Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Content Marketing Is A Great SEO Strategy But It Is Not The New SEO

Author : Bharati Ahuja

The regular series of Panda updates have sent across the message to all SEOs that if you neglect the quality aspect of content then Google is going to neglect your site and deprive you of the search presence that you are trying to gain by optimizing your site for search engines.

But, this has put forward a misconception that if you focus on content the rest will be taken care of. When Google introduced the PageRank and gave importance to links the whole focus was shifted to getting links and gave rise to the link spam and a bad reputation for the SEO industry. Similarly now people think that if we regularly go on adding content the SEO is taken care of. This can result into a content spam which again will need some update stronger than a Panda update.

Link building was never SEO and neither content creation and its sharing should be considered as SEO. Content has been king since the first page was published on the web. It is 2012 that Google’s algorithms were capable of identifying quality content to a great extent and hence penalized low quality and thin content. Your website or blog is a container and the container is safeguarded or valued because of the content inside it.

SEO and content marketing are two different industries. Your SEO may or may not create content for you and at the same time your content creator or writer may or may not optimize your site. No doubt that every piece of quality content gives a boost to your search presence provided your site has been optimized wisely for the search engines and the search engines can easily index and extract the right context of the content to make it prominently visible on the search results for their users.

SEO makes the site capable of being indexed and SEO is that unbalanced force which sets the ball rolling and gives it an initial speed. The push of the regular quality content converts the speed to velocity and acceleration. Yes the right content gives it a direction which converts the scalar quantity of the initial speed to the vector quantity by giving it the right direction.

The content cannot get a direction and go far if it does not have the potential for the initial speed which is determined by the SEO of the site.

The SEO activity can be categorized as follows:

On Page Factors:
  • Title Tags 
  • Description Tags 
  • Suggestions for landing pages to make them more effective 
  • Work on the site architecture and navigation 
  • Image optimization 
  • Making the maximum benefit from videos on the site 
  • Header Tags 
  • Working on the content to ensure that it falls in the category of quality content 
Off Page Factors and Quality Web Presence:
  • Integrating Social Media 
  • Guiding the in house staff on how to use social media effectively to establish trust and authority 
  • Guidance on how to develop a blog and maintain it 
  • Improve on the quality of existing inbound links to the site by working on the details about the domain authority, Anchor Text and the relevant linked pages from the external site. 
  • Work on cleaning the link profile of non topical links. 
Local Search
  • Add the details to Google Places and Google Maps 
  • Integrate the Google Places account with the Google+ Business Page 
  • Suggest methods by which you can encourage customers to write reviews 
  • Optimize for Local intent keywords for organic search 
Other Technical Factors:
  • Set the canonical issues 
  • Robots.txt 
  • XML Sitemaps 
  • Add Structured Data in the form of Microformats and Microdata wherever applicable on the site 
  • Customize 404 (Page Not Found) Page 
  • Work on Improving the Site Speed 
  • Add Authorship Markup to the blog 
  • Add Twitter Cards and FaceBook open Graph meta tags to the blog 
  • Guide the web developer to implement microformats or schemas for products and reviews. 
The content of the site can reap rich dividends only if the above mentioned aspects are taken care of. Content Marketing or content creation and sharing is not the new SEO but undoubtedly it is an essential strategy to future proof your search engine presence.

All content creators may not be good SEOs and all SEOs may not be good content creators. These are two separate industries supplementing each other qualitatively.

If we value our industry and want to establish the true identity of the SEO industry, I think we should not propagate content marketing as the new SEO just like in the past some SEOs propagated Link Building to be SEO and brought a bad name for the industry. A Content creator needs to have knowledge about the concerned industry for which you want to create content but a SEO needs to have knowledge about the search engines , their algorithms , updates, webmaster tools, analytics,etc. 

If your site is not optimized for search engines then it is like a body at rest in the invisible web. When you optimize the site it becomes capable of getting the search presence and is displaced from the invisible web to the search engine index and gathers speed. The regular quality content and sharing give it a direction and it gathers velocity and further acceleration to reach the targeted destination.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If Content Is King Then Context Is Queen And The Trust Factor Is The Royal Crown

Author : Bharati Ahuja

‘Content Is King’ is a clichéd line which I think the entire universe must have heard by now . The recent Panda and Penguin updates by Google have made everyone work out a content strategy for 2013 if they are seriously interested to have a valuable search presence.

But by just adding content to your blog if you think your job is done then be assured that all the resources allocated to add that content will not reap any dividends if you are not focusing on certain factors.

In 2012 we saw Google trying to leave no stone unturned for removing the spam , malicious links which degraded their PageRank factor and tried their very best to eradicate or rather push the thin and irrelevant content to the invisible web.

But in 2012 Google started giving more importance to social media signals, consolidated data from Google+ accounts, authorship markup , schemas and webmaster tools accounts. By doing this Google is trying to assess the credibility, popularity , reputation and reliability of the site .

We have written in detail about the various factors influencing content and thereby the content creator in the following posts:

As you can see in the above image of the semantic layers,  'TRUST'  is the top most layer. All the other layers contribute in creating the Trust Layer. Trust is the emotional and logical aspect of the users decision to refer and recommend the site and content if he has been getting valuable information from the site.In the long run when the web will be facing the problem of Content Explosion this will be the most important factor determining the overall search presence of any website.

In May 2011 Google discussed More guidance on building high-quality sites

When Google answered the question What counts as a high-quality site? Out of the 23 questions that Google asked, the first and foremost question asked was :

Would you trust the information presented in this article? And all the other related questions determining the quality of the site contributed or correlated to this trust factor.

So the most logical question that follows now is what are the factors influencing the TRUST FACTOR or How does Google determine or rather will be determining the TRUST FACTOR ?

As in the image above the Trust Factor attribute is at the top most layer hence it is influences by the sum influence reflected by each layer below it. It is not like the cherry at the top of a cake having layers of icing but is like the fruit on the top most branch of a tree which has got its nutrition from each and every part of the tree starting from the roots.

Some Of The Factors Influencing The TRUST FACTOR OR Rather The Jewels Which Make Up The Crown Are:

  •  Age of the domain
  •  Quality of the content
  •  Social media signals
  •  Authorship Markup
  •  Security
  •  The context of the content
  •  Usage Metrics (CTR, Bounce Rate, Time On Site, No. of New Visits)
  •  Topical Inbound Links
  •  Webmaster Tools Account verification
  •  SSL Certificate or a secure payment gateway incase of Ecommerce sites
  •  User Privacy Option in user preferences
  •  User reviews on Google Local search, on reputed local directories and user onsite reviews
  •  UGC - User Generated Content by way of comments on blogs
  •  Regular updation of the site as per the latest web standards
  •  Consistent Contact details on site and across the web Address, Phone no, Social Media Accounts linking to and from site to social media account and vice versa
  • The quality, content and reputation of external links

There is no such thing as a “Trust Rank” as mentioned on some SEO blogs but yes there are certain factors which influence your overall ‘Trust Factor’ and accordingly affect the rankings.

Matt Cutts explains in the following video:

Every piece of content you publish, share or link you get associated with influences your trust factor accordingly. I am not aware of the mathematical formula or the grading system used by Google to evaluate the ‘Trust Factor’ but all the factors mentioned above are collectively responsible in influencing it.

Next time you publish or share content on any web platform, place the quality and the context of the content in mind rather than the quantity so that every footprint you make on the web adds up to your web karma and thereby influence the ‘Trust Factor’ to future proof the search presence .

The Trust Factor can make the site an "Authority Site".

If ‘Content Is King’ then it needs a crown as monarchy is incomplete without the royal crown and the TRUST FACTOR  is that royal crown.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How To Get More Comments On Your Blog Posts

Guest Post By:

is an SEO consultant and the founder of services. In his free time, he enjoys building websites and walking his dogs.

In a perfect world, each of your blog posts would have at least 10 Facebook Likes, 20 Tweets, 30 Google +1s, and 50-100 comments. There are so many benefits to having an engaged community on your website, including far-reaching social signals, a natural conversation around topics related to your content, and with the blog comments, a source of superb user-generated content (UCG).

Detail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But comments on your blog posts can be sparse, and there could be days that go by where you would hardly see any interaction. Why is that? You’re spending time writing great content, researching and reaching out to others in the community, interacting with others on social media, talking with your friends and coworkers about your blog, and on and on. Why aren’t your posts getting any comments?

Before I jump into some actionable tips for increasing the number of comments on your blog posts, I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing why comments are important in the first place.

Fresh, user-generated content

User generated content is an integral part of a healthy website.

Imagine you’re driving down a highway, and you stop to fill up for gas and grab a bite to eat at the service station. You sit down at the table, and you can’t help but notice swarms of people coming in, buying a package of gum, and then leaving in a cloud of dust. Where’s the conversation? Why are people in such a rush? Don’t they want to hang out here?

Google uses a lot of factors when determining how to rank a page, but one of the things that is important to remember is user-generated content can add natural keyword variations that you couldn’t add naturally on your own. Without blog comments, your page may rank just fine, but it could rank better with a natural influx of comments, much like my gas station metaphor. If people noticed others sitting down and having a conversation, they might be inclined to do the same.

User-generated content can also affect your freshness score. In a 2011 post on SEOmoz, Cyrus Shephard mentions the fact that the amount of change on your page can play a role in its freshness score. Obviously there are other factors at play, but a living, breathing document (a page with new comments coming in) could rank higher than if it didn’t have any comments at all. 

How to increase your blog post’s comments

OK, now on to the nitty-gritty. There are some things you can change right now that could increase the level of engagement on your blog posts, including: 

1. Placement of the comments widget

Place the comments box as close to the end of your content as possible, so users won’t become lost in a sea of calls-to-action such as related posts, ad blocks, social buttons or other distractions. 

2. Participate in the conversation

Let’s say you’ve come across a new blog post that you really enjoyed reading, and decided to leave a comment. Weeks go by, but there’s still no response from the author. Bad form! At the very least, that author should have thanked you for reading! You can keep the momentum going with your post long after you write it by asking questions, sparking conversation and responding to comments. 

3. Make it easy to comment
How many hoops are you making your readers jump through to leave a comment? Sure, you want to combat spam (who doesn’t), but college-level algebra CAPTCHAs should not be mandatory, and registering for an account in order to leave a comment will only turn people off. There are a host of great WordPress comments plugins that are easy to use right “out of the box”.

What are your tips for increasing the number of comments on your blog posts?

Leave a comment!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 12 SEO Posts Of 2012 Of Our Blog

The purpose of our blog has been to share  information on topics related to search and  social media . It has been our constant endeavor to write more extensively about SEO and  the direction in which this industry is getting geared to.

We are thankful to our readers who are our source of inspiration and motivate us to keep writing regularly. Our focus has been on quality rather than quantity. We have put in our maximum efforts in offering content which is original and  unbiased.  

Following are some of the posts which have been accepted whole heartedly in 2012.

A very big thanks to all the people who read our posts and shared them in 2012. Every share motivates us to write more and means a lot to us.