Staying on top of all the latest trends and tips for perfecting your SEO is one of the most important aspects you can engage in for your website. But apart from hours of research time which you might not have, where do you start? That’s where EverSpark Interactive’s weekly What’s New In The World of Google comes into play. Every week, you can learn all the latest goings on from the search engine giant and help to steer your SEO plans in the right direction.
Please join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 from 8am – 9:30am. Space is limited — so be sure you RSVP to get your front row seat to what’s always a lively discussion. Even if you’re not positive you can make the meeting, you can always play a little catch up with our blog recap posts. This is also a great way to review previous meetups you may have attended, and investigate some of the issues covered further.
The meetup takes place at EverSpark Interactive’s offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30328
What’s New This Week:
Creating Your Own SEO Blueprint: Top Tips For Excellent Results
When you’re gathering up all the great SEO ideas that you’ve heard and read about, you may wonder what agencies might suggest to their own clients. Where do they start? Recently, EverSpark Principle, Jason Hennessey, attended a law conference in Chicago where he produced an SEO blueprint booklet for law firms. While the book was tailored to law firms and lawyers in particular, there are a lot of take home lessons that can be applied to all types of business for their own website plans. Jason was kind enough to share these with the group, making it required reading for anyone who’s looking to kick their search engine optimization into high gear.
If you’re a regular visitor to the weekly meetup, chances are you’ve heard a lot about these in our previous sessions and blog posts. However, if you’re a newbie, this information will get you started down the right path for all things SEO.
Tip #1: Feel the need for speed.
The importance of page speed has been discussed in previous meetups, and with Google’s Page Speed Tool, there’s no excuse for a slow site. Not only can a slow site affect your SEO rankings, it gives a poor user experience that may force your users to look elsewhere for their information and products. Google’s Page Speed Insights is a good place to start to find out how your site is performing. Try to aim for a 95 or higher for both desktop and mobile for the best user experience.
Tip #2: Get dedicated.
Speaking of that all-important page speed, a major factor can be your server. Sites that are on their own dedicated server usually have a much quicker response time. Additionally, you do not need to worry about the possibility of any of your competition also being housed on the same server, thus making it more difficult to rank for specific search terms.
Tip #3: Protect your domain (and boost your ranking at the same time).
So you’ve registered your domain and renew it every year. You’re just fine, right? Unfortunately not. To search engines, the date on which your domain expires can be just as important as the date on which you registered on. For example, if your domain is set to expire six months from now, Google, Yahoo or Bing may view that as an indicator that your company isn’t going to be around for that long, and thus will not give your pages the weight they may deserve in the rankings. Take the time to review when your domain expires and be sure it’s renewed for a period of five years or more.
Tip #4: Communicate with those search engines.
Let’s say you’ve got a great site and you’re pretty sure that your SEO plan is spot on. How do you know? Without interacting with search engines such as Google and Bing, it’s impossible for you to know if you’re currently facing a penalty, how your site is actually performing and other hugely important factors that impact how you need to work within your site. Additionally, you can use these tools to tell the search engines when you have new content for them to scan, deal with manual actions or penalties and have increased access to analytics such as conversions and sales. Some important action items to consider for this would include:
- Register for Google Webmaster Tools.
- Register for Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Install Google Analytics on your site.
Tip #5: Have a blog.
When it comes to your SEO plan, bigger and newer is definitely better. Search engines like to see bigger sites full of quality, useful information for their users. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to engage in regular blogging. Blogging can allow you to become an authority in your niche market, as well as educate your current and potential consumers on your area of expertise. Through well-written and interesting blogs, Google establishes your relevance to your particular market. Try developing a content calendar and stick to it, providing regular and timely articles to your users. The keyword here is relevant. The more worthwhile and researched your blog is, the more likely it will be shared on social media, thus increasing your presence in the eyes of the search engines.
Jason’s Top Tips – Part 1
“You may think you’re blogging enough, but how much are you really doing? One of the easiest ways to see your entire blogging archive is to go to Google and put in yoursite.com:. Click Advanced search tools and change your date ratio to the past month, year or whatever search parameters you might want to uncover. This will help to give you a clear picture of what you’re doing and can help you develop a more regular content calendar.”
Tip #6: Review, add and update your content.
If your site has been around for awhile, you may have older content that needs a bit of a brush up. This is particularly true for your main pages, where you may not be getting the maximum value you could be out of the text you currently have. Ask yourself when the last time you sat down and read through your content was. If the answer is “a long time,” it’s exactly the time for a full site review. While you can easily do this yourself, you can also hire professional content writers who can modernize your text, making it more useful for your readers and search engine friendly. Here are some excellent ideas to help you generate content that’s both useful, relevant and will make both users and Google fall in love with your site:
- Don’t feel that you can’t link out to other sites. Linking to trustworthy sites, social media channels and profiles can help your users find resources for information, and sets you up as an authority. When you do link out to other sites, be sure you elect to have the site open in another window so your site remains open.
- Be sure to always link to your social media channels and encourage social sharing through these sites.
- Should you reference someone in a blog post or on your site, link to their website or social media channel.
- Try building a resources page for sites you references a lot. For example, if you are a butcher shop, you may want to link to one of the specialty farms you work with as a supplier.
