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Search Engine Optimisation

Google Penguin Hit My Site. What am I Supposed to Do?

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April 24th, 2012. This day will be remembered in the history of SEO as the day Google rolled out an algorithmic adjustment which was intended to end with web spam. The penguin update as it is known, have had a deep impact in the SERPs (Search Engine Page Results) and the way Google treats some websites depending of the search query. If you want to optimize your content to be Penguin friendly, I suggest you to read 3 Ways To Rank Your Blog Posts Quickly.

Before going on, I would like to point out a crucial factor. Panda update was designed to evaluate user experience and usability of a website, which is directly related to on page optimization, while Penguin update is related to anchor text over-optimization and evaluation of the quality of back links (offsite optimization). However, according to my investigation, there might be an over-optimization penalty related to on page factors (keyword stuffing, meta description spamming, heading tags spamming, etc.)

The penguin hit my site. Why?

Well, nobody knows the exact answer, but what we know is that certain websites are more likely to be penalized by Google’s quality team. These are some common factors that might have triggered a penalty on a website (the order is not relevant):

  1. Too many anchored backlinks.
  2. Not enough anchor text variations.
  3. Too many backlinks coming from a single source (Build My Rank, Authority Link Network, external blog networks, etc.)
  4. Inconsistent link velocity.
  5. Backlinks coming from websites totally unrelated to your niche. Links present in highly spun and barely readable content might raise a red flag.

Content is king

If you care about your websites then you should already know that content is king. It’s important that you produce quality, unique and engaging content to help visitors to find what they’re looking for. There’s a general misconception about this topic. Not every article have to be 1000+ words long.

Just match what the users are looking for with appropriate content. If you offer useful information, the visitors will have a good user experience, regardless of the length of your article. Nowadays people is too busy to read an insightful blog post, and they just want easy to understand information, precise and concise. If you don’t know how to generate this kind of content, try different alternatives, for example, outsource your content writing.

Learning by example

As a blogger, I’ve noticed that SERPs are showing a lot of “quick answer” styled pages in the top 10. I was doing keyword research when I found that this site was ranking #1 for a moderate competitive keyword.

The answer is 32 words long. You don’t need to write an essay to rank well, just keep users and not search engines on mind and produce useful content.

Post-penguin recovery

If your site has been hit by the penguin, there’s a lot you can do to try to reverse the penalty. If your site has some authority and the content is top notch, this will be a lot easier. This is a list of things you should do to try to recover your rankings and get the penalty lifted.

  1. If you have spam links pointed to your site, try to get rid of them. It will be an enormous task, but it’s well worth.
  2. Use a backlinks analysis tool to study your anchor text distribution. Try to avoid unnatural amount of anchored links.
  3. Get quality links. Either by producing a resource (infographics, online tools, reports), or guest posting. A quality link has a lot of value and will help a lot to your site.
  4. Analyze your analytics. Match the search queries with your content. Pay attention to metrics like bounce rate and average time on site to determine wether your content is being useful for your visitors.
  5. Study your competition. Find out what kind of content they’re producing, and try to mimic what they’re doing. Never copy/paste other’s content. That’s a terrible behavior.
  6. If you want to go further, analyze your competitors’ backlinks and try to identify what kind of sites are helping them more. There are a lot of tools available on the market (Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, SEMrush just to name a few)

This post was written by Alan Medina, who is a tech blogger, WordPress and SEO enthusiast who writes about tech news, Windows tips and Web apps at BitsEverywhere.com, a multi-author website.

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Search Engine Optimisation

Need to Know SEO Tips and Tricks Every Blogger Should Follow

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential if you want to compete with other sites within your niche. There’s a lot of hype surrounding SEO, but what are some of the parts that you need to know when you’re beginning?

While most people think ‘creating content’ is how you rank in the search results, it’s actually much more. One needs to realize that there are over a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, all of which are creating content daily or weekly. At the same time, Google only has ten organic search rankings for each term. Sadly, if you aren’t ranking on the first page of Google, you might as well not rank at all.

The trick to ranking new and fresh content in google comes down to the following:

  • Creating really great content that has at least 1,200 to 2,000 words
  • Sharing your content across all social platforms
  • Linking to authority resources and including visuals
  • Focusing on your backlinks and article promotion

Once you start implementing each of these methods, then you will really start to see some movement in the search results.

We’ll give you some “need to know SEO” that will set you straight on your path to web optimization. Take notes, get started, and watch the traffic roll in.

Need to Know SEO for Beginners

Every site’s SEO platform is bound to be a little different, but there are some qualities that remain the same throughout. Every site needs an SEO platform. That’s why there is SEO for franchises, small businesses, and everything in between.

Here are our top SEO tricks and tips.

1. Understand Search Engines

Everything in search engine optimization, even the name, revolves around search engines. All engines are run on an algorithm that determines the relevance of your site in relation to a user’s keywords in a search.

Say that you typed “golden cheeseburger fingers” into Google for some reason. Google would then search through its archives and find the sites that seem most relevant to those keywords, based on a number of factors.

