Apps 101: Deep Linking, App Indexing and Why They Matter

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Apps 101: Deep Linking, App Indexing and Why They Matter was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Apps are largely considered the new SEO frontier. Mobile app usage is growing at an incredible rate and shows no sign of slowing. Overall app usage grew by 76 percent in 2014, and lifestyle apps in particular saw 174 percent growth.

If you have an app or are developing an app, app indexation and deep linking are things you definitely need to be paying attention to. Basically, Google wants to treat your app like a website. It wants to crawl it and index it so that search results can return specific pages from an app in mobile searches. That ability to return specific pages within an app? That’s deep linking.

This article is for those just dipping their toes into app indexation. Read on for a breakdown of what app indexing and deep linking actually are, as well as helpful examples of deep linking in action. You’ll also learn basic requirements for Android and iOS setup.

First, Some Definitions: What are App Indexing and Deep Linking?

What is Deep Linking?

Deep linking, in a general sense, involves linking to specific content within a website or app, rather than to the homepage. Here we’re talking in particular about getting specific elements of an app to show up in search results on a mobile device, allowing users to open an app directly from a search results page. Note: Users will only see this prompt if they have the particular app installed.

What Is App Indexing?

App indexing is the result of getting your app in Google’s index to enable deep linking. By allowing Google to index pages within your app, features (or promotions) within the app can begin showing up in users’ mobile searches, driving visits (and hopefully conversions) to the app.

Deep Linking in Action

Let’s say you search for “Jurassic World” on a mobile device, and you’re offered IMDB’s Jurassic World page rather than the IMDB homepage — this is deep linking in action. You, as the user, have the IMDB app installed on your smartphone, so you’re pleased to find among the top results the page for “Jurassic World” in your app, as well as a listing on directly.

Jurassic World mobile search

Let’s return to the previous example of Jurassic World. If you wanted to read some reviews for the movie, you might type in “Jurassic World reviews” in a mobile search.

Jurassic World Reviews

This result doesn’t give you the option to open the reviews in the mobile app. This would be a great opportunity to drive you to the app rather than the website, but that option simply doesn’t exist. Now, what if IMDB’s reviews page wasn’t ranking on the first page? Using deep linking in this instance would be a great way for IMDB to keep driving people back to the IMDB app, since Google is giving favor to apps that users have installed.

Next Steps: Getting Your App Indexed

To begin with, there are general setup requirements for Android and iOS:

Android Setup Requirements

  1. Must be developed with minSdkVersion 17 or lower.
  2. Only available on searches using Google app version 2.8 or higher, and Chrome for Android 4.1 or higher.
  3. Users must be signed in for deep linking to work.

iOS Setup Requirements

  1. Developed on a base SDK of iOS8.
  2. Only available on searches using Google app version 5.3 or higher, and Chrome for iOS.
  3. Users must be signed in for deep linking to work.

From there, Google offers specific guides for setting up Android apps and iOS apps for indexing. It is a technical process, but investing the time and effort can drive more users into your app and increase your relevance and visibility.

Have a specific question about app indexing and deep linking or mobile seo in general? Ask us in the comments! We’re always here to help. And in the meantime, check out this liveblog from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2015 on Deep Linking and Development.

June 26th 2015 SEO

5 Resume Tips Designed to Help SEOs Land Competitive Jobs

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by Jayson DeMers

Do you feel like you’re an expert at getting clients to rank for certain keywords or objectives? Well, are you equally as good at marketing your own services and maximizing resume visibility? Just as you do with websites, blog posts, and search terms, you have to work hard to ensure your resume is seen by as many people as possible. Additionally, it needs to effectively capture your skills, qualifications, and personality. 

