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Posts Tagged ‘seo’

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.

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.

Siri Says What? Voice Search and SEO

Voice search is changing the way that people search on the internet, and thus changing the game for SEO. Before technologies like Siri and voice command, people would search by entering specific keywords or keyword phrases into a search engine. Now, because of voice search, there is a shift from queries focused on precise keywords to a more relaxed and conversational language.

For example, if you are searching for a hair salon via voice command you might say “Where can I find a good hair salon?” But if you were doing a typed search on Google you would probably search something like “Hair Salon Chicago.”

This shift from a keyword search to a more conversational search means that the way that search engines interpret queries will be changing in the near future.

What does this shift mean from an SEO standpoint? SEOs will now have to find ways to have their information delivered when a conversational voice search is used, while still optimizing for regular keyword searches as well. This shift isn’t a negative as so much a different way of searching. Voice queries are very user friendly and normally produce search results more quickly.

Another change that will result from more voice searches will be that users do not need webpages to get the information that they need. Sometimes when we ask Siri or our voice command a question, they respond right back to us without opening a webpage. SEOs will have to find ways to still send traffic to their website when a voice command query is given.

Marketers as well will now have to track their results not just from clicks on a website but how many times a certain keyword or result comes up from a voice command question.

Another change in SEO that will occur as a result in voice commands is the length of query searches.  When someone is speaking out loud what they wish to search they aren’t thinking about precise keywords. Rather they are using their thought process and saying what comes to mind. This is typically results in a lengthy query. Therefore, search engines are going to have to change their algorithms to accommodate for these extra words that usually appear in a more conversational query search.

Source: Search Engine Journal

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