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AdWords Campaign Management Tips for PPC Beginners

Google AdWords PPC Campaign Management

Managing a PPC campaign on Google AdWords can be a confusing undertaking, even for adept search marketers. Many businesses and advertisers balk at the PPC model because they think it's an ineffective waste of ad spend. 

The truth of the matter is, when a PPC campaign is well-constructed and properly-managed, the results can be quite substantial. It all comes down to understanding the basics of PPC campaign management.

Whether you operate a small business with a local target market, or an ecommerce store with national focus, the PPC campaign management tips mentioned below will help to ensure your PPC investment is profitable.

1. Ensure Your PPC Campaign Settings Are Correct

Upon creating your first PPC campaign in AdWords, you are presented with many settings options. A few of these options will make or break your campaign if not addressed.

  • Always select the option to run a "Search" only campaign (never combine Display & Search PPC advertising campaigns.)
  • Know your geographic parameters. If you're doing PPC campaign management for a local business, you'll want to set your ads to display only to searchers in your specified target locations.
  • Set your ads to rotate evenly. Although Google will display a warning sign, disregarding the warning. Even ad rotation is key to conduct ongoing testing of ad copy (which is critical for high volume keywords.)

2. Take Advantage of Ad Extensions to Make Your PPC Ads Pop

Ad Extensions are a feature in Google AdWords that easily enhance the presentation of your PPC ads. There are many Ad Extensions to choose from, and none of them require an extra fee to use.

 PPC Campaign Management Extensions

Go through the various Ad Extensions and pinpoint those that are most relevant to your business. Professional PPC campaign management services utilize 2-4 different Ad Extensions (e.g. "SiteLinks" can be used for any type of business, as well as "Call Extensions" and couple others.)

If you're managing a PPC campaign for a local business, then you'll definitely want to consider "Location Extensions." If you have a ton of Google+ followers, then you may want to include "Social Extensions." The combination of at least 2 Ad Extensions will significantly improve the click-through rates of your ads.

3. Create Extremely Tight & Focal Ad Groups

It's extremely important to develop each ad group around very focal keyword groupings. A good tip for PPC campaign management is to only include about 3-5 (or less) similar keywords in one ad group.

This is one of the biggest PPC campaign management mistakes advertisers make. Not only will tightly segmented ad groups enable you write more targeted ad copy per grouping, but keyword quality scores can increase and cost per click (CPC) can plummet. It might take a bit more work to develop 10 ad groups, as opposed to 4, but your overall PPC campaigns will have greater efficacy across the board.

4. Avoid Using Broad Match Keyword Bidding

The fact of the matter is, Google's definition of "broad" is extraordinarily broad. Bidding on the keyword phrase "red wagon" could make an ad trigger for "burgundy hatchback." That example might be extreme, but know that broad match keyword bidding is a good way to suck your budget dry on keywords you may not want to target.

Instead use more precise bidding strategies like "modified broad match" and "exact phrase match." For more tips on how to use these bidding strategies, checkout the section under "Keyword Bidding" on this PPC strategies article I wrote last year.

5. Never Stop Exploring, Nor Fine-Tuning

Once you think you have your PPC campaign on auto-pilot, think again. There's always ways to fine-tune your account. Whether by conducting negative keyword research, or exploring new keyword variations to add to your list of targets, the search landscape is constantly evolving.  PPC Campaign Management Tips

Features like "Product Extensions" (for ecommerce) and "Click to Call" (for local mobile) are becoming game-changers for various businesses. Continue refining your practice in PPC campaign management and you'll learn Google Ads in no time.

 

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group. Tyler is highly engaged in many facets of search marketing and social media. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net, follow him on Twitter, at YisooTraining.com, or encircle him on Google+.

5 Simple SEO Tips a Marketing Manager Can Handle

SEO is not rocket science, folks. In fact, 90% of the on-site SEO process can be handled by anyone with basic website and computer knowledge (e.g. a marketing manager.)

In this blog post, I will share with five simple SEO tips that you (or virtually anyone on your marketing team) can handle. seo-tips

Before you get to optimizing your website, there's one thing that you'll want to confirm. That is, are you able to edit the content of your website?

If you have a content management system (or "CMS") like Wordpress, then you're good to go. If not, you'll need to touch base with your webmaster (or whoever created your website) in order to implement these SEO techniques.