Learn From These 5 Tips
Did you know that recruiters and those responsible for hiring people only spend an average of five to seven seconds looking at a resume? What about the fact that only 35 percent of applicants are even qualified for the jobs they apply for? Assuming you are qualified for the jobs and contracts you apply for, this means you have to find a way to quickly make an impression while simultaneously proving your qualifications. Here are some tangible tips to get you started:
1. Quickly list education/qualifications. Regardless of how brief it is, every resume needs a section that lists educational background and qualifications. And instead of placing it at the very end – which seems to be a trend these days – do the reader a favor and put it at the very beginning. This prevents them from having to search for that information and gives them a better feel for who you are and where you’ve been. 
2. Play up soft skills. While your qualifications may get your resume in front of the right eyes, it’s the personal qualities, attitudes, and habits that help you stand out. According to this blog post from CBT Nuggets, soft skills are able to boost a resume unlike anything else. They take you from just another “qualified” professional to a qualified professional that’s also likeable and dependable. 
3. Link to a portfolio. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s impossible to accurately convey your talents without showing some in-depth proof or case studies. While it’s not appropriate to include them in your actual resume (brevity is much appreciated), it’s certainly okay to link to an external website or portfolio. 
4. Use keywords and job-specific language. As someone who deals with keywords and semantic structure on a daily basis, you don’t need to be reminded of the importance of using job-specific language – but it does bear reemphasizing. Any time you’re reaching out to a potential client or employer, it’s critical that you study the style and tone of their content and language. This will guide you in how you should structure your resume.
5. Focus on niche/specific skills and experience. Somewhere along the line, western culture has inundated us with the idea that more is better. Well, when it comes to resumes, the opposite is often true. While you don’t want to omit important information, you should find concise ways to convey the value you bring to the table. Focus on niche skills that few others have, as opposed to some generalized talent that’s a dime a dozen. 
The issue with tips like these is that most people feel like they don’t apply to them. Well, let’s make one thing clear: If you want to be competitive in today’s increasingly congested SEO industry, you need to follow these tips. They’ll help you stand out above the phonies and prevent you from blending in with the stream of other resumes you’re likely competing against. 
Don’t Make These Resume-Killing Mistakes
In addition to utilizing these tips, there are also some shortcomings, oversights, and pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Specifically, try not to make the following resume-killing mistakes:
Keyword stuffing. One of the biggest turnoffs for businesses and job recruiters is keyword stuffing. While it may (and the keyword is may) help you increase visibility, it’s a sure-fire way to make a bad first impression on the reader. It makes them feel like they’re indispensable, or just another reader. Instead, you should focus on one or two valuable keywords that show you’ve paid attention to their core values and needs. Think about it in terms of how you would approach an SEO campaign for one of your clients. Instead of going after 25 generic search terms, you would be much better off targeting three specific long tail terms.
Too much experience. If you’re well into your career, you may not want to list all of your work experience. Despite being illegal, many hiring decision-makers associate lots of experience with being too old and dated. For best results, focus on the past 10 to 15 years of your career when listing accomplishments and job history. 
No clear flow. Does your resume have a clear and identifiable flow? What about a primary focus? Nothing is worse than a scatterbrained resume that leaves the reader wondering what they just read. Everything you put on your resume should fit into a neat, concise section. If it can’t fit in one of these sections, it probably doesn’t need to be included. Resume structure comes in a close second to content, as it pertains to value and importance. 
Sometimes the only way to avoid mistakes is to make them and learn. However, with a little knowledge and understanding, you can avoid these blunders altogether. 
Start Selling Yourself

Ultimately, a valuable resume is one which sells the individual, not the skills. While you may be one of the most talented and progressive SEOs in the industry, what sets you apart from a personal point of view? Businesses want to hire people they can count on time after time. Having a particular skillset will only benefit you so much – so avoid making it the focus of your resume. Instead, use this brief document as a valuable testimonial that relates to who you are and why you’re right for the job. 

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Free SEO Tool Alert! Quick Backlink Snapshot from the Lightweight Link Analysis Report

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Free SEO Tool Alert! Quick Backlink Snapshot from the Lightweight Link Analysis Report was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Along with the SEOToolSet Pro suite of diagnostic tools, Bruce Clay, Inc. offers free and free-standing versions of some of the same tools. There are 10 free SEO tools that anyone can use without logging in from the free SEO tools page of Though “lite,” they are powerful enough to give you valuable information that you can utilize to create and strengthen your SEO strategy.

If you’re not familiar with our complimentary tools, our Free SEO Tool Alert miniseries is a great way to discover them, see how to use them, and learn how to incorporate the data they provide into your organic search engine optimization strategy.

Today’s Free SEO Tool: Link Analysis Report

Tool type: link earning, backlink analysis, competitor research

What you’ll learn: Who is linking to your site and who is linking to your competitor’s site.

Why this matters: Helps you monitor the health of your backlinks, attract higher-quality links to your site, and earn better SEO rankings.

You can also aid your backlink analysis efforts with the free DisavowFiles service to help identify backlinks you might want to disavow.

This is the free Link Analysis Report. Enter a URL to get results.

Link Analysis Report

SEOToolSet® Link Analysis Report

Page URL Google Yahoo Search Bing

How to Use It

  1. Submit any URL and select “Link Report.” Enter one URL at a time. You can submit a URL from your website, or you can submit a competitor’s web page to see their links.
  2. The report unveils a list of inbound links for that URL. Results are provided for Google, Bing, and Yahoo
Link Analysis Report free SEO tool

Screenshot of the Link Analysis Report tool

Note: With the free version of our SEO tool, you’ll receive 30 links from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The paid, full version of the Link Analysis Report tool provides all inbound links from Majestic.

4 Ways to Use This Data

The Link Analysis Report is a fast and easy way to see some of your inbound links and the backlinks of your competitors.

Use the information provided by this report to:

1. Get a snapshot of your backlink profile. Backlinks have the power to improve or harm your website’s ability to rank. According to search engines, some are healthy, some are unnatural, and others are downright spammy. So before you can even evaluate the quality of your backlinks you have to know what they are. If you’re searching for a free tool to give you a start when locating your inbound links, the Link Analysis Report does the job. This free SEO tool gathers a page’s backlinks and gives you a taste of a page’s backlink profile.

2. Catch bad links that can harm your site. Identifying your backlinks with the Link Analysis Report is going to give you a raw list of links that you can analyze from there. You want to find unnatural or spammy links before Google does. A proactive approach, backlink analysis is the first step in the process of monitoring your website’s link profile. With a list of your backlinks in front of you, you can review and analyze each link and get rid of the ones you feel are harming your site.

3. Discover your competition’s backlinks: Do you have a competitor with high-ranking pages? By running a competitor’s top ranking web page through the Link Analysis Report, you can find any authority links that might be responsible for assisting their rankings.

This information can help you:

  •  Get a better understanding of a healthy link profile. You might know the basic qualities of a good backlink, but it’s not always  easy to sift the authority websites from the low-quality sites. How do you know if a website is truly an expert in your field? One way to find out is to research your competition’s backlinks. Even if the specific websites don’t apply to your business, at least you can get a clear picture of what a healthy link relationship looks like and which types of backlinks are honored by the search engines.
  • Create healthy link relationships. Who do you want to associate with? Once you have a better grasp of what a healthy link relationship looks like, you can start working towards making higher quality relationships with other websites in your industry. It’s very likely that the same good links pointing to your competitors can also improve your backlink profile.

With a list in front of you, you can research each link to ensure it fits your field or topic. Then, you can focus your efforts on earning high-quality links through link earning or link building strategies, such as making sure your site has expert content and taking the time to link to known authorities from within your own website.

4. Further your link pruning efforts with the free DisavowFiles service. In your quest to hunt for and take down low-quality backlinks,  use the Link Analysis Report in concert with the free DisavowFiles tool for a healthier, cleaner backlink profile.  DisavowFiles is a crowdsourced tool that lets you see whether others have also disavowed the links pointing to your site. DisavowFiles is a way to add a layer of validation to your backlink audit and inform the rest of the community of potentially shady linking sites. Read more about the free DisavowFiles service here.

Take Advantage of More Free SEO Tools

The free Link Analysis Report is a quick and simple way to discover backlinks for any URL. If you find it valuable, bookmark this page and take advantage of this free seo tool whenever you need it. As long as you enter one URL at a time, you can use this tool as often as you wish without paying a penny. This tool is also available in our SEO tutorial under Step 13: Link Building – How to Attract Quality Links.

The Links Analysis Report tool is just one of the 10 free SEO tools offered at Bruce Clay, Inc. To discover the other nine, stay tuned for the next Free SEO Tool Alert.

June 23rd 2015 SEO

Essential SEO Considerations For Any Website Migration

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Website Migration SEO Considerations

Sometimes implementing a website migration an essential part of doing business in a digital world. There are a variety of reasons why a company may choose to migrate from one site to another. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to remember that your website is your virtual calling card to prospective customers and sometimes a website migration is a necessary step in providing your customers the best possible user experience.

Like botched plastic surgery, a poorly executed website migration can bring a host of SEO problems, including making your site difficult to find in search engines, confusing to use or filled with errors that make the searchbots run away.

To ensure that your website migration goes smoothly and leads to improved business, follow these essential migration SEO recommendations:

Assess Visitor Behavior with Web Analytics

Assess Your Analytics

In order to improve the user experience of your website, it’s important to first understand how visitors use your website now. Your website analytics platform can be a treasure trove for insights into historic usage patterns that can be essential to identifying issues, opportunities and sticking points that can be improved with a strategic site redesign.

Make sure you’re putting all of that valuable data to use by reviewing:

  • Top-viewed website content – Make sure you aren’t cutting content your audience loves.
  • Least-viewed website content – Even the best sites have some junk, take this opportunity to drop it or improve it.
  • Click maps – Looking at where people are clicking (or trying to click) can help to design an intuitive and frustration free navigation interface.
  • Paths to conversion – Regardless of what your website goals are (i.e. build subscribers, generate leads), understanding the paths which your visitors are taking to key conversion points can help to optimize these paths to make it easier and more enticing for visitors to convert into customers.

Web analytics tools:

Website Migration 301 Redirect Mapping

Map Url Redirects

If your website has been around for any amount of time, there’s a good chance that you’ve built up search equity in the form of links and social shares. In addition to tight keyword optimization, these are the primary factors that help to increase the visibility of your content in search engines and since they are tied to the urls on your site, a migration in domain or url structure can snuff out the valuable search equity you’ve spent time and effort building.

To avoid starting from SEO square one with your new website, it’s important to strategically implement 301 redirects from your old page urls to the new ones, as this will effectively tell search engines where your new site pages are and that they are replacements for the old versions. In addition, it will ensure that people and bots who follow links to your old urls will end up in the right place rather than an error page.

In order to map redirects effectively, start by documenting for all your existing pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword
  • Organic search traffic (I recommend looking at a minimum 6 month time range)
  • Links to page
  • keyword rank

Also document for your planned new site pages:

  • URL
  • Page topic
  • Target keyword

Once you have these two lists compiled, the next step is to map each page on your current site to it’s planned new location on your soon-to-be launched site. Redirect mapping isn’t rocket science, but it does take some thought (when done correctly). Fortunately, the previous exercise should give you all the information you need.

Of primary concern is topic relevance, in particular for highly trafficked and linked-to pages. When planning redirects, always consider what the experience of a visitor would be if they ended up on the redirect page rather than the original. Would it serve their needs as well or better than the old page? Would it feel confusing? Ideally the new page should be such a seamless transition that people don’t even notice the switch.

Redirect mapping tools:


Consider Time of Year When Planning a Website Migration

Choose Ideal Timing

Even the best planned and executed website migrations come with some downtime and a temporary decrease in traffic (approx. 30%) and search rankings. It’s a price worth paying, as a new and improved website can drive significant improvements in business over an outdated and clunky site. However, it’s important to time the transition for when it’s likely to have the least amount of negative impact on your business.

The best time of year to implement a website migration is when business is likely to be the slowest. Companies vary in the degree of seasonality they experience, but most have a ‘slow season’. You probably already know when this is, but if not, take a look at your historic yearly web traffic or revenue patterns to determine when your slow season typically occurs.

As with time of year, it also makes sense to migrate your site on a slow day of the week during off hours. For many B2B focused websites, this is late on Friday or Saturday, but make sure to make the decision based on your own analytics, as every site and audience is different.


Post Website Migration

Post Migration

After making your new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate, but hold off on breaking out the champagne just yet. In the period of time shortly following a website migration, it’s critical to keep a sharp eye out for issues or opportunities as well as monitor website traffic patterns to make sure it’s heading in a positive direction.

QA Like Your Site Depended on It (Spoiler: It Does)

In addition to checking your 301 redirects, it’s important to give a visual inspection of each page on your new site. For efficiency, you can check both simultaneously.

Make sure that each of your redirected pages:

  • Goes to the correct new destination page
  • Gives the correct server response (301)
  • Loads quickly
  • Directs to a page that renders correctly


Upload XML Sitemap

XML Sitemap and Robots.txt

Like moving a brick and mortar business to a new location, it’s important to let people know where you’ve gone or else they may not be able to find you. On the internet, this is primarily accomplished via an xml sitemap, which tells search engines all about your new site and what it contains.

While you should have a properly formatted (and ideally auto-generated) xml sitemap on your site from day one, it isn’t enough to simply have it there, as search engines may not immediately find it without a little prompting. To avoid unnecessary delays, upload your xml sitemap to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Once uploaded, check back to make sure your sitemap isn’t resulting in errors from either Google or Bing and that the majority of your submitted pages have been indexed.


Monitor Web Analytics After a Website Migration


As mentioned earlier, a temporary decrease of approximately 30% in website search traffic and visibility can be expected in the period immediately following a migration, but it’s very important to monitor closely to make sure it is indeed temporary and that things are headed in the right direction.

Make sure to keep a close eye on:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Visit bounce rate
  • Conversion rates
  • Keyword rankings


Website Migration Crawl Test

Crawl Errors

Generally, crawl errors like broken links, 404 not found pages or duplicate content will be at their lowest levels on a brand new site, but it’s still important to check and fix any errors, especially as this can be an indicator of a mistake during the migration.

There are many good automated crawl tools available, but make sure you use one that can find:

  • Broken links and 400 error pages
  • 500 error pages
  • Duplicate content
  • Inaccessible content


A website migration may seem like a lot of work, and it most certainly is (when done correctly). But the potential payoffs in improved experience for your site visitors and increased business for you are more than worth the investment.

While none of this is exactly rocket science, it is important to get it right, as the risks of a poorly executed migration can be significant. If you don’t feel that you have the resources or knowledge to correctly implement your website migration, I strongly recommend enlisting the help of a skilled digital marketing agency or expert to help.

What are your best tips for a successful website migration?

Images from ShutterStock: First, Second, Third, Fourth

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June 18th 2015 Online Marketing, SEO

What is the Most Effective SEO Tactic?

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What is the Most Effective SEO Tactic? If you’re trying to gain visibility for your website, you’ve no doubt wondered about the answer to that question at some point. Well, it just happens to be the very thing that Google keeps telling you. It’s about the content. Google has long been pushing webmasters to shoot for high quality content, especially …

The post What is the Most Effective SEO Tactic? appeared first on WebProNews.

June 18th 2015 Search, SEO

In-House SEO or SEO Agency: Which is Right for Your Business?

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In-House SEO or SEO Agency: Which is Right for Your Business? was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Devising or revising an SEO strategy for your business and wondering whether or not to go with an in-house SEO or an SEO agency? It’s a common – and good – question to be asking. The answer depends on your budget and your goals.

Each option comes with its own benefits – and in a perfect world you would likely have both. Here’s Bruce Clay’s take on the issue: “It’s crucial to stay current with the latest SEO methodology – that’s very time-consuming, though. It requires several hours a day that a solo in-house SEO probably doesn’t have. A consultant can be a powerful ally, filling in the gaps by mentoring and guiding an in-house SEO.”

If it’s a matter of one or the other, however, it’s important to align the benefits of each and determine which is a better fit for your needs. Read on to find out more about the benefits of each option, with food for thought from our SEO Manager, Robert Ramirez.

SEO in-house or agency

SEO Agency Advantages

An SEO agency is basically a think tank of highly experienced, savvy analysts. Their experience and talent, coupled with carte blanche access to premiere tools and extensive data, is an invaluable resource for any business. And there’s no surprising a strong SEO agency — they are, after all, consumed with every aspect of SEO day-in and day-out.

“An SEO agency is entrenched in the industry,” said Ramirez. “They’re on top of all algorithm changes as they happen. Part of an agency’s job is to know everything about search engine optimization as it happens. Bruce Clay, for example, spends two to three hours a day reading.”

SEO agencies usually produce faster results because they have more experience. They’ve worked with hundreds (or thousands!) of clients in many industries. Search engine optimization agencies have a bird’s eye view of search.

“There’s less guesswork because — whatever the problem is — they’ve probably encountered it before,” Ramirez said.

Moreover, because SEO agencies work with multiple clients, they avoid the tunnel vision that an in-house SEO can be vulnerable to.

“Sometimes it can be hard for an in-house SEO to see a site’s issues because they’re looking at it too much. An SEO agency can offer a fresh perspective,” said Ramirez.

As far as cost is concerned, sometimes the hourly rate that an SEO agency charges can seem high. But with an SEO agency, you avoid the higher cost of maintaining an in-house SEO as an employee. An in-house SEO costs more than just salary alone — along with the salary, you are responsible for equipment, tools, education, benefits, etc. With an agency, those costs are not part of the package — you pay for the SEO agency’s expertise and time.

In-House SEO Advantages

An in-house SEO is thoroughly devoted to a business and focused on your brand 100 percent of the time. This SEO pro will have a robust knowledge of your industry, as well as your business’ unique needs. He or she is a go-to expert on search engine optimization and your business. Furthermore, the in-house SEO will have the advantage of working on-site with other team members.

“An in-house SEO is able to build relationships with other teams. They might have a stronger influence on IT or marketing, etc., since they’re in the building and have a day-to-day relationship with them,” said Ramirez. “On the other hand, an agency typically has the ability to escalate things to the C-Suite when teams are unresponsive. If an in-house’s words are falling on deaf ears, the agency can be the outside voice that their company will listen to. The agency can be key in making the higher-ups fall in line.”

For businesses who are in the process of building brand identity, an in-house SEO can make a lot of sense. An SEO working in-house is up to his elbows in your business’ message and methodology.

“They live and breathe your brand, which naturally makes them better equipped to represent the company’s message in marketing,” Ramirez said.

Which Is Right for You?

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your budget and needs. Whether you choose to work with an SEO agency or work with an in-house SEO, make sure you do your homework and find an experienced, ethical and effective agency or individual. When interviewing a prospective analyst, we recommend asking these “25 SEO Interview Questions” pulled straight from Bruce Clay, Inc. interviews.

If you’re looking to vet an agency, remember that a strong digital marketing firm should have an impressive track record of successful projects, longevity in the industry, seasoned SEO consultants on staff that are recognized leaders, and a reputation that speaks for itself.

In your experience, what combination of in-house and consultant works for getting search marketing initiatives done? Share in the comments! And for more talk on in-house vs. agency, check out this recent discussion from #SEMRushChat.

June 17th 2015 SEO

The 2015 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

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Table of SEO Success FactorsEarlier this month, the team over at Search Engine Land updated their brilliant Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

Now in it’s 3rd edition, the table is a fantastic SEO resource and one of the few items on my Ubuntu desktop that gets regular eyeball attention. Content is divided between on-page and off-page factors and clearly color-coded to make it visually intuitive, with relevancy weight ranging from -3 to +3.

The new edition references new factors of SEO importance including vertical search, Direct Answers and HTTPS, with mobile friendliness and structured data acquiring a relevancy weight increase in line with recent Google updates.

The idea behind the table is to highlight tasks within the SEO process and to act as a visual reminder about what is most important and what areas to focus on for clients.

Danny Sullivan describes the goal and philosophy of the table:

“Our goal with the Periodic Table Of SEO is to help publishers focus on the fundamentals needed to achieve success with search engine optimization. This means it’s not about trying to list all 200 Google ranking factors or detail Google’s 10,000 sub-factors. It’s not about trying to advise if keywords you want to rank for should go at the beginning of an HTML title tag or the end. It’s not about whether or not Facebook Likes are counted for ranking boosts.

Instead, the table is designed to broadly guide those new to or experienced with SEO into general areas of importance. Title tags are generally important. Think about making sure they’re descriptive. Social sharing is often generally seen as good for SEO. Aim for social shares, without worrying about the specific network.”

While not exactly a cheat-sheet, my SEO students at Search Engine College tell me it is their favorite resource for assignment preparation, so that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The Table can be downloaded as a PDF in large or condensed format, or you can grab the code to embed the infographic directly into your web site.

June 12th 2015 SEO, Tools

Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix

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Search Social Content Marketing

Whether your role is in search, social media, marketing communications or PR, the importance of content marketing is unmistakable.

Brand content budgets and participation are up with the vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers now using content marketing. The industry is coming together on best practices and organizations are evolving their structures to include roles like Chief Content Officer and Brand Journalist.

While there is growing synergy between search, social media and content marketing, they don’t often function collaboratively in organizations. There are also some misconceptions about what content marketing really is.

This post will dig in to some of the realities of incorporating an integrated approach that leverages the best of search, social media and content marketing, while dispelling some of the myths that keep integrated efforts apart.

Be the Best Answer

Optimized, socialized, publicized and influencer activated content is essential for reaching information hungry, multi-tasking audiences who are bombarded with new messages every day. In order for brands to be credible and prominent on the search and social web for their customers, they’ll need to understand the best of each discipline and how to put them together. SEO can deliver content-rich answers to buyers at the moment of need, and social media can provide the means to connect and engage. Both publicity and influencer relations provide credibility and reach. All rely on content to achieve success.

While many marketers will debate what comes first, content, social media or SEO, the most practical approach is to use the tactics necessary for your target audience in order to “be the best answer” wherever customers are looking.

SEO is the Condiment, Not the Sandwich

More than keywords and links, search engine optimization is an important part of the success equation when it comes to content marketing. While SEO has traditionally been able to drive online marketing performance on its own, search engine updates to address content quality and the more conversational nature of search behavior have combined with the growing popularity of social networks to change the SEO landscape forever.

Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich. But on it’s own, not very appetizing.

SEO for Content or Content for SEO?

Many SEO-turned content marketers are focused on creating more content or creating content as a means to attract links. This is a similar approach as when social media became popular in the SEO world. Social networks and media use was focused on attracting attention to further attract links, not to create relationships, engagement or inspire transactions and referrals.

A simple comparison tells the tale: Having 500 optimized blog posts on every derivative of a 50 phrase keyword list that no one wants to read is no more useful than attracting 50,000 drive-by visitors to your site for 10 seconds each from Reddit. Being held accountable to superficial performance metrics drives superficial tactics. Do you really want your marketing characterized as superficial?

Understanding the difference between mechanical tactics and meaningful outcomes is an important distinction when hiring content marketing professionals or a content marketing agency. It can mean the difference between a keyword hell of thin content, or a content portfolio that serves real customer interests and proudly represents what your brand stands for.

Optimize Your Opportunities

Search marketers are, by their nature, opportunists. Each time a major trend in online marketing emerges, from blogging to social media, SEOs have adapted and engineered their way to discover every possible workaround or tactic to create a marketing advantage. This opportunism has extended to content marketing as well.

Operating within the guidelines of quality marketing, such adaptability is a highly valuable perspective to take. However, when opportunism bleeds into manipulations outside the scope of search engine guidelines, the risks can turn out to be painful and sometimes disastrous to a business.

But here’s the thing: Google is a battleground for SEOs and those with real, on the ground experience that have been able to adapt successfully can become some of the most valuable marketers you will ever find.

Being both creative and analytical as well as lateral thinkers, marketers with an optimized state of mind are particularly adept at finding solutions to complex marketing problems. But those SEOs that are still stuck on content marketing as “more fuel for keywords” and social media as “link building” should probably be avoided.

Social vs. SEO Focused Content Marketing

There are any number of benefits for engaging a SEO focused agency for content marketing compared to a social media agency. They each play essential roles for content amplification at all stages of the buying cycle. Here are a few common characteristics of each:

SEO Focused Content Marketing

  • Tactical approach: more content equals more search presence
  • Topics derived from actual search demand
  • Keyword managed content plans tied to performance
  • Continuous cycle of performance improvement using search analytics
  • Organic amplification is “built-in” to content creation
  • Content promotion, link building and social promotion
  • Good SEO is good user experience
  • Technical optimization
  • Performance is focused on search KPIs and conversions

Social Media Focused Content Marketing

  • Topics focused on brand and messaging
  • Shorter form content: status updates, blog posts, image tiles
  • Topics managed by social content calendar
  • Social monitoring surfaces new, real-time content opportunities
  • Amplification is often organic but increasingly paid
  • Influencers engaged to co-create and promote through social
  • Performance is based on views and engagement
  • Conversion and ROI are more difficult to measure with confidence

What should companies look for with search and social media when considering content marketing resources?

Goals and accountability are essential for an optimized and socialized content marketing program to succeed. For an integrated approach, here are three of your most important considerations to ensure content performs for customers and your brand.

  1. Attract –  How will the particular content object attract exposure? Will your content perform as part of an ongoing narrative? Will it be a part of a sequence? Will it be connected to other content objects through links, repurposing or curation? Where content is promoted on social networks will matter for attraction as much as what phrases and questions are used for search engine optimization.
  1. Engage – How will the content object be meaningful to the reader such that they interact, react and respond to it?  What context needs to exist in order for the content to be so relevant that it inspires action? Social Media and Search both play a role in developing the context for engagement. When they interact with what they find, does the customer think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was looking for”, or something else?
  1. Convert – How will the optimized content object persuade the reader to take the next step? Each content object can play a role in guiding the reader from one stage to the next in a brand and customer relationship. From awareness to purchase to advocacy, conversions are happening at each stage whether it’s a social share, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, filling out an inquiry form or making a referral.

Within your content plan, think about how you can make these actions easy and intentional for the target customer.  An optimized content plan means being accountable to discovery, how it’s best consumed and what messages will inspire action.

Remember, content is the reason search began in the first place.  Take an optimized approach to incorporating search, social media, publicity and influencers with your content marketing programs. Make sure your content is accountable for attraction, engagement and conversion. With that focus on accountability, the investment you make in high quality, optimized and socialized content will pay returns over and over again.

If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out Optimize for a full plan on developing an integrated content marketing program.

Image: Shutterstock

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Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix |

The post Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How to Set Up Google Search Console – Free Search Engine Optimization & Webmaster Tools for Your Website

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How to Set Up Google Search Console – Free Search Engine Optimization & Webmaster Tools for Your Website was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

If you have a website, then you ought to know about Google Search Console. Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, this free software is like a dashboard of instruments that let you manage your site. Seriously, unless you prefer running your online business blindfolded, getting this set up should be any webmaster’s SEO priority. In this article, you learn step-by-step how to set up a Google Search Console account.

Google Search Console mascot

The Google Search Console mascot looks ready to help.
(Image from Google)

What Is Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the new name for Google Webmaster Tools, a name change that makes the tools sound less technical and more inclusive. Search Console is free software provided by Google that reveals information you can’t find anywhere else about your own website. For any search engine optimization project we undertake, we make sure Google Search Console is set up. Google’s tools work for apps, as well, so app developers also benefit from the data.

These webmaster tools tell you how the search engine sees your site, straight from the horse’s mouth. Here you can see site errors, check for broken pages, confirm site indexing, and more. Plus, this is where you pick up any messages sent directly from Google. Whether it’s a malware warning, a detected hack on your site, or a notice that you’ve been dealt a manual penalty — the search engine alerts you through Google Search Console.

In addition, these tools show you how people interact with your site in search results. It’s like a private keyhole letting you spy on your website’s behavior in the larger world of search. For example, you can see data such as:

  • What search terms your site shows up for in Google search (Yes, you can see keywords here!)
  • Your average site rankings in search results for those keywords
  • How many users are clicking on your site’s listing in Google results

Side note: You may have set up Google Analytics for your site already. While there’s some overlap between the two products, they work best hand-in-hand to give you a more complete picture of your website traffic. For monitoring your SEO efforts and maintaining your website, set up Google Search Console as your primary tool.

Start by Signing In to Google

Google wants to connect the dots between your website (or app) and you, so first you must log in to your Google account. You can sign in through Gmail, Google+, or anywhere you have a Google account.

If you don’t have a Google account, you must set one up. Go to and click Sign in. Then choose Create an account and complete the form. (Bonus: You now have access to Gmail and all other Google applications.)

Set Up Google Search Console

While signed in to your Google account, navigate to this page in any browser: Type in your website (the domain URL, such as or app (for example, android-app://com.eample/) and then click Add Property.

Note: If you already have at least one property set up, you will see that display instead of the URL entry shown below. To add another website or app, just click the Add a Property button and then enter the new site’s URL.

Add a Property in Google Search Console

Next, Google needs to confirm that this website or app belongs to you. To verify that you are the site owner, you have several choices. Click the “Alternate Methods” tab to view them all.

Verify site ownership

Method #1: Google Analytics

If you’ve set up Google Analytics for your website AND you have “administrator” permissions, you can verify your site ownership instantly. This is the preferred method of SEOs and webmasters alike because it’s usually the easiest one. Here’s what to do:

  1. Choose the “Google Analytics” option.
  2. Click the Verify button. That’s the whole procedure. You’re ready to use Google Search Console!

Verification options for Google Search Console

If you DO NOT have Google Analytics, there are three methods to verify your site ownership. Read on to decide which will be the easiest verification method for you.

Method #2: HTML tag

If you have access to edit your site’s HTML code, choose the “HTML tag” option.

Copy the text line that Google displays in the shaded box (beginning with <meta name=). Now open your home page in your preferred website editor and paste that text into the Head section (near the top) of your home page. This creates a new meta tag. Save your changes in the editor program.

Next, back in the Google Search Console setup page, click the Verify button. That’s it!

Site verification method 2

Method #3: Domain name provider

If you cannot use the first two methods, try the “Domain name provider” option.

From the drop-down list, choose the company where you registered your domain name. Then follow the instructions Google gives you, which vary. When you’re finished, click the Verify button.

Site verification method 3

Method #4: Google Tag Manager

The last option for verifying your website works for people who have a Google Tag Manager account (and the “manage” permission). If that’s you, choose the fourth radio button and click the Verify button.

Get Started Using Google Search Console

Once Google verifies your site or app ownership, you can log in and start using your newly set up Google Search Console. Keep in mind that data takes time to collect, so it may be a few days before your new account has data worth looking at. This is an excellent time to take care of a basic but important search engine optimization task: creating a sitemap that will help Google find and index your pages faster.

To access the tools, go to Sign in, then click the name of the website or app you set up in Google Search Console. Once inside, explore the left-hand menu to try out the many tools and reports. Here are some Google Help resources to help get you started:

  • Refine your personal and site settings – You can customize the way you set up your Google Search Console account. For instance, if your site operates in different countries, or if you have multiple domain versions, here’s where you define your preferred settings (find out more).
  • Set up app indexing and more – App developers can use Google Search Console to add deep linking to their apps (which allows app pages to show up in users’ mobile search results), link up their app with a website, handle any crawl errors and more (learn how).

Search Console menu

  • Master the Search Analytics report – Among the dozens of powerful features set up for Google Search Console, we have to highlight one. The Search Analytics report, which has replaced the old Search Queries from Google Webmaster Tools days, is a powerful tool in any comprehensive search engine optimization campaign. This is where you’ll find out which web pages rank for which search terms and much, much more. Open the tool by clicking Search Traffic > Search Analytics (for more guidance, read the help article).
June 11th 2015 SEO

5 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Local Rankings With Perfect Mentions

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This recent online marketing technique is the ultimate solution to almost 90% of local business owners who are seeking ways to brand their businesses in the local market and enhance local SEO results without violating any search engine protocols.

Simply put, local citations refer to online mentions of your business name alone or with your address and phone number on local directories, classifieds, blogs, email newsletters, or websites.

These mentions may or may not have any links. If performed strategically and diligently, local citations can add immense value to any business.

Why are local citations powerful?

Several reports and surveys show that local citations play a major role in determining the local SEO ranking of any online site, accounting for a 25% boost in the ranking of most websites.

Types of Local Citations

There are two types of local references – structured and unstructured. Structured local mentions are those that are added to business listing sites, such as local classifieds, review sites, and yellow pages.

Unstructured local references are those which are added to blogs, websites, and government sites. Both structured and unstructured local citations play an essential role in improving your local business rankings in the search engines.

The more times your business gets mentioned, the higher it will rank. You can analyze the patterns with a local citation analysis tool to help you create powerful mentions for optimal results.

1. Know the difference between links and citations

One common mistakes most business owners do is confuse local citations with links. These two are different – citations are basically intended for branding, while links are for conversions.

Citations do not have to carry any link, although links may be added to them, and they are used primarily for increasing online prominence. On the other hand, links are particularly intended for cross-linking other websites with yours.

If you want to fully understand the basics of internet marketing, you can sign up for SEO Training.


2. Make sure all information are correct and use a consistent format

It is important that your SEO citations contain accurate information about your company and that they appear in the same format in all the different business listing sites.

Seeing consistency on your local citations in popular sites will give your target audience an impression of professionalism and committed approach.

3. Avoid duplicate listings

Focus on building identical citations for your business across different listing sites. Remove any duplicate listings of your business on other sites. Having more than one citation showing different addresses, phone numbers, or names can cause uncertainty and affect the credibility of your business.

Perform regular follow ups with the listing sites and update your listing with accurate information or delete duplicate listings to ensure better user experience.

4. Choose the right categories

The key to success for any business is in selecting relevant citations that will lead target customers searching for your products or services straight to your business.

When you incorrectly tag your services or products under the wrong categories, your rankings get hurt. Instead of being visible to people who are searching for your products or services, your target audience only sees your competition.

5. Integrate key information

Incorporate key information such as images, videos, and special offers, to add interest and motivate potential customers to your business. Adding these to your listing brings in more value to your business and creates trust among your target customers.

The post 5 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Local Rankings With Perfect Mentions appeared first on SEO Chat.

June 7th 2015 Online Marketing, SEO