Instead of deleting the old articles I had written, I decided to combine them on this page for future references.
April 27, 2018
An SEO client of ours recently asked me to look into their Adwords agency’s performance, as they had spent close to $30K in two months. Understandably, this particular client felt that he was spending too much.
Gauging the Metrics
To view this particular client’s Adwords campaign, I needed to access Google Analytics. Since I didn’t have access to the agency’s Adwords campaigns, but GA was set up already, I had access to most of the data I needed to see what was happening.
I first set the parameters so that I could analyze the numbers between February and March of 2018. It was then that I realized the client had paid over $50 per click for most ads!
SEO vs Adwords in a Competitive Market
This particular client is a lawyer, so it is understandable that the ads are so expensive to run. However, even for a lawyer, and in my many years of experience, these PPC fees seemed excessive for any professional to pay.
To make matters worse, with an average 2% conversion rate, this client was paying close to $3K per lead! Even if every single lead became a paying client – which is never the case – this was an awfully large sum to secure a single client.
Other Important KPIs
I also looked at other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the website’s bounce rate for paid ads as well as organic Google visitors. The bounce rate of a site indicates the percentage of visitors that land on your website and leave soon after without clicking on any other pages.
Another issue was that the agency was targeting areas beyond the target market of San Diego & Carlsbad, California. The visitors who came to the site from Los Angeles, for example, only spent 37 seconds on the site.
On the other hand, from the same Adwords campaign, those who came to the site from Carlsbad (where the client is actually located) spent 59 seconds on average (almost twice as long).
These results clearly showed that the prospects who were from the LA area were not very interested in the site’s content, and thus would leave the site completely. The answer’s obvious. These prospects are unlikely to drive 87 miles (the distance from LA to Carlsbad) to visit our client’s office and become a regular client.
Just a side note that those site visitors located in Carlsbad who came from Google organic, on average, stayed on the site for three minutes and 32 seconds (more than three times compared to those coming from Google Adwords). This is because most of us trust Google organic results more than ads when we search on Google.
I quickly concluded that the client was paying a premium to get a single client.
Tips for Adwords Success
The lesson is to ensure your ads are targeted properly and keep an eye on your bounce rates. If your bounce rates are suffering, find out why.
Furthermore, if you’ve ever hired an agency to run your Adwords campaign, it is always best to pay them a flat fee and not a percentage of your budget for your ads. This way, they won’t be motivated to boost your spending on Google, and you’ll be sure to get the absolute best lead acquisition rates.
Another suggestion I have is to always run a conversion monitoring campaign – especially if you’re running multiple advertising campaigns, such as SEO, Adwords, and Facebook ads. Monitoring your conversions allows you to see where your leads are coming from and determine your cost per acquisition. You can then make very informed decisions based on actual data on where to focus your marketing dollars.
If you are running an Adwords campaign, we’d be very happy to see how it’s performing. More often than not, we can save you thousands of dollars. Call us at the number above or fill out our form and one of our representatives will assist you.
March 6, 2018
Image is the courtesy of www.nicestream.com.
If your site has ever been ranked at the top of Google for several important keywords, you know the excitement you felt. Finally, your business is about to boom, you may have thought. Then, something hit. No, it wasn’t a bus. It was a Google penalization, which can feel very much like getting hit by a bus.
My clients felt the same way the day Google released its infamous Penguin update in April of 2012.
A few years ago, backlinking – the practice of linking back from authority sites – was the backbone of Google SEO. Our team had at that time a list of 10,000+ sites that would give us free or paid backlinks that we could use to help our clients achieve higher Google rankings. In fact, the practice was so effective that we were able to get our customers’ sites ranked at the top of Google for many high-value keyword terms. Every single one of our clients was doing great and our company was profiting.
Then, Penguin update hit and everything changed almost overnight.
The First of Many Google Algorithm Upheavals
All of a sudden, Google decided that backlinking was no longer a best-practice. Not only that, but backlinking became outlawed completely by the search engine. No one at our company saw that coming. More than half of our clients got penalized by Google. Almost immediately, our clients and our company began to lose massive amounts of revenue.
The strange part was, we weren’t losing money because the links we built over many years were “bad.” The links we compiled were good, for both our company and our clients – or at least we thought so. Throughout that time, we remained vigilant to only gather links from legitimate sites. The sites we got links from included quality article sites, social profiles, prominent blogs, and prestigious schools, to name a few. The sites and links were legitimate. That is, until Google deemed otherwise.
I remember the day I came to the horrible realization, nearly four years ago, that I had built my SEO agency on a house of cards. No matter how hard we worked and how much we built, we would always be at Google’s mercy. It was a sinking feeling because I no longer possessed as much confidence in SEO as I had before and I couldn’t in good faith promise new customers that I could help them achieve higher Google rankings.
It was a tough decision, but I quit SEO completely.
Many SEO’s Abandoned Ship
Turns out, I wasn’t alone. Many of my colleagues left the SEO world, as well, and most never returned. Luckily for my team and current family of clients, my quitting was only temporary. Even though I began looking for other jobs and businesses to start – I could never quell my entrepreneurial spirit, subconsciously, I was looking for ways to get back into the game.
However, I told myself that I would only come back on one condition: The SEO I practiced must be 100% risk-free for my clients.
SEO Best-Practices Continue to Evolve
For six months, I pondered my new approach to SEO, but I couldn’t figure out how to get clients to rank on Google without any risk.
Then, one day it came to me: if Google was penalizing sites for having backlinks (even seemingly legitimate ones), then how did it deem which sites stay on the first page of Google?
It was then that I had an epiphany: The sites that ranked highest had fewer or no backlinks. Of course!
With my new theory spurring me on, I conducted the proper research on the highest ranking sites and, as it turns out, my intuition was correct. Google SEO didn’t depend 100% on backlinks anymore. Many sites which were ranking well on Google didn’t have a strong backlink profile at all.
In hindsight, this seems obvious. But remember, Google never tells us how it ranks sites. The knowledge we have comes from market testing and information Google determines we should have. The rest we have to discover on our own, much like I did that day when I realized that backlinking was a dead-end to successful SEO.
I returned to the SEO world with the intention of helping sites rank prominently on Google without risk and without link-building.
A Newer and Better SEO Company
Three years later, my company – Millionairium – is emerging as a strong SEO company once more. And yes, we get our clients ranked on Google without building a single backlink.
How do we do it? Our approach is simple. Make your site loved by your site visitors. That’s it. We do that through excellent writing and tried-and-true (as well as ethical) SEO techniques, and our methods are working like a charm.
New Special: Only Pay for SEO Results!
With pay-per-lead Google SEO, you don’t pay anything up front. Instead, you only pay for results. And you only pay as long as your results are improving. That means that we first increase your site’s rankings on Google, your site’s traffic, your leads, your sales, and only then you pay us. Give us a call at +1(888) 951-2773 or press the Sign Up button at the top of the page and one of our representatives will be glad to assist you.
Nov 25, 2017
“Word of mouth continues to be the biggest generator of leads to our office. But SEO is by far a close second, and it’s necessary for our success. I feel good about my decision to work with Ali and Millionairium and to stay with them when I thought about leaving. He and his team have done a terrific job, and I’ve enjoyed working with them.” — Dr. David Brusky, Green Bay General & Cosmetic Dentist
Orange County, CA – Green Bay Dentist Dr. David Brusky is no stranger to dentistry. It runs in his family.
His father opened The Center for Dental Excellence in 1969. In ’93, David joined his father, and the office expanded to a new location soon after. When Dr. Brusky Sr. retired, David took over and began the process of making The Center for Dental Excellence his own.
The Green Bay dental market is nearly saturated, and David knew that he needed to make a big splash initially if he wanted to get his name out there in a positive way. He soon received a recommendation from a colleague that there was an SEO professional in California who specialized in dental marketing.
“This guy is great,” his colleague told him, and David took him at his word. He hired the SEO, and David began his foray into digital dental marketing.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and, looking back, as dental search engine optimization professionals, we can see that David’s Internet marketing efforts were doomed from the start. But it was not his fault. He simply didn’t know then what he knows now.
To begin, David was using a personalized template for a website. That same website design, and most likely much of the wording, was also being used on dozens of other doctors’ sites. Back then, however, duplicate content wasn’t as much of a penalizing offense in Google’s eyes as it is now.
How did the SEO guy do? At first, he did great. He used Dr. David’s current website as his homebase of operations and went to work.
Almost instantly, David’s Green Bay dental practice website began to rise in the rankings.
With his website visible in Google, David felt pleased with his decision to hire an SEO pro. In this industry, it’s difficult to know who to trust. And this guy was delivering, or so he thought.
Things were fine, for a while, until Google decided that too many webmasters were gaming the system. See, this SEO guy in California that Dr. Brusky hired did what countless SEOs did during that time, which was purchase thousands of backlinks for pennies on the link.
A backlink is a link on a website that points back to your site. Google had the idea that websites would only link back to websites that proved valuable. Therefore, websites with lots of backlinks were seen as high-value, and their rankings rose.
The problem is that people started buying backlinks and using free tools that blasted out links like confetti and made just as much of a mess.
While all those links resulted in a major boost in David’s search rankings, the celebration was short lived.
Google ended the party when it deemed backlinks, among other techniques, as Black Hat, which essentially means they’re no-nos.
After several major algorithm changes, David’s website tanked and there was little recourse.
Then, David started working with us, the legitimate dental SEO professionals.
When I first met David, his website was sandboxed, which means that it was so far penalized by Google that it was hidden from the results. To get it back, we would have to undo all of the damage his previous SEO had done.
This posed a problem as his website URL was appearing on thousands of websites around the world and Google was taking notice. All of those backlinks would have to be undone. Then, David noticed that this SEO was posting fake reviews and other materials that weren’t authorized. David asked him to stop, but the materials kept showing up online.
The damage was done, and it was continuing beyond David’s control.
To repair the damage, we suggested that David start anew. We created a new website for The Center for Dental Excellence that was designed with industry best practices and infused with SEO from the start.
And David’s rankings began to rise right away using our time-tested search engine optimization methods.
But they weren’t rising as fast as we suspected. Turns out, we still had duplicate data to contend with, which resulted in a complete rewrite of David’s website and a complete overview of his SEO processes.
Finally, we found that sweet spot, and David hit page one and number one in Google for several important keywords. It was a slow process, as the Green Bay area is full of dentists clamoring for the top spot. Yet, after two years of diligent work, and just as we neared the end of our contract, David’s website hit top billing for several important keyword terms.
David said, “Ali gave me a money back guarantee, and I almost considered leaving. Now I see that Ali has something the other guy I worked with didn’t – patience. While other SEOs are chasing the “quick trick” for higher rankings, Ali knows the value of watching the trends, acting accordingly, and tweaking only slightly. The results aren’t immediate, but they’re there, and they’re steady.”
Dr. Brusky now enjoys top spot billing for many of his significant keywords and the rest are well on their way to Google number-one. There has been a 319% improvement in organic search rankings, a 351% increase in new users, and out of the 20 people who visited the dentist as a first-time patient last month, 7 of them came from the Internet, a product of Millionairium SEO.
“Word of mouth continues to be the biggest generator of leads to our office. But SEO is by far a close second, and it’s necessary for our success. I feel good about my decision to work with Ali and Millionairium and to stay with them when I thought about leaving. He and his team have done a terrific job, and I’ve enjoyed working with them,” said Dr. David Brusky, Green Bay Dentist and one of our most loyal and valued clients.
To get results like Dr. David Brusky, known as Green Bay’s Gentle Dentist, call Millionairium at 310-299-2799 or email us today. Ask about Pay-Per-Lead, our new affordable SEO payment plan where you only pay when you get leads!
And remember, we don’t just work with dentists, cosmetic dentists, and orthodontists. We also work with lawyers, plastic surgeons, and other small and local business owners. Call us today for a free SEO consultation.
© 2017 Millionairium. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium is credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
Nov 1, 2017
Fact: if you are a small business owner of any kind you need to cultivate your content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you expect to be heard. Social media marketing is the fastest and least expensive way to capture your market’s attention. It simply cannot be ignored.
Of course, paid social media advertising has incredible benefits, and for the small business owner, it could perhaps be the best way to focus your advertising dollars. However, it’s important not to ignore organic content. Social media marketing works best when you effectively combine the two.
Whether you own the local donut shop or a used car dealership, you need a reliable internet marketing strategy. If you’re ready to start seeing results, then you must incorporate a strong social media campaign. Our experts specialize in teaching small businesses just like you how to maximize their visibility and start getting noticed. With an aggressive social media marketing strategy you will start seeing results in no time.
Be Real: Don’t just sell, sell, sell. No one likes that relentless car salesman personality. Your customers want to interact with someone who is sincere and truthful. So just be you and show potential customers that you and your staff are real people who can also have fun! Post a few pictures on social showing you and your team outside of work without the uniforms. These pics allow prospective customers to see your human side and makes them more likely to visit your business.
Be Personal: Once your prospects convert to actual paying customers, they are still only likely to see you a handful of times. That’s just a short time to make a lasting impression. However, with social media, you can stay in touch throughout the year! Try to check in with previous customers periodically. If you are friends with them on Facebook, comment on something that specifically pertains to their lives. Daniel will appreciate your best wishes for his upcoming job interview. Now you’ve crossed from just a business owner into a ‘friend’ category, and you can bet he’ll recommend your services to his friends.
Connect with other Local Businesses: Increase your visibility by posting on social media about other businesses you regularly support. For example, if your entire staff loves to celebrate birthdays with cupcakes from Sweet Cheeks Bakery, post a pic of their building and tell everyone how awesome their treats are. The bakery will most likely reshare the post with their followers, organically increasing your exposure.
Be Silly: While business is a place for professionalism, you don’t have to be robotic. Feel free to post silly images of your employees having fun in the stockroom or even posing with your customers.
Post Your Blogs: A regularly-published blog is an excellent way to position yourself as an authority in your industry. By reliably sharing your posts on social media, your followers will feel like they are getting the inside story. You can teach them how to get the most from their trade-in, or just keep them abreast of the latest developments in interior design. Without even realizing it, people will start to view your brand as the best option.
Have a Contest: If there’s one thing social media followers love, it’s a good contest. An added benefit is that it is typically all user-generated content, meaning your followers do all the work for you, Plus, your business gets a plethora of interesting pictures and messages to post. You don’t have to offer expensive prizes. Anything from a simple shoutout on your website to a gift certificate to enjoy a dozen cupcakes from Sweet Cheeks Bakery.
Be Active and Consistent: You don’t have to post something every day methodically, but you do need to stay relevant. Make sure you are posting often enough to stay new in your viewer’s eyes. Unkempt social media profiles seem dejected and unworthy, painting a negative picture of your brand. Instead, try to post something a few times each week.
Include Videos and Images: While content will always rank first on Facebook and Twitter, images are a close second. Be sure to incorporate both to get the best of both worlds. Snap lots of photos or even take video of your happy employees and customers, then share them as much as possible to maximize your brand’s exposure.
Reviews and Testimonials: Finally, you can draw even more viewers to your social posts – and ultimately your small business – by encouraging your customers to provide feedback about your services and friendly staff. The networking provided by social media is amazing, and everyone who posts has a friend, family member, or coworker that may be looking for your services. The lesson? Keep posting, and your brand is sure to get in front of the right people.
Advertise on Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, also known as the Big Four, have already invested loads of time and energy into monetizing their sites. This gives you a unique opportunity. Facebook, in particular, has created a robust advertising platform that allows you to target your marketing efforts precisely. You can accurately target people in specific areas with particular interests. You can even market to certain genders, ages, and income brackets. For around $5 a day, you can extend your marketing spread to customers that you may have never reached otherwise.
If you’re a small business owner, a good place to start is with a 60/40 split. Meaning that you need to focus 60% of your time, money, and effort on creating tons of great content and 40% on paid amplification such as website design and development, PR, reputation management or search engine optimization (SEO). If you are not serious about focusing your content on the most important social platforms, you’re going to become irrelevant and obsolete in the modern marketplace. Maximizing your social media efforts can quickly pave the road from the internet to your storefront.
To learn more about small business marketing, and to take your online presence to new heights, contact the small business SEO professionals at Millionairium (888) 951-2773, or email for a free consultation. Don’t forget to ask about our new Pay-Per-Performance program, which is the affordable and risk-free way to beat the competition in Google’s search engine.
© 2017 Millionairium. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium is credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
July 28, 2017
Cosmetic dentists and orthodontists take note: Optimizing your website for mobile is crucial for attracting a better breed of patients. Mobile optimization will not only help in terms of SEO but creating a memorable mobile experience is simply important for appeasing your audience.
Don’t have a mobile website? Call (310) 299-2799 or email Millionairium for a free consultation. We can provide you with an improved web presence that gets noticed by interested patients in your area.
With more and more people spending their time on mobile devices and tablets, you should ensure that your website loads quickly and provides an easy-going experience.
To optimize properly for all these tiny devices on the go, you need to look at the overall design of your site, your website’s structure or how everything is laid out, as well as your page’s speed. If any one of those elements is out of whack, or worse all three, a user may potentially never return to your website again.
If you are currently working with an SEO firm like Millionairium, your website is already optimized for the search engines. That means that you probably only need a few tweaks to give your mobile viewing audience what it wants.
If your website isn’t optimized for the search engines, optimizing for mobile is important, but should become part of an overall campaign to give mobile users what they want. In other words, you will want to either develop on your own or have a team of SEO specialists create a comprehensive search engine optimization campaign that includes an adaptive website fully-optimized for mobile.
So, how do you optimize your website for mobile devices?
There is nothing more frustrating than looking something up on your phone only for the results to lag. Your website loading at an “okay” speed won’t cut it anymore, because some of your mobile-using prospects will have slow connectivity speeds. Your site needs to be blazing fast if you hope to compete.
A slow speed means that Google crawlers won’t be able to crawl your pages with as much efficiency, and this can hurt your rankings. And then there’s that frustration again. Pages that load slowly tend to have higher bounce rates and lower than average times spent on the page. Websites that take too long also tend to have lower conversions.
Not only is speed important for experience, but Google looks at page speed as one of the signals used by its algorithms to rank websites in the search results. There are many reasons a website might load slowly. Your images could be too large, your code too bulky, and you could have too many URL redirects. Much of this happens on the backend of your website, so talk to your web designer to ensure that your site is sleek and fast as can be.
To test your site speed, visit the site GTMetrix, which will give your website a score, the load time, the total page size, and the number of requests, in addition to other technical details.
In previous years, many mobile devices weren’t able to support certain graphical and coding elements, so webmasters blocked the devices from accessing those elements entirely. This eliminated errors and led to a more streamlined user experience – albeit one that was lacking since mobile users couldn’t get the full experience.
Mobile websites are designed to provide snippets of information quickly to accommodate users’ limited attention spans and time. Some mobile design best practices moving forward would include getting rid of Flash. A user’s phone may not support Flash and as such that person will miss out on the intended experience. HTML5 is what designers are employing today to create special effects mobile users love.
Whatever you do, stay away from popups, autoplay videos and any other intrusive marketing methods. Mobile users flit from site to site and page to page. Anything that annoys them or throws them off their browsing excursion might cause them to click away from your site and never look back.
Finally, think of users with fat fingers to avoid accidental clicks. Buttons that are too big or too small are frustrating to users. Also, be conscious of any buttons that may be placed in the path of a finger that is attempting to scroll. These are all design issues that can be rectified with constant testing and immense quality control. Again, speak to your website designer or the person who codes your website to ensure these elements are optimized properly.
When writing title tags for pages, be mindful that your search results are bound to show up on tiny screens. For best results, keep your title tags as concise as possible, so the information doesn’t get cut off by the side of the screen. At the same time, make the information valuable.
Front loading your title tags will increase the likelihood that the most important information will be seen by mobile users.
You might write:
By taking out “The Best,” you front load the most important information: That you are a cosmetic dentist offering implants and veneers.
With meta descriptions, you are allowed a bit more leeway: 166 characters as opposed to 66. Still, the same rules apply. Front load your content like so, and a call-to-action never hurts.
Houston Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Smith offers Implants & Veneers to patients seeking esthetically healthy smiles. Call 310-299-2799 to schedule an appointment.
Since you are looking for patients in local area, you will want to ensure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) are standardized – not only on your website but also on any local directories you may have in play, such as Yahoo, Yelp, and of course Google.
Also, make sure you are listing your city and state in your site’s metadata to make it easy for Google to rank you accordingly. People searching for an orthodontist in Anchorage should be able to see your website front and center. Including the keywords “Anchorage” and “Alaska” in your meta data and content can make prominent rankings a greater possibility.
With 1.1 billion mobile web users logging in and accessing the Internet daily across the world, you can assume that most people will first see your website on a mobile device. The old hat web design method used to be – create a website and then optimize for mobile. In other words, mobile optimization took a back seat to the experience intended for desktop and laptop users. Not anymore. Make your site easy to look at and simple to navigate so that mobile users have just as easy of a time finding content as your desktop using audience.
There is much to consider when optimizing your website for mobile devices. For cosmetic dentists and orthodontists, you can increase your online visibility and score more valuable patients by employing the tactics above.
Want to give your audience the best experience possible while earning quality patients from the Internet? Call (310) 299-2799 or email Millionairium, your premium source for cosmetic dentistry and orthodontist SEO, for a free consultation. With an optimized web presence, we can help your practice grow.
June 18, 2017
Working with an SEO company like Millionairium puts you at a distinct advantage over competitors. You now have at your disposal a motivated team of search engine optimization professionals who know what it takes to get your website noticed on Google.
Finally, you no longer have to worry about the competition encroaching on your Google status, and your office staff is free of digital tasks like blog writing and posting.
However, while you are allowed to relax with confidence knowing that Millionairium is at the helm of your SEO campaign, you should never rest on your laurels.
Search engine optimization (SEO) will put your website in front of interested prospects and future customers, but there are some things you could be doing to enhance the results your SEO campaign produces.
Make your staff familiar with the work your SEO team is doing. Make them familiar with your website and profiles on various platforms. That way they can respond with authority if ever asked about them over the phone.
Get your team excited about the phone calls and office visits that are about to ramp-up thanks to your new marketing efforts. Whatever you do, encourage your staff to ask prospects how they heard about your business, and whether or not Google had a hand in their decision. This gives you instant feedback as to the effects your SEO campaigns are producing. Keep in mind that it can take up to three to six months for a new SEO campaign to bear fruit.
Offer a free giveaway in exchange for your clients leaving reviews on Google. The reason you want to gather as many five-star reviews as possible is because a stellar Google ranking will always look better when it’s accompanied by four-to-five stars. And the only way to get those stars is to gather more online reviews.
Host a special that encourages people to schedule an appointment via your website. The more people who land on and schedule through your website, the more authority your website will hold. Google will see that your site is a popular destination and that it works at converting clients, and that can sometimes give a major boost to your Google SEO.
Millionairium can produce engaging and search engine optimized blog posts and press releases ghostwritten on your behalf. When published and disseminated by Google, each piece offers another opportunity to earn a new lead. You can help to spread these posts around by encouraging your social audience to share the posts with their friends and contacts.
Blog posts and press releases can be shared on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Shared content is also valuable in Google’s eyes, which can contribute even more to your SEO campaign.
If Millionairium is building you a website using SEO best practices, hold an event celebrating the launch of your new site, and encourage your local area to visit the site for one or more new client specials.
An SEO company like Millionairium can do its job more effectively if you can produce before and after photos, client testimonials (both text and video testimonials), as well as any other promotional items you can come up with. These elements can be used throughout the Internet to poise you as the authority in your field, the King in your local area. That’s what it takes to dominate your market, and you can help your SEO team succeed by putting the ideas above into action starting today.
Want to learn more about what it takes to dominate your market with SEO? Contact the hard-working team at Millionairium or call (310) 299-2799 for a free consultation.
About Millionairium: A dedicated and hardworking search engine optimization team that specializes in gaining more online visibility for small businesses across the country.
May 24, 2017
With so much fierce competition to contend with, dental practitioners are trying everything they can to get website visitors to convert to fee-for-service patients. So, what about live chat? Everywhere you turn, websites are employing a live chat box that greets website visitors and offers personalized customer service; but is the added expense worth it?
More importantly, does it work? In other words, does assisting web visitors in real time encourage them to pick up the phone or visit your dental office? Here is the breakdown so that you can make the decision for yourself.
Before web visitors can pick up the phone or visit your office, they have to be able to find you on Google. Call or email Millionairium today if you want a major boost in your Google rankings.
Live chat was designed to help visitors feel more welcome when landing on a website. Immediately upon landing on your website, and on any page where the live chat widget has been added, a chat box will open, and a friendly representative will greet the visitor just as if they’d walked into your lobby.
“Hello, my name is Chris, would you like to schedule an appointment?” might be a greeting that your representative gives website visitors. The chat representative can answer questions, point visitors to valuable information and schedule appointments, all without speaking to a single human being.
Even though the program can be automated, the chat box can also connect your web visitors to actual staff members. Yet, even if it’s just a bot doing the talking, advances in Live Chat technology will make it appear as though there’s a real live human on the other end.
On paper, adding a live chat box to your website makes perfect sense. The service is faster than email, and there’s no need to collect the visitor’s contact information to make the first connection. Most live chat representatives also ask for a name right up front, so the service is naturally personalized.
Then there’s the efficiency of it all. When web visitors can get their questions answered by a friendly web bot, that for all they know is a rep from your office, they won’t have to call and tie up your staff’s valuable time. The only calls that should come in with live chat are ones where the caller intends to schedule an appointment.
If live agents are chatting with web visitors instead of bots, those agents can multi-task while the chat is ongoing. They would be much more restricted if they were tied up on the phone.
Live Chat sounds good. To sweeten the deal, many services add a full-suite of options, like the ability to gather patient data, secure feedback, and share files, making the live chat box – at least in theory – a sales generating machine.
For dentists and cosmetic dentists, some services offer encryption to keep patient data secure and even canned responses, such as how to keep a tooth viable and ready for transport immediately following an accident. And, let’s face it; there’s no better way to engage with patients after-hours than to have a friendly, smiling, (AI) human being working on your behalf.
Live chat can be affordable, and it can be very expensive, with prices ranging from free to up to $999 a year, or more, depending on the options offered and how many rep accounts are needed. Most services offer the ability to receive full chat logs and analytics (what pages did the visitor land on, how long did they linger, and browsing history).
Is Live Chat Effective at Converting Patients?
Live chat can certainly work to convert website visitors into fee-for-service dental patients, but the service must be chosen carefully.
For instance, cosmetic dentists, orthodontists, and general dentists would be wise to choose live chat services that offer:
According to Neil Patel, an Internet marketing expert, live chat can improve your conversion rates by 45%. He doesn’t name dental marketers specifically, but those are his stats across the board for a variety of industries.
Live Chat appears to be a good investment, but the technology is still new. Everyone thought that the pop-up would change the game, and now people can’t stand them. However, for years, marketers have been searching for a way to add that human element to their websites. They’ve tried auto-play on videos, which feels intrusive, pop-ups, which can ruin your day, and now live chat.
Live chat is non-intrusive, the boxes can be easily closed, and by all appearances you have a friendly representative manning your website 24/7. What better way to answer a prospect’s question or facilitate an appointment request?
The point is if you can’t be available to stand ready to talk to prospects morning, noon and night, live chat for websites just might be the next best thing.
Find out how to maximize your website conversions with the latest Internet marketing strategies. Call or email Millionairium, where our team is ready to take your online presence to new heights.
April 26, 2017
Cosmetic dentists today are able to attract the types of patients they want using effective dental SEO. Few dental professionals realize this fact and thus aren’t able to harness the true power of search engine optimization.
Most of the cosmetic dentists who work with us know they need SEO; just like they needed yellow pages ads a few years ago. The internet is where most people search for local services like cosmetic dentistry using their mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and laptops. Yet few dentists realize what SEO can do for their practice. This makes our job far more difficult than it has to be.
Convincing Cosmetic Dentists They Need SEO – A Tough Mountain to Climb
Here is what an experienced SEO team can do for your cosmetic dentistry practice. A person searches on their mobile phone and notices your practice name amongst all the others on the list. Either you’re first in the Google search results, or you’re in one of the top few spots, but your profile stands out nonetheless.
The person clicks on your Google listing and is taken to your website. Right away the person feels confident that they’ve made a good choice. The web page they’ve visited is modern and attractive, and the information is laid out in an organized and easy-to-find manner.
This is where many cosmetic dentists go wrong.
While the goal of SEO is to help you achieve high rankings in Google, SEO can also be used once visitors land on-site to help you convert them into fee for service patients. Here’s how to do it most effectively.
Your Most Lucrative Services
What is the most lucrative service you offer? For some, it might be dental implants. For others, a full smile makeover. Whatever the case may be, feature that service in your SEO campaigns and drive new patients your way.
Quality Content and Blog Posts
The services that bring your practice the most revenue should feature front and center in your SEO campaigns. Put the service names in your pages’ title tags and description tags, write new pages about those treatments for your website, and keep posting new and informative blog posts.
The more information you place on your website, the more pages Google can potentially put in front of prospects. If someone searches for “Dental Implants in Your City,” all those pages you added to your website and all those blog posts could potentially dominate the Google search results page. Patients would have no choice but to click your listings to visit your website. Thus, getting people to land on your site is your first goal.
Getting Visitors to Land on Your Site
For cosmetic dentists, you need an SEO campaign that puts your Google listings in front of searching prospects. That means that you should be on the first page and in the first few spots of Google for all relevant keyword terms.
Think about what people might type into Google to find services like yours. “Dental Bridge Anchorage, Root Canal in Houston, and Atlanta Porcelain Crown” represent a few examples. These terms should be in the title tags of relevant pages, and they should be placed within the content of those pages. The content shouldn’t be written for the keywords. Rather, the text should flow naturally with the keywords and related keywords peppered about.
While there are many other proprietary SEO methods we use to achieve stellar rankings for our cosmetic dentistry clients, creating relevant and high-quality content, optimization title tags and ensuring the website offers a superior web experience will give you a big leg up as far as dental SEO is concerned.
A Web Experience to Remember
What is a superior web experience, you might ask? This is where a person clicks on your Google listing, for example, and your site loads nearly-intravenously. The site graphics and images are appealing to the eye and make you want to stay around and peruse a moment. The information you seek is easy to find. In fact, you can find whatever you’re looking for in just a few clicks.
It’s easy to buy or contact a representative, and the content on the site makes you want to spend hours clicking and consuming.
You’ve probably visited sites like that; where you suddenly looked up and realized you’d spent ten minutes reading an article, or fifteen minutes watching a video. These sites use a combination of psychology and modern web architecture to deliver an experience visitors love to come back to.
The Types of Patients You Want
Are you looking to move away from procedures that are constantly billed to insurance? Include that information in your SEO campaigns. Put a disclaimer on every page that you no longer offer those services, or that you recommend other services in their stead. You control the information on your website and in your campaigns, and that information can be used to direct only the most qualified cosmetic dentistry patients your way.
Grow Your Practice with Quality Patients Starting Today
Attracting the types of patients you want with SEO requires know-how, but it also takes experience. You learn by doing. We’ve been doing dental SEO for over ten years, so we know how to construct SEO-friendly websites, and enact Google-friendly campaigns, that get spectacular results for our clients.
When prospects land on our clients’ sites, they make decisions quickly, because all the information they need is at their fingertips. Our doctors get phone calls and office visits while their competitors wonder why they’re not getting any patients from the Internet.
People searching for cosmetic dentistry won’t go to page 2 of Google. They’ll rarely even venture halfway down the page. Use the advice above to achieve higher rankings, then start attracting the types of patients you prefer, so that you can start growing your cosmetic dentistry practice this year.
Want to enact an SEO campaign that draws the ideal dental patients your way? Call (310) 299-2799 or contact us via email and harness the power of cosmetic dentistry SEO.
April 13, 2017
Some of the SEO clients who come to work with us already have websites in place. When this happens, we always ask them a simple question.
“Is your website working for you?”
In most cases, we’ll get asked, “What do you mean?”
This shows that most business owners know that it’s important to have a website, they just don’t know why they need one. Here’s the breakdown.
Your website is said to be “working for you” when it ranks well on Google when your clients are looking for you and succeeds in converting web visitors into phone calls and emails.
The process works like this. A prospect searches Google on her cell phone and lands on your website. If she can’t find the information she’s looking in just a few clicks, she’s not going to search very long to find it. She’ll back-click to Google and will choose another business on the list.
On the other hand, if the prospect enjoys your web experience, she just might pick up the phone or fire off an email to contact you (becoming a lead).
When you think of it like that, your website becomes more than just your online storefront. Your site becomes a lead-generating machine. A site that works for you will help you secure more phone calls and more emails, round-the-clock, 24/7.
If your website isn’t working for you, and you rarely get new clients from the web, the following checklist can help you determine what needs to change.
You never know, a simple tweak here or there could have the phone ringing continually throughout the day, and your business bustling with new clients. Are you ready for that kind of client influx?
Easy to Find
When someone searches Google for “Your Keyword + Your Area”, you want that person to click through your listing to your website. That’s the best case scenario. For this to happen, you need to ensure that your website has all the elements Google may look for when determining the hierarchy of its search listings.
Want your website to rank prominently in Google? Fill out our Sign Up form and attract the types of clients you prefer.
Fast Loading Website
Your website should load within 2-3 seconds tops. Any longer than that and visitors aren’t going to wait around. They’ll just back-click and find another website to visit.
Shaving time off of your website’s load time requires knowledge of Website optimization or the services of a skilled and knowledgeable SEO professional. The reason your website loads slowly could be due to a number of reasons, including images that are too large, coding errors, and the use of too many plugins (coding modules that can help a website perform better).
As you can see, being found on Google and having a website that loads quickly are crucial in getting selected by a high amount of interested prospects. What follows is how to make your website work for you (read: convert) after a visitor has made a successful landing.
Easy-to-Find Contact Information
Once someone has landed on your website, that person will be looking for specific information. That information could include your telephone number, physical address, email address and information about your specialties and services.
First and foremost, you should ensure that your business name and phone number are listed prominently in the header of your website. The header greets visitors no matter what page they may click on. It remains consistent while all the other content on the page may change. When all a visitor has to do to find your contact information is glance at the topmost portion of their screen, you can almost guarantee your practice more office phone calls and lobby visits.
Dentists can help their websites convert by placing clear calls-to-action at the bottom of each page, such as “Call now to schedule an appointment!” Don’t always assume that visitors to a cosmetic dentistry site know what to do. Instruct them how to contact the practice, and it’s a good bet they’ll follow through.
In cosmetic dentistry and in modern web design – appearance matters. Your website colors and branding should “pop” and stand out in your prospects’ minds. There should be images of smiling faces on every page, and all pictures should be of the highest-quality.
If your website looks outdated, new patients might wonder if that’s how you run your dentistry practice. They might think, Are your tools and techniques outdated too?
By having a website that looks professional and inviting, you’re conveying the message that your dental office is just as well maintained.
Two-Click Maximum Navigation
Other than your NAP, website visitors will be looking for specific information, such as a list of the services you offer, the cost of those services, your office’s hours of operation, and anything else that will push them over the edge to schedule an appointment.
For instance, a person who’s just lost a tooth may be searching for information related to dental implants. If that visitor lands on your homepage, then he or she should be able to find a link to the dental implants page in the sidebar or primary menu. In some cases, the visitor may have to click the menu item “services” whereby another menu will display on the screen; dental implants being among them.
So you see, in two clicks, the visitor found what he or she was searching for. That’s pleasurable navigation, the key to providing a memorable web browsing experience.
Case Studies/Before & After Photos
Everyone loves keeping up with the Jones’s. When you display your most successful patient cases and provide after photos to boot, those elements can become powerful marketing tools. A person searching for dental implants could become swayed by a case study involving a patient with his exact condition, and photos that showcase the precise results he’s striving for.
These case studies and before and after images should be readily available on every services page if you want a serious boost in patient conversions.
Maintain a Well-Researched Blog
Cosmetic dentists who want to dominate Google are encouraged to maintain a well-researched blog. A quality blog includes content that speaks to the audience’s issues. Cosmetic dentistry patients in the market for an implant want to know the cost, the procedure process, and recovery time following-surgery. These types of questions can easily be answered with regularly-published blog posts.
The great thing about blogs is that they provide extra content for Google to spread around. The more posts are published using relevant keywords, the more potential patients you can attract.
The Power of Cosmetic Dentistry SEO
And here’s why you not only need a website but one that also works for you. You can attract the types of patients you want. What’s the most lucrative service you offer? For some, it’ll be full-mouth reconstructions and for others, dental implants.
With a well-designed website and professional SEO services, you can attract dental implant patients who know what they want, who have had all their questions answered by your web content, and who are ready to make a decision today.
Are you ready to make your website work for you? Whether you have a website in place or you’re in the market for a professional website designed for patient conversions, contact Millionairium for a free consultation today.
About Us: Millionairium is where cosmetic dentists turn when they want to attract new patients from the Internet using proven SEO tactics.
Feb 6, 2017
New patients looking for a dental professional often turn to Google before making a decision. For this reason, many dental professionals are putting serious time and energy into search engine optimization in the hopes of getting noticed on Google while simultaneously separating themselves from the competition.
Sadly, many business owners have no idea the small things they could be doing that could make a big difference as far as search engine optimization is concerned.
These business owners are too busy to conduct a proper SEO analysis or they find the subject far too difficult to handle. But SEO is simple if one takes the time to understand it.
Business owners have at their disposal several tools that will let them know where their SEO can be improved.
What follows are the very tools we suggest to our dental clients to help them improve their search engine optimization efforts.
Search for and Repair Broken Links (http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/)
When someone lands on a website, they expect everything to be in good working order. If a visitor comes upon a link that doesn’t work, it can frustrate the person to no end. They may even decide to leave the website altogether.
Visiting every page to find broken links can be tedious. To make the process faster, dental professionals can use a tool called Broken Link Check, which can search through an entire site looking for broken links in seconds.
If broken links are found and repaired, dental professionals can provide a more memorable user experience, and that can drastically help with SEO.
Testing Website Speed (https://tools.pingdom.com)
Another factor that affects a site’s SEO and Google rankings is load speed.
A website should load in about five seconds or even sooner. It should seem like a simultaneous experience for the visitor, whether they clicked a link to get to the site or they inserted a URL into their browser.
By cutting down on load speed, dentists can give the visitor a more memorable user experience and they’ll be more likely to stick around and visit more often.”
Google rewards sites that load quickly, thus improving load speed can help with Google SEO.
To help with load speed, dental professionals can use the tool called the Pingdom Website Speed Test. By inserting a URL, dental professionals will discover how quickly their site loads (or how slowly) as well as a few tips for optimizing load speed for higher Google rankings.
To improve a site’s load speed, dental professionals can optimize their images, install a caching plugin and get rid of any plugins that may be too cumbersome for the site to handle.
If a dental practice website site loads too slowly, speeding it up could help to drastically improve Google visibility.
Optimized Title, Description & Keywords Tags (https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/)
A website’s title, descriptions, and keywords tags are embedded in the site’s code, and are immensely important to SEO.
The Title tag is the most crucial piece of digital real estate when it comes to telling Google what a site is about. Listing all the relevant keywords in a site’s title can help dental professionals dominate the Google listings for those keyword terms. The title is usually the first thing people will see when they view Google listings. The description comes next.
So, an optimized title tag might look like this: Tampa Attorney, FL Criminal Lawyer – John Tyver Attorney at Law.
The Description tag is the area listed underneath the title in the Google search results. It should give a brief rundown of the page’s contents while enticing people to click. The description can also include a call-to-action, such as: Call John Tyver Attorney at Law when you need a Tampa, FL criminal lawyer who will fight for your rights to get you the ideal outcome for your case. Call today for a free consultation.
The Keywords tag lets Google know what a particular page is about. Thus, peppering a page’s content with relevant keywords can give a website a boost in the search engine rankings. John Tyver’s keywords might be: Tampa Attorney, FL Criminal Lawyer.
To receive a snapshot of all of a site’s metadata, dental professionals can use a tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool. The tool will analyze a website’s metadata in a flash, providing dentists with easy-to-read listings of their website’s title, description and keywords tags at a single glance. This information will make the process of optimizing any website easy peasy.
Properly Optimized Header Tags (http://seositecheckup.com/tools/h1-and-h2-tag-test/)
Many dental websites don’t contain clear header tags. Header tags are the headings of a web page that get read by Google bots (or spiders), and that can factor into how a web page gets ranked. Google spiders will use header tags to learn what a page is about so that the page can be ranked properly.
Header tags should include as many relevant keywords as possible. The clearer the header tags, the more prominently that page will rank for those keywords and terms.
The tool SEO Site Checkup will list a website’s header tags in the order they appear on the page. This allows dental professionals the ability to go back into their websites to clean up their header tags for more Google visibility.
Google rewards websites that provide memorable experiences to the end user. This is why optimizing header tags, improving a site’s load speed and making sure links are in good working order are so important for SEO. Fix SEO errors and focus on providing a good experience and Google rankings should improve.
SEO tools can help pinpoint errors, but it takes an expert to provide the type of all-around SEO repair and maintenance that will provide consistently higher Google rankings. The team at Millionairium.com can help dental professionals gain more patients from the Google search engine.
To learn more about the SEO team at Millionairium, visit https://www.millionairium.com/.
About Us: Millionairium.com helps serious dental and orthodontic practices gain higher Google rankings. With more visibility on Google, dental professionals will enjoy a glowing reputation while attracting quality patients from the web.
Dec 28, 2016
A staggering 47% of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) don’t have a digital marketing strategy in place. They may dabble in digital marketing, but they don’t have a clear-cut strategy. That’s not good.
If you happen to be a dabbler without a digital marketing strategy, you are missing out on the 54% of patients who prefer to find the cosmetic dentist of their choice via the internet.
Here are ten signs you should invest in the best search engine optimization services.
1. You Remain Clueless About Keywords and Google Rankings
What terms are people typing into Google to find your services? Those are the keywords you should be targeting in your marketing materials to show up prominently on Google.
Want to know where you rank for your keywords? Take this test: Type into Google Business Service + Your Area and see what shows up.
For example, if you type in “Cosmetic Dentist Maine,” assuming you’re in Maine, do you rank first, second, third, or somewhere down the page where people hardly ever venture? Or worse, do you show up on page 2, 3, or 10?
If you don’t know where you rank, you are doing your business a massive disservice. With all your customers searching online for the services/products they need, you are making it extremely difficult for new prospects to find you.
Wouldn’t it be better to rank within the first few listings so that your website shows up front and center whenever someone searches for you? Of course! That, my friend, is why you need a robust Google SEO strategy.
2. You Don’t Know if Your Content is Being Consumed
You may have a web page, but is anyone reading it? You could have a blog, but do visitors go there?
Putting out content is useless if you are not constantly monitoring that content for elements like views and engagement.
A digital marketing strategy will involve taking the content that is most well received by your audience and producing more of that content to ramp up engagement.
Peter Drucker once said that if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. A digital marketing strategy will involve constantly monitoring your web analytics and then acting on that data to ensure your audience is riveted by what you’re putting out.
3. You Have Content That Isn’t Converting
You may be thinking – I have a website and a blog and people are reading it; I’m doing fine.
But are you?
If your website, blog and the rest of your SEO strategy (or lack thereof) isn’t delivering to your office a stream of quality patients, something needs to change.
A solid digital marketing strategy will involve marketing that not only gets consumed, but that causes decision-ready patients to call, leave a message, or walk-on-in.
4. You Find Yourself Struggling to Find Patients
Keep hearing cricket sounds in your office? Does your family members call your office line more than your customers? That’s a good sign that your online efforts aren’t working.
An effective SEO strategy will attract customers who are ready to commit and guide them into contacting you.
Of course, it is up to you and your team to provide excellent customer service to retain those prospects who call or walk-in, but your phone should be ringing, your inbox filling up, and your lobby bustling. That’s what a successful SEO strategy can do.
5. You Keep Missing Out on Quality Customers
Tire kickers. Aren’t they the worst? They call and want to know how much you charge for this and that, and most of them don’t even follow through.
You need clients who know the value of your services and who will say yes to those complicated suggestions that will help them make the best decisions – buying your best products.
A well-put-together SEO strategy can help you attract the types of clients YOU want, allowing you to build the type of business you’ve always envisioned.
6. You Maintain an Outdated Website
If your website looks like an old MySpace profile and it’s not responsive for mobile and tablet users, no one is going to take the time to visit your website, let alone read what’s written on it.
A current website is professional and attractive – and loads very fast (check your site’s speed here). The web copy introduces the team and and the business to the customer before he or she ever calls or steps into the office. Effective web copy also answers questions and alleviates concerns, saving everyone valuable time.
Best of all, a modern website is designed to convert. It has the practice name, telephone number and address proudly displayed, it contains plenty of smiling faces and testimonials, and it includes several methods for getting in touch. Clients who land on a good website want to call.
Does your website do all of that? If not, well, you know the rest.
7. You Have No Website at All
Not having a website is like not having a yellow pages ad twenty years ago. How can you hope to be noticed and – most importantly – chosen by prospective clients if they have no platform that allows them to learn more about you?
Do you really want to leave that kind of information to sites like Yelp? What if you have a bad review? Or a few bad reviews?
If you have a slew of bad reviews, get those fixed first, along with any internal processes that are causing those bad reviews to begin with. No SEO strategy can disguise bad service or product.
If you stand behind your services, having a website will allow you to control your own information. You can put out the type of information you want, which will be intended to inform and hopefully entertain current and prospective patients.
The thing is, your competitors have websites that are professional and designed to convert. Without a website, you won’t even be on a prospective client’s radar.
Get a website and show customers that you’re the big cheese in town and the best choice for their needs.
8. You Still Focus on Paid Print Ads
Speaking of yellow pages ads, if you’re still pouring money into phone books and newspapers, news flash, 2017 is here. It’s time to put that budget into a marketing method that is far more useful: SEO.
Most people toss out phone books the moment they’re dropped on the doorstep. Is that really a good investment into the future of your business?
And Newspapers? Do they even print those anymore?
Everyone uses Google. And people use their smartphones and tablets to access the Internet more than ever before.
A digital marketing strategy gives you easy, instant, and unprecedented access to clients on a daily basis. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of such an amazing opportunity?
9. You Don’t Have A Blog
A well-written and regularly published blog educates, entertains, and shows prospective clients a little of your personality. It’s your digital voice that can be used to draw clients into your business.
If you don’t have a blog, your website will appear abandoned. That’s not quite the online reputation you want to convey.
A robust Google SEO strategy that includes a blog will consistently breathe new life into your website while keeping your clients riveted with engaging content.
10. You Want Your Popularity to Explode
Imagine new clients searching Google and finding you right away. They visit your website and are blown away. They read for some time, then call or email your business. Because you’ve pre-qualified them, they are quality customers that offer years of lifetime value – and they will bring others after they see your great services/products.
All of that can be yours, but only if you invest in an SEO strategy.
Here’s the thing. SEO is time-consuming. It requires tons of research and consistent effort to keep your marketing strategy performing as you expect.
Instead of trying to tackle this monumental task all on your own, hire an SEO firm you can trust.
Millionairium is the best search engine optimization (SEO) firm for small businesses, and we can help you attract the customers you desire, allowing you to build the type of business you’ve always wanted. We now offer the best pay-per-performance Google SEO in the industry.
Contact Millionairium today for a free consultation.
