SEO Keywords: Are You Branching Out?

Nowadays, exact match domains and anchor text can be a huge no-no. The focus on being search engine friendly is to include more natural and user-friendly terms that actual humans would search.

Why Variation is Important
In the post Penguin-era, it’s important for an SEO campaign to include different keyword variations, synonyms and long tail terms to catch everything that could fall in between the cracks. In some industries, such as the health or legal field, it can be difficult for clients to give the okay on including more broad or all encompassing terms. The key here is to have content with the correct jargon but to be open to the idea of focusing on queries that customers are likely to search, even if it’s not “technically” correct. There are ways to make this point clear with the content you add and educate your visitors.

Search Traffic Matters
It may be difficult to explain to clients why it’s important to focus on terms that they aren’t necessarily interested in. For example, if they are only interested in very specific phrases with low to no search traffic, aggressively pursuing these keywords might not bring a worthy ROI. On the other hand, focusing on related terms that are searched more often will help bring relevant visitors you need to your site. Once you establish favorable rankings focusing on these keywords, you can zero in on more niche and specific keywords. Having a strong foundation to tie it all back to is important in maintaining your rankings.

Are You Convinced?
Branching out of your most desired keywords list also means including branded terms and even throw away terms. Of course, you’ll still have a main list that you’re actively optimizing for, but it doesn’t hurt to diversify.

Check out these helpful articles on keywords, anchor text and more:

SEO Analytics, Middle Earth-Style
Google Penguin Update: Impact of Anchor Text Diversity & Link Relevancy
Anchor Text Variation in your Link Profile: Do It

Think Nofollow Links are Useless? Think Again!

In 2005, the infamous nofollow tag was created. When this tag is applied to a link, search engines are instructed not to take the link(s) into account for search rankings. The nofollow tag can be applied to a whole page or to each specific, individual link with the tag.

While nofollow links may seem annoying and unimportant, it’s important to remember that they’re still an important part of an effective SEO campaign. Here are some reasons why:

Helpful Links Can Still Boost Traffic: Let’s say you have some legitimately interesting or helpful links on Wikipedia, Pinterest or The Huffington Post. Even though the nofollow tag is applied to your links, people who are interested will click and be sent directly to your website. In a way, nofollow links are helpful because it encourages businesses to serve the user first and search engines afterwards.

Diversify Your Link Profile: You might think that having all “follow” backlinks is good for your site. Having no (or very little) nofollow links is suspicious because it’s not a part of a natural link profile. It’s only natural to share your site and promote it on different kinds of sites (with all different kinds of anchor text) – even if the sites apply nofollow. Your business is not only self-contained and it’s expected that you’ll gather some nofollow links here and there. A more natural profile with nofollow links from trustworthy and reliable sites is better than having dofollow links from low ranking or shady sites.

Raise Brand Awareness: Commenting on forums and Q&A sites are an easy way to share your knowledge and insights. It’s reasonable to see someone leave a link like “Your Name @ This Company“. This is just another way to build your social network and show that you are a real person who is interested in connecting with others. There are many users browse certain sites regularly and commenting consistently will help them become more familiar with your web presence.

Before you think about writing off nofollow links completely, think again. For more information about link building strategies for your small business, contact our Los Angeles internet marketing company at 323-340-4010 or send us an online message. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?

keyword researchThe secret to effective keyword advertising is thorough keyword research. If the thought of that sends shivers down your spine (in a bad way), here’s an easier way to digest this topic:

Why Research is Necessary

A recent study showed that college students don’t really know how Google works OR how to properly use it to look for the information they need. Interesting. This means that as a small business, you have your work cut out for you when it comes to choosing the right keywords by understanding user search intent.

