When to Run Away from a Web SEO Company

You probably shouldn’t be charged for a couple things that many “back alley” or “strip mall” Web SEO companies and consultants still offer. In some cases, even larger marketing organizations are trying to push value into some tactics that are outdated or simply don’t work to help rankings.

No two sites on the Internet are identical. In rare instances, some of the below tactics may work. But most of the time, if your SEO company is pushing these services on you, take a good hard look at what you’re paying for.

1. Submitting Sites to Search Engines: There’s a big difference between submitting your site to the search engines and submitting your site to directories. Directory submission is a very important part of link building, and has continually proven to be valuable.

Submitting your sites to the search engines isn’t valuable to SEO. This simply offers another way for the search engines to find your site. If all you do is submit it to the search engines and sit back and wait, you likely won’t see any rankings, other than potentially for your brand name.

2. SEO Landing Pages: Another outdated tactic is building landing pages just for SEO, although this is a temporary solution that e-commerce companies sometimes choose to take rather than spending the time fixing the actual site and navigation. In most cases, if you want long-term results without sacrificing user experience consistency, you should optimize your actual content versus trying to create circa 2001 “doorway pages.”

3. Reciprocal Linking: The last outdated tactic is using reciprocal linking as a primary link building tactic. If your SEO company or consultants requires that you place an outbound link to every site that is linking to you, then you should run away. Some reciprocal links aren’t bad, especially ones that occur naturally — just be worried if this is the only link building tactic presented.

Winnipeg Web Design

Having relocated to Winnipeg in 2007 and been heavily involved in the Internet for the past 15 years, I was shocked at the knowledge of web designers and webmasters after I arrived.

Outdated ideas, old techniques and lack of good practices and search engine guidelines which have become standard practice across Europe and most of the US for the last 5 years when building websites.

One company I met last week was typical, they had paid good money for a new websites, it looked great to the human eye, BUT to search engines such as Google it was a total mess.

The sites description was describing joomla cms software and the keywords were joomla.

Not very good unless your joomla of course.


Welcome to Winnipeg Website Design

Winnipeg Web Design have raised the bar for website development, designing sites that are not only visually appealing, but also very user-friendly. Having designed hundreds of successful websites for various companies all over Canada and the United States, our talented designers are able to implement fresh and smart ideas into every design, making your web presence stand out above the competition. All our websites are designed to be SEO friendly and adhere to all search engine guidelines.

They cover
Website Design
Custom Content Management Systems
Custom Web Applications
Website Hosting
Logo Design
and of course Search Engine Optimization

Give them a call today www.WinnipegWebsiteDesign.ca

Winnipeg new media design firm lands contract

In a Winnipeg Free Press story about a Winnipeg new media design firm landing a contract with the federal Conservatives to “deliver their message to supporters nation-wide.” I got around to thinking why we didn’t get a call.

They mentioned the company would have to go all Barack Obama and hit computer screens and blackberries everywhere with tweets and Facebook messages and YouTube to be successful.

So why did they not call a guy who consulted on that and lives in Winnipeg now?

You would have thought may be the new media company or even the federal conservatives might have lifted a phone and called for some ideas or advice.

It’s your turn Winnipeg, Yes we can!

Is Bing 2.0 A Real Match for Google?

Aside from CEO Steve Ballmer scolding a Microsoft employee for flaunting an iPhone, Bing 2.0 was the biggest news to leak from a private company meeting on Thursday. Yes, it appears that the software giant is about ready to relaunch its search engine and great Google killer, according to a burst of unconfirmed employee tweets.

But, whether a few new bells and whistles will move the needle for Bing is hardly certain. Despite millions upon millions in marketing dollars, the search engine still trails far behind Google.

Net Applications estimated that Google held 81.22% of search engine market share in June, followed by Yahoo at 9.21% ; Microsoft’s Bing at 5.31% and MSN Live at 0.66%. Hitwise, meanwhile found that Bing’s market share was just 5.25% in June — including MSN Search and Live.com.

Does Size Matter? – Guideline for Basic SEO

When building your new site, always bear in mind the search engine optimization essentials, mind your tags, provide relevant content, and be sure to include your keywords along the way. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean you can just cram War & Peace onto a single page, and expect to become the “expert” on the literature.

So what’s the ideal? There’s no absolute number to tell the truth, but there is definitely a “too big” number. Typically, if you’ve built your site, uploaded it to your server, and had to wait in the 8+ second range for it to load, it’s too big. Huge pages (over 100 K – which is the standard established long ago) can account for a lot of user challenges and decrease the bot’s crawl rate and depth: note that the bot works on a budget – if it spends too much time crawling your huge images or PDFs, there will be no time left to visit your other pages. Paring down your pages, while keeping your content, design, and feel can be a challenge in and of itself. In this area, is where a qualified SEO consultant will best assist.

There are no (known) limits to textual content. Iin terms of word count there are some massive pages out there, and Google seems to index all of them. The only actionable advice here is to make text easy to read for your readers, not spammed full of keywords or disjointed text, spiders can handle as much text as you need.

And in the end, does size matter? Yes, and no, if your site and pages are built and properly optimized, they can have great amounts of content for your readers. Contacting us at Fresh, we will be sure to let you know just which side of the line you stand on.

Search Marketing Strategies

Understanding what your competitors are doing in terms of online strategy is an absolute priority when launching a new website that is entering a competitive space. By knowing what your rivals are doing in their SEO and social media space, not only will be able to discern their online marketing strategy, but you can also emulate what is working for them, and generate internal ideas to stay proactive.

Furthermore, by understanding what your competition is doing in terms of on-site SEO, link building, social media marketing, developing third party properties and other search marketing tactics; you can also identify tactics which are working from them (or not working for them), that you can improve upon, and thrive from in your overall marketing strategy.

And who doesn’t love pretending to be a spy every once in a while?

The first step to identify your competition is by checking out the search results for your keywords for which you’d like to be listed. Do not look only at keywords which drive the most traffic, but also the longtail search terms.

After you have identified the sites you need to monitor as part of your intel, start looking into the on-site SEO factors which help them rank in the search engines. You may find not only what they are doing right, but what you are doing wrong. When forming a competitive SEO report, it’s suggested to include your own site in the report and even having a third party have a look at your results, say an SEO consultant.

Not only do onsite tactics assist with the ranking of a website, but more importantly the off-site SEO tactics benefit the competitive advantage to boost a site from the bottom of the front page on Google, into the top five.

By discerning the off-site SEO tactics, and social media tactics, you can get a strong sense for the link building strategies, their participation in blogs, sites they may own which are harnessing social media traffic, if SEM is working for them, and their standing on Delicious, Digg and in vertically targeted social networks. All of these factors have a direct influence on search engine rankings and you will not only learn what your competition is doing, but you can find, and use what they are not. And by identifying these holes, oversights or even genius ideas … and applying them to your marketing strategy, you can propel yourself within your industry.

This can be a lot of information to monitor, and you’ll probably want to add more industry specific terms to your research dependent upon how SEO savvy your market is. But in the long run by documenting this information now, and revisiting it, you will have a pinpoint idea of the tactics your rivals are utilizing, which they are not, and even what they are changing to keep up.

Some additional recconaissance you can do, monitor their listings on job search engines to identify the internal positions they are hiring for or have, like SEO Manager or Social Media Marketing Assistant. In this way, you may gather some insight as to what they are planning in the future, which may assist you with getting the jump on the competition.

If you need any help with the tools needed to perform a lot of this research, feel free to contact Freshtraffic and we’ll be sure to assist you.

Another SEO Tip

Social media, is it right for your business? Could it be a free substitute for a traditional (read: expensive) advertising plan? How much time should you spend in the care and feeding of all those profiles? The answers may surprise you.

Twitter grew 3,000 percent in April. Facebook hosted 61.2 million visitors in March. LinkedIn counts 20 million users worldwide.

With a potential audience that big, it’s no wonder savvy marketers are looking to unlock the secrets of social media as another way to get the word out about their businesses. Free access to many social media accounts (and potential clients) just adds to the allure.

Though the platforms will differ based on the type of business, with the accessability of the internet, all small organizations should have a solid Web site, e-mail list, and a contact database before venturing into social media.

Blogs: Write Your Way to Success
If you want to build customer loyalty, start blogging now. It takes minutes to setup, and can be the beginning of branding your business. Blogging takes disseminating information about a company a step beyond formal press releases, ads, marketing brochures and Web sites.

That attachment doesn’t have to equal a huge time commitment, but expect to spend an hour or two to knock out a post. The rewards are can be seen immediately: Blogs that are refreshed regularly get a boost in search engine rankings. In addition, it also helps to establish you as an authority in your field.

Twitter: Tweet Tweet
To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question. The answer? Yes, and ideally as soon as possible! Twitter, with it’s constant communication, and somewhat instant answer sessions, provides an immediate interactivity for your company. If a customer has a question about a product or service, they can simply Tweet your page for the answer. It provides the “hands on” feel to the internet, which appeals to consumers.

YouTube: Be a Star
With a little creativity and relatively low overhead (Flip video cameras can be had for as little as $100) uploading a short clip can be a rapid way to test the market, another way to capitalize on the fast pace of social media is by posting videos on YouTube. Attach your blog, twitter, and website address in your channel info, and watch your traffic bloom as you gain subscribers.

To learn how to create good content, just pick out some viral videos and take note of their methods. The payoff? There are more computers in homes in this day and age, that’s a massive potential audience.

LinkedIn: Business Networking Made Easier
Creating a profile allows an entrepreneur to create an online career history, then to connect with others they’ve worked with. Obtaining a recommendation from a former colleague or existing client may help sway a potential investor or customer. A glowing recommendation is a gold star for any type of business, so why not collect and post them for all to see? It’s easily done on LinkedIn.

Time is money, it’s all about how you manage it. “Previously wasted down time like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It’s getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it’s golden.”

No matter what the platform, Blanchard says the true value of social media is found in the conversation. “You are not necessarily going to get 150 comments per day, but you are engaging a potential customer or client in the way you wouldn’t in an ordinary day.”

Search engine optimization (SEO)

In some circles, search engine optimization (SEO), has acquired a bad reputation. The industry moves fast because search engine algorithms (the unknown “logic” search engines use to associate searched terms or phrases with germane Web pages) is constantly changing. It is simply not in the search engines’ best interest to make this logic known (Google, Yahoo, etc. host advertising platforms and would rather a business pay for rankings – hey, they are running a business too!). The vast knowledge needed to implement SEO created an “us” and “them” dichotomy – if one didn’t “know” seo, then it was better left to the “experts”. The obvious problem being that if one does not know, how would they know their SEO services “knows”. It is kind of like bringing a car to a mechanic – one can get an outrageous bill and not acquire the knowledge to determine if the large amount was vindicated or not.

The specific “logic” is constantly changing, but SEO implements online initiatives to help a business’ quest for visibility. Simply, SEO is marketing for words and phrases associated with goods and services, in comparison to traditional marketing, which would seek to promote a business’ name, executive, etc. That is a very simple definition, and SEO is a lot more complicated (such as the need to acquire in-bound links from reputable sources), but it is an easy, elementary way to begin thinking about search optimization.

It is strongly suggested that any businessperson, thinking about using search engine optimization, do some reading on the subject. Frankly, there are many “SEO experts” out there who will take money, obfuscate, and get no results. On the other hand, many genuine providers exist that can greatly help a company. Researching the topic makes for a better result in finding a provider (after research, a business may find SEO services are not in their budget or presently desirable).

You prosper when you let your visitors determine your content

I think Danny Sullivan first described search as a “reverse broadcast system”. It’s a great way to describe the value of search, and how to approach search in terms of marketing.

I liken search engines to being a ‘reverse broadcast network.’ People pay tons to be on television because you can get your message out in front of millions of people: broadcasting. With search engines, millions of people are telling you *their* messages: what they want to buy, purchase or get information about. You don’t broadcast to them; instead, it’s the reverse, they broadcast to you. There’s very little if anything as a marketing or information medium that I can think of that compares to this. It’s golden and still today amazingly unrecognized.

In search marketing, you prosper when you let your visitors determine your content. They broadcast their intent to you, by phrasing a search query, so you should listen to that intent, and respond by providing appropriate content. Google does the match-making.