Stacy Pessoney – Search Engine Marketing Tips

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Importance of Diligent Tagging

Tags and bookmarking clouds need to be well thought when you are promoting your site. Search engines are using social media as a source of ranking information in their algorithms. Using tags that directly relate to the information you are providing will help search engines see specifically what you are talking about, therefore exposing more users to your links and relevant information. You should also include generic, more general terms that relate to your area of expertise, if and only if they pertain to the article, video, podcast, etc. that you are posting.

Tagging in order of importance can help your tag cloud be indexed more easily. For example, if I was writing about cavities for a local dentist, my tag list would look something like this: cavities, cavity treatment, porcelain fillings, dentist Huntsville AL, Dr. Davis Huntsville AL

Notice how the tag line starts out with the information most specific to the article. Then, it goes on to include people that may be searching for a local dentist or for information about “Dr. Davis” in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Davis is totally fictional, by the way.

Do not use tags that use your keywords unless those keywords were mentioned in the article. Some people are tempted to get their favorite keywords out there as much as possible. But, it could seriously backfire unless the information you provide pertains to the keyword. Using a keyword specifically to bait people to your site link without providing information about that keyword, will only drive people away. It will even cause current customers or readers to lose their trust in you. In turn, it can affect your rankings.

The moral of the story is that you need to avoid black hat SEO companies that use keyword and tag stuffing as a way to show you quick results. The boost will be temporary at best and can cause you to fall lower than before you even hired them by turning your readers and customers away. Make your efforts genuine and organic. Organic SEO companies provide actual unique information that relates to your industry to help you get your name out there. This also helps people and search engines see you as a trusted source of information.

Your SEO company should put a lot of effort into your keyword research. This will give you the best chance of finding out how users are trying to find you. Some terms may prove to be too competitive for your time frame or budget. You can discover which keywords are being searched for without producing results and dominate these searches. These keywords will translate into ideas and tags that will help people and search engines find you more often.

Social media efforts need to be sincere and may take a little longer to catch on than some other “tricks of the trade”. But, the results can be really long lasting and can put your investment in SEO to work for you. Remember that rank criteria are always changing. In general, the criteria trends toward real results. Rankings are becoming more and more like a true picture of what people find interesting and trustworthy, as opposed to yesteryear when they only produced results for pages that mentioned your keyphrase over and over again.

Search engines are very intuitive and can figure out if your information is current, useful, respected and popular. Doing the proper research for topics and keywords is ultra important. This information can be used to properly tag your articles and so forth, thus producing the long-lasting, dependable results that search engines and users are drooling for.

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is a Project Manager for ArteWorks SEO, one of the top search engine marketing companies in the world. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she implements and manages comprehensive SEO strategies and serve as an organizational liaison among company executives, clients and colleagues.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Creating User-Friendly URL’s for Your Site

Improving the URL's of your site may be a daunting task, but the payoff could be great. Hard-to-remember or reproduce URL's are a big reason that a lot of visitors never make it to a lot of sites. They make navigation difficult for users and in turn, can affect your search engine positioning.

Long, complicated URL's can be very annoying to users. Long streams of numbers, punctuation and odd characters are virtually useless to most people. The potential for error in reproducing them is great and can result in a lot less traffic to your site. Partial URL copying is just about guaranteed for URL's that are too long. Bookmarking and linking to your site will be greatly reduced if your URL's don't make sense or are simply too long.

A simple way to structure your URL's is to make it obvious which page you are going to when you look at the URL. It should also make it obvious how important the page is and where it is located on your site. For example, "examplesite.com/home/furniture/kitchen/chairs/" tells you that you are in the kitchen area of furniture, looking at chairs. This can help to improve navigation for your users and simultaneously improve crawlability by search engines.

Make sure that anticipated links also work. If someone sees the above link and wants to go to the furniture section, can they simply leave out the "/kitchen/chairs/" portion of the URL and be directed to the furniture page?

Browsers like Google Chrome have made it a lot easier to type in URL's by hand, but not everyone uses browsers with URL self-correct. Work on making your URL's self-correcting. Consider common mistakes that people make when typing in your URL's. Capitalization, punctuation, synonyms, misspellings, partial URL’s and old URL's should automatically redirect users to the page that they intended to visit.

Breadcrumb links also improve navigation and cut down on people guessing what the URL's of certain pages are. For example, each page should have a breadcrumb navigation trail of links like this example:

Home < Furniture < Kitchen < Chairs

This makes it really easy for people to link to other pages in your site. You can also avoid drop down menus and images that aren’t easily followed by search engines. Two birds with one stone.

Improving your URL’s keeps your site really organized and user friendly. It should help increase the amount of bookmarking and sharing of your information as well. Easy to read and understand URL's make it obvious to search engines how important each page is and where it lies in your site. Improving your URL's is one of the things that your search engine marketing company will look at when optimizing your site.

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is a Project Manager for ArteWorks SEO, one of the top search engine marketing companies in the world. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she implements and manages comprehensive SEO strategies and serve as an organizational liaison among company executives, clients and colleagues.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

SEO Strategies for a Down Market

With the recent market woes, companies are nervous about what their 2009 marketing strategies will look like. Some will, inevitably, need to cut their budgets. At the same time, they want to have the most visibility possible on the search engines to drive in the business that is out there to be had.
Many are cutting down on TV spots and big magazine and billboard advertising and vamping up their Search Engine Optimization efforts. After all, a lot of their target audience has TiVo or DVR, rendering your TV spots useless, and they flip right past magazine ads to get to the articles they want to read.
Internet strategies just make sense. Since most internet users utilize the major search engines to find you, it makes even more sense to spend your money on optimizing your site and building your online social reputation. Not only will it benefit you now, but in the long-run as well, relieving your stress about the next “bad year”.
Online marketing efforts not only make your site easier for search engines to crawl and index. Current SEO goes beyond that. A good Search Engine Optimization Company keeps up with the constantly changing rank criteria that the search engines dish out. SEO companies can keep your site up to date with these changes throughout the year, so you are not relying on one advertising strategy made in January to keep you going all year round.
SEO companies will give you the consistently updating blogs and links that help you build your reputation. Social media is so important, that sites without it will rank lower and lower over time. SEO facilitates discussions and bookmarking by producing relevant, quality information about your industry. Search engines value this type of marketing because it gives the searcher a clear picture of who is putting forth the most effort with the most relevant information out there.
Investing in Search Engine Optimization is more important now than ever. The sooner you start, the more intricate your online social “web” will be. Search engines are now the primary means for customers to find suppliers. Search engines constantly make their results more relevant to the searchers needs. It can take a long time to become the most relevant result, especially if your competitors have been at it longer than you. Make sure that you select a top search engine marketing company to keep your site up to snuff and ready for the future of marketing.

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is a Project Manager for ArteWorks SEO, one of the top search engine marketing companies in the world. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she implements and manages comprehensive SEO strategies and serve as an organizational liaison among company executives, clients and colleagues.

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SEO vs. Paid AdWords

Google has been aggressively advertising the sale of their AdWords. So, a lot of people are wondering if this could be an option for them. After all, AdWords lets you basically pay to come up when someone searches for your keyword. Can buying up enough AdWords take the place of your SEO efforts? Not likely, according to the research.
AdWords can be purchased through Google and your advertisement will come up under a “Paid Advertisers” section when someone searches for your keyword. You can choose to pay per click or pay per impression. Google has improved this system a little by placing advertisements at the top of the search page instead of down the right side where it is seldom seen. The problem is, it still looks like an ad, even appearing at the top in that fancy blue box, and most people searching are looking for popular search results, not paid advertisements.
Not to say that AdWords are useless, to the contrary. They can drive some traffic to your website, but they aren’t likely to take the place of organic search results. Search Engine Optimization, when done correctly, creates a true interest in your site. It builds your online reputation and gives you a real standing when it comes to social media.
Long term, lasting results have proven to be extremely effective in building your reputation and consistently getting those high rankings that you dream of. It’s not just your reputation, but your actual site that is affected by SEO efforts. When you hire an SEO company, they work with you on getting your site to a search engine friendly state. This can immediately get you ranking higher on all the top search engines.
Some newer search engines are using social media to rank web sites. This seems to be the new trend in search engine rankings and no amount of paid advertisement can compete. SEO is not considered advertising at all. It is the realistic “organic” way to prove yourself to the masses, thus leading to higher rankings over time.
AdWords can give you some short-term gains and some people choose to buy some ad space in addition to their SEO efforts. But, it is pretty much universally accepted that AdWords will not be replacing SEO. With social media being heavily weighted in the search engines and beyond, AdWords simply can’t compete. If you use AdWords as part of your marketing plan, you may need to consider them solely as a sideline objective, not your main plan of action.

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is a Project Manager for ArteWorks SEO, one of the top search engine marketing companies in the world. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she implements and manages comprehensive SEO strategies and serve as an organizational liaison among company executives, clients and colleagues.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

What Is Social Media and Does My Site Need It?

Social media refers to an electronic means for people to share your information. People visiting your site or blog can make comments, e-mail links to their friends, or post information on their personal blogs linking to your site. All of these things help to build your social media reputation.
Social media is also referred to as social networking. As more and more people comment about you or pass your site around, you build a reputation online. Search engines weigh the opinions of others heavily when giving you your ranking. This is the main reason that social networking has become such an iatrical part of Search Engine Optimization.
Social media is not just comments on your blog. Social media can consist of video, pictures, reviews, articles or any other form of electronic communication. Blogs and other user driven forums, such as discussion boards, FAQ’s and comment sections of your own web site can help build your social media reputation.
Google does not care what you say about yourself. Actual users must be able to find your content and then it needs to be interesting or informative enough for them to want to pass it on or link back to it in some way. Social bookmarking is an effective tool when optimizing your site. Including links to social bookmarking sites on your blog or discussion forum can help you to encourage your users to spread the word, so to speak. Once bookmarked, you will suddenly become more visible to people looking for information on the subject that you are discussing. This should hopefully drive more web traffic to your site.
When your social efforts start to pay off, then you have a stronghold over search engines. Blogs and other user driven media are heavily weighted by the search engines and this side of search engine optimization should not be ignored. Developing a social reputation can take some time. You can help it along by utilizing a blog or other social media outlet.
The more varied your social media network the better. Make sure that all of your forums are relevant, especially if they are linking back to your site. The higher the quality, the higher the rankings can get. This is something that you should really spend the time and money to make sure that your site is getting all of the exposure that it needs to compete in today’s SEO market.

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