Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 30 Mar 2020
SEM Blog

The term Search Engine Marketing (SEM), although named two decades ago, is still surrounded by a heavy smog of unclarity. For marketing newbies and experts alike, it is difficult to find information online that clearly outlines its meaning, especially since there are many articles out there constantly contradicting each other. This search for objective truth has easily become an infuriating pursuit for people wanting to jump into digital marketing. 

Here at Birch, we want to simplify the learning process and bring some clarity to the table concerning SEM. Do you want to fully comprehend what SEM is and how it can help improve your business? First, be sure you understand the basics of SEO. Need a refresher? Visit part 1 of this install here. Okay, now back to SEM – let’s begin from its conception: 

History of SEM  

In a 2001 article for Search Engine Land, American technologist Danny Sullivan popularized the term Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to categorize both SEO and paid search. However, although Sullivan meant for SEM to function as an umbrella term for both paid search and SEO, it didn’t take long for marketers around the globe to start transforming SEM into a term for paid search –  and paid search only. Hold your horses – we know what you are thinking: How did this happen? 

Well, ten years later, Danny revisits his thoughts on SEM by writing “The Name Game: Does SEM = Paid Search? Does Search + Social = Inbound Marketing?” The article explains that the gained popularity of SEM as a paid search term was mainly at the hands of Wikipedia, who defined SEM as “the act of buying listings on search engines” (We checked, and it currently defines it as “promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results). 

Although wrong, Wikipedia’s definition stuck, and unwilling to go against the tide, Sullivan now relinquishes his original definition by the end of the article. He invites the reader to accept SEM as the “practice of buying listings” as well. So, you heard it from the top. As of now, SEM is widely regarded as solely paid search. 


SEM versus SEO

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website in the hopes of getting organic traffic. In other words, it’s quite literally – free real estate. SEO methods such as on-site SEO, off-site SEO, and technical SEO are pivotal in the process of making your content “search engine crawler friendly.” This increases the chances of ranking higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). If you wish to go more in-depth about SEO, you can read our past blog “Deep Dive into SEO: The Good, Bad, and Worst” where we talk about white, black, and grey hat SEO tactics.

A younger Danny Sullivan might say that SEO and PPC fall under the same SEM umbrella. However, as explained earlier, today’s Danny Sullivan will agree that SEM is now most commonly used to refer to paid search. Paid search, also known as pay-per-click  is different from SEO in that it uses a formula to calculate the price of an online ad. Advertisers then go ahead and pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad. While the primary benefit of SEO is its “freeness,” PPC ensures your space in searches. 

SEM Strategies

SEM strategies can differ in intent and execution depending on the channels that are utilized, but all involve the same general planning steps. Here are a few strategies to help you understand SEM and how you can implement it in your own business:

PPC Keyword Research 

Any good campaign begins with some keyword research, and the starting point for keyword research should be to brainstorm. Your campaign should not be solely dictated by fancy software. Instead, you should humanize the process by simply putting yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes. What are they searching for and how do they word these searches? 

Divide your keywords into four main categories: brand terms, general terms, related terms, and competitor terms. 

Brands terms: keywords that contain your brand/business name.

General terms: keywords that relate to your product or service.

Related terms: keywords that users who want your product/service might be searching for.

Competitor terms: keywords that contain the brand/business names of your competitors. 

Now, we are not advising you to completely disregard keyword tools, but to think of brainstorming as a successful starting point of your campaign. Your own keywords might end up correlating with the ones given to you by software, which will only serve to assure you that you are heading in the right direction. 

Google Ads Account Structure

If you’ve heard of PPC you have probably heard of Google Ads, the online advertising platform where marketers pay to display brief ad messaging that publicizes their product or service. The structure of these ads is important, as it is the defining factor that controls how your ads are triggered and when and where you want them to appear. Building a sound and logical structure also results in better quality scores by Google, which later manifests into better results and lower prices. Here are the main components of a high-performing Google Ads account:


SEM Google Ads Account

Campaigns: Establish a Foundation

On the campaign level, you are able to set up your budget, network, language, ad schedule, target locations, and device targeting. Remember to build your campaign based on what type of business you are running. Each campaign has a type, and it is up to you to choose between search network, display network, shopping, video, and universal app. Therefore, it is vital to do some soul searching and really dive deep into your business’s high-level goals before committing to one of the types listed above.

Ad Groups: Build Your House

Your ad groups are sets of similar ads that will display based on bids and keywords established within the ad group.  These keywords will then trigger your text ads and direct the user to a relevant landing page. Wordstream goes on to recommend a maximum of 7-10 ad groups per campaign, ~20 keywords per ad group, and 2-3 ads per ad group. 

Keywords: Interior Design

Now it’s time for some keyword research. Make sure to use keyword tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner found inside your Google Ads account and other free or third-party options. There are four different keyword match types, which function as “parameters that can be set on your keywords to control which searches trigger your ads.

Broad Match: Allows you to reach the widest audience which can mean irrelevant traffic.

Modified Broad Match: Gives you the reach of Broad Match but is a little more selective by making your ad match when the search term includes keywords you designated with a plus sign.

Phrase Match: Your ad will only appear when a user types your keyword phrase in its exact order. This type allows you to have greater control over your campaign.

Exact Match: This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. You designate the exact words you want users to type in order to trigger your ad. 

Ad Text: Exterior Design

Google Ads Help defines text ads as a “form of marketing communication that advertisers can use to promote their product or service on the Google Network.” Simply put, this is the text users who trigger your ad will see. Ideally, you want to have 2-3 ads per ads per group, which will then direct to the landing page. Always remember to use copy that is both intentional and that incites the reader to take action. 

Building out an account is not as intimidating as it seems. It is key to understand all the moving parts of your account structure to be able to establish an effective plan that will acquire relevant traffic and lead them to your landing pages. When building out this structure, remember what each element means and what each dictates in order to launch a successful and attention-grabbing ad. 


There are more PPC strategies, tips, and tricks out there, but with this solid foundation, we hope we were able to cut through the noise and offer valuable clarity – because we know it was needed. 

Although effective – and when done right almost magical – SEO does not always ensure your place in the SERP. It might be time to give SEM a try. Raise your total volume of traffic by targeting clicks in paid search and use this laser-targeted visibility to your advantage. And if you are ready to take off into the world of PPC, do it with a dependable partner that will manage and optimize your campaigns. 

Contact Birch River Design Group for more information about our PPC services for a holistic approach towards everything search-related.

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Bryanna Norris Date : 16 Mar 2020

For some, navigating the world of marketing is no easy feat, especially if you’re new. When traversing within this realm you’re bound to encounter a multitude of acronyms for key concepts that must be understood before crafting digital marketing strategies. Like with architecture, ensuring that your foundation is sturdy is vital before you begin building upon it. There are many ways to optimize your site’s ranking, but some techniques involve risks. Before embarking on your journey into the world of digital marketing, we’ll begin with an understanding of SEO.

What is SEO?


If you want to hide something, place it on the second page of the Google search results. People begin their research with Google, but only the first five search results receive 67% of all clicks. With this information in mind, you might be wondering, how do we make it into the coveted top five results? One way to make this happen is through search engine optimization. 

SEO is defined as the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It’s important to drive traffic to your site, but not all traffic is created equal. We want searchers who will find your content useful. Once you’ve sifted out the searchers who won’t find your content relevant, that’s when you’ll start focusing on the numbers, or in this case, the quantity of traffic. Unpaid traffic that is generated from SERPs (search engine results pages)  is known as organic traffic. 

First five results on google receive 67% of all clicks

Search Engines 


When faced with a perplexing question, it is not uncommon for us to immediately take to our keyboards or awaken our devices from their slumber (Siri, Alexa, I’m looking at you) to help us find the answers we seek.  Each second, Google processes over 40,000 search queries on average which equates to 3.5 billion searches a day. Within mere seconds, billions of results appear and are arranged in an order that the engine deems most fitting for our query. The order in which results appear is determined through three main processes: ranking, crawling, and indexing processes. 

Crawling – These aren’t your average creepy crawlies! During this process, search engines send out bots to search the web for new and updated content which is later stored in an index. 

Indexing – After a bit of search and reconnaissance, the bots store the information that was discovered while crawling. Once stored in the engine’s index, the webpage will be displayed as a result of relevant searches. 

Ranking – Answering the searcher’s question is the priority. Based on the query, the results will be arranged from most to least relevant. 

Since these functions are carried out by search engines, it may seem like you have little to no control over the crawling, indexing, and ranking processes. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can improve them! We’ve put together a free guide to help you improve your site’s crawlability, indexability, and rankability. Submit your information above and receive your free checklist right into your inbox in a matter of seconds! 

Now back to business. When it comes to SEO, there are many hats you can wear. But there are also consequences that come with the hat you choose to don. 


Black Hat SEO 


You want results and you want them fast. These “short-cut” tactics are often referred to as black hat SEO. People who participate in black hat SEO often regret taking this route. Of the three methods, this one is the least ethical as it goes against search engine guidelines and is often given a penalty. There are many characteristics of black hat SEO. Not sure about which practices are deemed shady by most search engines?  Here are a few examples of black hat tactics:

Keyword stuffing – This is the overuse of certain keywords in an attempt to improve visibility and increase organic traffic. In the case of keyword usage, less is more. Maintaining relevance when using keywords in your online content is vital. If determining whether a word is connected to the topic or not feels like a stretch, it’s probably best not to use it. 

Cloaking – Trying to pull the wool over the eyes of a web crawler? Some webpages are able to show a different version of their site to crawler/bots that decide to pay them a visit.

Invisible text – This method is dated, but it is still loved by some. This involves hiding text containing keywords in the webpage’s background by matching its color or placing it offscreen using CSS. Doing this only makes the words visible to search engines.

Creating and operating a business requires a substantial amount of time and money. If you started one, chances are that you’re in it for the long haul. Websites flagged for these practices run the risk of being permanently banned from search engines, so it’s best to avoid using black hat techniques. 

Grey Hat SEO 


If there is a fine line between ethical and unethical SEO practices, a grey hat tactic is it! This method involves practices that aren’t illegal, but they aren’t entirely honest either. Here are a few ways grey hat SEO is done:

Keyword association manipulation – One of the things is not like the other. This technique is similar to keyword stuffing, but it involves trying to make unrelated words functions as synonyms in an attempt to trick bots.

Sneaky redirects – Using redirects on your site isn’t a crime, but when they’re used to show two different versions of your site, it becomes a problem. Refrain from showing one version of your site to desktop users and redirecting mobile users to a spam domain.

Duplicated content – Getting a sense of deja vu? Uploading the same content to multiple websites might seem like a great way to get more eyes on it, but it could run the risk of being deemed as spam by Google or other search engines. 

As with black hat SEO, there are risks involved with practicing these techniques. With the ever-increasing advancements in technology, trying to outsmart algorithms is quite the gamble. If having your company’s reputation take a nosedive doesn’t sound like something you’d like to put on the line, it might be best to try your luck elsewhere. 

White-hat SEO

White Hat SEO 


If you’re looking to improve your ranking without running the risk of facing penalties, then white hat SEO is the way to go! Essentially, white hat SEO is the avoidance of grey and black hat practices. However, it also requires the optimization of certain components of your webpage. White hat practices include:

Quality content – It’s important to remember the purpose of your content. The user has a problem and your site holds the answer/solution. Through the use of SEO keyword research tools, you’ll be able to find and attach the appropriate keywords that match the purpose of your content.

Meta tags – Always be sure to include these and they not only provide a snippet of your web page in SERPs but are also read by search engines and crawlers to learn additional information about your site. This information can be used to determine rankability.

Information Architecture – The structure of your information plays a pivotal role in usability and findability. Finely structured Information that is easy to navigate will provide users with an optimal experience during their quest to find the answer to their query.

Mobile-friendly – Having a version of your site that is fully capable of being viewed on mobile devices is quite important. According to Google, failure to do so could result in your SERP ranking taking a hit. This is because they prioritize mobile-friendly websites. If you’re unsure about your site’s mobile compatibility status, Google provides a mobility test that can help bring awareness to the components of your site that might require further action.



Implementing most of these practices will begin with the construction of your site. Simplistic yet functional navigation for both users and crawlers alike is ideal. It should be taken into consideration when designing your webpage. Adhering to these guidelines will have you well on your way to improving your ranking. All of this without running the risk of being flagged by search engines. 

Improving your ranking is of great importance, but it shouldn’t involve putting your business on the line. It is best to participate in honest practices that won’t result in the loss of your website and ultimately a decline in business. The world of digital marketing is a competitive field. Therefore, you might feel tempted to engage in practices that’ll help you quickly rise above the masses. But it’s important to be aware of the repercussions that are bound to follow. 

If you’re still looking for an alternative way to increase your views, you might want to consider SEM or search engine marketing. Learn the basics of SEM and how to implement its practices into your strategy in the second part of this blog. Stay tuned!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 12 Feb 2020
Clipboard With Seo Service Concept. 3d Rendering.

Landing on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) gives any business website a great advantage over its competitors. With one survey proving that more than half (51%) of all website traffic comes from organic search, high ranking websites can significantly drive in potential clients and complement branding efforts. However, to enjoy these benefits would require the proper implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Since not all firms can claim expert-level SEO knowledge, employing the services of an SEO-focused agency is sometimes the best option. 

Yet with so many companies out there offering SEO services, hiring a reputable firm can be a challenge. It is even possible to end up with a bogus SEO agency, doing more harm than good. Increase your chances of working with a credible SEO agency by knowing the common mistakes to avoid when searching for online marketing partners. Here is what you should look out for:

Falling for unrealistic promises from an SEO agency.

