SEO

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO (Part 2)

Just a note: Because of the length of this post, we decided to publish it in two parts. You can find Part 1 of the series here.


Lead the way for your customers.

Lead the way for your customers.

In Part 1 of our SEO Improvement Guide, we reviewed how to run a technical audit, conduct keyword research, and verify that your site is mobile-friendly. Now that you’ve gotten those three things under your belt, it’s time to start curating high quality content and improving your links.

Continue your SEO improvement journey below — you can pace these steps out, or you can do them all at once if you’re looking to super charge your SEO strategy as soon as possible.

July: Curate a content calendar

Regularly producing SEO-optimized content is critical to your organic strategy. In Google’s own words, your content needs to be:

  • Useful and informative

  • More valuable and useful than other sites

  • Credible

  • High-quality

  • Engaging

When searchers type in their query, Google scours the web to find the most useful and relevant results. If you don’t have anything on your site that fits the bill, quite simply, you won’t rank. That means less visibility, missed traffic, and lost visitors. 

When we say content we don’t just mean the regular old blog post, either. Be creative. Test to see what works best with your audience. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

  • Articles

  • Guides

  • Videos

  • Webinars

  • Whitepapers

  • E-books

  • Case studies

  • Calculators

  • Infographics

  • Tutorials

  • News

How to create optimized content 

1. Keywords

Using the keywords you collected in April, brainstorm content topics that’ll be picked up in search engines. When putting this list together, try to focus on long-tail keywords, avoid highly competitive terms, and remember to match your topic to your keyword. 

It’s also important to take an audience-centric approach when spitballing your content titles. By this, we mean identifying your audience andthencreating the kind of content you know they wantto see. 

 

2. Put it in a calendar 

content calendar itself won’t aid your rankings, however, we’d recommend creating one to save you time and to help you get in a groove of posting regularly. It doesn’t needn’t be anything fancy, dumping it in a Word or Excel document will do.

 

3. Friendly formatting 

Make sure you lay your content out in a way that’s easy on the eye to ensure its readability and engagement. For example…

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The good: This page is clearly divided with subheadings, the content is broken up with bullet points, and the paragraphs are short and digestible. It also has easy to see links. 

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The bad: These paragraphs, on the other hand, are overwhelming long and the lines are very close together. Combined, it’s quite a strain on the reader’s eye.

4. The technical stuff

A few best practices for the technical side of content creation include:

  • Don’t go overboard on keyword insertion - it’ll look spammy

  • Remember to include meta titles and descriptions - they’ll help to improve the number of people who click through from search results

  • Make sure your URL’s reflective of the content’s title

  • Link to other useful and relevant internal pages to improve your site’s architecture and encourage visitors to keep exploring 


The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

August: Implement a link-building plan

Link-building is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of SEO. But it can also be one of the most beneficial. It requires creativity, time, persistence and, more often than not, money.

There are several benefits that come hand-in-hand with link-building, like: 

  • Improve your domain and page authority

  • Earn extra referral traffic

  • Give your brand’s visibility and authority a boost

  • Increase your exposure to other industry leaders

  • Raise your trust and credibility profile

  • And, of course, aid your rankings

 

Link-building tactics 

If you’re new to the world of link-building and don’t know how to get your foot in the door, here are a few sample strategies to get you started: 

1. Ask your network: If you’ve got a pool of customers, partners or suppliers who have an online presence, start close to home and ask them to promote you on their site. Something as simple as a partnership badge linking back to your website would do.

2. Build your blog: Your content strategy is a gold mine for links. Once you’ve established yourself as a reliable, industry authority, it’ll become a link-bait hub, and naturally earn you evergreen links by itself.

3. Go viral: Easier said than done, we know, but creating a piece of shareable content (like a meme or funny video, for example) is a sure fire way to bank yourself a bunch of backlinks.

4. Be newsworthy: Whether it’s commenting on something in the headlines or creating your own news - like commissioning a study or sharing a company announcement, jumping on something time sensitive will point the press and bloggers in your direction, and boost your odds of coverage in their publication.


September: Enhance your appearance in SERPS

There are a number of ways you can improve how you display in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but here are just a handful:

 

Optimize your meta data

Make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are a) relevant, b) include keywords, and c) written in a way that entice searchers to click through. Remember to stick to the recommended character counts too, so that your text doesn’t get chopped off sooner than it should:

  • Page titles should be within 50 to 60 characters, and

  • Meta descriptions should sit between 150 and 170 characters

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Add schema markup

In its simplest form, schema markup is micro data that can be added to your site’s HTML to enhance how search engines read and subsequently display your page in their results.

