Category Archives: seo

Is Social Media a Fad?

In the last 3 years I have been told the Internet is a Fad and recently Social Media is no better, I think the following video says it all. Here at Fresh Traffic we can help you, not only with social media marketing, but with online branding, SEO and Internet Marketing Solutions.

We are the leading company in Winnipeg, Manitoba supplying these services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01&border=1]

Search Marketing in 120 minutes or less! ?

Sure it rolls of the tongue, just like the late night informercials selling juicers and vaccuum packing machines to help save you storage space. But can you really teach or inform a room of, safest to assume, people who’ve never heard the term before?

Doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense when you think of it as such, and anyone who is truly in the know in the industry will tell you, SEO isn’t something you learn, teach, or even give a strong idea of, over a long lunch.

Say it with me – Search engine optimization is not quick fix. It is not flash in the pan success in advertising. SEO is long term, strategic success in online marketing. It’s a long term plan, with very real, very measurable results in driving traffic to your website.

Recently, it’s seemed that an additional misunderstanding of SEO is that it doesn’t sell your products or services well enough. Optimization isn’t a salesman so to speak, SEO is more like the car the salesman used to get to your home in order to sell you the goods. It doesn’t matter if the salesman (your website) arrived in a gleaming, brand new, state of the art shuttle (SEO), if it’s poorly dressed and hard to understand it’s goals and motives.

You may be advised to have a new website built, to have it restructured, or any number of things. Traffic and exposure to the world is our business. We will bring you the people, it’s up to you to sell yourself from there on in.

Not that this is terribly long to read, but to summarize ::

SEO is NOT a get rich quick business model.
SEO is NOT to be taken lightly.
SEO is NOT a salesman, it’s a vehicle to bring you your customers.

SEO IS the best return on investment, marketing wise, that you can use for your business.
SEO IS long term.
SEO IS is becoming increasingly important, every single day.
SEO IS much, much more than Twitter, Facebook, blogging and Adsense.

Don’t be fooled into simple explanations for the artful science of search engine optimization. You do yourself, and the industry a disservice.

SEO now, or risk being lost.

With the trend online leaning towards social media as a communication medium for the masses, should it really be any surprise that even CEO’s are announcing their resignations with these methods? Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, announced via Twitter, that he’d resigned his post. Not in a news release, not in a formal announcement in the papers, Twitter.

In another, unrelated story, it’s been found that the youth of this generation (12-29) are straying from the idea of blogging, citing reasons such as, it’s time consuming, people will just get disinterested, etc. Strangely however, they’re not flocking to Twitter as most may think, but using mobile messaging and browsing means; over half of 18-29 year olds using mobile technology as their main means of online activity.

No, this doesn’t mean SEO is dead, dwindling, or disappearing anytime soon. In fact, it means you need to focus on it even more than ever before as time rushes on. The internet, and it’s generation, evolve, adapt, and absorb information faster than any other before it. Attentions spans are shorter, but if you provide the quality, loyalty is also higher.

The world has always moved, inexorably towards it’s digital embodiment, and that growth is becoming faster each year as technology improves. It’s an age of (mostly) free information exchange, whether it be in business, or socially exchanged, and if you’re not findable now, presenting your best face to the world, you’re going to get lost as the wave grows.

The future isn’t coming, it’s already here. Just like nature wipes out those species who don’t evolve, the same will happen online, if you don’t catch the wave, you’re going to just get swept away. Let Fresh help you stay the course, and instead of being swept along, lead the pack and find yourself on top where you belong.

SEO is no exception, you get what you pay for

Caveat emptor “Let the buyer beware”, a latin phrase which basically means you get what you pay for. Sure there are deals to be had, sometimes you find the diamond in the rough, but in the professional business world, if you pay for junk, you’re going to get junk.

Being frugal, isn’t necissarily a bad thing, it can be however, when you wind up making poor decisions to try and save a few dollars. Which, to be honest, will end up costing you more in the end. The reason for bringing up this point is because of the exponential growth of SEO companies in general.

There are definite points to bear in mind when conducting your checks on companies claiming to be providing website optimization. Criteria such as:

Do they have a website?
Is their site even found within Google/Bing results pages for optimization search terms?
Is their site easy to use/navigate so I can find information on the services they provide?

When speaking to a company offering SEO services, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some companies are cheaper than others. However, when it comes to the web, caveat emptor, is just as applicable, and in some cases even more so. There’s no pricing structure assigned to website optimization, no standard flat rate that everyone gets charged. This isn’t a do-it-yourself industry, it’s not something anyone can just pick up and master with a try or two.

It’s the difference between a gas jockey at the local pump station and a Nascar pit crew. If all you want is to be found on the internet, go ahead and put your website up. The spiders will crawl it, index it, and place you accordingly based on the site you’ve made and what it contains. If you want to rise to the top, and you have only a vague idea as to what to do, your best bet is to call in the experts. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re known for, and it’s a skillset no one else in town has.

If you’d rather be cost concious, by all means hire the guy working from his basement who’s only charging you **$200 per month and guarantee you #1 in Google. You’ll get exactly what you pay for, but just remember that when you’re lost on the results pages, can’t find yourself in the top 1000.. there won’t be much we can do for you except advise you to probably start over. From scratch, again. Save yourself time, effort, and aggravation in the end; the Freshtraffic team has the skillset, experience, and knowledge to get you where you belong.

**(Not a farce,I found this “service” being offered earlier today)

The Downside of Being the Best

Search engine optimization is pretty much the big deal in terms of online marketing. It’s a powerful tool, that when leveraged and implemented properly, can almost cement a position for you within the SERPs on Google and Bing.

Writing quality content, building an intricately connected website, working daily to acquire as many backlinks as humanly possible are incredibly powerful means to formalize your place. But like any other business practice, there’s a right way to do things, and a wrong way to do things. What happens, when you have beatufilly written, unique content, and someone unscrupulous comes along and decides to take it for themselves? You find yourself in a situation much like Fresh did earlier today.

We had someone contact us who wanted information on affiliate marketing and how she could make money, online, without a website, with our help. A tad puzzled, we inquired further, and learned that she’d gotten our name from a different website, which had no contact information. Seeing as ours was the only name actually on the site, she Googled our number, and gave us a call. After explaining that we weren’t able to help her in her search for easy money for no work online, we delved into the website url she’d given us and noticed some very poorly lifted content from our website.

Not only, had they directly copied and pasted our content onto their site, they hadn’t even bothered to change any of the links contained within. So, all of the links were there, broken, but contained within the body of which they’d copied. So plagarized text, broken links, as well as links back to our site and some of our pages. The real kicker about it though, is not only does it not work for them in terms of having unique content of any kind, but it also demeans our repuatation online. Just because we didn’t build the site, because it’s found on such a disreputable site, we’re lumped into the same bin as they are.

Some of the more technical aspects, in essence both sites could get flagged for duplicate content when it’s picked up. Generally, the spiders will note it, find that one site is older (in this case ours) and disregard the other. But until it’s determined which site is the owner of the content in question, both sites get marked as having duplicate content, hurting both.

The web is a huge repository of.. everything, but that doesn’t give free license for people to search for the highest ranking sites for particular terms, and help themselves to the (probable) years of successful SEO results. If you find yourself in the position of wanting to rip off someone elses site, be prepared for the consequences.

Designing with SEO in mind

It seems to be a consistent trend when a new client meets with us, telling us about their incredible website which they’ve paid (sometimes) thousands of dollars to have it built for them, only for us to turn around and tell them plainly “I’m sorry, but this is terrible to work with”.

Having a flair for style is a great thing when it comes to being a designer, but there are some key points which designers should always bear in mind when constructing a new website, whether for themselves, or for a client. It’s time, I think, to cover just the bear minimum of basics for all of you web designers out there.

1. Title and Meta tags

Important to your site, as a note, don’t try and wedge all of your keywords into these places, it can just get you a mark for trying to be overly spammy. Too many marks, and your website can actually start working against you.

2. Avoid frames, keep flash and java to a minimum

Frames are a no-no code wise for a great long time now, it’s sloppy, looks terribly unprofessional, and best to be avoided completetly.

Flash and Java, while they can add some neat tricks or interesting effects to your site, don’t make a lick of sense to Google.

3. Alt attributes

It’s simple, as with Flash and (some) Java : spiders can’t see pictures. the “alt” tag is there for you tell the spiders what it’s looking at.

4. Use clean, valid mark up.

Make your HTML clean and simple – don’t use tables or use lots of unnecessary DIVs. This will improve your load time which is great for visitors and also make it easier for search engines to crawl and find your page’s content.

5. Make use of header tags

Think of header tags like chapter titles within a book, makes it easy to navigate the index of pages contained within.

6. Try descriptive link text

Linking your website together just makes the navigation better, period, for both bots/spiders and a user experience. Try to avoid things like “click here” and the like.

7. Help bots crawl your site

Bots/spiders are pretty good at navigating your site, but just like having an index or table of contents to a book, it’s helpful to have the same in place for your website. A well formed footer, or sitemap only helps our job as SEO’s when you come to us to assist your rankings online.

All of the above tips, are very basic tips that all web designers should already know and bear in mind when constructing a website. But it is always a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals. Because often times, designers can’t see a forest for the trees.

Optimization is Optimization, Check your Premises

Breaking ground to make a new flower garden, you can get some unpleasant issues from time to time. Grass creeping into your garden, weeds, bugs, animals rooting around, all matters which just need to be handled as you tend to your garden. The majority of the issues can be taken care of with simple due diligence, but one problem in particular, weeds, can pose additional risk to those who don’t know what they’re looking for.

Weeds can look deceptively similar to flowers which you have planted in your garden, blending in with your desired product, choking them out and hiding their true worth. Only by taking the time, being fully aware of what you have, and what you need to remove from your field of view, can you seperate the weeds, and appreciate your hard earned effort.

Flower gardens and SEO? What do they have in common? Nothing. Neither do house hold do it yourself repairs have with optimization, baking, painting, or anything else for that matter (but all of the aformentioned sites, I have read blogs posted by them on the topic of SEO); search engine optimization is relevant to search engine optimization.

So why the analogy? Well, since Freshtraffic has opened up in Winnipeg, there were only one or two other businesses in town offering services which barely begin to resemble SEO services for clients. The realm of search engine optimization, was firmly in the hands of the Freshtraffic team; yet here we are, 2 years later and there are dozens of companies offering SEO services in Winnipeg. Strange how Fresh breaks new ground in Winnipeg, and all of a sudden there’s a wealth of “experts” in the field in town.

Take some time, do your due diligence when taking your companies first steps into having your website optimized. It would be a shame to have all the work of building your businesses website all for nothing, by not having the best work for you.

Free Press, does the bell toll for thee

The holding company for MediaNews Group Inc. newspapers, including The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, says it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It would be at least the 13th bankruptcy filing by a U.S. newspaper publisher in the past 13 months. The owners of dozens of newspapers have been pushed into bankruptcy protection as the recession and competition from the Internet have sapped advertising revenue.

Newspapers that seem to have survived and some that thrive started implementing an seo strategy years ago to make sure they had online coverage listing as high as possible for the eyeballs and advertising dollars.

If you require help on SEO Strategies & Online Marketing Advertising Call 204.942.4200. We serve Fresh Ideas.

One Way to Spot Blackhat SEO

With the quake in Haiti, there’s been a massive outpouring of interest in Google trends, as some want to see the extent of the damage, some looking for friends/loved ones, some looking to help in any way they can.. and then there are the not so noble.

The black hatters, the spammers, those who embed code within pages to trick you into thinking that you’re clicking through to an agency wanting to help in light of the crisis, when all the website is really designed to do is.. well who really knows? It could be to silently install malware on your computer, it could be to just accept your information to build a saleable database of peoples names and numbers. The pages will only be findable in the engines SERPs for a short time, before they are actively removed, but some will still click on them under the false pretense that they’re helping the victims in Haiti.

Black hat SEOs are in the business of generating bursts of traffic, to targetted pages. They’ll use every trick, scam, and loophole that they can to either steal information, install malicious software, or what not. So how do you know what a genuine link is, and isn’t? Well first off and foremost, if you truly want to help just visit www.redcross.org and follow their links to lend your aid.

But how to spot a blackhat link, and a genuine link? First and foremost, before clicking any link returned on the SERP for “haiti earthquake donation”, seeing as it’s a very hot trend at the moment, check the specific URL (written in green, at the bottom of the description) before hand. Take for example, the American Red Cross’s URL and description for their site currently :

American Red Cross
Earthquake in Haiti. Posted in Press Releases, 01/14/10 … See larger map by visiting mGive You can donate $10 to Haiti relief by texting “Haiti” to 90999. … www.redcross.org/

A well known agency & website title, intelligible description (not spammy), and the actual link being a .org, further lending to it’s credibility.

Now as for a blackhats spammy/scammy version:

Haiti Earthquake Donation
13 Jan 2010 … $250000 Donation to the Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Fund . Donate to help Oxfam’s emergency response in Haiti.Posts Tagged ‘ haiti earthquake …
www..com/index2.php?q=

The title reads that they have the noblest intentions, but the description text is very spammy, and adding the biggest red flag, the url listed at the end. A properly written URL wouldn’t contain “?q=” as part of the code. What that portion of the url does, is it acts as a redirect from the link you actually click. By clicking the above link you’ll be sent to who knows where, but it won’t have anything to do with helping those in need in Haiti.

Taking just a moment to read the expanded URL that is listed in the results, can save you immeasurable amounts of grief at a later date. In the end, black hat SEOs take advantage of the true victims, exploit people who genuinely want to help, and if they’re piggybacking a genuine website like above, it hurts their reputation online as well. All to give you a trojan/worm/virus to infect your system, and steal your personal information.

A Review of the SEO Basics

Being the start of the year, it’s always a good idea to remember what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s also a good idea to remember and brush up on the basics, because if your foundation has no strength, what ever you build upon it will fall.

Search engine optimization, an industry born from neccesity, is as much an art, as it is a mathematical science. But just because you get the perfect ratio of keyword to text and what not, it doesn’t mean you’ll rank well in the SERPs. Google, the king of the multi-billion dollar mountain of search, basically birthed SEO and has brought it’s evolution to it’s current state. So who better to review the basics with?

We’ll go over the basics very briefly initially, and pay closer attention to some of the key points as they merit.

1) Create unique, accurate page titles
“A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is.”

2) Make use of the “description” meta tag
“A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about.”

3) Improve the structure of your URLs – Basically make your URLs easy to read.
“This can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content.”

Try your best when designing your site, to avoid URL structure like www.testsite.com/72a00065a.htm It’s non-descriptive, makes no sense to a visitor who may choose to link to your content, and can make it difficult to keep your site and pages organized.

4) Make your site easier to navigate
“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important.”

5) Offer quality content and services – this is really in their guide, it surprised me honestly.
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.”

6) Write better anchor text – Avoid using anchor text like click here and the like
“Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link, and is placed within the anchor tag. This text tells users and Google something about the page you’re linking to.”

7) Use heading tags appropriately – Six types, ranging from H1 to H6, H1 being the most important.
“Heading tags are used to present structure on the page to users.”

8) Optimize your use of images – Search engine spiders can’t see pictures the same way we do
“Images may seem like a straightforward component of your site, but you can optimize your use of them. All images can have a distinct filename and “alt” attribute, both of which you should take advantage of.”

9) Make effective use of robots.txt – Note: You need to exercise care with your robots file. You could accidentally prevent your site from being indexed properly if you’re unsure of how to configure it.
“A “robots.txt” file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site.”

10) Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links – Note: As with the robots file, if you’re unsure as to proper use of nofollow, use caution.
“Setting the value of the “rel” attribute of a link to “nofollow” will tell Google that certain links on your site shouldn’t be followed or pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to.”

All of the above are essentially the good, solid practices that any SEO should be following. Additionally, every one of the points I’ve touched upon, is found in Google’s own search engine optimization handbook; their “starter guide”. If you happen to catch, or notice, an SEO Expert, not following one or more of the above, then how much of an expert could he really be if he can’t even follow the beginners rules?