Browsing "search engine optimization"
In continuation from yesterdays post about prepping for the new year, and being ready to take the bull by the horns online, below you’ll find a couple of tips to be aware of in regards to getting ready. An insight or two, as well as some advice to bear in mind as your advertising year starts anew.
An easily forgotten fact, is that web crawlers from the search engines treat each individual page of a website as it’s own entity. This means that rather than regarding the optimization of your website as a whole, it can be more productive to think of it as the optimization of each page. Using this approach is much more involved and meticulous care needs to be taken, but, once all of your pages have been optimized, your entire site will be search engine friendly, and loaded with relevant content.
An important SEO fact every business owner should know is that true, organic SEO, requires a multitude techniques, and time for those techniques to work if an SEO campaign is really going to be successful. Using a single SEO method may help improve your results a little; but if you want your business to be ranked highly by the search engines for a long time and to increase the amount of traffic that visits your site then proper identification and implementation of acceptable SEO techniques will be required. It is also important to note, that rankings can, and do, fluctuate day to day within the search results page. It’s impossible to guarantee the number 1 spot in the results, but when Fresh works your site, with our proven organic optimization techniques, you will climb the results in ranking.
The third basic fact in search engine optimization that you should always have in mind, is that SEO is a continuous process. It does not stop, because there’s always another website, another business, and/or another competitor knocking on your door online; trying to take your place. Once high rankings have been achieved through an efficiently run SEO campaign, if this optimization is suddenly halted then it is likely that the rankings achieved will drop too. You could liken the effect much the same as watering a flower garden properly and with care, to suddenly stopping. All of your efforts in raising that product, will be for nothing. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are constantly changing and developing their technology and new techniques to help be ranked are also constantly being developed. If you want to remain on top, then you must remain updated on all developments and make the necessary changes to your SEO campaign.
At Freshtraffic, we’re constantly monitoring our clients sites, and if a slip in ratings is found consistently, and not a momentary lapse in a reindexing, we will retool the site to return to, and retain the previously held high ranking.
2010 is right around the corner, and are you poised to march into the new year with authority and your presence online?
New Years Resolutions, out with the old, in with the new.. change is good. If you’re an “old hat” in the biz world, you have had your methods which have worked to advertise (tv, radio, newspaper, etc). But the simple, honest truth is, those mediums have lost the majority of their impact on society. The world is online, gone digital, and in the realm of switches, code, and information exchange, the world never sleeps.
The 24/7 marketplace, the Internet, where you can sink or swim based upon your decisions as a business owner. Is your site easy to use? The information relevant to your product or services? Are you easy to find within the search engines; Google, Bing or Yahoo?
If you’ve not concentrated on your presence online, don’t fret as it’s never too late to get started. In the game of cat and mouse online however, you’re not just competing with the shop down the street, you need to contend with your competitors the next town over, or in the next state/province. The web moves and breathes with a life of it’s own, and having the real optimization experts on your side, is your first step towards taming the beast.
In frequenting a forum or two, I’ve come across some rather interesting questions and scenarios from time to time. Potential clients asking about techniques, both white and black hat, SEO “experts” posing questions that they should undoubtedly know the answers too, in order to consider calling themselves even an SEO, let alone an expert.
Today I encountered a scenario I wasn’t entirely ready for, a person who used to create and publish advertisements under the Google Adwords program, wanted to use Google as a reference on a job application for a position as an “SEO Expert”.
The biggest and most blatant problem with their question being notably; under Adwords, you don’t work for Google. The relationship between yourself and Google, is one of independant contractors, not as an employer/employee relationship. So, out goes that reference.
The second problem, and it’s as much a pet peeve as an actual issue, writing Adwords does not qualify a person to be a search engine optimization expert. Trying to draw the comparison between the two, would be the same as having applied to be a mechanic after changing a tire on your car.
Would you go see that “mechanic” with your business, knowing his prior experience?
Most professionals in the SEO Services industry apply every possible advantage to a website to get better rankings. Some will focus on fixing structural issues and allow indexing to happen naturally. While an XML sitemap will not directly, nor immediately improve your search engine rankings, it does allow search engines such as Google to see any changes more quickly.
XML sitemaps have replaced the older method of submitting your website URL to search engines. You can now submit your XML sitemap directly to the search engines, or you can wait for the search engines to spider it.
What is included in a XML Sitemap?
* Links (URL’s) to all the pages on your website.
* The relative importance of each page on your website.
* The date each page was last modified.
* How often each page is expected to change.
