Tag Archive | "seo"

3 Key SEO Strategies That Will Hurt Your Business

The use of SEO isn’t a new tool to the marketing game, but a core building device in the quest to enhance any online business. However, while SEO is considered a must in creating an online business that not only gets page views, but one that actually converts; the same trends could actually harm your quest to succeed.  

A great deal of people dreaming of entrepreneur or even solopreneurship start an online business of some sort every single day, yet most of them crash and burn within the first year and the remaining aren’t turning enough profit to make it worth the effort.  Some, if not a big part of the majority, make use of SEO strategies yet still end up becoming a major disappointment for their founders.

What does it all mean?

The failure of even the most well thought out and researched of online businesses might imply that SEO isn’t always the golden slot machine of marketing strategies that some claim. Even though it is in fact  a core tool used in enhancing millions of successful companies world wide, SEO for business should never be used “willy nilly” or without a solid plan.

What direction to take.

With over 2 million web pages available for the search term “SEO Techniques,” it is no wonder that many fall victim to fake or out-of-date claims to success using this or that SEO strategy. To ensure SEO works for your online business, certain techniques must be avoided at all costs. This strategies have been proven to not help your business effort but actually do harm to your efforts. Below is a list of three key SEO strategies which must be avoided in order to obtain the best gains in your business venture.

  1. Keyword Stuffing

The threat behind keyword stuffing has been confirmed to have harmful effects to your website ranking. Too many keywords in web content is simply overkill and could have your page spiraling down the viewer’s search page faster than a speeding bullet.

Instead of stuffing your content with a heaping ton of keywords, why not focus on creating quality content that reaches your target audience. It’s important to avoid stretching beyond the 2% density of keywords in your content.

  1.  Tons of Backlinks

It’s fine to fill your content up with backlinks, as long as they are relevant and something that will appeal to your target audience. Again, like most things in life, quality trumps quantity in a landslide win. One of the worst mistakes people tend to make is placing their focus on incorporating a large amount of links on their sites not realizing that quality overrules quantity hands down.

Link building is an easy SEO strategy that pretty much anyone that churns out content or pays any bit of attention to their incoming and outgoing traffic sources uses. This strategy can easily award an online business owner with a ton of links.  However, most people fail to examine the quality of links they are getting. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and forget to look at the bigger picture.

The same rule applies when sending all of your SEO power to your homepage via built links. Instead you should be building out content rich subpages in your site that target the key phrases that you wish to rank for.  

  1. Lacking Content Rich Pages

If you want others to link to your site naturally, then you should start by creating (or higher others to create) quality content. Quality content appeals to your target audience. If you aren’t doing that then having a ton of links pointing at your page won’t look natural.  And un-natural is not a good look for Google.

Google simply won’t “believe” that a post with 400 or so words would naturally get 100+ links pointing right at it. However, a quality article of the same 400 or so words can and will bring in hundreds of links on it’s merit alone.

The three no-no strategies above can be easily axed from your repertoire. Yet by avoiding them your business efforts could see very drastic and appealing outcomes in the end.

What techniques or strategies work the best for you?  We would love to hear all about them in the comments below.

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Top 3 SEO Trends for 2017

Search engine optimization is constantly changing and evolving, making it extremely necessary to stay on top of the latest news to remain successful.   

As we look back at 2016, with its slew of algorithm updates from Google culminating in the release of Penguin 4.0 and the announcement of mobile-index first at the end of the year, no wonder some of us struggled to remain in the game.  That’s why it is even more important to take a moment now, at the beginning of the new year, to rethink our SEO strategies for 2017.  

Taking into account Google’s recent activity, below are what is believed to be the three most important SEO trends to watch out for in 2017.

#1 Mobile First Index

If it wasn’t already obvious enough, a strong emphasis on Mobile Optimization should be every marketer’s top priority in 2017, particularly those playing in the SEO realm.  Even if one only based this data on the numerous statistics showing how mobile searches outweigh desktop searches by more than 60%, they would be hard pressed to deny Google’s mobile-first index plan.

