Boost Your Google Rankings

Blogging For SEO: How To Use The Yoast SEO Plugin For Your Blog (Part 4)

First impressions matter a lot to Google. So, how do you make sure your blog post includes all the “right stuff” to be considered properly optimized? Answer: Make is easy on yourself and get an SEO Plugin!

The Basics Of How To Use Yoast SEO Plugin For Your Blog

I like using Yoast because it has easy-to-understand little indicator lights that let you know how good your on-page SEO is. The main SEO touch points you want to make sure you do a stellar job writing include:

  1. Title Tags
  2. Focus Keyword
  3. Meta Descriptions

Here’s what the Yoast plugin looks like when you’re optimizing a blog:

(click on the image to enlarge it)

How To Use Yoast SEO Plugin - Chow Communications

How To Use The Yoast SEO Plugin – Chow Communications

What Is A Title Tag In Yoast?

A title tag is a clear, concise, and accurate description of what Google and viewers can expect to find on the specific web page in question. In this case, it would be your blog. Title tags are displayed as the bolded blue link on SERPs (ie. search engine results pages) and, in combination with the meta description, provide a preview or “snippet” description for the web page it’s linking to. And, always be sure to include a keyword in your title tag. As always, this keyword should accurately describe what the page is all about.

Besides your amazing content, title tags are viewed as one of the most important on-page SEO elements on a web page and actually show up in 3 main places:

1. Browser Tabs

2. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) 

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions in a SERP  - Chow Communications

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions in a SERP – Chow Communications

3. External Websites

Where Title Tag's and Meta Description's Show Up - Chow Communications

Where Title Tag’s and Meta Description’s Show Up – Chow Communications

As you can see, the title tag shows up in a lot of very important places and serves as a point of reference for relevancy in the minds of your viewers and for search engine rankings. The optimal length of a title tag should be anywhere from 50-60 characters. I normally try to keep the length under 55 characters just to make sure Google actually displays the data I want them to without cutting anything off.

What Is A Meta Description In Yoast?

A meta description works in a similar way to title tags except they’re longer (anywhere between 150-160 characters) and hold less importance to search engine rankings. BUT…meta descriptions are incredibly important in encouraging click-throughs in a SERP. In other words, I want you to think of the meta description as a kick-arse, one-line sales pitch that’s both related to the page’s content AND will get people to click on your link to take them to your website. Advertise, sell, and promote specific content you’ve generated or benefits you can provide to your ideal target client – let them know right away whether the given page has all the information they’re looking for in spades!

What Is A Focus Keyword In Yoast?

A lot of people think they need to be optimizing a post for more than one keyword. Au contraire.

I want you to think of the focus keyword as the MAIN topic of your blog post. When you write a blog post, that post will only explore ONE topic in detail, correct? HINT: The answer is Yes! Yoast will then take this focus keyword and use it to analyze the overall SEO “quality” and relevancy of the post.

The cool thing about the Yoast keyword input field is that it will actually HELP you figure out a good choice for your chosen keyword. Visualize this and see the below screen capture: If you start typing in a keyword, Yoast will immediately open a drop down menu with suggestions. Where did these suggestions come from, you ask? They’re actually loaded from Google Suggest and has the ability to “predict” what your ideal target client would see if they also enter the search term into their Google search bar. See the comparison here:

What Is A Focus Keyword In Yoast - Chow Communications

What Is A Focus Keyword In Yoast – Chow Communications

Title tags and meta description work in tandem to create something called a snippet preview. The big blue link in a SERP is usually the title of your post. The short description that appears below it is the meta description. Does the meta description impact your rankings? Maybe. But, like I said earlier, what it really does is increase your chances of click-throughs. So, be sure to do a good job writing out a short and succinct meta description that accurately describes the solution to the problem your ideal target client is looking to solve. It’s all about the sales pitch and perceived value.

Now that you’ve figured out how to use the Yoast plugin to search engine optimize your blog, let’s learn about where the best places are to publish your content for MAXIMUM SEO Benefit. See you at my next blog!

Read More

Blogging For SEO: How To Use Keywords In Your Blog (Part 3)

So, let’s go over some of my favourite quick tips for how you newly defined Bloggers can make some waves in a good way with search engines and your target markets:

1. How To Pick A Hot Topic For Your Blog: So, what the heck are you going to write about?

Write about stuff that’s actually going to matter to your target market. Go to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and find out what your market is interested in. Go to where your prospects hang out and see what they’re talking about. Are they asking questions about a certain topic? Or, is there a heated discussion around specific issues? If so AND it’s relevant to your business niche, then write about it!

And, not to be Captain Obvious here, but you could always look at the comments left in your blogs to see what kind of additional discussion and questions your content has generated. Make those your next topic and run with it!

2. How To Use Keywords In Your Blog: Let’s talk about structure and keywords now:

This is the mechanical stuff on how you can structure your blog for optimal indexing. Your topic and prose and overall paper personality is the fun, creative part of blogging. How you lay things out on your blog, however, is the tedious, technical stuff. Let’s get into it, shall we:

First things first — Gather some keywords around the topic that you’d like to get ranked for and run a check on them through the Google Keyword Planner. In case you don’t know what the Keyword Planner is, it’s a keyword search tool offered by the mighty Google.

In the Google Keyword Planner, you’ll see how many people are searching for your desired keywords and phrases, and it will even suggest related keywords and phrases that could provide better writing opportunities for marketing and generating organic interest. It also shows you how competitive a certain keyword is. It’s simple: The more competitive a keyword is, the harder it will be to rank on page 1 for it.

Some bloggers feel that the technical side of writing kills their creativity. Well…my only rebuttal to that is to pull up your big boy or big girl pants and do it anyways. Like anything in life and business, there are certain best practices and rules that you want to adhere to in order to get the most benefit for the least amount of work. Don’t be lazy when it comes to the important stuff. You can cut corners anywhere else, but not when it comes to keywords and topics.

3. The Importance Of Keywords In Your Blog Title: Don’t be vague!

A lot of people don’t realize this, but in the world of blogging, the title of your post becomes the title of the web page that it lives on. This means that each individual blog acts as a standalone page that needs to be optimized correctly in order for it to make any kind of positive impact online. And, this is why search engines like Google give more weight to your page title than other SEO variables like the meta descriptions, image captions, and the like.

I understand the dilemma: You want your post to be interesting enough to capture the attention of your target market BUT you want the post to get picked up by Google too. And, there we go again with the balancing of the creative and the technical.

Vague, yet creative blog post titles like, “Discover Your Sweet Escape” or “Dining In Style” are nice… But, is your ideal customer searching for these phrases? Probably not.

They’re likely searching for “Best Italian Restaurants In Vancouver” or “Best Place For Seafood In Richmond.” What you think your keywords are may be different from what people are actually searching for. The more niche your products or services are, the more careful you need to be with your keywords.

Your goal is to put yourself in your target viewer’s head 2 seconds before he or she types something into the search bar. You have to know what your viewer’s wants, how they want to be spoken to, and what’s going to make them commit to the action that you want them to commit to.

4. Frontload Your Keywords In Your Blog And Use Colons

Search engines give more weight to the first few words in a title and the first few sentences in the first paragraph. I’m not saying you should SPAM the whole blog – keep it classy, professional, and ALWAYS RELEVANT. You want to support your post and your blog in general, not spam your readers.

These are some of my favorite tips for how you can use keywords and SEO tactics to boost your blog’s rankings. And, I’ve got another 4 tips for you in my next blog. Until next time…

Read More

Blogging For SEO: How To Write Blog Posts That Rank Well On Google (Part 1)

Bloggers. They’re everywhere. Blogging about pretty much everything. Bloggers blogging about family and fashion. Bloggers blogging about business. Bloggers blogging about…well…other bloggers. You might even be one: A blogger.

Well, bloggers, I’ve got a few questions for you:

Why do you call yourself a blogger?

What does “being a blogger” even mean?

What do you write about on your blog?

Do you write for fun? Or, are you writing for a bigger purpose?

Are you selling anything on your blog? Products? Services?

Or…

Are you a blogger who’s looking to make money through affiliate marketing? This is a big one for my larger blogging clients.

So, let’s dig a little deeper and see what answers come up when I ask you this:

What are the goals for your blog? Is the goal of your blog:

To make money?

To build your brand equity?

To leverage your network to drive traffic to paid events, products, services?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not just a blogger. You’re a business person. A person who is looking to carve out a piece of the online pie by generating quality content that means something to you, provides value to others, and where you can benefit either financially, personally or both. Sounds about right to me, don’t you think?

And, if you’re a business person, your perspectives and methods and tactics need to follow a certain kind of business model and process for you to achieve your goals.

So, what does this have to do with SEO? Well, SEO is an all-encompassing concept that revolves around traffic, lead generation, online rankings, keywords, content and structure, and design – just to name a few.

I want you to think of SEO as all the tools, tactics, and concepts you’re going to use to prove to Google and your ideal target market that you’re worthy of A) Getting Ranked and B) Investing into whether it be as a potential client, affiliate, customer, and more. Think beyond just the simple keyword or meta description. Yes, these both have to do with SEO, but that’s only a small piece of the entire picture.

SEO is all about Buy-In. If you want to get to your ideal customer, you have to get through Google and other search engines first. This means you need to be technically sound enough online to prove your worthiness of getting ranked so that you can get onto that illustrious Page 1. And, it doesn’t just end there: Once you get ranked, you need to prove to your customer that you’re worthy of their interest and their business. This means you need to LOOK good. The way your site is designed, how it’s structured, the overall aesthetic appeal, AND the messaging on it has to be SPOT ON!

Now, do you understand what I’m saying about SEO? I’ll mention it again: SEO is all about Buy-In. Buy-In from Google and Buy-In from your ideal customer. SEO is about CONVERSIONS and all the little things you have to do to get your ideal target market to take notice and make an investment in you.

In this blog series, I’ll also show you how to choose keywords, how to structure your post, where to publish your content, how to use an SEO plugin, how to write a meta description, and a couple of other little SEO secrets that your competition probably has no idea about.

Stay tuned for my next blog and I’ll teach you how you can not only blog effectively for SEO, but also how to structure and write blog posts that rank well on Google and other major search engines. See you in a few days!

Read More

Simple SEO Tips To Help Your Rankings Skyrocket On Google!

So, let’s chat about some simple SEO tips to increase your rankings on Google. I get a lot of different reactions when it comes to explaining the premise behind search engine optimization – mostly a lot of blank stares, skepticism, and requests to repeat what I just said.

I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz about the so-called Google algorithm. Codenamed after adorable animals like Panda, Penguin, and, most recently, Hummingbird, these algorithms have thrown the online community into a tizzy. While some experts believe the whole process of SEO has become even more complicated since these changes by Google have been made, I actually believe it’s gotten simpler and more intuitive. The rules for being online haven’t changed. Google is just being more obvious about what it wants.

Google’s Goals Have Always Remained The Same:

  1. To give users of its search engine the most relevant (ie. best) search results in the shortest amount of time possible and
  2. To weed out and rank only the best small business owners that are able to give Google and its users exactly what they’re asking for.

So, what exactly is Google asking for? Answer: Google is asking business owners to produce multimedia content that it can quickly and easily index for ranking purposes. This content also needs to be highly relevant and interesting to capture the attention of a viewer. Here are my top 3 picks what you can do online to finally get noticed – and ranked – by Google:

1.  Search Engine Optimize Your Website

You have to give Google a reason to want to index you. When they start crawling your site for tid bits on who you are and what your business does, be sure you leave them with as much detailed information as possible. You do this using your title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, graphics, website layout, to name a few.

2.  Start Creating Profiles in Major Online Directories

I always advise my clients to strive for maximum exposure with the least amount of work. Gone are the days when Google only looks at a website to gauge whether or not you deserve to rank on Page 1. When you create profiles on online directories, you benefit from having your name and contact information show up on multiple places online AND you also receive a legitimate link back from that directory to your website. By directing people back to your own online accounts, you are essentially forcing Google to pay more attention to you. Start this process with free online directories like Google+ and Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, and more.

3.  Get Social and STAY Social

If there’s one thing that can be said for the most recent algorithm changes, it’s that

Google wants you to be more social. Plain and simple. Search engines are placing an increasing amount of importance on how social media conversations influence their views on brands and, ultimately, how their websites should rank. Business owners and brands can no longer rely on a well-optimized website to earn Google’s attention. A brand must be able to strike up a conversation, go where their people are going, and engaging them in a discussion that earns them brownie points in the form of a great reputation and better rankings online. Smart brands are using very specific – and simple – social media tactics to drive traffic to their websites and boost interest in their companies. I’ll share a few of those strategies with you in my next blog.

Now that you understand how Google works, be sure to apply these three basic steps to help you build a solid online foundation that nothing – not even Google’s famed and ever-changing – can ever shake. See you on my next blog where I’ll share with you how to leverage specific social media avenues to help you generate leads and traffic back to your site!

Read More