SEO Tip #4 | Key Words and Hash Tags

Before starting any SEO project the first thing one should do is set up a list of keywords and keyphrases that your target visitor would use to find their website.  A keyword is any word or short phrase that describes a website topic or page. – The more a keyword is used by searchers and websites the more attraction power it has.  Choosing keywords is not as easy it may sound.  For example, let’s say you sell shoes.  The word “shoes” is very generic and the odds of rising to the top of a keyword search for that term are very low.  In fact a quick search for the term “Shoes” returns over 750 million returns on Google and many ads.  So you must dig deeper.

You will want to include “Shoes” in your list, but might need to get a little more creative and set your expectations appropriately.  You need to drill down and get specific by adding key words such as brand names, types of shoes, location (if you are a store) etc.  Once you get your list, you will want to use Google’s keyword tool to test search words and find new keyword suggestions.

Once you get your list finalized, you will optimize your site content, blogs, social sites and hash tags around these keywords.  So on your website, your titles,  descriptions and text will include the keywords and phrases to attract searchers.  These brief words should realistically identify and describe your pages and site.

At Bridge Group Online, we take the guessing out of choosing the right keywords.  We will optimize your content, social media posts to deliver the maximum organic returns.  When we first started working with the National Alliance for Thrombosis and Thrombophilia, for example, their site was very low ranked and virtually invisible to searchers on the web.  Rather than optimizing the site for technical words that few were searching for, we optimized for the search term “Blood Clot Treatment”and even changed the name of the organization to the The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA).  Now when you Google blood clot treatment, NBCA is one the top returns.  Typically number one.

“With effective redesign of NBCA’s Website, search engine optimization and content development we were able to increase unique visits from 35,000 to >1,200,000 per year.” – Alan Brownstein

It takes anywhere from 90 days to six months before organic results start to improve, but the change over time is dramatic so long as you keep working the strategy and stay on top of your content, promotions and attract new links to your site content.  For more information visit us at the Bridge Group Online.

SEO Tip #3 | Site Maps and Robots File

Search engines, especially Google work by doing 3 essential activities:

  1. Crawling – an automated “bot” visits pages on your site and “crawls” it (sometimes called a spider) using a search algorithm to figure out what the page is about.  Sitemaps and Robots.txt files make it easier for bots  to work on your site.                                    googlebot
  2. Indexing – the bot will index your site. You can think of the web as a library, a website as a bood and Google a digital Librarian that keeps track of where all books are on shelves.  As new editions of the books come out, along with new books, Google needs to keep them in the right order on the shelves and maintains an index of where all the books are. For those who actually remember card catalogs, Google is the world’s largest card catalog indexing websites by various attributes.
  3. Serving Results –When you search on Google, the massive index uses mathematical algorithms to sift through all the Terabytes of data to return to you the most relevant results for the information you seek. The results are returned on a webpage called a Search Engine Return Page or SERP for short.



Sitemaps help search engine robots crawl your site to index its content.  Sitemaps are especially important when your  site is large, new or may have pages that are not well linked from your home page.  A Google sitemap is an XML file that includes links to your pages as well as metadata that informs the bot what the page is about.  Sitemaps should be updated every time you add a new page or update an existing page.  Sitemaps are also helpful if your pages contain dynamic scripts that change the content continuously, contain videos, special graphics etc.  To see a sitemap for the Bridge Group Online click here:

Website Sitemap Image
Sitemaps are XML files that contain lists of URLs in your site and metadata

Sitemaps should be submitted to Google through the Site Master tool.  You can have more than one sitemap for your site.  For example, you might have a sitemap that includes all the URLs in your site and separate sitemap for Podcasts, videos or blogs.  For example you can submit an RSS feed of your blogs as an additional sitemap and Google will crawl it and index the content.  A bot can compare the old sitemap to the updated one and save time by only crawling the new or updated pages.  The sitemap file should be placed in the root directory of your website.


In addition to letting Google know what URL’s you have in your site, you may want Google to ignore certain pages.  For example, let’s say you are testing different landing pages as part of a banner ad campaign where you want test if certain headlines or key word make a difference in conversion rates.   The pages are essentially the same with very minor differences.  You want Google to know about the page, but not get penalized for duplicate content.  Google hates duplicate content and doesn’t like to waste it’s bot’s time indexing pages that don’t enrich the user experience, or worse are black hat SEO techniques to stuff key words at Google that really are not relevant.

To avoid getting penalized, you can add a Robots.txt file that will tell bots not to follow or visit certain pages.  You may also have directories on your website you don’t want robots to access that are private and may be subscription sites or intranet pages for a company that you do not want indexed.  The robots.txt file tells Google not to follow those pages.  Keep in mind, that not all bots – especially SPAM bots will pay attention to a no follow notice in a robots.txt file.  The Robots.txt file should be placed in the root directory of your website.

SEO Tip #1 Set Up and Promote a Blog – Add an RSS Feed


Having great content is essential to promoting your products and services. One way to generate great content is to include a blog or news feed in your website.  For your content you should write about things that speak to your expertise as a person or your company. In this instance I am writing about promoting a blog which an essential part of online marketing or search engine marketing. Some marketers would classify this as content marketing.

I like to include a page with the blog titles hyperlinked to a 3rd party website like WordPress and publishing an RSS feed on the website to syndicate the content.  What is RSS you ask?  Here is a short video explaining it:

The RSS feed is a simple XML file that contains the items you have published in an index format that an RSS reader can understand.  The Bridge Group’s RSS URL is here:

To add the feed to an RSS reader you simply input the URL and now your news comes right to you.  I use the RSS feed feature in Outlook so I get my news with my email.

Using a landing page for your news combined with the RSS feed, now generates several hyperlinks to your content from your website. You get a hyperlink from your blog page titles and a hyperlink from your RSS feed. That is two links before anyone even discovers the content.  For example, the Bridge Group blog page index is here:

If you have a mailing list, you can include links to your blog posts as part on email drip campaign to your constituents.  This will amplify the impact of your content with messages targeted to interested persons.  Be sure you have permission from the folks you are emailing or you will be in violation of the canned SPAM act.

As your blog followers discover the content, and like it, they will share the link through social media, email etc. and help promote traffic to your site. The more links that point to your site the higher you will rank in search engine page returns.  I also like to connect the blog to Google’s feed burner web 2.0 service to help promote the feed.

So to sum up, to get maximum SEO benefit from your blog you should:

  • Publish content often
  • Host your blog on 3rd party site like WordPress
  • Install a news/blog section on your website with hyperlinks to the blog posts
  • Maintain an RSS feed on your website that indexes your blogs
  • Promote the blog posts via email, social networks and use a service like Feed Burner to help syndicate the content
  • Submit your RSS feed URL to various RSS indexes to promote the feed.

If all this seems daunting, just hire the Bridge Group Online, we can help you set all this up and even write the content for you.  Our fees are much smaller than the large agencies and we will get you noticed.  Feel free to email me at and I would be happy to help.

Responsive Web Design is A Must

Responsive Web Design Adapts Your Content to the Device Screen Size
Responsive Web Design Adapts Your Content to the Device Screen Size

We have now reached the point where well over 50% of all web traffic starts on a mobile device. While native apps are taking users by storm, the mainstay of just about every business is its website. If you are not ready to jump into the native mobile app market, take a baby step and at least redesign your website to be responsive. A responsive website will automatically render on any size screen so it will look great on a 16X9 PC screen or a Smartphone or tablet in landscape or portrait view.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. With great content and responsive design, your first impression will always be good.

It is not that difficult to make your site responsive. The key is having a layout that that is flexible and uses some CSS code to recognize the screen size and adapt the content to the device. You will see a lower bounce rate, less shopping carts abandoned and better social media impressions as well.

I just finished coding a responsive website for my homeowners association where I am a volunteer. The site is here: Click the link on a tablet, smartphone and computer and see for yourself. It took me about 2 hours to make the site and another 2 hours to refine and test using recycled content. I used a template purchased from Round the Bend Wizards.

You can also great mobile feedback from Google Webmaster Tools for changes. In fact, I have a few changes I will make soon based on Google suggestions. Be sure to test your site on multiple devices. Some common mistakes are making buttons too close together, pictures too wide next to content or incorrect CSS markup. All easy things to fix. One more reason to consider mobile friendly design is that Google will penalize your site if it is not mobile friendly and also give a special designation if it is.

Feel free to add your experience and thoughts about responsive sites below. If you need more information on how to drive mobile commerce to your site, email me I can help with responsive design, native mobile apps and even secure chat into your contact center to increase sales and conversions.

Mobile devices have taken over and your digital strategy has to take that into account. If you are not a “mobile first” shop, you may just find yourself in “last” place as a business. As an associate of mine is fond of saying, “Go mobile or go home!” For more information check out Bridge Group Online.