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SEO : How To Address Ailing Search Engine Rankings

Examining & Dealing With Ailing Search Engine Rankings.

It’s a nightmare for Orlando SEO companies to deal with.  It’s something that many people have experienced.  It’s difficult to identify why and leaves webmasters scrambling to find a reason. What are we talking about?  Significant decreases in rankings.  The first question is always “WHY?”  There are several different types of rationales that could enter your head, but in reality, the most important thing you can do is keep calm.  Google can smell your desperation.  Google will make it harder and harder to replace your rightfully earned positioning the more you struggle.  In this case, you should identify why this happened, and generate a solid action plan to restore your visibility.  Here we explore the five most common types of ranking drops and how to create a strategy to cope and recuperate from each one.

1.  Manual or Site-Wide Penalty Drop
This type of ranking drop is indicated through your Webmaster Tools under Search Traffic > Manual Actions. Google will list any and all penalties against your website.  It is up to you to evaluate the penalty and generate a plan around it.  The most common penalty is the unnatural link penalty.  In this case, you will have to perform a link audit and do everything in you power (and document it) to get the negative, irrelevant links removed.  This is not an overnight process. You must show Google that you worked for it.  After you’ve done everything you can to remove those links and gathered your documentation, plead your case in a Reconsideration Request Review to Google.  Reviews could take up to six weeks to be reviewed by a member of Google’s team.  After that, Google will either lift or keep the penalty.
Take Note: Even after the penalty is removed, it will take a long time to get into Google’s good graces again, so be prepared to do some work in order to recover.

2.  A Competitor is Outranking You  
This type of ranking drop is a difficult one to cope with for a business owner.  Even if you’ve only dropped a few positions, seeing a new or old competitor outrank your website is heart-wrenching.  The best thing to do is generate a competitive analysis to see what your competitor is doing differently from you.  Are they generating more content?  Are they more active on social media?  Are they building more quality links?  Analyze the situation and generate a plan of action.
Take Note: There are particular times when a competitor will use Black Hat SEO tactics for short-term gain.  It’s important that you know and can identify these tactics and not employ them on your own website.  While they may have knocked you down a few pegs, it’s only temporary.

3.  An Increase in On-Page Errors
If you’re seeing a slow, but steady, decrease in rankings, it may be because you’ve increased your on-page errors.  The best way to diagnose this issue is to check Google Webmaster Tools for crawl errors.  If you see an increase in 404 errors, you will need to go through each link and create a redirect or unlink on the page.  If you decide to create a different URL structure for your website, make sure you have a solid, comprehensive plan in place to fix any potential crawl errors.  Once you’ve fixed these on-page errors, make sure to resubmit your sitemap to Google through WMT.  That type of issue is relatively easy to recover from, as long as you stay on top of it.
Take Note: If you use a CMS like WordPress, you can download a Broken Link Monitoring Plugin that will notify you anytime there is a broken link on your website.

4. Losing Links
Going through a link audit and unnatural link penalty is a difficult process.  First, because you have to endure a long, tedious process of link removal, and your site has probably already lost some visibility in Google’s organic listings.  And secondly, because once all of those links are removed and Google has lifted your penalty, you have to deal with the aftermath of having significantly less links pointing to your website.  This, ultimately, will cause your rankings to decrease.  When you have poor links, it’s really a double-edged sword, and it’s a hard pill to swallow for those people who put in hours of work into getting their website back on track.
Take Note: Link building, while not as important, still is a driving component of Google’s ranking algorithm.

5. Algorithm Update
Webmasters anticipate for an algorithm update the way ship captain’s prepare for the perfect storm while at sea.  Since no one knows when it will hit or what the damage will be, it’s challenging to find ways to be prepared.  Sometimes algorithm updates affect very few websites, and sometimes they affect thousands, but  if you stay in touch with the SEO forums, Google Groups, and Google Plus communities, you will know when an algorithm update is coming.

Take Note: The webmaster/SEO communities will definitely be abuzz when an update is anticipated, so keep in touch with those networks to stay prepared.

