Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the links Category

Is Your Content Good Enough for SEO?

Content is the foundation of SEO.

The purpose of an SEO campaign is to drive visitors to your website. But why do you want to do that? So they can see your content, of course.

  • Without content, you don’t have a website.
  • With lousy content (visually poor, grammatical errors, keyword stuffing, lack of organization) you have a website that chases people  away.
  • With ineffective content you have a website that fails to convert visitors into paying customers.
  • With effective content your website becomes a powerful sales tool.

But that’s not the only kind of content that’s important. You may not have realized it, but you have off-site content, too. That’s content in other places that helps promote your brand and direct potential customers to your website. What kind of content is that specifically? How about this:

  • Articles and white papers posted on other sites.
  • Online press releases.
  • An email newsletter. (Sign up for ours!)
  • Blog posts you write that are syndicated at one or more other blogs.
  • Twitter mentions.
  • Mentions at other social media like Facebook, Google+, Delicious, Digg, FriendFeed, StumbleUpon, MerchantCircle, LinkedIn and others.
  • Mentions and links from other websites related to yours.

Is your content good enough for effective SEO?

How good is the copy on your site? You have to start there because everything else drives people to your on-site copy. Is it unique? Does it provide value by providing non-obvious information and answering questions? Is it interesting to read? Is it literate? Does it funnel visitors toward a buying decision? If not, have you considered hiring a professional copywriter?

Do you have the necessary off-site copy? This is one of the most forgotten factors in SEO. You need a strong presence in as many off-site places as possible to build your link popularity and to drive more visitors to your website.

Once you’ve considered all that, you may decide you need professional help with your SEO. If so, talk to us.

Citations Can Help Your Local Search Visibility

Local search listingsGoogle is not just counting links for their local search results in Google Places. Now they’re counting citations, too.

Links, as we all know, are important for organic search rankings. A citation is a mention of a company or website that’s not clickable as a link. It’s just a mention.

Many of us considered them worthless insofar as search engine visibility goes, but that’s not the case anymore. Citations in places like YellowPages.com, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Localeze and others can give your local search listing (the one associated with a map) a significant boost.

We’ve found a handy list of 20 excellent websites where you can easily get citations. Some of them allow customer reviews, too. Encourage your most delighted customers to go and write reviews once you have a listing there. Just remember not to write rave reviews yourself; you’re likely to get caught at that.

Helpful Link Building Resources

Link popularity — the number and quality of other websites that link to yours — is an important factor in search engine rankings, especially in Google. But few of us have the patience to sit and wait for others to link to us. So we have to resort to active link building.

The KissMetrics blog posted a list of helpful link building resources. Some that struck me right off the bat were

  • A list of resources to help you beuild incoming links better and faster.Top 9 Ways to be a Link Magnet
  • How to Use Blog Commenting to Get Backlinks
  • Link Building Tips for Small Businesses
  • Linkbait Failure – Not Understanding the Need for Instant Gratification
  • 24 Advanced Link Building Strategies
  • 4 Kinds of Prospecting Phrases for Link Building Queries
  • Link Building in a Panda World
  • Fundamentals of Getting Big Links from Big Media Sites

You may find some that strike a chord with your needs. Check out the list of link building resources here.

Changes at Google Places – Emphasis on Reviews & Citations

For brick & mortar businesses and those that involve face to face customer contact, Google Places (and Yahoo Local and Bing Local) are important sources of traffic. These are the listings that show up next to a map of suitable matches.

Google PlacesGoogle Places is sporting a new look that also reflects changes in their approach. For example, there’s an increased emphasis on customer reviews. At the same time, Google will no longer re-post reviews from paces like Yelp as it did in the past. Instead, it will be emphasizing reviews from within Google Places itself — with two prominent red Write A Review buttons to encourage that. You can read more about this at Search Engine Land.

Citations are more important now than ever. Citations are mentions of a business, even if they don’t include a link. So in addition to the well-known positive effect of link popularity on your organic listings, non-linked citations can be especially helpful in your local listings.

Can You Really Get Links By Email Requests?

Relevant incoming links may count as much as 40% toward top rankings in Google.

But just sitting back and waiting for them to happen by accident isn’t a meaningful action plan. One potentially fruitful approach is to find relevant websites and send them an email asking them to link to you.

Email link requests have gotten a bad name.

Most website owners with any degree of visibility on the web get link request emails. Most often these are poorly written and come from off-shore mass link builders. They’re pretty easy to identify and most people just delete them as spam. That’s one reason that at Rank Magic we follow up email link requests with a phone call (almost no one else does that!).

According to Website Magazine,

Direct link requests get a bad wrap as they are used (and often used poorly) by those that either don’t care or don’t know any better (believing inbound link volume outweighs inbound link quality – which it doesn’t). It should not have to be said but know that email link requests do not typically work when they are misdirected or provide no immediate or long term benefit to those providing the link.

But there are things you can do to increase the positive response to your link request emails.

Follow a few simple suggestions from this Website Magazine article and you should see your email link request success rate improve.