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How to Get Your Website to Show up on Bing & Yahoo

SEO for Bing & Yahoo

What if I told you that your business may be missing out on almost 35% of customers. Now that I have your attention, let’s talk search engines. Everyone knows Google is king when it comes to search, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the others. According to ComScore, Bing and Yahoo hold 35% of monthly searches and that number is sometimes as high as 80% depending on the industry. Obviously that’s not as much as Google’s 64%, but that is still a significant number of searches that you could be showing up for. That means your online marketing strategy shouldn’t only be limited to SEO for Google, but other search engines as well.

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Are you saying I now need to do 3x the work; are you kidding me?” Don’t worry, Yahoo uses Bing’s algorithm and index to determine who shows up for what. If you type in keywords, you’ll see Bing and Yahoo almost show identical results. So you don’t have to do that much.

Let’s Talk Statistics:

Now that you’re breathing at a normal pace again, let’s talk about how to adjust your strategy to include a focus on Yahoo/Bing. In 2010, Yahoo began using Bing’s algorithm so they’re essentially the same other than some minor differences. Bing is the primary search engine for Microsoft computers and iPhones. Fun fact: Siri (iPhone’s virtual assistant) is powered by Bing. Furthermore, Firefox uses Yahoo as their primary search engine. With that alone, you’re talking about a large number of users with Bing & Yahoo at their fingertips.

How to SEO for Bing and Yahoo:

So how should you go about making sure your site shows up on Yahoo & Bing? The first step is to make sure you are being Indexed. To ensure your site is being indexed, go to Bing.com and type in “Site:yoursite.com.” This will let you know what pages are being indexed and how you should adjust your SEO and online marketing strategy.

The next step is to have Bing crawl your site more frequently. While you’re tackling your SEO strategy, tell Bing to crawl your site using Bing Webmaster Tools so it will continue to pick up on the changes you’re making.

After you have your site indexed and crawled more frequently, begin your on-page and technical SEO. Be sure to use direct keywords because unlike Google, Bing likes straightforward keywords so be direct and to-the-point.  Keep in mind Bing considers H1 & H2 headings, SEO titles, and meta-descriptions to be highly important. In addition, your content and pages should include some geographical reference so you appear in local search results.

Final Thoughts:

If you search for your site on Yahoo or Bing and nothing shows up, it would be prudent to begin incorporating the steps mentioned above. It’s understandable if Google is your main focus, but to lose out on a third of customers can be make or break for your business. Just imagine what another 33% of customers would do for your business.

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How to Perform Keyword Research

Content is King, but Keyword Research Takes the Crown

Most people are familiar with keyword research, but for those of you who don’t, keyword research is when you research various words and phrases that people may enter into search engines. Keyword research is important because these terms can help you formulate an effective content and marketing strategy. Without proper keywords, search engines won’t be able to determine what content is most relevant to the person searching. Even for those of you who are familiar with keyword research, some of you don’t know how to go about it. I am going to outline 3 basic steps that will help you implement a successful marketing strategy and get people to find your business online.

Keyword Research Step 1:

Determine the topics associated with your business and Come up with a list of keywords based on those topics

Brainstorming is the first step in any successful keyword research. By coming up with topics associated with your business, such as products and services, it will allow you to narrow down what keywords you should be considering. Once you have your main topics you want to cover, come up with a list of keywords that not only you, but your customers will be searching for. A great idea is to wear your buyer’s shoes. Take into account what they would be search for since they are the one’s you’re trying to target. A way to do this is to take a look at your buyer persona’s (given you have already done them) because that will give you a better idea as to which customers will be searching for what. You should also consider talking to other employees, customers, and even friends to determine what they would type into Google if they were trying to search for your product or service.

Keyword Research Step 2:

Look at other relevant search terms on Google and see what keywords your competition is using.

Google is your best friend in this process. Google is where you’re trying to appear so looking at Google before any other software can save you a lot of time. With those keywords you compiled in the last step, begin typing those into Google and see what comes up. This will help you determine who’s ranking for what and whether it’s your direct competition or not. If it appears some keywords may be more difficult than others and you need other ideas, scroll down to the bottom of the page and take a look at Google’s related search terms. This will help you compile a larger list and once typed into Google, analyze whether those keywords would be more effective.

Keyword Research Step 3:

Use software to help you figure out the best keywords

There are many tools out there that will help you determine keyword difficulty levels and search volume. What we like to use is Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMrush. Use these softwares to plug in various keywords and flag any terms that are too difficult to show up for or have too low of a search volume. These tools will also give you estimates on whether your business has a chance to show up for the list of keywords you compiled in the previous steps.

Final Thoughts

Once you finish step 3 and narrow your list down even more, you’re finished. Now it’s all about tackling your on-site optimization and content. Incorporate these keywords (without stuffing) throughout your SEO titles, meta-descriptions, page URLs, and content. Just remember, keywords aren’t everything. Even if you get people to your site, if your content isn’t valuable, you won’t see any return. Use your keywords and content as your yin and yang in your marketing strategy. Once you do that, nothing will be able to stop you!

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What’s All the Buzz about Google Hummingbird?

If you’re tapped in to the SEO-verse, you’ve probably noticed some commotion in the past couple of weeks. On September 26, Google announced the birth of Hummingbird, a major update to its search algorithm. Hummingbird is perhaps Google’s most significant update since 2001, and was thought to replace all previous algorithm tweaks, like Panda and Penguin. Then on October 4, another update to Penguin rolled out. Huh?

What the heck is Hummingbird? What did it do to poor Penguin and Panda? And what does it all mean for your SEO strategy? Allow me to explain.

First off, it’s probably time to stop losing our minds every time Google releases an update. The company actually changes its search algorithm between 500-600 times per year—and we almost never know the difference. Developers following SEO best practices, in particular, should rarely take a turn for the worse after an algorithm change.

I choose you, Hummingbird

When an update is major enough to affect a significant percentage of searches, however, Google will make an announcement—usually in the form of a tweet from Matt Cutts. But Hummingbird got way more than 140 characters to declare its arrival. Hummingbird was announced at Google’s 15th birthday party—but in fact, it had already been active for more than a month without anyone knowing.

Google’s search wizards didn’t release much detail about how Hummingbird actually works. But we do know that it’s a response to our shifting reliance on search: more users are speaking questions into their smartphones (“Where can I get Chinese food nearby?”) rather than browsing at their desks.

Hummingbird is geared toward “conversational search” (also called “semantic” or “entity” search)—responding to full questions rather than random strings of keywords. It’s designed to be better than ever at sorting out irrelevant stuff—and giving users the answers they need, as quickly as possible.

What about earlier algorithm updates?

As I’ve explained before, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates were built weed out to low-quality and spam-filled sites, respectively. So did Hummingbird’s razor-sharp beak and motor-fast wings tear cuddly Panda and Penguin to shreds? Hardly.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land explains it this way: think of Google search like a car engine. It might be high-quality, but over years of use, it will simply become outdated. Hummingbird is like a brand-new engine. Penguin and Panda, in contrast, are like an oil filter and a fresh batch of coolant: they still help the car run its best. But they can be swapped out easily without affecting the whole system.

That means we can still expect to see Panda and Penguin updates, even with Hummingbird now in place. So no, you’re not suddenly off the hook if you’ve been using black-hat tactics—you’ll still be penalized for tricks like spammy backlinks. (Penguin 2.1, released October 4, particularly zeroed in on this issue.)

What’s an SEO to do?

We don’t know much yet about how Hummingbird actually works. So it’s hard to say how to make the most of it. Because Hummingbird seems to favor content written as answers to potential search queries, it might be tempting to frame every page title in the form of a question. Eric Ward, also at Search Engine Land, cautions against this—as past updates have taught us, there are consequences for going overboard or trying to game the system. He does offer a few tips for how you might use Hummingbird to your advantage and integrate it naturally into your site.

Above all, there doesn’t seem to be much cause for concern. As Google’s been telling us for years now, we should stop obsessing over the algorithm’s particulars. Instead, create awesome content that’s helpful to users, and traffic will follow.

Does your site match up to Google’s latest guidelines? Give Atomic a call, and we’ll get you up to speed.

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SEO: Slow and Steady Wins the Ranks

Google released an update to its Penguin algorithm last month. And naturally, bloggers all over the web are sharing their thoughts. I read one article that summed up Penguin 2.0’s impact pretty well: SEO “silver bullets” are no more.

Before Google’s search algorithms got as smart as they are now, there were plenty of backhanded, “black-hat” strategies SEOs could use to boost their rankings. Things like building inbound links from phony sites, stuffing keywords unnecessarily into content, or posting click-grubbing comments on external blogs.

Savvy SEO pros gave these tactics up years ago. But the truth is, even among so-called “white hat” techniques, there’s no one fix that will guarantee the search ranking you want—and keep you immune to Google’s changing algorithms.

That’s because the “silver bullets” of past SEO dogma focus on the short term. But as SEO’s evolution shows, rankings with true staying power don’t come cheap. You’ve gotta work for them.

What’s an SEO master to do? Keep sites fresh with regular, relevant content.

Of course, I can’t make Atomic’s clients do content marketing. But I can help them get started on the right track. Here are a few things we suggest:

• Set up a blog. And actually use it. We encourage clients to plan a calendar for publishing blogs—and make sure everyone understands who’s responsible for what (even if that means outsourcing to a copywriting team). Regular updates means Google will index your site more quickly—and you’ll build authority in your area of expertise.

• Schedule regular check-ups. I recommend an overall site review at least twice a year to ensure links are functional, verify information is correct, and adjust, if needed, to the demands of new search guidelines. This reveals less obvious problems inadvertently sabotaging your rank.

• Look at your numbers. A peek at your site’s analytics can show how users are engaging with your site. Are they finding you primarily on mobile devices or via social links? Mainly through mentions on other sites? These insights can help you build a better user experience over time.

Content marketing and ongoing site review aren’t the easiest ways to do SEO. But they’re the closest thing to a silver bullet we’ve got (more like a slow, strategically planned attack than a single bullet, really).

Best of all, they’re sustainable—they’ll keep you on top no matter what algorithm tweaks come and go. And if search result domination is what you want, the effort is worth it.

It’s time to stop searching for the next quick fix—and instead, commit to great content. Let’s get to work.

Need help refining your site’s long-term SEO strategy? Let the Atomic team help.

 

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Using Google Analytics to Refine Your Keywords: 4 Basic Steps

Optimizing your website for search is a critical way of bringing visitors to your site. And you do that, in part, by matching the keywords in your site with the words that users type into their search engines. Sounds straightforward enough.

But finding just the right keywords? That’s another matter.

Tools like Google Adwords can be helpful in developing an initial list of targeted keywords and phrases. But there’s no way to predict exactly what phrases web users are going to search to find your site. And it’s difficult to predict what phrases Google will associate with your site.

The answer? Google Analytics.

After your site has been initially optimized and is up and running, you can use Google Analytics to learn exactly what phrases were typed into search engines to find your site. By regularly checking what phrases are attracting visitors, you’ll get a better idea of what phrases should be dominant on your website, and which to target. Often, Google Analytics will turn up phrases that would never have occurred to you on your own.

Here’s an example.

Say you’re a beanbag importer and you’ve optimized a page on your site for “Beanbag Chairs. ” But when you check Google Analytics, you discover that “Children’s Furniture” is unexpectedly attracting lots of web users to your site.

Now you have real-world data on how real users are getting to your site. Here’s what you do in response.

  • Search. The first step is Googling “Children’s Furniture” and locating the first page of your website that appears on Google. You’ll want to make this page your landing page for “Children’s Furniture.”
  • Adjust. Once you’ve identified that page, you can adjust the page’s meta data, content, headlines, images, and image alt tags to increase number of times this new phrase appears.
  • Observe. Over time, these adjustments should improve the Google positioning of your site when “Children’s Furniture” is searched, thus increasing the number of visits to your site.
  • Repeat. Monthly or quarterly, you should repeat this process, discovering what new phrases are taking hold and bringing visitors to your site. And you would adjust your landing pages and content accordingly.

This process is time-consuming and can be tedious, but it’s a critical part of a complete SEO process. Doing it religiously is the only way to ensure that your site stays aligned with what real users are searching for online.

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Mastering Google AdWords

google adwords banner

Most people have a general understanding of AdWords—basically, any sponsored search results on Google.

But only a few people are AdWords Champions. I, apparently, am now one of them.

That’s because I recently passed Google’s Advertising Fundamentals Exam—a rigorous, strategy-oriented test that evaluates your understanding of how to manage an AdWords campaign. You get 120 minutes to answer 120 multiple choice questions, and you need 85% correct to pass. So there’s no messing around.

Passing the exam certifies me (and Atomic) as an expert on the basic aspects of Google AdWords as well as AdWords account management and the value of search advertising.

This expertise is important because more and more businesses are using AdWords as part of their marketing campaign. Because AdWords appear immediately on Google, they’re often preferred to organic SEO for businesses who need to enhance awareness or drive sales quickly. But because AdWords are becoming so pervasive, the keyword phrases used to generate ads are getting more competitive—making clicks more expensive.

So these days, you literally can’t afford to have a half-baked AdWords strategy. You’ll blow your budget before you even get started.

Our understanding of AdWords helps you to:

  • ensure that your ads appear on page one of Google for the lowest CPC (cost per click) possible.
  • ensure that your ads have the highest CTR (click through rate) possible. The CTR is the percentage of times an add is clicked when it shows on Google.
  • ensure that your ad clicks turn into conversions – whether onsite sales, PDF downloads, or contact forms.

In short, that means you get the most bang for your AdWords bucks.

I’m now on to my next project: pursuing certification in Google Analytics. I’m hoping to take and pass that test shortly after the new year. So for the holidays this year, I guess I’ll be studying. Merry Christmas, everyone, and talk to you in the new year.

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Three Easy Steps to Improving Your AdWords Campaign

Pay Per Click Ohio

A few months ago we talked about deciding if a pay-per-click campaign is right for your company. I thought I’d back up today and review how pay-per-click works, as well as explain some strategies we use to help pay-per-click pay off for our clients.

So … let’s start with the basics. Pay-per-click campaigns are created using Google AdWords. You create an ad using keywords related to your business. When someone searches for those keywords, your ad pops up on their screen. That’s called an “impression.” When someone clicks on your ad and is sent to your website, that’s called a “clickthrough.”

With AdWords, you typically pay not for the number of impressions you get – but for the number of clickthroughs. Thus the name “pay-per-click.”

Creating a successful AdWords campaign isn’t a one-time deal. You don’t create an ad, throw it on Google, and leave it there forever. Instead, it’s a process of constantly refining your ads to find out which ones bring the most business.

Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1 – Create. Write two or more ads for your business using the same keywords. (For example, if your keyword is “golf shoes,” one ad might read, “Try the season’s hottest golf shoes”; the other might read “Try our top-performing golf shoes.”)
  • Step 2 – Evaluate. Run both ads simultaneously. After a set period of time – usually 1 to 3 weeks – assess which ad is working better. Then delete the worst-performing ad and replace it with a new one. If you’re using more than one set of keywords in each ad (like “golf shoes” vs. “golfing shoes”), delete the worst-performing keywords and replace them with new ones.
  • Step 3 – Rinse and repeat. You can repeat this cycle almost indefinitely – constantly trying out new ads and new keywords, keeping the good ones in play, and removing the scrubs. The goal is to constantly increase your conversion rate – the number of clickthroughs compared to the number of impressions.

Increasing your conversion rate does two things: first, it gets more customers to your site. Second, it gets you a better position on Google, for less money per click. Having each click cost less can make a big difference in your ad spend over time.

Of course, the ultimate goal isn’t just a high conversion rate – it’s what customers do once they get to your site. If you have a high conversion rate and high online sales, you’re golden. But if you have a high conversion rate and low online sales, there’s probably a disconnect between your ads and your website content.

And that’s a topic for another day’s blog.