8 Great On-Page SEO Techniques

There are many people who are just starting to blog and many more that have run their own site for a while, that don’t know what SEO is and how to implement it!

SEO simply stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is where you construct your web pages and implement certain techniques to help you rank as high as possible on search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher your pages can rank on Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc. results pages, the more traffic your site is likely to get.

Now, SEO can be split up into two separate categories; On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO.

On-Page SEO refers to all the things that you can do ON your website to help you rank higher, such as page titles, internal linking, meta tags & descriptions, etc.

Off-Page SEO refers to all the things that you can do directly OFF your website to help you rank higher, such as social networking, article submission, forum & blog marketing, etc.

In today’s post we will be looking specifically at On-Page SEO and some of the most effective ways toincrease your page rankings on search engines.

Search Engine Optimisation

On-Page Search Engine Optimisation

1. Page Titles

Your page titles are one of the most important SEO factors on your site. Each of your pages & posts should have its own unique title, which includes the main keywords for that page.

For example, you could write a blog post about a new chocolate cake recipe that you have tried. It is therefore vitally important that you include ‘Chocolate Cake Recipe’ within your post title, perhaps “Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe” or “ Chocolate Cake Recipe for kids”, etc.

This way, whenever someone searches for Chocolate Cake Recipes in a search engine, your post has a better chance of showing up because you have included those keywords.

2. Meta Descriptions

Many people forget to include meta descriptions for their pages. These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content, as these are used within the search results when your page is listed.

For instance, if we continue to use the ‘Chocolate Cake Recipe’ example, then a good meta description for that page would include those keywords and related ones. So, “This easy chocolate cake recipe is possibly the most delicious, mouth watering, chocolatey cake ever made.” would be a great meta description to use, as it is relatively short, whilst containing a number of specific keywords.

3. Meta Tags

For each of your pages, you can include a set of keywords in the form of meta tags. These should be all the relevant keywords of your content, which you will have researched previously.

I use a WordPress plug-in on my sites called ‘All In One SEO Pack’. This allows me to enter all of mymeta tag keywords, meta description and page title at the bottom of each of my posts before publishing. This simply inserts all of the information into your page HTML format for you, making your life a little easier.

Page Title, Meta Description and Meta Tags

4. URL Structure

Including search engine friendly URLs for each of your pages is highly recommended, as these bring better crawling. Shorter URLs seem to perform better in search engine results, however that is not the only factor.

URLs that include targeted keywords, also perform better. The location of these keywords can also be a major influence. For example site.com/keyword would perform better than site.com/365/738/subfolder/keyword etc.

As you can see for this page, the URL is http://onlineincometeacher.com/traffic/on-page-seo-techniques/ I have included the keywords that are relevant for this post.

5. Body Tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.)

When writing your articles, you should break up your content into smaller sections & paragraphs to make it easier for people to read. These sections can be given heading, which is where H1, H2,H3, H4, etc. tags are used.

Generally H1 tags are reserved for your main page title, with subsequent headings (just like the ones I have used throughout this post) being issued H2, H3, etc. Search engines use these to determine what is important within your content. This is why keyword rich headines are more useful than generic ones. Make sure you write keyword rich headings in the order of priority in H1, H2 and H3 title tags. They are used by many crawlers to differentiate important content.

6. Keyword Density

Including relevant keywords throughout your content is very important, as it helps search engines work out what your content is about. However, try not to excessively repeat and overuse keywords just for search engine robots. This can lead to your site being banned from search engines.

To avoid this, try to keep your keyword density to roughly 2-5%. If you find this hard, get out a thesaurus and broaden your writing vocabulary. This way, you are still writing about the same thing, without risk of being banned.

7. Image SEO

On-Page SEO

Using images within your content is a great way to make your site more visually appealing and break up boring chunks of text. You can utilise these images to help improve your site SEO.

All your uploaded images have titles, so treat them just the same as your page titles. Including relevant keywords can help people find your site when searching on Google Images.

You can also include Alt Text and Descriptions for your images, making them even more useful with SEO.

8. Internal Linking

People often think that the only links that count are those from other websites. While these links are important, these are not the only important links!

Placing links to your other website pages, is a great way of improving your site and used properly,internal links can be a useful weapon in your SEO arsenal. Not only does it make it much easier for your visitors to navigate around your site and find all of your content, but it also ensures that your site gets properly crawled allowing the search engines to find all of your pages. It also helps to build the relevancy of a page to relevant keywords and phrases, whilst also helping to increase theGoogle PageRank of your pages.

There are a number of different methods that you can use to improve your internal linking structure. The main being; content links and permanent navigation links.

For bloggers, content links are very useful when used properly. These are links that are placed within your article posts, which redirect people to other relevant pages on your site. For example, this post is focused on increasing traffic to your site, so readers may also find a post on ‘How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog‘ useful. Perhaps other people are just starting out blogging and want to learn more.

Summary

These 8 techniques are just some of the ways that you can improve your on-page SEO. Any one used independently of the others won’t make much difference to your site ranking, however when used together, they can help to improve your site traffic.

They will help to get your pages working better, they will help to get your entire site crawled by search engine spiders, they will help increase the value of internal pages and they will build the relevancy of internal pages to specific keyword phrases.

Original Posted Date at http://onlineincometeacher.com:  Posted By
Credit Source:http://onlineincometeacher.com/traffic/on-page-seo-techniques/

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6 Reasons Why Penguin Has Been A Great Success AND An Epic Failure

6 Reasons Why Penguin Has Been A Great Success AND An Epic Failure

Love it or hate it, most SEOs are likely to have a strong opinion about Penguin. From its initial release in 2012 through last month’s launch of Penguin 3.0, it’s still not clear to many people whether or not this algorithm has caused more harm than good.

On The Bright Side

#1. It Made Quality Content King

For years, Google preached to webmasters that “Content Is King”, while all the while rewarding some form of volume based link building. Since link volume had more algorithmic value than quality content, webmasters and SEO service providers spent more time on backlinks and less time on creating great content. Then Google launched Penguin and link building changed forever. They still preach that Content Is King, onlythey mean this time.

#2. It Changed Behavior

While a big chunk of the SEO community still seeks to find and exploit algorithmic loopholes via linking strategies, for the most part Penguin has been very successful in changing SEO behavior at the macro level. Since Penguin is a punitive algorithm, many SEOs don’t want to engage in black hat or even gray hat link building anymore because there is too much liability and risk in doing so.

The mainstream SEO industry is now more focused on earning links through content-driven SEO – and this is a good thing. Furthermore, webmasters and SEO service providers pay much more attention to managing backlink profiles for quality and relevance, and they are as interested in pruning away bad links as acquiring new quality ones.

#3. It Brought SEO Services Back Onshore & In-House

Prior to Penguin, there was little risk in buying services from SEO community websites and offshore freelancers. In the pre-Penguin era, digital agencies would often get a new client and then outsource link building through online communities or crowdsourcing and freelancer websites. This created a huge boom for offshore service providers that lasted for years.

Offshore link building packages became so popular and widespread that even mainstream digital agencies and business owners started buying them directly. While Google played a cat-and-mouse game battling these techniques, for the most part these services worked. Then Google dropped the hammer with the launch of Penguin in 2012, instantly shining the bright lights of accountability and liability to SEO services industry. Now companies and agencies are much less likely to outsource link building services and in this sense, Penguin was a game-changer.

The Ugly Side of Penguin

#4. It Hurts Small Businesses

While most people view Google as another highly successful tech company, it’s actually much more than that. Google Search has become a fundamental part of the economy and for many types of transactions, Googling is now an integral part of the purchase process. It’s become part of the Internet’s digital infrastructure just like resource commodities and transportation systems are a part of our brick and mortar world. Yet, while food and energy commodities are highly regulated, Google Search is not. No other private company on the planet can affect such an immediate, far reaching change on the global economy the way Google can with a major algorithm update.

Josh Bachyski, an SEO and ethicist, wrote a fascinating post on The Moral Conceptwhere he claims that Google lacks the moral authority to penalize websites with algorithms such as Penguin.   Mr. Bachynski uses a very interesting metaphor comparing Google to a multi-national that builds a dam and water reservoir, where native tribes (i.e. small businesses) build a dependency to this resource. Arbitrary and punitive algorithms like Penguin, combined with Google’s lack of transparency, can have a crushing effect on small businesses every time they are updated.

#5. It Created Negative SEO

By creating and launching an algorithm that penalizes spammy link building, Penguin gives some people the incentive to try to use link building to trigger a penalty on other websites. Since Penguin’s initial release, Google webspam team members have claimed that negative SEO is very hard to achieve. Yet, many in the search community believe that negative SEO is real and much more effective than Google claims it to be.

#6. It turned ‘Webmasters’ Into Web Slaves

Since Penguin is in essence a punitive algorithm, it has taken a great deal of control out of webmasters’ control and put it in the hands of third parties. Anyone can link to your site and thus send Google an important ranking signal without your consent. While it’s hard for you to earn the links you want, it’s easy for anyone to give you links you don’t want. If Google only counted good links and ignored bad links, this wouldn’t be a big deal. It would be nice if Google gave us the option to moderate incoming links, but instead, they want us to find and disavow junk links.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the effect of Penguin to date has probably been a wash. Some people feel Penguin would have been a much better algorithm if Google used it to neutralizespammy links versus penalizing them. What we do know is that Google launched Penguin 2.1 on October 4th 2013 and it took over a year to release Penguin 3.0 on October 17th 2014.

While some may believe that Google relished keeping websites in the penalty box waiting for a refresh, others were more hopeful that Google was simply taking extra time to test and fix Penguin’s perceived flaws. Regardless, this link spam algorithm is here to stay and Penguin will continue to fascinate the SEO community with each and every new update.

Original Posted Date at http://blog.ahrefs.com: Nov 17, 2014 Posted By
Credit Source:http://blog.ahrefs.com/6-reasons-why-penguin-has-been-a-great-success-and-an-epic-failure/

SEO 101: Getting The On-Page SEO Basics

Getting The On-Page SEO Basics Right in 2014

SEO 101: Getting The On-Page SEO Basics

With this in mind, here’s a brief guide to getting on-page SEO right, looking at the basics as well as the other essentials you need to ensure are in place if you want to outrank your competitors. SEO is constantly evolving, however this should set you right over the next few months unless anything unexpected comes along.

shutterstock 159960014 SEO 101: Getting The On Page SEO Basics

The below isn’t in any order of priority, it’s all important and should be used as a bit of a check list:

1. Title Tags

Ensure you place your main keyword and variations in the title tag of a page. Always ensure you target one main keyword and variations per page and don’t try and trick the search engines by optimizing multiple pages for the same keyword. Write your title tag in a natural way which uses your main keyword at the start with variations added too. Think about what looks natural and will entice searchers to click on your site.

Historically, Google would display around 70 characters of a title tag but since recent redesigns, they’re now displaying based on pixel width. There unfortunately no longer is a magic number for how long a title tag should be, but Moz has a great tool (which you can findhere) which lets you preview what title tags will appear like in Google’s latest redesign.

Spend time putting together title tags which include your main keywords for a page and also look natural, aren’t stuffed with keywords and read well! There’s nothing worse than spammy, over optimized titles!

2. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions don’t contribute as a ranking signal anymore, but they’re still an incredibly important aspect of on-page optimization. They’re the first introduction potential customers get with your brand, so it pays to get them right.

Meta descriptions should be well written, approximately 156 characters and essentially a sales pitch for what the landing page is about. As with title tags, don’t spam or over optimize and always think about what works for users before the search engines.

3. Heading Tags

If you’re not using H tags in a strategic way, you should be! Starting with your pages’ H1 tag, ensure you utilize headings correctly without over-optimizing them. Place your main keyword in a H1 tag, again making sure it works for users ahead of search engines, and split the rest of your content up with ascending H tags…H2 comes next then H3. You get the picture. One thing to remember is to only use one H1 tag. Others can be used multiple times if needed.

Don’t keep repeating your main target keyword in each tag, rather use variations which enhance the value of the content and help break it up into readable and easy to digest sections. These tags essentially signal the descending importance of page headings so think carefully as to which H tag should be used in each instance.

4. Content

You’ve probably heard that content in king and that couldn’t be more accurate! With Google’s Panda algorithm, you can no longer get away with thin content and creating unique and informative content should be where you spend the most time. Content needs to be written primarily for users and secondly for search engines, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention core key-phrases. Just make sure you do so in a natural and organic way.

Keyword stuffing is a technique which has been long dead, so don’t even consider mentioning your main terms in every other sentence. Google’s algorithm works on latent semantic indexing, so simply writing naturally about the topic of the page should mean you are writing relevant content. So long as it’s unique and not copied from somewhere else, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

Think about the message you want to communicate and keep that at the forefront of all content you write. Are your primary goals to directly sell and drive leads, to inform, or to build brand awareness? Your goals should always dictate your style of writing and the way you structure your content. As above, don’t forget to use H tags to break up your content into easy to digest sections and always ask someone else to proof read for you before going live.

5. Canonicalisation Of Duplicate Content

It’s a common fact that many CMS’ (Magento as an example) allow pages to be accessible via a number of different URL’s, however from a search marketing perspective, it’s bad news! In such instances, you’re not trying to manipulate search results via having a page live on duplicate URL’s so you shouldn’t have a problem in adding a canonical tag to reference one main page for Google to index and assign PageRank to.

Google themselves offer a great example on implementing canonicalisation here and it makes sense to spend ten minutes getting your head around it there rather than re-publishing. Getting canonicalisation right, however, is something which should be considered primary importance.

6. URL Structure

If your site uses query strings for page URLs, this is something you need to look at as a priority. It’s far bestter to use a search engine friendly URL structure such as http://www.domain.com/page-name/ as opposed to http://www.domain.com/index.php?id=1. It makes more sense to both users and search engines and should be regarded as a priority.

Always use hyphens rather than underscores and try not to have main pages sitting too many directories deep in your site. Don’t forget, however, to implement 301 redirects from the old URL to the new if you do make changes, otherwise you’ll see crawl errors pop up in Webmaster Tools and users being faced with 404 pages.

7. Crawl Error Resolution

Following on from the above, you should always check Webmaster Tools for crawl errors and find a way to resolve any showing. It’s not good from either a user or search engine point of view to have crawl errors and it’s usually a fairly easy job to fix with 301 redirects (assuming the pages are permanently removed. If it’s only a temporary removal, use a 302).

When it comes to deciding which page to redirect to, use common sense. Don’t redirect to a page just for the sake of it — try to redirect to the closest alternative. If there isn’t one, consider permanently redirecting to a 404 page.

8. Check Your Robots.txt File

When it comes to first optimizing your site, check your robots.txt file which will usually be located at http://www.domain.com/robots.txt to make sure no key pages are being blocked from being crawled by the search engines. If you see Disallow: / followed by any directory or page name, ask yourself whether it should be accessible to search engines. The best practice is to block admin panels and low quality pages which need to be in place but you don’t want search engines indexing, however if there’s anything you regard as a core page in there, take it out!

9. Multi-Device Friendly

Some may argue this technically isn’t an on-page SEO factor, given a site being multi-device friendly isn’t always a prerequisite of attaining top search positions, but it  should always be looked at…if only from a conversion optimization perspective.

If at all possible, opt for a responsive version of your site which will resize to each device. There was a fantastic post by the team at Koozai who recently touched upon the importance of having a responsive site and how they’ve got a whopping 7 versions of their site for different devices.

We certainly live and work in a multi-device world and with rumours that mobile usage set to surpass desktop usage at some point this year, perhaps now is the time to start designing sites for mobile devices first and desktops second?

10. Page Speed

Take a moment to analyse your site’s page speed using the Page Speed Insights tool from Google to outline how fast they can load your site as well as receive a whole host of suggestions as to how you can improve things. As a general rule, try and get it as far above 90 as possible to ensure you’re not a search position lower than you should be because your site is sluggish.

There you go…a relatively in-depth guide on how to get the SEO basics right in 2014. What are your thoughts on on-page SEO? Do you have anything to add? Is there anything you’d place preference on over that listed above?

 

Original Posted Date at http://www.searchenginejournal.com: April 11, 2014 Posted by James Brockbank
Credit Source:http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-getting-page-seo-basics/97871/

SEO 101: How to Do On-Page Optimization Like a Pro

Let’s face it. The foundation of anything (house, structure, or marketing campaign) is the single most important piece of the overall plan. Build on a weak foundation, and you can expect a collapse.

The same goes for SEO.

Even the best off-page strategy won’t do much if the foundational on-page strategy is not properly in place. Every internet marketer knows and understands this, but I constantly see shoddy on-page optimization when reviewing websites.

After recently reviewing two websites with awful on-page SEO work, I was driven to write a detailed guide for new or experienced SEOs who want to effectively optimize their site on-page – the right way. To make this article as short and concise as possible, I have provided links to other great articles in order to expand on ideas that I believe require more in-depth reading, such as Schema markup and keyword research.

shutterstock 106092281 SEO 101: How to Do On Page Optimization Like a Pro

AUTHOR NOTE: Every SEO practitioner approaches on-page a little differently, especially in terms of where they start. This approach is my personal preference and is not listed in order of importance.

Website Page Errors

shutterstock 130961099 SEO 101: How to Do On Page Optimization Like a Pro

Your first step should be to review the site for broken links (404’s) or any temporary redirects (302’s). You can use a bunch of tools for this like Screaming Frog or Link Slueth.

Make a list of all the links that need to redirected and do so either via HTACCESS or via your favorite CMS plugin or control panel.

For 404 errors, you want to make sure the broken page is redirected to the appropriate new page. If none exist on your new site, redirect it to the homepage, so you keep all your link equity.

For any 302 pages, make sure they are converted to 301 eventually. This step should ensure your site is easier to crawl for both visitors and search engine bots.

Website URL Canonicalization

For this step, I would use one of the website analysis tools mentioned above to make sure none of the pages have duplicate URLs. Make sure the non-www 301 redirects to the www version or vica versa.

Another important aspect often overlooked are URL extensions that sometimes show up as duplicates. For example, you find that there are two URLs like www.site.com and www.site.com/home.php or www.site.com/home.asp.

Make sure there is only one version for all URLs. Anymore and you’re going to be penalized for duplicate content. You can easily check this by running Screaming Frog and sorting all the URLs by name, and you will quickly see any closely named URLs. Once you find all the duplicate URL’s, make sure you 301 them to the appropriate page. Also, make sure if you have an e-commerce website, all the canonical pages have a “rel-canonical” tag in place.

Every time a page is sorted for price or rating, it creates a whole new page/URL, which needs the relevant re-canonical tag inserted on it. Here is a great article on rel-canonical tags from Google.

Keyword Research

There are many great resources that can be found on this topic, so there’s no need for me to re-hash old information. Make sure you read a few articles and do proper keyword research for all the relevant pages.

This is the single most important step in a successful SEO campaign.

This recent SEJ article on keyword research is worth reading for additional insight.

Metadata Implementation (Title, Meta Description, H1 & ALT)

After you have done proper keyword research, the next logical step is to create compelling metadata tags for all your relevant pages.

Title Tags

Personally, I have steered away from the old days of creating title tags like: Keyword 1 | Keyword 1 | Brand Name

I prefer writing more descriptive title tags that read like a sentence (think Hummingbird update). Something like:

Internet Marketing News & Tips | SEJ

A descriptive title tag reads more naturally and it’s probably better for conversions as well. Also, make sure the title tags are within the new recommend length of 55-60 characters. Anything more and you will see your title tags truncated in search results, which kills user experience.

Meta Description

These are not calculated in search engine rankings, but they are read by searchers to better understand what a page is about. It can also be effectively used as a call to action for your product or service.

Make sure you use your meta description to entice searchers to click on your website over all others. The recommended character limit for meta description tags is between 155-160 characters.

H1

Depending on the page, try to incorporate a descriptive H1 tag with relevant keywords without going overboard. Your goal is to give your audience the best user experience.

ALT Tags

While you’re optimizing all the tags, you should also optimize the images. Try and incorporate descriptive ALT tags for all images. Who know? They could show up in a Google image search and bring in some relevant traffic via that channel.

Site Load Speed

shutterstock 105451658 SEO 101: How to Do On Page Optimization Like a Pro

Use the Google Page Insight tool to see how fast your website loads. It has long been known that Google incorporates site speed into its search rankings. And this is for good reason. As a user, I personally hate slow loading websites. Google has taken note of this and gives preference to faster loading websites.

Depending on the size of your site, a good average is at least 90+ for both desktop and mobile versions. If your site falls short, take Google’s recommendation and hand them to the site Webmaster for implementation. Sometimes, it could be as easy as tweaking the HTACCESS file, but sometimes it could mean changing the image size or JavaScript.

XML Sitemap

Make sure the site has an XML sitemap created. The easiest way to check for this is to type in www.site.com/sitemap.xml.

If you see a 404 page or the homepage show up, this means there is no XML sitemap. This type of sitemap is recommended by all the major search engines (Yahoo and Bing, too) and helps search bots know how many pages your site has.

There are several tools that will create an XML sitemap for you. Create one and place it in the root directory of your website via FTP or you can use your favorite plugin for WordPress or any other CMS system you are using,

Social Media Icons

shutterstock 128217467 SEO 101: How to Do On Page Optimization Like a Pro

Make sure you have signed up for the major social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Then, take it one step further and insert those social media icons on your website. This helps Google bots make a direct connection with your website’s social media pages, but it also helps user experience as it provides an extra layer of credibility when searchers land on your website.

Let’s face it, what company does not have social media profiles these days? When I see a site without one, it raises suspicions about their credibility.

Content/Copy Optimization

There are several studies around long versus short copy. Without getting into it, my personal recommendation would be to go for at least 500+ words of relevant copy for each of theimportant pages.

Obviously the “Contact Us” page will not have a lot of content (generally speaking). Additionally, having more content cannot hurt your site, but less content can make your website come across as “thin”.

Hire a good copywriter to create some relevant and compelling content. It will help both conversion and search engine visibility.

Schema Markup

my pic SEO 101: How to Do On Page Optimization Like a Pro

For those unfamiliar with this markup, it helps search engines better understand specific information about your site, like the official business name and address, and displays this information correctly on result pages.

If you have products for sale, it helps Google list reviews and ratings right on the SERPs. If you’re an author, it would display your author picture next to your articles. This greatly increases the click-through rate (CTR) as searchers can see exactly how popular a product is without even clicking on a result.

It is essential that your site has some form of Schema markup implemented. You can read this great guide from SEJ on how to implement schema for various websites.

Website Structure and Architecture (aka Internal Linking)

Always ensure that all your pages are connected in a hierarchy via the main navigation. This can also be referred to as a “silo structure”.

Essentially, this means there is a logical order of all your products and services. For example, a page about cars should further break down into types of cars. The URL structure should look something like this:

This helps searchers (and search engine bots) make logical connections between all the different pages on your website.

Also make sure that all the pages on your site are interconnected to avoid creating “orphan” pages or a page that is not connected via a navigation or any other page. Google bots find pages by following links, and a page that isn’t linked internally won’t be indexed on search engine.

Here is a great SEJ article that goes into detail on how to properly implement site architecture.

Contact Information

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This is another area that adds trust to your website for both search bots and users. Always list your contact number and e-mail address on your website. Whether you are a local business or an e-commerce website, customers might want to get in touch with you.

Make sure this information is easily available on your website.

 

And there you have it folks! A concise, step-by-step guide on how to implement SEO like a pro. Once you have covered all these crucial areas, you can start your off-page SEO strategy with a peace of mind.

Original Posted Date at http://www.searchenginejournal.com: July 3, 2014 Posted by Zain Shah
Credit Source:http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-page-optimization-like-pro/110335/

SEO, SEM, and PPC

It goes without saying that you want potential customers and clients to locate and access your website easily. However, to accomplish this, you must first make search engines aware of your presence. The collection of methodology known as search-engine marketing (SEM) has been used for decades by marketing experts to increase a website’s online presence in regular and/or paid search. SEM allows Google to recognize your online presence, subsequently ensuring that customers will have an easier time finding you. As our society continues to ingrain the idea of the Internet as a household tool for  researching products, finding information, and locating services, businesses overshadowed by the rest of the internet “clutter” will continue to lag behind the competition.

The Cline Group has years of experience in all aspects of SEM including:

  • SEO is the analysis and optimization of a website for the purposes of indexing and authoritative measurement within search engines. Google’s algorithm has an estimated 200 technical and on-page factors that play a role in how a website is ranked. Because of this fact, it is essential for your website to be optimized for them all. The SEO process includes a comprehensive audit of your proposed or existing site, competitor analysis, keyword research, on-page optimization, and content creation (when needed). A few weeks to a few months after the on-site optimization is complete, a website will usually see a boost in its rankings for its desired search terms. In addition, as SEM becomes increasingly integrated with other aspects of online marketing, our team will be able to advise your company on optimizing your website for social-media sharing and inbound-marketing. This advisement would include sales funnels, calls to action, and conversion optimizations.
  • Linkbuilding is another technique to help increase your website’s keyword rankings. Whenever a reputable website or social media outlet links back to you, Google sees a digital “vote” for your website. Websites with the most “votes” tend to rank more highly. However, in recent years, many of the common practices associated with linkbuilding have changed. Now, spamming comments in blogs, forums, and other directories will no longer work and instead negatively affect your rankings. In order for other website owners to have a reason to link to you, it has become essential for websites to combine the practices of content creation, social-media marketing, and traditional public relations.  More information on our linkbuilding services can be found below.
  • PPC advertising is an SEM technique to immediately drive relevant, quality traffic to your website through the placement of paid advertisements located above and to the right of regular Google search results. To help your advertisements achieve the best results, our team will research and target the most-affordable and conversion-friendly keywords most commonly used by your target audience. Concurrent, with the initial launch and perpetual maintenance of your PPC campaign, TCG will also design a quality landing page with an effective call to action. In addition, our team will continuously measure the results of these campaigns and optimize them accordingly. Conversion optimization – the testing of elements including different landing pages – can be used as well.

Our Process

1. The Cline Group performs an SEO and Marketing Audit of your existing or proposed website that analyzes numerous factors including the ability of the various search engines to index your site comprehensively, whether any aspects of the site’s design will impede Google from doing so, whether an online-metrics tracking system is in place for later marketing and sales analysis, and whether the site’s design and functionality is conducive to converting prospects into leads and sales.

2. TCG performs a Competitor Analysis of up to three websites of your choosing to gauge how they are engaging in SEO/SEM efforts, how successful they have been, and what your website can do to mimic their success (if relevant).

3. Our teams will work together to create a list of agreed-upon search terms that your audience uses to find your website. Our team will then use that list – along with a list of what terms are discovered in the Competitor Analysis – in our extensive research on those keywords that are determined to be the most suitable to target. Always making sure to keep you in the loop, TCG will then give the list to you for approval and further suggestions.

4. Our team prepares a keyword-targeting strategy that will propose recommendations on the overall hierarchy of the revised website, which sets of keywords will be targeted on which pages, and how each page will be changed for on-site optimization. As always, you approve the recommendations before TCG proceeds.

5. TCG works with your website developer (as needed) on the on-site optimization. Together, our respective teams will review the new website and make any additional changes that are needed.

6. If there are any unused keywords that should be targeted, TCG will provide future content recommendations to incorporate those search terms within additional website pages.

7. After the SEO is complete, our team will continue with the linkbuilding operations for as long as our partnership endures. This typically includes:

  • Researching and identifying the major websites, media outlets, and bloggers who would be most likely to link to you
  •  The regular creation of content, including: blog posts, infographics, white papers, podcasts, webinars, and videos
  •  Developing relationships with the identified influencers mentioned above, and nurturing those relationships to ensure that they will want to link to the content produced by your website and share it on social media

8. Along with general consulting, TCG will provide monthly updates on search-engine rankings as well as website traffic and conversions and/or sales (as relevant) from organic traffic.

 

Original Posted Date at http://www.theclinegroup.com:
Credit Source:http://www.theclinegroup.com/marketing-services/seo-sem-ppc/

Bigger Is Not Always Better in PR

small_business65[1]

Being raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I often spent time in Center City, Philadelphia exploring what the city has to offer – it was not too big or daunting so I quickly became acclimated with the ins and outs. I attended a small high school as well as a small university, which both provided a sense of comfort for myself and an extremely hands-on approach.

Being comfortable working and living in a small environment translated perfectly into my first job here at The Cline Group, which has small offices but a global presence. Even though we are small in size we deliver remarkable results that distinguish our clients from their competitors across the board.

Responsibilities: My days consist of leading client calls, drafting press releases, guiding Assistant Account Executives and Account Coordinators and reviewing any necessary materials, a majority of which I would not be handling at a larger firm – or a lot of hand holding would be involved.I have become confident in my work and decisions because I do not and cannot rely on several levels authority to approve or disapprove. We have to work diligently and take on assignments that may seem above our expertise but we are human – so we learn and we make mistakes.  I now have the ability to directly build relationships with top tier reporters and foster work relationships with our clients overseas and all over the world.

Culture: It is not every day that you have the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with your company’s CEO to discuss what needs to be improved and why, or to simply hold a non-work related conversation.  In most medium or large companies this process of change takes a long time and requires approvals, forms, and mediated conversations. Working in a small firm I have the privilege of discussing how things can be improved about what the team wants, when we want.  It also allows me to build greater trust with employees at all levels. I never worry about having to leave for a doctor’s appointment or to run a quick errand.  Our management believes that we all will get our work done.

People:  Being selective in the interview process is how we succeed as a small firm. We do not just hire to fill a position based on a resume – we invest the time to learn about our applicants to make sure they are a great cultural fit for our team.  It is better to hire the correct person even if it takes time because we all work so closely together on a daily basis.  As a small team, we are able to learn one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

When you are looking to switch professions or join a new company I would recommend giving the smaller companies a look. There is great opportunity for upward growth, reward, and learning. I am thankful to have begun my marketing and PR experience in an entirely hands-on small firm. Your skills and ability will not get lost in a sea of politics or people.

Original Posted Date at http://www.theclinegroup.com: November 24, 2014  Posted by Ariel Shore
Credit Source:http://www.theclinegroup.com/2014/11/24/bigger-always-better-pr/

The 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors

Introduction

From year to year, the only thing you can count on in local search results is change.

Last year’s survey corresponded with the introduction of Local carousels to desktop SERPs and the release of New Google Maps . The summer of 2014 saw an even more dramatic shake-up with the release of Google My Business —the product of over two years of work by Google engineers—and more importantly the Pigeon algorithm update.

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that shake-up is still occurring (one theory is that the update introduced a much stronger machine-learning element than we’ve ever seen before), conducting the survey at this time provides a very useful data point against which to measure change year-over-year.

Building on the evolution of last year’s format (based on the responses to last year’s survey), I asked respondents this year to rate specfic factors that contribute to rankings across both major result types (pack/carousel, and localized organic) as well as the more time-sensitive question of which factors have increased and decreased since the introduction of Pigeon.

In the interest of simplicity, I streamlined this year’s survey, removing the differences in desktop vs. mobile and pack/carousel vs. maps results (judged to be negligible last year), and consolidating the individual factors listed in the results to just the top 50 in each category.

The Survey

This year’s survey was divided into four parts.

I. General Ranking Factors

In this section, I asked participants to identify the influence of eight thematic clusters of ranking factors across the two primary types of Local results (localized organic, pack/carousel). In each case, they assigned a percentage of influence to all eight thematic clusters, totaling 100%. Businesses consistently ranked behind their competition in each of these types of results can use this section to prioritize their marketing efforts by theme.

II. Specific Ranking Factors

In part A of this section, I asked the experts to rank the top 20 individual ranking factors (out of a total list of 106) that have the biggest impact on pack/carousel rankings.

In part B of this section, I asked them to rank the top 20 factors from the same list, only this time to rank them based on impact on localized organic rankings.

In part C of this section, I asked them to rank the top 20 factors from the same list based on biggest impact in a competitive market, across both result types (pack/carousel and localized organic).

Results were then tabulated via inverse scoring, where the #1 ranked factor received the most “points” for that question, and the lowest-ranked factor received the fewest points. (The factors ranking outside the top 20 for all respondents ended up with zero points.)

III. Factors Most Affected by Pigeon

Here, I asked the experts to rank the five factors they felt had increased most in importance as a result of Pigeon, and the five factors they felt had decreased most as a result of Pigeon.

Results were then tabulated via inverse scoring, where the #1 ranked factor received the most “points” for that question, and the lowest-ranked factor received the fewest points. (The factors ranking outside the top 5 for all respondents ended up with zero points.)

IV. Negative Ranking Factors

In this section, I asked the experts to rank 30 negative factors in order of most damaging to most benign.

Overall Ranking Factors

My Business Signals (14.7%)
(Categories, Keyword in Business Title, Proximity, etc.)
External Loc. Signals (15.5%)
(IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, Citation Volume, etc.)
On-page Signals (21.0%)
(Presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles, Domain authority, etc.)
Link Signals (18.3%)
(Inbound anchor text, Linking domain authority, Linking domain quantity, etc.)
Review Signals (9.8%)
(Review quantity, Review velocity, Review diversity, etc.)
Social Signals (5.8%)
(Google+ authority, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc.)
Behavioral/Mob. Signals (6.9%)
(Clickthrough rate, Mobile clicks to call, Check-ins, Offers, etc.)
Personalization (8.4%)

Localized Organic Results

Pack/Carousel Results

My Business Signals
(Categories, Keyword in Business Title, Proximity, etc.)
External Loc. Signals
(IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, Citation Volume, etc.)
On-page Signals
(Presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles, Domain authority, etc.)
Link Signals
(Inbound anchor text, Linking domain authority, Linking domain quantity, etc.)
Review Signals
(Review quantity, Review velocity, Review diversity, etc.)
Social Signals
(Google+ authority, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc.)
Behavioral/Mob. Signals
(Clickthrough rate, Mobile clicks to call, Check-ins, Offers, etc.)
Personalization

Top 50 Localized Organic Factors

1 City, State in Landing Page Title
2 Domain Authority of Website
3 Page Authority of Landing Page URL
4 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
5 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
6 Physical Address in City of Search
7 Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
8 Product / Service Keyword in Website URL
9 Click-Through Rate from Search Results
10 City, State in Landing Page H1/H2 Tags
11 Diversity of Inbound Links to Domain
12 Consistency of Structured Citations
13 City, State in Most/All Website Title Tags
14 HTML NAP Matching My Business Page NAP
15 Geographic Keyword in Website URL
16 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain
17 Location Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
18 Diversity of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
19 Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
20 Quality/Authority of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts)
21 Proper Category Associations
22 Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
23 Quantity of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL from Locally-Relevant Domains
24 Product/Service Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Domain
25 Product/Service Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
26 NAP in hCard / Schema.org
27 Product / Service Keyword in Business Title
28 Quantity of Citations from Industry-Relevant Domains
29 Quantity of Citations from Locally-Relevant Domains
30 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain from Locally-Relevant Domains
31 Location Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Domain
32 Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
33 Loadtime of Landing Page URL
34 Quantity of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts)
35 Business Title in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Domain
36 Proximity of Address to Centroid
37 Location Keyword in Business Title or Title Modifier
38 City, State in Most/All H1/H2 Tags
39 Quantity of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
40 Velocity of New Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
41 Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
42 Authority of third-party sites on which reviews are present
43 Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native + Third-Party)
44 Business Title in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
45 Velocity of New Inbound Links to Domain
46 Authority of Shares on Google+
47 Volume of Testimonials in hReview / Schema.org
48 Bulk Owner-verified My Business Page
49 Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews (w/text)
50 Diversity of third-party sites on which reviews are present

Top 50 Pack/Carousel Factors

1 Physical Address in City of Search
2 Proper Category Associations
3 Consistency of Structured Citations
4 Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
5 HTML NAP Matching My Business Page NAP
6 Product / Service Keyword in Business Title
7 Domain Authority of Website
8 Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
9 Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
10 Proximity of Address to Centroid
11 Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
12 City, State in Landing Page Title
13 Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews (w/text)
14 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
15 Location Keyword in Business Title or Title Modifier
16 Quality/Authority of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts)
17 Proximity of Address to Centroid of Other Businesses in Industry
18 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
19 Click-Through Rate from Search Results
20 Local Area Code on My Business Page
21 Page Authority of Landing Page URL
22 Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
23 Quantity of Citations from Locally-Relevant Domains
24 Age of My Business Page
25 Quantity of Citations from Industry-Relevant Domains
26 Product / Service Keyword in Website URL
27 Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native + Third-Party)
28 Primary category matches a broader category of the search category (e.g. primary category=restaurant & search=pizza)
29 City, State in Most/All Website Title Tags
30 Product/Service Keywords in Reviews
31 Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Multiple Maps Reviewers, etc)
32 NAP in hCard / Schema.org
33 Geographic Keyword in Website URL
34 High Numerical Ratings of Business by Google Users (e.g. 4-5)
35 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain from Locally-Relevant Domains
36 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain
37 Product/Service Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
38 Association of Photos with My Business Page
39 Authority of third-party sites on which reviews are present
40 Matching Google Account Domain to Landing Page Domain
41 City, State in Landing Page H1/H2 Tags
42 Numerical Percentage of My Business Page Completeness
43 Clicks to Call Business
44 Location Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
45 Product / Service Keyword in My Business Page Description
46 Velocity of Native Google Maps Reviews
47 Quantity of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts)
48 Diversity of third-party sites on which reviews are present
49 Diversity of Inbound Links to Domain
50 Driving Directions to Business Clicks

Negative Ranking Factors

1 Listing detected at false business location
2 Incorrect business category
3 Mis-match NAP / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem
4 Mis-match NAP / Tracking Phone Number on My Business Landing Page
5 Mis-match Address on My Business Landing Page
6 Presence of malware on site
7 Keyword stuffing in business name
8 Reports of Violations on your My Business page
9 Presence of Multiple My Business Pages with Same Phone Number
10 Absence of Crawlable NAP on Location Landing Page
11 Absence of Crawlable NAP on Website
12 Association of Google My Business account with other suppressed listings
13 Presence of Multiple My Business Pages with Same/Similar Business Title and Address
14 Incorrectly placing your map marker
15 Address includes suite number similar to UPS Mail Store addresses
16 Listing 800 Number as Only Phone Number on My Business Page
17 Keyword/city stuffed My Business page descriptions
18 Keyword-Stuffing in Title Tag of My Business Landing Page
19 Choosing to Hide My Business Page Address
20 Including Location Keyword in Categories *
21 Presence of Multiple Categories in Same Input Field *
22 Choosing Service Area on My Business Page (as opposed to in-location visits)
23 Non-Compliant Categories (those that do not fit “My Business Is a _____”) *
24 Presence of Multiple Crawlable NAP on My Business Landing Page
25 Low Numerical Ratings of Place by Google Users (e.g. 1-2)
26 Low Numerical Ratings of Place by Third-Party Users (e.g. 1-2)
27 50+ MyMaps referring to your location
28 Negative Sentiment in Place Reviews
29 Mis-Matched or Private WHOIS Information
30 Multi-lingual listing for the same place

Top 30 Difference-Making Factors in Competitive Markets

1 Domain Authority of Website
2 Consistency of Structured Citations
3 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
4 Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
5 Proper Category Associations
6 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
7 City, State in Landing Page Title
8 Physical Address in City of Search
9 Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews (w/text)
10 Quality/Authority of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts)
11 Quantity of Citations from Locally-Relevant Domains
12 HTML NAP Matching My Business Page NAP
13 Page Authority of Landing Page URL
14 Product / Service Keyword in Business Title
15 Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
16 Quantity of Citations from Industry-Relevant Domains
17 Click-Through Rate from Search Results
18 Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
19 Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native + Third-Party)
20 Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
21 NAP in hCard / Schema.org
22 Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Multiple Maps Reviewers, etc)
23 Product/Service Keywords in Reviews
24 Diversity of Inbound Links to Domain
25 Location Keyword in Business Title or Title Modifier
26 Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
27 Local Area Code on My Business Page
28 Location Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
29 Product / Service Keyword in Website URL
30 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain

10 Factors That Have Increased in Importance Since Pigeon

1 Domain Authority of Website
2 Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
3 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
4 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
5 Physical Address in City of Search
6 Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Multiple Maps Reviewers, etc)
7 Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
8 City, State in Landing Page Title
9 Click-Through Rate from Search Results
10 Page Authority of Landing Page URL

10 Factors That Have Decreased in Importance Since Pigeon

1 Proximity of Address to Centroid
2 Physical Address in City of Search
3 Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
4 Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
5 Proximity of Address to Centroid of Other Businesses in Industry
6 Location Keyword in Business Title or Title Modifier
7 Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
8 Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews (w/text)
9 Geographic Keyword in Website URL
10 Proper Category Associations

 

Original Posted Date at http://moz.com: Sep 15, 2014 Posted by David Mihm
Credit Source:http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure – Whiteboard Friday

We’re seeing more and more companies investing in content marketing, and that’s a great thing. Many of them, however, are putting less thought than they should into the specific goals behind the content they produce. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers examples of goals for targeting different kinds of people, from those who merely stumbled upon your site to those who are strongly considering becoming customers.

http://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/036b9s9y00

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about being intentional about the content investments that you make. Now this is particularly important because otherwise it can lead to doom.

I got to organize the Foundry CEO Summit last week in Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure when you are watching this. It might be several weeks ago now. But in any case, I’m talking with a bunch of CEOs and we have a number of discussion topics. One of the discussion topics, which was my personal favorite, one of the ones I was moderating was the top of funnel customer acquisition.

So I’m talking with a lot of these CEOs, B2B and B2C CEOs, about their content marketing efforts. Virtually everyone is investing in content marketing or thinking about it, which is awesome because it is very powerful. But many of them are investing in it somewhat unintentionally, or they haven’t talked with their CMOs and their marketing teams about precisely what that content is.

So we pulled up a couple of blogs from some of the participants. I’m kind of looking through like, “I’m not sure that there’s a strategic initiative behind all of the content that’s being produced.” That can be hugely helpful, and that’s true both for the content side of it and for the SEO side of it.

Many of the folks who are watching Whiteboard Friday undoubtedly are really deep into the tactics and the SEO side. So this video is for your managers, for your bosses, for you to help them understand how to choose content investments and what to expect from different kinds of investments.

Let me show you what I mean. Different kinds of content exist to target people at different sections of their experience with your site: at the consideration phase, where they’re close to buying, this is really for people who are thinking about buying your product; at the discovery phase for people who are just learning about your product or company; and at the viral or super broad content phase, where you’re not even necessarily trying to attract an audience that might buy from you, you’re doing other kinds of things.

So I’m going to try and walk through each of these. I’m actually going to start with the one that’s closest to the conversion process or the conversion point in that process.

So let’s imagine that I’m going to be the marketer at GeekDesk. GeekDesk sells these great sit-stand desks. I have one at home. I have one here at Moz. I love them to death because I stand up and work. I have sciatica in my left leg that I’ve had for many years, and I’ve been trying to work on that. One of the things I did is switch to a sit-stand desk. I actually almost never put it in sit mode anymore. I’m standing all the time. But in any case, GeekDesk makes great ones, ones that I really like.

So if I’m working at GeekDesk, my consideration phase content might be things like the models page, the models of all the different GeekDesks that I can buy. It might be a page on the advantages of the GeekDesk preset heights. GeekDesk has these little settings. I can push one, two, three, four, and it’ll go to different heights. I have one at home where I can push it to two, and it will go to the height for Geraldine so she can work at my desk. Then I press one, and it goes to my height. Then I press three, I haven’t pre-programmed three or four yet. But in any case, maybe if Elijah comes over, I’ll set one for you.

It might be “GeekDesk warranty and return policy,” or “sit-stand desks from GeekDesk.” These are kind of product-centric things. My content goals here are product awareness and conversion. I’m trying to get people to know about the products that I offer and to convert them to buyers.

This is really about information for those potential buyers. So my audience, naturally, is going to be customers, potential customers, and maybe also some media that’s already planning to write about me, which is why I want to have things like great photography and probably some testimonial quotes and all that kind of stuff.

The SEO targets for these types of pages are going to be my branded keywords — certainly things like “GeekDesk” and “GeekDesk desks” and whatever the models that I’ve got are — and then non-branded keywords that are directly, exactly tied to the products that my customers are going to perform when they search. These are things like sit-stand desks or adjustable height desks. That’s what this stuff is targeting.

This is very classic, very old-school kind of SEO and almost not even in the realm really of content marketing. These are just kind of product-focused pages. You should have plenty of these on your site, but they don’t always have overlap with these other things, and this is where I think the challenge comes into play.

Discovery phase content is really different. This is content like benefits of standing desks. That’s a little broader than GeekDesk. That’s kind of weird. Why would I write about that instead of benefits of GeekDesk? Well, I’m trying to attract a bigger audience. 99% of the content that you’ll ever see me present or write about is not why you should use Moz tools. That’s intentional. I don’t like promoting our stuff all that much. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to it, which has its own challenges.

In any case, this is targeting an audience that I am trying to reach who will learn from me. So I might write things like why sitting at a desk might significantly harm your health or companies that have moved to standing desks. I’d have a list of them, and I have some testimonials from companies that have moved to standing desks. They don’t even have to be on my product. I’m just trying to sell more of the idea and get people engaged with things that might potentially tie to my business. How to be healthy at work, which is even broader.

So these content goals are a little different. I’m trying to create awareness of the company. I just want people to know that GeekDesk exists. So if they come and they consume this content, even if they never become buyers, at least they will know and have heard of us. That’s important as well.

Remember television commercial advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars just to get people to know that they exist. That’s creating those brand impressions, and after more and more brand impressions, especially over a given time frame, you are more likely to know that brand, more likely to trust them, conversion rates go up, all those kinds of things.

I’m also trying to create awareness of the issues. I sometimes don’t even care if you remember that that great piece of content about how to be healthy at work came from GeekDesk. All I care is that you remember that standing at work is probably healthier for you than sitting. That’s what I hope to spread. That’s the virality that I hope to create there. I want to help people so that they trust, remember, and know me in the future. These are the goals around discovery phase content.

That audience can be potential customers, but there’s probably a much broader audience with demographic or psychographic overlap with my customers. That can be a group that’s tremendously larger, and some small percentage of them might someday be customers or customer targets. This is probably also people like media, influencers, and potential amplifiers. This may be a secondary piece, but certainly I hope to reach some of those.

The SEO targets are going to be the informational searches that these types of folks will perform and broad keywords around my products. This is not my personal products, but any of the types of products that I offer. This also includes broad keywords around my customers’ interests. That might be “health at work,” that might be “health at home,” that might be broadly dealing with issues like the leg issue that I’ve got, like sciatica stuff. It can be much broader than just what my product helps solve.

Then there’s a third one. These two I think get conflated more than anything else. This is more the viral, super broad content. This is stuff like, “Scientific studies show that work will kill you. Here’s how.” Wow. That sounds a little scary, but it also sounds like something that my aunt would post on Facebook.

“Work setups at Facebook versus Google versus Microsoft.” I would probably take a look at that article. I want to see what the different photographs are and how they differ, especially if they are the same across all of them. That would surprise me. But I want to know why they have uniqueness there.

“The start-up world’s geekiest desk setup.” That’s going to be visual content that’s going to be sailing across the Web. I definitely want to see that.

“An interactive work setup pricing calculator.” That is super useful, very broad. When you think about the relationship of this to who’s going to be in my potential customer set, that relationship is pretty small. Let’s imagine that this is the Venn diagram of that with my actual customer base. It’s a really tiny little overlap right there. It’s a heart-shaped Venn diagram. I don’t know why that is. It’s because I love you.

The content goals around this are that I want to grow that broad awareness, just like I did with my informational content. I want to attract links. So few folks, especially outside of SEOs and content marketers, really understand this. What happens here is I’m going to attract links with this broad or more viral focused content, and those links will actually help all of this content rank better. This is the rising tide of domain authority that lifts all of the ships, all of the pages on the domain and their potential ranking ability. That’s why you see folks investing in this regularly to boost up the ranking potential of these.

That being said, as we’ve talked about in a previous Whiteboard Friday, Google is doing a lot more domain association and keyword level domain association. So if you do the “problems with abusing alcohol” and that happens to go viral on your site, that probably won’t actually help you rank for any of this stuff because it is completely outside the topic model of what all of these things are about. You want to be at least somewhat tangentially related in a semantic way.

Finally, I want to reach an audience outside of my targets for potential serendipity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about I want to reach someone who has no interest in sitting and standing desks, but might be an investor for me or a supplier for me or a business development partner. They might be someone who happens to tell someone who happens to tell another someone, that long line of serendipity that can happen through connections. That’s what this viral content is about.

So the audience is really not just specific influencers or customers, but anyone who might influence potential customers. It’s a big, broad group. It’s not just these people in here. It’s these people who influence them and those people who influence them. It’s a big, broad group.

Then I’m really looking for a link likely audience with this kind of content. I want to find people who can amplify, people who can socially share, people who can link directly through a blog, through press and media, through resources pages, that kind of stuff.

So my SEO targets might be really broad keywords that have the potential to reach those amplifiers. Sometimes — I know this is weird for me to say — it is okay to have none at all, no keyword target at all. I can imagine a lot of viral content that doesn’t necessarily overlap with a specific keyword search but that has the potential to earn a lot of links and reach influencers. Thus, you kind of go, “Well, let’s turn off the SEO on this one and just at least make it nicely indexable and make the links point to all the right places back throughout here so that I’m bumping up their potential visibility.”

This fits into the question of: What type of content strategy am I doing? Why am I investing in this particular piece? Before you create a piece of content or pitch a piece of content to your manager, your CMO, your CEO, you should make sure you know which one it is. It is so important to do that, because otherwise they’ll judge this content by this ROI and this content by these expectations. That’s just not going to work. They’re going to look at their viral content and go, “I don’t see any conversions coming from this. That was a waste.”

That’s not what it was about. You have to create the right expectations for each kind of content in which you are going to be investing.

All right everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

Original Posted Date at http://moz.com: Nov 14, 2014 Posted by 
Credit Source:http://moz.com/blog/be-intentional-about-content-seo-goals-whiteboard-friday

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Illustrated Guide to Advanced On-Page Topic Targeting for SEO

Topic n. A subject or theme of a webpage, section, or site.

Several SEOs have recently written about topic modeling and advanced on-page optimization. A few of note:

The concepts themselves are dizzying: LDA, co-occurrence, and entity salience, to name only a few. The question is“How can I easily incorporate these techniques into my content for higher rankings?”

In fact, you can create optimized pages without understanding complex algorithms. Sites like Wikipedia, IMDB, and Amazon create highly optimized, topic-focused pages almost by default. Utilizing these best practices works exactly the same when you’re creating your own content.

The purpose of this post is to provide a simple framework for on-page topic targeting in a way that makes optimizing easy and scalable while producing richer content for your audience.

1. Keywords and relationships

No matter what topic modeling technique you choose, all rely on discovering relationships between words and phrases. As content creators, how we organize words on a page greatly influences how search engines determine the on-page topics.

When we use keywords phrases, search engines hunt for other phrases and concepts that relate to one another. So our first job is to expand our keywords research to incorporate these related phrases and concepts. Contextually rich content includes:

  • Close variants and synonyms: Includes abbreviations, plurals, and phrases that mean the same thing.
  • Primary related keywords: Words and phrases that relate to the main keyword phrase.
  • Secondary related keywords: Words and phrases that relate to the primary related keywords.
  • Entity relationships: Concept that describe the properties and relationships between people, places, and things.

Keywords and Relationships

A good keyword phrase or entity is one that predicts the presence of other phrases and entities on the page. For example, a page about “The White House” predicts other phrases like “president,” “Washington,” and “Secret Service.” Incorporating these related phrases may help strengthen the topicality of “White House.”

2. Position, frequency, and distance

How a page is organized can greatly influence how concepts relate to each other.

Once search engines find your keywords on a page, they need to determine which ones are most important, and which ones actually have the strongest relationships to one another.

Three primary techniques for communicating this include:

  • Position: Keywords placed in important areas like titles, headlines, and higher up in the main body text may carry the most weight.
  • Frequency: Using techniques like TF-IDF, search engines determine important phrases by calculating how often they appear in a document compared to a normal distribution.
  • Distance: Words and phrases that relate to each other are often found close together, or grouped by HTML elements. This means leveraging semantic distance to place related concepts close to one another using paragraphs, lists, and content sectioning.

A great way to organize your on-page content is to employ your primary and secondary related keywords in support of your focus keyword. Each primary related phrase becomes its own subsection, with the secondary related phrases supporting the primary, as illustrated here.

Keyword Position, Frequency and Distance

As an example, the primary keyword phrase of this page is ‘On-page Topic Targeting‘. Supporting topics include:keywords and relationships, on-page optimization, links, entities, and keyword tools. Each related phrase supports the primary topic, and each becomes its own subsection.

3. Links and supplemental content

Many webmasters overlook the importance of linking as a topic signal.

Several well-known Google search patents and early research papers describe analyzing a page’s links as a way to determine topic relevancy. These include both internal links to your own pages and external links to other sites, often with relevant anchor text.

Google’s own Quality Rater Guidelines cites the value external references to other sites. It also describes a page’ssupplemental content, which can includes internal links to other sections of your site, as a valuable resource.

Links and Supplemental Content

If you need an example of how relevant linking can help your SEO, The New York Times famously saw success, and an increase in traffic, when it started linking out to other sites from its topic pages.

Although this guide discusses on-page topic optimization, topical external links with relevant anchor text can greatly influence how search engines determine what a page is about. These external signals often carry more weight than on-page cues, but it almost always works best when on-page and off-page signals are in alignment.

4. Entities and semantic markup

Google extracts entities from your webpage automatically, without any effort on your part. These are people, placesand things that have distinct properties and relationships with each other.

• Christopher Nolan (entity, person) stands 5’4″ (property, height) and directed Interstellar (entity, movie)

Even though entity extraction happens automatically, it’s often essential to mark up your content with Schema for specific supported entities such as business information, reviews, and products. While the ranking benefit of adding Schema isn’t 100% clear, structured data has the advantage of enhanced search results.

Entities and Schema

For a solid guide in implementing schema.org markup, see Builtvisible’s excellent guide to rich snippets.

5. Crafting the on-page framework

You don’t need to be a search genius or spend hours on complex research to produce high quality, topic optimized content. The beauty of this framework is that it can be used by anyone, from librarians to hobby bloggers to small business owners; even when they aren’t search engine experts.

A good webpage has much in common with a high quality university paper. This includes:

  1. A strong title that communicates the topic
  2. Introductory opening that lays out what the page is about
  3. Content organized into thematic subsections
  4. Exploration of multiple aspects of the topic and answers related questions
  5. Provision of additional resources and external citations

Your webpage doesn’t need to be academic, stuffy, or boring. Some of the most interesting pages on the Internet employ these same techniques while remaining dynamic and entertaining.

Keep in mind that ‘best practices’ don’t apply to every situation, and as Rand Fishkin says “There’s no such thing as ‘perfectly optimized’ or ‘perfect on-page SEO.'” Pulling everything together looks something like this:

On-page Topic Targeting for SEO

Download High Resolution Image

This graphic is highly inspired by Rand Fishkin’s great Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO. This guide doesn’t replace that canonical resource. Instead, it should be considered a supplement to it.

5 alternative tools for related keyword and entity research

For the search professional, there are dozens of tools available for thematic keyword and entity research. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but contains many useful favorites.

1. Alchemy API

One of the few tools on the market that delivers entity extraction, concept targeting and linked data analysis. This is a great platform for understanding how a modern search engine views your webpage.

2. SEO Review Tools

The SEO Keyword Suggestion Tools was actually designed to return both primary and secondary related keywords, as well as options for synonyms and country targeting.

3. LSIKeywords.com

The LSIKeyword tool performs Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) on the top pages returned by Google for any given keyword phrase. The tool can go down from time to time, but it’s a great one to bookmark.

4. Social Mention

Quick and easy, enter any keyword phrase and then check “Top Keywords” to see what words appear most with your primary phrase across the of the platforms that Social Mention monitors.

5. Google Trends

Google trends is a powerful related research tool, if you know how to use it. The secret is downloading your results to a CSV (under settings) to get a list up to 50 related keywords per search term.

