August 30th, 2011

Top 7 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

As a marketer, you probably spent a lot of time and effort crafting your website to help catch potential customers’ attention, capture new leads, and ultimately generate new customers. However, if your website does not rank well in the top search engines, odds are that you will never get in front of your prospective clients and all of your hard work will be wasted. While Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can be a complicated process, if you steer clear of these top 7 on-site mistakes, you’ll be on your way to a better ranked page.

SEO blocks 1.)    Targeting for the Wrong Keywords: Choosing what keywords you want your site to rank for is a critically important part of the SEO process and unfortunately, one that commonly fraught with mistakes. When deciding what keywords you want your site to rank for, make sure you are taking the perspective of someone who would be searching for information that your site provides. Instead of picking words that just describe your site, ensure that you pick words that are commonly searched by end-consumers.

2.)    Keyword Stuffing: A few years ago, you could cram a bunch of keywords into a poorly written article with little context and satisfy the search engine’s keyword density requirements. However, since then the people over at Google and the other main search engines have wised up, and now sites can actually be delisted on the engines for content that contains keywords but is not contextual or helpful. Bottom line: make sure your content contains keywords, but still delivers value to the end-reader.

3.)    Overuse of Flash: Flash allows you to create some interesting visuals on your site, but while those cool graphics may be eye catching to your users, all of the content within Flash is completely invisible to search engines whose crawlers are unable to read it. To rank higher on search engines, limit your use of flash or provide an html version of the site that is easier for the crawlers to read.

4.)    JavaScript Navigation: JavaScript is often used in navigation for websites. However, much like Flash, search engines have a hard time reading JavaScript. This is a problem when used in navigation because engines cannot follow your links and assign appropriate authority to your pages. You can still use JavaScript, but make sure you create a sitemap that the engines can crawl or put links in a noscript tag.

5.)    Focusing Too Much on Meta Descriptions: A meta description is the text that a user will see under a search title when browsing through search engine results. This text is important as it may help drive higher CTRs once users have reached the search result page, but it is no longer used as a ranking factor in any of the major search engines. This means that while you should craft good marketing copy that will entice users to click on your link, your time may be more effectively spent crafting title tags and other SEO elements that will get your page moving up in the rankings.

6.)    Not Having Fresh Content: Fresh content indicates to search engines that your site is relevant, and thus ranks higher in search results. Therefore, having a site that remains untouched for months at a time is a surefire way to tumble in the search results. An easy way to ensure that your site is being updated frequently enough is by adding a blog to your site. Update it with relevant articles and polls 3 to 4 times a week to help boost your page rank.

7.)    Thinking SEO is a One-Time Project: SEO is not a one-time exercise. Auditing your site and completing major overhauls to site structure and other SEO cornerstones is only the beginning of the SEO process. You must continue to upload keyword-rich content, maintain best practices when creating title tags, and continually be looking for sources for inbound links in order to stay on top in the search engines.

Sometimes SEO can feel like a moving target, with the search engines continually switching algorithms and never fully disclosing their methods. However, if you can manage to avoid these mistakes, you are on your way to SEO success.

Posted by Nicole Hall, Account Manager with Mobilize Worldwide. Mobilize Worldwide develops mobile apps, mobile ad campaigns, mobile websites and just about anything else related to mobile marketing for brands interested in growing their sales and revenue using this new and emerging medium.


June 23rd, 2011

Top 10 Indispensable Tips on How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

Blogging is a great outlet to provide information, promote your business and establish relationships with your readers. Whatever the reason you have a blog, it’s important that your blog has a purpose and is written for a specific audience.

So, how do you take your blog to the next level? Avid bloggers, Chris Brogan and Michael Pollock have identified some great tactics to get you there. I’ve broken down the top 10, so check them out: 

1.  Write with purpose: First and foremost you must have an objective for your blog. It’s important to have a focus and think about what you want your readers to get out of it, what you can do for them, and what you want them to do after reading your blog.

2. Give them a purpose: Okay so you’ve provided your readers with all of this information, now what? Extract the insights for your readers and let them know what to do next. It’s better to provide your readers with content that’s helpful versus thoughtful. Give them a reason to read your blog and a reason to come back for more.

3. Know how people read: Put your best information first. If they like what they read, they’ll keep reading. People want information fast, so make it easy for them to get through your post. Bold the first sentence of paragraphs and lead with a strong sentence. Break up the post and make it easy for your readers to skim through and understand what they’re going to get out of it.

4. Be Brief: The key is to keep your blog short and simple. No one wants to read long complicated paragraphs. They want the facts, so be short and direct.

5. Ask Questions: This is a great way to get your readers thinking and involved in what you’re talking about. It’s important to make the question relevant to the reader and to ask thought-provoking questions, not just ones with yes or no answers. Make sure you check back and see if people are commenting, if so respond. Another great tactic is to start your post with a response to one of your reader’s questions.

6. Be human: It’s okay to sometimes let your personality shine through. Find a way to connect with your audience on a deeper level, if it’s appropriate.

7. Learn from others: Some of the best blogs are a compilation of others ideas. See what people are talking about and what people are reading. This might give you some inspiration or help you go in a different direction. You’re in the blogging business now, so get out there and see what’s going on in the blogging world.

8. Join the conversation: Start commenting on other blogs and provide a link to your blog in the comment section. This is a great way to not only learn from others, but gain possible new readers as well.

9. Build your audience: Want more readers? Try promoting your blog. There are many ways to do this, but one is to run your RSS feed through a service such as FeedBurner. This allows you to extend your feed and gain more exposure. Your URL is the ultimate link, so make sure it’s everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, company website, back of your business card, a part of your email signature, you name it, just get it out there.

10. Don’t overstuff your post with Keywords: Keyword search tools are great ways to figure out the terms most commonly searched by your audience. But don’t over-do it. Google, Bing and Yahoo will discount your blog post if they feel that you’re trying to game the system. The best approach is always to simply write good content that your target market will share with others.

For 5 more tips on blogging, check out the 60-second video below:

Posted by Rebecca Wilson, marketing analyst for the 60 Second Marketer.