What does an SEO actually do?

We had an interesting conversation during our meeting today.

While thinking of making “cool” topics, Redkite Account Executive, Haziel from SEO said that it was getting hard for her to really explain what she does at work to her friends and to people who don’t know much about internet marketing.

Nobody really understood her occupation!

No one understood what Haziel does

 

This was backed up by our Content Generation Specialist for SEO, Phoebe.

 

PB

So, this is a piece we would like to dedicate to those who work for the SEO industry.

 

raj

 

Let’s take a peek into what SEOs do so that Haziel and Phoebe can forward this link to anyone who wants to understand what they do a little better.

Things needed by the SEO:

 

Fact #1

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It means optimizing webpages and websites to rank well in Google, Yahoo, and Bing (the major search engines).

As you can see, for a particular search query “Top paying jobs in the Philippines,” there are millions of results. It can be quite an achievement to be on the top 10 (first page) and that is why businesses need to rank in search engines – otherwise,  their sites will largely go unnoticed by Search Engine Users.

Google competitive result

So SEOs simply get sites from from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile.

getting-something-

 

Fact #2

Search engine experts need to be skilled at understanding ranking factors very well. They need to be very technical and creative at the same time and spend most of their time doing On-page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

A. On-Page Factors (these are the items that can be tweaked, enhanced within the site to rank)

Site Performance MeterSite Performance

It is one of the fundamental jobs of the SEO to make sure that the site in question is crawled accurately by Search Engine bots. They want their focused and other content pages for the public to be crawled, indexed, and displayed in Google results. They do that by using tools in Google Search Console such as Sitemaps and Fetch.

The other side to this is that they should also make sure that none of the secured pages are getting indexed. We do not want search engines displaying our admin pages, pages that content information from private database information, etc. This is largely done by tweaking the Robots.Txt of the site and setting certain parameters to such pages such as “no-index, no-follow.”

Site structureSite Structure 

Some websites are just structured very poorly and it is the SEOs job to make recommendations on better navigation and site structure. Google loves to index pages that are grouped beautifully into relevant folders.

Example:

Good Bad site structure

The two have plenty of significance in categorization that can have SEO impact and influence User-navigation experience. Who searches for shoes based on color first and then the style? People will get more accurate results by searching “Boots for Sale” rather than “black shoes for sale”

That way, pages can be correctly categorized. However, this is often done if the site is being made from scratch. If the site has already existed for a while, then SEOs cannot do much here and will have to work with the site in the way that it is – unless the clients are willing to right the wrong information architecture of the site.

Web page optimizationWeb Page Optimization

Now that the pages are being indexed and displayed in Google, it is the work of the SEO to look for better ranking using their webpages. This is done by optimizing the content of the site including meta data.  So they research, research, and research and then write, write and write!

Semantics and ContentSemantics and Content

When writing content for the site, SEOs practice to keep a balance at all times between being creative and technical.

(Creative) They write for the enjoyment of the audience 90% of the time, but they also need to remember that their content needs to be optimized for ranks so they allocate 10% of their writing to make sure that their pages are semantically in order with their SEO goals (Technical).

AuditingAuditing

All SEOs perform monthly or weekly audits per SEO campaign. You can think of audits to be similar to diagnosing a website – kind of like looking at symptoms, testing, and coming up with “treatments” to make a site/page perform its level best.

 

B. Off-Page Factors (these are activities performed outside of the website)

link building chainsLink Building 

When the On-page (section A above) is dealt with and the SEO is satisfied with their sites performance and the sites’ interaction with the Search Engines, it then becomes the task of the SEO to start creating links coming from other websites to the website in question. Links have to be carefully researched and validated to be of quality. They must also contain the correct information. When an SEO tries to “short-cut” this process, they end up making too many lousy links that is more of a hindrance to SEO than anything else.

Once again, they research, research and research and then they build links.

Without these links, Google would never know how to gauge the popularity of the sites. Google would not be able to favor to the sites that the SEO is trying to rank. Instead, Google would rank sites seem to be most relevant to their users. So this one is a huge deal.

Blogging Brain for SEOBlogging 

Although a part of a link building process, blogging serves many purposes. Blogs dynamically make sites more “beefed” up with relevant information for the user and the search engines. Blogs allow for the site to have continuous content updates and finally they are wonderful for sharing in social media.

Content DistributionContent Distribution 

What good is a blog if no one knows about it? This is the part where SEOs and copywriters “re-invent” their blogs into smaller pieces of mini-content (Tumblr, WordPress, and other shorter-formatted blogs) and into micro-content (native social images with micro twitter sized posts). The same content will then be responsible for  generating traffic via other content sharing sites and social sites.

So this is what SEOs do on a daily basis, and since technology and how people consume content keep changing, SEOs have to keep honing their skills forever. They have to get better at mobile, image concepts and a whole lot more.

It is a line of work that has a very bright future, but it is not without its challenges.

At Redkite, we have developed an SEO program that works for local and international clients. We love what we do and we are glad that now, you understand our process and what our staff actually do.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please share. Thanks!

 

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The Art of Avoiding Random Acts of Internet Marketing

Almost every start-up or a business wants to do this:

  1. Get a domain
  2. Set up email
  3. Get logo done
  4. Start a website
  5. Do SEO to the website
  6. Do social media marketing
  7. Do email blasts
  8. Rinse and Repeat #5,#6, #7 and #8

 

We all know this particular formula. It’s pretty simple and can be delivered by anyone – which is also exactly the reason why many fail in internet marketing. The simplicity itself intended starts to actually seem to be more daunting.

For example, in the music industry, things can be this simple theoretically: 

  1. Make band name
  2. Get guys in the group
  3. Write songs
  4. Record and Perform Songs
  5. Promote Band
  6. Rinse and Repeat #3, #4, #5 and #6

By now, you understand how simple lists (like the ones above) can take years or even a lifetime to build.

Try Googling, “why does internet marketing fail” – the sites that appear in the results can be summarized into a recurring word – “lacking.”  Internet marketing fails because the people behind the business lack:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Uniqueness

When you “lack” these qualities, the alternative would be to do things randomly. Marketers are always in the NEED to do something – either their bosses are breathing behind their necks to get things done or they are their own boss and they feel they should write 20 blogs this month, make 20 links, have a Facebook following of 10,000, and do Snapchat or Periscope just because it’s the latest trend!

The best way to get around this faux-pas is to plug-out, breathe, and think why it is what we do?

Why are we even doing this in the first place?

If there is no real and genuine purpose for the content or the link, why are we even there?

Some really good information out there can help you level up your game.

Here is RCS (Real Company S#!@) coined by Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive at MozCon 2012 and 2013. These are a must watch! I highly recommend you watch this as it will be a wise investment on your part to build your own insights into internet marketing.

RCS (Real Company Stuff), is the opposite of doing Random Acts. From now on, every activity that you do and perform, base it on doing Real Company Stuff. The best way for me to explain this to internet marketers is by telling them to not consider themselves as “out-sourcers” but as “in-sourcers.”

I ask them to think like what the client company would do if they had their own dedicated Search or Social experts in their own company and if their lives depended on it, what decisions would they make? What would they prioritize? How would they track their work and results?

This is how we perform at RedKite. We like to think of ourselves as doing RCS for our clients as if we were “In-sourcing” and removing any Random Acts of Internet Marketing.

Read how our Redkite SEO outsourcing services are based on actual “in-sourcing” ideas which support RCS thought process from concept to execution.

How to Utilize Instagram for Online Businesses

How Can Instagram Help Your Business

Instagram is a free online mobile app that enables users to share photos and videos. These photos and videos can also be shared in other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

Here are some facts about Instagram:

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So how can Instagram help you and your business?

A lot of people use Instagram for personal purposes such as “selfie” pictures and food photography. But most users underestimate the power of using Instagram when it comes to business sales. There are roughly 130 million people who are using Instagram and there is a big chance that some of them could be your clients one day. So utilize Instagram properly if you intend to help your business boom in social media. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  1. Complete and optimize your Instagram profile.
  • Make your profile public so that everyone can view your images.
  • Use a clear profile picture, whether it is your logo, your product(s), or your personal photo.
  • Always include a website link in your profile.
  • Put on an impressive description. The description must clearly describe your business including your products and/or services.
  1. Enrich your following and followers. You can do this by connecting your Facebook and Twitter to your Instagram account so that all of your feeds would appear in your other social media accounts. This is to let your current audience know that you have an Instagram account.
  2. Urge engagement. You can do this by having photo contests once or twice a month (or as frequently as you prefer). This is to keep the interests of your audience alive. You can also do this by connecting it to your Facebook Fan page.
  3. Utilize Instagram’s video function. You can take a quick video of your products, your office, or your services to let your audience know you better. This would let you gain more trust from your audience.
  4. Never stop educating yourself. Always be alert to the latest trends about Instagram. Also, read some advice on how you can properly optimize your business on Instagram by checking out Instagram business advices and tips here: http://blog.business.instagram.com/

Instagram is a simple social media platform. All you have to do is take a picture or video, add some filters (if you prefer), and upload it. You just have to know the right products to sell and the proper images to upload.

Since we are talking about several tips on how to use Instagram for your business, it is better to provide you with some tricks on how to properly treat your audience. The following data are based on the research by http://www.agorapulse.com/blog/instagram-pictures-filters-hashtags.

  1. Add more Hashtags (#hashtags). The more you use hashtags on your photos, the higher visibility they get.
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  2. If possible, don’t use filters on your photos. Photo filters don’t work well on business and brand campaigns on Instagram.
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  3. Disregard color saturation.
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  4. Include faces in your photos. It seems like users like photos that include faces in their subjects.
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  5. Understand how users react to color schemes. Instagram users tend to like those images with cool colors.

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We hope that these tips can help you and your business run a good campaign on Instagram. Just play with the images and understand how users react to them. From there, create tweaks and better plans for your future posts.

How to Utilize Pinterest for Online Businesses

How Pinterest Works

Did you know that Pinterest brings more traffic to your website than LinkedIn, Google+, and Youtube combined? Yes, this is true! Which is why we want you to know how important Pinterest is to online businesses.

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Before we start, let’s pump you up with some cool trivia about Pinterest:

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I bet you didn’t know about that! We didn’t, too – we just found out about this last month!

Okay, let’s get down to business and start off by understanding how Pinterest works. The following are the common features of Pinterest:

  1. Buttons
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    On Pinterest, you can Pin, Send, and Like a pin.
  2. Board

    Every time you want to pin something, you can either add it in your current pin board or create a new one. The board is the collection of pins that you “pinned.”

  3. Pin Board
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    This is the collection of boards that you have pinned.

How Pinterest Can Help Your Business

Now that you know how Pinterest features work, let’s dig into how Pinterest can help you and your business. Pinterest shows endless potentials for your business,but first you need to build up your account and engage with other people. Here are steps on how you can do it:

1. Build your Identity (Personal Branding): You need to know what industry category or categories you should dive in to. Like this page – Pinterest used this as their sample account.

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Their account is all about gardening, DIY products, health, and foods.

As you can see, they have established their account to be known for specific industries that are affiliated with each other. The idea here is to provide useful information to your audience in a fun way. After that, comes the introduction of your own products. You can mix your products along with your other pins on your boards.

The most important thing about your pins and boards is that you need to provide users useful and educational information that can help them anytime. By creating boards that contain ideas, people, places, and events, you are able to help and inspire your users instead of sheer advertising.

NOTE: You don’t have to create your original content for your pins and boards, you can just research and get those from other pins of users and carefully combine them in your board(s). You can incorporate any link here like Youtube Videos, Slideshare slideshows, Instagram images, etc.

2. Incorporate Pinterest to your own personal blog or website. Pinterest used this http://www.westelm.com/shop/new/top-pinterest-pins/ as an example.

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On this web page, they compiled the products that gathered the highest pins on their Pinterest account. This is an ideal way in keeping your audience’s interests and promoting your social media account at the same time. This is a two-way traffic getter – website to Pinterest; and Pinterest to Website.

3. Broaden your scope: Expanding your reach is a fun way to market yourself and your products. You can do this by creating communities and groups via Pinterest’s Group Boards. In Group Boards, you can collaborate with popular pinners in Pinterest. These popular pinners surely have a lot of followers, and if you share a group board with them, your Pinterest account will be able to get more exposure especially if they share your pin boards. This can also increase your followers.

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Having a high number of followers is always a good thing. They are your audience. They are your potential customers. So engaging yourself in to Group Boards could be beneficial. This also makes you one step closer to having your business be known.
4. The Incorporation of your products: Once you have established your account on Pinterest (by letting yourself to be known on your chosen industry or category), it is now time to start uploading your products and services together with your pins.
The benefit of this is that the traffic in your website will increase as your pins get re-pinned and shared by users, given the fact that you have established a good number of followers, and your images and posts are compelling enough.

And from there, it is up to your website to convince your visitors in purchasing your products or services.

5. Analytics: This may not be part of the Pinterest website but it is always important to have your monthly website/blog visits be monitored. This is for you to know if Pinterest is really driving traffic to your website. Analytics will also help you understand if people like the content of your website and how effective your Pinterest strategy is.

Now that we all know how to utilize Pinterest, it is now time to get that Pinterest account sorted and have fun pinning as your business gets recognized.

