Google SEO: How to Give Your Site a Fighting Chance

As we have mentioned on several occasions in the past, your business website is an essential component of your online business. This is because your business success will mostly depend on what you’re able to achieve with your website. It should be able to do a whole lot of things for this to happen.

For example, as a website owner or “webmaster” your site should constantly drive a healthy flow of visitors since the website would be useless if no-one visits it. It’s pertinent to note that the higher the traffic generated, the higher the number of visitors that can converted to customers! Also, if you run a business, it’s crucial that you grow your site’s popularity otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve online brand awareness.

One of the ways that you can help your website to do all these effectively is optimizing it for the search engines. This is one reason why SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is a hot topic these days.

So, What Is SEO?

SEO refers to the tasks you need to carry out to make your site hot or, at least, interesting enough for search engines to care about it. Fact is, if you think your site isn’t popular right now there are plenty of practical steps you can take to improve your site’s search engine ranking and it into a high performer.

In today’s blog post, I’m want to share with you some dynamite SEO tips that will help you do this. Hope you make good use of this information.

How to Google SEO your site

That being said, here’s how to do Google SEO for your site in 2016 for better results:

1. Make Sure Your Web Host Is Up To Scratch

It might shock you to learn that sometimes the problem doesn’t lie with the site itself. Rather, it can be with the physical hardware it gets hosted on! There are hundreds of thousands of Web hosts these days.

Each one offers varying features and performance. Did you know that search engines like Google penalize sites on slow servers? As you can imagine, that’s quite a worrying thought.

Before we optimize your website, the first thing you need to do is check the server’s performance. There are several free tools you can use to do this. I recommend using the Pingdom Website Speed Test. It also allows you to test your site from various locations around the world. All you need to do is pick one closest to your area.

When the test completes, check out the Page Analysis tab. How much time gets spent at the “connect” and “wait” stages? If the results are high for either, run a couple more tests. Quite often, high times mean your site is on a slow server.

If that’s the case, I recommend moving your website over to a VPS. VPSServer.com is a good place to start. A VPS or Virtual Private Server will offer higher performance and dedicated system resources. A shared server or host won’t guarantee anything like that to your site.

2. Strip Off The Bloat

Assuming the hosting side of things is OK, it’s now time to turn your attention to your website. Most sites these days run content management systems like WordPress. They are brilliant because they make it quick and easy to publish content. They also offer a plethora of customization and layout options.

The only downside to database-driven websites like that is the excess fat they carry! Examples include inefficient plugins, templates and other website “widgets”. Take the opportunity to uninstall what you don’t need.

All too often, ready-made themes come with plugins that you’ll never use. Delete the bloat and keep only what you need. You can then run the Pingdom Website Speed Test again to see the performance difference.

Make your website SEO as simple as possible

3. Keep it simple, stupid!

We’ve all heard of the “KISS” acronym before, and it applies to the world of SEO. The problem with many websites is they are often complicated and hard to follow. The layouts may also not adapt well to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Review the general look and feel of your site. Does it have a simple navigation structure? Is the content easy to read?

One test you could do is to disable JavaScript and CSS in your Web browser. Next, reload your home page. What you see is, in essence, what a search engine like Google will look at. If your site doesn’t make sense at such a basic level, you have a problem!

Often, the simplest solution is to use a different layout or theme for your website. If you use WordPress, for example, it’s easy to select and install a different one for your site.

4. Follow Some Basic SEO Tips

Last, but not least, you need to spend some time making sure you’ve got the SEO basics taken care of on your website! Here are a few SEO tips to help you get started:

  • Page Titles – Keep these short but relevant to the page content;
  • Meta Description tag – Again, ensure it is relevant and includes your main keyword or phrase;
  • Use SEO-friendly URLs – website.com/my-product is easier to understand than website.com/index.php?id=657435&cat=2341234&session=467erdhw352qrwf!

If you desire more info on how to SEO optimize your website, I recommend you download the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. It’s free and contains crucial information to help you improve your site’s SEO.

Indeed, you make 2016 your year as far as your website is concerned when it comes Google SEO. Use these simple tips and you’ll see a whole lot of improvements in your site’s performance.

Five Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring SEO Experts

Hiring SEO experts

SEO is big news in business circles these days. In fact, it is that big that almost every business now use some SEO within their marketing strategy.

If you take it further and say, starting a successful business in 2015 without SEO would be akin to failure, you’ll not be far from the truth! This is another reason why you would want to hire experts in SEO if you are not confident of doing it yourself.

But, is it as easy as hiring an expert and instantly succeeding?

No, you need to do your research first and ask a couple of essential questions.

In this article I want to share with you some questions you need to ask before engaging SEO experts to handle the SEO needs of your website. of course, you know you’re investing your hard earned money, right? So if you don’t want to pump money into an investment that will produce any ROI then you want to listen up!

Ready? Then let’s get started…

1. How Will You Improve My Search Engine Rankings?

Every search engine optimization company you come across should tell you how they plan to tackle the issue. They are not giving away trade secrets to the enemy by revealing this information, so stay clear of companies that don’t cooperate. How else are you supposed to understand how they will perform? Also, they should tell you how long it will take to do complete the job. A few of the things you are looking out for are technical reviews of your website and “on page” optimization. Both will weed out any broken links and make your website as search engine friendly as possible.

2. Do You Follow Webmaster Guidelines?

You want a company that does adhere to these guidelines because that is how search engines rank their websites. The Webmaster guidelines are there to make sure fake links and spam content are not used to drive up the websites. If they don’t adhere to these rules, the likelihood is that your site will suffer. Google and other engines will spot it straight away and lower your ranking as a result.

3. Can You Guarantee Me Top Spot?

When a company says ‘yes, of course, we can’, seriously consider dropping them from your list. In all honesty, it is impossible to guarantee results. That is mainly because search engines move the goalposts and mainly because there is a lot of competition. Even the best SEO companies in the business won’t guarantee you top spot in the rankings, so no other SEO company should guarantee it either.

4. Can I Have A List Of Your Current & Past Clients?

It is important that you have access to unbiased and impartial reviews. Also, you want a list of their customer base to make sure they are telling the truth. A lot of companies will take the risk and lie to you about all kinds of topics. SEO is incredibly important, so don’t take the risk. Ask around for information and validation of the company you are thinking about choosing.

5. How Do You Measure Success?

Measuring success is important because you both need to be on the same page. They might think they have done their job while you are not happy with the performance. All it takes is communication and a set of goals that you would like to achieve.

Conclusion

Indeed, there are plenty more questions you could ask, but these are the most basic and important. the answers you receive from these questions will readily help you assess what type of SEO expert you’re about hiring.

Revealed: Top 3 Things That Should Be On Your SEO To-Do List!

SEO or “search engine optimization” is one of those things all website owners should do. It’s the practice of optimizing a site to rank well in search engines like Google. By its very nature, SEO is also a way of improving the user experience for human visitors to your site.

The sad truth is that many people don’t know about the best SEO techniques. Some folks don’t even know what search engine optimization is about! It’s crucial that you make your website search engine friendly for both “bots” and human visitors.

If you’re something of an SEO newbie, today is your lucky day. That’s because the following points are ones that you need to add to your search engine optimization checklist!

Here is what you need to know:

What should be on your SEO to-do list

1.    Get Your HTML Tags in Order

On each page of your website, it is crucial that you have the right HTML tags. Search engines use some of those tags for their results pages, and web browsers use them to render your pages to human visitors.

The essential HTML tags you need to check on your pages are as follows:

  • <title> tag – Search engines use this tag to display the page name on results pages, and your web browser uses it too. Make sure it contains the main keywords relevant to your page, and that it isn’t longer than 50 characters;
  • <meta> tags – They are of importance to search engines than web browsers. The “description” tag gets used underneath your page title in the SERPS (search engine results pages);
  • <img> tags – Each image you display on your pages should have a brief text description of what it is. The text should also contain your main keywords. You can add the text to the “alt” attribute;
  • <a> tags – The anchor tags are what links are on your web pages. The “title” attribute should have a text description of what the link is about.

2.     Make Sure Your Content Doesn’t Suck!

Let’s face it; people don’t want to waste their time on sites that have poor quality content, and neither do the search engines! If copywriting and web design isn’t your forte, pay a pro to take care of those tasks for you.

When you look at sites like http://www.websitesthatsell.com.au/seo/sunshine-coast, you can see how everything is relevant and makes sense to the reader. But pages that looked like they were designed in 1997 are off-putting to visitors!

3.    Use Search Engine Optimized Urls

In case you’re not too “au fait” with SEO, the page addresses or “URLs” for the content on your site need to be search engine optimized.

Consider the following example:

http://www.example.com/page.php?id=45356345

If the main keywords for that page are “electric lawnmowers”, the URL doesn’t make sense. Now check out this search engine optimized URL:

http://www.example.com/electric-lawnmowers/

As you can see, your keywords are now in the page address. You might not think it, but search engines rank pages higher in the SERPS if your keywords are in the URL!

So, what do you think of these tips? They make this SEO thing easy, right? Of course, search engine optimization don’t have to be a pain in the neck once you know what to do. Now that you know the things that should be on your SEO checklist, it’s time to get cracking. Good luck!

SEO Checklist: What to Do before and After You Post On Your Blog

There’s no doubt that you already know how to post a new article to your blog, right?

