Lloyd CookeDigital Marketing / SEO Expert in Asia
Bio

Currently leading SEO strategy for 12 online financial aggregator websites across Asia, Europe and Latin America. Previously led the SEO department of a UK based digital marketing agency working with brands across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. I can help you shape a best practice SEO and content marketing plan for your business.



Recent Answers


The following will help you build up regular SEO knowledge in bitesize chunks:

Set up a Google Alert with the following parameter: site:www.seroundtable.com Search Buzz Video Recap: which will send you a weekly alert for https://www.seroundtable.com/video-09-30-2016-22781.html

You can get these fed into your inbox mainly which means you can flag them to read when it’s convenient.

Watch Google Webmaster Hangouts summaries via https://www.deepcrawl.com/blog/tag/google-webmaster-central-hangout/

· Sign up to the http://backlinko.com/ newsletter for all things SEO
· Google Algorithm Changes: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change
· Checking Google Algorithm Fluctuation Activity http://mozcast.com/
· Content strategy: http://www.matthewbarby.com/ sign up for his newsletter
· Also follow SEO via https://plus.google.com/117050651698767370248/posts who basically aggregates all the main SEO blogs


Hi,

Changing the whois information frequently over a short period of time should have no or very impact on organic visibility.

Domain factors that can have an impact on organic performance are:
- Having a domain registered for a longer period often provides more trust with search engines. So having it registered for 5 years in often a good thing to do
- Having a specific country focused TLD for the search engine country you are targeting (this has diminished recently a little)
- Hosting the domain in the country you are targeting in the search engines (this has also diminished a little recently)
- Having security issues on your domain, such as having your website hacked.
- Selling domains to target a completely different region or country in the search engine can provide some drawback's sometimes as the existing backlinks can often be focused on the old country that the domain was focused on
- Similar to the last point, if you are selling a domain to someone who plans to use it to target a different industry can slow organic performance progress of a new site.

Hope this helps.

Thanks
Lloyd


Hi Tanya,

First to address the first point proposition you were given
"1. It is an ongoing work.
2. We'll work regularly on our site on different things.
3. Developers and SEO guys, both are included in this work.
4. Work will go for regular 8 hours a day.
5. Output shows in around 4 minimum months as Google Indexing ..etc, takes time."

These are not clear statements from someone who knows about best practice SEO strategy.

Understanding the 3 key elements of SEO strategy:

I would expect someone to speak to you about the 3 key elements of SEO strategy to begin with, being:
1. Best Practice SEO Technical Website Structure Setup
2. On-page content optimisation
3. Off-page Optimisation / Link Strategy

Cost Factors:

In terms of costs I think would depend on the size of your website and also what industry it is in.

Website Size - Smaller websites will require less optimisation work. Larger websites will have more pages that can act as organic landing pages for more target search keyword groups and therefore will require more content optimisation work and larger sites usually mean there is more technical SEO work to structure or untangle.

Website industry - some industries are more competitive than others in the organic search results and so more resource sometimes needs to be put into targeting product and service keyword themes that are known to be more competitive in terms of targeting better organic search rankings for.

In terms of a cost range we usually see campaigns starting from around $1000 to $4,000 per month depending on the amount of tasks needed.

Getting Full Transparency:

For our clients we provide them with a fully transparent Gantt chart broken down by individual tasks within each of the 3 key elements of SEO, stating how many hours we believe each task will take and assign these tasks to a standard hourly rate which provides the total monthly fee paid.

In terms of reducing costs as you can do quite a lot of things yourself but this will obviously take time to do and also to learn.

What you can do:

Some areas you may want to look at doing yourself are:
- Learn how to do good keyword research
- Use your keyword research to help you write optimised content on your key target organic landing pages
- Writing (and more importantly promoting) regular blogs can help you to promote specific products and services and help you link to your key product and service pages
- If you think you would benefit from more local type search then you may want to set up your business location on Google My Business Center and then list your business in local niche directory to help appear in local rankings in Google
- If you are an ecommerce site then concentrate on optimising your product pages with unique content and product descriptions

Areas you may wish to get external support on:

Areas that may be having an SEO specialist or digital agency look at would be:
- Optimising your website page load speed
- Optimising your site for Google mobile searches
- Ensuring Google can crawl your website as efficiently as possible
- Optimise how the internal linking structure works on your website
- Providing guidance and consultancy on the best things you can do in-house yourself that can be done by you over a longer period of time
- Ensuring someone provides you a clear picture into what work has been done, what benefit work completed will provide and what the focus should be in the future

In terms of whether focusing on SEO is the right choice for you at this moment in time, you should understand that improving organic search visibility is likely to take at least 3 months before you see any real tangible results (particularly if you are new site and a startup).