SEO Tip #1: Make Your Website Keyword Relevant

This SEO tip is about as simple as it gets. It's important to ensure that your website is relevant for the keywords that you're targeting. To do this, you must include your keywords in the right places throughout the website.

The primary content elements that you'll want to include your keywords are:

  • Page URL - With the exception of the homepage, each page of your website will have a URL (e.g. www.YourDomain.com/keywords.html). Put only the primary keywords you're targeting in the URL (and dismiss words like "in," "the" or "for.") Also, separate each keyword with a dash (-) and not an underscore (_).
  • Page Title - This HTML tag defines what your page is about. The page title also appears in the search results as the main headline of your webpage listing (or the blue, click-able link in Google). For this reason, you'll want to include your keyword targets, but also be creative to compel search users to click your listing. Only about 70 characters of the page title will appear in the search results, so try to be concise.
  • Meta Description - This is the supplement statement to a page's title. Although it's debated as to whether or not the Meta description has SEO value (with respect to keyword inclusion,) the words a searcher uses will appear in bold. So regardless of SEO value, your page's search listing will appear more relevant based on user interaction. And like the page title, be creative and compelling with your words (and keep Meta descriptions under 160 characters so all is visible in the search results.)
  • Page Copy - It's ideal to mention your keywords in the page copy a handful of times, but avoid jamming your keywords. In short, include your keywords in a header and a few times throughout the copy. Keep your readers in primary focus (and not so much your keywords.) Keyword density is overrated, and too high of a density can actually be a risk.

SEO Tip #2: Create a Sitemap (and Link it Site-wide)

From a technical search engine perspective, the sitemap is known as the second most important page of any website (next to the homepage.) And unfortunately, many webmasters fail to include a sitemap on their website. sitemap seo tips

Creating a sitemap is pretty easy. It's basically an index page that contains links to all of the pages of your website.

Of course if you're optimizing an ecommerce website, there maybe thousands of pages to account for. This is when creating segmented sitemaps is a logical solution.

Once you have built a complete sitemap, you'll want to include a link to your sitemap on all pages of your website. An ideal location for this link is in a site-wide footer, or somewhere in the primary navigation.

SEO Tip #3: Implement Internal Linking

Another good way to establish keyword relevancy is to implement internal links (or "cross-links" between pages of a website). Keyword relevancy is established via the anchor text of the links (which are ideally included in the page copy.)

It's important for SEO to build internal links logically. That is, cross-link pages that are somewhat related to one another. This will naturally enable you to write keyword relevant anchor text that makes proper sense (and promotes optimal SEO value.)

SEO Tip #4: Integrate "Calls-to-Action"

Getting traffic to your website is half the battle. The other half is converting website visitors into leads. This practice is known as conversion rate optimization (or "CRO") and it takes the value of SEO one step further. call to action seo tips

A call-to-action is a simple way of saying "click here and give us your information." CTA’s are best in the form of obvious buttons or graphics (sometimes accompanied by a short form for visitors to fill out.) The trick to is to incentive visitors with something valuable, such as free consultation, audit, or eBook.

You can still manage to integrate CTA’s without designing graphics. A bold phrase in your page copy that says "click here to learn more" can often work just fine. Take some time to formulate a CRO strategy. It's an optimal supplement to your SEO strategy and making the most of your web traffic.

SEO Tip #5: Build a Google+ Page

So this SEO tip is a little of both, on-site and off-site optimization. Building a Google+ page will help generate greater search engine credibility and authority in your website.

It's super easy to do and can have a momentous affect on your SEO efforts. To get started, check out this past blog post about how to set-up a Google+ page.

The Takeaway

Keep in mind that these five SEO tips center on on-site optimization. Nowadays, on-site SEO only accounts for maybe 20-30% of most search engine algorithms. The remaining 70-80% of a solid SEO strategy focuses on off-site SEO, which is far more complex.

Here at OIC Group, we can help you with both on-site and off-site SEO. Contact us or sign up for a free web consultation (in the top left of this page.) We will personally review your website and provide free insights as to how you can improve your overall web presence.

10 Rules of Thumb for SEO in 2013

The best practices of SEO are constantly changing every year. In fact, almost every month search marketers are faced with new advancements, algorithm updates, and techniques that shape their SEO strategies. SEO Rules of Thumb

In this short post, we summarize 10 rules of thumb that have seemed to remain consistent over the years with respect to SEO best practices. Each rule of thumb should be well ingrained in your SEO practice.

