Search Marketing Tips and Info

A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

search-marketingAs the owner of a website, it’s naturally desirable to see your site on the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing. It’s technically not even a difficult task to rank in the top 10, but it is time-consuming and comprehensive and you have to possess the skills in order to make it happen. The entire process of website promotion as a way to increase visitors is called  Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.

We created a wide-ranging guide that will provide a strong base of understanding search engine optimization. You’ll learn how to make your site search engine friendly, find the right keyword phrases to boost traffic, how to buy links and market your company from a unique selling proposition.

Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important?

The search engines (including Bing, Google and Yahoo) like to see when websites receive direct traffic. They like to see that a visitor will come directly to your website looking for products, information or the services that you sell.

In a way, search engines are looked at as a middleman, where they will lead searchers directly to your website in order to fulfill their needs. The search engines are happy to provide websites with highly targeted visitors , and the site itself receives more publicity, incredible exposure and ultimately more revenue.

But here’s the thing…

If your website is not part of the search engine index, or it’s difficult to find even if it is indexed, you’re going to miss out on a phenomenal opportunity because your website is buried deep within the search results instead of being on the first page where it belongs.

The search engines – due to improved technology – become smarter on a daily basis. But search engine optimization’s significance should never be overlooked. If you perform SEO with precision, it will allow will definitely boost your website rankings and bring thousands of extra visitors and potential customers every month. This extra website traffic may be the difference between success and failure in the business world, and it’s why there are so many companies hiring SEO professionals to gain the added edge.

Search Engines: How They Work

The search engines only do two things. They are…

Crawling Webpages and Indexing:

online-businessEach of the search engines has their own “spiders”. These spiders are actually automated robots that comb through billions of documents through their interconnected links. It doesn’t matter what kind of docs they are either, because they could be JPGs, PDFs or your standard webpage.

Internet users expect to see instant results every time they look something up on their favorite SE. In order for Google, Yahoo and Bing to provide the correct answer quickly, they created dedicated data centers all across the world. These data centers house thousands of computers and more information than you could ever imagine.

When the spiders find the right pages, they are then decoded and stored on massive hard drives. This way they can be pulled up easily when necessary for a particular search query.

Providing Answers:

When an Internet user initiates a search, the search provider will comb through these trillions of documents and then display the most useful and relevant information based upon the query. They will also rank each piece of information based upon importance and other factors.

In order to deliver the most relevant content, the SEs will scan for correct keyword phrases within the pages. Although that’s just one factor, there are also a number of other things that influence a page’s relevancy.

Each one of the providers will determine a website’s importance and the information that it shares based on popularity. The more popular a particular piece of content is, the more useful it will be to others and the higher it will rank. Web results providers use algorithms (mathematical equations) to determine popularity. These algorithms comprise of 200 or more different factors to determine where a piece of content should rank.

Better Search Engine Ranking Tips

on-pageEven though each search engine’s algorithm will vary and seem difficult to master, they do provide some bits and pieces of information about how to achieve better standings in their results. As far as SEO is concerned, these tips are great and can help you achieve influence in “relevance” and “importance” within the SERPs.

Microsoft Tips from Bing Engineers

  • Ensure that the content and link is not hidden from spiders because of rich media, including Adobe flash player, JavaScript and Ajax.

  • Use a URL structure that is keyword rich.

  • Update your website with relevant, fresh and keyword rich content on a regular basis.

  • Do not display the text desired to be indexed within images.

Google Tips from Their Engineers

  • For each document, create a human friendly, keyword rich and descriptive URL, and only have one version.
  • 301 redirects and rel= “canonical” should be used to a dress the duplicate content issue.
  • Provide users with relevant, useful and informative original content.
  • Title elements and alt attributes should be descriptive and accurate.
  • Create websites that have text links and a very clear hierarchy.
  • At minimum, there should be at least one static text link, and every webpage should be reached from it.
  • Create website content for your visitors and try not to write specifically for the search engines.
  • Avoid cloaking – where the content seen by the search engines is different from the content that your visitors see.

