SEO Guru Blog – Part II: SEO-Cubed: Three Suggestions from Three Search Engine Gurus

Last week at iCopyInsider we featured the first part of an interview we did with some of the fantastic project managers we work with.

We grilled them about all-things-copywriting and SEO to get their take on how businesses should approach the sometimes-daunting task of staying found on the Internet. They dropped a lot of knowledge, far more than we could fit into one post; so today we bring you the second installment.

To refresh, here is your expert panel of SEO gurus:

Fumi Matsubara, Director of Account Services at Geary LSF Group

Miguel Salcido, CEO of Organic Media Group

Jenna Allison, Account Services Manager at Geary LSF Group

And here is each of our guru’s answers to the following question:

“What are the top three suggestions you can give clients who want to improve their ranking?

Fumi Matsubara

1. Develop strong, sound site architecture. Improve title tags that are not just keyword rich, but also with call to action to help with your click through rate.

2. Make sure your website is mobile compatible. This way you can broaden customer base and provide a quality user experience.

3. Invest time and resources in a good content marketing strategy.

Miguel Salcido

1. Be dedicated. Put aside enough budget for at least 6 to 12 months and let it ride. Basically, you need commit to SEO and see it through without getting antsy.

2. Create great content and continuously create new content. The more content that you have, the more traffic. It’s pretty simple.

3. Promote your content. Your content is the gift that keeps on giving. You should be proud to promote it.

Jenna Allison

1. Make it easy for Google to read and understand your site. Make sure that any content on your site pages is organic and natural, and update any title/meta tag descriptions for those pages.

2. Don’t over optimize. Several years ago, it was common practice to “stuff” keywords into your content. This is no good now. The way you should look at doing any content on your pages or for link building is to create conversational content. Don’t write something that wouldn’t make sense if you were having a conversation with somebody in front of you. Google is smart enough to understand what you are doing if you use too many keywords in one space.

3. Think quality over quantity when it comes to link building. This is one of the keys to creating authority for your site as well as boosting search rankings. Make sure that you aren’t overdoing it though. A few years ago it was OK to syndicate content over thousands of different blog farms. Now, Google is actually devaluing and penalizing those sites because it isn’t natural. You want to create content with links that are going to be beneficial to the reader/user: this is Google’s main objective when it feeds you a search results page.

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Black Hat Vs. White Hat

Guest Post by: Long-time iCopywriter Blogger, Jessica Towne

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), can be a powerful tool when it comes to getting attention on the web. This is because Google, Yahoo and other search tools use your keywords to determine where in the list of search results your particular site will land.

Using the right keywords for your site is the most imperative when it comes to online business marketing. This is because the more relevant phrases you plug in, the better the chance that search engines, and thus, consumers will find you.

Knowing which magic words to use – and how often, in combination with rich, pertinent content – is the key to creating effective copy. This is a balance I’m always striving to achieve for iCopywriter clients.

Understanding “Black Hat” and “White Hat” SEO practices is also helpful. If you’ve never heard of these terms, here’s a little primer to get you in the know.

Black Hat SEO

  • Black Hat SEO is basically trying to fool search engines into ranking your site high on results page by using practices that searching sites frown upon.
  • Typically this involves irrelevant content that doesn’t really help information seekers. It can be found in the form of one or two keywords being used excessively, or posting lots of links meant to redirect users.
  • It can also take the form of repetitive tags, or “hidden” text (characters the same color as the background, which make them fade from view).

Why should you care? It’s possible to be banned from certain search bars as a result of using Black Hat practices.

White Hat SEO

  • White Hat tactics direct attention to your site in an ethical, organic way. They involve taking the time to research and write content applicable to one theme and using related keywords to naturally direct readers/consumers to that content.
  • You can use synonyms to make multiple tags, headlines and titles that are associated with your topic, and include links to other useful information on the same idea.
  • This is an ongoing process, because it involves coming up with fresh news/stories all the time and properly using HTML code to link all of your work together.

Why should you care? With practice, time and a willingness to learn, White Hat SEO tactics can really work. Keeping this information in the back of your mind when you set out to create a winning webpage is key to making something that search engines – and customers – will trust and flock to.

For more information, check out this helpful (and user-friendly) site:,_black_hat,_and_gray_hat_SEO

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Photo Credit: V&A Steamworks

SEO 101 – The Beginner’s Guide to Ranking High in Search Engine Results

Did you know that market studies have shown that over 90% of transactions begin with a search? Even more surprising is that of those searchers, the same market studies showed that 75% of users rarely go past the first page of results.

We’re sure you know the importance of being listed in the top 10 results, but with constant search engine updates, such as the recent Penguin update, it is not uncommon to feel lost in the world of search engine optimization.

For many small businesses, there is a mindset of build it and they will come when it comes to an online presence. But with millions of websites on the internet, search engines can rarely find websites that operate in this way. Instead, it takes time and effort to prove to search engines that your content, product or service is what your customer, the searcher, is looking for.

Here are a few tips to help you understand what your website needs to help get optimized for search engine results.

  1. Understand your keywordsKeywords are the text that prospective customers type into the search box to try to find you. Search engines can find these keywords in the copy on your website – this is the main way that they determine if your site is relevant for the person making the request. Some small businesses try to simply stuff their pages with keywords. Why is this bad? The advanced algorithms search engines use will quickly deem your site as “spammy.” Keyword use must be natural appropriate. Unsure of what your keywords should be? Google has a tool to help here.
  2. Keep your site updatedGoogle also wants to see if your site is current. This requires constant updates, such as through regular blog posts and web page content revisions. According to a marketing Sherpa study, companies with blogs received 2000% more traffic, which resulted in 40% more revenue. High quality content drives people to your website and stirs the interest in your company to make them ultimately think of you when they are ready to purchase. Using content from professional copywriting firms can ease the burden on you to craft quality content, and can help you ensure that what you are putting out online will not hurt your search results.
  3. Build backlinksNot only do you have to worry about the content on your own page, but to show search engines that your page has something of value, other pages must link to it as well. This is best done by writing guest blog posts on other websites and linking the keywords you found in step one, back to your website and content. Sound simple, right? But getting guest posts accepted by the right sites can be tricky. Reputable SEO firms can help you here. Building backlinks through guest posting and other content marketing strategies should be a regular part of your SEO regime, as the more current your backlinks, the better your SEO will be.

Search engines have a job to do: delivering the most current and valuable websites to their searchers is their priority. To do this, they use complicated algorithms that are constantly changing. To stay ahead with your SEO efforts, put your content marketing strategy to work for you by keeping your page regularly updated with valuable information for your readers and by building backlinks on other sites.

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Photo credit: SEOPlanter

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.

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Photo Credit: Michperu

4 Ways Content Marketing Keeps Customers On Your Site Longer

By: iCopywriter Blogger Kimberly Crossland
Your website is your storefront on the Internet. And just like a brick-and-mortar store, you want to keep prospective customers in your store as long as possible. The more time your customers spend on your website, the higher the chances are that they will make a purchase.

Content marketing has taken the digital marketing world by storm for good reason. One of the most effective ways to keep your customers engaged with your brand online for longer is content. The more valuable information you can provide, the longer you will keep your prospects and customers engaged, and the more likely they are to ultimately perform the action you are driving them to do.

The following are four ways you can improve your website to keep customers staying for longer.

1.     Break up content on multiple pages – If you have a long blog posts or information-rich articles, break them up onto multiple pages. This will get your reader to click to other pages on your site to continue reading and encourage them to continue engagement with your brand even after they are finished with the blog post or article they are reading.
Recommend further reading – Once a blog post or article is finished, recommend further readings that are similar to the content your reader just consumed. This will not only keep them on your website, but show that you have more expertise as a brand and thereby establish you as an industry leader in your field.
Link keywords internally – Throughout your content, link keywords to other articles or blog posts that you provide on your site. Linking internally can drive customers to other content that you have developed and keep them engaged.
Embed interactive features – To make content more dynamic, add videos or slideshows. This will keep your customers on pages for longer. A recent study by research firm Ooyala states that approximately 40% of viewers who tune in to online videos on computers or laptops, do so for as long as 6 minutes. This percentage goes up with videos on tablets and smartphones as well. This is a significant amount of time to keep customers on your website and improve their experience.

A combination of informative written material, driving customers to other content, linking internally, and adding dynamic features to your site will keep your customers on your website. This increases the likelihood of social sharing, as well as the chances that they will purchase from your company when they are ready.

What else have you done to keep customers on your site for longer?

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Photo credit: Creativestock

Top 5 Common Mistakes Made in Company Blogs

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

In the age of social networking and digital marketing, there are few companies who fail to realize the importance of having a blog. Not only is it an excellent forum to engage with customers, it also allows businesses to place keywords on their site in a meaningful format that, when done properly, will be shared on social networks across the Internet providing free exposure to new potential customers.

Yet many businesses are incredibly overwhelmed and do not know where to begin, so they simply throw together what they think a blog should look like without the thought and consideration it takes to build an effective and successful approach. If this sounds like your company, consider if you are making one of these 5 common mistakes.

  1. Too Much Self-Promotion – In spite of the fact that a blog is placed on your website (and be sure the blog URL is connected to your site for ranking purposes), the main intention of every post should not be to sell. Instead, this is your area to shine and give your business a voice. Talk about controversial topics in your industry, or bring up new ways to use your product or service that your customer may not have thought of in the past. Avoid self-promotion and instead provide useful content that delivers value to your reader.
  2. Inconsistent Posts – Do not start a blog without a plan. Design a schedule of how many posts you will put up each week, and stick to it. Inconsistent blogs send a message that you do not care about updating your readers or your website, making trust in your brand weaken.
  3. Long Posts – Have you ever read an article and thought it was running on for far too long? Use lists and bullet points to get your thoughts across in a format that is easy to skim for the short attention spanned web-reader.
  4. No Delegated Content – Putting the job of writing and managing a blog solely on the marketer in your company is not wise. Not only will this add a significant work load to your marketing department’s already very full plate, but it will also cause the blog to falter because it will not receive the focus it deserves. Outsource blog writing to professionals who can create compelling content and deliver it in a timely manner.
  5. Same Story, New Post – Almost as bad as drawn out posts is post after post that have nothing new to share. Keep your content fresh and avoid being dull by using an outside service to help generate ideas and create the content for you.

Your company blog can be a great asset, but if it is not done right, it can also cause your business to lose loyal website visitors and an inexpensive form of marketing to potential prospects.

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