The Seven Factors Behind Link Optimization

Introduction to Link Optimization

The links to your website reflect a lot of information back onto your site. This greatly affects your website ranking. Link optimization is important to have as a part of your seo plan. This post will discuss the seven ways links to your website affect your search engine results ranking, as well as the importance of link optimization.

How links affect your search engine ranking
The seven factors of link optimization.

Anchor text

Anchor text is important for on page and off page optimization. It is very potent information for search engines. A website without crawlable information for the search engine to find will look for the anchor text leading to your site. Backlinks are important for getting a website higher up on search results. However it’s important to note where these come from. Backlink indexers are a great way to see where your site is being linked. Allowing you to determine how it reflects back onto the site.

Authority

Site authority is based first on topical relevance, and next on how respected the source is. Depending upon the authority of the site, having a link placed there could positively or negatively affect your search engine ranking.  A site with high authority linking to your site would increase the credibility of your site. This signals to the search engine that your site is reputable and deserving of a higher placement on the search results. It would take much website search engine marketing to get onto a high authority site without being respectable already.

Trust

How easily spammers are able to infiltrate a site determines how trustworthy the site is. A heavily spammed site linking to your site can damage your search engine ranking. However, a link from a trusted website will bring your site higher on the results page. Evaluating the trust of the website involves looking into sites that link to the site. If other trusted websites link to a site that in turn links to your site, then your site is more likely to be considered trustworthy.

Relevance

It’s important to be on sites that discuss relevant information. Websites that discuss the same topic as your site and link to your site are worth more than links from random sites. Sites that are topically relevant reinforces to the search engine what your site is about and makes it easier for the search engine to classify your site as being within a specific genre.

Temporal factors

Search engines keep track of when links pop up to your website. They look at whether they all appeared simultaneously or over a period of time. Search engines also notice if links to your site disappear, how quickly they appeared (or disappeared), and the authority of the site that they appear on. For the sake of website optimisation  and getting linked from sites, it’s important to have links to your site that are timely and steady. Search engines look out for sites that buy links and it definitely leads to a negative effect on the search engine results page.

Context and Relevance

The best search engine algorithm will compare the context and relevance of the links to your site among links. Search engines determine whether all the links on the linking site are of high authority and relevant to your site. Depending on the authority and trustworthiness  of the other links on the site, it could mean a higher or lower ranking on the search engine results page. The search engine also looks at the placement of the link on the site. Links in the body of the content are typically better than those placed to the side or bottom. Being a part of another site’s seo content, as a high authority website, signals to search engines that your website is trustworthy. Additionally, this will increase your placement on the results page.

Source diversity

As any seo guide would say,  a diversity of domains increases your spot on the search engine results page. In contrast, it is typically detrimental to have all of the links to your site from the same owner. Search engines like real, organic, trustworthy links from multiple domains.

What is the take away?

Link optimization should be an important part of your SEO strategy. Closely  monitoring your links will help optimize your search ranking. Search engine ranking tools are a good way to monitor how your website is competing against other sites. They can also help you move forward with an seo plan. The old adage,  “that you’re only as good as the company you keep,” rings true for websites as well.

 

Guide: How to Optimize Your Reddit Link Building Strategy for the Best SEO

How to Optimize Your Reddit Link Building SEO Strategy

Getting traffic from Reddit to your site is considered to be one of the holy grails in marketing and SEO circles. Why? Redditors are so passionate about the topics they read on the site, Reddit link building tends to drive up traffic up like crazy when they become popular. It’s also considered to be “the front page of the internet” and posts users make there can even appear on Google news.

This is a small guide to optimizing your link building strategy around Reddit and getting the most out of your efforts. We’ll present the basics of Reddit, how to choose the right communities (or “subreddits” to target your SEO and end with link building ideas to help bolster your strategies.

A Quick Tutorial on How Reddit Link Building Works

Reddit started in 2005 as a social news aggregation site and pioneered the whole voting system for comment threads. People join reddit and become “redditors” and follow their favorite topics, centered around “subreddits” found on the site, usually stylized as /r/subreddit-name.

While some subreddits are more popular than others, when the community is active, it draws in millions of viewers each day as people submit posts and article links and those submissions get upvoted (similar to a “like” on Facebook or a “+1” on Google Plus), or downvoted. Naturally, like in capitalism, the best ideas tend to rise to the top, while the best ones turn viral and get shared around on other social networks.

The passionate nature of Reddit users tends to make subreddits hostile to self-promotion. In other words, if your SEO strategy for Reddit to plan on posting a link to your product and say, “Hey, buy my awesome product!” you will likely get downvoted or even “shadowbanned” (banned from using the platform but not being alerting that you were).

Though links you post on Reddit won’t help your Google PageRank because they always include a “nofollow” in the URL, they will help with RankBrain’s algorithms, improving how Google views your content.

Here’s another guide on the basics of using Reddit from Mashable.

Now, let’s get in to how to get started with using Reddit the right way in building your SEO content marketing strategy and getting that passionate Reddit crowd generating traffic to your website.

