Archive for October, 2007
Monday, October 29th, 2007
Rarely would I ever give advice that included putting material on an external site rather than your own site. But when considering videos I have to say that making sure it is branded correctly and posted to YouTube.com is critical. YouTube.com gives small businesses the possiblity to have national exposure, possibly even more than a a network advertising campaign. It would require an extremely viral video but it has been done by many companies as well as individuals.
There are just too many viewer on YouTube.com to pridefully say you are going to post your video on your site and wait for the video linkbait to catch on. With YouTube.com this can happen overnight with the right video and your traffic would be derived from the grass roots marketing of your video on YouTube.com.
Once the video is posted on YouTube.com you can post it on your site and YouTube.com will pick up the link to your site. It will be tagged with NoFollow, so no link juice, but it will provide traffic through the link. You will also want to brand the video with your web address.
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Last week I was asked to consult with a design firm. One of our new clients was using a design firm to build their new site. I was asked to provide some advice when designing for search engine optimization. At Big Oak we are not SEO Nazis who insist everything must be HTML text and the site must be visually lifeless. Far from it. I was a web designer not to many years ago so I am very sensitive to outside influences giving direction to your design, especially when your artistic integrity is being put at risk. After all, most design shops are trying to build a impressive portfolio and “search engine people” appear to be the enemy of design to some.
With this in mind I submitted some things to be wary of, but didn’t need to be avoided. I explained that the idea is to let the search engines know what your page is about and you have to have some text for the spiders to read in order to do that. So these items can be added, with moderation and strategically, but remember to think like a spider when you do.
Graphical text: Spiders can’t read graphic text and and I would prefer to use HTML text for all text, but headlines can be enhanced through graphics so using graphic text is okay, but be sure you are using the title and alt tags with these images. Wrap it in a H1 tag if that is warranted for a heading.
Read more about this on my previous post: Graphic Headlines Can Work for SEO.
Images: Obviously spiders can’t read images whether they are text images or otherwise. Our main concern is an all image page. All images means no text, which means no traffic. Images are okay, even for navigation as long as you are using a sitemap and text navigation in the footer. Of course all images should have alt tags and title tags as referenced above in an earlier post.
Flash Animation: This may be news to some of you, but the spiders don’t read Flash and although you can add some context to your Flash through programming, I would never rely on that entirely. Instead use Flash as an enhancer and let the site speak through body text on the page.
If you do decide to create an entirely Flash site (may the SEO gods be with you) then be sure to create an alternate HTML version for the spiders and for those of us who prefer good ol’ HTML sites.
Read more about this in my earlier post: SEO and Flash
Thursday, October 18th, 2007
As any SEO company will tell you, link building is the backbone of a successful SEO campaign so many of my posts revolve around methods of building links without actively searching out links. If you can create buzz and get links naturally just by having creative and helpful content you will increase your chances of higher rankings.
One of our clients, F. Curtis Barry & Company, a warehouse consulting firm, has done an incredible job writing on their multichannel company blog. They have done so well that their blog actually has a higher PR value than their company blog. The blog acquires links more naturally and therefore has the opportunity to drive traffic to their company site, so having the blog rank well is good thing; it is a online sales tool that is at work 24 hours a day.
In our experience with writing and managing blogs for our clients we have discovered that writing about other blog posts can sometimes have a side affect of a link pointing back to the post from the outside blog post. For F. Curtis Barry this backlink came from the Wall Street Journal. The post on the F. Curtis Barry Blog commented on an article (and linked to it) by the Wall Street Journal and a few days later traffic was coming from an automated link back on the WSJ artilce. It is good thing to get traffic and links from WSJ.com…and we didn’t even have to ask.
Be careful though, writing about other comments and posts is a good strategy but only when done with sincerity. It can show that you are only writing about other articles for pure marketing results if you aren’t careful. Have a valid and well-thought out opinion if you do try this. Also realize that you may not receive a link back or that the link may have a no follow attribute negating any link juice (We DoFollow links). So be sure your post is valid on its own merits.
Comments and linking to blog posts on this site are always welcome. We check out links to our content all the time and will comment on other posts about us frequently. Have anything to add? Please add a comment or post on your own blog.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
This is the height of hilarity. It just goes to show the underlying hypocrisy of Google. Google can play the holy-than-thou card due to their popularity, but what they want from other sites would certainly change the look of their site if they followed their own advice.
