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3 Tips to Catapult Your SEO Results in 2022

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3 Tips to Catapult Your SEO Results in 2022


Do you want to increase your website’s rankings? SEO is a powerful way to do this. On page SEO refers to the content on your website, and it can take time and patience to get it right. In this blog post, we will go over three tips for optimizing SEO on your website so that you can rank higher in search engine results pages (SERP).

These tips are the foundational pieces that I have used for my business and clients that flat out get results.

SILOing Your Content

A big part of search engine optimization is creating content. One mistake people make is not structuring that content properly so it is easily followed. The first thing you need to know is how to structure the content so when someone comes to the site they can easily navigate and find the content they are looking for.

The best way to do this is through SILOing your content.

What is SILOing you ask?

SILOing stands for “siloing information.” It’s the process of organizing website content in a hierarchical manner. On each page, you have to provide links that lead users down a hierarchy, or order, of topics or subtopics.

I like to draw it out on a white board and make it look like an organizational chart.

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Here is an example of what a hiearchy would look like:

The main topic of focus for the entire website is right at the top. Below the main topic, start creating subtopics. I like to keep the subtopics to 5 or less in the beginning. Then, underneath each subtopic, start writing all the potential things you can write about on that particular topic.

If you have a hard time  coming up with things to write about, go to websites like answerthepublic.com or quora.com and search the subtopic. Then just write down all the questions that come up and answer them.

How long should each article or piece of content be for SEO?

There are many answers to this question depending on where you focus. From our experience with clients, we have found that top-performing content is at least 1200 words and that content should not be less than 800 words. If content is under 800 words, it typically performs poorly in rankings.

Now with SILOing, you can use multiple pieces of content in a “series” like format to get the word count up.

The idea behind having this much content is that you want to build authority on the topic.

Google hasn’t really come out and said 800 – 1200 words is the mark, but if you can easily write 1200 words on a topic it shows that you know a little of what you are talking about, Google likes that.

As for keywords and getting all that in there. Each piece of content should be themed towards a question or single topic that falls under that sub topic. This makes it really easy for keyword strategy.

What I tell my clients is to not worry about making sure the right keywords are in the right place. I tell them to focus more on providing high quality content that is easily consumable. The keywords will appear where they need to.

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You want your content to be organic, authentic, and easy to read and understand. The more you focus on this, the better your content will be and the higher it will rank.

As you build out your SILO visually, it’ll be easier to also connect the dots across categories where you can provide internal links for additional content to better strengthen your content.

Once you have content written the next thing you should put focus on is Rich Data snippets, or Schema Markup.

Schema Markup

What is schema markup?

Schema markup is a way to structure your content for search engines. On the internet, there are different types of data that websites can use, and it’s important to be able to “mark them up” so that they’re easily understood by search engine crawlers.

There are two main things you need schema markup for – reviews & people or organizations.

Of course there are other areas such as videos, FAQ’s, breadcrumbs, etc.

The type of site you have will dictate how in depth you want to go with the schema or structured data snippets.

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The way Google likes to see it is in the JSON format.

Now I know what you are saying…”that sounds super techie and I don’t want to do it.”

I’m here to tell you…yes it is techie and you must do it!

Luckily there are a ton of plugins and websites that will write this for you and all you have to do is give the information.

The website I like to use and have clients use is https://technicalseo.com/tools/. 

This website has a bunch of other tools to help with your robots file, sitemap and htaccess file.So you can leave the real techie stuff to the software. All you need to worry about is copy and pasting it into the right place.

The really cool thing about schema is not a lot of websites do it. If you are in a niche, especially a local niche (ie. HVAC, Hotel, dentist, massage therapist, etc.) you will easily beat out your competition just by adding schema to your site.

Just remember, Google will always serve you when you give them as much information as possible in their preferred format. In many cases, this will be the sole reason you outrank the competition.

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There are many other factors in getting high rankings for your website, but having well-written structured data is one of the big factors that Google looks at.

Now that we have awesome content that is structured with a SILO, and the site is properly marked up with Schema, we must continue with providing that great user experience.

The best way we go about doing that is making sure the site loads fast.

Website Loading Speed

One of the main things that affects website ranking is how fast the site loads.

Google has said that they are using page speed as a ranking factor.

There are many things you can do to increase your website’s loading time, such as optimizing images, compressing files, and caching static content.

Using sites such as GTMetrix will give you an awesome idea on where you can get started with your speed optimization and what is going to make the biggest impact right away.

Once you have made the adjustments, I always cross reference through Google’s PageSpeed tool to make sure I am doing the right things and getting the desired results.

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Another thing you can do is use a content delivery network (CDN).

A CDN is a service that distributes your website’s files across multiple servers located around the world. This speeds up the loading time by serving the files from the closest server to the visitor.

There are many different CDNs available, such as CloudFlare and MaxCDN. I like to use CloudFlare because it’s free and easy to set up.

One Last Recommendation

This bonus tip is to make sure you have a Google Search Console, formerly known as webmaster tools, account. You can use this to check your crawl rate and see if there are any errors you need to fix on the site. On top of that, it’s great for getting feedback from Google about how they view your website.

Just by doing these few things, you can greatly improve your website’s loading time and boost your SEO rankings.

SEO is not a one time fix and it’s an on-going process. You must always be working to improve your website’s ranking. These are just a few of the things you can do to get started.



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MARKETING

8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

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8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

As email marketers, we know we need to personalize the messages we send to subscribers and customers. I can’t think of a single statistic, case study or survey claiming an email program of one-to-everyone campaigns outperforms personalization.

Instead, you’ll find statistics like these:

  • 72% of customers will engage only with personalized messages (Wunderkind Audiences, formerly SmarterHQ)
  • 70% of consumers say that how well a company understands their individual needs affects their loyalty (Salesforce)
  • 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences (Segment)

But what marketers often don’t understand, especially if they’re new to personalization, is that personalization is not an end in itself. Your objective is not to personalize your email campaigns and lifecycle messages. 

Rather, your objective is to enhance your customer’s experience with your brand. Personalization is one method that can do that, but it’s more than just another tactic. 

It is both an art and a science. The science is having the data and automations to create personalized, one-to-one messages at scale. The art is knowing when and how to use it.

We run into trouble when we think of personalization as the goal instead of the means to achieve a goal. In my work consulting with marketers for both business and consumer brands, I find this misunderstanding leads to eight major marketing mistakes – any of which can prevent you from realizing the immense benefits of personalization.

Mistake #1. Operating without an overall personalization strategy

I see this all too often: marketers find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices they face: 

  • Which personalization technologies to use
  • What to do with all the data they have
  • How to use their data and technology effectively
  • Whether their personalization efforts are paying off

This stems from jumping headfirst into personalization without thinking about how to use it to meet customers’ needs or help them solve problems. 

To avoid being overwhelmed with the mechanics of personalization, follow this three-step process:

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  • Start small. If you aren’t using personalization now, don’t try to set up a full-fledged program right away. Instead, look for quick wins – small areas where you can use basic personalized data to begin creating one-to-one messages. That will get you into the swing of things quickly, without significant investment in time and money. Adding personal data to the body of an email is about as basic as you’ll get, but it can be a start.
  • Test each tactic. See whether that new tactic helps or hurts your work toward your goal. Does adding personal data to each message correlate with higher clicks to your landing page, more conversion or whatever success metric you have chosen?
  • Optimize and move on. Use your testing results to improve each tactic. Then, take what you learned to select and add another personalization tactic, such as adding a module of dynamic content to a broadcast (one to everyone) campaign. 

Mistake #2. Not using both overt and covert personalization

Up to now, you might have thought of in specific terms: personalized subject lines, data reflecting specific actions in the email copy, triggered messages that launch when a customer’s behavior matches your automation settings and other “overt” (or visible) personalization tactics.

“Covert” personalization also employs customer preference or behavior data but doesn’t draw attention to it. Instead of sending an abandoned-browse message that says “We noticed you were viewing this item on our website,” you could add a content module in your next campaign that features those browsed items as recommended purchases, without calling attention to their behavior. It’s a great tactic to use to avoid being seen as creepy.

Think back to my opening statement that personalization is both an art and a science. Here, the art of personalization is knowing when to use overt personalization – purchase and shipping confirmations come to mind – and when you want to take a more covert route. 

Mistake #3. Not maximizing lifecycle automations

Lifecycle automations such as onboarding/first-purchase programs, win-back and reactivation campaigns and other programs tied to the customer lifecycle are innately personalized. 

The copy will be highly personal and the timing spot-on because they are based on customer actions (opting in, purchases, downloads) or inactions (not opening emails, not buying for the first time or showing signs of lapsing after purchasing). 

Better yet, these emails launch automatically – you don’t have to create, schedule or send any of these emails because your marketing automation platform does that for you after you set it up. 

You squander these opportunities if you don’t do everything you can to understand your customer lifecycle and then create automated messaging that reaches out to your customers at these crucial points. This can cost you the customers you worked so hard to acquire, along with their revenue potential.

Mistake #4. Not testing effectively or for long-term gain

Testing helps you discover whether your personalization efforts are bearing fruit. But all too often, marketers test only individual elements of a specific campaign – subject lines, calls to action, images versus no images, personalization versus no personalization  – without looking at whether personalization enhances the customer experience in the long term.

How you measure success is a key part of this equation. The metrics you choose must line up with your objectives. That’s one reason I’ve warned marketers for years against relying on the open rate to measure campaign success. A 50% open rate might be fantastic, but if you didn’t make your goal for sales, revenue, downloads or other conversions, you can’t consider your campaign a success.

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As the objective of personalizing is to enhance the customer journey, it makes sense then that customer lifetime value is a valid metric to measure success on.  To measure how effective your personalization use is, use customer lifetime value over a long time period – months, even years – and compare the results with those from a control group, which receives no personalization. Don’t ignore campaign-level results, but log them and view them over time.

(For more detailed information on testing mistakes and how to avoid them, see my MarTech column 7 Common Problems that Derail A/B/N Email Testing Success.)

Mistake #5. Over-segmenting your customer base

Segmentation is a valuable form of personalization, but it’s easy to go too far with it. If you send only highly segmented campaigns, you could be exclude – and end up losing because of failure to contact – many customers who don’t fit your segmentation criteria. That costs you customers, their potential revenue and the data they would have generated to help you better understand your customer base.

You can avoid this problem with a data-guided segmentation plan that you review and test frequently, a set of automated triggers to enhance the customer’s lifecycle and a well-thought-out program of default or catch-all campaigns for subscribers who don’t meet your other criteria. 

Mistake #6. Not including dynamic content in general email campaigns

We usually think of personalized email as messages in which all the content lines up with customer behavior or preference data, whether overt, as in an abandoned-cart message, or covert, where the content is subtly relevant.

That’s one highly sophisticated approach. It incorporates real-time messaging driven by artificial intelligence and complex integrations with your ecommerce or CRM platforms. But a simple dynamic content module can help you achieve a similar result. I call that “serendipity.”  

When you weave this dynamic content into your general message, it can be a pleasant surprise for your customers and make your relevant content stand out even more. 

Let’s say your company is a cruise line. Customer A opens your emails from time to time but hasn’t booked a cruise yet or browsed different tours on your website. Your next email campaign to this customer – and to everyone else on whom you have little or no data – promotes discounted trips to Hawaii, Fiji and the Mediterranean.

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Customer B hasn’t booked a cruise either, but your data tells you she has browsed your Iceland-Denmark-Greenland cruise recently. With a dynamic content module, her email could show her your Hawaii and Mediterranean cruise offers – and a great price on a trip to Iceland, Denmark and Greenland. Fancy that! 

An email like this conveys the impression that your brand offers exactly what your customers are looking for (covert personalization) without the overt approach of an abandoned-browse email.

Mistake #7. Not using a personal tone in your copy

You can personalize your email copy without a single data point, simply by writing as if you were speaking to your customer face to face. Use a warm, human tone of voice, which ideally should reflect your brand voice. Write copy that sounds like a one-to-one conversation instead of a sales pitch. 

This is where my concept of “helpful marketing” comes into play. How does your brand help your customers achieve their own goals, solve their problems or make them understand you know them as people, not just data points?  

Mistake #8. Not personalizing the entire journey

Once again, this is a scenario in which you take a short-sighted view of personalization – “How do I add personalization to this email campaign?” – instead of looking at the long-term gain: “How can I use personalization to enhance my customer’s experience?”

Personalization doesn’t stop when your customer clicks on your email. It should continue on to your landing page and even be reflected in the website content your customer views. Remember, it’s all about enhancing your customer’s experience.

What happens when your customers click on a personalized offer? Does your landing page greet your customers by name? Show the items they clicked? Present copy that reflects their interests, their loyalty program standing or any other data that’s unique to them?  

Personalization is worth the effort

Yes, personalization takes both art and science into account. You need to handle it carefully so your messages come off as helpful and relevant without veering into creepy territory through data overreaches. But this strategic effort pays off when you can use the power of personalized email to reach out, connect with and retain customers – achieving your goal of enhancing the customer experience.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Kath Pay is CEO at Holistic Email Marketing and the author of the award-winning Amazon #1 best-seller “Holistic Email Marketing: A practical philosophy to revolutionise your business and delight your customers.”

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