YouTube SEO 101

Based on Alexa traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most visited site on the web, right after Google. Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketers still treat it like any other social media site. But success on YouTube isn’t about posting content, it’s about optimizing your content — just like your website.
It’s easy to find videos with millions of views and videos with almost none that are basically the same. The difference between success and failure often boils down to a few elements.
When it comes to YouTube SEO, a lot of the optimization work can be encapsulated into a process that you can apply to all your old videos and then to each video as you publish it. And you’re about to learn that process.
Here’s what you need to know if you want your content to rank number one on YouTube for the keywords you care about.
The basics
This section contains the essential background information you’ll need to understand

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Supercharge your email marketing with Google AdWords

I have a confession to make.
The odds of my instantly deleting one of the many marketing emails I receive each day are about as good as Tom Brady and the Patriots making the playoffs — meaning it’s pretty likely to happen.
Unfortunately for all you email marketers out there, I’m not alone. According to email marketing service MailChimp, the average email open rate across industries is below 25 percent, with a click rate of 2 to 3 percent. That means that, on average, you’d need to send 100 emails to get two or three people to take any action. All that time and energy spent crafting the perfect email marketing campaign will be wasted if you don’t create a complementary strategy to get more sales from your hard-earned email list.
The good news is that you can use Google AdWords as your complementary strategy by simply leveraging the existing data you have on your email subscribers. Let’s dive into

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8 simple ways to utilize a blog to improve SEO results

Seemingly every company has a blog these days. Unfortunately, very few organizations fully capitalize on their blog content to maximize SEO results. Here are eight simple ways a blog can improve your website’s organic visibility, traffic and results.
1. Create a compelling name for your blog
It irks me when I go to a company’s website and the name of the blog is… “Blog”! I urge marketers to be creative and more descriptive when naming the blog section of a website. Your blog name is also an optimization opportunity. Ask yourself these questions:

What is the overarching theme of the blog?
What would be a compelling description in my industry?
Can I incorporate important SEO keywords in the blog’s title or name?
Specifically, who am I trying to reach?

Coming up with a descriptive name and optimizing around a theme can lead to incremental organic traffic. For example, office supply retailer Staples has its “Staples Business Advantage blog,” which discusses topics ranging from office productivity

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How to use long-tail keywords to build your short-tail rankings

If you have a relatively new or low-authority website, then you know how difficult it can be to rank for high-volume, short-tail keyword phrases. Heck, any competitive keyword can pose a challenge, even for well-established sites.
I often hear experts talk about going after the low-hanging fruit of keywords. “Forget about the short tail,” they say.
I agree that that going after the low-hanging fruit is a good strategy, but not at the expense of those highly competitive phrases that will drive some great traffic to your site. Rather, it’s that low-hanging fruit that paves the way to ranking for those more competitive phrases.
Very few searches are truly unique
When it comes to search terms, there isn’t a whole lot new under the sun. Google says that 15 percent of all queries they get have never been used before, but that doesn’t mean it’s unique in the true sense of the word. Let’s assume, for example, that neither of the

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The nitty-gritty paid search account health check: Part 2

Welcome to the second and final post in a two-part series about paid search account audits. If you haven’t read the first post, be sure to check it out here! Without further ado, let’s dive right into the good stuff — the remaining analyses standing between you and a perfectly manicured paid search account.
Keywords and negatives
Keywords are essentially the building block of your search campaigns, so needless to say, there’s always room for an audit. Here are some things to review:

Are there any keywords that are spending money without converting?

I look at this in different time frames, including the past 30 days or longer time frames, such as “all time,” because there could be keywords flying under the radar that may not be spending money quickly but that are slowly spending — like a small leak that can do damage over time.

Are there any keywords that are below the first page bid?
Are there keywords that haven’t really

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10 ways to generate links with online influencers

You may be thinking that no one wants to share your content, but the opposite is actually true: Because they post so often, online influencers are always looking for interesting content to share. All you have to do it research, create and position the right content opportunities to influencers so they will want to start working with you.
If you’re not sure what angle your organization should take to work with online influencers, consider the following angles: unique content sharing, product promotion, sponsorships and relationship building.
You’ll also want to be sure you are familiar with the FTC Guidelines surrounding influencer disclosures, as well as Google’s guidelines on the issues.
Produce unique content
Producing fresh content that is engaging and interesting to your target audience is what entices industry influencers to share. In addition to “how-to” posts, consider creating studies and long-form content and developing discussions that push industry issues. Because content is so competitive, it’s crucial to take an angle

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The non-developer’s guide to reducing WordPress load times up to 2 seconds (with data)

With Google’s continued focus on user experience and engagement metrics in recent algorithm updates, it’s become even more important for marketers to pay attention to how fast their sites are. Page speed has long been a ranking factor for desktop search results, and it may soon impact mobile rankings as well.
The benefits of improved load times go well beyond their impact on SEO and your site’s organic rankings, however. Consider recent Google data, which shows that “53 percent of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load,” or that “for every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20 percent.”
So, how do you actually go about speeding up your site? For many non-technical marketers, trying to figure out how to improve page speed can be a daunting task. Which levers should you actually be pulling to generate a result? And how do you get those changes implemented

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3 ways to improve link equity distribution and capture missed opportunities

There’s a lot of talk about link building in the SEO community, and the process can be time-consuming and tedious. As the web demands higher and higher standards for the quality of content, link building is more difficult than ever.
However, few SEOs are discussing how to better utilize what they already have. There seems to be an obsession with constantly building more and more links without first understanding how that equity is currently interacting with the website. Yes, more links may help your website rank better, but your efforts may be in vain if you’re only recouping a small portion of the equity. Much of that work dedicated to link-building efforts would then be wasted.
For many websites, there is a big opportunity to improve upon the link equity that has already been established. The best part about all of this is that these issues can be addressed internally, as opposed to link building which typically requires third-party involvement. Here

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How to conduct an SEO content audit

Google has thrown a ton of changes at marketers over the last few years. From major algorithm updates to voice search, all of these changes follow Google’s ultimate goal of creating the best search experience for its users.
The upshot is that it’s not enough to develop and optimize website content for just search engines anymore. As better language processing has become a major focus for improving search results, your brand’s site content is no longer speaking to search engines alone, but to actual people.
To appeal to both people and search engines, brands must evaluate their site content through an audit process to discover what may (or may not) be working and determine where to improve. A website content audit is the cornerstone of your entire content strategy.
When done right, a content audit helps to determine whether your website content is relevant to not only your brand goals and marketing objectives, but also to the customer’s needs. Audits

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3 ways to use search query data from Google Search Console

In my last column, I covered how you can use Google’s Search Console to learn about the health of your website.
Search Console has another helpful report, called Search Analytics, which gives you an overview of how your website is performing in Google’s organic (non-paid) search results — namely, it shows some of the search queries people used to click through to your website.
In this column, I’ll explain how to read the report. I’ll also share a few simple strategies on how small business owners can use it to improve a website’s non-paid Google search results and website marketing in general.
How to read the Search Analytics report
To access the report, log into Search Console, and then click “Search Traffic” in the left-hand navigation. Search Analytics is the first report listed within this menu option. If you’re not able to access Search Console, it may be because you have to verify your website first.
The Search Analytics report enables you

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