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Leveraging Google Plus for SEO

Are you looking for ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? The emerging social media platform Google Plus, or Google+, is one spot that you'll want to add to your list of SEO strategies

Google Plus is an attempt by Google at entering the social media networking scene. Although there is a lot of debate as to the ability of Google Plus to last, one thing is for sure; you can use Google Plus to help make your presence known and improve your search engine rankings.

Social SEO Strategies

There are several local SEO tactics you can use to improve your rankings through Google Plus. The first is by increasing the number of followers you have. It is important to get as many followers as you can on your Google Plus account. It does not matter if you know them or if they are relevant to you or not. The quantity is what matters and not the quality.

The reasoning behind this is simple. When anyone who follows you on Google Plus performs a search using the keywords you use to optimize your website, your site will come up within the first listings of the search results. This is because Google Plus is tied into the search results (via "Google Search Plus Your World") which is designed to deliver more relevant and personalized search results.

Social SEO Strategies via Google Plus

The advantage to having a strong follower base on Google Plus is that even the friends or 'circle connections' of your followers will be presented like search results with your site potentially at the top. This is Google's way of saying "hey, your friends liked this site for (keyword x) so maybe you will too."

In essence, this is a trust and credibility based system used through social interaction, and it's momentous for search engine optimization.

Attaining a Following & Marketing Your Content

You can get more followers for your Google Plus profile by placing links to it on your website, blogs, other social networking sites and forums. You can also attain a strong following with various promotions and creative incentives, like contests or polls. Many brands employs cross promotional social media strategies which may involve Facebook or other forms of content marketing.

Another way to improve your SEO with Google Plus is by claiming authorship for articles and content you have submitted online. You can simply add authorship connections from the blog posts and other webpages to your Google Plus profile. This can also help build you credibility and potentially improve your search rankings.

The third way of leveraging Google Plus for SEO is by connecting your website directly to your profile. This can be done by adding a simple code in your website. This code will be invisible to users of the website. You can also opt to add a Google Plus badge. This will help followers of your Google Plus profile to get to your webpage. This way of connecting your webpage and Google Plus profile will dominate search results and can he extremely advantageous when it comes to SEO for ecommerce sites.

Encourage your followers to +1 your page. The +1 button in the Google Plus profile is similar to the like button in Facebook. However, the +1 button in Google Plus carries more weight in a Google Plus search. Results of searches will show the number of +1’s you have on your Google Plus profile even when the user is not logged into Google Plus.

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Techniques to Improve Your PPC Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is one of the most effective online advertising techniques. Marketers love PPC because they only have to pay for actual clicks. These clicks lead straight to the landing page, making this a targeted advertising technique for almost any types of business.

Although everything centers on conversion in PPC advertising, click-throughs are still a crucial consideration, especially on a competitive search engine results page. There are several strategies for improving your PPC ad's click-through rate (CTR) - many of which have been tried and tested, and require little investment.

Ad Extensions

One of these easiest ways in which you can improve your ads CTR is by adding extensions. Ad extensions are important because they enable you to provide more information on your ads - which is not only helpful for users, but ad extensions also make your ad more prominent (or standout-ish.) There are a number of PPC ad extensions, some of which include social (such as Google +1's), local extensions that tie in to Google Places, products extensions (that show images), and subscription extensions (that display a 'sign-up' field right in the ad). 

Improve PPC Click Through Rate via Ad Extensions

The most commonly used ad extensions are sitelinks. A Sitelink is a type of ad extension that enables you to have up to four additional, supplementary links in your ad. For ecommerce or deep sites, this can not only help your CTR, but also your conversions rates.

Extended Headlines

Another strategy that has been tried and tested is the use of extended headlines. This is indeed another very easy way of increasing CTRs for ads that are already present in organic search results. To use this strategy, simply end your first line of the description with a punctuation mark (an exclamation mark, a period or any other punctuation mark). The first description line will be added to the heading so that your PPC ad really stands out.

Ad Copywriting

Yet another option is using a display URL that is friendlier than your actual URL. You can have a display URL that is 35 words long and that includes a product name, a benefit or a special feature of the product or any other feature you deem helpful.

