SEO Rundown – Sept. 5

Hey All,

This is Theo from Mountain Media and this is your Friday SEO Rundown. Every other Friday I’ll be going through some of the big trending issues in SEO and giving each of them a brief moment in the sun.

Penguin 3.0 are you ready?

Chuck Price over at SEW recently posted an article detailing what is going to be going on with P 3.0 but let me give you the long and short of it. Currently, everyone who has gone through a link audit and meticulously picked out every spammy link the reward has been next to zero. Mainly due to the fact that Penguin is a separate algorithm that isn’t part of the normal algorithm updates. But, don’t worry, after P 3.0 is run you should see a jump in SERPs. For those of you who haven’t cleaned out your links yet or are worried that you might have spammy links, now is the time to do it before the hammer drops. Get it done, because Google might not wait until Matt Cutts gets back from vacation before they run it and if you’re caught with anything remotely spammy, you might have to wait 10+ months again before the next iteration of Penguin.

HTTPS URLs Have no Ranking Benefit…Yet

As you all know, Google announced that it would provide a small ranking boost to HTTPS/SSL sites due to their new HTTPS ranking factor. Search Metric recently released a study showing that moving your site over to HTTPS has not given any sort of boost to SERPs. Marcus Tober over at Search Metric was quoted as saying:

“In a nutshell: No relationships have been discernible to date from the data analyzed by us between HTTPS and ranking nor are there any differences between HTTP and HTTPS. In my opinon therefore, Google has not yet rolled out this ranking factor – and/or this factor only affects such a small section of the index to date that it was not possible to identify it with our data.”

In my opinion, I agree with Mr. Tober, while Google did say it is a small boost, even a small boost to your SERPs is noticeable. The most likely thing is that Google is probably going to roll out the ranking after they run P3.0. Well that’s it for this week’s SEO rundown, if you enjoyed please subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+. Thanks and we’ll see you next time for our next SEO rundown.

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How to Find the Right Guest Blogging Opportunities

For several months now, SEOs have debated the value of guest blogging. Has it lost its benefit? Or, is guest blogging still an effective SEO tactic?

As I have mentioned in several past posts, Google’s algorithm updates have cracked down on spammy backlinks and irrelevant content, shifting toward content marketing strategies. The key is finding the right guest blogging opportunity.

What is guest blogging?

Guest blogging is when someone posts an article to a blog that is not their own. The incentive for doing so is to build quality backlinks for their own websites. Guest blogging can help you gain the status of “expert” in a particular niche. It can also build your community and your customer base.

In order to be successful with guest blogging, you must be strategic about it. Take your time to carefully write a blog post that not only resonates with your target audience, but educates them as well. And your work doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve crafted a well thought-out post, you cannot just place it any where. You should place your post on a blog that resembles your values, beliefs and company.

Here are four steps to finding the right guest blog:

1. Set realistic goals

Being successful starts with setting realistic goals. What are you trying to achieve from guest blogging? What do you expect to gain from it? You are more likely to get where you want to go if you set a goal and commit yourself to it. It’s also important to measure your success. In terms of guest blogging, success can be measured by the number of connections made and leads generated.

2. Define your audience

In order to find the right guest blogging opportunities, you have to first identify your target audience. Research and find out as much as possible about the people you want to attract to your website through your guest blogging efforts. After you perform the research, you will want to create an audience profile. This is an in-depth description of who your average reader may be. It also includes demographic and psychographic information, such as age, gender, interests, values, lifestyle, and much more.

3. Find legitimate blogs

Now that you have figured out who you want to target, it’s important to seek out legitimate guest blogs. Reaching out to websites of similar interest is a great way to build a rapport with folks in the same niche. Also, find a blog that has strong credibility. Using tools like Open Site Explorer will allow you to check a blog’s domain authority and link profile. While it may be time-consuming and tedious to search for the right guest blog, it will be worth the hassle when you have real SEO results and more followers in the end.

4. Revel in the benefits

The biggest benefit associated with guest blogging is the ability to gain backlinks. These links will help your website move up in the search engines rankings. The second benefit of guest blogging is that it helps you build relationships with other bloggers. Such relationships will allow for future guest blogging opportunities. Another benefit is that guest blogging increases your exposure and helps build your brand. Lastly, when done correctly, guest blogging can be cheap promotion that generates a large portion of traffic flow to your website.

We would love to know about your guest blogging experiences!

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Online Newsroom Tips For Your Website

Too often, the newsroom on a website is merely a home for old press releases. While it can be a struggle to provide up-to-date news, press releases can help improve search engine rankings for your website. This alone is reason enough to have a newsroom on your website—not to mention the valuable content that revolves around your keywords and is of interest to search engines and customers alike.

Here’s a list of what should be included in your online newsroom:

  • High resolution photos
  • Executive bios
  • Corporate backgrounders
  • Video content
  • RSS feeds
  • Opt-in email
  • Contact information
  • Social sharing buttons

Optimized Content

A dynamic online newsroom can be an effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool for reaching new and existing customers. However, not optimizing your news content can be detrimental to the success of your newsroom. As much as it’s important to write content that journalists will enjoy and find interesting, it’s equally important to craft content with SEO in mind. To be sure that your newsroom can be found by search engines, have a link to the newsroom on your website’s homepage. You should also use title tags rich in keywords and utilize HTML code like headline tags and meta descriptions.

