search engine optimization

6 SEO Predictions for 2013: G+, Authorship, Disavow and Big Data

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, Marketing 2 Comments

2013 SEO Predictions

Source: CopyPress

Are you getting a jump start on planning 2013 content and marketing?  Before you do, check out our 6 SEO predictions for 2013 and what they mean to your business.

2013 SEO Prediction 1: SEO will focus on content and data

“Content marketing” and “big data” are two of the key buzzwords we hear over & over as 2012 ends.  More people are producing content (infographics) based on this big data.  Our first SEO prediction is that these two search marketing terms will make their way into the mainstream and most businesses that succeed in 2013 will have a “content marketing strategy” even if they call it something slightly different.

Content marketing works because it is real and it relates to what you are doing.  Creating content is not always the “easy” way out, but that’s why search engines prefer it.  If you rehash, curate and don’t create anything new, what have you contributed to the conversation?  Search is about finding what’s new and relevant, unique and powerful (social influence.)  Search is always about content in some way, but our prediction is that everyone’s content will start moving away from social sites and back to the main sites the info used to be on.  Resurgence in blogging (tumblr included) will help content get seen.  Growing your audience on your own branded site will help businesses move away from Facebook.

2013 SEO Prediction 2: Authorship, Guest blogging will change for the better

Right, so Google hates when anyone spams and ruins a good thing, right?  They then figure out how to counter it.  On page keywords, anchor text, linkbuilding, now guest blogging.  SEO will start to focus on authorship – claiming that you wrote a piece and linking it to your overall online profile.  Sure, spammers will keep doing this, in a way, but we expect Authorship results to increase in 2013, as well as guest blogs nearly always being linked to your author profile on G+.  You can write for High on SEO, Moz or Search Engine Land, but eventually all your profiles should link back to one authorship link, one G+ profile.

Guest blogging does not have to be spammy.  We had guest bloggers in the past who we know from other sites and they’ve written excellent articles.  We’ve also been inundated with spammy requests for guest blog posts.  One of our main goals in 2013 is to publish guest blogs on YouMoz, Marketing Pilgrim and a few other select places.  Interesting, relevant articles by guest bloggers will always be a bonus for your site.  Based on this SEO prediction, that will be a useful goal for our business.

2013 SEO Prediction 3: Google+, Finally

Are you following High on SEO or Matt on Google+?  Go do that first.

While many people expect G+ to never catch Facebook or Twitter, we would suggest that Google isn’t going away.  Google+ isn’t a side project like Buzz or Wave.  It’s not an acquisition.  Google has invested a lot of manpower into G+.   As Guy Kawasaki said in “What the Plus?,”  “It’s not an experiment or project buried within another business unit. The guy who runs Google+, Vic Gundotra, reports directly to Larry Page, the CEO of Google.”  

Why use G+?  Instant indexing, for one.  Many of our G+ links are instantly indexed on Google after the bot comes to visit.  These hits happened immediately after we published a new post.  You can customize these links and associated words, and the words on all the posts you make should contribute to the “what you talk about” portion of any possible search help.  We already know that posting a link on Facebook gets an instant hit from their search bot.  G+ shows a 3 minute delay to get indexed into Google.  We’ve seen it faster before. Many of our G+ links are indexed in the main database within minutes unlike a post we don’t put on G+ that may take a day or two.

google statcounter hit

 

2013 SEO Prediction 4:  Link Disavow Tool and Negative SEO

This year has certainly seen a rise in “negative SEO” talk. Is negative SEO possible?  Yes, very possible.  Given enough time and resources, a low quality domain can be beat up pretty badly by a savvy SEO company or your competitor.

Google created the Link Disavow Tool to collect data & links.  SEO prediction 4? They will use it in 2013 to release an algorithm using the links that have been submitted.  Think of the Google engineers rubbing their hands together with everyone’s spammy link profiles.  ”Oh, you think all these are bad.  Good to know.”  We have to disavow in order to recover, we end up giving away all this valuable information to Google.  Now, they’ll use that information in 2013 to improve spam reporting and poor quality backlinks.  In the past, having a healthy link profile meant some low, some mid, some high quality links.  Will that change?  We’ll see.  The death of forum profile spam, blog comment spam and article spam would be a huge benefit to the entire www. except those few people who run businesses based on spam.

