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SEO

Why We Love SEO (And You Should, Too!)

By | Business, Design, SEO, Web Design | No Comments

Essentially, SEO (the common abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in search results using the right content and keywords. The main aim of SEO is to ensure that a website ranks higher on search engines for various keywords. To get to the first page of Yahoo!, Bing, or Google, you need to build your authority within the industry in which you operate.

We love SEO and it is lovable for a number of reasons.

1. It Is both Simple and Challenging

Although SEO looks simple to most people, it can be quite challenging. Basically, when web design and SEO experts design and develop a website, they insert various keywords within the content. As they do this, they format the pages and content in ways that give it a flow for the end user while at the same time is optimized for the search engine bots.

While this may seem simple enough, you need to remember that optimizing a website will depend on your instinct and a number of established paradigms. The search engines change their algorithms so often that today there is no silver bullet guaranteeing SEO success – making it a bit of a challenge.

2. Reliance on Community

Another reason why SEO is fun and lovable revolves around the fact that it relies and is built around a community of web design and search engine optimization experts, users, and website owners. This community has individuals who are dedicated, smart and friendly.

To succeed in your own SEO strategy, you need to understand how to interact with others within your part of the community. This means that you should be able to forge relationships that will yield you high quality back links from other websites and blogs. Start by getting the right web design services and watch as everything else falls into place.

Additionally, you should build a good image among your readers, website visitors and customers. They will share your content on social media, write sterling reviews for you, tell others about you and promote your brand on your behalf. This will go a long way in raising your returns on investment from your SEO efforts.

3. SEO Is a Game Changer

In the same way, websites rely on social media and PPC (Pay Per Click) ads to raise interest, promote themselves and increase their visibility. Digital marketing, as dictated by SEO, works more effectively while remaining affordable.

Essentially, SEO has completely changed the online advertising game. Today, you can get higher ranks for your websites and blogs without having to work too hard or pay too much. All you need to do is focus on the right strategies, work smart and use the best tools to get you on the first page for your chosen keywords. What is more, once your SEO tactics start working, they will continue growing your visibility.

Keep in mind that it will take you some time to build great content, build link profiles and adjust your on-page elements. SEO is a never ending job that much like building and maintaining a website, requires continual effort and attention. In the long run, you will start noticing an increase in the traffic coming to your website.

Search engine optimization is the best and most affordable thing you can concentrate on today. If you own a website or a blog, the most effective, most affordable and most visible way to build your image, get more visitors, and make them perform the actions you require is by using the right SEO tactics. Focus your efforts on SEO and watch as your website continuously ranks higher for your chosen keywords.

5 Ways to Skyrocket up the Search Rankings

By | SEO | No Comments

No matter how amazing their products or services may be, no company can turn a profit unless they are getting as much publicity as possible. For many businesses, this will require a modern website that is ranking well in the search engine results pages, but maintaining these sites is often easier said than done. Anyone that has begun to notice that their website is falling behind the competition may want consider these five tips that will help them climb back up the rankings as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Redirect to One Site

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is having multiple site addresses that don’t get counted as a single “vote” in regards to search engines. Companies will often maintain a number of domains such as http://yourwebsite.com, yourwebsite.com, and yourwebsite.org without realizing those extra sites are actually hurting their rankings. Instead, they can use all of these sites to automatically redirect to the site they will be spending most of their time and energy on. In extreme circumstances, this can often double the site’s “value” in the eyes of the big search engines.

Start Updating Content

There are few things that will hurt a site’s rankings and its conversion rates like old content. When the leading search engines are indexing a site, one of the first things that they look for is new and relevant content. For many, this will mean the consistent release of content such as blogs. While this is important, those that are running the site should also consider options such as revamping the landing page, press releases, white pages, tutorials, infographics, and anything else that will keep visitors on the site for a longer period of time.

