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5 Things to Avoid for Good SEO

Search Engine Optimization feels like this mystical world that needs to be uncovered layer by layer. There’s really not that much to it — create good content and utilize the tools available to you to make sure your content is seen — but still it seems like there are 40 new articles coming out each day about how to best utilize SEO. Today, we are going to talk about what you shouldn’t do. It’s easy to tell you to link-earn, utilize keywords, and share your content, but what about what you’re already doing that you should stop doing right now?

Here are five things you should stop doing in order to improve your SEO today.

seo website design

1. Duplicating content.
Sometimes website creators think the more information the more likely they are to rank for their website. Good idea, but it’s wrong. Google (and other search engines) are sophisticated — they know when information is being duplicated or when there are too many pages on a website and that reflects in the ranking. You might think it’s important to create sub-pages for all the services you provide, but if there’s very little content on those sub-pages, it might be a better idea to keep all your services on one page. Fewer pages that have more information are more likely to rank higher on Google. Additionally, you shouldn’t create ten pages with mostly the same information except for a different title (like if you offer services in different cities). Stick with creating quality content for one page and see how well it ranks.

2. Cut off spammy links. They aren’t benefiting you.
Gaining links/link-building is crucial for good SEO ranking, but having spammy links can actually hinder your chances of changing your ranking. “Spammy” links come about when you outsource your link building or your link gets added to an unprofessional directory. It’s important to find these, and remove them if possible. You can submit a disavow document that tells Google you don’t want to be associated with spammy links, which should help with your ranking.

3. Ignoring extensions and social media.
Having great content and a stellar website is important, but if you’re not utilizing everything at your fingertips, your website ranking will only go so far. For local businesses, Google My Business is essential for high rankings. Adding in all applicable information to this extension helps ensure higher rankings from Google and more clicks from searchers. Additionally, social media is a great way to help your website get ranked. More and more people are using social media search functions to find new products and places to go. Platforms like Yelp are constant resources for locals and tourists when looking for places to go in town, influencers are impacting how consumers choose to spend their hard earned cash, and sharing your content and information on social media helps people see your information more organically. Utilize everything at your fingertips, not just the traditional marketing paths, and you’re ranking are sure to soar to the top.

4. Trying to go too big.
The goal is not to go viral overnight. Viral videos/stars/publicity stunts get a huge moment in the sun, but two weeks later few people remember them. It’s important to work toward consistent growth, which often is smaller than we may hope at the beginning — but it’s consistent. This is important to remember if you’re a local business. If you’re located in Portland with no additional locations and no e-commerce site, it’s important to focus your SEO geographically rather than trying to reach all four corners of the globe. Focus on SEO growth strategically, aiming for consistent growth, and you’ll go up in the search results one by one.

5. Focusing on everything but the content.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you do for your SEO ranking is create good content. It can be frustrating to hear this advice, but it’s the truth. If you don’t have good content, no one is going to stay on your page long enough for its high ranking to matter. Create good content, focus on organic engagement, and the rest will follow.

Are you ready to take the next step with your SEO? Contact Cabedge today. With our team of experts, we will be able to come up with an individualized plan to help improve your SEO today.

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5 Small Ways To Improve Your SEO

You’re ready to tackle SEO. You’ve read all the articles, watched all the videos, and you feel sufficiently prepared to help your company rise in the search results. Or, maybe you’ve been working in SEO for years, and you’ve got all the big things down like link-earning and utilizing keywords. That’s great! But before you get too engrossed in the SEO world, don’t forget the simple things you can do on your homepage or in blog posts to take your SEO to the next level. Here at Cabedge, we have five tips for how to improve your SEO in easy, yet impactful ways.

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1. Add alt text to all your images.
Alt text is a way for search engine crawlers to catalog images on a webpage. Since crawlers can’t visually see the image, alt text is used to describe what action is being depicted in a photo. To improve SEO rankings, alt text can also include the keyword you are trying to rank for. This may seem like a minor detail when it comes to SEO, but the small things can add up to big change on the Internet.

