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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Category: search engine (page 1 of 2)

What’s new with SEO? – Search Experience Optimization Workshop 2015

SEO-search-experience-optimization

Learning the basics of SEO can help you get found on the web. Not knowing it will make sure you aren’t.

Being found on the web is getting harder and harder to do.

The big brands are finally catching up to how the search engines see them and they are now putting substantial budgets into paid and organic search and social campaigns in order to be found on the first page of Google (for their important keywords).

So how do you compete?

Well, there are a lot of ways to compete but you need to have the basics down first.

In my workshop on search engine optimization or the better term for it, search experience optimization (SEO), I break down the basics and try to shed some light on simple things you can do to make sure the search engines and the people using those search engines see you. Because if they can’t see you, then you don’t exist.

Here’s the deck I used. Now you can flip through the deck if you want but it doesn’t have the text that you’ll have here.

When it comes to SEO, the first thing you have to do is produce good content. I know that sounds silly and like my friend Erik Deckers says, “Telling people to produce good content is stupid.”

That’s so true.

You need good content but you have to understand what makes good content and how to produce it specifically for your desired audience.

I like to say that good content is all about making people laugh, cry or think about your subject matter. If you can do that, then you have exactly what they are looking for. They will read it, watch it and share it.

Sharing is very important in this day and age of social.

Buzzfeed (who is one of the reigning kings of sharing content) talks about how they produce good content. You should read it and try to incorporate what they do to produce it.

If you’ve got the content down, then SEO gets pretty simple.

I like to break it down into these 8 things that you should focus on.

1. Content Strategy is basically what should be on the website when it launches and what will you continue to add to it. This is taking your good content and making sure it is focused on your subject matter. Once you have that down, your website should be able to handle these simple questions for both the users and the search engines.

  • Who You Are
  • What You Do
  • Where You’re Located
  • Your Value Proposition
  • What Visitors Should Do Next

2. Platform Strategy is knowing what devices your content is on and how your users see them. The platforms I believe you should worry about are iOS & Android first. Mobile is how people are connecting them most. I’ll have more on that later. Then you need to verify how you look in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

There are two testing tools I like – www.browserstack.com (paid with free trial) and www.browserling.com (free but more features with paid).

3. Information Architecture is how things are laid out on your website (goals, navigation, search, calls to action). Essentially where the content will go. I love that more and more sites are moving to the “hamburger patty” navigation button and essentially hiding standard navigation.

Instead of driving people’s attention away from the content, the hidden navigation will help get your Call-to-Action noticed more and that’s the whole point of the website, right?

4. Keyword Research will help you understand what terms your users are using to find your type of content. Why guess when the search engines can tell you what terms you should be using and what terms you are currently indexed for.

I like using Google’s Adword Keyword Planner tool as well as Soolve to discover more familiar terms.

5. Usability and User Interface are two separate things but they really revolve around each other. I believe you can’t have good Usability without good User Interface and vice versa.

When I think about usability, I’m worried about how easy is it for a user to navigate the site? Do they understand your Call-to-Action? Are they incentivized to do it?

6. When I’m thinking about User Interface, you should be focused on the mobile website vs. the desktop for the first experience. The mobile version in responsive design will really teach you what is most important then you can focus on that when you start doing the desktop design. You should be focused on touch (thumb size) instead of mouse clicks as well as more and more screens become touch sensitive.

Color/design mean everything to the user. Check out my post on digital body language to understand more of how to be intentional with everything the user sees so they will do what you want them to do.

7. Accessibility is important because everyone should be able to view your content including those with disabilities. I’ve been told that up to 25% of your audiences can have vision problems and you can help them by making your website 508 compliant.

Check out 508checker.com and boia.org to help you get 508 compliant.

8. Last but definitely not lead is Inbound Links. These are the amount and strength of other websites hyperlinking to your website. The more you have based on your subject matter, the more the search engines will look to you as an authority in that subject matter.

You used to be able to manipulate these inbound links with blog farms and other black hat techniques but the search engines, especially Google, is constantly on the hunt to keep their search from being gamed. So it’s better to just focus on great content and asking people to link/talk about you on their websites.

You should definitely have a distribution strategy to execute upon when you put out great content. I love using email, social networks, blogging networks, etc… to encourage people to visit the content when we get it up on the website.

Now let’s touch on tools I use to find out what’s going on with the website.

