There are hundreds of long tail keywords that we see success/conversion with. Pinpointing one or two would be a mistake. It’s more about approaching an SEO campaign with a holistic keyword approach. There are literally hundreds of keywords we see success with. The campaigns that do the best are those that have been on with us for 3+ years and have gone through our recommended processes to dominating their markets.
Short tail keywords are typically the most difficult and most competitive (i.e. AC Repair, AC Installation, AC Service). It’s important to remember that while our goal is to dominate a market for these types of keywords, it’s also important to come at SEO with a hybrid approach of targeting short tail and long tail keywords including geo-modified, non geo-modified, etc. This ensures that mta360 is casting a wide net to capture low hanging fruit at the onset of a campaign while working on gaining traction with the most competitive keywords. Five years ago, SEO was a very different environment. Google didn’t understand that “ac repair” and “ac repairs” were the same user intent, using semantically similar wording. Every keyword was just that, a single keyword. Back then, SEOs looked at the exact volume of every keyword and only went after the phrases with the highest amount of volume. However, the Google of today understands that “ac repair,” “ac repairs,” “a/c repair,” and “air conditioner repair” are synonymous. We choose to report on the more common and more competitive phrases, but frankly, the amount of terms for which our dealers are ranked would not fit on a report. If we showed all of them and added up each of the unique phrases, the volume would be there. The long and short of it is that we now go after a category, not specific keywords. Old school SEO targeted specific phrases, today we’re capturing an industry that includes 100s and even 1000s of unique phrases. At no time do we say “we’re trying to rank for keyword A and not keyword B.” Our strategy is all-encompassing and it has to be: Searchers are becoming more and more comfortable with Google’s ability to show relevant search results, regardless of how sloppy their input is. Here’s how this change has occurred: A few years ago, a hungry searcher would type in “pizzeria in Port Allen, LA” and not even try typing in just “pizza” because they knew Google would get confused and show them wikipedia or the definition of the word… today, Google is smarter and knows to show the local restaurants that serve pizza for all related terms. They do this through a highly complex algorithm combined with GPS data that locates where someone is searching from. HVAC is no different. What once was a few specific keywords has turned into tons of phrases that collectively present a huge opportunity for traffic to the site and driving the bottom line. Our job is to make you show up when someone types in anything from “A/C Repair Port Allen” to “air conditioning repair company serving Port Allen Louisiana.” Even phrases with very low search volume can be highly valuable if they bring in a high quality searcher who knows they need a new system; add that to service and repair keywords that drive more volume and we have a powerful position.
Since the early days of digital marketing, back when Google was still competing against other search engines such as Yahoo and Alta Vista, SEO companies have been using keyword ranking reports to assess the performance of their campaigns. Back then, the ultimate sign of a successful SEO campaign was achieving a number one ranking for a competitive keyword in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). As a result of the heavy focus on keyword rankings, SEO firms would often do whatever it takes to get their websites to rank as high as possible, sometimes even turning to questionable strategies such as keyword stuffing. In response to these grey hat tactics, over time Google has implemented a variety of algorithmic changes to prioritize search relevance and content quality over keyword density. Although the SEO industry has changed a lot since then, the fixation on keyword rankings continues to dominate the conversation for both businesses and SEO companies. All of that said, it’s important to note that keyword rankings are far from irrelevant to SEO in 2020. Keyword rankings still provide valuable insight into Google’s search algorithms (ie. what keywords are they associating with your website?) and how customers are finding your website. However, keyword ranking reports are not the only way, and definitely not the best way to measure campaign success, as