Updated Content and Adding Content to Your Website

Archived in the category: Search Engine Optimization, SEO
Posted by Rick on 16 Jun 11 - 0 Comments

So I have been getting a lot of questions about how to prevent copyright infringement, or someone just duplicating your content for their benefit.  While there is no concrete way to prevent anyone from copying your site’s content, there is a way to make sure that you are the first one that publishes it.

Now we mentioned before that the content you have on your site should be 100% original.  And more importantly, is should be 100% related to your title and meta tags.  And when you put these two together, you will have content that is perfect for search engines spiders to crawl.  But as time moves on, products and services change and updates become more vital.  Let’s face it, a if Google makes an average of 3 updates a day to it’s algorithm, then you know that it relies on the most current and factual information out there (if the didn’t, then they wouldn’t be the leading search engine for all queries).

So, here is the path we all should be walking

  • Read through your website at least once a month (for those with thousands of pages of content, read through your highlighted topics, or category topics).  Make sure that if there are any updates to information, you change it.  Search spiders will recognize changes to existing content, thus know that it has been updated.
  • If you feel the existing content is just TOO good to update, or you are worried that you may take away from the content, add pages of content. This will build your website outward, and tell search engines that you are a growing and emerging site.
  • Read into blogs and forums on your niche.  This in no way is copying content, but educate yourself on what everyone else knows.  Unless you are an authority on your niche (if so, then you should be sharing your findings and research to continue to build yourself as an authority), then take the information you find and build on your content, or update it if needed.
  • Continue to have your content read naturally.  If you are good at it, then you should not have any worries on your content being duplicate.  No two people speak EXACTLY the same, and this too is true with writing content.

Also, make sure you check on the cached dates of your site.  You can find it in most search engines under your meta description where your site is listed.  This will give you a good idea of how often and when the search spiders last visited.  It will also give you a snapshot of what the search spider saw when they came across your site.  You can then find out if the new or updated content was present or not.  But the most important thing to remember is, the more often you update or add new content to your site, the more likely search engine spiders will be coming by to evaluate your site.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

We have all been there…waiting in line for our number to be called.  Wow, how we all hate waiting.  So it’s pretty much no different when someone has to wait for a website page to load.  But there is a difference between now and say…10 years ago.  Now today, it’s pretty much a difference of a couple of seconds compared to back in the day when it was a difference of, like 10 seconds to load.  With today’s type of technology, having a site that takes more than 5 seconds to load could be considered slow (especially if your competitors’ sites are loading in 3 seconds).

Before I had addressed that load time is a factor when being evaluated by search spiders.  We went through the fact that flash on your landing page inhibits the search spider from crawling the content properly, thus possibly devaluing your landing page.  But now I want to address it from a consumer standpoint.  Load speed is becoming almost purely essential, especially now with the ability to have your own dedicated hosting service that will pretty much give you a quick upload.  People seem to be shy (or just in a huge hurry) when they have to wait for a second or two longer than a competitor.  It may go as far as someone seeing your website as not on the cutting edge, or not having the proper technology to handle their business.

So in order to test your page speed, I have found a place that will give you an idea on how your site is doing against the grade.  It comes on a scale up to 100 (kinda like a school grade) and what’s even better is that it gives you suggestions on any broken links or any pages that slow down your load time.  So test your site, and you may be surprised on which pages need fixing and how much faster you can be for your consumers.  Here is the page link :  http://pagespeed.googlelabs.com

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Potential of Title Tags and Meta Description Tags

Archived in the category: Search Engine Optimization, SEO
Posted by Rick on 20 Apr 11 - 0 Comments

Going back to what we had said regarding keyword tags losing their importance (at least for search engines), it’s time to focus on the potential of  title tags and meta description tags.  Still to this day, we see many pages come across our desk with little work that could be done to their tags that would help search engines determine the context of the content, thus giving them more importance per page.

When developing your pages on your site, you are always making sure each one is distinct: information is relative to the subject and niche of your site, content is very descriptive to back it up, and any media is setup to render properly across all browsers.  But then when you come to your title tag and meta description, you find yourself trying to put in all the information of your site (site-level description) not just the page.  It then turns to be a very broad and open description of your page, and doesn’t help when individual pages appear on search results.  To search engines, pages then appear to be duplicate, and will then be less likely to be crawled in the future.

