Happy Movember from MOmarketed

Greetings, MoBros and MoSistas! Forget about November… it’s all about Movember.

Contrary to what most people think, Movember is more than just a silly excuse to grow facial hair:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

In other words, it’s a great month to raise awareness for men’s health and to have fun while doing so. The growing popularity of Movember wouldn’t be possible without sharing via social media. Check out these stats from last year by Radian 6:

– Terms that increased in November include: “getting checked”, “make an appointment” and “see a doctor”
– Mentions of “MoBros” on social media = nearly 18,000
– Mentions of prostate cancer has increased month to month since August

It’s expected that 1.6 million men will raise over $120 million this Movember. While traditional social networks are great for spreading the word about worthy causes, this article on TechCruch also explores the world of social networking for collaborative research. How great is it for scientists and researchers to share their findings and work on a more sophisticated social networking? Now this is a step in the right direction that we can all get behind.

Make sure to check out our team page:
http://us.movember.com/team/659789 and share your progress with us if you’re partaking in Movember this year. In the words of our comrades: Let the mustache madness begin!

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

What Is Google Author Rank?

If you know about Google’s Page Rank, it’s also important to understand exactly what Author Rank is and how it affects Page Rank and rankings in general. It all begins with creating a profile on Google Plus that is linked to your website content. Although making this addition is easy, there is more to it in order to effectively boost your search engine results.

author rank

What: In an attempt to further fight spam and integrate social signals, Google has introduced Author Rank. This is a measure of your social influence and success, meaning that Google takes into account the number of people who have added you to their Circles, how often you update, your social mentions and more. More content and more social interactions = more authority and better Author Rank. Take a look at how Google places emphasis on a credible author. Not to mention that a visual element provides a competitive edge that will help increase click-through-rates.

Why: Since your Google Plus profile is linked to your real name, picture, email address (and sometimes phone number and address) it’s a credible source and proof that you’re a real person. On top of that, being in more Circles will show that you are a voice of influence in your respective industry. The assumption is that you can provide more benefit to consumers rather than any other site that have not gone through the vigorous steps and verification to add the Author tag. Once the Author tag is added, it’s easier for Google to track the quality of your social associations and apply it towards your site’s Page Rank.

How: Once you’ve signed up for Google Plus, you just need to add a small code to the bio page on your site and the corresponding URL to the Contributor To section of your Profile. (Don’t worry, it’s nothing fancy or advanced.) Click here to for an in-depth tutorial for adding the rel=author tag to your site.

Fighting web spam isn’t an easy thing to do and social signals are a way to combat it. So, webmasters rejoice! This tool can only help add more visibility to your website and increase your trustworthiness. To learn more about how Author Rank can affect your SEO content, check out this handy infographic here.

What’s the Worst SEO Advice You’ve Heard?

It’s not unusual to come across questionable advice when combing for SEO news. Having different theories, ideas or conspiracies is fine… but some things are just plain ridiculous. Here are a few bad ones that I’ve seen lately and if these are part of your online organic strategy, it should be time to reconsider:

1) Don’t worry about search engine updates – In other words, keep doing what you’re doing and everything will be just fine. Right… Google Panda updates have consistently been rolled out within weeks of each other. In what world does it make sense to ignore these important updates? (Keep in mind that this isn’t a change in the algorithm, just a refresh). The idea is there but there’s no way you can completely ignore these updates and expect stable rankings.

2) All you need to worry about is creating great content – Preaching creation of great content is great but there’s more to online marketing than just that. Links are an essential part of helping readers find your content. This involves on page SEO, external linking and social factors. In the wake of all these Google updates, there are many proponents who believe that “less is more” and that can be a good thing. But it’s important not to leave out the basic aspects of optimization.

3) If your competitors are outranking your business, copy their methods – From copying link sources, website design to anchor text, I’ve heard it all! Copying a competitor is not a great idea as you might not understand everything that they’re doing to achieve those high rankings. You might think that it’s one thing but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that could make all your hard work ineffective… or even worse, it could tank your site! Lastly, how are you ever going to differentiate and have a clear brand voice if you’re getting all your ideas from someone else? It’s fine to get inspiration but in the end, you have to make it your own and make sure that it fits in with your long-term goals.

4) More content/links will help me rank better – I recently came across a case studies page of an internet marketing firm. Their “success” stories went a little something like this: Before: 78 web pages / After: 395 web pages. Before: 254 backlinks / After: 3764 backlinks. Since when did quantity become more important that quality? If you come across a company like this, it’s ok to question it. Let’s say you have 10 pages on a niche area and are still not ranking well – it’s time to ask WHY and not ask for MORE content. If you can’t rank for desirable phrases with that much content, something is seriously wrong.

Let us know of any bad or questionable advice you’ve heard recently.

Video Marketing Opportunities for Small Businesses

youtube ad

Some small businesses may not be aware of how video marketing services can greatly benefit their online reputation. Let’s take a look at 3 ways videos can help your business:

1) Improve Customer Relations – Videos are a great platform to do webinars, short Q&A’s, tutorials and more. In these cases, the content is free and easily accessible so that you help establish your company as a credible source of information when customers need more assistance. On the other hand, some larger companies (Domino’s and Playstation) have used videos as a medium to quickly apologize and address unhappy customers. Either way, it helps to utilize and integrate a different form of communication via video.

2) Enhance Brand Awareness – When you create videos, this shows passion and knowledge that you have for your specific industry. Not to mention that putting a face to your business helps establish trust and a genuine representation of your company. (Just think of what Matt Cutts represents for Google and Rand Fishkin for SEOmoz.)

3) Reach a Larger Audience – If you’re interesting in using video ads to promote your business on YouTube, that’s now possible! In a way, it works like Adsense, where a company can bid on keywords that are related to their business. With more users on YouTube, don’t expect this ad trend to disappear. This is an area that small businesses can really embrace to find relevant customers.

Find out more about video marketing in these related blog posts:
Does Your Business Use Facebook Video?
Video Marketing for Your Business

Google’s April Search Quality Highlights: What Stands Out For You?

What a month it’s been! Google has released 52 search quality updates over the past month and it’s felt like non-stop changes in search results.

While you can check out the entire list here, these are a few that stood out:

Smoother ranking changes for fresh results. This update is meant to help users easily find fresh, breaking news stories. For example, if you search “Google Panda Updates” you can expect stories about the latest update (Panda 3.6) to be at the top of the search results. This is slight factor plays a minor role in ranking changes and you can expect more to come as the algorithm is tweaked to be more sensitive to fresh stories.

Keyword stuffing classifier improvement. Google has designed a keyword stuffing detector so that they can better seek out sites that are participating in this outdated and ineffective practice. As we can assume, this was one of many signifiers used in the Penguin update, which solely targeted “webspam”.

Less snippet duplication in expanded sitelinks. It’s a well known fact that Google is averse to duplicate content and content that is used over again site wide. With this update, Google is working on reducing duplicate snippets of expanded sitelinks. This means that you’re less likely to see the same content summary of related topics that you’re searching for. In another related update, Google also worked on displaying the beginning of the content on each page for snippet results to give users a better idea of what they’re about to click on.

More authoritative results. This is a vague mention of an important update. Google has updated a signal that they use to find more authoritative content. Perhaps this is related to the PageRank update, although it technically occurred in May.

What do you think of last month’s search updates and do you think they’re helping you prepare for changes in the upcoming months?

Spring Forward with Your SEO Efforts

spring forwardDaylight saving time – today marks change! Leaping forward one hour brings a sense of freshness that can revitalize your SEO goals and overall strategies for online marketing. As we transition from winter into spring, your business should also embrace this seasonal change and keep moving forward to see how you can improve.

Here are a few resources to inspire you:

For Spring cleaning: Google released 40 search quality highlights. Even though these rolled out late-February, they’re important because the changes are still being seen now, for better or for worse. You can use this list like a check list and take care of the ones relevant to your business.

Schema.org and video marketing: Although it can be time consuming, this code is easy to implement and highly effective. So effective that Google is actually recommending it. So, what are you waiting for?

Re-educating yourself about WordPress and other CMS: This article explains why a Theme could actually your your SEO. As with using any template, you have to make sure that a tag like rel=canonical or duplicate meta information is being applied the same way to every page. Image if the nofollow tag was accidentally applied all over your site without you knowing!

Find out why the iPad will transform web design: This means that you can expect higher quality, faster-loading websites with clean designs and crisp graphics. This means that you (or your designers) will have to work even harder to achieve the desired results!

So, enough about work… don’t forget that this springtime season of change also comes down to your personal life. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy time by yourself and your loved ones. As for me, I’m already looking to warmer weather and more daylight! What are you looking forward to?

SEO Content: How Much is Too Much?

Do you need to add more SEO content to your website? And how much and how often is it needed?

More, More, More

These are difficult questions to answer without knowing more details. The important thing to remember is that since Google’s Panda Updates, your site’s quality is becoming more important. That’s right, quality over quantity. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain, but  you’d still be surprised at how many clients are firm in wanting to add 10+ pages/blogs per day!

Who Comes First in Optimization
Think about it… if you’re adding that much content a day, how much of it is actually good, useful and meant for actual human beings? All along, SEO consultants and other experts have told us to build sites for people first and then optimize for search engines.

This isn’t a new concept.

What to Do with New/Old Pages
Instead of focusing on adding more pages and looking at a set amount of pages per month, it’s time to shift your focus. Sure, this strategy is more time consuming and requires more critical thinking, but it is a move that will be well worth it in the end. By looking at your Google Analytics account, Page Rank, or whatever measurements you’d like to use, you can make a list of effective pages on your site. These pages will rank well for relevant terms and have strong staying power in search engine ranking reports.

As much as you don’t like to admit, there are some pages that aren’t receiving as much attention… or the attention that they deserve. Don’t delete these pages and feel like you have to start over. In fact, the age of these pages can work to your advantage once you rework the content and re optimize.

While continuously adding mountains of content may seem like an easy and logical thing to do, it’s better to take a break sometimes. Re optimization is a complex process and there’s no shame in asking for help. Contact us on any questions and find out how we can help!

Optimization for a Lower Bounce Rate

bounce rate How high is your website’s bounce rate? Obviously, a lower bounce rate is desirable. But depending on your industry, the “norm” can greatly vary.

If you take a look inside your Google Analytics account, it’s important to remember to look not only at the OVERALL bounce rate, but the bounce rate of individual landing pages. This applies whether you’re reorganizing your website or setting up new pay per click landing pages. Let’s say that your overall average is around 40%, but if you take a look at your home page, you find that the bounce rate is 80%! This means that 80% of customers aren’t finding what they need and leaving very quickly.

As a starting point, here are a few things you can look at:

Page load time: Let’s face it, who likes sitting around waiting for a page to load? If your site is slow, you can make it more effective by optimizing photos, your layout and cutting down on unnecessary content.
Design – Do you have a search engine friendly web design? Sometimes, a more complex design might sound appealing to make your site stand out while squeezing in all the information you want customers to find. But this won’t help your website unless it’s something that your customers are responding to, and not what you’re personally partial to! Take a step back and do some testing between some more simpler designs to find out for sure.
Relevancy – Here’s one more reason not to use broad keyword terms all over your website. Although you may want to rank for a variety of different keywords, your customers will want to find exactly what they’re looking for. If a certain keyword brings them to your site and they find that it’s irrelevant, your site is not useful. The last thing you want to do is to mislead potential customers. The best solution is to optimize per page/section and use specific keywords that describe exactly what they can expect to find on that page.

In the end, remember that a bounce rate is only one of many factors you can use to gauge your progress. But it is an important one as optimizing for a lower bounce rate can also improve your content focus, site design and even SEO.