How Do SEO and PPC Work Together?

How SEO and PPC Work Together

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, “search” often serves as an umbrella term for both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Both funnel visitors to your website using the search engine results pages (SERPs). Both impact the search results users are even able to see. 

But many business owners ask, “Can my PPC ads affect my site’s SEO or vice versa?” Technically, the answer is no — having PPC ads can’t affect your site’s ranking, and your site’s ranking can’t affect your ads. 

Instead, you may find more answers in the understanding that you don’t have to choose between SEO and PPC. You can benefit from both, even on a shoestring budget. 

Here are some ways that the two practices can work together to attract people to your website. 

Increased Search Engine Visibility

The most obvious benefit of SEO is to rank higher (ideally on the first page and in the number one position) for one or more keywords that you’re targeting. But purchasing PPC ads for those same keywords with a high enough bid will push your ad to the top of the page a user searches for using that keyword. 

 Sponsored ads get top positioning on the SERPs, which means that targeting both organic and paid advertising ensures that your brand dominates the search results. Not only will you likely capture valuable clicks, but you’ll give the impression that you’re an established presence in a particular market.

Remarketing Campaigns

Even when your SEO efforts increase your website ranking, those same shoppers or potential leads can quickly change their minds. Price and product comparisons on other websites lead to shoppers leaving your website before they’ve made a purchase. 

To get these potential buyers to return, track the goods that initially brought them to your site and purchase ad space to remind them of these exact items at a later time. After all, it’s easier to click on an ad than to make an additional search for specific items.  

Keyword Testing for SEO  

PPC keyword data shows words that have already been searched, clicked, and converted. Needless to say, this information simplifies the work of creating an SEO strategy.

To test, simply choose a highly relevant keyword for your products or services and purchase PPC advertising for it. After some time monitoring it, see how your website performs and translate that into optimizing your site for that particular keyword or avoiding it altogether. 

Brand Image Control

Sometimes people write negative critiques about your company online. It happens. Thankfully, a combined effort between PPC and SEO can do damage control by controlling your image through visibility. 

You can begin to control the conversation by focusing on specific keywords and phrases. For example, following BP’s Gulf Coast oil spill, they paid for PPC ads linked to the keyword “oil spill.” They chose to create a landing page connected to BP’s site that showcased their cleanup effort. This can be used as your opportunity to tell your side of the story. 

Social Media Presence

Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube offer targeted ads to highly specific groups of people. Using Facebook user profile information, ads can be shown uniquely to 20-year-olds living in Boston, Massachusetts who are interested in technology and motorcycles. 

The paid ads are precise and can lead to more highly qualified leads in addition to narrowing your overall SEO strategy.

Need help creating a marketing plan using both SEO and PPC strategies? 
Real results to improve your website’s search engine visibility, retargeting, and keyword testing are possible with our digital marketing team. As a leading full-service Internet marketing agency, our experts can work to establish your website’s presence using PPC and SEO. 
Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.

What You Need to Know to Get a Google Featured Snippet

Google Featured Snippet

 What You Need to Know to Get a Google Featured Snippet

Getting traffic from Google means keeping up with its constantly evolving features. If you want to rank, you have to know how to optimize. And since 2014, there’s been a clear push from Google to deliver featured snippet results for more queries.

Why are they so popular?

It’s because they give answers to the questions people are searching for in a way that’s quick and easy to read.

They aren’t just beneficial to the average person though. Featured snippets offer marketers another way to drive traffic directly to their site. Content that appears in the featured snippets can get 2x higher click-through rates than content elsewhere on the search engine results page.

What is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet shows up as a block that contains the most direct answer to your query — below ads but above the position-one organic result — so they’re often referred to as “position zero” search results.

Here’s an example of a featured snippet:

Depending on the query, they can also show up as a paragraph blurb. These typically appear when a user searches for the answer to a question:

When a question can be answered in a series of steps, the snippet is presented as a list:

The table featured snippets are also presented most often for sizing guides, measurement questions or quick restaurant menu shots. Just by nature of size, featured snippets are even more effective at driving traffic to your site than ranking for position one.

How to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets

Because of the “how-to” nature of the industries, if you brand is related to DIY, health or finance, you’re more likely to get featured than published content from other categories. Still, the traffic boost and increased visibility are worth your time and research.

Here are 4 useful tips to optimize your content and appear in a featured snippet.

1. Research Keywords and Questions

Good old-fashioned keyword research is much easier these days with a few tools geared towards featured snippets.

For example, Serpstat let’s you type in a domain, keyword or link to see if featured snippets pop up for each. If you’re finding it cumbersome to do thorough competitor research, this is a great way to find out for which keywords they’re currently ranking.

When you land on keywords about topics that people are asking about, the next step is to create content that includes tags related to those questions.

Another way to format content around questions is to investigate the “People also ask” section on the Google SERP. These questions will likely spark content ideas in one simple step.

2. Stick to an Optimal Word Count

A SEMRush analysis found that most featured snippet results answers are between 40 to 50 words. Hubspot mentions up to 58 words.

This featured snippet list uses only 46 words:

Keeping your steps, paragraphs or lists concise can help Google easily feature your content.

3. Format Using Headers

Using paragraph style formatting, organize your steps, lists or paragraphs with subheadings. To increase your chances of showing as a list featured snippet, use subheading tags (<h2>) for items in the list to help search engines read and understand the content.

If you incorporate the chronological phrasing “Step 1, Step 2” (or some variation), Google will find it easier to order them as such.

4. Add High-Quality Images and Video

Featured snippets often include an image in the content box because most people find visuals more convenient and helpful.

If you do add video, consider adding transcripts. Combining text with video allows Google to recognize the text as it relates to featured snippet content, and you can combine your video engagement with your keyword research strategy.

5. Create a Q&A Page for Your Website

Q&A, FAQ or “how-to” pages are beneficial to your site not only because they demonstrate your expertise, but because they offer answers that can be used as a featured snippet.

Take this example from Home Depot’s DIY Projects and Ideas page:

When you create a Q&A page, stick to the common questions about your niche that you found in your research. Write complete, direct answers in short paragraphs.

Wrapping Up

If you want to get better traffic and improve your site’s SEO, occupying the first position of Google search results isn’t your only option. Ranking in featured snippets — position zero — is the highest-ranking spot possible without advertising.

Start out with competitor research and use Google itself to find your featured snippet opportunities.

The rest is simply about writing, structuring and optimizing content for search engines — do keyword and question research, stay concise, use headings, add visuals and create a resource page.

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today. 

Social Media and SEO: 3 Ways To Boost Search Results

Boost Search Results

 Social Media and SEO: 3 Ways To Boost Search Results

You want as many eyes as possible on your website – whether your goal is to sell your products, promote your services, or, you know, provide the world’s best digital marketing. There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your site, but Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has long stood alone as the most effective avenue to boost search results for business.

Now we’re asking – Can social media directly boost SEO?

Even though social signals like reviews, likes, shares, votes, pins, or links don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, there’s still a strong correlation between those signals and organic search success. What’s more, both SEO and social media have access to tons of marketing data you’ve been collecting for years.

Why not use it to grow and inform both channels?

Here’s how social media can bring more visitors to your website and improve the rankings that get your brand recognized and known.

Brand Recognition

Brand awareness may be the most touted benefit of social media, but we aren’t just talking about gauging your success by popularity metrics.

When someone discovers something on social media, what do they do?

They share a link. They mention your brand name. They write a review.

Although Google’s Matt Cutts debunked the myth that social following and likes played a role in ranking algorithms, getting a lot of mentions online could still cause Google to take notice.

With enough online chatter, Google sees brands as relevant for specific queries and begins ranking them for those queries.

Quality follows also benefit SEO – being followed by 100 people is better than 10,000 if it includes the top 5 influencers in your industry who publish content on a regular basis. A growing partnership on social media can blast your brand to a wider audience and work in the more technical space outside of those platforms.

As you help them with link building from guest posts on large blogs, you’ll likely gain valuable backlinks as a result.