Become an Industry Leader

Many business owners tend to think of their website as a traditional advertising medium such as a billboard. Thinking of the website as a platform for connecting with customers and other industry leaders is actually a much more effective method of increasing that site’s rankings. Owners should start taking a look at industry forums, competitor’s websites, and anywhere else that they can start conversations and become a major voice within that particular field. Asking and answering questions is the quickest way to create effective backlinks that will skyrocket the site’s rankings.

Focus on Geographic Keywords

Another common mistake made by web designers and business owners is throwing a broad net when it comes to keywords and key phrases. The more common the keyword is, the more difficult it will be to move up in the search engine rankings. An easy way to do this is to think like potential customers and what types of searches they will make. Instead of a dentist going with options such as “cheap dental services”, they may want to tack on a geographical name and a specific treatment that they are known for.

Let Your Partners Work Do Some of the Work

Creating effective backlinks will also involve some work around the neighborhood. Local organizations that use a company’s name or add clips to sites such as YouTube could actually be invaluable when it comes to increasing a site’s rankings. Heading to meetings among local leaders, donating to charities, and any other methods a business owner can use to create a name for their company locally is actually going to translate into higher rankings.

Creating a high-ranking and effective website doesn’t happen by luck. Instead, business owners need to start thinking about ways they can actively contribute to the industry, connect with potential customers, and focus their efforts in the right areas.

Where Should You Spend Your Time: Traffic or Conversion?

By | Business, Marketing, SEO | No Comments

Getting more traffic to a company’s website will do absolutely nothing if that traffic immediately hits the back button and leaves. On the other end of the spectrum, a website with stellar conversion rates may be a waste of money if there is not enough traffic flowing in. Finding a balance between traffic and conversion rate optimization (CRO) is no simple task, and it often feels as if focusing on one means the other is bound to slide backwards. Anyone that has found themselves in this dilemma may want to take a look at exactly what these two metrics are and which could be the most beneficial for their own business.

An Explanation of Traffic and Conversion Rates

At first glance, traffic and conversion rates seems to be relatively straightforward. Traffic is the amount of hits that the site is getting every day and conversion rates are how many of those hits lead to a sale. Many business owners will come to find out that interpreting this data is much easier said than done. Pouring over the numbers from programs such as Google Analytics might not always give as clear a picture as one would think. Owners need to be sure that it is actually potential customers that are being pulled into the site. Conversion rates are slightly more difficult to interpret and most people will use data such as the time spent on site, where they came from, and their click-through rate.

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

For most businesses, conversion rates are going to be in the single digits. This means that practically any money spent on CRO will result in higher profits. This can be tricky, however, because a mishandled CRO campaign can actually drive away traffic. Owners can think of the initial CRO as catching the “low hanging fruit” if their site is currently underperforming. This is also a great way to increase the site’s ROI (return on investment). Businesses that have already put money into a website and some basic online marketing will increase how much that investment is bringing back to them.

The Benefits of More Traffic

The primary benefit of getting more traffic is that it can be much easier than CRO. As long as the owner has gotten a feel for what does and does not work when it comes to bringing in traffic, all they have to do is increase the amount of time and energy spent on what works. Increased traffic is also predictable when it comes to how much will be made off new visitors. If conversion rates have hovered around 1 percent for the past few years, then any increase in the traffic will have a predictable increase in profits. A final thing to think about is the fact that increasing a site’s traffic is essentially risk free. Unlike a CRO campaign that could actually harm conversion rates if done incorrectly, more traffic will always be neutral at worst.

Which Should I Be Focusing On?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer that is going to be right for every business. When it comes to creating long-term growth, shifting focus over to conversion rates will produce great results as long as it is run by an experienced and dedicated team. An influx of traffic may provide immediate gains, but it can be an expensive proposition to continue pushing for higher numbers every single month. The third option is a balanced approach that can provide slow but steady growth, but this will make it difficult to gauge exactly what is working and what must be tweaked.

