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Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

How Press Releases Can Keep Your Content Fresh

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Search engine giant Google has updated its algorithm and determined that it will reward sites which provide fresh content with higher rankings. What does this mean to you? Sites which provide visitors with timely information are more likely to show up in the first page of search engine rankings.

One way you can keep your content fresh and be ranked higher on Google is by using press releases. Once written, they can be posted on your own website or submitted to distribution services. If you are posting press releases on distribution sites you will want to make sure you have a link back to your own main page to drive traffic to your website.

What kind of content can you put in a press release? You can share anything that your customers or readers will find interesting. If your company has won an award or been recognized in some way, you can include this information in your press release. If your company has conducted a survey or a study, you could release the results in a press release. A change in personnel, a product launch or a special promotion can be covered in this manner as well.

Since the goal of writing a press release is to share something newsworthy, plan to use this strategy regularly. (It is extremely frustrating for visitors to your website to click on the News page and find that the last entry was in 2007.) When done properly, issuing press releases regularly can be an effective way to drive new visitors to your website  as well as increasing the likelihood that you will achieve a higher search engine ranking.

Find out more about how press releases can help your business by calling (416) 226-8676 today.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Great Content Defined

Monday, November 7th, 2011

You may have heard the expression, “Content is king,” but how do you know great content when you see it? First of all, it’s not about having a content writer string a bunch of keywords together while making sure that the sentence kinda makes sense. Great content is written for humans as well as search engines, and here are some ways you can tell if what you are looking at is high quality or simply run of the (content) mill fodder.

Great Content is Informative

Great content covers the bases and has its facts straight. If it is referring to another source of information, it does so specifically. There are no third hand, once removed allegations that “someone” has made; great content has been written by someone who has done his or her homework.

Great Content can be Entertaining

Not all great content invites you to pull up a chair and put on your Thinking Cap to get its message across. If your content engages the reader by making him or her laugh (or at least smile), you are well on your way to having that person think highly of your business and what you are trying to promote. Something amusing does tend to stick in the reader’s mind once he or she has clicked away, and you definitely want your content to be noteworthy.

Great Content Provides Solutions

A person looking for information online is searching for a solution to a question or a concern that he or she is facing. Great content provides the information that the Internet user is looking for, in bite-sized servings. Give your site visitors relevant information they can use, and they are more likely to bookmark your site and look to it as the “go to” place for information.

Great content speaks to the Internet user and provides value to the reader in some manner. It needs to be prepared by an expert craftsman, and Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak is well versed in how to make your content great. Contact Ray today at 416-226-8676 for a free, personalized assessment of your content needs and how to distinguish yourself from the competition through great content.

If search engine marketing doesn’t work, try “remarketing”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Have you ever considered applying this principle to search engine marketing? It’s called “remarketing.”

Traditionally, anyone struggling to convert customers using paid search, i.e. Google AdWords ad boxes, will try to rectify the problem by changing ad copy, conducting more keyword research and so on. Doing so is often the right choice but sometimes all you need is a little persistence.

Just as the salesperson who just won’t quit sometimes makes a sale by returning to a target who already said no, the same strategy can make search remarketing effective.

Remarketing is, literally, remarketing your ads specifically toward customers who have already rejected or “bounced” from your site. The process involves attaching special tracking cookies to past visitors, “following” them as they continue to search and remarketing with new ads targeted specifically to them.

The first reaction may be to worry about the ethics of such a strategy. Is it really fair to follow someone after they leave your site? The key is to associate your remarketed web ads only with a select number of similar keywords and websites. That way, though you’re taking another shot at the customers who spurned you, you’re still only reaching out to them when they’re still searching for products and services similar to what you offer. If customer X opts not to buy your power tools and wants to comparison shop instead, it’s not overly invasive to attract their attention with a new power-tool ad while customer X is still searching for power tools.

Remarketing increases your conversions by essentially “unbouncing” your bounce rate. It also raises brand awareness for your business, as it gives customers the sense that your site is popular, authoritative and ubiquitous. It’s the equivalent of a billboard you keep seeing all over town. It gets you thinking about that brand, doesn’t it?

Consider trying some remarketing today. Since the process can be a bit challenging to implement for first-timers, hiring a specialized web content development company to help might be a good idea.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

The Wrong Stuff: The danger of keyword stuffing

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I love stuffing. My Thanksgiving turkey will be packed with it this weekend. But keyword stuffing – also known as keyword spamming – makes you a turkey in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Any overzealous SEO Copywriter or website owner can easily make this mistake. It’s common that we think we’re doing ourselves a huge favor by stuffing our pages with as many keywords as possible. Unfortunately, doing so often hurts more than it helps. Here are three key reasons why keyword stuffing can hurt your bottom line.

1. It kills your readability. Last week, we discussed the “aural test” and how readability is crucial to your site’s success. A page overloaded with keywords has no shot of passing the aural test! Overstuffed copy is nonsensical, overly dense, totally unnatural and extremely unappealing to the eye.

Content overstuffed with keywords turns off readers, confuses them, and sends them running. In theory, the keywords may help you in search engine results and increase your traffic, but that traffic will rarely convert. Too many keywords means lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates. Keyword-saturated content may look overly robotic, less human, and will make it harder for potential customers to trust you. Looking “spammy” kills your readability.

2. Google isn’t stupid. The funny thing about keyword stuffing: in the modern search-engine landscape, it may not even increase your traffic. Search engines like Google care more and more about quality content these days, including relevant, authoritative and engaging content. There’s nothing engaging about nonsensical copy loaded with keywords. Coming across like a robot will hurt you in the rankings, not help you.

3. Time is money – and keyword stuffing takes time. Bloating your site with keywords means spending far more time and capital on SEO. Since the excess keyword research and work won’t even help your site in the long run, committing oodles of time and resources to keyword stuffing may make you lose money.

In a nutshell, don’t sacrifice readability for possible search engine rankings.  That said, being too conservative, as in using too few keywords, does you no favors. So, what’s an SEO to do? A good rule of thumb to follow: try for no more than one keyword phrase for every 100 words of web content.  Use synonyms, singular and plural instances of your keywords. Focus on sounding ‘natural.’  Doing so will keep your keyword total healthy and relevant while also preventing you from alienating your audience.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

If you can publish it on the web, you can optimize it

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Arguably, most people with a decent understanding of search engine optimization associate the process primarily with “typical” web content. To improve your PageRank, you embed relevant keywords in your web copy, you work on your title tags, you engage in link building campaigns, and so on.

But, sometimes, we forget that anything publishable online can be optimized. Because these types of files – like PDFs – are more difficult to manipulate than others, we often overlook them when it comes to SEO. Don’t! Using PDFs as an example, let’s explore how and why you can make any publishable web file work for you in the search results.

As Google explains, though it encounters non-HTML files like PDFS (or spreadsheets), it still incorporates them into its algorithms. The modern incarnation of Google is more about finding relevant, engaging content than anything else. Even if it takes more effort, Google will seek out any quality content – even from alternative sources like PDFs.

So how do those robots do it? As Google explains, “The general rule of thumb is that if you can copy and paste the text from a PDF document into a standard text document, we should be able to index that text.” Any PDF without password protection or encrypted copy can be indexed.

Though images in PDF files aren’t indexed, links are. The algorithms treat links in PDF just like HTML links and factor them into PageRank.

To maximize your PDFs’ effectiveness in optimizing your site, I recommend that you:

1. Avoid duplicate content between PDF and HTML. Google much prefers a single copy of a given piece of content. Naturally, some sites or businesses need two copies to cater to different types of readers. If so, it’s a good idea to at least include a preferred URL in your Sitemap.

2. Work to influence the title shown for your document. Make sure the metadata pertaining to the PDF and any anchor text pointing to it are up to date and reflecting the title you want shown with your PDF in search results.

Make non-HTML files like PDFs and PowerPoint part of your web content strategy! Understand that they can be your friend, not your enemy, and they can help your SEO just as much as any content.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriter expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Promote your endorsements

Monday, August 1st, 2011

If you want people to know how wonderful you are, let other people brag about you.  And you can do that easily through sites like Yelp! and Google Places.

Just ask
If you’ve done great work that your client appreciates, all you have to do is ask and, typically, they’ll be happy to write a glowing review of your performance and post it on whatever review site you request.  Then all you have to do is provide instructions on how to navigate through the review site to get the endorsement published.

Think about it
Those reviews are like gold. Think about it. What’s more powerful: you extolling your virtues at a networking meeting or a valid third-party endorsement posted where potentially thousands of people can see it? The answer’s obvious, isn’t it?

Not just numbers
But it’s not just the number of people who read it that counts; it’s the power of third-party endorsement. People will trust the people who’ve actually used the product or service far more than they’ll trust the people who are selling it. And the more people you have endorsing you on Yelp!, Google Places and other review sites, the more your listing will stand out from others.

No time for modesty
Yet we usually let satisfied – even thrilled – customers slip away without asking them to share what they know about us online. And that’s a shame.  Because this is not a time for false modesty that will cost you in the long run.

Ask for the endorsement
Maybe I shouldn’t mention this, because it never happens, but I was fortunate recently to receive an endorsement from a client of mine – Public Speaking Coach and Trainer, Thomas Moss – in the form of an entire blog post that I didn’t ask for and wasn’t expecting. You can check it out here. But remember, that very rarely happens  If you’re in business, you know you have to ask for the sale. Well, you have to ask for the endorsement or online review too.

Promote your reviews
And when your customers say “Yes”, and they usually will, yell it out from the rooftops, take out a full page ad in your local paper or, better still – and infinitely less expensive – make it a part of  your online copy and marketing efforts by creating a ‘Testimonials’ section on your website. Mention and provide a link to the review on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Remember, happy customers are almost always glad to provide glowing testimonials.  In most cases, it’s simply a matter of asking.

Just do it!
One last point: I know some people won’t ask for reviews because they’re afraid the client might say something negative. That very rarely happens, particularly if you request reviews from satisfied customers. And if for some strange reason it does happen, the impact will be minimized if it’s surrounded by glowing words of praise from other satisfied customers.

Need an online copywriter?
Toronto-based web content and online copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

The key(s) to success in local SEO

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Something about the summer gets me thinking about the concept of local. Maybe it’s the buying roadside corn or visiting mom-and-pop general stores on the way to the cottage. But this time of year just feels like the right time to talk about local SEO, doesn’t it?

Making your website a force in local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves often following different parameters than you do for general  and/or global SEO. Specific details like your physical address are extremely important. You’re not directing customers to a “store locator” or one of 50 locations. You’re telling them exactly where to find you.

Think about the importance of marketing a local business offline. You’d better give the right directions, list the right phone number, and generate positive word of mouth. Principles like those apply to web development for local SEO. Keep those in mind when remembering these general tips to follow:

1. Make sure your actual listing is thorough and accurate. With local listings, you can’t afford to be remotely wrong. Double and triple-check your address, including your postal code, and your phone number.

2. Make your presence felt on local listing sites. That goes beyond appearing in the Yellow Pages. Google Places, for example, is a key site for your local efforts. Not only will more people stumble upon you, the listing itself will also make your site more relevant to local searches according to search-engine algorithims and improve your PageRank.

3. Include relevant keywords and specifics about your product or service in your company name listing whenever possible. You can’t make your listing a million words long but be specific whenever you can. A listing like “MarketFresh health foods and organics” does much more for you than simply “MarketFresh.” If you’re a moving company, include the word “moving” in your company name.  If you’re a Moving Company in North York, it would be ideal to include both your service (moving) and service area (North York).  It’s about being relevant.

4. Reviews matter – and quantity over quality. More important than positive reviews is just reviews, period. Which business listing connotes an authoritative and popular company: one with five glowing reviews or one with 80 reviews, 60 of which are positive and 20 of which are negative? It’s clearly the latter.

5. Embrace the “localness” of your listing. If you truly specialize in Toronto web copwriting, for example, say so in your listing. You’ll appeal more to the actual market you covet. Also, avoid 800 numbers or any other details that come across as cold, corporate, and non-local.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Why you can’t forget about mobile devices in SEO

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Every time a new wave of technology arrives, certain prehistoric thinkers brush it off at first, assume it will be a fad, choose to ignore it, and wind up behind the competition. Plenty of business owners made that mistake with search engine optimization. Most came around once they realized that a website is just as important as any other outlet that promotes or sells a given product or service.

Is it time to ask the same question about mobile SEO? In truth, mobile SEO doesn’t exist as a pure entity. Companies don’t have separate sites that are only accessible via smartphones and require their own set of search-engine parameters and keywords.

However, we also can’t ignore that mobile devices are outselling traditional computers now. If you think of a website on a phone screen as just another tiny computer and not a separate portal, alarm bells may go off. If there are more tiny computers than big ones out there, and those tiny computers are connected to the same SEO you use on the big computers, you better not ignore the tiny ones, right?

To be more concise, business owners have to optimize their websites not just for desktops and laptops anymore, but also for mobile devices. Last week, I stressed the importance of click-throughs, bounce rates and conversions as sometimes-overlooked components of SEO. To maximize your site’s optimization for mobile phones, consider two of those factors in particular: bounce rate and conversions.

Your keywords and title tags aren’t particularly affected by mobile devices. A Google search on your iPhone is a Google search on your desktop computer. Your PageRank and clickthroughs on a phone should in theory be the same.

But failing to optimize your site for mobile devices can hurt your bounce rate and conversions. If you haven’t customized your windows to make them easy and convenient to navigate on smartphones, potential customers may grow frustrated and leave your site, or “bounce.” For business owners who use their website for actual business transactions, you better make sure your checkout system is also customized and easy to use on a smartphone. Your site must be engaging and usable enough to keep them.

Don’t think of mobile SEO as a separate web development project. It’s an extension of your all-important online SEO efforts!

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

The great PageRank fallacy

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Imagine two bigwig CEOs at a summer barbecue, bragging about their accomplishments.

The first CEO trumpets, “Did you see the Super Bowl ad for my product? It got 100 million viewers. The most watched ad in history.”

“That’s great,” the second CEO says. “Mine only got half that. But how are your sales?”

The first CEO shuffles his feet awkwardly. “Well, our product is defective. And our ad didn’t really tell people much about what it does. So sales aren’t good.”

“Well, fancy that,” smirks the second CEO. “Barely anyone watched my ad but we told people exactly where to get my product and people love what we do, so my sales are through the roof!”

Maybe that analogy is a little elaborate – but it applies to the fallacy of PageRank in web content today. So much of search engine optimization is geared toward trying to rank as high as you can in organic search results. To an extent, the principle makes sense. If you want business, people must be able to find you. Ranking at or near the top of search engine results is important.

But it’s only half the battle – at most. Too many business owners and website copywriters think their work is done when they achieve the lofty No. 1 PageRank slot on Google. But patting yourself on the back at that point means you’ve forgotten the true purpose behind everything. It’s about conversion rate. Three core principles are as important if not more important than PageRank if you want your website to truly be a successful extension of your business:

1. Conversion rate

What is more important than conversion rate, or the percentage of visitors to your site that actually “convert” or consume your product? You can have all the traffic in the world, just as CEO No. 1 had, but it won’t matter if no one buys your product or service.

2. Bounce rate

If your site is unappealing – out of date, difficult to navigate, slow, boring, or so on – it may “bounce” users from your site, or send them away as quickly as they arrived. If you don’t put work into your site to make it relevant, current and interesting, your potential customers will leave before you have a chance to convert them.

3. Clickthrough rate (CTR)

There’s still a crucial step between finding your site atop organic search results and actually visiting it: clicking. People still have to click your link. You thus can’t take title tags, headlines or any attention-grabbing information for granted. If searchers don’t know exactly what you’re offering in a few lines, they may drag their mouse (mice?) below you and click the second option.

I’m not saying PageRank isn’t important. It most certainly is. You can’t worry about the other three items on the list if no one finds your site in the first place. But the point is that people give PageRank too much clout. The truth is that it’s one quarter of four components that are crucial to a website’s success.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Video Testimonials let your clients promote you and boost your search rankings

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

In recent months, we’ve discussed the Google “Plus-1” era. Letting users “approve” a given web page by clicking a button, it further democratized the concept of organic search rankings. Most web content development companies rejoiced at the idea that search rankings could be less about gaming “the system” and more of a meritocracy in which the most relevant, authoritative, respected websites climbed the ladder.

Ultimately, the “Plus-1” concept is just the testimonial concept broken down to its simplest form. Users were just giving a simple click of a button but, in the process, were saying “this website works for me!” the same way we’d hear someone champion a soap brand in an old radio advertisement.

We’ve also learned recently that the Google algorithms favor sites with high user engagement. Well, what if you could kill two birds with one stone? Why not try a video testimonial?

Video testimonials are becoming more and more popular among Internet marketers because (a) most hostable video content is “sexy,” new, professional-looking and generally engaging to a user and (b) testimonials in any form have long been effective. Impulse buyers may consume your product or service without hesitation but the tougher market to crack, the educated shoppers, search for proof. They want to see, hear or read about other people who are satisfied with what you have to offer.

Obviously, shooting and posting video testimonials isn’t the most convenient practice. It takes time and co-operative customers willing to show their faces online. Luckily, outsourcing the process has become a realistic option.

Companies like See My Clients will confer with you, determine what message you want users to glean from your satisfied customers, and go out to get it for you. They’ll conduct the interviews and complete a polished video for you.

Testimonials are one of the most proven, effective routes to attracting new customers. They also satisfy search engine algorithms by adding to your site’s user engagement and authority. So, what are you waiting for? Hand the megaphone to your happy customers. They’ll promote you — and boost your SEO– in a way no one else can!

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based Content Writer and Local SEO Expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

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