What is Google’s advice for hiring a useful SEO?

As a leading Sussex based digital marketing agency, we were very interested to view Google Webmaster’s YouTube video: How to hire an SEO. It covers what an SEO does, the hiring process and wider implications.

This 12-minute video by Maile Ohye explains clearly what to look for in an SEO and what makes a good SEO stand out. It is a ‘must see’ if you are thinking of hiring an SEO, if you work with SEOs or if you are an SEO yourself.

The role of a good SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) covers the entire searcher experience from representation in the search results, clicking on the website, potentially converting to a lead or customer, to ranking appropriately where the website is expected to be seen.

For long-term success in SEO, there aren’t any quick fixes or magic tricks, and the potential of SEO is only as high as the quality of your website. The SEO should advise and implement best practices to your website, from creating and implementing descriptive page titles to more complex language mark-up. The SEO should also ensure that the website is helpful both on desktop and mobile devices and delivers a good user experience.

To ensure best practice, SEOs should always corroborate recommendation with a documented statement from Google which supports the description of the issue and approach to resolving the issue.

The 4-step hiring process

Google suggest there are 4 steps in the hiring process:



1 – Conducting a 2-way interview

Look for an SEO who not only focuses on ranking but also on helping your business. What makes your business unique? What do your customers look like and how do they find your site? How does your business make money? What other channels are you using? Who are your competitors? If the SEO is not interested in these questions, look elsewhere.

2 – Checking references

Check references from existing clients, and verify specifically that the SEO can provide useful guidance and work effectively with developers, designers and marketers. An SEO should be someone you want to work with, learn from, experiment with and who cares about your business. They should also educate you on how search engines work so that Search Engine Optimisation becomes part of your business.

3 – Technical and Search Audit

An SEO should conduct an audit using Google Search Console and Analytics Data have before touching anything on the website, and produce a prioritised list of recommendations.

The website should be reviewed for issues such as internal linking, crawlability, server connectivity and response codes. The Search Audit should look at branded and unbranded terms. For unbranded queries the SEO should detail the types of queries they think you should rank for, and what your competitors have done. Examples of recommendations could be to update obsolete content, improve internal linking, generate or learn from the competition.

4 – Deciding if you want to hire

 “Good SEOs will prioritise what ideas can bring your business the most improvement for the least investment, and what improvements will take more time but help growth in the long term.” – Maile Ohye, Google

Artemis Internet Marketing offer a completely free SEO consultation and website analysis service for anyone who’d like to find out more about online marketing and increasing enquiries, sales and profits from their website. We are focused on achieving SEO results for our clients using completely ethical, white hat, Google-friendly techniques.


Integration of Search Console in Google Analytics

In May Google announced that Google Search Console could be deeper integrated with Google Analytics but what exactly does this mean, what insights will it give and how do you enable this feature?

Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps website owners and marketers manage and monitor how they appear in Google organic search results. Google Analytics focuses on the data that the traffic creates once it has reached your website.

Search Console allows you to analyse a websites performance in Google search. It shows you data on Total Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Position for keyword phrases that the website is ranking for. These phrases may not have been identified as phrases to target but could still be driving significant traffic to your website.

Anyone wishing to analyse, understand and improve organic traffic from Google will be interested in this update. Essentially the Search Engine Optimisation reports in Analytics have been replaced with a Search Console section. The new reports combine Search Console and Analytics metrics, allowing you see the data for organic search traffic from both in one report.

What do the reports show?

The reports pull in the following data from Search Console – Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Position and the following from Analytics – Sessions, Bounce Rate, Pages/Sessions, Goals/Ecommerce, Conversion Rate, Transactions and Revenue. For the first time this data appears side by side.

landing-page-report

There are 4 new reports – Landing Pages, Countries, Devices and Queries which are found in Analytics under Acquisition.

analytics-searchconsole-reports

Landing Pages Report

Each landing page appears as a separate row within the report and allows you to see at glance how the organic search traffic performs for that specific page, how visitors reached the website and what they did when they go there.

What does it all mean?

It means greater actionable insight into the performance of a website for organic search results. The landing page report joins acquisition data with behaviour and conversion data. You can therefore see at landing page level how many clicks, the average position, bounce rate and conversion rate that page gets.

Let’s say for example you had an optimised landing page for pink girls bikes – mymadeupsite.co.uk/pink-girls-bikes with a form set up as a goal, you would be able to see the keywords that had driven traffic to that landing page and at a rolled up level what happened to the visitors when they were on the site. Did they bounce? Did they navigate further into the website? Did they convert? It creates insights which creates actions to better optimise the landing page.

