The Evolution of Blogging and SEO

The History of Blogging
Web + log = Blog. According to Wikipedia, early-blogging dates back to around 1983. What evolved from a personal online diary has become a helpful tool that can be as powerful (or more powerful) than a website. Let’s take a quick look at some interesting tidbits:

  • Cameron Barrett compiled the first of blog sites in 1998
  • Peter Merholz coined the term “blog” in 1999
  • Pyra creates Blogger in 1999
  • Twitter introduces the world to microblogging in 2006

What’s Changed?
LiveJournal, Open Diary, Xanga, Blogger. The dot-com bubble paved the way for companies and individuals who wanted to make a name for themselves via blogging. Nowadays, blogggers are more dynamic and it’s more than just detailing the mundane facts of your everyday life. From online marketers to large corporations, blogs are now considered to be a serious for of entertainment, news, and information.

Business Blogging Webinar

This morning’s webinar with Chris Baggot and Duane Forrester was about business blogging and how to apply SEO. They distinguish the difference between how personal blogging has evolved into a more sophisticated form of corporate blogging. Chris shared insight about organizing several different blogs dedicated to specific topics, while Duane talk about the importance of tracking your success. Here are some things to keep in mind as you establish your own blogging strategy and best practices:

  • 66% of blog traffic comes from search engines
  • Companies that utilize blogs generally get more traffic
  • Frequent and recent – successful blogs are updated regularly and contain relevant information

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Video Marketing for a New Decade

Why Video?

Why read about it, when you can see it? 2009 has definitely been the year for video marketing. With more YouTube views than Google searches, what can you do to ensure that your video won’t be lost in the crowd? You can’t just throw together a video, throw it on a video-sharing site and expect business to roll in. Nowadays, you can attract viewers to your website by integrating videos for certain topics. Whether it is a welcome video, virtual tour, or helpful tutorial, videos are a riveting way to compliment your content and glorious web design.

Tips for Successfully Using Videos

Are you using video to its full potential? Even though we are coming up in the new decade, chances are that most of your competitors are not taking full advantage of using website video. Here are some helpful tips you should keep in mind for optimizing your videos:

  1. Embed and share – From viral videos, trailers, to informative video clips, you’ll benefit from being able to share your videos with an embeddable feature
  2. Using the right format – There are countless video formats out there (FLV, MP4, AVI, etc). Using the most popular ones will make it easier when editing and viewing.
  3. Accurate tracking tools – What’s the use of your video marketing efforts if you can’t see how they’re helping you? By measuring your performance and the impact of each new video, you’ll be able to better your assess your progress.
  4. Video seo – Did you know that videos are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results than text pages? Utilize tags and keywords to make your videos more visible.
  5. Be consistent – If you plan on integrating a lot of videos across your website, make sure to present a reliable message. Don’t confuse your customers or make promises that you can’t keep.

Not only is it a brand new year, but we are embarking towards a new decade. Why not do something good for yourself and your company?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Simple Steps to Ensure Your Website is SEO-Friendly

If you’re like me, easily influenced by pretty shiny things that flash in my general direction, then you may be designing your website with aesthetics as your number one priority. That’s all well and good if you’re an established fashion label with ten years of Vogue and Vanity Fair creds. But, chances are, potential clients will be depending on search engines to find the type of services or products your company offers, without knowing that your exact company exists. Following these simple tips when building your website can lead to a more SEO-friendly design, giving you the search engine ranking and exposure your company needs to be on its way to becoming a household name.

Tip #1: Age Matters
Search engines want to “see” commitment. Websites that have been in existence for 5 years as opposed to 5 weeks will rank higher. When your website shows longevity, a search engine will consider it as a trusted and authoritative source.

Tip #2: Title Tags are Golden
Don’t make the mistake of titling your web pages with inside jokes only your frat brothers would know, or using overly simple titles like “My Website Page 2.” While this may make your life easier or more comical, it does zilch for search engines when they crawl your site for content. Use your most competitive keywords in your pages’ title tags, as they are the most important pieces of text on your website for SEO purposes.

Tip #3: The Pen (or QWERTY Keyboard) is Mightier than the Sword
You can toss out the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” because in the world of SEO, a picture is about as valuable as Enron stock. Rather than focusing on graphics, make sure that your homepage includes searchable content. If you plan on linking to other pages from your homepage, use text links rather than hyperlinks contained within an image. When search engines read a link that uses text (e.g. “Bulldog Puppies For Sale”) and it actually links to a page that has relevant content in the text of the title/URL/header and body copy, this builds your site’s “trustworthiness” and “authority” status putting you on the search engine’s honor roll.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Making Use of Local Search Results

Local Search Marketing

Increasing advances and improvements have made local search engine results more relevant than ever. When you’re browsing online for restaurants or hot shopping spots, you want results that are relevant to your geographical location. Google recognizes consumer demand for this relevancy and is working hard to become more local. With that being said, it would be foolish for businesses to downplay the importance of local search. A focus on your local search efforts means taking a close look at your campaign in specific geographical locations. As a small business owner, your recognition on the Internet relies on how well you do in local search results. Even on a nationwide level, a corporation, such as World Gym, can greatly benefit from ranking higher on local search results.

