August 31, 2012
Desperate SEOs are constantly looking for a new angle. In Search Engine Journal’s “Content Confusion: Why Webmasters Fail—Time After Time,” Gregory Smith tries to convince his readers that it should be all about quality content instead of the latest ploy to game an algorithm. He begins:
“I’ve discovered many Webmasters who have lost a lot due to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Many have lost their entire income virtually overnight. Can you imagine how badly losing your income would affect your life in a very intolerable way? Instead of learning from this lesson, more and more people are steadily heading in the same direction, still completely confused.”
Yes. Smith spends some time discussing ranking tricks like guest posts, links of dubious quality, and infographics and the very good reasons such tactics no longer work like they used to. Though he insists that search engine optimization is still “one of the most valuable investments that any business owner” can make, he implores his SEO colleagues and their clients to focus on providing quality content. If they do, the rankings will take care of themselves, he says.
Well, to a certain extent. We wouldn’t want all those SEOs out of a job just because their field is becoming increasingly obsolete, right?
Cynthia Murrell, August 31, 2012
August 3, 2012
Here are some trivial recommendations from the search engine optimization experts. Free SEO News offers, “Local Search Ranking Factors Survey: How to Get High Local Rankings.” The survey in question asked 40 local search marketers around the world which factors were most influential in gaming local search results. The write up explains:
“For some keywords (for example ‘plumbers’), Google shows local results at the top of the search result list. These websites aren’t listed at the top because they have good content or good backlinks. They are listed at the top because they fit to the geographic area of the search query. If keywords that show local results are relevant to your business, it is important to be listed in the local search results.”
Can no one seem to find the local restaurant run by your next door neighbors? Well, put this SEO research to use and help them out. The survey found that the five most important local ranking factors included the businesses physical address, its category association, its proximity to the center of the searched area, its Web site’s domain authority, and citations on aggregation sites.
Negative influencers were also noted. For example, different phone numbers across data ecosystems can hurt, but so can having multiple Google Places pages with the same phone number. Also, make sure the restaurateurs include a crawlable version of their businesses name, address, and phone number on their landing page.
So, there you go local businesses, it is simple. Or, is it simply pointless?
Cynthia Murrell, August 3, 2012
July 26, 2012
The current 2012 year is going by quickly, but there is still time to implement business strategies that could gain your company a bigger presence on the Internet. Venture Beat reported on the “Top 10 Most Important SEO and Social Marketing Tactics of 2012.” Generally these top ten lists yield information we already know: distribute content via social channels, list your social media connection buttons prominently on the page, enable sharing content, join Pinterest, etc. Some of the ideas are new: author guest blog posts, keep your own blog content interesting and new, but the number one suggestion that caught our attention was:
“Get an onsite SEO audit: an onsite SEO audit is the foundation of your SEO campaign. Getting one will help you answer questions like: Are your title and meta tags optimized? How’s your keyword density? Have you correlated certain pages with certain keywords? Is that evident in the copy? Have you done your LSI (latent semantic indexing) research and incorporated it into the copy? An onsite SEO audit is relatively cheap, and it’s a one-time payment that you shouldn’t need to address more than once a year.”
An SEO audit done by a professional company will work wonders, heck, if you do your research you can do provide the service for yourself. One important aspect of the audit is latent semantic indexing, a powerful component of text and document analysis.
Whitney Grace, July 26, 2012
Sponsored by Polyspot
July 23, 2012
Yikes, it’s a semantic invasion! Search Engine Watch declares, “Semantic Search: The Eagle Has Landed.” This article takes a look at Google’s newest Web search incarnation, the Knowledge Graph; the shift to the new system is already in progress.
Writer Jiyan Wei’s intended audience is made up of SEO pros, so most of the article focuses on what the development means for those who game results page rankings for a living. He does, however, give a good description of the service, using a search for “The Dark Knight Rises” as an example. He writes:
“Google’s goal is to infer that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is a specific entity type (a movie). Once this inference is made, they are then able to relate the entity with a set of associated entities (directors, actors, theatres, etc.). This relational understanding lays the foundation for a search experience that is far more consumer friendly, far more like ‘how humans understand the world.’. . .
“The right-column is almost entirely composed of content derived from semantic inference: it displays a list of people who have contributed to the movie as well as information about the movie pulled from Wikipedia.
“Semantic search is also currently influencing the organic search results by displaying people related to the movie, dates associated with the movie, and once the movie has been released and reviewed, ratings associated with the movie.”
Wei notes that the schema Google is using is publically available at Schema.org, a collaborative project shepherded by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. If you’re interested in keeping up with the changing rules behind the search engine optimization game, see the second half of the article.
Cynthia Murrell, July 23, 2012
Sponsored by PolySpot
July 17, 2012
SEO and search go together like a goose and water, but two recent articles had this goose swimming in an oil spill. Let me tell you, getting oil outta feathers is a task.
Have some degreaser nearby if you are taking a swim through Search Engine Journal’s recent article, “Local SEO with Google+.” During the initial paragraph, one rejoices at the possibility of SEO enlightenment for the Google changes. However, disappointment soon follows as repetitive statements lead to the same conclusion, bogging this goose in techie sludge.
That conclusion was:
“These modifications have had a few, subtle impacts on Local SEO. As the integrations between Google+ Pages and Google+ Local pages begin to roll out, we’ll undoubtedly see more changes in terms of the best practices small businesses need to undertake in order to maximize their local SEO.”
Search Engine Watch’s article “The New Mobile SEO Strategy” leads geese to believe Google came out and supported a mobile strategy with specific SEO friendly recommendations, fee free. The article promises three simple steps to serve mobile content to users with recommendations.
The article explains:
“Google supports three ways of serving mobile specific content to users and have provided distinct recommendations for each. Using the starting point of a mobile user requesting a desktop URL, here are some details for the three options listed above.”
Both these reads start out simple, but end up as clumsy as a goose stuck swimming in oil. If you understand these articles, you are smarter than the geese who work at Beyond Search. All I could do was honk at the puddle…
Jennifer Shockley, July 17, 2012
June 30, 2012
Here’s a useful list of tools one can use to dupe Google, at Search Engine Journal’s “55 SEO Productivity Tools We Use at Single Grain.” Notice that a number of tools are from Google itself. In fact, the number one item comes free, direct from the search giant. Single Grain‘s list specifies:
“Tool #1 – Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool
“Although the free Keyword Research Tool offered by Google’s Adwords doesn’t offer as many features as standalone SEO programs offer, this resource is a great option for checking general search, competition, and CPC metrics on the fly. Be sure to check out the feature that allows you to brainstorm keywords by URL in order to uncover the keywords your competitors may be targeting!”
So, Google encourages gaming its system? It sure seems that way. Here’s another example, further down the list:
“Tool #6 – Google Correlate
“One final Google tool to take a look at is Google Correlate, which will help you determine if trends that exist in your target keywords’ search volume variation correspond with trends in the real world. This can be especially helpful when understanding unexpected SEO behavior or when predicting the potential variability of search volume for future projects.”
These are just a couple of the numerous Googley items in the extensive account. Why is Google making it easier for search engine optimizers? We thought they brought in the Panda to make gaming their algorithm more difficult. Is it just us, or is the company is sending mixed signals?
Cynthia Murrell, June 30, 2012
Sponsored by PolySpot
June 25, 2012
Funnelback’s latest version boasts a number of new features, we learned at Regina’s List in “Funnelback 11 Launched with Automated Tuning and SEO Assistant.” The press release describes the new Automated Tuning component:
“Brett Matson, Managing Director of Funnelback, said Funnelback 11 has the ability to continually and automatically optimize its ranking using a correct answer set determined by the customer. This enables customers to intuitively adjust the search engine ranking algorithm to ensure it continuously adapts and is optimized to the ever-changing characteristics of their own information environment. A related benefit is that it exposes how effectively the search engine is ranking, said Mr. Matson.”
Other new features include an integrated SEO assistant, updatable indexes, efficient crawling, 64-bit indexing, a new high performance search interface, a broken links report, and a People Search feature for users’ customers. The software is available on Windows, on Linux, and as a cloud service.
Based in Australia, Funnelback grew from technology developed by premier scientific research agency CSIRO. The company was established in 2005, and was bought by UK content management outfit Squiz in 2009. They offer Enterprise and Website Search, both of which include customizable features. Their memorable name derives from the names of two Australian spiders, the funnel-web and the red back.
Cynthia Murrell, June 25, 2012
Sponsored by PolySpot
June 22, 2012
The SEO (search engine optimization) crowd thought it had a winner with sponsored content. Pay Facebook money. Crank out some verbiage. Watch those clicks come tumbling along. What seems to be tumbling are Facebook ad opportunities. “Problems for Monetization: Lawsuit Forces Facebook to Let You Opt Out of Sponsored Story Ads” suggests a “stumbling block.” Was Facebook assuming that its “members” would ingest advertising as news without complaint? Personally I enjoy advertising centric editorial content. I used to work at a newspaper and then a big magazine company. The advertorials were often labeled. Sure, tiny type was used, but if you looked, you would see the words “Sponsored by…” or “A message from …” or a similar statement. I flipped through a slick travel magazine in the doctor’s office and it looked to me as if most of the editorial content was sponsored. But I may be overly sensitive.
