David Waterman – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:56:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 SEO Should Not Be Held To An ROI Target — Here’s Why /seo-held-roi-193682 /seo-held-roi-193682#respond Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:15:27 +0000 http:/?p=193682 Anyone who invests dollars into a marketing channel is expecting to see a return on investment (ROI) from that marketing channel. Those who invest in SEO are probably expecting the same. But I challenge this thought and dare to say SEO should not be required to meet an ROI target. Why, you ask? It’s because […]

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Anyone who invests dollars into a marketing channel is expecting to see a return on investment (ROI) from that marketing channel.

Those who invest in SEO are probably expecting the same. But I challenge this thought and dare to say SEO should not be required to meet an ROI target. Why, you ask? It’s because of two things:

  1. SEO is not a marketing channel
  2. SEO is not an investment; it’s a requisite

Let’s dig deeper into each statement.

SEO Is Not A Marketing Channel

Dollars appropriated for SEO services tend to come out of the marketing budget. As a result, it’s held to the same level of performance and accountability as Google AdWords spend, Facebook display ads and paid Yelp campaigns. But why?

Google would be the first to say you can’t increase impressions and traffic from its organic listings by throwing money at them. Organic search results are Google’s attempt to provide you the most appropriate answer(s) to your query based on its evaluation of all websites it associates with your query and without the influence of marketing dollars.

So then, what would you consider SEO?

SEO is a layer of checks and balances that exists within the mechanics of all online communication to help your brand’s message reach as far as it possibly can. Through ongoing maintenance, SEO can help ensure that the value of your website is properly identified by search engines, which can help maintain and improve organic visibility.

To achieve this, efforts need to be put forth against website structure audits; high-value content identification and creation; and online partnership research and relation building.

So as you can see, SEO is not a stand-alone marketing channel. It’s a mixture of on-going reviews, assessments and adjustments to ensure you’re not going to shoot yourself in the foot every time you make a change to your website.

Now on to the next point…

SEO Is Not An Investment; It’s A Requisite

It is very possible to create a website without any SEO best practices or considerations in mind. The end result is still a website. The problems that will arise, however, can be detrimental to the success of your website and brand online.

Think of SEO as a residential building inspector.  

A residential building inspector reviews any construction, additions and improvements that are done to a home to ensure they are up to code and safe for the occupants. It is, of course, possible to make changes/additions to your home without furnishing the proper permits and inspections; you just won’t know if the guy you found in the back of the PennySaver built you a deck that is up to code and will last the test of time.

The same can be said for SEO.

You can pay tens of thousands of dollars to get a website built, but unless it’s been built with the proper SEO components in place, who’s to say the website won’t “fall apart” when Google comes to crawl it? The same can be said for Social Media marketing efforts, Content Marketing strategies and even PR tactics. They all tie back to the organic health of your website and require specific SEO permits and reviews.

Is this such a far-fetched concept?

It’s true that you can have an online existence that is 100% supported by paid marketing efforts without any consideration to SEO. You will still get traffic to your website. What you won’t have is any assurance that your website will survive in the organic online world once the money runs out.

So stop trying to squeeze an ROI out of an activity whose primary function is to ensure the integrity of your brand’s online existence. Simply accept that it’s a necessary component of maintaining your brand online.

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Don’t Overthink Semantic Markup – 5 Basic Types To Adopt First /dont-overthink-semantic-markup-5-basic-markups-use-187338 /dont-overthink-semantic-markup-5-basic-markups-use-187338#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 13:25:41 +0000 http:/?p=187338 Have you heard of semantic markup? Of course you have! Everyone’s talking about it. But why does it matter to search marketers? After all, semantic markup is not a ranking factor. Adding it to your site won’t move your page 8 rankings to the first page of Google. So, is it really worth implementing? The […]

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Don’t Overthink Semantic MarkupHave you heard of semantic markup? Of course you have! Everyone’s talking about it. But why does it matter to search marketers?

After all, semantic markup is not a ranking factor. Adding it to your site won’t move your page 8 rankings to the first page of Google. So, is it really worth implementing?

The answer is yes. While semantic markup may not improve search engine rankings, it can enhance your existing search engine results page (SERP) listings.

These enhanced listings can make you stand out, drawing the eye of the searcher and potentially improving click-through rate (CTR).