The bottom line is to make sure that you aren’t throwing things up at the wall to see if they stick.  Almost every time there is a decrease in rankings, there will be a reason.  Stay calm.  Assess the situation.  Generate an action plan.  If you have had a keyword ranking decrease for any of your keywords, contact our Orlando SEO professionals for an evaluation.  Call 407-830-4550 or fill out our contact form here.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

On Target Web Solutions, Inc.
1051 Winderley Place, Suite 307 MaitlandFL32751 USA 
 • 407-830-4550

Back up Your Brand With SEO

Back up Your Brand With SEO

As more and more consumers rely on the Internet to make decisions, how your company is presented online is just as important as where it shows up in search engine rankings. Your company’s brand should steer your SEO strategies and decisions. Here are some questions you should ask yourself about your company’s online brand:

Other results?
Having your page rank number one on search engine result pages (SERPs) is great, but take the time to look at the other results. Your company could appear in a number of different results, including social media, press releases, local directory listings, and more, and some of the references may not be favorable. Social media can help – expand your brand presence to a number of different channels to expand your presence in search results. You might even push your competitors (or any bad press) onto the second page of results.

Local directory listings?
If you’ve got multiple locations in a single area, local listings will be visible on your search results page, along with a map showing those locations. Are the locations accurate (particularly if you’ve moved and changed addresses recently)? Are the descriptions and any images appropriate? A Google/Ipsos OTX Media CT study in May 2012 showed that 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phones. If your listings aren’t accurate, consider listings management.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Many businesses don’t bother with Google+, but connecting Google to your company’s brand with a Google+ account can only improve your visibility. Google+ will allow the Google Knowledge Graph to appear along with your search result listing, giving important information like your location (remember that 94% of smartphone users?), profile photo, phone number, and website link. The Knowledge Graph is also now appearing in Google Maps.

Image search?
What images show up when you do an image search for your brand? Ideally, it should be your current logo and company imagery. If it’s not, you need to review the alt attributes associated with your company images and make sure they contain branded text.

What sitelinks show up?
When you search for your company’s brand on Google, you should show up in the number one spot. (If you don’t, you need expert digital marketing help immediately.) Your result should show up to six sitelinks. Are these the links you want to showcase? If not, you’ll want to demote the less important links, and Google will substitute others. Keep adjusting until you get the links that best promote your brand.

Remember, your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors, and you want to carefully manage that brand. It’s well worth spending some time adjusting and monitoring your SEO efforts to make sure they match your branding strategy. To learn more about SEO and how it can help enhance your brand and its online presence, call one of our talented SEO / Digital marketers today: 407-830-4550 or fill out our contact form here.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

4 for All and All for Social Media Part 4.

4 for All and All for Social Media

Part 4 of 4: Earn More Traffic than Downtown Rush Hour with these Social Media Channels

Alas, our time has come to a close. This is part 4 of our 4 part blog series, “4 for All and All for Social Media.” To learn about the best social media platforms for customer interaction, click here.

We hope that you have gained tremendous insight during this series on how your company can best use social media to grow your brand. To bring our series down the home stretch we are reviewing which social media platforms are in the fast lane, and which ones may take you a while to get to your final destination.

To truly get your brand in the fast lane of social media you must keep in mind the power of Google and how it drives traffic to your business. Its recent updates for crawling and indexing algorithms have placed a focus on social media posting and interaction. Indeed, regular updates across a variety of social platforms can help increase your rankings within search results.

In terms of traffic generation, which social platforms will lead to empty avenues and which ones will bring the equivalent of the 5pm commute?

Empty Avenues:

  • Instagram’s primary currency is pictures and videos. Beyond that, it provides no means of creating referral traffic. Links are not clickable within Instagram posts, which can ultimately cost your brand opportunities for generating traffic to your website or company blog.

  • Slideshare can generate referral traffic to your brand but the entire means of compelling viewers to get there is not as seamless as it is on other networks. For best results, embed links to your brand throughout your presentation to encourage viewers to visit your website.

Steady Flow:

  • Google+ is steadily inching upwards for generating traffic to websites. During the last half of 2013, Google+ delivered an increase of 19% in referral traffic, and additional reports indicate that this trend will continue.

  • LinkedIn, the professional social network, does generate a decent amount of referrals for users; however, it is not the top-ranked source for such.

