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SEO 101: Context and Authority

Posted Wed, December 17, 2014

We’ve already covered a lot of ground in our SEO 101 series, explaining how Google uses small bits of automated software to scan and analyze websites, as well as what you can do to make your own pages easier to find and understand.

When it comes to the reasons search engines have to prefer one website over another, however, not everything comes down to the text that’s on your page. That’s still the biggest factor, but it’s not the only one. After all, Google has to have a way of separating two websites with similar content and keywords. Just think of all the different pizza places or accountants, for example, that could have websites in a given area. How do search engines decide which ones are given a priority?

Beyond the content on the websites themselves, it often comes down to context and authority. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Context in Search Engine Results

Psychologists will tell you that context and nonverbal communication are actually key to the way humans interact with and understand one another. Google can’t read your facial expressions or tone of voice (yet), but it can use context to try to figure out what you’re actually looking for, even if the piece of information you want doesn’t exactly match your search string.

For example, if you type in a question about a baseball player, it may steer you to a site with a matching keyword and a lot of other baseball-related facts and articles. Additionally, it may consider other websites you’ve recently searched, or topics you’ve been looking for more information on, along with your geographic location, preferred language, and other demographic data to try to sort out a set of results that are most meaningful to you.

This is incredibly helpful as a searcher, but it has important implications for marketers, too. The more useful your website is as a whole – meaning the more pieces of interesting and unique content it has – the more potential it has to answer questions. So in that sense, context is all about identifying your location and having lots of great content.

How Authority Factors Into SEO

If context is all about delivering the best match, authority is about finding the most trustworthy answers. To help searchers get the right answers to their questions, and not just the best keyword matches, Google has to consider the authority of your website.

Authority is built and demonstrated in a few ways: by having other respected websites link to yours, with lots of social activity, and by having an abundance of recent, unique, and in-depth articles (usually in the form of a blog).

With all of these factors in place, Google can feel confident that you know what you’re talking about and are a relevant source of information on your topic or industry. Then, it can begin to favor your website over the competition.

Context and authority aren’t quite as straightforward as things like keyword placement are, but they are important to understand and take advantage of if you want to rank highly in a market with lots of different competitors. In the final installment of our SEO 101 series, we’ll take things further and look at some of the newer trends in search engine optimization.

Check back next week for the conclusion of our SEO 101 series. Or, for customized advice on web design and Internet marketing, call or email the WebRevelation team today to arrange for a free consultation.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , context , authority , google


SEO 101: Making Your Pages More Visible to Search Engines

Posted Wed, December 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In the first part of our SEO 101 series, we looked at the way Google uses automated “spiders” to go through your site and decide what your content is actually about. That’s actually a fairly simple process, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

After all, there could be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of webpages out there relating to your topic or industry. Search for “San Antonio web design” and you’ll see exactly what we mean. We know how tough the competition is out there because we deal with it every day.

It’s one thing to have Google be aware of your website, and another thing for the world’s largest search engine to be sending you visitors every day. So making your pages more visible, in a search engine optimization sense, is an incredibly important topic.

Here are a few things you can do to make your pages stand out, and the reasons why:

Pay attention to page titles and meta descriptions. The title of your page is important because it tells Google what a specific piece of content should be about. You want yours to be short, but also to contain important search keywords.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, don’t have any search engine optimization value but are displayed in search listings. That means they can be helpful in getting visitors to click through to your website.

Add more in-depth, keyword-rich content. All other things being equal, Google likes longer pages with important keywords used more than once. It’s not hard to understand why – a more comprehensive search result, and one that’s narrowly devoted to a certain topic, is more likely to give a searcher the answer he or she is looking for than a small blurb of generic text.

Be careful, though, that you don’t go overboard with either of these concepts. Having too many keywords, or too much content, can be worse than having none at all. If Google feels like you’re building pages for the sole purpose of SEO, it will ignore them (and the rest of your website) altogether.

Create lots of pages on similar topics. In the same way that a longer page with lots of information is usually more valuable than a shorter one, Google knows that a comprehensive website with many related posts or articles is probably more helpful to a searcher than one with just a few offerings. That’s why building lots of pages that relate to each other is important for SEO.