Oct 2, 2016
As a dental provider, you have undoubtedly put a lot of time and attention into making sure your Google SEO is on point.
Don’t have a Google strategy in place? Contact Millionairium and get your dental practice noticed online.
After all, you’re vying for top Google billing against other dentists, cosmetic dentists, periodontists and orthodontics, all for the purposes of attracting high-quality patients.
What happens, then, when you look at your Google profile only to see one or more negative reviews?
The question you should be asking yourself is: Do Google reviews really matter?
You bet they do. Check out what Google user Samuel Wood tweeted just the other day:
Unfortunately, Wood’s views aren’t solely his own. 86% of Google users surveyed were influenced by negative reviews. In other words, negative Google reviews can hurt your business, sometimes in a very big way.
So what do you do when you get one or more bad Google reviews? Well, it all depends on the circumstances.
Incorrect or Defamatory Information
If the writer of the review meant to do your business harm or ridiculed you or an employee, you have two options, according to Google’s Legal Removal Requests page.
As the recipient of a defamatory review, you can:
Actually, the advice is the same if the person is being defamatory or not: always reply to the negative review and offer to make it right. That’s the low-cost option and the one more likely to get results. More on that in a moment.
But if you don’t get anywhere contacting the slanderous reviewer, court may be the more effective option. Google does state that it will remove reviews that represent personal attacks on other people, but you’ll probably still have to present a court order to get Google to take action.
If you know the identity of the author of the review, you can name the person as the defendant in a lawsuit or seek to resolve the issue with a settlement outside of the courts (usually, just asking the person to take the review down is enough).
If you do decide to sue, you can subpoena Google for the reviewer’s information that was entered in order to create the Google account that was used to leave the review.
If the reviewer opened an account just to leave that nasty review, there’s a good chance that the information entered was incorrect. Still, Google might be able to provide you with an IP address, which is often enough to identify the reviewer in question.
Other Negative Google Reviews
If the negative review isn’t defamatory, you can try to flag the review as being inappropriate. Here you’re hoping that Google will find a policy violation and remove the review from the search results. If no policy violation was made, however, the review will stick, and you’ll have to find other means of getting it taken care of.
Contact the Reviewer Directly
You may be tempted to contact the reviewer privately in an effort to get him or her to reverse position or remove the review entirely. But it’s far better to make your attempt to rectify the situation public for all to see – including potential new customers.
Making your response public allows people to read your side of the story. And it shows new customers that you care.
Tell the reviewer your company messed up, that you’ve learned from the experience, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to reverse their opinion about your business.
To please the customer, you might offer a free giveaway, generous discount or complete refund.
If your company gets a few bad reviews because of company misconduct or poor customer service, address those issues by rallying your team together and making the necessary adjustments. Negative reviews, when factual, can actually help to improve your business. In that way, they can be viewed as constructive instead of detrimental to your business, as long as you do your best to repair the damage before it gets any worse.
When responding to reviews, always be courteous, admit fault and lay out your side of the story clearly and concisely, without blaming the reviewer in any way. Whatever you do, never, ever threaten the reviewer. That’s almost worse than getting a negative review in the eyes of new customers.
Bury the Negative Review
The best case scenario is to put into action a reputation management campaign where you urge your satisfied customers to leave reviews of their own. If you get enough positive reviews, you can bury the negative review under a sea of new ones that show your business in a much better light. When that happens, few people will take the negative reviews seriously.
What About Other Platforms?
This advice doesn’t just pertain to Google reviews. If you get a bad review on Yelp or Yahoo or some other review site, you are encouraged to follow the same courses of action:
No business is immune from the ever-destructive negative review, but getting one doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By taking action the moment a negative review hits Google or some other review site, you can mitigate the damage and move on while learning a thing or two about the experience.
Get your dental practice found on Google. Contact Millionairium today and tell us about your business goals.
July 11, 2016
In 2015 we were contacted by Donna Frank, Dr. Frank’s wife and managing partner. She was interested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
“I was weary about SEO and had never tried it, but I decided to give it a try,” says Donna.
Since she was introduced to us by her dental consultant, Janice Hurley, she decided to sign up.
First, a little background. The Bakersfield area, where Dr. Frank’s office resides, is saturated with cosmetic dentists. Due to this fact, I knew from the get-go that this campaign would take some time to bear fruit.
With hard work and cooperation from Donna and her team after about a year, we were able to rank the site to a whopping #1 spot on Google for Bakersfield Cosmetic Dentist and other related keywords.
This, in turn, helped the site’s qualified traffic from Google to grow by 71%.
“I never thought that in our competitive market, Ali and his team could place our site at #1 on Google for ‘Bakersfield Cosmetic Dentist’ or ‘Best Dentist in Bakersfield‘,” explains Donna.
And here is a comparison of traffic from the major search engines:
What made this campaign succeed?
Here is an outline of what we did for Dr. Frank (some proprietary and sensitive information is omitted).
#1 Focusing on Google
By aiming at Google, our team was able to guarantee Dr. Frank’s success. As you can see from the graph above, Yahoo! and Bing only bring in a few visitors each month.
#2 Providing Great Content
We worked diligently over a period of several months to build out some of the most professional and up-to-date content for Dr. Frank’s site. We answered questions related to cosmetic dentistry and wrote periodic blog posts and optimized them for Google. Consequently, Google loves this site.
#3 Targeted Optimization
Of course, everyone talks about site optimization. However, our team has learned what Google likes and dislikes over the years, and we used that knowledge to implement some incredibly effective techniques. From meta tags to placing keywords in the right places to optimizing the URL’s and increasing the site’s load speed, we left no SEO stone unturned. All of this and many other factors helped the site rank better.
#4 Visible Local Listings
Our team had to verify Dr. Frank’s local results with Google. We also registered his practice with relevant local directory sites. Combined with #5, the results were a #1 spot on Google Maps.
#5 Raving Google Reviews
Dr. Frank is a great dentist; therefore, his patients are happy to leave him positive reviews. The ones published on Google (Google Reviews) help the site rank better in the search results.
Dr. Frank’s case definitely belongs in the spotlight. If SEO is implemented correctly, a client will see a significant increase in income from clients discovering their site on the Web.
After all, we all search Google for what we’re looking for. And now, thanks to Donna for choosing us, Dr. Frank’s website is found on Google. This leaves the doctor satisfied, his practice constantly improving, and it makes our team at Millionairium pleased with another job well done.
“I’m very happy we chose Millionairium and will suggest them to anyone interested in getting more patients from the Internet,” continues Donna Frank.
If you have a site but it is not visible on Google, we can help. Give us a call at 3102992799 or fill out our form and one of our representatives will get in touch with you.
May 31, 2016
How do you determine the keywords you use in your Google SEO program? Do you make assumptions about what you think people use to find you, and use those keywords? Maybe you look at what competitors are doing and copy that. Or, do you actually take the time to research what potential patients are using when looking for a dentist or orthodontist?
If you’re not researching, you might be missing out on the keywords patients are actually using. Dr. Peter J. Meyers of Moz.com believes this research is the most important and valuable activity that happens in the search marketing world. He says “Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website“. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”
When it comes to good SEO, we know it’s not enough to drive traffic to your site, but to ensure that traffic is made up of the right people, who will then become your patients. Keyword research can help you with conversions.
What is a keyword?
What is the value of a keyword? When determining if a specific keyword is right for your practice, consider the following:
Before settling on keywords, it’s important to know how a keyword will impact your business. Just because a keyword is related to you, and ranks well on Google, doesn’t mean it is right for you.
We should also note that today’s Google users rarely use a single word when searching, but instead use key phrases. Think about it this way – if you are a pediatric dentist, and you simply use the work “pediatric” as a keyword, chances are users will find something different than what you’d like them to find, which is your practice. Instead, use the term “pediatric dentist” plus your city.
The best are actually phrases of about two to four words that accurately describe you and serves you provide. Think about the language your patients use, and use that for keywords.
For example, if you’re an orthodontist, you may not want to focus too heavily on the keyword malocclusion, even when paired with your city. Most Google users probably aren’t using the term malocclusion in their searches, but rather something like “crooked teeth” or “bad bite” or something similar.
Utilize Google’s keyword planner when determining what keyword phrases will work best for you. You can put in your market, then type in different keywords to determine how competitive they are and what their average search volume is. For instance, you could see that for the search term “pediatric dentist” in the Atlanta area, the average number of monthly searches is 720 and Google ranks it as a low competition search term.
Common mistakes to avoid
Avoid these common mistakes in your Google SEO tactics:
The first step in creating a healthy search engine optimization program is developing a list of effective keywords. Determining the best keywords to use is a continuing and ongoing part of SEO because the way people search is constantly changing. And that means the way your business reaches them has to continue to evolve, as well.
So, where do you start?
Let’s start at the very beginning
Start by brainstorming – who are you, what services do you offer? Start with a basic list of services, and then dig deeper.
Are you a pediatric dentist in San Francisco? Don’t stop at just using the obvious term “San Francisco pediatric dentist.” What are the services you provide that parents might be looking for?
Take it even further by including keywords that include phrases such as “cost of,” “recovery time of,” “before and after” and you might just see your conversions increasing even more. This is a great tactic for orthodontists and dentists to use. Parents may be wondering about the cost of braces, so by using “cost of braces” in your search term, you can answer those questions and be earn front of mind recognition.
If you are in a large and highly competitive market, don’t forget to use suburbs in your search terms. It might take a while to rank at the top with the phrase
In highly competitive markets, you can also reach more people by including suburbs of the city you are in. If you’re in San Diego, target cities such as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Escondido, etc., and widen the net of potential patients you reach.
Sample keywords that can be effective in driving potential customers to your site include:
Potential patients don’t just want to know about procedures and services, they want to see photos, learn about cost, and much more. If you aren’t providing this valuable information, chances are potential patients are looking to a competitor.
Research, research, research…and more research
Determining which keywords will be the best for you doesn’t have to be hit or miss. Using a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you determine what users are actually searching for.
You can take your phrases and, looking in your area, check to see variations on that search term that searchers are using. This list may even generate words you hadn’t thought of, and ideas for strategically optimized blogs.
Research might just bring up an idea for a new opportunity for your SEO program to seize.
Get to work
Once you’ve created your list of keywords, what next? It’s time to put them to work and convert traffic into patients.
Organize your keywords into manageable groups that can then be used for targeted optimization. Use these keywords throughout your site, from page titles, to the body of text, to URLs and even meta tags on file names.
Most SEO programs begin after a site is already up and running. You’ve probably had a website for a while, but want to go back and work in keywords to help your position on Google. This can work, but you’ll need to be careful to avoid keyword stuffing, and trying to cram too many keywords onto just a few pages.
In a perfect world, your SEO will fit in with your website design from the very beginning. You’d create your list of keywords, then craft the content of your site with that in mind. At Millionairium, we help clients redesign their websites, taking into account all that goes into SEO. By crafting content around these keywords, you can create relevant and engaging content that ensures potential patients find exactly what they need.
Millionairium has been at the forefront of the SEO world for more than a decade by combining sophisticated conversion rate monitoring with best practices in website design and development. We use our knowledge to help clients dominate their markets. If you’re ready to see what a comprehensive and highly effective SEO strategy can do for your practice, call Millionairium today, (310) 299-2799.
March 8, 2016
When your potential patients are searching for a local dentist or orthodontist, where do you think they turn? As of 2015, more searches were happening on mobile devices than on desktops, meaning it is more important than ever that your practice has a mobile site.
Speaking to conference-goers at Recode’s Code Mobile conference, Google’s senior VP of search Amit Singhal said: “For the first time, we’re getting more searches on mobile devices than on desktop.”
And a Thrive Analytics survey found that 60 percent of people searching for a local service do so on a mobile device. That means if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you may be losing out on potential patients who are trying to find you.
We’ve talked about the importance of mobile sites before, so hopefully, this isn’t new to you. And because this is becoming a vital way for patients to find you, it can no longer be the only thing that sets you apart when potential patients are searching. So what else should you be doing?
Speed things up! We think Google is going to start looking at the speed of mobile sites and using that in their algorithm.
Why? Wesley Young of searchengineland.com says it best “Consumers don’t just want mobile websites, they want fast mobile websites. Consumer attention spans are growing shorter. Consumers abandon websites if they take too long to load, with 40 percent abandoning a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.”
That means ever additional second it takes for your mobile site to load could be sending potential patients elsewhere.
Google says “Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”
Speed is so important to Google that they recently launched a new open source project called Accelerated Mobile Pages. The AMP project is aimed at speeding up the mobile web by changing the way websites are built and displayed, making them faster and more efficient.
So it would stand to reason that if Google has started a new project aimed at speeding up the mobile web, they’re going to pay attention to the speed of your mobile-friendly site.
Google is notoriously mum on what factors really go into play in their algorithms, and what weight should be applied to each factor. But we know being mobile-friendly can’t be enough to get by anymore.
When looking at a mobile-friendly site, you have to ensure you’ve built one that is easy to navigate, allowing potential patients to find the information they need easily, and one that loads quickly. To do that, you’ll need to ensure the code is optimized, any files and pictures are compressed, and you’ll want to improve your server response time.
Every second is valuable in today’s busy world. Smartphones allow us to have access to a world of information at our fingertips, so don’t miss out on potential patients by letting those seconds slip by.
Feb 21, 2015
We had a client in San Francisco who was with us for about five years. We had a great campaign from the very beginning, and were able to get the site to the top of Google searches. In 2012, we redesigned a beautiful new website for the practice, but in 2014, we saw the practice’s rankings begin to fall.
The client, of course, wanted to know why the site had fallen. It became clear to us that the main reason was that their site was not responsive. In order to gain back the ground that had been lost, we would need to redesign and modernize the site, making it mobile friendly.
There are three ways a site can be mobile friendly:
a. A responsive site fluidly changes its size to fit different screen sizes.
b. An adaptive site uses the same URL structure, but loads a different version of the site to fit different sized screens.
c. A mobile site is a completely different site designed specifically for mobile devices and hosted a separate URL, mDot.
Their marketing director responded by asking why they would need a new site, when their site had only been redesigned two years prior. In 2012, mobile friendly and responsive sites were not as much of a necessity as they have now become. And to compete in bigger, more competitive markets, a responsive site is a must.
But Millionairium isn’t the only company saying this. Do a quick search for “SEO and Responsive Design” on Google, and you’ll find a host of articles written by other professionals. They will resoundingly agree that to have continued success on Google, a company must have a responsive site. This is especially important for local results, as more people are using mobile devices than desktop computers in their searches for professional services.
Heily Francis of Search Engine Journal asks, “But when it comes to SEO, can a responsive layout increase the chances of a website succeeding in the SERPs? The answer is a resounding yes.”
And Clay Cazier of Search Engine Land. Explains “If the primary question is what kind of mobile configuration Google generally prefers, the answer is unequivocal: Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
How Do We Know if Our Site Is Responsive?
The fastest way to determine if your site is responsive is to load it on your monitor, then change the size of your browser (simply click and hold a corner of the browser to resize it). Can you still see the entire site (with scrolling down)? If the answer is yes, you have a responsive site. If the layout didn’t change to accommodate your resized browser, your site is not responsive.
How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade a Site?
The cost to upgrade a site depends on each individual site, and how you wish to proceed. A member of Millionairium’s sales staff will be happy to discuss your site with you and discuss options you can choose from.
Would My Site’s Position Increase Just by Making it Responsive?
Yes, but to rank well on Google, you also need to ensure you have an optimized site and that you are working to make it popular.
If you have any questions about responsive or websites, or any other SEO topics, we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.
Feb 9, 2015
Today’s Google algorithm is the most sophisticated and hard to read since Google launched seventeen years ago. The reason for its ever growing sophistication are many which we will not discuss here. But here is a list of things you need to know about Google in order to get your site ranked at the top of the search results.
It’s been a few years since Google has dropped reviews from Yelp, Demand Force and other third party review providers. They now heavily depend on Google reviews. In 2014, the new Google algorithms were giving a bigger weight to the number of as well as the score of Google reviews.
In order to rank better on Google Places (Maps) you would have to focus on getting more reviews for your Google Plus account.
It’s never easy to get reviews and it gets more complicated when you are trying to improve your Yelp, Bing, Google and other third party reviews.
Here are some of our practical suggestions:
– Focus on Google and Yelp when it comes to your reviews (forget about the rest)
– Ask every happy client if they would leave you a review. Hand them a piece of paper with instructions and tell them how much you appreciate it.
– Have an email campaign to remind your clients to write you a review with clear and simple directions.
In 2014 Google started paying more attention to how user-friendly sites are. Indicators such as site load speed time, responsiveness, time people spend on each site, and the number of pages they visit became more important. In short your audience overall satisfaction helps your site rank better.
Out of all the above, responsiveness of your site is the most important element in raking your site better with Google.
A responsive website is one which its layout (and not the content) changes based on the device and the monitor size it is being rendered on.
To develop responsive sites, programmers use HTML5 programing.
As before, adding fresh and unique content to your site on a regular basis is an indication of your site’s authority in the field. Write for your site at least once a month and more if you can.
We were expecting Google to drop the importance of keyword-rich domains in ranking algorithm, but it didn’t. In 2014 and beyond, keyword-rich domains play a significant role in having a site rank better for the specific keywords mentioned in the URL.
To our surprise, Google is now paying much less attention to backlinks than before 2014. The reason could be many things. Artificial methods to gain backlink popularity is the most important reason Google has backed away from putting too much weight on back-links.
Dec 2, 2014
If your dental site has duplicate content, it will be penalized by Google and pushed down on the search results.
Back in the university I learned that if you copy a text from a book or an article into your own work, you must cite the source. If you didn’t do that, you were plagiarizing and would get an F.
Google is the largest library of text on the planet with over 30 trillion unique pages already indexed. The algorithm works by sorting these pages based on 1) relevancy to the search query and 2) popularity of that page.
Google also has many penalization factors in place mainly to prevent spammers from placing their clients’ irrelevant or unpopular sites on top of the search results. One of the most important of these penalization factors is duplicate content.
Duplicate content refers to one or few sentences of text that are identical across two or more pages.
Google equates duplicate content on a site to plagiarism even if the site owner is unaware that duplicate content exists on his/her site. So it is crucial for your practice to look for duplicate content every few months as others maybe copying your text.
How Do I Know if My Site Has Duplicate Content?
This video shows you how you can look for duplicate content on your site:
So simply go to one of your site pages and copy a couple of sentences. Make sure these phrases don’t have your practice’s name, your name or anything specific to your practice in them.
Then go on Google search and put that same phrase within quotations in the search box and search.
Three things may happen:
You don’t see any results. This means Google has not been able to index that particular page. In this case, you need to consult with an SEO company.
You see only one result. That must be the same page you copied/pasted the phrase from. If your site is the only site showing up, you have nothing to worry about.
You see more than one search result. This shows that your site’s text is copied on other sites.
Solution to Duplicate Content:
If you see that your site has duplicate content simply hire a copy-writer to rewrite the text of your site. Once you approve the text then have your Webmaster or SEO company replace the text on your site.
Nov 9, 2014
Have you been wondering if your dental or orthodontic practice could benefit from a new website? This checklist will help you discover if your current site could use an overhaul to attract more patients.
You’re Tired of Your Current Site
If you don’t like looking at your current site, then maybe that’s a sign that your potential patients don’t either. If the layout or design is outdated, it may be time to invest in a new one.
Your Google Rankings Have Disappeared
The main reason we recommend overhauling your website is if your rankings on Google have dropped significantly. Black-hat SEO companies are always involved in shady practices to get their clients listed at the top of Google. But Google eventually catches on and will penalize those sites, and in most cases, the penalizations can’t be reversed. And that only means one thing – you’ll need a new site to gain back those rankings.
Your Site Doesn’t Translate Well to Mobile Devices
If this is the case, you really need to invest in a new website. Today, close to 40% of dental site visitors are coming from mobile devices. Tablets and smartphones are everywhere, so if these users can’t easily use your site, it’s time for a new one.
But when it comes to mobile sites, there are two options – building a mobile version of your site, or building a site in responsive form. We only recommend the latter and here’s why.
A mobile site only works well if visitors are on smartphones. It won’t increase your rankings, and in some cases can actually hurt your Google rankings. It’s basically just a condensed version of your main site, so visitors might not see all of the information they are looking for. And you want to put your practice’s best foot forward.
However, a responsive site is just that – it responds to whatever type of device your patients are searching from. The layout adjusts to fit the screen they are browsing on, and has all the information they’ll need.
Multiple design formats and a dynamic HTML5 code are used to build responsive sites. Visitors will be able to see your entire website, not matter what device they are using. That means your site will be beautiful, searchable and readable no matter how small the screen is.
And, responsive sites do really well on Google searches.
It Takes Forever for Your Site to Load
Does it take several seconds for your website to load? If so, you could be losing out on valuable potential patients. An optimized site can load faster, but sites that are laden with images or that have a lot of code on the back-end will be hard to optimize. If yours is one of those, we would recommend just redesigning your slow site to one that will load quickly.
Patients Aren’t Coming to You From Your Site
Good Google rankings typically translate to a lot of patient traffic. But if your site has a low conversion rate, your phone won’t be ringing. Your minimum acceptable conversion rate should be five percent.
If your site falls into one or more of these categories, we’d recommend you consider a redesign soon. We have a great design and development team that can help. Contact us and one of our representatives will provide you with a free quote.
Oct 6, 2014
When in 2012 Google announced its launch of Google Plus, I got excited. Mainly because I didn’t like Facebook breach of privacy (not that Google is any better, however, Google uses your data for internal use and won’t announce it to the world).
I registered with Google plus and I was able to adapt to it quickly and increase my popularity (which helped increase our site’s rank on Google almost immediately).
Although Google Plus social engagement was mimicking real life more than Facebook and you didn’t have to embarrass yourself by requesting a friendship, however, to my surprise, Google Plus had a huge disadvantage: it was very complicated. Some features such as “circles” and “hangout” were hard to get your head around.
Despite the huge hype Google Plus had, I knew that it would be hard for Google Plus to compete with already popular Facebook.
Google didn’t give up so easily.
They included new important features from Google Plus into the search results such as “authorship” and “+1’s”. They also integrated Google reviews with Google Plus accounts (for businesses). Furthermore, they made it mandatory for new users to have a public Google Plus profile. These pushes were aimed to further popularize Google Plus.
The efforts however seems to be declining. Google Plus’ architecture, Vic Gundotra left Google in April. Then in June, Google quietly removed authorship images from the search results and a few days later the authors’ name. The excuse was that not enough webmasters were optimizing sites for Google Authorship (at about 25%).
Google Plus pages for business are still very important. That’s where your practice has all its reviews. So, I wouldn’t move quickly to abandon your business’ Google Plus page. But the question remains: would Google eventually abandon Google Plus altogether? Perhaps creating another service for businesses?
Sep 1, 2014
Our team recently redesigned Dr. Loochtan’s site. Within the first two weeks after its launch, we measured its performance against the old site. On top of increasing the conversion rate from 2.82% to 6.94%, the bounce rate decreased to less than 1% and its average page views per visitor more than doubled.
Conversion rate is now a hotter topic than SEO. While Google keeps changing the algorithm repeatedly to muddy the SEO waters, companies are forced to use Adwords as a more reliable form of advertising. That in turn creates a more fierce competition on Adwords, driving the cost per click higher. As we pay more for our ads, our return on investment (ROI) decreases and advertising on Google becomes less attractive.
The solution to this ongoing problem is having a better performing website.
We measure the success of a site based on a few data points:
1- Conversion Rate:
The number of new patients contacting your office from every 100 site visitors is called conversion rate. The higher your site’s conversion rate, the higher your ROI for any Internet marketing campaign you engage in. There are two kinds of conversion rates:
General Conversion Rate: calculated by measuring the total number of people who contact the office from the site (current patients, old patients, advertisers, etc.).
Real Conversion Rate: calculated by measuring the number of new patients that contact the office (excluding the rest).
In our calculations, we use the latter.
Dr. Loochtan’s real conversion rate before the launch of the new site was 2.82%. After launch, we saw a 246% increase reaching 6.94%, nearly tripling the number of new patients who are contacting the office when visiting the site.
As a result, Dr. Loochtan’s ROI is increasing by more than double. If getting each new patient to the office was costing $200, now it costs less than $100.
2- Bounce Rate:
How much interest do your site visitors have in browsing your site and visiting more than the landing page? The percentage of people who leave your site without exploring it beyond one page is called bounce rate.
Dr. Loochtan’s old site had a bounce rate of 57.06% (for visitors coming through organic search – SEO). After launching the new site, the bounce rate of SEO visitors dropped to an amazing 0.58%. Nearly nothing. In other words 99.52% of site visitors browsed through the site. This level of interest directly contributes to a higher conversion rate.
Amazingly, the bounce rate for tablet and mobile users dropped to 0%.
3- Average Pages Per Visit:
Directly related to bounce rate is the average number of pages site visitors browse when visiting your site.
Just as the bounce rate decreased for Dr. Loochtan’s site, the average pages per visit almost tripled from 2.15 pages to 5.34 pages per visit.
Dr. Loochtan’s old site:
Dr. Loochtan’s new site:
Why is the new site doing so so much better than the old site? This is a topic we will discuss in our up-coming webinar on September 9, 2014. Make sure you sign up for this webinar as the seats are limited.
Also give us your feedback as to why you think the new site is doing so much better.
Aug 20, 2014
A few days ago, I had a meeting with one of our clients, his partners and website designer. We had been working with them for a couple of months and we had measured their site’s conversion rate at merely 1.1% (to learn about conversion rate and conversion rate monitoring, watch this webinar). Their website’s conversion rate was much lower than the average conversion rate (2-3%).
I explained to them that the reason their site’s conversion rate was low was that most Internet user’s span of attention had shrunk by half in just three years from 12 seconds in 2010 to merely six seconds in 2013. As our brains process the information faster and filter unwanted or useless information, we don’t have time to waste reading non-relevant information to find what’s relevant. We simply quit.
Further, I explained that another reason for the site not being as successful today is that 41% of their audience was using mobile devices to access the site and the site was not mobile-friendly. Our other clients’ sites are getting 3-5% conversion rate. With a 1.1% conversion rate, the practice is wasting money advertising on Adwords and paying for SEO.
“We like our website,” one of the doctors emphasized. “It has worked in the past and we don’t want to invest in redesigning it.”
I was perplexed that this particular partner of the practice was reluctant to redesign their site in the face of overwhelming evidence that they needed a new site.
I thought about this phenomenon and I realized something very important: he was not flexible to change and he was therefore not doing what was necessary to take advantage of the Internet’s benefits. He simply wanted to stick with a site they had designed years ago that, at some point in history, had given them positive results.
If you are flexible and are ready to change, here are some tips that will help you increase your return on investment (ROI) for your online marketing efforts:
A responsive website adapts to the size of the monitor/device that it is loaded on. This means the site needs to be designed for different devices people use, including smartphones and tablets.
Your site also needs to be simple, with minimal text and graphics. Your average audience has an attention span of about six seconds, meaning in six seconds or less, your site should give the following three answers:
– Who you are (name/picture)
– What you do (your specialty)
– What I should do next (call to action)
Conversion Rate Monitoring
Investing money and time on Internet marketing without measuring our site’s conversion rate is like shooting arrows in the dark. We don’t know where they land and whether or not we hit the mark (most likely, we won’t hit the mark).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is perhaps the most changing of all Internet marketing seas. If your SEO company is still “building” links, your site is doomed to be penalized by Google. If you are not writing high-quality content that will be shared by your audience and colleagues, you will fall below those who are doing just that. And finally, if your Internet social status (likes, reviews, pluses) is minimal or non-existent, you’re wasting money with SEO.
Studies show that people and staff do not like answering machines. By listening to our clients calls, we’ve realized that many people simply hang up the phone when they reach an answering machine.
So, the next change you should have made by now is to have a round-the-clock answering service that takes your calls at all times.
The above changes will help you get up-to-date with your Internet marketing campaigns and expect to increase your customer base.
Aug 3, 2014
SEO successes and failures are plenty. Many companies out there are doing a good job getting their clients on the first page, but very few do it according to Google’s guidelines and in such a short period of time.
Dr. Heller joined our company in mid-2013. We first built his site in responsive format using flat-design concepts.
We then started the SEO project in November of last year. In just seven months, his site’s traffic has increased by 536%. In June, over 719 people found his site on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
The number of visitors who found the site through Google was 582 compared to 57 from Bing and 80 from Yahoo!.
Out of those visiting the site, 52% were using mobile devices. This is slightly less than the average plastic surgery patient trend, which is 57%.
Half of his site visitors live in New York (where the office is) and 13% in New Jersey. The rest are outside of his geographical location, which is because the site also ranks well nationally.
Here is a report that shows where the site is ranking on Google for some of the related keywords.
What contributed to this rapid success?
There are a few strategies that we used. Among them include writing professional articles, link-building, social media marketing and Google Places optimization.
July 25, 2014
1- Is Your New Site Responsive?
Your new site must be mobile-friendly. 57% of our clients’ patients are using mobile devices to access their sites (in plastic surgery field). If your site is not designed to accommodate mobile users, I guarantee that you’re losing business.
Associates In Plastic Surgery (AIPS) has been our client for a few years. We redesigned their site in 2012 and again rebuilt it in responsive format recently:
The best mobile-friendly sites that do really well on the search engines are responsive sites. Adaptive and apps are not good solutions.
An adaptive site is one that directs the browser to a different domain and shows a different site depending on the device used. Mobile apps need to be downloaded and are not good website replacement options. You can read about the pros and cons of these options here.
In a nutshell, a responsive site has the same content, but the layout changes depending on the device/screen size. Here is a video that shows how a responsive site works:
2- Do You Know Your Sites’ Conversion Rates?
You have a site because you want your site visitors to contact you. If your site has 100 visitors and two of them call your office, your site has a two percent conversion rate. A new site should only increase your conversion rate.
What’s the point of investing heavily in a new site and then realizing that its conversion rate just went down?
So, to know if your new site is performing well or not, you should be monitoring your old site’s conversion rate as well as the new one and compare the two.
That’s what we did for Associates In Plastic Surgery (AIPS).
In the first ten days of launching the new site, the conversion rate almost doubled from 2.85% to 5.23%. This means the number of new leads doubled just by making the site mobile-friendly.
This is explained by the fact that almost 60% of the site visitors are using mobile devices.
3- Does Your New Site Load Faster?
Studies have shown that your audience’s attention span on the Internet was six seconds last year. Now, it could well be around four seconds. If your site takes more than four seconds to load, you’re losing a good chunk of your audience.
Site speed becomes even more important on mobile devices, because mobile devices usually have a slower connection to the Internet.
The Associates in Plastic Surgery site used to load within seven seconds before we rebuilt it. Once the site was finalized and we launched it, the new site took six seconds to load (which was okay given the site has lots of images and text). However, the problem was that on mobile devices (such as iPhones), it took nearly 12 seconds to load. This was unacceptable.
We asked our developers to optimize the site further to make sure it loads efficiently. Within two days and lots of tweaking, they were able to bring the site’s load time to merely three seconds for the top of the fold section and four seconds for the entire site. That’s one reason the new site has a better conversion rate.
The load speed of the site also helps the SEO. One of the Google algorithm criteria is how quickly your site loads. Faster sites will rank higher on Google given everything else equally.
4- Does Your New Site Improve SEO and Traffic?
The job of your SEO company is to increase the natural and targeted traffic to your site. A new site should not jeopardize SEO. If you have a new company design your site, make sure your SEO company optimizes the new site before it’s launched.
However, the ranks and the traffic to the site may initially decrease if there is a major change in the structure of the site. As long as the SEO company is aware of the changes and takes the necessary steps, the ranks and the traffic will go back up.
In the case of Associates in Plastic Surgery, we rebuilt the structure to make it more Google-friendly. Because of this major change, our traffic decreased in the first ten days by 9%. We expect this trend to reverse in the next few weeks.
5- How Long Do Your Visitors Stay On the New Site?
We said earlier that your visitors’ attention span has shrunk over the past few years to close to four seconds. But that’s not to be confused with how long they will stay on your site. Of course if within 5-6 seconds they’re not finding what they are looking for, they will leave. But once you grab their attention, they tend to stay longer and visit a few pages of your site.
The longer you can entertain your audience and the more pages of your site they browse, the better it is.
As a general rule, your new site should keep the audience longer. In case of AIPS, after launching the new responsive site, we saw an increase in both the number of pages people visited (from 3.86 to 4.55 pages) and the time they spent on the site (from two minutes and 19 seconds to two minutes and 42 seconds):
6- Do You Have A Call to Action?
If a site is lacking a strong call-to-action, it probably won’t have a good conversion rate. More than a decade ago, the first lesson I learned in designing websites at Page 1 Solutions was having a strong call-to-action. Dan Goldstein, the president of Page 1, would reject any site design that didn’t have one.
That lesson holds strongly today as it did then, or maybe even stronger – because the audience now has a smaller span of attention and needs more direction as what to do.
Here is the call-to-action for Associates in Plastic Surgery:
7- How Many Goals Does Your Site Have?
A site should not have many goals. In other words, you should know exactly what you want your site visitors to do. For the majority of the plastic surgeons, you want the site visitors to pick up the phone and call the office or fill out the form on your site.
Don’t get your audience confused by having many things going on at the same time. Examples of call-to-actions that are not very important include:
– Like Our Facebook Page
– Sign Up for Our Newsletter
– Leave Us A Review
– Read Our News
Have only one call to action through out your site. Whatever you want your audience do (which should be calling you or emailing you to set up an appointment).
Thanks for reading the article and please make sure you leave your comments.
July 11, 2014
If you were a very tech-savvy and marketing-oriented dentist, you would have asked your web designer to build you a mobile-friendly website in 2011. After all, 8% of your site visitors were using their mobile devices to access your site. You wanted to provide everyone who visited your site with a great experience.
In 2014, you don’t have to be tech-savvy or a marketing genius to understand that your site must be mobile-friendly. A whopping 41% of your site visitors are now using their mobile devices to access your site (smartphones and tablets).
We expect this number to grow to close to 45% by 2015.
That’s what we realized after analyzing our dental clients’ website traffic and compared them to the past four years.
Here is an example:
Dr. Stosich is an orthodontist close to Chicago. In June 2011, his site only received 170 visitors. From that, only 8 visitors were using their smartphones and no one used an iPad. In June 2014, while his traffic has increased to 1,371 visitors, 564 visitors used their mobile devices (441 smartphones and 123 tablets).
Everyone else’s story was similar.
The only exception to the rule was doctors who live in low-income areas and those living outside of the U.S. (Canada for example). These doctors’ sites received about 20% of their traffic from patients using their mobile devices.
Why is this important?
As one study by The Guardian has shown, site visitors’ attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds on average in 2010 to eight seconds in 2012. A follow up study revealed that in 2013, it became six seconds. Today, it could be four and next year only three seconds (if the trend continues). That means your patients do not have the patience to “look” for what they want on your site.
A site that is well-organized (most of the dental sites do a good job with that) helps the patients find what they’re looking for quickly and learn about your practice. But if the site is not mobile friendly, then it will take your prospective patient a few seconds scrolling left-right, up-down and zooming in-out to find what they are looking for. Even then, clicking on links and going back where you started is a pain.
Consequently, many of your patients leave.
While we studied the conversion rate for one of our clients who does not have a mobile-friendly site, we realized that none of the site visitors using mobile devices are contacting their office. That means, they’re losing close to 40% of their potential customers.
What you should do next
You should have your website designer turn your site into a mobile-friendly one. And here are some options you have:
This option is good for large companies like banks or social networks, like Facebook. The user must first download the app and then is able to access it from their phones. This is not a good option for dentists.
A mini version of your site, which may have a few buttons and couple of call-to-action messages including your phone number.
The pro is that the adaptive sites are inexpensive. The cost of building an adaptive site will be in the hundreds.
The cons include:
a. Your adaptive site must be hosted on a subdomain of your site as mobile.yoursite.com. The search engines see this as a totally different domain than yours. Thus, you may be faced with duplicate content issues.
b. The user will be disappointed to find out that most of the information on your site is not available on an adaptive version of it. This is more of a problem if the visitor is a repeated one looking to read your articles or watch your new videos.
Your site’s full version should be designed for mobile devices. As a responsive site, it will adapt to the size of the monitor.
a. The site will look appealing to everyone using any device
b. It is extremely user-friendly as every monitor size has been carefully thought for.
c. The search engines love it because the code is more modern (HTML5) and shows your level of sophistication.
d. Visitors can read all of your articles and access everything they’re used to on your site.
The con is that they are expensive to build: both design and development require double or triple the work compared to a non-responsive site.
April 10, 2014
To be able to precisely monitor the Return on Investment (ROI) for each project we are doing for you, we need you to record every lead that you get in your office in the Google Docs that has been shared with you. Here is the tutorial on how to do it:
March 28, 2014
It’s a simple formula. Your patients are looking for you. They are searching on Google. We make sure they find you. And we make sure your website sells you. Before they even contact your office, they’re your patients.
All you need to do is show your patients you care and want to help them reach their dreams.
We bring clients to your door. They pay you to make their dreams come true.
We’ll make you the next million dollars. That’s our promise. We are Millionairium.
Look at our testimonials, talk with our clients, ask about our expertise and profound level of care. We’re here to make your business money for years to come. That’s what marketing should be about. Long-term and prosperous success.
Isn’t that what you are looking for?
March 14, 2014
Those familiar with SEO who have enjoyed top positions on Google organic search understand the value SEO brings. In one instance (Dr. Andrew Miller), we have recorded over $1M revenue generated in one year from Google organic search (through effective SEO). In this article I will explain why an effective SEO company is not enough to secure your future online marketing success.
SEO in general and Google SEO in particular have always been a challenge. Both for us as well as our clients. Since 2003, we had to change our strategies at least twice a year to be able to keep our clients at the very top. We were successful, but the cost of SEO has multiplied over the years alongside its rewards.
Many times our clients have been confused as to why we change our tactics so many times. Often they didn’t like the changes, as it required them to invest more of their time, money or both.
These challenges have forced many of my colleagues to abandon SEO altogether. But I’m no quitter.
I believe in the power of Google as the best marketing platform the world has ever seen after the Yellow Pages. Returns on investment of 10 times or more are very common. So, why abandon SEO?
In the past decade SEO was something you hired a company to do for you. As long as the company was legit, they worked hard and knew how to maneuver the Google algorithm, you did well.
Soon, you either join forces with your SEO company or you forget about positions on Google altogether.
Here is why:
Since the beginning and for more than 15 years, Google’s algorithm was about your site’s popularity, its content, and its relevancy to your keywords. All of these aspects were manageable by a good SEO company. In 2010-2011 however, Google started testing a new indicator: of social media popualrity.
They introduced Google Plus. With it came Authorship, Business Plus and +1. Yes. SEO got more complicated for SEO companies, but it’s our job to solve the new challenges and learn how to get our clients set up. Our challenge however, is that we cannot manufacture social media popularity for our clients (although some desparately try).
Google hasn’t yet rolled out all the effects social media popularity will have on your positions and traffic from Google. But soon they will.
What this means for our clients is that they need to be more involved in social media in order to build their popularity, online and off line. That combined with a powerful SEO campaign will guarantee your lead in your market.
I intend to write more on this topic. Subscribe to our site so you get notified when new articles are published.
Feb 7, 2014
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – We talk a lot on this blog about how to increase your Google ranking and thus increase site traffic. If you read search engine and marketing blogs often, you may find your head spinning, up to your ears in SEO information. And while you should try to digest as much information as you can, the simplest and most effective way to gain online customers is to build a great website.
The best SEO companies understand that good web design is closely linked with online success. Millionairium recently welcomed Farnaz Zangouei to our team as a Web designer, and our team realizes how valuable her skills really are.
Let’s put it this way: you’ve reached the top spot on Google for your most desired keyword. Congratulations! What does this mean? It means it’s easier, much easier, for customers to find your site than if you were miles down on the search results page.
But what happens when a user clicks on the link to your site and it takes more than a minute to load? What happens when a cluttered site overwhelms a user? What happens when your navigation is sloppy and your texts are difficult to read? The user leaves, and quickly.
You may have heard the term “bounce rate” to describe how quickly a user leaves a website. Our goal is to lower your bounce rate, or, more simply, to keep users on your site. The more pages the user interacts with on your site, the lower your bounce rate. The longer a user sticks around on your site, the more likely you are to convert them, either to make a sale or have them contact you.
Here are six ways to improve your website’s design and keep users from leaving too quickly.
1. Develop a clean user interface.
In the design world, we call user interface UI. UI includes a lot of elements – the website’s navigation, the placement and aesthetics of buttons, social networking links, user forms and search boxes.
Try not to have an insane amount of information on your home page. Instead, spend time developing your site’s navigation and think of the most logical way to organize and label your pages. Trust me, it will make a difference. Think about the best place for your links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. SEO works hand in hand with your site’s design, and every button on your site must serve a distinct purpose.
2. User clear fonts.
Many users come to your site for content. Make that content easy to read. Avoid swirly, cursive fonts or jarring color combinations. When you wrote papers in school, did your English teachers let you use any font you wanted? My teachers made us stick to Arial or Times New Roman. You can certainly branch off from these fonts for your website, but remember the sole purpose of your content is to engage visitors, so don’t lose them with a difficult font choice.
3. Use a contrasting (but not blinding) color scheme.
The same goes for your color palette. There’s a fine line between stylish and garish, and sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes to help you see the difference. Bright colors can be harsh on the eyes, and your visitor may subconsciously feel negatively about your site just from the colors on the screen. While using colors from your company’s logo is generally a good idea, you probably want to stick to toned down versions for the site’s background and for most of the text.
Use your logo as a guide for the color combinations, but not as a hard rule. Don’t discount how attractive a nice gray background can be. Gray is the color of newspaper, and very light gray is the shade of paper books. Black text is common in newspapers and books. Our eyes see these color combinations well and interpret them easily. Whatever color combinations you choose, make sure your text contrasts enough from its background to be easily readable.
4. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
Henry David Thoreau said it, ladies and gentlemen, and he is still right. Even in terms of Web design, simpler is usually better. Reduce the amount of clutter on your site and watch your bounce rate get lower and lower. Visitors will leave your site quickly if they find lots of distractions.
Do you really need a pop-up? Do you really need that text box? Distractions keep them from the information they are searching to find. Choose each element of your website wisely. Keep your blog in a contained place and share fun, quirky things there if you wish, but keep your home page clean and simple, and keep your navigation intuitive.
5. Beware of slow load times.
Certain factors can significantly slow down your website’s load time, such as large images, multimedia, scripts and music. People hate waiting, and they especially dislike waiting for websites to load.
If your site is loading slowly, expect your user to be impatient and most likely leave. A good Web designer will know how to include professional, high-resolution images that don’t take years to load.
Let me be clear, though. Multimedia is a good thing. Videos help engage users and keep them on your site. You just want to make sure they’re optimized for quick loading and they buffer as they go along.
6. Embrace mobile and be responsive.
Screens are all different sizes these days, with tablets and smartphones exploding the marketplace. If your website is designed solely for a 13-inch monitor, you’re missing out on a lot of smartphone and tablet users.
Check out your website on a variety of devices and see how it looks. If you have a high bounce rate from smartphone users, it may be time to develop a responsive website. Good design isn’t limited to one screen size.
Zangouei knows that your online presence is extremely important, and we do, too.
“Without a website that’s user-friendly, a business will never be able to effectively advertise their services,” says Zangouei. “The world lives online, and a well-designed Internet home is vital to growth.”
An online home with good content and a strong design will leave users satisfied and satiated. Good design is hard to explain, but you certainly know it when you see it. On the flip side, it’s very easy to spot bad design.
Trust your instinct and consult with a professional designer to see how you can improve the look and user experience of your website. You should notice increased user engagement, and you’ll likely enjoy a higher amount of credibility with a professionally designed website.
Jan 24, 2014
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – The good old days of SEO are over. Google’s latest search algorithm updates have brought their axes down on plenty of low-quality and poorly SEO’ed websites and blogs. And now you hear that Google has revamped its algorithm again by launching the Hummingbird update.
Most SEO practitioners are in a fix!
What are you doing to keep your website’s SEO on track? If the last couple of updates by Google have killed your free organic traffic, it’s a clear signal that your website’s SEO needs a boost.
Here are seven SEO fixes to keep your website’s SEO headed in the right direction while regaining your lost keyword rankings.
#1. Get Rid of Bad Links (or Backlinks)
A few months ago, I wrote an article on link building in the post-Penguin era. Though today’s SEO still revolves around links to a great extent, the ways of building links have changed considerably.
While building links for your website in the post-Penguin era, you should focus on these identification signs, strictly –
In fact, you should give your website’s backlinks profile a good spring-clean right away so that it has no bad links. Google’s Penguin can quickly get suspicious if your website’s backlinks contain unnatural or spammy links. It might even lead you to a search algorithmic penalty. If you lack adequate SEO knowledge, it’s advisable to hire a reputable SEO agency for a backlink analysis.
Remember – A few bad apples can spoil the whole barrel!
#2. Improve Content Pages
After you have fixed the backlinks profile of your website, the next important step is to conduct a content audit. It’s a good idea to create a content inventory in order to have a clear picture of where you stand and what further actions need to be taken to improve your website’s SEO.
The content inventory spreadsheet should include these –
Based on these metrics, you’ll be able to analyze the current situation, improve as per the requirements and work out a better and more effective content strategy for the future. At the same time, you should get rid of duplicate and low quality content as quickly as possible.
“Over the last several years, search engine optimization (SEO) has matured quite a bit. Now, it’s no longer the practice of stuffing web pages with as many carefully-placed keywords as possible and hoping that Google notices. These days, it takes a much more sophisticated and refined approach built on fresh, original content that will provide value to visitors,” says Sujan Patel of Single Grain.
#3. Create and Submit XML Sitemap via GWT
Sitemap submission via Google Webmaster Tools is something that you shouldn’t ignore anymore. Whether you have a website or blog, you can create XML sitemaps and submit them to Google via your Webmaster Tools account. On your Webmaster Tools home page, you can select your site, click site configuration and then sitemap in the left sidebar. Then you can add your sitemap and finally submit it to Google.
By creating and submitting an XML sitemap, you’ll make it easy for search engines to crawl and categorize your site. It will, therefore, help you boost the SEO of your website as well.
#4. Check Your Website on Mobile Devices
Have you checked out whether your website renders really well on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The number of mobile Internet users is increasing every moment. The mobile version of your website or blog should always be simple and concise. At the same time, you should make sure that mobile visitors are automatically directed to the mobile-friendly version of your website. It’s not tough as servers have the ability to identify mobile devices.
Most importantly, you should check the mobile-friendliness of your website on different types of mobile devices, OS versions and screen resolutions. Development companies will offer you a long list of mobile devices from which you can choose as per your requirements and get your website tested for all those devices and optimized appropriately.
#5. Start Guest Posting
In terms of doing SEO fixes and improving the search rankings of your website in today’s highly competitive environment, guest posting or guest blogging should always be at the top of your list. Spammy article marketing and junk directory submissions are already out of the game. But writing guest posts for authoritative niche sites is an excellent way of expanding the presence of your online business, building your brand and boosting your SEO.
Most of the sites that accept guest post submissions also allow you to include your own byline or author bio. So, make sure you have a byline which makes your business stand out, connects with the target audience and attracts new customers to your own website.
