SEO News

Magnifying Glass

Ah, you have spent hours upon hours trying to appease the Google gods and suddenly… voila… there is another real contender in the search arena.  Did you know that Bing is now offering big time incentive for those willing to make the switch from Google?  Awarding searchers points for their activity on the Bing site, the company is offering up some pretty substantial prizes for those with enough points to purchase entries into drawings.  The impact that this will have on the search industry is not yet clear, but what is apparent is that Bing is in it to win it and not likely to disappear anytime soon, which means that, as a content creator, you want to be sure that you are appealing to their crawlers as well.

If you think that your efforts to appeal to Google are automatically going to make you a shining star on Bing, think again.  There is a website dedicated to showing the drastic difference in search results between the two search giants.  Don’t believe it?  You can check it out right here.

Back Links Lose Their Influence One of the biggest reasons that there is this discrepancy in results is because Bing doesn’t put so much weight on the back links on other websites.  It doesn’t mean that you should stop your efforts to obtain these links, but simply that, when trying to build you Bing standings, you will need to put more effort elsewhere.  There is some good news about this Bing trend – it prevents the boost in standings for those using immoral link buying practices.  That is certainly a silver lining for those working hard to build their online presences honestly.

Content is Still King There is some debate on this point, but many have come to agree that Bing weighs On-Page SEO even more highly than Google does.  That means that you need to have excellent content, a wealth of relevant keywords, and clean HTML coding.  The good news here is that, if you are having success on Google, then you have likely already been making these efforts.  Just keep it up!

New Sites Rejoice Page Rank is generally something that takes time to build up.  So, new websites automatically get pushed to the back of the search engine standings lineup.  However, with Bing, there is evidence that Page Rank is of less importance and that might just mean that your new website stands a chance of reaching page one in the near future.

Thumbs UpIt took a long time for this service to be given the green light, but the good news for businesses internet-wide is that Google is now providing the opportunity to make a better first impression with Google Review Extensions.  Why does Google want to give businesses the right to publish reviews as part of their Adwords snippets?  The reasoning is simple – Google serves the search user and reviews give that user more information about the products or services he is seeking.

Be Sure Your Review is Relevant As always, Google does have some rules in place to ensure that you are not planning to abuse the system.  One of these regulations is that the reviews that you use for this purpose must be made within the past twelve months, so don’t try pulling up that amazing testimonial from five years ago.

Size Matters Ah, the statement that we all hate to hear applies more than ever when it comes to Google Review Extensions.  There is a significant length limit to the reviews used.  Those used for this purpose can be no more than 67 characters long.

Better to Be Broad While all positive reviews are meaningful, the best used for the Google Review Extensions are those that are all-encompassing.  That is to say that you should opt for testimonials that speak to the company as a whole, rather than a specific product or component of your business.

Know Your Way Around In order to make Google Review Extensions work for you, you have to know how to implement them.  In your Adwords account, there is a tab entitled ‘Ad Extensions’.  For this menu, choose ‘+Extension’ and then the campaign that you want to apply the review to.  Google will want to know if you are listing an exact quote or a paraphrased review, but otherwise installing the extension is simple.  Type in the quote or the URL where it can be found and save.

It should be noted that, as with ads, Google must review your extension entry before it will be seen by the masses.  How you enter the testimonial will make a difference in how long the review process takes.  It has been noted that campaign-wide extensions are generally processed faster than those used for a single ad group.  The minimal time and effort required are well worth it.  The addition of a review at the end of your snippet can improve the first impression that others form upon seeing it, which can lead to great click through rates and a better return on investment.

Paper Emotions - Aggressive

It can be so discouraging to receive negative comments about your business, your writing, or some other endeavor.  After all, this is your passion in live, it is what you have dedicated tireless hours, and very likely, copious amount of your hard-earned capital to.  So, when someone attacks it, it can be very difficult to take the personal element out of it. You must remember that generally negative statements are made by those that don’t know you and are only unhappy with some small piece of what you do. It is not a personal attack and with a little forethought, you can smooth it over and come out looking even better on the other end.  Just think about how happy you are when you experience excellent customer service.

Move the Comment Down the Feed Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to generate a lot of new content on that particular social media channel to push the negativity from the forefront of your page.  Social media platforms replace old content with new as soon as it is created, so get busy.  Once you have lessened the threat and the number of potential customers likely to see the negativity, you can react to the attacker.  If the comment is not on your page, but on someone else’s, then consider requesting that they remove it in a personal message.  If it holds a true potential of damaging your reputation or that of your company, then there is the option on some platforms to report it as defamation.

Respond with Grace Don’t retaliate or spout out with anger.  It will serve you much better to take the higher road.  Remember, every company makes mistakes and if you were caught in one, the best thing that you can do is admit fault, apologize, and showcase your willingness to work with unhappy customers.  If the complaint is related to a product that you manufacture or a service that you provide, you might consider smoothing the problem over by correcting the reported problem or offering a discount to the individual in question.  If it is a more generic attack, then consider the source of the anger that fueled the comment and how you might politely diffuse it, while upholding your image.

Baseless Negativity If you know for the fact that there is no truth in the comment or it is clearly some sort of misunderstanding, don’t be afraid to say so publicly.  However, do so with tact.  Don’t attack the other person, just simply state facts laced with humility.

Man With A Megaphone 2

If you want to see real organic growth, then you will want to encourage your readers, your customers, your clients to engage with you in a public forum.  Getting others to generate content on your page requires a bit of effort on your part.

Give Them the Tools If you want members of the public to interact, then give them the tools to do for.  Create a clear area for comments to be made, include social media buttons on your website, so people can easily share, like, =1, etcetera.  Nowadays, this is not a difficult thing to do.  The HTML code for these items can be found quickly via internet search and the addition to your articles and blog posts will likely lead to a boost to your organic growth.

Provide Teasers Those the invention of social media has demonstrated how willing people are to share and talking about things that interest them, there is also, very often, motivation for doing so.  Contests are a great way to give people a reason to generate content on your behalf.  The great part is that several free, online services are making it simple to build and maintain these giveaways.  Consider companies like Rafflecopter to assist you in creating the contest and offer prizes related to your area of expertise.  Authors might give away free ebooks or signed paperbacks, while a structural engineer could provide free blue prints of the most popular house layouts.

Know the Motivation Contests are an obvious draw for some people, but that is certainly not the only reason that people share content and talk about it on the web.  Topics that evoke emotion – whether it is an uplifting success story or an image that pulls at the heartstrings or something that simply makes a person laugh – are likely to be shared.  Similarly, many individuals are willing to act simply to showcase their involvement in a community.

Respond!  The greatest way to ensure that people keep generating content in response to your page is to take the time to read and respond.  Conversation is the ticket to real success in the social networking world.  Consider every comment and share the opportunity to engage a potential fan or customer.  A question should be answered, a complaint should be addressed to showcase your company’s stellar customer service, and even the simplest remark can provide a starting point for interaction.  Do not make the mistake of missing out.

DANGER

So you want to be a blogger?  If you want to do so successfully, you will want to avoid the common mistakes made by others.  Learn from those who have come before you and steer clear of these actions.

Duplicating Content Having trouble coming up with new topics to write about within your area of specialty?  If so, it is a good idea to do some research.  Read articles, watch videos, find blogs dedicated to the topic and explore the conversations that are occurring in the comments beneath.  This will surely serve as inspiration and prevent the common mistake of remaking the same post over and over again.

Plagiarism Please, don’t do it!  Use your own expertise to create something new, relevant and likely to help you in your search engine standing.  New content leads to organic growth, plagiarism is worthless and harmful to the industry.

Purchasing Search Engine Standing You should not need to invest your hard earned capital to get the backlinks that will ultimately improve your SEO.  In fact, the practice of buying links can ultimately hurt your online presence.  Google isn’t perfect, but the system was not built by fools.  The algorithms are able to recognize trends and those that point to foul play can get your company black listed by the largest search engine on the Web.

Becoming Consumed with Keywords Yes, they are important, but when they begin to take precedence over the content, trouble will brew.  While the saturation of keywords may lead to more site visitors, it means little if the conversion rate plummets.  Good content is what will make a person linger and encourage him or her to return.

Ignoring the Importance of the Title It shouldn’t be a last thought, because it is the first thing that the reader sees.  A title should be engaging.  It should make it clear what the blog post is about without giving away too much.  There should be an element of curiosity intertwined that draws the eye to the body of text.  Furthermore, the title is the perfect place to cleverly weave in a keyword.

With the right approach blogging can be fun; it can be a release and a way to express that which you are most passionate about.  Don’t lose the passion because you are caught up in the numbers.  Remember, above all else, content counts and that is your job as a blogger – create excellent, worthwhile, relevant content.