First there’s Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

I have an article on how you can get them both set up and connected together.

google-webmaster-tools

Search Queries that lead to people finding your website

Once you have that you can start looking at what you are being found for currently and then adjusting to be found for other keywords.

Google Webmaster Tools will also let you sort of control your most popular navigational links so you should have know what those are.

Also Google Webmaster tools is going to tell you a lot about how Google sees your website, from mobile experience to your 404 broken link / missing page issues.

Speaking of 404 broken links and missing pages, I use Xenu to scan websites and get a report of what’s wrong with them so I can check. It’s simple program (free) that anyone on a PC can download. Since I’m on a mac I use Wine to run the program.

Here’s a link to my article on how to fix 404 issues.

Fixing 404 Broken Links

Just go into your CMS and fix the links.

Next up with SEO tactics are your images. It’s pretty simple to fix these. All you need is a process. I would not recommend going back and fixing all your image SEO problems unless the images are on your most popular pages. You can find what your most popular pages are in your Google Analytics. Just click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and you’ll get a list.

Here’s my article on how to fix images to make them SEO friendly.

Cow In A Grass Field

Cow eating grass in a green field

Finally let’s talk about website Title Tags and Meta Description. You should use real keywords within your Title Tags because the domain URL is going to be very important to the search engines. They especially don’t like numbers or non-sensical titles.

Meta-Descriptions have been seriously downgraded for SEO if they were even a part of the search algorithm in the first place but they are seriously important to the Google Snippet which people read about the page they are visiting. If you don’t fill this out, Google will pull any text on the page that it thinks describes the website. You don’t want that to happen.

Here’s my post on how to do Title Tags and Meta-Descriptions.

Page Title

Page Titles are probably the most important piece of SEO you can do.

So this was my workshop on Search Experience Optimization (former Search Engine Optimization). Do you have things you would like to add to it?

13 Steps To Getting Started with a Blog

Keep Calm and Blog On T-shirt via spreadshiet

Keep Calm and Blog On T-shirt via spreadshirt

Blogging 101 – Getting Started is a training module I’m teaching to communicators and dairy farmers. It’s all about getting started with a blog as your mainstay on the internet. I’ve given the reasons of why you should blog but here are 13 steps to help you on your journey. And as always, you can reach out directly if you need help. Just hit up here or here and I’ll try to get you an answer or find you someone who can help.

1. Personal/professional brand
You need to figure who you want to be in your professional and personal life. I don’t think these things are separated in this digital age we live in and if you are going to have a digital life and brand then the two need to live together. Mainly because it’s really hard to separate the two and secondly, if you are only going to be a professional and remove the personal, no one is going to find you interesting.

We are humans and humans are social and personal – not robots. You can focus on your profession for your blog but if you never tie in personal stories, it’s just not going to resonate with the audience. Do you need help figuring out how to write out a personal brand statement? – check my post on it. It’s super simple yet will help you in profound ways.

2. Write, write, write.
Write out your first three or four blog posts in whatever system you prefer.  Definitely DON’T write a post in the system – directly on the internet. It only takes a few lost posts before you will switch to just writing in evernote (which I love) or in notepad or text-edit.

3. Add Visuals.
Find pictures / video content to associate with your blog and add them to it. Don’t steal or just grab stuff off the internet. You need to give credit where credit is due. I usually look through free image galleries or get images from Flickr.com/creativecommons – you have to give attribution and don’t photoshop their stuff unless they tell you it’s ok.

4. Select Your Domain.
Think long and hard about your domain name (keywords in the URL are important).
Having a your own domain name (with personal blogs, I suggest using your name) with good keywords in the URL. If you are writing about professional stuff, then make sure your professional terms are in the name.  You can use godaddy.com or other providers to get your name.

5. Select Your Technology – for the future.
If you get a very simple system, you may grow out of it. Pick something you think will be best for you in the future. If you are not tech savvy at all – try tumblr.com.

If you are a little more tech savvy and want more control – bloggerwixsquarespace or wordpress.com.

Want a lot of control – wordpress.org but be prepared to do a lot of work (you might need to learn how to code a few things like w3schools.com) or pay programmers to help you.

6. WHAT’S YOUR CALL TO ACTION!
What do you want the audience to do? Yes, read your post is why they are here – what’s their next step? Get their email address? Connect to you via social media? Sign a petition? Spread the word?

