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

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.

How Does Google Hummingbird Affect Social Media?

Since the idea of Google Hummingbird has been introduced, there was no doubt that it would profoundly change organic SEO and search results. Another important aspect to explore is how this algorithm change has affected social media by better analyzing and processing social signals.
social-hummingbird
As we all know, social media (namely Google+ shares) do not have a direct impact on ranking. But there has been hints that Google is slowly working on a way to better count these social signals as a part of their ranking algorithm. The most difficult aspect of this is that although social votes count as a trust signal, social profiles are hard to index because of their non-static nature.

What Does the Future Hold?

Google is not heavily pushing the use of Google+ for no reason! According to many experts, being active and relevant on Google+ will be a crucial role in social media, if not already. Regardless of what Google decides to do with these social signals, your participation on Google+ (and other top social networks) can only work to your advantage in building a trustworthy reputation and gaining name/brand recognition.

Hummingbird’s Ties to Smart Devices

In a way, Google Hummingbird can be seen as a response to Apple’s Siri. Not only are conversational queries targeted, but content written in that manner has been rewarded. Google has also been experimenting with displaying results based on a user’s location, which will play a strong role on smart phones. Check out our related post: Google Rolls Out Carousel for Local Search Results.

Why Social Media Marketers Should Care About Hummingbird

HOW DOES GOOGLE HUMMINGBIRD AFFECT SOCIAL MEDIA?

At the end of the day, everything from content creation to what users find will end up being connected and shared through social media. Whether it’s Google Authorship on your website or query friendly posts on your blog, social sharing is the middle man that makes all the difference. This is, and will continue to be, an important method of how your relevant content will be crawled and found.

Social media is important because it introduces the factors of freshness, authority, relevance and interest, all rolled into one With keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder that such emphasis will be placed on social media as Google Hummingbird continues to impact search results.

So, before you dismiss social media as NOT being related to organic optimization (especially for Google Hummingbird), you should be reminding yourself of how important it is!

Visit Emarketed on Google+ today: https://plus.google.com/+Emarketed

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.

Why Deep Linking is Important for SEO

What is Deep Linking?

What you link, anchor text, is just as important as where you link. The idea of deep linking means digging through your site, past your home page and linking internal pages where it makes sense to do so. The “old” idea of good SEO was to push everything and anything to the home page. You wanted the home page to rank for general, long-tail terms and everything in between.
deep-sea-link

While this is great in theory, it just doesn’t play out so well in real life. Not only is this terrible for user experience, but it’s also not good for your back link anchor text profile.

How Do You Link Deep?

Instead of pushing a reader to visit your home page, push them to visit a specific page that will help them solve their problem. You can deep link anywhere you would regularly link your home page. You can link your About Us page on your YouTube Channel, add your Office page to Facebook, or promote your Testimonials page on a press release.

WHY DEEP LINKING IS IMPORTANT FOR SEO

Deep linking also applies in non-traditional SEO/linking methods. For example, if you’re trying to interest a car buyer with an online inquiry, you’re not just going to send them an automated email asking them to visit your home page for more information. You’re going to want to engage with them, ask them their interests, and find them specific pages for the cars their looking for (electric, luxury, sporty etc.)

Why Use Deep Linking?

Deep linking is great for a variety of reasons. First, of all the main goal of deep linking is to increase your site’s relevancy, thus increase pages views while decreasing bounce rates. The idea is that if you link to a specific inside page, visitors will be attracted and encouraged to stay and read. If you just link to your home page, in hopes that they’ll search through to find what they’re looking for, chances are that they’ll leave almost immediately… resulting in a 100% bounce rate.

Deep linking also brings out a sense of authority and trust. If you use specific anchor text and language, users expect to be taken to a particular page. You deliver what you promise and aren’t trying to hijack a link in hopes of getting traffic just to your home page.

So, if you’ve primarily been linking to your home page, it’s time to stop and encourage the deep linking method. Your back link profile is probably very home page in terms of links and could use some diversification. Here are some other places you can practice deep linking: social media profiles, press releases (remember to nofollow!), emails, newsletters, niche & trustworthy directories, paid ads, and 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.

There’s More To Writing Website Content Than Writing

As a writer, there is so much more to the craft than just writing. Writing website content actually involves more skills and parts of your brain than you would imagine!

website-writing

Inspire

Nothing is worse than writer’s block. Writing content for a website isn’t something normally associated with a “creative” endeavor. But it can really take a lot out of you just to think of some new, interesting, and unique to write about.

As an SEO content writer, it helps to draw from your own personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Making these correlations and translating them into fully formed thoughts is a starting point for inspiration. You can be inspired by many things that happen throughout the day. If you’re not feeling so inspired, all it takes is a few clicks to see what others are thinking and writing about. Not only does it help you write about something you’re passionate about, but it gives you a better idea of what people want to read about.

Brainstorm

How do you write about something that a thousand people have already written about. It’s important to think about why you want to write about something, not just that you need to write it. Even though your topic has been written about, you need a plan of attack to differentiate your words. Sure, writers have deadlines but that doesn’t mean you should cut corners. Especially, with an important first step of brainstorming. Brainstorming for website content will give you a good idea of what you want to accomplish and what needs to be accomplished. For example: a step-by-step tutorial, a 3 part series or an FAQs page.

Organize

No matter what your style of writing is, there is a certain standard layout to follow. There will always need to be some sort of introduction and conclusion. You need to establish what you’re going to talk about, why and sum it up. Somewhere in the middle there, it’s up to you to fill up the bulk of content with interesting thoughts, shocking facts or statistics and real-life examples.

When you are writing website content, you know what you want to say. The struggle lies in how you want it laid out for the reader. Don’t scare readers away with your lack of organization!

Research

Research includes finding out more about your topics, current news and what peers/competitors are saying. Competitive analysis certainly counts as research. Reading different types of information is important in your research. It doesn’t help to get information from the same source, especially if it’s one that you keep going back to. This is why you need to include: whitepapers, articles, blog posts, press releases, and even social media updates in part of your research. Diversifying your sources in research helps you form a well-rounded opinion and helps support your point of view. This is what you want to see when reading website content!

Educate

As a writer, it’s your job to educate yourself before you educate others. Misinformation (especially deliberate) isn’t going to go over well with your readers. In industries like SEO, best practices are always changing. It’s important to stay educated through watching webinars, undergoing training and attending conventions. Education is a foundation of the writing process whether you’re writing about canopies, health services, scooters or precious metals!

Optimize

In many ways, optimization stands alone and outside of the writing process. But it today’s world of website content, it’s best when a writer can do both. Remember, that content is meant for readers first and search engines after. Optimizing web content means creating engaging titles, delivering what you promise, linking relevant sites and giving readers a reason to read and link. You want to attract natural links through the power of your words/content alone.

create-web-content

Create

At the end of the day, a content writer wants to create something that is meaningful. It’s a good thing that useful content isn’t just something reserved for text on a website. There’s so much more you can do, including: infographics, social updates, videos and pictures. There’s so much more to writing than typing away, get out there and create!

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.

Google’s January Updates and What They Mean For SEO

Google, Updates

Authorship Reduction

A new year often means new changes and Google is no exception. In January, we saw the results of the great Google Authorship “purge”. But this reduction of Authorship was brought to our attention as early as October 2013. Take a look at the graph below to see the timeline of Authorship reduction since this first public announcement of changes to come:

authorship-30day

As you can see, Authorship in search results have dropped greatly in the projected 30 day period.

What Does It Mean?

Losing Authorship on your search terms can be a big hit to your business. The problem is that Google felt like there were too many Authorship results, and rich snippets to begin with. Which is why they were working to tone things down. The important thing to remember is that there is no clear answer at this point.  Some experts speculate that the loss of Authorship can be attributed to: certain industries, Authorship authority (or Author Rank) and even website authority.

One thing does go without saying, you can’t depend on Authorship showing up as a guarantee. Because there is so much that is unclear, the best we can do is to keep doing what we’re doing: work on your reputation by building up website and Authorship authority. But don’t forget to stay tuned for the latest news.

Exact Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

If you’ve checked Google Webmaster Tools recently, you may see a vertical line at 12/31/13 indicating that there had been a Google WMT update. From this point on, Google will report the exact number of search queries, instead of displaying a rounded number. This may be a result of Google wanting webmasters do a better job in analyzing website data. Or it could be a result of criticism that Google doesn’t give website owners enough information. People are going so far as to use third-party tools (like StatCounter), which Google probably doesn’t want to promote the practice of.

What Does It Mean?

Google Webmaster Tools is now more accurate, with the ability to give you exactly what you’re looking for, including exact impressions and clicks for a given keyword or page. You can even search for a specific date or a given date range. If you have any more questions, check out the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog post here.

Google Adding Dates to Your Content

This post on Google Product Forums gives an example of when Google automatically adds a date to your content. Interestingly enough, this page no longer ranked in Google once that date was added to the page’s snippet. There are many questions to ask in this scenario: Why would Google add a date to a page? How can a date affect the page’s CTR? Is this just a fluke or something Google is working on implementing on a wider scale?

What Does It Mean?

Since this specific example didn’t have a specific answer, we can only assume that it’s a bug that will be fixed once it’s passed onto the team. But it does raise the concept of keeping fresh content on your website. Snippets for in-depth articles come to mind. Even if it’s not something that I’ve seen in results, it still means that something is in the works on Google’s end!

 

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.