For SEO investment needs to be made expecting low ROI in the first 3 to 6 months and from then you can expect to get much higher ROI after 6 months and in the coming years.

So you need to decide whether you need more immediate impacts than that are it's something you can afford to invest time and money in now to reap greater benefits for a longer period of time in the future.

Please let me know if you need any further advice and I would be happy to help.

Thanks
Lloyd


Internal blogs do provide you with good regular internal linking to your key products or service landing pages, which in turn can help you to increase organic visibility on the search engine results for your key target terms.

However if you do not have the resource to do this more advanced strategy then you need to get your on-page setup of you core target landing pages very well optimized.

Key on-page elements:
Meta Title Optimisation:
- Create Unique Titles for Each Page
- Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags
- Optimize Your Meta Description for CTR

Content:
- Include engaging media formats on your landing pages
- Include Keyword Synonyms in H1 and H2 Tags
- Include high text frequency on your pages (1000 word +)
- Use concise keyword focused URLS
- Focus on keyword frequency in your landing page content with related keyword synonyms included

These types of recommendations are presented very well by Moz in the example landing page graphics at https://moz.com/blog/visual-guide-to-keyword-targeting-onpage-optimization and also Backlinko.com has just put together a very good list of SEO tactics to implement on your site that includes a list sorted into an on-page section at http://backlinko.com/actionable-seo-tips

On-page optimisation is an absolute must at the bottom of the SEO strategy pyramid however to compete on some very competitive terms with a number of bigger websites and brands it can be much harder to compete if you don't have a content marketing strategy to support your SEO strategy as often this can result in gaining external links that can be the key differentiator in whether you rank higher than your competitors on average.

Hope this helps.


It very much depends on what your core objectives are as to whether using an online newswire is effective and also what niche your business operates within.

The success of using the likes of PRWeb may differ on a case by case basis.

Some tips to determine the success of a Press Release:
- Review some of the latest Press Releases within the most related category of the particular online newswire site you are looking to use e.g. http://www.prweb.com/newsbycategory/business/
- Search online for related keywords within the headline to see if they appear in Google News results or within the main Google search results for the company brand name
- Check where the release is visible online by searching for the headline in inverted commas
in the search engines e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Vollrath+Company+Showcases+Latest+Smallwares+and+Equipment+Innovations+at+National+Restaurant+Association+Show%22&num=100&espv=2&rlz=1CAHPZT_enGB672GB672&filter=0&biw=1366&bih=631&gws_rd=cr&ei=udQ_V7WXFce90gTwwKDwDQ
- Analyse how many times a press release is shared via social media by using the likes of www.buzzsumo.com or the Impatana Content Marketing Toolbar (available via https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/impactana-content-marketi/gidhppoakegddkkpmgoejeadomghnkie?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher). Many online press release websites offer "social media booster" packages for extra cost but are not likely to be as effective as if you promoted the release yourself via social media and your influencer network.

From a pure PR perspective, I'd recommending reading The PR Masterclass (https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Alex_Singleton_The_PR_Masterclass?id=2UJOAgAAQBAJ) which quotes....
"Although I don't recommend pay-for newswire services, there are proper newswires, funded by media organisations, which are worth contacting. Indeed, newspapers and broadcasters rely heavily upon them to find and filter news. In the UK and Ireland, general news is covered by the Press Association. The equivalent in Australia and New Zealand is the Australian Associated Press (AAP). In the United States and Canada, the Associated Press and The Canadian Press, respectively, take the lead. Reuters and Bloomberg are the main wire services about finance.

Each newswire service will provide you with details of how to submit your press release. They are, in my experience, extremely good at sorting through the material they receive by email."

For Search Engine Optimisation benefits using online press releases as a tactic have significantly diminished over the last 3 years so don't use online press releases if improving organic search visibility is one of your main goals.

My personal opinion is that online press release services are becoming a little outdated unless you have a particular niche targeting a local area that you may be able to gain PR traction in. Many online newswire services have pivoted to more social media listening and promotion tools over the last few years which shows how the impact of newswire releases has declined.

My suggestion would be to avoid these automated newswire services and instead:
- develop good direct PR relationships with relevant people in your relevant industry niche
- builds up your social influencer network by using tools such as Buzzsumo, Followerwonk, Buzzstream and http://klear.com/free-tools?source=whiteHeader and then promote your message via a blog or another type of engaging online content format
- Develop a targeted email list over time using software such as https://sumome.com/app/list-builder. CRM and email marketing are becoming more advanced every day and there are many success stories of how you can gain significant brand awareness through good email marketing.


