Why SEO Isn’t Dead

Why SEO Isnt Dead

Search engine optimization has been an element of online marketing for nearly two decades since its earliest beginnings in the mid 90s. The technique has changed significantly over time but it has never completely lost its relevance. Even though some in the marketing world may believe that SEO is dead, it has simply evolved.

In a sense, the old way of doing SEO is over because so much about search engine optimization has changed. The earlier formula of simply optimizing H1s and meta tags is not enough to increase search rank. Now there is no one formula for getting results from SEO; instead there are different approaches that work differently for every business.

There have never been any guarantees that certain SEO practices will work immediately to increase search rank. If someone is unable to get results from traditional SEO then they might write it off as ineffective and assume that SEO is dead. The reality is that SEO works but you simply have to evolve with it as it continues to change.

How SEO has Changed

While in the past certain tweaks such as adding keywords to title tags may have worked to increase rank, there is now a lot more to consider. When Google Panda was released, it caused SEO to change significantly. The emphasis now is on creating a high quality experience for users through great content instead of “spammy” content for the sake of SEO.

Even though content needs to focus more on a positive user experience, that content still needs to be optimized and that is where SEO still maintains its relevance. SEO keywords can still be used effectively within the right content to get better results. Content needs to be seen by the largest possible audience and SEO can play a major role in helping that happen.

Old practices like title tag keywords have actually been found recently be much less effective than previously thought. A study discovered that the correlation between a keywords in a title tag and the ranking of that keyword was actually very minimal. Since Google has gotten better at understanding the context of a page keyword targeting doesn’t need to be nearly as explicit as it was in the past.

Now businesses working with SEO often benefit from more longer form content because it naturally includes terms that describe the topic and will be noted by Google. These terms that are related to the topic are now known as entities and are just as important as keywords once were in SEO. Businesses can now go beyond traditional keyword research into entity research to find more terms to be included in content.

Social Media and SEO

More businesses are focusing their marketing strategies on social media as it continues to expand its influence through different sites like Facebook and Instagram. SEO can helpful for social media marketing by boosting the rank of links to social media pages and ensuring that users will be led to those pages. People also use social media channels to search for things and search engine optimization can be useful in affecting these types of searches.

One thing to remember about SEO is that optimizing content can take on many different forms and does not have to follow what is traditionally thought of as SEO. Every business will still need to take efforts to ensure that their high quality content is seen by an audience online.

As SEO continues to evolve and change, people will always use it differently to reach the ultimate goal of boosting traffic. As long as people are able to get these results in new ways, SEO will continue to live on as a viable choice for marketing.

5 SEO Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

5 SEO Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

The strategies for search engine optimization have changed significantly over the past few years as SEO continues to evolve from its more traditional forms. SEO can still be a powerful way to boost traffic and bring users closer to making a purchase on your site. Because SEO is always shifting, it is important to stay on top of what the most successful modern practices are every year.

If you use SEO incorrectly you might not get the kind of results you are looking for and end up frustrated. Some practices may even be harmful in the long run so you should review what strategies are currently the norm. Here are some of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid making.

  1. Using the Wrong Keywords

You are not optimizing for the right keywords then most of your SEO efforts will be in vain. If you focus on generic or global keywords instead of more focused and localized words then you won’t be attracting the right kind of visitors to your site. Long-tail keywords usually work best because people that type very specific phrases are more often looking to buy something.

More generic keywords might attract people that just browsing, are not interested in what you offer or are not looking to make a purchase. Broad keywords can also have a lot more competition making it harder to boost your rank. Do some keyword research first or use an SEO company that specializes in finding keywords to start a more effective campaign.

2. Not Using Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

In addition to having the right keywords you also need to focus on title tags and meta descriptions that are the most effective. If all of your pages have similar titles then it can be damaging to your SEO strategy. You need unique titles that are optimized and include specific keywords that are related to the content on the page.

Meta descriptions can also be useful for SEO because they appear within search results. A meta description should be persuasive and act as a sales pitch for your page. Each page throughout your site should include a meta description with some relevant keywords that will entice people to click on your link in search results.

3. Focusing on Quantity instead of Quality Links

Links are important in SEO but if you have a high number of bad links then you are only causing more harm than good. The quality of links is important when search engines are evaluating them for your ranking. One link from a popular blog will boost your rank more than hundreds of lesser quality links.

SEO Los Angeles strategies will get the most results from links that are relevant to your website and come from trusted sources rather than spammy sites.

4. Creating Unrelated Content

One of the problems that people experience with SEO is the tendency to produce content that isn’t directly related to your keywords. This happens when people want to rank for a certain keyword but are not effective at focusing the text on that topic. Google is looking for content that is the most relevant for search terms users type in and if your doesn’t answer the search specifically then your rank on the search engine results page will suffer.

5.Not Optimizing for Mobile

People use their smartphones for searches more than ever and it is a huge missed opportunity not to invest in a mobile friendly site. The quality of your website, especially how it performs on a mobile phone can be very crucial for your search rank. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, Google and other search engines will recognize it which can negatively affect your rating.

5 Ways to Incorporate Off-Page SEO

5 Ways to Incorporate Off-Page SEO

When people develop an SEO strategy they usually focus all their energy toward on page tactics within their own website to increase search rank. Creating content for the site, optimizing the speed, internal linking and all the other ways we make our website more search friendly is considered on-page SEO. However, off-page SEO can be equally useful in increasing your site’s search engine rank.

Off-page SEO is any kind of technique beyond website design that promotes your site and helps make you more visible online. Here are 5 off-page SEO strategies that can be helpful to incorporate into your overall SEO plan.

  1. Link Building

Probably one of the most popular off-page SEO strategies is link building because it is one of the most effective tools to increase search rank. By building more external links to your website you can increase your page’s relevance and start to bypass your competition. If someone else links to your website it tells search engines that you offer useful information and your page qualifies as an authority.

Link building has to be accomplished legitimately because if you try to trick search engines with artificial links to your site you could be penalized and your rank will suffer. You should make an effort to build natural links by publishing interesting and useful content that other sites will be more likely to reference by linking to you. You can always boost your links by contacting other people or sites that might find your content relevant and ask them to link to you.

  1. Social Media Presence and Marketing

While your main concern is always the ranking of your company web page, you can help manage your online reputation and build traffic to your main page through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is more important than ever to have a strong presence on social media because it helps people learn more about your brand and interact with you directly.

Having a good social media presence means being as responsive as possible to people and engaging with them as much as you can. You can answer people’s questions and get them involved so that they become loyal customers and spread the word about your company. You should try to be proactive on social media and post interesting content on a regular basis so that you generate more engagement all the time.

  1. Forums and Discussion Boards

Getting involved in forums that are related to your site’s niche can help create more interest and discussion about your brand. Find the right forums online and get involved within the community by replying to threads, answering people’s questions and offering useful advice. This will all help build up your reputation as an expert within your company’s niche.

Make sure to also use “Do-Follow” forums so you can include a link to your site within your signature and help to boost your backlinks. You can get more quality links to your site while getting engaged on discussion boards so that people know more about your company. If you are regularly active on a few discussion boards you will start to see more traffic on your site.

  1. Blogging and Social Bookmarking

If you already have a blog on your site it is important to make sure it is always updated with new and varied types of content including video, photos and articles. You can start to promote your blog by submitting it to blog directories that are related to your niche as well as to blog search engines. You can post comments on other blogs and include your link in the comment section so that people will check out your blog as well.

You can submit your content to bookmarking sites like reddit, stumbleupon, scoop.it and delicious to help promote your blog. The content on these sites is updated very frequently which is great for ranking on search engines. If you use social bookmarking carefully and handle the tags properly you can greatly increase traffic to your site.

  1. Local Listings and Reviews

If you are a local business within a certain niche you might benefit from listing your company in local directories. Using local listings is a way to avoid facing huge competition and instead narrowing it down to your city or area. If you list your site locally search engines can easily view your website and crawl the content.

You can reach a more targeted audience by submitting to sites like Google Maps and Yelp which will show customers where you are located and include a brief introduction to your business. Your website will show up when people search for your niche in your local area. You can also encourage people to review you on yelp which will give you more validity in the eyes of search engines

How to Rescue Bad Landing Pages

Landing pages are important for both organic and paid search. It’s a good thing that landing pages can be consistently analyzed, updated, and improved… because there are still horribly optimized and designed landing pages that exist out there. Here are a few things to look for to make sure that you’re making the most out of your landing pages.

bad landing pages

1) Bounce rate – If your bounce rates are high, it could be a clear indication that the page isn’t helpful to visitors. If this is the case, it’s time to revamp your content and research the keywords you’re targeting to better connect with what customers are looking for. The design could be off-putting or they might feel misdirected by clicking. This is a starting point where you can dive deeper into what is causing the high bounce rate.

2) SEO friendly web design – Are you using Flash? Is your navigation easy to navigate? Is there too much text? Do you have pop-ups? All these could be a factor in visitors not sticking to your landing page. Although it’s natural to want to share a whole lotta content, it’s good to refrain from adding more clutter than you need.

3) Objective – Clarify your main objective and ask yourself what exactly you want to accomplish with the landing page. It’s best to have 1 main objective per landing page and this overall view will help with content creation. Again, clearing out the unncessary clutter.

4) Call to action – What do you want visitors to do? Here are some things you could emphasize: Call a number, fill out a form, download a free e-book, signup for a newsletter, etc. Another thing… don’t forget to make it easy for them to do so!

5) Trust factor – Sometimes, the nature of landing pages can seem spammy and untrustworthy. This is where social networking can work to your advantage. You can display positive reviews, Tweets, number of Facebook likes and other small blurbs that help reassure visitors that they’re making the right choice by choosing your company.

Good, bad and ugly… landing pages have seen it all. Let us know what you think and if you have any good/bad examples. And make sure to read more about “Identifying and Fixing Your Worst Landing Pages” here.

SEO Content: How Much is Too Much?

Do you need to add more SEO content to your website? And how much and how often is it needed?

More, More, More

These are difficult questions to answer without knowing more details. The important thing to remember is that since Google’s Panda Updates, your site’s quality is becoming more important. That’s right, quality over quantity. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain, but  you’d still be surprised at how many clients are firm in wanting to add 10+ pages/blogs per day!

Who Comes First in Optimization
Think about it… if you’re adding that much content a day, how much of it is actually good, useful and meant for actual human beings? All along, SEO consultants and other experts have told us to build sites for people first and then optimize for search engines.

This isn’t a new concept.

What to Do with New/Old Pages
Instead of focusing on adding more pages and looking at a set amount of pages per month, it’s time to shift your focus. Sure, this strategy is more time consuming and requires more critical thinking, but it is a move that will be well worth it in the end. By looking at your Google Analytics account, Page Rank, or whatever measurements you’d like to use, you can make a list of effective pages on your site. These pages will rank well for relevant terms and have strong staying power in search engine ranking reports.

As much as you don’t like to admit, there are some pages that aren’t receiving as much attention… or the attention that they deserve. Don’t delete these pages and feel like you have to start over. In fact, the age of these pages can work to your advantage once you rework the content and re optimize.

While continuously adding mountains of content may seem like an easy and logical thing to do, it’s better to take a break sometimes. Re optimization is a complex process and there’s no shame in asking for help. Contact us on any questions and find out how we can help!

How Do Google Freshness Updates Affect SEO?

What Is It?
Since the end of last year, Google’s Freshness updates have been been affecting about 35% of searches. To get a better idea of how this works, take a look at Bruce Clay’s in depth illustration of exactly how freshness affects SERPs. Basically, as Google crawls pages to index them, it will also search for “fresh attributes” and assign them a score. This value is a contributing factor when search results are displayed. The general idea is that fresh content is more useful than old, stale content.

How to Optimize
Not surprisingly, Google has a variety of ways of determining the value of freshness including time spent on page, popular topics and changes in anchor text. In many ways, this algorithm update has changed online marketing priorities. Instead of pushing for addition of more content and more keywords, the focus should be on consistently updating the same relevant web pages with useful information. Since all these factors are available online, it’s best to review them regularly to see how you can utilize them when updating your web pages.

Why Freshness?
In the end, Google aims to improve the user experience. As internet marketing firms work with businesses to improve their strategies, users will surely benefit. These updates will help display more relevant and recent search results that will make for better searching!

A Balanced Link Building Plan

link building balanceLinks, links, links. The more, the better… right? WRONG. This misconception started long ago and sadly, the myth still continues to this day. Your link building or keyword advertising campaign should consist of much more than just a one-dimensional view of obtaining links.

When it comes to link building, many people take a look at it from 2 main ways: internal links or external links. Whereas some people overload their web pages by interlinking, others go crazy by buying/submitting hundreds of links at once. In order to diversify and build quality links, you’ll consider a good mix of the following:

Comments, directory submissions, social networking, social bookmarks, infographics, widgets, videos, article submission sites, .edu/.gov links, blogs, press releases, and even paid links (in some rare cases).

That’s just some of many places where you can build links. What about how you link? Different types of anchor text include:

URL, company/brand name, exact match anchor text, partial match anchor text, and even your name.

Search engines love to see a variety of different links coming from a variety of different (and reputable sites). If your link building campaign consists of utilizing one or two method (multiplied by hundreds), this not only look unnatural, but it can also devalue those links that are pointing to your website.

Here’s a good example. If you’re selling handmade crafts, it would look unnatural to link a keyword like beautiful handmade gemstone jewelry hundreds of times. I mean really, who would use those exact words except for your own company? Instead, you should also use your brand name, variations of the keyword and even images. This is why many experts in the industry prefer to use partially matched anchor text because it’s more safe and stable in the long run.

Although there is no right way to build links, I sure think there is a wrong way – and that is utilizing too much of the same anchor text from a handful of domains. Diversify your anchor text, types of links and even look at no follow links as your friend (in moderation). All these techniques add up to a more natural link building profile that search engines definitely favor.

Optimization for a Lower Bounce Rate

bounce rate How high is your website’s bounce rate? Obviously, a lower bounce rate is desirable. But depending on your industry, the “norm” can greatly vary.

If you take a look inside your Google Analytics account, it’s important to remember to look not only at the OVERALL bounce rate, but the bounce rate of individual landing pages. This applies whether you’re reorganizing your website or setting up new pay per click landing pages. Let’s say that your overall average is around 40%, but if you take a look at your home page, you find that the bounce rate is 80%! This means that 80% of customers aren’t finding what they need and leaving very quickly.

As a starting point, here are a few things you can look at:

Page load time: Let’s face it, who likes sitting around waiting for a page to load? If your site is slow, you can make it more effective by optimizing photos, your layout and cutting down on unnecessary content.
Design – Do you have a search engine friendly web design? Sometimes, a more complex design might sound appealing to make your site stand out while squeezing in all the information you want customers to find. But this won’t help your website unless it’s something that your customers are responding to, and not what you’re personally partial to! Take a step back and do some testing between some more simpler designs to find out for sure.
Relevancy – Here’s one more reason not to use broad keyword terms all over your website. Although you may want to rank for a variety of different keywords, your customers will want to find exactly what they’re looking for. If a certain keyword brings them to your site and they find that it’s irrelevant, your site is not useful. The last thing you want to do is to mislead potential customers. The best solution is to optimize per page/section and use specific keywords that describe exactly what they can expect to find on that page.

In the end, remember that a bounce rate is only one of many factors you can use to gauge your progress. But it is an important one as optimizing for a lower bounce rate can also improve your content focus, site design and even SEO.

Are You Obsessed with Keyword Rankings?

obsessed with seo rankingsobsessed – past participle, past tense of ob·sess (Verb)
Verb: Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent: “he was obsessed with thoughts of suicide”.

If this word best describes your relationship with your keywords, there’s a big problem. Whether you’re dealing with your own search rankings or clients’, it’s important to remember that an effective SEO campaign means more than just where you rank.

Instead of asking the most obvious questions like “How can I rank #1 and how long will it take?”, you should be taking a deeper look and asking “How can useful SEO content help me achieve higher rankings for keywords that my customers are actually looking for?” Search engine ranking algorithms, competitors, your past work being indexed – these are all things that make search rankings fluctuate on a daily basis. This is why you can be #1 for a term one day and #3 for the same term the next.

Although we would all like to capture that much coveted spot, the organic optimization game doesn’t quite work that way. And there are new factors emerging every day, some that we have little control over. Take Google’s new Social Search, for example. Now social media connections have a greater impact on how search results are personalized depending on your friends’ searches, interests and location. With all these varying factors, this means that search rankings can and will vary for each different person.

Ranking well is still an important part of SEO, but being overwhelmed with the details is something that can truly drive you insane. For now, it’s more about practicing patience and building up your site with credible and useful information so that you can keep visitors onsite. Working on these social aspects with a complementary plan will also build your business’ trustworthiness so that potential customers will keep your brand in mind for a time when they do need your product/service. As you can see, nowadays search engine optimization has emerged as something much more than just ranking #1 for some keyword terms. There is MUCH more too it!

Take a look at some of our free whitepapers to see if you can get any new ideas for your search campaigns.

Looking at Google’s Evil Ways

While “Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s official motto, there are many recent arguments that can be made showing how the internet giant is slowing descending into the realm of being not-so-good.

Earlier this week, Google got caught utilizing SEO spam to promote its Chrome browser. They hired a video marketing company and bought sponsored blog posts on questionable sites, which bloggers caught onto very quickly. Not to mention that the articles and content that was pushed out wasn’t well-written or relevant to the sites they were being featured on!

This is the exact type of behavior that Google punishes, so what happens when they’re the ones violating this “golden rule”. As punishment, Google has penalized itself for its “mistake” so that Chrome doesn’t show up for browser-related terms (for the time being). Yeah, that will show them… but for how long? You have to admit that it is hypocritical for Google to get caught doing the same thing that they penalized J.C. Penney for doing early in 2011. And in some ways, this argument can be extended to the small scale – how Google is constantly adding more Panda updates to penalize content they deem as spammy or evil. These updates have greatly affected traffic for legitimate small business sites, so why do they just keep coming?

If the issue of spam weren’t so blatantly offensive to SEOs, it’s more frustrating to see that Google isn’t very transparent with their search algorithm and other ranking methods. As far as we can see, they change this as often as they please and leave reputable website marketing firms to guess what is going to happen next.

The more you look into it, the more you’ll discover of the dark side of Google and why so many people question their motives. Do you think Google made a honest mistake with this ad campaign are or they just sorry because they got caught in such a public manner? Maybe it’s time to retire that motto and think of a more fitting one…