Here’s the passage I noted:
For those less familiar with Sponsored Stories, when a Facebook user interacts with a business, such as by Liking a Page or Page’s post, using an application, or checking in to a physical business, that business can pay to have the news feed story that could normally appear be shown more prominently or frequently in the web and mobile news feed, or in the ads sidebar to friends. Because they seem like organic content, and feature the faces and names of friends as an automatic trusted referral, they’re clicked more often and are more influential on viewers than traditional ads.
Even the lingo is from the Land of SEO. Example: “Organic” just like beets and carrots from the farmer down the road here in Kentucky.
An alleged advertorial. Source: http://pdfcast.org/pdf/writing-sample-advertorial
Sponsored content is a very big deal. The reason is that consumers tune out ads. Do you remember the commercials which run in motion picture theaters before the show starts. I don’t. I play with one of my electronic distraction devices. On a desktop computer’s big screen, there is enough real estate to stuff a range of ads to lure the surfer. On a mobile device, the ads are really annoying. So how does one pump up the click throughs? Easy. Sponsored content that is shaped information.
Shaped information is tough for some people to identify. To get a sense of the challenge, check out A 50 Year History of Disinformation by Peter Viemeister. As a result, the content is consumed and according to information in the article cited above, performs “much better than traditional ads.”
What’s the fix?
Some are harsh. Facebook users can elect to turn off the ads. Yikes, bummer. Others can be sidestepped such as a provision to have users under 18 “represent they have received parental consent.”
Here at Beyond Search we label sponsored content, which generates questions. People reading Beyond Search wonder why a company like Polyspot would sponsor a story about search. Well, Polyspot is in the search business and we are covering topics germane to Polyspot’s interests. No big surprise.
June 8, 2012
To fear or not to fear the aftermath of Penguin? The article 7 SEO Apocalypses That Never Happened recites words of encouragement, echoing the memories of past Google updates.
“My site has been at the top of Google SERPS for very competitive phrases. It’s a high quality site offering hundreds of pages of original content. Then, overnight, my site hit the bottom for almost everything thanks to Jagger.”
Despite rumors of SEO madness no one should lose hope. The past doesn’t always repeat itself as:
“Over the last three weeks, the SEO world seems to have gone mad. Panic has filled the web space: naïve and trusting webmasters start removing backlinks, content and keywords to cause a faster decrease in rankings.”
“This post is not another prescription to fight Penguin, it’s a prescription to stop sweating about Penguin.”
Penguin is going to analyze and hinder sites it believes are engaging in web spam tactics in order to increase search engine rankings. Their analysis will determine who is a spammer and who is not. It has been stated that sites affected will not be easily recognizable as spammers, but activity goes beyond white hat SEO. This could be confused with marketing.
Reassurances are irrelevant until all the kinks get worked out. Only time will tell the impact the new algorithms will have, so a false sense of security can end in an SEO nightmare. Wow, the “screwing up relevance” crowd lives to mislead another day. That is just wonderful…
Jennifer Shockley, June 8, 2012
Sponsored by IKANOW
June 2, 2012
Biznology recently provided readers with an interesting take on how to fix a cluttered website in the article “How to Clean Up a Cluttered Website? Content Analytics is the Answer.”
According to the article, Google’s new search ranking algorithm allows the search giant to pay more attention to overall cleanliness and architecture. Therefore, it is essential that websites focus on content analytics.
Even websites that follow all the SEO rules such as writing excellent copy with relevant and engaging imagery as well as incorporated social media and relevant keywords and hash-tags sometimes don’t get high search rankings.
Here is why:
“A common reason: there are other pages in your environment optimized for the same keywords. Especially in large corporate settings, the main culprit to SEO failure is duplicate content. Often this is old junk that is just sitting on a server getting in the users’ way. More importantly, the old stuff is taking up slots in Google’s index, distracting the algorithm in its attempt to rank your content. Even if the old stuff was never optimized, these pages have links into them that should be pointing to your optimized experiences.”
The solution that this author offers to the problem of duplicate content is to “clean house” by auditing content, building a strategy, and choosing the right tools. If organizations follow this simple advice they are bound to up their search traffic.
Jasmine Ashton, June 2, 2012
Sponsored by PolySpot