How to People Use Search Engines?

local-businessWhen someone needs information, a solution to a problem or an answer, they will use the search engines.  They type in a keyword phrase or query into the box on the query page. These phrases are typically of three specific types:

  • Navigational related: When these queries are performed, the user is typically looking for a particular online destination. As an example, we mean sites like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
  • Action related: This is also known as a transactional query, and as an example, the visitor will desire to listen to a certain song or watch a specific movie.
  • Informational related: the user will perform this search when looking for certain information. As an example, they may want to find “The best plumber in Grand Rapids Michigan” or anything similar.

When visitors type certain queries into the search box, they are then directed to websites that contain the most relevant information. It’s the SE’s desire to provide the visitor with the most applicable websites to satisfy their needs based on the keyword phrases used.
If your website, for whatever reason, is not going to provide search engine users with the information that they need, they will not enjoy their experience. Yahoo, Bing and Google can tell when you did not provide the searcher with the results that he or she desired, and your website will lose rankings because of this over time.

On the flipside, when a user is satisfied and happy with the website and they had a good experience, this will increase the popularity of your website. And as a direct result of this positive experience, the results providers will recognize the value of your site and give you better positioning because of it.

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This is the reason why it’s so important to focus on your visitors when creating a website. You have to provide a positive user experience. You should never focus on creating a site specifically to please the search engines. You’ll actually receive better visibility in the results and improve your marketing efforts by pleasing the people looking for the information that you provide.

Here’s another way to look at the importance of the search engines and the results that they provide…

  • They are directly responsible for vast amounts of offline and online financial activity.

  • Each year, they achieve a greater level of popularity.

  • Higher website rankings will increase a site’s visibility by a wide margin.

  • If you achieve top listings in the results, you appear to be a trustworthy site and rewarded with extra website traffic.

There’s no question that you can achieve the goals and results that you desire once you understand search engine optimization and how to properly perform it on your website. You’ll have a definite advantage over the competition and your site will be a lot friendlier to the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization Strategy Musts for Larger Businesses

In order to beat the competition in this dog-eat-dog world, growing companies require a solid and well organized SEO strategy that increases their margins in the business world. If there is no foreseeable ROI from a digital marketing campaign then it should be scrapped for something that will, indeed, provide a good return on investment. This is paramount regardless of whether you implement such local marketing strategies yourself or if you hire a good SEO company to manage them for you.

The problem larger businesses have is that marketing executives can be overwhelmed by the time it takes to keep up with all the rapidly changing SEO services and search engine algorithm changes as well as the time it takes to implement productive strategies. A good quality SEO company can lift a huge burden from executive shoulders and get the ROI necessary to remain competitive.

Here are some key strategies for larger brands to implement in order to keep the competition at bay.

Organize and Align

Various departments in larger organizations can sometimes actually be fighting against themselves when it comes to implementing SEO services. For example, several departments may be using the same keywords to promote different products or services which cause competition between internal departments of the same business. This, of course, is detrimental to growth.

To eliminate internal competition between your own departments, you want to organize and align them so that each team is producing its own results based on known and structured criteria. Therefore, research the best keywords for each team and assign them appropriately. By taking this one step of organizing local marketing strategies and aligning goals, you can more successfully promote various web pages as well as strengthen other digital assets.

Overcome Technological Hurdles

Those big businesses operating internationally may find that their systems are actually auto-generating pages that produce duplicate content or are hitting country code snags when information is being crossed over to top domains.

To overcome such hurdles you have to have a good understanding of how your technological systems work within the parameters of your SEO local marketing strategy. This takes setting your strategy up as a priority in order to implement SEO services properly throughout the company.

