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SEO Tools for Excel

ExcelThere are tons of commercial tools out there for SEO, but the unsung hero of the practice is a program whose traditional home is in the business world. Microsoft Excel has some interesting uses as a tool for optimizing websites among its many other simple, yet very advanced, applications. Check out this list of SEO add-ons for Excel.

SEO Tools for Excel

This is an add-on for Excel provided by Niels Bosma. You can do a lot of cool stuff with this addition like creating score card reports, domain research, on-page analysis and even import data from Google Analytics. You can also monitor social media efforts and work with data in MjesticSEO or SEOlytics.

You can currently download the tool for free and all that is required is Microsoft Excel and the full .NET framework  for it to work. If you don’t have the framework, it is conveniently provided on the download page of Bosma’s site. The only thing you have to give in return for the software add-on is your email.

asap-utilitiesASAP Utilities

This isn’t marketed as an SEO add-on, but it can be used to automate a lot of routine tasks such as finding and removing duplicate keyword phrases or grouping similar keywords together. You’ll have to pay for this add-on; however, you can play with the free version to see if you can find any use for it before spending money. If you decide to download the full version,  it costs 49 bucks at the time of this writing. If you have no idea where to start with the add-on, there is a great tutorial  on how to use the add-on here.

Make Links Live

This tool is actually a macro and not an add-on, and it’s useful for only one thing – making links live. That may not sound like anything special, but if you have thousands of links in a document and for some reason you want to make them all live when they are not, you are in for some tedious work.

This macro lets you do it by clicking one button. The macro for versions of Excel older than 2007 can be downloaded here. The macro for newer versions of Excel can be downloaded here.

urlURL Tools

The SEO tools add-on mentioned above has a URL extraction tool in it, but you can also check out this one. It allows you to extract the root domain name from URLs in a spreadsheet. This comes in handy when you have a ton of URLs, but just want to see the root domains. You can download the add-on here, and learn more about how to install it here.

excel-functionsUseful Excel Functions

This isn’t an add-on either, but John Doherty shares 8 useful excel functions for SEO work. Some of these may save you a ton of time when working with large amounts of data. John’s post shows you how to use common Excel functions to do things like finding duplicate data, extracting URIs, clean domain names and create keyword lists among other tasks.

Excel is one of those rare tools that lets people do some really simple things with advanced features that don’t get in the way. If you just want to plug in some numbers, you can do that. If you want to store thousands of lines of complicated code, you can do that too. You can use it for accounting work or to do optimization work on websites.

Do you use Excel for SEO? What other add-ons, plugins or functions are good for SEO? Join the conversation by commenting below.

SEO Trends for 2013 and Beyond

It’s fun to sit back from time to time and take a look at how things on the web are changing. Like the hardware we use every day, the software changes very quickly. As it relates to SEO, Google is leading the way in finding new strategies for delivering relevant content to its users. The following are some SEO trends for 2013 I’ve noticed, and where I think webmasters should be focusing their efforts.

Graphical representation of how strategy is an important trend for seo in 2013Long Term Strategies vs Short Term Tasks

When search first started becoming very popular, and even up until a few years ago, there were a handful of simple tactics that you could use to get a page to rank well in search. First it was jamming the right keywords on the page and then it was about having any kind of inbound link. Even recently, performing on-page tactics and submitting your site to WMT was a good start. I think in the near future, however, webmasters will have to rely on a holistic approach and a plan to deliver high quality content in order to show up on the radar.

This means more than just having long blog posts or interesting and well-designed web pages. I’m talking about in-depth, well researched and incredibly useful content of the caliber found on professional media company websites and mainstream channels. As Google seeks to use human signals as its ranking method, webmasters will have to work harder and longer to delight people.

Google Plus LogoSocial Signals (Google Plus)

Web site owners, brands and individuals that want to get found in search would do well to set up a profile on Google Plus and start being active on it. Google isn’t just a search company anymore, and many of their products are tied into it. When logged in, at least a few search results being shown to me are from people in my network who have interacted with content that is similar to what I’m looking for.

These are results that may not have otherwise shown up in search but they did because Google thinks if people I know thought something was relevant enough to interact with, I might too. If you aren’t active on Google Plus, you would do well to start, as it will greatly increase your visibility in search to people who may be logged into one or more of Google’s services.

A recent post from Moz  shows striking correlations between interaction with content on Google Plus and high rankings in search.

importance of backlinksMore Creative Linking

It used to be that creating a bunch of web 2.0 blogs, submitting URLs to bookmarking sites and creating business listings among other tactics were all that was needed for a sound linking strategy. With each new Google Algorithm update, these tactics are becoming less and less effective, if not obsolete. I think linking will remain a part of what search engines use to gauge the popularity of a website, but the links will be more closely scrutinized. Webmasters will have to come up with more creative ways to make inbound links so that their overall profile looks natural.

For example, guest posting will have to be much higher quality than just using a service or exchanging some links with passive acquaintances. For that strategy to work well, SEOs will have to develop actual business relationships with the people who they want linking to them and vise versa. I don’t think people will get penalized for doing less often, but it will definitely be a waste of time.