Improving Your Results

There are simple steps that you can take to improve your local search results. First, take advantage of free local Yahoo! and Yellow Pages business listings. You can make sure that your business is listed in other local business directories and listings from your local Chamber of Commerce. When it comes to keeping your website updated, always make sure to include your address and local telephone number, along with an 800 number. This way, customers and search engine results can easily tell exactly where you’re located. Local SEO efforts will also be appreciated in the long run. It can be as simple as adding your city to title pages and including in keywords and while link building.

What the Future Holds

Local search will only get more accurate with time. Earlier this year, Google has even begun to add pictures to their local search result pages. While this will help put local businesses on the map, it means This means that businesses will have another task of monitoring their activity on local search results and websites. If that’s not enough for you to keep up with, there’s much more. Twitter’s search engine allows users to search in real time. When local search is integrated with real time technology, who knows what the future holds!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Debate Between Paid and Organic Search Results

When it comes to paid and organic search results, many experts have their opinions on which is more effective. Many studies have shown that Internet users are more likely to click on the first few organic search results than the pay per click advertisements. This does not mean that PPC ads are without benefits. So, why does one have to be better than the other? Most industry experts believe that it is important to focus efforts on both paid ads and organic search in order to maximize your gains.

It is important to understand the relationship between paid ads and natural searches. Together, they can build a strong foundation that your company cannot be successful without. In the short run, a paid ad campaign is beneficial because you will receive traffic almost immediately. With PPC, you can control the content of your ads and quickly make changes. On the other hand, organic search marketing is a tedious task and it may take many months before you see any results from your efforts.

Even though this strategy may not work for everyone, it is crucial to understand the synergy between these two approaches. Research has revealed that showing up for paid and organic results increases overall click through rates. Although natural results may get more clicks, they receive even more traffic when paired with an ad campaign. Also, paid ads get more clicks when you also show up in the organic search results. Not only will the number of clicks increase, but studies show that both efforts will help increase page views, conversions, quality of the visitors, and time spent on your site. So, before you make your final decision on what to focus on, don’t overlook the benefits of using both paid ads and organic search results!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

One Keyword Versus Multiple Keywords

How many organic search keywords should be targeted per page?

This frequently asked question seems like an easy one to answer—search pages are expensive to create so we should invest in as many keywords as possible per page, right? Wrong. Search engine experts are now telling us that having just one primary focus per page is advisable. It is impossible not to have other words on the page besides the keyword you are trying to optimize, however it is possible to have your page target one specific concept.

What about when you have two words that essentially mean the exact same thing? Landing pages can be shared between two words that have the same basic meaning. Acronyms and initialisms, which are formed using the initial components in a phrase or a name, can share the same page as the full phrase or name that the acronym is abbreviated for.  However, for whatever reason, some people want to target different messages to the people who are searching for the acronym and to the people who are typing the full phrase or name, in which case you could have two different pages.

The reason to target only one search keyword is because you want to get the number one result in Google. Even if you have a number of words or phrases that are related, you will not get the best result with that many targets. The most advisable approach is to think of highly targeted pages with just one goal. Optimize just one concept per page so as not to confuse the search engine and thus lower the page ranking. In doing so, you can include other concepts as long as they fit in with the primary concept.

In order for this to work you must create a number of landing pages. It is a lot of work but simply begin with the best matches for your site and gradually create more.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Importance of Keywords

The concept of keywords and keyword phrases seems simple on the surface, but when it comes to organic search engine optimization, it can get a bit tricky. A keyword or a keyword phrase is a descriptive word or a series of descriptive words that a person might type into a search engine in order to find a website that pertains to the particular word or words searched.

So how is it, you ask, that a search engine identifies these keywords or keyword phrases? Search engines work by matching up patterns. When you type in a word or a phrase into a search engine like Google, Google would look through portions of content in search of the particular keyword or keyword phrase. If you searched for the keyword “Labrador puppy” Google would view a paragraph on a website and the only words that would pop out as different would be “Labrador” and “puppy.” All of the other words would appear as plain text, no different from each other. If you tried searching “dog food” then Google would view the same paragraph this time with the words “dog” and food” popping out.

Google only sees the keyword or keyword phrase you are searching for. Search engine spiders look at where the keyword appears and how frequent the keyword’s appearance is on the particular site and then determines how pertinent or applicable the site is to the particular word or phrase.

Latent semantic indexing
is a tool that is progressing at a fast pace. Latent semantic indexing is something that search engines use to determine whether certain words are related or not. This technology is still processing and until it is complete, the simple concept of keywords and keyword phrases will do when it comes to search engine optimization.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Web Advertising for Mobile Browsers

The number of people accessing the web from their phones is skyrocketing. However, devices vary from full browsers like iPhone or Blackberry Storm to mobile browsers whose access to the web is more limited. As a result, websites and advertisements must be prepared to cater their search engine optimization campaigns to all types of browsers or risk being inaccessible to their customers.

For businesses who need to reach customers on the run, such as tow truck companies, locksmiths, or even restaurants, gearing pay per click advertising to mobile users is critical. It is important to think about what a mobile user will want to accomplish with a small device with limited speed and storage. Since mobile users are not likely to go beyond the first page of a website, getting the vital information out front and legible on a small device is key.

It is always a good idea to check to see how an ad renders in a mobile browser. Some mobile browsers don’t render flash or java well. When images, flash files, or script files are large, it may take some time for the website to render on a mobile device. One way to test mobile ads without paying for a full mobile site is to create a test site using a blogging platform like WordPress which has a mobile compatible plug-in. Google also has a mobile preview tool that will let you view mobile results from a laptop.

Adwords and Google Analytics also allow you to track your mobile conversions so organic SEO performance can be assessed and adjustments made. It can also be useful to have completely separate mobile versus desktop campaigns, sending traffic to different pages on your site for the same keywords based upon their device.

As phone browsers’ capability increase, it becomes more viable to reach customers anywhere and everywhere and convert a passing whim into a sale, but it will always remain crucial to distinguish properly between the needs of the mobile customer versus the desktop customer.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Web Advertising and the Small Business: Do I Need a Middleman?

Web advertising is becoming an increasingly self-serve business, allowing SMBs to run their own web campaigns. Now that anyone can purchase keywords on search engines and pay per click advertising, do SMBs really need a company to help them advertise?

Although the new age of advertising does offer unparalleled flexibility and affordablilty, wading through the sheer amount of options and technical lingo can be overwhelming, and many SMBs still find it worthwhile to have someone to guide them through the process, sift through the options, and find the most effective and economical strategy for their advertising dollar. Techniques such as search engine optimization, and organic SEO though simple in concept, can be tricky to implement.

For the unsure, online ads can be as simple and old-fashioned as the online yellow pages ad. Any business owner familiar with yellow page advertising can wrap their head around this one, but the technique is still the same as print advertising, visibility is determined by the size and placement of the ad. Local search sites like city search add such features as customer reviews, but not much else.

Search engines, considered by many the most effective form of online marketing, also bring a wide spectrum of options and increased complexity along with them. The goal here is the highest rankings, but truly effective search engine optimization is far more than popping up first under a particular search. For example a search for “plumbing” versus “plumbers” or “plumber” can yield far different results. This complexity has created a niche for companies like Emarketed to help SMBs plan SEO campaigns more effectively.

The irony is that as web advertising becomes more accessible to the small business owner, the complexity of effectively running these campaigns increases as well, meaning that at least for the present, SMBs will find themselves best served by consulting these middlemen for their online advertising campaigns.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Is Your Website Really Online or just Out There?

The success of your online business is in part determined by the visibility of your website. If people are not actively exploring your website in droves, you can pretty much wish upon a star for an increased customer base and profit. Because driving traffic to your site is so important, you should consider various marketing tactics that will generate browers interest and direct them to your homepage.  You can increase traffic to your website through organic content management system. Organic CMS is an effective, and inexpensive way to drive people to your site. You can do organic CMS in a number of ways including search engine optimization and link building. In search engine optimization you are increasing your websites’ ranking on major search engines like Google and Yahoo. An essential element in successful search engine optimization is utilizing the right keywords. You want to first identify what keywords best describe your business and then embed them in the content of your website. In doing so, major search engines will pick up on your keywords and highlight your business when an individual searches for those terms. For instance if you are a catering company using keywords like “catering”, “special events”, and “cater weddings” is a way to do organic marketing. It is important that you use appropriate keywords to describe your service. This is actually a little more complicated than it sounds because you also want to make sure those terms are also being search by the customers you want to attract. As a result you should consider working with a keyword consultant to help generate a list of terms that will be most effective in search engine optimization.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.