Just about everyone has a smart phone by now, so why is mobile SEO still a poor facsimile of desktop SEO? Even the most basic stats show that mobile SEO is worth paying attention to, as mobile devices accounted for 13% of all searches in June 2012 with 20% of clicks.

The problem is creating a mobile site isn’t easy, and effectively optimizing any given site for a mobile audience relies on several criteria.

SEO consultant Aleyda Solis at the BrightonSEO conference listed seven of the criteria you should consider when optimizing a site for mobile SEO, and we’re here to help you through it.

  1. How does your audience behave on your site? – Before you invest time and money into a mobile site, it’s first important to know if you even have enough of a mobile audience to make it worth your effort. Using Google Analytics, you can create a segment for organic mobile traffic, which will allow you to look at the volume of visits, devices used, and the landing pages they tend to hit, as well as what are the most popular keywords. If you know what type of content is most popular with mobile users, you can prioritize it when creating a mobile website.
  2. Where does your site appear in mobile search results? – Where your site appears in mobile search results is helpful in knowing what content you need to optimize for mobile use. Investigating these statistics, as well as what keywords and pages are already gaining visibility will help you prioritize.
  3. How does your audience use mobile search? – Knowing how your target audience uses mobile search allows you to make yourself more visible to them and increase your traffic. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find the keywords your audience are using, and Our Mobile Planet lets you check how consumers are using their mobile devices.
  4. How does your site render on mobile devices? – Testing your content on mobile devices is essential when designing a site because if your content doesn’t render correctly, visitors will promptly leave. Using Google’s Getmometer, PageSpeed Insights and the ‘Fetch as Google mobile bot’ in Webmaster tools, you can see how mobile users and bots see your website.
  5. What content and products are you offering to your mobile audience? – Mobile users are often looking for different content than your desktop visitors are. Identifying what your mobile customers are after, lets you know if you are catering to their needs. Often, mobile users focus more on localized content. If that is true for your audience, are you offering localized content? If you’re not, are you able to create some?
  6. Do you have the technical capacity to develop a mobile site? – If your website isn’t rendering correctly on mobile devices, you need to consider if you have enough of a budget to make it responsive, dynamically serve content or build a parallel mobile version. Each method has its pros and cons, but ideally you need to use responsive design. That’s not always possible though, depending on technical capacity, budget, and content needs.
  7. Based on these criteria, decide what type of mobile site you need – Depending on your site’s needs and abilities, you will know how you need to respond to creating a mobile site. David Moth at Econsultancy has a flowchart to use to make it easy for you.

There are different ways to handle mobile optimization, and hopefully this list has helped you identify the best route for you, but there is one thing that is true no matter what. Mobile SEO is becoming more important every day, and ignoring it is only hurting yourself.


Recently, Facebook conducted, what they called a survey, to root out users who registered their accounts under fake names. In a sort of watered down McCarthyism, they asked their friends to “snitch” on other friends and answer whether the name on their account was real or not. As Kashmir Hill, of Forbes, found, those involved in the so-called ‘survey’ didn’t particularly appreciate it.

Facebook’s terms and conditions include a clause that user’s must register under their real name, so it doesn’t seem outlandish that they would want to know whether or not users were living up to that agreement. What’s drawing comparisons to Caligula and the KGB, which is admittedly a bit strong, is the way Facebook went about rounding up the fake name account holders.

Facebook spokesperson Fred Wolens insists that the survey will not be used to enforce the real name policy, but rather to teach machine algorithms to determine real accounts from spam accounts.

This claim, however, suggests that Facebook itself is ignoring its own terms and conditions and those who violate them. So how seriously should users take those same terms?

Also, the options for answering the question: ‘Is this your friend’s real name?’ were: ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘I don’t know this person’ or ‘I don’t want to answer’. Every choice carries a possible backlash and since Facebook is being so cagey about how they plan to use the information gathered, there’s no telling what consequences those answers will bring.

Pinterest has become a monster in the past year, with user growth up nearly 4400%. No, there’s not a typo in that figure. Obviously, it’s time for you to take advantage of this raging trend and use Pinterest to expand your audience. Mitt Ray, of Social Media Examiner, has four tips you can use.

1. Pin Content

To get traffic from Pinterest, you need to be part of the Pinterest community. Establish boards that routinely pin great content. Some of it should be yours, but some of it should be from elswhere. Establish yourself as the go-to board for your particular area of expertise.

2. Tall Images

Because of the way Pinterest displays their pinned images, taller images get more real estate and have a better chance of getting noticed and being repinned. Rather than just stretching out an image, think about combining multiple relevant images to reach your tall goal.

3. Must Have Images

No one can pin your content if it doesn’t have at least one image that’s a minimum of 110 x 100 pixels. So, it should go without saying that each of your blog posts should have an accompanying picture.

4. Default Images

Your blog should also have a default image, which is an image that appears in the header, footer or sidebar. It appears on every page of your site and, although it isn’t associated with a specific post, it can be used to pin a post.

Make the image relevant to your site’s general topic. This way, you can be sure that every post can get pinned and people will start to associate your image with your site and your brand.

Anyone reading this should know they should be testing their websites and landing pages, but if you aren’t well studied in optimization, how are you supposed to know what you should be testing? Oli Gardner has some suggestions to get you started testing your site.

1) Test the Headline – Your headline is the first things viewers will see when they land on your page, and to be most successful it should match what your viewer expected when deciding to visit your page. For example, you can test how positive or negative language performs in your headline, such as “Save Time by Downloading Now”  vs. “Stop Wasting Time, Download Now”.

Headlines are also used by your audience to quickly identify if the site they came to has what they want. Make sure your headline lets visitors know what you have to offer immediately. A great way to quickly test this is to just show the headline to someone unfamiliar with your brand for 5 seconds and ask them what the page was about. If they don’t know, you have a problem with your headline.

2) Test Your Forms – Most landing pages will have some sort of form trying to gain information from visitors. Its important to remember however that you should be offering something to your visitors in exchange for this information. What you offer is up to you, but examples could be an e-book, webinar registration or whitepaper.

The question remains though, how do you test to see if your forms are effective? One test would be seeing which forms people fill out the most, if all fields were made optional. The goal is to make sure you’re offering something equal to the amount of data you need. Try to be efficient and only have forms with relevant information and test different arrangements to see what visitors respond to the most.

3) Test Your Call To Action (CTA) – A call to action is your conversion. It is how you get people to do what you want them to do, and if that isn’t happening, you may need to work on your CTA. Make it descriptive, so that your visitors will know exactly what will happen if they follow the CTA,

A way to test your CTA is by changing just one word and seeing how customers respond. Unbounce found that changing the description “order information” to “get information” led to a 38.26% increase un conversions.

While these examples will get you going, if you want a more thorough guide, you’ll also want to look into Oli’s “Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing”.



As a web designer or developer, it’s always important to understand what the client wants. That’s why it is strange how few designers and developers understand online marketing.

Understanding and implementing online marketing give any developer or designer a great advantage in the marketplace and promises much more of a long term reward than those that fail to learn about online marketing. This isn’t to say neglecting your designing or developing skills is a wise decision, but by combining your skills with online marketing, you can do three things:

1) Get more clients – When clients post ads for developers or design jobs, they often get responses detailing what features and formats the person could implement. They promise so many pages, or list how they are proficient in HTML5, jQuery, and W4C standards. This may seem like a great approach for contacting potential employers, but it has a great weakness.

Potential employers want to know what you will do for them, and what they want you to do is make more money. Employers want to hear that you will raise the number of subscribers a certain percent, or will raise their revenue. Wether you use HTML5 or jQuery is not of much importance to them.

There are plenty of good web designers that can make nice looking websites, but there are way less designers that know how to increase sales. Those that know online marketing will get the better clients, and higher rates.

2) Build Your Brand – The biggest problem for every freelancer is building a base of clients. It would be great for clients to just come to you ready to pay however much you want, but that is a fantasy. Or is it?

Building a strong personal brand online attracts clients by exhibiting your skills to them beforehand. This can be fairly difficult and requires a lot of perseverance, but there is a basic pattern. First, you build a popular blog, followed by establishing a decent social media following. Then, you participate in outside activities like conferences, and make yourself known about.

This path does two very important things for you. It establishes you as a reputable expert, and gains you tons of publicity many would pay for. When employers need work done, they go to the experts they know first, and if you’ve built a strong brand, they will know about you.

If you want to know more about building a personal brand, I highly recommend watching the TED talk by Jacob Cass.

