Tag Archives: seo

Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking

Matt Cutts - SMX Advanced 2012 Photos

Matt Cutts – SMX Advanced 2012 Photos (Photo credit: planetc1)

It isn’t often that Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts comes right out to debunk a highly publicized blog post regarding something to do with ranking in Google.

 

Everybody has their own opinions of what works and what doesn’t work, and SEO in itself can be highly subjective, primarily because Google doesn’t really come out and specifically admit the things that work, because they don’t want people gaming the system.

 

Moz published a blog post “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings” claiming that Google +1s had a direct correlation with higher search rankings in Google – and that it was higher than any other ranking factor. The post was written by Cyrus Shepard, the “Senior Content Astronaut” at Moz, and the data was taken from their 2013 ranking factors.

 

It’s a pretty sensational title, and immediately sparked a lot of discussion. His post brought up a lot of points about why he feels this correlation is correct, such as posts shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed almost immediately, and that posts on the site pass “link equity”. He also noted that authorship shares in the rankings as well. However, he’s also stating it as fact, instead of just a possibility without any specific hard data with proof, such as specific sites where an increase in rankings can be solely attributed to Google +1’s.

 

In addition to grabbing the attention of many in the SEO industry (many of whom trashed the post as being highly flawed), Cutts immediately stepped into debunk the claim of the correlation between rankings and +1s. Specifically, Cutts wrote:

 

Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation: http://xkcd.com/552/

But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares: http://moz.com/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influ… . From that blog post from two years ago: “One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position.”

 

This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: “Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph).”

 

If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.

 

Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.

 

So his belief falls in line with what a lot of SEO professionals are doing for long-term SEO success, where creating great quality content that is more likely to be shared is the best kind of strategy when it comes to content.

 

He does continue to reiterate that +1s and rankings are not related. “Most of the initial discussion on this thread seemed to take from the blog post the idea that more Google +1s led to higher web ranking. I wanted to preemptively tackle that perception.”

 

Cutts also mentioned that another SEO has been doing a rigorous study on whether it +1s lead to higher rankings are not, which he suspects will be released the next month or two. If it is providing specific examples in the study, it will be good to be the most conclusive evidence SEOs will have about whether it is or isn’t a ranking factor with concrete data to back it up.

 

Cutts made similar statements last year at SES San Francisco, when he said that Google doesn’t put a lot of weight on +1’s yet and advised people not to assume Google+ equates to rankings.

 

Below are a few reactions from Twitter. What’s your take?

 

moz-tweet-dave-naylor

moz-tweet-ben-cook

moz-tweet-chad-lio

moz-tweet-paul-gailey

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Source

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Risk vs Security For Small Business SEO Tactics

small business,seo,seo tacticsWith content marketing gaining momentum in 2013, there are many cries that the “new” SEO is really no different from old SEO, it’s just better quality and en vogue. This may be true, but there’s no denying that Google has made several significant changes to their algorithm in 2013 and, most recently,updated their Webmaster Guidelines.

 

SEO professionals react to Google’s statements as the financial markets react to Ben Bernanke. Why? Because the subtleties and innuendoes in what Google communicates (or doesn’t communicate) are interpreted by many as signals of future policy direction. How and why Google has Federal Reserve-like influence over online marketing is another discussion altogether.

 

How Should Small Business React to Recent Events?

 

That depends. If a small business is using low-quality SEO tactics from several years ago, there is cause for concern. Many approaches that once borderline are clearly over the line now.

 

Even small businesses that have been keeping up on SEO changes should pay close attention to the recent changes.

 

  • Link Buying and Automated Content Creation is Still Bad: There is no real news here. Businesses still doing these things know the risks at this point. Google has recently added that advertorials will be viewed as paid links, and will be devalued.
  • Avoid Money Term Anchor Text in Press Releases: While the official guidelines now say to avoid “Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites,” this has led to confusion and debate. Google suggests nofollowing all links to be 100 percent safe. For more on this, see 12 Ways to Optimize Press Releases & Avoid Google Penalties.
  • Linking Schemes Are Bad: The expansion of Google’s definition of link schemes is most noteworthy. Whereas Google has previously left this discussion fairly vague, they have now given specific examples such as excessive link exchanges, large scale article marketing, and low-quality bookmark sites. This justifies previous manual actions such as those against BuildMyRank and serves as a warning to companies still selling low-quality link placements.

What is also interesting here is the couching of each of these terms. Notice the descriptors:

 

  • Excessive
  • Large-scale
  • Low-quality

Google knows that not all article marketing is bad. With more than 166 million active domains on the Internet, good content often goes unnoticed if it isn’t well marketed.

 

Google also knows that it’s natural for business partners to link to each other. Many social bookmarking sites have legitimate audience views and share valuable information. Yet, all three of these categories have also seen widespread abuse, with content manufactured specifically for the purpose of ranking.

 

Small Businesses Seek More Security

 

Even with the new guidelines, many wish that Google could be even more specific. Imagine them saying 10 articles in a month is OK, but 40 is too many. Or perhaps a Matt Cutts video explaining that five guest blog posts a month is OK, but 20 is too many.

 

But Google needs to protect their secret sauce like Coca-Cola protects their recipe, so this won’t happen. In fact, I imagine that Google feels quite satisfied with the explicit direction they are now giving.

 

Is Link Building a Dirty Word?

 

Some may feel that the term link building is now a negative term, but this can’t be. Google still ranks their output largely on links.

 

Popular SEO columns discuss how to hire and train link builders. What is clear is that the acceptable methods of link building are definitely changing.

 

SEO Flight to Quality

 

To continue the financial market metaphor, SEO is currently in a flight to quality. This is what most columnists and bloggers mean by the “new” SEO.

 

Sure, the new SEO is similar to the old SEO, but there is now a greater emphasis on quality. Google is highlighting concepts such as links intended to manipulate PageRank and links that aren’t editorial votes given by choice. While it is hard to imagine reliable signals for such mushy constructs, it is smart to assume Google has them, or will shortly.

 

Conclusions

 

Small businesses who want to stay in good graces with Google need to heed the warnings and start their SEO flight to quality. This doesn’t mean SEO has fundamentally changed.

 

Businesses should still produce relevant articles and newsworthy press releases, and can use bookmarks as a method for sharing. Infographics and video content are excellent for viral spread. But businesses now have been warned to stay away from excessive, large-scale and low-quality – and this will be a change for many who are still hanging on to old SEO tactics.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Source Here

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

There are Times When You Need Expert SEO Consulting

There are Times When You Need Expert SEO ConsultingIf you have a website, it should deliver new customers. You want your website to be your best salesperson. To get that, you need effective search engine optimization (SEO). I realized awhile ago that there are many businesses that have an in-house SEO team that might not be experts in the field of optimizing a website. For those businesses, it may be more cost effective to have a staff member taking care of their business website.

 

I introduced a new service recently and that is SEO consulting. Up until just recently, my team and I have specialized in search engine optimization work on behalf of our clients. That meant that we did all of the work in exchange for a monthly fee. But because more and more businesses are using existing staff members to optimize their websites for search engines, I saw a gap in the market. Because of their limited knowledge in the SEO field, they sometimes need a bit of help. What most of these business owners do not understand is that search engine optimization is a specialized field. Do the wrong thing by Google and your site will be penalized in some shape of form. By offering an SEO consulting service to business owners, that type of scenario is hopefully avoided.

 

The first thing I would do is to understand the clients business and marketing goals and then develop a strategy for a winning SEO campaign. Often times if a staff member is performing the website optimization, they don’t understand how important a proper SEO strategy really is to drive traffic to their website.

 

Because we have been operating since February 2006, we understand things like: business objectives, demographics of target audience, creative considerations, media mix, methods of measurement and success metrics. Above all else however, we have the ability to drive targeted traffic to your website and have developed strategies to convert that traffic into paying customers. Like I said in the beginning, your website should be your number one sales person but it won’t be if the wrong strategies are used.

 

Leaving such an important task to someone who is not familiar with the latest SEO trends and developments could possibly turn in to a very costly mistake. If you are a business owner and have an employee performing search engine optimization on your business site, don’t take that chance. An SEO consultation from The Expert SEO Company could just make your website into the sales champion that it was designed to be. So the question really now is, if you are serious about growing your business through new customer acquisition on-line, can you afford NOT to hire an SEO consultant?

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why I Bang On About On Page Optimization

If you have followed my blog post or articles I have written over the past few years, you would know that one of my favourite seo subjects to talk about is on page optimization. It is in my opinion, one of the most overlooked aspects of seo today. However, even if you did everything by the book with optimizing your pages, it isn’t enough to get you to the top of the rankings. It is just one small part of the whole seo process of a website albeit an important one. Why is there such a misunderstanding with what effective on page optimization is and can it be proven that is actually has any benefit to your websites ranking performance?

 

One of the main reasons it is misunderstood is because people just do not understand what meta tags are and why they need to be filled in properly. The best source to go for an answer on the subject of meta tags is simple Google itself. If you go to Google’s webmaster tools, you will find a section on what meta tags are and their use:

 

Meta tags are a great way for web masters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest. Meta tags are added to the <head> section of your HTML page and generally look like this:”

 

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="Description" CONTENT="Author: A.N. Author, Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price:  £9.24, Length: 784 pages">
    <meta name="google-site-verification" content="+nxGUDJ4QpAZ5l9Bsjdi102tLVC21AIh5d1Nl23908vVuFHs34="/>
    <title>Example Books - high-quality used books for children</title>
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">

 

I don’t understand why a lot of seo companies totally ignore this simple fact. As Google says, meta tags have basically 2 functions: one is to provide the search engines with information about your site and two, it provides your websites visitors with the same. If they are not filled in correctly or worse still, not at all, then it’s a wasted opportunity. I am not saying for one minute that if you have all the tags optimized that you will be on the 1st page of Google. Probably far from it. But, should your website come up in search and there is no proper description tag to explain what you are about, people will go elsewhere.  Have a look at these two examples:

 

Proper description tag

 

 

In the example above (with my mug shot on it) shows you how the correct number of characters has been used (no more than 150 characaters) so that none of it is trailed off by Google. It’s a clear message of what we do in our agency. It could obviously be more descriptive but it seems to do the job well for us. Now, have a look at one of our competitors description tag:

 

Poor description tag

 

I have off course deleted their web address. In their description tag they just claim to be the best SEO service in Australia. It doesn’t explain what they do and how possibly they are what you are searching for. If you also notice the title tags in both images, ours explains what the page is about as well as what the site is about. The other is just a keyword they are trying to rank for.

 

In onpage optimization, there are off course a few more things that should be done. You should have a proper sitemap.xml file as well as a robots.txt file. The purpose of a robots.txt file is to tell crawlers or spiders which directories can or cannot be crawled. According to Google, a site map is “… a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website”. In themselves, these two files are minor aspects of on page seo but put all of the things that we talked about together, they are an important part of the process.

 

Can you actually prove that by doing on page optimization that it makes any difference at all to your rankings and being found by Google? Off course it is. We have a case study on our website explaining just this point. Click HERE if you want to read the whole article. Basically for one client all we did what just on page optimization for their site.

We started our SEO campaign in early February. By the end of May traffic had increased by 19%. their unique visitors in January was only 243 but by the end of February, in one month we increased the unique visitor rate by 850%! All we did for this client is on page optimization on their website and nothing else so that is a huge difference in traffic.

 

Monthly Visitors1

 

 

Additionally, in one month, we increased the number of impressions (the amount of times their website actually appeared in Google search results) by 16.5% and the CTR (click through rate) by 30%.

 

April  2013

onpage optimization

 

May 2013

 

onpage optimization

 

 

All in all, quite a positive return on their investment. The whole point of this exercise is to show you just how powerful proper on page optimization can be if done correctly. I have seen far too many times other seo companies totally ignoring this for their clients or just doing a half arsed job. From the examples above, it does work and it does contribute to the overall visibility of your website. This website shown above is by no means on the first page with all of their keywords but the important thing is, their website is being found by Google, their traffic has increased and their phone is ringing due to the fact of being found on line.

 

If your seo company is not achieving these types of results, then maybe it’s about time for a change. I would be more than happy to have a chat with you personally. In the meantime, if you want to make your website work harder for you and get you some top ROI, CLICK HERE.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Google Source

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why Links Remain Critical to SEO Success

With all the “link building is dead!” and “link building isn’t dying or dead!” posts out there, coupled with the fear that many people seem to have where link building is concerned, it’s natural to wonder about who’s right. We all have our skewed perspectives too, and it would be ridiculous to try and pretend that, as a person who specializes in link building, I’d ever say that links are an endangered species.

 

Links aren’t going away any time soon though, and I firmly believe that. I could say the same thing about the importance of many other things, too.

 

I think social is here to stay and its importance will only grow. I think that it’s impossible to imagine the day when technical SEO professionals won’t be needed to help make sure that site architecture is optimal and to instruct us on how to handle all the new code issues that arise as everyone gets online. I think that great writers will find that their skills are even more in demand than ever.

 

In fact, in trying to think about what might no longer remain critical to SEO success, I can’t think of anything (other than forum spammers).

 

I think that the way we build links will change in the future just as it has in the past, and this game will get harder, that’s for sure.

Since you don’t need access to a site in order to build links to it, links can unfortunately be used in a harmful manner by people who don’t know what they’re doing – and they have become such a commodity that grabbing up tons of them for very little money is a piece of cake.

 

I think that the industry is overrun with misinformation about links and that many sites who can’t afford to engage in risky techniques still do so simply because they don’t have to get involved or lift a finger.

 

However, link building isn’t dead or dying. It’s changing, yes, and it’s getting much harder, but it’s still alive and kicking and here’s why.

 

Why Links (Still) Matter

 

The web was built on links. Links drive traffic and they boost rankings. They are how we tell a story. They are how we point people to things we want them to see and how we navigate through the endlessness of the Internet.

 

No matter what anyone says, without high-quality links, you can’t perform at an optimal level organically (at least not for long) and you can’t weather algorithmic updates that crush sites with weaker profiles.

 

So what is a high-quality link? When we say that links matter, we don’t always distinguish between subpar, average, and high quality links and that’s an important distinction.

 

I can give you more examples of bad links than I can of amazing links, sadly, because bad links are easy to get. High-quality links aren’t.

High-quality links usually come from authority sites but they can also come from sites whose metrics don’t yet show their true value. New sites, for example, don’t usually have a Toolbar PageRank, may not rank well, and aren’t being socialized nonstop. Yet.

 

However, getting a link on a relevant page on a new site could turn into a great opportunity next year when that site has a PR 5, is being referenced in tweets by sci-fi author Neil Gaiman (who has close to 2 million followers on Twitter), and has so much value to its audience that you can’t imagine a time when it didn’t exist.

 

Secondly, look at these three facts:

 

  • Google’s PageRank is based on links. If the importance of links is going to lessen, they’re going to have to rewrite the algorithm. If they wanted to do that they’d have done it already.
  • Spiders use links to crawl the web just like humans use them to navigate.
  • Links are a natural way we tell someone about something. When you’re writing and want to mention an example, isn’t it more natural to give the example site a link than to allude to the URL and say “hey you, go see if you can figure out what this URL that I reference actually is and look it up yourself!”?

Now as you’ll notice, I didn’t say anything about link quality there either. Spiders can obviously crawl a bad link just like they can a good link. People with awful or totally irrelevant sites can naturally link to you.

 

The importance of quality comes into play with Google’s PageRank and you know what? It always has. Many people have just erroneously assumed that it was strictly a quantity game where the site with the most links rose to the top, but that is greatly oversimplifying the way it all works.

 

A high-quality link is so high in quality partially because of the quality of the sites linking to it. When that high-quality link is pointed at your site, you receive more value than you do if you were linked to from a page that had lower authority from lower-quality links pointing to it.

 

(I know that there are cases where a site did rank well strictly due to a vast number of links being built to it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s impossible to do that today, but it isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.)

 

Straight From Google’s Mouth

 

In the updated webmaster answers on rankings, Google now says this:

 

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

 

That “share” part can happen in many ways but the language isn’t exclusive to links anymore. Notice the bit about “high-quality” too, as it used to pertain to links. Sharing is still done via links even though it’s also done on social sites and offline methods, but the idea isn’t really different; the language is what’s changed.

 

Let’s look at another Google quote:

 

Google has invented many innovations in search to improve the answers you find. The first and most well-known is PageRank, named for Larry Page (Google’s co-founder and CEO). PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

 

There’s that mention of “quality” again alongside the “important” language. This is on a page about how Google search works, on the Google.com domain, so it’s unlikely that it is untrue. If links from high-quality sites stop mattering, PageRank will stop mattering, and is that likely?

 

Also on this same page is the quote “PageRank looks at links to try and determine the authoritativeness of a site.” Maybe PageRank itself will become less important and we’ll see new metrics added or increasing in importance, but saying quality links won’t be a factor is as silly as saying that having important keywords in the content of a page won’t be a factor.

 

Other things may be more important (like the negative signals sent out from having a poor link profile) and the combination of many factors can matter more than one single one, but will we see a day when links aren’t a factor for SEO? Nope.

 

Too Much Fuss?

 

Think about paid links. Even after the nofollow attribute was added and Google cracked down on both the buyers and sellers of links via Webmaster Tools warnings and penalties, people still want to buy and sell links.

 

Would Google keep trying to crack down on how we manipulate links if there was an easier way and if links weren’t really that important? Would they invest that kind of energy and time if anything else could be done? Would they have created the disavow tool if they could properly determine that a link shouldn’t be counted?

 

Links Post-Penguin

 

Penguin fighter

 

Here’s something I bet they didn’t expect to happen after Penguin 2.0 though:

 

Some sites that had previously linked out for free now asked for payment to keep the links up or followed because they theorized that if people were getting penalized or warned for bad free links, they may as well make some money off what they were doing because who knows what Google would think about those links down the road?

 

If Google decides that a site is guilty of linking out in an unnatural manner, why not go ahead and make a few bucks before it gets hit? I’m not saying these were great sites to begin with of course, because in the cases I’ve looked at, they were not, but if authority sites start to fear linking out, what’s to stop them from wanting to make money off the few links that they do give out?

 

If you had a great (and previously free) link on an authority site and they contacted you to say that you could keep that link up if you gave them $500, what would you do? If you had loads of great authority links you might say no, but what if you didn’t?

 

If you think that webmasters on any site put up a link and that’s the end of it, you’re living in a dream world. Links get changed, removed, nofollowed, and become broken.

 

People who did something for free decide they want money. People who accepted money now want more money.

 

Unscrupulous people contact a webmaster and ask for links to be taken down for competitors’ sites and these webmasters don’t have the time or desire to verify that these are legitimate requests, so you know that great link you have? You might have just lost it or it might now point to your competitor.

 

That’s the problem. There are loads of awful and dangerous free links out there, and there are loads of authority links that have been purchased. There are loads of people who can manipulate this system to their advantage and cause you harm in the process. It is a mess, but it’s one that is impossible to clean up.

 

The link buying economy is one that expands and contracts according to Google’s latest proclamations and algorithm changes, people’s concern with risk vs. their need to try to rank quickly, concrete examples of people violating every guideline they have and still doing well, and the idea of making money from a few minutes of work.

 

I’ve been truly amazed by some of the sites that have sold links. I’ve been amazed by people with brand new sites who cannot afford the risk of buying links but still go and pay for networked links.

 

I’ve seen more problematic free links in penalized profiles over the past year than I did in the previous five years. I’ve run reports on sites and seen paid links showing the highest and most beneficial numbers while the most toxic ones are free ones on decent sites. How can any search engine deal with this?

 

Summary

 

We do place a high value of importance on recommendations whether it’s your father telling you the best place to buy a used car or Columbia University linking to a local medical center that they recommend pre-med students check out for an internship. That’s the way the world works, not just the Internet.

 

As we become inundated with more voices telling us what we should do and where we should do it, the authority voices will stand out even more. Having a recommendation from those authorities will only get more important.

 

So links aren’t dying. We just need to focus on building better ones.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Source HERE

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Once and For All SEO is Not Dead

is seo deadAs the landscape of search marketing changes and becomes increasingly more difficult, the rumours keep spreading about how SEO is dead! What a load of nonsense. These rumours are started by webmaster who have done things seo wise which were against Googles guidelines hence their sites get deindexed or suffer some other form of penalty.

 

As site called Business2community recently had an excellent article on what are the 3 factors that could determine weather or not your site takes a hit from Google or not. especially with the pending Google Panda update coming some time soon, it’s best to take some of this advice on board.

 

• Remember that Quality is King: In previous years, SEO was driven by quantity and volume rather than quality. This means that marketers could achieve a high search engine ranking simply by publishing hundreds of backlinks through questionable article directory sites. Thanks primarily to Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, however, quality is now a consideration both in terms of content and the resources that you link to. By striving to create compelling and high quality content both for your own website and any external posts, you will enhance your SEO standing and improve the online experience for potential customers.

 

• Relevance Matters: Another feature of Google’s recent updates is that they have encouraged marketers to prioritize relevance, especially when it comes to link building. As a consequence of this, you must ensure that your guest posts and backlinks are published on a relevant external resource that will generate reader satisfaction in addition to traffic. Another key point for consideration is your chosen anchor text and the phrasing around it, as this must be natural and not detract from the quality or meaning of the remaining content.

 

• Increase your Social Signals: Google’s evolution of SEO as a practice has had a profound effect on marketers, who must now work harder than ever to promote their brand and achieve high visibility. One of the most effective ways to promote your web based and external content is through social media, as this has the benefit of developing a committed audience and potential customer base. With this in mind, you should create engaging content and look to share it across an integrated social media platform, while also imploring readers to do the same from your own website.

 

 

The article concludes by saying (and I 100% agree with this), “ When marketers claim that SEO is moribund, they are simply reacting to the fact that they have lost touch with a fast paced and evolutionary industry. In fact, SEO remains an excellent way of marketing your business, so long as you are able to adopt a flexible strategy that evolves according to breaking trends and updates”.

 

 

Article Source: http://www.business2community.com/seo/why-seo-is-not-dead-recognizing-its-evolutionary-nature-0462106