How to Utilize Facebook for Online Businesses

Facebook for Businesses

Facebook is a world-renowned social media and there are a lot of people who are in it. People use Facebook for the following reasons:

  • personal use;
  • to connect with people from the past whom they’ve lost contact with;
  • to gain new friends; and
  • to promote online businesses


For online businesses, Facebook is a good platform to utilize because a lot
of people are using it. Facebook marketing has been booming for the past 5 years and it’s never too late to start and engage yourself in it. So here’s how to utilize Facebook to promote online businesses:

1There are 3 main steps to get your business ready in Facebook.

1. Reach people where they are engaged – There are 1.35 billion people in Facebook. Every month, 64% of them check their accounts every day, which is why their presence in this social media platform alone could give you limitless business potential.

Engage with your target audience – You can post pictures of your latest products or sample of your services to help drive sales. You can also create a video to make people recognize your business and your Facebook page.

Another thing that is awesome about Facebook is that once a person likes your page, his/her friends will be able to see it. There is a great chance that they can discover your page and like it, too.
You can also utilize one of Facebook’s many features which is the “Boost Post.” With this, you can boost your post to appear in your chosen audiences.

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With a Facebook Page, you can easily show customers what you’re all about.
Boosting posts is the best way to reach more people. With a boosted post, you can:
– Reach more people who like your page, including their friends.

– Reach new audiences based on location, age, gender and interests (*This, we think is the most important part of it). And;

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– Easily set a budget and schedule for your post.

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Read more on how you can boost your Facebook posts here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-page-boost-posts/

2. Build connections and relationships – Posting photos and updates on your page is an easy way to capture the interest of your audience. You can have them be engaged by knowing their interests, the posts they are usually interested in, and the topics they want to take part on. (More of this on item number 3)
Also, when you boost your posts, more people will see them in their News Feeds – the constantly updating list of stories on Facebook. The perfect way to build relationships is by keeping the current ones and getting new ones.
3. Learn about your customers and audience – When you have a page, you can easily track how many people like your post, or how many people viewed your page. A helpful tool here is Facebook Page Insights.

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Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-page-insights-basics/
You can identify whether or not your audience like your post. With this, you’ll get to know more about them and what feeds, news, images, videos, and topics they want to see.

The Facebook Page Insights feature is extremely helpful, especially when you’re boosting your post. This feature lets you see how many people liked/unliked your page, how many people visit your page, and how far did your posts reach by knowing how many people saw your post:

6 know more about this feature here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-page-insights-reach-measurement/

And since Facebook and smartphones are all linked now, you can easily access your Facebook business page by downloading their The Pages Manager App.

This App lets you access your Facebook page easily. You can upload an image or video, post a status, review/reply in a comment, and schedule events.

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You can also view all the figures of your page here – notifications, messages, new likes, and your scheduled posts.

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There are also plenty of ways on how you can get more visits to your page – we have tackled the first one which is the Boost post. But there are still a lot of things you can still do like the promoting your page, send people to your website, and a lot more! (See image below)

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Like we said earlier, potential of your business here on Facebook is limitless. You just have to keep these 3 things in your mind: 1.) Identify your audience (or target audience); 2.) Understand their behavior; and 3.) Create compelling and interesting posts, images, videos, etc. Once you have understood these things, your business can reach unimaginable growth and unlimited potential.

To wrap this up, here are some facts about Facebook that you may not know about, YET.

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Custom IDX for Real Estate

7 Advantages in Customizing MLS IDX For Real Estate Websites

In real estate websites, the MLS (Multiple Listings System) is the holy grail of information of homes available within the jurisdiction of the MLS provider. They contain updated information of all homes for sale, the information is precise and comprehensive.

Usually the MLS database consists of property

  • images
  • specifications
  • amenities
  • HOA information
  • prior sales records
  • current market status

and more. Here are other common functions of a real estate website.

This is a huge pool of information to tap into and there are two ways you can go about it.

Your web developer can pull this feed via IDX (Internet Data Exchange) protocol into your real estate website using the

  • Standard IDX also called the Matrix Tool by some MLS providers, usually provided by themselves, is more of a “plug and play” that embeds the feeds into the website.
  • Custom IDX (your own design specific pull from the MLS)

But here are 7 reasons why you should opt to use the MLS more towards your advantage through customization.

Advantage #1:  Branding

The best way to describe branding is this feeling we get, like an “aftertaste” we feel after having met someone, having worked with someone or by simply entering a store. Logos, color schematics and slogans are a part of branding but it is only superficial.

Logos, colors and slogans are “one-sided” i.e. it is a one way communication from the business. The bigger chunk of branding lies in how you handle yourself, how someone conducts themselves and their enthusiasm towards their profession and especially how customers perceives them. Its about their “aftertaste” of having been to a website.

When you customize your MLS, you are saying, “I am different” and “I care” about how I want to represent myself.  This is a powerful message you will be sending to your website visitors subliminally.

Advantage #2: SEO

Most standard IDX involves using Javascript which only embeds the information into your site. By using custom IDX, you can pull the feeds onto your own server and display them how you want. You can set them up as unique pages which is a marvel for SEO. However, you need to attempt to make these pages as unique as possible through Meta-data and descriptions.

Imagine ranking for property keywords or address searches in Google.  You can do this by customizing your IDX.

Advantage #3:  Social Media

Now, that you actually have a digital page on your website for each property, you then have the chance of using social media to share these homes. Using Standard IDX, this is not possible as the homes are actually digitally not present on your website.

Advantages #4: Sharing URLS / Refer Property functions

Once again, since you have a page per property, people can share/refer your property to others.

Advantages #5: Display preferences

Through Customization, you now have control on how you want to display your property pages, you can stack them differently, use the fonts of your choice and remove areas that are not necessary. You can add more information and brand them to look consistent.

Advantage #6: Mobile

In April 2015, Google already started to implement better rankings for websites that are mobile ready either through a .mobi or responsive websites.

By customizing the MLS, you can configure them to work on all mobiles for better interaction. Read Google Algorithm Update for Mobile Websites April 2015.

Advantage #7: Portal Functions

There are better ways to convert once someone signs up to see more information or saves a property while searching. Customized IDX for MLS also allows you to make your portal seem more fluid and interactive by applying creative conversion-driven functions that you can track using Google analytics.

Internet marketing in Real Estate is about information, take MLS information to a whole new level by having a custom IDX. It makes your website look superior and very modern. View Modern Real Estate Websites.

Link Building or Link Earning: Which approach will you choose?

link 1

Google’s dynamic algorithm is a challenge for SEO companies – especially for link builders. Earlier week, I had a brainstorming session with my partner about link building strategies and link earning. We were able to raise the following questions during our discussion:

  • Which is better for SEO? Link building or link earning?
  • Why is one better than the other?
  • What are the long term and short term effects of the two?
  • Which is more practical?
  • How do we need to implement our strategy?

Before we answer all of these questions, let us first identify link building and link earning.

What is Link Building?

link 2

Link building is the process of placing hyperlinks, anchor text, or the link itself on a webpage. It helps the search engines discover web pages across the internet – more like a bridge between web pages. Generally, SEO companies use link building to generate more traffic, increase page rankings, and get ahead of their competitors. Each company has their own link building techniques. I cannot say what kind of technique is better, but I can assure that most of them produce good results.

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What is link building’s role in SEO?

Link building had always been a factor in computing a website’s rankings. A few years ago, Google determined the ranking of a web page by the number of the links pointing to that particular page. In short, it was a matter of Quantity over Quality during those years. Now, Google is prioritizing Quality over Quantity. A Quality link is a link that comes from a website that has a high trust flow and has a good number of visits. More high quality links meant more SEO juice, which will also equated to higher page rankings.

What is Link Earning?

link 4

Link earning is a way of earning referral traffic through content marketing. In this strategy, an internet marketer “shares”, “markets” or “promotes” share-able content. A sharable content can come in a form of an infographic, image, blog, slideshow, video, etc. Since the content is catchy and engaging, it normally gains referral traffic from relevant sites, followers, audiences, and blog citations.

What is link earning’s role in SEO?

Link earning is a long-term process, but is proven to bring success. (see the work on the topic by Rand Fishkin, Bruce Clay, Kris Jones) Earning referral traffic does not happen overnight. The company sees the results of link earning once their content has already earned some good reputation. The company or their content can build-up their reputation through referrals, citations, advertisements and endorsements. Related Articles: Essential Websites to start Generating Traffic.

So back to these question, we will be as brief as possible and provide answers thats relevant to todays algorithms.

  • Which is better for SEO? Link building or link earning? Link Earning
  • Why is one better than the other? Reaches a broader Audience
  • What are the long term and short term effects of the two? Link Earning provides loyal and long term readers. 
  • Which is more practical? Both are needed at some point especially for start-ups but once standard links are placed, its a fight for content marketing and Link Earning. 
  • How do we implement our strategy? Focus on the Content Generation and Distribution Process.