Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best SEO Information Sources 2013

Top 10 SEO Expert Sites

Published on by: James H. Hobson

  • Scoop.it
  • Click Here To Pin It Now

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has probably never been more volatile and evolving than it has been in 2012. These changes are making the field of SEO become more competitive as the top SEO companies fight to stay on top of the SEO best practices for 2013. Certainly we all have our tried-and-true tactics however we can all benefit from what the truly top SEO professionals have to say. This article presents a Top 10 List of SEO Experts for SEO tips and ideas in 2013.

#1 Matt Cutts - Google Senior Engineer

Okay, Matt Cutts has to get the top rating simply because he knows where all of the bodies are buried within Google's algorithms. Matt is the friendly face of Google that delivers the news, answers questions from the everday SEO folks, and generally serves as the point man for the development of search engine optimization algorithm improvements.

#2 - Rand Fishkin - Whiteboard Friday

Rand Fishkin, our #2 pick, is the founder and CEO of SEOmoz, which ia a software development company which serves the search engine optimization industry. Rand is a well known speaker and consultant, and has earned as place as a SEO expert. Rand, through SEOmoz, produces and publishes on YouTube weekly video tutorials branded Whiteboard Friday.

#3 Danny Sullivan - Search Engine Land

Danny Sullivan, our #3 choice for his vast knowledge, is the welll established editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land. Search Engine Land is a blog and forum about about search engines, SEM and SEO. With access to the best and brightest minds in the SEO industry Danny is very well informed, and continually proves to be thinking at the leading edge of SEO best practices and trends.

#4 Vanessa Fox - VanessaFox.com

Vanessa Fox is a leading search engine optimization writer and consultant who was a principle creator of Google Webmaster Central. If you're into SEO you should BUY HER NEW BOOK >> She serves as front line spokesperson for some Google news topics, is quite active in industry organizations and conferences, and presents some of her best work at her SEO author page on the Search Engine Land website.

#5 Jill Whalen - High Rankings

Jill Whalen is a highly respected master at search engine optimization. Ms. Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, co-founder of Search Engine Marketing New England, and serves as a professional consultant, writer and speaker on all aspects of SEO.

#6 David Merman Scott - Online Marketing Strategist

David Merman Scott is a brilliant thinker who has written numerous books, including three international best sellers, on marketing strategies and tactics. David is often a keynote speaker and always a person whose words are received with great interest. While David's skillset is very diverse it is also highly focused where it matters the most to us, online marketing. Learn more at DavidMermanScott.com .

#7 Bruce Clay - Bruce Clay, Inc.

Bruce Clay is the founder and CEO of Bruce Clay, Inc. which is a world class SEO company. Bruce has worked with some of the largest corporations in the world, has driven forward some stellar SEO tactics and remains a leader in the SEO business. Barry Schwartz referred to him as "one of the older, wiser and definitely more respected individuals in the industry". Bruce has some detractors but it's hard to deny his knowledge and capabilities for delivering exceptional SEO services.

#8 Barry Schwartz - Search Engine Roundtable

Barry Schwartz is the editor-in-chief at Search Engine Roundtable, and a blogger that delivers well written and highly informative articles on SEO industry news, trends and observations. Barry sometimes bucks the system by challenging Google's moves and motivations. We feel that this gives him a really sincere and genuine perspective, which is much appreciated against the all too common corporate sell-outs.

#9 Wil Reynolds - SEERInteractive

Wil Reynolds is the founder of SEER Interactive which is a search marketing agency located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wil is a very engaging speaker that brings not only good general information, but he shares actual tricks of the trade that the average SEO practitioner can use to help their clients. Wil is a frequently on the list of speakers at industry events. You can access some great tidbits by following Wil Reynolds on Twitter.

#10 Avinash Kaushik -

Avinash is our #6 pick, ahead of some really sharp folks, because of his knowledge and innovative visualization of search marketing concepts and practices. Avinash co-founded Market Motive, Inc. and has authored great books including Web Analytics: An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0. With a background in data analytics and active participation in the SEO community he is a very good resource for ideas on how to study the mechanics of web use to improve SEO tactics.

Feel free to leave non-spam comments that include your favorite SEO experts.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Google Analytics 2013

Google To Restrict Referral Data

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Google has implemented changes to Google Analytics that are presented as "protecting user privacy" however these changes will present a challenge for SEO companies that rely on Google Analytics data to influence SEO work. This article discusses the changes, and the real and perceived implications for users.

Google Analytics Changes

Why Google Is Changing Analytics

Every change has (or should have) a logical reason, right? In the case of recent changes to Google Analytics referral data the public statements discuss protecting Google user privacy. This sounds noble but I have to ask, "protect privacy from who or what?" and "why don't the words match the actions?".

Words and Actions Don't Match

Within Analytics there has been what is called "referral data" which shows search phrases used to arrive at your site, sites from which users came, etc. The new changes mean that Analytics will not show granular detail for users who are logged in to their Google account - thus the conflict between words and actions.

If a user is logged in, Google can most certainly, and will, record search queries and other user specific data. Excluding the user information from Analytics means that SEO practitioners and site owners are stripped of information relative to their site . . . although Google has the user data. The bottom line is that the user privacy protection is somewhat misleading because Google now has MORE and very specific information about a user - so much for privacy.

Motivations To Restrict Referral Data

If Google retains data that has true marketing value then they have information that can be bundled and sold to internet marketing agencies and advertising companies. By promoting the user privacy protection spin it will most likely drive an increase in the number of people who log in to their Google Plus account to search. In the end this means that more people login, Google gets specific user data and can monetize the information, or perhaps serve as a willing servant to any part of the government that wants data on an individual. Needless to say, this really does not protect the user, and you have to ask if referral data ever presented a real issue for users.

The Mechanics of Analytics Changes

If a user is logged in to their Google account any organic search and click will be reflected within Analytics as "not provided". If you click on an Adwords ad the data will be shown in Analytics. If you are not logged in the data will be shown in Analytics in the manner that we have always seen. The estimation of SEO gurus is that this change will cut Analytics data by less than 10%, however it has not been stated as to how this figure was determined.

Rand Fishkin's Whiteboard Friday Discussion

How To Compensate For Data Loss

Rand Fishkin offers some excellent methods to counter the loss of invaluable data in the video we have posted here. In addition to what Rand offers we think that there is a now increased value of the historical data that you have on file. Certainly some statistical averaging can help to feather out some edges. If you are venturing into new areas it may be worth running Adwords campaigns in order to get data that can supplement what remains withing Analytics.

While this change is probably not earth shattering, it is worth considering that knowledge is power and some power is being taken away. We encourage you to leave comments and ideas on your thoughts about the loss of Analytics referral data.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Atlanta SEO Companies 2013

Is Your SEO Company Safe?

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Your SEO company is probably a major contributor in generating leads for your business. If your SEO company disappeared what would you do? The business environment in 2012 has been quite volatile and 2013 looks like it will be the same or perhaps worse. This means that a lot of SEO companies, like other businesses, are struggling to survive.

As in any major market, in Atlanta, there are a handful of truly competent SEO companies. The past few months we have noticed many SEO companies are using PPC advertising to solicit new business. This may be a signal that these companies are bleeding financially and having to go beyond their own skill (SEO) to stay afloat. My personal belief is that any SEO company that uses PPC to augment for their top organic rankings is screaming that they are in dire straits. This should be a red flag for their clients. Again, what would you do if your SEO company went out of business?

