SEO

Hashtags Today Are Everywhere – Learn How To Use Them To Get Results

Hashtags Today For Search Optimization

Hashtags today are everywhere today. No longer is Twitter the only social networking site you visit where you will see the use of #hashtags. They now can be found on Facebook, Google+, You Tube, Instagram and even  your own blog posts you can have hashtags. Everywhere and anywhere the use of hashtags has grown over the past year alone. How do you know if you are using them correctly? How many can you use on the different social networking sites? Learn how to use them on different social networks and how the SEO benefit of them can help your posts be found today.

hashtags today

 

Using Hashtags Today The Right Way On Different Social Networks

Twitter – Twitter was the first place hashtags began to be used since the 1970′s. Hashtags in the 1970′s were first used in programming. (They were used back then to label groups and mark special meanings).  Hashtags appeared on Twitter in 2009 and became trending topics in 2010. On Twitter, the best use of hashtags today is one or two per tweet. If you are using anymore hashtags than that you will appear spammy.

Vine – Vine is another video social website that integrates the use of hashtags just like Twitter. Be sure to use them there as well.

Facebook – Hashtags appeared on Facebook in 2013. They did not go over too well there and misuse of them there will make you look real spammy.  They should be used sparingly on Facebook.

Google+ – Now with Google+ you can use more hashtags and at times they will appear automatically in your stream.

Check out this post in Google+ with several hashtags being used: (This one came up on page one of Google if you search the word hashtag.)

 

Instagram – This photo sharing social site uses many hashtags per post. I’ve found the more you use the easier it is for others to find your post.  Just be sure the words you use for your hashtags make sense. You can use Hashtagig to find the most popular hashtags on Instagram today.

Tumblr – Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking site that uses hashtags often to get your posts seen by more people. You don’t need (though many do including myself for a while) to use the # sign in front of your hashtags on Tumblr, they have a section under your post just for tags. Put a coma after each word and hit enter, that will be your hashtag and the # will appear. You can have as many as you want again as long as they make sense.

Pinterest – Let’s not forget to use hashtags today on this social image sharing site. Remember, some pins may appear years later with the right choice of hashtags.

YouTube – Using hashtags in your title on YouTube will help your videos get seen in search. It will also help those in your circles on Google+. I asked Ms. Ileane the Queen of YouTube how she uses hashtags on YouTube. Here is her response:

I’m not using hashtags in my YouTube titles but I use them when I share on other social networks. I reserved a Tagboard for #youtubetips and on occasion I find great people to follow from the tagboard. I also use that hashtag when I share on Google+. I’d love to hear more about people finding success using hashtags in YouTube titles so I can add it to a YouTube optimization list I’m currently creating.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn also started using hashtags back in February of 2013. A few months later they dropped the integration of hashtags. Hashtags no longer work on LinkedIn.  They will NOT be in highlighted text nor link to anything. So NO need to use hashtags today on LinkedIn.

 

With the Hummingbird update on Google hashtags today are like a form of SEO. They help your posts and pages be found more easily in the Google search. They can be used to help improve your visibility online not only on Google but in social search and other search engines like Bing.

 

Resources To Help You Use Hashtags More Effectively

Hashcore Plugin - You may remember the post I did on this one back in September. It is a plugin that allows you to use a hashtag today in your posts. When you hover over a hashtag you can see what others are tweeting with that same hashtag. This post had some additional resources for you to pick out the best hashtags.

RiteTag Optimizer – I love this new tool by Saul Fleischman. I have it right on my Chrome browser and it helps to pick hashtags and track them for you as well. It looks like this:

Ritetag optimizer
It’s a great way to schedule tweets too. You can do up to 5 per day on the FREE plan or you can upgrade and do up to 50 per day. The premium plan is $9/month for 1 year. You can also check our their directory of the most popular hashtags and monitor your own.

