Are You the Tortoise or the Hare in the SEO Game?

SEO and speedMany people don’t understand the power of organic SEO. Like the tortoise and the hare, you can look at SEO in two different ways:

  1. Hare: Going fast all at once
  2. Tortoise: Taking it slow and steady

If you’re looking for a quick gain with SEO, you could be tempted to churn out pages of content with keywords strewn throughout. This might give you an initial boost but competitors with a more steady approach can creep up on you.
You’ll probably also be skimping out on the quality of the content that you put out. Instead, you can use your speed with a more focused approach: after you jot down your ideas for content, have someone else edit it and schedule the content to be released throughout the month. If you expend all your energy in a short amount of time, you’ll run the risk of burning out and wasting your efforts.

If you believe in taking the slow route, you’re on your way to building a strong foundation for SEO content down the road. By doing keyword research and writing about interesting topics, you’ll attract more clicks and readers. However, it is easy for the process to get too drawn out. At first, you might set a goal of blogging once a week and that slows down to every other week and maybe, once a month if you’re lucky. Being too slow could also mean that you’re missing out blogging about recent news topics/stories that are related to your field.

Unlike Aesop’s famed fable, there really is no “right” or “wrong” speed to adapt when it comes to SEO – but more of a mentality. Consistency and quality are important for SEO content and when you keep those two things in mind, you’ll go farther than just relying on a time frame to reach your destination.

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 Choose Tumblr?

What does Nic Cage as Everyone, Newsweek, and Scanwiches have in common? They’re all Tumblr blogs!

We’ve talked about simple blogging platforms with Posterous (see our previous post) but many bloggers are choosing Tumblr. Just take a look at their home page and you can see it’s as easy to sign up and make your first post:

Tumblr

Whereas WordPress is better suited for content and search engine visibility (with all the plugins and bells and whistles), Tumblr is for a *new* breed of blogger. That is, bloggers who rely on unique posts AND pictures to engage their visitors. An interesting thing you’ll notice is that most Tumblr blogs consist of picture posts.

What was commonly thought as being not SEO friendly has become the high point for Tumblr, as you can easily upload any type of media multimedia to your blog. Team Tumblr themselves has described this process as being “effortless”.

If you’re still confused about where Tumblr lies in the blogosphere, I like to think of it as a microblogging platform with highly customizable capabilities (Google Analytics and third party applications) PLUS a very social side. You can invite other users to make contributions on your blog, follow other users to see their updates (ala Facebook and Twitter) and even make updates via AIM.

As a blogger, it’s important to stay focused on your craft of writing and posting regularly. Tumblr’s main benefit is that it’s user and social media-friendly. It’s simplicity, especially for the socially-savvy will help take away the distractions that may arise with WordPress so that you can get more work done, so to speak.
If you blog, what’s your favorite or least favorite platform and why?

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.

Posterous for Simplicity

PosterousIf you haven’t heard of Posterous, it’s a blogging platform similar to Tumblr. As for simplicity, many users say that it takes the hassle out of blogging and that it’s even easier to use than WordPress!

Whether you’re thinking about switching platforms or starting a brand new blog, it’s helpful to take a look at why Posterous is becoming a popular choice amongst bloggers today.

  1. Design: Like WordPress and Tumblr, you also have a wide variety of choices when it comes to your blog’s theme and it’s also fully customizable.
  2. SEO – While Posterous isn’t exactly known for being search engine friendly, some say that the ‘constant theme’ is a plus. Since your pages will all look the same, this will help search engines crawl your blog and easily tell the difference between design and content.
  3. Social media integration – Posterous is extremely flexible when it comes to connecting to your social media profiles. Have you ever tried connecting something from your WordPress blog to Facebook? It’s do-able but rifling through plugins is time consuming and takes away from your blogging time. With Posterous, you can connect to Facebook, Twitter,  Flickr and more in one easy step.
  4. Simple blogging – Most bloggers use Posterous because it makes it easier for them to blog. There’s no need to deal with complicated plugins, updates and errors that can pop up in WordPress. With an email option, bloggers can collect any thoughts that pop up and post it as fast as they can fire off an email.

Posterous seems like a great light-weight blogging platform for those who don’t want to deal with the hassles of other services. While it may not have as many tools for internal customization and help with SEO, it’s social media integration is far ahead of WordPress and Blogspot. The good thing is that it’s free, so if you’re an avid blogger looking for new things – why not give it a try?

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.

Optimizing Your Facebook Posts (Part 1)

You’re on Facebook and making posts. But, did you ever stop to see IF your posts are even being seen? Before we explore how to make the most out of those Facebook posts, it’s important to understand the method behind it.

The image above should look familiar. When you log onto Facebook, your friends’ posts or organized by ‘Top News’ or by ‘Most Recent’ posts.

Personally, I always like to view Most Recent posts. But according to an article on Social Media Today, a staggering 95% of people only view posts on the Top News feed, missing other posts that don’t rank as high. By default, posts are automatically organized by Top News.

So, did you know that Facebook has an algorithm for ranking these posts? It’s called Edgerank and consists of three main factors:

  1. Affinity – this relies on the relationship between you and the other user. If you guys interact more on Facebook (messages, wall posts, profile views), your friend’s “affinity score” will be higher than other people you don’t really talk to.
  2. Weight – Facebook gives a different weight of importance to things that you can engage in (Like, comment, tag).
  3. Time – Facebook is pretty much based in real-time so it’s not surprising that older posts become less important.

Knowing this should give you a better idea of what shows up on your main Top News feed and why. This is especially important for businesses because it’s only estimated that 40% business wall posts show up on Top News feeds.

Make sure to stay tuned for our next post later this week as we explore different ways you can optimize your Facebook wall posts!

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.

What Happens After Reaching #1

Even after you reach the oh-so coveted #1 spot in search engine results page, your work is not done! Here are a few things that you still need to keep an eye on to make the most of your top ranking position:

Customer service – Are you ready to pick up the phone and help potential customers? Wait… before all that, make sure that your contact information is easy to find and up to date. If you use contact forms and have undergone recent site changes, check them to make sure that they still work work! There’s nothing worse than a customer inquiry that goes unanswered.

Search engine friendly web design – A well-optimized page and consistent SEO will help you maintain good rankings. This means that the search engines see that your site/pages are relevant with corresponding keywords and what business owner wouldn’t want that?

Search user friendly – Many sites have a bad habit of being too cluttered with content and other media. While these pages may help your SEO efforts, they can deter users. Content should be easy to find in appropriate sections so that your site is user-friendly. Imagine ranking #1 for a competitive keyword only to have users bounce away quickly from your site because they can’t find what they need!

PR and personality – Whether you utilize social media marketing or other forms of PR, it’s important to throw your brand name out there once in awhile. Press releases and social media not only help show your relevancy in your field but it also helps bring a personal touch to your business. Even in today’s world of overreliance on telecommuting and email, people do like to see the human side of your business. And yes, I think that you can also accomplish this with regular blogging.

What do you think are some other ways you can improve your site/marketing after reaching the #1 spot in SERPs?

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 Meta Descriptions are Still Important

meta description

There’s so much talk about meta-this and meta-that. But did you know that search engines don’t use this as a main criteria (if at all) in ranking your site? Meta descriptions are only one of many elements of search engine optimization elements. So why is it still important?

First of all, what are they? Meta descriptions are the short blurb that you’ll see summarizing a web page on search results pages. The purpose of meta descriptions aren’t so much for search engines, but for the actual users who are searching for your business and clicking through to your site.

Meta Description Do’s

An effective meta description should be concise and make use of your most relevant keywords. It should also be an accurate representation of the content on your website. Try to avoid being too long-winded, most search engines only display the first 160 characters of your meta description.

Meta Description Don’ts

Skipping out on a meta description, overstuffing it with keywords or displaying misleading content are all big no-nos. Each page of your website has a section for a unique description. So, the last thing you want to do is to copy and paste that little snippet over and over on each page.

Before you’re tempted to skimp out on those meta descriptions, think again!

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 the Most of Your Social Media Content

content creation

After all your hard work , you want to make sure that your efforts don’t get lost in the sea of online content. From your regular blog posts to  Tweets, here are some ways you can make sure that you’re making the most out of your social media content:

  • Blog – Writing a post-worthy blog isn’t enough to get your content found. Make sure to fill out the Title, meta description, anchor text, tags with meaningful and relevant keywords before you post. You can also edit the URL of your post to make it shorter and more concise (see: the url of this post vs the title)
  • Images – When you add pictures to your blog or website, always remember to add a title or description. Even if it’s just your brand name or a broad description, these words will go a long way!  My pet hamster made it to the first page of Google Images because I optimized a Flickr photo his name in the title, tags and description.
  • Video– It’s easy to optimize YouTube videos. Properly optimized videos are powerful assets that will benefit your brand in the long run because they have a strong staying power (especially if you get them to rank for a specific location/niche.)
  • Twitter– Keep your messages short and sweet and don’t be afraid to include target keywords and other terms you want to be associated with. A fun part of Twitter is that your responses to other users and retweets also count as content.
  • Facebook– This isn’t the place to blast the same messages over again. Neither is it a place to overtly self-promote. With New Facebook Pages rolling out, you can make your fans keep them engaged and make them feel like they’re part of something exclusive by creating unique, well-timed messages.