Does a good and stable SEO company REALLY need to use PPC advertising for their most important terms? If they are using PPC to solicit SEO clients you need to ask "why?". Do they know how to get business or not? Are they desperate?

Finding Security in the SEO World

Evaluate Your SEO Company

Because you run a business you can take a look at a business and make a read on their health. We are in an economy where finding new business is not alwyas easy, retaining clients can be tough and expenses need to be held to a minimum. If your SEO company is in high rent office space, has a bloated and overpaid staff, and spends too much on frivolous expenditures they are ripe for failure. In this day and age a very conservative structure means lean and in control, whereas living the high life conveys more risk than success. How do you see your SEO company?

Who Are Their Clients?

Is your SEO comapny going to be the next business to collapse?
As a business owner you understand the critical nature of both cash flow and profit. If your SEO company has a few large companies that represent a significant part of their monthly income they could be devastated if the average age of their receivables on their large accounts goes from 17 days to 90 days. What is the health of their client base? You might be interested in knowing the average days of their receivables. How much do you know about their financial stability?

Did you know that the SEO, website design and internet marketing industry has a particularly high rate of non-pay and charge backs? It's a fact and THE reason that most companies in this industry have only PayPal to process credit cards. If your SEO company cannot accept credit card payments they probably are unable to prove financial stability to their bank or a credit card processor.

Where Are You In The Pecking Order?

If you are a B2B or industrial company you can appreciate the value of your national accounts and major accounts. Most companies dedicate their best people and strongest resources to supporting their "bread-and-butter" accounts.

So what happens during financial hardships? A business in declien begins to layoff people and cut expenses, right? This means that whatever personnel or material resources that remain are typically applied in majority to support the major accounts (big money). If your SEO company is struggling you need to think about where your company sits in the priority scheduling. Is your company going to be silently ignored as your SEO company struggles to stay afloat? Are you just a monthly payment or a valued client?

Develop A Backup SEO Company

In uncertain times you may need to develop alternative sources for everything - from professional services to the raw or finished products you need. When it comes to SEO services it is much easier to bring on a back-up vendor and quietly engage their services. If you choose a good alternate supplier, the worst thing that can happen is your online marketing results improve. If your primary SEO company should falter you can make a near seamless conversion and maintain your progress in developing a stronger search engine presence.

In all honesty, I'm sharing with you what I have learned from over 30 years of business experience. When times are good it's easy to laugh, go out for drinks and enjoy your business. When times get tough you need to be far more diligent in protecting your business. This means knowing that the vendors that support your business are stable and committed to providing you a high level of service - exactly what you need yo make it through these tough times. So how well do you know your present SEO provider?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Choosing Web Design Software

Website Design Software

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Aspiring Web Designer Reality Check

There is a consistently high search volume for web design software. I personally think that this search trend will be followed by a high number of really bad websites tossed into the internet. We've worked with countless people who thought they, or a friend, family member or guy down the street, was going to save them a lot of money and build them a great website. This never ends well, at least not when viewed through the eyes of professionals. But for the do it yourself crowd, here's an article on web design software.

There are no miracle web design software solutions.

In reality, there is no such thing as "web design software". There are HTML editing and graphics design programs and software. You cannot include "design skills" in a product box or a CD which means that buying software is not the end-all solution. Even a fine Stradivarius is worthless in the hands of a monkey, meaning the software is only as good as the user.

Web Building vs. Web Design

Website building is totally unlike website design. Website design is largely about site architecture and usability. Website building is essentially writing code that renders the desired design, and is search engine friendly. Both web design and web coding require years of study and practical application in order to prepare an individual to produce professional deliverables.

Buy What Fits Your Needs

Before You Buy Software

Before you buy any web design software you need to understand some basic language and concepts. First, if you undertand how to write code you can actually create a website in Notepad. You don't need expensive software to create a website, and it certainly makes no sense to spend a lot of money if your intention is to build one site. Code is code, and although web design software greatly speeds the coding process it is nearly worthless when used by a novice.

There are no magic programs or software to create an award winning site. If there were such magical solutions professional designers would be using it. At this point in this article we'll assume that you have adequate understanding to take on a web project. Your family and friends may pat you on the back but remember that they too don't understand web design or coding.

If you are new to website design the premier products are not for you! Make an honest assessment of your skills. Find something that allows you to best apply your skills and that has some features you can learn.

About Web Design Software

Before you start your search for a web design software or program solution you need to have a checklist of desired features and capabilities.

HTML Editor Software

Dreamweaver® CS6

Dreamweaver CS6 ($400)is the newest version by Adobe, and is our personal pick as "The Best". Dreamweaver® has an incredibly rich visual interface that is perfect for making traditional websites and mobile app design. Dreamweaver works virtually seamlessly with sister graphics design products like Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Fireworks® and Creative Cloud®. A tremendous improvement in CS6 is the fluid grid layout for creative adaptive layouts with cross platform compatibility.

Dreamweaver® allows easy file management, highly responsive built-in FTP with an updated Live View and slick multi-screen preview panels to review your work in progess. Other popular features are phonegap support, fast insertion of HTML5 elements, jQuery mobile support and CSS3 transitions. This awesome web design software is should be purchased directly from Adobe or a reputable store to make sure you are getting a licensed copy.

Microsoft Expression Web®

Microsoft Expression Web® 3.0 ($100) is perhaps the best of the low budget HTML editing software. Presently your licensed 3.0 version comes with an offer of a free upgrade to version 4.0. You can buy this web design software at places like Office Depot or any of a number of online stores.

Microsoft Expression Web® has built-in support for modern web standards. It has sufficient CSS design functionalities, and visual diagnostic tools. This program allows you to work with HTML, XHTML, PHP. XML, XSLT, Flash, CSS, Photoshop® and more. Additionally it integrates quite well with MS Visual Studio® and Expression Studio®.

Beginner Web Design Software

CoffeeCup®

CoffeeCup® (FREE Download) is an easy to use and popular web design software and HTML editor. Coffee Cup does support HTML5 and CSS2, and has tools for tag referencing, validation, and color selector. Obviously this is not a truly professional solution but it is easy to use and works well for a novice web designer.

Web Easy Professional® 9

Web Easy Professional® 9 ($50) provides you with a step-by-step guide to use any of its 120 built-in templates and e-comm tools without any real knowledge of programming languages or coding. Features include social media integration, simplified workflow and slider zoom in-out controls.

NetObjects Fusion® XII

NetObjects Fusion® XII ($110) is advertised as a program for a fast and easy way to build, promote and manage a website. This program features a mobile site wizard, Google Analytics integration, built-in image library and a healthy stock of website templates.

AceHTML 6.6 Pro®

AceHTML 6.6 Pro® ($70 / 30 Day Free Trial) is a design software that allows you to edit files directly form the hosting server. The software includes a code snippets library, web design templates and more. You can work with web coding languages including HTML, PHP, ASP, CSS and JavaScript.

Serif WebPlus® X6

Serif WebPlus® X6 ($100) is designed for user who have virtually no knowledge of coding but at least basic computer skills. This program offers templates for fast start projects and allows for hand coding to create custom web code. This program has drag and drop buttons, social media sharing buttons, and easy to use color selectors and photo editing.

Other Web Design Software Programs

There are numerous other products which can be found with a few online searches. Any of the products mentioned above can get a novice web builder off to a good start.

