Archives for May 2009

SEO Tool Review: BuzzStream for Link Building

As I work with our clients on their link building projects, I am often testing out new tools to make the process more efficient. After meeting with Lee at PubCon South in March, Jeremy Bencken – one of the founders of BuzzStream –  followed up with Lee for the opportunity to demo and test out their link building tool – BuzzStream for Link Building. Lee requested that I take a look at this tool, and I was glad for the opportunity.

For many webmasters, managing link building campaigns can seem pretty daunting. Identifying a link building strategy is one key to success. Another is ensuring link building efficiency and follow up. Identifying processes and tools to help increase this efficiency can greatly increase the amount and value of links you achieve.BuzzStream for Link Building

What Snapshot of SEO Drives Your Web Business?

drive seoSearch Engine Optimization is a changing field. At any given moment in time, companies that rely on the web for new business or customer communications will consume information about SEO and then rely on that snapshot for months or even years.

In the marketing mix, SEO is only one slice and company marketers are tasked with many other responsibilities. Wearing many hats does not leave much time to stay on top of SEO current best practices, let alone being able to test and experiment to uncover competitive advantages.

The snapshot of SEO knowledge taken months or years ago starts as a well intentioned premise, but without current information and best practices, can become outdated. Client side marketers and agencies that don’t specialize in search that rely on infrequent snapshots of information can end up unitentionally sabotaging the SEO effort.

Subscribe To Comments Revisited

Feed EmailA while back we covered a plug-in called Subscribe To Comments.  It’s a great way to ensure that when visitors comment on your blog posts, they receive follow-up comments and stay a part of the conversation.

After using Subscribe To Comments for over a year, there was one major issue, fake email addresses.  Whether they are from people who didn’t want to leave their real email address, or from spammers, the number of bounce backs can become overwhelming.

The good news is there are developers out there that have taken the Subscribe To Comments plug-in to the next level.  They require a user to validate their email address before subscribing to the comments.  This ensures that they wanted to subscribe and that their email address is valid.

Learn SEO, Social Media, Digital PR from TopRank

AudienceOver the next 2 weeks several staff from TopRank be hitting the road for multiple SEO/Social Media/PR speaking and training events. We invite you to attend and would love to meet up with readers of Online Marketing Blog.

Topics during these events will emphasize the practice areas of our agency: Search Marketing, Online Public Relations and Social Media Marketing. Locations will range from New York to San Francisco to Minneapolis.

May 19: Media Relations Summit, Crowne Plaze Hotel in NYC (event info)

4:30 pm: Mastering SEO, Google AdWords and Other Search Tools to Increase Visibility
If you’re ready to vault your website, landing pages, corporate videos, blogs, press releases, and online newsroom into the top of the search rankings, take in this one-hour bootcamp. You’ll learn all the latest tools, tips and tricks for making Google and Yahoo love you.

How Companies Can Control Their Blog Content & Comments

When thinking about a blog, one big thing that a lot of companies are concerned with is control. They are worried about what may get posted on their blog, and are concerned with people saying negative things about them in their comments. Companies get scared that it’s going to be mass chaos.  The good news is content can be easily controlled by properly setting up user rolls and comment moderation.

When a WordPress blog is stet up properly, some users can be free to create content, but not able to push it live. Other users can be given the power to publish, but only after they approve the post.  When it comes to comments, turning on the moderation feature will ensure that no comment makes it on the site without internal approval.  This allows a company to weed out comments that are not appropriate, or formulate responses to negative comments so the comment and company response both go live at the same time.

Measuring the Value of Search Optimized PR

Measuring SEO & Public RelationsMeasuring the effect of online marketing and PR efforts is essential for both understanding the return on investment but also for feedback that will improve subsequent efforts.  

Measuring the effect of SEO for Public Relations benefits should start with well defined outcomes. To get a good handle on SEO effectiveness, it’s important to match the purpose for the effort with specific metrics.  For example, if improving brand visibility is a goal, then documenting brand mentions in connection with news & PR content at regular intervals can demonstrate the effect of content promotion and link building. 