If you are looking to achieve the key goal of increasing international traffic to your site I would recommend you approach this from 2 different areas of digital strategy:

1. The technical setup of you website that will help increase international organic traffic to your website
- What is the current organic visibility of your website in different countries? You can check this using Search Analytics in Google Search Console or you can check manually for a specific set of keywords (currently included in your page titles of your web pages) across different countries in Google. (Check out the Google Global Chrome plugin to help do this).
- Currently what is your domain setup online?
- Do you have one .com website that has content pages that target just the US?

Google highlights the Pros and Cons very well at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en on the different technical domain configurations that can have an impact on organic performance. For a .com US website for example wanting to target different countries internationally I would recommend creating a sub-folder per target country setup, with tailored country-specific content per sub-folder section. These sub-folders can then be geo configured to different country Google search engine results.

2. The outreach and content strategy can help increase referral and social traffic, boost brand awareness and also boost SEO performance also.
- Look for specific country and industry social groups within LinkedIn, Facebook and Google + to help identify new potential bloggers and also share your content
- Look for specific content hubs that will help you identify the best blogs by country and industry. www.alltop.com is particularly good for this as it has sub-domains per country and industry niche
- Promoting content and services in the best country-specific forums may be worth doing (providing you can spend the time to build up a genuine profile in the forum to help build trust). Use tools such as www.similarweb.com to determine how popular a forum is and whether it's worth engaging in on a regular basis.
- Can you network locally with any international like-minded people using websites such as www.internations.org or www.meetup.com and attend local meetings? This may help develop new relationships where you can mutually benefit from others and gain more exposure for your brand and site.

- Outreach to people you can find via blogger directories such as:
https://www.blogcatalog.com/
http://www.blogflux.com/
http://www.blogarama.com/
http://www.blogdigger.com/index.html

If you are based in the US or the UK you are more likely to find more suitable blog partners through these but if you are in another country you may want to do a more local search for country specific blog directories.

Finding social influencers and engaging with them individually by sharing your blog content, information, services and products.

Some useful tools to help do this are:
Buzzstream Discovery - https://idb.buzzstream.com - Social Influencer Discovery
Buzzsumo - https://app.buzzsumo.com/ - Content popularity and social influencer discovery
BuzzBundle - http://www.buzzbundle.com/ - Social Monitoring, Content Alerts and Influencer Discovery
http://klear.com/free-tools - Find Influencers and analyze any social account across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
https://www.hashatit.com/ - Find Twitter and Instagram influencers via Hashtag searches
http://followerwonk.com/ - Find and connect with new influencers in your niche
http://www.notey.com/ - Find specific content authors by country and theme
http://content.onalytica.com/ - Find influencers that fit your content
https://www.voilanorbert.com/ - Find an influencers email address

This method will require the most effort to engage in the social community but is likely to provide the best quality results

I currently do a lot of international digital strategy so let me know if you need any further support.


In terms of the common methods offering incentives such as sponsorship, discount codes and product incentives are common but you need to ensure disclaimer are made in the right way and any links pointing back to your site contain a rel='nofollow' tag in the link code.

For search engine purposes you need to make sure any links coming to the site are stated appropriately with nofollow tags. Google recently provided further guidance on this area shown at https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/03/best-practices-for-bloggers-reviewing.html

Also you may want to see if the blog has a suitable disclaimer policy to handle sponsored posts and links. For example http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/site/moneysavingexpert-finance is a very good example of how affiliated links are ethically handled as they state in the section of this page at "We want you to know when links are affiliated..."

Having specific two way guest blogging partnerships may help where you promote other bloggers and then they promote your services.

There are a number of blogger community sites, blog directories and pay for review sites you can use but make sure you have a process in place that will allow you to gain reviews on other websites ethically.

In terms of finding relevant bloggers to write about your services this can be done in a number of ways:

Social influencer research and direct outreach for which some useful tools are:
Buzzstream Discovery - https://idb.buzzstream.com - Social Influencer Discovery
Buzzsumo - https://app.buzzsumo.com/ - Content popularity and social influencer discovery
BuzzBundle - http://www.buzzbundle.com/ - Social Monitoring, Content Alerts and Influenecer Discovery
http://klear.com/free-tools - Find Influencers and analyze any social account across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
https://www.hashatit.com/ - Find Twitter and Instagram influencers via Hashtag searches
http://followerwonk.com/ - Find and connect with new influencers in your niche
http://www.notey.com/ - Find specific content authors by country and theme
http://content.onalytica.com/ - Find influencers that fit your content
https://www.voilanorbert.com/ - Find an influencers email address

This method will require the most effort to engage in the social community but is likely to provide the best quality results

Blogger Marketplaces:
www.sponsoredreviews.com
https://izea.com/
http://www.contentfacilitator.com/
https://blogness.net/

Note: for all these you need to be very selective here to find the right blogs that will adhere to required standards

Use tools such as www.similarweb.com and Impactana content marketing Toolbar to estimate the readership and social popularity of any specific blog or post on a particular blog as this will help to use the right bloggers that will promote your services to the largest audience.