But how much do you know about what needs to get done before and after you push the publish button?

Do you know what to do to optimize your post for the search engines?

Now, hear this…

SEO is a big part of blog post creation. After all; it’s a waste of time and energy if nobody goes to your blog to read the posts you’ve lovingly crafted!

Before you even think of writing a blog post, you need to know the tasks which you MUST complete before and after publishing it for SEO purposes. In today’s post I want to provide you with a handy guide that will serve as a search engine optimization (SEO) checklist.

Here is what you need to know:

Blog post SEO ChecklistImage Source

Before You Post

When you’re ready to write a blog post, the first thing you need to do is determine if you’ve already posted about the same subject in the past. People that have large blogs can sometimes end up posting almost identical content.

As you can imagine, that’s bad news from a search engine point of view. Just do a quick search on your blog to find out if you’ve written about the subject before. And, if you have, there are two things you need to do.

First, ensure that your new article isn’t identical in structure or content. And, second, consider linking to it from a relevant word or two in your post!

For instance, let’s say that you run an auto blog. Your first article might have been about “spy shots” for a particular new car under development. Perhaps your new one talks about the release date and specifications for the production vehicle.

publishing SEO optimized postsImage Credit

Once You’ve Written Your Post

When you’re done crafting your new blog post, there are some tasks you need to tick off your checklist before you hit “publish”:

1. Proofreading

Even professional bloggers make mistakes! The golden rule of writing anything, blog post or otherwise, is to check it for errors. That means ensuring your spelling and grammar is up to scratch. Typos can have an indirect effect on your SEO efforts. For example, your content might not get shared as much;

2. Title

Does your blog post’s title have the keywords or phrase you want to rank in search engines? Change it if it doesn’t.

3. Meta Description and Excerpt

Again, make sure you’ve got the right keywords and phrases in them. If you’re using WordPress, Results First suggests using a plugin that lets you edit meta text in the post editor.

Promote your blog post on social mediaImage Credit

After You’ve Published Your Post

Now that your new blog post is live, there are just a few more things you need to do. For a start, copy and paste the URL to your blog post into your social media profiles. Make sure that you do this as soon as the post gets published, as you’ll want to share fresh content with your followers.

It also means that your blog post can get shared with their friends and followers too. Chances are, your content could also go viral!

Next, you need to submit the URL to Google. If your blog create an XML sitemap automatically, that’s fine. As an extra measure use your Webmaster Tools account to add your link to the Google Index immediately! You can find this under the “crawl” section.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a few things that you need to do to make sure that your blog post gets that SEO push that is necessary for it to perform effectively. As much as this may seem simple enough you will surprise how many bloggers really do this. But if you want to blog like an SEO pros then make sure you do this every time you publish a new post!

4 Quick Online Marketing Tips WordPress SEO Newbies Should Follow

When it comes to marketing online a website is definitely an essential element of the equation. Before now, designing a website for your business was something only the technical people can do for you.

To get a website designed for you, you needed a big budget. But not anymore. These days nearly every one can set up their own websites. Thanks to software like WordPress.

WordPress is a website publishing platform used by over 70 million people around the world. It’s one of the most popular ways of setting up a new site. It has a lots of theme options and plugins that makes designing and customizing your website a breeze.

Out of the box, it also offers some basic ways to improve your new website’s SEO. This is really a good thing if you are just starting out on building your business website. But you don’t have to rely on those default features if you are looking to have the best results in search engines.

The good news is that you don’t have be some technical geek to get the best result from that website. If you’re going to set up a new WordPress site soon, or you already have one up but you’re struggling to optimize it for the search engines, then check out these quick and dirty SEO tips that you can apply starting now!

Quick and easy wordpress SEO tips for marketing online

1.    Use A WordPress SEO Plugin

Unless you want to spend weeks creating an SEO plugin, it makes sense to use one that’s already in use! I recommend the excellent “WordPress SEO by Joost” plugin. It helps you to customize the SEO settings for each post and page on your site.

You can also have it do an SEO check for you, and it will let you know where you might be going wrong. Nitch Marketing says that over a million people use this plugin every day and that it’s one of the best ones to use for any new WordPress site!

2.    Use A Good Quality Theme

The thing about WordPress is that some folks use the free themes from the WordPress Theme Directory. Many of those templates are fine, but there are some which are just trash.

I always recommend using premium themes from places like ThemeForest. You have a support network to contact if you can’t figure out how to customize those themes. And the best bit? The themes are SEO-friendly!

That means search engines like Google can “index” the contents of your pages with ease. From a logical point of view, everything makes sense to a search engine. But it also makes sense to human visitors too.

