to click on our content while also helping Google serve our pages to the right audience. We can optimize our page titles in a few ways.

Make sure all Pages have a Page Title

The first step in creating good page titles is to make sure your pages have them in the first place. As mentioned before, it is possible to create pages without page titles, so go through your pages and make sure that they have page titles that we can start improving.

Build your Titles around Keywords

Since Google will be using your page titles to understand who to serve your content to, we will want to make sure we utilize our desired keywords. As discussed in our previous article on keywords in SEO, we need to be balanced about our use of keywords. We don’t want to stuff our page titles with them. Instead, we want to use our most important words and a collection of synonyms to match them.

Note: The Benefits of Synonyms

One challenge of deciding what keywords to use in your page titles is understanding what words your users are searching for when looking for your products and services. Using synonyms help broaden the traffic that will encounter your site in a search query since you are expanding the language you associate with your pages.

Make your Titles Eye Catching

Beyond keywords, there are other tested methods of attracting more clicks with your page titles depending on the context of your content.

  • Use of Call to Actions: By having words such as “click,” “buy,” “download,” and so forth, you can attract more users to your site by suggesting to them what they should do next. Offering them an action can help persuade them to check out your content.
  • Specifying with Numbers: By having a number in your page title, the specificity of your title can inform users of what your content is going to provide for them, making them more likely to click. For example, having a page title for a blog such as “5 ways you can improve your SEO” or “Learn how to Increase your ROI by 20%” can sometimes attract more traffic to your pages.
  • Asking Questions: Having your page title be a question can pique a user’s curiosity enough to bring them to your content. An example of this could be “What is SEO?”

Format your Page Titles Properly

Even the best page titles can fall flat if they are not properly formatted. Two of the major areas we should pay attention to when creating our page titles is length and keyword placement.

If a page title is too short, it may be too vague for users to understand. However, if a page title is too long, it can both dilute the meaning of your page title and also be too long to be fully viewed in a search query. In the end, the best practice for page titles is to keep your titles under 50 to 60 characters long. By doing this, your page title will be able to be fully rendered to users on most devices and can limit the amount of unnecessary content from it.

Want to Learn More?

Overall, experimentation is key to creating the perfect page title. What may work for one page may not work for another, so implementing multiple methods and seeing how they effect the traffic coming to your page will help in establishing what works for your audience. For more SEO tips, check out more of our SEO blog content! If you want more hands-on SEO guidance, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into SEO and other important factors that aim to optimize your website.

First Impressions: Above the Fold Content

In previous articles, we have dived into many ways you can improve user experience on your website. From optimizing SEO for better rank to using Google analytics tools to understand your users better, improving user experience is a site wide endeavor. However, one aspect of your site that may need work is the first thing your users ever see: you “above the fold” content.

What does Above the Fold Mean?

Above the fold is a concept that stems from newspapers. Newspapers are chalked full of interesting content, but getting people to open them up to read that content can be a challenge. Thus, newspapers are set up in such a way that their most interesting headlines are visible from their bin. For people walking by, those headlines may pique their interest enough to buy a newspaper and read the rest of the articles inside.

The same concept can be applied to your website. In the case of the internet, your “above the fold” content is the content visitors see first without the need to scroll.

Why is Above the Fold Content Important?

Just like with our newspaper example, above the fold content is important to optimize for the sake of first impressions. If the first part of your page does not catch your user’s interest, they may leave without scrolling or clicking further. Adjusting your above the fold content is necessary to begin the process of turning visitors into customers.

How do I Improve my Above the Fold Content?

There are many ways you can start making your above the fold content more attractive and engaging.

Make sure your headline is understandable and compelling

Usually, above the fold content involves information that explains who you are and what you do. While the structure of above the fold content may vary per site, most have some sort of headline that aims to capture the attention of visitors. This headline, which will most likely be the first thing that draws the user’s eye, needs to express your purpose and expertise quickly and clearly. What is your specialty? What makes your company different from others? Answering these questions immediately will help the user determine if they are in the right place, or if they are looking for a different solution.

Note: Keep your Audience in Mind

Especially when creating your above the fold content, it helps to keep your target audience in mind. Who are you trying to sell to? What are those users looking for? What are the problems they are trying to solve? Keeping your ideal user in mind can help in creating the perfect above the fold content.

Create a Powerful Call to Action

After the user understands what your company offers, your above the fold content needs to guide them to their next step. This could be as simple as a “Shop Now” Button that will easily bring users to your products. Making sure this call to action is obvious and clear is important to making it simple for an interested user to explore your content further. After all, even if a user finds your above the fold content interesting, there is always the chance that they will not scroll further.

