SEO Is Not Dead

20160502 MM Blog Image 1 - JPEG

You’ve heard the rumours. You’ve seen the think-pieces discussing a year-on-year drop in organic traffic and how native mobile-apps hoover up all ‘traditional’ searches. It all points to one thing, they claim – the end of Search Engine Optimisation.

If you work in digital marketing however, you know the truth: SEO is far from dead. Now, perhaps more than ever, the fundamental principles of search engine optimisation are crucial to any successful digital marketing strategy.

But how can we prove it?

At the end of February, one of Mackerel Media’s clients came to us with a problem. Despite being a well-know, large Scottish based firm, their organic search listings  weren’t appearing on the first page – what could we do to help them?

Now anybody will tell you that, unlike the relatively fast gains that can be made through PPC marketing, search engine optimisation is about playing the long game – but there can be some quick SEO fixes that can make a real difference in a reasonably short period of time.

Our initial investigation into the client’s website revealed, among other SEO quick-fixes, that most of the firm’s pages were missing H1 headings. The H1 heading element of a page has long been a stalwart of on-page search engine optimisation – but opinion has been divided over just how much influence it has on your final position on the SERP. However, with everything else seemingly set up correctly, the missing H1’s seemed a logical explanation for the underperforming pages. The next step was to get creative…

Working closely with the client, Mackerel Media was able to introduce around sixty new H1s to pages across the clients site – ranging from sector specific keywords to high volume sector terms, retroactively adding them to complement the existing site content. In total, all of the H1s were added in less than a day.

As a result, search positions have increased dramatically, with the number of our client’s pages ranking on the first page of Google up a massive 40.74% from last month. What’s more, the number of pages which now rank in first place for our client’s keywords has increased by 52.63%.

20160502 MM blog Image 2 - JPEG

20160503 MM Blog Image 4 - JPEG

In just one month, Mackerel Media’s client saw a 22.72% increase in total pages ranked simply thanks to some in-depth investigation and the introduction of H1 headings. If SEO truly is dead, then we’re yet to see any evidence.

And while this is a single example, it is far from an isolated case. Every day here at Mackerel Media we see the effects a well structured, planned and executed SEO strategy. Whether a site requires a technical overhaul, on-site content improvements or an off-site outreach programme – each change you make will have an effect on how Google, and ultimately the internet as a whole, will rank your page.

So next time somebody tells you SEO is dead, remember: the right changes can make a huge difference to where your site ranks amongst its competitors… who are almost certainly all making SEO improvements as well.

Meeting Moz Local

Moz have recently come out with Moz Local, a new tool that checks all of your Local Listings and makes sure that they are up to date and accurate. You enter your business’s URL and Postcode and you’re given a pretty graph that telling you what’s complete, incomplete, inconsistent or any duplicates you may have. Sounds simple, right?

moz-local-dashboard

The Moz Local Dashboard Report

Getting the graph and information was free (which is the best price ever for a tool and pretty useful to get a general idea of where your weaknesses may be), but what Moz then offers is to get these all sorted for you, in one fell swoop. I thought I’d give it a go.

My initial use of Moz local has been good so far. Previously I would have had to think about all the places that our company could be listed and then see about creating an account on each one of them and then updating them one by one.

It took me around 5 – 10 minutes or so, from clicking on “Start Using Moz local” to entering business information (and asking Nick for the company credit card) to being on the dashboard with a quick click through tour of what’s available.

Filling Out Content

Adding Mackerel’s information was quite easy and straightforward. Overall there are four sections to fill out : Basic Information, Additional Information, Additional Contact Information and Advanced.

Basic Information is fairly straightforward, however under the categories section we have a message from Moz saying :

“Enter between 1 and 5 categories for your business separated by commas. Categories should be added in the order of importance for your business. Checkout Category Research to see all categories.”

To which I thought,  “Great, where do I find these categories?“ but there was no link on the page. Having a look later, I found my answer in the Moz Q&A Forum. It’s here by the way: https://moz.com/local/categories .

Additional Information seems to be related to Foursquare which doesn’t really apply to us but I do have a few clients in mind. Here you’ve got a 150-character Description, Opening Times, Photos (which you add using URLs), and Payment Types.

Additional Contact Information  is just in case you want to add extra numbers, secondary lines, mobile and Fax (apparently still a thing).

Finally there’s your Advanced section which asks for a URL to your logo, a display URL, Social Media URLs, any External Media URLs, Promotions (links to menus, product, discounts), Brands you stock, Certifications, Neighbourhood your listing is found, Containing Location (If you’re in a mall/shopping center) and a Store code (a unique ID for each of your listings to distinguish them from each other.

The Dashboard

When you first arrive at the Dashboard, you’re welcomed by a quick click-through tour telling you what each section does.  Your main sections here are: your Listings, Distribution, Performance, Visibility, and Reputation.moz-local-published

Each of your listings is set out nicely with your distribution score, and the progress of each of the local listings that Moz Local has sent your info to. I immediately saw a jump as some as the listings updated straight away, but Moz does then tell you that some could take a couple of weeks and you’ll get an e-mail when it’s all up-to-date.

Listings and Distribution cover your general information that you’re looking at getting updated.  Performance, Visibility and Reputation however, are extras that you can purchase that allow you to get your Google Analytics and other Insight information in the same place. When you click on these, get to use these on a trial basis to check them out, though it seems to take a little while for them to get up and running.

moz-local-visibility-insights

Almost there…

The largest annoyance that i’ve had so far is that Moz Local is reporting I have possible duplicate listings, and saying that I should “Simply ‘close’” to delete them. There’s just one thing; there’s nothing to close.

For now I find that this is a great wee tool for getting all the info in one place, and saving a bit of time getting your company’s information distributed to the local listings. It seems like Moz still have a few bugs to sort out, but give it time and it will definitely be a resource to add to the proverbial Toolbox.