Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SEO, Your Website & You: 5 Myths & 10 Tips

Have you ever had a call like this?

Client: So I heard Google's Matt Cutts said links are [dead/bad/over], so I stopped all my link building, fired my SEO agency, and wanted to ask you what we should do next.

Mind BlownMe: (long pause) Umm, you did what? Were you penalized or positioning badly?

Client: Oh no, ranking in the top 3 for most of our keywords, great traffic, but you know I have been reading a little and then I saw Matt said to stop all link building, so I thought I better do that.

Me: Ummmm. OK, no...

Amazingly, even in 2014, many people have heard bits of information about websites and search engine optimization (SEO) that are either no longer relevant, completely misplaced, or simply erroneous. These all need to die really horrible deaths.

SEO Mythbusting

Myths can start so easily and quickly become pervasive. Listening to them can do some serious damage to your site or business. So let's review five of the most common myths.

Myth 1: If You Build it, They Will Come

This is a favorite mantra of the content marketing. Just build an amazing website with even more amazing content and watch the traffic roll on in.

Really? Well, no.

If it were that easy, all SEO professionals would be writers or out of work. Unfortunately, while great writing and great content is a large part of SEO and something your site definitely needs, it also needs links, a strong technical base, fast page downloads, and the list goes on and on.

Create content, but other SEO tactics are needed unless you want to be sitting all alone in a big field.

Myth 2: Link Building is Dead

While Cutts would prefer you never build another link to your website, this isn't "Field of Dreams". You can build it, but it doesn't mean traffic will come to your site.

First, Cutts never said links were dead. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Cutts said Google has tried excluding links from the algorithm and the results were "much worse." So while I don't think it will stay forever this way, we have years before it potentially could go away, according to Cutts.

Links aren't dead. You need links. What do you do?

You don't want to go to a link farm and buy links and get your site potentially penalized because that method is dead (unless you really, really know what you're doing or using "churn and burn" domains).

However, you can hire someone with experience to go create a strategic link acquisition plan and help you implement it. This means that you use strategic methods to acquire links in a way that would appear natural.

For example, let's say you sponsor a charity event every year, making sure to tie that in with local news, press coverage, and maybe the charity's own news release. All tied back to you. This is a very obvious way you can acquire natural links to your site that are part of a link building campaign, but NOT a link buying campaign.

A link builder will have many more inventive and fantastic ways to do this and the best part, it will all appear completely natural because basically they are, just with a little push. Most important to note, this is the most highly scrutinized area of SEO right now, so hire well.

Links are alive. Just some of the methods died.

Source : 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

80% of Local Searches on Mobile Phones Convert

We’re operating in a multi-screen world, where users turn to multiple devices to find what they need. This is especially true in the world of local search, where, according to recent survey findings, 63 percent now using multiple devices to find a local business. And, 79 percent of them are mobile phone users, while 81 percent are tablet owners, according to the research.

But what are they searching for, and what do they expect to find? More importantly, do they convert? These are the questions sought to be answered by research commissioned by Neustar and 15miles, and conducted by comScore. Let’s look at a few highlights of the findings.

What People are Searching for Locally

The survey results show categories of businesses that are the most popular in local search, and no surprise, restaurants are among the top:

According to the survey:
  • Restaurants are searched for 23 percent of the time.
  • Auto service establishments and dealerships at a rate of 10 percent.
  • Arts and entertainment at 9 percent.
What Results Mobile Searchers Expect

Many businesses today are looking past the initial hurdle of having a mobile-optimized site, and asking, “What content do we serve our mobile users?” Well, 65 percent of smartphone users said their searches were “driven by a need for information on the go.”

“As a result, mobile phone and tablet searchers don’t want to be overwhelmed with content, but do expect details like addresses (mobile) and basic product/service information (mobile and tablet),” the survey announcement said.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

10 New Media Trends Shaping the Lives of Modern Consumers

The new ClickZ Live conference series kicked off in New York this morning with a keynote from Randi Zuckerberg, chief executive of Zuckerberg Media and former director of market development for Facebook. The best way to reach an audience is through a good, quick laugh and Zuckerberg didn't disappoint during her introduction.
"I graduated from Harvard," she mused. "The only reason I say that is I have another sibling who didn't graduate."
Before diving into her 10 new media trends that are shaping the modern consumer, Zuckerberg took some time to reflect on her past days at Facebook. She explained that part of Facebook's success was from their strategy to take a slow, selective user base, instead of rolling out to the world at large. Facebook chose to wait until a community asked for it, so they knew it would be a success with that target group.
Before it was a buzzword, Facebook was crowdsourcing, getting input from their users in an effort to know what was needed. And by tapping into the talents of their user base, they translated Facebook into Spanish and French within 48 hours. During the Arab spring, it was translated into Farsi in 24 hours.
Zuckerberg also stressed Facebook's compulsion to put company culture in place immediately. Monthly Hackathons helped Facebook keep a cool, hacking culture in place so people would stay, even when the company grew to thousands of people. The all-night-long coding sessions helped change Zuckerberg's life through the creation of products like live comments during CNN election coverage and Facebook TV.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Title Tag Guidelines & Preview Tool

Google's recent SERP redesign may not seem like a big deal to the casual observer, but at least one change could have a real impact on SEOs. This post will explore the impact of the redesign on title tags, and define a new, data-driven length limit, but first, a new tool...

Title tag preview tool (2014 edition)

Pardon the reverse order of this post, but we wanted to put the tool first for repeat visitors. Just enter your title and the search query keywords (for highlighting) below to preview your result in the redesign:
Enter Your Full Title Text:
Enter Search Phrase (optional):
I'm really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Beyonce has one of the best
This is your page description. The font and size of the description has not changed in the latest redesign. Descriptions get cut off after roughly 160 characters ...

Note: Enter keyword phrases as natural queries, without commas. This preview tool only highlights exact-match text (not related concepts) and is only intended as an approximation of actual Google results.

How the redesign impacts titles

Google's redesign increased the font size of result titles, while keeping the overall container the same size. Look at the following search result both before and after the redesign:
The title on the top (old design) has a small amount of room to spare. After the redesign (bottom), it's lost six full characters. The old guidelines no longer apply, and so the rest of this post is an attempt to create a new set of guidelines for title tag length based on data from real SERPs.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Matt Cutts Shares 4 Ways Google Evaluates Paid Links

Webmasters and Google how such a love-hate relationship when it comes to backlinks. Webmasters know they need great backlinks in order to rank well, and Google knows they need to keep on top of how to determine if a link is paid or not, so they can react accordingly.

Paid links are an incredibly gray area. What exactly is a paid link? How can Google figure out what is paid and what isn't? Google's Matt Cutts dove into the topic paid links in a webmaster help video.

Because of this, there's where it can be hard to determine if a link is paid. on what exactly a paid link.

Incredibly Clear Paid Links

There are definitely a lot of cases where it is painfully obvious to trained SEOs when a link is paid or not, even when some webmasters think there being pretty clever about it.

The vast majority of the time things are incredibly clear, people are paying money outright for links based on PageRank, flowing the PageRank, trying to get high the rankings," Cutts said. "Ninety-nine percent of the time it's abundantly clear that these are links that are being bought and paid and sold and all that sort of stuff."

But then there's the gray area. What if someone's not paying someone for a back link, but instead the company takes them out and buy them pizza and beer in exchange for that link or story? Does it become paid then? Or where is that line? Cutts continues and tries to explain the differences.

1. Value of the Item

Is it swag you picked up a conference such as a T-shirt or a pen? That likely isn't going to sway your opinion on what you write about the company. But things range in value from cheap pens all the way up to things of high monetary value, and that's where things get tricky. And what about gift cards for smart ones that fall into the realm of things regarding paid links.

Sometimes people might say something like, "Hey, I'd like to send you a gift card.' You know what gift cards are pretty fundable you can convert them to money and back and forth... On the other hand, something like "I'm going to give you a free trial of perfume" or "I'm going to buy you a beer" or something like that, that's less of a connection.

But we do look at how close something is to actual money when we look at those kinds of things. If somebody goes and buys you a dinner and you write a blog post four months later, and the dinner wasn't some huge steak dinner with 18 courses ... that's probably not the sort of thing we worry about, as you would guess.

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