  • YouTube still holds out over Google+ and LinkedIn, but its referral traffic took a nosedive of about 35% in 2013. The key to YouTube success for traffic generation is by optimizing your channel with meta-tagging and keywords.

5 PM Commute:

  • Facebook has steadily maintained its top position as a website traffic referrer. The network employs a special algorithm within the social platform that actually pushes engaging content higher within users’ news feeds.

  • Pinterest has made great strides in producing website traffic in the past year. Recent reports indicate that Pinterest’s referrals to websites rose by a whopping 89%. This puts the site on the fast track to getting your brand going in the right direction towards traffic generation.

  • Twitter is still a top contender for delivering referral traffic. Its influence is actually continuing to grow in this area. The use of photos and videos in Tweets is leading to a considerable increase in click-ability.

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to increase your website’s traffic is that your audience will only trust an expert. Make sure all of your content is relevant, engaging, and thoroughly proofread to help gain more website visits.

Social media is a resource-rich tool to help your brand grow online. Gaining direct customer interactions,  strengthening SEO, and establishing brand awareness are among the top reasons why your company should employ a strategic social media plan. Learn more about what social media marketing can do for your brand today with On Target Web Solutions.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

Maximizing Website Traffic Growth Opportunities | SEO Tips

Maximizing Website Traffic Growth Opportunities

Grow Your Online PresenceMany Orlando SEO professionals will create a strategy for a business and stick to it no matter what.  The problem with that is that digital marketing is constantly changing.  An evolving strategy is necessary in order to keep your website and marketing efforts fresh in the eyes of the search engines.  You can’t let your Search Engine Optimization initiatives hit a plateau.  While your audience may stay the same, your business often needs to change over time.  That’s why your marketing team should always be evaluating the effectiveness of your current strategy and changing it based on the technology landscape, changes in algorithms and needs of your business.  Changing the game is essential to your success, and one of the key ways you can maximize your growth potential is by recognizing key components in your website’s analytical data that can point out where you can capitalize on different markets and maximize traffic growth.

The first thing you can do to is release your “gated content.”   Many companies keep whitepapers, exclusive video content and case studies behind a form that requires contact information from the visitor, but that content doesn’t give your website any organic SEO value when it’s emailed to a potential customer and not featured more prominently on your website.  While gated content is necessary for lead generation, consider taking some of those valuable content pieces, repurposing them and publishing for your entire audience to see.

Another strategy is to maximize your traffic growth by focusing on long-tailed keywords, in tandem with your other keyword targets.  The long-tailed keywords will tailor your optimized content to a more quality audience that is more likely to convert into a lead.  Long-tailed keywords also have lower competition levels than a more broad search-term making it easier and faster to rank.

This last opportunity may not seem as obvious when you’re examining the digital landscape.  Go offline.  That’s right, offline.  While many other business owners are focusing what blog posts are going up when (while that is essential), you can maximize your digital marketing potential by speaking with real world humans.  Some of the most valuable links that can be created are through human relationships.  Create partnerships in your vertical marketplace with other business owners, and let them promote you via the web through press releases and featured web links.  Of course, you will have to return the favor, but you’re breaking ground where your competition isn’t.

If you’re interested in creating a lasting online visibility for your business, contact the Orlando SEO experts at On Target Web Solutions.  You can recover from any lull that your website might be seeing by thinking outside the box.  At On Target Web Solutions, we tailor a plan specifically for your business and create a strategy that is unique to your audience and message.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

4 for All and All for Social Media Part 3

4 for All and All for Social Media

 Part 3 of 4: Getting Personal: The Best Social Networks for Customer Interaction

Welcome to the third installment of our four part series titled, “4 for All and All for Social Media.” To learn about the best social media platforms to increase your brand’s awareness, click (link to blog).

One of the main reasons to open social media networks for your business, whether you’re selling cupcakes or cars, is to interact with your current potential customers. It’s all about authentic engagement.

Communicating directly with your target audience develops a sense of trust. When done correctly your viewers are more likely to identify you as a reputable expert within your industry. Beyond that, you have the opportunity to work with influencers and gain positive reviews and referrals.

