Category Archives: SEO

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.

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.

Improving SEO: Content Pruning

In previous articles, we have explored some techniques we can use to improve our site’s searchability and ranking through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). From technical SEO to on-page SEO, there are many aspects that we can work on to push our search engine ranking higher. One such method is content pruning.

An aspect of your site that search engines consider when determining your rank is content. Quality content not only is essential for good user experience, but also for the bots that crawl your website in search of its meaning. If the bots do not find value in your content, they will rank your page lesser, bringing down the ranking of your site. Thus, it is important to cut content that isn’t helping your business thrive.

Content pruning is the process of removing content that is no longer relevant. Such content could be out-of-date, low performing, or too similar to other content, bringing your search engine rank down. Any content that confuses users or causes them to leave your site should be questioned. By removing ineffective content, you bring focus to your site, improving user experience and SEO.

Bad Content Vs. Content in need of Editing

When content pruning, you may wonder what the difference is between bad content and content that just needs some improvements. The main difference between bad content and editable content is potential.

If a currently ineffective page has the potential to reach the goal you created it for, then it may be worth editing. If the page already has rich content that could be improved, it may be worth bringing it up to date. Sometimes, the problem with a page is less about the content and more about the linkage. A page could be great, but not linked in a way that is reachable by most users and bots. These kinds of pages have room to grow and still be useful.


However, pages that are completely out-of-date and no longer serve a purpose lack potential for expansion, especially if a better page already exists to replace it. Your company may have grown beyond this page, the content no longer relevant or accurate. A bad page could also be seen as useless by your users, despite its original intentions. These kinds of pages are on the chopping block for content pruning.

There are also some pages that are not bad, but do not rank well for special reasons. These pages tend to have content that is misunderstood by the bots because they are unusual in their usage. Pages that are only live for certain parts of the year, or pages that are aimed at very specific parts of your audience could fall into this realm. These are pages that should be hidden rather than removed, as they are useful to your business in certain cases.

Analyzing your Site for Content Pruning

Trying to figure out what pages need cut, edited, or left alone can be tough. The best way to determine what pages need content pruning is to illustrate the big picture of your site’s performance. What pages are performing well? What pages are lacking? Such information can be found through analytics services like Google Analyics 4 and Google Search Console. With analytics services, you can analyze data such as page views, bounce rate, and conversions to see how attractive your pages are. Internal linkage is also an important factor to look at when determining a page’s success, as well as external links, such as social media. How users arrive and respond to your page determines your page’s success.

Want to Learn more?

Carrie Saunder’s 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!

Creating Trust: Turning Visitors into Customers

There are many aspects of your website that encourage visitors to become customers of your business. One thing that these factors have in common is that they create a sense of trust between you and your customer. When you meet someone for the first time, the impression you create can determine if the individual wants to pursue a relationship with you. Creating a sense of competency, transparency, and relatability can go a long way in attracting customers to your business. Let’s explore some of the ways you can create trust through your business’ website.

Competency

Language

When a potential customer arrives at your site, they want to feel like you are an expert on your product. However, this requires that you not only understand your product, but also understand your customer. Avoid the use of jargon or complicated words in favor of clear, simple language that your customers can understand. You also want to emphasize how your product will improve their quality of life. Keeping your text focused on your customer will help keep them engaged. This will not only suggest to customers that you understand them and your product, but that you don’t need to hide behind complex language and irrelevant details.

Good Experiences

Another factor that suggests competency is utilizing customer stories to advertise your product. While we can say a lot about our products, our words may be considered biased to some customers. Text reviews, photographs of customers using your product, or even videos can help potential customers gain trust in your services. Make these stories visible on your website by sharing them in high traffic areas and near the products in question.

Visibility

Competency can go beyond your webpage. Using search engine optimizing (SEO) to your advantage can make your business more visible to potential customers. As discussed in our previous article, your position in search queries is determined by your rank. A higher rank indicates that both search engines and users find your site useful and relevant. We can further show how well our products are doing by showing our ratings or reviews in search results as well.

Transparency

Security

Keeping your customers informed on your company’s practices creates a sense of transparency. This can make customers more comfortable with your business. One way we can do this is by adding security seals to our pages. These seals are visual logos that link to the certificates that protects your site. Having security seals on your website makes it clear that you value your customer’s digital safety, encouraging trust. Another visual representation of security that people notice is the small lock that pops up in the address bar when a site is HTTPS enabled. Small things like these create good first impressions and impact your SEO ranking in a positive manner.

Location

Another small change that impacts your customers’ trust can be found in your contact page. While not applicable for all companies, including your physical store address can be to your benefit. Knowing that there is a physical location can reassure customers and offer them a different avenue to purchase your products as well as address questions or issues they may have.

Checkout Process

What happens during the checkout process of your site can impact the trust your customers have in your company. The uncertainty of how much an item will cost after tax, how long it could take to arrive, or if there will be certain options available can make potential customers wary to buy your product. Being forthright with such details in the beginning can ease such concerns. Explaining what will happen during the checkout process allows customers to understand what expectations they should have. If your checkout process has no surprises, your customers are more likely to feel comfortable enough to complete their purchase.

Relatability

Your Story

Last but not least, customers can at times feel like all companies care about is money. To avoid this perception, try sharing your story with your customers. What is your company’s mission and goals? How do you want to grow? These are aspects of life that we can all relate to, in one way or another. It establishes your company as not just a logo, but a place where people work and are trying to achieve things. Customers can find this relatable and humanizing, making them more willing to begin a relationship with your company.

Want to learn more?

We at BCSE are always here to help! If you are curious about how you can further create trust on your website, contact us! Carrie’s upcoming course, “The Converting Website”, will also explore many ways you can improve the conversion of your online business. Join the waitlist today to stay up to date with its release!

Product Descriptions: Making the Intangible Concrete

The popularity of E-Commerce has pushed all sorts of businesses to open online stores. Consumers can find almost any product with the click of a button using the internet. On top of that, search engines can provide a wide selection of companies to choose from. Making your company stand out is key to beating the competition. One way we can make our products stand out is through product descriptions.

What makes Product Descriptions so Important?

With brick-and-mortar stores, customers can walk into a store and physically interact with a product. They can see what it looks like on the shelf, can ask a nearby sales representative questions about it, and may even try out the product before purchasing it. Online stores do not have that luxury. Instead, we have to work harder to make these products feel like they are real.

Photographs and text descriptions are the most important selling points for online products. Quality images and informative text help make your product tangible for online customers. Understanding what your product is, how it works, and what it can do for the customer are key to converting users into customers.

How do I Improve my Product Descriptions?

Remember your Audience

The first step in making good product descriptions is to know your audience. You may understand your products like the back of your hand, but how do customers see your product? How do they talk about it and search for it online? Identifying the words, situations, and value of your product can help you optimize your product description.

While focusing on your product from the customer’s perspective, it is also important to identify the problem your product solves. A potential customer may not know the name of the product they are looking for. Instead, they may search for an unknown product that solves a specific issue. Incorporating these uses into your product description can help bring new customers to your site.

Keep it Simple

While we can go into grand detail about our products and share our feelings about how great they are, too much detail can push customers away. On one hand, your product description should stand out when compared to others. Using the generic manufacturer info alone to describe your product will cause your product to blend with similar items. on the other hand, however, over describing or relying on clichés and superlatives to make your item stand out can cause customers to distrust or misunderstand your product. Overall, it is best to keep your descriptions simple and straightforward.

In our previous article, we discussed search engine optimization. The use of keywords can help guide search engines through our site when determining our rank. While we want search engines to rank our content highly, user experience should always come first. We are writing product descriptions for humans, so our descriptions should convey the human value of the product rather than just the associated keywords.

Use your Story

Product descriptions are an avenue to establish a relationship with your customers. A defined voice or narrative through your product descriptions allow you to share a bit of who your company is. You want to show that your product is a good experience. Illustrating that through your story and goals can make your product more enticing and help your company stand out.

Another way to illustrate your company’s story is through user experiences. Who better to sell your product than customers who already bought it? Whether it be visuals of customers using the product or written reviews, customer stories can help explain your product to other potential customers.

Converting visitors into Customers

In her upcoming course, “The Converting Website,” Carrie will explore the variety of ways you can optimize your website to increase visitor to customer conversions. Join the waitlist today to stay up to date about the course’s release!

Create with Purpose: On-Page SEO & Ranking

In our previous article, we defined on-page search engine optimization (SEO). By improving the elements of our pages, we can improve our search engine ranking. The higher a webpage appears in search results, the more likely traffic will come to your business. Today, let’s take a look at some key factors that can improve your site’s ranking.

Websites that appear at the top of search engine results tend to have pages that have clear purpose. These pages contain hyper relevant content that is concise and organized. These qualities make it easy for both users and search engines to understand the value of a website. Being able to identity that value is what increases the rank of these pages.

Three key factors that need to reflect the value of your site in terms of on-page SEO are content, title tags, and URLs. By improving these three factors, search engines can better understand how useful your site is.

Content

Creating relevant content requires that there is a demand for your content. The demand could be as simple as the definition of a word or as complex as a specific product or service. As long as your page supplies for that demand, your ranking will increase. Concise, useful content that makes it clear what you are supplying will help bring customers your way.

Another consideration to account for is the reachability of your content. While the content of a page could be useful and in demand, if a search engine can’t see the page, it won’t be able to rank it. Reachable content is content that is visible and shared easily. This means that pages that are only accessible after a log in screen or pages that aren’t linkable will rank lower in search results. Ensuring that your pages are accessible will help bring your pages up the charts.

Title Tags

Title tags are the clickable headlines and short descriptions we see when looking at search results. These summaries are key to telling both users and search engines what your page is about. Like a sign on a physical store, accurate and concise title tags impact the traffic you attract. By clearly defining your page purpose in your title tags, you will improve SEO, user experience, and overall sharability.

URLs

Search engines value being able to understand your website through your URL structure. When looking at the URL of a site, being able to see where a user came from and logically how they ended up on the current page is considered when ranking. This means that the URL needs to reflect the page that is being illustrated.

Rather than having the homepage followed by a string of numbers as a page identifier, URLs should include human keywords. We should be able to see that we are diving down in specificity from the URL alone. By incorporating your page purpose clearly into the URL, search engines and users will better understand your page. Better user experience means better search engine ranking.

Want to learn more?

Carrie Saunder’s 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!