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For SEO's: Providing Realistic Client Expectations

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a highly sought after service by business owners and marketers. Businesses seek to optimize their websites for better search engine rankings because higher ranking translates to higher traffic and consequently greater conversion potential.

You stand to offer a lot of marketing potential as an SEO professional because not only are the opportunities in search engine optimization are vast, but the demand is high. It is however, important that you be aware that gone are the days when simply writing great content and building links guaranteed a high ranking in SERPs.

SEO ClientsIt is important that you set realistic client expectations to ensure that your clients are not disillusioned while investing in an SEO campaign. Setting realistic client expectations will better guarantee your services are appreciated, paid for, and later earn referral clients.

New SEO Clients

If you are dealing with a new client, make sure that he/she understands that only sites that are at least several years old get consistent SEO results. There is intense competition and even keywords and keyword phrases that people are not searching for are often difficult to get high ranking with.

Ensure the client understands that it is possible to get a high ranking a few weeks, however only if the competitive nature for those keywords is moderate to low. Ensure your clients understand that an SEO campaign will only be effective if it is done on a long-term basis.

Qualified Leads

Make your clients understand that targeted traffic is more important than a high ranking on SERPs. Focus in the SEO industry is shifting away from having a particular keyword in a particular position in a particular search engine to how the keyword can be used to generate targeted Web traffic. Targeted Web traffic is desirable because people who know what you are offering and who are interested in the same are more likely to buy from you. In other words, quality beats quantity when it comes to online traffic.

It is unfortunate that most website owners who are searching for SEO services only look at the smaller picture and insist that the SEO company guarantees high ranking in search engine results pages (such as a high PageRank or PR on Google). If you ask most website owners what they want from an SEO campaign, most will give you such answers as “a top-4 ranking in Google/Yahoo! for my keywords.” Make sure your clients understand that a good business goal is something like “to bring many people who want the specific product/service I sell to my site”.

Assess the Competition

Although a high ranking in SERPs is desirable, the truth is that a lot of effort, time, and money go into this because of the high competition, especially for ecommerce SEO. Whatever you are selling, note that there are probably thousands, if not millions, of other sites that are offering the same thing or something similar and that use keywords and keyword phrases similar to yours. Even the best SEO company will not magically wave a magic wand or snap its finger for you to have a high ranking in SERPs. A high ranking in SERPs will be of no use if it does not add value to your business.

Does this mean that search engine optimization is dead? The simple answer is that it does not. SEO’s sole focus of attaining the number one ranking in SERPs for the best keywords has changed. Do not expect to do well with such a keyword as “best motorcycle helmet” because there are thousands of outlets, online and offline, selling motorcycle helmets.

Ask your clients to broaden their horizons and to see the bigger picture. Whenever a client tells you to help him/her attain a number one ranking in a particular search engine’s SERP, point out ways of fixing the website for it to attract more target traffic. Focus on improvements that will help the website design will work for users and search engines alike. Point out to your clients that they need not focus on “money phrases” and they need not insist that these phrases appear on all Web pages in their websites. Make them understand that there are other related keywords and keyword phrases that people are typing into their search engines every day.

Content is King

Most website owners create content for the sake of creating new content. They can be forgiven for this because the SEO industry has been insisting on good content for many years now. The word ‘great content’ has been thrown around for so long that few understand what it means today. Content creation services are so numerous that they have created a whole cottage industry.

There are even some content creation services that ‘rent’ content. Ensure that your clients understand that great content does not mean spam pages with the keyword substituted from one Web page to the next and it does not mean describing your products’ history. Ensure your clients understand that great content is content meant for the readers, not for search engines.

So, what makes great web content?

1) Great Web content is unique. The content should have creative ideas that nobody else in your industry has thought of. Being creative means you do not simply copy from your competitors.

2) You must be an industry leader. You must be willing to raise your voice and express your opinions, regardless of what people think of them.

3) You must be willing to pour your soul and heart into the website, not simply looking for quick fixes.

4) Great content takes care of Web users and search engines alike.

5) Great content is content that helps you get targeted Web traffic.

If you explain this to your clients, they will understand that generating quality content is neither easy nor fast, but once done, it will give lasting positive results.

