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Search Engine Optimisation

How to Overcome 5 Hidden SEO Myths for Your Blog

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In order to optimize your blog for the search engines, it’s important to avoid certain common mistakes. SEO myths have several causes. In some cases, you might be using outdated techniques. Problems also arise when website owners follow bad advice they received from someone who was ill informed. The following are five hidden SEO myths that could be harming your blog.

1. SEO is a Set-and-Forget Process

One of the most devastating SEO myths is the belief that optimizing your website is something you only have to do once. People sometimes get this notion after being misled by unscrupulous services who imply that, for a one-time fee, they can provide great rankings. If you see initial results from SEO efforts, you may be lulled into a sense of false security.

The fact is, search engine optimization must be performed on a regular basis to be effective. Otherwise, any gains you enjoyed will diminish over time as your competition catches up and surpasses you. Aside from competition, there’s also the fact that search engine algorithms are constantly changing. For these reasons, you have to keep up with SEO on a regular basis. This includes publishing new content, getting quality links, adapting to Google’s latest rules and responding to your competitors’ challenges.

2. Backlinks Are No Longer Important

This is a myth that periodically resurfaces, usually whenever Google announces a new update. When you hear stories about sites being penalized for poor quality links, you might conclude that all links are harmful. You may also hear theories that Google no longer considers backlinks when ranking sites. None of these ideas are valid. If you visit any top-ranking websites in any industry, you’ll find that they have lots of valuable backlinks. You can verify this by using SEO software that lets you track links.

“In my opinion, we will continue to see links in Google’s rankings systems for at least the next five and probably the next ten years.”

Rand Fishkin, Moz.com

It’s true that Google does its best to discourage people from gaming the system with poor quality links. At the same time, links from respected and relevant sites remain an important part of ranking your website. The truth is that you now have to be more careful than before about the kind of backlinks you get. Links, however, are still a vital part of SEO.

3. You Need to Rank For the Most Competitive Keywords

Many website owners waste their time and money trying to rank for extremely competitive keywords when they’d be much better off focusing on more targeted long tail keywords. Not only is it extremely difficult to rank for top keywords, these terms are often too broad to be very helpful.

For example, suppose you have a Honda car dealership in Houston, Texas. Trying to rank for the term “car” would be almost impossible and not even very helpful, as only a small percentage of people searching for that word would be potential customers. On the other hand, ranking for a long tail term such as “Honda dealership in Houston” would be both easier and more profitable. To find the best keywords for your business and industry, you should do a great deal of keyword research.

4. Web Hosting Has Nothing to do With SEO

Because so many web hosting companies advertise heavily on the Internet, it’s easy to believe that hosting doesn’t really matter that much. The fact is, it can make a big difference when it comes to SEO. Web hosts differ in several important areas. If your website is frequently offline due to technical problems with your host, this can harm your rankings. That’s why it’s important to choose a web host with uptime that’s close to 100 percent.

Another issue that affects SEO is page-loading speed. If pages take too long to load, your site may be penalized and thus rank lower in the search results. This will also discourage visitors from spending time on your site. Many factors contribute to page loading speed, including images, videos, plugins and the use of Flash. One element, however, is the type of technology used by your web host. Larger and more experienced web hosts generally provide better service.

If you have a large site or get lots of traffic, you should consider upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting, which will provide better page loading times. Finally, some web hosts include SEO tools when you sign up. These are all factors to research when you choose web hosting.

5. Guest Blogging No Longer Works

Along with the myth that backlinks are no longer relevant is the idea that guest blogging is dead. It’s understandable that people believe this, as Google spokesperson Matt Cutts did infamously declare that you should stop trying to use guest blogging for SEO. He said this in order to discourage people from posting low-quality content in order to get links. Guest blogging simply means posting your content on a site that you don’t own. In a sense, every large website that posts content from multiple authors uses guest blogging. It can still be a valuable way to get traffic and links.

When guest blogging, however, you do have to be careful about where your content appears. If your content appears on low quality or spammy sites, you won’t get any SEO benefits and may be penalized. This doesn’t have anything to do with guest blogging per se. It’s just a matter of following Google’s policies. Publishing a post on a high-quality site is just as effective as ever. Conversely, there’s nothing wrong with accepting valuable content from others on your own site.

