Author Archives: Brooke Willard

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to GoogleYou’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a new website. The design is perfect. The content flows beautifully. The graphics are stunning. Now you’ve got to get people there.

One of the simplest, and often overlooked, steps of SEO is submitting your XML sitemap to the search engines. Although the search engine bots will eventually find your site anyway, submitting an XML sitemap can help speed up the crawling and indexing processes for your website and help to improve its ability to rank well in search results.

Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Google

  1. Visit your website and make note of the URL of your XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Google Search Console account and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once verified and logged into your Google Search Console account, go to Crawl, then Sitemaps.
  4. Click the red “Add/Text Sitemap” button then add the subfolder portion of the URL to the box. For example, sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” – and you’re done! Refresh your browser to see the sitemap is now listed. You will also be able to see if there are any errors with the sitemap you submitted.

From Changing Keyword Match Types to Google Algorithm Updates – Get the Latest in Search Engine Marketing

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Finding your audience in search – or more so making it possible for your audience to find you – can be a bit of a moving target. This week we’ve got updates from both the paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) sides of search to keep you on your toes.

Paid Search (PPC)

Wordstream: The Impact of Google’s New Exact-Enough Match Keywords [Data]
If you’ve perfectly honed your keyword targeting and match-type strategy in your PPC account, look out! Google is rolling out changes to its Exact Match keywords and the changes are not exactly what you’d expect.

Read more after the jump…

Corned Beef Hash(tags) For Everyone!

#StPatricksDay hashtagIt’s not too late to jump on the St. Patrick’s Day bandwagon, but don’t wait too long or you may miss out on this pot of gold completely. Whether you’re slinging corned beef hash or green beer this year, you might have the luck of the Irish by using these popular and festive hashtags:

  • #stpatricksday
  • #happystpatricksday
  • #luckoftheirish
  • #irish
  • #ireland
  • #stpattysday
  • #green

Although we know that everyone loves a holiday special, let’s not get carried away and start dropping these hashtags in where it’s not even relevant. No one likes to be deceived and there’s no quicker way to turn people off than by tricking them into clicking through.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – South By Southwest Interactive Edition

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Two CenterTable team members, 5 days, 29 caffeinated beverages and 107,855 combined steps. Jim and Carissa took South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference by storm last week and have plenty to share in its wake.

If you were suffering from a major case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) about SXSWi, you were not alone! That’s why Jim and Carissa made it a priority to chronicle their entire week in Austin – including everything from the best sessions all the way down to the best libations – on the GroundFloor Media & CenterTable blog! Check it out! Read more after the jump…

Blogging For SEO

Last month we talked about whether or not an organization should blog. Knowing that timely, original, meaningful and well written blog content can be incredibly beneficial for SEO, it may very well be worth the investment.

For those of you who took the time to map out a blog strategy and have decided to move forward with launching a blog – congratulations on this exciting development! As you start developing blog content, there are many on-page SEO tactics you can implement to improve your chances of ranking well in search engine results.

How To Optimize A Blog Post For SEO

When developing blog content, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Conduct some keyword research to ensure you’re talking about your topic in the same way your audience is.
  • Create an engaging blog post title incorporating targeted keyword terms.
  • Aim for 250-500 words per blog post.
  • Write all original content. Do not scrape (aka, steal) content from another website – or even from your own!
  • Be authentic and true to your brand and messaging.
  • Break the content into smaller, more digestible chunks using headers and bullet points.
  • Include at least one image with an optimized file name and image alt tag in the top right corner of the post.
  • Assign proper categories and tags to every post. If your blog were a book, the categories would be the table of contents and the tags would be the index.
  • Create internal links to related content, such as including “related posts” at the bottom of every blog post.

To Blog or Not To Blog: That Is The Question

Should we be blogging? We get this question a lot. And the answer is a big fat clear… maybe.

It’s no secret that both users and search engines love fresh, unique content, right? Absolutely – when it’s timely, original, meaningful and well written. By blogging, you create the opportunity to build relationships with readers, position your organization as an expert in the field and provide new content for Google to index. We have seen the dramatic impact a strategic, well-run blog can have on increasing visibility and improving search engine rankings for an organization. We’re definitely a fan.

