Here at Masterpiece Web Designs, our kids are either fresh out of college, in college, or getting ready to go. So we’re hearing lots of talk about the importance of ‘communications skills’ these days. From discussions about the ‘written portion of the SAT’ to research and communications skills relating to college curricula, to stacking up a resume or application with examples of success in communications and research, suddenly our kids see why we were so concerned about their early reading and writing progress. Without the ability to research information, understand the written words, and communicate our knowledge, we’ll never make it! Take it from us, you’ll never ever earn a descent rank on a search engine, either!
If you don’t take the time to do your due diligence, read and understand the ever-changing realm of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you’ll never get visibility on the internet! At Masterpiece Web Designs, we strive to make your website a real ‘piece of art’ – looking beautiful and communicating your brand identity, your company’s message both verbally and visually, using the best graphic imagery possible. We stay aloft of the latest design trends from fabulous fonts to carefully crafted color palettes. But a real masterpiece of a website is more than just pretty pictures and creative wordsmithing. Is a masterpiece a masterpiece if it is never displayed in a gallery? That is the question. And at Masterpiece web design, we believe getting your website seen – making it highly visible – counts for it being ranked as a real MASTERPIECE. So, then, let’s discuss the ABC’s of SEO.
- A = Algorithms – Find out a little bit about how those Google algorithms work. Yes, the word ‘algorithm’ sounds scary to some. When I think about algorithms, the skin around my skull and brain tightens and any kind of understanding wants to bounce right off. The reason is, this word takes me back to a math class long ago… one that I struggled in. But, really, algorithms are just sets of rules… The latest big one Google talks about is the mobile-friendly thing. There are certain criteria Google looks for – that they consider in order to rank websites as ‘high quality’.
- B = Backlinks – According to this blog we found on blogtyrant.com, ‘if you’ve been around the SEO game for a while you’ll know that it was all about backlinks. Google saw these as an excellent way to determine a site’s authority: the more people linking to your site the more trustworthy you were likely to be. Then…when it was discovered that you could manipulate your rankings with backlinks it all went mental. People were buying them, stealing them, selling them, sneaking them into (low-quality) free WordPress themes.’ The authors at blogtyrant.com claim to be among the honest souls who were earning them legitimately through killer content and useful comments. And, the ‘legit’ gaining of backlinks are, indeed, still legit ‘quality indicators’ to Google. So, in today’s world of using social media to gain rank and credibility, backlinks, if earned and utilized successfully, still matter!
- C = Commitment to Social Media – It does take a committed soul to use social media effectively and in a way that Google deems high quality and successful. According to the ‘BlogTyrant’ article about SEO, a commitment to SEO …’seems like a new major indicator of trust is social media and in particular Twitter and Facebook.’ Look at it this way: Social Media sharing is the ‘new’ backlinks sharing. If a new blog post gets zero Tweets and zero Shares there is a chance it is of low value. A post that gets 10,000 Tweets, on the other hand, is likely to be very useful for readers. The social media shares are almost like a focus group for Google rankings. If it gets shared, it will get indexed.
So what can you do?
- Commitment / Commitment / Commitment
This means: GO AT IT! Continually build your Facebook and Twitter profiles alongside your blog. Masterpiece Web Designs can FEED your blog to your FB and Twitter – talk to us about how we can make it as convenient as possible. Tell your kids how important it is to research, absorb info, then communicate because in today’s world you have to talk and tweet your way to the top – literally!
- Share valuable insights with your readers. Talk about stuff they might not know… stuff that interests them… and, more importantly, stuff that they’ll look smart by sharing!!! Somehow prompt them to share your info. If anything, tell them how much it would help YOU out if they retweet or repost your message… if they like you and your product, message, or helpful hints, they’ll do it for you. (HINT, HINT.)
- Retweet / Repost other bloggers’ stuff.
Make sure you are tweeting other articles that you like from bloggers in your niche. They will return the favor. (Kinda like how we’re sharing blogtyrant’s stuff.)
So the name of this article is the ABC’s of SEO + More. Here’s more:
You need to know what Bounce Rate is. Your bounce rate shows how many people come to your site and visit one page without looking around. Suddenly bounce rate is more important part of Google’s algorithm (the rules/criteria) than ever. So how do you get that bounce rate down? Meaning: How do you get folks to hang around and stay on your site for a while?
- Get a good design Look legit! Show your Masterpiece. When they pull up in the internet driveway let them know they are at the right place! Make sure your brand identity is flawless and that it communicates what you do to your target audience. If you’re not up with the latest design trends, you’re going to blow it.
- Use a blog feed or something that moves them to more info
Get some posts or blocks of info that say ‘more…’ or ‘read more…’ on your home page, so folks will want to move on to another page or post to read more. Have an intriguing first sentence to lure them in.
- Recommend posts
Have a section at the top of your blog or website that says ‘Latest News’ or ‘Popular Posts’ with interesting articles, and direct all kinds of traffic there using social media too.
- Go back and tweak old articles
Every once in a while you should go back and tweak old articles to give people and idea about a related topic. Changing and updating old content can be a great substitute for adding new content when you are under time constraints.
- Above the Fold – make it count
‘Above the fold’ is all the stuff you see before you scroll. It should be as efficient as possible. It should effectively make people want to look around the site, or scroll on down on a page and link to other material, going deeper into the site.
Getting people to revisit your site is a good thing. It indicates quality – stability. Just like the lesson on Bounce Rate, we are now seeing that the metric of Returning Readers is becoming more important than ever.
Again, this is all about Google seeing some indication of your site being a safe and useful place for them to send their clients.
Helpful tips for getting them to come back:
- Produce amazing content
I’d really start to tone down on the small “update” posts and just release big beautiful articles with lots of useful information.
- Focus on email subscribers
Keep growing that email list. Not only does this safe-guard your blog against a Google penalty, it also gives you a way to contact readers and get them back to your blog whenever you want.
- Try a series
One way to get people back is to produce a series of posts on the same topic. If a group of folks like your writing and the topic you’re writing on, they’ll return regularly to follow a series of info on that topic.
- Interact with people everywhere
I’m often surprised at how little some smaller/beginner bloggers interact with their readers. They don’t reply to comments, Tweets or Facebook messages. My policy is to try and reply to all of them and it has worked really well for me over the years. Make friends with your readers and they will come back.
Build a Cross-Platform Brand
Focus on spanning all kinds of mobility and platforms. When Google bought Youtube they signaled to a lot of people that they were going to move away from just articles in their search results. And they did. Make sure your information is visible on all kinds of phones, tablets and browsers. Consider these options for your product and marketing
- Make an App
- Create a video
At Masterpiece Web Design, if we can’t do it for you, we have a partner that can help. Want to go beyond your website into other digital formats? Let us know!
Brush Up On Your Psychology | Understanding How People Search
A great looking, current, stylish and fully branded design, low bounce rate, lots of users who sharing content – all of this is building a solid User Experience / User Interface to your site. Pay close attention to how people behave when they visit your website. Anticipate what they’re on the site for and what they want. Consider what might coax them to stay longer and what will encourage them to share your content.
Building valuable content means understanding a lot about Human Behavior / Human Psychology. Here are the basics of human nature for you to keep in mind as you prepare your content: (great ideas from Blog Tyrant’s SEO Secrets!)
- Communities matter to humans
Human beings need to feel part of a community. Its literally built into our DNA. Make your blog feel like a support group of some kind.
- Make sure people trust you
Take a look at your message. Are you building trust… people need to trust you a lot to add their names to your list.
- Understand color and images
Know that your website is designed with the latest knowledge of trends in design and understanding of how humans relate to various colors and layouts.
- Offer exclusivity
Exclusive content is one way to make people come back and be loyal. Humans love to feel like they are part of something special.
- Solve financial and emotional problems
When you write a blog post you are not just solving a practical problem. You are solving a financial or emotional one. Make sure your content is changing people’s lives, not just their days.
Back to our college kids… We should have some discussions with them about Psychology – they’re learning all about this stuff right now. Maybe talking to them is a good way to brush up on our own knowledge about this topic.
Kids always love learning about Psychology… I remember taking Psyc101 my freshman year, and suddenly gaining new insights about human nature and how we relate to our environment. Researching and writing and communicating are so important. As our kids are getting their higher educations, we’re thinking about those valuable skills and how they are so important to our own job of making our clients’ websites into real masterpieces – ones that people see, share, relate to and revisit. Want to get started on your Masterpiece? Think about the ABC’s of SEO and beyond… sustaining great SEO means continually supplying valuable and relevant content that captivates your audience? Sounds hard? Leave the heavy lifting to us, but it’s important that our clients ‘get it’… we’ll share our skills to help you reach your goals!