1. You Can't Out-Smart the Search Engines

There are no tricks to getting good results with SEO. Sure, in the past there have been some automated processes that have made SEO easier (automated blog/link building networks,) but the easy ways of SEO seem to become obsolete (if not complete risky to the website being optimized.)

2. Optimize Pages for Only 1 or 2 Keywords

It's not uncommon for some search marketers to try and optimize a page for 4 or 5 different keyword targets. Although the keywords might be related in some respect, this is not ideal. Either pick your top 1 or 2, or determine if it's logical to create a dedicated page for the outliers. You'll find it's much easier to write short and concise page titles and Meta descriptions when your on-page optimization efforts are more focal.

3. Build an HTML Sitemap

One of the most important aspect of a website that often gets overlooked is the HTML sitemap. This page, which acts as an index or reference source (particularly for search engine spiders,) is considered by many search marketers to be the second most important page of the website (next to the homepage.)

4. Link Logically

Whether your adding internal links throughout your website, or building backlinks from other sources, it's important to link logically. That is, build links that make sense from a user's perspective, not just for SEO value. The link anchor text you use is a major consideration. Instead of using exact keyword match anchor text, use descriptive text and other natural forms of anchor text. Especially for backlink building, it's critical to use a blend of anchor text so that your website's link portfolio appears as natural as possible.

5. Start Integrating Social Media

There's no question that social media is having a profound impact on SEO. Social signals (such as Google +1's and Facebook Likes) are becoming a stronger ranking factor every month. If you have a blog, social media is the place to share your content. This will help inbound traffic to your website, in addition to racking-up the social signals (and search engine authority) of your website. By the way, if you have yet to set-up a Google Plus page for you website or business, this should be a marketing priority.

6. Start Producing Content

With Google Authorship shaping the search results, content creators can earn an upper-leg in SEO. Google values strong content (especially content that's socially favored and marked-up with Authorship.) It keeps a website fresh with newness, and also helps make a website more keyword relevant. Whether weekly or monthly, starting a blog or articles section on your website can offer massive SEO advantages.

7. Keyword Optimize Consciously

The process of keyword optimizing a page is rather simple. In the old days, it was all about cramming the keyword for high density. That is now a risk that can result in your website being penalized. To successfully keyword optimize a page, consider the following rules of thumb.

  • URLs: include your primary keywords in the URL (and avoid including words like "the" or "an") - shorter URLs are preferred.
  • Meta Titles: include your primary keywords only once and keep the title under 70 characters.
  • Meta Descriptions: include your primary keywords once, but more importantly, write a compelling description that motivates users to click into your page.
  • Page Copy: try to use your primary keywords once in an H1 (header) and variations of your keywords in H2's and H3's. It also helps to mention the keyword a few times in the copy (but don't over-do it!)

8. Install Google Analytics

In order to properly track and measure visitor traffic and the level of interaction users have on your website, it's imperative that you install Google Analytics on all pages of your website. Analytics is a must for all web marketers and it can help you troubleshoot issues as well as find new opportunities for optimization.

9. Get Listed on Trusted Directories

Being listing on trusted directories only makes your site appear more trustworthy and credible. In addition, most directory listing that you create will offer a link back to your website, which can significantly help for SEO. A few of the most trusted directories are Yahoo! Local, Bing, Yelp, LinkedIn, and DMoz.

10. Verify Google Webmaster Tools

Similar to Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools enables search marketers to check-up on the health and overall performance of their websites. You won't gain the same level of insights as with Analytics, but you can find out if your website is being flagged for certain problems like: duplicate content, short Meta titles and descriptions, HTML code errors and warning, and other SEO-unfriendly ailments. You can also create and submit a XML sitemap on Google Webmaster Tools which tells Google your website is ready for fresh crawling and indexing.

There are your 10 SEO rules of thumb to keep top of mind with your optimization efforts. Do you have additional questions or concerns regarding SEO? Ask us in the comments section below, or contact us directly to learn more.

 

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is highly engaged in many facet's of search engine marketing. He currently heads the Peoria SEO team here at OIC Group, Inc. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or follow him on Twitter.

The Essentials of On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Sites

The competitive nature of ecommerce search marketing makes SEO a daunting endeavor for most online retailer. There's a lot that goes into optimizing an ecommerce site. But if you can handle the on-page SEO essentials in-house, you'll have a good jump on the competition before unleashing your off-page SEO strategy. ecommerce seo tips

To help you on your way to optimizing your ecommerce site, below are the essential practices of on-page SEO. The term "optimization" can mean a lot of things. But in this context, optimization is simple making use of keywords in the right places, respectively.