 

Step 1: Become a Redditor (the Right Way)

First, in order to submit to Reddit, you’ll need an account. It’s free and easy to sign up. There’s a huge consideration when doing so, however. What will your username be? Generally, the worst name you could use is your business name. That’s because Reddit is a community of users, not businesses.

When people post to Reddit, they expect to see individuals do so. So if your company is Acme Corp, we recommend against “acmecorp” or “acme” as your username. Instead, a marketing idea is to  use your real name, or a combination of your name and your company name, such as “tony-acme” or “tony-acmecorp.” The transparency in your username will go a long ways on Reddit in the steps to come.

Step 2: Identify the Right Subreddits to Target for Reddit Link Building

There’s a ton of subreddits out there. Many of them are low-quality, low-traffic ones that people create (because anyone can start a subreddit!). The best way to find popular subreddits for your topic is just to search on Reddit itself. For example, if Acme Corp makes fireworks, they could search “rockets” in the Reddit sidebar and see which subreddits come up. In this case, “Firecrackers, Cakes, Mortars and More!” seems to be a popular subreddit with 1,123 subscribers and a history of 6 years.

Step 3: Read Content for a While Before Contributing

This is known as “lurking,” although marketing researchers would call it “listening.” Go in to your subreddits you chose to follow and see what kinds of posts and topics rise to the top. Are they posted by vendors asking for customers? Probably not. The best content is organic, interesting, and applicable to the subreddit. After a week or two of checking in on your subreddits each day, you’ll get a great idea of what you can post.

Step 4: Submit Your Post for Reddit Link Building

On Reddit you can only submit one of two types of content:

  1. A text post, such as a rant, a question, or a story
  2. A link

You can use both or a combination of both in your link building strategy. You can start by posting a link to your blog post, asking people for feedback on your blog post, or following up on someone’s comment that your blog post helps to answer.

Step 5: Help with Upvoting (and How it Helps Your Reddit Link Building)

Make sure to submit your link to Reddit with the UTM code from your Google Analytics account so you can then track the traffic coming to your site from your Reddit post. You want a unique code each time you post a different link so you can differentiate between the links as you view your Google Analytics metrics. You can generate UTM codes on the fly using Google’s free tool here.

The better your post or submission ranks on Google, the more likely it is to get more upvotes on Reddit, and vice versa. As you share your Reddit post on other social networks, such as Twitter or Google Plus, and as those get retweeted and +1’ed, you will eventually drive more and more traffic to your Reddit post.

One last piece of advice here for your Reddit link building strategy: Don’t ask for upvotes! This is known as the “cardinal rule” of Reddit. The more you ask for upvotes, the more you get downvoted.

Reddit Link Building & Content Marketing Ideas

Here’s a short list of ideas to get started on your link building using Reddit:

  • Submit links to your blog posts as you post them
  • Use Google Analytics tracking codes to monitor your traffic coming to your site from Reddit
  • Submit posts to relevant subreddits asking for feedback on your blog posts
  • Answer other Redditor’s comments and include a link to your post (if it’s applicable)

That’s it! We hope this SEO guide for using Reddit will result in plenty of upvotes, traffic, and customers for you. Let us know in the comments below how your Reddit marketing campaigns work out after following this guide. Please feel free to ask us questions, and don’t forget to subscribe to our Utah SEO Class blog.

Link Building for SEO

Build Links to Improve Rankings

You’ve invested considerable time in creating a website, developing amazing content, and are ready to relax while the traffic rushes in. Well, not quite. To rise in the search rankings and boost your site’s performance, there may be a missing link, or rather – links! Link building is the practice of marketing your site to acquire links from other sites, and it is a critical piece of the SEO puzzle.

Search engines use links to crawl and index the web, navigating between pages using their interconnected links. As part of this process, pages are evaluated for how well they should rank for relevant keywords in the search engine results. It’s not just a page’s content that matters; according to The Art of SEO, “links remain the single largest factor in determining search rankings.”

Understanding Backlinks

Links to your page act as a digital endorsement from other websites – they demonstrate your site has a level of trustworthiness and relevance. Additionally, these inbound links, or backlinks, determine how often and how deep search engines crawl the site. The more external links you have directed to your page, the higher your chances of ranking well in the results. However, not all links are created equally. Link value is determined by several factors. These include a site’s PageRank, anchor text, relevance, authority, and trust. Unsurprisingly, a backlink is more meaningful and valuable when it comes from a high-quality website.

Link Equity a.k.a. Link Juice

The value that is passed between links from one webpage to another is called link equity – also commonly known as link juice. This link juice is a signal used by search engines to rank pages. Assuming it is relevant and high quality, the more link juice flowing to your website, the better. Let’s consider an example with your website along with your top competitor’s website.  Your website has backlinks from five external sources and your competitor’s site has backlinks from three sources. All else equal, your site will rank higher due to the link juice it’s receiving from more external sites. Link Juice

Scenario 1: You win!

Still, it’s important to note that link juice is a finite resource. If those five websites that link to your site also link to other websites, you receive a reduced percentage of those sites’ link juice. In this case, if the three websites linking to your competitor’s page don’t link anywhere else, your competitor may rank higher due to the percentage of link juice it’s receiving.

Link Juice

 

Scenario 2: Better luck next time…

 

How to Develop a Link Building Campaign

You may be wondering how to start building links for SEO. Here are five steps for developing a link building campaign:

  1. RESEARCH & EVALUATION The first step in a link building campaign is to research and evaluate potential websites that may link to your page. Identify the different types of sites that might link to your site – media outlets, blogs, universities and colleges, related interest sites, and even sites that currently link to your competitors. While you won’t have access to these sites’ analytics, you can still generally assess the value these links may provide. To do this, review the homepage’s PageRank, perceived authority, relevance to your website, and existing number of outbound links on the linking page. Target the most valuable sites that are likely to be interested in you as well as link to your site. Don’t forget to leverage existing business relationships for links as well. Get listed as a preferred/recommended vendor, be referenced in case studies, and engage on social media.
  2. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS Use online SEO tools to generate a list of sites that link to your competitors’ pages. Once you have this information, look at their most valuable links to better understand their link building strategy and to find opportunities for your page. Perhaps they’ve found success partnering with bloggers, received media attention for their products/services, or received links from authoritative and trustworthy government sites. While these ideas can provide inspiration, avoid replicating your competitors’ tactics exactly. Do not build all your links from the exact same sources. Rather than sharing link juice, explore ways to differentiate yourself using their tactics as a frame of reference. Be sure to update your list of potential sites to receive backlinks from.
  3. REVIEW DIGITAL ASSETS Now it’s time for some self-reflection. Evaluate the existing content on your website and map out what new content you could create – especially with your wish list of sites to build high value backlinks from in mind. Again, the key is differentiation. To stand out and attract high quality links, you’ll need to create unique and engaging content that is relevant to your audience. Write a blog or article or create compelling images, infographics, and/or videos. Try to offer valuable references or resources, or develop unique widgets or tools. Create sharable and engaging social media content, or earn attention from bloggers and media outlets. Generating relevant, timely, and engaging content can be a challenge on short notice. Keep a running list of content ideas for future development. Also, watch for trends on social media to capitalize on. Always look for inspiration based on what your target audience and potential backlink sources are engaging with.
  4. LINK PROFILE ANALYSIS To effectively build links for SEO purposes, you must know what links you already have. You must also know how you rank for certain keywords compared to competitors. This will help determine what new links you need as well as influence your content development strategy. Moz outlined various types of links to consider. These include links to your homepage, links to deep pages, links containing your brand/company name, and links containing the keywords you’re targeting.
  5. CONTACTING POTENTIAL LINKERS After completing these steps, strategize how to best connect with your target list of potential backlink sources. Direct methods of link marketing include email, social media messaging, blogger networking, and in-person networking events. Indirect methods of link marketing involve presenting exceptional and sharable content that inspires readers to naturally link to your page. These can also be supplemented by public relations, mentions of your company in news feeds, speaking at conferences/events, and running social media campaigns.

Link building for SEO purposes is essential to the success of your website. It should be an ongoing process of evaluation and modification. Now you have the tools to develop and execute a strategy to increase your site’s performance and ranking. Prepare to watch your traffic increase – if you link build it, they will come!

Advanced SEO: Co-Occurrence & Co-Citation

Who Cares about Co-Occurrence and Co-Citation?

The science of search engine optimization contains many arcane concepts. Furthermore, as Google continues to alter its algorithm, the list of concepts grows longer. In this post, we will discuss two concepts with similar names but with very distinct functions: Co-Occurrence and Co-Citation. Using these two concepts in your SEO efforts is very easy, but have big pay-offs.

What is Co-Occurrence?

An example sentence with co-occurrence.
Google’s algorithm now takes note of which keywords commonly appear together in sentences. This phenomenon is known as Co-Occurrence

The concept of Co-Occurrence began as just a theory of SEO pioneer Rand Fishkin. In 2012, Fishkin noticed that there were web pages regularly ranking in the top three without ever having the keyword they ranked for within their content. As he described the situation in his own words:

“For the query “cell phone ratings,” coming in at number four is a web page on ConsumerReports.com without the words “cell phone” or the word “ratings.” Actually, I do think they have the word “rating,” and they might have the word “phone.” But it’s in the text. It’s not even in the title. Really remarkable that they’re ranking so well for such a competitive query.

Number two, “manufacturing directory.” Again, another very competitive phrase, and ThomasNet is ranking number three without mentioning any of these terms, without seeming to try and target that phrase at all.

Number three, “backlink analysis,” where Open Site Explorer, SEOmoz’s own tool ranks number two, and yet not in the title. It’s not anywhere on the page. Neither of these words are anywhere on the page. In the snippet, Google is actually using some text from another article that they found that mentions backlink analysis.”

With this in mind, consider the above image. The underlined text on the left represents the text which co-occurs with the underlined text on the right, which would represent a brand or any other search term. To further demonstrate how this works we will go through more examples.

Co-Occurrence Examples

If on several pages across the internet there are mentions of “Snapple” and  “the best tea beverage on the market” within their content, then an organic search for “what is the best tea beverage on the market?” would hypothetically result in Snapple ranking high.

Similarly, if several bloggers are writing content talking about how the “Golden State Warriors” are the “best team in history” in the “NBA”, an organic search of “what is the best NBA team in history?” would result with Golden State’s page ranking high.

