All posts in Keywords

Film ProjectorWhen it comes to social media, the ‘usual suspects’ jump to mind: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Pinterest. One that may deserve a more prominent place in your social strategy is Slideshare. Acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, it’s the largest community for sharing professional presentations in the world. What can a Slideshare presence do for you?

Slideshare: Professional Presentations

Why Slideshare? Here are a few compelling reasons you may need to get familiar with PowerPoint soon:

  • The site receives 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 500%!
  • Mobile views increased 223% over last year.
  • The site sees over 60 million visitors a month.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests a high ROI and increased generation of qualified leads as a result of a strong Slideshare presence.

What Do Audiences Like?

Slideshare’s content consumers tend to have a voracious appetite for:

  • Business. The most popular topics are: business, research, trends, market, social media, and statistics. These folks are here to work!
  • Short, visual content. Fewer slides in favor of more images. Keep text to a minimum – and make sure it’s relevant.
  • Inforgraphics. These get “liked” 5 times more often than presentation and a whopping 21 times more than documents.

Over 400,000 presentations are uploaded to Slideshare each month. The top slideshows are posted on the homepage, as are featured users, recommended presentations, and more. If your presentation can land on the first page, it’s all the better. A bulk of your traffic will come directly from Google, though, so if you can attract the attention of your target audience, you can boost your ROI and see significant results. Some tips to that end:

  • Optimise. SEO rules apply just as readily to your slideshow as they do to your website. Choose strategic keywords that reflect what your audience is looking for.
  • Images. Choose compelling images that are relevant to your subject. Forget the adorable puppies – unless you’re speaking of puppies! Feel free to include animations, photos, graphics, and other images.
  • Inforgraphics. They sell like hotcakes. There are various sites online to help you generate these interactive graphics.
  • Titles. “Top Tips for Using Slideshare,” “How to…”, “5 Mistakes You’re Making…” Just as you would with a blog or article with a compelling, enticing title, make sure you draw your visitors in with compelling title.
  • Tags and description. Slideshare allows a description and up to 20 tags. Take advantage. Craft these with your carefully-selected keywords and information relevant to visitors and to search engines. Google, by the way, will rank Slideshare material over blogs.
  • Links. Google pays attention, so add high-quality links in your presentation. As with anything you do, “relevance” is the keyword.

If you’re not sharing on Slideshare, maybe it’s time! What message do you have to convey to your audience –and is this a viable medium? Likely, the answer is yes.

Shaking Hands

Engaging content. Relevant content. Interesting content. Entertain. Instruct. Convert. In the hustle and bustle of designing and populating a website with all of this great SEO- and content marketing- gold, it can be easy to forget the building blocks of a great site. A solid About Us page is essential – but how do you craft one that not only gives visitors an accurate sense of who you are but encourages them to delve deeper into your website and trust you to fill their needs with your products or services.

  1. Tell them who you are. Why did you start your business? Why should visitors give credence to what you say? What’s your background? Don’t recreate your CV – but do tell an interesting story about who you are and why you’re here.
  2. Tell them what you can do for them. Scratch the itch. What brought the visitor to your page in the first place? As Simon Sineck says, “start with the why.” Describe the challenge or problem, and then segue into how you are the solution. It’s all about demonstrating value for them.
  3. Add social proof. Testimonials, positive mentions is respected publications or media, quotes, how many downloads, etc. can add to your credibility. You never want to pat yourself too hard on the back, but you can let others do a little for you.
  4. Bullet your credentials and accomplishments. Increased sales by 200% for one client? Have an MBA from Harvard? Great. Add it to a concise list. Skip the superlatives and stick with the facts. While we’re on the subject, keep paragraphs short and streamlined. Break up big chunks of text, and engage the reader visually.
  5. Include a professional photograph. This allows visitors to put a face to the name and business, building credibility. Conversion rates, by the way, are higher for pages with photos of real people. Don’t scrimp! No selfies; use a pro.
  6. Test your About page. Have a friend, coworker, or another trusted associate read your About page and then quiz him: does it explain, clearly and simply, who you are, what you do, where, how, and when? Think like a journalist: what information does your audience absolutely need?
  7. Keyword optimise. People are searching for you, or at least for what you do. Help them out, and reinforce your credibility, with targeted keywords. Remember, browsers conduct long-tail, question-based queries, so remember that when crafting your text. Include optimised headlines and subheadings.

