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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Will Google’s Most Recent Patent Impact Your SEO Efforts?

If you are a spammer it does! As highlighted by SEO Industry Expert Bill Slawski on his blog SEO by the Sea, Google has been granted another patent recently. Someone emailed me to ask how this would impact ones “white hat” SEO efforts. For those who do not know, “white hat” is a term given to those who practice search engine optimization according to the letter or the law based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (yes, Google actually tells you how to rank well in their search engine!)

While the intent of this search engine technology is to weed out spam (or those who abuse the guidelines), no technology – not even Google’s – is fail proof. This means that even if you are not in violation of the rules, you could suffer a ranking penalty; at least that is the concern among some Internet Marketing professionals.

My advice:

1. Stick to the basics. This includes adhering to Google’s guidelines.

2. Don’t rush it. SEO is not a sprint, it is a journey. It’s those tactics that seek to get quick results that often get people in trouble.

3. Know how much social media engagement impacts SEO. For one, keep in mind that Google now has a social network (Google Plus) and it has a big impact on how sites are ranking in Google.

Keep in mind that in addition to SEO there are dozen of ways to generate business, both online and offline, so make sure you are engaging a holistic marketing campaign so that your business does ont rely exclusively (or predominantly) on one specific marketing tactic.

5 Ways to Help Google Find Your Blog Posts

If you are a blogger, you certainly want to make sure that your content gets found by Google, Bing and the other search engines to maximize your online exposure. Below are 5 tips to help increase your exposure on Google.

Keyword Research
One of the most critical steps you can take to help improve the search engine rankings of your blog posts is to engage in a little bit of keyword research prior to posting. You can use a free tool such as the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and find out what people are searching for related to your blog post. Next, you want to use those keywords in the title of the blog post, and ideally closer to the front of the post. For example, if I wanted to leverage the popular phrase “blogging tips”, I would have made the title, “Blogging Tips – How to Help Google Find Your Blog Posts.” You have to balance SEO value with what reads well obviously. Given the volume of blogging tips on my blog, it would not make sense to start every post with “blogging tips.”

Using Ping Services
If you use WordPress, I would make sure that you have more than just the one ping service listed under the “Writing” settings. I am sure other blog platforms have this option, but I am pretty much a WordPress guy. Here is a list of recommended ping services:

http://api.feedster.com/ping.php
http://api.moreover.com/ping
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://pinger.blogflux.com/rpc
http://rpc.newsgator.com/
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://services.newsgator.com/ngws/xmlrpcping.aspx

Blog Often
The more content you put out, the more opportunities you will have to be found through those keyword rich titles. Eventually, you will start to see your blog come up in searches under the keywords in the post titles. Your web stats (analytics) will show you the keywords that people are using to find you.

I recommend setting a schedule and sticking to it (unlike I do). At a minimum, you should shoot to post at least once a week.

Promote on Social Networks
Social networks are a great way to promote blog content. For starters, I would add your blog feed to your LinkedIn profile. If you use Facebook, then I would post your articles to your profile and your business page, and if you are on Twitter, I would not only Tweet, but use related hashtags for maximum impact.

Using Tags Effectively
Tags are a great way to capitalize on popular keywords and themes by linking your posts to them. For example, I have tagged this post with the following keywords; blogging, blog SEO and blogging tips, which are popular keywords that I would like to connect with. You can see them referenced in the footer of the post. WordPress makes adding tags simple as does Blogger, and I would imaging other blog platforms do as well. Just don’t overdo it and make sure the keywords are related to the blog post. Often a tag will get listed in a search engine from a blog and rank well for the related keyword which gives you additional opportunities for search engine exposure.

This is certainly not conclusive, but a good top 5 list. Feel free to post any tips below in the comments.

Happy blogging!

Bing & Google are Giving Away Their Secrets! – Fueled Friday

Most people are not aware that the search engines actually provide insights on how to get your websites ranked with them. Today, I am going to show you where you can get the information right from the search engines themselves which will tell you what they are looking for when they consider whether or not to index (list) or rank a website. For the most part, it all revolves around the principles that I have shared with clients for the past decade:

– Good site architecture
– Solid content
– A broad range of back links to your website

So, are you ready to hear it from the horses mouth? Here is where you can find the info:

Google’s Search Engine Marketing Starter Guide
– BING’s New Features Relevant to Webmasters

Let me know what you think of them. In fact, I would like to feature some feedback from small business owners who read the guides, so let me know if you want to be featured on the blog.

Have a great weekend!

What is the Cost of NOT Doing Online Marketing

If done correctly, online marketing (SEO, Paid Search, Social Media, etc) is an investment in your business. Many people seem to get lost by focusing on the cost of engaging a professional to manage their online marketing campaign. I often ask people who tell me online marketing is too expensive if they plan on staying in business, and if so, how they plan on getting customers. The responses range from laughter to “we get plenty of referral business.” My goal is not to provide shock value, but a reality check because many business owners still don’t know where their next customer is coming from and often don’t see that they are on the quick road to going out of business.

I was recently talking to several local plastic surgeons about online marketing due to an opening that my company has for online marketing services. Among the many questions I asked was “do you realize how many people are searching for you every day?” Few know that answer, and for a plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, I can tell you there are over 1,000 DAILY searches just in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area. The next question is “of the 35,000+ monthly searches for your business Doctor, how many are finding your practice?” This question (regardless of industry) is often met with silence. In a face to face meeting, you can see the wheels turning thinking “that’s why my competitors are doing so well.”

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post about keyword research and finding your online marketing potential. I encourage you to find out how many people are search for you and not finding you, so you are fully aware of how many missed opportunities you have every day that you put off your online marketing campaign.

If you have a (non online) business development strategy that is working for you, then I commend you. I have never said that online marketing is the magic bullet to fix a business, but I have to say it is very often the low hanging fruit – especially for those businesses that rank on page 2 (62% of searchers never click past page 1).

Let me know how I can help you implement an effective and affordable online marketing program.

Have a great day!

What You Need to Know About SEO (Website Architecture – Part 3 of 3) Fueled Friday

This is the last of this 3 part series on “what you need to know about SEO.” Originally, I only wanted to cover the main two aspects (web content and links) but I realized that many people are still unaware of what a search engine friendly website architecture is.

In short, you want to build a website with URL’s that have your keywords in them as opposed to those that have query strings and contain characters such as “&” or “=”. You normally see query strings associated with ecommerce websites and it is basically showing you where the web server is looking to produce the webpage – but it make for an ugly, non search engine friendly URL. It is also common to see non search engine friendly URL’s with websites that are constructed with a Content Management System (CMS).

Here is an example of a search engine friendly URL: http://www.azrebsi.com/blog/2010/01/owe-more-than-your-home-is-worth-help-is-here/. This is a URL produced by a WordPress blog. There are actually settings in WordPress that determine whether or not you will have search engine friendly URL’s or not (under the section called Permalinks). If you are using WordPress as a CMS or blog, you will want to make sure that these setting are correct. And if they are not and you change them you may have some issues with your old URL’s changing.

Amazon gets a lot of bad PR from SEO folks as their URL’s are very commonly used to show examples of non search engine friendly URL’s. I don’t think it matters because they are such a strong web property, and because over time the search engines will often index dynamic URL’s from strong sites such as Amazon. Here is an example of a typical Amazon.com URL: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015T963C?ie=UTF8&tag=finamark-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B0015T963C

Take a look at your website and determine whether or not you have search engine friendly URL’s or not. If you do, then you are on the right track. If you do not, then you have a potential hindrance to obtaining search engine success. If you need help, let’s chat!

Have a great weekend. I am off to the races for three day!

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