It is easy to be lured with the guarantee of a high search engine ranking for your business website. Yet an SEO agency that promises a first-page search result is a sure red-flag. Your doubts should also increase if the promise does not include clear steps and tactics to achieve the top spot. An honest SEO provider lays down an effective SEO strategy yet also informs the client about the instability of how search engines work. This means that a reputable SEO agency does not center its services on ranking alone. Instead, it provides the best SEO recommendations to improve the rankings and usability of a business website based on reviews and assessments done.

Settling for the cheapest package.

Stats from 2019 SEO services report shows that small businesses spend an average of USD 497.16 per month for SEO services. To save money, it is tempting to choose the SEO provider that offers the most affordable packages. However, expertise comes with a price. This is why reputable SEO companies demand a fair rate for the quality of the services they offer. Thus, an agency offering very low rates may also result in poor performance. This would then lead to wasted money in the long run. 

Neglecting to do SEO agency research. 

To avoid regrets and mistakes, it is advisable to be meticulous before signing-up with an SEO agency. Do not forget to dig into the background and history of the SEO firm. Among other things, you want to know who their past clients are and the feedback they received from them. You should also be ready to ask the right questions that can assess the credibility and competence of an SEO firm.

Expecting quick results. 

Patience is a virtue any SEO agency should attain due to the slow rate at which results are likely to be seen. It usually takes months before you can see the effects of all on-page and off-page optimization techniques. Therefore, a trustworthy SEO firm offers long-term yet realistic SEO services. On the other hand, you should be wary of SEO companies that promise results in a short period of time.

Success in digital marketing requires knowledge and competencies on various strategies. This is why it is best to leave all your online marketing needs to the experts by partnering up with Birch River Design Group. Our team based in Scottsdale, Arizona makes it a goal to help businesses enjoy the rewards of professional digital marketing techniques. Learn more about our services by reaching out to us via phone call or email. Feel free to connect with us through LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 11 Dec 2019
Social Media Marketing Concept On Screen. Peoples Relations Netw

A successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the things that a digital marketer takes note of when assessing the success of a business website. After months of diligently following and implementing the best practices and techniques, it would be so fulfilling to finally see your website ranking in all your target keywords. This development will likely make you look forward to seeing the many benefits that a high ranking in Google’s search engine results page (SERP) would bring such as a huge number of web visitors and conversions.

But what happens if your excellent SEO strategy is solely bringing traffic and nothing else? A top spot in SERP is never a guarantee for an increase in profits. Therefore, seeing a high number of visitors yet low conversion rates in your metrics is undoubtedly a red flag. It means that although you are excelling in your keyword research and meta tags, you are definitely neglecting other areas of digital marketing. Strengthen your SEO strategy and achieve your marketing goals by developing the following areas: 

Understanding your customers. 

Marketing in any form starts with knowing who your customers are. Thus, taking time to understand the needs of your customers should be done alongside keyword research and other SEO strategy techniques. In the first place, the success of your keyword research will also depend on how well you know your customers. As you gain more knowledge about your customers, you also discover ways on how to be of better service to them. This will lead to a better relationship with customers that will, in turn, result in brand loyalty and handsome ROI. 

Building your UX (user experience).

Your initial goal is to bring in web traffic through high SEO ranking. However, the end goal should be to let your visitors stay. Then, convince them to perform desired actions and come back for more transactions. This is an impossible goal if your ECommerce website is slumped with issues such as slow-loading webpages, confusing navigation, and poor-quality content. Thus, your SEO strategy will likely see better results by focusing more on the usability of your website. Make it a goal to provide a smooth and enjoyable user experience (UX) and see conversions rolling in.

Introducing your products or services.

While plotting an SEO strategy to improve or maintain your Google ranking, do not forget to take a look at how well you are presenting your products or services on your website. Instead of simply introducing your products, highlighting the benefits that it can give the users is a better approach. Moreover, the persuasive copy about the product should be supported. These supportive materials will further show a client how relevant or effective a product is. Examples of these are product images or client testimonials.

Are you thinking about building a website that will complement the SEO ranking strategies of your firm? Our team at Birch River Design Group can offer online marketing solutions for your business. Whether it be SEO, branding, UX design, or content creation, our team will expertly customize a well-thought-out digital marketing package that fits the unique needs of your firm. Contact us to learn more about our SEO services! Talk to our team in Scottsdale, Arizona today!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 04 Dec 2019
Search Results From Search Engine Query, Searching The Internet

It is impossible to tell the history of Google without mentioning the numerous algorithm updates it has introduced over the years. Google started introducing more updates as they continue to enhance how their platform processes search results. Web marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists follow and monitor all updates such as Panda, Hummingbird, Penguin, and RankBrain. This is because changes implemented by Google can greatly affect a website’s ranking and performance.

