I ran across this great infographic that lays out what happened with the Google Panda & Penguin updates and what to do moving forward. Click the image to enlarge…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



July 6th, 2012

Penguin Help!

Google Penguin Update Google’s last algorithm update (penguin) has a lot of businesses scrambling tofigure out what they did wrong to lose their rankings. Google awards websites that have original, fresh content, solid incoming links and referrals and social media activity. This is referred to as “white hat SEO”. Websites that try and gain popularity using techniques other than generating fresh content and engaging social content run the risk of losing what authority they do have.

 

In the words of Matt Cutts “The opposite of “white hat” SEO is something called “black hat webspam” (we say “webspam” to distinguish it from email spam). In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings”.

 

In the event your website was affected by the update, I would recommend you have an SEO professional to do a thorough audit on your website in order to check all of your on and off page SEO which should analyze your back links, internal hyperlinks and meta data etc etc. Make sure that the company can show you samples of the work they have done and sites that have withstood the test of time with good rankings.

 

The moral to the “Google Algorithm update disaster story” is to always monitor your websites analytics, and the activity of anyone you hire to build your page rank.

 

 

 



Companies starting digital marketing efforts from scratch are frequently torn by this simple question: PPC or SEO? More and more, clients commonly start with PPC strategies, while SEO is viewed as a medium-term strategy.

Many companies frequently lack either the digital assets or the domain authority to immediately compete in SEO. Until companies can reconcile these obstacles, it’s a good idea to get PPC campaigns in place as quickly as possible.

Many Services + Minimal Bandwidth = Pilot SEO Program

This strategy is particularly effective for campaigns with a wide number of service offering or products. A hospital might have 30-50 core services that vary distinctly in nature such as endoscopy, mammography, pediatrics, primary care, and psychiatry.

The vast majority of organizations simply don’t have the bandwidth and resources necessary to create the content, imaging, video, web development, socialization, PR, and links required to rank for numerous service lines. Especially for organizations new to SEO (or ones trying to fight their way into a competitive market), it frequently makes more sense to focus efforts on less than a handful of keyword groups and start a pilot program.

Using PPC data as the backbone to an SEO Pilot

One of the hidden benefits of PPC data is that it brings great clarity to the SEO strategy. PPC campaigns have the benefit of providing a mountain of performance data in a short period of time. Within 30 days of running a pilot PPC campaign, a company can quickly understand the keywords that drive actual revenue, not just unique visits and rankings (which are meaningless metrics without revenue).

What Metrics to Look for

Look for ad groups that have strong volume-level metrics (high impressions and clicks), engagement-level metrics (high CTR, low bounce rate, and high time on site) and conversion-level metrics (strong conversion rates, low cost/conversion, high ROI).

These metrics should answer the following three questions that every marketer needs to know to be successful:

  • Is there enough volume to justify SEO efforts?
  • Are consumers interested in the business proposition?
  • Is it possible convert leads/sales at an efficient price? (There is a direct correlation between CPC price and organic competition.)

Mapping These Keywords Back to Search

By this point, you should hopefully have an idea of your strongly performing PPC service lines. Next, it’s important to investigate the SEO landscape to see the level of competition for these types of keywords. SEO Quake is a great free tool that will provide invaluable data, such as the number and type of incoming links that facilitate top rankings. If top ranking competitors have an abundance of incoming links to the ranking page, it might not be the best starting point for a pilot program.

In general, try to find soft spots (keywords that drive volume and revenue without requiring 20,000 incoming links). Additionally, look at the type of pages and domains that rank within this space? If mostly news, strong brands, or .gov sites rank within the space, it might not be the right keyword to target for SEO.

SEO Now Becomes More ROI Targeted

Once a company has a clear understanding of the opportunity gaps that exist within a marketplace, SEO reinvestment suddenly becomes much less of a guessing game. It also becomes much easier to project financial gains based on the more accurate search volume. The question of “how much should I invest?” suddenly becomes quite obvious based on the total revenue created by search-network PPC campaigns.

The figure below is a high-level illustration of how one might strategically integrate this data:

serp-ranking-difficulty-chart

As can be seen above, Keywords 13, 14, and 10 represent extremely high opportunity, whereas Keyword 6 represents great long-term opportunity. In this example, link building, content, and asset management should clearly take priority around these high opportunity keywords.

