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52

by Jayson DeMers



A variety of factors impact how well a page ranks in search engines, including quality of content, page meta descriptions, and the URL name. But for a busy professional, keeping up with algorithms and making sure every page on a business we
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bsite is optimized can be complicated. In light of the results of recent Google search ranking correlation studies conducted by Moz and SearchMetrics, businesses realize certain factors are more important than others when creating content with the intention of ranking well.
Since many businesses use WordPress for their websites and blogs, several plugins can be a big help. In minutes, a professional can have the WordPress installed on a WordPress site, creating a form that walks content creators through the process of adding optimized information like tags, descriptions, and search engine-friendly URLs. Here are some of my favorite WordPress plugins to assist with SEO meta elements.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Developed by Yoast, a firm that specializes in creating plugins that use "the art and science of website operation," WordPress SEO makes it easy to create optimized content. Simply type in the focus keyword for a piece of content and the plugin will count the number of times it appears in the headline, page title, page URL, content, and meta description. Users can also type in a meta description that replaces the default description captured by Google, allowing for a more concise description of the content to attract readers to the page.
2. WordPress Social Sharing Optimization
Abbreviated WPSSO, WordPress Social Sharing Optimization gives you greater control over the descriptions your page is given when it's shared on social media. It's one thing to add buttons to a page to encourage visitors to tweet, like, share, pin, or +1 an item, but if a sharer's post is merely a link, users are less likely to click it. WPSSO creates the code necessary to ensure that a site is optimized to take care of all of the latest sharing features of each supported social network. The plugin allows the user to check off all desired options, as well as create descriptions to be used when the item is shared on each social network.
3. All in One SEO Pack
With the All in One SEO Pack, WordPress users enjoy automatic meta-tag generation, XML sitemap generation and management, title and description editing, and more. A performance feature reviews a site and makes recommendations as to how it can be improved to better rank with search engines, as well as provide a better experience for those visiting the site. A free version of All in One SEO Pack has limited features. The pro version with advanced features is available for $39.99 plus $10 per month.
4. SEOPressor5
While it isn't free, SEOPressor5 conducts LSI keyword analysis on your content as you create it. You simply type in the keywords you want to optimize a page for, and the analysis tool monitors how well you're using it. If you want to change one of the keywords, you can change it throughout the content by only changing it within the plugin. Best of all, if you've overused a keyword, SEOPressor5 gives an over-optimization warning. In addition to ensuring your page content and descriptions are SEO optimized, SEOPressor5 helps with your link-building strategy by automatically linking relevant cross-linking content.
5. SEO Ultimate
With more than 20 modules available for free, SEO Ultimate has a dedicated meta description editor, designed to help create description tags for posts, pages, attachments, categories, tags, post format archives, and homepages. The tool also searches an entire page's content for anchor texts specified by the user, automatically linking the ones it finds to the destination the user chooses. Businesses can avoid penalties for over-optimization with SEO Ultimate's autolink control feature, which limits the number of times a post or page can link to the same destination.
Conclusion
Learning the different techniques to keep a business on track with its SEO marketing strategies can be time-consuming and frustrating, since algorithms change from year to year. These WordPress solutions equip businesses with the tools they need to create successful marketing campaigns through their WordPress sites quickly and easily. Because they're so affordable, even free in some cases, these plugins are the perfect addition to any business's WordPress CMS. Take a look at the infographic below to see how on-page elements correlate with organic search rankings, and you'll have a clearer idea of how and why SEO Wordpress plugins give websites an advantage when it comes to search visibility.




Via: AudienceBloom.com


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54

Google is the top search engine and is responsible for a large number of daily searches.In order to obtain high level placement on the search engines it is important to get a good site ranking from relevant content and keywords. Natural placement in search engine results are gained by creating quality content that answers questions peop...

40

by Mike Fleming



Can you imagine how happy your website users would be if they were always able to complete the tasks they c

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ame for easily and efficiently? Can you imagine how your bottom line would be affected?



A major problem with the way a website is planned and built is that it typically starts with decision makers and web developers/designers looking around at industry & competitor's websites - reacting favorably or unfavorably, creating their own version, suggesting changes and repeating until all decision makers are happy. Then comes site launch. This seems reasonable and normal.



So where lies the problem? No one ever finds out if what is built actually works for the users, which is kind of important, don't you think?! I mean, what if the competitors' websites you took some of your favorite ideas from don't actually work that well? You have no idea that's the case because you don't have their data. After all, just because you like how something looks doesn't mean it works.

See Through Your Users' Eyes



As humans, we tend to find it hard to accept that people don't see the world (and our website) the way we see it. We use certain language because that's what we know. We label things a certain way because that's how we identify them. Let's face it, we have trouble listening and adjusting to serve others based upon how THEY see the world.



Just the other day I was reviewing a client's new site concepts and noticed they used two call-to-action labels that illustrate this perfectly. The two labels were "Place a PO" and "Submit RFQ." Now, I'm not sure what percentage of their users would know exactly what these labels mean, but I'm quite sure it's not as close to 100% as they think it is (or as it could be).The meaning of both of these labels are common knowledge to those involved in the design of the site because they've been working with POs and RFQs for years. But, I can guarantee you that many of their users will experience a level of mental frustration if these were present on their site. Even if they're able to figure it out eventually by using the context of the labels, every bit of frustration you add to the user experience increases the chances of a user not converting and not coming back.



So, how do we get around this obstacle and find out what works and doesn't work for users on your website before you launch it? To use a technical term - usability testing.  Usability testing in simplified, non-technical terms is the cyclical process of observing users using your site, identifying a problem and fixing it!  Then, you repeat as necessary until it's all fixed (you have to watch the video to get the reference and have a good laugh).



You Don't Need Much



One of the misconceptions that people can have when they first come across the concept of usability testing for their website is that it's a long, drawn out process that requires tons of resources to accomplish. The truth is...it doesn't need to be. If you have the resources, by all means do the best usability testing you can afford. But if your resources are limited, you can do it with just these few things...





  • A desk, computer and two chairs


  • Screen recording software


  • 3 or 4 participants


  • And, a few hundred bucks to pay the participants for their time




But no matter what, just do it. It will help your bottom line.



Tips for Testing



Anytime you get started with something new, it helps to have some tips that will save you from learning lessons the hard way and help you get the most out of your efforts.Here are 8 things to keep in mind as you start with testing...

Participants


  • Use just a few per round. Especially at the beginning, you're looking for major problems. The chances are, you'll find enough of them within just a few participants to have plenty of notes and changes to implement. The thought here is to do many of rounds with a few participants per round. This way, you find big things quickly and have momentum on your side.



  • Don't worry about how perfectly participants match your target audience. Although the closer you can get the better. This shouldn't limit the timing or ability to test quickly. So, if you find it difficult to get participants that have the characteristics of your target audience, just get people that have used the web a decent amount (unless you have special exceptions). After all, your target audience would never be upset about things being too clear and easy. Heck, you could even recruit your friends and neighbors.




Observers


  • Use a "people person" to facilitate.These types of people are typically good listeners that are naturally inquisitive. They tend to be better with asking questions that will help draw out good feedback from participants and are better listeners for taking good notes. Select observers who are most likely to be "left-brain" thinkers to ensure insightful and analytical questions will be asked.



  • Attract as many spectators as possible.There's a very good chance that minds will be blown, and you want as many blown minds (especially among decision makers!) as you can get. The more you get key people around you to be exposed to the wonderful world of insights that come from usability testing, the more buy-in you'll get.This leads to more resources, better performance and (best of all) bigger paychecks!




What to Test


  • Big picture stuff. These are things that should be known by a user just by looking (and not doing anything). They should be able to tell you whose site it is, what is being offered, what sets the site apart from other competitive sites, what the site wants them to do, etc.



  • Tasks. Every time a user comes to a website, they are coming to complete a task. It may be to research, get support, download something, purchase, consume content or many other things. The holy grail of website performance metrics is "Task Completion Rate by Primary Purpose." This tells you if a user was able to complete their task and why or why not. Back to my opening question again - can you imagine how your bottom line would be affected if every user that came to your website was able to complete their task easily and efficiently? Like I said, the holy grail.



  • Competitors' sites. Yes, those sites that you're pulling your ideas from. Why not do some usability testing on them before you start building your new site so you know what types of things work and don't work? Use the things that work and neglect the things that don't work. Brilliance!



  • Your concepts. Before rolling a site out, test it at every stage and make adjustments until all of the big picture stuff is clear and people are easily able to complete major tasks that would be performed on the site.





Of course, usability testing can get more involved than this, but this will give you a start. Doing simple usability testing like this is waaaay better than doing none at all.



After testing these four things, I'll bet you the minds of those involved will be popping with insights about the site and ideas for avoiding problems. Now, instead of arguing around a table about what works and doesn't work, you can actually test and adjust until you know what works. Then, all that hard-earned money you're spending on marketing won't be pouring water into a leaky bucket!



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17

Cheering at the laptop.What was once MSN Live Search, transformed into Bing on June 3, 2009. In the major search engine hierarchy, Bing is one of the top three, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Google and Yahoo! And it works just like any other search engine--you enter a...

13

by Jayson DeMers



Anyone who has Googled him- or herself understands the power and mystique of search engine results. When you run an e-commerce business, where it lands in search rankings plays a critical role in how many people are exposed to your company
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and its services.
When businesses land near the top of the search results page for keywords related to their industries, users are much more likely to click on their pages, view their content, and learn about their products or services. The more visitors to the site, the more opportunities the company has to make sales and achieve high marketing ROI. 
To benefit from optimal search engine rankings (increased visibility, higher traffic, and improved sales), many effective tactics exist. If you incorporate these strategies into your websites as you build and maintain them, your business stands the best chance of SEO dominance over the competition.
Read on to learn how businesses use SEO to maximize their impact in their industries and boost the bottom line.
The best SEO optimization tactics for web design
Although companies can retroactively optimize their websites, DigiTech Web Design states "the most effective way to achieve high ranking is to build a site from scratch with SEO in mind." This enables the designer to incorporate a variety of techniques that will maximize the site's impact." Some of these techniques include:
1. URL structures. When creating URLs, make sure they adequately describe the subject matter of your content and contain keywords relevant to the topic. This gives search engines and visitors alike a clear idea of what the page will be about.
Also, keep URLs short and simple, using hyphens (not underscores) between words and keeping out unrelated characters or terms. 2. Responsive design. The most SEO-friendly sites are those that incorporate responsive design techniques to make them accessible for users of all types of devices. Building and maintaining separate mobile and desktop sites may present a complication with duplicate content, which e-commerce companies should avoid.
3. Descriptive navigation. Visitors should be able to navigate sites quickly and easily to find the information they need. With that in mind, web designers should not get too creative with the navigation bar location; place it across the top or along the left margin of the page.
Use flyout and dropdown menu bars with caution, because both robots and humans have more trouble navigating them. Text links are best, and sites should strive to use no more than 6 or 7 menu options on a page.
4. Image optimization. To make images SEO-friendly, edit them to the minimum size (often 20-100 kb) necessary for user visibility. Avoid using source code to shrink them; this has a negative impact on the length of time the page will take to load. Organic search rankings and user experience will suffer as a result.
When creating alt image text, make sure to use keywords in header images, logo images, graphics, and buttons on each page.
5. Page load times. Mobile users wait an average of 5 seconds for websites to load; desktop users only three. To keep pace with busy consumers, websites must load efficiently or risk losing businesses. 
To achieve faster page load times, companies can employ techniques such as enabling compression, browser caching, minimizing JavaScript and CSS, and sizing images correctly. Tools such as Google's PageSpeed Insights and WebPagetest can help you determine your website page load times.
6. Keyword research. Which keywords, phrases, and topics have potential customers researched with relation to your industry, product, or service? Google Keyword Planner helps businesses learn how their target market locates competitors, as well as identifying sub-categories that may apply to them.
Armed with valuable keyword data, companies can use this information to name and structure navigation bars - as well as product and category pages - for the most effective websites.
7. Sitemaps. XML sitemaps (for search engines) and HTML sitemaps (for website visitors) allow these entities to locate exactly what they need. It also allows Google to index your site thoroughly and efficiently.
How to use SEO techniques to maximize the impact of your content
Once companies have created the framework of their website, establishing and maintaining search engine-optimized content becomes a crucial activity. Content marketing techniques for SEO include:
1. Fixed content. Keyword-rich content, such as articles and blogs, should present high-quality writing and contain at least 400-500 words per article. The longer content remains on a site, the better ratings it receives from search engines.
2. Encourage linking. When businesses write compelling, unique, and useful content, readers are more likely to link to their articles from social media or blogs. Addressing misunderstandings or myths, discussing newsworthy topics, or raising questions for the public encourages engagement and sharing, and that will make your page show up more in search engine results.
3. Natural keyword use. When you use keywords in articles, blog posts, or page content, place them at the beginning of the content and not in nonsensical or repeating patterns throughout the page. Search engines will detect "keyword stuffing" that doesn't adhere to genuine language patterns.
4. Use built-in marketing messages. To ensure your company's contact information shows up on search engine indexes, replace links that read "Contact us" with ones that read "Contact [your company name]." This maximizes the number of times individuals will come in contact with your brand.
When it comes to search engine optimization, the companies that achieve the greatest success are those that combine technological know-how with content wordsmithing. If you pursue the above strategies, in a few steps your brand will be on its way to the top of the search engine rankings, not to mention the hearts and minds of your target audience!
How have you successfully leveraged SEO to achieve higher visibility and web traffic? 


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24

A link wheel is a tool for drawing traffic to the website or blog that you would like to use as a focal point for your various online efforts to make money, affiliate market, or just share your thoughts and ideas. Build a link wheel that will funnel...

13

by Mike Moran



Sometimes they email me out of the blue. Other times they come up to me after a speaking engagement. They always seem so appreciative for my help, but to me it is just giving back a blessing that I has been bestowed on me by others. They are une
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mployed or "in transition," as many call it these days. They have a good idea--they want to break into digital marketing. And they want to know how to do it. Let me lay it out for you.
When you are trying to break into any new field, you have the odds stacked against you--especially in a down economic environment. With so many people out of work, it's likely that some of them have exactly the background that an employer is looking for. So how do you stand out in that kind of crowded field?
Start with what the employer is looking for. First, lay it out in your mind, and be honest with yourself about what you can point to in your resume that says you have each one. Because you are changing your career, it makes sense that you will not have them all. Nevertheless, if the employer wants five things and you have none, that's a problem. If you have one or two of them, that's better, but still tough--three would probably be enough to talk your way past the last two with the right employer.
So just what is the right employer? Remember, many employers won't hire you unless they know you have done that job already, which is bad for those of you changing careers. Don't worry about them. You don't want to work for them anyway. What you want is to find the employer who will give you a chance when you have just three of five, but you need to really work your resume over and polish your answers. So you need to really think about what the five things are. Skills are always one of them, and might count for more than the others, but you need to emphasize your fit in other ways or people might be suspect of your skills. Here is a clue:
Role. Have you had this role before? Because you are changing careers, you haven't, so 0-1.Company size. Have you worked in this kind of environment before? If you have experience with large, small, and in-between, then great, but if most of your experience lies in a certain size, focus on that size for your job prospects. No sense telling employers that you don't have the skills and you have no experience with their size company if you can look for positions in situations you already know.
Industry. Have you worked in this industry before? If you are changing roles, it is easier to persuade employers that you can do it when you are in a familiar industry.People Skills. Does the job need them? You can make the argument that interacting with clients in social media is easy for you because of your sales experience, for example--you already know how to operate in public.
Teamwork. Everyone wants this even if they didn't ask for it, but make sure your answers and your resume show this off. You are trying to let people know you won't turn out to be a jerk.
Eagerness to learn and to face a new challenge. When you clearly don't have all of the skills, show them another situation where you succeeded when you didn't have all the skills. Show them that instead of sitting on your duff, you took a training class, for example. You get the idea.
There are probably more, but what you are trying to do is to broaden their thinking from just skills to all the other things they are looking for that they might not have thought about. You want to show them that even though you haven't done the job before,you are a lower-risk candidate than they thought. They are afraid that they will hire someone who will bomb, so you need to take away that fear.
For most people, all they need is a chance. If you can enlighten your prospective employer that you have most of what they want and are working on adding the latest skills, sometimes that will be enough, especially if you provide a discount off the typical salary for that role.
Good luck!
Originally posted on Biznology.




