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UPDATED The Complete Guide to Mastering Your Heading Tags

Guide to Heading Tags

Originally published December 4, 2012, updated January 15, 2016

Whether you are optimizing your website for search engines or your site visitors, heading tags are an important aspect of your on-page optimization strategy. The overall pull of heading tags in regards to search engines is up for debate, but very few SEOs believe they hold no value at all. While they may not be the proverbial magic bullet for instantly improving your search engine rankings, optimizing heading tags for search engines are, at the very least, another baby step toward a more perfectly optimized web page.
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XML Sitemaps: GPS for Search Engines

XML Sitemaps

Getting lost in today’s GPS reliant society is a real challenge, but I recently did just that. I went on a road trip to Yellow Springs, Ohio. No, it wasn’t to visit Dave Chapelle. Knowing how easy it is to plug an address into Google maps on my phone, I didn’t find it necessary to take the AAA map my parents got me when I came to Ohio in 2001. Big mistake.

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Breadcrumbs and URLs: A Match Made for Google

Breadcrumbs and URLs

If you’ve been paying attention to search results lately, you have probably noticed that Google often replaces the URLs with breadcrumb trails. The search below perfectly captures Google changing one for the other:

URL Search Result

 

The first highlighted result shows the URL (or at least a fraction of the URL) of the destination page. The second highlighted result shows the breadcrumb trail found on the destination page itself.

While Google has been doing this for a while on desktop searches, in April of this year, they started doing the same on mobile search results.

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Keyword Optimization vs. Topical Optimization

Topical Optimization

What is your business’ #1 goal? Sell more stuff, right? WRONG!

Sure, you want more sales, but if that’s the goal you chase, I’m afraid you are not going to be successful. Instead, I submit that your priority needs to be on building authority. And that starts with content. But not just any content. Authoritative content.

In my latest Search Engine Land article, I discuss how to do this and what this means for keyword research (yes, you still need to do keyword research).

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Back to the SEO Future: Insights and Predictions From SEO Pioneers

Back to the SEO Future

Last week, we listed some of the “SEO’s of the 90’s,” those who were in the industry before it was even called SEO and who are still “rockin’ it” today. The awesome thing about this industry is that there seems to be a particular willingness to help each other out. So when we reached out to these SEO’s, we not only found several who were willing to answer some questions about the past, present and future of SEO, but they went above and beyond, as you will see from their extensive answers below. These people are legends, and we are honored to feature their insights here.

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SEOs of the 90s Who Are Still Rockin’ It Today

SEOs of the 90s
I just went to my 20th high school reunion. 20 years? Seriously? Where has time gone?!?

Like many high school grads/college students, I struggled with the age old question, “What am I going to do with my life?” It’s a question that wouldn’t be fully answered until I was well into my 30’s. But the way I see it, that’s not really my fault. See, when I was considering career options back in the late 90s, SEO and web marketing barely existed. But a number of people were starting to discover it.

It’s those people we pay tribute to in this article: The SEOs who did it before it even had a name. Who gave me an industry to work in. Not only that, but in this “fly-by-night” industry, these SEOs beat the odds and are still active today.

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10 Simple Tips to Teach All Staff to Improve SEO

teaching your staff seo

It takes a village to build and maintain an online presence these days—with websites remaining the primary central hub for all online activity. Organizations of all stripes work hard to drive traffic to their websites through a combination of direct, organic and referral traffic. Organic is where search engine optimization (or SEO) comes into play. Successful SEO requires a combination of technical (e.g. URL structure) and content-based (e.g. the words and phrases you include in your content) considerations.

Importantly, the responsibility for SEO doesn’t lie solely with your webmaster. SEO is really, or should be, the responsibility of anyone who creates content for any part of your website.  Your staff can play an important role in ensuring that you’re using the right information, in the right way, to boost results.

What do you—and they—need to know to do this effectively? Stoney deGeyter is CEO of Pole Position Marketing, an SEO firm in Canton, OH; he founded the firm in 1998.   He has literally “written the book” on simple SEO—The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! The following are some simple tips* that can help you engage your entire staff in ensuring that your website will gain traction through SEO.

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The Secret Risk of Crappy URLs

url usability

SEOs haven’t always considered considered the “usability” of web page URLs as part of their marketing strategies. Typically, they approached this from the keyword perspective. But with today’s algorithms, URL usability now takes front and center stage, which means that even your precious keywords take a step back.

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Starbucks SEO Audit Shows How You Can Overcome Big Brand Goliaths

Starkbucks SEO Audit

Many small-to-medium sized businesses have the tendency to believe they can’t compete with their industry’s Goliat’s when it comes to organic search. While large companies do tend to have more resources, web marketing is a vast landscape. Even Fortune 500 companies, like Starbucks, have additional opportunities to optimize their website and improve the overall user experience, increase conversions and boost search performance.

I chose Starbucks for this audit because they’ve successfully built international brand recognition, to the extent that “Starbucks” is practically synonymous with coffee. Even still, as you’ll see, they have an imperfect campaign. The areas in which Starbucks is lacking are the areas where other, smaller companies can take advantage and grow their online presence, with the real possibility of overcoming “the giant” and gaining a competitive advantage online.

The only way to close the gap is to act, so grab your slingshot!

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