Criteria for Choosing the Right Keywords
Here are a list of a few factors that should be taken into consideration when you choose keywords for your online marketing campaigns:

  1. Relevance and related terms – Is the selling point of your product price? If so, you’ll want to include terms such as: cheap, discount, affordable, low cost, economy, and inexpensive. If you sell products like grills or printers, you’ll also want to target accessory terms
  2. Search volume – Now that you have a list of organic, related terms that you’d like to use, it’s time to see just HOW many people search for these terms per month. Keywords with large search volumes tend to be incredibly competitive so you can narrow it down by adding more detailed keywords or a geographical region. So, which terms should your business go with? Low search volume, high search volume or somewhere in between. Having a good mix of goals is always a good idea in the short and long run of your business.
  3. Geographical target – Location is a very important decision. As a business in Los Angeles, you might want to target the entire LA area but what’s more realistic? For example, if you own a restaurant, you can even narrow it down to neighborhood. Instead of the vast, general area of Los Angeles, you can break it down to Eagle Rock, Echo Park, Silverlake etc.
  4. Intent – One word or phrase can have different meanings in the mind of a searcher. If someone types “kitchen cabinets”, they could be looking to buy new kitchen cabinets. They could also be looking for kitchen cabinet repair services or do-it-yourself guides. By tackling these topics with a wide array of keywords, you can gain more insight to different intentions that your customers may have.

Learn More About Where to Start
Keyword research requires a lot of time and patience but the payoff is well worth it. Are you ready to choose an effective list that will work for your business? Here’s a helpful article with some resources to help you learn more. And you can also check out our other blog posts on keyword research.

What Ice Cream Flavor Would Your Blog Be?

nullMmm mint chocolate chip, vanilla or even… bacon? Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much of the Food Channel, but have you ever thought of your blog in terms of ice cream? The types of different  flavors are countless and customer demand is limitless!

People learn and like things through experience, so you can maximize user experience by giving your customer what they really want. When visitors come to your website or blog, you don’t want them to be bored by just a one dimensional site. You know the ones I’m talking about, just text to no end for the sake of having content. That would be very vanilla

What are some things that make your blog stand out? Is it your knowledge of hot industry topics? Infographics, user polls, personal stories or interaction with readers? Ultimately, these are the things that will help you establish credibility in your community and industry so that users will come to you when they need a product/service you provide.

Nowadays, people are interested in something new that will really catch their attention. This is where social media and video marketing come into play. Think of these as the sprinkles and tasty toppings that go well with your ice cream blog. You don’t want this content to overpower your blog, but just enough to make your content a little more interesting.

And everyone likes free samples! So of course, you can do the same with your content – whitepapers, downloads and email newsletters are a great way to entice your customers so that they come back for more of the real thing.

It’s amazing how you can make sugar, ice and milk turn into something that’s so much more. Like ice cream, blogs are a great thing. So, when it comes to your blog, don’t just think of it as a blob of words. Mix it up with different components of content to make it a blog that people actually want to read!

Why Should Businesses Blog?

blog

For most people blogging can be seen as an enjoyable way to showcase your creativity. But what about businesses? Is there really a point in business blogging? The answer is, YES – of course!

Blogging is great for your business and you an also express your brand in an unlimited platform. Before all the fancy social media sites were available, blogging was it and nowadays, it’s still the foundation of social sharing. If you’re still  not convinced of the power of blogging, hopefully these reasons will help convince you otherwise!

  1. Attract local customers – If you have a small business, it’s important to be connected to the neighborhood, events and its people. If you’re part of your city/town’s Chamber of Commerce, you can extend your local efforts when blogging. Whether you’re focusing on promoting local business, participating in family events, volunteering for notable causes or just sharing fun company events, blogging  will help give your brand a personal touch. The upside is that you’ll be able to promote this content on multiple social networking sites so that the SEO power doesn’t stop just at your blog.
  2. Dominate the competition – As a small business, you can use blogging to set yourself apart from the competition. Relevant and regular blogging will help if your competitors aren’t blogging (or blogging consistently as you do). Use geographic key terms to get that edge and over time, this permanent asset can bring your site more traffic.
  3. Showcase your knowledge – Learning is a big part of blogging. When you write useful information that’s intended to help others, it also benefits your business. It can reinforce what you already know in your area of expertise, as well as learn more about other things and what your peers are doing.
  4. Serves as a reminder. Forcing yourself to blog can be a pain if you don’t have the time. Ultimately, blogging is a great way to remind customers that you’re still around and that you’re still relevant. Blogging keeps you on your toes and also serves a great self-reminder as to why you’re still in business!

If you can handle blogging in house, more power to you! There are also outside help that can assist with your SEO  efforts. Contact us if you’re interested in how blogging and keyword advertising can help your business grow.

What’s the Point of Your Blog?

More, please.What does successful blogging mean to you?

If you have a blog, chances are there are many reasons that motivate you. Whether you like to provide helpful information, bring more visitors to your website or just like blogging as a creative outlet, there are many ways that you can improve your blog.

One thing’s for sure, you need to approach it as if it’s more than just content for search engines. Here are some things that I try to keep in mind:

  1. Expand on what you know best. Have you ever wondered why how-to and troubleshooting articles are so popular? People link and share these posts because they appreciate specific details and even narratives.
  2. Link to your content and other blog posts. Don’t treat a blog post as if it’s just a single entity. Your posts should be interconnected and relevant. This will also be helpful for readers looking for more information and help increase the amount of time they spend on your site or blog.
  3. Practice makes perfect, so be persistent. Blogging isn’t just a one shot deal. The work doesn’t after your fingers leave the keyboard. If you feel like you haven’t quite reached the  sweet spot as a blogger, it never hurts to try again. In fact, more helpful content can only help your business.
  4. What’s the point or call to action? At the end of the day, you want to leave a lasting message whether it’s getting the reader to call, continue reading, share the post with others or just comment. Like a story, an effective blog posts needs a beginning, middle and end that brings everything together.

Blogging and even micro-blogging are becoming more important to your business and online presence. What’s the point of your blog and what do you think you need to work on?

Social Media and SEO: The Perfect Pair

Emarketed social media advertising and SEOEver have a client (or someone else) ask you what the point of social media is? They may tell you, I already have a new website and I do SEO and PPC – why would I need social media?

Let’s now take a look at some ways that social media and search engine optimization go hand in hand:

Boosting Organic Search Results

Believe it or not, participation on social sites counts as content. Search engines are constantly changing to adapt to this when displaying results. You’ll be surprised at how you’ll benefit with consistent participation. I’ve Googled my name a couple times and see my comments or “Likes” on Facebook Pages in the results. Just as you blog and optimize videos with advertising keywords, you can also incorporate this strategy when making updates.

Staying Visible in Real-Time

Using social networks increases the immediate visibility of your brand. We currently have a client whose site doesn’t show up in a search of one of their common aliases but their Twitter account does. This will help them while SEO is in the works. There are also real time search engines like Twitter Search and 48ers where users can look up any word. You can think of social media advertising just like another form of offsite promotion or in a way, linkbuilding.

Getting Back to Your Goal

In the end, social media makes sense when it comes back to your goal – bringing relevant traffic to your site. Social media sites make it so simple to share. More sharing = more clicks = more conversions. With that being said, social media cannot replace your traditional marketing efforts. It’s a flexible tool that complements your other strategies and site assets. Just think of it as another useful tool in your tool belt!

The Key to Keywords Overview

Harry Brooks of Search First Internet Marketing moderated the PR Web webinar this morning with Kye Strance of Vocus. It was an educational overview of beginning the keyword process for PR campaign. These tactics can also be the starting point of your SEO or PPC campaign.

A Keyword Advertising Outline
There are three crucial steps that anyone should start with when organizing a keyword advertising plan for a press release.

  1. What is your goal – PR relation purposes or search engine optimization? You can easily have a mix of both by optimizing your content.
  2. Keyword or key phrase research. There are many free and paid programs but Kye gave these 3 examples. Google’s Keyword Tool, Google’s Wonder Wheel and Marketing Samurai. (Maybe it’s just me but I’m a little wary of downloading free SEO software).
  3. Publicize topic. What message do you want to send? Make sure that the content you release matches with your goal(s).

Organic Optimization for Relevant Key Phrases
Organic optimization is a great way to build a relationship with the key phrases that you want. But where do you begin? Whether you offer a product or service, there are hundreds of words (synonyms and misspellings) that can describe your business. As most keyword experts will stress, you want to hit the words that bring you: high traffic with low competition. This is of course subjective for your industry so don’t be afraid to do some snooping research on your competitors. Keyword research is more than just a technique as it becomes an ~*art*~ form when you add your own special touch.