Category Archives: SEO

6 Top WordPress Plugins for your Website-315

6 Top WordPress Plugins for your Website

6 Top WordPress Plugins for your Website-315One of the biggest benefits of a WordPress-based website is plugins. They are a quick, easy way to add advanced features and functions to a website without adding code. However, this can be overwhelming, as too many plugins can cause a long site load time. The answer is to add well-coded plugins that don’t put a drag on the site. Here are the top WordPress plugins for your site to get you started.

Jetpack

Jetpack is the perfect plugin to get started with, as it’s made by the creators of WordPress. It includes many features to improve your site, and you have access to premium options in a paid tier. Jetpack gives a site additional general purpose tools, social media scheduling, security features, site backup, spam protection, and caching, to name just a few.

The standout benefits include adding more security to your site and speeding up your site performance. Whether you simply want the basic configuration or you’re looking to tweak your WordPress installation, you need Jetpack.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress is an SEO-friendly content management system out of the box, but WordPress SEO by Yoast gives your site additional power. The plugin provides fine-tuned control over meta descriptions, permalinks and shows you the SEO friendliness of a page or post, and additional features that make your site more attractive to the search engines.

WordFence Security

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, so it draws a lot of attention from hackers. WordFence Security adds an extra level of protection to your site, so you don’t have to worry about it getting hit with commonplace exploits.

Don’t wait until after you’ve been hacked to start looking into security features. You won’t regret being proactive about this part of running and maintaining your WordPress site.

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Want to flesh out your search engine information with rich snippets? This tool makes it a simple process. Whether you want to let, Google know that you have movie ratings or a structured recipe on the page Rich Snippets are a powerful tool for enhancing the user experience, and it improves your rankings in the search results.

WP Smush

Do you love putting a lot of images on your blog posts and pages? While the site might look good, images can slow the load time of your site. WP Smush compresses photos and other visual content to speed up site loading without compromising on quality.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Chances are, you already use Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. Google’s full-featured analytics have many useful reports, but remembering to log in to your dashboard doesn’t always happen.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP brings this information directly into your WordPress site. You can view your traffic on your site dashboard.

After you see how these plugins enhance your WordPress site, you’ll want to explore plugins with more specific use cases.

When working with new plugins, don’t install all of them at the same time. Activate them one by one, checking your site for problems that happen due to a plugin conflict.

Yoast SEO for WordPress Websites-315

Yoast SEO for WordPress Websites

Yoast SEO for WordPress Websites-315It’s so important to draw as many quality visitors to your website as possible. Being on the first page of Google for the keywords people search for your products and services is essential for any business.

That’s why I use and recommend the search engine optimization WordPress plugin Yoast SEO. It has a free version, so there is no reason not to give it a try. I was taken back by how easy it is to use and what Yoast SEO did for my website and my client’s sites from using the tool over time.  In short, a key benefit of Yoast is that it helps you easily ensure any page on your website is SEO optimized for a keyword term.

Easy to Setup

The beauty of WordPress is its ability to easily and quickly accomplish tasks that would be extremely challenging with other website software. For instance the ability to quickly add and remove website features without much fuss via plugins.

To add the Yoast SEO plugin just go to plugins on your manager sidebar >> new plugins and search for Yoast. Add it to the site and activate it.

Yoast doesn’t require a lot of optimization out of the box, and you can get into the nitty-gritty and customize the heck out of it if you want.

The free version provides fantastic benefits. And there are some incentives for using the Pro plugins like optimizing for additional keywords, optimizing social media posts and images and optimize redirects.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization can be a challenge for this writing web copy for individual website pages. That is where the keyword optimization tool in Yoast SEO is exceptionally beneficial. With the free version you can optimize a post or web page for a single keyword phrase. But with Yoast SEO Pro, optimize up to 5 keywords per page.  Simply type in the phrase and Yoast analyzes the page content and gives you feedback in simple “stoplight terms of green, yellow, or red” status.

Checks and Scans

The Yoast SEO plugin reads the content I create for a post and comes back with a readability score. This way, I know what I need to improve. It lets me know if my sentences are too long and difficult to read. If they’re written in passive voice, which tends to bore readers, I’m alerted. All of this in an effort to make my content interesting and best readable to web viewers.

Google sees images as a big black hole unless they have certain features. So every picture must have Alt text associated with it. Yoast scans every image to make sure my Alt text is in place.

Yoast SEO reminds me to add internal links to my own website. Also to add external links to resources I’ve used along with giving me other tips and ideas in the summary area.

While all these scans may not sound like that big of a deal, when you lump them together, they make a big impact on your SEO over time. And keeping track of all of this on your own will only bring a pounding headache.

Yoast gives you the ability to make the article indexable for search engines or not, and the links follow or nofollow. It also gives you a place to adjust a canonical URL if needed to make it the most SEO friendly.  While this may sound like a foreign language now when you need these capabilities, you’ll have them at your fingertips.  As long as you follow the simple instructions the tool gives you, you can optimize a page fairly easily.

Search engine optimization is one of the most important improvements any website owner can do for their site. Especially if your business relies on Internet traffic for sales, leads and new customers. I can recommend Yoast SEO for WordPress users to help them optimize each page they produce on their website!

Using Bing and Yahoo for Keyword Research-315

Using Bing and Yahoo for Keyword Research

Using Bing and Yahoo for Keyword Research-315
Google may get all the hype for its keyword tools. However, Yahoo and Bing offer robust keyword research tools in their own right. For marketers, this offers even more opportunities to tap into profitable niches. Having multiple keyword tools lets you gather research data using multiple platforms for a wider perspective.

Keyword Research with Yahoo

Yahoo’s Keyword Search Assist tool offers suggestions as you type in your query. The tool corrects errors and saves time as it guesses your intent. As convenient as this is for users, it is especially beneficial to marketers.

When using Yahoo’s Search Assist, note the suggestions that come up around your keyword. While Google’s similar search tool adds suggestions after your query, Yahoo adds to the front and the end of the query. You can take the findings and research further to decide which keywords to use.

You can also uncover relevant keyword information using Yahoo’s keyword tool (Yahoo! Search Marketing). With this tool, you have access to information like the number of people that search for specific keywords (which is great if you want are considering how many people will visit your site). The tool provides a list of related keywords based on lists you create for more keyword inspiration.

Bing’s Keyword Tools

You can perform a similar search method with Bing’s search. Better yet, Bing’s specialized keyword research tool not only offers the ability to research keywords but also gather bid and budget estimation as well as suggestions for ad groups. Similar to AdWords, Bing’s Keyword Planner provides information on volume trends and competition data.

Here’s how Keyword Planner works:

  • You Can Start From Multiple Points – You’re not limited to researching keywords. You can gather insights on your keyword lists or receive budget recommendations.
  • Keyword Research By Demographic – Research keywords by state,  region, and city and the information will be presented in a chart or graph.
  • Filters – You are allowed to filter your searches by search volume as well as the exclusive or inclusion of individual keywords or lists.
  • Performance Metrics – Grouping keywords together and including budget requirements allows you to get a good idea of how your campaigns will perform.
  • Campaigns – Grouping keywords together offers the ability to launch campaigns right from the keyword tool. The keywords discovered during the search can be added directly to the campaign.

While Google may get all the credit. However, Yahoo and Bing offer tools that will assist you in keyword research and provide great insights into the success of your campaigns.

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic-315

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic-315You’re not alone if you’ve wondered about the power of online video. It’s working!  Now the challenge quickly becomes one of getting the most out of your video efforts. Experts in the digital marketing space have shared many video strategies. Here are some of the best ones we’ve come across.

Use website embeds for maximized Google power.

Are you aware of the fact that search engines look at the time on page as a primary metric for determining the search ranking of your web site? If you weren’t familiar with this important variable in the past, you’ll quickly get to know it.

Time on page is simply the amount of time a visitor spends on any given web page. The idea is to optimize so that this number increases. Do this is by providing useful content for your visitor to consume and make it visually pleasing and easy to navigate.

Video lends itself well to the purpose of slowing your visitors down and getting them to engage with your content. It raises the average time on site metrics above text-only pages or pages with only text and images.

YouTube support has a quick and easy reference for beginner webmasters who’ve never embedded videos before. You’ll find it to be an easy and straightforward process.

Make the video stand out.

It’s not enough to have a great video and embed it on your page. You also have to make sure your guests know there’s a video there in the first place. Often, an embedded video can be mistaken for a still image when a visitor is quickly scrolling down the page.

The popular business website The Sales Lion published a killer strategy detailing a genius way to get your videos to really stand out. Their clever hack netted a client a massive spike in video engagement rates; rising from 11% to 94% video playback rates after the design hack was put into use.

Dig into YouTube Analytics.

Google is known for giving away powerful tools for free. Here is another one, The YouTube Video Analytics tool. With this, you’ll be able to see a bevy of valuable data about your YouTube videos as well as data about people viewing your videos.

Some of the insights are:

  • Knowing which videos hold your audience’s attention the longest.
  • How long your videos are played on average and where people tend to exit or close out of your content.
  • Understanding which videos are more popular with men and which ones are popular with women.
  • You’ll know the average age of a viewer for each video you upload.

Leverage data.

Now that you’re able to slow down your web visitors, provide them with incredible value. As a result, you’re also ready to see an SEO bump. Google loves you for helping their search users find the information they need. Keep the attention of incoming search engine traffic and expect Google to keep sending people your way.

Want a consultation on using video for your site and social media efforts?  Contact us today!

SEO Before You Launch Your Website

SEO Before You Launch Your Website

SEO Before You Launch Your WebsiteBuilding a website is a lot like building a house. There’s a lot of planning involved, and even more nuts and bolts, behind the scenes, work, followed by a lot of cosmetic work. But just like a new home, you need to make sure people find your little place on the web, which is why your SEO work should start before you officially launch your site.

Here are a few of the steps to take before your site goes live, to give your SEO the kick start it deserves:

Analyze your web host’s uptime stats

Anything less than 99% is a red flag, and if you’re seeing major outages, consider upgrading your plan or changing hosts.

Check the reputation of your domain

Even if it’s new to you, it might not be entirely new, and it’s worth knowing if there are any negative marks on your home on the web.

Get an SSL certificate

Most search engines, including Google, use this as a ranking factor. It only costs a little, but it goes a long way!  This makes your site secure (https) and ensure data transfer is encrypted.

Build a responsive site

Mobile friendly websites are not optional: they’re another ranking factor for search engines.

While keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, keyword research is still a valuable tool. Both to make sure you’re using the right words and phrases in your site and give you inspiration for content!

Internal and external links

Links are another area that has changed a bit. While lots of meaningless incoming links will only get you in trouble, high-quality outgoing links, internal links, and a few very high-quality incoming links can give your new site a boost in the rankings.

Use an SEO plugin

SEO plugins on your site can make optimizing content a lot easier. Depending on the platform you plan to use, there are a variety of SEO plugins that can keep you on track, and many of them have free versions.  You want a tool to help you edit the page title, URL, keywords, and the meta description at minimum.  It’s better yet if you can evaluate the keyword phrase density.

Have a plan

Make sure that you have a content plan, and a few months worth of high-quality content written and scheduled to publish. Launching a new website is a busy time, but you don’t want to forget to keep your site fresh and interesting!

Site caching

Make sure your site is caching and that you’re using Gzip compression. Look for other speed enhancing plugins to make your site as light and fast as possible.

Install and activate Google Analytics on all of the pages on your site.

Use a Favicon

Make your site instantly recognizable on tabs.

Optimize your images

Make sure that they’re resized to a web-friendly, fast loading size before uploading them. Resizing in the browser can slow down your site dramatically.

Use a social sharing plugin

Find a great social sharing plugin, and place it in a prominent position on every page. Your website should grow your social following and vice versa!

There are many other tweaks you can make before your website launch so you hit the ground running. But the good news is that SEO is an ongoing process, and as long as you get the basics right from the start, you can add and improve elements all the time.

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Local Content Marketing to Grow Your Search Engine Rank

Local Content Marketing to Grow Your Search Engine Rank

Local Content Marketing to Grow Your Search Engine Rank

The proliferation of mobile devices has made people more dependent on the internet for local searches. According to Google, more than 76% of people who perform local searches on their phones end up visiting a physical store within 24 hours.

If your business has a local presence, it’s important you apply local SEO best practices to do well on local searches. Here are some tips to try:

1. Hunt for local keywords

People use keywords to look for what they need online and they localize! That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) exists in the first place. Your content needs to be optimized with relevant keywords so it can rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). The same principle works for local SEO. To rank high on local SERPs, your content needs to be optimized with relevant keywords for the location you want to target. Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner is a good tool to use to look for high-volume keywords within a given niche and location.  Example: “Eye Doctor Lancaster PA” is a localized search term that is common for users to enter in a search engine.

2. Produce local content for your site

After identifying the keywords to use for your local SEO, the next step is creating location-specific content. For a smarter strategy, don’t just insert the keywords in an otherwise generic article. Instead, customize it according to location. For example, let’s say you’re running an HVAC company, and you want to write about ways to save energy during the winter for a location. The best approach you can take is to write the suggestions to fit the kind of winter that location gets. After all, winters in Los Angeles are different from winters in Boulder.

3. Write for local websites

Guest posting has always been a proven way to improve SEO. But since you’re focusing on a location, publish content on local websites. The backlinks you get will improve your business’ standing on local SERPs. At the same time, if you produce high-quality content, you’ll quickly establish yourself as a local expert, which will give a boost to your brand. Of course, finding sites that will accept guest posts can be challenging. A good rule is to search for them using keywords like write for us + location or guest post + location.

4. Engage with local audiences

You can use social media to reach local audiences, especially now that most of them offer geotagging. This means you can assign a location to a post so that only people in that location can see it. The great thing about geotagging is you can share the same post multiple times. Geotag each post to a different location. Customize the accompanying text for each post, so one post can say “Heya, Atlanta” while the other can say “Howdy Dallas!”

5. Get involved in local activities

When you join a local activity – whether as a participant or a sponsor – get a backlink to your site from the organization facilitating the event. This improves your local SEO, especially if the organization’s site has a higher authority than your own. Also, taking part in local activities gives you writing material for content that appeals to the people in the location you want to target. You’re giving back to the community when you take an active role, and that earns trust and respect among its members.

These tips, when taken together, are guaranteed to be effective. But remember, whether you’re going for global or local SEO, quality content is still the most important element of content marketing. There’s no shortcut for that.

How to Get More Conversions on your Website-315

How to Get More Conversions on your Website

How to Get More Conversions on your Website-315

Many online marketers believe that more leads result in more conversions, so they concentrate on generating leads and not on anything else. But this doesn’t mean you don’t need to drive conversions — not if you want to keep ahead of the game. After all, every step in the marketing funnel is just as significant as the others.  Each step has it’s place of importance in ultimately generating more sales.

What is CRO?

For leads, there’s search engine optimization (SEO) to get more targeted traffic to your website. For conversions, there’s conversion rate optimization (CRO). After attracting traffic through optimized content, your next priority is to get the most out of that traffic. This is where CRO kicks in.

CRO is the practice of improving your site’s performance, so visitors take the action you want them to do. When you don’t have a carefully planned CRO strategy, people will look around your site for a bit out of curiosity then leave without subscribing to your newsletter, providing their contact details for a free download, or doing anything that will keep you connected to them.

But with a CRO plan in place, your website will be designed to foster engagement from visitors and eventually, turn these leads into conversions.

How do you apply CRO?

