Posted by Peter Otte on March 23, 2015
Advertising through Facebook is becoming an increasingly important part of every business’s online strategy. Not only can advertising through Facebook help to sell more of your products and services, it can also help to raise your business’s profile, boosting its relevance on popular search engines. If you’ve been considering adding Facebook advertising to your overall marketing plan, then check out this simple guide to creating an effective Facebook advertisement:
- Choose the Right Image: Facebook is overwhelmingly a visual platform, so make sure you choose the right image. Most marketing experts agree that pictures of people perform best, as do pictures of children and animals. Whatever image you choose, though, make sure that it stands out well against Facebook’s blue and white color scheme.
- Make a Compelling Title: If you use Facebook, then you know how fast you scroll through your newsfeed. If you want your ads to get clicks, then you’re going to need titles that have a clear call to action. Ideally, your ad should make sense to a reader even if they don’t look at the body text.
- To Brand or Not: You don’t have a lot of space with a Facebook ad title, so carefully consider whether or not you want it to include your brand name. If you think people will recognize it, then it might make sense. Otherwise, your limited space is probably better spent with a well-wrought CTA.
- Choose Your Audience Wisely: Since Facebook allows you to narrowly target your ads at specific demographics, be sure that you’ve taken the time to carefully consider your ideal customer. Facebook ad campaigns often hinge on this crucial step.
By following these tips, you should have the basics down for running an effective Facebook advertisement. As always, make sure you keep a careful eye on the metrics, as these will tell you how you should adjust your Facebook advertising strategies for the future.
Posted by Peter Otte on March 16, 2015
Every week I send out a genuine tip that will help you improve your site’s search engine visibility. If you would like us to review your web site, please feel free to contact us. The initial consultation is free.
Internal links, simply, are those which join together the separate pages on any given website. These links are most important for SEO purposes in terms of establishing your site’s architecture. A well-constructed site is one that’s easy for a search engine to crawl and has a clear and consistent hierarchy. In order to ensure that your internal links work to your advantage, follow these best practices:
- Categories / Subcategories: When possible, try to organize the content of your website into categories and subcategories with internal links moving from one to the next. Think of how Amazon is organized, and follow suit.
- Fewer Links are Better: If you follow a rigid hierarchy, this should naturally lead to fewer internal links per individual page. Fewer internal links is better, because it doesn’t dilute your “link juice” – which is passed from page to page – as much.
- Use Descriptive Anchor Text: The anchor text for your internal links should let the reader and the web crawler know where the link is going. That being said, if there are multiple internal links to the same page, make sure you change up the wording of those links.
- Don’t Link Unrelated Pages: Make sure that there’s a logic as to why one page on your website links to another. If such logic doesn’t exist, it could lead to penalization.
- Make Sure Pages Aren’t Hidden: If there are pages on your site that aren’t internally linked from somewhere, or are hidden behind something a search engine won’t crawl (like a form), then they might as well not exist as far as a search engine is concerned.
Choosing to follow these best practices for internal links won’t just help with your SEO strategy, it will also help to make your website more useful and easier to navigate.
Posted by Peter Otte on March 9, 2015
Google and other search engines are always updating their algorithms, and they are increasingly shifting toward privileging “quality content”. Because of this, it’s getting harder and harder to know how best to include keywords on any given website. Believing that the more keywords the better, there are many business websites that are currently being penalized by search engines for “keyword stuffing”.
By following this guide, you should be able to examine your business’ website to see if it could be considered a keyword-stuffed one by search engines.
- Avoid Unnatural Repetition: If in reading over you content, you notice that the same keyword or phrase is popping up over and over again, take steps to rid this from your content.
- Don’t Use Keywords in Anchor Text: Not long ago, this was SEO best practice. Now, not so much. Instead of anchoring your links to keywords, anchor them on long phrases or naked web addresses.
- Ignore Keyword Density: For whatever reason, many SEO websites and ‘experts’ still recommend that you focus on keyword density (the percentage that your keywords make up the content). Despite what they tell you, or what you might believe, keyword density is a meaningless metric.
- Focus on Content: Given that keyword density has no effect on your SEO strategy, you should instead focus on making your content the very best in can be. Of course, you should use your keywords, but only to the extent that they fit naturally within your content. Moreover, make sure you are tying your keywords to your headers.
If you keep these four things in mind as you examine your site’s content and add new content, you should ensure that you do not practice keyword stuffing. As a general rule, though, you can follow the age-old adage: When in doubt, leave it out.
Posted by Peter Otte on March 2, 2015
Perhaps moreso than Facebook, Twitter provides an excellent venue for boosting your business’s visibility and for gaining social media traction. On Twitter, it’s simply easier to share yourself and your content, which in turn inspires others to share your business – thus benefiting your overall SEO strategy. In order to do this, though, you’re going to need followers. To get those followers, here are some things that you can do:
- Follow Others: With a little bit of research, you should be able to determine who the influential Twitter users are in your business’s field. Find them and follow them.
- Participate in the Dialogue: Once you’ve located influential people within your industry, make the effort to participate in a dialogue with them. Not only will this inspire those influential users to follow you, but that user’s followers might follow suit as well.
- See What’s Trending: You can also boost your business’s profile by participating in the dialogue surrounding trending topics. Just be sure to understand the trending topic before you weigh in.
- Include Your Twitter Handle on Your Website: Make it easy for people that visit your website to find your Twitter account. If you’re using WordPress, there are a variety of plugins that will put your Twitter posts directly on your homepage.
- Include Your Twitter Handle Elsewhere: If you send out email newsletters, for example, make sure that you’re providing readers with a link to your Twitter feed. The same goes for other social media accounts you might have.
By following the above tips, you should be able to increase the number of followers your business has on Twitter. Just remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint; building a large follower base is going to take some time.
Posted by Peter Otte on February 23, 2015
Of all of the plugins available for WordPress blogs and websites, “SEO All-In-One” is perhaps the most popular. It makes optimizing your WordPress blog or website for search engines much easier than it otherwise might be. If you’re not already using this for your business’s website or blog, then here’s a down and dirty guide for how to install the plugin and configure it.
- Get the Plugin: You can do this one of two ways; you can use the WordPress automatic plugin installer (where you will see it listed), or you can download the plugin from SEO All-in-One here and upload it to your website yourself.
- Activate the Plugin: After you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll need to activate it. Navigate to your WordPress website’s plugin tab, locate “SEO All-in-One” and activate it.
After the plugin is installed and activated, you will then need to configure it. Here the most important things you should configure:
- Activate Canonical URLs: In order to avoid duplicate content penalties, make sure this setting is active. You’ll find it under the plugin’s general settings.
- Fill Out Your Homepage Information: Be sure to fill in your website or blog’s title, and also provide a description that uses your main keywords and key phrases. Don’t worry about “Home Keywords”, as search engines no longer use these when indexing websites.
- Make Sure Noindex Settings are Active: Archived material can count against your website’s page rank when it’s indexed by webcrawlers. By activating these settings, you’re preventing that from happening.
Outside of the above configurations, there are a lot of other features that are offered by this powerful WordPress plugin. Depending upon the kind of website you have, you will want to investigate some of these other settings. Conducting a simple search about the plugin will yield a bevy of valuable resources for getting even more out of “SEO All-in-One”.
Posted by Peter Otte on February 16, 2015
Following up from last week, it’s not enough to have a Facebook page for your business; you need to tend to it as well. Having an effective Facebook page shows that you’re engaged with your customers. Those who are new to social media sometimes don’t know the best way to go about this, so here are some guidelines that I recommend for your Facebook business page.
- Update Regularly: Just as you would keep your business’s website active, so too should you keep your Facebook page active. Post informative content regularly with your followers in mind.
- Engage Your Followers: Speaking of your followers, remember that this is social media and having a Facebook page provides an opportunity for direct interaction. If you care about your customers, then interact with them.
- Stay Neutral: How many times have you read a story about a business getting into trouble on Facebook? Most often, it’s because they chose to take sides on a divisive issue. Be neutral, especially with anything that has the faintest whiff of controversy. Careless remarks can spread like wildfire.
- Track Your Metrics: Facebook offers Page Insights once you gather at least 25 Likes, which is a powerful and robust tool for your tracking any and all metrics relating to your business’s Facebook page. Check it out by clicking “Insights” at the top of your business’ page.
- Consider Advertising: Facebook offers a powerful system for targeted advertising. After you’ve gotten some wind behind your Facebook sails, make sure that you look into it.
By following the above guidelines, you can be assured of getting the very most out of your business’s Facebook page. Even if you doubt the efficacy of having a Facebook presence for your business, if you go about it the right way, you’ll quickly find that it can be an incredibly powerful tool in your overall marketing and SEO strategy.
Posted by Peter Otte on February 9, 2015
More than ever, having a presence on social media is important for businesses. Simply, if you’re not managing your business’s reputation on social media, then you can bet that someone else is. So, if you’re not already active, then here are the steps you need to follow in order to set up and promote your business Facebook page.
Figure 1 – Create Page
- First, log in to Facebook. If you don’t have an account, create one by filling out the sign up form on the home page.
- Once you’re logged in, look for the Create Page button on the left-hand side (Figure 1). It will be near the bottom.
Fig. 2 – Create a Page
- You should now see the Facebook page creator (Figure 2). From here, you’ll have to select one of the six categories that’s most appropriate to your business. If you have an office or storefront where clients come to you, select the first button “Local Business or Place.” If you have more than one business location, select the second option.
- Fill Out the Basics: Depending upon what category you select, you’ll be charged with filling out certain basic information. Sometimes you’re business will fit neatly in a category. Other times, you might have to stretch the definition a bit. These categories are important because they are linked both to Facebook search and other search engines like Google. Make sure that the information you provide Facebook with is accurate, complete, and consistent with other business profiles that appear on the web.
- Create a Vanity URL: Facebook will give you the option to create a custom URL, or vanity URL, that is easier to remember than the longer string of characters. For example, my custom Facebook URL is https://www.facebook.com/PeterOtteProductions. Choose one that describes your business. Put some thought into it, because Facebook will only let you change it once.
Fig. 3 – Profile Picture and Cover Photo
- Make a Cover Photo: The cover photo (Figure 3), which sits across the top of every Facebook page, is the first thing that visitors will see. Make sure that it’s eye-catching and that it does not contain more than 20% text.
- Add Content: After adding a cover photo, add your logo or portrait as the business’s profile picture (Figure 3). From here you will want to populate the profile page with content. It’s very important that you link to your website. Also, create a biographical summary of your business and the services you offer. Whenever you have some news for customers, make a status update. Don’t let your profile languish. Every so often update your bio or post a new update.
- Invite Followers: Invite Facebook friends to follow your new business page. Your Facebook profile can only be seen by other friends; your Facebook page, on the other hand, should be the public face of your business. Also, invite friends of yours, clients and customers to follow the page. It’s important that you get them to “Like” your page.
Once you’re live, having a successful Facebook page is all about keeping it well maintained. Like your web site, your Facebook page is a work in progress. Keep it fresh and you will help reinforce your relationship with your customers. So, be sure that you keep current with your Facebook page after you’ve set it up by updating it regularly; don’t just let it wither on the vine!
Posted by Peter Otte on February 2, 2015
WordPress may be the most popular platform for making SEO-friendly websites, but any technical errors with your site’s code may penalize your site’s ranking. Go through the following 7 steps to help you identify and correct any problems with your current site. If any show up, forward them on to your developer so she can correct them as quickly as possible.
In order to be searchable, you need to be accessible to search engines. So, make sure that you’re doing the above, and also stay abreast of WordPress SEO best practices, as they are always evolving.
Posted by Peter Otte on January 26, 2015
Backlinks are well known as one of the best ways to boost your WordPress page’s ranking on search engines. Businesses, however, all to often go about this the wrong way. More than ever, search engines are factoring in the quality of backlinks into their web-crawling algorithms. This means that taking a scatter-gun approach to backlinks may hurt you in the long run. So I’ve put together some guidelines to help you build backlinks the right way:
- Stay in Your Field: Not long ago, it didn’t matter very much where your backlinks originated. That’s simply not the case anymore. Your backlinks should come from websites that match your field. For example, if you’re an attorney, it makes sense to have a backlink from an online legal directory, not from a construction web site.
- Cultivate Relationships: Whether you’re simply exchanging links or doing a guest blog, try to develop a relationship with that readership. You might earn additional links from other members of the community. Be generous and helpful as much as time allows.
- Offer Great Content: If you offer content that is of value to people, then they will be inclined to share that content with others. The concept is simple, but in practice it will take some effort. Be warm, friendly, and informative and try to keep the sales pitch to a minimum.
- Make Sharing Your Content Easy: If you’re not using WordPress plugins that allow visitors to easily share your posts on social media, then research some good plugins out there. You will want to take advantage of social media sharing. It’s easy to create Facebook sharing buttons; ditto for twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Make it as easy as possible to share your content! If you’re not using WordPress, the same principle applies; you probably will have other tools at your disposal. Add this has a quick way to add a share button if you don’t have WordPress.
- Share Content from Others: Your visitors don’t care where your content comes from, so long as it’s useful to them. Sharing valuable content from others serves your customers and clients, and it may inspire other content creator to share your work as well.
By following the above guidelines, you should be well on your way to making quality backlinks an important part of your overall SEO strategy.
Posted by Peter Otte on January 20, 2015
If you do business on the Internet and participate in social media, at some point you will field reviews and comments from your customers: both good and bad. Often however, businesses run into the trouble when they are forced to deal with the negative opinions of their customers and clients. Knowing how to respond to such reviews is not only crucial to maintaining your business’s reputation, but it’s also an excellent way to build that reputation. Here’s how to do it:
- Always Respond: The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore negative feedback that you receive. Instead, make a concerted effort to field any and all comments that your business receives on review sites, whether they’re good or bad.
- Keep Your Cool: Even if the negative review that you’ve received is over the top, remember that as a business, you always need to take the high road. Nothing looks worse than a business that meets an unreasonable customer’s complaint by responding in kind.
- Address the Review Directly: Think of how you would address the customer or client’s complaint had it been delivered to you directly. Take the time to consider what’s been said, and address the issue head-on.
- Highlight Your Strengths: Responding to a negative review isn’t just an opportunity to address a complaint, it’s also an opportunity to educate that customer and others about your business’s strengths. Turn the negative review on its head and call attention to everything your business does right.
Ultimately, you should come to view dealing with negative reviews as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience. Though the impetus for doing so may not be what you’d like, negative reviews provide a platform for you to sell your business and to manage the public’s perception of it.
I hope you learned something from this post. To learn more about our SEO services, including Online Reputation Management, please visit this page.