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Search Engine Optimisation

You’re Not Talking to Yourself, Are You?

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Did you know that most bloggers are writing something that equates to a personal diary? Not intentionally of course. But that’s what happens when a blogger has no idea how the search engines (like Google) work. You would not believe how many people are out there blogging like crazy, writing fantastic content, but it’s literally buried in the gobs of content on the web and no one is reading it.

Some bloggers just want readership just for the sake of having people see their work. Others want to bring in lots of traffic so they can make money from product sales or advertising. But, no one’s buying anything if no one’s showing up in the first place.

A website or blog has the best chance of being found if it lands on page one of Google search results.

So how does one design a blog that will bring traffic to the site??

That Thing That You Don’t Want to Have to Understand: SEO

SEO Choices for BloggersSorry to have to bring up that up that scary, scary acronym. It’s really only scary because SEO articles usually mention things like “analytics,” “metatags,” “co-citation.” Not going to happen here. This one’s for you, blogger who doesn’t care to muddle through SEO jargon. Nevertheless, you must accept the reality that attracting an online audience requires SEO and SEO begins with keywords.

Who Do You Want to Talk To?

First narrow down your theme or niche as best you can so you can find keywords to target and then work those keywords into your content.

Your objective is to get people to find your blog when they search your targeted keywords. To that end, you must use search terms/search phrases (aka keywords) that people use when they’re surfing around the web

The Keyword Quest

Let’s say your blog niche is celebrity culture and you intend to make money by selling ad space on your celebrity news blog. You want people who are searching on relevant keywords like “Justin Bieber,” “Kardashians,” “Downton Abbey,” “American Idol,” “paparazzi photos,” “celebrity gossip” “Academy Award winners,” etc. to find your blog.

When people search on those keywords, you want your blog to appear on page one of Google search. That’s a great plan. Really great. But, not gonna happen. Run a Google search on any of those keywords (put the phrase in quotes as shown below) and you’ll see a huge number of search results.

Google Celebrity Gossip

See that number, 21,500,000? That’s your competition on that keyword! There are 21,500,000 websites competing on that keyword. You’re going to set your sights lower because you simply don’t have a shot at ranking on those enormously competitive keywords in your lifetime. (Well, you can but you’d need a professional for that job!)

The Quest Continues

Use the Google Keyword Tool and plug in a keyword on which you’d like to rank (it can be a highly competitive keyword). Under “match types,” click the “exact match” box.

Google Find Keywords Tool

The keyword tool will show you a list of related keywords and the number of local monthly searches and global monthly searches for each. Start making a list of possible keywords that have some monthly search volume–more than zero!

Google Keyword Tool Celeb Gossip

Now, take the keywords that look interesting to you, put them in quotes, and do a Google search to assess the competition. Ordinarily, you stand a decent chance of ranking on page one with a keyword that has less than 25,000 search results. Once you get more familiar with keyword research, you’ll figure out the right search competition number for your specific blog niche. It may be higher or lower than 25,000. Unfortunately, there’s no exact formula for keyword research.

But that Keyword has Only 20 Monthly Searches

The keywords or keyword phrases you’re going after get a relatively small number of searches. When you get ranked on page one for those small volume keywords, you’ll get some traffic. This is where your writing talent makes a difference. Your content has to be good. Your content has to make people want to read your blog and come back for more.

Slide that Keyword into Your Content

Here’s a little secret: the keywords don’t always drop in to your content naturally. That’s your next challenge–to write great content that makes your keywords work in your content without feeling terribly clunky and awkward.

Now that you understand how to incorporate “rankable” keywords into your content, you can move on to content marketing, link building, connecting on social media and all of the other things you can do to improve your blog’s search rankings. In other words, learn about SEO and stop talking to yourself.

Ellen Gipko is a content marketing specialist at HubShout, a US based white label SEO reseller, website reseller and web marketing firm with offices in Falls Church, VA (Washington, DC Metro) and Rochester, NY. HubShout’s full service web marketing program includes SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, website development, customer review service, lead and sales tracking and reporting services.

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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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10 Telltale Signs You Need to Fire Your SEO Specialist ASAP

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You probably already know that bringing SEO techniques into your marketing campaign can increase the chances of your business appearing on Google’s first page of search results. But do you know exactly how important this positioning is?

In one survey, 75% of consumers who used Google to find a business never bothered to look beyond the first set of listings.

For those reasons, business owners will often find an SEO agency to assist with their campaigns. But not all services have your best interest at heart.

In this guide, you will find 10 red flags that scream “It’s time to fire your SEO specialist.”

Is it Time to Fire Your SEO Specialist?

The job of an SEO specialist is to analyze their clients’ websites for improvements they can implement in order to help bring them to the tops of search engines. Although it may sound like a simple task, it is often time-consuming hard work that involves developing engaging content, completing keyword research, building links, and a ton of other duties.

Click here to learn more about managed SEO services. In the meantime, these are 10 signs your current specialist isn’t working out.

1. Their Content is Subpar

The SEO world is changing because Google is becoming more concerned with ranking high-quality content on the front page of its search results. So, in order to run an effective SEO campaign, the content on your website needs to be informative, helpful, and well written.

If your SEO agency is creating subpar articles for you, it’s time to take your business elsewhere. Sticking around for bad content will hurt your site more than it will help.

2. They Never Change Their Strategy

Because there are frequent changes to search engines, technology, and consumer buying trends, SEO changes pretty often. Good SEO agencies know how to stay on top of these changes in order to implement them into their clients’ SEO campaigns.

With that said, if your agency doesn’t seem to be updating its techniques, leave them for an agency that evolves.

3. Their Turnaround Time Seems Too Good to be True

There are some SEO companies out there that who make ridiculous promises that involve your rankings raising rapidly. But the truth is, improving your overall SEO ranking can take months, not days.

The companies that promise those quick turnarounds often annoy potential customers with mass spam email campaigns and other quick fixes that won’t help you meet your long-term goals.

4. They Employ a One Size Fits All Technique

The SEO techniques that work for one business aren’t always going to be effective for another. That’s because several factors come into play such as:

  • The location of the business
  • The domain age
  • The business’s competition
  • The keywords used

If your SEO company only offers pre-made packages without customization, they aren’t completing any type of analysis on your website. In turn, you aren’t getting enough attention for your site to fully thrive.

5. They Don’t Complete a Thorough Consultation

When you start working with an SEO company, the first part of the process should include a consultation. During the consultation, you should be given an opportunity to discuss your goals.

For instance, a company’s goals might include:

The goals will differ from one company to the next. And the goals you have will drive many factors like the keywords your SEO company will use or the way the content strategy will be implemented.

If no one is asking about your conversion goals, they can’t help you meet them.

6. They Don’t Tell Keep You in the Loop

Your SEO agency should always be 100% transparent about what they are doing for your website. And if they don’t tell you what’s going on, they are probably trying to hide something shady.

After all, there is no secret formula for improving your SEO.

In addition to hiding its methods from you, a bad SEO company will often lack clarity. If your contact or account rep speaks with vague language, confuses you with fancy industry jargon, or is often late when responding to your inquiries, you should do business with another.

7. You Aren’t Receiving Reports

A good SEO agency will make progress reports available for you to review regularly. The reports should contain accurate information based on your goals.

Additionally, the information on the reports should match up with the responses you are receiving on your website.

8. They Claim to Have a Connection with Google

There are tons of SEO companies out there that scam unsuspecting clients. Believe it or not, a common scam is to pretend to have an inside connection to Google or a claim that they know the algorithm.

If you really want to see an example of how top agencies are standing out and building a great reputation for themselves, follow any of these agencies.

Neither one of those claims is ever true. You can stay safe by making your decisions based on past experience and proven trends.

9. They Don’t Have Much Happening on Social Media

Good SEO agencies have active social media presences where they keep their followers engaged. A strong social media presence is also a good sign that the company is going to be around for a while.

If a company doesn’t set up any social media accounts, they are probably trying to stay under the radar.

This is another common scam. A company will collect as much money as it can before it disappears and pops up again under a different name with a new website.

10. They’re Building Bad Links

Link building is one of the hardest, yet most important parts about improving your SEO. And in order to see great results, the quality and legitimacy of the have to be high.

A good link is appropriate to the context and it is presented in well-written content that has been properly researched and published on relevant domains. On the other hand, bad links appear in poorly written content on irrelevant domains.

Follow These Tips to Learn More

Whether you choose to work with an SEO specialist or you want to manage your own SEO campaign, our blogging tips can help you drive more traffic to your website and increase your sales. For additional resources, follow us today.

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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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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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