3.    Keep Your Blog Updated

When you set up a site using WordPress, you have the ability to write blog posts on it. Some people use their blog as a news section. Whatever you want to call it, you should make sure you keep that section updated.

Write good quality content and link out to relevant external sites where possible. If you’ve talked about a topic before, internal linking is also good for SEO purposes too. When you link out to other sites or pages on your site, be sure to add a text description for each link. That helps search engines determine what the content is on the linked page.

4.    Guest Post On Other Blogs

People that run blogs usually allow people to “guest post” on them. Most won’t charge for this facility, as it means they have fresh content added to their site without needing to do anything.

The content you write should be free of spelling and grammar errors. It should also fit in with the general theme of the website. And the most important bit? You should add a link to a relevant page on your site!

Guest posting is one of the cheapest ways of driving traffic to your new site. And if the site owner likes your writing, they will be more than happy to let you post more content!

Now that you know these “quick and dirty” WordPress SEO tips and tricks, it’s time to give them a go!

5 Insanely Simple Ideas for Effective Small Business Advertising

 

Small business advertising ideas

Advertising have always been an essential part of marketing any business, whether offline or online. As it is commonly said, if you are doing business and not advertising you are like a man winking at a beautiful lady in the dark – you’re the only one who knows what you are doing!

So as a small business one of the challenges is how to effectively put the word out there about your business without breaking the bank. The fact is, as a small business you do not have the kind of funds that other bigger corporation have. To stay competitive and afloat therefore you need to be proactive and creative in your advertising spend.

One of the wise things to do is to factor in your advertising costs as part of your overall expenses. You must understand that advertising cost like phone directory ads, business association block ads, and print media are quite high while your budget would definitely be negligibly small.

But that shouldn’t mean that you should be left out of the advertising arena since, as you can see above, advertising is important to the growth of your business. In this article therefore we will look at a few ways you can “get the word out” about your small business without hurting your budget!

1. Be creative in  your use of the internet

The rise of the internet has spawned an entire industry with it. While the late 1990s stories of the internet was mostly about dot.com companies who made a fortune and then went bust, the internet has today created a more robust, rational and lively market.

It will interest you to know that while Christmas season sales typically increase around 4% year over year for “brick and mortar” retailers, the internet has been seeing year over year increases of 30% and higher! These are figures you really do not want to ignore as a small business operator when crafting your marketing plan.

2. Make use of search advertising programs

The biggest players of the online game today are search engines, with Google, Yahoo!, and MSN leading the pack. When making your advertising plan it is important that you do not overlook advertising networks like Google Adwords, run by Google and Yahoo! Publisher Network by Yahoo!

You can use these networks to get your ads on websites in your local area or across the world for a small amount per click. What this means is that you don’t pay for advertising unless someone clicks on your ad and goes through to your site. To keep clicks from getting out of control you determine the price per click and the amount per day, week, or month you are willing to pay. A really great way to control your small business budget!

3. Advertise on small target sites

Banner or text ads on select sites can also be helpful for your small business. If there is a web site you like and you suspect that a lot of your customers would frequent that site, contact the webmaster to learn what his advertising charges would be. Perhaps in exchange for submitting a few helpful articles, the webmaster would waive your advertising fee altogether. Or, at the very least, accept any other help you could provide.

4. Set up your own website

There is no doubt that a website is an essential for any business that wants to compete profitably in today’s economy. Starting your own site will help you easily get the word out about your small business. If you are feeling intimidated about starting a website, it will interest you to know that, while it does help to have someone who can guide you through the set up process, you don’t really need some geek knowledge to establish your site. Your set up cost might just be within the range of $100-$125 per year for hosting and domain name fees. And if you can get a web professional who will help you optimize the site for the search engines that cost could be easily gotten back in a matter of months.

5. Article marketing

You can also generate plenty of attention by writing articles, just like the one you are reading now. No, you don’t need to be a professional writer, but if you can clearly convey your thoughts and present a plan of action for your readers [such as: buy my product] you can get what amounts to be free advertising. How so? By submitting what you write to article submission sites for wider dissemination. By including helpful links in the author resource box you can cause search engines to make your web site much more visible as your article gets reprinted on other web sites. Furthermore, readers will perceive that you are an “expert” and will likely inquire to find out just what you are all about. You can call this, “small business advertising on the cheap!”

Conclusion

If you consider this carefully, you will come to see that you don’t have to be strapped by high advertising costs as a small business owner. You simply need to be creative in your use of the internet since the internet offers several cost effective ways of informing people about who you are, what you do, and where they can find you.

7 Proven Pinterest Optimization Tactics That Work Wonders! [PART 5]

As a continuation of our series on using traffic from Pinterest to build a flourishing online business, we want to look turn our attention to setting up our Pinterest account in a way that will help you leverage the great site.

As you will recall, for the past few weeks our focus had been on setting up our niche blog. If you have followed the series thus far you would by now have a niche blog that is designed and optimized to profit off Pinterest traffic.

As expected your expertly designed site and your great content will amount to nothing if you cannot siphon the right traffic from the Pinterest social platform. This is where your Pinterest account comes in.

So, let’s now turn our attention to setting up your Pinterest account.

But first, let’s remind ourselves of what we have covered thus far:

  1. The Definitive Guide to Leveraging Pinterest for Business Success
  2. How to Set Up Your Blog to Leverage the Power of Pinterest for Business
  3. Unusual Content & Monetization Tactics That Gets Radical Results from Pinterest!
  4. How to Build an Email List and Skyrocket Your Niche Blog Income With Ease!

Now on to today’s entry…

Setting Up Your Pinterest Account For Traffic And Conversions

Creating your Pinterest Boards and pins

Getting targeted traffic from your Pinterest account is greatly dependent on how your brand is represented by your Pinterest profile and your Pinterest boards. You don’t just want a Pinterest account you need an account that will help you drive traffic and conversions.

There are of course a few ways you can do this. One of such is taking a look at some top boards and influencers and taking a cue from them when creating your boards. Beyond that, these tips will greatly help you:

1. Get a Pinterest Business Account

Pinterest allows you to either create a personal or a business account. Personal accounts allow you to use your personal or pen names while a business account gives you the opportunity of using your company or blog name.  Apart from this, with business accounts you get more Pinterest tools that are designed specifically for business promotions.

Your type of account choice depends on what you really want to do with your account but I will advise that you go for a business account since we are concerned with building a business off Pinterest traffic!

N.B: If you already have a personal account you can convert this to a business account. Follow this link to convert your account. To learn more about Pinterest business accounts click here.

2. Cross promote your Pinterest account with your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts

When creating your Pinterest account you have the option to link your account with these social media sites if you have already account there. It is important you do so as it will save you a whole lot of work while driving more targeted traffic from these other platforms.

You can use services like IFTTT (If this, then that – https://ifttt.com) to automate your cross platform sharing. Jetpack from WordPress (a wordpress plugin) is another great resource that will help you do this right from your blog’s dashboard.

Related Reading: 5 LinkedIn Marketing Tactics That Will Help Boost Your Online Visibility!

3. Allow search engines to index your Pinterest boards

In your account settings ensure that “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” is set to OFF. This is important as your Pinterest boards could rank high in the SERPs for your target keywords thereby helping you drive some additional organic traffic to your sites.

Another powerful tactic is using your target keywords and related phrases effectively in your profile description.

4. Verify your account to gain dofollow link from Pinterest

When Pinterest started it used to be a dofollow site for backlinks, but this has since changed. However, you can still get a dofollow link in your profile page. What you need do is simply to enter your blog url address in the website settings tab, click on verify, download the HTML file you are given, upload it to your blog’s root directory and then go back to Pinterest and verify your blog.

Doing this is sure to give you a high PR dofollow link from Pinterest on your profile page.

5. Write good descriptions for your Pinterest boards

Your boards should reflect your brand and target niche. Choose your account categories with care and name your boards in such a way that they are unique and interesting to your target audience. Use your target keywords both in the board names and descriptions. This will help both your target audience and the search engines to know what they are about.

6. When pinning and repining, ensure you use keywords in the descriptions

This way you will be optimizing your boards for Google and also making them more search friendly on Pinterest’s own board search.

7. If you’ve just created your Pinterest account, ensure you fill up your boards with repins and some unique photos before adding pins from your blog posts. This way you would already have some followers who will see the pins from your blogs as soon as you add them, if you add pins from your blog when you still do not have followers, most of that would be wasted efforts as they will not get as much traffic and repins as you wish.

Do a search online using your target keywords and pick interesting pictures and graphics you will want to pin to your boards. Then use a free service like Pingraphy (http://www.pingraphy.com) to schedule your pins. Post these to your boards for a few days before adding pins from your blog.

Conclusion

How your Pinterest account is setup and the optimization tactics used will determine to a great extent the success. The above are just a few tips that will greatly help you lay a solid foundation for your Pinterest traffic strategy.

In our next post we will look at how to skyrocket your Pinterest traffic and conversions. Once your account is set up you need to apply the tactics we will be looking at in our next post to supercharge your success.

As usual, I’m inviting you to sign up for our free updates by clicking the button below. This way you will never miss any of our future entries.

Besides, I love to respond to your questions and comments. Feel free to share them in your comments below.

PART 6: 6 Pinterest Tactics for Exposure and More Traffic!

The Google Hummingbird Algorithm and SEO in 2014 and Beyond!

To say 2013 was a challenging year for search engine optimization professionals is indeed an understatement. Apart from the different Panda and Penguin updates that saw many sites suffering various degrees of organic traffic decline, the latest release of the Hummingbird algorithm a few days ago have greatly tasked search engine optimization professionals so much that the questions on the lips of SEOs right now are:

What is Google really up to?

What will the SEO terrain look like in 2014?

How can I make my website and website relevant in the scheme of things?

And of course, whether to continue with search engine optimization or to simply look for some other form of website traffic!

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Must Read: Is SEO A Dead Web Marketing Strategy?[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Now, because my “job” as an SEO web content writer is basically about helping brands drive organic traffic through optimized marketing content, keeping up with the constantly fluctuating array of updates in order to stay current with the latest trends had given me some insights about these questions. And so, in this article I intend to provide some answers to these questions as much as I can.

So if you are ready, let’s begin!

First, the Big One – The Hummingbird Algorithm!

Google launches Hummingbird Algorithm

Released a few days ago, the Hummingbird algorithm is definitely Google’s major change in recent times.  [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]A careful study shows that the panda and all the other update introduced by Google in the past couple of years were actually a build up to the launch of the hummingbird algorithm.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Here are a few insights to help you make meaning of the hummingbird algorithm:

1. The Hummingbird algorithm is a new complete rewriting of Google’s search algorithm. Unlike the Penguin and Panda updates which were simply changes to Google’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement.

2. Hummingbird is designed to provide faster and more precise query results.

3. It is based on semantic search – that is, it focuses on user intent instead of individual search terms. What this means is that Google will no longer return search results based on individual words or phrases but rather based on each word in a search query. At least, this sort of explains why Google recently decided that search term data are now ’100% not provided!’ It is no longer about keywords but customer intent.

4. According to Google about 90% of all searches were to be affected by the release of the Hummingbird algorithm.

5. Though Hummingbird is a complete rewrite of Google’s algorithm many of the existing rules and weightings, for example PageRank, will still apply.

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Recommended: Google Panda And Penguin Updates: What You Should Know To Stay Ahead Of The Game! [/wpgfxm_highlighter]

What will be the State of SEO in 2014?

Making search faster and better - Hummingbird!Now, let’s turn our attention to what the SEO terrain will be like in 2014 considering the various changes introduced by Google. Some may say it is too early to really predict (can we really use that word since it is very clear already?) what the terrain will be like 2014. But from what we have seen so far, there is actually nothing for SEO professionals to fear in the coming year 2014 and beyond.

It only demands that one take a careful look at what Google has been releasing into the market and the picture will be clear indeed. If you have understood very well what the Hummingbird algorithm is all about (please read the insights above again) and you take that with the various panda and penguin updates that Google has pushed into the market over the past couple of years, you will understand that search engine optimization is not dead and so SEOs should not give up.

Rather SEO professionals who want to stay relevant should focus on the following proven SEO practices in 2014:

1. Be valuable with your content. This is very obvious. Instead of simply pumping out content, focus on providing value. As a business brand, identify your unique value proposition and become an authority in it.  Position yourself to be the provider of answers to what people are seeking.

2. Trust is now the new king of search, therefore focus on pleasing your customers and not the search engines.

3. Be natural instead of keyword focused. It is clear that when conversing with a friend you will not continuously repeat a particular word or phrase over and over again even when you want to emphasize a point. Your marketing content must align to this.  Put less emphasis on keyword data and more on customer engagement.

4. Focus on building relationships that could help in link acquisition instead of using some covert tactics to build links.

5. Hummingbird is about providing in-depth knowledge on a subject treated. [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]Therefore be authoritative and transparent with your content. Get a grip on what semantic search and the knowledge graph are and adapt your content accordingly.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

6. [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]Your keyword research should focus on identifying the intent, needs and problems behind queries and then provide solutions and answers with your content.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

7. Implement Google authorship and some other aspects of the Schema.org article markup like headline and alternativeHeadline, image, description, datePublished, articleBody, etc.

8. Make your site design appealing.

9. Mobile-ize your web properties. It is not an accident that in demonstrating the launch of Hummingbird Google decided to use images of its mobile app and not the desktop site. This shows that the future and by extension Hummingbird, will be more about mobile. It will be a plus therefore that you go for responsive themes for your sites (you can get some very cheap and powerful ones from this site). Creating mobile apps to power your online business will also be a great idea.

How about SEO beyond 2014!

SEO and the future of Hummingbird

It is definite that Google will continue to fine-tune the new Hummingbird algorithm in the years to come. But trying to predict what SEO will be like beyond 2014 is a tall order indeed. By jealously guarding the factors used in ranking websites Google has so far been able to outwit even the smartest SEO professional thus far.