1. Make URLs SEO-Friendly

Depending on whether or not you use a CMS (content management system) for your ecommerce website, you may or may not have control over your page's URL structure. In essence, and like other forms of on-page SEO mentioned below, you'll want to include only the core keywords in your URLs (no need to include throw-away terms like "the" or "and.")

Your keywords for ecommerce SEO will most likely be the product name (brand/model,) type of product, and/or general category of products, depending on the URL or page. Having keywords in the URL helps to define the semantic relevancy of the page. A good tip is to keep your URLs as short as possible, and avoid lengthy URL names.

2. Keyword Optimize the Title Tag & Meta Description

The HTML title tag (or "Meta Title") is one of the most influential elements for on-page SEO and establishing keyword relevancy. It's recommended by most trusted SEO service providers that you keep the title under 60-70 characters. This will enable you to keep your pages tight and focal with respect to your keyword targets. That is, you'll only want to optimize pages for 1 or 2 closely related terms.

The Meta description is a short summary of the page that only is seen on the search engine results page, just below the title tag (or main link headline in Google.) While it's debated over whether or not the Meta description actually plays in a role in on-page SEO, the content will certainly be read if your page is ranking highly in the search results. For this reason, tailor a Meta description that is both incentivizing and keyword optimized.

3. Name Images and Alt Tags with Keywords in Mind

Images not only make your pages more appealing (and help with conversion optimization,) but images can also be optimized for ecommerce SEO. A sound tip in optimizing images for on-page SEO is name or labels your images with respect to your keyword targets. Furthermore, you can keyword optimize images' description and tags (found under the image properties) before uploading to your website.

And then there is the Alt tag for images (which stands of "alternative text.") This is text that should reflect what the image is about for users who do not have a compatible browser to actually show the image. Try to be ethical when keyword optimizing the Alt tag for SEO. That is, write an Alt tag that does indeed represent the image, but is also SEO-friendly in that it includes the page's keyword targets.

4. Tailor Unique and Compelling Page Copy

Whether for product descriptions or just general page copy for your homepage or product category pages, it's critical that the content of your ecommerce site is unique. Too often, ecommerce webmasters or site owners will use the same copy provided by product manufactures (this is particularly the case with individual product descriptions.) Instead, get creative and write unique, compelling content.

The fact of the matter is, when duplicate content gets crawled on numerous sites trying to sell the same thing, the ecommerce SEO value is significantly diminished. In short, Google will find less value in a page that has the same content on various other pages throughout the web.

Other Considerations for Ecommerce SEO

The above on-page SEO tips are essential to ensure your ecommerce site is well-optimized for search. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to off-page SEO (that focuses on link popularity, content marketing, and social engagement,) other considerations for ecommerce SEO include:

  • Making use of videos for product reviews and other ways to engage your target market
  • Building a complete HTML sitemap on your ecommerce site
  • Analyzing and optimizing the steps in your check-out process
  • Establishing an authoritative social following, emphasizing Google+ and Facebook as primary platforms for engagement

Ecommerce SEO can be a tough playing field. Be sure to build your foundation by implementing the tips above. For more information, tips, and resources, visit Click Centric SEO, OIC's ecommerce SEO and marketing branch.

Why Marketing Should Not Be An Afterthought for Small Businesses

Almost every small business owner is faced with the important question: "how much should we invest in marketing?"

While in some cases capital may be limited, a business's marketing budget should never hinge on what funds are left over after other expenses are taken care of.

Many new business owners and entrepreneurs make the mistake of waiting until their business is profitable before investing in marketing. Delaying this essential element is only counterintuitive and detrimental to a business.

The fact of the matter is, if your business is not generating sufficient revenue, how will it ever afford marketing?

Conversely, if your small business is failing to generate revenue, then a lack of marketing expenditure could be the reason why.

The Righteous Path to Small Business Success

Right from the start, it's critical that marketing is included in you company's business plan. This is particularly essential for start-ups.

Strategize and develop relevant, brand-supported materials that will bolster your business's marketing efforts. Such materials may include business cards and brochures, signage, and a website. All of this should be included in your business's financial projections and overall budget.

You should also determine exactly how your small business will establish a marketing budget.