But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. We have also seen un-nurtured blogs become stale, outdated, duplicative and even a liability.

Develop a Blog Strategy

Before you dive into blogging with both feet, take a step back and think about your purpose in doing so and, maybe even more importantly, your capacity to effectively execute it. Creating a roadmap can help position you, and your blog, for success. Some things to consider before you get started:

  • Audience – Who are they and what are they interested in? Use this as a guide in developing your content strategy.
  • Authors – Identify your key thought leaders in the organization and assess their capacity and willingness to develop content.
  • Content Strategy – Align your audiences’ interests with your authors’ expertise and map out what topics you plan to cover.
  • Content Calendar – Will you have topics assigned to specific days of the week? Or will the content cycle ebb and flow with current events? Will you create a blog schedule and assign posts to specific contributors? Or will you allow authors to self-select when they provide content? How will you hold your blogging team accountable for maintaining a steady stream of content?
  • Monitoring – Will you enable blog comments? If so, develop a policy on if, when and how to respond.
  • Distribution Optimizing your blog content to be found in search is a great start, but how else will you distribute your blog posts to ensure they reach your target audience?

Weekly Reads – Holiday Shopping Guide For the Techies On Your List

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Hard to believe the holidays are here again already. Are you finding yourself immersed in the usual hustle and bustle of the season, scrambling to finish some last-minute shopping for all those hard-to-shop for people on your list? We’ve got you covered. You’re sure to find something for each of the techies in your life right here! And thanks to some new releases, we’ve also got new ways to keep you and your friends and family connected this holiday season too. Read more after the jump…

Drop What You’re Doing & Make the Switch to Google Expanded Text Ads

Ready or not, the time to convert to Expanded Text Ads (ETA) in Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is here.

Earlier this year, Google introduced ETAs, which provide more space for ad text over the standard text ads we’re used to, and they are better optimized for the mobile experience.

ETAs have been available to most advertisers for a few months now and many have already started to make the switch and see positive results. If you haven’t already tackled this project, don’t panic (yet!). Google will continue to support and run your existing ads until January 31, 2017. However, after that you will no longer be able to edit those existing standard text ads or create new ones – you will have to make the switch and create new expanded text ads moving forward. Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Unwrapping Digital Marketing For The Holidays

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With the election season safely behind us, we can now turn our attention to the quickly approaching holiday season. I know, I know…it may be too soon for stores to break out the Christmas music and Santa décor. But with Thanksgiving just a couple short weeks away, now is the time to gear up for your holiday campaigns. As you’ve probably noticed, some have already started! Amazon launched its 2016 Black Friday deals on the first of November.

This week’s rundown includes insider tips and tricks to unwrap the holiday digital marketing landscape and get ahead of the holidaze that is sure to ensue.

Multi-Channel

MarketingLand: Strategies to maximize retail marketing efforts BEFORE holiday sales events
The time leading up to heavy shopping seasons is just as critical as the shopping days themselves. These suggested retailer strategies aim to maximize the often-ignored time frame prior to Black Friday

Facebook

Social Times: 9 Things to Note Before Launching a Facebook Coupon Offers Campaign
Given that social media campaigns are 60 percent more effective than traditional advertising campaigns, Facebook Offers campaigns can be a great way to promote your products and services. This article outlines how to use coupon codes from Facebook to yield results this holiday shopping season.

Business 2 Community: Holiday Marketing: Facebook Tells You 10 Dates When Conversions Spike [Infographic]
In an effort to help marketers make the most of the holiday shopping season, Facebook recently released an interactive infographic about holiday celebrations and shopping on Facebook (as well as Instagram). Take a look and consider how these dates might play into – or challenge – your season’s marketing plans.

Twitter

Social Media Today:Twitter Provides Stats on Holiday Shopping Usage [Infographic]
Although slow to add new users these days, Twitter is still a great platform to reach consumers and it’s worth considering how you can use tweets within your holiday marketing plan. According to Twitter, 73% percent of Twitter shoppers follow businesses to find special deals. Find out just how many of those are likely to actually visit a store after seeing such deal on the platform.

On the GFM & CenterTable blog this week: