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Image that reads "SEO" in large letters with the "O" as a magnifying glass - around it are related terms like "tags," "on-page seo," metadata, etc.
SEO

On-Page SEO: The Basics

Often when people think of search engine optimization (SEO), on-page SEO is what comes to mind. On-page SEO is exactly what it sounds like – the elements of SEO that are actually on the page, like keywords and headings. There are other elements of SEO that are not “on-page” and have to do with things like metadata and site structure – we’ll talk about those later. Today, we’re focusing on the main elements of on-page SEO.

Content

This is obviously the first thing you have to have – you can’t have SEO on your page if there’s nothing at all on your page. Good content – useful information that is presented in an interesting or engaging way – is the cornerstone of SEO. SEO is for search engines, but search engines are for people, and if search engines figure out people don’t want to read your content, they won’t rank it very highly.

Keywords

Keywords are words and phrases that tell search engines what your content is about. For example, the keyword for this post is “on-page SEO.” Search engines read your page to see all the words on it – having a specific string of words that repeats a couple times tells the search engine that if people search for that phrase, your page is relevant. The ideal keyword density (how often the keyword appears in your content) is around 2%, so in a 300-word blog post, the keyword should appear 2-8 times.

Headings

Headings divide a post or page into different sections. Search engines like it when pages and posts are broken up by headings into easier-to-skim sections. If you manage to work your keyword into some of your headings, that’s even better for SEO.

Links

Internal and external links both factor into SEO. Internal links are links that link to other pages or posts within your website. An external link is a link that links to any page or post on a site that’s not yours. Having one (or even better, both) in a post will make search engines see it as more authoritative, and therefore deserving of a higher rank.

Alt text

Search engines can’t read images, and neither can screen readers for visually impaired people. Instead, you use alt text to describe the images in words. Alt text has two purposes – it should describe the image so people using screen readers can get an idea of what the picture looks like, and it should also contain your keyword to improve your SEO.

Analytics, Websites

How to Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is Google’s robust system for analyzing the data connected to your website. It tracks website visitors, traffic sources, visitor behavior, and more. If your business is data-driven in any way (and we’ve never encountered a business that wasn’t), you need data on your website’s performance just as much as you need data on your social media performance, and Google Analytics is a great way to get it.

So let’s dive in.

How to set up Google Analytics

If you already have Google Analytics set up for your website, feel free to skip to the next section. If not, here’s how to set it up.

  1. Go to analytics.google.com and log in with a Google account.
  2. In the bottom left corner of the dashboard screen, click “Admin.”
  3. Click the blue “Create Account” button towards the left side of the screen.
  4. Fill in the required information, then click “Get Tracking ID.”
  5. Accept the terms and conditions.
  6. You will be taken to a screen with some HTML code. This code needs to be inserted into the header of your website. If you have a WordPress site, there are many good plugins that will insert the code for you. If not, send the code to your webmaster.

Once you have that code in your website’s header, you’re good to go! It may take some time for data to start showing up in the Google Analytics dashboard, but once it does, you’ll have all that data sitting in your Google Analytics account ready for analysis.

How to use Google Analytics

Once you have Google Analytics set up, the next step is being able to find and use the data. Accessing the data is easy – just go to analytics.google.com and log in with the Google account you used to set up. That will take you to the Google Analytics dashboard.

Screenshot of the Google Analytics dashboard

The dashboard has lots of data for the past seven days. The first chart compares traffic over the past seven days to the seven days before that. Other charts break down where your traffic came from (organic search, direct, etc.), how many active users your site has had, your user retention (Yoast has an excellent article about that report), visiting times, user locations, devices your site was viewed on, and most popular pages. Most of these charts have a blue link underneath them to give you a detailed report.

Screenshot of a chart with a blue link at the bottom highlighted

There is also a lot more data in the menu on the left. Clicking on any of those options will expand a list of reports you can get about your website visitors, from audience demographics to conversion data. In fact, there’s so much data that one of the business decisions you’re going to have to make (unless you have an employee dedicated entirely to data analysis) is which metrics are important to you.

Some good options for data to track when you’re new to analytics data are traffic amount and sources, bounce rate, day of the week and time people visit, and conversions. Those will give you a basic picture of how your site is doing and give you an idea of where to focus your future efforts.

Text that reads "About Us" with a green pencil underlining it
Websites

Common About Page Mistakes – And How to Fix Them

The About page is the second most visited page on your website (second only to the homepage). After reading your pitch on the homepage, assuming they’re still interested, their next step in researching this potential purpose is the About page – they want to learn more about you and what your company is all about.

It’s important to have a compelling About page if you want visitors to stay on your site, possibly reach out to you, and maybe even make a purchase. But if you’re not experienced with writing About pages, it’s easy to fall into some common mistakes. Here are a few – and how you can avoid them.

Not telling a story

We humans are story-driven creatures. We find stories interesting and compelling. One of the greatest ways to have an engaging about page is to tell the story of your business – in a creative, well-written way, of course.

Skipping the pictures

Humans are also very visual. Pictures – especially pictures of other humans – are engaging to us and inspire trust. Add at least one picture to your About page. This could be your company’s founder, head shots of all the company executives, or a group shot of your entire team if your business is small. (Also make sure to caption it so people know what they’re looking at.)

Making it too long

There are very few cases when your About page needs to be long. And most of your visitors will have short attention spans. They want something they can skim and get the gist of without having to read a ten-page essay. Cover the important information, but don’t make it too long.

Using jargon

Sometimes an industry-specific term can’t be avoided. But for the most part, your About page should be as readable as possible by the average person. That means avoiding technical terms, jargon, and business babble and just giving straight talk about who your business is and what you do.

Thinking your About page is about you

This is probably the most common pitfall to fall into. Your About page is telling people who you are, obviously it’s about you, right? Well, not so much. Your About page is really about the people who visit your site and read it. Don’t focus on you so much as what you can do for visitors and how you can solve visitors’ problems. Prove why your business benefits the reader, and they’re that much more likely to stick around and consider purchasing.

Websites

Website Design for Capturing Leads

The entire goal of marketing is to turn the traffic – people visiting your site – into customers. And often, the first step towards turning that person into a customer is turning them into a lead. A lead is someone who’s shown they’re interested in what you have to say by providing their contact information (usually their email address). Your sales team can then nurture that lead through the buyer’s journey all the way to making a purchase and becoming a customer.

One of the most important things your website should do is capture leads. And since the homepage is statistically the most-visited page on your website, your homepage should be optimized for capturing leads.

How do you do that? With the upside-down homepage.

upside-down home page

We can’t take credit for this idea. We actually learned it from Growth Tools, who has AMAZING Facebook Live broadcasts talking about all sorts of website- and marketing-related things, as well as some great tools for growing your business. But you won’t really hear about this idea unless you catch one of their Facebook Live videos about websites, so we wanted to take this idea and add our own twist to it.

What is an upside-down homepage?

The basic idea is that you take a traditional homepage and flip it upside down. The part where you ask for the contact’s information is at the top, and the navigation links are at the bottom. The basic elements of the upside-down homepage are above the fold, social proof, pilot story, call to action, and navigation.

Above the fold: Everything you can see on a webpage without scrolling down.

Social proof: Proof that you’re not just some random person and what you’re offering is actually good. This usually comes in the form of customer testimonials.

Pilot story: This is some of your best content. Use a customer’s story of working with you – or, if you don’t have that, tell the story of your business’ values. With this, you want to show a visitor what it will be like working with you.

Call to action: The thing you want visitors to do – namely, give you their contact information. This is usually done in exchange for a “lead magnet.” They provide their email address, and in exchange, they get useful information that they can’t find anywhere else (this is often in the shape of an ebook or whitepaper, but videos can also work).

Navigation: The links to the rest of your side. Testing has found that putting this on the bottom of your page increases conversions with your call to action.

How does an upside-down homepage work?

Usually, the first thing on the page (above the fold) is the call to action with the lead magnet clearly stated. This makes it the first thing people see and they’ll know what valuable content they’ll get from giving you their email.

The next thing on the page (above the fold and extending further down) is the social proof. That’s followed by the pilot story, and then the navigation at the very bottom.

This works for several reasons. It eliminates distractions – by having only one action on the page and a clear reward for it, the next step is obvious for the visitor. The website visitor who sees too many possible actions often does none of them, but the website visitor who sees a clear next step and a reward for it is much more likely to do it.

The social proof shows that you’re not just a nut job with a website and you can be trusted with their email, and the pilot story sets expectations for what communicating with you will be like. Then navigation at the bottom lets them explore more of your website if they want.

Many websites have collected a lot more leads by using this strategy. Some call it the best-converting homepage they’ve ever had. If you want to see an increase in the leads you get, your first step should be to optimize your homepage for success!

website basics - picture of a laptop displaying WordPress
Websites

Website Basics for Marketing

When it comes to social media marketing, everyone is focused on timing posts and creating content to post and integrating paid ads into their social media strategy. Websites hardly ever factor into the equation – but they should.

website basics - picture of a laptop displaying WordPress

Why are websites important?

Your website is your “home base.” It’s not subject to the whims of social media algorithms or the continuing decline of organic reach. It’s also where you can put detailed information about your business and your products or services and collect leads.

Often, the purpose of your social media posts is to drive traffic to your website, whether it’s because you wrote a new blog post you want people to read, you’re trying to convert people to leads, or you want them to make a purchase.

How do you optimize your website?

We’re actually going to be talking about this through August and September, both on the blog and on social media. (So now is a great time to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn if you haven’t already!) Here are a few of the topics we’ll be covering:

  • Important website terms
  • Elements every website needs
  • How to create a homepage that captures leads
  • How to write a great about page
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) – we’ll actually be spending most of September on this

What skills are necessary for optimizing a website?

The short answer is, “it depends.”

Do you have a company (or freelancer) who built and maintains your website for you? Or do you have someone in your company other than you who handles the website? If so, the only skills you’ll need are communication skills to tell them what you want done – they should know how to handle everything else.

If you manage your own website, it can be a little trickier. Each platform (the system your website is built on) has different skill requirements for making changes. Different levels of skill are required for modifying a website in WordPress (which is pretty intuitive and has lots of tutorials online) than for changing the code directly (which, unless you’re an expert in HTML, you should probably hire someone to do for you). On the other hand, some of the changes – like writing an about page and on-page SEO – only require good writing skills.

Overall, a lot of the optimizations we’re going to recommend in our website discussion are pretty easy to make. But if you need help implementing, Ely Social will be happy to help you modify your website!

Screenshot of Twitter analytics' Tweet Activity screen, featuring charts and graphs about tweet activity
Analytics, Twitter

How to Find and Use Twitter Analytics

When it comes to social media, Twitter is a classic. One of the oldest social networks, this fast-paced microblogging site has 335 million monthly active users. Because Twitter moves so quickly, it can be hard to identify which tweets are doing well and how your account is doing overall. That’s where analytics comes in. So let’s take a look at Twitter’s analytics.

(Note: Since Ely Social doesn’t currently have a Twitter presence, the screenshots are from consultant Jalyn Ely’s personal Twitter account.)

How to Find Twitter Analytics

Twitter does offer both personal and business accounts, but you can access analytics for both types of accounts. Accessing Twitter’s analytics is easy – log into Twitter, click on your profile picture in the top right corner, then click “Analytics.”

Screenshot showing the menu that appears when you click your profile picture in Twitter on a desktop computer

If you haven’t accessed Twitter analytics on your account before, it will prompt you to click a button to activate analytics.

And there you are! You can access all of the analytics available to you in the analytics dashboard.

What’s in Twitter Analytics

The main screen is the Tweet Activity screen. You will see your tweet activity for the past 28 days (you can adjust the date range by selecting a time frame in the “Last 28 Days” dropdown menu). You will see a lot of data on your tweets.

Screenshot of Twitter analytics' Tweet Activity screen, featuring charts and graphs about tweet activity

At the top is an Impressions graph, which shows how many people have seen your tweets in the selected date range and a bar graph that shows how many impressions you got per day (blue bars) and how many tweets you tweeted on each day (gray bars).