Just recently, Google rolled out another change, the BERT update. With claims that the new update will affect 10 percent of all search queries, taking time to understand it should be part of crafting an online marketing strategy. The following briefly explains what this new change is about:

What you need to know about the Google Bert Update

Google is not the most popular search engine in the world for nothing. The giant company keeps on finding ways to further improve its systems and technology. Last October 2019, Google announced the BERT update, which is the acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The term may appear intimidating. However, it simply represents a technology that will allow the machines to better understand the search intent of users when they type in search queries.

Through its natural language processing (NLP) software, the BERT update aims to help machines respond like a human. In the past, it was not uncommon to type in a keyword and get unconnected results. Due to language complexities, it is very easy for search engines to wrongly interpret a query. Google wants to limit or altogether eliminate these mistakes through the BERT update, which is adept at interpreting the nuances and context of search queries.

How will the Google Bert Update affect SEO?

Since Google did not roll out any major updates in the last five years, reports are saying that the BERT algorithm will bring significant changes to Google’s search function. This prediction makes many digital marketers worry about how it will affect their SEO strategy. People in the online marketing world are likewise eager to learn ways on how to optimize their website for BERT.

However, a statement via Twitter from Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, sends out an assurance that the BERT update will not require any new or drastic changes to a website’s current on-page SEO tactic. This is true for a website that is already making an effort to provide quality content for its visitors. In a tweet, Sullivan said, “There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.” Thus, if there is any effect, the BERT update will further highlight the importance of great content. The search algorithm will focus on search intent. Therefore, inserting exact keywords in content will no longer be as important as before. Now, the goal is to make the content sound more natural by writing with the users in mind and not for the search engines.

With the rapidly evolving technology, keeping up with the changes is one of the many roles of a digital marketer. Make sure that your firm is always updated with the latest news about how online marketing works by partnering up with a reliable digital marketing agency, the Birch River Design Group based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Get in touch with us through a phone call or email.

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 09 Oct 2019
Seo – Search Engine Optimization. Digital Marketing Concept On S

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of any digital marketing tactic. Your online campaigns are unlikely to succeed without basic knowledge of how search engines work. However, the process of optimizing web pages to achieve a high ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) is not something you can learn in a day. Moreover, implementing SEO best practices can also be time-consuming and exhausting.

A good solution to this predicament is to seek the services of a competent SEO agency. An SEO expert can guide the online marketing tactics of a firm in the right direction. Along with minimizing risks for failures and mistakes, it can increase a campaign’s chance for success. In spite of its many benefits, it is still common for business owners to wonder if hiring an SEO agency will be a good investment. However, staying indecisive may mean delaying opportunities for tremendous growth and development. Although the need for an SEO agency will depend on the unique circumstances of a company, it can give a firm a considerable advantage. Some of these benefits are listed below:

Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency


· Boost lead generation tactics.

SEO agencies have the expertise and experience to carry out a successful SEO campaign. This can give a greater online presence for your business. As your company becomes more visible in search engines, you can also expect more customers to discover you. Aside from bringing in more clients, your favorable search engine ranking position can also result in suitable leads for your business. The boost in your lead generation efforts and increased availability to clients will also increase the potential to rake in more profits

· Provide quality content.

Investing in digital marketing is a long-term commitment. An e-commerce website or a social media page needs regular content to stay relevant and competitive. However, coming up with unique and valuable content is not always feasible. Fortunately, content creation is often one of the SEO services that an agency provides. A team of SEO specialists can devote more effort to develop useful content that can help maintain your online strategy

· Complement branding efforts.

SEO managers know the importance of creating an impressive layout and content for your business. This is because your target clients will likely equate the quality of your web presence to the kind of products or services you can give. A well-thought-out SEO campaign has the potential to reach millions. Therefore, tremendously improving the reputation of your brand in no time.

· Fuel continuous growth and improvement.

The field of online marketing can be very challenging especially for firms that already have tons of tasks to deal with. To ease the workload and get better results, they can simply delegate their digital marketing needs to an SEO agency. With a team of web marketing experts on their back, they can focus their energy on innovation and expansion which can further drive business growth.

· Provide valuable data and analysis

SEO specialists use various tools to measure the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns. As they convey the results of their monitoring efforts, a business can gain insights about their client’s behavior and needs. They can use those insights for profit-generating ideas and improving their services.

