Posts Tagged ‘Search and social’

Search Engine Optimization for Better Organic Rankings

GreenAre you tired of paying companies for search engine optimization and continuing to find yourself on the third page of results? SEO is about more than throwing money at keywords (although buying your spot can be a part of a well-integrated optimization strategy).  There are plenty of ways to ensure a well-placed organic ranking with search engines and, just like a well-integrated strategy should, they involve good quality content, cultivating inbound links, and having an easily navigable site. At RoryMartin.com, we know how important SEO is to conversions and click-through-rates.  Here are a few things to remember when performing optimization on your site:

When it comes to content, make sure that your keywords are placed in the title of the piece or product page, and also in the headers. H1 tags are great indicators of what a page is about.  Search spiders often crawl these first, and curate pages accordingly.

Some companies go a little overboard in this, and fill their pages with any and all keywords – related or not. This may earn you a penalty from Google; however, if it does lead search engine spiders to your site, it won’t necessarily attract living, breathing human beings.  If you have ‘Toshiba Laptop’ in your title, and a potential customer finds that you only resell MacBooks, your conversions will drop.  Your clients will be very disappointed – and possibly vocally so.

Try to make your content sound as if it was written by humans for humans, and work the keywords in naturally. You can also add a keyword or two into the URL of the page, without it appearing in the title. This will increase the likelihood that you come up in search results for that keyword, without having to force it into the title of a piece.

If you have a large website, or a site with lots of content, such as a frequently updated blog, then your users will want to navigate around it with ease. Search engine spiders are the same. Have you checked your website recently to make sure that all of your links are working, that they all reach the appropriate page, and that they are all tagged or categorized correctly? This is something that should be done frequently, especially if you are constantly adding new content and/or products. Both users and spiders will become frustrated and give up if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for.  404’s, 403’s – they are not your friends.  Keep your links up-to-date.

We know that search engines rank sites according to their authority, which is why incoming links are so important. The more sites that link to your site using keyword-specific anchor text, the higher your site will rank as an authority on this text. Of course, generating links to your website takes a lot of work and relationship-building with other website owners or bloggers (along with producing the sort of content that others will want to link to in the first place).  This off-page SEO is one of the hardest parts of Search Engine Optimization.

If you follow white-hat SEO, your website should naturally rise through the rankings.  The added bonus: fellow website owners and bloggers are now aware of your site, and are more likely to promote it to their followers!

What’s your top tip when it comes to search engine optimization geared towards organic rankings?

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What Search Engine Marketing Can Do For Your Brand

When was the last time that you invested in some search engine marketing for your business? If you think that all that was dealt with when you set up your website, then it might be time to gather up your colleagues and have a little chat.

Search engine marketing doesn’t stop once your website is set up, it’s an on-going process which everyone in your company can be a part of. In a world where link-building and social signals are a key part of boosting your company websites rankings, it seems strange that over half of most U.S companies actually block their employees access to social sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Why? Earlier this year we thought up seven solid tips for good SEO, one being to cultivate links with other sites. Well, what if the links were coming from inside the building?

As a part of a wider search engine marketing strategy, which includes link building outside of the company, it can be very beneficial to encourage employees in the building to talk about their work on social media sites, and even to blog about their work and research – with links back to the company site.

Of course you would want to keep a handle on the specifics, but developing a strategy like this – where potential customers feel as though they are getting to know (and coming to trust) more sides of the company than just the marketing arm – can do wonders for the visibility of your brand in search engine rankings. And with all the sites linking to each other, they’re only going to continue to become stronger.

Would you consider implementing a search engine marketing strategy like this at your workplace? How do you think it would benefit your brand?

How Much do Social Signals Improve Page Rank

At RoryMartin.com we stress the importance of a fully-integrated social media strategy for your company’s branding. Social media improves customer relations, draws in potential new customers, and allows your company to discover where improvements can be made to your business, directly from your customers. Social media increases the trust that your current and potential clients have in your company, and increases the liklihood of positive and immediate referrals from customers to their friends and followers.

However, a recent article on the SEOmoz blog asks the question “Do Improved Social Signals Cause Improved Rankings?” which is clearly a contentious issue for many social media consultants!  The comments range from skepticism, to outrage, to full-on agreement.

The keyword in this question about social signals is ’cause’.  How do you determine the final result of social signals?

Many of you will already be saying to yourselves that you’ve seen your website, or certain pages, go up in page rankings after having a link tweeted by a few influential tweeters, but as the article says – correlation does not equal causation. It’s often true that after a week or so, once people have moved on to the next fresh and exciting piece of content and have stopped tweeting and retweeting your piece, that you see search engine rankings drop once again.

The Freshness Factor

Some social media experts attribute this to a ‘freshness factor’ – the idea that search engines prefer new(er) content. Some say that during the period in which a link is being retweeted, it will also be linked to from websites. This may even be due to people who have their tweets displayed on their website. If they link to you in a tweet, it will appear on their website – but only until their new tweets push yours off.

It’s a complicated piece, and a complicated argument to make! When we see a number of social signals, or see an influential social signal coming into a website, and then see the page rankings shoot up, we want to attribute one to the other – whether this is true or not.

There are a couple of important takeaways from this in-depth research on social signals.

The first is that regardless of how many influential people you can ask to share a link, most people will only share good quality content. It may even be that what causes both the shares and the improved page rank is the quality of the piece. Focus on creating top quality content and your piece will garner a wide range of social signals, and move up the page rankings.

The second takeaway is that whether or not Google follows Twitter or Facebook links and uses them to attribute better page rankings to sites, social signals are still important.  Having an integrated social media strategy means that more people will see your new piece sooner than not. This then leads to, not only social shares, but also links from websites – links which we know do affect SEO. The more people who view the piece, the more people are likely to create SEO-affecting links.

At RoryMartin.com we work to create integrated social media strategies for companies which involve top quality content that is infinitely shareable. What do you think of this research?

7 Solid Tips to Boost Your SEO from RoryMartin.com

1. Know your starting statistics

When implementing any strategy, it pays to know where you’re starting from, so that you can easily see if rankings and conversions have improved at any point in your SEO journey. This document can be as simple as you like; even a handwritten notebook will let you immediately spot increases (and decreases) in statistics such as conversions and inbound links.

2. Create solid, good quality content

The perceived Holy Grail of content is to create something which goes viral, but as a long-term strategy it’s better to create solid, good quality content on a regular basis, than occasionally put something extraordinary out there, and bulk up your website with mediocre content in between. Like EdgeRank with Facebook, if you put out something less than great, people aren’t going to be that keen to share and promote it, so in between viral episodes, you’re more likely to lose followers and alienate your audience.

3. Keep an eye on what’s topical

What’s trending on Twitter? What are other people in your field talking about? That viral video, does it have any themes which you could work from? While we don’t suggest you hurry something just to piggyback on the current top trending topic, it’s a good idea to see what’s creating a buzz during the week, and see if anything which you do can relate to that. Stay mindful of your long-term plans and company branding though!

4. Cultivate relationships with other sites

This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. If your link-builder is out there every day, sourcing websites for links, these bloggers and journalists and website owners are going to prefer to link to a site which is consistently putting out good content. Here is a fantastic piece on why many link-building strategies fail: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/why-link-building-strategies-fail

5. Check your road map

Once you implement a new idea, or build that relationship link with a site or person, check your statistics to see what the relationship does for you. Are you finding that your traffic is slowly but surely increasing, but you’re not ranking any higher? Find out what’s causing that, and fix it. Remember that the point of SEO isn’t only to boost your rankings, but also to increase conversions. How are these statistics looking?

6. Don’t hang out in bad neighborhoods

Search engines can easily pick up on linkfarms, and other such sites, and blacklist them. There is almost no security or surety in purchasing links from sites like these, as they could be disregarded by search engines, or even cast a negative light on the sites which they are linking too, as well. Stick to building connections and writing good quality content for yourself.

7. Make your actions clear

Once all of this traffic has arrived at your site, you want to convert visits into customers. Make sure that your site is easily navigable so that your newly interested audience can immediately do what you want them to do on the site. Your social media profiles need to be obvious too, so that these visitors can quickly connect with you, and share what a great job you’re doing of being you!

We at RoryMartin.com hope that these seven tips improve your SEO and rankings. If you’d like more advice contact our experts today for a free estimate.

Pinterest for Your Business

The new rage in the social media sphere is Pinterest – an online scrapbook where users can pin and share images in an easily customized way.  Users create boards inspired by their favorite topics or brands; using a “pin it” button from their toolbar, they can instantly share their inspirations to their network of friends.  Within moments, other users can pin that image to their board, creating a social network of image sharing and inter-linking.  Some of the best candidates for Pinterest’s vast network of sharing include wedding planners, digital designers, foodies, fashion lovers and interior decorators.

Image courtesy of http://www.verenettawarner.com

Why is this good for a business?  Members use images from the web – and those images are often linked to the websites where the images originated.  But it’s not just all pretty photos – California restaurant chain Tender Greens uses Pinterest to showcase images of chefs at work, and the ways in which they plate catered foods.  Another example – retailers like Raymour & Flanigan or West Elm can show off catalogue shots featuring their designs, and users can talk back by showing those retailers inspirational images for their living spaces.  This gives businesses a chance to have a two-way visual dialogue with their customers.  Some businesses using Pinterest – such as Wedding Republic – have seen a 75% increase in traffic through Pinterest.

Users say they love Pinterest because it’s like getting magazines delivered straight to your desk, without adding clutter or cost.

How do you use Pinterest to promote your business?

Spend the time using the platform.  Like any social media site, you will not see results unless you can put in the time.  It takes constant interaction on any platform to keep your brand relevant.  Also build relationships with “Pinners” who have quality boards, and who post quality images.  Influencers who have a solid relationship with a brand are more likely to talk about that brand.

Keep it simple – cluttered boards are a surefire tactic to keep “Pinners” from NOT clicking on your page.  Mimic Pinterest’s uncluttered design, but be sure to include ONE link back to your site through each pinned photo.  Also, make sure your business is a good match for Pinterest.  If you sell pianos, make sure you can provide aesthetically pleasing imagery to “Pinners” who will use your images.  If you sell power sanders?  It will probably be difficult to see a return on your time investment using Pinterest.  And remember – don’t just promote yourself.  Social networking is about sharing a vast array of ideas.  Pinterest users are savvy when it comes to spotting boards that are too-self serving.  This means you must interact more than just promoting your own products.

If in doubt, try out a daily theme!  Come up with a theme or slogan and build themed boards around that, using at least 1 product from your homepage.  Be selective, be inspiring, and be creative.

Read the Terms and Conditions – Pinterest is based on pinning images, but make sure the images you’re adding are your own.  There could be ramifications to pinning copyright images.

And above all, remember to interact – Pinterest is built on a concept of networking, and networks all depend on connection.  Ensure you take a little time to build that connection with other Pinterest users.

At RoryMartin.com, we are focused on creating and executing effective social media campaigns for our amazing customers.  We offer a full set of services; whether you need website design and web developmentsearch engine optimization, or social media marketing.  From entrepreneurs to established businesses, we do the work so you don’t have to – making social media simple.

 

Build a Better Website with Tips from Rory Martin

Netcraft reported that as of November 2011, there were approximately 525, 998,433 websites out in Internet-land  – and many of them aren’t perfect.  Think about it:  when you look at your website, what do you see?  Do you see a sleek design?  Is it easy to navigate?  Do you see compelling imagery or a big block of text?  Are you missing the little things like SEO or a Footer?  Are you effectively using Social Media?  Or have you forgotten to actively add that element to your website?

To make your website more “perfect”, you need to think about all the things we’ve just mentioned.  Seattle Web Design and Social Media Marketing company, RoryMartin.com can help you perfect your website with a few tips on designing a better website.

It’s true that content is key when it comes to making an impact on the web, however design is also key.  There are a variety of browsers, processors and monitor sizes, so it’s important to design a site that looks great on all of them.  While you may use Firefox or Chrome, and so you may design for those two browsers, consider the fact that 40% of internet users STILL use Internet Explorer.  Cross-browser compatibility can be a difficult problem to solve, but producing a sleek design without all the extra bells and whistles can save you some time in trying to determine why this or that widget doesn’t work.

Design also plays a big part in your website’s layout and navigation.  Consider this – 60% of the time, users cannot find the information they’re looking for – and much of that is due to poor execution in navigation and UI design.  Making sure your site is simple but well-designed could save your visitors a lot of time and effort trying to find out where you’ve hidden that gem of information they’re looking for.  And where user interface is concerned, users report clicking away from a page that has pop-ups or plays music or video automatically when the webpage has loaded.

One big part of web design that is often overlooked is the footer.  Often, businesses forget all about the SEO properties and usability of their footer in favor of more visible elements like header images and information.  At RoryMartin.com, we build footers for clients that include copyright information, the company address and contact info, their business tagline and even quick navigation links for the web-user who’s made it to the bottom of your page.   We also recommend links to your social media profiles, because, as users arrive at the bottom of your page and want to know more, the footer can convert your web visitors into Twitter or Facebook followers.

