Posts Tagged ‘SEO Today’

2010 New Years Eve Celebrations Around the World

December 31st, 2009

2010 New Years Eve CelebrationsWe are always fascinated by the many New Year celebrations worldwide. Ringing in the New Year gives us insight to other cultures yet shows that we all do have some common ground.

Search Visible, Inc. wishes all of our clients, friends and family around the world a safe and prosperous New Year in 2010.

Some fun websites to help you ring in the New Year:

YouTube’s highlight videos for year 2009:
YouTube New Years Channel

UStream.TV suggests the following:
Times Square, New York, US
Funchal Harbor, Island of Madeira, Portugal
Junkanoo Festival, Nassau, Bahamas

The BBC News gives us video highlights for:
New Year’s Celebrations

The New York Times suggests some Good-Luck recipes:
Cooking Up Luck for the New Year

If you can see the sky tonight from where you are, know that there is/will be a Blue Moon tonight to help us see clearly into 2010!

The first to ring in the 2010 New Year were those in Auckland, New Zealand:
Fireworks from Auckland’s Sky Tower

Set your clocks for a New Year’s Eve to remember – we hope to see you all soon!

Projections for Online Search in 2010

December 19th, 2009

2010 Online Search Projections

  • Setup on on-site blog. If you have one already then make sure it is effectively being used to support internal website pages.
  • Use real-time channels for branding, website updates & keyword support. At least understand how real-time information is being used in Search.
  • Some of the better real-time areas to participate in are: Facebook, Twitter, online Press Releases, Blogs and other dated online forms of information.
  • Pay attention to local options, internal and external to your website, especially if you can and should be found locally.
  • Consider a mobile website: sites sized to show on phone browsers.
  • Don’t neglect your on-site SEO. Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization are still important and the continuing basis for the major search engines.

Getting Personal – Information on Google’s Personalized Search

December 5th, 2009

Several have asked for an explanation on the recent news that Google has enabled “Personalized Search for Everyone”. Truly, this is not anything to panic about, nor is it really new news! Search marketing and SEO work for those like me in the ‘biz’ should continue as usual!


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic

In an attempt to enjoy my weekend and not feel the need to paraphrase what has already been very well written on the topic of Google and Personalization, I have assembled a list of links below showing you some really good information – and the timelines – describing how Personalization works. Thank Danny Sullivan from Search Engine World for such nice descriptive articles – along with a few GoogleBlog write-ups on their various announcements on the topic.

Google’s announcements on Personalization:

- Jun 28, 2005
Search Gets Personal
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/06/search-gets-personal.html

- Feb 02, 2007
Personally Speaking
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/personally-speaking.html

- Sep 24, 2007
Search Privacy and Personalized Search
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/search-privacy-and-personalized-search.html

- Dec 04, 2009
Personalized Search for Everyone
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/personalized-search-for-everyone.html

Danny Sullivan’s insights to the Google Personalization directives:

- Jun 28, 2005
Google Relaunches Personal search – This Time, It Really Is Personal
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/050628-073541

- Feb 2, 2007
Google Ramps Up Personalized Search
http://searchengineland.com/google-ramps-up-personalized-search-10430

- Apr 19, 2007
Google Search History Expands, Becomes Web History
http://searchengineland.com/google-search-history-expands-becomes-web-history-11016

- Jul 30, 2008
Google Now Notifies of “Search Customization” & Gives Searchers Control
http://searchengineland.com/google-now-notifies-of-search-customization-gives-searchers-control-14485

- Nov 5, 2009
Google Dashboard Offers New Privacy Controls
http://searchengineland.com/google-dashboard-offers-new-privacy-controls-29223

- Dec 4, 2009
Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results
http://searchengineland.com/google-now-personalizes-everyones-search-results-31195

If you didn’t have time to read all of the above, the Google Personalization feature is mainly controlled by the installation and use of various Google products. The main ones that are in control are the following:

Web History – www.google.com/history
Google Toolbar – toolbar.google.com

And, if you are freaked out or just don’t like these features, Google has provided tools to disable and/or turn off personalization:
http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54048

Note: There are many more articles on the topic from where these came from. We picked these as they give a nice overview on the topic. Hope it all helps explain!

Google Product Extensions – Not Just For The “PlusBox” Anymore!

December 3rd, 2009

As of November 24, 2009, Google gave us “Product Extensions” as a way to highlight our AdWords ads with images of our products. Several of our clients have asked about this feature, so we’ve decided to show you some examples of Google’s Product Extensions feature in action. The different screen shots below show varied industries, through search terms, and how these product images can really highlight and draw the eye to a product in search, paid or organic:

Google Adwords Product Extensions - bean bag chairs

There are different ways in which you can control your images and information and the ways Google does as well. Google makes visual changes to it’s search results pages all the time.

Google Adwords Product Extensions - personalized pens

And the comparison shopping feature for very competitive industries like “ink jet cartridges” below:

Google Adwords Product Extensions - ink jet cartridges

Below’s screen shot image shows the “plusbox” feature expanded under the ad. Not quite sure I like that advertisers selection of images, or lack thereof, to display for this particular query, but…you gotta start somewhere.

Google Adwords Product Extensions - dog beds

If you aren’t sure about how it works know that you’ll need both your AdWords account and a Merchant account to help you out with product extensions enabled campaigns. Here’s some info from Google:

http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/11/product-extensions-available-to-all-us.html

And, you can always ask us for more info, you know where to find us – we are Search Visible! We’ll help you get it set up!

Twitter – A Passing Fad or Future Tool for Business

October 12th, 2009

Twitter - Fad or FutureIt’s funny that so many really think that Twitter only started this year. It was actually founded back in 2006 and most professional internet marketers, search enthusiasts and regular bloggers were playing with it from the start.

Business associates and clients know that I have suggested using Twitter for business starting back in 2007 (I like to play and test things before I recommend it to anyone). And, I still get the question “Is Twitter just a Fad?”

My best answer to that is emphatically “NO”! If we take the hypothetical and suggest that Twitter is, in fact, going to go away, I am willing to bet you big money (cash only, please) that there will be something almost exactly like it that would take its place. Think about it…Twitter is currently one of the best forms of online real-time information available right now. We have all seen the impact of this online form of information, good, bad or ugly and, I believe, we will continue to look for it in some form or another, through means of Twitter or other. If Twitter were to suddenly go away, something else would follow suit immediately and without question.

What that means to the online industry is that we all need to know how this sort of information works, how we can make it better, how we can control it, and, basically, how we continue to use it. This real-time form of communication, made celebrity-status by Twitter, is a fundamental way in which we now communicate online.

Twitter, Twitter applications, the Twitter brand … who knows what will happen with this independent company, maybe Google or Microsoft will be looking to talk to them (http://www.dbtechno.com/internet/2009/10/08/twitter-in-talks-with-microsoft-and-google/), hmmm?! – But, the way we have learned to interact online in this quick, easy, real-time fashion will never go away. It may change slightly and hopefully it will only get better. My job as an Internet Marketing professional will only be enhanced by this. Allowing me yet another avenue to help businesses and clients learn to communicate online in effective, engaging and appropriate ways. It gives me, and everyone online, additional ways to rank, market products or services, branding options… and make money that pays my bills!

We have gotten used to getting our information “now”, updated regularly and always current. I don’t see the Twitter bird flying off anytime soon – colors or names may change but the function will not. We should look to continually learn more about real-time functions and tools AND keep on the understanding that this type of real-time information is as an added benefit to business, not just a passing fad!

Twitter and Realtime Search

Here’s a great video of stats and other info pertaining to various social channels (it supports my thoughts [wink]) from Socialnomics.net on the Social Media Revolution:



So, bottom line…go get started, get used to using and incorporating some of the real-time tools we now have access to. Twitter, for now, is a really cool one to check out.

5 NO’s of SEO

May 28th, 2009

The worst part of my job as an Internet Marketing and SEO Consultant is that I am always having to tell my clients “no”. It always feels like I am the one delivering nothing but bad news. I am the one who finds all the problems with your online activity, whether internal or external to the site and its pages, server problems, content issues, social media guffaws, link building craziness, etc, etc. The good news, however, is that I get to help you fix all those problems, issues, guffaws and craziness! Then everyone is happy!

Anyway, here are a few of the “NOs” of SEO that I dealt with this last week with clients:

No! When it was suggested that it was a good idea to add a blog to your site, it did NOT mean that you could copy content from another site!