Are you seeking a reliable partner to help you achieve your business goals through digital marketing tactics? Our team in Scottsdale, Arizona, Birch River Design Group can offer solutions and guidance to fuel your firm’s growth and success. Contact us today!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 02 Oct 2019
Chiang Mai, Thailand – August 18,2018: Woman Holding Huawei With

One thing to know about search engine optimization (SEO) is that it is not something that gets easier in time. With frequent algorithm updates and the growing number of competition, the task to dominate the search engine results page (SERP) is getting even more difficult. Thus, even after landing on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing, web marketers cannot afford to stay lax for long.
Aside from the fact that a new website can always steal your spot, the gauge to measure a successful SEO campaign can change anytime. As an example, not too long ago, page 1 ranking in Google was the coveted SERP position. Nowadays, this is no longer the case. SEO experts are aiming to rank for Google featured snippets or what is now called position zero.

What are featured snippets?

Introduced by Google in 2014, a featured snippet occupies the top organic spot in a Google search result. Instead of the usual brief meta description that you see under the title tags and URL of a page, this search result provides a summary of the page content. It can be in the form of a paragraph, a list, or a table. This unique way of displaying a result allows users to grasp the gist of a page without actually clicking the site.

Why do you want to rank for featured snippets?

To be in position zero is highly beneficial because of the prime exposure and competitive advantage it gives. As the content summary even appears inside a prominent answer box, it is obvious that it is specifically intended to catch the user’s attention. Like a famous landmark or a prime business location, a featured snippet is impossible to miss. At times, a featured snippet can even appear above the paid search ads.

Firms and brands would surely want to aim for position zero because an adequate featured snippet may mean that users will no longer even bother to check websites with similar content under it. Thus, now comes the golden question: what can SEO specialists do to rank for featured snippets? The following are some suggestions:

3 Simple Tactics to Rank for Featured Snippets


Follow SEO best practices.

Stats reveal that 60% of featured snippets are pages that are already on page 1 of Google. Thus, if you wish to rank for featured snippets, aim to get a high-quality score from the search engines first. You can do this by implementing best SEO practices. Among other things, do not forget to do keyword research, as well as incorporating it in title tags, meta descriptions, and writing content.

Provide answers to common questions.

A featured snippet that works as an instant answer box is Google’s way of enhancing the user’s web search experience. For your content to be featured, you need to post content that correctly and sufficiently provides answers or solutions. In-depth and constant research about your target clients can help you understand their concerns and see what they are searching for. You may also want to look at existing answers for popular queries to see how you can provide better answers.

Structure your content for snippets.

The way you write and the structure of your content can highly increase your chances to be featured. To write with featured snippets in mind, consider question-based queries and long-tail keywords. Anticipate the question users will ask and be ready to present the best answers. To make it easy for search engines to get the meat of your content, use heading and subheadings. It would likewise be search-engine friendly to arrange information in a list form or inside a table. The basic copywriting rule to write in a brief and concise manner will help you rank for featured snippets as well.

SEO can sound too technical or complicated for those who are just starting to understand how it works. This is why it is advisable to seek the services of a competent SEO agency such as Birch River Design Group. Our team of digital marketing professionals can help ensure a wise investment for your firm’s digital marketing needs. Schedule a meeting with us today!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 3 Author : Sam Barraza Date : 03 Jul 2019
Local Seo Concept Business Team Hands At Work With Financial Rep

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for the success of any digital marketing venture. Firms want their website to appear on the top page of a search engine results page (SERP) because more visibility means a greater chance to achieve marketing goals. However, with a report saying that 46% of Google searches are looking for local information, you will further strengthen your online presence with local SEO tactics. The following briefly explains local SEO and its vital role in the growth of your business. 

What is local SEO and why is it important?

Your SEO strategies may have landed you a first page ranking on Google but are your searches leading to new clients and increased revenue? If not, it is probably because your webpage is not properly optimized for your target clients. Local SEO is a variety of methods you can implement to ensure that your online marketing initiatives are reaching the right audience. While basic SEO practices allow you to reach a wider audience, local SEO narrows it down to the group that is actually looking for your services. These methods are generally the same with organic SEO but with emphasis on the location of your business.  The following tips can help grow your business:

Pay attention to your contact page.


You want an easy way for customers to reach you, so take the time to make a good contact page. Your contact details in your Ecommerce site or social media pages should be detailed, accurate, and complete. For businesses located in multiple locations, the contact information of all its other branches should be available. Email addresses and phone numbers (on mobile devices) should be clickable. This way, users can readily get in touch if they need to. This local SEO method asks of you to provide the same business name, address, and phone number (referred to as NAP) throughout your sites. This way, you gain a good reputation and display consistency.


Claim and polish your business profile online.


Google makes local SEO simple and easy for businesses by providing free and useful tools. Potential customers will not have a hard time finding your location with Google Maps. Meanwhile, by claiming your Google My Business profile, even firms with no existing website can gain prime online exposure. To maximize these Google services, take time to polish the information you will provide in your business profile. It is advisable to provide as much detail as possible (e.g., photo, logo, company description) because as a major search engine, your entry in GMB can greatly influence your SEO ranking.


Get good ratings from review sites.


Aside from Google, getting your business listed on review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp is a strong local SEO method. Being present in these sites can provide a valuable link juice to your business page.  Moreover, the said sites also provide testimonials and ratings from clients, so as a rule in any business, it pays to go the extra mile to provide excellent services. You can also monitor the comments and suggestions you will find on the sites so you can give an appropriate response (whether for airing your side, giving thanks, or offering an apology).


Get listed in local directories.


A start-up running its operations in Washington may not exactly benefit from searches coming from far or different locations. Therefore, to further increase your chance to appear in local searches you also want to publish your contact details in local listings. Choose directories that are considered authority sites in order to complement your SEO effort. You also want to choose a directory that your target client is likely to visit. For example, a list of businesses posted on the official site of a city or town.


Include local keywords in your content.


Help search engines display your content with the people looking for the services you offer with keyword research. Use keyword tools to determine the terms that your target clients are using in performing searches. You want to include these terms in the online content you publish too. Moreover, to appear in local searches, do not forget to include the business location in your keyword strategy. Through this local SEO tactic, you will garner the attention of people who are actually in need of your services.


Do you want to explore the many benefits that online marketing can do for your start-up or small business? Reach out to our team at Birch River Design Group, a digital marketing agency in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our experience, expertise, and dedication can provide your firm with the guidance and knowledge to make you reap the benefits of a strong online presence. Schedule a meeting with us today!

In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Susie Date : 08 May 2019
Voice Search Technology

With the influence of technology likely to intensify in the years to come, the way people search for information online is rapidly transforming. From typing queries into a search engine, more and more people are starting to explore the convenience of using voice search. A forecast report from ComScore even shows that by 2020, half of searches will be done through voice search. As a relatively new area of technology and search, it is crucial as a business owner to understand the techniques to make it work to your advantage. Prepare for this new way to search and future-proof your business with the following tips.

What is voice search and how is it used?

As the name implies, voice search is a technology where users can simply use voice commands instead of typing keywords to search for information online. This innovation works through the use of automatic speech recognition or voice-to-text mechanisms. Today speech recognition technology used in voice search is commonly used by voice-enabled digital assistants. Apple was the first company to offer a voice assistant with their introduction of Siri in 2011. Three years later, more tech giants launched their own digital assistants: Cortana for Microsoft and Alexa for Amazon. In May 2016, Google launched their own version of voice assistant with Google Home. With technology companies continuously enhancing the functionalities of voice search for consumers, it is clear this new technology will only continue to grow.

Why is voice search gaining popularity?

Anything that makes life more convenient is bound to be a success. Because speaking to search is much simpler than typing keywords, it is no wonder that voice search is gaining in popularity as the future of search. You can also attribute its popularity to the rising usage of mobile devices. Voice search assistants are often a main feature of smartphones and devices, making digital assistants relatively accessible. Along with the convenience it brings, voice search also has its share of challenges. The tendency of the machine to mistakenly interpret spoken queries is one of the difficulties a user may face when making a voice command.

New Practices To Implement For Voice Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) has largely focused on text-based queries. With the increasing use of voice search, it is bound to bring about changes to best practices for optimizing digital content. For brands that want to stay competitive, this stresses  the importance of implementing a competent voice search strategy. The following are tactics that digital marketers can do to implement voice engine optimization (VEO).

  • Focus on long-tail keywords.

Writing takes time. Before voice search, users tended to type just one to two phrases when searching for something on the web. Voice search takes the effort of writing away as people start to simply tell their devices what they need or are searching for. This makes a good keyword strategy highly important. When you write any piece of content for your brand your business, it is crucial to include long-tail keywords or phrases. Question phrases are also great suggestions as people tend to talk to the digital assistants as if they are humans. Because of this, it is best to incorporate keywords that sound like natural conversations.

  • Prioritize page speed.

Page speed continues to be a crucial factor in website rankings. Voice search represents a faster, fuss-free way to obtain any information a user needs. A fast-loading website is the perfect complement to this feature. To avoid losing clients and risking a low site ranking, both the desktop and mobile version of your company’s website should prioritize page speed.