It is crucial how you identify the best social media platforms for your brand. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses that you should be aware of, as well as understanding how they can work for or against your brand where customer interaction is concerned.

Here is a quick rundown of the best and the worst when it comes to customer interaction on the most popular social media networks.

Communication Breakdown:

  • Slideshare: Beyond sharing links through your uploaded slides, customer communication is not this social media platform’s forte. To best grab the attention of customers through this platform, include an eye-catching slide with your contact information. This at least leaves the impression that customer satisfaction and outreach is important to you.

Can You Hear Me Now?:

  • Google+:This up-and-coming platform gives users an easy way to join communities of like-minded individuals and businesses. Still, most customers don’t seem to use Google+ for customer service purposes. If you are using Google+ as part of your social media marketing strategy, if would most beneficial for you to establish your expertise on Google+ and chat with customers and clients on another winning platform.

  • Pinterest is also just so-so in the customer interaction department. Repinning and commenting is a solid way to communicate with customers; however, there is no private message system which limits possible interactions between you and your customers.

A Clear Connection:

  • Facebook: Over 75% of all customers who seek customer support through social media platforms report doing so through a company’s Facebook page. With private messaging, areas for commenting, and the ability to communicate through other forms of media, Facebook takes the cake (or the cookie[link to previous series post]) for customer interaction.

  • LinkedIn is right behind Facebook with roughly 50% of consumers using the site for customer support. LinkedIn gives customers the ability to join relevant communities and professional groups. This is a prime area for brands to interact with customers and build relationships.

  • Instagram is another strong platform for interacting with audience members. Fairly recently, Instagram has introduced a few additional communication updates. They include private messaging, advertisements, and video. Studies have shown that videos and images attract the greatest volume of traffic on social media, so start grabbing the eyes and ears of your customers today.

  • Twitter is also a strong contender as a social platform for customer interaction. It is quickly becoming the most relied-upon site for business to customer interactions. Conversations can take place publicly or privately and are done quickly and efficiently. This leads to faster customer satisfaction, which can shape brand loyalty.

  • Last, but certainly not least, YouTube is a clear winner for customer interaction. It is extremely user friendly and is the perfect environment for building authority in your niche and engaging in conversations with your customers, simply because it is a visual medium. Visuals tend to really get people inspired to react to your brand with comments and questions, and YouTube is where you can really use this to your advantage.

To truly stake your claim in the hearts of customers, stay in touch with them and build a solid, loyal, following. Remember, “social” is a part of social media, so keep in mind that communication is extremely important.

In our final installation of the “4 for All and All for Social Media” series, we’ll take a look at the best social platforms for site traffic. Vroom vroom!

Optimizing Beyond Google: Taking Advantage of ZMOT

Optimizing Beyond Google: Taking Advantage of ZMOT

ZMOTWith all of the Google’s acquisitions and the growing search engine share that they possess, it’s no secret that Google has a de facto monopoly. It’s time that businesses get serious about optimizing in other places other than Google in order to capitalize on the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT. As Orlando SEO professionals, the average consumer searches 10.7 places online before making a purchasing decision. While Google does have a dominant position when it comes to search, taking advantage of other outlets can have numerous benefits. So, if Google is not giving you the placement you think you deserve, start to research other places online to feature your business. Here are some opportunities you can look into in your research.

Learn a bit more about ZMOT here:

Bing. While Bing doesn’t possess a significant amount of the search engine share, it is a worthy opponent to Google. Google’s mutineers have found Bing to be a reliable, visually-stimulating and fair search engine.

Consider This. You must consider that Bing uses a completely different algorithm to Google, so if you decide to focus on the components within your website that will allow you to rank higher in Bing, you may lose ground in Google simultaneously.

Online Directories. If your business provides goods or services, as most do, chances are many of your customers have attempted to search for your goods/services through a website like Yelp!, Yellowpages.com or Angie’s List to check out the reputation of your company to make sure you’re the right fit. These online review websites are gaining so much momentum, it’s often influencing almost 100% purchasing decisions for some consumers.

Consider This. Make sure your business is listed on these websites, and that you are constantly monitoring each profile. Maintaining your online reputation is crucial to gaining business from the review websites. As a business owner or marketing manager, you should respond to each and every review with dignity and poise, whether it’s positive or negative.

