SMM Live by VisionFriendly.com SEO, PPC, and Social Media Marketing Tips from VisionFriendly.com

26Jul/12Off

How to Use a Blog Effectively

Having a blog is like having your own news column. The subject matter should be relatively close to your products or services. The most popular blogs are ones that offer something of benefit. As in a tutorial, a comparison of products, a detailed review, and an open invitation to take part in the conversation. A call to action from the reader to close the article.

You can talk about the pros and cons of a service or product. I highly recommend making "Top 10, 20, etc." lists, people love those and they are easy to do. Making the list first gives you the outline for what you should expand on to make the post grow from just a list to an article.

You can also use the blog as a news outlet as well. If you have an announcement for your audience, your staff, or your clients that a decent amount of information needing to be conveyed. A blog is a quick and easy way to get that information out to a lot of people with little cost to you or your company.

The greatest difference in a blog from a newspaper is you can site your references and have it as a link. Why Use Blog Lists?

When you are closing the article, reiterate your title, tie everything together. "How to use a blog effectively". Then invite the readers to give feedback to help make this article into a conversation.

What is your favorite type of blog article to write? Example: Reviews, Comparisons, Top Lists, Worst Lists, Informative, Current Events, etc. And WHY do you like writing those.

16Feb/12Off

10 Tips for Off Site Optimization

Off Site Optimization or OSO as we call it is becoming (if it hasn't already become) the absolute best way to get your website great rankings after optimizing it. Sure the On-Site Optimization stuff is all in place, your keyword density is awesome and you have the most straight forward meta data ever. Good for you. Have a cookie.

Off-Site Optimization VisualHow much work have you accomplished in the grand scheme of a thorough SEO campaign?... Eh 28%.

The rest is in Off Site Optimization. The inbound links that you should be building exponentially as long as the site is online is what will not only build up your rankings but keep them there too.

So how do you start with this amazingly difficult task of link building? (Just kidding, its not hard, just takes time and experience, you will get better the more you do it)

1. Concentrate on Clusters, pick a word or phrase that you want to build up your rankings for while you build links to your website. I clearly do SEO so I always use phrases surrounding the SEO industry. "Links", "SEO", "Optimization", "On Site", "Off Site", etc.

2. Change Up the Wording, avoid using the same phrase on every single anchor text link you build from other websites. Search engines get wise to it and say "Boo! Not creative!". So change up the accent words in the phrase. If "SEO" is my phrase I use "SEO Guy", "SEO Expert", "SEO Guru" (I actually hate this one but I take what I can get, I am not a snob), "Optimization Help", etc.

3. Blogs are OK for Link Building, leaving comments on blogs is not an outlawed traitorous move if you want to really branch out and get a bunch of links organically. I do it all the time when the affiliate link pool is shallow. rel=nofollow links don't help things either I believe the quantity of links that come to your site help just as much as where they are coming from matters.

4. Check Where You are Linking From, if you are going to go on a directory or even a blog and get a quick backlink, look at the Page Rank and the amount of back links they have. If you are 3 Page Ranks or more above a site, and you have more back links than them, don't bother staying. It's not worth one link from a lame site. Think of it like an anchor, you are flying high and you get links from PR2 sites. You will see your PR7 drop to PR6 or PR5 if you don't cut it out.

5. Keep Records, a MS word document or Excel sheet with all the places you request links from is the easiest way. I keep a list so I can follow up and see if the links are completed. If its a popular blog that has regular posts, go back and maintain your presence on there. After a while, blogs archive and your link is buried. Keep one on the most recent articles.

Link Building Visual6. Don't be a Spammer, writing general emails with directions of what you want your link to look like on someone else's site and a link back to your fake "affiliate" section is a big No-No! Even worse is sending huge spam blasts of the email to a list of people who don't know you. I will report every email's website for spamming when I get those. I have even seen the request to trade links emails where they ask me to link to site A, and they will place my link on site Z with 500 other links on the page. Ummm No.

7. SEO People are not Superman, as much as I wish I was like the big blue and red boy scout, I am not. Search engines account for how many links you are getting and in what span of time. If you use an automated software to comment on blogs or request links or whatever in the 100's to 1000's a day or even a week, search engines will catch you and demote your links to very little value if not to no value. Organic, by hand, and legit links never get demoted. That is a gamble I am not willing to take with my clients' businesses. If their rankings disappear so does their sales. No thank you.

8. Be a Socialite, bookmarking websites is a great way to reach out and intermix your website with the big boys. That's what they are there for, search engines promote the interaction of sites and even website graders not check to see if you have a blog, a twitter account, a digg profile, and even a Facebook page. Sign up for the social media profiles everyone else is on. Its easy and you are probably already on their so make it help your website.

9. Become Shakespearean, writing articles and submitting them to e-zine websites can create much needed buzz about your company. Obviously it takes a bit of a dedicated person to write an article but if its to help your company, why not, you already know the subject, now elaborate the highlights while sprinkling in some humor. If your company is more affordable than the corporate super-power you compete with, tell people about it. If you are a niche company doing new things, people want to hear about it. Not just see a link to a random website.

10. Share the Load, I have been doing SEO for years and now Off Site Optimization has nearly taken over my life. I have trained our sales team, our employees and even our customers to post links about us when they are online "LMAO"-ing. If you have a staff, ask them for help. Tell everyone to seek out one link per day. If just one person does it as well as you. After just 1 week, your link building efforst have increased 500%. So just ask.

So that's the 10, I didn't say they are "Guaranteed for Better Off Site Optimization", I said they were tips. Now that I read this, its more like 10 thoughts on Off Site Optimization with some SEO chattering, ranting and experience. I hope it helps. Cheers!

29Jun/11Off

New SEO Do’s and Don’ts

SEOA good search engine optimization is thorough and unique.  A bad search engine optimization is lazy, uniform and template.

Go through each item below and make sure your website falls in the "Do" column, not the "Don't".

Item

Actions to Follow and NOT Follow

URL Do's Use Unique Page Relevant File names
Don'ts Use bland file names...ie. about.htm
Page Titles Do's 65 Characters, Different Page Title on every page
Don'ts Use the same title on every page
Meta Description Do's 155 Characters, Keyword Rich, page specific
Don'ts Forget to insert it or use the same on every page
Meta Summary Do's 155 Characters, Keyword Rich, page specific
Don'ts Not insert it or use the same one on every page
Meta Keywords Do's 3 to 5 keyword phrases (optional)
Don'ts Overfill the meta keywords with words not on the page
Keyword Density Do's 5% to 10% of your content should be 1 phrase per page
Don'ts Use below 5% or over 10%, its not enough or keyword stuffing
Anchor Text Links Do's Use Products and Services in Anchor Text Links
Don'ts Use the name of your company that no on knows
Heading Tags Do's Use Keywords in 1- H1, 1- H2, 1- H3 Per Page
Don'ts Use "H" 1, 2, 3 all over a single page
Keywords in Content Do's Keyword rich content in the beginning, middle and end.
Don'ts Insert keyword rich content in lower paragraphs or content
Image Alt Tags Do's Every Image on a page should have an Alt Tag
Don'ts Leave images without Alt Tags
Image Title Tags Do's If an image is also a button, add a Title Tag
Don'ts Leave buttons without Title Tags
Search Engine Submissions Do's Manually Submit to search engines
Don'ts Use an automated software to submit to search engines
Search Engine Reporting Do's Only run a report twice a month at most
Don'ts Run the same report constantly, you will get blocked on SE's.
Outgoing Links Do's Limit outgoing links on a single page to a few
Don'ts Use only one page for all outgoing links, Link Farm!!
Meta Tag geo.position Do's Use the GPS coords for your business
Don'ts Use the companies street address
Meta Tag geo.region Do's Use country code and state ie. "US-IL"
Don'ts Use full words ie. "United States - Illinois"
Meta Tag geo.place Do's Use city location and nearest metropolis ie. "Yorkville, Chicago"
Don'ts Use just the city of your business
Meta Tag Rating Do's Use appropriate rating for content on your site
Don'ts Use a general rating so more visitors can get through
Meta Tag Country Do's Use the country your business resides
Don'ts Use the country your business deals with
Meta Tag Expires Do's Use the term "Never"
Don'ts Use a date and forget to change it,
SE's will ignore expired sites
Meta Tag Robots Do's Use if you are not writing a robots.txt file
Don'ts Use if you have a robots.txt file
Hidden Text Do's Get it off your site
Don'ts Insert it to get your keyword density up, very black hat

Do these simple steps and watch out for the Don'ts and you will have yourself a much better performing search engine optimization.

Tagged as: , 11 Comments
5Mar/11Off

SEO – Content is King!

When creating your website, have SEO in mind. Create useful keyword content not filler to make your site look full. The saying "content is king" is true. The actual content on your site has everything to do with your search rankings. Quantity and quality is what you need in order to keep up in the rankings.

If you are doing a site about "Search Engine Optimization", Google that phrase and look at the very first organic listing. How many times does the exact phrase "Search Engine Optimization" appear on the page.

The body text is obvious but the navigation, the footer links, the call to action links, there are so many places you can plant awesome keyword phrases that get overlooked so often. The nav and the footer links are self explanatory, but the call to actions are tricky.

Do NOT use a text link that says "Click Here", one its ominous and no one trusts those, tell the user what they are clicking, "Search Engine Optimization Info". That way you are clear to your users and your click through rates will climb and you just added another instance of your keyword in a link.

The moral of the story here kids is read your content, does it actually say anything.

Here is an exercise for you: Talking out loud, to yourself, what does your company do? Explain it just like you would if you were talking to a client. Your website should almost transcribe what you said out loud. Websites are interactive business cards, I am not going to call you if I don't know what you do or how you can help me.

The more often you update your content, the more the search engines will spider your site and walk through your content to see what it contains.

Content is King Ladies and Gentlemen, don't lose sight of that or no one will see you on the search engines!

8Oct/10Off

What to Look for From an SEO Company

Search Engine Optimization Services Should Include:

Initial SEO Analysis
An evaluation of your website's vitality in the eyes of a search engine for your industry, products, services and overall content. The purpose of an SEO analysis is to establish a plan to modify the code of the site and the visible content to reach its peak potential or add more to improve it.

Keyword Phrase Selection
The keyword phrases chosen for your site are the focus of your SEO campaign. By evaluating the content, the services and the products your company offers, keyword phrases can easily be established and then elaborated on to improve your website's search engine presence. Analyzing your competitors' sites and researching product trends will also help establish a focus for the rest of the optimization.

Site Optimization
Once the complete keyword phrase selection has been made, the SEO company can start with the on-site optimization. The SEO company will run an initial report to document the progress of the optimization before the SEO and after periodically. After they run the initial report they can add all the essentials: Meta Data, Heading Tags, image tags and titles, footer text links and more to help the search engines see as much of your site's content as possible.

Site Submission
After the on-site optimization changes are completed, the SEO company will proceed to submit your site to the major search engines manually. This is essential for good rankings because Google, Yahoo and Bing do not look kindly on automated submissions by software programs, no matter how easy it is to use.

Reporting
Use a tried and true ranking report software to "grade" your optimization on a month-to-month basis, because more frequently than a month, or so, will irritate search engines. This reports however give you valuable, "hard data" to improve your rankings with ease. As well as give you a definitive Return-On-Investment (ROI) for your SEO as you watch your website climb the rankings month after month.

Content Advisement
SEO changes can be made to your website "as is" and ideally your website could be off to the races for excellent search engine rankings. This scenario is rare and unlikely unfortunately. The company can make recommendations based on your SEO campaign's goals and improve your keyword phrase density within your website's content to improve your search engine rankings to their true potential.

Off Site Optimization (OSO)
Off Site Optimization or OSO is building inbound links from other websites to yours. Any self respecting SEO firm will recommend this. The absolute #1 thing to do after you do an On Site Optimization is to immediately start your Off Site Optimization. This "link building" can be a lot of things... Blog Commenting, Social Media Pages, Business Directories, Website Directories, and so on. The best tip I can give and its a pretty big one. Ask "Do you use an automated software to build the links". If they don't deny it and insist that they do them all by hand, the next question should be, "how many do I get?". The most important thing is they are done by hand and you don't get too many too fast. A search engine can spot it and will demote the value of not one but all your links potentially, leaving your website in very poor standing.

If  they answer with something ridiculous like 500 or 1000 per month. They are lying. On average, finding a potential link and filling out stuff takes 10 to 15 minutes each. Multiplied by 500 and you have over 83 hours work. Two work weeks. And OSO should be ongoing. Get the point. A good build number for a monthly OSO campaign is 15, 30, even 50. At a price tag between $300 and $1250 depending on how many you get.

For more information on SEO or Web Design visit us at VisionFriendly.com.

3Jun/10Off

Understanding SEO and Meta Tags Part 2

In addition to the Meta Data, images need to be optimized.  When doing a search engine optimization, be mindful of how the site was built.  Web Designers use slices from Photoshop and create a puzzle of sorts that makes up the pages of the website.  All the slices go together to form the entire page and having a bunch of smaller pieces make up a large image allows for faster load times.

Its your job as the Search Engine Optimization Specialist to optimize these images for search engines to see.  As it stands, search engines essentially do not see images.  You can go as far as changing the file name of the image but if you are not going to name every image on your site, don't bother starting.  Its all or nothing.   The alternative is just that, Alt Tags, which stands for Alternate Text Attributes.  Alt Tags give images content for search engines to crawl.

Title Tag

When you are surfing the net and you are on a page and you mouse over something and a white box pops up with text describing the image or link.  That is either an Alt Tag or a Title Tag.

For some reason or another, different browsers do different things with Alt Tags and Title Tags.  Firefox will only display Title Tags.  Internet Explorer will display both.  Go figure.    I recommend for best practice to use both just to cover your bases.

After you have entered your Meta Data and optimized all of your images, you should start adding title tags to text links.  This is the same principle as with images except text links are seen by search engines.  Adding title tags gives you a slight addition to your SEO and helps the user surfing your web site clarity on what they are about to click on.

22Jul/09Off

Addding Your Link to Press Releases – Part 3 of 4

If you are a new start-up business, re-structured your organization or are getting ready to launch a new product, a press release will be one of the many actions you will take.

Check out the different options for press release distribution services online.  Many have complete package deals with tight budgets in mind.

Be sure to use good phrasing and keyword placement. Get the most out of these press releases, they can be a powerful traffic building technique.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Where will your release be distributed?
  • What formats will be used for your release?
  • Choose your category wisely
  • Drill down to the best geographical area for your business
  • Make sure you have good quality content for your release

Generating a press release that is professionally written and well formatted and distributed in the right circles wwill create a buzz around your products or services.

6Jul/09Off

Organization and Directory Link Building – Part 2 of 4

Using directories can be beneficial if you have the right niche. Some industries have directories just for that industry. Being in a small group of specialized companies can drive great qualified traffic to your site.

If you are a member of a professional organization or association, check to see is they have an online directory. Some of these organizations charge a fee, usually nominal. Also check their Google Page Rank. This can play a part in gaining authority.

If you only service a local area, check into local directories. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau may provide links if you are a member. Create a Google Local Business Listing included in Google Maps.

Using bigger online directories can also gain qualified traffic to your website. Directories link Yahoo charge a yearly fee to be included. Online directories like DMOZ are free and are human reviewed, which can slow down the inclusion process.