SEO Success with WordPress Presentation/Workshop in Seattle, July 7th

Google Analytics - Actionable Information and Results“SEO Success with WordPress: How to Use a Few Great Plugins and Tools to Make Money with Your WordPress Site” will be the topic of my free, live presentation & workshop at the July Seattle WordPress Meetup on Thursday evening, July 7th at TechStars in South Lake Union, Seattle at 6:30 PM.

UPDATE: July 8, 2011 – The slides for this SEO presentation are embedded below.

Here are the slides from the SEO presentation & workshop.

If you are a WordPress user – or even if not – you’ll learn how to set up your website to collect the essential information you need to find out whether your search engine optimization efforts are paying off.

For more information – including map and directions to TechStars – and to RSVP, visit the SEO Success with WordPress Presentation page on the Seattle WordPress Meetup site.

Here’s a summary of the presentation and workshop, which also appears on our Meetup.com website (link above). You do not need to be a Meetup.com user to attend, but do sign up if you would like to learn more about our very active and growing WordPress group for developers, designers, and users of every stripe, including great support for newbies. […] [ read more ]

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Best Search Engine Optimization Resources for Beginners

A good comprehensive article on Search Engine Optimization for beginners is hard to find. This is a complaint I hear often. But there are a few good SEO Resources out there. Here are three.

One great Search Engine Optimization resource for beginners is the Google guide. I can’t find a link in the form of a URL, but you can get it here: [ read more ]

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Search Engine Optimization 101 – How to Choose Keywords: A Lesson from the Bayer Aspirin Marketing Team

Successful online marketers understand the need to talk about their products in terms customers recognize and respond to.

Search Engine Optimization 101 - Choosing Good Keywords - Low Dose Aspirin PackagingChoosing good keywords is hard – no matter what size your business is. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get my clients to see the importance of using language in their marketing materials – including their website – that they themselves wouldn’t necessarily use to talk about their products or services.

Sometimes C-level executives don’t like using words they feel have [ read more ]

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Link Building Strategy: Quality Over Quantity Every Time

Today Nichola Stott posted an excellent article on Link Building and Search Engine Optimization, When Link Loss Ain’t No Bad Thing, on Search Engine Watch.

I’m buying. Along with work by Eric Ward it’s one of the best posts I have read on link building in some time. The article is well-documented (at least I take the author at her word) and well-written.

The author recommends a strategy of developing quality links from legitimate sites rather than a large volume of links from sites that are much less obviously related to the focus of the site you are trying to optimize.

It’s particularly interesting that Stott says “Anchor text [in inbound links] isn’t the signal it once was.” I still think we should always try for good anchor text, but the point of the article is that engineered links are more obvious today than they once were, and that probably includes anchor text in inbound links.

Today Google has much more information at its disposal when it determines what a web page is about, so it doesn’t need to rely on anchor text as much, just as directories like Yahoo! and DMOZ used to have much more significance for search engine optimization. Still, all other things being equal, better anchor text is better SEO.

Here’s Google’s Maile Ohye saying very recently that anchor text in internal links will influence sitelinks.

So clearly Google still looks at anchor text for important clues about a page’s content.

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Search Engine Optimization and WordPress: Mark McLaren Speaking at WordCamp Portland 2010

Search Engine Optimization - Speaker WordCamp PortlandLast year’s WordCamp Portland was two full days of WordPress joy, and this year’s is going to be even better. Sure, Matt Mullenweg and Jane Wells were there – two people who are shaping the future of WordPress. And this year not only are they are coming back, but WordPress lead developer Mark Jaquith is coming along, too. So if you have a question or a request related to WordPress, there’s pretty much no doubt you’ll be able to have it addressed right there on the spot.

I will be speaking, as well. The topic is Search Engine Optimization and WordPress. This will not be the same SEO and WordPress presentation I gave at WordCamp Vancouver. The focus will be on keywords and the importance of links for search engine optimization.

Did I mention that WordCamp Portland also features awesome food – and BEER?! How many conferences, un- or otherwise, have you been to that have kegs of killer microbrew at the snack table? Right.

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5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress

On June 12, I had the great pleasure of presenting at WordCamp Vancouver. Duane Storey and the rest of the organizers did an awesome job. The conference was a big hit. If you get the chance, definitely check it out next year.

My presentation was called “Get Found Easier and Grow Your Business: 5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress”. Thirty minutes is just about enough time to get through the essentials of SEO for WordPress, although I’m sure it could be a two-hour presentation without too much trouble.