Devices Report

This report allows you to deep dive into the devices – desktop, mobile and tablet and how they arrive and navigate your website, You can see at a glance the comparison between Click Through Rates (CTRs) and Goal Conversions of desktop, mobile and tablet and the landing pages and search queries behind them. This is incredibly valuable data. Back to Pink Girls Bikes you might see that the conversion (remember a form was setup as a goal) is better on desktop and mobile than a tablet. This might mean you review how the form looks or is setup for a tablet user to help improve that conversion rate. You might also notice that some landing pages perform better on mobile than desktop and therefore may look at why that is.

This all sounds great but how do I enable it?

You will need to link your Search Console and Analytics properties through Analytics.
Step 1: Navigate in Analytics to Acquisition > Search Console where there are 4 reports – landing pages, countries, devices and queries. Select one of them and select “Set up Search Console data sharing”:
Step 2: Select “Property Settings”
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Adjust Search Console”
Step 4: Select the site to be linked, Save and Select “add a site to Search Console”
Step 6: Start gaining valuable insights

Summary

In summary integrating Search Console with Analytics will enable a deeper understanding of search data from beginning to end and enable actionable insights such as:

  • Understanding the search queries that are ranking well for each organic landing page rather than the website as whole
  • Examining how desktop, mobile and tablet users find and interact with the website
  • Improve landing pages in two specific ways:
    • Improving the landing pages where many users are arriving at the landing page (high click through rate and impressions) but not spending time on the website by navigating through the site (pages/sessions), immediately exiting the website (bounce rate) or not converting to a goal (eg: filling in a contact form).
    • Improving the search presence of landing pages where the users are navigating further through the website and converting but have a low click through rate.

All of these insights should help build a better user experience and in Google’s eyes a better search experience too.


Starting at the beginning…

Keyword research starts a successful online presence and marketing campaign. But what is it? How can you do it better and what does it actually mean?

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is about what people type into search engines to find what they need.  It is essentially the gathering of search terms which are firstly relevant to your website and secondly that people are actually using. For example people who wish to buy a bicycle may type in the word bicycle into Google’s search box.

How do I find more information on keywords?

Google has a handy tool called Keyword Planner which you can access if you setup a Google Ads account. You can use it in different ways to give you keywords ideas and their search volume. The Keyword is the term typed into Google and Search Volume is the amount of times that keyword is typed into

Let’s run through an example. If I owned a Bicycle store and wanted to research keywords where would I start? How about the words around Bicycle? Would you target cycle, bicycle or bike? If we look at these words in Google’s keyword planner we can see the results below:

We can see in keyword planner that bike and bicycle have search volumes of 33100 and cycle has a much lower volume of 6600. What is interesting is that by also searching for the plurals bikes is also a top volume term of 40500. We might therefore think about targeting the keyword bikes more than we would cycles.

Competing for a search term like bike on its own will be extremely competitive. Let’s say our example business is actually a specialist in children’s bikes. So we need to think around the word children and bike and research the combinations of children, kids, boys and girls with the bicycle words.

KeywordAvg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)
kids bikes14800
girls bikes9900
boys bikes5400
kids bike3600
girls bike3600
childrens bikes2900
boys bike1600
childrens bike1000
kids bicycle590
girls bicycle480
boys mountain bikes390
boys bicycles260
children bike210
kids bicycles170
girls bicycles140
kid bike110
children bicycle90
child bicycle70
boys bicycle70
kid bicycle30

 

It is interesting to see the difference between some of the plurals and how much more search volume there is around girls than boys.  But what about delving deeper into what are known as long tail keywords such as a coloured girls children’s bike?

KeywordAvg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)
pink girls bike140
pink kids bike40
kids pink bike40
pink girls bikes20
pink girl bike10
pink girl bikes10
pink girls bicycle10
pink kids bikes10
pink childs bike10
kids pink bikes10
pink kid bike10
pink kids bicycle10
pink childrens bikes10
kids pink bicycle10
pink girl bicycle10
pink kids bicycles10

 

We can see above that the keywords “pink girls bike” has the most potential traffic. By taking these journeys through the keywords we can start to build a strategy and target the keyword that has the potential to drive the most traffic.

What should I do with this information?

The information can help create the strategy for the website in terms of content, how to describe the service being offered in the most valuable way and most importantly how to drive relevant traffic to the website.  For example, when creating a website you can group related keywords into categories and think about creating category pages on the website to target that specific market. In the example, we might want to think about creating a page targeting the words pink, kids, girls and bikes. By creating content that’s relevant with associated terms like pink girls bikes, this in turn will help the website rank for the shorter keyword searches “bikes” and “girls bikes” where the larger search volume is, while also obtaining high rankings for the specific long tail search. Also, by targeting the long tail keywords around pink girls bikes it might be that you are targeting people who have the intention to buy rather than people who are just researching the topic.

In summary keyword research essentially helps create and refine a website to market itself to the people searching for it. If you know how people are searching for what your business provides, you have found your market.