- Set yourself up to receive Google Alerts for your particular industry and engage in strategic blogging to discuss newsworthy items or developments. You can do this by simply rewriting the article while adding in your personal sites, references and insights.
- Interview important figures from your industry, clients or even your own specialists on staff. This can not only easily create an excellent blog, but also valuable video for a YouTube channel.
- Have someone interview you to discuss your industry or niche.
- Create a meetup for your spcific industry using Meetup.com.
- If you’re using an outside source for blogging, be sure to run their content through Copyscape to ensure you’re not scraping another site unknowingly. Running Copyscape once a month is an excellent way to ensure that you’re in the know with what’s on your site.
Tip #7: Getting technical? Hire an expert.
Though you may feel like you want to do everything yourself on your website, there comes a time where you need to call in the experts. While keeping your website in-house may seem like the most economical option at the time, this can be a sure-fire way to accidentally get yourself on the wrong end of Google with your coding or other aspects of your site that are best left to the pros. Whether you’re a small business owner or a larger organization, it’s not likely that you might know some of the finer points of the difference between an apache mod_Rewrite vs. an ISAPI_Rewrite, why your site is moving so slowly or why you’re just not able to rank next to your competition. A competent SEO will be able to deconstruct your site and provide you with a full overview of what’s going wrong, what needs to be done and in what order you should tackle it. This was recently covered in EverSpark’s previous session on The 6-Hour Audit. Not only can this help you avoid a world of irritation down the line, it will also provide you with an excellent benchmark as to where you are and how your SEO plans are measuring up as time goes on.
Tip #8: Get into video.
One of the easiest ways to reach out to your audience is through video blogging, or vlogging. Putting together a quick presentation for your users and clients is an easy way to get your message across, not to mention easy to transcribe and create a useful blog post out of. Companies such as Moz.com and EverSpark Interactive have been doing this with great success for years. Additionally, they can be as simple or complex as you want to make them. For example, Moz.com’s Whiteboard Friday videos are hugely popular, and only involve one of their team’s experts, a marker and a whiteboard. See below for some examples of easy and effective ways to harness the power of your own videos and video channel.
Tip #9: Don’t neglect the importance of local.
There have been many Google meetups that have focused on getting the local element of your SEO right and the value it can have for you with your search ranking. While you can obviously claim your listing on Google, Yahoo and Bing, it’s important to get those all-important citations for those search engines to trust you. There are some great tools on the market that can help you acheive this. One of the highest recommended tools for this is Bright Local. Featuring a local search rank checker, citation checker and other additional useful tools and reports, this handy site can easily put you in the driver’s seat of your local SEO plan. Try watching their welcome video to get a better idea of what’s on offer. If you like what you see, you can try it free for 30 days. Some other important things on your checklist should include:
- Registering with the USPS (Take note: the difference between “Ste,” “Suite” and “#” can be huge).
- Sign up with the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce.
- Sign up with older and more powerful directory links, such as DMoz and Yahoo Directory.
- Use a Google Approved photographer for 360 imagery for your Google+ Local listing.
Tip #10: Get creative with your PR opportunities.
The days of simply sending out a press release to your media buddies are well and truly over. In order to get your business the traffic it deserves, try looking for more creative opportunities with your public relations campaigns. Getting your business featured in the news is a great way to start building your name and reputation as a thought leader for your industry. However, there’s more than the news to get your website in front of more eyeballs. For example, have you thought of diversifying the way you delivery your press releases? Many companies tend to only use one company or distribution service, thus limiting themselves to just those contacts. By using more than one, you will be able to blanket your coverage in a bigger way. Announce your involvement in charities, new products or services, helpful tips or offer to comment on any local or national news stories that pertain to your particular sector. Signing up to signs such as Cision or Helpareporter.com can offer a wealth of opportunities. Even something as simple as a job offer advertisement on one of the larger sites can lead to traffic through your door. By getting creative, you’ll have more opportunities than through your traditional channels.
The Narrow Awake: A State of Focused Passion
At the Google Meetup meetings, you might be inclined to think it’s all business, SEO and bagels. However, our group also shares interesting findings, speakers and tidbits found on the web with the group. Recently, Jason saw Steve Snyder speak to a group he belongs to and found his take on alpha waves, “the narrow awake” and inciting your passion extremely interesting and shared it with the group at the end of the meeting. As one of the word’s foremost authorities on accelerated learning and personal empowerment, it’s well worth a watch for just about anybody.
Jason’s Top Tips – Part 2
We’re not sure how he does it, but Jason meets up with some rather interesting people while he’s out traveling. Recently, Jason had the pleasure of sitting next to someone from Google on his flight home from Chicago. Once he mentioned the What’s New In The World of Google Meetup and the fact that he was an SEO, the Google Mystery Man offered some great things to watch out for in the future with the search engine. “The carousel at the top of the search page featuring photos and ratings that you currently see when you search for restaurants (see example here) is going to be expanded and rolled out to other industries. In fact, in the next four years that will be turned into a paid product that could possibly replace AdWords.”
Additionally, using other Google products and services is continuing to become more important, with a particular focus on Google Hangouts,“We encourage you to use our products, they might just help boost your PPC quality scores and increase your web positioning on the SERPS,” he said.