How to Optimize Your Youtube Channel

YouTube LogoAre you using your YouTube channel to its fullest?

If your organization is anything like mine, you probably use YouTube to host your videos and embed them on your website. It’s a good strategy and makes for very easy hosting capabilities. But are you taking the time to optimize them so they can also be found outside your website?

YouTube alone has over a billion users worldwide. And every day, people spend hundreds of millions of hours watching videos. If you’re not optimizing for them, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Youtube Channel”

Get listed locally in the search engines

If you haven’t yet listed your site with all the search engines, you could be missing key placement in the local search results. An easy way to find out if your site is listed in the major search engines is to use the Get Listed tool and type in your business name and zip code. The tool will come up with a score and let you know which search engines you have listed in. Here are the major players and where you should get listed:

Going overboard on SEO

I recently had a client who decided to add pages to their web site to achieve higher organic rankings in the search engines. Although this can sometimes be a useful strategy, it is not always the best approach.

This particular client was trying to rank for a certain geographic keyword and created a page targeting a specific area. The problem was, the page was  designed to attract the search engines and not the visitor. The page was filled with links and the information was already stated throughout their website and offered no unique content or new information for the visitor. This is what you call doorway pages, pages whose only goal is to lead the visitor to another page. They are not very relevant and are not very useful. These doorway pages (sometimes considered Black Hat SEO) can actually hurt your rankings.

So how do you increase your rankings then?

Google measures over 200 signals on your website to determine where your site belongs in the search engines. So it’s not surprising that it can be a difficult task to rank high. Especially if you’re trying to rank for a popular keyword. Unless you are an SEO expert and live, eat, and breath this stuff I suggest you just remember the following rule: The content on your website should first and foremost appeal to your audience.

A good foundation for any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy begins with website content. You must remember that your content must appeal to your audience first, as this is the best SEO tool you have. You want them to visit often, stay for a while, link to your site and share it friends. The search engines will do the rest.

Here is basic outline of what your SEO strategy should look like long before you start creating extra pages:

  • Develop a targeted keyword list – there are various tools out there to help you and most of them are free including Google’s Adwords tool.
  • Develop keyword rich website content – once you have your list of keywords, incorporate them into your content.
  • Create keyword rich meta data (keywords, description, title tags)
  • Link to other relevant pages in your site
  • Build a linking strategy with incoming links from relevant sources
  • Utilize social media to help build your brand

Though these strategies take time and effort, if done correctly, they can significantly increase your organic rankings, your website traffic, your leads and your conversions. Which is really why your here right?

So the next time you’re struggling because your site isn’t placing on the first page of Google. Go back to this list and figure out if you can tweek anything. And remember it takes time. No one knows when the search engines will index your site so be patient.

Good luck!

Is your business using the SEO Pyramid?

Trends are showing that businesses are cutting back on their marketing budgets this year. This of course comes as no surprise given the state of the economy. But it has left some small business owners in the dark when it comes to where to put their marketing dollars and how best to spend their budgets. Let’s face it there are an endless supply of online marketing tools out there. The question is, which one’s should you choose and where do you start?

While searching online for a visual to show to one of my clients, I came across the following SEO Pyramid and I thought it was a great visual to help pave the way to greater online visibility.

seo-pyramid-large4

Basically, to more efficiently market your business online, the following rules should be in place (and they are in order of importance):

  1. You have compelling web content
  2. Your content and page elements are optimized
  3. You’ve created and are maintaining a linking campaign
  4. You business is visible in the social media space

Compelling web content – First and foremost, your site must have compelling and relevant content; useful content that will attract and retain visitors and offer them something they can link to. You want your visitors to buy your product or service and come back for more. So give them something to come back to.

Optimize your content and page elements – Your web content should be keyword rich. Establish a list of keywords that people search on to find your product or service and include these in your content. They must be relevant to each page so don’t go overboard. These keywords should be weaved into not only your web content but all your page elements (i.e. title tags, meta tags, H1 tags, etc.) as well.

Linking campaign in place – Spend some time finding relevant sites to link to and from.  The more relevant sites that are linking to you the more likely the search engines are going to find you.

Social media plan– Once everything else is in place, build your business page or group in a social network that speaks directly to your audience. Start a conversation and start networking. Also, don’t underestimate the value of a blog. Yes, it takes time to upkeep but it’s well worth it in the end. Not only does it give your business a personality, it augments your SEO strategy. Get out there, get networking. It’s free!

And finally, BE PATIENT! Gaining visibility online takes time. Keep at it and be patient. And remember you get out of it what you put in.

Good luck!

Google changing the rhythm, algorithm that is.

Just when you thought you had it down, Google goes and changes their algorithm. If you haven’t yet heard (and I hope you have since this is my second posting on the subject), Google has been behind the scenes modifying their search algorithm to incorporate user behavior. Which means users results will be measured by the users behavior, location and past searches. This is smart from so many angles yet it changes the game significantly for marketers.

I can’t stress enough that first and foremost content is king. I’m not just saying that because I happen to be a content writer. I’m saying it because now more than ever, big brother Google is watching and counting every time someone clicks through to your site from a served up query. So not only must you have great content on your website, but you must also have good content in your page elements. These are what will entice visitors to click through when your site shows up in their search query.

A higher click through rate (CTR) shows Google your site has relevancy. What does this mean for a marketer? That your description tags (the content that shows up in the tid-bit of info in a search query) and title tags should be enticing and relevant to that particular search term so that people actually click through to your site from their search query.

