5 Tips To Gain More Search Traffic Via Google’s Hummingbird Update

Google started implementing their Humminbird algorithm update sometime in mid to late August, 2013. They waited one month to release a public statement that the new algo update was live and had been affecting search results for nearly four weeks. That was a few weeks ago and the news of “Hummingbird” was quickly shadowed by the devastating news that  came shortly after which was of course that Google was officially discontinuing keyword search data in Google Analytics.

In the coming weeks we will be outlining in detail our new search and analytic strategy with the removal of organic keyword search data; however we believed it was of great importance to first address and discuss a few of our secret tactics for maximizing brand exposure and increasing targeted search traffic for Google’s Hummingbird update. Lets jump into it.

What is Google’s Hummingbird Update?

Google Hummingbird is the name they have given to their biggest search algorithm update since 2001 according to Google search chief, Amit Singhal. The name “Hummingbird” is meant to describe the “precision and speed” for which the search engine will now provide search results based primarily around what the Silicon Valley tech giant calls “conversational search”.

Conversation search is the concept that search results should include those webpages that have content that is conversational in nature so as to provide more relevant information, answers, examples, and related topics to a search query rather than webpages that simply use the same keyword as the search query.

Conversation search is the concept that search results should include those webpages that have content that is conversational in nature.

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine land had a chance to talk with Google insiders about Hummingbird and was able to pull an example of a pre and post Hummingbird search result. Sullivan wrote, “A search for “pizza hut calories per slice” used to list an answer like this, Google said, but not one from Pizza Hut. Now, it lists this answer directly from Pizza Hut itself, Google says.”

Furthermore Google believes Hummingbird will return more relevant search results than in the past with the emphasis surrounding the algorithms ability to provide these conversational type results. The question begs, how should I go about optimizing for conversational search?

How Do You Tame A Google Hummingbird?

If conversational search is becoming increasingly important in the eyes of Google than that should tell you  twos; 1). People are searching for information in a conversational manner. And 2). People must be asking Google more questions than ever before in history. Einstein anyone?

If people are asking Google more questions than your response should be to try to answer more questions.  It seems simple enough but there are certainly content marketing strategies that play into this. Lets take a closer look.

Hummingbird Tip #1 – Include More Questions In Your Blog Posts

Matt Cutts and other search marketing representatives from Google still suggest that marketers should aim to provide unique and high quality content on a consistent basis. However they did not elaborate on the fact that bloggers should include more direct questions and direct answers within the content of their posts.

Think about it. People are asking Google more questions and Google’s Hummingbird is looking for webpages that can provide answers to these questions. By basing a blog post around a commonly asked question and then providing an answer to that question you are both demonstrating your knowledge for a particular topic and you are appeasing the Hummingbird update.

To find the best questions to answer you may decide to survey your current customers to better understand a consumer thought process in your industry. Additionally you can also use Google’s auto suggestion search query filter to see what common search queries come up as you begin typing the basis for a question. Looks like we need to do a post on the best SEO plugin for WordPress since we are big proponents of WordPress and could use that blog subject to spin off into our ability to design and build incredible responsive sites.

Hummingbird Tip #2 – Build an FAQ Page

For a long time we have recommended and helped our clients to build an FAQ page on their site. No matter your industry, service, or the product that you are selling; customers are always going to have a few basic questions for you. In order to save yourself resources in customer service (having to answer these questions on the phone or via email) and additionally to provide more information and establish credibility with potential customers, building an FAQ page is a great idea for anyone with a website.

Of course Google is now set to better recognize your content as conversational and these questions could very well rank highly in search results as the result.

Hummingbird Tip #3 – Answer More Questions

For a long time it has been a great marketing strategy to actively pursue answering forum questions online as a means to demonstrate knowledge in your indusry and to build credibility for your personal brand or company. I can’t say how many times we have been doing research on different ecommerce platform plugins and information and come across tips and information posted from a “Mike at Volusion”. (We made up this exact example but you get the point). What is Mike doing here?

Mike is demonstrating exactly how the Volusion platform solves a problem you are facing, he is driving traffic and interest back to his website, and he is planting a seed in the consumer mind that Volusion provides great customer service. Mike is killing it by answering one simple question online.

