Yesterday I had the privilege and honor of getting to speak at the Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference. It was the first full-day marketing event of its kind here in Lancaster, and it was my first marketing speaking engagement. It was a day full of marketing information and keynotes from Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, and Mark Schaefer.
Oliver, our fearless leader of Track5Media, and I spoke to the audience about search engine optimization. In our session, Leveraging SEO to Rank in a Competitive Market, we told attendees how they could use on-site and off-site SEO strategies to get their web pages to rank on Google. The slides are available at the bottom of this post if you missed it.
SEO and Content Marketing Tools
For those of you that joined us at Insight Lancaster yesterday, I promised that I would post a blog further discussing some of the different marketing tools that we touched on during the presentation. Though there are some paid platforms on this list, most of them are absolutely free!
One way that you can boost your SEO is to use schema markup. Schema markup is code that you put on your site to help tell search engines what your data means. When you use schema markup, your data can be presented in rich snippets in Google’s search results. Rich snippets are visually appealing, show more information, and have higher click-through rates than the average search result listing.
There are many different types of schemas you can use to mark up your site. At the very least, you can add your business information, which will help you rank better locally. Not only can you add your business address and hours of operation, but you can also add payment options, your logo, professional membership information, and more. There are schemas for product information, events, traveling, reservations, and more.
You can visit schema.org to view all the documentation and various markups you can use. If you look at that site and feel overwhelmed, fear not. Google provides a Structured Data Markup Helper tool that will help you markup your web pages.
Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is link research and backlink checker tool from Moz. During Insight Lancaster, we briefly mentioned this tool and how you can use it to check your website’s link profile. Not only can you view your link profile, but you can also view your competitors. This is beneficial for you because it can help you discover new linking opportunities. You will be able to access a large part of their filtering and comparison elements free, however, for reports and advanced features you will need to pay for a Moz Pro account.
To use the tool, enter the URL of a website. When it loads, at the top of the page, you will see metrics for authority, page links, and social shares. Below you will be able to view inbound links to your site, as well as their domain, page, and scam scores. When you have Moz Pro, you will be able to export all of that data to a .csv file.
There is also a link comparison tool. You can also compare link metrics between up to five different sites. This is beneficial to be able to see where you stack up against other competitors.
Follower Wonk is a great tool for Twitter that you can use to find influencers and build your community. We discussed this tool at Insight Lancaster and gave you just a snapshot of its capabilities. Use the Search Bios tab to search Twitter profiles and bios to find the most influential Twitter users in your industry. You will be able to see metrics like how many tweets they have, how many people they are following, how many people are following them, how many days old their account is, and what their social authority score is.
There is another feature that allows you to compare users using metrics like engagement rates, average followers per day, and average tweets per week. In the Track Followers tab, you are able to view analytics about your followers or the people that you follow. You can also see how your follower rate compares with your competitors.
Using their analytics tools, you can find out a lot about the behavior of a particular user. You can find out their most active hours, the most used words of their followers, the location of their followers, demographic information of their followers, and more. There is really so much you can do and see with this tool, but you’ll want to check it out yourself to see everything it is capable of.
Tools from Google
Google has many free tools that allow you to evaluate your website’s performance and analyze user behavior on the site.
Google provides a free tool to test the mobile-friendliness of your site. You enter your site and it will give you three scores based on mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed. For each category, you can view details that will tell you how you can improve your site in that area.
Google provides the PageSpeed Insights tool to test the speed of your site on desktop and mobile. Though the mobile friendly-test will give information about speed as well, this evaluation gives a little more detail. This tool also provides a score on user experience as well. When you enter your site into this tool, you will get suggestions of what you should fix, and Google will even tell you how to fix them.
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to monitor your website and gather data to be able to make smart business decisions. With so many features, I could write an entire post dedicated to Analytics however, I will just focus on some key points.
Under the Acquisition tab, you can view your traffic segmented by channel. Looking at your organic users, you can view the number of visits, the bounce rate, the number of pages visited per session, and more. Like Oliver said during the conference, it is incredibly important to compare your data year over year. When it comes to the internet, there are seasonal fluctuations. For example, during a holiday, you see web traffic drop to most sites.
If you connect your Analytics to Search Console (which I will discuss in a moment), you will be able to view the search queries users entered to find your site, top landing pages, and more without having to log into Search Console.
Another point Oliver made during Insight Lancaster was that you need to set up conversion goals in Analytics. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, you should still be measuring conversions. Even if you do not sell products on your site, you can still track other things such as page views, downloaded items, phone calls, or almost any quantitative or qualitative metric.
If you are new to Google Analytics, visit their help center.
Google Search Console
Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, is a free resource that will help you manage your website. Again, I’m going to focus on just a few key points that will help you get started.
From the dashboard when you log in, at a glance you can see if there are any important messages Google wants to tell you about your site. You can quickly view any site or crawl errors, as well as any issues with your sitemaps.
Under the Search Traffic drop-down tab, you can view your external and internal links. You can view your most linked content and pages and see who links to you the most.
Check the Crawl tab so that you can view any crawl errors your site may have. Search Console will tell you if you have any 404 errors on your site, which is something I mentioned during my presentation yesterday. You want to make sure you are paying attention to these errors so that you can fix them and create a better experience for your users.
Under the crawl tab, you can also test your robots.txt file. Search Console will tell you if you have any errors in your file, and you also test any page of your site to see if it is blocked or not. You can also upload or check your sitemaps. If there are any errors or warnings, Google will tell you.
I suggest logging into Search Console and exploring all it has to offer. The Search Console Help Center provides instructions and various resources to help you get started.
Reflecting on the 2016 Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference
Track 5 Media had a blast at the conference yesterday, and not just because Oliver and I spoke! On behalf of all of us, I would like to give a huge thank you to Lancaster Marketing Group (LMG) and all of the event sponsors for hosting the Insight Lancaster Marketing Conference.