Summary

While PPC data isn’t perfect, it has the power to fuel SEO campaigns with the following:

  • A more accurate understanding of monthly search volume (especially within specific regional parameters).
  • Integrated ROI data for highly refined keyword research.
  • A strong understanding of effective ad copy that can potentially be integrated in body content, title tags, and meta descriptions.
  • Effective call-to-actions based on keyword type.
Article by John Lynch at Search Engine Watch


 

Scottish bazillionaire Brian Souter made headlines this week when he pointedly accused Google of censoring him because his site dropped in the SERPs. Said Sir Brian, “It’s not Google’s place to decide which sites we can see and those we can’t.”

These complaints happen every day, actually; stop by the Google Webmaster Forum and pick one of the dozens threads accusing Google of arbitrarily penalizing or deindexing a site. They surface daily. Most of these complaints don’t get this kind of exposure, though.

The common theme in the majority of the complaints seems to be that webmasters haven’t looked at their site objectively in an effort to determine what they might have done to cause the issue. Often, the problems are obvious and fixable.

brian-souter-website

Timing and Bite of the Evil Panda

Sir Brian fell back several pages in the SERPs on August 13. Souter claimed that his site had “mysteriously disappeared,” but he still had 46 pages indexed, so he hadn’t been removed by Google.

Is it any coincidence that Google officially launched Panda internationally on August 12, the day before Sir Souter’s ranking dropped? I think not.

Until yesterday, you could find an exact duplicate of Souter’s site at www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com/; it was removed sometime overnight.

google-panda-how-can-we-survive-infographicImage Credit: Attach Media

Your Baby is Ugly

No one wants to hear it, I know, it’s cruel. But it is what it is. Souter’s site is clunky, old, and not user-friendly at all.

In the generation of me, what are you doing to attract me, your reader, to your site and make it easy for me to find what I’m looking for, Sir Brian?

You have all of this information about Stagecoach in different links within your Profile page, but I had no idea it was there until I actually visited the Profile page. A dropdown menu on the main navigation would give me some clue as to what your site contains and why I should want to stay and keep reading.

Few Backlinks & Social Presence Lacking

Your website isn’t a billboard; you can’t just stick it up and leave it for 10 years and hope for the best. Millions of others are making an effort to meet the needs of their audience and stay current.

The online landscape is constantly changing and webmasters have to make at least some semblance of an effort to keep up… even if they feel entitled because of who they are.

Rankings Dropped? What You Should Do First

If your ranking has suddenly dropped or you believe it might have been removed from Google’s index, do at least the following things before throwing on your tinfoil hat and assuming the Intrawebz are out to get you:

  • Do a Google search for site:yourwebsite.com with your URL to see if your site is still indexed. If you get results, you haven’t been removed; your ranking has dropped for some reason. If you’ve been removed, you need to find out why and apply for re-inclusion at Webmaster Central once you’ve cleaned up your problem.
  • Do a Google search for “yourwebsite.com” with your URL in quotations. You should be in the top 10 results. If your site appears back on page four or five, you have most likely been penalized by Google.
  • Have you a bought or exchanged links?
  • Have you hired or otherwise allowed someone else to make changes to your site, and do you understand what they did? If you were ranking really well for a time and suddenly dropped, you need to find out if they were using black hat tactics such as cloaking on your site.
  • Look at your site objectively. Better yet, have someone else go over it for you. Are you giving Google the information it needs to crawl and rank your site for the terms you’re after? Is your site easy to navigate and user friendly? Be honest, the only person you’re hurting by wearing blinders is yourself.

Search Engine Manipulation?

Sir Brian Souter released a statement this morning asking webmasters to contact him if their sites have been blocked by Google, seemingly unaware that his own site, in fact, isn’t blocked at all. Is he ever in for a treat!

I suspect he’s about to get a flood of emails, 95 percent of which will be from webmasters whose sites were legitimately penalized or removed for things they could simply fix. It’s always easier to throw the problem in someone else’s lap than to admit that yes, your baby is, in fact, ugly.

Article by Miranda Miller from Search Engine Watch



July 22nd, 2011

7 Unbreakable SEO Rules

As a practice and industry, SEO is constantly evolving. Sites are seemingly at the mercy of the search engines, who usually can’t be bothered to give the site owners a heads up before they update their algorithm. Every few weeks it seems like someone is heralding the death of SEO, but evolution does not equal demise. Over time, tactics and methods change to work inside the guidelines of the search engines and to meet the needs of the online user, but the core fundamentals of SEO have remained the same.

Here are 7 basic rules of SEO:

1. Understand User-Intent

Keyword research is the cornerstone of any SEO campaign. Understanding user-intent when conducting and selecting your keywords is critical to getting your SEO off on the right foot and helping the right audience find your site. For instance, are “gym shoes,” “sneakers” and “tennis shoes,” the same thing? For some consumers those three words are completely interchangeable. But if a tennis player were looking for a new pair of shoes, they would search using “tennis shoes” and expect a very specific result. It doesn’t matter how you would search for your brand/products, it only matters how your target audience searches. Targeting the wrong keywords because you failed to understand the intent of the search means you’ll miss out on potential traffic and customers.

2. Don’t Rush Your Link Building

It is crucial for the search engines to see a diversified approach to link building that slowly grows over time. A blended approach demonstrates your commitment to white hat link building and building your online presence naturally. The search engines are very aware that they are playing a game with spammers and black hat SEO users, and they don’t plan on losing. If you develop too many links too fast, even if they are good quality links, this can raise a red flag with the search engines and your site could be penalized.

3. Content is King

Content is anything that is public and shareable. This includes blog web page content, blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, whitepapers and more. It is also the most important factor of a website’s long term SEO success. Content should always be written for the end user, not for the search engines. You have to remember that the search engines are not going to be the ones purchasing your products or services, people are. Optimize your content so the search engines can find it, but don’t forget that it has to be human friendly first.

4. Be Strategic, Not Spammy

This is especially important in regards to social media marketing and social SEO. If you really wanted to, you could create a hundred different Twitter profiles to promote your content through. But what kind of real value are you getting from those profiles other than a link? You don’t have to tackle every aspect of SEO at once. Frankly, there just isn’t enough time in a day to take on that much work upfront. Pick and choose your battles so you don’t overdo it. Flooding the online market with low-quality SEO doesn’t help build your brand or
reputation.

5. SEO is Long Term

This is probably the hardest thing for those new to SEO to wrap their heads around. SEO is not a quick fix to your online marketing. No, you won’t be ranking on the first page of Google for all your keywords by tomorrow, next week, or even next month. This is especially true if you recently launched your site. It takes a long time to build up your trust factor with the search engines.

SEO builds upon itself over time, but that doesn’t mean that once you have reached the first page in the search engines that you get to pack it up and call it a day. The Internet is continually growing and evolving. If you want to stay at the top, you have to keep working for it. It doesn’t take long for your site to slip down in the results pages if you abandon your SEO.

6. Follow Search Engine Guidelines

Google, Bing and Yahoo want you to do well with your SEO because it helps clean up their search results. A better SERP makes for a happier search engine user. Search engines are in the business of pleasing the customer, just like everyone else. If your site can’t help them do that, you won’t ever rank well. That’s why every site owner and marketer has to read the Google and Bing Webmaster Guidelines. Consider those guidelines your SEO line in the sand. If they call something black hat, then treat it as such and avoid it. It can be very tempting to test out the black hat side of SEO, especially when you see your competition doing it and seemingly getting away with it. Just don’t! Sooner or later the search engines catch on and your site will be penalized.

7. Integrate Everything

Just about all your online marketing (and offline marketing) efforts can be leveraged for SEO. One of the biggest mistakes you could make is keeping your actions in separate silos. SEO works best when it is incorporated into the mix, becoming an essential component of your online marketing. If your company has a large marketing department, don’t segregate the SEO guy back to the IT department. Bring him aboard the marketing team and you’ll achieve greater online success.

Article Written By Nick Stamoulis – posted in Site Pro News



Are you paying a lot for you Google Adwords program? Chances are yes, especially if you are within the top 20 categories.

Google makes a heck of a lot of money from online advertising. In fact, 97 percent of Google’s revenue, which totaled $33.3 billion in the past twelve months, comes from advertising.

Internet Marketing Magicians is managing more and more Adwords Pay Per Click campaigns as we grow our small to medium sized client base and are now using a platform to help us manage campaigns more efficiently. The Internet Marketing software is called WordStream.

Wordstream, a venture capital-backed provider of hosted software that automates most of the manual work involved with creating and optimizing both paid and natural search engine marketing campaigns, has done some research to discover which keyword categories fetch the highest costs per click (CPC) in Google’s AdWords solution.

