Archive for the ‘SEO for Small Business’ Category
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Google might have the lion’s share of the search market, but Bing and Yahoo! are still important. Between them, they have close to 15% of the search market. Of course, they fluctuate up and down and at times have a total of 20% between them. Usually, Bing has a little more than Yahoo! and that’s okay. Not everyone can be on top.
While all the search engines generally look at some of the same criteria, there are differences.
Bing is more closely aligned with Facebook. You can push your Bing rankings higher if you have a strong Facebook network and promote your links to your Facebook friends. Google has its own social network with Google+. Yahoo!, however, seems to be more interested in domain names with age. Google likes aged domains as well, but with over 200 ranking algorithms any one ranking factor is going to have less influence on its own.
The differences between the search engines tell me that diversity is very important. You don’t want to rely on just one search engine for all of your traffic. You want to diversify your traffic sources.
This is very important. If some new website next year starts taking traffic away from Google and the search giant fades into oblivion (remember MySpace?), then you will be thankful you diversified your traffic sources. That’s why Bing and Yahoo! are still important.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Search engines love on-site SEO, especially if leads to better relationships with your site visitors. Here are 4 uncanny ways to increase your on-site SEO.
- Permalinks – Your URL structure is very important. Shorter permalinks are better. Try to keep them at 100 words or less, cut out the stop words (a, an, the, etc.), and don’t go more than three folders/directories deep. Also, make sure you include your keyword once.
- Sitemaps – A sitemap is a directory of your web pages. It allows the search engines a way to crawl your website and find every page you want indexed. You can also rank your pages in order of importance, which helps the search engines index and rank them as well.
- Robots.txt – This is a text document you upload to your website’s root directory. It’s invisible to site visitors, but visible to the search engine robots. It’s also useful in showing search bots which pages on your website should be indexed. You can also use the robots.txt file to block unwanted robots and to tell the search engines not to crawl or index certain pages.
- 404 error pages – This is the page that shows when visitors try to access a page that is no longer present. They are best used when you customize them with your branded logo and helpful links to assist site visitors in finding the information they are looking for.
Each of these uncanny SEO techniques can make your website more indexable and crawlable. They are also more useful to your site visitors.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Keyword research is one of those must-do activities of Internet marketing, but there’s more than one way to accomplish the task. Some people have complex multi-layered tools to help them conduct research on keywords to target. Others use a more simple approach. Google Trends is a fairly new tool that can make your keyword research a little more interesting and help you uncover great opportunities for search engine marketing.
Here are some ways you can use Google Trends for your keyword research:
- Hot Searches – Let’s start with Hot Searches. This is a single-click way to see what’s trending and popular on Google right now.
- Channel Trends – With channel trends, you can see what’s trending on the Web, with images, products, under the news channel, and on YouTube.
- Geographical Trends – Choose a country or search worldwide.
- Time Period Trends – Google Trends data goes back to 2004. You can search the trends from that time until the present or any time in between. Also, you can search keyword trends from the past 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, and 12 months.
- Category Trends – You an also see what’s trending according to the 25 categories to choose from, and the subcategories of those.
- Regional Trends – Google Trends offers you a way to see what’s trending regionally. This is just like geographical trends, but you can check the trends by country or by city.
- Related Terms – Under the related terms trending graph you can search your keyword phrase by the top-related terms or by the rising terms.
- Comparisons – You can search up to five keywords at one time and compare the trends according to the same limitations as above. You can compare trends by search terms, time periods, or location.
- Forecast – If there is enough data for your search term, Google Trends will forecast up to a year what the trends will be for that keyword phrase. Remember, though, forecasting Google Trends is like forecasting the weather.
- News Headlines - If you click the “News headlines” box, Google Trends will add top headlines on your Google Trends graph. You can then go and read those news stories.
Google Trends is a fun and powerful way to find new keyword terms to target in your search marketing. Try it out for yourself.
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t tell people not to buy SEO services. Your site will rank better in the search engines if you optimize it for the search engines, but don’t be fooled by unnecessary SEO services.
There is one SEO service that is so completely unnecessary that it won’t help your site one bit. You’ll be throwing your money away. And it might even hurt your site. The service is search engine submission services. I don’t recommend them. In fact, I recommend staying away from them.
Many web companies call themselves SEO companies and sell useless services like search engine submission services. Did you know you don’t have to submit your website to search engines? They have web crawlers that go out and find web pages to index and then rank those pages according to their own criteria. Those crawlers are called robots, or spiders.
Google has one. And Bing has one. Those are the only two search engines you need to concern yourself with.
A lot of these search engine submission services submit your website links to old directories that Google doesn’t even crawl any more. In fact, some of those directories may even be penalized, and if you are associated with them, it could hurt your website to have a link from them. That’s why I say stay away from search engine submission services.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Like all things related to SEO, photo optimization is bound to change as well. In fact, Google+ recently added photo search for Google+ users. That means photo optimization is a new opportunity for small business owners and businesses that want to rank better inside Google+ (and who doesn’t?).
