The SEO Girl

Because SEO isn't just a man's job. Known around town as "The SEO Girl", I'm here to share my love for SEO and SEO tips with you.
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    Have you seen those annoying little ads promising “500 free Facebook fans” or “200 Twitter followers overnight”? Sure, those numbers sound nice, but will any of those additional fans or followers actually be a brand advocate for your website? Probably not. The most successful Facebook and Twitter campaigns have not just a large number of followers, but a large number of followers who actually love their brand and want to spread the word about it!

    So how do you increase your Facebook Fans, while also ensuring they’re fans who actually can help promote your brand?

    1. Make it your page’s mission to triple the number of fans in one week. If you reach that number, you’ll run a special promotion just for your Facebook fans, and donate a portion of the sales to a non-profit organization that relates to your business.

    2. Start the promoting! Post about your promotion on your Facebook page twice daily, post about it on Twitter, and write post about it on your blog.

    3. You want people to feel they’ll be helping a larger cause by spreading the word, so be sure to focus on the end result: you’re donating a portion of sales to a non-profit organization, and they’re directly helping you do this. Ask them to help ensure you’re reaching your goal by suggesting your Fan page to their friends.

    4. Reached your magic number? Congrats, and make sure you follow through with the promotion and donation. Close, but not quite there? You’ll reach it next time, but be sure to reward the efforts of your fans by still running the promotion and donating to the organization you chose.

    5. Keep up the Facebook posting – you don’t want to lose any ground with your newfound fan base. Focus on posting relevant articles and blog posts, sprinkled with a marketing message here and there.

    Now, how does this benefit your SEO? By running this type of promotion, you’re working to help a great cause, and people love to write about and link to businesses that are working to help others and increasing their social awareness. Reach out to your local media about the promotion you’re running, and highlight your promotion as you’re contacting sites and bloggers in your link building efforts. They’ll see you’re much more than just another pretty website ;-)

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    January 30th, 2010theseogirlSEO Tips, The SEO Industry

    If you’re lucky enough to be part of a thriving SEO company, you’re likely going to be working long hours. If you don’t love the industry and the work you’re doing, you’re going to resent it, just like you would with any industry, even if you worked at it just 4 hours a day. I work an easy 50 hours a week at my not-so-easy SEO job, and usually log another 4 hours throughout the weekend. Yet, I’m happy as a clam (okay, not every second, but overall I’m a pretty happy SEO girl).

    What sets us apart is that we love our SEO jobs. We’re part of an industry that’s always changing and questioning preconceived ideas, along with being lucky to have some great people in our industry. The days are long and results are never immediate, but loving the work you’re doing goes a long way towards maintaining your happiness level. There’s always going to be those difficult days and even more difficult clients, but have faith that you’re in an industry that’s going places and evolving.

    I’ve been told I work too much and that I’m a workaholic more times than I can count, but I still have that smile on my face and excitement to keep going, even after almost 4 years of being in this industry. It hasn’t been easy and clients try my patience all the time, but there’s a big difference from working just for a paycheck and working because you love what you do. I’m lucky to have the latter.

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    January 28th, 2010theseogirlSEO Site Design

    This post takes a bit of a detour from my usual SEO/social media related posts, but they’ll be back soon!

    I’ve adored coffee since I was 16, but over the last few months the taste has been growing just a bit blasé to me. I found myself absorbed in the wonderful loose leaf tea blends of Teavana.com one evening, and in the months since, enjoying the taste and soothing ability of tea so much more than coffee. Since then, it’s been love! Recently, while browsing the site, I hit their 404 error page, the dreaded “concrete wall” in online user experience. This time was different, and instead of the regular old “Page Not Found” text, the following met my delighted eyes:

    Teavana

    The text reads:

    You found an error on our site, so perhaps it’s a good time to enjoy a cup of tea. We will start working to fix the problem now. If you were trying to view our homepage, it’s likely the entire site is down. However, if this wasn’t the homepage, it is probably just this page that is down.

    So you can try to move forward with some of the links to the left or below or call us at 1-877-TEAVANA for immediate help. Or just type a keyword in our search box above and we’ll try diligently to find a page that works.
    Not only does the text capture the soothing and somewhat witty personality of their site, but it makes me feel like I’ve just done Teavana a favor by tripping over this page, as if I’m somehow reporting the problem page to them. Plus, including a few of their most popular products on their error page keeps me wanting to browse around the site, rather than immediately bouncing and visiting one of their competitors’ sites.

    In the time it takes you to enjoy a cup of their heavenly Tiki Twilight tea, you can plan out a creative 404 error page that might even attract a few quality links and get people chatting about your site. It’s time to break away from those tired old error pages, and blend something new!

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    December 28th, 2009theseogirlThe SEO Industry

    Don’t we all sometimes find ourselves wanting a bit of control in our lives?. I like change, but there’s just certain things that I like the way I like them. You can’t blame a girl for liking a lil order in her life, can you?

    Well, it would also make me one not-so-great SEO client. I’ve dealt with a ton of SEO clients over the years, and the ones I’ve had the most success in working with were the clients who allowed me to actually implement the ideas we discussed. I’ve had other clients who loved the new ideas, but were very cautious to actually implement them, and as a result, the campaign did not see as much success as it could have. As long as the SEO Specialist you’re working with is from a reputable company or background, and is indeed an expert, trusting them and giving up some of your control is a must in a successful SEO relationship.

    I understand that if you’ve worked with an SEO “guru” who turned out to just be a shadester, you’re understandably going to have a hard time trusting your new SEO Specialist. But starting the new SEO relationship by needing control over every aspect of the campaign is going to result in just another failed relationship. Once you’ve established case studies and credentials, trust your SEO expert, and you’ll both be on to a happy future in SEO land.

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    Even the most sunniest rays of sunshine among us have felt the twinge of sadness or felt a bit depressed from time to time. To help alleviate this feeling, we’ve turned to our friends, family, professionals, music, writing – whatever helped us connect with the outside world and bring our emotions out at the same time. Whenever I’ve experienced a bit of sadness or stress in my life, surrounding myself with people I trust and being social helped me navigate to chipper waters. Recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve felt so much less stressed after logging into Facebook, seeing friends’ comments on my posts, reading and commenting on their own posts, and sharing my thoughts. I was instantly connected to these people whom I count as great friends in the physical world, but now I also had their warmth in the digital world.

    Which brings me to the question – do you think social media has any effect on easing depression? One of the symptoms of depression is the tendency to alienate yourself. Same with the stages of grief – alienation can be very tempting when dealing with a loss. Social media allows us to become instantly connected with so many people. Of course, those relationships should extend into real life, but isn’t it so comforting to log into your Facebook or Twitter account  and see the world is still going on, others are also experiencing sadness or stress, and yet time moves on, just as you will? Just a thought :-) I’d love to hear what you think!

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    November 24th, 2009theseogirlThe SEO Industry

    It’s time for this SEO Girl to get a bit mushy :) With Thanksgiving just a few days, I’ve started to think about all the things in my life I’m thankful for. I don’t have a perfect life (nor want one!), but my thankful list is quite long! In addition to being thankful for all the great people in my life, I’m so happy to be a part of the SEO industry, and all the people who helped take me from a copywriter to motivating me to learn the in’s and out’s of SEO. If you work in SEO, especially with clients, you know how stressful it is. Not only are you juggling the many client personalities, but you’re working to implement creative and successful SEO techniques for their sites, usually on less time than you really need! Yet, tackling SEO challenges and succeeding, working with clients no matter the stress levels sometimes, and being able to meet so many intelligent and interesting people makes me so thankful to be in this industry.

    We’re in an industry that’s continually changing, with a growing emphasis on a more purer form of SEO and social media that works to engage your audience, rather than game search engines. To anyone reading this, thank you so much for reading, indulging me, and motivating me to keep posting!

    How about you? What makes you thankful to be part of the SEO industry?

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    If you’ve met me in real life, you’ve probably seen me whip out a tube of berry Yes To Carrots lip balm (several hundred times) or heard me talk about their sister brand, Yes To Tomatoes, and how much I love it. I’ve been to the Yes To Carrots website, Twitter, and Facebook, many many times, and like any SEO worth her salt, there’s some things we notice a bit differently about a website. Yes To Carrots has an exceptional social marketing campaign and overall brand personality, and they’re definitely a brand to keep an eye on! (Fellow SEO girls – you must check out their body butter, so wonderful.)

    Homepage Image: The first thing you’ll notice about the site is the very attractive homepage. The second thing: it’s all an image, oh no! A search engine is basically glossing over this page as they can’t read images. Ideally, the page should be balanced with an adequate amount of SEO-friendly text and images. Plus, visitors utilizing screen-readers to access the page will be able to identify what’s actually on the Yes To Carrots page.

    The homepage does include image alt tags, which is great, but be sure they’re in a consistent format. Some read “Body Butter”, while others read “hand_and_elbow_cream”. A very small point, but great for consistency and having a clean website.

    Page Title: Check out my previous post, “Ask The SEO Girl: Should My Page Title Include My Website’s Name?”, about adding your brand name to each page title on your website, along with a keyword phrase you’d like to rank for. Their homepage page title includes the Yes To Carrots brand name, but their interior pages lack it. Go for consistency and branding and add that brand name in!

    Twitter.com/YesToCarrots: This is an example of a company Twitter page done so right. They’ve identified a brand personality of embracing a refreshing, healthy lifestyle, with an optimistic outlook. From their own tweets to the posts they decide to retweet, their Twitter posts reflect this personality. They don’t just tweet to tweet – they do it with a purpose, and they do it well.

    Facebook.com/YesToCarrots: They convey that same vibrant personality on Facebook. We’d like to see them have different posts on Twitter and Facebook, but we applaud them for keeping their page updated, posting new status messages, adding photos, and posting new discussion topics. Their loyal fan base has responded back by embracing how active they are on social platforms and interacting with them.

    Yes To Carrots is an exciting brand with products that meet and way exceed what’s said in their marketing messages. They can benefit from some SEO improvements, but their social media campaign sets the bar, and sets it high, for what a successful social campaign should be. Now time to re-apply my berry lip balm and get started on more SEO copy!

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    November 8th, 2009theseogirlAsk The SEO Girl, SEO Site Design, SEO Tips

    Yes, yes, and a thousand more yes’s to this question! The page title, or meta title, are the words in the blue bar at the top of your Internet browser, or the words engulfed by <title> in the source code for a website. Including one or two keyword phrases that are relevant for your site in your page title is a common SEO best practice, and as long as it’s not abused, actually does contribute quite well to a website being ranked for those keyword phrases, particularly the keywords in the homepage page title.

    I recently heard an SEO say that they prefer not to put the site’s name in the page title. I strongly disagree – creating a page title similar in structure to: Keyword Phrase 1 and Keyword Phrase 2: Site.com, is a must for the following reasons:

    • Reinforce Branding – In an age where searchers want to find the lowest price product, and want to find it fast, you need to do everything possible to instill your brand name in their minds. Adding it to your page title keeps it right in front of their eyes as they flip through your website.
    • Search Result Listings – A search engine will typically pull your site’s page title as the title of a search engine results page listing. Imagine seeing a slew of search results, all with relatively generic, keyword-rich titles. Then, you spot one that includes keyword phrases, but also has the site’s brand name. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to click on the one with the brand name?
    • Bookmarking – Whether it’s social bookmarking or simply bookmarking a site to your Internet browser, the bookmarked listing for a site usually is pulled from the site’s page title. Once again, branding is everything, and when the person who just bookmarked 10 relatively similar sites goes back to look at their list, their eye, and mouse, is going to be attracted to the one that has a brand name listed.

    Including your website’s brand name in your site’s page title is a practice that only makes sense. When you’re at the mall, do the stores have “Clothing Store”, “Clothing Store 2″, “Bath Store”, “Bath Store 2″, and “Shoe Store” on their marquees? Nope. They distinguish themselves from each other by highlighting their brand names wherever they can, and that’s what sticks in our minds and has us stepping into their stores again and again.

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    November 7th, 2009theseogirlBlogging Tips

    I’ve been such a delinquent blogger lately! First it was end of the month busy-ness at work, and now I’ve come down with quite the nasty cold. A few weeks ago I co-presented a session on blogging best practices, emphasizing the need to blog regularly, at least once per week. It’s so true – it establishes your credibility and keeps readers coming back and your name in their minds. I quickly realized I’m simply terrible lately with blogging regularly, I’m either tired from my always interesting but stressful SEO job, or spending time chatting with friends about SEO and social media, or just living. I’m hoping to blog at least once a week now, and stick with it! I love writing about SEO and social media, so I just need to start dedicating more of my time to it.

    Will be writing more soon!

    - Your favorite SEO girl

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    So say you check out a blog or website and are asked to describe that website in 20 random words. Most likely, your word choices will be a little all over the place, but they’ll probably tie together enough to form a picture on what the blog is mostly about. This is the same concept as a “tag cloud” – a tag cloud is simply a collection of main themes on a blog or website – often seem a bit disjointed, but actually do go together to form an idea of what you mainly talk about on your blog.

    There’s tons of tag cloud generators out there, and I recently used Wordle to generate a tag cloud for The SEO Girl blog, only the very best blog out there, of course (just nod along). The larger the font in a tag cloud, the more often you talk about that topic or theme. For The SEO Girl, I’m big on “SEO” of course, another was “industry” which makes sense, “blog”, “search”, and “PageRank”. Nearly all the words in my tag cloud related to the search industry, so it looks like despite my rambling posts, I’m on track! I encourage you to do the same with your blog or website – it’ll allow you to get a quick snapshot on the theme of your blog posts to be sure the big topics on your blog are actually what you want them to be, and if the keyword phrases you’d like to rank for on your website show up in a larger font in your tag cloud, chances are you’re on target with your SEO keyword targeting. Happy tag clouding!

    Check out The SEO Girl blog’s tag cloud, courtesy of Wordle. Note how “love” is inside the “S” in SEO – how true for me!

    Tag Cloud

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