16 ways to help search engines find your website

search enginesGoogle, Bing and other search engines use a variety of ways to rank websites. Knowing some of these methods, can help you ensure your website rises in the ranks and doesn’t remain stagnant or fall.

1. Word count

While lesser amounts are acceptable, 300 words or more is recommended on each page. You can boost the search engine optimization (SEO) by other methods, but 300 words is the sweet spot.

2. Original content

Use your own original words. Do not plagiarize! Plagiarizing has a negative effect on your ranking. You can quote another site or person, but be sure to credit them.

3. Site design

Simple, clean designs rank better than complicated and confusing sites. A site map can help people navigate if you have a lot of pages. Choose fonts that are easy to read without a busy background.

4. Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that people might use when searching for your product or services. For example, a restaurant might use the words “Baltimore restaurant” or “Chinese food.” Don’t overdo it. In the past people were encouraged to overuse keywords which made reading a website horrible. Sometimes sentences didn’t make any sense because the keywords were used repeatedly. That is called keyword stuffing and it now counts against you by search engines.

5. Citations

A citation is a mention on another website, not necessarily a link to your page, but a mention with your business name, address, phone number or other pertinent information.

6. Backlinks

A backlink is when another site links back to your site. A few years back, it didn’t matter what websites linked back to you, it was all good. Search engines are more savvy now and backlinks that make sense are a plus.

7. Internal links

Linking to pages within your site is also encouraged. If you mention an older blog in your current blog, link back to the older one. 

8. Time

The more time someone spends viewing your site, the better. Those internal links can help encourage people to spend more time with your website.

9. External links

Outgoing links are good too. If you mention a product you like in a blog, a link to where you can purchase that product is nice for the reader. Be sure that when you create an external link, it opens in a new window or tab so that the viewer still has your site open and they don’t lose their place when looking at the other page.

10. Keywords near links

Try to place keywords next to your outbound links. Don’t do it randomly. It needs to be a logical placement.

11. Working links

All of your links must work. Spend a few minutes every week or two and check the links on your site. Non-working links have a negative effect.

12. Page name

Use a keyword or phrase in the name of your page.

13. Location

More people use mobile devices than desktop computers these days. Your proximity to the person doing the search has become important. Make sure your location, at least the city if you don’t use an actual address, is listed in your keywords and on your pages.

14. Mobile ready

It is amazing how many businesses have sites that do not work correctly on a mobile device. Having a mobile ready site is essential to having your site indexed at all. When choosing a template for your website, be sure it’s mobile ready. Check it and make sure all menus work on cell phones and tablets.

15. Reviews

The more reviews you have, the better! Hopefully the reviews are good for other reasons, but for SEO it doesn’t matter. Reviews are a type of citation (#5 on the list).

16. Spread the word

Link your page to your social sites. If you have a guest blogger, ask them to promote it on their social media pages too. The more people who share your info, the more potential for new people to see it.

Bonus Tip: Your email signature

Put your website in your email signature. No one is going to click on your link if you don’t provide it.

If this list is making your head hurt, Social Squids is here to help.

11 ways to make the most of QR codes

QR code business facebook pagesoQR codes are popping up in all sorts of places. These weird, little, square symbols are the new way to take smart phone users to any web page. How can you use QR codes to help with marketing your business? Here is a list of ways you can make these scannable codes work for you.

Signage: There is only so much space on a sign. QR codes are found on large posters or signs in bus shelters, in bathroom stalls, on public transportation, schools, sporting events or other places where people walk past. Get more traffic by adding a QR code to your sign.

Advertising: Magazine and newspaper ads are using QR codes more and more to encourage people to go to the website of the business to get special offers and company information.

Borchures and flyers: Brochures and flyers can be found on retail counters, left under windshields, in doctor’s offices or handed to people. A QR code can give much more information or take potential clients to a video or slide show.

Packaging: This is a great way to go from someone purchasing your product to someone learning more about the business that produces the product. Get people to go from purchaser to devoted fan.

Name tags at events: Scan in business information about a person on the spot.

Business cards: There is barely any room to write much of a message on a business card. A QR code will let people read the whole company mission.

Real estate for sale signs: As potential buyers see a house for sale, they can stop and scan your QR code, which can take them to a virtual tour or lots of pictures of the interior before they decide to call the agent about the house.

Subscription links: If you have a brochure, sign or flyer and want people to sign up to be on your mailing list. A QR code will quickly get them to the right page.

On an interactive map: A map of an area can add QR codes for readers to get details about interesting landmarks.

On giveaway marketing materials: Key chains, refrigerator magnets, nail files and even pens have little space for more than a logo. Adding a QR code will take them to your site to see details about your business.

RSVP on invitations: Make it easier for people to let you know whether or not they will attend your event with a QR code for yes and another for no.

I need a QR code for my business if you need a QR code for your business.