SEO

“Are you going to submit our website to the search engines?” That’s a question we often get from clients. They tell us their old website firm would submit their website to 30+ search engines every quarter and charge them $150 or more to do it. Don’t waste your money!

While submitting your website to search engines may have had its place in the early days, the way search engines do business has changed and it is no longer effective. A much more effective way to get noticed by the search engines is the XML Sitemap. Here is what Google says about the XML Sitemap:

Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.

We use a plugin on all of our websites that automatically creates and updates an XML Sitemap and pings the 3 major search engines every time a change is made to the website. We also recommend that our clients go to GetListed.org to claim their businesses.

So our answer is, “No we don’t waste your money or our time submitting your site to search engines; we have a better way.”

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Inbound Marketing Is The Best SEO (part 1)

by Joe B on August 13, 2012

We’ve talked here before about blogging being the best SEO method/tactic; well Inbound Marketing is the best SEO strategy. Inbound Marketing a strategy that uses content (blogging), email, and social media to get found on the internet and convert those visitors into leads and customers. This is done through: 1) content, 2) distribution and 3) engagement.

In the old days, SEO was more about technical SEO, such as: on page scripting, link building, SEO programming, competitor audits, pages created to rank for a particular keyword, etc. In the past, if you had enough quality back links, you could forgo quality content.

Today, rather than measuring how well you rank on Google or other search engines, you’re better off measuring how many keywords you rank for. MarketingTech Blog recently found that 72% of their search traffic came from keywords where they ranked lower than the first page. It used to be that people didn’t look further than the first page of search results, but apparently they are now.

One of our fellow HubSpot Partners, KunoCreative, has shown how they grew by switching to Inbound Marketing. They have data over a 26 month period (13 traditional SEO, 13 Inbound Marketing). By using Inbound Marketing, they:

  • Increased Organic Traffic 450%
  • Increased #Keywords Driving Organic Traffic 556%
  • Increased # of Organic Leads 633%

We’ll talk more next time about how and why this happened and how you can make it happen for you.

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Why Blogging Is The Best SEO Method

by Joe B on August 7, 2012

blogging SEOIt’s easy to see why blogging is the best SEO method. SEO or search engine optimization is all about getting found by the search engines. Search engines use two main criteria for returning search results (there are others, but these are important): 1) relevancy and 2) authority.

For relevancy, search engines try to match up search terms with terms on a website. To determine authority, search engines use the number of inbound links from other relevant websites. Blogging can improve both your website’s relevance and authority.

Every blog post is a page added to your website. With each blog post you can concentrate on a particular keyword or keyword phrase. More blog posts mean more opportunities to be relevant for more search terms. Each blog post is also link bait, meaning it gives you an opportunity to get another inbound link thus giving your site more authority.

In addition to relevancy and authority, search engines also reward freshness. And blogging gives you the opportunity to keep your site fresh with new information and new blog posts.

So you see with blogging, SEO is really a matter of arithmetic, specifically addition. By adding more posts (pages) to your website, you are adding more opportunities to get found and be linked to.

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Blogging for Business 101 webinar coming up on August 15th at 2 p.m. central time.

This webinar will give you a plan for your blogging that will help you get found by people who need you, convert traffic into leads and customers and we will also go over what you need to analyze to keep you on track. You can sign up for the Blogging for Business 101 webinar here:

Blogging for Business 101 registration

Hope to see you on the 15th!

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Do You Really Need SEO?

by Christi on July 11, 2012

SEO New Orleans

Is this you?

SEO refers to search engine optimization. It is the science (and art) of helping your site (and thus your business) get found online. Inbound marketing consists of three steps:

  1. Get Found
  2. Convert
  3. Analyze

The reason getting found is first is because it doesn’t do you any good to have a beautiful website with great functionality if people can’t find you when they need or want your product and services.

We often get calls from businesses that have beautiful websites that are not getting visitors. In most of these cases, a quick review of the website in question will reveal that the website’s designer did not include even the most basic on-page SEO.

SEO is not only very important, it’s also something that is an ongoing process. Adding new, fresh content on a regular basis is a great way to improve your SEO. The easiest, and least expensive way to do this is through blogging. Blogging gives you the opportunity to rank for your keywords. Every time you write a new post that is informative to your readers and uses your keywords, you are adding another page to your site for search engines to index and deliver to people who are searching.