Keep your Imagery Simple

While we can go all out in beautifying our above the fold content, keep in mind that too much content can be distracting. Backgrounds, images, and videos are all great content to share, but having all of them at once can overwhelm your potential customer and cause them to leave. A good rule of thumb is to share a glimpse of your best media and content in your above the fold content. One quality piece of media can really help persuade your users to give your company a chance.

Note: Page Speed can be affected by large media

In previous articles, we have explored how page speed impacts user experience greatly, so it is important to keep in mind the speed of which your above the fold content loads. Make sure the media you use to create your best first impression doesn’t negatively impact your page speed. If the users can’t quickly see your content, they may not stay long enough to consume it.

Want to Learn More about Optimizing your Website?

Above the fold content is just one piece that we can improve to optimize user experience and conversion rates. What other aspects of our sites can we improve to make our website work for us? Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website,” will dive into the tools and techniques your can use optimize your website for higher conversion rates. Join the waitlist today to stay up to date on the classes release!

Improving SEO Rank with Internal Links

There are many ways that we can increase our search engine ranking with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, one of the simplest ways that we can optimize our website is through internal linking.

What is Internal Linking?

As described in our article on SEO and site structure, internal links are links that connect a page on your website to another internal page. There are many places where we can put internal linkage. To list a few, we can find internal links in:

  • Navigation Menus – These menus, usually located at the top or side of your webpage, aid in structuring your pages and making it easier for users to access your most important content.
  • Taxonomies – Taxonomies are categories and tags given to pages that allow you to group certain pages together. These tags can be internally linked to in order to provide more related content to users as well as guide search engines into understanding the relationships between certain pages.
  • Articles – In blogs, we often embed URLs into our content to guide users to similar pages or next step options that they can take.
  • Related Post Sections – Located usually at the bottom of a page or blog post, these lists contain links to similar content on your website that users may be interested in.

What are the Benefits of Internal Linking?

Guides Users on Your Site

Rather than linking externally, where we send users to a different website entirely, internal linking keeps users exploring our content. For users, these links help them navigate your website with ease. On your homepage or navigation bar, internal links offer simple ways for users to explore the content you have to offer. They also help in suggesting related content to your users, such as linking a related blog post to another existing blog.

Helps Google Understand Your Content

While internal links help in showing users more of your content, they also help search engines understand your website. For Google, internal links help establish what relationship your pages have. By linking two pages together, you are suggesting that these pages share something in common. This can help Google understand what content you specialize in as well as well as what content they should suggest to your users next.

Internal links also aid Google in figuring out what pages you value the most. This concept is called link value. For example, your homepage is often filled with links to your content. It also is often back-linked to on other pages. This makes its’ link value very high since Google assumes that, by having this page linked often to other pages, it must be very important.

Note: Importance of Shared Link Value

An important aspect to understand about link value is that a pages’ link value is shared to the other links on its’ page. Thus, by linking a page to your homepage, that link will be deemed more valuable as compared to if it was linked elsewhere.

How do I choose what content to link?

While we have gone over some of the places we can put internal links as well as the benefits these links bring, the question of which pages to link to can be difficult when you have a lot of content to share. The best rule of thumb is to internally link to your best content. This is content that is of high quality, is complete, and is important to your business goals. Your best content is the content that you want users see when searching for your products and topics of expertise. By linking your most quality content, you are telling Google and your users that you consider these pages to accurately reflect your company and what you have to offer.

By choosing your best content, the process of deciding what content to link to should become easier. Add many links to these quality pages around your site to emphasize their importance. For example, your homepage tends to be very important to explaining who you are and what you do. Linking your homepage in multiple places will help search engines understand that this page is valuable to share to users searching for your content.

Note: A warning about Link Stuffing

While internal links are very useful, too many of them can be harmful. As with keywords, link stuffing is a method that no longer works as well as it once did. With the advancements of search engines, Google can recognize when you are adding links for the sake of having them, so pick and choose your links carefully and only link them in places where it makes sense. For example, while we could link every mention of SEO to one of our blog posts, that would negatively impact our SEO ranking. Instead, keep things light, but consistent. In our case, one mention of our important related blogs is good enough to show Google how our pages relate.

Want to Learn More about SEO?

Improving your SEO is a continuous process that will require consistent maintenance as your site grows and SEO requirements change. The same can be said for your website as a whole. Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website,” will dive into SEO and other important factors that aim to optimize your website. Join the waitlist today to stay up to date on the classes release!

Improving SEO: Site Structure

In previous articles, we have explored a variety of ways to improve On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO). From page speed to the content itself, there are many ways to approach increasing your site’s ranking in the eyes of search engines. Another aspect that is important to both SEO and general user experience is your site’s structure.

What is Site Structure?

Site structure is the way your content is organized. From product pages to blog posts, where these pieces of content are and how people navigate to them are determined by your site’s structure. Any linkage in your site plays a role in guiding users to your content. A few major aspects to your site structure are:

  • Taxonomies – taxonomies are the way in which your site classifies its content. They group related content by using categories and tags. Taxonomies aid users in finding the content they want and help Google properly index your website.
  • Navigation Menus – Navigation menus are usually the collection of tabs at the top of a site that guide users to other content. Easy to understand categories and neatly arranged sub-menus aid in bringing users to more content without overwhelming them.
  • Internal & External Linkage – Internal links are hyperlinks that guide users to more content within your site. External links lead users to material you deem useful that is outside of your site. These links keep users engaged longer and also help Google understand your focus, increasing your visibility.
  • Breadcrumbs – A breadcrumb is a text path located at the top of a page that identifies where users are on your site. An example of a breadcrumb would be Home > Blogs > Site Structure. While simple, breadcrumbs help both users and Google understand your site’s structure and easily backtrack to explore more of your content.

How does Good Site Structure Benefit my Site?

The main goal of quality site structure is to make it easier for both your users and Google to find your best content. For Google, site structure helps guide their bots to your most important content. Via your links, Google will navigate your pages in an attempt to understand your business. This content should help Google understand what you site is about and what you specialize in.  The easier Google can explore and interpret your site, the more likely your SEO rank will increase.

If Google deems that your site performs well, usually your users share the same sentiment. Good site structure means that users can easily find the content they want. With proper linkage, you can guide your users to your most relevant content, helping them find solutions to the problems they came here to solve. Improved SEO and good user experience are key to increasing your traffic and conversions.

How do I Improve my Site Structure?

Prune your Content

Content pruning is the process of removing content that is no longer relevant. Such content could out of date, uninteresting to your users, or too similar to existing content. As your site grows, so will the number of blogs and pages you have, and that means it can become overwhelming for users to find your most important content. Cut content that you deem is unnecessary in order to de-clutter your site.

Note: Remember to Use Redirects

Your pages and blogs were all made with some purpose in the beginning and may be linked to other existing content. May sure to redirect the links on content you decide to remove to better content that fulfills a similar purpose. Broken links are a quick way to lose users.

Optimize Navigation & Taxonomies

Navigation and taxonomies are places where too much content can become overwhelming. Too much content makes it harder for both users and Google to understand what they should be looking at. We want to guide both visitors and search engines to our best pages and blogs. To do this, we need to make sure that no category in our navigation menu or in our taxonomies is too much bigger than the others.

Note: Don’t Overfill your Categories

A good rule of thumb to follow for both your navigation bars and your taxonomies is to make sure that no category is more than twice the size of another. This means that, for your navigation bar for example, no tab should have a much longer sub-menu than the other. For your taxonomies, this means a category shouldn’t contain the majority of your content, but instead be divided into smaller, more palatable collections.

Improve Internal Linking

By putting internal links into an article or page, you are telling your users and Google that this content is important and relevant. Internal links can help keep users on your site by giving them easy avenues to access more content that is similar to what they already read. By strategically placing internal links, you will keep you users engaged longer and aid Google in understanding the relationship between your content.

Note: Consider Link Value when Inserting an Internal Link

As Google explores your internal links, it also determines link values. Link values are determined by the location of the link. For example, your homepage tends to have the most link value due to it having the most back-links to it. So, if you link your blog article to your homepage, that link will be considered more valuable than if you linked it somewhere else. This helps Google find your most important content faster.

Want to Learn More?

Improving your SEO is a continuous process that will require consistent maintenance as your site grows and SEO requirements change. The same can be said for your website as a whole. Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website,” will dive into SEO and other important factors that aim to optimize your website. Join the waitlist today to stay up to date on the classes release!

Drops in Site Traffic: Using GA4 to Diagnose and Improve Engagement

In previous articles, we have explored some of the benefits of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). As an analytics service, GA4 allows us to see how users experience our websites and what makes visitors become customers. One of GA4’s key features is its ability to show traffic both in real-time and over specific periods of time. However, what do we do if we open GA4 to see that suddenly, our traffic has dropped?

