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Web Development, Internet Marketing & All Things Tech

Why You Should Start Using the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Posted on August 9th, 2017

yoast seo plugin

 

WordPress is considered a very SEO-friendly content management system.

 

Luckily, it has now become even friendlier and more effective with the help of the Yoast SEO plugin.

This powerful tool is the most comprehensive SEO-related WordPress plugin available today that helps to boost results. It’s a free plugin (with an optional paid upgrade) and it can be installed on any self-hosted WordPress site.

 

Here are some more details on what the Yoast SEO plugin can do for you:

 

- Sets your targeted keywords and tracks how often they are being used on your site

- Lets you easily control titles and meta descriptions

- Provides a Google search result snippet “preview” of your meta data information as it will be seen by others in a Google search result

- Manages site maps

- Can do URL redirects

- Automatically notifies search engines once content is published

- Allows you to add a custom RSS footer for posts

- Offers integration options for major social sites like Facebook and Twitter

- Has the ability to get you verified Google authorship for your site

- Has breadcrumbs support, with configurable breadcrumbs titles

 

For more on WordPress and Search Engine Optimization, click here.

The Best Keyword Selection Tools for Search Engine Optimization

Posted on August 8th, 2017

keyword selection tools

 

Internet marketing can be a bit challenging, especially for those who are new to the online marketing world.

 

Before you start brainstorming those genius marketing ideas of yours, the first step you need to take is to determine what keywords you’re targeting for your campaign. Of course, this will vary from case to case depending on factors such as niche, product, location, and the ultimate goal that you have in mind. But, in any case, you need to know what’s best for your website and your business.

Using proper keywords will have a direct effect on whether or not you will be reaching your target audience. In fact, keyword selection should be done during the design phase of your website because these keywords need to be used accordingly throughout your site.

The following list contains a number of keyword selection tools to help narrow down your search. You need to have a list of possible keywords that relate to your business, product and website prior to using these tools. Once you’ve done that, you can fine-tune or edit your list as needed. Typically, you want to select related keywords that are highly searched by Internet users.

 

That’s where these keyword selection tools come in:

 

1. Google Keyword Planner
Google is the search king, so it’s not surprising that this is the most popular of the bunch. It’s a free program, but you need to have a Google AdWords account to use it. It produces helpful stats like monthly searches, competition level, and the average cost per click for each keyword. Another helpful feature is that it suggests tons of synonyms and variations.

2. Yoast Suggests
Yoast Suggests is ideal for long tail keywords. It starts with information from Google Suggest and then provides keywords with expansions for you to consider. They are alphabetically listed for easy scanning.

3. Moz – Keyword Explorer
“Keyword Explorer” (or KWE) is another great tool that takes users through the keyword search process. It offers 6 custom filters for keyword expansion and SERP analysis, and also has import/export functions. With this tool, you are given only two free searches daily. Anything more than that requires you to have a Moz Pro account, which starts at $600 per year. It’s not cheap, but Moz claims it has 95 percent volume accuracy.

 

Once you’ve established your keywords, you’re ready to go. Now you can start writing those blogs and pumping out those Google AdWords campaigns! To find out more about using Google Adwords for startup businesses, click here.

How To Optimize Your Images for SEO

Posted on August 4th, 2017

optimize images

 

If you own a website selling products, you want to make sure that the images you’re using are high quality.

 

But, in today’s online marketing world, it no longer ends there. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when posting images on your website. High quality images are important – yes, but if no one sees them, will it really help to increase traffic and sales?

Hopefully, you’ve got a decent SEO strategy already in place for your website. We all know that title tags, H1 tags and links are all needed if you want decent rankings. But thankfully, there are a few ways to optimize your images, too. Optimizing your images will make it easy for Google to identify them and spider that information so they will show up on Google’s search results.

Also, regardless of which file type you are using, for the best results, make sure to resize to the size you actually need, and then compress them to the point where you just begin to see a loss in image quality.

 

Here are some must-dos when placing images on your site:

 

1. Create descriptive and keyword-rich file names – The worst thing you can do is keep the default file names of photos (e.g. DSC000004). This tells Google nothing regarding what the image is about, so it will therefore not get indexed (neither in an image search, or normal search). You should always use descriptive keywords when naming your image files, as it’s crucial for image optimization.

2. Keep image file sizes small – Speed is everything in the technology world, so it’s not surprising that we are becoming less and less patient when it comes to waiting for anything. Websites are no different. Most desktop users will wait no more than 3 seconds for a page to load, and mobile users will wait no longer than 5 seconds before they exit a website. Large image files play a major role and can dramatically slow down your website’s load times. In addition to that, Google uses page load times as a ranking factor. So, if your website is not up to par when it comes to speed, it’s a double whammy for you. A general rule of thumb for e-commerce images is to keep your file sizes below 70kb. You can do this by either compressing your images, or using the “save as web” option in Photoshop. This will decrease the file size, while still maintaining image quality.

3. Use your alt tags – Using alt tags is an excellent way for your e-commerce product images to show up in Google search results (and also Google image search). Having the appropriate alt tags for your images will bring in more visitors. Be descriptive in your tags and use keywords whenever possible.

4. Use captions with your images – People tend to quickly scan content before they decide to fully read something. When we see images, we instinctively look at the caption. So, make the caption attention grabbing, in order to entice them to read on.

5. Use the proper image file type – Use the right file types at the right times. The three most common you will find are:

JPEG – for most visuals on your websites.
PNG – for high quality graphics and logos.
GIF – for icons, avatars, and animations.

 

For a great read on how to create better marketing images that will help increase traffic to your site, click here.

What is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), and Do You Need It?

Posted on August 1st, 2017

google amp

 

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a content delivery network that is provided by Google.

 

The purpose of AMP is to deliver websites to mobile users at a much faster rate by using a lighter version of HTML and delivering content via the Google-hosted cached version, instead of from your server.

Since its release, webmasters and website owners have noticed that websites that were optimized for mobile use (with AMP) were rewarded with higher mobile search engine rankings, whereas websites that were not optimized for mobile use experienced a drop in their rankings.

Coincidence? Not likely. With the rise of mobility use and Google’s focus on improving user experience, it will likely become a key ranking factor in Google’s books.

 

Here are some interesting facts to consider:

 

- Slower-loading web pages have higher bounce rates, and approximately 40% of visitors are likely to abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
- On average, AMP pages load 30 times faster than non-AMP websites.
- Mobile web pages using Google AMP for business see approximately a 200% increase in click-through rates.
- US mobile search accounts for more than half of total search volume in 2016.

 

At this point, it’s uncertain if AMP is an actual ranking factor or not. Most would agree that it is. The AMP project has more than 860,000 domains that publish over 35 million AMPs per week, according to stats shared by Google. Google also noted the expansion of AMP to more than a billion additional users in China and Japan.

Now that mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage, we should be adopting the “mobile-first” mentality. If you happen to have a WordPress website, AMP can be installed in minutes by installing a couple of plugins. If you need help with implementing AMP on your website, contact The Best Media – the digital marketing experts.

Here are the 5 Best SEO Tips That You Need to Know for 2017

Posted on July 26th, 2017

5 best seo tips 2017

Google changes their algorithm constantly, keeping everybody in the SEO world on their toes.

 

SEO techniques that worked several years ago may not play much of a role today. And, with new technology becoming popular, such as virtual assistants, Google’s search algorithms will surely continue to change.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes over the last couple of years is the massive increase in the use of mobile devices. Today, there are more people accessing the Internet with mobile devices than with a desktop PC. As a result, Google has changed their ranking signals, giving more weight to websites that are mobile-friendly, and this is just the beginning.

It’s all about achieving an optimal user experience. Slow websites are frustrating because nobody likes to wait. Reading a poorly-written article that lacks any legitimate message is annoying. And websites that are not mobile-friendly are difficult to view on a mobile device. These are the types of things that Google tries to remedy with new algorithms.

 

Follow these helpful tips for optimizing your website and online presence:

 

1. Build a strong presence on Social Media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make your posts interesting and fun, and don’t just jibber-jabber. Post frequently, but don’t overdo it to the point where it becomes annoying to your friends and followers.

2. Be mobile-friendly. Mobility is king today, so make sure your website or blog is mobile-friendly. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to view a website on your phone, and it doesn’t fit on your screen.

3. Turbocharge your website. Google doesn’t like slow websites and neither do users. Make sure your site loads fast. If it’s slow and lags, consider optimizing your images or changing servers.

4. Build quality links. Link building is not what it used to be.  The question is no longer how many links you have – it’s how good (in quality) are those links? Also, don’t just exchange with anyone. Ensure that it’s relevant to your website and its contents.

5. Switch your website from HTTP: to HTTPS: Google favours websites that use SSL, so secure sites are definitely the way to go. Once again, this is all done in the name of user experience. Secure sites have extra layers of security, preventing hackers from doing what they do, and obviously that benefits users.

 

For more interesting SEO tips and how to optimize a mobile-friendly website, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/seo-tips-for-your-mobile-friendly-website/

Creating High Quality Marketing Videos for Your Business at Little to No Cost

Posted on July 25th, 2017

high quality marketing videos

 

Video marketing is a fantastic way to connect with your audience on both a personal and professional level.

 

Not too long ago, creating professional videos involved spending thousands of dollars hiring a video production team, and buying expensive equipment in order to get the level of quality needed for a business marketing video. But thankfully, the cost associated with creating quality videos today is incomparable to what you would have paid 10 years ago.

The megapixels on today’s gadgets are so high, you can make a professional-looking video with almost any of today’s smartphones. Paired up with a good video editing program, you’ll be amazed at what you can create at little to no cost.

 

The following is a list of great options for editing your marketing videos:

 

1. Windows Movie Maker 2.6 – This is a free software program offered by Microsoft that works with Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP and Windows Server 2008. You can create and edit videos, as well as publish them on OneDrive, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Flickr with multiple file formats to choose from. It also offers a large selection of tools, effects and transitions (it’s expected to be replaced with Windows Story Remix by late 2017).

2. Avidemux – This is a free video editor that is capable of non-linear video editing and applying visual effects. It supports many file format types such as AVI, DVD, MPEG, MP4 and ASF. It’s designed for simple cutting/pasting, filtering and encoding tasks. It can also insert audio into a video file or extract audio from video files.

3. Lightworks – Lightworks has both a free version, and a paid version. This software program is currently available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It’s a professional, non-linear editing system (NLE) for editing and mastering digital video in many different formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions. Hollywood production movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” have used this software. It offers real-time effects, advanced multi-cam editing, importing of multiple file types and the ability to export to Vimeo and YouTube.

4. Blender – This is a professional, open source 3D content creation tool used for creating animated films, interactive 3D applications, visual effects, video games and 3D printed models. This powerful program allows you to edit, create 3D graphics, sound effects, and add special effects, such as fluid and smoke simulation, texturing, and soft body simulation.

5. VideoPad Video Editor – VideoPad offers both a free and a paid version. It includes a sound editing program, a sound mixing program, and an image editor. It supports frequently used formats, such as AVI, WMV, and DivX, and videos can be directly uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

 

For more information on video marketing, check out: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/why-video-marketing-is-bigger-than-you-think/

How to Build an Online Reputation for Your Business

Posted on June 13th, 2017

build reputation

 

Having a good online reputation is just as important, if not more important, than your in-person reputation.

 

If you’re a new entrepreneur and have just launched a website, building a solid reputation is key. SEO is just as important for a new website, of course, but here we will be talking about building trust and a good reputation with your readers or customers. The reality is that it’s an ongoing process and it will not happen overnight. Knowing where to start is the first step.

 

Here are 3 helpful tips for creating relationships with your customers and building a solid online reputation:

 

1. Social media – The most obvious tool that businesses and people use to capture their audiences’ attention. Through the use of likes and shares, it’s an ideal and cost-effective way to rapidly build relationships and trust with users.

The content you post on social media sites can make or break your business. Insults, swearing, and bullying are obvious no-nos (or at least they should be obvious). Your content should always be positive and, more importantly, informational. Creating content that is informative and answers questions that customers frequently ask will make all the difference.

When users have a question that they need answered, the majority of them will turn to Google to look for their answers, thus providing an opportunity for you. Once users see that your business provides a solution to their problem, relationships start and trust-building begins. It’s also noteworthy to mention that the content you post on social media sites should be posted on your website, as well, either with a blog, or perhaps a FAQ page.

 

2. Review sites – They are there because they work. Consumers want to be assured that they are dealing with a trustworthy, reputable company before opening their wallets. When a potential customer searches for “Best Home Renovators” on Google, review pages such as Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, Yelp, or Bing Places will appear. These testimonials will make all the difference, so be sure that your website appears on these sites. According to BrightLocal.com’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

 

3. Advertise your past clients and partners – While this is also a kind of testimonial, they can be even more powerful. Showing that your business is good enough to work with other reputable websites/businesses speaks volumes to potential customers when it comes to trust.

 

Has your online reputation already been damaged? To read more on how to recover, and how to rebuild that trust, click here.

Changing URL Formats? What You Need to Know Before Making the Switch

Posted on June 12th, 2017

changing urls

 

Changing your site’s URL format is not too complicated, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

 

Despite the format change being a relatively simple thing, if you want to make sure that you maintain your site’s ranking and authority, this is where things can get a little tricky. But, if you adhere to the following guidelines, then you shouldn’t have any problems.

One of the more common reasons for switching URL formats is to create a more user-friendly site. Perhaps you have thousands of pages and you want to reduce it to a few hundred by combining some of the related pages. But, when you do this, Google will treat the new URLs as brand new pages, causing you to lose any keyword rankings you may have had for those previous pages and suffer a drop in organic traffic. Therefore, when doing this, you need to ensure that you apply proper SEO redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs.

 

Generally speaking, combining pages to reduce the total number of pages should be avoided, if possible.

 

When dealing with larger websites with hundreds of thousands of pages, applying redirects for all the pages can become extremely complicated. But, if you decide to go ahead with it, make sure to have a digital marketing expert or experienced webmaster do it for you.

External and internal links are another aspect that is often overlooked when there is a shuffle in a website’s URL structure. Having links that point to old, inactive URLs (dead links) is disastrous for your site’s search engine optimization. All of these old links must be changed so they point to the new URLs. That also goes for any external links you may have on other websites, blogs or forums.

 

Need help from a digital marketing professional? Visit www.thebestmedia.com for all of your digital marketing needs.

Optimize Your Blogs and Articles With These 3 Great Tips

Posted on June 8th, 2017

optimize blogs

 

You can find endless amounts of information on the web regarding blog writing tips and best practices.

 

So, instead of covering the same obvious topics, such as “What message do you want to send?”, and “be sure to include an introduction and conclusion”, we are going to talk about the best blogging practices in terms of Google and SEO. As search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and ranking factors, you should make use of the following tips, always make sure to stay in the loop when it comes to Google updates, and regularly check on your web traffic for any drops in traffic.

 

Make sure to adhere to the following guidelines if you want the best SEO boost from your blogging efforts:

 

The first tip would be to frequently link back to previous content, preferably a related blog post on the same general topic. Linking structure is important to search engines, so by doing this, it will make your post more powerful because it shows you have some authority on the topic.

Secondly, your articles should have a minimum of 300 words, with keywords appearing 3-5 times throughout. Don’t make them too long, though, as it may scare off some potential readers.

Thirdly, you should post the content on your own website first. Then, wait about a month or so before syndicating it to other websites. You want to give search engines ample time to rank the post from your website before it ranks from your syndicated sites. In addition, this prevents search engines from becoming confused about a duplicate content issue, and ensures that your site will not be penalized, as you were the first to post.

 

For more helpful tips on blogging, visit http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/the-best-tips-for-creating-high-quality-blog-posts/

Duplicate Content – The SEO Consequences and the Remedy

Posted on June 7th, 2017

duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the web in more than one place.

 

You’re probably already familiar with the term “duplicate content”, but do you know the consequences it can have on your website?

The use of duplicate content isn’t always done intentionally, and it doesn’t necessarily stem from ill intentions, either. And while technically you won’t get penalized for this, it can still have a serious effect on your website and its search engine rankings.

The problem is that when it comes to duplicate content, search engines don’t know where to direct their link metrics, such as authority and trust. Search engines rarely show multiple versions of the same content in search results and are forced to choose which version is likely the best result to display. This means that even though you may be the originator of the content, someone else could end up reaping the benefits.

 

So what can you do if you find your content duplicated on the Internet?

 

First, you will need to pinpoint what caused it. If it was because of someone stealing or scraping your content, contact them and ask them to remove it. If they don’t reply or refuse to remove it, you can report the site as “webspam” to Google.

Many websites have switched from HTTP to HTTPS. So, make sure that there is only one live version of your site on the Internet. Having two live versions could be seen as duplicate content by search engines, so ensure that the previous HTTP version has been redirected to the newer HTTPS version using a 301 redirect.

Another possible cause could be with businesses that operate in more than one location and use mirrored subdirectories, with their products and contents being the same. For example: http://www.ebay.com and http://www.ebay.co.uk. This can also cause confusion with Google. To fix this, visit the Google Search Console and set up location targeting. To learn more about location targeting, visit https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en

 

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