Monthly Archives: May 2013

Using (free!) SEO to get your website found: The basics

A valuable marketing tool for all businesses is to make sure they are applying the principles of search engine optimization, or SEO, to their websites. SEO is a free way to get your website found by consumers. To clarify, there is another branch of marketing called search engine marketing, or SEM, but that focuses on paid ads. If you have ever searched on the Internet for a product or term, you have no doubt seen ads, which generally appear at the top of the listings in a slightly pink area (in Google) or to the side. The organic results, which appear below any ads, are based on SEO. This post focuses on SEO.

There are many things you can do to improve the way search engines find your website, including:

  • Do keyword research. Keywords are the terms that people use to find products and services for businesses like yours. These aren’t necessarily the terms that you would like your business to be known for, but the actual terms that real people use every day. You can find these terms by doing research using a tool like Google’s free Keyword Tool. This is a tool aimed at people who are creating paid ads on Google AdWords, but the tool works well for SEO terms, too. You can enter phrases close to what you think might be popular. The tool will show results for that phrase and also show you a list of similar terms and their results. You are looking for phrases that have a combination of high search volume (the “Local” column is the US) and low competition. You’re more likely to get found using these terms. Adding the geographic area you serve, if applicable, can also help. And, another great source of keywords is to ask your own customers what terms they have used to find you online.
  • Make sure you use a title tag for each page that includes good keywords for that page. The title tag is very important to search engines, as is the description. Make sure these are accurate for the page they describe and that they use important keywords.
  • Make sure to fill out the metadata tags on each page you want to optimize for SEO accurately and completely. You might not need or want to optimize all of your pages for SEO. Do the pages that contain the most important information about your company first. Don’t know what meta tags are? If you have a webmaster helping you with your website, they will know what these are.
  • Write your website pages for humans, and then do a light rewrite for the search engines. Search engines like to see that the page includes keywords, but don’t overdo it. The search engines will penalize you if you use the keywords too often on a page.
  • Make sure to include keywords in headings, subheadings, and links, when it makes sense. The search engines value these words in these key areas, but don’t try too hard to put the keywords in these areas. Remember you are still writing for humans, and headings, subheads, and links need to make sense.
  • Add good-quality content to your site often. Search engines like new, good content. You can add content to your site through ways like blog posts.

These measures just scratch the surface of what you can do for SEO. Here are some other sources of information for you to consult:

The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with some basic steps and then build on them. SEO is a constant process of refinement, and you should revisit your strategy and keywords at least every six months. By doing this, you can drive more and better traffic to your website.

Finally, here’s an infographic outlining the simple steps to SEO:

Ten Ways To Improve SEO

From http://www.interactivitymarketing.com/ten-ways-to-improve-seo-rankings/

 

 

 

Is Pinterest right for your business?

Did you know that Pinterest is the third most used social channel in use, after only Facebook and Twitter? According to a Pew Research Center study from late 2012, about 15 percent of social media users use Pinterest, and the typical demographics of these users are that they are:

  • Women
  • White, non-Hispanic
  • 18-49 years old
  • Graduated college
  • Make between $50,000-$74,999

If this sounds like the target market, you might want to consider setting up a business account on Pinterest.

Before we go further, let me back up and give a quick explanation of Pinterest. This is a social media site that, according to Pinterest, “helps people collect and organize the things they love.” People can pin and repin things, especially visual images, to boards, which are collections of related pins. For businesses, this can be a way to drive traffic back to your site. If you were a restaurant, you could pin pictures of  tempting dishes, recipes, or ideas for setting a beautiful table. Own a furniture store? You could pin ideas for turning small nooks in your house into places to read or to store books. The idea — as is always the case with content — is to share thoughts regarding what your audience cares about, not necessarily your products. Social media is about starting a conversation before you ever anticipate converting to a sale.

If you’re interested in setting up a Pinterest for Business account, visit the Pinterest section dedicated to business users. In this section, you can get an overview of what Pinterest is, how some other brands are using it, and get started setting up your own account. To see additional information, check out this unofficial Pinterest blog, totalpinterest.com and especially the marketing section, for some helpful “getting started” advice and ways to encourage activities like getting more repins.

Another recent development for businesspeople is the introduction of Pinterest analytics. You can use this tool from Pinterest to see what about your content people are responding to and repinning. It can also tell you how much traffic Pinterest is driving back to your site. To use this tool, you must have a verified website and be using Pinterest’s new look. This article from SwellPath provides even more information about the kinds of information you can track with the new tool.   

For more best practices about using Pinterest for business, I thought you might like this infographic from sociallysorted.com.au, posted on entrepreneur.com (below). Then let me know about your experience using Pinterest as a business.

The 10 Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business