Keep your content fresh and up to date. We live in an age where millions and millions of pages are being added to the Internet every day. That means Google can afford to be picky and look for more current search results for its users. The more often you update your pages, the more relevant your website will seem and the more search engine traffic you’ll be rewarded with.

There are other, more advanced techniques you can use to make your pages stand out to search engines, but just paying attention to the basics is often enough to separate you from your competitors – or at least make a good start at a more comprehensive search engine optimization campaign.

In the next post, we’re going to go a bit deeper into the concept of linking, relevancy, and currency as we look at the broader SEO meaning of context and authority.

Be sure to stop back and check out that post, or contact a member of the WebRevelation team to get a free consultation today.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , google , keywords , content


SEO 101: How Google “Sees” Your Website

Posted Wed, December 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Every business owner or marketing manager knows it’s important to rank well on Google. By processing more than 2 billion search queries every day, it’s the one Internet marketing portal that can literally make or break your business overnight.

Google’s importance is well understood, however, the way it “sees” and ranks different websites isn’t. We regularly meet with new clients who either have mistaken ideas about what it takes to improve their search engine optimization campaigns or literally have no idea how Google and its competitors process searches at all.

That’s understandable, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO activity for a long time. Still, by understanding what Google actually looks for, and how the different pieces work together, you can go a long way toward building a website that attracts more traffic and turns those visitors into customers.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to produce a short series of articles we’re calling SEO 101. In this post, and the three that follow, we’re going to give you a quick bit of insight into the world of search marketing and offer some easy-to-follow tips you can use to make your web content stand out.

How Google Views and Analyzes Websites

Before you can give Google what it wants to find, you have to know what that is in the first place. That starts with the understanding that the engineers at Google don’t usually consider individual websites at all; instead, they generate pieces of code – called search spiders – that crawl all over the Internet constantly, cataloguing and evaluating everything they find.

As you might imagine, search engine spiders look at websites a bit differently than an actual human viewer would. Here are a few of the most important differences:

  • Search engine spiders generally follow links, both within websites and throughout them. So if a part of your website doesn’t have any links pointing at it from your other pages, it may be “invisible” to Google.
  • Search spiders understand text but not images. So, unless you have given your pictures or video files a written title and description, they aren’t going to count for anything as far as SEO goes.
  • Once a search engine spider has viewed, or “crawled,” through your website, it will catalog what it has found in terms of content and then return later. If it finds more fresh and unique content along the same topics or themes, that’s a good sign your website is relevant and up to date.


The net of all of this, of course, is that Google can know what your website is “about” in the form of search terms (keywords) it finds on your pages. Later, when human searchers enter those keywords into Google, it can match that request against what’s found on your website.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course, especially when it comes to deciding which websites should be shown first in Google’s search listings. For now, though, you know how Google actually sees your website, and why the text on your pages is more important to search engines than anything else.

Check out the next article in our SEO 101 series, or contact WebRevelation today to see how we can help with business web design and Internet marketing.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO , websites , marketing , google


5 Easy Ways to Enhance Your SEO Campaigns

Posted Wed, October 22, 2014 by Julie Short

Here at WebRevelation, we are big fans of search engine optimization. Google currently processes billions of searches every single day – having more of them end at your website is a great way to draw in targeted buyers.


But, doing well in search takes more than simply putting together a few pages, researching a handful of keywords, and optimizing your meta tags. In fact, it’s becoming more and more of an art and science with each passing month, as an increasing number of companies go online and try to steal the search traffic you’d like to see arriving on your landing pages.


And so, in an effort to help you not only compete but stand out on Google’s search listings, here are five easy ways to enhance your SEO campaigns:

  1. Concentrate your firepower. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of choosing dozens and dozens of keywords to concentrate on when you start putting together your search engine optimization campaigns. But it’s usually smarter to begin with a handful and grow from there, especially if your business or website is relatively new.
  2. Use more than text. Although Google and other search engines understand text best, they show results in several different formats, including images and video. So the more types of content you have (with search optimized titles and descriptions, of course), the easier it’s going to be for people to discover your website and brand.
  3. Integrate search with social and email. Your search engine optimization campaign shouldn’t be working all on its own. Integrating it with social media is a good way to multiply your visitors and raise your search profile at the same time (if people share your content), while email can be the perfect tool for following up with new visitors and potential customers.
  4. Consider automating lead generation. Once your search engine optimization campaign starts to pick up some momentum, you might feel overwhelmed with the number of requests and inquiries you receive (especially if not all of them are from high-quality prospects). Putting an automated lead-generation campaign into place can make your business more scalable while reducing your time burden.
  5. Know where to stop. Getting search engine traffic is fantastic, but being too obvious about your keyword placement – or putting too fine a point on your marketing message – can turn off searchers and search engine spiders alike. For the best results, post lots of content but use search keywords and calls to action sparingly.

Could you be getting more from search engine optimization? Why not schedule a free consultation with the creative team at WebRevelation and find out? Call us anytime at 817-283-3324 to find a time that works for you.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEO


Can These Under-Utilized Social Media Platforms Boost Your Business?

Posted Wed, April 2, 2014 by Julie Short

Almost every small business owner is probably aware that Facebook and Twitter can have a positive impact on their business. Maybe you have invested some time in creating profiles on those social media sites. What you may not know is that there are a number of other, lesser-known (or simply under-utilized) social media sites that are proving to be enormously effective and could be sending new eyes to your website and bringing new business to your company. The following five "underdog" sites are on the rise in popularity, and small business owners are finding that they can be just as effective as Facebook and Twitter campaigns - maybe even more so!


Pinterest
As a small business owner, you may not initially consider Pinterest  as a beneficial platform due to its heavy focus on images rather than text. However, in many cases, those images can capture the imagination and interest of potential clients far better than words.

Pinterest can be utilized in several ways, but the regular creation of new boards, with images related to your business, tends to be what captures interest.

Even better, add a board with coupons or discounts for your business. Depending on your niche, this could generate a lot of traffic – after all, everyone loves a deal. Be sure to include your website link in your Pinterest profile, and pin images directly from your site as often as possible. These things make it easy for people to click on your links.


Instagram
Instagram is extremely popular, and its easy-to-use interface makes it a snap for the small business owner. Your smart phone is all you need to upload images to this platform. You can caption your images with a variety of hashtags related to your business. People searching for those hashtags can easily scroll through various pictures and land on your images.


You can post all kinds of images on Instagram, including product photos, ads, and coupons. Be sure to "follow" back people who "follow" you, and you'll find that your Instagram network will build itself organically and steadily. To be even more proactive, find people in your community or niche and follow them to get your business’s name out there.


YouTube
If you don’t explore the possibilities of YouTube for your business, you could be leaving out a major stream of revenue and clients. Your YouTube videos need not be long or even professionally produced commercials. Think about showcasing a few of your products or services in a video. Having a special? Make a quick video in which you detail the special and how viewers can get in on the deal.


YouTube is also a place where people search extensively for “how-to” -   if you have some shareable expertise, by all means, share it!


YouTube allows you to add links to your site, providing plenty of opportunities for new visitors and conversions. Once you’ve built up a nice following, you may want to begin placing some short ads on YouTube for a chance at an even broader revenue stream.


Foursquare
Foursquare is a tool that many small business owners are still neglecting - and it could be costing you a lot of new business. Foursquare was essentially created to tell people about local businesses, much like Yelp! and the old-school Yellow Pages. Your business is probably already on it, however, you can really flesh out the listing with lots of details – and pictures – and make it more enticing to people browsing for your product or service.


Foursquare makes it easy to place ads that draw in customers. Be sure to update the site with current info on deals and specials that potential customers will become aware of. You can even offer special deals just for Foursquare users, which will increase your reputation on the app.


Klout
Klout isn’t so much under-exposed as it is under-utilized. Klout creates a profile for you or your business and gives you a Klout score – a sort of grade for the quality and quantity of your social media engagement across multiple platforms; the more good content that you create and share, the higher your Klout score. The higher your score, the more you'll be seen, and the more new visitors you'll have.


Creating unique and engaging content for your business may not always be an easy job (one of many reasons for hiring a professional firm to do your strategic SEO marketing and content management!). However, if you put some time into placing great content on Klout – and really, almost any social media platform – you'll eventually notice some appreciable rewards.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SMM , SEO , marketing


Beyond the Black Hat: Contemporary and Common SEO Strategy Mistakes

Posted Wed, February 5, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’ve been working on updating your business’s website, you’ve definitely come across the ubiquitous concept of SEO – and have probably been confused about how to effectively implement it.


And SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. For one, SEO best practices change every few months – these are collectively referred to as “white hat” SEO. And if your site doesn’t already drive a large amount of traffic, you have to execute an elegant SEO strategy to stay on the search engines’ good sides. Here are a few bad moves to avoid when you’re starting in on your SEO campaign.


White Hat SEO No-No’s

  1. Linking like it’s 2010. If anyone tries to sell you hundreds of links for a small price, or an SEO “blast”/“quick SEO” – run, don’t walk. Today’s SEO is all about directing authority and relevance to a site for legitimate reasons – not paying a less-than-reputable article directory to house some shady links to your pages. Links are essential and beneficial – but they do not grow on outsourced trees.
     
  2. Not paying attention to links at all. On the flip side, your site won’t gain much traction if nobody is linking to it once you launch. The concept of “link building” is dramatically different than the outsourced link farm bonanza you might have heard about in earlier years. But off-page links remain one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site going forward. Getting links that point to your site is time-consuming, to be sure, but well worth your effort – as long as you’re employing a decidedly white hat SEO strategy. Point Blank SEO has a useful (and affordable) tutorial here.
     
  3. Weak title tags and meta descriptions. Google pays a lot of attention to your titles – H1s – and also to your subheadings (H2s) and meta descriptions. While there’s no need to splash “BEST SANDWICHES INDIANAPOLIS” on your site like lamb’s blood on the front door, some strategic word smith-ing can boost your visibility to search engines and local searchers alike.  
     
  4. All images, no text. Your website should be visually striking, yes – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be completely Flash-based or full of in-your-face sliders. For one thing, these sites can confuse your readers; and from an SEO perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. Search engines “read” the text on your site, but they can’t read images – which means you’ll have a tough time getting your site optimized and ranking.   
     
  5. Duplicated text. More is not more when it comes to white hat SEO – especially when it comes to the text content on your site. Avoid using the same title tags and body text on different pages, as you’ll miss out on the opportunity to inform your readers (and the search engines, of course) about what you actually do.
     
  6. Not using free, white hat SEO tips and tools. SEO firms might act like search engines are the enemy – but really, they’re some of the most helpful (and accessible) SEO resources out there. Google’s webmaster blogs and videos cater to both industry insiders and business owners. And then there are sites like Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land that offer super-informative blog posts, free tools, and up-to-the-minute industry news so you can be knowledgeable about – and learn, hands-on – SEO best practices. And when you’re just starting out with a new website or SEO campaign, you’ll probably find that free tools are sufficient!  
     
  7. Being antisocial….media. We’re not saying you must have a personal Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google+ account, but social media is extremely important to your business’s visibility. A regularly updated social media account also shows your customers that you’re interested in their community – not just their business.
     
  8. Not having a blog. No need to post a daily, crazy-involved piece. But a blog that’s updated regularly – even monthly – can help you build authority to your site and credibility in your brand. Share your blog posts via email newsletters and social media – places you know you’ll have an audience.
     
  9. Using a third-party site to host your blog. There is one caveat to having your own blog. Repeat after us: I will not blog on someone else’s domain. Buying your own domain or adding a page to your site might cost more and take a bit of your time, but think of it as an investment that quickly pays for itself. If you create informative content about your business’s specialty and your area of expertise, you’re making yourself an authority in the field. If your blog lives on a different domain, your authority goes to that business – not to you. So – have your blog-cake and eat it, too.
     
  10. Neglecting local SEO strategy. Local SEO is a bit different than your typical SEO strategy. Instead of driving traffic to your site with high-quality links and social mentions, it focuses on assuring that your contact information is the same across multiple sites, directories, and platforms. (In the eyes of search engines, inconsistency reads as fraudulent practices.) Local SEO also allows you to establish a business page on Google+. Your position on Google Maps also plays a big role. If you’re a local business, local SEO is crucial to a successful SEO strategy.   

A high quality SEO campaign takes a bit of time and practice. And if your business is expanding, you might want to let the pros take care of it. Contact Web Revelation about a simple, effective SEO strategy for your company – your site will thank you.

white hat SEO - 880, med comp.
SEO strategy - 1600, med-high comp.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : websites , SEO


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