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A Complete Guide to Schema Markup

Some webmasters can get intimidated when it comes to working on the backend of their websites. But the metadata you include on the page (and how it’s formatted) can have a significant impact on your SEO performance. Of the many types of SEO-friendly metadata, one of the most powerful is schema.org markup.

Schema markup is a form of structured data that helps search engines read your web pages better. It also improves the appearance and click-ability of your search result. Anyone can add schema.org markup to their website, and you don’t have to be a web developer to do it.

Here’s a complete guide to understanding the SEO power of this data markup and a detailed explanation about how to add it to your website.

What is Schema Markup?

Structured Data Markup

In simple terms, schema markup is a type of semantic vocabulary code. You can place it on your website to help search engines create more informative and relevant results for users.

On the backend of your website, schema.org markup is a specific type of structured data in your HTML code. On the front end, that schema markup results in a rich result in Google, or a prominent SERP display that provides more information and context for your audience.

Types of rich results

A normal snippet in the search engine result pages (also known as the SERPs), shows very basic information about the website such as the title of the page, the URL, and the meta description.

A rich snippet is a bit more complex and includes additional information highly relevant to search intent that you want to appear within the SERPs. Some examples of rich snippet information include hours of operation, star ratings, event details, and ingredients for a recipe. Schema is the code that allows for the rich snippet to populate with this extra information on the search result pages.

In order to use schema markup properly, you need to use a specific vocabulary of data. Luckily, the main search engines Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex, created this vocabulary in a centralized website, schema.org. They did so in order to reach a main standard of language so their search engines can perform properly.

This is a free resource and is used by digital marketing analysts to propel their website to better rankings and more clicks. On schema.org, you’ll be able to find plenty of tags, with specific categories, that can help you describe your business, products, reviews, job postings, and contact pages. We’ll get into this in more detail later on in this article.

SEO Benefits of Schema.org

There are many SEO benefits to utilizing schema.org vocabulary. Despite the benefits, it’s estimated that only 33% of markets are actually utilizing this powerful optimization. By adding schema markup to your site, you will be level up against your competitors in a variety of ways. Here are some of the benefits:

Schema tells the search engines what the data means.

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Think of schema as a way to translate to the search engines what the data on your website means.

Search engines work through a process of crawling and indexing websites. Through this, they can populate those web pages within the SERPs when a specific keyword is entered into the search bar. However, there’s more to crawling a website than simply reading the text on a website.

Instead, you need to make sure your website’s HTML code and format can be read correctly. As a result, the information you want about your website is displayed properly. Schema is a free tool that does just that.

Schema is a data type that creates informative results.

Consumers have very short attention spans. In order to stand out in Google, you’ll have to give your prospective audience information in the method they want it, and when they want it. All this extra information, provided by schema vocabulary, provides what is known as an “enhanced search result.”

Businesses, especially local businesses, only have a few seconds to make a good impression, and providing as much informative text as possible can mean all the difference when it comes to converting potential customers.

Schema improves your webpage’s click-through rate (ctr).

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As stated above, the more informative your website is within the SERPs, the easier it is to improve one of the most important metrics for your website, your click-through rate. Creating multiple web pages can only work so well unless they are converting the consumers you need!

There’s more to digital marketing than creating content and putting it on a web page. You have to make sure each page works towards a specific marketing goal. Your about me page will have a different goal than your homepage, your blog posts, and your services page.

Schema is one of the easiest ways to help each page stand out on its own in Google search results. Since each page has a specific function, there are different schema types that relay different information in the rich search results. As a result, prospective consumers will be given more specific information for each web page they find. This increases the likelihood they will click through to your website and convert.

Schema boosts your local SEO efforts, especially on mobile.

We all know how important it is for our website to be mobile responsive, considering how many consumers use mobile devices to shop and scroll every single day. There’s a benefit to mobile rich snippets as they take up more space within the mobile SERPs, where real estate is more lucrative.

Local Business Schema Markup

When schema is implemented correctly, searches for certain types of local businesses, such as local restaurants and cafes, movie theaters, and small retail shops will pop up showing a full list of items within the rich snippet to educate their consumers.

These design elements are implemented in something that is known as a carousel, where the user can quickly scroll through and click to the right web page they are looking for. As a result, this type of metadata allows for your local business to take up a good chunk of the important mobile SERP real estate, boosting your brand authority and awareness.

Schema is a little-known secret in the marketing world.

Many businesses know about schema, but don’t always implement it. In fact, only one-third of Google search results incorporate rich snippets, which means they use this type of source code. On top of that, throughout the rest of the major search engines, less than one-third use any type of schema markup.

In other words, there are a ton of website owners out there – literally millions – that are missing out on this massive source of SEO potential. And if you use it, you’ll be on your way to standing out amongst your competitors in no time at all.

Most Popular Schema Markup Types

There are many different types of markups that you can use within the realm of the schema vocabulary. The goal is to structure the markup type to fit three categories; people, places, or things.

The most popular types of schema are used to indicate the following item types:

  • Articles
  • Events
  • People
  • Products
  • Organizations
  • Local Businesses
  • Product reviews
  • Medical conditions
  • Recipies
  • Breadcrumbs within the website
  • Job postings
  • FAQ pages
  • Job training
  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • How-to
  • Logos
  • Movies
  • Sitelinks search box
  • Subscription and paywall content
  • Videos
  • Image license metadata

Once added to your website, these pieces of microdata will be then turned into a rich snippet, or what is also known as a rich result.

One of the great details about schema code is that it is completely customizable to your brand and business no matter your industry. There is a lot of microdata that is implemented into schema code, so the above are just common themes. The following data vocabularies are more niche uses of schema, under the themes outlined above.

Creative Works

This is the library of markups that are used for multiple forms of creative content such as books, movies, video games, and music, to name a few examples. For websites about movies, its schema would have movie-specific elements that highlight the star rating, genre, and nearby theaters to watch the film.

RDFa

An RDFa is a language of code that is added to the HTML code that already exists on your web pages. It stands for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes, and you are able to add it to any HTML, XHTML, and XML-based document. Some examples of RDFa attributes include:

  • Rel and Rev; symbolizing a relationship and a reverse relationship with another resource.
  • About, which explains what the microdata is about.
  • Content; to override the content of the element when using the property attribute.
  • Datatype; to specify the type of datatype used when using the property attribute.
  • Typeof; to specify the type of RDFa used.

Microdata

Implementation for microdata is the same as RDFa, except for having separate attributes. You can use the following microdata attributes on your website;

  • Itemscope; this is when you create the item and thus you indicate what the rest of the element is about.
  • Itemtype; this is when you describe the item itself using the schema.org vocabulary.
  • Itemid; a unique identifier of the element.
  • Itemref; to reference specific properties within an element.

JSON-LD

Standing for Javascript Object Notation for Linked Objects, this is an annotation type that can be simply copied and pasted into the heading or the body tag of a web document. All you have to do is use the tags “@context” and “@type” attributes when specifying which schema.org vocabulary you want. According to SEO experts, it is pivotal to use this JSON-ld format as often as possible, as it is considered the easiest way to implement schema markup for beginners.

How to Choose the Right Schema Markup for Your Web Pages

In order to choose the right schema markup for your website, you will have to zoom out and consider your overall digital marketing strategy for each web page. You first need to figure out what web pages you will want to optimize, and what part of the schema.org vocabulary you’ll use to get the best organic traffic. But how?

The easiest way to think of schema as a way of telling a story on your website, a story that is told between multiple similar pages that all relate back to overall goals. Here are some tips that will help you decide what schema markup is the best for you.

1. Identify the key details of your business.

This may seem obvious, but in order to choose the right schema markup, you’ll need to determine what your business is all about, what search terms you want to rank for, and how you want to tell the world about them. Typically, this includes your contact information, products, product reviews, FAQS, and thought-leadership pieces about what your business does. Its a good idea to make a list of every page type on your website, and then categorize them based on what “business purpose” they fit into.

2. Map your web pages to the proper schema.org vocabulary.

Now take your list and map every single webpage to fit into the proper schema.org vocabulary. There are a few tools that help you do this ( we’ll get into them later!) but as of right now, take the time to meticulously map all your data out so you have everything in one place.

3. Evaluate each page for reoccurrence.

This is different than mapping your pages to each schema.org website option because this step is about recurrence. To figure this out, you can simply ask yourself the question ” does this page have content that is published somewhere else on the website?” If so, you’ll need to use a different data format for your schema implementation. A good rule of thumb is that if your website has more than 5 pages of similar content, then that content theme is recurring. If the content only appears once, it can be classified as a single page.

4. Connect your content.

You’ll now need to connect the dots between your metadata so you don’t have an empty text string. Your goal here is to create a knowledge graph so any search engine can easily read your website and understand the context between your content and how it all relates to one another.

When a search engine understands exactly who you are and what you do, you are sure to get an SEO boost. That’s because Google tends to show the most relevant information it can find within the first page of the organic search rankings for a query.

There are many tools that can help you connect your schema paths, such as this one from SchemaApp.

How to Use a Schema Markup Generator

Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic online tools to use when creating your website’s schema. LinkGraph’s Schema Markup Generator is one of these options and is an easy way to get boost your SEO efforts overnight. In most cases, these tools will write all of the code snippets you need, including HTML tags, and all you have to do is place them in the backend of your website.

LinkGraph's Schema Creator

Our markup generator is quite easy to use. Follow these steps for the best results:

  1. Login to your LinkGraph dashboard, here.
  2. Select “Schema Creator”
  3. Select the schema type you determined based on the page content you want to promote and input it into the field. For example, “local business.”
  4. You will get a javascript result, so copy and paste subsequent JSON-LD markup into the heading section of your web page.
  5. And there you go, you have successfully added schema to your website!

As a way to double-check your work, input your schema markup into Google’s rich results test tool. This test is a wonderful resource to use as it will identify if there are problems with your schema code, plus it will confirm whether or not Google is able to generate rich results from your markup.

In addition to Google’s data testing tool, here are some other options for checking your work:

  • SEMRush Audit Tool, which checks for markups and it tells you the percentage of your website that currently uses schema. This gives you information that can help you identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Google’s Content Markup Guide, made specifically for Creative Work schema in the goal to acquire more rich results.
  • Checking out any new releases from the Schema.org website to help you stay on top of industry updates.

Final Thoughts on Schema.org Markup and Rich Results

With all the free tools available to you, it is surprising how many businesses do not take advantage of the rich results that come with implementing the different types of schema markup. Even though it may seem a bit intimidating to work with schema code at first, these tools, especially your Schema Markup Generator can really help to elevate your website to the next level and increase your website rank for multiple keywords. And what more could you ask for?

You got this GIF

There’s plenty of options available to you, as long as you stay dedicated to learning. Remember, SEO is similar to a stock market; the effort you put into equates to what you get out of it, and schema is one of the best ways to stand out among your competitors.

As always, our team of SEO experts and web developers are here to help you with any and all of your schema needs. Contact us today for more information about how we can bring your website to new heights.

10 Small Business SEO Tips to Earn New Customers

As a small business owner, chances are you’ve already heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Regardless of your business’s size, it’s an incredibly important digital marketing technique. Knowing the importance of digital marketing is one thing, but actually having time to execute a comprehensive small business SEO strategy for your business is another. 

As a small business owner, you likely dedicate a lot of time to your company. You may not have a lot of time to spend on your SEO strategy. This is why it’s important to focus your SEO efforts on the tactics that can bring you the biggest bang for your buck. These small business SEO tips will help you earn new customers through organic search. 

First Off, What is SEO?

SEO

Simply put, SEO is the way of boosting your business’s online visibility by ranking in the search engine result pages (also known as the SERPs). Search engines are complex machines and they run on algorithms. These algorithms dictate how websites are read, categorized, and presented to the consumer based on their relevance to the user’s search query.

Google rankings change frequently, meaning your business can get to the top of the SERPs if you’re willing to do the work! However, search engines don’t release the ins and outs of their algorithms. This can make it tricky to know exactly why one web page ranks higher than another for a specific query. But don’t fret, this is where SEO best practices come in to play.

These tried and true digital marketing techniques have proven to bring the best results to small businesses like yours. 

1. Develop a Consistent Small Business Content Strategy

Content GIF

The words content strategy may seem overwhelming to the business owner that is just starting out. But in reality, making a content strategy is much simpler than you may think. All you have to do is ask yourself the question: “What problems can I solve for my prospective customers and my target audience?”

To answer this question, you’ll need to think both creatively and practically. You’ll need to think about what your local customers need to know about your business. Also ask yourself how you are going to present that useful information.

When you do this, you’ll want to target consumers of all kinds. This includes brand new consumers figuring out who you are as a business to the existing consumers returning to your small business website.

Content Marketing = Small Business SEO Success

For some great examples of content marketing materials created by small businesses, read this article. There are so many different ways that small business owners can bring value to their potential customers. Also, content marketing materials easily rank in search engine results!

Some different content marketing materials that you could publish on your website, even with a small team include the following:

  • Blog Posts
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Gift Guides
  • Glossaries
  • Interviews
  • Product or Tutorial Videos
  • And more!

One of the greatest parts about SEO content is that it is one of the best ways to get creative with your brand awareness and authority. You know your customers the best, so feel free to get creative and develop both fun and informational ways of presenting great content.

