Long gone are the days where stuffing numerous keywords into a blog post or article is considered the norm for Search Engine Optimization. Whether you’re an SEO professional or are just beginning to explore the world of SEO, you’ve probably already found that this field is an ever-changing industry that loves to keep everyone on their toes. The best method to remaining on top of the latest SEO trends is vigilance accompanied by knowledge of the past and present.
Previously, writing for SEO included a large amount of keyword-stuffing and concern with keyword density, making for not-so-interesting articles. Because in the past, blog posts and articles were written with a search engine in mind rather than an audience, content became “spammy” and people were uninterested in reading or sharing this content – content was created simply for the value of the link. Past content was also text-focused and title tags and Meta descriptions were often unhelpful to the user as they were used mainly for keyword value.
Today, post PANDA and PENGUIN updates, writing for SEO is all about creating shareable, interesting, and diverse content. Keyword density is not overly important and you risk your content being marked as spam when keyword density is too high. As demonstrated in this blog post, content doesn’t only include text. Today, content includes photos, video, infographics, and more, all which hold SEO value.
Check out the infographic below to see how writing for SEO has changed over the years:
Communication between the client and developer is one of the single most important aspects of any SEO campaign. It is imperative that both sides understand where the other is coming from and what the roles and expectations of each side are. I will go over a few suggestions from both the client and the developers perspective to help break the communication barrier that gets in the way far too often. You will be surprised at how much smoother a campaign can go if both parties start the campaign with the right amount of information and a realistic expectation.
Communicating as a Web Developer is all about Gaining Trust
As a developer, it is important to understand where the client is coming from. In order to fully grasp what your clients’ wants and needs are, you have to first take yourself out of the developer mindset and understand what the clients’ site is all about. Always take some time to get familiar with the clients’ site and business. Think about what the culture of their business is and what type of customer-base they are trying to reach. Also, research the products and services offered on the site as well…I assure you that this step will not only help you make the best decisions for your clients’ site, it will also dramatically increase the amount of trust the client has for you. And that will go a long way when trying to persuade them to make certain changes.
Remember that in most cases, this site you are working on is their baby and they are very protective of it, but if you show them that you understand where they are coming from and know what they do, they will be much more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Another thing I learned as a developer is to not rely on big fancy words and complicated technical jargon. You may think that you sound smart and are making a good impression, but the fact is that what you are saying is probably going right over their heads. If the client isn’t learning anything from you, then you are not doing your job correctly. I’m not saying that you have to use kiddie words in order for them to understand what it is you are accomplishing, just explain why you are doing it and what the benefits are of the changes you are making.
Include lengthy explanations with your suggestions and visual aides to help them understand what you are working on and how it will help their website. I promise you that they don’t really care how many lines of code you had to write or what type of font you chose to style their heading tags with – they just want to know how it is going to get them the results they need.
One great thing I learned to utilize are my past success stories. Don’t be afraid to show the client other sites that you have worked on that are similar to theirs. Show them exactly what you changed and how it has affected their SEO efforts. This type of proof is exactly what they want and it is exactly what you need as a developer to show the client that they can trust your judgment.
Communicating as a Client is about Properly Expressing your Wants and Needs
As the owner of a site, you are probably really excited to get your SEO campaign started as quickly as possible. It is important that you come into the campaign with an open mind and an understanding that your developer makes every change with your best interests in mind. But at first, there will be a sort of language barrier between you and your developer. To remedy this, take some time to do a little research about the inner workings of your site. Learn about what a developer does and the types of changes you may expect to be implemented on your site. I understand that you hired a developer so you wouldn’t have to deal with the technical aspect of it all, but learning a little about what he/she does will go a long way when you’re trying to express your ideas and needs.. Remember, this is your site and your campaign. You have the ultimate say in what happens. You have to be involved as much as possible. Your developer is there to help you bring those needs and wants to life, but it is up to you to properly express what those are from the very beginning.
It is also important to understand that in order to get the results you desire, you must express your ideas to your developer in as much detail as possible. Don’t be afraid to express your expectations from the very beginning, or ask questions regarding the best ways to reach your goals. Tell your developer what can and cannot be changed on your site. Take advantage of similar sites as examples of the type of resource you want your website to be for your audience.
Effective communication from both sides is the most important foundation of any SEO campaign. In order to obtain good results, both sides must understand what the expectations are of the other. When a developer and a client are working in unison, the road to success is a smooth ride.
When you think of Facebook, the most prominent name associated with the brand is undoubtedly Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. While his story and rise to success have been publicized in novels and films; Facebook’s COO has only recently come into the spotlight. Although Sheryl Sandberg has been a key player in Facebook’s growth since 2008, she has largely been “behind-the-scenes” of the social network. However, she recently made a significant career move outside of Facebook which is likely to help make her a household name, as well.
This year, Sheryl published her first book entitled, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Leadin which she discusses the roles of women in business leadership. As one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, Sheryl discusses the importance of women in business and offers insightful and empowering advice to professionals. Earlier this week, Sheryl was featured at an event hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce which I attended on behalf of WebiMax. During the presentation, she introduced her story to many business owners and executives in the region.
During the event, Sheryl spoke about Facebook and her role in the company. As Chief Operations Officer, she has had a hand in many of the innovations pioneered by network over the past several years, including Open Graph search and the Timeline feature, among others. Under her guidance, Facebook has become not only the world’s largest social network, but one of the most prevalent advertising and marketing outlets in the world which only continues to grow.
Professional Insights & The Future of Facebook
From a personal perspective, this event was very rewarding. Sheryl’s journey to the top of the corporate world was certainly arduous and her story is inspirational.
Surprisingly, I learned that the story of her growth as a professional parallels the growth of Facebook in many ways. From somewhat humble beginnings to international recognition, both Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook have experienced success which is certain to continue in the years ahead.
In many of my previous posts here on WebiMax.com, I’ve discussed the importance of content. Blog posts, press releases, videos, images and other forms of media on the Web can not only drive traffic to your site; but enhance your brand’s overall reputation, visibility and earning potential as well.
Speaking of blogs, I read a great post on Search Engine Journal earlier today (thanks for sharing, Patty!) which offered some useful insights on how to maximize the value of content. Of course, social sharing is essential, but content optimization goes far beyond that. By repurposing text-based content as videos, podcasts or even PowerPoint presentations, you are able to reach a broader audience while simultaneously improving SEO performance.
While I do agree that it is critical to get the most from your content; my own strategy varies slightly from the one Marcela outlined in the aforementioned SEJ article. The fundamentals remain the same; however, my emphasis on original (yet, supplemental) content provides a more comprehensive experience which incentivizes the user/reader/viewer to remain engaged.
In order to simplify my approach to content marketing, I’ve streamlined it into two phases – Creation and Promotion:
Begin with mapping out one BIG content blueprint. What story or topic is relevant to your brand, interesting to your audience and easily expanded upon? This framework will tell a complete story, but in a somewhat “segmented” fashion.
Start with the basics – a blog post. Although every blog should tell a complete story, it’s important to always leave an opportunity for your audience to interact and remain flexible enough to create unique supplemental content to continue the conversation of the blog across other mediums.
Follow the blog post with a video, podcast or an infographic. While the subject matter should be related, these should also work as standalone content. This will ensure that your audience remains engaged regardless of which “piece” of the content they discover first. Naturally, all of this content can be utilized cohesively, but originality is a must!
After you’ve created several pieces of unique content around a central topic, it’s time to get them online and promote!
Social media is a powerful promotional tool, but there are other options which marketers and business owners have been utilizing recently. Sponsored content placement, PR and digital video advertising are proving to be effective ways to market content across multiple platforms and reach a more diverse audience, as well.
By developing a tiered approach to content creation and marketing, you’re not only able to increase the long-term viability of the content itself, but generate greater brand awareness and an improved user experience for your consumers or clients.
Share your content marketing success stories in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Twitter for more content tips: @WebiMax
If you’re an SEO who interacts with clients, or even a small business owner keeping tabs on your traffic and visitor flow in Google Analytics, you have done the ‘Google Gasp’ a few times.
It’s that moment your eyes grow wide, you lose your breath, and your stomach drops to your feet when you see those glaring red traffic metrics. You become frantic, trying to figure out what went wrong and you begin to second guess yourself, your marketing team, or your strategic approach. What you should do is calm down, take a breath , and refrain from changing every page on your website.
What do you look for when you’re struck with the ‘Google Gasp’? Here are three typical ‘bad’ results that will help you see the Analytics glass half full:
- Drop in Organic Traffic - Surprisingly, this drop has two positives that can come from it. The first can be tied to your Paid Search campaign. If you are utilizing paid search and your CTR, Quality Score, and CPC results have been their best ever, your organic traffic is going to drop. Since organic visits are those not brought to your site via adverts or paid search, any visitors that come to your site by clicking an ad will not be counted towards the total number of Organic Visits. The second can be seen by reviewing your site’s Referral Traffic. Referral Traffic can include a number of ways a visitor came to your site just by clicking hyperlinked text, or a link in a Tweet, without making a search query. Very few of these referred visits are considered organic, so look for increases in Social Media referrals, Content and Article referrals, and affiliate site referrals.
Looking towards the right end of the blue line in the graph, we see noticeable increases in Paid Search.
This is Organic Traffic from the same site, within the same date ranges. Notice the end of the blue line in this graph; it is noticeably lower in the same area that the Paid Search graph showed increases.
- Drop in Visit Duration -When this happens, take a look at your Bounce Rate; did the Bounce Rate improve? A drop in the number of pages a visitor went to on your site doesn’t mean that they are not interested, nor does a decrease in time mean they are bouncing right off. Take a step back and think about any UX or conversion-driven changes you may have made to your site; have you made some content or design changes to a few landing pages? Did you conduct some navigation renovation or product re-structuring? If so, then a drop in the visit duration per encounter and an improved bounce rate can be closely tied to an improved user experience. Even the smallest changes that improve the site’s navigation, product listings, or descriptions can reduce the amount of time a visitor spends sifting through a number of products to find what they are looking for.