Oddly enough, if you do perform this search, you end up with a bunch of fast food chains and burger recipes!

2. Design a Clean Site

One thing that will help you rank is something called site architecture. This is essentially the flow of your site and the arrangement that it holds. The general rule is to keep your arrangement as clean as possible and avoid complicated designs and page layouts.

To better understand this process and how to properly lay out your own site content, be sure to check out the visual below.

The easier it is for a person to find every single page on your site, the better your site architecture will look to search engines.

3. Keep Up With Keywords

One of Google’s main factors is the presence of relevant keywords. You should be producing regular content (we’ll talk about that next) that is optimized with keywords that are popular at the moment.

While you may think you have a knack for guessing the right keywords, no person can anticipate exactly what phrases are trending at the moment. There is a great deal of research done to identify how popular specific phrases are, and you can have access to that research for a nominal fee.

It would be wise to buy keyword research access and use it to dictate how you optimize your posts. If you don’t have the budget for advanced SEO an keyword research tools, start by see what ‘recommended keywords’ Google provides you with at the bottom of the search results. These are usually long-tail and much easier to rank for.

4. Keep a Regular Blog

People argue about how much is too much when it comes to posting blogs on your site, but two per week is a conservative estimate that will certainly do you some good.

The content you post should be based on the keywords that you find through your research. If your demographic is searching “hot pocket warriors” and “how to swim” you should post content about those topics, optimizing those articles with those keywords.

You should also promote ideas and products that are related to your site. If you sell basketballs, for example, definitely write a few articles about basketballs! It’s important that you post regularly because keyword trends change and Google ranks your pages based on how recent and fresh they are.

Need Help Producing Content?

The topics above are the general points in your “need to know SEO.”

There are difficult parts, though. It’s not always easy to write a blog. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re writing a good one, and it’s easy to draw blanks on what to say next.

If you’re looking for tips and tricks on how to write a great blog, we’ve got the information you need.

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Search Engine Optimisation

Four Essential DIY SEO Tips for Landscaping Contractors

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Given that the average small business is set to spend around $75,000 on digital marketing this year, it can be hard to budget for extras. That budget could get depleted quickly, leaving you to handle some do it yourself SEO.

However, when you take SEO into your own hands, you not only have more control but you can learn more about how business is conducted online.

Here are four ways you can improve SEO for your landscaping company.

1. A Better Domain Age

If you want people to go to your landscaping website, you need to look great on search engines, probably one of the easiest things to fix is your domain’s age. If your domain is set to expire in a few weeks, search engines could see you as less serious.

While search engines heavily factor in your past and current state, they also consider where you’ll be in the future.

Check out your domain expiration date either at the company where you hold your domain or at whois.com. If it’s set to expire this year, renew it for two years.

When you buy a new domain, buy your domain for several years. This says to search engines that find you that you’re serious about your business and plan to stick around for a while.

When you have a strong and steady domain age that you can maintain for years, you’ll win respect and climb up the rankings. By buying for years in the future, don’t expect to jump from number 300 in your results to number 1. However, it will still factor into your search engine profile.

2. Use Local Keywords

When people search for businesses and services online, search engines often assume that they’re looking for a product closest to them. If you don’t believe it, go ahead and test this algorithm out. It’s easy.

Type in “pizza” and start your search. You won’t be directed toward the history of pizza or a website called pizza.com. Search engines will try to figure out where you want pizza from that’s nearest to where you’re searching from.

The way that search engines can find your landscaping company is if there are local keywords all throughout your website. You’re probably aware of the importance of using keywords on your website, but you might not realize that it’s more than just littering your page with terms. You need to add some specificity.

You need to define your most important target region for service and buckle down. Your terms should talk about what city you’re in, which neighborhood, which ones you want to serve, and what’s nearby. If you’re near a major highway or a massive landmark, let your potential customers know via your keywords.

To maximize your ROI and make sure you aren’t losing visitors who come to your site and quickly leave, every site owner and brand should be investing time and money into their remarketing efforts. This will bring high-quality traffic back to your site at a fraction of the cost of acquiring a completely new visitor.

When they’re in that area searching for businesses like yours, you’ll come up high in the results.

3. Better Title Tags

When search engines are looking through the information on your site to decide whether or not you’re a good match for a search, they see more than you do. There is metadata that can be cleverly hidden or scattered throughout your site that can reveal things about your site. Your site itself has a title tag that should be around 50 characters long.

With these tags, you can tell search engines what they’re looking at, what type of content you offer, and where you’re located. If you’re based in Beverly Hills and specialize in exotic flowers, a title tag like “Beverly Hills exotic flower tropical garden landscaping” is an ideal choice.

Title tags can be added to images that you have as well as every page. If you have a photo of a lovely bird of paradise, don’t just leave the photo on its own. Add a title tag that says “bird of paradise Beverly Hills landscaping” so that search engines can send you more visitors.

Use the meta descriptions that are placed at the top of every HTML page as well. In these descriptions, which should be around 150 characters, write short descriptions about your pages. Search engines will display this information below your URL to let visitors know what they’re about to click on and whether it’s relevant.

Do your research so that you know more about websites than your competitors.

4. Take Advantage of Directories

Since very few cities are bothering to deliver you a printed book of the yellow pages anymore, it’s important that you take the digital replacement seriously. Online business directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and Yahoo! Even better, is if you take the time to get extremely niche focused with you directly, like what is being done at CBD Hemp Finder and Canada Bridal Directory. The more niche you can get, the better you audience targeting, and also the easier it will be to rank your site. Local are the next best thing for local business owners. They offer more information via maps, photos, open hours, and even customer reviews.

When most users look for products and services in their area, they’ll get results that point them to these directories. If you’re not taking advantage of them, claiming your listings, and verifying all the information on them as true, drop everything and take care of that now.

If someone has a problem with Franklin Landscaping and you run Franklin and Sons Landscape design, there’s a possibility your information could get mixed up. Someone could have entered information about your company under Franklin Landscaping or vice versa. This might seem trivial, but not when you start considering that the other Franklin could be getting bad reviews.

If you don’t clear things up, someone getting bad service from Franklin could take your ratings down. To prepare for this and to build strength for your own business, ask your best customers to rate you on Yelp, Google, and Yahoo.

Do It Yourself SEO Is Easy

If you’re worried about the prospect of do it yourself SEO, you’ll find that it’s much easier than you thought. With a few quick google searches, you can find a few ways to fix up things on your site, hammer out the kinks, and prepare yourself for much more traffic.

If you’d never considered it before, you might be surprised at how you can increase your business by blogging. Check out our guide to find out more.

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Search Engine Optimisation

4 Keyword Research Mistakes that Will Permanently Haunt Your Blog

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Almost every blogger depends on organic search traffic from Google to drive steady traffic to their sites. They can’t depend on that without a solid SEO strategy, which requires thorough keyword research. Keyword research is the foundation of your SEO campaigns. Your blog will thrive or die based on how well you research keywords for your niche.

Unlike most other aspects of SEO (like link building and keyword usage), there aren’t many guides on keyword research. Many bloggers tend to wing it, which leads them to make a number of mistakes. Here are some common mistakes to look out for.

1 – Vetting Keywords Based on the Competitiveness Metric on the Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner has a column for the keyword’s competition score. Many bloggers make the mistake of thinking that this is a good indicator of the competition they will face with their SEO campaign. Unfortunately, it isn’t always accurate.

The competition score indicates the competition that AdWords advertisers will face. A keyword with little competition in the AdWords network may be very difficult to rank for in organic search. You need to do a more thorough keyword research to know.

2 – Focusing Mostly on a Small Set of Generic, High Volume Keywords

Every blogger obviously wants to have a lot of traffic to their site. They often try to accomplish this by targeting a small number of very high traffic keywords. This doesn’t work well for a couple of reasons:

  • They are missing out on hundreds or even thousands of lower volume keywords that would drive at least as much traffic. Around 50% of all search queries are at least four words long, so you are limiting yourself by not targeting them.
  • Very generic keywords tend to be more difficult to rank for, since hundreds of blogs in your niche is going to be targeting them. You will find that focusing on smaller volume keywords will usually be the path of least resistance.
  • You will have much higher conversion rates by targeting the right buyer focused long-tail keywords.

The only downside with adding a larger list of smaller volume keywords to your arsenal is that you are going to need to dedicate more time to keyword research. Don’t let that dissuade you. You are going to save yourself countless hours of frustration in the future by choosing keywords that you can rank for.

3 – Failing to Consider the Implications Keywords Will Have on Your Content Marketing Strategy

You will choose keywords based on their competitiveness, relevance and volume. However, some keywords hit all of those points, but still will cause problems for you in the future. This is often the case when it comes to your content marketing strategy.

Some keywords are going to be more controversial, which makes it difficult to optimize for them off-site. The CEO of iNet Ventures, says that sometimes you need to choose some additional keywords that are going to be easier to build content that you can syndicate. One example is if you are building a blog about payday loans. Due to the controversial nature of payday loans,  you might want to build some other keywords around terms like “installment loans.”

4 – Neglecting to Target Buyer Focused Long-Tail Keywords

Highly focused long-tail keywords tend to convert better than broader keywords. The average conversion rate of a long-tail keyword is 36%, compared to only 11.45% of most organic search traffic. However, you need to look at them in full context to see whether they are likely to convert. Some long-tail keywords are very off-topic to your niche.

While looking at your keywords, you should assess the mindset of people that are using them in the search engines. Here are some examples of buyer-centric long-tail keywords that could convert well:

  • “{product type} bargain”
  • “best {product type}”
  • “{brand name} alternatives”
  • “buy {product type}”
  • “cheapest OR cheap {product type}”
  • “deals on {product type}”
  • “free {product type}” (This kind of keyword wouldn’t work well for selling right away, but might be good for attracting email subscribers with free ebooks or other lead magnets and they might be valuable followers later)
  • “product type for men OR women OR seniors”

There are a lot of keywords that target people that are eager to make a purchase. You just need to dig deep and find them.

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