Archive for the ‘SEO Strategies’ Category
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 |
A new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll had some interesting insights into the minds of advertisers. When asked how they used Internet advertising, 79% said as a branding device. This number was higher than the 65% who said they use Internet advertising to drive information-gathering for an offline transaction or the 58% who use it to drive online transactions. Simply stated, advertisers in this survey are using Internet advertising more for brand recognition than to get people to buy. Interesting.
Internet advertising does offer the opportunity to target an audience based on the content on a page or website. Say a user is on About.com getting information on how to find a part-time job; it would make sense for them to see a banner ad for a site like SnagAJob or CareerBuilder. But not all ad networks can be so granular or have corresponding advertisers thus, while reading about part-time jobs, a user might also get banner ads for toothpaste, gift cards, or paint.
And what if the user hasn’t gotten to About.com yet? What if they’re using Google or Bing to find information? Or, let’s say, they read the About.com article and now want more information so then they go to a search engine. Wouldn’t it make sense for SnagAJob or CareerBuilder to be present in the search engine results thus giving that user another chance to see the brand and click to the website?
Search engine optimization (SEO) gives brands the ability to be found at that crucial point at which someone is actively looking for information (not just passively reading an article). And your site’s content is always a good match with what the user searched on because Google wants to provide relevant search results.
So let’s say, going back to the part-time job example, the user was actually reading an article about part-time jobs for stay-at-home moms. A narrowly focused banner ad talking about part-time jobs and written for a stay-at-home mom audience would be a great match. But would a banner ad be that specific? Not likely. However, if the user went to a search engine and did a search on “part-time jobs for stay at home moms” (very specific and long-tail, no doubt), the pages in the results would be tailored for that search. And hopefully SnagAJob and CareerBuilder would have a page about that topic for the user to read along with the About.com article.
One of the benefits of SEO is targeting by geographic location which can be harder for Internet advertising – even though some networks will target ads based on IP address (which can be spotty). Sure, SnagAJob could put a banner ad on the website of a local TV station or internet portal – but that is a lot of stations to contact and rate cards to evaluate. However, if a user searches on “Wichita part-time jobs” it’s simple for SnagAJob to have a page about that topic with a listing of part-time jobs in the Wichita area that then is found in Bing’s search results.
If you’re an advertiser thinking about how to get more brand exposure online, consider SEO for your website. The search engines are another place for users to find your brand.
Photo by Danard Vincente
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 |
Big Oak’s Client Success
Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is the ability to rank a website in the top search results. That’s what we do here as an SEO Company. However there are times that clients need more than SEO, they need marketing, website functionality, and a plan to increase their ROI.
Clients either are well versed in Search Engine Optimization and need someone to do the heavy lifting, or they come with no knowledge of the subject, but know they need exposure to their websites and heard SEO is the way to go. The bottom line for most clients is an increase in profits. That’s what is measurable to their business. Increased web site visitors or traffic normally increases the bottom line or profit.
Big Oak SEO Company took on a new client in February 2009. The client had a successful brick and mortar store and ventured into the online arena. The client operates a Yahoo Store with over 300 products in a niche market. As their SEO Specialist along with our Keyword Researching Specialist we optimized their Yahoo Store for their keywords and started a link building campaign.
The net results in just over 1 month was an increase in $2,000 of sales, and a doubling of orders from the prior month. Under normal circumstances we would consider this a huge success. However the client was lacking a fundamental marketing tool for their website, namely a presence in Google Shopping.
This was beyond the scope of our SEO contract, but Google Shopping presence for this clients products would positively effect the clients ROI. After all ROI, Return on Investment is what the client is really after. Being ranked #1 for a term that doesn’t bring in sales will not benefit the client nor keep a happy customer.
It took a several hours over the course of a few days and several tweaks to establish, create and optimize a Google Base Feed for Google Shopping. (BTW this extra effort was free of charge – no extra billing.) In just 3 days after the first Google Feed went live, the Client reported their first sale from Google Shopping. I am still tweaking the feeds for Higher Google Shopping Results and the client is adding more products to the feed, but this is definitely a case where going the extra mile pays off.
In SEO it not only what you know, but who you know at times as well. Having a SEO Company that is well versed in Google Shopping, Google Adwords, Google Maps, Web Design and Web Functionality can mean the difference between Ranking and Rankings along with Increased ROI.
Monday, February 16th, 2009 |
It occurs to me that as you get into more tactics that involve the social web, you should start leveraging the client’s staff (and possibly their customers) for assistance.
For example, what if you created a series of assignments to roll out over the life of your work with the client starting with each staff member tagging the company on delicious, then digging some page(s) on the site that they like, then creating their own lens on Squidoo.com, etc.