Camera

The human eye is drawn to imagery.  This is one of the first things taught in Marketing 101.  This is becoming even more abundantly clear as the world of social media continues to boom.  It was reported that tweets using imagery were clicked up to 150% more often than those containing text alone.  For this reason, the leaders in the online business world have quickly taken to infographics, which are defined as “images used to represent important information or data.”

Get Friendly with PhotoShop If you have access to this software, you should definitely be using it.  PhotoShop provides the user complete control over what an image becomes.  Whether you want to add text over the top of a photo, you want to make yourself thinner in your profile picture, or you want to create amazingly attractive graphs and charts, PhotoShop tools make it possible.  Plus, there are a multitude of free guides and tutorials available online that will teach you everything you need to know to maximize the worth of this program.

Make the Most of Freebies There are a lot of sites available online, which offer a multitude of image editing services.  This includes PicMonkey for image manipulation, Social Media Image Maker for resizing photos, and PhotoVisi for collage creation.  These tools are completely free and can make infographics a much simpler undertaking.  There are a lot of them available on the web, but also consider mobile apps for infographic creation on the go.  

Appeal to Stats Lovers Statistics are loved online.  People from all walks of life and from a multitude of different industries are more than willing to share a bit of information, in the form of a statistic, with their friends, followers, and circles.  However, text gets lost in the mass confusion of social media feeds.  Get the most of your amazing statistic by putting it in picture form.

Compare and Contrast What images are making the biggest splash on social media networks?  Those that are evocative or highly contrasting.  That is to say that something that makes a person smile or tear up is likely to be shared.  Additionally, images that have a strong color contrast will grab the eye before those that are dull or faded. People want to be pulled away from the mundane and the right images can make that happen. Make the most of these facts and use them to your advantage when creating infographics.

 

Clean Up Messy URLs

Holding A Dot Com IIISometimes, it’s the little details that make a big difference, and SEO is no exception. A solid URL, for instance, may seem like an afterthought. In fact, it can be a critical part of your SEO efforts. If you have “messy” URLs, it’s time to clean up your act.

What is a Messy URL?

If it’s not easy for a human to read, it’s messy. Take a look at this fake URL as an example:

http://www.seoisawesome.com/article.php/index.php?p=18254768

This tells you nothing about the content. Messy URLs pose a few other problems as well.

  • They make it difficult (but not impossible) for search engines to properly index your site – and if your site isn’t indexed, you don’t make a showing in the SERPs, and if you don’t make a showing in the SERPs…you get the idea.
  • They are difficult for people to remember, meaning they won’t navigate to this page, or your site, directly. There are exponentially more opportunities to misspell and mistype these URLs.
  • They’re…messy. They don’t have a clean, crisp look – and that can reduce your credibility with both search engines and browsers.

Cleaning Up

When possible, use a strategically-selected keyword in your URL.

http://www.seoisawesome/how-to-clean-a-messy-url/

It should explain what users will find on the page. Add a 301 redirect on the old URL to avoid any problems, and in the future, make sure to use clean URLs.

 

 

Measuring Tape

Search Engine Optimization is a big, never-ending undertaking.  If it doesn’t result in a strong ROI, then the worth is questionable.  Rather than giving up entirely, it is better to learn from the data and alter efforts as needed.  There are several parts of the SEO puzzle that can be monitored.

Keyword Stats It is important to track the traffic to your website, but that hardly paints the full picture.  Success with branded keywords (which are those that include your specific brand name) simply suggests that people already familiar with the brand are searching for it.  The real picture of new growth is seen by examining success with non-branded keywords.  Follow the path below to see which keywords are working for you:

Google Analytics  > Acquisition > Keywords > Organic

Here, the keywords will be listed with their individual statistics.  You can exclude terms with your brand using the advanced search filters available at the top of the screen.

Inbound Link Count There are a number of tools available on the web that will give you a read out on the number of inbound links there are leading to your website.  Successful SEO depends a great deal on others linking to your site.  So, it is a very good idea to regularly check this count and to change tactics if the number is not climbing.  Small SEO Tools’ Backlink Checker is one example of the free services available for this purpose.

Visitor Quality You got them there, but that doesn’t mean that they saw any value in your site and if a person is coming and leaving in less than a minute, it doesn’t bode well for your ROI.  Fortunately, Google Analytics provides a great deal of information about the visitors to your site.  The Behavior report includes stats on the number of Unique Visitors (people seeing it for the first time), the Bounce Rate (the percentage of people who didn’t bother delving beyond the first page they saw), and the Average Visit Duration.  These can really paint a clear picture of what is happening when someone logs onto the site.  It can also point to a need for changes to content or design.

Keeping track of these SEO statistics is a great way to see how well your efforts are drawing in potential customers, but ultimately the ROI will come down to have the sales figures are impacted.  You might consider tracking your conversions with Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels

Card Index Box

It is so important to achieving greatness online, yet there are still millions of users who don’t understand what crawling and indexing mean.  Google crawlers, which are the pieces of code that make it possible for Google to explore your site, scour websites much like an average user would.  The crawlers explore all of the links and pages, bringing that information back to the Google servers.

Once the Google bot has crawled the site, the information enters the serves and is catalogued based on the content and its perceived worth.  This indexing places pages on a multitude of lists that can be referenced when an individual performs a related search.  There are a number of criteria by which a site might be indexed.

Create a Sitemap It is important to understand that Google is not perfect and will not immediately recognize all of the websites active on the Web.  The crawling process depends on the site being found.  Those that have already been crawled in the past, obviously, are known to the servers, but newer sites are found via sitemaps.  Of sitemaps, Google says:

“Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, an 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.”

If you want to know more about how to make a sitemap, visit Google’s instructional sitemap page.

There are very few that fully understand the alogrithms used by Google, which determine which sites are crawled and when that process will occur.  However, those coding sites do have some say over how Google processes the information contained within. There are special files called ‘robots.txt’ which site owners can use to provide clear cut instructions to the crawlers that access their webpages.

Acknowledge the Importance of Links While your site may be crawled, it is not going to earn any precedence, if there isn’t much chatter happening in regards to the contents contained on it.  That is to say that if no one is linking to your content, then Google is consider it of little worth and, if the site is indexed at all, it will be buried at the bottom of some long list, not likely to be seen by search users.

Recognize The Danger of a Slow Server If you notice that you aren’t making the Google ranks, it could also point to a problem with your server speed.  Google will limit its crawling expeditions if your server is slow because, in the company’s words, it doesn’t want to “use too much of your server’s resources”.

Know When it is Time to be Re-Indexed As part of the indexing system, Google saves cached versions of your website pages.  That version of the page will not change in Google’s system until the page is crawled again.  You can force Google to re-crawl and re-index your page when you create new content.  In order to do so, follow Google’s instructions on how to Submit URL to Index, found here.

 

 

Old Typewriter Wanderer Continental 2

It has been said a million times by thousands of SEO experts – content is the king online.  If you are not creating great, meaningful content, then your website is very unlikely to see the desired traffic.

Put the Audience First Unless you have already earned fame and acclaim, then it is unlikely that an audience is arriving at your website just to see you bask in your glory.  They are arriving at your page because there was a promise of worthwhile content.  It takes a person only seconds to determine if that is truly the case, so if you aren’t providing something worth seeing, then your bounce rate is going to be ridiculously high.

Stay Relevant If you haven’t hear the term ‘evergreen’, as it is related to your website content, then this is the time to learn more.  This is a very important concept in the virtual world. As the trees that this content is named for, evergreen content is lush, full, and eye appealing.  It maintains its relevance throughout the year and for years to come, rather than being a simple flash in the pan.  Be sure that your content can be called evergreen.

Say Something Meaningful Are you suffering from writer’s block?  Stop what you are doing and turn to the internet – not to copy content already written, but to read the comments made beneath those pieces.  Often, people will ask follow up questions to blog posts, articles, and other material written about your area of interest and those queries will never be answered.  Aha!  The perfect inspiration for your next piece of evergreen content.

Divide and Conquer Spread your wealth of knowledge and keep track of where it is posted and how it does, statistically speaking.  Be relatively narrow with the topics that you write on – become an expert instead of a jack-of-all trades – but be broad with your placement, so your brand will become more recognizable in more circles.

Is That a Headline or a Teaser? It should be a little bit of both. A title is meant to pull the audience into the text.  If it isn’t doing so, then it isn’t worth anything.  A great headline suggests the topic of the writing without giving away too much.  It should be suggestive, enticing and used to promote that which follows it.

Find Your Audience Once the content has been created, titled, and posted… it’s time for it to be read, which means that you need to reach out to your target audience.  But, where do you find them?  If you know your niche, then you will have a good idea what interests them and that can often lead you in the direction you need to go to get your content seen.  Be sure that you are aiming at those arenas and not spreading your efforts thin, in areas where your niche wouldn’t be.

The right efforts today can mean meaningful, organic-growth-worthy content that will continue bringing your audiences for many tomorrows to come.

 

 

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