Correctly applying schema data can give you a competitive edge in SERPS by giving searchers more, useful information about your company, which can result in a greater number of click throughs. Some popular types of schema markup include:

Ratings and Reviews:

Image via    moz.com

Image via moz.com

Organization markup:

Site navigation:

Video and media:

Adding schema markup might sound complicated, but you don’t actually need any coding skills to do it yourself. For step-by-step instructions on how to get started using Google Tag Manager, head over to this guide

Alternatively, if you’re not entirely comfortable dabbling in schema markup yourself, employing the services of an SEO specialist or web developer is another option.


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Greensboro Marketing Solution  

To see how we can fit into your SEO strategy and support your organic efforts, get in touch with our team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com today. 

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO (Part 1)

Just a note: Because of the length of this post, we decided to publish it in two parts, and Part 2 will be published next Wednesday, April 3.


Get your content in front of the right eyes.

Get your content in front of the right eyes.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your site featured in one of Google’s hotspots. It’s a coveted place to be. It’s a financially fruitful place to be. But it’s also a very difficult place to get.

Stiff competition and Google’s constantly evolving algorithms make mastering your SEO strategy an ongoing uphill battle. There’s no denying that making the investment in high quality SEO is worth it though. Here’s a few stats to back that up: 

  • Three in four people never scroll past the first page of search results?

  • 93% of visitors begin their online experience with a search engine?

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads (like cold calling, email campaigns and radio ads)?

If you’re an SEO novice, we would suggest starting with a few of our articles geared to beginners (here and here).

But, if you have some experience with SEO and are familiar with basic terms, then this six-month guide is for you. From technical audits and content calendars to schema markup and link-building, this six-month plan will give you one simple objective to focus on each month. In no time at all, you’ll be armed with the information you need to give your organic rankings, traffic, and revenue a healthy boost.


The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

April: Run a technical audit

Poor technical SEO practices can harm your rankings. It’s as simple as that. It can make your site uncrawlable, unindexable, and inaccessible, all of which affect how search engines view and place your website.

While there’s no such thing as a perfect website, there isa whole host of errors you can look to correct, all of which will help give your SEO metrics a boost. 

Crawl reports: Carrying out a crawl report will help to identify things like: 

  • Broken links 

  • Faulty redirects

  • Meta descriptions and page titles that are either too long or short

  • Meta descriptions and page titles that are missing or duplicate

  • Matching URLs and on-page content

Hint: if you’re new to the world of crawl reports, Screaming Frog is a reputable tool and offers a comprehensive free version.

HTTPS status codes: Studies have shown that HTTPS is now a very strong ranking factor which, suffice to say, makes it a must. So, if you haven’t already made the switch, there’s no time like the present - here’s a checklist to help you through the stages.

Page speed: The time it takes for your pages to load is another important SEO metric. As well as harming your rankings, slow load times can lead to a poor user experience and increase your site’s overall bounce rate, too.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can be used to analyze your URLs. Within this, you’ll get a score (fast, average or slow), along with a list of issues that are dragging your page speed down. It’s worth noting some of these problems might be quite technical (like deferring unused CSS and eliminating render-blocking resources, for example) and may require input from a web developer or SEO specialist. 

XML sitemap: A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. Your XML sitemap is how Google and other search engines get around your website, discover your pages and subsequently rank them - if you don’t have one, you need one. 

Your XML sitemap must be properly formatted in an XML document, follow XML sitemap protocol, include all your website’s pages, and be submitted to your Google Search Console (GSC). 

To help you visualize the end product, here’s a snippet from one. And don’t be put off if you think it looks scary, in reality, it’s just a list of your page’s URLs along with the date they were last modified. Like this:

Image via    wordpress.org

Image via wordpress.org

Most popular CMS’ have plugins that’ll create your XML sitemap for you. If yours doesn't, you may have to build it manually - check out this guide to find out how, and this one for a step-by-step look at uploading your sitemap to GSC.

For example, you know we’re always recommending Squarespace – and your sitemap is something else they help with. “Your Squarespace site comes with a site map using the .xml format, so you don't need to create one manually. It includes the URLs for all pages on your site and image metadata for SEO-friendly indexing. We automatically update it with any pages you add or remove.” (via Squarespace) 


May: Conduct keyword research

Find the right keywords… they’re out there!

Find the right keywords… they’re out there!

There’s no denying keyword research can be laborious at times, but the more you invest in this stage at the beginning, the greater return you’ll likely get in the long run - so don’t rush it.

Your keyword research lays the foundation for your future content strategy. It’ll help you optimize existing pages, identify opportunities for new pages, and construct a well thought-out content calendar.

 In addition, having a comprehensive list of long and short tail keywords - along with their monthly search volumes, ideally - will enable you to set-up your ranking reports, which play a pivotal part in monitoring your organic efforts. 

What’s a long-tail keyword? A phrase containing at least three words that’s used to target specific demographics opposed to mass audiences. Long-tail keywords are more niche, have a lower search volume, and are less competitive.

What’s a short-tail keyword? A phrase including one or two words that’s used to capture large volumes of search traffic. For example, “social media” is a short-tail keyword, and “improve social media engagement” is a long-tail one.

How to conduct keyword research

There are lots of different ways you can go about gathering keywords relevant to your business, but the most complete approach is amalgamating several different methods.  

Step #1: Brainstorm a handful or two of key topics related to your product or service. Using ourselves as an example, this might be phrases like ‘digital marketing’, ‘web design’, ‘social media management’, ‘email campaigns’ and ‘personal branding’.

Step #2: Get a few heads around a table and start to fill in some of the blanks based on what you think/know your customers are searching for. Using ‘web design’ as an example, this might be:

  • What is web design?

  • How does web design improve revenue?

  • Web design agencies in Greensboro, NC

  • How to find a quality graphic designer

  • Web design cost

  • How to do web design myself


Step #3
: For more inspiration, drop the phrases you’ve accumulated from steps one and two into Google and see what comes up in their related search terms section:

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Step #4: Scour your competitors’ sites and see what terms are trending throughout their pages. If they’re tapping into words you’re not and they’re relevant, you could be missing out and so they might be worth throwing into the mix. 


Step #5:
Make the most of free tools. For starters, you can see which phrases are already leading visitors to your site in Google Analytics, and then there are resources like SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, Google Trends, Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence or Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand.


June: Make sure you're mobile friendly 

It’s perhaps no surprise that mobile’s now the predominant platform used for searches. In 2018, the split sat at: mobile (49.06%), desktop (47.2%) and tablet (3.74%).

All’s not lost if your site isn’t mobile friendly- your desktop version can and will still be indexed. That said, if you’re providing a less user friendly experience to visitors, it couldnegatively impact your mobile rankings. Equally, organizations with streamlined mobile sites could potentially see an uplift in their rankings - and that includes desktop searches, too.

If you’re not sure whether your site’s mobile friendly, you can easily find out by using this tool. And if the outcome’s that you’re not already on the mobile-friendly bandwagon, here are 10 steps to help you make the move


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Greensboro Marketing Solution  

To see how we can fit into your SEO strategy and support your organic efforts, get in touch with our team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com today. 

12 tips for picking a good URL

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Picking the perfect URL is a pretty big deal. It’s your online identity, it’s got to fit your business, and it’s got to be easy to find and promote. Not to mention, if you change your mind down the road it’s going to be a pain to go back and undo.

So, to make your future easier, here are 12 tips to help you settle on a good URL the first time around:

 

1. Make it easy to type

You want it to be as easy as possible for people to type your domain name into their browser, hit enter and land on your site. If it isn’t, you run the risk of losing potential visitors. So, try to avoid the use of slang (using ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ for example) or words with various spellings (like express and xpress).

 

2. Keep it short

Tying in with tip number one, keeping your domain name short reduces the chances of people mis-typing or mis-spelling it. Plus, long and complex URLs can be hard to remember, and you want people to remember you, right?

 

3. Watch out for bloopers

Here’s a prime example for you: penisland.net. The company’s called Pen Island, but we don’t need to tell you what the domain name can be interpreted as… 

The moral of the story: always check for embarrassing double meanings before you buy your domain.

 

4. Insert keywords

Try to include keywords relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a door repair company, you might want to register for a domain along the lines of doorrepair.com or doorreplacements.com. Keywords not only aid your organic efforts, but they just make sense to your customers.

 

5. Geographic targeting

If your product or service operates on a local basis, consider tying this into your domain name too. Sticking with the door repair example, this could mean having a domain like: vegasdoorrepair.com or doorrepair.vegas. Again, this makes your domain easier for people to find and remember.

 

6. Avoid numbers

Numbers can be easily misunderstood. For example, a numeral number 5 could be misplaced with a spelled out number five, and vice versa. 

woman-using-smartphone_t20_AeLxr0.jpg

 7. Skip the hyphen

Try to stay away from using hyphens, too. They can be forgotten about which, you guessed it, makes your website more difficult to be found. 

 

8. Do your research

The last thing you want is a legal battle on your hands, so make sure you research your chosen domain name to make sure it isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company.

 

9. Don’t gloss over your extension

When we say ‘extension’, we mean the end bit of the url, like .com, .net, .org and .info, for example. Here’s a breakdown of how each is typically used:

  • .co - an abbreviation for company, commerce and community

  • .info - informational sites

  • .net - technical, internet infrastructure sites

  • .org - non-commercial organizations and non-profits

  • .biz - business or commercial sites

  • .me - blogs, resumes or personal spaces

Don’t be afraid of straying from the standard .com. It’s by far the most popular, but because of this, it can be tough to get your hands on a short and memorable URL that isn’t already taken. The key to choosing one that’s right, is making sure it’s relevant.

