5 white hat SEO tactics

white hat SEO tactics may take longer than black hat to take root, but it is the only way to sustainably boost your site in the Google rankings...
Written by Jeremy Albelda

These days, more people are discovering the liberating potential of owning a business on the web.  Additionally, many owners of brick and mortar outfits are looking to enhance the local visibility of their services, as more and more potential customers turn to search engines instead of the Yellow Pages to find answers to their problems. 

Both groups are slowly beginning to realize the importance of SEO in getting their website in front of the customers that they desperately need to convert into paying clients.

Like many things though, SEO has two sides: shady, deceptive tactics that boost your profile in the short run, but end up getting flagged and penalized by Google soon enough (black hat SEO), and legitimate techniques that might be slower to work than the previous school of thought, but produces consistent, positive long term results. 

This is known as white hat SEO, which utilize tactics that play nice with Google’s terms of use, while lifting your site to the first page of this dominating search engine. What white hat SEO tactics should you employ? To get you started, here are five pointers that will get your site floating up in the rankings in no time flat…!

1) Actually produce quality, useful, actionable content

This seems hard to believe, as many people have this perception that SEO involves a variety of actions that are more analogous to witchcraft than something as vanilla as article writing.  Indeed, by producing detailed, informative articles that relate strongly to your subject of choice, the Google search bots will look favourably upon your site as compared to someone that merely poops out an article stuffed with target keywords and little else.  

2) Ensure your page title accurate reflects what your webpage/article is about

Google’s SEO algorithm assesses a significant weight to your page title resonating with the content contained within the body of the site. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many web site owners miss the opportunity to insert important keywords within their titles, instead opting to be clever and witty with their page titles and subheadings.

3) Find long tail keywords that embody your site’s purpose…

These days, people aren’t using short combos of keywords like “NYE 2014”, but they are instead using long tail searches along the lines of “where to party on NYE 2014” or “the best hangover breakfasts in Chicago”.  Using tools like the Google Adwords keyword tool, or a paid product like Market Samurai will help you identify keyword combos with high utilization but lower overall competition, allowing you to tap into an under-served market by tailoring your site titles, meta keywords, and content to these niche interest categories, all while minimizing your pay-per-click (PPC) bills.

4) Get inbound links from sites that have good domain authority

The sites that have the best quality links and high amounts of legitimate traffic will boost your site like crazy in Google’s eyes. If the New York Times links to you, and your competitor only has links from a bunch of low-quality niche blogs and shady link farms, who would a potential customer trust more? I think you know the answer to this one…

5) Do link exchanges with reputable sites in your niche

Of course, until luck strikes and you manage to get a link from the Huff Post or Wired or whoever is an authority in your space, you’ll have to grind up your site the slow but steady way.  By interacting with and befriending like-minded individuals through blogs in your niche, you’ll soon find opportunities to link sites together, allowing all your properties to rise with the tide.  As long as all the sites involved are in the same niche and boast high quality content, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting whacked by Google.  That said, if you don’t feel right about linking to a certain site, it’s best to err on the side of caution and save your links for sites that you feel truly align with the mission of yours.

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5 Ways To Increase Facebook Engagement

Nurturing Facebook engagement is not as hard as you think it is ... follow these five steps and start interacting better with your customers today!Written by Jeremy Albelda

It’s the chestnut that many Facebook page managers have a hard time cracking.  It’s easy to set up the cover image and submit posts, but getting people to like, share, or comment on their content?  The silence is so pervasive on their accounts that you can almost hear the crickets chirping. They try their best at improving their Facebook engagement, but to no avail.  

So, how do you proceed in getting your target market to engage with your brand?  In the following paragraphs, we have five highly actionable tips to get your Facebook engagement efforts from flat line to freakin’ fantastic in no time!

1) Ask a question

Most status updates are narcissistic in nature, which makes sense as most people on Facebook just love to talk about themselves. In order to stoke awareness of our brand, the posts we write have to be about our customers. 

There is no better way to steer the conversation towards your tribe than to ask a question like “What’s your favourite type of pizza? Sound off in the comments below!” Doing this will get people off the fence, trumpeting their love for their favourite variant of ‘za, while others agree or disagree. It’s a brilliant way to get people talking!

2) Keep it short

In this age of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and short attention spans, scannable content is king.

By limiting your status updates to 80 characters or less, you increase the punch of the message you are trying to get across, rather than having it diluted over 100’s of characters that get passed over by busy people.

3) Organize a contest

Want to drive a ton of new traffic to your page? Then find something that people in your target market want badly and offer it to them in a contest, like a GoPro for action junkies, or a gorilla pod tripod for travelers who like taking hands-free selfies.

Everybody loves free stuff. Everybody.

Once they apply for their chance to win what you got, a good portion of them will be paying attention to further posts you make on Facebook (for obvious reasons)!

4) Share your favourite quotes

Everybody loves a bit of inspiration, so when you post a quote from a successful person that relates to your niche in some meaningful way, you’ll get tonnes of likes. 

Additionally, it will attract like-minded people to your page like a magnet pulls in galvanized steel nails. You want to get people who think like you to pay attention to your stuff.  This is a great way to do just that.

5) Post your best stuff on the weekends (or later in the work week)

What do you usually do on Mondays? Likely you’re working hard, whilst bemoaning the death of the previous weekend.  You won’t be on Facebook too much as a result, but as the weekend looms and then arrives, traffic on Facebook spikes as people let their hair down and begin to relax.

This is when you’ll want to engage in the bulk of your engagement activities, as traffic peaks in the early afternoon between 1 – 3pm in your target market’s time zone, from Thursday through Sunday.

Boosting engagement has been an exercise in frustration for you to this point, but by emulating what has been successful for Facebook power users, you too can share in the success that they have been enjoying all this time!

Here is a great infographic that was created by the people over at Quicksprout with some interesting info and tips about Facebook engagement:

How to Increase Your Facebook Engagement by 275%
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

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5 Basic SEO Tips For Beginners

good SEO resourcesWritten by Jeremy Albelda

Websites with search engine friendly pages usually rank higher. Consequently, it is important to learn a few SEO techniques that will help to drive your website to the top of the popular search engines. Wondering why this is so important? Well, statistics show that most people looking for information via search engines rarely go beyond the first page. Therefore, it is vital for a website to obtain top ranking status. Here are 5 basic SEO Tips for beginners.

1. Select Targeted Keywords – What are the keywords that your targeted audience would use in a search? It is important to research targeted keywords. These are the keywords that are most relevant to your site and the words a potential visitor would type in a search field. Choose the best and most relevant keywords to drive your site to the top of the search engines. You can do this by using the Google Keyword Planner (which as replaced the Google Keyword Tool). You just need to sign up for a Google Adwords account which is free to do anyways.

2. Keyword Density – Most beginners do not take the time to check the keyword density on a given page and will often just sprinkle keywords throughout the text with no strategy in mind. Often, this will make the wording on the page appear awkward. Thus, providing a purely bad experience for visitors to their website (offering a bad user experience to readers is a big “no no” in Google’s eyes). Use keywords sparingly throughout the pages, but, an accepted keyword density is usually between 2-4% of the total text on a given page. Websites with higher than normal keyword density are generally penalized by the search engines. Thus, driving their rankings down. To help you figure out your keyword density, we created a keyword density calculator that is free to use.

3. Optimize Page Titles to Attract Search Engines – Here is one of those basic SEO tips to memorize. Search engines pay extra attention to websites that optimize the titles of their web pages. Take the extra time to properly optimize the title on every page on the site. This will quickly improve search engine ranking. In addition, strive to add relevant keywords to the title. Proof the title, and keep the title short. In wordpress this is very easy, especially with the Yoast plugin that is free to download.

4. Add Links – Links to your pages are very important. Search engines take a very close look at the links on a site’s internal pages. All internal links should include the top ranking keywords on your site. Remember to add those keywords to your linking text. Avoid phrases like click here or go here. Those phrases add little meaning and are worthless to the search engines. Make sure that all internal links work. Are you linking to an outside website? Well, link to a site that has a high search engine ranking. Linking to a site with a low search engine ranking might negatively affect your site’s ranking as well.

5. Optimize Images Image optimization is one of those basic SEO tips used by experienced marketers and website owners to gain traffic and increase their search engine ranking. Make sure to fill out every field that is provided to you, especially on WordPress like the title tag, alt tag, caption and meta description.

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What to Know About the Google Hummingbird Update

hummingbird flyingWritten by Jeremy Albelda

When the rumblings begin about another Google update, many website owners become concerned because they are not sure if their websites will drop in ranking because of a new algorithm. The biggest difference with the new Google Hummingbird update is that Google is giving website owners some insight into exactly what they can do to improve their ranking. Don’t be discouraged that a new update is here, follow some of these tips and techniques to improve the ranking of your website – here’s what to know about the Google Hummingbird update.

Depending when you first built your website, you may have implemented SEO techniques that are no longer helping your website. The days of stuffing your website with keywords is gone, and often Google will penalize a website that tries to abuse this technique. Google has made it very clear with their new Hummingbird update that they are beginning to focus on more conversational keywords. What they mean by this is more searches are being conducted that use full conversational search terms than just a few keywords.

People are looking online for a local dog groomer that does puppy cuts, as opposed to recent years of just searching dog groomer. The reasoning behind the shift in power for the keywords is more people are using their smartphones to do searches. When someone uses a phone to do a search for a local business they are simply talking into the phone to do the search. This means when someone searches for a Mazda car dealer in San Francisco, the search term holds much more relevance than Mazda dealer or car dealer. If your website was optimized for car dealer or Mazda dealer you will be dropping in ranking as the websites that understand how important conversation keywords are rise.

The best way to take advantage of this knowledge is to take a look at your niche, your website and your location and begin to implement new keywords on your website. When you add new content to the website you need to add these new keywords into the articles and hyperlink them to other pages on your website so the search engine spiders are aware of them. If you are running a dance studio in Memphis your keywords of dancing, dance studio and ballet company are not going to hold much weight anymore. Begin to incorporate keywords like dance studio in Memphis, Memphis ballet company and best dancing company in the Memphis area. When you have local clients search for a dance studio in Memphis you are going to begin to move to the top of the search results for not only a dance company in Memphis, you will be gaining more ranking power for all the other keywords on your website by default.

Don’t be upset that a new update is in place because Google has let everyone know a little behind the reason for the update. Use this information to help improve the ranking of your website and as you add more conversational keywords to your website, you will enjoy more traffic and more exposure in the long run.

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What is Google PageRank?

Written by Jeremy Albelda
Arguably one of the world’s largest and highly regarded corporations, Google is the most popular search engine on the Internet and extensively gathers information from all who use it. From this data, PageRank can be used to determine how popular a webpage is. PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a number to each webpage assessing its popularity and other notable factors. These include the richness of content, keyword density, hyperlinks (link juice), traffic and search demand. Instead of analyzing a website as a whole, PageRank considers each page individually and each ranking (1-10) is progressively harder to reach. Essentially, it’s a popularity contest between websites.

google link juice

For bloggers and business owners, PageRank is a much-needed weapon in every digital age arsenal but it can also be a useful tool for everyday Internet users too. Ultimately PageRank is based on incoming hyperlinks, which are allocated different weight, depending on how important Google considers the linking webpage to be. For example, CNN, the BBC or Yahoo all have a high PageRank, so Google will consider a link from these websites to be worth more, thereby increasing the page ranking of the link destination.

For a new website publishing its first batches of content, it is unlikely to possess a high page-ranking or feature high on search engines. While increasing traffic and posting informative, useful content will be high on its list of concerns, gaining reciprocal hyperlinks from prominent websites will have the biggest impact on PageRank and search engine ranking. This is something many bloggers and small business owners often miss out on and bad SEO (search engine optimization) can lead to a sharp downturn in traffic.

Google is always updating and improving PageRank and also offers users the opportunity to study other data relating to a website. Specific details such as a webpage’s traffic, SEO, page speed can be found easily simply by clicking the toolbar. If used to its fullest extent, Google PageRank can be used as an innovative tool to increase traffic for any website.

For many, Google PageRank will be an entirely new concept as it is not a default setting on Chrome, Google’s award winning browser. Those who intend to use it must download the PageRank toolbar. It also takes into account the quality of a website thus helping the user to decide how valuable the content is.

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A Brief History of Social Media

Social Media appsWritten by Jeremy Albelda

Social media has revolutionized society, allowing people from different cultures to gather in one place (online and person), exchange ideas and perhaps most importantly to organize and act. Evidence of this has been seen across the globe with the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring both revolutionary events that have been given a new stage courtesy of social media. Along with ground breaking grassroots uprisings, the sharing of information has changed the way in which western society operates. Broadcasters now use the ‘hash tag’ system made popular by Twitter, so that the audience can participate and producers are able to gain feedback thereby constantly improve programming. This system has improved further throughout other social mediums such as Facebook, Instragram and Flicker.

But where did it all start? In 2000, two years after Google’s search engine had been launched, Friends Reunited became the world’s first social network to relocate old school friends and attracted over 1 million users in the process. Eight years later, a whole host of social network rivals have risen to the table including Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, all of which attracted millions of users. Many of the latter social networks soon became unpopular due to being unable to adapt to modern technology and societal opinion. Since then, social media has evolved into the ocean of multimedia content and twenty-four hour status cycles it is today.

By the end of 2012, over 2 billion people were thought to have been logging into a social network each day, either via their computers, smart phones or tablets. The most popular social network is, of course, Facebook, which receives billions of monthly users and has modified itself for advertisers thereby increasing revenue and also selling the information of its users such as likes, dislikes and what is most popular. While Facebook makes millions of dollars in advertising, the number of users increases day by day.

Twitter, is the second most popular social network with over 135,000 users signing up everyday. Social media continues to adapt and develop to the homogeneous 21st century society. New social networks constantly emerge attracting scores of people from all walks of life who wish to share information between their friends, both on the go and while at home or work.

The future of social media looks to be bright as multinational conglomerates buy stakes in networks and watch as the money roll in. As Google is set to release ‘Google Glass’ and Facebook continually updates their mobile applications allowing users to do even more while on the go.

You can find every country in the world developing its own social media networks, and there are many conventions just dedicated to the advancement of social media. One major destination that seems to be the conference/convention capital of the world is the USA with the space to construct massive convention halls, notably in Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. If you’re in Social, definitely check out one of these conferences.

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