2013 SEO Prediction 5: SEO ~~~ Digital Marketing

We saw this one coming and actually changed our own SEO and digital marketing services earlier this year. Digital marketing is slowly becoming its own “thing” encompassing content creation, Adwords & ppc marketing, SEO & search engine marketing, conversion rate optimization and social media.  We have tools to measure CRO, analytics to track on-site metrics, and sites like TwentyFeet and HootSuite to help us with social media in a professional capacity.

The next evolution of this digital marketing is for more big brands to jump on board.  Our 2013 prediction is that many more brands and small businesses will jump into this media with both feet.  We’ll see more C-level digital marketing jobs open up and more influence by the digital team for branding, content and direction of entire companies.  SEO will join the mix and teams will change from web+seo // marketing + social = brand to web + seo + social + sem + ppc + marketing = brand.

2013 SEO Prediction 6:  Other Marketing Growth Predictions

This one’s easy.  Other areas of increased importance and use will include: Mobile (tablet SEO, iphone ecommerce, etc.), Local (G+, Foursquare, Yelp, citation based SEO), and video/multimedia.  Dai.ly, Youtube, and even more video ads.  As users continue to evolve how they search, SEO and marketers will focus on being in those places and picking up on that new traffic.

So those are our six SEO predictions for 2013.  Do you think we’re right?  Way off base?  Do you have your own predictions?

More 2013 SEO Predictions:

 


Local photography SEO Data comparison and analysis

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 2 Comments

Since I found an old post by Tom Anthony at SEOMoz, I have been using  his Link Profile Discovery Tool to see competitor link profiles vs. our own and run many SEO data analyses. I have used it very successfully to help another SEO figure out a major problem with his rankings and a manual penalty Google was imposing due to a poor SEO link profile that betrayed some bad links.  I know there’s a lot of data, statistics and “thinking” involved here but try to get through until you “see” it.

One thing I wanted to do was test a high ranking website against one that struggled to rank on page 1 and page 2 for its top keywords.  Thankfully, two great friends lent me their sites and I pulled some data.  Let’s take a look at the first case, the not as highly ranked site.  (Click images to see full size.)

SEO Data for “san diego wedding photographer

san diego wedding photographer seo data

Her link profile actually shows a fair number of links around 50 DA but very few in the higher DA zones (really, anything above say 65.)  The competitors who outrank her do show up across the board and it’s no surprise looking at the beautiful profile link in red, that we find the #1 result on most every local organic photography search for their city.  Her profile is beautiful & natural.  The data matches up to what you would expect.

The anomaly in the data is the green result.  It does not correlate with the other data, and two spikes mean they have likely purchased links or interlinked two of their own sites so tightly that you would expect a penalty for it.  A quick peak at the actual data tells us that the green site is interlinked with another of its own properties and will likely not have much staying power on SERPs.  We would expect the green linked site to fall off of page 1 soon.

Let’s bring in more data, from SEOMoz this time.  We now see a bit more helpful SEO data.

Our test site, Hybrid-Photography, has FAR fewer external links but nearly the same internal links as link 3 (the orange, highly ranked site.)  What is the difference in their profile?  Well, the orange colored site has more 50+ Domain Authority links, a better spread above 45 DA and even more low DA results.  Their spread appears more natural and more likely to be rewarded in the SERPs.

SEOMoz explains Domain Authority as ”made up of an aggregate of metrics (mozRankmozTrustlink profile, etc…) that each have an impact on this score.”  DA is a great way to see the “total incoming SEO” of a domain.

Before we do an analysis of the SEO data, let’s check the other test-subject, a well ranked site for “Baton Rouge photographer”

SEO data for “baton rouge photographer

This data is more of a “control” of what a highly ranked site looks like from the inside.

baton rouge photographer SEO data

What we see immediately is that this photographer has a lot more links, both external and inbound, than any of the tests.  It has a much higher Domain Authority and a very high Page Authority.  The mozRank barely beats site #3 but the test site outranks it fairly regularly in local searches.  We can only conclude that DA is a valid way of determining your expected rank.  We can also conclude that the high number of links has helped this site outpace its competitors.

So how does the link profile look?

big seo data for photographers

Interestingly,  none of these sites have much in the way of a link profile over a 50 DA.  They all drop very significantly, unlike the test above.  This indicates an “easier” keyword than “san diego wedding photographer” above.  If we look at our test domain, in blue, we see a very high correlation with the other high ranking site, in red.

