Arizona Search Engine Optimization | SEO Blog


take it to a whole notha level

Top 10 Blogs on the Internet

date Date: Jun 29th, 2009

With literally millions of blogs floating around in cyberspace, it’s difficult to sort out the winners from the losers.  Sure, we could have posted a top 10 by category, or a top 100, probably even a top 1000, but in the interest of time we decided to keep this post simple.  If you aren’t interested in reading about what one of the millions of personal blog bloggers around the world made for lunch, but instead are looking for some fantastic sources of information on a variety of topics, start with our list of Top 10 blogs on the Internet:

1. TechCrunch

TechCrunch has established itself as THE place for news related to all things even remotely tied to technology. Hailed as one of the top Websites on the Web, TechCrunch’s frequent daily posts and fast-breaking updates make it among the best of the best. In fact, nearly 2 million online users subscribe to its feed.

2. TMZ

If it’s coming out of Hollywood – and sometimes even if it’s not – it’s on TMZ’s blog. This celebrity gossip blog often highlights “exclusive” and “breaking” news centered on Hollywood stars, athletes, music moguls, and other entertainment-related news.

3. Google Blog

The world’s most comprehensive Internet company also happens to sponsor one of the world’s most comprehensive blogs. Though most content on the official Google Blog focuses on what’s happening at Google, it also serves to help readers keep a finger on the pulse of online trends.

4. Gizmodo

Interesting in keeping up on the newest tech toys on the market? Check out Gizmodo, the self-proclaimed “gadget guide.”

5. Mashable

What Gizmodo brings to gadgets and products, Mashable brings to social networking. As one of the largest blogs on the Internet, Mashable’s specialty is in Web 2.0 sites & trends. In addition to covering some of the most popular social networking sites, Mashable also offers insights into smaller, less known sites.

6. I Can Has Cheezburger

No other blog in the world has spawned its own language. The main focus of ICHC is on the wonderful – and hilarious – world of cats … specifically, LOLCats, which offer a feline-slanted view on the world in a unique language known as LOLSpeak.

7. PostSecret

With an interactive approach to blogging, PostSecret depends on content provided by its readers in the form of anonymous postcards sent with creative secrets expressed. The photo blog has spawned books, calendars and one of the most loyal followings on the web.

8. Gawker

Gawker provides a glimpse of life in fabulous New York, and is one of the most active blogs on our list. In fact, it’s not unusual to see 60 or most posts a day on Gawker, which focuses on celebrity sightings and other famous happenings in the city that never sleeps.

9. Lifehacker

Those of us who live busy, chaotic lives – and honestly, who doesn’t fall into that category – have much to learn at Lifehacker. This interesting, informative blog offers insights into “life hacks,” or shortcuts & tips that aid in everyday life.

10. Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is a liberal-leaning blog that has grown dramatically in its four years of operation. In fact, the Huffington Post is largely heralded as the largest, most successful news outlet that is published exclusively online.

Congrats to all those making the list.  We realize there are millions of other blogs out there that are worth mentioning in nearly every category on the web, from sports, to finances, to family, to blog backup, to services, and many other categories.  Maybe we’ll expand to categories in the future.  For the time being, please share by posting your top blogs in the comments.

5 Tips to Improve Your Blogspot Blog

date Date: Jan 9th, 2009

If you have a blog that is hosted by Blogger (AKA Blogspot) than this post should be just what you are looking for.  Blogger offers a number of great features that makes managing a blog perfect for the average Joe that simply wants to post about their hobbies, career, family, sports, etc.  And you will also find tons of small business hosting there as well.  If you want to up the stakes a little bit more than use these 5 tips/features of Blogger to be more effective.

  1. Remove the default Blogger NavBar from the top of your blog. It’s simple to remove it, just go to Edit HTML section of your blog and find : ]]> And add following code before hitting the above line:#navbar-iframe { height:0px; display:none; visibility:hidden; }
  2. Show the recent posts and/or comments in your Blogger Sidebar so people can find their way around easily.
  3. With a host blog like Blogger, there are features you can activate.  Activate the Popular and Most Commented gadget in the sidebar.
  4. Add a favicon to your blog.  Simple Google “how to make a favicon” and you’ll find multiple websites with tutorial and tools to help you do it.
  5. Make sure to run a blog backup to save your book blog.

Hopefully applying these simple steps will really help any of you that are new to blogging really crank it up a notch on your blog with some great features and saving tips to keep you blogging long into the future.

Always Think of These 5 Things When Building Your Site

date Date: Sep 10th, 2008

SEO Tips

So often, when meeting with online marketing clients, I have to explain to them why their results are suffering because of how their website is not friendly to search. This is almost always the case when meeting with a new prospective client and part of the work that has to be done is the updating of their website to be more search engine friendly. It’s amazing to me how many designers/developers have no clue about search friendly tactics and how many of them don’t think it’s important to the process. They prefer to focus on the “artistic” elements of the site…which is great if you don’t want to make and money. The reality is that you can have the best looking most functional site on the web, but if you don’t get results in the SERPs then you’ll be paying for traffic the rest of your website’s life.

Therefore, in my effort to make it simple I have included below what I consider the top 5 most important elements of your onsite SEO efforts. Hopefully you designer/developers or your bosses will follow these suggestions and my efforts won’t go un-fruitful.

1. Make sure you have all proper and required 301 redirects done pointing to http://www.yourdomain.com. You don’t want and SERPs algorithms confused by your duplicate content. Make sure to get these straight the first time around so your indexing doesn’t get messy from the start.

2. Make sure each and every page on your website has a title and target your focus keywords in that page title. If you are targeting the words money management, household budget software, and something else then put those words in a page title and make that page relevant to those words.

3. Make sure each and every page has meta data on it including a description and keywords. Sure these are not too important anymore, but not filling them out will only hurt you. Description should be about 25 words or less and include your target keywords only on your meta keywords section.

4. Make sure you have at least 400 words on a search engine friendly page. If you plan on getting ranked highly you need to have content. Fill your pages below the fold so there is content for the SERPs to read.

5. Make an html sitemap and an xml sitemap that lists all the major pages on your website. If you are targeting a word like personal financial software then create a section in your html sitemap linking to a page about that topic and name the link that topic. Once your xml sitemap is a go then submit it to Google ASAP.

I hope these 5 simple tips go a long way to helping any and all of you improve your search results. Best of luck.

Tips For Marketing on Facebook And Stumble Upon

date Date: Aug 7th, 2008

Recently I did a white paper for a company, and I wanted to share it here because I thought it was good enough to do so. If you are new to marketing with social media sites then this will be perfect for you. If you are an old pro .. its a good read, but you already know all this (or should).

How To Take Advantage of Less Known Marketing Opportunities On Facebook And Stumble Upon

You always hear people talking about the importance of using social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, Digg and Stumble Upon (just to name a few) because there are literally thousands of social fronts to become a part of use for marketing purposes. I would suggest sticking with the ones that are fairly bigger and more well known until you really understand how social communities work.

I often get asked about how to really market on Facebook because it is so centered around college kids, and just does not have the normal feel of other social media websites. Also, Stumble Upon seems to be difficult for some to grasp (when it comes to marketing opportunities) My suggestion is simple and has two parts.

1. You need to do a better job with your Facebook profile page and letting people know who you are, what online communities you are a part of, and what websites are yours. For example, Facebook gives you opportunities to include what are called “mini feeds” that will automatically update your RSS feeds that you want to include. This gives you an amazing opportunity to get your blog posts, products, content and whatever else in front of all the Facebook users (and friends you have made) that come across your profile.

2. Target the right demographics by taking advantage of the advertising programs Facebook and Stumble Upon offers. Many do not realize the amazing advertising program right in front of you on these sites. If you click on http://www.facebook.com/ads and http://www.stumbleupon.com/ads you will see the advertising programs, but what you may not know at this point is that they will allow you to target specific genders, ages and pretty much anything else you want to. Why is this a big deal? Think about this, if you are selling baby goods and products for infants, then you can target women ages 18 – 35 (or whatever you want it to be etc) but you get my point, you can target the specific people that are most suited for your products, or whatever you are offering on your site.

This is probably one of the best marketing avenues (or methods) that you could pursue if you are trying to market on these two sites. They are pretty cheap too, because both advertising programs start at 5 cents a click. Talk about some amazing cheap traffic that is about as targeted as you can get. Tracking the progress with some kind of a web analytics program is a must too, so you can know what the ads, and money are doing for you.

I would also suggest that you make sure to build up your profiles on each of these sites including adding friends, voting for the stuff they like and take advantage of all the features these sites have to offer. You will be more successful with your social media marketing on Facebook and Stumble Upon by using these marketing methods mentioned above.

Stumble Upon Lots Of Local Traffic That Is Targeted To Your Customers

date Date: Jun 12th, 2008

Just wanted to let all those local Arizona Internet marketers know about a less known program from a well known website – StumbleUpon – one that could bring an incredible amount of local, targeted traffic to your website. You can also base the traffic you get on gender, age and other demographics.

I am talking about StumbleUpon Ads, and for as little as 5 cents a click you can drive thousands of targeted local visitors to any page of your website. I really like using this service because it lets me pick and choose who I send to what site. If I have a product I think will do better with college age females living in Tempe, then that is the demographics I set. If I am looking to target older men from the age of 50 – 70 living in Scottsdale with a specific product, then I can do that too!