Don’t forget that it’s your approach toward guest posting that matters because there’s always a right and wrong way of guest blogging.
#6. Say Goodbye to Page-to-Page SEO Approach
With the ‘Not Provided’ data in Google Analytics and the Knowledge Graph, you can be sure that keyword data is going. Post-Hummingbird, Google is starting to focus more on complex or conversational queries. Therefore, you should quit your obsession about keywords (or money keywords) and stop looking at a website on a page-to-page basis.
As a matter of fact, you should focus on building a great website which satisfies the intent of a wide range of users.
#7. Build Social Media Influence
If your want to keep your website’s SEO on the right track and dominate the search results for a long time, you should start building your influence on popular social media websites without any delay. Today’s SEO is not just about algorithms. It’s also about social signaling, which tells search engines whether people really like to share the content that you feature on your website.
After all the latest algorithmic updates (and search penalties), do you think the SEO of your website is on the right track? Please comment.
Jan 10, 2014
TAMPA, FLORIDA – A cornerstone of search engine optimization has been removed by Google, and now some members of the SEO world are wondering whether the foundation soon will topple.
I’m talking about the removal of Google’s free Keyword Tool and the ever-increasing percentage of search analytics that fall into the “(not provided)” category in Google Analytics.
Here’s a timeline of sorts that shows how Google has steadily increased the (Not Provided) information in recent years:
That’s a powerful blow to SEO professionals. We thrive on that information. As much as we know we need to consider humans over Googlebots, it’s damn near impossible for hardcore SEO experts to not watch the numbers. We have reports that show keyword lists of our clients and where their sites rank for each one. We know how this week’s ranking compares to last week. I find myself getting worked up when I discover they’ve fallen to another page, or dropped from the second spot on a page to the 10th position. It’s all too easy to dwell on these figures.
I have to admit it’s kind of refreshing to be given permission to not care about keywords so much anymore. It’s much more freeing to simply write on my blog what’s on my mind at the moment. I write about topics based on the questions I get asked when people find out my line of work. I figure if they’re asking me in person, others are probably Googling in search of the same information, so I’d like to be the one to provide it.
These latest Google changes remind us – again – that you need to just focus on being an expert in your field. Become known as an authority on your topic.
“Make it easy for Google (and Bing, and, you know, people) to load your site, to navigate your site and to figure out what each page is about, and you will be rewarded with return visits,” Burr says.
Now that keyword information isn’t as readily available, Burr tells us that instead of looking at keyword level data, look at page level data – which pages received referral visits from Google search?
“Thanks to Google’s autocomplete feature, users are often using a suggested query rather than whatever their original keyword might be,” she says.
She goes on to say “the real killer of the keyword-driven approach isn’t (not provided)… it’s Google’s increasing devotion to semantic relationships between topics and entities on the Web. Author Rank, personalization and the Knowledge Graph have added new elements to consider: Now, in addition to what your content says and who links to it, Google also cares about who created it, what else they’ve done, and who’s shared it. Content from a trusted source can rank in personalized results for related keywords without specifically targeting them; Google’s gotten that good at figuring out topical relationships.”
What does all that mean? As if anyone needed more proof to the old cliché that content is king, Google’s move to provide even less information about keywords drives home the point yet again. Think less about using keywords to get traffic; more about getting traffic to pages, Burr says. Considering content over keywords will help you build authority on your specific topic. That is Google’s desire these days.
And if you simply can’t stand to part with keyword information, hop on over to Bing, which is keeping search data accessible – at least for now.
Dec 27, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Search engine optimization is a quickly changing industry. Some business owners hire SEO companies like ours to help them climb up the Google rankings for their desired keywords. Other business owners prefer to receive coaching or learn SEO themselves to increase their online exposure.
Melinda West is a business owner that’s doing it all. She started Swags Galore in 1999, and at that time she was one of the only online curtain retailers around. Things have changed, though, and other curtain retailers have made their way to the web.
Now Melinda and her husband Eugene compete with online behemoths like Amazon and big box stores like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to bring beautiful, affordable curtains to the masses. I got to pick her brain to see how she and her husband optimize their site and grow their business all on their own.
Jessica: How difficult has it been to learn about the Google search algorithm?
Melinda: I can’t elaborate too much because I don’t want to give away any secrets. Let me say this: It doesn’t matter how much advice you get or how much you read, it’s about the case study. Say you optimize your website and implement SEO techniques and blog. My site’s ranking then isn’t relying on just one technique – it’s a combination of a million different things.
The only way you can tell if you’re successful is if your keywords rank higher on Google than they did before. It’s a case study, and you should look at it exactly like that if you do SEO for your own business. If you do something and slip down in the rankings, the change you made was probably not a good thing. If you do something else and your rank raises, then it’s a good thing.
We recently broke Page 1 for “valances,” which is a very competitive keyword, and we’re glad to have that deep and narrow focus to continue growing with that keyword. For “curtains” we were previously nonexistent, and now we’re on Page 2. We must have slipped a little.
Jessica: How often do you check your keywords?
Melinda: Multiple times a day. They bounce you around, and we want to understand how the algorithm really works, so we check often. Hummingbird, the recently released new Google algorithm, didn’t affect us negatively. Has all our SEO increased our page ranking? Yes, but we’re still ongoing, and it’s a process that will never end.
Jessica: Do you focus on organic search, or do you also pay for advertising?
Melinda: Right now I feel we’ve done pretty much all we can do on search. Now we’re going one step further to brand our business and build some press. There are a million different ways to market your business, including PPC campaigns, Facebook ads, etc.
One thing we’re doing is using retargeting campaigns. Say you’re shopping for shoes online, and a day later you open your email inbox, and there are shoe ads. You pay for that; it’s paid advertising. You have to tackle the market on every front, and how can we compete? Because we have a really narrow niche. I don’t put much effort into social media; none of my traffic comes from there.
Jessica: What benefits do you see from doing your own SEO as opposed to hiring an SEO specialist?
Melinda: I know SEO specialists have a lot of tips, tricks, and techniques that I can learn from. But I also think that once an SEO company uses all their methods, they have to reevaluate their strategies and they tap out their resources. They can do wonders for some clients, but I have a super competitive niche, and I can focus solely on growing my own business. I would rather write my own blog posts and press releases than hire freelancers who aren’t experts in the industry. I know my industry back and forth, so who better to do the work but me?
If you use only one method or use just one SEO person or freelancer to help your SEO efforts, it could appear to Google as spam. I’ve found that attacking SEO from many directions helps me move up for my keywords. You can’t discount Yahoo! and Bing, either. The process is all manual and very hands-on. That said, the average website owner doesn’t know what happens online. They really have to get in tune with things or they go away very quickly.
Jessica: Other than checking your keywords multiple times per day, what other barometers do you use to measure your SEO success?
Melinda: I use Google Analytics – you’d be crazy not to – and some other analytics and keyword tools. But I don’t use just one source. I know that if I double my sales from last July, then I’m on the right path. If my sales dip, something’s off, and I have to figure out what and why.
We use some tools, and using them helps us figure out exactly what our competitors are doing. We basically just watch the successful people rise to the top and follow what they do. We add in some stuff of our own, monitor our progress, and try to fit all the pieces together. It’s a lot of work, and it costs a lot of money to do SEO.
Jessica: What SEO resources do you use?
Melinda: I don’t have one go-to source. If something happens to my search position, I want to find out why, and then I research further. If I keep making gains, I’m not concerned with what Google is doing or how they’ve changed the algorithm. I’m running a business here, too, so I’m doing a lot more work than just SEO. My approach is certainly more reactive than proactive. For instance, I noticed that on a recent Penguin release, the bloggers got hit really badly and now they’re gun shy to do anything. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they all had to change their businesses.
Jessica: You were way ahead of the online curtain selling game, but now the big box stores have caught on. What strategies do you implement to compete with much larger companies online?
Melinda: Well, I would say probably the one advantage I have against the competition is having a super narrow niche and a small handful of keywords. Because we’re so narrow, we can focus on those keywords and do them well. Staying narrow and focused is the key. A lot of my competitors in the curtain industry expanded into bed and bath, adding more and more products that weren’t curtains.
We went to a 100 percent stocked model, which means we keep very deep curtain stock as another advantage over the competition. The fully stocked model means we own all the curtains you see in our store, and we’re able to ship them faster and with less hassle than big box stores.
Another advantage we have over Amazon and big box stores is that they’re very fragmented. My store shows customers what they can do in a boutique shop and its not fragmented at all. We have deep, narrow stock, we ship 24-hours, we purposely pick products with great price points and we make the products unique.
Jessica: Thanks, Melinda! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and learning from you.
Are there any other business owners out there who would like to share their SEO trials and successes? We’d really like to hear from you.
Dec 10, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – Prepare for your minds to be blown, gentle readers, for I believe I am about to impart some knowledge on you that you likely haven’t read elsewhere.
Remember the devastating blow Google Penguin dealt the SEO world when it determined links from article and press release distribution websites no longer would be counted as quality inbound links? A way for you to combat that may soon come to a newspaper website near you.
Newspaper design firm Creative Circle Media Solutions has created a digital portal that participating newspapers can add to their websites. It provides a mechanism for people to submit their press releases in hope of reporters seeing them and turning those press releases into published articles.
However, posting press releases via this system can prove beneficial to businesses even if a reporter does nothing with the information. For a fee (which varies among the handful of newspapers in the U.S. who are using this system), you can insert hyperlinks into your press release and have it publish immediately in the newspaper’s portal. You can see a sample of what I’m talking about on the Tampa Bay Times website.
The URL from your press release includes the newspaper’s URL, which we know is valued by Google. That means you get links from high-authority newspaper websites.
Although I love the idea of this new capability, I have some serious concerns. I’ll outline two for you:
1. This system is ripe for abuse.
Anyone, anywhere can pay to post a press release to a participating newspaper’s website, says Bill Ostendorf, founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions. That means if you’re a dentist in Seattle and you’re willing to pay to post a press release on the Tampa Bay Times portal, you can. But what value does that add to Tampa residents who may happen upon this release? And while this will build valuable links to your website, let’s think of what should be the intended purpose. Will it gain you more patients? I have my doubts.
2. A Google smack-down could await participating newspapers.
I have two words for you: Forbes and Newsday. Google isn’t afraid to “drop the ban hammer,” as Ryan Clark eloquently puts it on Linkbuildr.com in an article about big brands Google has penalized. If Google will bust Forbes and Newsday for gaming the system, I’m convinced no newspaper is off limits.
To all you SEO pros out there, I beg of you: please don’t abuse this system. This can be a valuable tool from a public relations and an SEO standpoint. Use it wisely. Take my advice on how to do that:
That’s right. Wait for this press release posting ability to come to a newspaper near you, instead of posting press releases to sites on the other side of the country. It will uphold the integrity of this tool and it’ll make more sense to readers who happen upon the releases you post.
2. Write quality press releases.
Stop writing the month-to-month crap you churn out for your clients just for the sake of adding new content to their sites. Think about what your client is doing that is newsworthy. Write about that and post it to these newspaper portals.
If you don’t heed my warnings, you’re going to ruin it for everyone. This link building mechanism may work for a while. Honestly, I hope it works permanently. But if Google determines at some point these newspaper sites have compromised their integrity and they deem this posting and link building ability as a black-hat SEO technique, you and I both know what you’ll spend the next several weeks doing – provided you’re the least bit concerned about your clients’ websites. You’ll be disavowing the crap out of all these links you’ve spent months accumulating.
Use it wisely, and everyone wins.
Image credit: NS Newsflash at Flickr
Dec 6, 2013
VILLA PARK, Calif. – Are you a price-shopper? Contacting many SEO companies to find who’s charging less “for the same thing” and signing up with them? How many times in the past few years have you done that? And you’re still following the same old habit?
Cheap SEO equals DEATH. Not your death of course, but the death of your marketing campaign while your competition dominates Google search results.
Before reading the article, please note that Google is the KING of online marketing. And if you are not ranked organically on Google – very high on the first page – you’re losing most of the online business to your competition. That’s why I only focus on Google SEO.
Let me explain why you’re not going to find a top-quality SEO company at the cheapest price.
Reason #1: Google SEO is HARD.
Google SEO has three elements: Content development, optimization and building popularity. Each of these sections is extremely delicate and difficult to master. It will take an average SEO expert a minimum of five years to understand these aspects of SEO and master them.
Reason #2: Google SEO is HARD.
That’s not a typo. Here, I’m talking about the implementation of SEO. A typical SEO campaign requires 40+ hours of professional work each month.
Professional Content is Necessary
Writing extensively and professionally for your site is the cornerstone of ranking high on Google. Your SEO company needs to research, write, edit, optimize and post at least one high-quality article per week to your website. If you have ever tried this you realize how difficult it is.
Optimization is Delicate
The least difficult part of SEO is optimization of your site. Because it gets done once – with minor tweaks later on. But it really isn’t easy. SEO engineers need to understand how Google algorithm works. Slight over-optimization of a site could result in Google penalty slap.
Getting Popular – NATURALLY
Many have suffered from Google’s repeated algorithm updates – but our clients don’t. Why? Because we don’t try to make them popular using easy and cheap methods. We know the cheap methods well: buying links, submitting sites to directories, syndicating your articles, reciprocal link-building, etc.
We have to make clients popular naturally. How do we do it? That requires another article.
Reason #3: Short Term Success is Failure
It’s easy and cheap to get your site ranked on Google search using black-hat SEO methods. I have personally tried it and it works. However, Google will catch up with you sooner or later and you lose your site’s rankings altogether. In that case you have to start fresh. Fresh domain, fresh content and fresh SEO campaign. So, in today’s fast-moving business pace, where your competition is looking for the slightest set-back in your marketing campaign to take over, BLACK-HAT = DEATH.
Reason #4: Google Changes Its Mind
Google SEO rules change – and sometimes not for the better. There are two theories why. The conspiracy theory believes that Google wants to increase its revenue which comes mostly from the pay-per-click ads (Adwords) by reducing the rankings of those who are at the very top of Google organic search. Because when they lose their ranks, they’re most likely to pay for Adwords.
I don’t necessarily believe in that, but I know for sure that the SEO blue-print Google provides today may be different next year. This makes the job of any SEO expert extremely difficult. The reason is that we need to stay ahead of the game by at least one to two years.
The good news is that Google is now a slow-moving giant when it comes to changing directions and implementing algorithm updates. When they announce a change (like Matt Cutts explaining intent-reading algorithm updates) it takes them one to two years to really implement the change. Of course, one has to listen to Google very carefully and read between the lines to understand how that will affect the next few algorithm updates.
Reason #5: ROI is What Counts
Looking at the monthly or yearly cost of SEO by itself is the wrong way to look at the campaign. You have to look at the ROI generated by your SEO campaign and compare it to your other marketing campaigns.
Note: If you are not tracking your business ROI from different marketing campaigns then start today. With the new technologies available, this is not a difficult task.
Let’s say you invest $8K per month for SEO with company X. In a one year time-frame they are able to generate $1M revenue. Their cost has been roughly 10 percent of your income. Your ROI: 1,000 percent.
That’s a good ROI.
You may pay half of that to company Y and only see a $200K increase in income. In this case, your ROI is 500 percent.
Would you go with company X or Y?
We are one of the most expensive SEO companies I know of, yet, we bring about double the ROI of any other marketing campaign I’ve seen.
Here is a chart of the site usage analytics from www.associatesinplasticsurgery.com (from September 2013). The partners are heavily investing in both SEO and Adwords (roughly the same amount). They rank at the very top in both campaigns. However, they get about half of their site’s traffic from SEO (combining Google, Yahoo! and Bing) and only 23 percent from their Adwords campaign.
Getting a site ranked at the top of Google for their very competitive and short-tail keywords is a daunting task. It requires expertise, dedication, hard-work and patience. You may save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars by hiring the less expensive SEO company, however, you should know that the long-term consequences of paying less are dire.
Don’t kill your online marketing campaign. Spend the time and research many SEO companies to find the best one. And the next time you think cheap, imagine a tombstone with “Here Lies Your Online Visibility” written on it.
Image credit: 401K at Flickr
December 3, 2013
CHICAGO – By now most of you should be familiar with Google’s latest effort to provide additional privacy to its users by switching 100 percent of Google searches to secure search. While many marketers may find this traumatic, the sky isn’t falling.
First, these changes only impact leads that visit your site from Google organic search results. You can still view keyword-level referring data from Google paid search ads, as well as organic searches from all the other search engines, including Bing and Yahoo.
And second, despite these changes from Google, there are still three tools you can use to gather insight from Google organic search leads without seeing the specific referral keyword data they used to find you.
Marketing Automation Tools
Conventional marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, and Silverpop can do an excellent job generating online leads using email campaigns, web registration forms and website usage monitoring. Even without being able to see Google referral keyword data, you can still use a marketing automation tool to see the web pages a lead first visited from Google and their path through your site that lead to them filling out one of your web form registrations and becoming a lead.
This information is helpful because you can infer the keywords used to drive visitors to your website. You can also see which pages are best at converting visitors into web leads, and which pages aren’t performing as well.
But what’s missing with conventional marketing automation tools is voice. That’s why many marketing teams are now using a call tracking tool to track what happens when someone visits their website from Google and, instead of becoming a lead by filling out your form, decides to pick up the phone and call.
Marketers can use call tracking to track calls back to any marketing source, including Google SEO and PPC, offline ads, social media sites, direct mail, email and more. Call tracking software gives you unique trackable
phone numbers (local, toll-free or vanity) that can be displayed in your marketing material and the web pages of your site.
When someone calls those numbers, the technology knows exactly what source they’re calling from and captures that source information with the lead information. Even if the visitor browses around on your site for a while before calling, call tracking can still attribute them as a phone lead from the correct originating source.
Call tracking tools used to be able to tell you the Google keywords that drove a person to visit your site before calling you, but unfortunately Google encrypted search no longer passes that keyword-level referral data from Google organic searches. However, call tracking tools can still tell you which web pages drive the most phone calls to your business from Google organic searches.
You can even track each call individually through your sales cycle to see which web pages are generating opportunities and revenue – enabling you to understand which pages and content work best at converting calls that turn into customers. So while you may not have access to keyword-level referral data for Google organic, you can still see some extremely insightful information you can use to improve your marketing.
Integrate Call Tracking with Google Universal Analytics
What’s more, call tracking tools can integrate with Google Universal Analytics to give you additional insight into each visitor’s behavior and interaction on your website. If the goal is insight about the visitor, Universal Analytics will give you plenty.
For Google organic visitors, marketers are still able to see in Universal Analytics which web page a lead first landed on. Since most web pages are only optimized for a small number of keywords, you can infer which ones are working to drive web traffic from Google (and that’s valuable info to have). You can then follow that visitor’s path through your site, and, if they called you, you can see exactly what page they called from. Again, very valuable information for marketers trying to optimize their site for lead conversion.
So don’t panic about Google’s encrypted search. Using marketing automation tools paired with call tracking and Universal Analytics, you’ll still be able to gain valuable and actionable insight into the behavior of your web visitors, leads, and customers that came from a Google organic search. And again, you can also still see keyword-level referral data from Google paid search ads and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. That hasn’t changed.
If you wish to learn more about how marketers are using call tracking, you can download the white paper, “Tracking Phone Leads: The Missing Piece of Marketing Automation.”
About the Author: Jane Intrieri is currently a Marketing Content Specialist at Ifbyphone. She crafts compelling, educational content in the form of white papers, blog posts, eBooks, articles, press releases and more. She covers topics such as B2B marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation.
November 21, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – SEO is not one-size-fits-all, nor is it a one-time event. In today’s ever-evolving era of search engine optimization, it’s important to keep a close watch on the statistics of your website on a consistent basis. If you are unaware about the health of your website or lose track of where it’s headed, it’s easier than you’d think to let your SEO die and send traffic (and money) to your competitors.
To prepare yourself for an in-depth analysis of your website, the first thing to do is choose the right kind of SEO tools.
Thankfully, Google itself is a treasure trove of such SEO tools that you can use without paying a penny. Google Analytics is an excellent example of these tools. It’s one of those tools that even a newbie can quickly learn to use and understand, and utilize the data to improve a website’s SEO.
Among other tools that Google offers, the most advanced of all is the Google Webmaster Tools (WMT). If you have a well-rounded knowledge of SEO, you can use this powerful tool for evaluating and planning the organic search strategy for your website or blog.
If you haven’t used WMT yet, here’s a little guide.
To access Google WMT, you must have a Google account. As you go to WMT, you’ll be required to either log in with your existing Google account or create a new one (if you don’t have one). Once you are in, you are ready to add a site to your WMT account.
Though you have added your site to the WMT dashboard, you won’t be able to use this tool unless you have completed verification.
So, follow these steps –
There are many other options to verify the ownership of a site. If you already have a Google Analytics (GA) account for the site you have added to WMT, you can also verify by connecting the GA account to the WMT account.
Checking Messages (Spam Warnings/ Notifications)
One of the biggest benefits of using WMT is that it’s where Google sends webmasters spam warnings or other notifications. The email notifications that you receive via WMT tools keep you aware of what may have gone wrong with your website.
Examples of such messages include “Increase in not found errors” and “Is still infected with malware.”
Likewise, Google will send you an email via WMT for any important issue that might harm the search rankings of your website.
Email notifications are just the tip of the iceberg. As you delve deeper and start to check out the many features that this awesome SEO tool offers, you’ll understand why it’s a favorite with webmasters.
The entire WMT data has been divided into five major sections, which are as follows.
Each of these sections provides invaluable data on keyword traffic, internal links, external links, indexing, crawling, URLs etc.
Depending on your specific requirements, you may use a few or all the features of WMT and improve the SEO of your website. However, it’s important to understand each feature before you use it.
Structured Data – As far as other features of the WMT are concerned, this one is relatively new. By using this feature, you’ll be able to identify structured data within your website like schema.org and microformats.org. If you are adding schema markup to your website, this feature is very useful.
HTML Improvements – If you want to improve the experience of users coming to your website and improve performance, this tab is a must-use. This tab allows you to detect HTML issues on your website including duplicate Meta descriptions, long Meta descriptions, short Meta descriptions, duplicate title tags, long title tags, short title tags and non-informative title tags among others.
Site links – The links that you see under your website’s main search results or the domain name. Though these links are generated by Google automatically, the site links feature allows you to demote any of the pages that you don’t want to appear under your domain name in SERPs.
Search Queries – This is an important data section for tracking the keyword performance of your website. If you want to find out what keywords your website is ranking for, the impressions for each of those keywords, the rate of click-through for your site search results and the average position for each of the keywords for which your website ranks, this section does it all.
Links to Your Site – Backlinks are still very much the backbone of a website’s SEO. This section of WMT provides you all the important data on how and who link to your website. Whether you want to know the sources from where your website is linked or the anchor text for those links, this is the section to check out. In fact, this feature does a good job to help you create a link report or do a link audit of your website.
Internal Links – The internal linking structure of a website also plays a key role in its overall SEO. The WMT provides you with a detailed look at how various pages on your website are linked internally.
Index Status -The index status report tells you how many of the total number of pages on a particular website have been indexed by Google. If your website is losing in search due to indexing issues, this data will help.
Content Keywords – Here, you’ll gather information about the keywords that have been frequently used on your website. Checking out this valuable data will help you identify whether your website is associated with a specific theme.
Crawl Errors – Site or URL crawling errors can do potential damage to the SEO of a website. Whether it’s a Domain Name System error, server connectivity error, soft 404 or Not Found errors, this report will tell you everything.
Crawl Stats – This report allows you to track the Googlebot activity on your website including pages crawled/ day, kilobytes downloaded/ day and time spend downloading a page.
The WMT offers you many more features like the ones mentioned above. If you aren’t using this advanced SEO tool yet, go, create an account, verify your website and start to explore.
If you’re using Google Webmaster Tools already, please feel free to share your thoughts, views and experiences.
November 5, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – The search industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. Over the past few years, SEO has evolved in so many ways. The changes have been so dynamic that it’s become a real headache to keep current with the latest trends.
The infamous Panda and Penguin algorithms have revolutionized Google SEO. In the near future, you can expect to see many more search algorithmic updates. Therefore, it’s vital to keep a close watch, constantly.
So, where’s search actually headed?
Old SEO = Technical SEO + Content Marketing
New SEO = Content Marketing + Technical SEO + Social Media
But, there’s a lot more to the fast evolving field of SEO. If you are an SEO practitioner or an SEO agency, you are left with no other choice than to evolve, adapt and embrace the latest developments. Unless you are ready to do so, you can suffer failure and it might even affect your business.
“Since Panda and Penguin updates, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the same results as we did in the past and it takes longer to rank a new client at the top of Google. On average, our project time-frame has increased by about 30 percent while our cost has grown by almost 100 percent,” says Ali Husayni, CEO at Millionairium.
In addition, you can also see the glimpses of the future of Google SEO in factors like authorship, Google+ and Knowledge Graph.
In order to help you understand the modern-day SEO and keep you up-to-date, here are some of the most important search engine optimization questions answered for you.
Q: Is old SEO dead?
SEO won’t die. The tactics, however, will continue to change over time. Old SEO was more about keyword focus and gathering tons of backlinks from anywhere you could. Today, most of the old SEO tactics are out of the game.
Submitting press releases without news is something you should stop doing right away. You can’t achieve top Google rankings by mass-submitting your website to 100s or 1000s of web directories people don’t use.
Old SEO was all about using a couple of technical tactics to achieve high rankings in SERPs quickly. It lacked strategy. In today’s era of Google SEO, you need to look at SEO as a long-term strategy which includes extensive research, tactful planning and effective implementation.
Q: What’s the value of keywords in modern-day SEO?
SEO in the past was more about keywords. The focus was always on money keywords or anchor text. If you are trying to get your site’s keyword rankings from position #20 to position #10 or top of Google SERPs, you are approaching SEO with a wrong mindset.
Stop obsessing over keyword positions.
Focusing too much on keywords only means you care little about people. Rather than sweating it out to improve keyword positions, you should actually concentrate on building a ‘huge keyword portfolio.’ Start using long-tail keywords for a vast portfolio and more conversions.
Q: Do links (or backlinks) still matter?
No doubts. Links are still the lifeblood of a website, as far as ranking it in Google search results is concerned. It’s only that you need to break out of the mold and adapt to the new environment of link building.
The new SEO requires you to build a link profile that looks natural. It’s therefore crucial to have a diversified backlinks profile. To create diversity in your site’s link profile, you shouldn’t just go for many different types of links (wiki links, directory links, forum links, .edu links, .org links, .net links, .gov links etc.), but you also pursue sources that are credible, popular, current and relevant. In any case, you should say a firm ‘NO’ to acquiring backlinks from low-quality or unrelated sources.
Today’s link building is tougher, and more targeted.
Q: Is this true – ‘Content marketing is the new SEO’?
As the search industry goes through an evolution, it has included content marketing as one of the most important aspects of SEO. Mediocre or low-quality content will never help you achieve high search rankings even if you have a well-designed website packed with important keywords and few links.
In the modern-day era of SEO, you need to shift your focus heavily on creating stellar content that talks about the problems of your target audience, educates them and solves their issues.
“Good content will survive a whole host of algorithm updates! The point behind all those mysterious updates is to weed out spammy content. If your content is solid and your audience is engaged, the search engines will be able to tell – so you won’t need to completely re-think your strategy next time Google trots out a four-legged creature starting with ‘P.’,” says Jen Ribble, content strategist at ExactTarget’s Content Marketing and Research team.
So, say goodbye to low-quality content.
Q: What’s the role of social media in SEO?
Have you heard about social signaling yet? If you check out some of the well-positioned URLs in SERPs, you’ll notice that they also have a high number of likes, shares, tweets and plus ones. Social signaling or the number of social shares that you receive for a particular piece of content has become an important consideration for search engines to rank websites.
In order to measure the authority of a website, Google looks to social media for key signals like brand mentions and content sharing.
Q: How can Google algorithmic search penalties be avoided?
Though your website may face penalization due to various reasons, the two most commonly applied penalties imposed by Google include the Panda content penalties and Penguin link spam penalties. In terms of content, you need to get rid of duplicate content pages, low-quality content pages and thin content pages on your website as quickly as possible. If you want to avoid Penguin penalties, you should never indulge in questionable linking practices.
In case you have faced a Google search penalty already and are not sure what to do or how to proceed, it’s always recommended to get in touch with an experienced SEO professional or a reputed SEO agency.
What’s your take on the latest search industry developments? Please feel free to share what you think in the comments.
October 27, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – Many people have claimed that ‘SEO is dead.’ Well, this may be a good marketing tactic for some people. But, it’s actually an entirely bogus claim. SEO, in the truest sense of the word, is quite alive, up and kicking.
It’s evolving and broadening in scope.
The search industry is expanding at a rapid pace. There are new SEO tools and products being introduced. Google is constantly launching new search algorithms – the very infamous Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird.
Amid all these changes that are happening in the world of SEO, many old SEO tactics have no use. I would like it more if somebody said ‘Old SEO tactics are dead.’ As the rules of the SEO game continue to change, you can’t expect to depend on old techniques or methods as far as ranking a website or blog in search engines is concerned.
“While we must be aware, and understand, things like Google Panda/Penguin and other major changes in the algorithms, if we focus on doing ‘good marketing,’ all other things should fall in line, and major algorithm changes shouldn’t be a concern,” says Mark Jackson, CEO at Vizion Interactive.
Good marketing! As a modern-day SEO practitioner, it’s good marketing that you actually need to focus on. And when you start to do marketing in a good way, old SEO tactics simply fall flat.
Therefore, you need to break free of the old SEO!
Examples of Old SEO Tactics
Since most of the old SEO tactics have now become good reasons to suffer an algorithmic penalty, you need to avoid them as quickly as possible. If you are not aware, given below are some good examples of old SEO tactics that won’t work in the post-Panda and post-Penguin era of Google.
Mass-Submitting to Directories – Even today, there are plenty of online SEO service providers that offer mass directory submission. But you should be careful not to fall prey to such services or start a mass directory submission yourself. What’s the point of submitting to directories that nobody uses? In fact, most of the junk directories have already been de-indexed by Google.
Link Swapping – In the post-Penguin era of Google, swapping links with third party sites regardless of their niche in order to generate lots of backlinks for your website quickly is actually a violation of the Google quality guidelines. You need to avoid such bad practices at all cost. One-way links within your niche should become your prime focus now rather than trying to reciprocate links, which offers little SEO value today.
Keyword Stuffing – Excessive focus on keywords leads to keyword stuffing. Filling your web pages with tons of keywords is a clear signal that all you care about is search engine rankings. Bear in mind that you’ll never rank at the top of SERPs by repeating the same keywords in your web pages over and over again. This is an old SEO tactic that simply won’t work.
Article Submissions – Like other old SEO tactics mentioned above, submitting low-quality or spun articles to article directories for building lots of links is also out of the game. You shouldn’t forget that most of the top article directories (including the much popular EzineArticles.com) were penalized by Google because they were content farms.
Low-Quality Content – Stop using filler content. No matter what industry you belong to, you should be sure about the fact that low- or poor-quality content will not rank your website at the top.
I hope these examples give you a good idea about those SEO tactics that you should stop using right away.
So, What’s New?
Breaking free of the old SEO techniques also means you quickly need to move on to embrace the changes that modern-day SEO has introduced. There are many new developments that webmasters should become aware of. But, at the core of it all, it’s users that must be your prime concern. Strictly!
“What Google wants is what users want,” says Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team.
This single line embodies the entire concept of SEO in 2013 and beyond. Even when you want to rank at the top of Google, you shouldn’t make Google your focus. Instead, it’s user needs you should address while optimizing a website or blog. Otherwise, you won’t survive!
Here’s a quick look at some of the recent search developments –
SEO and Social are ONE – You can’t think of SEO and social media separately anymore. What kind of influence or presence you have on popular social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter is going to affect the search rankings of your website in major search engines.
Content Marketing is the Next Big Thing – According to many SEO gurus, content marketing is the new SEO. Content marketing is a marketing technique that’s used to attract, acquire and engage customers by providing them with value-added and relevant content. If you focus on creating stellar content, you’ll make customers happy, keep them coming and attract links naturally.
Mobile-Friendly is No Longer an Option – To take your website’s SEO to the next level, you should look at mobile-friendliness as a necessity. Along with taking good care of your desktop users, you also need to fulfill the needs of your mobile device users really well. Or else, you’ll be a loser.
Local SEO is More Significant – Google Places results are becoming more common in Google SERPs. It’s a clear signal that the search engine giant is giving good preference to local SEO. It’s, therefore, important for you to apply local SEO to your web properties as well.
Panda and Penguin are Here to Stay – Google’s infamous search algorithms called Panda and Penguin are here to stay for a long time. Panda prevents websites with low-quality content rank higher while Penguin keeps a close watch on those websites that use manipulated links for top rankings.
Trying to rank individual web pages or articles at the top of Google search results by using SEO tactics is now a misunderstood concept of SEO, which you need to reject as quickly as possible. In order to survive in the modern-day world of SEO, you need to look at search engine optimization as a long-term strategy. And the focus of your strategy should always remain on fulfilling the requirements of your target audience or customers.
Please feel free to leave a comment.
October 8, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – Google recently announced the launch of a new search algorithm called Hummingbird. On Oct. 4, it announced the release of Penguin 2.1. Forums lit up over the weekend as SEO experts discussed what these changes could mean to search results.
First, a word about Hummingbird. Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan the name comes from being precise and fast. It started using the algorithm in August, but didn’t announce it until Sept. 24.
Many experts have declared this update to be the biggest since Caffeine in 2010. Danny is great with descriptions, and he compares Hummingbird to replacing a car engine from the 1950s with a modern engine from today- that’s how drastic the update is. He compares the Panda and Penguin updates to changing an oil filter in a car.
Hummingbird is an “out with the old, in with the new” update. Google also told Sullivan Hummingbird is organized in a way to serve today’s search demand, instead of the needs and technology that existed a decade ago.
Can you say mobile search? That’s what we’re talking about here. It appears Hummingbird provides a more intuitive search, which better meets the needs of today’s Internet users, many who ask questions of their smart phones, and type more conversational search phrases.
An article by Ricardo Bilton for Venture Beat has this to say: “One of the most telling things about Google’s recent updates is that the company chose to illustrate them with images of its mobile app, not its desktop site.”
Google has focused for the past several years on making it easier to ask Google a question via your phone and quickly get an answer. Hummingbird is an extension of that, the Venture Beat article states.
What does this mean for SEO experts? Nothing, really, Sullivan says. “There’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, (Google) says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.”
Another Penguin Takes Flight
Google’s Matt Cutts announced the Penguin release on Twitter, and said it would affect about 1 percent of searches “to a noticeable degree.” I checked some forums over the weekend, and there’s a lot of discussion going on about backlinks with the release of Penguin 2.1. SEO pros working on client websites appear to be putting great effort into cleaning up link profiles and disavowing links to avoid being hurt by the Penguin 2.1 update.
With those statements come the reminders that these “fixes” take time. Using the disavow tool in the Google Webmaster tools is a good idea, and building backlinks naturally is even better. But it’s important to remember that natural link building does not happen overnight.
As a reminder, Penguin is a part of Google’s overall search algorithm that periodically seeks out sites deemed to be spamming Google’s search results, yet still ranking well. Penguin has its sites on paid links in particular, according to Search Engine Land.
In everything I’ve found over the weekend, one old thought continues to be front and center in my mind: You must be authentic when it comes to your website.
The best SEO companies know this. Keep populating your site with relevant, original content. Share it on your social media channels to help gain readers. Write about topics you believe your potential clients and customers want to learn more about. Do this over and over again. I remain convinced that in time, you’ll see the results you wish to see on your website.
October 2, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA — Rebecca Scully, managing director at the public relations agency Smarts wrote an interesting post on The Guardian’s website recently about the future of search engine optimization, public relations and content marketing.
She referenced Google’s recent updates that no longer give value to links from article and press release distribution sites, a topic I wrote about on this blog recently.
Scully and I agree on several issues. We disagree on one item in her article. I’m tackling that item in this post.
She says we should be asking ourselves whether Google has “killed all PR and SEO agencies.” I find that question ludicrous. Of course it hasn’t killed PR and SEO agencies. Not the good ones, at least.
If your company has a website, there are still “best practices” in terms of making your site easily recognized by Google that a quality SEO company can incorporate for you. There still are unscrupulous SEO firms that try to get away with black-hat SEO techniques, and unfortunately, companies still get victimized by them. When that happens, businesses still must turn to experienced SEO companies such as Millionairium to get the black-hat garbage removed from a website and the white-hat techniques implemented.
As the founder of the public relations agency Lorrie Walker Communications, I can tell you Google’s updates haven’t changed my business one iota. I have rarely incorporated article and press release distribution sites into my clients’ public relations campaigns. It has always felt pointless. My goal for every client I work with rarely has included link building strategies. My goal typically has been to spread the word about their business or organization. My hope is that educating more people about what they do would increase their business.
How many of you have ever gone to an article or press release distribution website to search for information? I venture to guess that number is quite small. That’s because those of us who know about these sites know what they’re essentially all about: link building.
Do you think a reporter in search of a story goes to PRWeb or 24-7 Press Release and clicks around in hope of finding a juicy topic? What a joke. And don’t think for a second that having a distribution site send your press release to a specified list of media outlets is going to get you any coverage.
A universal truth is that there are no easy ways to gain links or garner media coverage. Google is finding those easy ways of link building and picking them off one by one because they’re unnatural. I believe its updates increase the quality of the information readily found online. That’s a good thing, friends.
I also believe another universal truth is on the horizon: opportunities for collaboration between SEO companies and PR agencies abound. As Scully mentions in her article, the high-authority sites that would provide link juice if a client’s site was linked on it are the same media outlets PR clients would love to be quoted in anyway.
Gaining a link from these sites is tough. There are no guarantees. But it’s certainly worth the attempt. Mary Kay Cosmetics Founder Mary Kay Ash used to say, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
That’s the approach that must be taken in link building campaigns these days. By incorporating public relations tactics, we can pitch great stories to media outlets. When those media outlets cover the story, they may include a link back to the client’s website. But even if they don’t, the client still has a great article in a high-authority publication that has the potential to be be read by thousands of people. The client may not get the link, but they certainly won’t turn up their noses at the recognition and potential to attract new business.
September 17, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – In the ever-changing (or ever-evolving) world of Google SEO, the typical SEO practitioner is challenged every day. Even today, the SEO of a website or blog very much revolves around links. But the way you used to build links has changed. As a modern-day webmaster, you need to strictly abide by the Google webmaster guidelines in the post-Penguin era.
I’m sure you have heard about Google’s Penguin.
If you haven’t, Google’s Penguin algorithm is a recently launched search ranking algorithm that’s developed to combat link spam. It keeps a close watch on sites that try to manipulate search rankings by indulging in a link scheme. A site that builds their backlinks profile by acquiring links the unnatural way will quickly get penalized through a Google Penguin update.
“Some good businesses have taken major financial losses as a result of the infamous Google Penguin Penalty. Estimates suggest that costs to big box retailers and enterprise e-commerce companies could easily hit $5 million per month in lost natural search revenue. Smaller businesses facing such penalties could end up ruined, having to close their doors,” says Paul Bruemmer of PB Communications.
From Penguin 1.0 (released in April 2012) to Penguin 2.0 (launched in May this year), Google’s Penguin algorithm has come a long way. Penguin 2.0, as Matt Cutts explains, is the next generation of Penguin’s webspam algorithm that fights link spam in a more efficient and robust way. And you can be sure that Google stays its course in fine-tuning these standards even more.
Long Live Link Building!
Many webmasters have a feeling that link building is dead, which isn’t true at all. All that the launch of Google Penguin update means is that building links for a site has become more competitive.
In case you too think that link building is alive no more, you should take a quick look at the backlinks profile of a few websites that rank at the top of SERPs in your niche. If these websites rank at the top, it’s because they have a solid and natural backlinks profile (apart from top quality content).
Link building is alive and kicking. However, you need to take your link building steps with care. You need to navigate this key area of SEO with a view to ranking organically without getting penalized.
The Very First Step – A Link Audit
Before you delve deep into the ways of link building in the post-Penguin era, you need to conduct a link audit of your website. Without evaluating the present backlinks status of your website, you will never get yourself on track while trying to build Penguin-friendly links and take your website’s rankings to the top of the search engine results pages.
A link audit is the process of collecting your website’s link data, analyzing it and giving it a good spring-cleaning. Links that originate from link networks, site-wide links, unrelated links and paid links have to be removed immediately. If you are unaware of the different types of bad links that could do potential harm to the search rankings of a website, here’s a list you can refer to.
To successfully perform a link audit of your website, you may need to use different types of free and paid SEO tools. Google Webmaster Tools provides you with an option to download the list of latest links for free. But there are many other non-Google tools that you can use to complete the audit.
Building Links That are Penguin-Friendly
After you have given your website’s existing backlinks profile a good spring-cleaning, it’s time to make it more robust by consistently building Penguin-friendly links so that you can improve the SEO of your website quickly.
Here are some important tips –
Get Relevant – Avoid building links outside of your niche. This is the first rule that you need to follow in the post-Penguin era of Google. Though this is pure common sense, it was quite uncommon to find it applied. From now on, however, you need to ensure that all links pointing back to your website are relevant.
Focus on Quality – In order to avoid a Penguin update penalty, you should start worrying about the quality of links rather than the quantity of links. If your competitor’s website has 5,000 low-quality links, you can quickly outrank them with 500 high-quality links.
Say ‘No’ to Automation – Post-Penguin, it’s also important to get rid of any automated link building techniques you were using. The best quality links come from people. So, you should start building genuine relationships with webmasters, web property owners and fellow-bloggers. Always remember, more relationships translate to more unsolicited links.
Quit Anchor Text Obsession – The money-keyword will bring you no money anymore. It’s about time you quit obsessing over anchor text or the money keyword. The more diversity the anchor text in your links contain, the more natural your website’s link profile will appear.
Create Diversity – If you have 100 links pointing back to your domain from a single website out of 200 or 300 backlinks that your site has, there’s a complete lack of diversity. You shouldn’t create too many links from a single website. Instead you should create many different backlinks from many different websites while being niche-relevant.
Think Authority – While building links for your website in the post-Penguin era, you should also pay careful attention to the quality of the link source. Evaluate the authority of a website on the basis of its content quality, consistency of updates, traffic stats, and number of social shares and PR among others.
“Each link that you build is a vote in your website’s favor. Make sure your voters are authoritative,” says Ali Husayni, CEO at Millionairium.
Produce Valuable Content – By featuring top-quality content on your website, you’ll actually strike two birds with one stone. On the one hand, creating stellar content will generate quality links for your website unasked. On the other hand, it will safeguard your website against Google’s Panda algorithm.
In order to keep your link building efforts on track, you’ll also need to keep a close watch on the progress you make. Depending on your resources, you may decide to run a link audit of your website every 3-4 months. This will ensure you keep your site’s backlinks profile neat and clean while reducing the chances of becoming a victim of negative SEO done by your rivals.
Is your website’s link building campaign Penguin-friendly? Please share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the comments.
September 11, 2013
It’s the Readers, Stupid
TAMPA, FLORIDA — Changes to the link schemes information in Google’s Webmaster Tools became the proverbial shot heard ‘round the search engine optimization world recently.
The biggest change SEO companies seem to be talking about has to do with the use of keyword-rich anchor text in articles and press releases that are posted to distribution sites.
Understand this: writing articles and press releases for clients’ websites and posting different versions of them to distribution sites has been one of the link building methods we have used for years. As you can imagine, news of this change definitely got the attention of this SEO firm.
Google’s Webmaster Tools section states, “Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links” can negatively impact a site’s search results ranking. It also labels “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites” as examples of unnatural links that violate Google’s guidelines.
There are experts out there who say Google is beginning to look more at social media when determining search rankings. Although it is still underutilized compared to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ obviously comes to mind when it is suggested that Google is leaning more heavily on social media for ranking guidance. Steve Rayson at Social Media Today recently posted information on 10 ways that Google+ can improve your SEO.
Among his reasons, Rayson cited the fact that Google treats content on Google+ the same as it does any page on the Web. Google+ authorship gives authors higher visibility in search results, and using Google authorship is connected to content authority, he says.
Beating a Dead Horse
We say it over and over again. Content should be about the readers, not the links. Search engines aren’t buying your products and services; people are. What do your clients want? What questions are they asking in search engines? What common requests, questions and comments are repeatedly shared with you in your line of work? Write content that addresses those items and you increase your likelihood of being increasing your business – not just increasing your ranking in search results.
We know this here at Millionairium, and yet, we as writers still get caught up in the keyword hype. There are times I feel like a programmed robot sputtering things to myself like “must insert keyword here.”
I hate it.
I hate having an interesting topic, creating a catchy headline, and then screwing it all up with a boring-ass title tag because I had to squeeze in a specific keyword.
In a way, I feel as though Google has released me. Now we can write great content. Period. We no longer have to tweak multiple versions and post them all over the Internet for the sole purpose of gaining those coveted links on distribution sites. Google advises us now to make the links “no follow” if we want to post to the distribution sites.
Does this change the game for us and make link building a bit more challenging? Sure.
“As always, this change prompts us to come up with a new and even more natural way of getting quality links for our clients,” says Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni.
How do we plan to do that? It’s a work in progress. For the immediate future, the bottom line is combining pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing to advance a site’s popularity. Site popularity increases the site’s ranking on search engines. We have a few other ideas up our sleeves that we’re pursuing, so stay tuned. We will write about them in the coming weeks.
What we know is that ultimately, our clients will be better as a result of the Google change because our goal as always is to provide the highest quality SEO services available anywhere.
September 5, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – Did you ever get a penguin bite? If so, then you know it’s no fun. Google’s Penguin bites are so fierce that even a single attack could do potential harm to your website, blog or online business.
If you aren’t aware yet, the word Penguin has been coined to refer to one of Google’s very important search algorithmic updates. This is an update which fights against web spam – keyword stuffing, link schemes and cloaking.
If you use any of the aforementioned black-hat SEO techniques, Google’s Penguin will make you pay the price.
The feud between black-hat SEO artists and Google continues. To combat against the increasing amount of web spam, Google regularly rolls out several different types of search algorithmic updates.
In fact, Google launches an update every few months that impact SERPs significantly. This is an ongoing attempt by Google to encourage high quality SEO and punish unethical online marketing tactics.
“Google’s Penguin has been quietly working behind the scenes, assessing websites and identifying those with an overabundance of manipulative links. Now, one year later, it looks like the Penguin is beginning to stretch its wings and flex its algorithmic muscles,” says Dario Zadro, an SEO enthusiast, after Google released the new Penguin 4 update (May 22, 2013).
Penguin 2.0 is the fourth release as far as Google’s Penguin updates are concerned. In case you don’t know about the previous Penguin updates, let’s take a look at what Google has rolled out so far, what’s specific to each of them, and how they have impacted the search rankings for publishers and site owners worldwide.
Penguin 1 [April 24, 2012]
This was the first Penguin algorithmic update and Google announced that these updates were targeted at downgrading the rankings of those websites that violated Google’s quality guidelines.
Penguin 1 was released to fight against web spam, which is not the same as over-optimization.
“I think ‘over-optimization’ wasn’t the best description, because it blurred the distinction between white-hat SEO and web spam. This change (i.e., Penguin 1 update) is targeted at web spam, not SEO, and we tried to make that fact more clear in the blog post,” said Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team.