Also, the red line site should outrank the test site in terms of link profile.  They have a better spread across all ranges and more in the higher end.  In this case, you can’t outrank volume.  Anna’s site (blue) has 5600+ links and the red has 1700.  A “www.site.com” search for both turns up an even bigger disparity.  The links back to the blue site just simply overwhelm the red.

Now return to the data above.  Yep, the red site has 7500 links in, 5600 links out.  And it blows the other sites away in terms of rankings despite similar Domain Authority, mozrank, and link profiles.

SEO Data Test Conclusions

First, a huge thank you to Alyssa @ Hybrid Photography and Anna Karin at Anna Karin’s Photography for letting me run these tests and examine their sites so closely.

The first major conclusion is that link volume matters a lot still.  The two sites with the most links are the highest ranking across the board.  They also tend to have the most external links, so perhaps link volume is as relevant as ever.

Second, the more natural your link profile, the better chance you have of ranking “all other things being equal.”  If you’re 7000 links behind, no.  But with similar DA, similar mozTrust, etc. you will find the more natural your link curve, the better your site will rank organically for multiple searches.

Finally – I didn’t cover this in great detail above, but a look at the specifics of the “spikey” graphs show that interlinking your own websites (with a high enough DA) is definitely helpful, even if you link to it hundreds of times.  These “spikes” tend to correlate with exact anchor text and the rankings are higher for those sites and those searches.  So (unfortunately), exact match anchor text on a high DA site still matters.

Also, that SEO friend who got this whole thing started, you can see the penalized link curve on his site.  If your curve looks like this, you are in trouble.  Get it fixed, asap!


Who are you optimizing SEO for?

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 1 Comment

Who are you optimizing SEO for?

Who are you optimizing your SEO for is a draft excerpt from our upcoming 24 Hour Guide to SEO.  

In this chapter, we’re talking about search engine optimization strategy.  Who are you optimizing SEO for?  What is your initial search strategy and how may that change?  Who are your target clients and what demographic matters to the success of your business?  

Who are you optimizing for, ie. who are your clients?

Something many, if not most, businesses forget on a regular basis is to focus on the customer. Your buyer/reader/client is out there searching for what you have to offer. How are they searching? What language are they searching in? What should you remember about these customers that you may not think about always?

If your customer is from certain regions of the US, they will use “pop” instead of “soda” or “dinner” over “supper.” If you’re a restaurant in a “supper” area but you steadfastly and stubbornly stick to “dinner menu” you are losing a lot of traffic. About 90 million out of 750 million searches for the evening meal say “supper” and the rest say “dinner.” If you never use the word supper on your site in a region that does, you could potentially lose many customers. Similarly, in New Zealand, some parts of Australia and the UK “tea” refers to the evening meal. Also, beware of spelling across borders. When doing international business, keep in mind that having a color selector on your site is going to do you very little good in places where your customers search for a colour palette tool.

Demographic studies of your customer should include more than thinking about the last five people to walk into your store and thinking “how are they the same?”  Think about demographics like “big business” does.  Who are your customers, really?  If you are a gardener, where are your target customers?  How old are they (ie. are they too busy because they work all week or are they elderly and can’t garden anymore?)  Are most of the people who hire you male or female?  Familes or no?  This information can help you target content.  If your average customer lives in Western Town and are professionals aged 30-45 with a couple of kids, you can write blog content about saving time & money with a professional gardener.  You can write content about safe yards for children or keeping the wrong pesticides out of kid & pet reach and how hiring a professional means those chemicals are not stored at the home.

Maybe you run a clothing store for women.  You want to target high-end clientèle but you realize soon after opening that nearly ninety percent of your foot traffic walks in, looks at a tag or two and walks out.  Do you have a problem?  You may need to bring in the clients yourself through your digital marketing strategy.  How can you increase online word of mouth?  You know not to bother targeting your local neighborhood so target the affluent nearby towns.  You can’t win “clothing” so you need focus.  What focus can you bring through understanding your demographics?