Ignoring SEO is part of the “spray and pray” style of marketing – you throw something up on the web and pray that it will work. Obviously, the “spray and pray” method of internet marketing is not very effective. Don’t ignore SEO. Use it to help your site get found by people who are looking for you.

Need help getting started with SEO? Download the SEO 101 eBook now.




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How Search Engines Work

by Christi on April 25, 2012

There is a lot that goes on with search engines such as Google when you do a search and it delivers your results. Matt Cutts, from Google, published a new video on April 23rd, answering this question:

Hi Matt,

could you please explain how Google’s ranking and website evaluation process works starting with the crawling and analysis of a site, crawling timelines, frequencies, priorities, indexing and filtering processes within the databases etc.

As he explains, he could spend hours answering this question. However, he explains the basics of how search used to work and how search works now.

As marketers, we have to take the time to understand how SEO works and how to reach our target markets organically through search engines. Need more help? Download our SEO 101 eBook for step by step instructions.




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Google to Penalize Over Optimized Content

by Christi on March 26, 2012

According to a report by Search Engine Land, the head of Google’s search spam team, Matt Cutts, was asked this question on a recent SXSW panel discussion:

“With so many SEO companies showing up claiming to do SEO, a lot of markets are getting saturated with optimized content…What are you doing to prevent, for example, if you’re looking for something, and the first page is just optimized content, and it’s not what you’re actually looking for? Are you pretty much out of luck if you’re not optimizing your site but it has relevant content? If I’m a mom or pop and I’m trying to optimize a site by myself, I’m going to get beat by people paying thousands of dollars.”

Matt explains that the new over optimization penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks. The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great, but do a better job with SEO.

In an article by our HubSpot Partners, they predict that “If your content is driven by topics, you shouldn’t expect to be penalized when the new algorithm update rolls out, even if you do take the time to search engine optimize that content with keywords and relevant links. If your writing is driven by keywords, however, we predict it’s more likely you’ll suffer some search ranking slips.”

Does that mean that SEO does not matter? Matt Cutts also goes on to add, ”SEO can often be very helpful. It can make a site more crawlable; it can make a site more accessible; it can think about the words users are going to type whenever they come to a search engine to make sure those words are on a page. The same things you do to optimize your return on investment and make sure things spread virally or socially are often the same things that work from a search engine perspective…but there are some people who take it too far. If you’re white hat or doing very little SEO, you’re not going to be affected by this change.”

Also on the panel was Bing’s Duane Forrester, who added, “If you’re not engaged socially, you’re missing the boat because the conversation is happening socially about you and about your content. Those are really important signals for us. Whether you’re involved or not is your choice, but those signals still exist whether you’re in the conversation or not.”

We also know that search engines like fresh content as they have told us in the past. So what does this mean for you and your business?

You must keep delivering fresh, interesting content to the people who are looking for your products and services. Obviously, if you want to rank for a keyword or phrase, those words will have to be included on your site. It seems that people who try to “game” the system make it more difficult for small businesses. Search engine companies like Google and Bing have told us over and over how to use keywords effectively to optimize our content. I’m not sure how they decide what is “over optimized.” The problem, in my opinion, is that search engines are in fact “engines” and they have to decide what to deliver based on something tangible.

The easiest way for a small business to deliver fresh and relevant content is through a blog. Blogging can be time consuming, as can social media, but for today’s small businesses, it appears that they are a must.

What do you think of Google’s announcement?




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Website Design vs. Graphic Design

by Joe B on March 22, 2012

Lately I’ve seen a lot of websites that look good on the surface, but are horrible when you look at their underpinnings (on page SEO). When I ask about this, I am told that the website designer doesn’t do SEO. Really?!

From a graphic design point of view these websites may be stunning. But from a website design standpoint, they are ineffective at best. Graphic design is not website design. Website design incorporates graphic design and much more. It is possible to build a website a hundred different ways and still achieve the same finished look. However, hidden in the code and content can be a website’s inability to be marketed, managed or monitored properly because a designer/developer used poor or dated techniques.

Some of the items that need to be considered when designing a website are:

1. Canonicalization (does www forward to non-www or vice versa [301 redirect])

2. Map 2-3 keywords per page.

3. What is the density of the target keyword on each landing page?

4. Image & Hyperlink Optimization

5. Header Tag Optimization

6. H1 Analysis – Is the target keyword in the H1 for each page?

7. Title Tag Optimization – Is the title keyword optimized?

8. Nofollow – Are non-target words nofollowed on site.

9. W3c Validation

A website is like a house. You can cover up the poor underlying structure with an aesthetically pleasing surface, but you still have a poor structure. Would you buy a house where you knew the underlying structure was in disrepair even though it looked good on the surface?

Ask your website designer if s/he includes SEO with the website. If not, find another website designer.




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SEO for Small Business

by Christi on March 19, 2012

Is SEO part of your internet marketing strategy? Not including SEO in your internet strategy is like spending money on a sleek, beautiful car and then not putting fuel in it. SEO is the fuel for driving traffic to your website. When people are looking for you, you want to make sure they can find you!

As we have discussed, many times, keyword research is an important first step for SEO. But, as we have also seen, search engines really like fresh content. The best way to use the keywords that you have researched is to combine them with fresh content through blogging. Okay, I know that many of you might want to stop reading right there. I’ve seen it on the faces of business owners when I mention blogging. It is true, blogging is not one of the easiest things to do. However, it produces such great results, it is something that you really should consider. Studies show that companies that blog:

  • get 55% more visitors
  • convert 40% more of their visitors into leads
  • have 434% more indexed pages
  • get 97% more inbound links

Those are some pretty powerful numbers. If blogging is so great for helping you get found and convert visitors into leads, isn’t it something that you want consider? Blogging is like super-fuel for your internet marketing. So why aren’t you blogging?

  • “I don’t know what to write about.”
  • “I don’t write very well.”
  • “I don’t have time.”

These are just some of the reasons we hear. However, every business that we have worked with that made the effort to blog, even if it wasn’t that often, has seen good results. Don’t wait, the only way to get started is to take that first step.




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Google Announces New Search Updates

by Christi on March 2, 2012

Recently, Google announced 40 new search updates. What does this mean for you and your website? Well, it depends. Let’s take a look at some of the things that they say will make a difference to you and your business:

  • Fresher images. We’ve adjusted our signals for surfacing fresh images. Now we can more often surface fresh images when they appear on the web.
  • Improvements to freshness. We’ve applied new signals which help us surface fresh content in our results even more quickly than before.
  • Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.

These three changes are directly aimed at trying to give users fresher content. Fresh news often breaks on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Google is usually behind in presenting fresh information because it has to find it and then index it.

So, how does this affect your business? Google rewards fresh content. That means, you need to be continually adding fresh, relevant content to your site. The easiest way to do this is with a blog. On your blog you can be easily and quickly add new content.

Google is also working to improve it’s local search results. They say:

  • Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

If you are a local business, make sure you have all your local listings up to date.

One of the more interesting updates has to do with how Google evaluates links:

  • Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.

Google has declined clarifying the link evaluation process, including specifying the method that they have “used for several years” that they have now turned off. Very interesting . . .

Bottom line: SEO is an ongoing process. It is never a once and done proposition. Learn more about how you can improve your SEO from our SEO 101 eBook.




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Website Redesign | 2nd Step to Success

by Joe B on February 23, 2012

Insure that your Websiteʼs Assets are In Order and Safe

You can actually do more damage than good by trying to undertake a website redesign on your own without understanding how you must protect the existing assets of your current site.

  • Website assets such as content, inbound links, keyword rankings, and conversion tools are critical to a strong web presence.
  • To preserve your web presence, you must keep track these assets to insure that they are all transferred in the redesign process.

It is important to do an asset assessment before you embark on a website redesign.

If you do not fully understand the importance and practice of proper SEO, doing a website redesign can be more damaging than helpful. If you do not feel comfortable around SEO work, it may be best to hire specialists to perform the redesign so all the hard work you have put into making a web presence does not disappear. Be sure to ask your website designer if s/he understands the importance of maintaining your current website’s assets and of using 301 redirects in a website redesign. If not, find another website designer.

Don’t guess when doing a website redesign – find out how to do it right! Download our free ebook: 7 Steps to Successful Website Redesign today!

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