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Make your blog happen


Make your blog happen

You don't have to search very far on the web to find site after site with one or more "blogs" listed in the navigation that, when opened, reveals a single blog entry from 2009 or earlier.
It's the "failure to launch" syndrome. Like a rocket with a fuse that fizzled out, countless blogs start with a bright flash, flicker and then go out altogether without ever leaving the launch pad.

New and ever-changing content is the lifeblood of a successful website. It's the foundation of a good search engine optimization program and also serves as a good reason for many people to return to your site. With that level of importance, how can it be that so many people refuse to update their blogs? "I have too much to do." "I don't know what to say." "Writing is hard," are all common complaints when it comes to writing a blog.

Think small. A blog is not "War and Peace" you're not going for a Pulitzer Prize or any other writing award. Write about what you know…especially what you know that day. If it helps, think of your blog as nothing more than water cooler gossip.

For example, as a writer, I hate business buzzwords. Two weeks ago I noticed for the first time that the buzzword "Ecosystem" is popping up in business everywhere. Once I realized that I was ranting about this word to people in my office I knew I had a good blog topic.

If you own a chain of body shops, blog about the Chinese hood the insurance company made you install on a 2006 Saab, how it wouldn't fit and how all Chinese body parts never seem to fit. Own a Jewelry store? Blog about how to get the best diamond for your money.

The point is to focus on small topics that, when read in total, illustrate the value of your website and your company. Thinking small will also help you write small. How small? You should be able to blog about a small topic in the time it takes you to eat a bagel in the morning. And think of the time you'll save. You might risk getting a few crumbs in your keyboard but you'll soon learn to write the perfect length blog by the time you take the last bite.

By John Decker


Deploy SEO across your entire company


Deploy SEO across your entire company

Having an SEO strategy is important, however, it’s equally as important to deploy the SEO strategy across your entire company. After all, you always accomplish more if multiple people are working toward the same goal. Remember that educating people is important, the more people within your company that understand SEO, it’s benefits and your goals the better chance is that they'll integrate SEO into their daily routine. Take some time to teach people within your company about SEO, and implement a plan that will allow content on your site to be updated on a regular basis. This could include writing regular blog posts, press releases, and updating content on your site so it focuses on keywords.

Whoever is writing your content should understand SEO completely. When writing any content whether its for a web page or a blog your writers should be including keywords. Don't forget to teach them that the more times they use a specific keyword the better. It's also a good idea to stress the importance of press releases to your writers. Putting together a release at least once a month and linking it to relevant sites in your industry will drastically help SEO. This release like any content should focus on specific keywords and be liberally spread throughout the release.

As part of your SEO strategy you should have 5 or 10 keywords from your overall keyword list you'd like to focus on each month. Focusing on these terms for a period of time longer than a month is fine, however this list of terms should always be shared with people throughout your company. This way they can be used on a daily basis in blogs, press releases, or whatever other content is being posted online.

Remember, the more people within your company who understand SEO the better. The first step to getting SEO deployed throughout your entire company is education.

By Anarita Droukas


Play nice, or Google won't let you play at all


Play nice, or Google won't let you play at all

You want prospects to find you via search on Google. But some people want to increase their web traffic via Google search so much that they'll do anything to achieve it. Beware, however. As Google crawlers and algorithms become ever more sophisticated, Google is increasingly able to tell when websites are doing things that, to Google's way of thinking is, well, cheating.

When Google thinks you're cheating, they can pull you right off their search engine, which means that making sure your site complies with Google's requirements is important. Here are some basic rules to follow to make sure you don't run afoul of the Google police:

  • Hold the Stuffing.
    Keywords are the bread and butter of Google searches. But some unscrupulous websites try to use keyword stuffing—the practice of loading keywords on a webpage to manipulate the site's search ranking. Today, Google can easily tell when you randomly place unrelated keywords on a page, when you've placed keywords on a page that are the same color as the background or whether you’ve hidden keywords behind images. You can also forget about using type faces with one or zero point fonts. Or, trying to put links in a single character in a paragraph (like a hyphen). None of these tactics work anymore and your site will be pulled from Google if you try them.
  • No Cloaking.
    Some websites have tried building flash or other image pages (which Google crawlers can’t see). They then build an HTML page which the viewer can't see. Sending HTML text to Google while showing viewers images, or flash is a no-no. Likewise, so is using sneaky JavaScript redirects to show the viewer one page and Google a different page.
  • Close that Door.
    Some unscrupulous websites use large sets of pages that are each optimized for a keyword or phrase and then directs viewers to different pages or different sites altogether.

    Do any of the above and Google will frown on it. And if they find out, they may pull your site from the Google index. The best way to avoid an issue with Google is to behave as scrupulously as possible. If you consistently do things that are of benefit to viewers of your site (placing relevant content, offering valuable information and making the site easy to navigate), you almost always avoid running afoul of Google. Remember, when it comes to search, Google is the lawnmower and you're the blade of grass.

By Nate Tennant

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