All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘search engine optimization’
As you know full well, the search industry is constantly changing, and that means SEOs and businesses must adapt. This is always made abundantly clear at the change of each year as the previous year is reflected upon, and predictions about trends in the upcoming year are discussed. SEOs know that adaptation and ongoing education are crucial. The problem is that businesses don’t always understand just how much the search landscape actually does change. This can present a whole different set of challenges for both the small business and the professional SEO.
In a recent article, we looked at a debate over what is better between search engine optimization and pay-per-click. Of course both should be used typically, but on a recent panel at SES Chicago, participants were asked to pick a side to highlight the benefits of each compared to the other. It made for some pretty interesting conversation.
Google has people riled up with its latest local search effort Google Place Pages. Place Pages are a Google Maps feature launched last week, which serve the purpose of providing everything you want to know about a place (a city or a business) in one spot. For example, if you search for a specific restaurant, you should get web pages, directions, reviews, images, street view imagery, business hours, etc. Google lets businesses submit specific categories they want to include.
As you’re probably aware, the plan for the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo that dominated many of the headlines this summer, is for Bing to take over Yahoo search, in terms of algorithmic ranking. Basically, Bing will handle the back-end, while Yahoo will handle the front-end design of the new Yahoo Search. That should be happening next year sometime.
I thought that one of the more interesting topics addressed at Search Engine Strategies San Jose a while back was that of SEO and the publishing industry. This is an industry seemingly at war with entities like Google (at least partially), even though there are clearly measures publishers could take, which would make Google and Google News in particular work to their advantage.
In a previous article, we discussed why and how to rank in image searches. The article was based on discussion from the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose. Bing’s Todd Schwartz was part of that discussion, and he has now shared additional insight into Bing’s image search.
Google announced today that its SEO Starter Guide is now available in 40 languages. This covers 98% of the global Internet audience according to the company.
"We hope that webmasters around the world can use the guide to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing in search engines," says Brandon Falls of Google’s Search Quality Team.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) writing, as a distinct style, was born in the Internet era and has matured before our very eyes in a relatively short span of time. Although it is evolving and maturing still, and will continuously do so, we can define some of the tried and tested steps of content optimization to help unique pages place at or near the top of search engine rankings.
A patent application filed by Yahoo is causing a bit of a stir within the SEO community. The patent is for an "Automated System to Improve Search Engine Optimization on Web Pages." The abstract for the patent reads as follows:
There is no question that blogging can help improve your search engine optimization efforts. Stephan Spencer, Founder & President Netconcepts talked about some of the reasons why in the following video, but he also said he favors some platforms over others for SEO purposes. Namely, he recommends WordPress or b2evolution as opposed to Google-owned Blogger.
At PubCon, Bruce Clay, Inc. President Bruce Clay presented at a session entitled "Top-Shelf Organic SEO" in which he discussed the approaching future of SEO as search engines evolve into more modern ranking methods through more personalized search results. Bruce was good enough to take the time to speak with our own Michael McDonald in a one-on-one interview about personal search, which can be viewed in the video below.
Bounce rates are a metric that may become more of a factor as SEOs struggle with the ever-changing world of SERPs, which some are predicting to be become much more personalized over the coming year. As discussed in an interview with Mike McDonald (video below), big name SEO Bruce Clay notes that going forward, SEOs are going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc., and ask themselves questions like did I get the conversion I was after?
After a couple of beers and a bit of soul searching on the web planning front my SEO specialist friend and I noticed that many businesses that have new websites aren’t aware of the effects changing of host servers and web page names can have on their search engine ranking. What’s more shocking is that many web developers don’t advise clients about the down side of changing or redesigning web sites, or even recommend best ways of reducing loss of ranking.
A little while back I did a post titled: SEOs Must Work Closely with Development. The basic thesis of the post was that neither of these parties can work without close communication with each other. Ultimately, this is critical to the success of the site. One reader (named “alla”) wrote in suggesting that this is a 2 way street, and that there are other parties involved.
As an SEO we get two kinds of sites; those that were designed in the past and where the designer is no longer involved, and the sites where the design is either ongoing or we are working with the web designers from the start. Both of these have their pros and cons as an SEO but there is a clear advantage of one over the other for the client.
The title of this article is designed to illustrate the point of this article. Today we won’t be taking a look at black-hat search engine optimization tactics. Admittedly, I’ve toyed with them in a “know your enemy” kind of way but I’m no expert on advanced cloaking techniques nor effective link sp@mming tactics. What we’re going to cover here are the hidden (i.e. dark) areas of effective optimization strategy.
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.
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.
Thank heavens that the SEO contest to rank #1 in Google for “Dave Pasternack” has finally revealed the truth: SEO is rocket science. It’s clearly rocket science. This frog can finally be free to express his true feelings, and boy, let me tell ya, it sure is liberating.
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.
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
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.
- The SEO has a right to receive payment from the client for the entire amount contracted. A contract is a contract is a contract. Don’t try to weasel out of it.
- The SEO has a right not to have to justify to the client payment due in terms of actual time spent on account unless payment is based on an hourly fee. Package priced contract fees are due regardless of time spent provided work outlined in the contract is performed.