And of course, they made an infographic based on the results of their research (embedded below).

WordStream compiled data from its own, vast keyword database and the Google Keyword Tool to determine the top 10,000 most expensive English-language keywords over a 90-day period.

Subsequently, the list was organized into categories by theme. The largest keyword categories were then determined by weighting the number of keywords within each category, as well as the estimated monthly search volume and average cost per click for each keyword.

For the record, Google AdWords is an auction-based marketplace where advertisers bid on keywords to compete for top ad placement, with a minimum bid of 5 cents per keyword (update:actually, there’s no longer a minimum bid for CPC campaigns).

The top twenty keyword categories that demanded the highest costs per click are:

1. Insurance (example keyword: “auto insurance price quotes”)
2. Loans (example keyword: “consolidate graduate student loans”)
3. Mortgage (example keyword: “refinanced second mortgages”)
4. Attorney (example keyword: “personal injury attorney”)
5. Credit (example keyword: “home equity line of credit”)
6. Lawyer
7. Donate
8. Degree
9. Hosting
10. Claim
11. Conference Call
12. Trading
13. Software
14. Recovery
15. Transfer
16. Gas/Electricity
17. Classes
18. Rehab
19. Treatment
20. Cord Blood

Unsurprisingly, the list of most expensive keyword categories is clearly a result from people who, en masse, turn to the Web in search for help, whether it’s for financial, educational, professional services or medical aid. WordStream concludes that the keyword categories with the highest volumes and costs represent industries with very high lifetime customer value: in other words, companies that can afford to pay a lot to acquire a new customer because of the nature of their business.

But I would have personally never imagined that ‘insurance’ would be netting Google up to almost $55 per click. Think about that for a minute….
Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

© 2011 WordStream, Inc.

 

 



Optimizing your social presence for search is important, right? That is certainly what we’ve all been told for some time, but determining why it’s important and deciding where to focus can be challenging. Exponential growth of a medium is great and all, but your problems figuring out how to tame the wild beast tend to grow exponentially as well.

Let’s discuss a couple of simple ideas regarding conversational media (i.e., social networking sites and blogs) and its relation to search:

  1. How to help your social pages rank better
  2. How to help your website rank better with social influences

A Little Perspective About the Market as a Whole

The growth in activity at conversational media sites is undeniable. The number of unique has increased more than 80 percent since 2007 to 213 million in May 2011, while total visits to the category grew 136 percent to 6.2 billion.

Since a search click to a website represents one type of site visit, this is where we can begin to connect the dots on influence between navigation events. The number of search clicks to the category reached 845 million in May, accounting for 13.5 percent of the total visits to the category. That number has grown 145 percent since 2007, outpacing gains in both unique visitors and total category visits.

Search Terms for Conversational Media

Branded social media searches (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and people searches (e.g., friends, celebrities) appear to be the two primary growth drivers of search clicks.

Although these types of terms still make up the vast majority of the terms driving traffic to conversational media sites, the fastest growing search traffic segment is actually big name brands. Well-known consumer brands have finally begun to embrace their conversational media assets and are driving a considerable amount of traffic directly to Facebook and Twitter in addition to their own websites.

When combining the top 20 brand names in retail, finance, and travel, their branded searches delivered over 1.6 million clicks directly to Facebook, a 1,300 percent increase since mid-2009.

Macys Facebook Ad

How to Help Your Social Pages Rank Better

Links on SERPs are like shelves in a store: Owning more shelf space, and the more varieties you have to offer, invariably will drive more sales (clicks). Because you will already own the premium position for your website for your branded searches, further promotion of your social media assets can only improve your end game.

In collaboration with SEO software vendor BrightEdge Technologies, we’ve identified three simple steps you can take to improve the rankings of your social pages.

Link From Your Homepage

It can’t be as simple as linking from your homepage, can it? Actually, it can because search engine algorithms absolutely value these links when scoring sites (more on this later).

Despite this reality, 6 of the top 20 most searched for Retail brands did not have any sort of social media integration on their homepages. Talk about a missed opportunity! Linking from your home page and using your brand name in the link will have immediate impact.

McDonalds Facebook

Use Brand Names in Posts

URLs that match search terms have a built in advantage for high SEO rankings on that search. This same principle will apply to the words you use in your social media posts, so be sure to use the brand names of your company and your products when posting for maximum effect.

Facebook McDonalds Product

Get Likes

Search engine algorithms value crowd science quite heavily in their rankings (link building relationships). This same type of value is given to likes, follows, +1’s, etc. This is an inherent trust metric and will impact rankings as well.

Getting likes can be easier said than done. It may require some creative marketing tactics that engage your customers and make them smile.

Facebook McDonalds Likes Comments

Helping Your Website Rank Better With Social Influences

The first part of this column discussed how to drive better rankings for your social media pages. Clearly this has become more of a priority than it was a couple of years ago – particularly for branded terms – but will never be of the same volume and SEO coverage as your own websites. The more important goal is figuring out how to use social media influence to impact your owned media assets.

Social signals drive SEO performance, but how important is it? According to data from BrightEdge, between 75 and 90 percent of the top 10 search results on any given SERP have at least one Facebook like or Twitter tweet. These numbers and the related influence will spike sharply, especially for industries such as retail and finance.

Social Signals by Industry Brightedge

Start With the Basics

Visitors to your website are usually interested in your company and your products, so don’t miss the opportunity to invite them into your treasured social media circle. Invite them to connect, like, follow, and/or share your company and your product pages.

Connect Like Follow Share

Target Head Terms With Social Media Friendly Pages

For most companies, head terms make up a large percentage of their referral traffic. Although these terms drive high volume in both searches and clicks, they are often very competitive for page/position rank.

Ensuring that your head term landing pages are social media friendly with further impact your overall SEO ranking for these coveted terms. The more likes and follows your landing pages have, the higher they will rank.  Therefore, encouraging visitors to take social media action with a “bookmark & share” drop down menu will further your landing page SEO efforts.

Bookmark and Share

Create Tools That Are Easy to Share

An easy to share tool is something that is visually appealing and simple to use. Too many times you arrive at a website that has expert only tools available for analysis, searching, sorting, and the like.  Or you find a tool that is easy to use for all of these things, you would love to tell someone about it, and there is no sharing drop down.

Either of these scenarios is negatively impacting your use of social media SEO influence. Think about the types of assets you have on your site that begat social involvement and make it simple to do.

Drive Social Engagement to Your Website

Facebook offers a variety of social plugins you can utilize on your site. Different plugins encourage different types of engagement, so choose wisely on which ones work best for each part of your site.

Social Plugins Like Send Comments Activity

Conclusion

Social media and search share a two way street of influence. Social media assets have reached enough critical mass to rank on the first page of search results, as well as directly contribute to the SEO ranking of your website pages.

Although many companies are taking advantage of this established medium, many others have not and are missing a sizeable opportunity. By implementing some of the best practices mentioned here, you can ensure that your social media and search teams are working together and that your organization isn’t being left behind.

Article originally posted by Eli Goodman at Search Engine Watch

 



Got Peeps in need of SEO/Web Marketing Services? If so the send them our way! If they turn into a customer, we will give you a nice fat 10% commission for simply referring. That could add up when you are talking a $5000-$10000 contract eh!

If you have someone in mind, just fill out our contact form here, and

type in the subject line “Referral from [your name]

So Spread the word and spread the magic! Also remember that 2% of all sales goes to the non-profit organization Love Knows No Bounds!

We appreciate your support and business!



Search engines: 81%
Link from another site: 59%

* Source: Forrester Research Inc.

Unfortunately, many online businesses fail to address the importance of search engine optimization, building their site with the idea that they will just start a pay-per click program or get a few links coming to their site or worse yet, they don’t think about it at all until they realize they have no traffic. Many think that the first set of eyes to view their site is the visitor. Wrong. The first audience to view your copy will be the search engine. If you don’t use the right keywords, all your efforts are in vain. Search engines rely on visible content for categorizing and toward ranking your site, so keyword-rich body text on of the key factors in maintaining a good ranking.



 

Back links or incoming links to your web site are essential in getting your website higher on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) and ultimately improving your rank. “I have lots of links coming to my site though and still have a poor ranking and organic search engine position”! you say. What you need to ask yourself if this is your case, are the following questions…

1 – How many back links do your competitors have?

2 – Are my back links high authority links? i.e. page rank of 3 or more and relevant to my sites content in some way.

3-Are my back links one way or reciprocal?

4-Did I pay for a link building service that promised me 200 links per week? If so, you are linked to “link farms,” which Google and other search engines and directories don’t like?

Want an analysis of your back links or to enroll in a solid link building program? Call IMM!

 



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