A blog is most useful if it set up to enhance the current information of your website. It needs to be unique and well written in the same vain that a static website page would be BUT it has the advantage of a more personal touch, time sensitive info can go here too, and/or things that might change later. Blog comes for the words “web log” and is a log of things going on presently. If the information is valid forever, then you might consider a static webpage to add to the site overall. Go back to your old blogs and see if they are still valid and move them to a static page too if you’d like – but be careful how you make the move and consider a 301 redirect if the information goes to a new page.

No! When it was suggested to set up a Twitter account for your business, it did NOT mean say whatever you want, personal, political, or opinionated.

For business, a Twitter account is best for notification and newly updated information about the business. Alerts to sales, specials or new blog post and pages can be done here. This is also a great area for customer control. People can get to you easily in Twitter. You can correct any misconceptions, problems or issues here. You can strike up conversations with like minded or complimentary businesses here too. Don’t forget to “listen” here to see what others are doing and saying. You can learn a lot from other Twitter voices! There are lots of things to do on Twitter without getting personal, political, or opinionated.

No! When it was suggested to set up a custom 404 error page, it did not mean that it should render as a server response of a 200 code.

There are several types of situations that can cause you (and your site) grief if not set up correctly – we could write pages on ways to set this up incorrectly. The main thing is to make sure that if you do generate a pretty custom page to use when a page-not-found occurs is to have these two things working:

1) Make sure a server response error of a 404 is generated to the spiders if they find a bad link and…

2) As an extra safety precaution, add a Meta Robots tag to the custom error page:
meta content=”noindex”

No! When it was suggested that it was a good idea to have a separate area for test pages to be viewed online, it did not mean that these pages should be shared with the search engine spiders and made index-able too.

If you set up a test area, whether using a sub-domain or separate test directory area of the site or even a totally separated URL, using an IP address or domain name then you really must disallow these areas to be indexed by the spiders until they are ready to go truly live. Having test pages accessible can cause you and your site grief here too depending on the reasons for testing pages – so be careful and protect your self until all is ready.

There are a couple of ways to keep entire websites and individual pages from being crawled and placed in the search engine indexes:

1) At the top level of your website, you can, and should, have a robots.txt file. This is a Disallow file where you can easily disallow every page of a site from being indexed or individual directories and pages. You can get specifics on how to set up a robots.txt file and how to use it at this site: www.robotstxt.org

Note: This file allows for other functionality too – again, maybe another post!

2) At the individual page level, you can add the following Meta Tag in the head area of your pages:
meta content=”noindex”

Note: This tag also has additional functionality, email me for more info if you need it.

No! When it was suggested that an online Press Release might be a good idea, it did not mean it was a good idea to have links in the press release linking to other websites.

Having a good reason to write a Press Release is great and once released that news and information is out there and can spread like wildfire. These releases are posted using online PR sites, such as www.prweb.com, www.prnewswire.com – this list goes on. But the main take away is that the content is not yours. It is not on your site. It is given to the PR sites to distribute freely. Since it is online, you want it written so that you, your website, is the main draw. You want to budget for the extra expense it can cost to add a link to your PR information and you want that link to be to your site! If it is really important to send the readers to another site for whatever reason, then do your best to have your web page linked to first in the article and then theirs in the next! Do yourself (and your site) that favor!

Also, good anchor text for the links/links can be invaluable here too – oops, another topic for another time – sorry! Enough for today! Gotta go tell some more clients “no”!!

Recalls and Product Safety for Search Engine Shopping Channels

March 11th, 2009

It’s been interesting setting out to understand how when an item is recalled, like in the case of several Four Paws dog toys, that 3rd party sellers or vendors can’t easily be stopped. Since we spend a lot of time online and after seeing a recent Fox news story update about the sad situation for Chai and Dan regarding the Four Paws pimple ball toy, we decided to see just how many of these toys remained online and through the main search engine shopping channels.

Fourpaws Recalled Dog Toy
We did find that all three of the top search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Live Search) had these products still listed in their products databases as of 03/10/2009. We also noticed Amazon had them too. We’ve email friends and connections (we’re lucky because we actually have a few good ones to call) and only one responded. Wait, did I say “good” friends!!! Actually both Yahoo and MSN friends responded back. Yahoo is waiting on the technical team to get back to him so we have to wait. But, MSN made an excellent suggestion. Our friend suggested going to their “webpage removal request” form and see what happens. We gave MSN all the info, links to items listed in their shopping lists and to Four Paws actual dog toys recall page. They wrote us back that help for this was better directed to their shopping FAQ page but we were unable to find anything that would work and no email form or address for this type of request. Nonetheless, all the items we told MSN about miraculously disappeared later that day from their shopping database. Yay!!