First, Are you New to GA4?

While the question may sound silly, the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4 can lead to visually less traffic. This is not because your traffic truly dropped, but because GA4 collects data differently from its predecessor.

 In Universal Analytics, users couldn’t be identified specifically, which means that if they were a reoccurring user, their interactions counted as different users visiting your site. In GA4, users are tracked more efficiently. If a user, for example, visited your page online, and then on their phone, they would still count as one user. Thus, your traffic may appear to drop if you are still getting used to GA4.

Next, Check if the Data is Accurate

Technical Difficulties & GA4 Settings

While seeing a sudden drop in traffic can cause panic, the drop could be inaccurate. These inaccuracies could be cause by incorrect settings in GA4, as well as outside difficulties with technology. Check that your pages are live and running. If it’s not a technical issue, review your date settings in the right-hand corner of your “Report Snapshot” page. If the date is inaccurate, such as spanning to days that haven’t occurred, your data may just be incorrect.

Checking the date in the “Report Snapshot” Tab of Google Analytics 4.

The Day and Date

Another thing to check before diving further into diagnosing your loss of traffic is to note the day. Is it the weekend? A holiday? A drop a traffic could be a normal occurrence in context. One way to check this is to compare your current data to past data. This can be done by clicking the “Add Comparison” option located under the title of your “Report Snapshot” page.

Adding comparisons in the “Report Snapshot” Tab of Google Analytics 4.

Unexpected Events

The drop in traffic could also be due to something completely out of your control. For example, if you get the majority of your users from a specific region and your traffic drops in that region suddenly, it could have to do with a real-life event. A special holiday, a natural disaster, a power outage, or even shifting political climate could affect people’s access to your website.

Using GA4, we can visit the “Demographics” tab under “Users” to analyze where our traffic comes from in terms of place of origin. “Demographics Overview” shows us the top countries that our users reside in, as well as offers more granular data, such as top cities. More data can be found in “Demographic Details.”

Analyzing the “Demographics Overview” tab in Google Analytics 4.

We can use these tabs to see if certain countries have suddenly dropped in traffic. If so, checking the news or the state of your website for those countries can help identify if something beyond your website has impacted your user activity or not.

Using GA4 to Diagnose your Traffic

If your change in traffic is still unclear after initial diagnostics, we can use GA4 to explore more internal issues that may be affecting our website. We can start this by looking into the reports under the “Acquisition” Tab.

“Acquisition Overview”, “User Acquisition”, and “Traffic Acquisition” can help us understand where users are coming from over time by specific categories. The default categories GA4 illustrates are Organic Search, Direct, Organic Social, and Referral. A drop in traffic within one of these categories can help guide us to what we should do next to improve site engagement.

Looking at traffic in the “User Acquisition” Tab of Google Analytics 4.

Diagnostics & Types of Traffic

Organic Search Traffic

Organic Search traffic are users who arrived at your site from search engines such as Google. Techniques like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) directly impact this category of traffic, and thus a drop in Organic Search may have something to do with SEO.

While you can find some data about the keywords you are using to bring people to your site as well as your actual ranking in search queries by using GA4 or Google Search Console, it can be hard to track SEO related information. Your drop in traffic could be something as serious as a Google Penalty to something more organic such as a shift in audience preference. Your users could have started using different terms to search your products and services, or even be looking for something entirely different now. More internal, your SEO titles or descriptions concerning your pages in search queries may be irrelevant or inaccurate, causing users to click less on your pages.

Next Step: Improve SEO

There are many avenues that you can take to improve SEO. From technical SEO to on-page SEO, there is a lot of ways you can optimize your site’s searchability. Key factors that determine your rank are your keywords, content quality, and overall user experience. Keeping up to date with the keywords in your industry, creating relevant and readable content, and maintaining the health of your website are all beneficial to increasing SEO.

Direct Traffic

Direct Traffic contains users that arrive to your site by directly using the URLs of your pages. These are users who may be reoccurring visitors who are already interested in your products and services. When Direct Traffic drops, it is time to check on your website’s health as well as your competitors.

Direct traffic may drop when there are issues with your pages. Perhaps a page is broken and unreachable. The content of that page could also be less relevant to your audience. Noting recent changes to your site can also lead you towards the source of the problem. Besides changes to your website, changes in the industry can also affect Direct Traffic. Is there a new competitor in the market that has gain popularity? Has a rival come out with a new and improved service or product? Keeping up to date with your industry can help diagnose sudden changes in your users.