I love using these ads for increasing the number of subscribers to a blog, and letting them know I am out there blogging now, and that my blog exists! The main suggestion I would give is to make sure you pick the right tags (topics or keywords) to pay for traffic from. If you get in the wrong category or tags, then your campaign will be denied, and you may end up getting your ads showing up on others that are not the best place. Just be picky and look through and make sure you find the best possible places to market to. Plus, you do not want to be making users of StumbleUpon mad, and having them leave a bunch of negative feedback about your site. If you are marketing to the right people, they will never be mad at you!

I have mainly used this service for increasing the blog subscribers, and getting the word out about my content, but it can be used to promote pretty much anything you got. I always recommend it for those wanting to drive local traffic because you can make it so targeted with their tools. I fully recommend giving the StumbleUpon Ads a try, you will not be let down!

Local Reputation Management

date Date: Jun 11th, 2008

With more people looking to Google to do company/background/business research, rather then looking up the info in traditional routes (like resumes for personal example), it is becoming so important to make sure that your online reputation is clean.

What does that mean exactly to have a clean online reputation? If you go to Google and type in Coca Cola, Wal Mart, or Allstate Insurance for example you will see negative results that come back for these kind of searches. My guess (even though these companies are big) they do not like the negative search results.

How can negative results effect a local business? Lets say you own a local restaurant, and your competitors are not happy about how much business you are getting. What is preventing them from going and writing nasty reviews about your food? That is the kind of content that can destroy your business. You want to make sure that you control the results that come back.

There is so much user generated content these days online (review sites, local search sites like Yelp for example), and places you can go to write and submit stuff that would bring back positive results. Just do a Google search for your favorite eating establishment and you can get a good idea what I am talking about. This also gives you a pretty good list of places you can go and start writing good reviews.

Even though you are a smaller local business, your customers are starting to look you up online and do their research. If you make sure you are doing everything you can to control the results that come up when people type your name or local business in the search engines it will be much better long term for your business.

Make sure to use all the local directories like Google Local, Yahoo Local and any other major search engine local directory (just do a search for “local directory” on Google and you will have a good place to start). Most of these are free to join, and can become positive results for your business. Also, each of them give you the opportunity to write reviews and if you are the first to leave good reviews, and have others leave reviews it will just bring in more business for you.

Taking a little bit of time to make sure your online reputation is in tact will really do wonders (even if you are just a local business). Make it happen!

The Title Tag Is Not Dead!

date Date: Jun 5th, 2008

I am amazed when I hear (so called) SEO-types trying to say that the title tag will not help with search engine rankings and that its all a waste of time. Granted, it may not be as important as it were in say, 1997, but it still an play a huge part in your over all SEO campaigns, and letting Google (or any search engine) what they point of any specific page is.

I still feel if used properly the meta-descriptions on each pages can help too, but if you are using them in-correctly, they will hurt your rankings on Google. The same is true with the meta-keyword section, in that if you are using it properly, it really does not help, but if you are abusing it, and trying to game other search engines, it will hurt you on Google.

The point here is to use them for what they were originally intended for, and that is to let the search engine know what each page is about. If you have the same default meta info for all the pages you could run into some duplicate content issues, and that is never good when it comes to ranking on Google.

My advice:

Use strong titles on each page that are different, and focus on the keyword that best suits that page as well as some variations of that keyword. In your meta-descriptions and keywords make sure you only describe the page you are on, and only use the keywords for the meta keywords section that are in the content of that specific page.

Yes, this seems simple, but you would be amazed to find out how many people still to this day (huge companies) are doing it wrong, and have no clue how to do it correctly.

4 Keyword Research Questions Answered

date Date: Jun 3rd, 2008

I got asked these 4 keyword research related questions by Moller Marketing today, and my answers will show up on that website in audio format, so I decided to address them here, and give you the contextual version with the answers.

