A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit and Simple Recommendations for Natural Awakenings, Richmond (Video)
Why do you want to rank higher in Google?
Obviously, SEO is important and the-more-the-better but it's important to ask the ever-relevant question - why?
Sometimes businesses - and publishers - treat SEO like the ends when it's really part of the means. The "ends" is to build a larger audience, deliver more value to readers and advertisers, and monetize your efforts more fully.
To that end, this is meant to provide a real-world walkthru of SEO for local publishers.
Grow SEO through better sharing, titles, cross-linking and more
Effective content structure and distribution are the primary tools a local publisher has to rank higher on Google, grow traffic, and increase page views.
Common mistakes that hurt SEO - and other things
- Not sharing your website content to Facebook or forgetting to tag pages referenced in the post
- Not creating more effective titles - especially from print content
- Not linking between content - including directory listings when articles reference businesses
- Trying to rank for broad words rather than relevant phrases
- Failing to repurpose content to expand content clusters on your site focused on your desired keywords and phrases
Local publishers can utilize simple tips and tricks to rank higher on Google.
In this video, our CEO, Brian Ostrovsky, analyzes Natural Awakenings Richmond and shares easy-to-use-secrets that help you higher on Google.
You can take these ideas and apply them to your own publishing business to grow your reach and meet your consumers where they are at (or rather where they are searching).
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One of the most common questions that we get from the publishers that we work with is "How do we rank higher on Google? How do I do a better job of search engine optimization or SEO?" and my normal response is to ask a question. "Why do you want to rank higher on Google?". Now this may sound silly and it's probably a little bit obvious but the point is do you want to rank higher on Google or do you want a bigger audience?
With that in mind let's take a look at Natural Awakenings Richmond. Now given the goal of growing your audience, growing your traffic, and growing your sustainability I'm actually going to go first to their Facebook page. I'm signed out for the purpose of this example. As you scroll through the page the first thing I start to notice is the number of shares. Some shares are done well with tags and whatnot but I don't really see content from the website being shared into Facebook. Which means you're not using Facebook to grow your audience and your traffic. More than that, when you don't share into Facebook it means people are less likely to go to your website which is itself bad which means people are less likely to then share content from your website which is also bad. It's one less signal to Google that your content is engaging because fewer people are seeing and sharing it.
The first thing I'd like to see is more content peppered in being shared from your website looking at some of these things you may actually want to pick up some of this and do a little mini-article a quick hitter on your website that explores this a little bit more and you share that into Facebook. We're now over a week into the feed which has been active but there's no content. There's the first piece of content shared from the website. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you're sharing content regularly and consistently to social media, that you are appropriately tagging people on that share and you're trying to maximize that. Likewise, your email newsletter should be doing a lot to promote the content on your website to drive traffic.
Now going back to the website they mentioned they want to rank for things like acupuncture, massage, yoga, etc. The odds of ranking for specific words, especially highly competitive words, is really hard it's just literally a competition. You should really be thinking about phrases. What are phrases that people are looking for that they would pick up your publication, in this case, to read about and then make sure that you're ranking there. Now to be clear there's a couple of things that they are ranking well for if you search for this business by name they're the third organic result. Likewise, if you search for this "Be Kind" movement they are the sixth result on the first page so there is some good ranking happening. Then the question is "What else can we do to rank?". Making sure you have good titles, so "Acupuncture for Animals" is pretty good I'd like to see a little bit more that includes something about Richmond. Perhaps even something about any businesses that you recommend because that is the first thing that people see on Google and Facebook and it will give you more weight on Google.
Next, as you scroll through here I see some businesses, that's good, we like linking to businesses and organizations. However, as I look into these are links off your site, to maximize page views and SEO this should link into a directory listing for this organization on your website. I'll give you an example here: so here in Hanover, they are referring to five places a cross-country ski in and around Hanover. That has a location identifier it tells you what it's about it's a listicle people like numbers as it turns out. As I scroll down here you can see it actually links out to the directory listing for the ski center and it links back to the article they're called internal links. If you were to have more and more articles this would build out a little micro-website for this organization on your site which would help you rank even better on Google. The first thing is to make sure when you refer to a business the first time in each article you link to their listing and you tag them. Looking again at titles this has a location component and it has a holistic medicine component but now we're actually missing the name of the business. This would have been a good opportunity to refer to the business and as it turns out in this case that link actually does go to the business which is quite good. What's missing here is incorporating more meaty keywords in the title which will help you rank higher on Google and be more compelling when you share it to social media. Which of course you should share this to your Facebook page, you should tag the doctor's business, etc.
Titles and cross-linking are things that every publisher should do. Doing a quick search of the site for acupuncture I see that there are 1 event, 14 listings, and 98 articles that in some way refer to acupuncture. But scrolling through I don't see a lot of what I would call a "roundup article" or a listicle. There's a few ways you could do this; you could take some of your old articles and you could do something like "Five popular articles about acupuncture" or be even more specific and "Five things to know about acupuncture for animals" and so now you're repurposing existing content into roll-up articles which creates more internal links and gives you more content where you can be really specific about the sorts of phrases you want in the title. You may also want to go a different direction and create new content based on the topic at hand. You may want to do some posts about hailing arthritis which could help you rank for arthritis. You could do some posts about arthritis for dogs and you can do some posts about arthritis for dogs that use acupuncture. You're creating a content strategy and a search engine strategy that's completely in line with what your publication is about to create supplemental content around topics that your readers care about all while building on this foundation that you already have.
Better titles, more cross-linking, new rollup articles, and ensuring that you're always sharing your content to social media and tagging the appropriate parties; those are the easiest things and the most impactful things you can do to rank better on Google. Which in turn helps you reach your goals of growing your traffic and engagement you.
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