SEO Fundamentals: Laying the Groundwork in 2024

SEO Fundamentals: Laying the Groundwork in 2024

Ever wondered why some websites seem to magically appear at the top of search results (besides or below the paid ads) while yours languishes somewhere on the dusty second page? The answer lies in the mysterious realm of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. But SEO isn’t just about keyword stuffing and technical mumbo jumbo anymore. In 2024, it’s about understanding your audience and aligning your goals with theirs, creating valuable content, and playing the long game.

So, what exactly is SEO, and why should you care?

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The practice of increasing website traffic by enhancing visibility on search engines through organic (non-paid) methods.
  • SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Ranking: The position that a website holds on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a specific keyword.

Simply put, SEO is the art and science of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. This translates to more organic traffic, more leads, and ultimately, more business. In today’s digital landscape, where online visibility is crucial, a strong SEO strategy can be your golden ticket to success.

SEO button

Now, what’s the trick? Where’s the Magical SEO Button?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no quick tricks or magic button when it comes to SEO. But, there are strategies and solid techniques that I can definitely share with you.

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust

E-E-A-T is “The Way” to ranking at the top of the SERP in 2024.

This is the way to ranking to the top of SEO

In the ever-evolving landscape of online search, where competition is fierce and algorithms keep shifting, one constant remains crucial: E-E-A-T. Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (it used to be E. A. T. Expertise, Authority, and Trust) are the essential qualities Google seeks in websites it deems worthy of gracing the top of search results. And guess what? Building a strong E-E-A-T foundation is not just about impressing search engines; it’s about earning the trust and loyalty of your real audience.

So, show off your credentials, certifications, awards, testimonials online. Get 5-star Google Reviews and Facebook Recommendations. Create high-quality content to showcase your knowledge, cite credible sources, and obtain press releases. Provide accurate contact information and be transparent. Build backlinks and referrals from reputable websites and sources, and collaborate with industry leaders, etc.

Be Creative and Authentic

In 2024, the call for original content ideas has never been louder. With the rising of generative AI, there are too many replicated content ideas on the internet competing for user attention and search engine ranking. Not replicated content, but ideas… generative AIs are very good at taking one piece of original content, rewrite it and make it look authentic, sometimes even with higher quality and more convincing than the original piece. Hopefully the search engines will be smart enough to determine the original piece. However, we’ve entered an era it takes more effort and creativity to create high-ranking content. Therefore, true originality now requires more creativity and effort than ever before. To stand out, your content needs to be creative, authentic, and a little controversial. It’s actually not that hard if you try. I often find that my best ideas come to me when I’m away from my desk, whether I’m walking, driving, or just daydreaming. Remember, humans possess a creativity that machines can’t replicate. Embrace this fact to lead in the era of AI-dominated content creation.

Keywords, Long-Tail Keywords, User Intent

  • Keyword Search Phrase: Words or phrases users enter into search engines to find information.
  • Long-Tail Keyword: Longer, more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they are closer to making a purchase or specific inquiry.

While keywords are still important, 2024 SEO is all about understanding user intent. It’s not just about matching specific words; it’s about creating content that answers the “why” behind those searches. Think long-tail keywords, natural language, and topics that truly resonate with your audience.

Here are 3 examples of long-tail keywords for different businesses:

  1. Best organic protein powder for athletes with dairy intolerance” (vs “protein powder”): This targets a specific audience (athletes) with a specific need (dairy-free) within a broader topic (organic protein powder).
  2. Where to buy organic heirloom tomato seeds online in Canada” (vs “tomato seeds”): This focuses on a niche product (heirloom tomato seeds) with a geographic constraint (Canada) and emphasizes an online purchase method.
  3. DIY organic laundry detergent recipe for sensitive skin” (vs “laundry detergent DIY”): This offers a solution to a specific problem (sensitive skin) through a specific method (DIY) within the organic product category.

Your Goal
= Search Engine’s Goal
= Audience’ Goal

Remember, the search engine’s goal is the same as yours: to deliver the most relevant and helpful information to users, based on their search intent. When you align your content with this objective, you’re on the right track. The key is to ditch the robot-speak and write for real people. Craft engaging, informative content that addresses their needs and pain points.

SEO: The Marathon, Not the Sprint

SEO is a long-term investment that requires patience, consistent effort, and a focus on quality over quantity. Don’t expect overnight results, but trust that the foundation you build today will pay off in the future. As I always say: “Slow and steady wins the SEO race“.

SEO Should be Baked Into Your Marketing

Think of SEO as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s not just about launching a website and hoping for the best. It’s about actively planning, implementing, and growing your online presence with SEO baked into every stage. Whether you’re in the research phase, developing your website, or aiming for steady growth, SEO should be there, supporting your efforts.