Next Step: Improve Website

Addressing broken pages or links is essential to maintaining your current flow of Direct Traffic. Beyond general maintenance and keeping content up to date, improving your content will also help keep your site attractive and relevant. The more useful and easier to use your site is, the more likely users will enjoy spending time on it. You can’t go wrong with improvements that will benefit user experience.

Organic Social Traffic

Organic Social Traffic considers users that arrive to your site via your social media outlets. Shifts in this traffic could suggest issues with your social media page, a lack of activity from your business, or a change in your audience.

When Organic Social Traffic drops, make sure your social media pages are running smoothly and check out your most recent content. Is your page up to date? How have your recent posts been doing? Does your audience seem to be getting bored? All of these can affect the draw of users from your social media outlets.

Next Step: Optimize your Social Media Channel

One way to draw more clicks from your social media channels is to improve your page and posts. Make sure your information is up to date and that you are active on your platforms. Social media is a place where users can ask questions and share opinions about your products. Such information can be beneficial in terms of improving your brand. Asking and answering questions from users can help create a better understanding of your products and your audience’s needs. The more you know about your users, the better you can produce content that will keep them interested and coming back.

Referral Traffic

Referral Traffic stands out as different from other forms of traffic. This category contains users that arrive to your site from sources that are not under your control. Your social media outlets or search engine results would be excluded form this category. Instead, this type of traffic is created when a different site entirely links your page to their own.

Referral traffic can come from “Top 10” like articles as well as explanatory pages that link your content to theirs for the sake of education. In a way, these pages reflect how others rate the quality of your content. For your blogs or products to be considered useful enough for another website to link to is a complement on its own. A drop in this kind of traffic would suggest that a better source has come out for your type of content.

Next Step: Improve Website Content & Network with Others

While this traffic is usually smaller compared to other sources of users, it can say a lot about what you are doing right. Using GA4, identify where your referral traffic is coming from and for which of your pages. Note the content of those pages and keep it in mind when improving and adding new content to your website. Checking out what other websites they linked to may also help in deciding what content you want to pursue in the future.

If you want to pursue more referral traffic, reach out to the website that brought users to you already. Connect with them, or maybe link to them in your own content. Networking can be beneficial in continuing to receive referrals from other sources.

Want more Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Website?

Optimizing your website to not only bring in traffic, but to build a reoccurring relationship with customers can be hard. There are many avenues that can be worked on to increase the conversion rate of your website. At BCSE, we can help! Contact us to discuss how we can improve your online shop.

Want to learn more about what you can do on your own to improve your eCommerce endeavors? Join the waitlist today for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, you will learn the tools and techniques you can use to bring more traffic to your business.

Beyond Keywords: Synonyms for Successful SEO

In previous articles, we explored how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can bring more traffic to your site. With SEO, search engines like Google can better serve your website to relevant customers. The goal of this process is to increase your rank in searches where your products are services could be the answer.

One of the main ways people perform SEO is through the use of key words and phrases. These dialogues are determined by the words your audience use to search your line of work. However, keywords alone cannot fully improve your visibility.

The Issue with Key Words

While key words are still an essential part to bringing traffic to your site, search engines have become smarter over time. In the past, using a key word multiple times in your content would increase your rank in relevant searches. However, entities such as Google have broadened their scope to include the user experience when judging rank. This means that readability becomes a factor in determining your site’s placement.

When reading anything, hearing the same word over and over again can get boring if not annoying. Repetition breaks the natural flow of a piece and can cause readers to stop reading. The same applies for your content. While you could use your keywords as many times as possible on your site, it will not be attractive to your users. As with any piece of writing, the use of synonyms can help greatly with this issue.

Improving Content & SEO with Synonyms

Synonyms, words that are similar to your desired word, will not only improve the readability of your content, but also improve your SEO as a whole. Today, search engines can understand and define synonyms of your key words and phrases. Thus, using synonyms will continue to enhance the searchability of your site, if not broaden the words that users can use to find your services. At the same time, your writing will be improved as a whole, making it more palatable and interesting.

Keeping users on your page is key to create customers. In order to tell if your site is attractive as well as optimized for searchability, make sure to read your content multiple times. How does it sound? It is enjoyable? is it relevant? Being critical of your content is a simple step in optimizing your website for turning visitors into customers.

Want to Learn More?

Wondering what key words you could use to optimize your website? Interested in learning more about the many ways you can work on SEO? BCSE is always here for you! Reach out to us with any questions you may have! If you are desiring a more hands-on approach to learning more about SEO, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into SEO and other important factors that aim to optimize your website.