With the Hummingbird update we can expect Yahoo Answers and threads on sites like Quora to begin ranking better. Better forum rankings means more traffic, larger threads, and the potential for more eyes on your answer. Our suggestion is that you get active on these types of forums and be like Mike. No pun intended.

Side note: Referall traffic from sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers (should you leave a direct link to your site) is currently still available in Google Analytics. Go ahead and show your boss just how much traffic you are responsible for as the result of answering questions over there.  You can also use bitly or another URL tracking source to keep tabs on referral tracking from specific threads on the same site.

Hummingbird Tip #4 – Host An Interview

People love doing interviews, reading interviews, and listening to interviews. As a content marketer you should love hosting interviews. Why? Well relatively speaking hosting an interview is very simple and it provides you with at least different three pieces of content to share online and off. 

Start by finding an interesting individual within your own company or within your industry (non-direct competitor) that agrees to an interview. Next do some research to discover which questions are most popular and in demand from your target audience. Host the interview, ask those intriuging and hot topic questions and make sure to record the interview so that you end up with both a visual form and an MP3 form of your discussion. Go ahead and transcribe that conversation and incorporate it into a blog post. Now take that content (video, MP3, and blog post) and distribute everywhere online with the source link from the original blog post.

As your content begins to pick up momentum online your post will end up with organic links and social shares. This will help your post to rank better in search engines for those “conversational queries” that Google is now more accurate at identifying.

Finally return the favor and accept offers that you might receive  from another blog owners to be interviewed on their blog. This is another opportunity to build your credibility, demonstrate your knowledge, build a backlink to your site, and take a moment off from blogging yourself.

Hummingbird Tip #5 – Increase Customer Reviews on Ecommerce and Review Sites

If you’re familiar with Ecommerce marketing then you know the importance of increasing customer reviews on individual product pages. Reviews help your company to gain trust from potential new customers and often times reviews end up answering questions that potential customers might have had. Not only this but reviews help with page authority and click thru rate (add in some rich snippet review markup) as well as they help assist in the department of long tail keyword rankings. Think of product reviews like hosting your own mini-forum that is super specific to your industry. Not only do you get to moderate the conversation but you literally get to host it on the same page of your site where consumers can easily purchase and checkout with minimal distractions.

Service, software, and product reviews are equally important on 3rd party sites. Go ahead and consider giving away your product for free to the most popular blogger in your industry or neutral industry in return for a fair and honest review of your product on their website. You’ll not only receive a valuable backlink from most likely a high PR site (if the blogger is decent) but you’re more than likely to receive a favorable review.  The law of reciprocity anyone? You just gave away your product for free. 

Again customer reviews almost always answer questions that potential customers might have and with Hummingbird targeting conversational content this is your best bet for increasing online exposure.

So there you have it. A quick run down of Google’s Hummingbird update, the main changes (conversational search+ results), and 5 tips to increase traffic to your website. Hummingbirds aren’t vicious after all you just have to have that sweet nectar that they are looking for.

Related: Top5 Best Blogging Topics

Domain Name Choice – Still a Factor To Online Success in 2013

Over the last several years Matt Cutts with Google has made made several public statements suggesting keyword rich domain names do not help your ability to rank for related keywords. It has been a topic of discussion for SEOs and marketing teams ever since. However in our own experience we have come to learn that Cutt’s statement is partly false.

The fact is that keyword rich domain names will always be crucial to your online marketing efforts. They will either work for you or against you but either way they will affect your efforts on behalf of your clients or the business you run yourself. Let us show you some proof.

Proof That Keyword Rich Domain Names Automatically Rank

Upon researching industries and keywords before entering a new online marketing niche we have found several examples that support our theory that keyword rich domain names are primed to easily beat out competing branded domain name websites. This remains true most often even if those competing websites have more page rank authority, better onsite optimization, and a more impressive inbound link profile than the keyword rich domain name. Lets take a look at some cold hard evidence.

Case Study 1: Uniforms Express

Brand URL:  www.uniformsexpress.com

Competitor URL: www.baseball-uniforms.com

Keyword phrase:baseball uniforms

In this example, Uniforms Express, has a branded domain name in which they use their company name as their URL. In comparison, a competitor snagged the domain name, “www.baseball-uniforms.com”. Upon conducting a keyword search in Google for “baseball uniforms” here are the organic results  on the first page.

As the example shows, the keyword rich domain name ranks several positions higher than the branded domain name. Well this would be ok if the keyword rich domain name had more authority, a quality inbound link profile, and great onsite optimization in comparison. But analytics show otherwise.

From the above screenshot we can see that the branded domain name, Uniforms Express, has more inbound links, a higher citation flow, a higher trust flow, a higher domain authority, a higher mozRank, and a higher mozTrust. Additionally if you were to take a look at both sites you would see the keyword rich domain, www.baseball-uniforms.com has limited content if any on their site while the branded domain, www.uniformsexpress.com has significantly more (although limited) content as well.

Considerations for Keyword Rich Domain Names Vs. Branded Domain Names

In the above example we would like our readers to note that title tags optimization does play a role in this example although not enough to help the keyword-rich domain name outrank the branded domain name on a level playing field. So what does this mean for you and your marketing efforts?

  1. Before building a website consider your industry, marketing budget, and marketing strategy. If have big money to spend then a brand name domain will work for you as long as you can expend more money on advertising and alternate brand marketing strategies. If people search online for your brand because you’re that big, ranking for keyword specific terms are not as important.
  2. For the 99% of everyone else who is not a big brand yet or does not have initial big brand marketing dollars; do everything in your power to grab a keyword rich domain name. Consider buying a keyword rich domain name if the price tag is reasonable to aid in your organic SEO efforts.

SEO Takeaway:

Keyword rich domain names will always rank because search engines don’t know if that domain name is just a keyword rich domain or if it is actually your company name. If your company name is literally “baseball uniforms” then your website should come up when somebody searches for your brand online. Confusing a bit? Yes. But a novel concept to wrap your brain around if you have a moment.

Related read: SEO for Startups and Beginners- What Google Recommends

How To Increase Website Conversion Using Google Analytics Navigation Summary

The beloved Google Analytics; so useful, insightful, applicable, robust, and oh so confusing. It’s true that Google Analytics provides more data, tools, and information than almost any online marketer could possibly need. Most of this information is certainly useful while parts of it may not be needed in your average marketing campaign.

As Google Analytics has become more robust in recent years it has provided marketers more opportunity to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of how well their campaign is performing. With the addition of multi attribution analytics last year and tag management tracking this year, Google Analytics can become a platform that is easy to lose yourself in.

Improve Website Conversions by Studying Traffic Navigation

Probably one of the most overlooked features of Google Analytics is traffic navigation. Studying how visitors interact with your website is absolutely crucial to the success of your online marketing campaign. Sometimes all that is needed to dramatically improve the conversion percentage of your website is to identify one poorly optimized webpage of your site that is scaring away customers. It’s comparable to identifying that one person in your office that puts everyone else in a bad mood and never completes their share of duties. If you can identify this person and get rid of them, then the entire energy and production of your workplace will change for the better.

How can we identify those pages on your site that are as bad as your worst coworker? The easiest way to show you how to use traffic navigation in Google Analytics to find those dangerously under performing webpages is to walk you though a quick video tutorial. Check it out here.

Related Ninja Marketing Tips:

Three Things I Learned As an SEO Intern

By: Sarah Snider

Search engine optimization has been a field I’ve been wanting to explore for quite some time.  Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to have landed an SEO internship with DinoMite SEO. Prior to this internship, I had dabbled with Google Adwords and Webmaster tools and thought those tools encompassed the majority of search engine optimization. They are certainly two of the biggest online marketing tools but little did I know that there are many other resources, platforms, and applications that become an integral part of a practicing SEO.

As an SEO intern, what I’ve come to realize most is how challenging and tedious search optimization can be and how many moving parts are involved. During my internship I’ve written many blog posts here on the DinoMite website and in addition to my current copy writing internship, I’m learning more and morehow crucial content marketing is to online search. Whether you use infographics, photos, video, slideshows, or PDF’s it is absolutely necessary that your business continually produce high quality content that provides value to your readership. To summarize, here are three things I’ve learned as an SEO intern to date.