The more information you produce means more landing pages on your website. This gives your website a better chance of showing up in multiple different Google search results. Not only do you want to provide relevant, up-to-date information to your customers, Google likes to see that you are consistently adding new content and information to your website

2. Optimize Your Meta Tags Properly

When you think about your content strategy, don’t forget to include the existing web pages on your site! Chances are, there are a good amount of usable web pages that just need to be optimized according to SEO best practices.

Content GIF

To ensure your page optimization is consistent across your entire website, you’ll need to focus on the following:

  • Title tags. The goal of the title tag is to let both the search engine and the consumer know exactly what the page is about. Also known as a meta tag, all title tags should be formatted the same, at the top of page, like this: <head><title>Example Title</title></head>, and be no longer than 60 characters. They should also include the target keyword, or a similar term, that you want the page to rank for.
  • Meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are summaries of what the web page is all about. They are displayed below the page title in your SERP result. The meta description should tell Google and the user the subject of the content. Meta descriptions should be short, sweet, and to the point, include a target keyword. Make sure it is no more than 160 characters long.
  • Heading tags. These are the visible page headlines on the web page. They give your content structure, and they are characterized by an HTML codes from H1 tag to H6 tags. Heading tags are easy ways to incorporate relevant keywords. They break up the content of the page into easily digestible chunks.

The best part about making these changes is that they don’t take a lot of time. They also pack quite a punch in the long run.

To create content that has an even better chance of ranking, use LinkGraph’s SEO Content Assistant. You can take it for a free spin for 7 days!

3. Set up a Google My Business Profile and Invest in Local SEO

Local SEO is one of the most powerful digital marketing techniques a small business can do to bolster their online presence, and best of all, it doesn’t require a huge marketing budget.

Google My Business is a free tool that helps to power the Google maps feature. So when potential customers search for a small business in their local area, the different local search results will produce your website’s contact information under the map feature.

Google Map Pack

Small business owners can include key information about their business in their GMB listing. Their GMB listing can also show up in a comprehensive panel when potential customers search for a small business by name. It can showcase reviews , products, or Q&As to help your small business look more attractive to anyone who discovers you in the search engine results pages.

As a small business, being promoted within the local listings is the goal, which is why local search is valuable. You’ll be included with different businesses of all sizes within this map pack, but when you incorporate local keywords to your website and really focus on local SEO best practices, you’ll have an effective way of standing out among your competition.

So why not take advantage of this free optimization that can lead to great SEO success and more credibility for your small business?

4. Use Online Review Websites to Boost your Small Business SEO

There’s more than just one way of finding your website online. Third-party review websites like Yelp can make or break your business.

Online Review GIF

As a general rule, consumers are incredibly reliant on online reviews and will search high and low through the web to find more information on your business. So with this in mind, it’s a great idea to use review websites to your advantage. You’ll want to create a business profile on as many websites as you can, and not only keep them updated but interact with your customers there!

Positive reviews and testimonials can be incredibly beneficial in letting potential clients know that there is a face to your small business behind the screen. In a sea full of local directories and plenty of businesses to choose from, your online reviews can be a make or break between converting a new customer or turning one away.

Make Sure to Respond to Online Reviews of your Small Business

So we recommend taking time on a weekly basis to comb through all of your local reviews and respond back to both negative and positive ones with a genuine response.

Notice how this small business owner responds to a reviewer who had both positive and negative feedback on their local business’s services.

Yelp Review

Even if there is a consumer with a bad experience, you have the ability to change their view of your small business by offering to make what went wrong, right. Potential customers will be able to see this as well, which can work wonders for your brand awareness and website conversion rate.

5. Conduct Keyword Research to Identify Gaps in Your Small Business Niche

Keyword Research

Keywords are not only the backbone of your Small Business SEO strategy, but when you use them properly on your website, you have a better chance of appearing on the first page of Google.

When Google crawlers discover your website, they look for relevant keywords that explain the purpose of the webpage and make it easy to figure out which industry you are in. This is why it is important to use a variety of keywords in all of your valuable content. This includes geo-tagged, local seo keywords, long-tail keywords and phrases, subtopics, and related topics.

But, as with many other white hat online marketing techniques, keyword research can feel like a large hurdle to get over. This is especially true if you are a small business just starting out.

So we recommend starting small and focusing on smaller, quicker wins. Sometimes, if you have a larger and more established competitor, it can be hard to rank for the same keywords as them. But as you build your site authority, this will become more doable in time.

Keyword research should be an ongoing, long-term strategy. Keyword rankings change often, so make sure to stay on top of how your keywords are performing on a monthly basis.

6. Dive Into the Technical SEO Waters

Diving GIF

Your website design may look good on the surface, with carefully selected pictures, colors, and fonts. However, your website’s aesthetics do not always correlate to having a website that looks appealing to Google crawlers on the backend. 

Potential customers love seeing bold graphics and fun designs. But these features won’t mean anything if the website doesn’t show up within a Google search! In order for a search engine to promote a web page in the SERPs, the website has to be technically sound. This is why it is incredibly important to invest in your technical SEO efforts.

Common Technical SEO Issues for Small Business Websites

Here are some of the more common technical SEO issues that you should focus your efforts on avoiding.

  • Coding errors, such as a forgotten closer tag.
  • Broken links, meaning when you click on a link, the link results in an error.
  • Slow site speed, which can be caused by a variety of different functionality issues like large images or too much text on a page.
  • HTTPS status codes, a security function that allows users to have access to your page.
  • Robots.txt files, which are used to index, or store, your pages on the search engine.
  • Canonical link elements, to help eliminate duplicate content
  • Keyword cannibalization, which is when you overuse a specific keyword to the point where a search engine can view its usage as spammy.

Think of your website’s functionality as the foundation to a strong working website. Without a steady foundation, your website will not be able to work to its full potential. Technical SEO is the bridge between a website that gets visitors and a website that can convert those visitors into customers.

7. Build Backlinks With Other Small Businesses

Link building is the process of optimizing both internal links within your website and external links coming and going from your website. Links are seen by search engines as a vote of confidence in your website. If another company is willing to put a link to your website on theirs, that is a symbol of trust.

Building up your backlink profile is one of the easiest ways to ensure your website shows up on the first page of search results. While link building may seem like a daunting prospect involving a lot of hard work, it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to be a website owner with a huge online presence to run a successful link building campaign.

The first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to your local contacts. See if you can where you both put external links to the other’s websites on your page. Only reach out to website’s that have relevance to yours. Also, make sure they include the link on your page through an original piece of content.

Teamwork GIF

Utilizing your existing small company contacts is a great way to get good results without spending too much time and money on your marketing efforts.

After you have built up some local authority, you’ll have a good starting point to start reaching out to other social media accounts, bloggers, and higher ranking websites. However, it is important to know that not all links are created equally. It’s better to get one link from a quality website than multiple links from spammy, low-quality websites.

8. Create a Mobile-Friendly Small Business Website

Consider this, mobile phones are the dominant platform for online shopping, with 48% of buyers using a mobile device  to complete a purchase. Internet users are a vast and varied demographic, so in order to capture as much web traffic as possible, you’ll want to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Online shopping GIF

Think of a mobile phone being a SEO tool to use to your advantage. Also, consider the amount of potential consumers that may never get to your website if the website’s usability is only available on a desktop computer. User experience is everything when it comes to capturing your ideal customers and is a simple way to guarantee your website is accessible to all.

9. Set up Google Search Console and GSC Insights

Your SEO techniques won’t mean anything unless you have the ability to track your hard work. The best way to do so is by setting up your Google Search Console account and your LinkGraph GSC Insights dashboard. Google Search Console is a free platform, and GSC Insights offers limited versions of the platform that allow you to track your SEO performance.

Google Search Console shows you how your website is presented within the organic search results. This platform allows you to fix any crawl errors. You can also submit your sitemap and specific pages for indexing, and see which web pages are ranking highest in the SERPs.

GSC Insights gives you in-depth insights into your keyword rankings, impressions, and organic traffic that can help you iterate on your small business SEO strategy. All you have to do is link your Google Search Console account and you will have access to new insights and advanced data analysis.

10. Do Some Competitive Research

Do you have some really strong competitors in your local area?

Competition GIF

One of the best SEO tips is to do some competitive research and look at your competitor’s websites to see what they’re doing well, and use that to inspire your SEO process.

Take everything in, including the content promoted on their social platforms, if they use paid ads like Facebook ads and Google ads. See whether their content marketing team uses influencers, guest posting, local listings, and what keyword rankings they earn.

It’s always good to look at their internal linking structure and how their business information is displayed in the NAP results for Google My Business. Also see how their brand visibility is promoted in search results, social media pages, and other local listing pages. Write all the information you find out into a competitive analysis finding, and then you’ll be in a great place to start building your own customized local SEO strategy.

You don’t have to feel alone when implementing your small business SEO strategy. LinkGraph is here to help. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can accelerate growth and visibility for your small business.

Our team of SEO consultants offers many SEO services for small businesses that will help you get your website to a rank higher in Google. It is our goal to make your local business’s online visibility and organic results grow exponentially online, so trust in our team of experts to get you there.

4 Cost-Effective SEO Strategies that You Can Implement Right Now

Do you have a boss or client putting pressure on you to get results, but with a limited budget? How do you make your SEO dollars stretch the furthest? Any tactic will use resources. Whether internal or external resources are used, there’s always a cost to higher search rankings. So what are the most cost-effective SEO strategies?

Internal linking

The first of our cost-effective SEO strategies has the best price tag – it’s free!

Some of your pages already rank well in the SERPs, or they get more organic traffic than others. These high-ranking pages have “link juice.”

Links coming from pages with high search result rankings pass on some of their “juice” to the target pages. You can use these pages with more clout to elevate relevant content that doesn’t rank as well yet. This technique is commonly known as PageRank sculpting

While you’ll want to follow most best practices for link building, even internally, you can skip the “rel=nofollow” attribute in your internal links. These are, after all, links that you approve of.

Some SEO thought leaders recommend content silos. This is a good content marketing strategy for basic internal link building, as it automatically creates natural opportunities for links. 

However, you shouldn’t limit your links to content within the silo. Let’s consider an example.

Imagine that you’re a high-tech ecommerce retailer. Your content strategy may look like this:

Content Strategy - a cost-effective SEO strategy
Siloed content strategy

The black arrows should be internal links between the different pages, and they go in both directions. So your page on computers links to desktops and laptops, and your laptop page links back to the computer page, as does the desktop page. 

But that’s not enough. You should also link relevant content between silos, as shown by the red arrows in the image below:

Layer internal links on top of siloed content for a cost-effective SEO strategy
Internal links layered over siloed content

Note that some of the red arrows only go in one direction. Let’s say your page on desktops ranks highly. You can pass on some of the authority from that page to your weaker CAT6 page. 

You should find a natural way to link pages. Desktop and CAT6 have a natural connection in that you need a CAT6 to connect to Ethernet ports in your home or office. This improves the user experience, offering them relevant topics, and improves your SEO.

Internal Linking Works in Cost-Effective SEO Strategies

We’ve seen this work across industries and types of sites. A client ranked highly for niche long-tail terms with little volume and extremely high seasonality. One of their main category pages that focused on a broad and incredibly competitive keyword had minimal ranking but high search volume. 

We linked the long-tail terms internally to the broad category page, passing along that link juice. After a few months, the broad term had increased ranking slightly but grew traffic exponentially due to higher search volume.

White-hat Backlinking Program

Backlinks have been and still are a key component of PageRank. As the search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and digital marketers have become more savvy, earning valuable backlinks has become a real challenge. 

Backlinking can be a very cost-effective SEO strategy when done correctly

You can’t rely on old SEO tactics for forums and comments on blog posts, even if they look like cost-effective SEO strategies. All of the old shortcuts no longer work

  • Blog and forum comments
  • Niche edits
  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
  • Paid posts labelled as guest posts

Social media is one option, but the real cost-effective SEO strategies are the same as always – finding sites that rank well in the organic search results, reaching out with high-quality content, and getting accepted.

With the massive growth of search engine optimization, it’s harder than ever to identify and connect with high-authority sites and bloggers to get a link. Those business owners are better versed in SEO than ever before.

Bulk link sellers work with a variety of small sites. Link builders like The Hoth or Fatjoe don’t usually get placements above a 50 DA (domain authority) because those high-quality sites don’t accept mass postings. 

Even with the challenges to a backlinking program, for most sites, it’s necessary. However, doing it internally is slow and will consume large amounts of resources that could be better used on other SEO tactics. 

The best way to get a backlinking program off the ground is to find an SEO agency with high credibility that has a proven record in link building. While this may have a higher initial cost, the long term ROI is impressive.

Content for Outbound Placement

The content you’re placing should be relevant to your industry. It doesn’t help a healthcare provider to be mentioned in an article on “Things to do in Nashville,” for example. Even if the healthcare provider is in Nashville itself, the focus of the article is on tourism, not medicine. This article would not be optimal for placement.

The articles should be high quality. “Spun” articles are bad for search rankings and for human eyes. Even items written by normal people can be badly written, poorly researched, redundant or boring. 

Look out for link builders that charge extra for good quality writing. If they have to specify “good English,” then their base writer pool is not native English speakers, and their “good English” pool is better than non-native, but not necessarily professional writers or journalists. 

You want an article that brings valuable information to the table, with a unique perspective and a voice that matches your brand. That’s not something you can reliably get for pennies per word. Any penalties to links due to poor quality content decrease the cost-effectiveness of your SEO strategy.

Calculating Cost-Effective SEO Strategies for Backlink Projects

How do we measure the SEO benefits of a backlink project? Calculating the SEO cost-benefit ratio can be based on a number of factors, like an increase in rankings, but metrics like conversions or bookings might be some of the most beneficial.

Assuming you have an average value for your goals, whether it be a shopping cart, an appointment booking, or a subscription, it’s easy to calculate the cost-effectiveness of backlinking. 

Most backlinking companies charge a monthly fee for a set of services. Backlinking takes time to show its full impact, so it’s smart to plan a 3-month lead time for an ROI. You’d calculate the increase in your goal value at the end of the plan, then divide by the cost of the services rendered.

LinkGraph has helped thousands of clients diversify their backlink profile among high-ranking sites in their market. Working with LinkGraph makes a white hat backlinking project into one of the most cost-effective SEO strategies possible. Cheap backlinking can cost more in the long run due to Google penalties due to bad practices.

Revamp Old Content

This classic content marketing strategy is great for big sites that have already covered a lot of target keywords. Google likes fresh content. As your landing pages age, their relevance declines. You can lose visibility in the search engine result pages if your content sits for too long. 

As Google’s algorithm improves and other players in the industry create content, your pages may get left in the dust. A 500-word article that ranked in 2015 will need to be expanded to cover developments in the industry and hold up against the competition.

Google is always trying to improve how its algorithm understands and classifies content. As AIs get better at understanding and creating natural language, your content will have to measure up. 

That means more focus into optimizing content before publication. Optimizing content isn’t just focusing on one keyword, but hitting the right frequency of related keyphrases and focus terms. Our page optimization tool helps you and your team create quality content that attracts both search engines and your human target audience.

But before you get to writing, you’ll want to check your keyword research. Why repeat this research if you know that your content ranked for Keyword A six months ago?

  • Searchers may use different terms
  • Keyphrase alternatives may have lower competition or bigger volume
  • Long tail keywords may have become more important
  • Better understanding of content from competitors
  • Avoid keyword cannibalism

Our Keyword Finder uses a proprietary algorithm to bring you fresher, more accurate keyword results. SEO tools that pride themselves on their expansive crawls also need time to complete those crawls, resulting in data that may be weeks old. You don’t want to rank for last month’s keywords. 

Tracking Performance on Content Revamps

This cost-effective SEO strategy can be done completely in-house or with external resources. Either way, measuring ROI for these types of projects is very straightforward. 

  • The page was ranking at X, driving Y traffic 
  • It dipped to ranking Z, lowering traffic to Q 
  • After the revamp, the content shot up to R, resulting in a S% increase in traffic

Make Your Page Schema-Friendly

We’ll end with a technical SEO suggestion. Schema or other structured data markups can boost not just your organic search ranking, but also clicks and conversions. 

Structured data lets search engines better understand the context of the page. The major change when you implement structured data is the possibility of rich snippets showing in organic search results. That includes reviews, address information, sub-pages, all within the results themselves. 

This additional information is critical for your potential customers, as it gives easy-to-process information on the results pages, increasing traffic and CTR without changing rankings. 

Schema is one of the best SEO practices for e-commerce sites. Star rating visibility in the organic results makes your listing stand out, even if it is a little further down the page. Positive ratings are a visual trust signal for your target audience. They’re also social proof that others have bought the product and been so excited by it that they were compelled to leave a review.

Obviously, you’ll want to work on encouraging customers to leave positive reviews. Just as a 5-star review is strong positive social proof, a low star rating will not help any of your SEO metrics. 

For local sites, structured data is a no-brainer. Not only does Schema present product reviews, but also location-based information, including events and maps. LinkGraph used structured markup to promote local auctions for a client in the automotive industry, increasing CTR.

Enhanced SERPs are also helpful in local searches and highly competitive terms. The additional information provided increases the listing’s real estate on the page, pushing out competitors and claiming space among information like maps.

Why aren’t more SEO specialists using structured data? There’s no evidence that rich snippets increase rankings in organic search, which is what most SEOs are focused on. 
Many SEO experts may know the basics of Schema but are out of their depth when it comes to the coding and technical aspects of search engine optimization. It would make sense to find SEO services with experience in structured data implementations to get the most out of this investment.

Measuring Cost-Effective SEO Strategies with Structured Data Campaigns

Since the objective for a Schema SEO campaign isn’t organic ranking but rather clicks, you’ll want to set your metrics around these objectives to accurately measure the impact of these SEO efforts.

The great thing is that you should be able to tie a direct economic value to your efforts. Even with the least amount of detail, you can apply an industry standard conversion rate to the number of clicks to estimate the results of this cost-effective SEO strategy.

Whether you’re into technical, on-page, or off-page SEO, there are cost-effective SEO strategies for your area of expertise. Internal linking and content revamp projects make your pages work harder for you. 

A white-hat backlinking program reaches out to share your site’s amazing content, increasing your rankings and traffic. Adding structured data allows search engines to better understand and present your page, especially helping e-commerce and local sites increase CTR. 

If you’re not an expert but see the potential value of these strategies, LinkGraph is an experienced partner with capacity to take on projects of any size. Let us help you increase rankings, CTR, or traffic without breaking the bank.

6 SEO Agency Tools to Accelerate your Client Growth Campaigns

SEO Agency Tools

For digital marketing professionals, having the right SEO Agency tools to execute a multi-tiered approach is key to growing your client base. As your clients’ websites improve in search appearances, their digital marketing and SEO needs will change. Without the right SEO software or different tools to execute your strategy, your clients may forgo your services and pursue a larger agency with more robust solutions.

The right SEO agency tools can also help you prove the value of your SEO agency services to your clients. Comprehensive SEO reports that include organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion metrics, and analytics data are key. They can be the difference in clients choosing to stay with your agency for longer contracts or increase their digital marketing budgets.

These 6 SEO agency software tools will help you execute your strategy and provide the best services to clients. Whether you’re focused on on-page optimizations or growing your client’s site authority through off-site techniques, these tools will help you leverage every competitive edge.

Also, they will help you grow your client base and your own agency revenue.

#1: GSC Insights: A Real-Time Keyword Rankings Tool to Track SEO Progress

GSC Insights Keyword Position History GIF

The GSC Insights dashboard provides digital agencies a way to track keyword rankings for multiple domains. Many SEO companies rely on Google Search Console and Google Analytics to track the progress of their client’s campaigns. However, the limited dashboard design and visualizations leave a lot to be desired.

With LinkGraph’s GSC Insights, you can get more out of Google Search Console data. Some of the features include:

  • Keyword rank tracking for the entire history of your clients’ domains
  • Page Groupings feature to compare the performance of similar types of content
  • Understand the economic value of your clients’ organic traffic
  • Keyword Traffic by position to better understand HTML optimizations like page titles, meta descriptions, and CTR metrics
  • Granular, real-time data to perform SEO A/B testing and SEO research

The GSC Insights dashboard is built over Google’s API. This means the data is the most accurate picture SEO professionals can get of their clients SEO performance. The dashboard is the best SEO tool for tracking multiple domains. It will help your agency understand client search engine performance on a more granular level.

How to Get Started with the Tool

Once your client adds your SEO agency as a user in Google Search Console, you can link their GSC account with the GSC insights tool. After your client’s accounts are linked, the tool will populate with their website’s search metrics. You can track multiple websites in your account and share access with other members of your digital agency’s in-house team.

GSC insights will equip you with detailed information and powerful data to elevate the SEO services you provide to clients. When your SEO clients see how their keyword rankings and website traffic have improved over the course of their SEO campaign, they’ll be more inclined to trust your marketing agency or SEO pros to make informed decisions about their website.

How does GSC Insights compare to other SEO Tracking tools for agencies?

  • GSC Insights will show all of the keywords your clients’ websites rank for. SEO software like Ahrefs will only show a portion of organic keywords based on the limited SERPs that their bots crawl
Comparison between organic keywords in Ahrefs and LinkGraph's GSC Insights
  • Unlike other popular keyword tracking tools like Google Search Console, GSC Insights pairs SEO metrics with compelling visuals. This helps your clients see the growth your agency has helped them achieve over time
Historical keyword data in Google Search Console
Historical Keyword Data in Google Search Console
Historical keyword data in LinkGraph's GSC Insights
Historical Keyword Data in GSC Insights
  • By pulling real-time data from Google Search Console and Google Ads, the GSC Insights tool provides a more accurate picture of the economic value of your team member’s SEO optimizations. This helps you prove your value to your agency clients

#2: The SEO Content Optimizer: An On-Page SEO Tool to Help Your Clients’ Web Pages Rank