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3 Tips to Search Optimize Your Boards Within Pinterest

Want your boards to be found within Pinterest's search results? Here are three tips that will help your boards rank higher.

In a previous blog post I discussed how to make your pins more searchable within Pinterest, and how important it was to have them found. Pins being found in search is vital because any time you type a search term into Pinterest’s search box, it automatically shows results of pins. However, Pinterest is encouraging people not only to discover pins, but boards as well.

As of this weekend, Pinterest rolled out a new feature known as “Follow Boards.” I first saw this featured rolled out about a week ago for only a few hours, and then it disappeared, and now it’s back. Huzzah! BUT it’s still not available to all users, and is slowly being rolled out.

With this new feature, Pinterest now recommends boards that you should follow. It also displays different categories. When you click on them, you’ll find a series of boards that you can follow.

Another feature that has started to slowly roll out, is the search function on the top left hand side of the picture.

Pinterest rolled out a new feature. If you click on your account on the desktop version of Pinterest, you will see a new addition, "Follow Boards." Pinterest now recommends boards to follow, as well as the option to look for boards to follow based on categories and search results. Find out more on how to optimize your boards by visiting

If you would like to see a summary of what that’s all about then feel free to watch the video, but if you enjoy reading, then read on my friend.

Pinterest Wants Users to REALLY use the Search Boards Function

As the new features start to roll out for everyone, the ability to have your boards found for search terms is becoming absolutely critical. Pinterest knows that people are searching for specific pins, but wants to connect people more to boards and encourage users to search for boards.

Pinterest wants to make a big deal of featured boards (no doubt for future monetization) and board searching. It’s actually making the search board function redundant, since there already exists a search box for boards on the top left hand corner of the desktop version.

But Pinterest has also added the search boards box into the new “Follow boards” menu. There’s two different places that a user can use the search box, trying to raise the profile of that particular search option.

I decided to do a search in both those different boxes. As you can see from the photo below, both showed the exact same results. Both are using the same algorithm to determine which boards to show a user for a search term. This is why, if you haven’t, you really need to start search optimizing your boards for Pinterest search results.

The Pinterest search box within the "Follow Boards" feature uses the exact same algorithm as the search box on the top left hand corner of the desktop version of Pinterest. Find out 3 ways to help optimize your boards for search on Pinterest.

3 Ways to Search Optimize your boards for Pinterest search results.

3 Tips to Search Optimize Your Boards

Use Keywords in Your Board’s Name

If you want your board to be found in search results, then it’s best to name them after search terms that people are searching for on Pinterest. If you’re specializing in Linkedin and you want people to search for your board, you probably don’t want to call it, “Linkedin Awesomeness!” Sounds really catchy, BUT, nobody is probably going to search for that term.

What you want to do is name your board a common search term such as, “Linkedin Marketing Strategies.” This is the name of one of the boards that Canada’s #1 Linkedin expert, Melonie Deodaro, has titled, and not surprisingly it ranks number one in Pinterest search results for that keyword for boards.

Notice how Melonie Deodaro names her Pinterest board after a keyword. This was one of the factors that has helped her board rank high for that search result. Find out two other factors that influence Pinterest board search optimization.

It’s always best to name your board after the exact search term you want to be found for, but you can also use broad search terms (terms that have the keywords in them, but don’t match exactly) in your board titles and this can help with the ranking.

If you look at the example with the keyword, Pinterest tutorial in the picture that was used early on, you’ll see that Naturally Curly has their board ranked in the third position, and that’s because the name of their board is Naturally Curly Pinterest Tutorial. They used the keyword in their board’s name.

For Naturally Curly to rank quite high for such a keyword, even though it was not the exact keyword is because of two other factors.

The Number of Followers Matter

The number of followers that a board has matters in the way that a board is ranked search results for specific search terms. The board may not have a lot of pins, like in the case of Naturally Curly, for the search term Pinterest tutorial, but the sheer number of followers the board has makes up for it, with over 4000 followers for that board.

The reasoning behind this is because if Pinterest sees that you have a lot of followers for that board, that it must be a relevant board for that search term, or else if the board wasn’t relevant to people then they wouldn’t have so many followers.

Ensure you have some amazing visual content on your boards, so that you’re able to increase your followers for them.

The Number of Pins Helps in Rankings

The number of pins for each board will also help it rank higher for search terms. As the number of pins increase, as well as your follower count, then you should see a rise in the rankings for those boards for that keyword.

This is why for your Pinterest marketing strategy you should focus on a limited number of boards to start. Don’t go crazy trying to create boards that have NO RELEVANCE to your customers or audience.

