How to boost my SEO rankings – Relevance and Dynamic Content for My Homepage

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

How to boost my SEO rankings – Relevance and Dynamic Content for My Homepage

Just to be clear, the content in this article is a subset of what you should follow in order to help your Search Engine Optimization rankings (SEO). We will publish other topics and perhaps at some point provide more of a ‘Table of Contents’ overview but for those who are specifically interested in SEO Relevance this article is for you.

Search Engines have evolved over the years and are constantly updating their algorithms to keep up with the times. There are currently about 200 variables that factor into how a Search Engine ranks a website but we’re going to focus on Relevance which is one of the most important variables in the equation.

Relevance is an indicator of how two things are alike or not alike. Search Engines succeed if they deliver search results that keep visitors coming back for more searches. To bring more visitors back, Search Engines give higher rankings to those sites with:

Up to date content
Search Engines are smart enough to know when your content has been updated so whether it’s publishing blogs, updating stale content, posting images or adding new content you need to continually keep your content fresh. After all, how relevant can you be if your content is a few years old? We know that staying relevant isn’t easy which is the basis of why we wrote this article. We will jump into some solutions further down.

Content related to the Search Parameters
Yes, Search Engines (SE) are also smart enough to know which sites contents are a best match for a given Search Phrase. Nowadays, SE’s are using more and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match Search Phrases to sites with relevant content. Ever type a typo into the search box of a Search Engine and they somehow know what you’re searching for as results appear even before you finish typing? The suggested solutions below will help you move up in Search Engine rankings.

Popularity
That’s right, SE’s know how popular your site is by counting the number of backlinks to your site. They also know how many Followers and Likes you have on other Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. so as important it is to keep your content up to date on your website, in many cases is just as important if not more important to have a Social Media accounts with regular content (ie. posts) as well.

Let’s cut to the chase, here are 3 ways to keep your website up to date:

1. Update it as you do today – in most cases this is very time consuming, tedious and not preferred which is probably why you’re reading this article. We listed this as an option so people appreciate option 3 below.

2. Pay someone to update it – in many cases this isn’t even possible or it can be very expensive which often times isn’t the preferred choice. Most hosting companies do offer Blogging capabilities which is one of the best ways to ensure fresh content for your site. If you don’t have a blog you should look into it and at least consider it. A blog can be used for any topic and is a great way to expose your site further to the world.

3. For this option we’re going to focus on your Homepage because the statistics say that this is the most indexed page on a site by far, but you don’t have to limit this option to your homepage – you can certainly apply the same concept to any of your pages. The option we’re talking about is an RSS feed. An RSS feed is an easy way to display Titles with links to content – whether its new articles that you post on your blog and you want to put those articles names in a streaming format on your homepage – OR – perhaps you want to put Related Content with links to other sites on your homepage it can all pretty much be automated.

We first recommend that you look into what RSS is and figure out if it applies to your own website. If it does then there are plenty of free RSS scripts out there that can easily be integrated with most sites. If an RSS feed doesn’t apply to your site for some reason then you should consider pulling in an external RSS feed an putting it on your homepage.

Let’s look at an example of how an RSS feed can increase visits and revisits to your site. If for example you had a website about Birthday Gifts, perhaps you didn’t even have much content (text) because you were really only selling products and not information or ideas. What if you placed an RSS feed for ‘Famous Peoples Birthdays today’ on your homepage. This way when a visitor is on your homepage they may glance over the Famous Peoples Birthdays today list and either share it with a friend or perhaps it simply makes them smile. Small experiences like this are sure to increase revisits to your site, in many cases people will link their blog to your site (ie. backlink) simple because you’re offering a cool feature or something that your competitors aren’t offering. Over time those revisits and backlinks will cross the threshold of the SEO algorithms and pay off 10 fold.

Summary
There is no formula that will guarantee anyone the first spot on any Search Engines Results Page (SERP) but good practice and implementing tips as mentioned above is sure to improve your rankings. We strongly suggest that if you don’t already have a Google/Webmaster account and if you don’t know the details of your current rankings that you open an Google/Webmaster account so that you can measure the impact of keeping your site up to date.

How to set facebook image on like link?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Wow.. what can I say, another simple technical request that took weeks to figure out… Let me start by defining exactly what this blog post will help you with…

I have a blog, a website, a pinterest account, a facebook account and several other social networking accounts for my small business (http://anniversariesbyyear.com – an anniversary gift idea site) and all I want to do is link the articles on this site to my social networks (in this example, specifically to facebook).