To get the most out of Google+ photos and to help searchers find your photos more easily, I’ve identified ways that you can optimize your photos better for search inside Google+. Here are 5 ways to ensure your Google+ photos are well-optimized:
- Two ways to upload – Let’s start with uploads. You can upload your photos in two ways: Inside your Google+ posts or using the photo icon in your Google+ sidebar. Either way is fine, but use the tools at your disposal to optimize those photos.
So what are those tools? Glad you asked.
- Albums – Create albums for your photos. Name your albums using keywords you want your photos associated with and group your photos according those keyword classifications.
- Captions – Create captions for each individual photo you upload. Make sure your captions use keywords you want those photos associated with.
- Locations – You can also geotag your photos by adding a location. You might not want to do that with every photo you upload, but this is a great way to optimize your photos for local search, especially if you run a local business.
- Tags – In Google+, you can tag your photos with the names of other Google+ users. It’s a great way to associate your photos with specific people and if Google+ users search for those people specifically, your photos could come up in the search query due to those tags. But make sure your tags are appropriate. You don’t want to be known as a tag spammer.
- Content – When you upload photos to a post, make sure your content is well-optimized for keywords you want associated with your photo.
Google+ photo optimization is as important as any other kind of optimization. Make sure you get it right and your photos will stand a better chance of being found in Google+ search results.
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
It used to be, if you wanted to rank web pages, then you had to count your keywords. Webmasters used what they called keyword densities.
Suggested keyword density was 1% to 5%, which means for every 100 words of content on a page, the keyword you were optimizing for had to appear 1 to 5 times on that page. It was not a very precise way of search engine optimization, but it worked, primarily because the search engine algorithms weren’t very sophisticated at the time. Today, the search engines look at many more ranking factors, one of which is related words.
This is called Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI.
In a word, LSI means looking for related words to understand what a page of content might be about. For instance, if you were writing a page about raising chickens, what words might you use that would be associated with the subject matter without actually saying “raising chickens?”
Think about synonyms for the word “chickens.” What comes to mind? Roosters, hens, pullets. I’m sure you can think of a few more.
Now, how about “raising?” “Farming” comes to mind.
Latent Semantic Indexing is a form of natural writing that allows content writers to write more naturally and get pages ranked for key phrases even if those pages may not appear on your web page. A more effective natural writing technique might be to spread these semantic keywords around. Instead of relying on a single keyword mentioned 1 to 5 times for every 100 words of content, you might use 4 or 5 related words fewer times each. The search engine then puts all of those words together to determine what your page is about and ranks your page accordingly.
Welcome to the future of SEO.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Search engine optimization has changed a lot over the years. There are still some companies trying to do it like it’s 2005. That is, their main aim is to acquire as many links as possible. I don’t think that’s the best approach in 2013.
For starters, if you don’t see SEO as an intrinsic part of your overall marketing efforts, then there is a disconnect somewhere. The goal of marketing is to increase your bottom line. That is, you want to make new customers. And you want your old customers to buy new products. That’s why you have a marketing strategy. That should also be why you have an SEO strategy.
If you approach SEO correctly, you’ll start to see every page of content you create as a part of your overall marketing initiatives.
Instead of creating content for the sake of creating content, if you focus your efforts on making each piece of content you do create tell a part of your overall story and connect with your audience, then you’ll get a lot further. Links will only get ignored – if all you do is acquire links for the sake of acquiring links. They may even hurt your rankings.
Marketing and SEO go hand in hand. It’s a complete online marketing strategy. If you don’t count your SEO as a piece of your marketing, then maybe you need to rethink it.
Friday, February 8th, 2013
A new article at SiteProNews claims that 2012 was a volatile year and there are 4 new lessons you can pick up from it to make 2013 even better. But here’s the truth. These aren’t really new lessons.
What are these 4 new lessons? Let’s summarize:
- Go long tail
- Go white hat
- Get relevant
- Provide quality content
The truth is, none of these are very new. They’ve each been key SEO principles since 2002.
Long tail keywords are better for new businesses entering a niche because the main keywords in any niche are already dominated by early risers and big budgets. Your small business has a better chance at carving a spot in your niche with the long tail.
Black hat SEOs always get caught. If you stick with white hat techniques, you’ll stay clear of violating search engine guidelines and run fewer risks of being a victim of the algorithm.
Relevant links have always been better than bland high PR links. Maybe, for a while, those high PR links worked great, but that was a short term fluke.
Quality content has always been the best policy. If you produce high quality content on a regular basis, then you’ll do well in the search engine game. Don’t chintz on your content. Ever.