If you're still unsure about any of these web design products, you may want to explore popular Open Source platforms. Wordpress and Joomla are very popular. Advanced users may be interested in products such as BuddyPress, LimeJS, Pligg, KickApps, Less Framework4, Elgg, 52Framework, and Mixxt.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Google SEO 2013 - Off Page SEO

Off-Page SEO Tips and Ideas

Published on by: James H. Hobson

We've written a lot about on-page Google SEO tips and want to now share some information on off-page Google SEO tips. Our goal with this article is to identify common practices that may now be a problem, and discuss methods to work with 2012 algorithm changes.

Google's Panda and Penguin were the big bombshells in 2012

Google Algorithm 2012 Bombshells

Panda/Farmer was launched on February 23, 2011 and was followed up with multiple updates in 2011 and 2012. Initially this update affected 12% of search results and initially focused on content farms, poor quality content sites, and a few other items.

Penguin was launched on April 24, 2012 and was designed to combat "over optimization" of websites. In our opinion, Penguin was a very good algorithm change because it punched the cheaters and reaffirmed the faith of good SEO companies that good will prevail in the end. The Penguin update could have been called the Doc Holliday update for all of the bad elements it arrested.

Outdated and Harmful Methods

SEO Link Building

If you have worked with SEO for very long at all it is a near certainty that link building was part of your strategy. What may have been okay a year ago, and that worked well then, may now have you in hot water with Google.

Google recognized that link building was out of control and people were buying links, using link wheels, spinning articles and using link networks like BuidMyRank. For quite awhile these methods were having stellar results for the black-hat crowd and the play-by-the-rules guys were starting to think maybe they should join in too. The all of a sudden on March 19, 2012, Google ambushed known blog/link networks. Sites that had benefited from such services were now under scrutiny and on their way to ranking losses. The good guys were now going to get a win.

How do you recover from link caused ranking losses? Well, it can be done but it won't be easy. In fact, Matt Cutts stated that some site owners may just want to start over - ouch!

First, you need to compile a list of backlinks to your site. Review the list and identify the really sketchy ones like from porn sites, sites with content unrelated to your site, low quality blogs which obviously exist for only backlinking, and any site that sells links or is a link network site. Next, start a spreadsheet with all of the suspect sites which will serve as your communications record. Make direct contact with the site owners to formally request that they remove any and all links to your website. Record the date sent, to whom the message was sent, and keep notes on actions taken, results, etc. Finally, for wherever you have been unsuccessful you can now use the Google Link Disavow Tool to let Google know of the links you are disowning. You may need to send your spreadsheet that documents your efforts to show that you have made an honest attempt to amend the problems.

Bad backlinks are probably the number one SEO killer in 2012.

Other Negative Off-Page Ranking Factors

Carefully check your online footprint to identify any of these common problems:

  • Duplicate content or scraped images
  • Unnatural backlink anchor text
  • Traffic buying schemes
  • Backlink domain low diversity
  • No baclinks from authority sites
  • Backlink anchor text low diversity
  • Low quality or foreign web hosting
  • Domain not registered for multiple years
  • Unnatural backlink acquisition velocity

The Best Ever Google SEO Tip

The best Google SEO tip that we could ever offer is to focus on the website visitor/user. If you find yourself over thinking how any particular item can be manipulated "for the search engines" then you probably should refrain from the tempatation.

Google is looking at you total online footprint for trends, patterns and blatant signs that you approach to Google SEO is more about spammy techniques than it is about quality content and adherence to Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Google SEO Guide & Google SEO Tips

Google SEO Optimization Best Practices

Published on by: James H. Hobson

As with your website design, sometimes you may find that your search engine optimization efforts are a bit stale and need to be refreshed. It's very common for a site owner to become complacent in their internet marketing and fall to a sub-par maintenance level. This SEO malaise is the root cause of a slow degenaration of ranking results. Periodically you should make a thorough assessment of your site, its rankings, and its visibility trend.

Search Engine Algorithm changes should be countered with updates to your SEO strategies and methods.

Think outside the box! Most people think of developing a SEO strategy for only achieving high organic ranking. Obviously high ranking is a perfectly fine objective but applying deeper thoughts will improve SEO results. Our company balances search engine serving practices with end-user serving practices.

Your SEO Strategy in 2013

To assure that your site is innoculated against algorithm drives or manual actions taht harm your rankings you shold look at your site as if it is brand new. Complete a top to bottom assessment of what has been done, to what degree and critque that against current best SEO practices.

How Do You Know Your Is Ranked Where It Matters?

Periodically completing comprehensive keyword research is critical. When you have current factual information in-hand you will know the search terms that will yield higher quality leads and generate more site traffic. Ths companion piece is to run a ranking report for your website to identify specific terms and ranking positions that your site has earned. A quick comparison of the two data sets will bring to light missed ranking opportunities. You need to always know that your site is ranked where it matters. Often this means being ranked for search terms that you did not consider.

Have You Checked Your Competitors Rankings?

It's highly probable that your top online competitors undertake SEO research and craft their efforts to maximize results. Some online competitors are very smart in their SEO work while others are quite the opposite. Either way, take some time to learn from your competitors. When gathering competitive intelligence you are likely to identify some bad practices but can often make a valuable discovery. Data extractions for competitor rankings might lead you to new market opportunities, a new perspective on search phrase pursuits, and will definitely let you see where they belive they will find success online.

Use SEO with PPC Advertising

It is a known fact that combining SEO with PPC can yield marginal increases in leads generated. Using PPC in conjunction with SEO is most effective when there is a real strategy and not just a mirrored approach. Using PPC with SEO is a good strategy to:

  • Double down on very high traffic keywords
  • Quickly obtain a presence where earning organic ranking may take a while
  • Maximize your online presence during peak demand periods
  • To directly counter competitor PPC advertising
  • Maintain a presence for low traffic search terms not worthy of SEO efforts (costs)

Avoid Controllable Harm To Your Rankings

When you do a historical SEO review and do a critical analysis of you site code you may find things that are now SEO no-no's, find things that are very close to being harmful, and find that many new SEO elements are missing. Unless you have hired a really good SEO company your site probably lacks open graph tags, geo tags and schema data such as rich snippets. Your site may very well have spammy alt tags or title attributes. It's a near certainty that your site's page titles, descriptions and keyword tags (if you use them) are not in compliance with current best practices.

Best SEO practices are discussed in detail on many other articles on our blog. We encourage you to read these articles, and feel free to leave a comment if you have a request for an article on any search engine optimization topic.

Improving your Google SEO in 2013 should be on your Top 10 list of first quarter tasks. Taking action now can prevent devastating ranking losses and probably improve your search engine rankings. In the current depressed economy you can't afford to miss any leads or lose any sales. Therefore it is very important for you to study any good Google SEO guide and find the Google SEO tips that can help your business.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Google SEO Strategies in 2013

Local, Off-Page and On-Page SEO

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Improving Google SEO in 2013 Matters!

Anyone who relies upon or provides SEO services is keenly aware that 2012 was a crazy ride. Whether you agree or disagree with the algorithm changes that were launched in 2012, in order to be successful in 2013 you need to understand the current methods of Google SEO best practices. This article is offered as a reference for some of the essential SEO practices that you need to know.

What too many SEO companies and business owners overlook is that organic rankings and local search rankings require unique methods. Your company needs to capture both top organic AND top local search placements to get optimal results from online marketing.

You Need Organic SEO and Local SEO

Google SEO in 2013 requires new methods and techniques.

Aside from algorithm changes Panda and Penguin, there are additional SEO related changes that are equally important to consider.

  • Local results are fully integrated into organic results
  • 7-Result SERP meaning only 7 results on a page
This means that you have to mange both local SEO and organic SEO to truly dominate a search engine results page (SERP).

Google Places SEO - Local SEO

Local SEO for Google Places Business Pages, aka Google Maps and Google Place Pages, is not as difficult as, and far more valuable, than you might believe. Even if your business does not heavily rely on local customers, having a well optimized Google Places business page can help your organic SEO efforts.

Google Places Business Pages Optimization

To affect a top placement among Google Places competitors you need to attend to every possible detail. Your Google Business Page should be complete with accurate and detailed, but non-spam, information. There are over 500 specific areas that can influence the "power" of your local search listing.

We strongly encourage you to read and refer to the Local Search Ranking Factors article by David Mihm. This is a very useful tool that strips away the fluff and gives you a point-by-point checklist of how to improve your local search rankings.

Google Organic Ranking SEO

To be successful in organic rankings you have to manage both on-page and off-page SEO methods. How this is achieved depends upon whether you are a do-iy-yourself SEO person or you outsource your SEO work.

On-Page Google SEO

On-page SEO is probably the most important area for you to focus your attention. We have published many articles on this blog with specifics on SEO for 2013.

Off-Page Google SEO

Off-page SEO includes things like link building, search engine submissions and verifications, link baiting, social bookmarking, content marketing, social media signals, document sharing, blogging, internet press releases, and offline marketing efforts. Any of these items could be an article of its own so we will not expand on these here but will publish another article to discuss off-page SEO for 2013.

SEO To Overcome Ranking Losses in 2012

If your site has experienced significant ranking losses in 2012 you need to perform an SEO autopsy in order to prepare a recovery strategy. We suggest first finding answers to these questions:

  • What Caused My SEO Problems? This is the most important thing to determine. If you received a notification from Google you have at least a minor indication of what is wrong. To determine all possible causes for ranking losses you need to conduct a thorough forensics process. You need to have good understanding of "Old School SEO Practices" and "The New Rules for SEO". Compare them to pinpoint major changes and then identify any work that was done in these areas.
  • Who Is Responsible For My Ranking Losses? The easy answer is to say "Google is responsible because everything was fine until they made algorithm changes". Funny, right? You sort of have a point here but you really need to move past the blame game and seriously consider who laid the groundwork for the problems. When you accurately identify the cuases of your problems, you can better trace the problematic work to the guilty party. When you know who did the now faulty SEO work you can begin to unravel the mess.
  • Where Do We Start? With a list of probable problem areas and suspects to interview you can begin to unravel the mystery. It's quite possible that your current SEO caused ranking problems were done by someone other than your current SEO company. If you trust your current SEO company then they should be very eager to help you with your SEO autopsy.

No Matter What, Police Your Link Profile

What we believe to be the most common cause of organic ranking loss is algorithmic or manual actions taken due to bad link building practices. Google has launched a new Link Disavow Tool which may help your situation.

Because of the profound changes to search engine algorithms in 2012, we strongly encourage avery business to carefully critique their website for overall compliance and alignment with the known, current SEO requirements. Whether or not your site has endured ranking losses, improving your SEO is always a good use of your time. Improving Google SEO in 2013 should be a top priority.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Search Engine Optimization Pricing

Atlanta SEO Services

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Every potential client calling a SEO company quickly gets to asking about search engine optimization pricing. This question is presented as if SEO was some type of commodity with no variables, like an antibiotic to cure a ranking infection. While it's relatively easy to quote a price range, to just throw out numbers in pointless. This article will discuss SEO pricing and inform potential clients on ways to assess value.

Why SEO Pricing Should Be a Low Priority

Ask Questions Other Than About Price Before You Hire a SEO Company

Only uninformed consumers use price as the top determining factor when making a buying decision. This is because they lack understanding of what they are buying and rely on price as some sort of benchmark for quality or "great savings". Certainly price matters but buying the cheapest or paying too much means you are wasting capital. Business owners need to be able to understand what is included for the price, how it is to be provided and know the things that matter the most.

SEO Package Pricing

The yellow page style "package deals" are presented for two reasons:
1) To have several price points to push on a buyer. This takes advantage of the price minded buyer and keeps the buyer distracted from what is, and is not, going to be done. The dream match up here is an uninformed buyer and an uninformed salesperson. Neither understand what is being sold or bought, just how much money is involved.
2) To make it easy for sales people to pitch SEO services. Sales people rarely know the ins and outs of SEO or internet marketing therefore they want to avoid deep conversations about services and focus on fees. It's much easier for them to have set price points (see point 1 above) for their canned sales pitch.

The SEO pricing strategy for pushing packages is to have an Extra Large, Large, Medium and Small. Start with a hard sell of the Extra Large and then slide down only when you can't force the buyer to submit.

Package pricing is the one-size-fits-all approach. I think most people know how well they look in one-size-fits-all clothing. Be skeptical of SEO package deals.

Limited SEO Services Pricing

When approached by a SEO company that tries to push you into a static and limited set of services you should beware. Unless they can make an incredibly compelling justification for their recommendation you are about to get burned. First, this company has a "process" through which you are going to be run (the one-size-fits-all program). Second, they lack flexibility to add or modify services according to your specific needs. This approach is exactly what yellow pages reps and advertising companies sell. It is also what is sold by SEO hacks that are using foreign outsourcing to do the work. In the SEO world you need a company that is flexible and can adapt their tactics to meet your specific needs and stay in step with search engines.

SEO prices for the limited services are often quoted like a package deal but typically are positioned at low price levels like $200, $350 and $500 per month. The SEO company probably buys a package deal from a company in India for about 15% of what you paid and enjoys dropping 85% in their pocket.

Custom SEO Service Pricing

This is almost always your best option. If you engage a truly professional SEO company they will serve first as an SEO expert consultant. They will ask questions about your current position, goals and objectives, and make an honest effort to understand your business. With this knowledge in-hand they can then make specific recommendations on the types of SEO methods you need. Deeper conversation centered upon budgeting and milestone dates will help to prioritize tasks and determine how many hours can be provided each month.

Pricing for cutomized SEO programs vary depending upon the situation of the client organization. Obviously a small florist shop needs a smaller program than an industrial company attacking a global market. The pricing for customized SEO programs may normally range from $750 to $5000 per month. Major corporations may spend six or seven figures a month but they are definitely not the average SEO client.

What Determines SEO Pricing?

The greatest determining factor for the true SEO companies in Atlanta is simply the number of hours that need to be covered each month. Sometimes third party services such as call tracking or video hosting may need to be included in the pricing.

Why are some SEO people so much cheaper? Good question, and we have the answer. They probably are freelancers that work from their kitchen table with pirated software and no staff other than the people they use in India, Romania or South America. They don't have subscriptions to paid services that provide SEO information, competitor data, keyword research, etc.

Every industry has "those guys" that low-ball pricing and live on the churn-and-burn sales model. It takes money to have a well run business and to provide quality services. For this reason, it is important to understand that although you want the best deal, hiring an SEO provider based on price is a mistake.

Ask about the company and its people. Take a few minutes to verify things like office location, staffing, live examples of well ranked sites they manage, and search for online customer reviews. And our top suggestion, see how ell their site is ranked for SEO terms. If they can't get their own site ranked well then you cannot trust them to get your site ranked well on Search engines.

E-Platform Marketing is an SEO company that is always seeking new SEO clients however we can also serve as your advocate. We will gladly help you to compare and evaluate SEO bids from companies you are considering as your next SEO provider.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Choosing Your Atlanta SEO Company

Atlanta SEO Services

Published on by: James H. Hobson

If you own a business in Atlanta, and have a website, you understand how important it is to hire a good Atlanta SEO company. Over the years we have a heard a lot of horror stories from clients about their experiences in trying to find a real Atlanta SEO expert. This article is written to help companies who are in search of an Atlanta SEO company.

How To Hire A Good Atlanta SEO Company

The first rule of thumb is to see how well they are ranked for the best SEO terms. If an SEO company can't get themselves ranked well, then they probably won't make it happen for you.

Your SEO company should offer consulting, SEO services and related support services.

The Typical Types of SEO Providers

The SEO Freelancer is definitely the worst option for any business. You can find these people hawking ridiculously low prices and making their "guaranteed first page of Google" claims all over Craigslist and similar sites.

Freelancers

Freelancers are almost always people who are trying to make a little money on the side. Let's face it, if they were any good they would be doing SEO work for a real SEO company or have their own full time SEO business. Freelancers work on your site when they feel like it or want to ask you for money. Freelancers are working without a business license, often have bootlegged software, don't subscribe to necessary services, and rarely work from any sort of plan or strategy.

The Me Too Web Designer

The Me Too Web Designer is another dubious player in the SEO marketplace. The me too web designer recognizes that pitchng SEO services is a way to make more money. These people have read just enough articles and forum content to talk a good game. It has been a rude shock for many business owners when they realize that their SEO is being farmed out to India or Romania, and that the web designer commits more effort to invoicing than staying on top of the SEO work.

The me too web designer is typically someone who is slightly smarter than the freelancer and has cobbled together just enough skills to look somewhat legitimate. Signs of low skills are pushing you into only website platforms like Wordpress, an inability to show live examples of client sites with excellent rankings, and not having an office, staff or an appearance of financial stability.

Established and Credentialed SEO Companies

There are probably only six to eight Atlanta SEO companies that really know what they are doing and are worthy of your consideration. These companies are obviously ranked well on Google for SEO terms, and probably for other related areas such as website design, internet marketing, social media management, ppc management, etc. Because your internet marketing needs will change over time you should establish a relationship with a company that has the capabilities to provide whatever you may need.

The truly legitimate Atlanta SEO companies have a business license, office, staff, client references, a strong presence on search engines, and have been in business under the same name for at least five years. A legitimate SEO company is not going to be cheap because they are good business people with overhead costs, well payed professionals and they do top tier SEO work that requires a considerable amount of time. The best SEO companies can provide you with expert consulting on various forms of internet marketing, develop fully integrated programs and will keep you out of trouble with search engines.

SEO Prices

If you run a business then you understand the costs of running a business. Proper SEO requires planning, implementation, measurement and adjustments. Using paid research softwares and services are necessary expenses. Hiring only skilled professionals is your assurance of getting optimal results. Thus when you compare SEO prices it's easy to understand that cheap prices cannot support quality work.

Prices depend largely upon the number of hours that are needed to achieve your objectives and sustain your upward ranking development. Obviously your starting point (existing ranking placements), the level of online competition, and the size of your marketing area are the benchmark metrics to assess what your SEO program requires.

A small business might get satisfactory results with monthly fees about equal to what they might pay for yellow pages ads. A larger industrial company or larger service company may realize a very substantial ROI from investing several thousands of dollars each month. It is reasonable to set your expectations in line with your monthly budget.

Dont' expect to own Google for cheap monthly rates. Just like athletes that spend countless hours training are top performers, the legitimate SEO company that puts in the most hours is going to overwhelm the competitors that devote very little time to their SEO efforts. The good news is that the services provided by the top SEO companies are almost certain to provide you with a multi-fold ROI.

In any event, the worst thing you can do is to NOT hire an SEO company. Even if you have only a very small budget you need to make every effort to at least not fall behind in search engine rankings. Invest whatever budget you have with the best possible SEO company that shows a sincere interest in helping your business.

Asking For SEO Guarantees

Google clearly states their opinion that no SEO company can promise any level of ranking results. SEO companies cannot buy organic rankings and certainly do not have the ability to control how search engines rank websites. Any SEO provider's guarantee is nothing more than the boastful promise of a politician seeking a vote.

The legitimate SEO companies can provide you with an educated guess on what to expect but even this is highly speculative. The SEO world is a horse race of sorts. Even if you hire a good SEO company your competitors may spend more money on their SEO program and get ahead of you. Because the SEO environment is so incredibly competitive and unpredictable you'll have the best odds by choosing one of the top SEO companies and betting on their proven expertise.

SEO Companies To Amend Ranking Losses

To recover from Google algorithm driven ranking losses you need to hire the best possible Atlanta SEO company.

If you are one of the unfortunate business owners who have been struck down by Google algorithm changes such as Panda or Penguin, or had Google take manual action against your site, then you are in for a rough ride. Certainly hiring one of the top SEO firms is a step in the right direction but don't expect immediate miracles.

The process of correcting SEO generated ranking problems requires a meticulous and paced process. Implementing rapid, vast changes is reckless and can lead to more problems. Trust your newly hired professional SEO company to handle the job as quickly as possible but maintain a reasoned implementation process.

Sites that have been harmed by black-hat SEO people or people who really do not understand SEO will need to undergo a thorough evaluation process. The good SEO company can use whatever information you can provide on previous SEO tactics to assess the causes of your problems. Additionally the good SEO company will need to do a line-by-line review of your website code, run backlink checks, and run your site through professional SEO software to identify problems.

Comparing SEO Proposals

Because business owners do not have a good understanding of SEO methods, tactics, processes and terminology they often make decisions on price alone. When you compare SEO proposals you should look for specifics on tasks and ask the bidder to elaborate on the purpose of each task. Ask about how they might adjust their services if there are difficulties in obtaining results. Ask about progress reports and how you will be able to measure their progress. Sure price matters, but knowing what is included and what options you have are what really matters.

If you are getting several bids it is always interesting to ask a bidder, "if we did not choose your company, who would you recommend?". By having all of your bidders answer this question you've gained the insight from peers on who they respect the most.

In summary, hire only one of Atlanta's top SEO companies and use these tips when choosing your Atlanta SEO company. The SEO world has changed a lot in 2012. If you need a new SEO company to move your website forward in 2013 call us for more information on our services.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Google Disavow Link Tool

The Best Link Tool in 2013

Published on by: James H. Hobson

This month Google, via Matt Cutts, has announced to website owners and SEO companies a wonderful gift. The new Disavow Link Tool makes it possible to put daylight between your site and bad backlinks. It's like being able to get rid of a dangerous stalker, lol.

Matt Cutts did make it very clear that use of this tool should be done with caution, and that disavowing good links can harm your site's rankings.

Bing launched a similar toll in early 2012. Because Google generates the lion's share of internet traffic the Google Disavow Tool is arguably more important.

Link Amnesty - Removing Bad Backlinks

About Bad Links

You can now deny bad backlinks!

Whether your competiton tried to use negative SEO, you hired a black-hat SEO provider, innocently acquired links without intent to spam search engines, or simply recognize that link amnesty may be in your best interest. Links to your site that may be considered to be bad links can include links from bad neighborhoods, blog wheels, link farms, and generally dubious sources.

The existence of bad links can give a search engine the impression that these links exist because you allowed it to happen. At one time link building was an everyday practice with minor distinctions between black-hat and white-hat methods to do link building. Some companies have innocently hired several SEO providers and had no specifics on what was being done to improve search engine rankings. Google has now made it possible for a website owner to amend any past link building sins.

Google's Webmaster Central Blog explains how this tool may be used and why it may make sense for you to consider using it. A quote from the site is

If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. . . . By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future. You’re also helping to protect your site’s image, since people will no longer find spammy links pointing to your site on the web and jump to conclusions about your website or business.

Google (Matt Cutts) Disavow Link Video

Do You Have Backlinks Harming Your Site?

The most obvious way to know if you have a problem is by checking for messages in your Webmaster Tools. If you don't use this tool there are alternative methods to find spammy backlinks. By using a backlink check service you can identify most of the backlinks to your site. You can then manually review the list to identify links from sites that may be considered sapmmy, bad neighborhoods or otherwise questionable. By making a list of these backling sources you can then take action to have them disavowed by Google.

We found this article to be very informative regarding details on how to use the new tool.

If your site experienced significant ranking losses in 2012 this tool may be for you. There may be other technical problems that also need to be resolved in order to recover competitive rankings. We encourage you to contact us for consulting or services to help you manage rank loss problems.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Internet Marketing in 2013

Atlanta Internet Marketing Services

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Internet Marketing in 2013 will continue to evolve as a result of search engine ranking volatility caused by Panda and Penguin. As algorithms become more intelligent the gap between good internet marketing companies and the spammy black-hat hacks continues to grow. Subsequently, business owners are taking a crash course in why they need to hire SEO experts instead of reckless freelancers. Atlanta internet marketing services are among the best in the country. Here's why:

Quality of Service Providers

Atlanta Internet Marketing Company

Atlanta is a major metropolitan area with a very diverse group of professionals. Unlike many large cities with a homogenous culture, Atlanta is home to a culturally diverse and well educated business people. Specifically, the internet marketing professionals in Atlanta have developed their skills in a very competitive area. The established SEO and online marketing companies in Atlanta have well trained personnel and utilize industry best practices. A key distinction for Atlanta internet marketing services is that even the best companies have prices that are much better than counterparts in other major cities.

Personal Service

Despite the influx of people from outside the South, Atlanta businesses have largely been able to retain traditional Southern charm and hospitality. In business this translates to friendly personal service with a sincere concern for the client organization. Atlanta internet marketing companies generally treat their customers with courtesy and respect, thus enriching the client-agency experience.

Professional Development

The better service providers in Atlanta are active in professional development efforts. This includes attending industry conferences throughout the United States, participating in local industry associations, sharing knowledge in online groups and maintaining relationships with industry leaders.

Avoid the Dark Side Freelancers

As with any service in high demand the idea of making easy money draws in shady and dubious characters. The freelancers typically dabble in web design, SEO and internet marketing for extra income. They often have illegal copies of software, don't use paid services needed for professional work, don't have an office or staff, and probably are unlicensed. Some freelancers try to associate themselves with other companies or otherwise misrepresent themselves as being a legitimate company.

Many business owners fall prey to choosing a provider based on a cheap price without taking the time to carefully evaluate the provider. The fact is, people do lie! Freelancers often make bogus claims about capabilities, accomplishments and credentials. The results are typically a nightmare - work is not completed, transfer of assets and login information to the business is not done, and communications are horrible. And after early 2012, bad SEO and internet marketing practices can bring ranking damage and other penalties from search engines. Thus, it is important to avoid freelancers, which are the dark side of internet marketing in Atlanta.

Getting The Best Services In 2013

As we move into 2013 there are a number of great opportunities to get the best internet marketing services that you have ever known. To avoid search engine penalties and move your company forward in 2013 you should make certain that you have entrusted your business to internet marketing professionals. By taking the extra time to qualify a potential service provider, and by making a better investment in the types of services your company can achieve great success. Google Panda and Penguin updates shuffled the organic rankings and now is a perfect time to capture top placements. It all starts with hiring one of the best internet marketing companies in Atlanta.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Website Design Trends in 2013

The Evolution of Website Design

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Website design styles and coding are continually evolving. In the past several years website design has been more about style and aesthetics. In 2013 the code side of website design will be more important than ever before.

Website Design Trends 2013

The aesthetic styling of full width layouts and media integration will remain. The better website designers will be creating responsive websites. There will be a demand for a single website that renders properly on desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

The technical side, coding and development, is where the top web design and development companies will pull away with admirable distinction.

Responsive Web Design Basics

The essential elements of responsive website design include the use of valid HTML5 and CSS3. Although certain browsers do not render the full benefits of CSS3 it is now a best practice in website design. Because of the need for better structured content the use of the 960 grid system is highly recommended.

The Uber-Technical Considerations

Website coding needs to focus on delivering the fastest possible page load times. While the use of HTML5 will streamline some of your website's code, greater attention must be applied to minimizing image file sizes and carefully choosing video integration options. The use of XML site maps, video site maps, open graph tags, canonical tags and site verifications will be very important.

Utilizing Google Webmaster Tools and third party site evaluation tools can be very helpful in fine tuning your website code for better performance. Tools like Majestic SEO or Site Explorer are two favorites.

The highly skilled developers will add use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Scalable Vector Graphics allow developers to create dynamic and interactive graphics that are rendered via code, not traditional images. SVG can be combined with CSS3 to enhance video content

Website Design for Better SEO

When your designer is working with their wire frame layout you will begin to see changes that are driven by search engine algorithm preferences. Content placement in 2013 will play a significant role in achieving better ranking results.

The first 200 characters on the page carry more weight than the remaindere of the text. Block level content organization is essential to appease search engines and help users.

Each page needs a unique page tile and description. Your page title should be 70 characters or less. Your page description should be 150 characters or less. Both should not be spammy and should be relevant to the page's content. Use of the keyword tag is not necessary however if used it should be no more than 7-10 words.

Additionally, every page should have accurate (non-spammy) alt tags and title attributes for links.

Website Usability in 2013

The use of larger buttons will be more common in order to help the "tap and go" mobile devise user. Mobile devide use may also inspire website designers to design content to be presented with vertical scrolling in mind.

Going Too Far

There are some brilliant minds that continue to create really impressive effects. While effects such as Parallax Scrolling are amusing they have little value for most business sites. Personaly, I think these things go too far relative to what a business site requires. Splashy tricks add to page load times and business website users want information, not entertainment.

Website design trends in 2013 will drive significant steps forward. Our prediction is that 2013 designs will make many of todays web designs look outdated and seem primitive.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why SEO Will Remain Important in 2013

SEO in 2013, The Same but Different

Published on by: James H. Hobson

I'm a firm believer in the value of search engine optimization. I qualify this statement with the caveat that I refer to only ethical and user oriented SEO work. The art of SEO continues to evolve and its importance to online marketing lives on.

Good SEO vs Bad SEO in 2013

SEO 2013 - New Styling For Better Performance

A definition of pure and ethical SEO could be "the modeling of internet based content and coding to achieve higher targeted ranking for specific search terms". My point of view on, and perhaps definition of, good SEO versus bad SEO comes down to assessing whether or not the intended results serve the interests of users.

