SEO

Organic Link Building

Link building tips
Link building doesn’t have to be all about begging. Try building relationships and self branding instead.

Ask just about any SEO what their least favorite part of search engine optimization and a lot of them will give link building as the answer. Begging for links from authority sites is no one’s idea of fun. Rejection feels so, well, rejected!

Building organic links to your site is something that we’d all like to put on auto pilot as much as possible. There are ways to do this, but they can be different depending on whether your site is brand spanking new or a seasoned veteran.

So, we’ll divide these tips and suggestions into two parts: New Sites and Established Sites.

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SEO

Why More Traffic Just Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

Guest Post by Tom Shivers

The focus of SEO should be audience engagement
The focus of SEO should be audience engagement.

With more complex algorithms that factor in local, personal and universal search features, search rankings are not always consistent. Today’s results often depend on a user’s location, their search history and their behavior with the search results – sometimes you can see different search results for the same search terms, even on two different computers in the same location.

One question many businesses have when hunting for a search engine optimization (SEO) company is, “Will this company know us and our audience well enough to turn our web business into something profitable, worthy of our investment?” Unfortunately, it’s not easy to discern the answer before you are three months into an agreement.

Web Traffic vs. Engagement

Is the goal of SEO to get as much traffic as possible to a website? Many SEO companies will lead you to believe that more traffic is all there is to it. Granted, getting more traffic is a part of it, but more eyeballs on a web page do not necessarily mean achieving your business goals.

Look at your web analytics – specifically the keywords that brought in the majority of traffic – then evaluate the quality of this traffic over the past month or quarter.  A high bounce rate and low average time on site for visits from a particular keyword can indicate one or all of these:

  • Searcher cannot find anything relevant to her keyword and bounces.

  • Searcher may find something relevant, but the page does not communicate directly with her intent… so she bounces.

  • The keyword is not relevant for the site.

 Let me suggest that the focus of SEO should be audience engagement, rather than traffic. According to Eric T. Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified, “Engagement is an estimate of the depth of visitor interaction against a clearly defined set of goals.” That’s pretty clear: Without specific goals, driving more traffic to your website sounds like a good option.

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SEO

Optimization for Social Media Integration: News

Optimization for Social Media Integration: News
Social news sites are about content for the reader, not self promotion.

This is part two of my series on Optimization for Social Media Integration, this time covering social media news.

The top two social media news sites today are Digg and StumbleUpon, so I’ll concentrate on these. However, Propeller.com, Reddit.com, Mixx.com (do-follow links) and Buzz.Yahoo.com are all worth a look.

The main thing to remember about social media sites is that the news on these sites is chosen by the users, making popular items even more so because bloggers look at this content for cool, link-worthy stuff and then re-post or write about them. The stories get great visibility and natural editorial links. In addition, the content is targeted, making it great for boosting your ranking and authority.

In brief: Digg utilizes outside voting, requires LOTS of votes for an item to go popular, generating less illegitimate content. StumbleUpon features toolbar voting, send page to a friend ability (which pretty much forces a view) and even includes the option to buy more views at a whopping 5 cents each.

Here are some general guidelines to make your social news more popular and to provide those nice surges of traffic to your blog or site. These spikes can be fantastic! Continue reading

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Reviews, SEO

Optimization for Social Media Integration

Optimization for Social Media Integration
SEO and Social Media optimization are pretty much integrated these days.

As promised, though delayed a bit, here is the follow-up to SEO & Social Media Integration with some tips for optimizing your social media and integrating it into your overall SEO mix. Naturally, the more social links you have, the more you’ll be noticed (Hey, I’m here!) and linked to and crawled, natural SEO in any book.

  • Complete your profiles and put your web site or blog URL in ALL of your profiles. Including your web site link should be a no brainer, but LOTS of folks forget this. Social content is definitely showing up in search results. For instance, a search for my name in Google comes up with several of my profiles (LinkedIn, WebPro News, Plaxo, etc.)  as I write this. Include jobs, use keywords, never turn down interview or podcast opportunities that can be included.
  • Check industry trends through services like Google Alerts. Jump into breaking subjects with blog and social media posts.
  • Promote blogs, social media and RSS feeds of those who link to you through your own RSS feeds. This has a viral effect that sends more links to you.
  • Develop a series of “How to” videos and post them on video sites like YouTube (now 25% of Google searches). People LOVE these and will embed the videos or link to them. Post them on your own blog and in the social sites, too.
  • Content is king on Twitter, just like in standard, run of the mill SEO, so use keywords and hashtags (like the #bsg tag for Battlestar Galactica fans).
  • Utilize Facebook fan pages. These can have unlimited followers and can be optimized.
  • Subscriptions are gold! Social Media Content = Subscriptions + Links!
  • Transcribe your podcasts and post them on your blog.  Include keywords and links.
  • Create widgets that will pull your RSS feeds from blogs, social media and news feeds. As a rule, links in RSS feeds are direct links without redirection or the dreaded “nofollow” tag!
  • Re-optimize blog posts after their “shelf” life. Rework them and monetize them for breaking subjects. Any given blog post URL or page has history and links, so update them to keep current, ranking and posted in the social media.

OK, as always, these just scratch the surface, but you can see the optimizing for SEO and social media are pretty much one and the same these days. What you do with one totally effects the other.  Anyone who thinks they can be an SEO and ignore social media is, well, NOT an SEO.

Next up: Optimization for Social Media Integration: News

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SEO

SEO & Social Media Integration

Social Media and SEO are both about search

Take a look at the following and see what you think:

  • Create great content, including articles
  • On page optimization
  • Links from authority sites
  • Get content on industry sites, providing contextual links
  • Get noticed in Social Media
  • Get noticed in search
  • Get into niche sites

Sounds like the basics of SEO, right? Well, these apply to Social Media, too. Any SEOs out there who are still avoiding the Social Media bandwagon are, well, stuck at the bus stop without a token.

Social Media and search engine optimization have become so integrated that you can’t really separate them anymore. Social sites like Twitter, which many of us laughed at when it first came out, are pushing a revolutionary shift in how information is found on the Internet because they add interaction and community to the equation. In addition to the basics above, they throw in features like:

  • Participation
  • Voting
  • Comments
  • Friends
  • Trust

That last one, Trust, is a BIG one. Social sites are working more like search engines these days and there’s a huge difference between they way they dish out results and the way the search engines do. The social sites look at what your friends think about a subject and their results are based on that. You trust your friends, right? A perfect example is Twitter search. It’s based on tweets from folks you can check out and follow or who can follow you. And, look out Google, it’s really fast! And, it’s immediate. You can catch what is happening right now. Wanna see what the fans of Battlestar Galactica are tweeting? Check it out in real time (Or, if you’re a real Twit, check out by the hash tag #bsg).

The search engines dish out results based on the trust of folks you don’t know (PageRank, back links etc.).

Which begs the question, will trust kill the algorithm?

So, think of Social Media sites more like search engines that can help your visibility in, well, search engines.

Confused?

Don’t be. It’s simple. The more social links you have, the more you’ll be noticed and linked to and crawled. It works pretty much the same way as SEO.

Next, Optimization for Social Media Integration. Look for this post soon!

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SEO

SEO Today: Adapting and Evolving

Keeping up with SEO today is not for the faint of heart.
Keeping up with SEO today is not for the faint of heart.

There’s one thing that I can say about search engine optimization (SEO) today – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Anyone in the trenches these days knows that you can’t dominate with SEO by tweaking title and meta tags and has known it for a long time ago. With universal search, personalized search, social media, a global economy and a little thing called Twitter (who would have guessed?), keeping on top of things on a daily basis takes almost Kryptonian endurance.

Rather than going the way of the bell bottom, SEO continues to grow and expand into previously unknown territories, adapting with each. Anyone who says SEO is dead must be hiding in a cave waiting for the economy to revive. Those of us not hiding and continuing to fight the fight know that, if anything, SEOs are busier than ever in this economy, some even passing up business because they can’t handle any more work.

What’s keeping them so busy? Continue reading

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Training

Palm Springs Beginner SEO Workshops

As mentioned on my SEO Workshops page, I offer search engine optimization workshops for businesses in the Palm Springs area.

Palm Springs beginners SEO class
Coming soon to a palm tree near you, Beginner SEO 101 Workshops.
SEO 101 Training Workshop
for Businesses
This is a basic SEO training workshop for beginners, perfect for do-it-yourself businesses, advertising firms and web designers looking for ways to make their sites stand out for both visitors and the search engines. This two hour session includes:

  • On page optimization (Meta tags, navigation, etc.)
  • Off page optimization (Links, competition)
  • Site clinic (I critique YOUR site)
  • Image Optimization
  • Social media, universal and personalized search overview.
  • Lotsa good tips!
Price: $100 per person, minimum group of three (Larger group discounts are available). I will come to your conference room or office in the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley area. Internet access is required. Contact me for more information.

I am available for SEO consultations in the desert (Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, etc.). Contact The Web Optimist for more information.

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