How to Use Co-Occurrence

The best way to use Co-Occurrence in your SEO strategy is to just write great content which people will want to talk about and share. Great content shared amongst friends on social media will create the natural Co-Occurrence which will help boost your page past what your coding could do on its own. For this reason, it is important to do a regular co-occurrence analysis on the internet to see what subjects are commonly being paired together, that you might be part of this trend.

What is Co-Citation?

A diagram of Co-Citation
The concept of Co-Citation is that the various sites linked to a certain page must have some relation to one-another.

Co-citation is another advanced SEO concept which uses others’ content to boost your page’s ranking. It is well known that page-links play a large role in a website’s Google ranking, but the concept of Co-Citation delves deeper into the subject.

The reasoning behind Co-Citation is that good websites will link to other good websites, creating a veritable “good neighborhood“, just as bad websites will link to other bad websites creating its own “bad neighborhood“. Thus a web-designer must take care when linking to other sites, or seeking inbound links, as associating with a “neighborhood” of bad websites will reflect poorly on one’s ranking. Furthermore, the reasoning behind Co-Citation is that linking to high-quality sites provides for a better user experience.

Co-Citation Examples

If you are a plumbing supply company and you link to spammy, poorly-optimized plumbing blogs (assuming such things exist), Google can only assume that your website is of a similar repute.

Similarly, if you are a sewing blog that links to poorly-optimized sewing-supplies eCommerce stores, you are also culpable, and Google cannot rank you higher.

How to Use Co-Citation

In practice, you can incorporate the concept of Co-Citation by researching webistes before deciding to link to them or to seek links from them. If your potential partners do not provide good user experiences, Google will recognize this, and penalize your site if you decide to link to them. (Hint: Check to see if a page optimizes its images. This is a quick audit of a site’s seriousness.)

Importance of Keyword Research for SEO

Why perform Keyword Research

Any business planning to build its first, 5th, or 100th SEO strategy must begin thinking about how customers will find its product or service online. The company must begin by identifying keywords consumers will search online when looking for the product. This is called keyword research. Leaders of a business may ask, why perform keyword research? The answer is simple, if the keyword research and analysis part of the SEO plan is skipped, there might as well not be a plan at all. Performing keyword research for SEO will ensure high value keywords are identified that increase company exposure to the market.

How to execute

Once a business has learned the importance of keywords, it must ask how to perform keyword research. There are many keyword research tools available online for free. Here are a few of the popular ones: Google trends, ubersuggest, Adwords (need access), or simply type a query in the search bar and refrain from clicking search. It is important to make sure an organized keyword research process is followed. Here are a few important steps to follow:

  1. List the products/services the company sells. This will be the head term keyword list
  2. Use the tools listed to input the list created
  3. Export all variations of the original keywords
  4. Input all keyword into the Adwords keyword planner to determine estimated monthly volume.
  5. Sort through and eliminate keywords irrelevant to business or that have no search volume (note: low volume keywords aren’t always bad to have. These can still generate customers)
  6. Add keywords to site content where relevant
  7. Repeat

The list created may contain 50 keywords, or 1000+. Regardless of how many it includes, sorting the keywords into category buckets is a good idea to ensure everything is covered that is needed. This is also a good practice because it may help identify keywords that aren’t applicable to the business. It can also expose opportunity to research new keywords outside of the products or services sold by the business. When reviewing each keyword bucket, try to identify the long tail keywords within the list and determine if they are a good fit. A long tail keyword will be more specific and typically include multiple words or a short phrase. These keywords can be high value and shouldn’t be left out of an SEO strategy. On the other hand, some long tail keywords may not generate enough impressions to make it worth including. Long tail keyword research should not be brushed aside. It takes additional time and may increase the keyword research cost if paying by the hour, but it is worth the value gained. It will put a business ahead of those that quickly throw together a site and SEO strategy.

How often should this process be used

Finding and targeting high value keywords for the business is an ongoing process. A keyword that performs well today may act much different in six months. This brings up an important question, how often should a business perform keyword research? The answer is all the time. Whether it is a detailed dive into the industry or simply paying attention to Google or Bing’s suggestions when typing a query, always knowing how consumers are searching for the product will keep the business ahead of competition. Keeping up with algorithm changes and improvements to search is becoming increasingly important and highly relevant to the keyword research process. Focusing on how the search engine values the keyword and utilizes it is becoming as important as knowing what the users are searching. It’s near impossible to know what Google thinks of a keyword, but by keeping up on its latest releases and deeply analyzing what happens when a search occurs, businesses can stay ahead of the game.

Whats next

After all keywords have been identified and added to the content and all other relevant places, understanding how they perform in the real world becomes very important. Using keyword analytics tools such as Google Analytics will help you understand how people are getting to the site, their behavior when on site, and what actions are made. Over time trends will begin to appear leading to optimizations. This can also help assist in the continual process of researching new keywords. If impression or session volume shifts to a different category of keyword, this may be a sign that it is time to research new keywords around the shifting trend.

It’s important to reiterate that a successful SEO strategy requires constant attention to the market and ensuring the site is always utilizing high value keywords. The research process is ongoing and how successful the business is at it will play a huge role in gaining a competitive advantage over competition in the digital space.

