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Local Search Rocks!

Local Search Rocks!

If your business or organization or company has a business that targets customers or clients in specific geographic areas, then local search rocks!  Why do I think local search rocks?  Because it is one of the quickest ways to enhance your presence online, and you can “lead” your SEO effort by getting listings showing your company’s website near the top of the search engine result pages (SERPS) long before your website ever makes it to the top of the heap.

So what is local search?  Local search is getting your website listed with various business directories and mapping sites that specialize in providing local results to people searching for companies that provide various goods and services.  Of course, the most notorious (and important) local search tool is Google My Business.  Google My Business is a free service that allows you to create an online listing for your company, complete with a link to your website.  When you perform a geographic search (i.e., a search that includes a geographic specifier such as “Akron, Ohio”), the local search results show up toward the top to middle of the SERPS along with a map of your business location, hours of operation (if desired), acceptable forms of payment, services offered, etc.

Of course, there’s more to local search than simply slapping together a listing.  You need to really think about what you want your company to be found for.  This may involve analyzing traffic to your website to see which search terms are most commonly used to direct traffic to your site, and then to compare these search terms with the competition for similar search terms in Google My Business.  You may discover that you cannot be competitive (i.e., expect to be displayed) for your highest volume search term, but that there is real opportunity for your second or third highest volume term.  This is the term that you should probably go with.  Better to be seen for a lower ranked term than to not be found for a higher ranked one.  It’s all about trying to aggregate traffic, and local search is a great way to accomplish that.

Why Invest in SEO?

Why Invest in SEO?

Why invest in SEO? This is a question that I encounter quite frequently as I am discussing search engine optimization with business owners.  Unfortunately, many business owners have tried unsuccessfully in the past to engage in some type of “so-called” search engine optimization campaign.  Maybe it was sold by their phone company or a clueless kid who managed their website or–even worse–an unscrupoulous provider whose interest was a quick financial score and not the longterm success and viability of the client’s business.  We see it all the time.  A business owner has been scorned by SEO, and they are loathe to “return” for another helping.  And this is completely understandable.  Probably even prudent.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very time intensive and labor intensive endeavor.  Anyone who promises quick fixes is likely not on the level, and they should be avoided at all costs.  But when used properly, SEO can be an outstanding resource in your marketing toolbox.  We have who have benefited to the tune of millions of dollars from our SEO efforts on their behalf.  Perhaps the greatest thing about search engine optimization is that, unlike pay per click (PPC) advertising, SEO is the gift that keeps on giving long after the campaigns have ended.  Think of it like an annuity.  You invest in SEO today, and that investment compounds and continues to pay out benefits for years and years to come.

The search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated.  Their algorithms are continuously tuned and honed to provide better search results for users.  It is becoming increasingly more difficult to “game” the system.  We don’t even try.  We use exclusively “White Hat” search engine optimization techniques on behalf of our clients.  Failure to play by the rules is a sure way to get banned from the search engine result pages (SERPS).  And that is exactly what you risk if you employ the services of some fly-by-night outfit promising overnight increases in your search engine rankings.

Triple Canopy Media has provided top search engine rankings for numerous clients.  In several cases, our work has quite literally transformed businesses from sales-starved organizations to the most widely recognized companies in their industries.  Contact us today at 1-234-200-6590 to learn more about how Triple Canopy Media can help your company or organization invest in SEO to achieve top search engine rankings.

Content is King

Content is King

When it comes to search engine optimization, content is king.  That’s why I am writing this blog post–I mean, other than to share my searing insights about SEO, SEM, web analytics, and PPC.  The team at Triple Canopy Media has drunk the content Koolaid, and we understand that, assuming a sound website architecture and conformance to other industry standards for website design, nothing can impact your site’s SEO more than an expert use of content.

Why is this?  Why is content on the web so important?

The answer is simple: Search engines are in the business of delivering high-quality search engine results.  If they falter in pursuit of this objective, they will lose market share.  When they lose market share, they lose the ability to attract advertising dollars.  Advertising revenue is the lifeblood of the search industry.  So search engines have an inherent interest in protecting the quality of their search results.  That is why they penalize tricks and reward sites that deliver good content–as measured by bounce rates, dwell time, bouce-back-to-SERP rates, etc.

The search engines don’t really “know” whether the content on your site is any good.  They rely upon proxy variables such as the ones cited above (e.g., bounce rates) to infer whether a searcher is finding what they are looking for.  If someone clicks on a search engine result that links to a page on your website, but then they immediately hit the back button in your browser before visiting another page on the site…well…Google infers that they didn’t find what they were looking for.  In our experience, achieving a very low bounce rate is a great way to enhance search rankings quickly.  One of the best ways to achieve this result is to provide good, relevant content on your website and to continue to do so until the cows come home (hint, they never come home).

 

Publish or Perish

There is a saying academia: publish or perish.  Upon being hired as a tenure track professor, the academic is expected (among other things) to conduct research and to publish their work.  Those who fail to meet the expectations of their colleagues, departments, or institutions are denied tenure.  Those who meet or exceed these expecations receive tenure.  It’s a simple mandate: public or perish.  This simple saying holds value for every company that relies on its website to facilitate its business objectives.

publishAs a small business that specializes in search marketing we hold firm to the belief that we should lead by example.  You won’t find Triple Canopy Media promoting its search engine optimization and web design and development services using anything but white hat strategies.  If our prescriptions are good enough for our SEO and web marketing clients, then they are good enough for us to put into practice ourselves.  That includes generating good, quality content as a means of providing value to stakeholders and to our “community.”

Go ahead.  Analyze our site.  Check our code.  You’ll find that it’s pretty tight.  Perform a couple of web searches related to our industry.  You’ll notice that we’ve got local search on lock-down, and we are continuing to increase our footprint by providing valuable content related to our business.  That’s right.  We are writing this blog because we fear the same for ourselves that we fear for every single one of our clients.  If we don’t publish, we very well may perish.  For any company that depends upon the web to deliver leads, customers, clients, or sales…falling off the front page of Google is the surest way to accomplish this feat.

So, as a hedge against this threat, we publish.  One way that we satisfy that mandate is to continuously update this blog.  We generate good, relevant content about search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, content management system development, and social media marketing. Triple Canopy Media may specialize in servicing clients in Northeast Ohio, Southwest Georgia, and the Coastal Alabama markets–but our reach is global.  When blogs and other websites pickup our content and repost it or simply link to it, it helps us to accomplish our objectives.

PR Media Releases – A Secret SEO Weapon When Used Correctly

I discovered the power of PR media releases for search engine optimization about 15 years ago while working on some client websites.  Not only can PR media releases–also called press releases–provide you with excellent backlinks to your website, but sometimes you’ll even have a story picked-up by local, national, or international media outlets.  Over the past ten years the team at Triple Canopy Media has written hundreds of PR media releases.  These releases have ranged in topic from the sinking of a ship in Cuba to illegal DNA testing by a major university to a client’s response to tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama.  But an online press release needn’t be so novel or even as newsworthy as these examples in order for your company to derive substantial value.

PR Media ReleasesNews outlets are what “economic maximizers.”  This is a polite way of saying, “lazy.”  In our 24-hour news cycle, the media are starved for content.  After all, content is king!  So they don’t much care if your release is particularly newsworthy.  They just need “something” to fill their many pages.  In fact, they subscribe to services that aggregate your self-submitted news and often simply regurgitate it on their websites.  Of course, it’s always a good idea to couch your company or organization in as positive a light as possible.  But don’t make the mistake of waiting for something to happen.  Here are a few tips for using public relations to enhance search engine optimization:

1. Get on a schedule.  Commit to doing regular online press releases.  Once per month may be sufficient, but if you have multiple brands or business units, you may think about a more frequent schedule.  This helps to ensure that procrastination doesn’t set-in.  Don’t let laziness derail your search engine optimization efforts.

2. Ask your colleagues for story ideas.  You needn’t be hypercreative.  There’s a lot of stuff going-on in your company or organization.  Ask them for story ideas.  You’ll be surprised what they come up with.

3. Use standard press release formatting.  Press releases that adhere to standard formatting are more likely to be picked-up by the media.  It’s pretty easy to do, so make sure to read up on writing press releases.

4. Keep it short.  Keep your press release to about 400-600 words.  This will help ensure that your story gets picked-up by the press or other websites and blogs.

5. Use links with anchor text.  I can’t express how important this is.  If you want to optimize your site for the search term “hot water heaters”, then make sure to include links from this anchor text back to the most relevant page about hot water heaters on your website.  Otherwise, you’re wasting a huge opportunity to capture value from your PR efforts.

6. Include images, movies, pdfs, and other rich media to the greatest extent permitted.  Attaching or embedding images, videos, and documents can help you to get the word out about products as well as to help you secure additional coverage.

7. Don’t make it too “sales-ee.”  Press releases that look like advertisements are less likely to get coverage.  So resist the urge to be an e-barker, and keep the tone as editorial as possible.

Well…that should give you a good start.  Of course, writing good, effective press releases can be daunting for the uninitiated or the otherwise disinclined.  Triple Canopy Media offers a variety of public relations services for your business or organization to help you to gain an edge over the competition.

Pronouns are Bad for SEO

Pronouns are bad…for SEO, that is.  In case it’s been awhile since your English Composition 101 course, I’ve included the definition of pronouns below:

pronoun

any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what.  Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the existence of special objective forms, as him for he or me  for I,  and by nonoccurrence with an article or adjective.

So why are pronouns so bad for SEO?  Everytime that you use a pronoun, you are substituting a very generic word for a more meaningful word.  Search engines are smart, but they simply cannot parse who “he” or “she” or “it” or “they” are.  Using a pronoun instead of the proper noun or the word to which the pronoun refers is a missed opportunity.  Of course, there are those times when you simply can’t avoid the use of a pronoun–such as when you are quoting material.   But most of the time you can edit your website or blog content to eliminate the use of most pronouns.

Eliminating the use of pronouns may be the easiest, most cost effective thing that you can do to enhance your website’s search engine optimization.  Don’t have the time to tweak the content on your website?  Let the content management team at Triple Canopy Media take care of it for you.  We’re expert content writers, and we’d be happy to help rein in your site content.

I’ve included a list of pronouns below as a reference.  Try your best to eliminate these pronouns from your website, and begin reaping the rewards for SEO.

pronouns

A through H
 Aall
another
any
anybody
anyone
anything
Bboth
E

each
each other
either
everybody
everyone
everything
F

few
H

he
her
hers
herself
him
himself
his

I through O
 II
it
its
itself
L

little
M

many
me
mine
more
most
much
my
myself

N

neither
no one
nobody
none
nothing
O

one
one another
other
others
our
ours
ourselves

S through Y
 Sseveral
she
some
somebody
someone
something
T

that
their
theirs
them
themselves
these
they
this
those
U

us

W

we
what
whatever
which
whichever
who
whoever
whom
whomever
whose

Y

you
your
yours
yourself
yourselves

SEO vs SEM

SEO vs SEM. Which is best? Which should you use? When? Why?

The search marketing industry has its fair share of acronymns and jargon that can serve as an obstacle to laypeople acquiring a better understanding of the search marketing strategies and tactics.  Among these acronyms are SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing).  So what is the difference between the two? When it comes to SEO vs SEM, which one should you invest in most heavily? Why?

Wikipedia does an excellent job of defining these terms, along with several other terms.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.[jargon] In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

The plural of the abbreviation SEO can refer to “search engine optimizers,” those who provide SEO service.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization (both on-page and off-page) as well as through advertising (paid placements, contextual advertising, and paid inclusions).[1] Depending on the context, SEM can be an umbrella term for various means of marketing a website including search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages, or it may contrast with pay per click (PPC), focusing on only paid components.[2]

seo-vs-semBoth Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization have their place in the search marketing industry.  Triple Canopy Media offers both services, but we offer search engine marketing (in the paid sense) predominantly as a complement or supplement to search engine optimization.  The goal for us is to displace the need for search engine marketing by obtaining top search engine rankings.  Of course, there will always be a place for targeted ads, content network ads, and other sorts of contextual advertising that can not be directly displaced by search engine optimization.

Pay per click (PPC) ads are like a spigot: once you stop paying for the ads, the ads stop being displayed and the traffic dries up.  Search engine results, though, are delivered without any payment.  Of course, you have to work to establish the rankings, and that may require the assistance of professionals like those working here at Triple Canopy Media.  But search engine optimization is nearly always more cost-effective than other forms of internet marketing over the long term.

You may be invested a bit too heavily on SEM (shorter-term strategy) rather than SEO (longer-term strategy.  When it comes to deciding on the appropriate investment of resources in SEO vs SEM let Triple Canopy Media provide your company or organization with a complimentary evaluation of your current strategy. Chances are, we can help you rebalance your “portfolio.”