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The Best WordPress Plugins for Internet Marketers

WordPress is arguably one of the most flexible and widely used content management systems on the web. The dynamic nature of the popular CMS allows a novice to easily set up powerful functionality or a seasoned development professional to bend it to their will. The system has been especially valuable for internet marketers with the variety of both free and paid plugins available for installation. If you are an internet marketer or simply interested in promoting your WordPress site, the following list of plugins are handy tools to have.

Every Marketer Should have a Good SEO Plugin

There are tons of SEO plugins made for WordPress. Some free, some paid and some specialized for specific SEO tasks. If you have one that is working for you then by all means, stick with it. However if you haven’t made up your mind I’d like to recommend a few. All of these plugins are easy for novices to use yet also offer some advanced functionality for SEO professionals. The first is SEO Ultimate which is a great general SEO plugin for WordPress. It features an easy to use interface that allows you to enter meta descriptions and title tags for posts right below the post editor. You can monitor 404 error pages and apply site-wide SEO settings. Another great optimization plugin is the Yoast SEO plugin which has some great features. Users can edit their robots and .htaccess files right from the Yoast interface and permalink cleanup is a snap. Finally the All in One SEO Pack is also a great option for WordPress sites. It has good support for Google Analytics, it generates meta tags automatically and works great out-of-the-box for beginners.

Analytics is a Must

For any internet marketer, being able to measure success is imperative. WordPress integrates very easily with Google Analytics making it easy to generate actionable data. The Google Anlytics plugin for WordPress makes setting up tracking super simple. It provides an easy-to-use interface along with short descriptions on how to configure analytics to get you the data you need. Of course you can still use the traditional Google interface if you prefer but setting things up within the plugin is much simpler and doesn’t require pasting code snippets into HTML on your website. A notable feature of the widget is that you can select a check box to log outgoing links as events, a process which is much more tedious without the plugin and that requires programming knowledge.

Show Your Visitors more Content While Lowering Your Bounce Rate

Showing your visitors related content to the posts they are reading is a great way to both lower the bounce rate of your blog or website and also keep visitors there. I highly recommend Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP). It has a Templating system that allows you to configure how your posts look to readers. Best of all, it has a customizable algorithm that can find related content from across your site. The plugin is especially useful if you have been blogging for a long time and have tons of content on your site that you may not even remember is there.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

If you are running a business website with Worpress or if you just want to have a way for visitors to contact you, having a good form is essential. Setting up forms with validation is next to impossible if you don’t have programming knowledge and finding a good one for WordPress can be trickier than meets the eye. If you don’t mind spending a little cash, it doesn’t get much better than Gravity Forms. Not only can you create visually appealing and professional looking forms, but layout and validation are a snap. It integrates with Paypal and Mailchimp and it also allows you to create forms where users can upload images or documents among other things. For about 40 bucks you can get an individual user license. If you are looking for something free, Contact Form 7 is a good alternative. The interface isn’t as user friendly but there is a lot of good validation and form field functionality.

Sharing is Caring

Social Media should be an essential component of any internet marketing campaign. Giving your visitors a way of sharing your great content is a must. You should make it as easy and simple as possible for visitors to spread your content across social networks. A great way to do that is with the Sociable plugin. While there are many great sharing plugins out there, Sociable is an easy to use and easy to customize option. Some social sharing widgets don’t allow you to select the social networks that appear which is important if you know where your target audience is spending most of their time.

WordPress is a brilliant platform for internet marketers because it allows those with little or no programming knowledge to build intuitive and attractive websites on their own. The best part about it is all the amazing plugins available for accomplishing your marketing goals. If you wanted to market something online in the past, it used to mean being a programming wizard. WordPress and all the awesome plugins available for it have changed all that. With the right tools, internet marketers can now easily look like superstars without a lot of effort.

What are your favorite plugins for WordPress that aren’t included in this list?

Optimizing Your Social Network Accounts for Local Search

Even though you’re a brick and mortar business owner, you should still have a good grasp on the importance of creating an online presence. More and more people are using the Internet to find local businesses, which means you could be missing an opportunity if you haven’t optimized your website for local search.

It’s crucial to take this strategy a step further though by optimizing your social networks. Social profiles are quickly finding their way into the top spots of search results, claiming prime positioning and visibility. You’re no longer just trying to outrank the websites of your competitors; you’re also trying to outrank their network profiles.

While you may not be able to include your full company address on every site, there are still plenty of optimization opportunities you shouldn’t ignore. Here are just a few easy tips to get you started.

Facebook Page

Creating a Facebook Page for your local business is a great way to give your brand a voice and advertise your company online. When setting up the page, select “Local Business or Place” from the six options available. You’ll then be prompted to fill in a form that requests your industry category, business name, address information, and contact number. Once the page is active, you can edit your profile to include your website URL, trading hours, and general business information.

Although users can easily see your physical address at the top of your page, Facebook makes it easier to find the exact location of your business by automatically providing a map within the “About” section of your profile.

LinkedIn Company Page

Recently, LinkedIn introduced a fresh look for its Company Pages and added several awesome features, including the ability to access Company Pages on its Andriod, iPhone, and iPad apps. You can read more on the LinkedIn Blog, but for the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on optimizing your account for local search. Even if you have a page set up for your business, there’s no harm in checking out the new features and making sure your page is optimized.

The first thing you want to do is edit your LinkedIn Company Page once you’ve created it. You’ll find the “Edit” button in the top right-hand corner. Once you click it, you’ll see several fields that need to be filled in with your business details. What you need to concentrate on for local search is the area towards the bottom of the page that says “Company Locations.”

Make certain the address details displayed in this section are correct and that they’re reflected in the same way you’ve added your business address to your website and any online directories. Simply click the “Add another location link” if you have two or more locations.

Twitter

To optimize your Twitter account, you simply need to make a few adjustments to your profile information. Edit your profile to include your business name, location, website address, and bio. Be sure to include strategic keywords within your bio for optimum results, as well as any relevant information that would better help potential customers find you offline.

Pinterest

Create a descriptive bio populated with targeted keywords, add your website URL, and include your location in the relevant fields provided when editing your profile information. Your pinboards will show up in search engine results, which increases your chances of your target audience finding you.

Foursquare

If you have yet to claim your business venue on this location-based check-in app, now would be the time to do so. When you sign up, make certain you use your business name and the appropriate location details. You will then need to verify your authority to claim the location after creating your account. Foursquare offers some nifty features, such as sharing your activity with your other social media networks and offering specials to attract new customers, so explore the site for marketing opportunities.

Google+ for Business

When joining Google+ for Business, you’ll find there are five options from which to choose. As with Facebook, you should select “Local Business or Place.” Once you set up your page, you need to customize it by editing your public profile information. Here you need to focus on adding a tagline with targeted keywords, images that represent your brand and offerings, an introduction to your business, contact information and your address, and relevant links to your website and other social media profiles. Not only will your tagline show up in Google+ searches, but a map of your location will also display on your profile page.

Monitoring Your Results

No matter which marketing strategies you implement online, it is critical to monitor your progress so that you know you’re achieving your desired results. In this case, you want to ensure you’re reaching and engaging individuals who are within your targeted regions. Check your analytics for information on your demographics and make changes if necessary. You may find you need to publish more location-specific content, or employ tactics designed to boost audience growth within a specific region.

By ensuring your social media profiles are optimized and that they include the correct address details, you potentially increase referral traffic, walk-ins, and revenue. The most important thing is to make sure your profiles are accessible to the public. If they do not show up in search results, you’ve wasted your time and energy while your local competitors are reaping the rewards of their social optimization.

Have you optimized your social networks for local SEO? Share your tips in the comment section below.

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 Basics

Any successful internet marketer will tell you the secret to success is to break each and every term associated with internet marketing down to its simplest form. Also one must be able to recognize the most important terms and how they work in creating a fully functional, successful website or blog. That is why you must first look at one of the most important terms of all, search engine optimization, also known as SEO. Looking at SEO basics and the relationship it has with page ranking and indexing your site or blog correctly starts with a simple definition.

SEO is the process used to get your site, blog or articles ranked as high as possible on the major search engines. The higher the rank, the higher the chances users will visit your site. The ultimate goal of any internet marketer is to rank on the first two pages of any search engine based on a specific keyword search. If you are able to obtain this type of page ranking, then your site or blog is considered to be fully optimized. In layman’s terms, you have successfully used the principles behind SEO to get your website or blog properly indexed. The ability to break the term down into one easy to understand definition and apply that simple definition to obtaining a high page ranking which will lead to a higher probability of users visiting your site.

Google is of course the number one search engine in the world. It is by far and away the biggest marketing tool that has ever been invented in the history of modern man. Users will type two to five simple words into the keyword search box to obtain a list of relevant sites based on the keyword search. It is a proven fact that users are only going to look at the first two to three pages of the results listed. Of course you, the internet entrepreneur, want your site listed on those pages. So, the question remains, “How do I use SEO techniques that will ultimately benefit me and my website and get my page ranked”? First, understand that Google alone has over 200 factors that are considered when determining what a fully optimized page is. Next is to realize, although intimidating at first, the factors can be broken down into their level of importance.

Let’s take a look at SEO in action by breaking it down into easy to understand terms. You are running a website that helps people answer questions about their mortgage. A user, looking for mortgage answers types in the keywords “mortgage questions answered”. Upon the user hitting enter or search, a search engine spider immediately begins to crawl around the internet looking for any site, blog or article that contains information relevant to the search “mortgage questions answered”. The spider will consider factors such as phrase density (how often the keywords “mortgage questions answered” appears in the content), links to other sites that are similar or the same to the keywords, or internal links which will lead the user to even more related content within the site. This information the spider collects gets reported back to Google, and the search engine ranks the site accordingly. Any site that meets some of the factors outlined is considered to be an optimized site and will rank higher than sites that do not meet the criteria. Although basic, it is a prime example of SEO in action.

Keep in mind that search engine optimization does not have a universal definition. No one person can clearly define exactly what it means. Do understand that keeping SEO and SEO basics down to its easiest level will help one develop a clearer understanding of its true meaning. Think of it this way, it is merely an extension of standard, everyday marketing and advertising strategies.

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