Providing instructions for your clients on how to do this would be part of the SEO consulting work you should be doing for your clients.
SEO is hard work and many hands make light work as my Mom used to say. Get your client’s involved and they will appreciate you efforts all the more and feel like they are part of the process and the success.
Friday, December 19th, 2008 |
Youtube.com has more searches than Yahoo!
Video search on YouTube accounts for a quarter of all Google search queries in the U.S., according to the latest search engine numbers from comScore. Its monthly qSearch report, which was released on Thursday night, breaks out the number of searches conducted on YouTube. If it were a standalone site, YouTube would be the second largest search engine after Google. More searches are done through YouTube than through Yahoo, which has been the case for the past few months. – From TechCrunch
Wow, Yahoo! has certainly fallen from those halcyon days when they ruled the Internet. But this news is really more important because it tells the SEO community that you should not be overlooking the video world of YouTube.com. Big Oak SEO has been stepping up its efforts into the video marketing world and this is a sure sign that it was a good move on our behalf. Are you using the power of video for your product or service? It would be a mistake not to and it is a lot more affordable than you think.
And lest you think your videos would only show up if someone is searching on Youtube.com, take a look at the screen shot below. I did a search for cheap wine (don’t ask) and the screen shot shows the last results on page 1 of Google’s search results. Yes, you see two videos from Youtube.com. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your video there if you are a wine seller.
Results for Cheap Wine. Notice the last results are videos from Youtube.com
I have also seen video results in the #4 position on Google’s search results and I’m sure this will only continue to happen more in the future. Don’t sell your service or product short, anything that can be marketed on the web can have video marketing to support it. Make sure it is part of your Internet marketing plan.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 |
While site stumbling today I came across a web page that offered fun 30 second diversion, that is what StumbleUpon is for, by the way.
The page was titled: How Long Could You Survive Chained to a Bunk Bed with a Velociraptor? Silly? Yes. Smart? Even more so. After I took the test (I could survive 60 seconds, btw), and I looked at the URL, I could see it was a site promoting bunk beds and is selling advertising for kids’ furniture.
To my point, I was very impressed with the creativity of the page and applaud BunkBeds.net for a great linkbait idea. Imaginative, fun, viral and themed well for the target audience of children. So, take a visit and see how you would do against a Raptor and even more important let this be a good example in creative link building.
Thursday, September 11th, 2008 |
Ever Googled your name and wished you where in the top search results? Ever wondered what people see when they Google you? Considering the fact that the second most popular search criterion on the web is searching for a person’s professional background (Pew Internet American Life Project) – it may get some people thinking that it’s time to create a web presence for themselves.
It doesn’t take long to conclude that creating a web presence for yourself is something of necessity to ensure your professional growth, your business success, and taking action to represent yourself accurately on the web. The challenge is to find something unique and innovative the tackles all of the following issues:
• You want people to find you when they search your name on the web
• You want to manage the information people see about you
• You want to create a strong and professional online presence for your name
The people at LookupPage came out with the idea of developing an easy-to-use tool for people to create, enhance and manage their online presence. LookupPage is not a social network like LinkedIn, and focuses on getting your name on Google. Using the following simple rules, they are usually able to present better results than others for your name search:
Monday, September 8th, 2008 |
By now, I’m sure you know the importance of creating fresh, quality content on your site. One of the ways you probably do this is through a blog. These days everyone has a blog, and why not? It’s an easy way to get articles syndicated and ensures you have fresh content on your site, along with many other benefits.
However, in this world of Web 2.0, just having a blog isn’t enough. You need to get out there and take part in your online community. You need to comment on other people’s blogs.
Don’t know why? Well, you’re in luck, because here are the top five reasons to comment on other people’s blogs.
Top 5 Reasons to Comment on Blogs: Get Known in the Community
The goal of SEO is getting your site to rank, which happens when the search engines view you as an authority on a subject. Before the search engines can view you as an authority, people need to view you as such. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is by leaving good, meaningful comments on other people’s blogs.
Think about it like this: No matter how good your content is, if the search engines don’t know about it and people don’t know about it, then you’re just writing for yourself. You need to go to the people. Go to a blog that has a large readership and start leaving good comments. This will introduce you to a large readership.
I promise, when you give beneficial comments, people will respond. The owners of the site will get to know you because of your comments, and users will come to enjoy how useful they are. This successfully accomplishes your first task — having the people regard you as an authority on a subject.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 |
We’ve all met that person (or, maybe, we’re secretly guilty of being this person). You know the person — the one who won’t share.
Yup, there, I said it, I’m on to all of you people. Didn’t you learn anything in kindergarten? Seriously, share and share alike. How do you expect to make friends when you never share anything?
By this point, you’re probably wondering, “That’s fine and all, but what does this have to do with linking out to other people’s websites?”
Let me put it very simply — do it. Don’t be afraid to share, put that link out there.
Linking Out Excuse 1: If I Link Out, People Won’t Stay on My Site
Here’s the thing about the Internet, it’s designed (on purpose, mind you) as a way of sharing knowledge. If you’re writing about something and happen to know a reputable resource on the subject, link to it!
This will have various added benefits for you. Your users will think, “Wow, this person is providing a great resource, I’ll come back to them in the future because they’ve really helped me out.” Honestly, do you remember the Boston Tea Party because of the book you read it in, or do you remember it because of your 7th grade teacher who pointed you to the book?
Linking out also tells Google the neighborhood where your site lives. When you’re connected to a bunch of authority sites on fishing through outbound links, and you’re a fishing site, it’ll make sense for Google to rank you higher for fishing. Why? Easy, you’re all in the same neighborhood of fishing authority sites! When you link to other authority sites, it makes Google and the other search engines perceive you as an authority site.
And, seriously now, if you never put an outbound link on your site because you think it’ll keep people on your site, do you really think they don’t know how to work the back button? Or, know how to look for a more authoritative site than yours?
Linking Out Excuse 2: Linking Out Will Lose Link Juice
Alright, let’s ignore the whole neighborhood and authority site status (really, that should be enough to stop you from being scared to link out). Now you’re worried about your link juice. Rightly so, I mean, if PageRank flows from page to page via links, when you link out, it’ll spill onto someone else’s page right?
Here’s the deal: yeah, some of your link juice will flow over there, but that’s not the whole story. When a website gets a link to it, the webmaster will notice. This person will then come over to your site and check you out. If you get a link from a site, you check out the site linking to you, right?
This is the point of SEO, getting people to your site because you have great information. By linking out you have successfully had one more person check out your site! However, the story doesn’t stop there. The webmaster comes to your site, sees that you have a lot of great information and then they might just link over to you themselves, from a post they wrote about a great site they found! Now you’re an authority for them!
Link Out and Reap the Rewards
Remember this when you’re linking out — who you link out to matters! Link out to high quality sites that are relevant to yours. Since you control the outbound links, if you link to trash, your users won’t like it and the search engines won’t like it. Though, when you know of a great site, and have found a great resource, link to it and get ready for the benefits!
Don’t want to take my word for it? Well then, check out what the experts are saying on linking out for yourself!
Friday, June 20th, 2008 |
Google launched Google Trends for Websites today and I’m excited.
Not a lot of time today, but if you are a linkbuilder this is great news for you.
Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land, makes a good point that I agree with:
Now, if you think like a link builder – you can use this tool to find sites that are within your “neighborhood” or industry. So if I want to find link partners for the Search Engine Roundtable, I enter in seroundtable.com, look at the related sites and ask all of them for links. Then I go to all of those sites and see who is related to them. You can, theoretically, keep expanding that list, as far is it makes sense.
Our best tool so far has been Alexa and Compete with Yahoo Site Explorer thrown in. This could change things drastically. And I personally like the price: FREE. If it is half as good as Google Analytics it will be a very helpful tool for SEO companies. Competitive reporting for the masses, so to speak. Give it a look and start thinking of the awesome power of knowledge.
Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 |
Even though Wikipedia added nofollow tags in early 2007, backlinks you manage to snag there will still help you from an SEO standpoint. Why? One simple reason: content scrapers. Wikipedia is believed to be the most heavily scraped site in the history of the Internet.
Let’s take this example. Say you were able to secure an external link on the Wikipedia page about cats, here. Congratulations. You just snagged a dofollow link on a PR 4 page, here. Answers.com is one of the many legitimate sites that scrapes content from Wikipedia, and it’s an authority one at that. They were nice enough to keep the content they scrape from Wikipedia dofollow. So how many backlinks will you pick up in the future from that one Wikipedia link? Too many to list, provided your link stays on Wikipedia for any length of time.
If you’re paranoid that having your link appear on a black hat scraper site will hurt you from an SEO standpoint, don’t be. The odds are against that happening in this situation. Google should be able to figure out that the only reason your link was involved with a bad neighborhood was because it appeared in content scraped from Wikipedia.
The other common opinion is that if you manage to pickup an external link on a popular or semi-popular Wikipedia page, many people will see your link and naturally create backlinks to it. Wikipedia pages do tend to get loads of Google traffic. This isn’t April 2007, so Wikipedia doesn’t rank number 1 for everything anymore, but I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s still fairly popular in the Google SERPS. And by “fairly” I mean “extraordinarily.” I’m digressing, but Wikipedia is the classic example of a site who’s success was truly driven off the back of Google. In fact, I would venture to say that if it wasn’t for Google, Wikipedia never would have entered into the mainstream.
Back on topic, finding sites that scrape Wikipedia is easy. Infinitely harder is getting external links to stick on Wikipedia. Here are two methods:
- Fill in missing citation gaps. Wikipedia will occasionally have sentences with a “citation needed” link after them. Create content on your site that revolves around that missing citation. If its quality is high enough, Wikipedia may let that pass as the citation.
- Manufacture a Wikipedia page that has high relevancy to an existing page. Link to that new page from an existing Wikipedia page. Add an external link to the new page as a reference. This has a higher probability of sticking since the page is fresh and needs sources.
Don’t let the fact that Wikipedia added nofollow tags stop you from using it in your link building endeavors.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 |
When it comes to SEO, many small to medium players can get discouraged by the bigger players. They have more resources, so why should the smaller businesses even put forth the effort with SEO? Simple – because they can actually compete with the larger companies. Here’s why.
One thing to remember is that the big guys have resources, but because of that they often focus on the more traditional avenues for gaining traffic to their sites and stores. Take the diamond engagement ring business for instance. While any number of us can probably name a dozen national chains off the top of our heads (DeBeers, Zales, Kay Jewelers, and Jared to name a few), not a single one of them shows up in the top 50 for the term “diamond engagement rings”. In fact, only Kay is in the top 100 and Jared isn’t in the top 500. Why? Because they don’t have to be thanks to brand recognition. How does this help you?
Because they rely so much on brand recognition, most of your larger companies never bother to engage in SEO. For example, the #5 result for “diamond engagement rings” is Danforth Diamond, who’s home page title has the words “diamond engagement rings” in it, where as Jared and Zales both have only their company name in the title. Probably why Danforth Diamond is ranked #5 and Jared and Zales are both outside the top 50.
When it comes to writing copy for your website, you usually have one, maybe two writers, and yourself to answer to. When a big corporation decides to write copy for their website, they have to have one of their writers come up with copy that is SEO friendly, then that copy has to be worked over by the marketing people to make sure it works with the brand message, then it has to go to the legal department to make sure that they aren’t making any claims that can’t be substantiated, then it can go back to the writers for more edits, then back to…well I think you get the picture.
Smaller companies have the advantage of not having to deal with the same red tape that larger corporations do when deciding to make changes to their website. While you only answer to yourself, larger companies have to answer to their CEO’s, board of advisors, stockholders, and anybody else that has a corner office with a view.
SEO takes work, especially on your website. Between changing titles, adding products, adding content, installing a shopping cart, there’s a lot going on with your website. While smaller companies can handle having systems that are SEO friendly and perhaps take a little longer to make changes on, larger companies need changes made over night, and that typically means a content management system (CMS) that is less than SEO friendly.
Because the larger companies use CMS that aren’t SEO friendly, many of them don’t bother engaging in SEO and instead rely on brand awareness (which I mentioned earlier) to help drive traffic to their sites. Going hand in hand with this is the fact that since the larger companies don’t engage in SEO, when you do find them you’ll find their home page and have to search through their site for what you’re looking for, whereas with smaller sites you can have focus on internal pages to take customer to exactly what they’re looking for. This helps conversion rates, which ultimately means more profits for the little guy.
Reporting to Everybody
As I mentioned when talking about red tape, larger companies aren’t just answering to themselves. Zales might do a lot of business, but they have to report to their shareholders, board of trustees, and everybody else. When the little jewelry store down the street has a good quarter, the only person they’re answering to is themselves.
Because of having to answer to shareholders, larger companies need to be able to quantify their numbers into something that is easily understood, and that usually means time, energy, and resources channeled into producing these reports, as well as a system in place on the website that can easily produce the numbers needed. Those systems are often not SEO friendly. So while Zales might be able to tell their shareholders how much money they sold in the 3rd quarter of 2005, the small jewelry store down the street can figure out how much money they made, how many of each product they sold, and still rank in the top 10 for their big keywords.
Keep on Fighting
Sure, it can be discouraging to look at big companies and the money they can spend, but in this digital age with more and more people finding the products and services they want online through search engines, smaller companies can compete with larger ones through quality SEO and user-friendly websites. With a little work your company can get more internet exposure than those that spend millions of dollars on commercials, radio spots, and billboards. That’s the beauty of quality SEO.