Improve your PPC ad's CTR by using seasonal headings. There is increased Internet traffic during the holiday season and during major events such as parades and marathons and you should take advantage of these. Simply reference or add an event in your ad’s heading. This makes your ads look timely and increases their visibility since more people will be searching the keyword.

Many clients/customers want to see brands in ad copies, but you should take note of the legal issues around trademarks if you are using a brand that is not your own in your ad copy. Do not use prices if you do not have the lowest prices in your niche. Instead, talk of any discount/s that you may have. You could also increase your CTR by including any free offer that you might have.

Do you have any ideas on how to improve the CTR of your PPC ads? Let us know in the comments section below.

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5 Tips to Optimize Your Twitter Page

Marketing on the web is vital for almost any type of business. Internet marketing and search engine optimization are very dynamic and there are new strategies being introduced all the time. It is important for you to keep up to date with the latest strategies and tactics being used for better exposure on the web.

Some of the most recent strategies involve the use of social media websites for web marketing. Although many business owners are ready to brush social media websites aside, they must recognize the fact that most time spent by internet users online is spent on social media websites. It is therefore important to take advantage of these easy, and free opportunities to gain additional visibility.

One easy place to start with is Twitter. And although the SEO link value in Twitter may not mean much, the inbound marketing potential is huge. That is, the potential to reel in new customers, as well as promote more loyalty in existing customers, by attracting them to you site via effective Tweeting.

It is not enough to open a Twitter account and hope for the best. You must optimize your Twitter page to ensure that you get the results you are hoping for. The following five tips will help you get the best results on Twitter.

Optimize Your Twitter Page

1. To establish credibility and authority in the search engines via Twitter, you'll need to build your reach. This means attracting quality Twitter followers. Google and Bing evaluate the author (and his or her following) to establish search engine rankings on some Twitter pages. You will therefore have better chance at a higher Google ranking if you get a quality following.

2. You can appeal to influencers by posting remarkable updates. Ensure that your content is valuable enough to earn retweets. Search engines such as Google will also consider the value of other influencers and relate it to your link, this works to boost your search engine marketing relevancy.

3. When you create your Twitter page, you will be allowed to create a short bio about yourself or your company. Use this space to optimize your Twitter page with keyword relevancy. Be sure not to overstuff the content with keyword phrases or keywords. Just using one keyword is enough. It is therefore important that you choose the keyword that is most relevant to your company.

4. Take your time when preparing your bio and ensure that it is attractive and signifies your brand. Use only relevant information that targets the interests of your audience. This bio has the potential to appear on search results pages, so brand it according to your logo and design elements.

5. Remember that the length of your tweets ought to be short (between 20 – 30 characters long) in order for them to be retweeted. Integrate SEO keywords in your tweets but keep them concise and 'punchy'. In addition, always promote content that reflects your company and that will establish a positive reputation for your business.

Do you have any suggestions on how to optimize your Twitter page? Let us know in the comments section below.

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How to Use Sitelinks Ad Extensions in Google AdWords

The playing field for Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is becoming more and more competitive. Even for highly niche keyword categories and geo-local search, the prevalence of PPC ads is growing.

There is one AdWords tool that can help your PPC stand out from the clutter. It is the ad extensions tool, and it can enhance your PPC ads for greater visibility and no extra cost.

Simply put, ad extensions are the expansion or extension of a standard text ad that displays additional information about the business or service being advertised. Ad extension can provide additional information such as a phone number or an address (call extensions and location extensions), product images (product extensions,) and additional links of the website (sitelinks extension).

two sitelinks on this PPC ad extension

The Power of Sitelinks

Sitelinks ad extensions are very becoming increasingly popular for PPC advertisers. These ad extensions allow you to have additional webpage links on a standard text-based ad. The unique aspect about sitelinks is that you can expand the size your ad by implementing these links, without having to pay any additional fees.

In addition to increased ad size and more visibility potential, some of the other benefits of using sitelinks in AdWords are:

* For broad keyword categories, sitelinks adds an extra level of specificity. So when bidding on a keyword like 'military uniform,' advertisers can add a few sitelinks for specific types of uniforms like 'Army uniforms,' 'Navy uniforms,' and 'Air Force uniforms.' This can significantly help for conversion optimization by sending customers to the specific products they are looking for.

* Sitelinks can make your ads more visually appealing (and sometimes more trustworthy.) Creative use of sitelinks to add a layer of credibility may include adding a link for 'testimonials' or 'reviews.' Think outside the box and really empathize what your target market sees value in while searching Google.

* Using sitelinks for local PPC is a great tool, especially if you have multiple locations in rather small geographic radius. Here you can add sitelinks for each of your locations to send users to the respective landing page.

Setting-Up Sitelinks in Google AdWords

So, how do you add Sitelinks ad extensions to your PPC campaigns? Log into your Google AdWords account and click on the campaign you wish to add sitelinks (keep in mind that you can only add sitelinks for campaigns, not specific ad groups.)

Go to the section titled ‘Show additional links to my site’ under ‘Ad extensions’.

where to set-up sitelinks in Google AdWords

Here you can list the URLs and names of up to ten internal links in your website, giving first priority to the most important links. Be sure to click ‘Save’ to activate the sitelinks.

Once a search engine user triggers your PPC ad, Google may include up to four additional website links (typically of the most relevant to the search term) along with the main link to your primary landing page.

It is also important to note that you must bid high enough so that your ad is displayed in the premium listings. This is typically the highlighted section, or the top three results of a competitive keyword category.

Start testing the waters with sitelinks in you Pay Per Click advertising efforts and starting optimizing your ads to be more effective in the SERPs.

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The Best Directories for SEO Link Building

Generating link popularity is one of the most effective techniques of search engine optimization (SEO). In addition to increasing your rank, SEO link building is also advantageous in that it brings in targeted Web traffic.

Earning links from credible directories brings your website out as being credible, trustworthy, and valuable. Directory links are completely "White Hat," and the links are typically inexpensive (if not free) to get.

In this post, we will highlight some of best directories for SEO link building.

Best Directories for SEO Link Building

Yahoo! Directory

This is a paid directory whereby you can list your website by category, location, and topic. It is one of the oldest and one of the most visited Web directories in the world. Yahoo! Directory is trusted by millions around the world and listing here enhances your credibility.

Once you are approved, you can do manual management of your listing over the Internet, you can request changes to your listing/s, you can update billing information, and you can view invoices. You will pay $299 per year for listing.

Business.com

Another good Web directory is Business.com. The Web directory allows you to list your business in over 65,000 categories, meaning it has highly refined categories. This Web directory is particularly helpful to B2B websites. Another advantage of the Web directory is that it usually attracts C-Level executives.

The Business.com directory is human edited, submission takes a few minutes, and approval is usually in a few days. You will pay $299 per year for listing.

Best of the Web

A cheaper option at $69.96 a year (or a $249.95 one-off fee) is Best of the Web (BOTW). This Web directory is advantageous in that it is frequently indexed by the major search engines which is ideal of organic SEO. Other advantages of BOTW include a 3-day evaluation, over 100,000 categories to choose from and a guide to blogs.

Google Directory

Google Directory, which is powered by Open Directory Project or ODP (also known as DMOZ), is also very effective for SEO link building. Listings are arranged hierarchically in sub-categories.

This directory is highly effective because it is owned and operated by the house: Google. This will establish good credibility in your site for its search engine rankings and overall organic SEO performance.

Other Directories to Consider

There are a number of other web directories that are effective for SEO link building. Many of these relatively cheap and some are completely free. Other top human-edited Web directories are GoGuides, Web Savvy Directory, Skaffe, MyLinkDirectory.org, The SEO King, and Jayde.

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Changes in Google AdWords' Exact Match and How to React

Google has made a recent change to the AdWords platform which could very well affect your Pay Per Click advertising performance. In accordance to this change, Google has announced that they are improving exact match and phrase match. Many advertisers debate whether the change is actually an improvement, or simply a way to make more money from savvy marketers who use AdWords.

Here is what Google is doing are doing: Exact phrase match used to mean that if an advertiser bid on [hair loss treatment] as an exact match, the only search query that display their ads was that precise keyword phrase. Now Google has changed the true definition of exact match to make it more flaccid. Now, "exact match" also includes close variations, such as singulars, plurals or misspellings. So bidding on [hair loss treatment] will still display ads based on searches like:

  • hair loss treatments
  • hair lose treatment

Why the Worry?

If you take a look at the buying cycle with respect to plural and singular variations in user searches, there are notable differences to keep in mind. A user who is searching "hair loss treatment" is seeking a solution or product to buy right NOW. An individual searching for "hair loss treatments" may be doing some research and getting a lay of the land for products or solutions to buy 2-3 weeks from now. There have been studies done that prove these differences in plural vs. singular search queries. This is big deal for PPC advertisers, and the changes Google has implemented could very well have an impact on impression share and overall ad spend. The good news is that you can opt out of the change.

How to Opt Out

In the Campaign settings, you will see this menu of options under the "Advanced Settings" toward the bottom:

Campaign Setting for Exact Match Opt Out

By clicking on plus symbol next to “Keyword matching options” you are given the option to opt out.

Keyword Matching Options for Exact Match Opt Out

By opting out of this new change by Google, the result may very well strengthen your advertising efforts. Even decent PPC advertisers (who fail to opt out) are going to begin realizing lower quality traffic. This will allow you capitalize on their mistake, and in essence, take advantage of the new AdWords change to exact match.

Please, let us know what you think of this new change in the comments below.

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"How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps?"

Many business owners are asking "How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps?" However, it is not so much Google Maps that they want their business on. It's Google Places.

There is intense competition for market share over the Internet since there are many players from all over the world, but a small business can compete with larger businesses by listing on Google Places. Google Places lists businesses, large and small, accompanied a map that is powered by Google Maps.

Most people use Google Places and Google Maps interchangeably, but Google Maps is a mapping software that services several applications, and the Google Places listings is one of them.

How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps? Google Places Optimization!

The Importance of Google Places for Local Businesses

You should strive to attain a top Google Places listing because this is a cost effective way of locally advertising a business. When people search for something using geo-modifier (or city in their seach query,) Google Places almost always appears in the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages). Google has strict criteria for ranking on Google Places and a placement therefore indicates to your customers/clients that you are credible and reliable.

You should, however, note that registering on Google Places does not guarantee appearance in SERPs when somebody searches a keyword you have used. There are two main Google Places optimization methods that you should try to increase chances of placement.

Google Places Optimization

You need to do proper keyword category selection for Google Places optimization. You will typically realize a higher ranking if your categories are very specific and relevany to your business. You are allowed to select up to five categories. Try to keep all of the categories you choose somewhat related. Google Places requires that you have one category from the Google Places hierarchy, and the rest can be customizable to your preferences.

Another way to achieve Google Places optimization is building citations. The Google Places page has a list of citations at the bottom of the page. These go by the name 'More about this place'. These citations are like SEO links, but they list NAP (Name/Address/Phone) information. Just like is the case with link building, the more the NAPs you have, the higher your ranking on Google Places will be.

Citations are your business's listings on different websites and directories, such as Yellowpages.com, Yelp.com, Kudzu.com. The most important tip here while building citations on other websites is to ensure that NAP is exactly the same on all websites. This is Google's way of referencing and confirming that your business is a legitimate place.

Also in the Google Places page is a description for your business. Here it is wise to include the keywords that you want to rank for. You may need to do keyword research to come up with the most appropriate keyword. You could use the Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool together with the Traffic Estimator tool for this. When determining traffic amounts, use 'exact match' instead of 'broad match' to get only the results of people who use the exact keyword as is.

Some of the keywords that your find may be useful for optimizing your own website for organic SEO. You may want to include these keywords in the Page Title, Meta Description, and page text of the homepage. Keep in mind, however, that you only want to optimized each page of your website for only a few related keywords. With that said, building out a few additional pages that focus on certain keywords targets may be a good approach for local search engine optimization.

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