If I’m following Marvel Comics on Pinterest, I don’t want to see pins about recipes or foods. I want to see pins that are geared towards the comic geek in me.

Now these are most likely not the only factors involved. So even if you have the most followers, have the exact keyword for your board’s name, and have the most pins, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be ranked number one. I do promise it will help you rank higher over time.

Other potential factors

Make Sure You Follow Users

This is all speculation, and based on my observation but I believe that the number of people you follow will also play a small role. I noticed that a blog about Vancouver has a board titled, “Vancouver”, it has 1200 pins, much more than the other Pinterest boards with the same board name but ranks very low in search results. The account has followers but the user doesn’t follow any user. This lack of following others may be a signal that this user is not engaged with Pinterest or is a spammer. A signal to downgrade their search results.

Group Boards that Have Too Many Members

Group boards with large number of contributors will most likely not show up for search results for boards. There have been a few group boards that have shown up in results, but compared to boards created by individuals it’s a very small number. If you’re looking to get your board ranked for a certain search term, you’re much better off trying to do it as an individual than through a group board.

Do you have any tips or tricks to search optimize boards in Pinterest, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture Next to Search Results

Want to improve your #SEO? Then you definitely need to add Google authorship to your blog or website. Find out how, and see up to 35% spike in your websites traffic.

Ever search for results on Google and found faces next to them on the left hand side? This is no random coincidence. Those photos are placed next to those results because they’re the authors of the content. When an author is credited and linked to a specific blog post, or website content, then their picture shows up beside it.

Google Authorship looks like this in the results pages. I decided to use my friend, Vancouver marketer, Kelvin KC Claveria, as an example.

Google Authorship Example using KC Claveria, a Vancouver Marketer.

What are the Benefits of Having Google Authorship?

Google Authorship Establishes Trust:

Since we are such visual creatures (look how big Pinterest has grown), any time we see a face in the middle of a sea of text, we’re most likely going to look at the photo first and not the text. Throughout human history, we’ve always had a subconscious trust when seeing a human face. Placing a human face on products and brochures have been known to increase the purchase intent for a service or product, compared marketing material that don’t use faces.

When we see a photo next to our search results, we often automatically give it credibility. This face next to the website gives it an extra boost in the trust factor.

Helps with Click Through Rates:

The benefit of Google authorship is that it allows search results to stand out and increase click through rates to your particular site compared to one without a Google Authorship photo.

One informal study done by Cyrus Shephard, showed how using the right photo for Google Authorship (which is linked to your Google + account) can increase click through rates for a website by 35%.

And you can easily see why with the example below, if your eyes are scanning, which ones are brought to your attention first?

Google Authorship is vital to ensuring that your click through rates improve, as well as standing out in search results.

It Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Results:

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was quoted saying this:

““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

It May Play a Role in AuthorRank

AuthorRank doesn’t exist yet, but there has been a lot of buzz about AuthorRank. The concept is the same as PageRank, in which a webpage is assigned a numerical value for its authority and relevance to users of the Internet. For example the Wall Street Journal has a high page rank compared to my local newspaper the Vancouver Sun, because the Wall Street Journal is seen to have more authority than the Vancouver Sun.

It’s believed that Google AuthorRank will play a role in the future, in the sense that authors that are tied to specific content and have established authority through writing for different sites with high page ranks, or have a lot of social activity, will be a factor in ranking higher for search results. At the time of the writing of this blog post AuthorRank hasn’t been implemented, but this shouldn’t hinder anybody from signing up for using Google Authorship.

How to Implement Your Google Authorship:

Step 1: Verify Your E-mail Address

If you don’t have a Google Plus profile, then you need to set one and up go through all the necessary steps. You can learn how to set up your Google + profile here with a step by step guide by Wordtracker.

The first step to starting your Google Authorship is to ensure that you have a verified e-mail address for the website that you are writing your content on. Mine is vince@mcngmarketing.com.

Ensure that the name you use for your Google Plus account is also the same name for the byline author of the content you create. You don’t want to have the dreaded, by “Anonymous” tag in your content. The name you use should be consistent across all the content you create across the web.

To verify your e-mail, make sure you are logged into your Google Plus account and then visit this site and follow the steps: https://plus.google.com/authorship

Step Two: Add Your Websites to the Contributor Section

When you’re logged into your own account, click on “Home” and then right below it you should see “Profile.” Click on that, and then on the top bar near the left hand side you should see the “About” tab. Click on this. Scroll down to the section titled, “Links.” When you click on it, a pop up will appear. Go to the middle of the “Contributor To” section. This is where you can add custom links and tell Google what websites you write content for.

Contributor for Google Authorship. Ensure that you add the websites that you write for in this section of Google Plus.

What if you don’t have a verified e-mail on the domain?

It’s important to add the websites that you are a contributor to mentioned in Step Two. If you don’t have an e-mail address at that website, then this can easily be solved by using the rel=”author” tag.

If you write a blog post, then ensure somewhere on the blog, or in a designated author box, that you link back to your Google + account. When you do link, you want to include the rel=”author” tag and so your link back to your Google Plus page should like like this.

https://plus.google.com/108571815996159278806?rel=author

The numbers will be your profile ID.

A common practice is to put the link in the author box, so that you don’t always have to do it manually. An example is in the picture below.

Author Page and how you can use it it link to your Google Authorship.

If there are two rel=”author” tags on a page, Google will only take the firs one. I’ve had this problem guest blogging, and since mine is second, my picture won’t show up in the rich snippets of Google.

Also if you are guest blogging for a site, you need to add the specific blog post added to the contribution section. This is probably the best way to guarantee you will receive credit for the work. The downfall is that you can have a very lengthy list if you’ve written a lot of different content.

For more info, or to find another helpful guide to authorship, feel free to visit our friends at MKG Media, their blog post, Google Authorship: A How-To Guide.

If you need to test out to see if it works then visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool to see if what you’ve implemented now works.

How to Search Engine Optimize Your Pinterest Page

SEO for Pinterest I’ve noticed that Pinterest isn’t just dominating the social media scene, but it’s starting to dominate quite a few of Google’s search engine results.

Many brands and online marketers are missing the opportunity to rank high for long-tail keywords through the use of Pinterest.

What are long tail keywords? I’m going borrow the definition of a long tail keyword from an article from Search Engine Watch:

Essentially, long-tail keywords are less popular keywords because they have less search volume and less competition to rank for. Consider the following two examples: “home remedies for bed bugs” or “how to get rid of depression.” These are each considered long-tail keywords as compared to trying to rank for the much more competitive search terms “bed bugs” or “depression”.

Why would you want to use Pinterest to rank higher for keywords?

Some long tail keywords may have low competition but your website may be new and find it hard to compete for them still. The good news is that you can piggy back off of Pinterest since it is a strong domain authority site.

A strong domain authority allows for pages to show up higher on search results for relevant searches. This gives your business more visibility and higher chances of people clicking on your Pinterest. If you have some great visual content on that particular board, then it will help drive web traffic to your business website or e-commerce site.

How do you exactly use Pinterest to rank higher for the keywords you want? Here are three tactics for marketers that want to get their Pinterest page, and boards, to rank higher in search engine results.

1) Name Your Boards with Long Tail Keywords

If there’s a long tail keyword that you would like to rank well for in Google, consider naming your board with that particular keyword without sacrificing the brand.

For example the keyword, funny advertisements, has an estimated global search on Google of about 2,900 times a month for that exact term. When I type in that keyword on Google, there is only one Pinterest board specifically titled as “Funny Advertisements” that shows up on the first page of results. At the time of this writing, it was the only Pinterest board that uses that exact keyword, which is why it ranked so high. There was no competition from other pinners.

The exact url of that board looks like this:

pinterest.com/appltncre8ve/funny-advertisements

With the board containing the keyword and also having low competition, that specific Pinterest board is on the first page of Google. When I searched for it, it was ranked number 6 in the first page of results. And yes that’s my article on 17 Funny Advertisements that’s ranked number 4.

PinterestSEO

Pinterest allows you to create up to 350 boards, though I don’t recommend you maxing the number of boards for the sake of SEO. I would suggest no more than 20 to start off since it can be time consuming to manage all. This allows you to compete in Google for 20 + additional keywords that may be harder for your own website to compete with.

2) Ensure Your Board Descriptions are Keyword Rich

One of the biggest pet peeves I have about brands that use Pinterest is their sheer laziness to fill in the description of their Pinterest boards.

This is one of the Pinterset boards from Starbucks titled, “Real Food.” From an SEO perspective, titling the board Real Food isn’t the best since most people are not searching up the term for real food. However, the name of the board needs to be aligned with a company’s brand, and it’s understandable they titled it Real Food.

What’s an absolutely travesty is that the description of the board is left blank. This can easily be corrected when you click on the edit button on the board, and to fill out the description with keywords. To help with their search engine optimization, Starbucks could have stated in the description:

“Delicious Starbucks pastries, sandwiches, and food that we love. Our board also contains some of our favourite foods and pastries that we would love to try and eat.”

Starbucks Pinterest

This would have helped their Pinterest board be found for keywords such as Starbucks pastries, Starbucks sandwiches, and Starbucks foods on Google and other search engines.

Starbucks isn’t the only one that’s guilty of this, many social media blogs tout how great Whole Foods is using their Pinterest page, which they are when it comes to posting visual content, but when I clicked on four random boards of theirs, not one single one of them had their descriptions filled in.

Always fill in the descriptions of your Pinterest boards with keywords that your business wants to rank for.

3)Put Keywords Into Pin Descriptions

This technique most likely isn’t going to get you anywhere close to the first page of Google results for keywords, though it is possible depending on the search term, but it is still an excellent practice as it can help your Pinterest boards show up on the second and third page of Google search results for keywords.

Ensure that keywords that you want to rank for are in the pin’s description, as Google search engines do crawl the descriptions of pins, and takes it into consideration for search results. The website that shows up in the search engines for those pin descriptions will not lead directly to that specific pin’s address, instead it will be list the Pinterest Board’s url on which the pin is located.

A specific pin’s url will look like this:
http://pinterest.com/pin/246290673344396313/

And a board address looks like this:
http://pinterest.com/mcngmarketing/pinterest-tips/

Here’s an example of how this works. I typed into Google the following words, “Funny pins on Pinterest.”

Here are the first six results that showed up for my search:
Pinterest search

The determining factor that the Pinterset board, 1000 repins, showed up on the first page of the results because of a single pin’s description. The actual board name doesn’t contain any of the search words, nor the actual description of the board itself, but because one of the pins had contained the words “Funny” in it, it was able to show up as result number 6 for the search words “Funny pins on Pinterest.”

Funny Pins on Pitnerest

In order to maximize your Pinterest page and boards on Google, ensure that your social media marketing team isn’t taking short cuts. Have the boards titled after long tail keywords that your organization wants to rank well for, as well as ensuring that descriptions are keyword rich.

Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to rank your Pinterest page higher in search engines?

4 Pinterest Tips to Make Your Pins More Searchable on Pinterest

Pinterest Marketing Tip: Can't find your pins on Pinterest? Here's 4 tips to help your pins be more searchable within Pinterest.

Note: This post was updated to include more findings on how to use the Pinterest Search Engine to your business advantage. There will be some more tips added on to the original four that were posted.

Pinterest is amazing, I can honestly spend hours at a time looking at different infographics, advertising boards, and pins. Now with more than 70 million users of the social media, it’s a great social media marketing tool. But with 70 million users pinning dozens of pins to amass more than 30 billion pins, trying to get your pins to show up on Pinterest search results are much harder.

Old school tactics such as constantly pinning again and again for a category used to help drive traffic.  And the Pinterest feed used to be in chronological order but this is no longer the case with the Pinterest smart feed, which “recommends” pins based on what Pinterest believes a user is interested in.

Learning to search optimize your pins for keywords on Pinterest’s search engine will be very vital. And I will try to answer the age old question “Why don’t my pins show up on Pinterest search?”

As marketers, we need to think about how Pinterest works as a search engine, not just a social network.

While this blog post doesn’t have all the answers, it will shed some light as to how to increase your chances of getting them found at the top of search results for specific search terms.

This specific post only discuss about optimizing your pins. I will write another article about search optimizing your board names, and your user profile in the future.

Optimizing your pins will be more important, since this is the default search setting for Pinterest and since it’s blatantly in the middle of the desktop version of Pinterest.

Here are four ways to make your pins more searchable on Pinterest.

How to Get Your Pins to Show Up in Pinterest Search Results

1) Keywords Should be in the Description of Pins

Please don’t be mistaken, I’m not talking about search optimization for Google or Bing, this is just for Pinterest’s search engine when looking for pins with the keyword.

The first thing you need to do to optimize your pins for search is to ensure that you put keywords into your pin’s description. For example, let’s say you want to create pins that are more locally targeted, then you may put in keyword, “Fashion trends in L.A. or fashion trends in New York.”

Pinterest-Tips-for-Search-Optimization-1

It’s important for localized businesses that they put their city in pin’s descriptions. The huge majority of pins that were searched based on a keyword, I believe, are found using this particular method.

What really bugged me was that some of the pins that were searched by keywords never even had one single keyword in the actual description itself, yet it was showing up. This is when I clicked on them and was able to determine that the second factor played a role in which pins showed up in search feeds.