Explain to potential clients that they must first determine their true goals before they call you. Explain to your clients that there are many SEO companies that promise more than they can deliver. A company that tells you it will deliver a number one ranking in a short time is simply after your money.

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6 Ways Social Media Signals Influence SEO

Social media is an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Consider the following six questions to better understand on social medial influences SEO:

What is your definition of social linking?

Social Media Influence Social media is one of the best channels through which you can get maximum traffic through links to your website. This is because there is a huge congregation of raw traffic as well as interested users that you can attract through links. Social linking refers to placing a link in a forum or piece posted in a social website such as Twitter or Facebook. Using social media as a location for placing links is not only a way of attracting a lot of traffic to your site but also a way of improving your search visibility on a focused content.

What are the key social link types that you have identified?

There are various characteristics that social links can have and they are identified depending on their target purpose. Links can be evaluated by how much they can be shared within the social site and whether they pass PageRank. Other links can be evaluated by how much SEO traffic or shares within a particular time especially if they are focused on creating awareness among users. Other links can be defined as temporary or permanent, social links or links within feeds among others. You should choose social links that directly appeal to your situation. For instance, if you use temporary links, it should be for a product or service that is temporarily on offer.

The No-follow attribute is a common feature in many social sites, are you getting any benefits of sharing your information on such sites?

No-follow attribute prevents users in some social media sites from directly accessing your landing pages through links. It is a measure that has been used for both securities as well as controlling the amount of links placed on such sites especially because social media is considered extremely fertile grounds for these. Although you can control SEO policies on no-follow by social media sites, you can invest in this area as the information you are sharing influences users to act on it and find their way to your website.

Are the aims of social linking in impacting on search engine algorithms for non-logged and non-personalized user effective with the links you have made?

There are so many social shares that these links receive for search engines to ignore. These links are for interested people to share with other people of interest. If the turnover rates for sharing these links is high, the search engines as well will be able note this. However it is important to remember that it's social media engagement that prompts people to get talking about your product.

Is there a difference between traditional links and social links?

Traditionally, social links were places on blogs and social media forums where bloggers would place the links within their posts. Interested individuals who read the posts follow this links to the landing page of your website. However the speed at which such traditional links spread through various user sharing on the Internet cannot to be compared to the rapid rate at which a Facebook status can be shared. This is because these links involve many more users and the sharing capabilities are much more flexible as compared to blogs.

Are your social links only used for achieving high Internet visibility as in link building or is there a return on investment (ROI)?

The only way to determine this is to review whether your social links are achieving the SEO goals that had been planned for. Social links should not only be limited to a means of achieving higher Internet visibility since there is a lot of underlying value to them. There are many things that social links can do other than creating high visibility including driving direct traffic and creating waves of awareness. There is so much that can be elicited for new content through social linking.

Learn more about the social media influence of SEO by visiting Click Centric SEO, a leading resource for search engine optimization and social media marketing.

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SEOmoz WBF Recap: Re-Optimizing Existing Content for Higher Rankings

Today's SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday underscores a major topic that deeply resonates with us here at IncreaseYourRank.com: "How to Move Rankings Up On Older, Existing Content".

Rand presents a number of SEO techniques and strategies to boost the search value of old pages of your website. Here's our recap:

  • Scout for more opportunities to build and earn external links (quality directories, guest blogging, etc.)
  • Increase the page's click-through by leveraging PPC, tweaking the page title and Meta description, and testing rich snippets.
  • Revitalize the content to be more engaging and compelling. In other words, increase the value of the content to promote greater conversions.
  • Send link love to the page internally (also consider re-directing similar, overlapping pages to this key money page.)
  • Be conscious of co-occurance and brand mentions with respect to external linking and other off-page variables

SEOmoz Higher Rankings

The Last Word

Proceed with caution when scouting for external link sources. Google is cracking down hard (especially with the big Penguin 2.0 due in the coming weeks.) Don't risk inquiring for links and listing on questionable directories and blog sites.

Get creative (both on-site and off-site) in how you can establish greater value in your money pages. User engagement (metrics like time on site and bounce rate) is playing a more significant role in determining a page's search engine value and rankings potential. Optimize for your visitors and you'll also be optimizing for the search engines.

Rank on.

