Tag Archives: SEO

Take Control

Control How Facebook Displays Your Web Pages

Did you know that you can control how Facebook displays your web pages when they are shared on the social network? You may have found that when you post links to articles on Facebook, it sometimes pulls in an image from the post, also the title, as well as a description of the article. This is because the website is feeding Facebook with information that goes into the Facebook Open Graph Protocol. In short, this protocol is a little bit of information that lives on every page of your site that tells Facebook what the title, description, url, image, etc.. are for that particular page. Rather than making Facebook scan through the article and try to decide for itself, you can do some things to make sure that Facebook is using the information that you want it to use when the article is posted to Facebook.

If You Are Using WordPress:

If your website or blog is on WordPress, you’re life is made a lot easier if you want to control how Facebook displays your pages. Here’s what you do:

STEP 1:   Install WordPress SEO by Yoast. Yes, this is not only the best SEO plugin available for WordPress, but it also has a feature to control how your posts appear on social networks. Nice huh?

social-settingsOnce you activate the plugin, you will want to turn on the Social functionality. This is done by going into the plugin’s Social settings. Click on Social, and then check the box to Add Open Graph meta data. You might want to do the same for Twitter as well as Google+ while you’re in there.

After activating the social functionality, you will see the section (see below) on each of your posts that allows you to manage the SEO settings for that post. Click on the Social tab.

Social Media Settings - Yoast

Step 2:    Enter the Title that you want to appear when this article is posted on Facebook. Do the same for the Description of the page. You may also want to specify the photo or image that you would want to appear when you share the article on Facebook. Sometimes Facebook is smart enough to pull the featured image from the page, or another image from the page, but this is the easy way to tell Facebook which image you WANT to appear. You can choose from amongst your Media Files that you have already uploaded too.

You will notice that you can do the same for Twitter, as well as Google+ posts. If I were you, I would go ahead and set these up. Even if you don’t use those social networks, it doesn’t mean that your article won’t get posted on them. And if your article is posted, you’ll be smart to make sure that it appears the way that you want it to look.

Step 3:    Once you publish your new post, the information that you have included in the Social section of the Yoast plugin will be included on the published page. Just to make sure, you can test it out using Facebook’s Open Graph debugging tool:  https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

Make sure that you have published the page. Facebook will not be able to scan a draft post.

Enter the URL to your article and click Debug.

You will see what Facebook sees when your article is shared.

Facebook Open Graph Debugging Tool

Each of the elements that you edited on the Yoast plugin should appear, including a thumbnail of the image that you chose.

You will also be able to see a preview of how it will look when the article is shared:

facebook-post-view

Say you made some changes to the page, and want to test it again? Once you publish your changes, click the Fetch New Scrape Information button on the debugging tool. This will clear the page from Facebook’s cache and fetch new page info. You should see your changes there now. You can also use this method to clear Facebook’s cache at any time, for any page.

Once you have it looking the way that you like, go ahead and share it on Facebook, and anywhere else you want it to be shared!

Not on WordPress?

If you’re using another system, or building your web pages from scratch, you will want to make sure that you include the Open Graph tags in your page <head> tag. You should follow the official open graph protocol instructions, which are available here.

We hope that you found this article to be helpful, and that you can get started with making your sites pages more easily shareable and attractive to users when they are shared. If you need help with any of this type of stuff, let us know. We would love to help. Thanks for reading.

Let’s Keep Talking About Search Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Pittsburgh

Last night, we had the pleasure in taking part in the SEMPO Pittsburgh Meetup at LunaMetrics. It was a great turnout, with Search Marketing Pros from several agencies as well as in-house marketers in attendance. Let’s try to keep the conversation going, and work on learning from each other and making Pittsburgh a leader in Search Engine Marketing across the region, and country!  If you are a Search Engine Marketing professional, or enthusiast, please join the Meetup Group today so that you can take part in the next event, and keep the conversation going.

We are looking forward to the next event, and to meeting more members of SEMPO Pittsburgh!

SEO Workshop in Buffalo NY

Social Media Club Buffalo

  • Do you live in Western New York (or nearby)?
  • Are you interested in learning about Search Engine Optimization?
  • Do you have specific questions about how things work when it comes to optimizing your website for Google, Bing & Yahoo?

 

Well, we have the event for you!

SEO Workshop in Buffalo

You Don’t Know SEO!

Join theBrewRoom’s Sam Insalaco along with Buffalo.com and the Social Media Club of Buffalo on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at Brawler’s Back-Alley Deli for an informational workshop.

Learn more about this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/625637024155907/

Reserve your spot today.

Small Business SEO Tip #2

This is the second in a series of posts about Search Engine Optimization for

In case you missed the first post, you can find it here: Small Business SEO Tip #1.

Tip #2 – Use a Content Management System

What is a Content Management System?

Small Business SEO TipsA content management system (CMS) is exactly as it sounds. It is a system that you use to build the structure and content of your website. It consists of at least a few components: a database, page format template(s), and a back-end management tool. There are a lot of moving parts and details that I didn’t list here, as I don’t want to make this an overly technical piece. Basically, you use a CMS to build the structure of your site, and to add/edit the content of your site. This includes text on the pages, media storage (images, video, documents), user access and so much more!

Why is a Content Management System Important?

A content management system allows you to maintain your website more easily than if your site were to be developed from scratch using static HTML or another web programming language. Meaning, you don’t need to know a programming language in order to edit the pages of your website. You won’t need to know how to create a new page from scratch, upload it to your server and add it to your menu/navigation. There are tools within the CMS that do this stuff for you.

You can even give multiple people access to your CMS to perform different tasks for you. This can be anything from Administrative access to the full system, the ability to add new content, just edit existing content, or just view existing content. There are LOTS of options here if you aren’t able to constantly maintain a site yourself.

Say you wanted to move some things around on your main navigation of your website. This would be VERY easy using any of the top CMS tools out there. If you wanted to do this on a static HTML website, then you would have to edit the code yourself, assuming you even have access to do that.

What are the best Content Management Systems?

In our opinion, WordPress is the most versatile, user-friendly, as well as feature-rich CMS out there. You can run anything from a simple blog about your morning coffee, to a full e-commerce site on WordPress. There are also thousands of plugins and themes that you can use to make your site look more unique and to add functionality that you would otherwise need to hire someone to develop for you.

Here are some popular content management systems:

Popular CMS Tools:

  • WordPress
  • concrete5
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Expression Engine
  • Orchard Project

Popular e-Commerce CMS Tools:

  • Prestashop
  • Magento
  • OpenCart
  • Shopify
  • ZenCart

Here is a more expanded list of content management systems, should you need more information.

How do I Know Which CMS is Best For My Needs?

There are several factors that might influence your choice in content management systems. Sometimes, you are locked into a web hosting agreement that requires you to pick a CMS that will work on that hosting environment. You would need to check with your hosting provider and see which operating system and software their web servers will support – Apache, PHP, Microsoft, Java, etc…

You may also be previously familiar with a CMS and want to stay with it, since you’re most comfortable with it.

Your choice in web design and development companies will also have a lot to do with what CMS you end up using. Some companies will prefer one system over another. theBrewRoom prefers WordPress, for the reasons listed above.

That should cover it for today. We hope that you find these tips to be helpful! If there is something that you have a question about, or if you have a suggestion for a future Tip post, let us know.

Thanks for reading!

Penguins, Artificial Intelligence and King Content

If you follow Information Technology news, you’ll hardly miss the numerous articles about Google exploring and developing artificial intelligence. This research includes ‘neural networks‘, ‘deep learning‘, ‘Google Now‘ and similar programs and they all point towards Content Marketing. This isn’t ideal research for them and its important to those who create content.

SEO Penalties
Back in the day, SEO companies could get away with black hat tricks like keyword stuffing and link farms. These were tactics that allowed companies to cut corners to artificially rise in search engine results. In 2011, we witnessed a symbolic turning point when J.C. Penney was found to have used such techniques to obtain a number one spot in natural search listings for almost everything they sold. When these link farming tricks were discovered by the likes of Google, J.C. Penney fell precipitously in the rankings. Google (as well as Bing, and the like) are working hard to put a permanent stop to these tricks.

Most recently, Google has released another update to its search algorithm – dubbed “Penguin 2” (a sequel to earlier “Panda” and “Penguin” updates).

These updates are being released to leverage better artificial intelligence, as Google pushes its search engine to ‘understand’ the content. As an indicator of their change in philosophy, in Google’s Webmaster Ranking article they changed their advice in May 2013. What had once read:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

Was updated to:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

This is the goal of modern search engines and their keen interest in artificial intelligence – to stop cheats and hacks and to raise high quality content to the surface.

For those who want to be found on the web through organic search techniques, then the importance of creating meaningful, helpful and interesting content cannot be overstated.

What’s more, with social media, we have more channels than ever that go beyond our own websites and these channels are content hungry. Organizations that want to be relevant on the web cannot treat their content marketing as an afterthought. Instead, they must create a plan and manage it with expertise. The content engine needs constant stoking with good fuel to move your web presence forward.

Good Content = Good SEO

If you read a lot of SEO blogs, or even some copywriting blogs, you will see tons of posts about how great content should be your top priority for your website, if you want your website to rank well. This post is basically just going to beat it into your brains!

Why Good Content is Important to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Don’t Be Too Wordy!

Too Wordy ContentYou know how it feels when you’re sitting there at a table with someone who totally dominates the conversation and talks for like 30 minutes non-stop? Well, don’t be that guy! You want to get your point across quickly, and effectively.
Use bulleted lists for displaying your services. Use short, descriptive sentences to talk about what you do. You shouldn’t need more than just a few paragraphs per page of content. If you need to say more, maybe you should consider creating a separate page to go into further detail about that topic? Which takes us into the next bit of advice…

Pages Should Be Topic Specific

What do you mean, dude? I mean that when you want a page to rank well for “Banana Flavored Popcorn”, make sure the page talks about Banana Flavored Popcorn. It should contain the main keywords of the topic about 3 or 4 times, preferably towards the top of your content. Just don’t make it sound all weird by throwing too many of the keywords around. You’ll just end up creating a bad user experience, and that is what we MUST avoid! Also make sure that the keywords are contained in your URL and Title. If your website doesn’t allow you to manage this information, then you need to fix that. Yeah, we can help if you need it.

Images Support Content

You should have some images within your posts and pages.
Content management systems make it easy to add images to your posts. Some of them (ahem, WordPress) even make it easy to edit, resize, crop, the image before you post it to the page. You can also add the necessary meta data to the image, like the ALT tag. Just be sure to also make sure that the filename of the image is similar to the topic of the page on which it will reside.

Check out a recent article on Forbes.com about design and content.

Yes, Small Businesses Can Do This!

Make Time for Content WritingAs a company that works with a lot of small businesses on website design as well as on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we run into the same problem quite often. Our clients don’t usually have someone within their staff that has the time, or ability to create content on a regular basis. They also feel that they can’t afford to pay for someone to help them create their content. But, this if you want to do it right, you need to find a way. This doesn’t have to be a $1,000/month project. It can be more affordable than you think.

You know yourself the best. Maybe you should be the one that writes the content? “But I don’t have the time!” You can make the time. Start with setting aside 1 hour each week to start writing content for your site. Make up a list of things that clients ask about. Make up a list of things that you know are of interest to your clients. If you don’t know, ask them! Use your lists as a base for what you want to write about. You can do this. It’s like getting up earlier in the morning and going to the gym. Once you get into the routine, you will start to reap the benefits of getting it done!

Don’t Just Hire a Writer

Businesses also make the mistake of falling for the sales pitches of companies that will create content for you. Often times, this content STINKS! They don’t know your business. They don’t know your customers. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They just want to make money.

You should talk to someone who is going to want to ask the right questions and create content that will help you. They should ask a lot about what you do, and who you serve, and why you do it. Maybe these are some things that you can have ready ahead of time? Talk to us first. Even if we don’t end up working together, we can get you set on the right path.

Create a Content Calendar

Content CalendarDo yourself a huge favor and create a content calendar. You can use a spreadsheet, a paper calendar, or even use your calendar on your computer (preferred) to set the dates and times as well as topics that you will post to your site. This will help to outline what you’re going to write about, and when. It will also remind you to do it! That is why we use our Google Apps calendar and set up reminders to tell us when we need to write something. Sure, things come up, but then you can move your calendar event to another time that works better for you. Give this a try. I think that you’ll find it to be a big help. Plan to post 2 new posts each week. See how you do.

Don’t believe me, here’s more advice on Content Calendars.

Heard Enough?

Please Share This PostOK, out of fear of becoming too wordy within this post, I will end it now. There’s a lot more that we can discuss, like how to find good topics, keyword research, etc. But we can do that another time. Just remember: CONTENT IS IMPORTANT! Very important!

Do you have questions or comments? Leave them below! Do you agree? Then please share this post with friends, family and your enemies using the buttons on the right below our latest tweets. Or, you can use the handy little buttons right below this message!

If you have questions about how to accomplish this on your website, please contact us. This is why we do what we do! We want to help your business succeed, and we have the resources ready to make it happen!

Call us: 412.467.6568