However, with the launch of Hummingbird Google has made a categorical statement that it is moving towards “natural” when it comes to ranking websites/pages. There is therefore going to be a push towards improving this technology in the years to come.

So, beyond 2014 SEO is definitely going to be less focused on keywords and more on authority.

And do not forget that on the net authority is most times gauged by your circle of influence. This means that your connections and social media reach would play a big role in SEO beyond 2014.

My suggestion therefore is to grow your social networks. Focus most of your energy on Google plus and Youtube (I predict that Google would be pushing people towards these two in the years to come!) and then Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  This does not mean other social media sites are not relevant. However, depending on your target market, always focus on these big ones before any other.

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Recommended: Exact-Match Domain Algorithm Update: What Is Google Really Up To? [/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Final thoughts

It is quite clear that SEO in 2014 and beyond is not going to be less challenging to search engine optimization professionals than what we have seen in 2013. Statistics already shows that many brands are now moving towards paid search as organic traffic continues to decrease (an indication that that Google’s game plan is working great for them!).

However, SEO professionals mustn’t give up. The noose may be tightening on organic search traffic but as long as Google still have a column in the SERPs for organic search results, what SEO professionals should work towards is a better understanding of what Google is driving at with the various updates and changes and then put in place a strategy, built on a few key time-tested tactics.

In creating content, brands must be more strategic and tactical and also focus on social relationships. They must also be more transparent and provide the consumer real value for their time as it is now clear that valuable, authoritative and customer-focused content would rule the search engines in 2014 and beyond!

Your turn: These indeed may be my thoughts but no doubt they reflect the views of many SEO professionals and experts. You too are an expert in your own way. So, what are your views on SEO in 2014 and beyond? Share with us in your comments below.

Ranking #354 in the SERPs and Still Driving Traffic? Explanations Please!

search engine optimization questionsHi everyone. Welcome to yet another insightful time on our Community Time-Out.

Today we will be discussing yet another very interesting topic. As usual, I trust you would share with us your insights on this subject matter and we all would come out with something new!

Search Engine Optimization Rule #1 Questioned?

Our subject for discussion today has to do with search engine optimization. As we all know, the purpose of SEO is to get our webpages not just on the first page of the SERPs but if possible, rank at #1!

However, in the past few weeks I’ve had cause to ask a few questions.

Now, I’m an SEO enthusiast and very passionate about optimizing every post that I write. In fact, I’m such an ardent believer in search engine optimization that my content writing service focuses mainly on SEO web content writing and not just any type of marketing content!

Also, because of my interest in SEO, I have a few programs for monitoring my blogs’ SEO stats. And, I can authoritatively report that this blog is doing great on the search engines with about 55% of the blog’s traffic coming from the search engines.

Specifically, here is a graphic from a program I’m using to monitor the SEO strength of the blog with a few results from specific pages:

search engine results graphic

And here is another one:

search traffic results

Again, that is impressive, right? But now take a look at this one, please note carefully the page ranking at #354!

Google search results graphic

Please for better viewing, click on the images to enlarge.

Now, can you notice that apart from the ones ranking on the first pages, traffic is also coming from others, like this one ranking far down the SERPs at #354?

My concerned in this discussion is really these ones ranking far below in the SERPs.

Ok, let’s look again at the #1 rule of search engine optimization:

SEO Rule #1 If you want to drive traffic from the search engines you must rank on the first page or better still, at #1 else no one will found your site and therefore there will be no traffic!

You have heard this so many times, right? Of course, everything I have ever done in the name of SEO had been driven by that rule!

But now, from the results shown above, a few questions have been on my mind. These are:

1.    Do you really need to rank ONLY on page 1 to drive traffic from the search engines?

2. What must have prompted these searchers to abandon the first, the second, the third and even the tenth pages of the SERPs and go looking for and clicking on a link in the 354th position?

3. What lesson can this really teach us about optimizing our webpages for the search engines? Or, what insight do we gain from this?

After pondering on this for some time now, I’ve decided to bring it out for us to discuss on this platform today believing that someone will have some insights that will help us all.

And so, permit me to step aside here while you make your contributions. Post your responses and insights, or any other question you may have from the results above, in your comments below. So, let the discussion begin!

(Community Time-Out is our weekly discussion program where we seek answers to pressing questions that have to do with internet marketing, blogging, social media, online marketing and any other topic that has to do with running a successful business online. If you want to contribute a question for discussion please use this form.)

Top 3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Will Fail You!

Are you currently using content marketing as a business?

So how much success are you producing with your content marketing efforts?