3) Earn extra income – Freelancing is far from a stable career and anyone should be prepared for unexpected problems. That is why it is important to make yourself as financially secure as possible before the problems arrive.

One of the best options for securing your finances is to diversify your streams of income between client work and passive income. If you are already perceived as an expert in your field, creating a passive income shouldn’t be difficult. There are a slew of monetization options, such as creating and selling your own products or even simply displaying ads on your site.

It does take effort to create a product, and even more to market and sell it, but it could be extremely important in your future.

Think of it this way, if you want to run a local bakery, you have to be as good at business as you are at baking. Otherwise, the business won’t get off the ground. The same goes for creating a business online. If you want to be successful online, learn online marketing.


If you want to learn more about online marketing and the mistakes you can make while starting out, read more at 1stwebdesigner.


No other industry has benefited from the internet more than the business industry. The internet has given businesses easy ways to market their products or services to a wider audience, and now the creation of websites that appeal to specific audiences is one of the most important aspects of business marketing.

If you are in charge of creating a website, you want to make it eye-catching, but you also want to avoid simple mistakes that make your audience want to go elsewhere. Lewis Hooker at Graphic Design Junction has a list of 8 things to avoid if you want people to keep coming back.

  1. Do not make the design complex – It’s easy and sometimes fun for a designer to be a little overzealous and include a lot of features in their design without considering if these features are really necessary. Going overboard is never good in the long run. Complex designs with an abundance of features make navigating websites difficult and confusing for many visitors. Even worse, it makes changing and adjusting your site later a real pain.
  2. Do not exaggerate the use of Flash – It is a common mistake for web designers to over-do it when using Flash animation. Flash can certainly be a nice touch on a site to make the page a little more eye catching, but too much is always a bad thing. Too much flash slows down your website’s loading time drastically, and visitors often leave if they get tired of waiting for a page to load. If you want to use Flash, just remember that less is more.
  3. Do not use “fancy” fonts – Some designers like to use highly stylized fonts to class up their pages a little. While a nice font can help grab visitor’s eyes if used right, fonts that are difficult to read frustrate viewers. If you want to use a distinct font, go for it, but if you can’t immediately read the text, go with something else.
  4. Do not use music of audio files without permission – Lately many website designers have been including music players within their sites that automatically play music when the page loads. Many visitors find these annoying, and worse, they can get in the way as well as slowing down load times. If you feel it necessary or relevant to include a music player, always remember to give users control to pause or mute the music.
  5. Do not hide the links – Some designers often forget to highlight links on their websites properly. Links are obviously essential to navigation, and users want to be able to navigate websites as quickly and easily as possible. Therefore, always highlight links properly so users can get around.
  6. Do not use pop ups – I don’t know why any designer would use pop ups anymore. They are annoying, and most browsers have software built in to block them.
  7. Do not ask for registration – There are times when asking users to register before accessing content is necessary, but if it isn’t absolutely required, avoid registration. Most viewers will be put off by having to enter their information to see content that should be readily available.
  8. Do not subscribe the visitors to newsletters without their permission – Doing this will make your visitors angry. Period. No one wants e-mails from a website unless they signed up for them. Just don’t do it.

These tips are simple and to many visitors, they may seem like common sense. However, we still see them everywhere. If you want your website to be a success, just follow these rules. Your visitors will be happy and so will your clients.


Google has made five recent SEO changes that will make most content marketers, writers, and bloggers quite happy. They play to your strengths. Some users may be less happy about these changes, however.

The changes were mostly made to keep more people on Google products, which isn’t a bad idea from a business perspective, but some may find the changes effect searching negatively.

The good news is, the changes were also made so that your results would be more personal by monopolizing on the fact that people are more likely to purchase something if they know their friend also likes it.

The even better news is these changes are great for anyone who makes content for a living. I will walk you through all of the changes and help you to take advantage of them.

1) Optimize personalized search – One of the biggest changes Google has made completely changed SEO by making search results personal. The results you get for a search will be different than mine, based on factors like your browsing history, the content you create and content shared by your social circles. People are finding their content more and more through social media networks and searching less.

So how can you optimize your content for personalized search? One option is you can increase your Google+ circles. Google is actively trying to get people to sign up for Google+, and in this instance, using Google+ and connecting with more people on there helps improve your search. The more people you have in your circles, the higher relevant content will show up in your searches. This also means that your circles can see your content when they search.

