search engine rankings

8 Factors in Search Engine Rankings You Probably Don't Know About

I just found out from a colleague that Google uses over 200 ranking factors when determining which pages go where in the search engine results. I knew there were a lot, but I didn't realize there were that many and how they impacted the search engine rankings of my website and the sites of my clients. The link is above if you want to review 200 yourself, but here are eight Google ranking factors that I didn't know about, and you probably don't know about either (until today):

  1. Exact Match Domains - An exact match domain is a domain name that's an exact keyword, such as or Exact match domains have always been a Google ranking factor, but they have lost strength in the last few algorithm updates. However, if your exact match domain offers high quality content, then it should still give you an edge, but more so because of the content and not because of the exact match.
  2. Page Loading Speed - Yes, it is a direct ranking factor. If your page takes too long to load, then it could hurt you. Google considers page loading speed, and several other factors, as part of the user experience. The better the user experience, the increased likelihood that the website offers quality content and is regularly maintained and updated, which is essentially what search engines want to show people in the search results.
  3. Image Optimization - This is one that's worth noting as its a Google ranking factor that may business bloggers and online publications miss. Google can't see images, so it "reads" them according to things like the caption, description, title, file name, and alt tag. When including images on your blog posts and web content (and please include images), include the keyword you want that page/blog post to rank for in each of those sections for the image.
  4. Contact Us Page - Supposedly, if your contact page actually has information on it (and isn't just a form), then that will improve your rankings. Although, it could just be for that page, but at least this is one more reason why a contact form isn't good enough for a contact page.
  5. Guest Posts - Guests posts, especially the backlinks, are very valuable for search engine rankings. However, links in the author bio aren't as valuable as those within the context of the article. This may be a little difficult to achieve, since some online publications are picky about the links that can be included in their blog posts, but it's something to keep in mind if guests posts are a big part of your online marketing strategy.
  6. Wikipedia Source Links - Bad news on this one! All Wikipedia links are 'no follow' so none of them count as part of your search engine rankings. As great as it is to have a link from Wikipedia, it does not count as part of your Google ranking factors. This also means that creating a Wikipedia page about your company may be good in that's in one more thing that can come up when people search for your company, but the links you include in there won't mean a thing.
  7. Word Count of Linking Content - A link from a 1000-word post is more valuable than a link inside ofa 25-word snippet. Who would have thought? This is a good reason to publish longer, more comprehensive content, as it boosts the value of the backlinks you provide to others.
  8. Brand Signals - This one actually encompasses several factors, but Google does like pages and social presences that indicate that your company or your website is, in fact, a brand. Make sure that your company has strong, fresh, and active brand signals, such as an official LinkedIn company page (using a personal profile is against the site's policy, so stop that if this is you), brand name anchor text, a Google+ local listing, and the number of blog/RSS subscribers you have.

Not only are there eight more ranking factors (well, more actually, if you count brand signals as several) to be aware of, but hopefully there's an additional understanding of things you can do to improve your SEO strategy. Keep in mind that search engine rankings aren't just based on one or two big things, but on a huge conglomerate of things that contribute to the user experience and what you have to offer a web visitor.

Blogging and SEO: 3 Places To Include Links to Your Blog Posts

blogging and seoWe all know that inbound links are great, and that inbound links are one of the benefits of business blogging. A good way to increase the number of links to your blog posts is with internal links, links to your blog posts from other pages on your site. Of course, you can do this by including links to your blog posts on other posts with related link or links within the text. Or, you can include links to relevant and/or popular blog posts on other pages on your site. Here are three places you can include links to your blog posts:

Product/Service Pages

First of all, every single one of your products and/or services should have their own page (it helps with SEO), so if you don't have that then you should do that. Second, each product and service page can have three relevant blog posts at the bottom. It's a way to give prospects additional resources regarding that specific product/service. It's also one more way to keep prospects engaged with your brand while visiting your site. Third, if you're running short on blog post ideas, come up with two or three that would complement each product or service that you offer, and write those posts just so that you can include them on the page. Placing internal links on your product and/or service pages can increase traffic to those blog posts and give those specific posts additional exposure.

The About Us Page

Although your blog posts shouldn't be strictly about your company, your corporate blog is a crucial part of your brand and who you are as a company. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include a few blog posts on your About Us page. This can be an RSS feed of your latest posts, or perhaps a list of your most popular or your best posts. It might not seem like something those who visit this page would be interested in seeing, but it doesn't hurt to include the links, and people can't visit your blog from this page if you don't include links to the blog posts.

On Thank You Pages

Once your web visitors download something from you, it's great if you can keep them engaged. An excellent way to do that is to include blog posts on your thank you pages. It adds something to the page (this way it's not just text that says 'thank you' and a link to the download and a link back to your home page) while also offering the newly converted lead additional resources to read and to consider.

Now, if you don't have thank you pages, like this one for our free 30-minute consultation, for every single one of your lead generation offers, then that's something you need to work on first. It's much more snazzy then something that just says, "thank you for your interest" or "thank you for your information."

Having a business blog is great, but if you don't make it easy for visitors to find your blog posts, then it'll be that much tougher to bring traffic to your awesome content. There are many more places to amplify your blog content then through email or through social media. Including them in strategic places throughout your website can make a difference.

Related Links:

Creating Blog Content: Why 'Contact Us' is a Horrible Call to Action

5 Business Blogging Best Practices

AP Style Blogging: What That Even Means


5 MORE Business Blogging Tips

business blogging best practicesWe have a previous article on business blogging best practices, and although those best practices still stand, there are plenty more that can and ought to be practiced. There have also been changes to Google's algorithms and search engine optimization that affect what business blogging best practices are, and what business blogging tips really apply. So, in addition to the previous best practices we've offered, here are five more business blogging tips to help you keep your business blog the best that it can be:

  1. Write Naturally. Don't Worry about Making Keyword Quotas. - As you're writing your blog post, if you're worrying about inserting a certain keyword or phrase a certain number of times in certain parts of the blog post, then stop right there. Do not worry about any of those things and just write the blog post as if none of those rules matter (because they don't). Search engines are discouraging creating content that meets their algorithms so it'll be favored in results. Instead, write naturally, in your own voice (or the brands) as the words come to mind. Write for humans. Write something that a person will find excellent and engaging. It's the human that buy your stuff, not the search engines.
  2. However, Put Keywords in These Five Places - Just because you shouldn't be meeting quotes doesn't mean that keywords don't mean anything. They still do, but great content is much more meaningful. Anyway, keywords are most meaningful when placed in these five places: the URL, the blog post title, the image title (please include images with all blog posts), the image ALT tag, and naturally throughout the body. To ensure the last one, what you can do is write the blog post first, and then review it looking for good spots to insert the keyword. This way, the blog post reads naturally, but includes that ever-so-important keyword.
  3. Use Formatting - Formatting is anything that organizes your blog post so its easier to read and to digest. This can include bullet points, a numbered list like this one, subheadings, or a combination thereof. Formatting not only makes your blog post look better, but formatting also makes it easier for the reader to find the takeaways or to get through the article quickly if pressed for time. For example, with this article, if a reader just wanted the five business blogging tips, they can easily be found without having to do a lot of scrolling or reading. This way, the reader can get the information needed, while having the option to read more if necessary.
  4. Categorize and/or Tag - This is an either or because some business blogging platforms only have one and not both. Whatever the case may be, make sure add categories to your blog and blog post. Organizing your posts not only looks like you care to potential readers, but it also makes it easier for readers and potential customers to find blog posts on topics they care about. If you don't yet do this, start. You'll be surprised how much difference this makes in bounce rate and in search engine rankings (each category or tag ends up being a page on its own, meaning one more page for search engines to index and rank. Just a thought).
  5. Write Content of Value to Potential Customers - After all, the blog is for potential customers. So, it only makes sense to create blog posts and other content that they would find valuable and want to read. If you're creating content for any other reason, such as to have content for a particular keyword or to improve your search engine rankings, then you're creating content for the wrong reasons. Create content that's of value to potential customers, then everything else will fall into place. This rule applies to blog posts as well as web pages, white papers, newsletter content, and any other content you create.

If we were to put these five business blogging tips into one big business blogging tip, it would be: Blog for your readers and not for the search engines. Search engines are merely the means to an end. The reader is the end. Create content that gets you to the end.

    Business Blogging Help: Where to Start It

    business blogging helpWe previously wrote a post about a competing blog writing company (which shall remain anonymous), where we took issue with how their blog writing services are delivered, as well as some of their answers in their FAQ. Below is one of the company's frequently asked questions, and what we think the answer is, versus how this company answered the question. I don't have a blog right now, should I start one on my site, or should I just start one on, or one of the others?

    The blogging company is correct in saying that it doesn't matter, but the reasons why it doesn't matter are completely different from what they say. Here's what they say, and why it really doesn't matter whether you start the blog on your site or on a free blogging platform.

    Business Blogging is Great for SEO. Period.

    First, they say that starting it on your own site means that you will have to work harder to for the search engines to find your site. Absolutely not true. If there's one thing that actually makes it easier for search engines to find your site, it's regular business blogging. The reason is that when you start the blog on your own site, you are adding pages to your site. That's more pages for search engines to index, more pages that search engine users can find, and more opportunities for your to come up in results. All that sounds like its easier for search engines to find your site when your blogging in general. Where the blog is started does not affect the difficulty of the blogging or in getting search engines to find it.

    Second, the blogging company argues that if you build it on a free blogging platform like Blogger or Wordpress, then you need to make sure that every single post includes a link or two back to your site. Although that's true, there's a way to have your business blog on the free blogging platform without having to include a link in every single post (not that including a link is a bad idea. The bad idea is relying almost entirely on that linking for search engine rankings.) That way is focusing on the domain name.

    It's the Domain Name that Matters

    What would make it harder is if the blog is under its own domain name (, or if it's on the free hosted domain name that comes with Blogger or Wordpress (, instead of part of your company's domain name ( This is a huge point that the blogging company fails to mention. When the blog is under its own domain name or under the hosted domain name, then all the SEO credit the blog earns will go to that domain name and not yours. Sure, you can include an inbound link or two with strong anchor text in every post as a way to get your website to rank, but it doesn't make up the gap that is in between your website and your blog. Those pages aren't added to your site, so they aren't counted as fresh content on your site. If people find those blog posts on search engines, they don't necessarily find your company or site, and you have to hope that the potential customers actually clicks on a link or two to your site.

    The domain name issue is much more than getting the SEO credit, it's also getting the inbound links, which this particular blogging company offers as its bread and butter. If you have the blog on the hosted domain name or its own domain name, and it's a great blog that's earning inbound links on its own because people like the content, then you and your site miss out on all those inbound links because they are linking to the blog and not you. In this situation, you could be losing referral traffic as well as high quality inbound links from a variety of places, instead of just getting a ton of inbound links from the blog. If inbound links are what you are after, then the optimum scenario is to have a lot of inbound links from a lot of high quality sites. This is one step above having a lot of inbound links from just one or two high quality sites

    Business Blogging Help: It Helps to Have One

    It's really simple to have a blog that on a hosted platform to share the domain name of your company. This may be the default option for businesses whose sites are already hosted on these platforms, as adding the blog is as quick as adding a new page or feature. However, the bigger point is the that the blog and the blog posts ought to be used to earn those inbound links, as well as an easy to way to create links back to you, instead of just the former. That way, you're number one goal becomes creating great content, instead of creating content that will please the search engines or will rank well

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    What Everyone Needs to Know about Search Engine Rankings

    With all the emphasis on search engine marketing and getting found online, you must know that search engine rankings are very important for your business' online presence. But, how much do you know about search engine rankings and search engine marketing? What do you need to know in order to get found online? Well, here are the five things everyone needs to know about search engine rankings:

    1. Pay-Per-Click Doesn't boost Your Organic SEO Rankings - PPC and organic search do not help each other, although they can work together in a search engine marketing campaign. With PPC, you are paying for space. Once you stop paying for space, or someone else comes along willing to pay more for that space, your ad will no longer be featured. Having ads on certain keywords will no affect how nay of your pages will rank for those same keywords, so its important not to rely too heavily on PPC when it comes to your search engine strategy.
    2. Your Keyword Strategy Should Include Hundreds of Keywords - When building your keyword strategy, you want more than 10 or 20 keywords to target and to rank for. Having so few means that you'll be competing against yourself when trying to have pages and blogs posts rank for those keywords because multiple pages will be trying to rank for the same keyword. When you have hundreds of keywords to target, you can include a larger variety of keywords (long-tail, problem/solution, location based) while lessening the chances of competing against yourself.
    3. Domain Name Keywords Aren't as Great as they Used to Be - Over the past few years, the correlation between a domain name keyword, and ranking high for that keyword, has been weakening. So, don't rely on your domain name as the way to rank. Instead, choose a name that would be great for building a brand, and build a brand that can rank high for the excellent content it creates. Besides, having a domain name keyword means you'll be competing against yourself, as every page will be trying to rank for that one keyword, and every page will also be trying to rank for multiple keywords. 
    4. Don't Rely on Guest Posting Either - Yes, getting back links through guest posting is an excellent way to get referral traffic and to rank for certain keywords. No, we're not suggesting that guest posting is all bad. However, it can't be the only way you're trying to rank. You can't rely on others get it done for you. First of all, guest posting is much more time consuming than many think. You have to write the posts, get them approved by a third party site, and cross your fingers that they publish in a reasonable amount of time. Each site has different rules regarding guest posts, and not all sites allow them. Second of all, it's much easier just to publish those posts yourself on a business blog and earn a few links that way. You'll be able to publish more posts in a shorter amount of time, as you don't have to wait on someone else to publish and to let you know. After that, try pitching sites about guest posting.
    5. You Need to Consider the User Experience - Believe it or not, what the user does, or doesn't do, does affect your rankings. If the bounce rate is really high, where people leave as quickly as they came, then that can negatively affect your rankings. If your page takes a long time to load, that can negatively affect your rankings. If you don't have social signals, or anyway for people to "like" your site or to share your content, then that can negatively affect your rankings. If you have spun content, or content that's written for search engines instead of actual people, that can negatively affect your rankings. User experience is considered in the results, so make sure that you're considering them too.

    For more about what goes into a website's ranking, here's a link to a table of all the factors, and how they affect one another. There's no silver bullet when it comes to getting your website on the first page or on the first spot of the results, so take the time to do a good job and to apply multiple factors well.

    How Brand Signals are Great for SEO and Search Engine Rankings

    search engine rankingsSearch engine optimization is one of those things in online marketing and promotion that is constantly changing, but many aren't changing with it. Many businesses out there still think that the way to high search engine rankings is tons of optimized content and much more link building. However, with the recent improvements to the search engine algorithms, great content and brand signals are favored over these older SEO techniques.

    What are Brand Signals?

    Brand signals are indicators that the website is run by an actual company, instead of being a website that's there simply to rank and to get found online for certain keywords. Search engines are favoring these signals because search engines are about the user, and want to ensure that the results they provide for queries are the best results possible. Older SEO techniques, such as link building and spun, optimized content don't always provide the best user experience and aren't organic. Brand signals are organic. Here are the brand signals to have that will boost your SEO and search engine rankings:

    1. Brand Domain Name - Exact match domain names, or domain names that are keywords (like, aren't as great as they used to be. Over the past few years, the correlation between an exact match domain name and a high search engine ranking has decreased. So, how do you get your website to rank high on search engine? Focus on building a brand. Facebook, Yahoo, Bing etc. aren't search engine friendly, but they rank high on search engines, and they are very memorable names.
    2. Employ Real People - Well, if you're a company, hopefully this is the case. But, show this off by encouraging your employees to join LinkedIn and to say that they work at your company. Search engines are favoring these social cues, so these LinkedIn profiles can show up among or alongside search engine results. Users like it when they can see a real face behind a blog post or web page.
    3. Provide Contact Info - A form just isn't enough, and it does look a little sketch and spammy. Perhaps with the form, you can include your company address, phone number, and a general email address. Once again, this makes it look like that real people are behind the company and the website.
    4. Register with Official Bodies - Stay away from those "SEO directories", link farms, and other places that claim to build links and credibility. Instead, show that you're registered with official bodies, such as industry organizations, local/state organizations, or that your company has certain certifications. Not only do those sorts of credentials make your website look better, but they offer better backlinks than thsoe directories and link farms can provide.
    5. Take Time with Your Link Growth and Content Growth - When your backlinks and your content grow in large spurts, then it looks spammy and of poor quality to search engines. There's no way anyone can create great content or earn that many links so quickly. Therefore, take the time to grow your links and content organically. This ensure that those links and content are of much better quality, and that this consistent, albeit slow, growth is authentic and sustainable.

    What Do Users Want to Find Online?

    It's great to rank high on search engines and to do what it takes to do that, but consider what users will be finding if you rank high and receive a lot of traffic. Will they find content and a brand that they want to engage with, or will they find SEO nonsense that's created for the search engines and not for potential customers? It's great to rank high on search engines, but keep in mind that search engines don't buy from you. Only people do.

    You know what else is great for SEO? A strong keyword strategy! If you need help building a keyword strategy, then download our guide! Click the button below to do that now.


    5 Things to Do to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

    search engine rankingsThe number one goal that I hear from clients and potential clients is, "I want to rank high on search engines." Obviously, we would need to know a bit more than that in order to achieve that goal (which keywords, define 'high', which pages). However, for the sake of this article, we are going to look at five things you can do to rank high on search engines, no matter how high, what keywords, and which pages:

    1. Blog - I can't emphasize business blogging enough! If you could only do one thing to rank high on search engines, it's blog. Think about it: every blog post is one more thing for search engines to crawl, one more thing for people to find online, and one more thing that can rank for a keyword. It's the one thing to do to rank high on search engines. Even doing the other three things, and not blogging, won't mean as much as blogging at least twice a week.
    2. Fix Your Page Titles - The page title is what appears in the tab on the browser whens someone goes to your page or website. It's also the title that appears when your page or website shows up in search engine rankings. Optimizing these with keywords would really make a difference. That means, don't start each page title with your company name or a description. Use two to three keywords per page title, and each page should have it's own unique, two to three keywords.
    3. Create Additional Pages Where Possible - Business blogging can accomplish this goal, but there are other was to add pages that can rank high on search engines without being spammy. For example, do you have just one page listing all of your products and/or services? If so, then create a page for each product or service. Create a separate page for company news, or create a page of resources for potential customers. All of these options will give you more chances to rank higher on search engines.
    4. Add Unique Meta Descriptions - Giving each page its own meta description, will help it to rank higher for keywords. Meta descriptions are the sentence or two that describes a search results. it's a great place to put a keyword while telling the search engines (and users) what the page is about. Each page should have its own unique description, not the same one that applies to several pages.
    5. Commitment - SEO isn't a one-and-done activity. It is something that needs to be revisited and improved upon regularly, whether that's constantly looking at keywords, or continually blogging, or making sure that you still rank for keywords. Those things can easily change, and others can catch up and pull ahead, if you aren't committed to keeping your high search engine rankings after you achieve them.

    In order to improve your search engine rankings, you need to figure out what keywords you want to rank for. To do that, you need a keyword strategy. Download our guide to building a keyword strategy to get started and to improve your search engine rankings: