Website Workshop ™

April 20th, 2010

4 Quick Tips for Keyword Search

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

4 Quick Tips for Keyword Search

A popular question we receive in our SEO course is, “When I’m performing keyword search, how do I know what phrases work best for my website?” Choosing keywords can be somewhat of an art, but, if you use the right tools and do a little digging during keyword search, you’ll be surprised how many words and phrases you can use to properly optimize your site.

Preparing for Keyword Search

Let’s talk about a few things to consider before you begin the keyword search process.

  1. What is the business model for your company and what goals do you have for the year? Often, this will determine what direction your keyword search should take.
  2. Take time to think about how people search for your business, products and/or services on the Internet. Do they use “industry speak” or other words and phrases. For example, if you are a dentist, how many different words and phrases can be used to say dentist? And, what words and phrases do your patients, or prospective patients use to find you if they don’t know your name or the name of your practice? Use the keyword suggestion tools throughout keyword search to help you think outside the box. You may be surprised at the words you find.
  3. Now, let’s look at the SEO tools that you can use for choosing keywords. There are free sites, like Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Because this particular tool is really set up better for creating an Adwords campaign, I like to use it at the beginning of the keyword search process. Some other resources that should be considered are Wordtracker and Market Samurai, which are subscription-based. These keyword tools allow for saving researched information and give great comparison data for deeper keyword search.
  4. Once you find the tool you like (you can use more than one), choose keywords based on how relevant they are to your business, products and services. Keep in mind, relevance is key. Make sure to not only pay attention to competition, but also the potential for conversion. What is the likelihood that someone will click on that keyword phrase? Then, look for the keywords and keyword phrases that have high traffic and low competition. Often, these will give you have the best opportunity to rank for in the search engines.

Keyword search can be a fun and enlightening process. If performed in the right way, choosing great keywords can drive qualified traffic to your site. Stayed tuned for our next post that will describe the best practices for keyword placement within your content.

Buzzhound talks about keyword search and demonstrates how to use keyword search tools during each of our SEO classes. If you’re interested in really learning more, be sure to view our schedule online!

April 14th, 2010

SEO Training Seminars: What’s the Secret

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

SEO Training Seminars: What’s the SEO Secret?

Last night, Buzzhound had the exciting privilege of talking about our SEO training seminars to members of REBUS-Ad Club of St. Louis. I fielded a lot of really great questions about SEO and how our training seminars differ from others that are offered. One of the most interesting questions, I thought, was, “Aren’t you afraid of giving away SEO secrets?”

I looked at the marketer asking this question, smiled, and replied “no.” To me, there aren’t any secrets to SEO, unless you’re doing something that you shouldn’t. Information on search engine optimization can be found anywhere you look online. Whether I set my Google alerts for particular keywords or find valuable information on Facebook or Twitter, the resources from a slew of true SEO experts is available. What you have to decipher for yourself is what is white hat and what isn’t and find the best method you have for learning it. Some can really soak up the plethora of information that is out there, apply it and have some really great results. For others, it’s a completely different story. That’s not a bad thing since we all learn differently. But, what you do have to find is a seo training seminar that is going to really teach you concepts you can apply when it’s over.

Buzzhound doesn’t specialize in any secrets. As a matter of fact, what I show you in our seo training seminars is how I would work with SEO for any clients that I have. Our basic course is meant for beginners and helps to put into true perspective the basic information that is needed to create and successfully build continual SEO program. What’s important is that you’re able to gain some really valuable knowledge for your business and/or your clients, and that you feel comfortable and educated on SEO and its benefits. And, most importantly be able to apply it and make it come to life.

So the next time someone mentions SEO secrets to you, think about what it would take for you to have a leg up on that conversation. Betcha I know someone who can help explain it!

March 23rd, 2010

7 Ways to Improve Page Rank

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

7 Ways to Improve Page Rank

One of the most popular questions we receive in our seo training class is about how to improve page rank. Though there are several ways to improve page rank, I’m only going to touch on 7. First, let’s define what page rank is and how it was developed.

Page rank is an algorithm created by Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, as a way to denote the quality of a web site. Details of the algorithm can be found at Ann Smarty’s Daily SEO Tip with contribution from Eric Gesinski. Ann and Eric give the full algorithm and talk about the calculations of how it works.

Another thing to note about page rank is that it is like a “democratic vote” for your site. For example, if I have a high quality site and I link to your site, Google will recognize that my high quality site is linking to yours, so you must also have a great website as well, thereby passing on the link juice. The more “votes” you have for your site, the higher your site will rank. You can easily check your page rank with Google’s page rank checker. There are also some great Firefox toolbars that you can add that will also tell you page rank of your site and any others that you browse.

Now that we know what page rank is, let me show you 7 keys to improve page rank on your site:

1. Be aware of who is linking to your site and your competitors’ site. Yahoo! Site Explorer is a great tool to use for this exercise. Be sure to place competitors’ links in the page rank checker to see if those are quality links worth trying to add to your site. Remember quality of the link is more important than the quantity of links on your site.

2. Host a blog on your site. Blogging is a great way to link keywords internally to your site. And, once a blog is posted, make sure to place it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or whatever social channels that are the best for your business. Also take the time to make meaningful comments on other relevant blogs and posts links back to your site, or related pages on your site.

3. Submit to a variety of directories, including niche directories for your industry. Make sure to drill down to the topics most relevant to your site before you make a submission. Be sure to check the page rank of the directories before you click the submit button.

4. Use link bait to drive people to your site. Link bait can include a debate or statement on a controversial issue, important news item, some type of offer or incentive or ego hook. Be creative and if people like what you’re doing, they will link to you.

5. Consider writing press releases with keywords and phrases linked back to your site or article marketing. Though one is newsworthy and one is informational, they will both provide permanent links, thereby helping to improve page rank.

6. Use social media! Though this seems very logical to me, many still need to take advantage of the various platforms. Whenever you can, sincerely participate in a social community of your choice and leave links back to relevant content on your site.

7. Pay attention to review sites and make appropriate comments back when necessary. Your online reputation is important and responding in a positive manner can really put your business in a great light.

Now that you’ve got a list of ways to improve your page rank, develop a schedule for link building and always, add more quality content to your site. Remember to check for page rank of the site before you “connect” to them and good luck!

Do you use any creative ways to improve page rank on your site? If so, list them below for others to see.

March 16th, 2010

SEO Training – Online or In Person?

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

SEO Training – Online or In Person

After spending a substantial amount of time online researching SEO training, I’ve discovered that there are several ways to take in all the information regarding search engine optimization that can add value to your website. The question for me, is how do you prefer to receive your SEO training?

First, you can read various blogs and articles across the Internet that offer advice on proper SEO techniques and strategies. And, there are some really great resources out there. However, how do you find time to sift through all of that information and put it into action? Who is there to tell you if it really works, doesn’t work, is white hat, black hat, or all shades of gray? Learning SEO on your own can be very rewarding, yet overwhelming and leave you asking, “I’ve learned all this great info on SEO, but now, how and where do I start?”

I’ve also discovered several companies who offer online SEO training. And, there are different types of learning formats. Some offer live feeds others are subscription-based, allowing you to learn through a structured format at your own pace in a limited amount of time. These programs remind me of the “set it and forget it” approach. Some businesses will offer support, but most will charge extra for it. I recommend if you go with this approach that you really are careful to pick a provider that can give you help during and after the segment has ended to get your money’s worth. Moreover, if you become distracted and lose focus, it’s possible that you’ll waste valuable money because you were unable to finish the course in the amount of time that you were given. I also appreciate the SEO companies who give you access to their instructors for questions and answers.

Lastly, another method is to take SEO training is to attend a class. This hands-on approach, like we subscribe to at Buzzhound Learning Lab, I feel, is an ideal way to take SEO training. Why? Because I am a visual learner and prefer the hands-on learning approach. I feel comfortable in a small classroom environment, where I can use the computer and go through exercises with the instructors, ask questions, and even sit down with the trainer after class for a little one-on-one advice. On the flip side, what if you cannot spare the time away from your job to come to class? Does travel costs inhibit your ability to attend SEO training?

Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that value that attending any type of SEO training can bring to your website and online marketing program. Each format will have pros and cons, each different, for all of us. However, taking the time to learn how to optimize your site can make a significant difference to your website traffic and online brand.

Now it’s your turn. Which method do you prefer for SEO training and why?

March 11th, 2010

SEO Tools to Maintain Your Site’s Health

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

SEO Tools to Maintain Your Site’s Health

When’s the last time you checked to see how well your website is running? Are users leaving your site because they can’t find a page or it’s taking too long to load?

If you’re taking time to optimize your website, make sure to use the right seo tools to check your website’s health. One of the biggest things I notice with seo programs is that once the site has been optimized, people tend to leave it alone and not re-visit the site to check for possible errors. You’ve gone through all that hard work to boost site performance, so make sure that your pages are running smoothly. Below are a few seo tools that we use in order to keep our site healthy.

Where are your site errors?

Frequently, I like to check within the Webmaster tools in Google, Yahoo and Bing to see if there are any crawling errors. Their diagnostic tools offer insight into pages that not found, timed out, or unreachable. Finding and fixing these errors is essential to how a spider can successfully navigate your site.

Helpful Plug-ins

Firefox offers some great plug-ins that you can use as well to check your site’s health. These seo tools are free and are easy to use. Even if you aren’t able to fix the code yourself, the reports are easily printable to share with your Webmaster. Make sure to check out:

Richard Baxter also posted on the SEOmozBlog about other site checks he performs. It’s a pretty comprehensive list with a few other tools that can assist with site maintenance.

Inbound Links

Frequently, I also like to check the inbound links to our site and the number of pages that are being indexed. I find that the Yahoo Site Explorer seo tool works well. It’s always good practice to know who is linking to you and whether you want them to link to your site. Additionally, if you’ve added pages to your site and don’t see them listed, you may need to resubmit your site.

Are there other seo tools that you use that we forgot to mention? If so, let us know. We’d like to add them to our list.

March 9th, 2010

Google In Real Time & It’s Results

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

Google’s Real-Time Results & It’s Effects

It’s interesting as I read the posts and tweets regarding the world’s reactions to Google’s newly implemented in real time results (and spam as some refer to it). While some are pondering the negative effects it may or may not have on their websites, products, services and more, I want to see how others are going to capitalize on this new opportunity. In real time data will shake up Google results and really put a business’ SEO strategies to the test. It will be interesting to see how businesses and consumers alike are going to react to such a change.

Just this morning, I was in a conversation with my manager about communication styles and how the online world has changed face-to-face interaction. Sometimes, it’s really easier to reach people online where they are. Additionally, I read a post from Chris Brogan about how important it is to interact and talk with customers, instead of relying them on talking about your business. Real-time search is going to offer up some brilliant opportunities for companies to really stand up and take charge of their online reputation and manage their social media. Some say that it will detract from there site…I see it as an open door for others who may not have stumbled upon your site previously and opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and products and services. Poor customer service is going to take hit, as it should. Reviews about products and services are going to be the forefront, just like word-of-mouth. This reality will make it even more important for Internet marketers to roll up their sleeves and take SEO by the horns and make it work for them.

SEO isn’t a hard thing to learn, but can be time-consuming and does take practice. With in real time search now in place, and partnerships with Facebook and Twitter with Yahoo and Bing, SEO for a website should be an even larger priority. SEO training is a great way to get your feet wet and begin the basics of SEO for your site.

February 11th, 2010

Search Engine Optimization Company in St. Louis to Showcase Training at Open House

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

Search engine optimization company Buzzhound Learning Lab, located in St. Louis, Missouri, will host an open house to showcase their newly launched seo training classes.

Join Buzzhound for an informal gathering where we will discuss how effective search engine optimization can be for your company site. Attendance is free with a suggested $25 donation, collected at the door, to the Red Cross International Response Fund for Haiti Relief. Participants will gain valuable insight on the importance of search engine optimization while networking with other St. Louis business professionals and enjoying complimentary food and beverages.

A Night with Buzzhound
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Moosylvania Marketing
7303 Marietta Avenue
Maplewood, Missouri

Participation is limited and reservations are required. Visit or call Shelly at 314-951-9600 to reserve your spot.

January 28th, 2010

Are You Keeping Your Website New Year’s Resolution?

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

Are You Keeping Your Website New Year’s Resolution?

According to the Miami Herald, almost 97% of us make a New Year’s resolution, and of that, 40 to 45 percent use it to set goals. The article goes on to mention that there is statistical evidence that setting goals is valuable, concluding that only 46% make it past the six-month mark. I’m sure that you’ve made your own resolutions; Created, or at least contemplated, the cool new things that you can do with your website for the New Year. When are you going to your website search engine optimziation?

On a short break from researching and writing today, I discovered an interesting article on “Feeding My Soul” through “The Only Workout that Works” from Geneen Roth. The further I read about taking the small steps to get our bodies in shape, I began to think about how this same approach can be used towards our websites resolutions and search engine optimization.

I think too many people tend to think that like exercise, search engine optimization is one of those goals that everyone talks about, but either doesn’t know how or where to start, and then is a chore to keep up. Really? How would your business be if that were the mantra that you always put forth? Everything takes a little bit of effort. A little bit of effort in an search engine optimization program can take your website a very long way. Just imagine if we all exercised like we’re supposed to, we’d be buff. That’s how SEO works for your website. You’ll get back what you put into it.

So, are you keeping your website New Year’s Resolution?

Search engine optimization is a fundamental part of your Internet marketing program. It is key to any search marketing or social media program that you’ll do for your company. Sometimes, the tough part is getting started. First, take a look at your business model and your goals. Then, begin keyword discovery with tools like the Google Keyword Tool and Wordtracker. You’ll soon learn if your customers find you with “industry speak” or more simple terms. Once you find the keywords that fit your business goals, you’ll begin incorporating them into your meta data and content. Then, if it’s done correctly, you’ll see vast improvements to traffic to your site. And whether you perform SEO on your own or hire a reputable SEO firm to do it for you, understand that great search engine optimization for your website takes time, but is definitely worth the wait!

I know for the New Year, I have a lot of goals. Besides being healthier, I hope that others will take advantage of the opportunity to see the positive effects that SEO can have on their website and get it in the shape it should be in for optimal performance.

It’s almost of the end of January…how are you doing with the goals you’ve set for your website? Will you be in the successful 46 percent or will your competitor?

January 18th, 2010

Knowledge is Power

posted by: Shelly Wolfe

Knowledge Is Power

As we were conducting our SEO training the other day – it was exciting to see business owners harnessing the power of what they were learning.

It occurred to me to at that moment that “knowledge is power” was never as true as it is when you teach a business person what SEO can do for them –
and it truly sinks in for the first time.

When you’re looking at your business – and considering SEO training – how much is it worth to understand:

  • What is working and what isn’t on your site?
  • What do the search engines see when looking at your site?
  • Exactly what drives consumer search in your category?
  • What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
  • Who are your competitors linking to that you’re not?
  • What pages of your site are drawing the most visitors or have the highest bounce rate?
  • How can fresh content change your popularity?
  • As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “What’s the deal with Page Rank?
  • What are all of the directories that could potentially lead consumers to your site?
  • How can you tell who has been on the site and where they came from?

When you see all of the pieces put together for the first time – it’s a powerful feeling – and that’s why Friday at 3:30 is the most fun around here – seeing business people and marketers walking out with a whole set of seo tools they didn’t have that morning.

It’s fun to help them understand – and let them know our SEO instructors are around for anything else that comes up.

December 23rd, 2009


posted by: Shelly Wolfe

Ten Questions to Ask Your Website in 2010

Start Your Website Off with SEO Tips for the New Year

So you have a website. Currently, you are showcasing your products and services. The site is beautifully designed and you’re excited about it! As well, you should be. However, are people finding your site? Is it coming up in the search engines and can you tell how well your site is performing? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may need to tweek your site a bit to get better traffic, resulting in higher ROI for your website. Below are the top ten SEO tips for 2010 from Buzzhound that you should know, and implement, on your site:

SEO Tip #1. Does the web recognize your site?
When you type your website url in the search query box, does it show up in the organic or natural search results? Try searching for your site on your top products and services. Do you see your website? If not, you’ll want to make sure and check out the rest of the seo tips listed in our blog. These simple steps can help your site gain rankings in the search engines and increase opportunities for conversions.

SEO Tip #2. Are you registered with the search engines?
Typically, you should submit your site to the search engines to help the spiders find your site. This can be done through the webmaster tools in the major search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing – and it’s free! You just need to have an account and then add your site. You’ll want to make sure and add the sitemap files to your site and verify them too.

SEO Tip #3. How do consumers search for your product or service?
What words do your potential customers use to find your site? Are those the words that you are using on your site, or, are you creating a site that is full of industry terms that John or Jill Q. Public may or may not know? Consumers have a tendency to use broad keywords to find sites that have the information for which they are looking. This will help them learn what companies can help them. The more detailed the search, the closer the consumer is to making a purchase. Are those the keywords you are using on your site? If not, you may want to take a closer look at the words and descriptions you are using.

SEO Tip #4. How many customers does your competition’s site pull in?
There are many tools on the web, both free and subscription-based, that can help you gain insights into these questions. Though they can provide a rough guess, ultimately, you’ll never really know unless you have access to their analytics. However, you can analyze the competition by taking time to view the number of pages they have on their site, the number of inbound links they have, as well as their page rank. These factors can help you determine how they are influencing the online market and how strong their presence really is. Also, it can give you great insight into how you can shape your online strategy.

SEO Tip #5. What are the keywords that drive business?
First, how do you know what your main keywords are and, out of the big list you have compiled, how do you know which ones to use first? In this seo tip, we recommend using a couple of different tools to begin keyword discovery. The first is Google’s free keyword tool. It is a great place to see what words and phrases consumers are using to search, and 2) what the estimated competition is for those words. Once you’ve narrowed down the words and phrases that you believe are most relevant to your business, you can compare them in another valuable subscription-based tool called WordTracker. This tool can help you find longer-tail keyword phrases, as well as measure competition vs. traffic. Good keywords to begin writing pages for will include those who have high traffic and not much competition. That doesn’t mean you should go after words and phrases that have a higher competition and traffic volume if they are relevant to your business. It just simply means it may take a longer period of time to gain higher page rankings for those terms.

SEO Tip #6. What links drive traffic to your site?
Some companies will try to sell link building to you. Though this may seem like a logical, time-saving opportunity to you, make sure to check and to see what sites this company utilized for link building. Do those sites have a high page rank? Can they be influential to the success of your site? Are they related to your site? If not, it may be best to do some quality link building of your own. Tips for creating links include directory submissions, creating link bait (a compelling statement, words or phrases on your site that attract attention), writing a blog, commenting on other blogs, social media posts, article submissions and optimized press releases.

SEO Tip #7. What links drive traffic to your competitor’s site?
If you are curious on how your competitors are gaining a higher page rank, take time to check and see where their inbound links are coming from. There are a couple of tools that will show you this, including Google’s TouchGraph and Yahoo’s Site Explorer. Once you find out what those popular links are, start reviewing them and decide whether or not you’d like to link to them as well.

SEO Tip #8. How much content does your site have versus your competitors?
Content matters. It should be relevant and unique, avoiding duplicate content, whether that be an entire page, or product descriptions. The search engine spiders love new content and so do consumers. Take time to develop pages based around your keyword phrases and eventually, you’ll notice increased traffic to your site, as well as a trusted and knowledgeable industry expert on your products and services.

SEO Tip #9. When was the last time you updated your content?
As mentioned in SEO tip #8, spiders love new content and will often visit a site more often when new content is constantly added to the site. Keeping your content new and fresh also shows consumers that your company is staying on top of trends and has their interests at heart. After all, you are writing for consumers and not the search engines.

SEO Tip #10. Can you tell where your traffic came from and how much you have?
Free tools, like Google Analytics, can help you measure your site’s traffic, including frequency of visits, where traffic is coming from, and what pages are the most popular on your site. Additionally, this tool can be used to measure goal conversion and performance of branded and non-branded keyword phrases. If you don’t have a tool like this on your site, we definitely recommend adding it as soon as you can.

We hope that these SEO tips for 2010 can help you make your website function better and more efficiently for your business. And, if you need more assistance with keywords research, content writing and more, make sure to take an SEO class at Buzzhound Learning Lab. You can learn to optimize your site and make it work optimally for your company.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Share your comments…

Contact us at:

Buzzhound Learning Lab
7305 Marietta (in Maplewood)
Serving 20 cities nationwide
Hands-on SEO classes with 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio

Contact: Shelly Wolfe