We hope you’ve all had a great 2019 and we’re grateful for your interest in our blog and newsletters. We’ll wrap up this year with a quick look at our five most popular posts, plus a few notable posts from the world of digital marketing.
2019 SEO Predictions to Help You Spend Your Marketing Money Wisely
We always try to be ready for whatever comes next in the online marketing industry. That’s why we analyze the industry landscape and make educated guesses on what trends we (and our clients) need to be prepared for. We kicked off 2019 with our SEO predictions and looking back, I think we were pretty much spot on.
We’re not trying to chase the next shiny object in the SEO world. Instead, we focus on marketing efforts that should stand the test of time. Two of those included longer content and a heavy focus on Google’s rater guidelines. In addition, we predicted content marketing would overtake direct link building and that technical SEO would be a big factor—and we saw this with many client sites—especially regarding PageSpeed.
How To Use Content Marketing for Your Local Business
We created this piece to give owners of small and medium-sized local businesses advice on how to use content as a promotional tool. This guide outlines the best ways to create content that will help improve your local visibility.
The “3 R’s of PPC” — AKA The Last PPC Audit Guide You’ll Ever Need
This post got a lot of traffic, so we hope it offered some valuable insights. We broke down how we perform PPC audits and shared how to use this approach to get your paid search campaigns under control. We also provided specific to-dos for an audit process that will result in better performance from your PPC budget.
BERT Update from Google: What You Need to Know Now
One of the biggest updates Google released this past year was the BERT update. The big takeaway with the BERT update is that it seeks to improve the ways Google processes natural language, including the context associated with keywords. Many see this as a way for machines to learn the nuances of language and understand the underlying meaning when we type/speak queries into their search engine.
The Real Cost of Cheap SEO
We revisited and updated this long-running and popular post. As there was when we first published this post, there’s a cottage industry of extremely cheap SEO services. The problem with cheap SEO is you get what you pay for. SEO is a time-consuming and intensive process—anyone offering extremely low-cost services is probably using outdated (and likely shady) tactics that will cost you much more in the long run than you would have paid using reputable services.
Some of our Favorite Posts from Other Marketers:
We are constantly reading, learning, and increasing our marketing knowledge. Digital marketing changes almost daily, so we look to our industry peers to help us keep up.
Here’s some of our favorite blog posts from other marketers this past year.
Using Strong Internal Links for SEO
Internal linking for SEO purposes provides a wide range of benefits for both users and Google (as well as other search engines). In this post Andy at IQSEO explains, in-depth, how to best use internal linking for the best results.
At DAGMAR we’re focused on creating stellar content and making sure that content is structured in a relevant, hierarchical format. Internal links is a key part of that strategy, that’s why this post was so great to find.
Google Ranking Factors 2019: Opinions from 1,500+ Professional SEOs
SparkToro is Rand Fishkin’s (of Moz fame) new startup. This was a great survey they ran in August of 2019. They had 1,584 professionals in the SEO field take a survey sharing their opinions on the relative use and merit of various inputs in Google’s algorithm and ranking systems. This report shared the aggregated knowledge and assumptions gleaned from that survey.
Best takeaway from this post:
For the first time, content > links & keywords: In the early days of the survey, keywords were the top-voted ranking factors, then, for nearly a decade, links did. Now, content relevance and quality dominate. I think this perception is generally correct (though links are still a powerful #2), and it reflects the great strides Google’s made in understanding content that satisfies searcher intent.
From Zero to Local Ranking Hero – MozCon 2019
I have to tell you, my favorite types of posts are ones that give a step-by-step overview of some process. Here Darren Shaw gives a great inside look into the process, strategies, and tactics that were implemented to take a business from zero web presence to ranking hyper-locally in 8 months. This was the culmination of a case study he did after offering to work pro-bono for a business with no internet presence whatsoever.
Takeaways from the case study:
- Track from multiple zip codes/areas around the client’s city/location.
- You won’t get the full value of citations unless they’re indexed—so work on getting them indexed
- Setting a ‘service area’ in your GMB does not guarantee rankings in that service area
- Create a Google review strategy—reviews have an impact on your rankings
- The first few links the business got seemed to have the biggest impact
- Any strategy will have a point of diminishing returns (this was most obvious in the building of more links where the additional links had little, or no, impact).
- A fully functioning website is better than the GMB website builder.
- No one specific activity leads to results, rather it’s the sum total of all your activities.
Five Things We Discovered Analyzing 45,000 Google My Business Listings
For local SEO/marketers, Brightlocal’s blog runs some great studies and surveys throughout the year. This study was based on analysis of 45,000 GMB listings. The study a lot of insights about how businesses and consumers use Google My Business. The full study is definitely worth reading, but if you’re more of a visual person or just short on time, they created video to go with the post detailing the best findings:
- A business definitely needs a website. Of all the customer actions measured in GMB Insights, website clicks came out on top. This was backed up by a separate study in which 76% of customers surveyed say they click through to a website at least half the time when they are researching a business.
- More images are correlated with more customer interaction. “Listings with over 100 images get 20 times more website clicks than the average listing…”
- Make sure your optimizing your GMB for the right categories as this will help with being found in discovery searches (i.e., not Branded searches looking directly for your business).
- Customer interaction with GMB is increasing.
- The leading industry for GMB optimizations is…the car dealership industry — which I will admit was a bit shocking. This isn’t exactly an industry you’re likely to look for on a regular or constant basis, but they apparently do a great job in optimizing for GMB search.