Making your business blog interesting for both humans and spiders

We all know that blogging is important to increasing a business’s online profile however, for many business owners, what to put in the actual content can be difficult. A business blog is not like a personal blog, it is not the place to express yourself, it is a place to give your followers an insight into your niche or products. It is important to write your blog for human readers rather than for the search engine spiders so that the visitor is rewarded with interesting and well written articles. You can optimize these articles and integrate keywords and key phrases within the body of the text so that the spiders are interested in your blog as well. Usually, the point of a business blog is to draw traffic to the main site which will help to increase business. So, here is some advice on how to try and achieve this.

One of the biggest myths about blogging is that it’s simply a way to express yourself or communicate your thoughts to the world. While there are certainly many people who blog for this reason, in the business world, blogs serve a more strategic purpose and can be incredibly powerful tools for attracting visitors to your website.

Why is website visitor traffic important?

With more than 2.2 billion people online, the internet has truly revolutionized the way that companies do business. Gone are the days of flipping through the yellow pages. Now, when we need something – whether that something is a product or a service – we go online and search. In fact, Google has analyzed the vast amount of data from online searches to determine that the average consumer looks at 10 pieces of online information before they make a purchase and buyers get about 70% of the way through their research process before they are willing to have contact with a sales person.

As a business, your website is like your home base in the online world. It is the only place where you have complete control over how your brand is portrayed (in the marketing world, we call this “owned media”). With all those people out there searching for information online, your goal should be to get the ones who are searching for your products or services to find and visit your site.

Why is this so important? If your potential buyers are online looking for information, and your site provides that information or answers their questions, it greatly increases the chances that when they are ready to buy, they will buy from you.


Further information

Stop writing for the machine

Google & Bing agree: past SEO success guarantees you nothing today

Is there still a place for guest blogging?

Guest blogging has been a popular way of finding new and interesting content and when it has been well written, it is beneficial to everyone. However, guest blogging has become a target for the spammers with their poor quality content who just want to get links, often to equally poor quality sites. Google’s Matt Cutts has called time on guest blogging and is discouraging website owners from going down this route. All is not lost however, there are many high ranking sites in the search engines that accept very well written guest posts and it is highly unlikely that they will stop accepting submissions that are of such a high standard. This is the key, posts must be of a very high standard and if you do accept them, make sure you do some checks on the sites that will be linking to yours so that they are of  a similar quality to your own and that they are relevant to your niche. Here is some more information on this subject.

Relax, publications that use guest bloggers and contributors. Google’s not planning to penalize you under its new “guest blogging equals spam” warning put out yesterday. Rather, the company says, guest blogging is only bad if the main reason a post is run is to gain links meant to influence rankings in Google.

Yesterday, the head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts declared that “guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.” As a result, some worried that having guest posts meant they could look forward to a future of being penalized by Google.

Worries That All Guest Posts Are Bad

One especially notable example was award-winning science fiction author Charles Stross, who wrote on Hacker News:

I’m spending three weeks on the road in the next month, so I’ve got three hand-picked guest bloggers taking over the mike on my site, for the duration. Emphasis on hand-picked, i.e. invited because they’re interesting and I’m hoping my readers will enjoy what they’ve got to say.I get to take some time off, they get access to a new audience, and the audience get some new and thought-provoking material — because from my PoV it’s not about SEO, it’s all about the quality of the content. (Hint: I’m a novelist, one of the guests is a film-maker, the other two are other novelists. We all pretty much live or die by the quality of our writing.)

Guest Posts For More Than SEO Are OK

To deal with such concerns, Cutts updated the title of his post to add the bolded words:

The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEOHe also added more explanation to stress that not all guest blogging is bad:

I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.Click here to continue reading

Further information

Matt Cutts: ‘stick a fork in it, guest blogging is done’

Matt Cutts pronounces guest blogging dead, is it true?

How many of these common SEO mistakes are you making?

It is vital that you make sure your website is  properly optimized so that it can be found easily. There are some things that are absolutely essential such as making sure you have a site map, the search engine spiders crawl all over this and index it. Other common mistakes include having a faulty redirect, for instance if a smartphone is taken to a desktop page and then redirected to a mobile optimized page which has no relevance to the original search is a faulty redirect which will be very annoying for the person making the search. Another neglected area includes broken links or links to pages that no longer exist, these need to be removed, there is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have found what you are looking for, only to be given a 404 error. So, take a look at the list below and see how you can remove common errors from your site.

