Archive for the ‘SEO Questions & Answers’ Category

Why Does Google Show a Different Title?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 |

Recently a client asked why their page titles were not being used in the search results by Google. For those of you who may not know exactly what a page title is, it is in your page’s source code and looks like this: <title>This is my page title</title> and is the most important piece of on-page SEO on your site. Usually site owners take time to craft a title to help their keywords rankings and/or to help attract searchers when this title is displayed in Google’s search results. Below is an image of Google’s search results for the search term “Create a Website Sitemap for SEO” and you can see our blog post for the top results with the title we chose.

Google usually displays the title you have chosen for your page.

But sometimes Google decides to change the title they display in their search results. Why does Google change your page title? Quite simple, Google thinks it knows better, and Google probably does. Here is one explanation from a Google rep, “Often a single title might not be the best one to show for all queries for a page, so our algorithms may generate alternative titles to make it easier for our users to recognize relevant pages.

You can find more information about Google choosing a better page title here.

A snippet from this page gives some more insight, “Our testing has shown that these alternative titles are generally more relevant to the query and can substantially improve the click-through rate to the result, helping both our searchers and webmasters.

So don’t fret when your title in the Google search results does not match the title on your page, Google is trying to help by showing a more relevant title to help you increase your traffic. You should still always try to craft the the best page title you can, regardless if Google will try to fix it for you later.

Should I Do Business on Facebook?

Monday, May 24th, 2010 |

Is Facebook Good for Business

This is a question I get on a consistent basis and while the answer is often the same, there are some things to consider before making your final decision. Can you do business on Facebook?  Should you be “on” Facebook?  Is Facebook good for my business? The answer is yes and no.

The reason is that Facebook is being viewed as something “new” when in fact, basic business principles should be used to ascertain whether the application can be used to further business objectives or not.  Once we start applying basic business concepts, it quickly becomes apparent whether Facebook is a suitable investment of resources or whether it is a waste of time.  Which it will be is going to depend on your individual business objectives and how well you use the tools around you, in this case Facebook.

First of all, understand what Facebook is – it is not a business tool per se, it is an online social network.  Be clear about this, the primary word here is “social” – bringing your business into these networks is like a car salesman gatecrashing a party with the deal of the day.  Online social networks allow individuals to share information and keep themselves abreast of developments within their social circle, which may be a social circle dedicated purely to family and friends, or may be a circle of contacts which have a common interest or may be a network of business and professional connections.  Primarily, Facebook is a social rather than a business networking tool (for a business online social network look at LinkedIn), and as a business active on the social networks you need to act carefully in order to not upset the indigenous users.

To answer whether Facebook is good for your business, ask yourself whether there are target audiences and interest groups which will help you acquire business?  You may be looking at acquiring business directly by selling to Facebook users themselves, or indirectly, by raising your brand awareness or using the network to provide market feedback on you and your products.  If the answer is yes you can achieve your business objectives of sales, marketing, consumer testing or whatever you have stipulated, then the answer to the original question is still not complete because Facebook is not the only tool available.

There are more online social networking sites than just Facebook; how does Facebook compare to other sites and should you be concentrating on just one site or spreading your efforts across multiple networking sites?

Facebook dominates demographics in the older age ranges, from the early-twenties upwards, and has assumed a dominant role in the amount of time surfers are spending on the internet.  In this regard, Facebook dominates the social networking scene with only comparable competition emanating from MySpace.  MySpace is geared towards the younger age range and has greater emphasis on social media channels such as video, music and has a more pop culture outlook. Facebook is more about sharing life events, photographs, maintaining contact with family members of all age ranges, friends and for reconnecting with lost contacts.  Business circles and connections do exist and are quite popular but Facebook is not primarily established for this and this can lead to some very damaging Facebook mistakes.  For purely professional and business networking, LinkedIn is the leader in this field though the membership numbers are significantly lower than the social networking sites.

To summarize, the real questions which need to be asked are:

  1. Are my business objectives served or satisfied by using online social networks?
  2. Which specific network will best serve my specific objective?

If you can answer “Yes” to the first question and “Facebook” to the second, then it is obvious that Facebook can help your business.  The issue will then become how you do this in practice, but that is a topic for another article. And while the answer for businesses to be on Facebook is usually no, there are instances where Facebook can help, but your time commitment and social commitment will need to be consistent and creative. So, now do you think you should do business on Facebook?

Should I use Adwords with my SEO campaign?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 |

SEO Question: I am already ranking well for my targeted keyword phrase in Google, so should I also start using Google Adwords so I have the the top Adword ranking and the top organic ranking?

SEO Answer: This is a question we get a lot and the answer is always the same. If the ROI is worth it, then do it. If you are making more money by using Adwords with an SEO campaign then it makes sense. Running Adwords will not affect you SEO work postiviely or negatively so do not let that be a factor in whether you do it or not.

In fact, using Adwords while your SEO campaign builds is even a better idea. Also using it to test some keywords is a great use for Adwords. After all, you don’t want to rank for keywords that won’t convert into sales or clients. Adwords can test this for you rather inexpensively. Remember to watch your Adwords CTR and set up a conversion testing method.

One concern I can offer is to watch your sales and make sure you aren’t stealing from yourself. Obviously both methods, Adwords and SEO, will bring traffic an sales but if too many sales are coming from Adwords that would naturally be coming from SEO you may be shrinking your profit margin. Test this by dropping your ad for a time and watching your sales. Do they remain consistent? Ditch the ad. Do they drop? Put the ad back up.

In the end the decision to continue your Adword’s campaign should be based on actual traffic data.

To the left is a screen shot from our client’s children’s toy store, showing an example of an organic and Adwords/PPC rankings, click for a larger image.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please send to contact[at] Due to time constraints we may not answer all questions.

Should I Build My Own Linking Network?

Thursday, May 8th, 2008 |

This SEO question is from Joel Cohen,

SEO Question:
If I have a furniture store website in a first page position on Google for “home furniture Houston” and I decide to do a separate website for my “kids furniture division” and it gets a top position for “kids furniture Houston” and I do two more separate sites for (example) outdoor furniture and recreation room furniture and they all get top positions on Google, AND they all link to each other, does Google discourage this? It’s like building my own linking network.

SEO Answer:
This sounds like a sound business practice. Too often in the Internet world we base on decisions on what Google would want. Google, in fact, says to market your site as if the search engines weren’t involved. Straight from Google’s Guidelines, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” I personally would say this is a solid idea and focusing on product lines on each website can be a seen as a clever business decision. Interlinkng between them is would also be encouraged. Why would it be considered bad to link to your similar themed sites? If you owned more than one brick and mortar store you would certainly point visitors to it, so why should the web be any different.

You should make sure you don’t have duplicate content on your sites. If you are going to break out your outdoor furniture from your “main” furniture site, be sure you aren’t showing the same products with the same descriptions. Interlinking should be done strategically and with an eye towards marketing. Just don’t place a link in the footer, create a page that talks about the other site and its line of products and place multiple links to the other site. You want to drive targeted traffic that is well-informed of its link destination.

In summary, creating topically focused product sites isn’t a bad thing, it is a business decision that should be thought out. There will be more work and stores to admin, of course and cross-site linking won’t encourage visitors to view other related products as much as everything being on the same site. Pros and cons to each, as with most things in life. Just don’t let Google control your business decisions, after all, controlling the search results is enough power, don’t you agree?

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please send to contact[at]
Due to time constraints and the fact we run an SEO business we may not answer all questions.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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