Quick Monday Tip List: Keeping Your Blog SEO Friendly!

Hey everyone, and happy Monday! I wanted to share some short reminder tips on how to keep your blog SEO friendly, both when maintaining existing content, and when creating and curating new content! Sound off in the comments and let me know if you have any other great tips that help keep your blog in tip-top shape!

 

1. Responsive Design:

You want your blog to respond and conform to any / all devices that the user may be using. This creates just one URL, causing any inbound links to only link to one domain rather than multiple domains. This helps boost your Google ranking, in turn boosting your SEO ranking.

 

2. Create content that’s relevant to your keywords. Below are a few tips to follow when writing:

  • Write your content for people, not so much for what you think a search bot would like. It should be natural and captivating.
  • Write something unique that your readers won’t be able to find anywhere else on the web.

3. Link Internally:

Linking internally to your blog or event to the HB website helps show the validity and relevancy of your blog content.

 

4. Consider the “scanners”

Most people, when browsing blogs or reading posts tend to skim through.  Make it easy for users to read:

  • use shorter sentences
  • use bullet points & lists
  • use relevant images.

 

5. Font size matters

The larger the text on the page, the more importance is placed on it by Google. When crating headers and sub-headers, make sure to use your primary and secondary keywords.

 

6. Images:

A good image can help strengthen your content and lower your bounce rate. Make sure you save the image files as keywords rather than “image384773”.

 

7. Share, share, share!

Once all of your blog content is optimized and ready, make sure to share it on all of your social media channels.

At Long Last, Google Releases Google Analytics for iOS

After lagging behind Android for years in terms of native app development for Google Analytics, Google has finally released Google Analytics for iOS. The first party Google Analytics app comes with support for some of the best features of Analytics, including Real Time traffic view, secondary factor drilldown, and beautiful graphic-based display of information. The Google Analytics app is available for devices running iOS 6.0 and up, and is optimized for iPhone 5/5s and iPad.

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Features at a Glance:

 

Tapping the bar icon in the upper left corner opens the options that are available in the left hand menu in the web version of Analytics. Users can choose to drill into Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions.

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Segment filtering is also easy, by tapping the circle with a plus sign icon in the upper right corner. When a segment is selected, the icon turns orange. You cannot use custom segments in the app or do anything custom at all really. This is just the basics, but it’s clean and easy to use.

Google Officially Launches International Targeting in Webmaster Tools

After an initial beta testing period for a new International Targeting feature, Google has officially announced its inclusion into the Webmaster Tools suite, allowing for href-lang tag markup to be used to denote which version of a page should be served for a given locality. Because of the relative low adoption of href language tags up until now, implementation and syntax is often incorrect when using these tags.

International Targeting Error Reporting

Webmaster Tools can now help to detect some of these syntax errors, and help you to display the proper version of a given page for every viewer. The built-in reporting helps identify these common issues:

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  • Missing return links: annotations must be confirmed from the pages they are pointing to. If page A links to page B, page B must link back to page A, otherwise the annotations may not be interpreted correctly. For each error of this kind Google may report where and when Google detected them, as well as where the return link is expected to be.

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  • Incorrect hreflang values: The value of the hreflang attribute must either be a language code in ISO 639-1 format such as “es”, or a combination of language and country code such as “es-AR”, where the country code is in ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format. In case Google indexing systems detect language or country codes that are not in these formats, Google will provide example URLs to help you fix them.

(photo and info sourced from Search Engine Land)

WordPress Releases 4.0 Beta – Here’s What’s New

If you’ve been feeling like it’s been too long since a major version release of WordPress, Automattic has answered your prayers with the beta release of WordPress 4.0. As with any beta product, Automattic urges you to use a staging or test environment while trying out WordPress 4.0, as this release is nowhere near stable enough for everyday production server use. If you’re a little queazy about using preproduction builds, don’t fret! The full initial release of 4.0 is slated for some time next month. To get your blogging glands salivating, here’s a list of some of the new features you can expect to see in WordPress 4.0:

 

Preview Embedded URLs

WordPress 4.0 Beta allows for previews of embedding via URLs in the visual editor and the “Insert from URL” tab in the media modal. Try pasting a URL, such as a YouTube video, onto its own line in the visual editor and see a live preview of what it will look like.

Media Library Grid View

The Media Library now has a “grid” view in addition to the existing list view. Clicking on an item takes you into a modal where you can see a larger preview and edit information about that attachment, and you can navigate between items right from the modal without closing it.

Improved Plugin Install Experience

WordPress is freshening up the plugin install experience. When searching for plugins and viewing details, you’ll see some early visual changes as well as more information.

Other Changes

  • The editor intelligently resizes and its top and bottom bars pin when needed.
  • Some improvements to how your keyboard and cursor interact with TinyMCE views such as the gallery preview.
  • Widgets in the Customizer are now loaded in a separate panel.

To test WordPress 4.0, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the WordPress support forums.

Best Practices: Google Shopping Campaigns and PLAs in 2014

Google Shopping listings have been updated yet again, in lockstep with Panda 4.0, and as a result there are some guideline changes when building new product feeds that take advantage of enhanced tagging ability, sorting and grouping by product performance, and more! Check out the highlights below:

Best Practices for an Optimized Shopping Campaign Feed

Ensure “product data is complete, fresh and accurate”

  • Upload data regularly to keep information current
    • Once a day, or depending on changes, schedule frequent uploads
  • Feeds should be kept updated to reflect any new price changes and availability
  • “Product eligibility can improve your impressions”
  • Match the data feed to the information found on your website
  • Submit Unique Product Identifiers

Keep “titles, descriptions and images user-friendly”

  • Use high-quality, clear images for products
    • Use white, gray or light gray backgrounds
    • Avoid watermarks and logos
  • “Relevancy can improve your click through rate”
    • Use Search Query Reports to hone relevancy of products’ keyword lists
  • No keyword stuffing

Keep “product type and custom labels in good shape”

  • “Bid based on your product group’s relative value”
  • Organize your inventory by product type for easy management of your shopping campaigns
    • Create a product catalogue or taxonomy
  • Five custom labels are available and they make management control of new and old products that much easier
    • Each product can be assigned up to 5 labels

Resource: AdWords Best Practices Series on Search Engine Land

Updated Specifications for Data Feed Attributes

  • Landing Page Policy
  • Image Quality Recommendations
  • Attribute Character Limits

Resource: Google Merchant Center Product Feed Specification

Social Media and SEO Smackdown: Comparing Social and Search (Infographic)

Though SEO and Social Media both pertain to hugely different aspects of any online presence, their philosophies and core goals often go hand in hand. When cultivating an SEO/Organic Search strategy, you should always have your Social Media goals and expectations in mind when shaping your decisions.

The infographic below from Orbit Media Solutions gives you 7 differences between social media marketing and SEO, while also demonstrating why they complement and depend on each other in so many ways.

 

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Blog Boot Camp: Revolutionize Your SEO and Social Media Metrics in 30 Minutes a Day!

As a longtime blogger, I know from experience how difficult it can be to maintain a regular schedule of fresh, new content. As other priorities in life come up, blog entries can fall by the wayside. But as any competent internet marketer will tell you, consistency is extremely important when building (and maintaining) a fanbase online. Ensuring that you are continually producing new and original blog content has the natural direct effect of increasing readership, generating new organic search traffic, which in turn increases organic SERP performance, and the cycle continues. Using these easy tips, you can help stave off lazy blogging, and ensure that you are posting fresh, new content every single day-no matter how small the content may seem.

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Blogging is a Muscle. Flex It.

Like most hobbies, be it soccer, video games, playing guitar, etc., practice is the key to constantly improving. By simply going through the motions of creating a blog entry, you are exercising and challenging your brain to create something out of nothing. Don’t sell yourself short-writing of any kind is an amazing feat if you really think about it. The ability to take an idea, a thought, or a feeling, and convey it in a way that other people can understand and appreciate is a gift. Even if your entry for the day isn’t Pulitzer Prize winning writing, it’s writing nonetheless. And more importantly, it’s yours. Build a body of work, if for nothing else, but for your own practice and self-satisfaction.