- Decrease in New Visitors - When increasing your customer base and site visibility are your main goals, having less New Visitors is worrisome, but take a look at the other side of the story; how many of your site’s visitors are returning? Returning Visitors are just as good, if not, better than having an influx of New Visits, because they have a different mind-set. The average consumer will rarely make a purchase on their first visit to a site and will often leave the site prior to completing the conversion or ‘checking out’. The reasons vary, from doing additional product research and price comparison to waiting for a sale or special offer. A majority of Returning Visitors will complete a conversion and make a purchase because they have not only familiarized themselves with your site, but with your brand, product offerings, or simply because you offer the best customer service.
Looking at the negative in a positive light isn’t just a way to keep the fire from turning into an inferno; it’s a way to discover how some of these metrics inadvertently affect each other. It also helps you identify what is working and not working in your marketing strategy. Lastly, it will allow you to make reasonable adjustments or changes to your site that will produce more positive results.
You are your reputation.
Search engines are a great tool, but they add to the vulnerability when the wrong information gets exposed online. It doesn’t matter whether the misinformation is from neglect, a disgruntled former employee or a jilted lover, the damage can be real and sometimes, devastating, both socially and to one’s career. People finding the bad data don’t stop to ask questions, they just make an assumption and move on. That can deprive you of opportunities, or expose you to punishing consequences.
Keywords and Citations are the language used by search engines to define who you are (Citations) and what’s important to you and about you (Keywords). No one can tell search engines like Google what to do. All we can do is make suggestions, so talking the search engines’ language can be a strong advantage.
Citations are just that – references to a bit of data, plain and simple. Just as your English professor used them to check on the accuracy of your term paper’s quotations, so Google uses them to establish the credibility of bits of data, such as name, address and phone number. Google looks for exact match data, and applies trust to the data based on how many times it is accurate (and where it is listed).
Citations may arise as a tool in a hostile competitive or disinformation campaign. Bad data can be misleading, thieves may use false citations to steal business leads, or simply to confuse readers. Incorrect data can hamper local search results. Unwanted disclosure of some data, such as credit card numbers, or unlisted phone numbers, represents a vulnerability that it is best to defend against.
What Can You Do?
Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) is a free ‘clipping’ service that can send you E-mail alerts when particular keywords that you select are found on the web and newly arise in their search index. Your Business Keywords may be:
- your personal name,
- a unique brand-name,
- company name,
- product name,
- leader, officer, spokesperson,
- or even a competitor.
A carefully-chosen bunch of keywords (when limited by ‘negative keywords’) can feed a warning system for personal and business purposes. As new mentions of your keywords are crawled by Google on the worldwide web, you can click through to them and find out if the mentions are positive, negative or neutral. Each type of sentiment expressed requires its own strategy to profit from any interaction. Some times it is even better not to react at all. The key is knowing the difference, and for that it pays to gain knowledge from a Reputation Management expert.
An even-handier tool for personal use may be Me On the Web, https://www.google.com/dashboard/ (part of the Google Dashboard). It offers email alerts when your personal information (name, company name, home address, email address, phone number, etc.) is posted on the Web. It automatically includes things such as one’s E-mail address. Even better, it includes guides to “Manage Your Online Identity”.
To use it requires one’s Google services log-in. Clients and prospects must be cautious when providing this to their Online Reputation specialist, potentially making this a strictly personal tool. Information that’s confidential, embarrassing, or just plain wrong should be addressed by taking the time to click the “How to remove unwanted content” link to request the removal of a page from Google’s search results. That way, one can reduce the risk of exposure of unwanted material.
An Online Reputation professional who is made aware of the undesired presence of personal information or incorrect listings in Google has strong tools at their disposal. They may apply effort to ProActively or ReActively alter listings in Directories or Business Indices in order to correct the data. They may add more and better Citations. They have experience in how best to respond to Comments and Remarks, whether complimentary or complaining. They may even advise on contacting Google or other methods to improve the situation. Results are tracked and reported on a regular basis. That way, the successful improvement of your Citations, Keywords and thus your Reputation will be clear.
And what of Social Media? Mentions on Social Networks can be utterly scathing, yet Twitter and other social sites’ messages are not indexed by Google. How will you know what is being said about you? WhosTalkin.com is a search tool focused on social media sites. SocialMention.com is another, very fully-featured tool. If people are talking about you or your company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the 60 other social sites that these sites monitor, this service will help you keep tabs on those discussions. How to respond then is up to you. Time is of the essence… most complainers resist any effort to change their attitude after about 24 hours have elapsed.
Any good, ethical Reputation Management specialist can talk knowledgeably about your situation. Don’t hesitate to contact WebiMax with any concerns you may have. After all, it’s our reputation on the line, too!