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15

Google ranks the results of its popular search engine with a proprietary algorithm. According to Google, their system weights hundreds of millions of factors in assigning a page rank to a given website for a particular search term. All of these var...

46

by Mike Moran



I often work with clients in an area that gets very little love, yet is critical for your website: Your own site's search function. We love to talk about Google and search engine optimization, but most of us spend almost no time optimizing our own site search. So few companies work on this capability that we are in danger of teaching visitors not to even bother using our site searc

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h. That's bad, because their alternative is to go back to Google and find someone else's site. One of the things that kills us over website search is that if we ask our customers what is wrong, they are likely to give us answers that don't help us. We must dig deeper than that, because if you really expect to optimize your marketing results, you can't ignore something this important.



One of the things that searchers will tell you if you ask them about why they hate your website search is that there are "too many results." You probably can guess that this isn't the real problem, if for no other reason than Google provides millions of results for every search keyword and no one ever makes this complaint. I wrote a post a few years ago to explain what searchers mean when they say too many results.



But a real problem that searchers never bring to your attention is not enough results. If you've spent no time optimizing your site search, try this little test. Go through your top one hundred searches and see what your search engine returns. You might be surprised at the results. In many cases, you won't see anything that seems like the right answer. That could mean that your search engine has a problem, but just as frequently, it is your content that is either missing from the site completely or so bollixed up that no search engine could ever find it for that keyword.



I wish that fixing these problems were as easy as it is to find them, but it's unfortunately rather complex, especially for larger sites. (That's why these clients have hired me to help.) But in Chapter 17 of the second edition of Search Engine Marketing, Inc., Bill Hunt and I walk you through how to diagnose what is wrong and what you can do to correct it.



There are three major steps in the process:



Determine the value of correcting the problem. You first must assess your situation and convince yourself that there is something wrong, that it's important to fix it, and that you are willing to spend the time and money to fix it because of the return you'll get on that investment.



Optimize your most popular search keywords. When I asked you to check the results of your most popular keywords above, admit it: you didn't even know how to find them. Don't be too upset with yourself--most people don't. So figure that out and then set out to create and optimize the right content for each keyword. Work your way as far down the list as you think makes sense, based on the level of effort and the return you expect. It might be the top 100 or the top 1000, but at some point you reach diminishing returns.



Tweak your technology and process to improve the remaining keywords. When I managed site search at IBM, we found that the top 1,000 keywords accounted for only 27 percent of all search volume. Clearly we needed to do something less manual for the rest of the keywords. The approach for your "long tail" keywords has to be about technology and process. You must focus on tweaking your search engine, your content management system, your e-Commerce system and other technology so that it does a better job. And you must address your content creation and update processes so that the content is search optimized from day one.



Again, this isn't simple, but it is critically important for most businesses. Some companies have increased their conversion rates by 25% just by addressing the simplest measures in website search optimization. Or you can keep doing what you are doing, which is subtly requesting that customers go away.



Originally posted on Biznology


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52

When website owners talk about finding domain names, they're talking about finding quality domain names that other people haven't registered yet. To own a domain name, you have to register it with the International Corporation for Assigned Names & Nu...

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