It’s impossible to read the latest news in our industry without noticing the tone of immediate concern that so many others have. Ever since the more recent Panda updates started taking a significant toll on SERPs linked with popular trending keywords, everyone has been pointing at Google and blaming the company for the increasingly poor performance of their websites. Add to this the shakeup with Penguin and company’s ongoing silence regarding its algorithm and it’s easy to see why so many well-known voices in the SEO community are up in arms.
When the Penguin update first hit a few months back, Google was quite forward with the reasons for why we saw the rankings drop. Citing duplicate content and heavy anchor text usage as prime elements of sites that were trying to game the system, the company came under fire by many webmasters who themselves were using these disingenuous tactics. It also certainly didn’t help that the initial version of the algorithm hit several well-to-do sites and messed up their rankings for a brief stint as well. Nearly everyone in our industry was up in arms and panic was rampant.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Months after the most significant updates, thousands of link-farming directories and sites fraught with black hat SEO tactics have finally been dropped from Google’s SERPs. While not every exploitative page has disappeared from the page one results, most keyword searches now return results that have achieved their position due to smart design and ethical SEM campaigning.
Tried and True Tactics with the Best Impact
At the end of the day, it’s those SEO companies that have used and continue to rely upon transparent marketing techniques and natural linkbuilding practices that have fared the best since the Google’s updates began rolling out in full force. Google-friendly site optimization, social media campaigning, and original and interesting content generation are all methods through which the most notable online marketers are getting their clients onto the top of the SERPs these days.
Although search engine users continue to see mainstay sites like Wikipedia appear in the top 5 spots of their queries, many non-brand specific search terms have now become easier to lock down as trending keywords for clients’ brand. And, surprisingly enough, it’s Google’s Panda and Penguin updates that we have to thank for these SEO opportunities. While the constant search algorithm revisions certainly have made all our lives a little more complicated, these new challenges are being made in the name of better content for users. And that’s something we can all get behind.
Saying that the internet is a big place is among the greatest understatements anyone can make. In our modern web-centric age, everyone is connected to each other and industries appear to grow overnight. Regardless of the service or product a business may offer, there’s always going to be a number of other organizations out there getting in a company’s way. When Google or Bing searches for an industry term bring back page after page of results of competitors, it’s clearly time to begin reexamining your online marketing strategy.
These days, being in constant contact with your customer base is absolutely vital. Although increasingly more businesses are seeking out SEO companies and web developers to design sleeker, more Google-friendly websites, many companies fail to make enough of an impact in the social media market. Yes, nearly every organization has a Facebook page and several even have Google+ profiles as well, but there are still other venues through which a company can find and secure a loyal audience. Chief among these is Foursquare.
Checking In and Cashing Out
Smartphone users are becoming increasingly familiar with Foursquare. What once started as a rather innocuous mobile network app that logs travel activity, the Foursquare community has grown to a user base that now numbers in the tens of millions. While the level of activity seen on the network varies greatly from person to person, a large chunk of this audience is dedicated to using its mobile app daily and “checking in” wherever they go. Users can choose to share photos taken at said locations, leave reviews about the quality of the establishment, or make various recommendations on how to get the best service possible.
Although the feedback a company receives through Foursquare is generally kept within the mobile app and browser-based interfaces, the network is slowly making its debut on search result pages. According to a recent story from Marketing Land, Bing’s social sidebar now includes updates from Foursquare in addition to other social media posts. For the time being, this functionality is found exclusively in Bing, but there is a chance for this data to also appear in Google and other search engines in the future.
Even though Foursquare may not have the mass appeal and total exposure that bigger social networks have, that doesn’t mean that business owners should ignore it. Simply by putting up signs or posters in your workplace that remind people to “check in” at your business, you increase the odds of raising your company’s brand recognition among the mobile user base. Since those people who befriend one another on Foursquare are constantly notified of their friends’ activity, businesses benefit by having their company’s name be seen by an increasingly diverse crowd of would-be customers. All it takes a bit of initiative in reminding clientele and employees that you’re listed on the network.
For additional tips and advice on how to use Foursquare to improve your company profile, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
For the last twenty years, numerous SEO companies and internet advertisers have depended on keywords as being a guiding light for search engine indexers and site crawlers. A tactic commonly used by ethical and unethical online marketing agencies alike, heavily emphasized keyword implementation was so pervasive throughout the web development community that almost everyone has come to rely on it. Of course, this all started to change with the arrival of Google’s Panda updates as well as the recent release of Penguin. Now, webmasters are looking for ways to remain relevant to Google and other search engines while revising their own operations.