Directly below that is all your tweets in that period, ordered by date (most recent on top). You can adjust this view by selecting Top Tweets (which will rank your tweets by how popular they are), Tweets and Replies (which will show both your tweets and tweets you made replying to other people, ordered by date), or Promoted (which will show you how well any tweets you paid to promote are doing).

The right column is line graphs with how well you did in different metrics (like engagement rate, likes, and retweets) per day as well as an average over the selected period.

At the top are a few more options.

Menu of Twitter Analytics, showing the different page options

The default view is Tweets. You can also select Audience to view insights about your Twitter followers (if you have enough followers), Events to see events that Twitter users are tweeting about, and under More, you can select Videos to view analytics about videos you’ve posted and Conversion Tracking to install a tag on your website to track who clicks to your website from Twitter.

How to Use Twitter Analytics

That was a lot! Twitter has really robust analytics for you to use. So how do you use Twitter analytics?

One of the easiest ways to use Twitter analytics is to explore your top tweets over the last few months. Which tweets got the best engagement? What seem to be the patterns or common themes? Or on the other hand, which tweets did really poorly? This will help inform what you should tweet about in the future to get a better response.

You can also look at your impressions graph to see what days your tweets do best. Maybe your tweets seem to get the most impressions on Tuesdays, in which case you should tweet extra on Tuesdays to maximize your reach.

Finally, if you have enough followers, you can look at the Audience tab to get data on them. Maybe you thought you were tweeting for middle-aged business professionals, but your audience turns out to be mostly Millennials. Knowing who your audience is can help inform what you tweet.

There are a lot of things you can do with Twitter analytics to fine-tune your tweeting strategy to get the best response. These ideas are only a few of the things you can do. Explore all the data available to you and see what you can learn!

three-dimensional Instagram logo on a background that transitions from orange in the lower left corner to pink in the middle to purple on the right
Instagram

Will IGTV Replace YouTube?

Instagram moved in on Snapchat’s territory when it launched Instagram Stories in 2016. Now it’s moving in on another social media network: YouTube.

Instagram launched IGTV at the end of June 2018. IGTV is a long-form video platform, with video lengths going up to an hour (as opposed to regular Instagram posts, which limit videos to 60 seconds). IGTV has its own app, but it can also be accessed through the new IGTV button at the top of the Instagram app.

When Instagram decided to do what Snapchat was doing, they quickly surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily users. Their new foray into longer videos and a video-only platform has people wondering – is Instagram going to replace YouTube like it did with Snapchat?

Now that IGTV has been out for a little bit and we’ve had some time to look at it, we have an answer: No. We don’t think that IGTV will ever replace YouTube. Here’s why.

Limited search feature

There is only a very limited search feature in IGTV. You can’t search for individual videos – you can only search for “channels” (i.e. accounts). If you’re interested in a specific subject and you want to watch a video on it, you can’t search for it on IGTV unless you know of an account that posted a video on that specific subject.

Entertainment-focused

IGTV is mostly focused on entertainment or information-sharing. You can’t find music or lyric videos, background music, tutorials, movies, or children’s videos on IGTV like you can on YouTube.

No archiving

You can only see an account’s most recent IGTV video. You can’t find any video that was posted in the past.

Mobile only

Even though most internet traffic is mobile these days, there are still people who prefer to watch videos on their laptop or desktop (or put on a video and do things on their phone simultaneously). Mobile-only also makes it harder to watch with other people, harder to watch while doing something else with your hands (like following a tutorial), and impossible to watch while doing something else on your phone (many people enjoy playing games on their phone while watching videos).

It’s new

IGTV simply doesn’t have the backlog of videos that YouTube does. And even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to find it – see the first point about a limited search feature. YouTube has 13 years worth of content you can search for and rewatch at your leisure; IGTV has just over a month’s worth of content, and you can’t see anything that isn’t an account’s most recent video.

None of this is to say IGTV is bad. On the contrary, we can see Instagram having a lot of success with it and a lot of content creators adopting it. However, we don’t see it cutting into YouTube’s market share very much – at least not without a lot of major changes to the platform.