7. Are you a designer?
This is definitely not something to DIY. Hire a professional to make you look good. It’ll be worth it in the end.

8. Add your posts.
Use notepad or textedit to remove code. Learn about categories and tags. Take your time, work out the bugs, you can have a deadline but don’t force it out.

9. Add your other content.
You need an About page and your CALL TO ACTION page. Set those up. Add your social media profile links. Add your fun widgets. Don’t distract people too much. Everything has a purpose.

10. Get on a schedule.
Make and schedule your editorial calendar. One post a week is hard to do but will probably get you the most bang for the buck. Stay consistent. I need to follow my own advice here.

11. Link it up!
Don’t forget to link your blog to all of your social media profiles and email profile. This will help drive traffic.

12. Analytics helps you adjusted.
What should you post next? What are people actually reading? Why am I still blogging? Get Google Analytics (free) set up on your website to insure you understand what your traffic is doing and what they like about your website.

13. Use your network to drive traffic.
After posts, make sure you are posting your links to all your social media contacts.

BONUS: TIPS and TRICKS to get traffic to your blog

  • Help others
  • Talk about others
  • Link to others
  • Did I mention others and link to them?
  • Read other blogs and comment on them.
  • Use Google’s Autocomplete to work headlines

So are you ready to get blogging?  What are your steps to set up?  Anything I missed that you think I should add?

Internet Marketing 101: How to read Google Analytics?

When I first started this series on Internet Marketing 101, I told you how to set up Google Analytics on your site.  Now let’s see what Google Analytics can really tell you about your site?

Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics Dashboard

I don’t have a whole month’s worth of data on my friend’s site, www.veinskincareinstitute.com, but I do have enough to teach you guys how to read the data and what I would consider important.

Let’s log into our account and see what the site is up to.

First, we see the Dashboard.

Here we can find several things quickly. We see our mountain range of user activity. Looks like on average we get about 30 users a day visiting the site with 579 Visits.

Continue reading

Basics in SEO – have you graded your website?

This is going to be a short post but I absolutely loved this tool, www.websitegrader.com.

Check it out, use it and then come back and we’ll go through all the cool stuff that is in it.

There’s also another free tool for ranking your website.

Being found on the net is getting harder and harder – you need to have this SEO stuff down.

Erasing an online consumer complaint from your search results – Part 2 of Power to the Consumer

So here’s the secret.  You can’t.

You knew that was coming, didn’t you?  But there are ways to push the complaint farther away from your site and out of your search results.

The first thing I would do.  Go after that customer, face to face, and see if you can correct what happened.  Now some people would say that there are people who are never going to be happy, no matter what you do.

I would disagree and say, “You really don’t know that until you are face-to-face with that person.”

Too many times I’ve seen emails and comments start flaming because when it comes to digital communication it is easy to forget there is another human being on the other end of that discussion.  It’s almost like we are flipping mad at our computer and just letting them have it.  But once they are in person or on the phone, the anger settles and people can talk in the right TONE to one another.

The other thing to do is to go to those sites that have your complaint and explain your side of things.  Tell them how you’ve tried to work this situation out.

But if you can’t fix it, you can out-content them on search results.

If you have only one website on the internet (your singular web presense) on the internet, this is going to be very hard.  Because you essentially have only one link or two links that will come up when there is a search for your company.

But if you have multiple web presences…say a YouTube Channel, a Flickr account, a Twitter account, an outside blog or multiple blogs, a facebook page, a myspace page, then you have a chance.

Now what I would do is start pushing lots and lots of content out on the web through these different channels – and there are a heck of a lot of more of them than I mentioned.

Also, don’t do it all at once.  Space it out.  Get stuff up there at least once a week.

Other things you can do is change your static site frequently.  I don’t care if it costs you money because you built a site without a CMS.  By not changing your content, it just sits there and Google has no reason to re-index your site.

Get involved in other people’s conversations on their sites.  If you are scared of the internet, then talk to someone who understands it and can help you.

The bottom line is get more active on the internet and you can drive them down on the search results.

This is also not a great idea in theory – I’ve done this before with companies.  It does work.  But make sure you understand this.  The same rules that apply to you, also apply to the consumer and that’s why when you step it up – they can as well.  So it’s better to just work it out together and not go through this mess.

Good luck.  And if anyone else has some ideas on how to do it, let me know.  I would love to hear them.

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