As the very first Penguin algorithmic update went live, it impacted around 3.1 queries in English and about 3 percent in languages like German, Chinese and Arabic. As the main goal of this search update was to target web spam, many low-quality or spammy sites were badly hit.
Penguin 2 [May 26, 2012]
A little over a month after the first Penguin update, the second one was announced by Google. On 26 May 2012, Cutts tweeted that they had rolled out the first Penguin algorithmic data refresh.
Since it was a mere data refresh (where the algorithm remains the same but the index is updated), Cutts added that it would impact no more than 0.1 percent of English searches. He gave his tweet an interesting (but self-explanatory) title – Minor Weather Report.
Though many webmasters and SEO experts thought Google had already rolled out many updates to its Penguin algorithm, Cutts confirmed that this (Penguin 2) was the first update since April 24.
After this update was launched, stories of both traffic recoveries and drops were reported within the webmaster communities. Many others reported that there was little or no change in their site’s Google rankings.
Penguin 3 [Oct. 5, 2012]
According to Cutts, this third Penguin update was also a data refresh. Cutts tweeted that Google was rolling out the latest data refresh of its Penguin algorithm. He also mentioned that this update was going to affect as little as 0.3 percent of all English queries. This time, he chose ‘Weather Report’ (removing the word ‘Minor’, as was added in his last tweet) as the title of his Twitter update.
Cutts further clarified that the Spanish impact was 0.4 percent and the Italian impact was 0.3 percent of search queries.
After this third Penguin update by Google was launched, many webmasters reported recovery from lost rankings. Many SEOs noticed no massive changes in their clients’ website SERPs after running a keyword analysis to check their ranks. Also there were those who reported regaining their lost search rankings on Google.
After this update, however, a large number of SEOs and webmasters were paying serious attention to improving the backlinks profile of their sites, trying to make it look as ‘natural’ as possible.
Penguin 4 [May 22, 2013]
The fourth Google Penguin update went live May 22. With this algorithmic update, however, there was something special that Google did, a twist to all the previous Penguin updates.
Cutts explained this update on his blog –
“We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin web spam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the rollout is now complete. About 2.3 percent of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages worldwide.”
According to Google, Penguin 2.0 featured brand-new technology that is an innovative step in spam-fighting. It’s also very clear that this update is no data refresh, but a major change to the Penguin algorithm from Penguin 1.
The fourth Penguin update also promises a boost in the search engine authority of quality sites belonging to specific industries and communities. On the other hand, it has already impacted the keyword rankings of many niche sites with shady or low-quality backlink profiles that show up.
This was just a quick recap of all the Google Penguin updates so far. We, at Millionairium, will keep you posted on the minor and major search algorithmic updates as Google launches them so make sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss them!
If your website has lost ranks from Penguin, contact Millionairium for an online marketing coaching or consulting session to find out what you can do to potentially regain your ranks.
September 2, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – What started as a request to write an article about hub sites – sites with lots of authoritative content from multiple writers – turned into an internal debate recently between Ali Husayni (Millionairium’s CEO) and me.
I love and embrace SEO, but as someone who also specializes in public relations, I see how easy it can be to get caught up in the methodical steps of SEO if you’re not careful. I envision someone with a robot voice spouting phrases such as “Must get more links” and “Need more keywords. Must stuff keywords into article.” Before long, you forget that when it comes to increasing sales and gaining customers, we’re dealing with people – not machines.
I wanted to approach this topic of hub sites not as “It’s the latest new thing you should try to improve your ranking! It’s the magic bullet!” but more as an in-depth look at the pros and cons of setting up your site to be a hub for content.
First, let’s clarify some terminology.
Hub site: a site with lots of outgoing links to other related sites, including competitor sites. It also can be an authority site and a niche site. About.com and Wikipedia are good examples.
Authority site: a site with lots of incoming links. It’s usually also a hub, but it doesn’t have to be a niche. Moz is an example of an authority site.
Niche site: a site targeted to a specific topic/audience. It serves customers looking for unique content. It doesn’t have to be an authority or a hub. WebMD is an example.
Ali thinks hub sites are valuable. I’m a cynic because I think striving to become a hub may be pointless.
Here’s some of the dialog Ali and I shared on the subject.
Me: So when we break it down to the types of clients we serve, why should they work to be hub sites? Why should they have their competitors writing on their sites? Why would a competitor want to write on the site? Or, would the hub site simply link to the competitor’s sites and reference good posts they have on their sites?
Ali: First, other experts don’t have to be competitors. Take an orthodontist for instance; his only competitors are the handful of orthodontists in his immediate market. Outside of that, other orthodontists are just his peers. Second, imagine Dr. X has a site. He invites Dr. Y who is in his immediate market to be published on his site. “Dr. Y, I really respect your work. I would be happy to publish your article on my site on this specific subject matter, on which you and I disagree, for my patients to see a different perspective. Would you mind?”
Me: I love that!
Ali: Dr. Y would love the publicity. He would love that he’s being treated as a peer and not a competitor by Dr. X, and he hopes he can capture some of Dr. X’s patients this way. Dr. X benefits because his patients see that he’s open to other peers in town. He has a friendly relationship with them and they trust him because they are willing to be published by him. The benefit goes both ways, and the end result is that Dr. Y will encourage his patients to see his article on Dr. X’s site, resulting in more popularity for Dr. X.
At this point, I’m willing to grant Ali this: I can see where having a hub site can help with Google when it comes to a website’s ranking. But let’s talk about where the rubber meets the road: will that increased ranking genuinely result in more customers?
Bryan Eisenberg, a partner at Eisenberg Holdings and a bestselling author, isn’t so sure.
“A hub site may get you visibility, but then it doesn’t really make you an expert yourself on those topics,” Bryan says. “Even having visibility doesn’t necessarily mean people will associate that a blog post came from you.”
After all, we all share articles via social media that we find engaging, but how often do we remember where they came from or who wrote them?
“This seems like just another strategy to chase eyeballs, as opposed to focusing and delivering value to the customers,” Bryan says. “It sounds like the strategies from the turn of the century, when people used to measure hits.”
For Bryan, “hits” is an acronym for “how idiots track success.”
Bryan’s advice is to focus first on what you can deliver. Build your reputation. Develop a real network. He uses the popular website Copyblogger as an example. This site now has guest authors blogging, but it was primarily built on Brian Clark’s reputation.
Armed with Bryan’s argument, I went back to Ali for another discussion.
Me: Bryan says if good posts get shared via social media, lots of people never remember where they came from and therefore don’t necessarily associate the post with the hub site.
Ali: I disagree. Many times when I read a phenomenal article online, I check out what site it’s printed on so I can frequent that site later. I have developed a list of a few favorites in the past several years.
Bryan’s statement kept ringing in my ears. I believe a hub site may get you visibility, but that visibility doesn’t necessarily translate to you being perceived as an expert on those topics.
Ryan Lee, a successful author and entrepreneur, says it boils down to association. Let’s say I have a blog that covers public relations topics and Peter Shankman writes a guest post for my site.
“People will think, ‘Lorrie must be good if Peter Shankman is writing on her site,'” Ryan says.
I like the sound of that. (Peter, call me. Let’s talk.)
Association is how Ryan got started in the personal training market. He built a successful online empire by reaching out to other fitness experts, personal trainers, and trainers who had worked with professional athletes. They started writing on his blog and that translated into more business for Ryan.
He compares hub sites to magazines. They have a variety of authors and contributors, which lends credibility to the publication. He also fully embraces abundance, he says. Contributors can help each other and work together because there’s enough for everyone.
He’s in the process of building seven hub sites in different markets.
“I think it is important for every business, every company to benefit from becoming a hub site,” Ryan says. “So few are going to do it because it takes time and effort. It takes some work and a lot of people aren’t willing to expend the effort.”
After gathering all this information, here’s my takeaway: for the right business, having a hub site doesn’t hurt, and perhaps it may help increase traffic and sales.
If I’m seeking professional services such as SEO, public relations or Web design – to name a few examples – I might give stronger consideration to a company that has blog posts from other professionals in that field. At the end of the day, however, I want to know what THAT professional can do for me. What do previous clients say about them? What are some examples of their work?
If I’m looking for an oral surgeon to pull my wisdom teeth, I don’t care how many other oral surgeons have posted on his blog. I care about how many surgical procedures this dentist has performed; his educational background; whether he holds a board certification of some sort. Those are indicators that I’ve selected the best professional for the job.
What are your thoughts about hub sites? Chime in below in the comments.
August 28, 2013
TAMPA FLORIDA – In the spirit of fun, below are my top five tips on how to alienate customers. Hint: Just reverse each one to get an idea of the RIGHT way to create a great customer experience.
Five Tips on How to Lose Customers and Make People Hate You:
Bad customer experience can break a company since any business depends on their current customers to thrive which is sometimes forgotten in the race to get new clients. What you do AFTER the contract is signed is just as vital as what led up to the agreement. To put it another way, don’t sign a contract your staff can’t deliver on. The success of your business depends on making a stellar customer experience your main priority.
Jack Austin, a business management consulting expert in Los Angeles, bases the success of his work with executives on providing a great experience to his clients over time. I asked him to share his thoughts on how he approaches customer experience.
“The most expensive customer to acquire is the next one; the least expensive is the one you already have. Build a tribe of loyal fans and prosper,” says Austin.
Changes in Internet marketing in the last 10 years has put more power in the hands of customers through technology like cell phones allowing you to take a picture of a faulty product and Instagram it with just a few clicks. Even if the company doesn’t take your dissatisfaction seriously, your followers on social media sites certainly will.
While companies large and small obsess over how to increase their website traffic, word-of-mouth marketing is still alive and strong thanks to how easy it’s become for customers to share their experience, good and bad, with the world online.
If your backup plan for dealing with angry customers giving you horrible reviews is to try and bury the bad press through SEO, I’m convinced in the end even top companies can’t hide a deluge of bad customer experiences.
Like Dilbert’s boss shows, there are many ways to handle bad reviews of your company and some do bring ethics into question. And by the way, Dilbert’s boss is wrong. If a company gets enough complaints brought against it, they may receive a not-so-pleasant surprise from their state’s attorney general investigating them for bad business practices.
I’ve seen firsthand companies putting all their effort into the front end of getting a customer only to completely trash the potential of that relationship through not following through with their agreement. Even worse, the experience of the customer was so low priority, customers were often left shaking their fists in anger at getting the run around yet again that wasted another month of their time and still nothing moved forward on their project.
If your goal is to alienate your customers and put your business into a serious down-turn, this is a great way to short-cut that process.
Even with the best of intentions, there can be a large discrepancy between how well a company thinks they’re doing with making their customers happy and what their customers actually think. A steady stream of revenue does not automatically mean a company is providing the best customer experience.
According to an article from Harvard Business School: “As the money flows in, management begins confusing customer profitability with customer loyalty, never realizing that the most lucrative buyers may also be the angriest and most alienated.” (Emphasis mine)
The article goes on to define what sets apart the best companies in terms of creating a truly excellent customer experience. When you design offers and experiences to fit with the right customers, focus the entire company on delivering on these plans and improve your ability to make customers happy time and again, you’re on the right track. It sounds simple enough but many companies fall short of hitting the mark when it comes to dealing with customers, whether they’re happy or not.
It’s not the end of the world if a customer has a complaint about your product or service. What matters is how you communicate with them and show a real effort to turn it around. Are you quick to respond to communications from customers who have a concern? Do you make sure whoever has contact with customers is trained on the best way to put them at ease, listen to their concerns and offer solutions that resolve the problem? Good follow-through on solutions is also important. This can quickly turn a skeptical and upset client into an excited advocate for your business.
Sometimes even with the best effort, not all customers will stay. If you acted with integrity and went above and beyond to do what you could to show that customer respect, if it wasn’t the right fit, it’s OK for them to move on. They could even surprise you with a referral to a client who is a better fit for what you offer.
Do you have any tips on how to provide a truly stellar customer experience? Please share in the comments!
August 23, 2013
VILLA PARK, CALIFORNIA – For years, I’ve been trying to stay true to the promise I made to myself and my clients to master Google SEO. In almost nine years, only a couple of our customers have gotten penalized or banned from Google. We stayed truly white-hat and the work paid off.
Our clients consistently rank very well on Google and continue to reap the benefit of achieving top of Google ranks with the help of our team of experts.
But since Panda and Penguin updates, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the same results and it takes longer to rank a new client at the top of Google. On average, our project time-frame has increased by about 30 percent while our cost has grown by almost 100 percent. We expect for this trend to continue.
For many of our new prospects, this means they cannot afford a sustainable long-term investment in SEO.
When you add “trust” issues and previous “bad experiences” with SEO companies to the equation, it increases the likelihood of a business considering other forms of online marketing before looking into SEO.
We know that Google’s popularity has increased tremendously and is only going to grow more with time. Business owners realize that if they’re not found on Google, their competition will leave them in the dust.
This dilemma is a problem that I’ve been trying to solve for some time now. And the solution came to me while I met a sales rep from a lead generation company at SMX Advanced in June. He told me they charge their customers per lead. I asked them how they generate leads and his answer was Adwords.
Since leads generated through organic SEO is less expensive in the long-run, creating a lead generation service through SEO makes a whole lot of sense.
We met with our team and decided to sign up a few clients and partner with them to focus solely on generating leads. In other words, you only pay for leads and not for any other marketing program such as SEO, SMM or SEM.
We are still developing our process and need your feedback.
What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in a service like this? How much are you willing to pay per lead if we only charge you per lead?
August 20, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – Where there’s a goal, there’s a plan! Here at Millionairium, an expert SEO services provider, we have always believed that SEO requires vigorous analysis, tactful planning and effective implementation. Sadly enough, the procedure of SEO is still just guesswork for many. For many others, SEO is all about building rich anchor text links to increase website traffic.
The reality is that SEO is not child’s play anymore when it comes to ranking on Google.
“The SEO game has changed drastically over the last year. A lot of the tactics that worked 12 months ago don’t work anymore. And it’s not just newbie SEOs who are making mistakes… even experts who have been in the field for years are making mistakes,” says Neil Patel of Quick Sprout.
If you are truly serious about dominating Google search results (and other major SERPs), it’s crucial that you look at things from a realistic point of view, analyze what you see, and devise a strong plan of attack.
That’s exactly where an SEO editorial calendar comes into play. Professional SEOs, website publishers and webmasters understand the benefits of an editorial calendar. They clearly know what advantages having an SEO editorial calendar can bring to a blog or website. By creating an SEO editorial calendar, you have a crystal-clear view of all the content that goes onto your site. And a fully aware content producer has the capability to set goals effectively and create tangible targets.
An SEO editorial calendar allows you to take a highly targeted approach toward creating content for your website or blog, addressing the target audience and optimizing the content for your chosen keywords to achieve top rankings on major search engines like Google.
Before we delve deep into what an SEO editorial calendar can do and how to get started with it, let’s take a look at a common misconception. The reason a lot of SEO professionals or web property owners avoid using editorial calendars is because they think it’s too complicated.
They falsely believe that an SEO editorial calendar must be something fancy and detailed, which it’s actually not.
An SEO editorial calendar is not something that’s fanciful. It’s not something out of this world. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. An editorial calendar for SEO works well because it allows you to lay out a schedule, rather than keeping all that stuff in your head, which is obviously not practical.
With an SEO editorial calendar by your side, you can plan your entire website or blog’s content effectively and create the accountability factor for everyone that’s involved into a specific content project.
An SEO editorial calendar is actually a well thought-out plan. But to create this action plan, you need to be very clear on your SEO content goals. Unless you know specifically what you want to achieve with your site, you’ll never be able to create an SEO editorial calendar that delivers the desired results.
Your goals may include –
Depending on what your specific SEO goals are, you can go on to create an editorial calendar that keeps you right on track, week after week, month after month and year after year.
In any case, your SEO goals must be realistic as well.
Creating a Monthly SEO Calendar
There are several tools that you can use to create an SEO calendar. You can create a spreadsheet in Google Docs, EditFlow or Excel. But the big question is what rows and columns should be created in the spreadsheet so that you know what’s going on, and what to focus on next.
Apart from having rows for all the content projects you have planned, the due date and publishing date, you need to include many other columns in the spreadsheet, as per your specific requirements.
Title – Make sure to include the title for the specific content piece. You can include a brief description so that everyone involved can understand the main message at a glance.
Type of Content or Category – Content should be created in several formats to maximize the SEO. In this column, you can mention the type of content like blog post, sales page, press release, video, podcast, PowerPoint presentation and infographic among others.
Author – If you are working with a team of writers, you can mention the name of the person that’s assigned to complete a specific piece of content.
Editor – Name the editor who’ll be responsible for editing the content pieces of a particular project and publishing it. The editor will ensure that the content meets all the publishing criteria and is in tune with the business goals of the company or the organization.
Promotion Channels – In this column, you can mention all potential channels through which you want to promote a specific piece of content. One of the most popular link-building techniques is guest blogging with a back-link to your site. This helps you keep track of where those would be posted along with other channels like social media sites.
Metadata – The metadata for each content piece will be comprised of the meta title, meta description and meta keywords. You can populate this column according to the keywords or keyword phrases you have targeted for each specific piece of content you are creating or want created.
URL – By getting in touch with your SEO team, you can also come up with the optimized URL structures for every piece of content.
Internal Links – You can also create a column for internal linking where you can mention those keywords or phrases (and the web page URLs) that you want linked from an article or blog post.
Finally, you can create several other columns according to the SEO goals you are looking to achieve. You should never forget to customize your content editorial calendar to best meet your unique needs.
Are you using an SEO editorial calendar already? Please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the comments.
August 13, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – A considerable amount of time has passed since guest blogging was first introduced and Millionairium recently posted an article going over the benefits. If you want to know more on the right and wrong way to go about guest blogging, here are some of the best tips based on my experience.
Guest blogging gained immense popularity after Google rolled out its Panda and Penguin updates. In the post-Penguin era, guest blogging or guest posting has emerged as one of the most effective ways for webmasters to build a solid backlinks profile. Though writing posts for someone else’s blog helps you build links the natural way, there are several other benefits that you can achieve through guest blogging.
Guest blogging specifically helps drive more traffic to your website or blog, gain brand exposure, build credibility, increase the number of email subscribers, network with other niche bloggers and connect with already-established online communities.
As a matter of fact, guest blogging has immense potential for benefiting you personally, business-wise and academically. It’s also one of the best services a writer can offer businesses looking to reach the top of search engine results since a guest blog can be created on their behalf.
To get the most out of your guest blogging efforts, however, you need to acquaint yourself with the right and the wrong ways to go about it. It’s easy to make mistakes while writing as a guest blogger. Sadly enough, there are a lot of people who are spamming the web in the name of guest posting. The worst part is that they are actually ruining their brand reputation as well as their own by doing guest blogging the wrong way.
What is Guest Blogging?
If you don’t know, guest blogging is a process that allows you (i.e., the guest author) to publish articles on someone else’s blog. The wonderful thing about this online marketing tactic is that it builds a bridge between the guest writer and the host blog-owner, creating a win-win situation for both parties.
“Guest blogging is a process in which a blog or website will accept and publish content written by another. The relationship between the guest writer and blog is mutually beneficial, as both are able to gain advantages from the exchange. While the blog is able to take advantage of quality content, the guest blogger can gain from benefits that positively influence their own site,” says Miguel Salcido, an organic SEO consultant from Greater San Diego Area, Calif.
There are plenty of blog-owners (belonging to different niches) that invite guest authors to write for their blogs. To start publishing posts on someone else’s blog, you need to approach the blog owner with an email pitch, get the approval to write and then submit a top quality article for review. If your submitted guest post abides by the host blogger’s guest posting guidelines, you can be sure to see your article (along with your site’s link in the author bio) go live as soon as possible.
What Guest Blogging is NOT!
In order to be able to differentiate between the right and the wrong ways of guest blogging, it’s important to know what guest blogging is not. Even today, there are a lot of webmasters, web property owners and online marketers who have failed to understand the essence of guest blogging, in the truest sense of the word. They make a huge mistake of approaching the entire process of guest blogging with a wrong mindset, which will only lead to trouble.
Remember, guest blogging is NOT –
As soon as you start to look at guest blogging as a magic tool to build tons of links overnight, you’ll start to get the entire thing wrong. When you are desperate to build links and lots of them, you also begin to crank out low quality posts one after another. And that’s where the whole essence of this effective online marketing tactic is lost.
Stop Spamming the Web
If not done appropriately, guest blogging can easily turn into spam. Google already has too many algorithmic updates in place to deal with those that spam the web in different ways. It’s most probable that Google is already looking into guest blogging, because it’s fully aware of all the different SEO tactics that webmasters use to push their sites rankings higher in SERPs.
If you don’t want to become a spammer, you should –
You should stop spamming not just for the sake of keeping the web ecosystem cleaner and safer. It’s best to keep away from such black-hat techniques because the reputation of your online business or brand itself is at stake. Rather than publishing low-quality guest articles incessantly, you should start to use guest blogging to build your brand, showcase your expertise, earn credibility in your niche and attract more customers to your business.
Gear Up to Maximize the Benefits
If you want to be on the right track and get the most out of your guest blogging efforts, you should take a strategic approach.
Follow these tips –
Do you think you have adopted the right approach to guest blogging and are using this tactic appropriately? Feel free to comment.
August 5, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – It is likely you have a favorite blogger or website whether you dabble in Internet marketing, have a unique hobby or interest, or are a writer in search of information on honing your skills.
There seems to be at least one go-to website for every type of niche and interest these days. For all the websites that have become the online authorities in their respective fields, there surely are just as many bloggers and website owners looking to get into that same position.
How do you make it happen? Simply put, you must build an audience. Addressing how to build that audience is a bit more complicated. I recently turned to a couple of industry experts for some insight.
Demian Farnworth, chief copywriter at Copyblogger.com, says the Copyblogger model calls for you to build your audience even before you sell your product. If you think about it, it makes sense. The whole goal of building an audience, of being considered an authority, is because you want to sell someone something. If you want to sell something, you must have an audience.
A popular way of building an audience is sharing “beneficial, quality content,” says Adam Sherk, VP of SEO and social media for Define Media Group, formerly part of The New York Times Company. Notice that he specifically refers to “quality” content. That element gets overlooked far too often by bloggers.
We commonly think of this content in terms of the written word. Writing blog posts, articles and press releases still is the most common content generating method, but don’t overlook podcasts, videos, infographics and other modes of information sharing. I wrote about these methods last year in posts titled, “5 Ways to Market Content You’re Probably Not Using – But Should Be” (Part 1) and (Part 2).
“To write good content, you have to be insanely curious, but you also have to be a specialist,” Farnworth says.
He uses Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete, as an example. Frazier preaches a vegan diet. It’s a great gimmick because he takes two disparate worlds and combines them.
“No one would take him seriously if he wasn’t a runner, or he wasn’t a vegan,” Farnworth says. “Frazier’s core content must be on those subjects.”
As a result of Frazier focusing on his core knowledge areas, he has become known as an authority on the subjects of running and veganism.
Another authority-building tactic is to interview other, more well-known authorities in the field.
“It’s going to go farther if you interview people in your industry with good names,” Farnworth says. “Something from Seth Godin has farther reach on the Web than something I publish.”
Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com is an excellent example of how interviewing leaders for blog posts resulted in excellent authority for his site. He created the website to help ambitious people who love business learn from a mix of experienced mentors.
“I do that through interviews where founders tell their stories, and courses where they teach a solution to issues that can cripple founders,” Warner says on his site.
Farnworth describes what Warner has done as interviewing successful people and building an “insider’s club” around that content.
“If he’s an authority of anything, he’s an authority indirectly of networking, of being an interviewer,” Farnworth says. “He’s kind of an aggregator, as opposed to the person who creates his own content.”
Let’s say you’re blogging and you’re reaching out to the big dogs in your industry for interviews to use in your posts. It is easy to get caught up in the online world and forget your physical surroundings. Sherk says this is a big mistake, particularly for small-business owners who rely on foot traffic for business. Let’s think really small for a minute. If you’re a dentist, an orthodontist, a plumber or an air conditioning repairman in Orlando, no one in Seattle is going to become your customer. You need to focus on creating a community in your local area.
“If I have a blog and produce content regularly and it’s helpful, that’s a start,” Sherk says. “Humanizing that and involving the community at large is what’s needed.”
What if you’re a plumber? It’s true that it can be a greater challenge, but if you get the right kind of people doing the right kind of things, it still becomes meaningful and begins to fall into place over time, Sherk says. It’s about building momentum.
You should focus on your blog, but also events, promotions and the face-to-face activity that is especially important with small businesses.
“Humanizing in that way can be really helpful,” Sherk says. “Maybe the scale is small at first, but that’s how you get things going. You need to think in terms of years as opposed to months.”
You can have lots of other wins along the way, he adds, such as a blog post that does great in terms of generating traffic and conversation, or a contest or other promotion that draws in a whole new audience. One-off things come and go along the way.
My Final Thoughts
In speaking with these two experts for this post, one notion kept coming to mind.
Authority boils down to authenticity. You’ve got to have the goods if your site is going to become an authority site. It has to be more about relationship building than bank account building if you want to become an authority. Those who’ve done it successfully appear to have let relationships lead the way, and the financial benefits have fallen into place as a result.
Focus on entertaining, helpful, high quality content. Worry more about sharing that information with those it would benefit than about implementing the best link building strategies, being consumed with white-hat SEO tactics and landing in that first position on Google for your keywords. If you focus on quality content first, I’m convinced you’ll eventually hit that tipping point where your site will go somewhere and become self-sustaining.
What are some tactics you’re using to launch your site into the authority realm? Sound off in the comments below.
July 25, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Think of your first home computer. If it was anything like my family’s first computer, it was large, clunky and slow – the complete opposite of sleek. Today the world of tablet computers and increasingly smarter phones is causing a decline of the desktop computer in favor of something lighter, something more mobile. Many tech journalists are speculating about when mobile search will overpower desktop search. There’s no consensus on exactly when, but everyone knows the day is approaching.
The mobile takeover discussion even flared up at the recent SMX Advanced conference, says Millionairium’s founder Ali Husayni. According to Husayni, Google heavyweight Matt Cutts stated developers should focus on finding the point where mobile users will exceed desktop users.
“You really need to be thinking about mobile,” Cutts says. “We’re starting to think a lot about mobile.”
My husband and I own and operate an app development company, so we spend lots of time thinking of the mobile future. And mobile is the future, guys. What we envision is a world where smartphone, tablets, smart watches, or some device we haven’t yet dreamed of will dominate the personal computer world. Then, you’ll plug your smartphone or tablet into a docking station, and that station will display your content on a large, gorgeous touchscreen.
While that vision may not come to complete fruition, what we know is that mobile is extremely important to today’s Web design. It is, I dare say, more important than designing for desktop computers, especially if your customers are finding your site on-the-go and you’re seeing a high bounce rate. That high bounce rate could be due to a cluttered, nightmarish mobile presence.
The best companies out there understand that mobile is their next big fish. PayPal reported a 190 percent increase in mobile payment from the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday – from 2011 to 2012. People aren’t just using mobile to find things they want; they’re using mobile devices to make purchases.
If you reach the top of Google and your site isn’t smartphone friendly, you probably won’t stay at the top for long. You can use a Google PageRank checker to see how important Google thinks your site is. Your page rank could be improved if you step up your mobile game. So what can you do to prepare your site for the rise and inevitable takeover of mobile search?
Test Your Site for Mobile
First, evaluate your current site’s strengths and weaknesses in regards to mobile. Visit your site on all the mobile devices you can find. Test your site on iPhones, iPads, Androids, and a variety of tablet computers. An easy way to do this would be to visit a large mobile retailer or a big box store like Best Buy. Take notes on what is good, what could be better.
Some business owners know their own sites so well that they have a skewed perception of a real user’s experience with their site. Ask a few friends (friends of several different generations, if you can find them) to interact with your site on their mobile phone or tablet. You might be surprised when your tester tries to interact with your site in a different way than you do.
It’s also a good idea to test your competitors’ sites on mobile devices. See what they’re doing as far as mobile compatibility; see what works and what doesn’t. Check out some of your favorite blogs or websites on mobile devices too and evaluate them.
Responsive Design with Media Queries
Lorrie Walker wrote a recent article for our blog discussing custom-designed websites. For websites that look good on any screen size, your best bet is to create a custom website that uses responsive design. One way to achieve a responsive design is to use media queries.
Unless you’re a Web developer, you probably aren’t familiar with media queries. That’s OK – the concept is simple. When a user pulls up your website from a smartphone, a fixed-width site (i.e., non-responsive) will shrink down to the size of the user’s screen. Your site may look fantastic on a 13-inch laptop, but shrunk to a 4-inch iPhone screen your images are tiny, your navigation is difficult to see, and your content is unreadable. Sure, the user can pinch and expand his fingers to “zoom in” on your site, but is this the very best user experience you can give your visitors? The answer is no.
An experienced web developer can program your site to “query” (or ask for) the screen size for each user who visits your site. Then your developer can tweak the elements of your website (such as text boxes, images, buttons, etc.) depending on the screen size. For instance, on a tablet computer you can fit multiple columns of pictures beside each other. On a smartphone, your multiple columns of images will now be displayed as one column so the user can scroll through them and see them easily.
Simplify Your Design
When you tested your site on various mobile screens, did you find it cluttered? If so, get rid of the clutter! Users, especially on smaller smartphone screens, don’t want a cluttered page full of advertisements and repetitive buttons. Respect your user and only include the most relevant information on your website – especially on the home screen. If the user wants to know more, let him find it within your website’s navigation. A crisp, clean, concise design will look fabulous on a variety of screen sizes, and it will let your content – the most important part of your site – shine through.
Simplify Your Navigation
When a complex site is viewed on a mobile screen, it’s almost always the navigation that suffers. A difficult to navigate website will most likely mean your visitors will abandon your site quickly. Web visitors aren’t the most patient bunch, so a quick-loading site with simple navigation is best for retaining your visitors’ interest. Think of ways to cut the fat, so to speak, if your site has a large set of navigational buttons. Is there a way to better organize your content? Can the most important navigation elements live at the top of your site? Can you move the less important elements to a navigation bar at the bottom of your site?
Add Touch Features
One of the largest differences between your desktop computer and a mobile device is that mobile devices respond to touch. Users today expect to interact with their devices. Does your site respond to “swipe” gestures to browse through slideshow images? Adding touch features may sound like icing on the cake, but recognizing user gestures can take your site from mobile-friendly to mobile-fantastic!
Google is thinking about mobile, and they certainly should be. You should be, too. Contact Millionairium’s team to receive one of the best consultations you can imagine. Millionairium can help you gear up for the mobile revolution while retaining all the great SEO qualities that Google loves.
July 22, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – There was a time when SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was nothing more than guesswork but that time has passed. Today, the situation has changed; in fact, the game of how to provide the best SEO continues to change with each passing day. In the past few years we have become acquainted with several facets of SEO, not known to webmasters earlier. Thanks to the changing mindset of Google, the cat is now out of the bag. They are keeping things more transparent now with an emphasis on white-hat SEO.
Think about all those on-page and off-page factors that webmasters and top consultants in SEO consider. It’s this knowledge that makes the game of SEO more competitive than ever, with everyone trying to achieve the best Google search results.
“There is no “one size fits all” package when it comes to SEO. Every case is unique and different. Trying to speed up the process and rushing to provide quick-fixes add little value, while you risk losing focus and direction. First, take the time to diagnose what’s wrong — and only then begin your SEO treatment,” says Trond Lyngbo of Metronet Norge.
Effective SEO takes more than just a Band-Aid. To take your website’s SEO to the next level, you need to have a good look at everything going on with your site. That’s where an SEO audit comes into play!
Whether it’s a website or a blog, conducting an SEO audit will help you determine the current status of a website, identify those issues that ruin a site’s keyword rankings, fix them, and let you know if other adjustments are required. As a matter of fact, an effective SEO audit throws the guesswork out of SEO. When you know where your site stands now, it becomes easier to work out search optimization strategies that will bring you guaranteed results.
The bigger question, however, is whether it’s possible to conduct a website SEO audit on your own. Well, it’s all about how much you know about the practices and procedures of search engine optimization, how many years of experience you carry and whether you are truly committed to completing the entire process.
If you haven’t done an SEO audit of your website before, below are some essential tips to get you started the right way.
#1. List All the Key SEO Factors
There are so many elements that comprise the SEO of your website. The first important step, therefore, is to create a list of all those factors that you want to check. However, you should never dwell upon only those factors that you think might be harming the search rankings of your site.
In fact, you should consider all factors that affect the search engine rankings of a website or blog.
On-Page Factors – Though there are so many on-page factors that play an important role as far as SEO is concerned, those you should never miss out on include a) content b) meta title c) meta keywords d) meta description and e) keyword density.
Other than these, you may want to take a microscopic look at the internal structure of your site to see whether everything’s in complete order. For example, it’s important to know whether your site is easily accessible to your target audience. You may also like to know whether search engines robots are able to crawl and index the pages on your site without effort. The download time of your website also plays a major role in terms of SEO.
Off-Page Factors – As you know, SEO is not just about what you have on the web pages of your site. There are plenty of things that impact your website’s SEO from outside as well. Simply put, off-page SEO is all about building links that point back to your domain.
Link building is not as simple as some may think. Most importantly, you need to look at it in the light of the recently rolled out Google Penguin updates. Any kind of link spam will get you penalized.
In terms of off-page SEO, you should audit factors like the number of inbound links to your website, the relevance of the links, the quality of the links and the usage of anchor text in links.
#2. Get the Right Set of Tools
It’s more than the knowledge, it’s the choice of tools that differentiates one SEO expert or consultant from another. When it comes to SEO audits, you should be equipped with the right set of tools. Having the right tools at hand will help you identify the issues with ease.
Depending on what SEO factors you want to evaluate, you’ll find a wide range of tools out there, both free and paid. In fact, Google itself provides you with several free tools that will come in handy when conducting an SEO audit of your website. Google Webmaster Tools is one of the best examples. You can access it as soon as you sign up for a Google account and complete the website verification process.
Open Site Explorer, Moz Analytics, Raven Tools, Brow SEO, Majestic SEO and Built With are some other tools that you may want to use in order to perform an SEO audit of your website successfully.
#3. Identify Issues and Fix Them
Finally, it’s time for analysis. Take a closer look at all the SEO data that you’ve gathered. Your site may have visibility issues which include page errors, blocked pages and redirects among others. Your site may require appropriate meta data optimization. You may also need to remove or replace all the duplicate or shallow content from your site.
Many times, it’s the poor quality of links (pointing back to your domain) that negatively impact search rankings. Broken links are also one of the most common issues that webmasters have to deal with.
Likewise, an SEO audit can open your eyes to all those issues that must be fixed over time for improved search rankings.
Anybody (even you) can perform an SEO audit. All you need is a well-rounded knowledge of the SEO procedure and some experience and versatility with the tools needed for the job. If you think conducting an SEO audit sounds like a lot of work for you to take on alone, it’s advisable to work with a reputed SEO agency or experienced SEO consultant like Millionairium to make sure a thorough audit is conducted and properly analyzed.
Did you ever conduct an SEO audit of your website or hire someone else to do the job? Please share your views in the comments.
July 16, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – Good writers are like Pavlov’s dogs when it comes to a great story idea – they get so excited about sharing the news, they can taste it.
As a writer, there are few things more disappointing than having a client tell me about something phenomenal they’re doing that would create a favorable opinion in a potential customer’s eyes, only to have them say, “But don’t write about that – we don’t want our competitors to know what we’re doing.”
Writing about what our clients are doing is the cornerstone of Millionairium’s work to increase ranking for those clients. Our clients’ articles and press releases primarily are written for their websites and distribution sites. They serve a couple of purposes: we want them to be educational for readers, and we want them to improve our clients’ organic SEO.
Using these assignments to improve SEO is easy. They will look good to search engines as long as the content is original and the keywords are there. But for them to attract a human’s attention, they must be engaging, interesting, helpful or newsworthy.
Sometimes the most interesting and newsworthy information happening in clients’ businesses is the very information they hold close to the vest, for fear of their competitors finding out and replicating their ideas.
I recently reached out to two leaders in the public relations field to get their opinions on this misguided belief that stating publicly what you do and how you do it harms you and empowers your competition.
“Any time anyone says to me ‘my competition is going to find out,’ they have to understand no one gives a crap about that they do,” says the always-candid Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM Public Relations and author of eight books. “You could be curing cancer and no one is paying attention.”
The reason? Most people are so self-absorbed today, Woody Allen needs to rewrite his classic line to: “80 percent of success is just showing off.”
The days of the competition watching you like a hawk and attempting to replicate what you’re doing are over, Laermer says. We live in a much faster paced world. First movers get the credit. Even if another person steals the idea, they’re likely to be laughed at for stealing. That’s because people are savvier today.
Fear of competition results in shortsighted thinking. It limits how much a company reaches, educates, shares and engages with its own customers, says Deirdre Breakenridge, an author and CEO of Pure Performance Communications, a strategic communications and consulting firm in New York.
Trying to hide the specifics of your marketing efforts is an exercise in futility. The competition can easily find information about you.
“They just have to use competitive intelligence and analysis, and listen to what people are saying,” Breakenridge says. “The fear of ‘don’t do this because others will catch on’ just means you’re losing market share.”
Some business owners like to argue that because they’re in a small town and it’s easier to find out what the competition is doing to market themselves, it’s even more imperative to not go public with what they’re doing. Wrong. The damage you cause by withholding information is the same whether you’re a small company or a large one, and whether you’re in a small town or a big city.
To use a large company as an example, Breakenridge asks, “Can you imagine if Pepsi did the whole Refresh Project but didn’t tell anyone why they were doing it?”
Addressing the “why” and “how” in a press release are important because they often become the most interesting parts of the story. Writing a press release on the fact that your business recently donated toys to a nonprofit organization that caters to children but not explaining why, or sharing that you chose the organization based on a contest you held is silly. No purpose is served by being elusive.
“It’s not like you’re sharing proprietary information,” Breakenridge says. “I think there’s a big difference between a food company giving recipes and helpful ways to use its product, versus sharing what is in your secret sauce.”
And if your competitor sees what you’re doing and replicates your program, so what? Now multiple nonprofit organizations benefit. Isn’t the purpose of your community outreach efforts to help the community? In the event that it’s important to you, trust me – people eventually will figure out who did it first.
Here’s the truth: as a business owner, you need to have faith in what you do. You need to do it – whatever “it” may be – better than anyone else. When you’re the one doing it first and in a heartfelt manner, the competition – even if they had a roadmap – isn’t likely to do it better than you.
June 19, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA-You might ask yourself why an Internet marketing company that focuses on search engine optimization to help increase traffic to clients’ websites and improve their Google site ranking is devoting a blog post to custom-designed websites.
There’s actually a good reason for it. With so many people turning to WordPress websites these days, people are increasingly interested in purchasing templates, tweaking them slightly to fit their own needs, and taking them live online.
On the surface, it’s an attractive option. You usually can spend $50 or less to purchase an attractive template. But saving money up front can end up costing you dearly in the long run.
He has found that one reason behind this is dirty code.
“We know by experience that the code included with template sites isn’t always clean,” Barrett says. “This means it might look satisfactory in your browser, but it can cause a lot of grief when trying to rank in search engines.”
The problem begins with trying to make a template fit your business’s unique needs.
“If you look at any template site, you’ll find that almost all of them are image driven,” Barrett says. “They have awesome photography on them, but once you take that out, the template almost automatically crashes.”
In diagnosing the problem behind one particular client’s website woes, Barrett discovered that when the template was installed, some of the images and/or links were still going back to the original template creator’s website. For whatever reason, the template creator’s site showed up on blacklisted sites. Because of this, not just Barrett’s client, but anyone with that template for their website would have problems getting their website found by Google.
The more junk search engine spiders must crawl through to locate your content, the less likely they are to rank you.
“Google is all about user experience,” says Millionairium Founder and CEO Ali Husayni. “A website needs to have original content, it needs to load quickly, and on the back-end, it needs to be clean and well-organized.”
When a site has code that directs to a blacklisted site, Google essentially punishes you for it. For all intents and purposes, your site essentially is blacklisted as well, Barrett says.
A customized website eliminates this issue. A designer who knows what he/she is doing only uses the necessary code. They aren’t putting a bunch of nonsense code behind the scenes, which means the sites are more easily indexed. Good designers also create a site map file they submit to Google that lets them know where to find your content. Templates don’t come with this.
Although this doesn’t have as much to do with a website’s ability to be indexed by search engines, there’s one more important reason to avoid a template for your website. It has to do with user experience and the potential to lose out on business, Barrett says.
When you have to force your information to fit into someone else’s template, you’re no longer considering the user’s experience. The user may not find your information easily, which can frustrate them and drive them back to Google to search for another – read, better – website.
“It becomes more difficult to clearly define and target what your business needs to do by backing yourself into someone else’s creation and strategy,” he says. “With a custom site, you’re starting with a white board. It can be built from the ground up to do exactly what you want it to do.”
So do yourself a favor and spend the extra money to get a customized website that addresses your needs. This added expense up front not only has the potential to save you money in the long run, but to increase business by giving visitors a reason to stick around.
June 12, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – If the only source of content you’re using to engage search engine traffic is your blog, you’re overlooking some valuable tactics and opportunities that can enhance the effectiveness of your SEO campaign.
Don’t get us wrong, a blog is great, and by regularly updating it with fresh content, you are utilizing one of the best techniques for driving organic traffic to your website. However, there are several other tactics that we believe help improve the results of expert services in SEO from traffic to sales. Which in the end is the point of SEO, right?
Let’s pretend you are a plastic surgeon. If someone performs a search for a “top plastic surgeon” they are going to find your website on the first page of Google because, not only are you are using an SEO firm that is good at what they do, but one that utilizes the best techniques when it comes to ranking clients organically. When this potential patient arrives at your page, maybe they will read your blog, but more importantly they have just arrived at the page of the “best” plastic surgeon. What else are they going to see besides your polished writing skills that’s going to take them to your contact page – phone in hand -instead of back to their original search to click on another top surgeon’s link?
The following are some Millionairium-approved website additions (besides a regularly updated blog) that help to “seal the deal.”
Testimonials – A customer testimony is like gold when trying to prove yourself to your website’s visitors. Like references on a resume, a customer testimonial gives an unbiased, third party account of your work. Just remember to keep the following in mind:
News coverage – Have you ever had your name on television, the air or in a written publication? Whether it was for your business or not, there is value in this coverage since it provides another third party account of your work or character. This information can be displayed on its own page or used in a press release, which can then be distributed to news sites to gain possible backlinks – we love backlinks and so does Google.
Videos – Videos that work best are in the form of testimonials or you, the face of the business, discussing what you do or a specific topic. Videos are the real factor. While the website visitor can’t reach out and touch you or your past patients, they can see and hear you and that makes an even stronger connection than words on a page. As a bonus, when a patient gets tired of reading they may still have interest enough to watch your video when they would have ordinarily left the page. If a visitor spends a substantial amount of time on a page it tells Google that the page has beneficial information; Google rewards these pages by increasing their rank.
Links to social media outlets – If you have various social media outlets, make sure you provide a link to them on your site. While your site is a place to share your business information that includes services, testimonials and blogs, social media is a place for friendly human interaction. Outlets like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are great ways to generate testimonials, show your human side and spread your name further than local marketing since the person who likes, +1’s or tweets about you also exposes your name to their circle, friends and followers. And don’t forget about Pinterest or Instagram. Pictures are entertaining, which is why these outlets are so popular. Plus, if your visitor is an avid user of any of the same outlets as you, bingo, common interest!
List unique services or practices – No one knows your business’s industry and competition better than you. If you offer a unique service, utilize a breakthrough technique or offer top of the line products, by all means, toot your own horn. You have to assume that the people who visit your site have or will visit other sites before making a final decision. By offering something unique you give them a reason to choose you when they compare your business to others. Their impression they get could include the following:
We hope that you found this information helpful and that applying it increases the fruits of your SEO labor. Do you have any questions? Would you like to learn how to establish yourself as an expert in your industry or maybe, about the science behind an effective blog? Let us know; we’d love to hear from you.
June 10, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – SEO isn’t just about spiders, scutters and robots crawling your website to determine if you’re worthy of a high search engine ranking. The human side of SEO depends on real people reading and recommending content. The growing trend in guest blogging is a step in the right direction; it’s the “I’d like to introduce you to my friend” of SEO marketing.
Any time a blog publishes an article written by someone not associated with the website that person is a guest blogger.
Guest blogging encourages writers to create unique, high-quality content that will benefit the host blog by giving their readers an additional perspective that meets their needs. When you succeed at getting a guest post in front of the right audience, you are rewarded with increased attention to your own website through an active link placed in the article.
How Guest Blogging Fits into Search Engine Optimization Marketing
Search engines rank websites largely based on frequency of references to that website and visits by real people. Guest blogging increases visits by real people, naturally raising your SEO.
People traditionally seek information through sources they trust. With so much variety in the information available online, connecting with an audience that appreciates your perspective and writing is the goal of any SEO marketing campaign.
Content-based SEO marketing takes a lot of time and skill because it requires the ongoing creation of new and relevant content. You could post 10 great articles on your blog you feel address your target audience’s needs, but if you’re still building traffic to your website the right readers may have trouble finding you. Guest blogging is an opportunity to put your best content right in front of the exact audience you wish was already flowing to your website.
“Building high-quality links is one of the trickiest elements of effective SEO,” said Sonia Simone, co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. “Guest posting allows you to get a relevant, natural link, using the anchor text of your choice, on a website that has excellent search engine authority.”
According to Google Webmaster Tools, when a website links back to yours, Google sees this as a vote for your website’s importance and relevance for certain keywords. Guest blogging on a page that ranks high on search engine results gives more weight to the link sending readers to your own website and boosts your SEO.
The complicated and ever-changing rules of SEO can make using SEO software seem like the safest way to improve your ranking. Advertisements from SEO software companies pull you in with the promise that their products will easily and automatically handle the tedious tasks needed for strong SEO such as tracking search engine rankings and link building tools.
SEO is Art
Even with the best SEO software, you have to trust that the techniques used are current. The problem is that the rules of SEO are always changing. A website that stands the test of time is built around the idea that high search engine rankings result from providing quality content your target audience can easily find.
Creative strategies like guest blogging offer guaranteed SEO with benefits over the long term, organically. If you could simply use SEO software to automatically get better rankings, there would be no need to focus on creating engaging content geared to your target audience.
“We do not believe any SEO software can tremendously help your SEO efforts,” said Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium. “SEO is an art and any sort of art cannot be confined into software.”
When search engines like Google notice a lot of traffic coming to your website from an active link you placed in your guest post, you are seen as more of an authority on that topic which boosts your ranking. This guaranteed SEO strategy works so well because it’s audience-driven. When you find an article you love, wanting to explore more of what that writer has to offer is the natural response.
Tips on How to Attract More Readers with a Great Guest Blog Post
Leo Babauta created his blog, Zen Habits, in 2007 and in just two years he had one of the most popular blogs in the world with more than 260,000 subscribers. This got the attention of Time magazine, which included Zen Habits in their list of Top 25 Blogs of 2009 and 2010. Contributing a lot of guest blog posts to popular websites like Copyblogger and Get Rich Slowly is one of the main ways Babauta skyrocketed the number of subscribers on his blog.
