Does Blogging Help Your Company’s SEO?

Whether you’ve already got a business blog in place or you’re debating getting one started, you’ve probably asked yourself if you’re making the right decisions. The truth is that while a well-run blog is an invaluable asset to your company, a stagnant or improperly managed blog might be holding you back. As in every aspect of your business, you want to make sure you’re getting the most return out of the effort you’re putting into your blog. One of the most vital ways to do that is by examining its impact on your website’s SEO.

How Often Should You Blog?

Experts agree that when it comes to making the most of your business blog, posting more frequently is a good decision. The goal is to create a resource that offers your customers regular updates, so they have a reason to keep coming back. However, as with any resource, it’s important to be mindful of the quality and diversity of your content. The best way to build readership is by providing a variety of substantive, interesting content. Don’t fall into the trap of blogging about insignificant or irrelevant topics just to fill a spot on the calendar.

Blogging less frequently will provide you with a slower growth rate in readership, but that might be the right fit for your company. Consider how much time and energy you want to devote to your blog. A few blogs a month might be a better choice for you than blogging every day, even though the latter is likely to grow your readership at a much faster rate. Specifically research shows that the impact of blog posts tends to grow most successfully when you post four or more blogs per month, with website traffic increasing exponentially the more often you post after that. Whatever you decide, remember to prioritize consistent posting and quality content, and your blog should thrive.

How Does Blogging Help Your SEO Ranking?

SEO is all about showing search engines that your site is the best answer to the questions your customers ask. But how does a blog help with that?

  • Frequent updates. If you’re managing your blog correctly, it should be the part of your website that gets new content most often. That does more than keep your customers coming back – although their repeat visits are a crucial component to strengthening your SEO. It also alerts search engines to the fact that your website is a going concern. Google analytics show that frequent updates directly correspond to higher SEO rankings.
  • As previously mentioned, broad readership and repeat visits to your blog increase your overall SEO. That’s because search engines analyze things like how many times a post of yours is shared as part of the algorithm to determine your SEO. Getting your words in front of an audience is tremendously valuable to you.
  • Keyword use. While blogs are often built around a keyword or phrase, good blogs incorporate these terms in a way that sounds like natural speech. This is a good strategy, because that tends to be the way people phrase their internet searches as well. If your blog contains a phrase that matches a search term someone uses, that’s a huge boost to your SEO.

Think about the ways in which potential customers might be searching for you online. What questions do they have? Your blog should be arranged as an answer to a question. Try to keep a natural voice when you write, and let your content flow.

What Makes Great Blog Content?

Your blog is not the place to advertise. Potential customers won’t return to your site to read a series of ads about the services you provide. Instead, you want to put together meaningful content that they can benefit from. A great blog serves as an informative and relevant resource.

Do your research. The last thing you want to do is give your customers information that’s out of date or just plain wrong. Make sure you have the facts straight, and cite sources (providing links is a great boost for your SEO!) Make sure, as well, that the topics you choose to write about are newsworthy. You don’t want to produce a blog that just tells people something they already know.

Your next order of business is to create a voice and tone for your company. Think about who your customers are and how you want to speak to them. You would address a crowd of millennials differently than you would baby boomers, and the way you write should reflect that. No matter who you’re writing for, keep it functional but friendly. Create a relatable tone that people will want to read, but make sure you’re still imparting great information.

Be mindful of the fact that many internet users don’t sit and read entire articles online—they skim. In fact, over half of your blog’s visitors will probably scroll through without stopping to read what you’ve written word for word. That’s okay! Make the most of scanners’ short attention spans by using descriptive headings and bulleted lists to catch the eye.

Get Started Blogging Today

Having a blog that’s regularly updated will be a boon to your business! If you need help getting started or are looking for top-notch writers who can provide you with content while you focus on other aspects of your business, contact Firestarter SEO today.


Topic Modeling 101 for SEO

Over the years, Google’s approach to ranking websites has changed dramatically. In the beginning, it was as simple as stuffing as many keywords as you possibly could in the meta tag. These keywords didn’t have to have a single bit of relevance to your website, and you could rank number one for nearly any search query with relative ease.

As Google’s algorithms got smarter, the meta tag lost its weight in ranking, and less emphasis is placed on keyword density. Now, it’s all about crafting content that is valuable to readers, written naturally for them. While the keyword still plays a role in ranking, it is much less important than it has been in the past.