It doesn’t matter whether you are blogger or an entrepreneur running an e-commerce site, I’m sure you have no doubts that content marketing is not just a buzzword. it’s definite that more and more online marketers are realizing this fact and are giving more attention to providing valuable content on their e-commerce sites and blogs.

For those who are doing it well they are seeing more website traffic, generating more business leads and of course, increasing sales. it doesn’t matter the type or size of business involved, content marketing is already working wonders for these ones.

Unfortunately, the result is not the same for others. For every marketer who is succeeding with content marketing, there are 3 others who are failing. And this is because they are missing out some of the essential elements for success.

And so, in this article, I want to quickly present you with a few reasons why content marketing might fail you. In so doing, I hope you’ll be able to understand where you are getting it wrong and then make the necessary changes that will help you succeed with your web content marketing efforts.

Let’s get cracking…

Content Marketing Failures!

1. Failing to Make Your First Impression Count!

A popular line goes thus, “The first cut is the deepest cut!”

And that, to a great extent, is actually the biggest reason why content marketing is not working for many businesses.

A business’s website or blog is usually the primary medium of communicating with its target audience and the site’s content is usually the aspects of the business that is first noticed by visitors.  Unfortunately, many businesses overlook this fact, and instead showcase substandard content on their sites/blogs in the name of content marketing. Many even use recycled content, scrapped from other sites and expect to produce outstanding results.

What a deception!

The truth is, if you want to succeed as a content marketer you must commit to providing accurate, concise and informative content. The quality of your web content is basically the yardstick visitors will use in forming their initial opinions of your business. If your web content is poorly written and presented, it’s definite that you will not be able to hold the visitors attention.  Your site visitors are likely going to exit your website without a second thought.

It doesn’t matter how great your website design may be, what will truly help you connect with your site visitors with ease is your well-written and engaging web content. This is what will motivate the visitor to investigate your site further prompting him to learn more about your product/service which may lead to the results you desire.

2. Not Caring About Improving Search Engine Rankings

Beyond helping site visitors to form the right opinions about your business, your website content is important in influencing your search engine rankings. This is critical because the higher your site ranks on the search engines the larger the audience your business will be able to reach.

It’s interesting to note that the search engines understand that internet users desire quick and immediate results when they look for information online. To help them fulfill this desire, they have written complicated algorithms which enables them to present the most relevant websites when a user searches for a particular word or phrase.

And this is where your web marketing content becomes important.

Creating web content optimized specifically for certain keywords will help your content to rank high in the search engines. This is important because internet users value the results returned by the search engines and therefore will likely visit your site/blog if it ranks well in the search engines.

So, if you’re not optimizing your marketing content for the search engines you might just be sabotaging your own success because this is a good way the content on your website can greatly influence the size of the audience you are able to reach.

Though, not many business persons are experienced in creating content for the search engines it shouldn’t hinder you. Hiring a skilled SEO content writer can be of help.

3. You’re Ego-Centric Instead Of Customer-Centric

Wikipedia has this to say about egocentrics:

“Egocentrics regard themselves and their own opinions or interests as being the most important or valid. Self-relevant information is seen to be more important in shaping one’s judgements than do thoughts about others and other-relevant information (Windschitl, Rose, Stalkfleet & Smith, 2008). Egocentric people are unable to fully understand or to cope with other people’s opinions and the fact that reality can be different from what they are ready to accept.”

Unfortunately, many content marketers are ego-centric. They are self-centered. Instead of focusing on helping the customer with relevant and informative web content, all their communications flows from their selfish aims.

Of course, it’s a fact that your business is not a charity organization and that need to sell to make a gain, but if you don’t have a strategic plan for selling with your content, you’ll simply fail!

One thing that content marketing strategists have come to agree on is the fact that businesses that want to use content marketing successful should think more like publishers. Instead of using every opportunity to sell, you should, like the publisher, provide useful information to your target audience.

Now, a well written web marketing content can actually be customer-focused, persuasive and engaging while at the same time compelling enough to make the site visitor to do what you desire. You don’t have to be ‘salesy’ with every piece of content. You can actually sell with your content without blatantly advertising your products and services.

There’s no doubt that writing this type of marketing content can be quite complicated. But hiring a professional web content writer who is experienced and skilled at writing this type of informative and persuasive content will do the trick.

Conclusion

From all indications, content marketing is still in its infant stage. Getting it right now will definitely help you create an enduring experience with your target audience which will ultimately bring you the much desired success. there is more opportunities for everyone right now and so prepare and get involved in the best way possible. Learn to implement content marketing best practices and if possible, hire professional web content writers since this will give your more traction.

Your turn:  Do you think bloggers should care about content marketing?  What other reasons do you think is responsible for content marketing not working for many businesses? Share your thoughts with us in your comments.