Here are some techniques used by successful guest bloggers like Babauta to attract more readers:
Guest blogging gets to the heart of what a great SEO campaign is all about. As a trust-based networking tool, it’s a great way to show off helpful content to the audience you want to attract and provides a sense of personal connection with your readers.
June 6, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – We chatted with app developer Mark Freeman in late March, and he gave us some helpful app SEO tips, as well as an in-depth explanation on the differences between websites and web apps. Another thing we discussed was the difficulty of searching for certain apps on the App Store and online. This follow-up interview explores a few more mobile questions I had, including the epic battle between the Google-owned Android and Apple-owned iOS.
Jessica: Why do you code for iOS over Android devices? Do you prefer iOS to Androids?
Mark: Yes, I do prefer iOS to Android. As a coder and a user, iOS is better because it’s a unified system. When you use Apple devices you’re also using Apple software, and there aren’t that many different versions of it. Android, however, is extremely fragmented. There are thousands of Android devices made by different companies, and these devices are running different versions of Android’s operating system. If I coded applications for Android devices, I would have to consider at least 100 different scenarios, whereas for iOS I have to consider three or four. When I code I only have to consider the different hardware versions of iPad, the iPod Touch and of course, the iPhone, and that is still fairly difficult. Sometimes people haven’t updated their iOS software, and that can cause bugs in their applications. With Android, there are countless bugs, devices and combinations of software. Your app isn’t going to work universally across Android devices. To even test for all the Android devices and combinations of software is nearly impossible, especially for small development companies such as mine. It’s a nightmare for developers, but it’s also bad for users. Some apps will be buggy, they won’t look great across multiple devices and sometimes they won’t work at all. The user experience is compromised with Android since there’s less control.
Jessica: Should Google back off the mobile platform and stick with what it’s great at – Search, Gmail, Maps, Drive, etc.?
Mark: Not necessarily. The Android philosophy is the complete antithesis to Apple’s philosophy, and I can see some real benefits to it. Android software is open source, which means anyone can develop for it and anyone can see the code. In contrast, developers for Apple have to sign agreements saying they won’t discuss new features for operating systems that haven’t been released yet. Android is really cool because it allows the development community to help advance the software. The fragmentation problems I discussed earlier though limit how well developers can do their jobs. I think Google could certainly benefit from reeling in the Android market and having some oversight, at the very least in versioning.
Jessica: How could Google improve their search results for apps?
Mark: Most apps have websites that should obviously come up first in Google’s search results. Most of those sites have links to their download pages. If you’ve searched for apps before, you may recognize the standard call-to-action button that says “Available on the App Store.” These are normally black rectangular buttons with rounded edges, but sometimes the button is white or gray.
When users search for apps from a device that supports the desired app, ideal search results would include this button so users could easily visit the download page. Google could do this for their Google Play apps, also. These call-to-action buttons would be extremely useful from a search results page, especially if a user types “download” into their query. I know I would like that, and I’m sure other users would appreciate fewer steps preceding the option to download an app.
Interestingly enough, people have complained about Google down-ranking app pages on their search results. On April 2, MacRumors reported that Google was down-ranking iTunes links. Links that used to show on the first page of Google search results were now showing on Page 8, even if users included “iTunes” in their search queries. The reason for the drop could be relevancy. For instance, maybe users searching from their mobile devices are looking for an app’s download page, whereas users searching from their laptops may be more interested in information about a specific app. Google stated after these reports that the down-ranking was simply a glitch. Either way, we talked about the problems with searching for apps in our previous interview, and I think the system needs improvement.
Jessica: A recent study Google conducted with Nielsen revealed that 77 percent of mobile searches occur at home or at work. Equally interesting, the study found that 55 percent of mobile conversions (including phone calls, purchases or store visits) occurred within one hour. What implications do you think this will have on website development?
Mark: I think the increase in mobile searches will make people reevaluate the look of their websites. Lots of companies create websites made for laptops and desktops. It’s also pretty popular to have a mobile version of your website, but these are generally poorly done. Creating a mobile version means developers have to either code your website twice, or they send your website’s code through software that creates a mobile version from it.
My philosophy is to design your website for mobile first. A significant number of people are using their mobile devices to search the web. Even my mom searches the web on her iPad. So what I think people should do is design their websites for mobile users first – it’s called responsive design. Responsive website designs look great on small mobile screens, and they look equally impressive on midsize tablets and larger laptop and desktop screens. Responsive design also means no redirects are necessary. It’s the website of the future, and the best SEO companies will design your website to work on a variety of platforms.
Jessica: Thanks again, Mark. It’s been a pleasure!
If you have any app or mobile questions, feel free to ask them here or find Mark on the web at Red Room Software.
May 29, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – More Internet users are using tablets and mobile devices to search the web, and as more people get smartphones and tablets, these numbers will grow. This shift in usage from desktop computers to tablets with varied screen sizes has some businesses scrambling. Should they invest in responsive design websites, or should they consider developing a native mobile application?
Before we delve deeper, let’s break these two options down.
Web designers understand that users could access a site from a small smartphone screen, larger tablet screen or even larger desktop screen. Responsive design refers to a website built to adjust to varying screen sizes. The result is a website that looks amazing on any scale. It may be more challenging to develop, but users will enjoy a seamless experience across all devices.
Mobile applications are made for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers. They are independent of websites, and users download them from a mobile app distribution platform. Apple users get apps from the App Store, Android users find apps on Google Play and BlackBerry users get apps from the BlackBerry App World. Once the application is downloaded, it is accessible from the device even if there’s no cell or Wi-Fi signal.
There is not a simple answer to which would work best for you. Lots of factors will go into your decision, and asking these questions will get you closer to your answer. You should discover the advantages of each option and have a clearer picture of the best plan for your unique business.
Are your mobile visitors looking for different information than your laptop and desktop visitors?
Yes → Mobile App
If you develop a mobile application, chances are you’ll still need a regular website. Mobile applications shouldn’t be replicas of websites. If your visitors simply need your store hours or your contact information, a mobile app isn’t really necessary. Users expect different information and functionality when they download a mobile app, which brings us to the next question.
Do you want to utilize navigation? Photo capabilities?
Yes → Mobile App
Mobile apps have more interactive features, including navigation and image/video capturing capabilities. One really cool aspect of mobile apps is that they can use a mobile device’s accelerometer and gyroscope. If you own a sporting store that focuses on selling running shoes, you could develop a mobile app that lets users track their speed and running distance, allows them to set goals and sends them tips to achieve their fitness goals. Your app may also suggest a great pair of running shoes. In this case, the app achieves something tangible that a website cannot deliver.
Are you selling products on your website?
Yes → Either
If you are, you need to consider your mobile strategy. A recent study by Google and Nielsen revealed that mobile users make decisions fast. For instance, 55 percent of conversions (either a purchase, a phone call or a store visit) occur within one hour of a mobile search. This means mobile users are fulfilling a goal, and they mean business. If you sell something online, you may consider selling your product through an interactive app that will wow your users. Responsive design is also a good choice for selling products, and in many cases responsive designed sites will be less of an investment than creating a mobile application.
Does your store have a strong cell connection or offer Wi-Fi?
Yes → Either
No → Mobile App
One advantage of mobile applications is their accessibility. Since mobile applications live on a user’s device, the user doesn’t need an Internet connection to use the app. For a large store that has spotty cellphone service, a mobile app may be the way to go, especially if your users are attempting to access information while they’re in your store. A mobile app can give users sale information, coupon codes or product information even when they have unreliable phone reception.
Do you already have a lot of online traffic?
Yes → Either
No → Responsive Design
If you already enjoy a large user base, you can easily spread the word about a mobile application through your website, social media outlets and email marketing. If you’re struggling for views, it’s probably best to start with a responsive design website and invest in SEO services. A responsive website will allow you to optimize your site and gather valuable content for your blog. SEO companies can help you gain links and build a credible website that Google will reward.
This is only a starter guide for deciding which plan is best for you. Mobile apps certainly pack a lot of punch, and younger generations will appreciate a useful app. Responsive websites, though, have a larger reach and can benefit more from SEO services.
Which have you chosen for your business, and how have your customers responded?
May 23, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA – We’ve heard for years that content is king. I’ve written the phrase several times myself. But not ALL content is king. Some of it is actually crap.
Today I’m sharing information on types of content so you’ll know what to focus on if you’re looking to increase Google search traffic to your website or simply are concerned about what constitutes quality content.
Let’s start with the content that truly is king.
Just as the name implies, this is content written by you, or by someone else for you. It is unique and doesn’t include verbatim information found anywhere else on the Web. It’s perfectly fine to hire a professional writer to create this content for you. We include original content creation in our Internet marketing packages, and I include content writing services in my public relations business.
I consider it a best practice to write your own content or hire a writer to interview you or your staff periodically when writing blog posts, articles or press releases about your business. The knowledge you share will be unique. Even if it’s information that can be found elsewhere on the Internet, the way in which you write or explain it to a writer can’t possibly come out word for word as it is written on another website.
This type of content, although it may be well-written and factually correct, is content that you’re likely to find elsewhere on the Internet. We have a lot of clients in the dental field, and we routinely find canned content on their sites if they have previously worked with some marketing companies that cater specifically to the dental industry.
Let’s say you’re an orthodontist and you need a website. There are website companies who only work with orthodontists, and they make website creation easy. You pick a template and color scheme you like. Then you tell them what services you offer. Are you an Invisalign provider? They’ll slap their standard “Invisalign” page onto your site. Do you offer Damon brackets? They have a ready-made page of content that explains the Damon System. Do you offer ZOOM! teeth whitening to patients after they get their braces removed? These companies have prewritten content for that, too.
Trouble is, every other orthodontist who offers those services and uses that website company will have the same content on their websites. Google doesn’t like this. It identifies canned content and often penalizes websites that feature it.
In a way, canned content is duplicate content. But in this case, I’m talking about something more sinister. I’m talking about plagiarized content. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent in Little Rock, Arkansas and you find an agent in Seattle whose site you love. She explains the business better than you think you can yourself, so you simply copy and paste her content onto your site. Big no-no.
First, it’s just wrong. Don’t steal someone else’s hard work, or the work that they paid someone else good money to produce.
Second, Google is on to you. Or they will be soon. Google understands where content gets posted first and what is duplicate content. You won’t do yourself any long-term favors by lifting great content from another site. The original source of the content almost always gets the credit. I say “almost always,” because unfortunately, sometimes cheaters win. Sometimes sites with duplicate content actually achieve great rankings and Google gives them the credit for the content. However, this doesn’t happen often, and you certainly shouldn’t adopt this as a best practice.
Poorly Written Content
It’s a toss-up between which is worse – duplicate or poorly written content. Understand this: if you aren’t a good writer, you need to hire someone to write your content for you. And if you hire someone, make sure they are good writers. That means don’t fall for the allure of cheap prices. If you’re in the U.S. and your content is written in English, it is likely that someone you hire in India or the Philippines isn’t going to write your content as well as someone whose native tongue is English. But they’ll probably be cheaper than hiring a writer in the States. You must pay for quality.
I’ve devoted a lot of attention in this post to what Google likes and dislikes, but the humans who visit your site should be your top priority. Opinions are formed about companies based on their websites and the content they contain. If you have poorly written content filled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, site visitors might believe you’re not intelligent enough to be good at your job. You could lose sales opportunities as a result.
Put your best face forward on your website by providing visitors with well-written content that contains helpful information and you’ll make everyone happy, including Google.
May 9, 2013
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Late last month, a major flower shop in the U.K. was penalized by Google for using SEO practices that violated the best practices guidelines. The penalty was so severe that the website didn’t even show up in top search results for its own name. Know more.
Search Engine Land analyzed Interflora’s link profile to find out what happened and reported that more than 70 percent of their links were toxic or suspicious according to Link Detox. In other words thousands of links in their link profile would probably fail during a manual review by the Google spam team.
The SEL article concluded that there appears to be a lot of bad SEO going on but these are a few of the most obvious tactics they used that likely drew the Google penalty. Cheap advertorials, tiered blog network links and paid blog posts all made the list.
There is plenty of evidence that Interflora had been using bad link building practices for years, but they were finally caught and penalized for it. They have a relatively happy ending to their story since the penalty happened after Valentine’s Day and their rankings were nearly back to normal 11 days later before the next major flower-sending holiday. However, other companies should not assume they will be so lucky if they try to use link schemes to get ahead.
SEO experts are surmising that the flower company giant had already started a big link cleanup campaign prior to the penalty that included using the Disavow Links tool and reaching out directly to websites Interflora paid to link back to them.
“No matter how tempted you might be, stay away from buying or selling links as part of your SEO campaigns, ” says our CEO, Ali Husayni. “They will inevitably get your website in trouble, and it will certainly take more than 11 days to recover since it looks like Interflora got some special assistance in this instance.”
The following are examples of what falls under the category of a link scheme and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:
These shady techniques, among others, are what the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates of recent years were intended to correct. However, they are still widely used techniques used by companies that want to get ahead quickly and make a fast profit.
“The drawbacks of link schemes definitely outweigh the short-term benefits though,” says Husayni. “The main cleanup tools are disavow links and direct contact with the link owner, and those can take weeks or months to work — if it does work — since Google has to recrawl the site.”
According to Google there is only one right way to properly acquire links:
“The useful, relevant content Google talks about may attract inbound links if your site already has substantial popularity, but you can’t afford to sit back and wait for that to happen,” says Husayni. “Your competitors certainly aren’t. There are ways to get links without violating Google’s rules or getting your site penalized.”
Many of those techniques have been discussed by Husayni and his SEO team on this blog, but some business owners find they need more extensive help than articles and do it yourself advice. One of our SEO experts can help people understand what they need to do to help their businesses succeed.
May 1, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – We spend a lot of time at Millionairium discussing SEO, and that’s no surprise since we’re striving to be the best SEO company around. However, the truth is that ranking our clients at the very top of Google is only part of the battle. Businesses want to be number one on Google for one reason only: to increase their sales.
We provide SEO services for many different types of companies, including dental practices, orthodontic practices, e-commerce websites and law firms, and each client has the same goal. Each client wants to know how much their business has grown since they signed up to work with us. Let’s take a law firm as an example. For a lawyer, SEO success may bring him many more inquires than he had before, but how can our lawyer tell if these inquiries are leading to new, paying clients? Does increased traffic always mean increased business? We understand we must not only track how well our customers are ranking on Google for specific keywords, we must also track how much business is being converted because of our SEO campaigns.
“It’s important to have a measuring system to see how many leads and how much business we bring to clients,” says Millionairium’s CEO and SEO expert Ali Husayni. “If your site doesn’t convert traffic to leads, or worse, it’s getting the wrong kind of traffic, then ranking well on Google is meaningless.”
Tracking Conversions From the Web
It may be relatively easy to track conversions using Google Analytics if your business is coming only from the web. You can use specific tools to track how many users reach a download page, assuming your business sells something downloadable. For instance, if you’re selling an e-book, you can track how many people reach the download page, therefore conversions are easily monitored. With Google Analytics, you can even see the keywords that eventually led customers to download your e-book.
While this information can be helpful, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how you’ve converted your customer. He may have searched “mystery e-book” on Google, which could have led him to a forum on Goodreads, a popular social networking site for avid readers. Your buyer could have read about your book there and decided to visit your website to finally purchase your book. He may have visited Facebook or Twitter before his purchase. How can you track this chain of actions that eventually converted him?
Google Analytics shares a fantastic video about the steps it takes to make a final conversion using the analogy of a basketball game. The player who shoots and scores gets credit for the goal, but other players were integral to the entire play. You can use the Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels to see how your customer behaved 30 days before he finally purchased your book. This gives you a complete picture of how your marketing efforts have paid off, and it takes the focus off solely the last “player,” if you will, to score the goal. Last-click conversion isn’t as helpful to marketers as viewing the entire chain that sent a buyer to his final destination.
You want to see how your customer has interacted with social media outlets, organic search results, emails, newsletters and banner ads before they decide to purchase your product. This insight is an invaluable tool that lets you see which marketing channels are most effective for your target market.
Tracking Conversions from Places Other than the Web
Many searches occur online that lead to conversions offline. This happens so often that there’s a term for it: ROPO. This stands for “research online, purchase offline.”
Conversion tracking gets trickier, however, when visitors are finding information on the web and then calling businesses for appointments. New customers could have found your business through Google Maps SEO efforts and then visited the business in person for an appointment.
So how do we effectively track how much business we’re bringing you if customers aren’t necessarily visiting your site? Not many web-marketing companies are able to capture conversion rates effectively and scientifically. Millionairium Marketing aims to be one of the best marketing companies for tracking new business conversions.
Jellyfish, a UK digital marketing company, agrees that tracking offline purchases is difficult, but the more online exposure you have, the more likely you are to gain new business.
“Third party reviews for your company or brand provide independent endorsement which may strongly influence their decision to purchase,” say Jellyfish marketers. “You may not be able to track whether or not they have seen the recommendation, but by casting the net wide you will certainly leave an impression with the customer.”
While tracking offline conversions may be hard, it’s not impossible. For businesses that provide services, such as dentistry practices and law firms, we can use contact forms to see how many inquiries are coming from the Internet. From these inquiries, the SEO client will know how many new clients they’ve gained in the past month, the past quarter or the past six months.
However, many of us still like to pick up the phone. It’s not realistic to expect our clients to ask their potential customers how they found their website. Even if they did, this isn’t really an accurate or scientific way to measure results. For instance, if you are running an AdWords campaign along with an SEO campaign, more often than not, your customers cannot tell you whether they found you on the Ads or on the organic results pages. We can provide traceable phone numbers on your website, and these phone numbers allow us to accurately count how many new clients are coming from the Internet, even if they’re picking up the phone for an appointment without visiting your site.
This is a hot topic in the SEO world right now. Keyword reports are becoming less important as clients want to know exactly how much new businesses is generated from their increased rankings on Google. And that makes sense, right?
We are currently using Marchex, which is a very user-friendly phone tracking and phone-recording software used for this sole purpose. We can track and record every single call that goes to our clients’ business and provide them with a back-end administrator panel that they can see all the calls, where they were generated from, how long the call took and even listen or download the call.
We can also monitor where the calls are coming from including organic, direct or pay-per-click advertising. We can even track the success of a specific post.
For now, what methods have you used to track conversions for your SEO clients?
April 23, 2013
Google keeps changing, and this doesn’t make everyone happy. We’ve all heard the horror stories of a small business that lost big when it plummeted from a top of Google page ranking because of changes to Google search algorithms.
It’s easy for these “victims” to paint Google as the bad guy, but that’s not the case. How well a business fares in the competition for front-page ranking is usually tied to the practices of their SEO services provider.
One of Google’s ongoing goals is to thwart black-hat SEO practices that artificially boost the rankings of a site based on black-hat tricks, and at the same time reward credible sites that follow best SEO practices. In a post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, the head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, provided this explanation:
“The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the ‘good guys’ making great sites for users – not just algorithms – to see their effort rewarded.”
Staying abreast of Google’s ever-changing search algorithms and “playing by the rules” is key to Millionairium’s ability to place their clients at or near the top of Google rankings and keep them there, says company CEO Ali Husayni.
“Google relies heavily on SEO professionals to prepare sites to be properly indexed, identified and ranked by its search algorithm,” he says. “They encourage white-hat SEO because when we do our job right, it makes theirs easier – and that makes the good information on the Web easier to locate.”
By contrast, companies that engage in black-hat SEO practices are constantly fighting an ever-losing battle, Husayni says.
“Google eventually catches up with them, and in the next algorithm update, they may lose their somewhat easily-earned ranks to the sites that have engaged in white-hat SEO only,” he says. “Because we follow only white-hat practices, our company doesn’t worry about these downgrades.”
One example of how the “good guys” win happened after a recent Google update, which moved Millionairium from the number six position to number two for an extremely competitive keyword: “best SEO.”
“Google downgraded some of our competitors who were involved in shady black- or gray-hat SEO practices,” Husayni says. “We just continued with our white-hat practices and eventually, we got ahead of the wolves.”
There is, of course, much more to high quality SEO work than good intentions.
“The devil is in the details,” Husayni says. “There are more than 200 criteria Google looks at when ranking a page.”
Among the many factors that can increase a site’s Google ranking is the proper optimization of well-written content, which involves such specifics as including headine tags, URL-structure, placing the right keywords within the article and talking about the article on your social media platforms, he says.
One positive phenomenon brought on by the ongoing evolution of the Google search algorithm is the increased value placed on quality content.
“Building sites that attract and retain visitors improves the experience and makes the Web a better place,” Husayni says. “Google is paying more attention to such practices.”
As a result, professional content development has become increasingly important in recent years. This includes not only text but also images and video.
“Another important emerging factor is social media indicators,” Husayni says, “namely Google Plus. If your Google profile is tied into your site, your author image will be placed next to the search results. This helps to both increase the click-through rate and enhance site ranking.”
And, last but not least are the quality back-links that make sites more popular.
“This remains Google’s number one factor in deciding what sites should rank at the top,” Husayni says.
With each new change, Google will continue to seek and penalize questionable back-link practices. This not only weeds out the junk, but also helps push the good guys to the top.
April 10, 2013
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Criticism is an inevitable part of doing business, but in a time when more and more people search online when deciding what products to buy and which companies to hire, bad press can significantly affect the success of the company, whether the criticism is warranted or not.
That is why online reputation management tools, also known as reverse SEO, can be a lifesaver. Reverse SEO uses black-hat techniques instead of white-hat techniques. Organic SEO tactics are the best way to prevent negative, undesirable links or bad press about your business from getting top ranking on Google search results.
“We use reverse SEO for businesses that have received unflattering or unfair press in newspapers, blogs or review sites to mitigate the damage and diminish the visibility of the links as quickly as possible,” said Ali Husayni, our CEO.
Sometimes the undesirable content is a messy lawsuit, a disgruntled ex-employee or angry client who either wrote and submitted an article or created a website solely to defame a company. Anyone with determination and some online know-how can create content that reflects poorly on a company that begins to rank well for searches related to the business. While completely removing the content from the Web is usually impossible, it can be pushed onto the second, third and fourth pages of search results where they will garner much less attention.
“What we do is analyze the sites that own the negative content about the business then formulate the best strategy to limit that content’s visibility,” said Husayni.
Although much of the work requires technical SEO knowledge, these tips and techniques are ways any business can help recover from bad publicity:
April 4, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Our SEO company prides itself on getting our clients to the top of Google and keeping them there. Recently we noticed a few of our dental SEO clients that used to be on top were being outranked by some sites like Yelp, White Pages, Yellow Pages, Yahoo! Local and Super Pages. The good news is, you don’t need Yelp, Yellow Pages, White Pages or Super Pages to get to the top of Google. But first, I wanted to share an example of how this issue recently affected one of our clients.
Barnett-Davis Dental Group was consistently ranking third on Google for the keyword “Nixa dentist.” At the end of January, we checked again, as any best SEO company would, and we found Dr. Davis’s site way down at the end of the page. With SEO a drop from third to ninth place is substantial. As of February 27, Yelp’s coming in eighth and Dentists.com is ranking tenth. Barrett-Davis Dental Group isn’t even on the first page of Google for “Nixa dentist.”
You may want to join websites like Yellow Pages and White Pages, but the downside is that they’re no longer free to join. They also don’t generate as much traffic as they would if your own website was ranking among them. You may even encourage your patrons to write a Yelp review of your business. That may help, a little at least, though Yelp has had some seriously negative buzz for years about removing or filtering patrons’ honest reviews. These two reviews were written about Yelp’s services on Yelp in February.
There was even some controversy several years ago about Yelp sales people contacting businesses with negative reviews. These sales people offered to take down their negative reviews if the businesses paid to advertise on their site. While Yelp denies this practice, many business owners have mentioned questionable practices from Yelp employees.
As far as why your site has dropped in its rankings, Millionairium’s Manager of Operations gives a good answer. “The answer is simple; a lot of people will give up doing SEO when they see they are no longer on the first page and they can’t compete with these giant sites,” says Saeed Khosravi. “As a result they will turn to AdWords, which means an income increase for Google.”
He also reminded me that the nearest Panda Update to this event was #24 implemented on Jan. 22, 2013. Google tweeted that this update impacted approximately 1.2 percent of English language search queries. Khosravi also says Google can determine that a local business directory page or Yellow Pages page may be more relevant for users than a single doctor’s website. That said, increasing the exposure of your business’s page is the best way to grow traffic and boost your sales. We’ve brainstormed a few tips to help you succeed on Google.
How to Focus on Local and Climb Up the Google Rankings
There are a few steps you can take to overcome these algorithm changes. Stay away from unethical black hat SEO techniques. You don’t need them, and they’re likely to burn you in the end. Instead, focus on time-tested white hat SEO techniques, such as link building, creating excellent content shared through a WordPress blog, optimizing your on-page SEO and creating a site with a friendly user experience. Focus also on what makes your business unique.
Most of you probably have local businesses. When we say local, we mean you aren’t competing with the entire nation or the entire globe for business. Dr. Davis, our “Nixa dentist,” doesn’t need a high Google ranking in Nashville or San Francisco. Capitalize on your local niche. Make sure your business is on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), and make sure you understand the basics of Google+ Local SEO. It’s incredibly easy to add your business to Google+ Local. Google gives you step-by-step instructions, and Google is notoriously user-friendly.
You may find that your business is already on Google+ Local, and it may even have user reviews. If so, read the contact information carefully to make sure everything’s correct. You can add photos to entice viewers – just make sure to follow our simple image SEO guidelines. Pay special attention to the “categories” section. This is basically a field for you to add keywords relevant to your business, just as metadata allows you to do within a website.
There are many other ways to optimize your site for your local market. One extremely simple way is to make sure your website lists your address! OK, you’ve probably done that. Next, explore ways to gain inbound links within your community. Is there a local business or charity you partner with? Does your business sponsor a local marathon or event? Is your business listed on local business directories, the chamber of commerce, or your local industry associations? Are any of your employees active in local clubs, or do they write personal blogs? Take advantage of these opportunities to gain links to your website.
Our own Dr. Davis may benefit from writing a piece for a local paper or a local blog on a timely dentistry topic. He may already work with a local school – this is the perfect opportunity for a link, especially when .edu sites are trusted and valuable resources in Google’s algorithms. Remember too that anchor text is important for SEO, and, when you can, make sure your anchor text includes a location keyword.
If all these tips overwhelm you, you can always leave the SEO to the experts. At Millionairium we offer comprehensive SEO services, including link building, keyword/competition analysis, content creation and distribution, and even website penalization analysis. Our representatives would love to speak with you about increasing the visibility of your website. SEO is constantly changing, and we keep our fingers on the pulse of these changes to bring you the very best SEO packages out there.
March 28, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -Let’s face it: we are now part of the smart phone generation. You’ll notice smart phones glued to hands across multiple generations. My parents both got their first iPhones and are navigating the app world. My nephews and nieces are interacting with smart phones and tablets with ease. I’ve written before about mobile SEO. Just as SEO is constantly changing, so is the mobile world.
I interviewed web and mobile app developer Mark Freeman about mobile SEO. Mark founded Red Room Software in January of 2011, and since then he’s created apps for music and voice manipulation and home studio recording. Mark’s free iOS apps have received more than 20,000 downloads in the past six months. He created the iOS and Web app Social Impact that allows users to find socially conscious businesses – sort of like Yelp for businesses with a warm, fuzzy purpose. Social Impact was a finalist for the Social Enterprise U.K.’s “Innovation for Best New Product or Service” category, and now Mark has developed a cross platform app to bring Social Impact to a much wider audience. Until now, Mark has exclusively developed for Apple devices, but the new cross platform app will work on Android, iPhones, iPads and on any web browser.
And, for full disclosure – Mark is my husband.
Jessica: Can you explain the difference between a website and a web app?
Mark: A web app has a specific functionality that solves a certain problem. Web apps are generally more interactive than websites. For instance, the recent Social Impact App helps customers find socially conscious businesses in their areas. Websites are instead mainly just displaying information, such as here’s what our business does, here’s our content for our blog, here’s our online gallery or portfolio.
Jessica: How often do you change strategies, learn new languages or adopt new techniques in your industry?
Mark: Once or twice a year I learn a new language and adopt new techniques. The market moves that fast; new languages and techniques are created every few months to solve new problems or solve old problems in a new way. To keep up with the times, to make things look better and work faster, I have to constantly learn and adapt. As a software engineer, at least 50 percent of my job is to learn new technology.
Jessica: How do keyword tags affect individual app pages on the Apple App Store? Can search engines see them?
Mark: Search engines can absolutely see these keywords. The keywords show up in the page’s HTML, so having your app’s descriptions and keywords optimized is incredibly important in having customers find your app. These fields directly affect your search engine ranking and your app sales. The individual app pages are just websites. There’s also a category field where you can help Apple better categorize your app. App developers should be sure to include relevant, optimized keywords when they’re uploading, modifying or updating their apps.
Jessica: Do you think every business needs an app?
Mark: No. If the app serves no purpose, then you just have a useless piece of software that no one will use. Some businesses are more suited to have apps, such as yoga studios where you have customers interacting with a changing schedule. Entertainment venues are also good candidates for apps. They can use interactive schedules that frequently change, and their users may actually find some entertainment within the app itself. Grocery stores are great candidates for apps because they can share store specials, recipes, question and answer forums and coupons. A great benefit to having a native app for something like a grocery store is that customers can still access the app even if their phones have bad reception. Native mobile apps written specifically for certain devices can store and recall their own information, whereas the essence of a website or web app means that information is stored not on your device but on a server. Having an app can be more engaging for certain businesses even where a website would suffice.
Jessica: What SEO tips can you give us to increase exposure with a native mobile app?
Mark: First of all, while search engines can easily read web apps, they can’t see content within a native app. Have a dedicated website, ideally with the domain name of your app, that you can put content on to increase your app’s exposure. That way Google and other search engines can index your website, and customers will have an easier time finding your app. The whole point of that website would be to point to your app’s download location so customers can get it on their smartphones or tablets.
Jessica: What do you see changing in the future in regards to SEO and mobile apps?
Mark: Well, I think companies like mine, and companies like Apple and Google see the great need for improved SEO. The app market, or app-mosphere, is saturated with apps. It’s sometimes hard to find something really relevant and good. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for, if you even know what you’re looking for. Apps sometimes have strange names that don’t clue customers in to their real functions. The next frontier for mobile and app SEO will be to cut through that saturation and better categorize your app. Customers may easily get fed up with the app market because there are so many bad apps out there and there is no great platform to find the app you’re looking for.
Jessica: Thanks, Mark, for letting us pick your brain!
Have you searched for apps and found what you were looking for? Do you have more questions about mobile or Web apps?
March 20, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA—When you place content on the Internet, the odds of it getting stolen are stacked against you. If this is something that doesn’t sit well with you, you’re in luck because we can help you get it back.
In a previous article we offered tips and tools for protecting your content with the warning that there is no tried and true method for protecting it, aside from keeping it off the Internet altogether. Since website optimization and providing quality content are the best ways to reach potential clients and essentially grow your business, that’s probably not an option.
“Google places high value on quality sharing,” says Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium. “Producing quality content for our blog, as well as our clients’ blogs, is one of the main reasons we have been able to become one of the top SEO companies in the world. The growth we have achieved is through quality work that not even the best SEO software can reproduce.”
When content is placed on your website first, Google gives you the credit for it. But sometimes, there are disreputable websites that take content that isn’t theirs and because of their site’s popularity, they end up getting credit for it.
“Not all sharing is bad,” says Lorrie Walker, one of our writers who is experienced in publishing content online. “In fact, when others share your content properly they earn you popularity-boosting backlinks.”
How aggravating would it be to sit back and watch someone’s popularity grow because readers of your stolen content are sharing it and unknowingly earning them – the thieves – back-links?
You should be the one who gets the credit and reaps the benefits of your content being shared – not a thief. But first, let’s talk about methods and tools you can use to identify if your content has been stolen.
Use a search engine – You can simply take a phrase from your content – make sure you put it in quotes – and perform a Google search. If your content shows up somewhere other than your own site, it may have been stolen. Don’t jump the gun though, it’s possible that someone shared it and gave you proper credit. You can also do the same for your images using a Google image search.
Copyscape – This online service allows you to search for content that is the same or similar to yours using the URL it originated from. Copyscape’s premium service can be set up to run automatic, daily searches for stolen content or to protect you from purchasing stolen content. You can also add a banner to your content that warns thieves it is protected by Copyscape.
CopyrightSpot – This service works like Copyscape. You simply use the URL to a webpage or blog feed that contains your work and it locates copies of it.
TinEye – Similar to Copyscape, TinEye scans for stolen images. It can even identify stolen images that have been edited. It’s more time-consuming, but you can also search for the subject of your image – “wild horses,” for example – and sift through the results for your original image.
Review incoming links – Many bloggers will link to the source of the content they share or in the case of a thief, steal. If you consistently check all of your incoming links you may find one that leads to a case of copyright infringement.
Google Alerts – You can use the title of your content/blog – in quotes, of course – and set an alert schedule where Google will alert you of URLs where your content is being posted.
Once you have identified that your content has indeed been stolen, we suggest using the following steps suggested by Lorelle VanFossen to get it back or get you the credit you deserve:
Contact the blogger – Remain professional and give them a chance to make things right – not everyone steals content intentionally. Ask them to remove it, rewrite it with linked excerpts, credit the material to you and your website specifically, or to compensate you monetarily for an amount you feel is fair. Be sure to give them a specific amount of time to meet your request before you take further action. Maintain a paper trail, which will come in handy for the next steps. If you can’t find their contact information, you can use a Whois Lookup or try Googling them.
Initiate a cease and desist order – Once the time you allotted for the thief to meet your request has passed, it is time to initiate legal action with a cease and desist order. This should not only be sent to the blogger, but all parties that may be unknowingly involved – including advertisers and the blog’s server host. Here you will find free downloads as well as additional information regarding the use of a cease and desist order.
Involve other parties – If several days pass without response to your cease and desist, you should contact the businesses that advertise on the violator’s blog. The majority of advertisers want to do business with reputable clients and by providing them with the evidence of the blogger’s infringement and a paper trail proving their negligence in taking action, the advertisers should react quickly. You may even be able to use a site popularity checker tool to prove to them that your stolen blog led to an unjustified increase in traffic of the thief’s blog that should have been tied to you. As a bonus they may have access to more information than you do and can contact the thief or host server directly.
Bring in the big guns – Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, search engines are willing to assist you by banning the blog from its search results once they have received adequate evidence of the blogger’s dishonesty – another reason why we can’t stress enough the importance of a good paper trail.
We hope that if you are faced with the problem of stolen content, you can use this article to take a proactive stance against the thieves.
March 12, 2013
ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Our CEO Ali Husayni recently shared a chilling blog post with the SEO team that discussed how to kill competitors’ ranking on Google.
The author, Jared Bates, listed three techniques that a competitor could theoretically use to attack another company’s website and cripple their business by causing their rankings to tank.
“Someone can easily sabotage your search engine presence,” wrote Bates, who is an affiliate marketer. “These techniques are the worst of the worst, although there is really no reason to think they would not work. They violate all of Google’s terms almost simultaneously, yet there are little safeguards implemented to protect us against them.”
Thankfully, the Millionairium website has not been a victim of a negative SEO campaign and neither have any of our clients. Husayni has a decade of experience in search engine marketing and has seen plenty of companies use unscrupulous tactics, but he said the article still sent shivers down his spine.
The internet marketing community has been buzzing about negative SEO with many top SEO bloggers weighing in with opinions. The topic has gotten so much attention that Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, addressed it in a video on Dec. 18.
“Most people don’t need to worry about this,” reassured Cutts. “If you’re just a regular mom and pop, you’re a small business, this is not the sort of thing where you are likely in any way, shape or form to run up against this.”
Extremely competitive niche markets such as casinos were the exception. Cutts pointed out that although a lot of people have been stressed about the possibility of negative SEO, so far Google has observed very few instances of actual attacks. On Oct. 16 last year, Google released a tool that they claim is a simple way to diffuse potential attacks: disavow links tool.
Users can upload a text file list to Google and tell them which links they want the algorithm to ignore or to not count when determining the ranking. For example, if an SEO scammer tried to send thousands of low-quality inbound links to an online gambling website, the site’s webmaster could use the disavow links tool to tell Google to ignore those links and avoid a penalty.
“In theory, this should be a good tool to combat negative SEO if you’re actually experiencing it, though there is no guarantee that Google will actually ignore the links you tell it to,” writes Chris Crum in a WebProNews post.
In a question and answer section in the official blog post announcing the tool, Google explained:
This tool allows you to indicate to Google which links you would like to disavow, and Google will typically ignore those links. Much like with rel=”canonical”, this is a strong suggestion rather than a directive — Google reserves the right to trust our own judgment for corner cases, for example — but we will typically use that indication from you when we assess links.
While Google said it might be rare, there are some cases of negative SEO, such as Robert Prime, a web developer who had a site designed to help people sell their cars sabotaged by competitors before he even officially launched it. Although he admits to using black hat SEO techniques with previous sites, he decided to strictly use organic SEO for his new site. To his dismay, he noticed a sharp drop in rankings and discovered his site had been blasted with more than 13,000 bad links just before the drop. Prime opted to use the disavow links tool and hoped that Google would show mercy, but on Twitter a month later, Prime said the site was still not doing well despite disavowing them.
Google said that the process can take multiple weeks since they have to recrawl and reindex the URLs a company has disavowed before the disavowals go into effect.
“The disavow tool taking months is a token gesture that doesn’t near cover things,” said Prime in the comments section on his blog post.
Like the founder of SEO Book Aaron Wall mentioned in the comment section, someone with ill intent could easily cause 10 hours of link cleanup work each week with only $10, an anonymous email account and some gift cards. Or they spend $20 daily and make it where cleaning up links is all the person under attack has time for, which Wall called a pretty stupid, perhaps evil, incentive structure by Google.
“It’s not very hard for a software to produce 10 million bad links and direct them to different pages of a website from different URLs,” said Mahdi M. Zadeh, who is one of our SEO experts in the sales department. “How can it be affordable or even possible for a human or a team of humans to sit down and clean up the mess a high-performance machine created in no time? Then the victim of the attack is penalized by Google and has to spend more for Google AdWords to stay visible in search results.”
In the race to rank at the top of Google, there will always be individuals that attempt to harm competitors with unethical tactics, but according to Husayni there is a way to help prevent potential damage to a website. The main tactic is to keep a close eye on the site’s backlink profile.
He recommended doing this by downloading a complete list of links pointing to the site, marking any that came from the negative SEO attack and submitting those links using the disavow links tool. Just disavow with caution because, used incorrectly, the feature can potentially harm a site’s performance in Google’s search results.
“Google needs to accept responsibility for the mess it made and take more aggressive measures, even consider algorithm changes, to correct the problem,” said Zadeh. “In the meantime, people will have to use the disavow tool.”
February 25, 2013
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Knowing where to focus your efforts and which SEO strategies are worth investing your business’ budget in can be a difficult decision to make. You want to make sure you are using your money wisely and getting the best return on your investment.
Just one of the many aspects of search engine optimization is geotargeting. Like the term suggests, geotargeting means you are delivering specific content to visitors based on their geographical location. This is not a strategy that all businesses can benefit from.
“Geotargeting has been practiced only by businesses that are local only or broader than cities and states in scope but still need to provide services and products in different regional or local-based markets,” explains Saeed Khosravi, the operational manager for Millionairium.
Who Needs Geotargeting And When Does It Hurt More Than Help?
Pumping resources into geotargeting and local search is only a prudent online marketing approach if there is a good reason to do it. Companies only need to focus on local search when their business falls into one of these three categories:
“It’s a waste of time and money to focus locally for an international or national client,” says Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium. “Those types of clients benefit more from targeting national keywords to improve rankings.”
How to Start Building a Local Presence
A small SEO firm, Alex Webmaster, analyzed 100 listings from Google+ Local to find out what factors affected the rankings, positively and negatively. Their data showed that the three factors with the highest positive correlation were having a verified page with the keyword in the title, a landing page with high authority and general keywords in the description. For instance, the research results suggested that instead of having “plastic surgeon” in the category, a better practice would be “medical clinic.”
There is the potential to reap big rewards when using geotargeting techniques in a local search campaign, but Husayni warns that targeting multiple locations on one site might get in the way of a search engine’s perception of the business’ physical location.
“The more you build links or optimize for one specific set of keywords, the less your site is relevant for a different set of specific keywords,” he said. “However, with a site that already ranks well for international keywords, targeting a few location – specific keywords, if done properly, won’t cause the site to lose ranking for the international keywords.”
If you’re unsure of whether you would benefit from targeting specific areas with a local search campaign or want more information about how you’re doing so far, schedule a consultation with our sales reps. After an analysis of the site, you may discover that investing in different SEO strategies would be more beneficial.
Is geotargeting a technique you have tried with your business? If so, did you find that your website’s ranking benefited or suffered from targeting multiple locations?
February 21, 2013
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Top SEOs understand that a high ranking on Google depends partly on how well you’ve optimized your website for certain keywords. We’ve devoted an entire post to conducting keyword research, and you may want to check it out while you’re compiling your desired keyword list. For this post we’ll examine the difference between short and long tail keywords and discuss how you can use them to increase your exposure through SEO.
Long and Short Tail Keywords Explained
Short tail keywords are one or two-word phrases, such as “Nashville pet” or “German shepherds.” These are broad and commonly searched keywords. There’s more competition for short tail keywords since they are more commonly used.
Long-tail keywords are typically three words or more, and they are more of a phrase or question than a broad description. The long tail keyword from the previous examples might be “find Nashville pet for adoption” or “adopt a German shepherd in Nashville, Tennessee.”
Which types of keywords are best for SEO purposes? The answer depends a lot on your market and the competition of your keywords. You can find out how competitive your keywords are using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. They tell me “Nashville pet” averages 14,800 monthly searches; “Nashville pet adoption” averages 1,300 monthly searches.
Long and Short Tail Keywords Analyzed
Several studies have shown long tail keywords have higher conversion rates than short tail keywords. This makes sense when you think about it. A user who searches “adopt a German shepherd in Nashville, Tennessee” is probably closer to adopting a dog than one who types “Nashville pets.”
Search Engine Watch, an SEO marketing company, conducted a telling study of short and long tail keywords specifically analyzing them for impressions, clicks, conversions and profitability.
The study leaders categorized keywords by the number of characters to keep their research organized. Keywords were broken down in intervals of five characters. Keywords between 11 and 20 characters received the most impressions and clicks at nearly 60 percent. However, keywords between 31 and 35 characters converted the most customers.
A different study published at Calculate Marketing shows the conversion rate improves as the number of words increases.
“People who make longer, more specific searches have already done their research and know exactly what they want,” says study author Alan Mitchell. “They are further along in the buying cycle so are more likely to open their wallet.”
Using Long and Short Tail Keywords for SEO
One tip to help you create long tail keywords from short tail keywords is this: don’t hit enter. Go to your Google search bar and start typing a word. Google autocompletes your search queries as you type them. To test this theory, I typed “Nashville pet” into a Google search query and didn’t hit enter. Google showed me longer keywords beneath my search bar – “Nashville pet products,” “Nashville pet rescue” and “Nashville pet adoption.” This type of research will give you an idea of what other users are searching for on the Web, which can improve, strengthen and diversify your keywords.
Though studies show long tail keywords help you rank higher, short tail keywords are still effective. . For many of you, short tail keywords like “dentistry” or “plastic surgery” are highly desirable and are extremely relevant to your businesses. Match these keywords with a location or description to make them even more helpful. “Nashville dentistry” will help improve your Google maps SEO, and “Nashville cosmetic dentistry” can further distinguish your business. Your potential customer will also assume that you offer tooth whitening or porcelain veneers because you’ve specified yourself as a cosmetic dentist. Now here’s the warning: Don’t feel like you have to add a location every time you include the word “dentistry.” This will probably annoy your human reader, and it may even cause them to abandon your website. You may have seen content so cluttered with keywords that you lose the real meaning.
Keywords should feel natural when you read them in your content. If they stick out to you, odds are they’ll stick out to your readers. Always choose your readers’ experience over the itch to add multiple long tail keywords just for search engines. Provide clear, meaningful and well-researched content, and your potential customers will find you. In other words: build it, and they will come.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Top SEOs understand that a high ranking on Google depends partly on how well you’ve optimized your website for certain keywords. We’ve devoted an entire post to conducting keyword research, and you may want to check it out while you’re compiling your desired keyword list. For this post we’ll examine the difference between short and long tail keywords and discuss how you can use them to increase your exposure through SEO.
Long and Short Tail Keywords Explained
Short tail keywords are one or two word phrases, such as “Nashville pet” or “German shepherds.” These are broad and commonly searched keywords. There’s more competition for short tail keywords since they are more commonly used.
Long-tail keywords are typically three words or more, and they are more of a phrase or question than a broad description. The long tail keyword from the previous examples might be “find Nashville pet for adoption” or “adopt a German shepherd in Nashville, Tennessee.”
Which types of keywords are best for SEO purposes? The answer depends a lot on your market and the competition of your keywords. You can find out how competitive your keywords are using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. They tell me “Nashville pet” averages 14,800 monthly searches; “Nashville pet adoption” averages 1,300 monthly searches.
Long and Short Tail Keywords Analyzed
Several studies have shown long tail keywords have higher conversion rates than short tail keywords. This makes sense when you think about it. A user who searches “adopt a German shepherd in Nashville, Tennessee” is probably closer to adopting a dog than one who types “Nashville pets.”
Search Engine Watch, an SEO marketing company, conducted a telling study of short and long tail keywords specifically analyzing them for impressions, clicks, conversions and profitability.
The study leaders categorized keywords by the number of characters to keep their research organized. Keywords were broken down in intervals of five characters. Keywords between 11 and 20 characters received the most impressions and clicks at nearly 60 percent. However, keywords between 31 and 35 characters converted the most customers.
A different study published at Calculate Marketing shows the conversion rate improves as the number of words increases.
“People who make longer, more specific searches have already done their research and know exactly what they want,” says study author Alan Mitchell. “They are further along in the buying cycle so are more likely to open their wallet.”
Using Long and Short Tail Keywords for SEO
One tip to help you create long tail keywords from short tail keywords is this: don’t hit enter. Go to your Google search bar and start typing a word. Google autocompletes your search queries as you type them. To test this theory, I typed “Nashville pet” into a Google search query and didn’t hit enter. Google showed me longer keywords beneath my search bar – “Nashville pet products,” “Nashville pet rescue” and “Nashville pet adoption.” This type of research will give you an idea of what other users are searching for on the Web, which can improve, strengthen and diversify your keywords.
Though studies show long tail keywords help you rank higher, short tail keywords are still effective. . For many of you, short tail keywords like “dentistry” or “plastic surgery” are highly desirable and are extremely relevant to your businesses. Match these keywords with a location or description to make them even more helpful. “Nashville dentistry” will help improve your Google maps SEO, and “Nashville cosmetic dentistry” can further distinguish your business. Your potential customer will also assume that you offer tooth whitening or porcelain veneers because you’ve specified yourself as a cosmetic dentist. Now here’s the warning: Don’t feel like you have to add a location every time you include the word “dentistry.” This will probably annoy your human reader, and it may even cause them to abandon your website. You may have seen content so cluttered with keywords that you lose the real meaning.
Keywords should feel natural when you read them in your content. If they stick out to you, odds are they’ll stick out to your readers. Always choose your readers’ experience over the itch to add multiple long tail keywords just for search engines. Provide clear, meaningful and well-researched content, and your potential customers will find you. In other words: build it, and they will come.
February 18, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA-I’ve watched and read with great interest over the past month the news about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement regarding Facebook Graph Search.
It immediately piqued my curiosity about whether this new social media search mechanism would have search engine optimization implications.
I’d love to tell you I’m an early adopter of Facebook Graph. Alas, I dragged my feet and just realized in mid-February you have to join the waiting list of hopefuls looking to try Graph Search Beta. So as I wait, I comb the Internet to see what others are saying, and to offer some professional opinions about what I think this could mean for SEO companies and clients who always are in pursuit of the best search rankings.
First, a definition: Graph Search is a new service Facebook is rolling out that enables users to search their social connections for information. The search results are based on information shared by your friends and other Facebook users. You can watch an online demo of how it works at this Google Hangout by Josh Bachynski.
The Facebook team has posted some helpful information to educate us on the powers of Graph Search. In a nutshell, they say it will enable us to find specific information easily. For example, let’s say you’ve planned a trip to Portland. Graph Search will allow you to find your friends who live there so you can pop in for a visit while you’re in town.
Here’s an example Lans Rasmussen, engineering director at Facebook, gave that I love because so many of our clients here at Millionairium are in the dental field: you can search for “what dentist do my friends like?” and get a list of dentists’ Facebook pages that have been liked by your friends.
Let’s think about why this is valuable. In my community, there are some local business sites that offer review opportunities in addition to Google Plus, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.
Many local business owners (me included) encourage people to leave reviews because we believe they’re valuable, particularly on Google Plus. But whose opinions do we really value? Where do we go for advice most frequently? Our friends and family members. And where are we connecting with those people? Facebook, of course. So it makes sense to me that more people will turn to Facebook for those research and referral needs in the near future as Graph Search becomes more popular.
For business owners, I believe – and Saeed Khosravi agrees with me – Graph Search means it is more important than ever that you have a Facebook page for your business and you ask your clients and customers to like your page. Of course, it takes more than simply having a page to get your followers engaged. For help with that, check out our previous posts about how Facebook can help your business and watch this video about SEO and social media marketing.
This brings me to information Bachynski shared in his Hangout with which I disagree. He suggests that it makes no difference whether you set yourself up as a person or a page on Facebook. He even suggests that if you go the person route, and you’re in the weight loss business, for example, you can name yourself as follows:
First name: Jim
Middle name: Weight Loss Expert
Last name: Smith
This doesn’t sit well with me. It smells like gaming the system. I’m a purist who believes your personal page is best for friends and family, and your business page is for current and potential customers, clients, fans, etc. I think you should be aboveboard and create a page for your business instead of trying to make your business look like a person.
Here’s where Bachynski and I agree once more: he says Graph Search will generate results based on data that is completed on these personal accounts and pages, and the more friends and likes you have, the greater the chance that your personal account or page will appear in pertinent Graph Search results.
I firmly believe there are three things you can do that will make your page appear well in Graph Search for searches related to your business:
I’ll use my business Facebook page as an example. I’ve entered information into the About section that describes what I do and includes keywords, lists my address and office hours, and lists three Place Sub-categories (the maximum allowed). This year I’ve really focused on placing content on my page and the Insights section reflects the fruits of my labor. My reach has increased 800 percent since mid-January. People like my posts, share them on their own pages, and leave comments.
Just as Google likes websites that appear to be alive and kicking, I think Facebook personal accounts and pages that have high activity levels will rank higher in Graph Search. I’m practicing what I preach in hope that I can report back to you in a few weeks with proof that it works.
After Saeed and I talked about Graph Search, he did some digging and found several similarities between Facebook Graph Search optimization and search engine optimization. For example:
“I think Facebook Graph Search is going to play a crucial role for businesses with local scope since the results that it retrieves can be tailored based on where you live,” he says.
There is one characteristic that sets Graph Search apart from Web search, Saeed says. Web search helps you discover the information you are looking for on the Word Wide Web, but Graph Search enables you to explore the information that is shared on Facebook. This means you can find out what other people are interested in, or get advice on different things based on the people you are already connected to or might be interested in connecting to.
At this point it’s so early in the Graph Search game that it’s difficult to tell how successful it will be and what long-term role it will play in search engine optimization. But there’s a question I predict will need to be addressed in the future:
Time will tell.
February 8, 2013
In a video published Jan. 21, 2013, Bonnie Hixson, owner and executive editor of Progressive Dentist Magazine, interviews CEO, Ali Husayni and Rita Zamora, social media marketing expert, regarding various online “real estate” as well as how SEO and social media compliment each other.
Bonnie Hixon: Hi, this is Bonnie Hixon. I’m here again with Ali Husayni of Millionairium and Rita Zamora from Rita Zamora Connections.
Ali Husayni: Hi, and good morning Bonnie.
Rita Zamora: Hello.
Hixon: We are kind of continuing an ongoing conversation. Rita, you’ve often talked about the benefit of having multiple pieces of online real estate.
Continuing on that, Ali, what are the benefits to your SEO efforts of having various online properties or profiles?
Husayni: Very good question. There are two benefits that I can think of right off the bat. One is when you have multiple online profiles, you increase your chance of getting ranked on the first rage of Google for more than one listing, which is what Rita is referring to with multiple real estates. Also, if you have multiple accounts such as multiple websites, blogs or Facebook pages and link from these accounts to your website, you can increase the popularity of your main website and push it up further on Google’s search results.
Hixson: Great! Well, another angle on that is something we have also talked about before, which is that there are a lot of different practices or businesses that think they are getting online benefit from their posts that link from their Facebook page to their Google+ page but, they aren’t linking to their website.
Husayni: As a general rule, linking to your website will help increase your rank on Google search results. So if you have other real estates on the Internet and from those real estates you link to your website, you will help your rank go up. That’s one important factor with Google algorithm. However, links from places like Facebook and Twitter-when they are pointing to your website- don’t have that value. This is because these companies put a code on the link that goes to your website called a “no follow code.” And when Google algorithm sees those links it automatically negates the value of those links to your website. So, with the exception of Facebook and Twitter, you should always link your other profile or blog posts to your website. The other benefit of having links from your posts to your website is that your are actually directing your audience from these platforms to your main website, which has all of your materials, information, articles and other content. Your website is designed to turn prospects and visitors into actual clients that will call you.
Hixson: Ok. Great!
Rita, there was something else that we discussed previously that I think ties in nicely with this, which is, what’s the best way (going back to the Facebook piece of real estate) for a small business to increase their “likes” organically?
Zamora: Yeah, organically is the keyword. And really, the best technique is to ask people and talk with them. For example, if it’s at a dental practice, ask the patient as they’re leaving “how did we do today” and when they say “Everything was great. We love you guys” it’s a great opportunity to say that we have a Facebook page and it would really make our doctor’s/hygienist’s day if you left a comment for him or her there. By doing this you can increase your likes, comments and feedback, which is really valuable for others to see on a Facebook page.
Hixson: In addition to the Facebook pages and all of the other pieces of real estate we have discussed, there’s a lot happening. Rita, you were pretty excited about some of the things that were going on with Google+ and we were really interested in how all of these connected platforms enhance- not only the relationships with patients and other practices in the community- but your overall SEO initiative.
Ali, what about the new developments with Google+ and all of the changes at Google?
Husayni: Ok, that’s a very complicated question. And I cheated a little bit by having the question earlier and drawing the website titles here (points to dry erase board) on the board so I can explain that to you guys. Basically, the rankings of a website depend on a few things. (Referring to the writing on the board) I’m basically combining the different aspects of the marketing and the Internet, which all relate to your rankings. First of all, you have your website. And the website has to be properly optimized, have popularity and good content. We have talked extensively about this on our website. (About how to optimize a website and get it ranked.) It’s also now connected to Google+ accounts that you have. And if you have a Google+ account we can connect it to your site, which in turn gives you an authorship image. Basically, what that means is Google recognizes who the author of a website is. When you search on Google for particular keywords, sometimes you see some of the listings have a little picture of the author next to it, which says by such in such person, in so many circles.
Have you guys noticed that before?
Husayni: So when you click on that link to the person’s name, that actually takes you right to the Google+ account. This helps with what we call click-through rate. When you have a little picture image of the person next to the listing, you are more likely to click on that link. So that’s where the authorship image comes from. We are able to connect the Google+ account to your site- it’s a little technical, but doable. It only takes a couple of hours and within a couple of weeks Google picks it up and you see you’ll start to see your picture come up next to your website listing on the search results.
On the other hand, we have business profiles or what’s now called a Google places account. Google places is also connected to your website and helps rank it on the local results. For example, you’re a local dentist, cosmetic dentist, orthodontist or even a lawyer. If you’re connecting your Google+ account- Google profile- first of all, you have to know how to create one and properly optimize it. I have some videos on our website that explain that. When you create it properly and put your website address there, Google automatically links that to your website. And then if someone searches locally- say in San Francisco- and you search for a cosmetic dentist. You don’t even have to say San Francisco in your search query. Google recognizes your location from your IP address and it pulls up the businesses that are listed, have a Google profile account, are properly optimized (proper content and proper SEO) it ranks them on the first page, toward the top.
So, these four items are very much now related and connected. And the social media part of it is Google+. Google is really pushing hard to compete with Facebook.
Hixson: Ok. So I guess the matter of having a lot of brand new likes on a Facebook page. This is something that just came up just this week. Where, based on different things that some of our study group members are participating in, we’ve had some practices come in and within an hour they’ve had hundreds of new likes their Facebook page.
So Rita, lets start with you. In a situation where someone suddenly has a huge increase in a number of likes on a Facebook page, what does that say to you and others in their community? And what’s you perception of that as a negative or a positive?
Zamora: Well, I think first of all we can look to see what Facebook thinks about it. In the past and most recently, they took steps to remove a bunch of the fake likes of celebrities, bands and other well-known people on Facebook. They had accumulated a lot of fake likes. Facebook definitely, they’ve got to have something in place- I would think- that flags that. When you’ve got 500 likes that come in within 20 minutes, it flags our attention so, surely they’ve got some systems in place to be able to flag that. Potentially that could mean your Facebook page account gets removed or you could be banned from Facebook. You just really want to focus on organic growth moving forward.
Hixson: That’s great advice.
And Ali, what is your perception of that same topic? In that explosion of growth and how Google might see that and react?
Husayni: Unfortunately, Google does not have access to Facebook pages. And Facebook has not given Google the green light to index or read the pages. So, for Google, it has no effect if you spam and get 1,000 likes within a few minutes. But a similar thing could happen with Google+. Because Google+ puts all of the attention on there. And I’m sure there are similar situations with Google+ where you can pay someone, and all of the sudden you’re listed in hundreds of circles, which is similar to the likes. So that, in effect, could negatively affect your rankings. I don’t know whether Google has yet developed any filtering system to recognize that. They are always a step behind the spammers since spammers are usually quick in exploiting situations like that. But eventually Google will catch up and people who practice that kind of behavior will get penalized. And I agree with Rita. Everything you do with Google+ or your ranking should be organic.
Hixson: I think most people are aware that organic and natural growth of these communities is the best way to go. It’s an evolving type of technology so we’ll see a lot more of this and the spamming I’m sure. But it’s nice to have the two of you as experts to help guide us through what may or may not be happening and what the results could be.
Rita, I have one other question for you. As dental practices or businesses are interacting with their patients and clients, is it better when you’re asking patients for reviews or comments; to have them comment on the business’ page or their own page to expand the circle of influence or audience?
Zamora: I wouldn’t say one is necessarily better than the other. They’re just different. And I don’t know off the top of my head what would be a casual way to introduce to someone and say “Hey, if you liked your visit with us today would you share about it all on your Facebook page, with all of your Facebook network?” I’m sure if you had the right wording you could introduce that in a fun way, but you’re not going to be able to verify that they’ve actually done that so you’ll have to take their word for it. They’ll say, “Yeah, we’re going to share you with all our network.” Unless you’re in their network, you’re not going to know that they did that. The other thing I like about having people post comments on the Facebook page itself is for one, you’re still going to get people who will see that. I’ve had an ortho client who had a movie night that they hosted and the parent posted on there “That was a great movie night. We loved it.” Another one of the parents in her network saw that conversation and started participating in it and there were a couple people there that weren’t even patients that were participating in this conversation. And it’s a lasting conversation. It’s a lasting impression that stays there on the practice wall. So, suddenly you’re able to show everyone this conversation when they come visit your page later on. I personally prefer the comments on the page and that interaction on the page. But certainly anytime anyone is willing to do it in their personal network, that’s big bonus points, too.
Hixson: Ok. That’s great. Well, thanks to you both for sharing your expertise with us again and giving us insights on how the whole SEO and social media initiatives tie together in effective online profiles.
Ali, Rita, nice to have you with us today and we look forward to connecting again.
Husayni: Thank you very much Bonnie and Rita. And I really enjoyed Rita’s suggestion about how to get organic likes on your Facebook page. I really appreciated that.
Zamora: Thank you. And thank you, Ali. We learned a lot and we continue to learn more from you so, thanks.
Hixson: Thanks to you both.
February 5, 2013
Does Millionairium follow its promise of getting each client to the first page of Google? Shawn Rosen, president of Koi Market says they do.
I recently interviewed Rosen about Koi Market’s journey to the top of Google. The following video is the result.
“I started doing some searching online for the best SEO companies,” says Rosen. “Interestingly, you guys were the only one that were actually guaranteeing that you get on first page of Google. The biggest thing for me was the guarantee in writing that I would get on the first page or I’d get my money back.”
Koi Market ranks on the first page of Google for most of their desired keywords. Even better than that, Koi Market ranks number one for certain keywords such as “pond drains.”
We asked CEO of Millionairium Ali Husayni what SEO techniques he’s used to raise Koi Market’s rankings on Google.
“We use the same exact SEO techniques for all of our clients, and we make the same exact suggestions to all of them,” Husayni says. “Most of them listen to our advice precisely and act by the book, and there are a few who like to learn by trial and error. The Google results are the best judge to who follows our instructions best like Shawn did with Koi Market.”
Millionairium’s Manager of Operations Saeed Khosravi went into more detail about how the Millionairium team helped Koi Market move up the Google ranks.
“SEO is much more difficult when it comes to an eCommerce site,” says Khosravi. “Koi Market was built based on eBay’s outdated shopping cart and hosting solution ProStores.”
Our team had never had a ProStores client before Koi Market, though we had other eCommerce SEO clients based on Magento and Prestashop.
“To our surprise we very soon understood that we could not install a third party blog software (such as WordPress) on a sub-directory, which was vital for our SEO campaign,” says Khosravi. “We managed to sort this out by creating a static sub-folder blog very similar to WordPress in its functionality.”
WordPress, as we’ve said before, is integral to our SEO campaigns. Embedded blogs help our customers use content creation as a means of building keyword density in an organic, logical way. But that wasn’t the only problem our team had helping Koi Market improve its rankings.
“The other problem that was a bit scary at first was the default behavior of the ProStores sites, which is the redirection of the homepage (http://prostores-site.com/) to a deep-level URL (http://prostores-site.com/servlet/StoreFront) for which there seemed to be no solutions,” says Khosravi. “Add to this the fact that there were no ways to redirect the non-www version of the site to the www-version through a server-side redirection. To overcome these optimization obstacles we used Google Webmaster tools to inform Google which version of the URLs were our preferred versions, and we notified the link building team that they would have to focus their link building efforts on one of the possible URL versions we had specified for them.”
Our team optimized the homepage, the static blog pages and some of the most important “category” pages. We also initiated our link building campaign by submitting Koi Market to approximately 240 websites and creating more than 1,000 quality backlinks. The whole SEO campaign took three months, from February to May 2012.
The proof is in the proverbial pudding: the companies that take SEO seriously are rewarded with higher rankings on Google and when people find your site on Google, your leads and sales go up. If your company is struggling to increase its revenue, we’d like to discuss ways we could get you ranked at the top of Google for many of the keywords related to your business.
Our team uses a time-tested SEO strategy to improve your site’s rankings on Google. We strive to make your website popular and relevant by creating expert content, building links and steadily moving you up the Google search results organically. We also offer coaching and consulting to bring your business the support it needs to grow.
Feel free to view our other testimonials by current and past clients.
Jan 26, 2013
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – In this post we’ll examine the criterion that Google uses to rank websites, and how smart link building will make websites popular and businesses more profitable.
There are approximately 200 points of criteria that Google uses to determine the ranking for any website, but these can be condensed into three basic categories: content, relevancy and popularity. All three are important, but it’s popularity that ultimately wins high ranking. And good links will win popularity.
“Link building is the cornerstone of any successful search engine optimization campaign,” says SEO expert Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium. “No matter how great your website looks or how great its content, without links your website will not rank on Google.”
The formula itself is relatively simple: the more high quality websites link to your website, the more popular your website will become. And it’s important to know that not all links are created equal.
It’s no difficult feat for a small business to find or buy scores of cheap links, but that’s a flawed SEO strategy to be avoided. Google employs sophisticated anti-spam filters and algorithms that can quickly identify low quality, shady or “bad neighborhood” links, and will promptly penalize a site by dropping its ranking.
One problematic strategy is “reciprocal linking,” where businesses link back to each other. That can actually negate the value of a link and drop the site’s rankings. Some more examples of links to avoid can be found here.
The key is to create quality and relevant links. This is the very core of ecommerce SEO and Millionairium’s niche. For more than nine years, Husayni has worked with Google platforms and is at the forefront in understanding the latest criterion that Google rewards.
Relationship building is critical to successful link building.
“Being engaged in or sponsoring any kind of community activity as a business owner can be a great advantage,” says Husayni, “if those organizations link back to your website or your services.” Likewise, building partnerships and relationships with other non-competitive businesses can be a good way to garner links to your site. Joining trade groups, belonging to the Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce can also generate good links that will get high rankings.
Advertising with other websites is another good choice for quality link building, and also getting articles published about your business that link to your site. An important nuance in that regard is to ensure those links are properly optimized. It’s also advantageous for small businesses to instigate their own public relations and place releases and articles for publication. Think of it as the place where PR and SEO meet.
The company blog is an important PR vehicle in establishing your website as an authoritative source. The first step for any small business looking to employ a SEO campaign is to use its website as a publishing outlet, and that’s another essential service that top SEO company Millionairium provides. “If they don’t already have a website, we build one and embed a WordPress blog for them,” says Husayni, “and we help them to keep that blog up to date.”
Listing your company in business directories and on Google + local pages is also a great way to advertise and establish links. It gives you another outlet to get the word out about your business and provides an opportunity to build your audience. Google + also presents an opportunity to set up authorship and create a personal profile, which is a service we provide for all Millionairium clients.
SEO opportunities present themselves frequently, and we stay on top of all of them. If you’re a small business owner who handles your own Internet marketing, subscribe to the Millionairium blog to stay abreast of the latest in SEO.
Jan 23, 2013
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Bing recently attacked Google about changes made to Google’s Shopping section last year and the lack of disclosure they provide search users about it.
Bing launched a huge campaign against Google complete with full-page newspaper advertisements, commercials on television and a shiny new website, scroogled.com, to draw attention to the changes Google made. The home page of the site explains their beef with Google: “In the beginning, Google preached, ‘Don’t be evil’-but that changed on May 31, 2012. That’s when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads.”
It goes on to say that limiting choices and ranking them by payment the way Google is doing means consumers get Scroogled. Bing points out that it is unclear to the user that Google is including only certain companies. Then they encourage people to try Bing “for an honest search result.”
The only problem with their campaign is that according to some industry experts Bing is guilty of exactly the same thing, which kind of takes the oomph out of their claims of moral superiority and honest search results.
“I’ve been one of the biggest critics about Google’s change, which has indeed been largely under-the-radar,” says Danny Sullivan, an SEO expert and the former editor of Search Engine Land. “Unfortunately, Bing is hardly in a position to be lecturing Google about poor disclosure and charging for listings, when it has the same issues.”
He published an in-depth piece that explains what Google has changed about its Shopping section and compares how the two search engines disclose information to consumers.
“No matter who’s doing it, search engines forcing businesses to pay for inclusion on their shopping sites without clearly indicating that to consumers is wrong,” says Ali Husayni, the CEO of Millionairium.
While the Scroogled campaign has focused on Google’s changes to the Shopping section, regular search results are being infected, too. There are more advertisements and sponsored content pushing the organic results farther down the page, which impacts SEO and search users as well. Google ads show up in the top two or three spots of a normal search result. There is a section at the bottom of the page with more ads from Google.
Here’s an example of how that affects a search for “dog helmet.” For this search, Google has a row of sponsored thumbnail pictures pulled from their shopping section and a row of images for dog helmets before they ever get to the first organic result.
Someone using a standard monitor or laptop won’t even see the website like Rockstar Puppy in the third spot of organic results without scrolling down.
Consider how the sponsored ads might affect the amount of traffic and business the website gets, and ask yourself if the average user would be able to tell the difference between an ad and organic result.
“Sponsored ads aren’t bad,” says Husayni, who has run an organic SEO company since 2004. “They’re a great resource, but people should be able to clearly see what Google has put there because they’re being paid to, and what is an organic search result.”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission created guidelines in 2002 about how search engines should disclose paid placement and paid inclusion listings (for more information visit the article). But as Sullivan said in his letter to the FTC about search engine disclosure compliance, “The search engine industry has either largely forgotten these guidelines or is ignoring them.”
Search engine users are the ones losing out here while search engines profit from the ads and sponsored content. Maybe it just means that until there are better measures in place to protect consumers—and even after there are—consumers need to be smarter about their Internet use. Google and every other search engine is a business when it comes down to it, and they have to turn a profit. Unfortunately, that seems to be at the expense of their original mission as a search engine.
“Google should stick to their principle of being honest,” says Husayni. “That’s what got them successful in the first place, in addition to a strong search algorithm. The danger of what they’re doing is that it could alienate its users.”
Let’s hope that they do decide to move back toward their earlier “don’t be evil” days and make changes to their disclosures. However, if you’re going to be concerned about informing consumers, should that extend to the SEO industry too? At this point, getting a top 10 Google ranking in organic search results is pay-to-play. Businesses that want to show up on the first page of Google have to use a professional SEO company, have an SEO consulting expert on call or their own in-house SEO to be successful.
A small percentage of search engine users have probably heard of SEO but how many of them could actually give a working definition of what SEO does? When they type in a search query, people trust that the results provided are the most relevant to their search. But when businesses and companies have to have an SEO campaign to compete—even one that is squeaky-clean—that isn’t necessarily true.
What do you think, do consumers deserve to know about SEO and how it effects search results placement?
Jan 20, 2013
TAMPA, FLORIDA– A follower of our Millionairium blog recently asked a great question that deserved a post to fully explain the answer.
The question: “My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced. But it seems a lot of it is popping up all over the Internet without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.”
You must do your part to safeguard your content while keeping the legitimate reader in mind, because as unjust as it seems, thieves will always find a way to steal content. However, be aware that there are pros and cons to safeguarding your content so, pick your poison wisely.
Here are a few Millionairium approved ways you can protect your original content and best SEO strategies from being stolen:
One way sploggers- those who create spam blogs- steal your content is by copying and pasting it onto their site or into a splog. The following two practices may help deter them by making it difficult and less beneficial to steal your content.
Disable right click/text selection
Pros– Although a savvy copycat is capable of bypassing this inconvenience, it may slow them down or discourage them altogether. Most users won’t be able to simply copy and paste.
Cons– Neither will the good guys. The inability to copy and paste can also frustrate and inconvenience those who would typically share your content properly, and provide you with recognition and quality backlinks. Techy bloggers who often provide snippets such as codes or other information designed to be borrowed make it difficult for readers to use that helpful information when right click is disabled. Another problem is that Tynt plugins or programs can’t be used when right click features are disabled.
Use a Tynt plugin
Tynt is a tool that automatically creates a link back to your content whenever it’s copied and pasted. Tynt monitors backlinks created, page views, images copied, words copied, how many times content left your site and more.
Pros– You increase the traffic to your site by providing readers of your copied- legitimately or not- content with a link back your original post or site. Whenever readers use that link, voila- a new backlink. Plus, it’s free.
Cons– You have to enable right click/text selection for this technology to work.
One of the most common ways content gets stolen is by thieves who use scraping software, which targets and steals the content you provide on your RSS feed. The following two methods deter RSS feed scraping.
Switch from full to partial RSS feeds
You can do this in WordPress by switching your feed from “Full text” to “Summary” under the reading section of your settings, which is found on the dashboard.
Pros– You prevent scraping software from stealing your content or article in its entirety. Also, your “human” readers will have to visit your site and its blog to read the entire article, which means you’ll benefit from the time they spend on your site and hopefully, their participation in discussions.
Cons– Many active blog readers use RSS readers to avoid the inconvenience of having to read a summary, decide if it’s something interesting and then click through to read the full article. By requiring them to click through, you may lose them as a subscriber or participating reader because they aren’t interested in the hassle.
“Those who are interested in your content on their RSS feed will share or click through to comment if your content is compelling,” says Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni, a Google search optimization expert who offers SEO consulting. “If they unsubscribe to your feed because it’s a hassle, there is no chance they will read, participate or share your content at all.”
Add a footer to your RSS feed
Here’s a yoast plugin for WordPress that will allow you to add a footer to your RSS feed, which will prove your authorship.
Pros– People reading your stolen content will know that it is being used without your permission.
Cons– It doesn’t prevent thieves or scrapers from stealing your content.
Text isn’t the only type of content that gets stolen; images can be just as vulnerable if you aren’t using the following tool.
Watermark your images
A watermark is a faint image that helps to identify the file’s authorship by containing copyright information.
Pros– If your image is illegally shared, it’s obvious to viewers who will either discredit the thief or report the stolen image to you, the owner/copyrighter.
Cons– Watermarks aren’t always impossible to remove and may cheapen your style by making you appear paranoid, especially if it’s an image that others will have no value in sharing. And since a good watermark needs to be in a visible area so it can’t easily be cropped out, the image may be useless as a visual aid because the watermark is too distracting and becomes the focal point.
While these tools may help deter copycats and their technology, you have to accept the fact that your content likely will get used without your permission at some point if it’s placed on the Internet.
Stick around because in the near future we will address some tools and procedures you can use to locate content that has been stolen, and retrieve it or receive proper recognition. If you can’t wait until then, you might consider taking advantage of our SEO consulting services.
Jan 15, 2013
EVERGREEN, COLORADO- Recently one of our clients started losing his #1 positions we helped him achieve. Slowly, his ranks dropped to #5, then #7, and so on until he was dropped to the second page. He constantly complained that our team was incompetent and we needed to do more to get his ranks back.
This phenomenon is rare in our company and we couldn’t figure out why this was happening. Finally, the truth was revealed: our client was “helping” with the SEO process by doing what he “read” on the Internet.
What he had read was outdated and now wrong. We quickly identified his SEO missteps and made the necessary to corrections to restore his rankings. However, during the two to three months our client was busy “helping” us, he was missing out on the opportunity to continue his reign at the top position of Google for his keywords.
If you are hands-on with your site’s SEO or want to help your SEO company and make the process faster, you should be aware of what is good for SEO and what is bad. Beware of the following techniques and know that they WILL damage your rankings:
Jan 1, 2012
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – A lot of times our blog focuses on reaching a top Google ranking for your business, but our readers also have many questions about how Google works. Google, the Web search and indexing giant, is secretive with its algorithms and its data centers. Every day this incredible network indexes 20 billion Web pages and answers more than 3 billion search queries. People also use Google daily for email, maps, AdWords, analytics and YouTube videos. All of that computing power requires a lot of space, hence Google’s enormous data centers.
Google Data Centers
Google has U.S. data centers in The Dalles, Ore., Council Bluffs, Iowa, Douglas County, Ga., Lenoir, N.C., Berkeley County, S.C., Mayes County, Okla., and international data centers in St. Ghislain, Belgium and Hamina, Finland. Smaller data centers are spread across the globe to help bring information to your fingertips at an insanely fast rate.
On Oct. 17, Google unveiled stunning photographs of these few data centers to the world, allowing users to sneak a peak at the heart of the Internet.
Wired Magazine contributor Steven Levy got to visit the server floor, known as “the floor,” of the Lenoir data center.
“But now we enter the floor,” Levy writes. “Big doesn’t begin to describe it. Row after row of server racks seem to stretch to eternity. Joe Montana in his prime could not throw a football the length of it.”
Many reporters, SEO companies and technological enthusiasts have tried to answer how many servers Google runs with general answers coming in at “hundreds of thousands.” Levy reports during his October visit that the Lenoir center was running 49,923 servers.
Levy explains that his trip inside the Lenoir center may not be as transparent as he thought. Google will likely update the computer cluster design and other features of the data centers, according to Google’s Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle.
“Once our people get used to our 2013 buildings and clusters, they’re going to complain about the current ones,” Hölzle tells Wired readers.
How Users Search Google
SEOmoz shares the three most common types of searches – transactional queries, informational queries and navigation queries. Users perform transactional queries to meet a need, such as buying a movie ticket or watching a music video. Users perform informational queries to answer a question or gain knowledge, such as looking up a state capitol or a local restaurant. Users perform navigation queries to find a specific website, such as searching for Twitter or National Public Radio.
You can probably see how most search queries fall into one of these categories. And now for the practical side of the question: How far down the search results page are users venturing? The answer is not very far.
SEOmoz also shares a 2011 study from Slingshot SEO revealing how important it is to rank well for your desired SEO keywords. The findings show the top organic search result claims approximately 18 percent of all click-through traffic. (Click-through rate describes how many clicks the link gets divided by its impressions, or the number of times it is shown.) The second organic search result averages a 10 percent click-through rate, and the third a 7 percent rate. Any link appearing at the number 5 spot or lower receives less than 2 percent of all possible traffic.
This shows that most users will try the top few search results, and if they don’t find what they need they will rephrase their searches. It’s not likely that your potential customers will wade through pages of search results to find you, therefore, it’s imperative to be at the top.
How You Can Get Your Business to the Top of Google
Good SEO takes a lot of time and energy. You can rely on an expert SEO service to handle your optimization needs while you focus on your business, or you can elect one member of your team to learn introductory SEO. Our team offers comprehensive SEO packages and SEO coaching to meet a wide spectrum of needs.
Visit our tutorial on how to jumpstart your SEO efforts for actionable steps you can take today to improve your site’s Google ranking. This comprehensive guide will get you started on your journey to the top of Google.
We want to know what steps you’ve taken to optimize your website and how you’ve measured your success. What tips have helped you rank well on Google?
December 20, 2012
Yesterday the New York Times published an OpEd titled “The Emperor of All Identities” by Pamela Jones Harbour. The article starts by hailing Google as “the most central conduit of information” while having close to 80 percent of the U.S. search market and nearly 98 percent of the total mobile market.
But slowly, the tone changes.
In the next paragraph, the article moves into how the Federal Trade Commission is “delaying” its decision on whether Google is using its might to drive away competition.
And all of a sudden Pamela writes:
“This would be a severe setback for Internet users. It will allow Google to continue to amass unbridled control over data gathering, with grave consequences for privacy and for consumer choice.”
Wait a minute… How is data gathering a “grave consequence” for the consumers, and how is this a “severe setback” for Internet surfers? She offers no information in her column to back up this accusation.
It is natural for any company to collect data on its clients to use in improving its products/services and to continue upselling them on new products. So I was puzzled by this assertion and couldn’t quiet make sense of it.
Then the accusation continues:
“For now, Google uses the data to sell targeted ads, but who says the company’s use of the data will be restricted to that purpose?”
My question is this: who says they’re up to evil using that data?
That’s all they need the information for – exactly as Pamela explains – to sell their ads. They have never done anything to harm their users unlike Yahoo! and Microsoft which sold the database of their users’ private information to politicians to send unsolicited emails.
For those who are curious as to what Google does with the personal data it collects, the answer is provided here. On Google’s Policy and Principles page, they state:
If you’re seriously concerned about what Google does with your data, I recommend reading this March 2012 post from Mashable titled “5 Things Google Does with Your Data.”
Getting back to Pamela’s OpEd, here’s the climax of her article.
“Now, the FTC has another chance to protect consumers, promote innovation and ensure fair competition online” by restricting Google’s data collection abilities, perhaps.
And Pamela ends her OpEd by suggesting that the FTC’s decision against Google would be an example of “democracy” on the Web by creating more “competition” for Google.
None of this made any sense to me until I got to the very end: Pamela is a Microsoft lawyer.
Suddenly, all became clear. This OpEd piece is nothing but a political ploy to change the opinion of her ex colleagues at the FTC to please her employer: Microsoft.
I’m however surprised that such a respected media outlet published such a weakly argued, politically one-sided and financially motivated OpEd that bashes Google.
December 20, 2012
We tend to forget today that people love talking about themselves, and if we want them to like us, we need to talk about them- not about us. The development of the Internet, and particularly social media, made every brand a publisher.
But sadly, most companies fail to properly use this opportunity. Instead of providing quality content focused on their audience, which at the same time costs less, is more inspiring, and works better than the well-known interruptive marketing, they have one-way conversation with their readers by praising their own products and how good they are.
Mollie Chen, the content director in the beauty sample service Birchbox, which gained more than 100,000 subscribers (each paying $10 a month) in only two years, says quality and useful content, educational articles and how-to videos are the best way to communicate with your customers, gain their trust and keep them coming back to your website. This way differentiates your business and creates value in the long run. The American Express OPEN Forum is another example of how a small business news site with how-to videos, business stories and information about small business trends can become the reason Internet users like the company and build a network of more than 2 million Facebook fans.
The companies with a large network of fans, friends and followers all have great content in common that focuses on what we are looking for, as well as our own unique experiences. The secret of using content marketing to drive business is to communicate things your audience cares about, and not to be self-centered and speak only about your own achievements. Companies that are truly successful in expressing this care for their current and potential customers are making a killing in business. Useful and enticing articles the readers are interested in will convert the advertiser from an interruption to a search destination.
When they sit on their computer, at their office or at home, the customers aren’t looking for ads on 0 percent balance transfer credit cards or the latest deodorant that drives women crazy. What they want to see are interesting stories that will entertain them and enrich their knowledge. Companies that want to grab their attention must find ways they can approach the readers in a more subtle way by offering them the information they need and building the relationship naturally by making an unbreakable connection between their business and their customers.
Following the direction in which search engines are headed and keeping in mind the latest changes Google has made in the algorithms shows that in the near future, business that want to stay in the market will have to make their content more user-friendly, focused on the customers’ needs and satisfaction, and full of information customers find useful and would gladly share with their own network of friends and followers. Businesses should strive to teach their readers how to be successful on their own, and avoid talking about themselves as much as possible. The business network will naturally expand, and this small investment in creating and publishing quality content will not only yield goodwill and positive branding, but will also win satisfied and loyal customers at only a fraction of what is the cost per acquisition of traditional advertising.
About the Author
Austin Rinehart is the senior writer on PlagSpotter. He is married and has two lovely adult daughters. He writes about Internet trends, science research and life improvement strategies.
December 13, 2012
In a video published Dec. 4, 2012, Bonnie Hixson, owner and executive editor of Progressive Dentist Magazine, interviews Ali Husayni, owner and CEO of Millionairium (Millionairium.com) and Rita Zamora, social media marketing expert, regarding the most common questions in these two important fields.
Hixson: For someone who is just getting started on a new strategy, say going in to the New Year, what’s the first step they should take to ensure what they are doing in terms of SEO is effective?
Husayni: My first advice for a practice is to find an expert in the field of search engines whose specialty is Google, since it receives 75 percent of the U.S. search market compared to Bing and Yahoo!, which get 11 or 13 percent. Then, if you are developing your own team of SEO writers and SEO optimizers, the SEO expert can help you train your team and develop a strategy that will help you succeed within a few months.
Hixson: Thank you. And Rita, how about you? What’s their first step in making conscious decisions on managing social media?
Zamora: First of all, becoming informed. Then deciding how they will manage it over the long term and knowing that they don’t have to manage multiple platforms if they don’t want to. If they really get to know Google+ and they love Google+, then stay with that platform and get familiar with all the opportunities there are to experience with them. Forget about Twitter and Pinterest. Do what you enjoy; that’s where you’re going to get the best benefit. Just know that you don’t have to set up a platform on every social media community option that is available. Just inform yourself and start off one community at a time and as you master your skills in those communities, you can always add on additional social media tools as you go.
Hixson: So, more focused effort from one platform at a time so that over time, as you integrate with different platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, it will be more effective.
Zamora: Yes. And make sure that at least one person in your office is really intimate with those communities. Even if you just have someone co-managing those efforts, you still have someone internally who is a big part of that, which is really huge.
Hixson: The last thing I would like to address- that I think you both have a great perspective on from two positions within the industry- is content. I think most people would agree that content is king. As a publishing company and with our magazine, we need to stay relevant and make sure the content we produce, accept and relay is helpful and important.
How do you make recommendations on what type of content is appropriate for social media?
Zamora: I think it ultimately has to represent the practice’s brand. I like it when their content shows a little bit of their human side. Whenever a practice shows something that other people can relate to- whether it’s a doctor’s hobby, a volunteer effort or a community organization they support- it shows people things they might have in common with you, and that’s where you can benefit greatly from social media. At the end of the day it really has to represent the business’s core values or their brand. In other words, if they are really professional and conservative on their website, that’s fine. You don’t have to mirror that on social media. However, you don’t really want anything that goes against that grain and is too whimsical or silly. It’s good to have fun on social media platforms and be a real person, but at the end of the day it still has to represent your overall brand.
Hixson: Ok. Ali, in terms of SEO, how do they decide what type of content is relevant on their page and how do they connect their social media presence with their online presence?
Husayni: Websites normally serve the clients as the place to display the majority of your branding. Social media is the connection between the practice, patients and community, and a business should post to it regularly. The website is different. The website needs to be a place where information can be found; a place where people go to research the business, it’s expertise and examples of their work, etc. Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates are putting more emphasis on keeping or engaging your site’s visitors. In other words, if your site is able to keep its visitors on it for longer periods of time it tends to rank better on the search engine, which is a brand new phenomenon. It’s important to not only keep original, organic text on your site, but to provide videos and images that are engaging and will keep your audience on your site for longer periods of time and further interest them in your business.
Zamora: Wow. This is good information. I’m thinking of a lot of questions I can ask Ali at our next video interview regarding the information he just shared.
Hixson: Absolutely. This is just a very basic starting point for opening his discussion on social media and SEO and how they play a role in building a strong online presence.
If you would each give everyone your contact information.
Zamora: You can find me on my website Ritazamora.com, on Google+ at Rita Zamora Connections, Google my name or find me on Facebook and Twitter under my name.
Husayni: Similar. My name is very unique, although the spelling is different. My website is Millionairium.com and I will be more than happy to answer the questions anyone may have.
Hixson: Great. And of course you can find us on theprodentist.com, Facebook or Google plus. We look forward to continuing this conversation soon.
Husayni: Thank you Bonnie.
Zamora: Thank you.
November 28, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA – This is a post where we’re going to brag on ourselves a bit because we recently achieved a new level of success for one of our clients in a highly competitive market.
Our client, Miami orthodontist Dr. Pedro Alquizar, recently began appearing on Page 1 in the first position for his primary keyword: Miami orthodontist. This happened within six months of Dr. Alquizar starting his SEO campaign with us.
Getting clients to the top of Google is the goal of every good SEO firm. But as our fellow Web and SEO marketing experts I’m sure will agree, achieving that goal can be a difficult task.
Dr. Alquizar is in the greater Miami market where there are about 70 other orthodontists, so getting to the top of the heap is no small feat. It also should be noted that Dr. Alquizar has more than 50 keywords that we work to optimize at any given time.
As a result of our SEO campaign, Dr. Alquizar’s website has experienced a traffic increase, which you can see in the graph. The graph shows Dr. Alquizar’s website traffic changes from May 2012 to Oct. 31, 2012.
“I’m extremely proud of our team,” says Millionairium Ali Husayni. “This is a huge feather in our cap. It shows potential clients that we mean business. We set high goals for ourselves, and this shows Millionairium is capable of achieving difficult goals in a timely manner.”
How did we do it?
“When this client signed up with us, we registered a whole new domain for him, which means we started our SEO work using a clean domain,” says Saeed Khosravi, Millionairium’s operations manager.
Most of the time, the clients who come to us have a previous profile of aggressive and/or unnatural link building work that makes our job much more difficult, compared to when a client has a newly registered domain that doesn’t have any backlinks, Khosravi says.
Another factor that played to our favor was the exact-match domain we chose for Dr. Alquizar- www.miamiorthodontistgroup.com- and our proper on-page optimization.
This is worth bragging about because Dr. Alquizar wasn’t our first foray into the Miami market. We had another Miami orthodontist as a client a couple of years ago, and it took us a year to get that client ranked as well on Google organic search results.
“Today we have a stronger link building capacity, a better link building team and a better approach to link building and it shows,” Khosravi says.
We also set up Dr. Alquizar’s Google authorship image and Google Plus profile, and we claimed, verified and optimized all of his offices on Google Plus Local- also known as Google Maps or Google Places- Khosravi says, adding, “We see every client as our partner, and our success is tied to our clients’ success.”
By taking a multifaceted approach that also included directory submissions and copywriting, SEO success was achieved. We thank Dr. Alquizar for entrusting us with his campaign.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence as to whether you should invest in SEO for your website, give us a call to learn how we can get you to the top.
November 24, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA—It’s pretty common that at least a couple of the comments left on a blog post on our site say, “Hey, can you give me some tips for my site?”
Our entire blog is dedicated to helping people learn about SEO, giving tips for better websites, and keeping them updated on the latest industry news, so their comments are a bit puzzling to me. Did they actually read the post? Are those comments just spam?
But I understand some readers may not have the time or tenacity to wade through the archive to find what they need, so I decided put together a post that people can use as a resource (or something I can link to when they ask) to learn about SEO. I’ve combed through the archives for you and linked to a few—ok, a whole bunch—of great articles that will get you on your way to better rankings and more traffic to your site.
Not all our subscribers have an SEO background, so I separated the links into different levels of expertise. Check it out to see if there are gaps in your SEO campaign.
Someone said I should do SEO for my website, but I don’t know what SEO is.
If that sounds like where you’re starting from, welcome to the SEO world. You might be interested in investing in SEO coaching to get your business a jump-start. With coaching, one of our experts helps you improve your site while teaching you how to do SEO yourself. There are full service SEO packages if you prefer to completely outsource it. If you’re just interested in reading up on it, I’d recommend you start with the basics like what SEO is, common mistakes and how to steer clear of shady SEO companies.
I know a little bit about SEO. Maybe.
Chances are you are probably looking for the first few steps toward making your website more search engine friendly but aren’t sure where to start. Our SEO experts recommend starting with on-page optimization techniques like fixing any problems with your website’s code and making it easy for search engine spiders to index your site. We offer free SEO resources that cover many of these on-page optimization techniques and SEO coaching if you’d rather learn to do it yourself.
My site has been optimized, but I’m not ranking well.
It sounds like you may be thinking of SEO as a one-time deal. According to Husayni, on-page optimization is only five to 10 percent of what SEO is today. Google has changed the game and your website has no chance of ranking well for competitive keywords if you’re not working on getting credible links to your site, developing high-quality content and building your brand on social networks. If you need help doing those things, sign up for a consultation with an expert from the Millionairium team.
My rankings tanked or are erratic, and I’m looking for an explanation.
Fluctuations are bound to happen because Google is always updating the search engine algorithm. Unlike the cute zoo animals their names may bring to mind, Panda and Penguin were major updates that shook up the SEO world and were designed to improve the quality of search results. You might have a problem due to that. Another reason your website might have a problem due to poorly written code, black-hat techniques, or duplicate content.
When you need troubleshooting help, SEO consulting can be exactly what you need. A consultant gives you short-term help to analyze the problem and make recommendations for how to fix it.
I’m ready for more advanced techniques.
If you’re sure you’ve taken care of all the other stuff, forge ahead into even more ways to improve your site, build your brand, increase traffic and boost your conversion rates.
Like its title, this is only an SEO primer not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it helps some people make their websites better and add to their client base. What other topics would you like to hear more about? I’ll do the heavy-lifting for you and find an article that addresses it.
November 20, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Google has been including more and more social signals into how they rank websites in search results. They’ve been pushing their social network Google+ extensively too, but it looks like all this could be leading up to a bigger shift in their algorithm that makes these social markers even more important.
Many of the bloggers in the SEO community have been talking about authorship, suggesting that it is building up to something major, and warning that people who fail to get on board will be at a disadvantage when it happens.
I recently did a post about Google authorship and why you’re already behind if you don’t have it. The gist is that Google authorship is a way to connect the content you create to your Google+ profile no matter where it lives. Claiming your content provides the searcher with additional information right from the search results, and it has a few other perks too.
What could this be leading up to?
If you listen to what others who watch the industry trends are saying, this is building up to AuthorRank, a way to inform PageRank and enable Google to rank high-quality content more appropriately. According to AJ Kohn, who runs an online marketing firm specializing in search engine optimization marketing, it could be more disruptive than all of the Panda updates combined.
“If what he says is true, companies that wait to act until it happens will be too late,” says Ali Husayni, our resident expert SEO consultant and CEO. “The impact could be so big that people who haven’t done anything to prepare might as well have been penalized. Companies need to be proactive starting now and build AuthorRank for the people who contribute content to their websites.”
How will AuthorRank work?
At this point, mostly everything is speculation, but this is how some Google SEO experts are analyzing the clues. Kohn, who made the bold statement about AuthorRank versus Panda, says that combined with the web of people and the web of links, this change can create a more savvy view of trust and authority that will be used to rank search results.
This is my best translation of all that.
The idea behind AuthorRank has been in the works for a while now. Just one of the patents Google applied for related to this is from May 2011, but that was actually a continuation of a string of applications dating back to 2005. Learn more about it.
Their mission as a search engine has been to provide people with the most timely, most relevant search results possible by using an algorithm that is constantly being tweaked to think and act like a real person would. Obviously, an algorithm isn’t a person though and that makes it difficult for it to determine the quality of content since that can be quite subjective. Every time Google changes the algorithm to fix a search quality problem, spammers find a way to manipulate it or work around it, hence Matt Cutts’ job security.
It would make sense that Google wants a more concrete way to help the algorithm figure out what sites deserve to be ranked well in their search results. Read through the patent, and you see that they’ve had the framework for it. Last summer, they rolled out Google+, which is a platform that establishes people and companies identities. And now there is authorship, which is a way to verify who is creating what.
Add it all together, and it appears to be a way to identity what site or which person is responsible for content, assign the content or person a score or AuthorRank and combine that with all the other factors they use when ordering results of a search. Better score? Better rank.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google working AuthorRank into their algorithm soon,” says Husayni. “Adding it makes sense. Plus, all the clues are there-the push for more social interaction, authorship, and the ongoing efforts to measure site trust and authority.”
What have you heard about authorship and AuthorRank? Do you think this is the next big change for the search engine algorithm? Share your thoughts.
November 13, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA—This is a post for all the newbies to the search engine optimization world.
I recently sought out other respected SEO firms and industry leaders in addition to Millionairium to gain a clearer understanding of it. My most recent enlightening experience came from an October Q-and-A webinar with Rand Fishkin and Darmesh Shah. Now I’m sharing answers to the questions I found most helpful:
1. What are the top three things businesses are doing wrong regarding SEO?
For one, they aren’t using Millionairium. Of course, they didn’t say this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it!
At the top of the list is trying to discover the perfect algorithmic fit and focusing on it, as opposed to focusing on the customer’s wants and needs. This method may also be harmful since the past 30 to 40 Google updates have sought to fight it.
Your time would be better spent creating quality content that caters to your customers, Shah says.
Another mistake is targeting the most searched topics and keywords instead of focusing on a specific niche. Focused keywords have less competition and provide greater return.
Building links instead of earning them is number three on the list. Instead of paying sites for links or linking to useless domains, put great and insightful content on your site that people will share.
In SEO, content is king. Quality content must be created and that takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts.
2. What is the best way to measure the success of your SEO campaign?
If you’re a B2B company, your ranking means close to nothing if clicks aren’t translating to customers. It’s helpful to know which words you rank for and how those ranks hold up, but a better method is to determine business value. For example: search traffic led to this amount of customers who ended up spending this amount of money. It’s likely you’ll find that your investment has paid off like Dr. Jennifer Eisenhuth, a Millionairium client.
Peter Eisenhuth, who handles marketing for Dr. Eisenhuth’s practice, says they saw a 500 percent increase in new patient exams that were results of search traffic. He was so pleased with his results that he started a new practice and again hired Millionairium to do the SEO.
This method is less accurate if you have a small business where word of mouth is a substantial contributor to customer flow. Randkin suggests using your contact or hours of operation page as a conversion, since typically only people who plan to visit a business care about its hours. This method isn’t perfect, but it gives you something to go on.
3. How important are blogs and their use of keywords?
Using keywords in blogs is still important. Randkin suggests writing a blog with good content and a catchy title, then searching for a relevant keyword that can be inserted with minor alterations.
Another thing he suggests is every other week, take a highly searched keyword or phrase and write a fabulous article that covers the topic “to a T.”
At Millionairium, we use blog posts as a means for providing new, quality content for our customers on a regular basis. That’s why I found it odd that the amount of new blogs being developed on the Internet has dropped drastically. And with social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all sharing or linking to blogs, more people than ever are reading them.
This translates to less competition and more eyeballs. If you don’t have a blog, you are missing out on a great opportunity to build quality links.
If after this, you still feel like you’re drowning in a sea of misunderstanding, Millionairium is always there to toss out a lifeline. When it comes to SEO, at Millionairium, one man’s burden is another’s passion.
October 28, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Authorship has been out there for more than a year, but it’s just recently started to catch on as people see the benefits it offers in SEO marketing techniques.
If this is something you haven’t done for yourself and your website, you should make it a top priority. It is a service that Millionairium offers to help businesses establish themselves as an authority in their industry and their website rank better for the topics they cover. One client who we are helping claim authorship for his content is Dr. Andrew Miller, a plastic surgeon in New York.
Some people may not be familiar with authorship, so I’ll give a brief summary of what it is before I explain how it benefits you and how to claim it.
What Authorship Is All About
Google authorship is a way to connect the content you create to your Google+ profile and provide the searcher with additional information right from the search results. Besides the page title, URL and date published, it has a thumbnail of the profile photo from your Google+ page, your byline if you’ve made that available in the copy, and a snippet of the content. The person will also see how many people have you in their Google+ circles-if it’s over a certain number-and see a link to more articles by you.
“Claiming authorship gives you a nice author-rich snippet in the search results,” says Ali Husayni, our CEO who helps businesses get to the top of Google search results. “But it also sets up exactly what Google needs to tie your online identity together with the content you’re creating, which might be leading up to something even bigger in the future.”
Hidden Benefit Of Authorship Confirmed By Google
Even if authorship isn’t leading up to a significant factor in the search engine algorithm like some suggest, it does have a “hidden” benefit that Google confirmed in early October.
Essentially, when you claim authorship, you get extra love from Google in the search results when a reader clicks on your link. Here is an example of how it works.
I did a Google search for “questions to ask your SEO company” and an article by Husayni, one of our best SEO consultants, was listed on the first page. I clicked on the link, stayed on the site for about two minutes, and used my browser’s back button. There under the original article link, Google had added three links to other articles by Husayni.
The caveat is that if the user clicks back too soon, the links aren’t added. Google didn’t specify how much time has to be spent on the site to get the extras, but when I tested it, close to two minutes seemed to be the magic number.
Four Steps To Claiming Your Content
Here are the suggestions Google gives if you want to link content you publish on a specific domain directly to your Google+ profile.
To get the most out of the authorship, be sure you claim it for all your content. Google made a tool that allows you to preview the rich snippet information to get it looking just right. Here is another help article from Google’s Webmaster Tools if the rich snippet information is not showing up.
If you haven’t done so already, get over to your Google+ profile and start staking claim to your content. It certainly won’t hurt, and it will put you one step ahead of other businesses. We can also help establish your authorship with Google if the above is confusing to you. Just ask us.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll discuss what authorship could be leading up to and a change that some SEO experts are predicting will be bigger than all the Panda updates combined.
Share what you know about Google authorship and if you had success establishing yours in the comments.
October 18, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-It can get pretty discouraging when you’re not getting anywhere in Google rankings in spite of following all the best practice guidelines and good copywriting suggestions. If you feel like your content is still being ignored, make sure one of these problems isn’t tanking your number of page views.
The term page view is pretty self-explanatory. You get one each time a visitor clicks to view a single file or page of a website. Essentially, the more page views you get the greater the potential there is to convert readers to new customers.
Here are four things to keep in mind when trying to boost your page views:
The bottom line of any campaign designed to increase visibility and ranking on Google is that it’s going to take time, so be patient and don’t give up. What have you found that helps boost page views and get your content out there?
October 14, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA- Google recently pushed out a new change to its algorithm that SEO experts on major SEO blogs are calling Panda 20, so if you’ve seen a major dip in your rankings over the last couple of weeks, this may be why.
Barry Schwartz, the news editor for Search Engine Land, posted that Google confirmed with them on Sep. 27 that the 20th Panda algorithm update was in the process of being rolled out. The latest reports indicate that it is a fairly major one.
The head of Google’s webspam fighting team Matt Cutts warned a change was coming in a Tweet on Sept. 28: “Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results.”
Turns out that minor weather report may have referred to Panda 20, an update that actually impacted 2.4 percent of English search queries in a way that normal search engine users might notice. Cutts may have been talking about another update that was pushed out over the same weekend with Panda 20, which makes it difficult at this point to determine which update caused what until Google shares more details, or more data is in from SEO services experts.
The official announcement from Google came late Friday afternoon that an exact match domain update would eliminate the chance of a low-quality exact match domain from ranking well in Google. In a statement that Cutts sent to Search Engine Land, he emphasized that this was an algorithm update; not just a data update like previous changes to Panda.
“I haven’t seen many exact-match domain sites drop from that number one spot,” emphasizes Ali Husayni, Millionairium’s CEO. “Maybe Panda 20 hasn’t rolled out completely yet.”
The original Panda update was back in February 2011. There have been periodic adjustments and it is updated almost monthly, so changes are subtle and mostly go unnoticed, according to Cutts. For a summary of previous 19 Panda updates, including dates and what they did, check out this list compiled by one of our guest writers.
What Are EMDs & Why Are They In The Crosshairs?
Exact-match domain names, which also go by EMDs, are websites that use a domain name that contains the exact keyword or phrase they are targeting with their search engine optimization.
For instance, if you’re looking for the best shoe deals, you may search for “best shoe deals.” In this case, www.bestshoedeals.com would be an exact match.
EMDs have been considered a catalyst in improving the SEO ranking of a website, although many websites rely heavily on EMDs without producing any high-quality or relevant content. That is precisely why Google’s webspam fighting team has targeted them.
Low-quality websites usually have lots of duplicated content and what original content there is typically has little value to the reader or is loaded with a lot of advertisements. They often have a poor, unnatural link profile, including links from unrelated or suspicious websites. The number of incoming links that use anchor text can also be an indicator of a low-quality site.
Why Did My Site Get Hit?
If you have an exact-match domain website, you don’t need to panic. Panda 20 doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. Unfortunately, legitimate businesses that have worked diligently can become unwitting casualties of these types of updates. But more often than not, there is something wrong or missing with their search engine optimization techniques. If you’re not sure what you need to do to recover from the update, consider investing in a few hours of SEO consulting services with one of our SEO experts, who can give you the information you need to get back in business.
What impact have you seen on search results since this latest Panda update? Share your experience.
October 10, 2012
How will you know if your Facebook marketing efforts are paying off? This is a question many people ask. One obvious indicator would be new patients entering your practice and saying they found you on Facebook … Have you had several, or many, new patients come into your practice and say they found you via Facebook? Or, do you think people will just say they found you “on the Internet”.
Now is a great time to check your patient registration forms and add Facebook to your “How did you learn about us” section. In fact, if you are tweeting, or using video, you could also add Twitter and YouTube to your intake forms. For example, specifically ask people, “Have you seen us on Facebook? or Have you seen us on YouTube?”
If you have replaced your phone book ads with efforts in social media, it makes sense to update your intake questionnaires as well. The first step in successfully tracking any marketing effort is to make it easy for you or your team to monitor over time.
A growing base of positive patient comments on Facebook is another indicator your efforts are paying off. Yet don’t expect your Facebook community to grow on it’s own. Many practices have an influx of admirers when they open their page. There is excitement, and the team may ask family and friends to join. However, in order to keep your patient base growing over time, you’ll need a plan in place.
What is your strategy? Are you posting willy-nilly “when you have time?” Do you have a plan in place for inviting patients to participate? According to Facebook, businesses that promote their Page offline tend to see a 20% or greater increase in connections.
There is benefit in coordinating your offline marketing to Facebook. Be creative in your efforts. Include your Facebook links on signage, hardcopy newsletters, postcards, etc. Most importantly remember that word of mouth in the office will result in word of mouth on Facebook. All the printed materials in the world will not be effective without the fuel of word of mouth behind it. Determine how you will invite patients to share their thoughts or keep in touch with you on Facebook. The key to ongoing success on Facebook is a plan and consistency.
Looking for help with your social media strategy? Rita Zamora and her team specialize in social media training. Their training is personalized for each individual practice, so whether you need hand-holding or are looking to take your social media to a higher level, they can help. Learn more at ritazamora.com/services.
October 3, 2012
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -We’ve talked many times about the importance of creating quality content for SEO. Google loves frequent content, and your users love relevant, helpful information. I’ve even discussed different types of blog posts you can use to trigger your content creation.
Within each specific post, you should also try to include several keywords that can increase your rank on Google. Here we’ll discuss some common tools to help you conduct your own keyword research. Your SEO copywriting can be greatly improved with a little keyword research before you write.
Thinking comes first. Make a list of keywords that are importance to your business. Think of phrases your potential customers might search for. What are some phrases for which you hope to rank on Google?
Now that you have some phrases to start from, you can begin to research the competition these keywords have. Analyzing your keywords’ competition means looking at how many other sites are ranking for these exact keywords. Finding a keyword with lower competition means not as many sites rank for that keyword. Your website could benefit from using a keyword with low or medium competition over a keyword with high competition. Sometimes even a slight tweak in your keyword phrase can lower its competition.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Let’s take the keyword “freelance writing” and enter it into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. When you click “search” you’ll see that our keyword is categorized as High Competition with 135,000 global searches a month. The phrase “freelance writing gigs” is a Low Competition keyword with 1,900 global monthly searches. The phrase “freelance travel writing” is a Medium Competition keyword. Try to add a word to make your High Competition keyword more specific so that it is either a Medium or a Low Competition keyword. This will increase your chances of getting noticed in the mass of other High Competition searches.
The website Übersuggest has a fitting tagline: suggest on steroids. This keyword generator tool allows users to enter in a word or phrase, the language you speak and the source. It’s simple to use. Once you type in your keyword, click “suggest” and watch a long list of similar keywords pop up. This keyword tool gathers keyword suggestions from real user queries. I typed in “freelance writing,” and some of the suggested keywords are: freelance writing jobs, freelance writing gigs, freelance writing rates, freelance writing and taxes, and freelance writing courses. The list includes keywords that spawn off of your original keyword, so you should have oodles of topics sparked from these queries. Übersuggest doesn’t give much information on the keywords’ competition, but you can find that using Google’s Tool mentioned above.
Soolve is an interesting keyword suggestion tool. The website shows users what queries are popular on loads of sites. Take a minute to check out Soolve. You’ll notice the homepage has a query bar in the center with multiple icons hovering around the edges. You’ll see logos from Google, Bing, Netflix, Amazon, Yahoo!, eBay, YouTube, Wikipedia and more. You should see even more logos beneath the search bar, which allow you to customize your search.
Once you type in a query, let’s use “freelance writing” again, you’ll see keyword suggestions pop up in real time over each of the logos. Google added words like “jobs,” “gigs,” “rates” and specific locations to our keyword. Amazon yielded keywords such as “freelance writing for dummies,” “freelance writing guide,” “freelance writing business” and “freelance writing for magazines.”
Don’t Hit Enter
Chris Richards shares some good keyword research advice from SEER Interactive founder Wil Reynolds imparted during an SEO event in July.
“He noticed that he’s become cautious when typing into Google now, instead of rushing to get results that are biased by his own keyword search,” Richards writes of Reynolds. “Instead, the DON’T HIT ENTER rule implies that you’ll take your time typing and let Google auto-fill the results box. This way, you can see what most people are searching for and use it to base your content around.”
Personally I am excited to test out the “Don’t Hit Enter” rule in my own keyword research. Google already tries to guess what you’re typing by using other popular queries. How cool is that?
Do you conduct any keyword research before you write a new post? How do you continue to generate ideas relevant to your industry? What keyword tools work for you?
September 27, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA- I wrote a few days ago about five ways to market your content that you probably aren’t using, but should.
The reason I assume you probably aren’t already doing this is based on study results released by SEOmoz in August during a webinar titled “The State of SEO & Internet Marketing in 2012.”
SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin suggested the underutilized outlets are where opportunity lies, and I agree. Following are five more areas that fewer than 30 percent of those who participated in the survey claimed to use:
1. White Papers
The value of white papers is best explained by the pros over at Merge: “A white paper is a PDF. A PDF can be indexed by search engines. A PDF can be optimized. White papers, when properly optimized, will help your SEO efforts.”
I have a friend working on her MBA who can’t get enough of these things. I don’t blame her. Less than 30 percent of those who participated in the survey claim to use them, but infographics are an incredible vehicle for sharing information. We are visual people. We like pictures and images. Combine that with valuable information and we’re being entertained and educated at the same time. The folks over at Brick Marketing say an infographic essentially is “link bait,” which is Web content created to garner attention. Good infographics also are interesting enough for people to pass on.
3. Polls & Surveys
The fact that I’ve referenced the SEOmoz survey three times in my last three blog posts makes my case. People love facts and figures and when it’s about a topic they find interesting, they are likely to write about, share it and link to it.
4. Audio, music and/or podcasts
Less than 10 percent of those surveyed are using this outlet. Talk about untapped opportunity! This is yet another area where you can attract new visitors to your site and build your credibility as an expert in your field. Podcasts can build your audience. Are you in a band? Giving people access to hear a song can generate fans. Have you conducted a lecture that you feel would have broader appeal if only people heard it? Create a podcast of it.
5. Community News Sites
This one wasn’t in the SEOmoz survey, but it’s worth mentioning. I live in a community that has a variety of community news sites that are followed by residents. If you have a business that depends in part on local foot traffic for your livelihood, this is a great way to generate conversations about what you do and perhaps persuade people to visit your business, all while also earning valuable backlinks. The community news sites in my area will allow almost any resident to post. Just make sure you don’t post garbage. Give people something of value to read.
Lots of people who know about search engine optimization know enough to understand that content is where it’s at if you’re looking to improve ranking on Google. But please don’t stop at that notion. It’s so much more. That content needs to be relevant, interesting and readable.
I firmly believe that these largely untapped sources of marketing your content can be game-changers of used correctly. I hope you’ll try some and report back to us in the comments section on the results they generate.
September 26, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA- Chances are you already know of the most popular ways to market your content if you’re following the Millionairium blog. But I’m about to enlighten you on some tactics you likely aren’t using, but should be.
Stick with me for this two-part series.
During their recent presentation on the state of SEO and Internet marketing in 2012, Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah shared results on the types of inbound marketing content survey participants produce. The top three included the usual suspects:Blog posts- nearly 80 percent of those surveyed produce them to help improve their sites’ organic search results.
An additional five outlets were identified during the study, all of which are used by less than half of those surveyed. And therein likes the opportunity, says Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz. I agree.
So without further ado, I give you the top five content marketing outlets your probably aren’t using, but should be:
1. Guest Blogs
Ever feel like you’re maxed out on your reach? If so, this is a great way to build your audience by accessing a new circle of influence. Find other blogs in similar fields and offer to write a guest post. If the blog has a good page rank, the link you get will be valuable in terms of your SEO marketing strategy. But just as important is the opportunity to reach new people who haven’t heard about you.
During the recent webinar I listened to, Shah said he thinks guest blogging is a brilliant idea because both sides benefit. The value from the guest blogger’s perspective is they get to reach out to an audience they wouldn’t normally have access to. For the owner of the blog, the guest blogger’s post amounts to fresh, original content on his/her website, which we all know Google loves.
We began implementing this strategy here at Millionairium for some of our clients over the summer and quickly realized there was true value in this.
2. Press Releases
Like articles, there are multiple distribution sites where press releases can be posted. We identified 30 of the best press release distribution sites a couple of years ago on our blog, and that list remains relevant today.
Give people a reason to want your enewsletter by providing valuable content. These days, it’s easy to develop your own enewsletter and send it to your contacts. Enewsletters also can be posted to social media sites and forwarded by subscribers to their friends.
A paltry 40 percent of those who participated in the SEOmoz survey reported using images to help market their content. What a missed opportunity. People love pictures and graphics! Besides being attractive to site visitors, the right alt text can help your SEO effort by accurately describing the image and giving you a place to include a keyword, perhaps.
Google applies value to the length of time a visitor stays on your website. Give them something good to watch, and they’re likely to stick around. Post that video on a sharing site that links back to your website and you’re likely to snag some faithful followers.
I hope you find this information helpful and you’ll use it in your overall SEO strategy. Stick with me for part two of my two-part series on this topic. I will share five more outlets for marketing your content. Meanwhile, feel free to leave comments below.
September 23, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA—When I think of SEO experts outside of Millionairium who I deeply respect, the names Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah come to mind.
So when I found a webinar recorded in August that involved Fishkin and Shah, you can imagine my excitement.
Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, and Shah, CTO of HubSpot, are featured in “The State of SEO & Internet Marketing in 2012.” They shared some fascinating information that I believe may help you better craft the SEO work you do to improve your Google website ranking, or equip you to ask the right questions of your SEO provider. So let’s get right to it.
Interesting facts shared during the webinar:
Much of the webinar’s content came from a SEOmoz survey of more than 6,000 people involved in SEO conducted between March and May 2012. Thanks to the survey, the following trends were identified:
The statistics regarding content were heart-warming to this writer:
This content-related information also pleased me because it drove home the fact that what we here at Millionairium do for our clients in terms of content continues to be right on the money.
“We’ve used textual content and blogging as an SEO tool for more than five years,” says Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni. “Any new client who signs up gets a free, custom-designed WordPress blog and we assign a professional writer to their account to conduct interviews, research and write quality articles and press releases for their business. Our SEO team carefully optimizes and places these articles on our client’s site on a regular basis.”
Many of our clients report getting phone calls from individuals who have read the articles we write for them, Husayni says. Providing relevant and useful information to the public is a great form of indirect marketing, which gives our clients a good reputation as truly being experts in their field.
My personal takeaway from the webinar is this: while SEO pros love to focus on the minutiae, the deepest inner-workings of search engines, and sometimes the tricks that may be used to “game” the system, all roads still lead to the user.
“Solve for the humans,” Shah says, adding that when you focus attention on SEO strategies that circumvent that, it’s only a matter of time until the search engines catch on.
This webinar was packed with information and over the next few weeks I’ll extract bits of that information and expand upon it a bit. If you’d like to check out the webinar yourself, follow the link above.
September 16, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-How many times has the proverbial “the sky is falling” warning been sounded when it comes to search engine optimization? I lost count a few thousand ago.
While there are certainly big upheavals occasionally when Google pushes out an update like Panda and Penguin that targets spammy SEO techniques, the majority of the changes are inconsequential to the day-to-day business you’re pouring yourself into. In fact, if you want to remove yourself from the deluge of SEO information, there is a way to completely ignore updates without sacrificing any of the benefits it offers: outsource.
Millionairium is a huge advocate of people who want to do their own SEO or don’t have the budget to outsource-just look at the resources, how to’s and helpful posts about SEO for beginners on our blog-but sometimes you need to delegate to be able to focus on other aspects of your business.
The true benefit of outsourced SEO service is that you don’t have to know every single who, what, when, where, why and how. No more SEO keyword lists or angst over the latest Google website ranking reports. You can leave the endless analysis of SEO trends and minutiae to the tech geeks and subject matter experts. They can read all the updates, rant and rave about the tyranny and capriciousness of Google, figure out what it actually means, and translate it for you.
With SEO professionals taking care of you and your website, you only have to be told the what, and then sign off on it. Find yourself an SEO company that you can trust, hammer out a plan that everyone can live with, set up routine assessments of progress, and go back to business as usual. You’ll get an email or phone call saying, “A situation has come up, this is what happened, xyz we should fix it, do you approve?”
I’m not part of the logistics end of SEO. My specialty is writing and helping develop content for our clients, not coding, researching the best keywords or strategizing about how to get an edge on the competition. Whatever small amount of knowledge I have about the technical side of SEO is gleaned from the hours and hours and hours I’ve spent reading articles and columns from founders of the industry. Plus the questions I’m able to sneak in when interacting with the real SEO experts within our company. Even with all the time I have invested in research and my access to experts, sometimes I get three quarters of the way into an article on a technical topic and realize I’ve completely misunderstood it.
SEO is riddled with jargon-pageviews, analytics, on-page optimization, backlinks, inbound links, metadata, headings-and a dictionary’s worth of acronyms like SERPs, SERs, SEM, SMM, SEO, SE, PR7, HTML, CSS, RSS and XML. Terminology is often used interchangeably, and some terms, such as SEO, could be referring to a person who does SEO, the industry as a whole, or a specific technique all within one sentence.
The details and approaches-organic SEO, white hat, black hat-that are endlessly rehashed in the court of public opinion on major sites are because of the passion and enthusiasm so many in the field have for the subject. But a lot of times the speculation ends up being all for naught or completely blown out of proportion.
The best SEO is not just the key to-sort of-unlocking the hallowed search engine algorithm and ranking higher on Google; it is an evolving science and an art, perhaps even a calling. Should you feel called, welcome to the insanity, but if you feel overwhelmed and “thank you very much but no,” don’t write it off. Just get a good SEO to be part of your team.
September 10, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – While treading through the jungle of SEO, you must be very careful to not step on poisonous snakes. Yes, I’m talking about bad SEO firms or companies. I think there cannot be a better word than “poisonous snake” to refer to a bad SEO agency as far as the health of your site is concerned.
As you may know, around 62 percent of searchers click links appearing on the first page of search results. To achieve a higher click-through rate, your site links should make it to the first page of search engine results.
SEO is a complicated process. You must always choose to work with a good professional SEO company to get your site ranked at the top of search engines like Google via white-hat techniques. But how do you identify an SEO firm that’s truly worth your money?
Given below are seven telltale signs that you can use to spot a bad SEO agency so you know what’s actually “good.”
#1. A Low Quote
Recently, Ali (CEO at Millionairium) wrote a blog post titled “I Wanted Cheap SEO.” In this article, he talks about companies that hired SEO firms, grew in search rankings and dropped after a short period of time. These client sites were badly hit by the Google Panda updates. It happened only because those clients wanted to hire an SEO firm that was the cheapest.
The point that I’m trying to make is that a low quote or cheap price often signals low quality of SEO work. Just because an SEO agency offers you the cheapest rate for SEO services doesn’t mean you should choose them.
So, beware of a low quote!
#2. Top Ranking Overnight
When you are out to hire an SEO services company, you’ll come across thousands of firms- all of which claim to be the best. No matter how good an SEO company looks, they can never guarantee top search rankings instantly. Depending on the current status of your website, it may take weeks or months to start appearing at the top of SERPs. Promises of instant top search rankings only translate to poorly done SEO.
#3. Free Trial
The word “free” is powerful. That’s why many SEO companies offer free trials to attract more clients quickly. When you come across a service that offers a free SEO trial, you need to be careful. If the free service sounds too good to be true, it may be. Bad agencies often offer free trials only for the sake of collecting your website information and emails.
#4. Hundreds of Backlinks Instantly
The recent Google Penguin updates (that check link spam) have made link building tougher and more competitive. You can no longer do mass-submission to link directories and gain top rankings. Any backlinks that you create for your site must always look natural to search engines. In any case, acquiring tons of links quickly is bound to make search engines suspicious. Therefore, you should beware of bad SEO firms that promise hundreds of links (via shoddy link schemes) instantly.
#5. No Questions
SEO requirements vary from one site to another. SEO should always be done strategically in light of the goals that a small business owner wants to achieve. Therefore, a good SEO firm will never fail to ask you plenty of questions about your small business, the industry you cater to, your goals, etc. To drive only highly qualified organic traffic to your site, an SEO agency needs to know your goals in a crystal-clear way.
#6. Unsolicited Emails
Yes, it happens. Many SEO companies will send you emails out of the blue claiming they know your site really well and can improve your search rankings for certain high-traffic keywords. Spammers have special software programs to automatically gather emails and URLs from across the Web. Therefore, you should be careful about such unsolicited offers so that you don’t end up working with an SEO firm that’s not actually worth your money.
#7. One-Time Fix
When it comes to doing SEO effectively, there’s no such thing as “one-time fix.” You can never expect to retain top rankings in search engines unless you consistently pay attention to your website’s SEO. Any company that says or believes SEO is just for one time is certainly a bad one.
Do you want to share more signs for spotting a bad SEO company? Please feel free to share them in comments.
August 30, 2012
NASHVILLE, TN – There are millions of websites out there competing for a top spot on Google. Google needs to know what all these sites are about to correctly categorize them and deliver relevant results to users.
“We use a huge set of computers to fetch (or “crawl”) billions of pages on the Web,” Google says. I’d like to know how many computers are working automatically to search and categorize these billions of pages. One report from last year estimated that Google uses about 900,000 servers. Google has never revealed how many computers they’re running, but they do give us some information on their energy efficiency at their data centers.
Googlebots are simply computer programs that run set algorithms to fetch websites. Googlebots have many names – spiders, robots and bots. These computer programs decide how often your website is crawled and which pages to fetch from it. Search engine optimization firms don’t know exactly how these algorithms are set up to crawl your pages, but Google provides us some insight in the Google Webmaster Tools.
“Google’s crawl process begins with a list of Web page URLs generated from previous crawl processes and augmented with Sitemap data provided by webmasters,” Google says.
The bots start crawling URLs on their lists, and each time a link is found it’s put on the list to be crawled. Dead links found are updated in the Google index.
Googlebot goes through each line of your website. Every word counts, and Google even notes where on the page the words are found. That’s why it’s important to have your most valuable keywords listed sooner rather than later.
“We process information included in key content tags and attributes, such as Title tags and ALT attributes,” Google says.
Make sure your HTML contains keywords in these important sections. ALT attributes pertain to images on your website. Title tags can be used to include desired keywords, but be careful not to “stuff” keywords in these tags. Updating your website often and including rich attribution tags are some of the best SEO techniques.
“Googlebot can process many, but not all, content types,” according to the Webmaster Tools. “For example, we cannot process the content of some rich media files or dynamic pages.”
Interestingly, Google’s blogging platform Blogger recently made dynamic pages part of their template options even though these pages can’t be crawled.
Now that you’ve optimized your HTML tags, it’s time to make sure all your links are working. Dead links and bad links are no good.
Google tells us that most websites in their database haven’t been manually added, but were found by automatic crawling. Google does miss some sites, but only those without links to them. Some sites don’t have many inbound links, and other sites are poorly designed for crawling. (Here are some helpful tips from Google on how to make your site easy to crawl.)
You can check to see if Google has indexed your site. Type “site:yoursite.com” into the Google query bar. If your site comes up, then Google has indexed it. Provide Google with a Sitemap of your website to encourage Google to crawl and index your site.
Remember to ask Google to crawl your site after you’ve notably updated a page or when you’ve added a new page. That will help Google know you’re ready for a new crawl.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave comments and ask questions.
August 28, 2012
NASHVILLE, TN – For many businesses, adopting social media is new and scary. You’ve probably already caught on to Facebook, and some businesses use Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn. I’ve gone into more detail about social media, especially Google+ and Facebook, and how these outlets affect SEO.
Social media helps like-minded people stay connected to issues they care about. Now that you have a profile, you want people to like you and follow you. You want to engage your viewers to comment and share your posts. Social media provides a space to share all those blog posts you’ve created for your search engine optimization campaign.
Share and discuss relevant content. Staying on topic will help you stay neutral, as most businesses don’t involve religion or politics directly. Content is king, both on your blog and on your social media outlets. Posts that your viewers find helpful, interesting or new will be commented on and shared. Posts that are poorly written or confusing will be ignored, or worse – commented on and shared for negative reasons.
If you don’t have time to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn, don’t set up profiles for each one. Each social network has different purposes. Research these outlets to see which best fits your company’s goals, and set up a profile on the site or sites you will use often.
When followers reach out to you, respond! Comment on your followers’ posts and let them know that you’re here, and you’re human. Also, don’t (always) respond to your massive customer base. Remember social media is about individuals.
Respond to Individuals
It may be tempting to use social media solely to share all of your articles, but that behavior won’t engage or entice your followers. It’s definitely okay to share your own articles, but remember that people want a conversation on social networks, not a one-sided promotion venue.
Recently the insurance company Progressive received some heat on Twitter. Whoever runs the Progressive Twitter account decided to respond to these messages defending their position. These tweets were copied, and the identical tweet was sent to each responder. Twitterverse (that’s the Twitter universe, guys) found those duplicated tweets to be insensitive and tacky.
The handling of the social media wasn’t ideal. Respond to individuals as much as you can, especially when your followers are criticizing your business decisions.
Not only do you need to respond to individuals, you need to respond quickly.
Online social interactions happen fast, fast, fast. You probably see this if you have a Twitter account and you’re following more than, say, 30 people. Your timeline will be full if you follow close to 100 people, and it’s easier to miss things not tweeted directly to you with a Twitter handle (@heyjessicabates) or through direct message (DM).
University of California Urvine professor Judith Olson talked with Mashable journalist Greg Ferenstein about how to gain trust online. When we can’t hear a person’s inflection or see his body language, how do we build trust?
“Olson finds that when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond,” Ferenstein writes. “So, for instance, it is better to respond to a long Facebook message ‘acknowledging’ that you received the message, rather than to wait until there’s time to send a more thorough first message. Wait too long and you are likely to be labeled ‘unhelpful,’ along with a host of other expletive-filled attributions the mind will happily construct.”
Well said, Ferenstein. Respond quickly and thoughtfully, or not at all. I’ll reiterate this point: be realistic about how much social media your company can handle. Don’t commit to social profiles that you don’t have time to manage well.
Social media users can easily get into heated debates online, and the anonymity that social media sometimes has almost encourages that behavior. But for businesses, social media networks are avenues to gain trust, engage followers and hopefully spark new business.
Do not use your business social media accounts to discuss your personal beliefs. You’ll only risk alienating your customers.
Be Respectful In Your Business
Followers may be talking about you online. Someone who ate at your restaurant or visited your practice could share their experience online with their virtual friends. The best way to keep a respectable online reputation is to keep a good real life reputation. Make sure your customers are satisfied. If they are unhappy, try your best to rectify the situation. Stay professional in your business and on your social media feed.
Thanks for reading, and have fun engaging with your social media followers.
August 26, 2012
I came across this article and its proposition is rather scary:
“Google doesn’t care for organic search results and its Penguin update was designed to drive up its Adwords revenue…”
There exists an obvious conflict of interest within Google’s universe. On one hand, Google is Google because of its organic search results. On the other hand, their primary source of income is Adwords.
So, which is more important in Google’s eyes?
The proposition further explains that when Google updates its algorithm, businesses that enjoy steady revenue by being placed high on Google organic search feel the pinch when they drop. The next most logical step for them is to turn to their Adwords campaigns until they get their organic results back up and BOOM… Google’s revenue goes up.
However, Matt Cutts has announced over and over again that Google’s anti-spam team has no affiliation whatsoever with its Adwords and marketing teams. They don’t step on each others’ toes. Matt Cutts and his team’s job is to make sure black-hat SEOs are kept at bay by always improving Google’s algorithm – lately by Penguin.
To me, Matt Cutts’ assertion makes sense. If Google penalizes sites that rank well simply to promote its Adwords side of business and increase its revenue, soon the search results will not be as solid and strong as they are now. That will result in the competition (Bing, Yahoo!) gaining ground in the search market – something catastrophic for Google.
And Google being the smartest of the three search engines is not going to risk its long-term dominance over a one-time hike in revenues.
With all of this said, I’m not going to argue that algorithmic updates have not affected Google’s revenue increase. It makes sense if they do. But that’s not Google’s anti-spam team’s intention when they introduce a new algorithm update. It is only a side effect of it.
Looking at our clients’ results before and after Panda and Penguin proves my point further. The only clients of ours who dropped in the search results were those who had SEO issues either with duplicate content or shady link-building tactics (from other SEO providers in the past). By fixing those issues, we were able to place them back up on the organic search results.
What are your thoughts?
August 23, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – The Panda algorithm (named after Navneet Panda of Google) is an extremely significant part of Google’s overall ranking algorithm. The main goal of Google Panda updates is to provide users with a superior quality search experience and remove poor-quality content from the SERPs. Every year, Google updates its ranking algorithm 500-600 times. Panda updates are also among those. The first Panda algorithmic update was rolled out in February. Until now, Google has updated its Panda 19 times.
Here’s an overview of all the Panda algorithmic updates that Google has released so far.
#1. Panda 1.0 [February 24, 2011]
The purpose of this algorithmic update was to deal with (read penalize) sites that had shallow content. The update hit “content farms” (which included some of the most popular article submission sites) really badly, resulting in a huge loss of keyword rankings. About 12 percent of sites were affected.
#2. Panda 2.0 [April 11, 2011]
This Google update was specific to all English language search results. Later, it was released on a global level. The update impacted around 2 percent of all keyword searches in the United States.
#3. Panda 2.1 [May 10, 2011]
Being a minor one actually, this search update impacted far fewer sites, as compared to the previous updates. Google didn’t reveal the impact data on this algorithmic update.
#4. Panda 2.2 [June 16, 2011]
According to Google, this update aimed at penalizing scraper or duplicate content sites. After this update was launched, many webmasters witnessed an improvement in their keyword rankings while others faced sudden drops.
#5. Panda 2.3 [July 23, 2011]
This update was rolled out by Google to distinguish between high quality and poor quality sites. As a result of this update, many sites gained in terms of search rankings on Google.
#6. Panda 2.4 [August 12, 2011]
This update was actually an international one. It was at this time that Google Panda update was released for all international languages with exceptions including Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The update impacted around 6-9 percent of queries for non-English indices.
#7. Panda 2.5 [September 18, 2011]
This was a mysterious one, as Google didn’t reveal as to what this specific Panda update was aimed at. All Google said is that the update was one of the 500 changes that Google rolls out each year. The algorithmic update resulted in huge loss of rankings for many sites.
#8. Panda 2.5.1 [October 9, 2011]
According to Matt Cutts, this update was only Panda-related flux. Therefore, it was a minor update that impacted less than 2 percent of all queries.
#9. Panda 2.5.2 [October 13, 2011]
It was again a minor update to the Panda 2.5 update of September 18, 2011. There were reports of losses and recoveries after Google rolled out this algorithmic update.
#10. Panda 3.0 [October 19, 2011]
Popularly referred to as the “Unnoticed Update,” it was actually a rectification update. Sites that were mistakenly or wrongly hit by the previous Panda algorithmic updates were given back their rankings.
#11. Panda 3.1 [November 18, 2011]
According to Google, it was a minor update. Google officials tweeted that it was only a minor data refresh and impacted less than 1 percent of queries.
#12. Panda 3.2 [January 18, 2012]
A data refresh again! Google officials explained that this was also a minor update similar to the last one, i.e. Panda 3.1. The update was actually meant to address the discrepancies (cross-language refinements, related search relevance, image search improvement) with the last updates.
#13. Panda 3.3 [February 27, 2012]
The confirmation of this Google Panda update came along with the announcement of 40 search updates that happened in February. The goal of this update was to bring more accuracy and sensitivity to the Panda algorithm. With this update, the age-old link analysis method was turned off by Google. In addition, local search results were improved.
#14. Panda 3.4 [March 23, 2012]
With this update, low-quality websites were once again massively targeted by Google. According to Google’s official tweet, this algorithmic update impacted around 1.6 percent of queries. Though it was basically a minor update, it was around this time that blog networks (like SEO Link Vine and Build My Rank) were hit. Webmasters who were using such blog networks to accumulate backlinks were faced with sudden drop in their site’s search rankings.
#15. Panda 3.5 [April 19, 2012]
Low quality content was on Google’s radar once again. Due to this algorithmic update, a lot of sites lost as well as many gained in terms of search rankings on Google. Examples of sites that increased their search visibility include spotify.com, observer.com, menshealth.com, slideshare.net, technspot.com and usnews.com. Losers included cubestat.com, similarsites.com, merchantcircle.com, newsalloy.com, aboutus.org, appbrain.com and ticketscity.com among others. [Find the complete list here.]
#16. Panda 3.6 [April 27, 2012]
It was launched just eight days after the last update, so it was unexpected. Google said this was a minor data refresh and didn’t impact queries (or sites) on a large scale. Reports about loss in rankings were noted.
#17. Panda 3.7 [June 8, 2012]
Basically a data refresh, this algorithmic update impacted less than 1 percent of queries in the United States and 1 percent globally.
#18. Panda 3.8 [June 25, 2012]
Google tweeted that it was also a basic refresh update, which means they only re-ran the Panda algorithm again. The refresh resulted in an impact of only 1 percent of queries worldwide.
#19. Panda 3.9 [July 24, 2012]
It was a new data refresh. So, there were no massive changes in algorithmic signals. Google revealed in a Twitter post that this algorithmic update would affect only 1 percent of all searches globally.
Have you heard any rumors about the next Google Panda update? Please let us know in the comment section below.
August 21, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-The number of subscribers to our SEO blog climbed to a new high this month, hitting 10,311 subscribers and continuing to grow. Our blog is one of the ways we strive to keep our readers informed about the big updates in the SEO world and share as many how-to’s and resources as we can.
“Having reliable sources to keep you up to date on the latest techniques and best practices guidelines is the only way to stay on track to achieve your SEO goals,” says Ali Husayni, an SEO expert and our CEO.
These sites are popular according to Google PageRank and Alexa global ranking as well. Google ranks pages from one to 10 based on how many other pages link to them and how well-ranked those other pages are, the higher being more popular. Alexa uses the number of average daily visitors and page views to calculate ranking, with more popular websites earning low numbers.
1. Search Engine Land: Alexa Ranking 1,231, PR 7
This is one of the sites that I use regularly to stay up to date on the latest in the search engine industry. Barry Schwartz and Danny Sullivan are two of the great authors producing content that is easy to read but in-depth and detailed enough for me to learn something in almost every article. They get the inside scoop via direct interviews with Google employees like Matt Cutts.
2. Search Engine Watch: Alexa Ranking 1,794, PR 7
This website focuses on Web search, analysis of the industry and helping site owners improve their visibility on search engines. There are many contributing authors, including the director of Search Engine Watch Jonathan Allen and Staff Writer Miranda Miller.
3. SEOmoz.org: Alexa Ranking 414, PR 6
This site is a favorite of Jessica Bates, one of our SEO copy writers. She looks up information about the newest updates and changes that she finds out about from Google’s official blog and Google+ pages.
“I particularly like the Whiteboard Friday posts, very informative and easy to understand,” Bates says.
4. SEO Book: Alexa Ranking 1,602, PR 6
Aaron Wall founded this site and designed it to be a SEO training program. You have to join to access many of the extra tools, videos and forums, but the blog and some of the tutorials are available without an account. They are valuable resources for information about where the search engine industry is headed.
5. Top Rank Online Marketing Blog: Alexa Ranking 9,416, PR 6
This blog was started by Lee Odden nearly nine years ago and features insights, resources and commentary on topics related to digital marketing and public relations.
6. Search Engine Roundtable: Alexa Ranking 5,812,171, PR 6
This website strives to provide a one-stop location for the most interesting threads covered in the SEO marketing forums each day. The site was founded by Barry Schwartz, who is also an editor at Search Engine Land and the CEO of RustyBrick.
7. Matt Cutts Blog: Alexa Ranking 7,665, PR 6
Matt Cutts is the face of the Search Quality team at Google, and he specializes in search engine optimization issues. Although he has only posted eight times in 2012, his posts are always high quality, and you can check out the blog’s archive that dates back to 2005. His blog is one of our Editor-in-Chief Lorrie Walker’s favorite places for information.
8. Google Official Blog: Alexa Ranking 12,132, PR 8
Where better to get information than from the source. The official blog of Google covers everything from search engine updates to the latest projects Google is working on.
9. Google Webmaster Central Blog: Alexa Ranking 9,542, PR 7
This blog is more focused toward website owners and features all the official information from Google about crawling and indexing sites for the Google index. This information is usually detailed but technical, so looking up the topics from here on other top blogs can be helpful.
You can enable PageRank in your browser to see the importance of the webpage you’re viewing as determined by Google.
Of course, there are thousands of sites dedicated to SEO information not listed here, so tell us what resources help you stay up to date on SEO changes and what you like best about them.
August 16, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – A website’s trustworthiness, its credibility and its quality are critical issues today, so far as ranking in search engine results is concerned.
It takes years to build a Web empire, right? However, all you need to have it tumbled is one single Panda algorithmic update. The last few search updates by Google have given SEO a new direction, an overhaul of sorts. Today’s SEO is broader, more meaningful and more competitive. Consequently, the roles of an SEO professional have also expanded in many ways. It feels like a new beginning!
If you’re still reminiscing about the good old-fashioned ways of ranking at the top of search engines like Google, you need to wake up. It’s about time you broke out of the mold and embraced the latest developments in SEO.
Here are seven vital tips or best SEO practices that you should follow to keep your site’s SEO up and kicking in the post-Panda era of Google.
#1. Abide By Timeliness
Web content has become more time-sensitive than ever. No matter what niche you cater to, you should be able to deliver top-quality content to the target audience on a consistent basis. Search engines like Google want you to keep your customers up-to-date and well-informed all the time. Timeliness carries even more significance when it comes to doing mobile site SEO.
#2. Say ‘No’ to Shallow Content
Stop cranking out one post after another. The quality of the content that you create has a major role to play in search rankings. Focus on creating content that can go viral in a matter of minutes. Produce content that can live on the Web for a long time to come, i.e. “evergreen” content.
A couple of ideas for creating stellar content –
• Tutorials to fix the day-to-day issues of the audience
• Case studies
• Industry reports
• Curated content (I hope you know about ‘content curation’)
• Latest industry trends or developments
• Interviews with industry experts
If you think your site contains shallow or low quality content, you should take appropriate steps to fix it immediately. Signals to identify low quality pages include general information, duplicate content and pages without any specific purpose among others.
#3. Focus on Relevancy
The post-Panda market has enhanced the weightage of content relevance manifolds. Google’s main motto behind rolling out Panda algorithmic updates is to provide users with a top quality search experience.
This is what Google has to say on this topic –
“One of the most important steps in improving your site’s ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.”
So, try to match your content with the ‘intent of the query’ by focusing on the most relevant keywords in your industry.
#4. Don’t Be a ‘Blind’ Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is a surefire way of earning a decent income online. But approaching this technique with your eyes blindfolded can lead to grave consequences as far as the SEO of your site is concerned. If your site’s sole aim is to send visitors to a merchant’s site without offering any real value to the user, it may be tagged as a ‘thin affiliate site’ by Google. There’s nothing bad in being an affiliate if your purpose is to produce valuable content (in the form of product reviews or comparisons).
#5. Add Variety to Content
I love to repeat this line – “Variety is the spice of life.” But it’s not just you and I who enjoy variety. Even Google’s crawler or Googlebot expects to find a variety of content on your site. When you produce content in good variety, you send a signal that you are highly focused on pleasing visitors or readers.
If you are struggling to add variety, try these –
• Image content
• Article content
• Press releases
• Reviews or user-generated content
• FAQ content etc
And make your site worthy of rank.
#6. Engage Audience via Social Platforms
The level of competition in the SEO industry is continuously increasing. Social media provides you with an opportunity to bolster your search optimization strategy and beat out competitors quickly. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or newly rolled out platforms like Pinterest, you need to keep your target audience engaged. It influences rankings! In any case, you should know the etiquette and strictly abide by the terms and conditions of each social platform where you participate.
Yes, SEO is social (as you might have heard it).
#7. Improve Website Speed
The speed of your website is also among the key factors that affect organic search rankings. A webpage taking too much time to load (as the searcher clicks the link in search results and wants to open it) provides the user with a bad experience. The slow download speed of a site may lead to poor search rankings in Google. That’s why the speed of your site is truly worth looking at.
What else are you doing to make your Web properties survive in the post-Panda era? Please feel free to comment.
August 2, 2012
COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA– The headline of any advertisement, blog post, article or news release is the single most important element of online content that exists.
Your headline needs to grab the attention of the reader so that they click on your link to find out more. You have roughly four to eight words to play with to make your content more attractive than everything else on the page and this is no easy task. Even experienced online writers, journalists and advertisers find the creation of headlines difficult.
A good headline will boost your chances of getting to the top of a search engine page and will make a huge difference to your conversion rate and ROI at the end of every month, too.
Unlike like Aladdin who was only given three golden wishes from the genie of the lamp, this short post is offering six magical tips for the creation of the best search engine-friendly headlines possible… for free!
1. Use Popular Keywords
Do a Google Search for keywords relating to your products, services or article subject matter before you write your headline and make sure that the popular keyword search terms are incorporated into that headline.
2. Balance the Popular Keywords with the Less Competitive Keywords
It isn’t always a good idea to use the most popular keyword in your headline because competition on that keyword is going to be high. The best keywords for headlines are sometimes those keywords that are being used by fewer competitive companies, but still being used by Internet users to find the information that they seek.
For example, with a little research you might find that Popular Restaurants New York is less competitive than Best Restaurants New York and still drives lots of traffic.
3. Summarize your Content
The Internet user must know exactly what they will find in your blog post, article, or on your landing page should they choose to click on your headline. Therefore, your headline must be a succinct summary of content that the headline links to.
If the Internet user lands on a page that has nothing to do with the headline they read, they are going to be disappointed and they will learn to avoid your site in the future.
If your article is about online marketing strategies, make sure that “online marketing strategies” is in the headline. You can leave the creativity for offline advertising and offline journalism. “Click Here for a Big Surprise” is something that might work offline, but online it is never going to draw attention because the Internet user has no idea about what they are going to find at the end of the link.
Ambiguity is certainly no friend of the Internet headline.
4. Use a Number
“100 Ideas for Father’s Day” is a much more effective headline than “Ideas for Father’s Day.” Internet users love numbers and therefore they should always feature in your headline, whether you are working on a headline for an advertisement to sell a product or a headline for a post to feature on your blog.
Percentages work well, too. If you want to promote a discount, use a number: “10% Discount” is much more effective than “Discount” alone. Saying “75% of our customers choose blueberry jam” is much more effective than “Lots of our customers choose blueberry jam.”
5. Leave Out Unnecessary Words
Connecting words such as, in, of, on, at, into, over, etc. are a waste of space in a headline. They steal the focus away from the real content of the headline and they dull down the impact of that headline on the reader.
For example, “Invest in Online Advertising to Make Your Business Grow Quicker” is the perfect example of a very weak headline. “Online Advertising Makes Business Grow” is much more powerful because the insignificant words have been skillfully removed.
6. Create Urgency
Creating urgency in your online headline is perhaps one of the best ways to get people to click on that headline and visit your website. If the Internet user knows that there is a time limit associated with the article, product or service, he or she will be more likely to click on it in the moment.
Headlines such as “The First 100 Clients Go Free,” “50% Flight Deal Ends Friday,” or “Only 25 Paintings Left” all create a sense of urgency. They clearly explain to the Internet user that there is a time or product limit and they need to act quickly if they are interested in what is being offered.
If you can put these six simple strategies in place when working on headlines for advertisements and articles in the future, you will see a marked improvement within your online marketing campaigns without fail.
David Chapman is Director of Marketing at Webrageous, a Pay Per Click Management Company in Reno, Nevada, and an expert in online marketing optimization.
August 1, 2012
As Internet search gains additional ground and companies realize the power of being found on Google, they seek professional help. However, since their knowledge of Internet marketing in general and SEO in particular may be limited, they are often faced with the challenge of how to choose the right company/consultant.
When it comes to smaller companies, most only have one shot at hiring the right SEO firm to make them successful. The investment, the waiting time and the possibility of being banned by Google are the reasons to make the right choice the first time.
Here are the questions you need to ask any SEO company before hiring them:
How long have you been in the SEO world?
An SEO firm that has recently started, may not have the experience needed to get you on Google and most importantly keep you there.
How many successful SEO cases do you have?
– The more successful cases of SEO, the better the company. SEO success means only one thing: getting a client on the first page of Google for their important keywords.
What percentage of your clients do you get to #1 on Google?
– If they answer “All of them”, it is likely a lie. It’s impossible to get all of your clients to rank #1. For some clients/markets, being on the first page is enough to boost the traffic and sales, therefore, their objective is not the #1 spot. For some clients, Wikipedia ranks #1, and it is extremely difficult to rank better than Wikipedia. There are other examples.
– I’d say a really good SEO company can get at least 50 percent of its clients who target their local market at the top of Google. For international and very completive keywords, it’s enough to see they were able to get a couple of clients to the very top of Google.
How many of those successful cases can you share with us?
– If the SEO firm refrains from sharing their clients’ information with you and offers any kind of excuse (i.e. privacy of clients) drop them immediately. In the past several years we’ve been doing SEO, many of our clients are very happy to share their experience with the outside world. You can see a list here.
What search engines do you get me ranked on?
– There is only one that counts: GOOGLE. Google receives over %75 of the US search market. If you rank well on Google, your business does well and if you don’t, it doesn’t matter if you rank well on Yahoo! or Bing. When was the last time you used any of these search engines?
Do you guarantee my rankings on Google?
– This is probably the most important question you need to ask. Although no one can guarantee Google results, there has to be some kind of a penalty for the SEO firm if they’re unable to get you solid results on Google (like a money-back guarantee).
– On the other hand, when you rank well on Google, you will certainly do well on Yahoo! and Bing.
– If the company says they do not guarantee placements on Google organic results, then find another firm that does.
Do you develop content for our site on a regular basis? Who writes them and how?
– Increasingly, Google is giving additional importance to content. Namely, how often a site is being updated and the quality of the content that is written. Text with grammatical or spelling errors on a site reflects a poor quality site.
– On the other hand, you need to be involved in content development because your feedback/approval is needed for anything that goes on your site.
How many times should my keywords be repeated in 100 words of one of my site’s pages?
– Most SEO newbies think the more the better. Some say 5-10 percent. But the reality of it is that Google can recognize a site’s relevance to a specific keyword even if the keyword is mentioned only once. Remember, the keywords are mentioned in a few important places of your site: URL, title tag, description tag, header tag, and finally, your site’s text.
How often do you update my site with new optimization?
– Most common people assume that optimization of a site is an ongoing task. And unfortunately, most SEO companies do not correct this misconception. Optimization of a site needs to be done only once. If the SEO consultant/company knows how Google algorithm ranks sites, he or she knows how to optimize the site to get the best placement on Google without over-optimizing it. As long as the site remains intact, there is no need for reoptimization.
Where do you buy links for our business?
– This is a trick question. Buying links is forbidden for those who want to be at the top for a very long time. If the company engages in any link-buying schemes, stay away from them.
How many back-links do you plan on getting for our site?
– The quantity is as important as the quality of the back-links. But if they refrain from answering the question directly, then they probably don’t have a method of acquiring links for your site.
What are the page ranks of sites you get links for us?
– The page rank could be from 1-9, however, this question shows the prospect that you care about the quality of the back-links they’re getting for you. At the same time, if all back-links come from PR 1-3 sites, then the SEO efforts will not have the best results.
How often do you send us ranking reports?
– Ranking reports show your site’s overall improvements or lack of improvements on Google search results. We send our clients weekly ranking reports for all of their main keywords. But even monthly ranking reports would show the results of the work and save you lots of time trying to figure out how your site is doing on Google.
How often do you send us a performance report?
– SEO, if done right, will bear fruit in three to six months. If the SEO consultant/company keeps you in the dark as to what they’re doing, then you may end up wasting your money and more importantly your time in waiting for the results that never come. High-end SEO firms always send performance reports to their clients on a monthly or quarterly basis.
July 31, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO – Unnatural linking warnings via the Google Webmaster Tools are quite common now. A lot of SEOs and webmasters have been receiving such notifications through their GWT accounts. However, analyzing a site’s backlinks profile is not a cakewalk, particularly when you have tons of them. In any case, bad links (whether internal or external) can do serious harm to your website’s or blog’s search rankings. That’s why it’s vital to put things in order before you get the much-feared Google slap.
Whether externally or internally, there are some specific types of backlinks that you should avoid at all cost. Given below are eight of such links that can quickly impact the rankings of your site negatively in search engines like Google.
#1. Irrelevant Links
Whether it’s about linking out or getting linked, links have got to be relevant. After Google rolled out its Penguin update, link relevance has become an issue you can’t ignore anymore. Links that fall outside of your own niche are considered to be irrelevant by Google because they are not of any help to the user.
What benefit does a blog that caters to the SEO industry intend to bring to its target audience by linking to or getting linked by an “obscure sport bike lights site,” for example? Trying to build backlinks from sites with a high page rank that don’t fall under your niche, therefore, is an unethical SEO practice.
Whether you link to someone or somebody links to your site, link relevance must never be ignored. Period.
#2. Paid Links
Buying links to blast your way to the top of Google search engine results is a serious SEO crime. John Mueller, a popular Googler, made it quite clear that if you have been buying links for the last three years, you should go back three years and get those paid links removed. John further advised not to wait out search rank penalties, as it can take months or years to recover.
#3. Link Farm Links
Link farming is a technique that’s used to create tons of backlinks for a site over a short span of time. The fact of the matter is that the aforementioned technique has only one goal – to build backlinks.
While using the link farm technique, pros create a network of websites hosted with different Web hosting companies. The main purpose of building this entire network is to quickly build tons of backlinks. For this very reason, link farms are at the top of Google’s hit list.
#4. Dead or Broken Links
It happens that a high percentage of external links are broken or dead over a period of time. Or else, links that you published a long time back do not lead to the same content anymore. Whether links are broken internally or externally, they put a damper on the overall quality of your site. Though a couple of dead or broken links may not actually bring trouble, they can be the cause of a site’s loss of rankings when they accumulate. So don’t get your site’s SEO devalued by having too many broken links. Keep a regular watch!
For checking website URL errors, you can log into your Google Webmaster’s account and click “Crawl Errors” under the Health section in the left navigation.
#5. Repetitive Anchor Text Links
Anchor text has been manipulated for years. It’s due to this ongoing manipulation that Google began to take on this seriously. If you repeat anchor text only for the sake of appearing at the top of search engines like Google, you should expect a Google penalty anytime soon (if you aren’t hit yet). To avoid such penalties, you should always remember to add as much diversity to your anchor text as possible. Quit obsessing over the money keywords.
#6. Too Many Links from One Source
This is something that not many webmasters know. There are several cases where a site was penalized only because it had too many links pointing back to its domain from one single source.
To make your site’s backlinks profile look natural to search engines, adding variety is one of the key things you can do. It’s a good idea to get links from .net, .edu, .com, .org and country-specific domains to make your site’s backlinks profile more robust and natural.
#7. Junk Directory Links
Beware of bot-powered directory submissions! Mass submitting your site to hundreds or thousands of junk directories to loophole your way to the top of search engine results is now history. Most of the generic website directories are already dead, i.e. de-indexed by Google.
“Once you get beyond the top tier (Yahoo, Business.com, DMOZ etc), are there any directories that are worth being listed in? It depends. First, you want to navigate to the directory page you are likely to be listed on, copy that URL, and search for it in Google. Look for the cached date to see when the page was last crawled. The longer it has been, the worse it is: anything more than 45 days is trouble, anything more than 75 days is a real danger sign,” says Michael Gray of the Wolf Howl.
Getting backlinks from directories that nobody uses doesn’t improve your SEO in any way.
#8. Blog Network Links
You might have heard about the fall of Build My Rank, a popular blog network. It was pulled down by Google on March 19. Google is in a war against anyone or anything that tries to manipulate its search rankings. Therefore, it’s highly recommended not to use any similar blog or link networks for building too many links overnight. Relying on a single blog network for your site’s backlinks is an entirely bad decision.
Did you analyze the backlinks profile of your site yet? Please feel free to talk back in comments.
July 30, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA – Here’s something I’ve noticed in the five years that I’ve been involved in SEO copywriting: too many people (writers included, at times) don’t know what it takes to make a good press release.
They understand the benefits of submitting press releases to posting/distribution sites to generate quality, in-bound links back to their websites. But they often invest considerable effort in writing them, only to have their releases turned down by the likes of sites such as PRWeb or PRLeap, just to name a few examples.
So if you are an SEO writer or a do-it-yourselfer interested in improving your site’s rank on Google, I offer the following tips to writing a press release that will get published by these valuable posting/distribution sites.
1. Think “Timely”
Timely, late-breaking news tends to be good press release material. I often use this as my rule of thumb: if it happened last month, it’s happening this month, or it will happen next month, it’s timely. So if your business celebrates an anniversary in July, you want to write about it in June, July or August- not in December. Other timely news that can make a good release includes: speaking engagements, conference attendance, television or radio appearances and special events.
2. Celebrate Milestones & Other Significant Occasions
Have you broken a sales record? Reached a new high in subscribers to your website’s blog or your company’s publication? Added a member to your leadership team? Been published in a prestigious trade publication? All of these are items worthy of a press release. Think about the things going on in your company that are truly worth bragging about. Chances are that’s a press release just waiting to be written.
3. Consider What is Newsworthy
This one can really trip up people. What’s newsworthy to you make not garner a second look from an outsider, so remember your audience. If you’re trying to increase Google ranking while also reaching new customers or clients with these releases, think about what might interest your constituency. Introducing a new product or service, upgrading equipment that streamlines a process for your customers, opening an additional location or debuting a newly redesigned website are examples. Other examples are making a charitable contribution to an organization, hosting a webinar, rebranding your business and offering a free service.
Every industry has myths. What are the most common myths, misperceptions and outright falsehoods in your industry? Clear up that confusion in a press release and increase your own credibility at the same time.
5. Offer a Tip Sheet
Everyone loves advice from an insider or a subject matter expert. If you’re a vacation rentals company in the Caribbean, offer 10 tips for staying safe while traveling abroad. An orthodontist might write about the five most important questions to ask an orthodontist when considering the best professional to provide your treatment. A software provider may offer a tip sheet on the eight benefits of using their cloud-based software system.
I could go on all day about possible press release topics. If you use any of the search engine optimization firms that focus a great deal of effort on generating content for your website on a routine basis (like Millionairium), having a list to jog your memory will help you ensure that you are truly helpful when your writer contacts you to pitch press release ideas. Here’s a quick reference list of topics you might also want to keep handy if you are responsible for writing, pitching or even just approving press releases for your company:
• Study or research results recently released
• Winning an award or other recognition
• Anniversary of when you began working in this industry
• Anniversary of being at your current location
• Sponsoring an event or a local athletic team
• A change in company ownership
• Developing new technology
• Participation in research, testing, pilot programs, etc.
• Endorsements from respected industry leaders or celebrities
• Staff promotions
• Going green
• Holiday-related news
• News related to awareness or health-themed months, weeks or days, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month or the Great American Smokeout
• Contests and sweepstakes
• Inspirational stories related to your industry or business
• Offering an expert opinion on a popular trend in your industry
• Community service opportunities
Many press release posting websites offer excellent suggestions for press release topics. Here are some popular links you might consider checking out:
Topics for Press Releases- Find Your Inspiration
The Ultimate Collection of Press Release Topic Ideas
40 Potential Press Release Topics
12 Questions to Uncover Press Release Ideas
The important thing to remember about submitting press releases to posting/distribution sites is that many of them put your submission through an approval process prior to posting it. If it doesn’t rise to the level of a press release, it will be denied. Numerous press release posting sites are free, so you’re not out any money if the release is turned down. But many sites charge a fee. Why invest your time and money into writing and submitting something that goes nowhere?
Follow my guidelines and you’ll be better positioned to never feel the sting of rejection.
July 27, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO– I think the number of internal links placed on one page is as debatable an issue today as it was a couple of years back, so I thought it would be good to dedicate my new post to this issue.
According to Matt, placing less than 100 links on a single Web page was a good SEO practice. At the time, Google would index only around 100 kilobytes of a page.
Today, Google’s crawler is strong enough to index a lot more than just 100 kilobytes of a single page. That means indexing more than 100 internal links on one page is not a problem with Google anymore.
So does it change the rule of the thumb of having fewer than 100 links per page?
Let’s discuss this significant SEO issue in more detail so that we make sure we don’t place any more links than what’s reasonable, and build our sites in line with the Google quality guidelines. It’s always advisable to keep yourself abreast of the key SEO issues so that search penalties don’t bother you.
Is More Than 100 on a Page Spam?
Well, it depends. There are multiple sites that contain more than 100 links on each of their internal pages and yet Google doesn’t penalize them. But there are cases where Google might look at a page that has hundreds of links as being spam. The problem arises when you mess with Google’s quality guidelines. If a single page has tons of links that are hidden or crammed with keywords (for obtaining more SEO value), it’s a clear signal of indulging in spammy tactics.
Otherwise, placing more than 100 internal links on a single page is not something that Google automatically considers as spam.
According to many SEO professionals, it’s not the quantity of internal links on a single Web page that matters. What actually makes a difference is the ratio of the amount of content on a particular page to the number of links it contains. And the recommended content to links (read keywords) ratio is 10 percent.
The Flow of Page Rank
Technically, Google Page Rank of a particular Web page gets divided among all the links that it contains. Therefore, having tons of internal links on one page substantially reduces the amount of PR that each of those links pass along. Conversely, if a page has less links, each of the links will pass more PR.
“At any rate, you’re dividing the PageRank of that page between hundreds of links, so each link is only going to pass along a minuscule amount of PageRank anyway,” Matt was quoted as saying in an interview with Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.
Let’s not go too deep into the flow of PR internally, as it involves a lot of mathematics. Maybe we can dedicate a new post to that topic soon.
But There’s One More Thing!
Confused? You can easily find sites where one page has more than 300 or 400 or 500 links. Many have 1,000 internal links on a single page. Let’s take an example. You visit a page that contains around 450 links. How many pages are you actually going to visit? If you truly fall for the content, you may be compelled to click three or four links; maybe six at the maximum, right?
Hundreds of links might just bore you. But, who are you?
Yes, the user!
It’s the user who remains above everything else. It’s the user that you have to keep at the top of your mind while placing multiple links on a page. It’s the user who you want to click those links. And you can’t bore or irritate the user by providing them with a huge list of links, can you?
“Links are not magic fairy dust,” says Michael Martinez of SEO Theory. “Links and link structures have limits to the value they may possess and confer. A link in the midst of 1,000 links has relatively little value. Fifty links on a page has more value together than the 1,000 links that used to be there. That is because on a short-linked page, every link on the page IS there for the user — ALL of the users.”
If the user isn’t pleased, Google won’t be either.
Are the internal links on each of your site’s pages placed simply to increase the SEO value? Let’s talk back in comments.
July 25, 2012
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – The SEO game is fast. Google is constantly changing algorithms. Panda and Penguin updates upset some of the gray- to black-hat SEO work that you’ve already implemented.
How do we know if our efforts are paying off? Maybe we see an increase in site traffic as a result of our labors. Maybe we even see an increase in business. But let’s remember the point of all this blogging, social media sharing, link building and on-page optimization: to sell your product.
With Google Analytics, you can track the exact keywords that lead to customer conversions. Analytics offers different kinds of goal tracking, but before we delve into these, let’s first go over what “Web analytics” means. Millionairium’s Manager of Operations Saeed Khosravi defines Web analytics as: “where the visitors (traffic) have come from, what they have done on the site, when their interaction with your site is accomplishing the certain objectives of your site, and then when a conversion has occurred.”
About Google Analytics Goals
Google Analytics allows users to use four types of goals to measure success.
First is URL destination. You may be interested in measuring the analytics of users who fill out your contact form or who are directed to a “Download Complete” page.
Second is visit duration. Visit duration, as you may have reasoned, allows you to set a goal based on how long a visitor stays on your page. You may be interested in which pages attract viewers for more than two minutes, or you may want to know if your newly designed pages are doing their job of engrossing viewers.
Third is pages per visit. You may set your magic number at four. Your goal will be met once a visitor visits four pages of your website. This information could help you determine your most popular and least popular content.
Fourth is event tracking. Users can set up any event they wish to see tracked. This could be the download of a certain PDF on your website. It could be clicking a certain button or link.
Google Analytics allows you to set up to 20 goals. There are four sets of goals available with five goals listed in each subset; therefore you can determine up to 20 goals. Decide what goals you would like to track. Think of your endgame. If you sell products from your website, you may want to track the time visitors are browsing on your product pages. If you own a dental office, you may be interested in gaining new clients. In this case, tracking the amount of visitors that schedule an appointment would be a good goal to measure. When you set up a new goal, you’ll have to choose its type – either URL destination, visit duration, page/visit or event.
How to Set up Goals In Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives detailed instructions on setting up goals on their support page, but I’ll give you a quickie version here:
1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
2. Click the “Admin” tab at the top right of the screen.
3. Choose the “Profile” that you want to track. If you only have one profile, don’t worry about this step.
4. Select the sub-tab “Goals.” You will see four sets of goals, and each set will tell you how many goals you have remaining.
5. Add a goal by clicking “+goal.”
6. Give the goal an easily recognizable name.
7. Choose the type of goal you want to track from the ones listed in the section above.
8. Enter the specifics for your desired goal.
How to Determine Converting Keywords
Now that you’ve set your goals in Google Analytics, you can start tracking the converting keywords relevant to your business.
To find your converting keywords:
1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
2. On the left navigation bar, select Traffic SourcesSourcesSearchOrganic.
3. Look for your goals defined above the Visits graph and below the Explorer tab.
4. Select your desired goal.
5. You should now see your converting keywords with detailed analytics below the graph.
Elisa Gabbert at Search Engine Journal discusses how to find converting keywords. She mentions certain types of keywords that regularly show up for Search Engine Journal, including brand keywords, how-to keywords, geographic/location keywords and product keywords.
“You can also use your research to inform your future content marketing efforts, “ Gabbert writes. “When creating and scheduling new content, prioritize keywords that fit into the patterns you identified.”
Knowing your converting keywords will help drive more traffic and more business. Capitalize on keywords with low competition and continue to use the converting keywords that work for your business.
July 23, 2012
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Google continues to improve its social networking platform Google+ to compete with social giants Facebook and Twitter. In January Google introduced Search Plus Your World to integrate personalized results on your search engine results page. Now Google has overhauled their look.
The new Google+ graphical user interface is bigger and more visual. Before the change, all the relevant content – the news stream and profiles – gravitated toward the center of the browser. The new home page takes up the entire browser, making pictures larger and making the news stream more prevalent. Contacts appear on the right side of the window so you can still chat as before. But now “hangouts” are a focus.
Hangouts allow users to video chat with up to nine other people in their circles. Google also let certain users broadcast their video hangouts to the world. They call the broadcasts Hangouts On Air. On May 7, Google opened up Hangouts On Air to all users. The live broadcasts will become more prevalent over the next few weeks as Google lays the groundwork for an outpouring of data. You can broadcast live to a worldwide audience, and you can also see how many people are watching you in real time. Once your live broadcast is complete, Google uploads the video to your YouTube channel and saves the video on your Google+ homepage as a post. President Barack Obama, soccer star David Beckham, and supermodel and TV personality Tyra Banks have all hosted G+ hangouts.
But that’s not the only thing Google’s pulled out of its hat recently. On May 9, Google announced a G+ mobile app for increased sharing capabilities.
“To be clear, we’re not interested in a mobile or social experience that’s just smaller,” Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra writes on the Google blog. “We’re embracing the sensor-rich smartphone (with its touchable screen and high-density display), and transforming Google+ into something more intimate, and more expressive.”
Smartphones are essential to many people’s lives. They use them to check the weather, to check their email, to video chat and to play games. It’s surprising that Google just now unveiled its G+ mobile app, but taking time to perfect its features may pay off in increased user participation.
As soon as I saw that Google released a mobile app I grabbed my iPhone and installed it. (The iPhone app is available now, and Google says the Android version will be released in a few weeks.) The first screen on the mobile app – after signing into your Google account – is to turn instant photo upload on or off. Photos from your mobile device will instantly upload to a G+ album, cutting out the manual uploading for users. Next your G+ stream flows vertically down the screen. The app is highly visual, and if I do say so myself, nicely executed. People in my stream show up in modern, sans serif type and posts have non-invasive +1 buttons that are sleek and intuitive. The posts are also visually-driven, so remember to add a photo to your G+ posts for more eye-catching content.
Releasing google mobile app will help G+ compete with Facebook and Twitter for mobile sharing. Sharing more on G+ means more opportunities for your content to reach a wider audience. Everyone who shares your posts matters, as users in the same circles will have more access to personalized search results. This emphasis on sharing is perfect for organic SEO, as relevant content will likely be shared with interested parties.
I’m interested in what other changes Google will implement to differentiate their G+ platform from Twitter and Facebook. Personally, I think the mobile app and live broadcasts are important steps.
What improvements would you like to see Google+ make to increase their user participation?
July 21, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO– In the past week, I have spoken to three companies who have all complained about the same problem:
Their stories are very similar:
“We hired this SEO company who was very cheap and at first they did really well…”
“We paid for back-links and it was great for the first couple of months…”
Well… My dear friends, SEO is neither cheap nor easy.
As a matter of fact, in today’s market if you are looking to hire a company that can do cheap SEO for you, shoot yourself in the foot instead. That way, you save your money and the pain you’ll experience is about the same.
Your competition – the one down the street – got to the top of Google for a good reason. How much money are they taking home each day? Hundreds? Thousands? Don’t you think if it was easy or cheap, then everyone would be at the top?
SEO requires knowledge, experience, tactical planning, hard-core execution, and vigorous analysis. And who do you know who would give you all of that for 100 bucks? I certainly couldn’t. Neither could my team.
Dear blog follower… You’ve seen the kind of advice we give out. You’ve read about our successful clients and you know Google SEO is doable. But always remember nothing good in life comes cheap.
What do you think? Leave your comments.
July 21, 2012
NASHVILLE, TN – Search engine optimizers from all over flock to Seattle July 25-27 for MozCon 2012. This year’s event at The Westin Seattle was sold out. Speakers from SEOmoz, Distilled, Above the Fold, BlueGlass and SEER Interactive will discuss timely search engine optimization tactics. Attendees can see the MozCon agenda to plan their days at the conference.
SEOmoz, an established SEO firm, hosts MozCon. Last year was the first official “MozCon,” though the conference developed from SEOmoz’s PRO training that has been going on for years. Around 500 attendees came last year, including Matt Hunckler of Slingshot SEO.
“Given the dawn-till-dusk schedule of activities, there were a ton of opportunities to get to know some of the SEO industry’s finest,” Hunckler writes about MozCon 2011. “The group in attendance included some of the sharpest marketers, communicators and tactical geniuses I’ve ever met.”
This year attendees will spend Wednesday through Friday with other search engine enthusiasts, soaking up information during the day and exchanging Twitter handles over cocktails at night.
MozCon probably isn’t the place for someone who’s running his own business and occasionally wading through SEO tips to increase his Google rankings. MozCon is instead for the person who lives, breaths and dreams SEO. (If you are an SEO newbie, here’s an overview of how to start your SEO campaign.)
I won’t be attending the event, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it. A lot of the lectures seem really interesting, and it’s clear from the wide variety of lectures at MozCon that effective SEO encompasses many areas.
I’d like to sit in on the Thursday lecture by Ian Lurie called “How to Earn Links Without Doing Anything.” The description says that Lurie will reveal how to be so “brilliant” online that you won’t need to look for links – they’ll find you instead. I’m guessing this talk with emphasize the importance of not only blogging, but of blogging well and blogging often. Blogging is a key aspect of SEO that we’ve talked about over and over again. We’ll continue to talk about it, too, because it’s essential to getting you to the first page of Google.
I’m sure Rand Fishkin will unload a wealth of information in the 30-minute Friday session How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy. You may be thinking 30 minutes is too short to cover this topic, but if you’ve ever seen Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday series, you know he can pack a lot of goodies into a limited time frame. (Seriously, take a few minutes to check it out.)
There are also several data-focused lectures to help optimizers measure results. The Attribution Modeling talk from Mike Pantoliano on Friday will help attendees analyze Google analytics organic search results with the help of Excel data organization. Other data driven talks include Badass Excel Tips and Tricks for Your Data, Estimating Traffic Based on Keyword Research, and Link Analytics Through API.
Hopefully when MozCon is over we’ll be able to access some of the SEO wisdom that was imparted there. I will be checking SEOmoz frequently to look for any videos or transcripts from the conference. I’m sure attendees will be blogging and tweeting live from the conference.
July 16, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Have you noticed that your Google Places page looks different yet? Because it probably does as of last month when Google converted approximately 80 million Places pages into 80 million Google+ Local pages. This is a move toward integrating Search, Maps and mobile.
Users can still access these pages through regular Google search or maps, but that information is now available on a new tab within Google+ called Local. Businesses’ old Google business profile is now a Local+ page that is the home of all important business information, including address, phone numbers, hours of operation, photos, videos and reviews.
The announcement was made by Avni Shah on May 30, a director of product management at Google. He explained, “Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+.”
Business owners might not even notice the change since managing their local listing is still currently done via Google Places for Business. There is mention of future changes that will allow them to “take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages” though. That sounds like a Google guarantee that they will continue to push Google+, so get used to it now.
How This Might Change Local SEO
You might be wondering what the difference really is if the user might not notice anything other than an aesthetic change, and the business owner might not notice big changes when it comes to managing their listing. However, there is a big difference between the old Google Place Pages and the new Local+ business profile. These new local business profiles will be indexed. That means they will show up in the search results and, when optimized properly, can be another tool used to get more visibility and a higher SEO ranking.
There are all sorts of ways to spiff up the new business profile, but here are some basic guidelines to help you create a page that appeals to your visitors and the search engine:
1.Keep the About section brief. The introduction section is one of the areas where you can include keywords about your business. Just make sure they fit naturally into what you write there and keep it concise. The address, contact information, hours of operation and category tags show up under the intro, and then the reviews of the business show up under that. Reviews and recommendations are often the biggest influence in people making a decision, so don’t crowd those out with a long-winded explanation of your business. There is a new rating system as well. Zagat’s 30-point scale is being used to score all types of businesses instead of Google’s previous rating system of five stars.
2.Ditch the stock photo. The flexibility of Google+ gives you the option to really display your business. Take advantage of it by showing visitors the new office renovations, a photo tour of the facility, the staff hard at work, or some of the products your business sells.
3.Start asking satisfied customers to leave you a review. Some businesses have had problems with their reviews getting lost in the transition between Google Places to Google+ Local, an issue that Google has acknowledged in the forums. However, there doesn’t seem to be a resolution to the problem at the moment, so focus on getting new reviews. Let your customers know that their feedback is important and valued. Don’t be afraid to make a direct request that specifies what you would like instead of hinting around. Most people aren’t going to be offended by, “I’m so glad to hear that you’re satisfied with the service you received! We would love it if you took the time to write a review on our Google+ Local page that explains what you needed and how we were able to meet that need.”
4.Don’t ignore your reviews. The point of the page is to be social, to develop a following, to discuss and interact. Negative reviews are going to happen. The way you respond to them is the opportunity to define the business. Reach out and try to resolve the problems. Best case scenario is you convert a disgruntled customer into a loyal fan, but if nothing else you are showing all the other potential customers that you genuinely care enough to respond thoughtfully to complaints.
5.Find the Posts’ section sweet spot, somewhere between abandoned looking and spam city. The Posts section is where the action is at, and theoretically where the interacting happens. Don’t let this section sit untouched-the time stamp showing that your last post was four months ago, but try to avoid the mistake at the other end of the spectrum too. Posting link after link to content you’ve posted elsewhere or posts simply promoting yourself is spammy. A conversation should go both ways, so keep throwing “conversation starters” out there.
It might take some people time to get used to the new look and way of managing the page, but the good news is that this transition has the potential to transform local search and how local businesses can get to the first page on Google. The discussion online amongst the SEO experts about the switch has been mixed-some love it, some hate it. Wherever you fall on that continuum, hopefully you’ve gotten a few ideas for the new business profile.
July 15, 2012
EVERGREEN, COLORADO — Great SEO is all about establishing a long-term relationship with search engines.
To rank at the top of search engines, you should be able to “woo” the search engines as well as the users. If you continue to tweak your website without getting any considerable boost in the SEO, it’s time to take a microscopic look at what you’re doing and whether you’re doing it the right way.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t get caught up in SEO trends. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, SEO experts should concentrate more on the fundamental tasks that will win visitors for the long-term. You can never expect a site to rank in the top 10 search results without having any idea why it’s useful to searchers. Sadly enough, many exist in the SEO field that would burn the midnight oil trying to find out the latest trick to loophole their way to the top of search engine rankings.
Getting obsessed with the latest tricks won’t help. Instead, you need to stick to the fundamentals to achieve the best SEO results, and that will increase the stickiness of your site. You’ll never be able to boost your website’s SEO until you know:
What Your Ideal Customer Looks Like
Without identifying who your target audience is, you can never direct your online business marketing and SEO efforts in the right direction. Webmasters make the biggest mistake when they start to make search engines the target of their SEO campaigns. Your target audience is the group of people that has a keen interest in buying a product or using a service that you have to offer.
Do you know who those potential clients and customers are?
If not, you should first identify what a potential client for your business actually looks like. You need to define an ideal customer on the basis of key demographics like age, geographic location, hobbies, marital status and income range, among others.
By knowing what an ideal customer for your business looks like, you place yourself in a better position to use your customers’ vocabulary. In addition, it opens your doors to many other potential online marketing opportunities. Therefore, identify your target market so that you know where to focus your strategies and produce the kind of content that will provide real value.
Who Your SEO Rivals Are
Identifying your competitors tells you how tough the search optimization task is going to be for you. If you have offline companies as competition, for example, it might be possible to get a leg up quickly. That is because they usually don’t do the best SEO or have a flash-based site that doesn’t have good rankings. Or you may face competition that’s already well-established in the world of search engines. You may also need to compete with bigger brands.
Though gathering competitive intelligence is a time-consuming task, it’s extremely useful in terms of targeting the right keywords or knowing the types of backlinks your competitors are using.
“Understanding what your competitors are doing online is a must and absolute priority when launching a new website that is entering a competitive space and also when established websites want to keep an eye on their competition” says Loren Baker, the founding editor of Search Engine Journal.
By keeping a close watch on the competition, you will be able to find answers to important questions including –
What are they doing to boost on-page SEO?
What link building strategies they are using?
What potential keywords are they focusing on?
How active are they in terms of search engine optimization?
What SEO tactics have the greatest impact?
What’s their presence in the social media space like?
By keeping a close watch on your competitors’ strategies, you’ll be able to learn more, know what really works and fine-tune your own SEO strategies depending on the specific requirements.
How to Stay Fresh (and Relevant)
To take the SEO of your website to the next level, staying fresh is one of the best recommendations. Always remember to keep the content on your websites up-to-date. To stay ahead of the competition, you should focus on building a solid social media presence as well. If your target audience also comprises mobile device users, you should consider creating mobile-friendly versions of your website.
In any case, don’t forget to be relevant.
Do you think your SEO is headed in the right direction? Please feel free to talk back in the comments.
July 13, 2012
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – We all desire to reach that coveted top spot on Google search results. It’s no easy task, but it can be accomplished. Being in the top three is almost as important as being first, as most people are likely to check out the top three results before choosing the most desirable.
Here we want to provide a general overview of how to get to the top three spot on Google for a specific keyword. All of these steps will need time and attention to realistically get your business to the top of Google.
Do Your Homework
There’s a lot that goes into search engine optimization, and it’ll take time to learn all the aspects of the game. Visit SEO blogs or spend time perusing articles here on our Millionairium blog. Familiarize yourself with SEO lingo so your research makes sense.
You might be interested in speaking with an SEO consultant to outline optimization strategies. Millionairium offers SEO consultation, and other companies offer similar services as well.
Delegate an SEO Expert
Assigning one person the roll of SEO expert may help your team reach the top quicker. Give your SEO expert time to research ways to get your business to the top. There is simply too much involved in SEO to let your assistant spend 20 minutes a day on SEO.
Once your chosen SEO expert has done preliminary research, he or she may assign certain segments of SEO to other employees. Delegate certain people to write blog posts, connect on social media, build inbound links, monitor Google Analytics, and conduct keyword research.
Look at your HTML to see where your site could be optimized. SEOmoz has a helpful rundown of perfectly optimized pages that will acquaint you to the process. Learn what page descriptions and headings are best for your site’s optimization.
Use the text-based browser Lynx to see how your site appears to Googlebots. Googlebots can’t read Java or images, so you want to make sure your efforts aren’t wasted because of something this simple.
You probably know enough about SEO to gather that links matter. Trustworthy inbound links will improve your Google search ranking. Our SEO expert team has put together an exhaustive list of directories, both free and paid, where you can submit your site. We’ve also gathered the best article and press release submission sites that you can use to your benefit.
Beware of link farms. Instead, look for good, quality links that readers will trust. If your site is trustworthy to readers, then Google will reward it as well.
Search Engine Watch shares a helpful article with 131 link-building tactics. Here’s one of many tips.
“Search for sites that should link to you but don’t,” Julie Joyce writes. “If you find a blog post entitled ‘Top 100 companies that sell green widgets’ and you sell green widgets but aren’t listed, contact the webmaster and point this out. Nicely, of course.”
One whole section of Joyce’s article is dedicated to content creation. In that vein, let’s move on to blogging.
Start (or Continue) Blogging
We’ve talked so many times about the importance of blogging for SEO. New content published freshens your website, and Google’s search algorithms include a freshness factor.
Creating new content can be hard, especially if you aren’t used to writing. Don’t panic. Study the trends in your industry and stick to what you know. If you need help brainstorming ideas for new content, browse through our list of common types of blog posts.
Set up a blog schedule and stick to it. Determine how many posts you can commit to each month, and stick to your goals. Keep your audience and focus in mind; don’t write about things that aren’t related to your business.
Sharing is Caring
Now that you’ve optimized your on-page content, started blogging and got some quality inbound links, share your content across social media platforms. Learn some basic tips for Twitter to help increase your SEO reach. Remember that Google+ is important since Google search results now include personal results.
Set Goals, Evaluate Your Efforts
Make sure your SEO expert or SEO team is setting goals and executing specific tasks. Learning Google Analytics will help you measure the fruits of your SEO efforts.
Patience is a Virtue, Seriously
Getting a top spot on Google takes time. Be wary of companies that promise results in a short amount of time. You won’t get to the top of Google in 24 hours. Don’t expect to be an SEO wiz overnight either, and don’t expect unrealistic results. Put an SEO plan in place, execute each step thoroughly, and then watch your analytics closely.
Of course, don’t sit back waiting and do nothing. Keep reading about SEO, follow relevant blogs, make new contacts, and write new blog posts. We’ll be here with more tips along the way. Feel free to let us know how your SEO journey progresses.
July 11, 2012
TAMPA, FLORIDA— Our team of SEO consultants is researching changes to Google’s search algorithm that appear to have taken place in recent weeks.
While these changes adversely affected several of our clients’ appearance in organic search results for a short time, we feel confident that our SEO techniques continue to be viewed by Google as sound, because the lost rankings quickly were regained.
A drop in a client’s organic search ranking isn’t something we enjoy sharing, but we do so because it sheds light on three important facts to keep in mind:
1. We monitor our clients’ websites closely and are cognizant of even minor fluctuations. When we notice adverse changes, we work to fix them quickly.
2. Google changes its algorithm constantly and even the best SEO company isn’t capable of predicting when those changes take place and guarding clients from those changes.
3. These constant changes keep us on our toes and drive us to make sure we constantly employ the best SEO techniques for clients.
“We noticed the drops in rankings of some of our clients in the past several weeks and we began looking into the issue immediately,” says Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni. “We updated our clients as we learned more.”
After Google announced on April 24 that it had updated its search algorithm (Penguin), several of our clients experienced a drop in ranking and traffic, says Saeed Khosravi, Millionairium’s operations manager. It marked the first time in our company’s recent history that a Google algorithm update had negatively affected our clients’ rankings.
Millionairium wasn’t the only Internet marketing and SEO firm that noticed changes as a result of the updates. Chris Ratchford, an SEO consultant with Prodentite, a Charlotte-based dental marketing firm, noticed ranking changes among some of his clients. But he isn’t worried.
“I don’t have a cause for concern right now,” Ratchford says. “It’s just something to be mindful of.”
He believes clients with geographical keywords are affected less than non-geotargeted keywords. For example, there are only so many Charlotte dentists, so there is a finite amount of businesses competing for similar keywords. Expand the competition globally to keywords such as “Invisalign” or “cosmetic dentist” and it’s easy to see how competing sites’ rankings could be more drastically affected.
“I haven’t seen a great deal of change, but some clients dropped a couple spots since February,” says Ratchford. “These algorithmic updates shouldn’t be viewed as a penalty; it’s more of an adjustment, from what I’ve been able to gather.”
These changes drive home- yet again- the importance of developing fresh content.
“It’s never a good strategy to just sit there and let things happen,” Ratchford says. “For clients who’ve been affected by this latest update, this is a good opportunity to identify what’s going on in their businesses and write about it on their website’s blog.”
Matt Cutts with Google’s anti-spam team explained recently that Google has rolled back some of its spam filters, particularly the one that once gigged websites for having URLs with long-tail keywords in them. Here’s an example:
Earlier this year, a website with a URL such as “bostoninvisiblebracesprovider.com” likely would have been punished by Google in terms of organic search results if that site wasn’t a site truly dedicated to providing invisible braces treatment and didn’t have lots of original content related to this topic.
In cities where low-quality sites such as this existed and we had clients competing for optimum organic search results for a keyword such as “Boston invisible braces provider,” our clients’ websites tended to rank higher.
But this latest change to Google Penguin appears to allow sites with this type of URL to rank high once again.
The experts over at WebProNews report that Google made another 39 algorithm changes in May. Among those changes, Google claimed it made “a couple minor tweaks to improve signals and refresh the data used by the Penguin algorithm.”
Google also said it has “algorithms in place designed to detect a variety of link schemes, a common spam technique. This change ensures we’re using those signals appropriately in the rest of our ranking,” according to a WebProNews article by Chris Crum.
“But some of our clients’ sites that had used “shady” link-building techniques in the past are now ranking better,” Husayni explains. “So, we’re not sure if this new round of algorithm updates truly changes the search results for the better.”
It appears that for the first time, Google has punished white-hat SEO companies by removing some of its anti-spam filters. But we won’t draw any conclusions until we further investigate this new round of updates.
July 2, 2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA-Google+ is one of the latest tools the search engine uses to determine the popularity and relevancy of a page which in turn influences where it places in search results, but is your business taking advantage of it?
“Google measures popularity by how well the information matched the person’s search query and arguably how often pages are viewed or shared, which includes Likes, Tweets and +1’s,” says our CEO Ali Husayni. “Tapping into that information for Google+ can be a valuable resource to find out what is reaching your audience and what isn’t, so you can adjust your search engine optimization marketing accordingly.”
Businesses that have created a Google+ Page and added the +1 button on their websites have set the stage for client interaction and ranking higher on Google. They will also be able to glean information about how clients are viewing, sharing and searching for the companies’ content. The button also shows up in search results and display ads, signaling to other searchers that the information is useful.
But you have to know what parts of your website are getting the audience’s attention, the +1’s, to know what is working and why. Finding that out is fairly simple according to our Manager of Operations Saeed Khosravi, who says you need to sign up on Google Webmaster Tools then add and verify your site to see what pages have been +1’d.
“After you have signed up and verified your site, you will get to see detailed information about how your site is performing on Google search results,” he says.
There is a treasure trove of helpful data, including your site’s impressions for different search queries, the number of clicks you had for each search query, the crawler errors, the number of back-links to your site and other useful information like the +1 Metrics.
Follow these steps to get a list of pages and the number of times they have been +1’d:
1. Login to your webmaster tools account.
2. Click on the website you want to see the +1 activity for, which will open up the Dashboard for the site.
3. In the left-hand menu, click on the link to the +1 Metrics and select Activity.
From there you can opt to see the data for the number of times your site was +1’d during a particular date range or all of the +1 activity for the URL. It can also show how users are +1’ing content, whether it was on one of the website’s pages or from a page that showed up in search results or advertisements.
“This data is very helpful for seeing how the investment of your time and money is paying off,” says Husayni.
You can find out if you are reaching your target demographic by looking at the Audience option under +1 Metrics in the left-hand menu. That shows you more about the people who have +1’d your website’s pages, including the total number of unique users, their location, and their age and gender. Although, Google will not display that data until a certain number of people have +1’d your content because they need enough data to provide aggregated and anonymous information. But once your site has received enough impressions with and without +1 annotation, you can look at the Search Impact data that shows how +1’s are affecting search results‘ clickthrough rates and compare them to reports on non-Google+ traffic to your site.
If you need help setting up Google Analytics for your website, you can check out our posts about getting started with Google Analytics. You also can read a more in depth explanation of the tool and get SEO tips on how to use the statistics it provides.
June 21, 2012
NASHVILLE, TN – Google uses lots of factors to determine search engine rankings, and one of those factors is freshness.
I’m sure you know by now that to increase SEO, blogs are essential. In terms of duplicate content SEO, efforts can be thwarted if Google picks up on identical content, even across different URLs.
Here are 10 common types of seo blog posts to get your creative juices flowing. Blog posts generally fall into one of these categories:
1. How To: People searching the Web often want to know how to do something. Tutorials are great traffic-drivers, and they provide readers with valuable information. Videos can also provide great tutorials, but if you choose that route remember to include a transcript for SEO purposes.
2. Lists: You may have noticed that this is a list post. Lists are popular, as potential readers can tell from the blog titles that information will be broken down in an easily digestible form. In a list post you can quickly scan the content to see if it’s relevant to you. Not every reader will linger long enough to carefully read your post, but list posts are easily shared and frequently clicked on.
3. News: Timely information makes great content. There are benefits to evergreen content, but there are also benefits to time-sensitive posts. Posting a timely response to an issue could get you hits as users search Google for breaking news. You could write a press release on a new product or service your company is offering. You could write an anniversary post to celebrate your business’s first or fifth year. Or you could write a piece on a newsworthy event in your industry.
4. Product or Service Review: You may have experienced exceptional customer service somewhere. Or you may have purchased a product that exceeded your expectations. When a product or service has wowed you, it may be worthy of an entire post of its own. Make sure the product or service you review is relevant to your business. You also should try to be honest; don’t review a product you haven’t tried just because it’s popular. Speak honestly and write from first-hand experience. If your post is sponsored, say so. Readers like honesty and openness.
5. Series: You may have a great idea for a topic, but once you delve deeper you realize that the topic is vast. Break up that information into a series of related posts. We’ve done this at Millionairium. Vonya Griffin wrote a great two-part series called Building a Site Google Loves. The topic was too much information to fit neatly in one post, but it makes a great two-parter.
6. Interviews: Interviews are fantastic for sparking debate in your industry. Outline a few questions your readers would like to see answered, and then brainstorm a good interview subject. The Q and A format is pleasing for readers.
7. Guest Blog Post: Ask a colleague or peer to write a guest post for your blog. Not only will you gain a fresh voice on your blog, the links from your guest seo blogger‘s original site will help your site climb the Google first page of search results.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, gives great tips on how to jumpstart a guest blog post – just scroll down to #10.
“Find sites that have a relevant audience – it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren’t interested,” Fishkin says. “Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you’ll earn a much higher return with each post.”
He also suggests pitching a specific topic to your potential guest blogger. If you’re the guest blogger, then pitching is easier if the hosting blogger can read over your unpublished piece before agreeing to a guest post.
8. Contests: I read a few blogs faithfully, and I’ve seen a trend of giveaways. Bloggers will detail certain rules for entry, usually as simple as posting a comment on the blog post or sharing it on specific social media outlets. This is a great way to create an active community and have your loyal readers share your post with all of their virtual friends.
9. Controversial Posts: Posting about a controversial subject may get you an influx of clicks, but you also run the risk of alienating readers who disagree with your post. Don’t write a post for shock value thinking you’ll gain thousands of clicks. Instead, write about an issue that means something to you or your business. Back your stance up with facts, not exaggerations and emotions.
10. Editorial/Personal Anecdote: Your SEO efforts are for Google. Your keywords and metadata are in place for your blog post. But your content should be for your reader. Readers like a good story. Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni wrote a recent post on starting his first business at 16 years old.
“I ended up making the equivalent of $16 and I managed to purchase a pair of jeans for myself,” Husayni writes. “That will always be remembered by me as the best business experience of my life, no matter how much I go on to achieve.”
This statement immediately makes me think of my first job, my first paycheck. I’m able to connect to the writer’s memory with a personal memory of my own. Your readers will enjoy a good, interesting story.
These aren’t the only types of content you can produce, but this should give you a good start for brainstorming for your future blog posts.
So once you choose a topic, write the blog post, publish it, and share it across your social media outlets, you’ll want to monitor it’s popularity. Use Google Analytics to see how your new content drives traffic. Take note of which types of post gain the highest traffic – this will clue you in on what your audience likes.
What are your favorite types of blog posts to write? What posts do your readers enjoy?