Brian Offenberger's marketing and sales keynote speaker blog

Posts Tagged ‘SEO best practices’


5 Questions with the Author of ‘Search Engine Optimization: Do It Yourself’

Posted on: July 14th, 2011 by Joe Giordano No Comments

Search Engine Optimization: Do It YourselfIf you’re looking to get your company to the top of Google, you need to read Search Engine Optimization: Do It Yourself by Christopher Nelson.

This book helps you to understand everything that you need to know about search engine optimization.  It includes a SEO Cheat Sheet for quick, simple references on how and what to optimize. It also provides complete and thorough explanations of the top three SEO concepts.

Read this interview from RSS Ray to find out why you should read this book.

RSS Ray: What made you decide to write this book?

Christopher Nelson:At the time, I had resigned from my position at a top advertising agency in order to start my own web design and development business. While creating my own company’s SEO standards, I noticed that the outline I had created was becoming more and more “fleshed out”.

Long story short, I decided to take it to the next level and develop it into a book that might help others. Through that process I was able to write down and organize everything I knew about SEO based on my experience optimizing literally thousands of websites. It happened very quickly. I was surprised with just how easy it was to lay it all out.

RSS Ray: Who should read your book?

Christopher Nelson: Anyone who wants to learn what SEO is and how to completely optimize a website (or websites) themselves. The book was written with beginners and intermediates in mind. More specifically, the book is “meant” for entrepreneurial types that don’t want to spend thousands of dollars paying someone else to optimize their website for them.

On the other hand, I’ve had companies buy the book to use as their internal standards, and I’ve had blog-writing mothers buy the book as well. It’s definitely not a technical guide with a list of algorithm changes to the search engines. I wrote it to include real, usable information that is actually helpful. Not too technical, but not too simple either.

RSS Ray: What will people learn after reading your book?

Christopher Nelson: After reading my book, people will know how to optimize a website for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They’ll know what to do, how to do it, and why it works. I did my best to give real advice on how long results take as well as what can typically and realistically be expected over time. Many, many people have successfully optimized their websites based on what they learned from my book. The feedback I’ve gotten is truly humbling considering I had never thought my little book would take off like it has.

RSS Ray: What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?

Christopher Nelson: The biggest challenge when writing the book was to try and keep things as conversational as possible without getting into “technical robot mode”. The book itself was finished fairly quickly. It was the rewrites that took the longest amount of time.

I gave the book to SEO experts as well as SEO laymen in order to get a good idea of how easy to understand and useful the book actually was. Distancing myself from it in order to revise the book, throw out entire sections and add new ones was the most challenging part of the process.

RSS Ray: What is the most important thing that people should take with them after reading your book?

Christopher Nelson: That anyone can optimize a website. Like my father always said, “nothing’s hard if you know how to do it”. All you have to do is seek the knowledge. In this case, you’d pick up a copy of my book (or another highly-rated SEO guide of your choice). For people that don’t even know what the acronym stands for, SEO can be a pretty daunting subject. It really doesn’t have to be – and that’s the whole point of my book.

About 5 Questions With The Author

“5 Questions With The Author” is a weekly blogging series where RSS Ray interviews the author of a popular online marketing book.

Be sure to read other expert online marketing posts on the Online Marketing with RSS Ray Blog. Also be sure to listen to the radio show every Wednesday at 12 Eastern/9 Pacific to WS Radio.  RSS Ray gets exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in online marketing. You also can download past episodes on iTunes.

How Social Media and RSS Improves Search Rankings

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 by Joe Giordano No Comments

Online Marketing with RSS Ray announces a new episode that you do not want to miss.

SimpleFeedShow Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm Eastern, 9:00 am Pacific

Show Topic: How Social Media and RSS Improves Search Rankings

Show Guest: Mark Carlson, CEO, SimpleFeed

Sample Questions for Mark Carlson:

1. How can small businesses use social media to improve SEO?

Mark Carlson, SimpleFeed2. Your company deals a lot with content syndication. What are the best ways to syndicate content?

3. There are some people who say social media is taking the place of RSS.  What are your thoughts on this?

4. How can small businesses improve their search rankings with RSS Feeds?

5. How can businesses get more people to subscribe to their company RSS Feeds?

6. What are the best types of content to send via RSS Feeds?

7. How is RSS fitting into the whole mobile picture? Are you seeing people using RSS on their smartphones?

8. What is the biggest mistake that you see companies make involving content syndication?

9. Tell us about SimpleFeed and your solution?

10. We read your case study involving Toyota. Can you give us an overview of how you helped Toyota distribute its content? What type of results did they achieve.

About Mark Carlson: Mark Carlson co-founded SimpleFeed in 2004 and has served as its CEO since its inception. SimpleFeed helps Global 2000 companies create, manage and measure customer communication programs for use in RSS Readers and on Social Networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Customers subscribe to offers, news, new product and support information – whatever interests them.

Mark has significant online business experience.  He has led business operations for internet security companies as well as technology investment banking. Mark lead marketing and development for Guard Dog, an Internet privacy and security product that became a PC Data Top 10 product.

Listen to the show live on WS Radio Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

Free Podcast: Optimizing Company Websites For Google And Other Search Engines

Posted on: March 28th, 2011 by Joe Giordano No Comments

Kayden Kelly, Blast Advanced MediaListen to RSS Ray’s exclusive interview on how to optimize your company’s website for Google with Kayden Kelly of Blast Advanced Media.

RSS Ray and Kayden Kelly discuss:

  • Optimizing your website for the needs and challenges of people
  • The importance of focusing on click-thru rates and not rank
  • The top missed opportunities in SEO
  • The most overlooked SEO tool, Google Webmaster Tools
  • Background on Blast Advanced Media

To listen to the interview, click the Interview button below.


If you want to listen to more of our Podcasts you can subscribe on iTunes or visit to the WS Radio Page.

The Achilles Heel of SEO: The Click

Posted on: March 23rd, 2011 by Joe Giordano No Comments

Get expert SEO best practices in this article and then listen to Kayden Kelly of Blast Advanced Media today on Online Marketing with RSS Ray at 1:30 p.m. on WS Radio.

By Kayden Kelly, Blast Advanced Media

Kayden Kelly, Blast Advanced MediaBased on our experience of auditing and optimizing hundreds of websites, there are three essential aspects to creating true value with SEO:

  1. Rank
  2. Click
  3. Convert

If you can’t drive targeted traffic that converts then all is lost. However, most search engine optimization efforts unknowingly fail before they even have the opportunity to convert. The problem is the lack of the click. Made worse by the fact that a lack of click thrus will eventually reduce rank.

RANK

When we talk to companies who are interested in search engine optimization the conversation inevitably leads to a focus on rank. Ranking well for a variety of search terms is vital but it is only the first step toward driving sustainable non-paid traffic.

What most companies don’t realize is how complex the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) has become. Years back there were only website listings on a SERP. Now with Universal Search there can be a mixture of all kinds of listing types including local maps, videos, images, news, shopping, stocks and more. Then you have paid search listings which can now even include additional content like images.

How big of a deal is this? Well consider this:

  • Paid Search can capture 30% of total clicks
  • Local maps can capture 33% of total clicks
  • The first listing can capture up to 40% of non-paid clicks
  • The top three listings capture about 60% of non-paid clicks
  • Between paid search and universal search listings, a #1 ranked website listing can be pushed down the page and get dramatically reduced visibility. This can reduce the CTR (Click Thru Rate) from 40% to 10% or less.

Now that you a glimpse into how hard a click can be to come by…consider the fact that your rank could fall if people don’t click your listing.

CLICK

How do you know whether or not people are clicking on your listings?

Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed information regarding the pages that are showing for each search query. You can see the approximate impressions, clicks and CTR for each of your pages, along with a change indicator to help you understand how each is trending.

As evidenced by the Google Webmaster Tools screenshot below, you can see how Google uses CTR

(Click Thru Rate) to determine rankings. Over time Google serves up your page listings and if people:

  • aren’t clicking your listing you lose rank.
  • are clicking on your listings you maintain or gain rank.

What impacts CTR on the SERP?

Many factors such as your brand awareness, the user intent (stage of the customer life cycle), the URL

(displayed under the meta description) and other factors mentioned previously affect the CTR. But the

key aspects that you can easily change to improve your CTR include:

  • Page Title
  • Meta Description

If you want to encourage more people to click, you must put more thought into creating better page titles and meta descriptions. (See the quick references for optimizing your page title and meta description at the end of this article.)

Most people are now aware that the Page Title is one of the most important factors in search rankings.

However, they often don’t think about the user’s perspective when they are evaluating the SERP to determine what listing to click.

This is why we highly recommend that you do manual searches to understand the search engine landscape for your top 20 keywords. This will familiarize you on how direct and indirect competitors are targeting and differentiating their listings.

Don’t forget that your SERP listing is an ad. You won’t get as many clicks if your listing:

  • isn’t persuasive or clearly differentiated from other listings
  • doesn’t match the user’s intent
  • lacks keywords (that will get bolded when they match the search query)
  • is over stuffed with keywords
  • offers useless or irrelevant information
  • description doesn’t speak to the person’s needs and make your value and benefits clear

The page title and meta description are key components in ranking and persuading users to click on your listing versus other competitive listings.

Be aware that programmatically customizing page titles and meta descriptions using templated rules is much better than generic page titles and meta descriptions that causes duplicate content issues.

However, to create a competitive advantage the optimal solution is to craft these individually by hand. There are no short-cuts to sustainable success.

CONVERT

Blast Advanced MediaKeep in mind that once people click, your job is not done. The next step is to ensure they don’t bounce (i.e. leave the site immediately) and hopefully get them to convert. This conversion doesn’t need to be a revenue transaction. It can be another type of conversion that demonstrates a positive experience which is likely to lead to a revenue based transaction in the future.

Final tip, not only is an H1 heading a key SEO factor in helping your site rank but it is also a key user experience factor that when done well keeps people on your site. Headings should:

  • be relevant to the search query
  • between 2-10 words (fewer words is generally better)
  • use the targeted keyword as near the beginning as possible

SUMMARY

Remember that rank is great, but ultimately it is your CTR that matters most . If you have a low CTR you won’t be able to sustain your position on the search engines.

By following the tips in this article you should be in a better position to craft page titles and meta descriptions that will persuade people to click your listings, improve your rankings and increase your traffic. Good luck!

Quick Reference for Page Titles (Title Tag*)

  1. Make sure each page’s title tag is unique
  2. Include up to 10 words max, ideally 5-7, and 68 characters max, including spaces and punctuation.
  3. Place the most important keyword at or as near the beginning as possible. As a general rule, avoid putting your company name at the beginning of all of your page titles since this puts the emphasis on you versus what their need is.
  4. Limit the use of punctuation and “stop words” that have no search value (i.e. ‘web’, ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘and’, etc.)
  5. Use clear, accurate copy that helps motivate searchers to click on the page’s search result listing
  6. If you are a local business you likely want to consider including a location component in your page title and/or meta description.

*This is not the title within the page itself, but in the (often blue) bar across the top of your browser.

Quick Reference for META Description tag

  1. Include up to 25 words / 150 characters max, including spaces and punctuation.
  2. Avoid company-centric copy (“we”, “our” and “us”) and limit the use of stop words (like a, and, is, on, of, or, the, was, with, has, had).
  3. Focus on clearly describing the specific content of each page, making sure it stands on its own, while considering how it fits in to the overall website hierarchy.
  4. If appropriate, use brands, model names, and product attributes to help describe the product.
  5. Include words to help persuade people to click on the links such as “lowest price,” “limited time,” “makes you stronger” or other benefits.
  6. Place the most important keyword at or as near the beginning as possible.
  7. It is not necessary or beneficial to repeat keywords, the company name, or product brands

 



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