Google, well I’m sorry to say that our “friends” seem to respond to other more basic questions but not to ours, not sure why. I don’t want to think that they don’t care about our dogs?! I know they are currently in travel status so we’ll keep bugging them till we hear. – Actually, we are going to try their “webpage removal request” form too just for the heck of it.

As far as Amazon goes, we did send an email to customer service. Their response back was to go to their “Report a Community Rules Violation” form, which we did but have not heard back yet. We don’t have friends there, so maybe that explains it! [tick, tick]

Anyway, we’ll stay on this in hopes of figuring out why there isn’t anything special in place to report official recalled items, dog toys or other! We can easily report malicious or inappropriate web pages, why not dangerous or even deadly recalled products!!

Hey, if you guys know how to request product removals, please shoot us an email or comment! We would love to at least keep our dogs safe here!

SEO and the Recession – Gaining with Search Visibility

October 16th, 2008

I think the “recession” here might refer more appropriately to my “recessed” attention to this blog! I need to do better!

It can’t have been more than a few weeks ago that I was mentioning to a friend that I didn’t think that the SEO marketplace would hurt from the recession issues related to the economy. I explained that SEO services should be in even more demand based on the fact that website owners will need to expand more to cover more ground because of less spending. It isn’t that no one is spending. It is that there is a definite decline in spending. So if you have a website that ranks on the first page for, say, 10 keywords and now you have a 1/3 decline in spending based on those rankings then how about you cover twice as many keywords and get them to page one. You’ll end up with far more financial gain than loss! Then you can smile when the word “recession” comes up!

But, I must have been wrong with my thinking!! Suddenly one of my favorite clients is making cut-backs. Their investors are suffering so they are cutting back across the board. They are worried about the decrease in spending overall along with the upcoming holidays. Ok, yes, there will be a decrease for the current keywords we’ve gained rankings for but we have a lot more to do guys!!! I just don’t understand the rationale behind worrying that no one will spend when, by cutting back on SEO and marketing, you are making damned sure that no one will spend!! It’s a vicious cycle, it seems, with no one winning on any side.

Another interesting part of what I personally have seen and felt in the industry of SEO is by working with companies as both an internal and external SEO analyst. I work most of my time as an in-house SEO analyst (for the best company ever!) and as an external SEO consultant with the rest of my time! And by “in-house”, I am not actually in their house but in mine accessing their system through remote connection means. It’s great. Working both internally and externally has allowed me the privilege to see how the recession affects both groups. What I am seeing is that the external consultant will suffer more. Mainly because I believe their fees overall are higher. I know my fees are higher as a consultant than as an in-house analyst. But then, my fees are higher as a consultant because those clients don’t sign on for the long haul. They generally are with me anywhere for 3 months to a year. My in-house client signed me on for endless services! I do like that. I actually prefer that. My in-house client gets more out of me… and for less. I can trust that they’ll still pay me whether there are immediate ranking improvements or not. They truly understand the process of SEO, that’s why they’ve signed on to my services for the long term.

Ok so…I need to find more in-house clients to work my SEO magic!!
Although, honestly, those out there thinking of cutting back on SEO, consultant or not, you are just fueling your own recession. So stop that! If you have a website and you don’t have an SEO advisor of some kind, then, go get one. And…there is always Search Visible Websites! The more you reach out through increased rankings for your website, the more visitors you’ll get to your website.

Best Link Building Techniques

April 7th, 2008

No time today – and for a while now – sorry! I’ve been traveling, training, SEOing for several important clients in the US and in Europe. Could things just quiet down for a brief second??!!

But, good news – and good information was collected over at SEOmoz on the “…Best Link Building Techniques”. I saw it a bit late but added a few extra link building items myself that you might find interesting.

Read the whole blog – note the higher votes – take notes and off you go to work on this. This was a nice gathering of intelligent and useful link building tips for anyone with a website to look into.

How to Find a Decent SEO – Interviewing an SEO Consultant

February 7th, 2008

First, “decent” does not pertain to politeness or socially correct. It does, however, pertain here to someone who can “do the job”!!! — I hope that you will find that this person can also be decently polite and socially correct too!