Original Posted Date at http://moz.com: Nov 17, 2014 Posted by 
Credit Source:http://moz.com/blog/on-page-topic-seo

What New SEOs Don’t Know Unless You Tell Them: A Reminder from Outside the Echo Chamber

SEO experts spend multiple hours a week reading blogs, social media and forums to stay abreast of the latest search engine developments; we spend even more time testing and measuring tactics to figure out what works best for our sites. When you spend so much of your time thinking, talking and learning about SEO, you can get lost in the echo chamber and take your eyes off the prize of growing your clients’ businesses.

It’s easy to get excited about the new and shiny developments in search and to hang on Google’s latest announcements, but there’s no point in switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS if it doesn’t even have appropriately keyword-rich title tags. There’s no reason to run a button-color conversion rate optimization test on a site that’s still using the manufacturer’s default description on product pages. Sometimes your traffic is plummeting because you haven’t checked for new 404 errors in 6 months, not because you’ve been hit with a penalty. Think horses, not zebras, and don’t forget one important fact: Most people have no idea what we’re talking about.

What clients don’t know

Running a business, especially a small business, is way more than a full-time job. Most business owners these days understand that they need to be doing something for their business online, but once they get beyond “have a website” they’re not sure of the next step.

Puzzle

Photo via Pixabay

Moving back into agency work after several years in-house, I was surprised by just how many businesses out there have never gone beyond that first step of having a website. The nitty-gritty of building a search-friendly website and driving traffic to it still aren’t that widely known, and without the time or inclination to become experts in marketing their websites, most small business owners just aren’t spending that much time thinking about it.

Hanging out in the SEO echo chamber is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends in digital marketing. To win and keep our clients, however, we need to step out of that echo chamber and remember just how many website owners aren’t thinking about SEO at all.

The good

Relatively few people know or understand digital marketing, and that’s the reason we all have jobs (and most of us are hiring). The strapped-for-time aspect of business ownership means that once someone decides it’s time to get serious about marketing their business online, they’re likely to call in an expert rather than doing it themselves.

There are some really competitive industries and markets out there, but there are also plenty of niche and local markets in which almost nobody is focusing on SEO in a serious way. Take a look at who ranks for your target keywords in your local area, using an incognito window. If the key phrase isn’t appearing consistently on the search results page, chances are nobody is targeting it very strongly. Combine that with an absence of heavy-hitting big brands like Amazon or Wikipedia, and you may have a market where some basic SEO improvements can make a huge difference. This includes things like:

  • Adding keywords to title tags and page copy in an intentional, user-friendly, non-keyword-stuffed way
  • Claiming local listings with a consistent name, address and phone number
  • Building a few links and citations from locally-focused websites and blogs

It may not seem like much (or seem like kind of a no-brainer), but sometimes it’s all you need. Of course, once the basics are in place, the smartest move is to keep improving your site and building authority; you can’t rely on your competitors not knowing their stuff forever.

Even in more competitive markets, a shocking number of larger brands are paying little to no attention to best practices in search. Many businesses get the traffic and rankings they do from the power of their brands, which comes from more traditional marketing techniques and PR. These activities result in a fair amount of traffic (not to mention links and authority) on their own, but if they’re being done with no attention given to SEO, they’re wasting a huge opportunity. In the coming years, look for SEO-savvy brands to start capitalizing on this opportunity, leaving their competitors to play catch-up.

From inside the echo chamber, it’s easy to forget just how well the fundamentals of SEO still really work. In addition to the basic items I listed above, a website should be:

  • Fast. Aim for an average page load time of under 5 seconds (user attention spans start running out after 2 seconds, but 5 is a nice achievable goal for most websites).
  • Responsive so it can be viewed on a variety of screens. Mobile is never getting less important.
  • Well-coded. The Moz Developer’s Cheat Sheet is as good a place to start as any.
  • Easy to navigate (just as much for your customers as for Google). Run a Screaming Frog crawl to make sure a crawler can get to every page with a minimum of errors, dead ends, and duplicate content.
  • Unique and keyword-rich, talking about what you have in the language people are using to search for it (in copy nobody else is using).
  • Easy to share for when you’re building awareness and authority via social media and link building.

So life is good and we are smart and there’s a lot to do and everything is very special. Good deal, right?

The bad

SEO being a very specialized skill set has some serious downsides. Most clients don’t know much about SEO, but some SEOs don’t know much about it either.

There are a ton of great resources out there to learn SEO (Moz and Distilled U come to mind). That said, the web can be a ghost town of old, outdated and inaccurate information, and it can be difficult for people who don’t have much experience in search marketing to know what info to trust. An article on how to make chocolate chip muffins from 2010 is still useful now; an article on PageRank sculpting from the same time period is much less so.

Outdated techniques (especially around content creation and link building) can be really tempting for the novice digital marketer. There are a ton of “tricks” to quickly generate low-quality links and content that sound like great ideas when you’re hearing them for the first time. Content spinning, directory spam, link farms – they’re all still going on and there are gobs of information out there on how to do them.

Why should we care?

So why should we more experienced SEOs, who know what we’re doing and what works, care about these brand new baby n00b SEOs mowing through all this bad intel?

confused

Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr

The first reason is ideological – we should care because they’re doing bad marketing. It contributes to everything that’s spammy and terrible about the internet. It also makes us look bad. The “SEO is not spam” battle is still being fought.

The second reason is practical. People billing themselves as SEOs without knowing enough about it is a problem because clients don’t know enough about it either. It’s easy for someone engaging in link farming and directory spam to compete on price with someone doing full-scale content marketing, because one is much, much more work than the other. Short-term, predictable results feel a lot more tangible than long-term strategies, which are harder to guarantee and forecast. Not to mention that “X dollars for Y links” guy isn’t going to add “There is a risk that these tactics will result in a penalty, which would be difficult to recover from even if I did know how to do it, which I don’t.”

How can we fix it?

SEOs need to educate our clients and prospects on what we do and why we do it. That means giving them enough information to be able to weed out good tactics from bad even before we make the sale. It means saying “even if you don’t hire me to do this, please don’t hire someone who does X, Y or Z.” It means taking the time to explain why we don’t guarantee first-page rankings, and the risks inherent in link spam. Most of all, it means stepping out of the echo chamber and into the client’s shoes, remembering that basic tenets of digital marketing that may seem obvious to us are completely foreign to most website owners. At the very least we need to educate our clients to please, please not change the website without talking to us about it first!

Since terrible SEO gives us a bad rep (and is annoying to fix), we also need to actively educate within the SEO community. Stepping out of the echo chamber in this case means we need to spend some time talking to new SEOs at conferences, instead of just talking to each other. Point brand new SEOs to the right resources to learn what we do, so they don’t ruin it for everybody – for heaven’s sake, stop calling them n00bs and leaving them to learn it all from questionable sources.

As SEO content creators, we should also take time on a regular basis to either update or take down any outdated content on our own sites. This can be as simple as posting a notification that the info is outdated or as complex as creating a brand new resource on the same topic. If you’re getting organic search traffic to a page with outdated information, you’re passively hurting the state of SEO education. A declared stance on providing up-to-date information and continually curating your existing content to make it the highest quality? Sounds like a pretty strong brand position to me, SEO bloggers!

Some people are going to read this post and say “well, duh.” If you read this post and thought it was basic (in every sense of the word), go out right now and fix some of your blog posts from 3 or 4 years ago to contain the latest info. I’ll wait.

The takeaways

  • There are still a ton of markets where just the basics of SEO go a long way.
  • Don’t get distracted by the latest developments in search if the basics aren’t in place.
  • Brands that are getting by on their brand strength alone can be beaten by brand strength + SEO.
  • Old/bad SEO information on the web means people are still learning and doing old/bad SEO, and we’re competing with them. Branding and positioning in SEO needs to take this into account.
  • Clients don’t know who to trust or how to do SEO, so we have to educate them or we’ll lose them to shysters (plus it is the right thing to do).
  • Bad SEO gives all of us a bad reputation, so education within our community is important too.

Original Posted Date at http://moz.com: Nov 26, 2014 Posted by

Credit Source:http://moz.com/blog/stepping-out-of-the-seo-echo-chamber