Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

5 Search Principles for Your Seattle SEO Strategy

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most popular and most recognized forms of internet marketing other than PCP, but many businesses fail to utilize it correctly. While SEO requires a lot of expertise to fully master, you can get by with the basics, so long as you utilize them correctly. If you’re just getting started with your SEO campaign, you should consider hiring a Seattle SEO company to help you with the strategy and planning, but the following five principles will get you started.

Keywords

Everyone knows that keywords are important for SEO, and that couldn’t be more true, especially if you’re trying to do localized Seattle targeting. Long tail keywords, mentioning your city, neighborhood, and even street can all help you come up in specific searches for local businesses, which is highly beneficial for small and medium businesses. The most important thing to do is research your keywords, make sure you integrate them without being spammy, and use them as naturally as possible.

Quality Content

Several search engines including Google and Yahoo now value quality, informative content as part of their search algorithm. They judge this by how well your content answers questions, as well as how long people stay on the page, whether or not they backspace and visit another page, and so on. Essentially, it is in your best interest to provide quality content that keeps visitors on your page for as long as possible.

Meta Data

Some meta data has been overused and used for spam, so you do want to be careful with it. However, meta descriptions and meta headers have value not only in that Google sees them, but also in that searchers see them. When you have a header that is too long for search, visitors see a cut off snippet of it in search. When you don’t have a meta description, they see the opening lines of your content. Creating an informative summary of your content, and a short, catchy title will help with boosting clicks. You also want both to summarize what your content is about, and use keywords for Google.

Backlinks

Backlinks are another SEO technique that has been spammed and must, therefore, be approached with caution, but it’s still one of the most valuable tactics you can utilize for long-term results. Search engines use backlinks, or links from one site to another, as votes to see how important the website is. Therefore, the more of them you have, the better your site will rank in search. However, links have to add value, be natural, and hopefully come from websites that have their own influence and ranking.

Image Tags

Image tags affect your search ranking by allowing images to come up in search, telling Google that you have relevant images in your post, and allowing users to find you based on image searches. This can be especially valuable if you have products, because you can tag them with appropriate short and long-term keywords, write a description that tells searchers what it is, and get traffic based on users looking for inspiration on the product you are selling.

There are over 200 different SEO principles and considerations, and you have to consider them all if you want to rank a larger business in the long-term. A Seattle SEO company can help with ensuring that you are on the right track by performing an audit, helping with your SEO strategy, and helping with implementation if you need it. To learn more, contact Rory Martin for details.

How to Optimize Your Off Page SEO – Seattle SEO Tips

SEO is a very complicated process, and optimizing your website for search might seem a bit akin to making a magic potion if you’re not getting help from professionals. However, the basics are relatively easy to understand, and one of those basics is off page SEO. If you’ve learned how to optimize your own web page for search using keywords, content, quality, descriptions, web page structure, and so on. Off page SEO is another thing entirely, and there are a number of do’s and don’ts for Seattle businesses on the web. The following tips from local Seattle SEO companies should help you with improving your off page optimization.

Don’ts for Off Page SEO

SEO has changed a lot in the past few years, and while more and more algorithm points are added to Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engines, many others are taken out. Google uses over 200 factors in their ranking, and over 2,000 subfactors, so it’s impossible to influence them all. In fact, most people go wrong with SEO by trying to influence their off page SEO, when they should mostly be leaving it alone. The following don’ts should be avoided.

Guest Blog For Links – If you’re putting up guest blogs linking back to your site, don’t. Links from external websites can be valuable to you, but they can also hurt your optimization. You also don’t want to ask for reciprocal links, as these can also hurt you.

Use Directories – Some people will tell you to publish your website in numerous directories with links back to your page. This is not a good idea. Consider adding your website with links to your social pages, Yelp,  and the Better Business Bureau.

Comment Farm – If you’re commenting or paying someone to comment on other people’s blogs with links back to your site, it is a waste of time.

Post Duplicate Content – Some marketers still follow an old and very outdated policy of posting different versions of the same content on multiple sites, using snippets from an article as an article on another site to direct traffic, and otherwise creating duplicate content. This can hurt your SEO.