So, to pull the full potential of your tags, just ensure the following:

  • Avoid any site-level descriptions, keep them to be very page descriptive
  • Incorporate some keywords, but don’t overload them.   Your other keywords should show up on other pages
  • Keep your meta description tag to include information that will appear on the corresponding page only
  • All meta description should be different for each page, try not to group general concepts between pages
  • Include clearly tagged facts in your description, the main idea of the page is always a good start
  • Utilize Google’s Webmaster Tools HTML Suggestions for any missing or problematic tags

Don’t forget that any updates to products, services or information that may be relevant should be reflected in the tags.  It’s very easy to update content on the page and overlook the tags that help search engines index your site and give it the ranking it potentially can have.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Social Media Impact: Open Graph and The Importance of Being Liked

Archived in the category: Social Media
Posted by Rick on 19 Apr 11 - 0 Comments

It’s no surprise to any of us now that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube have taken much of the computer time any of us have.  It’s a conscious decision we all make.  We have to make sure we are current, up to date on what ourselves and our friends are doing.  It wasn’t too much longer after that when search engines figured out that this may be a good way to measure the importance of a site.  For business, it wasn’t long before they saw the opportunity to gain exposure and to reach new prospective clients.

Facebook was one of the first ones jumping on the “sharing” train, knowing that this will build bridges among users, and sites to potential consumers.  Leading the revolution in connecting social to business, Facebook saw the opportunity to really expand their use by implementing their “share” button as one of the options to their updates and website plugins.   This was allowing a link to be connected to the site of your choice by “sharing” it to the world and your closest friends.  This proved to be a huge boost for sites, as their rankings reflected the number of times their site was being shared with someone.

Now Facebook has expanded to their Open Graph model, that they introduced late last year, and we are now seeing more of it on more sites in the web.  These series of meta tags allow for your content to be linked directly with the largest social network, expanding your exposure to millions.  This basically brings your social media page to the site itself (a step above the “Follow us on…” concept). The idea was to have the Like button as the preferred method of sharing web content across the board.  Along with the Like, you are now able to post directly any comments without having to venture back to your page to share your ideas.  In a short run, Facebook is basically on the mobile with you when you surf the web.  For businesses, it’s having the social network come to your site and, hopefully, bring everyone else along with them.

Being Liked is now just more than someone mentioning you.  With the latest social connection of Facebook’s Open Graph, you can now rely on being liked as something that will take your social media strategy to the next level, increase your brand exposure, and get the attention of future clients and customers.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

With social media exploding over the last decade, we now see a big step in personalizing your search experience.   Search engines now are integrating your social media circle in search engine result pages to better your options; a little something to tell you how your friends react to certain sites.  With this recent feature, you now are able to make decisions not only based on what you read on the meta description (or instant preview to view it!), but now you can decide based on how many of your friends like it! That will definitely change how businesses should approach social media.

Well if any business has to think about their social media connections, they have some catching up to do.  With Facebook hitting over 500 million users and Twitter numbers too in the millions, search engines are now looking to these medias as a strong source of how to evaluate sites.  Websites with a huge number of followings (Twitter,Facebook or the many other media channels), can now battle for the ranks of top search engines like Google and Bing. You Tube is said to be the second most popular search engine, with hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded every hour.  Linking sites to from some of these biggest social sites will definately impact your rankings and optimization in the long run.

Below are two examples of pulling results from Google and Bing.  One thing I did notice was that Yahoo didn’t have this feature defaulted once I was logged in.  But this is a point I can address now.  Google and Bing require you to sign in for the results to feature, and feature well.  Google usually pulls you through their gmail accounts.  Bing, on the other hand, has a direct app that links to Facebook, so you can use your login information from there.  Yahoo!, if they have a feature similar, it is too difficult to find (I was logged in with my info for Yahoo!)

San Diego SEO image Bing SERPs

San Diego SEO image Bing SERPs

San Diego SEO Google SERPs

San Diego SEO Google SERPs

Now with Google, I did notice that this feature counts for part of your top 10 results.  What I mean is when you are logged in, the first page results for Google index includes your social circle.  That can go in two ways.  One is if you are optimized for search and you do show up anyway for the fist page SERPs, then there is a possibility that you can top more than one spot!  But, if you are not as strong in optimizing your site, then now you have less spots to contend for (unless you have some connection in the social circle of the searcher).  As for Bing, it seems they have a separate section that comes up, and will give you the 10 results they normally have.  But from what I have seen, I believe Google has a beta version of this same function; to give you social circle results separated from the top 10 search results.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Google’s instant preview has gotten such an instant success that now it brings that experience to your mobile phone.  Now the question stems, how can we get this feature on search to work for our business? Well, if you are dealing with search engine results directing queries to your landing page, this should be your focus.  Not I think it may be safe to say that we are dealing with something different to what search engines are looking for.  Now you are dealing with real people, making real decisions, based on your “first impression”.

Now, to start, we always want to address what we are talking about for our local, new coming SEO‘s.  Google Instant is a feature for Google’s search engine that allows you to preview a site before visiting the site.  This will allow you to make sure the site you are looking for is the correct one.  There is a magnifying glass image located next to the site listing, and with just a hover or a click, you are able to see a full preview of the landing page of the site.  What Google search engines had in mind was a visual comparison that was available for all searchers, giving you a more interactive experience with search results.  It even highlights the search term you are looking for on the page.  Just another user friendly feature by Google.

Now we move to what we need to do as business owners and how we can use this to our advantage.  Like I said before, we are dealing with more than search engines, we are dealing with individuals tastes and opinions.  So it wouldn’t be far off to discuss structure and even color schemes.  First impressions go far, we all know that.  So color scheme, site structure, and how user friendly is it will now play a bigger part to your site.  You are not only trying to convince searchers with your title tag and description to click through (if you are on the first page of Google’s search results, then your tags are good!), but now the image of what your site looks like will be a determining factor.  If your website business relys on images and multimedia for revenue, make sure you are on the cutting edge of all multimedia, and ensure that anything you upload to your site is compatible with mobile devices.  As search engines evolve to give the easiest and smoothest experience for search, you should treat your site in the same fashion.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

I have heard this question for quite some time, and it is always good to revisit some of the misunderstandings.  But some time ago there was a whisper that Google’s algorithm made a major shift.  Not like all the other changes that really don’t affect rankings much, but this was speculated to be big.  Some how it was going through the grapevine and came out saying that keywords don’t matter anymore? Well, let’s clarify what actually is going on with keywords.

Keywords are important, that’s a fact.  Keywords are your table of contents for your website.  They give an idea of what your site is about and then your pages are the supporters.  They are the preface for the search index spiders so they have an idea going into your site what to expect. What everyone is really talking about are the keyword tag lines.  When it was known the importance of keywords and how the affect crawls, there became some impulse to overload with every keyword and every variation of the keyword.  It pretty much turned off crawls and Google just decided to go off of content.  Now don’t get me wrong, keywords are still a big time part of your game, and it NEVER should be ignored (especially the quality of the keyword).  And your keyword tag line will never hurt your site and not having one will never penalize your site.

So where do we go with our keywords? Well, still focus on what the search spiders do crawl, title tags, meta descriptions, and h1 headings.  Put some of your heavy hitting keywords in these areas, and make sure your content highly and ONLY supports that one concept (if you need to make another page, then your starting to think on the search engine level). Many CMS programs in web design will have some way of incorporating keywords, and many plug ins do help. But a colleague of mine once said to me, “whatever happened to just bold text and supporting content?” . Yeah, I remember those days.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Over the past couple of months, we have been seeing a huge jump in Google’s market to be even a larger part of online marketing.  With all the shift in algorithms to ensure proper and pertinent information in their organic results, they didn’t shy away from their advertising space.  It almost seems to be the re-launch of Google’s Adwords platform.  Now the reason why I say that is for a good time now, internet marketers were really elbows deep in optimizing for organic results.  Well, now you start to see Google come back into play with highlighting the benefits of their Adwords campaign.  So, for those who know what I am talking about, give me a second.  For those who don’t know what I am saying, here is a small caption:

Google Adwords is their pay per click version.  How it works is that keywords are given an Ad Rank .  That rank is determined in an auction based on the ad’s relevancy (quality score) and the amount an advertiser is willing to pay (maximum cost per click).  So, if an ad is displayed 100 times and only clicked on once, then the quality score would be low and no one would want to bid high for it.   Each keyword or phrase had a different value due to the different demand on search.

Ok, now that you have a simple idea of what it is, now we look to what you do with it.  When I began, I always thought it was just pay for one word or phrase, then each time someone clicks, I cross my fingers that I have made a sale and pay Google for its services.  Well, it goes a little beyond that.  When you setup your Adwords, the real work is in the maintenance and reports that you can use to evaluate your buy.

Use the metrics provided, particularly the keyword tab, and learn to read the reports.  The keyword tab is a good place to start, because it’s there that you can see what keywords are working, and which are yielding a low %.   Those with little to no impressions will either need to be deleted, or lower the bids on them (if you originally paid really high for them, then you didn’t do your initial research, shame on you!).   If you run into bad performing keywords, remember that you want to look for ones that have reasonable cost per click (always keeping your budget in mind) and a good conversion.  Google has many measuring metrics to tell you how each one is performing. If you get lucky and the keywords you have are doing well, you can expand on them to reach a more concise audience.

