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Search Engine Guide : Small Business Search Marketing
Search engine marketing news and information you can use to grow your business.

Search Engine Guide
  • 5 Resume Tips Designed to Help SEOs Land Competitive Jobs

    by Jayson DeMers

    Do you feel like you're an expert at getting clients to rank for certain keywords or objectives? Well, are you equally as good at marketing your own services and maximizing resume visibility? Just as you do with websites, blog posts, and search terms, you have to work hard to ensure your resume is seen by as many people as possible. Additionally, it needs to effectively capture your skills, qualifications, and personality. 

    Learn From These 5 Tips

    Did you know that recruiters and those responsible for hiring people only spend an average of five to seven seconds looking at a resume? What about the fact that only 35 percent of applicants are even qualified for the jobs they apply for? Assuming you are qualified for the jobs and contracts you apply for, this means you have to find a way to quickly make an impression while simultaneously proving your qualifications. Here are some tangible tips to get you started:

    1. Quickly list education/qualifications. Regardless of how brief it is, every resume needs a section that lists educational background and qualifications. And instead of placing it at the very end - which seems to be a trend these days - do the reader a favor and put it at the very beginning. This prevents them from having to search for that information and gives them a better feel for who you are and where you've been. 

    2. Play up soft skills. While your qualifications may get your resume in front of the right eyes, it's the personal qualities, attitudes, and habits that help you stand out. According to this blog post from CBT Nuggets, soft skills are able to boost a resume unlike anything else. They take you from just another "qualified" professional to a qualified professional that's also likeable and dependable. 

    3. Link to a portfolio. If you're honest with yourself, it's impossible to accurately convey your talents without showing some in-depth proof or case studies. While it's not appropriate to include them in your actual resume (brevity is much appreciated), it's certainly okay to link to an external website or portfolio. 

    4. Use keywords and job-specific language. As someone who deals with keywords and semantic structure on a daily basis, you don't need to be reminded of the importance of using job-specific language - but it does bear reemphasizing. Any time you're reaching out to a potential client or employer, it's critical that you study the style and tone of their content and language. This will guide you in how you should structure your resume.

    5. Focus on niche/specific skills and experience. Somewhere along the line, western culture has inundated us with the idea that more is better. Well, when it comes to resumes, the opposite is often true. While you don't want to omit important information, you should find concise ways to convey the value you bring to the table. Focus on niche skills that few others have, as opposed to some generalized talent that's a dime a dozen. 

    The issue with tips like these is that most people feel like they don't apply to them. Well, let's make one thing clear: If you want to be competitive in today's increasingly congested SEO industry, you need to follow these tips. They'll help you stand out above the phonies and prevent you from blending in with the stream of other resumes you're likely competing against. 

    Don't Make These Resume-Killing Mistakes

    In addition to utilizing these tips, there are also some shortcomings, oversights, and pitfalls you'll want to avoid. Specifically, try not to make the following resume-killing mistakes:

    Keyword stuffing. One of the biggest turnoffs for businesses and job recruiters is keyword stuffing. While it may (and the keyword is may) help you increase visibility, it's a sure-fire way to make a bad first impression on the reader. It makes them feel like they're indispensable, or just another reader. Instead, you should focus on one or two valuable keywords that show you've paid attention to their core values and needs. Think about it in terms of how you would approach an SEO campaign for one of your clients. Instead of going after 25 generic search terms, you would be much better off targeting three specific long tail terms.

    Too much experience. If you're well into your career, you may not want to list all of your work experience. Despite being illegal, many hiring decision-makers associate lots of experience with being too old and dated. For best results, focus on the past 10 to 15 years of your career when listing accomplishments and job history. 

    No clear flow. Does your resume have a clear and identifiable flow? What about a primary focus? Nothing is worse than a scatterbrained resume that leaves the reader wondering what they just read. Everything you put on your resume should fit into a neat, concise section. If it can't fit in one of these sections, it probably doesn't need to be included. Resume structure comes in a close second to content, as it pertains to value and importance. 

    Sometimes the only way to avoid mistakes is to make them and learn. However, with a little knowledge and understanding, you can avoid these blunders altogether. 

    Start Selling Yourself

    Ultimately, a valuable resume is one which sells the individual, not the skills. While you may be one of the most talented and progressive SEOs in the industry, what sets you apart from a personal point of view? Businesses want to hire people they can count on time after time. Having a particular skillset will only benefit you so much - so avoid making it the focus of your resume. Instead, use this brief document as a valuable testimonial that relates to who you are and why you're right for the job. 

    Be sure and visit our small business news site.



  • What to Do When Your Domain Name Isn't Available

    by Jayson DeMers

    For companies with incredibly unique names, it's often simple to register a desirable domain name. However, with more than 850 million active websites on the internet, some brands find it challenging to secure the domain they want. Don't fret, though; there are plenty of ways to work around this and find a domain and extension that works for your business.

    The Importance of a Great Domain Name

    Trying to identify the value of a domain name is complicated and challenging. It's different for every business, industry, and customer. As an independent variable, it really doesn't have much value. But, when combined with things like web design, marketing campaigns, advertising, SEO, and content marketing, it can be the perfect tool for attracting and converting customers. Here are three ways a great domain name adds value to a brand:

    • Marketing. First and foremost, a great domain name works in conjunction with a company's brand identity. It should go hand-in-hand with the long-term marketing strategy of the business. For example, if your brand is aiming for a simple image with minimalistic web design and very precise content, you would want a domain name that reflects that image. A one or two word domain name with brief and concise syllables would be preferable over a string of descriptive words and characters. It's just one more way you can reinforce what your business stands for. 
    • SEO. There was a time where businesses pursued what are known as exact match domains (EMDs). These are domains which exactly match a specific keyword phrase that customers frequently use. They once offered a two-fold advantage. The presence of the actual keyword in the domain was a ranking factor, while it simultaneously encouraged webmasters to incorporate the keyword phrase into the anchor text when linking back to that site. However, multiple studies now suggest those advantages are no longer as valuable as they once were. With that being said, selecting a good domain name does indirectly impact SEO by increasing relevant traffic, and thereby enhancing domain authority.  
    • Search-ability. At a very basic level, your domain name impacts who finds you. It should be directly tied to your brand name or the products you sell. This allows people to stumble upon your site even when they aren't looking for it. On the other hand, if it's too complicated or unique, you'll rarely attract new users unless they find your site via referral links or search results.  At a very basic level, your domain name impacts who finds you. It should be directly tied to your brand name or the products you sell. This allows people to stumble upon your site even when they aren't looking for it. On the other hand, if it's too complicated or unique, you'll rarely attract new users unless they find your site via referral links or search results. 
    Solutions for Unavailable Domain Names

    The problem most brands encounter when unable to secure the domain name they want is that they're unwilling to broaden their horizons or try something new. If you can get past your desire to have the domain name "Example.com," you'll be able to find something. Here are a few solutions for common domain problems:

    1. Try a New GTLD

    Thankfully, there are more than one generic top-level domains (GTLDs). While ".com" is by far the most common and well-recognized, it's not your only option. By looking past this and opening your options up to other GTLDs, your options get much better.

    Some of the most common GTLDs include .info, .net, .org, .co, and .us. However, in the past few months, a slew of other ones have been released. Some of these include things like .club, .design, .website, .green, .social, .agency, .app, and more. This gives business owners virtually endless options. If your brand name was Bob's Bakery and you couldn't secure BobsBakery.com, you could try options like BobsBakery.food, Bobsbakery.store, or BobsBakery.info.

    2. Add or Reorder Words

    If your brand name is something basic (such as a single, recognizable word), you're going to have trouble registering that domain name with any GTLD - let alone with .com. In this case, your best option is to either add or reorder words. 

    Let's use the example of a fictional company named "Example Realty." If ExampleRealty.com is taken, you could try adding a single word for a domain like BuyExampleRealty.com, ExampleRealtyCompany.com, ShopExampleRealty.com, or ExampleRealtyGroup.com.

    3. Attempt to Buy the Domain

    Just because your desired domain name is taken, doesn't mean you can't have it. However, in most cases, you'll have to pay a pretty hefty price tag. While you can personally contact the webmaster, it may be better to pursue a purchase via a broker. These brokers are skilled at handling transactions, negotiating prices, ensuring legality, and protecting your identity. The latter point is extremely important. By veiling yourself, you avoid giving your competition any leverage or future bargaining power.

    There are some cons, though, as well. Brokers may charge anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the sale price and will typically tack on additional transaction fees. There's also very little industry regulation and it's challenging to stop unethical brokers from taking advantage of you.

    4. Wait for the Domain to Expire

    If you still can't find a suitable domain alternative after trying a new GTLD, changing the wordage, or working with a broker to buy the domain, you may have to simply wait for the domain name to expire. This is sort of a long-shot, but is worth a try if you've already exhausted all options. 

    If you want to monitor multiple domain names, you can typically use a service like Network Solutions to keep an eye out for particular ones. They'll notify you when a domain is close to expiring, how much it will cost, and when it will be available for new registration.

    Don't Get Too Overwhelmed

    Ultimately, you can't get too overwhelmed with the process of selecting a domain name. If finding a domain is the biggest problem your business faces, you're doing just fine. While you don't want to underestimate the value of a concise, descriptive, easy-to-find domain, it shouldn't be your primary focus. Instead, focus on creating quality products and services that solve relevant pain points and resonate with customers in fresh ways. If you can get that down, your domain name could consist of a random string of characters and it would still provide a healthy return.

    Be sure and visit our small business news site.



  • Are your Google rankings based on your conversion rate?

    by Mike Moran

    One of the oddest things about all the updates that Google has made over the last few years concerns the lack of impact that some of the changes have had on some businesses I know. Google Panda and other ranking algorithm changes have caused significant drops in traffic for many of these companies.  But that's not the odd thing. What's strange, at least at first glance, is that a number of these companies have suffered only small drops in sales. This goes against everything we've ever thought about in search marketing--I mean, the reason that you work so hard in search is to get traffic to your site, because the more traffic you get, the more you sell--right? Google says wrong--at least partially wrong--and they have a good reason why.

    It all goes back to the old question that has always bedeviled lead-based businesses: Why are we getting more leads but not closing more sales? The answer is what in the old days we called qualification. A qualified lead is one that is likely to buy from you. Often when sales leads come in higher and actual sales stay flat, it is because the quality of those leads are poor. Anyone can send you a name, but if that name is more or less picked at random, it doesn't help you sell anything.

    Google, over the years, has been figuring out the same thing. So, it is possible that the ranking algorithm changes that Google has been making are not merely directed at lowering the rankings for content farms and other spam sites, as many have opined, but rather improving search results for searchers across a wide variety of searches. The search leader might be working on a new game.

    We've known for a while that calling the formula a ranking algorithm--singular--is no longer true. In fact there are many ranking algorithms and Google selects the right one with what it believes are the best mix of factors for each search. Some searches emphasize the freshness of the information, others might include more personalization, yet others might emphasize information over commerce--or vice versa.

    Google might be judging some of these factors on clickthrough of search results and on conversions. Google has many ways of tracking conversions--everything from Google Analytics to Google Checkout to the Google toolbar--and we know that they are using machine learning to extrapolate from small sets of data to large ones. So, what that means is that once they have a subset of sites that they can get this information from (and they do), they can then look at every other site on the Web and identify which ones are similar to their master set.

    If your site looks very similar to sites that convert highly for a type of search, expect your rankings to improve. If you look like a site that doesn't convert, expect the ranking to go down--but maybe you don't care, because that search wasn't bringing you qualified leads anyway.

    Stop focusing on mere rankings as a way to judge your search effectiveness. Besides the fact that rankings are personalized (so you don't know for how many searchers you rank anywhere anymore), you are missing the point of search--just like those companies gathering more and more sales leads that don't close. Look at your revenue and focus on your best-converting keywords. That's where the focus needs to be.

    Originally posted on Biznology

    Be sure and visit our small business news site.



  • Mobilegeddon Has Come and Gone - Now What?

    by Kevin Johnson

    Businesses across the nation went into a panic after Google announced that it would be updating its search algorithms to remove non-"mobile-friendly" sites from searches conducted on mobile devices. "Mobilegeddon" has now come and gone, and while its overall effect on SEO is still being debated, the fact remains that optimizing a site for mobile users is still an important step for anyone looking for online success.
    viewport.png

    A Rising Tide
    A recent report by comScore found that approximately 29 percent of all online searches in the United States are done with a mobile device. While desktop searches still constituted the majority of online searches, the number of desktop searches actually declined from 2013 to 2014, while smart phone and tablet searches rose significantly.

    For local searches, however, the numbers seem to tip dramatically into mobile's favor--a report by Local Search Association found that nearly 60 percent of searches regarding local business are done using a mobile device.