1). You Can Always Rely on High Quality Content Marketing

The importance of content marketing cannot be dismissed. We hear it everyday from every guru on every website. But, until you simply cave in and produce high quality, relevant, and engaging content on a regular basis you won’t drive consistent, return, and new readership.

As an intern I’ve enjoyed writing blog posts on search and social marketing. My background is in journalism so I’ve always been familiar with writing. However learning how to optimize my writing for search, adding in sub headers, including keywords, and linking to relevant content within your website was something that was new to me.

Understanding your readership is important before your write online. Most bloggers make the mistake of writing about what is most interesting to them while they should be writing about what is most interesting to their target market. (A quick read of, The Top 5 Blogging Topics will give you guided direction on what you should be blogging about. ) When you write specifically to provide value to your readers they appreciate your work and that is exactly what you want. High quality and valuable content attracts links, social shares, and encourages return website visitors.

2). Infographics Might Be the Most Underutilized Online Marketing Tools

Infographic marketing may just be the most underutilized online marketing tactic. Infographic marketing is certainly more difficult than say link building. After all a good infographic includes interesting and hard to find statistics, provides enlightening insight, includes quality graphic design, and delivers a message that a reader might otherwise might not comprehend.

However the work that goes into the research, analysis, creation, and marketing of an infographic is not far beyond the scope of the work that goes into composing and marketing a high quality press release. After all the only extra step is graphic design. Now granted graphic design requires more resources and time but that extra step is not so big that your business should ignore infographic marketing all together.

During my internship I’ve learned that businesses and marketing firms can leverage the power of infographic marketing by simply evaluating their priorities. A simple change to their blogging schedule should free up enough resources to add infrographic marketing to their online strategy.

For example if your business blogs weekly then every other month schedule out only two blog posts instead of four. Use that extra time and those resources that would have gone towards two extra blog posts to invest into buying an infographic from a marketing firm. The value, brand recognition, and direct traffic that an infographic will directly build will far out weigh the two blog posts sacrificed to free up resources.

3). WordPress For SEO Or Bust

Everybody has heard of WordPress but prior to my internship,  I had little understanding why it was glorified as the premier content management system. After spending some time within a few different WordPress hosted sites I confidently say along with the masses that WordPress trumps all.

In comparison to Dreamweaver, blogger, or other smaller content management systems and online platforms, I found WordPress much easier to work with. WordPress is not only more user-friendly, but it is also search engine friendly and really helps to maximize your online marketing efforts. No matter what your end goal is for website functionality, looks, or feel there seems to be a plugin that can quickly install to help you achieve you desired goal. And of course, none of these plugins requires extensive knowledge of coding. Most of them are “drag and drop” so that anybody who can operate a computer can make sure of them.

For any young SEOs out there or even smaller local business owners who are in need of web design; be sure you build your new site on the foundation of WordPress. Doing so will save you massive headaches and time down the road as you upgrade, redesign, and desire to add new features to your website. 

photo credit: cc

The Core Principle of Local Seo in 2013

Local SEO continues to change more regularly than competitive SEO. Our team at Dinomite SEO has noticed that Google shakes up local search results more frequently than competitive search results. By local search results we are referring to any keyword search that has “local” intent. Examples include searches for a dentist, a doctor, a shopping center, restaurant, dry cleaning, gas station, ice cream parlor, or auto shop.

Local Directory Optimization & Local Review Site Optimization

Quite consistently in 2013 Google has been giving priority to industry specific directory listings and review sites for local searches. Review sites such as Yelp and directories such as the Yellow pages have found their place at the top of organic search results as pictured below.

Our team has noticed that specific review sites are more important in some industries over others. Additionally specific directories are more highly ranked in other local niches. (In some cases even we have found Facebook pages or Twitter accounts to rank organically on the first page of a local SERP.)

With local search results including the combination of places, organic, directory listings, and review sites the strategy for local SEO has become comprehensive and dynamic. The core principle of local SEO in 2013 is now diversification.

A Local SEO strategy should include optimization for places, organic search, relevant directory listings, and relevant review sites. The combination of which can be help one business dominate their niche market.

Here is a look at how micro optimization on a local level can help a local business dominate search results.

