Saturday, September 15, 2012

RSS Feed Example

As RSS files are essentially XML formatted plain text, the RSS file itself is relatively easily read both by automated processes and by humans alike. An example file could have contents such as the following. This could be placed on any appropriate communication protocol for file retrieval, such as http or ftp, and reading software would use the information to present a neat display to the end user.

Highlights 8 Local SEO Best Practices

Yelp SEO Campaign Highlights 8 Local SEO Best Practices Are you missing an opportunity to fully understand and take advantage of the impact of local on search engine rankings? A new whitepaper from BrightEdge shares insights into how optimizes for local and highlights best practices for marketers. Yelp is a local review site with more than 30 million user-generated reviews and active communities in 15 different countries. Their reviews range over a number of verticals, including restaurants, retail, hotels and travel, real estate, education, and more. In the second quarter of 2012, they averaged 78 million unique visitors per month. Yelp’s Local Challenges Universal for Marketers Optimizing pages for different locations isn’t easy; the challenge begins when marketers try to get an accurate snapshot of their visibility across multiple locations. SEO technology may deliver keyword ranking data at the national level, or marketers may try to qualify search terms by using the name of specific cities in their queries. These methods don’t tell the whole story, though. BrightEdge notes, “When we compared Google results page for the search term 'burgers new york' to the page people who are actually in New York see when searching with the term “burgers” we found stark differences in rank performance.” Yelp’s challenges are unique given the sheer size of their website, the volume of reviews and other pages they have to optimize, and the fact that they rely on ranking locally by their very nature. Local Search Tips Based on Yelp’s SEO campaign, BrightEdge gleaned the following local search marketing best practices: Use software that allows you to monitor rankings across multiple locations and compare local and national results. You can try to work around this visibility problem on your own, but it’s time consuming, inaccurate, and not scalable. Identify gaps and prioritize opportunities to improve your SEO across locations. Focus on cities with lower performance and identify keyword opportunities to maximize your efforts. Identify and correct landing page misalignments. These are situations where the highest ranking page in one location is targeting another location, which can be frustrating to users who click through to information that doesn’t match their needs. Understand how origin locations (where in the world people are searching from) affect the SEO performance of your popular pages. Once you understand where your pages show up locally, drill down into off and on-page SEO factors in each location to optimize for that geo. Register local businesses with search engines; fill out the online form for that engine and complete the confirmation by mail. Use online local communities like Yelp and Google+ to claim your business listing. Go deeper, into smaller local portals and community sites. Wherever possible, add photos, business hours, and other information to fill out the profile. Create local-specific landing pages to optimize for searchers in that location or searching with that location name in their query. BrightEdge recommends that “each page should be tailored with content that is specific to that location and that content should be compelling and refreshed regularly.” Local and mobile advertising is projected to reach $24 billion in 2016. Clearly, the opportunity is huge for those who are able to overcome the challenges and discover areas of weakness to improve upon. “Increasingly we are hearing that our customers need more robust and scalable local search insights,” said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge. “We are thrilled to be able to work with Yelp, a leader in local services for both consumers and business, to share insights about best practices for local search.”

How to Create a Content Calendar to Correlate SEO Results

The problem we have as search engine optimizers in the current landscape is that our jobs are still about improving results. Our task is to incrementally increase the traffic and revenue through our clients’ website(s) – and yet, this is becoming almost impossible to actually track and measure. How much of that (not set) traffic is generic, brought about because of excellent content-led campaigns, for example? From a retailer’s point of view in particular, how do you track what product pages have really improved as a result of improving their usefulness to users when a large part of the long-tail traffic is completely invisible? Of course, large trends will always be visible and of course, I am over-stating the problem as it stands at the moment for most websites. But all of the issues above mean that it is much more difficult for SEOs to show a direct correlation between their work and improved results. I don’t know how many in the industry have been in situations where a client is shown great SEO results, turns around, and says, “Yeah, but we changed the website so that probably caused most of the uplifts.” Trust me, it’s difficult to take. There have been cases where the client has no tracking on their website since the “new” (re-skinned) website had gone live, resulting in little data to prove the effects of our SEO work. As painful as this is, I now see it potentially happening across the whole industry and want to share one way you can try to guard against these problems. You need to show the value of SEO while also presenting the correlation between SEO activity and results. One method of ensuring you are creating content that is relevant but also interesting is to play word games like the following:
By building the article titles into a content calendar, you can start to track the direct impact of your activity in the form of traffic uplifts across non-brand terms and ranking improvements for target keywords. You can also use the themes to help you identify bloggers/influencers that might want to engage with your content or add their own opinions. As a quick example, using advanced search operators with the above techniques means you can start to expand from a narrow product focus into a more rounded, but still relevant online content campaign and find a much broader range of sites to work with. The best way to start on your own content calendar is using Excel. This allows you to plan a number of different content ‘strings’ while still keeping on top of frequency. The illustration above is easily replicated in Excel and it allows for multiple keyword themes; a lot more than illustrated above. Indeed, if you color code the themes, you can even plan your placements on each row, with dates of publishing across the top, and theme of content using the colour coding. The key to this is not to try and create extra content for no good reason. The goal is to make sure that you’re creating opportunities for engagement from your target market, and ensuring your brand’s voice is out there being heard. There is no one-singular solution to effectively tracking and measuring all traffic. However, every client that has implemented this type of engagement or content outreach has seen significant uplifts in traffic to the site, both via the content hub itself (usually a blog on a sub-folder or sub-domain) but also from the main site. Nothing happens in isolation, but the strong assertion is that this activity is increasing the authority of the domain and therefore, helping it to rank higher and for more keywords.