So, finding someone who will “get the job done” means understanding what that job is! The Search Engine Optimization job means that you will get increased rankings for a variety of good and valuable keywords (defining and understanding good and valuable keywords will come in a later blog post) for your website pages. If your SEO can increase your Page Rank by getting more inbound links pointing to your site and creating a good internal linking structure, then you’ve really hit the right guy (or gal – yup… that would be me!).

Those are the measurable successes that you are looking for, but, finding someone who fits that description and can actually “do” this for your site takes asking the right questions.

1) Are there websites that the SEO can put on their list of “optimized” sites?
An SEO may be able to suggest a website he or she has optimized but how do you really know? You can’t verify that unless the owner/operator of the website will confirm this – sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are always confidentiality issues that seem to be present in this industry. Ask anyway and see how far you can push to get this information and get it verified.

2) Do they “guarantee” ranking increases?
If they do – run fast, run very fast!! About the only “guarantee” you can get would, hopefully, be for your website domain name and/or specialized business name – but even then I’ve seen issues of too many similarities in some names. The only other guarantee might be for a very obscure keyword and/or one that really isn’t terribly valuable and simply won’t bring the numbers of visitors that might help to pay for the SEO services.

Now – if they guarantee that they will work hard and describe or show you everything that they are doing or planning on doing then you might want them to stick around!

3) How many clients do they have?
An SEO consultant that restricts the number of clients or businesses that they take on is a good thing. You don’t want them overwhelmed, just trying to bring in the money, and then spending limited time on your site!

Personally, I don’t take on any new clients unless I have a minimum of 6 hours a week I can spend on them – that includes research time, review time, reporting time, competitive analysis time, content review time, link strategy time, communication time, etc, etc. Yes, that limits me, but I have time to do a good job – all the time!

4) Do they incorporate some sort of Linking Strategy that is part of their SEO services?
This relates to inbound (external) link building. This will also bring the most interesting of answers. Many SEOs only perform what is known as on-page optimization. On-page optimization focuses only on a variety of SEO factors that are found on individual pages already on your site. Take a look at our SEO Checklist, you’ll see a variety of elements that can be SEOed. There is actually a lot of work that can help a site that relates to these on-page factors. But, and that is a big BUT, you will want to find out if there are off-page factors that will be addressed during any given SEO project? These off-page factors are ones that can help develop inbound links pointing to your site. The more that an SEO can help you muster up the better – as long as no one is paying for those links! This linking strategy part of any SEO project can easily help pay for those SEO services if done correctly and effectively. Ask for their plan.

5) Will they suggest something that could help right away?
Ask if there is something the SEO would be willing to suggest even if you don’t choose them. There is always something that a good SEO is willing to “give away”. It’s difficult for a decent SEO to not want to help you right away.

I can look at a site and, within minutes, find something that can be done better or at least suggest that a prospective client could begin work on with or without me.

6) What sort of SEO Tools or Reporting do they use? And, will they be giving you access to those tools or reports?
You’ll want to know where your rankings for the keywords are before you start the project and definitely before you cut anyone their final check! Depending on the length of time that will be spent on the project, you should hopefully see some ranking increases for some keyword phrases, if nothing else, you shouldn’t have lost any rankings during the SEO process. There should be some sort of Ranking report that you can understand and have from your SEO consultant.

There may be other tools at your disposal – there are many Analytics tools/reports that are great – that will help with how your content is seen by the search engines, or information on who is linking to your site or even a competitor’s site, and a variety of other items that can help with evaluating and understanding the Search Engine Optimization process.

7) Where does the SEO get his updated information, and/or stay current in the industry?
This can be done through constant and continuous online research, monitoring websites, reading blogs, going to conferences, etc, etc. If there is a “buzz” word you’ve heard about, check and see if the SEO knows about it too.

Here’s a simple question that any SEO should know:
Question: About how many factors are involved in Google’s ranking algorithm?
Answer: As of this writing, there are about 200 ranking factors that play a part in the Google algorithm.

8) Last, but not least, the last question is one for you, the client. Ask yourself these questions:
Did you feel comfortable talking to the SEO Consultant?
Did you understand the answers given or was he or she too technical?
Did the consultant seem to pay attention to your questions or concerns?
Did you like spending time talking with this person?

– because this, hopefully, will become a nice long-term and valuable relationship!