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How to Make Content Silos

An image representing content silosIt is much easier for search engines to find and deliver a relevant document when it is focused and organized around a singular topic. That is the basic underlying theory of content silos. These categories of content can be made through linking practices, through file structures or both. Arranging your content in this way makes it easier for search engines to clearly see what’s relevant to user queries (as well as what’s not).

How Search Works

I’m sure that only the brightest engineers and mathematicians truly understand how Google’s algorithm works, but in terms of how it sees content, pages rank better when they’re more focused.

When you visit a search engine and type in a word or phrase, the engine tries to return the most relevant (single) document to you. For example, if you entered “stainless steel ball point pens,” the search engine wouldn’t display the home page of a pen manufacturer unless the page contained that specific phrase (even if the manufacturer in question was the most relevant company for the query).

Instead, the engine would return the most relevant web page (which could include a PDF) that was about that phrase. The page could be part of an entire website that had nothing to do with pens, and it would still show up (all else being equal) because it is relevant to the query.

Image of a messy room representing disorganized contentMost Websites Are Disorganized

When we create websites, we do our best to categorize content based on what we know. We might set things up based on how we run our business or organize the site based on what we think our customers would like.

Even if a site is organized well in terms of usability, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture regarding the layout of the content and its theme. Some websites don’t feature an overall theme. Instead, they offer a clunky combination of content based on any number of variables. Subsections may not relate to the overall theme, and some content may be organized improperly when taking into account the overall theme of the site.

How to Make Content Silos

The definition of themeContent siloing is a method of applying an overarching theme to a website, which then flows down to related subsections. The purpose is to ensure that a site’s pages contain content relevant to the subjects that will allow it to rank well in search. Creating content silos is tedious (especially if you have to rip apart your entire site to do it, or if you have a number of different subject areas), but the concept is quite simple.

Step One: Determine Your Site’s Overall Theme
The first thing that needs to be done is to choose an overall theme for your website. You probably already have this, but if you are unclear or have a lot going on with your site in terms of content, note that it’s best to focus on one broad theme.

For instance, maybe your business performs furnace repair and installation, air-conditioning repair and installation and duct cleaning. All of that would fall within the HVAC realm. Another company might sell used and new auto parts, accessories and service. Those things could be placed under the broad umbrella of “auto parts and accessories.”

The idea here is not to create a home page with the broad topic areas, but to have a conceptual starting point. From here, you will make sub-categories (pages) that are extensions of the broad theme.

Step Two: Keyword Research
One of the main points of making content silos is to rank better in search. A crucial component of that is optimizing your pages for target keywords. Once you know what your broad theme is, you can go to work selecting target phrases that you want your individual pages to rank for.

Googles Keyword PlannerThis research isn’t an exact science; it’s more of a marketing art.  It involves knowing something about your market and how they might look for your products or services online.  You will want to choose words that have a high search volume, but not a lot of competition. You also want phrases that are branded, or that reflect any branded products or services you sell. You should also look out for keywords that convert well.

A great tool to use for your keyword research is Google’s Keyword Planner, which used to be known as the Keyword Tool. After Google changed it around, it works great for content siloing. The reason is because it will group keywords into categories for you (called AdGroups because they are meant for AdWords).

Even though these groups are meant for AdWords, they work in much the same way as advertisements on the search platform. When someone enters a query, you only want relevant ads appearing for it. The same is true for a page on your website. The painfully obvious fact is that if an ad pops up that has nothing to do with a keyword that someone used, they won’t click on the ad.  The same is true for web pages, although in the case of organic results, Google won’t show web pages unless they are relevant to a query.

During this process, you should also take into account how people will search for the content found on your site. What words or phrases will they use? Understanding searcher intent and methods for finding content is key to being successful in marketing a website using search.

Webmaster tools LogoThere are a variety of resources available to determine the keyword terms and phrases people are using to find your content. If you have your site configured in Google Webmaster Tools, you can see the keyword phrases that visitors have used to find your site. In Google Analytics or other tracking programs, you can view similar data. You might also run PPC campaigns through search that allow you to see which keyword phrases are most successful in creating conversions on your site.

Once you have a list of keywords that you want the pages of your site to rank for, prioritize them in a list. Choose words that are most relevant to the overall theme of your site and start there.

Step Three: Determine What Kind of Silo Can Be Created
There are some variables that come into play here, as well as a couple of different siloing methods. Content can be organized using physical silos or virtual silos. The method you use depends on your current situation.

Physical Silos
A physical silo is one created using the file structure that makes up a website. Instead of organizing content on the website once it is already on the server, you can do it through the way files are structured on the server.

An example of a physical content silo
Virtual Silos
This method is accomplished through linking on a website. That is, a site’s categories are separated by the way they are linked together. Pages about specific topic areas may reside in the same folder on a server, but the way they are linked (as displayed to the visitor) is organized differently.