Focus on the customer

Your website needs to focus on the customer. Who are they? How old are they? Younger people will search different from the older generation. Search engines do not work like card catalogs. Younger people are more likely to search specifically first. “Pizza 90210″ is specific. Your elder clients may not search that way and may use full sentences such as “find a pizza parlor in beverly hills.” How you optimize your site (or optimise if you’re in Britain, Australia, etc.) will determine who finds your website and who you leave out.
You should know as much about your clients as possible. Demographics can include age, sex/gender, race, home ownership, employment status, current location, marital status, whether they have children, etc.

A new parent may search “where to buy diapers at 11pm” where the mom-of-5 already knows that. She is more interested in “bulk diapers online” because she knows how many she needs, she knows they don’t get cheaper and she knows she just had twins. You don’t know that so you need to figure out who your clients already are or who you want them to be. Market to the people who will pay for your services.

Try to focus on your end-buyer and remember to continue optimizing SEO for that demographic.


Why the new monthly SEO pricing?

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, High on SEO News Comments Off

Response to our new website has been fantastic so far!  One of the most frequently asked questions about the change is “why are you only showing monthly SEO pricing on HighOnSEO now?”  This usually is near “I wanted to use you but you see more expensive now.”

So let’s talk about our new monthly SEO pricing a bit today.  It seems appropriate, given that our SEO pricing structure has changed.

Why monthly SEO pricing instead of per-project SEO pricing?

One of the things I became most aware of over the last two years was that clients who purchased certain services almost always outranked those who did not.  The two main ingredients in the highest ranking clients were: keyword research and competitor analysis.  We offered those for clients for $50 and $95, respectively.  That $145 per project usually made a difference between a one-time project landing on an average of ranking 24 for those who didn’t buy it and an average ranking of 11 for those who did.  This is across all keywords so those are HUGE differences and include all main and long-tail keywords we tracked.  Our old monthly seo packages were only for back link building and did not include any ongoing SEO services.

The more we learned about SEO, the more this difference grew.  It started out that purchasing keyword research and competitor analyses helped your average ranking by a score of 32/24.  It was less than a page difference and really page 2 vs page 3 is important but not overwhelming.  Consider that 35% of the search clicks go to the site that ranks #1 and you can figure out where the other 65% go (about 90% go to page 1.)   When we improved our service and started ranking sites higher, those who had the competitive advantage were clearly and quickly outpacing the ones without.

TL;DR – Monthly SEO provides higher return on investment and better results. 

Old Monthly SEO Pricing vs. New

We offered monthly SEO pricing in the past – but it was, as above, just link building.  We would spend 2, 3 or 4 hours on monthly SEO linkbuilding packages for our clients. The links were helpful but without guidance from a competitor analysis, sometimes like punching in the dark.

  • OLD: Imagine Kung Fu Panda.  Well meaning, strong bear without real ninja skills – but he gets the job done eventually.
  • NEW: With a competitor analysis, you’re fighting with knowledge and skill.  Sort of like Jet Li vs. Jackie Chan (in an otherwise horrible movie.)

 

Realistically, I said it best in my “Changes” post.  “Keyword research and competition analysis should be done at the beginning of *every* SEO or marketing project.  Not doing them for some clients is a shame.  We’re incorporating keyword research and competitor analysis into every client’s SEO program from now on.  Sometimes we have to admit mistakes and not requiring this has been one of the biggest ones I’ve made.”

Are you more expensive now?

Actually, I think we cost less up front for some clients, about the same for others, and hopefully not much more for the remainder.  We don’t consider SEO an “expense” in the usual way anyways.  Think about this example.  If I said “for every dollar you give me, I’ll give you $3 back.”  How many times would you take advantage of that offer?  “As many as possible.”  Right answer. You would trade $1 of your income for $3 almost any time because that’s a good deal.  This 3 for 1 trade is your ROI – return on investment.

ROI means you’re gaining more than you’re spending.  We expect our clients to be making money that they wouldn’t have otherwise made because of our search engine optimization services.  So let’s consider a few scenarios and see how this could play out:  Keep in mind that prior to our SEO pricing changes, our average package was $745.

monthly SEO pricing

(click the image for full size)

So yes, the larger a package gets, the more the new pricing will cost comparatively but the differences in what we offer are not comparable, either.  Our aim was not to charge small-medium sized businesses next to nothing and provide inadequate results.  Our goal is to push forward and be able to create, analyze, research and compete with higher ranking brands on more competitive keywords.  This requires more of an investment, but a higher potential ROI as well.

TL;DR – No, we’re not more expensive. In fact, most of our clients will be happy that their initial investment dropped from $750 to $225. We offer more services for similar pricing at most price points.

What if we really need per-project pricing?

One of the things I like best about our new pricing is that we can add services for monthly pricing, change it when you need and make it “per project” simply.  We still offer project pricing, monthly linkbuilding only, and adjustments to any package to fit your needs & marketing budget.  We will post some project pricing later but yes, it’s still available.

We have thought about our pricing from as many angles as possible.  We want to provide the best service we can for a reasonable, fair and clear price.  We expect some people won’t see the new pricing as cheaper or “better” even with the above examples that clearly illustrate increased value for the same investment.  However, we also expect to give clients even better results and that means happy clients who do choose us to be their SEO agency.

If our pricing still worries you for your budget, make sure you’ve signed up for our monthly newsletter in the sidebar.  We don’t often run sales or specials, but if we do you’ll know about them.  Also, please do some comparison shopping. We still believe we are one of the least expensive SEOs that actually do the job.  We’ll be happy to talk about what our competitors offer and how it’s different if you would like to email us at sales@highonseo.com


Malware Notifications & Errors Email from Webmasters Tools

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 2 Comments

Webmasters Tools to Email Malware Notifications

This weekend we were reading an article about a webmaster having malware issues on his site and not receiving malware notifications.   The site was compromised and the webmaster didn’t know.  This resulted in their traffic taking a major hit over the last couple weeks.  Finally, someone found the issue.  The webmaster looked somewhat silly not knowing why they were penalized when the domain had a “This site has been infected” warning on the search result.   He didn’t know because Google didn’t inform him of the malware and it hadn’t yet gone into Webmasters Tools.

We just received this timely email from Google:

Dear Webmaster Tools user,

We know that having a healthy and well-performing website is important to you. To keep you informed about your site’s status Webmaster Tools will now automatically send you a notification email if there are critical or important issues that we detect with your site.

We’ll only send you email for issues that we think have significant impact on your site’s health or search performance which have clear actions that you can take to address. For example, we’ll email you if we detect malware on your site or see a significant increase in errors while crawling your site.

For most sites these kinds of issues will occur rarely. If your site does happen to have an issue we cap the number of emails we send over a certain period of time to avoid flooding your inbox.

We hope that you find this change a useful way to stay up-to-date on critical and important issues regarding your site’s health.

The Webmaster Tools Team

Now, you will receive an email on these important issues (like malware notifications).  When the errors or malware issues do not show up in Webmasters Tools, you will still not receive an email warning you that your site has been compromised.  For that, try this thread on Google’s forums.

Is this better?


Educational SEO Links You Should Read

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips Comments Off

We like posting educational SEO links so you can do some “source material” reading on your own.  Quite a long time has passed since our last post on the SEO we read to stay informed.  In that vein, it’s time for another round of “how the crap do those awesome guys at High on SEO know these things?”

These are the previous educational SEO posts:

3 Great SEO Blogs We Read

The SEO I Read This Week


What factors are important when building links?  We do a massive amount of linkbuilding for our clients.  It’s important that we know what makes a “good” link, how to fix a link profile and what goes on behind the scenes.  We also want to know what does *not* matter, as it’s sometimes just as important.

The best primer on links we know of is Link Value Factors.   This is an insanely detailed look at what makes a good link.

Where can you get the best lists on Twitter to follow?   Try Listorious.  When people tell us anyone with over 10k followers has “bought followers” we only assume they don’t know the math behind what we do.  We temporarily follow at least 3000 new users a week – and we keep the best ones.  We have UNfollowed 1000s of “seo and social media” profiles because they pump out junk links.  You never know how amazing Twitter can be until you create such a diverse, amazing stream.  We have used Listorious to grow to over 35,000 Twitter followers in 1 year.   Hint: we use Tweepi to follow list members quickly.

What does an SEO do?   Among our many jobs are: keyword research, social media optimization, PR, guest blogging, article marketing, directory listings, maps & citations (Local Search), etc.  Want a peek?  SEO Responsibilities shows just a glimpse of the topics we seek to be experts on.

We like Tweepi & Hootsuite.  What other social media tools are we aware of and learning about?  Here’s 32 Social Media Management Tools.

Want educational SEO tools instead of social media tools?   Try AHrefs.  If you can’t find a wealth of information on AHrefs, you’re doing it wrong.

