Thursday, August 15, 2013

How Personalization Affects Search Results

Published on by: James H. Hobson

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Social Media - Leverage It Strategically

User Data & Usage Affects Search Results

The information most frequently cited in this article largely comes from the brilliant Rand Fishkin who produces, among other tings, Whiteboard Friday tutorial videos. For those that do not know of Rand he is an industry guru for internet marketing best practices. The video below is one of our recent favorites and one that we feel is a "must see" for any SEO practitioner or business website manager.

Factors such as location bias and usage history can influence your search results. If you search for relatively generic terms such as "coffee shops" it is probable that a search engine will show results that are slanted toward your IP location address or that are relative to areas you commonly include in search queries.

Social connections that are know to search engines can influence the search results presented to you. If people within your social network show a preference for something relative to your search query you may be served some of this content. In simple terms, search engines may beleive that if your friends like something then you probably will also like it.

Whiteboard Friday on Personalization and SEO

Social Media Strategies

It's a smart move to develop a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Within your overall social media strategy you should have social property specific strategies and plans.

Google+

Also see this video to get great ideas to develop your Google+ Strategy

We strongly recommend reviewing all of your client's online presence to assess their social media footprint. There's no time like the present to build your brand with social media.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Penguin 2.0 - Google SEO in 2013

Google Penguin 2.0

Published on by: James H. Hobson

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SEO for Google - What To Expect in 2013

Matt Cutts has just released a video that presents information on the soon to be released Penguin 2.0 algorithm change in 2013. The bottom line is that it is intended to be a more comprehensive and deeper yet more refined assault on balck-hat web spam. In listening to what Matt says it is clear that Google's engineers have put deep thought into how to minimize ranking damage to innocent small business sites while fighting uber-spammers. This sounds like it may be an algorithm change that knocks the breath out of those practitioners that are blatantly using black-hat SEO. Watch the video and please continue reading for thoughts on Panda 2.0 and what it means for SEO clients.

What Should You Do?

The bottom line continues to be create websites with useful and valuable content for users. Activity signala, actions and metrics that indicate users revisit, share or otherwise seem to enjoy your site content make your site more attractive to Google.

Advertorials Are Bad

Advertorials are articles which are styled like an editorial or news piece but are actually paid advertisements. (Think of the late night infomercials on television.) Penguin 2 is geared to deliver stronger enforcement of spam penalties against native advertising and advertorials. If you do use advertorials you should make certain to include statements or call-outs that clearly indicate the content is paid advertising. Google is definitely targeting this sleazy approach to internet marketing.

Fiding Ways To Go Upstream

Penguin 2 is also designed to use more sophisticated link analysis and ultimately deny value to link spammers. Personally I think this is fantastic because without it the rewards go to the spammers, and it encourages otherwise white-hat SEO's to go to the dark side in order to help their clients. Changes like this add bite to the talk about black-hat SEO penalties. This will demonstrate to SEO clients that a lesser performing white-hat SEO company has been cheated but is now going to be your best bet for long term ranking success.

SEO Amnesty - Communicate With Webmasters

Apparently Google has heard they outcry from the multitude of small business sites that took devastating hits from the wide brush approach of Penguin 1.0. Matt Cutts spoke of Google's intentions to attempt to offer help for sites in the borders of the danger zones. By offering more specific tips and concrete examples of good practices many of these sites can better understand how to improve both site quality and resulting ranking potential.

All in all it sounds as though Google has worked harder to make certain that the next algorithm update, coming soon, is a surgical strike and one that minimizes collaterla damage. I certainly hope so because in this economy a slip in rankings can mean the loss of enough sales to kill a business. Google is more than just a search engine. Google is a vital part of what sustains a healthy business community.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

List of SEO Experts

Top 25 SEO Experts To Follow in 2013

Published on by: James H. Hobson

If you're interested in learning SEO best practices in 2013 you need to get in touch with the real SEO experts. Our list of the Top 25 SEO Experts in 2013 will enable you to find and follow online their advice and insight.

The folks on this list have great connections and often get the inside scoop long before it hits Twitter or SEO forums. With this handy list of 2013 SEO Experts you can substantially improve the information flow through your own Twitter or Google+ page with less than 30 minutes of work. It's FREE and useful so get it now!

Monday, February 18, 2013

SEO Linking in 2013

How To Correct Spam Link Problems

Published on by: James H. Hobson

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A very large number of website managers continue to ignore the best SEO tips published in 2012 by the top SEO experts. The affect in part is continued loss of organic rankings and the resulting drop in website traffic (leads!). This article is intended to help these companies identify spam link problems and provide tips on how to correct spam link problems.

Bad Link Practices in 2013

Even though you may have been the SEO king on Craigslist Google outranks you (yes, pun intended). It's critical for you to take action to improve your SEO practices, and hopefully your website will then see a healthy rise in organic rankings. Here's our Top 5 List of SEO Link Problems:

Sitewide Footer Links

1) The old school style was to cram that giant footer with page links which usually and obviously used anchor text created for SEO purposes. This is probably the easiest link problem to correct and it will make a difference. The problems here are that Google does not want repetitive links in the footer, Google ignores any links to a specific page after the first link it finds on your page, and using exact match anchor text is clearly the mark of spam. SOLUTION: Remove all sitewide footer links. Possible exceptions are utility links such as site map, privacy policy, etc. SUGGESTION: Do use a few outbound links to high quality sites with content that is relevant to the content of your page. We suggest making these "nofollow" links.

Article Spinning & Wheels

2) Could you be more obvious in your bad SEO? Probably not. Just like Bernie Madoff you can get away with a scam only so long. Google hires technology wizards and they are aware of the black-hat tips, tricks and articles published online. While you may think that had discovered a hidden secret Google laughed and went to work on creating ways to kill article spinning and link wheels. This is certainly a big problem for you if you used any of the "big name" link wheel services because Google has identified their sites and relationships, and then killed them off. SOLUTION: First, stop doing this. Next try to manually delete any articles you control and disassociate yourself from any sites where you have a profile with a link to your site. SUGGESTION: Consider using the Link Disavow Tool to remove links. I do recommend using this tool VERY cautiously and probably fr only the most egregious situations.

Bad Blogging & Social Bookmarking

3) Similar to article spinning is flooding "Web 2.0 Blogs" with mindless, off topic comments just to get a backlink. These are extremely time consuming, if not impossible, to remove however do what you can to eliminate these. There are many versions of what I term "bad blogging" which includes the aforementioned guest comments that are off-topic with links to sites that are unrelated, links placed on spam blogs with one article and a ton of unrelated backlinks, and of course the practice of article spinning. SOLUTION: Remove as much as you can. You may choose to report the site to Google just to get the site deindexed and take the link with it.

The first cousin to bad blogging is abusing social bookmarking sites. There are ways to auto-submit content to hundreds of social bookmarking sites. The problems are that it's hard to properly present the information in an automated manner, and it does not apper "natural" when the same content shows up on hundreds of sites at the exact time . . . especially under different user names.

Paid Links

4) This is an issue that confuses many people. You can buy "advertising" that includes a link to your site but you can't buy a "link package" to rapidly acquire mass backlinks. Yeah, I know you think you're just being time efficient but Google disagrees. The typical entity selling paid links re-uses a list of target sites which may or may not be related to your site. Irrelevant backlinks is a big red flag for spam watchers. When Google then looks at each site, identifies a massive amount of backlinks to a plethora of unrelated sites you can bet they then credit you with paid spam links. SOLUTION: Do not use paid link building services.

Internet Press Releases

5) Yep, this worked for quite awhile. Now it's just a silly game to play with Google. Certainly a paid internet press release from a highly trusted outlet, and with meaningful content, may deliver some benefit. Using low quality (free) internet press releases services is a bad idea. Using sales or marketing content presented as news is an even worse idea. I'm not saying that you can't get a press release ranked but it's lifespan is short, SEO value arguably low and it's simply not a good use of your time. SOLUTION: Use press releases only when you have some true news, and then use a paid version of a reputable PR outlet. Google knows that spammers are not going to pay $100+ just to get a link.