The About page is one of the most visited on your website. With these tips, you can ensure it’s one of the strongest as well.

ClickWhether you want your audience to sign up for a newsletter, download a whitepaper, subscribe to your blog, or complete another call to action, you need compelling, attention-grabbing copy. How do you persuade your visitors to take the next step?

Many people treat opt-in copy as an afterthought: “Oh, while you’re here, sign up for our newsletter.” In fact, this can be a big opportunity to persuade your audience to complete a desired call to action. Some tips that will help you create a message that resonates with your visitors:

  • Identify who you want to target. What is your market? This helps you determine what type of content works best for them – and how best to promote it.
  • Spend most of your time on your headline. This is, by far, the most important element of your opt-in copy. Studies show that the vast majority of visitors only read the headline – if you don’t grab them then, forget about it. Be sure to tell them what they are going to get out of the deal. In other words, why should they sign up for the newsletter/RSS feed/whitepaper? Does it have tips, advice, or guidance? Will it entertain them? Is it relevant?
  • Solve a problem or scratch an itch with your copy. What are the “pain points” of your audience? What are their concerns? What can you help them resolve? Identify the challenges your audience is likely facing, and then propose a solution. Show them what is in it for them.
  • Tell them you have the answer. Why should they believe? Are you an expert in your industry? Do you have proven systems or processes? Give your audience a reason to believe that completing that CTA will help them conquer their problem, overcome their challenge, or better position themselves for success.
  • Offer a clear CTA. Do your visitors know what you want them to do – and what they will get out of it? An ambiguous CTA, such as, “Act Now!” does not give them the information they need to make a good decision. Most will bounce right there. Instead, make sure it is simple and direct: “Sign up for our newsletter,” or “Download you free copy.” A clear CTA will increase the amount of people who opt-in.
  • Provide a short opt-in form. A good rule to remember is that the shorter your opt-in form (i.e., the less information you ask your visitors to provide) the better. You will get more people to opt-in when your forms are simple and quick.

Opt-in copy can help you turn visitors into repeat visitors, customers, and fans. While a CTA to sign up for your newsletter or an email list may sound trivial, it is one of the most important locations on your site. The best tip is to take time to craft a meaningful message that will impact visitors.

 

 

Seo ConceptWhile local SEO has always been important for many businesses, the incredible rise in the use of mobile devices has made it a critical part of attracting new customers and helping existing ones find the information they need. In our last post, we talked about a few tips to get your local SEO efforts started. Now we’ll dive into social media and how it can help you shine a spotlight on your business.

Get Social

Creating and managing an active social media presence allows you to reach your audiences where they are and where they turn for information. That might, depending on your target customers, be Facebook; it might be Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn. In any event, do some customer research to determine where you need to concentrate your efforts. Other steps you can take:

  • Add social sharing buttons to your site. Target the ones your customers are most likely to use. Make it easy for them to share your content with others who might find it relevant and useful. It’s all about convenience: a simple button-click encourages people to take action.
  • Optimise your Facebook profile for local users. While not every audience uses Facebook (teens, for instance, are starting to veer away from the social network), it does have a tremendously wide and deep user base. It makes sense for most businesses to spend some time here. When you create a page for your business, select the “Local Business or Place” category. If you have already created a page, go back to the Admin Panel. Select Manage > Edit Page > Basic Information. In the Category box, select “Local Business or Place,” and then choose the correct subcategory to specify which type of business you operate.
  • Try Twitter. Include your location and local-optimised keyword phrase in your information. Find local users (Twitter Grader and TwitterCounter can help) and start following local discussions with Twitter Advanced Search. Become an active part of your community; people don’t want to hear sales pitches. They want to engage and have their questions answered. Doing so positions you as an authority. Participating in a conversation positions you as a real person, not a faceless entity.
  • Get Googling. Google+ may not have the mass of Facebook or even Twitter, but it does have the weight of the world’s largest search engine behind it. Google weighs this content heavily, and being active can help you appear more prominently. Make sure your profile is visible to the public and use the Google+ search to find local users that may be interested in your business. Create a dedicated circle so you can develop and disseminate targeted communications. As with Facebook and Twitter, the key is being active in the community. Answer questions – but feel free to ask them. You can be an authority without being a know-it-all! And it makes you more approachable and likeable. Why not? Those are good qualities in a business!
  • Track your efforts with Google Analytics’ Audience Demographics data. You can see bounce rates, time spent on site, and pages per visit. Are you local visitors spending more time on the site? If not, how can you optimise your content or social presence to encourage more engagement?

Social media is an invaluable set of tools that you can use to boost your local SEO efforts and see greater results.

 

 

Open SignWhile the internet opens up the world to consumers and those seeking information, it also shrinks it. Searchers, particularly mobile ones, depend on online resources to find restaurants, theatres, sporting events, cultural events, services, addresses, and much more in their own backyards or locales they are visiting. Localising your SEO efforts is essential so your target audience can find you easily.

A few tips for local SEO success:

Start with the basics. NAP. Name, address, phone. Include this information on every page within your site, not just the home and contact pages. Secure a URL that includes your business name, and if possible, your location: for example, cafebluemanchester.com

Keyword-optimised descriptions. In your title tag, include your targeted keywords and location in 70 characters or less. Your meta description allows you to show searchers a snippet of your website content in the SERPs. While Google can choose the snippet it wants, it can also use your suggestion. In 165 characters, craft a description that includes your keywords, phone number, and locations served.

Develop a page for each location. If you have multiple locations, you don’t need to go to the expense of creating websites for each. You could, but you might find it easier to create a page for each location within one main website. This way, searchers are directed to the correct page for their needs, and they can always navigate the rest of the site’s relevant information via your internal links. The longer you can keep someone engaged in your site, the better.

Claim your business on Google Places. This is your chance to give Google and potential customers the information they need. All that is required is a Google account (which you should have anyway because it gives you access to a host of helpful tools and features), and you can choose from Free and Premium options. Take the opportunity to add up to 10 photos of your business (no stock photos!) and link to up to five YouTube videos.

Don’t forget Bing and Yahoo Local and Yelp. Sign up with these sites too. All three have free basic services to help you appear more prominently in front of your audience.

Embed a map. Local searchers are often interested in researching a business’s products or services and then visiting the physical location. Be sure to make it easy for them by embedding a map. Go to Google Maps and enter your address. Google will generate an HTML code that you can embed on your website.

These local SEO steps will help you get started. Next time, we’ll talk about local SEO and your social media presence.

 

ThermometerTo stay healthy, it’s best to make the annual trip to the doctor, get checked out, say “Ahhh.” In the meantime, there are a host of steps you can take to maintain your health on your own – eating right, exercising, getting proper rest, etc. The health of your website is the same: once a year, you should have a professional audit, a thorough checkup to maintain optimal site performance. But in the meantime, there are steps you can take to ensure you stay healthy.

Some aspects to review during your DIY audit:

Crawling and Indexing Issues

Ensuring Google properly crawls and indexes your website is critical. Log into your Webmaster Tools. ON your dashboard, click Google Index > Index Status > Basic. This will tell you how many URLs Google has indexed. Click Advanced  for more information on how many URLs Google has ever crawled and if any have been blocked by robots. Check your robots.txt file to ensure that any blocked URLs are, indeed, blocked by your choice to enhance your strategy (such as to not have Google crawl or index duplicate content).

Look for an increase in the number of crawled and indexed pages. A decrease may mean that Google cannot properly access your content.

Sitemaps

Your sitemap is just that: a map of your content for Google. Make sure it follows the established protocol and that it is formatted correctly. Compare the URLs that Google has crawled to your sitemap and update if necessary.

Links

It is essential that you keep an eye on your link profile. Do you see any spammy or questionable links? Are there high-quality reputable links? With the rise of negative SEO, it pays to stay on top of your profile, and to cultivate great links from authoritative sources.

On-Page SEO Elements

Now you’ll want to examine your tags and metadata. Quickly:

  • Do you have unique title tags for each page? Do you have any duplicates? Are they relevant and keyword-optimised? Are they between 40 and 69 characters?
  • Do you have solid copy for your meta description tags? Is it relevant to searchers and provide the information they need? Are they 200 characters or fewer?
  • Do you have alt image tags? These help visually impaired searchers, and they play a role in your search engine visibility. Make sure they accurately describe the images.
  • Do you have H tags in the proper places? Do you have H1 for the main headline and subheaders as H2?
  • Do you have relevant, interesting content? This applies to your site copy, as well as to blogs, whitepapers, and other “long-form” pieces.

Speed

Site speed is huge this year, especially with mobile users. Make sure your site is running on all cylinders. Google’s PageSpeed tools are helpful here. When you identify issues, create a strategy to address them and boost performance.

This, of course, is not an exhaustive audit, but you should keep your eye on these types of issues continually.  A professional audit will fill in the gaps and give you a great foundation on which to build over the year.

Old KeysWith the move towards contextual search, SEOs and businesses have to be much more concerned with the intent behind the query. When someone enters “Italian food,” for instance, do they want restaurants? Recipes? Diets? Targeting the intent with long-tail keywords can help websites improve their SEO strategies, increase relevancy, and pull in visitors.

Long-tail keywords are usually 3-4 words in length, as opposed to “head” keywords. In our example, “Italian food” is a head keyword, and completion is fierce. How can you ensure visitors find you because your site is relevant to their needs? By:

  • Using very specific search terms. Italian food restaurants in London, Italian recipes for family dinners, Italian and Mediterranean diets. Someone searching for a good eatery will find you using these targeted terms. Hit Google AdWords Keyword Planner to determine which terms your audience is searching for and plan a strategy.
  • Using keyword search tools, such as Ubersuggest and Google (just enter in your keyword and see what it suggests). Ditto that for Bing. Also try Bing’s Suggester.
  • Using Google to search potential keyword phrases. Ideally, you’ll see that there’s not a lot of competition and that the phrase appears in niche sites, Q&As, and forums. Don’t get too granular, though. You don’t want to narrow down so much that you rank first for your keyword – but no one is searching for it! Think like a searcher.
  • Including the keyword into your title tag. Make sure it is compelling and encourages readers to click through.
  • Using 3-4 long-tail keywords for each new post – and make sure posts are fresh. Publish content regularly. Google likes it; so do searchers. Remember, as with any keyword, never stuff. Place them organically into your content.
  • Optimising existing content with the targeted keywords. Again, natural is the key to keywords.

Search queries are increasingly specific, many times even in full question form. Capitalise on what people are actually searching for by including long-tail keywords. You’ll be able to show searchers that you’re relevant and can answer their questions.

Blank Notepad 5

A recent Hubspots/SmartInsights survey found that one of the top challenges faced by European marketers is producing enough quality content. Why? How hard can it be to write a couple of articles, maybe a whitepaper, craft some infographics, and do up some tweets? Easy peasy, as they say on Pinterest. It is! But producing all of this content all of the time – there’s the rub. Here are some tips to help out.

