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A Couple of Must Read Posts...
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Hi folks, sorry about the lengthily wait in between posts, time has been elusive over the past couple of weeks and we hope to get rolling again with some regular posts. For now we would like to share some really great posts from the last week.

Should Rick Santorum’s “Google Problem” Be Fixed? - Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land - I, like many, have been a little critical of Google's results ever since the launch of Caffeine.  I am obviously not the only one who has been questioning the results.  This is a great article to show that problem may not solely rest with Google, Danny breaks down an interesting example of how Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum has been quite vocal about the issues with Google's search results.  I appreciate this article because indirectly it illustrates just how the over-emphasis on link popularity by the engines can result in less relevant search results being presented (depending on the search query of course).  I'm not saying that some of these results should not appear, I'm just saying that they probably should not appear regularly on the first page.  As Danny states,
It is poor relevance from both Google and Bing that his campaign site is ranking behind Spreading Santorum. From a relevancy standpoint, for most people, I’d say it should be first. It’s what most people doing that search are likely trying to find — except for the search voyeurs who heard about the odd ranking.
It is a great read.  http://searchengineland.com/should-rick-santorums-google-problem-be-fixed-93570

5 Ways Guest Blog Posts Can Help Your SEO - Daily SEO Tip - many of us realize that blogs are great mechanisms for getting content out on the Web in a hurry and they are even more important if you are a respected blogger and produce great content.  Of course if you have a blog, there are some great SEO benefits as well.  This post highlights some ways in which guest blogging can help yourSEO strategy.  Some really cool tips here.  http://dailyseotip.com/5-ways-guest-blog-posts-can-help-your-seo/1882

A Revamped Delicious Increases Imagery & Adds “Stacks” - Greg Finn, SE Land.  Over the past couple of years I have really become a fan of Delicious.  It is with good reason that Delicious is touted as the world's leading social bookmarking service.  This week Delicious launched a new look and some new features including their "Stack" functionality.  Greg's article is great review of the newly revamped Delicious.  If you have not yet tried Delicious, now might be the time to start.  It is a great tool for housing knowledge transferring knowledge, sharing knowledge or for simply storing your most important and relevant resources that you can refer back to as needed.  http://searchengineland.com/a-revamped-delicious-increases-imagery-adds-stacks-94621

There has been a number of great posts about SEO, search and digital marketing this week.  The three that we mentioned here are just a sample of such.  Enjoy!

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 29, 2011  
Content Promotion: The Other Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I have written about content development strategies and about writing for the Web on numerous occasions and we all know just how important content is for your website, but for some, one thing that sometimes gets overlooked as part of a content development strategy is the actual promotion of your content.  You can have the greatest team of writers in the world, but if no one can find your content their efforts may simply be wasted.  It is no longer enough to simply produce awesome content, the need to promote your content has become nearly as important as content creation itself.

There are a number of great resources out there on content marketing and if you have attended any of the major search conferences over the past couple of years, you have most likely heard great folks such as Lee Odden discuss the importance of content marketing.  I have read a number of great books on content marketing and content strategies and there is definitely no shortage of quality resources out there.  So for this post I won't really go into too much detail about the importance of content marketing, but I will suggest that if you have not established a content development strategy for your web properties as of yet, you have some catching up to do as content marketing is really finding its legs here in 2011.  Recently algorithm updates such as Google Panda further illustrate the need for high quality content, but again creating this awesome content is really the beginning of your overall content marketing strategy.

I equate content creation to the good old days of the music industry when an artist created a record or CD that featured ten or twelve songs on it.  (Of course this is before the digital era, so some of you younger folks may not be able to relate...)  For those of us who used to have to purchase music from a record or music store, how many times did you purchase an album that had a couple of good songs only to have the remainder of the album be filled with fillers?  It was rare to have a really solid album with ten solid tracks.  Depending on your genre interest there may have been a few artists who actually had a solid release from start to finish.  I myself, like good old rock n roll.  My guilty pleasure was a lot of the hair band stuff that came out in the 80's and 90's.  So with all of the "hair-bands" and later grunge bands out there you usually had artists that had albums with a couple of decent songs and the rest were fillers.  Of course there were exceptions with bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard which usually featured some great tunes that were very polished and produced, but for the most part a lot of these artists were one hit wonders.  At the time they were dominating the music charts.  While some of the hair band music gets a bad rap, there were some solid efforts that simply did not get the exposure that resulted in modest or limited success in terms of album sales.  Slaughter's "Stick it to Ya" from 1990 and Warrant's 1992 release "Dog Eat Dog" are notable examples. These were two solid albums with no filler material yet they simply did not get the promotion to do either of them justice.  They each experienced moderate success reaching double platinum and gold status respectively.  Yet while the songs were solid the albums did not see the promotion of other acts at the time.  Before I digress too much, the point that I am trying to make is that great content is nothing without proper promotion.