Greater Attention to Detail

I love the saying “the devil is in the details” because it’s so true. The smallest things that are overlooked tend to be the things that make problems in the future. There are webmaster videos being produced by Google talking about simple things like canonicalization, the rel=”nofollow” tag and when to use it, file extensions on images and pages and other small factors like that.

As professionals, we are always looking for the big thing that is going to produce results for clients. That one strategy where lead generation will explode or conversions will go through the roof.  It’s always a good idea to look for those things, but we can’t forget the basics. Forgetting a little thing here or there probably won’t matter much, but if webmasters are ignoring the details in total, their sites will suffer.

 

What SEO trends for 2013 do you see affecting your business and your marketing efforts as we approach the end of the year and move into 2014? Let us know by dropping a line or leaving a comment below.

How to Boost Your Visitors’ Time on Site

If you’re in the SEO business, the biggest key to your success is impressing Google. There are many ways to do this, and most of them are probably deeply ingrained into your psyche and your workflow after years of studying page rankings and other data. However, time on site is a metric that many SEO professionals fail to consider. That’s why I’d like to show you some tips that will help you create pages that are “sticky” enough to keep people from clicking elsewhere.

Why is Time On Site So Important?

  • Google sees your site as an authoritative resource if you have higher-than-average time-on-site numbers. Accordingly, your overall ranking will rise if you can improve this number
  • High-quality websites are habit-forming, and people keep coming back to sites where they know they can find useful, engaging content. Just look at Facebook, which destroys all of its competition when it comes to average time on site
  • Time on site simply leads to a greater conversion rate, and that’s what this is all about, right?

Here are four tips that can help you improve your time-on-site stats and watch your pages rise in the eyes of the Google algorithm:

  1. Post a VideoAdd a Video

    Video content rules the Internet, especially when it’s really good video content. Also, the reality of web surfing is that people will give more of their attention to a video clip than they will to a paragraph of written content. When two to three minutes is considered to be a great time-on-site number, a two- to three-minute video can boost your rankings considerably. There is some disagreement among experts when it comes to the proper placement of video content on a page, but most of them agree that it should be at or near the top. Remember not to bore your readers, though – a great two-minute video with its best points made early will keep people glued to your page.

  2. Add Internal Links

    Once you’ve got a visitor on your site, you need to keep them there with more relevant information and content. Otherwise, they will probably leave your page and go back to the Google search bar to find what they’re looking for. Wouldn’t you rather click on a link within a website rather than perform a new search? Adding internal links helps with time-on-site stats because people tend to open links in new tabs or windows, which gives your rankings a super boost in the eyes of Google.

  3. Point Readers to Related Articles

    Once a reader has finished engaging with the content on one of your site’s pages, they might be hungry for more information. That’s why you should offer links to related articles at the bottom of your piece. Doing so gives a great benefit to your readers because it gives them more great content options for information that they’ve searched for. Obviously, this can increase time on site, but it also shows that you’re an authority who can provide multiple pieces of useful content on a given subject. What’s more, people often scroll to the bottom of an article or postings before reading, which means that you can really impress them with some relevant, related links.

  4. Improve Your Loading TimesTime on site 1

    If a website isn’t giving you what you want seconds after you’ve clicked on its link, you know that it only takes a moment to search elsewhere. If your site is slow, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the world’s most informative content; people just don’t have the patience to sit through an excruciatingly long (by modern standards) load time. Work with your webmaster to ensure that your site is optimized properly for quick loading of your excellent content.

There are many other factors that can influence time on site. Great content is essential, of course, and an engaging design will always entice visitors to stay a little longer. However, if you implement these four tips, you will almost certainly see your time-on-site numbers improve as you inspect your Google Analytics reports.

How do you keep visitors on your website? Do you have any other tips to improve time on site? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Doing a Technical Audit: An SEO Checklist

A checklist for SEOIt’s really easy to get distracted when optimizing a website. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new site or if it’s a site that needs to be audited. Unless it’s only one page, there is generally a lot to do. And what happens when you have a lot of tasks to do? Easy — you make a list. An SEO checklist can help you prioritize the tasks that you need to accomplish during a technical audit, save you time, keep you organized and maintain your sanity.

What is a Technical Audit?

*Disclaimer:  If you’re already familiar with what a technical audit is, feel free to take inspiration from the SEO checklist below.

A technical audit (as it relates to SEO) is a thorough investigation of the optimization (or lack thereof) of a website. Things like inbound links, content, layout, navigation, keyword placement, site speed and a host of other elements are scrutinized to ensure they are done correctly based on the goals of the website.

ExcelPrioritize Your Pages

  • Download all of your URLs into an Excel file
  • Identify the ones you want to work on first. These should be the most important ones. Maybe they are the pages that are most traveled on your site, or the least traveled, or the ones that make you the most money. Decide what your goals are for your website, then choose the pages to work on first based on those goals.

