Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

SEO companies aren't magiciansTo my knowledge, most SEO experts don’t have a degree in quantum physics, aren’t proficient in calculus or even have a degree from Hogwarts school of magic. But clients seem to think a search engine optimization company can work magic. (Though, based on the sales pitch you hear from the SEO telemarketers, they would make you believe they can.)

Everyone today is searching for the easy button – that quick fix that will catapult their site to page one of Google. And there are lots of SEO companies out there promising to do just that, when, in reality, they are just taking your money. The truth is Google is slowly whittling away at the tactics used by most of these companies. Link building, blog commenting, and optimizing anchor text, all common practices, are now being penalized by Google’s latest updates.

That spells bad news for the SEO companies that are looking for the fast buck. For the business owners, it’s both good news and bad. The good news is, the playing field is being leveled so that your competition can’t cheat the system as easily. The bad news – now your site must stand on it’s own merit. If you want to be at the top of Google for “Money Saving Widgets”, you better have the most authoritative site on “Money Saving Widgets.”

easy-buttonThe easy button you’ve been searching for is content. Every time I tell a client that they need to create content, you see a dejected look, a “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that” look. Creating content conjures up unpleasant memories of high school English. “Where am I going to find the time to write content?” “What am I going to say?” “Everyone knows what our business does.” Here are some suggestions to help you start creating content:

1. Create content that educates – A website/blog is the best source for educating your customers/clients. Regardless of the subject, people want to make sure they are making an informed decision and your content can reinforce those decisions.
2. Create content that entertains – We buy based on emotions, then justify it with logic. Content that entertains the reader taps their emotions and forges a bond between your site and the reader.
3. Tell a story – Storytelling is an effective content strategy. Readers can immerse themselves into the story line and identify with the characters. Consider a testimonial type of story that demonstrates how your company solved a problem. Readers will remember you for your problem solving skills rather than your list of services.
4. Forget the sales pitch – If your content is done right, you won’t need to have a sales pitch. A sales pitch immediately shifts the focus from the reader to “me, me, me”. The harsh reality – no one cares about you or your business. They care about whether you can solve their problem, increase their profitability or make their life easier. If your content gets that message across, you will never need a sales pitch.

So as you’re looking for that elusive shortcut to the top of Google, remember, there is no shortcut. The easy button is only in commercials. If you are committed to forging your way to the top of the search engines, you need to be ready to start creating dynamic content and keep creating dynamic content. Like any sporting event, the playing field will be dominated by the person or team that is the most dedicated, consistent and prepared.

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Google+ for business is now open. “Oh great,” I can hear you say, “another social network I have to keep up with.” Yes, I know the traffic is not on Google + like it is on Facebook. And I don’t expect a mass exodus from Facebook. But, here are my top 5 reasons you should be on Google +.

 

5. It’s easy to sign up. To signup, you enter your business name and phone number. Google + then matches that to your Google Places Page. (You DO have a Google Places page, don’t you?)

4. Sharing is Easy – Others can share your business page either through the Share Page button or by +1’ing the page. Either way, it increases the chances of virally spreading your page.

3. No Finding Friends – With business pages, you don’t have to go hunting for friends. You share your page and post the page link to your web site and the traffic comes to you.

2. Build a Following and Improve Your Traffic – Because Google customizes the search function when you are logged in to a Google product (Gmail, Google +, Google Reader, etc.) the results you see are based, in part, on your connections. For example, if someone in one of your circles has +1’d a page, and you do a search on a keyword that related to that page, Google is going to show you that page higher up in the search results than normal.

The bottom line for a business is to have as large a following as possible, so when a follower searches for your catagory, your site will show up much higher.

1. Faster Indexing in Google – The number 1 reason to create a Google + page is speed up the process of getting content indexed in the Google search results. When content is shared in Google +, Google sees the content much quicker and as a result will add it to the search results page, based on the content.

I have seen this first hand within my blog articles. I created a blog article with the title Ninja Marketing Tips. Within 3 days of sharing the article in Google +, it was ranking at the top of an incognito Google search for the term, Ninja Marketing Tips.

Judge for yourself. What is your marketing strategy? Would improved search engine visibility be a plus? I welcome your thoughts.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Ninja Blogging Secrets to More SEO trafficYour blog is written, it’s got the keywords in the right place and it’s posted for all to read. The final step is to spread the word. The purpose of your blog is to drive traffic — either to your web site, landing page or event. And the broader your readership, the more traffic you can expect.

To increase your blogosphere, you need to expose more readers to your content. Sharing your blog through social media is the best place to start. If you have a business Facebook page, you can have your blog automatically update your status. The same can be done on LinkedIn. Assuming you have dynamite content, it’s an easy step for your friends, likers or connections to share it with their friends.

But how do you expand beyond your sphere of connections? One of the easiest ways to do that is through social bookmarking sites, like Stumbleupon, Digg and Reddit. As of January 1, 2011, Stumbleupon generated more website traffic (referrals) than any other social media site, including Facebook. Social bookmarking sites are the equivalent to your favorites, only made public for all to see and share.

There are a number of social bookmarking sites, some general and some industry specific. The most popular general interest sites are Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Diigo, Mixx and Fark but there are dozens more. To submit a site, you will need an account setup at each of these sites. When you are ready to submit your new blog post, you then login to each one and add the link.

But I’m all about time saving. If you have to go to each site, add the link, add an excerpt, then submit it, it’s going to take some time. Despair not, grasshopper. Simply add a plugin to your WordPress blog called ShareToAny. Once you activate the plugin, ShareToAny adds a button to the bottom of each blog post that will automatically connect you with all the above social bookmark sites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and close to 100 other potential sites.

When I first discovered this technique, I closely monitored my web traffic to see if it did have an effect. Almost without exception, every time I submit a blog post, I see a significant spike in traffic to my web site as a result.

Now, you’ve learned some of the ninja master’s most guarded secrets. It’s time for you to go forth and make your way in the blogosphere.

Gary Wagnon, owner of 800biz.com Digital Marketing Solutions, specialize in helping small business owners maximize their traffic through web site design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and mobile text message marketing.

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Now that you’re blogging (I assume you read my last blog), you’re no longer a white belt (novice). So now let’s give you the next secret techniques to earn your green belt (intermediate) – SEO Keywords in your blog.
Black Belt

My blog is done through WordPress, so that’s the platform I will be talking about. I know there are other blogging platforms but in my opinion, WordPress is far and away the most powerful in terms of functionality and overall SEO ability. So aside from just writing a blog and hoping for the best, what specifically should you be doing.

Let’s start with keyword usage. The same rules apply to a blog as to a website. If you have a major keyword phrase you want to get indexed, that phrase should have a web page devoted to it. In the case of your blog, don’t try to cram every possible keyword in your post. That only waters down the entire importance of every keyword phrase and, as a result, your post won’t get optimal results. If you have more keyword phrases, put them in separate posts.

WP-keywordsPost tags and Categories. Every post should have a keyword rich category and keyword tags. In WordPress, those are added to the post on the right hand side. Once a category is created, all posts assigned to that category will appear in the blog menu (if you choose to display it.) While categories are permanently incorporated, post tags (the WordPress term for keywords) are not. You will need to add them to each post. One common question I get is how many keywords should I add here. If the keyword phrase isn’t mentioned in your blog title or body, it probably shouldn’t be one of the post tags. A good rule of thumb is no more than 5 post tags per post.

In my early martial art days, I couldn’t wait to get to the really cool stuff the brown and black belts got to do. Well, you’re almost there. The really cool stuff is coming up so keep practicing what you’ve learned so far.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz specializes in website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and mobile text message marketing.

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kung-fu_tv-master_po-young_grasshopper“Ah Grasshopper, when you can snatch the pebble from my hand it will be time for you to leave.” Okay, I’m an old Kung Fu fan but the master’s comment still holds true. When you learn to master a few basic secrets, it will be time for your business to soar.

So, Grasshopper, are you ready to get started? Secret Number 1 – You must learn to blog. Now before you get that dear in the headlights look, hang on. Like any good master, I’m going to impart the knowledge you need to master this needed skill.

I can almost always predict the reaction when I tell clients they need to start a blog. Their shoulders sag, they expel a huge sigh and look like they just got punched in the stomach. The hardest thing for most business owners is writing about their business. We can talk about our businesses in person, but when it comes to putting it down on paper, that’s a different story. Maybe it’s insecurity in our writing style, maybe it’s the time it takes to peck it out on the keyboard. But fear not. Help is here.

Let’s address the easiest one first – slow typing skills. Even though I’m pretty proficient on the keyboard, my best writing is done as I speak. So I bought Dragon Speak software and with my headset microphone, I talk, it types. It takes a little training but the more you use it the better it gets. It was the best $40 I’ve spent.

With that excuse down, let’s tackle writing insecurity. The beauty of a blog is your high school English teacher isn’t going to be grading it. If you can “fool” most of the people most of the time verbally, you’re in luck. A blog should be in your voice. Let your personality show through. People do business with people they know, like and trust. If your blog reflects who you are, your readers will get to “know” you. Besides, if your blog is a boring lecture, your readers will only come back when they have incurable insomnia.

Now for the serious decisions. What direction do you take your blog? Do you go serious or humorous? Witty and sarcastic or reassuring and calming? Or maybe controversial? A couple of notes on controversial. If you choose to go down the controversy road, be prepared for responses. A controversial post will frequently generate lots of comments. While that is exactly what you want, engagement from your readers, you also need to be thick-skinned enough to handle it. You will also want to respond to every comment. Just don’t be argumentative. Acknowledge the commentor’s points and either defend your position, recant it or just thank them and let it go.

KungFuGrasshopperOne last hidden secret Grasshopper. What do you talk about? Do you read newsletters, trade journals or other publications about what’s happening in your industry? (If you answer “No” we need to go back to Grasshopper kindergarten. You’re probably way behind the times and your competitors are more than likely taking your lunch money!!)

The information you read is loaded with trends, techniques or knowledge your customers would find valuable. All you need to do is take that information, put your spin on it and there’s your blog post. Sight the article source and wrap your take around it. “Just read this article about the new 2011 widgets. Their going to make your life so much easier because…” Or the article may trigger something you want to let your customers or clients know. Don’t hesitate to dip into this limitless well of information.

So now you’re ready to start practicing. Remember Cain was in the Shaolin Temple many years before he could grab the pebble. But feel free to test your skills when you feel ready.

Need help with how to write your content?    Creating a Buzz with Word Of Mouth Advertising is a 64 page ebook loaded with ideas, tips and techniques.

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6
Jul

Analyze This

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in search engine optimization, web design

So you have a website, but is it performing?  You monitor your advertising efforts, you may even ask customers that call where they found you.  And you may even be gratified when they say they found you online.

But are you really getting the most out of your web site?  An analysis of your web statistics can provide you a wealth of information.  Most web hosting companies can provide you with stats on your site.  Another option is adding Google Analytics to your site.  (Google Analytics may be the easiest if you don’t have access to your web server’s control panel.)

One common question I get is “What do all these mean?”  Even though the categories are self-explanatory, what do they REALLY mean?

The first stat is unique visitors vs (total) visitors.  So what is the difference?  When a browser comes to your site the first time, they are counted as in the unique visitor and in the visitor total.  The second time (and beyond) they are counted only in the visitor total.  Are you providing current information that draws visitors back?  If you business is a one time sale, then unique visitors are the most important stat of the 2.  But even if that is the nature of your business, providing relevant content of value, even your old customers, can result in referrals and possibly repeat business.

The next stat to analyze is time spent on the site.  Sadly, by far the largest time block is less than 30 seconds for most web sites.  That means that most browsers spend less than 30 seconds before leaving your site and going to the next one.  Why?  Some factors that effect the “stickiness” of your site are:

  • Lack of Content
  • Poorly Organized Content
  • Difficult to Navigate
  • Overall Site Appearance
  • Out of Date Information

Very few businesses have a monopoly on the web today.  The competition is fierce and you must be equally aggressive if you want to claim your piece of the pie.

Bounce rate is another factor related to time spent.  The bounce rate refers to the percentage of single page visits in which a browser left your site from the entrance page.  High bounce rates can be the result of ineffective headlines, poor keyword choices or poorly worded ad campaigns.

Another stat to pay particular attention to is the keywords section.  Most web site owners look at the keywords with an eye to which keyword brings in the most visitors.  But an equally critical piece is what keywords are NOT there.  When you did your keyword analysis, you should have identified the keywords that best matched your business.  If some of those keywords do not show up in your stats, it may be time to evaluate your content and have some additional search engine optimization (SEO) done.

Finally, review the referrers section.  For years this section was a measure of SEO efforts.  And while that is still true, with the importance of social media, this stat has become a measure for your return on engagement in social media.  The importance of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and especially you blog in your SEO plan have been well documented.  A successful social media plan will result in driving traffic to your web site.  The referrer stat helps you document the traffic that is coming from the various social media and identify weak areas.

If you have gone to the effort of creating a web site, doesn’t it make sense to get the most from your site?  Use your stats as a guide to maximize your traffic and your revenue.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com is a specialist in search engine optimization, web site design and social media marketing.  If you would like a free, no obligation SEO analysis, feel free to contact 800biz.

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23
Apr

Is SEO Dead?

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in search engine optimization, Social Media Marketing, web design

For the last 5 or more years, I couldn’t pick up a newsletter or ezine without finding an article about search engine optimization.  That is, until now.

Ten years ago, we focused on adding meta tags to our websites to get them ranked.   Five years ago, it was about linking strategies.  Then content became king.  And with each change, SEO specialists like myself adapted.  So how to you drive traffic to your site today?

The evolution of search today has taken on a real time emphasis.  Looking for the news? Today the news finds you.   Of course, you want the latest information on whatever you are searching for.  Nothing is more frustrating than going to a website and finding information from 2006.  Even if it’s still pertinent, chances are you will go on to a more current site.

Real search or live search focuses on delivering the most recent information.  And that information is frequently not from a website.  The most recent information is more likely a blog post or even a Twitter tweet.  Yes, I said a Twitter tweet.  Here’s a good example:

A Google search for “Iceland Volcano” resulted in a section for Latest News – that contains a live feed changing every few seconds.  The listing below shows results from just minutes before.

Twitter Results in Google

Twitter Results in Google

Directly below the Latest News is a section for Video results that displays YouTube videos of the Iceland Volcano.  What every happened to the Google we all knew that took 90 days to get your site found?

Video Results - YouTube

Video Results - YouTube

So should you abandon your website for a blog, Twitter account and YouTube channel?  Not yet.  I look at the social media like a big funnel.  Twitter, Facebook and YouTube should be funneling people to your blog and your blog should be funneling people to your website, where browsers can find out details about you and your business and hopefully take action (but that’s another topic).

Another reason you can’t abandon search engine optimization (SEO) and your website is the permanency of social media.  You might be ranking well with your current article, post, tweet or video, but as more recent media are found, yours will either drop in ranking or disappear all together.  So you website is the anchor. A well designed, search engine optimized website should remain fairly stable (even in competitive keywords.)  For example, search for “Tucson Interior Design” in Google.  Of the top 4 results, 3 of the sites are ones that were optimized by 800biz.com several years ago.  With little or no changes, these sites have maintained their top ranking consistently.

So for now, SEO is still alive and kicking.  But today, you there are more pieces of the online marketing puzzle to put together.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specialize in website design, hosting, search engine optimization and social media marketing for small and medium businesses.

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You Don't Need A Website UNLESS...

You Don't Need A Website UNLESS...

Wait, did I just read that right, you’re asking?  A website designer saying you don’t need a website – something must be wrong.

Well, there are cases where a website is a waste of money.  First of all, if the goal of having a website is just to check off the appropriate box on your business plan, you don’t need one.

You don’t need a website just because your brother in law, the unemployed college drop out says so.

You don’t need a website if you think a website is the new yellow pages and everybody looks there.

The bottom line is, you don’t need a website if you not committed to making it the important marketing vehicle it should be.  So where do you start?

During the last 10 years, I have seen the evolution of websites, from simple 3 page sites with a waving cactus graphic, to multi-media sites with intricate flash graphics, to the mobile web we see on our phones.  Search engine optimization has been the buzz word for the last several years.  And it remains a critical element of your website.

But in today’s internet landscape, SEO is only a piece of the puzzle.  Does your website content call browsers to take action?  How are you building your brand?  Are you the expert in your industry?

In the coming blog posts, I will discuss online marketing and how to create a comprehensive program to get maximum exposure.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specialize in website design, hosting, search engine optimization and social media marketing for small and medium businesses.

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We have been Googling for several years now – entering whatever we wanted to find and waiting for Google to perform a top secret calculation that would make Mr. Spock proud.  But now Google has added a new twist, or should I say turn.

Google Wonder Wheel offers a new way to search for related topics.  For example, suppose you are searching for energy saving equipment.  Google Wonder Wheel not only gives you the results it normally would deliver, but also gives you 8 “spokes” with related keywords. Continuing to drill down each spoke will help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Where Google Wonder Wheel really shines is in keyword research.  The spokes give you related keywords that are targeted and focused.  The wheel creates the ideal starting point for your blog, web pages, pay-per-click campaign or your entire website.  Are there keyword phrases you haven’t considered?  Are there related products or services you might not have considered?  Can your existing product or service crossover into another area?  The Google Wonder Wheel helps you make critical decisions that can drive your business into the future.

How do you use the Google Wonder Wheel?

Google Wonder Wheel Search

Google Wonder Wheel Search

Starting from a normal search, look for the + Show options link in the blue bar where the number of results are shown.  By clicking on the Show Options, a side bar will open with several search options.  Wonder Wheel is under the Standard View.  The Google Wonder Wheel appears on the left and the search results on the right.  Each spoke off the wheel has a related keyword phrase.  Click any phrase to see those results, as well as a second wheel with related phrases for the new phrase.  The initial wheel remains visible below so you can jump back to the original.

Google Wonder Wheel Search Expanded

Google Wonder Wheel Search Expanded

Take your turn on the Google Wonder Wheel. Your results will speak for themselves.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specializes in website design, search engine optimization and social media marketing.

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25
Jul

Now Starring….

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in search engine optimization, web design

If you had to choose a entry point to get your business in the social media, why not choose one with the highest possible traffic and the least amount of work? YouTube is where you need to start.

Almost everyone has a video camera these days. Even some cell phones have video capability. And if not, you can purchase a video camera for less than $80 (need a good source check out www.shop800biz.com) There is no need for studio production for small businesses. The purpose of the video is to give browsers a feel for what your business is all about. People like dealing with “regular folks”. If your business is relaxed and fun, let your video show that. If your business is more upscale or serious, convey that idea.

Once you have created your Speilberg masterpiece, the easy part begins. Create a YouTube account if you don’t already have one. That will take you a whopping 5 minutes. Then upload your video. Be sure you put a title and description in that tells people what your business is. The description should always start with your web address. It should be list in this format – http://www.yoursite.com . That will make the address a clickable link and take anyone (including the search engines) to your website for more information about you.

The only thing left to do is embed the video in your website. When the video finishes uploading, you will see a link and an embed code. Cut and paste (or send to your webmaster) the code. When people are browsing your site, they can click on the video and watch it within your site.

So Action, Camera, Rolling!!

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