Is Your Google Plus Profile Picture Disappearing In Search Results?

Google Authorship Consistency

Have you noticed that Google authorship is only working in search results for your website part of the time? Maybe a client or perhaps a competitor had a rich snippet Google plus author photo next to their search result yesterday but is missing that photo today? It seems Google authorship may be inconsistent in search results. Then again there would be no reason for such inconsistencies.

After a bit of research and snooping around we acknowledged a potential reason why authorship was only working part of the time in search results.

Preferred Domains and Contribution Links

As part of the instruction to setup your Google plus profile and become a recognized author to a particular website, Google has instructed authors to add a link in their Google Plus profile to those websites they contribute to.

This section of your profile is found by clicking to edit your “about” section of your profile and then clicking on “links”. From here you have the option to include links to your websites. So far this is not very difficult.

The problem however is that author’s often enter in the wrong domain to a website they contribute to. They should enter in the preferred domain (a.k.a. canonical domain) but instead enter in a WWW. version or non-www version which may not perfectly match the domain in search results.

When author’s link to a wrongful domain Google can’t always cleanly follow 301 redirects or otherwise match that same link to the rightful domain in search results.


http://www.dynamikinternetmarketing.com   VS.  http://dynamikinternetmarketing.com

Correct that Contribution Link

When the contribution link in a Google plus author profile is not the true canonical domain the result is often times a flickering or inconsistent display of Google authorship in search results.

Fixing this inconsistency is not very difficult however. Simply check your search results and find which domain is ranking best. This is your preferred domain. Now copy and paste this domain into your Google plus profile as an author of this website. Now Google can easily and consistently attribute your articles on this domain name to your profile all the time.

SEO Action Tip: Use Google’s Data Highlighter Tool to help Google better understand the content on your website.

Penguin 2.0 Is On It’s Way – Learn How To Survive A Bigger, Badder, Penguin

The head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, has announced the coming of a new Penguin update sometime in the summer of 2013. Brace yourself for Penguin 2.0.

Penguin 2.0 will be similar to the original Penguin update but has a few added elements. Let’s take a close listen to what Matt Cutts has to say and then we’ll discuss the action steps you should take.

What To Expect from Penguin 2.0

Penguin 2.0 is targeting low quality and black hat link building efforts. Just as the original Penguin update focused on penalizing websites with volumes of low quality links in proportion to the number of high quality inbound links; Penguin 2.0 will do a more accurate job of penalizing websites who have cheated their way to the top of search engines.

Here’s a list of what Penguin 2.0 is looking for:

  • Paid Links (Advertorials violating Google’s guidelines)
  • Links from low quality websites
  • Irrelevant Links (Un-Natural)
  • Over Optimized Anchor Text
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Hacked Websites

Here’s what type of websites may be penalized:

  • Sites which have received a boost in ranking from purchasing paid links
  • Sites that have a high ratio of inbound blogroll links compared to other inbound links
  • Sites that are ranking for keywords outside their industry (if you were lucky enough to have your website ranking for a random keyword phrase… this may be corrected)
  • Hacked sites

How to Survive a Bigger, Tougher, and Meaner Penguin

Google wants the formula for online success to always remain consistent for your brand. The ultimate goal is to have those websites that provide the most value to the user to have the most online exposure.

Thus, if your website provides extraordinary value to the user then your website should be rewarded with higher relevant keyword rankings. However, as competition in every online industry grows, the task for Google to find the best websites in each industry becomes more difficult. Enter social signals.

The easiest way for Google to determine if your website is valuable to users is by looking closely at your social signals. Social media and SEO are influencing each other more each day. If your website has a great deal of traffic, return visitors, a low bounce rate, Facebook likes, shares, and recommendations, and a fair amount of Google plus shares…. then it is easy for search engine robots to determine your website provides a great user experience. The end result should then be higher rankings. Lets dig in further and examine how to go about building a great user experience.

Action Steps To Scare Off Penguin 2.0

1). Provide Value To Your Visitors – Build your website, write page content, and compose blog posts with your visitor in mind. Give them the information that they want and readers will come back, share your content, stay on your website longer, and possibly buy your services. An engaged and happy website visitor shows in analytics that Google can see. When Google sees happy website visitors they determine your website is of high quality and reward you with higher rankings and higher page rank.