2) Increase social sharing – As a content creator, getting shares on social media is a great way to get your content high in the search rankings. According to a study by branded3, the more tweets leading to a URL you can get, the higher you will appear in rankings. For example, anyone that gets over 7,500 tweets (not an easy task) will appear in the top five results almost always. This type of logic most likely also works for Facebook.

As a content creator, capitalize on social sharing and you can beat your competition in the rankings. Just make sure to make the social sharing buttons obvious so that readers can find them, encourage your readers to share and try to court others with influence in your target social circles. Interview them or offer to do guest posts. Anything to establish a connection.

3) Employ semantic keyword research – Google is improving at segmenting search results, which gives you an opportunity to rank higher in verticals. This is a surefire way to get higher conversion rates because your prospective visitors are better targeted.

To take advantage of this, you’ll need to look for “advanced search” keywords. When you search, there is a way to refine results with a tool hidden in “show search tools”. Within this advanced search tool, you can look at “related searches”. Now you have semantic options you can test for the highest search volumes. There are also ways to improve your keyword list such as Google Insights for Search, which lets you narrow keywords down via categories.

4) Play with the Panda update – Google’s Panda update finally made life hard for spammers and content farms by harshly punishing sites with low quality content. This is good for all of the content creators who put hard work into long blog posts with useful content. Google even offered questions to determine the value of your content.

5) Implement the Google Authorship Mark-up – A search marketing firm proved rich snippet will increase SERP CTR and traffic. It’s that simple. Their analytics show a 150% increase when rich snippet was implemented. You might not get results quite that good, but it’s almost certain you will benefit if you implement the Google’s authorship snippet. It can be complicated, and it is slow to show results, but if you invest now you’ll see results in the not too distant future.

All of these Google changes have radically changed the SEO game, but they have made it a wonderful moment to be a content marketer. Those that put out shoddy content are being penalized, and there are all sorts of opportunities to really get your content out there.


For a more in depth look at author rank, read Neil Patel’s article at Quick Sprout.

If you’re using AdWords to advertise your business online, you’ll definitely want to look into their newest option, Shared Budgets, which was announced Monday on the Adwords blog.

Shared Budgets is exactly what it sounds like. Adwords let’s you set a daily allowance for how much you’d like to spend across any number of campaigns. Let’s say $100 total. You can then allocate a portion of that to each campaign. With Shared Budgets, any money that one campaign doesn’t use in a day gets automatically reallocated to another campaign that is seeing increased use. This way, you get the most out of the campaign that’s currently getting the most attention without having to constantly tinker with the budget allocation yourself.

Facebook features about 800-million users, yet there are nearly 4-times that many users of email. With numbers like that, you’re likely already using email marketing to reach your audience. If you’re not, look at that number again and get started immediately.

Shelly Kramer, of v3im.com, advises you to get the most out of your emails by combining them with your social networks. As the included infographic shows, you can improve your click through rate significantly simply by including social sharing in your emails. You can also build your audience for your online profile and, as your customers share your message through their own account, you get a larger audience for each message.

You can also include a prominent ‘Subscribe’ button on your site so that you can do the most with each email. And be sure to research plug-ins that can add links to your social media profiles in your signature and include your latest blog post as well.

As with any message, the goal here is to be seen and heard by as many people as possible. These are a few easy ways to build a bigger audience.

Twitter currently boasts millions of users, which makes it an excellent, and free, way to get the word out about your business. But it can be difficult to build and audience and ensure that your tweets are being seen. That’s where hashtags come in, as Tara Horner details on the Jeff Bullas blog.

A hashtag is simply a topic that you put at the end of a tweet with ‘#’ in front of it. For example, “You probably already knew that #obviousinfo”. This allows users to group together all tweets with a specific hashtag, even if they aren’t following the author.

There are actually two ways for you to make the most of your hashtags. First, check out which hashtags are currently trending on Twitter and decide if any of them could be relevant to your business. You probably shouldn’t shoehorn a #Kardashian tag at the end of your tweets, but you may be able to find a topic that fits with your business and ride those coat tails.

Second, create your own hashtags based on what you’re already tweeting about. Think of them like Twitter SEO and use keywords you’d like customer’s to associate with your business. Then, anyone who is interested in those topics can find you later.

If used correctly, hashtags are a great way to get lots of eyeballs on your message. Just be sure it’s a message worth seeing.