All posts in On Page SEO

Rank your site higher and it’ll receive more traffic; obtain more visitors and it’ll rank higher on results pages.

Landing on the top positions in the results pages is becoming harder by the day. Or should be we say with each algorithm update? Some search engine optimization (SEO) consulting services try, trick and test Google. They do so using black hat techniques. But, these tactics only bring in immediate, short-term results. Also, that’s not the goal of optimization. Instead, the ultimate goal is to come up with strategies, techniques, and tactics that will produce long-term results. These results are higher ranking, bigger traffic volume, higher conversion rate and higher profits.

Interestingly, the traffic and ranking connection seems like a never-ending cycle. Rank your site higher and it’ll receive more traffic; obtain more visitors and it’ll rank higher on results pages. However, it often starts with appearing on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Now, how will you make your site appear on SERP? Here’s how.

tips to rank higher in google

The importance of backlink

Off-page optimization is as important as on-page optimization. In fact, some experts even think that the latter contributes about 80% to making the SEO campaign a success. Off-page optimization basically refers to the processes that allow getting the most number of backlinks possible.

A backlink is an incoming link from a website, web page to another website or web page. Just so you know, Google loves backlinks. For it, a website that receives lots of backlinks can be considered as an authority site. It’s because a backlink is deemed as a vote to that site. It means that the site contains unique and valuable information that can’t be found elsewhere.

The question now is – how will you earn more backlinks?

Ways to obtain backlinks

1) Competitor analysis

One of the simplest ways to earn backlinks is to copy what your best competitors are doing. Where do they get their backlinks? What sites are linking to them? Which of their contents are receiving the most backlinks? Why? When you do this, link building opportunities available to you will reveal themselves in the process. Perhaps, your competitors are not yet tapping the power of .edu and .gov sites. You can explore these opportunities to surpass their ranking results.

2) Guest blog

Guest blogging is not dead if you want to ask the question. But, the guest blogging that we are doing now is different from the guest blogging we do five years ago. Of course, we still write the content that will be published on a particular website or blog. The idea is to gain links from these established websites. Google gives more weight to this since these links are rather difficult to acquire. But, Google warns the content writers that if obtaining link is the sole purpose of doing guest blogging then, you are doing it wrong. This is the common pitfall. Instead, think of how you can add value to the readers of that blog. In this way, you’d deserve the backlink endowed to your website.

3) Web 2.0 sites

Web 2.0 sites publish user-generated contents. These sites often have social features. Examples of these sites are StumbleUpon, Reddit, and HubPages. Although Google constantly looks into backlinks created through these sites due to possible spamming, the links are highly Google-friendly. The best way to navigate through these sites is publishing 100% unique contents that target one keyword. Integrate multimedia like an image or video. Some sites only allow a backlink to your website once you reached the required number of published articles. Hence, write as often as you can.

4) Testimonials

Business partners and suppliers and other stakeholders that you do business with can also help you in ranking higher in SERPs. You may offer a testimonial to any of them. The beauty of this is that testimonials are published directly on the website. Often, a website allows the person to provide details of his or her company to show the visitors or readers that you are a real person. This means free backlinks for you. Double plus is the website where the testimonial will be published is already an authority site.

5) Link reclamation

From the name itself, it means reclaiming previously linked mentions that are no longer active now. The necessary first step is finding websites that mention your company and its products. Focus on those sites that don’t link back to your website. You may use tools like BrandMentions or Mention.net. Then, contact the website reminding its administrator to add the link to your company name, for instance. A friendly reminder will do. Remember, when contacting the website, give the full details. Include screenshots, so that the person may easily track the unlinked mention.

6) Blog aggregator

A blog aggregator is a website that lists blogs in various industries and niches. The majority of these aggregators offer a dofollow link for free. You need to submit your website for review, however, before the aggregator will include your website in the list. You will be given a unique HTML code to determine that you own the site you are submitting. Upon approval, you will see your website in its appropriate category. Also, there are blog aggregators that focus on specific niches. Make sure that you are submitting your website on the right aggregating site.

7) Broken link building

A broken link refers to a link that is not working, rendering a 404 error message (i.e. Page Not Found). When you find a 404 page that is relevant to your website, you may contact the owner of the site regarding the broken link page. Offer to write content for that page in exchange of a backlink. If you want to do this method in full swing, you might as well install the Check My Links Chrome extension.

A backlink is a strong ranking factor. Your website will not rank in Google without inbound links. If you are wondering if these will work, the answer is YES. Even the experts are doing these simple tactics. While backlinks are not the panacea, no one can underestimate the boost they can do for your ranking. It’s either you do it or your competitors will do it at your expense. It’s your call.

seo company

Image source

We all love ourselves some guru, and for us, it’s Neil Patel. In one of his articles, Neil talks about the times when a company must absolutely hire an SEO consulting services. It may not necessarily be an agency; it could be an in-house SEO. Then again, Neil also shares insights on why you must not hire your own SEO experts, that is, in-house. Here’s our take on these issues.

When do you need the help of an SEO company?