How to Successfully Guest Post on Popular Sites

By | Marketing, SEO | No Comments

Despite Matt Cutts (of Google fame) scaring guest bloggers all over the place, it remains probably the most viable SEO and brand building strategy in existence.

There are two different types of guest posting:

  1. Posting for quantity in order to get lots of links.
  2. Posting for quality on top sites in order to build a brand and generate traffic through your bio link.

Both of these strategies are very successful. Posting for quantity is a bit easier to do, but requires much more work in order to be successful. Posting for quality is a tougher strategy to get down, but one single guest post could potentially launch you into another stratosphere.

Because it can be so effective, let’s talk about guest posting on popular sites.

Find the Best of the Best

You probably know your niche pretty darn well. Whether you’re a blogger or you just have a site where you sell your services, you should understand your competition and recognize who the “inner circle” of the top people are in your industry.

Create a spreadsheet with the URL of these top sites. If you only know a few, do some research on Facebook and Google. What sites consistently show up at the top of the search rankings? Which people constantly get their stuff shared on FB by everyone?

These are the people you want to keep track of. Keep going until you have a massive list – at least 50, but the more the merrier.

Find Topics to Pitch

Now, go down your spreadsheet and visit each of these sites. Read a bunch of their posts, and see which ones are popular (many bloggers will have a list of popular posts in their sidebar). See what they like to write about, the tone, the length, and anything else you can learn from them.

Determine 3 topics that you can pitch to them that they haven’t covered recently (preferably never) and would appeal to their target audience. Do this for your whole list.

Sniper Them for a Week

I’ve seen some bloggers skip this step, but I think it’s nearly essential.

This strategy means to stalk them for a week. Share all their stuff, leave comments, Like them on Facebook, etc. Don’t get crazy and go back and Tweet every post they’ve done, but do this for a couple of them. Many top bloggers follow the activity with their site, and they’ll notice your name if it pops up frequently. They’re more likely to respond when you contact them.

Email Them!

There’s a lot of leeway with the email you write, but a few points should be in there.

You need to

  • Tell them you’ve been reading their blog lately and that you are a big fan.
  • Point out a specific post that you enjoyed.
  • Tell them that you’d love to write for their site.
  • Give them the 3 post ideas you came up with and ask them if they like any of those.
  • Close!

That’s it! Make it friendly, not desperate. Use their name and inject some of your personality! They’d much rather work with a real person instead of someone robotic.

Write the Post and Send it Off

These posts you write for top sites should be the best posts you’ve ever written. They should be very well researched and cover the topic thoroughly.
These bloggers are the best and they’ll love you for providing amazing content that their readers can use.

Of course, your post needs to have a bio on it with a link back to your site.

Visit Back Often!

The day your post is published, be sure to visit and respond to comments. The blogger will appreciate that you didn’t just abandon the process once you got what you wanted. Share the post on your social media to help them get a little extra love.

You want them to love you so that they’ll let you write for them in the future!

Any questions about guest blogging on popular sites?

The Dark Side of Website Promotion: Tricks that Search Engines DO NOT LIKE

By | SEO | No Comments

It seems that everybody is aware of the most universal principles of the right SEO. Numerous website, forums, blogs and articles are dedicated to this important topic. Still, there are people who are trying to improve the ranking of the site using cheap and extremely incorrect methods. Specialist repeat over and over again that correct website promotion which meets the requirements of search engines is crucial for the success of your website, from time to time one can observe the so-called “Black Hat” promotion.

In fact, search engines are familiar with all these clever and not always fair methods. “Punishment” for the website, which will be caught in the use of “Black Hat” methods of promotion, may be different. For example, the website can lose its rating or it can be completely expelled from the SERP. It is possible that these tricks will remain unnoticed for the search engines during some period of time, but they will definitely stop working sooner or later.

Let’s enumerate the most widespread methods of “Black Hat” website promotion.