 

Analyze Your Content

  • Does each page have a target keyword phrase and related variants?
  • Are the target keyword phrases in headers on the page?
  • Are the target keyword phrases contained in the copy of the page with an appropriate keyword density? Note that there is no definitive rule for keyword density but somewhere in the 2-3% range is good enough.
  • Is the content lengthy? Your content should not be too thin. Make sure it is greater than 400-500 words in length.Auditing your content
  • The site is free of duplicate pages wherever possible. Note that some duplicate content is unavoidable like certain legal disclaimers for product pages. For the most part (and as long as spamming isn’t the motive for this), you shouldn’t have to worry.
  • Keywords are contained in copy and in header tags above copy
  • Text is broken up using images or video
  • Text is configured in a way that makes it easy to read, such as in short paragraphs or in ordered/unordered lists
  • Ads on the page are in smaller proportion to content
  • There should not be too many ads above the fold of any given page (ideally, you should have one)

Canonicalization

  • There is some method for canonicalization of pages in place whether it be the rel=”canoncial tag or some kind of plugin for a CMS or a line of PHP code in the header of a page

GooglebotThe Site Must be Accessible by Bots and Humans

  • Do you have a robots.txt file? If so, it must be configured to allow search to index the  appropriate pages.
  • Links and content remain present and working even with Javascript, CSS and cookies turned off
  • There should be no presence of cloaking
  • If you are using a CMS or have some other kind of plugin installed, ensure there are no third-party URLs in the header of your website. These can cause issues with bots accessing a robots.txt.
  • Flash objects have text or html elements in them

Analyze Your Infrastructure

  • All pages have a meta description with a target keyword in them
  • Meta description has compelling language and adequately describes the page that it applies to
  • All pages have a title tag with a target keyword
  • The target keyword phrase front-loaded into title and meta tags (i.e. does it come first or near the beginning of the tag?)
  • Meta robots tag present and not inadvertently blocking pages
  • If applicable, title tags contain branding

Check for Indexed Pages

  • Use the site:operator in Google, Bing and Yahoo search. Are pages of the site indexed? Are there fewer than there should be?
  • Do you see pages that shouldn’t be indexed?
  • Are there old URLs that no longer work?

technical SEO auditTechnical

  • The pages of the site load fast
  • Redirected pages are using 301 codes if they are permanent and 302 codes if they are temporary
  • Redirects are pointing at similar pages
  • Important content is not rendered using Flash
  • Important content is not rendered with the use of iframes
  • An XML sitemap is present on the site

External Measurement Services

  • The site has been submitted to Google and Bing Webmaster tools
  • There are no errors or other issues as reported by these services

importance of backlinks

Inbound Links

  • Inbound links are from reputable websites
  • There is no evidence of spammy link-building tactics (for example, a disproportionate number of exact-match anchor text links to more natural-looking links, disproportionate number of no-follow links to do-follow links, links coming from sites that are known for or appear to be link sellers among other red flags)
  • The majority of inbound links come from websites that are similar in niche to the website being audited

Internal Linking

  • There is a clear website hierarchy, meaning the home page links down into category pages and category pages into sub-category pages. Category pages can link to similar category pages.
  • Any given page is no more than five levels away from the home page
  • Content is linked to other relevant content that helps users discover more useful information on the site
  • Appropriate anchor text is used to link to other content internally
  • There are no broken links

Content Quality Review

Whether you are reviewing pages for search engine optimization purposes or not, the quality of your content should still be a priority. Poorly written, poorly researched or error-ridden content causes visitors to lose faith in a website. This could cause a visitor to avoid making a purchase or to leave a site entirely.

  • Articles and other content should be free from spelling and grammatical errors
  • Paragraphs and headers should be properly formatted. Content should be easy to scan and broken up with images or other larger elements.
  • Content should be well-researched and accurate. No matter what your content is about, it should be authoritative and something people can rely on. Inaccurate content makes people lose trust in a website and/or a brand.
  • Does the content have good internal linking? It’s always good to link relevant portions of content to other relevant pages on your site. Not only does this help PageRank flow freely within a site, but it helps visitors find other content that may be of importance to them.
  • Is your content useful? This may be sort of subjective depending on what niche you are operating in; however, in general, all content should have some purpose. If your content is just a bunch of fluff or useless jabbering, it’s better to not have the page be present at all.
  • Is your content well-researched?  If you are an authority on a subject or trying to become one, it is important to offer data or other resources to back up anything that you say. This not only builds your credibility, but can create other SEO opportunities. Go to as many sources as you can in order to get good content for your readers.

SEO changes on a daily basis, so this checklist may not always be complete. Invariably, there may be things added or elements that aren’t as important as they were before.

What processes do you go through when auditing a website? Does having a checklist help you in your activities? Let us know by dropping us a line or leaving a comment below.

 

Recovering from Google Updates

Google released a barrage of algorithm updates in 2012.  In fact, the company rolls out updates almost every single day.  Sometimes they affect many websites, sometimes they don’t.  One thing is for sure, if you have ever made a living with your website and were affected negatively by a Google Algorithm update, you were probably desperate for answers on how to fix it.  Offering advice on recovering from any given update that may have affected a website is a daunting task however many fixes follow the same line of thought; creating good content and designing for users.

 

Recovering from the Google EMD Update

 

One of Google’s moves that caused a lot of buzz in the online community was when they altered their algorithm to go after spammy EMD (exact match domain) websites.  It is important to note the use of the word “spammy”.  The search giant did not go after sites that were simply using an EMD but rather it was a case of most sites that had an EMD also happened to be low quality websites.  The following will state why a website may have been affected as well as what to do to fix the issue.

 

Reason 1:  Low Quality Content

Fix:  Naturally, Google does not divulge the signals it uses to qualify a website as having quality content however they do offer tips on how consumers (i.e. the people that use their search results); can find quality content.  For example is the content on your site composed by a professional in the niche or is the content very shallow in nature?  Are there duplicate articles or posts on the website?  Would a user feel comfortable submitting sensitive or personal information to the website?  A dead giveaway for Google are sites that have frequent structural, grammar or spelling errors.  Are the posts on the site short or lacking in value?  If you are starting to answer yes to a lot of these questions, you probably have low quality content.  Start by either becoming an authority on the topics your site is about or finding someone who is to write for you.  Make useful content that people would find helpful.  Make your site an authority in its niche.  Make it look trustworthy, professional, and easy to navigate.

 

Reason 2:  Spammy inbound links

 

Fix:  Unless you are very talented at sniffing out bad links or you know of some behavior in regards to link building that you should not have been doing, it would be a good idea to have a link audit performed of your inbound link profile.  There are a variety of companies on the web that will perform this service for you.  If you decide to go it alone, you can use one of the many tools available for checking backlinks.

Google’s Disavow Links Tool: If you have identified links that you know are causing your website to fall in the SERP’s, you can use Google’s new disavow links tool.  You must first download a list of the links from your website and create a file from it to upload to Google.  Be sure that only links you want Google to ignore are contained in the list.  It does take some time for the information to be processed by Google and it is also incorporated into their index.

 

Examples include:

SEMoz Open Site Explorer

Ahrefs site explorer

Majestic site explorer

 

Once you have identified bad backlinks, stop at nothing to get them taken down.  This is a primary reason that EMD’s were suffering after the update.  Backlinks are still a strong factor in the formula used to rank websites.

 

There are also other things you should be doing to recover your site.  Once you have the above tasks squared away, engage in an aggressive (and white hat) link building campaign.  Add new content on a regular basis such as once or twice a week.  A blog is a great way to do this.  Become active in social media if you have not already.  Put sharing buttons on your blog post or on your web pages.  Get visitors to share your content by making it useful and informative.  Overall, the primary goal in recovering from the EMD update is to make a website that is designed for users.  Think about what people will find useful and do that.  Avoid designing and generating content for web crawlers.

 

Recovering from the Penguin Update

 

The web spam update (code named Penguin) was released on April 24th 2012.  This highly anticipated update was targeted at web spam and websites that the company felt was violating its quality guidelines.  Examples included keyword stuffing, link spam, and the spinning of content.

 

Reason 1:  Spun Content

 

Fix:  Problems with poorly produced content are among the easiest (although the most tedious) to fix.  If the content on your website has been spun using one of the many article spinners out there, delete it and start from scratch.  Write original content or have someone else write it.  Make sure it is grammatically correct, free from spelling errors, and above all else, make sure it is actually useful to the audience it is intended for.

 

Reason 2:  Keyword stuffing

 

Fix:  It is amazing to still see website owners doing this because it is one of the most easily recognized tactics for manipulating search results.  If you have tons of irrelevant keywords placed in meta tags, title tags or even in web page copy, take them out.  Google does not even use the meta keywords tag in its ranking algorithm (although other engines may).  Use only the keywords that are relevant to the content on the page.

 

Reason 3:  Unusual link patterns

 

Fix:  If you have links on your website with anchor text that has nothing to do with the content of the article within which they have been placed, augment or remove them.  The ideal model is to place links inside of a body of text that have relevance to the content that the user is reading.

 

Reason 4:  Over optimization penalty

 

Fix:  This can take many forms however a very interesting post on SEOMoz talks about a website being penalized for over optimization of anchor text.  The site in question was very well built in terms of SEO with lots of natural backlinks, lots of social signals and original, well written content.  Once the owner went a little deeper, he realized that 10% of his backlinks were coming from an old blog he had created and the anchor text was all the same keyword phrase.  So, if you think you have been affected by the Penguin update and cannot find any logical explanation as to why, try looking closer at your backlink profile.  Specifically, look for the anchor text that is used for inbound links to your site.  If you have an abnormally large amount of anchor text that is targeting the same keyword phrase (in proportion to your entire profile), chances are this is why you are having a problem.  If you have control over these links, change the text and resubmit your site to Google to have it crawled.  If you don’t have direct control, try and get them taken down using a service or contacting webmasters yourself to try and get them removed or changed.

 

Reason 5:  Cloaking

 

Fix:  While there used to be legitimate uses for cloaking, most webmasters use it as a spamdexing technique.  If you are using this technique, simply stop doing it and resubmit your site to Google for indexing.

 

The Penguin update encompassed a lot of targets deemed web spam by Google.  Many of the fixes are easy and controllable by webmasters.  Some, namely inbound links, are more difficult to get rid of.  If you notice one or more of the elements above being a part of your strategy, this may be the reason your site was affected by the update.  Changing the way you do things and resubmitting your site to Google should fix the issue.  Keep in mind that even after you change things and have the site re-crawled, it may take some time (in some cases a few months) before you see any positive results from your efforts.

 

Recovering from the Panda Update

 

The Panda update was Google’s response to “shallow content” or content that is not necessarily spam but is not that good either.  After the Caffeine update, Google’s index filled up with fresh content that fell into this category.  So results were now better for users but not as good as they could be.  Sites affected were those with small amounts of content compared with advertisements on the page, duplicate content and high ad ratios.  Check out this Q & A with Google’s top engineers on the Panda Update.

 

Reason 1:  Shallow content

 

Fix:  Take a look at your web pages and evaluate the percentage of structural design elements (i.e. menus, images, ads, etc) to the amount of actual words on the page that someone might find useful.  If there are far more design elements than actual content, you should work to reduce this imbalance.  You can do this by writing more content for the page.  If you can’t come up with more content, perhaps you should think about if the page is really necessary in the first place.

 

Reason 2: Too many ads on page

 

Fix:  We all know that websites need to make money and it is fine to have some ads on a web page.  If you have way to many ads (so much so that it makes it hard to actually find the content on the page) then you should remove some of them.

 

Reason 3:  Duplicate content (internal)

 

Fix:  Sometimes duplicate content is created inadvertently.  You can use Google Webmaster Tools to identify pages that have duplicate title tags or meta descriptions.  This is not always an indication that those pages have the same content however it will get you started.  Remove duplicate content from your site.  You can also use third party tools such as Screaming Frog to crawl your site and look for these kinds of problems.  Using a canonical redirect on the page that is meant to be the one indexed can also help with these issues.

 

Reason 4:  Duplicate content (external)

 

Fix:  If you syndicate your content or simply post the same thing in multiple areas of the internet you can begin to have issues.  This can be fixed by diluting external duplicate content that may be floating around.  Create more unique content for your website and perhaps stop sharing the same thing on other web properties.

 

Many of the Google updates that have taken place revolve around the same central issue; content.  Google works on a daily basis to balance its own needs with those of advertisers and those that use its service for free.  Its primary concern most of the time is the everyday users and whether or not they are getting high quality content in response to their queries.  Google has released hundreds of updates over the past year and if your site has been affected at all, you should first take a look at how your content is structured.  If that seems fine, also take a look at the links leading to your site and how those are structured.  Many of the changes that Google makes are in direct response to what many people are doing to game the system.

 

Have you been affected by an update recently or in the past?  What steps did you take to recover from it?  Was the process quick or did it take a while?

 

TCA Blog Chat – Live on Google Hangout – Recovering from Google Updates

TCA is hosting a live event on Hangout – Monday January 14, 2013 from 7:00 – 8:30pm.  If you would like to attend, sign up here:

Program Agenda

  • Segment 1: What did Google Update? We’ll review the biggest, most recent Google updates and what exactly was the impact/ change.
  • Segment 2: How to Recover from Google Updates? Let’s discuss the real ways you can recover from these changes.
  • Segment 3: Q&A/ Your Site: Our guest panelists will take your questions and also look at your site live to make key recommendations.

See you at the hangout!

Register here: TCA Blog Chat: Recovering from Google Updates

3 Quick Tips on How to Get New Clients for Your SEO Business

SEO businesses are no different than any other business when it comes to leads and clients; the warmer qualified leads the better! The problem with that, leads are not always an easy thing to obtain and subsequently that means getting new clients can be tough too.  In today’s blog, I will provide a few ways on how to get seo clients for your SEO Business.

Ask for referrals!

Let’s start with the most difficult way to get leads and clients. Ask for referrals from your existing clients! That’s right, ask them!

If you have provided value to your clients, then there is no reason why they should not be excited to give you a couple of referrals.  Previous clients will also give you the clients that you targeting and in a very short period of time you will have a nice list of referrals to contact… but you have to ask!

You might be wondering if this actually works and after reading ‘The Consulting Bible’ by Alan Weiss, I have taken Alan’s recommendation and done it exactly this way:

After having let the client know a few weeks ahead of time I would be talking with them about referrals, I say the following,  “Hi Client X, As you know referrals are the lifeblood of my business and just as I have provided you great value with Project X, I would like to do the same for others you know.  Who do you know that would appreciate this kind of service?”

Without fail, each client I have asked has given me at least 1 referral and those referrals are like golden nuggets, so you want to make sure you take care of them.

I highly recommend that you read Alan’s book to get more detail on how to do it right, but I can tell you, it does work!

Give Away An eBook

The term “Inbound Marketing” has really helped to encapsulate the way in which marketers think about driving customers to their websites and as a result create leads and new clients.  One of the tactics that works really well is to give away an eBook.

The company that has popularized the term Inbound Marketing, Hubspot does a fantastic job at using eBooks to create leads, which then turn into clients.  I personally have downloaded no less than 5 of their eBooks in the last 3 months and each of them is high quality and worth the time to fill out any lead information.

Practically speaking, the way you give away an eBook includes you creating a landing page, setting up a lead capture form for the eBook to be shared, having the client fill out a few basic pieces of information (primarily their email address), and then providing a way for the eBook to be downloaded or sent to them.

Friends Send Friends Leads & Clients

When I checked my Facebook account a few weeks ago, I was surprised to get a message from a friend of mine, asking me if I was interested in working on a website that a friend of hers needed assistance with. “Well sure, let’s do it!”

After a few meetings with her friend and understanding what they want to do, I sent them a detailed proposal on how my team could help them and today I got word that they are ready to move ahead with this project!

While you don’t have to become “that guy” or “that gal” that only goes to your friends when you need more clients, there is nothing wrong with letting your friends know what you do!  If they know what you do, it does make it easier for them to refer others, and easier for you getting seo clients.

Whether you get leads and clients through the above means or not, doesn’t matter to me, but what does matter is that you take action to figure out the best ways that work for you

Maybe you have another tip that can help others on how to get more clients, go ahead, and share it below! I would love to hear what you think!

Tips for Making a Web Content Keyword Research Strategy

Keywords are the central component to all that we do when optimizing web content.  Having a sound research strategy makes targeting keywords easier and provides a clear objective for all other SEO efforts.  A variety of research methods exist with some being highly technical and others having a more common sense approach.  Whether you use one of these approaches, a combination of them or something entirely different, they can provide you with some practical guidance for your web property promotion efforts.

Brainstorm Your Target Market’s Keywords

This may seem like an obvious and easy first step however it is often approached in the wrong way.  You may know full well what your products and/or services are but these may not necessarily (and shouldn’t) be the only guide for your keyword choices.  Instead, approach it from the user’s perspective.  Think about what your customers are looking for when it relates to what you are selling.  Are they searching for information about the item or service itself or are they more often looking for somewhere to buy it?  How long is the sales process for what you are selling?  Do people need a lot of information before buying it or not so much?  The answers to these questions will shed light on how people use search as it relates to what you are selling.  Using a keyword tool like that provided by Google can help you determine all the variations of words and phrases that searchers are using.  Keep in mind that simply generating a list from a tool like this does not constitute keyword research.

Theorize, Experiment, Observe, Repeat

Once you have a list of viable keyword options, you must determine which ones will drive the most value for your website.  Say you sell consumer electronics on your website.  Are there more conversions produced by “buy mp3 player” or with “ipod 6th gen”?  As you may have guessed, it is hard to tell just by looking at the word.  First, determine if the word or phrase is relevant to your website.  Would searchers be pleased with what they see if they clicked on your site after using one of these terms to find it?  Would they think, “bingo, now I’ve found what I need”?  Search for the phrase on your own and see which sites are already ranking for it.  This will give you an idea of what the search engine deems valuable for that phrase and will also show you your competition.

Another method to determine value is to run a test campaign using a PPC platform such as Adwords.  Mainly your goal will be to collect data about the keyword or phrase.  Set up your campaign with your keyword and point your ads at the landing page that also has the keyword on it.  Look at the data over a couple weeks or over the course of a few hundred clicks.  Use the data to determine the phrase’s value.  If you are selling a product, you can easily correlate clicks with sales.  Set up conversion tracking to see which words resulted in a conversion and which did not.  If you are driving traffic to a page that does not result in a direct sale, determine what that action is worth to your business and compare that value against clicks.  For instance if you want users to download content in exchange for contact information you might determine what each lead is worth to your business.  The basic underlying point here is similar to the age old scientific method of developing a theory, experimenting, observing and modifying until you understand what works.

Tools of the SEO Writing Trade

To get yourself started, there are many tools that can give you insight for your SEO writing.  The Google Keyword tool is a good place to start.  It gives you search volume as well as ideas for synonymous keyword options you may have missed.  The Google Trends tool is another powerful resource to get you information on your target keywords.  If Google isn’t your flavor, there is also the Bing Ads Intelligence toolWord Tracker is another popular tool that can get you the information you need.  If you want to dive in a little deeper, paid software programs that dissect keywords are also helpful.  Examples of these are WEB CEO or SEO Elite.

Quantitative Methods

Aside from market indicators and relevance of certain keywords to your website, there are also quantitative methods that may shed more light on which keywords are the best for you to be using.  Two of the most popular quantitative methods are KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) and the R/S or results to searches ratio.

KEI

The Keyword Effectiveness Index measures the demand of a particular keyword phrase against the number of web pages that use it in their copy.  Demand for any given keyword is further broken down into a daily amount or in other words, the daily global searches for the keyword.

The formula is expressed as ((MS/30)) ^ 2/C where MS represents monthly searches and C represents competition.  Monthly searches are first divided by 30 or MS/30.  That number is then squared or multiplied by itself and then divided by whatever the competition is.

For example if the monthly global searches for “cell phones” were 30,000 we would divide this number by 30 which would give us 1,000 daily searches.  Squaring this number gives us 1,000,000.  Say our competition for this phrase is 2 million web pages.  1,000,000/2,000,000 = 0.5 or the KEI ratio for this keyword phrase.

So what the heck does that tell you?

KEI Ratios can be interpreted as such,

< 0.001 = ineffective keyword
0.001-0.010 = A Good Keyword
0.010-0.100+ = A Fantastic Keyword

R/S Ratio

The results to searches ratio is not as popular as the KEI method however it can still shed light on how competitive a keyword is.  For any given keyword phrase you simply take the number of global monthly searches (or local if you are targeting local traffic) and divide it by the number of results returned to you by a search engine for that phrase (searching for non-exact match terms).  In general, an R/S ratio of 500 or below with corresponding competition results of a million or less is a good keyword to target.  There are however some ambiguities with this method.  For example by searching non-exact match phrases, you get tons of results that may not contain the specific phrase but pieces of that phrase.  This method (as well as KEI) may also exclude terms that you want to try ranking for anyway because they are a crucial part of your business.

As you can see there are numerous ways to go about selecting and dissecting the keywords and phrases you want to target.  Regardless of which route you take, SEO content writers should remember that no matter which keywords they choose, terms should be relevant to the content on the page and to the overall goals of the website.  Sometimes in all of our scrambling to achieve high rankings we often forget to write for the user as opposed to robots crawling the web.

Which keyword research methods do you use?  Have you had success/failure with tactics mentioned in this post?

SEO Freelancer

Employing A Reputable SEO Freelancer

 

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there are several tricks of the trade that will help companies appear at a higher ranking on search engine results pages. Applying keywords to a site’s copy content, producing backlinks with reputable sources, and frequent blogging – which insures refreshed content appears on websites– while boosting social networking, are all respectable ways to enhance a company’s search engine optimization. As the web, and the way individuals search it, evolves, so do the ways individuals promote their products and services. At some point, even the savviest marketers feel like they have hit a wall, with respect to online marketing, and the best way to get traffic to their website. One way to curtail a possible stalemate in ongoing, online efforts is to hire a SEO freelancer.

Fresh Eyes, Fresh Ideas

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Ideas for SEO Freelancer

Hiring a SEO freelancer can help small and large companies alike put a fresh spin on their efforts to increase traffic to their website. In an effort to find the right SEO freelancer for your industry, it is important to partner with a reputable organization that will match your company’s needs with a freelance writer who will identify any shortcomings in existing material, while providing expertise related solely to your target audience. For example, if your company specializes in structural engineering, blindly hiring a SEO freelancer who only has experience in Home & Garden topics will not serve your needs as well as someone who actually has experience in your specific field. Looking outside of your current team can provide a fresh look at existing content, or provide updated ideas such as using different keywords, possibly tapping into an alternative market. In addition, hiring a SEO freelancer can provide a focused, expert position when updating and maintaining Social Networking profiles, and blogs, which are two of the first things to be abandoned by most companies, due to lack of time or personnel.

 Reputable SEO Freelancer Source: The Content Authority

With a basic internet search, finding a SEO freelancer may seem easier than one could imagine. A simple internet search would likely return results of a veritable who’s who, seemingly endless list of individuals who specialize in search engine optimization. With the best intentions in mind, updating your company’s SEO, increasing your page ranking, all for the purpose of driving more traffic to your website, it is easy to be overwhelmed by so many results, claiming to know exactly how to make your company a success – overnight.

Business owners know success does not develop overnight, and should not trust a source that promises as much in the same amount of time. It is important to use a reputable source, who will match your team – even if that team is just one person – with a SEO freelancer that will provide your company with the best results possible. That source is The Content Authority (TCA). The Content Authority will provide you with rates that fit your budget, and a SEO freelancer that fits your industry. It is important to TCA that their clients are matched with a partner – not just an impetuous source – that will help their company succeed. Whether that need is keyword content, article writing, backlink advice and allocation, Social Networking updates and maintenance, or blog entries daily, weekly, monthly or for special showcases, TCA has a freelancer that will fit your need. TCA has worked with hundreds of clients in as many industries, and take extreme pride in assigning the appropriate SEO freelancer, or team of freelancers, whose expertise matches the industry they are representing. TCA employs this forward-thinking approach to each assignment they are charged with completing, while they are entrusted to do what they do best: assign the best SEO freelancer for the each, individual project, providing optimal results for their clients.

Using Subdomains

Savvy Subdomain Integration Inflates Internet-Based Business Income!

Failing to implement competent subdomain usage campaigns can be fatal for web-based businesses. Most virtual business owners have a vague awareness of subdomains. Few, however, fully comprehend their vast functionality. Widespread ignorance of how subdomains can enhance online website productivity is perhaps the single biggest tragedy of the virtual business world.

What is a subdomain?

As the title implies, subdomains are smaller parts of a much larger master domain. Each subdomain name may contain up to 63 characters, provided total length of combined parent and subsidiary site names do not exceed 255 characters.

“Mail.example.com” and “chat.example.com” are both subdomainis of “example.com,” for instance. “Example.com” is itself a “.com” subdomain. Theoretically, such subdivisions may go to a maximum depth of 127 levels. In practical reality, however, such vast detail is very rarely required to optimize online business efficiency.

Subdomains serve many practical purposes

At first blush, one may wonder what the big deal is about subdomains. Following are some serious insights into all the advantages that subdomains offer for all aspects of online business operations:

Outstanding site organization

Subdomains are inherently hierarchical. This infrastructural characteristic is easily exploitable for maximum online business platform efficiency and productivity. Brick-and-mortar businesses employ physical partitions like cubicles, multiple floors, and ordinary doors to segregate internal departments. Likewise, subdomains let e-merchants delineate various internal functions. Sales, Technical Support, and Customer Care are common examples.

More memorable subdomain names

Suppose your current domain name is “xyz.com.” All subdomains would appear as: “support.xyz.com,” “sales.xyz.com,” and “[subdomainname.xyz.com].” Each subdomain name may be associated with the parent site by merely creating a series of corresponding sub folder names.

The entry of either “http://sales.xyz.com” or “http://www.sales.xyz.com” into site visitors’ browser address fields leads to identical files and indices. This feature facilitates much higher virtual visibility by circumventing prospective site viewers’ collective laziness.

Especially aggressive internet marketers take advantage of specialized vanity subdomains. Amenability of assignment to individual site users and individuality expressions are the main of vanity subdomain virtues. For instance, the iPlanet Messaging web server uses a “msgVanityDomain” subdomain to establish partially hosted e-mail accounts.

Subdomains and search engines

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SEO and Subdomains

Once upon a time, search engines treated subdomains as virtual orphans. Such familial disassociation spawned endemic subdomain spam. Contemporary search engine algorithms freely acknowledge subdomain parental relations. This fortunate development has reduced business site spamming drastically.

Subdomains and servers

Most server hosting packages include unlimited subdomain names for free. Moreover, there is no need to establish an entirely new account for subdomain site(s), as most server hosts allow multiple site hosting via a single consolidated account. As property of the registered parent domain, subdomains require no additional search engine registration.

Subdomains and SEO

Despite a vast diversity of subdomain applications, SEO is the remainder and common denominator of optimal online business profitability. Of date, no viable virtual contender to the High-Quality Content Throne has materialized. Search engines recognize its royalty by duly distinguishing subdomains’ substantive content from that of incumbent parental rulers. Neither are subdomain progeny automatically assigned a page rank identical to that of prodigious virtual ancestors.

This makes a resemblance too close to that of its parent domain a hindrance – rather than a help – to fledgling subdomains. It is therefore imperative to ensure that your subdomains do not “inherit” any content features identical to those of your own. Search engines view such mimicry with serious disdain. Thus, your subdomain webpage(s) will be dismissed as mere duplicitous attempts to defeat their algorithms. Such apparent attempts will be penalized accordingly.

An unbeatable combination

Eliminating this eventuality by integrating content capable of simultaneous conformity and individuality. You want web viewers to recognize the association of any affiliate sub-page with your site while avoiding its undue imitation.

Professional writer affiliates at The Content Authority possess the experience, enthusiasm, and wherewithal to put it all together in a way that is otherwise impossible. Give yourself the best of both virtual worlds today. Putting deft subdomain use and quality content creation on your side always equates with web-based business success.

 


Obtaining Backlinks

Get Help Accumulating Backlinks

 

The importance of backlinks a link to a website that appears on any site other than its own has evolved incredibly through the years. Originally, prior to the popularity of search engines to conquer all of our online needs, backlinks would allow individuals who were searching one website to view other links of interest, or those supported by, the site they were visiting. This was an optimal way to receive traffic to a website, by having another site support your site with a backlink. Today, the idea of having other sites support yours with a backlink is still as important as it ever was; only now the overall search engine optimization that is a result of backlinks weighs heavily on your sites page ranking.

Backlink Popularity Contest

Backlinks serve as a popularity mechanism for search engine results. The more quality backlinks a site has, the more consideration a search engine will give to its validity, thereby supplying the site with a higher page ranking on the search engine results page. It cannot be emphasized enough that quality outranks quantity in the world of backlinks. If a link to your site appears on spam websites, or any site deemed harmful or includes unsavory content, it could harm your status or ranking within search engine results pages. Simply splashing your link anywhere will not help your website gain popularity through search engine optimization.

 Where to Get Backlinks on Your Own

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Finding Backlinks

Consider every profile you or your company has, and the source or host in which it lies, before adding your website to the profile. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn are perfectly trusted and popular sites with quality content and even higher page rankings, serving as accomplished search engine optimization hosts for your backlinks. Apply a link to your website within your profiles to serve as backlinks available to anyone and everyone who is affiliated with your profile on each of the authoritative sites.

In addition, contact industry affiliated website administrators who share common marketing practices with your company or personal directives, requesting a link to your site from theirs, in exchange for the same allowance on your site. Look for committees, not-for-profit agencies, social interest entities and other integrity-based outlets in your business or social circles that will sponsor a link on their page to yours to increase traffic and popularity within trusted sources.

 Get Help Accumulating Backlinks

Once you have exhausted quality sites that honor an agreement to trade your link for theirs, moving forward with additional, trusted backlinks can become a bit of a guessing game. Emphasizing quality over quantity, it may be hard to differentiate which sites displaying your backlinks are helping your search engine optimization, rather than harming it. To avoid any confusion on where to get backlinks, it may be necessary to hire an expert in the field of backlinks. Niche Tracker Backlink Services is one of the top notch backlink services in the business.

 Niche Tracker Backlink Services allows you to set specific guidelines for promoting your website through a simple Excel spreadsheet document that can be uploaded to their site. The spreadsheet contains information critical to your marketing expectations, such as the allocation of keywords to appear in articles written specifically around those keywords. The number of words you would like to appear in the article, all of which creates content and backlinks to your website, through designated directories that will optimize your backlink appearances, and search engine optimization.

Using a service such as Niche Tracker can help you set up the backlink parameters you desire, upload it accordingly, and allow them to do all the work. Eliminate the complexities and guess work around the application and effectiveness of backlinks with Niche Tracker. Their help will allow your website to win the ultimate online popularity contest, resulting in a higher page ranking, heightened traffic and increased revenue.