If your website content offers value to users, and is ranked for only relevant terms, then your SEO has well served both the search engines and users. As with political power or influence, SEO is only bad when applied for self-serving and dubious purposes. To this point, good (ethical) SEO will remain important in 2013.

Changes to SEO in 2013

The refinements of algorithms such as what we have seen in Google Panda and Google Penguin have driven improvements in SEO practices. The application of legitimate marketing strategies and tactics are overcoming bulk spam activity. The practices of buying massive links, using blog wheels and article spinning have caught up with the black hat practitioners. In 2013 some of the best SEO practices will be being highly selective when acquiring inbound links, minimizing outbound links, using nofollow attributes on almost all outbound links, not using sitewide links, managing social media signals and on-site metrics, and creating high quality content that is shared by users.

On Site SEO Metrics in 2013

As a way of evaluating the relevance and value of content that is ranked high for a given search term Google is analyzing key on-site metrics. The click through rate from organic rankings, time spent on your site, having a modest bounce rate and other signs that your site has engaged and held user interest are very important. Providing easy to follow navigation, well structured content and offering useful and informative downloads can have very positive impact on these metrics.

Social Media SEO in 2013

Search engines are keeping an eye on social media signals. Certainly your business should have business pages on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest. Integrating links to these sites into your website is highly recommended. Using online tools to manage these accounts, share content and develop your branding are things that should be implemented in 2013. Some types of information that you can post on your social media sites are company specials, infographics, consumer tips, links to interesting news articles, and coupons.

Content Marketing for SEO in 2013

Content marketing is essentially developing informative and sometimes entertaining content which can be published online. Ideally this content will be viewed and appreciated by users who will share your information with other users. Having your content shared via link, a retweet, a "like", added to a Google+ page or even included in content curation work will provide positive results.

Video content marketing is another great part of content marketing. A well crafted video can achieve it's own place in organic search results. Additionally, a well done video can promote your brand, inform prospective customers and deliver ongoing traffic to your company website or social media pages.

As you move from 2012 SEO methods you need to become familair with 2013 SEO best practices and change or implement these new tips and tactics. There is no doubt that SEO will remain important in 2013. Knowing the SEO factors for 2013 is how you can maintain, achieve and improve your organic rankings in 2013. Persons who like this article may also be interested in learning about inbound marketing, which leverages multiple elements to delever incredibly positive ranking results.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Google SEO in 2012

SEO for Google in 2012

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Google SEO in 2012 has changed for the better. While many people complain about the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes, the net results continue to improve. With current alorithms the ability to create and publish quality content has leveled the playing field. Paying attention to simple basics can improve your Google SEO in 2012.

Domains and Hosting

Domains have taken on a greater importance. Registration length is not a huge SEO factor but it is a good idea to have your domain registered for at least 5 years to show stability. The pronounced change is that exact match domains are now seen as being spammy. Having an esablished domain is better than newly registered domain.

Hosting selection remains a minor consideration but still should be respected as influencing SEO. Your website hosting should be in the country where you are located. Using a large and established hosting company is vastly superior to small companies that offer in-house hosting. In-house hosting means using servers located within the web company and should not be confused with website companies that resell hosting services provided by providers such as GoDaddy.

SEO Link Building

SEO Link Building has changed substantially to nullify previous benefits from link farms, blog wheels, mass link building and other black hat practices. In 2012 links should be from sites that are relevant to the target site. It is much better to have 10 links from relevant sites than 200 from random websites. A good way to think about it is to ask, "is it logical to think that someone on Site A would link to Site B?". Be very selective in where you seek to gain a backlink.

Link velocity, the volume of new links gained in a specific period of time, is a key signal. When a small local business gets 1000 links in a week, or normally gets 2 links a month and suddenly gets 500 links, it looks very suspicious. A good link footprint reflects a normal pace and logical backlink sources. The days of acquiring links in mass are over, and it will now hurt your rankings.

Other link building factors to watch are:
- Domain diversity; meaning too many links from a single domain is not good.
- Natural anchor text; means anchor text that people would normally use such as "click here" "learn more", etc. Most people linking to your site are not going to use perfect SEO phrases.
- Anchor text diversity; means having anchor text that varies. If your backlink footprint shows certain phrases, especially perfect SEO phrases, as being a large percentage of your overall link footprint it looks very unnatural.
- Bad link neighborhood; means having links from sites with questionable practices. In our business, SEO companies with backlinks to blackhat services will hurt their SEO results.

SEO Coding in 2012

SEO Coding is really nothing more than doing things in an ethical and logical manner. Write code for optimal page performance and informing users. Don't write code to manipulate search engines.

- Title tags should be no more than 70 characters. Repeating words in your page title is not recommended. Dashes and vertical pipes remain good dividers.
- Page descriptions, title attributes and alt tags should be accurate and not used for keyword stuffing. Page descriptions should be less than 150 characters.
- Page load time is now a very critical thing to improve. A page should load in less than .5 seconds, and ideally will be far less than this time. Use external stylesheets and keep an eye on the file sizes for photos and graphics.

SEO Copywriting

This subject could be expanded into several articles so we will address only primary points here. Keyword density is no longer something to max out, but is instead a figure to keep relatively low. Search engines utilizing latent semantic indexing can identify "word groups" meaning word families that are related. Subsequently, using many related terms and "partial SEO phrases" will be much more beneficial than repetitive use of 1-3 keyword phrases.

The bottom line for Google SEO in 2012 is to focus on website users and visitors. Improve the user experience with rich content, minimize promotional language, eliminate spammy practices and your site is more likley to achieve and sustain top search engine rankings.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Atlanta Inbound Marketing

The New Face of SEO

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Inbound Marketing is the new direction for SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains alive and well in terms of its defined purpose. What has passed away are the dubious and sketchy practices of getting inferior content ranked well just by the virtue of investing hours and cash to build massive amounts of backlinks. Inbound Marketing is the new face of SEO in 2012. Inbound Marketing is the long overdue passing of the SEO torch from techie people to marketing professionals. This is a significant and very positive change.

An Epitaph For Old School SEO

In the past, SEO had a lot to do with techie tricks and manipulation of code, linking and data structuring. Search engine algorithms were created to sort data but not created with the sophistication to identify rank scamming techniques. This has changed and by 2013 search results will be vastly improved.

Why Inbound Marketing Is Better

While the agreed objective of SEO is to improve organic search engine rankings, the best methods to do this remain a debatable subject. Obviously the techie people will defer to technical techniques while marketing people defer to messaging, branding and informing. The current transformation of SEO best practices retains best coding practices but content is once again becoming king.

Technical Aspects of SEO Still Matter

Anyone managing a website should still pay close attention to the quality of coding, backlinks, domain registration time, server location and more. The difference now is in how these items are implemented and what constitutes best practices. Our next article will delve into more specifics on best practices for search engine friendly and algorithm attractive coding.

Inbound Marketing for SEO

Inbound Marketing combines SEO, Social Media MArketing and Content Marketing.
Inbound Marketing has emerged with great SEO power based on value to website users - not techic tricks. Inbound marketing offers what most any user can appreciate. A great blend of search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing offer information that helps users wanting to be informed.

Search engine algorithms respond to inbound marketing becuase everything is up front and in plain view. There is no manipulation, hidden tactics or sketchy practices. Simply put, inbound marketing provides good and informative content through popular online channels.

Social Media Marketing is now appropriate for almost every type of business. Social media signals play a measurable roles in search engine algorithms and impact organic rankings. Social media marketing also build branding and is very useful for influencing potential buyers.

Content Marketing, similar to social media marketing, provides a tremendous opportunity to inform amd persuade potential customers. The best content to publish is more informative and promotional, and structured in a manner that is easy to read and understand. For SEO purposes it serves you well to have content to which people will link, share on Twitter, repost on their blog, or otherwise share.

Search Engine Optimization practices, as we will discuss in our next article, need to be refined and modified. Bad SEO practices have been causing ranking losses need to be amended with new and better work.

Embrace and Utilize Inbound Marketing

As with any professional services, simply going through the motions will not yield optimal results. To get stellar results from inbound marketing you need to invest substantial time to learn and understand the process. When you understand, embrace and utilize inbound marketing you will achieve better ranking and online visibility results.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Industrial Internet Marketing 2012

Industrial Internet Marketing

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Industrial internet marketing has some fundamental differences when compared to traditional B2B or B2C internet marketing. Although there are similarities in strategies, there are significant adjustments that must be made in choosing tactics and the implementation of services.

A Typical Industrial Internet Marketing Process

Unless your company has been proactive and maintained a formal search engine marketing process, your company is probably just floating on the internet without competitive ranking, and not receiving the benefits online inquiries from new prospects. A traditional industrial internet marketing process is as primitive as “having a website” built with no real understanding of usability, sales or marketing, and then making an occasional text update or linking to a document of interest. This results in a chaotic site architecture that is void of real search engine optimization, difficult to navigate and severely lacking in generating leads.

The typical internet marketing process is reactionary in nature, and driven by people who do not understand the tremendous importance and value of mastering online ranking and serving users an information rich website that engages the curious mind or ready-to-buy prospect.

Industrial Internet Marketing 2012

Many business owners foolishly rely on a relative, friend, other business owners or freelancers to create their internet marketing strategy. And in reality, there is usually no strategy just a list of random ideas and suggestions. The people “working on the website” may know how to go through the motions of creation or implementation but they universally lack an understanding of how the pieces fit together, what is an appropriate quantity and volume of each, how to fine tune each component, and certainly how to measure results and make appropriate adjustments.

Your IT person is not your answer, and neither are the many one-size-fits-all advertising companies like ThomasNet, GlobalSpec, etc. A freelancer is almost certainly incapable of devoting the proper number of hours, having the required software and breadth of expertise that you need to reach a pinnacle of online success.

The best idea for internet marketing success is to hire an internet marketing company that has a proven track record of success, a good understanding of the many tactics, methods and trends in internet marketing, and a verifiable infrastructure or personnel, computers, software and support services. One thing that is very important, and when applied will quickly shorten the list of potential service providers, is finding a company with people who have worked in an industrial environment. The experience gained from working in industrial sales and marketing provides unparalleled intelligence that enables a person to create a website and online experience that replicates the real-life buying process. If your internet marketing people can’t understand the industrial buying process they cannot effectively develop a relevant and effective industrial internet marketing plan unless you manage every step of the process.

Hiring an industrial internet marketing company with client-side experience will minimize your level of required participation and bring fresh, high-value ideas and input to the process.

Industrial Internet Marketing Essentials

Your industrial internet marketing needs evaluation must begin with a critical assessment of your website. It’s important for a business owner to disregard emotional ties to the existing website and be open minded to website revisions, or even complete website redesign and rebuild process. If your website was built by an IT person or done by a novice you almost certainly need a new website that is designed specifically for the industrial marketplace.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is absolutely essential if your website is to achieve competitive search engine ranking. Because search engine algorithms are becoming very complex the strategies of mass link building, overuse of keywords and other spammy practices will do more harm than good.

Off-page internet marketing essentials include creating or claiming website properties including Google+ Page, Facebook business page, LinkedIn business page, Twitter account, and as many local search citations as you can possibly acquire. All of these listings, accounts and pages need to be optimized and filled with factual company information that is consistent and void of marketing language.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Inbound Marketing 2012

Atlanta Inbound Marketing

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Inbound Marketing is THE way to go if your business wants to achieve top tier results and minimize, if not totally mitigate, and chances of algorithm based penalties. Oddly enough, even within our industry, there is a significant lag of interest from SEO companies and internet marketing companies. While this is a problem for them, it is a huge opportunity for well informed clients to make significant improvements to search engine rankings and online visibility.

If your SEO company or internet marketing company has not approached you with information on inbound marketing you may want to rethink who you have driving your online marketing and ranking.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

As discussed elsewhere on our blog, inbound marketing is a deliberate and brilliant method to merge the benfits of social media, SEO and content marketing. Inbound marketing engages clients early in the marketing cycle, which creates warmer leads. Additionally, inbound marketing has the long term benefit that comes from having a well developed brand image.

Your master inbound marketing strategy should include mini-plans for the three areas listed above. The next step is to compare the mini-plans and make adjustments for these elements to work together. As with any marketing intiative, it is important to maintain consistency in messaging, inform your potential customer of features and benefits, and become the source for what they want.

Inbound Marketing should help you to build a relationship with your (potential or existing) customer. Your inbound marketing strategy should serve the traditional sales funnel model that has been molded to fit modern marketing techniques. It may be easier to understand when you see inbound marketing infographics.

Social Media Mini-Plan

Your social media plan must include the key social media sites of Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The selection of other sites can be driven by your type of business with careful consideration of where your customers may be found. Sites such as Foursquare, Pinterest, CafeMom, Manta, and Meetup are worth considering. Sites that might otherwise be considered as Citation sites should not be overlooked for creating at least a profile page. Ideally you should have the same user name (brand name) on these sites and take advantage of every possible feature. Popular features include uploading custom profile images, adding more information into your profile, and then the all important job of getting connections (Likes, Circles, Retweets, etc.)

SEO Mini-Plan

Your SEO plan should be carefully planned with due consideration of Google Webmaster Guidelines and all credible information on best practices for algorithms. Your mini-plan can be divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO tasks.

On-Page SEO should begin with checks within Google Webmaster Tools to identify search engine identified problemns such as broken links, duplicate content, crawl errors, etc. Next you can do a page-by-page check for code and content improvement opportunities. A check of each page using the W3C Validator Tool will identify code issues, many of which are quick and easy corrections. Other easy corrections are making certain that your page titles are 70 characters or less, page descriptions are accurate and not spammy, keywords tags (if used) are no more than 8-10 words, alt tags and title attributes are used for usability and not spammy wording, and that header tags are properly used. Using Google Analytics is absolutely essential.

Off-Page SEO should begin with a check for inbound links, and a sincere effort to remove any links from unsavory sites. If there are broken inbound links you may be able to save the link by creating a 301 redirect to an appropriate page. Any new link building that you do should be the result of judicious selection and paced implementation. Under no circumstances should you use paid link services (this is different than paying an internet marketing firm to acquire quality links for you). Some of the best off-page SEO is managed under your content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Mini-Plan

Content marketing is an umbrella term which covers a myriad of tactics. Content marketing can include video creation and publishing, quality articles posted on blogs, internet press releases, downloadable whitepapers, and even community activities. Content that is crafted for sharing (infographics, etc.) is exceptionally productive. The key objective is to get people to see your company name and have your brand develop a reputation as being the choice for smart people, trustworthy and providing value.

Inbound Marketing, done by professionals, delivers exceptional results and is something that every internet marketing company or in-house marketing team needs to learn and put into practice.