Content Promotion:  The Other Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

The Internet is a hyper-competitive environment.  Think about how many p[ages search engines such as Google have indexed.  Reports suggest that they have indexed over a trillion pages.  Knowing this how does one promote their content to be featured in the prime real estate of the search engines?  Well without going into great detail, a well established content strategy can help you get there.  A key part of this strategy is the promotion of your content. 

Content can be promoted a number of ways but there are a handful of ways that can be used to promote your content effectively, efficiently and successfully.
  1. Content Syndication
  2. Social Sharing/Bookmarking
  3. Social Media
  4. Via Links (aka linkbait)
  5. Guest Blogging
  6. Email Marketing
While I won't go into great detail for each of these methods, it is worth discussing a couple of them further.

Promoting Content via Syndication

Syndication is a great way to get your content out to the masses fairly quickly.  There are a number of ways to syndicate your content:
  • Promotion via Feeds - things such as RSS allow you to syndicate content automatically
  • Leveraging multiple web properties
  • Leveraging news sites (Google News, DIGG, etc)
The problem with content syndication is that while you want to get your content out there, you do not want to simply create duplicate entries.  Ideally you will want to avoid creating noise and duplicate content on the Web.

Promoting Content via Social Sharing or Social Bookmarking

What is easier than having your readers promote your content for you?  Leveraging social bookmarking and social sharing options is a great way to make it easy for others to share your content.  Tools such as ADD This http://www.addthis.com/ make it extremely easy to populate social sharing functionality on your web properties.

Content Promotion via Social Media

Marketing your content is no longer simply a matter of SEO and SEM.  Social media marketing is a must if you want to engage with your desired audience.  Environments such as Twitter, Facebook and even MySpace or YouTube content.  Leveraging social is simply not a wait and see tactic.  Chances are that if you are not currently leveraging social media to promote your content, there is a good chance that your competitors and more importantly your audience is using these social channels.  Social media is a relatively easy way for publishers to promote their content.  Whether it is in the form of 140 characters or a video or a status update, the Web has become and will continue to get more social.  Currently 30% (or more) of the world's population is on the Internet, many of them are visiting some form of social environment.  Folks, this one is a no-brainer.

While I have only scratched the surface here with regards to content promotion, you must realize by now that it truly is not enough to simply create content and while "content is king" the promotion of this content is what will help you engage with your audience and will provide signals to the search engines just how authoritative your site is about insert topic here.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, September 13, 2011  
SEO Quick Tips: Preparing for a Website Redesign
Thursday, September 08, 2011
It seems like all site owners go through a website redesign at some point or another. Previously, we have posted tips for planning a site redesign, but we thought at the very minimum there are a few items that are sometimes overlooked when planning a site redesign.  As a result we have compiled a Quick Tips list of five things that will help you prepare for your redesign.

SEO Quick Tips for Planning a Website Redesign
  1. Take inventory of your site's pages - this is so important yet is often overlooked due to the inability to compile and keep an inventory of your site pages.  Understanding not only how many pages your site consists of but knowing what those pages are is critical for moving forward with your redesign.  I know, I know some of you e-commerce site owners are thinking, "...but we have millions of pages...".  The fact is if you do not even know what your site consists of how can you possibly ensure that your site is fully optimized?  This topic warrants a post unto itself but  for now it makes our list of quick tips for planning a redesign.  Some site owners are able to perform an internal crawl of their pages to take inventory, other may require the use of tools.  Depending on the size of your site, tools such as XENU and Screaming Frog may work well for your needs.
  2. Take inventory of your links - at least gain an general understanding of who is linking to your pages, and have an idea of which pages currently have great inbound link inventories.  The same can be done with regards to your internal links.
  3. Prepare checklists - when planning a site redesign, working from a checklist or checklists will make your life more easy and will help ensure that you do not overlook any key elements of the redesign.
  4. Pick a realistic launch date - by doing this you can provide ample time to plan, test, transition, launch and monitor your site, through the redesign process.  This also gives you something to work towards.  While launch dates frequently change, having a realistic launch date in place should mean that changes to the launch date should happen less if at all.
  5. Understand your keyword rankings - many folks say that rankings don't matter.  That is total BS.  Everyone monitors their rankings.  If you are at all interested in how your site is performing in search you need to monitor your rankings in conjunction with traffic data and such.  Prior to proceeding with your redesign take the time to know where you rank for your important key phrase, in particular your non-branded phrases.  Anytime your perform a redesign or make major site changes you run the risk of losing rankings and traffic as a result.  Mitigate this risk with a knowledge of where you stand in the search engines.
There you have it, five fairly easy things that you can do to help prep for your website redesign.  Trust me levering these items can save you some grief, time and money.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 08, 2011  
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