What are some other ways you properly optimize your social media content?

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.

Ecommerce Sites Benefit from Sharing

Funky Sofa Marilyn

Social media is now a must-have, even for ecommerce sites. By looking at big brands like Zappos and Amazon, you can incorporate some useful sharing strategies for your small business or ecommerce site:

What do your customers care about?: With Funky Sofa, we take this as an opportunity to also showcase design inspiration and interesting furniture products from other retailers. This also allows us to stay up to date with competitors in the industry and to see what they’re doing.

Share interesting content: An onsite or offsite blog can also be an interesting way to share content. Funky Sofa often posts behind the scenes photos of the making of their products and furniture. Not much of a writer? Take a look at some retailers have boosted sales by incorporating video marketing.

Social Sharing Buttons Help with Engagement: Adding a “Like” or “Tweet” button to your site is easy. Take a look at the Marilyn sofa above. 41 people Liked this product and a blurb was published on their Facebook wall so that all their friends are also exposed to the Funky Sofa brand.

With Christmas time around the corner, ecommerce sites can benefit by sharing in the right way and without seeming overly self -indulgent. Remember, it’s not ME, ME, ME but YOU, YOU, YOU (we’re talking about the consumers here).

Check out some more on important ecommerce trends via Search Engine Land.

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 Truth about False SEO Claims

SEO is a powerful tool but that means that there’s a good and bad to it. The search marketing industry is often seen as untrustworthy or spammy because of claims like these. Let’s take a look at two typical claims and see what they really mean:

  • Claim #1: We guarantee your business a #1 ranking in search engine results!
  • Reality: If anyone approaches you with this claim, it’s time to think twice. Make it thrice. What are the keywords, who is searching and how much search volume do they expect? If these questions can’t be answered, it’s time to move on.
  • Additionally: Being #1 doesn’t mean that sales will come pouring in. Is your site well-organized and user-friendly? With the click of the mouse, you’ll be out of sight and out of mind. A #1 ranking means nothing if you can’t meet your customers’ needs.
  • Claim #2: Pay per click ads are expensive and social media is a waste of time. SEO can replace your entire online marketing efforts!
  • Reality: SEO tactics and content can create valuable assets in the long-term. But no matter how you spin it, there are some things that it just can’t do. PPC can help you expand your reach of customers and narrow down your target audience. Social media can help engage customers and create brand buzz.
  • Additionally: It’s difficult to think of a successful business in terms of just one of these marketing strategies. While I like to think of SEO as a starting point of your online marketing campaign, there is room to expand. When you’re successful with SEO, it makes it easier and more effective for other measures, such as PPC and social media, to follow.

Do you have any other SEO claims or myths you’d like to bust?

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 Instant and Long Tail Searches

Since Google Instant launched, there have been concerns that long tail searches won’t be as beneficial to SEO and PPC. Let’s take a look at what is affected and why:

What is ‘Long Tail’?
As this dino-graphic shows, generic keywords are more likely to yield a large volume of general search results. But if you get more descriptive with the keywords you’re searching for, you’re more likely to get specific results and find what you’re looking for. Example: searching “hair salon” versus “kids hair salon in los angeles”.

When you use broad, generic keywords, this means that you’ll have a lot of competition. In the SEO world, this means that it will take a lot of time and effort to be a viable competitor. When it comes to PPC, this means that you’ll have to bid more in order for your ads to show up at the top of corresponding search queries.

When you concentrate on your niche business with long tail keywords, it makes it easier to succeed. Or at least, that was the point until Google Instant came along and “killed” the long tail.

The Google Instant Connection
In addition to making things more complicated for SEO and PPC, some believe that Google Instant is also making searchers more lazy. But is there any substance to these claims? One thing is for sure, Google Instant is changing the impressions game. Did you know that if a user stops typing on a particular keyword and results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds, that counts as an impression even if they start to type again. Boo to slow typers!

Check out this search for “hair salon”. If I’m searched for a salon in LA, why would I type any further? I would simply click on the suggested term.

The argument for paid search is that people would stop bidding for long tail searches since they would benefit more from broad terms, such as this. This means high competition, high prices and more money for Google.

What do you think about Google Instant and how will it affect SEO, and long tail when it comes to paid search?

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.