Blogger directories:
https://www.blogcatalog.com/
http://www.blogflux.com/
http://www.blogarama.com/
http://www.blogdigger.com/index.html

If you are based in the US or the UK you are more likely to find more suitable blog partners through these but if you are in another country you may want to do a more local search for country specific blog directories.

Blogger and Content communities:
It may be worth participating in a number of blogging communities to help find new prospects such as http://triberr.com/.

Another option may be to joing specific blogger and content groups on sites such as LinkedIn and Google +

It may even be worth checking out whether there are any local blogger meet up groups on meetup.com.


The resource at https://sites.google.com/site/webmasterhelpforum/en/faq-internationalisation#q20 clarifies that if you implement hreflang on your site then you shouldn't implement canonicals tags as well in the same code.

Always make sure you reference the page your code is placed on as well in your hreflang set up as this is sometimes missed by people.

Yoast's plugin in WP is great for in-page hreflang coding implementation. If you are using non WP though then you may want to consider a hreflang .xml sitemap instead. There are not many tools that auto generate an .xml version though. The only one I've found is at https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/standalone-google-sitemap-generator.html. Although Screaming frog told me yesterday that it's on their development roadmap to be integrated into their software, which should be very helpful.

If you are entering into the Chinese market I would also recommend you check out http://www.dragonmetrics.com/ which is very good for monitoring organic performance of your site and helping with keyword research, you can get a free 30 day trial without entering any financial details such as a credit card, so worth setting up once your site is either more established or if you are going through the content optimisation process for the new site.


What is the current take on SEO so as to get website traction?

There are a number of elements to consider when approaching SEO for your website. These elements can be split into Technical SEO, Content Strategy (On-page & Off-page) and Link Strategy

For page title structure (which is still one of the most important elements):
- Try to include your primary target keywords
- Try to write a flowing call to action based page title if possible
- Remember that there are specific charcater limits (that are actually measured in pixel width) for page titles. A great tool to help with this is http://www.seomofo.com/snippet-optimizer.html

Meta Descriptions
- Again these have character limits so make sure you test them via the tool above
- Try to include your unique USPs that are numbers based and show the value proposition
- If you are running any Google adwords campaigns, review which descriptions are performing the best and integrate these wordings into your main meta descriptions

In terms of Keyword inclusion:
- Research numerous keyword variations that are related to your main target keywords. Use the Google Keyword planner to gain an idea of your main target keywords you want to use. Then check out http://keywordtool.io/ which scrapes Google a to z of related search terms. It also provides question based search terms that you can base blog content on. There are a number of similar tools like this but I prefer this as it supports multiple languages. For English http://answerthepublic.com/ is also pretty cool for Q&A based keyword research.
- Make sure you integrate your keywords into your text that reads naturally with high quality copywriting standards

What other onpage activity should one consider for making the site SEO friendly?
- Analyse your page speed via https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and https://gtmetrix.com/
- Check for mobile friendliness https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ as Google has a separate rankings set and algortihm for mobile search results based on how your site is optimized for mobile user experience.
- Make sure you don't have any URLs that show the same content within your website so they are duplicated
- Getting a good in depth and thorough internal linking structure has become much more important int he last few years
- Write high quality blog content on your website and promote this content via specific social media platforms, related forums and also related theme blogs via genuine and useful comments. You should also internally link to other relevant page in your site that a blog post reader may be interested in. Also don't be afraid to externally link out to other authoritative sites when relevant.
- Create and upload an .xml sitemap to your site.

How do I find which keywords of my website has some ranking in search engine?
- Setting up Google Search Console on your website (which requires verification via a html file upload to your server root or by placing a meta tag on you home page code in the HEAD) will allow you to use the Search Analytics function which allows you to see what keywords are being referred to your website, how many clicks and impressions they are getting and what the average position of the terms are at. This can also be viewed at a page level which is often more important.
- There are a number of ranking checker tools out there. Recommended free tools are http://www.link-assistant.com/rank-tracker/ and https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/seo-serp-workbench/ehbgolklgacemnfnmkkpgekngaaggjjl. If you are willing to pay in the region of 50 to 100 dollars per month for ranking tracking software then I would recommend https://www.advancedwebranking.com/online/pricing.html.

Hope this helps and good luck optimising your site.

Lloyd


Having experience integrating Unbounce these are served on a third party host and are therefore not indexed as part of your domain as they are blocked. I would be very wary of using these if you are considering creating a landing page that is very similar to the theme of another existing landing page within your main web page navigation.

As others have mentioned you may want to look at controlling how these are crawled, blocked or viewed by search engines if you are considering using these as part of any future strategy.


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