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SEO Blended Copy: Dos and Don’ts for Boosting Your Website’s Organic Discoverability

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Maria Orozova – Enjoy!

Duct-tapeThese days, it’s all about organic: organic produce, organic pressed-juice, holistic baby diapers made from all-organic materials – the list goes on. So, it should come as no shock the role that organic SEO plays in your website’s discoverability, even over paid alternatives like pay-per-click. In fact, 70-80% of Internet users ignore paid ads, focusing instead on organic search results.

Intimidating to some, boosting your website’s organic discoverability is easier than you might think. Just remember, if content is king then keywords are the crowned jewels.  The following are a few crucial ‘dos and don’ts’ all businesses need to consider when looking to optimize their organic SEO.

Don’t: Assume the phrase “keyword” translates to “one word.”

Do: Assign natural phrases as your keywords

By strategically assigning keywords to the pages of your website, you are essentially anticipating all of the different search variations that could and should lead users to your website. Don’t make the mistake of taking the term “keywords” literally though. Incorporate a series of natural phrases into your keyword strategy. Ask yourself – How would you search for your site?

Don’t: Randomly sprinkle keywords throughout your website copy.

Do: Utilize targeted keywords.

Unless you’re looking to get on Google’s bad-list, don’t just assign keywords without incorporating them into the various elements of your website. This doesn’t mean sporadically using a keyword here and there. In fact, there are several crucial areas that Google looks at specifically for keyword integration: Page title, page headline, body copy, meta description and links, both internal and external.

Don’t: Overload keywords in your website copy.

Do: Create engaging content and naturally integrate keywords.

There’s an art to determining the appropriate keyword density % of your keyword-blended copy. While there is really no magic number for keyword density, there is one guiding light: Good content will always beat SEO. With that said, it stands to reason that if you drown your copy in keywords at the sake of flow and cohesiveness, your ranking will probably take a tumble. Instead, focus on writing engaging content while seizing opportunities to naturally introduce keywords into your copy.

Keywords alone does not a successful SEO strategy make, however. While it is a large driver of your organic search results, there are other key areas that can further help boost your websites discoverability.

Be Mobile

Mobile-browsing usage is set to bypass desktop browsing within the year so your organization’s website design is more important than ever. Because your SEO relies heavily on your website’s engagement, it’s important to choose a responsive or mobile friendly design that will cater to your mobile audience’s experience.

Get Down with Google

It’s no shock that Google looks favorably upon those who actively use their ancillary services. An easy way to start doing this is to actively use and maintain a Google+ page. Also, if your business has a blog, you’ll want to set up Google Authorship so that your writers’ work can start to help boost your site’s credibility and ultimately, search ranking.

Stay Social

Never underestimate the power of social in you SEO strategy. Your organization’s social pages are a huge source of potential traffic for your website. Create and share engaging, original content as part of your social strategy, and always remember to link back to your website.

mariaorozovamod (2)Maria Orozova is the President and Creative Director of The MOD Studio, a boutique marketing & design agency based in Austin and the powerhouse behind many local and national brands. Together, Maria and the MOD Marketing and Development team build a strategic and dynamic mix of consumer and B2B clients. For more information on building a successful SEO strategy, visit: www.themodstudio.com

 

Hummingbird and Hashtags: Keeping Your Google Plus Content Strategy Alive

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Lauren Hogan – Enjoy!

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Photo credit: misspixels

With Google’s recent Hummingbird update, anyone who does online marketing was forced to review & revamp their marketing strategy. The Hummingbird update specifically impacts the social media marketing realm by increasing SEO dependence on Google Plus hashtags. Whereas, previously, it was used to track post content now, using hashtags with your Google Plus posts helps optimize your content to display in search.

Here’s why this update matters: Google Plus is the second largest social platform with just over 50% of the global internet user market and boasts roughly 1,203 million users per month (visits to Gmail are counted). These are astounding numbers not to be overlooked. Do not exclude the use of hashtags if part of your content strategy includes Google Plus. Here are 5 ideas of how to use hashtags in your content strategy:

1)  Basic Use

This is simple. If you are posting content to your business Google Plus account, throw in a few hashtags to help support the reach of your post. Find a happy medium between the standard hashtag use on Twitter and Instagram. 2-4 hashtags per post is a realistic goal.

2)  Optimization

You have a blog. You have an SEO strategy. You have a Google Plus account. Now let’s connect the dots. It can never hurt to optimize your post for organic search & use those optimized words as hashtags.

3)  Photo Content

The most popular activity on Google Plus is photo sharing. Utilize hashtags when you post to provide equal opportunity for your post to be viewed.

4)  Networking

Communities are a great way to reach a targeted audience and invite an opportunity for more sharing, +1’s and discussion. When you post content to a community make sure to include hashtags to encourage and track conversation around the topic of choice.

5)  Conversation

Just as you would on Twitter, use hashtags that relate to your business and your goals. This includes choices such as #tech or #socialmedia. However, unlike Twitter you can use specific hashtags such as #techtips or #socialmediamarketing. You can even attach on to a couple hashtags that already spark weekly conversation. Examples include #MondayMotivation and #FridayFun.

headshot squareLauren Hogan is the Social Media Coordinator at HomeAdvisor which offers homeowners tools including Cost Guide, a resource to help budget your next home improvement project and DesignMine, a site to help collect, organize and bring to life home project ideas. She enjoys trail running in the summer and spending time on the slopes in the winter. Connect on Twitter

 

Google Intros SearchWiki

Google has added an interesting feature to the search interface called SearchWiki.

Essentially what this allows is the ability to add notes to your search results – wiki style. In addition, you can move the results around on the page. You need to be logged into your Google account to access the full feature set.

The changes you make only affect your own searches. But SearchWiki also is a great way to share your insights with other searchers. You can see how the community has collectively edited the search results by clicking on the “See all notes for this SearchWiki” link.

So, my question is, what will Google do with what it learns from the collective dynamic search notes. Will this help/hurt rankings, will SEO folks start looking for ways to spam this, will it change the way you interact with Google?

I’ve always admired Google’s ability to keep it simple, it will be interesting to see if this is valuable or simply feature creep. Check out the video demo here

Is This a Skype Killer?

Free online phone, chat and now video chat is a tremendous business and personal tool.

Skype pioneered the platform, but Google just launched it’s own version of voice and video chat that connects directly into Gmail. You can download the Gmail voice plug-in here.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really worked Skype into my routine, even though many swear by it. I’ve already got so many Google services integrated into my day to day activities, that I’m guessing this will be a natural add-on.

Once you download the plug-in and log into Gmail you will be asked to verify your audio and video settings. Obviously you need a camera attached to your computer and those you want to chat with will need to set-up Video chat as well.

If you already use Google Talkr, you may have a head start on access to your connection.

Here’s a screenshot from Google Blog

Google video chat

Google Alerts Hack

Google AlertsI hope you know about and are using Google Alerts – it’s a nice way to get info delivered to your email inbox or RSS reader for specific search terms you want to monitor.

But, you can also use a number of the Google shortcuts and search parameters to create some interesting alerts.

For instance, let’s say you want to create an alert for anytime that Google picks up on someone linking to your blog. On top of being a potentially nice monitoring feature it’s also a great networking tactic. If someone is reading and linking to your blog, you might want to comment back.

For this kind of alert go to Google Alerts and put this in the search term box – link:http://www.yourblogurl.com (yourblogurl is of course the address of your blog). In the “type” box, choose comprehensive or just blog if you only want blog links. You can also select daily, weekly and as-it-happens delivery.

This is yet another one of those things you should be paying attention to and the more you can automate it the better.

You might want to revisit my Top 10 Google Shortcuts to find some more ways to track

Google Knol Provides New Content Platform

Google announced an new Wikipedialike content site called Google Knol some months ago. However, the site opened to the public with a simple announcement on the official Google Blog this week.

On the surface this looks like a place to go and build pages, or knols as Google calls them, on specific topics of expertise and could eventually be a very hot place to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen area.

The most significant difference from Wikipedia is that the pages are written by named and verified authors. From an author standpoint then there is probably more to gain from a trust and brand standpoint. Each submitting author must have a Google account and then have their name verified by either phone or with a credit card.

Another twist is that while pages can be edited by the community, the original author of the page or knol gets to moderate the changes.

While anyone can submit a knol on any topic this might be a good time to go in and grab some content topic real estate before the real land rush begins.

The obvious question on my mind and I suspect a few others is this. Will this content receive special treatment come search time on Google? Wikipedia content currently enjoys great placement in the Google index, is that about to change?

Here a sample knol I’ve called the Definition of Marketing

Google Keyword Tool Now Offers Search Volume

One of the first successful PPC ad systems was service called Overture. One of the most popular features of this service was a tool called the Search Suggestion Tool. Anyone online back in say 2002-2003 used this tool a bunch to help determine what search phrases received the most traffic. This was one very simple DIY tool.

When Yahoo bought out Overture the tool languished and eventually went away. In my opinion this was a big mistake on the part of Yahoo. (But that’s a conversation for another day)

Click on the screenshot below to see full size

Google Keyword Search ToolGoogle recently enhanced their keyword suggestion tool and added search volume and some measure of competitiveness. The reason the PPC engines offer tools like this is to help people get better at bidding on search terms and offer suggestions for more terms to bid on. Serious PPC folks use this tool to help determine bid amounts and bid on thousands of search terms. (If you have an AdWords account this tool is built into your dashboard.)

I’ve found that this tool is also a nice, low effort way to get some ideas for keyword phrases for your web pages and blog posts. The tool offers suggestions for ways that people are really searching in your industry and might spark some ideas for blog headlines. Of course, for local businesses, this can be a great way to identify terms that you might want to add your city name to.

Adding YouTube Video to your Google Local profile

Google Maps (local) allows you to build a pretty detailed profile for your business including product lines, hours of service, credit cards accepted and up to eight product images. In the past couple of weeks they added a feature that allows you to add video to your profile.

This is certainly another in a long strings of signs that you need to be a) working on your local profiles and b) creating short promotional videos.

Google Local adds video

To get your videos to show up when someone does a local search
1) Upload your video to YouTube and note the URL for it
2) Make sure that you have a Google profile – get one or login here
3) Click on the photo tab on the edit your profile page, scroll down to video and paste the YouTube URL in the box

Here’s an example of video in my profile.