However, there is a lot of semantic markup out there, and you needn’t go crazy implementing every single schema. If you’re just starting out, you only need to focus on a few key types.

Below are the five types of semantic markup you should consider first.

1. Facebook Open Graph

What: Open Graph markup allows websites to connect their web pages to the social graph. Practically speaking, the most common application of this is to define how your web page is displayed in Facebook and other social platforms.

Why: It helps websites control how their pages/content are presented in Facebook and other social sites that leverage Open Graph. This is key to ensuring a social-specific headline and image is used any time someone shares your content on Facebook and in the social sphere.

Sample Markup:

<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.yelp.com/biz/del-taco-san-diego”>
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://s3-media2.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/3swksXetHSMg1BfaqzL-Ag/l.jpg”>
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Del Taco”>

 

Markup Outcome:

facebook-open-graph

Resource: The Open Graph protocol

2. Breadcrumbs

What: This markup that allows your breadcrumbs to show in your Google search results (inclusive of clickable links) instead of the full URL of the page.

Why: The URL that displays in your Google Search Result by default is not clickable, nor does it really tell you about the structure of your site. By marking up your breadcrumbs, you are giving searchers options of where to start their search in your site, even when a very specific article is what shows.

Sample Markup:

<span itemscope itemtype=”http://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb”>
<a href=”/c/san-diego/restaurants” itemprop=”url”>
<span itemprop=”title”>Restaurants</span></a>
<span itemscope itemprop=”child” itemtype=”http://data-vocabulary.org/Breadcrumb”>
<a href=”/c/san-diego/hotdogs” itemprop=”url”>
<span itemprop=”title”>Fast Food</span></a>

 

Markup Outcome:

breadcrumbs-markup

Resource: Rich snippets – Breadcrumbs

3. Products/Ratings

What: This type of markup allows you to specify your products and related data to search engines.

Why: With this markup in place, ratings (5-star system), price, number of reviews, and other product-specific information can appear in SERPs in the form of rich snippets. This provides valuable information that supports your listing.

Sample Markup:

<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
<div>
<i title=”3.5 star rating”><img alt=”3.5 star rating” height=”303″ src=”https://s3-media2.ak.yelpcdn.com/assets/2/www/img/936bf04da316/ico/stars/v2/stars_map_very_large.png” width=”84″>
</i>
<meta itemprop=”ratingValue” content=”3.5″>
</div>
<span class=”review-count rating-qualifier”>
<span itemprop=”reviewCount”>44</span> reviews</span>
</div>

 

Markup Outcome:

del-taco-review-markup

Resources:

4. Google Authorship

What: This markup allows you to connect website content to your Google+ account. It allows Google to connect articles that you have authored across multiple domains.

Why: It allows your Google+ profile picture to show up next to articles you author, which provides a more appealing view of your content in Google SERPs.

Sample Markup:

<link href=”https://plus.google.com/106020397206556740428″ rel=”author” />

 

Markup Outcome:

google-authorship-markup

Resource: Link to your Google+ profile using rel=”author”

5. VideoObject Schema

What: This markup communicates specific details about a video on your page to the search engines.

Why: It allows a thumbnail of your video to show up next to your result in Google searches. It can better communicate that there’s a video on your page which could increase CTR.

Sample Markup:

<div id=”cols” itemprop=”video” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/VideoObject”>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”Del Taco Super Special Show: Webisode 02″>
<meta itemprop=”playpageUrl” content=”http://vimeo.com/9412581″>
<meta itemprop=”discussionUrl” content=”http://vimeo.com/9412581″>
<meta itemprop=”thumbnailUrl” content=”http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/465/211/46521104_640.jpg”>
<meta itemprop=”url” content=”https://vimeo.com”>
<meta itemprop=”logo” content=”http://a.vimeocdn.com/logo.svg”>
</div>

 

Markup Outcome:

video-object-markup

ResourceThing > CreativeWork > MediaObject > VideoObject

As you can see, the overall benefit of semantic markup is primarily around enhancing your search results in Google, not increasing your rankings. The thought is that over time, Google may start to give more weight to semantic markup — but for now, it’s definitely a means to improving your current CTR in Google.

Additional Resources

For a complete list of schemas recognized by the major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing), visit Schema.org.

To learn how to update your existing pages with structured data markup, check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

For help creating markup to implement on your website, try Schema Creator.

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