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6 Expert Tips For Small Business SEO Strategy in 2022

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6 Expert Tips For Small Business SEO Strategy in 2022

Are you prepared for small business SEO in 2022?

If you’re still scrambling to formulate a strategy, you’re not alone. The uncertainty of ongoing pandemic-related business interruptions and changes in consumer behavior are keeping marketers and SEO pros on their toes.

To help SMBs and marketing professionals, we asked our network of experts, “What’s your best SEO tip for SMBs as we kick off 2022?”

From business networking to sharing customer stories, here are the top tips for small businesses that want to improve their search rankings.

1. Tap Emerging Search Trends

Jeff Riddall, Senior Product Manager at OneLocal, advises all businesses to focus on optimization around topical groups of intent-based keywords at each stage of their customer’s journey, as Google continues to refine its algorithm and ability to determine what content searchers are really after.

“Small businesses should look for keyword opportunities and content gaps where they can add value by answering specific questions that their customers have,” he says.

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In addition, Riddall advises small businesses that are introducing ecommerce via Shopify, Amazon, or other such platforms to become aware of what is necessary to optimize their product pages in these environments and the content required to complement and support their products.

“Modern SEO is all about optimized content marketing; and those who are able to provide their customers with timely, relevant content and answers to their product-related questions are most likely to improve their visibility in search,” he adds.

2. Plan Your Content Wisely

Clarentino Aduk, Managing Director at Clarini Online Marketing, recommends that local businesses start producing content on their website on a regular basis, if they aren’t doing so already.

“They need to start thinking less as a local business and more as a media company,” she explains.

SEO consultant Anatolii Ulitovskyi says, “SEO is a long game but it’s possible to increase the speed with the right strategy and implementation.”

“Go deep and not wide in your content strategy. Build authoritative content. Localization is key for discoverability,” says Sigharth Iyer, Head of SEO at resulta.

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He adds, “Be the thought leader in your niche and showcase your expertise. Trust signals will be instrumental for dominance. Get those reviews, testimonials, and industry recognition. Prioritize accessibility, inclusion, and user experience in your messaging, sales process, and customer’s journey.”

Rebekah Conway, Content Executive at Sweet Digital, recommends that small businesses take a holistic approach.

“Link your email, social, PPC, and content strategies together to increase reach and engagement, and increase the chances of campaign goals being met,” she says.

3. Use The Right Keywords

Shiva Kumar VogalaboyinaSr. Digital Marketing Analyst (PPC Expert) at Visaka Industries Limited, suggests small businesses to focus on long-tail keywords when creating content. This strategy will help you earn more featured snippets that will drive a good amount of traffic to your website.

Ulitovskyi agrees and adds, “Content and links are still the main ranking factors. So, covering these keywords helps to get ranking positions faster. Paid tools provide a good job of finding such keywords. Then check out manually and filter out irrelevant topics.”

“The last step is to choose priorities. Less but quality is still key,” he emphasizes.

Rod Loop suggests that when sending Google review links to your customers, you should use the background search query to associate your brand to your main keyword and watch your listing fly.

Furthermore, “You’ll score 100/100 when you have the right keyword domain URL. Performing less than eight modifications to any page makes your SEO easier,” says Anna Evans.

4. Connect With Businesses In Your Area

Svetlana Stankovic advises that small businesses should not copy big ones.

“Find your niche and build connections with other small businesses in your area. Engage with others in doing something for your community. No matter how small a business is, there are always unique topics to be covered in a meaningful way,” she explains.

5. Share Customer Stories

Digital Organic Growth Consultant Suhrud Potdar encourages entrepreneurs to start writing short stories about their daily interactions with customers at any stage of their business, from inquiry and comparing products to actual sales or after-sales.

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“Make these stories a part of your website with basic SEO applied and share them on social media. However simple and small a step it may sound at first, it can drive more people to your brand and take you a long way,” he adds.

Riddall agrees and tells businesses to “Make it easy for customers by including reminders and links to your Google Business Profile, Facebook, or other relevant review pages.”

In fact, Amanda Leeman, SEO Manager at Adept Marketing, says your Google Business Profile could be more important for generating leads than your website.

“Ensure it’s completely filled out. Make sure you’re using keywords in your business descriptions. Ask for reviews, and don’t forget to add and fill out all of your services,” she suggests.

6. Be Resourceful

“Everything you need to rank on Google is available to you when you do some strategic Google searches. The formula is right there,” says Brandy Harworth, Owner of LocalAdz.

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Riddall recommends small businesses and SEO pros to tap into the power of tools that automate online review requests and management as reviews have a significant bearing on local search or map pack visibility but can take some time to manage.

“Review requests can be easily triggered based on specific customer actions, such as purchases or completed appointments.

Similar solutions can be used to aid in responding to reviews, which is also important in terms of demonstrating the responsiveness of a business.

Beyond increased organic authority and visibility, obtaining and responding to online reviews is an increasingly critical driver of business growth,” he explains.

The only thing certain about 2022 is that it brings continued uncertainty. However, those small businesses that are tuned in to customer and searcher needs and positioned to respond stand to make the greatest gains this year.

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Google To Upgrade All Retailers To New Merchant Center By September

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Google To Upgrade All Retailers To New Merchant Center By September

Google has announced plans to transition all retailers to its updated Merchant Center platform by September.

This move will affect e-commerce businesses globally and comes ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The Merchant Center is a tool for online retailers to manage how their products appear across Google’s shopping services.

Key Changes & Features

The new Merchant Center includes several significant updates.

Product Studio

An AI-powered tool for content creation. Google reports that 80% of current users view it as improving efficiency.

This feature allows retailers to generate tailored product assets, animate still images, and modify existing product images to match brand aesthetics.

It also simplifies tasks like background removal and image resolution enhancement.

Centralized Analytics

A new tab consolidating various business insights, including pricing data and competitive analysis tools.

Retailers can access pricing recommendations, competitive visibility reports, and retail-specific search trends, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and capitalize on popular product categories.

Redesigned Navigation

Google claims the new interface is more intuitive and cites increased setup success rates for new merchants.

The platform now offers simplified website verification processes and can pre-populate product information during setup.

Initial User Response

According to Google, early adopters have shown increased engagement with the platform.

The company reports a 25% increase in omnichannel merchants adding product offers in the new system. However, these figures have yet to be independently verified.

Jeff Harrell, Google’s Senior Director of Merchant Shopping, states in an announcement:

“We’ve seen a significant increase in retention and engagement among existing online merchants who have moved to the new Merchant Center.”

Potential Challenges and Support

While Google emphasizes the upgrade’s benefits, some retailers, particularly those comfortable with the current version, may face challenges adapting to the new system.

The upgrade’s mandatory nature could raise concerns among users who prefer the existing interface or have integrated workflows based on the current system.

To address these concerns, Google has stated that it will provide resources and support to help with the transition. This includes tutorial videos, detailed documentation, and access to customer support teams for troubleshooting.

Industry Context

This update comes as e-commerce platforms evolve, with major players like Amazon and Shopify enhancing their seller tools. Google’s move is part of broader efforts to maintain competitiveness in the e-commerce services sector.

The upgrade could impact consumers by improving product listings and providing more accurate information across Google’s shopping services.

For the e-commerce industry as a whole, it signals a continued push towards AI-driven tools and data-centric decision-making.

Transition Timeline

Google states that retailers will be automatically upgraded by September if they still need to transition.

The company advises users to familiarize themselves with the new features before the busy holiday shopping period.


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Meta AI Introduces AI-Generated Photos to All Platforms

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Meta AI Adds AI-Generated Images to Social and Messaging Platforms and Expands Availability to More Languages and Countries

Meta just released multiple updates to Meta AI which brings advanced image generation and editing capabilities directly to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp feeds, plus availability in more countries and languages.

New Meta AI Creative Tools

Meta AI is bringing AI generated and AI Edited photography that can be generated at the moment a user is making a post or sending a message with a new tool called Imagine Me.

Imagine Me is a prompt that can be used to transform an uploaded image that can be shared. This new feature is first rolling out as a beta in the United States.

Meta explains:

“Imagine yourself creates images based on a photo of you and a prompt like ‘Imagine me surfing’ or ‘Imagine me on a beach vacation’ using our new state-of-the-art personalization model. Simply type “Imagine me” in your Meta AI chat to get started, and then you can add a prompt like “Imagine me as royalty” or “Imagine me in a surrealist painting.” From there, you can share the images with friends and family, giving you the perfect response or funny sidebar to entertain your group chat.”

New Editing Features

Meta products like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram now have advanced editing capabilities that allow users to add or remove objects from images, to change them in virtually any manner, such as their example of turning a cat in an image into a dog. A new Edit With AI button is forthcoming in a month that will unlock even more AI editing power.

Adding AI generated images to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp within feed, posts, stories, comments and messages is rolling out this week in English and coming later to other languages.

Screenshot of a Facebook user adding an AI generated image into their post

Meta AI In More Countries And Languages

Meta AI is now available in seven additional countries, bringing the total countries to to 22. It is also available in seven more languages.

List of Seven Additional Countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Cameroon
  3. Chile
  4. Colombia
  5. Ecuador
  6. Mexico
  7. Peru

Meta AI is now also available in the following seven additional languages:

  1. French
  2. German
  3. Hindi
  4. Hindi-Romanized Script
  5. Italian
  6. Portuguese
  7. Spanish

Advanced Math And Coding

Meta AI is making their most advanced model, Llama 405B, available for users to take advantage of its advanced reasoning abilities that can answer complex answers and excells at math and coding.

Meta AI writes:

“You can get help on your math homework with step-by-step explanations and feedback, write code faster with debugging support and optimization suggestions, and master complex technical and scientific concepts with expert instruction.”

Read the official announcement:

Meta AI Is Now Multilingual, More Creative and Smarter

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System Builders – How AI Changes The Work Of SEO

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Kevin Indig's Growth Memo for SEJ

AI is terraforming tech. The content and SEO ecosystem is undergoing a massive structural change.

Human-written content gains value faster for LLM training than for end consumers as the pure profit licensing deals between LLM developers and publishers show.

Publishers struggle to survive from digital subscriptions but get millions that go straight to their bottom line for providing training data.

Content platforms, social networks, SaaS companies and consumer apps coat their products with AI. A few examples:

  • Spotify DJ (AI-generated playlist).
  • AI Overview (AI answers in Google Search).
  • Instagram AI personas (celebrity AI chatbots).
  • Ebay’s magical listing (turn a photo into a listing).
  • Redfin Redesign (try interior designs on real house pictures).
Image Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality of machine-generated content (MGC) challenges human-generated content (HGC). I ran an experiment with my Twitter and LinkedIn followers: I asked them to choose which of two articles was written by a human and which by a machine – and they had to explain their answer.

Only a handful of people figured out that AI wrote both pieces. I intentionally framed the question in a leading way to see if people would challenge the setting or believe that one piece was written by a human if told so.

  • Not an isolated experiment: A survey of 1,900 Americans found that 63.5% of people can’t distinguish between AI content and human content.1
  • People seek help: Google search demand for [ai checker] has reached 100,000 in May 2024 (Glimpse).
  • Dark side: scammers use MGC to make money, as 77% of AI scam victims lost money.2
Search demand for AI checkerImage Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality level of LLMs pushes SEO work towards automating workflows and learning with AI, while writers will take content from good to great instead of zero to one.

Boost your skills with Growth Memo’s weekly expert insights. Subscribe for free!

How AI Changes The Work Of SEOImage Credit: Lyna ™

System Builders

Clients, podcasters and panel hosts often ask me what skills SEOs need to build for the AI future. For a long time, my answer was to learn, stay open-minded and gain as much practical experience with AI as possible.

Now, my answer is SEOs should learn how to build AI agents and workflows that automate tasks. AI changes the way search works but also the way SEOs work.

AI + No-code Allows SEOs To Automate Workflows

A few examples:

1/ Cannibalization

  • Old world: SEOs download search console data and create pivot tables to spot keyword cannibalization.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI workflow that sends alters, identifies true keyword cannibalization, makes content suggestions to fix the problem, and monitors the improvement.

2/ Site Crawling

  • Old world: SEOs crawl websites to find inefficiencies in internal linking, status code errors, duplicate content, etc.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI agent that regularly crawls the site and automatically suggests new internal links that are shipped after human approval, fixes broken canonical tags and excludes soft 404 errors in the robots.txt.

3/ Content Creation

  • Old world: SEOs do keyword research and write content briefs. Writers create the content.
  • New world: SEOs automate keyword research with AI and create hundreds of relevant articles as a foundation for writers to build on.

All of this is already possible today with AI workflow tools like AirOps or Apify, which chain agents and LLMs together to scrape, analyze, transform data or create content.

Moving forward, we’ll spend much more time building automated systems instead of wasting time on point analyses and catalogs of recommendations. The SEO work will be defining logic, setting rules, prompting and coding.

building automated systems Building workflows with AirOps (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

You Can Learn (Almost) Anything With AI

I never made the time to really learn Python or R, but with the help of Chat GPT and Gemini in Colab, I can write any script with natural language prompts.

When the script doesn’t work, I can paste a screenshot into Chat GPT and describe the issue to get a solution. AI helps with Regex, Google Sheets/Excel, R, Python, etc. Nothing is off-limits.

Being able to write scripts can solve problems like data analysis, a/b testing and using APIs. As an SEO, I’m no longer dependent on engineers, data scientists or writers to perform certain tasks. I can act faster and on my own account.

I’m not the only one to figure this out. People are learning to code, write and many other skills with AI. We can learn to build AI workflows by asking AI to teach us.

Search demand for coding with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for write with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for learn with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig

When you can learn almost anything, the only limit is time.

The Work Of Writers Changes

Against common belief, writers won’t be crossed out of this equation but will play the critical role of editing, directing and curating.

In any automated process, humans QA the output. Think of car assembling lines. Even though AI content leaps in quality, spot checks reduce the risk of errors. Caught issues, such as wrong facts, weird phrasing or off-brand wording, will be critical feedback to fine-tune models to improve their output.

Instead of leg work like writing drafts, writers will bring AI content from good to great. In the concept of information gain, writers will spend most of their time making a piece outstanding.

The rising quality work spans from blog content to programmatic content, where writers will add curated content when searches have a desire for human experience, such as in travel.

A mini guide to Los AngelesTripadvisor’s attraction pages feature human-curated sections. (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

Unfair Advantage

As often with new technology, a few first-mover people and companies get exponential value until the rest catch up. My worry is that a few fast-moving companies will grab massive land with AI.

And yet, this jump in progress will allow newcomers to challenge incumbents and get a fair chance to compete on the field.

AI might be a bigger game changer for SEOs than for Google. The raw power of AI might help us overcome challenges from AI Overviews and machine learning-driven algorithm updates.

But the biggest win might be that SEOs can finally make something instead of delivering recommendations. The whole value contribution of SEOs changes because my output can drive results faster.

Survey: ChatGPT and AI Content – Can people tell the difference?

Artificial Intelligence Voice Scams on the Rise with 1 in 4 Adults Impacted


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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