Allocate a Marketing Budget for Your Small Business 

One common approach is to allocate a percentage of your projected annual revenue as a baseline. This percentage will vary depending on the type of business, size, geographic market, and industry conditions - in addition to whether your business in brand new or established.

In most cases, larger businesses will allocate a smaller percentage for marketing. For example, Walmart has an annual marketing budget of about $2 billion, which accounts for less than 1 percent of its gross revenue.

For small businesses that earn less than $5 million per year, between 8-10 percent of annual revenue should be invested in marketing. Launching a new businesses, expansion, or product may even call for more. In these situations, it's not uncommon to invest up to 20 percent in marketing.

In addition to creating a marketing budget, determining how to spend your business's marketing budget can be even more challenging. It is important to write a well-defined marketing plan that includes specific activities and initiatives. It's equally important to know how you plan to track these activities.

With time, you can refine your small business marketing plan and budget to maximize profitability and overall success.

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is an Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. He works with a number of small businesses in developing digital marketing campaigns.

Your Checklist When Scouting for Quality Website Optimization Services

If you're seeking website optimization services to help your site perform better, there's a number of considerations to keep top of mind.

In some cases, website optimization services can focus solely on usability and conversion rate optimization (CRO,) whereas in other situations, website optimization can include organic search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and other inbound marketing techniques.

Depending on your company's needs, you'll want to be a bit picky in the website optimization services you choose. There's a number of companies that offer more usability-based website optimization programs, and others that focus more on SEO and inbound marketing.

Below a simple checklist of considerations that you can use as questionnaire or resource when scouting for a proficient website optimization company:

  • Design and Aesthetics - In today's digital age, you need an attractive web design that symbolizes your brand. Only full-service website optimization companies offer design and creative services. These firms are typically a bit more expensive than more marketing-focused firms, but they offer a lot of efficiencies for large projects.
     
  • Development and Coding - The HTML structure or mark-up of the website can ultimate determine how search engine friendly the site will be. It's good to know how adept a provider is with web development when inquiring about website optimization. Strong developers can optimize the HTML code as it stands, whereas other providers support using a CMS. Just be sure that the CMS being used is SEO friendly.
     
  • Structure and Navigation - The organization of pages throughout the website (also known as the site "architecture" or "blueprints") showcases the navigation paths and overall structural layout of the site. Not only is the important for usability, but also for SEO and website optimization. In short, the structure of your website's navigation can influence on-page SEO and establishing greater keyword relevancy.
     
  • Copywriting - Writing great copy is both time consuming and sometimes costly. You'll want to know if your prospective website optimization company provides copywriting services. And if so, ask for examples of the copywriter's work. In some cases, it's best if you or someone of your company writes the page copy.
     
  • Social Media Marketing - Very few website optimization specialist provide ongoing social media marketing services. Firms that offer services in social media are ahead of the curve and know that social integration is paramount for future web marketing success.
     
  • SEO and Inbound Marketing - Some website optimization companies only provide on-site services designed to make your website perform faster and more efficiently for users. Some website optimization companies only focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO) and post-click activity. And then there's a few who only specialize in SEO and inbound marketing. Be sure to learn the core competencies of your prospects and ensure they align with your company's best interests.

Very seldom will you find a SEO and website optimization company that specializes in all of these facets. The definition of "website optimization" is too broadly interpreted for there to be a clear-cut definition and perspective.

I hope this checklist educates you on finding the ideal provider for website optimization services that will meet your company's objectives.

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience as a SEO expert. Beyond SEO, Tyler offers skills in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, copywriting, and social media engagement. You can learn more by connecting with Tyler on Google+, or following Tyler on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

5 AdWords Tips to Empower Your PPC Campaigns

PPC Campaign Management Without some degree of know-how, Google AdWords can be a confusing platform to operate. In short, there's a number of little intricacies, that without the proper understanding, can become big nuances.

In this article, I share with your five empowering tips that will help you overcome this common nuances.

Create Focal Ad Groups That Contain Only a Few Keywords

One of the most popular PPC mistakes is including too many keywords in one ad group. Trying to cover a laundry list of keywords in one ad group makes it challenging to write a highly targeted ad. In addition, your keyword quality scores may not reach their highest potential.

When developing or optimizing a PPC campaign, be mindful to ensure your ad groups contain only a handful of highly relevant keyword groupings (a max of 4-5 is ideal.) Not only does allow you to write targeted ad copy while helping to improve quality scores, but having highly focused ad groups enables you leverage better landing pages.

Split-Test the Verbiage of Your Ad Copy

A powerful way to continuously improve your ads' click-through rate (CTR) is to split-test the verbiage of your ad copy. The process is actually quite easy. Create 3-4 ads with slight variations of ad copy, and run all of the ads at the same time (be sure to select the option to "Rotate to show ads evenly" in the Settings tab of AdWords.).

Tracking your split-tests is very important to ensure that you're progressing and improving your ad copy. You'll want to take note of the CTR% of each ad, as well as the modifications you make to the verbiage and structure of the ad. Equally important is to avoid making too drastic of adjustments to the point when you lose track of the perfect wording that offered the highest CTR.

Take Full Advantage of Ad Extensions

The ad extensions feature of Google AdWords can enhance the appearance of an ad while expanding the coverage of its real estate. Ad extensions are also free to implement, so they're definitely worth taking full advantage of.

Before jumping into ad extensions in AdWords, it's important to understand what each extension does and how to set it up properly. There are five main ad extensions that you can leverage for you PPC campaigns. These include:

  • Sitelinks Extensions
  • Social Extensions
  • Location Extensions
  • Product Extensions
  • Call Extensions

To learn more about what each of these extensions do, and how to activate them, visit this page by Google AdWords support.

Leverage Geo-Targeted PPC Campaigns

Geo-targeting allows you create PPC campaign to target specific locations. In the initial phases of creating an Adwords campaign, you can set geo-parameters to target searchers in a specific state, zip code, or radius of a certain address. This is very important for any local PPC campaign where the advertiser has a confined service area.

National and state-wide brands can take this practice a bit deeper. Segmenting campaigns per state or city can help you tailor ads using a local approach.

Google searchers are drawn to PPC ads that emphasize geographic relevancy to their residence. This can help improve the CTR of your ads, so long as you do this in a creative and ethical manner.

Use Modified Broad Match Bidding

A great bidding technique to help make your PPC advertising more efficient is using modified broad match. Unlike broad, "phrase," or [exact] match, modified broad match uses a "+" symbol directly in front of keywords that must be included in a user's search query for your ad to be triggered.

To give you an example, if we bid on the phrase '+access +control +systems', those three words must be included in a user's search query for our ad to be displayed. (So the keyword phrase "door access security systems" would not trigger our ad, but "access control security systems" would.)

Unlike exact match, using modified broad match can help ensure that your PPC ads are being triggered when users search more detailed long-tail keywords.

Another advantage is that the cost per click (CPC) for some keyword combinations is significantly lower that exact or broad match bidding.

Managing a PPC campaign takes a some experience and know-how to find success in AdWords. I hope these tips will help you create a strong and profitable paid search campaign. To learn more, check out this Google Ads training course by Yisoo, a great program to help you learn more about this internet advertising platform.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Exposure

LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform to connect with other professional and businesses. By optimizing your profile for LinkedIn search, you better you visibility when people are looking for some of the expertise and specialties that you have to offer.

Below is a video created by our Internet marketing manager Tyler Tafelsky. It's called How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Exposure, and results you'll see from doing this optimization are almost instantaneous. We hope you like it!

Video transcription:

Hello and welcome. This is Tyler, and in this video I want to show you how to optimize your LinkedIn profile page.

As you probably already know, LinkedIn is a very popular social network to connect with other companies and professionals, and a lot of people search in LinkedIn looking for someone to help them out for a particular service or specialty. So I’m going to show you a few ways to sort of keyword optimize your profile to show up when people are searching for some of things you have to offer.

So I’m based in Michigan and I do SEO, so those are my keyword targets: Michigan SEO. And there I am on the top of the list. And I will show you how I did that. It’s pretty straightforward, there are just few key elements that you’ll want to make sure you optimize. If you’re doing real estate in Denver, then you’ll probably want to have real estate or realtor in Denver, in your professional headline. This probably offers the most weight in terms of keyword relevancy, so I definitely including Michigan SEO in my professional headline.

The next thing you want to try optimize is your experience. Both your current and previous experience plays a big role in your LinkedIn ranking, so you’ll want to try to keyword optimize it if you can. Of course you can’t do that and be misleading or unethical, but I was fortunate myself to have a lot of experience in the SEO profession for a couple of SEO companies based in Michigan. I got SEO in the title on both of them so I’m sure that really helps my ranking. You might want to take a look at that and see if you can embellish upon your experience.

The next thing that you can do to further optimize your profile is to edit your URL. That’s right here. The next option is a little hidden – it’s down on bottom right - this link here “your current URL.” Some people prefer to keep this as their name, and I respect that, but in my case I’d rather just be more relevant on these three words, specifically Michigan SEO. Michigan SEO Expert is actually a Google SEO experiment that I’m working with outside of LinkedIn, so we’ll see what happens. Even Linkedin knows that you can "take control on how you appear in a public search results," so that is a good tool that I recommend keeping top of mind.

The last thing you’re going to do to optimize your LinkedIn profile is to get some recommendations from other people. Recommendations are like backlinks in SEO; they show that your page is more credible, it’s more authoritative and thus it’s going to rank higher on search results.

So to do this, go to Profile, Recommendations, and I strongly suggest to skipping all this ask to be endorsed stuff and going to the bottom where you make recommendations for other people. If you make a recommendations to someone that you have school with or work with, chances are they‘re going to give you one back. I’ve done this a few times, or 3 times to be specific, in the last 48 hours and I’ve already gotten two back. So it’s just a really great way to build your credibility and to help your page rank higher. So I hope these tips have helped you out and wish you the best. Rank on, my friend.

3 Common Website Optimization Weaknesses That Hinder Organic SEO

Many marketers have come to realize the immense advertising potential that organic SEO has to offer. This has made optimizing a website a marketing mission for many businesses.

But what many fail to realize is that search rankings are mostly determined based on factors that are off the website, primarily from inbound links and social signals (e.g. Google +1's, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn Shares, etc.)

So no matter how well you optimize your website, it's probably not going to rank until your do some off-site SEO work (which takes a lot of time and effort.) However, that doesn't discount the website optimization process from being important.

Website optimization is still incredibly essential for SEO, but more importantly conversion rate optimization (OIC's Marketing & Operations Manager, Chris Everett, explains it well in his article Why Top Rankings Just Don't Cut it Anymore. In short, a properly-optimized website "sets the stage" for SEO and the future influx of search engine visitors.

In this article, I want to share with you 3 common weaknesses that most marketers can address to better optimize their website. Unlike other tips that are more intricate on a specific aspect of website optimization, these weaknesses are big (but rather easy to fix,) and will have a momentous impact on you organic SEO efforts.

1. The Ever Important Sitemap

The HTML sitemap is considered the second most important page of a website (next to the homepage.) In essence, the sitemap is the search engine spider's roadmap to your website, directing the spider to crawl and index all of the optimized pages of your site.

Not having sitemap is like not having tire's on your car. It tries to move forward, but is inefficient at getting anywhere. The sitemap should contain links to all of the pages found on your website. Additionally, each link on the sitemap should use semi-optimized anchor text. For example, if you build a page on your site optimized for "Men's Road Bikes," it's wise to use that exact phrase as the link's anchor text when linking that page on your sitemap.

Lastly, make sure the sitemap itself is linked on all pages of the website, preferably in a set of footer links or navigation links.

2. Duplicate Website Content

Upon taking on a local SEO project, I was confused as to why this website was no where to be found in the search engines. It was decently optimized and offered great content, but the only page ranking was the "about our staff" page, and that was in the middle of page 3 on Google.

Come to find out, the owner of the site had another website. "Oh s**t," I thought to myself. "We got duplicate content." Sure enough, his other website was a complete mirror image of the site I was working on.

Duplicate content is a common issue that plagues a lot of websites. And it's not just an issue that involves duplicate content on other sites, but in most cases, it's having duplicate content on similar pages throughout the same site. This is especially common on ecommerce sites that have thousands of pages, many of which that overlap in relevancy.

Perhaps the most common culprit involving duplicate content stems from the page title and meta description. These are two elements that are both very important for organic SEO and can often become auto-generated based on CMS software. This auto-generation can cause duplicate content without the website owner even realizing it.

Fortunately, there's a pretty easy way to pinpoint duplicate content on your site by checking your website's Google Webmaster Tools. In the left hand navigation, click the option "Optimization," then "HTML Improvements." Here can you drill down on the specific pages that have either duplicate page titles and/or meta descriptions.

3. An Accurate Citation

The three pieces of information that define the citation of your business are its name, address, and phone number. The most essential place to mention the citation is your website's "contact us" page. However, I recommend including the citation in the footer so that it's present on all pages of your website.

