Content, content, and more content

If you are creating a website or working on a site you’ve already created, the content of the site is one of the most important factors for successful search engine marketing. The pages you create should provide valuable information that references very specific terms and concepts that are unique to your website.

Text is one part of the content that is important for being found in search engines. Search engines usually read and index the first 500 words from each page they successfully crawl. The text within that span of words is one factor that helps to determine your relevance for a particular search term.

If you are successful at weaving your keywords into compelling copy you are more likely to be relevant for keyword searches. Once your site has been up and running for three months, run a report on your log files to determine what keywords people are using to find your site.

You might be surprised if the most popular keywords that do find your site don’t match up to keywords you already had in mind and were using. The web is a great educator about how to succeed. Your site might be very popular for search terms that you hadn’t thought of when you built it.

When people use search engines, they aren’t typing in generic terms that are hard to define and measure like “business” or “software”. People use search engines for very specific names and phrases, terms like “Inkjet printer cartridge refills”.

You wouldn’t have thought to include that specific phrase in your content because it doesn’t read very well. But if all those words are located in a web page carefully constructed to highlight keywords that are known to produce traffic, the likelihood that you will appear in a search result for a very specific search improves.

You must be diligent in understanding how people are getting to your site and focus on providing quality content that is geared towards the audience that is trying to find you. Be as specific as you can. You’ll improve the quality and quantity of visitors you get from search engines.

It’s also important to understand that you cannot trick the search engines. Flooding the engines with multiple versions of the same page, repeating the same term over and over – these tactics will only lead to negative traffic from search engines and the likelihood that your site could be banned from being listed in a search engine.

We mentioned earlier that the text on your website was one part of the content that’s important for being found at search engines. Another important part of the equation is your link popularity. By focusing on quality content, your website becomes more likely to have someone naturally link to it without having to request it. You can read more about link popularity here.

What is a bad neighborhood in the SEO world?

A bad neighborhood are those web sites that use unethical methods to get high search placement in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) and these sites are usually banned by the search engines. You should not link to a web site if that particular web site uses unethical method to get high search placement on SERP. If you link to a site that is banned by the search engines for spamming, then you’re inviting the risk of getting banned for linking to a bad neighborhood. As soon as the search engine founds out that a particular web site uses unethical methods they will banned it and the sites that links to that particular web site may also be penalized by lowering their rankings or even banned. You can use this free online tool in locating potential problems with your linking strategies text link checker tool.

Unethical SEO (search engine optimization) are those things that are not accepted by the search engine and those that they accepts are called Ethical SEO. Those are the standards set by the search engines. Following those standards will help search engines index and rank your site. Not following these standards will lead to a site being removed entirely from search engine index or much worst penalized. Since Google is one of the most dominated searchengines you can learn more of their webmaster guidelines here.

How Google measures whether a site should be banned or not is a matter of controversy that Google itself only knows. It changes from time to time. Today the method that Google uses may be o.k., but in the next update it may be considered unethical.

If you do have a questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Copywriting: Essential Elements

Let’s discuss the five areas to focus on with your web page, blog post, online press release, whatever . . . they’re all the same in the eyes of Google. The 5 SEO copywriting elements that matter:

1. Title – Whether you optimize up-front or later, you at minimum need to know what keywords you’re targeting and include them in the title of your content. It’s generally accepted that the closer to the front of the title your keywords are, the better. But the key is that they appear in the title somewhere.

The emphasis on keywords in the title makes practical sense from a search engine standpoint. When people search for something, they’re going to want to see the language they used reflected back at them in the results. Nothing mysterious about that.

Having keywords in your title is also important when people link to you. When your keywords are there, people are more likely to link to you with the keywords in the anchor text. This is an important factor for Google to determine that a particular page is in fact about a particular subject.

You should try to keep the length of your title under 72 characters for search purposes. This will ensure the full title is visible in a search result, increasing the likelihood of a click-through.

2. Meta Description – SEO copywriting is not just about ranking. It’s also about the presentation of your content in a search engine. The meta description of your content will generally be the “snippet” copy for the search result below the title, which influences whether or not you get the click.

It’s debatable whether keywords in your meta description influence rank, but it doesn’t matter if they do or don’t. You want to lead off your meta description with the keyword phrase and succinctly summarize the page as a reassurance to the searcher that your content will satisfy what they’re looking for. Try to keep the meta description under 165 characters so the full description is visible in the search result.

3. Content – Unique and frequently updated content makes search engines happy. But you know that part. For search optimization purposes (and just general reader-friendliness) your content should be tightly on-topic and centered on the subject matter of the desired keyword phrases.

It’s generally accepted that very brief content may have a harder time ranking over a page with more substantial content. So you’ll want to have a content body length of at least 300 words.

It might also help to bold the first occurrence of a keyword phrase, or include it in a bulleted list, but I usually don’t get hung up on that. It’s also debatable whether including keywords in subheads helps with ranking, but again, it doesn’t matter – subheads are simply a smart and natural place to include your keyword phrase, since that’s what the page is about.

4. Keyword Frequency – Keyword frequency is the number of times your targeted keywords appear on the page. Keyword density is the ratio of those keywords to the rest of the words on the page.

It’s generally accepted that keyword frequency impacts ranking (and that makes logical sense). Keyword density, as some sort of “golden” ratio, likely does not. But the only way to make sense of an appropriate frequency is via the ratio of those keywords to the rest of the content, so density is still a metric you need.

In other words, the only way to tell if your repetition of keywords is super or spammy is to measure that frequency against the overall length of the content. A keyword density greater than 5.5% could find you guilty of keyword stuffing, and your page could be penalized by Google. You don’t need to mindlessly repeat keywords to optimize. In fact, if you do, you’re likely to achieve the opposite result.

5. Page Links – Linking is the fundamental basis of the web. Search engines want to know you’re sufficiently “connected” with other pages and content, so linking out to other pages matters when it comes to search engine optimization.

Here are some “rules of thumb” for linking based on generally accepted best practices:

* Link to relevant content fairly early in the body copy
* Link to relevant pages approximately every 120 words of content
* Link to relevant interior pages of your site or other sites
* Link with naturally relevant anchor text

Again, these are guidelines related to current best practices. Don’t get hung up on rules; focus on the intent behind what search engines are looking for – quality search results for people.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips From Google

Where better to learn about how to optimize your website than Google, the top search engine. If you’re new to search engine optimization (SEO) or wish to improve your site ranking, Google offers a great number of tips. I’ve explored some of Google’s greatest tips and SEO strategies in a variety of places, including their official blog (www.google-success.com), a how-to video published by one of Google’s engineers, and related news sources. Take a brief glimpse at the most useful recommendations from the search experts.

Recognizing “Trustworthy” Information
According to the NY Times article on Google in 2007, Google has a unique search algorithm that ranks Web sites and blogs based on over 200 different signals. The Web search engine is able to pick out trustworthy news sources that will best benefit Web users in their keyword searches. For instance, Google News is able to rate sites based on click-through data on news stories. This calls for more interesting and catchy page titles, and topic-specific terms that appeal to a targeted audience.

Also, Google identifies phrases like “according to the Washington Post” in wire stories. So, it is far to assume that if your story is mentioned in multiple places, your site will gain a higher ranking. And a post about a popular news story will gain a stronger presence.

Don’t Spam Your Articles
One of the things that will weaken your site is weighing it down with too many external Web links. It’s not a good idea to rely too much on link building to draw in new readers or raise your Web ranking. Avoid using excessive links that aren’t related to the posting, and try not to list your page through other Web sites that aren’t related. The content of your site should be, above everything, original, informative, and appealing to readers. Using too many links will likely harm your site’s reputation in the long run.

Comment, Discuss, and Network Often
You can subtly draw readership to your site by expanding your online network. Keep plugged into related blogs and Web sites that cover the topics you’re passionate about. Comment on other authors’ blogs, and also participate in discussion forums and chat rooms that interest you. Be careful that you don’t post your link forcefully at the end of every online conversation. Not only does this convey shameless self-promotion (and not a genuine interest in the topic), it could get you banned or kicked out of online conversations. Most forums allow you to create a signature, which is the ideal place to list your site.

Video & Photo Tips
According to Maile Ohye, Google’s Developer Programs Team Lead, their search engine does favor certain types of formats. As you post SEO photos to your site, keep in mind that Google particularly favors JPEGs over PNGs. Also, be certain that your images are tagged with your top keywords to boost your Web site’s overall search optimization. Videos hosted on YouTube, which is currently owned by Google, can significantly increase your Web ranking more so than videos hosted through other sites.

Online Marketing Tips for your Press Release

When most people think of public relations, they understand it to be the act of relaying news to a media source via a press release. They believe once they submit a press release, that’s all they can do. They wait to see what the press release can do for them. Too many people submit a press release to a variety of news outlets-thinking they have a great story the media will pick up-but they hear nothing back.

Instead, they wait, and wait, and wait. Nothing happens. Ever since the first press release was published on October 30, 1906, public relations has been shaped and defined by more than a written release. Networking, relationship building, trustworthy practices, and brand presence are just a few additional elements that help define public relations.

Today, with a wide variety of news mediums to choose from, the public has spread itself across several channels. If you choose to convey your company message only through one medium, such print media, you may find the public is elsewhere and your efforts wasted.

If you’re not using online platforms to enhance your public relation efforts, then you’re missing an opportunity to expose your brand to the public, generate leads, increase sales, and boost credibility. Some of the most innovative and effective ways to reach your target market online include PR 2.0 and optimized press releases.