These are some of the most common and potentially harmful myths that can affect your blog’s SEO. When studying SEO tactics, it’s important not to get lured in by half-truths. As we’ve seen, both backlinks and guest blogging can be harmful if applied the wrong way. However, they can also be beneficial when applied intelligently. SEO is a complex and constantly evolving field. If you want your blog to rank well in the search engines, it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends in this field.

Best WordPress SEO and Social Media Plugins [Infographic]

David has been working in the online media industry for over 9 years. He writes about technical SEO & content marketing for bloggers and startups and is also a Python coding enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter @davejonesbkk

Search Engine Optimisation

How to Create More Clickable Google Search Snippets

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Google search results are becoming ridiculously competitive. Plus, Google’s search results are becoming incredibly engaging: Many search users prefer to use search results (open “People Also Ask” results, clicks image and video carousels, etc.) that getting a click from search results is getting harder and harder.

With the introduction of new and flashier ways to be seen, you still have to learn how to creatively and dynamically exploit those offered tools. Being seen with so many others attempting the same technique is just as hard as it was when visibility relied only on ranking.

How to get more people click your search listing in SERPs? Here are three really effective ways:

1. Monitor Your Click-Through

The first step to improving your search snippet visibility is to set up monitoring of how your pages are performing right now and get alerted if anything changes.

Finteza is an advanced analytics platform allowing you to keep a close eye on your site performance in search and all the various channels.

To monitor your click-through from organic search:

  • Register an account at Finteza
  • Add their tracking code to your site and give it some time to accumulate some data
  • Click “Sources” and there choose “Search”
  • Go to “Pages” to see how your top landing pages are performing in search:

Finteza

This gives you bird’s eye view on your site organic performance in organic search. It’s a great way to analyze and evaluate your old content. Using Finteza, you can also set up a retargeting campaign to target those search referrals better if they choose to return to your site.

Repeat steps above at least weekly to see if any of those pages start losing clicks from search: These might need some work. Here’s exactly what you may want to do:

2. Use Semantic Analysis

Google uses a variety of analysis methods to identify high-quality content that meets their users’ needs. One of the key components of Google’s content evaluation process is semantic analysis.

Basically speaking, semantic analysis is about clustering your key topic into subtopics and concepts that constitute it. To give a quick example, if we were to apply semantic analysis to [hiking], we’d come up with a variety of underlying concepts including, National Parks, Mountains, picturesque trails, being outdoors, and even birdwatching.

All of those concepts relate to hiking in some way or another.

Broadly speaking, semantic analysis helps machines understand natural language – the way that humans communicate – including context, goals, etc.

When it comes to search optimization, semantic SEO helps:

  • Create more indepth and richer content that meets Google’s expectations
  • Optimize for intent (what’s the end goal behind each search)
  • Give Google enough context for them to create a more clickable search snippet for your listing.

Another example of semantic analysis in action is Google’s results for [where it was filmed]. While the query is seemingly absolutely generic, Google is able to understand this question relates to the movie “It”.

Semantic SEO

Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that goes right to the source, i.e. Google search snippets. For each query you type, it would collect Google’s search snippets and apply semantic analysis to them to come up with the list of underlying concepts:

Text Optimizer

[TextOptimizer’s results for [where it was filmed] – as you can see the tool got the actual context of the query and clustered it into related topics]

Including 20-25 of these concepts into your content will help Google better understand your text, and create richer more clickable search snippets. Here’s a more detailed review of the site I did previously.

3. Optimize for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets have become the new keywords. These little details are what causes your listing to “pop” in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy. Proper use of rich snippets are a requirement for being seen.

“Rich snippets” are search results providing the user with more answers right within SERPs. To qualify for rich snippets your web page should have rich markup:

Here are the supported types of rich snippets:

Reviews

If you have reviewed a tool or a product, use Aggregate Rating structured data for your search snippet to look like this. This will populate stars in search that definitely draw an eye!

Reviews

Recipes

Recipes will have some nutritional and preparation information, like how long it takes to cook and how many calories are in each serving.

recipes

Events

Events will show dates and times for each event for quick reference. Every event name is linked in search results giving you more clickable links in search.

Event schema

Business

There’s a number of structure data types that allow you to add more details to your brand knowledge graph (NOT for local businesses though).

