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11 Things To Ask Yourself When Optimizing Content

A client asked me the other day why we were optimizing his software for Los Angeles, when he’s located in Raleigh, NC. In explaining the reason to him, I realized that a basic guideline for optimizing pages is long overdue. I’ve developed the following flow chart and explanation in response. Theming Content The first question you need to ask yourself when optimizing a page is, What is the Page About? If you can’t answer this or your answer is a keyword, then maybe you shouldn’t be building the page. Seriously. You need the page to be about something in order for it to have value [...]


How To Leverage PPC To Discover High-Converting Keywords For SEO

When starting out with a new search effort or performing a keyword refresh for an existing website, the options for discovering new keywords are limited only by the SEO’s imagination. From the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, to digging through analytics, to leveraging sites like Soovle that discover ‘suggest’ keywords across multiple search engines, keyword discovery options abound. Building a pool of potential keywords to optimize for, however, is only half the battle. For those websites driving visitors to a ‘conversion event’ (e-commerce, asset download, form completion, etc [...]


SEO Basics: When Your Domain & Homepage Are Not The Same

Recently, I ran an audit on 56 music industry websites and received a startling result. Sixteen sites, 28.6%, forward people from their domain name to their homepage using 302 Temporary Redirects. These sites are tossing away valuable link authority! If your domain and homepage are different, determine how the domains forward visitors to the actual homepage. The correct way to forward visitors from one Web address to another is via a 301 Permanent Redirect. A permanent redirect tells search engines to take the authority from off-site links pointing at your domain and apply it to your rea [...]


The Difference In Keyword Research For SEO vs. PPC

keywords-featured Often when I complete a keyword research project for a client, they ask me about keywords I may not have included, or they want to know what the relative competition on the keywords looks like. This happens often enough that I thought I would remind everyone that while research for SEO and PPC can go hand in hand, they’re actually very different. First, think about what your goals are with each medium. What are you trying to do, and what constitutes success in that area? Next, think about how the keywords will be used. Where, when, how often? Finally, consider what your margin for erro [...]


Three Free Keyword Research Tools

One of the hardest things to do in keyword research is to uncover related keywords. With that in mind, the tools I’m reviewing today all help identify related keywords that you may want to search in more detail. These tools are not a substitute for detailed keyword research like I talked about in my first series of articles. Rather, they may help to either identify those keywords that are most important to your competitors, or help find obscure opportunities where there may be little search volume, but there is also little competition. All of the tools I reviewed for this article are [...]


Keyword Research Tool Review: Google AdWords

Keywords are important. I've heard from several potential clients recently who have talked to other "professionals" who told them keywords are no longer important for SEO, and that good content is all you really need. Here's the thing. Keywords are language. They'll always be important because words are how we communicate with each other. So until someone invents the microchip that can be implanted in your brain and read your thoughts without using words, you'll need to think about language in marketing. And I can only hope that those potential clients were told this by one seriously mis [...]


Time To Reap What You’ve Sown From Keyword Seeds

If you’ve been following the series on Keyword Seeds and Keyword Research over the last couple of months, I’ve been writing about how to perform really good keyword research through a series of tactics that I call the "Keyword Seed Method". Don’t bother to go look that up in Google, as I think I’m the only one in the world who calls it that. But it helps me to think of keywords as "seeds" of information that will eventually grow into a "garden of possibilities", if you will allow me the artistic license. I’ve been reading a lot of classic literature lately. I received many ema [...]


7 Real Mobile Duplicate Content SEO Issues

mobile-seo-featured Ask someone who’s new to mobile SEO about it and they’re almost sure to tell you that mobile sites are duplicate content. The fear is that having the same content on two URLs will do the same thing it does in traditional SEO and split link equity and social shares, making it more difficult for either page to rank. In reality, with Google’s Old Possum/Skip Redirect update in December, user agent redirection is all that’s necessary for mobile sites to rank ahead of desktop sites in smartphone search, even if it’s the same content formatted differently. With canonical tags back to [...]


The SEO Breakdown: Bank Information Center Site Audit

SEO-Audits-Case-Studies-Site-Examples As part of a site audit special series, we're going to review an interesting website, Bank Information Center (BIC). BIC is a non-profit organization that does some very cool things but, like most non-profits, hasn’t updated their website for many years. Needless to say, they have almost no Internet marketing or SEO strategy which led them to ask for help by submitting their site for this series. In this post, I’m going to break down: Who the business is and what they do First Impressions: Overall analysis of website look, feel, targeting and usability Second Impressions: [...]


How To Develop A Keyword Plan

Since last time, you've been busy growing your keyword seeds into little seedlings, using those handy Excel tricks I wrote about. You've likely got thousands of keywords now, and may have no idea what to do next. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll continue the planting analogy for categorizing and mapping keywords. It seems appropriate, with spring upon us. You’ve found your seeds, planted them in little cups, and gotten seedlings from them. Now it’s time to plant them in the garden and watch them grow. But just as you shouldn’t drop a bunch of seedlings into the ground in no particula [...]


Tips For Growing Keyword Seeds With Excel Formulas

Have your seeds germinated yet? Last time, we talked about keywords as "seeds" of ideas; a single keyword to represent an entire keyword cluster. Now it’s time to make our seeds grow. [caption id="attachment_114848" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Germinating your Keyword Seeds"][/caption] Using the example of Artisan Construction Services again (thanks!), we’ll walk through the process that I use to grow a single seed. In this case, let’s use "deck". To begin with, I want to think of the types of decks my client might build: Composite Wood PVC Hardwood Ceda [...]


Nine Best Practices For Optimized < title > Tags

When I do an SEO audit on a webpage, one of the first things I check is the <title> tag. Why? Well, I have several reasons. [caption id="attachment_112710" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Best Practices for Title Tags in SEO"][/caption] In my book, the <title> tag possesses all of the following: It has the most SEO power of any tag on the page for establishing keyword relevance Its contents are the source for the blue-link text shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs) It’s the best place to get a concise description of the content on the page (well, th [...]


The Keyword Research Rabbit Hole

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to use your first meeting with a client to understand their business and collect information that could later inform your keyword research. Now, you’re back at your desk and wondering what to do with all that information. To begin with, you should have three lists of keyword-types (I call them seeds): [caption id="attachment_110492" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Elements to include in keyword research"][/caption] Seeds most important to your clients (note that these may include jargon and industry-specific terms that need further researc [...]


12 Steps To Optimize A Webpage For Organic Keywords

In this article, I’ll outline the steps I take to optimize a webpage to try to improve organic search results;  both increase rankings and improve click-throughs from the search listings. If you’ve been following along in this series, we covered the first steps in the previous two articles. 1. Choose The Keywords To Focus On In Organic Keywords: The First Step In Search Engine Optimization, I covered how to use Google analytics to choose the organic keyword phrases to focus on first in your optimization efforts; those keywords already contributing to the business goals. We then looke [...]


5 Questions To Streamline Your Keyword Research

It’s time for the first meeting with the customer. You may be a seasoned search marketer, but you’re still a little nervous. How do you achieve that perfect balance of getting the information you need while still exuding an aura of consummate professionalism, knowledge, and generally make yourself seem like the search Dalai Lama? [caption id="attachment_106867" align="alignright" width="133" caption="Dalai Lama (of keyword research?)"][/caption] First, realize that the real Dalai Lama feels no need to prove himself, he just *is*. Project an aura of confidence, and realize the most el [...]


How To Improve Site Credibility Through Search & Social Media

Anyone—anyone—can make a website. Anyone can create a Twitter account, start a blog, or launch a Facebook fan page. And anyone—from 13-year-old girls to 45-year-old men—can pretend to be an attractive 20-year-old woman on the Internet. In the world of Internet spam, scams, and shams, we’ve learned to be wary of what we find online. Search engines are no different. Too often we forget that search engines aren’t just a tool to help us find news articles or guacamole recipes. Search engines are running a business—a business whose success relies on providing you legitimate, rel [...]


Where To Get Citations For Local SEO

If you haven’t heard, local SEO is taking over. More than 20 percent of Google searches are for a local business. That number doubles on mobile devices, and it’s starting to show in the SERPs. When was the last time you searched and got only the traditional 10 organic listings? SERPs are being inundated with images, videos, rich snippets and above all, local listings, and these are exactly where consumers are navigating to. Recently captured eye-tracking data for Google searches found that users are gravitating toward the Google Places listings over the organic listings, whether it’s [...]


How To Prioritize Keywords For Optimization Based On Organic Competition

Previously in Organic Keywords: The First Step In Search Engine Optimization, I covered how to use Google Analytics to choose the organic keyword phrases to focus on first in your optimization efforts: those keywords already contributing to the business goals. We then looked at how to use Google analytics to help "map" those keywords to existing pages on the site for optimization. In this article, I’ll continue on to the next step and show you how I prioritize the keywords by evaluating the difficulty of reaching top results. Check Keyword Rankings The next step I take before beginnin [...]


SEO Best Practices For HTML5: Truths, Half-Truths & Outright Lies

HTML5 for SEO During a panel at SMX Advanced 2011 in Seattle, I remember hearing a question about Schema.org tags. More specifically, I remember Greg Boser remarking about how search engines have come full circle. First, they gave us meta data. Then they took it away (as a ranking factor). Now, search engines are once again asking us for meta data. His tone did not indicate any type of excitement about the Schema.org announcement or the use of the tags as an SEO strategy. Other panelists commented on how the Schema.org tags could lead to additional code bloat, and in the end, none of the panelists re [...]


How To Devise A Psychology Based SEO Strategy

SEO Strategy & Keyword Research SEO consultants like me usually get called in at an advanced stage of website development. Design elements are already in place, graphics created, page structure determined, even selling and lead generation processes finalized before the owner or manager invites us over to "slap SEO on" to their creation! Is that because to many of our prospective clients, SEO is a purely technical issue unconnected to marketing? Personally, I don't think that's correct. At all. True, there is a technological side to any SEO plan. But the strategy setting and business analysis components that draw upo [...]


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