1) While planning a website

Is your company planning to launch a website soon? Some experts such as Bruce Clay advocates as early as 2012 the need for SEO web design. Yes, there is such a thing. A website that is built from scratch should be also optimized from scratch. While there could be some conflicts regarding structuring and programming the site, a website that is optimized from the ground up performs best SEO-wise.

Unfortunately, not all companies fail to realize this. The most often route taken is designing and developing the website before optimizing it instead of optimizing the design first before it should be developed. Since the website will be optimized eventually, there is the apparent redundancy in cost. Thus, for seamless integration, SEO must be considered early on the planning stage.

A website is an essential aspect of any digital marketing strategy. There is no single digital marketing campaign we’ve encountered that doesn’t involve a website. Even the content marketing is funneled down to and through the website. Website development is inescapable, and so does website optimization from the bottom up.

2) While redesigning a website

A website redesign is almost always considered due to performance issues particularly those that are hurting the user experience (UX). Come to think of it. You won’t be redesigning your site if it is performing to every expectation, right? However, a website redesign is a black hole that sucks whatever ranking and traffic you have built over the years. Would you risk losing such because of a redesign? Definitely not!

SEO should be your number consideration at this point. The experts can conduct a thorough website analysis specifically identifying which among the pages will be affected the most. The covers all aspect of SEO from inbound links to images. Afterward, the expert will come up with recommendations that can be integrated into the redesign. They call these technical SEO.

If you are thinking of doing it on your own, don’t. You cannot wing it; let an SEO company help you with this one the way you would commission a web design company to redesign your website. Just let them do what the SEO company does best. You might be surprised to know just how un-optimized your website is.

3) While recovering from a penalty

Most of the website owners only approach an SEO company when their sites were hit with a Google penalty. A sad truth. Although some site owners would learn a link building strategy or two, they don’t know any better. They won’t know that what they are doing is actually against the guidelines set by Google. In fact, some website owners don’t even know that these guidelines exist.

Recovering from a penalty, regardless of its severity, can take up to 9 months or even more, depending on the strategies and tactics employed to ‘clean’ the website. The fact that websites heavily rely on traffic to rank high cannot be emphasized enough. Technically, your site will receive low traffic volume if Google de-indexed the site. Now, you are seeing the criticality of recovering from a penalty.

The question now is if you are responsible for the de-indexing of your site, should you be the one to recover your website from the penalty? If you insist, you can do it on your own. However, don’t expect any immediate result more so if you have no idea whether the strategies you implement are effective enough to remove the penalty or not. That’s the main difference unlike when you hire an SEO to do the recovery for your website.

4) After conducting a search

That’s very simplistic. Nonetheless, what we mean is if you are doing a simple keyword search and you cannot find your website on the first page of the search results page and not even on the fifth page, then you are definitely doing something very wrong. It is either you are targeting the right keywords, but your website is ranking for the wrong keywords or that you are targeting the wrong keywords. Period.

There are two things that are evident; one, your rankings are declining and two, your traffic volumes are declining as well. These are just two of the things that SEO experts have learned to deal with with utmost eagerness and urgency. Why? Because every single traffic that your website is not able to convert is a lost opportunity. Adding insult to injury, you are losing each of them to your competitors.

Further, there are also two things that an SEO service provider possess namely recommendations and deliverables. Again, after conducting an SEO audit, the SEO specialists will give you a list of recommendations on how to improve your websites along with the target deliverables and timeline. If you or you will allow the agency to do the changes for you, then there is no reason your website should not rank in the very near future. A quality SEO company can rank your website in just three months.

Now, you can see clearly why you should not underestimate the importance of hiring an SEO agency and SEO per se. An agency is there to help, not to scam you. And don’t you ever believe the most common misconception that SEO is dead because it’ll never be; it’s so alive otherwise you won’t be here reading this article. There could be some changes in terms of algorithm updates as Neil points out. However, the core of SEO will remain the same for the years to come, and it’ll only get stronger as competition gets tougher.

How Much Time Do You Really Need to Do SEO?

how much time do you need to do seo

Search engine optimization (SEO), which some of you dread (of course, we know), seems like a daunting task. Well, it doesn’t seem so because it is really daunting. If you aren’t doing SEO yourself, you might not understand the dauntingness (love this word) of it all. This is particularly if you are letting an SEO company to do all the optimization works for you, which is completely a-okay.

Lucky for you, but if you want to know what you are paying for the man-hours involved, here’s a simple walkthrough.

 

The simplest answer

To answer the question, you will need A LOT of time to do SEO.

SEO is a multi-factored activity. It also depends on what optimization works your company needs. For example, a website that is nowhere near the top 10 search engine results page (SERP) requires more time than a website that is already ranking on positions 11 to 20 for specific keywords. These are your factors; I haven’t mentioned competition yet. Definitely, at least one of your rivals are implementing their own strategies. Likewise, the competition against top ranking keywords is another story.

Thus, an answer applicable to all companies is difficult to come by. All we can say is… it depends.

 

The work required

There are three major opportunities to optimize a website and each opportunity involves man-hours of its own. These are on-site, on-page, and off-site.

On-site SEO

Audit

On-site optimization always starts with a website audit to determine how it is currently performing SEO-wise. Optimizers need to know how does the website appeals to both users and bots. A thorough audit will be the foundation of the future improvements on the site so this must be taken seriously.

Among others, the tasks involved are:

  • Analyzing the site speed
  • Checking the keywords used
  • Conducting a keyword research
  • Analyzing the link profile (internal and external)
  • Analyzing the navigation (if the site is intuitive)
  • Checking if the site already includes micro formatting (URL, logo, and other markups)
  • Analyzing contents including structure and duplicate
  • Identifying errors (i.e. broken links, missing pages, bad codes, heavy images, etc.)
  • Checking the sitemap
  • Checking the social media activities (i.e. social widgets installation and placement)
  • Checking the site’s mobile-friendliness
  • Checking the site’s overall security
  • Checking Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmasters Tools) implementation

Estimated time: 8 to 40 hours

* More man-hours will be needed if the website will require a redesign

On-page SEO

On-page SEO forms part of the on-site SEO. It’s just that the former is taken on the page level while the latter is considered on the site level. The tasks involved are:

  • Checking the tags (i.e. title, meta, header, image alt, etc.)
  • Checking whether each page has unique tags
  • Assigning landing pages or creating new ones for each keyword

Estimated time: 8 to 16 hours

For these on-site and on-page SEO, it would be much better to check this checklist so you’d really understand what needs to be done.

Set-up

Setting up the SEO campaign starts with the implementation based on the results of the audit. The tasks involved are:

  • Implementing recommendations based on the analyses

Estimated time: 16 to 40 hours

Monitoring

After completing the initial setup, period checkups must be implemented. Adjustments must be made based on the results of each checkup. If any issues arise (major and minor), troubleshooting is required as well. Specifically, the tasks involved are:

  • Checking Google Analytics and Search Console
  • Measuring the campaign
  • Analyzing for improvements
  • Troubleshooting based on the recommendations
  • Preparing ranking and traffic reports
  • Drafting new recommendations based on the reports

Estimated time: 4 to 8 hours per week

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO are optimization efforts performed beyond the site. Nevertheless, this aspect of SEO comes in various forms and completely depends on the extent that you want to invest on it. These are tactical and yet technically optional. The tasks involved, but are not limited to the following, are:

  • Building and earning links
  • Promoting contents on social media
  • Doing other peripheral SEO strategies

Estimated time: 12 to 24 hours per week

Content development

Content creation is another daunting task and an ongoing one at that. Writing a blog post, press release or article may seem easy, but it is not. The amount of research involved alone may discourage you. Alternatively, you can outsource content writing to a service provider. In this way, you may focus on other more important things to do.

Estimated time: 4 to 16 hours per week

 

A basic caveat

In every task, you may use a tool, but be careful what you use. Basically, the use of tools is subjective. There are hundreds to thousands of SEO tools and apps online; it’s up to you to choose which one you think is the right fit to your purpose. [Notice that I said 'the right fit' not 'the best tool' because all of them claims to be the best. Pun intended.]

For best results, try using Google’s products (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, etc.). They’ll tell you what to do exactly. We use this tools for our audits as well as other tools online such as Screaming Frog and Moz.

 

The plausible timeline

Month 1 – Audit and analysis

An entire month will be devoted to analyzing the website and its current strategy. Recommendations must be made based on the analysis. It is possible to conduct the analysis and technical changes within a month.

Month 2 – Technical SEO

Again, the technical changes may have already been implemented by this time. If the website requires more than just simple coding tweaks, this can go on for at least 2 months. That’s why it is advisable to consider SEO when developing a site from scratch or during a redesign. Nevertheless, while technical SEO is on the works, building contents and links may start now.

Month 3 – Content development

Once everything’s implemented, the foundational works such as creating contents may start now. An entire month might be needed, but this will still depend on the types of contents that you want to be created. If you’ve started publishing contents on the second month, you might be seeing results on the end of the third month.

Moreover, the succeeding months must be devoted to ongoing content creation, link building and technical optimization. You have to do this to improve your search performance to the tune of #1 position. Yes, aiming for that position is hard, but no one says that it’s impossible.

To put things in perspective, you need to invest 32 to 96 hours to do the groundwork and another 20 to 48 hours per week to do SEO. So, that’s really a lot. Again, you may do it yourself, hire an in-house SEO specialist or outsource to a local SEO company. It’s your call.

 

Inc | Hobo | SEOMark | Forbes | Search Engine Watch

barnacle seo for small business

Let me start by saying whether you are doing SEO in Manila or Cebu, the web is a jungle! The Internet aims to level the playing field in terms of promoting the brand and building a customer list. At times, you’d think that it is not made for small businesses no matter how much it tried to treat all natures, scopes and sizes of businesses equally.

Small business owners usually find difficulties navigating their way to the top, at least online, as they compete with attention. These businesses typically work with a very limited budget. Gaining real traction in both organic and paid results can be daunting. Unlike those giants which seemed to dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you are a small business owner, what will you do? Don’t lose hope. Ever heard of barnacle SEO? Well, the idea behind such is easy to understand. Let’s take a look at what barnacle SEO is and what it can do to your business.

 

What is barnacle SEO

Barnacle SEO is not in its infancy. Will Scott coined the term in 2008 to replace a somewhat derogatory term ‘parasite SEO.’ Fundamentally, the concept relies with digital landscape reality wherein larger websites can rank high and obtain traffic while smaller sites often lag behind, getting lost on the sea of results.

Barnacle SEO, while most websites define it as a process, for yours truly, it is an opportunity to attach the smaller website to a larger website. We refer to Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, Google+, Trip Advisor, etc. as larger websites. Smaller websites can use these sites as a necessary vehicle so they get noticed and included in the top spots of SERPs.

If someone will search for ‘SEO packages in Cebu,’ an independent site may not necessarily appear in the first page. However, a listing in Yellow Pages may make it on the first page. The independent site attaches itself to a large site thus improving the odds of being found.

 

Why become a barnacle

Barnacle SEO is mostly applicable to small businesses operating locally. It involves profile or business page optimization on well-trusted and high-ranking sites. This means small business owners like you just need a website – your own website – to make the strategy work for you. There is thereby the strategic fit with your limited digital marketing budget.

Barnacle SEO must be a staple of your local campaign. According to Search Engine Land, Google Hummingbird seemed to favor Yelp and other business directories. In another study, Yelp is a prominent result among mobile search queries wherein 37.3% of clicks go to the profile page in Yelp while 51.8% go to Yelp profile and category.

Sites like Yelp builds brand equity. The sites are well-known and oftentimes, only real businesses are listed on them. They also provide better answers. Consider this, users are looking for information about your business and these might be buried deep into the site (i.e. the Contact Us page). Unlike content listings that straightforwardly include operating hours, menus, amenities, etc.

Perhaps, this is also the reason Google ranks these sites high on SERPs as they provide better answers to queries. Business listings and directories are the big ships online, so you should barnacle on them.

 

How to become a barnacle

Before you can become a successful barnacle, you must know which sites you should be attaching yourself to. As you may know by now, not all sites are created equal and so are the larger sites. Some sites rank higher in specific industries.

Find the most applicable sites to attach yourself to. Start by doing a keyword search. Choose those sites with the most consistent results. Attach your site to these sites. Prioritize those sites that appear higher on SERPs when you search for a particular keyword.

Next, create a business profile on your chosen sites. Claim the profile as if it is the only business on your category or niche. Treat the profiles as an extension of your business. Rule of thumb: make sure that the information on all your profiles is accurate and consistent specifically the contact details. This is critical since a slight difference in the business address, for instance, can confuse Google and other search engines.

Take the time to upload images especially your company logo and others that show off the business like maps, galleries or menus. Some sites allow customization of the profile page. Make your profile appear like your own website. Think about visual branding. These are the major conversion points for your prospects.

Optimizing your profile to maximize the results is necessary. First, you need to submit your information in Google Places. A brief yet compelling description of the business must be apparent including a list of your product and service offerings. Include the basic info and the links to your website. Make sure that the links are working. Test them.

When creating business description copies, the SEO world is divided whether to optimize the description including keywords or not. Basically, small business opts for barnacle SEO because it cannot pay for high-competitive keywords. You may put your primary keywords on the description without being too blatant about it. Simply, integrate the keywords as organic as possible.

Majority of the sites welcome customer feedback. Encourage your customers to provide reviews and testimonials on the site. The review profile leverages your online presence and visibility especially on the results pages.

 

Barnacle SEO is processual which means results are not immediate. It will take a few weeks or even months before you can observe changes. However, the results are always worth the time, effort and (minimal) money that you have invested in it. Getting noticed may be hard at first. Barnacle SEO presents itself as a high-ROI strategy for small business. Leveling a playing field indeed!

To become a barnacle or not? This is the most pressing issue here. Anyhow, creating with the help of web companies in the Philippines is easier. Your concern should be providing real answers to your prospects when ranking high on search engines is difficult at the moment.

barnacle seo

Caveat: There are SEO consultancy firms that can help you decide whether barnacle SEO is appropriate for your business or not. These firms can also provide you with options of strategies so your rank higher on SERPs on the price specifically created for small businesses.

 

Sources: Search Engine Journal | Search Engine Land | Moz

company mentions on social mediaThe link building services that we know today are very different from those offered 5 years ago or so. Nowadays, link building is all about indicating how useful the site is and making the website more trustworthy. One of the ultimate measures of a site’s success is the growing number of company mentions, which make it a worthy to consider as part of the services portfolio.

 

What is ‘mention’ exactly‘

Mention’ is often referred to as company, brand or social mention. Simply, a mention is the remark made about the brand and its products and services. Mentions mostly occur on social media hence the allusion ‘social mention.’ For instance, even before it started, the World Cup had already generated over 19 million mentions on various social media platforms.

