HTW Post-Season News & Upcoming Small Business Webcasts

News Update Huddleston Tax CPAs Webcast

Huddleston Tax Weekly News

Now that we’re past our busiest part of the year, HTW is happy to announce that we’ll be continuing our previous trend of bringing topical, high-quality material to our readers on a regular basis. HTW would like to continue examining the contours of the sixteenth amendment for a bit longer; the reason for this is because we believe firmly that an understanding of this exceedingly important political act is vital to gaining a full picture of our whole tax edifice. But after we explore the amendment in a bit more detail, we’re excited to say that we’ll be moving on to other issues which should be equally interesting to our audience. We will explore more real estate cases, current tax cases, international issues, and plenty of other exciting things.

Small Business Webcast

We’d also like to draw our readers’ attention to two upcoming webcasts which will be hosted from our site, smallbusinesswebcast.com. The first webcast — The Tax Benefits of Real Estate Ownership — will be given by our CPA, Jessica Chisholm. Jessica has given this presentation previously and is well familiar with this specialized area. The second webcast — Tax Reduction Strategies for Small Law Firms — will be presented by our CPA, Steven Lok. Assisting small law firms is one of Steven’s specializations.

As always, these presentations are entirely free to attend. We hope you enjoy these webcasts and the many more entertaining articles HTW has in store!

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Characteristics of SEO-Friendly Web Content

random assortment of seo terms

Factors of SEO Web Content

Producing high quality, SEO-friendly content for your website is a strenuous task. Creating optimal content requires that you not only develop informative, well written material but also manage this material along generally recognized SEO guidelines. Many of the factors – in fact, most – which characterize SEO-friendly website content are self-evident; however, certain factors depend more greatly on research.

In this article we will describe some of the basic characteristics of SEO-friendly content. Readers should be mindful that this list is not exhaustive and that numerous other factors influence whether content is desirable or not.

Length

This factor likely falls under the self-evident category: material which has more words is generally thought to be favored over material with fewer words. SERPIQ found that content length positively correlated with ranking position. Length is rewarded because length typically denotes a greater amount of effort. Of course, it is not necessarily the case that length indicates quality, but for SEO purposes length tends to send a positive signal.

Originality

It is essential that every individual page of your website features content which is wholly original. Content which is pilfered or clearly derivative of preexisting content on the web will produce a negative algorithm response. What’s more, duplicate content will also cause your SEO to suffer. Original content requires effort and therefore it receives favorable treatment.

Images

As a general matter, adding images to pages tends to improve SEO value. However, when you add images to your page content you can enhance the value they confer by optimizing such images along certain guidelines. When you add images, be sure to pay close attention to their file name, title, description, caption and alt text as these things send relevancy signals.

Freshness

Content which is updated frequently and substantively will receive favored treatment over content which is left unchanged and ignored. Periodic updates signal that your site is well maintained and that your pages are displaying relevant information. As with other factors, freshness denotes effort.

Reading Level

It is well established that Google estimates the reading level of web content. What is less certain is how these estimates affect search engine results. Some SEO specialists feel that more advanced content is favored; others argue that the simplest content is preferred. Though the debate is alive and well, a fair number of SEO professionals feel that the middle ground is the best option. These people feel that both overly simple and overly sophisticated (or specialized) content will fail to attract the largest number of readers and therefore an “intermediate level” is optimal. For most site owners, it is enough to state that your content should be useful but also accessible to your target audience.

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SEO is becoming an increasingly important field for small business owners. To learn more about how small business owners can utilize SEO principles view the following video

Five Beneficial SEO Techniques

SEO Link Building

SEO Techniques

In a previous article we briefly discussed the Google Algorithm and its central importance in the field of SEO. As stated in that article, the Google Algorithm is modified periodically so as to prevent the accumulation of too much knowledge of its operation. However, though it is continually updated, a number of techniques have been shown to be consistently effective for improving site quality. In this article we will cover five such techniques.

Update Content

The algorithm rewards diligence and penalizes laziness. Consequently, static content which is left untouched for a long period of time will almost certainly draw negative reactions from the algorithm. It is important to note that both the frequency and magnitude of content updates have SEO effects. Sites which are updated regularly are favored; sites which are updated thoroughly are favored over those which only show superficial changes.

Avoid Duplicate Content

Sites which have duplicate content – or even content which is only slightly dissimilar from other content – may also receive negative responses from the algorithm. The assumption is that duplicate content is the result of laziness and should be penalized accordingly. Site owners should be sure to only publish content which is entirely original.

Monitor Link Relevancy

It is important that site owners keep track of the relevancy of outbound links. If you have a page about a particular subject – financial derivatives, as an example – be sure that you only include links which have a clear connection to that subject. The reason for this is because irrelevant links will misrepresent your page’s theme and consequently will cause the algorithm to inaccurately classify your page. A page about financial derivatives which links to pages about automobiles will send incorrect relevancy signals to the algorithm.

Avoid Broken Links

If your page contains an excess of broken links this may incite a negative response from the algorithm. Broken links tend to indicate laziness or outright neglect. It is particularly important to make sure that you have functioning links on your homepage.

Add YouTube Videos

Adding multimedia (i.e. images, videos, audio, etc.) is generally recognized as a beneficial practice for sites. Including YouTube videos specifically may be even more beneficial. Videos tend to have high SEO value as a general matter, and YouTube videos are thought to carry greater weight than other videos because YouTube is now owned by Google. This may be shamelessly self-promotional on the part of Google, but it is a fact nonetheless.

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To learn more about SEO view this clip about SEO tactics for small businesses

SEO Mostly Follows from Common Sense

SEO Marketing

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) remains a widely unknown concept throughout the business world. Slowly but certainly, however, familiarity is increasing as business owners realize that healthy SEO metrics are critically important for business success. But, even among those who are acquainted with the concept, there exists an impression that SEO is an abstruse field only understandable by a tiny minority of computer experts. This impression plays a large role in preventing business owners from learning more about SEO and utilizing basic strategies to improve their online performance. In point of fact, though SEO can be a bit technical in some respects, many of the core principles of SEO follow naturally from common sense and can be mastered quite easily. In this article we will discuss the common sense basis of SEO.

The most essential principle of SEO can be summarized with this phrase: diligence and expertise are rewarded, while laziness and incompetence are punished. As much as SEO professionals may prefer to think of SEO in more complex terms, it is this simple principle which sheds the most light on why certain sites perform well and others perform poorly. Why does the website of The Wall Street Journal – http://www.wsj.com – perform so well? It is possible to explain the performance of this site by analyzing all of its SEO activity in great detail; one could look at the quality of its links, authors, layout, imagery, keyword density and so forth. But, the simplest way to explain its performance is still the following: http://www.wsj.com put more effort into its development than other sites which perform less well by comparison.

Of course, not every business owner has the budget of The Wall Street Journal, and so setting the performance of WSJ’s site as a benchmark is likely not a wise decision. However, as long as you do not cut corners and attempt to “trick the system,” it is reasonable to expect that you will receive favorable treatment from SEO metrics without having to invest an exorbitant amount of money.

For instance, as referenced in a previous article, it is imperative that business owners create original, high quality content for their site. Business owners who pilfer content or publish content which is patently substandard will be slapped with penalties. It does not require large sums of money to produce quality original content; it requires time, energy, knowledge and skill. No matter if a fortune were spent, the SEO metrics are not going to reward a business owner who tries to go around these requirements. In a sense, then, SEO has a democratic or egalitarian orientation: good metrics have to be earned through hard work, they cannot just be bought by the highest bidder.

In short, as long as business owners use common sense when developing their site and exercise good diligence, they can expect solid SEO performance.

Be sure to view this presentation to learn more about the basics of SEO for small business

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A Few Points on Link Building

Computer SEO Link Building

Link Building

As mentioned in a prior article, link building is one of the surest ways to increase the stature of your website. However, link building must be done properly otherwise it may lead to severe penalties against your site. In order to be done correctly, a substantial amount of time and effort must be invested in link building: you must satisfy relevancy guidelines, conduct research and usually generate original content. In this article we will discuss a few important points business owners must consider when they attempt to improve the quality of their website through link building.

In the world of SEO, authority (as measured by indicators such as page rank, page authority, domain authority, etc.) can be transferred by association. Link building follows directly from this premise: sites attempt to obtain links from other sites which already have high authority so that some of this preexisting authority may be “passed” back onto them. However, though this principle is simple enough to grasp, it is difficult to put into practice. First, you must verify that the sites you are seeking to build relationships with have sufficient authority; to do this you must download an SEO metrics toolbar which will enable you to view the quantitative metrics of sites. There are a variety of toolbars on the market from which you can choose.

Along with authority, you must also make certain that the sites you are trying to contact for links are sufficiently relevant. Relevancy is an exceedingly important concept in the link building process; if you obtain links from a site which is patently unrelated to the purpose of your website, you risk incurring penalties. There must be a clear connection between the site you are trying to build links with and your own site. For instance, if you operate an automobile repair shop, you should never attempt to build links with a site from a completely different industry, such as investment banking or pharmaceuticals. In SEO parlance, you want to build links which are “natural” – natural links flow logically from an organic relationship between two sites, whereas unnatural links appear forced and contrived. Relevancy requirements are becoming increasingly stringent and so it is very important that business owners avoid unnatural link building practices.

After screening for both authority and relevancy, the next step is to do the legwork in building relationships with your desired sites. As with any other type of relationship, link building is based on reciprocity: the sites you contact for link building will want some form of benefit if they agree to host your link. You can reciprocate for hosting your link in a number of different ways. One way is to offer original content for the other site: perhaps you contribute an article which is topical and has the potential to draw readership and drive traffic. Or, perhaps you can engage in a “link exchange” and so one of their links will be hosted on your website. Whatever path you take, creating relationships with authoritative sites can be a strenuous task and usually requires considerable effort and energy.

These are just a few points which business owners should be aware of if they are thinking about utilizing link building as a strategy to improve the quality of their website.

Business owners interested in learning more about SEO in general should check out this presentation by Huddleston Tax CPAs.

Essential SEO Principles for Small Businesses

SEO Business Internet Marketing

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy which focuses on tailoring your website so that it can attain the best possible position in search engine rankings. SEO is a growing field and is becoming increasingly essential to the success of modern businesses. However, despite its growing importance, SEO is still relatively unknown to the general public, and even those who are familiar with it tend to have a poor grasp of its basic principles. In this article we will discuss several of these principles and explain why SEO is vital to the success and growth of your business.

The Google Algorithm

Before discussing the basics of SEO strategy, it is necessary to give a cursory look at the so-called Google Algorithm. The Google Algorithm is the mechanism by which sites (and website pages) are ranked to determine their order in searches. The algorithm is highly complex and is modified on a regular basis so as to prevent the accumulation of too much knowledge of its functioning. For the scope of this article, it is enough to say that this algorithm plays a central role in SEO and so business owners should at least be conscious of it.

Link Building

Regardless of whatever changes are made to the algorithm, one SEO strategy which is almost certain to remain effective is link building. Link building involves reaching out to other websites in an effort to receive links back to one’s own site. This is achieved through a variety of means, but one of the most common means is through content sharing (i.e. contributing material to the foreign site). Link building is predicated on the fact that site authority is “shareable” in the sense that highly authoritative sites share their authority when they link to a different site — the algorithm treats this reference to another site as an endorsement of its content and so the other site is regarded favorably as a consequence. Link building requires a considerable amount of effort and knowledge to be done properly, but if it is done right it can be an extremely effective SEO tool.

Original Content

Along with link building, another bedrock principle every business owner should be aware of is the value of original content. Though things like keyword frequency, meta tags and social media promotion are undoubtedly important, the creation of original, high quality content is absolutely essential to the health of a site. The algorithm does not reward laziness; in fact, it punishes laziness. If a business owner tries to cut corners and pilfers content from a different site or from off the web, the algorithm will catch this and penalize the offending site accordingly. It is critically important that every business owner produce high quality, original content for each and every page of the company website. What’s more, new content should also be added on a continuing basis: if a site goes stagnant and fails to refresh itself with new content, this is regarded unfavorably.

The SEO Pyramid

By now, most readers can probably tell that it’s not possible to cover all of the principles of SEO in this article. In truth, SEO is a very involved field and requires a considerable amount of time to become well conversant with. But, along with the strategies identified above, there is one other SEO fact which business owners must be aware of — this is the SEO pyramid. Business owners should look at SEO as a hierarchy of priorities: just as with a pyramid, they need a strong base, a solid middle and an apex. In the SEO pyramid, the base represents the content, the middle is occupied by keyword strategies, internal anchor text, on page targeting and link building, and the apex represents social media. When building your site, always be certain to construct a solid base and sturdy middle otherwise you may lose a competitive advantage.

To learn more, view the following webcast on SEO

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You can learn more by viewing the following webcast

 

Huddleston Tax CPAs of Seattle & Bellevue
Certified Public Accountants Focused on Small Business

(800) 376-1785
40 Lake Bellevue Suite 100, Bellevue, WA 98005

Huddleston Tax CPAs & accountants provide tax preparation, tax planning, business coaching, Quickbooks consulting, bookkeeping, payroll and business valuation services for small business. We serve Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Tacoma, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Bothell, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Shoreline, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Renton, Tukwila, Federal Way, Burien, Seatac, Mercer Island, West Seattle, Auburn, Snohomish and Mukilteo. We have a few meeting locations. Call to meet John Huddleston, J.D., LL.M., CPA, Tawni Berg, CPA, Jennifer Zhou, CPA, Jessica Chisholm, CPA or Chuck McClure, CPA. Member WSCPA.