The Link Between Google+ And SEO Demystified

Are you using Google+? This may be the best reason ever to include it in your mix…

According to research from Searchmetrics, social signals account for seven out of the top eight factors correlated with Google search results, but Google +1s take the top spot. In fact, Google +1s have the single highest correlation with Google search ranking (0.4), higher than than the number of Facebook shares (0.34), number of backlinks (0.34), and total Facebook Likes, Shares, and Comments (0.34). Source: The Link Between Google+ And SEO Demystified – TrackMaven

Not sure how to start? Contact me. My content has over 15 million views in Google+ and I have a variety of ways I can help you insert it in your current workflow…

Yay! Google Says Short Articles Won’t Penalize Your Site


It’s OK to start curating again!

Google’s John Mueller covered lots and lots of myths this past Friday in the Google Hangout on Google+. He said at the 34:37 minute mark that having short articles won’t give you a Google penalty. He also said that even some long articles can be confusing for users. He said that short articles can be great and long articles can be great – it is about your users, not search engines.” Source: Google Says Short Articles Won’t Penalize Your Site; Think About Users

One of the best ways to do this is to use Press This if you’re on WordPress. Here’s how to install it…

Curating content in WordPress with Press ThisWatch now as I walk you through the installation and demonstrate how it works:

Why do you need a website?

Have you ever asked yourself the question why do you need a website? Many site owners enter into the process with unrealistic expectations fueled by media fantasies like this old Super Bowl ad from UPS:

Why do you need a website?

In my experience, there are two types of people on the internet — people who are posting and looking for pictures of ‘kittens and bacon’ and people who are seriously looking to find or get found. If you’re in the first group, create a simple Tumblr site, post lots of great pictures of kittens and bacon and voila — soon you’ll be swimming in likes and reposts. If you’re in the second group, however, there are some hard realities you need to face if you hope to get found in search and use your website to generate leads for your business. The internet is not a ‘field of dreams‘ — if you build a website, they will not come unless you engage in some form of search engine marketing [SEM].

At the low end; it’s cheaper than brochures

At a very basic level, a website can be a place to inexpensively post the same kind of content you’d put in a brochure at a fraction of the cost. You can write as much as you want and include images and videos at no extra cost. If that is all you want to do, then there are a wide variety of inexpensive options like Wix and Weebly that will do the job quite nicely and you may even be able to do most of the work yourself. Peter Visser says:

Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Your potential customers can find out about you and any of your products online. If you get most of your business through networking and personal connections, then they will want to check out your website.” Go to the source: Why Do I Need a Website? Here are 21 Reasons

If you want your site to be more than just ‘brochureware’ and to actually generate leads for you, read on…

At the high end; engage in search engine marketing

Search engine marketing is a lot more involved than simply creating a brochureware website and using it to promote your business. There are two types of search engine marketing; pay per click [PPC] which as the name implies is not free and search engine optimization [SEO] which is organic and free. As with most strategies, there are pros and cons to both. Each of these strategies involve anticipating what your target audience may be looking for in search, organizing your thoughts around keywords related to those goals and publishing valuable information about those keywords.

PPC

Pay per click most often involves using Google AdWords [or Bing] to bid on keywords that are relevant to your target market. When someone searches for a keyword that you have ‘purchased’, you may show up in the ad space either on the top or the side of the search engine ranking page. Contrary to what most people believe, purchasing the keyword is no guarantee that you’ll show up — Google must still determine that the content to which you are pointing people is relevant to your keyword.  Also, there seems to be a natural bias against clicking on these paid ads and the bias becomes more profound as the age of the searcher gets younger. Searchers seem to favor the kind of organic results that come from an SEO campaign.

SEO

Search engine optimization has no upfront cost like PPC but it requires many of the same skills in terms of determining a keyword strategy and it requires that the content publisher be mindful of concepts like technical seo, on-page optimization and off-page optimization.

While PPC is paid and SEO is ‘free’, SEO still involves a lot of time and effort [and everyone knows time is money] so regardless of which strategy you choose, you should have the resources necessary to stick with a campaign for the long haul and by that I mean that it may take between 3-6 months before you see a return on your effort.

Warning! Content shock ahead

Both aspects of search engine marketing require having great content on your site for those who actually find you. Be aware that if you’re looking to get found in search, you’ll need to work hard. Free high-quality content abounds on the internet and you’ll need to create incredible content if you’re hoping to get found. One of my trusted sources Brian Dean of Backlinko recently said this: “If you’re not a good storyteller, learn the skill or hire someone that does. If you don’t, you’re going to have a tough time getting anyone’s attention in 2016.”

In his post Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy, author Mark Schaefer warns about the supply and demand reality of content marketing…

content shock

In the post I referenced, Mark says:

According to Nielsen and other sources, the amount of content we consume on a daily basis has grown from two hours a day in the 1920s to nearly 11 hours per day today. Propelled by mobile devices, the average amount of content we consume on a daily basis has gone up by two hours a day just in the last three years!

How much higher can this go? 12 hours a day? 13? Who knows. But there is some limit.

On the supply side of the equation, the amount of information on the web is expected to increase by 500 percent (conservatively) in the next five years. If you can imagine how big the Internet is, in the next five years, we are going to have five of those.

Do you think it is going to be a little more difficult to be successful in content marketing?

Thought leaders of the future hoping to get found in search will not only need to create amazing content but they will also need to use platforms that are hyper-optimized for search. It’s no longer enough to just produce amazing content — EVERY aspect of your online presence will need to be amazing if you’re hoping to get found.

If you’re not certain that your website is sound from a technical perspective, I encourage you to take advantage of my free seo audit — it can either give you the peace of mind that you’re good to go or let you know what you’ll have to fix before you are. Then, and only then, will you be able to proceed with your search engine marketing or content marketing campaign knowing that you’re making a good investment.

7 reasons why I love Buffer

Here are the 7 reasons why I love Buffer!

7 reasons why I love Buffer

I’m coming up on the 4th anniversary of the day that I started using Buffer and I love it so much that I tell people if you only purchase one tool to help you manage social media, Buffer should be the one!

Why such a strong recommendation for Buffer?

These are the features that ring my bell right now [although there are many more!]

  • Buffer is completely cross platform and it runs on my mobile devices just as well as the desktop [although there are some functions that are only available at the desktop level!].
  • Buffer is cost effective — my plan costs only $10 per month to manage a dozen social media accounts and up to 200 posts at a time.
  • Buffer shares images flawlessly across platforms so it makes no difference if you’re posting to Facebook, Google+, Linked, Twitter or Pinterest, Buffer will do it right.
  • Buffer recently added an ‘optimal timing tool’ that will get you the best exposure for your content.
  • Buffer has a power scheduler that will allow you to automagically share content in the future, again with the idea in mind of increasing exposure for your content.
  • Buffer has a new tool for creating eye-catching quotes called Pablo. Watch the video to see how it works.
  • Buffer has ‘happiness heroes’ that offer some of the best technical support in the world. In four years I have never had a single bad experience with them.

Watch this to see how these features work:

Questions? Feedback? Comments? Please engage me using the content form below or head on over to Buffer now and get started.

7 reasons why I love Buffer

How to write the perfect blog post

It’s not enough to write the perfect blog post if you want to get found. You have to write well AND remember on-page seo. Here are 1,000 words on the topic in the form of an infographic. If you have questions or feedback, please engage me in the comments…

Click To Enlarge

Anatomy of a Blog Post

Via Salesforce

If you want to get found you must do the work

The Field of Dreams

There is only one ‘site’ in the world that magically attracts visitors with no marketing. It’s called the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA. 😀 “If you build it they will come” only works here — it does not work with websites.

At the risk of bursting your bubble, if YOU want to get found YOU must do the work or find someone to do it for you! In my work as a web developer, content marketer and search engine optimizer, I find that there are three essential things that every website must cover to increase the chances of getting found in search. They are:

If you want to get found you must do the work

3 essentials you must cover if you want to get found

  1. Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
  2. Content marketing
  3. Social media

SEO

Search engine optimization actually has 3 subsections. They are:

  1. Technical SEO
  2. On page SEO
  3. Off page SEO

Breaking things down a little further, you can find all the elements of these three SEO issues in this periodic table of SEO elements from Search Engine Land.