Invisible text

Hiding texts and key words on the website is a technique which is aimed to bring traffic and higher ranking to the website. This text is hidden from visitors of the website, but visible for search engines. The problem is that search engines have learned to track invisible text long time ago. The website using this method is taking a risk to be banned by the search engine.

Keyword density

All recommendations for website content state that the text must have keywords which will allow the website to increase ranking. The trick is that you should try not to overdo it. Excessive adding keywords to the text can lead to negative results. Your visitor will definitely face an unreadable and incoherent text. At the same time, search engines will use filters and the website may be easily estimated as spam.

Automatically generated content

Text published on the website should be clear and readable for every user of your website. There are many engines that offer automatically generated texts made according to your key words. But the only term suitable for such content is “nonsense”. Search engines are constantly monitoring the emergence of such texts and can apply filters to the websites. Therefore, experienced webmasters will tell you that only people should write texts.

Copying content

Many people believe that they can copy information from another website (for example, a similar company working in a different region) and publish it on their own website. But search engines are constantly fighting with copying content. If the search engine spiders find out that you are using this “Black Hat” SEO method, they can remove a portion of the website pages from their index and downgrade website’s position in SERP. In order to avoid these unpleasant consequences, the website owner should guarantee the uniqueness of the content published on the website.

In fact, the most important detail of high rating is the website itself. Unique and relevant content, nice strategy of website optimization and user-friendly interface are those criteria which will certainly lead your website to success.

About the author: The article is written by Melisa Marzett, an experienced writer and active blogger. Melisa prefers to work on such topics as web design, SEO and marketing. She also writes for classyessaywriter.com. Melisa is always ready to communicate at Google+.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Keyword Research

By | SEO | No Comments

Search engine optimization is a tough industry to break into. Competition is fierce, particularly for keywords. As a website owner, you may already be aware of this. When your potential customer types “pet grooming” into a search engine, they are going to receive millions of results. How do you break through to the top of them?

One little-known secret is long-tail keywords. Really, they’re more like key phrases. What is it that your potential customer really wants to know about pet grooming? Do they want to know where to go locally to find pet grooming services? Do they want to know how to groom their pet at home to save money? Are they looking for reviews for pet grooming products?

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords answer those questions. Instead of choosing “pets” and “grooming” for keywords, choose “pet grooming in Santa Fe,” “DIY pet grooming to save money,” and “the best types of shampoo for cats.” Long-tail keywords have less competition than short keywords.

How do long-tail keywords help my SEO?

The latest updates in Google’s algorithm reveals Google’s ultimate goal: rather than returning a random assortment of related links to the search query, Google wants to give users the answer. Hummingbird, the latest algorithm update in September, does just that. When users type “weather in Los Angeles” into the search bar, Google will give them a forecast at the top of the page. Links follow below.

Smart phone technologies follow the same pattern. We’ve all heard Siri answer such questions on an iPhone. Google phones have Google Now, which does the same thing.

The habits of smart phone and Google users will adapt with each new update. More and more users will be asking Google questions and wanting answers in the form of long-tail keywords.

How can I research long-tail keywords?

The research for long-tail keywords isn’t very different than research for traditional keywords. Use the same methods as you were using before, such as

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Trends
  • Conducting your own Google, Yahoo!, or Bing searches
  • Local keywords

On top of that, use your own expertise and experience. Gather your customer feedback. Look at questions and concerns that customers commonly have.

How do I implement long-tail keywords on my website?

On your website, answer questions commonly asked by customers. You can do this in a few different places:

  • On a FAQ page
  • In a blog post
  • On a product page
  • On your landing page

I recommend using your business blog to answer many of these questions. Blogs give you the space needed to fully answer questions, and they are also more laid back.

Do you use long-tail keywords? What has worked for you? Don’t forget to comment!

Where Should You Spend Your Time: Traffic or Conversion?

By | Marketing, SEO | No Comments

Anybody who owns a website or oversees the marketing of a particular brand has, at one time or another, asked themselves an important question: should I focus on increasing web traffic or focus on conversion? More to the point: why can’t I do both?