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Google Panda 4.0 Update: A Briefing for the SEO Community

Google Panda 4.0Since the first launch of Google Panda in February 2011, the name of this algorithm update became a nightmare for many SEO's and website owners, including huge names in the industry.

The new Google Panda 4.0 update was no different then the first. The main objective is to support websites that have high quality content while penalizing sites that have duplicate, meaningless, and spammy content.

Website owners who only optimize their content for ranking high in search engine results without providing something valuable to visitors will lose, because the update aims to prioritize the usefulness of high quality websites for readers.

The new update had some negative consequences on reputed businesses, such as eBay, History.com, Ask.com, biography.com and many others.

On the other hand, some popular websites had a lot to gain from this and good examples can be buzzfeed.com, glassdoor.com, medterms.com, etc.

These websites are known for their high quality, original, unique and useful articles. According to what SEO's are saying, it is quite difficult to know if your site has been penalized or not. But, you can still be successful if you do things right.

The Future Moving Forward

It is not known when this series of updates for Google Panda will end, but until it will, many websites will continue to be destroyed. Content that has already been posted thousands of times will not be considered unique even if it is written a bit differently, so you will have to create really original articles for Google to consider them reliable.

It can be hard to do that, but with enough practice and work, it can be achieved. This is for a greater good, as in the long term sites with awesome content that really deserve to be well ranked will have a lot to gain. If your websites have that originality, there is nothing to fear of, because Google will notice your work and rank it accordingly.

To stay abreast the latest on Google Panda, visist SearchEngineLand.com's Panda News section and keep up to speed.

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Google News: Mobile-Friendly Sites to Rank Better in Mobile Search

Mobile Friendly WebsiteThe time for mobile-friendly sites to get better ranking in Google's mobile search results is soon to come, at least according to Google's newest search algorithm changes. The leading search engine will soon introduce algorithm changes that will include usability factors and app indexing to give mobile-friendly sites higher rankings in mobile search results.

In essence, this means that after Google introduces the search engine feature in April 21, 2015, making your site mobile-friendly friendly will be more important than ever before.

The new mobile ranking algorithm will be an improvement on the mobile ranking demotion algorithm Google launched in 2013. In addition to other capabilities, the new algorithm will determine whether your site is mobile-friendly, and determine whether it should rank better on the basis of this important determination. The changes will affect all languages in the world, but most of all, they will cause substantial changes in the way mobile search results are displayed.

Among the benefits Google hopes users will get from this improvement in search technology is the fact that you will have a much easier time getting relevant and high quality results that are also optimized for your mobile device.

Why, then, does Google have to wait until April to introduce this revolutionary technology? After all, Google is known for introducing drastic algorithm changes overnight. Apparently, the few months prior to the launch of the mobile-friendly search engine algorithm update should give site owners time to their sites mobile-friendly. As a matter of fact, you can use Google's mobile friendly testing tool and mobile usability reports to see how well your site is likely to fair once the new algorithm goes live.

Additionally, apps already indexed through Google's App Indexing feature will do better in mobile search results. However, this will initially only work for Android apps, since it will only work for signed-in users who have the app already installed on their mobile devices.

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5 Essential Forms of Schema Markup That Aid SEO

Schema markup and structured data can help you send the right SEO signals about your content and business in general. Perhaps you've heard that leveraging schema or any other kind of structured data is useful when you want to make search engines understand your content.

Surprisingly, only minority of SEO and Internet marketing agencies are leveraging Schema. However, using schema markup also does other things like increasing your search visibility through featured snippets, rich snippets, and knowledge graph results. Therefore, it emerges that structuring data in your site will help you create search engine-friendly signals, ultimately boosting your ranking.

In fact, according to Google's John Mueller, Google could be adding schema markup as a ranking factor. Therefore, it's important that you understand the different elements of schema markup and how they influence SEO.

Here are 5 different forms of schema markup and what they do to help your SEO efforts.

Breadcrumbs Schema Markup

In this markup, you will generate breadcrumbs rich snippets on Google results to increase your site's click-through-rate. For instance, if someone was looking for information about a specific subject and they saw an article with several links highlighted in blue just below the first few sentences, they would definitely click the title. Breadcrumbs markup make it easier for organic visitors to identify what they are looking for even before visiting your site.

Video Schema Markup

These days, videos are important than anything else. You might be having great videos that teach on how to perform certain tasks. But because they are deeply embedded into your site's content, it will be hard for the visitor to locate them straightaway. You'd need to rank well for those videos in order to receive traffic.

However, if Google displayed video rich snippets alongside the title of your post, it would be easier for the visitor to click that title. It also helps to favor your site when it comes to ranking in Google video search.

Webite Schema Markup

Have you ever searched the name of a website on Google only for the SERPs to return a search box and some other links below it? This is what we're talking about here. It's basically a search box feature meant to enhance your site's homepage on Google. However, to use this feature for website optimization, you must have an existing site search in your website to activate this element.

Product & Offer Schema Markup

This feature enables ecommerce SEOs to leverage schema to list information about their products in the SERPs. This may include price as well as status information. As for the product schema, only the name property will be needed. However, for the offer schema, the price and currency properties will be needed.

Rating Schema Markup

This element can be used by e-commerce sites, local businesses, restaurant and other entities to show average star ratings for a particular product or service. If an item has received multiple ratings so the number of stars are averaged, an aggregate value will be calculated, and in this case, the site owner will need to use the AggregateRating element of schema to display the relevant ratings.

Those are the different forms of schema that a site owner must be familiar with. As it had earlier been insinuated, structuring data in the SERPs is going to be a priority in the eyes of Google. You don't want to be left behind.

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An Inside Look at Google's RankBrain Algorithm

Have you heard about the latest in RankBrain? Do you know what RankBrain is? Time to take a look at the new search engine algorithm mechanism by Google, RankBrain -specifically the search engine ranking factors associated with RankBrain. Also take a look at how this might impact SEO.

Google RankBrain: What Is It?

RankBrain is a system of machine learning which is actually an artificial intelligence system. Artificial intelligence or AI is the term that refers to intelligence performed by software or machines. In basic terms and academic terms it covers the study of creating software and computers that have the capability of intelligent behavior.

Specifically, RankBrain is the AI system that helps process results of search for Google. It was confirmed to be in use by Google on October 26, 2015. The purpose of Google RankBrain as with most new algorithms by Google is to provide more relevant experience for the users. In this case in the area of providing search results.

Google RankBrain & SEO

Is Google RankBrain important in the SEO community? According to published interview RankBrain is only behind links and content for importance in the ranking algorithm. In the world of SEO or search engine optimization this makes it the next most important thing to consider after rank and content for ranking in Google search results.

A quick breakdown of RankBrain. It embeds a wide amount of language into vectors. Basically the benefit of RankBrain is it uses artificial intelligence to guess what phrases or words mean when it encounters phrases and words that it is not familiar with. This is great for efficiency especially in the area of search queries it has never encountered before.

If you are into SEO marketing this will only dovetail searches into existing searches that contain new phrasing looking for the same things. RankBrain will guess at the meaning and send them right to your SEO site based on artificial intelligence. With that said, best practices of SEO will still hold true for performance in ranking. Let's take a look at a few of the latest best practices. SEO improves your efforts by targeting the specific areas that specific search engines find the tops in importance.

Google RankBrain Algorithm Factors

The AI of RankBrain just channels new phrasing down this same road with mathematical guessing. Here are some factors that all search engines examine for ranking purposes. What does the profile of linking look like for your site? Is it providing value to other users of the web? Does your site's content provide unique, relevant, informative, and authoritative content? Keeping these things in mind will help you in keeping best practices for optimum in SEO performance.

Another thing to consider is your site's structure. This will influence factors that affect your SEO site's rank. Things to consider are speed of loading pages. The design and structure changes the quickness of upload. Keep this in mind early and keep it updated often especially in relation to your closest competition.

Another structural factor to consider is your navigation. Is your site easy to get around? Click through? Find what you need? This type of site architecture examination will help you make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Lastly and most easy to fix is the elimination of broken links. Keeping these off your site takes your attention but is always well worth it.

There you have it. An inside look at Google's RankBrain algorithm and a few SEO best practices. Google is always doing thing to make search easier for both sides of the query and RankBrain is no different.

To learn more about Goolge RankBrain, checkout some of the following resource:

How Google’s RankBrain Algorithm Affects SEO in 2016

FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm

RankBrain Unleashed

RankBrain: How Google Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Rank Web Pages

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