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2. Add meta descriptions to pages and posts.
Meta descriptions are what appear when a page shows up in the search results (see the example above from Google). These are very important for ranking, especially when they contain a keyword. After the headline, this is the second most important element that can promote a blog post and grab a reader’s attention. Meta descriptions should catch the reader’s attention, utilize keywords, and promote the page or post accurately.

3. Make anchor text work for you.
This is anchor text. It is the text that users can click on to be sent to another page with further information about a topic. Some websites utilize anchor text like this: “Click here to learn more about puppies.” When really it should be used like this: “Puppies are great companions for children.” When the keyword is utilized as the anchor text, it’s another indication to website crawlers that the page is providing valuable information to readers. It’s important to use links, but don’t use too many. Use them when most applicable and most likely to help with your SEO.

4. Utilize headings.
Headings help break up the content on a page, which is helpful when sharing long-form content. Headings make a page/post more user friendly, and they can include keywords, both of which help rank sites better on search platforms.

5. Incorporate different types of media.
Similar to including headings in your posts, incorporating different types of media makes for a better user experience and therefore, better SEO. Photos are great, including them where applicable for visual representation of concepts you discuss, but other types of media can also be helpful when trying to improve your SEO. Embed videos, insert audio clips, or incorporate slideshows to take your page/post to the next level.

If you’re looking for help with your SEO, look no further than Cabedge. Reach out to us today, and get in touch with an SEO expert that can help you improve your search result rankings fast.

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The Basics of Inbound Marketing

For new organizations, it can be daunting to try and attract new clientele. It might feel like you don’t have enough cash to really start advertising and promoting yourself, but in actuality, you don’t need a lot of money to start growing your audience and customer base. With inbound marketing, you don’t have to worry about throwing your marketing money down the drain because it requires very little investment and can be done from the comfort of your own home/office.

Inbound marketing focuses on bringing potential consumers to the final stages of the buying process by providing helpful and relevant content throughout the journey. Inbound marketing makes it easier for potential customers to find organizations through blogs, search engines, and social media. Rather than going out and finding those customers yourself through typical advertising methods, inbound marketing brings the customers to you by producing quality content that catches attention and ropes people in.

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How to Create Successful Inbound Marketing

The entire point of marketing is to turn random people into leads into customers into promoters. The best way to do this is to give them a reason to care about what you are putting out there. The best way to do that is with inbound marketing.

According to HubSpot, there are a couple of universal phases that one has to go through when utilizing inbound marketing to turn strangers into promoters. Let’s break those down.

  • Attract: It’s important to bring people to your site with inbound marketing that will resonate with the information you are putting out there. If your target audience member is a mom raising a hectic family, you don’t want to be attracting men who ride motorcycles together on the weekends — they most likely will not convert to customers. The best ways to attract potential customers are through blogging, showing up in relevant searches, and posting content on social media platforms. The more visible you are the better chance you have of attracting potential consumers. It also important to create consistent messaging. Any blogs or social media posts you send out to connect with potential customers should all relate back to your central brand offerings.
  • Convert: Because you are attracting potential strangers to your services/products with your inbound marketing, you are now going to have to convert them into leads. Leads are strangers that have turned into potential consumers. Once you have brought these people to your information, the path to conversion can vary. Basically, you want to make sure they continue to engage with your content past that initial hook. This can be done through newsletter forms, scheduling meetings, sending individual messages, or importing these leads into a Customer Relationship Management software system to keep tabs on for later engagement. Whatever avenue you take to convert leads into consumers is going to depend on your offering, but it’s important to keep people engaged consistently to ensure they reach that next step in the buying process.
  • Close: This may be considered the most important step — closing the deal. Now, it’s time to truly turn those leads into consumers. This is done through a variety of channels, but it’s important to open lines of communication, consistently provide good content, and creatively provide solutions to problems with what you have to offer. This can all be done through inbound marketing efforts, like producing helpful blog posts or sharing information on social media.
  • Repeat: Keep creating good content and engaging authentically with leads and consumers. The only way to ensure consumers will continually come back to your product or service is to continually provide good content and support to them. Keep it up!

Why Inbound Marketing?

You might be wondering why inbound marketing is such a big deal, and it’s because of changes in how consumers make buying decisions. The average consumer is much less likely to be swayed by traditional advertising techniques now — they want to engage with organizations that care about them and provide them with solutions. Because there is an abundance of information at our fingertips with the Internet, consumers are more likely now than ever to comparison shop and do their research before making a final purchase decision. Other factors play into making a purchase as well, such as the ethics of a company, the partnerships a company has with other organizations, and the benefits one gets from purchasing from the company — all of which can be shared through inbound marketing tactics. Consumers are increasingly looking to find answers to questions rather than sales pitches. That’s why inbound marketing, in the form of blog posts specifically, is so helpful to consumers. If you can answer questions for them, they are more likely to buy into what you are selling.

As the world has grown and more and more consumers and providers are entering the market, marketing and advertising has become more personalized. Mass marketing, like billboards and national TV ads, used to move product off the shelf, but now, organizations are leaning toward more personalized marketing, like inbound marketing, to make the sale. Consumers want to feel as if the relationship they have with an organization is personal. Inbound marketing can do that.

Everything relates when you practice inbound marketing. You create blog posts to improve SEO rankings. You share blog posts on social media to attract new consumers. And all of this is done to create leads and relationships with potential consumers. No matter your service or product, you want people to see it. To be seen, you should be practicing inbound marketing. The best thing about inbound marketing? It doesn’t have to cost insane amounts of money. As long as you focus on creating good content, you’ll be able to promote and incorporate inbound marketing without any additional cost.

If you need help creating inbound marketing collateral, reach out to Cabedge today. With our team of marketing experts and content creators, we can help get your marketing to the right people.

Rethinking a necessary evil: Three things digital marketers can learn from the NBA Playoffs

If you’re a basketball fan, maybe you’ve noticed feeling less compelled to flip channels during the game in recent months. Or maybe you’re finding the ubiquitous “TV timeout” (an opportunity you once used to abandon the game for an expedition to the fridge) a little more absorbing than it was in years past.

Well, there’s a very good reason for that.

Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, recently gave a fascinating interview about the analytics behind viewer behavior and some strategic changes to the way the NBA places ads within the game to keep the attention of the viewer.

Silver and his team are passionately devoted to continually examining the analytics of viewer behavior to understand how long the average user stays engaged and where viewer levels drop-off. “Not surprisingly, we lose the highest number of fans when we move off live-action, especially at halftime,” Silver noted. “And we lose fans at every commercial break. So we’re experimenting, with Turner and ESPN, with not leaving the arena completely during commercial breaks, and instead having a split-screen, where we stay with the huddle at the same time we show an ad. It’s a trade-off for our marketing partners. On the one hand, they’d like the full attention of a viewer. On the other hand, they might prefer to keep all of the viewers and find ways to create connections with their products and engage directly with the game.”

The NBA’s willingness to rethink the “necessary evil” of TV advertising has resulted in a more engaged viewer who is less apt to flip channels or abandon the game for other distractions. The viewer still sees the marketing materials and product advertisements, but it’s within the context of an in-game experience, thus resulting in an audience that’s a little more engaged as the products are being pitched. Silver also outlined other ways his team has shifted the TV experience to increase engagement such as incorporating player mics, alternate camera angles, and other data fields for users to understand the metrics behind the game.

So what can a digital marketer learn from watching the NBA Playoffs?

  1. Necessary evils in advertising may not be as necessary as you think. Putting an ad in front of your audience may be a channel of marketing you choose to take, but it doesn’t have to be flashy and assertive. Advertising can also convey content that is creative, compelling and useful to consumers, even though it may result in a more indirect path (read: more clicks) to conversion. It’s true that subtlety in marketing & advertising can result in a longer sales cycle, but it can also create lasting relationships with your customers that a more direct “in-your-face” approach may not produce.
  2. You can’t create a better user experience without understanding the places where engagement is lagging or users are dropping off. Creating a visual funnel in your data can be a great method of determining where engagement is slowing or where users are abandoning the conversion path altogether. Don’t be afraid to engage with actual consumers in order to understand how they experience your website. Oftentimes our clients are surprised in what they learn when they stop making assumptions and start talking with real, live users of their product or website.
  3. Don’t be afraid to invite your users deeper into the experience. Conveying a personality that’s consistent and feels authentic is often a road-block for many of our clients. It can be difficult to find a voice for your brand and pinpoint the fine line of just how much to share with the general public. But inviting users into a “behind-the-scenes” look at your team in action or your product being made gives an authenticity to your company and an opportunity for your audience to feel actively engaged and invested in your brand.

The bottom line is this –the key to the future of digital advertising is a better understanding of your users and a willingness to find ways to creatively convey engaging content to them. Taking an opportunity to rethink your ad content and how your ads are delivered is a good first step toward the future success of your brand.

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Search Engine Optimization 101

You’ve heard of it, you’ve seen it around the web, but you’re not 100 percent sure you really understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and what it does for your organization’s online presence. Cabedge is here to help. As a dedicated web design and marketing agency, Cabedge knows a thing or two when it comes to SEO. We help organizations every day improve their web presence, which includes search engine ranking and SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which put simply, means to improve the ranking of a website in search engine results, in turn increasing potential visitors to that site. SEO helps organizations get traffic to their websites through free, organic channels, like Google search results.

How Can You Improve Your SEO

There are tons of ways to improve your SEO. Some are more acceptable than others.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO utilizes SEO techniques that focus on engaging a real human audience rather than tricking a search engine. That means a little more work may be involved with these tactics on the front-end, but that work pays off since it guarantees real engagement with your content now and in the future. Here are some of the ways you can engage in White Hat SEO:

  • Create quality content: The first step to getting people to your website is to create quality content. It may be frustrating to hear, but if consumers enjoy what you are putting out onto the Internet, they are sure to check it out and share with others.
  • Ensure your site has a good user experience: Just like creating quality content is essential for page rankings, it’s important for the experience a user has on your website to be of a higher quality. This means pages load swiftly, it’s easy to search for information, and the navigation is user friendly.
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly: Google is set to launch it’s mobile-first index sometime in 2018, so it’s more important now than ever to have a good, mobile friendly site for consumers to use on the go.
  • Utilize keywords and meta tags: To help search engines crawl your site, you should be using keywords and meta tags. Keywords are the words that define your topic and users will search to find your content. Typically, a user can find keywords throughout your published content. Meta tags, on the other hand, are not visible to users and are only displayed in the code of your website. Like keywords, they are related to the content on your page and help its SEO.
  • Design an easily navigable site: Having a site that is easy to navigate is great for user experience, but it also ensures that bots can easily crawl your website to improve your SEO. When a bot crawls your website, it is following links to make an index of your site. The easier it is to crawl, the better your SEO.
  • Earning quality links: A great way for a search engine to see that your website is a trusted source of information is to earn links from other people on the Internet. The more links you have from outside sources, the better trusted your website will be. Link earning can be a form of Black Hat SEO, so you have to be careful when earning your links. Do it the right way, and you’re website is sure to succeed.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO strategies are frowned upon for violating search engines’ terms of service. These practices are not approved of and could result in your website being banned from certain search engines. Black Hat SEO tactics involve:

  • Hidden Text or Links: Like we mentioned above, getting other websites to link to your content is essential for good SEO. But if you do it the wrong way by hiding text or links on yours or others websites through the code, systems can actually track this now, which may lead to negative SEO.
  • Keyword Stuffing: Keyword stuffing is exactly what it sounds like — jamming so many keywords into the text of a page that it ranks highly, but comes at the cost of a valuable user experience.
  • Cloaking: Cloaking is the method of displaying different information to search engine crawlers than to users to ensure better indexing. This can look like a page of text crammed with keywords to a search engine while it appears like a normal page to general users. In general, this is a frowned upon practice because it is dishonest.
  • Link Manipulation: There are a variety of ways a user can manipulate links to fools users and search engines. Purposefully hiding a deceptive URL in display copy, purchasing misspelled variations of popular URLs, and openly redirecting users to phishing scams are all ways of manipulating links that violate search engines’ terms of service.

This was just a basic overview of SEO and some tactics that can be used to improve your SEO now and in the future. For a comprehensive overview of SEO, check out Moz or Wordstream for further resources.

If you need help developing an SEO strategy, reach out to Cabedge. With experience in web design, SEO and content creation, Cabedge is sure to be able to help you achieve your goals.

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How Responsive Design Can Improve Your SEO

SEO is hugely important when it comes to showing up in search queries and having Google rank your website higher in its search results. One of the most important ways to boost SEO rankings in 2018 is through responsive design for your website. Let’s break down what SEO is and how responsive design can improve it.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization. Essentially, SEO involves getting your website to appear higher up in the search rankings for websites like Google and Bing. There’s tons to SEO, and you can learn more from websites like Moz or read more about it on the Cabedge blog.

Responsive design is only one of the tactics you can use to improve your SEO. Having a responsive design means your website will function smoothly no matter what device you are using to access it. You can easily use your website on a desktop, cell phone or tablet without compromising the user-friendly features or changing the functionality.

As devices other than desktops are increasingly being used to access data and information online, responsive design is becoming more and more important for SEO. Google is also set to launch its mobile-first index sometime in 2018, meaning that Google is going to start ranking websites based on their mobile friendliness. If you want to stay up to date on strategies to increase your SEO, responsive design is a great place to start.

Having a responsive design implemented for your website also means that you’ve increased the number of consumers you can reach without having to create an entirely different platform, like a downloadable application. Responsive design isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve, but all the hard work on the front-end will mean better results and less work in the long run for your company to maintain your website and boost your SEO.

If you’re organization is looking to create a website that utilizes responsive design, look not further than Cabedge. With years of experience in website design, back-end coding and SEO management, Cabedge is your one-stop shop for your website development needs. Reach out to us today, and we’ll get started on your personalized plan and design.

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Why Video Creation is Essential to Your SEO Ranking

In 2018, users are going to increasingly be looking for video content to give them information. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and more and more people are searching for videos now than ever. Video content is growing in popularity as a way to virtually teach lessons and share information to a wide audience, which is more often than not an international audience.

Video content made specifically for YouTube has the ability to increase SEO rankings for your organization because Google owns YouTube. Therefore, if you are creating content for YouTube, it means that content will get double the attention from Google. Google is already displaying videos as search results for general searches and image searches with 55 percent of search results containing a video of some sort.

YouTube viewers can also turn into website visitors or patrons. It’s easy to click on a YouTube video, listen to what a creator has to say, and click into their description box to find a link to their website or to products they were talking about. YouTube, like other social media platforms, serves as an advanced form of generating viewers for your other, targeted content.

Additionally, you can embed videos in your written content to boost SEO rankings and views and encourage users to stay on your page longer. The added work of creating and editing video content will pay off when your written content soars through the rankings in 2018 due to your improved SEO.

Looking for some help creating video content or in utilizing your current video content to promote sales of your product? Reach out to Cabedge today to get started!

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How to Make Friends and Influence Link Earning for Better SEO

Link building has always been important to a website’s SEO, but now more than ever, the practice is about engagement and relationship building. As Google’s machines get smarter, they can realize when links are disingenuous, and then stop giving those links as much credit in their SEO formula.

That’s why it’s crucial to build relationships with people before asking for a link. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth having ever is. To build relationships with potential linkers, start with engaging on their platform — blog, website, social media, etc. This shouldn’t be hard since anyone you’re reaching out to for links should be writing/producing content you’re interested in. Guest posting is also an important way to cultivate links and relationships. Because guest posts are give-and-take (you’re giving content and taking a link), others are more likely to work with you in the future. And, if you have the ability, try to meet people in person. Reach out to get coffee or meet over lunch. It can be intimidating to meet people offline in the digital age, but it could lead to a very beneficial relationship down the road.

Paying for links and leaving links in comment sections is a thing of the past (the very, very long ago past). Search engines are smarter than that now, and they are increasingly looking for genuine links and relationships between link givers. Put in the time to build relationships with people in your online community, and the links will come organically.

For help growing your link building community, look no further than Cabedge. With years of experience in SEO, Cabedge can help you come up with a personalized strategy and link building plan to help improve your organizations SEO.

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The Age of Voice Assistants: How to Get Noticed

You might have gotten used to calling Alexa for your every waking need, but Google is still trying to figure out how to rank these searches properly.

Voice searching is on the rise with gadgets like Alexa and Google Home. Searching is a whole different ball game than it was five years ago, and SEO is changing because of it. Elements like search terms, keywords, and mobile-friendliness change how people are searching with their voice, and therefore, how Google indexes those searches.

One of the biggest changes, is in picking up on human’s natural speech patterns. Typically, when a user searches for something on their desktop or mobile device they are using different syntax than they do in their normal language. For example, say someone is trying to find out if Domino’s is open on Thanksgiving. If they are typing in the search they might try, “Domino’s hours,” but, if they were to speak the search, they are more likely to use full sentences, “Hey Google, is Domino’s open today?”

Because of the need to pick up on varying syntaxes and search words, things are changing for SEO rankings. To appear in a voice search now, it’s important to be featured on the first page, and it helps if you’ve got a featured snippet. Featured snippets look like this:

And they sit at position zero on a search page. This featured snippet would be the first thing a Google Home would read out to its user in an answer along with the website name.

Along with featured snippets, elements like long-tail keywords, mobile-friendly sites, and including a question/answer format in web pages are growing increasingly important with the rise of voice searching.

One thing is for sure — with changing technology comes changing SEO practices.

If you or your organization need help staying up to date with SEO trends, reach out to Cabedge! With years of experience and an understanding of how swiftly SEO practices are changing, Cabedge can help with it all. Contact us today, and we can get started on a plan personalized to your needs.

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Google’s Mobile-First Index to Launch in 2018

Over the last decade, more people have turned to their mobile devices to perform searches than ever before. In 2017, mobile searches accounted for 55 percent of all traffic. With the increased use of mobile devices to find answers to user’s questions, Google is working to release its mobile-first index in 2018- an index that has been highly anticipated for years.

According to Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst working for Google, at the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle in June the mobile-first index should launch sometime in 2018. This index is different from how Google is currently indexing content in that it searches mobile sites first, therefore if a website gets searched a lot from a desktop, but doesn’t have a mobile website, this index might hurt its rankings. The good news is that if you’ve got a responsive website design, mobile-indexing shouldn’t affect your traffic all that much.

Illyes emphasized that Google is committed to making this transition as seamless as possible, so it may take a bit of time for the index to be fully completed. He even noted that Google is trying to create this index without hurting non-mobile-friendly sites — a feat that seems hard with a mobile-first index, but time will tell. Google is also being very thorough in its communications with publishers about the launch so there are no surprises when it’s finally released.

No matter how prepared Google or publishers are, this mobile-first index is sure to shake things up for SEO rankings in 2018.

If you’re organization is looking to compete in this mobile-first era of indexing, reach out to Cabedge. With years of experience in SEO trends and responsive website design, Cabedge can help with all your needs.