Content Promotion

Social media is often ignored for SEO purposes because links from social platforms are rel=nofollow. In other words, search engines are instructed to ignore the link for ranking purposes in the search engine’s index.

However, it doesn’t matter that much.

If you’re earning nofollow links on high-profile platforms, you’re earning brand exposure, referral traffic and various off-site signals that do help your rankings in the search results.

That means you want to create and promote content that people want. Your brand should have a social promotion strategy for your videos, blog posts, and guides, in addition to a list of your very best evergreen content for re-sharing purposes.

These days, only a small portion of your potential audience sees your posts on a given day, so recycling content is the best way to continue driving traffic to your site.

While the links from social shares may not have the same SEO value as backlinks from authoritative websites, they can impact on-site engagement and bounce rate. There’s no better way to improve your site’s authority than delivering killer content that keeps visitors from wanting to leave your page.

Social media just offers another way to deliver that content.

Local SEO

Simply put, Google (and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing) like reviews. In fact, they make up 13 percent of ranking factors for local searches and seven percent for general searches. Customer reviews on your Google My Business listing reinforces that your business does what it says.

The same is true with Facebook business reviews. While Google likes its own content, it also pulls from other reliable sources to validate the information directly provided on your GMB listing.

That’s why your social media-sourced reviews are linked under the subheading “Reviews from the web” on Google.

Taking proper measures by using location tags can help send location-based signals to search engines that can strengthen your visibility. Consistent business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across your website, business listings and local directories is one way to ensure accurate search results.

You may also try location-based hashtags to get your website discovered and boost search results — #Chicago.


Social media may not have a direct and immediate impact on your search rankings but leveraging both strategies will give you more chances for audiences to discover your brand.

Partnering social platforms with SEO can build site authority, earn backlinks, promote your content and guide local prospects to discover your brand. With these tips in mind, you’ll more easily manage your social media while boosting your SEO (indirectly) at the same time.

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.
Boost Search Results.

How to Fix a High Cost Per Click

High Cost-Per-Click

Is Your Average Cost Per Click High?

Here’s How to Fix It.

Pay-per-click advertising is centered around the ability to lower CPC (cost-per-click) costs.


In other words, if you’re able to pay less for a click, then your cost per conversion will also be less, right?


The answer is definitely yes.


But as PPC gets increasingly competitive, niches that were once relatively uncompetitive have become insupportable for advertisers with rising costs per click.


In this post, we’ll look at four things you can do to try to reduce those Google Ads costs per click beyond simply lowering your bid.

  1. Create Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS)


The best PPC agency campaigns are the ones that are the most relevant. Each of your ad groups should have one keyword with three different match types: broad match modified, phrase match, and exact match (despite the fact that Google suggests upwards of 10 to 20 keywords).


SKAGS ensure that your landing pages and text ads can be keyword specific in order to enhance your quality score. When quality scores are high, you pay less for clicks.


The keywords should then have specific landing pages for that keyword and those ads. Your goal is to keep the messaging in the ad consistent with the messaging on the landing page.



  1. Check Your Quality Score


Fortunately, relevant landing pages, keywords, and messaging naturally lead to a higher quality score. Google determines quality score from your click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page relevance.


When all of those areas are above average (7-10 is best), you pay less per click.


Why does it matter beyond paying less?


Here’s the ad rank formula for the Google Search Network:


Ad Rank = CPC bid x Quality Score


Here’s the ad rank formula for keyword-targeted ads:


Ad Rank = Display Network bid x Quality Score


And here’s the ad formula for placement-targeted ads on the Google Display Network:


Ad Rank = Bid x Quality Score


Ultimately, Quality Score affects your account health and success across the board.


In campaigns that are targeted on Google Search, each keyword has a Quality Score. But it’s hidden by default. Here’s how to show it:


  1. Click the “keywords” tab in your Google Ads account.

  2. Click “Columns” then “Modify columns.”

  3. In the section that opens up, choose “Quality Score.”

  4. Select “Quality Score” in the list of options.

  5. Click “Apply” to save.


You should now have a Quality Score column in your data. A 7/10 Quality Score is the recommended number and is sufficient. Going above 7 is great but not always achievable and may not be worth the effort. Anything below 7 is a sign that something is wrong and should be worked on immediately.



  1. Strategically Adjust Keywords

Negative keywords probably aren’t the first things you think of when you begin running a PPC campaign. In fact, they may be the very subject you avoid.


But, as per the Google definition, a negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.


For example, when you add “free” as a negative keyword to your campaign or ad group, you are telling Google Ads not to show your ad for any search containing the term “free.”


Why would you not want to show up for every search?


If, for example, you own a landscape supply company seeking to sell inventory, then you want to make sure you don’t get clicks from people who are searching for rentals. You don’t want to rent the equipment, you want to sell it.


Fortunately, you can compile a list of negative keywords fairly easily by opening your account, clicking on the Keywords tab and clicking “Search terms.” This should pull up a list of search terms people have entered that triggered your ads during your specified time period.


In this example, add the word “rental” to your negative keywords list, and you’ll be on your way to making your clicks more relevant. This will increase click-through rates and improve quality scores.


  1. Adjust Bids Beyond Keywords: Locations, Devices, and Ad Schedule


Of course, bids go beyond keywords. They take into consideration other factors such as the user’s location, the device they use, and the prime hours for more traffic and leads.


Some questions to consider in order to lower your Cost Per Click:


  • Which days drive the most traffic and leads?

  • Which time of the day results in the most conversions?

  • What device do users search on the most?

  • Which location drives higher-quality traffic?


If you find that one day of the week is generating clicks without resulting sales, you can pause or stop your ads running on that date or day of the week.


On the other hand, you can increase your bid on days that generate both targeted clicks and sales in order to become more visible and raise your conversion rate.


You can take similar measures to target users’ devices, but keep in mind that mobile phones have increasingly dominated the overall digital industry for years.

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.

Cost Per Click

5 Ad Ranking Questions Everyone Has For Google

Ad Ranking Questions

 5 Ad Ranking Questions Everyone Has For Google

Paid search. Google Ads. Ad Ranking. You have questions, and we’ve got answers.

Ad ranking is simple in nature, but finding ways to improve your ad rank is not. What moves, edits, or selections will improve your position, and which ones could potentially harm your ranking?


Here’s everything you need to know about ad ranking, why it matters, and how you can improve it fast.  


  1. What Is Ad Ranking? 


Google defines ad rank as “a value that’s used to determine your ad position (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) and whether your ads will show at all. 


If your ad shows up third, your ad rank for that given search is number three. This means that your position is the result of any given paid search auction against your competitors. 


  1. How Does Google Calculate Ad Ranking? 


Your bid amount, ad quality, and ad rank threshold get passed into Google’s system. The specific keyword search is then analyzed using machine learning to determine exactly what that user is most likely looking for in light of previous searches. 


This means that an ad for one of your keywords may show up in position #1 at the top of the page for one user’s search and in a different position for another’s. 


According to Google, these are the key factors contributing to your ad rank: 


  • Bid amount and ad rank thresholds: This refers to the minimum amount you need to bid to be in a specific position. For example, you can’t bid 20 cents and rank first for a term that costs $2.


  • Ad quality: This refers to both the relevance of your ad to a search as well as your Quality Score (i.e. relevancy of keywords within an ad group, ad copy, and landing page). 


  • The context of search: Depending on which device a user searches on, the time of day, and the keywords/terms used to make a search query, your ad may or may not be the most relevant. 


  • Ad extension impact: This means that you’ve enabled site-link extensions to internal pages on your website, call extensions, and location extensions within your ad. 


Again, ad rank is recalculated each time an ad is eligible for and competes in an auction, which means your position may change accordingly.


  1. Does the Highest Bidder Always Rank Higher? 


Because you’re bidding in an auction-style competition for keywords and search terms, people often assume that simply bidding higher is what lands the highest position.  


But that’s not necessarily true when it comes to ad rank. 


Paid search results function much like organic search results. Google want to provide searchers with highly relevant information that quickly solves their problem. 


If you have a high quality score and your keyword and ad copy are highly relevant, you can still achieve the best ad rank in an auction while bidding less than your competitors. 


  1. Can a Higher Quality Score Improve Ad Ranking? 


Yes! Your keyword quality score is one factor that determines ad rank for a specific auction, but your ad rank does not directly impact quality score as a result of that auction. 


This means that improving your quality score should be a top priority, and one way to do that is to utilize more specific ad groups. If you use generic or overly generalized ad groups, you run the risk of producing ads that underperform on expected click-through rates (CTRs). 


For instance, if a retailer sells several different types of shoes, they wouldn’t want to have “high heels” and “running shoes” in the same ad group. They’d want to write distinct ad copy for each of those products. 


They’ll also want people who search for “high heels” to land on a page of high heels and people who search for “running shoes” to land on a page featuring the running shoes they offer. 


Quality score is determined in part by your expected CTR, which takes into account your historical CTR trend. Because it’s common for ads at the top of the search engine results page to acquire a higher CTR, that can improve your quality score and directly impact your ad rank for future auctions. 


  1. How Do I Improve Ad Ranking? 


The simplest way to answer this question is by addressing the factors that Google lists (as addressed in question #2): 


  • Increase your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids and meet the ad thresholds ascribed to a keyword. While higher bidding isn’t the final word on ad rank, it naturally makes you more competitive in the auction. 


  • Improve your quality score by creating more specific ad groups, writing specific ad copy and providing highly relevant landing pages. 


  • Make sure your keywords and text ads are highly relevant to your intended audience and search query since ad rank is recalculated each time an ad is eligible for and competes in an auction. 


  • Enable and optimize ad extensions and use as many as are relevant. 


When looking to increase the rankings of your ad, do you head straight to your bid adjustments? If you do, first consider whether you’ve exhausted all other options to create ads that prioritize relevance and user search queries. Only then should you consider using a higher bid to reach the top positions for your keywords. 

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.

4 Rules for Creating Lead Generation Forms

4 Rules for Creating Lead Generation Forms

A [FREE PRESS RELEASE TEMPLATE] made its way into the company email. The source was reputable. The content was intriguing (who knows how to write a professional press release anyway?). And the word “free” made it worth the extra click. 


All we had to do was provide a little information: 


✔ Name

✔ Last Name

✔ Email

✔ Work Phone

✔ Company

✔ Company Website URL

✔ Company Size

✔ Company Yearly Income

✔ Job Title

✔ What is your greatest challenge professionally? 


Unlike applying for a home mortgage loan, this amount of personal information isn’t going to yield big rewards. 


The reward was a simple template, and this was absurd. 


Leads are valuable because they’re the people who have indicated organic interest in your content and your business by giving you their information. But leads don’t grow on trees, and mistakes like this are costing brands potentially thousands of customers. 


So here are four essentials for making lead gen forms work for you as best as they can:


  • Keep it short and sweet

  • Write a compelling CTA

  • Allow opt-in and opt-out

  • Focus on privacy


Keep it Short, Simple and Easy


Every field you add to a form cuts the number of leads by 25%. And according to the 2012 MarketingSherpa Lead Generation Benchmark Report, email is the most important form field across different industry sectors. 


“Qualified” leads simply mean “more likely to buy.” It does not mean “endured tedious data extraction.” Typically, contact information like email and phone number are essential but demographic questions can be reserved for the future in a process called “progressive profiling.” 


Although there’s no defined set of form fields that yields the greatest number of conversions, you’ll see results the moment you start to request only the necessary information using fewer form fields. 


Make each field simple by offering checkboxes, drop-downs, or simple answers to lessen the work. Who wants to answer open-ended questions for strangers? If you must include them, keep them optional. 


Write a Compelling CTA 


Words have the ability to add incentive. Your submission button can remind prospects what they’ll get for the information they choose to share.


Ensure that you’ve incorporated a strong CTA, or call-to-action, that compels people to make that final submission. 


