Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

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.

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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).

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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.

 

Five Major Red Flags For a Seattle SEO Company

If you’re in search of a local SEO company to help boost your ranking in the Seattle area then all well and good for you. SEO is still one of the most potent marketing options, and, if done right, can actually offer unlimited return. Unfortunately, when done wrong, it can do the exact opposite and ensure that your site never sees any organic traffic. While there are thousands of ‘SEO companies’ out there, not all of them are created equal, in fact, many of them have no idea what ‘SEO’ is anymore. So how do you sort out the chaff? Here are five major red flags that should send you running.

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SEO Copywriting

The truth is that there is no such thing as SEO copywriting anymore. Sure, you can optimize content here and there and make sure that the content is right, but today’s ‘SEO copywriting is more about good grammar, relevance, and helpfulness rather than using algorithms or keyword insertion. If they’re selling SEO copywriting, steer clear.

One Size Fits All Packages

If they have packages like “200,000 hits in one this period of time”, you can basically just turn around and run. Basic packages that offer a lot of results for one set fee look good, but they don’t really promise anything. Without a tailored and structured package designed to drive targeted traffic to your site, that traffic might as well not be there. Why? Because ‘traffic’ does not mean a consumer who wants to buy your products.

Backlinking Services

Whether it’s backlinking, guest posts, directory links, or automated linking, you have to steer clear. Backlinks can actually hurt your site more than help it, especially with Google’s new strict rules about relevance. If the links are not from an approved, relevant, and non-spammy source, then they could actually get you blacklisted on Google, which means no traffic from the world’s largest search engine.

SEO Tools

Are ‘SEO Tools’ one of their main sells? If so, you probably don’t want the company. Real SEO has very little to do with automation and more to do with good old fashioned marketing, back end optimization, and quality. It’s not about using tools to get the most done.

They Promise Quick Results

You probably want fast results. You would probably be happy if the traffic started pouring in tomorrow. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work that way. No matter what search engine you’re aiming for, fast results just aren’t happening if you do SEO right. In fact, time to results actually vary depending on the company, the search engine, and the number of competitors. Saying you will get ‘fast results’ is like promising that there won’t be anyone at the Starbucks counter if you go in fifteen minutes after they open. It’s possible, but not very likely.

A great SEO company offers quality digital marketing, not gimmicks and empty promises. Watch out for the red flags to root out the ones who won’t be doing your business any good.

Seattle SEO Talk: How Reviews Factor Into Your Local Search Rank

If you have a business and you sell locally but are not involved with social media, then you could be making a huge mistake. Recent studies show that not only do Facebook and Google pages show up in search results, but that your reviews actually greatly influence your local search ranking algorithm. The entire process works through Facebook and Google using their system of reviews with verified local businesses.

How Does Google Local Work

When you perform a search and you see a list of businesses come up next to a map, that is actually Google Local in action. You’ll probably also see stars next to each of those businesses, and that is Google’s reviews in action. One thing that you will definitely notice is that all of the options on the top are mostly either the most reviewed, or the options with the highest and best reviews.

Facebook is similar, but only shows up as a Facebook page, and does not usually show the reviews or the map in search.

Why It’s Important To You

As a business, you can create a Facebook or Google Local page, garner reviews, and pretty much skyrocket to the top of that search, although Google is easier fo this. Because many businesses do not yet have an active Google Plus page, you actually have an advantage if you get started now, because you have more time to get reviews, and to build a following on the page. Good reviews are actually proven to affect not only your local SEO, but also your click-through rate on those listings.

Getting Reviews

While you can’t guarantee a good review, even from a customer that you go out of your way to please, you can try to offer the best services possible and then ask for a review. Asking is the hard part, because you can’t usually just ask in person. Many short-term sale (such as product sales and restaurants) businesses have the most success with flyers and business cards, while long-term sales (such as automotive) have more success with mailable items that ask for a review after the sale is completed. In either case, be polite, make it as easy as possible. You can ask for Google or Facebook, but most customers will be annoyed if you ask for both. You can ask for reviews for both Google and Facebook, but it is against the terms of service to ask for reviews on Yelp, so try to avoid it, or do it in a way without a link.

Reviews can boost your click through rate, improve your ranking on local search listings, and make new customers more likely to buy from  you, so make sure you ask your customers for them. Just keep in mind that customers who aren’t 100% happy with your services are not obliged to offer a great review.

Want to know more about indirect marketing for you business? Contact Rory Martin today to discuss your options.

