Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

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.

 

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.

Seattle SEO

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.

Seattle Social Media Management in Small Business: What You Need to Know

Social media managers are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses who want to profit from Seattle’s busy social industry, but while big business corporations are already jumping on the bandwagon (and have already been profiting from social for years), the majority of small and medium sized businesses typically are not. In fact, many think that they do not have the budget, the time, or the need for a professional social team or manager. If you’re one of these smaller business owners, here are a few reasons you might be wrong.

Benefits of Social Media Management for Small Business

If you’re running a small or medium size business in the Seattle area, then a local Seattle social media management team or manager can do wonders for your revenue. Any good social media strategy can and will improve sales, increase hype, and help with your customer satisfaction. With the right training, you might be able to do all of that yourself, if you have the time for training and for the social media itself, but the thrush is that it is a lot of work, and it is easy to steer your pages in the wrong direction if you are not familiar with the market.

What a social media manager really brings to the table includes the following, and more:

Proven Results – You won’t waste time or money pursuing things that don’t work. Professionals know what and what doesn’t make money.

Consistency – Inconsistent social branding is one of the most common problems on small business social media, but when you bring in a professional manager, you can make sure that yours stays consistent so that you convert and keep more leads.

Save Time – Managing a good social media campaign can take hours per day, especially if you are not familiar with local social trends like hashtags, popular groups, or marketing trends. Professional social media managers are aware of, and stay on top of, all of these issues, so that you can save time, and still get the best results.

Outsourcing

While it might be beneficial for your company to bring in an in-house  social media manager, the truth is that unless your social media is turning over at least twice what they are making per year, it’s not really worth it for you. Instead, consider what some of the top companies in the U.S. are doing, which is outsourcing. If you need a single social media strategy but don’t have the budget for a full-time employee, then an outsourced team has several advantages, starting with affordability. You get every advantage of a social media team, while paying less than you would with hiring a single person. You also get to work with a company that has guaranteed professionalism, and a history of working with other clients.

Creating a Plan

The most important part of hiring any social media manager, in or out of Seattle, is to sit down and create an outline of what you want to achieve with your social media. While you could just go to a social marketer and tell them to increase your traffic and sales, you are much better off sitting down, discussing expectations, and discussing what you can achieve within your budget. This is a great time to discuss other items that tie into planning, such as expected ROI, an expected timeline, and any other specific details that you, or the marketer, think are relevant to your situation.

Hiring a Seattle social media manager can and will make you money, even if you aren’t quite a Fortune 500 company.

 

How to Get Started with Localized Internet Marketing in the Seattle Area

If you’re marketing a local business here in Seattle, then Internet marketing can actually do more for you than you might think. While many people think of the Internet as an all or nothing worldwide marketing venture, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of local outlets, websites, and tactics for locally marketing your business on the web. While it does start with social marketing, there are a number of different internet marketing tactics you can use.

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Blog Marketing

If you have a produce then you can get blogs to cover your product. Usually the process isn’t free because you will have to offer them your product to review or write about, but if those blogs have a following then you can get customers from it. Great places to try include neighborhood newspapers, and local blogs that cover your niche. For example, if you want to promote a restaurant, you would want to look for local food blogs with a following, local social pages and groups about food, and local newspapers with a food column. In this case, by offering a free meal to the blogger or reviewer in exchange for coverage, you get increased hype and hopefully customers as well. The trick is that the person in question has to be impressed in order to write something good about you.

Content

Content marketing is the single best way to promote your topics to the world wide web, but if you want to keep things in the Seattle market then you will have to create selective content. Find out what local people want to know about your niche, and then create content that helps them with that. User created content like videos, reviews, and comments also help with local content marketing and help to boost your local SEO, so try encouraging user created content whenever possible.

Localization

Localization is a huge deal if you’re marketing to a specific area. While you can just include your address and a few localized keywords on your website, you can also localize in a few other ways. You can create blogs and posts based towards specific areas and neighborhoods. You can also set yourself up on Google Local and Google Places to come up better for localized search. Finally, set up your page with a location on Facebook so that you come up under Graph searches for content in your area.

Social Pages

Social pages are very important for almost any type of business, but the smaller your business, the more people want to see an active social page before they’re going to want to buy from you. The key here is to encourage your clients and customers to review you on your social pages so that new customers will see positive hype about you as soon as they go on the page. While you won’t always be able to make this happen, it will definitely help.
If you need help with your localized Seattle internet marketing then try contacting Rory Martin for advice. We’ve worked with dozens of companies, and we can help you too.

Seattle SEO Management Tips for Business

If you’re running a local Seattle business and you want to rank for local searches for your types of businesses then you have your job cut out for you. Without a professional Seattle SEO manager to help you out, you’re going to have to research, plan, and strategize an SEO plan that will hopefully get you onto search above your competitors. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy. Seattle is a hotspot of small and medium businesses that are growing under the huge job market thanks to big tech companies in the surrounding area. With that in mind, here are a few handy tips to help you rank higher in local Seattle SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

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Content Marketing

Content is one of your most powerful marketing tools because content attracts visitors. By ensuring that your pages are localized and relatable to local readers, you are encouraging the citizens of Seattle to read your website. You’re also giving yourself more fodder for sharing on social pages to make them more popular.

Hyper Localization

What’s more, you also want to hyper localize your content. Yes it’s important to tell your readers, your ads, and to put on your website that you’re in Seattle, but don’t forget your local area, neighborhood, and street. For example, if you search for ‘restaurants in Seattle’ there are over 3,397 competing restaurants. On the other hand, if you search for “Restaurants in Georgetown, Seattle”, there are just 125 restaurants within that local area competing with you in search. When you narrow that down to “Restaurants on Airport Way, Georgetown, Seattle, you’re looking at just five search competitors. Apply that concept to your local area and your business and you could find yourself capturing hyper local customers.

Website Speed

You’ve probably heard this half a million times already in 2014, but it’s important. Make sure that your website loads quickly on every device or you are loosing your hard earned clicks. Enough said.

Go Easy on the Links

While Google loves to see new content, they’re not so hyped about the links. Take it easy on linking to and from other websites, and try to avoid guest blogging for the same of links. If you do include guest blogging in your policy, try offering your website URL without linking it. This will allow interested readers to follow you to your site without bringing unnatural links that could result in a Google penalty.

You probably already know that the backend of your site has to be in shape, that you have to research keywords, and that you should use them sparingly. You should also know that quality is more important than quantity, and that you will be penalized for trying to influence search. With that out of the way, you just have to make sure that your website is for your readers, offers value, and is what it appears to be about. Other then that, you’re on your own with creating your SEO strategy.

If you want to know more about what a professional Seattle SEO manager can do for you in terms of results, contact us at Rory Martin.

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