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5 fundamental SEO components for marketing your website:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the foundation of being found online.

In fact, it’s often considered the core of your digital marketing presence. Without fundamental SEO, it’s difficult to rank on the SERPs, but more importantly, it makes it challenging to offer a great user experience for your site’s visitors, track your website’s metrics and pinpoint any technical/internal issues your site may be having.

To help you get started with marketing your website, below are five fundamental SEO components you should employ for optimal results.

1. Implement descriptive titles and descriptions for every page

Every page on your website should have completed metadata. This means providing titles and descriptions for every page on your website.

Titles should be comprised of keywords that address what is on the specific page. Descriptions, which are displayed in search results, should not only contain those keywords, but should entice people to click on your result.These titles not only tell me exactly what I’m going get when visiting these pages, they also make me want to click the result.

2. Choose keywords that accurately describe the purpose of each web page

While we’re talking about titles and descriptions, when choosing the keywords and phrases for each page, you MUST accurately describe the purpose of each page.

You might be tempted to give yourself a better chance of ranking under a highly competitive phrase by stuffing irrelevant keywords into the title, but I advise against it. If the content doesn’t support its metadata (title and description), you’ll end up hurting your website and you might even dissuade your visitors from returning.

Let’s pretend you’re Goldie’s, a golden doodle dog breeder in Buffalo, NY, and you’re putting together your Contact Us page. This page has your contact information and a form requesting more information about available dogs.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

Title: Golden Doodle Dogs For Sale | Golden Doodle Puppies | Golden Doodle Dog Breeder in Buffalo, NY

Description: Goldie’s Golden Doodles is a Golden Doodle Dog Breeder in Buffalo, NY. We have Golden Doodle Dogs For Sale and Golden Doodle Puppies.

Instead, try this:

Title: Contact Goldie’s Golden Doodles in Buffalo NY | (716) XXX-XXXX

Description: Contact Goldie’s Golden Doodles in Buffalo, NY at (716) XXX-XXXX or visit our website to learn more about our available Golden Doodle puppies.

3. Install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools on all web pages

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, installing Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools is one of the most vital elements of marketing your website. These FREE tools provide you with valuable information about how your visitors use your website and the state of your website’s health.

Google Analytics tracks website metrics including:

  • Website traffic
  • Where your visitors come from (organic search, paid search, direct, social media, etc.)
  • Pages visited
  • Time spent on the website and pages
  • How your visitors move through your website (behavior flow)
  • Bounce rate for the site and individual pages
  • Where (geographically) your visitors are located/searching from
  • Conversions (you have to set them up)

Webmaster Tools keeps you updated with information about:

  • Errors on your website
  • Search queries
  • Areas for HTML improvements
  • Links to your website
  • Security issues

If you don’t have Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools installed on your website, here are the links for getting started:

4. Utilize H tags on all pages

If you’re not familiar with the term, H tags are heading tags. Just as it sounds, H tags are the headings on website pages. With tags ranging from H1 tags to H6 tags, H1 tags (main heading) are the most important ones and should be used on EVERY page of your website! Your H1 tags should offer a basic description of what’s on the page (kind of like your page titles and descriptions).

Relevancy is an extremely important element of SEO, and heading tags are not only great to “show the search engines” what the page is all about, they’re also perfect for splitting your pages into sections for easy consumption. Make sure your H1 tags are not the same as your page titles – they should be unique while still addressing the content of the page and they should NOT be stuffed with keywords.

Here’s an example of an effective use of H1 tags, The Springs Events, website:

The page URL: http://thespringsevents.com/events/weddings-receptions.html

Page title:  Wedding Venues & Reception Locations in Texas | The Springs Events

Page H1 tag:  Your Unforgettable Rustic, Elegant Wedding and Reception

The Springs Events H1 example

5. Optimize all of your site’s images

People love visuals and when it comes to your website, they want to see pictures of your products and/or services in action.

In addition to making sure your site is full of visually appealing images and other visuals (graphics, videos, etc.), make sure you optimize them with alt text and image titles.

Optimizing your images with alt text gives them the ability to rank in the search engines. It also makes it easy for those who disable images from loading on their device to know what’s on the page.

By providing image titles, you’ll make it easy for the search engines to know what the image is, for people to know what the image is, and for easy sharing on social media.


There you have it: five fundamental SEO components for online success.

Still not sure where to begin?  Contact us at RCS Technology Solutions, LLC ,   978-606-5432 or Ron@RCSTechnologysolutions.com

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4 Ways to Grow Website Traffic with Content

One of the biggest concerns businesses have about their websites–other than generating leads and making sales–is traffic. The more traffic you get, the more leads and sales you’ll eventually get. So the question is, how do you increase website traffic?

There are a lot of tactics and methods you can explore, but experts like RCS Technology Solutions, agree that content marketing gives you the most bang for your buck.

So here are 4 ways you can use valuable content to increase your website traffic.

Note about SEO: One of the great things about marketing with content is the inherent SEO value of all that content. While the following content types vary, they can all increase your website’s optimization. Just remember to write naturally and provide lots of value.

Consistent Blogging

Regularly writing genuinely helpful, value-packed original blog posts on your business blog is the foundation of any content marketing strategy. Blogging increases website traffic in a number of ways.

First, it establishes you as a thought leader. Your customers, leads, and target audience learn to trust you and expect the best from you. With great blog content, you’ll get

  • direct traffic from people who want to know you what you’re up to
  • referral traffic from people who respect you
  • organic (search) traffic from all that SEO goodness

On top of that, original and useful blog posts are more likely to be shared socially and they encourage repeat visits, so you get more traffic and start putting prospects through your sales funnel.

Curation and Commentary

Creating the kind of valuable original blog content that increases website traffic takes a lot of time and effort, which you sometimes don’t have. One way to get around that is by curating and commenting on other people’s content on your blog and social media accounts.

curation and commentary

You can curate and comment on just about anything in your industry, such as:

  • events and conferences
  • breaking news
  • cutting-edge innovation

Even a simple round-up of great information from the past week in your business counts as curation. Discussing how to use that information or what these resources missed counts as commentary. You need both parts to make it work.

Curation and commentary can increase traffic to your website by reinforcing your position as a thought leader, so everyone comes to you for the latest news. This type of content marketing is also very timely, so you’ll get lots of referral and organic traffic.

 

You can do a lot more with your business blog than simply write. Other types of media, including videos, audio recordings, photos, and infographics, can increase website traffic just as much as, or even more than written content.

In fact, most content that goes viral is not written–it’s visual. This infographic visualstorytellinginfographic-resized-600.jpg illustrates the importance of visual content.

Using a variety of media in your content marketing increases social sharing and is one way to provide value, which search engines love. There’s a reason that sites like YouTube and Pinterest are so popular.

Quality visual content is attractive. Use it to attract more traffic.

Downloadable Resources

Business blogs are excellent at increasing website traffic, but once you have a visitor on your site, you want to give them something to do while maintaining your high reputation as an expert. Enter downloadable resources.

This kind of content takes many forms, but it provides tons of value. Some popular forms of downloadable content include:

  • ebooks
  • video training
  • templates
  • audio recordings
  • webinars
  • workbooks

In addition to positioning you as a thought leader, downloadable content encourages repeat visits from people who want to know what other resources you have. You’re likely to get referral traffic from partners and fans who love the resource you created, and social sharing can be very high for super useful resources.

Plus, if you offer your resource in exchange for email addresses, you can market to leads directly and encourage them to continue visiting your website.

Do you use any of these content marketing tactics to increase website traffic? What types of content have you had the most success with? Please share in the comments!

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Google to confirm disavowed links?

 

Those bad links can cause some SEO nightmares for webmasters and Google’s Disavow Tool was a step in the right direction to help. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect either.

Those of us who have submitted a list of links to Google have been left wondering about what happens next. How long does it take? Were all of the links disavowed? Did my whole list get processed or was there an error somewhere? While there is no firm answer yet, Google has heard us and we get may an answer at some point. Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst acknowledged at Search Marketing Expo – East that there is an issue and announced that he plans to bring it up internally to see if the change could be made.

A little confirmation would be nice.

 

Thank you Donald MacMelville

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What is Anchor Text?

Anchor Text

Anchor Text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In modern browsers, it is often blue and underlined, such as this link to the RCS Technology Solutions homepage

Code Sample
<a href="http://www.example.com">Example Anchor Text</a>
Optimal Format

SEO-friendly anchor text is succinct and relevant to the target page.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. In the phrase “CNN is a good source of news, but I actually prefer the BBC’s take on events,” two unique pieces of anchor text exist for two different links: “CNN” is the anchor text pointing to http://www.cnn.com/, while “the BBC’s take on events” points to http://news.bbc.co.uk.

Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked-to document. In the example above, the links would tell the search engine that when users search for “CNN”, RCS Technology Solutions thinks that http://www.cnn.com/ is a relevant site for the term “CNN” and that http://www.bbc.co.uk is relevant to “the BBC’s take on events.” If many sites think that a particular page is relevant for a given set of terms, that page can manage to rank well even if the terms NEVER appear in the text itself.

Link Anatomy

In the example above, “Jon Wye’s Custom Designed Belts” would be the anchor text of this link.

SEO Best Practice

As search engines have matured, they have started identifying more metrics for determining rankings. One metric that stood out among the rest was link relevancy. Link relevancy is determined by both the content of the source page and the content of the anchor text. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when people link out to other content on the web.

This is most easily understood with an example. Imagine that someone writes a blog about whiteboard markers. Ever inclined to learn more about their passion, they spend part of their day reading what other people online have to say about whiteboard markers. Now imagine that while reading on their favorite topic, the dry erase marker enthusiast finds an article about the psychological effects of marker color choice. Excited, she goes back to her website to blog about the article so her friends can read about it.

When she writes the blog post and links to the article, she gets to choose the anchor text for the link pointing at the article. She could choose something like “click here,” but more likely, she will choose something that it is relevant to the article. In this case, she chooses “psychological effects of marker color choice.” Someone else who links to the same article might use the link anchor text, “marker color choice and its effect on the brain.”

This human–powered information is essential to modern-day search engines. The search engines can use it to determine what the target page is about and thus, which queries it should be relevant for. These descriptions are relatively unbiased and produced by real people. This metric, in combination with complicated natural language processing, makes up the lion’s share of link relevancy indicators online.

Other important link relevancy indicators are link sources and information hierarchy. For example, the search engines can also use the fact that someone linked to the whiteboard marker article from a blog about whiteboard markers to supplement their algorithm’s understanding of the given page’s relevancy. Similarly, the engines can use the fact that the original article was located at the URL www.example.com/vision/color/ to determine the high-level positioning and relevancy of the content.

With the Penguin update, Google began to look more closely at keywords in anchor text. If too many of a site’s inbound links contain the exact same anchor text, it can start to appear suspicious, and is often a sign that the links weren’t acquired naturally. In general, it’s still a best practice to obtain keyword– and topic–specific anchor text when possible. However, SEOs may get better results by striving for a variety of anchor text rather than the same keyword each time.

Key Points:

  • If many links point to a page with the right keywords in their anchor text, that page has a very good chance of ranking well. Real examples of this include the search engine result pages for the queries, “click here” and “leave.” Many of the Google results for these queries rank solely due to the anchor text of inbound links.
  • People have a tendency to link to content using the anchor text of either the domain name or the title of the page. This is an advantage to SEOs who include keywords they want to rank for in these two elements.
  • Too many inbound links to a page with the exact same keyword-rich anchor text may cause Google to scrutinize that site’s link profile more closely; using manipulative methods to acquire keyword–rich anchor text is not recommended.
Importance of the First Anchor Text

RCS Technology Solutions experiments have shown that if two links are targeting the same URL, only the anchor text used in the first link is counted by Google.

First Anchor Text Counts

More recently, several webmasters have run experiments showing ways to count multiple anchor text phrases contained on the same page and pointing to the same target. This is accomplished by creating anchors on the target page and linking to those anchors using hashtags, such as the way RCS Technology Solutions links to blog post comments:

<a href="../blog/example-post#jtc142864">Second Anchor Text</a>
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How do you get positive online reviews?

 

Since a more visible online presence is a key driver in SEO and your online marketing strategy, many businesses wonder about how to get customers to write good online reviews of their product or service. There is only one really good answer: make whatever it is that you provide, good.

While it is much more likely that folks with an axe to grind are often quicker to pull the “review trigger,” many happy and satisfied customers will take time to do the same. Review sites have become very social in that you can make friends or follow other users and people like to share their experiences – even good ones!

While you can encourage or promote customers to do reviews for you, solicited or compensated reviews are a big no-no and will often create even bigger problems. You can use other social media platforms to promote your listings and encourage those review writers. Try this: “If you enjoyed your stay with us, you can share your experience at LINK” or “How did we do? Let us know at LINK.” Of course in both these cases, what you are offering or doing had better be good.

Even those tactics may not help in the long run. People are not necessarily going to write reviews for you because ask for them, but they will do them if you deserve them. Be awesome at what you do, have a good product, back it up, and engage with your customers the right way. The good reviews will come in.

 

Thank you Donald MacMelville

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Bad Mobile Experience Could Become Ranking Signal

There is no doubt that a responsive, mobile-friendly website is absolutely necessary today. Mobile users in the U.S.A. are approaching 50% of total internet users. But does it actually affect your search engine rankings to not have a mobile ready site?

The only way that mobile experience currently affects your search rankings is if the user gets errors on the mobile site. Google also penalizes web sites that redirect users to their home page from other pages when browsing on mobile. But Google does not currently have mobile UX set as a ranking signal.

Google has hinted, however, that mobile user experience could become another ranking signal. A Google official sent this statement to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land:

“Mobile-friendly websites provide a much better user experience for the mobile users. According to our studies, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing from their phone. That includes sites that use fonts which are illegible on mobile, or sites where users have to zoom in or pan around excessively. Mobile is a very important area; the mobile device penetration is over 50% in the USA and most users use their device for browsing websites.”

Does that sound like Google is thinking about the mobile experience? I think so. Google wants to give searchers the best experience possible. If half of those searchers on mobile devices, then the search engine giant will incorporate mobile experience into its complicated algorithm.

In May, Google announced it could see full pages, rendered as completely as they are for users. If Googlebots can read a bad mobile site in the same way that a user sees a mobile site, then what is stopping Google from penalizing sites that give users a bad experience? Mobile UX as a ranking signal could be many months away, but this is a strong indicator that Google considers it be important.

Thank you Mike Dahlroth

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How Does Google Know What Good Content Is?

Over and over again we keep hearing that one of the best SEO practices is to make sure that your site has good, quality content for your visitors. But, how does Google know whether or not it is good and then factor that into how the site ranks in the search engine results? According to a Searchmetrics Ranking Factors Study there are some things to consider.

One of the big things they point out is that since the Hummingbird algorithm release, semantics and context are much more important. Rather than the old use-as-many- keywords-as-naturally-as-possible approach, really, really think about what the visitor wants to find. What Searchmetrics says is, ““If website editors want their content to rank better for specific keywords, the content should be created with the fulfillment of user search intent in mind.” As content writers, the goal should be to provide information or answers to queries posed by the user of the search engine and not to provide content crafted specifically to please the search engines themselves. In as way, this opens up more possibilities for the writers when creating site content to allow for the variety of additional questions or issues that may pop into the users’ heads when reading the initial information.

