2018 Updates! and random SEO tips you missed Part 2

I’m back with another short update to let you know what I’ve been up to. Also, this is part 2 of an article series that was borne out of laziness. (here’s part 1 of my random SEO tips)

What I’ve been up to:

  • I’m still super occupied with client work. I’ve improved on my services, and it reflects on the quality and size of the type of client’s I’m working with nowadays.
  • I’ve been doing a lot of R&D; trying out different SEO tools to see which tools can help improve the effectiveness of my services.
  • I ran a hands-on SEO workshop for Shopmatic.
  • I got engaged to my long time girlfriend in New York 🙂

Well that’s enough of me.

Here are the SEO tips that I’ve shared on Facebook and Quora.

Why your business name should not be too generic

One reason why your business name should not be overly generic, and/or should not also be the name of a location. (or share the name with some other more famous entity)

Case in point: hotel names.

Common mistake by some hotels. Some residential properties also face this issue. Google pulls up the wrong Knowledge Panel unless someone specifically searches for “brand + hotel”.

Google is now allowing (select, for now) businesses to directly edit their Knowledge panel. The GMB profile and Google reviews that you worked hard to obtain (and to display) is not being shown because your Knowledge Panel is not appearing.

In this case, when someone searches for “the legian bali”, Google will display a small Knowledge Panel about the Legian location instead of the actual business details of the hotel.

Why PDF menus for restaurants are terrible

One of the least optimal things you can do for your Restaurant website is to use a PDF file for your menu. It’s just bad user experience. (Or worse, have a fancy flash animation for your menu.)

The problems:
1. You don’t get much SEO benefit at all if someone links to your PDF menu
2. You don’t get a chance to rank for long tail keywords for individual items, and you don’t have a chance of ranking for images of your food on your own site
3. It’s just bad user experience for a person to have to download a separate file, and use a PDF reader to look at the PDF. The experience is worse on mobile.
4. Navigating through a PDF document itself is a poorer experience than a webpage
5. You can’t add simple CTAs on a pdf menu.
6. You can’t track user behavior on pdf files.
7. You can’t make time-sensitive changes for individual items on PDFs (sold out, seasonal prices, special promos, etc)

Suggestions for online food menus,
1. have actual webpages for menus
2. break them down into categories if you have a large menu
3. have images and short descriptions for every item
4. leave it as an option to download PDF menus

Good example: https://www.fifthseason.com.sg/Fifth-Season-Menu
Bad example(so many bad examples):
http://lucky8.com.sg/#ourfood

SEO tip for niche fashion products

If you have an online shop selling niche fashion products, try to make your product descriptions more descriptive. The current description is vague and generic. It doesn’t help this pair of earrings get found via search. Include color, shapes, material, purpose, functions, sizes, and whatever terms that your customers might use in their search.

This client is never going to beat the top competitors in broad keywords like “earrings online”, but there’s a vast opportunity of long tail keywords that are up for grabs.

Reverse engineer lyrics sites for ideas

SEO-reverse-engineering lyrics websites is a great way to find ways to differentiate yourself from close competitors and to gain the upper hand in search results. All lyrics websites have pretty much the same base content on each page – the lyrics. You have to be a little creative about the ways you optimize and add value to each page.

If you are free, just Google some song lyrics and see what sites are on the first page; see how each of these sites try and outdo each other while working with the same lyrics.

How offline branding marketing can massively impact SEO gains

I think everyone has seen a Trivago TV commercial at least once. They play on TV and in cinema pre-movie commercials. It always ends with a:

Hotels? Trivago.

Not a lot of people know that it’s part of a global SEO and branding campaign. Yeap, SEO can be used in such a way.

There’s an inception effect that links the highly competitive keyword ‘hotels’ with their brand, ‘Trivago’. From Google Trends we can see the search interest for the terms “hotels trivago” increased in the past 3-4 years, around the time the ads started. When your brand is always searched so closely with a particular keyword, Google makes the association automatically.

