Archive for the ‘link building’ Category

Are Your Business Directory Listings Up-to-Date?

Business Directory Listings are an easy way to add some SEO linkbacks to your website. They are also a great way for people to find you when searching for businesses in specific areas. But there are hundreds of business directories that you can get listed in, and keeping your information up-to-date can be cumbersome.

Out-of-date information can hurt SEO

If you have information out there that is not up-to-date, it can be seen as a dead SEO link. It’s important to do a periodic review of these listings to make sure your address, phone, email and business description are all the same.

We have moved, so nothing has changed

Do not assume that because you haven’t moved that nothing has changed. Some of these sites allow visitors to change listings, and sometimes visitors make mistakes in an attempt to be helpful. It’s still important to check out the information that is published about you.

Aggregate business listing sites often get it wrong

Sites like ZoomInfo or Pipl crawl the internet and compile information about businesses. They often get the information wrong so it is crucial to check these regularly.  A great example is for Landau Design. There is a company overseas with the same name, and ZoomInfo put all our information together into one listing. That means their employees and our employees were both listed, and our offices were shown as two locations for the same business. Some of the most popular aggregate business listing sites:

Services to help keep up-to-date

There are some really helpful services that can help keep you up-to-date. You do have to pay for them, but in exchange they can save you time.

  • For as little as $39 Universal Business Listings will manage keeping your listings on track. They will also submit your business information to hundreds of directories that you may not already be a part of.
  • Yext allows you to scan listings and it will tell you which ones have erroneous information. You can pay them to fix specific listings or all of them. If you want to save $$$, you can just use their scanning service as a way to point out errors, then you can go to each site and fix the listing yourself.

Commenting on Blogs Can Get You SEO Link Points

According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere, 184 million people in the world have started a blog. With that many people engaging in regular posting, blogs have become a standard way of discussing topics of interest. Regularly commenting on blogs can be a valuable tool for building relationships and gaining SEO links in the major search engines.

How do comments build relationships?
When you regularly read and comment on the same blog, that blog’s owner is likely to take notice. In many cases, this can establish a relationship between you and the blog owner, almost in the same way that having regular discussions with a coworker might. This connection can be established in as little as a few weeks, and can lead to offline discussions and networking opportunities for each of you. If there is a person you want to make a business connection with, but they are a stranger, seeking out the person’s blog and regularly posting comments is an excellent way to open the door.

How can comments build SEO Links?
The more links you have to your website, the higher your page rank is going to be. Comment on blogs is a great way to increase your link count.

When commenting on blogs, you don’t have to use your real name when you post. Instead, using your name followed by a keyword will help gain some search engine indexing (for example: Bonnie the Web Designer). Most blogs will give you the option of linking back to a web site when you leave a comment. Be sure to take advantage of this option by entering your URL. It even better to link to a specific page in your site that you’re trying to get indexed using the keyword you’ve chosen.

How do I find blogs to comment on?

  • Word of Mouth
  • Blog directories
  • Following people on Twitter
  • Using keywords in search engines

Does the topic of the blog matter?
It is going to be considered a more relevant link if the topic of the blog relates to your business. But even blogs that are unrelated give you a link back to your site. So if you’ve chosen to comment on a blog for your hobby, let’s say, still use the strategy of your name + keyword to gain a link back to your site.

Aren’t Blogs No-Follow Links?
It’s true that the default for some blog platforms (like WordPress), is to have no-follow links. But serious bloggers often override the default and switch to do-follow links. They do this to encourage commenting since they know people are more likely to comment if it has a positive effect on SEO. Serious bloggers will say if their comments are do-follow are not. Simple Web Toolbox is a do-follow link blog.

Link Building Efforts Should be Real, not Fabricated

When it comes to a small business website, a significant SEO strategy is your best bet towards driving up visits from online search results. A major component of your SEO strategy should be link building, which means getting links TO your website from other online sources. Unfortunately some companies fall into the misnomer that buying links can easily increase the inbound link numbers, and positively effect search results.

Google has caught on to bought links

Google has gotten so wise to the purchased link market that they will hold it against you. Websites who have a lot of purchased, or spam, links, will be kicked out of Google all together. Google is so serious about this that many blogs have no-follow on their ad links in order to let Google know “this is a bought link, so please don’t count it.” It’s a way to still buy advertising, but not have it held against you in Google.

Fabricated links are obvious to Google

Many companies purchase the services of an SEO company, not realizing that these so-called experts are engaging in “black-hat” or “fake” SEO that could actually hurt their search engine rankings. Some examples of fabricated SEO efforts:

  • Putting random comments on blogs to try and gain a back link. We receive dozens of these daily, often the same poster putting the exact same comment on different blog posts. We use Askimet, which is a plugin that weeds out fake comments, so these comments never go live on our blog.
  • Buying advertising on parked domains. These pages are often structured around a particular topic so it looks like you’ve gained a pertinent link, but Google is wise to these spam pages and will count these bought links against you.
  • Adding your company to link farms. These are sites that are created to appear as if they are a business directory, when in fact they are simply a huge directory of outbound links.
  • Duplicating content across the net. This would mean taking the same article and publishing it over and over into many article directories so you can get the in-bound links within the articles. Google is wise to over duplication of content.
  • Keyword stuffing pages. Putting to many of the same keyword on a page on your site in an effort to increase the relevance. A keyword density of more than 7% is considered keyword stuffing.

Link building strategies should be authentic

When you set out to gain links into your site, you must find authentic ways to do so. The following provides examples of authentic ways to build your inbound links:

  • List your company in online business directories that are pertinent to your industry.
  • Comment on blogs that you have honest, valuable comments to contribute to the subject being discussed.
  • Create a Squidoo or Hubpages page about a topic pertinent to your business and of interest to others.
  • Comment on message boards pertinent to your business arena.
  • Write interesting articles and publish them in online article directories.

Rule of thumb

When engaging in a link building strategy, just ask yourself, “Is this content adding value?” This should be your rule of thumb when deciding on how to gain links into your website. If you are putting the link merely to get a link back, this may be risky. If you are putting the link to generate useful content, then continue on!

Learn SEO From Your Competitors

SEO can be a confusing and time-intense process, and many of our clients ask over and over where they should focus next. While it would be great if we could implement dozens of SEO tasks, the truth is, it’s much easier to focus on one or two directions at a time. Your search engine competitors can be a wealth of information for honing your SEO strategy.

Find your search engine competitors

Search engine competitors are different than industry competitors. Search engine competitors are the URLs that come up when you search using the keywords you are optimizing for. They may or may not be in your same industry, they are simply the sites that come up based on the search terms entered.

For example, let’s say you provide water damage restoration services. You might search under “water restoration” and see who comes up at the top of Google. The sites who come up on top are your search engine competitors. When I type in this term, I get companies that provide these services, but also an insurance company ranked at #3. So they are your search engine competitor, even though their company does not provide the same services.

If you want to hone in a more localized search, you might put in “water damage Los Angeles” and see who your search engine competitors are for a localized search. It is easier to rank for a localized search, so if you are not well indexed, I would start by analyzing local search engine competitors.

What do I do when I find my competitors?

Choose 2-3 competitors whose sites have good SEO ranking. Once you have made your choice, use the following criteria to analyze the SEO optimization of their website:

1) Content: Where are they using keywords in their content. Use these free keyword density tools to analyze the content and see what the percentage of occurrence is for important keywords. Have they done anything clever with their content in order to weave in keywords. For example, perhaps they show a map with links to city names in order to help get optimized for specific locals.

2) Meta Tags: Right click on the web page and select “view source” in order to see the HTML code for the page. At the very top of the page you will see meta tag information for that specific page. Here you can see if they have input keyword and description meta information to let the search engines know more about the page. SEO rumor has it that this information is no longer important for search engine ranking, but analyze your competitor’s sites to be sure. If they aren’t using it, and they are ranking high, chances are you can skip it too.

3) Title: The title of the page is considered the most important SEO element above all else on the page. The title is at the very top of the browser window, not necessarily the headline shown within the body content of the page. It is important to include keywords in your title. How well have they integrated the keywords into the page title?

4) Heading Tags: Otherwise known as H1, H2 and H3 tags, heading tags on a page are considered more important content than the regular body text. Does your competitor use these heading tags in order to highlight content? If so, have the woven in their keywords? What keywords have they used?

5) Inline links: Inline links refer to links within body text. Joomla web design is an inline link to the Landau Design website using the words “Joomla web design”. Search engines consider inline links to be much more important than non-linked text. Inline links from body content are the most valuable types of in-bound links for your site (if they come from a page that is of relevant content). Does your competitor use inline links to interlink content on their site which would emphasize specific keywords to help with indexing?

6) Content for SEO: Do they have information on their site that boosts their keyword optimization? For example, if they  provide business coaching for entrepreneurs, do they have articles on their site that talk about business growth strategies?  Do they have a blog that is always adding additional content, which would further index them under optimum keywords?

7) Research their in-bound links: We’ve never found a tool that is 100% reliable for this, but it’s worth it to use some of the tools out there to discover your competitor’s in-bound links. Researching inbound links gives you an idea of how many links they have coming into their website. Read Building on Your Competitor’s Links to learn how to find and utilize this information.

Conclusion

Your competitors can teach you a lot about SEO, and give you a clear direction for where to focus your SEO efforts. We would suggest choosing one competitor each week whose site you analyze in order to glean new ideas for your own SEO strategy.

How to Share Your Blog in Cyberspace

You put a lot of effort to write your blog, but how do you get people to come and read it? Social media outlets are very effective in reaching viewers, but can sometimes take more time than you have. If you want an effective blog sharing strategy, consider using blog and bookmarking directories for spreading the news about your valuable posts.

What is a blog directory?
Blog directories are like a phone book for blogs. People submit their blog URL into specific categories in the directory, so all your blog content gets indexed. You only have to submit it once, which means it’s a quick and easy way to share your blog.

Once in the directory, users who are looking for specific information will come and search for content, and if they are looking for your content genre, you will have easily gained some new readers. Some of the most popular blog directories include:

Sometimes an individual creates a private directory, and while it may not get as many eyeballs as the commercial ones, the users it gets tend to be more engaged. A great example is the Directory for Bloggers by The Brave Programmer (Robert Bravery).

What is a bookmarking directory?
There are many sites that are bookmarking directories, which means they are indexing specific URLs of specific blog posts. These sites you have to submit your blog posts one at a time. The advantage of bookmarking directories is that they are part of the social media world, so you can have buttons on your blog that allows your readers to submit your content as well. All these sites have submission counters, so the more a specific blog post is submitted, the higher it is ranked in the bookmarking directory index.

Users come to the bookmarking directories and browse posts in specific categories. Again, an excellent way to gain some new readers. Some of the most popular bookmarking directories include:

Digg.com

StumbleUpon


Buzz


Delicious

Consistently submitting your posts to the bookmarking directories is also a very effective way to continually add link backs to your blog.

Keep track of your progress
If you are going to utilize a directory strategy, be sure to track where you have submitted your blog. In this way you can hand off submission responsibilities to others without worrying about duplicating effort. Also, watch your traffic analytics to track how many people are finding your blog through places you’ve submitted. This will give you a great idea of what types of directories are most likely to bring you new visitors.