Remain Up-to-date On Changes

To stay competitive and keep from being knocked down by search engine optimization changes, you have to remain current on what those big, chugging engines are up to. You don’t think that’s a big deal? Do you believe that Google’s rollout of Panda followed by Penguin were the last changes? Wrong.

Last year in 2012, Google alone made more than 20 major policy updates to their monitoring systems as well as a slew of minor tweaks. Google has an army of engineers that are constantly working to find ways to “better” the search process, all of which affect search engine optimization in one way or the other. If you ignore these changes then you will find yourself throwing away valuable time and money on SEO strategies that not only don’t work but could actually harm your rankings.

Turn Over the Reins

An SEO system is much like a fine car’s engine. It must be consistently checked and tuned up in order to reach maximum performance and this is normally carried out by experts.

Keeping your SEO systems operating at peak performance also requires regular tweaking by experts. If you are experiencing any of the above problems within your large company, turn over the reins to our professional SEO company for expert SEO management and implication of up-to-date and effective SEO services.

Google Penguin 2.0 Recommendations

Penguins loving IV / Pingüinos cariñosos IVGoogle has just rolled out Penguin 2.0, a large algorithmic update promising to go “deeper” than the 2012 Penguin release, which put a hurting on websites with number of manipulative links in their profile.

This prospect creates fear for many small businesses who depend on search engine optimization (SEO) for their livelihoods. But there is also a sense of confusion as the line often shifts and the message from Google contradictory.

Sorting out Panda, Penguin, and Manual Actions

Google's Panda update is a different release than Penguin. Panda is geared toward duplicative, thin, or spun content on websites.

Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts recently stated that Google is actually pulling back on Panda because of too many false positives. This is good for news aggregators and other sites that reuse content appropriately and have been hit hard by the Panda filter.

Penguin is much harder to understand, focusing on backlink patterns, anchor text, and manipulative linking tactics that provide little value to end users. To make matters worse, Google likes to take large manual actions just prior to major algorithm updates. In 2012 we saw theremoval of BuildMyRank from the index just prior to Penguin.

Earlier this year we saw major manual action taken against advertorials. Last week Google announced the removal of thousands of link selling websites and we are hearing of a manual spam penalty against Sprint this week.

The proximity of these manual actions with major algorithmic updates is brilliant PR as it associates them together in our memories, discussions and debates - but they are very different things.

Is SEO Enough?

As small business owners move through the here we go again feelings to actually decide what to do in response to Penguin 2013, sorting out the truth is paramount. Google is clearly beating the familiar drum with the same core messages:

  1. Build a great website.
  2. Make awesome content with high end-user value.
  3. Visitors will magically appear.

But the reality is that visitors don’t magically come, at least on any reasonable scale, without organized promotional activities. Many excellent websites have died a slow death due to lack of promotion. And this is where the contradictions emerge in SEO, which has demonstrated extremely high ROI compared to other marketing channels.

Long Live Online Marketing

While discussed many times, webmasters still struggle with shifting their link building activities toreal SEO strategy. They fail to see that SEO in 2013 is now integral to online marketing and no longer a standalone activity.

Whereas SEO used to be about tuning a website for optimal consumption by spiders, today’s SEO is about earning recognition, social spread, and backlinks through excellent content marketing. This means SEO is now ongoing, integrated, and strategic – whereas it used to be one-time, isolated, and technical.

Real SEO

Real SEO is the prescription for those who fear Penguin 2013. Here are practical activities that need to be done every month to achieve real SEO:

  • Continually Identify Audience Demand: Your SEO won't be successful if it isn't useful. To serve a need, webmasters must understand what the audience is seeking. Keyword research, as always, is critical. While doing keyword research don’t over-emphasize head terms or money keywords. Focusing on long-tail keywords renders more immediate results, increases the breadth of a website (remember Panda), and builds authority that will ultimately help the head term.
  • Content marketing: In my opinion, content marketing is the new link building. Earn recognition, social spread, and backlinks by giving away valuable information for free. Excellent content has high audience value and points readers to other resources via cocitation. Video is an excellent form of content marketing that is still under-utilized by small businesses. And newsjacking is an emerging form of content marketing that specifically targets hot news topics for viral spread.
  • Work on brand: There is increasing evidence that branded mentions are an important legitimacy signal to Google. Promoting the brand has traditional marketing benefits and also now helps SEO. But be careful not to turn SEO content marketing into an endorsement, as this crosses the line. Find traditional marketing tactics, such as press releases, to drive branding while announcing news-worthy events.
  • Syndicate: The "build it and they will come" philosophy doesn't work on an Internet with more than 500 million active domain names. This is why even excellent content needs to be promoted. Email marketing, social media, community engagement in forums, and guest blog posting are efficient mechanisms for spreading the word about engaging content. Interviews, PPC ads, and local event sponsorship will also get your name and content noticed. Any activity that broadcasts your message, your brand, and builds real community discussion will ultimately support SEO, and should be considered part of the SEO process.

Conclusions

The arrival of Penguin 2013 has many small business owners scared and confused. But SEO remains one of the best online marketing channels.

Real SEO is the path forward for those who wish to make a long-term investment in online marketing. Forward-looking webmasters can prepare their sites for Penguin 2014, 2015, and beyond with well-researched, end-user focused content marketing that provides strong audience value.

Using modern syndication tactics, they can broadcast their message, gain audience mind-share and earn recognition. By spreading valuable content, small business can build their brands and earn bulletproof backlinks.

Use Sitelink Descriptions To Boost Your AdWords CTR

Sitelink Descriptions To Boost Your AdWords CTR is a no brainer. These new feature provide an extra advantage for your ad to win more clicks and increased conversion rates. Sitelinks can be used to to highlight specific products, highlight important information regarding your business, even to display a phone number for free leads. This Adwords feature is well worth looking into.

imagesSitelinks have been a staple of best practices since they were introduced. Sitelinks help searchers find topical information beyond the specified landing page of your ad. Last February, enhanced campaigns brought a little spice to sitelinks by including descriptions. Additional lines of text were added from your other ad copy to flesh out the sitelinks. These provided extra detail to what the searcher can expect from each link and further clarified the ad’s additional talking points.

What Changed?

This week Google took it one step further. For those of you who have already made the jump into the enhanced campaign world, you can now define what you want this additional messaging to say. This new format allows you to take control of your ads and drive the messaging further, helping searchers to better understand your offerings and products.

Google’s testing also revealed users clicked the sitelinks with added detail at a significantly higher rate. Beyond being explanatory this rewards those who optimize their accounts to put their ads in the best position possible adding an additional boost to those in the top spots.

Learn Google Analytics and Google AdWordsIf you want to get started, there is no need to opt in to a beta or do anything special. Simply create or edit one of your existing site links. When the window opens you should see two extra text boxes for description lines one and two.

Image by dmhoro via Flickr

You will see that these are marked as optional so you don’t have to use them. On the other hand, as with anything else in PPC, why not take advantage of that extra control you have in your ads?

There are a few limits to keep in mind and Google’s site link guidelines have not changed. The duplicate sitelink policy is still in effect. Dynamic insertion is not allowed in the description lines. Your description text must not be duplicates of other sitelinks either. This isn’t a major nuisance though as you should already be using specific copy to highlight each individual sitelink.

Google will rotate between the standard four sitelinks seen in the ad above as well as a two sitelink variation.

Don’t worry if you check your ads in the search engine results and you don’t see the new sitelinks. These new site links won’t always appear in your ads. There are many factors on Google’s end as to when the extra information is shown. By making sure you specify your description lines you will be poised to take advantage of when you ads fulfill that criteria.

While this isn’t revolutionary by any means, this upgrade gives you one more thing to test when it comes to ad copy. Now you can take those site links to the next level, testing more variations just as you do with the standard ad copy.

Taking Advantage of the New Format

Here at the office we have been talking about how to improve ad copy beyond the best practices. One thing we have noted in our research is that too many advertisers have very bland site links. This can be especially bad in ecommerce where the sitelinks lead to something generic like shirts or electronics. While these are helpful, there is no compelling reason why a user should pay attention to those, many other places sell these items.

This is the chance to get more creative, are there any special deals on these items, is there a unique selection or is there a way this product solves a need better than another? Going back to the shirts examples, there are many shirt variations in both style and quality. As a result, most retailers cater to a certain demographic. Using the description lines, savvy advertisers can tune their messaging to their demographic, both highlighting their product and reducing the cost of gathering too many of the wrong clicks without any conversions.

Another quick example would be a hotel ad. The advertiser found that highlighting deals worked the best in the ad copy. Why not take a chance to test a more emotional angle with the site ink descriptions. The user knows he or she is getting a good deal, now sell them on how much they will enjoy the stay. Of course more deals in the descriptions could perform better but combining messaging is something you should be testing.

As with anything in PPC the results will depend and each situation will be different. This is more reason to test, test, and test some more. I gave two generic examples but I’m sure if you think about your product specifically you can discover a great angle to test.

See the original article here

Whether you use sitelinks to highlight specific products, give extra information on your business, or something experimental and creative, these new features can provide that extra edge to win more clicks and increase conversions. Go ahead and explore the feature and take advantage of this new format to get ahead of the competition.

How to Find Out What People Want and Lure Them to Your Site

 

The goal of SEO services is to drive a large number of visitors to your website in the hopes that some of them will convert into customers. Although a variety of techniques are used, this is the desired end result in the search engine optimization services game.

Basically, to lure a large number of people to view your content, whether it is through articles, blogs, videos, or a combination of them all, you have to give them something they desperately want and are greatly interested in. The problem lies in how do you know what the people want? And where do you find them in large numbers?

Following is a good SEO services method you can use to find out what the masses are seeking and how to lure them to the webpage or pages of your choice.

Go Ye to the Forums

If you want to know what the mainstream talk is all about on any subject, you have to go to where those people are talking. Online, one of those main places happens to be forums. Forums are social outlets for people to inquire, complain, seek, observe, and basically ask for and receive information. Forums are excellent sources to trove for ideas and apply local marketing techniques.

In order to find forums that are discussing ideas and asking questions concerning your specific niche, go to Google and type in ‘forum:niche’ (for example: forum:scuba diving). You will receive a list of all forum matches related to that specific search subject (in this case scuba diving). You then want to visit each forum. Keep in mind that some forums require registration first while others do not.

Do Term Searches

Once you are in a forum, you can browse through some of the current conversations to get a gist of what people are talking about at the moment. However, you can get more specific ideas for good subjects to write on by doing a search within the forum for specific terms used. Look for either a search field or search tool within the forum.

Search such terms as ‘advice’, ‘I’m looking for’, ‘question about’, ‘want to find’, etc. There are numerous terms which can lead you to sought-after information so use your imagination and do some digging. Search results will deliver threads on the term you supplied and you should scan the thread to see what they are specifically looking for and talking about.

When you find threads that need something that you can provide, viola! There’s your next blog post, article, video, or whatever you want to create. Write your text and then be sure to exercise local marketing skills and offer a link to it on that forum and several others where people desire to acquire the same information.

By utilizing this one local marketing skill to meet these hungry needs of the masses and specifically target what they are hungering for, you set yourself up to receive a large influx of visits. Keep in mind, not only will the ones seeking that information visit your site, but so will many others watching those threads. Also, people whose needs are met through your content will mention you in the forums or other social areas when questions about that information arise.

Utilizing forums to glean information on what the masses are searching for is an excellent SEO services technique that will reward you with good results. Contact us to tap into other powerful SEO services provided by our SEO company.