Pinterest Tip for Search Optimization 2 2)The Pin Should Come From a URL with the Keyword In It

What I also noticed when searching for pins was there was a good chunk of pins that didn’t have any of the keywords that I was searching for but still popped up in the searches. For example, when I typed in Pinterest infographic, I would sometimes get social media marketing in the description. Though the number of pins that did show up without the keywords in the description were much lower than those that did.

I know for a fact that Pinterest can’t read text on pictures (but they are able to identify colours and shapes), so I decided to click on where the pictures were hosted. And what I noticed was that the many of the pictures that didn’t have the keywords in the descriptions had keywords in the urls that they were from.

When I clicked on it the pin that had social media marketing as the description, it led to a site that had the key words “Pinterest Infographic” in the url such as. www.examplesite.com/social-media/five-pinterest-infographics-for-CEOS

My speculation is that Pinterest scrapes the url, or the webpage and takes that into consideration into its search algorithm.

Pinterest Tips for Search Optimization 3 3) Keywords Should be in the Name of the Picture/Photo File

What also helped, but I couldn’t find as a strong correlation, was the name of the file contained keywords as well. Based on closer inspection I believe why it helps is because some people will pin the actual url where the file is hosted.

For example if the name of your infographic or pin is whateveryouwant.jpg and it’s hosted on the site www.examplesite.com/uploads/whateveryouwant.jpg then Pinterest probably won’t pay too much attention to it. However, if you if the file name is pinterest-infographic.jpg and your pin is directly taken from www.examplesite.com/uploads/pinterest-infographic.jpg then this will help in the search results of the actual Pinterest search feed.

This is really just an extension of the second point that was made.

4)The Number of Recent Re Pinterst Tips for Search Optimization 4 pins and Repins Matter

I typed in a bunch of random keywords and noticed that many of the pins that showed up for heavy used keywords such as, red velvet cupcake and cotton candy were quite interesting. It was hard to find pins that showed up on search that had not been repinned at least once.

For strongly competitive words, the number of recent repins that a pin gets can help shoot it straight to the top, but once the number of repins has cooled down, it’s mostly likely going to move much lower in the search results or completely disappear.

One of the clients I worked with operated a hair styling blog.I was able to help them rank for a specific keyword that received 92,000 monthly searches. The pin hovers at spot number 1 and 2, and has received over 3300 repins within 2 and half months, and it’s still going, and it seems to be staying at the top, however I believe it’s not just the number of repins, it’s also who is repinning that content.

As an experiment I bought repins for some of my pins to see if they would help in the search results, while they do impact search, it wasn’t as strong as I expected. I believe that the reason is because Pinterest can detect whether these repins are coming from genuine active users, after all they are processing trillions of data sets.

 

More Tips On Getting Your Pins Found

Use Exact Word Matching:

I’ve also noticed that the exact keyword match plays a role in how your pins show up. If you want to be found for the words, Christmas tree skirts, it’s best to make sure that those words are together, instead of using the description, skirts for Christmas trees.

This doesn’t eliminate your pin from the original search term, Christmas tree skirts, it just makes it less likely that it’s going to be one of the pins showing up for that particular search term if you don’t use exact phrasing.

What I was also able to find based on a small sample of searches was that keywords that contained plural words showed the same search results for the singular version on search. For example, if you go and type in the word Pinterest Strategy, you will see the same results as Pinterest Strategies. This is quite different from Google search engines, that take in such small nuances.

I would suggest that you mix up your description keywords to have words that are plural as well as singular to maximize your potential of being found in Pinterest’s search engine.

If you use a # in between the words, I believe it doesn’t interfere with how it’s read by the internal search engine.

Short Descriptions Are More Likely to Show Up:

This is going to be a tough call, pins with descriptions of about 300 characters long tend to be repinned more often according a to an infographic by Dan Zarella.

However, based on my research, there seems to be a correlation between pins that had less than 100 characters that tended to dominate popular search words. A good example is the search word recipe, one of the most used words in pin descriptions, and yet when the word is searched on Pinterest, the descriptions remain relatively short for almost all the pins. Considering how many popular pins that have the word recipe in in it, you would think that more pins with longer descriptions would show, but that’s not the case.

Google has an algorithm that calculates keyword density, which is the number of times a word is found in a post divided by the number of words written in total. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a ranking measure for Pinterest, where they take keyword density as a measurement. However, keyword stuffing doesn’t work, so repeating the word recipe three times in your description isn’t going to help you rank better for those specific words, it will only help you rank better if a person purposely types in the word recipe three times in the search box.

