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4 Ways To Forecast Your SEO Investment

4 Ways To Forecast Your SEO Investment For Business

Internet search engine optimization is one of many digital online advertising approaches a business can choose to concentrate on. Email, ppc, display and affiliate internet marketing are all in many companies advertising approaches, and while the cost per visitor for natural search is zero, in order for you to achieve success within the SERPs, grassroots SEO investment is required. You can forecast SEO impact on your business with a few simple steps.

Black Hat SEO strategies like purchasing links, keyword stuffing and cloaking used to work for all those seeking to get visibility within the search results page. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning like Google’s RankBrain, have caught many of these bad tactics, and now a more human way to on-page optimization, content advertising and connection is required to rank for extremely popular search terms. Consequently, in order to get investment and buy-in for search engine optimization it’s not surprising that marketing leaders demand a sound SEO forecast on how search engine optimization will be pursued.

How to forecast the size of the SEO prize?

Before you can start constructing the tactics for search engine optimization, you should identify the opportunity for organic performance. To do so, carry out an audit of your web site and use your web analytics to comprehend what natural search is presently contributing to the domain. By understanding how much value search engine optimization now contributes with respect to visits, conversions, leads and revenue, you may start to understand where you now are and where improvements can be made.

Building the forcast for search engine optimization investment

free-seo-toolsOnce you’ve completed an audit and so produced a baseline to measure against, you can start putting together a case, with numbers, to exemplify improvements to natural search by using Search engine optimization may affect the company.

There are 4 ways to forecast your SEO investment:

1. Concentrate on Google – for the time being

According to any and all industry metrics, Google remains the largest portal for internet searches.  Google supplies more organic web searches then the next two search engines combined . While it is important not to become too myopic and build your site around only one internet search engine, it is wise to recognize Google as the current market leader in the search area. Start with the biggest opportunity for SEO improvement.

2. Estimate potential search quantity for top terms

Assuming you’ve already conducted a gap analysis that is keyword to identify the terms most applicable to your site, the next issue is to estimate the prospective search volume to the top search terms you want to optimize for using Google’s Keyword Tool or similar keyword research tool. Take every one of the primary important phrases and drop it into the tool. The output from this activity will give you an indication as to the number of searches especially for those phrases each month.

3. Estimate Google Click-through rate percent

You’ll be competing for only a share of the number of searches from the Google Keyword Tool activity we looked at above. So the next task is to determine what percentage of those monthly searches you have the potential to get to your web site.

A great way to do that is to calculate the click-through speed from natural listings on page 1 of Google. An Optify study showed a position 1 ranking attained 36.4% click-through rate, over a 2.4% higher CTR than position two. At the mean time, SEOMoz released research showing average click-through rate percentages for brand, product and general searches, indicating that web sites ranking in position 1 had a 52% CTR.

Additionally, iThinkMedia, provided statistics based on research they conducted having a vast assortment of clients, which suggests comparable results to the studies above with the exception of position 1 rankings. The 18.2% click-through speed for position 1 is definitely more conservative than SEOMoz’s 52% and Optify’s 36.4% but that’s not a bad thing as it’s better to under promise and over deliver when making predictions like these. And definitely there are numerous other reasons to be aware of for example, this strategy fails to contemplate the impact of universal search, local search, mobile search, search intent or the result of rich snippets on CTR. Nonetheless, the concept of potential Click-through speed based on where you rank on page 1 of Google and is a fantastic place to start for anybody considering the effect of rankings on visitors to their web site.

4. Forecast possible traffic and sales from SEO

The final step is to put the data together in a format in which one can show what visitors can be obtained from appearing 1-10 on Google and how this translates to visitors and sales. This last piece in the puzzle is to calculate every primary phrase converts. This is something which may be done when carrying out an audit of your website’s current SEO performance. Working out the speed of conversion of particular sets of phrases will enable you to determine the potential traffic and earnings return by ranking in positions 1-10 for the maximum volume search terms.

Finally, once you know the speed of conversion, you can forecast SEO results when you multiply your ordinary lead or order value to give you a rough indication of how sales may be impacted by improved natural search traffic to your top key generic search phrases.


Google Panda And Google Penguin Algorithms

Understanding the Google Panda and Google Penguin Algorithms

Google continually focuses on enhancing internet user experience in as far as searching for information is concerned. They often come up with algorithm changes and Google filters that make search engine results relevant to users while at the same time curbing cheating and web spamming by online content managers or website owners. Even though Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes in a year, estimated to be over six hundred, among these changes often are some big and significant ones. Good examples of such impactful changes include the Panda and Penguin Algorithms.

The Google Panda Algorithm

Panda is a Google algorithm created to prevent low-quality websites from getting an undeserved top page ranking and enable quality, in-depth and frequently updated sites to get the coveted spots. When this Google filter first came into the limelight, many content managers referred to it as the Farmer update because it widely affected content farms or sites that lift content from other platforms to improve their Google ranking.
Contrary to the initial misconception that Panda targeted sites containing artificial backlink structures, it primarily focuses on quality of the website pages. As a result, sites with low-quality, thin and duplicated content or those that have too much advertising and poor navigation, end up on the lower pages of the search results. The launch of the Panda was named after one of its creators Navneet Panda.

The Google Penguin Algorithm

It is a Google algorithm that aims to minimize the amount of trust Google gives to sites that cheat through the creation of unnatural or artificial backlinks to get favorable top rankings on the Google search engine pages. While the focus for Google Panda algorithm is on web pages quality, Penguin primarily focuses on unnatural backlinks, keyword stuffing, cloaking and to some degree anchor texts. The quality of links that direct to a particular site acts as a form of confidence for that website.

Simply put, if a reliable online platform redirects to a website, it endorses that site. Similarly, backlinks from many relatively unknown sites would provide the same effect. This Google filter explains why many content managers try to manipulate the links or even create artificial links. The Penguin algorithm attempts to detect sites that violate Black-hat SEO techniques, and when it identifies such links, it determines the site to be dishonest, consequently reducing the website’s page rankings.

google-panda_google-penguinHow The Panda And Penguin Algorithms Impact Websites

Although the Panda algorithm can affect a section of the site or the website, it rarely targets individual pages. It assesses the overall website content. A site might have quality content, however, if the content is thin or duplicated the Panda filter can cause the penalization of the entire site. Penguin, on the other hand, affects individual parts on the website on a keyword or a page level. However, in the event of web spamming and overuse of keywords, the Google algorithm can determine that the site is untrustworthy and flag the site causing it to rank poorly.

How To Recover From The Panda And Penguin Algorithms Filters

Recovery From The Panda Filter

On average Google refreshes this algorithm at least once each month. In case the Panda algorithm affects your website, you just need to make a few changes to the site. Identify the pages that have thin or no content, plagiarized or duplicated content and make them right. Remove the copied material and elaborate on the wanting contents. Once you do that, the performance of your site should significantly improve after the proceeding Google Panda refresh. At times, however, it might take months before the changes become visible especially if it takes Google an extended period to revisit your website to notice the changes.

Recovery From The Penguin Filter

If the Penguin filter flags your site, you need to look for the artificial or unnatural links that redirect to your site. Furthermore, look for links that originate from the IP address or domain name, as they portray an impression of purchased links. Once you identify these backlinks, remove them or if that is impossible, use the Disavow tool to inform Google to stop counting the links. If you successfully remove all the unnatural links, the website should eventually regain Google’s trust leading to improved site performance after a few algorithm refreshes.

The existence of Google algorithms and Google filters like Panda and Penguin compels website owners and online content managers to take a strict approach to their content. That includes analyzing the links to ensure that the site has a quality link profile and creating original blog content that is relevant to the target niche.

seo wireframe

Silo Site Structure For Success

Silo Your Site Architecture

Silo Site Structure: What The Structure Of Your Website Should Look Like

Search engines have evolved, your site architecture needs to evolve too! Silo site structure is one way to improve your website performance. The engines with their bots and crawlers track the organization structural patterns of your sites. The secret here is to have your website structured naturally and logically as if you were writing a thesis paper with topic and subtopic, introduction, main body, and epilog. The purpose of such a structure is to make it easy for the website user to navigate your site. Make sure that you’ve organized content in a meaningful way.

Remember that you can always rewrite your online content so change and experiment with different keywords and key phrases over time to produce the best results for your online business. Consider building a couple of websites to see which version of your online content ranks better and faster.

sitemap-silo-exampleSilo sites are sites that are organized structurally to boost the main landing page in the search result pages by proper information on the website that links back to the landing page which is optimized for the primary keywords. The content of your site should be valuable to the end user however quantity is not as important as one might think. Constant updates of content are not necessary since the engines do not factor in the updates in the algorithm behind the intricate workings of search engines.

The crucial factor to ranking is to keep close attention to how your content is organized and linked on-site and off-site. You can easily create a silo site by making a plan of your SEO content for the webpages of your website. First, you need to focus on long-tail keywords and expanding on those long-tails with additional keywords and phrases. These keywords are the skeleton of your silo site. A silo site is like a thesis on a specific topic that expands with sub-topics which all link back to the main topic to support it and rank it in the search result pages.

Silo Site Structure For Success

The aim of a silo site is to rank higher for your main target keyword with all the secondary articles with long-tail keywords and wordings that all link back meaningfully and in an organized tier structure to the primary keyword optimized landing page. The long-tail keywords of your site are the waves that push your main keyword up in the search result pages. Remember that you still need backlinks from other sites in your niche that link back to your silo site. Silo sites will always rank longer than non-silo organized sites due to the changing landscapes of the world-wide web.

seo wireframe

Build A Better Blog With Quality Content

Befriend The Panda – Create Quality Content

Many legal blogs have seen a decline in impressions where these types  sites that have more dynamic blog posts than static practice area pages. Often the quality of posts are of lower quality than the more focused legal static pages. Blog posts suffer from low quality content,  citing  pop or legal news with recent celebrity divorces, or local traffic and police information like car accidents or recent arrests frequently resulting in duplication of content across many online properties.

Panda quality guidelines frown on these types of low quality posts. The lower quality content also trips the quality algorithm filters with poor engagement signals, high bounce rates and little time on site. For example a high profile New York law firm has this type of site profile:

  • 1987 internal URLS
  • 81.7% have a 100% bounce rate
  • 65% of the bounce comes from blog pages
  • 25% of the blog posts have a 0% CTR

Not that there’s anything wrong with an 81% bounce rate or anything if you don’t mind being excluded from search results. Recently, Google is simply de-listing hundreds of these posts from search results.  Early adopters of blogs that generate multiple blogs posts per week of suspect quality are at risk of getting caught in these ever strengthening quality filters. These blogs are definitely sending the wrong signals to the search engines.

Be Friends With Bots!

Add into this mix the bad SEO tactic of robots.txt blocking the tags. It is not uncommon to block tags via robots.txt, but doing so creates a very negative search engine problem.  This tactic is deployed to keep bots from crawling tags to lighten server loads, but creates a negative SEO environment because having links on pages that people can see, but forbidding the search bots access to the same data sends a signal to the SERPs that something dark and mysterious is happening behind closed doors.  Search engines reward transparency and dislike “hidden” content. Blog tags are used throughout sites in various ways that can include:

  • Cloud tags
  • Category tags
  • Tag bar on side navigation
  • Tags within each post
  • Tags archives page
  • Tags on month/year archives
  • Tags within schema code

When the blocking is excessive, it appears to a search bot that  a “dark web” is being created behind the wall of robots.txt blocking. Again, not a good way to signal quality to the search engines.


How To Fix A Bad Blog With Grassroots SEO

1. Don’t block the bots. Transparency for most bots is a good thing. Sure some folders may need security, but it’s best to let your blog and site be crawled. You can control what is and what is not seen easily with a robots.txt file.  An example for WordPress might be something like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /wp-content/cache/
Disallow: /wp-content/themes/
Disallow: /trackback/
Disallow: */trackback/
Disallow: /*?*
Disallow: /*?
Disallow: /*~*
Disallow: /*~
Disallow: /wp-*
Disallow: /comments/feed/

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google*
Allow: /

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/

User-agent: Adsbot-Google
Allow: /

User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Allow: /


Another robots.txt example might be:

User-agent: *
#Global Rules – START
Disallow: /content
Disallow: /data
Disallow: /modules
Disallow: /Disclaimer.shtml
Disallow: /E-mail.shtml
Disallow: /Error.shtml
Disallow: /Error-Espanol.shtml
Disallow: /Gracias.shtml
Disallow: /Thank-You.shtml
Disallow: /mt-bin/
Allow: /content/images
Allow: /content/css
#Global Rules – END

#Site Specific Rules – START
#Site Specific Rules – END

2. Promote quality content. Start by classifying the blog posts. One quick way to process this assessment is to start by running an analysis of your content by highest bounce rate and shortest time on page. These are often the most troubled content pages and posts.  Review them, are they good and no action needed at this time, or are they poor and need to be removed? If they are questionable, can they be corrected?

Sometimes its as simple as combining several short similar topics into one or two longer higher quality pieces of content. Another option to improve the content quality might be to rewrite the first and last paragraph and add semantic phrases into the header tags (H1, H2). This refined and refocused content can provide a boost to overall site quality.

3.  Promote socially. As the content improvements are made, send a fresh set of eyes there with links from social posts when appropriate. This is a nice way to send new signals about content quality improvements.

By paying some attention to on page analytics, it’s not all that hard to monitor your SEO efforts. A small focus on content quality will bring big benefits for both your audience and your website metrics. Make sure that you include content KPIs in your grassroots SEO strategy, it will reward your brand over the long term.

social media

SEO Scare Tactics Versus Today’s Reality

Here are 6 SEO myths perpetuated by less than ethical professionals and lazy optimizers that does not fit play well in today’s digital marketing environment. These six SEO scare tactics can hold your business back from potential growth and valuable ROI.

Scare Tactic #1 – SEO Is An Event

SEO is a process, not an event. You cannot just SEO the site, launch it, and think optimization is done. With constant changes that evolve the digital landscape, being stuck in the past is dangerous and downright foolish. Many business do not keep up with the changes either in thoughts or actions, and do not embrace the change as an opportunity to be better than competitors. These businesses create systems and process that strongly cling to what use to work, a last grasp at the past. Looking forward to the future is not done by looking backwards. Effective SEO demands forward thinking and flexibility to engage with new ways of doing optimization. This does not mean that your business can skip the fundamentals of search engine optimization, rather it assumes that the SEO basics are in place as a solid foundation to build on. If your business is simply doubling-down with commitment to last years tactics, then you are exposing yourself to many missed opportunities that best in class SEO offers.

Scare Tactic #2 – Focus Only On Keywords To Win Business

The singular obsession with keyword phrases is too granular.  Old SEO goals focused on rankings for keywords; not only getting the phrase ranked, but keeping it at all costs. That thought encouraged all efforts to get the top spot on page one as the priority, no matter how it was done. This old SEO mentality of the past, would drive focus on one principle keyword or keyword phrase. The SEO practitioner researched a targeted keyword where they wanted to rank, and then focused on that keyword only. This singular approach exposes those types of tactics to the whims of algorithm changes and is extremely reactive SEO.

  • Keyword density is important – keyword density makes content unreadable. There’s a reason SEO’s laugh at this joke; “An SEO walks into a bar, bars, saloon, whiskey bar, pub,  and orders a drink, beer, shot, liquor, wine…”. Natural semantic phrases used in search work better in moderation.
  • Abundant redundant keywords – usually found in links, footer, page titles, anchor text, alt text, are aggressive over-optimization and once again reads and looks like spam. Avoid doing this.

This is no longer the world of effective SEO. Exceptional digital markers look beyond the keyword and into the mind of the people that are doing searches. Today’s SEO is about user intent and user engagement with the brand. Focusing on intent highlights the need to optimize for semantic phrases and long tail searches. Semantic SEO is all about understanding what the person is actually trying to accomplish with their search and how best to present your brand for that intent. Alignment of the brand and how people engage with the brand is the new focus. How your brand is viewed is the improvement that will drive organic success and ultimately more business results.

Scare Tactic # 3 – Rank As a Success Metric

bad seo strategySending this little red flag up the flagpole opens all kinds of doors.  When that long list of unsolicited keywords that your business does not rank for suddenly becomes important, it’s time to just stop. What’s the economic benefit of these terms when most have zero relevance to user intent?  Then in the next business discussion with that client, they hand you a 20 page ranking report tracking hundreds of utterly useless keyphrases?  Been there too? Then ask this question, “How are your analytics? What’s the correlation between the ranking report and your actual business results?”  Even though your business may rank for hundreds of terms, the key phrases from an unwanted solicitation become the focus and urgently require immediate action. Rarely does this fear tactic ever benefit your business. If your definition means SEO is chasing rankings, then note that SEO style is dead. Omni-channel marketing is the here and now in the current marketing environment.  Brand marketing across multiple channels offers the best chance for success.

Rankings are dangerous because they are assumptive:

  • Assumption #1- the ranked key phrase has an audience that’s relevant to my business
  • Assumption #2 – the ranked term is aligned with searcher intent
  • Assumption #2 – the searcher will actually click on the search results to my website
  • Assumption #2 – the keyword is aligned with my landing page
  • Assumption #2 – the entire engagement listed above will result in a conversion to a client or sale

These ranking reports are easy but often manipulate the truth of the business ROI. It’s always a bit awesome to for a client to say “We’re #1 in Google for bounce house injury lawyer in Tupelo, MS!” or “We’re the top of page one for Red Widgets In Wichita!!”

Rank is easy to sell, because it’s easy to understand. It’s even a bit sexy because it appeals to ego and vanity. However it’s the responsibility of professional marketers and savvy business people to move the rank conversation from the old way of thinking into a more meaningful discussion, one that will benefit the business.  Focus on measurable KPI’s for Brand, Audience, Engagement, and Outcomes. These are metrics that when improved, increase contacts, promote sales and drive real money to the bottom line. Don’t fall into the easy trap of taking the path of least resistance, plan an SEO strategy that will target the right keyword phrases that target the relevant audience, at the right time, that presents the business or brand in the best possible light. That it key to long term growth in a new SEO environment.

Scare Tactic #4 – The Sun Rises And Sets On Google

For those businesses that perpetually wear “Google-goggles”, you may not know this, but you have a problem. If you are super excited that so much of your organic traffic comes from Google and you think that means you are “winning”, please think again. It means that with all of your eggs in the Google basket, your business is actually at risk. The next Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, or other animal update can put a serious pinch on your online presence.  Just as smart investors never put all of their money into one single stock to mitigate their risk, smart SEO strategies create diverse traffic mediums with multiple inbound channels.

Progressive SEO strategies look for opportunities to promote your business or brand in many places.  Your plan needs to be as diverse as your audience, to maximize success opportunities.  Omni-channel marketing (always on, always everywhere) is the new normal to get your value proposition to the masses.

Scare Tactic # 5 Content Is King

Guess what? Content is king, but crap content is not. Developing thin, anemic content focused on ranking for a keyword is not only a bad SEO technique that just won’t go away, it can actually do way more harm than good. There was a time that using the right keywords in the correct amount, could lead to improved rankings. Google’s Panda algorithm filters absolutely loves to crush that junk content into oblivion.

The key was simple, content was always supposed to be written for readers first. Many people chose to write content for the search engines first, and human readers second. This type of content is exactly what the search engine algorithms try to minimize. The best content is well written, filled with relevance to the search and delights the targeted audience with a “WOW’ factor that’s very engaging and highly shared.

negative SEO facepalmIt’s time to move away from creating thin content for search engines. Start developing your brand and business by writing your audience. Understand the who and the why and it’s becomes easier to create great content. Writing quality high value content for your audience does not mean it’s mutually exclusive from writing for search engines. Quite the opposite, awesome content is generally shared and can drive meaningful back links. If you are not excited about your content, how will your audience be excited?

How About Some Article Submissions?
Please no. Going hand in hand with low quality content is  generating Article Submissions as link bait. Long past it’s prime, stop doing this right now before Panda seeks you out. Article submissions consisting of thin content might be any easy way to create some quick back links to your domain, but is this really the best use of your marketing efforts? The time and effort to be consistent in article submissions might be better applied elsewhere.

For example, why not try to build some actual relationships by networking within your industry and sharing stories and blog posts that can real value to their website and the online community of your audience? What better way to build quality and authority for your own web properties?

What About Some Press Releases?
Seriously, no. Now for the other thin content tactic to never use again, press releases without real news. Please just stop. As a true method for public relations, blasting your business or name on the newswire on the slim chance to get some links from a legitimate news channel is not a sound practice.  Issuing non-newsworthy Press Releases as a links promotional tool mirrors the waste of time like article submissions.  Again, in a post Panda and Penguin world, this practice puts your business at risk when done incorrectly. How would you like your back link profile to show the submitter as the authority in the anchor cloud instead of your business? This happens more often than you may think. If you do something truly remarkable, newsworthy that adds real value to your community, a press release MAY be in order and MAY be effective to promote your brand. If this is not the case, just keep building relationships with trust over time.

Scare Tactic #6 – SEO Works The Same For Every Site

This is a big one, but clearly not true. SEO is not the same for every site. Content profiles differ, back links differ, anchor clouds differ, code base, site architecture, site design, domain tenure, all of these things differ site to site. Applying sound solid SEO principles will benefit every website, but results will vary greatly. A single SEO magic trick will not be “the silver bullet” to drive results. Search engine optimization is really a series of a thousand little details done well in context to each other that maximizes value and generates performance results.

whitehat SEOSo how do you move forward with a SEO strategy for your business? Start by understanding exactly where you are today. Use your analytics to establish business critical goals and KPIs. Make your KPIs DUMB – doable, understandable, manageable and beneficial. Focus on effective – what are the metrics that actually grow your business and creates positive ROI? Understand that search engine algorithms remain dynamic and in a constant state of refinement. With this awareness refine your focus to only do the right things, the right way, all the time. It’s not always pretty, sexy or fun, but it still works. SEO tactics must support your business goals, either economic or strategic in nature.  SEO strategy success simply comes down to working towards established goals. The goals must align with the actions that make money and have KPIs for each of those actions. Your focused efforts here helps ease concerns about Panda, Penguin or any other algorithm shifts.

Press Releases For SEO

Press Releases for SEO

Online Press Release (online public relations) is about using the Internet to connect with a website or business’ key audiences and the public, to raise awareness and increase exposure, build and maintain an image and brand trust to build and communicate to solve crises. Online PR works in much the same way as traditional public relations, only with a different set of promotional tools. Here are some of the benefits of the addition of online Press Release efforts to the public relations strategy of a company:

  1. Announcements can be distributed (or sent out) very quickly, whether it’s breaking news or a reaction to a crisis situation.
  2. Online PR tools can connect businesses and websites directly with their audiences, rather than having to announce massive groups through the media.
  3. Direct target audience, the review of an online PR campaign easier since the data can be collected directly from viewers, listeners or readers (online PR provides direct interaction).
  4. Online PR tools and methods can be more accessible to small and online businesses than offline promotional tools.

There are a variety of online promotional tools available to a site or a corporate public relations efforts, including:

Press Releases can be used in online promotions, much as they are used in offline PR. There is no substitute for manual targeting quality, relevant media and pursuing media relations, online press release distribution allows a website or company to distribute their news to news engines (like Google News and Yahoo News), where it can directly be seen by members of their target.

Blogs and Forums

Blogs and forums or online communities are wonderful online promotional tools for building and maintaining a reputation as an expert or authority source. Rather than using these community atmosphere as a place to make a blatant sales pitch, the idea is to use a “soft sell” technique to provide quality content or response to others’ questions in a niche, building trust and respect, as often recent converts to the companies or visitors naturally.

Article Syndication

Write and distribute expert articles on a niche topic to online article directories is another way to demonstrate competence and build confidence.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is often incorrectly classified as “marketing” tool, but is in fact a narrow niche in online Press Releases. The whole point of SEO is again making soft sell approach to build exposure and awareness, especially through internships in the search engine rankings, which will eventually lead to a natural website traffic and or sales.

E-mail newsletters

Email newsletters can be directed against any of a website’s most important audience or the audience, as a direct means of communication to maintain an image and keep the awareness of a brand strong.


While seminars and webinars are an effective online PR tool, podcasts and webinars, the same goal, and serve as another tool for building a reputation based on demonstrating expertise in a niche.