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Archive for the ‘Search Engine’ Category

SEO Resolutions for the New Year

By now you’ve had the week to recover from ringing in the New Year. Regardless of how you felt about 2013, you’re probably eager to make 2014 your best year yet. Maybe you want to improve your physical health, or try new things, or be better at staying in touch with old friends. If you are running a business, there may be a goal you’ve overlooked in the past. This year, you should resolve to improve your presence on the web.

If you’ve got a business, you’ve got to make sure customers can find you online. Ranking well in search results is as important to your business as staying healthy and happy is to your life. If you’re not diligent in achieving your goal of having a good online presence, it’s easy to slip and slide down the SERPs. Therefore, we’ve put together this list of 4 simple resolutions you can commit to this year to help customers find your business on the internet.

It’s a New Year and a New Google

In 2013, Google updated it’s algorithm to make it easier for searchers to find what they are looking for through conversational search. This means Google is getting more queries in the form of phrases and questions than in the past, due in part to the use of mobile phones in search. I’m not saying your most valuable keywords have lost value, far from it.  The process of optimizing your site and web presence is in fact, more organic now than ever before. The context around keywords matter, and search engine bots are getting better at seeing through content without substance, link building for links sake, and more. Every time there is an update, another bunch of black hat tactics is laid to rest for good. So is the idea of tactics and strategies and plans. The goal in 2014? Have a better website. Have the type of website your customers want to see and engage with. Not sure where to start? Evolving Interactive offers a free consultation for your site, and we will let you know all of the ways you can improve in the rankings and grow your business presence online.

Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) Consistency

You need to make sure your NAP appears consistently everywhere it is listed on the web. When all of you listings match, you should see an increase in your search rankings, especially if you are a local business vying for real estate in the coveted “7-pack” on the first page of the search results. You’ll need to go to every website that lists your business and double-check that the NAP is correct. On almost every site for local businesses, there is a way to claim and manage your page, adding more information to enhance the listing.

Content Creation

Content is your most important concern going forward. This includes the basic information you provide to customers. Are you a restaurant? Include your menu on your website. Are you a plumber who provides 24-hour emergency services? Display that prominently on your homepage. Beyond the basics, you’ll also want to regularly generate content. Every time search engines index your site, they take note of how often your site is being updated with valuable information. Your positioning in the index will be impacted if you are adding great content to the site regularly.

Regular updates to your site looks good to search engines, but more importantly it is good for customers. If you are regularly providing new and valuable content, customers will become regular visitors to your page and would likely share any useful or interesting information with others. You can set a low, attainable goal for yourself to get in the habit of updating your site. Start with a goal of writing 1 new post a week. After a month, see if you can increase it to 2 posts a week, then 3, and so on.

Relationship Building

Notice I didn’t say “link building.” Trying to simply get links is not very helpful in the post-Penguin SEO world, but building good relationships within your industry will always be valuable. If you meet or exceed your content creation goal, you might end up with more blog posts than you necessarily need for your own page. This is a great problem to have, and you can try to get your post on another relevant site. This will allow you to communicate with even more customers to help your business grow.

Competitor Research

It’s good to know what your competitors are doing to reach customers. There might be some methods you’ve overlooked, or you could be inspired to try a whole new idea based on what you see working for others in your industry. Doing competitor research can be a little tricky, but there are tools out there to help you, and SEO specialists that can help you. Whatever you need to do to give your business a boost in this area can only benefit you in the next year.

These simple steps are crucial to helping your online rankings and will help place you in front of customers looking for your services. It’s possible that you don’t have the time or manpower to keep up on all of these concerns month-to-month. If that’s the case, there are agencies, such as Evolving Interactive, who are there to help you meet your SEO needs. If you’re a small- to medium-size business owner, it can’t hurt to contact us to learn more about improving your search engine rankings can help you succeed in 2014.

The Difference in SEO in 2014

You know what will be the biggest SEO trend in 2014?

Integrity.

At this point, it’s unavoidable. If you want your site to rank well, you’ll need integrity.

Recent changes to Google’s algorithm like Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird have put a premium on providing useful content to users in honest ways. You can no longer sneak a useless site to the top of the SERPs with keyword stuffing and link schemes. Gone are the days of black-hat SEO, and it’s about time.

Remember how obnoxious it was to see a site rank higher than yours because someone used black-hat techniques? Ever get annoyed when someone disparaged the SEO industry as a whole because of a few bad apples? Thanks to the recent algorithm changes, there are new restrictions to prevent shady tactics.

Some view the restrictions negatively. The many changes have made some of the easy (black-hat) techniques not only ineffectual but damaging to SERP rankings. But there’s a positive way to look at it. With shady tactics now proving harmful to search rankings, there is no reason to spend your time and energy employing them. And having that extra time and energy is good, because ranking higher in SERPs now requires more work and thoughtfulness than ever before.

As search engines get better at delivering what customers want, websites will have to get better at providing the valuable content that gets delivered. This means you can’t get away with keyword stuffing or link schemes to artificially boost your site’s rankings. Now that cheap tricks won’t help rankings, the true cream will rise to the top. And if you want to be at the top, you need to provide valuable content that customers want. It’s that simple.

There are no more tricks, and for that we should be grateful. With such frivolous distractions eliminated by Google’s updates, we can now focus on the hard work of providing quality content to our customers.

Having reflected on and reacted to the major industry updates of the past years, let’s look forward to 2014: when hard work and integrity will yield superior results.

Effective SEO: Creating A Successful Video PinBoard on Pinterest

Gears have shifted within the last year, and the name of the SEO game is content. What are all of the ways we can generate useful or interesting content for potential customers, followers, friends, etc. Today in our Effective SEO update, we talk about Pinterest. Specifically, we talk about the value of adding video to your Pinterest board and how creating a diverse and engaging board can lead to more interactions with the people following you.

Many people that use Pinterest don’t even know that they can pin videos to their boards and believe it or not videos can be one of the most effective way to get other Pinterest users to see and share your content. Most of the people that browse on Pinterest do so while doing other things. Social media users are generally considered passive users for that reason, and it takes a lot to keep their attention. Videos are an excellent way to do this. By creating video pinboards, you’re more likely to hold a user’s attention for more than just a minute or two. Once a user likes your content and spends more than a few minutes with it, they’ll be more likely to click through to your site or share your content with other like-minded individuals.

Pinning Videos to Existing Boards

If you’re already using Pinterest and have created boards that you add to on a regular basis, consider adding a video the next time you want to add content to a board. Videos can attract people that already have an interest in your content or a specific board to come back and look at your content again. In some cases, you may find that people who have already commented on your boards or shared them will do so again if you add video content.

Picking Video Content to Pin to Existing Boards

While the video content you add doesn’t have to be yours, it should of course be related to the board that you’re pinning it on however, the video content you add to an existing pinboard really doesn’t have to have a ton of value. That means that if you have a pinboard about “How to take care of Dachshund’s”, for example, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding a short YouTube video of dachshund puppies playing in the park or running after a ball. That video doesn’t really contribute anything to the quality of your content, but it doesn’t take away from your real quality information, either. In fact, pinning a video could get more people to check out the quality content on the rest of the board. After all, who doesn’t want to watch cute puppies playing in the park or chasing after a ball on a summer day? People that do watch your video may share your other content and check out your other boards as well.

Creating Pinboards Exclusively for Videos

Adding video to your existing pin boards isn’t the only option when it comes to putting video content on Pinterest. While that may be helpful for some Pinterest users, others may find that making a new pin board or two exclusively for certain types of videos will be best for them. For example, a pin board dedicated exclusively to funny viral videos may be a big hit, and on that particular board, there’s really no room for anything except video content. Pinboards created exclusively for video can hold a Pinterest user’s attention for a much longer period of time than a simple photo pin board – no matter how elaborate that photo pin board is. Users that are looking at videos are also much more engaged because they require them to look and listen.

When a user is watching one of your videos, they’re actively engaging with your content. When a user is just looking at a photo, they could be doing a hundred other things at the same time. In fact, many passive users of Pinterest probably watch television, listen to music or talk with friends or family members at the same time. Even if you create memorable content, a user that isn’t fully engaged is likely to forget about it as soon as they open up a new tab in the browser or turn their computer off.

Make Sure Your Video Content is Enticing

The video content you pin to your boards should have something about it, at least to your target audience, which makes it nearly irresistible. Cute puppies for pet lovers, beautifully decorated cakes for foodies – the content doesn’t matter as long as you know there are people out there that simply can’t resist clicking it. By creating content that’s immediately enticing to people you’ll get a lot more likes and repins.

Today’s guest post in Effective SEO comes to us from frequent contributor Marcela De Vivo. Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the L.A. area. She’s written hundreds of articles ranging on topics from optimizing SEO to designing safe spaces for children.

Interested in writing for the Evolving Interactive Guest Blog? Check out the details and contact us at the Guest Blog page.

Evolving Interactive Guest Blog Post: SEO and Social Media: Working Together, Working For You

Social media has become an important part of pretty much all businesses, including traditional brick and mortar businesses and online businesses. However, social media has become increasingly important for people that work in SEO, since social media is being used differently by many companies to find their target audience.

Individuals that work in SEO have also seen major changes that have likely affected the way that they work, giving them even more incentive to utilize social media as an outlet for creating and getting work.

Google Algorithm Updates

Google Panda and subsequent updates have had a major impact on people that work in SEO. Recent changes to Google Penguin and Panda have been put in place to penalize companies and individuals that produce fast, low-quality content just to fit in keywords that are popular in searches and on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Many major sites labeled as content mills – sites that employed writers to write on a variety of topics based on a particular keyword – were penalized the most. However, these algorithm updates also affected bloggers and people that make their living doing SEO work for private companies.

Local SEO

Local SEO has become more and more important since Google changed its algorithm, and it has become very popular with many businesses because it allows them to find only clients or customers in their area that fit their criteria. That means more focused marketing, which can result in more business at a reduced cost for many businesses. Many businesses use SEO writers to create local content for their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages to help them attract clients.

While writing for social media isn’t that much different than writing for a blog, understanding what works best on sites like Facebook and Twitter – which has a letter counter restriction – can help you do your best work.

Social Media Affects Ranking

After Google algorithm changes, social media rankings have become more and more important to businesses and writers that use SEO to drive traffic to their blog or website. This is because Google put more importance on organic links and mentions of a certain keyword or brand than on many other websites. The more people are talking about your product or business on social media sites like Google+ and Facebook, the higher your ranking will be. That’s why writing for social media sites has become so popular among SEO content producers.

Social media numbers should also be viewed in conjunction with more traditional page rankings and backlinks.

Apps Are Your Friend

Apps designed to help you create quality posts for social media sites like HootSuite also allow you to monitor how your post is doing and how many people are looking at and sharing your information.

HootSuite also allows you to publish your content across various networks in a safe, secure manner that is very user friendly for most SEO content creators.

Another app that’s popular among SEO content producers is BufferApp, which allows you to create posts in advance and share them on social media sites throughout the day. BufferApp also works with your email provider so that you can share updates through your e-mail system if you’re on the go. While there are certain restrictions with BufferApp about how many posts you can create in advance, most people won’t ever reach the limit, making it a very efficient tool.

Pingraphy works sort of like BufferApp, but it’s designed for both business and personal users of Pinterest. Pingraphy allows you to disperse your pins throughout the day so that you don’t bombard your followers all at once. Using Pingraphy also allows you to post during peak hours when you know your followers will be ready to look at the items that you’re posting.

If you’re doing SEO content work on social media sites, these useful apps can make it much easier to share what you want to share, when you want to share it. They can also help you to reach more of your target audience by allowing you to create more content. Using apps also means that you don’t have to sit at your desk all day updating Twitter and Facebook.

Today’s Guest Blog Post courtesy of Marcela De Vivo:

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area, specializing in articles about the best blog content, SEO, and moving blogs to WordPress.

 

Google Plus – How it Effects Your Search World

Last week, Google announced that its new Social Network platform, Google Plus, will now effect search results.  The buzz spread like wildfire across the SEO industry. How much of a game changer will this be? Will search engine optimization still matter if search results are now personalized instead of taking the most relevant and trustworthy sites and ranking them accordingly?

It’s no secret that Google’s main goal for the past year has been integrating their new budding social network with their search results. Anyone logged into their Google account with a Google Plus profile will see a different set of results than a searcher not logged in. Google Plus users will have the option of personal or worldwide results. There is an icon at the top right of the SERP that shows a silhouette of a person or a globe, and the Plus user can toggle between the two sets of results.

Clicking on the person icon, the top results for a search will be based on recommendations, or Plus 1’s, that you and the people in your circles have made, or info that others have shared with you. Results with reviews and pluses will have higher ranking then those without. By switching over to the globe, you will see the natural results without these social signals affecting them as directly.

Google has used social signals as a part of their algorithm for years, with personalized results getting a boost.  Twitter follows, Facebook likes and shares, and Yelp reviews have factored in to results; companies have used this buzz to crawl up the rankings. Facebook and Twitter have criticized this change, citing that Google will give preferential treatment to its own social signals, a claim Google has denied.

Other features to Google Plus, like the fact that users must opt-out of the personal search and not opt-in, have led to concerns among users and SEO’s. However, it is easy enough to switch the results back to the global, impersonalized results. There is even a way to permanently remove the personalized results in the search settings. Concerns about privacy are also prevalent, as anyone with access to private information can share it publicly. It is ultimately up to the user who they share info with, but the receiver can post it at their whim, so know your circles. As with anything on the internet, it’s a good rule of thumb that if you wouldn’t want your content on the web, don’t upload it to begin with.

As Google Plus fixes the issues and bugs that are inevitable as it gains in popularity, it will be important to make the most of its features. As the social signals for sites that have “Plus 1’s” will affect their rankings, it will be essential to have your customers, friends, and followers take the time to “Plus 1” your website. While there are already business profiles in Google Plus, expect them to take an even bigger role in the coming year. Add your business and website to the Google Plus universe, and interact with as many people as you can. While you will undoubtedly hear a fair amount of back and forth criticism as this new platform gains traction, the fact is this is a product of Google, the search engine that typically dwarfs all competition. Even if it is never as popular as Facebook or Twitter, it will have an impact on your rankings, so you’ll want to get on board.

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