As an SEO, it’s important to know we’re not focused only on making Google show your site so it ranks well and we look great on our Success posts.  It’s important that we (and you) understand how content works across the customer lifecycle.


Honestly, we all know that you could spend months learning about SEO and doing your own work.  The information is online and we’ll even help you find some of it.  We are here for when you don’t want to spend your time learning yet another skill to keep your business moving forward.  Small business owners are already the CEO, CFO, CMO, and CTO of their company.  They are often the secretary, bookkeeper, marketing manager, director of sales, financial planner, and mail opener.  Contact us if you’d like to get High on SEO and eliminate your marketing role.


Page slugs, Permalinks, and Page Titles

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, Wordpress Tips 1 Comment

When you write a post in WordPress (and other blogging platforms) the software generates a link based on the title of your post.   The part of your link after the “template” is called the “page slug.”

Templates? Slugs?  What?

A permalink structure is essentially a template, or a set way of making something on your site.  For instance, on this blog, our template is /year/month/postname.   The previous post on 3 Types of SEO Backlinks, has this as its permanent URL:

http://www.highonseo.com/2012/08/backlinks-mentions-citations-listings/

You’ve seen thousands of links and probably dissected some so you may understand what this means.  Let’s take this one apart.

http://   This tells the browser the type of document you’re looking for.  You may not use other protocols (ftp://) but they exist.

www.highonseo.com  This is the domain – you know this.

/2012/08/  This is the permalink structure.   It’s based on a template in your WordPress Settings > Permalinks.

backlinks-mentions-citations-listings  This is the page slug for the post.  It identifies an individual post.

How are slugs created?

Wordpress will create your slug by using the post title.  For instance, the title of this post is:

Page slugs, Permalinks, and Page Titles 

And the default slug is:

page-slugs-permalinks-and-page-titles

Matchy-matchy, right?  This is how slugs are created.

So how can you control your page slugs and permalinks?

For SEO purposes, having the default page slug may not always be best.   For instance, you notice the default slug above contains the word “and” which is a waste of space as far as Google is concerned.   Also, we’ve been using the word “slug” in this post, not “page slug” so that is also somewhat wasted space.

Now, look in the address bar for this post.  You can see we’ve changed the slug from:

page-slugs-permalinks-and-page-titles

to

page-slugs-permalinks-titles

We haven’t been giving you information, we’re teaching you.  Do you understand why we’ve changed the slug?   Google has operating costs.  One of those costs is based on how many characters they store in their many databases.  Longer slugs would also allow the potential for more spam (think buy-cheap-viagra-while-gambling-at-casino-games-spam-spam-spam).    Short, accurate slugs are helpful when targeting keywords as well.  If your keywords are 25% of the slug (1 word in 4) that’s more powerful than if they’re 16% of the slug (1 in 6).

So should you change slugs or leave the default?  Does it matter?  Can you mess it up?

The answers seem to be:  change it if you know why and how.  Leave it if you still don’t understand it.  It does matter but it’s not absolutely necessary.   If you change the slug to be completely unrelated to your post that is a problem.  Google wants your slug to match your content so don’t try to change every slug to syracuse-wedding-photographer-1, syracuse-wedding-photographer-2, cny-wedding-photography14.   It will get your site into deep, deep trouble.

Change slugs to save space, better match your keywords and focus your keywords.  Don’t change them to create spam.  Remember: Google is always working to eliminate spam.  If you’re spam, you’re on the “to be eliminated” list.


3 Types of SEO Backlinks: Mentions, Citations, Listings

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 3 Comments

If you do your own SEO, you know by now that backlinks are still an important part of your campaign.  But what about directories that don’t provide a link?  Or those who put your link on the page in text form only.  What about “mentions” of your business that don’t directly link to you?

1) Mention backlinks

Mentions are simply a text mention of your brand name.  Something like “I watch ESPN for sports news.”   No link, context, but no information.

Mentions do help your SEO.  It seems to fly in the face of SEO that without a backlink or your address on the page it could help but it does.  Google is focused on brands.   A simple search for your favorite brands reveals results that don’t make “sense” from a traditional SEO point of view.  News articles that mention your brand, simple blog mentions, etc. do help.  They are the “worst” type of help for your SEO but being mentioned definitely does help your “awareness” level.

2) Citation backlinks

Citations are places where your business name, phone number & address are mentioned, possibly with a link on the page but in link format, not keyworded (ie. http://www.highonseo.com vs SEO for small business)

Local SEO heavily relies on citations for your ranking.  You know the 7-pack of listings above many searches, right?  These are sometimes 4-packs or 10-packs depending on the search.  These link to your Google Plus account and are very important for your local searches (CITY KEYWORD or KEYWORD IN CITY STATE).

The best place to find citation sites is WhiteSpark.   Whether you do a couple free searches or sign up for the basic account, you need to find these type of sites for local SEO backlinks.

3) Listing backlinks

Listing backlinks are the most common links to your site.  Whether they have keyworded anchor text or  just a linked link (ie. http://www.highonseo.com ) they contain an active link to your site.  A great example is TrueLocal.   Click the link and look for “Visit website.”  This is a direct link to my wedding photography website.   These type of links directly help your SEO and are what most companies talk about when they say you need link building and backlinks.


 So those are three different ways to improve your SEO.  Sick of building backlinks yourself?  Spend $300 with High on SEO and you’re eligible for our monthly backlink building plans.    Contact us NOW to learn more.


July 2012 SEO Blog Recap

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, High on SEO News 1 Comment

So it’s the last day of July and time to recap this month on the blog.  If you missed anything, this is the post you needed!  If you want to see us post about anything, let us know by comment, email or Twitter!  

We covered Marketing & SEO for your small business.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO setup

SEO vs Marketing: Basic Strategies

SEO Success Stories

Website Speed Affects SEO & How to Speed Up

Use Google Analytics to Improve SEO

Sorting the WTF of CPM vs CPC Ads on Facebook & Google 

We also helped you improve your Social Media skills.

Lock in your Brand Name on Social Media

HootSuite Pro – Manage Social Media Professionally

2 Steps to Have the Perfect Pinterest Instructographic 

We posted special topics for Food bloggers and Photographers.

Food blog SEO Special

Planning Blog Topics (for Photographers) 

Guest post on The Business of Awesome 

And we helped you manage your blog better..

Manage Blog Spam

Yoast’s WordPress SEO setup

Planning Blog Topics (for Photographers)  

So we worked on: marketing, social media, SEO, business, advertising, blogging, and analytics.  We had a guest blogger and we guest blogged.  Yep, a good month!  We hope you enjoyed and will tune in for a great month in August! 

Connect with us now!


Planning Blog Topics: Short Term vs. Long Term Strategy

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, Wordpress Tips 2 Comments

Are you planning blog topics ahead?  Or do you blog from way behind on work?  Learn how to blog professionally and increase traffic, conversions and SEO for your blog.  

This post is written mainly for wedding photography SEO but can be adapted to fit any small business’ SEO needs.  The best way to see what we think are good blog topics for a small business is look at what we have written about for the past 3-6 months for this SEO blog.  We started our SEO career as photographers and with it, doing SEO for photographers.   We know what many of our photography clients are going through as they write blog posts for SEO because we were there doing it with them.   Now, as small business owners in another industry, we’ve discovered some professional tips for planning blog topics strategically for best results.

Planning Blog Topics:  Why are you blogging? 

Short term blogging strategy means looking at why you are blogging individual posts.  Why are you blogging that client’s images?  Why are you behind in blogging?  When you are blogging from behind, you are planning blog topics that cover what you’ve already done.  Your thinking may go like this:  

I shot 3 portraits, 2 weddings and 1 model session since I last blogged.  I should blog a portrait, a wedding, another portrait, then the model, another wedding and finish blogging the portraits.

When you plan blog topics based on what you’ve already done, it’s important to ask yourself what you gain from the posts.  Are you aiming at location keywords (“wedding photographer in Indianapolis”) or are you looking for image keywords?  Are you blogging for SEO?  Are you trying to sell new clients on your impressive photos?  Are you ego-blogging (yours or the clients)?   Until you understand the “why” of your blogging, you’ll find it difficult to improve your scheduling.

If you are blogging for SEO, keep in mind that SEO blogging is about  more than putting a keyword in the title of the post.  You need to focus on the keyword in the post as well as the secondary keyphrases (venue locations & names, “wedding reception photos at …” and other vendors).  If you blog for SEO purposes without getting all the SEO benefits you can, you’re wasting time.   Don’t waste 45 minutes writing a flowing, beautiful blog entry filled with 60 unkeyworded images and no keywords in the post because you focused on the couple.  Yes, you shot beautiful photos.  Now you said you’re blogging for SEO – finish up with image SEO (alt tags) and keywording within your post. 

If you are blogging for sales to new clients, are you giving them an easy way to contact you at the end of each post?  Are you pushing them to your galleries, pricing page or contact information?  Your stated goal is conversions from new clients.  What words are you using to sell them?  Be direct at the end of your post.  If you’re blogging for sales, try “We would love to be your wedding photographer.  Please contact us today at x@y.com to learn more about our wedding photography packages!”  Once you get text you feel is working, keep it and use it on all blog posts.  Keep in mind small changes may affect your sales.  Try new ideas for your posts – more images, fewer images, more text, less text, call to action email address, phone number, maybe a colorful button – vary it.  See what brings more work and then repeat the best solutions often.

If you are egoblogging for you or your clients, ask yourself why.  Are you gaining new sales?  Probably not.  Do your clients send you a ton of referral work?  Maybe, maybe not.   Are you focused on SEO?  Not if you’re egoblogging.  Ego blogging is all about images and flowery, fun language written as if you’re talking to your best friend, not your potential clients.  It’s not informative about your services and is not SEO copywriting – at least enough to warrant search engine attention.  Ego blogging is fantastic if you have the time and clientele without blogging for marketing purposes.  These type of blogs are not our focus here.  Repeatedly posting nothing but client sessions with “We loved Jamie & John’s wedding.  It was beautiful!” neither sells you nor helps your SEO.  ”We loved being Jamie & John’s Chicago wedding photographers for their beautiful ceremony at St. Something’s Church” tells what you do again (repetition is key!) and it helps your SEO.  

Planning Blog Topics: Long term strategy

To do lists and blogging share similar strategy.  You must do the short-term tasks.  You have to edit that wedding, blog that portrait session, design that album.   But you understand you also need to be doing long-term planning as well. You need to be marketing for 2013 wedding photography.  You need to be planning blog topics that don’t just show off what you can do but help your potential clients plan their weddings, show off your product and tell more about you personally, if that’s a reason you’re blogging.

Long term blog posts for SEO - If you never blog about your products, it’s hard to link potential clients to those products.  Imagine your blog in 2 years.  Don’t you want a collection of outdoor weddings to show up on Google?  Or maybe your index of all 2012 weddings?  Among the most important would be your products.  In 2 years if you have a collection of blog posts like “Buying a flushmount album for your wedding” and “Why full resolution images on a dvd cost so much” and “Quick tips for planning your Memphis wedding in 2013″ do you think this would result in traffic that may lead to future clients?  We have booked weddings off our “Affordable Wedding Photography in Melbourne” post as well as our “Melbourne Bridal Shows 2012” post.  Both regularly appear on page 1 of Google for related searches.   

What posts should you have on your site that aren’t there now?  Some of our favorites are Year Weddings.  Post all of your 2011 weddings with a link, date, ceremony & reception venue, as well as city & state.

Marta & Rich | July 2, 2011 | Wedding photography at Bubble Pond, Acadia National Park

How will this help your SEO?  In addition to creating an internal link to the post, you’re creating context for your year.  You can link a potential client to this index post, push that link harder on social media so you know it’s been seen by a large audience and have it as a go-to for future posts where you need the link for a particular client.  It’s organizational, SEO-building and self-referential as far as potential clients.  It also keeps people on your site.  If they view one wedding, they may go back to the post and view 2, 3 or 4 – all of which help your SEO metrics such as time on site & bounce rate, which affect SEO as we talked about last week. 

Our Bubble Pond post currently sits 4th on Google for the term bubble pond acadia wedding photos.  How do we know?  We had a web visitor come via that keyword this morning.  They stayed on site for almost 4 minutes, visited our gallery, pricing page, then contact page, before leaving.  Maybe if we were still in Maine they would have contacted us.   When people are searching for photos that represent their venue or reception site they want photographers experienced in these venues.  We’ve shown them photos from their venue; now they know what to expect from us in that very location.

When you are planning blog topics for the future (and you should be planning a month ahead), remember these tips.  Focus on long-term posts as well as short-term quick hits. 


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