What are some common SEO Mistakes to avoid?

That is a great question and is probably the most common question that I get asked by friends, family and clients.  First off, search engine optimization isn’t brain surgery or quantum mechanics, it’s hundreds of little details that align to make a bigger picture.  Many people spend tons of time and money into building a beautiful website that is responsive and useful to visitors but then quit fine tuning the details.

Here are some common On-Page SEO Mistakes to avoid

1. Not Having Unique Title Tags

Your title tag is the title of the page that shows up in the search results pages as well at the top of your browser.  If your website has the same title for every single page, you’re missing out on some valuable SEO real estate.  The title tag should explain to the visitor what the page will be about.  And your title tag should have your keyword phrase in it.  (If your webpage was a filing cabinet, your title tag would be on the outside explaining what’s on the inside.)

2. Having Title Tags that are too long…

On the search engine results page, there is a limit to how long your title should be.  If you have ever seen how Google truncates or cuts off titles that are too long with a simple “…” Many people say to keep it below 70 characters but search engines use pixel width to determine when to cut off words.  If your title tag is too long, its useless since the visitor won’t even be able to see it.   Best practice is to try to keep your title tag to about 65 characters so it won’t get cut off.

3. Not Having Unique Meta Descriptions

Far too often I see clients websites that use the exact same meta description for every single page.  The meta description is not a ranking factor but rather a quick sentence or two about what information the visitor will find on a page.  You might look at it as a quick sales pitch to get visitors to click on your site.  The meta description should be written in readable form with your keywords as close to beginning as possible.


Further reading

10 common onsite SEO mistakes

Top 5 SEO mistakes according to Matt Cutts


How Google authorship can help your site gain authority

We all know how important it is to have the best possible content associated with our sites however, these days it is becoming just as important to have authorship. Google authorship is being seen as reinforcing your authority on a subject and it is becoming commonplace to see photo thumbnails of authors beside links when doing a search. Current thinking is that those links which have a photo of the author attached are more likely to be clicked than those without. As Google is trying to promote the best quality results for a search, they would like to tie in authors with articles/blogs so the more of these ‘good’ footprints that you can leave, the better and you will be ‘seen’ as being an authority on a particular subject. So, establishing and creating authorship that you can use to promote your business can only be a good thing. It is also becoming an important aid to SEO, so consider how setting up your Google authorship might help your business.

When it comes to Google authorship, it is critical that you go through the process and set up the authorship for as many authors as you have on your website. Ironically, it may not be as simple as you as you think to set up the authorship.

Determining what you have first

The first thing that you need to establish is how many authors you actually have. If you have more than one author (including you), does each one of your authors have an “About” pate on your website? If that is not the case, that needs to happen as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if you are the only author on your website, it will be very easy to set up your “About Me” page.

In the event of your website having several authors

If you have multiple authors on your website, you will have to arrange it so that each article (that is written by someone else), you will have to include a byline for that particular author. That byline should be hyperlinked. You can either add the name manually or you can link it within your website template. Both methods will work fine All that is important is that you put the name in. It is important to allow your readers to “get to know” the other authors so that they can build a relationship with those people if they wish to do so.

Mutual linking

Whichever way you choose to present the authors of the content on your website, it is critical that you link the name back to your website from your profile on Google+. You will do this by inserting a text link to either your blog’s homepage or your website in the section called “Contributor to” section of Google+. The reason that this is important is that it lets Google+ know that the person who owns the profile is the same person who is claiming attribution of the article. It is protection against plagiarism. Linking back and forth (or reciprocal linking) is a relatively painless part of the process but you still need to make sure to remember to do it. You must also remember to ask all of your other content contributors to give you a link to their profiles as well.

Make sure that it works

Once you have established the links, you should verify that they actually work. You can do that by using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. If you test it, you will be able to determine any issues that may have occurred while you were setting up the links. If you see that everything has been set up correctly and things seem to be functioning, there may still be cases when your web page will not appear in the search results that are connected to one of your authors’ names. When it comes to choosing your photograph and the photographs of your other authors, make sure to choose a good-quality headshot. A passport photograph is perfect, if you want to use that. Remember that it may take a little while (several weeks in some cases) before the information about your authorship shows up. Don’t worry. It will show up. You just need to have a little patience.


Further information

Does Google authorship matter for SEO?

How to leverage author rank and reputational scores to increase Google rankings