I’m speculating this is to make it easier for mobile users when they are searching for pins, since long descriptions can be an eyestrain on a smart phone.

What about Alt Tags and Titles of the Pins?

Based on my research and clicking on dozens of pins, it didn’t seem that the alt, or the title played a dominant role in showing up in the search results, but this would need more research and bigger sample size. I would imagine this isn’t of much interest because Pinterest isn’t interested in being a search engine like Google or Bing.

I still highly encourage you to properly label these pictures with a correct and detailed tag for your images. The reason for this is because when someone does use Pinterest’s official pin bookmarklet then the description automatically becomes what the alt tag is, however if you use a pin it button like the one I have on my site that’s from Addthis, they take the title tag from that particular page or blog post.

And it’s good for SEO on the Google and Bing search engines. This is why it’s important to ensure that you have an integrated optimization strategy.

Colours and Shapes Play a Role

In the last half year of 2013 I started finding more and more results that had less and less to do with texts. Instead I will see the EXACT same keyword search but from a different user. What’s interesting to note is that the description will not have any of the keywords, nor will it have a url with a keyword in it.

I’m speculating that Pinterest is using the data of certain keywords to be associated with certain shapes, colours and even specific photos. Like my friend Jack, from Call2Pin stated, Pinterest has been very good at detecting pins of porn. (Jack works in the lingerie wholesale business and has done extensive testing with Pinterest about visual recognition.)

To further support this statement,Pinterest acquired VisualGraph, further supporting that they may be moving towards being a visual search engine.

Keep in mind that this is all speculation based on observation. It would be interesting to see what other marketers and search engine optimizers think. I highly encourage you to do your own tests and see if you notice any patterns.

So if you’ve been asking the question, “Why are my pins not showing up in Pinterest search results?”

Now remember, the Pinterest search engine is always changing, but learning how it works can be the difference from a pin receiving 10 repins and a dozen visitors to 1000 repins and receiving hundreds of visits to the website, for more tips on how you can improve your Pinterest marketing, make sure you sign up for my newsletter.

5 Tips to Improve your SEO beyond Keywords

SEO Link Building You know about keywords, and how important they are for getting your website found. Now you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about the world of search engine optimization. If you’re relatively new to SEO, there are a few things that you can do to help boost your website’s rankings beyond writing keywords in your content.

This article is designed for beginners, but it’s also a good refresher for intermediate level search engine optimizers.

1) Create Internal Links

When you start your website or blog I would suggest focusing on creating great content for your blog. However, the trouble with a new blog is that you don’t have a lot older content that you can refer to. But once you have written some more posts or create more content you want to start linking to those specific urls that the content resides on. This is known as internal link building, and doesn’t just apply to posts, but can be done to link to product pages, landing pages, and so forth.

Internal linking is helpful because you pass on link juice to those other pages. Imagine link juice as vote of confidence. Every time you link to your own article, this is considered a vote of confidence according to the search engines. Right now I’m passing on some link juice to this article about driving web traffic to a hotel website.

You don’t want to go overboard with this technique as it will ruin the reader’s experience. Think strategically about what pages or articles you want to rank well for and strategically think how other pages can link to them.

2)Use the Right Anchor Text

Strong Chains When you link to your own articles or to other websites, usually these links are highlighted in a different colour from the rest of the text. The following term, Vancouver Digital Marketing Agency, the highlighted part is known as anchor text.

Anchor texts are useful because it gives search engines another piece of information of what the directed webpage is about beyond the actual written text itself.
Let’s say you wrote an article about using Pinterest for marketing, if you want to rank well for search words Pinterest for marketing, then you want to create anchor text that says those keywords, and not using words such as social media marketing or the common deadly anchor text of, “click here.”

You should not abuse the use of exact match anchor text with the title of your article or for keywords you want to rank high for, or else you may be punished by Google. Especially if the anchor text is taken out of context and isn’t even remotely related to the rest of the article.

Don’t go rushing and linking 200 of your internal articles using the exact same anchor text such as Pinterest for marketing for all of them. You might want to switch it up and use more organic anchor texts such as, marketing using Pinterest, Pinterest is designed for marketing, or Pinterest for business marketing.

If Google believes you’re manipulating the system, then it will find a way to punish your website. This is what happened a lot of them during 2012 during the Panda and Penguin updates. It’s not quite over yet, there have been some major ones, and reportedly that Friday March 15th, there may be another Penguin change to Google.

This is why if you ever get a chance to write for another blogger or business magazine, you want to choose your words carefully. Instead of saying click here, you may say read this article about “How to Generate Leads with Linkedin.”

3) Develop Relationships with Other Bloggers and Businesses

You’ll often hear the term link building and its extreme importance in the world of search engine optimization. Link building is the process of having legitimate websites link back to your website. The reason I say legitimate is because Google has punished many sites that have used manipulative ways to gain links such as through link buying, or linking to low quality sites that add no content value to readers, link networks, or through content farms (such as e zine articles).

When you’re able to develop relationships with other bloggers you’re able to propose writing an article on their blog, known as guest posting. Depending on the guidelines of the blogger, you may be able to put a link in the article back to your website with a specific anchor text.

When that website links back to you this is considered a vote of confidence to Google, and helps you rank higher for search results. The more credible and visited a website is, such as the Wall Street Journal or Tech Crunch, the higher the vote of confidence to the search engines. The “credibility” of a site is often know as page rank.

Another factor is also the number of websites that you get a link from. If you get one from both Tech Crunch and Wall Street Journal, that’s the same as two thumbs way up that your site or blog is credible.

4) Label Your Pictures Properly

One of the important things you can do to improve your search engine results is to title and label your pictures appropriately. Instead of saying DSC_145 or something weird like that, rename them so that it says PinterestMarketing.jpg. (I’m guilty of practicing this poor labeling at times).

For my site, I labelled a picture “Using Iphone” and so I get some traffic for an article about Foursquare from those that are searching Google for an image related to that.

Don’t rename the picture to something that isn’t relevant. If you want to rank well for the word, clown for hire, in Google, don’t rename your cat pictures in your blog to that. That doesn’t make sense , and Google may punish you over time.

There’s something known as Alt text, this is alternative text that will show up when the picture fails to load. Fill this information with the keyword that the picture represents and this will help Google be able to understand more about what that picture and the content is about.

5) Webmaster Tools

One of the essential tools you need to improve your SEO is Webmaster tools. I would recommend starting that you sign up with Google Webmaster tools and find out if there are any 404’s. (This is known as links that don’t go anywhere, here’s an example of a 404 by Tech Crunch).

Tech Crunch 404

Though Google says it doesn’t affect search results, it’s more about good housekeeping. As you start to have more websites, it’s important to keep track of broken links.

However let’s say that you wanted to pass on link juice to a specific article on your website, if that link leads to a broken link, then the link juice is wasted, which could technically go to another site. Especially if that site has been getting a lot of traffic and has high page rank.

Those are some ways to be able to take the next step after writing keywords in your article, if you’re looking for a great resource on SEO for beginners, I highly recommend reading SEO Moz’s guide. Rand Fiskin, the team, and the community at SEO Moz, do a wonderful job and is an excellent source for SEO news.

Photo Courtesy of Ward

How Hotels can Increase their Web Traffic

Shangri-La Hotel Downtown Vancouver Large hotel chains such as Starwood, Shangri-La and Fairmonts have large marketing budgets and have dedicated web teams to help them remain competitive across the world, but how does an independent hotel or motel in a city increase their web traffic and compete with the large chains. I’m going to go into detail on how hotels with smaller marketing budgets can attract more customers to their hotel website.

1) Start Blogging About Your City to Increase Web Traffic

Most guests that stay at a hotel are either their for business or pleasure. Either way, all of your guests are probably very curious to know what’s going on in your city. While there are several travel guides like Frommers and Lonely Planet, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start a blog that informs potential guests about why your city is such a wonderful place visit.

Spend about once a week to create new blog topics of interest to your guests. If you’re not sure what would be of interest to them, ask existing guests what would have helped them prepare for their trip before they leave your hotel.

I’m going to use my hometown, Vancouver, as an example. Here are some potential blog posts that I would suggest for a hotel in Vancouver to write about to increase their web traffic.

1) Top 10 Free Activities to Enjoy in Vancouver
2) The top 5 Concerts that are taking Place in Vancouver in the Summer
3) Top 10 Can’t Miss Restaurants to Eat in Vancouver
4) Fun Family Activities in Vancouver During the Summer
5) What to See in Vancouver in One Weekend
6) The Best Ways to Get Over Jet Lag
7) Top 10 Places to Get A Suit Made Last Minute in Vancouver
8) Top 10 Honeymoon Places to Visit in Vancouver
9) Seattle and Vancouver? What’s the Difference for Tourists?

The important part of starting a blog is to think like an actual hotel guest. Chances are your website already has some great information about rooms, rates, about the spa, and availability. But what’s the next thing that most guests’ want to know? They want to know what there is to do.

By continuously updating your website on a regular basis to adjust to the seasons, you can attract new customers from out of town that are looking for information that you are providing. These people would be considered warm leads in booking a hotel with you.

Consistently blogging helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Google search engine loves fresh content. They love it when writers contribute great content. And by contributing on a regular basis, you can compete with much larger hotels.

3) Target Niche Keywords to Rank Well for Google

Targeting words such as “Vancouver Hotels” and expecting to be on top for that search word in three months is nearly impossible, at least it is if you don’t use black hat SEO. Especially if you have to go against the big boys like Expedia and Travelocity who spend millions of dollars to stay on top of rankings. It’s more important to use your website’s blog posts and copywrite to focus on keywords (aka search words or phrases) that will help you increase your web traffic.

If I had a hotel in Vancouver and I happen to be near Rogers Arena where the Vancouver Canucks Play, I might aim for the keywords, “hotel near Rogers Arena.” Other examples might be, “Hotel on Robson Street”, or “Dog Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Kid-Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Lesbian Friendly hotel.” The goal is to look for words that have low competition that you can rank well for quickly, instead of spending 2 or 3 years to rank well for like the phrase “hotels in Vancouver.”

It takes time and patience to research niche keywords, but by aiming at niche keywords that your competitor is most likely not going to aim for, you’re able to reach that target market, and as you start ranking well for those niche keywords, you will start ranking better for the more competitive terms like “hotels in Vancouver.”

4) Ensure Your Pictures are Titled Properly for Search Engine Optimization

If you’re running a hotel, chances are that there are potential customers that want to see what your hotel looks like. And yes, they’re probably going to go to sites like Trip Advisor to see, but there will be a few people who are going to Google for Images of your hotel. This is where you can drive more traffic to your website. Pictures that are clicked on in Google Image search pop up and then when closed lead to the site that the picture is on. This means a picture on a hotel website that says, “pool” is going to get lost in a sea of other photos that are titled pool. However, if you labelled your hotel “Shangri-La Pool in Vancouver” Then when people Google Shangri-La Vancouver under Images, the pool will show up.

This goes for bedrooms. Instead of giving a picture the title King Suite, title it King Suite at Burrard Inn. In order to do this properly, ensure that your photos are renamed before you upload them. Instead of having the photos named, DSC13532.jpg.

5) Provide an E- zine to your Newsletter Subscribers

I would highly suggest creating an e-book that highlights in detail about the wonderful activities that go on in your city, and update it every year. Travel books are popular. There’s no second guessing that, but why should travel books get all the attention. Why shouldn’t you create an e-book that people will start to get to know and download it from your site in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter.

Since many of your guests are booking flights months in advance, they probably are curious to know what’s happening in Vancouver at around the time that they arrive. Being able to provide them a seasonal guide of what’s happening will make their life much easier in terms of planning their trip. You can also use the e-zine and have some space to highlight advertisements about hotels and amenities. Also provide advertising space for your partners in the tourism industry.

Since the e-zine is free, don’t be surprised if you see it slowly spread over the Internet in the most random places. Having people view the e zine, and mentioning your hotel will definitely get a few searches online. Providing potential guests with valuable information makes them comfortable and your hotel look like an expert about the city.

6) Hold Contests for Local and Out of Towners to Build Links

Part of driving more traffic to your website, and being able to rank well within search engines is through link building. Here’s the short and sweet of what link building is, it’s when other sites links to your site. Just like right now I’m linking to Shangri-La in Vancouver downtown. When you have high quality authoritative sites linking to your website, this is an indication to Google that this site must be important.

You can have ten random websites link to your hotel website, but one link from the Huffington Post or the Globe and Mail is worth more. There are creative ways to get there, but for a small hotel a good way to link build is to look for travel bloggers, or local bloggers to work with and offer contests. Offer a free one night stay at your hotel. Ensure that when your contest is being held with bloggers that they have a link connecting to your site.

If you are in Vancouver, then you may want to pair up with a Seattle lifestyle blogger for the contest to get more out of town guests. Do you research carefully as not all bloggers are created equal. Notice how often they blog, how long they have been blogging for, and what other giveaways they have done in the past.

While it may seem like a tremendous effort, driving traffic to your website is a commitment that pays off. Once you have amazing content on your website, it stays there and will continue to drive traffic to your site. Surprisingly it’s not the new content that will drive most of your traffic, it’s the older content that will. And since most hotels go on for years and years, you can guarantee that if you do what was mentioned above, you’ll see a wonderful payoff for your hard work.

For more information on how to create a great online marketing strategy for your hotel feel free to contact MCNG Marketing.
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Vancouver Hotel.