Trendsmaps – Great for finding out what is trending locally. You see which hashtags today are trending in your local area or another area of the world.  You can pay $9 – $19 /mo. for additional services with bells and whistles.

What The Trend – This is another alternative to see what is trending today and right now. It’s a quick way to see what is trending and you can choose by country.

Hshtags – A social media search engine dedicated to hashtags. This one is really cool as you enter a word and you can see what’s being said about it across many social networking sites.

 

There are hundreds of more websites that can help you choose hashtags more wisely and search the most popular ones of the day, time or place. I like to use the examples above from ones I’ve used and really liked. Do you have a favorite among them?

How are you using hashtags today?

Do you use hashtags today differently on the different social networking sites?

 

Top Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Simple SEO Tips for Bloggers

Simple SEO Tips

Ok, so you have setup your blog, networked with other bloggers, become active across multiple social media platforms, and written a plethora of high quality articles.  But you’re still not ranking well in search engines and the web traffic gods just aren’t smiling on your blog they way you thought they would.

Well you are in luck!  In this article, I would like to share with you 4 simple SEO tips for getting your search rankings elevated, bringing more traffic juice to your already awesome blog.

Simple SEO tips

 

Create High Quality Content

I know what you’re thinking – I already have great content!  I know, I know – but it can’t be overstated.  The first and foremost way to get better search ranking results and drive more traffic to your magnificent blog is to put forth your best effort when writing your posts and articles.  No matter how much you post, if it’s not worth reading, you’re just spinning your wheels.  Posting really great content that gives value to your readers will get noticed and shared, increasing social proof.  With each successive link and share, search engines will likely increase their opinions of your content.  This in turn, will result in the search engines ranking your content higher, thus generating more and more traffic.  Plus, creating high quality content will bring referral traffic as well, along with search engine traffic.

Create Internal Links

Another important way to optimize your site for search engines is to create internal links on each post.  By creating links to other relevant posts on your site, you are essentially helping the search engines stay on your site longer and keep crawling through your various related posts.  Creating internal links also helps reduce bounce rate by keeping your readers engaged longer and providing them with links to other compelling content that might be of interest to them. Internal linking keeps your readers happy by giving them more great content and also keeps the search engines happy by giving them more content to index – it’s a win-win situation!

Use an SEO Plugin

yoast plugin

Anybody who knows me even a little bit knows I think WordPress is the best CMS (Content Management System) available today.  And within the WordPress community there are numerous SEO plugins available — both for free and for purchase.  Now, if you know me at all, you also know that I use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast on my main blog.  It works wonderfully on my site and my traffic jumped up as soon as I installed it.  Plus, it have some really great features, like the ability for you to set the SEO title, meta description, and URL for each post.  You can also perform an SEO check before you hit the publish button for additional suggestions and reminders.  It really is a robust SEO plugin and the best part is it’s FREE!

Mind Your Permalinks and Slugs

The default URL structure for most blogging platforms, including WordPress, is to use what is commonly referred to as a query string, which looks something like this:

http://inspiretothrive.com/?p=10323

Not very attractive, huh?  Plus, it’s not easy to read – for human readers or for search engine crawlers.  So, if the search engines can’t read your links, they can’t rank your content.  If you haven’t already done so, you need to change your permalinks to something that is easy for both your readers and the search engines to read.  The URL of your post should contain the keywords you want the search engines to rank your post for.  This part of the link is called the “slug.”  If you need help with this, you can read my post on setting up your permalinks and slugs.  Either way, the resulting URL should look more like this:

http://inspiretothrive.com/4-simple-seo-tips-for-bloggers/

This new URL, or link, is now readable for both your audience and the search engines, which will now be indexed and shared, resulting in higher rankings and more traffic.

I hope this helps you get your content ranked better in the search engines.  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.  Let me know what you do to get your posts ranked higher in search engine results.  Share your ideas and give this post a share as well!

 

Seo Dice Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pingbacks and Trackbacks – What Do They Do For Your Blog?

Pingbacks and Trackbacks – What To Do?

The question came up on the last post on SEO Kindergarten – the AZ SEO list. Lauren asked what are these and what do they do. I’ve heard of them, read about them many times and accept them here but did not realize I was not letting others know of the mentions I’ve been giving without sending them a tweet or an email.

Pingbacks

Pingbacks Are Automatic

Pingbacks do NOT send back any content. It is a remote procedure call (XML)  to encode and uses HTTP to transport it from Site A to Site B when an author at Site A writes a link to Site B. It does require a hyperlink. When site B receives the signal it goes back to Site A to check the incoming link.  If is links correctly the pingback is recorded successfully. This makes Pingbacks less spammy than trackbacks. Pingbacks are automatically sent via software.

  • Only approve the pingbacks you want linking to your website or blog.
  • You can turn them off in your settings under discussion.

 

Trackbacks Are Manual

Trackbacks are like acknowledgements. They send a PING from one website to another manually. They are used mainly to communicate in blogs, letting authors know you may have referenced them in your own post. Many companies have used these to send spam links that they can generate money from. Because of the many spam links some blogs and websites have stopped using them because of the amount of spam that need to be checked. Others use a software to stop the spammy type of trackbacks or eliminate them all completely.  In WordPress, on each post you have the option to check off Send Trackbacks. I just started doing this on mine recently and I like that you can edit them just like comments of course with CommentLuv premium. The Gasp function in CommentLuv premium must be checked off. It’s an anti-spam bot plugin within CommentLuv. (If I find too much spam they will be turned off.)

  • Remember if you do approve these they will show up in your comment section of your post or page.
  • If you do not want any you can also go to your settings in WordPress – Discussion and check them off.

Most people either love or hate trackbacks. They have value if they are not spam but if they are all spam there is NO value in them. No one wants to deal with spam on a daily basis. We have enough spammers to deal with on Twitter and other places online each day. I will provide a follow up in my newsletter on the results of using Trackbacks in a few weeks.

Listen to Matt Cutts on Receiving Links From Sites You Don’t Want An Association With

 

 

How are you handling your pingbacks and trackbacks today? 

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SEO vs Social Media – Which Is The Best Traffic Source To Your Blog?

SEO vs Social Media

Have you ever thought about where you should spend your time on getting traffic to your website? I joked last week with Robert Caruso from Bundle Post on Twitter as some would say “Social is the New SEO”, but is it really? Have you thought about the differences between seo vs social media to drive traffic to your blog or website?

SEO vs social media

SEO penguins and pandasIn the beginning I focused on SEO only for the retail website. Then I got started with tweets and RT’s and social media became the focus as sales were coming from both. Once the SEO was done, it was done, right? Well the Pandas and Penguins began to work at much faster pace as time went on. So then the focus shifts to SEO to clean it up to Google’s liking. Now I’m wondering, should the focus go back to SEO vs social media? Should we be in that red SEO car above? Knowing when to change lanes is key!

SEO = Search Everything Online

When one searches online for something they are ready to purchase or read about something. If they find what they are looking for you are golden, right? That’s what you want when you build a website or blog. Have people search and find your stuff. That’s the perfect scenario. 

The SEO Benefit – SEO vs Social Media

SEO lasts much longer online. Remember the time frames of a tweet or a Facebook post? Well, a great post or website will last much longer than those social posts any day hands down.  Your website will last as long as you own the domain name and continue to host the website. Even Google likes to see your domain name registered for 10 years vs just one or two years. They want to be sure you will be a staple online, not just a fly by the night type of website. When Google recommends you, you will be found!

8 Reasons Why is SEO So Hard!

  1. It takes a lot of time and patience.
  2. It takes testing, and re-testing, over and over. analyze SEO
  3. It must be consistent – you have to continue to build quality content and links. You cannot do it once and forget about it. If you do, Google will forget about you too!
  4. You must read up on the latest SEO techniques and changes via Google and the other search engines. What worked last year may not work this year.
  5. You need to analyze stats often and re-adjust SEO techniques.
  6. Once you learn, you must re-learn it and re-do.
  7. It’s like housework, it is NEVER done.
  8. It can be a real downer when your stats sink and they can sink fast too!

Why is SEO Great for Your Blog or Website?

  • It keeps you more focused. It gets results over the long haul. It will not happen quickly and that is why many people get so discouraged. It takes time and patience. SEO should be called

“TPO – Time Patience Optimization.”

  • It creates an audience – by showing up on the first pages of Google or other search engines when people are searching, you are creating an audience. You don’t have to build an audience as you do with social media.

Why Do People Love Social vs SEO?social is fun

  • Social media is easier to do once you get the hang of it.
  • Social is more fun – who doesn’t like to hang out with their friends and peers?
  • It is quicker than SEO, you see immediate results if you get RT’s, shares, etc. via the social network sites.

What Is Hard About Social Media?

  • You must build an audience – you won’t get shares if you don’t have an audience.
  • You must be available at all times to respond to people on social media. A smartphone is a must!

Read more from the Examiner on SEO vs social media as they make an excellent point how little control we have with social media networking sites vs. own our blogs and websites. We saw it once with Facebook when they decided which likes on pages were fake and took them away. Others have been put in Twitter Jail and lost their Twitter accounts. That’s why I believe we can never put our eggs social or seo in any one basket.

The debate will rage on- SEO vs social media. The social media specialists will say social is the new SEO, SEO specialists will say SEO is the main driver of traffic. I believe one must have SEO in place before they do social to gain traffic to their blog or website. A perfect combo of the two methods would be ideal. I’d love to hear your thoughts on SEO vs social media.

 

Which method do you prefer for driving traffic to your blog or website, SEO or social media? 

Last image of Social Fun – Courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Link Shy After The Latest Google Panda Workings

Have You Become Link Shy With The Latest Google Updates?

Link shythe fear of linking to the wrong website or blog. It would appear the latest Google Panda update of about 2 weeks ago now affected sites with links to various types of websites. Anything that appears unnatural may have been hit.

link shy

What types of links should one be weary of?

The ones listed below may be obvious to some but to others they may not be.

  • Broken links.
  • Sites that haven’t updated in ages.
  • Sites or pages that call themselves “links.”
  • Sites or pages  that may call themselves  a “directory” – this one is a very hard one to call. Check relevancy.
  • Paid links.
  • Article submission websites.
  • Affiliate links – must be NO-follow. A follow affiliate link is not good for SEO. A no-follow affiliate link is fine.

 

Of course you can watch Matt Cutts on this topic too as I have a few times now.

 

Matt sure does not make it crystal clear, does he?  I have received emails from various websites that have asked for their links to be dropped from our sites. After I keep deleting links I thought, why not just get rid of these resource pages on the retail sites? No other retail sites coming up on the first pages in search had them anymore. I cut the cord. Ouch. I’ve become very link shy. Have you?

Is Blogging The Only Way To Get Link Juice Today?

It would seem in many cases blogging is the best way to get link juice. You must be blogging great content and link out to authoritative websites. The old days of  link pages are gone. Although I still receive emails from companies wanting to link up. I guess they don’t watch any of Matt Cutts videos or read any information on the latest Google updates. They are not link shy at all! I once did an article with 40 ways to be found online. I’m referring to it today still for our new website.

 

 

Google and Facebook Are Not Your Only Source of Traffic don't put all your eggs in one basket

Just remember don’t rely just on Google or any other search engine or website for your all your traffic. Diversify your links and your website so you can be found many ways. You may rely on a particular site or blog for your traffic and one day that site may go down or shut down. Never put all your eggs in one basket. The same goes for social media, some folks rely just on Facebook or Twitter.  It’s good to have at least 3 networks you can go from if something at one changes. Why invest all your time in just one place? And that place changes or goes down what do you do? Being in 3 social networks you can easily switch to the other 2 and gradually add a new one. Of course if you are in 10 social networks it may be overhwelming and you may not be forming any relationships because you are in so many places. I’ve been invited to more new places the past few months and had to pass. I hate to say no but I can only be spread so thin. How about you?

I’d love to know other ways you are using to link up with other quality websites or if you have become link shy of late.

 

The Ultimate Personal SEO Checklist for 2013

Your Personal SEO

This is the reality of SEO in 2013. Google believes that you are an accumulation of your activities online. When you have a Google profile, you are telling the search engine what you “own” and marking your online territory. It’s your personal SEO. If you have a generic name like Susan Silver this becomes important to distinguish yourself from others. You need to be auditing your personal search results in Google and Bing. I am going to make this task easier by giving you my personal SEO  branding checklist.

7 Steps for a Personal SEO Audit

1. Google your website and name.

Sample Google Search for Cirquedumot

Click for Full Size Image

Track the results in a spreadsheet. In the picture you can see that I have done a sample search for “Cirquedumot”. I would note the position of each result and what pages appear. This should be part of your weekly SEO review.

2. Log your social media profiles and social networks

Perform a social media audit to find all those apps you signed up for and never used. Delete them if you can, clean up your social media mess!

3. Add Your author archives and social networks to your Google profile

Your Google Plus profile is chock full of personal SEO goodness. Don’t neglect the links that appear at the bottom of your profile; “Other Profiles”, “Contributor to”, and “Links”. In particular the contributor section should link to the author archive from blogs where you have guest posted. This will lead to rich snippets for your guest posts in search, if you have added the “rel=author” tag to the Google+ link in your bio.

On WordPress they take the form http://blog.com/author/yourname. It can also be found by clicking on the “written by name” on a published post, which usually goes to the archive page. This does vary by blog.

Important links on Google+ for personal SEO

Click for Full Size Image

4. Create a Hub for your personal SEO

Your hub is the foundation of your SEO work. This really should be your main blog as building on anything you don’t own is liable to disappear or change their user agreement in an unfavorable way. Make sure that your blog is shareable, usable on a multitude of devices, and links to every important aspect of your online daily life. Keep as much content as you can on your blog. Instead of sharing a pin from Pinterest, embed it in a blog post and share that instead. Always prioritize driving traffic to your hub. If people follow you in other places consider it something extra nice.

5. Create a branding kit

I have a little file folder on my computer. Its contents; avatars, long bio, medium bio, short bio, one sheet of accomplishments, various elevator pitches, and a spreadsheet that lists my best work samples with their corresponding bit.ly links for tracking. Everything you need should always be available only a copy &  paste or upload away.

6. Rewrite your social media profiles for consistency

You know a lot about yourself now and you have a branding kit at your disposal. You want to make sure that all your social media profiles point to your hub and contain your top keywords. This will change and evolve over time, do a review every 3 months to update.

7. Tweet only the best things when you self-promote

Automation is great, but using a plugin like Tweet Old Posts is not efficient in my opinion. For one thing, you can only share what has appeared on your blog. What about all those great guest posts that you did? Or that one pin that drove all that traffic back to your website? The spreadsheet in your branding kit should include all the urls that matter for your personal brand.

Buffer Recipie to Buffer Tweets Daily

Click for Full Sized Image

I use IFTTT to add these links to my buffer to be tweeted. You see, this means that they are always optimized for timing (another thing Tweet Old Posts cannot do). I never have to touch the tweets again if those times change. I just update my buffer schedule and they still go out at the right time!

Personal SEO, like all work in search, is about maintenance. These steps should get you ready to tackle most of the hurdles you will face optimizing your personal brand. I always say… prepare what you need before you need it.

Cheers to a stress free and an SEO friendly 2013! Have you checked your own personal SEO out yet? 

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