Technically, Google refers to ‘mentions’ as implied links. In its Panda Patent, Google highlights that ranking in the future will be about links and mentions. These can be express or implied link or both. Express links are hyperlinks or links that are included in the source resources users can follow when navigating to the target resources. Implied links, on the other hand, are references to target resources such as citations wherein users cannot follow when navigating to the target resources. Hashtags are good examples of mentions.

Thereby, mentions are essential in maintaining positive online reputation. Online reputation is the main difference between traffic that will look into your brand and its products and services and traffic that don’t care. No one wants to be overlooked on the webosphere!

 

Generating more mentions on Facebook, Twitter, forums, etc.

Now that billions of people are actively participating on social media, the next best thing is to get them to talk about your brand and offers. It isn’t enough that you control and monitor your Facebook page, but you also have to streamline mentions beyond your Facebook walls. Here are some ways to do so. The recommendations below are the results of a study analyzing 1 billion public company mentions online.

1) Communicate on Tuesdays to Thursdays

communication social mediaWhile Thursdays reported to witness the most company mentions at 15.78%, you should also communicate with your public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 15.68% and 15.52%, respectively. Saturdays and Sundays have the fewest number of mentions.

What do these figures tell us? You can interact with your target market during the weekdays. However, don’t forget to give them something to ponder on weekends. Develop contents that are scheduled to be published on weekends, so that your market will have something to mention during the week.

2) Communicate promptly

Although only 8% of your Twitter followers have over 500 followers, you need to enforce 1:1 connection. This only means to communicate with those who directly mention your brand and products and services. Answer a tweet in an hour or less.

Answer the tweets directed to you as well as those tweets about your brand. This guides people’s mindset about the level of service quality you can provide them. Speed and relevance are concrete differentiators between you and the rest of the brands in your industry.

3) Communicate on the right platforms

social media company mentionsPlatforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. Nonetheless, Twitter dominates with 66% of all company mentions analyzed. Bottom-line, reach your target audience and create a brand voice that everyone can recall and relate to be it in Twitter, Facebook or other platforms. For example, if analytics reveal that your target market engages with your brand more on LinkedIn, then treat LinkedIn as your main platform.

Add depth, realness and openness to each platform so that people may discover your brand more. Post constantly and analyze the results. Then, you can identify opportunities that you can capitalize on further.

4) Communicate in different languages

communication in different languagesAbout 64% of the mentions are in English, and the rest is in different languages. If you are a global business, you cannot underestimate the power of non-English company mentions. If you are a local business, you might as well use English and the language that most of your target audience is using.

Build the impression that you want to achieve by answering the questions of your audience in the same language that they use. They will think that your company is always ready and willing to help – an invaluable impression that is important in nurturing the company culture.

 

Tools to help you in monitoring mentions

There are two commonly used mention tracking and monitoring tools online: Mention and HootSuite. Users are notified whenever a site, page or user mentions your brand name, allowing the company to respond to inquiries and questions directly and promptly. Other tools to consider are:

TweetBeep

tweetbeepTweetBeep notifies users whenever someone mentions the company in as short as 15 minutes. It also tracks domain mentions. TweetBeep still notifies the users even when the user used shortened URL in the tweet, so you’d stay in top of most conversations. Users can also see whenever someone shares the blog post or any link from the site. This is a free service.

 

 

BrandWatch

brandwatchBrandWatch monitors and analyzes brand mentions as well as the mentions of your relevant keywords. The tool archives data and conversations on social media so users can track and analyze their online presence. BrandWatch is a paid service.

 

Google Alert

google alertGoogle Alert monitors both reputation and competition. It also allows users to conduct quality backlink opportunity identification in addition to competitor research. The service allows users to track up to 1,000 alerts. Google Alert notifies the user through an email. This is also a free service. Create your first alert here.

 

 

Social Mention

Social Mention searches keywords across various platforms. It also shows which online users are tsocial mentionalking about your brand and their general sentiments. The tool also breaks down average mentions in an hour and reach. However, it mostly mine old mentions, so the mentions are not as relevant and accurate compared to other tools that offer real-time mention monitoring. Social Mention notifies users through an email or RSS feed. This is yet another free service.

 

The last thing that a company wants is to be overlooked on the web. Tracking, monitoring and analyzing mentions are important in building and maintaining a progressive online reputation. Assessing competitors, analyzing campaigns and tracking trends is now possible with communicating more effectively and using tools that can help you achieve the purpose.

Search engines like Google love fresh and new content. As they aim to give their users the most relevant and latest results, their crawlers are always on a lookout for new pages on the web to discover and include in their indices.

blog-seo-wordcloud

 

How To Optimize Blog Content

Contents on a blog attract not just user traffic but those of the search engine spiders as well. Learn the secrets to optimizing your entries. Here are ten tricks to show you how.

 

1.       It’s all about quality, relevance and uniqueness. Keep them original. Pick trending topics in your industry and breaking news within your niche and you are guaranteed to reach SEO rankings in no time. Make sure that the knowledge you impart is useful and timely. Aim for write-ups that answer common questions or solve people’s problems. Avoid spinning articles for the purpose of quantity.

