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.


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.


Improve Your SEO with a Google+ Page

Posted on September 24, 2013 in Captain Marketing, SEO by cmblogger

Many of us are still resisting using Google+ socially. Most people barely have time for Facebook, let alone another social media platform. And when it comes to business, who cares, anyway? Aren’t Facebook and Twitter enough?

Quite frankly, no. Think of it as a “quid pro quo” situation. Google wants people to use its proprietary social media platform, so the popular search engine will reward those websites who do with better rankings, even if none of your customers or associates use it. It’s that simple. As e-learning consultant Steve Rayson puts it,  “Google Plus content stays around, gains page rank, gives page rank, and appears in search results over a long period. It appears Google Plus posts can retain ranking indefinitely with some posts over a year old still top of search result pages.”

Google+ posts also send valuable social signals to the indexing bots, another key element of today’s search engine optimization process. As you post images, blog links and text to your Google+ page, you’re letting the search engines know your relevance to the goods and services you sell. Testimonials and reviews posted on this social media platform will also help you gain traction.

Google+ is free, fast and easy, and it will help a lot. In the sometimes complicated world of digital marketing, there aren’t many strategies you can unequivocally describe in the same terms. Move ahead of your competitors and take advantage of Google+ benefits today. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find time to create your own personal Google+ page as well.



Essential SEO: Know the Basics

Posted on September 10, 2013 in SEO, SEO marketing 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.


Essential SEO for Any Small Business

Posted on September 3, 2013 in Local SEO, SEO by cmblogger

In years past, smaller companies only selling through a brick and mortar location didn’t need to worry too much about the Internet. Only with the proliferation of mobile devices and the departure of the Yellow Pages for the land of 8 track players and the wooly mammoth did the web really start to matter. Is your small business showing up on the search engines for your customers? Consider these basics as a way to get started.

First, consider reviews. Look for relevant websites where your customers might post positive testimonials about your business. The idea is to garner authentic positive feedback-not to simply create multiple five star reviews and upload them within the hour. Encourage and reward your clients for their comments. Their reviews will help not only your SEO, but generate positive buzz among consumers as well.

Second, don’t ignore social media. Regular updates to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages will help the search engines not only find but assess you as relevant to the products and services you’re trying to sell.

Finally, update your content regularly. When you’re looking for good SEO rankings, there’s no replacement for interesting, relevant copy that’s delivered regularly to your website.  Frequent updates of industry news, product information, or even just plain old friendly communication with your consumers makes a difference to the search engines.

An effective SEO strategy for your small brick and mortar company doesn’t have to be complicated. But if you’re hoping for customers even just offline, it’s a necessary part of doing business in 2013.


Social Media and SEO: A Classic Pairing

Posted on August 20, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

Some things just go together. A set of pearls and a little black dress… summertime and baseball…movies and popcorn. Think of SEO and social media in the same way. Whether you’re talking about what makes for effective branding or in terms of how Google has defined the search ranking algorithm, what your company does on these social media platforms is now a critical part of not just your SEO campaign, but any successful online marketing strategy.

It’s all about engagement as a measure of relevance. The search engines want to rank companies with content that attracts attention and participation from consumers on the web. Google is continually trying to improve its results by answering your search request with the most relevant answers possible. That’s why it looks for goods and services that demonstrate that people care about them, as measured by participation with that brand on social media, or by how often consumers share a particular website’s content. If you have something that no one is reading about, commenting on, or sharing, you’re not showing Google you matter when it comes to your particular products and services.

The other caveat, however? Unfortunately, the process takes awhile. A viable social media strategy won’t happen overnight, but instead requires interesting, varied content over time. Mix it up. Use videos. Photographs. Informational posts. Answer questions-and interact with your users. Google will note these social connections and reflect it within the SERPs. While it remains a complicated trial and error process, an enduring social SEO campaign will pay off. Stick with the basics, and watch your star rise along with your rankings.


Your SEO Strategy: the Perennial in Your Marketing Garden

Posted on August 13, 2013 in SEO, SEO marketing by cmblogger

When it comes to appearing on page one of the organic search results, there are no quick fixes. Regardless of whatever the latest gimmick or exciting new trend you may be hearing about from marketers who want your business and the media, SEO is never an overnight miracle. Rather, it’s still a process that takes time, effort and commitment.

First, consider your keywords. Are you using terms in your content and link building efforts that really reflect the products and services you offer, as well as the ways in which your consumers search for them on the web? While it may seem elementary to some, many businesses choose keywords that either they’re not using on their website (like a competitor’s brand name, for example) or that don’t capture the essence of what they sell.

Avoid disaster with some old fashioned keyword research to find the terms that fit your business. Use these in any linking strategy, and within the meaningful content on your homepage and the copy throughout your website. Again, while this may seem obvious for the more digitally savvy among us, it’s easy for small businesses to forget this simple but essential key to successful rankings.

Coupled with effective link building, strong social media, and a website that has been designed for speed and search engine friendly navigation, you will be able to count on your SEO program as the trusty workhorse of any strong online marketing campaign. While that may not be a flashy message, it’s the truth.


Stay Single: Use One URL for Mobile and Desktop Browsers

Posted on August 6, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

In case you haven’t been listening closely this summer, Google has definitely sounded the alarm: if your website doesn’t work well with mobile browsers, you will be penalized in terms of SEO. Understanding the full measure of what Google does want for great rankings, however, goes beyond just a responsive web design.

Google wants one URL across the board. That means serving the same HTML for your tablet, desktop and mobile sites. With the advent of social sharing and the popularity of social media, Google wants your website content to be distributed across these platforms. The more your posts, content and articles are shared by others, the better your Google rankings will be. For this to happen, a single URL is critical.

Single URLs also eliminate redirects. Remember, even one redirect can take a mobile customer a half a second. Add several more and your potential customer has to wait 3-5 seconds just to see your page. According to a recent report from analytics experts, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in under 2 seconds, and 40% will simply click away if it takes longer to do so.  Even a 1 second delay can result in a 7% conversion loss, or potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales per year.

Don’t risk your rankings on the search engine results pages. Ensuring the mobile and desktop versions of your website are in compliance with Google’s recommendations means better SEO-and more conversions in 2013.


Frequent SEO Mistakes

Posted on July 23, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

Distinguished Google Engineer and search optimization expert Matt Cutts is around the web a lot these days, with concerned businesses and marketing strategists asking plenty of questions about the effects of the new Google Penguin algorithm and other updates on their SEO campaigns. The good news? Google’s search engine is better than ever, with fewer spammy results and more sensitivity to naturalistic searches (providing quality results to search phrases that sound the way real people talk, rather than the way computers do).

Recently, he described some of the most common mistakes webmasters are making when it comes to their SEO programs:

1.) Not having a good, navigable website. Did you build your website a decade ago? Unlike fine wines and some spouses, websites do not get better with age. You must ensure your website is easy for consumers to navigate, and without the obvious technical problems that can stop an SEO program in its tracks. The good news? Investing in a fast, intuitive, well designed site pays off not just in terms of good search engine rankings, but in getting more customers, too.

2.) Not including good content. Is your website all pictures? Do you have meaningless strings of keywords or just a video on your homepage? You not only need good, easy to read copy on your pages for the search engine bots, but phrases within them that people might actually use to search for your goods and services. For example, if you’re offering Niagara Falls vacations for your consumers, don’t just write about “Niagara Falls tours.” Add the phrase “trips to Niagara Falls” and “Niagara honeymoons” to your copy. Those are also terms people search for-and need to be on your site.

We found this brief summary very instructive-and helpful for any business wanting to ensure their optimization campaign works as it’s supposed to. See your website in these descriptions? Call us for help in fixing them, and finally get the SEO rankings you deserve.


SEO Strategy and Effective Branding: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Posted on July 16, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

If you’re old enough to remember those ads for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, you’re probably also old enough to recall many other classic ads of the 1970s, where a simple catch phrase along with a memorable visual established a brand forever. Today, great branding is equally important, but perhaps more complicated, as your messaging must be communicated across multiple information streams to your consumer.

What’s your unique selling proposition? What are your company’s core values? Who is your target audience? At what price point are you offering your products?  Once you define your company as a specific brand, you can then think about how your particular consumer might search for your products and services on the web.

For example, let’s say your landscaping company is branded as a high end, luxury yard care service. You may find, after doing a little research, that your typical customer isn’t going to be looking for “lawn mowing service” or “guys to cut the grass” but instead might search for “yard maintenance” or “professional gardeners.” Your keywords should thus go beyond the generic terms that might seem appropriate at first-and instead target exactly the right demographic for your business.

Your SEO program could be one element of a strong branding strategy that you may have overlooked. While good keywords for any business are ones with high traffic and relatively low competition, your branding should also inform your choices for the very best results.

Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimization