SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of increasing your website traffic from search engines like Google by leveraging search engine friendly elements on your website, as well as outside signals that help search engines determine your reliability. At Firetoss, we address three types of ranking factors when optimizing a website: on-page factors, off-page factors, and user behavior factors. The basic idea is that by optimizing for these factors, your website will rank higher for important search terms that your target audience is searching for on Google.

How does Google rank websites?

Google uses a complex formula to rank websites called an algorithm. There are hundreds of factors that go into this algorithm, and the importance of different factors varies. Google’s end goal when a user enters a search is to deliver the best search results possible. When a keyword is entered into Google, Google crawls the web and looks for the web pages that are most relevant to that keyword.

Searching on Google is a lot like asking a question. The goal of search engines is to provide the best answers to your questions.

So figure out what keywords or phrases you want to rank for, and ask yourself: how well does my web page provide an answer to that search?

For example, if someone searches for window blinds Utah , Google wants to show you results that best communicate that they are about window blinds in Utah. Google looks for expertise, authority, and trust when crawling the web. The sites that prove they are experts on that subject will get rewarded with higher rankings.

The importance of keywords and search terms

Keywords are the core of SEO. When deciding what keywords you want to focus on, you need to think about a few things.

The first thing you need to think about when choosing keywords is your target audience. Research what you think your best customers will search for. For instance, say a parent with a troubled teen searches help for troubled teens, but another parent in the same situation searches wilderness therapy.

The first parent is early in the research stage of finding a solution. They could be searching for a number of things related to helping troubled teens. In contrast, the parent that is searching for wilderness therapy is clearly aware that wilderness therapy is a solution to help troubled teens, and is specifically looking for more in-depth information. To go a step further, if someone searches for best wilderness therapy programs we can assume they have high interest in enrolling their child in a program and are now comparing reputations among different programs.

Utah-SEO-KeywordsIf you ran a wilderness program for troubled teens, it would be beneficial to rank for all three terms. Keywords that contain wilderness therapy, however, are going to attract a more targeted user because they are already aware of the programs, and are now relying on Google to tell them what their best options are for wilderness therapy.

The second part of keyword research is just as crucial.

Search volume is a huge deciding factor when analyzing what keywords you want to rank for. As I already expressed, it is important to try and figure out what your best customers will search for. Before we decide to optimize around that keyword, we need to make sure people actually search for that term.

By using a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner you can look up search volume for different keywords and get new ideas for relevant searches that are also getting traffic. You will notice that broad terms like search engine optimization have a very high amount of searches, where something more specific like Utah SEO services will have fewer searches, but is much more targeted of an audience.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t focus on targeting broad search terms just because they have high search volume
  • Find search terms specific to your target audience so you attract quality traffic
  • Make sure your target keywords have search volume, and that you aren’t targeting keywords that no one is searching for

SEO ranking factors

What does it take to rank? Well, Google’s algorithm is very complex. With over 200 ranking factors that influence how Google ranks websites, there is a lot to consider. Despite having so many factors at play, there are some that carry a larger influence than others. Below are three different categories of ranking factors, and some of the most important ranking signals.

On-Page Ranking Factors

These ranking factors relate to elements on your website that influence ranking. The following factors are some of the most crucial on-page elements to optimize. Having your focus keywords integrated into the first 5 of these is key.

  • URL’s
  • Title and description tags
  • Heading tags
  • Images
  • Content
  • Page load time
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Freshness of content

Off-page ranking factors

When we say off-page factors we are talking about signals from outside sources that help Google understand how trustworthy your site is. Here are a few off-page factors for you to consider.

  • Consistency in your business information online (Same name, address, and phone number around the web)
  • Quantity and quality of reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
  • Links from other relevant, authoritative sites
    • Having relevant, authoritative sites link to your website is a significant factor.
      Think of links as votes for why a website should rank. Links from trusted, authoritative sites carry more weight than links from lower quality sites, so obtaining quality links is key.

User behavior factors

How a user interacts with your site is an indicator to Google on the quality of your website as a search result. Think about the following questions.

  • How many people are clicking on your search result in Google?
  • How long are people staying on your site?
  • Do people go to multiple pages once they land on your site?

If you are receiving a high volume of clicks and users are spending quality time on your site, Google will take that as an indication that your web page offers a good answer to their query.

Why is SEO important?

SEO has one of the best ROI’s in all of advertising. This is because you are able to market to people in the exact moment when they are searching for the products or services that your business provides. If you rank well for your most important search terms, you have an incredible opportunity to prove to potential customers that they should do business with you. Who can’t see the value in that?

Questions? We would love to hear from you. Contact us HERE.

Here at Firetoss, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of clients doing everything from marketing to web development. While we do appreciate all of our clients, we want to highlight Blind Spot.

Blind Spot is Utah’s premier choice for quality name brand window blinds, window shutters, window shades and much more. They are a family owned company that has been around since 2003. What really stands out with Blind Spot is that they provide the latest trends, styles, and designs in window coverings at affordable prices.

Since Blind Spot has come to Firetoss, their organic visits have gone up 116%. They have also been ranking on the first page of Google for keywords such as “window coverings Utah,” “window blinds Utah” and many more in their industry. As one of our marketing clients, we have built Blind Spot’s social media presence up with the use of unique content and specially selected articles that pertain to their business.

We truly believe in the work we do for Blind Spot and all our clients. We love seeing the results and helping their businesses grow. To see Blind Spot’s results, Google “window coverings Utah” now!

 

During the past several years the conversation around truck driver shortages has deepened once again. Motor carriers are looking for alternative solutions to common problems that will increase the quality of driving positions in an effort to recruit and retain qualified drivers. Although there are great strides being made in transforming and refining logistics, the aging population of drivers, the decrease in new drivers entering in to the market and the increase in demand for trucking are all combining to create a serious problem for our country.

Truck Driver Shortage ATA ReportIn 2015, the American Trucking Association (ATA) released a report on shortages in truck driver recruiting that cites a deficit of 48,000 drivers by the end of 2015 and an estimated 175,000 driver shortage by 2024.  Although this trend in driver deficits needs to be corrected there are many things a trucking company can do to increase driver retention and optimize their online recruiting funnels.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 2 years traveling and speaking to heads of trucking at conventions and conferences about what can be done to solve frictional employment problems in the current population of qualified drivers.  There exists a tremendous opportunity for forward thinking trucking companies to capitalize on the shift to digital job applications and optimize their recruiting funnels before other trucking companies realize how much web traffic they are missing.  I first realized that there were increasing trends in driver searches when preparing to speak in Ohio at their 2014 trucking convention.

Steady Rising Trend in Truck Driver Job Searches

Online search through search engines such as Google and Bing have become a fast and efficient way to search for a career upgrade while stopped at a truck stop.  We’ve been able to identify through marketing campaigns the past couple years that the majority of qualified drivers are searching using mobile devices while they’re at work.  There isn’t “time” nor is it convenient to put on a shirt and tie and request applications in person anymore.  The currency of the job search is accurate and has timely information coupled with an easy user experience online. trends in trucking searches for driver recruiting

In the chart on the right, you see the trends of Google searches for four keywords or search phrases related to finding a trucking job. There is a steady rising trend in search volume except for the period from 2008 to 2011 where searches spiked.  The loss of jobs in that period of downturn caused an unusual number of job searches in those 2 years.  The past 4 years, searches have risen steadily and are now spiking again in the beginning of 2016.

This rise in search volume is not indicative of an influx of new drivers in the marketplace, but a representation of something economists call frictional unemployment.  Frictional unemployment refers to the natural turnover in an industry due to job searchers changing companies.  As qualified drivers search, the handheld internet device has proven to be the most convenient method.

As the CEO of a Marketing and Advertising Firm in Salt Lake City, Utah that specializes in solving challenges for small to medium trucking companies, I have spent a great deal of time evaluating the state of driver recruiting problems.  We find that there are a large number of trucking companies that undervalue their recruiting funnels online.  Because digital marketing and a strong web presence have not historically been a key to success in the trucking industry, many companies are several years behind current technology in mobile websites.  A complete and mobile optimized website with a well designed application process is the key to getting the attention of top drivers in 2016.  In order to help our clients understand the facets of a well designed recruiting funnel online we’ve created some internal tools for education and awareness.  We find that many of the intricate details of mobile websites and recruiting processes online are too complex and difficult to comprehend for recruiting managers at trucking companies.  It takes many years of study and investigation to really fully conceptualize a full online system.  In an effort to simplify the evaluation process we have create a few checkpoints and resources to decide if a site needs to be rebuilt, remodeled or lightly optimized.

2 Tools to Identify Common Problems in Online Application Funnels

Here are two quick ways to determine if your website or online factors are impending your ability to attract top quality talent in online Google and Bing searches.  On April 21, 2015 Google (and then subsequently Bing) tightened their rules about which sites will continue to appear on the mobile version of their search results.  As of that date they began showing a variation in search results on desktop (laptop and tablet) devices versus mobile devices.  You can effectively conduct the same search on each device and you will receive two separate lists of search results.   The position on those search results is one of the largest factors in determining who gets the most traffic to their website.  If a truck driver, on their mobile phone, searches on Google for the search “truck driving jobs” (average 30,500 searchers a month) they will see of list of trucking companies and job boards such as Indeed.com or Careerbuilder.com.  A trucking company’s website only will have a chance to appear on mobile search results if they meet some criteria that is defined by the two tools described below:

Mobile Friendly Test Tool

Google has provided a new tool (2014) to test your website on a virtual mobile device.  It is simple to use and fairly easy to understand the results. You can find the link to the tool in our free tool section.  One of the most common problems it the lack of relevant content on the mobile version of sites. The tool will load your website with the image of a mobile device and will show you how Google views your page.   And, even further, many trucking companies don’t have a current website that is optimize for mobile.  This tool provides a list of the elements that will need to be updated and fixed. We use this on each new client’s website to determine where our time and efforts need to be focused.  If you drill down into specific problems you will see that it can get very technical so this is where you will need a professional firm.

Firetoss Search Ranking Site Scan

analyze-seo-reportWe provide a free resource that can also be found in our free tools section. The Firetoss Search Ranking Site Scan takes about 2 mins to run.  It will allow you to submit your web address or URL into our system and measure it against a particular search term.  This has extended value beyond driver recruiting.  You can use this tool to discover how you rank for any possible search on Google.  This system is linked to our internal software that runs a constant evaluation of over 400 factors related to websites and why they rank for searches on Google.  We have selected the top 20 factors and created this tool to quickly evaluate site rankings.

Once you submit your URL you can list a search term such as “truck driving jobs”.  You should try to use a term that is defined by geography as well such as “truck driving jobs Austin, Texas”.  This will allow the tool to identify your local competitors.  The results will show your website with a side by side comparison of your top two online threats.  Those threats may be job boards such as Indeed or they may be direct carrier competitors.

Summary

Although shortages in trucking are prevalent at the national level, there are a number of actions any single trucking company can take to capitalize on the frictional unemployment or transfer of active workforce through turnover.   Optimizing online funnels to provide the best experience to drivers as they evaluate companies and search for driving opportunities will increase your exposure and put you back in a position of dominance in the recruiting process.

 

 

 

 

All of Your Content Marketing Questions, Answered.

Get answers to all of those content marketing questions you were too afraid to ask in business school — secure your spot in this year’s SLCircle Marketing Bootcamp, November 17 at 5:30pm in the Zion’s Bank Building. Join us for an evening of food, drink, and not-so-awkward conversation with fellow marketing professionals and industry experts in the Salt Lake City area. Keynote speaker Tony Passey, Firetoss CEO and Professor of Marketing at the Eccles School of Business, will unveil everything you need to know about developing a campaign strategy that actually works for your business. Tony Passey will use real-world case studies to help your brand find the right messaging, channels and audience to navigate your business through the noisy, content-filled digital space. So don’t be shy — make an appearance and learn how to make a lasting impact with your brand.

Limited spots are available – get your tickets for only $12 here until the raise to $15, three days before. Get ready to whip your personal and corporate brand into shape!

http://slcircle.com/event/slcircle-marquee-event-2-2016-01-19/

SLCircle Marketing Bootcamp

 

Display Advertising Technology

One of our favorite things to do as digital marketers is to share our knowledge with others to help them grow their businesses. Today, our CEO, Tony Passey, spoke at the SLCircle’s ‘Learning Lunch’ and gave a workshop on Display Advertising Technology. Many digital marketing workshops consist of the basics, like SEO, but we wanted to switch it up and have a discussion based more around the technology of display advertising.

Tony went in depth in the following topics:

  • Evolution of Display Advertising
  • Purchasing ad space from Retail, Ad Networks, Retail, and Exchanges
  • Logistics of Ad Serving
  • How retargeting works
  • Options for companies with budgets under $50k a month

Watch the full-length discussion and be sure to save the slides for later!

Thank you so much to SLCircle and Holodeck for hosting us. We’re counting down the days until the Marketing Boot Camp!

SLCircle Display Advertising Technology

Google just dropped a huge announcement on the tech world yesterday, stating that they will be creating a new company called Alphabet (https://abc.xyz/). In true Google fashion, they couldn’t announce the new restructure without giving us a little something extra – a hidden easter egg that gives a shout out to Hooli.xyz!

This sneaky shout out to HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ might not be visible right away. But, when you read the page’s statement in full, a link to the parody’s site is found in the period after “drone delivery effort.”

Hooli XYZ

Alphabet is a serious new project so it’s nice to see Google still has a great sense of humor.

Determining how to manage your marketing online can be difficult if you don’t already have a team ready. You not only have to think of what the most cost effective way to do it, but also how to maximize your efficiency without losing valuable time. At some point you’ll have to consider what makes the most sense; is it better to hire individual marketers or is hiring a digital marketing agency a smarter chose? No two companies are the same, but here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not you should outsource your inbound marketing.

1. Cost Effectiveness

An experienced in-house hire can be quite expensive, ranging anywhere between $30k – $70k a year for one employee. When you hire a digital marketing agency, you can have a full team of experts for the same price of a single hire.

2. Marketing Expertise

Effective marketing requires knowledge on a variety of topics and an outside firm offers all of that. You can get access to expert content writers, social media professionals, SEO professionals, web designers, and much more. Hiring an in-house marketer that can do everything required is hard to find and can be risky. Because of that, the best marketing campaigns are done by a team of specialists rather than one single person. A digital marketing agency will be up-to-date on new innovations and make sure your campaigns fully leverage their capabilities.

3. Consistency

Starting an in-house marketing program from the beginning can prove to be difficult. Your employees are always working on other projects that take away from your campaigns. Digital marketing agencies work full-time on marketing and they can focus fully on your campaigns.

4. Process Driven

When you hire a digital agency, you are hiring a team that will integrate a new channel into its organization. They will know what questions to ask and what to focus on in the process development. A digital agency has refined the process needed to succeed and will make sure they cover everything from onboarding to measurement and reporting.

5. Technology and Tools

There are so many marketing tools out there nowadays to increase efficiency, productivity and performance. Unfortunately, these tools cost money and are cost-prohibitive for small and mid-sized companies. Digital marketing agencies already have these systems and know how to get the most value from them.

6. Current Strategy is Broken

It’s not uncommon for successful businesses to have a broken strategy. When referrals are down and you need help taking your business to the next level, getting a qualified set of eyes to help with strategy and execution can mean the difference between exponential increase in revenue and closing the doors.

7. New Perspective

One way to fix a broken strategy is with a new perspective. It’s easy to do the same thing over and over when you’re working from the inside. Employees may get stuck on one idea or not feel comfortable giving suggestions. With a digital agency, you will work with marketing strategists who will assess and create new ideas from the perspective of the consumer.

8. Experience

This could be the most important aspect of hiring someone for your digital marketing. Hiring someone new for your work means months of training and lost money whereas digital marketing agencies are ready to jump right in. They do this every day for multiple industries and they know where to begin and how to succeed.

If you’re ready to get your digital marketing started, you could do it yourself or you could try Firetoss Agency. You can get farther in your marketing if you hire a digital marketing agency to do it for you. It’s what we do.