Instagram and Social Media Marketing

The advent of Instagram and social media platforms has given businesses new ways to market and communicate.  Seo and social media marketing through outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine (RIP), and Instagram allow businesses to explore creative ways of finding new customers. They can engage with current customers, new ones, and retaining current ones.

Instagram-social-media-marketing

 

It is hard to determine which are the best social media sites for seo. Each business has different target markets and methods of doing their seo on social media.

Community manager became a new position when companies realized the value in interacting with potential and current customers on social media platforms.

As of April 2017, Instagram had over 700 million users worldwide.  This makes Instagram one of the largest social networks out there. One in which interacting with other people is a key element.  While managing The CowShare Organic Beef Company, I realized that Instagram was the company’s primary source of income.  Similar to performing an organic search using Google, Instagram has hashtags.  You must upload a good image, the right message, and the appropriate hashtags. This will land more followers to your account.

Interacting with clients through direct message and via the comment sections generated more success.  Being a social media influencer in the beef industry brought the company around 50 or more followers per day. This factor directly impacted and was reflected in our revenue. Another way to optimize social media is to follow people that are relevant to a particular industry.  Liking other people’s images will at one point get their attention and will potentially produce a follow back or a sell.

Instagram

 

Instagram Partnerships with other businesses that generate a lot of momentum and traffic is a wise strategy. The CowShare partnered with other beef companies in the country.

Instagram-social-media-marketing
How can social media help our business grow

Local influencers, grillers, restaurants and more.  As part of the deal other companies would advertise The CowShare on their Instagram page, an example of social media advertising. The Cowshare also organized raffles and different types of contests.  The keywords used in the hashtag were very important because that can always drive new traffic to a site.

Each Bio on Instagram should also contain a backlink to the account’s main site. It should also contain keywords that represent a company’s branding strategy.

A social media strategy on Instagram should always include the most popular list of words in that industry. It also should include the most popular words in the platform that day.

Many people ask “why is social media good?” One reason is that the account holder can get near-instant feedback from other people.  This gives a business a better chance to communicate directly with the customer.  This is why many brands are relying more on social media than on their own websites. 

Facebook

Facebook is another great way to promote and engage with customers.  Companies that have a Facebook Page should use it to leverage the capacity and reach of this platform.  The site itself has its own search engine that is being used more and more.  Seo for Facebook business page will drive traffic in the platform.  This company gives a business the ability to do customer service, to sell, and to redirect people to the business’ website.

Facebook ads marketing is another option to utilize keywords and redirects to your own site.  Back in 2010, a friend of mine and fellow BYU Idaho graduate wanted to work for the OECD organization in Paris.  For regular Joes like he and I it would be impossible to get a job at such an elite organization. My initial thought was the Adidas slogan “Impossible is Nothing.”

I created a Facebook ad that targeted employees of that organization. The ad linked directly into a Blogspot site that had my friend’s resume.  Little by little this Facebook marketing plan began to work.  Not only were people in France seeing the Blogspot site. Also visitors from the specific Paris neighborhood where the organization was located came and stayed in it over 30 seconds.  A month and $50 later, my friend got an email requesting an interview.  Facebook as a marketing tool and as an innovative way to land a job actually worked.

YouTube

This platform will also generate high quality leads. YouTube video SEO best practices include using a name of the video that will also attract Google searches.  An account has the possibility to promote products from their own YouTube page. They also have the opportunity to work with influencers who can promote the businesses. To track ROI and other ratios, an account holder can create a coupon code for those who watch a video or for the influencers.

Another best practice is creating a YouTube thumbnail image. This thumbnail image can be designed as clickbait. It is important to make it attractive and clear. In this way when the image appears either in YouTube or in Google, people will want to click on it.  The video description boxes can be utilized to embed product links. This links will direct to a target website, and tags can be added when uploading a video.

Use Keyword Planner to choose keywords for your titles. Google and YouTube will index those keywords. Then they will drive traffic if the words are relevant enough to what is being searched for.

Twitter

Twitter is more of an instant platform.  Though Google is not indexing tweets,  Bing is actually indexing twitter, so Bing is a great space in which to build SEO.  For a Twitter user to become more relevant, a best practices is to create good, sharable content.  Engage the target audience and create calls to action.  Always use links from your website so people can navigate to it.  Use hashtags and “Like” other people’s tweets.  Retweets should add something to the original tweet.  You can also do search by specific words and you can interact with those people. The key is to build a good reputation and followers.  A good bio in your twitter profile with the right keywords can make you come up on a search in Bing.  A good profile picture and cover image and go a long way in this platform.

How to throw an Ultimate Backyard Barbecue Party for your friends and loved ones!!!

Host an Ultimate Backyard Barbecue Party

Enjoy the summer and have fun with friends, and fill up on food and drinks in your backyard. Plan a backyard party where you can soak up the sun, enjoy food and drinks. Throw an Ultimate barbecue Party for your friends and loved ones.

Backyard barbecue grill

Hosting a Backyard Barbecue Party

A backyard Barbecue is the perfect way to bring friends and family together for a warm-weather gathering. A combination of relaxation, food, and fun is the perfect recipe for an enjoyable backyard experience. Hosting a backyard bbq party based on a different theme can be fun and entertaining for guests. With elements such as comfortable patio furniture and entertaining yard games, you can turn your backyard BBQ from just a meal with friends into a real party.

Comfortable patio furniture for backyard barbecue party

Barbecue party allows you the freedom to invite more people than you could normally fit around your dining room table. Designate a few seating areas around the yard. Provide a few options and encourage people to choose their own spot to mingle, that’s what a BBQ is all about!

If you are throwing your BBQ party in an outdoor kitchen setting, outdoor bar stools are great for providing additional seating. Benches are also really practical at outdoor parties. That’s because there’s plenty of space out there and it’s easy for everyone to move around and to get to their spot at the table without having to disturb the others.

The easiest option is to press dining chairs into service, along with any drum stools or poufs. If you’re keeping things casual, you can spread pretty quilts on the ground and let people gather picnic-style. Renting can be another surprisingly cheap way to go.

Barbecue decoration

Barbecue decoration can be based on season, holiday or party theme. Choose a theme for special occasions, like a birthday, or to break the ice and put everyone in a festive mood. Proper lighting in outdoors is important. You don’t want guests to be in dark. Decorate with Christmas lights to make it feel homely and create a magical atmosphere.

Test out your Barbecue grill well in advance.  Make sure it’s clean and in working order to prevent a last minute cooking dilemma. When the party starts, you want to be sure the grill, gear and food are all working together and ready for the party.

A simple BBQ tool set will provide everything you need to flip burgers, grill vegetables, and serve up tasty goodies to your guests. The more you prepare in advance, the less time you’ll spend running around during the party and missing opportunities to social with your guests.  A party should be about everyone enjoying themselves, include the host.

Give guests something to mingle over by setting up a self-serve drink table or refreshment station. For drinks, use a mini fridge or beverage cooler stocked with ice to keep them chilled and easy to access. Beer is always a common drink in barbecue party but Mojitos spiked with white rum and served over ice are fresh, zesty and the perfect cocktail centrepiece for any garden party.

Another great option is wine, it’s perfect for pairing with food and there’s something to make everyone happy. Cut and prep fresh fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge until guests arrive. Burgers and dogs are so obvious. Mix it up with chicken, meat kebabs. For veggies, try grilled corn and roasted potato nuggets. Everyone loves desserts. Ice-cream, cookies or cake makes an excellent dessert.

Backyard Fire Pit

A backyard fire pit is ideal, so if you have the space, go for it. Use an established pit or ring for safety and some basic concrete pavers underneath the pit if you’re setting it on something flammable. If you don’t have one, you can use a kettle grill to build a small, safe wood fire, or you can always make one.

Fire pit with s’mores is simple and a huge hit for any barbecue party. For those who prefer to relax and socialise, light up a fire pit and set out ingredients for s’mores. Safe place to sit next to fire pit and enjoying music, drinks and food is the best way to do a backyard bbq party.

Firepit for barbecue

Recreational Activities

After everyone has finished eating, keep the party going with some backyard recreation. Set up fun backyard games with a bocce ball set or bean bag toss. If you have a pool, liven things up with water games like pool volleyball or cannonball contests, or simply throw in some pool floats for lounging. Because every activity is better with music, use outdoor speakers to play your favourite tunes.

Portable wireless speakers let you bring music to any part of the yard and control them from a smartphone. Set the volume to be loud enough that folks can hear it and recognise the songs the already know, but not loud enough that anyone has to speak up to overcome it. Waterproof Bluetooth speakers are perfect poolside options that won’t mind getting splashed.

So the grown-ups can kick back with the drinks, have some diversions for the kids. Use plenty of blowing bubbles, perhaps a sprinkler or a Slip ’n Slide, and beach balls. You can also buy a few inexpensive disposable cameras and let kids serve as official event photographers. Let the kids make the season’s hottest accessory and perfect for keeping little hands busy.

Go for the outdoor movie. It’s reminiscent of a trip to the drive-in, or a movies in the park on a picnic blanket. Use the projector and screen combo to do something interactive. Play some video games. It’s a great way to get folks that don’t know each other to connect. If you choose the game wisely, create an opportunity for anyone to participate.

After the Barbecue wrap up any leftover perishable food right away and store them in the fridge. If there’s enough to go around, give some leftovers to your guests to take home. After all the food preparation, include a bit of sampling along the way. Have others enjoy the menu for a few days after the event instead of having them in refrigerator to potentially go to waste. Throw away the trash and clean and disinfect tables and chairs. Hang on to any unused utensils and save them for your next remarkable backyard barbecue.

Questions? Contact us.

Memes: The Freshest Google Trend for SEO

Memes : Meme of Leonardo DiCaprio toasting saying, "CHEERS, MEMES FOR EVERYONE"

Memes for Everyone

“Memes, in the way we recognize them, are a popular internet trend, in which an image is paired with a clever phrase, to create a relatable or funny situation,” according to the authors of the book, The Art of SEO. New memes will often be a twist on a popular meme. Brand Managers want to increase website traffic and improve search engine ranking. Memes provide one way in which they may accomplish this.

Why Create a Meme?

There are multiple reasons for businesses, organizations, and bloggers to create memes. The main reason being to provide additional content and enhance ongoing branding.  Additionally, creating memes is easy and practically free, they produce emotions, are easily shareable, and may improve search engine ranking.

Additional Reasons

1)   Easy to create. The actual process to generate a meme is easy. In fact, a meme generator app can create a new meme in seconds.

2)   Practically free to create. The main cost in creating a meme, is time. Therefore, any business can afford it. While there may be a small cost incurred if using a stock photo, this will be minimal. A smart-phone may also be used to take and upload an image directly to a meme generator for creation. This makes using memes especially ideal for small business owners, and bloggers on a tight budget.

3)   Produce emotion. Memes are often humorous, shocking, or thought provoking. Tapping into emotions helps to create a lasting image that is easily recalled. This will greatly improve branding. Funny images tend to be the most popular right now. There are even funny memes about the marketing process and creating memes. However, remember they don’t have to be funny to make an impact.

4)   Sharing  is quick and easy. Memes are easily shared with friends through social media. In the age of smart phones, where everyone is seeking ‘likes’ on Facebook, or ‘pins’ on Pinterest, this provide easy marketing and link building opportunities for companies.

5)   Improve search engine ranking. Additionally, memes are a great way to improve a company’s Google ranking by increasing site traffic. This applies to large corporations, small businesses, whether old or new.

Improve Search Engine Ranking

In the world of target marketing, companies that create iconic memes, have the opportunity to do more than just give their consumers a laugh, in fact, the best ones will create a connection and be shared.  Sharing memes will help create multiple backlinks for a website. Backlinks can improve Google rankings. Jason DeMers, states, “I feel a new trend may ignore length entirely, focusing on providing as much information as possible in the smallest possible space—dense content—to appeal to readers.” Memes provide a way to share content quickly, often in an entertaining and memorable way.

Build Backlinks

As mentioned previously, one goal of creating a meme, should be to increase site traffic and provide link building opportunities. Therefore, it is important that articles and websites allow memes to be easily shared by online influencers of the target market. Make this easy to do by, “visibly including references (and the link) to the appropriate pages on your site within the core components of your meme.” (Art of SEO, 2016)

Moz on Memes and Backlinks:

“Beyond social networks, it is crucial to use traditional outreach, like email and blogs, to build solid backlinks,” according to Takeshi Young of Moz.

Create Valuable, Viral Memes

It isn’t enough to just slap a funny phrase on a famous photo, post it to social media, and then sit back, relax, go on vacation, lay on the beach, and cross one’s fingers and toes in the hopes that the image will go viral. Creating memes that are relevant and add value to a company, is essential.

Just Meme’ing’ around:

Meme of a guy in his mid-thirties smiling, wearing Mickey Mouse Ears. The Text on the image reads, "I JUST MADE A MEME, I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND"Meme of a woman sunbathing on the beach, facing the ocean, in a bikini, wearing a straw sunhat, below that image is another image of a different woman, smiling, laying sideways on a couch, with a sunhat, made from tinfoil, she's wearing a sweater, holding a clear plastic cup and smiling. The text on the top image reads: "What I think my meme looks like", and the text on the bottom image reads, "What my meme actually looks like"

‘Create a Meme’ Tips:

1)    Identify the target audience. To generate memes that are humorous and attractive to your target audience, first determine the demographics of the audience. Research is imperative for this step.

2)   Stalk the competition. Search to see what memes are trending, not only within the industry, but within the pop culture at large. Consider ways in which to change the most popular memes to fit the product/service of your business, while also appealing to your audience. Memes that are a novel twist on the familiar, will garner more attention, as will those that are increasing in popularity, but haven’t reached their ‘tipping point’ yet. have a better chance of capturing an audience and going viral, when iterated upon.

3)   Try, try and try again. Use a meme creator or tool to generate multiple drafts. Switch up background images and mix up word choice. Keep wording short and to the point. Word choice is crucial to creating humor and staying memorable.

4)   Use video. Memes don’t have to be static images. Gifs are images with movement, that repeat in a never-ending loop. While not all gifs are memes, a meme can be a gif. Searching YouTube, is a great way to find examples of video memes. Back in 2009, Mashable shared a few examples of the most popular video memes to date.

Viral Memes

It is unlikely that a meme will automatically go viral to millions, simply by posting it. However, there are outlets to increase the odds. Social media sites, already being used by the business, are a great place to start. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn are just a few social media networks that an organization could use to share their best memes

Troubleshoot

Lastly, before tossing a meme to the masses, in hopes that it goes viral, test it out on a few individuals closely connected to the business as well as small groups of the target audience. This is a time to fine-tune and trouble shoot. Visual content marketing can be very compelling and memorable. Therefore, if used improperly or if inadvertently offensive, it may lead to negative branding. The last thing a business needs are offensive images going viral.

Meme of Britney Spears, who looks angry as she is about to bash in a car window with a closed green umbrella. The text across the bottom of the image reads: "DON'T MAKE A MEME OF BRITNEY"

Memejacking

Consider copyright laws. Memejacking is taking an already popular meme and twisting it to relate it to something different than it was initially intended. As a result, businesses and Bloggers must take caution. Copyright laws do not directly state that altering a meme is a violation. However, if the meme includes a copyright image, and is being used for commercial purposes, or to turn a profit, this could be an open door for a lawsuit.  Businesses should seek legal advice, because it is difficult to know what is and isn’t legal.  Furthermore, it is advisable to receive written permission from the original meme creator and possibly pay a licensing fee. Paying to legally use stock photos, provides additional protection. Finally, using a meme generator app that offers approved images is another way to be protected from potential lawsuits.

Meme of Jerry McGuire on the phone with the text, "YOU WANT TO USE MY MEME? SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

Easily Increase Blog Traffic Using Image Optimization

How To Increase Blog Traffic Using Image Optimization

One hugely overlooked tactic to increasing blog traffic is with the proper use of website and blog images. Knowing how various algorithms calculate ranking of image search results is key. They aren’t analyzing the actual picture, but rather, the information. The actual blog images provide very little information that can increase search engine ranking. Using minor image optimization, proper image filenames, and image size and quality, anyone can increase blog traffic. Search engines don’t know what content the physical blog image contains. Keywords found in HTML image tag, alt tag, and image quality are what they rely on.

HTML Image Title To Increase Blog Traffic

It seems easier, when adding blog images to not change the HTML image title or image filename that your camera assigned. Although easier, sadly, when search engines crawl data, this is useless information in image search. Make sure to name your images descriptively and that the image filename or its source tag (SRC tag) contains the primary targeted keyword because this is the first information that is analyzed and sent through their algorithms.

 

Before uploading pictures to a website ensure to make these image filename changes or you will need to edit them later. For example, if you wanted to increase blog traffic relating to a blog post about a cool Pink Lemonade Recipe, you could change the image title or SRC tag to pink-lemonade.jpg to help both for a improving ranking in a vertical search engine ranking and a better ranking in the image search. Studies show that 63 percent of google image search clicks turn into site traffic. This is a very overlooked and easy way to increase blog traffic.

Image optimization With Alt Text or Alt Tag

Alt text, or alternate text, was originally an attribute to help the vision impaired to better understand the web and blog images were. Alt tags are used to aid the reader know what the picture was when there is a problems loading the site. They are used to help know what a faulty image was. Search engine rank algorithms use the alt tag to try to understand more about what your blog image is a picture of, and this is why it is important to be extremely descriptive even with the HTML Image tag, both image filename as well as alt tag.

Image Optimization With Alt Text
SRC Text And Alt Text Example

The alt text should be descriptive  enough to both describe what the blog image is about, if at all possible, use any targeted keywords or key phrases that will help increase blog traffic along with an improved search engine ranking. Alt text should NOT be spam crammed bundles of targeted keywords, but rather be clear and cohesive and optimized for clear image search. If these blog images are piled too high with targeted keywords, the search engine’s crawling algorithm may overlook, or degrade the quality of image.

Importance of High-Quality Images

Image size may not seem like it would be very important, besides, you can always size the photo inside of the HTML code, right? Wrong. Uploading a blog image that is too large means that it will slow down your website. Increasing blog loading speed will actually lower your search engine rank and position on image search.

Decorative images can add appeal to the website or blog and can improve image search presence. It also can increase the ability for more targeted keywords. Adding too many of these images, with large file sizes, can dramatically slow down a website. If these decorative images are important and useful to the page, make sure to decrease the image size before uploading and fill out all of the HTML image tag and alt tag information. If these images are just only decoration, do not use alt tag or src tag on them, because you want the crawling algorithm to skip the blog image.

Use of original images is very helpful for blog or website search engine rank. Using original images will ensure no use of copyrighted photos.  Also, it will ensure that the image contains quality links. It also is more eye catching when every other website uses stock photos, or the same photo. Original images stand out, and if they are high-quality images, can drastically increase blog traffic from the image search.

Other Easy Ways to Better Image Optimization

  • Allow others to use your blog image if they link it back to your website.
  • Enter a description including targeted keywords under the image.
  • Turn on Photo geotagging. Enabling photo geotagging will allow for location oriented image search.
  • Link your Flikr photo pages to your blog or website, or related blog page. You should add hyperlinks to the Description field below the blog image.
  • Post as many fully optimized blog pictures as possible. This will allow the search engine rank to increase blog traffic little by little. Adding up little fractions of results does increase the whole result.

Things That Destroy Search Engine Rank with Blog Images

  • Do not store the blog image in the sidebar column, header, or footer. Search engine rank crawling algorithms generally ignore these sections.
  • Avoid unnecessary or unrelated photos.  Search engine rank algorithms  can become confused by what the blog is about. They won’t know now to help drive traffic to your blog.
  • Make sure that your alt tag parameter is valid, error will degrade the quality of your blog.

What Next?

There are many ways to increase blog traffic and improve your search engine rank. Image optimization is definitely not the only, or best way, but is a great place to start. With proper implementation, you should be able to start using image optimization to increase blog traffic. The blog’s traffic will increase by having your blog images noticed by the search engine’s algorithms. High-quality images will help your blog rank on image search.

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