While we don’t really know, and never will, exactly how Google ranks content – because their algorithms are hidden under lock and key with plenty of legal protection to keep them safe – we, as an industry, have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t, through trial and error, and listening to what Google tells us directly impact rankings. (When Google says something about changes you need to make to your website to keep or improve your rankings – you listen.)

In today’s rapidly evolving SEO industry, how can you be sure you’re creating content your viewers will love to read, but that will also keep the search engines happy? The answer lies in Topic Modeling.

What is Topic Modeling?

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI, has been part of the Google ranking factors since the Hummingbird update in 2013. If you’re not already familiar with the term, it involves not just the words that make up your content, but the context of those words. And, it looks at the user’s search intent, and that relationship to specific keywords. Put simply, LSI helps search engines find related keywords and process synonyms to deliver more accurate results. It uses TF*IDF, or term frequency times inverse document frequency, to determine how important a specific word or phrase is to a document.

Though we’re five years out from the update that shook rankings and many websites have recovered, topic modeling can be considered an extension, or a type of LSI. It’s incredibly important to how your website ranks in Google (and other search engines) today, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

Basically – you can’t frame your content around a single keyword phrase anymore. You need to start with the core phrase, and use other sources to create topic clusters, also known as keyword clusters, to flesh out a piece of content. And, those topic clusters will change depending on user intent.

User Intent

Research shows searcher intent can be broken into two segments. Users are looking for specific information related to the keywords they’ve used, or they’re looking for general information about the topic.

You can split intentions based on how specific the searcher is, and how exhaustive the searcher is. Queries can generally be broken down based on:

  • Navigational – trying to get to a certain website
  • Informational – trying to get some kind of information
  • Transactional – trying to buy something, or perform another specific online activity

Keeping user intent in mind with what your website goals are will help you choose the right keywords to target in the first place.

How to Create Topic Clusters for SEO

Start with your core keyword phrase. Search in Google. For instance, this article, could have the core keyword phrase: topic modeling for SEO.

Look at Google’s related searches at the bottom of the results page. This gives you an idea of other keyword phrases to include in your content.

On certain searches, you’ll also find a People Also Ask section.

You can use this to determine whether you should include more information on the page, or if you should answer other questions on additional pages of content. Hint – for an idea about which way to go, check and see what the highly ranked competition is doing. If they’ve answered all the questions on the same page, do it that way – but answer them better. Add more information and value. If they’ve not answered the questions on the page, answer them, and be thorough. Google, and your readers, will thank you.

These of course are not the only tools you can use to help build your topic clusters and models. You can start with a keyword research tool like ubersuggest to give you an idea of the search volume of your core keyword phrase and other similar phrases with lower competition. However, you must go beyond basic keyword research tools and related keywords. Tools like market news and article insights are good because they take the main keyword you’re targeting and provide you with groups of words you should aim to include.

Let’s say your main keyword is “what to sell online”. Ubersuggest gives you phrases like:

Best goods to sell online

Best ecommerce products to sell

Apps to sell stuff

And so on.

These are related phrases you can work into your content, but you still need to dig a little deeper.

Running the main phrase “what to sell online” through Article Insights will give you topic buckets of words and phrases that should naturally occur in your content if you want to rank well for that keyword.

It will also show you what the competition looks like, so you can be sure you’re doing better than the content they provide. You can paste your content into Article Insights to see how well your content matches up to the recommendations, and how it stacks up against the competition.

To make sure you’re really going in depth, you can also run related keywords from your research in Article Insights.

Credit: MarketMuse Overview

MarketMuse is a similar tool that helps you see how you can rank for all searches related to your business – not just the keywords. By focusing on this approach, you can cover topics, and not just the keywords.

Examples of Topic Modeling and How They Affect SEO

Take for example, actress turned singer, Selena Gomez. When you search for her using just her name, Google doesn’t know which context you’re trying to find information on, and presents news stories, her official website, Instagram, and YouTube.

But when you alter the search to provide more context, by adding acting to the end of the phrase, you get entirely different search results, including her IMDb listing, an article discussing her return to acting, and a series of YouTube videos to show her first auditions for the Disney Channel. Though the box on the right show some information about her both, you’ll see the information there changes, too – including the photos, movies and TV shows she’s credited in, and more.

 

Because Google wants to improve the quality of results for their users, the context of a search has the power to change everything about it. Topic modeling allows you to hit on more than the core keyword, but a number of contextual clues, too.

How to Leverage Topic Modeling for Your SEO

Creating New content around topic models is the easy part because all you have to do is your keyword research and build your model then right. It’s optimizing old content with topic modeling that can be somewhat daunting. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea, don’t worry. Simply start with an audit of your content and work methodically.

Build an inventory of all the pages on your website in a spreadsheet, if you don’t already have one. Include each page URL on its own row.  Along with the URL, include the user intent, focus topic, and any notes about the quality of the piece. This will help you determine which pages you need to focus on first,  and which ones can wait until later. Even if you’ve built your website around quality content, you can improve upon that quality by taking a deeper dive into the topic to create a more comprehensive piece. Take notes about where it ranks, and what the competition’s content looks like, so you have an idea of adjustments you can make in an effort to improve your rank.

Next, look at your on-page SEO factors, such as your headline, subheaders, and so on. Does the headline grab reader attention? Are keywords present where they need to be? What’s your linking structure like? Do you have outbound links to reliable sources? Are your related pages interlinked?

Check to make sure your content answers your readers’ questions – and does so well. If your content responds directly to a query, search engines will favor it – and it will increase your odds of landing in the Google Answers Box.

If you’re ready to learn more about how our Denver SEO agency can help your business grow with our topic modeling approach to SEO content, get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation.


A Customer-First Approach to SEO Keywords

keywordWe’ve been talking a lot about search engine optimization packages. Hopefully, you’re beginning to understand the major benefits of a sound strategy and implementation.

Today, I want to talk about SEO keywords.

Keyword research comes very early on in any SEO services package. At this point, we’re looking for a list of keywords that your customers type into the search engine. We’ll use research criteria based on your niche, target market, competition and keyword search volume.

Many professionals get hung up at this part in the process. After all, it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in all the heaps of data. But at the end of the day, we always keep one thing in mind:

The customer comes first.

You can’t overlook the customer when it comes to SEO. They’re the whole reason you’re investing in this service. It’s very important to look for a service provider that takes this customer-first approach to keywords. It’s the only way for true success.

Here are a few questions we’re always asking while doing keyword research.

Who are your customers?

You’ve got to know the target customer before you can truly serve them. Things like keyword research only succeed when it’s founded on a deep understanding for the customer’s challenges, pains and desires.

If you don’t have things like buyer personas, invest in them. They’ll help guide you on the search for the perfect keywords.

What are they looking for?

Now that you know the prospect, put yourself in their shoes. You know their pains and challenges. Take it a step further by brainstorming what kind of questions they’ll ask when looking for the product or service you offer.

Finding keywords that offer solutions will bring more qualified leads. Traffic is great, but qualified traffic is profitable.

Where are they coming from?

Keywords aren’t confined to the initial on-site SEO optimization. You’ll use them throughout your monthly SEO strategy in a variety of ways, including:

Knowing where they come from will help you prepare to monitor these keywords in a variety of ways.

Why are they searching?

Searcher intent is a very powerful thing in SEO. It’s one thing to rank for a vague keyword like red shoes. But if you could rank for red shoe store in Colorado, you’ve got searcher intent. There’s a reason behind their searching. And that’s a powerful thing to know.

It shows you how to tailor the message and content on your site. If you can speak to their initial intent, you have a greater probability of conversion.

Do you understand your customer on this kind of level? Could you benefit from a deeper SEO strategy? If so, contact us today! We’d love to discuss how we can turn your website into a revenue machine.


Five Ways To Find Topics For Your Blog

The concept of a blog is a relatively new phenomenon. Teenagers first kicked the trend off in the early 2000s, posting their feelings on an online platform for their friends to comment on and relate to. In essence, it was an online journal where you could either choose to be anonymous or not.

Wind the clock forward a few years, however, and you’ll find that blogging is a crucial component of getting your website, and therefore your business, ranking well on search engines. By using strategically placed keywords and hyperlinks, you are more likely to reach page one of the search results than if you didn’t have a blog. Getting to that first page is what every business should aim for because 92 percent of people using a search engine don’t go past page one.

We now know why blogs are relevant, but there’s another reason: freshness. If your content is outdated and hasn’t been updated for some time, Google is less likely to bring your webpage into the spotlight. It wants to offer searchers the latest and greatest, and if your website hasn’t been updated in a year, yours won’t be the site your potential customers see.