Now that you know what CRO is, it’s time to get to the how part. CRO can be implemented in many ways, and here are a few practical examples:

Enhance high-performing post

  • If you’ve been creating content for some time, you’ll know that some posts fare better than others in terms of attracting traffic. It’s either they’re ranked higher on search engine result pages or shared more on social media — or even both.
  • Next, check their conversion rates. If these are too low for the traffic they get, it means some components aren’t working. Maybe your call to action (CTA) isn’t exciting enough to be engaging. For example, pick which looks better for a high street fashion brand: “Subscribe to our newsletter” or “Never miss a surprise sale again — sign up now!” Chances are, you’ll go for the latter.
  • But if your CTA isn’t the problem, the offer associated with a specific post can be the issue. Let’s go along with the high street fashion brand again in the next example. If a blog post is about finding the best swimsuits for different body types but the offer at the end is for a weak 5% off, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a lot of conversions for that page. But if you always align a relevant and meaningful offer with the content, you’ll get better conversion rates.

Promote high-converting posts

  • Some posts don’t get a lot of hits, but they still yield a good number of conversions in relation to the traffic they receive. In this case, the pages already work well enough for your purpose, so you should pay attention to promoting them instead.
  • You can share them on all your brand’s social media pages, produce guest posts with a link back to them, or offer influencers an exchange deal they can’t resist. There’s nothing like an authority figure or a celebrity for boosting hits of a post.
  • You can also go back to basics and check the pages if they’re optimized for search engines. If they happen to be old content dating a few years back, consider updating them to make them fresh and relevant once again.

With SEO at the start and CRO at the end, your whole marketing process will improve.

Need a strategy consult and setup of your funnel?  Contact us to discuss the options.

Keyword Research for Website SEO-315

Keyword Research for Website SEO

Keyword Research for Website SEO-315Keyword research for SEO is where you research the terms people type into search engines when looking for resources similar to your site. Once you know what these keywords are, you can incorporate them into your website content. Do this consistently, and your site will rank for the keywords and keyword phrases on search engine result pages.

But if you’re using the wrong keywords, no matter how much you stuff your content you’ll still not reach your intended audience. This is why it’s necessary to do keyword research. All your subsequent efforts are useless if your keywords aren’t targeted enough.

Specific vs. General

General terms are more popular, which makes them more competitive and expensive. Let’s say you have a law firm in Newport, RI specializing in divorce, and you want its site rank better in the search engine results.

Type in divorce lawyer on Google and you’ll get almost 90 million hits. To get on the first page for that term will take considerable time, money, and effort. And even if you have the resources to get on the first page, how much good will it do? People looking for divorce lawyers in cities other than Newport will leave your site as soon as they realize it’s not what they need. And your site will have a higher bounce rate.

But type in divorce lawyers Newport RI free consultation and you’ll get less than 120,000 search results. With fewer competitors, you can focus on that specific term and get good results in shorter time on a smaller budget. Also, people who visit your site are part of your target market.

In SEO, these specific terms are called long tail keywords. These are targeted to people who are about to make a purchase, or who know more exactly what they want. When someone uses a very specific term, they’re no longer just looking around. There’s a huge chance they already know what they want and are ready to buy or are motivated to learn more.

Tools at Your Disposal

Luckily, you don’t have to guess which long tail keywords perform well. There are several tools I suggest, BuzzSumo, Übersuggest, Ahrefs, and Blog About by Impact.

On Buzzsumo, you can enter any topic, and the tool will analyze what content performs best for that. It displays links to content containing the keyword you supplied, then lists statistics on its Facebook engagement, and also LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ shares.

For Übersuggest, you can type in a term and choose categories (web, images, etc.) and country. It then gives you an extensive list of longtail keyword based on the term you supplied.

If you’re looking for articles ideas based on the keywords you gathered from the first two tools, there’s Blog About, a blog title generator. Input any keyword, and the tool will display some suggested titles and email you the rest.

Put yourself in your targeted audience’s shoes. If you were in their place, what keywords would you use to find what you’re looking for? That’s a very good place to start.

 

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What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them-315

What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them

What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them-315Chances are, when someone lands on your website, they’ll never see your alt image tags at all. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not important.

What Are Alt Tags?

Alt tags describe an image, in a piece of HTML code, much like a header tag or any other piece of HTML code on your site.

Like all the other code on your site, if everything is going well, and under normal circumstances, no one will ever know they exist.

Alt tags will typically look something like this when viewed in HTML:

<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image alt description” title=”image tooltip”>

But don’t worry if you don’t know HTML. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress or Digital Hill’s, you can add these attributes in your articles, in the publishing and advanced options, so you won’t need a crash course in programming to create them!

Why Use Alt Tags?

If alt tags are never going to be seen, then what is the point of having them at all? There are several reasons why you must have alt tags on all your images:

  • If a user is using a browser or computer that for some reason cannot render the image in question, they will see the tag instead of a completely blank space. At least it gives them an idea of what’s meant to be there.
  • Alt tags also help search engines when they crawl your site. The search engine sees images as a big black hole. But they can see tags. Use keywords in your image alt tags and get a bit more keyword influence for your post.
  • Alt tags also help search engines categorize images in their image search, which can help you to show up in more results.

Alt Tag Best Practices

To get the most bang for your buck (so to speak) when creating alt tags, there are a few rules you can follow:

  • Keep the tag short and relevant.
  • Describe the image as clearly as possible.
  • Make sure that you include a keyword. Remember that search engines do scan image alt tags, and they will count towards your overall site ranking.

Most importantly, remember if you can’t figure out what the alt tag should say, then you should question your use of the image at all. Images on websites should always serve a purpose, and if yours don’t, they shouldn’t be there.

New Website Checklist_ Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch - 315

New Website Checklist: Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch

New Website Checklist_ Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch - 315
You want to make sure your new website looks good and works well. That means no dead links, no blank pages, and no overlooked bugs. But beyond the form and function, there’s another element you need to look at, and that’s SEO.

And in light of Google’s move to prioritize mobile websites, it’s all the more reason for you to assess your website’s SEO-readiness against this checklist:

  • Domain and host

    Does your host web host have a record of major downtimes? A web hosting server with a negative history will hurt your website’s future reputation.

    An unreliable host will affect your website’s availability. It’s advisable to use a unique and never-used by someone else domain name, along with a dependable web host known for excellent uptime.

  • Keyword list

    Good copy will make your site rank well on search engines, but it’ll perform much better if you incorporate the right keywords relevant to your industry or niche.

    For a new website, it’s wise to go after long-tail keywords because they’re less competitive. In addition, these keywords will help you target specific audiences who are looking for exactly what you’re offering.  A great source to look at keywords is www.buzzsumo.com.

  • Design Theme

    Themes are not just about aesthetics. Some design themes are SEO-friendly, some aren’t. To ensure your design is SEO-friendly, it should have clean code on the developer’s side and a modern flow on the user’s side. It should also be responsive for mobile and tablet devices, and quick to load; otherwise, your bounce rate will go up.

    Most importantly overall, it should work well on mobile devices. Many people prefer to use their tablets and smartphones as their primary computing tool. Make the browsing experience on smaller screens pleasant and easy.  Google cares, so you need to as well!

  • SEO Tools and Plugins

    SEO plugins are simple to add and use, so take advantage of their power in your site. Different SEO tools have different functions, such as LinkPatrol to track and clean up links, and Keyword Tool to find out what keywords your target audience is using to find you. If your site is WordPress add Yoast SEO because it handles both technical and content optimization.

  • Content

    Content is still king, but only if it’s presented right. Gone are the days when you can post short, fluffy content and expect your website to rank. Now, long-form content is a better option because it leads to higher conversions and better page rank. Of course, you don’t have to fill every page with detailed content. Just focus on pages you want to rank and don’t exhaust all your efforts. Some pages aren’t designed to rank anyway, like landing pages.

  • Photos

    You can help your photos appear in the image search results by filling in the metadata fields with relevant alt text. If you already have a focus keyword, add that as well as long as it ties in with the photos. Then set a suitable featured image for every page so that if someone shares it on social media, the thumbnail on the preview will look engaging enough to warrant a click.

These are just some of the things on your SEO checklist, but they’re enough to get you started on the right path. And remember, SEO is an ongoing process. You have to continue working on it long after your website has launched.

Have a WordPress website?  Here’s a great list of specific things to speed-up your WordPress website. >

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