Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Does Your Alexa Ranking Matter?

Monday, July 29th, 2013

One of the main goals for any small business involved in online marketing is to increase traffic to their website, blog, and social media pages. Of course, it’s important to measure and analyze traffic, and that’s why many marketers use Alexa to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns.

But should you worry about your Alexa ranking? If your small business website’s AlexaRank is somewhere in the millions, should you be working on improving your numbers—or are there better ways to improve your online visibility?

What is an AlexaRank?

The Alexa Traffic Rankings are a widely accepted authority on website traffic levels. Alexa.com computes these rankings on a daily basis, using a combined measure of page views and users, or reach. To arrive at the Alexa ranking, these two numbers are averaged over time, using the prior three months of traffic data.

So, your website’s Alexa ranking reflects both traffic levels and the number of unique visitors you receive.

Top Alexa ranked sites

Alexa monitors web traffic for sites all over the world, and refreshes its list of the top 500 global sites every day. The current top 10 websites by AlexaRank are:

  1. Facebook
  2. Google
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo!
  5. Baidu (the leading Chinese search engine)
  6. Amazon
  7. Wikipedia
  8. QQ.COM (the leading Internet service portal in China)
  9. Windows Live
  10. Taobao Marketplace (the leading online shopping destination in China)

It’s interesting to note that three of the top 10 Alexa ranked websites originate in China—the country with the biggest population in the world. India is the second most populated country, and the United States is third.

What this means for your small business website

Your AlexaRank can serve as a rough indicator of website traffic, but improving it shouldn’t be the focus of your online marketing efforts. As a small business, it’s more important to focus on traffic quality over quantity. Getting the right people to visit your site will be more valuable than having a lot of visitors.

Potential exceptions are businesses that rely on advertiser revenue as a primary profit stream. Alexa Rankings are important to advertisers, and you can charge more for ad space on your website when you have a high AlexaRank.

So if you’ve been frantic over improving your Alexa ranking, you can relax. Focus on building quality traffic through content marketing and good SEO practices, and your online marketing strategy will succeed.

SEO Advice: Quick Tips on Keyword Placement

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Keywords are the heart of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. For a small business, SEO is often the responsibility of the owner—but crafting an effective strategy can be challenging. You know that your website is supposed to contain “targeted keywords” to help potential customers find you online, but what should they be, and where should you put them?

A note on choosing SEO keywords

Unless you’re occupying a highly specific niche, chances are your small business has a lot of competition. One of the best SEO keyword strategies is to choose local keywords to optimize. Since I’m based in Cincinnati, Ohio, I use terms like “Cincinnati freelance writer” for my website SEO, to help local clients find me faster.

Combining local terms with your industry’s top keywords is a great way to rank high in search engine results. You can use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool to research the most popular search terms associated with your small business.

SEO keyword placement strategies

Once you know your target keywords, where should you place them in your website content? A lot of small businesses make the mistake of keyword stuffing—using their keywords as many times as possible on their pages, even where they don’t make sense in context. This strategy will only get your website ignored by search engines.

The most effective placement for keywords include:

  • Metadata: Your keywords should appear at least once in the Title and Meta Description for each page of your website. You can also create a Meta Keywords tag and list relevant keywords in order from the longest to the shortest phrase. Not fluent in HTML? Don’t worry—most popular website platforms, like WordPress and Blogger, offer a way to enter metadata without coding.
  • Headings and subheadings: Search engines give more weight to text that’s coded as a heading or subheading on website pages. Including keywords in these lines can boost your SEO, and also helps make your content clearer to visitors.
  • Anchor text: Anchor text, or text that is linked to another website or a different page on your site, is also given more weight by search engines. Make sure the keywords used in your anchor text are appropriate and accurately reflect the linked content.
  • First 200 words: Search engines pay more attention to the first 200 words, or “above the fold” content, on a website page. Place your target keywords here—but make sure naturally flow with the content.

Making just a few simple changes to your website content and metadata can bring big SEO improvements. Where do your target keywords appear?

Want to Succeed in SEO? Don’t Skip the Updates.

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Though SEO can be one of the most effective tools a business can have, it can be a challenge to keep up with constant changes. Search engines are always implementing updates to help them scan for valuable content, all with the goal of calculating a website’s ranking. Recent search engine algorithm updates have once again changed the game and raised SEO standards. With this latest update, content is squarely in the spotlight.

Search engines are looking for websites that are active and full of knowledgeable industry information. In order to find reputable, relevant websites, they look for several key factors, including:

  • Longer content
  • Inbound links and shares from quality sources
  • Good spelling and grammar
  • Video and images
  • Proper formatting
  • Outbound links to quality sources

Producing quality website content takes a lot of time and energy, which some businesses simply can’t spare. If you don’t have the resources to keep your content updated and solid, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Whether you outsource the job or = decide to do it yourself, the following tips are a great start for gathering search engine-friendly content.

Strong Internal Content

One of the best ways to generate strong internal content is through a company blog. This can save you the expense of hiring an outside resource—you can simply assign the job to team members who are already knowledgeable about your company. This keeps readers informed and also makes you look good from a search engine standpoint. You can take these blog posts one step further by developing them into a series or a white paper that could be uploaded onto your site and used as valuable content.

 Strong External Content

Another way to meet the new SEO standards is to allow other writers and experts to contribute guest posts for your site. This has the added benefits of making interesting content available to readers and showcasing your authority. You’ll need to build strong relationships to keep the guests post coming, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Guest posts can help build inbound links, establish author ranking, and strengthen branding.

Be Visual

If you want to have a website full of strong content, go beyond the written word and offer visuals, such as videos and images. This makes your website more appealing and uses different resources to provide information. Not only will this strengthen the content of your website, it will also establish credibility through other social media outlets. This is a vital move for companies that want to stay up-to-date with social media outlets.

Search engines are always coming up with new updates in order to better rank the content value—and spam risk—of websites. It’s essential for businesses to stay abreast of these updates in order to have successful SEO strategies.

This is a guest post from Lillian at gadzoo.com, a comprehensive Internet marketing provider. Her blog educates businesses in staying up to date with the latest developments in SEO and digital marketing.