they provide an incomplete picture of your overall campaign performance. Keyword ranking reports are also not the most accurate, as rankings vary widely between users and fluctuate constantly due to three main factors: algorithmic changes, browser history, and proximity. Algorithmic Changes Google is constantly keeping SEO companies and business owners on their toes. Along with periodic major updates such as Panda, Penguin, and RankBrain, Google is regularly fine-tuning their search algorithms, making subtle changes every day. For example, if your website is organically ranking in the #8 spot for a specific search term, Google may decide to move it up in the SERP to evaluate its performance in a higher position. If the click through rate (CTR) for the website improves in a higher position, Google may choose to leave it there or move it up even higher. If not, it could get bumped back down to a lower position. Google’s main goal is to give users the information they need as quick as possible, so if your website isn’t supporting this goal, they won’t show it. Minor adjustments such as these allow Google to tailor its SERP to the user’s needs, based on their behavior. As a result of these constant keyword fluctuations, keyword ranking reports become somewhat inaccurate. Your report is likely to show some keywords in positions different from live results, as the keywords may have already shifted by the time you receive the report. Browser History As part of their mission to provide users with what they’re looking for, Google analyzes past searches and browser activity to determine which websites will most benefit the user. If you’re signed into a Google account while browsing the web or use an Android device, Google has access to nearly all of your historical data. Google will use this data to create personalized SERPs for each user. With this high level of customization, it’s probable that your search for a keyword will look much different from another user’s search of the same keyword. While this has many benefits from a user experience standpoint, it creates a challenge for SEO companies to provide accurate keyword ranking reports to their clients. In the past, has used keyword ranking reports from third party platforms, which are not influenced by historical data. This means the rankings you see on the report could differ greatly from what you see in your actual SERP. As a result, we’ve moved to a more comprehensive overview of our clients’ SEO campaigns, looking closely at traffic, leads, and more. Proximity One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in local SEO in the last few years has been an increased emphasis on proximity. With location services available on nearly every device, Google can now deliver customized search results based on a user’s precise location. This creates another level of complexity for keyword ranking reports, as every user will have a different output based on their local results, and ranking reports aren’t able to accurately reflect this. Searching for something like “HVAC service near me” presents a completely different SERP than what someone a few miles away might see. Some SEO tools try to overcome the proximity issue by showing keyword rankings for users in different areas, but these tools typically only show rankings for one keyword at a time. Business owners need to be able to accurately track rankings for hundreds of different keywords at once to find any real value in a keyword ranking report. Which brings us to our main takeaway: Keyword rankings, while still relevant and important to SEO, are nearly impossible to track in a way that factors in all the intricacies of Google’s search algorithms. Due to this, keyword ranking reports should always be taken lightly, and it’s important to also evaluate other KPIs that are more accurate and consistent such as organic traffic, conversion rates, and backlink volume. Google’s SERPs are constantly changing. Just a few years ago, organic search results were dominating the top of the results, but now this area is filled with knowledge cards, paid advertisements, and a variety of other features designed to keep users on Google’s landing pages. Even #1 organic rankings have to compete for visibility among Google’s sponsored results. This has forced SEO companies to reconsider the value of individual keyword rankings and implement new reporting tools and strategies to help their clients achieve success. If you’d like to learn more about how overcomes these hurdles to help keep your business running smoothly, feel free to give us a call or contact us today.
As a business owner, it’s likely you’ve received an email (or several) from self-proclaimed marketing experts claiming you have serious problems with your website and SEO. Although some of the issues might be worth looking into, more often than not, these emails are just spammy sales pitches from unreliable, deceitful companies. When you receive spammy sales pitches, it’s best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible so you don’t fall into any traps. To help you keep your business safe from spammers, we’ve gathered five of the most common and misleading SEO issues we see presented on free website audits. Missing h1 Header Tags “Missing h1 header tag” is one of the most common issues we see in unsolicited sales pitches. We always recommend remaining skeptical about these claims, as many automated audit tools falsely report missing header tags on websites. Luckily, it’s quite easy for you to verify the presence of header tags on your own, right from your internet browser. To check for header tags, start by navigating to any optimized page on your website (ie. the home page, service pages, and product pages are usually optimized.) Press CTRL + U to view the page’s source code on Windows, or Command + Option + U on Mac. Next, press CTRL + F (or Command + F on Mac) to open the “Find” prompt in your browser. In the search box, type in “h1” and press Enter. There’s a good chance you’ll find the page does have an h1 tag, even if the website audit is claiming otherwise. At this point, you might be wondering what is a header tag, and why is it important for SEO? Header tags are used to tell search engines what the content of a webpage is about. As you can imagine, it’s very important to have optimized header tags on all pages that are relevant to the SEO campaign, so search engines can easily tell what the page is about. However, it’s also worth noting, header tags are not always necessary on every single page of a website. For example, if a page isn’t being optimized for SEO, such as a “Contact” or “Financing” page, header tags are usually not necessary. John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, spoke about the relative importance of h1 header tags and had this to say: “Some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like, ‘Oh you don’t have any h1 tag or you have two h1 tags.’ From our point of view that’s not a critical issue … Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no h1 tags or with five h1 tags.” Long Meta Descriptions Meta descriptions are small snippets of text, directly below the link in the search engine results page (SERP,) that gives users a quick preview of what they will find on that page. Some SEO analysts believe the optimal length for meta descriptions is around 160 characters, but through our own independent research, we have found strong evidence that longer meta descriptions can actually be beneficial, especially for companies targeting several different services or locations. All of that said, while meta descriptions are still important, any knowledgeable SEO analyst should know that meta descriptions have little to no actual value in Google rankings. Back in 2009, Google announced they would no longer use meta tags as ranking factors, as they began pushing back on search engine manipulation from the abuse of meta tags. Long Title Tags Many automated website audit tools will pull title tags, see they’re longer than 50-60 characters, and flag it as a major issue. While it’s true that Google only displays around 50-60 characters in the SERP, it’s also true that Google’s bots still crawl the entire title tag. We have extensively researched this topic, and have proven that longer title tags are definitely not bad for SEO, and can actually be beneficial if used properly. It’s important to make sure title tags make sense to users and potential clients, but you should also include longer, keyword-rich title tags on your site to get the most out of your SEO campaign. Site Speed We won’t deny that a fast website is extremely important from a user experience and SEO standpoint. However, the relationship between site speed and SEO performance is complex and can be largely misunderstood, making it the perfect bait for spammy SEO companies to use. It’s a known fact that Google takes site speed into account in its ranking algorithms, but sometimes changes intended to improve load times can actually have a negative impact on SEO performance. For example, a common recommendation is to implement server caching, which can improve load times for repeat visitors by storing pre-assembled files locally on a server. This ensures users won’t have to re-load these files every time they visit a website, as they will instead receive a cached version of the website. However, Google’s crawler bots will take much longer to notice changes on a heavily-cached website, which can have a detrimental effect on SEO in the long run. There are several SEO-friendly changes that can be done on your website to improve load times, such as image and video compression, but it’s always important to consider your overall SEO campaign before making any major changes to improve site speed. (Some) NAP Audit Issues Many SEO companies perform regular NAP (Name, Address, Phone) audits to ensure your local listing and business information is consistent across the web. Having conflicting information on local platforms, such as Google My Business, Yelp, or Angie’s List, can make it more difficult for search engines to effectively index your business in local search, not to mention cause confusion for prospective customers. All reputable SEO companies recommend periodic NAP audits for local businesses. That said, it’s important to remember that not all NAP audits are created equal. Automated NAP audits can flag errors in listing information, even if the information is correct and up to date, because the … Continued
