5 SEO Plugins for WordPress

Before you start blogging, you might want to consider some of these SEO plugins. They’ll help search engines find and crawl your content:

1) All-In-One SEO Pack – No blog should be complete without this tool. It’s a quick and simple way to enter all your keywords, tags, meta information, categories and more.

2) Google XML Sitemaps – This useful plugin will notify search engines every time a post is updated. This is the most efficient way for search engines to find and index all your blog content.

3) SEO Slugs – This plugin improves SEO visibility by automatically renaming the post’s file name . It will remove words that aren’t necessary in the eyes of search engines – words like “a”, “in”, and “if”. Optimized titles will help your blog get crawled more efficiently.

4) SEO Smart Links – If there’s one thing search engines like, it’s interlinking or self-linking within your own blog posts. This shows that your content is relevant and connected. This plugin automatically links keywords in your posts with other corresponding posts.

5) Simple Tags –  Simple Tags allows you to mass edit tags, suggest related tags, create tag clouds and more. It’s an easy tool to manage all your tags from one place.

What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins?

Just Attended: Writing for the Web in 2010

We love TopRank Online, so I was thrilled to catch a webinar with Lee Odden this morning. The topics were of new strategies to make better use of SEO tactics in online press releases and vice versa. So much to absorb in 1 hour and there was little time for questions at the end. Anyways, here are some important things that I took from the presentation:

Starting out with SEO Basics
As Lee puts it, “If content can be searched on, then it can be optimized for better performance in search”. However the definition of SEO is changing nowadays. You can make the most of your resources and you can also optimize your video, images, and even audio. As always, we emphasize that this is possible through relevant content and links. They are your friends and don’t forget it!

More SEO Tips
– After you have compiled a keyword glossary, use a keyword tool to target your audience more efficiently.- Keyword placement is up for debate, but Lee recommends that the important ones are placed upwards towards the top
– Optimize your content for your readers first. Then, you can go back and make adjustments to make it more search engine friendly. (Doing it the other way around!)
– Don’t overlook the importance of using keywords in the title, subheading, and text body. The title is the most important place for your keywords to be. At the same time, you don’t want your content to be overflowing with keywords. It helps to use variation and synonyms to make your piece more visually appealing and easier to digest. In a normal 500 word press release, you’ll want to use a targeted keyword around 2-4 times.

Making a Press Release Work
Traditionally, you may think that a press release is just a type of announcement. An online press release is so much different, in that you can do more than just pitch a message or event. You’ll want to inspire a call to action, whether it is having readers click through to your website, add you on Facebook, or make a call. You can direct them to a landing page for optimization analysis. Think of a press release as more than a one-time thing. A credible piece may be passed along by journalists, readers, and bloggers. With your links in place, a press release can be a very valuable investment and asset.

Effective Copywriting for Web 2.0

I recently read a magazine article describing the profession of copywriting as “sexy.” After giggling for half a second, it dawned on me that “sexy” was just the right word to use. Copywriters, through the power of the written word, are responsible for “seducing” their audience. They have the fun, yet daunting, task of generating interest and then developing that interest to lead to some sort of fruitful relationship, not unlike the dating world. And, just like the dating game, the rules have changed.

The more information that technology makes readily available to consumers, the less time these consumers have to spend on any one particular product, service or idea. The attention span of the average web user has steadily decreased as the barrage of online information continues to overwhelm human senses. With this in mind, the web copywriter must truly embrace the concept of “less is more.” Relevance and credibility are still important principles to keep in mind when writing content, but Web 2.0 consumers now want relevance and credibility…in cliff notes format. A great example of this trend is the micro-blogging phenom, Twitter. Twitter’s popularity and success is a smack-in-the-face realization that web users’ tolerance for information has been Mini-Me-ed down to 140 characters!

With that said, here are some key guidelines for downsizing a seven-course meal of content into a snack-size bar without losing the essentials:

1. Listen to data: Conduct A/B testing on different versions of headlines to determine which works best.
2. Waste not, fluff not: Don’t make claims you can’t support. Consumers can smell a phony sales pitch a mile away!
3. Forget “short and sweet”: Just keep it short. Jargon, hype, gimmicks are all unnecessary sugar-coating. Give them what they want to know.
4. Know your audience: This one seems obvious, but is worth repeating. Write copy that speaks in a voice that your target market, not only understands, but listens to.
5. Format for easy reading: Use headlines, sub headlines, short paragraphs, lists, and an eighth-grade reading level. Have your 13-year-old read the copy. If he/she doesn’t “get it” by the time their attention is lost to a new YouTube video, it’s time to rewrite!

Simple Steps to Ensure Your Website is SEO-Friendly

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

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

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

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

How Quality Score Can Help Or Hurt Your Adwords Campaign

Quality score is a somewhat mysterious variable for Google Adwords campaigns that have a real effect on the cost of your advertising. The price of your pay per click ads is determined by a combination of your bid and your quality score, which means that a good quality score can get you a higher ranking for less than the other guy is paying. So how do I get a good quality score? Well, that’s where Google is a little vague, but there are some strategies.

You can use the keyword report to discover which keywords have a low Quality Score. Once you find those weak keywords, you can use the keyword analysis tool to find out what factors are affecting your score.
keyword_analysis_tool

The analysis really only gives you three categories and a thumbs up or down. It may not be very useful if you are trying to bump your score up from an 8 to a 10, but it will let you know when you are way off base. The three areas that affect your quality score are: keyword relevance, landing page or landing page load time. Basically you want to make sure your keyword is relevant to the page your ad is linking to, this means including your keyword on the page, and maybe even creating specific landing pages for certain keywords. Also if the link is broken or takes a long time to load, your quality score will go down.

Quality score may not be your number one concern when designing an adwords campaign, but it’s a good indicator of which ads aren’t working at all, and anything that makes your campaign more cost effective is worth the time.

One Keyword Per Page

It’s expensive to create and optimize pages for search, so why not try to jam as many keywords onto one page as possible? Unfortunately this scattershot approach won’t increase your ranking, instead only diluting your results. The best number of organic search keywords to target per page is one.

It is important to have one primary focus on the page, one concept that the page is about.
Now of course you can have more than one word on the page, or target two words that mean basically the same thing. For example optimizing the same page for “certified public accountant” and “CPA” makes perfect sense. However, you should resist the temptation to use the same page as the search landing page for “CPA”, “certified public accountant”, “tax accountant”, and “tax services”. Although all of these words are related, you won’t end up with a number one Google result this way.

The bad news is, this means lots of landing pages. Sure it’s more work, but doing something right usually is. The more concepts you try to cram on a page, the more you confuse the search engine, so keep it simple. Just start with pages for your best keywords, and add a few more every week. Over time you will see much better results for the effort.

Not everyone agrees with this strategy, and it is possible to get a number one rank for multiple keywords when they are less competitive, but in a competitive environment, it is important to specialize and be clear with your seo strategy. Keeping your target keywords as close to one as possible will keep you from spreading yourself too thin and losing out on valuable traffic.

Article Optimization

The below image explains where you can insert your keywords and how you can use content for article optimization that is posted to your site on other article sites. It is important to wait until Google is picking up your article first though before submitting. Some might think this would be getting into duplicate content areas but you’ll just need to make sure that the article you submit is in fact your content and also make sure to read the guidelines of the site where you submit your article. Ezine articles is one site that we’ve used in the past.

article optimization

Search Engine Land posted this image today. Make sure and also go to the main section of this blog category and view all the images that explain many facets of search marketing. You can also click here to see the company that did these graphics and view the entire archive. Definitely a fun and interesting way to learn search marketing.

article optimization