Expanding on good performing keywords can take your campaign to the next level.  But you should always count on the settings you choose for those keywords as a factor to their performance.  What I am speaking about is the setting of whether you want broad search results versus phrase match results versus exact match results.  A good example I had learned was a company selling books.   They were going after the keyword “used books’.  But what they didn’t know was in the settings.  Broad matches will take the term “used books” and break it into both words.  Results will pull up for anything that contains “used” and “books”.  So if someone is looking for used furniture, it may be that book company showing up in the paid results, which won’t do them any good.  Their company shows up, but that’s not what the searcher is looking for.  Thus, quality score goes down.  For phrase match, it may get a little better, as results will pull up for the phrase “used books” but maybe with another term with it, like “paperback used books”.  Exact match will pull up only the phrase “used books”  if it’s typed in as exact.  But each tier does have it’s advantages, and if you are looking for a long tail keyword phrase, then broad matches should do you more justice than a short tail keyword.

One last note on this what I found is the landing pages associated with your adwords.  An example was brought to my attention that I felt suited right.  If someone was looking for apartments to rent and found your site in the paid advertising, you would want to make sure that when clicked, it takes you to the appropriate area.  It should lead that searcher to the listing of all the apartments available, not your home page of your site.  You don’t want someone thinking they found what they are looking for, only to have to continue to search for what they want.

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

SEO Marketing: When Too Much is Just Too Much

Archived in the category: Search Engine Optimization, SEO
Posted by Rick on 11 Feb 11 - 0 Comments

You know, when I had started in the SEO world, and I found out the basics of what search engines look for, I asked myself many questions.  But one in particular was a question that probably most people asked themselves.  I asked that if search engines like to rank sites that have compelling content, and an extensive links pointing to them, then why can’t everyone just overload their sites with content, and have every singe site link back to their site.  This will give the search engines ton of content to scour over, and the links would prove that this site is an authoritive site, not a hub.

Well, after looking into the history of search, it was clear that this idea had been tackled.  In the beginning, it was easier to manipulate search engines, and you could just through a ton of content and grab links from every Joe who decided to make his site what’s called a “link farm”.   Then the search engine spiders crawled your site and presto…you were ranking on first page of most major search engines.  People searching for one item suddenly found themselves on a completely different site, on something completely un-related.

Now over the past years search engines have seen this and heard the voices of millions wanting a better system.  What they have implemented will actually penalize your website if it runs into some of these manipulations.  The punishment is that you lose your position on search engine indexes and a denial of indexing your site.  So when is too much?  Well, for starters, in your content, try to make it as natural as possible. Duplicate content is something search spiders look for.  If you feel that you are trying to take on too many subjects, break them down into different pages.   It’s better to have multiple pages (just make sure you internally link them properly!) than to have one long page rambling on about multiple points.

Second big manipulation could be your inbound links.  Google, for instance, has had problems with link manipulations when indexing sites.  But know that they are aware of this, and they are working to make sure they filter out all the sites that walk this line.  Just think of your links this way, it’s better to have quality, than quantity.  Make sure who ever is linking to you is doing it naturally and they have some connection to your industry.  It will tell the search spiders that your site is part of a network that will bring useful information.  But most importantly, stay away from link farms or those who offer multiple links to multiple niche sites, they will bring down your site!!

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Marketing Your Website: Organic Listings That Last

Archived in the category: Uncategorized
Posted by Rick on 10 Feb 11 - 0 Comments

When it comes to your company, you want to put as much into it as possible to make it successful.  We all do; it’s a very common goal many of us have.  But when you do, you want to know that your investment will last.  You want to make sure what you put into your company will build over time.  That’s the same way the search engines see it.  And your marketing should see it too.  But how is it done? That’s when you turn to search engine optimization.

SEO is a very effective way of marketing your website over the internet.  The results that it produces are what is called organic listings.  This is the area that is below the paid listings, which are the sponsored results that companies have a chance to bid for certain keywords.  But the difference of the organic listings are that they are considered natural.  Search engines have algorithms that evaluate your site based on how your content is related to your keywords and how well your inbound links are.  This gives your site a page rank and a position on the results page.  As long as your SEO campaign keeps building and follows consistent practices, over time it will grow stronger.  But the best part of this, is that is does yield more in search results than PPC.  Out of all searches done on the internet, over 80% of visits come from the organic listings. The only con is that it does take time.  It is something that cannot happen overnight.  It takes consistency and patience, but in the end, it pays off very well.

To optimize your website for organic results is taking your website and building on its credibility.  It’s reaching out to those who need good, relevant information and asking them to spread the word.  It’s letting everyone know “Hey, my site is an authority on the subject, come check out what I can offer you!” So when you are looking to market your site, and you are aiming to build credibility on your company brand, SEO will be your best bet!

Delicious

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post