  1. Why is keyword research so important when it comes to online marketing? – It helps separate you from your competition, as well as helping you learn what your competitors are doing online. Really understanding what your market is, and who you need to be going after with your products really will determine the success of your website no matter how amazing your products are. Most people who own Internet businesses online (from my experience) do not take the proper time, nor how to figure out the keywords that can really determine success. If their site is selling gift baskets, then they are base their whole strategy on the keyword “gift baskets” and really do not try to find a niche, and target the exact audience and what sets their business apart. Keywords can help you figure that out, by determining what people are searching for, how they are searching for it, who is searching for it (men, women, old, young?) all are things you need to factor into your keyword research.
  2. How do you determine which keywords are quality? One of the main things you can do is research your competition, and see which keywords they are going after and find the common grounds. If you can figure out what is working for your competitors, then you can find variations of those words (as well as those words them self) and really only spend time on keywords that will not waste time. I find that the targeted keywords do better then the general ones; for example: If you have a site selling jewelry, all of your budget should not be going into getting ranked for the term “jewelry”, but rather the specific types you have like “heart shaped diamond necklace”. The latter will give you more targeted traffic, that will convert better, and any time I can find a keyword that converts better – that makes it a quality keyword.
  3. How do you use keyword research effectively in your online marketing campaign? I would have no marketing campaigns if keyword research was not a part of it. I find keyword research tools like the one Aaron Wall offers on SEO Book a great one as well as the keyword research tool offered by Keyword Discovery. These tools help you figure out some of the best keywords you can use (and gives you great ideas). Of course the Google Keyword research tool is great and you can never go wrong by getting the paid version of the WordTracker keyword research tool.
  4. Why is keyword research an ongoing process? If you think you only have to do keyword research once, then you are very mistaken. You never stop figuring out which keywords work well, and which ones don’t. You need to figure out the best converting keywords that are out there. In many cases I have found that my clients often give me the best ideas for keywords to go after because they told me exactly how they used Google to find me. They mention things like, I tried searching for “this keyword”, but nothing came up, and it gets me thinking how many other people are using that keyword to find my exact product. It many not be a huge main stream keyword, but if it can make me money and its easy to get a ranking for, then I am going for it. Every time I have asked my clients how they found me, and told me something similar to this, I get ranked for the keyword and it makes me a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to continue finding better words to go after, even if you have spend a lot of time and money going after ones that you have rankings for that are not performing.

I appreciate Moller Marketing for taking the time to ask me these questions, and I go into a lot more detail on the audio version so I would recommend going and checking that version of the interview out!

Why You Need To Be Using Keywords In Your URLs

date Date: Jun 2nd, 2008

As I started working with a new client this week I noticed something they were doing (or in this case – not doing) on their website that was wrong, so I wanted to address it here and share this information with everyone.

Using keywords for your sub-page URLs is probably one of the easiest things you can do to improve your search engine rankings, and make your website more search engine friendly. Not using any kind of naming convention for your URLs will really hurt you. For example a “framed” website that makes all pages to appear to be under the main URL is a very bad thing and can limit the number of keywords you will be found for (if found at all).

There are many reasons why you need to use keywords in the URL and not have a “framed” site, besides the search engine friendliness of it. For ONE; you will avoid any kind of duplicate content issues, TWO; it will be much easier for search engines to know what specific keywords go with certain pages, and THREE; it will give your website the ability to rank for multiple keywords, rather then just a couple.

The main reason you need to be following this method with keywords in your URL is to eliminate confusion for your customers, and better navigation. Framed sites confuse people, and they get lost, and it could hurt your conversion rate and bottom line.

Even if you have to completely change the structure of your website, and are scared about the number of hours it will take – do it. It will help with your overall SEO progress.

  • Here is an example of a bad URL – http://www.domainname.com/page1.php
  • Here is a good example of a URL – http://www.rockymountainmattress.com/company/custom-mattress.php

You will notice on the second example how the page is called custom-mattress.php and the content on the page is all about custom mattresses. You will find everything improve with your search engine rankings if you can follow a structure outlined like the good example above with your website.

Arizona Search Engine Optimization Local Search Tips

date Date: May 29th, 2008

One of the questions I get asked the most by local businesses here in the valley of the sun is what good can their website do (which is obviously not doing them any good if they are asking) if they spend a little time implementing some local optimization?  (and even how thats done …)

My quick answer – A TON!

My LONG answer – Most local Arizona business owners don’t realize what an un-tapped market they have with huge opportunities to be making money by starting to focus on the local optimization, and making it easy for people to find them online.

I have found that most local Arizona business owners do not realize how many local people are searching on Google, Yahoo or MSN first to find the stuff they want (or information they are looking for), then calling those they find online (and nobody else).  I am sorry Mr. Phone book, but Google’s got ya beat, and especially now that mobile search is becoming easier, and more efficient with phones like AT&T’s iPhone.  It is so much easier to just whip out my phone to look for something, then having to haul a big bulky book in the vehicle.

So what can be done?

I would recommend creating pages on your website that are specific to local areas, for example if you are a Gilbert Web Design Firm, then making a page named (like the example) after the city you live in, and then optimizing the content to make the people that find you (in the local area) feel good that you are a local Gilbert resident and can address THEIR needs.

Register your business with all the local directories you can find:

These are just a few examples of the “big ones”, but you can find many local places to register your business, and for free.  You will be amazed how easy it is to rank your business for local search terms, and how much business you will get because of it!