Home » Posts Tagged "SEO"

3 Powerful SEO Techniques Can Help Your Business

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a moving target since its early beginnings. As search engines such as Google change the way they rank and display sites in a search result, business owners and web developers have to evolve in order to keep their site at the top. There are several techniques that can help your site improve its SEO ranking. “Today, successful SEO strategies have to incorporate diverse components including brand building, mobile optimization, content marketing and social media integration,” according to Jayson Demers of Entrepreneur.com. While that’s a big list to tackle, every business can start with these simple, powerful techniques. First, the principal rule of SEO has long been that content is king. That rule still applies today. But more than ever before, content must be targeted to your audience. Focusing content on your customers’ wants and needs is key. It’s also a good idea to think of the psychology involved in a customer searching for your site. Using a certain keyword on one page to sell a specific product may not be appropriate on another page. To maximize your SEO, learn the implicit and explicit conversation your customers are having in their own heads while searching for you and use different keywords to help them find you more easily. Second, you must be involved in some form of social media. Search engines rank sites with a social media presence higher because it tells the search engine that their content has a wider reach. The tricky part here is choosing the right social media platform for you and your business. While Facebook and Twitter have dominated the public perception of social media, there are many other choices that may be better suited to your business. Finally, linking is not dead. Having your site linked from other, related businesses is crucial to SEO rankings, since it shows you are relevant to other people. Links provide something similar to a professional reference on the web, and tell search engines and the public that you’re a trustworthy, reputable business. However, be careful about using any devious practices with links or using a third-party link building service. Links need to be used organically and have relevance for all involved parties. All three of these techniques are at the core of SEO today, and form the driving force behind getting your site found in organic Google searches. These proven methods are some of the fundamental ideas we teach in our SEO classes at the Digital Workshop. While there are many other ways to continue optimization, you can begin with these techniques and start driving more people to your site. [Originally posted in the Coloradoan on...

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Content Buoyancy: A Lesson in Keyword Density

Be it a single article or an entire website, your Web content should function like a harbor along the shore of the ocean of content known as the World Wide Web. If you have read our “Introduction to SEO” blog post, you can imagine keywords acting like a lighthouse for search engines and wayward Web surfers. Keywords shine a light on your content, saying, “Ahoy matey! Drop anchor off the port bow!” Be it rocky shoals or sandy shores, the state of your harbor is up to you, and keywords will play a large part. Searching for Treasure Like mermaids and Atlantis, keyword density is one of those myths that can lead to obsession. The story goes like this: There’s a magical percentage of keywords that should be used in Web content. Some say it’s 4%. Others swear they’ve seen 3.5% lead them to treasure. If you find that magic number, immeasurable Web traffic shall be your booty. We like tall tales, but the truth is that search engines don’t look at percentages or keyword quantity. In fact, search engines have a bell curve; the benefits of keyword usage will plateau and eventually hinder your website if you hit the status of keyword stuffing. The lesson: Don’t get greedy. If you don’t want to sink your ship, don’t stow too many keywords in your content. The best way to reel in Web traffic is to act natural. The best fishermen know the right balance of bait, luring and patience – you should as well. Placing a few keywords in your content should do the trick, and it’s always best to work keywords into content without forcing it. If need to focus on a certain keyword, make sure it fits within a sentence, its paragraph and the overall theme of your content. Keyword density might not be the best way to bring in Web traffic, but monitoring your percentage could be a good way to make sure you don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing. To do this, you can download a keyword density tool off the Web and track density to keep content honest. Hoist the Sails Where keywords are placed on a Web page can be an entire topic on its own, but it’s relevant to keyword density and should be mentioned. Search engines pay attention to not only how many keywords you have (for better or worse), they also mark where keywords fall on a page. If you are only going to use one or two keywords in a blog, for example, it’s better to place the keywords high on the page. This should come naturally, as it wouldn’t make much sense to get to the heart of your blog 400 words into the post. Another smart use of keywords is to place a keyword term in the headline. Depending on the keyword phrase, this can be a challenge, but the title is one of the first places search engines scan. So, before your content gets stuck adrift at sea, get those terms high on the page and you’ll be ready for a...

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Easy Traffic-Building Tips for Your Website

Whether it be for a business or blogger, launching a website is a commendable accomplishment. But, there is a big difference between building a website and building website traffic. Now that your website is ready for the viewing public, the website traffic marathon begins. The success of a website comes down to two things: planning and persistence. We’re happy to help with the planning part; by reading our traffic-building tips you can piece together a strategy for your site that will improve search engine rankings and page views. But, the persistence part is all you. Before learning about how to build traffic on your website, reading our “Introduction to SEO” blog will provide valuable context to the strategies listed below. Blog…Often Having a blog on your website achieves several goals: it keeps your website fresh, it generates traffic and it builds rapport with your viewers. Newspapers, magazines, radio, etc. have rigid rules for content, but blogs offer a ton of freedom. A blog can be buttoned up, personal, funny, promotional or any mixture of tone you can imagine. Sure, there’s wiggle room, but there are rules to follow. Nobody can stop you from airing dirty laundry in your blog, but you probably don’t want that kind of attention from millions of strangers. There is one golden rule: corral your content. If your website is meant to sell used books, for example, don’t blog about cats unless you can connect cats to the reading experience. Instead, create a separate cat-lover’s blog (and strongly consider using a pen name) and go bananas. At the bare minimum a website should have at least one new post per week. For more on this, please refer to the aforementioned “Introduction to SEO” blog. Posts don’t need to be lengthy, and popular topics include tips, tutorials and “top 10” blogs. We encourage you to explore with content. The more authentic the blog, the better. Take Time To Be Timeless Nothing looks worse than a web page that hasn’t been updated in months or years. The content gets stale; especially if you have dates on it. Doing quick revisions of pages will help impress search engines and keep viewers from thinking less of your site. If you don’t have a lot of updates to make, make sure to remove dates from your pages and posts. A Picture Says a Thousand Words Children like books with pictures, and let’s face it, adults do too. Enhancing content with images or videos doesn’t just offer context for readers, it gives your website an opportunity to look even more relevant to search engines. Posting a picture on its own is okay, but typically it’s best to write at least a short paragraph describing the image. If you run a business, displaying pictures of products is probably the first thing on your agenda. If it isn’t, get on it. Beyond products, posting staff and/or office pictures can help your brand. Mainly, it humanizes your company, which can help build a bond with target consumers. For personal websites and blogs, using multimedia has many similar effects as a business; you are after all, selling yourself. The added benefit is that your mind-blowing photos and videos show that you are current and relevant. The world spins pretty fast these days, and nobody wants to read yesterday’s news. Meet Your Meta This is one of the more technical activities of the list. It’s also one of the most important. Just about every content management system (CMS) allows users to fill in meta data and other descriptive information to help search engines and web surfers...

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Spiders are Your Friends: An Introduction to SEO

You are probably acquainted with the web in all its wisdom and endless possibilities, but did you know the web is crawling with billions of spiders? We’re not talking about hackers, spam or the other malicious entities lurking in the dark alleys of the World Wide Web. We’re talking about the little guys that search engines like Google and Yahoo! disperse across the Internet to peruse web content. These spiders aren’t the type you want to squish with a boot. Instead, you want to feed these virtual arachnids delicious, valuable data that grabs their attention. The process of appealing to these spiders, and search engines at large, is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. But, why should you care about SEO and these pesky crawlers? Well, how often do you Google something and look past page two of the results? How often do you look beyond the first ten links, for that matter? According to an infographic based on a consumer report by The Nielsen Company, 74% of the American population used the Internet in 2010, and 81% of these web surfers did online research before making purchasing decisions. Needless to say, being in the top five or ten search result listings is the equivalent of having a billboard in Times Square. Unless you are Amazon, Apple or another mega-company, SEO is the only way to vie for competitive placement in search engines without dishing out cash for advertising. Stirring up Spider Grub Keywords are spider food (juicy flies, if you will) of the SEO world. A keyword can be a single word or a phrase that consumers would likely type into a search engine. For example, a comic book vendor in Fort Collins who sells rare items may use keywords such as “ rare comic books,” “collectible Marvel comics,” and so on. Because many people do online research then visit a physical location, retailers and service providers typically tack on nearby towns or cities in keyword phrases to appeal to these potential customers. When creating a list of keywords, it’s advantageous to use a keyword tool such as Google AdWords. AdWords gives you some idea of how often a keyword term is searched and also shows how difficult it would be to compete for good rankings with keywords. As a general rule of thumb, keywords typically do not include the actual business name in the phrase. The majority of web surfers search for a product, not for a company. Crawling Up Search Engine Rankings Once you have a healthy supply of spider chow, these morsels should be sprinkled where spiders are will find them. Start with your website. There are two ways to place keywords on a website: in the headlines,, paragraphs and URLs of your site’s pages, and in back-end meta tags. Meta tags might sound scary, but they’re only intimidating at first, like a daddy long-legs. Like real spiders, search engine spiders prefer fresh food. After a website is “optimized” with keywords, it’s critical to create new content for two reasons: to keep search engines from considering your website stale, and for link-building opportunities. Link building is when someone takes your content and links to it on his or her website. Once you start link building, you are on the fast-track to improved search-engine ranks. Another great SEO strategy is to index your website with search engines. This isn’t an exact science, but one method is to submit your directly to search engines such as Google by clicking here. Don’t Get Tangled Up Spiders like to be fed, but overfeeding them could come back to...

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Search Engine Optimization a Must

[This column originally appeared in The Coloradoan on 6/29/12] If your business has a website, it’s important to get it atop the results for search engines such as Google and Bing. In fact, 94 percent of shoppers research a product online before making a web purchase, including to the Complete Shopper Intelligence Study. Shoppers overwhelmingly turn to search engines for information, with 61 percent of shoppers say they often or always use a search engine while researching a future online purchase. With more business being conducted online, search engine optimization, or SEO, is becoming vital to business success. SEO involves a series of actions taken in the design of your website to ensure it will rank atop search engine results. While there isn’t one magic way to make this happen, there are many guidelines you can follow to improve your ranking. They include optimizing your website title, keywords, description and searchable text. When a user types keywords into a search engine, all four of these areas are checked for relevancy and your results are returned based on any hits that are found. The more relevant your site is, the higher your rank will be in a search engine. Of course, there are many other factors in your website’s design that will affect your ranking. The most common of these would be your attempts to try and trick a search engine by repeating keywords or searchable content unnecessarily. All search engines out there today are extremely intelligent. They can tell the difference between good and bad SEO practices on your website. So do yourself a favor, and stick to the basic guidelines of SEO. You will actually be rewarded by search engines if you do so. The topic of SEO is lengthy but important, and one that all businesses need to address. Remember, if someone is using a search engine to find what he or she needs, and it’s something you provide, you need to make sure your website can be found easily. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or stu@...

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