Three Things You Should Know About Mobile SEO

Do you need to revise your tactics for mobile SEO? And what impact will Siri, the new iPhone 4S personal assistant that searches the web, have on your SEO efforts? Here are three things you should know about mobile SEO.

1. You don’t have to rethink your SEO strategy to optimize for mobile web searches.

Mobile SEO works pretty much the same as desktop SEO. You still need to optimize content with relevant keyword phrases. You still need to attract quality backlinks from other sites. And you still need to ensure your site is search engine-friendly.

To explore mobile-friendly keyword phrases, use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool’s mobile filtering option. Look for “Advanced Options and Filters” near the top of the page and select “Devices: Desktops and laptops,” then select a mobile option.

2. You might want to make your site mobile-friendly.

In most cases, modern smartphones and tablets are capable of serving up desktop-browser-optimized sites in a readable, usable fashion, “so there is no real need for mobile-specific effort from webmasters,” according to Google’s Webmaster Central blog.

However, it might make sense for your content to be formatted differently for smartphones and tablets to improve the customer experience and to increase the likelihood they’ll make a purchase or take a desired action.

Not sure how your current site looks on a small screen? On November 1, Google released an online tool, GoMoMeter, which shows how your site looks on a mobile browser. You can also find a mobile site developer using Google’s tool. For $25 a month, Mobile Moxie offers online tools for keyword research, mobile website emulation, mobile search engine simulation, and more.

3. Siri will make optimized listings and long-tail keywords more important.

Ask the iPhone 4S Siri personal assistant a question, such as “Where can I hide a dead body?,” and it’s likely to deliver a list of relevant businesses culled from Google Places and Yelp (such as swamps and dumps). As voice-search technology on iPhones, Androids and other smartphones become popular, it will be even more important to make sure your small business has a keyword-optimized listing on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp.

At the same time, Siri makes long-tail keyword searches much easier on an iPhone 4S. With that in mind, you might want to create an FAQ page on your site with the questions written as long-tail keyword phrases.

Adding it All Up

Optimizing for mobile devices is no different from optimizing for computer-based searches. But as people increasingly perform searches on smartphones and tablets, make sure your site displays well on mobile devices and emphasizes the action you want users to take. Get your business listed with Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp (if relevant). And stay current with voice-enabled smartphone search and other trends.


James A. MartinJames A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco.

 

New Web Software Tool Optimizes Your Web Site Copy, Blog Posts for Free

At the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in San Francisco, I was given a demo of InboundWriter. It’s a new online tool that helps you optimize content such as web pages and blog posts for search engines, and it’s well worth a look-see.

With the free version, you can optimize up to eight documents a month. If you need more, there’s a $20 monthly plan.

After setting up your account, you create a new document. Next, tell InboundWriter what the topic is and give it some websites your site (or blog) competes against. This helps give the tool context for the recommendations and score (from 0 to 100) it assigns your content. The score reflects how well, or poorly, your document is optimized for relevant keyword phrases.

InboundWriter displays a list of relevant terms and rates them as to how effective they may be for optimizing your content. The software calculates how many times you’ve used a given term and provides easy-to-follow recommendations.

While helpful, InboundWriter is a new Software as a Service (SAAS) that will likely improve and gain more features over time. Some of its keyword recommendations are off the mark, for instance, and typing in the document editor can be slow. But these are minor complaints. Give the free version a try, especially if you have a WordPress blog; an InboundWriter WordPress plug-in has just been announced.


James A. MartinJames A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco.

 

Thank You Google – Content is Queen Again (Mostly)

Here’s hoping that Google’s recent focus on improving their search results to feature websites that actually provide decent, original content is a trend that continues. This focus needs to become even more discerning.

The proliferation of sites that put out regurgitated useless content, all laced with an over abundance of keyword driven links in every paragraph, may now decline – at least in the results that show up on the front page of a search. As users of information, we want quality information. Don’t insult us by using the same old story, thinly disguised as something new. Most of us have pretty well trained B.S. detection systems by now – and we are not fooled.

What does this mean to you as a website owner? It means asking yourself these questions:

Does my site content address the concerns and needs of my site visitor?”

“Am I giving my visitors/readers the information they want and need?”

If you care about them returning to your site, the answer needs to be “Yes”.

As a frequent user of on-line information I recently signed up for a weekly e-zine. The first issue arrived. I was expecting lots of good advice, news and suggestions. I got two paragraphs driving me to links, to more links, all promising me the information – which I never got. After 4 link clicks, I gave up and immediately Unsubscribed. This large on-line information company spent a lot of time and money getting me to sign-up – only to lose me immediately because of garbage content.

Web site content doesn’t need to be written by John Steinbeck – just make it authentic, original and useful. Keywords and links can be placed to help with your SEO needs, just don’t let these needs drive the content over a cliff and make the whole thing unreadable and annoying to your visitors.

