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How to Get to the Top of Google Search Engine Results in 5 Steps

February 7, 2013

You’ve invested an incredible amount of effort crafting your website copy. And you want to ensure that as many people see it as possible. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.

Whether you want your website to create awareness or generate leads, SEO can help get the results you need. Some writers don’t bother with SEO, and it is a huge mistake. Billions of people use Google’s search engine everyday. But, most of them will not go past the first page of their Google search results. So, if your page does not show up there, your hard work will go to waste.

Although SEO sounds complicated, it is not. SEO is actually a simple process that can get you to the top of Google. And you can get it done in five easy steps.

Step 1: Keyword Research

What is the difference between an attorney and a lawyer? When it comes to SEO, word choice is everything! And you can use the Google Keyword Planner to see which words your audience is searching for. To do keyword research, type in a word or phrase that describes your business. This tool will display keyword ideas. These “ideas” are keywords that other businesses are paying big bucks for on AdWords.

For example, I did keyword research for a Sight Programs page using the phrase saving eyesight. The Google Keyword Tool not only showed me that a paltry 46 people search for this phrase monthly. It also showed me that 6,600 people search for a similar phrase, prevent blindness. So, I used prevent blindness as my keyword phrase to attract a lot more traffic.

Once you have your keyword phrase, the next step is revising your page layout to use the best HTML tags.

Step 2:  Update Your HTML Page Title Tag

Ever wondered how Google determines the text that shows up on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)? You can control the hyperlink text on the SERP by making a simple edit to your HTML Page Title tag. For best results, put your keyword phrase at the start of the tag. Then, type a pipe (|) followed by your company name. As noted above, I optimized a page for prevent blindness. To do this, I entered the Page Title as Prevent Blindness | Your Company Name.

The next step allows you to control the other half of the content that displays on the SERP. Your page description.

Step 3: Update Your HTML Page Description Tag

The HTML Description tag controls the description that displays on a SERP. (This is the block of text below the hyperlink). So, write something catchy that will make visitors want to click! And be sure to include your keyword phrase (from step 1).

Once you’ve updated this HTML tag, the next step is editing your page text.

Step 4:  Edit Your Page Heading

The page content that visitors see is also critical to SEO success. Be sure to add your keyword phrase to a Heading 1 on your page. It is best to add it to the first Heading 1 on your page. But adding it to any Heading 1 on the page will work.

Now, you only need to add your keyword phrase to one more area, and your SEO work is done!

Step 5: Edit Your On Page Text

Last – but not least – you need to include the keyword phrase in your web page text. You can add the keyword twice per every 100 words on the page. But, I suggest starting out with one time for every 100 words. This is usually enough to get the job done.

I have had great success with this approach. In fact, many pages I’ve used this SEO strategy on have reached the top spot on page 1 of Google. But what if these steps do not get you there? Well, there are a few more SEO tactics you can use to give your page a boost.

  • Add internal links that include your keyword phrase. For my site, I added the phrase prevent blindness to a few related pages on my site. Then, I linked the newly added phrase to the Sight Programs page.
  • Increase keyword density. Adding your keyword phrase to your page text a few more times is another tactic you can use. Just be sure to keep the keyword density below 2 percent.

Both of these strategies have helped me move a web page up to page 1 on Google within a few days or weeks.

Whatever SEO tactics you use, keep the reader in mind. Be sure your SEO edits do not decrease the readability – or value – of your page.



How to Get Started on Twitter in 5 Easy Steps

November 19, 2011

Whether you’re looking for new customers or a new job, Twitter is a great way to spread the word. Your customers and potential employers are already on Twitter. So, it’s important to get yourself out there too. Twitter is actually a simple (and somewhat addictive) social network. And you can get going in just five easy steps.

  • Step 1: Create an account. Go to Twitter. Then, fill in the Full name, Email, and Password fields on the home page and click “Sign up.” Congratulations … you’re officially on Twitter!
  • Step 2:  Complete your bio. Type a description about yourself or your company (see mine for an example). Then, upload a photo to give other users a glimpse of who you are.
  • Step 3: Find your peeps. Find folks in your network on Twitter. There are a few ways to do this. You can import your email contacts. Or, search for folks by name.
  • Step 4:  Send your first tweet. On Twitter, you’ll communicate in 140-character messages called “tweets.” Some find it challenging to convey a message in so little text. But, for a word nerd like me it’s highly enjoyable!
  • Step 5: Connect with new people. While Facebook is for old friends, Twitter is all about meeting new people. Use the search feature to find the topics you’re interested in. Then, check out some of the profiles that come up. If you find some interesting folks, click the Follow button. You’ll receive their updates (and they may follow you back).
Some users don’t seem to get Twitter. They treat it like a megaphone to shout messages at the  world. Remember, it’s called “social” media because it’s all about connecting with others. I attracted more than 30,000 followers for my employer (and more than 15,000 personal followers) by “sharing, caring, and being positive.” This means I share interesting information. I care about other people by talking to and re-tweeting them. And I’m positive by posting good news, quotations, and similar content.


How to Get Started on Facebook in 5 Easy Steps

September 9, 2011

With more than 800 million users, Facebook is the most popular social network in the world. While most people use it to connect with old friends from high school, college, and past employment, it’s also a tool you can use to promote your company, favorite charity, or anything you care about! And, you can get started in five easy steps.

  • Step 1: Create an account. Go to Facebook and create a personal account by entering your name, email, password, gender, and birth date and clicking the “Sign up” button. (I’m a bit concerned about privacy on Facebook, so I suggest not putting your real birth date and/or year.)
  • Step 2: Find your friends. Facebook makes it easy for you to get started. Just enter your email address and password in the “Search your email for friends already on Facebook” to import your email contacts. You can also use the “Find People You Know” search feature to find friends, family, and coworkers.
  • Step 3:  Complete your Personal Profile. Just follow the prompts to upload your profile photo (or one of your cat, dog, kids, etc., if you prefer) and fill in your profile information so your friends will know it’s really you.
  • Step 4:  Create a page: If you’ve got a cause or company to promote, create a fan page at Then ask your network to “Like” the page via email, blog posts, and your website. As soon as you get 25 “likes” you can request a vanity URL like, which will make your page easier to share and promote.
  • Step 5: Write a wall post: Facebook is about sharing your news (and daily life, if you’re so inclined). So, go to your wall and post something. Share what’s going in your life, or with your company or charity. Post a link to fun stuff you’ve found online. Or “Like” other pages and share their content on your wall. You can share what matters most to you.

Whatever you do on Facebook, they key is being “human.” Give fans a chance to interact on your page. Check your page often to see what your fans are saying and respond to comments. And use the “rule of thirds” to create an interesting content mix. To do this, write a third of your posts about your company. Create another third of your posts by sharing areas of interest and expertise from other sources. And save the final third of your posts to interact with your followers. By balancing your promotional messages with interesting content and conversation, you’ll engage fans who visit your page – and keep them coming back for more.


How to Create a Photo Header for Your Blog

March 1, 2010

One of the most challenging steps to starting a new blog (or website) on WordPress is creating a photo header for your site. Sure, most free themes include a stock photo, which is great … until you realize that thousands of other blogs are using the same photo! You’re one of a kind, so you need a unique header to brand your blog or website.

I’m a writer, not a designer. I know some basic image editing tricks and enough HTML to get myself into trouble. But, a graphic designer I am not. If you’re in the same boat, here’s a quick and easy way to create a great header for your blog or website (like the one at the top of this page).

  • Step 1: Determine the image size you need. On WordPress, go to your Dashboard. Then select Appearance > Header. This will show you the image size you’re allowed to use (e.g., for my theme, Vigilance, the size is 920 x 180 pixels).
  • Step 2: Find a great stock photo. There are actually several sites that provide access to free photos. You can try Google Images, or a free stock photo site such as Stock.XCHNG.
  • Step 3: Edit your photo. Once you find a photo, you’ll need to edit it to fit. If you don’t have fancy software like Photoshop, no worries. You can use Picnik to upload and crop your photo. There’s a handy “Upload Photo” button on the homepage that will allow you to import your photo into an “Edit” pane. Once you see your photo, just select “Crop” in the left margin, type the image size allowed for your header and click “Apply” (you may need to play with the image a bit to select the exact part of the photo you want to use).
  • Step 4: Add text to your photo: You’ll also want to add your company name or blog title to the photo so you can use it as a header. (I have to admit, this is the step that prevented me from doing a header for a long time!) Luckily, Picnik has got you covered. Just click the “Text” tab, type the content you want to display, and crop the text to fit it into your photo.
  • Step 5: Save your header to your desktop: While still in Picnik, select the “Save & Share” tab. Type in the filename (including file type, such as .jpg).
Then, just access your WordPress Dashboard, select Appearance > Header, upload the photo from your desktop, and you’re good to go!