Article Archive by Author

September 20 2012

Bing Seeks to Prove Its Search Relevance with Bing it On

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In a cheeky nod to the 1980s, Bing has initiated its very only Pepsi Challenge-esque blind taste test — Bing it On.

Bing it On prompts users to enter search terms in an elegantly designed page and asks users to choose which SERPs they like the best in five rounds.

The results may be completely antidotal, but Bing doesn’t think so. Bing says that users are choosing their results over Google’s two-to-one. That’s a powerful claim, but not one that can be independently verified.

What this does prove, if anything, is that Bing has upped its game. Its SERPs are no longer as visual as they once were. Instead, they’re giving people more of what they want — information — with an algorithm that seems to put variety first, and influence second.

What this means for marketers is that, more and more, search is segmented. While Google is still the leader, Bing is making an effort to bring more eyeballs its way — an effort that, if these search stats are any indication, will probably pay off over time.

It’s also a good reminder that, while those of us in the tech world may be Google-centric, the rest of the world may not be. And if you still want to be relevant to the rest of the world, it’s time to start taking Bing seriously.

August 21 2012

Using Natural Language in SEO Copywriting

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This week Google announced that changes to their algorithm were coming soon in the form of further Penguin and Panda “adjustments.” But if you’re creating good content — onsite and offsite — you have nothing to worry about. That’s because these adjustments are all about devaluing sites that use artificial means in order to rank well in the search engine results.

When we say “artificial,” we mean poor-quality content created in order to manipulate search engines. This is done mainly by keyword stuffing — onsite and off — and using unnatural language in order to rank for a particular keyphrase.

Remember that Google’s primary goal (as far as search is concerned) is to deliver the best possible user experience. To achieve that, they want to rank content that also delivers the best possible user experience. Content that is thin, overly simplified, or that uses unnatural language in order to achieve rankings, is out. Content that is original, helpful, and written for humans is in.

The best thing that you can do for your site — beyond creating excellent, search engine optimized, content — is to make sure that you don’t appear as a spammer to the search engine bots. Because Google is changing the definition of “spammer” all the time, there is a certain art to this.

We will still — and probably, always — have to target keywords. And that’s a good thing. Keywords and phrases help guide content creators to the best possible ways to reach their audience. If you didn’t do keyword research, you might never know that potential customers are searching for a particular product, a particular way.

It’s what we do with those keywords that’s important.

As of now, overusing the same phrase — without variations — is out. Using natural language is in. Go ahead and use your keyphrase in your title tags, description tags, and in your H1. From there, vary your language — sometimes using your target phase, sometimes using a variation. Write the way you wrote before you wrote for the internet, varying your language and using synonyms, with the primary goal of communicating an idea — not landing on page one.

Do this and you have a good chance of creating content that will survive any algorithm update.

Posted in: Advanced SEO

August 3 2012

The Dos and Don’ts of Guest Blogging

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Guest blogging is a great way to get quality inbound links to your site. And inbound links, we all know, are a cornerstone of SEO. But, like many ways to market your brand online, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. Here, we’ll look at some of the Dos and Don’ts of guest blogging.

Do – Use your expertise in a way that can grow your audience – and your influence.

This is the main reason behind guest blogging.

There are blogs that do not directly compete with your business but that relate to your business in some way. If you sell shoes, for example, you might want to look into creating quality content for wedding blogs, fashion blogs or, depending on what kind of shoes you sell, blogs aimed at parents, gardeners, environmentalists, etc.

Don’t — Contact blogs that have nothing to do with your business.

The purpose of guest blogging is to find your audience — or potential audiences — where they live. The key word here is synergy. Creating posts for blogs that have no synergistic connection to your business is a waste of time for all involved.

Do — Create quality content.

The content that you create for each blog should be unique, and should depend upon the look and feel of the blog you’re writing for. If you want to produce content for a blog that tends to be photo-heavy, for example, you will need to produce photos that illustrate your blog post.

Don’t – Pepper your guest blog post with unnecessary links.

Guest blogging is all about cultivating relationships, not building link farms. Link once or twice to extremely pertinent information on your own site, and leave it at that.

Do – Find your audience where it lives.

Use a demographic tool like Google’s Double Click Ad Planner to determine what kind of audience a blog attracts.

Don’t – Waste your time.

Don’t waste your time producing blog posts for blogs with little traffic. Evaluate a blog’s traffic with Double Click Ad Planner to make sure a blog is worth your time.

Do – Write your blog posts ahead of time.

When you approach a publisher with a complete package, rather than an idea, you make it much more likely that the blogger will accept your content.

Don’t — Be impersonal.

Think of guest blogging as relationship building. Don’t send out mass email blasts, or the same content to more than one publisher. Your goal is to make friends. So be human and put your best face forward.

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