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Essential SEO: Know the Basics

Posted on January 19, 2015 in Blogging by cmblogger

Especially for a new company, SEO can present complicated challenges when it comes to creating the right program to get ranked with the search engines. With just a few tips, however, even a fledgling small business can lay the groundwork for an effective organic search campaign.

Have you installed Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools? If not, you should. Then connect them so you’ll be able to get more information on how consumers find your website on the web. Next, take a look at the possible keywords your project manager has researched for your linking program.

Which among these phrases best capture what you sell? And even more importantly, which terms are ones that you use in the existing content on your website? Don’t pick keywords that aren’t words or phrases you want to emphasize. Remember, every page of your website needs to have at least 200-300 words of copy per page utilizing these terms. If you talk about handsewn leather loafers on your website, don’t pick the keyword “clogs” unless you’re willing to create content that describes them in detail.
Once you’ve selected the right keywords, your Captain Marketing project manager will help with a sitemap, title tags, link building and more. Consider adding a blog, a social media presence and even a paid ad campaign to facilitate your progress with the search engines. It may seem daunting, but with the right tools, even a tiny company can attract the consumers they need for success.

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What The Heck Is A Sitemap.?

Posted on December 13, 2014 in Blogging by cmblogger

For some, knowing what the acronym “SEO” stands for is an achievement in and of itself (Search Engine Optimization, for the uninitiated). And don’t worry, you’re not alone. For many in this world, particularly over a certain age, tweeting is still just for the birds. But as long as we’re on the topic, you should probably learn what a sitemap is. As a critical element of any successful SEO campaign, a sitemap is also referred to as a navigation bar. It lets Google, Yahoo and Bing know how many pages your website has, and what’s on each page. While you may only have 4-5 pages to your site, nevertheless, this index will provide the search engines with useful information and allow them to rank you higher on the results pages. It will also help your visitors know what you have-and where to find it on your site.

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SEO: A Brief Recap

Posted on November 12, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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When people talk about the importance of SEO, its biggest advantage often goes without

saying: trust. According to a recent international marketing study, 91% of consumers prefer

the results of a natural search [i.e. organic] to paid ads or other forms of digital advertising.

Obviously, to continue with an effective SEO strategy makes sense. But things have changed

significantly for the search engine’s algorithm over recent years, and with this shift come new

ways of doing things in order to rank.

 

For example, consider keywords. It used to be that any copy that featured as many keywords

as your writer could cram into a sentence usually passed as adequate. But don’t fool yourself.

This is no longer the case. Today, focus on content that instead addresses the needs of the

customer in a meaningful way. That’s what will score with the search engines, rather than

artificial prose aimed only at the search bots. Every landing page must have useful information

that not only sounds good but resonates with your customers as well. The more your readers

share, comment and repost, the better for your website and your brand in this brave new

world of SEO.

 

Will things change again? Inevitably so. But some things remain the same. In 2014, whatever

your industry, your consumers will trust the SERPs over anything else to find your products and

services.

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Optimize for Local Business with Google Carousel

Posted on October 29, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

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Launched in June, Google’s new Carousel features a row of black framed images across the top of the SERPs for certain kinds of queries. With up to 20 results, they’re mostly found for travel, dining and entertainment related searches. As you’ve probably already noticed, each Carousel slide displays an image coupled with relevant search information, which if you click on it reveals an address, phone number and most prominently, recent consumer reviews.

If you’re a local business hoping for greater visibility on the SERPs, this is going to be an important new feature to factor into any digital marketing strategy. While no one is exactly sure how big the Carousel is likely to become for Google, everyone can benefit from the steps necessary to optimize for it.

If you haven’t already, create a page for both Google Places for Business and Google+. Upload attractive, high resolution images for both, and order them in terms of importance. Finally, make sure your customers are reviewing you on the search engine. According to a recent study, high online review scores translate into better placement on the Carousel. For hotels alone, “earned media” (i.e. positive reviews on Google) are already an important factor in first page Google rankings.

For 2014, it’s another tool in your SEO kit bag that may prove enormously helpful. In time, Google is expected to utilize these types of images for even more categories, as Carousel is now also appearing for some sports and education results pages too.

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Social Media for Good SEO: What That Means

Posted on October 28, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

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So let’s say you’re doing everything right. You have a linking program. You have a blog with plenty of fresh content uploaded every month. You have a well organized website that’s easy for consumers to navigate. So what else is missing?

It’s simple. Social media. That doesn’t mean just having Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (at least), but that you’re posting regularly on them. Looking for material? If you’ve got a newsletter or blogs, bingo! You have content you can be posting frequently-and this is just a start.

Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, relies on the idea of content authority more than ever before. This translates into relevant, interesting copy that consumers are commenting on, awarding with “likes” and most of all, sharing with their own friends, family and colleagues. Barely intelligible but keyword rich paragraphs on your homepage won’t cut it-if it ever did, which is doubtful.  Having a social media presence where you are connecting with consumers and sharing what you know is now critical for strong rankings.

As Warren Lee, SEO consultant manager for ADOBE explains it, “SEO is no longer just about content, linking, and site architecture; it’s also about building social identity…and engagement.” It’s the relationship age for digital marketing, and if you haven’t created your company’s social media pages or interacted with customers lately on these platforms, it’s time to get started.

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Search as an Effective Brand Builder

Posted on October 21, 2013 in Blogging by cmblogger

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For any nascent small business or company interested in launching a new product, the task of branding yourself at the same time as trying to get a foothold on the search engines might feel overwhelming, if not impossible. Yet good SEO and paid search strategies are also ones that will help define what makes your goods and services unique for potential consumers.