Online PR metrics and tools often include:

  • News wire service metrics (see screen capture below)
  • Web analytics for landing pages and web site
  • Google and Yahoo alerts

Making News Content Search & Social Media Friendly

SEO & Social Media for Public RelationsChanges in consumer preferences towards news consumption and sharing habits via the social web present both challenges and opportunities for PR agencies.  Searchers increasingly expect to interact with what they find via search. 

The opportunity for Public Relations is to understand that leveraging social media as a distribution channel to attract buzz and earn links is as important as keyword optimization of social media content to improve visibility on standard search engines.  Simply put: SEO and Social Media go together like peas and carrots.

The nature of the social web encourages participation: sharing, voting, commenting and linking. Popular social content gets exposure, traffic and can result in a substantial number of relevant inbound links.  Keyword relevancy plus aboundant inbound links to content equals improved search engine visibility. Whatever keywords that are used to describe optimized news content that becomes popular within social channels like news, bookmarking and media sharing are what that content will tend to rank highly on in standard search engines.

Link Building Tips for News SEO

Link Building TipsFor those readers just joining us, this is post #8 in a series of 10 on the intersection of search engine optimization and public relations, “Top Ten SEO Tips for PR Professionals“.

Besides content optimization and making sure a site’s news pages and digital assets can be found and indexed, attracting relevant inbound links is the next most important tactic for improving search engine performance of Public Relations related content.

There are literally hundreds of ways to acquire good links. There are even more ways to acquire bad links, so knowing the difference can be important. Read more about that below. But first, we’ll describe some general guidelines for news content link building.

Five Tips For Creating a Business Blog

Business' BloggingStarting a business blog is no easy task. There are lots of things to think about and lots of things to consider. Sometimes companies think to big to fast, which could be setting the blog up for failure before it even launches.

The key thing to remember when creating a new business blog is to start simple and then expand. Going from 0-60 in two seconds sounds like fun, but there are a lot of risks involved. It’s better to ease into it by focusing on creating good content, measuring growth, and learning how users interact with the blog.

Here are five things to think about when before creating your business blog.

Pull PR and Newsroom Optimization Tactics

Newsroom & Pressroom SEOMost web sites with active media relations programs host an online newsroom. Analysts, journalists and even some bloggers find newsrooms a useful resource for finding past media coverage, press releases, image assets, executive bios, company history, webinars, white papers, case studies and other information helpful for researching stories.

Any content that is published to the web can be optimzed for search and that includes online newsrooms. We prefer to implement online newsrooms with blog software, because of the content management features and inherent search engine benefifts. Automatic RSS feed creation is also a benefit.

Newsrooms should offer easy to find contact information as well as a content categorization scheme that considers keywords as part of the taxonomy. Organizing press releases by date isn’t very useful for searchers. Archiving press releases and other content within the newsroom by categories, chronologically as well as by keyword tag (as in folksonomy, not meta keyword tag) can be quite useful to readers as well as search engines.

Essential Press Release Optimization Tips

Press Release OptimizationOne of the most popular keyword optimization content types for SEOs and Public Relations professionals alike are press releases. As a news communication tool, the value of press releases has undergone changes.  However, press releases provide a substantial amount of content to news search engines and can rank well in standard search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Multiple studies have documented that consumers and journalists are searching for and reading press releases. Optimizing press releases for a specific audience makes them easier to find and therefore, more of an asset for communicating news and attracting traffic to the company web site.  As a result, it makes sense for marketing and PR practitioners alike to understand how to make press release content easier to find.

3 Ways Companies Sabotage Their SEO Investment

SEOCompanies invest thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars per month into improving their natural search engine visibility. At times, certain influences or perspectives occasionally evolve to work directly against the efforts of the professional SEO consultant.  Here I’ll describe three scenarios and hopefully help companies avoid the unfortunate expense of sabotaging their own SEO investment.

1. Redesigning web sites or changing content management systems without a SEO migration plan. At a recent conference I met a web design type who asked what I do. I replied that I own a SEO consulting company. His reply, “Ah, keyword stuffing”. While this was most likely an attempt at humor, my reply was more typical: “Thanks to web designers/developers, SEOs are busier than ever.”  “Do you do web design?” says the humorist.  My reply was common for most SEO agencies: “It’s not our focus, but I have web dev talent on staff to fix issues caused by design agencies that make client web sites nearly invisible to search engines.”