An example of virtual content silos
So, the method you choose is based mostly on practicality. For instance, some websites have hundreds or even thousands of pages. They are well established with many links across the web. Therefore, upending everything by moving and renaming files on a server is not practical. In cases like these, silos created using links may be a better idea.

Page-Level Optimization

Now you have your site’s theme, your target keywords and your siloing method. It’s time to make your content silos. Regardless of whether you are using a physical or virtual siloing method, your page-level optimization will be the same.

Each page on your site should be configured to target a specific keyword phrase along with its variants. For instance, if your target keyword phrase for one page of your site is “Logitech wireless mouse,” variants would be plural or reordered versions of the phrase.

The graphic below shows how each page of your site should be configured in terms of where your target keyword phrases should go.

A graphical representation of a perfectly optimized pageThere are also some additional keyword placements not seen in the graphic, such as in meta descriptions. Having keyword-rich anchor text pointing at the page is also helpful, but don’t overdo it.

While content silos are an advanced SEO topic, the concept is somewhat rudimentary for search. Engines look for the most relevant document to return for a query. That happens when you create a highly-focused document that does not deviate from the subject matter. The more focused you can make your web pages on their respective keyword phrases, the better they will rank in search.

 

What tips do you have for making content silos? Have you found that siloing your content helps you get more traffic from search engines?

Last Minute Holiday SEO Tips for Internet Marketers

If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know when you get there?  Setting goals is important for any business activity and the same is true for your SEO initiatives.  There is no better time to highlight this fact than during the holiday season when millions of people are searching for products to buy.  Check out these tips for SEO marketers during this holiday season.

Benchmarking for Organic Search

Goal:  Identify your competitors and list their SEO strengths.  See where they are weak, where they are strong and then plan your strategy accordingly.

A good rule of thumb for any time during the year is to note where your web property stands in comparison to your industry peers.  Benchmarking allows you to see how successful you are compared to others who you may be competing with.  Are you below average for your industry?  Above average?  Setting a clear standard enables you to see if you are truly doing your best.  Only looking at your activities and their results in isolation does not give you a clear picture as to how successful you are with your SEO initiatives.  There are lots of free and paid tools out there that allow you to take a peek inside your competitor’s activities.  While it is impossible to know everything that another company is doing, you can get a pretty good idea.  For instance Rank Tracker allows you to download their software and run reports on where any website is ranking for given key terms.  Go to your competitor’s website and view their source code.  Try and determine which keywords they are trying to rank for.  Perhaps you notice that they aren’t aiming for long tail keywords you could take advantage of.  Another free tool SEMRush (Rank Tracker as well) allows you to see the backlinks leading to your competitor’s website.  Check out reviews that your competitors may have, look at the content on their site, see how they are doing in social media.  Taking all of these factors into account, you can then develop a strategy to rank better than them in search.  Perhaps you may notice tactics that aren’t being used or being implemented properly where you can be stronger.  At the very least you will know who you have to worry about and who is not really a threat.

Make Pages for Your Popular Products

Goal:  Make highly optimized product pages for items that will be popular this holiday season.

During most of the year, it may be ok to have products and their descriptions lumped together in categories with other similar items.  During the holiday season however, targeted searches for specific products often jump.  It is hard to make a page with many different products on it rank well for everything that resides there.  Make separate pages for products/services that you know will be hot sellers this year.  Write separate meta descriptions and page titles.  Keep those pages in directories named after the target keyword phrase you are trying to rank for.  This will allow for those pages to rank much better in search because they are about a single item that someone may be searching for.  You don’t have to go crazy with all of your product/service offerings, just the ones that you know will be popular.

Ramp up Your Content Production

Goal:  Create an editorial calendar and stick to it.  Come up with a list of topics that match how many times you will be posting throughout the holiday season.  Try and write as much as you can up front so you aren’t scrambling to get something out when its time to publish.

If you are serious about online marketing, you should already have a blog going.  During the holiday season, you should increase the amount of content you are adding.  So if you contribute to your blog once a week during the year, make it twice or three times.  If you are already at that level during the year, try and make it every day.  Don’t just change the amount of content your write but what you write it about.  Center your strategy around hot selling items or services for the holiday season.  Review pieces are very popular as people take to the web to learn more about the products they are searching for.

Use the Media to your Advantage

Goal:  Identify something newsworthy and get the media to write about it.

Depending on your industry, this tactic may be more or less difficult to pull off.  During the holiday season, news media and reporters are always looking for contextual stories about the holidays.  This could be wacky gift ideas, stories of giving to charitable organizations during the holidays, helping those in need or whatever the case may be.  If you can get local or even national media to showcase something your business is doing, this is powerful in terms of search.  Not only will there be extra content out there about you and your business, this could also turn into a potential backlinking opportunity if you can get media outlets to link back to your website in a press release.

Get Your On-Site in the Holiday Spirit

Goal:  Change your on-site optimization (i.e. meta-descriptions, title tags, website copy) to reflect the season.

It is important, especially if your business is seasonal, to modify your onsite optimization for the holiday season.  Re-write title tags and meta-descriptions to take advantage of important marketing opportunities.  For instance many people read the rich snippets of information found in search engine results pages before they click a link to a website.  These are marketing opportunities in organic search.  Place your offers, special deals or product descriptions right inside these snippets of text.

Viral Content

Goal:  Come up with interesting, fun or informative content that is highly shareable in social media.

It is becoming more and more common for people to turn to their networks on social media to get input about what they should buy, impromptu reviews on products and services, or simply to get a general opinion from their friends.  Coming up with viral content to share across your company’s social media networks is a great way to increase your visibility during the holiday season.  Maybe you have a short holiday related video, or perhaps an image.  Even just a blog post giving people tips on your products/services is a great thing to do.  Just make sure that whatever you share, keep self-promotion out of it or at least to a minimum.  Also, make sure it is either useful or entertaining.  People share content because it is either fun to look at or because it helps people solve problems.

 

There are still some days left in this year’s holiday season.  While some changes can take weeks to have an impact, you can still put some of these ideas to good use and perhaps increase sales that much more.  Do you have any last minute tips for holiday marketers?  What is something that could be implemented quickly but still have a large impact on business?

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?

Give Bad Links The Boot — Google’s Disavow Links Tool Released

Google Disavow Links InterfaceIf you’ve done any kind of link building you know that as soon as a link has been established to your site, it is nearly impossible to get it taken down. Of course when the link is beneficial, everything is great. When the link is causing us to lose PageRank and position in SERP’s, it can be like an annoying splinter just deep enough in our figure that it cannot be removed; so we learn to deal with it. Contacting web masters to take down spammy links on your website can often feel the same way. After all, these people have no real incentive to help you out and in many cases they may not even care about your needs. Finally there is a ray of hope for this supremely frustrating scenario and it comes in the form of the disavow links tool provided by Google.

Matt Cutts announced the new tool at PubCon in a keynote speech and covers the tool in a Google blog post here. Although it may be common knowledge by now, Google uses links among hundreds of signals to determine the popularity and importance of a website. Its proprietary measurement known as PageRank measures the authority of a web page, the PageRank of the source, the location of the link on a page and dozens of other factors to in turn rank the importance of the page the link is leading to. Until now, webmasters were stuck with the sole tactic of contacting other webmasters in order to get links removed from their site. The disavow tool now gives webmasters a weapon that they can draw on when all else has failed.

About The Tool
It is important to note that Google isn’t touting this as a replacement for contacting web masters to take down spammy links. In Mr. Cutt’s post, it is still recommended that web masters contact whoever they are able in order to remove links in the traditional manner. In fact this is still the best way to promote a positive image for your site and have a truly clean backlink profile. The tool comes in when an individual has exhausted all other avenues and cannot get a link off of his/her site. By creating a plain text file with one URL per line where the links that you would like Google to ignore are listed; you can request that the search engine ignore these signals on your website. Notice that the name of the tool is disavow meaning to not support. This means Google is ignoring the link and not actually removing it from another person’s site. If you cannot get people to take links down, using the tool will benefit you as far as Google search results but you may not be in the clear with the dozens of other search engines that are out there.

Key Takeaways

Most sites will not have to use the tool: In several points of Mr. Cutt’s post, he mentions that the majority of website will not have to use this tool. In fact, it is even said that if you aren’t sure how the tool is used then you probably shouldn’t (and don’t) need to use it. For novice users, it can be easy to mistakenly add links that do not need to be disavowed. Although this process can be undone, it can take several weeks to get the process to work and several more to undo it if you make a mistake.

The disavow document is a suggestion, not a directive: Google mentions that the disavow tool is powerful for webmasters because they will take into account what is in the file however it is not an absolute solution. Google reserves the right to ignore information in the file if they so choose however for most users, suggestions will be implemented.

The tool should be used in select scenarios: So if you are a webmaster and you just heard about this tool from this post or perhaps somewhere else, there is probably not a need for you to rush to your webmaster tools account and start uploading links. In fact, unless you have been actively involved in link building activities, chances are you do not need to use this tool. If you have been engaged in link building activities on your own such as creating external web 2.0 properties under pseudo names, buying links from paid services, participating in link exchanges or actively engaging in any other link building activities that could be perceived as deceptive to users or against Google’s quality guidelines; you may want to take a look at your backlink profile. Other reasons one may need to use the tool are if you have received a message from Webmaster tools notifying you of unnatural link activity or if there are links you have been trying to remove manually and cannot.

