5 Steps To Give Your WordPress Blog An Efficiency Makeover

Aesthetics pleases the eye, but function is what determines how useful a tool can be. When it comes to your WordPress blog, it needs to be both. Aesthetics will bring visible pleasure for your followers and great functionality for you and your followers.

A great way to do this is through a blog efficiency makeover. You just need to update and improve some things, maybe add a little feature that would help your SEO efforts as well as help your followers share your content easier.

  1. Include call-to-action footer images – We all know that call to action is important in every post. A clickable image at the bottom of each blog post, or a footer image, is even better. These images are an effective way for bloggers to promote certain products, services, or specific message to their readers. You may opt to use Photoshop of design bar images that will fit the width of you blog post column. Once you have the design, simply upload them into the WordPress Media Library and label them as “CTA”. This way, you can easily find the image in the media library. Once your footer image has been included in your blog post, you need to edit it. Make sure to insert a link in the “Link URL” section so that when your readers click on the tab, it will automatically go to the article you are promoting. If you are promoting a service, link it to a post that will tell them more about what you are offering.
  2. Insert tracking links – Tracking links essentially help you “track” activities on your blog, creating a more efficient system for your business. It lets you easily analyze which of your links are getting more clicks or which images are converting blog readers into subscribers. You may use a link-tracking software such as Improvely to help you with this.
  3. Make blog post images, pin-ready – Sharing content is important; this is how your content spreads through the internet. So you need to make sure that all your content can be easily shared, even the images. Make your blog post images more Pinterest-friendly by editing your image’s “Title” and “Alternative Text” sections to have the same title as your blog post. This helps in your SEO. Don’t forget to include a Pinterest plugin or share button too.
  4. Install Twitter cards – When you install a WordPress plugin that enables Twitter Cards, you blog’s content pop in the Twitter feed. Basically, when your readers share a link of a Twitter-card enable post, their tweet will feature an intro text and an image from your blog articles. Hence, the more visual and more attractive your blog’s content is in the Twitter feed, the more it is likely to be shared. Installing Twitter cards will require some developer skills and it is recommended to make some research. GitHub.com has some great resources in your interested to learn more about it.
  5. Establish Google authorship – Google authorship lets you connect the blog post authors’ Google+ accounts to WordPress. When you set up your Google authorship, your Google+ profile image and byline will be featured in the search results pages.

Do you have other WordPress tips and tricks you want to share? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Why Responsive Design Is Important?

SEOcial created an infographic showing various reasons why digital entrepreneurs need to opt for responsive design when it comes to web design. It also compares a website with a responsive design and a mobile site or adaptive design.

The infographic also shows 10 key benefits of having a responsive design. Learn more from the infographic below.

 

Why Responsive Design is Important: 10 Key Statistics

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

What is the Google Hummingbird?

When Google releases an update, everyone in the Internet marketing industry wants to get a scoop because it would affect the way they do business in the Internet – primarily for search engine marketing.

And since Google just released a new algorithm, and a lot of people have been asking me what it is, what it does and what they could do to safeguard their businesses from being adversely affected by it, I made a video that explains all these. Check it out:

If you have more questions, let me know about here and I’ll answer it as soon as I can.

 

Keyword Research and SEO with Market Samurai

Keywords — we use them every time we search something online. These are the words, phrases, and topics we type on the search bar to narrow down what we are looking for. As someone who is serious about blogging and SEO, you need to learn about them and how you can use them to improve traffic on your site and be on the first page of Google. Like any research work, you need the right tool for this job and I recommend using Market Samurai. Let me share what I discovered from Pat Flynn of smartpassiveincome.com. He has an awesome video on how to use Market Samurai for keyword research. The video discusses the basics of keyword research like how it works and what makes a good keyword; up to the more advance topics of utilizing Market Samurai for SEO competition and other SEO tips.

Before you watch the webinar recording below, be sure to download a FREE Trial copy of Market Samurai so you can do the walk through side by side as you watch the video. You can download it here – http://www.benfrancia.com/market-samurai/

keyword research and seo with market samurai

 

My TOP SEO Tips for Bloggers

Last week I spoke at the 2nd Baguio Blog Conference about SEO and Blogging held at the Azalea Residences. I really enjoyed sharing my tips to the very engaging bloggers of Baguio.

For those who missed the event, i’ve compiled and condensed the whole 1 hour session in to a 5 minute video, summarizing those SEO tips that I shared last May 11.

If you want the the full deck of the presentation (total of 39 slides), just tweet me with the hashtag #bentalks2013 and I’d be glad to send you a copy.

Enjoy! :)

 

PS:

For those of you who are still clueless what SEO is, check out an earlier blog post that I published explaining the basics of Search Engine Optimization

What is Search Engine Optimization?

whatisseo

Don’t know what search engine optimization is? Know someone who needs easy to understand overview of SEO? That’s what this video provides, in just three minutes. It’s part of the many resources provided by Search Engine Land’s “What Is SEO” page searching…

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SEO: What is it?

SEO

Whenever talking about online businesses, you can’t help but hear the term SEO. What is it anyway? And why is it so important?

SEO, the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, is simply how search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, rate your website in terms of relevance and importance on users searches through the keywords. These keywords are the words or phrases we type in any search engine’s search box.

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Top 10 Ways to Hit Page 1

seo dim2013 la union

Photo courtesy of Reymart Maneclang Canuel

Last January 26, 2013, I spoke at the Digital Influencer Marketing Summit  which was held at Thunderbird Resort Poro Point in San Fernando La Union.

It was a challenge to talk in the afternoon specially after a sumptuous buffet lunch in a 1st class resort . I had to literally gulp 2 cups of coffee and pump up the adrenaline to keep myself awake. I guess the bigger challenge for me that afternoon was to discuss the topic of SEO in non technical manner but at the same time not to bore those who are quite familiar with SEO with a lot of newbie stuff.

And since my topic for the summit was “How Influencers and Brand Advocates are Shaping Search Engine Results”, I thought of coming up with my own “Top 10 Ways to Hit Page 1”.

So here you go:

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Outsourcing SEO Services: Nine Tips to Remember

Search engine visibility is essential to the survival and profitability of most online businesses today. Web statistics show that 90% of all online experiences begin with search. Each day, more than a billion queries are entered on Google alone by people who seek information, entertainment, socialization and commercial activities.

It doesn’t take much to deduce that if your site appears in the top searches for a keyword that’s representative of its content, there’s a better chance to receive more visitors that are interested in what it has to offer. For people who know how to make money online, every visitor represents an opportunity to advertise, sell or generate leads. To that end, a lot of companies hire search engine optimization (SEO) companies to help them improve the placement of their webpage listings in portals like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

A good SEO company can help you identify areas of improvement as far as website optimization is concerned. These specialized firms can then put together an optimization strategy which they will execute once you hire them for the job. At the end of their proposed activity timeline, your site should be positioned in the first page of search results for most search engines that are of any consequence.

However, there’s a grim reality to the world’s SEO situation: for every good SEO service provider out there, there are three other SEO snake oil vendors who are waiting to scam you and do your site more harm than good. Ineffective tactics, questionable methodologies and outright rip-offs are just some of the things associated with bad SEO vendors that are littered all over the Web. It’s usually up to you as the consumer to make the best judgment on whether an SEO firm can be trusted with handling the fate of your online business or not.

But how exactly do you know you’re outsourcing your SEO to the right firm? Here are a few tips that’ll eliminate 99% of the frauds out there from your list:

1. Check the Site’s Own Rankings – How comfortable would you be if you’re being serviced by a dentist who has a mouthful of cavities? Unless you have supreme faith in your oral health service provider’s skills in his profession, you’ll probably wonder how much he can help you when it’s obvious he can’t even take care of himself. The same principle applies when you’re trying to choose a SEO company to help build up your rankings. The provider’s website should serve as the first case study that will demonstrate just what they bring to the table.

Check the title tags and meta keywords of the SEP firm’s website to get some ideas about what keywords they are targeting. You can then use simple apps like SEOBook’s rank Checker to see how well the site ranks for its keywords. If the site is in the first page for its main keywords, that’s a good sign. It means they’re doing something right in their own campaigns. If they’re on page 3 and beyond, take their claims with a grain of salt and focus on websites that readily prove their rank building abilities.

2. Google the Site’s Name – SEO has never been an exact science and you don’t need a degree, a license or a certification to declare yourself an expert in this field. Since there are no sanctioning and regulatory organizations, reputation is your best bet in getting a feel of the service provider’s credibility.

A simple Google search can tell you a lot about a prospective SEO company’s track record. Enter a query for the firm’s name and see what kind of results appear. Is there a lot of bad press (complaints, negative reviews, scam alerts) associated with their brand? You’ll want to check out the first 4 pages of the search results to make sure they have a good track record. If you find anything suspicious, read up on the matter and use best judgment to tell f the negative feedback has basis or not.

3. Ask for case studies – When looking for a SEO firm that will directly impact the performance of your online business, you’ll want to work with companies that have proven track records. Look for case studies of past and current clients in their website. If they don’t show any of those there, try contacting them and asking for some examples before getting into serious business talks. Not being shown at least three good case studies is a red flag. If they can’t show you any proof of past success, walk away and take your business elsewhere.

4. Ask for references – If you want a deeper background check with more telling signals, you can request for the contact information of past clients. A good SEO company that has satisfied customers should have no problems in hooking you up with past and current clients who will tell you about the experiences they’ve had with the service provider. Ask for at least three and if possible, call them. Be courteous but at the same time, be straightforward with your questions. Thank them and factor their feedback into your decision later on.

5. Check for Satisfaction Guarantees – While it’s true that it’s almost impossible to guarantee a number 1 placement in search engine rankings for competitive keywords, some firms actually believe in what they do to an extent where they’re willing to guarantee success. Look for firms that have these guarantees and don’t forget to read the fine print if there’s any. Money back guarantees and pay-on-result deals are the gold standard as far as SEO-related guarantees go.

6. Don’t Base Your Choice on Pricing – One of the most inaccurate indicators of SEO service quality is price point. Just because a firm charges you exorbitant rates doesn’t mean they’ll get you to the top of the SERPs effectively. Similarly, just because a company offers you dirt cheap rates doesn’t mean you’ll get great value for money. While price is indeed a significant factor when choosing a partner for the job, track record is your best bet when making this crucial decision. Ask for information about sites that they’ve helped in the past and inquire about what kind of techniques they use. Make sure to stay away from companies that use questionable tactics to give yourself a better shot at long term success.

7. Ask About Reports – Every search marketing company has the responsibility to provide complete and transparent information about the activities that they do inside and outside your website. All the tweaks they make to your webpages and every link they build should be trackable in easy-to-understand spreadsheets that will provide you quick reference. Traffic analytics and ranking reports are standard statistics that will help you monitor the progress of your campaign.

8. Inquire About Customer Support – The success of every SEO campaign relies heavily on how good the communication is between the client and the service provider. Good SEO companies often have multiple, easily accessible customer support channels that you can use when you need to reach out to them for instructions or updates. Phone support is always king, but live chat, a ticketing system and dynamic email support are great too. If the SEO firm you’re looking at seems to be shady and hard to talk to when you need something fixed, take your business elsewhere. These guys don’t deserve your money.

9. Check For Trust Signals on the Site Itself – Little things can tell you some significant things about a website and the company it represents. Is there a phone number? How about a business address? If you don’t find either, you can assume that the site’s owners don’t want to be found easily in case you have complaints about their services. Examine the avenues that the site provides for you to contact them. If it’s a simple email address or a contact form, it will be tough for you to go after these guys if things turn out to be a mess. Credible SEO agencies are willing to face and serve clients anytime even when things don’t go so good.

Following these tips should help you steer clear of most of the bad guys out on the Web. Spend your money, time and efforts wisely when trying to market online. With every good decision you make, a positive impact on your bottom line happens. Good luck!

[Video] Getting Leads and Customers from Google and other Search Engines

Ever used the Yellow Pages?

If you’re part of the Google generation, you’ve probably heard of it, much less opened up its pages. In any case, Yellow Pages help people find out establishments’ contact details. So, say, if you’re looking for the nearest pizza delivery and don’t have an Internet connection, chances are you’ve opened one of these tomes up and searched from there.

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