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Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘search engine optimization’


GrowSmartBiz Conference: How to Multiply the Effects of SEO With Great Content

November 15th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

One of the Marketing Track sessions I attended at the GrowSmartBiz Conference had a great title-Stories, Content, and the Search Engine Sword Over Your Head-and delivered useful information in spades.  No matter how new or established your business, this session was a great way to learn exactly how to improve your search engine optimization efforts and results.

Ben Cook, the SEO Manager at Network Solutions, moderated the panel of 4 pros, including Tinu Abayomi-Paul, principal of Leveraged Promotion, Dr. Alan Glazier, founder and owner of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, Deborah Ager, principal of ClickWisdom, LLC, and Liana Evans, CEO of LiBeck Integrated Marketing.    (You might be curious as to why there’s an optometrist on the panel.  Dr. Grazier has successfully implemented SEO at Shady Grove Eye and become a prolific blogger in the process.)

Here are their tips on using great content to boost your website’s search engine optimization:

Write for your audience! To produce great content specific to your audience, you need to understand what they search for when online.  Use Market Samurai, a keyword analysis tool, to help you figure what people are searching for.  Then you will be able to write content that addresses their needs.

Use long-tail search terms in your content. Long-tail search terms are the descriptive keywords people enter in the search box when they’re conducting research online.  For instance, “children’s navy blue cotton jacket” rather than “children’s jackets”.  The more pages your website has, the more content you’ll have, and the more chances you’ll have at being found for long-tail terms.

Content type is important. Blogs, videos, and podcasts are great for search engine optimization, thanks to plenty of chances for back linking (aka, links from other sites).  All search engines, including Google and Bing, measure how often content is linked and how many views it gets, so the more varied your content, the better.

Make it easy to share content. Twitter makes sharing content and getting links easy as your content is spread from one person to the next.  On your blog, make sure you add “tweet this” and “like” buttons.  Google rewards websites that have links back to it from both new and established websites.

Optimize video and podcasts. Because search engines cannot read videos or podcasts, add a transcript.

The importance of the URL. You can create custom URL shorteners for branding purposes (I had no idea!).  Awe.sm is the first company I found in search results that does this.  Also be sure that your blog’s URLs contain the title of the blog post rather than numbers.

Photo Courtesy Shashi Bellamkonda

SEO for Dummies Part I: On Page Optimization

February 8th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

If you are a business owner, one of the first things you probably did when you started out was launch a website sprinkled with keywords.  How are potential customers going to find you otherwise?   Well, they probably aren’t. Unless your website is optimized for search engines, you are basically invisible online.  After all, how do you usually find businesses online?  You do a search.  And how many listings will you look at once a search engine has generated a list?  Exactly.  If your website does not immediately appear at the top of the list, well, like I just said, you are invisible.  Not good.

Posted by Gerlos to Flickr

Oh, and by the way, my website is not optimized for search engines, so don’t feel bad.

Time to get found online, which means calling in an SEO expert.  Meet Harry Books, President and CEO of Search First Marketing.  Harry has been doing this for a long time and has delivered over 200 SEO training seminars to over 6,000 business owners.  Needless to say, he knows his stuff.  There’s so much stuff to know, in fact, that it quickly became clear that this topic would require two posts.  This is part I and will focus on on-page optimization.  Part II will focus on links.

Here’s what I learned from Harry:

First, some background on SEO.  The reason you want your website to be found is to convert leads into new customers rather than just increase traffic.  Makes sense, right?  If you’re getting 100 hits on your website a month, but none of those hits are turning into customers, well, you’re just wasting your money.  SEO can help with a bunch of things: the messaging on your website, landing pages that keep visitors on your website, call(s)-to-action, and tracking and reporting.

It can sometimes take up to 6 months for SEO to work its magic, but results often start appearing much more quickly than that.  For instance, Harry just did a month end review for a client who had a 65% increase in Google traffic after just 2 months.  Not too shabby!

Anyway, let’s talk about on-page optimization. The biggest mistake people make on their website is giving every page the same title, like your company name for example.  When search engines look at a web page, the title determines what that page is about.   So your title page should include the name of our company plus your location plus what your business actually does.  So a spa’s home page would be titled “Spa Aqua—Washington, DC—Luxury day spa in the heart of Georgetown”. (Tip from Harry: Keep the titles under 65 characters, including spaces.) Since each page contains specific content, each page would have a unique title based on its content.   Keep in mind that search engines tend to reward pages with more content (more means at least 250 words).