These include: Official social media accounts, logo, and the corporate contact:

Corporate Contact

Movies and Books

Movies and books will also show off a ranking system, and some product pages have a star rating alongside price.

HowTo

HowTo markup will help Google to locate more information from your tutorial, for example, number of steps, time to complete, etc.:

HowTo

HowTo Schema shouldb’t be used for recipes though. Other than that there are no official restrictions to certain types of tutorials that can have it.

One word of caution here: Only use structured data when it absolutely makes sense. Google frowns upon using Schema just for the sake if rich snippets. If it is not an actual review, don’t use the ratings markup, as it could backfire. Google actually sends manual penalties for a structured abuse, so read the documentation properly to make sure you follow all the rules!

Optimizing for rich snippets relies heavily on whichever website builder and/or CMS you are using. For most of them there are lots of plugins and addons allowing to quickly integrate structured markup.

The above tips will hopefully help you generate more clicks from your current organic positions without having to invest in improving it. See it as a low-hanging fruit opportunity to improving your traffic!

Do you have a tip for optimizing search snippets? Let us know in the comments!

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Search Engine Optimisation

Top the Charts! 5 Must-Know SEO Solutions to Promote Your Managed IT Service

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According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day.

When someone searches for your managed IT service, you have the opportunity to attract them straight towards your website.

All you need is search engine optimization or SEO!

Here are five SEO solutions that can help drive traffic to your website. With these techniques, you can attract new customers and grow your business!

Let’s get optimizing.

1. Topics & Keywords

An effective SEO strategy starts with a list of keywords. These keywords reflect the content your customers are searching for online. Using these keywords, you can create content that matches their search intent.

To start, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. These tools will show you the popularity of each keyword.

Once you have this list, you can create pillars and clusters. Pillars give your website visitors the main page of collective content. Then, the clusters break this content into sub-topics with specified information.

This strategy can help boost your SEO plan and attract people to your Managed IT Services.

That way, you’re attracting new website visitors while providing them with an easy, efficient user experience, too.

2. On-Site SEO

Your website needs optimization as a whole as well as on a page-based level. To start, make sure your website’s content hierarchy is well-structured.

Then, there are a number of areas that require review to ensure these SEO solutions work.

Once you’ve studied your target audience to determine your keywords, you also need:

  • Descriptive URLs
  • Keyword-optimized page titles
  • Compelling meta descriptions
  • Content optimization (includes keyword placement in headers, body text, etc.)
  • Good user experience
  • Structured data markup
  • Effective call-to-action language

As part of your overall SEO strategy, on-page SEO is an important component of attracting visitors.

3. Off-Site SEO

An off-site SEO strategy includes local SEO. This strategy helps you attract local customers to your website and business.

To start, make sure your listings are updated with the correct content information.

This includes your Google My Business listing as well.

4. Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures search engines can find your content. These areas include:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Mobile-optimization
  • Website speed
  • Hierarchy

Technical SEO solutions are essential for success. Otherwise, how will customers find your website?

5. Content

According to Fit Small Business, search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites. In fact, it beats social media by over 300 percent.

Your content should consider customer search intent. That way, you’re giving visitors content that answers their questions. This can include service content, credibility content, and marketing content.

This content should also add value to your business.

Consider writing blog posts or white papers. You can also post videos or add testimonials to your website.

That way, your SEO content shows visitors you’re a valuable resource.

Bring It in: 5 Must-Have SEO Solutions

With these five must-have SEO solutions, you can attract new visitors to your website. The right techniques will then turn these visitors into leads, then leads into paying customers!

That way, your company grows, one SEO strategy at a time.

Check out our latest posts for more effective tips and tricks!

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Search Engine Optimisation

SEO 101: The Essential SEO FAQ for Bloggers

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I don’t provide SEO services and I am self-taught – which hardly makes an expert. But I’ve been blogging for a lifetime and for all these years I’ve been reading about and implementing SEO practices – which means I know more than an average blogger.

With that said, I’ve decided to put together this SEO FAQ for those who want to quickly understand the concept without going too indepth:

What is SEO?

Simply put, SEO is about making a website easy for search engines to discover, go through and understand.

This includes:

  • creating content (based on search engine users’ needs),
  • making your content “link-worthy” (i.e. attract backlinks),
  • using HTML and structured data to make content easier to understand for the machine, etc.

SEO is NOT trying to “fake” any of positive signals search engines use to rank web pages. Search engine friendliness should be authentic and SEO professionals should work together with website owners to achieve that.

Do Bloggers Need to Know SEO?

Yes!

SEO aims at helping a page rank on top of organic search results, and search engines are known to bring the most qualified leads (people turn to Google when they know what they want).

No traffic source is as effective as search traffic. Unlike driving clicks with ads (PPC), organic search is NOT interrupting user’s surfing the web. Instead, it serves them content exactly when they ask

This makes SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels. It can drive highly targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads to your site on a continuous basis (no need to keep investing in ads)

How Has SEO changed over the years?

SEO is maturing fast and it has been exciting to watch. The biggest driving force behind this evolution is Google that has been working hard on their search algorithm to understand natural language and search intent, as well as penalizing any manipulating tactics.

The result: SEO has become more integrated into other marketing channels. Furthermore, SEO is more about focusing on long-term goals rather than quick traffic gains

If ten years ago SEO was all about creating fake signals (keyword stuffing, link buying, etc.), these days it’s all about creating linkable assets that rank and engage potential customers.

The future of SEO is in voice search, artificial intelligence, more diverse content types and channels.

Can SEO Be Handled “At Home”?

WordPress bloggers generally don’t have to worry about getting SEO help. WordPress is pretty well set up and there’s a variety of free plugins to help.

Here’s a detailed guide to get yourself educated: Google SEO: Should it be your only priority?

What is The Most Important SEO Element?

Content… by far! Content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Content ranks, attracts links, spreads, engages customers and turns them into believers.

Content is not just an article or a blog post. By content I mean any kind of text you put on your site, from a landing page copy to your “About us” page or a product description.

Many businesses jump into digital marketing without willing to invest in content, and this strategy is doomed to failure. Building on-site content should be everyone’s SEO priority.

Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create better content by providing you with the mindmap of associated concepts and questions. It uses semantic analysis to process Google’s search snippets and break any keyword into subtopics.

Text Optimizer for content creation

While it’s primarily search intent optimization tool, it’s also helpful for overall content research showing which topics to cover and how to structure your article.

You can read my own Text Optimizer case study here.

What Are the Most Dangerous SEO Myths?

  1. Keyword density… This is one of the most persistent SEO myths out there. Why I dislike it so much is because it fills the web with trash content. Keyword-density focused strategy spoils the brand image and creates lots of problems which take lots of time to fix.
  2. On-page SEO alone will get you to #1. There are so many SEO agencies there that are happy to keep “optimizing” your website but rankings won’t come. The reality, you still need outbound tactics to gain backlinks and external visibility (branding) to achieve higher rankings
  3. SEO is dying… SEO death has been predicted for years now. These days with Google’s new SERPs features that aim at keeping the user using Google, and the fast growth of voice search, SEO is predicted to die soon again

The truth is, SEO is full of ingenuous tools and people. It is evolving together with search engines and it will survive Google’s death one day.

What’s the Best SEO Advice You’ve Received?

There’s a real human being behind each query.

Really if you stop thinking of keywords as “word strings to optimize for” and start seeing them as a real person’s question, SEO becomes much clearer (and more fun).

This mindset helps build more helpful content, optimize for search intent better (why would anyone type this into the search box? What are they willing to do once they find the answer?)

On top of that, by looking at keyword research as something that helps you serve your customer will help you understand your audience better and come up with better products and offers, on a higher-level.

Answer The Public is a nice free tool that turns keyword research into question research helping you to clearer see your readers’ struggles behind their search queries.

answerthepublic

On top of that, the tool also mind-maps the retrieved keywords / questions helping you in brainstorming.

Where Does a Blogger Start with SEO?

As stated above, there’s not much a blogger can do to start with SEO except for creating useful original content.

Here’s also a nice clutter-free introduction into SEO: SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization . Here’s a much easier guide but also one that lists the most essential step: 3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly. Here’s also a helpful writing checklist that will help you handle the basics:

writing checklist

As you may have noticed, I am not listing a ton of tools here as I don’t want this guide to overwhelm the reader. Those mentioned are a good start!

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