2). Lower Your Bounce Rate – Your bounce rate is the first indicator of what people think of your website. If your bounce rate is high it can mean two things. One, that you are running an ad campaign with keywords and copy that don’t accurately relate to your website. Or two, that your website is lacking visually or contextually what organic visitors are hoping to see.

The most effective way to lower your bounce rate is to use an A/B conversion software to help you determine the best combination of text and images to convey a first impression that visitors hope to see. Try Crazy Egg.

3). Provide Social Sharing Opportunities – Even if your company does not have a very proactive social media marketing strategy you should still offer those socially savvy website visitors an easy way to share your content. Add Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp, and Twitter buttons at the very least to your homepage. The social shares will follow in time as your business continues to provide valuable content.

Bonus Social Proof Tip: Until your website garters many social shares, use social buttons that don’t display the number of shares. Avoid negative social proof at the start and then leverage social proof when you have the swagg to do so.

4). Keep Your Website Safe From Hackers-

2013 is quickly becoming the year of the hack. And Penguin 2.0 is on the hunt for injured prey. If your website is hacked or contains malware you can expect to lose rankings and website traffic. Keep you website safe by updating your password to contain symbols, upper and lower case letters, numbers, and multiple words that in no way, shape, or form could relate to your brand, business name, birthday, or service. Hackers and software are quick to try the top thousand combinations of your business password to get into your site. 

5). Use Google Markup Language to Help Google I.D. Your IndustryGoogle’s highlighter tool makes it simple for webmasters to add html markup to their website in order to help Google bots id their industry, products, or events. No coding skills necessary. Just the knowledge and application of the tool itself is all that is needed. This is the easiest way besides using a sitemap to help Google index and understand the pages and content on your website.

6). Build Quality Links– Ultimately Penguin 2.0 is looking to penalize sites with low quality inbound links. So build high quality links instead. Begin by guest blogging on relative and authoritative sites in your industry. Guest blogging is the best SEO tactic of 2013.

So there you have it. The ultimate defense to Penguin 2.0. What concerns or questions do you have about Google’s next big update?

Bonus Content:

So as we stated in tip #3 providing social sharing signals has become increasingly important to your online marketing efforts and is now a factor in organic keyword rankings. Circling back around to our point on negative social proof, you don’t want to display social sharing buttons on your website or blog post unless you have already accumulated a few shares. Your readers won’t want to share a post that has zero shares….

That’s why we recommend the WordPress plugin, Flare, to our clients with wordpress hosted blogs. Flare is like other social sharing plugins with the addition of a social proof attribute. Using Flare you can set the number of social shares to a minimum before the plugin will ever show a counter to your visitors. Once you hit 10 or maybe you decide 20 shares as a minimum, Flare, will now leverage your positive social proof to help you gain even more shares from your readers by suddenly showing a share counter.

Best of all Flare is free to download and free to use and includes a bunch of other great attributes to make your site look good and help you drive more social traffic and increase SEO signals to your site.

4 of The Top Free Online Web Design Resources of 2013

Author: Lucas Rohm, Owner of Mission Bay Media, A San Diego web design firm.

Whether your field of expertise or interest is in Internet Marketing, Web Design and Development or SEO, it’s always nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve for your clients or friends. If you’re involved in editing or administering a website of any kind, there’s a chance you’ll have to perform some general Web Design related tasks, and what follows are some great (FREE) online resources and tools to streamline and optimize those tasks.

1) Dynamic Drive’s Favicon Generator –

One great, easy way to give a professional feel to any website is by including a Favicon. In case you’re not familiar, a website’s Favicon is the small image or icon that shows up next to the website’s name in the web browser’s tab or URL bar. Favicons usually come in .ICO file format. The best way to create a Favicon is to design an “iconic” representation of your site or logo in your favorite image editor, being sure to make the dimensions of that icon 16 pixels by 16 pixels. You can save that icon as a .PNG, .JPG or .GIF to start with. Once you visit Dynamic Drive’s Favicon Generator, you can upload your icon in any of the above image formats, and the Favicon Generator will allow you to download that icon in the proper .ICO format. Simply upload your new .ICO file to the root directory of your website and your new Favicon should install automatically! 

2) CSS Checkbox –

If you spend a lot of time writing CSS code, especially in relation to creating and styling form elements such as checkboxes, radio button and input fields, you’ll love this next free web designer resource. Designers looking for nice looking form elements and code, in particular free Checkbox CSS code, can check out CSS Checkbox for a variety of CSS and Image based checkbox styles that are available for free download.

CSS Checkbox sports a relatively large Checkbox code package that is open source, and hosts a CSS Checkbox generator that creates custom Checkbox CSS for specific situations. Whether you’re designing Opt-In forms for Newsletters or Checkout Forms for Ecommerce applications, having nice looking checkboxes from CSS Checkbox goes a long way. These CSS Checkboxes are “class”-based, which means that even if you run a site built on WordPress or Magento, you can retroactively install these beautiful checkbox styles. They even take requests for new checkbox styles, so if you have an idea of your own you can go share it with CSS Checkbox, and if you’re lucky they’ll post the CSS Checkbox style you’ve always dreamed of to their site.

3) CSS 3 Gen –

This site is a really wonderful resource for generating specific CSS styles for your HTML elements. CSS3Gen gives you an incredibly simple interface for creating cross-browser CSS3 styles for some of the more impressive CSS properties included within the CSS3 specification. By using sliders and editing simple configuration values, CSS3Gen can generate CSS code for the CSS box-shadow property, the CSS text-shadow property and the CSS gradient property, all of which are revolutionary when it comes to web design in the sense that prior to CSS3, these effects were achievable only through the use of images. CSS3Gen also provides some awesome tools to create CSS buttons for your menus and forms, as well as a generator for the CSS border-radius property — the CSS property that miraculously allows you to add rounded corners to your HTML elements.

4) Font Squirrel –

If you spend any time on a computer at all, chances are you are at least partially obsessed with fonts that are NOT Times, Helvetica or Arial. If that’s the case, you’ll absolutely love Font Squirrel. This Website offers “handpicked, free fonts”, which are great if you’re working on a personal project or designing something professional on a budget.

In addition to offering a really fabulous directory of sleek and impressive typefaces, Font Squirrel also offers a CSS @font-face Generator tool. This tool basically allows you to upload a font or typeface of your choice, and will subsequently use that typeface to generate a CSS @font-face kit that you can download free of charge. The @font-face kit will provide you several different file formats for your font (this allows for Cross-browser custom font implementation through CSS), a CSS file with example @font-face syntax (the CSS code that allows you to embed custom fonts in a website), and a demo HTML file so you can see your custom fonts in action. A quick word of advice–if you want to give your website or web project a little professional flare, take full advantage of this free tool and Font Squirrel’s incredible font database.

Did you learn something fun or interesting in this post? If so then please share the love and share the wisdom!

photo credit: luxuryluke via photopin cc

5 Best Blogging Topics to Gain Readership

We’ve all heard it before and we know it well by now- blogging should be at the hub of your inbound marketing strategy. The benefits of blogging are numerous and for the sake of originality we will not cover and recite all of the reasons why. Instead we would like to discuss the best 5 ways to gain readership with any one blog post. In the end, it all boils down to content. If you understand the content that people like to read than automatically your blog posts will be more successful in terms of gaining readership, keeping readership, inspiring social media buzz, and persuading action. So here are the best 5 writing topics that will attract readers to your blog.

Check out how to generate business leads with a blog comment!

Here are the top 5 blogging topics to gain readership:

1). Lists. Lists are a great way to categorize and condense otherwise lengthy and/or complex information. It is also a clean and pleasant presentation of information that people would not be intimidated by. Lists enable readers to quickly process information and it also helps readers remember the information.

2). Reviews. Nowadays, consumers are more interested in online reviews than any other time. It has been proven that people trust the reviews and opinions of their friends and family more so than advertisements. If you write a comprehensive review of a product, service, or otherwise strategy – the people will come to hear what you have to say.

3). Tips. The Internet is the number one source for information for just about everybody. People search online by typing questions directly into Google and often times search for the “best tips” on how to do something. If you can provide answers to solve problems then again, the people will come to you.