Now if you search for “hotels” or “hotel” on Google, Trivago tends to show up in the top 3. Not bad considering Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking, Agoda, are all ultra strong competitors that had at least 5 years headstart.

Some Questions I’ve answered on Quora

You can also find my answers on Quora here.

From an SEO perspective, what social media strategies can I implement?

From an SEO perspective:

  1. Use SMM to boost search volume for your brand and branded keywords. When doing paid social ads, it’s a good idea to sometimes include your brand name, branded services, or branded keywords in the ad. Even when there are no click-throughs, the brand name stays in the subconscious, and it gives your potential customer something to Google if the ads piqued their interest. Having more branded searches is great from an SEO perspective.
  2. Find out which social network your niche’s influencers are hanging out in. Reaching out to the leaders in your niche has a great amplification effect on your content if you managed to get some of them to amplify/promote your content. Greater reach/shares leads to potentially more backlinks. Building a solid relationship with peers in your niche also helps with getting brand mentions and contextual links.
  3. Find out which social network communities your customers are hanging out in. If you know where your customers are lurking, it’ll be easier to create content targeted to that group of customers. Targeted content leads to more views which leads to potentially more links and further amplification. (Using a feedback tool like Qualaroo on your site is a good way to conduct a mini survey on your existing web users.)

What are your content promotion strategies?

Being someone that dabbles mainly in the SEO field, my content promotion strategies tend to take SEO more into consideration. That means when myself or a client publishes a piece of content, one major goal is to get as many backlinks to that content as possible.

Therefore, some content promotion tactics that I have used are:

  • Blogger outreach. Before creating the content, I already have a list of names ready to contact and request for links. These are people I mentioned in the article, or people who might have a good reason to link to the article.
  • Influencer outreach. Similar to blogger outreach, you’ll want to identify the voice in your industry that can help to amplify the reach of your content.
  • Social bookmarking. This still works. StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Digg, etc are still huge drivers of traffic.
  • Social media. Of course. Organic sharing and paid promotion. Facebook makes it simple and cheap to boost a post.
  • Blog commenting. Works very well in certain niches and websites where the webmaster is still building the site’s traffic. Relevant comments and non-self-promotion are the best ways to get some attention to your content.
  • Forum posts. Still works in many technical niches. Some forums get thousands of views per thread, and dropping your link which answers a thread’s question will nab you a lifetime of free traffic.
  • Repurposing content. Something I recently started using. I would turn content into PDFs, Slides, or Infographics, and share them to the relevant sites. Slideshare is one place where you can easily get traffic if you have a good enough slideshow.

How do I build backlinks for my small business websites?

I know how difficult it is to build backlinks for small business websites due to the lack of resources, time, and branding. I wrote an article about how someone doing SEO themselves can be successful in SEO. In it, there are some points that would be relevant to your question about how someone can get backlinks to their small biz website more easily:

  • Participate in blogs, forums and online communities to increase exposure. – making industry friends online will help you get more backlink opportunities
  • Always make sure you are link worthy. Making sure your website looks credible, and contains a lot of industry leading content
  • Blog regularly. If you can’t create top tier content, blogging regularly would also help increase the chances of getting links.
  • Sign up for Google Alerts. Keep tabs on mentions of your brand and name.
  • Start with some small scale blog commenting and directory submissions. Don’t spam though!

What happens if i stop SEO?

I wrote an article about what happens if you stop SEO and why you shouldn’t stop for no good reason
The most obvious reasons are:

  • you start losing your website link authority over time, and so your competitors will start to outrank you
  • you give a chance for competitors to catch up
  • sometimes when a competitor has caught up, the momentum makes it extremely hard for you to regain the spots
  • you’ll start to lose track of all the Google algorithm changes and your website will become less and less “attractive” to Google and user

What do you think of articles like this? Is this helpful to you?

Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

You can follow me on Facebook or Quora too, if you like the SEO tips I share at those places.

Marcus Wong

I've been nerding out on SEO since 2011. I mainly help Singapore SMEs with traffic and revenue growth. Also founded Neetclick, a digital growth platform.

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