Articles written in February, 2012

February 29 2012

Having a Mobile Website is Not Enough


There’s a lot of buzz in the media about mobile devices and many businesses have made an effort to create a mobile website. However, just having a single version of your mobile website isn’t enough. A company’s mobile website should be functional and user friendly across multiple mobile devices and their platforms.

Let’s talk about functionality first. It’s safe to say that not all smartphones are created equal. When creating a mobile website, it’s good to keep in mind that your website isn’t being built for one particular mobile device, as iPhones, blackberrys, and android phones will be all accessing your website. In order for your website to appear correctly on various mobile device screens it’s important to make the necessary adjustments in the interworkings of the website. It is also imperative that simulated tests be done with various mobile devices to confirm that it appears the correct way. For example: ask a few employees at your place of business to pull up your website on their phone and give their feedback on how it appears.

Mobile websites should be easy to navigate and allow users to get to the information they want quickly. No one wants to scroll forever to find a link or read an encyclopedia to find a simple answer. On mobile websites, the motto to follow is short and sweet. Another tidbit is to make sure the phone number is readily accessible on all pages. After all, they are on their cell phone.

Mobile devices aren’t going anywhere and their usage is increasing. If your company doesn’t want to get left behind, now’s the time to make the change.   Consider creating a mobile website or improving the functionality and user friendliness of your current one.

February 27 2012

Getting Citations to Boost your Local Search Ranking


Local search is growing in popularity and Google is showing its support by including more and more local style features in the SERPs. Consumers tend to be drawn to local listings, so you definitely want your business to have a presence in this area. Of course, having a rich, optimized Google Places page is a necessity and should be the first place your start to build up you presence in local searches.

However, the algorithm for standard searches and Google Places or local search are not the same thing — the main difference being the importance of “citations.” A citation is any place where your company information is listed consistently, which helps search engines find and identify your business. Citations are to local search what links are to organic search. Similarly, to increase your presence in local search, you need to increase the citations you have. You also need to make sure they are consistent. For example, if you have “Street” in your address on your Google Places page, make sure it’s “Street”, not “St.”, across all your citations as well.

So what are the best ways to increase your number of citations? Social media, directories and aggregators are good places to start.

Social media elements are becoming very strong ranking factors that consistently appear in search results. Naturally, having complete and consistent information across all of your company’s social media sites — like Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, and others — will go a long way in helping your local search rankings.

Aggregators and directories are not just places to get more citations; they also provide an additional way for people to find your company. There are many of these types of sites you can establish profiles for. Some standard ones to start with include Yelp, City Search, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List. On top of that, consider setting up a presence on local directories as well. Your city’s chamber of commerce is a good start. You can also search for “your city + your industry” to bring up even more local directories or aggregators.

These types of sites aren’t the only places you can increase your citations, but they make a great start. You should be able to build more citations as you build links and create content for your site — so keep at it!

February 21 2012

The Big Picture of SEO


SEO is not a clear-cut concept, which is why many people — even marketing professionals — are mystified by it. Even at its basic elements, clients try very hard to quantify and prioritize optimization efforts. But, there is no clear path — no one thing — a company can do to increase its rankings. Good SEO is a conglomeration of factors. Google admits that its ranking algorithm examines hundreds of factors before ranking a page for search. However, Google is pretty tight-lipped about the weight of each factor. Is an optimized title tag “worth” more than the overall keyword density of the page? If so, by how much? What about in relation to the page’s load speed?

Although some elements of SEO carry obvious importance, all of them must work together to produce results. One great example lies in the basic SEO strategy of optimizing meta data. There are quite a few parts here, including:

  • The title tag — recognized as a very important ranking factor and part of user experience. It directly describes and categorizes the page, so it should be optimized with an appropriate keyword.
  • The H1 tag — usually the first piece of content on a page. It’s also another important ranking factor and leads into the following content.
  • The description tag — not a ranking factor, but still important. Google doesn’t give any ranking weight to a description tag no matter how well it’s written, but it’s still an important element for user experience. The description tag should be written like ad copy — it’s your chance to convince a user to click on your page. In addition, any search terms that were used which are also in the description tag get bolded by Google — compelling users even further. Description tags won’t help you rank better, but they can increase click-through rates.

As you can see, metadata is a great example of SEO elements working together. By looking at the big picture and optimizing your site as a whole, you can increase not only your rankings, but the quality and usability of your website.

Posted in: Advanced SEO

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