The Secrets of Search Engine Optimizaton

Posted by admin on September 5th, 2008

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the most important element in building a successful website. Much thought and research must go into a site before it is ever developed and designed.  Most people online have heard the term SEO and have some idea of what is involved yet it remains a mysterious process to many. One of the reasons SEO is so mysterious is that it can be a complicated endeavor and search engines are constantly changing the way they rank sites and the way the recognize the many tools of SEO.

At the forefront of the SEO check and balance system is the leading search engine Google. They have pretty much set the standard for technology in search engine algorithms that can track the relevancy of a website to its content and SEO efforts. Their ranking system remains one of the most popular methods of determining a web site’s quality because of their diligent efforts of weeding out the bad apples that have little to offer a consumer other than skilled manipulation and the ability to ‘play the system’ to their advantage.

Of course taking advantage of the system makes perfect sense from a business standpoint but from the search engine outlook of wanting to provide the best quality sites on their results for the viewer it can become difficult to differentiate the site that is good quality wise from the site that is good because it has a very manipulative operator at the helm.

Because the rules for SEO evolve and change rapidly the mystique of search engine optimization continues to confuse website owners. Many people build their websites thinking the only SEO tool they need is key word density. While key words are an important aspect in SEO they are not the only means to an end, they are simply a part of the puzzle. There is another tried and true method of SEO that is as relevant today as it was at the start of the concept of web 2.0 marketing and that is back linking. While back linking remains one of the most successful ways to get your site to rank high on the search engines it also has undergone some changes making the types of links important so that search engines do not penalize a site for bad incoming links.

The term “back link” refers to an outside link on another site that points to yours. In the past any link from another site would have a positive impact on your site by the search engines. Because there were so many gimmicks developed in the last few years to garner massive back links to websites such as link farms, and irrelevant reciprocal linking Google began to develop a way to weed out links that were purchased, or had little meaning or relevancy.

Even though back linking is used to manipulate search engine popularity there are many very legitimate reasons for using the system of back linking. Finding web sites that have a common interest to your own who are willing to place your link on their site can get you extra exposure. When their visitors come to their site they will see your link and likely visit your site as well.

The fact that on-site links like that have such a perceived relevance to the visitor makes them a valuable marketing tool, but that perception of quality is also why Google works so hard to be sure they are real quality links. You will get higher ranking on a search engine for a number of truly appropriate back linking partnerships however if the sites linking to you do not share any common information or products Google will penalize you for the link. There are new programs in the works with Google where your site could even be devalued if the site that links to you is determined to be bad quality so it is important who you choose to link to, and also who links to you.

In the past many web site owners would open up multiple websites with the sole purpose of promoting one principle site. They would use the extra websites as a means of placing back links to the main site. Google now watches for sites that are created with the same IP address. Creating a large number of websites on the same IP address and putting back links on them to quickly develop a number of links is known as link bombing. That is not to say that you cannot ever link to your own website from a site you own. If there is a reason to show your visitors some additional information a few well placed back links are fine. It is when there are many links from each site all pointing to a single ‘main’ site that the search engines look at them suspiciously.

The system Google is working hard to put in place to discount a link from a bad site is why it is very important to know who is linking to you and if their site stacks up to your standards. It is no longer true that all inbound links to your site are good links. There are very good tools available online for free that can show you who is linking to you. If you find a site that is linking to you that you feel is questionable in terms of how they relate to your website either in information or product you should contact the webmaster of the site and demand that they remove the link to your website to avoid being penalized by the search engines.

Probably the best way to obtain a back link to your site is through anchor text. That is when you have another website with content that is relevant to your own (relevancy is ALWAYS important) including your site in the actual content of their site with a hyperlink inside the text. These back links are valued much higher than a simple sidebar link as long as they appear in the text in a way that has a fluid and meaningful association with the content of the article. There are several ways to get such back links.

Providing articles to content sites with your link built into the article is one method. If you write very compelling information on your website is another as someone else with a similar site may wish to point it out on their own. You may not even realize they are doing it unless they tell you about it. This is one of the main reasons it is important to keep an eye on who is back linking to you. While the majority of those types of links are wonderful and you should thank the site owner for their inclusion, if you feel the site that is linking to you does not meet your standards, have similar information, or the content is not relevant to your site you should definitely ask them to remove your link.

Back linking is an extremely important aspect of SEO development and it is something you need to understand well in order to implement and control it properly. There are many secrets and mysteries in the SEO world that diligent study can clear up. Keeping your website in good standing with the search engines and popular with your visitors is the best way to ensure a vital and profitable future for your business online.

SEO Tips for Google Search Suggest

Posted by admin on August 27th, 2008

Google announced that over the next week they are going to implement their Google Suggest search suggestion feature on Google.com. This change will help searchers find popular keywords that other searchers recently searched for.

Short Term Influence on Search

When this search suggest change is coupled with the recent launch of automatic matching and the new quality score update it may consolidate PPC competition against a smaller set of core industry keywords. Some outlier keywords, like misspelled terms, are going to be much harder to build a traffic stream from.

This will also likely have the effect of focusing organic search attention on a smaller set of well defined queries. And the extra competition in the PPC space will drive yet more competitors to adopt SEO practices. But as an SEO smarter than 99.9% of other web publishers, you have some profitable drafting opportunities you can use to build a profitable search traffic stream. 🙂

SEO Drafting Tips

  1. Search Query Drafting: If you can create a brand that starts with and industry keyword and drive search volume on it then your brand can show up for some people looking for the broader topic. For example, a webmaster may not have enough PageRank/link authority to rank for seo, but if they can create enough hype around their brand then maybe people search for it and their brand related search query shows up as a suggestion around the broader search queries. This is something that should also be taken into consideration when coming up with official names and page titles for leading resource oriented linkbaits.
  2. Brand Drafting: If SEO Book is a decently strong brand and a fairly generic keyword, and SEO Books is the second most popular term suggested right below it then you might be able to pick up some of that search volume by ranking at or near the top for that alternate version. An April Hitwise blog post showed that in the US nearly 15% of brand related queries were intercepted by third part websites, and that was *before* Google launched search suggest directly on Google.com.
  3. Brand Coupon/Discount Drafting: This is an extension of the above type of drafting, but rather than creating a compilation of sorts you focus on getting an affiliate commission for offering consumers a discount on the core brand. Many consumers will be reminded that there are coupons, discounts, promo codes, and reviews to find and read through when reviewing popular brands.
  4. Media Drafting: This technology is already live on Youtube, so Youtube presents 4 ways to draft popular media.
    • create a video optimized for a phrase that is already popular on YouTube
    • create a video optimized for a phrase where you think the video has a good chance of ranking high in Google results
    • create a video that has a title similar to other popular YouTube content that is watched by hundreds of thousands or millions of people
    • create a relevant video that is a video reply to a video that is already well received

Long Term Influence on Search

  • For websites and businesses that have no intent of building a real brand and intend to run primarily as an organic search arbitrage player the significance of domain name may be lowered significantly.
  • As people get more acclimated with using search to navigate the web (as many people already do) then some brands and domain names that seemed too long and not viable may become viable marketing platforms.
  • Conversely, short acronyms may lose some of their value as people become acclimated to having the search engine help complete their search queries.

Your Turn

How do you see search suggestion influencing how we search and how we write?

How To Create And Install A favicon.ico

Posted by admin on August 18th, 2008

What is a Favicon

Favicon is short for “Favorites Icon”.   The name is derived from the bookmark list for Microsoft Internet Explorer which is called Favorites. When you add a site to your Favorites list, Internet Explorer (version 5 and above) asks the server if it has a file called favicon.ico. If present, this file will be used to provide an icon that is displayed next to the bookmark text.

Other browsers such as Mozilla have also added support for favicons. Depending on the browser, the favicon can appear in a variety of places, not just in the bookmarks list (in fact, it may not even appear in the bookmark list at all). It may be shown in the address bar or the title of a browser tab, for instance.

How to create a Favicon

To create a favicon.ico simply create a 16×16 .PNG file and convert it to an icon resource with png2ico. If you want, you can add more images to the same icon resource to provide alternative resolutions. Most browsers only use a 16×16 image but in a different context (e.g. when you drag a URL from the address bar onto your desktop) a larger icon may be shown. If the icon resource only contains a 16×16 image, this will be scaled to the appropriate size, so technically there is never a need to add alternative resolutions. However, doing so can increase the quality of the displayed icon.

Keep in mind that for a user with a slow modem a favicon.ico may increase the page loading time by a few seconds if it is too large, so don’t overdo it. Adding a 32×32 alternative should be enough to make sure the image will look good even in contexts with larger icons. Adding even more and larger alternatives is unnecessary bloat. Try to keep the number of colors below 16 and create a 16-color icon using the --colors 16 switch of png2ico (or even create a b/w icon with the --colors 2 switch). This will result in a smaller file that loads faster.

When you create the images to include in your favicon.ico, don’t forget that the icon may be composed against various background colors so you should use transparency rather than a solid background if you want to avoid that your icon appears inside a box. Note, that icon resources only support binary transparency, i.e. a pixel may be visible or invisible but not something like 30% translucent.

Installing your Favicon

To add your new favicon.ico to a web page put it on the server into the same directory as the web page it is for (e.g. www.example.com/foo/favicon.ico for www.example.com/foo/index.html). That is the first place a browser will search. If it doesn’t find an icon there, it checks the top-level directory of the server (www.example.com/favicon.ico for the www.example.com server), so by putting it there you can have a default favicon for all the pages in your domain. Depending on browser and configuration, the favicon.ico is not always rendered, even if it is in one of the above locations, unless the web page explicitly declares its presence. To declare that your web page has an icon, you add the following 2 lines into the <head> section of your page:

<link rel="icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">

Thats all there is to it.

Does SEO Consulting Have a Future?

Posted by admin on July 10th, 2008

Try not to look like a country bug. Blend. Blend in.
– Flik, A Bug’s Life

The complexity of SEO, the forensic nature of parsing words and matching lines, is a hard sell. How do you describe it without sounding like Lou Grant, as opposed to a can-do service provider? PPC is transparent, measureable, a better market to focus on.

SEO versus PPC. Experiential versus rational processing. Intuition versus logic.

Once upon a time, there was no ‘versus’, no sound of a hair, splitting. Just SEO and PPC. Now, as the online market matures, limbs get minds of their own, and the question becomes, “Which would you prefer, working in organic search or working in PPC?” And I say, “Organic search” (because I’m trying to be cool). But I mean, “PPC” (because I need to eat).

And I also speak today, because I can’t help it, about the parallels I see in the evolution of the online marketing sector today, buffeted by a recession (petty distinctions among the econ gurus aside) as a mirror of the games development industry in 2000, buffeted by the dot com deflation.
Why Pay-Per-Click is Important

Pay-per-click marketing allows you to test in real time. Conversely, the more expensive the associated PPC ads are, the more value there is in performing SEO on a site in a paid niche.
Why Traditional SEO Consulting Tires Easily

In a frontier, we few settlers have the time and space to hold hands, to tame the beasties. With online marketing, the elastic mindshare stretches ever outwards, and how a client interacts with the media and people in their marketplace (and here I’m thinking particularly of social marketing, semantic search etc.), rapidly morphs as time delivers a consumer and producer net-literate family – we will watch our care grow surly, independent and, oddly enough (or maybe not oddly at all), conservative and risk-averse.

Oh dear.

As SEO movers and shakers, then, our assumed mantle of progenitors will, as history teaches, count for nought; it will be up to us to change. Again.

But, here’s the thing: companies and corporates, for all their twittering on about flat management structures, are hierarchical, irrespective of how big the base or how shallow the pyramid. And I mention this because, at this stage in the evolution of the search marketing industry, the internal architecture of a company cannot accommodate what is, at this moment in time, an essentially horizontal agent – the SEO analyst. You can tell that companies are caught in the headlights of oncoming online traffic, because they invariably advertise for an online marketing manager “….reporting to the Marketing Manager.”

Ah lads, get a grip.

I have faced grown marketing managers across the mahogany tables of traditional sales and marketing lairs, lilac carpets bristling with empathetic static, as their watership down eyes peer into mine, pleading with me to answer that question normally reserved for their newly-appointed, crabbid-out CEO, but now commandeered almost exclusively on the appointment of an online marketing executive, “What the hell am I supposed to do with him….?”

Empathy is a shared keyword. You hear a lot of talk about empathy. Perhaps, as an online marketer, I can admit to valuing the relationship with the Client more than the relationship with the product. Liking the Client drives motivation. I wouldn’t worry about it – it’s a growing pain.

The point is, search results – the kind that the Client wants – are predicated on future, not current, ambitions. Marketing managers, and their staff – they implement based on what’s coming down the product pipeline. The Head of Search Marketing, on the other hand, is required to be at the conception of the new ambition, before the specifications are written, at the point where the Boss wakes up in bed in a cold sweat, turns, and, leaning over his (shhh, sleeping) Corporate Body, whispers to his online acquisition principal (who, convinced that he as ‘a bit of all right’, as opposed to being, quite literally, just ‘a bit on the side,’ is patiently consuming lines of shifting search engine algorithms under a night-light livid with the colour of validation), “I think I know where this is going to next.”

Yummy.

With marketing managers, size matters; we, on the other hand, console ourselves with the thought that it’s what you do with it that counts. Traditional marketers view adrenaline as a reward; we view it as a rival for our charms. Design versus dasein. A chip in the sugar.

Which reminds me: epistemology and metaphysics, logic, semantics – we need philosophers, not technologists (whatever they are). And still we repeat the sins of our forebears, when online games recruitment banged on about quote having a passion for gaming unquote, until it copped itself on and realised that what games development needed were full sets of feet to march forward upon, not more ingrown toenails. Perhaps even we can teach the old dog new tricks.

Less self-regard, more oxygen. To paraphrase William Goldman about another all-sex, zero-foreplay industry, nobody knows everything.
Why Traditional SEO Consulting Will Persevere

Businesses that value their online objectives will be clever enough to realise that you can internalise process, you can internalise implementation, but you must outsource strategy, you must outsource training, you must outsource mentoring, you must hold your nerve, be sufficiently confident to absorb externals telling you what needs to be done – and what doesn’t. The only people I know who can provide that level of service are people who value what they have learned from their mistakes more than their successes. Scars versus skills. SEO versus PPC.

Cor. And blimey.

John HARGADEN
wevolution.ie
The Article in its entirity: http://www.seobook.com/does-seo-consulting-have-future

Tampa Advertising Company – A Few Good…

Posted by admin on July 8th, 2008

A Few Good Creative (Stop at Nothing)

Choosing the best advertising company can be a difficult thing. Finding an advertising company that can handle all your requirements even more difficult. Big U Media is an advertising company that can handle it all. Print, logo, Video, air time, direct marketing, jingles and internet marketing. Big U Media does it all. One company to handle all your advertising and marketing needs.
Contact us today at 1-813-984-2800 or visit BigUMedia.com

Matt Cutts Shares 5 SEO Tips with USA Today

Posted by admin on June 25th, 2008

USA Today recently asked Google’s Matt Cutts for tips to help sites rank in their search engine. Cutts offered up 5 tips plus a word of advice in implementing the tips. Here they are:
Spotlight your search term on the page. If you want to be found for your keyword, make sure that term is on the page you want to rank. The term should be at the top as well as peppered throughout your copy.
Fill in your “tags.” The two most important tags are Title and Description b/c thats what is displayed on the search results.
Get other sites to “link” back to you. This is one of the most important of the 100 factors Google considers when ranking sites
Create a blog and post often. This can help you get links.
Register for free tools. Cutts recommends using the tools at google.com/webmaster, as well as creating a text-based sitemap www.xml-sitemaps.com, and adding your business to Google’s Local Business center (google.com/local/add)

And that word of advice? Dont overdo it.

Read the rest of the article:

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/080623-101341

Qassia – Free Authority One Way Links

Posted by admin on May 31st, 2008

A good friend of mine just told me about a fairly new site called Qassia where you can add links to an unlimited number of sites. Qassia is well ranked and indexed in the search engines, so acts as a very good source of quality backlinks.

They also have an ad revenue sharing system, so any traffic your Qassia pages get could be earning a little extra cash for you as well. I don’t think it will be enough to make it worthwhile as an income stream, but for extra backlinks, it’s well worth the effort.

There’s not really that much extra to say about it, other than to check them out and sign up – it’s free and looks like it’s going to offer some valuable authority links to your sites. Check out Qassia here.

Once you’ve signed up, click on the link for “Dashboard” and there’ll you’ll find a link to the user manual titled “how to promote your websites on qassia“. This tells you exactly how to add your sites to your account.

If you have lots of sites, or a mixture of white hat and black hat sites, you want to consider opening seperate accounts for each.

Develop Stronger Brand Recognition Through SEO

Posted by admin on May 29th, 2008

Branding and brand recognition has always been one of the most important aspects of a thriving popular company. However it is also a very difficult thing to achieve, total market saturation with brand awareness is what everyone dreams off, yet only a very few companies will actually achieve this level of market awareness.

One of the most important parts of developing a strong brand is to keep it constantly in front of your customers and potential customers on a consistent basis. Previously this use to be done with massive marketing campaigns by the major companies, billboard ads, television, radio and anywhere else they can put their brand.

With the Internet and massive popularity of search engines like Google this has made the “game” of putting yourself in-front of a massive audience a much easier process.

Imagine for a moment that you can on a daily basis put your company and brand potentially in front of 1000’s of new eyes every single day of the year for a faction of the price of traditional media?

This is consistent brand expansion happening on a daily basis with your exact target demographic.

You would be crazy not to do something like that right?

Well this is possible, and search engine optimization or SEO is how its done.  By targeting your business the most effective way online you not only build your brand, but, also your business.