The Best Places to Post Off-Site Content

Once keyword research is finished and website analytics is in place it’s time to start generating and distributing content. With the search engines making it clear that relevancy is one of their highest priorities, it’s vital to make sure that your articles stay off the content farm sites and on those sites where there is some sort of common thread with your website. Here are the places that can get your SEO campaign on the right track while scoring points with the search engines:

  • While Facebook is the elephant in the social media room, there is a wide variety of other sites that get respect from the search engine bots. YouTube is owned by Google, so it’s logical that they’re counting optimized video content. Flickr is a great site for posting images related to your business. Businesses that provide a service can increase their authority and credibility on sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers by positioning themselves as a resource for visitors to those sites.
  • off-site content can jumpstart your SEO efforts while reaching out to potential customers for your website. and they are relatively easy to set up. You can expand your reach by offering guest posts and providing informative comments on other authoritative blogs within your industry.
  • off-site content can jumpstart your SEO efforts while reaching out to potential customers for your website., making this form of content a great way to get in front of new customers while building backlinks to your website. One caveat; only post press releases when there is a material event for your business.

These three places to post off-site content can jumpstart your SEO efforts while reaching out to potential customers for your website. As an added bonus, setting up a blog (WordPress), engaging in social media (Facebook et al), and distributing press releases (PRLog) can all be done for free.

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Passing the Penguin Test

When Google releases an algorithm change, the results definitely get the attention of the SEO world. Websites that had front-page listings for years fall into the oblivion of search (page 7 or lower) while others hold their position or move higher. So how do some websites stay out of the crosshairs of an algorithm change like Penguin while others take a pounding that could take months or years for full recovery?

Here are 3 things you need to know in order to pass the Penguin Test:

  1. Using a program that distributes SEO content to hundreds of different directories with a couple of keystrokes is dead. Google has seen to that by upgrading their algorithm to detect duplicate content wherever it may exist. It is also much better at detecting spammy article farms and low quality directories. Inbound links from these types of sources no longer carry any weight in ranking algorithms.
  2. The Penguin Update turns up the heat in terms of delivering a positive user experience. This means that SEO related content that adds value for readers is what Google is looking for and they will reward sites that deliver it and punish those that don’t. In this new world, distributing lower amounts of content that is higher in quality will earn higher rankings than throwing a bunch of keyword rich articles at any content farm that will post them.
  3. Investing time in your SEO related content will pay dividends. Creating content that adds value for readers takes time and effort, which is why Penguin clobbered so many sites. Write for your readers and the search engines will reward you for it.

The search engines strive to deliver listings that will deliver useful information. By helping the search engines get what they want, they will ultimately help you get what you want; high rankings on the search engine results pages for your website.

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Overcoming Penguin Paralysis – SEO

Many people took a step back when the Google’s panda and Penguin updates knocked websites off of the front pages that they had occupied for years in some cases. For many, the issue was how to proceed with initiatives related to SEO, content distribution, and link-building without incurring the wrath of the search engines.

By taking a closer look at these changes in Google’s algorithm for ranking websites, it becomes clear that the search engine expects two things from a website; relevance and added value. Google has always made clear that it’s highest priority is to deliver a positive experience for its users and enforcing these expectations helps them to do that.

So, how can a website owner proceed in a manner that doesn’t result in a rankings pounding whenever Google comes out with another algorithm update? The answer lies in delivering exactly what the search engine wants for its users:

  • Relevance – Search is becoming far more sophisticated in determining whether concepts have relevance and deliver meaningful information to the end user. Where that relevance can be confirmed, a website will be rewarded. If there is no relation between concepts the website will be ignored at best and possibly delisted if it is found that abusive or manipulative practices are being employed.
  • Add value – Websites that deliver high value content will be rewarded by search engines as well as by their visitors. Visitors who find websites that consistently post content that adds value for them will return to the site, share it with their friends, and make purchases from it.

Google’s clarity on what it wants from websites makes SEO in the post Panda/Penguin world very simple. Stay relevant, deliver high quality content, and there will be no need to worry about the next algorithm change.

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Musings on Google’s Next Algorithm Change Targeting Over-Optimized Sites

For those people wondering what the next website plummeting algorithm change might entail, Matt Cutts at Google gave a hint at his talk at SXSW in late March, 2012. In that speech, he spoke of surfacing sites with great content that may not have optimized their sites to the highest level possible. With Google’s goal of delivering the best user experience possible, this theme isn’t a new one but may indicate that the search engine is in the process of improving the ways in which their bots process on-site content. What remains to be seen is how the bots determine the highest quality content versus a myriad of other competing pages.

Targeting “over-optimized” sites may also mean that some on-page SEO techniques may be de-emphasized. These techniques may include: stacking keyword-loaded links in page footers, high densities of keywords in content, keyword-rich title tags, etc. Pages with a combination of over-optimization of these techniques combined with content that new and improved bots determine to be of low quality would likely suffer big hits on the search engine results pages.

To be sure, the biggest hits will be experienced by sites that are using abusive practices to over-optimize their pages. Google has always reserved the highest level of wrath for those who they determine are gaming or manipulating search engines for undeserved rankings. Websites found to be using black hat techniques will likely fall the furthest in rankings or find themselves delisted, as is the case when highly manipulative practices are discovered.

While many issues that Google tackles are clearly black and white, rating the quality of content gets them into a very subjective area. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

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Jumpstarting Your SEO Campaign with PPC

A search engine optimization campaign (SEO) can be compared to a train leaving the station; it can take a while before full speed ahead is reached. This can be an area of frustration for the owner of a website who may already be in for a couple of monthly payments but has yet to see any of the pages from the site get to the front of the search engine results pages (SERPs). The frustrated call to the SEO may focus on the time it’s taking to see results, that an ad placed in a newspaper gets seen within a few days, that the whole SEO thing is a bunch of voodoo, etc.

One way to avoid the lag time and frustration while waiting for an SEO campaign to push rankings forward is to initiate a pay-per-click (PPC) program to run concurrently with the SEO campaign. PPC advertisements are the ones that sit in the shaded areas at the top and the right hand column of the SERPs. These ads can be set up using the same keywords being optimized in the SEO campaign, meaning that they can be seen on the front page of the same SERPs that the organic listings from the SEO campaign will ultimately occupy.

Once the SEO campaign starts delivering listings to the front page of the SERPs, the PPC campaign can be scaled back or re-allocated to other keywords that will be optimized in the next marketing phase. This strategy can be repeated again and again to deliver early results while alleviating the frustration of waiting for each SEO campaign to gain traction.

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Starting Small in Social Media

When a small business owner sees a case study on the success a company like “Sprinkles” is experiencing with social media, the natural reaction is to prepare for a launch into social media hoping for the same results. The problem is that most small businesses don’t have the budget or the resources that larger companies have to participate in the full spectrum of social media sites, which number around 400.

The key then for success is to select the areas that can deliver the most benefits with a manageable expenditure of money and resources. The benefits include:

  • Increasing rankings on search engine pages
  • Finding new customers (or having them find you)
  • Finding new business connections
  • Having a platform to communicate with existing customers
  • Having multiple platforms for customer reviews

For small businesses, especially with a local or regional market, focusing on social media sites that encourage reviews (like Yelp.com) is a great way to get started because they can raise your business’ profile in your market while not requiring a massive amount of work. Of the five benefits listed above, these review sites can deliver results in every area with the probable exception of finding business connections.

Better still, the bulk of the work can delegated to selected employees. These tasks can include monitoring the sites, responding to reviews, posting coupons, etc. Focusing on local social media is a task that can still consume time and energy so start small and build from there. Manage the process, don’t get overwhelmed, and the results will come.

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Messing With Google – SEO

There are always people looking to build a better mousetrap in SEO. The problem is that many of these mousetraps fall into the black hat category of SEO practices. Here are a couple of practices related to link building that game Google’s algorithm to influence the rankings on the search engine pages.

  • Google Bombing – Google bombing is very similar to spamdexing, which modifies html pages to push them higher in search engine results for specific keywords. Examples of Google bombs include the search term “more evil than Satan himself” linking to Microsoft’s homepage as the top result and the search term “miserable failure” linking to the official George W. Bush biography as the number one result.
  • Google Bowling – Rather than attempt raise a company’s ranking through nefarious practices, Google bowling uses black hat SEO techniques to drop the ranking of another company’s listing. The practice centers on the launch of a negative linking campaign where links are bought for the targeted company. These inbound links can originate from any number of sites with poor reputations including “malicious software sites, porn sites, hate sites, and negative blogs and forums”.  The targeted company’s inbound links, from what Google defines as bad neighborhoods, ultimately tarnish the site and hurt its rankings on the search engine results pages. Companies using the Google bowling technique have even gone as far as reporting the targeted company to the search engines for their low quality links. Seeing that this practice was hurting innocent companies, Google made changes in its algorithms to combat this type of SEO campaign.

Another form of Google bombing takes place when links are put in numerous sites on the web by a number of people so it leads a particular keyphrase to a targeted site. This can lead to the site being overrun with hits which can crash the site. These are usually done more for wreaking havoc than for competitive purposes.

As mentioned, there is always a better mousetrap being built out there. That being said, having an occasional audit on your site can protect it from some of the practices described here. For more information, visit: SEO Company or call (866) 530 7703.