As a business owner, you likely face constant solicitations from both legitimate and illegitimate companies trying to sell you products or services to improve your business. So how do you figure out what’s right or wrong? How do you distinguish between well-meaning sales pitches from real SEO firms and the spam we get almost daily? The SEO spam emails we’re referring to tend to address you directly using your company or personal name and typically include statistics about all the things missing from your website, which were conveniently found during the free website audit they’re offering you. They might even make shocking claims of having insider knowledge of Google’s search algorithms to get you to the top of Google almost immediately. This can be alarming as a business owner, and you don’t want to ignore any legitimate claims, so how do you protect yourself and your company from the illegitimate ones? One thing is for sure: spammers are getting better and better at crafting fake sales pitches, so you always have to be careful about who you trust. Sometimes, spam emails can be easy to spot, with horrible grammar and questionable email addresses, but other times, spammers are more adept at masking their fraudulent behavior. We have a lot of experience with these types of spammers, so we gathered our best tips to help keep you and your company safe from scams. Common features of SEO spam emails to look out for: Scare Tactics One of the most common indicators of a spam email is when the email starts out with an “urgent” warning about critical issues with your website. Spammers use these predatory tactics to get you to pay up for a fix right away, when in reality, none of what they mention is actually urgent, and many times, it’s also false. You may see some technical jargon throughout the email, but typically these spammers are using automated tools to spit out the same information to tons of businesses. For example, we commonly see spam emails mentioning missing keyword meta tags, which on the surface definitely seems like it would be an issue. However, as any reputable SEO company knows, Google hasn’t used keyword meta tags since at least 2009. So although the claim may be technically true, we know it’s not harmful or beneficial to your website and is only being used as a scare tactic to get your hard-earned money or take away the trust of your current SEO company. Even more surprising, many times these spammers don’t even bother telling the truth. We’ve seen plenty of emails claiming that heading tags are missing from our clients websites, only to find that heading tags are actually present on every single page, right where they should be. Offering Quick Fix Solutions No matter what anyone tries to tell you, SEO is never an overnight process. If you’re receiving a sales pitch and they tell you they can get your website to #1 on Google overnight, or in just a few easy steps, they’re lying. No one can do that. Any trustworthy SEO company should be honest with you, and that begins with what you can realistically expect out of your SEO campaign. It’s impossible for any company to guarantee #1 rankings across all of Google, as Google is unpredictable and rankings are constantly fluctuating every day. Real, trustworthy SEO companies will be honest with what you can expect, so if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Spelling and Grammatical Errors One of the most obvious indicators of a spam email is incorrect punctuation, typos, and spelling or other grammatical errors. While you might not always see these issues in spam emails, when you do, it should be a huge red flag. You want to work with someone who can write clearly and cares about how they present themselves to you, especially in a sales pitch. Suspicious Contact Info Does the signature at the bottom of the email include the person’s first and last name, full company name, and a link to their company website? If not, be wary of trusting anything they say. Scammers purposely avoid providing clear, complete contact information to make it harder for you to verify their identity. Even if you do find the name of the company or a link to their website, do your due diligence. Do a quick Google search to confirm that the company is real and legitimate. You may find the company doesn’t seem to exist or is even on a list of known scammers. Reputable professional sites such as LinkedIn can also be a good source for finding information on real companies. Finally, take a look at the sender’s email address. Is it a personal email from gmail, hotmail, or another standard email service? If so, be hesitant about trusting their credibility. Spammers tend to create free emails like these so they can easily get rid of them once they’re flagged as spam. Explicit Claims They’re Not Spam Does the email include a disclaimer that says it’s “not another one of those spam emails you’re used to getting?” If so, it’s most likely spam. Who is sending all these spammy SEO emails anyway? Occasionally, you might receive these sketchy solicitations from real SEO firms with questionable sales practices, but most often, they are actually mass mailings coming from companies focused on lead generation. The sole mission of these companies is to get a response from you so they can pass the lead over to real, but usually untrustworthy, SEO companies in exchange for a commission. In more extreme cases, these spam emails may be part of a bigger phishing scheme. Scammers may be attempting to trick you into giving them your sensitive financial information or access to your website. Even though many SEO spam emails are not quite this criminal in nature, it’s still in your best interest to be cautious when dealing with these sales pitches. No matter what anyone might tell you, … Continued