To fix this every-page-with-the-same-title problem, you need to create uniqueness for each page on your website.  This requires someone with expertise, as it gets a bit technical.  You need:

  1. A title tag.
  2. A meta-description tag (this is buried in the code and is for search engines).
  3. Meta-keyword tag (this tells search engines more about your site).
  4. Page headers (more HTML stuff).
  5. Alt-tags (alternate text for images, which gives the search engine more information about the image; since a search engine can’t see the image, this helps them contextualize the image and gives you optimization credit).

So, now that we’ve covered text, would you believe that many experts estimate that only 3 of the top 10 ranking criteria are based on on-page elements.  The rest is all about links, those that are from and those that go to your site.  I’ll cover that in my next blog post, and I’ll cover PPC (pay-per-click), which is a more cost-effective way to go if you’re on a limited budget, in an upcoming post.

Don’t forget that Network Solutions also offers an entire array of online marketing solutions, including SEO, PPC, email marketing, local search visibility, and more.   Maybe one day I’ll get myself organized and actually invest in some search marketing tools.  If you are not generating the kind of traffic you need to grow, think about getting yourself some SEO help, whether it’s from Harry, Network Solutions, or someone you meet while you’re out networking.

Eight Things To Keep In Mind For Your Websites Search Engine Optimization

November 19th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

If content is King then your Search Engine Optimization efforts are your King’s Herald. The guy who is out there, once people are listening, giving out the valuable information about your King. But instead of the shiny horn and scroll of lineage, the Search Engine Optimization Herald uses text and links to allow the web crawlers, the cute name for the automated programs that source out websites and index their content in their lists.

Let me be clear, this isn’t the silver bullet that will push your website to the top page ranking. There are a lot of variables that get that there and with multiple search engines there’s more detail than can be fit in this list of eight things.

What we’re going to go over today are just a few things that will help helps search engines, like Google, be able to better index your site.

1. Title each page with your business name and section title. – Search engines use your title as the top link so it only makes sense you would have your companies name here. Don’t get too wordy and try to fill this space with extra words to try to help. You have between 60 to 70 characters (that’s letters, spaces, and symbols) so use that space wisely.

2. Use keywords on your pages that relate to that pages content. – This is where you leverage your key points in your content to, initially, draw attention to your content. You also want to take this time to also include words and two word phrases revolving around your industry and target markets.

3. Give each page a description based on the pages content. Ok, we’ve gone over the title and keywords, but the description is on more part of the sight that most people don’t keep in mind as they are looking at a search engine. By definition, this is the text that the search engines will display below the link to tell you a little about the site you are looking to find. By describing the content on that page, and a little about your company. Just like the title of your site, depending on the search engine you choose, you have roughly between 156 to 250 characters (letters, spaces, and symbols) to relay the information you want. This isn’t the place you want to get cute and fill it in with words that will boost your site. Your keywords are for that.

4. Name every image…photos and buttons. – This helps for more than search engines. This will help the disabled review your site. By namin>g the alt attribute, commonly referred to as the “alt tag”, you are giving a corresponding text title for every non-text element on your site. If this isn’t making sense, find your local web designer and they’ll go on for hours explaining it. Or you can just shoot me a message.

5.Give your site…a map– Site maps are great, because they help you organize your site as you go through the creation process, but they also provide a page of reference links for the search engines to review your site. The site map will also give viewers a place they can go where there a clean, and clear, direction to the content on your site without all the bells and whistles.

6.Breadcrumbs aren’t just for the birds. – Breadcrumb Navigation is often seen just below the header, and navigation (if it is horizontal), and just above the title of the content. It is a great way for visitors to see the path that took them to this page, but this also provides additional links, just like your site map, for the search engine web crawlers to use when indexing your site. Breadcrumb Navigation will often look like this:

Home > Main Content > Sub Content

7.Leverage free analytics tools. – There are paid analytics tools, but just if you are starting out there are tools like Google Analytics available to you simply for the time of setting up a Gmail account. This will help you determine where people are going on your site and what keywords are working for your site.

8.Remember your King. – The content of your site (the text, the links you create, and even images) help your search engine optimization as well. You may be able to get away with just a title, keywords, a description, and a single image, but you’ll get so much further making sure all of the things we talked about above are in line with the content on your website.

These are just a few efforts that you can implement early on, or even in your current website if you haven’t yet, to help make your site more appealing to web crawlers. Remember, this isn’t the silver bullet to the top page rankings, but it will help.

You can also reach me on Twitter by following me @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.