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Maximizing the Benefits of RSS Feeds – SEO

RSS, the acronym for “real simple syndication”, is an automatic feed which provides online content publishers the chance to stay in touch with their target audience on a regular basis.  When visitors arrive at a website with an RSS option, they can elect to subscribe to the feed. This provides the opportunity for the site owner to send out notifications of new content to these subscribers. These outbound communications can then keep them in regular contact with visitors who are already familiar with the site.

With studies showing that consumers usually visit a site multiple times before making a purchase, an RSS feed can encourage visits and speed the conversion process. RSS feeds carry other benefits as well including:

  • Increasing the possibilities that your published content will be shared with new potential visitors.
  • An RSS feed can improve search engine rankings
  • An RSS feed can get content indexed at the search engines faster
  • A feed can provide another means of driving traffic to a website

RSS feeds provide an automated marketing process that can drive both existing and new visitors back to your site. Listing with RSS feed directories can also serve to introduce your site to new visitors as many of these directories have huge daily traffic numbers.  By regularly publishing content which is then pushed out via an RSS feed a site owner can benefit from a consistent flow of traffic that is also free of charge.

Despite the powerful benefits that are delivered by installing an RSS feed, the tool is generally underutilized across the web. Even when an RSS feed is installed, many website owners do not use it to its fullest potential. With the potential to build back links, increase visitors, drive sales, and improve page rankings, RSS feeds should be incorporated where ever possible. If you are regularly publishing content but aren’t using RSS feeds to their fullest extent, you are missing an opportunity that delivers benefits on many levels.

For a full assessment of how installing an RSS feed on your site can add money to your bottom line, visit: Website Marketing or call (866) 530 7703.

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Making The Best Out of a Small Budget For SEO – SEO Strategies and Techniques

While the internet may be considered as a level playing field, the big boys are still the big boys and going head to head with them in an SEO campaign is a sure way to blow through your SEO budget without much to show for it. That being said, the great thing about the internet is that small companies don’t need to win a direct battle with a larger business to build their online presence, increase brand recognition, and drive higher quality traffic to their site.

Here are a few things small businesses and website owners can do to maximize a small SEO budget and make the most of their internet marketing efforts:

  • Optimize for the locals – While a brand like Nordstrom is likely to be searched by its name, plenty of people use search terms which combine the desired item with a location. A vintage clothing store could then see search engine rankings for a term like “vintage clothing Newport Beach”. The search engines have expanded local search as well so make sure to claim and optimize your business on these as well.
  • Get mobile – Smartphone users love sites like Foursquare and Gowalla and mobile SEO is the next wave so why not get on now. Not only are these sites a great way to stay in touch with existing customers, they’re a great way to have them promote your business with “bring a friend” promotions.
  • Go with long tail keywords – Long tail keywords deliver less traffic than shorter search terms but the traffic that does arrive will be highly targeted and closer to making a purchase. Using a clothing store as an example, someone searching for a type of clothing, a brand, and a location is probably close to buying that item. A long tail keyword in this instance might look like “Hurley men’s board shorts Newport Beach”. That type of search signifies that the buyer has made a decision and is just trying to find out where the item can be found.

By picking your SEO battles you can win with search terms and strategies that drive targeted traffic that wants to buy your products/services. It can also be done on a small budget. For more on SEO on a budget, visit: Best SEO Companies or call (866) 530 7703.


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Jumpstart Your SEO – SEO Industry News and Techniques

The search engine optimization process typically does not produce results overnight but there are several actions you can take to speed things along. Here are some of the actions that can give your search engine optimization campaign a jumpstart:

  • Submit a sitemap to the search engines – A sitemap is a file that lists the important pages on your site that you want indexed. This will get your site pages indexed faster than submitted your URL.
  • Determine the pages that Google has indexed – You can determine this by entering “site: domain” in the Google search bar. For example, the proper entry would look like this – site:joesplumbing.com. Do not precede your domain name with http or www.  Google will return with all the pages that have been indexed, allowing you to add the ones that have been missed.
  • If you have other domains, build links between them – The more relevant the sites are to each other, the better. Link building is a big part of SEO so building these links is a good thing.
  • Build internal links within your site – Build links to the other pages within your site. This goes beyond the links on your home page and should include text based links on other pages wherever it makes sense.
  • Add dashes between words for your file names – Google’s algorithm has a much easier time reading files when they are separated in this manner. An example would be joesplumbing.com/local-services-offered.
  • Change up your anchor text when you submit content to article directories to build link juice – This makes your inbound links look natural and they’ll carry more weight with the search engines.
  • Don’t ignore the ALT tags for images on your site – The search engines can’t read images but the alt tags provide the opportunity for some extra on page SEO.
  • Secure Twitter and Facebook page names for your site – Even if you don’t use them immediately, they’ll be there once you’re ready to dive in to social media.

The sooner you start seeing results from your SEO efforts, the better. For more information on jumpstarting your SEO campaign, visit: Premier SEO Company or call (866) 530 7703.

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