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Evolving Interactive News

Rethinking Link Earning

Earning links to help your website rise in the search engine rankings now involves different strategies than it did in previous years. Transparent link building plans have fallen out of fashion as Google’s backlink guidelines have evolved and become more defined. Rather than simply buying or exchanging links, companies need to create content that organically encourage other sites with good Page Rank to link to their webpage. While brazen SEO link building tactics are no longer helpful, there are still plenty of good ideas to consider for an effective optimization plan.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas  from a recently updated Backlinko post to help build links to your website.


Audio Sharing Sites

These sites readily accept audio files, whether it’s music or a spoken word piece. Create a great piece of audio content and the benefit is twofold:

  1. You’ll get a follow link to your webpage on the audio sharing site.
  2. You can get listeners to enjoy and share your piece, which may inspire further people to link to your website.

There are a lot of free audio sharing sites, so you can use this idea even if you have a limited SEO budget.

Scoop It

Scoop It allows users to personally curate web content onto their own Scoop It page.

You can suggest content for someone to post by using the “Suggest” feature. If they like your content, they’ll post it and you’ll be linked in the post.

You may need to sign up for a paid Scoop It account to employ this technique.

Website Feedback Sites

Website feedback sites (like Concept Feedbackor Criticue) are another way to get a link. Submit your website to be critiqued and it yields a follow link.

Many of these sites involve a fee as you are given valuable feedback on your website by their staff.

Blog Aggregators

Submit your site to be included on a blog aggregator like Technorati or Alltop and if it’s approved you’ll have a follow link to your site.

News Sites

You might be able to get a great link from an authority news site by working with HARO. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) connects reporters with relevant sources, and if you’re able to provide useful information to a reporter, you and your website could be linked in an article.

There are both free and paid options when signing up to be a HARO source.

Sponsorship / Charitable Contribution

If you have a little more money for your SEO campaign, consider earning a link through a sponsorship or charitable contribution.

Do you sponsor a local business, team or organization? They probably list their sponsors and contributors online, perhaps with a dedicated page that includes a helpful link.

 

These methods of earning backlinks from high ranking authority pages are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more ways to earn links if you get creative and try new ideas. Beyond that, you can also consult an SEO agency such as Evolving Interactive for more help strengthening your site’s signals.

Bigger Isn’t Better (Necessarily)

In a culture that seems to think bigger is better, it’s easy to get discouraged by big, well-known brands. It’s easy to assume that the big brand’s website will do better in the search rankings because its famous name drives a lot of web traffic. However, this assumption ignores a lot of SEO factors that level the playing field and give smaller local companies the ability to compete with the big guys and bring more customers to their website.

Google Webmaster Matt Cutts recently addressed concerns faced by small sites existing in the shadows of big national sites. He disagrees with the idea that big websites necessarily perform better simply because they’re bigger. He states: “It’s not the case that the smaller site with superior content can’t outdo the larger sites. That’s how the smaller sites often become the larger sites.”

As the saying goes, content is king. Big sites don’t simply start as successful, high-profile sites. They start small, but provide a service and/or content that customers want. As their customer base grows and their brand influence spreads, their site becomes a bigger contender on the web. Even a juggernaut like Facebook started small, and then climbed to its peak by being a dynamic site that evolved with its customers/users wants.

While Facebook’s user base likely differs from your customer base, the idea is the same. By continuing to provide something of value to your customers, your site ranking will improve. Smaller sites are probably more agile than big sites and may be better able to efficiently develop to meet customer demand. Cutts suggests, “Whatever area you’re in, if you’re doing it better than the other incumbents, then over time you can expect to perform better…”

It can certainly be an uphill battle when competing with a major company, the web is something of a level playing field. What matters is the quality of the site’s content. Cutts argues that small sites can “… do a better job of focusing on the user experience, they return something that adds more value.” If you deliver something more valuable to customers – such as better content or user experience – than the big sites do, then more and more customers will eventually come to your site.

Cutts closes by saying, “Don’t stop trying to produce superior content.” In the end, no matter the size of the company, the quality of the content is what will bring more customers to your site. Focus on a unique quality you provide to customers, and provide it to them in the best way possible. If you do this, your site should perform better. Of course, this is easier said than done. If you need assistance improving your site and boosting its rankings, SEO agencies can help.

Blogging Beyond the Basics: What Makes Your Company Great?

Do you think your company doesn’t have enough to say to merit having a blog? That means you’re probably overlooking what makes your company unique. You should know the things that set you apart from competitors, and you should blog about them.

Let’s consider a hypothetical plumbing company. Conventional thinking may suggest that there isn’t much for a local plumber to regularly blog about. You, as the owner of this imaginary plumbing company, assume that after building a website highlighting your services, there’s nothing more to say. After all, how much can you write about snaking a shower drain or fixing a leaky kitchen faucet? It’s true, there might not be a need to regularly write about the services you offer, but you can share more about who you are as a company.

If you’re a local business serving customers in your immediate area, you should use your website to highlight what makes you a strong part of your community. Do you support a local charity? Or sponsor a little league team? If so, write about it! By sharing this information with customers, you give them a better sense of your company beyond the nuts and bolts of your basic services.

When a customer searches for a plumber, they’ll know what they need. They need someone who can fix a broken toilet, and it’s safe to assume that every plumber in their area is capable of handling this task. When they find ten local plumbers, how do they go about choosing which one to call?

They’d probably first consider price, but you’re hopefully already competitive in that regard. Next, they might look at customer reviews. You should ideally be set for this as well, displaying numerous positive reviews from previous customers. So assuming you’ve covered the basic minimum customer expectations of competitive prices and trusted quality, you’ll want something extra to set you apart from all of the other local plumbers who also meet those basic expectations. A great way to do that is to reveal your company’s personality beyond the basics.

Every blog post you write is an opportunity to show customers what makes your company great. Don’t overlook such any opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. Think about what makes your company more than the basic services you provide. Once you know what that is, share it with your customers.

Is Guest Blogging Dead?

There’s a lot of talk lately about guest blogging being a thing of the past. Rand Fishkin advised folks to make sure their guest blogging efforts were legitimate in a recent Whiteboard Friday. He warned of the slippery slope that can take guest blogging from building your network to spamming. Google’s SEO guru Matt Cutts went even further, saying “…stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

Are these two correct that there is cause for concern? Absolutely. There is no shortage of examples of spammy link-building arrangements under the guise of guest blogging. Many websites out there charge you a fee to feature your guest blog post. Depending on the site, these posts can cost hundreds of dollars. Sometimes there isn’t a monetary price, but there is a required reciprocal link. This you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours strategy values page rank over the customer. If you’re really committed to improving your SERP ranking, you’ll want to stick with the old adage “content is king.” The main thing that can help your SEO strategy is to create and provide valuable content to users. Your content’s value is shown by how many people read it. So if your company has valuable blog posts that people want to read, you’ll be serving your company well. A great blog post will find readers. And there’s no reason your great blog post can’t be featured on another site.

Fishkin and Cutts both remark that there are high-quality, legitimate guest blog posts. It’s great to share useful information with an appropriate, interested audience. But guest blogging for the sake of getting links is no longer a good idea. Google will soon target black hat SEO link-building strategies like writing empty guest posts for spammy websites. Before long, links from such sites will begin hurting your rankings. Likewise, hosting valueless guest blog posts can also hurt you. When it comes to links, focus on quality not quantity.

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.

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