On the flip side, there are a multitude of great information sites waiting to be read – pick any obscure subject and you will find a lot of content rich sites addressing the subject. Raising rabbits? Composting for fun and recreation? Learning to paint on-line? It’s all out there. Google is now rewarding these niche sites for their originality – and readers everywhere rejoice!

Suzanne ElliottSuzanne is an artist and freelance copywriter who specializes in web content, articles and press releases. She is an expert at writing email content that engages the reader. She can be found at Sue Elliott and Pleinairmuse.com.

 

Top 3 Link-Building Tips for Better Google Search Result Ranking

I’ve wrote a piece for Small Business Computing on the top 10 tips for using links to improve Google search result rankings. Here are the top three tips from that article.

1. It’s way better to have a few quality backlinks than thousands of crappy ones.

A lot of people go after as many backlinks (links from other sites that point to your content) as they can get. In reality, though, it’s better to have 20 high-quality links than 20,000 links from junky, spammy sites.

What is a high-quality backlink, exactly? One example is a link in an article that points to a page on your site, especially if the article is relevant to your web page. The more authoritative the site is that links to yours, the better that link will be for SEO, not to mention helping to drive traffic to your site.

2. Quality content attracts quality links.

A blog post or article on your site that’s funny, controversial, useful, highly topical, or just plain interesting is likely to get linked to by bloggers and others. The search engines see those links as votes of confidence for your content, which helps the content rise in search result rankings.

3. Don’t get too caught up with Google rankings.

The SEO benefit of a well-placed backlink from a contextually relevant, authoritative, trusted site can be transitory. However, such a backlink can give  you long-term benefits by continually driving targeted, motivated viewers to your site. The less you depend on Google to send targeted traffic to your site, the better off you’ll be in the long run.


James A. MartinJames A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco.

 

How To SEO Your About.me Profile Page – Personal Branding At Its Best

Thomas W. Petty About.me profile page

Thomas Petty's About.me

I’ve given talks about personal branding, and always encourage business owners to make sure they optimize their name for the search engines, as much as their business itself. After all, people do business with the person, not the company.

I like to tell people, “People buy into you before they buy from you.”

As someone who is in competition with another much more famous Tom Petty, I’ve worked hard to brand myself on the search engines as “Thomas Petty”. Unfortunately for me, there’s another famous person, Dr. Thomas L. Petty, a pioneering pulmonologist who recently passed away. He too has been in the news because of the work he’s done in his medical specialty.

When I saw that About.me was inviting people to claim their own name, I jumped on and grabbed my own name before the “other” Tom Petty got it. Now that I have my own Tom Petty profile, I wanted to see if I could get it to show up on the search engines for some of my personal branding terms.

About.me Has a Simple Interface

When you claim your name on About.me, they only give you a few things you can do. You’re basically creating a simple one-page profile that brands it as you. The first thing I did was created a background image for the page, but that doesn’t help with the search engines.

Next, you have to fill out some information about yourself, like name, headline and biography.

After looking at the html that the page generates for you, I discovered the following:

The two name fields become your Title tag in the page code. If you’ve done any SEO work at all, you’ll know that the Title tag is probably one of the most important factors for getting listed on the search engines like Google.

So I decided to manipulate things a little bit. They give you two boxes, presumably for First and Last name (even though they aren’t labelled as such). So I put my full branded name in the first box, and a key phrase, “SEO Consultant” in the second box.

Those same two boxes also automatically code my name as an <h1> tag or primary header tag for the page. The <h1> is also important from the search engines’ perspective.

Next, the “Headline” gets turned into an <h2> tag directly below your name. This too can be an important factor for the search engines, so I put in a couple of my key words there too.

Finally, the first 157 characters of your biography get coded into the Description META tag. So doing a little wordsmithing using a text editor (I love Textpad), I got it down to where it fit in the Description tag.

The Description tag isn’t a factor in the search engine ranking, but it is an opportunity to market to people who see the listing in Google.

The Results

thomas petty about.me profile shows up in Google

Google results

After waiting for a few weeks for Google to pick up the changes, it appears that a little bit of effort has paid off. Doing a search for things like “livermore ca seo consulting” gets my About.me page showing up in position #2.

Pretty cool for free and a little fiddling around. Does it get much traffic? Absolutely not, but it’s one more notch in my personal branding efforts, and possibly a link or two back to my website.

Yahoo! and Bing have yet to index the page, so I will have to wait a little longer to see if it’s helping there.

I’d be curious to see how you implement these ideas and what your About.me page looks like, so post a link in teh comments below.


Thomas Petty is a Certified Internet Consultant at his consulting company, WSI Smart Solutions, and he works with businesses who are struggling to get new clients through the Internet. He also teaches beginning, advanced and master-level SEO classes at the Bay Area Search Engine Academy.