Be Social

By including RSS feeds and email opt-ins, you can enable readers to subscribe to your newsroom. This will allow them to receive content as it becomes readily available. You should also incorporate your social media feeds as well as social sharing buttons on your press releases to make sharing your content as easy as the click of the mouse.

Gain Exposure

To increase exposure of your press releases, you can distribute them through services such as PR Web. This will not only increase the breadth of your release, but you can also gain inbound links from authoritative sites, which can improve your overall SEO.

Incorporate multimedia

You will also want to include videos and photos of your products and/or services. Embedding videos and photos that supplement your content can make your newsroom more appealing to both the media and consumers.

Online Newsroom Examples

A wonderful example of an online newsroom is by Red Lobster (http://www.redlobster.com/press). Simple, yet it includes all the key ingredients to the perfect online newsroom.

Dunkin Donuts also has a great online newsroom (http://news.dunkindonuts.com). It’s fun, engaging and offers the right ratio of news and multimedia content.

Thanks to all the Google algorithm updates, it’s more critical than ever before to craft high-quality and frequent content. The online newsroom provides a great opportunity for businesses to not only meet the ever-changing demands of search engines, but also provide relevant, newsworthy content for their customers too.

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Announcing Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper Tool

Just when we marketers and online businesses alike think that Google just hates us and has forgotten all about our hard-working existence, they go and release something like they did yesterday – the Structured Data Markup Helper Tool.

You’ve probably seen search results that look a little something like this:

Complete with a yummy-looking image of some ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies and a 5-star recipe rating, along with the first several ingredients needed to make these little delights. Or you might have seen something like this:

How convenient – a list of events happening in the city of Philadelphia this weekend, all from the same website, appearing naturally in my Google search results.

These kind of search results are considered rich snippets, meaning these websites are returning query results that contain additional information rather than just the title and meta description of the page that ranks for the query. The results with all of this additional information tend to stand out from the rest of the “normal” organic search results, meaning they can help a website increase click through rates and keyword rankings in the long run.

So, how do you get all of this additional information that appears on your website to actually start appearing in organic search results? Well, thanks to Google’s new tool, it’s actually pretty easy. These kind of search results are accomplished using Schema.org structured data markup – which is basically just a fancy term for feeding the search engines (namely Google) additional information about any given page that you want them to see.

For example, if you are working with a product page, you have the ability to tell Google additional information about the product using structured data markup, and the new Google tool helps automate all of that markup for you, so even if you’re not familiar with HTML5 or Schema.org, you can still begin sending this additional information to Google.

Say you want to tell the search engines how many of the particular product you have in stock, or what the brand name is, or what the price is or even what customers are saying about your product. It’s all possible, and now, it’s all pretty simple to automate.

So here’s how Google’s new Structured Data Markup Helper Tool actually works:

This is where you start. Choose what type of page you’re working on marking up, and enter the page’s URL. For example purposes, I’m going to use a wonderful seafood restaurant I visited recently with my family while visiting Houston, Texas, the Goode Company.

Once I’ve entered the URL for the webpage I’m looking to markup (in this case, I’ll be using the page on this company’s site that focuses specifically on their seafood branches), I can start assigning “tags” by highlighting information that’s actually found on the page itself. In this example below, I’m telling the Google tool what I want the name of the page to be in my structured data markup:

On the right side, I can see the tags that I’ve assigned to the page so far just by highlighting the information that I want to enter. Here’s what the right sidebar should look like once I’ve entered all of the information that applies. If there is any information missing at the end, you can either enter it manually, or skip over it, but know that skipped information will result in a less thorough rich snippet in the search results. In this case, I’ll be skipping over the “Review” information, as there are no customer reviews listed on the page itself:

You can see the information that I’ve highlighted on the page, and if you notice, the right sidebar is, for the most part, filled. When you’ve finished entering your page’s information, click the red “Create HTML” button. You’ll then see something like this:

The tool shows you an example of the HTML for the page in its entirety with the addition of the automatically generated structured data markup. If you scroll down through all of the HTML, you’ll see that the additional markup that’s been added is highlighted in yellow. You’ll find this markup in two sections – the first is before the closing </head> tag. All you have to do is replace the HTML that’s already there on your page with the HTML that this tool generates for you:

If you continue to scroll down, you’ll see more highlighted HTML that is embedded within the page content itself:

Again, you can copy and paste all of this HTML into the page content to fully markup the page that you are working with. Remember that anything in the content field that you mark up will be visible to viewers, while the markup that goes in the <head> of the page is just that – markup, not content.

Then just make sure your page is included in your website’s sitemap that is sent to Google, and keep an eye on your search results. With the video rich snippets that we’ve seen here at Mountain Media, we have found that results can take anywhere between 1 and about 6 weeks to begin to show in organic search results.

So with the help of the new Google tool and some patience, you, too, can have rich snippet results for your website that can help increase your click through rates and keyword rankings, resulting in more overall search engine traffic to your website!

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