Also, to Google, usability may relate to the perceived quality of your content. The lower your bounce rate and the length of time spent on a page can indicate that not only is the information helpful but it is also comprehendible. After all, how helpful is content that is more difficult to understand. And, since we all know that illustrated content seems to hold people’s attention for a longer period of time, the number of visuals can also be a factor in whether site content is considered quality content. Follow the Searchmetrics link above for more information on the study.

 

 

 

Thank you Donald MacMelville

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What is Google Hummingbird? What Does this Mean for SEO?

 

Google HummingbirdGoogle Hummingbird was officially announced this week and has many people asking, what is “Google Hummingbird?” Google Hummingbird represents a complete overhaul of Google’s entire search engine. It is estimated that 90% of all Google’s searches will be impacted by this change? So what makes hummingbird different than the last search algorithm? Google Hummingbird seeks to understand the entirety of a search instead of just picking out keywords. Google announced:

Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

Google has pointed to conversational questions as a good example as to the difference between Google’s old search algorithm and Hummingbird. For example, if you asked Google: ” Where can I buy a 51′ plasma TV”, previously Google might pick out keywords such as “buy” and “plasma tv”. Under Google Hummingbird, the entirety of the questions will be understood and theoretically Google will now understand that you are looking for TV stores close to your house. So what does “Google Hummingbird” mean for SEO?

At the moment people should not panic. In the past Penguin and Panda cause headaches for everyone and the gut reaction is to panic. Google said that Hummingbird was released almost a month ago. At the moment, we are not seeing large changes in placement or traffic. It is interesting that this change came out right inline with the addition of secure search to all Google queries. It seems that Google is sending a message that we should focus on the content as a whole rather than specific keywords. The move to Hummingbird is a move from specific keywords to answering the question as a whole.

This change will lead to the growth of Google Knowledge graph. Google Knowledge graph is a collection of data that Google uses to help fill in your search as you type it. I believe that with this growth we will see an increase in long tailed searches. As content writers and webmasters, we should focus our content away from singular keywords and towards a more knowledge based approach. Ask questions and provide answers in your blogs and encourage online users to participate both in social media and on your website. These tools will help keep your content fresh and generate the type of content that Google will be looking for with Hummingbird.

 

Thank you, Matthew Wilkos

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SEO ( Search Engine Optimization )

When working toward achieving the ultimate exposure for your brand, utilizing each avenue of communication and visibility is necessary. In a world that is increasingly dependent on the internet, this means that engagement in Search Engine Optimization is a crucial component of brand exposure and endurance. Not only can effective Search Engine Optimization land your brand on the first page of major search engines such as Google or Bing, it is also the most cost effective approach for gaining lasting coverage across the web.

Search Engine Optimization is the culmination of numerous online efforts that together contribute to the overall goal of increased traffic to your brand’s website. Analyzing your brand, developing business-related keywords, utilizing social media and working to remain in sync with Google’s latest algorithm and expectations are just some of the key steps that must be executed in order for companies to achieve their desired visibility. Patient and focused commitment to each step of the SEO process will create what every company strives for: a powerful and sustained online presence and the ability to successfully deliver their brand’s message.

SEO is the most cost effective way to bring business to your website. There are people searching for what your company offers everyday, your website and business needs to be at the top of the organic search results.

WEB MARKETING SERVICE

RCS Technology Solutions will increase your presence on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines which will translate directly into more traffic to your website.

Here’s a quick synopsis of what is offered with the service:

Full SEO report of website (if applicable)

Greatly increase presence on the internet with professionally done listings with 25 local/national search sites (google, yahoo, yelp, ect) – using specific key words to target people searching for what you have to offer
Install and help analyze web tracking to let you know specifically which sites people are using to find you and provide a report that will show exactly how we’re helping you
Monitor all sites for reviews and correct information and add promotions, coupons and events
Keep sites up to date with Google Algorithm Changes
RCS Technology Solutions, SEO Process
This is SEO

seo-process

Also, check out Google’s beginner guide to SEO to learn more about search engine optimization and how it can help your business:

Google SEO Guide

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How to Drive Sales, increase Clients, With Content Marketing

Content marketing is very different from other forms of marketing. With the nature of the internet, you can distribute your messages to thousands of people, with a single click of a button at no cost! It is pretty powerful and the reason why content marketing works, is because it is not all about selling. Unlike other methods that SHOUT Sell, Sell, Sell, producing a piece of content for your customers is more of ‘soft’ way of addressing them and getting your messages across.
Push vs Pull
Traditional sales and marketing tactics were mainly focused on pushing a message, pushing a meeting, pushing a contact. Content marketing is focused on the pull. It is about getting yourself distributed, so that when you customers come looking for what you have, they find you. Content marketing is about attracting customers, not clubbing them over the head and dragging them back to your cave.
Something to consider is that content may be the very first encounter between the prospective customer and your business. It is right at the very top of the Sales and Marketing Funnel. This is where the magic has to happen, so to speak. You need to interest readers enough to pull them further down the funnel.
So how can you employ Content Marketing to grow your small business and generate sales?
In this article we will attempt to answer your questions and unravel the mysteries of content marketing.
What kind of content do I send/create?
We like to take the approach that follows the pareto 80/20 rule, where 80% of our content is informative, and only 20% about our products and the sale. Your messages should always be customer focused, rather than sale oriented. Think about what the client should or would like to know before they purchase your product, if they are to buy your offering (i.e. plant seeds) what else could they possibly be interested in (gardening, the great outdoors etc.), maybe you can share some interesting insights from your industry. You should always strive to provide messages that are both helpful and informative. Something that prospects would like to read, and hopefully share.
How do I know what my customer would like to hear/read about?
If you know who your customers are well enough, you will have no trouble identifying topics that will appeal to them, failing that speak to them, or run a survey. A good database could come in handy here. If you have compiled information of who your clients are, their needs, wants and preferences you can not only create interesting content, but you can take it a step further and send them personalized and tailored messages that would fit with their interests.
How would that help me sell my product?
We have mentioned a few times that content marketing is not about selling, then how are you going to shift your product and make money? Well, the key here is the after effect:
  • If your content is enlightening and informative, people visiting your website, blog or receiving your newsletters would feel compelled to reach out for your other content. If they read one of your blog posts and they like it, they are likely to read some of your other posts too.
  • Social sharing. What happens when you read an article or a post that is interesting? You share it. If you produce content that is engaging for customers, they will share it with their friends and family. Your readers will ultimately turn into your brand ambassadors. Content shared through trusted peers is so much more likely to be read and your business will be perceived as more trustworthy.
  • Remember how we said before that 80% of your writing should be informative? Well the remaining 20% is your call-to-action. With the help of some clever wording you can easily navigate leads through the sales funnel and encourage a sale. Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself ‘What’s in for me? What will I gain from reading this content?’
  • In addition, fresh new content that is regularly being uploaded to your website or blog will have a positive impact on your Google search rankings. And who wouldn’t want to climb up a couple of spaces on that search page?
  • Reciprocity. Have you heard of the theory that we feel a subconscious obligation to give when we receive? Give your customers something for free (some interesting and insightful content for instance) and they will give something back (their name and email address, or even their custom). Be the first one to give.
  • So, you can see for yourself that Content marketing promises a lot: customer engagement, customer satisfaction and consequently, a sale. However be prepared that this will be an ongoing process. A single newsletter or a single blog post will not result in customers rushing through your doors straight away. You will need to put in the time, creating intriguing content and surely your hard work will pay off.