Browsing "seo strategies"
There’s a new Google test which has caught fire on the web discussions over the weekend. Google has been running a test algorithm segment which displays your search as you type. Dynamically updating the page as you add, change, or remove your query.
The assumption is that the test has been rolled out to those with only a very high speed connection, as the nature of the results being delivered is unknown. It may be from a cached, prefetch server based on your previous searches, but it also may be entirely and completely dynamic in nature. Automatically fetching the results as you add a term.
Couple this recent test, in with the article decrying that Google is set to allow domain dominance on a search page, it will change the landscape of the SEO game somewhat.
Today we’ve launched a change to our ranking algorithm that will make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site. For queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain, like [exhibitions at amnh], we’ll now show more results from the relevant site:Prior to today’s change, only two results from www.amnh.org would have appeared for this query. Now, we determine that the user is likely interested in the Museum of Natural History’s website, so seven results from the amnh.org domain appear. Since the user is looking for exhibitions at the museum, it’s far more likely that they’ll find what they’re looking for, faster. The last few results for this query are from other sites, preserving some diversity in the results.
This change could mean the difference in small business SEO, and will definitely encourage niche marketing campaigns. So it’s time to put on your creative thinking caps, hash out the creative copyright for your clients, and be ready to push for the niche search terms.
From a PR perspective though, it’s an interesting twist from Norvig’s comment earlier about wanting more diversity in search results. In having the second result to be as “different” from the first as possible to encourage diversity.
Well, under a new patent which was approved this past week, Google will have an idea just what you do like to point at. The patent, titled “System and method for modulating search relevancy using pointer activity monitoring” was filed in 2005, and granted this week. The patent is described as a system for monitoring the movements of a user controlled mouse pointer in a web browser, identifying when the pointer movies into a predefined region and when it moves out of said region.
So basically you can think of it as using a hotbox link area for an image, or a div tag in CSS. Google can assign an area for analysis on their SERPs page, and track where searchers mouse moves. What type of information, and how it could possibly be applied in the realm of SEO is still to be determined. It could however, give Google a better understanding as to how well a SERPs page comprised of blended (both paid and organic results) results fares.
And, in the realm of satire, these headers are from a live website, who noticed Google flagged their website as a possible spam site. Internet cookies for those who can see what’s wrong. Who said Google doesn’t read meta tags?
<meta name=”author” content=”” />
<meta name=”alexa” content=”100″></meta>
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noodp” />
<meta name=”pagerank™” content=”10″></meta>
<meta name=”revisit” content=”2 days”></meta>
<meta name=”revisit-after” content=”2 days”></meta>
<meta name=”robots” content=”all, index, follow”></meta>
<meta name=”distribution” content=”global” />
<meta name=”rating” content=”general” />
<meta name=”resourse-type” content=”documents” />
<meta name=”serps” content=”1, 2, 3, 10, 11, ATF”></meta>
<meta name=”relevance” content=”high” />
Earlier in the week Facebooks own version of SEO – social engine optimization, to turn a phrase, lit up in the newsworld as their version of tackling Google. Seeing however, that the idea is powered somewhat, by users liking a page, it doesn’t seem to have any cards on the search giant. That doesn’t mean however, that the idea shouldn’t be ignored; social optimization is just as important to your business provided you have the Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The average internet user is already notorious for fast browsing and merely scanning content by nature. Add into the mix, the chaos of social media, and the attention span for the content in front of them drops again.
Creating compelling, relevant, and provoking content is a major key to success in gaining a high amount of links, votes, and traffic to your content. Not forgetting however, style and structure for your content, is a major factor to being successful in social media. We’ll go over just a few basic points in terms of social optimization, to help your pages receive the “Like” that you desire.
Try using shorter sentences – Writing your most relevant, compelling, attractive information in short, informational phrases can be the turning point in keeping a user from clicking that back button. Keeping your key phrases and termsin shorter, easier to digest sentences and paragraphs allows the searcher to quickly determine that you meet their requirements on the social web.
Table of Contents – If you’ve shortened your information as much as possible, and still have miles upon miles of text, construct a table of contents and with anchors within. This allows for quick navigation to interesting sections within, and provides that extra usability that can be very helpful.
Bullet points and Lists – Breaking your more complex portions into bullet points or lists allows for quick and simple reading. Breaking down your page down in such a fashion also lends to easy linking within the page and site.
Photos and images – Using amazing imagery within your pages helps to draw visitors to your page, while your written content is designed to keep it. “A picture is worth 1000 words” afterall. Just be sure your images, are relevant to the content.
Social media is here to stay, and it’s best to get used to the idea. Your pages and content need to be attractive, intelligent, and compelling with their first impression. Taking the time to be sure that your social optimization is up to par is well worth the time investment. Building a loyal visitor and fan base in the social media sector of the web, will ensure long term viability in the marketplace.
The third time’s the charm, the idiom basically dictating that the third attempt at something is likely to yield the results desired, apparently didn’t sit well with Google.
The algorithm change which happened April 28th – May 3rd, nicknamed Mayday, showed a shift in long tailed search results. It’s been hashed, and rehashed all over the web, but basically put, it was done on purpose, it was done for quality purposes, and it’s completely algorithmical; no human interaction at all.
Since the Mayday change, there have been 3 more seeming drastic shifts in the SERPs, with some seeing changes as little as 10% shift, to as much as an 80% drop in results. Reports of spam sites taking front page placements, poorly written, poorly constructed, and ad filled pages replacing formerly authoritive, professional sites. The shifts being discussed have all been around long tail returns, with the shorter queries having only slightly adjusted.
After all the ideas have been discussed, the tin foil hat theories disected, there emerges one common, agreed upon result: the first week of July will be a doozy.
There are many schools of thought dealing with online marketing, how to do it, how not to do it. Who to talk to, who you should avoid. A post or two ago I mentioned how strange it was that since Fresh has moved into Winnipeg, that SEO companies all of a sudden appeared out of the woodwork. The idea of this writing, is to just share some basics of what you should consider when looking at your online marketing strategy.
1. Optimization Experts – These are the individuals and firms that have been around for quite a while, come with years of experience, and clearly offer a healthy organic approach to search engine optimization and marketing. They know how to market themselves. These are the individuals and companies that stand out and very well should from the other type of SEO’s. Have you seen them in multiple areas online? Are the search results for their name filled with nice juicy related content?
2. Web Designers – Web design and SEO are two very different things. Many web designers try to offer SEO on their websites but that doesn’t mean they know search engine optimization. That is not to say that every web designer out there is not capable of properly executing search engine marketing efforts but horses for their courses. A web design company which builds an SEO page during slow economic times should not be a choice.
3. Fly by Night SEO – It doesn’t take much to get a website up and running, don’t let some trust badge or Google logo on their website fool you. Many are taking one day training courses, maybe a webinar and all of a sudden they are an expert. Search for their name and see what you find online.
4. Offshore Optimization – It is ok to work with an offshore company, if your website is targeting the audience where that company is based. Why would you risk hiring someone to conduct SEO in a foreign country, if they don’t natively speak the language of your target audience? The inexpensive prices of going with someone oversees can be very appealing but you will pay for it in the long run.
5. Optimization Software – Software can not grow a business. A very large portion of SEO requires a human mind or touch. You need to be able to put yourself into the shoes of your audience, and software can not do that. There is no magic pill or easy way out with SEO. It takes time and patience, and proper monitoring and execution of all efforts.
This is all very simple, basic information that should be in the forefront of your mind when you consider your online marketing strategy. Search engine optimization is not a step to be taken casually, it needs to be taken with confidence in the experts you’ve hired to help push you to the top of the engines.
A post or two back was a bit about why social media isn’t going to be surpassing search engine optimization as the “golden egg” in advertising as it were. Interestingly enough, there is even factual evidence to add to the mix.
Tracking the numbers, traffic and uptime firm Pingdom, has proven that Facebook is demolishing all comers in the social media arena with 260 billion page views. When it came to monthly page views, Facebook was front runner by more than 10 times the views that MySpace had. There were nearly 60 times more page views for Facebook than Twitter, which ranked 4th in the study. It’s not a huge surprise that Facebook is the dominant entity in social media, but as little as 18 months ago (June 2008) MySpace was still larger worldwide, and kept a hold on that title for a few more months in the states.
Are these the only factors which contributed to Facebooks overwhelming success? Of course not, but, when social media, embraces SEO fundamentals as a built in function of their website, it’s obvious they know where the merits of the internet are. Because after all, what good is it to sell advertising on a social media site, if it can’t be searched? And the best way to be found?
Follow SEO basics and fundamentals.
As a business owner, website owner, whether you’ve been online for a decade or are only stepping into the world wide market place; there’s an ever present question: to dot com or not to dot com? Lets take a look at some of the differences.
1. Clear geo-targeted name
To own a local domains, you actually need to go and buy them and register with a local authority. Because of this, local domains have always represented the best controlled and strictest identifier of a specific geography. There are exceptions of course, but these mostly have to do with certain domains, such as .tv (the tiny island state of Tuvalu) having found that their particular geography had a gold mine domain name it could use to generate revenue.
In other words, if the site was a French site, operating under a .fr domain, within hours of a search engine crawl, the site would show up in the area called “Pages de France” or pages from France—even if the site was actually hosted in the US.
2. Solid site architecture
The argument is often put forward that it’s too expensive to switch an existing dot com website with zillions of pages over to the relevant local domains its owners wish to target. It can, of course, be expensive to switch the domain used and this needs to be done with great care. However, when the cost of making the change is calculated, business will tend to find less financial value to the ongoing cost of SEO to compensate for not having the relevant local domain. This could mean additional local hosting costs or even substantial link building to overcome the disadvantages of the dot com. However, every businessman should have “going local” as an ultimate part of their long term plan.
3. People are inclined buy locally
Some SEOs may not see conversion factors as the most important in recommending which steps a client should take. Some users however, read URLs in the search engine results and that it can have a direct impact on how many of them click on links. Say you’re looking for a “second hand car” and you live in Canada. If you know nothing else about a website, which is most likely to be the most compelling: “secondhandcar.com” or “secondhandcar.ca?”
Even beyond the search results page, the local domain vs dot com plays in the mind of the user. “If this is a .ca and I live in Winnipeg, then they’re more likely to deliver” is a reasonable conclusion for most folks to draw.
“75% of 16 to 24 year olds feel they ‘couldn’t live’ without the internet”
Kids right? Nothing to note? Quite the opposite..
In the current jungle of the internet, the youth are the future. They are the natives of internet, matured on broadband and wi-fi, four out of five 16 to 24 year olds turn to the internet for advice when they need it.
So where are you? Are you at the top of your game, the head honcho in your niche? Or do you halfheartedly maintain a website, merely because “everyone else does it”. There are billions of websites out there, trillions of pages full of information, dis-information, scams, do-it-yourself tips, and some of the greatest literature ever written.
And that group of kids, the ones riding skateboards and drinking Slurpees, can navigate it better than any other age group that has come before it.
So again.. where are you?
Have you optimized your site for the search engines to find and index? Is your content, chock full of information, and laid out in an easy to read and navigate format?
Search engine optimization may seem transparent, may seem a simple task, but just remember one thing:
“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”
Understanding what your competitors are doing in terms of online strategy is an absolute priority when launching a new website that is entering a competitive space. By knowing what your rivals are doing in their SEO and social media space, not only will be able to discern their online marketing strategy, but you can also emulate what is working for them, and generate internal ideas to stay proactive.
Furthermore, by understanding what your competition is doing in terms of on-site SEO, link building, social media marketing, developing third party properties and other search marketing tactics; you can also identify tactics which are working from them (or not working for them), that you can improve upon, and thrive from in your overall marketing strategy.
And who doesn’t love pretending to be a spy every once in a while?
The first step to identify your competition is by checking out the search results for your keywords for which you’d like to be listed. Do not look only at keywords which drive the most traffic, but also the longtail search terms.
After you have identified the sites you need to monitor as part of your intel, start looking into the on-site SEO factors which help them rank in the search engines. You may find not only what they are doing right, but what you are doing wrong. When forming a competitive SEO report, it’s suggested to include your own site in the report and even having a third party have a look at your results, say an SEO consultant.
Not only do onsite tactics assist with the ranking of a website, but more importantly the off-site SEO tactics benefit the competitive advantage to boost a site from the bottom of the front page on Google, into the top five.
By discerning the off-site SEO tactics, and social media tactics, you can get a strong sense for the link building strategies, their participation in blogs, sites they may own which are harnessing social media traffic, if SEM is working for them, and their standing on Delicious, Digg and in vertically targeted social networks. All of these factors have a direct influence on search engine rankings and you will not only learn what your competition is doing, but you can find, and use what they are not. And by identifying these holes, oversights or even genius ideas … and applying them to your marketing strategy, you can propel yourself within your industry.
This can be a lot of information to monitor, and you’ll probably want to add more industry specific terms to your research dependent upon how SEO savvy your market is. But in the long run by documenting this information now, and revisiting it, you will have a pinpoint idea of the tactics your rivals are utilizing, which they are not, and even what they are changing to keep up.
Some additional recconaissance you can do, monitor their listings on job search engines to identify the internal positions they are hiring for or have, like SEO Manager or Social Media Marketing Assistant. In this way, you may gather some insight as to what they are planning in the future, which may assist you with getting the jump on the competition.
If you need any help with the tools needed to perform a lot of this research, feel free to contact Freshtraffic and we’ll be sure to assist you.
There are always the articles and posts about “How to SEO” or “SEO Tips and Tricks”, but it isn’t too often there is any discussion of what not to do from an SEO perspective. So, very briefly, lets go over some of the points of what not to do from an SEO view.
SEO Mistake #1 – Improper Use of Your Title Tag
The title tag is extremely important when it comes to website optimization, and serves multiple purposes. It tells the search engines what your site is about, it gets displayed in the search results for your page and is displayed at the top of your visitors browser while they are on your site.
SEO Mistake #2 – Improper Use of Your Keywords Meta Tag
Once upon a time the keywords meta tag was was used by search engines to determine the relevance of your website. These days even well-written keyword tags are largely ignored by Google and the other major search engine players. But that doesn’t mean you may ignore, or abuse the keyword meta tag. You could possibly wind up being penalized by the search engines instead of ranking well with them.
SEO Mistake #3 – Keyword Stuffing
More does not always equal better. Page content with too many keywords typically doesn’t read properly, and “hiding” keywords, using white text on a white background, is highly frowned upon and dealt with.
Your best bet, is to work up well written, relevant content for what your customers may be looking for, and let the web work it’s magic.
SEO Mistake #4 – Using Irrelevant Keywords to Attract Traffic
May seem like a common sense point, but to reitterate. Using irrelevant or useless content and keywords to attract traffic to your site will only lower your overall rankings with the search engines.
Aside from the few points from above, there are a great deal of mistakes you can make as a website owner that can hurt, or hinder your rankings with the search engines. Cloaked pages, doorway pages, poor coding practices, page labelling, and the list goes on and on.