In my upcoming blogs and newsletters, I’ll delve deeper into specific SEO strategies and techniques tailored to each phase of your online marketing journey. So, stay tuned, and get ready to unlock the true potential of your website with the power of SEO!

Bonus Tip

Remember, your ideal audience is the driving force behind everything you do online. Take the time to understand who they are, what they search for, and what resonates with them. This knowledge will be your guiding light as you navigate the ever-evolving world of SEO.

How to Perform an Effective Website Audit for Free

How to Perform an Effective Website Audit for Free

Know Your Numbers

In today’s digital age, understanding the performance and SEO of your website is key to achieving online success. That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to an essential tool that every website owner should use: Google Lighthouse.

Auditing your website helps pinpoint areas that need improvement, providing a clear path to optimize for performance, accessibility, user experience, and SEO. These metrics give you a baseline from which to grow and enhance your site’s effectiveness.

Watch the Step-By-Step Guide on YouTube.

Introducing Google Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse is a free, user-friendly tool designed to audit your web pages. It assesses performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO, offering actionable suggestions for improvement. Watch the video below for a detail step-by-step guide. Try to follow along to perform audits on your website.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. On your laptop or desktop computer (not mobile or tablet), open your Chrome browser, and then open the Incognito mode by clicking the three dots at the top right corner of Chrome, and select “New Incognito Window“.
    You don’t have to use Incognito mode to run these audits, but I’d recommend it so that your personal browsing history or extensions won’t affect the analysis. 
  2. On the Incognito Chrome browser tab, navigate to the webpage you want to audit. 
  3. Right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect.”
    Or if you are using a Windows computer, just simply press the F12 key, or the Ctrl+Shift+C shortcut combination.
  4. It then opens up the Chrome DevTools panel either on the bottom or on the right side of the webpage, depending on your settings. I prefer setting it at the bottom, but it’s really a personal choice. 
  5. Select “Lighthouse” from the panel’s toolbar. (If you can’t find the Lighthouse option, click on the two arrows at the end of the toolbar. You’ll see it there.) 
  6. On the Lighthouse report panel, you can select Mode (keep it at the default Navigation option), Device (Mobile or Desktop), and Categories of website audits you would like to analyze.
    * I usually just select Desktop for Device because the Mobile simulator uses a 3G network which doesn’t reflect most of the popular cellular networks users use, so the results for performance won’t be accurate. Maybe Google will update that in the near future. For now, let’s stick with the Desktop analysis. Anyway, for the SEO metrics we care about, it doesn’t matter which device you use. The results should be the same. 
  7. Under Categories, let’s select “Performance“, “Accessibility“, “Best Practice“, and “SEO“. Then click “Analyze page load.”
    If you are only analyzing a regular website, not a web application, there’s no need to select “Progressive Web App”.
  8. After a moment, Lighthouse will generate a report for you in a new tab.
    Please keep in mind that this analysis you just ran was the results only for this page you opened, not for the entire website. Each page on your website would have different results, especially for Best Practices, Accessibility, and SEO. They all depend on various factors on each page.
    To run the analysis for another web page, you can either open a new tab and repeat the steps we just did. Or, you can stay on this tab, navigate to a different page, click the report dropdown at the top left corner of the Lighthouse panel, and select “new report”, then click “Analyze page load”.
Lighthouse audit instructions for SEO

Understanding Your Report

What Does Each Scoring Number Mean?

Lighthouse assigns a score between 0 and 100 to each of the selected categories. If a score is between 90 and 100, it indicates that your page is well optimized for that category. If the scores are above 90, they will have a green circle. If the scores are below 90, they will have an orange or red circle. That means there’s more work to do for optimization.

What Does Each Category Mean?

Clicking on the circle of each score number, it takes you down to the section of the specific category, which highlights the details of the metrics, diagnostics, and passed audits for the page. So basically it tells you which areas in this category are doing well, and which areas are not doing well, and makes suggestions on what can be improved. Let’s do a quick rundown on what each of these audit categories mean:

  • Performance: it measures the web page’s speed and load time. You’ve been a website visitor yourself, so you know how important fast web page loads are for user experience. It also indirectly affects SEO. A lot of times what kind of server, hosting configurations, and web builder your website is using can largely affect the performance metrics, and there’s not much we can do to improve. However, depending on your website, there are still areas we can tackle and improve. I will show you some tricks in a future video. 
  • Accessibility
    The accessibility test analyzes how friendly your webpage is for people who use assistive technologies such as screen readers or special keyboards. For example, it looks at elements like buttons and links to see whether they’re described well. It also checks if images have alt text, which helps users with limited vision understand the images through screen readers. Alt texts are crucial for SEO too. If there are people among your potential audience that use assistive technology, or if your business is required to be ADA compliant, it’s important all your web pages follow these web accessibility guidelines.
  • Best Practices
    This category reviews if your page adheres to modern web development standards, such as secure SSL certificates, up-to-date code, and optimized images. Some of these are managed at the server or website builder level, but there are improvements you can make during development. I will be sharing videos and articles with more details. 
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    Lighthouse evaluates if your webpage meets SEO best practices, ensuring it’s indexed and ranked effectively by search engines. This includes mobile-friendliness, structured URLs, optimized titles and meta descriptions, and more. In the future videos, we will further explore all the components that affect your on-page SEO scores, and how we can improve them. Stay tuned.
Chrome Lighthouse Audit Result with Scores

Google PageSpeed Insights (An Alternative Tool)

Lighthouse is also available through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Open the tool. Enter your page URL, and click “Analyze.” This tool will generate reports for all categories, except Progressive Web App.

Next Steps

Auditing your website is just the beginning for improving your website. Implementing the suggested improvements will significantly boost your site’s performance and SEO ranking.

Ready to dive deeper and start optimizing your website? Watch our detailed video walkthrough on YouTube and follow along with the steps outlined in this blog. Your journey to a high-performing website begins with understanding and action.

For more insights and tips on website development and SEO, sign up for our newsletter in the form below, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to check out our Tech Resource Page for informative How-To videos and articles. Start your journey to a high-performing website today!

6 Essential Elements for a High-Performing Website in 2024

6 Essential Elements for a High-Performing Website in 2024

In today’s digital era, having a website isn’t enough. You need a high-performing website to stand out. At LinearTech, we’ve identified six crucial elements for creating a powerful online presence. Let’s dive in!

  1. SEO: The Backbone of Online Visibility
    SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is pivotal for increasing both the quality and quantity of your website traffic. It’s about being visible in organic search results, connecting you to the right audience. Effective SEO strategies include keyword optimization, quality content, and a strong backlink profile.
  2. High-Quality Content & Social Proof: The Trust Builders
    Content is king in the digital world. High-quality, relevant, and engaging content captures your audience’s attention. Coupling this with social proof like testimonials and reviews builds credibility and drives conversions.
  3. User Experience (UX) Design: The Key to Engagement
    A website’s success heavily relies on its UX design. A user-friendly structure with intuitive navigation and compelling call-to-actions ensures that visitors stay longer and engage more.
  4. Mobile Responsiveness: Reaching the Wider Audience
    With the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-responsive site is non-negotiable. It’s crucial for reaching a broader audience and boosting search engine rankings.
  5. Website Security: Building Trust and Safety
    A secure website protects sensitive data and builds user trust. Implementing SSL certificates, regular updates, and security plugins are fundamental for a trustworthy online presence.
  6. Loading Speed: The Need for Speed
    In our fast-paced world, a quick-loading website is essential. It enhances user experience, reduces bounce rates, and is favored by search engines.

Mastering these six elements is your first step towards a thriving online presence. For more insights and tips on website development and SEO, sign up for our newsletter in the form below, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to check out our Tech Resource Page for informative How-To videos and articles. Start your journey to a high-performing website today!

5 Key Steps to Decipher Your Target Market and Craft Winning Marketing Strategies

5 Key Steps to Decipher Your Target Market and Craft Winning Marketing Strategies

In the digital age, connecting with your target audience isn’t just a part of the game; it’s the whole game. Whether you’re a start-up or an established player, going the organic route or paying for online ads, understanding your target market is crucial for crafting effective digital marketing strategies. Here are five steps to not only figure out who your audience is but also how to reach them effectively:

  1. Analyze Your Current Customers: Think you know who’s buying your products? It’s time to back those hunches with hard data. Dive into demographics like gender, income, age, location, online shopping habits, and pain points. Pro Tip: Engage your customers with a survey on their next purchase. Offer incentives like discounts for their insights. The more you understand your audience, the sharper your marketing strategy will be.
  2. Assess Growth Potential: How big is your playground? Compare your customer base with the market size. For instance, selling to American teens? There are 42 million of them. Room for growth? Absolutely. Selling rabbit carriers to breeders? Check the total number of breeders to gauge market saturation. Knowing where you stand helps in strategizing for growth.
  3. Scope Out the Competition: Keep your friends close and your competitors closer. Tools that analyze competitor social media connections and white papers can reveal heaps about their target audience. Find the gaps they’ve missed and capitalize on them. What makes your brand stand out? Identify unique selling propositions and craft messages that resonate with your audience’s values.
  4. Leverage Google Analytics: Your website is a goldmine of insights. Use Google Analytics to get a deep dive into who’s visiting and who’s buying. Track user demographics, behaviors, and patterns. Spot the visitors who leave without making a purchase – they’re opportunities waiting to be tapped. We’ve created this video: How to Connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console to Your Website and start monitoring traffic and website performance.
  5. Create Irresistible Lead Magnets: Attract potential customers with value-packed incentives in exchange for their contact information. Identify your niche audience, understand their challenges, and offer solutions in the form of downloadable content, videos, or ebooks.

