Category Archives: Expert SEO Blog

Best Practices & Steps to Success, Local Search Key Vendors

With the rise of smartphones and mapping apps we’re living in the era of local search and discovery.

 

Before we dive into the thicket of what it takes to win in the space and who the players are, let’s take a step back and review the basics of local SEO.

 

Google‘s Knowledge Graph – showing information directly on the search results page -and the presence of the ‘Carousel’ results are just two of the game changers making local SEO a moving target.

 

The carousel will make images and reviews a key driver of clicks. It may also imply that ranking number one in local results is less important as results are listed horizontally.

 

pizza-savannah-google

 

Before we dive into the thicket of what it takes to win in the space and who the players are, we will review the basics of local SEO.

 

The Key Drivers for Local Search

 

 

In general, SEOs agree the key factors driving local search results boil down to:

 

  • Keyword-targeted, indexable landing pages (where the keyphrase is the location and the service)
  • Consistent, accurate business listing data across multiple listing data providers
  • Consistent, accurate name, address and phone number on the site landing page, business listings, and search engine local page
  • Good reviews, content, and engagement on search engine local pages (Google+)
  • Inbound links and citations / mentions for the target web page and the domain
  • User searches for the business name in the geographical area
  • Google Map Maker engagement (for Google, obviously)
  • A good mobile experience (50 percent of mobile searches have local intent)

Given a basic understanding of the tactics and the user experience for local search, we can now review the various options for local search optimization.

 

Local SEO for the Truly Clueless

 

Say you are a lawyer, a plumber, or an exterminator and you don’t have time to worry about this stuff. Setting aside the fact that you likely aren’t reading this article, let’s look at the 100 percent outsourced options.

 

These vendors will set you up with a website, a local ad or marketing campaign, and some kind of local off-site page presence for a monthly fee, all you need to do is give them a call and a credit card number.

 

  • ReachLocal: Pretty much the first players in this space and the industry leader. They tend to target the larger end of the small business market (more than a few employees and more than a few hundreds of dollars a month to spend). ReachLocal will set you up with a web presence and an online marketing (search, social, display, mobile) campaign that fits your budget.
  • Yodle: Lesser known, but providing pretty much the same service as ReachLocal, Yodle targets the small end of the small business segment. They will set you up with a basic template-driven, search optimized website on a domain they own and control. They will also set up a paid search campaign assuming you have the budget, and will track and forward any calls they generate.

 

One thing to consider with these outsourced solutions is once you stop paying them, you may lose your website, the leads stop coming, and any SEO equity you may have established goes bye-bye.

 

If you really don’t think you can figure out how to create a website and do basic SEO, the outsourced approach is the solution for you. Just be aware of the downsides and the fact that you are paying them for the service. Otherwise, buck it up and make your own website and follow the instructions below to optimize it for local search.

 

The Do-It-Yourself Approach to Local SEO

 

So you are going to do it yourself. As we have seen above, you need good on-page SEO to rock in local search and a good mobile site or responsive design since a ton of your local searches will be on mobile devices.

 

Step 1: Basic SEO

 

You need to get your on-page SEO in order – create a nice, responsive site with a local keyword-targeted home page (e.g., “Childrens Resale Store, Brooklyn, NY”). Then go about the usual SEO tasks of getting good inbound links, citations, and mentions in the media.

 

With basic SEO out of the way, you now need to think about straightening out your business listings and optimizing your off-site local pages like Google+, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, and many others.

 

Step 2: Business Listings

 

For a small business, you can manually create and update your business listings at several places. For example, you can get a Dun & Bradstreet number, and update or create a listing with your name, address, and phone number at InfoUSA. These guys gradually feed many other local services like the Yellow Pages vendors with data.

 

Step 3: Off-site Local Pages

 

Now it’s time to get your off-site act together. With a few more basic steps like claiming your Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp pages and enriching your location on Google Map Maker you are on well on your local search way.

 

Go get some great reviews, upload photos, and make sure you’re your name, address and phone number (NAP) data is visible on your home or store page and exactly matches your listing data. Add semantic markup code to your NAP data to be 100% sure the engines get the message.

 

Large Enterprise Local SEO

 

The same basic rules apply for larger businesses with a big local footprint, but things get considerably more complex and time consuming. Welcome to the world of enterprise local search vendors. And, if you’re really busy, you may need a local search agency or specialist.

 

Enterprise Listings Management

 

Let’s take a look at some of the main local search vendors. If you work with an agency, they will most likely be using some combination of these in their service.

 

  • Universal Business Listings: UBL directly feeds business databases like Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, and InfoGroup (last time we checked). These are primary datafeed providers to multiple publishers. UBL also has a bulk claiming service for sites like Google+, allowing you to make a one-time claim and update of your data. UBL is not the company to work with to streamline management and updating of social / local sites, but they can get your basic business listings created or cleaned up so they can work their way through the local data ecosystem.

