SEO

Want a #1 Google Ranking?

by Christi on March 18, 2011

When you look for your site in a Google search, do you want to come up first? Of course you do, everyone does. However, the world of search has changed. If you have been reading this series of articles, you know that search engines are trying to personalize our searches. First we saw how Google has teamed with Twitter. How about Bing teaming with Facebook?

So now who ranks first? It depends on who you are and when you search!

What influences the results:

  • Browser history of searcher
  • Location of searcher
  • Social graph of searcher
  • Social authority of pages
  • Up to the second news/trends

So, a #1 Google ranking on a search term for you may not mean a #1 Google ranking on that same term for someone else.  Whatever search engine you are using, social is definitely part of the mix and fresh content is imperative. Yesterday’s SEO just won’t work now and going forward.

On Monday, we will wrap up our SEO series with information about trends going forward and what you need to do to prepare.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Search has changed and continues to change. Social and Content are important components of today’s search.
  2. Where your site ranks depends on a number of factors that you do not control.

Next Steps:

  1. Come back on Monday for the wrap up and some useful resources you can use going forward.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

The Line Between SEO and Social Media

by Joe B on March 13, 2011

seo-social-media-optimizationThe line between SEO and Social Media is becoming more blurred all the time, especially with the socialization of Google (discussed in our previous post Google Gets More Social) and the partnership between Facebook and Bing. In case you didn’t know it, there is a war going on between Google and Facebook over your “word search” business. This means that your future internet marketing plans will need to include both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO).

What should you do? My Title Guy says:

Easy. Get a Blog. Create dynamic, engaging content (video, pictures, audio, text) and distribute it through all of your social channels-Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr, Vimeo, etc. Because writing content for search engines can be different that content for actual people-consumers, forward thinking professionals will create highly engaging, keyword rich, VALUABLE content that is worthy of being shared across social networks. Next time you create content on your YouTube Channel, Twitter, Active Rain, Linkedin, Facebook Fan Page (personal FB pages are not indexed in social search) ask yourself “Who am I talking to? Who is my ideal client? What is my message? Is my message valuable? Do I have a call to action? Have I asked the consumer to engage with me- to share my content, etc”. The goal of getting found online stays the same, the method continues to change.

A blog is the best way to keep your web presence up-to-date with relevant, engaging content. It can be the foundation of you Social Media Optimization Strategy. Small businesses, especially, need to stop focussing so much on their websites and start spreading their content around socially.

Key Take-Aways:

  1. Both SEO and SMO are necessary for a good web presence.
  2. A blog is a great way to integrate everything together.

Next Steps:

  1. Start thinking strategically about blogging and get your own blog set up!

{ 0 comments }

5 SEO Strategies

by Christi on March 9, 2011

Even though social media is a great SEO tool, businesses still need to give some thought and attention to the SEO strategy on their websites. This is a great infographic from our friends at Hubspot:

SEO Strategies

Let’s take a look at each of these SEO Strategies.

  1. Make content users desire and will want to share. Content is so important for SEO. When you think about what your target market is looking for, think in terms of what words they might use to find you. Those words are what will become your keywords. However, you may have more than one product or service so you will need to have different keywords for each of those and a separate page on your site for each. When you are writing content for your site, use the keywords you have researched for each page in a natural manner. In other words, don’t stuff keywords in to every sentence. Just make your page interesting and informative and easy to be read.Keep your content fresh. Nothing is worse than coming to a site and finding that all of the information is 3 years old. A great way to keep fresh content rolling out is through a blog.
  2. Build usability and high quality design into your site. Make sure that when people do find you, that you are delivering the information they seek on an easy to navigate site that is pleasing to the eye. Avoid the use of too many rotating pictures and flash elements. Think about how your site will look on a smart phone. Clean and simple is best. Make sure your pictures and other graphic elements are optimized to load fast. It is frustrating to people who visit your website to have to wait for you pages to load.
  3. Make sure spiders can parse all content and duplication isn’t an issue. This kind of goes back to high quality design. If your site is created entirely (or even mostly) in flash, then you are making it very difficult to be crawled by search engine spiders. Keep those flash elements to a minimum or eliminate them entirely. Be sure all of your pictures and graphics have alt tags that accurately describe them. Search engine spiders can’t “see” pictures, but they can see the alt text behind the pictures.Look at your pages and see if you are duplicating content. Search engines may discount duplicate content. Try to keep the content on each page as original as possible and make sure your content is original to your site.Be sure to include an XML Sitemap on your site. This allows spiders to know the location of all the pages on your site, when they were last updated, as well as other information about your site.
  4. Make it easy to reach deep pages with as few clicks as possible. Your navigation is a very important part of your site to consider. Try to keep the number of clicks to get to any page on your site to a minimum. For pages deep in your site, try to keep it to less than 3 clicks.
  5. Use keywords that will garner traffic. Use judiciously in your content. Research your keywords carefully. There are free tools available like the Google Keyword Tool. There are also some wonderful tools integrated into paid solutions like the Keyword Grader in the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Software. As we said in the 1st strategy, use the keywords judiciously.

Use these strategies to get your website found and indexed by search engines and drive traffic to your site!

Key Take Aways:

  1. Businesses should pay attention to the SEO on their own websites as well as using social media to drive traffic to their sites.

Next Steps:

  1. Use one of the keyword tools to research possible keywords for your site and see if you are using them well. Keywords change over time, so remember to do this on a regular basis.

If you would like to learn more about the Hubspot Inbound Marketing software, contact us at Wharton Website Design and Marketing.

{ 0 comments }

Google and Internet Marketing

Last Thursday Google announced a change in their search algorithm. According to the Google press release:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

Read the entire press release here. This change only affects 11.8 percent of the U. S. queries. The change will be rolled out to other countries soon.

So, what does this mean for your internet marketing efforts? This is a good change for businesses that focus on providing useful, informative content. It is not good for businesses that try to take SEO shortcuts. This action taken by Google will reduce the rank of lower quality content farms.

In light of the change, it is a good time to stress our SEO advice of creating relevant, useful, original content on a regular basis and then when people find you, treat them well and deliver what they are looking for.

Key Take-Aways:

  1. When you are using Google to search, you will find more useful content returned for your searches.
  2. As a business, you will not have to compete with low quality content farms for results.
  3. It is still important to be relevant and useful to people who visit your site.

 

{ 0 comments }

SEO Matters

by Christi on July 20, 2010

In case you were thinking that, since you now have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Foursquare account, etc., SEO (search engine optimization) is just taking care of itself, you could be wrong.

SEO is still something that businesses need to give some serious attention.

Search Engine Optimization

As an effective online marketing tactic, SEO ranked #1 in this survey from Forbes.

Of course, you do need to include social media in your SEO plan. Using your keywords to get found on Facebook is a great tactic considering that Facebook has overtaken Google search as the most visited site. However, keep in mind that you do not own Facebook or Twitter or any other social media platform. Sometimes, they make decisions that can impact your business that you cannot control. For example, Facebook recently removed the ability for business pages that had less than 10,000 fans to set an FBML page as a landing page for new visitors. Of course, after the screams and outrage of many small businesses on Facebook, they reversed that decision very quickly.

The point is, you should definitely include social media in your SEO plan, but don’t forget about your own website. The one that you own and control. So what are some of the things you can do to enhance the SEO on your website?

  • Research your keywords. See what people are searching for that relates to your business. There are lots of free tools available. Just search for “free keyword tools” to see what is available and do the research.
  • Remember to go back and do that research on a regular basis as your keywords could change over time as people are using different words to search.
  • Select one or two keywords or key phrases for each page on your website.

Now that you have your keywords selected, let’s look at some “on page” SEO tactics:

  • Use your keywords in your root domain name if possible. If you already have a domain name that you have been using that does not include your keywords, don’t change your domain just to include them. However, if you are just starting out, go ahead and get a domain that includes your main keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Use your keywords in your page title. Each page should have a unique title and that title should contain the keywords or keyword phrase pertinent to that page.
  • Use your keywords in your content. Make sure that they occur naturally. Stuffing keywords in will not make sense to your visitors, and it will make you look amateurish.
  • Make targeted landing pages with unique keywords/key phrases for each page.
  • Create fresh, unique, relevant content on a regular basis.
  • Use your keywords in your alt tags.

Now, let’s look at some “off page” SEO tactics:

  • Get other relevant sites to link to you. How do you do that? Create great content. This is sometimes called, “link bait” and is a great SEO tactic.
  • Use social media to spread the word about your great content. Add useful information to social communities to build a reputation as an expert.

Enhancing your SEO will help your target customers find you. Once they find you, treat them well. Give them the information they are looking for and provide them with easy ways to contact you or to take the next step to becoming your customer. SEO is an important part of your overall business strategy puzzle. Make sure you give it some attention.



{ 2 comments }

Is Google Page Rank Relevant?

by Joe B on February 4, 2010

We have suspected it for some time. We see sites with lower Google page ranks outperforming higher ranked pages all the time. We knew that the public page rank that we see is months old.  Sometimes you see an article that articulates the point so well that you just need to link to it. The great people at the Hubspot Blog did a great job of explaining:

Why Google Page Rank is Now Is Now Irrelevant

{ 0 comments }

It’s official. Google added new information to it’s webmaster site yesterday that they do not use the keyword meta tag in web ranking.