Including your business's citation on your website is important to display credibility to Google. This is especially important if any of your search engine traffic derives from local search. In a nutshell, Google spiders will crawl the citation on your website and align the information with other citations found about your business on other sites (such as your Google+ page, LinkedIn page, YellowPages listing, and various other social sites and web directories.)

In summary, it's important to have an accurate citation on your website that exactly matches all other citations of your business found around the web. Any misalignment in citation information will cause Google confusion, and you definitely want to avoid that.

Well those are just three website optimization weaknesses that may be hindering your site's organic SEO performance. To discover more insights on how to make your site rank higher in Google, visit our branch of website optimization specialists and sign-up for a free organic SEO assessment. They will audit your site and provide you with honest recommendations to further optimize your website.

This article was produced by Tyler Tafelsky, Illinois SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. You can contact Tyler Tafelsky directly via email at Tyler@oicgroup.net, or connect with Tyler on Google+.

3 Tips for Doing Keyword Research

If you have spawned an interest, need, or aspiration for search marketing, you'll soon learn that keyword research is an integral aspect to building a solid campaign. One of the best tools to start your keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. And although the Keyword Tool appears easy to use, there are a few things that you most certainly need to know to get the best results.

Whether for SEO or PPC advertising, successful keyword research is the foundation for any search marketing campaign. In this post, I will share with you three tips to help ignite your research in the right direction.

Learning the 3 Match Types

An important part of doing keyword research is understanding the three keyword match types. The names of these three match types are Broad, Exact, and Phrase match. Although the basis for each match type is for PPC keyword bidding, learning the differences between each match type is critical for SEO.

For instance, observe my example below for research for "marble cleaner" keywords. Each match type (which can be filtered in the left-hand navigation of the Keyword Tool) is shown for the keyword "marble cleaner;" however, different search volumes are shown for each match type.

 

The reason for this variation in search volume is best denoted by defining each match type:

  • [marble cleaner] (exact match) - search volumes represent only the two-word phrase marble cleaner, and that is all
  • "marble cleaner" (phrase match) - search volumes include exact match, as well as long-tail variations (e.g. best marble cleaner, marble cleaner for counter tops, marble cleaner reviews)
  • marble cleaner (broad match) - search volumes include any keyword search that includes similar semantics (e.g. how to get marble its cleanest, cleaning marble, marble floor cleaners)

As you can see, the broad and phrase match types for marble cleaner can appear inflated, from a SEO standpoint. Broad in particular is almost useless for search engine optimization, and in some cases, PPC too. Broad match is just far too ambiguous to get an accurate gauge on traffic potential. In almost any form of keyword research, de-select broad match, and select exact match. Again, this can be done using the options in the left navigation.

Using the Advanced Settings

Depending on your target search market, you may need to modify some of the advanced options when doing keyword research. Here you can set the geographic and language parameters so that your results are more focal to your search market.

You can also filter the results based on the device used to perform a search (e.g. mobile and tablet devices vs. desktop or laptop.) This can be very useful if you're pursuing a mobile search campaign, or sticking solely with desktop or laptop-based searches.

One tip that I recommend to considering is checking the filter box (above the advanced settings) that reads "Only show ideas closely related to my search terms." The thing is Google's Keyword Tool will give you a lot of keyword insights - almost too much. Checking this option helps keep your results more focused to what you're researching.

Look-up Results in Chunks

With respect to the latter tip of choosing to "only show ideas closely related to my search terms," you'll want to segment your research into semantic-related chunks. That is, you do not want to insert the keywords marble cleaner, granite polish, cleaning marble, granite restoration, all in the same batch. The results that Google will offer will probably have too much overlap. Instead, segment your keywords into relevant groupings.

Based on our example, we'll definitely want to keep granite and marble keywords separate. Additionally, we will further segment our keywords in secondary tiers based on cleaners, polishers, etc.

So based on the image shown, we'll look-up keyword results in relevant chunks. We will do this again for a grouping like marble polish, polishing marble, marble polisher, etc. This will not only provide more focal keyword results, but help keep the research organized throughout the process.

This blog post was written by Tyler Tafelsky, SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. You can contact Tyler directly via email at Tyler@oicgroup.net, or connect with Tyler on Google+. He's publish other content that you can explore, like How to Use the Google Keyword Planner, a project with YisooTraining.com.

 

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