Seattle SEO – Five Outdated SEO Techniques to Stop Right Now

SEO has always been one of the biggest and easiest ways to get traffic with Google and it seems as though almost everyone has tried it at one point or another, some with more success than others. While Google’s SEO algorithm is constantly changing, and in fact, updates every 6-12 months, if not more frequently, many of the people we talk to are still using very outdated SEO techniques, some of which are extremely bad for modern SEO. Most of the time this is because they simply did not have the time to keep up with the changes, or decided that the changes wouldn’t affect them. If you’re using SEO and you’re ranking is suffering, or you’re new to SE0, check out these five major issues that could be hurting instead of helping your ranking.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is one of the most popular ways to drive backlinks, but unfortunately, most bloggers don’t write quality posts to send out to blogs. If you’re in the habit of sending out blogs to a variety of unrelated websites then you’re probably hurting your ranking. You can still guest blog, just keep the posts to a minimum, make sure that the websites are relevant to your site, and use links as sparingly as po

Optimized Anchor Links

Do you out your keywords and use those as links to your webpage for guest blogging or other articles? If you do, you want to stop it as soon as possible. Google is now listing optimized anchor links as a spam technique, which means that you can hurt your site’s rankings. Instead, try leaving an open URL, or linking to the name of the site.

Linking Out From Press Releases

While many websites and businesses have been using press releases as a back link source for some time, you could actually be penalized or throwing up a press release with no news and just a link. Press releases are for journalists looking for news stories, so make sure that you keep them that way. In fact, many press release sites are actually limiting links, allowing only no-follow links, and scanning for quality to make sure that you’re actually putting up news.

Keyword Heavy Content

Putting up a keyword dense blog in 2012 would  most likely have skyrocketed it to the top of Google for at least a week, while readers groaned and wondered if you were getting $5 every time you repeated “Green converse shoes”. As of 2014, it’s more likely to make sure that no one ever sees your blog ever again. There are plenty of ways to use keywords properly and none of them involve using the same keyword at more than 1% density, which is a maximum and not a recommendation.

Exchanging Links

Exchanging links is probably one of the worst things you can do for your SEO, simply because Google’s algorithms can see the return links. Because return links rarely happen naturally, this is an instant red flag to Google that you are trying to influence your SEO ranking. Because many of the sites that go around asking for reciprocal links are mostly focusing on building links, it could also hurt your site because you are linking to a low quality site.

Four Things to Ask A Seattle SEO Company if You’re Looking for Small Business SEO

As a Seattle business owner, you probably hear about SEO all the time. In fact, you’ve probably heard that it’s incredibly important for your business to have localized SEO on your web pages if you want to come up in search. But, if you’re looking for a Seattle SEO company to optimize your pages, then hopefully you’ve heard a few other things as well. For example, that the quality of your SEO is actually more important than having optimization in the first place, because poorly optimized pages can hurt your traffic. While there are dozens of companies that offer SEO in the Seattle area, not all of them are created equal. With that in mind, here are four important things to ask before you hire a Seattle company that specializes in SEO.

How Do You Keep Up to Date with Google Algorithm Changes

Google is not the only search engine that you have to optimize for, but it is an important one. Because Google frequently updates their algorithm in order to provide less spammy results, it is important to hire a company that stays up to date with the changes. For example, if you hire an SEO company that is still using tactics from 2013 like guest blogging, then you’re not going to catapult to the top of search, but instead, you might have your site blacklisted until you make changes. Ask the company how they stay on top of algorithm changes before you hire them.

Is a Site Analysis Included With Your Services?

Any good SEO company can and should offer you an overall analysis of your site along with recommendations for improvement when they get started. For example, while you might go into SEO thinking that you need keyword optimization on your pages, the truth is that you might need a great deal more back end work to fix internal linking, coding, and internal navigation for search engines. An analysis allows you to get services that you need, rather than that you think you want.

How Do You Measure Results?

If you ask an SEO company how they measure results and their response is in traffic or impressions, then you might not be talking to the right people. The best way to monitor ‘results’ for you as a business is in generated leads and generated ROI. ROI or Return on Investment is your direct income from what you spend, and it’s the most important thing to keep track of in any type of internet advertising campaign.

How Do You Create SEO Strategies For Your Clients?

One of the worst types of SEO company is the one that tries to fit every small business into the same SEO strategy that they wrote up and try to use on everyone. If you want real success with your SEO strategy, then you need something tailored to your business, written around your strengths and weaknesses, and specifically targeting your market areas.
Want to know more about SEO for small business? Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you.

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