Does that mean that keywords are not important? Not necessarily. Keywords are what can help you stay focused. What is your site or blog about? Centering pages on your site around a few keywords or phrases can help you stay on course. Doing keyword research to see what words people are searching is also helpful.

Should you skip using the keyword meta tag? Not necessarily. Just because Google doesn’t the keyword meta tag, doesn’t mean other search engines don’t.

It is unfortunate that the keyword meta tag has been so misused as to make it less relevant. The best advice is still to have meaningful content about your business.

{ 1 comment }

FireFox Add-ons

by joebwharton on May 1, 2009

We use the Firefox browser a lot in our business. One of the reasons is that it is open source and thus allows for add-on extensions. There are add-ons for just about anything you can imagine. Some of the categories of add-ons are: Alerts & Updates, Dictionary & Language Packs, Download Management, Photos, Music & Videos, Plugins, Privacy & Security, Social & Communication, Toolbars, Web Development and several others.

Some of the add-ons we use in our business are:

    SeoQuake SEO Extension: Seoquake is a Mozilla Firefox SEO extension aimed primarily at helping web masters who deal with search engine optimization (SEO) and internet promotion of web sites. Seoquake allows to obtain and investigate many important SEO parameters of the internet project under study on the fly, save them for future work, compare them with the results, obtained for other, competitive, projects. 

    SEO Workers Analysis Tool: SEO Workers Analysis Tool extension allows you to perform a basic analysis of the page in your browser with a single click. The results from the SEO Workers Analysis Tool are structured into the following useful groups: General status, meta tags listing, meta tags analysis, the pages displayed within search engine results, keywords found in the anchor tags, keywords found in the image “alt” attribute text, keywords found on the page, URLs found in the page, headers returned from the server.

    SearchStatus: SearchStatus displays the Google PageRank, Alexa rank, Compete ranking and SEOmoz Linkscape mozRank anywhere in your browser, along with fast keyword density analyser, keyword/nofollow highlighting, backward/related links, Alexa info and more.

    TinyUrl Creator: With TinyUrl Creator you can easily shrink any long URL or link in the page to something you can email or Twitter using the TinyUrl service with a single click in your browser.

Let us hear your comments on what your favorite add-ons are for business and for fun.

You can download FireFox at: http://www.mozilla.com and you can view add-ons at: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox .

{ 0 comments }

Using Blogging As An SEO Technique

by joebwharton on April 27, 2009

Blogging can be a great SEO technique. Why? Because every blog article adds a new page to your website. Search engines love fresh content. And every blog article gives you the opportunity to focus your message on one subject or keyword phrase. Search engines like focused pages.

One thing to remember when setting up your blog is to have it as part of your company website. It should be either a sub-domain of your company website (e.g. www.myblog.mycompany.com) or a folder on your company website (e.g. www.mycompany.com/myblog). Don’t use one of the free blogging sites such as typepad or wordpress. You can use their free software, just not their site to host your blog. Your blog must be part of your company’s domain in order for your company’s website to benefit from any so called “google juice”.

{ 0 comments }

SEO – Day 4 – Anatomy of a Web Page

by joebwharton on April 23, 2009

Let’s look at the anatomy of a web page and see where our targeted keywords (key  phrases) should appear. We’ll start by looking at the visible parts from the top of the screen down. Specifically:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Heading Tags
  • Page Text

By tuning our web page to consistently use one specific search phrase in key positions on the page, we will be converting our web page into the perfect page.

Title: Although the Title is extremely important in getting a high search engine position, it is often ignored by web designers and small businesses. The Title is the title that will appear in the search engine results link. It also becomes a visitor’s bookmark. The Title should be no longer than 65 characters.

URL: Google seems to award points when one or more of your search phrase words appears in the URL. Keywords or phrases should also be used in directory and file names. Avoid using spaces, use hyphens instead.

Heading Tags: These are the <h1>, <h2>, etc. tags in the html code. Every web page should have a heading containing your targeted keywords or phrases for that page. There should be only one <h1> per page, but there can be several subheads (<h2>s, <h3>s, etc.).

Page Text: Just below the page heading, there should be text, lots of text – at least 200 words. Text is extremely important. In fact, an insufficient amount of text is often the cause for a poor page rank in Google. The keywords or phrases on a given page should have a natural frequency of about 3-8%. The first paragraph of a web page is the most important. So be sure to include your keywords here.

A free tool at Ranks.nl will analyze the frequency of two-,three- and four-word combinations.

{ 0 comments }