    It's clear that mobile search will continue to rise in prominence. Indeed, Google is expecting worldwide search inquiries on mobile devices to surpass desktop searches this year--no doubt part of the reason that "Mobilegeddon" was announced in the first place.

    Even though Google's mobile update did not prove to have the cataclysmic effect on mobile search rankings many feared it would, updating one's web offerings for an increasingly mobile audience is of high importance--particularly for local businesses that may not be considered as authoritative by the search giant. With smart phone penetration in the United States expected to exceed 80 percent of all cell phone users by the end of 2015, it's clear that mobile Internet use has become the norm, rather than the exception.

    To facilitate this transition, Google has provided several tools to help Web page owners determine if their site is mobile-friendly. Google's Mobile-Friendly Test provides a quick and easy way for Web owners to identify potential mobile issues. Google also provides steps on how to fix mobile usability issues through Google Webmaster Tools accounts.

    Optimization Time
    There are several options available for those who wish to upgrade their Web offerings to create a mobile-friendly site.

    Responsive web design is an easy way to guarantee that a site will work well for both desktop and mobile users. Google has placed increasing priority on responsive web design in its algorithm updates, especially the recent "mobile-friendly" update. Other mobile optimization options--such as setting up parallel URLs for mobile sites--may create a functional mobile site, but will ultimately not help improve SEO as domain authority is split between mobile and desktop URLs.

    For businesses hoping to remain relevant and still appear in mobile search results, investing in responsive design guarantees that a site will be mobile-friendly, because the flexible design automatically adjusts the content to the size of the screen being used.

    "Responsive Web design is the easiest solution because you don't have to deal with redirects or expensive maintenance," explains Trevor Garner, Lead Designer + Developer at Fusion 360, a Utah-based web development agency. "It's better for SEO, and users get the content they want in the way that looks best on their device."

    Implementing a responsive design eliminates several of the most common problems mobile users face when surfing the Web--namely, navigation and readability. Responsive design ensures that links and menus are an appropriate size that are easy to see and appropriately spaced to eliminate accidental clicks and other navigation errors. Text font is also resized so that horizontal scrolling and zooming are not necessary to read a page's content.

    Another important aspect to consider when developing a mobile-friendly site is to eliminate the use of programs that are not compatible with mobile devices. One of the most commonly cited issues during Google's update period was Flash-based content, which is not compatible with mobile (HTML 5 is a recommended replacement). Optimizing images and other content to reduce page loading time can also improve a site's SEO.

    It is clear that future updates to search algorithms will also stress mobile usability--as indicated by Google's main rival Bing's recent announcement that it will be introducing tagging and improving rankings for mobile-friendly sites.

    Local business owners in particular would do well to ensure their sites are optimized for mobile users. "Mobilegeddon" may not have been as significant as expected when the algorithm arrived on April 21, but the fact of the matter is that as more and more consumers switch from desktop to mobile search, websites that do not become mobile-friendly will be left behind either way.

    Be sure and visit our small business news site.



  • Should I stay away from highly competitive keywords?

    by Mike Moran

    If you've used Google's Keyword Tool, you've probably seen the column called "Competitiveness," with levels low, medium, and high. The low. medium, and high are based on the competitiveness of a keyword among paid search advertisers. The more advertisers are bidding on a keyword, the higher the competitiveness. By itself, paid search competitiveness tells you nothing about the organic search competitiveness, but in reality they usually run about the same. So, most people ask the same thing about keywords: "Should I stay away from highly competitive keywords?"

    Like any good consultant, my answer is, "It depends." I mean, the tendency is to shy away from that much competition, which could be exactly the right decision, depending on your business. After all, if you have a small business with a no-name Web site, then it is unlikely that you'll do well on high competitiveness keywords.

    But consider this. It isn't impossible to do well if you have a truly valuable message that is a better fit for that keyword than everyone else. Remember, someone is #1 for even the most competitive keyword around.

    So, my advice is to focus on how close a fit the keyword is for your site before focusing on competitiveness. But if you have a local camera store in Akron, Ohio, don't think that "digital cameras" is a great fit for your site, because thousands of other local stores are equally good fits, and Web retailers and nationwide chains such as Best Buy are even better fits. But "Akron camera stores" could be a great fit, even if Google says it is highly competitive.

    If you know your business is a very strong match for even a highly competitive keyword, go for it. You can always stop if it doesn't work.

    Originally posted on Biznology.

    Be sure and visit our small business news site.



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