Are More Keywords Better for SEO?

This post is brought to you by an actual conversation I had this past week:

“If I add all related keywords related to my site, why do I need to do anything else?”

Unfortunately, many people have this same point of view when it comes to how online organic SEO works. Search engine optimization is a constant process that needs to be updated to the changing industry and search engine algorithms. But it can be confusing when you ask yourself why it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it process once you add as many keywords that you can possibly think of.

As we can’t emphasize enough, accurate and detailed keyword research is vital to any successful SEO campaign. Search engine and search users are more sophisticated than most people think!

The Google Keyword Tool is an effective and free way to research:

Which keywords to use: lawyer or attorney, expert or professional, best or great, shop or store, sofa or couch? Check the data and you’ll see that some phrases that you think are similar have much different search data.

Search competition: Do you want to rank well for a phrase that has half a million + competitors? This will require an aggressive plan that takes place over a course of many months. In the mean time, you can conquer other phrases with less competition by using the right long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords: These will usually run from 2 to 5 words and are usually descriptive adjectives that help better describe your product/service. Affordable hotel room, luxury day spa etc.

Search volume: There’s no point in ranking well for a phrase that no one is searching for! And with what we’ve mentioned about competition, it isn’t so effective to go after competitive keywords that get the most search volume. You’ll want to find a middle ground that matches your SEO manpower and monthly budget.

SEO involves more than just throwing together a page, adding all “relevant” keywords and calling it a day. The keywords you choose should be about quality and not quantity because let’s face it… choosing the right keywords is an art in itself. But it’s how you use them, afterwords. Check out this oldie-but-goodie resource by Rand Fishkin on how to “perfectly” optimize a page.

Are You Guilty of SEO Overkill?

Google PandaEven though it’s 2011, it’s amazing how many people still associate keyword stuffing with effective SEO. Sometimes, being too results-driven can cloud your thoughts and make you forget the most important thing – effective content is written for people not robots.

Optimization could involve brand new content or pages that already exist. Whatever the case, keyword research is always the first step. This will help you determine the keywords you want to use for meta descriptions, titles and tags. It’s also important to incorporate these chosen keywords into H1 tags. They key here is to do so sparingly. When you have natural and well-optimized content, your site will rank better and become more trustworthy to human readers as well as search engines.

In honor of the recent Google Panda Updates here’s an example of a paragraph that has gone too far (hopefully, content like this doesn’t remind you of your own!):

Panda Toy Palace – the best online store for panda toys! As a panda toy store in Los Angeles, we offer the best in panda accessories, panda clothing, and panda supplies! If you can think of a panda-related product, we have it! We love panda toys and are happy to share our love of panda products with all our fans. Panda Toy Palace is the only Panda toy place that you’ll ever need!

We get it. If your key products are panda toys posting content like this is neither helpful or relevant. It’s just a really long and drawn out way to promote your products and Panda Instead, you can write about natural or “natural” panda toys. Maybe a post about panda toys to coincide with upcoming holidays like Halloween and Christmas? You can even highlight a few products and ask customers for their opinions. Your content needs a good reason to exist!

Panda Updates are cracking down on “spammy” content that is overstuffed with keywords. Many legitimate sites have had trouble because of these updates and it’s just a reminder for everyone else to be mindful of their optimization tactics. Remember to keep your eye out for signs of over optimization and overkill – the Panda is always watching!

Google +1 Button: To Do or Not to Do? (Part Deux)

Will you be implementing Google’s +1 button on your site? Although there are many benefits of using a the button, it’s crucial to see the downsides and how it can affect your current site:

Speed is a factor: More social media buttons means more load time. Slower load time and site speed will hurt your rankings, since it is a factor in how Google ranks your site… not to mention that impatient customers may bounce away.
Too many distractions: Adding a Google +1 button can be a distraction from your site content, especially if you already have multiple buttons. This can clutter your site and draw attention in a negative manner and away from your business.
Harm your professional image: Sometimes, when I see a site overloaded with social media buttons, it gives me the impression of being spammy or not very credible. If you focus on a few social media sites and integrate them into a clean design, it will help your site feel and look more reliable.
Right target audience?: First of all, do you even plan to devote time to your Google + profile? For now, business profiles don’t exist so if you have the button but don’t plan on being social on Google +, it may not help your site in the long run to add more clutter. For the most part, I see that many internet marketers are utilizing Google + and +1s. Like LinkedIn, this can be a good method to learn about your industry and network. But for getting retail customers for your small retail business? Maybe not so much…

Do you think Google’s +1 button is right for your business? Remember, it doesn’t hurt to experiment and see what works out. Feel free to let us know why you will or won’t be using this social media button (or any others for that matter!)

Does Your Business Need SEO Now or Later?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s the most important things we like to put off for later? When’s something is confusing or we’re not really sure what to make of it, those are the things that we save for much, much later.

When it comes to search engine optimization, it could hurt your business to wait until later (or never at all) to get started on a search marketing plan. SEO can be confusing if you’re new to the game but it doesn’t have to be if you have someone who works in the search marketing field on a daily basis. Here are some reasons why SEO is so important right now:

Any type of website – Whether you’re starting out with a brand new website or looking for a new SEO friendly web design template, search optimization can help boost your site’s traffic and organic search rankings.
Flexibility – As a small business, SEO can work with what you already have. An SEO plan can be integrated on your blogs, social networking profiles and even local listings. All these different mediums will work better with a synchronized plan so that more customers can find your business.
Long term investment – Some people think that SEO should just be done once and left alone. Think of SEO as a way to maintain the health of your website. It’s not just something you do once and forget about! Effective SEO plans change with different factors that affect your search rankings including consumer trends, seasons, competitors and more. These things are always changing, so why wouldn’t your SEO?

SEO is not the only type of online marketing that you should focus on but it’s a great, solid foundation for any other route you want to take (paid search, social media, e-commerce etc). If you’re looking for a Los Angeles SEO firm to help you achieve your business goals, call us today at (323) 340-4010 for a free consultation.

Emarketed to Attend 2011 Google Agency Summit

googleplexImage via Flickr

Exciting news! Emarketed has been invited to the 2011 Google Agency Summit at the famed Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California. We will be attending this all day event, which will take place on Wednesday, September 28th. It’s sure to be filled with the latest and greatest internet marketing news.

Along with many other search marketing firms, we’ll be there to learn about current online marketing strategies and trends. We’re also looking forward to staying updated on important aspects of :

Pay per click: How to increase ROI on PPC and dispelling AdWords myths.
Social media: Discovering more about YouTube and the potential of social networking sites
Mobile: Optimization that helps find new consumer segments

Stay tuned for our blog post review after the summit to read about our visit and feel free to comment if you have any questions/topics that you’d like to learn more about. We can’t wait!

Online Marketing and The Minor Details

The devil is in the details. We’ve all heard this saying before and it can relate to online marketing in so many ways. What this idiom means is that it’s the small details that can often make a relatively simple task more difficult and time consuming. As you look closer, there are more things that can be worked on and you’ll understand why an internet marketing campaign can always be changed and made better!

Here are a few minor but important aspects of online marketing that can be easily skipped over or even forgotten:

  • You only focus on optimizing for Google – If you completely skip out on Yahoo and Bing, you’re missing out on a smaller but still very important demographic. Ranking well on these sites will help your business if you’re struggling on Google.
  • You ignore free, local resources – I went kayaking at a local rental place after seeing good reviews on Yelp. However, I was surprised to see a comment by a customer stating that the address in the listing was wrong. This means that the business has not claimed the listing or bothered to correct this mistake. When resources like this are free and you’re already receiving numerous positive reviews, it can only reflect negatively on your business if you choose not to be more involved.
  • You focus too much on organic rankings – Search engine rankings can be volatile and unpredictable depending on competitors, search trends and even holidays. I’ve known people who obsess over their rankings on a day-by-day basis – as in yesterday I was number 2 but today I’m number 3, what happened? This is not an effective way to gauge your progress and your efforts can be more helpful to your long term brand presence in organic searches.
  • You always use exact keyword matches – It can be tempting to always use exact keywords when linking in anchor text. But with the Google Panda updates, Google is on the lookout. This mean that you can be penalized for excessive exact match anchor text. The bottom line is that Google wants more natural linking keywords that are actually helping people instead of just appeasing their Google bots.

These are just a few things I could think of at the top of my head at the moment and the list is never ending. Even if you don’t have time to sit down and digest all the details at once, it’s good to go over what you can from time to time so that you have a clearer view of the bigger picture. Don’t like the minor details overwhelm 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.

Where Does Search Fit Into Social Media?

social searchSocial media marketing and SEO: one should not exist without the other. Your business and customers will benefit the most when these two work in synergy. Effective optimization requires an understanding of how and why social media works to connect you with customers. Content plays a big role on whether you succeed or whether your business is left behind.

From the beginning of your social media campaign, you should also look at it from a keyword advertising point of view. This means using this keywords as you optimize photos, videos, bio information in your profiles, URL names and more. Remember, you are choosing these keywords based on research about your your customers are searching for your products/services. Sound complicated? We’d be glad to discuss our thorough strategy that goes into every SEO campaign with you!

Nowadays, you cannot look at social media without think about SEO and vice versa. While some think that this is a curse, this is a blessing for businesses who are willing to embrace this dynamic channel.

Why does it matter?

A study from last year shows that search AND social results  make an impact on the online buying decision.  the impact of social media Online buyers rely on a healthy mix of search and social media throughout the purchasing process. Take a look at what buyers think as important:

So, if you still think social media isn’t important after all… your business will truly suffer. The benefits of incorporating social and search features onto your website will grow your business because of the increase in online/offline word of mouth recommendations. This will help open up new conversations with potential customers that you would never reach by just using traditional marketing.

Google Study: Paid Ads Do NOT Cannabalize Organic SEO Clicks

Do I have to choose between SEO or PPC?

This has been a popular question that has been highly debated. The theory is that if you choose the same keywords for targeted SEO and PPC campaigns, your efforts will work against each other and you’ll lose out, either in paid or organic search. Cannibalization is the term experts use when SEO and PPC compete against each other… this means wasted time, money and effort – especially when paid search is involved.

Surprisingly, a recent study of 400 campaigns by Google shows that 89% of the traffic generated by paid ads is not replaced by organic clicks. Overall, this means that paid ads did not steal clicks away from organic results in this sample.

Of course, this all depends on your industry and you could see stronger results using SEO and PPC or just one method. If you hear anyone make generalizations about using both methods without analyzing your keywords and business, it’s safe to be on the skeptical side.

For example, if you’re ranking high (or are number one) for a keyword, it probably won’t be helpful to focus your efforts on trying to get to the #1 spot for PPC as well. Instead, the benefit of PPC is that it can give your business better exposure for key words that you’re not ranking so high for organically.

Let us know if you have any questions about whether SEO and/or PPC is right for your business and we’d be happy to help you out!

Is It Possible to Have Too Much Content?

Believe it or not, there IS such a thing as having too much content (and we’re talking about onsite content here). Effective SEO strategies are linked with quality content but people may often mistake that for just adding more content. Notice how quality gets left behind?

This is becoming more clear as Google Panda updates are rolling out. The goal is to weed out pages that are not helpful to consumers. So, how do you explain this to a client who wants 50 pages of content put up simultaneously?

Content, Search Engines and Customers

Dumping a ton of content in a single move looks suspicious to search engines because they are aware of many things: the quality of your content, the potential of its usefulness and in the end, it helps them uncover your motive (black hat or white hat SEO). I think that making this move gives off a hint that this is a one time thing and that your site won’t be updated frequently.

There’s only so much content that customers can digest without being completely bored or disinterested. As a consumer, when was the last time you sat down and made time to read more than a handful of pages on a website?

Consistency and Quality over Quantity

The next time someone urges you to add massive amounts of content at once, it’s important to let them know why it’s not a good idea. (And no, it’s not because you’re looking for an excuse to not do work!) SEO content strategy requires a consistent schedule and more does not mean that you will rank any better. If anything, posting too much content that is not useful to users can actually hurt your rankings nowadays.