Social Media. Depending on your target demographic, there will be an audience for you to speak to somewhere on social media. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or Houzz as your voice, chances are you can develop a presence on these outlets to create brand awareness.

Consider This. Social media is used to be just that – social. Don’t be too sales heavy on any of these websites, or you can drive your potential audience away. Be funny, engaging and responsive.

Adwords. So, if you aren’t on Page One on Google organically, you can certainly generate a Pay Per Click campaign in Google Adwords to provide you with immediate results and visibility.

Consider This. Google relies heavily on its advertisers giving quality information to Google’s users, so providing relevant ads and landing pages to searchers of particular keywords is essential to reducing your cost and increasing your visibility.

Organic Google rankings can take a while, and if you have sinned in the past in the eyes of Google, you could be paying for it long past your rectification. It’s important to explore and consider your options, and capitalize on each and every one of them. Don’t wait to get your business found. Call the Orlando SEO experts at On Target Web Solutions to explore your options, in Orlando: 407-830-4550.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

4 for All and All for Social Media Part 2.

4 for All and All for Social Media

Part 2 of 4: Which social media cookie do you want to dunk in your brand milk?

Welcome to part 2 of 4 of our blog series, “4 for All and All for Social Media.” To learn about the best social platforms for SEO benefits, click here.

Like any tool, depending on how you use it, social media can either help nail down your marketing strategy, or strip it like a screw. If your strategy involves creating brand awareness (which it obviously should), then there are several objectives you need to consider when choosing your social media outlet.

Cookies, Milk & Social MediaThink of social media’s influence on your brand awareness as a cookie. Having no cookie at all certainly won’t satiate your audience’s voracious appetites. However, some cookies stand out while others crumble. Whether your marketing objective is SEO-driven (link to previous blog), or focused on increasing your brand’s appeal, social media can be a powerful component.

We’re going to look at the social media outlets, or cookies, that are more beneficial to raising your organization’s brand awareness, ranking from mediocre packaged treats to the scrumptious delights everyone craves.

The BOGO cookies in the brand awareness mix:

  • Facebook: It may come as a shock to many companies that are trying to build an online presence that Facebook’s organic reach is limited. A recent survey indicated that its reach has fallen 49% since October 2013.

  • YouTube: Getting buzz for your brand on YouTube takes time. It’s a channel capable of uniting your audience around targeted and relevant content, but pairing your videos with pre-roll advertisements can cost you viewers and limit your brand influence.

Grandma’s Homemade Magic On The Brand Awareness Plate:

  • Google+ presents a higher overall exposure factor for your brand compared to the social media platforms above. It favors higher placement for branded web pages, as well as the authors of those pages.

  • Instagram is highly visual, simple and clean. This social media platform is being used by more than 70% of the largest brands in the world. The opportunities for brand building on Instagram are limitless, considering how visually driven consumers are.

  • LinkedIn business pages carry considerable influence. Strong optimized posts give brands many opportunities to increase brand awareness on the platform and across the web overall. New paid features added in February give organizations even more reach.

  • Pinterest gives brands an opportunity to be creative when promoting their brand. They can even fully repackage their brand while users scroll through scores of other pins by adding content styled in different ways that will still all lead back to their main website through embedded links.

  • Slideshare serves an advantage in being able to deliver slide presentations to a mass audience all in one place online. Companies can use Slideshare to further brand themselves by embedding links throughout their presentations that lead viewers back to their website or company blog.

  • Twitter applications such as HootSuite and TweetCaster allow brands to consistently place their message at the most opportune moment to truly capture interest and engagement. Twitter also offers sponsored tweets, which can be used to highlight a company’s overall brand message to its followers and target market.

The bottom line is that you never want to put all your cookies in one jar when building brand awareness. It’s a best practice to utilize multiple social media platforms to gain new and existing customer interest. Create a persona in your audience’s mind of what your brand is all about.

To learn the best social media channels to increase customer communication, stay tuned for Part 3 of our “4 for All and All for Social Media” series.

To learn more about SEO, Social Media and all things Digital marketing and how it can impact your brand, give us a call. In Orlando, 407-830-4550.