The periodic table of seo success factors

Technical SEO tactics include but are not limited to the following

  • Adding a site to the Google Search Console
  • ‘Forcing’ Google to crawl the site and eliminating Google crawl errors
  • Adding a sitemap to the Google Search Console
  • Adding structured data to the Google Search Console
  • Eliminating 404 errors
  • Using 301/302 redirects
  • Eliminating duplicate content and canonical issues
  • Website speed
  • Mobile-friendly status

And that is just the start! However, if you want to be sure that Google can clearly understand your site, either you or someone acting on your behalf must address these issues. Once your site is cleared for technical SEO, you can proceed to creating content or blogging with on page SEO in mind. For on page SEO, I rely heavily on one plugin from Yoast called the Yoast SEO plugin. In the following two screenshots, you can get a feel for how Yoast ‘coaches’ me through the writing process by making sure I use on page SEO in my posts. You can click the images to enlarge.

yoast seo panel 1

yoast seo panel 2

Here is a partial list of some of the on page SEO issues you need to track whether or not you use Yoast:

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Schema markup tags
  • Open Graph Tags
  • Sitemaps
  • Htags

Perhaps now you understand why I let Yoast coach me through the process! Finally, we come to off page SEO. Off page SEO is a ‘simple, but not easy’ process of getting links with more authority than your site to link to you. There are legitimate and illegitimate ways to do this. Do list your site in online directories, establish Google publishership, etc. but don’t hire someone who promises you 5,000 high quality inbound links on Twitter. Google doesn’t like those kind of things and you may be penalized because of it. Instead, consider these insights by Andy Crestodina and Brian Dean who offers the ‘Definitive Guide to Linkbuilding‘ and then chart your course carefully!

What are the consequences of not doing the work?

A recent study from Raven Tools indicated that the average site has approximately 4,500 errors. I asked Jon Henshaw, co-founder of Raven what is the consequence of not fixing technical and on-page SEO errors. Here’s his response:

Many people start their SEO process with content and link building, but they should really start their optimization with their site first. The real life consequences of not fixing on-page SEO issues first is that their site probably won’t rank as well as it could.
It’s okay if there are some things you can’t fix on your site. In fact, that’s a reality for most webmasters. But fixing as many issues as possible could mean the difference between showing up on page one versus page two, or showing up above or below a competitor. If you can address all or most of the essential on-page SEO items I listed in this presentation, then you should be good to go.
The Site Auditor study we released is meant to be a wake up call for SEOs and webmasters. They have a lot of issues with their sites, and if they don’t fix most or all of them, then they’re ultimately leaving money on the table for themselves and for their clients.”
Ponder this for awhile – “fixing as many issues as possible could mean the difference between showing up on page one versus page two, or showing up above or below a competitor” – and you’ll understand why I’m so passionate about helping clients fix the technical issues with their sites!

 

Content Marketing

When — and only when — you have addressed SEO should you begin your content marketing campaign. Until you are certain that your site is being crawled by Google and that you have done everything you can to remove barriers to communication should you engage in content marketing — unless you do, your site will have all the impact of a billboard in the desert.

Is your website a billboard in the desert?

Unfortunately, implementing all the articles about X number of things you can do to improve your content marketing are somewhat of an exercise in futility until clear communication with Google is established and verified and all your effort will have the impact of one hand clapping. Do the work so you know that your efforts will have a return on investment.

Social Media

Although recently Google has made it clear that it really doesn’t include signals from social media in search, social media still plays a vital role in getting your content in front of people who may not see it otherwise. Personally, my favorite social network is Google+ [although I may be in the minority on that one] followed by Twitter. I tend to favorite these two because they are the only ones that Google’s search engine can fully index so whatever I post there may also show up in search. I also use a Facebook Page and LinkedIn page as well. I normally post social media content to my Google+ Page using Buffer and then let another utility called Friendsplus.me automatically post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter automagically.

What are the next steps?

As part of my practice, I offer a free SEO audit that will tell you how your site stacks up including information on the type and number of technical errors you have, the authority of your domain — even information as to how your competition is doing. Follow this link to read more about the offering — then you’ll have the knowledge you need to either fix the technical issues or proceed with your content marketing and social media campaigns with peace of mind knowing your efforts will be rewarded by Google. At the end of the day, your site and content must be in alignment with the Google Webmaster Guidelines; whatever you offer that Google doesn’t rank is lost margin. Whatever you don’t offer that Google does rank is an opportunity for someone who may be producing content that’s not as good as yours but does Google better. Don’t be that guy!