Strong keywords, a cornerstone of any organic search campaign, will be critical not only for the Googlebots but also in helping you establish what and who you are in all your messaging. As always, choose phrases that have lots of traffic and relatively little competition. Whether you’re creating a press release, copy for your landing pages or starting up a blog, make sure you’re using plenty of these terms in all your content. Your use of these essential keywords will both help you rank with the search engines and give your customers a basic understanding of what distinguishes you from others in your industry. For paid search, make sure you have ample keyword coverage that reiterates this central brand message in your AdWords campaigns. Make sure these keywords sync up to the terms you’re using in PR releases and onsite content in order to convey a consistent message to your target audience.

The end result? Along with great search rankings and more conversions, you’ll help customers understand what’s special about your products… and your company. While at times a challenge, great branding goes hand in hand with successful paid search and SEO.

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Today’s SEO: The New Frontier

Posted on October 21, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

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We’ve talked about the importance of good keywords for strong organic rankings and brand messaging, and yet, they’re not the end of the story when it comes to today’s SEO. With Google’s increasing sophistication, in fact, search queries will no longer be limited to the often awkward, always highly structured keyword phrases of the past. With the emergence of author rank and topical authority as important factors for the SERPs, any digital marketing campaign should focus on developing quality content, along with the right keywords, as the best way to achieve success.

Make your brand and your website the best place for information on a particular product, subject or service area. In doing so, think about what your target audience might be interested in-and go after those topics. Do you provide document shredding services? Consider a blog that addresses privacy concerns for 2014 as well as best practices to maintain a data-secure workplace. Sell bifocals? Focus your website content, social media campaigns and search campaigns on eye health, eyesight information and related safety issues.

Remember though, the answers aren’t in bombarding the customer (or Google) with endless pages of long winded, useless information that is difficult to even navigate. Make your website attractive, visually appealing and a fun place to be-and you’ll reap the benefits not just with the search engines but your customers as well. Going into 2014, “holistic” is a new catchphrase for SEO. Create something of value for your customers, and good rankings are sure to follow.

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Using Social Media for Good SEO

Posted on October 15, 2013 in SEO, SEO marketing, Social SEO by cmblogger

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We all know that integrating your SEO and social campaigns can significantly improve organic rankings, but many businesses struggle with the mechanics of exactly how these social media platforms can be harnessed for best results. When it comes to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, keep in mind the three important factors that will determine how you fare on the SERPS. According to most experts, it’s all about fresh content, popularity (how often your content is shared, for example), and your perceived trustworthiness.

This starts with your “authority” on the web. In Google terms, this refers to the relative importance of your website compared to others in your field. Google calculates authority in several ways, but social media is a critical part of this equation. First and foremost, the Google bot will assess your engagement levels. Who is liking your posts? How many shares or re-tweets do you get? Search engines prefer websites that have lots of consumer interactions to show for themselves. Social media is the way to demonstrate to Google that you have the clout with consumers that merits a first page ranking.

It can sound daunting, but the good news? A strong social media presence not only helps with your organic search rankings, but will build your brand along the way. Rather than simply marketing for a search engine robot as was necessary in years past, today’s effective SEO strategies work best when they reach real people: your customers.

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Going All Natural: Content Marketing for Google Hummingbird

Posted on October 7, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

Google Hummingbird Update

With Google’s recent algorithm change, the shift towards semantic search is upon us. While search queries previously had to sound truncated and awkward to work, now it’s all about natural language and Google’s quick assessments of user intent from long strings of search words. The days of stilted keyword phrasing is over.

Hopefully, your content already reflects this. However, the news will be a wake up call to some, underscoring the necessity of fresh, interesting and sharable content throughout your website in order to rank successfully with the search engines. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to get it, and soon.

But how? Consider going to the source: your customer base. What problems are they looking to solve? What interests them-and what doesn’t? Reflect those answers in both your keywords and the content you generate for your website, blogs and social media posts. It’s this visually appealing, useful copy upon which an effective SEO strategy is built, not to mention a successful digital marketing campaign.

If you don’t have a lot of copy on your website, or a thriving social media campaign yet, it’s time. Both are essential to any online presence, no matter what your industry.

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Google Hummingbird: New Directions for Search

Posted on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

Google just turned 15 last week, with 70% of the market share for search on desktops and a reputation as one of the world’s biggest brands. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students, their idea turned out to be a necessary component of any business marketing plan in 2013. Along with a party, Google also introduced a new search algorithm a few days ago to further refine their ability to answer user queries effectively. What do you need to know?

Hummingbird Update

First, PageRank isn’t entirely dead-but now it is only one of about 200 factors the search engine considers before assigning a ranking. What else matters? As we’ve explained in other posts, Google now also notices things like plenty of good content, keywords, the frequency by which copy is updated, etc. as ways of deciding which results are most relevant to a particular query.

The term “conversational search” is going to be an important phrase for Google users in coming months with Hummingbird. It refers to the new emphasis Google is placing on the meaning behind search words, rather than just the way they are phrased. In the past, a user had to type in “cheese brands” to get a range of quality answers. With Hummingbird, a searcher can now even enter, “what are the best kinds of cheese?” into the search bar and get responses.

What this means for any business hoping for good SEO is again, the continued importance of quality content over simple keyword seeded copy. Web pages with lots of relevant, descriptive paragraphs will do far better with their rankings than sites who ignore the new algorithm. The best news about the new search? Stay engaging, and you’ll also stay well ahead of your competitors.

Tag Archives: SEO