Smart Keyword Use: Only When Necessary
As Google made clear in its original announcement of Penguin, high-quality content is at the top of the company’s desired SERP content. The implications of this demand for engaging webpages is many, but in this case we’ll focus on the greatly reduced effect of what is known as “keyword stuffing.” This practice describes the rather unscrupulous behavior of repeatedly using key phrases and terms in order to game a search engine and artificially strengthen their relevance to the page or site in question. In the past, too many marketing agencies would repeatedly stuff their clients’ online properties with keywords, but these days search engines have become smart enough to know the difference between spam and good content.
As a result of this, everyone needs to get on the same page (pun not intended) as Google and emphasize the importance of interesting and unique content over questionable optimization methods. Although the world’s biggest search engine still uses keywords to categorize and archive pages, the repetition of a key term throughout a page means that Google’s search algorithm now regards it as having a low value. As a result, business owners and webmasters should use focused keywords only as needed.
Keyword Limitations Lead to Quality Content
While being forced to use a keyword conservatively may sound like a hassle, the fact is that it actually yields a number of benefits. For one thing, putting a limit on one’s keyword use leads to content that is fresher and also more interesting to read. Content writers should also use the situation to explore more interesting and more varied topics. For example, a keyword such as “car engines” may be the focus of a page, but that doesn’t mean that the content needs to be all about that term. Instead, users can choose to focus on the way engines work in classic automobiles versus top-of-the-line racing cars or other topics.
Even though the new obstacles set forth by the Google Penguin and Panda updates may be a thorn in some SEO developers’ sides, it’s really just another way to motivate website and blog owners to create content that users will read and maybe even share. For further advice regarding how to use keywords in this post-Penguin world, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few days ago, Google unveiled its newest search feature, Knowledge Graph, to network users. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the announced program, Knowledge Graph is being launched as a sidebar addition to the company’s search engine results. While the company’s SERPs will stay the way they’ve always been, the new feature will serve up interesting facts, details and relevant information for popular keywords entered in queries. Google has stated that it has plans to bring the function to mobile platforms in the future as well.
Although Knowledge Graph has yet to become available to all Google users, numerous SEO companies already have their own stance on how the feature may affect the current state of online marketing. In the recent months, Google has been responsible for some of the biggest and most impactful changes in internet advertising. As a result, everyone in the SEO community is keeping a watchful eye on the company and will be for some time to come. While marketing agencies will let their clients know about important news, business owners should still keep aware of these latest happenings in order to actively improve their web prevalence.
What Should SMB Owners Take Away from Knowledge Graph?
Aside from the supplemental nature of Knowledge Graph, Google’s newest network feature also gives us some insight into the sort of trending page elements that the company regards in high importance. Between the information-based focus of Knowledge Graph and the strength of Wikipedia in the company’s SERPs, one can see that Google wants more informative sites these days. Yet while this realization is made readily apparent through Google’s recent efforts, not everyone is taking advantage of this fact.
Creating Quality that Search Engines Want
Many of the WebiMax blog readers are small or startup business owners who are looking to get their online properties well-represented on every engine’s search results. Although Google’s ranking trends are not entirely indicative of what other search engines are looking for these days, the company does tend to set the pace for what is seen on most SERPs. If anything, it’s a safe bet that the same sort of informative content that Google’s search algorithm finds desirable will rank well on competing engines.
In order to have better traction in the SERPs, more businesses need to work on creating content for their online properties that is not only informative to readers but also interesting. While not every page of a company’s website may have space for this type of content, a business should always devote some time to creating it where it can. Often times, company blogs and user-maintained pages act as hubs for news and information that readers will find engaging. Other venues for this type of content may include employee sites that focus on related topics and are linked to the aforementioned blog.
While it’s still uncertain where Knowledge Graph will eventually lie in Google’s overall business plan, there are still several useful conclusions that can be drawn from the new network feature. Should readers have any particular questions, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
While it’s important to hire an SEO company that’s committed to working for you, since the release of Google’s new algorithm, Penguin, it’s crucial more than ever that you select an SEO company that is following organic SEO practices.
Since the webspam algorithm launched, businesses should be cautious that the SEO company they choose doesn’t perform black hat techniques as this will result in a penalty from Google. Sites that are penalized will be removed from Google’s index, thus becoming invisible to search engines.
No business wants to invest money, time and trust into an SEO company only for their business to be ruined. Receiving a penalty from Google not only results in your site being removed from Google’s index but will significantly hurt your business’s reputation.
The best way to avoid receiving a penalty from Google is to hire a quality SEO company that isn’t going to cheat the search system. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when searching for an SEO company that’s committed towards working for you and won’t leave your business damaged:
You can start by researching the background of the company. Learn about when the company started, their mission and philosophy, how many clients they’ve worked for, the types of campaigns they perform, their achievements and awards, and the management team. You can do this by checking out the company website and researching the company on search engines. This will help you get a feel for SEO the company.
What do you want to achieve?
When you turn to an SEO company to work for you, of course they will jump at the opportunity to gain a new client. But, don’t let their words alone lure you in. You should determine ahead of time what you want to achieve. Think about your objectives and what you want to gain from the SEO company. Whether you’re looking to increase traffic to your site or want your website appear higher in the SERPs, you should have an objective.
What’s their take on what you’re looking for?
After you discuss your objective, let the SEO company impress you with their knowledge of SEO and what measures or tactics they believe should or shouldn’t be used to help you reach your results. A company that’s truly dedicated towards helping you won’t just give you what you want, but what you need. They will explain to you the best practices and best approach to help you achieve what you’re aiming to reach.
What strategies do they follow?
While the SEO company may not be able to give you a nail on the head explanation of how they would approach your campaign, you can ask them about their common strategies and tactics. You should ask about the keyword selection process, how they measure competition, how content is created onsite and offsite, how backlinks are formed, and every strategy they’d follow in an SEO campaign.
Also, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the Penguin update. Ask them what they know of the Penguin update and how their company avoided being affected by the new algorithm. The more knowledge they have of the Penguin update and of Google’s algorithms is clearly a good sign.
Do they know the latest in SEO and have an obsession for analytical data?
The SEO company you choose should know the latest tactics in SEO and what work must be performed in order to help a site rank well. They should understand your target market, know how to reach your market, have a creative side to attract online audiences and know how to switch up an SEO strategy quickly if the current strategy isn’t yielding the results you’re looking for.
Also, the company should be literally obsessed with analytic data and measuring your campaign progress. You should be able to turn to them whenever and ask them of your progress and current rankings. Staying up-to-date with the latest in SEO should essentially be a lifestyle for an SEO company.
Do they communicate regularly?
You want a company that communicates with you regularly and informs you of your campaign progress. While the company may be working to service you, this is your company’s reputation on the line. Also, don’t be hesitant to question the steps they take or ask them to explain something. SEO companies understand that business owners aren’t SEO experts.
So, while you’re on the search for an SEO company to work for you, keep these guidelines in mind and help your business succeed.
When business owners hear the term “online marketing,” many people immediately think of the more overt advertising that they see when surfing the web. Banner ads, PPC links on search results and pop-up ads are certainly all very common tools used by internet marketers. Yet many companies have been relying on more SEO-oriented techniques to get their brand’s name recognized by internet users. This change of pace isn’t due to lackluster results from PPC, but rather a repurposed focus on trying to elevate organic search results over paid efforts.
The popular internet advertising mindset these days is to reduce the amount of direct marketing a company does in favor of building traffic and conversion rates more naturally. SEO companies have adopted traditional paid links as supplemental components to more robust organic campaigns, and for good reason. While PPC and banner ads can certainly bring in visitors to a website, they generally tend to give SEO firms more to worry about in the long run. Some of the more common reasons for marketing firms preferring organic links over inorganic ones are as follow:
The Daily Barrage of Ads, Ads, Ads
The biggest issue with most marketing is the way it’s perceived by potential customers. Sure, an advertisement here or there can get people to notice a company, but a flood of ads simply upset people. We’ve all been in situations where seeing the same banner or video ad ends up only making us annoyed at the piece of marketing in question or the company responsible for it. This ultimately achieves the exact opposite of what the marketing was intended to do – bring a person to a company’s site.
High Cost for Short Term Payoff
While pay per click advertisements are very effective at bringing in traffic, they can be costly. More popular keywords and ad networks can quickly become financial sinkholes if a marketing firm is not careful. Even if these ads are approached correctly, sometimes the amount of resources put into the project is too demanding overall. PPC ads are an excellent investment when done right, but the resulting traffic often drops off sharply once the campaign ends. It’s because of this that many SEOs are hesitant to rely too greatly on paid links for their clients.
Organic Marketing has a Higher Retention Rate
Despite all the issues that may arise with direct marketing, it’s really the strength of organic linkbuilding that matters most to a SEO firm. Organically-focused marketing campaigns succeed by strengthening a company’s online properties so they show up high up in the SERPs and bring in traffic without unnecessary financial investment. The conversion rates obtained through organic links are less resource-intensive and also benefit from previous work done to webpages and social media listings.
All these reasons add up to one inevitable conclusion: organic SEO efforts should always be the primary focus of any company’s online marketing efforts. Should readers have any questions about organic SEO vs. paid links, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.