Take a look at what Google would look like if they had to design their site based on their recommendations. See the Google madness.
Well done by the folks over at MeanGene.
Monday, October 8th, 2007
This is a niche SEO tip, but if you fall into the category of those who resell products and are going against many other competitors selling the same item you will find this extremely valuable. If the manufacturer supplies you with the product description then it is likely that many of your competitors are using that same description which means you may be devaluing your product page because the search engines see your product page as duplicate content. Or your page might not even show up as Google would consider your site duplicated material not relevant enough to make the cut due to lack of popularity when compared against other sites showing the same results.
Here is a perfect example of how duplicate content can hurt your site rankings and your traffic. I picked a random child’s toy: Turbo Twist Math by Leap Frog. I did a search using the manufacturer’s initial text in the product description (“Be a Math Whiz with Turbo Twist Math”) and here are my Google search results. If you visit the link you will see only one result with the following text underneath:
“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 1 already displayed.
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.”
Google is telling you that this description is used so often that they are only showing you one result. You must expand the list to see other results which is still only 6 which could mean they are not even including the dozens or hundreds of other similar listings in the results. This is an extreme case since I’ve searched for a specific phrase, but the theory still applies: Duplicate content will hurt your rankings.
You will have a much better chance of showing in the search results if you add your own unique information about the product you are selling or the service you are providing. This is good for SEO but also for better converting potential customers. Feel free to interject your own opinions or thoughts on why the product is useful and include information your visitors might be wary to know. Anything you can write of add to distinguish your product information from other sites will help.
Being different is better.
Monday, October 8th, 2007
October 23, 2007: This position has been filled.
Junior SEO Associate (Search Engine Optimization Assistant) needed by Big Oak, a leading Search Engine Optimization Company located in Richmond, Virginia. Visit our website to learn more about us: http://www.bigoakinc.com.
This Junior SEO role will be responsible for deploying key internet marketing & SEO strategies on behalf of our clients working from a project plan prepared by the Senior SEO staff. You will be trained in strategic Internet marketing techniques. Some client interaction may be required so excellent verbal and writing skills are prerequisites. This position is a wonderful opportunity for a junior-level web or marketing enthusiast looking to move into SEO. To be considered for this Junior SEO role you must be meticulous in your attention to detail and take pride in your work.
See more about this Junior SEO Position in our SEO jobs section.
Friday, October 5th, 2007
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007
As a senior member of a successful SEO company I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my job easier. Usually my job consist of defining an SEO strategy that will help our clients achieve high rankings in the search engines. High Rankings are supported by high-quality links, so how do we find high-quality links without doing a lot of work?
Hello, Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a nifty tool that will monitor Google results with predefined search terms and then email you those results. They will send the email to you once a day, as it happens or once a week. You can insert any topic or query that you wish to keep tabs on.
For example, you can type in a competitor’s business name and/or his web address as an search term alert. Every time Google finds the search term they will send an email detailing where it was found in an email. It is like having a paid researcher always on call for free.
How best to use this for SEO you ask? Easy, here are just a few ideas. Let’s assume you have written an article or press release. You submit it through your normal channels but then you set up Google Alerts to notify you everytime it finds the exact title of your article. Be sure to put the search term in quotes so it looks for an exact match (“My Article Title”). Now you can track in real-time where you article gets picked up and then contact any of the sites that have placed your article or press release and contact them directly about a partnership. Maybe the next article you write can be given more prominence on their site or you can provide the webmaster original content with embedded links to your site.
Or you can track competitors by their name and URL find websites where that information has been posted and follow the same strategy by offering original content of your own. If you find a blog that has posted about you or your industry maybe you can become a contributor.
You can track a product name or service you want to sell or any word or phrase that will help you market your site to the search engines. And since Google is providing the information, you have a good shot at Google finding your link the next time they visit the site you have partnered with.
As with most SEO strategies you need to be creative with this idea and strike while the iron is hot. Constant alerts can keep you motivated and attentive to the market within your industry as well helping you keep a vigilant eye on your competition.
Has anyone employed this strategy for link building? I’d love to hear success stories.