Do you want to increase your website’s rankings? SEO is a powerful way to do this. On page SEO refers to the content on your website, and it can take time and patience to get it right. In this blog post, we will go over three tips for optimizing SEO on your website so that you can rank higher in search engine results pages (SERP).
These tips are the foundational pieces that I have used for my business and clients that flat out get results.
SILOing Your Content
A big part of search engine optimization is creating content. One mistake people make is not structuring that content properly so it is easily followed. The first thing you need to know is how to structure the content so when someone comes to the site they can easily navigate and find the content they are looking for.
The best way to do this is through SILOing your content.
What is SILOing you ask?
SILOing stands for “siloing information.” It’s the process of organizing website content in a hierarchical manner. On each page, you have to provide links that lead users down a hierarchy, or order, of topics or subtopics.
I like to draw it out on a white board and make it look like an organizational chart.
Here is an example of what a hiearchy would look like:
The main topic of focus for the entire website is right at the top. Below the main topic, start creating subtopics. I like to keep the subtopics to 5 or less in the beginning. Then, underneath each subtopic, start writing all the potential things you can write about on that particular topic.
If you have a hard time coming up with things to write about, go to websites like answerthepublic.com or quora.com and search the subtopic. Then just write down all the questions that come up and answer them.
How long should each article or piece of content be for SEO?
There are many answers to this question depending on where you focus. From our experience with clients, we have found that top-performing content is at least 1200 words and that content should not be less than 800 words. If content is under 800 words, it typically performs poorly in rankings.
Now with SILOing, you can use multiple pieces of content in a “series” like format to get the word count up.
The idea behind having this much content is that you want to build authority on the topic.
Google hasn’t really come out and said 800 – 1200 words is the mark, but if you can easily write 1200 words on a topic it shows that you know a little of what you are talking about, Google likes that.
As for keywords and getting all that in there. Each piece of content should be themed towards a question or single topic that falls under that sub topic. This makes it really easy for keyword strategy.
What I tell my clients is to not worry about making sure the right keywords are in the right place. I tell them to focus more on providing high quality content that is easily consumable. The keywords will appear where they need to.
You want your content to be organic, authentic, and easy to read and understand. The more you focus on this, the better your content will be and the higher it will rank.
As you build out your SILO visually, it’ll be easier to also connect the dots across categories where you can provide internal links for additional content to better strengthen your content.
Once you have content written the next thing you should put focus on is Rich Data snippets, or Schema Markup.
What is schema markup?
Schema markup is a way to structure your content for search engines. On the internet, there are different types of data that websites can use, and it’s important to be able to “mark them up” so that they’re easily understood by search engine crawlers.
There are two main things you need schema markup for – reviews & people or organizations.
Of course there are other areas such as videos, FAQ’s, breadcrumbs, etc.
The type of site you have will dictate how in depth you want to go with the schema or structured data snippets.
The way Google likes to see it is in the JSON format.
Now I know what you are saying…”that sounds super techie and I don’t want to do it.”
I’m here to tell you…yes it is techie and you must do it!
Luckily there are a ton of plugins and websites that will write this for you and all you have to do is give the information.
The website I like to use and have clients use is https://technicalseo.com/tools/.
This website has a bunch of other tools to help with your robots file, sitemap and htaccess file.So you can leave the real techie stuff to the software. All you need to worry about is copy and pasting it into the right place.
The really cool thing about schema is not a lot of websites do it. If you are in a niche, especially a local niche (ie. HVAC, Hotel, dentist, massage therapist, etc.) you will easily beat out your competition just by adding schema to your site.
Just remember, Google will always serve you when you give them as much information as possible in their preferred format. In many cases, this will be the sole reason you outrank the competition.
There are many other factors in getting high rankings for your website, but having well-written structured data is one of the big factors that Google looks at.
Now that we have awesome content that is structured with a SILO, and the site is properly marked up with Schema, we must continue with providing that great user experience.
The best way we go about doing that is making sure the site loads fast.
Website Loading Speed
One of the main things that affects website ranking is how fast the site loads.
Google has said that they are using page speed as a ranking factor.
There are many things you can do to increase your website’s loading time, such as optimizing images, compressing files, and caching static content.
Using sites such as GTMetrix will give you an awesome idea on where you can get started with your speed optimization and what is going to make the biggest impact right away.
Once you have made the adjustments, I always cross reference through Google’s PageSpeed tool to make sure I am doing the right things and getting the desired results.
Another thing you can do is use a content delivery network (CDN).
A CDN is a service that distributes your website’s files across multiple servers located around the world. This speeds up the loading time by serving the files from the closest server to the visitor.
There are many different CDNs available, such as CloudFlare and MaxCDN. I like to use CloudFlare because it’s free and easy to set up.
One Last Recommendation
This bonus tip is to make sure you have a Google Search Console, formerly known as webmaster tools, account. You can use this to check your crawl rate and see if there are any errors you need to fix on the site. On top of that, it’s great for getting feedback from Google about how they view your website.
Just by doing these few things, you can greatly improve your website’s loading time and boost your SEO rankings.
SEO is not a one time fix and it’s an on-going process. You must always be working to improve your website’s ranking. These are just a few of the things you can do to get started.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
The most exciting thing about visual search is that it’s becoming a highly accessible way for users to interpret the real world, in real time, as they see it. Rather than being a passive observer, camera phones are now a primary resource for knowledge and understanding in daily life.
Users are searching with their own, unique photos to discover content. This includes interactions with products, brand experiences, stores, and employees, and means that SEO can and should be taken into consideration for a number of real world situations, including:
Though SEOs have little control over which photos people take, we can optimize our brand presentation to ensure we are easily discoverable by visual search tools. By prioritizing the presence of high impact visual search elements and coordinating online SEO with offline branding, businesses of all sizes can see results.
What is visual search?
Sometimes referred to as search-what-you-see, in the context of SEO, visual search is the act of querying a search engine with a photo rather than with text. To surface results , search engines and digital platforms use AI and visual recognition technology to identify elements in the image and supply the user with relevant information.
Though Google’s visual search tools are getting a lot of attention at the moment, they aren’t the only tech team that’s working on visual search. Pinterest has been at the forefront of this space for many years, and today you can see visual search in action on:
In the last year, Google has spoken extensively about their visual search capabilities, hinging a number of their search improvements on Google Lens and adding more and more functionality all the time. As a result, year on year usage of Google Lens has increased by three fold, with an estimated8 billion Google Lens searches taking place each month.
Though there are many lessons to be learned from the wide range of visual search tools, which each have their own data sets, for the purpose of this article we will be looking at visual search on Google Lens and Search.
Are visual search and image search SEO the same?
No, visual search optimization is not exactly the same as image search optimization. Image search optimization forms part of the visual search optimization process, but they’re not interchangeable.
Image search SEO
With Image Search you should prioritize helping images to surface when users enter text based queries. To do this, your images should be using image SEO best practices like:
Modern file formats
Relevant file names
All of this helps Google to return an image search result for a text based query, but one of the main challenges with this approach is that it requires the user to know which term to enter.
For instance, with the query dinosaur with horns, an image search will return a few different dinosaur topic filters and lots of different images. To find the best result, I would need to filter and refine the query significantly.
Visual search SEO
With visual search, the image is the query, meaning that I can take a photo of a toy dinosaur with horns, search with Google Lens, then Google refines the query based on what it can see from the image.
When you compare the two search results, the SERP for the visual search is a better match for the initial image query because there are visual cues within the image. So I am only seeing results for a dinosaur with horns, that is quadrupedal, and only has horns on the face, not the frill.
From a user perspective, this is great because I didn’t have to type anything and I got a helpful result. And from Google’s perspective, this is also more efficient because they can assess the photo and decide which element to filter for first in order to get to the best SERP.
The standard image optimizations form part of what Google considers in order to surface relevant results, but if you stop there, you don’t get the full picture.
Which content elements are best interpreted in visual search
Visual search tools identify objects, text, and images, but certain elements are easier to identify than others. When users carry out a visual search, Google taps into multiple data sources to satisfy the query.
The knowledge graph,Vision AI, Google Maps, and other sources combine to surface search results, but in particular, Google’s tools have a few priority elements. When these elements are present in a photo Google can sort, identify, and/or visually match similar content to return results:
Landmarks are identified visually but are also connected to their physical location on Google Maps, meaning that local businesses or business owners should use imagery to demonstrate their location.
Logos are interpreted in their entirety, rather than as single letters. So even without any text, Google can understand that that swoop means Nike. This data comes from the logos in knowledge panels, website structured data, Google Business Profile, Google Merchant, and other sources, so they should all align.
Knowledge Graph Entities are used to tag and categorize images and have a significant impact on what SERP is displayed for a visual search. Google recognizes around 5 billion KGE, so it is worth considering which ones are most relevant to your brand and ensuring that they are visually represented on your site.
Text is extracted from images via Optical Character Recognition, which has some limitations — not all languages are recognized, nor are backwards letters. So if your users regularly search photos of printed menus or other printed text, you should consider readability of the fonts (or handwriting on specials boards) you use.
Faces are interpreted for sentiment, but the quantity of faces also comes into account, meaning that businesses that serve large groups of people — like event venues or cultural institutions — would do well to include images that demonstrate this.
Visual Search Element
Corresponding Online Activity
Google Business Profile
Website Structured Data
Google Business Profile
Knowledge Graph Entities
Image Structured Data
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile
How to optimize real world spaces for visual search
Just as standard SEO should be focused on meeting and anticipating customer needs, visual search SEO requires awareness of how customers interact with products and services in real world spaces. This means SEOs should apply the same attention to UCG that one would use for keyword research. To that end, I would argue we should also think about consciously applying optimizations to the potential content of these images.
Optimize sponsorship with unobstructed placements
This might seem like a no brainer, but in busy sponsorship spaces it can sometimes be a challenge. As an example, let’s take this photo from a visit to the Staples Center a few years ago.
Like any sports arena, this is filled to the brim with sponsorship endorsements on the court, the basket, and around the venue.
But when I run a visual search assessment for logos, the only one that can clearly be identified is the Kia logo in the jumbotron.
This isn’t because their logo is so distinct or unique, since there is another Kia logo under the basketball hoop, rather this is because the jumbotron placement is clean in terms of composition, with lots of negative space around the logo and fewer identifiable entities in the immediate vicinity.
Within the wider arena, many of the other sponsorship placements are being read as text, including Kia’s logo below the hoop. This has some value for these brands, but since text recognition doesn’t always complete the word, the results can be inconsistent.
So what does any of this have to do with SEO?
Well, Google Image Search now includes results that are using visual recognition, independent of text cues. Meaning that for a Google Image Search for the query kia staples center, two of the top five results do not have the word kia in the copy, alt text, or alt tags of the web pages they are sourced from. So, visual search is impacting rankings here, and with Google Imagesaccounting for roughly 20% of online searches, this can have a significant impact on search visibility.
What steps should you take to SEO your sponsorships?
Whether it’s major league or the local bowling league, in order to get the most benefit from visual search, if you are sponsoring something which is likely to be photographed extensively, you should:
Ensure that your real life sponsorship placement is in an unobscured location
Use the same logo in real life that is in your schema, GBP, and knowledge panel
Get a placement with good lighting and high contrast brand colors
Don’t rely on “light up” logos or flags that have inconsistent visibility on camera phones
You should also ensure that you’re aligning your real life presence with your digital activity. Include images of the sponsorship display on your website so that you can surface for relevant queries. If you dedicate a blog to the sponsorship activity that includes relevant images, image search optimizations, and copy, you increase your chances of outranking other content and bringing those clicks to your site.
Optimizing merch & uniforms for search
When creating merchandising and uniforms, visual discoverability for search should be a priority because users can search photos of promotional merch and images with team members in a number of ways and for an indefinite period of time.
Add text and/or logos
For instance, from my own camera roll, I have a few photos that can be categorized via theGoogle Photo machine-learning-powered image search with the query nasa. Two of these photos include the word “NASA” and the others include the logo.
Oddly enough, though, the photo of my Women of NASA LEGO set does not surface for this query. It shows for lego but not for nasa. Looking closely at the item itself, I can see that neither the NASA logo nor the text have been included in the design of the set.
Adding relevant text and/or logos to this set would have optimized this merchandise for both brands.
Stick to relevant brand colors
And since Google’s visual search AI is also able to discern brand colors, you should also prioritize merchandise that is in keeping with your brand colors. T-shirts and merch that deviate from your core color scheme will be less likely to make Visual Matches when users search via Google Lens.
In the example above, event merchandise that was created outside of the core brand colors of red, black, and white were much less recognizable than stationary typical colors.
Focus on in-person brand experiences
Creating experiences with customers in store and at events can be a great way to build brand relationships. It’s possible to leverage these activities for search if you take an SEO-centric approach.
Let’s consider this image from a promotional experience in Las Vegas for Lyft. As a user, I enjoyed this immensely, so much so that I took a photo.
Though the Viva Lyft Vegas event was created by the rideshare company, in terms of visual search, Pabst are genuinely taking the blue ribbon, as they are the main entity identified in this query. But why?
First, Pabst has claimed their knowledge panel while Lyft has not, meaning that Lyft is less recognizable as a visual entity because it is less defined as an entity.
Second, though it does not have a Google Maps entry, the Las Vegas PBR sign has had landmark-esque treatment since it was installed, with features in The Neon Museum and a UNLV Neon Survey. All of this to say that, in this context, Lyft is being upstaged.
So to create a more SEO-friendly promotional space, they could have laid the groundwork by claiming their knowledge panel and reduced visual search competitors from the viewable space to make sure all eyes were on them.
Encourage optimized use-generated content
Sticking to Las Vegas, here is a typical touristy photo of me with friends outside the Excalibur Hotel:
And when I say that it’s typical, that’s not conjecture. A quick visual search reveals many other social media posts and websites with similar images.
This is what I refer to as that picture. You know the kinds of high occurrence UGC photos: under the castle at the entrance to Disneyland or even thepink wall at Paul Smith’s on Melrose Ave. These are the photos that everyone takes.
Can you SEO these photos for visual search? Yes, I believe you can in two ways:
Encourage people to take photos in certain places that you know, or have designed to include relevant entities, text, logos, and/or landmarks in the viewline. You can do this by declaring an area a scenic viewpoint or creating a photo friendly, dare I say “Instagrammable”, area in your store or venue.
Ensure frequently photographed mobile brand representations (e.g. mascots and/or vehicles) are easily recognizable via visual search. Where applicable, you should also claim their knowledge panels.
Once you’ve taken these steps, create dedicated content on your website with images that can serve as a “visual match” to this high frequency UGC. Include relevant copy and image search optimizations to demonstrate authority and make the most of this visibility.
How does this change SEO?
The notion of bringing visual search considerations to real world spaces may seem initially daunting, but this is also an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to consolidate brand identities in an effective way. Those working in SEO should coordinate efforts with PR, branding, and sponsorship teams to capture visual search traffic for brand wins.
The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.
“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”
But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.
Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.
“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”
Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.
“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.
The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).
As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.
Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”
While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”
Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.
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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”
Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”
About The Author
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.
He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.
Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.
Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.