  • Take stock of your current content. What do you have? Look at your analytics as well: which pieces are most popular? Why? What types of information do you cover, and in what format? Which pieces have high bounce rates or low engagement with your visitors? Again, look at the topics and the formats to determine why your audience gives these the cold shoulder.
  • Brain storm relevant ideas. Fortunately, you have a host of tools at your disposal to help. Use Google’s Keyword Planner, for instance, allows you to search for keyword ideas. Look through LinkedIn groups for professional discussions, Quora for trending stories and hot questions, and Ubbersuggest for keywords. Even sites like Pinterest can help you gather, and organize, great ideas.
  • Organize everything. All these ideas, snippets, and stories can create chaos. Organize it all with a program or app. EverNote is a good example, but far from the only available – and free – option! You can jot down thoughts, store all sorts of content, and use the search function to find it all again. With cloud access, you can do this anywhere, anytime so you never lose an idea for great content.
  •  Schedule your content. Create a content calendar so you have a schedule. You can build a bank of articles, infographics, images, and other content to release at specified dates so you always have a steady stream of relevant goodies for your audiences. It also allows you the flex to respond to news stories and current events. You can use Excel or find a free template online.

Taking a methodical approach to content development ensures that you have relevant articles, whitepapers, editorials, infographics, and video when you need it. You don’t need to depend on the muse; you need to depend on your schedule! And you need to make scouring the world for new, fresh ideas a daily activity.

Poor EyesightSEO is alive and well, but what about the traditional mainstay of search engine optimisation: the keyword? Is focusing on keyword strategy worth your time and resources, or is this still a vital part of your SEO approach?

First, why do many believe that keywords are endangered species that are on fast-track for extinction? A few reasons:

  • The 2013 Hummingbird update reflects Google’s progress towards semantic search. Instead of focusing on keywords, the search engine wants to focus on the meaning behind searchers’ queries.
  • Google moved all of its search results to https:, or secure sites. This blocks SEOs and webmasters from accessing rich keyword data from organic searches.

Despite this, one fundamental truth remains: keywords organize the Internet. According to some experts, the internet contains over 1.2 zettabytes of information – or 1.3 trillion gigabytes. With the sheer volume of information, there has to be a way to categorize it and return relevant search results.

Keywords serve this important purpose, and despite how “intuitive” search becomes as Google seeks to infer meaning we still have to use them. For instance, if we entered “Why are aardvarks purple?” Google knows we need information on purple aardvarks. We’re not going to get results on orange cats, yellow panda bears, or 1949 Fords.

So, no, keywords are not dead; in fact, they’re an integral part of ensuring your websites are visible and that Google can serve them to searchers. The key to keywords is natural and relevant. Keyword stuffing has long worn a grey or black hat, so that’s not a change. Instead of worrying about ranking for a particular keyword, the focus should be on providing clear, informational, trustworthy answers to the most common questions about your business, your industry, your particular niche.

Google does want to figure out the intent of a search – but they still need to find results with relevant content, and they still use keywords in this effort.

Some tips for optimal use of keywords:

  • Use keywords naturally and don’t be afraid to use synonyms. Google will recognize them, and readers will not get a spam vibe from your site because you’ve used the phrase “best gloves in the UK” 14 times on a single page.
  • Cover a single topic per page. Target the users’ intent: for instance, do they want to learn how to properly knot a tie? Dedicate a page to this helpful topic.
  • Don’t overdo it. One page is enough to help people learn to put on a tie. You don’t need another page with a video, another with tie-knotting FAQs, and yet another with famous celebrity tie-wearers. One thought, one page.
  • After you publish content, do a search of Google, Bing, and Yahoo to see what types of variations come up. You can use this information to create more specific keywords that ensure people looking for the information you have can find you.

Natural, relevant keywords that target your audiences’ intents can help you rank more highly – and more importantly, reach the people you need.

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