However, that can be a hard concept for businesses to get their head around. What more can they add? What if their products, services, and staff haven’t changed? How do you keep it updated? That’s where blogs come in. By including relevant content based on what people are looking for, you’re keeping your webpage fresh and inviting for potential customers. The hardest part, however, is finding out what to post.

Aside from hiring an SEO expert to take care of the entire process – of which would save you so much time and money – you can also easily find blog posts yourself if you know where to look. Here are five ways to find topics for your blog below.

  1. Listen to your customers

    In any line of business, you’re sure to find that your customers and potential customers are getting in touch to ask questions before they decide to buy your products or services. Take note of those questions. Are they frequently asked? Why do you think they are asking them? Would it save both you and those customers time to include content covering those frequently asked questions?

    If you include blog posts that are relevant to your line of work and can help your customers, all the better. You can then optimize this content with the help of SEO experts to include hyperlinks and commonly searched keywords.

  2. Take note of what your competition is doing

    It never hurts to keep a watchful eye on your direct competition – someone who is selling the same products as you or is providing the same services. What does their website look like? Does it have a blog? What are they putting on it? Don’t copy what they are doing, but use their techniques as inspiration for your own blog posts. If it looks like it’s working for them, then use that same concept to create unique blog topics that can work for you as well.

  3. Join a social media group

    There are over 150 million blogs in existence, which goes to show that there must be something worth writing about. If you’re struggling for ideas, join a bloggers group on Facebook or another social media platform. Many people love to share their thoughts, and you may find you have a long list of potential ideas just from taking notice of what people are saying.

  4. Read current news

    Whether you still get the newspaper, or you prefer to read news online, pay more attention to what is being said than you currently do. Current news can more than be helpful for coming up with blog topic ideas. For example, if you run a motorcycle sales website – selling ATVs and road bikes – and there is a story about an ATV accident in your local paper, pay attention. Your next blog post could be “Here’s how you can stay safe on your ATV.” Every national news headline can be a potential lead for your next post.

  5. Subscribe to other blogs

    Coming up with blog topics on your own can be tough, so why not subscribe to other blogs for inspiration? They don’t even have to be in your own industry or line of work, but what they write may just resonate with you, enabling you to turn that topic idea around into something that’s relevant to you and your business.


Blogging used to be an outlet for teenagers to vent, but in the last few years, it has become a vital part of search engine optimization. If you’re ready to see your business rank higher than ever before, consult an SEO expert. They will walk you through the entire process.


4 Benefits of SEO Content

In this day and age, SEO content is crucial, and it’s no longer enough to just exist and hope customers will see you. In fact, a storefront can only get you so far, especially if you’re not a well-established franchise or big brand. And, if you don’t have a storefront and you purely exist online, it’s also not enough to just have a website and hope customers will visit. There are 644 million active websites, so unless you do something about your online presence, you may not be found as quickly as you thought.

Having your finger on the pulse of how the online world works is vital. You need to hire an experienced web designer and developer who’s proficient in SEO optimization, and you need to ensure you have SEO content that’s continually updated and recognized by search engines such as Google. By becoming knowledgeable about SEO content, and SEO optimization, you may just notice a significant increase in website traffic that translates to sales and repeat business. Here are some of the many benefits of SEO content below.

1. It helps your web page to rank higher

When you are continually adding fresh SEO content to your web page, Google falls in love. The more updated a website is, with daily or weekly content, the more likely it is you are going to get repeat traffic, and a higher Google ranking. Google analytics suggest that old websites that haven’t seen a touch of editing in many months will slowly work their way down the list.

The goal of SEO content is to continually move you forward until you feature on the first page. After all, who actually clicks to page two of Google? If you’re not on page one, you’re almost invisible to your customer base. In fact, page 1 results on Google receive 92 percent of all traffic from an average search, and traffic drops off by a dramatic 95 percent for page 2.

2. It provides a platform to educate your customers

The part of your website that houses SEO content is normally called a blog or a journal. It’s the place where you actively try to use keywords that will bring more traffic, but the material also has to be relevant to your website, business, products, and services. Therefore, such a place gives you a platform on which to educate your customers on what you do, who you are, the benefits of your products and services, and more. It goes above and beyond what is available in your website tabs that generally consists of the products, services, about, and contact.

3. It encourages your customers to stay longer

The more SEO content your website has, the longer potential customers can be encouraged to stay on your site. For example, let’s say you own a motorcycle store, and you’ve heavily promoted the keywords “Suzuki GSXR600 in Denver” throughout.

Once your customer arrives at your website, intending to check out the Suzuki GSXR600s you have in stock in Denver, they will also notice that you can provide them with the pros and cons of that product, the maintenance they require, and general information surrounding that bike.

They may read that content, learn more about you as a business, and ultimately decide that bike is for them. This can translate to a sale, all because you chose to write a bit more about your products and services.

4. It’s affordable

SEO content is an affordable form of advertising and marketing for your business. Not only is it affordable in that you can see a significant improvement in your site traffic for minimal money, but that you can track results. In traditional forms of advertising such as magazine and newspaper adverts, it’s impossible to find out who has seen your ad, and whether it translated into a sale. The publication’s sales representative can give you approximate readership statistics and subscription rates, but they can’t tell you who has seen your ad, and who acted on it. It can become costly.

With SEO content and SEO optimization in general, you can find out what’s working and what isn’t and can alter your advertising and marketing budget and plan to suit. Most SEO optimization providers will provide you with up-to-date reports that show your keyword traffic, rankings, link building analysis, on-page analysis, and crawl diagnostics all built into the price of the service.

SEO content and SEO optimization are changing the way we do business, and the results can be substantial. Consider utilizing the services of an SEO expert and significantly improve your online presence.


The Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Title Tag

In the search engine optimization world, rankings are everything. Everyone wants to be number one. They want to be on top. Well, it turns out the elements used by SEO experts to optimize websites are also ranked. When it comes time to rank a website, Google and other search engines leverage certain SEO elements more than others. So what element takes the number one spot? Title tags. Sure enough, title tags are the single most important on-page SEO element.

So read closely my friends, as you are about to learn the anatomy of a perfectly optimized title.

Length of Title Tag

  • Be sure the length of your title tag is 70 characters or less. Any longer than 70 characters and your title will be cut off in all Google results. This leaves your potential customers hanging high and dry, with incomplete information. Also, remember that spaces and punctuation count as characters, too. A comma utilizes 2 characters, while dashes and line breaks use 3 characters.
  • If you need a quick and easy way to check your title length, copy it into excel and use the formula =len(x). This will count the characters for you. Quick, easy and extremely valuable.

Organization of the Title Tag

  • The title should consist of three distinct phases, which need to be organized in a particular way.
  • The first section is where you need to put your keyword. This is the word you are trying to optimize your site for. It should always come first. No questions.
  • The second section should contain a unique or descriptive phrase that helps build upon the first section. This might be a secondary keyword or just a phrase you feel your audience needs to see in order to better understand the page content.
  • The final section of the title needs to be your brand name. This is key. This portion of the title gives your website more legitimacy and builds your brand.

Keyword Usage Within the Title

Seeing as the title is the most important on-page SEO element, you definitely want to use your keyword within it. However, there is such a thing as overusing and abusing your keyword. We refer to this as keyword stuffing. So how do you effectively use your keyword without overusing it?

  • Never repeat your keyword in a title more than twice. When you do decide to repeat it, do not do it sequentially, one right after the other. This looks spammy. Instead, put the word once at the beginning of the first section and once at the end of the second section.
  • Use the keyword in a truly informative and descriptive way. Don’t just throw it into the title because you need to use it. Take the time to really create a meaningful title. It will pay off.

So there you have it, the anatomy of a perfectly optimized title. If you take the time to follow these steps, you are bound to have success in title writing. It is not hard to do, but it does take some time and effort. So go ahead, put these steps to the test. You won’t be sorry!

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What is SEO? (Part 1)

This might just be the million-dollar question…unfortunately, it can’t be answered in one post. The answers to SEO take years and years to figure out and are found in thousands of books. Our goal is to put together a series of posts to help you better understand how SEO works and why it is important. So if you are looking for answers read on and check back for the next post for more information.

Users turn Online

Now, whether your business is just getting started, or you’re in need of some improvements and looking for your business to grow, your website will play a key role. Today’s consumers are turning to the Internet to research products and services and to purchase items rather than shopping in person. The convenience of shopping online makes it more necessary than ever before for businesses to have a high impact website and Internet marketing strategy to stand above their competitors. If you want to be found easier online and help your organization find success, an understanding of Internet marketing strategies is a must.

Search Engine Optimization

Internet marketing is centered around one thing, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is a system by which search engines are able to find and index content on a site. By using this system, websites are able to rank themselves higher on search engine results, which will put them ahead of their competitors when customers are in search of products or services. Based on the SEO strategies used by a business, it’s possible to be ranked at the top of results for search terms related to the products and services offered by the company. When building a business or fine-tuning a marketing strategy, SEO professionals will put various techniques to work in order to achieve the best online rankings.

Understanding How Search Engines Work

Your understanding of SEO will rely on your ability to grasp the ways in which search engines work. SEO professionals use various tools and methods to make your site “search engine friendly”. This will make it so search engines can easily find content on your site, index it, and rank your site higher in the query results. Because search engines are so text-driven, the content of your site will be the biggest influence on how search engines respond to your website. SEO companies will recommend making use of several strategies for best results and as they are all important, keyword usage is perhaps the most powerful optimization tool of them all. The secret is how to use all the strategies together to find the best formula to be found.

Having an understanding of search engines and SEO as a whole will come into play when you work with an SEO company. Your understanding of the process will assist in your ability to work with the company for the best possible rankings for your company. The right SEO professional will be able to create a customized method based on your businesses objectives, which will be much easier to communicate with you with a better understanding of optimization tools and strategies.

Check back next time for a more in-depth look and understanding of “Keywords”.


Happy Valentines Day SEO, I Love You!

It’s that time of year again, love is in the air and millions of keywords are being searched for that perfect Valentines Day gift. I don’t know about you, but that excites me.

Now, I know it might sound cliché, but I am so lucky to have found a career that I truly love. I love it for some of the same characteristics and steps that it takes to find your true love in life.

Do you remember when you first realized you had a crush on that special someone? You would go around and ask everyone what they knew about her? What she likes, who she hangs out with, what makes her happy, you know, doing your research. Well in SEO I get to do that every day.

Research In SEO

Research in SEO is so important as well as so rewarding. Doing your research will allow you to be one step ahead of search engines and be able to adapt faster when thrown a curve ball. Just like your crush, being prepared paid off when asking them out for the first time.

Now as time goes on and your little crush begins to mean more to you, the hard work you put in the beginning becomes to seem easier and you want to spend more time and attention on them. This is so true in every aspect of SEO.

SEO Is A Process of Accumulation

The more time a business uses SEO their rankings (love) will grow. And, as that love grows it becomes important to never become complacent and just settle with that ranking. It has been said that a love that is not growing is only dying. Your SEO ranking is the same if you don’t give it the attention it desires you’ll lose it to someone who will. Adding fresh content, backlinks and social media is important all the time and helps strengthen the relationship with search engines.

SEO is challenging, nobody said it would be easy…just like everyone told you that there was no way your crush would say yes. However, how much more rewarding was it when she did say yes? It might have been easier to ask out someone less attractive or not as interesting as your crush, but you would have just been settling, and you can never just settle with SEO.

When it comes to love I’m in it for the long haul. I was never the type for a one-night stand, and SEO is the same. SEO is an ongoing, never-ending process. As soon as SEO stops your competitors will see you as weak and steal your rankings.

True love can be hard to find, but when you do find it you’ll never let go…SEO, I love you!


Quick Rules For SEO

WHAT IS SEO?

SEO is the process of increasing a site’s visibility in the search engines like Google Yahoo and Bing. SEO is broken up into two parts on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

ON-SITE SEO

On-site SEO is editing, improving, and adjusting the HTML and content on a website. Optimizing a website increases its ability to be found, indexed and ranked for specific searches in search engines such as Google.  In general on-site SEO can also enhance the user experience by making it easier for them to understand where specific content is and what pages are about.

The simplistic view of on-site SEO consists of two types of activities:  Optimizing content and removing errors, removing errors could be considered optimizing content. I see these activities as separate because optimizing content generally involves the creation of new content. Removing errors comprises of fixing missing pages, server errors, and maintenance activities.

Simple things to look for when Fixing Errors

  1. Fixing any missing pages created by deleting old pages, client errors or server errors
  2. Fix duplicate content errors, the most common duplicate content errors are duplicate titles and descriptions
  3. Fix any missing titles or descriptions.

Rules of Optimizing Titles

  1. Titles should target one-two keywords
  2. Titles should always be unique for each page and never duplicate
  3. A title should be under 70 Characters

Rules for Optimizing Descriptions

  1. Descriptions should be unique for each page and never duplicate
  2. Descriptions should be around 155 characters
  3. Descriptions should contain keywords, don’t repeat a keyword more the twice

Rules for Optimizing Content

  1. Use appropriate HTML for the content
  2. Use Heading tags, Paragraph, and other tags
  3. Use keywords in the text on the page.
  4. Use closely rated terms like the road: biking, cycling
  5. Create New and Fresh content, Blogs, news, etc…

OFF-SITE SEO

The second element of SEO is Off-Site SEO. Link building is the primary off-site activity; every link pointing to a site is essentially a vote for that site. However, not every vote is created equal; some links carry more value than others. Sites that have more popularity and more authority provide more weight if providing a link.

Rules for Building Backlinks

  1. Links should be from high-quality sites
  2. Links should be from relevant sites
  3. Links should contain targeted keywords, this is called anchor text
    <a href=”http://sitename.com”>Keywords</a>
  4. Links should come from a variety of different sites
  5. Links should look natural

These quick rules are not the “tell all secret” to SEO. However, if you are looking for a basic start and looking to get the greatest bang for your buck when performing your SEO, follow these quick SEO rules and you can begin to see an impact.


10 Reasons Small Businesses Need to Blog

Yes, 10 reasons your small business NEEDS to blog, with the emphasis on the word needs.

Now I’m not talking about your everyday “mommy blog,” as that is the impression most people get when hearing the word blog. The word blog should actually be used in your business vocabulary more than you think. Blogging is a very versatile tool, and can serve a bigger purpose in areas of your business that you already spend lots of time, energy and money in.

For those that already blog, I hope you’ll agree with these 10 reasons. For those who do not, my goal is for you to start up a blog for your small business within hours of reading this.

1. SEO

Blogging, when done correctly, can rank you higher on Google and other search engines. The secret is to use your businesses keywords strategically and consistently throughout posts. Not only does a blog give your business another platform to be found on, but also if done regularly, provides current and fresh content.

2. Social Media content

Most, if not all, businesses have adopted social media into their business plan. The issue that most of these businesses are facing is finding valuable content to share. In fact, most of these businesses are posting and sharing content from other businesses blogs driving traffic and clients away from themselves. Why not use content that drives those potential clients to your website?

3. Credibility

Every business out there believes they are worthy of the business they bring in. Blogs give you an opportunity to quickly establish yourself as an industry expert in their field. But be careful, this is a double-edged sword…if not careful you can lose credibility just as fast.

4. Visibility

Blogs can be a great source to remind consumers you are out there. So many small businesses are not visible online. The use of certain plugins can automatically attach a link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account to remind your followers that you are still there.

5. Public Relations

Press releases are and will always be very important when communicating with the media and your targeted audience. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t attract the media very often. Blogs give you the opportunity to release information as well as receive feedback.

6. Customer Service

As stated above, blogs can give instant feedback on issues or services your business offers. If monitored correctly, businesses can address conflicts and concerns just as fast as they hear about them. At the same time use positive feedback to understand what your consumers like, and use that feedback to build stronger relationships.

7. Marketing

A blog can be your best friend when trying to establish your brand image. You control the content and voice of your business when you blog. Your blog will brand your business whether you are trying to or not. Just for fun check out the blogs of a few businesses and see if the first impression they give off matches the audience they are trying to reach.

8. “Free Sample”

You know what I, and 99% of people love about Costco and Sams Club…free samples! There is nothing that sells frozen egg rolls better than sampling one while it is hot, fresh and free. Your goods and services are no different than that little frozen egg roll. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research a business before they buy or invest in what they offer. What better way can you think of to showcase your knowledge and strengths than a blog that you control? Remember, no one ever buys nasty samples.

9. Education

I’ve already hit on the idea of educating your audience, but blogging is an educational tool for yourself. As you start to blog you are going to want to stand out in your field or areas of expertise. By putting your thoughts and ideas into words your knowledge will grow. This is not a new concept and will expand your mind as you research new ideas to blog about for your audience.

10. History 101

If we have learned one thing in the last few years, it would have to be that our economy can flip like a switch. One week business can be great and the very next week dead. Blogs are a great way to record and study your own business. Looking back how you adapted to a certain issue could help avoid certain bumps down the road. You can leave posts up on your blog longer than a lifetime if you choose. Who knows, just as we look back at history to solve problems today, others will be doing down the road…your blog might just be the answer to solve their issues.