Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings

This is the final post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed any of the first 3 posts, you can review them here.

Clearly Conveyed Communications Google+ header

Search engines like Google are influenced by social media profiles, especially Google+. As Google’s own social network, Google+ carries major weight in boosting rankings on the largest search engine in the world. Its profiles are very helpful in personalizing search results that go beyond the local search results. If you wish to personalize searches, then carry out the following steps:

  • Create a Google+ profile for personal use and a business page.
  • Give a +1 share to the websites that you wish to generate rankings for. You can also share websites on the profile page and link to them using the personal information boxes in the recommended websites section.
  • Completely fill out the personal profile, so it comes up in appropriate searches and draws interest from other people.
  • Update your status regularly, and keep the status of your profile information public (for better search results).
  • Share interesting information from other people so you’re not entirely self-promotional (and to help connect with others).
  • Network with people who you feel can benefit from seeing your website in the search results. You can use the search box on Google+ to search for people and add them to your circles.

The idea is to gain popularity on Google+ so that you can get better rankings in personalized search results.

Keeping Track of Your Results

After all the hard work and effort taken to achieve better SEO of your website, it only makes sense to keep track of the results. You can use the following two tools to monitor such results easily:

  • Authority Labs – very effective in tracking keyword rankings that are used for your website and helps to check whether they have moved up in the search results or not. The account comes with a fee but has a 30-day trial period to test it.
  • Google Analytics – an all-around solution for SEO monitoring. It helps with monitoring visitors to your website, checking organic search traffic sources and understanding which keywords are used by people to find your website on search engines. This tool also tracks the keywords that can lead to people visiting your site and joining a mailing list, purchasing a product and other actions you want them to perform.

There are many tools and resources available to improve your SEO but the above two can help start off your campaign in the right direction. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this 4-part SEO guide to help you improve your website’s search engine optimization efforts. A special thank you to Ramya Raju for writing the guide and sharing it with CCC’s readers. For more on the first 3 parts or Ramya, see below.

Ramya Raju

Ramya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL

Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting up with professional friends for a fun night out. Despite the frigid temperatures, I was actually looking forward to bundling up and heading North for the occasion. These are people that I’ve worked long hours with, learned so much from and are just plain fun to be around. Plus, it’s always a wonderful networking opportunity for future endeavors when you hang out with well-connected people.

Yours truly with Dana Zezzo

Hanging out with Dana Zezzo, inventor of the Zoint & “Get Social” king, at a tweet-up at the House of Blues in Vegas.

You don’t need to convince me of the benefits of social media, both personal and professional. I preach them every day. But some people mistake ‘getting social’ on social media for real life socializing, which it’s not. We all need interaction with other human beings (some more than others), and there’s something about face-to-face communication that just can’t be duplicated in other communication channels.

You may also like: Enough with the Email… Pick up the Phone!

To illustrate my point, you may have come across this popular acronym during your social travels: IRL. It stands for In Real Life, as in “I finally met Lars Ulrich IRL at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yesterday. What a cool dude!”

The author with reps from Driving Impressions

Enjoying the Scottsdale weather with the guys from Driving Impressions.

So here’s my point: at some point, stop getting social online and actually meet up with some people IRL. You’ll be glad you did.

Your Turn

Agree or disagree?

Is your social calendar conducted entirely online?

When’s the last time you met someone ‘in real life?’

Where’s your favorite hangout (and I don’t mean Google+)?

Living large IRL,
Jaime

Let’s connect on social media (and IRL)…
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Link Building to Success: Optimize Your Website

This is the third post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed part one or two, we’d recommend reviewing them first.

While reading the first two parts of this series, you were probably wondering when I’d get to link building.

chain links

Link building is without a doubt one of the most discussed topics in SEO today. The idea is that your website is linked to by other websites and blogs, which helps in building higher rankings for your website for specific keywords. By using keyword anchor text, your site will get ranked for that particular keyword. For example, Adobe Reader is ranked number one for ‘click here’ anchor text because most download links for the reader shared on different websites are labeled with these keywords.

There are a few ways in which link building can be performed.

  • Organic Linking – the best way to gain rankings is through organic links. Such links are generated without you putting in any effort, and if they come from sites with higher rankings, like media websites and well recognized ones, then there is nothing better for your website’s SEO.
  • White Hat – quality link building efforts that follow search engines’ policies and still focus on your human audience. For example, only link to quality content when it fits within the context of your post. Don’t spam your audience (or someone else’s) with unnecessary, broken or unhelpful links that don’t contribute to the discussion.
  • Black Hat – the wrong way of link building that involves spamming and low quality back links, which should be completely avoided. It can lead to penalization by search engines and actually damage your SEO efforts.

Getting other websites and blogs to organically link to you is tough. It takes time and effort for your site to become popular enough to draw the required attention. That’s the reason why link building is an art and building quality links has to be planned well. The following methods will help you receive quality, organic links from outside sites:

  • Submit blog posts as a guest writer on the most notable blogs pertaining to your industry. These blogs will allow you to link back to your site in the author box.
  • Partner with related businesses that have their own websites and try to get a link back from their pages for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • To generate better incoming traffic to your website, create local search and social media profiles. The direct effect of these profiles on your search engine rankings is debatable but they will help drive more traffic to your website (which in turn will boost your SEO efforts).
  • Buy advertising space and/or submit your website links to dedicated industry directories and online trade journals. Don’t submit links or purchase ad space on low quality websites that are unrelated to your website (even if it’s free to do so).
  • Publish content which is so rich that people share it on their sites and blogs, providing you with useful back links. Infographics are an example of content that is typically shared at a high rate.

Photo: “Chain Links” by Eric Martin / CC BY 2.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first three parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 4, Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

“I Have A Dream:” The Movement That Lives On Today

Yesterday, on January 20th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was celebrated in the United States. Pictures, articles and quotes have popped up all over social media networks, as people celebrate his life and continue to fight injustice in his name. In addition to his noble cause, King was also an accomplished orator, which has helped his words and ideas stand the test of time. Following is one of my favorite King quotes…

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take a minute out of your busy day to think about what King accomplished, and what is still left to do. In my opinion, one of his lasting legacies was dragging civil rights and injustice (of all forms) into the national consciousness and forcing a conversation on the subject.

Change is hard, and we’re usually not ready for it.

We typically have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to accept any level of change, but then, when we look back on it, we think, “man, what took us so long?” Think about that the next time you’re facing change — in business or life. Try to look at a situation from another point of view. Think about how you may view this situation 20 years down the road. If possible, step back and take a look at the big picture (after taking a deep breath).

Watch (or re-watch) King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech or part of it. Read a King quote and think about how it relates to your life. Take a moment to celebrate the life of a man who demanded change for the better, and how we can all be a part of his legacy by continuing to fight.

What’s your favorite King quote?

When you think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., what comes to mind?

Were you (or anyone you know) in Washington, D.C. for his speech?

Chime in with your thoughts on the man, his legacy and what’s still left to be done.

“I Have A Dream” speech video courtesy of Sullentoys.com YouTube account

Respecting a legend,
Jaime

Let’s continue the conversation…
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Content Is King and Other Essential Elements of SEO

This is the second post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you’d like to visit part one, click here

In the first part of this step-by-step guide to search engine optimization (SEO), I covered the basics, including over-optimizing, title tags, meta descriptions and the advantages of using WordPress. Now let’s move on to other necessary elements in the quest to improve your search engine rankings and website exposure.

the word content

Content truly is king — for your readers and SEO efforts.

Other Essential Elements for SEO

Apart from adding the title tag and meta description, the following elements should also be taken care of for further search optimization.

  • Internal Links – It is important that you add and share internal links to other pages of your site within the content. This helps and supports your link-building efforts in addition to the links using external sites.
  • Header Tags – Search engines can gain more information regarding the content of each section with the help of the header tags. These tags usually deal with different sections that are divided on the basis of headers. The <H1></H1> tag is used for encompassing the title of the post and is always used once per page. The rest of the tags, like <H2></H2> and <H3></H3>, are used for different subheadings and can be used multiple times. Longer posts and articles can be broken down into sections that are easier to browse by both visitors and search engines.
  • Image Name and ALT Tags – Images used on the website also play a key role for redirecting searches to your page via the image search options. But to have that optimized, you should use good keywords and key phrases that align with your site in the image name and ALT tag.
  • Bold Text – Putting parts of text in bold ensures that the search engine and potential visitors consider it very important. But use precaution while highlighting text in this manner; overdoing it should be strictly avoided.

Related Reading: Content Creation Ideas

Content is the King

With the fast-paced world of online marketing, it is important to keep your customers on your website for as long as possible. For this reason, content plays a major role because it has the capacity to keep your visitors engaged for a longer time and also provides the search engines with rich data that helps in your website ranking.

You should explore a variety of content types that are relevant to your audience, such as blog posts, writing tutorials and guides, industry-related articles, videos, podcasts and infographics. It’s a monumental task to build a huge content database but it is doable. To begin, start with a blog post on your site and slowly move towards building content using other types of media. Feel free to share appropriate content from others (with proper attribution) to fill in the gaps while creating your own content.

Pic credit: “Content – Spraypaint Logo” by Ulysses D S is licensed under CC BY 3.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first two parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 3, Link-Building to Success: Optimize Your Website. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Clearly Conveyed Communications is excited to welcome Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. Ramya has written a step-by-step search engine optimization (SEO) guide for CCC’s readers, so you can improve your search engine rankings and website exposure. This is the first post in a 4-part series that will be published on Thursdays for the next month. You can learn more about Ramya at the end of the post. Enjoy!

SEO

The Internet is largely becoming the primary home for most businesses, and to be competitive, websites need to have better SEO to be noticed. But all businesses do not have in-house SEO expertise or consultants to lend a hand due to budget constraints, and the amount of available information on SEO is so overwhelming that many companies shy away from doing the right things.

This guide shares SEO best practices, so businesses and individuals alike can benefit without the need to pay a professional.

SEO basics for the website

You may have heard that link-building is a popular SEO practice, but nothing works if your own website is not optimized. It is imperative that your own site carry the most important elements that will help and support other steps that you need to take for successful SEO. Ensure that the following elements are present and clearly carried on all the pages of your site, especially on the homepage.

Important rule you shouldn’t ignore while performing SEO

SEO for websites has to follow a strict code and conduct according to the guidelines set by Google. The most important rule is do not ‘overdo’ the further steps which will be discussed. There is even a penalty on websites who have over-optimized keywords and are stuffed with more key phrases than necessary. Instead, add four or five keywords that are optimized to suit your website on each page. You can even use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to learn the best suited keyword phrases for your site.

Title Tag

The title tag is comprised of the information that tells the search engines what your website is about. It should be kept under 70 characters and should carry essential info like your business/brand name and keywords that are specific to the page. In HTML code, the title tag is placed between the <HEAD></HEAD> tags on the top of the page.

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are written for specific websites to add additional information that search engines can use. Though it’s debatable whether meta is really useful for getting a search engine ranking, it nevertheless is still important since anyone searching for the website will get to see the meta under the search result. Using the right keywords in both the title tag and meta description are essential to having your site highlighted when a user searches for it. This makes the search result stand out for anyone who is searching for the specific keywords you use.

Advantage of using WordPress

If you use WordPress to host your domain, then you can take advantage of free plugins like All in One SEO, Platinum SEO and SEO by Yoast. These plugins are optimized to help you easily add title tags and meta descriptions to your site, and you can even find further SEO tips if you use premium plugins like Scribe SEO.

We hope you enjoyed this introduction to SEO basics for your website. Tune in next week for part 2 of this 4-part series, Content Is King and Other Essential Elements of SEO. Same bat time, same bat channel!

Pic credit: “SEO” by Singapore SEO Company is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Email Overload: 4 Ways to Win the Fight

Email. It’s revolutionized the way we communicate, but it can absolutely take over your life and disrupt the best laid plans. Haven’t we all been here before?

boy covering ears

More email?! Make it stop!
“Ruído Noise” by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

When I left corporate America to start my own company, I made a major change with email. First, I got down to Inbox Zero, which was downright exhausting, and then I vowed never to get buried again. How? A Swiss Army knife, some duct tape and a paperclip.

OK, not really. Here’s how:

  1. I subscribed to Unroll.me, an email solution that combines all of your favorite subscriptions into one email. Read what you want, when you want, and don’t be overrun with all of those necessary subscriptions to online trade journals, news sites and your favorite retailers. (OK, the last one may not be ‘necessary’…)
  2. I unsubscribed en masse (which is much easier with services like Unroll.me). It’s amazing what had ended up in my inbox over a period of time. If I didn’t receive value from a newsletter subscription or brand’s emails, I cut the cord. So many companies blast you with the same specials and information you can receive via social media or other channels.
  3. Speaking of other channels, I found alternatives, such as RSS feeds, social media networks and mobile. I love subscribing to blogs via the WordPress Reader as it’s easier for me to manage. I can follow my favorite brands and companies on social media for exclusive offers, the latest specials and hot, new products and services. I receive coupons and discounts via mobile, where companies aren’t as likely to bombard you (yet).
  4. I stopped sitting in email. When I’m working, I don’t even have my email program open, let alone receive those distracting notifications that flash onto your screen (and into your peripheral vision). My clients can all contact me in a variety of ways (and do), including phone, Facebook messenger, text, Twitter DM and the like. I monitor the push notifications on my phone to stay on top of what’s happening instead of spending massive amounts of time in my inbox. Basically, I don’t use email as IM (instant messenger) and don’t expect others to either.
Alder Pond at Gorge Metro Park

This is how you’ll feel when you get your email under control.
“Peace & Serenity” // author’s personal collection


What about you? How have you battled email overload? Do you agree with my tips? 

Share YOUR tips and experience to help us all maximize the effectiveness of email and communicate more clearly!

p.s. I’m always checking out what’s popular, so I can write about what you want to hear. Here’s the most popular posts on the CCC blog during 2013:

p.s.s. On Thursday, we’re starting a special series on SEO (search engine optimization) by a guest host. Don’t miss it!

Communicating clearly since ’12,
Jaime

It’s on like Donkey Kong. Let’s connect! 
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Survival Skills for the Real World

Welcome to the first post of 2014! I hope you all enjoyed ringing in the New Year.

Happy New Year from CCC!

During this time of year, people around the world resolve to learn new skills and achieve goals they set for themselves. So I thought it was interesting when I read an article in the November 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine that focused on skills you should have in order to navigate this crazy thing we call life.

Related reading: Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

Here are the five skills featured:

  • how to be alone
  • how to take a compliment
  • how to keep a conversation going
  • how to ask for feedback
  • how to remember names

Do you agree?

After reading this article, I realized that these skills were necessary in business as well as life. Whether you’re attending a networking event, dealing with co-workers or clients or working on an important solo project, these skills will keep you on top of your game.

Related reading: Boomers to Millennials: Your Generation Sets Your Communication Style

I would like to add two (or three, depending on your view) skills to this list: the ability to give and take constructive criticism and listen. It may sound strange, but I haven’t met a whole lot of people who dole out constructive criticism well. Criticism? Yes. It’s the constructive part that’s often missing. Listening also seems to be a lost art in our society today.

What do you think?

What other skill is necessary to navigate business or life?

Would you remove any skills from this list?

Chime in. Let’s get this 2014 party started!

Cheers,
Jaime

2013 or 2014, we’d still love to connect! 
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