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You Don’t Have to Write a Novel.

Not every blog entry has to be a long-form, mind blowing expose on a hot topic. Sometimes, it’s okay to write a quick entry that may include nothing more than a few thoughts.

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Industry Related News and Blogs are your Friend. Use Them!

If you can’t find something to write about, turn to the news. Read up on current events that pertain to your blog or your field of expertise. At the very least, you can come up with some compelling thoughts on an article or story you’ve read, and you can in turn share that content with your audience while still contributing something useful to the overall conversation.

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Use Rich Media to ‘Beef Up’ Light Blog Content

If your writing is feeling a bit skimpy, use some rich media elements to add a bit of heft to your entry. Now, don’t use images and videos as a crutch to supplant less-than-awesome writing, but in a pinch, filling a little dead space with rich content is better than a blank, white page. Try to use complementary media, not just media that reinforces what has already been said. Find interviews from parties with counter-views to provide context and scope for a story or opinion you’ve written. Or perhaps find some file footage that provides some added illustration to get a point across. Rich media can be your friend, if you use it intelligently.

 

Now that we’ve covered a few basics of philosophy when it comes to consistent blogging, I’d like to show you an additional resource: my 30-minute framework for Social Media consistency. Maintaining your Social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is an integral part of your content machine. After all, if you don’t have anywhere to share your content, what’s the use in building it?! If you follow this 30-minute Social Media and Blogging Regimen in conjunction with one another, you should see consistent, natural growth of your audience, content views, shares, and social media engagement! (Remember: If your content sucks, your results will too! I can’t make your content high-quality with the snap of my fingers, but I can help you leverage that quality content to squeeze the most growth from your effort.)

Your 30-Minute Social Media Framework (7-5-7-5-6)schedule-your-way-to-a-better-blog

  • 7 Minutes – Review community activity from past 24 hours, and engage with audience members via likes, shares, and/or comments on content.
  • 5 Minutes – Discover new influencers to follow that are consistent with your interests and blogging topics, and connect via follow, friending, etc. Review any existing inbound friend/follow requests
  • 7 Minutes – Respond to audience communications (comments, @replies, likes, etc.) Demonstrate to your audience that you are active, and genuinely engaged on a daily basis.
  • 5 Minutes – Research new content/articles to share with your audience from influential sources (blogs, tastemakers in your industry, news outlets, Twitter trends)
  • 6 Minutes – Aggregate, Schedule, and Share your content. Compile between 2-5 posts to stagger throughout the day, between third party content and articles, and your own blog content as mentioned above. Utilize scheduling tools like HootSuite, SproutSocial, or Klout will allow you to queue content to be automatically posted at a set time.

What are heading tags, and why do they matter to my marketing and SEO?

In my experience the rules around use of H tags is always shifting. Here are the current “rules” (according to Google) as I understand them:

  • You determine the priority of your own content. There is no hard-and-fast rule around which piece of content is the most important to you.
  • Visual styling is important. Apparently you can lose ranking or be demoted for using high-ranking H-tags (h1, h2) but making them small in font or a low-contrast color.
  • They only do so much. They’re not the be-all-end-all of your ranking content. They’re one small factor. Make the choice that best represents your product, not to game SEO.
  • H4’s and beyond do little to help Google make sense of your content. Use more semantic containers (header, article, section) to help organize content.
  • Other things factor into SEO like multimedia, meta tags, etc. Optimizing those in tandem with well-written heading tags will go a long way.

In short: above all content matters. Make sure content is original and readable by Google. Make decisions that help your customers first, and Google second. Often you will find that what’s best for your customer’s UI/UX and conversion path lines up nicely with what Google wants. It is their goal to use compliance to make the web easier to search and use, after all!

 

Here’s what a basic heading structure could look like:

 

  • H1 Product Name
  • H2 Product Short Description / Product name above the description (I’ve seen this done on large eCommerce sites and do not know if this is proper)
  • H3 Product Long Description / Product Specifications / Reviews
  • H4 Product Price