Blog about Internet marketing strategies - social media, & SEO

Category: SEO

Google on Guest Blogging – Stop Waste Blogging!

There is a growing trend to do guest blogging. So much so that it is turning close to using such blogging as article spinning techniques. This hurts websites bad as we have noticed in past through Google Panda as well as Google Penguin. And now Google’s Matt Cutt has also made it clear that they want nothing from such guest blogging – or should we just say waste blogging.

Check the the Video here.

Having said that, as the search engine underlines, and as common sense, it is always good idea to guest post if it is original and adds value to the users. On other hand if you are using guest blogging to promote poor wasted or copied content, it is sooner than later that both the blogger and the blog host will be affected by one of the Google’s algorithm changes.

What are your thoughts on Guest Blogging or the alternatives?

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SEO Tips to Remember When Building Your Site

The following is a guest blog. Email me at roshanjoshi@gmail.com with the subject ‘Guest Blog’ if you are interested in guest blogging.

Everybody knows that the first thing you want to do after launching your site is to start generating reasonable traffic. You won’t be earning sales or any reputation if nobody is visiting your site or if nobody is even aware that it exists. To gain better traffic, you need to rank on search engines like Google and Yahoo.

This can be achieved with both off-page and on-page optimization. On-page optimization is where you should start first since it is concerned with the content and design of your actual web pages. Consider these following SEO tips while building your site to help it rank higher on search engines:

1. Use proper meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions do not directly affect page rank since they are not directly measured by search engine crawlers but they are directly reflected by user preference. The Meta descriptions are the first two lines that users will read below a link so make sure you make it eye-catching and connect the content of the page to the keywords used. Remember that it is the first thing users will see and may be the factor that will push them to click on the link or to move on to the next.

2. Learn how to use Flash.
Flash is a really good tool if you want to convey audio and video or other interactive medium in your site but remember that search engine crawlers are more sensitive to text and HTML/CSS codes than they are to these mediums. Instead of designing a website that depends entirely on the Flash engine, use Flash content as a component of the site instead. There are a myriad of Flash game websites that you can check for good examples such as Kongregate and Armor Games.

3. Give distinctive and relevant names to images and audio and video files.
Instead of adding an image in a webpage and give it a random name like “image123.jpeg,” it is much smarter to give it a name relative to the keywords you are concentrating on for that page. This will boost the page and the image’s relevance during searches. Make good use of Google Images and you’ll easily build relevant inbound sources to your site.

4. Utilize keywords in headings and title—but don’t stuff.
The title of your page is going to be on the very top and is the first thing checked by web crawlers so it is pretty common sense that you’ll want your keyword in there. Properly inserting keywords in your headers and titles will make the site more relevant to the keywords and the content of the page, therefore increasing its page rank.

5. Focus on quality content.
There is no other way to stress this. Write web page content that is fluid and easy to read, relevant to the topics and keywords chosen, and make sure that it is not stuffed with so many links and keywords. Put yourself in the shoes of the user. If the web page is easy to read, easy to navigate, and relevant to your needs and wants then you know you’ve done a good job.

Experts like Search Engine Optimization Phoenix will tell you that SEO is an easy task that becomes an endless and redundant challenge with each passing day. So long as you focus on good quality content and you don’t get lazy in naming Meta tags, Meta descriptions, images and other content, your site will eventually rank higher and higher.

About the Author:

sunny popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at http://tempocreative.com.Tempo Creative is an Arizona Inbound Marketing firm that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempo’s team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

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The Internet Marketing Implementation Cycle

Here is one cycle that can be helpful in implementing new internet marketing strategy or upgrading the existing internet marketing strategy. Of course each business has distinct marketing requirements so might need variations accordingly. Hopefully this gives an idea for practicing online marketers or web agencies, as well as business who are looking to do internet marketing services.

internet marketing strategy implementation cycle

Let’s see bits of details for each process:

Step 1: Keyword Research

Keyword research is the most important stage. If you get this incorrect, your overall strategy or the cycle would spiral aimlessly. Important factors to consider for Keyword Research are: the industry, keyword search volume, resources available (if you have more resources, you can target more or better keywords), keyword difficulty and some common sense. Tools such as Google Keyword Tool should give you a good idea to start. This is a set of keywords that apply to your overall marketing activities. Make sure you get it right early to stop losing money & resources for nothing.

Step 2: Website

Website is the heart of all marketing activities for e-commerce and also for all others that aim to use website as a channel for their business. A website should represent your business. A good website needs to consider its target users as well as search engines – not just the view of the owner! Make sure users can find what they come for as well as be pleased choosing your business.

Step 3: SEO (on page)

For a business, nothing is worse than having a great looking website that nobody knows about. If you have done the keyword research properly, you are in the right track. Else more backward to step 1 first. As most users still use search engines such as Google to find most of the stuffs online, you should know how to make a site that search engines can rank well. Search engines such as Google considers content of website as well as who is liking to them to rank it. As you make the website, make sure you make the adjustments on site to make it SEO friendly.

Step 4: Updates

One way communication is dead. You need to be alive, keep updated content and communicate with users. Blog is a great way to keep users updated. You need to write regularly. Again the guidelines on what to update goes back to keyword research of Step 1. Make sure you get them right. Having a blog that doesn’t update or doesn’t update related content is a turn-off and a resource hog. If you can’t find the resources to blog or keep users updated, blogging may not even for your business. You can integrate your news/blog with social media as well for better user experience.

Step 5: Social Media

Internet is not the one way communication as it used to be. With social sites, growing internet reach and ease of access through mobile devices, each consumer has the power to access & share information to worldwide users in real-time. You can no longer do waiting business. You need to be where your prospects are and communicate to them being yourself. Be creative & authentic so users can like you. There are growing number of social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube that are not only great for real-time communication for also  for long term online branding.

Step 6: Email Marketing

Email marketing or permission marketing is another great way to reach to your prospects and consumers. Once you have a content strategy for website and social media, it is a good idea to reach to users using email. Email newsletters can also be a good way to send offers and updates to users directly to their inbox. Be sure you collect your user details through website or direct connection only.

Step 7: SEO (off page)

Search engines rank website based on content of website and recommendations on the Internet. Now that you have covered on-page SEO on Step 3, spend some time for getting good content that others can recommend. Link building can be a tedious and ongoing process that you should do to get visitors to your website through search or other channels. Again it helps if the keyword research has been done well. Make sure you follow genuine techniques to get links and be aware of search algorithm changes such as Google Panda or Penguin. If you are considering affiliate marketing, for example, make sure it follows the search engine guidelines.

Step 8: PPC Advertising

SEO is great but slow. If you need quick results, choose advertising.  On the Internet, PPC or pay per click ads are a great way to do it, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads being the most popular ones. PPC advertising is also a great way to spread words about new brands. Whether you want to overlap PPC campaigns with your SEO keywords depends on your business requirement.

Like other life-cycles, internet marketing is a continuous process and should be integrated with overall marketing strategy of the business. The good thing about Internet marketing is that the results are more measurable than other forms of marketing. However, unlike other cycles, it does not necessarily go through same cycle every time after completion. For example, the on-site SEO or web usability parts will be needed less after the first cycle.

Which Internet marketing strategy do you follow?

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Ultimate Link Building Tool – Link Prospector

Those in SEO, particularly link building field will know how tedious finding and building good links can be. And it gets more difficult with recent penalties by Google on poor linking strategy, especially after Google Penguin updates.

Enter Link Prospector – a web tool (by Citation Labs) to find link prospect quickly. The tool is so simple, you can actually get confused if it is actually useful. Here is a look at how Link Prospector works.

Basically there are four tabs to look out for once you have an account.

  • Campaigns
  • Prospects
  • Exclusions and
  • Profile

Profile tab is for your account settings, so let’s look at the other three tabs.

Campaigns

Campaigns are your project names. Make sure you give a name that is easy to remember later on if you have many campaigns. For this example, I have started ‘Australia Restaurants‘ as a campaign name which will be used to find backlinks for restaurants in Australia. On your campaigns tab, you can create new campaign and rename or delete the existing campaigns.
link prospector campaigns tab

Prospects

This is the most important tab. Here, you can create reports for different types of backlinks as your prospects for link building. Altogether, there are 14 types of prospects in Link Prospector as of now. These are:

  • Guest Posting: Discover blogs that allow guest posts and offer your writing services.
  • Links Pages: Find the resource and links pages that will add a link to your site.
  • Content Promoters: Find writers who are likely to cover your story, or repost your infographics and articles.
  • Reviews: Look for people who review products or services in your space.
  • Giveaways: Offer goods and services for use in contests.
  • Donations: Be charitable and earn links through sponsorship opportunities.
  • Commenting: Find the posts relevant to your key phrases. Join the conversation, and link to your site.
  • Expert Interviews: Identify domain experts you can interview, or pitch your own expertise.
  • Directories: Identify quality directories to help you get your site listed quickly.
  • Forums: Add value to the conversation and build brand equity.
  • Topical Blogs: Pinpoint the blogs that cover your industry, and are likely to post about your site.
  • Professional Organizations: Locate trades and professional organizations you can join.
  • Research: Content: Find top tips for writing great content.
  • Custom: Use any amount of research phrases you like.

Quite a handful ways there! Make sure to give your report a meaningful name that you can remember. For this particular example, I have created a prospect report for Reviews, named ‘restaurant review prospects‘ to find sites who are willing to review my product related to an Australian restaurant. You can choose up to 5 different research phrases for the particular report. This is similar to the keyword research that you do for normal SEO.  You can find more details on the research phrases on the video here. I have chosen these five as my top research phrases while looking for prospects who review restaurants in Australia: “Sydney Restaurant Reviews”, “Dining Guides in Sydney”, “Melbourne Food Guide”, “Top Brisbane restaurants” and “Best Bars in Perth”. Of course you can choose any that you want.

Then you can select the finer controls on what kinds of link prospects you want: these are based on:

  • Region: Country of choice. Useful if your prospects need to be from a particular region/country.
  • Search Scope: Web results or blog results or both. Useful if you are looking for blog or web results only.
  • Depth: number of results to be included from the search results. More depth might produce poor results so it is best to stick to under 50 results. Again, it would depend on the research phrase and you are free to experiment from 1 to 1000 depth.
  • TLD: top level domain from which you want links. .com, .org, .edu, .gov and so on. Useful if you need non .com backlinks.
  • Date Range: you can select results from past 24 hours to past year or any date if you want. Very useful if you want blog reviews.
  • Safe Search Filters: Moderate, Strict or no filtering.
link prospector backlink prospects

You can also select domains to exclude from the particular campaign or overall campaigns – this can be set from the Exclusions tab. Useful if you know you are not going to get backlinks from certain domains and want to exclude that from prospect report.

It generally takes 20-30 minutes for Link Prospector to generate reports. So take a break!

Finally you get the result prospects. In this case, we got over 3300 prospects for ‘restaurant review prospects’. By default, the results are sorted by Link Target Score (LTS) based on the overall relevance and potential. You can also sort by Top Level Domain (TLD) or Google PageRank (PR) of the website. Each resulting domains can have several pages, called the paths, which can be our prospect for backlinks. You can expand the paths by clicking on the number of paths. It is also possible to export the resulting prospect domains or the paths for further use (in .csv format).

link prospector prospects lists

After this, it is up to you how to use the prospect list to build your backlinks.

Exclusions

This tab can be used to exclude domains on campaign level or global level. This is useful to exclude some major sites, or Spam sites or your direct competitors who you are not interested as prospect for backlinks.

Each prospect report costs you a credit. The free version of the Link Prospector comes with 1 free credit. For additional credits, you can subscribe to extra credits on monthly payment basis, which you can easily do anytime from your profile tab. There is also a FAQ section should you have any further questions.

You can start your Link Prospector Campaign here

Interested in building the right set of keywords for your business?

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Insights on Internet Marketing Trends

Internet Marketing has become essential for all brands and companies regardless of their size. With over 1/3 of world population on the internet, companies need to know where and how users are using the internet. Here are some great graphs and insights on how people are using the internet.

(Graphs from HubSpot Download: Registration Required)

internet marketing budget increase
More and more business are increasing their internet marketing investment because it has become more effective than traditional marketing methods.

inbound costs vs outbound
Inbound marketing is the form of internet marketing where potential customers are drawn in to the website using content that they value. Some of inbound marketing tactics are SEO, blogs and social media marketing. These are getting more effective than outbound marketing tactics such as trade shows, where companies reach out to potential users by forcing them their information. New ways of reaching to prospects, such as paid search (PPC) are also getting popular.

customer acquisition using social media
Blogging and social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become important tools for all forms of business, be it B2B or B2C business. If you are not using these, you are likely to be losing customers already.

seo more pages better leads
SEO is internet marketing tactics to get website rank higher on search engine results. More content increase likeliness of appearing in search results. That’s why creating regular contents through channels such as blogging become very important.

email marketing rise
Another form or internet marketing is email marketing (or permission marketing). Done right, these are powerful way to reach to the prospects.

Facebook popularity
Facebook is the most popular of social media tools. Since almost everybody is on Facebook, this is a great way for business to reach and communicate with customers.

mobile importance
Worldwide, mobile penetration is ubiquitous. With increase in smartphone, using internet on handheld devices have increased drastically not only in developed countries, but also in emerging nations such as India, China and developing country such as Nepal (in fact Asia has the fastest growing mobile users). Mobile traffic contributes over 10% of total internet traffic globally. With mobile search marketing, more mobile users are likely to perform action than desktop users.

Are you investing on (or considering) Internet Marketing now? Share your thoughts on how it is going.

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SEO Best Practices

SEO or search engine optimization is about getting more visibility to your website on search engines such as Google. However, SEO for business without a clear strategy mostly lead to unsuccessful or non-profitable results and huge loss in terms of investment, time or both.

First, what is SEO?
Here is a video on SEO in simple language for those who are not too familiar with it.

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Each Search Engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing rank websites based on their algorithm (set of rules). While the algorithm are different for different search engines, the important factors for SEO are

  • Content of the website or the words and the keywords
  • Titles and META tags
  • Number of links pointing to the website or the backlinks
  • Anchor text or the words in such backlinks
  • Reputation of such backlinks

While the basics of SEO are simple, due to huge number of website, the implementation and execution part aren’t always easy. Many small business often go to creative agencies that produce great looking websites that do not bring visitors through search engines. The result? There is no business through the website. Also due to lack of knowledge, SEO is often mistaken as separate segment or a value added service of an online business and left to external experts or a separate team. This is not right. SEO should be part of the marketing strategy of a business for best results and the top level should also be involved in what is expected.

Here is a video on some common SEO mistakes and ways to correct them.

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Each business should have a value proposition to the target market and it applies to websites as well. Why should a user come to your website and use your product/service/brand or recommend it? Knowing those help understand what customers want and which keywords to target for SEO.

For lasting SEO, it is best to focus on user and user experience rather than search engines. Since the SEO basics appear easy and results are quickly visible, it is common to overdo the stuff (such as being obsessed with keyword density, PageRank or Alexa Rank) rather than enhancing the user experience. It is however, best to focus on what your customers actually need or want. When more users like and recommend the things on the website, search engines are more likely to rank such sites naturally. For this use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+ is a great way to start. Understanding and following the best SEO practices above are always important.

Which factors do you consider for SEO of your website and business?

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Correct use of robots.txt to allow all crawlers

Robots.txt file is used on web server to to give instructions about the website to web robots (also called bots or spiders or crawlers), such as those from search engines. The complete list of available robots can be found here.

The web robots scan the information and index the websites accordingly. So if you do not want web robots (or crawlers) to index your website, you can disallow everything using the robots.txt file. Similarly if you want all the content to be indexed, then you can allow all web robots using the robots.txt file. Generally it is a good idea to allow indexing to your publicly visible pages and disallow to publicly invisible files, folders or pages (such as those inside your control panel or the pages you get to after logging in). The robots.txt file should be placed inside the home directory of your website. For example www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt

As for the robots.txt file, search engines such as Google can determine whether there are useful information and crawl and index your websites accordingly. If you don’t want to disallow any web robots to crawl your site, there could be three options for letting the search engines know.

  1. Not have a robots.txt file
  2. Having a blank robots.txt file
  3. Adding following lines in the robots.txt
User-agent: *
Disallow:

While all three should allow all crawlers, the safest way to ensure that your website is indexed correctly is using the third format. That is use the robots.txt and put the above code to ensure that all user agents (or robots) are allowed.

There is also a good explanation about this in the Google Webmaster Central Video.

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Google Search and AdWords Research with SEMRush

SEMRush Logo
SEMRush is an online tool for Google organic keywords, AdWords and competition research. SEMRush analyzes data from its millions of keywords and domains database. This tool is as simple as entering your (or competitor) domain name or keyword to get back insights to the organic keywords, AdWords keywords, competition analysis and more. SEMRush is an essential tool for online marketers!

Let’s look at some of the features of SEMRush that makes it such a great tool. For reference I have used cheapflights.com as the website under consideration and categorized the results into three types of reports: Organic, AdWords and competitor analysis. These reports can be easily viewed from the navigation on the left. The results can be exported to various formats as well.

1) Organic Keywords Report
The first visible results are the organic keywords results. Among others, this shows the organic keyword list, its traffic share on the website, the URL triggered by that keyword and the position of that keyword on Google, each of which can be sorted. For example you can sort by your best ranked keywords. It even shows the volume of search in other countries (SEMRush currently supports 9 countries).

SEMRush Google organic report

2) AdWords keywords Report
This shows the keywords that trigger the AdWords ad, position of ad in Google, search volume, cost for ad, competition and other details. You can even view the ad copy. Quite a handful if you want to know your competitor ads.

SEMRush AdWords

3) Competition Research Reports
The remaining reports show the competitors in organic or AdWords. These are

  • Competitors in organic search,
  • Competitors in AdWords,
  • Unique AdWords Ads (ad copy),
  • Potential ad/traffic buyers, and
  • Potential ad/traffic sellers

SEMRush competitors
SEMRush ad buyers sellers

An interesting addition is the competition graph, where you can compare various properties such as search traffic or number of AdWords to your competitors in graphical format.

SEMRush trend graph

You can also use the SEMRush competition research by starting with target keywords to find the related keyword variations and competing websites.

SEMRush keyword search

Free version of SEMRush shows the first 10 results in the report only. So you may want to upgrade to pro version to view the full reports. SEMRush is a tool by the same team that brought popular SEO tools such as SeoQuake and WhoRush. And SEMRush is among the best search engine marketing tools available.

Start using SEMRush

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