Examples like “Start Class Now,” “Get your free ebook now,” or “Create Account & Get Started” have been proven to increase conversions compared to their simpler but more vague counterparts such as, “Download,” “Submit,” and “Create My Account.” 


Include Opt-in Options to Avoid Complaints


Although email is the most important field across industry sectors, it’s also your biggest obstacle. Users fear spam, and so they should. 


Giving leads the ability to opt-in (or out) of receiving email from the organization accomplishes a few things:


  • It reduces the number of spam complaints against your business, thereby reducing any possibility for future messages to be marked as spam. 


  • It increases your leads’ sense of privacy, which means that you’re more likely to receive primary emails as opposed to separate spam collection email accounts intended to trap and ignore your follow-ups. 


  • It creates “clean” email lists with fewer unsubscribes and abuse complaints. 


Include Your Privacy Policy to Remove Doubts


Shopify’s simple, trustworthy privacy statement says all it needs to on their lead generation form: “No charge. Unsubscribe anytime.” 


Do you include privacy statements in your lead gen form and CTA? 


Prospects are becoming smarter and know that most privacy statements don’t live up to what they promise, but including a link to your Terms and Conditions is the most basic version of offering transparency. 


You need to convince people to give you their personal information through a sign-up form, which means you need to offer what visitors can expect after submitting the form, how their information will not be sold or given to any outside party, and a clear way to remove themselves from your list at any time. 


Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.

How to Write a Great Product Description

How to Write a Great Product Description

How much do product descriptions actually impact the success of a product? 


One e-commerce study found that 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of vague, unclear or missing product information. 


But aren’t professional photography and a clear title enough to sell? 


Every web-browsing human reads product descriptions every day, and good product copy is your opportunity to convince the customer to click “add to cart” or to answer questions before they even arise. 


So yeah, educating customers on a product’s value can lead to more sales, lower refund rates and lead to increases in customer trust. 


What Makes a Product Description Bad? 


When a product is simple, say a plain white t-shirt, the text you use is less important than the image quality, modeling, size, availability, color range, and price. 

While you have to say something about your product, fancy language is less important unless you have a selling point for a particular targeted audience (i.e. organic cotton). 

When a product is not self-explanatory or immediately recognizable from its photography, it’s essential to include descriptions that:


  • Clearly explain what the product does or its intended use

  • Explain why it’s better than traditional products or the competition

  • Include all relevant information


Essentially, if you read a product description and still have questions about it, then it didn’t do its job.  

But there are a few defined ways to write well and make sure that your customers are getting the details they need.

  1. Know Your Target Audience


The first step to writing product descriptions that sell is to define your target audience. 


This begins with understanding your buyer persona, and the characteristics of your potential customers. 

Take this example of a moisturizer from Pura D’or

While Argan Oil has been popular among women for some time, particularly as a hair treatment, it’s also something that might be new to some people. 

If you’ve never used cold pressed oil in your hair or on your skin, would you know how to use it properly? 

The company goes on to successfully describe what the product is best used for, including usage tips and specific benefits to using it on different parts of the body. 

The buyer persona here is probably, “A woman who is searching for high quality moisturizing skin and hair products who may or may not know that this product exists and how to use it.” 


The reverse situation also exists in which large, international brands have already established what their products are, what they look like and what they can do. Apple, for example, often takes a minimal approach to product descriptions with a technical focus, and it works for them.  


  1. Use Features to Motivate Prospective Customers


If you know your target audience’s motivations and concerns, you can customize a list of features and benefits in your product description. 

Check out this product description for an electric toothbrush from Oral-B:

This not only describes the basic features–a two-minute timer, five-day battery life, #1 dentist-recommended brand–but it also includes the key selling point: “Removes up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush.” 

You’re not just getting an electric toothbrush. You’re getting a “clinically superior clean” recommended by professional dentists. 

You’re not just getting a toothbrush. You’re getting a “dentist-inspired round brush head.” 

With 500 modes and features, the product appeals to a buyer looking for a product that can guarantee and offer more than just basic cleaning. 


  1. Bullet Points Make It Easy to Scan


People love to skim, and a product description that includes bullet points provides a clear way to display the most relevant information. 

Amazon actually adds bullet points to their block text, and hides the technical details of many products in another section. 

Consider this example of their product page for Uidoks Dash Cam:

  • It’s not actually skimmable text, but the bullet points make you read each point as a separate idea. 


Checkmarks or bullet points, they trick the mind into reading information in smaller chunks, and that’s good for sales. 


  1. Write with Search Engines in Mind


According to Amazon-affiliated selling experts, there is some evidence that placing keywords in product descriptions, particularly in bullet points, increase search rankings. 


In fact, Shopify suggests adding keywords to four main places:


  • Page titles

  • Meta descriptions

  • ALT tags

  • The body content on a page (i.e. product descriptions)


Ideally, the same keywords should be seen throughout all of these sources, but if listing keywords feels like your jamming a square peg in a round hole, try taking a more creative approach to incorporating those essential descriptors. 


Mastering your product descriptions requires creativity and testing. Don’t be afraid to test product descriptions in order to improve both formatting and copy. 


Ultimately, you want to craft a product description that gives your shoppers the information they need. 

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.

Why Does Direct Traffic Matter for Your Brand?

If you hop onto your Google Analytics account, you’ll notice a large chunk of traffic and conversions attributed to “Direct.” 

Getting traffic to your website is arguably the most difficult—and most important—task as a business owner, which is why it’s tempting to think that this traffic represents visitors who already know your brand or those who are responding to effective offline advertising. 

The truth is that Direct traffic paints a more complicated picture of your brand strength. It’s merely one piece of the puzzle. 

Read on to learn how Direct traffic, in combination with other metrics and traffic sources, can best indicate how many online visitors know your name.  

What is Direct Traffic? 

Google has defined Direct source traffic as “users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site.” 

Unfortunately, the definition fails to include these more comprehensive (and complicated) traffic sources:

  1. Users who type your URL directly into their browser
  1. Users who bookmark your site and navigate to it from their bookmark
  1. Users who come from a source but no referral data is passed to your analytics platform 

This third and final group may appear when an HTTPS website refers a visitor to a site that is HTTP (i.e. not secured). Visitors may also be arriving from a link not on a site such as Word, Excel or PDF documents. It’s also common for 301 or 302 redirects to lose the tags that help to transfer referral data. 

Why Does Direct Traffic Matter? 

Direct traffic converts. These visitors have often already had contact with your website and pose less resistance to purchasing. 

For this exact reason, omnichannel marketing strategies are typically effective, magnifying the performance of each of your channels of traffic. 

What Happens When Direct Traffic Goes Dark? 

The problem with attributing all of your Direct traffic to highly qualified visitors is that Google Analytics incorporates sources stripped of referrer information into the category. 

In other words, the source is not attributed correctly within your Analytics platform but often appears within your Direct traffic metrics. 

For example, if you’re finding Direct traffic to pages deep within your website or to URLs that would be an unlikely option for someone to type directly into a browser, then that traffic is likely “dark” traffic. 

It’s important to remember that “dark” doesn’t always equate to “bad.” It simply means that Google Analytics can’t track the user’s referral source. 

Usually, these come from the following sources:

  • App referrals
  • Text messages
  • Incognito/secure browsing
  • Social platforms
  • Bots

One way to address the misattribution is to build your own custom segments as opposed to relying on Google defined segments to capture some of the “dark” traffic. 

Visibility and Truly Direct Traffic

While the Direct traffic metric can be complicated, there’s a portion of your traffic that is direct by definition. 

Looking at your landing pages can be a positive sign of a legitimately direct source since homepages and URLs with short page paths are likely to be typed into a browser. 

In reality, big brands tend to have higher volumes of Direct traffic in comparison with smaller businesses because of differing levels of brand recognition. 

How to Use Direct Traffic to Determine Brand Strength

Using Google Analytics to define how well visitors “know” your brand and are likely to convert is best determined by the following sources:

  1. Direct traffic that is by definition “direct.” If visitors are directly landing on homepages and other likely pages on your website, these are considered legitimately direct traffic. 
  1. Organic traffic to the homepage. This includes people who search for brand names and click a homepage link in the search engine results page.
  1. Traffic from Paid Search campaigns that indicate a brand search. Similar to the organic traffic above, these are people who click on paid branded ads.  

This isn’t the only way to determine how well people know your brand, but it is the easiest way to use Google Analytics to understand how many visitors know your name. 

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today. 

What is Duplicate Content and How Does It Affect SEO?

What is Duplicate Content and How Does It Affect SEO?

Even very successful websites get stymied by duplicate content. Think of it this way: Every time you create three or four versions of one of your pages, you’re competing against yourself three or four times before the page even enters the competitive market of search engine results pages. 


People often have misperceptions about duplicate content and its effect on SEO, backlinks, and traffic, but we’re here to provide answers. 


Whether your site consists of large numbers of templated pages or you’re just beginning the initial phases of web development, read on to avoid mistakes that could cost you valuable organic traffic. 


What is duplicate content? 


Strictly speaking, duplicate content refers to similar or exactly duplicated content that’s available on multiple locations on or off your site.


From a broader perspective, duplicate content refers to content that offers little value to visitors or pages that contain little body content. 


A ratio of more than 3 duplicate content pages for every normal page is considered excessive and likely weighing down your SEO performance.  


Why is duplicate content bad for SEO? 


Duplicate content presents several issues primarily for search engines and site owners:


  1. Search engines don’t know which versions to include or exclude from their indices, which means that it’s difficult for them to rank search queries in results. This also creates issues when consolidating the link metrics (anchor text, link equity, authority, trust) to one page or separate pages. 


  1. For site owners, search engines will be forced to show just one version as the best result, which dilutes the visibility of each duplicate. Link equity can also be diluted when other sites have to choose between duplicates as well. 


Does duplicate content receive a Google penalty?


Google tried to squash myths surrounding duplicate content when Susan Moska posted on the Google Webmaster blog in 2008


Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that. 


You can help your fellow webmasters by not perpetuating the myth of duplicate content penalties!


However, when duplicate content is a result of intentionally copying someone else’s website, Google has something to say:


Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. 


Ultimately, Google will be forced to choose one version of the content to show in search results. 


How duplicate content happens and how to fix it


Duplicate content can originate from technical issues like incorrectly setting up the web server or website. But they can also derive from the content being copied and published in other places. 


  • URL variations, such as click tracking and some analytics code, can cause duplicate content issues 

  • HTTP vs. HTTPS versions can create duplicate content

  • WWW vs. non-WWW pages can create duplicates of each of those pages

  • Scraped content, particularly identical manufacturer’s descriptions for products on e-commerce websites can be identical in multiple locations. 

  • Index pages such as index.html or index.php may make your homepage accessible via multiple URLs


You can essentially fix all duplicate content issues by verifying which of the duplicates is the intended version. 


Whenever content on a site can be found at multiple URLs, it should be canonicalized for search engines. 


Here are three main ways to do this:


Set up a 301 redirect


A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. 


These redirects also link various URLs under one umbrella so search engines rank all of the addresses based on the domain authority from inbound links. 


These types of redirects associate common web conventions (http:// or www) with one URL to maximize domain authority.


Use the rel=canonical attribute


The rel=”canonical” attribute is part of the HTML head of a web page and should be added to the HTML head of each duplicate version of a page. 


Its purpose is to tell search engines that a specific page should be treated as though it were a copy of a specified URL, and all of the links, content metrics, and ranking power should be credited to the one specified URL. 


Set the preferred domain of your site


The Google Search Console allows you to set the preferred domain of your site and to clarify whether Google should crawl a number of URL parameters differently (this is also called parameter handling). 


The only limitation in using Google Search Console is that any rules or changes may not affect Bing or any other search engine’s crawlers. 


Check out more about duplicate content


Learn more about duplicate content by checking out these resources:

Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.