Use Press Releases for Links – You should only post press releases to try to get media coverage, not for links.

Essentially, any time you’re using articles, content, blog posts, YouTube videos, press releases,

Do’s for Off Page SEO

Off Page SEO is essentially any SEO done off of your website, so by nature, it is mostly beyond your control. The following points are items you can do to help boost your off page SEO.

Build Relationships – Building networks and creating relationships in your niche, with local neighborhood businesses, and with local companies allows you to build more than just links, but you might get the links anyway.

Share on Social Media – Social media is a big thing in SEO, so you should make sure you’re sharing and sharing regularly. Creating valuable, sharable content that other people will love and post as well adds to the value. Social links and signals don’t count for much individually, but the more active your social profiles and activity on your links, the better your off page SEO.

Running a good SEO campaign requires a balance between careful on-site SEO and careful off-site quality control and monitoring. If you want to make sure that you’re getting it right, consider hiring a professional Seattle SEO company to help you with the details.

How to Handle Links with Modern SEO – Seattle SEO TipS

SEO and links have always gone together, and in previous incarnations of SEO strategy, have even dramatically affected ranking. Today, links are less important, primarily because most search engines have to sort through spam and black hat techniques, which create link farms and use guest blogs for links. With that in mind, the wrong links can actually hurt your search ranking, especially on sites like Google, with complex and sophisticated ranking techniques. If you want to get started with using links to boost your ranking, these tips from local Seattle SEO marketing companies will help you with getting started.

How Do Links Help Your SEO?

Links boost your Search Engine Optimization by boosting your perceived impact. Essentially, most search engine algorithms use inbound links to decide how many people are paying attention to you, how much attention you’re getting, and how much value you’re adding. Sites with more links going to them add more value to a link going to you, while sites with more links going out then coming in add less value to your link. Essentially, it’s like playing cards for chips, whoever has the most chips wins, and whoever has the least isn’t usually given that much attention. While the system is more complicated than that, you can get the basic idea from it. Links tell search engines that other people are listening to what you have to say, and that perhaps, they should too.

Seattle SEO

Do All Links Help?

Do all links help? Well, no. Unfortunately, a lot of people try to abuse links by ‘farming’ them, or using directories to create massive amounts of links directly to their website, to create a false appearance of influence. This is an extremely bad idea because most search engines will now penalize you for having too many links from sites that mostly have outbound links. They’ll also penalize you for putting up 15 or 20 websites and interlinking them to build your ranking. This can negatively affect your ranking, so it is important to avoid it.

Bad Ideas Include:

Paying for links

Guest Blogging for links

Using link directories

Paying for a “100% Real Google Safe Link Building Technique Skyrocket to the Top OF Search in 24 Hours” type thing.

Putting up dozens of press releases for link value

What Links Should I Have?

Valuable links come natural sources, they are relevant to your website, and people click them. A link with no clicks is a link with no value. Unless people are following your link, your website usually isn’t being benefited from it.

Good link ideas include:

News stations

Social media shares

People blogging about your services or reviewing your products

Mentions from larger websites

Features, shares, or mentions from similar websites

How do I Get Valuable Links?

A valuable link is a natural link. It is one that has been added for the benefit of the reader and not for the company. It is also on a completely relevant website or page. This might seem difficult at first, but the truth is that if you’re doing things to get links, you’re probably doing it the wrong way. Instead, try making connections, doing newsworthy items that will get you local mentions, appearing at local events and festivals, and getting yourself involved with other people. Not only will these things generate hype on and off of the Internet, they afford you the ability to build connections that are more than just a meaningless link that might not actually help you out with the next search update. You can also offer to create meaningful and relevant blog posts for similar magazines, websites, and news areas, in exchange for a company mention.

Want more help with building your search engine optimization strategy? Contact RoryMartin.com for a consultation to see what we can do for you.

