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About Scott Buresh

Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, which was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld. Scott has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, DarwinMag, SiteProNews, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DS Waters, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Visit MediumBlue.com to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.
Ask.com Search Engine – A Brief History
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As of this writing, there are five top Internet search engines: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and Ask.com, and while Google and Yahoo! get a lot of the press (particularly lately), the Ask.com search engine is a rather interesting engine that deserves a closer look. This article will cover some of the highlights in its 12-year history, from its start as Ask Jeeves to its innovations, as well as the most recent developments behind the scenes.

The Beginning

Using an SEO Company vs. Hiring an In-House Expert: The True Dollar Cost
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It’s a common question that companies who are considering hiring a search engine optimization company often face – is this something that we can do in-house?   More importantly, can we do this in-house and get the same results that an expert search engine optimization company would provide?

Should You Let Sam’s Club Be Your SEO Company?
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If the buzz is to be believed, Sam’s Club is now a search engine optimization company that is targeting the local search market aggressively.

The fact is, this isn’t something new; it’s just recently come to the forefront. Sam’s Club has partnered with a company called Innuity to offer a program that is primarily targeted at small businesses looking to get noticed in the local search results.

How Meta Commands Can Help You Love Spiders
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Nearly all search engines utilize spiders (which are also known by their original name, robots) to go out and scour the web looking for web pages. These search engine spiders then bring the data back to be indexed by the engine.

Google’s Paid Search vs. Organic Results – A Rickety Wall of Separation

"Chinese Wall – The ethical (not physical) barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest…"

Investopedia.com

"While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results."

Google’s Webmaster Help Center FAQ

Brand New Websites: SEO Company Perspective
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It’s an unfortunate fact – no matter how good your search engine optimization company or in-house talent is, brand new websites have a more difficult time achieving search engine success for competitive phrases than their older counterparts, particularly on Google.

What is Universal Search?

Organic search engine optimization, until recently, had been a fairly straightforward endeavor. The goal was to optimize the content on a website so that it would show up in the organic results on one or more of the major search engines – results that were comprised of nothing but other websites.

The True Cost of an In-House SEO Campaign

When a company is considering embarking upon a search engine optimization campaign, the first discussion that normally is had is whether to take care of the campaign in house or to hire an outside SEO firm.

Internal Departments & Your SEO Firm – A Play
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Many companies are not aware of the different roles that various departments in their organization will fill when they begin to work with an outside SEO firm.  What follows is a demonstration, in play form (bear with me), of which internal departments are involved in a typical SEO campaign and why. It also demonstrates some of the resistance that may be felt by those departments as well as what valuable contributions a company can make to help its SEO firm craft a successful campaign.

The Players

Investing in PPC Marketing or SEO – a Company Decision

 As click costs rise, many companies who are already investing in active pay per click marketing campaigns are looking toward hiring a search engine optimization company to supplement their marketing portfolio in order to increase their exposure and reduce their advertising spend. 

The True Value of a Resource Library for Your Website

Many websites currently offer a resource library for visitors – an area filled with articles covering relevant topics to the industry with which the site is connected. The articles may cover how to do something or define a particular aspect of the industry, but they do not usually directly sell the company’s products or services.

Benefits of a Resource Library

While it’s true that a resource library, on the surface, exists to benefit site visitors, it doesn’t end there — they also provide benefits that can directly impact any business. First of all, they spread goodwill among a business’s prospect base – and its non-prospect base as well. The site is seen by visitors as offering free information about important subject matter – and that makes it a more attractive site to return to in the future when a purchase will be made or a service established.

Second, with a solid resource library, the site puts itself in a great position to organically attract important inbound links. Outside sites will notice the offerings of important and unbiased information and link to individual articles or to the resource library as a whole. This will boost traffic and rankings overall.

Third, if the articles in the section are optimized properly, they will also boost rankings for popular and competitive keyphrases, driving additional targeted traffic to the site. The traffic may enter the site at the articles, but visitors are then likely to click for further information about the site itself.

A Common Objection to Adding a Resource Library

The most common objection a search engine optimization company hears when recommending that a site add a resource library is "I want to sell my product, not educate." However, this is shortsighted. It is important to reach buyers at all stages of the sales cycle. For example, if someone is just starting to investigate a product or service, a site with an appropriate informational article will reach him or her at this critical early stage. The prospect will then likely remember the experience when he or she is ready to buy and will return to the site.

In addition, a site with a resource library can help a salesperson save valuable time. With quality articles freely available on the site, the salesperson will no longer need to take the time to explain the basics to a prospect – the site will have already taken care of that. Instead, the salesperson can focus on speaking to the people who are ready to make a purchase.

Examples of Successful Resource Libraries

There are several sites that serve as great examples of this approach. Let’s look at three of them – Bed, Bath and Beyond; Lowe’s; and Step Two Designs (an Australian consulting firm).

Bed, Bath, and Beyond opens its resource library with a friendly "Need help shopping?" and follows it up by telling visitors that they can "browse through the sections below for helpful shopping hints on a variety of topics." There is no mention of specific sales at any point on this page, which is found here.

Taking a deeper look, one will find that the targeted phrase "window treatments" brings up Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s guide on the subject on the first page of Google. This phrase has the impressive monthly search estimate (using data from WordTracker) of 55,304. Note that this page, which is an unbiased article offering tips on choosing different types of window treatments, and not a retail sales page, is what achieves the rankings.

The home improvement chain Lowe’s actually has several resource libraries available on its site, from buying guides to an extensive how-to library. Its buying guide page, found here, notes, "Work Smarter: We’ll help you find the right equipment and tools you need for all of your projects." And the company’s article on choosing floor tiles appears on the first page of Google for the targeted phrase "tile floor," which has a monthly search estimate of 2,046. Again, it’s an informational page and not a product page that gets the great rankings.

Both of the above examples are great, but you don’t need to be selling a product online – or even be in the retail business at all – to use a resource library to your benefit. Step Two Designs is a consulting firm that offers a resource library of whitepapers on its site. Its article "How to Evaluate a Content Management System," for example, establishes its usefulness right at the top, stating that "No vendors or products are mentioned in this article: this is not a survey of current commercial solutions. Instead, it provides tools to assist you to conduct a review of suitable products."

This article appears on the first page of Google for the targeted phrase "content management systems," which has a monthly search estimate of 2,356. While this may be a lower number than the Bed, Bath and Beyond example, a consulting firm’s average sale will likely be greater than that of a single purchase from a retail outlet, and so these visitors are potentially more valuable. Even in this type of business, a resource library will quickly prove its value.

Conclusion

Resource libraries clearly offer something of value for everyone involved. Prospects appreciate their existence, search engines reward sites that have them, and salespeople are relieved of the burden of explaining basic concepts to early prospects. You can either create your articles in-house or, if you’re not sure where to start, hire a search engine optimization company to help you with everything from idea generation to writing. In either case, with just a little bit of effort your site too can realize the benefits of establishing this type of section.

Medium Blue 2007

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About the Author

Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, a search engine optimization company. Scott has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, Lockergnome, DarwinMag, SiteProNews, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue, which was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld, serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, Cirronet, and DS Waters. Visit MediumBlue.com to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.

SEM Services: Trends and Predictions
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The search engine marketing industry is consistently evolving, sometimes at a pace that makes it hard to believe that search engine marketing services can stay on top of all the latest developments.

Organic SEO – What Does it Really Mean?

When people refer to “organic SEO” (search engine optimization), they almost always use it as a blanket term to describe the unpaid, algorithm-driven results of any particular engine.

Business to Business Marketing on Search Engines A Largely Untapped Marketing Tool

I’m in the business of search engine marketing, so it’s sometimes easy to forget that a majority of people don’t really know that the industry exists, how useful it is in business to business marketing, and what a valuable marketing tool SEO can be in general.

Leprechaun Repellent and Guaranteed SEO Companies The Disturbing Link

When researching SEO companies, it is tempting to choose any company willing to offer guaranteed SEO services. It is human nature – people love a guarantee.

Professional SEO in Your Marketing Mix Convincing Your Company

While professional SEO (search engine optimization) is becoming increasingly recognized as an extremely effective component of an overall marketing mix, the SEO industry itself is still very much in its infancy.

Expert Search Engine Optimization: Is Ongoing Management Needed?

More and more companies are beginning to understand the importance of expert search engine optimization in their overall marketing efforts.

Professional SEO: Hand Off to Bob or Outsource the Job?

We are often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization) can be done effectively utilizing in-house talent.

Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy: Make Love, Not War

When it comes to search engine optimization strategy, there are basically two camps – those who view search engines as adversaries to be conquered at any cost and those who regard search engines as partners in their online marketing efforts.

The Myth of Rankings – Beyond Search Engine Optimization

What follows is a condensed version of a conversation that happens all too frequently when I am approached by a prospect interested in search engine optimization (SEO):

SEO: The True Cost of Doing It Wrong

There is much debate in the general public and in the search engine optimization community as to what amount companies should pay for search engine optimization expertise.* Prices are all over the board, and can be influenced by an SEO firm’s size, reputation (or lack thereof), resources invested in customer service, and many other factors. Moreover, there are a variety of pricing models from which to choose.

The Holistic Approach to Search Engine Marketing

Holistic: [adj] Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.

Interview with Building Your Business with Google For Dummies Author Brad Hill

Brad Hill has worked in the online field since 1992, and was a recognized authority on search engines long before two now-famous Stanford graduate students started tinkering with what would eventually become Google. His popular books, among them Google For Dummies, Yahoo! For Dummies, and Internet Searching For Dummies, share a knack for taking what are often highly technical concepts and presenting them in ways that are immediately useful to the average reader.

Natural Search – The Great Equalizer

You scroll down past the banner ads and enter your search term. You pass the “sponsored results” without a glance. You ignore the shaded results to the right, as well as the additional “sponsored results” at bottom. Hiding somewhere in the middle of it all, you finally find the results you came for.