 

  • Localeze: Recently acquired by Neustar, Localeze is similar to UBL in that it provides business listings data directly to a variety of publishers and primary data sources. In some ways Localeze is complementary to UBL as it provides data to a different set of distribution partners including Yahoo, Bing, Yellowpages.com, Facebook, Twitter, and TomTom. Localeze has created an impressive roster of sites it feeds with data.

There are other options as well, but for the sake of brevity, let’s move on to:

 

Enterprise Local Pages Management

 

Keeping third-party local sites like Google+, Yahoo Business Listings, and Yelp current and enriched with offers, campaign content, and offers is a big job, especially for brands with hundreds of locations. Previously, it was pretty much a manual job. Nowadays, there are several players who have stepped up and created APIs and interfaces that allow you to manage off-site local pages centrally.

 

Once you get into the space of managing multiple off-site pages for multiple locations you are going to be spending serious coin. If you have the budget, here are some folks to take a look at:

 

  • Yext: While not exclusively aimed at large enterprise, the Yext team offers a range of services including the ability to centrally claim and enrich (with offers or other content) a large number of 3rd party sites. Yext charges a yearly fee for management with additional costs that vary with the amount of content you want to push to the managed sites. If you want to quickly push out a short-term offer to dozens of sites for hundreds of locations, and you have the budget, Yext may be for you. Recently, Yext and Yahoo announced Localworks – a service aimed at small businesses that gives them access to Yext and Yahoo listing and management services for $30 per month.

 

  • Rio Local: Pretty much focused on larger companies with multiple locations, Rio has the only complete hosted local search solution. They 1) Host the local landing page and 2) Claim any number of off-site local pages (G+, yelp, etc) and 3) Create and verify the business listings. If you are OK with having them host your local on-site pages, Rio may be the option for you as they have the most control and due to ‘owning’ the landing page they can give pretty complete end to end reporting.

 

I am sure I missed a ton of vendors, so feel free to let me know what I left out in the comments.

 

Conclusion: Local Search Offers Great ROI

 

For a small business, local search may something that can be done in an afternoon, followed up by a quick daily or weekly review of off-site pages.

 

For a large business – say 1,000 locations – the costs and difficulty rapidly escalate. While it might seem crazy to spend $500,000 in vendor fees and $50,000 in agency management time to locally optimize your franchises, I would argue that it offers a great return. For some industries (e.g., finance) the ROI could truly be stellar.

 

Local search results are also less competitive than core web results. While you might not ever be able to rank for ‘Life Insurance’ your might very well be able to rank for ‘Life Insurance broker’ queries in Albany and every other city your do business in. Big brands, small brands, take note.

 

So if you haven’t already it’s time to add local search optimization to your marketing plan. But there’s no need to hurry – my small local business in Brooklyn would rather not have the competition.

 

Image Credit: Joe Loong/Flickr

 

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What Really is the Great Melonborama?

A Melonborama?What Really is the Great Melonborama I Hear You Ask?

 

The word Melonborama doesnt really exist. This is just a test to see how long Google takes to index a reference to a word that doesn’t really exist in the English language.

 

We did a search on the word Melonborama at 10.46 am on Monday the 24th of June 2013. We will then check a few times an hour to see how quickly Google will take to find this new content with the search string being a totally unknown word and no content before about the fictitious word which is the mystery of the great Melonborama.

 

 

 

 

Click on the image below to enlarge and check the time at bottom left

Melonborama searches are zero in Google

What’s The Difference Between Contributors and Guest Authors

Everyone loves to speculate on Author Rank and its effect on the SERPs long term. It’s similar to PageRank in the amount of misconceptions that are beginning to swirl around the buzzword.

 

To add to the hype, people are completely misunderstanding all of the signals Google is putting out about authorship and its potential value in ranking content.

 

The destruction caused by Penguin and the hype over authorship have brought about theGuestpostocalypse, and in this world gone mad it’s tough to see where the road will lead.

 

But again, Google has given us hints with Author Rank, Agent Rank, or whatever you want to call it today, and the biggest hint is that trust agents contribute they are not squatters. Think about it in terms of real life (gasp), the people that we see as community leaders and trust as such are those with deep seeded roots in the community, not passers by.

 

What is Author Rank?

Well first lets take a look at the abstract for 2007 patent for Agent Rank:

 

The present invention provides methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing techniques for searching and ranking linked information sources. The techniques include receiving multiple content items from a corpus of content items; receiving digital signatures each made by one of multiple agents, each digital signature associating one of the agents with one or more of the content items; and assigning a score to a first agent of the multiple agents, wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.

In 2007, Bill Slawski, questioned:

 

Can authority or trustworthiness be measured in a different way, based upon understanding who the author of content on pages might be, through the use of digital signatures associated with an author? Could query-independent signals be tied to that author, so that a score for content created or controlled or edited or reviewed by the author could be used to rank pages?

 

This patent application describes a system where that might be a possibility.

The question that kept Agent Rank from picking up speed until recently was the “how?”

 

How would Google get this needed digital signature? And then in 2011 Google launched Google+and then also launched the implementation of rel=”Author” information into the results using Google+ profile data. Google+ allowed the digital signature for Agent Rank to exist.

 

Post Penguin Wasteland

At the same time that authorship has become a focus, Penguin has hit and completely changed how SEO professionals approach link building. In the resulting wasteland, former spammers look for tactics that are still easy but perceived to be sustainable. This is where the current guest-posting scourge comes from.

 

Let me be clear that guest posting isn’t bad.

 

What is bad is someone trying to put a culinary article on my marketing website:

 

question-about-doing-guest-post

 

The content is irrelevant; whatever link they are going to place won’t be useful for the user, and likely won’t get clicked. And most importantly, the author has never written for my site, likely wouldn’t get a second chance if they did, and certainly isn’t an expert in my vertical. From an authorship perspective this is a total failure.

 

epic-fail

 

This is the point that people are missing with authorship.

 

Strong authors who pass great Author Rank won’t be people who simply blog a lot, all over the place; they will be contributors who contribute amazing content that is relevant.

 

Benefits of Being a Contributor

 

Being a contributing author, with a recurring content profile on a site, has more value than just what it will bring in terms of search. The readers of the publication will begin to trust your writing more, learn more about you and your product, and eventually the writing will drive traffic and sales.

 

Amazing! Marketing efforts that drive traffic and sales from the actual effort, rather than being done for the secondary benefit of search rankings.

 

This is exactly what Google is looking for. They want to rank content that readers trust, and will help them make decisions. Contributors, not guest authors, are equipped to drive this kind of authority.

 

I want to buy what Darren Rowse suggests I buy, not whatever someone guest posting on his website for the first time suggests. This is why Rowse’s authorship will yield great value, and why a guest posting strategy won’t yield an author rank footprint worth much.

 

And if you’re following my logic, guest posts will be easily targeted by their Author Rank or lack there of. Guest posts will make for easy targeting.

 

easy-targeting

Publishers Want Contributors

 

The funniest thing is that publishers want contributors more than they want guest authors. Publishers are looking for ways to scale their content and revenue in a cost-effective manner. Guest authors make more work than they are worth often, since their voice often isn’t an exact fit for the publication.

 

Contributors, on the other hand, can be aided by editors to grow into the voice of the publication overall. Contributors are also more likely to help promote their stories –which is of real financial value to the publisher.

 

Just like text links before it, guest posting works against not only what Google and publishers are looking for, but also how the Internet works.

 

Build Out Contributor-Based Outreach

 

  • Begin to build lists of places you would be willing to publish consistently. We have found that getting a weekly column on a publication when you have good experience in the niche is pretty easy. It means a commitment, but you can use Compete.com to find out the average traffic you can generate to your post, and how valuable that exposure is to you.

 

  • Once you have your list, make sure your current authorship is set up and 100 percent. Publishers want to know that you will bring value to them in terms of relevance, quality, and traffic generation. Your Google+ profile is a great place for them to search this information.

 

  • Your outreach email should be genuine. Talk about their website and content in specific terms, and show some examples of titles you can write and your past content. Really, you want to create a relationship before you begin to court them for a contributor relationship, so the first email should be the courtship, and the second should be the date.Create an editorial calendar for your outbound content. Don’t forget about these coveted contributor relationships, they are valuable. Also don’t take on more than you can chew.

 

If you keep in mind the value that contributing can bring to the table for your marketing, authorship and beyond, you will find success in creating and sharing great content. It is only when we lose site of how the game is played that we risk losing the game itself.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Article Source: Search Engine Watch

 

 

Some SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2013

seo mistakesDo one SEO tactic incorrectly, or too frequently, and you could be facing Google punishments that remove your website from their search results. This is not a gamble that most businesses can afford, as most consumers initially find a business online.

 

In fact, Inc.com ran a survey and found that 7 out of 10 consumers said they are more likely to use a local business if they have a social media presence and another 78% said ratings and reviews are important when deciding what to buy.

 

Google has made some significant changes in the last couple of years when it comes to ranking your website in search results. Google Panda and Google Penguin are the two major updates you may have heard about, and many more are coming.

 

Here are some of the major abuse tactics that were employed by SEO’s and some workarounds that you should be implementing in their place.

 

1. Lots of Advertising

 

Websites that existed primarily to sell advertising were a prime target of this update. Google wants to return relevant results to its users and having ad-heavy websites populate at the top of their search results were not what users wanted.

 

Solution: Limit your advertising and focus on the content. Content is going to be the theme of this post and for good reason; it is the theme of Google’s recent updates.

 

2. Duplicate or Unoriginal Content

Shortly after the Panda update that targeted web spammers, site owners were complaining that their original content was being outranked by duplicate/spam websites. They asked webmasters to help them better identify websites that scraped the original content.

 

Solution: It is still of utmost importance to provide original content that users find useful. Not just original in wording by saying the same thing thousands of others have stated, but by truly being useful to the audience.

 

3. Link Building Networks

 

Google ranks websites largely based on how important and relevant they deem a website to be. This is based on how many links are pointing to a website. So, naturally, SEO’s went to whatever was easiest to build links. This typically included link networks, low quality directory sites, and a host of others. Google Penguin rolled out and crushed these methods of acquiring links.

 

Solution: Do something or offer something meaningful to your customers or users. Build real relationships with real people offline and online to help spread the word. This is where social media can really play an important role. You want links from a variety of sources.

 

4. Over-optimization

In the older days of SEO, you could find a high search volume keyword and then build all your links using that keyword and put the keyword all over your website and you would be found on page 1 of search results. This technique no longer works and has been punished. In fact, if the majority of your links use the same keywords over and over, and your website has the same keywords everywhere, you probably noticed that your website completely disappeared in Google’s search results.

 

Solution: Build links with your company name linked instead of keywords. Sometimes don’t even actually link, as a “co-citation” is valuable as well. Use things like “Click here” when linking also. Basically, your links should be completely natural.

 

SEO Isn’t Just SEO Anymore

 

Nowadays, Google is looking at much more than on-page copy and off page links to determine their rankings. You need to have a well-rounded content marketing strategy in place (start blogging!), you need to be active and get people engaged on social media, and you probably need an updated website. Your website should be easy to use, quick to load, be responsive so it loads nicely on mobile and tablet devices, and have original website content.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article found at: Businessreviewcanada.ca 

Justin McGill is the CEO and Founder of SEORCHERS, a local marketing and lead generation company. Connect with him on LinkedIn or find him on Google+.

It’s Time to Change the SEO Mindset

It’s been a crazy couple of years for SEO. We’ve seen the rise of unnatural links manual penalties. The infamous algo updates like Panda and Penguin, and some lesser talked about ones like the page layout algorithm. The rise and fall of super-agencies. And, of course, the increased value of social media.

 

And yes, there’s been a ton of others, but you get the idea.

 

The whole nature of search – and by extension SEO – has changed drastically. But what isn’t entirely clear is how SEO providers have evolved to meet this new state of reality. One gets the feeling that they really haven’t fully embraced it. Or at least a lot of folks were never really much more than link shores and hype merchants… thus seeming are unable to adapt.

 

Save Us

Changing With the Times

 

I was reading some articles lately about unnatural links messages and various tools and remedies to deal with them (or even Google Penguin). In most cases they talk about addressing or finding which links might be the problem in the website’s profile.

 

OK, seems sensible. But is it?

 

I mean come on… do you really need a tool?

 

For starters, if you’re even slightly worth your salt as an SEO, you should be able to pick them out without much trouble. It’s kinda stunning that people actually need guidance or a tool to do that.

 

Furthermore, if it’s your website or you worked on the link building, I am pretty sure you know exactly which links were manufactured. Remember that crap-hat SEO you bought on eBay? Or from that circa 2005 long scrolling sales page? Fiver? Pretty sure you can now start removing them.

 

Now let’s consider Google’s take on whether a link was manufactured to increase rankings. If that link was not about actual traffic, branding or exposure… good chance it’s going to fit the description. But still it seems there’s a ton of folks still trying to walk that thin line. It’s bound not to end well.

 

Start thinking about link attraction not link building.

 

What is SEO?

 

This becomes the real question to be asking. All too often we see SEOs that talk about search engine optimization including things such as social media, public relations, conversion optimization, content strategy, and more. But is this really the case?

 

I suspect that:

 

  • SEOs think they really are so smart they can do all of the marketing disciplines.
  • Clients can’t afford all those other services, so the SEO fills in.

 

While I wish it was the latter, sadly it is often the former. We do a great disservice to the professionals in those respective fields by pretending it is the domain of the optimizer. Which of course begs the above question, what is SEO?

 

Some of the things we actually do:

 

  • Keyword strategy
  • Page level (template and contextual)
  • Site level (things like internal link ratios)
  • Server level (redirects, htaccess, etc.)
  • Monitoring (Google Webmaster Tools, reporting, etc.)
  • Forensic work (cleaning up others garbage)

Some of the areas we’re advisory in:

 

  • Site development (architecture, updates, etc.)
  • Content strategy
  • Content development
  • Social media
  • Public relations (outreach and PR)
  • Paid advertising (in SEO, for brand lift)
  • Analytics

 

There’s more, but you get the idea here right? I’m tired of hearing about the “new SEO.” Article after article tries to redefine what SEO is because somehow a lot of people got lost. I do understand that we touch a lot of things in our job, but let’s not lose sight here.

 

Notice link building isn’t on the list? There a reason for that: it’s really not SEO to me. There… I said it. Nyeaaah!

 

This Ain’t Rocket Science (It’s Computer Science)

 

Stop the Link Addiction

 

 

OK, so let’s look at this concept of link building. First off, the name. It actually puts us right square in the sights of ol Googly. Why? Because that’s manipulation. That’s what an unnatural link is to them.

 

One of the more catchy buzz phrases over the last while is inbound marketing. As my pal Dan Thies mused the other day, “if you’re doing outreach for guest posting/links; how is that inboundin any way shape of form?” Damn good question, huh?

 

Need some links, do ya? I hate to be a nutter, but have you considered:

 

Content + Outreach + Social + Promotion + Brand reach

 

And I don’t want to hear that your client can’t afford all that. Then I guess they can’t afford to be in business.

 

Seriously. Pick your battles. Maybe cut back on the number of terms your targeting.

 

Not all content needs to be pillar content (popular, stands the test of time). You can have filler as well. But create a strategy that’s doable. That’s your freakin’ job!

 

The fake-it-til-you-make-it days of “just throw some links at it” are well and truly gone, my friends. As a consultant that specializes in forensic work, I am tired of seeing shoddy SEO work that gets our m on the bad side of Google and ultimately hurts the industry I love.

 

It’s Time for Dialogue

 

At the end of the day, this has become a HUGE problem. The lines have become blurred and that’s not a good thing. Yes, a lot of things do affect SEO. That doesn’t mean it’s our domain. Yes, links do still have a roll in the SERPs. But that doesn’t mean building them is the only answer.

 

And there’s even pressure from clients. Pressure from agency higher-ups. That all comes down to education. We need to educate others as to the evolution of SEO. Like any (link) addict, we need to break the cycle.

 

It’s time.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Artice: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2267765/Its-Time-to-Change-the-SEO-Mindset

Why SEO Can Take a Long Time

Why does SEO take so long?

 

It’s a question many frustrated business owners have asked again and again. It’s a completely valid question–yet one that rarely gets answered to anyone’s satisfaction.

 

Here then, is a nuts-and-bolts answer to the question of why search engine optimization takes so much time. As you’ll see, this frequently time-consuming process is all part of an assurance that your SEO dollars are well-spent.

 

Analyzing Your Competition Takes More Time than You May Think

 

Unless you’re selling a product or service that is less than a month or two old, you will have competitors who are already ranking well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Simply getting on equal ground with them is a task that can take time.

 

To tell the truth, even the best SEO analyst will need to take time to find out where and what that ground actually is. In most markets, your competitors have spent a decade or more building both their websites, and links to those websites. A thorough competitive analysis will take into account every link that leads to every competitor result that shows up on the first few pages of results that rank for your desired keywords. Link tools like Majestic SEO or Open Site Explorer can be helpful in developing an understanding of where the ground is.

 

open site explorer

 

Search marketing competitive analysis tools can also be used to help you assess the level of competition in your domain. These tools are offered by a handful of companies like iSpionage and Spyfu. A new entrant in the web hosting space for instance might use iSpionage’s comparison functionality to assess the level of competition for industry keywords.

 

When you see large numbers of first page keywords and SEO traffic value in the millions, then you know that competition is going to be fierce. In many markets with entrenched competitors that have been competing for some time, a strategy of optimizing longer-tail terms that will be able to compete within specific industry niches and sub- niches is often the best approach to take.

 

ispionage

 

iSpionage Web Hosting SEO Traffic Value Comparison

 

Build Links from Sites with Authority

 

Once you or your SEO provider develops these insights, the next step is to find common sites that your competitors use for backlinks. There are often anywhere from 5-100 different sites that all of your major competitors will use for rank-boosting backlinks.

 

You will need to create a database of every link pointing at the top 50 pages that rank for each one of your keywords. You need to know how many of those links come from the same sites, and from which pages on those sites, and how often. From this, you may be able to see how to grab some of those links for your own site.

 

Then you need to find links from pages that none of your competition is using. At the very least, you should look for links that a very small percentage of your competition is using. These days, it’s difficult to find quality sites for backlinks, that aren’t already being used extensively. But it is possible. It is also crucial to your success.

 

As you can imagine, all of this takes time. And it’s only the beginning.

 

Getting On “Ground Zero” With Your Competitors Takes Time

 

compassAfter that, you or your provider must procure links in one of several ways: content creation, paid link placement, paid content creation, guest posts, site creation, subdomain creation, link bartering, content trading, etc.

 

Regardless of whether these links are paid for, traded, or otherwise acquired, dealing with site owners can take time. Blogs and Web 2.0 pages built on your behalf need to be written by good writers who understand SEO–and who probably already have a lot on their plates.

 

Then, you or your SEO agency should ensure that every image has an appropriate file name, title, and alternate text, specific to (usually) a single keyword, on each page where it appears. And your content should have images, typically, on every single page.

 

Since a good search engine campaign involves all types of content, your provider will need to make videos on your behalf–and make sure that each video has the right file name, and the right title (for both the video and the page), the right description, and even the right account name.

 

As you can see, each of the literally thousands–and usually tens of thousands–of links that your site needs in order to rank well, needs to be supported by an entire page that has been precision-engineered in at least a dozen different ways.

 

As you can see, effective link building takes time. But it is definitely worth the wait.

 

Google Rarely Trusts Speed

cheetahIn light of the above point, it’s also important to understand that Google is wary of links that gain too much popularity, too quickly.

 

At one time, you could create hundreds of links literally overnight and reap the benefits. The benefits usually didn’t last, but then you could do it again. And again and again, until you either gained the traction you wanted or got banned from Google’s search engine.

 

These days, all it takes is a slight portion of unnatural-looking links headed your way in a short period of time to put you on the penalty box with Google. Google may not remove your site from its index entirely, but it may apply such a heavy penalty that you won’t really know the difference.

 

That doesn’t mean that getting lots of links all at once will instantly sink your ship. In fact, getting hundreds of links from an article that goes viral on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site, is a recipe for success.

 

But Google has gotten very good at detecting “link spam”. In fact, some would say it’s gotten a little too good. And while it’s just fine to share your content on Facebook and get as many links as possible in as short a period of time, too many links in too short a time can trigger a manual review. If you or your provider are using techniques that provide too many links too quickly, this review could sink your ship almost overnight.

 

So if your SEO provider doesn’t build links at quite the pace you’d like to see—rest easy. They’re actually doing you a favor.

 

Good SEO Takes Fine Tuning Along the Way

 

Once this work is thoughtfully undertaken, you or your provider will then have to deal with the fact that Google does not stay the same. And neither does Bing and Yahoo!

 

more ispionage

 

The way search engines rank sites can change overnight. These changes have brought many profitable websites to their knees, knocking out six-, seven-, and even eight-figure businesses literally overnight. The most dramatic of these updates are known as Panda and Penguin, although there have been others.

 

At the end of the day, no one but the search engines have control over the SEO landscape. What you do have control over is how you respond to the changes. Good information from good systems and SEO know-how is often the difference between “sink” and “swim” when it comes to the business you conduct online.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-does-seo-take-so-long/62670/

 

Which Is Better-SEO Packages Or An SEO Consultant?

SEO packages or seo consultantOne of the biggest issues we face as Search marketers is the statement that clients and prospective clients ask is that they can source expert seo services a lot cheaper than we are charging them through some seo package they found on-line. I am facing a situation today in fact where a prospect has brought this up. It off course is a very good objection and one that needs to be addressed.

 

Feeling a little despondent over having to face this issue yet again, I did a little research and I came across this article published on a competitors blog at E2MSolutions. The article was written by Pratik Dholakiya.

 

“Brands who are interested in reaching a broader online audience can easily confuse SEO consultants with SEO packages. The word “consultant” might even be more intimidating, since it implies that your own business will be doing most of the work. In reality, SEO packages can, at best, only promise superficial results. SEO consultants are happy to pick up most of the marketing work, but they work together with their clients in order to meet business goals.

 

In short, SEO consultants are genuine marketers. SEO packages are content mills with little concern for real marketing. They have to be, because the promises they make aren’t based on your business goals, or even knowledge of the search engines. They are merely based on meeting a set of predefined requirements.

 

1. Packages Are Unnatural, By Necessity

 

When you buy an SEO package, you are buying a set of links. You pay for a specific number of links every month. You pay for a specific number of each kind of link each month. Perhaps you also pay for some other kind of promotional service as well, but once again, you’ll pay for some set quantity every month.

 

In what universe can such a package create a natural link profile?

 

A natural site attracts links from a wide variety of sources. The kinds of links you get from month to month are going to change. The number of links you get each month are going to change.

 

When you work with a reputable consultant, they aren’t going to guarantee a certain number of links, because any reputable consultant should be making some effort to help you build natural links. Natural links are outside of your direct control, so asking for a specific number of them is nonsensical.

 

Yes, even reputable consultants may manually build links, but they will only do so from high quality sources. And the fact of the matter is, links from top tier sites are hard to get. If you can be guaranteed a specific number of links every month, the links just aren’t hard enough.

 

Some packages promise that they only do “hand built” links, or that all of their links are of the highest quality. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that the links are created “manually,” rather than from some automated piece of software. It’s also encouraging to hear the word “quality,” but it’s not enough.

 

Serious link building involves more than just “hand built” links and guest posts from “quality” article directories. Long-lasting, genuine links are built on relationships and reputation. Since there’s no cookie-cutter process for building relationships and reputation, there’s no way to promise a specific number of serious links each month.

 

A consultant, on the other hand, can promise a certain number of hours spent on outreach, relationship building, and content creation, and report the results.

 

2. Packages Are Bad for Brands

 

When you visit a site that sells an SEO package, what do you see? Do you see a promise to learn about your company and your space in the market? Do you see any discussion of your target audience and what they care about? Do you see any talk of your business reputation, customer retention, or word of mouth?

 

Of course not. How could a package do any of that for you? As soon as an SEO package makes any promise to learn something about your brand, it ceases to be a package and it becomes a consultancy.

 

Packages are “hands-off SEO,” a phrase that is practically meaningless. SEO is all about building an online reputation that boosts your visibility in the search engines. Does it make sense for a brand to hand their reputation over to an SEO package that won’t even speak with them about their business goals?

 

No SEO knows your business better than you do. They simply know SEO better than you do.

 

For SEO to work, you need links from high profile sources. That means the content is going to be seen by quite a few people. In that context, a link isn’t just a link. It’s a place to build exposure and make an impression on your target audience.

 

An SEO package can easily end up sending the wrong message or appealing to the wrong audience, because they have no idea what your business goals are. All they know is that you want to rank in the search engines. And that’s all an SEO package can possibly “care” about.

 

3. Packages Can Only Promise Superficial Results

 

SEO packages are built around very simplistic goals. If an SEO package promises 100 links, that’s what you get: 100 links. If an SEO package promises 10 links from sites with a domain authority higher than fifty, then, well, you get 10 links from sites with a domain authority higher than 50. And so on.

 

These are not business goals.

 

SEOs who work for package companies have no incentive to measure the success of their efforts. They have no incentive to measure traffic, conversions, engagement, or social media activity. Very few of them will. There’s simply no reason for them to. Their only goal is to build a certain number of a certain kind of link. That’s it.

 

Yes, some of them will offer additional services like website audits, a specific number of on-site pages, and so on, but these are approached in the same way. You will get the number of pages they promised, and they will audit your site, but what’s the point? Will they test your landing pages for conversions or engagement? Will the audit be customized to your business needs?

 

The only goal an SEO package has is to meet the requirements of the package. They have no interest in your business goals and they will not design campaigns around them. The only results you can be sure to get are the results promised in the package.

 

Imagine a traditional marketer that tried to sell you on the benefits of their package: 10 classified ads, 5 magazine ads, and 1 radio spot each month, no questions asked about your business. You wouldn’t accept that. You’d ask for estimates of ROI or the number of people who would encounter the ad, and you’d want to talk to them about your business strategy, target audience, and brand image.

 

That’s how digital marketing works. Don’t let SEO packages suck you in with the allure of easy to keep promises. Hire an SEO consultancy and meet your real business goals”.

 

This information gives me a new angle to work with and it makes 100% sense.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Here

Google Has Bought News Stream Wavii

Google has just bough WaviiGoogle has bought a technology start-up, that offers customised online news streams to users, for an estimated $30m (£18m).

 

Wavii, which was launched last year, has shut down its service so the technology can be incorporated into Google products.

 

The Seattle-based company specialises in “natural language processing”, which programmes computers to understand how humans communicate.

 

The deal follows a similar move by Yahoo in March, when it bought Summly, the news summarisation app founded by 18-year-old Nick D’Aloisio in London.

 

Yahoo recently launched an iPhone app which included Summly technology.

 

Wavii chief executive Adrian Aoun said in a statement: “You probably know us best for our app that takes the deluge of information streaming across the web and condenses it into fast, fun updates.

 

“While we won’t continue to offer this particular service, we’ll be using our natural language research at Google in ways that may be useful to millions of people around the world.

 

“To all of our loyal Wavii users, we owe you a big thanks for all of your feedback and involvement throughout this journey. We look forward to taking our technology to the next level and delighting you with what we come up with next!”

 

Wavii’s investors included PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, former Facebook executive Dave Morin, and Fritz Lanman, a former dealmaker at Microsoft Corp.

 

Most of the start-up’s 25 employees are expected to relocate to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

 

The natural-language technology could be useful for Google’s Knowledge Graph, an 11-month-old feature that summarises information in boxes that appear alongside some of Google’s search results.

 

Wavii offered a personalised news feed to users, summarising web content related to their interests.

 

Neither Google nor Wavii have revealed the price of the deal, but reports suggest it was about $30m.

 

Apple had reportedly also been keen to buy the start-up to incorporate the technology into Siri, the voice recognition and personal assistant function of its devices.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Article Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/10023661/Google-buys-news-stream-startup-Wavii.html

A Successful Digital Content Strategy Has 4 Secrets Part 2

Principle No. 3: Great content is cultivated

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and its buildings still stand — making it a treasure trove for visitors across centuries. So what’s the lesson here? You can retain great content longer if it’s optimized. And you can tear down and rebuild recent content that isn’t working. Do you have a content management system that lets you serve up unique experiences by user motivation? Even better — that’s more content for you to fine-tune.

 

If your business or brand goals change, you should change your content. As the industry changes, content needs to improve alongside it. For example, if your search rankings have been low as of late, consider adding video to YouTube and your site. Search is now inextricably intertwined with social. Bing includes photos from Facebook in search results and Google includes videos from YouTube. Facebook has its own graph search that returns results from both of those engines. As social continues to play a more significant role in search, and as consumer desires for other content forms grow, build both to give customers more to share.

 

Specifics to consider:

 

  •  Identify a company “content historian” who is responsible for archiving and tagging content. That way, you can store content for future use and update as needed.

 

  • Create a schedule or text matrix for link testing so you can assess your site and schedule routine checks to confirm all outbound links are still active.

 

  • Update your keyword strategy. Identify what keywords are driving to your topic, and update your current content to include new relevant keywords. Aim for the 2 to 5 percent keyword density SEO experts recommend without sacrificing meaning or experience.


Principle No. 4: Content performance matters

 

This is where content specialists need to think like analysts and vice versa. Content should constantly be tested and measured for relevance and whether it’s achieving the desired objective (see the second principle). You’ll want to create, test, improve or optimize, and test again. Content strategists are like good football coaches. They need a game plan, but if the offense is struggling, they make changes at halftime.

 

That editorial calendar you worked so hard to craft? It’s a great idea, but if it isn’t achieving results, you have to make adjustments. The conversations that your industry is having change along with the industry itself, so you can’t plan too far in advance. Use social to listen for hot topics in your industry and adjust to what’s trending by providing a relevant point of view that sticks to your key goals.

 

Specifics to consider:

 

  • Identify an in-house trend-spotter. Chances are, this person already exists and their hunger for knowledge is simply underutilized. Have them report weekly (or as needed) on hot topics of conversation on the web. Then, adjust your editorial calendar and content to include those topics.

 

  • Implement user testing on content prior to launching it. Use this feedback to make content better prior to putting it on your blog, site, or social channel.

 

Here’s one more key to content strategy: Forget the idea that there’s one content master. Everyone who creates UX, design, copy, or any other piece of content for your site or social communities should think about content strategy. These principles are role agnostic, and emphasize a more thoughtful approach, regardless of the project.

 

Abandon your attachment to the search for one big idea in favour of these holistic principles. Or, as the old adage goes, “work smarter, not harder” and your marketing strategy will be set up for success.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics
Read more at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/33931.asp#2EUXok1WB4t4HVps.99

A Successful Digital Content Strategy Has 4 Secrets Part 1

digital content strategyDigital marketers aim to discover what’s captivating about good content, then bottle it up for a wash, rinse, repeat. I’m here to let you in on a little secret: The magic isn’t in the content itself. It’s in the content strategy.

 

Behind every purposeful turn of phrase, hilarious video, or tear-jerking slideshow, is a great content strategy, based on a set of core principles that drive decisions from content medium to priority and placement. This is even truer in the digital space, where attention spans wane and motivations run amok.

 

Truth is, there are no hard and fast rules to what makes content great, but everyone in your organization who touches content, even tangentially, should be thinking like a content strategist. Here I’ve laid out a series of principles, which, when applied throughout your organization, will drive content and results in tandem. Rely on these principles to drive your web content, as well as the sites and social spaces it lives in, and you will reap the rewards. Take advantage of the quick application tips to get a strategic approach to content started in your organization right away.

 

Principle No. 1: Everything is content

 

This is the most challenging shift from traditional to digital marketing: Every piece of your production is content, from the posts on your blog to the tweets that promote them, to the steps in a shopping cart and call-to-action buttons. When you start treating every element of a digital experience as though it carries as much weight as the words on the page, you’ll be a leg up from most marketers. Good content strategy must be brought to life in good information architecture, user experience, design and optimization — before it even matters if the writing is good.

 

When it comes to what we typically think of content — words and pictures on a page — a great content strategy helps define what media are the best to drive audience response. For example, on Facebook, posts with photos generate over 53 percent more “likes” than text-only updates. According to a recent Pew study, 41 percent of adult internet users curate video and photo content. Combining the right media and the right placement will improve your content.

 

Specifics to consider: 

 

  • Champion the “everything is content” philosophy.

 

  • Socialize the stats above to set the stage for your internal stakeholders. Get everyone within your company to understand the basics of content strategy and the role they play. Simply hearing the words will help drive the concept internally.

 

  • Start your next website project by identifying all the aspects of each page and how it qualifies as content.

 

Principle No. 2: Content has an objective

 

At initial blush, this is a no brainer. We create content because we want our audience to do something — to buy, learn more, or love our brand. Your content should always point back to that core objective.

 

That doesn’t mean we don’t create content to make the audience laugh, cry, or learn more. Even entertaining or educational content should be a spoke from the core objective. Educational content might actually be used to drive a sale. Entertaining content might be used to create brand awareness.

 

Don’t mistake a necessary tactic for an objective — they’re not the same. Every piece of content says something about your brand. If your main contact email is “info@,” switch it to something atypical like “hello@” or “hi@.” This minor change gives your company a more conversational and relaxed persona — thereby making you more approachable. People notice the little things, even if it’s just one word. That one word serves a purpose you might consider outside the realm of “content” — but it isn’t.

 

Here’s another example: I’ve seen more brands than I’d care to count provide “add to cart” and “sign up for email” links side by side, and in the same color. That’s confusing to the user and strays from the core objective of moving the user toward a purchase. Don’t dilute your message or create clutter. Instead, use educational content, like “sign up for our email,” at points in the site where the user doesn’t have enough info to make a decision, or where the sale is already complete. And guide them toward making their purchase by putting the “buy now” link in where Amazon.com does — when the user has consumed enough information to spend.

 

Specifics to consider:

 

  • Create a content strategy map. Put your main goal in a circle in the center. Then, plot out spokes for each of the executions, i.e., what each piece of content — video, slideshow, copy or image — is intended to do. With all the information laid out together, it’s easier to ensure that the original goals are being met.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

 
Read more at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/33929.asp#1Dk1TA8m0gSVYGrq.99