Are you actively using social media?  Is it easy to find your social media links (and maybe even your Twitter stream) on your website?  Web marketing consultant Chris Brogan says, “Social Media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.”  Social media is one of the easiest, most direct, and most prominent forms of both public relations and marketing, available to businesses today.  If you’re not using social media, and displaying your information prominently, you’re missing out on a huge target audience.  And, studies have shown that social media builds customer loyalty.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is probably the biggest key to driving customers to your site.  Using a correct combination of keywords and search terms throughout your website in strategic places will help propel your website to the front page of Google.  Of course, being on the second page of Google’s search isn’t bad either – considering a quarter of all web searches progress to the second page of Google.  But keywords aren’t the whole story:  Though 42% of users click the top ranking link on Google, the text that shows up beneath your link is REALLY the driving factor.  It’s this text – copy pulled directly from your website, that truly drives traffic to each site, while your strategic keywords ensure you’re listed in those search results in the first place.

If you’re looking to update your website, grab the wide world of social media marketing by the horns, or just looking to manage brand communications, our skilled staff of social media marketing and web design experts can help.  Find out more about what we can do for you at www.rorymartin.com.

 

 

Twitter and Facebook Build Customer Loyalty

Twitter Image courtesy of Mashable.comAs a company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, the RoryMartin.com team likes to keep you informed about new studies regarding social media.  A recent study, generated by Chadwick Martin Bailey, states that Twitter users who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy from and recommend that brand.  The group also produced a previous study correlating Facebook users’ purchases with the brands they “like” on Facebook.

This is good news for businesses who are using social media networks to improve their marketing efforts, especially because Twitter and Facebook  users are some of the most frequent internet users in general.  The study showed just how Twitter users were interacting with brands, reporting that 84% of Twitter users who follow brands do actually read brand tweets, making Twitter an effective form of presenting your company and products.  Even better, approximately 1/4 of users who follow brands on Twitter do tweet about the brand.  1 out of every 4 users in your Twitter audience are likely to be talking about your brand right now.

Twitter is proving itself a very useful forum for customer loyalty.  It’s important to know your audience and to make sure you’re tweeting authentic content, though.  67% of users expect unique content from the brands they follow.  In the decision to follow brands on Twitter, customers cite exclusivity and promotions as some of the top reasons they follow brands. Here are the top five reasons users follow brands:

  • 64%: I am a customer of the company
  • 61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
  • 48%: To receive discounts and promotions
  • 36%: To gain access to exclusive content
  • 28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others

If your business is not using Twitter right now, you are missing out on a very valuable marketing method.  The report shows that businesses shoud be tweeting to their customers as a means of building brand loyalty.  Don’t know where to start?  At RoryMartin.com, we help businesses customize their social media marketing plans, provide customized facebook pages, overall website overhauls, web design, and perfectly timed tweets.

We can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals. From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com makes social media simple.

Make Your Keywords Pack a Punch

Keywords play a large role in search engine optimization, and are a key factor in social media marketing.   Having the right combination of keywords will generate hits, increase traffic and drive sales; however, it’s not always easy to determine which keywords are right for you, and where your keywords aren’t packing a punch.  At Rory Martin, we specialize in helping business come up with relevant keywords that drive traffic to their site. We do the research so businesses don’t have to.

– Ask yourself: What would my customers search for?

This seems relatively easy enough. If a customer would find your services by searching “freelance writer Los Angeles”, put that on your list. Your keywords might be words your competitors use or words that are industry specific. Think up simple terms and phrases that specifically target your site or business, but know that using one word is going to decrease the likelihood that your site will stand out in a crowd.

You will get higher search engine ranking by choosing a mix of specific longer phrases, and general targeted keywords.  Look at the breakdown of search terms as they show up on Google:

Number of Google Matches

Term

11,600,000

writer

1,200,000

real estate writer

48,000

freelance real estate writer

9,000

freelance real estate writer los angeles

Source: WebsiteHelpers.com

You’re going to have an easier time getting click throughs if you narrow it down a little – by adding your location, but be cautious about being too specific.   For example using “Neon Helmet Tacoma WA” won’t drive people to your site. Phrases that are just too specific may offer you the #1 slot on Google, but still won’t deliver the clicks you’re looking for, because they’re not keywords that people would search for. Ranking #1 on terms that nobody is searching for is just as bad as ranking #300 for terms that everybody is searching for. You can’t get the traffic if people aren’t using your search terms, no matter how well you’re ranked.

When you have a list of possible keywords, check out tools like Google’s Keyword Tool, that will help you determine whether or not people are actually searching for those keywords, by populating a list of terms related to the keyword you entered. Look for targeted keywords, and specific phrases that are relevant to your business and your industry.

Search Engine Optimization through keyword analysis is one of the most effective ways to increase targeted traffic to your web site. At RoryMartin.com, we put our Seattle Search Engine Optimization experts to work to research your target audience, determine what keywords they are searching on, and then make sure, through proven search engine optimization tactics, that your web site is the one they find.

As a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing, RoryMartin.com can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals. From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com can help match your keywords to your SEO needs.

The New Landscape of Social Media Marketing

Navigating the new marketing landscape means knowing which marketing tactics are effective, and which tactics are outdated.  Improving the visibility of your website has become a marketing priority, yet it can be frustrating since competition for rankings is intense.  As many businesses lack the time or cashflow to continuously monitor, report and adjust their strategy, the results of many social media marketing campaigns  are often poor.  If you’re struggling to boost your page rank, you may need to adapt your SEO and social media strategy to reflect the new trends in social media marketing and search engine optimization.

If you’re not embracing social media as a business, you’re missing out on one of the biggest marketing tools available.  Using tools like Facebook and Twitter actually boost your search engine rankings, making your website more visible to search engines like Google.  Consider how much content is shared on Facebook each day – users spend approximately 22% of their Internet time in social media, making social media a priority for any company that wants to be visible.

Of course, just hiring an intern may not do the trick. While social media can be a valuable marketing campaign tool, it’s often a commitment.  Hiring a professional will ensure that you get the best results from your brand’s digital communications.  You want someone who can represent your brand and company, not just the message behind your brand.  Social media has become an avenue for customer service, sales inquiries and ongoing questions – you want someone who understands your audience, and can think out of the box in a way that is both specific and familiar to your client base.

Hiring a professional will ensure that your message, and your core product do not get lost in a sea of irrelevant information.  Anyone who’s been on the web knows just how much junk the web holds – having a true professional on your team will ensure that your relevant keywords and terms drive traffic to your page.  A professional can tell you which information to include and which information is irrelevant.  They can help you streamline your content, showing off your product’s benefits in a straightforward way.  A social media professional can also help you determine terms that are broad and wide reaching, and help you optimize key words and phrases so that your site gets a good SEO ranking.

Content is still key on the web, and having someone who knows your brand, your clients and your company will ensure that users come to your website because you are an authority.  Social media is all about providing something of value to your customers.  You need interesting and relevant content, you need high-quality inbound and outbound links.  You need customer interaction that is fun and info-rich.  Monitoring industry key words and phrases will continually provide feedback on what your customer or audience is interested in, making a tailored social media strategy easier to attain.

RoryMartin.com is that secret weapon that will revolutionize the way you engage with your clients and end-users. We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

Make an Impact on Facebook

One of our focuses at Rorymartin.com is helping customers create and execute their social media campaigns. An effective social media campaign should be married with your marketing campaign, and should use a wide variety of social media tools – including Facebook. Facebook is one of the most useful social media marketing tools out today; yet many businesses don’t quite know how to implement Facebook into their social media strategy. One key point to Facebook as a social media tool for business is building interactions.

Initially, Facebook didn’t offer pages, and so businesses created profiles as a way to reach out to users, especially since messaging users has continued to remain a feature reserved for profiles. Yet, one of the most common mistakes businesses make on Facebook is creating a profile instead of a Facebook fan page. What these businesses may not know, is that profiles have not been as visible and don’t necessarily get the visits that pages do. While Facebook updates may seem like a way to alert fans to events and news – showing up like messages in users’ inboxes – a very small percentage of updates are actually visible to fans, because of an algorithm called EdgeRank.

EdgeRank gives every post a quality score – measuring the number of comments, likes, and shares per post against the number of fans a page has. Businesses who want to be seen need to build up their EdgeRank, by making their posts interaction friendly – which means businesses need to spend more time building community with their fans. Fans don’t interact with self-promotion nearly as much as they interact with conversation. Your page needs to have a conversational, community feel – a give and take that makes your brand appealing to your fans and their friends. To really optimize your Facebook experience, mix up the types of posts to include blogs, videos and engaging questions.

Building the interactions your Facebook page is just one part of a good social media strategy. Seattle Social Media Marketing company, Rorymartin.com focuses on helping our customers build their EdgeRank. This helps our clients educate their markets and build brand awareness while winning and retaining customers with engaging and impactful websites and web marketing. We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.

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