For example, if you’re a non-profit organization, it wouldn’t make sense to opt for a .biz extension. It might throw visitors off the scent and make them less likely to remember your link.

 

10. Buy back-ups

Everything up until now has been centered around building a URL that’s sheltered from being misspelled. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so it could be worth registering misspelled versions of your domain too, so people still make their way to your site anyway.

 

11. Bat off your competitors

Stop your competitors from stepping on your toes by purchasing similar domains to your own and redirecting them to your primary URL. For example, if your domain is doorrepair.com, you might also want to consider owning:

  • doorrepairs.com

  • doorrepair.biz

  • doorrepair.net

  • doorrepair.co.uk

 

12. Check its history

And finally, using sites like who.is and WaybackMachine, check out the domain’s history. After all, you don’t want to be associated with something that has a shady past.


Hue & Tone: Let us help you with your website

Brainstorming, agreeing on, and purchasing your domain name is the first half of the battle... building a website that converts is the other - and that’s where we come in. To see how we can help, contact our team at (336) 365-8559.

Back to basics: Google My Business

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Need a new way to aid your organic traffic efforts? Then look no further. Google My Business is a free, easy, and proven method that will help improve your site’s visibility in search results, make key information more accessible, and enable your company to cut through the crowd with a competitive edge.

The proof is in the results — for example, websites with a business listing get 25-35 percent more clicks than those without? If you’re sold by the stats and want to get the wheels in motion, read on for the all-important ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business lets you take control of how your business appears in Google search and maps, by letting you specify things like your name, description, location, opening hours and busy periods.

In addition, it enables you to monitor and reply to your customers’ reviews, add photos, and get more intel into how and where visitors are searching for you.

This is what Google My Business looks like in search results:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

And here’s how it looks in maps:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative


Google My Business: the benefits

There are endless benefits to making the most of Google My Business, but here are our top seven:

  1. It’s free - so what’s there to lose?! 

  2. It helps your current and prospective customers find your physical location more easily

  3. It enhances your search visibility

  4. It makes genuinely useful information more accessible

  5. Your Google My Business profile opens another communication channel to talk with customers

  6. It equips you with useful analytics and insights into your visibility, engagement and audience, which can be used to shape future strategies

  7. Reviews are relied upon by many, so getting customers to leave them is key. Fortunately, Google My Business makes this easy, allowing customers to rate your business by simply googling your name (they must have a profile themselves, though)

How to create your Google My Business listing


Step 1: create your profile

First things first, you need to set your business’ listing up. To do this, either create a new Google account, or, if you already have an account you’re happy associating with your company, log in using that.

Step 2: Fill out key information

Then head to google.com/business and hit the “Start now” button towards the top right corner of the page. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be prompted to fill in all the details of your business. Be prepared to fill out the following:

  • Your name

  • Address - there are two additional options with this one:

    • You can hide your address if you don’t have a physical store

    • If you deliver your product or service to your customers rather than them coming to you, you can check a box to tell people this

  • Next you need to give delivery details by either telling Google you deliver within a region, city or postcode, or by pre-setting a specific number of miles from your business. The two choices will look like this:

 
Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative
 

Step 3: Pick a business category

You’ll be asked to specify your business’ category. Your response to this will help determine who Google displays your listing to, so it’s really important your category closely reflects your offering.

Step 4: Contact info

The penultimate step is dropping in your phone number or website URL.

Step 5: account verification

And last but not least, you’ll need to pick how you want to verify your account (if you’re not quite ready to verify, you can opt to do this at a later date). Whether it’s now or later though, your options are:

  • Postcard: To verify your business listing by mail, enter your business address in Google My Business. They’ll send you a postcard with a verification code. 

  • Phone: If your business is eligible to get a verification code by phone, you'll see the Verify by phone option when you request verification. If you don't see it, verify your listing by mail instead.

  • Email: Not all businesses can verify their listing by email. If you don't see this option, try another verification method. Before trying to verify your listing by email, make sure you can access the email address shown in the verification screen.

  • Instant verification: If you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Search Console, you may be able to verify your listing instantly.

  • Bulk verification: If you manage 10 or more locations of the same business, your business listings may be eligible for bulk verification. 

For more information on how to navigate your way through each verification method, head here.

 

Making the most of your account

To optimize your profile and make the most of all the fancy features we listed at the beginning of this article (like opening hours, reviews and photos), once you’ve verified your account, make your way to your Google My Business dashboard and select “Info.”

 You should then be presented with a screen that looks like this, for you to work your way through and edit the relevant sections:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone Creative: All things marketing in Greensboro, NC

Whether you’re looking for help with branding, design, social media management, or email campaigns — or you just want to learn how our experts can help with your Google My Business listing — give us a call (336) 365-8559. We’re ready to connect and learn more about how we can help support you and your business.

Google Speed Update: What you need to know

Your website shouldn't leave people staring at their watch. 

Your website shouldn't leave people staring at their watch. 

It’s no secret that speed is central to user experience -- and slow load times translate to a higher bounce rate and less traffic. Think about it: How long did you wait around last time a page wasn’t loading? In addition to annoying users, a delayed page speed means users will read less once the page does load.

With all that in mind, it comes as no surprise that in June 2018 page speed will officially become a ranking factor in mobile search results. The algorithm update was announced in January and has been named the ‘Speed Update’.
 


Wait a second, isn’t speed already a factor? 

Why, yes, it’s true that page speed has been a ranking factor since 2009 – but, it’s never been an official factor for mobile ranking speed. According to a blog post by Google on the topic: “Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches...Starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

 

What Google has said

If you’re already in a panic, take a deep breathe, because Google has said the new algorithm will “only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users, and it will only affect a small percentage of queries.” (source)

Google has also repeatedly stated that the intent behind a user’s query will still be the strong ranking factor -- so if a website has a slow page, but the content of that page is relevant and high in quality, it may still rank highly regardless.

But, how fast are we talking? In a Google Webmaster video, Maile Ohye, states that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability.At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

It’s no secret that over the last two years Google has been implementing a mobile first strategy that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites. The Speed Update just takes this initiative a step further by prioritizing speed, which is key to mobile responsiveness. 

 

What you need to do

In preparation for the Speed Update, Google has recommended a number of resources to help gauge where your website’s performance is at.

1. Chrome User Experience ReportChrome User Experience will give you intel on how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web, and the factors that shape and contribute to their final user experience.

2. LighthouseLighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.

With each audit (which only takes between 60 to 90 seconds), you’ll receive a document detailing what’s important to fix, and how you can fix it. Suggestions could range to anything from oversized and unoptimized images, to unused CSS rules and render-blocking scripts.

3. PageSpeed InsightsAnother one of Google’s powerful speed tools, PageSpeed Insights will analyze your page and present you with a page speed rating, optimization score (out of 100), page load distributions, page stats and optimization suggestions. 

The recommendations might range from things like prioritizing visible content and leveraging browser cashing, to eliminating render-blocking Javascript and CSS in the above-the-fold content. 

 

What's next

Once you've made all the updates possible you'll need to monitor your search rankings. Keep in mind that because the update is entirely algorithmic, there’s no tool that will just simply show you which pages have been dinged – after you make all the adjustments you can to increase page speed, you’ll have to keep an eye on your mobile rankings to make sure your site isn’t taking a hit.

Looking for even more resources to get your page up to speed? We’ll leave you with this list to check out: 


Hue & Tone Creative

Do all these terms look like gibberish to you? Bring in an expert -- let us help you get your web presence up to speed (literally). We can help with everything from branding and email campaigns to social media and your web presence.  

13 easy to implement SEO tips

14 easy to implement SEO tips  |  Hue & Tone Creative

In need of more in-depth information? Check out our articles on finding relevant keywords, discovering new keywords, and essential do’s and don’ts of SEO.

Implementing proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics isn’t a quick fix marketing solution – but when done properly it is worth the long-term investment. If you’re new to the world of SEO and are in need of a few quick tips to get your feet off the ground, then you’re in the right place -- because we’ve got 13 easy to implement tips for you.

  1. Make sure the meta descriptions for your images are enticing. That way, when people do come across your image in search results they’ll be more inclined to click through – it’s a great place to use your page’s keywords too. 
     
  2. Keep internal linking front of mind when you’re creating new pages. Linking to your own content will help define your site’s architecture and encourage visitors to explore other pages of your site.
     
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of title tags. Title tags are the HTML title element used to briefly and accurately describes the topic and theme of an online document. They’re rumored to be the most important on-page SEO element (behind the content itself), so make sure they’re reflective of the content, catchy, and inclusive of relevant keywords.
     
  4. Make sure your content is fresh. Google is always crawling for new content and to avoid being left behind you need to be constantly updating your site. A blog is a simple way to do this – but can backfire if you set one up and never update it. Minimum, we suggest updating your blog a few times a month. Ideally, you’ll be updating it a few times a week.
     
  5. Keep an eye out for broken links. Broken links can stop search engine spiders from crawling your site, which can impede your SEO efforts. Use an online tool like Screaming Frog to find broken links and fix them. 
     
  6. Optimize your page speed. In July of 2018, page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile search. To make sure your users aren’t left hanging around, let PageSpeed Insights’ report help you iron out any issues.
     
  7. Stay concise to reach featured snippet status. A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user's query, which is displayed on top of Google search results. It's extracted from a webpage and includes the page's title and URL. Increase your odds of having a featured snippet by creating great content that answers specific questions.
     
  8. Optimize your images. Make sure your file name, caption, ALT text and title text all include relevant keywords. While you’re at it, make sure the file size isn’t too big either -- this can slow down your page load speed.
     
  9. Make sure your XML sitemap is up-to-date. An up-to-date site map means search engines can find your pages easier. Remember, Google ranks your pages, not your website.
     
  10. Research your keywords before you start adding pages. Proper research will ensure you get the most out of your content and rank for the right terms.
     
  11. Make sure your content is high quality. Google can easily recognize quality content, so don’t think you’ll be able to fool the algorithm by posting a high quantity of subpar articles. To rank well, you’ll want to write content that is conversational, informative, focused, clear, and easy to digest (tables and numbered lists help with this). And, don’t forget to link to reliable outbound sites. 
     
  12. Utilize a clear URL structure. Utilizing an SEO-friendly URL structure will help with the indexation process of your website. Your URL should be structured like this:  http://domainname.com/subdirectory/filename.
     
  13. Diversify your keyword strategy. Don’t just focus all your efforts on basickeywords -- target longtail keywords too. Although long-tail keywords are usually searched for less often than their shorter counterparts, they tend to bring in a high conversion rate because they are so specific.

Hue & Tone: Your Greensboro Marketing Partner

Don't get stuck trying to figure out your entire marketing strategy yourself. Focus on what you do best, and let us do what we do best. Whether you're a new business or just in need of some fresh ideas, we can help you plan your marketing strategy from social media and SEO to print and radio advertising. Give us a call today to get started. 

5 signs you need help with your content

5 signs you need help with your content  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Your content is at the core of everything you do. Every part of your business relies on strongly written content – everything from your website and welcome emails to business cards and online ads. 

But how do you know if your content is connecting with potential and future customers? We’ve put together a list of 5 key signs that you need to revamp your content or bring in some outside help to revive it. 

 

1.  Your traffic isn’t converting

Plenty of people are landing on your website, but your conversion rates are way below what you’d expect them to be. There are a whole load of factors that could be contributing to this, but content tends to be one of them – along with page design, graphics, and mobile compatibility. 

Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher. 

Ask yourself -- does your content do your product or service justice? Does it clearly explain what you’re about? Does it speak to your audience in a way they want to be spoken to? Is it accurate and engaging? Does it give people a reason to choose you over your competitors? If you just answered with a stream of no’s, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

If you’re not sure how your content is being received, consider sending out a survey or asking a few key customers for their thoughts. Sometimes an outside perspective is needed!

 

2.  Your website it stale

When’s the last time you added a piece of content to your site? So long ago you can’t remember? Well, therein lies your problem.

Google likes to see fresh content, and places greater value on up-to-date, newsworthy articles. In a nutshell, if you don’t have fresh content, this means you could be impeding your efforts to gain organic traffic. A simple way to overcome this is by adding a blog section (and actually posting on it!) which will help improve your SEO (find out more about that here).

In addition to a blog, consider setting a calendar reminder that goes off every 6 months to prompt you to review and update the content on your static web pages.

 

3.  Social media struggles

If you’re constantly grasping for ideas of what to post on social media, it’s probably because you don’t have anything to shout about, and the reason you don’t have anything to shout about is probably because you haven’t published anything new – or, worse, you’re out of touch with your audience.

Regular, relevant content will bring your social media streams to life, give you something to talk about, get your audience engaging with you, and drive traffic to your website.

 

4.  People aren’t talking about you

If you want people to talk about you, you need to give them something to talk about. Producing great content will get people sharing it on social media, encourage other websites to link to your material, and can help get your audience engaged in new ways. 

The end result? Brand awareness, word of mouth advertising, more inbound links (which will benefit your SEO efforts) and inevitably more leads.

 

5.  No internal linking opportunities

Internal linking aids your website’s navigation, help you define the architecture and hierarchy of your site, and plays a part in building your website authority. 

When it comes down to it, the more relevant content you have, the more opportunities you have to add internal links. For example, we sent you to this article about SEO earlier in our blog post – but because we have so much relevant content we also could have linked you to this article or this article… or even this one! See? Relevant content builds linking opportunities. 


When it comes down to it, having a bank of relevant content not only makes your marketing more effective – it also makes things easier on you in the long run. Having a deep well of articles and posts to send people to gives you more to promote – as well as the behind-the-scenes SEO benefits of establishing authority. 

If you’re stuck on what to post about, we’ll leave you with this blog series for a little further reading. 


HUE & TONE: TRIAD BASED MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Completely stumped on what kind of content to post? Not even sure who your customers are? Or maybe you're just not sure how to reach them? We can help you answer all these questions -- and help you plan and enact solutions for all your marketing woes. Shoot us an email or give us a call. 

Why You Need To Be Blogging

When business is booming, it’s easy to put blogging on the back burner. If you blog frequently, it can seem logical to cut back on something that can require a lot of your thought, time, resources, and skill. However, investing all that time and skill has a very real payoff -- 74% of businesses say that engaging blog content increases their quality and quantity of leads. Surely worth the investment, right?

There are umpteen reasons you need to be blogging, but for the purpose of this post we’ll focus our attention solely on some of the top SEO and brand authority benefits.
 

Why you need to be blogging  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Blogging is a staple part of your SEO strategy


Linking

First and foremost, blogging gives you significantly more opportunity to link internally. The logic is simple -- the more quality content you have on your site, the more relevant pages you can point visitors to.

The second opportunity comes in the form of external links. If you’re pushing out engaging, authoritative, and useful content, other sites will want to link to it, so that they can add value to their audience, too. Evergreen content (timeless content that attracts both first time and repeat readers) is especially great for this, because it can earn you links until the end of time - for free!
 

Enhance your engagement

Blogging not only helps to get visitors landing on your site, but it helps to retain them too. So, why does this matter? Low bounce rates and longer session durations are signs that you’re providing people with quality content, which is exactly what search engines look for when serving people search results. 

Long-term, this will boost your rankings and help you come up higher in a Google search. 
 

Target your keywords

Blogging is the perfect platform to target all your keywords – as long as you’re incorporating them organically, of course. It allows you to answer the questions your audience is asking, to engineer your content strategy towards what’s being searched for, and to produce intent-based blogs that help to convert.

The end result? Higher rankings, greater organic visibility, more traffic and an increase in sales.

 

Blogging build your brand’s authority


Become an industry leader

By pushing out timely, high-quality, accurate, and interesting content on a regular basis, you’ll prove yourself as a leader in your arena. People will trust you. When they’ve got a question, they’ll come directly to you. They’ll recommend you to others. And they’ll build a rapport with you without a single word being spoken.
 

They’ll keep on coming back

Great quality content wins lasting relationships. Poor quality content turns people away. One less than interesting article can lose you a visitor for life - it sounds extreme, but it’s true. Cast your mind back to a time when you landed on a poorly put together piece of content: what impression did it leave? And, how fast did you click away from that site? 
 

Get your name out there

Having a regular flow of posts helps you get your business out there. Whether it gets traction from external sites, is shared on social media, included in your weekly newsletter or promoted in paid ads, it gives you something to shout about. Without it, you’ll soon run out of things to say.

 

So, that’s it for our handpicked pros of blogging. What else do you need to know? Leave us a comment below! 


GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR GREENSBORO, NC AND BEYOND

Let us take the headaches out of managing your blog. Whether you need help developing keywords, creating fresh content, or moderating comments, Hue & Tone Creative has you covered. Contact us today. 

Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional

Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Yes, we know you've heard it before. 

The last web designer you spoke to probably mentioned it 5 times in the last 5 minutes. 

They probably used words like “mobile responsiveness,” “optimizing for mobile,” “responsive design”… maybe they even threw in “MobileGeddon” for good measure. 

But, what is "mobile-friendly," why is there a need for it on your website, and why are web designers so obsessed with it? 

In this post, we'll cover just that. We’ll also give you 7 undeniable reasons why you need to invest in your website being mobile responsive.

But first, the basics.

 

What is a mobile-friendly website?

Let's illustrate the concept using a couple of images:

 
Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative
 

And, this illustration from Google:

 
Why having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional  |  Hue & Tone Creative
 

See the difference?

One looks like a typical phone app and the other one will require a magnifying glass just to read the site title.

You'll notice the "mobile-friendly" one on the right has:

  • Large, easy to read text
  • Full screen, viewable images
  • An intuitive page layout
  • Easy to use navigation

When you’re on your phone, this is exactly what you would expect a good website to look like. A website optimized for mobile adjusts and displays properly on all smaller screens – not just phones, but tablets too.

 

Why is mobile-friendly website important?

In addition to elevating your user experience, we’ve got some hard numbers on why mobile compatibility is important. A few highlights:
 

  1. In 2017, 52.64% of all traffic came from mobile devices.
  2. By the end of 2018, it’s expected that traffic on mobile devices will make up 79% of global internet use.
  3. Last year 50% of total eCommerce revenue came from mobile devices
  4. 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
  5. Nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
  6. 88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
     

It comes down to the fact that almost everyone uses their mobile device to browse, shop, and interact with businesses. Not having a mobile optimized site directly converts to losing potential customers.

If you are a business owner looking to make your mark in the digital ecosystem, we highly recommend that your website be mobile optimized. You don't want site visitors squinting to see what your website is all about.

Still not convinced? 

 

6 (more) reasons why you need a mobile responsive website

  • Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in mobile search results. Back in 2015, Google made a change to the algorithm that allows websites optimized for mobile to rank better than those that aren’t optimized.
  • Having a mobile friendly site is considered best practices today and it increases your credibility to comply with industry standards.
  • 91% of mobile internet activity is spent on social media. You don’t want to waste your social media marketing dollars by sending people to a subpar or slow loading site.
  • Good site design makes customers happy and saves them time. You always want to give your customers a good experience – and this means having an easy to navigate site. You can be guaranteed people won’t come back to your site if they can’t navigate it easily.
  • A site that operates smoothly leads to people spending more time on your site. 
  • Mobile optimized sites are programmed to load more quickly – you no longer run the risk of people clicking away because your site loads slowly!
     

In 2018, making your site mobile friendly is no longer optional. It’s worth investing in revising or redesigning your website to make sure your site conforms to the industry standard of being mobile ready. If you don't, you risk losing potential customers, lowering the impact of your social and PPC ad campaigns, and alienating people who aren’t willing to put up with an inferior user experience.  


Hue & Tone: Greensboro-BASED Marketing FIRM

Ready to get your site up to speed? We can hook you up. At Hue & Tone Creative, we believe good marketing can help you create a lasting impression on your customers. From site design to business card design -- we can help you with every piece of your marketing strategy.

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative

When it comes to finding the right potential customers, utilizing the correct keywords in your paid search and web content will help you increase your leads.

While it can be tempting to just make educated guesses about the right keywords, it's crucial to take the time and research what will be most effective. But, before we highlight a few handy tools for keyword discovery, it's important to understand what that there's a few different type of keywords. 

 

Long-tail Keywords

One of the most effective types of keywords is a long-tail keyword. A long-tail keyword is a highly detailed phrase made up of three to four words. Although long-tail keywords are usually searched for less often than their shorter counterparts, they tend to bring in a high conversion rate because they are so specific.

For example, someone looking for "organic gluten-free birthday cakes" are more likely to find your bakery and place an order then someone who just typed in "buy cake" and just wants any old birthday cake that's available.

 

Local Keywords

Think about times when you’ve searched for services or businesses like hair salons, dentists, or a place for decent pizza. You’re automatically going to weed out a business that isn’t anywhere near you.

If you own a small business, it’s important to get the word out to your local clients through geo-targeting. Instead of only using keywords like “animal hospital,” get more specific with words like “animal hospital in Greensboro, NC.”

While local keywords often have lower search volume, they often have higher conversion rates. Long-tail local keywords will deliver even less traffic, but chances are these visitors are really serious about finding a business. For example, "animal hospital greensboro open 24-7" has a good chance of capturing someone looking for a midnight pet emergency. 

One word of warning? Don't shoot yourself in the foot by casting too wide of a net. Stick to the location of your brick and mortar store and a few surrounding counties -- don't try to capture the whole state or you'll just end up reducing your potential to rank for your actual location. 

 

Keyword Planner

One of the best ways to discover keywords is through the free Keyword Planner in Google AdWords. Using this tool, you can search through relevant phrases and terms related to your business and see how often they are searched through Google. The Keyword Planner also allows you to research historical statistics and predict the click rate of potential words before you add them into your AdWords plan.

 

Google Trends

Not utilizing Google AdWords? You can still give Google Trends a try. This is when it's time to make an educated guess about what you think your keywords would be. Start with things like your products or services and check the popularity of one or multiple keywords at a time by searching them on the site. You can narrow down the trends even further by searching in a specific region, state, or span of time.

Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative
Tools to discover your most relevant keywords  |  Hue & Tone Creative

For instance, the amount of people looking for “pumpkin patches” in Greensboro and Winston-Salem increased dramatically around September 24th of this year. Google Trends also provided some suggestions for related topics and search terms like “farm,” “maze,” and “pumpkin patch near me.” 

If you're looking to do something like holiday advertising or capture the back to school crowd, being able to track these types of trends can help you predict when your ads will be most effective. 


 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Planner has a great analysis and keyword suggestion feature for marketers. If you’re on a budget, the site offers 20 free search queries every month, with the option to upgrade by purchasing the premium plan.

Another helpful feature of this tool is how it breaks down each search term by monthly volume, priority, difficulty, and organic CTR. This will help give you an idea of how competitive it will be to gain clicks -- and how much it will cost. 

 

keywords --> COntent

After you've done your keyword research, you're probably ready to get out there and buy some ads or bid on some keywords and start driving traffic to your site. But don't forget one of the most important ways that you can build authority -- through your blogging and site content! 

Make sure to write about topics you want to rank for and let your newly discovered keywords influence your blogging. As you might remember from this blog, Google knows what you're blogging about and they rank you accordingly, so don't fall into the trap of only paying for traffic. Strong, organic content can bring you some of the best traffic around! 


Marketing and Social Media Experts in the Triad

Looking for to develop your brand? Hue & Tone is a creative graphic design agency specializing in logo design, web design, social media management, and more. Be sure to check out our portfolio to see clients we’ve helped in the past, or give us a call if you're ready to get started building your brand.