4 for All and All for Social Media

Social Media & SEOThere is simply no way around it. If you want your business to stand out online, you are going to have to dive into social media. Obtaining success requires brands to be strategic in their efforts. Google is the captain of the ship for steering online traffic to your site, and their recent updates truly reward active, content-rich social pages with higher SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.

So how do you get your brand to the top? It’s an extremely important question to ask. Not all social media channels are equal. Different ones are going to deliver different results. You must be clear on your business goals and needs in order to explore which platform is going to work best for your brand.

Our 4 Part Series, “4 for All and All for Social Media,” breaks down the strongest and weakest channels for your company, especially as they relate to SEO, customer interaction, brand awareness, and increasing website traffic.

Part 1 of 4: Social Media Channels and Their SEO Benefits

It’s no longer all about SEO through a highly optimized website; now more than ever, brands need to be maximizing several social media platforms to really gain awareness online.

Having just a company Facebook account or Twitter account is no longer enough.

Even if you are using all four of the major platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube, your company must still have a game plan for how those channels will best serve your brand.

And even though the big four get the lion’s share of popularity and clout, there are still a host of other platforms that are just as robust, depending on your niche and audience.

Let’s take a closer look at the best social channels for your SEO efforts.

SEO Blunders:

  • Instagram is growing in popularity but it will not be an SEO winner for your brand. The platform doesn’t allow direct embedded links in posts by account holders. This presents a drawback from building links back to your company website, blog or store.

Valuable, but Not at the Top of the List

  • LinkedIn may not be a top influencer on Google’s social media checklist, but it does provide strong content that is both searchable and valuable.

  • Slideshare has also seen significant growth as a platform in recent years. Its premise is ideal for brand building. By being able to share professional business presentations with a wider audience, makes the site appealing. However, the SEO links that can be embedded into presentations do not produce as strong results in searches as other networks like Facebook and Twitter.

  • Youtube is simply a juggernaut where video rules. Brands can optimize their content fairly well on Youtube with tagging options. The biggest drawback, however, is that it is brimming with content from so many sources. The competition is stiff, making it difficult for brands to stand out or even be discovered.

SEO Winners:

  • Google+ is the most important social media site to Google, with the most SEO value of all social media platforms. Content with a significant amount of 1+’s is seen as more important and will be displayed higher on results pages than Facebook likes or Retweets.

  • Facebook is a content-rich platform as well. It allows users to share, leave comments, and like information. Those qualities alone make it one of the top SEO valuable social media sites. The only issue with this outlet is its limited organic reach in search engines.

  • Pinterest has been a real surprise in the social media world. Pinterest activity associated with a web page is one of the top 10 SEO influential boosters. Google values the fact that content supplied to Pinterest gives it a longer shelf life. A well optimized pin can essentially be pinned hundreds and even thousands of times, with each time leading back to an outside website or source, therefore signaling to Google that its content must hold significant value.

  • Twitter has grown in its SEO value from previous years. Web page specific tweets are increasingly influencing Google rankings. One estimate also names Twitter on of the top 10 most important Google ranking networks.

When choosing your company’s social media networks, don’t just settle for the obvious one or two platforms. Always do your research and look for the SEO rose among the weeds. Having a plan and knowing your social media goals is just as important as creating world-class content for your fans, clients, and customers.

Check back for part 2 of our 4-part series, “4 for All and All for Social Media.”

To learn more about Social Media, SEO & Digital Marketing and how it can impact your brand, please give us a call at 866-998-6886.

Lost in a Sea of Google Places: Defining Your Brand

Google is THE place where brands are born and thrive. It is also where some brands never come to life. Of course in your quest to grow a brand of your very own, you’ve tried your hand at using SEO tactics, written regular blog posts, held contests, and filled your website with testimonials.

In the age of Internet marketing, doing all of those things seems to be the magic formula for online success. Indeed, many aim headfirst for this magical rankings potion, believing that if they just dive into all of those strategies, then Google will do the rest to grow their brands.

But how can you brew a potion without having a cauldron to mix it in?  Content, contests, and organic optimization are all tried and true ways to help get your site to the top of Google rankings, but without a clearly-defined brand to back them up, you’re simply pouring your efforts down the drain.

Your potential customers and clients are seeking answers and solutions. It is your job to provide that for them. If they discover your brand and notice inconsistency and a lack of cohesiveness, then there is no way they will ever actually trust your brand.  If your readers are seeking solutions to their car problems, they’re not going to be satisfied with videos of cute puppies.  Sure, they may get a like or two, but they’re not earning lifelong followers.

When defining your goal, consider the following key points:

What makes you stand out? 
Every brand should have a “purple cow,” i.e. something that puts them head and shoulders above the rest.

Who is your target audience? 
This may be difficult to define at first, but study your analytics and figure out exactly who you’re talking to.  Tailor your content to your demographic.

What can you provide that’s meaningful to your audience? 
If you’re a food blogger, don’t give them your review of the latest Avengers movie, etc.

Is your brand flexible and sustainable? 
You want to have an idea that can last for more than a few months to a year.  Providing your audience with meaningful, helpful content can help–as long as the original idea is there to back it up.

Start organically, and build up a following of people who truly appreciate and look forward to what you have to offer; THEN you can play the rankings game.  You may find that if you’ve been consistent in providing your customers with what they need, you don’t have much more work to do. If you start with the needs of your target audience, then it will be that much easier to build an engaged audience–especially in the sea we affectionately call Google.

SEO & What to Avoid When Building Backlinks in 2014

SEO & What to Avoid When Building Backlinks in 2014

SEO-LinksThere are three types of backlinks: Interlinks, outbound links and incoming links.  These backlinks act as votes–the better quality backlinks you have, the better your keyword ranking in search engines.   Backlinks are a crucial element for search engine optimization.

Google gives top priority to authority sites or to sites that have a high domain authority.  If an authority site is linked to your site, it is worth 1,000 links from a new site. If your site is highly sharable and you consistently have others linking you, Google will treat your site as an authority in its genre. Google rewards the high quality content and gives it top search engine results page (SERP) ranking.

Managing backlinks is not overly difficult. Google provides tools for the management of backlinks. They allow you to delete all spam in order to get better search engine results. Don’t build links in a short amount of time based on convenience, and avoid backlinks to irrelevant sites.

Some tips to help avoid building bad backlinks:

• Avoid guest blog posts when building backlinks.
In the past, guest blogs have been a fantastic source for building backlinks and increasing traffic, but some use them as a way of spam tagging to gain profits and get search results. To prevent this, Google has started penalizing spam links by demoting the sites that excessively accept guest posts.  Use guest blogs as a way to build relationships with readers, not for backlinks.

• Stop building backlinks through article directories.
Google does not consider these reputable and will punish your SERP rating for this infraction.

• Avoid paid links to improve your rankings.
Google is penalizing this bad practice. If Google’s algorithms detect any paid links coming from irrelevant or spammy sources, they will degrade your search results.

• Be wary of building backlinks through blog comments.
It is more beneficial to leave insightful comments on other blogs and if the blog owner finds your comments relevant and interesting, then they may consider sharing a link to your blog.

• Do not rely heavily on social media for building backlinks.
Social media sites will not give much backlink value to your posts, so do not rely solely on building backlinks through social media. Social media is another avenue that should be used to build and maintain relationships with your target market.

• Building backlinks through online communities is losing traction.
Using online communities to build backlinks is not as important to you SEO goal as it once was. Many blogging communities manipulate users to give “dofollow” backlinks; therefore, these communities will hurt your search engine ranking.

• Be careful who you choose when asking others to refer your site.
If the site is irrelevant, do not ask them to refer you–simple enough. Google will punish your site or possibly ban you from your desired keywords.

• Don’t spend all your time signing up for blog directories.
They have the capability to give your site some traffic and attention, but the content must be engaging and high quality. It’s better to focus on submitting your site content to a small number of directories so you can spend your time elsewhere.

All in all, link building is not about getting better search results; it’s about building a loyal network though great content posts. Always avoid link scams, they may promise to improve your SERP ratings but they often diminish it instead. To learn more about SEO & Backlinks, be sure to contact one of our expert SEO advisors: In Orlando: 407-830-4550, Nationwide: 866-998-6886.

Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck

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