4). Current Event/News. People want to be informed but often times they don’t want to be the individual responsible for digesting current news. They want to know that the San Diego Chargers traded a defensive player but they also want an insightful analysis of what the implications of this news might be. Will this trade make the Chargers better or worse defensively? If you can summarize a current event or any type of current news and then break down the implications of this news- you’ll find yourself building an online readership quickly.

5). How To’s. People not only want information but they want to learn new things. By presenting your readers with a “how to”, you’ll help them solve a problem while simultaneously proving yourself to be an expert within your industry. It’s a win-win type of deal here. 

Boom, there they are, the top 5 blogging topics that will increase readership and engagement for your blog. Now how easy is it to choose a topic to blog about? 

SEO Basics: Onsite Optimization

Four Onsite Optimization Strategies to Improve Page Rank in Search Results

    Implementing an SEO strategy in this digital, computer age is crucial for your business to grow. Everyone is now online and it is important to not only have a website, but an optimized one. An optimized website is easy to find online and benefits fro more web traffic which can translate into more business for your organization.

    Optimized websites are indexed by search engines and show up higher in search results for certain search queries. The first step in optimizing your website is to do some keyword research using tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool. Focus on keywords that have low competition, yet have high search volume. After you identify your keywords, strategically place them in different sections of your website. These sections include the title tag, meta description, headers, within the content itself, and within alt tags.

Title Tags

    Title tags indicate the name or title of your page that search engines look at when displaying search results for a search query. Let’s say your company does water damage restoration and your keywords include, “home water restoration” and “San Diego water damage”, then the title tags should include your company’s name and some, if not all of those keywords. The title tag appears either on the top bar of a window that appears in a web browser or on the tab at the top of the browser window.  Include your keywords here as you want to make sure your page appears in the search results for your keywords.

Meta Description

    The meta description is the brief couple sentences that appear under your page’s title that describe what your page is all about. When your page appears in a search result, a brief paragraph, usually consisting of a couple sentences, will show up under your page’s title.  The meta description helps the person conducting the search to get an idea of what your site is about so he or she can see if they want to proceed onto your site. Again, make sure your select keywords are included, that your description is clear, concise and accurately portrays your company. Again, your home water damage restoration company’s description should include, “home water restoration” and “San Diego water damage”.

Headings and Link-Rich Content

    Once visitors click through to your site, make sure your page headings are rich with your selected keywords. Make sure to also have your keywords sprinkled around in the content of each page of your site. The content of your pages also offer great opportunities to create both internal and external links that search engines will take into account in ranking your website in search results. Don’t go overboard with putting in too many links or keywords in your pages’ content. With too many links and keywords, your site will look bad and can incur penalties by Google. Have each page header and title tag different for each page of your site as each page will inevitably be on a slightly different topic. H1 Headers SEO- Onsite Optimization Tips

Alt Tags

    Many professional websites have images and/or videos to accompany the text. You should not have a website that is all text unless it is a blog. Text only websites are boring for a site visitor and therefore scare many viewers away. It also isn’t good for SEO as you lose another opportunity for search engines, and, therefore people to find your site. Search engines and consumers also attribute all text sites to advertisements and spam.

    All your images and videos should have a title and an alt tag-even the ones that aren’t on your website. Alt tags briefly, but clearly tell the viewer what the image or video is about if their computer for some reason can display the image or video. The viewer will still be able to get an idea of what the picture or video is showing though they cannot see it.  Search engines also crawl, search and rank images and videos as well as text, so that is why it is important to label and tag even your videos and images. Your alt tags need to be clear, concise and as descriptive of the image/video as possible. For your water damage restoration site, you may have pictures of your work vehicles or employees working in a home. Be concise, yet descriptive and include your keywords: home water restoration and San Diego water damage.

By utilizing all these techniques, one can diversify and therefore increase their website’s chances of being found on search engines and in search results. Being ranked high in search results lead to more visitors to your site and therefore more profit for your business.

About The Author: Sarah Snider is an intern here at Dinomite SEO and a student at UCSD. She has a minor in public relations and great experience with press release composition and SEO copywriting.