  • Update content to match voice search queries.

Useful and original content will remain king despite technological developments. However, a little change in how you present content will go a long way. In the world of voice search, content that provides brief, yet complete answers to user’s questions are the way to go. Long-form content will always be crucial, but always be sure to optimize your website and content for voice search. One simple way to do this is by adding a page for frequently asked questions (FAQs).

  • Watch out for updates.

Voice search optimization is a relatively new area of search technology. There is still a lot to learn and discover about it. It is also a fast-growing market, so the best tips and strategies in utilizing it for your business can change at any time. In order to know how to effectively use this technology to market your brand, it is best to keep track of the latest updates and trends.

Birch River Design Group knows the importance of keeping up with the latest in digital marketing and search technologies. Our team is ready and capable to walk you through the process to get your business ready for future developments such as voice search. Request a meeting with us today to discuss how we can help you achieve your business goals!


In : Search Engine Optimization Comments : 0 Author : Susie Date : 15 Feb 2019

For all of the wonderful benefits that await a business with a high search engine ranking, it is no wonder that the number of companies clamoring to build a strong online presence is rapidly increasing. In fact, a forecast report from a research firm Borrel Associates claims that search engine optimization (SEO) will be an $80 billion industry in America by 2020.  Although the said report assures that investing in SEO services is a smart strategic move for a firm, it also entails the surge of agencies promising to help a company land a top spot in search engines like Google or Bing. As you venture into digital marketing, the first challenge your firm is likely to encounter is how to differentiate a reputable SEO agency from the bogus ones.  


These days there are so many agencies offering all sorts of SEO services. So what are the factors that you need to look out for when choosing a team that can craft and implement a winning SEO strategy for your business? To assure a wise investment and avoid mistakes, it pays to be meticulous. The following are some of the questions you should ask before making a deal with an SEO manager.

Who are their past clients? What are the outcomes of the SEO tactics they did for past clients?


One good way to delve into a company’s history and background is by inquiring about their past clients.

An SEO company with a list of satisfied clients is a good sign that you are dealing with a firm that can deliver positive results. Aside from flaunting their accomplishments, they should also be able to demonstrate and explain the types of SEO services they rendered for them. These inquiries will give you an idea if they can indeed be an asset to your online marketing tactics.


Do they understand the nature of your business?


A digital marketing agency with clients from various industries should not have their expertise limited to a certain field. They should be flexible and able to adjust to the specific requirements of a firm. It is, however, comforting to discover that they have handled clients with businesses that are similar to yours. This means that they somehow have an inkling about the nature of your business and may have brilliant ideas to contribute.


What are the exact steps they will take to your improve your search engine ranking?


Any firm can make a number of promises in order to entice a potential customer. However, a legitimate and quality SEO agency focuses on presenting specific action plans to help a company achieve its goals.  If they can offer concrete solutions to the woes that your website is experiencing, it means they spent genuine effort to study your website (even your competitors).


Only after thorough analysis of all the problem areas in your online marketing tactics can they then start plotting solutions. Is your business website not getting any organic traffic? They may take steps for content marketing and link building. Does your webpage have a high bounce rate? Then they may suggest changes to your on-page SEO strategy.


How will they measure and report progress and results of SEO campaigns?

Regular meetings to discuss the progress of their SEO efforts should be a big part of the overall SEO plan of your business. A comprehensive report detailing their actions as well as its outcomes will let you see that they are indeed doing the important work. It is also a way to know which strategies work and which don’t.

As you sit in meetings with an SEO expert, you also widen your knowledge about digital marketing. This is important because SEO is a continuous process. Once your contract is done with an agency it is recommended that you have an in-house team to take over SEO marketing.


What are the specific terms of your agreement?


Your partnership with an outside agency to run the SEO needs of your business should be protected with a contract. The terms should specify the services they will render and for how long. A “get out” clause in case you want to cancel or terminate your deal should be in place as well. Another important thing that should be included in a contract is the access to several platforms and tools the agency uses to carry out the tasks for you. The agreement should also specify who has access to websites they are likely to use such as a CMS, analytics or Google Ads accounts. Some companies will not give you access to any tools they use once the contract ends.


With an expertly executed search engine optimization campaign, a firm can gain a tremendous lead against its competitors. A high search engine ranking for your target keywords will make it much easier for clients to discover and avail your services. The favorable end result is fast growth and huge profits for your business. However, for your firm to reap the rewards of a successful SEO strategy, you need to partner up with a team you can trust such as Birch River Design Group. Our team of professionals has the knowledge and skills to help you maximize your investment in SEO marketing. Get in touch with us today!