Monday Must-Reads

Happy Presidents’ Day, iCopyInsiders.

I guess the foremost question on my mind is what Sasha and Malia Obama got their dad for his special day. In this case, a quick Web search wasn’t much help in digging up a good answer. Let me know if you find anything; I feel like somebody at least got him a tie.

However, I did find this interesting slideshow of Presidential gifts by The New Yorker.

The second thing on my mind this very Presidential Monday is the importance of social media and search rankings, which is how we’re starting off this week’s edition of Monday Must-Reads.

  1. AdAge charts how Facebook Graph Search will make it easier to measure ROI on social media, with some tips for optimization. No cheats here. As the Web gets smarter, every search engine will attempt to measure and reward genuine engagement with business-created content.
  2. VentureBeat breaks down ComScore’s Digital Future report. Among the key takeaways: Google still dominates search, but Bing is making slow but sure progress. LinkedIn and Twitter are neck and neck for unique visitors.
  3. TechCrunch picks this up from the ComScore report: 3 in 10 paid advertisements are never seen by customers. Considering that 5.3 trillion ads were shown in 2012, that’s a lot of ads that never saw the whites of a customer’s eyes. Don’t neglect your organic search marketing, folks! Connect with the people who are actually trying to find you.
  4. I have a few blogs I try to keep regularly updated – not to mention my workload as a freelancer – so trust me, I get that keeping content updated is a daily struggle. MarketingProfs has some helpful tips on how to build content marketing into a business routine. Routine, I would say, is the keyword.
  5. Also on the content side, Reputation Capital presents an interesting roundup of startup founders talking about the value of blogging. They ask a good question: Is it right for every business.
  6. Props to CNET for finding this: Harlem Shake Roulette. You’re welcome.

 

How to Give Your Website a Checkup

Welcome to the depths of winter, iCopyInsiders. We hope everyone is staying healthy with flu season raging (don’t forget to wash your hands, folks). And of course, America’s own version of seasonal affective disorder is swiftly approaching with the end of football in two weeks.

As the weather gets dreary and frigid temperatures set in this week, it’s as good a time as any to stay indoors, heat up some soup and give your business website a checkup, as well.

And when we say checkup, we mean checking in on some of the key indicators of a healthy, vibrant website – one that potential customers will actually find on Google and other search engines.

Now, as we’ve written in the past, a successful content strategy takes a dedicated investment of patience, commitment and resources to see serious return on investment. But you don’t need to hire an expensive firm to get a basic idea of whether your site is doing well or poorly. There a number of free search engine optimization diagnostic tools that can give you a broad idea of how to improve your site’s SEO efforts.

Here are some of our favorite free diagnostic tools.

Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

Both Google and Bing offer a ridiculously useful set of free tools for diagnosing the health of your website. Both of these should be a starting point for any site checkup, because they can be used to quickly see how the two search engines view your site, including the search terms customers are using to find it. They can also be used to figure out malware and website glitches such as crawl errors.

Copyscape

Google punishes duplicate content in its search rankings. And it’s no secret that plagiarism, whether you are aware that your content producers were committing it or not, is a guaranteed fast way to tank a reputation. That makes Copyscape – which scans the web for duplicate content – one of our go-to tools here at iCopywriter. We run everything that our writers produce through the service, but even if you’re an iCopy client, it’s worth checking out if you’re posting material on your own or from other bloggers.

Google Page Speed

Website load speed is an underrated factor in your search rankings. You don’t want to waste users’ time with a clunky, hard-to-load website. Also, they’re more likely to click away from a site that doesn’t load quickly. Luckily, Google has a set of Page Speed Tools that can be used to assess how quickly your website loads.

Site Grading Tools

There are a number of sites that can give you a quick, letter grade assessment of how your website is performing. We like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader. It’s a great resource for figuring out a few jumping off points for improving your website.

Social Mention

One of the big trends for 2013 will be social media’s increasing importance in search rankings. Bing is incorporating more Facebook chatter into its search results and Google Authorship is going to give more weight to socially influential content creators. Use search engines like Social Mention to get a quick feel for how and where your brand is registering on social media.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: FindYourSearch

Monday Must-Reads

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

Happy Monday, iCopyInsiders. I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. Of course, if you find yourself behind a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other glowing rectangle today, we’ve got you covered with our weekly reading list.

If you’re attending an Inaugural Ball tonight, you may even think about asking your social media butler to retweet a few of them.

Without further adieu, check out these SEO and copywriting links.

1. We harp on it a lot, but if you want further evidence that social content is becoming more and more relevant to search, HubSpot has a good article about how Bing is adding more Facebook content to its search results.

In other words, it’s a good time to clean up that company Facebook page.

2. Maybe I’m in a social media mood today, but I also liked this piece from Entrepreneur about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for search. You’ve got expertise, but can the people who need it find you online?

3. I initially chuckled at this new series from Copyblogger called The Writer Files, which will feature regular interviews with some of the Web’s foremost content producers. I mean, we’re not exactly The Lives of the Poets. But it’s actually an interesting window into what kind of workflow some of the Web’s best bloggers use.

4. I guess we have to give a nod to mighty Google because this is an SEO blog. Here’s an interesting piece from Slate about how the company keeps its employees happy with the world’s most sophisticated HR department.

5. Finally, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is more than a lazy Monday. I recommend reading (or rereading) Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail or the text of his immortal I Have a Dream speech. His words remain powerful, inspiring and even revolutionary.

 

Google vs. Bing – The Battle Gets Heated

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

It looks like Microsoft is taking the fight for search traffic directly to Google – just in time for the holidays – with ads explicitly calling out the Web giant as a terrible place to shop.

This is according to a recent article by The Associated Press. Microsoft, of course, wants to drive eyeballs to its own search engine, Bing, which is a far-off second to Google when it comes to traffic.

Microsoft’s main issue – and it’s fair game – is that Google is charging merchants to appear in its special shopping listings. This of course goes against Google’s overall ethos as the fairest and best source of information on the Web. Microsoft has set up its own site as part of the ad campaign: Scroogled. The site doesn’t shy away from saying that the Google guys are basically hypocrites, using their own words against them to pretty devastating effect.

Although, as Danny Sullivan, an editor at SearchEngineLand.com, tells the AP, even though Microsoft’s attacks on Google are more or less fair, Bing isn’t exactly innocent. It takes its own cut from listings provided by Shopping.com, though the majority of Bing’s shopping listings aren’t paid for.

My initial reaction is that tech companies like Google are going to keep looking for ways to drive new revenue – like any company would – except that the Web is so ridiculously competitive. And the margins are so low that we really shouldn’t be surprised if Google starts balking on some of its idealistic promises. Witness Facebook’s recent changes to its business pages, which more or less force users to pay to promote their posts in order to reach their full audience.

After all, giving away the world’s information is expensive, especially if you’re doing it for free. The question is how much companies like Google and Facebook can get away with before they compromise their brand – and drive away users.

On the Web, you’re only as good as your audience. My sense is that Google messing around with its shopping listings isn’t much of a game changer. There are a ton of other price comparison apps out there; people will gravitate toward the one that actually finds the best prices. If Google can’t do that through paid ads, then people won’t use the site.

But if Google starts fooling with its actual search page – which is about as close to sacrosanct as you can get on the Web – well, then it’s time to have a whole new conversation.

How do you feel about the Microsoft/Google dust-up?

Photo Credit: michperu

Boost Your Bing SEO with These Simple Tips

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

It is clear that Google is the clear focus for many businesses when it comes to SEO strategy. After all, they currently hold nearly 65% of the market. But for many companies, the value of Bing is understated. According to Experian, Bing currently holds 28% of the search engine market. This is up 5% in only the past four weeks alone making it a legitimate game player when it comes to the SEO field.

How can your business get on board with this up-and-comer and stay ahead of the curve? Here are a few tips for Bing SEO.

  • Include your keywords in your title tag – This should not be too difficult because many businesses already do this for their Google SEO. However, Bing puts far more weight on the importance of this in their algorithm than Google, so focusing on it for every page, article and blog post can potentially boost your rankings quickly.
  • Don’t discount flash so quickly – There is a lot of buzz in the industry surrounding Flash websites vs. HTML5 and the importance of switching your website over from Flash just to make up for Google’s seemingly dislike for this technology. But Bing is more Flash friendly and having your site with Flash may actually help your rankings on this search engine.
  • Link love – For both Google and Bing, inbound and outbound links alike are important. Continue to work toward obtaining these valuable links through guest blog posts, articles and more and you will boost your Bing rankings, as well as your Google rankings for an all-around positive SEO strategy.

We think Bing is a search engine to watch. By focusing on their SEO strategies, which do differ slightly from that of Google, you will have a leg up on the competition and ultimately earn more results from the web as a whole in the long run.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: Michperu