Browsing articles by " Brian Taylor"

SEO Audit Considerations for Publishers

Mar 5, 2013   //   by Brian Taylor   //   SEO Blog  //  2 Comments

When performing website SEO audits there are going to be certain specifics that are common to all of them and certain aspects that are unique. It is thus important to keep the needs of the specific business in mind when executing any SEO audit because the needs of any one business may be completely different from another. For example, if the website is for a B2B lead generation website with only a dozen or so pages the SEO needs and focus will be much different than if the website is for a large e-commerce site like Amazon. The different needs of both will have to be closely considered and the audit tailored to meet them. The 5 key considerations for any website are outlined below.

Image Source - SEO Outsourcing Chick

Scalability and Flexibility of Information Architecture are 2 vital things to consider before beginning. How much new content will be added, when it will be added, and the time-sensitivity of that content all need to be analyzed so that SEO demand can be met. If a business adds several content items per week, including those that refer to imminent sales or promotions, the SEO will be vastly different than that of a business that adds 1 or 2 pieces of content a month and doesn’t use them for promotions but to brand and attract new customers.

What this means is that the content must be placed in an area of the website that will best use SEO. The more time-sensitive the closer (click-wise) it should be to the main page or sales page, keeping in mind that the aggregate of al the content will drive up the organic searches on the website.

Using Tags and Categories is another vital SEO audit consideration. In many cases neither of the 2 has been given much attention but the fact is that both are vital to better ranking. Questions that need to be asked are;

  • Who in the organization id tagging the content?
  • What criteria is being used to tag content?
  • Are too many or too few tags being created?
  • Is the category structure well thought out?
  • Do the tags and categories offer value to the person who is using the website?

All of these need to be considered, most likely with the aid of the business owner.

Including Google News and optimizing the website for it is very important during an SEO audit. Many businesses won’t have this on their site at all and some will but won’t be using it correctly. Having Google News and using it correctly will enable a website to regularly have their content reviewed and published on Google News, increasing traffic and ranking and pushing SEO. If a business has unique and newsworthy content its vital that Google News be incorporated into their site to spread that news on the internet simply because the SEO and ranking benefits are so high. Some of the best are;

  • Using the ‘standout’ tag. This allows a business to basically say ‘hey, this is really good stuff’ and get more attention for it than ‘thin’ or re-written content.
  • Using Google authorship to increase a website’s click-through rate and increase their SERP.
  • Using a free online tool to test performance like http://www.webpagetest.org/ and http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/.

Finally there’s Scalable Keyword Research to consider and devising and implementing a strategy that will support the different content that is being added from different sources. A large e-commerce website like Amazon will obviously be using thousands if not hundreds of thousands of keywords, both long and short tail. A smaller or very small business website may only be using a few dozen. Having a system in place to research, check and decide which are best, as well as being able to increase or decrease those tasks when necessary, is vital to any websites’ SEO.

In the end what you need to accomplish with all SEO Audits is to not only find the areas that are lacking and make valuable recommendations as to needed changes but also to leave the customer in a position that they can implement those changes and execute them in a manner that lends itself to the improvement of their SEO and an increase in their most important need, revenues.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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How Often Should You Optimize Your Content

Jan 31, 2013   //   by Brian Taylor   //   Google, guest blogging, SEO Blog  //  23 Comments

No doubt there are many different answers to this question. Some people like myself, tweak content on a daily basis. Others have never optimized a single page on their website. Ultimately, the decision of when to take time to optimize your content is up to you, but there are situations when you should take time to optimize your online presence.

Optimize your content

Image Source – Mashable

During a Redesign

Let’s be honest, the main purpose of most website redesigns is to optimize their performance. A true redesign is built from the ground up. There is absolutely no better time to ensure that your website is configured to attract maximum interest from readers than when it’s being reimagined. You can build SEO and speed optimizations right into your new design. You’ll have a better looking, faster and more productive website when you’re finished.

When Adding Content for All Pages

Adding fresh content that will appear on all the pages of your website is also a great time to optimize your content. First of all, make sure that the content you are adding is optimized. It’s going to be appearing on every page of your site. If it’s well optimized, every page will benefit.

This is also a good time to tweak individual pages. You’ll be visiting every page on your website to make sure your new content is properly integrated. As you click through your content, keep an eye out for ways to optimize each page.

When Circumstances Change

There are any number of reasons why the circumstances of your situation may change. Sometimes they’re personal reasons. Other times their professional. It might be an opportune time to make some adjustments to your website, especially if the circumstances necessitate a change or update to your website.

When it’s been a While

If you’re reading this and thinking “I haven’t optimized my site in months”, that would mean now is a good time to get to work. If your website and your business are running smoothly, you may not think you need to optimize your site. After all, it doing well and so are you.

Remember that a website that is doing well is a website that is often updated. Make a point to go back and revisit your optimization strategy on a regular basis. Even if it’s just a routine checkup to make sure things are functioning properly. Your website will thank you.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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4 Simple Mistakes to Avoid in Email Newsletters and Marketing

Dec 20, 2012   //   by Brian Taylor   //   guest blogging, internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

Modern technologies have made email newsletters a vital part of every organization’s marketing plan. Email marketing is not a new approach but it still is plausibly the top channel for online sales due to its low cost, high return on investment and easy implementation.

Effective email marketing can help you to drive and maintain your customer engagement, foster market research and track metrics for optimization. However, you should be very careful when you make your first step in email marketing. Even minor negligence can result in your email newsletter getting filtered as spam or junk mail. Sometimes the best way to learn what is right is to consider what not to do. In that spirit, we shall now discuss the 4 simple mistakes that occur in email newsletters and marketing and the ways to avoid them.

Email Marketing

  • Not prioritizing email list building: Building an email list in a proper way should be your first priority. Nowadays people are barraged with opt-in forms and therefore they hesitate to give their email addresses to others. You have to be proactive while building your email list. You can use drop boxes or sign-up sheets in retail outlets to sign up for emails, gather names at trade shows, conferences and meetings or run a contest for prizes/giveaways.

  • Not segmenting your lists: If you want to create the right impact through your email newsletters, you have to segment your email lists properly. Only through proper segmentation of your email lists, you can ensure that the message that your subscribers read is relevant to their needs and their concerns. Make sure that you deliver timely and relevant email newsletters to your users based on their purchase history data or data provided by them. One last tip for enhancing relevancy in your email newsletter marketing is to segment your subscribers demographically. Sending triggered email newsletters based on user behavior is a strategy that produces fruitful results.

  • Weak subject lines – Not testing subject lines and email click-throughs: Most marketing professionals are not aware of the fact that a weak subject line can destroy all their email marketing efforts. Your subject line is the first thing that readers will see, and it should be crafted in such a way that it piques their interest and makes them want to read more. To increase your open rates, your subject line should be relevant, specific, engaging and should state the targeted benefit. Ensure that your subject line is crisp and does not exceed 50 characters. Avoid using marketing words such as “free”, “sale”, “save money” etc. These words may make your readers push your email newsletters to the spam folder. Instead, start with words like “Here are…”, “About your…” to win their attention.

  • Not testing HTML and plain text email templates: So now, you are ready with your email template, right? Your next step should be to decide on the format in which you are going to send your email newsletter – HTML or plain text email template. If you are going to send text-only emails, then it’s just a standard configuration but HTML email templates are much more appealing than plain text email templates.

HTML email newsletters are visual emails that attract the attention of your subscriber more effectively than words. But you can’t come to the conclusion that plain text email newsletters are outdated. Many mobile devices can render only text emails and there are some subscribers who prefer text emails over HTML. Generally, people think hitting the ‘convert HTML to text’ button in your email marketing solution, will do all the work. But this conversion tool pulls the text out of your HTML message and drops it into text module. Plain text email templates need to be formatted and organized differently to lay emphasis on important content.

Now you are all set to work on your first email newsletter. Though it is human to make mistakes, this detailed list will help you avoid some major errors and save your head.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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How to Customize Google Rich Snippets with Schema.org Microdata?

Dec 10, 2012   //   by Brian Taylor   //   Google, guest blogging, SEO Blog  //  No Comments

Do you know what Google Rich Snippets are? Even if you don’t know them by name, I am sure you must have seen them several times on the Google SERPs, as you browse through the Web.

What are Google Rich Snippets?

Google Rich Snippets are nothing but the additional lines of information that appear next to the Google search results. They are designed to provide quick information to users regarding what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query. These snippets encompass star ratings for the web page and other detailed information related to the query. Generally, you can find Google Rich Snippets in websites of restaurants, music, people, events, videos, recipes, products and businesses. Having a 5-star rating in your Google Rich Snippet encourages Internet users to click on your listing. This is the reason why Google Rich Snippets are considered to be the perfect addition to your online marketing strategies.

Now that we have seen the advantages of using Google Rich Snippets, let us move to the next step of creating and customizing Google Rich Snippets with Schema.org Microdata.

Defining Metaboxes: A metabox helps you to add content or scripts to any part of the website.First of all, to qualify for Google Rich Snippets, you have to define metaboxes. You don’t have to provide all the properties included in the specification, even though each content type has a minimum requirement. There are numerous custom metaboxes available and is indeed a great way to make custom fields friendlier to users.

Marking up your pages with Microdata: The specialty of Google Rich Snippets is its structured, semantic markup that enables Google to understand the content of the web page. So, it’s your duty to markup your content properly to describe the particular type of content on your website. When it comes to marking up your content, there are three types of formats – microformats, Microdata and RDFa. Google has always recommended the Microdata format for rich snippets as it allows search engines to understand your content a lot better and delivers more meaningful search listings for the user’s query. In fact, Microdata has no effect on your search engine rankings but it provides a richer and more useful browsing experience for users.

Use Schema.org vocabulary: All the major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex have launched Schema.org. Schema.org is a not a language but a Microdata vocabulary, that helps you to create common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages. As it uses the same vocabulary across all participating search engines, there are fewer chances for confusion over twofold meanings or unsupported jargons. The most vital thing you have to keep in mind is that you can use Schema.org to markup only the visible part of your web pages and not any of the hidden page elements.

Many sites are already experiencing great SEO benefits with rich snippets. With the guidelines provided above, you now know how to customize Google Rich Snippets with Schema.org vocabulary. Using Schema.org and Microdata have positive impacts on your website, as they help improve the user experience and invite more clicks.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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