Up until now, it might have been possible to spend too much time and energy on mobile optimization, however in 2017 it is going to be a necessity for websites to have a spot on mobile presence in order to succeed online.

#2 Structured Markup

Structured data markup (aka schema markup) is a type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can show the most useful information on it, potentially on Google search results. This trend is gaining some leverage with the recent release of Google Home, which relies heavily on answering questions using websites which adopt structured data markup.

Look at the example below:

Realsimple.com adopted a schema markup, therefore Google as found information in the article which and displayed it at the top of it’s search results.

Think of the process of including schema microdata in your web pages as altering your diet to only eat healthy nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep – which is probably 50% or more of all american’s new year’s resolutions.  Even though marking up your pages with schema can be bit of a pain (just like it is to keep that resolution), 2017 probably won’t bode well for you if you don’t put in the effort.

#3 Voice Search

We have all seen the numerous commercials for such devices as Amazon Echo and Google Home, not to mention the ever humorous Siri and it’s counterpart Google Assistant. The adoption of voice search has steadily been increasing over the past few years. In fact,  Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO has even announced that 20% of all mobile queries are voice searches. This just goes to show you just how important it will become to use schema markup in your webpages.  

So what does this actually mean for SEOs? Optimizing for local SEO, natural language and of course adding in schema markup to your webpages are now more important than ever.  Use a tool like Storybase to help generate natural language keywords to craft semantically relevant content.  Also look into schema markup helpers such as Google’s Structured Markup Helper.

On the whole, 2017 should be an exciting year. There were several changes that rocked the boat in 2016 which should most likely continue on into the current year. Therefore, preparing for these trends sooner rather than later will not only help your marketing game, but hopefully keep your website ahead of any major SEO changes Google might throw your way in 2017.

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vw seo

Volkswagon, Don Draper, And SEO

It’s not often than you get to write a headline like that. Fortunately the folks over at Volkswagen employ some incredibly creative online marketing experts.

So what’s up with the headline you ask?

Not too long ago Volkswagen pulled off some stunning SEO tricks. We’re talking epic marketing foresight made possible by some genius SEO. Here’s what they did.

1 – Acquired 5 separate top level domains
2 – Optimized 1 image per site for the phrase “Ultimate Business Car”
3 – Got each image to rank in the specific order they wanted.
4 – Achieved a banner ad at the top of image search (made up of 5 separate images) for their vehicle Passat.

Here’s the campaign video showing off their work

While the SEO trick they used for this campaign is clever – the real trick was the viral snowball it created. Volkswagen has been on the tip of SEO’s and business folks tongues alike. It’s a viral hit. And guess what else – those folks fit very nicely into their target demographic for that particular car.

It’d be silly to think that wasn’t the goal all along. That’s marketing at the highest level. That’s some seriously Don Draper-like stuff.

Volkswagen isn’t done by any stretch. A recent Youtube campaign has been released. It too is receiving the viral treatment. It utilizes Youtube’s built in controls to connect with the viewer in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Check it out here

source

These are two examples of how we as affiliates can think bigger. There’s so much swiping and ripping of ideas in our industry. It’s the creativity and brainstorming behind campaigns like these two that make marketing fun.

Give it a shot sometime. Get creative and test it out. Who knows, it may be a viral hit.

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SEO

Are You Wasting Your Time With SEO?

No SEO isn’t dead. Let’s just start there. This isn’t another one of those blog posts. It’s way more jaded than that.

This blog post is a less of a disgruntled rant and more of a wake up call.

SEO isn’t dead but it is becoming harder to rank. Why? There are a lot of reasons. You’ll hear some say it’s because of Panda. Some say Penguin. Some say both.

The realistic picture is cloudier than that.

Just for a second consider this:

Google prefers big brands
Good links that help you rank are hard to come by…
Each link is looked at under a microscope…
Google hasn’t always seemed affiliate friendly

Even if you wrote that all off as conjecture, even if you “believe” think you can rank with amazing, optimized, white hat contents

You’ll still have to deal with SERP crowding and shrinkage.

What?! Shrinkage?

Yes. Shrinkage. It’s getting pretty damn cold in the SERPs these days. Have you ever noticed search results with 7 listings instead of 10? Before August 13th it wasn’t that common (although it did happen from time to time). After August 13th it increased dramatically.

Check out this graph from SEOMoz’s post SERP Crowding & Shrinkage: It’s Not Your Imagination

serp crowding

They go on to say:

SERPs with 7 results were an anomaly prior to 8/13, with the system tracking a maximum of one (0. 1%) on any given day. On 8/13, that number jumped to 10.7% and then, the following day, to 18.3%. Almost one-fifth of SERPs tracked by our data now have 7 results.

Now don’t get caught up in the numbers. This is representative of what SEOMoz tracks which is not the entire Google index. It’s also important to note that Google changes constantly. Perhaps this is just a … ahem… test.

What this does highlight is the fact that you have no control over Google (hopefully that isn’t news to you). And that means sometimes even crazy SERPs happen leaving you out in the cold.

Is there still affiliate opportunity for the SEO minded individual?

Some truly believe there is. Some will just tell you it doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t. Just go buy traffic through more traditional paid channels.

So what’s the moral of the story?

The moral is that affiliates of all types need to evolve into better marketers. Some will handle this transition better than others.

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Recovering From Panda & Penguin

There’s been a lot of fuss over zoo animals lately. It’s not without warrant either. Google’s most recent updates have wreaked havoc on SEOs and webmasters alike.

Let’s take a look at what these updates were all about and what you can do to recover from them.

panda

PANDA – What it Was (Roll Out Date April 19th)

Unlike Penguin which targeted spam techniques, Panda was designed to target content that was low quality.

Panda Recovery Suggestions

  • Create unique meta titles and descriptions for every page
  • Remove low quality or duplicate content from your site
  • Reduce your ad to content ratio
  • Increase quality of content (Edit grammar, increase research, include sources)
  • Fix broken links within your site
  • Reduce bounce rate
  • Increase stick rate
  • Decrease site load time

PENGUIN – What It Was (Roll Out Date April 24th)

This was an algorithmic change, as opposed to a human reviewer picking your site out. This update was designed to fight off common spam techniques that game the search engines.

Penguin Focused On The Following:

  • Aggressive exact-match anchor text
  • Overuse of exact-match domains
  • Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
  • Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links

Penguin Recovery Suggestions

  • Rebuild spammy links with legitimate link sources
  • Repurpose de-ranked site’s content onto a new domain and start over
  • Submit a request to this form for reconsideration (if you think you were incorrectly penalized) – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEVxdmdRWFJRTjRoLWZVTHZkaTBQbkE6MQ
  • Increase quality links pointing to all pages of your site
  • Increase anchor text variation (over linking using the same anchor text was a big factor in this update)
  • Reduce internal link building (reduce does not mean to stop)

These updates shook up the SERPs in a big way. If you were part of the fall out, I’m sorry, I feel your pain. It’s unfortunate but this is part of SEO. This doesn’t mean that SEO is dead. This simply means we have a new set of rules to play by.

Here are general Do’s and Don’ts in the new SEO climate:

DON’T

  • Use spun content on your money site (duh!)
  • Keyword stuff content
  • Over link using the same anchor text
  • Delete Your Links (unless they are on a de-indexed blog network)
  • Fill footers with overly optimized content OR links
  • Buy exact match domains
  • Use doorway pages

DO

  • Use all unique content on money site
  • Create content with large word counts 600+
  • Use a wide variety of anchor text in backlinking to the same page
  • Optimize pages for more than one keyword phrase
  • Use naked links in link building activities (no anchor text)
  • Use aged domains
  • Remove low quality content from your site (spun, low word count, swiped)

Sources:
http://searchengineland.com/penguin-update-peck-your-site-by-mistake-googles-got-a-form-for-that-119698
http://www.hmtweb.com/marketing-blog/google-over-optimization-penalty-exact-match-domains/
http://searchengineland.com/penguin-update-recovery-tips-advice-119650
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/penguins-pandas-and-panic-at-the-zoo
http://www.shoutmeloud.com/how-to-recover-from-google-panda-effect.html

Were you hit by one of these updates? Give us a shout in the comments!

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3 Reasons Infographics are Great for SEO

Infographics are great tools for SEO.  Any site owner that wants to improve their site metrics and eventually their rankings should be using infographics to some degree.

Here’s why

Reason #1 – Infographics Increase Stick Rates

The new school of SEO practice put a heavy emphasis on stick rates (amount of time a visitor spends on your site).  If visitors are staying on your site it means they like the content (or at least are intrigued enough to stay – content that makes people mad also has a high stick rate)  Good stick rates tell the search engines your site’s content is good!

Reason #2 – Infographics are Viral by Nature

Thinking about creating a link bait piece?  Want to build super high quality links?  Infographics can do both for you.  Put some thought into creatingagreatinfographic and your site will be rewarded with traffic and links your competitors only WISH they could have.

Reason #3 – Infograhics Get Liked (or stumbled, or shared, or tweeted)

Ok ok, so maybe this one is just an extension of #2.  This one is technically #2.5 then.  People really “like” infographics.  They’re pretty, interesting, and fun to learn from.  It only makes sense that this type of content get’s socially “liked” more than traditional articles.

Soical signals have proven to be very influential in search engine rankings.  Increase these and you’ll likely see increased organic results too.

There you have it.  3 (or 2.5 depending how you look at it) AMAZING SEO benefits to creating infographics.  These are great and all but what good is an article on “graphics” without some actual graphical material?  It only makes sense.

Here are some killer infographic examples from various industries:

1. UFCChampionsbythenumbers

The image below isn’t the entire infographic.  Click the link above to check out the whole thing. It may not be your favorite topic, but there’s a lot to learn from this one.  It’s very easy to read.  It has very clear graphical cues that guide your eye.  There are a lot of infographics out there that suffer from a clear organizational flow.

 

2.BikingtoWork

This one may not contain as much “data” as the one above, but it’s very very pretty.  This is a visually appealing stick rate magnet.  How you display the data is just as important as what data you’re displaying.

3.  History of Beer

There are countless infographics about some very serious topics.  That’s all well and good, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with your topic either.

 

Let us know what you think of these examples in the comments below.  Got any great infographic ideas?

This Article was brought to you by: Dustin Bow

Dustin Bow is on the cutting edge of Internet Marketing.  His 8 years of experience in SEO, affiliate marketing, teaching, and consulting combines to create a unique voice in our industry.  He writes from an “in the trenches” perspective any level of marketer could find useful in their own campaigns.

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Why On Page SEO Is Still Relevant

When it comes to search engine optimization, so much information is available about the “big” issue of off-page SEO and link building. The consensus on this is clear; a greater quantity of higher quality links will help boost your website’s rankings in the search engines.

But what about on page SEO? Although it isn’t quite as important for high rankings as it once was, the importance of good on page SEO cannot be underestimated. That’s why we are looking at the importance of on page SEO today. Not only that, but you are going to some hugely powerful on page optimization techniques. Employ these properly, and you will soon see your website heading up the search engines.

During the mid to late 1990s, when the Internet was first starting to take off, on page SEO could be manipulated by webmasters to achieve very high search engine rankings. Stuffing pages with irrelevant keywords, hiding keywords by changing font colors, and a whole raft of other “sneaky” tactics were common ways of boosting search engine rankings. Eventually, search engines wised up to this game, and on page SEO gave way to link building as the most important factor behind rankings.

Because of the spectacular fall from grace that on page SEO suffered, many webmasters seem to ignore this still powerful method of attaining high search engine rankings. It is very common to see people concentrate their energies into finding new links, and completely bypass proper on page optimization. This is a big mistake! By properly optimizing your website for the search engines, you create a strong foundation for high search engine rankings.

Would you build a house without foundations? You would not, of course. Likewise, you should not build a website without the foundations of proper on page SEO.

So how do you properly optimize your site for on page SEO?

There are a whole raft of different on page SEO techniques, but it pays to stick to the basics first:

Keyword in URL/Domain – Try to get your main keyword in your website’s URL or domain name. For example, if the keyword you are targeting were “how to train a dog”, then you would want to try to have a URL like howtotrainadog.com. According to some, it is better to separate the words in your URL with hyphens (eg how-to-train-a-dog.com)

Keyword in page title – The keyword you are trying to target with a particular page should always be present in the page title. You can edit this from within the HTML code of your page, by sandwiching your keyword between the <title></title> tags.

Meta description – This is the snippet of text that appears next to your listing in Google. Although it is no longer an easy way of boosting your rankings, a good meta description that encourages visitors to click through (and that features your main keyword) can help make your page more relevant in the eyes of Google, which is a positive influence on your rankings.

In-text keyword density – It is important to maintain a good level of keyword density on your pages. This means using your keywords regularly in your articles or blog posts. However, it is critical that you do not just stuff your website with keywords; make sure that you provide lots of quality content, and that your keywords flow naturally with your writing.

Image alt tags – Search engine spiders cannot see images, they can only see text. Therefore, it is important to have accurate alt tags for your images, so that the search engines get a picture of what human eyes are able to see.  Your image alt tags should be a brief description of what the image displays, and not just an excuse to stuff keywords. For example, if you have a picture of a dog training leash then your alt tag could be something like “Acme dog training leash”, but not “dog training leash, dog training collar, dog training” etc.

Strong internal linking – Link to other pages within your website or blog using “deep” links. This means creating text links that enhance visitor experience. Use relevant anchor text keywords to create these links to other internal pages. This will not only help get search engine spiders indexing your pages, but will also reduce your bounce rate. By using internal links, visitors to your site will be more likely to exit on a different page than the one they arrived on, and will spend more time browsing; this is a positive factor for search engine rankings.

Quality unique content – This is the “big kahuna” of on page SEO. Make sure your articles or blog posts are of exceptional quality. Put 110% into every content piece you create so that your readers get something of value. Now that the Google Panda update has come and wreaked havoc on spammy, low-quality content, it is more important than ever to create really awesome content that actually teaches what the headline promises. As we move into 2012, it is clear that search engines will continue to place lots of value on great quality content that is relevant and well researched.

How can you check if your on page SEO is up to scratch?

The easiest way is by using the power of Traffic Travis, which you can download free. One of the most impressive features of Traffic Travis is the ability to add websites as projects. From there you can monitor all sorts of stats like how well you are ranking for particular keywords, what your Google Pagerank is, and more.

However, we are interested in seeing how Traffic Travis can investigate your on page SEO:

With an active project loaded up in the Dashboard, you can click on the “Page Warnings” button to see a list of your pages, and what SEO mistakes you are making.

 

Traffic Travis will then give you an overview of all your pages and their page warnings:

Clicking on the warnings number next to a page entry will show you what on page optimizations you can improve:

 

Use these page warnings to improve your SEO and boost your rankings in the search engines.

Now let’s look at an example of a page with good on page optimization:

 

Notice that the keyword “ultimate WoW guide review” is present in both the page title, and the h1 tag (the h1 tag is actually a slight variation)

There is internal linking down the side of the page in the navigation bar. The keyword that the page is targeting appears regularly in the content, but not so much that it reads unnaturally. There is also plenty of content as you scroll down the page.

And what about that image? Is it optimized for SEO with a proper Alt tag? A quick peek at the source code of the page tells us that it is:

 This page ticks the right on page SEO boxes, and because of that has a strong foundation for high search engine rankings. Good on-page optimization does not mean that you can simply ignore link building and getting traffic to your pages, but it does help.

As you can see, on page SEO is not dead in the water. It still carries a great deal of relevance, and by improving your on page SEO you will get better rankings.

The big thing to remember with on-page SEO is to avoid going overboard. Don’t become caught up in the minutiae of every possible on page optimization method. Your brain will fry long before you realize that stressing out over each tag or meta description is not the silver bullet you wanted for high search engine rankings.

Remember to use Traffic Travis, which you can download and install free, to monitor your on page SEO and check for warnings where things are not correctly optimized. There are full instructions for using all of the features of Traffic Travis, so you can dive straight in and start improving your SEO today.

This post has been brought to you by Mark Ling with Traffic Travis

 

 

 


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