• PR 2.0: By definition, PR 2.0 is a social media press release. This newly developed public relations tool was born from the rise in social media popularity. As more and more people use flickr, del.icio.us, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Digg, they are more desensitized to newspapers and traditional media outlets. Because of this shift, using modern media forms, in addition to traditional forms, is the most effective way to get across time-sensitive news items related to your business. PR 2.0 incorporates a variety of interactive social media elements including video, Twitter pitches, share options, bookmarking capabilities, photos, slideshows, bulleted information, links to your website, blog, and social media sites, and contact options. Because social media press releases are viral, the audience base you can reach with it is infinite.

• Optimized Press Release: Also known as search engine optimization (SEO) PR, an optimized press release is search engine optimized to ensure it pulls up on search engine result pages. In other words, the optimized press release is written to incorporate important keywords that prospects may be using as search terms. One of the most popular places the public and even the media go for their daily news dish is the Internet. Google News, Yahoo! News, and Bing, to name a few.

If you post an optimized pr in popular search engines, you can be sure to get some hits off of it. Similar to a social media release, an optimized pr is viral and has the ability to reach a countless number of prospects.

It’s obvious the public relations model has shifted over the years, but public relations still, without a doubt, embodies the same principles it did over 100 years ago: provide the people and the press with truthful, accurate information that is both newsworthy and valuable.

If you have additional questions about how I can help your press release generate more leads and how important it is to helping your company receive more exposure online please contact me and I will be more than happy to help. I can be reached at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com.

Content is King

By design, online search engines like Google create result listings based on hot and relevant SEO (search engine optimization) keywords. The most ideal website rankings mostly rely on the strategic use of common SEO practices (i.e. long-tail keywords, blog entry tags, meta tags, link exchanging, etc). However, no matter how visual or audible any Web page may be, the actual content matters the most.

Not only do search engines rank your site by keyword relevance, they also determine whether your site is relevant and unique to a user’s defined search. So when it comes right down to search results, it is more valuable to have something worth saying rather than a page designed with repetitive key phrases.

Following are a few useful writing tips that can enrich the value of your site, increase your readership, and raise your overall web ranking:

1. Stick to a solid writing format: introduction, body, and conclusion. The copywriting should smoothly lead readers to the climax of the story. With a Web audience, you have only a few seconds to make a connection, so your writing should reveal the main point within the first 150 to 200 words.

2. Say more with fewer words. Are there any unnecessary pieces of your copywriting that are clouding the core message? Consider how you can avoid wasting words, or using up your space with ranting, musing, or stream-of-conscious writing that lacks direction. Readers who keep coming back to your site desire originality, and sometimes, meaningful information that may be read, recommended, and linked to over the next 10 years.

3. Think creatively with titles. There are many ways to entice readers with new headers or titles. For instance, you can pump it with SEO keywords to show up higher on the results listing. You can pose a stimulating question or startling statement (i.e. “10 worst predictions in 2009 politics,” “sex, lies and health care reform,” or “will your investments be worthless in 2020?”).

4. Encourage interaction with readers. One of the best ways you can expand your audience is by making your site more interactive. In addition to posing intriguing headers or titles, you can assert your take on a controversial topic instead of presenting an informative and neutral position. You can add a kicker in the middle or end of the copywriting, which will encourage commentators to post their opinions.

5. Offer something unique or original. Above all, make sure that your website benefits readers with unique information that they wouldn’t necessarily find on a related blog or site. Think about the entire online experience that you would want to create with your readers. Is there something extraordinary about the opinions you offer (i.e., are you an expert in your topic?), do you allow your audience to get more involved, and does your site provide the full multimedia experience? What is the true value of visiting your site, and what keeps users coming back for more?

If you have additional questions about how I can help your website generate more leads with great copywriting and how important copywriting is to helping your company increase their presence online, please contact me and I will be more than happy to help. I can be reached at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Copywriting

Can your copywriting be effective without the awareness of search engine optimization (SEO)? Sure it was probably possible in times of typewriters, but now submitting articles in online directories or to search engines without a proper density of keywords nowadays can ruin an article or a website page by not giving it opportunity to be noticed.

There are two factors on the basis of which your article or website page will be noticed or not. First, the content of it. If it is interesting, vivid, catchy and attractive, you will definitely get the readers your article deserves. Second, keywords which should appear in the title and the beginning of the first paragraph. But how often should the keywords should appear in the article? Once per paragraph or more, or maybe less. No matter what the answer is – one must be aware of SEO as it will bring some great benefits and popularity.

SEO copywriting is also especially popular among business owners nowadays who find it very beneficial for their link building campaigns. By writing great quality articles and submitting it to the top directories they gain backlinks. It makes the search engine rankings better for the given website which means that the company becomes more popular and has a higher probability that it will be noticed by its potential clients. Article marketing becomes the top marketing method now and online businessmen are fighting to get the best SEO copywriters for their website.

If you have additional questions about SEO copywriting and how important it is to helping your company receive more exposure online please contact me and I will be more than happy to help. I can be reached at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com.