Posts Tagged ‘search engine optimization’

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 Digital 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.

5 Keys to Managing Your Social Media Campaign

Social media is everywhere and businesses today feel compelled to jump in. Some are using it to increase traffic to their website or blog, but many more are using it to establish a reputation as an expert. No matter your reason for using social media, how do you make sure you’re jumping into the right veins, and how do you know if it is getting you results?

I have create 5 simple keys to help you determine whether your goals and actions are in line with each other. Follow these steps to make certain you are not spinning your wheels with your online efforts.

1. Write down your goals and objectives

Determine your social media goals so you know what you are moving towards. Some goals might include:

Make your goals measurable so you know when you are moving towards them. For example, if you want to increase traffic to your site, you might say:

  • increase traffic by 300%, or
  • increase traffic by 1,000 visitors

2. Monitor your progress

How do you know if you are doing what you need to in order to achieve your goals? Come up with simple methods for tracking social media implementation so you know how much effort you are putting in. For example, if you are commenting on blogs, keep a spreadsheet of links to all blogs you’ve placed a comment.

If you are measuring traffic increase, be certain to install Google Analytics or something similar on your website so you will know how many people are coming, where they are coming from and what keywords they used to get to you.

3. Pay attention to the conversation

Whatever social media outlets you participate in, utilize tools that allow you to monitor mentions of you and/or your company. For example, HootSuite allows you to set up a column that shows each time your username has been mentioned on Twitter. You can also set up setup columns that show you every time a keyword or phrase have been mentioned, and in this way track mentions of your company name or phrases that differ from your Twitter username.

Google alerts is an excellent way to keep abreast to what people are saying. It’s also a great way to know when your content has been indexed by the search engine giant. Set up a Google alert for company name, project names or even phrases of topics where you would like to join into the conversation.

As you monitor the conversation, be certain to jump in if needed. This means thanking people for the positive comments, but also adding your feedback to the not-so-nice comments. Reputation management is a huge task, but a very important one as you create your online presence.

4. Leverage existing assets

Social media implementation can be the biggest black hole of time sucking you ever met. But it doesn’t have to be if you plan wisely. Look within your company and investigate existing assets that cold be re-purposed into social media voices.

A great example is this blog, which was created when we realized we were spending quite a bit of time writing long emails of explanation to clients. We found ourselves copying and pasting the same answers over and over, and finally realized it would save us time if we cataloged all these answers into a blog.

Look at what you are already creating and see how it could be pushed into the social media sphere. It could be writing, video, audio, photos or even social media tasks that employees are already engaging in. One company we recently spoke to found out that employees were spending an average of 20 minutes per day (during break time) using social media. So they asked them if they would spend 20 minutes of work time engaging in social media for the business. Their social media plan was born, and they have had a tremendous result without a lot of changes in time or effort.

5. Be consistent

Choose your plan wisely, so you will not let your followers down. If you create a plan that requires more time than you have, then it will be impossible to be consistent. Consistency is the trust factor that lets people know they can rely on you. Be predictable, and you will build connections and followers who will be there when they expect you. Don’t show up, and you will lose your disappointed connections.

The key to consistency is being honest with yourself about what you CAN do, so that you WILL do it.

What are your tips?

Let us know your favorite ideas for managing your social media campaign. Do you have any tips that you have found most useful and creating, monitoring and maintaining your social media presence?

Free Tools to Analyze Keyword Density

SEO (search engine optimization) is a critical part of any online strategy. While it seems like building your site was a lot of work, to be found amongst to millions of sites, a concerted SEO effort must be employed.

But SEO may seem like a deep, dark black whole of “what the heck am I suppose to do?” While there are a lot of reputable companies helping with excellent search engine optimization campaigns, many small businesses do not have the funds to hire an SEO expert.

Keywords are key

A lot can be done with search engine optimizing methods, but if you do not pay attention to your keywords, then your efforts may be for naught. Choosing keywords is the first step towards optimizing your website. Once you’ve chosen your keywords, analyzing your pages to determine if you have the right keyword density will help you make certain you are on target for SEO.

What is keyword density?

Keyword density indicates the percentage of frequency a word appears on a page and in the meta data. For example, if you have 100 words on your page, and you have the keyword “design” 10 times on that page, then the keyword density for design would be 10%. SEO experts say you shouldn’t go over 15% keyword density on a page because then it appears to be keyword stuffing. The search engines will see this as a negative, and may not index your page.

How word clouds help

Word clouds are a graphic representation of keywords on a specific site or page. Words that appear more frequently are larger within the word cloud, while words that are less frequent are smaller. A word cloud gives you a quick, visual snapshot of the keywords on your site, and dense they are in comparison to each other.

Keyword density analysis tools

The following tools we have found do an excellent job of analyzing keyword density on your site. They are all free and simple to use. You just have to input your URL, and the site does the rest. You do not have to sign up for anything, or even tell them your name, so you can use the tools anonymously and as often as you like.

Tool Name Density Word

Rank

Search

Volume

Phrases Meta

Analysis

Keyword

Cloud

WebSEO Anlaytics X X X X X
SEO Tools X X
Article Underground X X X
goRank X X X
Ranks.nl X X X X X X
MetaMend X X X X

What tools do you like to use?

What are you favorite keyword density tools? Have you found some commercial tools that are worth the price? We’re always open to new ideas, so let us know in the comments about the tools you like to use.