By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Peter_A._Santiago]Peter A. Santiago
The Meta Description on your website page does not have any influence on the way your website will rank within search results. In the past, it was a factor, but the importance of a Meta Description on a website’s ranking has declined over the years. Despite this description no longer having any benefit related to SEO, you should not treat it as though it is any less important.
The Meta Description for your website is tied in with a Meta Tag or your Meta Keywords. In order for you to add a description, you will need to insert the content for your description within the tag. An SEO tip, you will still want to be sure it is optimized so you see it displayed under your results in the search engine results page, or SERP.
The best Meta Description example is it’s the description for your website that is basically a sales pitch. Because it is listed under your results in the SERP, it is the first piece of information that a visitor will see about your company. It is important to give the visitor the information they are looking for about your company and to make an impression on them immediately. Great amounts of research has been done on this description and the importance of it. The results of that research has shown that an informational and well-written Meta Description will bring more visitors into a website than those that do not have a strong Meta Description or do not have a description at all. This is true even of those websites that have a lower ranking than others.
In order for you to utilize the meta description best practices and to be sure to make a good impression and give the searchers the information they are looking for, there are some things to make sure to include in the description.
* Ensure your Meta Description includes a call to action. A call to action is a way to get the searcher to visit your website for the things they need. Using words such as “buy”, “get”, or “find” are goods ways of doing this.
* Really sell your company, product, service, and website. Make sure that you have the information in your description that will tell the searcher what your site includes and what they will find when they visit your site.
* Keep the number of words within your description to less than 165 characters. This includes any spaces between words. This helps to make sure all of your text will show for the searchers.
Today, you can begin to get your SEO needs taken care of by contacting Sacramento SEO. For your web design, SEO and all around internet marketing needs, Sacramento SEO can bring you results. To get started with a Free Website Analysis, contact them at http://www.sacramentoseov.com or call 916-784-300.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Optimizing-Your-Meta-Description-to-Benefit-Your-SEO-Campaign&id=7976798] Optimizing Your Meta Description to Benefit Your SEO Campaign
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Yuwanda_Black]Yuwanda Black
Some webmasters and bloggers have found that just by creating their Google Author profile, site traffic has increased by anywhere from 15 to 50 percent. Proof?
In the MediaShift article, Google Authorship: Why It’s Important and How to Implement It, the author states that a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15 percent to 50 percent when authorship was claimed. The author goes on to state that when he completed and added his author profile to his site, he saw a 20 percent increase in traffic.
This is yet more proof that filling out this profile and making it a permanent part of your site is important to ranking well in SERPs (search engine result pages). Following is why; but before we get to the particulars of why this metric is so important to ranking well, let’s explain briefly what it is for those who might not know.
What is Google Authorship?
In simple layman’s terms, it’s claiming credit for your content for all the web to see. You know how sometimes you do a search for something and when the search results are returned you’ll see a photo of a person beside certain results?
Well, this photo is part of their Google+ profile; it lets you know that this is the person who authored that particular piece of content. If you click on the photo, it’ll take you to not only a page which contains their profile, but one with links to their other online content as well.
Why Google Authorship Is Important in Content Marketing?
One of the main reasons this is important is that it helps to cut down on content theft. How?
When a piece of content is published, the original author gets credit for it. So, if someone comes along and scrapes (steals it) and publishes it on their site, because the original author has claimed it via their Google+ Author profile, then Google can discount it as duplicate content. Hence, the original author’s will receive the credit for it, not the content thief.
SEO Writing, Google Authorship and Penguin 2.0
One of the goals of Penguin 2.0, the big algorithm update Google did in May 2013 was to “reward websites that offer genuine value,” according to Matt Cutts (Google’s SEO guru).
Because spammers don’t take the time to create useful, original content, when you claim your content via Google Authorship, the search giant “rewards” you instead of some spam site that may have stolen your content.
The Importance of Google Authorship for Web Writers
If you are a web writer – no matter how much or how little content you create – it’s important to start laying claim to it. This search engine optimization metric is not going anywhere; in fact, it’s likely to become more important in future search algorithm updates. So the sooner you create and start using your Google Author profile, the better it will be for your site in terms of site traffic – and sales that stem from this traffic.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words ( http://NewMediaWords.biz), an SEO writing company she founded in 2008. She is also is the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog devoted to helping others start successful, home-based writing careers. Ms. Black has authored over 50 ebooks, most of which cover some aspect of freelance writing. They can be found on major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get everything you need to start a successful, home-based [http://inkwelleditorial.com/seo-content-writing-package]SEO writing business.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?SEO-Tip:-Why-Creating-a-Google-Author-Profile-Can-Increase-Site-Traffic-by-Up-to-50-Percent&id=7848413] SEO Tip: Why Creating a Google Author Profile Can Increase Site Traffic by Up to 50 Percent
Running a website not optimized for smartphones? Guess what, you’ve been put on notice. Google is using its influence and the power of its algorithm to finally force web publishers to fix their mobile website configuration issues, or risk getting downranked in Google Search. Directing smartphone users to 404′s? You lose. Sending smartphone users looking for specific content to some generic mobile homepage? See ya. Using Flash for your video embeds on mobile? Farewell.
Thank you, Google overlords.
Now normally, a Google SEO change is worth taking a critical eye to, to make sure that Google isn’t somehow penalizing websites unfairly or favoring its own web properties as a result, for example. But this particular change will greatly impact me, as a heavy mobile user who surfs the web constantly on smartphones so…um…well… screw you guys who didn’t get on board with this whole mobile “trend” thing, OK?
The company disclosed its plans in more detail earlier this week, noting that it will “roll out several ranking changes in the near future” that would affect sites not optimized for smartphones, while explaining “smartphone users are a significant and fast growing segment,” and Google wants them to “experience the full richness of the web.”
(Translation: people actually want to use the web on their smartphones, dummies.)
Google’s news mostly flew under the radar as most tech news sites – TechCrunch included – fawned over the reveal of iOS 7, though it could ultimately have a much greater effect on the tech world as a whole. Only some people use iPhones, but everyone* surfs the web.
And Google’s influence when it comes to the web is massive. In the U.S., the company has 66.5 percent of search market share, with the next nearest competitor Microsoft/Bing at just 17.3 percent as of this April, according to comScore. Worldwide, Google’s search footprint on both desktop and mobile is even larger, with an 83.18 percent share on the former, and an 81.02 percent share on the latter, per NetMarketShare’s numbers.
According to its new directives, which Google more casually referred to as “common mistakes,” desktop pages which redirect smartphone users to irrelevant pages on the smartphone website (often just the smartphone homepage), will be among those penalized by the ranking changes.
If you’ve at all used the web on your smartphone, then you’re all too familiar with this frustrating experience – you do a search, tap on a result for an article you want to read, then end up staring confusingly at the site’s mobile-web optimized homepage. Where is the content you wanted? Who knows!
It’s a huge waste of time and bandwidth to have to deal with pages like this when surfing on a smartphone, and Google is now going to make sure that sites like that no longer get top placement.
Google also listed a number of smartphone-only errors website owners should look out for, including desktop pages that redirect to 404′s instead of the smartphone-friendly page (or the desktop page if a smartphone page is not available), incorrect handling of the Googlebot-Mobile, and more. But the recommendation which stuck out was the one which stated that sites should not embed video that doesn’t play on smartphones.
And with this tip, Google quietly served the final death-blow to Adobe Flash, too, saying:
Many websites embed videos in a way that works well on desktops but is unplayable on smartphone devices. For example, if content requires Adobe Flash, it won’t be playable on an iPhone or on Android versions 4.1 and higher.
It’s a notable direction for a company which once embraced the Flash format for its Android platform, and had partnered with Adobe to bake Flash into its own web browser Chrome, even as former Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the world just what he thought of Flash, and none too kindly at that. Google finally gave up the fight for Flash on mobile in recent months, given that Adobe, too, had turned its business Small Business Accountants away from Flash and toward building HTML5-based tools and applications instead.
How long do website owners have to make the changes Google suggests? The company doesn’t say, only hinting that they’ll come in the “near future.” (Arguably, these companies have had years to start caring about mobile, so let’s not shed any tears for them.)
Now, if Google could only do something about those ridiculous websites that push you to download their mobile app when you just want to read their content. Yes, Quora, I’m looking at you.
* Everyone meaning anyone with access to it who has also has access to a supported device. Not like literally every human being in the entire world.
Image credit: comic, XKCD
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing…
So many small businesses aren’t using public relations as part of their marketing strategy. I wanted to create a resource they could use to learn to do it themselves.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) June 13, 2013
In honor of the relaunch of DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, Egg Marketing Communications, a content marketing and social media marketing firm has launched a free resource, HowtoCreateaPressRelease.com. The site includes useful content on how to create a press release, how to distribute a press release, and using SEO in press releases.
“So many small businesses aren’t using public relations as part of their marketing strategy,” says Payton, “I wanted to create a resource they could use to learn to do it themselves. Press releases are excellent marketing tools, and they’re not complicated to write.”
The site was launched in conjunction with the re-release of Payton’s Kindle book, DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, which walks readers step-by-step through the process of writing a press release. It also includes a comprehensive list of press release distribution sites, both free and for a fee, as well as seven press release templates for specific industries.
HowtoCreateaPressRelease.com also offers the Magic Press Release Generator, a cost-free tool that allows users to input information and turn it into a press release in seconds. Users have the option of getting discounted press release distribution services as well as professional editing services for a fee.
For more information, please visit http://www.howtocreateapressrelease.com/.
About Egg Marketing Communications
Egg Marketing is a San Diego content marketing firm offering blogging services, social media management, press release writing and distribution, and SEO and analytics strategy to small businesses. Susan Payton, the President of Egg, has written for many prestigious small business websites, including Small Business Trends, CorpNet, Mashable and BizLaunch. Please visit http://www.eggmarketingpr.com for more information.
Expanding your Reach
How do you attract new customers to your coffee shop beyond the people that walk by or are already familiar with your shop? A good location, unique and consumer-friendly environment, an alternate product offering and of course great coffee is a good start, but considering that anyone can get coffee anywhere, is this enough? What incentives can you implement in your business to add to the mix, and what online marketing engagements should you invest in?
In this blog post I will talk about one of the possible ways to answer these questions, by utilizing and engaging clients in Social Media.
Why Coffee Shops Should Engage in Social Media
As a small coffee shop, use of social media might not seem like a significant contributor to the success of your business. Your customers stop by your store and pick up a coffee because it’s local, convenient, social and of good quality. So why should you use social media to sell more coffee? Let’s think of some reasons.
Firstly, food services as meal delivery las vegas most other industries experience a high growth of renowned brands and chain-stores that eats up independent coffee shops. Most of these larger companies win customers because of consumer familiarity to their brand through a variety of location and high advertising budgets! Secondly, you may think you have reached out to all potential local consumers, but the truth is that customers need incentives to come back and substitute their coffeemaker at home or office with better alternatives like freshly brewed in-store coffee. Competition is everywhere, and quality of product and environment alone cannot expand your consumer segment.
So how can social media for coffee shops help tackle these problems? By virtually connecting everybody to a social network, there is an incredible potential for the spread of your product and brand. Engagement with clients outside your store is difficult as a coffee shop because consumers don’t have that many reasons to connect online, unless you incentives them to. Just to be present online is not sufficient for anyone because everyone can be. That’s why you need to implement the right tools to attract and engage customers to your network! Why not make it a social one? Interact with customers, spread ideas, advertise promotions and explain how they benefit from being connected to your network. This short guide will help you utilize your social media platform as a marketing tool with the purpose of maximizing the reach of your potential customers, receiving feedback on your brand and products, and most importantly build relationships with clients outside your local store, so pay attention☺!☺!
I. Customer Engagement
Communicating with Your Customers – Ask Questions!
We will start things off by focusing on how you can engage your customers, because this is the most essential and opportunistic part of social media for businesses. There are numerous of barriers removed when it comes to people expressing feelings via online. Rather than having surveys in your coffee shop or asking around for biased opinions in store, you can initiate and facilitate conversations on Facebook and/or Twitter. Remember that you often need to ask the questions! If you are unsure about changing your pastries to sandwiches, why not ask first, instead of changing parts of your supply chain of goods and hope for the best? Communicating through social media is a powerful tool, and it makes your customers feel valued, and their opinions heard, evidently creating a relationship between them and your business.ods and hope for the best? Communicating through social media is a powerful tool, and it makes your customers feel valued, and their opinions heard, evidently creating a relationship between them and your business.
Pay Attention to responses and Provide Feedback
It’s obviously not enough to just ask questions, you need to analyze and utilize your feedback. Having a high response rate on requests and questions will have the same effect as good customer service in your store. When you post updates and promotions, pay attention to what people like and reply. You may think that you know everything about your clients, but you will be surprised to see how many new ideas and suggestions you can learn directly from just observing followers on your social media page.
Engage Clients in UGC (User Generated Content)
The best and most trustworthy stories come from the unbiased mouth of your clients, so why not employ these stories when advertising your store on your SoMe platform. Create contests and promotions where consumers are incentivized to click and stay updated on your page. For a coffee shop, a photo contest with a brand related topic and prize could be a good way to market your product and brand indirectly through your consumers. Ask for the best picture of coffee froth received from your in-store barista. While engaging your customers, you simultaneously challenge your employees in a creative and fun way. What do you award the winner? An iPad? No, not because an iPad isn’t a good prize, because it has zero relation to your product. Remember that you want people back to your store, so why not give away a $100 gift card or a gift basket full of your best coffee and coffee accessories!
Social Media and In-Store Marketing – Not Mutually Exclusive
As you start building up your SoMe platform with promotions, reward campaigns and news updates, getting the word out passed your current followers becomes the next challenge. A primary focus should be on your email list and SoMe platform(s). As a smaller boutique store, having one social media channel might be enough if resources are limited as it’s better to have one exhaustive and high quality company page on Facebook than two half-way attempts on Facebook and Twitter. Second stage in your online marketing plan should involve other channels past social media like optimizing your own webpage, content marketing, SEO, ads on google, facebook and relatable webpages. A focus on your online advertising efforts is important, but it doesn’t substitute in-store efforts. Technology makes things easier and more accessible, but it cannot take away that people still have to be physically present in your store when buying your coffee. Therefore informing and advertising your Social Media promotions through in store ads and word of mouth of your employees might be just as important as a Facebook update.
2. Implementing a Pull Strategy
The danger of annoying through pressure selling is as (or possibly more) present in social media than other marketing channels. Overloading news feeds with new products is not the way to gain the right kind of attention. It’s a thin line between annoyance and appreciation, so be sure to always be on the right side, not pushing your limits. Implementing a pull strategy can help you to ensure that you are not just selling your product but you are making it compelling to buy. Through customer engagement you can see what clients are showing greater interest for. Take use of suggestions from followers and raise ideas online before you implement them. Promote various products at a lower level of frequency and when greater response is received on certain items, you know what to invest in. Your social media platform is not your store. It is therefore essential that updates and promotions are there to inform and not sell. Is the patio open for the summer? Inform with pictures and updates, and make it seem appealing to buy your new summer specials. Don’t throw sales items and promotions out in feeds as an auctioneer. Pick your updates wisely. Just like in your email inbox, nobody like spam.
3. Professionalism through Dynamic and Appealing Graphic Appearance
Similar to when your customer walks in to your store, a Facebook user makes his opinion when he enters your page. Factors that affect the perception of the business is visual graphics, number of likes, running events and everything else that immediately catches the eye, especially company images and banners. It is therefore no reason not to optimize the appearance of your platform to match the professionalism of your business. Your current graphics should be dynamic and fit the current theme of your store. If winter is around the corner and you have new Christmas specials, your banners should portray this. Remember that images are a lot more eye catching than words, so if you want to inform, do it graphically. If you run a social offer where you give out free coffee to the 20 first participants that enter, the purpose of the promotion is not for those 20 but the buzz the offer creates. If this campaign is only visually present as a small event photo under the banner, few will notice. Make your banner represent the promotion and create an arrow down to wherever participants have to click to join. Remember that whenever you update your profile on Facebook, it comes as an update for your followers.
How Can Wishpond Help Boost your Social Media Marketing Efforts?
Wishpond provides social media marketing tools to help you easily create and run campaigns on every channel. Regardless if you are a small business owner or a global retailer, you can benefit and run these contests successfully, either independently or with help from the Wishpond team. Under, you can see an overview of the Marketing Suite, which shows what applications are offered.
What ROIs can I achieve by using Wishpond?
- Increase engagement with your fans
- Reach new customers through their own networks
- Obtain a deeper understanding of your audience through Wishpond’s analytics
- Differentiate your coffee shop from competitors and cut through the clutter of advertising
- Drive up sales and traffic for your business
Below, we’ll focus on the following three types of contests to promote your coffee shops.
- Photo Contest
- Vote Contests
- Group Offer
There are many different types of contests available for your company on Wishpond, but these three are particularly effective for small coffee shops.
Photo contests are incredibly simple to set up on Wishpond, and yet very effective. Participants are given a photo theme, in which they have to upload a photo within that theme to your Facebook page (or social media vehicle of choice), and a winner is chosen. This encourages people to create relevant content, which spreads virally on Facebook and builds brand loyalty participants. Of course, this requires actual effort from participants, so the turnout will undoubtedly be relatively lower, but those that do will have a stronger attachment with your company. To select a winner, you can manually choose the contest winner or allow followers to vote on their favorite entry.
How do I spice up my photo contests?
There are two different ways a coffee shop can approach this type of contest: Internally or Externally. If done internally, the theme of the contest would be of one of your actual products. For example, the photo contest could revolve around who can submit the best photo showing why they love the coffee they get from your coffee shop. In theory, this would encourage people to visit your coffee shop to take the photos and build a stronger attachment between your business and the participants. However, there is a chance that some skeptics may think of the whole thing as a scam as the only way anyone can enter the contest is to buy a cup of coffee from your coffee shop. This may reduce the amount of participants. If done externally, the theme would be related to coffee in general but no not from your coffee shop directly. In contrast with the above example, the contest could revolve around who can submit the best “I love coffee” or the best coffee craving moment photo. By doing this, the contest can still be about your business while not seeming like a cash grab.
Another important tip for photo contests (and all contests, really) is to keep the prize relevant. Don’t just make it for an iPad or something unrelated because the majority of your participants will be for people who are interested in iPads and may not care about your Coffee shop at all! A coupon for free coffee or significant discount are both good places to start.
Vote Contests are one of the most versatile and effective contests that Wishpond has to offer. It works for virtually any industry, has very low barriers to entry, and can even empower your followers. Quite simply, participants submit their email addresses and are then allowed to vote between any number of options. There is no real prize for the winner, but gives your audience a chance to voice their opinion on a variety of topics. If you think about it, voting is practically asking you users for their opinion, so why not gather it through a Voting contest.
One way to help temporarily boost demand for your business is to have a limited time (or quantity) offer. In such a competitive industry, followers are often very price sensitive and whether or not they decide to go to one business over another can wholly depend on the price of the product.
How do I spice up my offers?
Using offers are a great way to expose your brand to people who may not have heard about your coffee shop or those who are on the fence about living their current coffee shop and trying something new. There is often a fine balance in setting up the price of the offer. If the savings do not appear high enough (5%-10%), people may not feel like it is worth the effort. However, excessively low prices may encourage a large turnout, but may not be worth going so far below margins. One way Wishpond allows you to deal with this problem is to limit the maximum number of people who can redeem the offer. This way, the low prices are still accessible to the public, but are constrained enough so that it doesn’t make a large dent in the bottom line.
Analytics and Tracking
With Wishpond, tracking the effectiveness of your campaign is incredibly simple. Most of the work is done for you and condensed into an intuitive dashboard. All the contact information collected (if any) is also available for your company databases and mailing lists.
This article originally appeared on Wishpond | Easy marketing apps and has been republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with Business 2 Community.
The Majestic SEO team announced today that they have made their Site Explorer tool free for verified domains. With that, they also announced improvements to the user interface, additional features and unlimited use for paid users of the tool.
Free user accounts can get up to 2,500 links to their site, while paid users can go beyond those 2,500 links. Dixon Jones from Majestic SEO said that 2,500 links will provide smaller business with all of their “important link data.”
They can also get the new links the site acquired on a daily basis. Plus, the tool will show you which old links are newly broken, i.e., the links you may soon lose.
Additional upgrades include improved settings for your advanced reports, quicker navigation to other tools within Majestic SEO and clarification on when Majestic SEO first found a specific link pointing to your site.
To sign up for Majestic SEO’s free Site Explorer tool click here.
Majestic SEO’s competitors include Moz (formerly SEOmoz), AHrefs and more.
In a world where we’re distracted by some 30,000+ brand messages per day, effortlessness in the user experience is becoming a highly desirable quality. Crafty Google, in realization of this, has been working overtime on the most effortless experience possible.
Released as a standalone app for Android and as an integrated update to the Google App for iOS, Google Now assesses the behavior of a user logged into his or her Google account, and, over time, develops an understanding of what that user wants and needs.
As engagement with the app progresses, customized content begins to filter into the UI in the form of categorical “cards” – weather alerts, breaking news, calendar reminders and so forth – all compiled based on past behavior, current context, and ongoing interaction.
The more you search and use other Google tools like Gmail and Google Calendar, the more Google learns until your need to actually expend any effort whatsoever – talking, tapping, or otherwise – dissipates altogether:
- Wondering what the weather will be like today? Just open Now and the weather card will automatically display the forecast for your current location.
- Bad at remembering special occasions? Now will pop up reminder cards from your Google Calendar for birthdays.
- Running late on your commute home? Now will automatically create a card with info on the next train or bus to your destination.
Essentially, Google Now takes the search out of search.
Google Now Cards
The app launched with 15 preset categories including such essentials as Gmail, Places, sports, travel, and news, but the initial iteration was just the beginning.
At the recent Google I/O conference, several new categories were announced, including music, video games, books, TV episodes, public transportation, and research cards – a custom category based on specific niche topics you’ve shown interest in by virtue of search or other behaviors. It’s everything you would have searched for, served up proactively before you even think to search for it.
Though the tools for actually performing a search are pretty impressive as well. As of last count, there are 60+ known commands, which, when typed or spoken will generate results cards.
For example, ask for a stock quote, the definition of a word, the square root of pi, who directed “Gone with the Wind” – and you’ll get results served up neatly in card format. As an added bonus, Android users enjoy additional features that integrate deeply into other applications, enabling them to use commands to verbally compose an email or text message, make a note, and set a reminder or alarm.
A Glimpse of the Future of Predictive Search
Call it what you like – predictive, unified, aggregated – Google Now is a glimpse at the seamlessly personalized, contextually complex, nascent future of search.
Picture a business traveler in a foreign city for work with Google Now installed on her smartphone – or, even more likely, her Google Glasses.
The viewfinder of her glasses with built-in Now functionality will guide her seamlessly throughout her day in a unfamiliar locale, presenting visual maps and directions to her calendared meetings, flashing safety alerts, translating price tags into more familiar currency and presenting her with real-time tips on local business etiquette – all without her having to do more than blink.
She’ll be able to text, email, and post to Google+ simply by speaking and gazing at her surroundings as she goes about her day, more efficiently than if she had a real human assistant in tow.
This is a blue skies vision of what’s likely to come but it’s fair to say that Now is truly the first virtual personal assistant worthy of the title.
Still, There are the Requisite Drawbacks
As with Siri, the voice activated functions have a way to go in terms of usability, though this is bound to improve with time. And, in order for a user to truly enjoy the full benefits, one needs to be using Gmail and Google Calendar not to mention an Android device (it is a Google service, after all)
Like all things Google, advertising based on your data is inevitable. Google has already announced that brands will be able to insert markup into their email campaigns that will integrate seamlessly with Now, triggering special content cards and alerts when a user receives an email to their Gmail address.
It’s already possible for airline boarding passes to be automatically added to the Now interface from a Gmail message (an improvement on the Passbook model that requires proactive user input) and it’s likely that offers and incentives won’t be too far behind.
As Now catches on, it’s very possible that we’ll see more users migrating to Gmail and other Google tools in an effort to get the best possible Now experience.
Brands Will Make the Most of Google Now
It’s also very likely that we’ll see more and more brands asking their search agencies to develop a Now strategy that aligns with their SEM and SEO planning. With Google dominating mobile search and free Google tools like Gmail continuing to increase in popularity, it’s a given that Now will become status quo for users and consequently, for marketers as well.
Of course, it’s too early in the game to know what the rules for optimization, both natural and paid will be. At present, a limited number of partner brands have been included in the beta, allowing them to tag their email content with elements that will be flagged by Now and allow for translation to cards.
But there’s little doubt that tools for brands will be rolling out in short order. The inherent effortless of it – what we referred to earlier as “taking the search out of search” is really what will cinch uptake for end users and brands alike. The congestion of data in our always-on, real-time world is making us crave simplicity – the more wired we get, the lazier we become.
‘Technology Should Do the Hard Work’
As Google CEO Larry Page himself said at Google I/O last month that “Technology should do the hard work so that people can get on with doing the things that make them happiest in life.”
The brands that are tuned in to that simple fact, like Google, are the ones that will win out in the future not just of search but of marketing overall.
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Forget Facebook. The hot new topic in social and content marketing is definitely podcasting. The Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Marketing Industry report found that while just 3% of marketers are currently using custom podcasts, 24% plan to figure out how to create a podcast, and implement the practice in the near future:
Image Credit: Social Media Examiner
If you’re hoping to gain an edge above your competition, or position yourself as a thought leader, a podcast could be just the ticket for your content marketing strategy.
For many of us, Podcasts evoke images of 2008, when MP3 players were hot, and tablets were barely a blip on the horizon. However, as social media exploded in popularity, simple sound files became almost dowdy. But, they’re definitely back. While it’s hard to say just what’s sparked the resurgence in popularity, Marketer Jeff Bullas believes it’s clearly connected to the growth of smartphones.
Additionally, today’s consumer really is more distracting than ever. Your prospects can listen to your podcast while watching Netflix, listening to Pandora, and playing Candy Crush Saga on their multitude of mobile devices. Podcasts may work because they’re background noise for a generation of consumers who are more adept than ever at multi-screen usage. To inspire your inbound marketing strategy in the months to come, we’ve compiled a start-to-finish guide on how to create a podcast:
1. Consider Your Buyer Personas
Despite the fact that podcasts are soaring in popularity, they’re not for everyone. Edison Research has discovered that approximately 16% of smartphone users listen to podcasts. According to Christopher Penn, co-founder of leading Marketing Over Coffee podcast, this means the growing market of smartphone users is wide open to becoming fans of your new production. That being said, if your primary goal in podcasts is to attract new customers, not all personas will react best to this form of content. You’ll likely see best results with tech-savvy, early adopters.
2. Create Value in Your Niche
Chances are, someone in your industry has figured out how to create a podcast. You don’t need to be the first, and you don’t need to narrow your topic for the sake of total originality, but you should add value in a way that no one else is. The Influencer Project was far from the first recorded content to discuss building digital influence, but it was definitely the first to approach the project in 60-second clips.
3. Make Sure You Love the Topic
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty details of how to create a podcast, ask yourself whether you can live with your topic. Many experts believe passion is critical to creating podcasts. Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answer Man, recommends against launching a podcast on a subject you’re not in love with. Successfully growing an audience is a big commitment, and it will be much more challenging if you hate your niche.
4. Choose Your Tool
There are a number of free and low-cost tools for recording Podcasts; and Sound Cloud is among the most popular. Using the platform, it’s easy to figure out how to create a podcast and post to iTunes. PodcastPeople is another strong option, and the website functions something like a social network, offering users the ability to network and market within the platform. Ardour and Audacity also offer the ability to record and edit your sound bytes.
5. Develop Your Voice
Authenticity matters in how to create a podcast. While it’s easy for a content marketer to adapt a given tone for written content, it’s likely going to be pretty obvious if you’re affecting an unnatural persona on a recording. Podcaster Kenn Blanchard advises new podcasters to “be yourself with diction, voice, and attitude.”
6. Be Entertaining
Even if you’ve carefully prepared notes for your first podcast recording session, the final outcome shouldn’t sound like you’re reading a script. Ravenscraft recommends approaching your podcast with enthusiasm, personality, and a mission to entertain as well as engage.
7. Introduce New Experts
While an interview with a renowned digital influencer can lend instant credibility and allure to your podcast, Derek Halpern advises against bringing on “the usual suspects.” Once you’ve taken the basic steps towards identifying how to create a podcast, feature up-and-coming experts in your niche. Try to land guests who will bring passion, a fresh voice, and new ideas to your recording. People want to hear digital influencers talk, but they want quality, original content even more.
8. Edit Carefully
Regardless of how brilliant your material is, a poorly-edited audio file can quickly destroy your credibility. Editing your podcasts is just as critical as formatting blog posts; you’ll lose the majority of your audience without it. If you’re investing heavily in learning how to create a podcast as a component of your content marketing strategy, it will pay to become an expert on sound editing.
9. Optimize for SEO
Remember, even though Google and iTunes can’t currently scroll and index your audio files, it’s still wise to optimize for SEO. Include high-potential keywords in your podcast titles and page names to ensure your website catches the eye of search engines. Creating detailed notes about the content of each show can provide additional information for search engines on your expertise.
10. Leverage the “Exposure Cycle”
The work isn’t over once you’ve mastered how to create a podcast. Pat Flynn, one of the best-known podcasters in the world, believes the principles of successfully marketing your podcast require a three-part “exposure cycle:”
- Get Discovered: SEO Optimize for search engines and iTunes, and create professional artwork to lend instant credibility.
- Be Sticky: Create the kind of auditory content that people want to listen to by using social proof, plenty of personality, relevant topics, and varied tone.
- Encourage Social Sharing: Turn first-time listeners into promoters by including social sharing buttons, call-to-actions, and exploring syndication opportunities.
While podcasting is a rapidly growing, simply sitting down to record your thoughts isn’t enough to give your content marketing strategy the boost it deserves. Invest in originality, quality, and ensure you’ve developed a solid plan to gain exposure for your work on how to create a podcast.
Are you considering integrating podcasting into your content marketing strategy?
This article originally appeared on Writtent.com: Internet Marketing Blog. and has been republished with permission.
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Joe Griffin has served as the co-founder and CEO at iAcquire, a digital marketing firm, since 2008.
Re-launching a website is a massive, multi-layered task for any business.
You have make decisions not only about design and branding — a re-launch requires a seemingly endless checklist of tasks: benchmarking, content strategy, audience research, SEO, back-end hosting … the list goes on. Plus, as a business every decision is hinged on ROI: What impact will the remodeled website have on your business’ traffic, engagement, and conversion?
Your business’s flaws and weak links are often exposed when it comes time to reinvigorate your web presence.
Whether this comes in tandem with an organizational restructure, a change in services or products, a reinvigorated brand strategy, or simply after realizing that your current website is not converting customers at the level you’d like, every business should re-convene on their web strategy at least every few years.
I co-founded iAcquire, a NYC and Phoenix-based digital marketing agency, and recently re-launched our agency site to reflect our evolution as an industry and as an agency. As a 15-year veteran of the digital marketing world and a captain of our agency’s recent remodel, I have gathered years of insight into necessities of a website relaunch.
These tips can serve as a blueprint, checklist, and guide for your enterprise’s future website remodeling plans.
1. Get everyone on the same page
Talk to each and every stakeholder about the impending re-launch. Meet with colleagues (within your department and cross-functionally), shareholders, clients, board members, industry mentors, and other key parties as you embark on your re-launch planning.
Ask each group similar questions:
- What is missing?
- What do you like about the current site?
- Do you think it’s the right time to re-launch?
- Do we have the capacity to do this as a company?
- Do you think we will come out better afterwards?
- Do we want a re-skin, which impacts the overall design aesthetic of the website, or a re-launch, a total overhaul?
Answering these questions early on – and getting buy in and feedback from all parties — will help you in the long run. When relaunching iAcquire.com, for example, multiple departments within our agency combined forces to create a vision for the website. Doing this helped us define scope, high-level direction, budget, requirements, and most importantly goals — all essential for the beginning strategy documents of a website redesign.
2. Allocate a budget and bandwidth
Your overall budget for your website redesign will frame your bandwidth. If your budget is in the tens of thousands of dollars, you have the budget to utilize a big agency to create a new website for your enterprise. If your budget is smaller ($7,500-$15,000) you may be able to utilize outside help on a consulting basis.
Either way, a large chunk of change will be needed for a website redesign. Hosting isn’t free either, so even if you do everything in-house you’ll need a budget.
Also, consider the project scope and if your in-house team has the capacity to complete such a large-scale project. Creative, content, promotion, SEO, and developers will all need to commit a large part of their workload to the project. For example, our marketing and strategy team dedicated a good solid three month to the project.
CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and legal need to be engaged from the beginning as well. And project status should be communicated at least one time per week to high-level stakeholders.
3. Ensure benchmarks are in place
Create benchmarking documents to track the current website’s design and content, layout, as well as audience targeting and current website analytics (visitor interaction and conversion) so you can accurately measure success after the new site launches. Define your current and future KPIs and keep track of them. Keep in mind that these may change as your organization grows, so be inclusive and collect as much as you can.
For iAcquire, we use the following key performance indicators:
- Time on site
- Share of voice
- Number of links
- Organic search rankings
4. Define or redefine your key audience personas
Consumers are getting savvier and savvier by the minute and modern technology allows users to tune out various messages. With that being said, it is crucial to craft your remodeled website around your converting, engaged personas.
Once you define audience personas, you can better direct:
- The tone of the copy
- The website’s overall design/look
- What type of content (images, copy, videos) resonates best
- Calls to action – where the are placed, what copy to use, user path
Creating audience personas helps all creative, content, and allows marketing stakeholders to maintain uniformity. Leverage audience market data, survey results, and need states to create personas and user stories. Use this template and create your own three to five personas. Utilize market research tools like Experian, Nielsen, Facebook data, and even Google Analytics to get to the core of your visitor base.
5. Plan as much as you execute
Draft a creative brief that includes all project requirements – from copy and SEO to technical hosting and color scheme requirements. This brief will serve as the blueprint for all parties working on the redesign. The plan can be as long as 30 pages, though the length is not important; the content is the important part. If it helps you, then delegate specific sections to different leaders within your team. Come together and review the plan, and then from there start executing your strategy.
6. Consider your copy
A shiny, well-designed site is great, but like your looks it’s the first thing to go with age. If your content isn’t great, neither is your site. And it’s not just about well-written prose; it all has to be planned out, persona-driven content, created by understanding your key audiences and how they behave online. Develop a roadmap for content strategy and your copy will fall into place.
Within iAcquire, we know that governance and establishing an editorial calendar is just as important as setting up the content framework. Without structural guidance organizations can fall into content paralysis. These processes defines the players, topics, and requirements necessary to curate and publish content.
7. Keep the bot in mind
Within your re-launch two key “audiences” need to be kept in mind: your visitors and the search engine spiders. Search engines have a very detailed algorithm for ranking pages, and with your re-launch you want to make sure that you stay even or above in your rankings. Here are three key considerations you should have for SEO:
If specific URLs are no longer active, or you are changing the site architecture, make sure 301s redirects are in place. Non-existent redirects can lead to a “docked” search position.
- Conversion end-points
Your re-designed website will probably not have the same conversion funnel or path as your last site, so make sure someone is dedicated to checking the conversion points on your redesigned sites to make sure they are a) working, b) properly migrated, and c) tracked.
- On-page keyword analysis
Target two to three keywords per page and intertwine them organically throughout the copy and metadata. If your organization previously targeted a list of keywords, look at them again as competition and volume changes from year to year and even month to month.
8. Who’s your host?
Consider where you are going to host your site.
All of these decisions need to be made early on.
9. Utilize Google Webmaster Tools
Once your website is in development, have your organization set up a Google account (if you don’t already have one) and get acquainted with Google Webmaster Tools. This free Google tool can tell you any problems with site/page indexing and even click-through rates. If the content is being rearranged on your new site, it could be buried deeper, making it harder for search engines to crawl, which leads to a non-indexed area.
10. Strategize a post-launch plan
Your job isn’t over when your redesigned site launches. Create a plan to promote the new site on social media, PR outreach, and blog announcements. Plan on pushing marketing messages through these channels for at least two weeks past the launch. Connect with key influencers on social who can push your message further.
Then create a plan to organize, develop, curate, and publish new content so you keep luring new visitors in: inbound marketing at its finest. On an internal communications front, make sure that your organization is kept in the loop as well. Inform all departments of the re-launch. Be clear on what has changed and how they can utilize your “2.0” or “3.0″ website to optimally conduct their respective jobs.
While every organization has needs, adopting a process is a crucial element. Use this list as a guide, and customize it to meet your organization’s unique challenges, and develop a website that reflects your company in a way that is beneficial to you and your customer.
Joe Griffin has served as the co-founder and CEO at iAcquire, a digital marketing firm, since 2008. Prior to founding iAcquire, Joe co-founded SubmitAWebsite.com, which was acquired by Web.com, and before that he spent three years with iCrossing, where he led business development and later their paid search division. Joe writes at joegriffin.me and the iAcquire blog, tweets at @joegriffin, and lives on Google+.
3. User experience
I’ve just thrown out a lot of SEO strategies that can get pretty technical. But above all, you should be optimizing your website for your user. Upon visiting your site, a user should be able to easily navigate and find what they came for, whether it’s specific information, customer support or a free quote. Build trust and credibility with your users by displaying a brand logo, contact information and informative, unique content that keeps them coming back. Some absolutes you should feature on your site are:
- About us page
- Contact page
- Site Map
Believe it or not, Google observes how people interact with your website, and that will reflect in your search rankings as well. If people constantly click to your site and then leave because it wasn’t what they expected or they couldn’t find what they wanted, you will lose authority. That’s where designing for the user experience comes in.
Information about site analytics is accessible through several free tools provided by Google, one of the most powerful being Google Analytics. This free tool allows you to learn the location and demographics of your audience, what websites, keywords and search engines sent them to your website, what social networks visitors come from, how they interact with your content and much more. All of this data gives you an idea of how effective your content is so you can take improve.
By acknowledging and implementing some of these basic SEO guidelines, you can begin to improve your company’s online presence and attract the kind of traffic you’ve been seeking.
For more from Lauren Jaeckel, see:
The industry is all a-buzz today with Rand Fishkin’s announcement that SEOmoz is relaunching and rebranding as simply Moz. They are distancing themselves from their history as an SEO company and positioning themselves as a provider of more general marketing tools, with a focus on “inbound marketing,” the phrase that local Boston company HubSpot and others made (relatively) famous.
I couldn’t help but notice that Rand’s blog post explaining the change included a revision of a diagram he had previously used when discussing inbound marketing. Here’s the new diagram, which distinguishes between inbound marketing and “interruption marketing”:
And here’s the old diagram, from Rand’s March 2011 blog post:
Notice anything missing? That’s right, brainiacs, PPC is mysteriously missing! In the new diagram, PPC is right next to SEO, at the top of the list – where I think it belongs! So what changed?
What (TF) Is Inbound Marketing, Anyway?
Earlier this year, there was a long thread at Inbound.org, started by our own Victor Pan, who petitioned for a PPC category on the site. Tad Chef responded by saying that “buying ads is outbound”:
Ian Howells echoed this idea, saying: “Not that I hate on paid search, but erm… the site is called inbound.org. PPC is paid media, which is the polar opposite.”
Martin McDonald then followed up on the topic in a post called “WTF is Inbound Marketing, Anyway?” at his blog, which drew another long chain of comments. Martin disagreed with both Tad and Ian:
Now frankly, I’m in disagreement with both of the above. PPC is absolutely a part of inbound marketing by my standards. My definition of inbound revolves around being somewhere with the answer when someone is looking for it, NOT sticking an advert for a product or service in front of their faces. That absolutely includes PPC!
This sparked another thread at Inbound.org, with people continuing to debate whether PPC, being a form of paid media, qualifies as inbound marketing.
The answer, as Ed Fry points out, really depends on how you define inbound marketing. Is it about cost of distribution, or context?
Free vs. Paid, Interruption vs. Flow
Some people in the web marketing space have suggested that PPC shouldn’t be included in “inbound marketing” because you have to pay for placement. But this doesn’t make any sense.
The whole point of introducing a term like “inbound marketing” is to create a more nuanced distinction than just “free marketing” and “paid marketing.” Any marketer who manages a budget knows that no form of marketing is truly “free.” HubSpot, one of the first proponents of inbound marketing, sells a product that helps you do it – how is that free? They know that if they called what they’re selling – a platform for blogging and SEO – “free marketing,” it would be a contradiction in terms. Of course, you can do inbound marketing without HubSpot (duh), but you’re either going to be paying someone or a team of people to do it (a blogger, a social media manager, an SEO specialist, etc.) or you’re going to be doing it yourself, as the business owner, and any time you spend on inbound marketing is time you can’t spend on other business activities, so all those activities have a cost. That’s why “free marketing” doesn’t cut it.
It makes much more sense to think of “inbound marketing” as the opposite of “outbound marketing,” or “interruption marketing,” than as the opposite of “free marketing” (which doesn’t exist). By this definition, inbound marketing is any kind of marketing that reaches customers when they go looking for something to buy.
For example: if you own a local pizza joint and you go around stick fliers and menus under people’s windshield wipers and rubber-banding them to their doorknobs all the time, that’s outbound or interruption marketing, because you’re coming to them and getting in their face, even though you have no idea whether they want pizza or even like pizza.
But if someone in your area searches for “pizza” on their mobile phone at 5 pm, and they get an organic local listing or a mobile PPC ad from your businesses, that’s contextual. Neither option is interrupting the flow of what they’re doing. Either way, you’re giving them information they were already looking for. Because PPC, like SEO, is contextual and query-triggered, it’s inbound marketing. Clearly, Rand and the Moz team realized this sometime in the past couple of years, and that’s part of why they’re changing their position.
Is Paid Media Sustainable?
Hubspot has long argued that PPC is a marketing addiction. At the 2012 HubSpot user conference in Boston, Mark Roberge, a senior HubSpot executive, gave a talk where he claimed that paid search is not sustainable. Here’s a photo from that event!
I won’t reiterate the irony of HubSpot being a paid product. But I will repeat that all media is paid media. SEO requires tremendous effort. Thousands of new websites are launched every day, but the first page of the search results isn’t getting any bigger. In fact, if we look at the trends in mobile search, if anything, the SERP is getting smaller! That means the competition to get on the first page of Google is getting exponentially greater all the time.
And of course Hubspot knows this. After all, we’ve even done joint webinars together on how to leverage PPC. And they spend 10’s of thousands of dollars per month on PPC advertising to generate leads in a cost effective and scalable way, according to tools like SpyFu and SEMRush:
So why all the anti-PPC rhetoric from HubSpot? An anonymous HubSpot executive explained to me that the public opposition to PPC in marketing materials was “just marketing rhetoric” since they found that having a villain to beat up was working for them.
And as Ian Lurie pointed out recently, SEO is a zero-sum game. There’s only room for 10 organic listings on the first page (if you’re lucky). And if someone else takes those spots, that means you can’t! If you think it’s going to be easy to compete with bigger businesses who have been doing it longer, you’re crazy. And you’re even crazier if you think SEO is free.
I’m glad that more marketers including Rand Fishkin and I realize that PPC is inbound marketing, it is sustainable, and it does work.
Are you on board yet? And if not, why not?
This article originally appeared on Internet Marketing Blog by WordStream and has been republished with permission.
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Carrying out an SEO audit on your website allows you to analyze its current SEO state and take informed steps to maximize its future performance. Audits are also a useful way to gain an insight into the SEO strategy used by your competition.
By analyzing you website’s source code it is possible to gain free access to all the important information needed to SEO audit your site, but doing this manually can be a complicated and time consuming process. Fortunately for those looking to advance their SEO knowledge, using an SEO Toolbar can provide you with the vital information you need literally within seconds and I’ll show you exactly how.
SEO Toolbar summary
SEO audit toolbars are widely available for both Firefox and Google Chrome. Toolbars for both these browsers provide a similar level of function and can each give you all the essential SEO details you need in a few clicks.
As SEO audit toolbars can reduce the speed of your browser, I would recommend choosing one on a browser you use less frequently, which for me happens to be Firefox. So it should come as no surprise this guide looks at a Firefox toolbar from SEOBook.com which is hands down one of the most accurate and effective on the market.
To access the SEO toolbar we’ll be showcasing, head over to their site by clicking here
As you can see from the image below, all the toolbar’s important functions are easily accessible:
Now I’ll look at an overview of some of the key elements of SEOBook’s toolbar and how you can use them to your advantage.
Undoubtedly the most useful tool included on the SEOBook Toolbar is the SEO X-Ray. By clicking the X icon you get a summary of all the important optimization information, such as the keyword density of meta descriptions, page title, and meta keywords.
The Page Title is the visible piece of information which is displayed in your web browser when you’ve conducted a search on Google. I would recommend your character title be explained in 70 characters or less and include your prominent keywords to represent what your website is about.
Your Meta Description is the short section of text that follows the page title in search engine results. The word length should range between 150-160 characters which should bait the reader into clicking the link and visiting your site – but this should also be an accurate representation of what the web page is about. I often use MetaLength to verify my Page Title and Meta Description lengths. If you need a hand with writing a solid title or description, this tool also provides a few handy tips.
I will generally go beyond 160 characters and reach the 400 mark as certain websites such as Facebook or Google+ usually display more than the standard 160 characters. For SEO purposes, your benefit is capped at 160 characters.
While search engines cap the description they display at around 160 characters,
Below is an example of the Meta Description for Amazon.
I won’t go into detail with Meta Keywords as they aren’t mandatory for optimization purposes, and if you are concerned about a competitor identifying your keywords, don’t add them.
By including keywords, it helps with your own understanding of which keywords are being tracked on each page making it easier for any SEO analysis down the line. If you decide to include Meta Keywords, be sure to actually use these terms on the page and not just what you’d like to rank for (they’ll need to be included on several instances).
If you need a free tool to locate these effective keywords for your site, use the Google Keyword Tool (free) to formulate your list of keywords to target. If you require more detailed information such as the Cost Per Click (CPC) and monthly fluctuations, open an AdWords account.
Meta Keywords are an easy reference point for future SEO Analysis, so you should include every word or phrase that you are targeting. Meta Keywords aren’t essential, so if you wish to keep this insight into your strategy hidden from competitors, it is fine not to include them.
Header Tags Tool
When manually scanning source code, finding header tags can be a difficult task, but SEOBook’s Header Tags tool makes viewing them extremely easy. Headlines and sub headlines are useful to readers because they break up text into clear sections, but they also have an impact on your SEO.
Google algorithms consider H1, H2, and H3 tags more significant to your rank than any other text, so try to include your targeted keywords. Any headlines which are not keyword rich such as “Like us on Facebook” or “Please leave a comment” should ideally be changed to H4, H5, or H6 Tags or even standard text.
Inbound links Tool
Keywords are only one part of a good SEO strategy. Equally important to search engines is the authority your site provides. The easiest way to increase authority is through the development of inbound links from a broad network of relevant influential sites.
A list of your site’s external and internal links can be viewed instantly using the SEO X-ray tool and even exported to a spreadsheet for more in-depth analysis. Alternatively, you can use the tool to find out your competitors inbound links and recreate them to boost your own rank.
To increase your website’s authority, include inbound links in outside sources like your social media pages, business directory profiles, outside interviews, press releases, and any blog or social network posts.
Rank Checker Tool
It is possible to monitor your SEO success for specific keywords by using the Rank Checker tool. By pressing the icon and imputing a keyword term, you can view the search engine rank for any domain name. This is a useful way to keep up-to-date on your competitor’s progress as well as your own. But remember to always begin by selecting keywords which actually have a search volume. Ranking #1 for “Handsome SEO specialist South Sydney” might impress your parents but it won’t get you any prospective leads from the web.
Choosing the Right SEO Audit Toolbar
There are hundreds of similar toolbars to choose from for Chrome and Firefox, such as MozBar (register through SEOMoz.com), SEOQuake, and SEO Doctor.
If you are too loyal to Internet Explorer, then you could go with the old school approach by scanning through your source code by following these steps:
- Right click on any web page (CTRL + Click for Mac users)
- “View Source”
- Check thesection
So what we’ve discussed is how to conduct a basic SEO audit on your website to see how it’s optimized. Once you have a solid understanding of on-page factors and inbound link portfolio, we can then progress to the real ‘meaty’ content which is how you can separate yourself from the pack. These advanced topics will include SEO-friendly URLs, Google Authorship, optimizing videos and images, canonical URL tags and more.
This article originally appeared on Right Mix Marketing Blog and has been republished with permission.
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