 

2.       Maximize snippets. Snippets are excerpts that describe your entire article. These brief descriptions are visible on the SERP. The more compelling and attention-grabbing they are, the higher the chance that visitors will click on the link, arrive at your site, and read the full entry.

 

3.       Use eye-catching titles. Your title is the first thing that grabs the users’ attention. Make it descriptive so that your audience need not second guess what the post is all about. Avoid over-optimization and inserting awkward words just for boost SEO score.

 

4.       Apply proper keyword placement and variation. The trick is positioning your key terms near your images to emphasize its importance. Employ varied anchor texts for maximum outcome.

 

5.       Keep the length standard. Ideal number of words range from 400 to 600. Make them concise and spot on.

 

6.       Integrate various media types on your posts. Do not be limited with just text. Upload original photos. Create video tutorials. Insert images, videos, infographic and podcasts to impress an interactive content.

 

7.       Take notice of timing and frequency. The secret lies on posting regularly – 3 to 4 times per week and timing them in where majority of your readers are online. As you do this, the opportunity to get your write-up shared tends to go a little higher too.

 

8.       Allow reverse guest posting. Coordinate with influential bloggers in your field and invite them to write something for your blog. The variety of tone on your posts not only charms new readers but it also increases your credibility as a good resource.

 

9.       Be mindful of errors. This pertains to wrong spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar. Keep your content error-free.

 

10.   Use categories and tags. A tag makes it easier for your visitors and search engines to find a specific topic of interest. Hence, do not forget to include this at the end of each post.

Blogging is one of the best methods to improve SEO performance. As each blog post becomes a new page, it then provides fresher and newer content on the website which is exactly what Google wants. Integrating a weblog then is a marketing technique that most businesses apply on their sites.

BlogSEO-001

 

How To Optimize Your Blog For Search Engines

Optimize your pages to improve SEO ranking. Here is a quick guide to show you how.

1.       Keywords. Choosing your keyword set is one of the critical keys to make the optimization work. The terms must be targeted and niche-related, diverse, placed strategically in the content, and fully applied on the most important elements of a blog:

  • Blog title and description
  • Meta data – meta title and description
  • Content – post title, headlines, sub-headlines, headers, sections, introductory sentence, concluding paragraph all with varied anchor texts
  • Images via alt tags
  • Permalink URLs

2.       On-page. These factors are equally important to send favorable signals to the search engine bots.

  • Theme. This comprises of having a neat design that has easy and smooth navigational structure and clean CSS and HTML codes.
  • Loading Speed. The quick speed in which the page loads usually equates to good user experience. Hence, install plugins that will output optimal results.
  • Sitemap. A sitemap is a full map of all your posts, pages and archives. Generating one regularly and submitting it to Google helps the spiders to index your posts better.

3.       Links. This pertains to both internal and external links.

  • Internal. There shouldn’t be any broken link anywhere on the website.
  • External or Inbound. Increased traffic is one of the benefits of SEO and one way to improve the number of visitors coming to your weblog is through building relevant baclinks in a natural way.

 4.       Social Media. Google is looking to social media mentions as an indicator of an article’s authority and relevance. Thus, having profiles in Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and other major social networking sites plays a huge role in getting your content spread out over the web. Adding share buttons at the end of each post makes a big difference as well.

 5.       Mobile-friendly. In today’s age where almost everyone is on mobile, it has become a necessity to ensure that your articles are accessible on smartphones and tablets too. It is then advised to either create a mobile-version of your entire site, blog included, or go for responsive web design.

Search engine optimization has gone far beyond getting as many links as you can for your website. With the many changes brought by the Google Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, SEO strategies have evolved as well.

hootsuite-400-300

The focus nowadays is on quality content – as it should be. Although quality content has always been emphasized as the more permanent tool for optimizing your website, some SEO specialists worked around this with spammy content, keyword stuffing, and other black hat SEO strategies. With the changes that Google has made on its search algorithm, the spotlight is back on building good reputation within your site’s niche.

Here is where social media comes into play. Social media’s rise in popularity has made it a powerful medium for marketing. Somehow, it has also found a way to affect search engine optimization. Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management programs. If you are more oriented towards SEO rather than social media marketing, is it worth your time to use Hootsuite? Below are some ways in which you can use Hootsuite to boost your SEO efforts.

 

  • Post to your Google+ business page. Google’s own social network, Google+, is quickly rising to be a serious challenger to becoming the most popular social network. Many businesses will benefit with a well-optimized Google+ business page especially with the increased importance of Google authorship. Hootsuite is a great application that can help make it easier for you to manage your Google+ business page. Hootsuite has the capability of posting to Google+ business pages so that you can quickly and conveniently post across all your social media accounts.
  • Post a link to your website through Twitter or Facebook. Two of the most popular social media networks are Twitter and Facebook. Hootsuite helps you utilize these social networks in promoting any content that you want to leverage on your website. This strategy has been proven to deliver significant traffic to web pages being linked to.
  • Get analytics reports. When you post links to your site through your social media accounts, you can then get insight on what works and what does not for your social media audience. Hootsuite has built in analytics reports that provide a lot of data into which posts are being clicked through, which posts are getting noticed, how many comments and shares particular posts are getting, and many more. These may not seem important at first, but the data from these reports will provide information on the topics that your target audience likes and what would stimulate high engagement.

In the world of SEO, inbound link is an important determining factor to rank on Google. Having a number of quality backlinks can signify how popular a website is and for the search giant, it can serve as a signal that the site is an authority resource hence worth looking at by searchers around the globe.

There are several ways to build links. Writing guest blogs is one of them.

 

Why Do Reverse Guest Blogging

While guest blogging mainly comprises of you looking for relevant sites to post your content to, it’s exactly the opposite for reverse guest blogging. With the latter, you’re not on the hunt for weblogs anymore. You’re on a lookout for great bloggers instead.

 

Guest-Blogger

 

Regardless if you are an SEO company, a food and beverage firm or telecommunications agency, find out the reasons why you should add this to your strategy for guaranteed SEO

rankings.

 

1.       You are basically in control. You get to pick who will write on your weblog. All you need to do is find the blogger and offer him or her a space on your website to publish a write-up. Contrary to the usual way where after spending hours on looking for a great blog to submit your article to you are left wondering whether they’ll accept or decline, this method is entirely different. It involves less work on your end. The blogger does all the writing, and more often than not, so does the promotion as well.

2.       Your web traffic and backlinks get boosted. An experienced writer has his own set of following and fans. As he blogs on your site, his loyal audience will most likely check it out which can translate to an increase in your traffic. It can also improve your visibility, link-wise, once the write-up is shared on the top social networks.

3.       You promote good partnership. When you reach out to or in contact with someone who will regularly publish his or her works on your blog, it signifies that you value his skills and enjoy his craft. This promotes good will and strong relationship in the future.

4.       You provide fresh ideas to your readers as well as regular articles to Google. Everyone wants something new once in a while. Doing this will give them a fresh intake about a certain topic you haven’t blogged about yet. It will also catch the attention of the search engine bots as you frequently post on your weblog.

 

 

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages aimed to aid visitors and web crawlers find the different sections on your website. It can either be an HTML sitemap which is designed for users so they can easily browse the contents, or an XML version that is intended for bots so they can include every part of your site to their search engine index. We’ll talk about XML sitemaps on this post.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Definition and Importance of an XML Sitemap
  2. Sitemap Usage
  3. Protocol, Formats and Types

3.1   Sitemap Protocol

3.2   Sitemap Index File

3.3   File Formats

3.4   File Types Based on Content and Device

        1. Image Sitemap
        2. Video Sitemap
        3. News Sitemap
        4. Mobile Sitemap
  1. Web-based and Downloadable Sitemap Generators
  2. How To Submit An XML Sitemap

5.1   Submit Sitemap via an HTTP Request

5.2   Submit Sitemap through Robots.txt

5.3   Submit Sitemap via Webmaster Tools

        1. Google Webmaster Tools
        2. Bing Webmaster Tools
  1. XML Sitemap Best Practices

 »Definition and Importance of an XML Sitemap

One significant task when you perform an SEO Audit Checklist  is to submit an XML Sitemap. In simple terms, an XML sitemap or an Extensible Markup Language sitemap is a map of your site. It contains the overall structure, sections, links and information about all the pertinent URLs found on your website. It is basically submitted to Google and Bing so they can:

  • quickly navigate around your site
  • add your pages to their index
  • be immediately informed about any changes made on your website
  • understand which among the pages are most important
  • improve your visibility on search results
  • help you discover broken links or orphaned pages within your site

»Sitemap Usage

Sitemaps are especially useful if your site:

  • has dynamic content
  • has rich AJAX, Flash, scripts, videos or photos on the page
  • is relatively new and has built minimal internal and external links
  • has a large directory of archived content yet no good internal linking structure to active pages

 »Protocol, File Formats and Types

Sitemap Protocol.

An XML sitemap follows a data protocol as stated on Sitemaps.org.

Required/optional tags for a sitemap file:

  • should begin with an opening <urlset> tag and end with a closing </urlset> tag
  • should specify the namespace (protocol standard) within the <urlset> tag
  • should include a <url> entry for each URL, as a parent XML tag
  • should include a <loc> child entry for each <url> parent tag
  • <lastmod>, <changefreq>,  <priority> tags are optional.

Here’s an example. Items in italics are optional.

1

Each sitemap file has the following limitations:

  • must have no more than 50,000 URLs
  • must be no larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes)

Sitemap Index File.

For large sites (e.g. e-commerce sites) that do not meet the usual requirements, a sitemap index may be used.

Required/optional tags for a sitemap index file:

  • should begin with an opening <sitemapindex> tag and end with a closing </sitemapindex> tag
  • should include a <sitemap> entry for each Sitemap as a parent XML tag.
  • should include a <loc> child entry for each <sitemap> parent tag.
  • <lastmod> tag is optional.

Here’s an example:

2

File Formats.

Google and Bing supports the following file formats for a sitemap:

  • XML format based on the Sitemap protocol
  • RSS, mRSS and Atom 1.0 (for Google)
  • Text file (for Google)

File Types Based On Content and Device.

Google supports specialized sitemaps based on the content type and device used on your website.

  • Image Sitemap.

As image search is separate from web search, it then equally important to create and submit an image sitemap. For each URL you list, note the essential images on that page. You can record up to 1,000 images for each page.

Required/optional tags:

-should begin with an opening <image:image> tag and end with a closing </image:image> tag

-should include a <image:loc> child entry for each <image:image> parent tag

-<image:caption>, <image:geo_location>,  <image:title>, <imagelicense> tags are optional.

3

  • Video Sitemap.

    For video sitemaps, you can either add video information to an existing sitemap or generate an mRSS feed for your site and submit the feed as a sitemap. Each video sitemap or mRSS feed file that you provide must be under 50MB in size when uncompressed, and can contain no more than 50,000 video items. If it exceeds the usual limit, you can submit multiple Sitemaps and a Sitemap index file. Read more about the video-specific tags and protocols as recommended by Google Webmaster Tools.

  • News Sitemap.

    This is a special file that allows Google News to discover, crawl and index all news articles faster; extract and display article information and characterize content more accurately; and annotate them with meta data. Learn the protocols and news-specific tags here.

4

 »Web-based and Downloadable Sitemap Generators

If you’re an SEO company or an Internet/Digital Marketing agency, it would be a great practice to make use of tools and sitemap generators available over the web to easily facilitate the sitemap creation. Here are a few free and paid options:

1.       Sitemap Generator by XML-Sitemaps.com. Build sitemap online in different formats: XML, text, ROR, HTML.

2.       Google Sitemap Generator Tool by Internet Marketing Ninjas. Generate Sitemaps over the internet in XML, Excel and HTML formats. Additional Reports include: Internal Page, External Links, Internal/External Redirects, Internal/External Errors Reports.

3.       Google Sitemap Generator for Windows by GSiteCrawler. Download and Install on your Windows unit.

4.       A1 Sitemap Generator 4.2.0 by Micro-Sys ApS. Download for free, fully functional with a 30-day evaluation period, format includes: HTML, XML, image, video.

5.       Google XML Sitemaps, Image XML-Sitemap Generator and Google XML Sitemap for Videos, WordPress Plugins. Install these plugins if your website platform is WordPress.

»How to Submit an XML Sitemap

There are mainly three ways to submit an XML sitemap to search engines.

How to Submit Sitemap via an HTTP Request.

Type this line to your browser’s address bar. Use the following format:

For Google:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=http://www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml

For Bing:

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml

How to Submit Sitemap through Robots.txt.

Insert a line on your robots.txt file, typically at the end of the file, referencing the location of your sitemap.

Example:

Sitemap: http://www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml

How to Submit Sitemap via Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools.

1.       Verify that you own the website via Google Webmaster Tools.

  • Sign in to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Type in your website.
  • Either copy the meta tag indicated or download the HTML verification file.

Example of meta tag:

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”z5mJLjVGtEe5qzCefW1pamxI7H46u19n4XnxEzgl1AU” />

  • Insert the meta tag on your homepage header or upload the HTML file on the root directory.
  • Once done, go back to Google Webmaster Tools and click verify.

2.       Once verified, head over to Site configuration and choose Sitemaps.

3.       Enter your sitemap URL: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

4.       Submit.

Bing Webmaster Tools.

1.       Sign in to Bing Webmaster Tools.

2.       Use Sitemaps Tool. Paste the sitemap URL into the Direct Sitemap Submission text box.

3.       Click Submit.

 »XML Sitemaps Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices to follow to ensure that your sitemaps are well crawled and submitted:

1.       Adhere to the Sitemap guidelines:

  • Must be UTF-8 encoded
  • URLs must be URL-escaped and encoded
  • Required tags such as namespace must always be indicated.

2.       Know the limits.

  • For a generic XML sitemap, must not have more than 50,000 URLs and not larger than 10MB.
  • For an image sitemap, enlist up to 1,000 images per page.
  • For a video sitemap, must be under 50MB in size when uncompressed, and can contain no more than 50,000 video items

If it exceeded the above limits, use Sitemap Index File instead.

3.       On using Sitemap Index file, remember to upload the referenced multiple sitemaps under the same root domain.

4.       For image sitemaps, including <image:title> tag is a must.

5.       Validate before going live. Use W3C XML Validator.

6.       Always upload at the root folder of your website.

7.       Make it a habit to regularly check your Webmaster Tools for crawl results.

 

References:

http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html                                                                             http://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/blog/search-engine-optimization/the-ultimate-guide-to-xml-sitemaps http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=20986&parent=8476&ctx=topic http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156184 http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=183668&ctx=cb&src=cb&cbid=1gkdr7vlcoxwn&cbrank=1 http://www.bing.com/blogs/site_blogs/b/webmaster/archive/2009/08/15/uncovering-web-based-treasure-with-sitemaps-sem-101.aspx                                                                                                                                              http://www.webconfs.com/importance-of-sitemaps-article-17.php

 

 

 


 

Optimind offers guaranteed first page ranking on major search engines or your money back.