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How to Merge Your Marketing and SEO – Seattle SEO Tips

How to Merge Your Marketing and SEO – Seattle SEO Tips

If you have a well thought out SEO strategy, then chances are you’re probably already integrating many of the marketing theories that you need to make your search optimization successful. Unfortunately, many Seattle businesses do not have a great search engine marketing strategy, primarily because they aren’t sure how to get started with one. Because most Seattle business owners aren’t necessarily marketing specialists, this is normal. If you don’t have your own Seattle SEO manager to help you with marketing and integrating it into your search optimization, then you probably need be

Research Your Market Demographic

You wouldn’t write an ad without knowing who you were writing it for, but many people write SEO content without really deciding who they’re selling to. If you’re selling shoes, then it’s probably logic that you’re main demographic is women between the ages of 18 and 45, and most of them will want a very specific type of shoe. If you’re operating a restaurant with catering services, the answer might not be quite as clear cut, but you can get started by analyzing your customers, writing up everyone in your immediate delivery area, and making some specific concessions based on what kind of food you serve. If you serve traditional Jewish cuisine, then your primary audience is  most likely going to be Jewish, and on top of that, you can market towards people looking for food for parties, events, and weddings.  On the other hand if you sell an assortment of high end cakes and pastries, you can narrow your prospects further to weddings and events, which allows you to easily narrow your demographic.

Use Retargeting Lists to Market To Them After They Leave Your Site

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Just because you get someone to your site with SEO doesn’t mean that they’ve made a purchase. Rather the opposite. Most of the techniques used to bring customers in via search actually draw in customers who are still making a decision. Creating retargeting lists with more specific versions of your SEO keywords (I.E., Four-tier strawberry wedding cakes for delivery in Ballard) and creating PPC marketing ads for retargeting those customers can help you with turning your leads into sales instead of just traffic. The main problem with SEO is that you can draw in an unlimited amount of customers who want to read your content, but they probably haven’t made up their mind about what kind of shoe or cake they want just yet. If they wanted that, they wouldn’t be reading articles. So, adding them to a retargeting ad based on their initial search (I.E. 4-inch black pump) allows you to show them what they want to buy when they leave your site, so that they come back and make a purchase.

Evolve your Content For Your Customers

Every customer has something specific that they want to see and while it is true that you can’t please everyone, you can please your target demographic. What do they want to see, what do they need to see, and what would be beneficial for them. Changing your content over time to stand out and market directly to your customer base is the best way to go. Remember that content marketing strategies like SEO are not only about coming up in search, but also about creating yourself as an authority, so that customers remember you when they want to make a purchase.

The easiest way to set up a working SEO marketing plan is to get help from a local Seattle SEO specialist or consultant who not only knows search  marketing but also local demographics, trends and business.

What’s involved in SEO Implementation – Seattle SEO Tips

What’s involved in SEO Implementation – Seattle SEO Tips

If you’re planning on hiring a Seattle SEO company to help you with optimizing your website and pages, then you might want to know what’s involved in the process. While any good SEO company will create a custom plan and strategy based on your specific needs, current traffic and capacity for business, the following items include strategies and tasks commonly completed during SEO optimization.

SEO Audit

The first step to implementing your SEO is to audit or assess your site to see what changes have to be made. This should include analyzing your existing web content, your backend architecture, your servers, the history of your domain name and back end techniques such as whether or not you’ve highlighted your pages, created metadata or use SEO techniques that search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo might think are spammy. Analyzing your incoming links is also important, because they can affect your search.

Backend Optimization

Once you’ve completed an SEO audit, you can get started on optimizing your site for local Seattle, national or global search. The first step is usually backend optimization. While many people know that SEO involves keywords, not many people know that your site architecture, sitemap, internal linking strategy and your HTML can all affect site crawling and search optimization. A good SEO company wil audit your back end and then make changes to improve your sites capacity for coming up on search.

Strategic Link Building

Link building is an SEO strategy that must be undertaken with absolute care because if done improperly, it looks like spam. Generating relevant, niche worth links that look real (often because they are real) can help you with driving traffic to your website, when you drive traffic through a link, Google and other search engines use it to rank your page.

Social Media

Social media is very much a part of SEO, so any good optimization strategy should include some plans to boost social interaction and engagement. While there are dozens of social platforms to choose from, you should choose one or two that are valuable for your business and then focus on creating high levels of engagement and link sharing, which in turn boost the credibility of your business in search.

Content Optimization

At one point in time content optimization was the gold standard of SEO but that is no longer true. However, it still plays a part. Google’s search engines now place a premium on quality over quantity, and they will search out and disregard keyword stuffing, duplicate content and spun articles. For that reason, the best content optimization clearly discusses what is on the page, offers helpful information and tells readers what they need to know. Content optimization should aim for keeping readers on the page as long as possible, and if possible, convince them to click through to another page to boost your site credibility and decrease your bounce rate.

If you want to know more about optimizing your website for search, contact Rory Martin, a local Seattle SEO and social marketing company to learn more.

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Seattle SEO – How to Determine Your SEO Needs

SEO is something that most Seattle area business owners know about, especially if they have an online web shop or cater to a larger area with a multiple branches, services, or delivery. Despite that, even if you know that you need SEO, you might not understand what you need, or how much of it you need. SEO can vary quite a bit and might include technical audits, on page optimization, back end optimization, and even networking to build site credibility, which eventually makes it even harder for you to understand what SEO is, let alone what you need.

Resources

The first thing to consider when deciding what you need from an SEO company is your budget. If you don’t have the resources to pay for a full multi-prong SEO campaign aimed at getting you to the top of every search engine out there, then you probably won’t be able to. Make sure that you set your goals with constraints to your budget, your time investment and your corporation or business.

Current Website

If your website is currently getting very little traffic and you want to boost it, then you can expect your current performance to affect future performance a great deal. Because ranking can take a long time to be beneficial, and the higher your current traffic the easier it is to boost your traffic, boosting your SEO based traffic can vary quite a bit depending on where your website currently stands. Blacklisting, red flags and spammy SEO practices all make it more difficult to rank, but with the right Seattle SEO company, you can improve your reputation with search engines and begin to rank. Your current traffic trends over the past few years determine how much you have to put into SEO.

Goals

Setting business goals is the easiest way to determine your budget and your needs. Because you probably want to achieve something, try making it into a concrete plan. X number of traffic with X number of sales or X conversion rate is easier and more quantifiable to communicate to an SEO company than saying “I want to boost traffic” or “I want to be on the top of Google”. Quantifying your business goals with achievable, profitable goals is the first step to succeeding with an SEO campaign.

The easiest way to determine what search engine optimization you need is to contact a Seattle SEO company and ask for an audit or a consultation. It is important to set goals based on your current website performance, capabilities, and your business goals, and present those goals when you go in for the interview or to talk. A good SEO company will tell you what you can fix, change, or optimize to boost your performance and search ranking to help get the traffic you want.

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What’s New for Seattle SEO in 2015

Marketing your website can be a big deal, especially when you’re trying to do so on a limited budget. SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of web marketing, but unfortunately, many people know surprisingly little about it, that it can change frequently, or that techniques which helped your site last month might actually hurt your website this month. SEO trends can vary a great deal depending on which search engine you’re marketing to, but the following include general rules for new SEO trends in 2015. If you need more help, consider hiring or asking a Seattle SEO expert.

SEO-2015

Keywords are Out But Not All the Way

In 2011, a 4% keyword density was the thing for putting you on the top of search. Fortunately, that trend is completely over and you no longer have to worry about percentages and keyword volume. But that doesn’t mean that you can ignore keywords completely. You still have to give Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines a good idea of what you’re talking about. A good rule of thumb is to use keywords as naturally as possible, only using them when you would without paying attention. You can also use Google’s SKTOOL to find a series of related keywords, you can use a thesaurus (Or just google) to find synonyms of your keyword, and then mix up phrasing and word usage. Keep in mind that your grammar and spelling should always be accurate.

Back End Optimization is More Important Than Ever

Back end optimization is often overlooked by many quick sell SEO companies, and their products and services rarely drive results. Back end optimization includes making sure that your website is search friendly, creating site maps, using appropriate meta tags, and so on.

Unique Content is Necessary to Rank

Another very important thing to consider about modern SEO is that if your content is not unique, you will not rank. This means that not only do you have to write 100% unique content for your pages, you also have to avoid doing any previously good techniques like spinning the article to post on other sites.

Quality Over Quantity

Good grammar, great spelling, informative content, and content longer than 350 words are all more likely to rank than throwing up a dozen small posts with no attention to detail. All search engines are now creating grammar and helpfulness metrics, which means that you have to start paying attention to content, quality, and readability. In some cases, this may mean paying for a professional writer.

Stop Link Farming

Whether you’re putting up guest posts, commenting with links back to your website, or adding your website to every directory you can get your hands on, just stop. It’s not helping you, and in fact, in enough quantity, it may even get you blacklisted. Instead, consider creating guest posts for the sole purpose of driving people to your website. If you don’t think the users will click through and follow it, then the link is worthless.

SEO is changing a lot, and whether you’re trying to market to a local Seattle audience, or aiming for something a little larger, it is important to follow the rules. Paying attention and keeping up to date with new rules is the only way to rank, unless you want to hire a professional Seattle SEO team to handle it for you.

Seattle SEO Tips – Quality is the Most Important Ranking Factor

 SEO has come a long way in the past few years, and whether your Seattle SEO specializes in Google or Bing, times have definitely changed. Four years ago you could upload a post with a 4% keyword density and 100 backlinks and expect it to skyrocket to the top of search, but today, that same tactic is far more likely to have you tagged as spam and possibly even blacklisted by most major search engines. Google and Bing both now focus on quality as an important ranking factor, and many of them immediately rank the largest sites first (which is bad news for the little guys).

If you’re still posting your blogs on WordPress and blogger sites with links back to the original, paying for funnel websites, or creating thousands of links back to your site, you’re definitely making a mistake. The following include a few rules for Seattle businesses to live by when handling their SEO.

Pretend Google Doesn’t Exist

Or Bing. First things first, if you wouldn’t do something in terms of link creation or adding words without thinking of a search engine, you shouldn’t when thinking of a search engine either. Both Google and Bing are looking for quality in terms of keywords and links, and natural is the way to go.

Think Like a Reader

If you’re writing a blog or a website page and you’re thinking like you’re trying to sell to someone, then you’re thinking the wrong way. Instead, think about the reader experience as you go through the page. You should design your text, the quality of the text, and the number of links on the page based on how you think a user or reader would feel about it. Search Engine Land recommends reading the newspaper and deciding where you would put links, and see how they wrote content, to get the hang of writing for readers.

Put Quality First

Quality is your most important goal, for both links and on-page content. That means writing well-written sentences, using a spelling and grammar check, and proofreading everything. You want to have shorter paragraphs of no more than five sentences, and unless you’re targeting a highly educated audience, a fifth grade reading level. Make your content easy to read, and make sure that it is very easy to tell what it is about, without excessively repeating keywords. Think the same way with links. Try to accumulate them for their readership and activity rather than their PR (public PR is mostly irrelevant now as Google probably will not be updating the toolbar any further). If you put up guest posts or links, do so only with the idea that you want the readers to visit your site, and not for Google or Bing.

Want to know more about how to run a quality SEO campaign? Consider asking one of the expert Seattle social media managers at Rory Martin to help you handle your SEO, or to create a strategy for you. SEO optimization is more than just links and keywords, and hiring a professional can help you rank with the best of your competitors.

Is SEO Dead? A Guide for Seattle Businesses & Websites

If you’re into content or digital marketing then you probably use SEO, or at least plan to. SEO is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing, mainly because it offers a lot for what you pay. Rather than paying for what you get, like you do with PPC, you pay for a marketing strategy that could put you on top of search engine results for Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Unfortunately, time after time, we keep seeing articles with headlines reading some variation of “SEO is dead!”

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If you don’t work in the field of SEO, then you probably wouldn’t know any better than to believe it. After all, it’s on the Internet, right? Wrong, SEO is not dead. Search Engine Optimization will exist so long as there are search engines using algorithm and math based tools to find search results that match a keyword. That is actually the definition of SEO. Because we don’t imagine that search engines will have manually listed results to show when someone types in a search anytime soon, SEO is still alive and well.  You can still benefit from paying a Seattle SEO company to optimize your business, especially if you hire the right company.

Why Do People Say SEO is Dead?

One of the main reasons that you might keep seeing that SEO is dead is because SEO has undergone some very major changes in the past few years. By major changes, we mean that where two years ago, a couple of thousand links pointing back to your site might skyrocket you to the top of search, now it’s more likely to get you banned. And the same can be said of keyword stuffing, or the process of putting a percentage of keywords into your article (I.E. make “Seattle cupcakes” 2% of the article). These processes once worked, but they’ve been blacklisted on many search engines because they typically produce content that is spammy, irrelevant, and difficult to read. New SEO algorithms are more complex, harder to game, and offer better quality results. It also makes “SEO” harder for random people to get into selling a service and calling it optimization. So, scam SEO is dead. But actual optimization is still another thing entirely.

What Goes Into SEO?

If you want to know what actually goes into SEO and what you should be considering, we’d have to tell you, a lot. Google, the most popular search engine, uses over 300 signals in it’s algorithm, and most search engines have different algorithms. So there is a lot to consider. However, that’s one of the reasons why you probably want to hire a professional Seattle SEO company rather than winging it yourself. Some of the signals that search engines look for include quality, helpfulness, use of the keyword, a low exit rate, grammar, readability, site functionality, metadata, and even social signals.

Is that a lot to keep up with? Yes it is. Unfortunately, most search engines constantly change their algorithms, which means that policies, and strategies might be different tomorrow.

SEO is most definitely not dead, but many old ranking strategies are. That’s why you want to hire a professional SEO or digital marketing company that keeps up with changes, and offers you something that works, rather than a quick fix.

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

SEO is the big name in digital marketing, it’s not always the most successful, but it is the thing that most people are almost instantly drawn to when they begin marketing their website. After all, who wouldn’t want to use a marketing scheme with the potential to generate unlimited return. The unfortunate thing is that many people either learn one or two things about SEO and try to market themselves, or hire the lowest bidder to do it for them. The result is a marketing technique that’s less about optimizing pages for search engines and more about pandering to the latest hot topic in the world of marketing (I.E. inserting keywords into all of your headers).

Seattle SEO

But what really optimized a page for Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any of the other search engines that you will rarely hear about in SEO talks? Keywords? Backlinks? Or is it a little something more. The following include a few tips from top Seattle SEO marketers on which SEO ranking factors you should and should not be paying attention to.

On Page

On page ranking factors include keyword usage, site optimization, html clues, sitemaps, and quality. For example, all search engines value high quality content, some like Google even have algorithms designed to see if the content is helpful or not. Most need to know what the content is about in order to find it, so you also need keywords and phrases that might tell Google that your article is what the person is searching for. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and this is doubly true with any sort of keyword optimization. Crawlability, or how well search engine bots can crawl the page, is also a huge factor.  Pages have to be easy to access,

Off Page

Off page SEO is a lot harder to control because they are designed to be controlled by outside people. Off page ranking factors are designed to see how important your site or page is. Some of these items include social shares, backlinks, trust, and reputation. These are considerably harder to control, but when you do, it is especially important to do so in moderation. For example, back links must be as high quality as possible, or they will do more harm than good.

No Single Factor

Probably the most important thing to remember about SEO is that no single ranking factor will get you to the top of search. You have to have all or most of the signals present in order to fully optimize your pages. If you have a good keyword density and poor site architecture, a search engine might not be able to find your page anyway. If you have good site architecture but nothing to tell the search engine what your content is about, you’ll never appear in search. For the most part, you do want to focus on quality over quantity, because that’s what today’s search engines are looking for.

Want to know more about how a professional Seattle SEO company would handle your search engine optimization? Contact us today to discuss your needs.

 

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