When to use a XML sitemap
* On large dynamic websites that are poorly linked making them difficult to index.
* On websites using large amounts of Flash where the web crawlers have difficulty accessing the content.
* For poorly coded websites.
* Any website that changes their content frequently like blogs, forums, CMS (content management systems).
XML sitemaps doesn’t directly affect SEO results but they do communicate important information to the search engines to help them index your website.
Following yesterday’s news that Microsoft’s Bing is gaining share on Google (its searches are up 7% for October), a look into their similaries and differences was in order.
Bing’s stance on SEO doesn’t appear to be all that different from Google’s, however, users get different results, which is how to two can coexist in the first place. The difference isn’t necissarily in how the results are found, it is in how the results are presented. Remember that Microsoft marketed Bing as the “decision engine”.
Bing and Google have separate, unique algorithms, but both like quality, relevant links and good content, as opposed to deception and spam. In a white paper for webmasters, Microsoft says:
“There have been no major changes to the MSNBot crawler during the upgrade to Bing. However, the Bing team is continuously refining and improving our crawling and indexing abilities.”
Bing separates results into categories, which has so far worried some in the SEO sector, but Microsoft says proper SEO will work just as well. Bing also has the explore pane, which corresponds with the categories in the SERPs. This is similar to Google’s recent addition of “search options.”
Doing a quick search for comparison between Bing and Google for the keyword “snowboards” yields the following results. Bing gives you categories like shopping, brands, buying guide, providers, accessories, images, videos, and local. Google returning the relevant websites from sales, to local, to forums.
With Bing, it’s not so much about getting to the top of the results, it’s about getting to the top of the right set of results. And still, as always, having quality and relevant content is the best thing you can do. Incidentally, this will help your cause in Google (and other search engines) at the same time.
Curious About What Bing Looks for in Links?
Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center recently posted a pair of blogTo try and help determine the good, and the bad:
- If you can’t endorse the quality of the content at another site, you shouldn’t be linking to them.
- Don’t seek links from sites whose content isn’t link worthy.
- Links to and from your site should be relevant to your site or the page you’re linking to.
- Quality > quantity.
- Avoid hidden text
Top Canadian search engine optimization guru, I see this advert on the paid sponsored links in Google all the time in my city of Winnipeg.
I thought first someone was advertising my company, hey and it would be for free too.
It was not to be, it was another company in town trying to drill up business using the phrase Top Canadian search engine optimization guru, so I then thought lets type that in google and see if they list organically, enclosed results.
Don’t say SEO Experts without being able to back it up, anyone with half a brain can list on google adwords, but to list top of the Google Organic results takes a bit more, people and company’s like this are the ones that get the SEO industry a bad name.
You don’t write a few blogs, twitter daily or do a radio spot and all of sudden become experts or guru’s. Time to stop kidding people and stick to what your good at. Rant!
It should be safe to assume that SEOs don’t know a thing about your industry. Ergo, We can also assume that most client’s don’t know anything about proper online marketing. Most clients think their audience is just like them, if they like technical details then that must be what the audience wants. If they like fluff then that’s what you have to provide because nobody looks at the technical stuff.
Nothing could be further from the truth, the target audience isn’t all like us. They search differently, they expect different things, and they respond differently. All of these differences aside howerver, there is one thing that all searchers have in common. They all want to know they landed on the right website. And if you don’t show them that with your content, they’re going to hit that back button.
Searchers don’t have time to figure out if you are going to meet their needs. Only once they know you do will they stay and read more or dig deeper. You only have a couple of seconds to grab their interest or they move off. If at first glance they don’t see their search results on the page, they are gone.
SEOs and clients can learn a lot from each other, but it takes a genuine collaborative effort. Knowing your stuff isn’t enough. Because you don’t know anything about SEO. How do I know?
Because you came to Fresh to do it for you.
One of the things we go over with clients when getting them involved in the SEO process is that they know their business better than we do. The argument can be made that as soon as they become clients we need to learn as much as possible about their industry to market it properly. But no matter what, they hired the experts in SEO and that takes enough time as it is.
And this is why clients need to be actively involved. Keyword research is our domain, we weed out the junk, and help organize them into strongly optimized groups. But we still need the client’s help with what fits and what won’t.
It would be foolish to barrel through an SEO campaign without seeking the client’s guidance along the way. We have to rely pretty heavily on the client’s expertise in many of the marketing tasks before us. Are these keywords targeted? Is this content correct? These are all common questions we pose to the clients before moving on to the next task.
Sometimes, we find that the client isn’t always the expert they think they are. So often we provide them keyword research and they just barrel through it and say, “yup, these look good.” So we run with it only to have them remove those very same keywords from the text we had developed. Or we send content for them to approve and they say, “looks good,” only to come back months later remarking that don’t like how it’s written. Fair enough, it deserves to be right, but couldn’t they have mentioned that earlier?
These things happen and it does no good to get bent out of shape about it. Everybody makes mistakes, gets things wrong or is caught not paying close enough attention. But sometimes clients think they know more than they really do.
Is the client always right? Well, yes. Ultimately the client always gets what they want, even if it works against their best interests. You can only make your point so many times before you just have to say, “Okay, we’ll do it just how you want it.” Even with knowing full well that they won’t like the results and will likely come back and blame you for it. Thank god for paper trails! After a few more rounds of trying to share knowledge of online marketing, “I really think we just have to focus on technical stuff. I don’t need help with marketing.”
Ok, but will they believe when the technical stuff isn’t enough to get their site ranked for their keywords? Or if by the off chance we are able to get their keywords ranked without any on-page optimization and they don’t see any improvement in conversions? Just as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) relys heavily on client guidance of industry specific knowledge, clients must also rely on their SEOs expertise.
Of the many steps involved in properly conducting a sound SEO (search engine optimization) campaign for a client, a step which seems to invoke some confusion is the link building portion of the campaign. Properly researched link building is just as important to your success as is the content on your website.
Because of the somewhat, misunderstood nature of link building, there are many fallicies which float around on the web about it. What sites to link to, which ones are worse, too many back links are bad for you, but too few isn’t worth the money.. And they go on and on. You can find some of these myths, demystified below.
Myth No 1.
It is bad for your website to leave your link on an “inner page” or inside page that is either new or has a very low Page Rank like PR0 which has a high Page Rank home page.
This is absolutely false. A solid strategy is to look for good quality sites to link to and most of these times linking is done through any of the many pages of such sites. Content doesn’t exist on only the front page of a website.
Myth No 2.
You should always obtain “relevant” links in the same niche as your website otherwise these non-relevant links won’t don’t help in your search engine optimization and will get you penalized by Google.
Ideally all of us should always try to obtain links belonging to the same niche, however it will not hurt you even if they come from sites belonging to entirely different niche. There is just no way that Google can exert much control over incoming links to your website. If this myth were true, many nasty people just need to start linking bad sites with their own competitors just to bring their sites down.
Myth No. 3
Building lots of backlinks too fast will get your penalized by Google.
Most people make this statement without defining what is considered too many links. The average marketer does not build links to the tune of tens of thousands on a daily basis. Only when this happens would we think it is too excessive and could raise an alert to Google, who may investigate if spamming has taken place.
Continue reading about the myths of link building..
In today’s marketplace, businesses large and small cannot wait before they concentrate on their SEO program. Search engine optimization is one of those things that if you are starting it up now you might be a bit late to the party, but at least you got there. It is important to really get started as soon as possible and get things going with your SEO efforts because each day a business waits to get active in the search engines is another day your competition might be really ramping up their search engine marketing efforts slowly stealing away valuable visitors away from your business.
Here are some pitfalls in waiting on building a solid SEO program:
1. Time: SEO is a very time intensive marketing effort that really requires patience, so the longer a business waits with their website the longer it takes to really see results. SEO is a lot like planting a seed and watching it grow. If you want to see results from your efforts they are not going to happen over night. There are cost effective ways to get things started if you are on a budget so at the very least it is important to get the ball rolling. Many businesses are under the impression that search engine optimization works immediately or soon thereafter and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
2. Loss of Sales: Ignoring search engine optimization efforts for your business or website will result in a direct loss of potential sales. I don’t care what your business is, if you are trying to promote yourself online and you have some sort of business to offer whether online or through a brick & mortar you will benefit from SEO. A loss of website visitors is a loss of potential sales in my book. The opportunity costs of not getting active in the search engines for some businesses could be very high and almost painful to discuss.
3. More Competition: All it takes is another few websites to pop up in the search engines and start promoting themselves through a variety of search engine marketing efforts and you might really get buried in the search results. Not to mention your potential customers that could be lost to this newly found competition. More and more people in today’s marketplace are really starting to head online for newly found streams of income. It is important to realize that the potential for your space to get crowded online is very possible. If it hasn’t gotten busy already image if a handful of new competitors move into your space in the search engines and bump you out of the way?