August 5, 2014No Comments

5 Tips to Optimize a Website for International Audiences

internationalseo-webdesignInternational marketing and SEO is important. More people are accessing information through search engines, making it crucial that businesses be found in Google by potential clients or customers. Before designing and developing a new website, it’s important to know the specific SEO steps that will set up the site for future success.

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March 27, 2014No Comments

How Content Marketing Brings in Customers: Think Glink Media Partner Spotlight

Think Glink Media Logo“Content Marketing” is the buzzy phrase on everyone’s lips these days. But, what is it, really, and how can you do it well? Many of us know that there’s a link between good, current content and search engine results, but is there more to it than that? Table XI partner and Think Glink Media president Ilyce Glink walked us through the benefits of creating good content and how strong content marketing can yield real results.

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December 19, 2012No Comments

Tech Tip: Free Link Analysis Tools for Competitive SEO Benchmarking

The web is made up of a matrix of inter-linking sites. Many factors influence your website’s search engine ranking, and links pointing to your site from credible sources is one of them.

At a very basic level, search engines view a link from one site to another as the first site “voting” for the second. Votes are good because, just like in an election, they can signal popularity, trust, and credibility. But it’s not just the mere presence of links that matter—the quantity and source of these links are important as well. Are they from spammy sites or reputable domains? Simply put, in Google’s view, trusted sites point to other trusted sites, and this trust factors into search engine rank.

If you’re considering a link-building campaign, start by analyzing your current “linkscape” in the following ways:

  • Quantity: How many links do you have?
  • Quality: Are these links from sites with relatively high domain authority?
  • Anchor text: Do the links pointing to pages on your site include words you’d like to be known/searched for?

Google Analytics and Webmaster tools are good, free ways to find answers to these questions. But since every online search is a competition for clicks, it’s equally important to understand what your competitors are doing. Gaining insights into their link profile not only helps benchmark, it may also help guide your link-building strategy.

Unfortunately though, competitive information can’t be gleaned from Google Analytics or Webmaster tools. While no one tool is perfect for this, here are three free tools to help you evaluate your competition:

1. Ahrefs: This site is quite comprehensive and the newest of the three we’ll discuss. It offers detailed link analysis, and is a particularly good site to help with “link cleanup” (the process of identifying and eliminating spammy links pointing to your site). It also is helpful to monitor the growth of link-building campaigns, both your own or those of your competitors. The free option allows you 500 results (per requests), and 15 requests per day, but a monthly subscription provides substantially more advanced tools and analytics. In addition, the user interface is clean and easy to navigate. Here’s a sample report from their site:


2. Open Site Explorer: Open Site Explorer is a good place to start for basic link analysis. Powered by SEOmoz, this tool gives you quick and easy access to link data such as domain authority, pagerank, and link quantity. It also offers a quick tool to compare link metrics against competitive sites. For example, in our office there’s an ongoing debate about “Apple” vs “PC” (what can I say? Finance people and creatives are different breeds). Here’s an example of that comparison report (ahem, you can see who wins):


3. Majestic SEO: This site is often praised for the size of its index (upwards of 3 trillion), which is significantly larger than Open Site Explorer. The free version of Majestic SEO offers detailed link information, but unlike its competition, Majestic gives you archived historical data—a plus for many marketers. It's also good for monitoring mentions—recent links pointing to you or your competitors (included in the paid version). Here’s an example of a free link report pulled from Majestic:


So there you have it: three free resources to get you started with link analysis. Do you use any of these tools? Which do you prefer? I’d like to hear from you.

April 11, 2012No Comments

Tech Tip: SEO Keyword Tools for Blogs

Many businesses are finding value in writing blogs these days, and rightly so—it's certainly something we recommend to our clients. A blog is a way to keep your customers and stakeholders aware of new products, promotions, and industry-related news. It also serves as a PR tool to address your audience quickly in case of a crisis, and provides an additional platform to syndicate your company’s press.

So, for many, the question is not, Should I blog? but rather, What do I write about?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of your blog’s most valuable (and commonly overlooked) functions is its ability to impact SEO, since it gives your site a venue for fresh, keyword-rich content. Whereas homepages or product pages can be difficult to update with detailed copy, a blog allows you to tell a longer narrative that can positively impact your ability to rank for key terms.

We recently conducted a workshop for guests from Chicago's Neighborhood Parents Network that was dedicated to the importance of blogging for SEO. Here are some of the free tools we recommended that can help you get the most SEO lift from your blog:

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January 18, 2012No Comments

Tech Tip: G+, Social Search, and Why it Matters

G+, the social network that Google launched last June, has grown to more than 62 million users in only six months. G+ allows users to connect over Google features like Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Circles (a friend management service), Games, and Photos. In November, Google rolled out “pages” for brands.

But given the ever-changing social media landscape, we’ve heard our clients say, “I have enough trouble staying up-to-date on Facebook, let alone Twitter. Does G+ even matter?” In short, yes, and here’s why:

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October 10, 2011No Comments

It’s So Meta

In working with our clients to create highly visible websites, we've found that there's a lot of confusion out there about meta tags and their value in search optimization.

Meta means "about"; thus, meta tags are html tags that give information about your webpage to search engines. The three most common meta tags are titles, descriptions, and keywords.

Meta Titles

A page's title is one of the most important factors for search engine optimization, and is weighted heavily by Google to determine a site's relevance and content. Meta titles not only affect ranking, but are displayed as the headline (the part you click on) in search results. Use unique, keyword rich titles for each page; if you want to include your site name, place it to the right of the title that describes the page's specific content.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions don't have much effect on a site's rank, but Google often uses them to characterize a page in search results, and an appealing description can garner you more click-throughs. When writing a meta description, think about what will make someone want to click on your link, rather than the twenty others on the page. Make sure it's quick and to the point—it shouldn't be more than two sentences. For more details, check out Google's guide to picking good meta descriptions.

Meta Keywords

Many people think that meta keywords are the secrets to search engine success, and historically, they did determine rankings. Unfortunately, these keywords became too easily abused—people simply stuffed in popular but irrelevant keywords like "Britney Spears" to get traffic—and Google now openly states that meta tag keywords are no longer a factor in determining web rankings. So don't waste your time coming up with the perfect meta keywords—it's much more important to have well crafted meta titles and descriptions when it comes to seeing search results.

Tech Tip: If you use WordPress, you can install the All In One SEO Pack or SEO Ultimate plugin to easily change meta-tags.

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