Half of the time does not involve using WordPress! I do a quick overview of what a keyword is, how to pick a good keyword, how to check your initial search ranking, and, after optimizing, how to see if your optimization efforts had any effect!

Understanding keywords is absolutely critical to search optimization, but it’s not often talked about in a way that most people can get. This is going to have to change as more businesses use WordPress and other CMS solutions for websites and then decide that they need to do their own SEO.

The 5 Tips for Better SEO are spelled out in the presentation slide deck below. They are also available in PDF form here (right click and select “Save Target As…” or “Save Link As…” to download).

5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress (PDF)

At the end of the slides and the PDF, there are links to SEO Plugins, Tools and Resources. If you would like the .pptx file of  the presentation – including the Notes – contact me.

Here are the 5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress in case you want a quick overview:

Tip #1 : Use keywords in your HTML page title

Tip #2 : Write a page description that makes people want to read more (include keywords)

Tip #3: Customize permalinks

Tip #4 : Use keywords in the visible page

Tip #4 continued: Make content “sticky”, useful, a resource

Tip #5: Links

•Inbound Links are the Number One Search Ranking Factor
(and #2, #3, #5)  according to seomoz.org
•External Links
•Internal Links
•Use keywords in link text
•Use inbound link tools

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How to Host Video with WordPress: Advantages of YouTube vs. Self-Hosted

McBuzz Video hosted on YouTubeGoogle Search Results

I was talking with a client about Social Media Marketing and ways to host video on a WordPress site. If your WordPress website is self-hosted, you have plenty of options. I won’t even begin to go into the many video plugins for WordPress. That is a different topic. But when it comes to video hosting, there a lot of reasons to use YouTube rather than anything else. Visit the McBuzz YouTube Channel here.

Because uploading and inserting images is so easy with WordPress, you might think that video should be simple in the same way. But because you need a video player – which is complicated – and video files are typically quite large (unless they are converted to Flash and compressed), there are lots of factors that make handling video different than handling images.

The screen shot at right shows Google search results for “introduction to wordpress dashboard”. Google Universal Search Results feature video, images and other kinds of content along with the standard text listings for web pages. Here video thumbnails appear near the top of the results. The McBuzz Business Blogging 101 tutorial featuring the same video is at the bottom of the results page. Two listings for the price of one! Click on the image below to see similar results for “wordpress static page”. This time, video thumbnails are at the bottom of the page, and Business Blogging 101 is at the top.

WordPress makes it super easy to embed a video when you use the URL from YouTube or a similar hosting service like Vimeo or VodPod. These other services are as easy to use as YouTube, but YouTube is the best easy solution for lots of other reasons. Unless, for some reason, you want complete control over your videos and you want to limit access to them or keep them out of the Google Index altogether, there are many good reasons to use YouTube or a similar service as a host for your video files. In terms of search engine visibility, these services – and especially YouTube – are far superior to hosting video on your own server.

WordPress Static Home Page - Google Search

Here Are 10 Reasons Why YouTube is the Best Choice for Video Hosting

Note that all these reasons really make YouTube the best choice for video hosting whether you use WordPress or some other web platform. If you’re doing online marketing, you should be using YouTube.

  1. YouTube is free.
  2. YouTube works with many file formats and converts those files into several different sizes of Flash movie, including HD. If someone has HD capability on their computer or other device, they can watch in HD, otherwise they can watch at a lower resolution. Creating these options on your own would be time-consuming and require special software and skills.
  3. You can add unique, keyword-rich titles and descriptions for every video you upload.
  4. Your YouTube account itself is great for your personal visibility and for your business.
  5. In many cases, YouTube searches exceed the number of Google searches as a source of viewer traffic for your videos. That traffic will, in turn, see your YouTube profile and you can do a lot on your profile and in the video descriptions to encourage visitors to go to your main website.
  6. Google owns YouTube; they pay very close attention to content on YouTube.
  7. As part of “Google Universal Search Results“, video thumbnails often appear on search results pages independent of other search results, this means you have a better chance of being found in Google results when you keep video on YouTube. It’s possible to get a standard search result listing along with a video thumbnail or image thumbnail listing, so you get multiple listings on the same search results page.
  8. People will pick up and embed your videos in their own website or blog. This is great for inbound links and for increasing traffic to your site because you can include a URL in the video description as well as a URL that displays at the beginning or end of your videos. (Branding your videos is very important for this reason. Sometimes I do a good job at this, sometimes not. Here’s one example I’m happy with: Installing WordPress on BlueHost)
  9. YouTube gives you fairly comprehensive stats (YouTube calls these viewer analytics “Insight”) over time regarding how many people watch your videos, how they found them (via YouTube search, a search engine, direct link, etc.), their demographics and so forth. You won’t get any of that if you host your own videos.
  10. Many web hosts will charge you an additional fee for the increased bandwidth and server space demands you put on their servers when you host your own video. Whether or not they have fees, they may limit the bandwidth and space you are allowed for large files like video.