I consider myself an advanced HTML developer/programmer/designer but a relative newbie when it comes to HTML5 and CSS, although I can hold my ground there as well.How hard could it be to figure out how to set an image for my facebook like link? Easy, I thought.. Wrong! well, Yes simple .. Once you figure it out.

Of all the articles I read I kept seeing a single reference to Facebook’s Open Graph (og:) technology <meta property=”og:image” content=”image_to_display”/>.. Great! Simple! .. Wrong! I tried placing this tag everywhere in my site, in the header, in the <div> tags of the Like button, you name it – lot’s of hair pulling.

After about 2 months (part time, maybe 15 minutes to an hour some weeks) and I finally figure this out tonite.. I don’t know why there are no simple articles on this but here is how to make this work for your site using ordinary anchor tags:

*SIMPLY PUT THESE LINES IN YOUR HEADER TAG, THEY ARE REQUIRED (replace the OBVIOUS values [everything in CAPITAL] with yours):

<meta property=”fb:admins” content=”YOUR-FACEBOOK-ID” />
<meta property=”og:title” content=”TITLE-OF-YOUR-PAGE” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”website” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://URL-OF-YOUR-IMG&#8221; />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://URL-OF-LINK-THAT-IMG-WILL-LINK-BACK-TO&#8221; />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”SITE-NAME_HERE” />

If you don’t know what your FACEBOOK-ID is then read (courtesty of) http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/how-to-control-facebook-image-thumbnail-text-popup-dialogs/

If this works for you I’d love to hear back from you on how long it took you to find this article and how hopeful (if at all) it was.. if this article didn’t help (yet) then I’d also love to hear back from you and I’ll try to assist .. KEEP IN MIND, this is for ordinary anchor links and META tags, if you are trying to make this work via CSS or javascript then that is beyond the intent of this posting which I suspect you will figure out by google’ing further.

Creative content sources for individuals and small businesses online.

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Do you have your own blog or website, or maybe a small to midsize company struggling to stay relevant on the internet? Let me start by defining relevance as it applies to improving your presence on the internet first and then I’ll share some ways that I’ve found to be successful.

Relevance – what is it? Relevance it THE single most important feature of a web site or blog that you need to keep on top of if you want to increase your presence on the Internet, ie. increase new and recurring visitors coming to your site. In simple terms, relevance is what it takes to catch your visitors eyes such as appealing graphic ads. You should use graphics and catch phrases that pique the interest of the visitors you want to come to your site. You should use phrases as ‘Must have’, or ‘Top 10’ or ‘The best’ so that internet users feel they need to click on to learn more about that subject.

Second, your blog or your web site should be user friendly. You shouldn’t have too many graphics or too much content that overwhelms someone or they will immediately move onto a new URL. Create catchy infographics.

Third, another important piece of Relevance is to keep your content engaging. Hire someone to write articles if you cannot write good quality articles – and do it frequently. Your visitors will only remember your site if they leave feeling that they learned something or found something interesting about what they were originally searching for. It’s important that your SEO be inline with your content or you will have a major disconnect with your visitors and you will most likely reach the point of frustration like many others that don’t have a strategy. Research your competitors and try to offer more than they do.

Here are some resources that I’ve found extremely useful. Since I do everything myself (graphics, html design, layout, programming and more) I was very skeptical about using any service provider but I jumped into these and I wish I had done it sooner.

Canva.com – a great site for free infographics. For a small fee you can use a plethora of graphics in their graphic library. A must try!

eLance.com – a great site for everything professional, from site design, graphic and content providers and more.

fiverr.com – I can’t vouch more for this site, I’ve ordered customized videos, graphics and more for $5. I’ve also combined multiple services for scripted videos with voiceovers for as little as $10. If you’re swift enough you can combine services from multiple providers and earn a lot of money!

everypost.me – an amazing new tool for free that will enable you to manage all of your social media centrally. Check out their site and review their features. Be aware though that they are constantly updating this tool, it has limitations but they’re constantly getting better.

Inkscape – for those of you looking to do your own graphics without paying for Adobe Illustrator, photoshop and the like, this is an amazing free graphic solutions which competes (if not outshines) most commercial solutions – if you are you willing to put the time in to learn it. If you’re used to Illustrator or Photoshop but don’t want to purchase an upgrade then Inkscape may be for you..

SEO Daily Tip : What is Google’s secret formula?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Hi all, there are very few people that know what Google’s secret formula is and we will likely never be lucky enough to find out what it is.. Let’s put it this way,even if a rumor was spread online that happened to be close enough to Google’s formula they would change it the next day because of the nature of it’s competetiveness.

Having over 15 years of experience with building websites, many successful (million+ unique visitors/year) and many unsucessful (0 visitors) we have a good idea of which areas of SEO are more important than others.. If we were to guess the single most important SEO practice over all others it would be ‘relevance’. Before you ask what the heck does that mean – let us explain.

Sorry, but before we explain relevance we need to make this comment.. there is no single SEO practice that will bring alot of traffic to your site. All SEO concepts are extremely important so the question is – are you continuously researching SEO and are you practicing the dozen or so top practices? If you are then we can continue on our theory of what we think is the top SEO practice. Relevance is a term that is used loosely, depending on your niche or area of interest, relevance may mean something different. Ultimately, how does Google measure relevance? we believe it has alot to do with the following:

  • Backlinks – the more quality backlinks you have, the higher google will rank you (beware of ‘bad’ backlinks), what can you do to have bloggers linking to you? contact them directly! Do not submit to directory submission sites.
  • content updates – everything advances with time, if you write an expert article and you don’t update it for 2 years then your relevance will decrease compared to a newer article. Add new content and refresh older articles on a regular basis!
  • keywords and keyword phrases in your content are important, new articles and content updates are key to make on a regular basis!
  • likes – if you have 100 facebook likes (or google, pinterest, instagram, tumblr etc.) but your competitor has 1,000 likes then they will rate higher for that area of interest. Social networking is important! Post quality messages frequently!

For an expert assessment of your website visit https://www.fiverr.com/bfitz70 for more info!

How to SEO with results!

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

The intention of this article is to give the reader a sense of what is required in order to be successful with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To start, I will define SEO in layman’s terms – SEO is the process of coding your web site to a level that the Search engines or web crawlers can understand. What does this really mean? Read on…

The gist of this article is to let you know that SEO is not a one time thing that you can pay for and walk away from. Nowadays with Social Media the rules and guidelines of search engines are changing nearly on a daily basis. SEO is constant work, and it is hard. The top ‘performers’ in SEO live, eat, sleep and drink the topic of their web site offerings. If you’re not willing to live, eat, sleep and drink the topic of your choice then forget about being a leading web site in search engines in the industry of your choice.

I’ll split this conversation into 2 topics – the first being best practices when it comes to ‘coding’ your site, the somewhat static piece of the equation. The second being the social aspect of SEO or the dynamic piece of the equation. I will not deep dive into either area, again this article is to point you in the right direction.

As far as the static piece of the equation goes, good coding practices – you (or your web site designer) really need to follow the basics. Make sure that you have your META-TAGS configured properly and customized appropriately to the industry that you are in. Follow the basice STRICTLY. YOU really have you spend time on this, 99.99% of the time your designer is useless when it comes generating content (YES, your META-TAGS are content), they can code the information but YOU must tell them what to include. If you are unfamiliar with META-TAGS then you need to read up on them and make sure that they are accurate to your area of interest. Even more important, you MUST make sure that your content is relevant! If you are selling shoes, then you should have content on why your shoes are better than others, how to care for them, describe the various shoe types for different applications (ie. snow, running, walking, hiking etc.), if you do not – then your competitors will likely surpass your site by miles! The more content that you have with the highest relevance to educate your visitors will land you higher in the search engines. For the most part, you should spend ALOT of time on this area, but once done you should not have to spend much time unless your content changes frequently. Don’t forget about Description length, alt tags etc.

For the dynamic part of SEO – this is huge. More than ever, search engines are relying on the social existence of a web site, it’s authority (how many articles are published) and how many followers one has. To be at the top of the game you have to eat, live and breath the subject matter of your site. It’s not enough to simply post text on your social network accounts, you need to start thinking about enticing graphics that stand out above other sites. They say pinterest is the number one threat to Google in the future when it comes to searching for ideas (what’s that saying.. ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words?). When you perform a google image search, think of how many image results it returns and which ones you look at. If you’re like me, you scroll through dozens of images at a time and you stop on those that you catch in the corner of your eye. I’m starting to use Pinterst more than Google and that says alot! Relevant images are key!

You can have 10,000 postings on a ‘company facebook page’, or 20,000 tweets on twitter or 50 articles published on Google+ but if you have no followers then your social existence will be close to zero! You MUST publish content that is relevant that people will read and want to follow and share! Not every social network works the same way, people check facebook at certain times of the day, linked in at during other hours, google+ and twitter during other hours. You need to know when to publish content to which networks if you want to maximize your reader shares. This is where SEO has evolved and now requires a constant presence if you want your site to be at the top.

The most successful sites have great static SEO web sites and a great dynamic presence, think of your competitors are machines who constantly pump out articles with great images, tweets and stories and if you take a few hours off (much less days) then you will simply start falling behind in your search engine rankings.

As a side note, there is something to be said about niches, by definition you won’t have as much competition BUT you have to LOVE that niche and if you do then you will have higher potential then a non-niche subject or product.

The most important note, if you’re like me – a one man shop, you can’t do it alone but there are resources out there that you can take advantage of.. If you haven’t heard of these sites then you need to seriously look at them:

fiverr.com – cheap services, find cheap provides of graphic solutions, content writers and more

elance.com – relatively cheap services but VERY professional services

I suggest you build a network of providers and stick with the best that you can find. Don’t forget, these sites are ‘cheap’, most providers are looking for connections so they are willing to do some initial work at a cheap rate. If you like their services then you should pay them more – or what you feel they are worth or their is a good chance they won’t stick around for long.

Good Luck!

*feel free to contact me with any questions or comments

Gone are the days of Wall Street, Welcome Social Media Marketing

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

That’s right. The days of Wall Street as most know it are gone, largely in part to the Bank Crisis and Federal bailouts in 2008 to most bigger Banks on Wall Street which led to one of the largest social uprisings known as Occupy Wall Street. Gone are the days of Investment banking, mortgages that were a dime a dozen, stocks and more thanks to the likes of Jordan Belfort as portrayed in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘. The rat race is evolving into a new form and Social Media Marketing may be it’s foundation.

Ever heard of a ‘Lifestyle Designer‘? Do you know what it’s like to maintain a Social Media presence? Here’s an idea. I won’t get into the technical details of how to have a successful Social Media presence but as you can see from the links, it’s an amazing concept but at the same time extremely difficult.. it’s becoming the next rat race! No longer does a company need to have it’s entire Operations near Wall Street, very similar to SEO – relevance is key to the success of a website, a sale, a job, a promotion and so on. Banks on Wall Street used to have their entire Operations very close to their sales – they needed to, the internet was shoddy at best in the 90’s and early 2000’s so it was very relevant or required to have an SA or Desktop Support person or Helpdesk resource to be in the same location. Nowadays just about everyone knows someone that works from home, or someone that can work ‘anywhere’ as long as they have an internet connection. The same applies to the technology teams at banks, the same for back office and front office Operations.. anyone who doesn’t deal with a Client face to face isn’t relevant to Wall Street, Banks are losing their Luster. Have you read an article recently on a surge stress related tragedy’s at the large Banks recently? Horrible, but the trends are only getting worse.. There is only so much water that you can extract from a fixed audience (or rock for that matter). There is a limit when dealing with funds in the general population. Have you read about the mortgage industry in the past 8 years or so? It has reached a limit and has swiftly been knocked down to reality through various government regulations.

What does this have to do with Social Media Marketing? SEO centric opportunities are light years ahead of Wall Street. In fact, the further away from Wall Street the chance are the more successful they will be. Remember I mentioned the concept of a ‘Lifestyle Designer’? when in history has someone been able to earn money while they sleep (without having someone work for them)?!?! When in history has a single individual been able to dominate a loan lending market?!?! Is it easy? Hell no! Probably alot harder than any Wall Street employee has ever had to work simply for the fact that SEO rules are a moving target that change every day and completely overhauled every few months – you have to be intensively analytical, extremely aggressive, motivated like a beast to make it to the top and indestructible to stay on top.. something of another cloth.

Companies every day are bought up by the likes of Facebook, Google and Yahoo for billions of dollars.. companies that haven’t even made a profit yet! are you kidding me? They are bought simply for a demographic audience! Who wants to put their money into a collection of holdings where each of those companies are moving away from Wall Street, or need to move their Operations to India to increase profit margins? Capitalism has built many companies and countries for that matter but there is a maximum profitability margin for a given product especially when there are many billion dollar competitors such as on Wall Street.. Are these companies at risk of catastropy? Did I mention the bailouts of 2008?

Surprisingly or not so surprisingly it seems that Social Media Marketing has lived a lifetime of Wall Street and we’re already seeing sways in the industry that cause demographic audiences to sway between products, the challenge being to be the first to obtain a large demographic audience and second to hold that demographic audience long term. Facebook has already shown it’s ups and downs and inability to retain a younger audience (they can Thank sites such as Instagram and SnapChat). Google has shown its vulnerabilities but ability to adapt.. oddly enough, Twitter and Linkedin proven stability over time.

In many ways Social Media Marketing is the Wall Street of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s but on steroids! SMM seems to follow the path of Wall Street as we know it but at much more rapid pace. Certainly a new area for growth and profitability, perhaps a new vehicle for extreme success? certainly a new vehicle for lot’s of profit regardless of profit history.. perhaps more instability? Who knows for sure, time will tell.

Are the days of Wall Street really over? I don’t know but my money is with Social Media Marketing for sure!

How can I manage all of my social networks?

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By Brendan Fitzpatick

Google

manage_socialnetwork_flattened Nowadays it is common for individuals as well as businesses to have multiple accounts for social networking. Why? Many social networking sites have niche purposes with their own user population with tremendous business value (refer to my ‘Do I need to socialize my business…’ article). Many of the popular networks have the ability to submit your post to other networks with a link back to the original posting. This is a great feature but what if you don’t want to link back to your posting? Perhaps you want to link to your website or directly to a video on YouTube or to your storefront.

There are many ways to manage your social networks, some better or worse than others. I will define my criteria and discuss the option that I found works best for my situation. I will also briefly touch on other options along the way to give you insight to other options that might fit your requirements. My experience and the purpose of this  article is intended for personal as well as business use cases.

When I first started socializing my website I knew that I wanted to try a diverse set of networks including  some of the most common so that I could understand which ones work best for my situation. I chose to go with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr accounts – I also started a WordPress blog but I’m excluding Wordpress from this article for simplicity purposes. As far as managing these networks I quickly realized how difficult it would be without a central tool so I spent some time on finding a solution before I moved forward because I knew that my social experience for my business wouldn’t last long as it would be too difficult to manage. Imagine having to Login to each account, uploading images, copying and pasting text and reviewing everything for each network?

After minimal research I found and experimented with the WordPress publicize feature which I found fascinating but it still linked the content back to my WordPress account – remember, what I wanted was a central facility to post any content that could link to wherever I wanted (particularly, back to my web site) so this did not work for me. Similarly I experimented with Google+ to Facebook, Facebook to Twitter and all combinations that I could come up with but they all behaved the same.. looking back it makes sense, why would any social network want you to be able to promote your web site on another web site using their tools when they can embed your entire post with a link back to themselves before your users reach the destination where you want them to end up? They’re effectively maximizing traffic back to them, fair enough – no argument from me.

 After a little more research I came across ‘IF This Then That’ aka ifttt.com and I immediately knew that I found something special. Unfortunately my initial testing started yielding the same results. I was convinced that a tool must exist out there that would meet my basic criteria and something crossed my mind that certainly such a tool must exist as a mobile application. I was convinced that ifttt.com could achieve what I was looking for but it was starting to get complicated to configure all of my accounts in this 3rd party tool (privacy concerns, now IFTTT would have access to my accounts and content) so I put is aside for the time being as a potential solution so I could explore other options.

After a little more research I came across a few mobile applications so I started looking at their ratings (to determine which ones were legit) and reading their descriptions and I finally found Everypost. I immediately asked myself, ‘could this be it?’.. a tool that could simplify my social networking experience while expanding it a the same time?

 

manage_socialnetwork_everypost

At this point I had gotten frustrated enough to refine my requirements. I needed a simple tool that I could create a post, add an image and a few tags with the ability to submit and post all of my social networks without having to login to each, reformat content, upload images etc.

After 2 minutes (of downloading, installing and configuring my first site using this tool I quickly realized that this was it! It took me more time to learn the details of each social network than it took to figure out how to post to all of them from the Everypost application.

I’m sure there are other tools out there that compete with Everypost, it just happened to be the first tool that I found that enabled me to manage my sites centrally after a good amount of testing of other solutions which I believe to a large extent have been the norm until recently. Granted, Everypost is a mobile application which can be frustrating for some to type a post but it’s a new application and the owners seem enthusiastic on expanding features – I have my fingers crossed for a browser based implementation that can be used on PC’s and laptops.

I did not write this article with the intent to endorse Everypost, I’m simply sharing my experience which I believe will help some of you and perhaps encourage you to explore social networking to its fullest extent while removing some of the frustrations.That said, if you are aware of other solutions out there I’d be interested in hearing about them and I will gladly update this post with a list of tools and their pros & cons so if you follow this article it and you will receive updates.

I also did not attempt to give advice on how often and what to post if you are small business. I am still learning myself and perhaps I will blog about my experiences when I feel I have something to share. The one thing I will mention are the topics that I continually come across which I’m learning more and more about – keep your content relevant, to the point, easily readable and use catchy graphics. If you were to read my blog you would notice that this is the first post that I am trying to keep extremely relevant, use catchy images and to the point please contact me about anything related to blogging as I’d be interested in discussing.