Once they have clicked through, you’ll want them to stay (obviously). It is important to monitor your bounce rate and how much time people spend on your site, as the amount of time a visitor stays on your site is becoming more and more important. Here’s an example. Say a visitor uses the search term “snowboarding in Vermont.” The search engine offers up a particular mountain resort that offers snowboarding and happens to be in Vermont. The user clicks on the link and spends 3-5 minutes on the mountain’s site. This will tell Google that the site is relevant and is more likely to show up again when someone with the same “behavior” clicks on the same search term.

As the search engines keep refining their algorithms they offer a more targeted result to users search queries. This gives us marketers an opportunity to really hone in on our target market and create web content and advertising copy that speaks directly to them. If we do this well, the web crawlers will crawl and visitors will visit and hopefully we all prosper and succeed.

Link Love

There is no ideal recipe for optimizing your site. The rules and algorithms for search engines are constantly changing which means you can’t just optimize your content and move on. You must continually evaluate your SEO strategy and make changes accordingly in order to be competitive.

A linking campaign is one key element in SEO (one, among many). It’s a low cost and effective way to both get your name out there and increase your search engine rankings. So why then do most businesses neglect this piece of the SEO pie? Well, plain and simple; it’s tedious and time consuming but well worth the energy.

I recently worked with a company that had a great linking campaign in place. Consequently, they also had great standings in the search engines. Now, I’m not claiming it was solely related to their linking campaign but it definitely contributed. As we all know, the more relevant links coming into your site the better. And there are many ways to gather relevant links.

Content

  • Make sure your content is fresh, relevant and offers something to your audience so it entices them to link back to your site.

Affiliate Sites

  • Find quality affiliate sites that correlate to your product and request a listing and/or link posting.
  • Be sure to link back to a relevant landing page on your site.

Blogs & Social Media:

  • Create you own blog with interesting and relevant content that links back to your site
  • Monitor other blogs, make comments and post your link
  • Create Pages, Groups and/or Profiles in various social networks with quality content and links back to your site.

There are many ways to create a linking strategy and yes, they all take time. Unfortunately, some of us just don’t have the time to do it all. So, I suggest that first and foremost, you should make sure the content on your site is interesting, appealing to your audience and has relevance to your product. Give them something to link back to. Then work from there.

For more information on creating linking strategies check out the following articles:

Performing ongoing SEO

Each morning as I drink my coffee, I go through the 4-5 eNewsletters I get in my inbox. I wanted to share an article from one I got this morning as it directly relates to yesterday’s blog entry. It’s called There’s No Secret Recipe to SEO. The article is pretty much a guideline to get you started on your SEO strategy (very similar to what I wrote about yesterday) but digs a little deeper into link building, social media marketing and reporting which is so important in your SEO campaign.

Though I didn’t go into much detail on these tools yesterday, I plan to in the coming weeks as I too will be setting up some social media marketing and linking strategies and will share with you my experience as I go.

Developing SEO Web Content

I am currently in the process of launching my website for my first entrepreneurial venture. I am starting a business in content development to help businesses better promote their brand online through various tools such as Search Engine Optimized (SEO) web content, social media strategy, blogging and public relations.

As I am putting the finishing touches on my own web content, I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve done so you too can better market your brand online and increase your online visibility.

By the time you’re ready to begin building a new site (or redesigning an old site), one can assume that you have already established your business, have a message, know your target audience and have a story to tell about your business. Now it’s time to start writing. Here is a list of how to get started:

1.    Develop a keyword list – This is a list of search terms you think your target audience will search on to find your site. There are various tools to help you with this process such as Wordtracker and Google and many more.
2.    Create a keyword spreadsheet – create a spreadsheet or word document with a list of all the pages on your site (if your site is huge just work on the key pages that you want to get picked up in the search engines). Make a list of which keywords belong on which page. Remember relevant content is king. The keywords you choose must coincide with the content on that given page. I find it helpful to have the list in front of me while I’m writing that page.
3.    Begin writing – I usually write the content first and then incorporate the keywords for that page into the content. Be sure to always keep in mind your message and your target audience. Keep your visitors in mind first and foremost as they are ultimately what is going to drive your business. (Plus making our site search engine friendly is only part of the marketing mix).
4.    Title tags, Meta tags and Alt tags – Once you have created engaging and compelling copy that appeals to both your target audience and is keyword rich, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and incorporate your keywords into what I call “the background” of your site. It is visible to your visitor but only in the background.
a.    Title Tags – The title tag is the page title you see at the top of your web browser when you open a page. This serves as the title to your page and should incorporate some of your keywords. Be sure it is relevant to each page.
b.    Image Alt Tags – All your images should have keyword rich alt tags. These are the titles you see when you hover over a picture.
c.    Meta Description – This is the description that is served up on a search results page. Be sure it is keyword rich and readable to the user as this is sort of an advertisement to get people to click on your site.
d.    H1 tags – This is the title to your content and not only should introduce what your page will be about but also incorporates your keywords so it is attracting the web crawlers.

SEO is only part of the online marketing mix. There are many other tools you can utilize to bring up your organic search rankings such as linking strategies, blogs, social media and networking strategies and submitting press releases and story ideas to online newswires and publications.

I hope this has helped you get started. It’s always an ongoing process but one that can bring you great rewards.