Bonus Tips:

  • Observe and Adapt for Retail: If you have a physical store, keep an eye on the foot traffic. The demographics you observe might surprise you and open new avenues for marketing.
  • Cultivate and Nurture: Once you’ve broadened your target audience, stay engaged. Encourage customer feedback and reviews; they’re invaluable for improving your service and product. Make sure your Google Analytics reflects this growth in customer retention.
  • Tailor Your Landing Pages: Directed campaigns need dedicated landing pages. Ensure they’re attractive and effectively target your new audience segments. A/B testing is your friend here – it helps identify what works best.

Remember, identifying your target market is an ongoing journey of discovery and adaptation. Use these steps to craft a robust marketing strategy that helps your business not just grow, but thrive.

Struggling to connect the dots in digital marketing? LinearTech is here to help. Let’s collaborate to refine your marketing strategies and take your business to new heights! Contact us.

Get Connected: How to Connect More Customers to Your Business

As a new or experienced business owner, you completely understand the importance of having a constant stream of customers coming through your door. After all, no customers means no revenue, which, of course, leads to no business. Having a dwindling amount of new customers coming to your company can mean that there are other underlying issues going on with your business. Rather than simply blaming it on a slow economy or off-season, business owners should take proactive measures to stop the bleeding. The following list includes a variety of methods that can all be combined together to connect more customers to your business.

Define Your Target Audience

It is much easier to look and find customers if you know the type of audience you are looking for. Without a clear outline of your target audience, there is little to no chance that your marketing strategy will work. The best way to approach this is to brainstorm with your team to develop a clear picture of the perfect client. Resist going into the typical man, woman, millennial demographic. Instead, the best strategy is to focus on the type of customer that has brought you success in the past and how their needs might have changed. Through this method, you can begin to develop a target audience that is most likely to purchase from you.

Use Google Maps Marketing

Over the past decade, people have changed dramatically how they research a company. At one point, people would ask a friend or simply walk into the business and hope for the best. Today, most potential customers are researching their options on Google. Understandably, that’s where you have to be then. One of the most efficient ways to reach out to potential customers is by adding Google Maps marketing to your business strategy. By claiming your business listing with Google Maps, your SEO ranking will rise and connect you to more potential customers, according to Podium. This means that even if they don’t know you exist, Google will recommend you depending on their search. The more people begin to interact with your company through Google, the higher you will rank.

Update Your Blog Regularly

One of the best ways to attract customers to your shop or eCommerce site is first to provide them something of value such as photos, videos, and podcasts that they can listen to on their drive home or at the gym. In fact, most marketing experts like The Proof Fairy will say that the best way to bring in customers is to first blog as much as you can. In addition to providing customers with value, you are also being given the opportunity to implement as much SEO as possible into your blogs. This SEO or Search Engine optimization keywords will help you rank on Google and allow people who are looking for your type of service or product to find you that much easier.

Build Partnerships

A great way to attract new customers is to work with local businesses that complement the products or services you provide. This is often how shampoo companies start their businesses. They visit local barbershops and provide them with inventory that they can sell for a small commission. As you can see, this can be a win-win situation for both parties involved as each offers their existing customer base with new products, all without looking too salesy.

Referrals

Asking for a referral from your current clients can often seem like going to the well one too many times. Some business owners might also find it rude to ask. However, there is no better way to connect to more customers than by being recommended by an existing client. Understandably, you may be nervous about approaching existing customers. The Sales Readiness Group states that the best way to obtain referrals is to provide them with a method that makes it easy to collect this information. A popular method includes sending out a mass email message allowing customers to include referral information without making it too much of a hassle. This means not sending them to your website or making them log in. If you like, you can also include a reward for those who provide information in the form of a discount.

Participate in Community Events

There is no doubt about it; people like to support local businesses. In addition, they also like to support businesses that give back to the community. Adrian Swinscoe shares that one of the best methods to connect with new customers is to participate in the community. This can be through volunteering to clean parks during a festival, provide certain food or drinks, or simply run a toy drive out of your business. Doing this can really put your name out there for everyone to see.

Customers are the lifeblood of a company; without them, you might as well close up shop. This is why so much time and money goes into finding new customers. Thus, it is highly recommended that business owners take a few of the tips listed above and begin implementing them into their own company before it’s too late. Your business strategy should involve targeted online marketing, personalized relationships, and a strong identity to create success for your company.