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Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Free tools for social media marketing are popping up everywhere. For a huge list of free and paid social media monitoring tools, there is the Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions. The Press Release Grader from Hubspot is a tool of a different sort, in fact, in addition to checking for basics like contact information, it’s more about search optimization than anything else.

Free Social Media Marketing Tool: Press Release Grader

Unlike monitoring tools, Press Release Grader is not about gathering information and figuring out what to do with it. It’s an instructive tool that runs your press release through a checklist, giving you feedback about things like the readability level (high school, college, graduate school), overused words and words used most often.

One of my favorite features is a link checker that inspects the number and quality of links you include in the body of the release. Since many press releases will wind up on the Web, links are especially important. You need to be sure to include good links: think about the pages you are linking to and whether you have included keywords in the links.

Press Release Grader is an instructive tool in another sense: it teaches the user how to optimize content. Many of the same principles apply to all Web-based publishing. It’s also likely that this tool will improve as Hubspot gets feedback from users. There are search engine optimization tools that do the same thing, Hubspot and Optify are two notable providers.

Press releases are not dead. They are still a valuable way to get the word out and build inbound links. So, as long as you are going to use them, you should take a few minutes to check them over with a tool like Press Release Grader.

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What is Universal Search? How Do I Optimize for Universal Search?

Several readers have asked, What is Universal Search and how do I optimize for it?


Click to enlarge

Universal Search, also called “Blended Search”, refers to the search results offered today by Google and others on their search engine results pages (SERPs) – pages like the one at right. Rather than simply listing links to web pages as they did four or five years ago, SERPs now display results for other media. These can include Image results, News results and Video results.

Optimizing for Universal Search means doing things (ethical things) to get your links to rank highly for a particular keyword.

Let Universal Search guide the way you do search engine optimization:

  • In order to be competitive in Universal Search, you need to have content on multiple web sites, not just your own website, but also YouTube (and other video sites), product sites like Google Base, News sites and others.
  • You need to better optimize the images on all your web properties if you want them to show up in Universal Search results.
  • If you optimize well, you can get more than one result – sometimes 3 or 4 – showing up on page one of Google SERPs.

Upload PDF WordPress - Google Serp
Click to enlarge

In the SERP at left, you can see mcbuzz.wordpress.com in positions 1 and 2 for a search on “upload pdf wordpress”, and you can also see an image from a McBuzz video tutorial (bottom right) on the same page. The listing in position 2 and the video image are the essentially the same content. One link is to a blog post with the video embedded in it. The other is to the video itself on YouTube. And, although the video is not at the top of the page, people are more likely to click on the graphical video image than they are on a plain text listing.

This is the beauty of Universal Search: the potential for more listings, and listings with images. Add to this the fact that your competitors are probably not optimizing very well for Universal Search – not yet, anyway – and you see why it’s important to know about it, and to turn that knowledge into action.

In the next post, I’ll talk about how to optimize for Universal Search.

Click here to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services offered by McBuzz.

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Google Does Not Use Keywords Meta Tag to Rank Web Pages

There has always been some discussion as to whether Google pays any attention to the “keywords” meta tag when ranking web pages. For now, that discussion can be put to rest. Today, Matt Cutts, Google’s page ranking czar (he refers to himself as the head of Google’s Webspam team) put out a video and several blog posts that state conclusively that Google disregards the keywords tag.

At least for Google’s web search results currently (September 2009), the answer is no. Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.

He notes that the “description” meta tag is used to determine what a page is about, and it is also used as the short summary that is part of a web page listing when it appears in a Google search results page.

Matt Cutts: Google Does Not Use Keywords Meta Tag

The “description” and “keywords” meta tags usually appear at the top of the HTML for a web page. They are not visible in the web browser unless you select View > Page Source or View > Source.

Keywords Meta Tag vs Description Meta Tag - HTML Code

Google will display the contents of the “description” meta tag as part of the information in a search results page listing when it is useful information for human visitors. If there is no description meta tag or the information is not especially relevant, Google may use information from the visible web page instead.

For the McBuzz.com home page, Google uses the contents of the “description” meta tag in the search results listing. (This is an old search example, but you get the idea. :) )
Description Meta Tag and Search Results Summary

Click here » to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services offered by McBuzz.

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