Asheville SEO Pro Chuck’s 15 Step By Step SEO Tips For Writing Blog Posts


As an Asheville Local SEO Pro I am often asked about my secrets for the great rankings I get on my blogs. I’m willing to give some of my tips out if you want them. Remember, it takes dedication and commitment to get your local SEO ranking just the way you want.

1. Choose a keyword or idea on one specific topic to write about. This possibly means researching a variety of terms.

It is important to consider the LSI or latent semantic indexing . LSI keywords are simply keywords that relate back to your main keyword. I use 2 or 3 of them in each post along with my main keyword phrase.

If you want maximum LSI and SEO value check the Google keyword to see what Google says are “additional keywords”.

writing blog posts 15 Step By Step SEO Tips For Writing Blog PostsWriting Blog Posts

Use the “Additional Keywords to Consider” on the Google Keyword Tool or the Google Wonder Wheel f which can be found  by opening the “show options” drop-down box on the Google search page.

These related keyword phrases CAN be used in your post if possible (Google doesn’t just look at a phrase but also related phrases).  If you pull a couple of the top related phrases this can benefit your post.

I chose the keyword “writing blog posts” and added the following LSI Keywords for this post:

  • blog writing tips
  • writing successful blog
  • SEO blog posts
  • writing seo blog posts
  • internet business blogging
  • internet business tips

2. Form a short link for any important keyword hyperlink that you need to track using pretty links pro or a similar keyword tracking service. This is optional but I like to track the progress of the keywords or links that are contained in my blog posts:

3. Remember, the title of the post is the most important on site element. So it is vital that the keyword phrase is in the title. In general If you use the word “How To” or a specific number of steps to achieve a desired goal it will go a long ways towards improving the chances that your blog post gets read.

4. Write the post with the idea that Content is King. I like to use lists to generate traffic. Some content Ideas for lists include:

  • how to lists
  • different ways to do things
  • Step-By-Step systems
  • the wrong way to do something
  • Links to other blogs or bloggers
  • And lastly, resources lists which is one of the common articles I write on this website since I provide internet business resources.

It’s also important to break up long paragraphs into shorter paragraphs to make it easier for your reader to scan or read the article.

5. Consider using video since it’s a great way to communicate “how to” subjects. You can either use Camtasia which is now available for Mac users also or try using their free service called Jing to make shorter screen-cast videos. You may also consider using a Flip Video to record yourself talking.

Once the video is finished then upload it to YouTube, Viddler, or DailyMotion using a service like Tubemogul.com. Also consider video sharing sites that include do-follow. A list of some of them can be found at  http://www.searchenginejournal.com/dofollow-video-sharing-sites/

6. Use Audio: If you don’t feel comfortable using video you may consider using audio. At the very least you may want to consider a wordpress plugin such as Odiogo to place a “Listen Now” button on your blog post which is especially good for podcasters.

3333485809 cc4918385f b 300x206 15 Step By Step SEO Tips For Writing Blog PostsBlog Writing Tip- Add alt tags to your images

7. Add pictures with relevant alt descriptions. The alternate descriptions of the images that you use can be very effective when writing blog posts with SEO considerations since search engines tend to place a high level of importance on the alt tags.

8. Think about tags and insert around 5-10 tags for your post. If you were searching for information, what keyword phrases would you use to find this article?

9. Choose categories for the post. Keep in mind the keywords that you are using and choose the appropriate category(s).

10. Publish the article. Review the article for errors and misspells. Preview it to make sure the layout and photos look OK and then publish the Article.

11. Send the article to your mailing list. I use aweber for my mailing list. The advantage of aweber is that, once you write an article, aweber can be set up to automatically broadcast it using their integrated RSS feed broadcaster. You can even set it up to broadcast to twitter.

12. Submit to social networks like twitter and facebook. I use ping.fm . It’s a free service and by placing a button in my tool-bar I simply ping the blog posts.

13. Submit your article to Social BookMarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites can include many media services such as Digg, Technorati,  Google Bookmarks, StumbleUpon and even Facebook and Twitter which I’ve already mentioned. Consider using the following tools:

I use onlywire.com because it’s the fastest way to submit to Social Bookmarking sites since it is almost fully automated. They will give you the service for free if you place their “onlywire” button on your website

Try socialmarker.com- Be sure to take advantage of the sites that give you a Do-Follow link by clicking on the text that says “Select the social bookmarking sites you want to Submit to” located on the right hand side of the page.

14. Submit to Blog Carnivals– shoot for 20-30 Carnivals. Go to http://blogcarnival.com/bc/ and follow the easy steps to submitting to blog carnivals

15. Article Submissions

Rewrite your Article and Submit it. You may consider manually submitting to EzineArticles.com, goarticles.com, and articledashboard.com.

Another idea is to use a service like ISnare.com. They charge $10 to submit your article to several thousand sites.

Since it is important to rewrite your article to make sure that you don’t have duplicate content all over the web you may try a program called Magic Article submitter because the  2 package tool-set includes an article rewriter and article submission service. I also use this service which is located at Free Traffic System.com.

If you need more tips on these SEO steps contact me at SEO Pro Asheville.


Optimize your site for the latest Google changes

google updatesGoogle’s recent changes have had all local SEO pros backing away and rechecking what they are doing and why. The changes are not that complex, but you need to be aware of them and what actions you need to take to make sure your sites remain SEO friendly.

So, what do you do if you were impacted by Google’s moves or what can you learn from this to make sure you are in good shape going forward even if you escaped with rankings in tact on this one?

First step is to get a professional marketing review of your site. You can do this by contacting me, Chuck Taft, local Asheville SEO Pro. I can do free quick reviews for businesses anywhere, but can especially help you if you are in the Asheville area.

From what we know now, we can surmise the following:

Sites that have a high percentage of duplicate content are going to be considered low quality.

Develop new, unique content and grow your site.

Let’s look at this scenario: If you have a page here and there that has duplicate content but the rest of the site has unique content, those pages with the dupe content may not fare well but your site as a whole should still do OK.

But when going page by page, if the engines are hard pressed to find quality, unique content then it will end up impacting your site as a whole.  Google’s official take on this: low quality content on part of a site can impact a site’s ranking as a whole. So be careful!

Those that repost content and then add a line or two with their opinion on the content, and feel that is enough unique content to satisfy the engines are going to find it  problematic heading forward.  If lots of pages have only a small percentage of the page’s content being unique, those pages won’t fare well either.

Google also seems to be looking for pages that have a high volume of ads that aren’t relevant to the content of the page (especially if the ads are higher up on the page).  These pages will not fare well in today’s Google.

Be sure to review your site and get rid of ads that are irrelevant.  Also be sure your site isn’t too cluttered with ads.

If your site happened to rank well for a phrase but the phrase is not really present in the Title tag or the body content, the page isn’t going to continue to do well going forward.

Review your site and make sure each page has unique Title Tags that use keywords that are also present in the body content.

Keywords being repeated over and over and over and over will trigger the new algorithm to devalue the page.  Keywords should be used appropriately.

Review your content, tone down your keyword density of you need to.  Be sure it reads well. One test many copywriters share is reading your content out loud, your brain processed it differently when it hears the text out loud and you’ll know if there are too many keywords stuffed in there.

The next one is something a lot of people struggle with:

High bounce rates and low time spent on the site can impact rankings.  This will force people to really look at the quality on their site and improve things so they entice visitors to not bounce and to stay longer.  It means strong marketing principals and good copy are going to be more important than ever.

Improve headlines, calls to action and general usability of the site.  CTR (clickthrough rate) from the SERPs (search engine results pages) will also impact rankings.  If your site comes up a lot but no one is clicking, you can be sure it’ll impact things.

asheville local seoReview your Title tags:

Pay attention to the length of your Title tags and be sure your descriptions on the SERPs aren’t being truncated before you reveal the most important info. This is key!  People need to be able to see what you offer and how it’s relevant to their query.  So also get your keyword in there early.  In other words, look at where Google is pulling the data from that they display in the SERPs (usually your Title tag is what they use to create the main headline for the listing) and make sure that area of text is compelling, and that is explains exactly what the page has to offer, it’s also helpful if it includes a keyword phrase.

Ex: A Must Have Comprehensive Guide: Learn How To Care For Your Pet Fish – not so good – the keyword phrase is pushed to the back of the phrase and will likely get truncated.

Ex: How To Care For Your Pet Fish – Must Have, Comprehensive Guide  – much better – they keyword phrase is at the start but you also still got the descriptive compelling content in there.

If you need your company name in your Title tag, put it at the end.

Think of your Title tag like an ad – be descriptive of what the page is about but be compelling so people want to click through.  Promise a benefit (as long as your content delivers on what you promise)

They don’t want to see boilerplate content (content that is the same and repeated on every page).

Review your site and look for blocks of content that you are reusing on multiple pages.  Tweak it, so it’s unique.

Sites that aren’t getting some social exposure (mentions and links from social media sites) won’t do well.

Yep we keep saying it, and it’s true – you need to be on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Need some help with that?  Email me with questions!

Even if you weren’t hit in the big update, if your site has many issues in the areas outlined above you can and will lose rankings over time.  Sites that excel in what Google is looking for will dominate.

Now is actually a GREAT time to optimize your site.  You can jump in there and show Google that your site is worthy of rankings.


Asheville Local SEO Expert: getting more and better quality online reviews

Customer reviews are at the forefront of the news again, so it’s a good time to start thinking about how garnering more online reviews fits into your business.As an Asheville SEO Pro I find this is one of the most important parts of internet marketing.

In my experience, when it comes to reviews there are four types of businesses:

  • Businesses that get most of their business from referrals, don’t get any online reviews and could care less about them (perhaps the biggest chunk of businesses).
  • Businesses that get most of their business from referrals, get online reviews and think that nobody reads them or cares.
  • Businesses that think reviews are hugely important and work hard to get a lot of them.
  • Businesses that think reviews are hugely important and work hard to get them, but don’t get many, if any.

What the types that rely heavily on referrals and ignore reviews don’t realize is that some time in the next year or two someone is going to write something about them online and there’s a good chance it’s going to be negative.

If it gets around, which it usually does thanks to Google, their referrals are at risk of drying up. If the first thing that shows up in Google for your brand is a negative, you are potentially screwed.

For those that work hard at getting a lot of reviews, I would wager that most of them are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

While positive reviews are great, the real power is in the reviewer. A customer willing to spend the time to review you is a brand ambassador. Instead of just asking them for reviews, you should be thinking about how you can harness your relationship with these valuable people to help spread the word, both online and off.

Those that try but can’t seem to get traction with reviews should consider the following on how to build review generation into their business processes.

There are basically four ways to get an online customer review:

  • Via phone
  • Via email
  • Via a Website
  • Via transcription from a hand-written review

Which method is right for you depends on how you conduct your business.

Do you collect customer email addresses? Most of the businesses I work with know they should but rarely do, or rarely do it with any rigor.

Do you have more than 50% of your customers’ up-to-date email addresses? If so, then you can use email solicitations where you can ask them to provide a review via email or you can direct them to a website where they can leave a review.

If email doesn’t work for you, then you’ll need to consider how you typically interact with your customers. If most of your business is done in person then give them a comment card. If it’s over the phone, you may have to do it via mail. Try stapling a comment card with return postage to your invoice.

When figuring out your review acquisition strategy, take a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what your staff can realistically do every day.

Some tips for asking customer reviews:

  • Don’t offer incentives. A percentage of your customers will do it for free. If you offer to pay your top brand ambassadors, it’s possible they will get turned off, which could hurt your business by dampening the enthusiasm of these mavens.
  • Make it easy for customers. Don’t send them a link to review you on Google unless they have a Gmail address.
  • Don’t ask people for Yelp reviews. This almost always backfires. You may get a few positive reviews in the short term, but if your customers are not active Yelpers, Yelp’s SPAM filters will eventually toast their reviews. You’ll end up with no reviews and potentially some angry customers who wonder why their work of review art disappeared.
  • Do it promptly. Don’t wait. People are most likely to give you feedback right away.  The longer you go from the time of service to the time of request, the likelihood of getting reviews drops precipitously. According to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby, a review service, “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90%” vs. much lower rates for other forms of review solicitation.
  • If you have the customer’s email address, follow up your initial request three days later with a reminder email containing links of where to for review submissions. Reminder emails can account for a huge percentage of review conversions.

Bonus Tip: always underpromise and over deliver. I have often heard that business owners can feel embarrassed when asking customers for reviews. If that sounds like you, my advice is to be totally candid with your customers.

Chuck Taft, Asheville Local SEO Pro


My view of google Panda as a local SEO pro

seoMuch has been written about Google’s Panda Update. As an Asheville Local SEO Pro clients have been asking me if the Panda Update is all it’s cracked up to be.

Panda is reportedly THE biggest leap in search technology since being granted a patent for PageRank in 2005 effectively making Google the dominant source of internet traffic for all company websites. Michael Martinez of SEO-Theory.com uses this phrase to describe it:

Like it or not, all companies are now in the internet marketing business – no other form of marketing has as dramatic an effect on a companies sales. Nearly every one of your potential customers makes searching on the internet where they begin to make a purchasing decision, effectively making Google.com is your companies home page.

Panda As The Farmer Update

Content Farms Are Bad or Content Farms Are Good, which is it?

Exploiting the PageRank algorithm by reverse engineering what the algo values and giving it what it wants has led Google to make changes. Once it was discovered that adding an article to certain types of websites, sometimes called Content Farms, would generate top ranking, a loophole was discovered:

Quantity Outperformed Quality In Terms of Generating Page Views

It was discovered throwing a ton of “junk articles” up on high page rank content farms would allow a company to dominate search results. It mattered little if the article was “good” or poorly written.

Many webmasters panicked when they found their web ranking and web traffic tanked, some hastily came to the conclusion that the algorithm “thinks we are a content farm.”

So how did all of this happen?

Google and Do No Evil

It’s been a long standing policy at big G to not allow it’s paid advertisers to influence the main body of search results, often called the organic search results. Project teams are said to work independent of one another.

The web spam department headed by Matt Cutts does not take orders from the paid advertising department or Adwords.  Google made billions off of content farms because those content farms served up Adsense ads from paying advertisers.

Adwords = you enter into a bidding war with your competitors to buy your way to the top of paid or sponsored links

Adsense = you publish those adwords ads or serve them on your website and big G shares a portion of it’s billions of dollars in Adwords revenue.

RSS feed Promotion and Scraper Sites

Blogs have a feature that static websites do not: RSS feeds. The ranking algorithm favors fresh content, it wants to show searchers “real time news”, a blog qualifies as a “news source” in a way that static conventional websites do not. Simply put a blog will beat a website in ranking in search results.

Some marketers discovered that by ”scraping” RSS feeds and simply republishing someone else’s article or blog post they could make a fast buck by serving up Adsense ads from a ”junk website”.

RSS feeds on eCommerce sites run into what is known as the “duplicate content penalty”. Imagine if you sold a dozen variants of a product, had a dozen different pages on your site and the only thing to differentiate each product was the color. Let’s say you sold decorative backing plates for light switches, and there were a dozen colors to choose from…. and all of those pages were published on your blog’s RSS feed. How is an algorithm going to decide if your internal pages are “newsworthy” when all it has to go by is the text (or lack thereof) on each page?

The SEO solution is to write text, craft a unique description of each “widget” you sell from your site, give the algorithm some help so it can differentiate one product from another.

Syndicating Our Content –  Good or Bad

Through RSS feeds our content (articles, blog posts, etc) to be syndicated. There are 2 very good reasons we want this:

  1. Maximize Our Exposure much like we want to cast as wide a net as possible while fishing for new customers, much like we want to have our company found on social media sites.
  2. Backlinks pointing to our sites. We want to write authoritative articles about our genre that qualify as Link Bait. An article so good other websites would want to republish it


Pay attention to your sitelinks and how they rank for local SEO

local seo

Some of my local SEO musings for today:

If you rely on queries for business names to generate a lot of search traffic to your site, like most yellow pages sites do, you just got pushed way down the page, like Yelp appears in this example.  Local directory sites will need to beef up their review efforts to try to at least get attached to the Place Page result for these queries.

This may have made brand reputation management campaigns a bit easier.  Sites that want to push down bad results for brand queries can do strategic linkbuilding around URLs that are likely to get added as sitelinks (e.g. navigation links, URLs with decent inbound links, etc.).  That said, in doing a little (unscientific) research it does appear that sites with what I would consider weak brands are only displaying two sitelinks.  So go search for your brand and you may be able to get a quick idea of how strong it is in Google’s eyes.

Personal rep management campaigns also seem to benefit.  Check out this result O2business phones:

local seo

You can see the ‘corner the market’ strategy, right?

The moral of the story:

On the plus side, the sitelinks now give businesses even greater control on how they appear in the SERPs.  I fully expect to see further enhancements of this functionality where eventually the SERP looks more like a Place Page/Website/Plus combo than just a boring old SERP.

This means that unlike early fears, local SEO is a not the death of SEO operations but just another expanding opportunity, if you have the right guide.

Chuck Taft is an Asheville Local SEO expert who is the author of the book Topranked: The Straightforward Guide to Local SEO


Title tags and Local SEO

Asheville local SEO expert Chuck Taft blogs on title tags for local SEO:

We all know how important title tags are when it comes to SEO. Not only for ranking but it will also be the first piece of information a searcher will see about your site. I like to think of a title tag as a first date. You want to look better than you really are, and hope you can impress just enough to cover up future blemishes that someone might get to know.

So, the question is how do title tags translate on the local playing field? I am sure by now you have seen that when the integrated local results show up (aka the O-Pack) there are usually quite a few organic listings tied to a places pin like the followed…

Local titles

When the O-Pack came out, it was a big enough change to the locosphere that I decided that I needed to do some extensive research into what makes the pack tick. So, I put together a study of the following over the past few months…

28 Google Places listings that are ranking 1-7

28 Google Places listings that are ranking 50-56

Listings were examined from the following keywords:

  1. Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
  2. New York Divorce Lawyer
  3. San Diego Dentist
  4. Dallas Dentist

In all I took 56 listings in 4 cities across the country in the law and dental categories. I generally find that these are well optimized categories in local search that have very little “luck” involved in rankings.  While the research covered 27 separate factors, one of the things I found most interesting has been the use of title tags.

Where Does Google Places Get the Title Tag From?

Generally speaking, the first 5 results in the O-Pack pull from the title tag of the website page that Google thinks is most relevant, and the remaining listings pull from the Business Name given in the Places account.

title tags

This was the case for all results that were examined in my research. I have seen a few exceptions to this, but only a few. So, bottom line, gone are the days where you could get by without a good website for a Google Places listing. You used to be able to rank a company who didn’t have a website, and you could work wonders with companies that had a website (Even if it was built with website tonight).  Now, not only does your title from your site populate on your Places listing, but it holds effect on rankings.

How Many Websites Had The Keyword Search Phrase In The Title Tag?

22 of the 28 High Ranking Places listings (79%) had the keywords in the website title tag.  Whereas 12 of the 28 Low Ranking Places listings (43%) had the keywords in the website title tag.

16 of the 28 High Ranking Places listings (57%) had the keywords first in the Title Tag.  8 of the 28 High Ranking Places listings (29%) had the keywords first in the Title Tag.

How many Listings have the Business Name in the Title Tag?

17 of the 28 High Ranking listings (61%) have the Business Name in the website Title Tag. 15 of the 28 Low Ranking Places listings (53%) have the Business Name in the website Title Tag.

All of this data is shown in the graph below….

Title tags

A few interesting observations…

When the O-Pack came out in late October, it didn’t take very long to realize that normal SEO ranking factors were now a very large part of local search. My studies have verified that to me. But, I also felt that there were some factors that were being overlooked.

Local Search is all about proving your local prominence through your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number. I couldn’t help but think that businesses would do well to include all of this information in a title tag.  Only 1 business had their phone number in the Title Tag. None had their address. But, as I looked deep into the listings (past the top 7 in each category) I didn’t see any listings that had this information. It simply hasn’t been done on a large scale.

So, I ran a few tests and they seemed to look a lot like this….

Local titles

The site in the first position doesn’t have a superior link profile, a higher pagerank, a crazy amount of citations, or anything else that would peg this listing in front of many others on this list. But they have the NAP information prominently displayed in a big way.  I haven’t shared this with many people as it isn’t something I can prove or disprove with the little data I have, but the results are interesting to say the least.

My Thoughts On A Title Tag For Local Search

For rankings, I think it is very apparent that having the keyword phrase listed is extremely important and probably at the first. This is new in local but simply a transfer from our normal good ol’ SEO factors.

For Recognition, I think that it is very important to include your business name on your home page title tag. Many people try to stuff a title with only keywords. But from a local search perspective, you should be advertising your business on a lot more places that just online and if they search, see your business name and recognize it from either friends, billboards, print, phone books, or anything else, then the chance of you getting the click/call will go up dramatically. Does a business name effect rankings? I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt them and I definitely think it will help your click through rate if it is included in your Title.

For Best Results, if you are in the top 7 then you better get to the top 5. I would much rather have control over what a user sees as the title to my listing than letting Google show only the business name.

There is a lot more information that I have found interesting during my research of the O-Pack results from Link Profiles to Reviews, and Citations to Category choices. I will be publishing more in the coming weeks, and will probably release the data sheet for anyone to see what they can find as well.

Chuck Taft is a local SEO expert from Asheville, NC.


Critical local SEO tips from an Asheville expert

Local SEO is becoming a highly important skill nowadays with more and more companies starting to offer location based services. In my position as an Asheville local SEO expert I help a lot of companies get a quick jump start into the local SEO game. The old rules of SEO are just that, old, and small business owners need to pay attention to the latest trends in order to get ranked highly and draw more customers.

Even though there are lots of reasons for you to use local SEO, one of the most critical is that you can gain entry into less competitive but highly responsive markets. Since there will always be clients in your area, you can take advantage of local SEO no matter the type of business you run. Thus, you will be able to increase the size of your company in a new direction and find more targeted prospective clients.

local seo

It’s important that you get on Google and get your offline business profile made so it’ll be in their database. Registering with the three major search engines is easy, and be aware that they’ll call you so they can confirm your business address. Compared to the millions of offline businesses, there are very few profiles listed on the search engines, and that suggests people may not be aware of this. This simple step will help you with your local SEO efforts, and you really should do it asap.

If you want your site to be recognized on a local level then you need to be open about asking for reviews. You will be missing out on a lot of opportunities if you don’t use this strategy. The majority of the local sites are completely fine with your interacting with your customers and asking them to review you. So, why shouldn’t you enjoy all the advantages of this technique?

It’s simply an issue of taking enough time to ask your customers personally to provide a review for you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and ask people face to face. All you have to do is put up a request such as “We would really appreciate it if you could post a short review of our business on Bing/Yahoo local / Google.”

This message could be put on your thank you page (after they contact you or sign up for your ezine), in your email signature and on your website. Your business will get more customers in time because these reviews, no matter whether they are great, horrid or ugly, will increase the credibility of your business.

Last but not the least; make sure you have your complete mailing address mentioned all over your site, on every page. You always want to provide convenience to your website visitors, and that will help if they want to know. Local SEO involves much more, but these practices will help you with your site visitors.

Chuck Taft is a local SEO expert in the Asheville, NC area.


How do you personalize online news to get only the stories you want?

So much information, so little time. People often ask me, as a local Asheville SEO expert, how they can organize and stay on top of all the news that’s out there and comes in to them like a flood?

Below you’ll find five methods to help aggregate the news that’s important to you. You can find many more such tips and other important local SEO information in my new book ‘Top Ranked: The Straightforward Guide to Local SEO’

Some of these have been around for a while, such as Techmeme, but newer apps are also finding ways to leverage our social networks, focus on personalized and curated content, and enable DIY digital papers. I’ve organized the sections under the method by which news is aggregated.

Succinct News By Industry

Gabe Rivera’s Techmeme has been around for more than five years. It’s a go-to destination for a quick snapshot of the day’s top technology headlines. By using a combination of computer algorithm and human editorial review, the news aggregator highlights the hottest technology stories from around the web, as well as noteworthy tweets, all on a single page.

While Techmeme focuses on technology, its sister sites contribute additional resources: Mediagazer aggregates media news, memorandum tackles politics, and WeSmirch covers celebrity news. A great feature about all these sites is that they let you see how other outlets are covering a particular headline.

DIY News Aggregators

Flipboard is news-reading app that lets you create your own personalized news aggregator by incorporating your preferred sources, blogs and social networks.

Flipboard aims to emulate the experience of flipping through a magazine by presenting the content in a similar format. As you open Flipboard, you’re greeted by a content page of several blocks, each representing a section you can create (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader or Tech News). Tapping on a block loads excerpts of that section’s content into a grid-like, visually pleasing, easy-to-read format. Depending on what sources you added, the excerpts may include images, videos or article excerpts. If you tap on an excerpt, the article will load its full version. Swiping the page lets you move to the next article, emulating the experience of flipping through the pages of a magazine.

Flipboard also enables you to retweet articles or share your thoughts via social networks, making it a “personalized, social magazine.” What I love about Flipboard is that it essentially acts as a hub for all the news I want to read, by letting me personalize by news source – be it a certain publication, an RSS feed in Google Reader or a Twitter list. For now, Flipboard is only available on the iPad.

News Curated from Your Social Networks

Since most major news outlets are connected to social networks, they can be easily organized by topic into lists, newsfeeds or circles on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, respectively.

LinkedIn Today is an example of news curated based on what your social networks are sharing. Launched in March 2011, LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn’s news recommendation service, curating stories it predicts will be most relevant for you.

Its recommendations are calculated by an algorithm that accounts for the news currently being shared by your LinkedIn connections in addition to the news being shared by related industry professionals. LinkedIn Today features more than 30 industries you can follow, such as public relations, semiconductors and computer software. For each industry you follow, LinkedIn Today will display the top handful of stories, the number of times the story has been shared, and who in your network has shared that story. It also lets you know if a story is trending in other industries that LinkedIn tracks, which enables you to determine cross-industry impact.

Particular noteworthy about LinkedIn Today is its focus on leveraging social networks. I pay attention to the links extracted by LinkedIn Today because they feature links shared by people I care about and trust.

Personalized Keyword-Specific Channels

When monitoring client-related and industry news, I subscribe to several Google Alerts that get sent directly to my inbox. In addition, I make specific news channels from of these keywords via aggregators like Google News and The Washington Post’s Trove, which lets you add a section/channel based on specified keywords.

Keyword-specific channels let you create your own personalized news channel for a specific topic that may not be easily accessible elsewhere. For example, I have an alert for “parallel programming” because few news outlets dedicate a section solely to this topic.

Industry-Specific, Customized e-Newsletters

Each morning, I love getting my (digital) hands on the SmartBrief newsletters delivered to my inbox. SmartBrief delivers a free daily summary of the most important industry news. Its editors hand-pick the top headlines from a variety of sources, and then summarize each story.

SmartBrief provides more than 100 email newsletters spanning 25 industries, such as business, technology, finance, education, healthcare and advertising. My favorites include social media, computing technology and education technology. I work across different industries such as education, computing and telecommunications, and each morning SmartBrief newsletters help me stay smart, save time and stay on top of industry news.


Which type of news aggregator is the best? It all depends on your needs and preferences. Do you prefer to receive your news via email, to spend time curating your own digital paper, or to check out the links your social networks have shared? I incorporate each of the above methods into my daily reading habits in one form or another, as I move between my inbox, iPhone and various social networks.

Which types of news aggregators do you use?

Chuck Taft is an Asheville local SEO expert.


Asheville online marketing expert Chuck Taft publishes Local SEO tips book

chuck taft asheville seo

Asheville professional marketing expert and SEO consultant Chuck Taft has just published his first book, full of local search engine marketing tips for any business that has a website and needs more customers to land on it.

‘Top Ranked: The Straightforward Guide to Local SEO’ is written with the average small to mid-size business owner in mind and contains everything they need to know about optimizing their commercial website in order to increase visits and sales. This new book contains tons of online marketing and web optimization strategies, most of which can be implemented by business owners immediately to improve site ranking as well as customer traffic and purchases.

Taft’s book includes plenty of hot and current tips and techniques for ranking on top search engines like Google and Yahoo, designing web pages optimized to a target audience, and maximizing social media presence the smart way. It also includes plenty of insight into internet marketing and how to analyze your web presence.

Most importantly, Taft’s book is specifically written to help businesses increase their local SEO presence. With all the major search engines such as Google focusing more and more on localization, and customers looking more and more for local results, this book is a treasure-trove of techniques and guidance for companies that might already have a web site and social media participation but aren’t yet fully integrated with powerful local SEO.

‘Top Ranked: The Straightforward Guide to Local SEO’ by Chuck Taft is available on Amazon.com and at all the finest bookstores such as Barnes & Noble.

Chuck Taft is an SEO and marketing expert who runs Green-Light-Strategies and SEO Pro Asheville, two consulting firms which specialize in SEO, local SEO, and web marketing strategies. He has successfully helped numerous businesses optimize their web presence and their properties and services online.

Chuck is an expert at not only getting companies top ranked but in converting their success to increased sales. As the web moves from a focus on SEO focus to total Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and internet strategies, Chuck is on the forefront of virtual marketing and positioned to help guide companies into the future.


Are Tag Clouds dangerous to your blog?

Here is a fascinating little video from Matt Cutts over at Google talking about how Tag Clouds can be dangerous to your blog. For those of you wondering just how efficient Google is at determining where on the page your keywords are, and this video is informative. In short, it suggests that tag clouds can hurt your blog. There are several reasons why they can cause problems and you should be aware of this:

This can have obviously implications for local SEO. My own research backs up what Matt is saying about Tag Clouds.