Granularity is important: Just like in SEO, the difference between example.com and www.example.com is important. The document users submit to Google in order to have links on their site disavowed also supports a fairly granular level of detail. If you want a link removed that is found on example.com, submitting www.example.com will not be good enough.

Webmasters who have been toiling to find a way to remove detrimental links from their website at last have a solution; even if it is only for one major search engine. If you want more information on how the tool works, you can read about it in Google’s help center.

You can also check out this video featuring Matt Cutts.

Will you be using the disavow links tool? What tactics were you using before the tool’s release to get detrimental links off of your website?

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.

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

Picture of SEO Freelancer ideas

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.

 


Local Search SEO

Tips and Strategies to improve Local Search SEO Marketing

 

The integration of basic online marketing strategies are equally important for internet based businesses as well as local businesses. Local search SEO methods are imperative for businesses to undertake in order to increase their customer base. Local businesses obviously do not have the same type of marketing budget other large corporations have, but there are some simple steps businesses can undertake to increase their online presence, thus increasing their customer base. To increase the visibility for a local business online, there are a few areas to explore.

Where is Your Business Listed?

Take a moment or two and enter your business name into any of the search engines. Conduct a search and see exactly where your business is listed. Many local businesses do not take time to register or place their business within local search directories. This may seem like a daunting task, however, it is relatively easy. In addition to being easy, most often there is not a cost associated with it. Some of the top directories for local searches include Google Places, Yelp, Superpages, Local Yahoo and Yellow Pages.

In addition to the search engines, you should check to see if your area has any local search directories. You can easily find this out by checking out local TV and radio stations along with chamber of commerce organizations or any other business group that has an online presence. There are websites for you to check to see if your business is listed in a variety of sources. You can check out ubl.org or amlvisible.org for a quick look to see if your business is listed in the major directories. Some of these sites will offer a free instant report but will want to charge you additional money to improve your ratings. If your business shows up in the directories, this is fantastic news. If your business is not showing up, then you need to do a bit of work. Visit the search engine sites and take the time to make sure your business is properly included with each of them.

Entice New Customers Using Local Search

Local Search Special Offers

Use Local Search Deals & Discounts

Consumer behavior, both online and off, tend to be somewhat the same. Everyone wants services or products that offer value. Consumers will most often make their purchasing decisions based on word-of-mouth reviews or recommendations. Those wishing to improve their local search results must take this information to heart. Quality of service and products remain high on the list of what consumers want. For the local business looking to establish and improve their customer base, may want to include some kind of deal or discount on their website. This may entice a customer who has never used your services to give you a try. Utilizing Groupon or other online coupon services can also be beneficial. Check in your local area for additional providers of this service.

Customer Reviews

This is what just about everyone checks out prior to purchasing or hiring a particular service. Consumers want to know what other customers have to say about your business. It is vitally important to make sure you have customer reviews. In order to increase the number increase you may have, you may want to ask some of your loyal customers to provide feedback about their experiences. Posting positive feedback on your website and on local search pages is an important part of increasing your customer base. Try to have at least 10 – 20 positive reviews posted.

There are also the reviews that are not controllable at all. It is the old adage that you cannot make everyone happy. Unfortunately, you cannot remove this type of comment if it is not on your site and to be perfectly honest, you can turn this around into a positive situation. Responding to a negative review will have a positive impact on those reading it. Addressing the problem and offering some type of solution or change will encourage customers to consider your business. Ignoring the complaint or not addressing it, leads the customer to believe you may not care or value the customer.

Social Media and Local Search

The prominence of social media in regard to businesses cannot be ignored. Facebook has over 750 million users, Google+ is up to 50 million users and Twitter continues to grow. Businesses cannot ignore these kinds of staggering statistics. To increase your local search, make sure that you are listed in Facebook Deals and Facebook Places. You need to remember word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most important parts of a business marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth has taken on a completely new meaning through social media. You should ask your customers to “like” or “follow” your company. You may want to have some of your customers write a blurb on their walls or tweets about the experiences they have had with your business. You may want to offer an incentive plan for loyal customers to bring additional new customers to your business. You can give coupons to your loyal customers to get out to some of their friends via social media. Make sure your reward this loyal customer for doing some work for you!

The tips and strategies outlined above are just a simple approach to local search and SEO. The ultimate goal is to see your business come up in all local search methods. Make sure you offer deals or discounts to entice people to use your products or services. Utilizing both positive and negative reviews will let your customers know you care. Local businesses do not have to be left behind when it comes to search engine optimization. It will take a little bit of work to get it started but in the end, it is a vital component for your business.