Having worked in the realm of SEO for a few years now, I find myself able to work smarter instead of harder with the understanding that working smarter is what can mean the difference between good & great results. A key thing I’ve had to let go of over the years is fixing everything that’s broken with a website from an SEO perspective just because they need fixing. Why? Because a) it’s just not realistic and b) just not worth it sometimes. I mean of course in an ideal world I’d love it if all of Top Draw’s client websites had no wasted crawl allowance, perfectly mapped 301 redirects and no broken links but really when it comes down to it, it’s much more effective to look at those SEO issues and evaluate which of those are “nice to haves” or just need to be implemented because they’re best practice, and which of those will help your client sell more products or generate more leads?
I think that’s really what “working smart” means in the SEO world: you’ve really got to pick your battles when it comes to fighting specific SEO issues (with things like client budget, client priorities and even client hierarchy in mind) in order to win the war of getting products sold or contact forms submitted.
What’s great about this age old approach to problem solving is that the mountain of work that you had in front of you a second ago has suddenly turned into a molehill. Not only that, but you can be confident that said molehill of tasks will be the tasks that actually get your clients results.
With this in mind, there’s a few things I jump to first when it comes to optimizing client sites for search and I can assure you that they require very little effort but provide the greatest return!
Mailto & Tel links
I love these guys!
If you have clients with websites that exist primarily to generate leads then implementing mailto and tel links should be your first port of call. All it takes is wrapping two teeny tiny HTML tags around the telephone numbers and email addresses on your website and all of a sudden your users are able to email or call you right from the page on their desktop or mobile devices!
Here’s the code you seek:
<a href="tel:+10000000000">+1 000 000 0000</a>
Bonus #1: if your client is focused on local sales, make sure that the telephone numbers listed on the website match the format of the telephone number on their Google+ My Business location pages (read more on the importance of NAP consistency in Local SEO here).
Bonus #2: Once you have made these bits of text clickable throughout your site, you could even go the extra mile and set up tracking in Google Analytics to report on just how many people are clicking what and use those results to adapt and improve moving forward.
Remember to replace the telephone numbers and emails above with your clients!
Contact Form Tracking
When it comes to achieving SEO success, you can’t get far without being able to measure said success and that’s why Google Analytics is an SEO’s best friend.
In order to get a bunch of stats about folks who are submitting contact forms, all you’ve got to do is implement event tracking in Google Analytics. May sound complicated, but the good news is that it’s just a case of a tiny tidbit of code once again and any learning curve involved will see you through to great measurement for all of your clients.
Default Event Tracking Code:
ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’);
Example form submit button complete with event tracking code:
<input type=”button” value=”Submit” onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'contact form', 'submit', 'contact form name goes here');" />
- Event Category = contact form
- Event Action = submit
- Event Label = contact form name goes here (advisable to set the label to the name of the contact form submitted if there is more than one contact form on the website)
Please note: the above example is appropriate for the Universal Google Analytics tracking code. If your client is using the Classic Google Analytics tracking code, please see instructions for implementation here.
Once you’ve got the event tracking code in place, you’ll want to create a corresponding Google Analytics goal that fires whenever the event code fires (aka contact form is submitted). The setup of an Event based Google Analytics goal that utilizes the above example code would look something like this:
Hit “Admin” in the top bar
Hit “Goals” in the “View” column on the far right
Hit “New Goal”
Enter the following (you can name the goal however you’d like)
Hit “Next Step” and apply the following
Hit “Verify” and “Create Goal”
Allow a period of time for data to be collected and then go to the following report within your Google Analytics account:
- Conversions > Goals > Overview
And voila! You’ll be able to see how many times that form was submitted as well as other relevant statistics to do with the traffic that submitted that form.
Google’s main aim is to pair every searcher with exactly what they’re looking for. With this in mind, every update Google makes to it’s search algorithms have been, and will continue to be, in the best interest of the user and marrying said user to the perfect results page based on their query.
As part of this endeavour, Google collaborated with Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex to create and support all schema listed on schema.org. Schema is a form of structured data, it comes in the form of HTML markup and allows webmasters to further describe otherwise plain text to allow search engines to better understand their websites content. You got it folks – more tidbits of HTML! For more information on Schema check out our other blog posts here.
At Top Draw, we have a number of smashing clients that are location based and thus depend on local traffic. One of the lowest of the low hanging fruit for these guys is to use the schema known as LocalBusiness.
LocalBusiness schema bridges a small gap in understanding between human users and search engine spiders. Take Top Draw’s website for example: sure, as human users we know that “10210 111 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 1K9” is an address but to search engine spiders it’s just more text! Using LocalBusiness schema means we wrap all on-page mentions of the client’s NAP information with HTML tags so Google (and those other search engines mentioned above) know that the client has physical locations.
Before LocalBusiness Schema
Top Draw Inc.
Edmonton, AB, T5K 1K9
After LocalBusiness Schema
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <span itemprop="name">Top Draw Inc.</span> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">10210-111 Street</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Edmonton</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">AB</span>,<span itemprop="postalCode">T5K 1K9</span> </div> </div>
If understanding this kinda thing just isn’t your bag of chips, don’t worry! Micro Data Generator has got you covered – simply input your client’s location details and the tool will generate text marked up with the right LocalBusiness schema HTML tags. From there you just copy and paste into your client’s HTML code!
P.S. Don’t forget to test your markup using Google’s very own Structured Data Testing Tool.
To summarize, you’ll play the SEO game a whole lot better (and your job will be a whole lot smoother) if you put the majority of your effort into techniques that will bring your clients results. So what are you waiting for? Go make those telephone numbers and email addresses cilckable, go track those contact form submissions and mark up your client’s NAP information!
Then of course you can, by all means, get to adding all those alt texts to images across the entire website or making sure all those pages have perfectly sculpted meta descriptions…