In a perfect world, you’d be able to drive traffic and conversions at the same time, but the truth is this: these two goals depend on two rather different approaches.

Two Unlikely Examples

You can approach just about any newsstand in American to see what sorts of headlines entice readers to pick up a particular magazine. You might see phrases like “One week to a better you!” or: “Flat abs quick!” Frankly, you won’t see much variety at all, but even so: these magazines keep selling, despite the almost total lack of innovation or unique information.

Now, consider a publication like Reader’s Digest. Instead of relying on flashy, attention-grabbing headlines, magazines like this use expertly written content that tackles important subjects in an in-depth way. They position themselves as an authority on a variety of subjects, and as a result, they lead to audience conversion: that is, the reader subscribes, with the promise of more high-quality content in the future.

What Can You Learn From This?

If you’re looking for an easy answer or a quick fix, you’re not going to find it. Instead, you’ll need to adopt a strategy that combines both of these approaches.

After all, traffic and conversion is not an either-or proposition: in point of fact, they’re two steps in the same process. Attention-grabbing headlines can help increase the traffic on your site, but high-quality content is what’s going to keep them there, and gently nudge them in the direction of the Buy Now, Learn More, or Subscribe buttons.

Unlike print magazines, websites and online publications get the unique opportunity to be a little more flexible in their approach. Since conversion is a process, you can start thinking about your content as a process as well: draw the reader in with “lighter” reading material that might satisfy their curiosity in a cursory way, and then lead them through to your more in-depth content.

It’s not a bait-and-switch: instead, think of it as a guided tour through the variety of content you have to offer. You’ll get the best of both worlds, and leave your readers (and eventual customers) with the impression that you can offer them something worthwhile, whether it’s a quick look at a subject that interests them, or something much more in-depth.

3 things you can do today to drastically increase your SEO rankings

By | Marketing, SEO | No Comments

It might be tempting to think that the artful use of keywords is all you need to succeed in the world of SEO, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Increasing your page rank is a full-time job, and it takes experience to understand exactly what you need to do to make sure your page is getting the attention it deserves.

The good news is that there is a host of tools available for you that can help you to dramatically reach the potential you’re striving for with your site or business. Here’s a look at three of the most important ones.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics has been an important tool for web masters and marketers for quite some time, and it recently underwent a facelift to add new features and to improve existing ones. The updated version of Google Analytics puts a bigger emphasis on conversions and what traffic sources are best suited for generating those conversions.

In fact, the section of the Analytics page that once was called Traffic Sources is now called Acquisition. It’s a fitting name, since it lets you take a look at which channels are directing traffic to your site. From there, you can even look at how those different types of visitors are interacting with your site.

Google Sitemap

Sitemap is a useful tool for web masters who want to make sure Google knows about all of their sites – especially the ones they might not already know about. Google’s crawling process is powerful, but it can’t always pick out every one of your sites’ URLs. That’s where Sitemap comes in.

Google Sitemap also provides you with the tools to provide metadata about the various media-rich content on your pages. For example, you can specify categories and running time for your videos. It’s also a good way to make sure miscellaneous data about your site is kept accurate, including when it was last updated and how frequently you expect future updates to be posted.

New sites in particular will benefit from Sitemap, since they don’t yet have many pages linking to them.

Google Places

If you’re the owner of a brick-and-mortar business, there’s no excuse not to get your business on the proverbial map. Google Places is now known as Google+ Local, but the mission is the same: to provide tools for business owners to post photos, reviews, and various locations of their businesses for prospective customers to find.

It’s particularly important as a means for people to get a sense of whether or not previous customers have had a good experience. In essence, this is the new word of mouth: online reviews are more important than ever when shoppers and diners are making decisions on which local businesses to visit. Google Places can give your business the tools it needs to set itself apart from the pack.

These are just three tools to increase your SEO ranking and your company’s public profile, but they’re a great place to start.

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