Boost Your SEO IQ This Month

January is almost over, iCopyInsiders. How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Of course, here at the blog, we don’t believe that it needs to be Dec. 31 to commit to self-improvement. So, we’d like to humbly propose a New Month’s resolution:

Learn something new about SEO and/or the Web in February.

Even if your company outsources its search engine marketing – and most do – it’s well worth it for any business owner or manager to pick up some of the basic SEO terminology and skills [check out iCopy's latest Pinterest boards: "For Our Clients: Interesting SEO Copywriting Info & SEO News]. It will make you a savvier customer when it comes to shopping for vendors, and it will make strategizing with them more effective, as well.

Knowledge is power, as the cliché goes. It also leads to Web hits. Here are some of our favorite resources for learning the art and science behind the clicks.inflatable jumpers buy

Online Courses

For a comprehensive dive into SEO, there are a number of excellent online courses.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University offers more than a dozen online videos taught by some of the leading lights in search, tech and marketing. They’re a little less than an hour each, but well worth a chunk of your evening or whatever spare time you can find. They’re also free to watch online.

In terms of paid options, DistilledU offers access to its SEO classes for $40 per month, although you can test out the service with a free demo. Point Blank SEO also offers a course for $67 on the all-important subject of link building.

Subject Guides and Blogs

For digital bookworms, the gold standard on the Web is the Beginner’s Guide to SEO, a free ebook produced by software company and online search community SEOmoz. It’s short enough to read in one dedicated sitting, but covers all the biggies, including the basics of how search engines work, how to use analytics and SEO-friendly Web design.

No surprise here, but Google also offers several useful resources. The company offers its own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. To stay on top of the company’s latest announcements, be sure to bookmark its Inside Search blog. Google Analytics IQ is another great resource for figuring out how to decipher the vast amounts of visitor data that websites produce.

Web Development

For those who are truly ambitious – but technical newbies – consider dabbling in programming. Getting under the Web’s hood is the fastest way to understand how it works. Luckily, thanks to massive online open courses, top-flight tech classes are right at your fingertips. Udacity’s beginning computer science course actually runs users through how to build a bare-bones search engine. Codecademy is also a fun way to learn the basics of programming and development.

Big News- Google’s Author Rank is on its Way

By iCopy blogger Alex Dalenberg

So … this is happening:Google authorship.

If you haven’t yet heard the rumblings coming out of SEO world, heads up. If you create, post or access content on the Web, Google’s new author-ranking scheme is going to affect you, one way or another.

Here’s the gist of it. Google has been quietly rolling out its new author rank program – which has more or less been in the works for years. The idea is that content creators are now able to link the stories and posts they create to their Google Plus identity.

This is a big deal because the conventional wisdom says that someday soon, authorship is going to play a major part in Google’s page rankings.

You can find a few good primers at Forbes as well as the SEOmoz blog, but the main takeaway here is that it isn’t just going to matter how well a page or domain performs; it’s going to matter who writes it, as well.

The idea is that more reputable authors – judged by things like social sharing in the form of likes and plus ones, comments, links and more – produce better, more reputable content. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that Google is going to give posts by those authors much more weight in search listing results.

This isn’t out of the blue. As the Web becomes more social-oriented, so should the way we search – at least in theory. But for now, here is the least you need to know, as far as we see it here at iCopywriter.

1. Your Google Plus account matters now.

Love it or hate it, Google is pushing hard to make its own social network much more relevant. And, as far as it can affect search rankings, they have a lot of leverage here. If you’ve been neglecting your profile, it’s time to get it up to date and start posting your content.

And, if you post your own content, it’s time to make sure that Google can find you. They have a comprehensive set of instructions here.

2. The rules are still the same. Quality content will win.

The fundamentals of this game are unchanged. Quality authors will provide quality, relevant content. However, more than ever, it’s time to think about how to create content that readers are likely to share and discuss. In my mind, this means useful content.

3. Do you know who is writing your stuff?

You will need to soon. With Google Authorship, the focus is shifting to individuals and personalities. For those who are willing to embrace the different voices that make up their company, rewards await.

iCopywriter is keeping up with the news and happenings of Author Rank (and all-things-SEO). Don’t you want us on your team?

Photo credit: followtheseinstructions

 

Is Your Blog A Link Bait Bomb?

How to Avoid Being a Link Bait Blog – And Why You Want To…

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

Getting backlinks to and from your blog is one of the top priorities of any company blog, right? Wrong.

Here’s why it shouldn’t be.

Link baiting is used by some blogs and companies to get links from other pages back to their website. I mean, it’s what you learned to should do for better search engine optimization, right? But link baiting can actually hurt companies in the end.

When a post is written with the sole purpose of having other pages link back to their site, they run the risk of obtaining links from sources that are not high quality, and drive their qualified readers away by creating a blog that is more of a burden to read than a help.

How can you be sure your blog helps your SEO without link baiting? Here are a few tips.

  • Write to your reader – When a blog post is written, you should always be sure the end reader is kept in mind. Instead of writing to search engines or for the sole purpose of being linked to, only use blog posts that will actually provide something of value to your reader.
  • Only post when you have quality information – Posting content, just for the sake of getting links back to your site, does nothing for your brand or website. In fact, posting content that is not informative or compelling will actually drive the people you want reading your blog, away.
  • Do not stuff your blog posts with keywords – Recently we wrote about how Google is cracking down with a new update to their algorithm on websites who stuff their pages with keywords. When you use keyword stuffing, not only does your page not sound natural, and typically it does not read well, but it also alerts search engines that you may be a web spammer instead of a legitimate site.
  • Keep your posts short and to the point – Most people skim through blog posts. When they see a blog post that is over approximately 750 words, they may get scared. Unless your blog post has a very specific and relevant topic with details that will intrigue the end user, such as this one from SEOMoz, posting long articles on basic information will only detour people away from your blog.

Link baiting has been used by many online marketers as an effort to garnish more backlinks with the hope that it will improve their SEO. However, if your company uses a copywriting service that instead follows these tips, your blog will go viral more naturally, and you will receive backlinks from more legitimate sources that send higher qualified traffic.

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately?

80,000 Blogs & Sites REMOVED from Google’s Index…Was Your Site a Casualty?

By: iCopywriter

Over-Optimized Sites Penalized by Google’s Recent Algorithm Update

If you’re looking for a reason not to go DIY on your company site’s search engine optimization, look no further. Last month, Search Engine Land reported that Google would begin penalizing sites for “over-SEO’d” or “over-optimized” content. Soon after that announcement, as SEOmoz’s recent follow-up notes, thousands of sites were removed from Google’s index – in other words, became unable to find via the leading search engine. Of course, not being searchable on Google spells imminent doom for sites in today’s day and age of virtual search dominance by that company.

Confused? Wondering how this affects you? Read on to learn more.

Wait, What Happened?

Basically, Google updated its algorithm in March so that sites with unnatural or excessive optimization and linking would be penalized. As a result, SEOmoz reported that somewhere in the ballpark of 80,000 and counting blogs and other sites were de-indexed, meaning they were removed from Google’s search results. Most of those blogs were low quality and stuffed with unnatural optimization that, as Google put it, violated its Webmaster Guidelines, but some of the sites that were de-indexed were of higher quality and had issues like too many site-wide backlinks, according to SEOmoz.

What Does This Have to Do With Me?

If you’re planning on doing your own search engine optimization (SEO), this has a lot to do with you, and should be a cautionary tale about leaving the optimizing to the experts.

Sites that attempt to SEO-ify without professional help and input risk the same penalties that thousands of blogs began facing in March, when their self-SEO efforts got them bumped from Google’s index.

Search engine optimizing takes a light touch and a firm knowledge of best practices; do it wrong, and the risks are high, especially as Google becomes more and more canny to amateurish SEO.

Looking for help optimizing your site? Here at iCopywriter, we can make sure you won’t be dinged for low quality or duplicate content or for over-the-top optimization (aka, keyword stuffing). Our SEO-experienced writing and editing team produces strong, fresh, carefully written content you can trust to meet Google’s ever-rising standards.

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately?