on-site-search

Help Me Help You: A Guide to Optimizing On-Site Search

on-site-search
Having a well-optimized site search tool does two important things for your site. For your customers, it allows them to quickly and easily find what they are after. For you, it gives valuable insight into what your customers are looking for when visiting. With this information, you as a business can make sure you are meeting their expected needs, and if you find that you are not, you can adjust your products and services to serve them better.

In fact, customers who do an on-site search generate more revenue than those who do not. For example, an average of 30% of visitors will perform an on-site search, and for e-commerce websites, customer conversion rates nearly doubled from people who used on-site search and found what they were after.

You probably think that you understand why a great on-site search tool is important, but figuring out how to make it great is easier said than done. Here are some simple ways to improve your on-site search tool to make sure that it is useful and intuitive for your site visitors.

header-image

Design

Start by making sure that your search box is a static fixture on all your pages. It should appear in the same spot with the same design regardless of the page your customer is on. It is also recommended that you make it a visible search “box” and not just text or an icon. A Nielsen Norman Group study showed that there was a 91% increase in search usage when displaying a box versus text alone. This is a great reason to be sure to use a traditional search box format. Jet.com does an excellent job of keeping their search bar in the same front and centre location across their entire site. Regardless of where the customer is in their shopping journey, they can quickly and easily perform a search for additional products.

Design-Example-Jet

To further enhance your search box place some text inside of it so that it is evident to users what the purpose of the box is. Something as simple as the word “search” or “search for” works perfectly, or as Jet.com has, “Search and start saving…”

You also want to allow your user to start the search by simply hitting the return key. You don’t want to force your user to mouse and click the search button/icon.

Functionality

It’s important to make sure that your on-site search will auto-complete as your customers are typing in their requests. This enables them to find exactly what they are after on your site painlessly. Zappos’ search bar is an excellent example of this: entering only the first four letters of Adidas returns ten possible queries from the various collections they carry.

Functionality-Example-Zappos

Setting up autocomplete is a relatively simple process, and most site design templates like WordPress offer free plug-ins.

Results

Try helping your customers by tackling the most reasonable terms and providing customised results based on the query. So the goal would be to have a different results pages based on different search terms, even if the terms are very similar. FTD does a great job of this with their wedding flowers, providing custom graphics that correspond with that term, versus their standard layout for a more general query such as white flowers.

Results-Example-FTD

The reason is that if a client searches a second time with a similar search term, it is likely they did not find what they wanted the first time. You want to make sure you are returning different results pages and images each time to increase the chances of them landing on exactly what they are after.

To that end, you also want to be very sure that you do not return a zero results page. Have a plan in place to return a page of value even when no results are found. You could return a page with your most favourite items, sale items, or even better, when possible you can return items in a similar category as the item they entered in their search. Best Buy does a good job of this when searching for the fictional item milk steak, wherein they return items that pertain to a similar term they carry.

Results-Example-BestBuy

Visual

If you offer items in varied colours, sizes, etc… try returning images that best match the searched terms. For example, if you sell outdoor equipment and someone types in “black grill” you want your results page to show images of the black options of all the different grills you sell, just as Home Depot has done.

Visual-Example-HomeDepot

Likewise, if the user types in “patio chairs” you want the results to show images of your selection of patio chairs. You may not always have images to match every option you offer, but do your best to match the returned images as closely as possible to the original search terms.

Understanding the added value a robust on-site search tool will give to your clients makes the effort it takes to optimize your search tool well worth it. Taking the time to make sure your search engine is working hard to make your user experience smooth and productive will dramatically help convert visitors into customers.


nicole-stelmarNicole Stelmar is a digital marketing specialist for Inseev Interactive, a digital marketing agency based in San Diego. Nicole specializes in helping businesses of all sizes use digital marketing and SEO to grow their digital presence.

ssl certificate boost seo and customer retention rate

How An SSL Certificate Can Boost Your SEO And Increase Your Customer Retention Rate

ssl certificate boost seo and customer retention rate

Do you know that an SSL certificate can improve your search visibility?

A recent study by Harvard Business School shows that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% increases profit by 25 – 95%.

ssl seo

 

Businesses are working hard to get to the first page of Google SERPs. Although, some of these businesses work in line with Google’s algorithm updates while others use black-hat SEO practices. On the long-run, this will not go well with their website.

However, there’s one technique most webmasters overlook which is not only important for driving organic traffic but to also retain customers.

It’s simply leveraging SSL to improve their business.

A recent Google transparency report shows that 79 of the top 100 websites still don’t deploy HTTPS. Even eBay, the popular shopping site doesn’t.

That’s so bad — this is one of the reasons why sensitive user information is disclosed daily and accounts been hacked.

So it doesn’t sound like a new thing anymore when we say users accounts are been stolen and sold every day on stores in the dark web.

ssl conversion

 

Well. in this article you’re going to find out why you need to install an SSL certificate on your website if you have not done so.

But first, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides a security layer on your website to protect your website from sharing sensitive visitors/customers information.

According to the official SSL websiteSSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser.

This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.”

So, an SSL encrypts plain text like credit card details, passwords, and data that only the website and the user are meant to decrypt. It also authenticates websites and let users know when a website is not secured to visit/use.

You can identify that a website is secured with SSL certificate if it’s deployed via HTTPS like this: https://www.example.com with a padlock as shown below.

ssl seo conversion

 

And in Google Chrome there’s an additional word added — “Secure.”

ssl retention rate

 

Here are the ways an SSL certificate can help improve your business, and gradually boost your organic search performance:

1).  SSL enhances customer and visitor trust

The internet is really porous. We see a lot of horrible things happening online daily.

And it seems every day there’s another security breach headline. Studies have revealed that over 30,000 websites are infected with malware each day.

malware infections

 

So how do you make your own website safe for users?

By using a layer of security that communicates the security of your website to your customers (i.e., SSL certificate) from a trusted company, you can make your customers feel safer.

When customers see the “secure” in their browser address box and the padlock icon on your website — psychologically it makes them feel safe and positive about your website.

And they’ll feel like, “yes, this website is secure we can buy from them safely.”

Personally, I made up my mind that I’ll not even register on any website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed let alone buying a product there.

But, how exactly do you make your customers trust your brand?

Start by installing an SSL certificate. It’s a cheap way to get your customers to trust your brand more. A study by SaaS Brand found that 39% of websites with a secure server acquires more customers in the long-run compared to websites without it.

If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed you’re leaving a lot on the table and you’re turning your customers away. When visitors get to your website and they see this:

non ssl URL bar in browser

 

“Not Secure” – it immediately turns them off. They won’t buy from you.

2).  Improve Google rankings

In 2014 Google mentioned that in a way to make the web a safe place and to secure privacy for online users, they have decided to crawl more websites with HTTPS by default.

“Today we’d like to announce that we’re adjusting our indexing system to look for more HTTPS pages. Specifically, we’ll start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page.”

Yes, this is something you should take advantage of.

But will it work independently of other ranking factors?

No.

You need to optimize your web pages in line with Google’s guidelines. Then, by the time you add an SSL certificate, it becomes an added advantage and interestingly that’s just where the web is moving to, we can’t possibly hide from it.

The process of setting up the SSL certificate can be a nightmare if you’re not experienced. However, most web hosting companies have made it easy by allowing you to install it in one click.

And have it updated automatically when it expires — having it installed isn’t enough,  updating is very important. It’s even scarier to visitors when your certificate expires and you don’t update it.

Look at this:

site's security certificate not trusted

 

Source: Netcraft

Your visitors will immediately hit the back button when they get here, especially those who understands what HTTPS means.

If you Install an SSL certificate properly you’re more likely to experience an increase in website traffic which your business needs to grow.

Malware attack can really affect user experience on your website and gradually pull your organic search rankings down. It’s possible.

If your website is been attacked by a malware Google may likely penalize your website.

And sooner or later, you’ll ultimately lose your ranking.

You know that time is required to recover from any form of Google penalty and might be difficult to return to your top ranking positions even after you’ve recovered from it.

In addition, don’t be the one distributing malware to your customers as a recent Kaspersky security bulletin reported that browsers are more vulnerable to malware attacks.

While there are other methods you can use to avoid this from happening it’s important that you use an SSL company that keeps you in check.

browser vulnerable to malware

3).  Improve Conversion Rate

It’s no news that if your customers trust your brand they’ll feel safer buying from you, and even become loyal brand advocates.

It’s very important that your prospective customers trust your business. This would make it easier for them to submit their credit card details and carry out safe transactions.

Remember that when there’s no trust, then there may not be a drive to buy.

The reverse is the case if your prospective customers notice that you are being careless about their security — they’ll take their money to your competitors. Worse case scenario: they might never return to your (unsafe) website.

However, not all customers will understand this technical stuffs, so it pays to add an SSL trust seal on your website to let your customers know how you value their safety.

See some examples of Trust seals:

trust seals

A case study by Symantec reveals that a client saw a 10% to 87% increase in conversion using Symantec EV SSL seal.

effect of trust seals on conversion and sales

 

This goes a long way to prove that an inclusion of SSL seals in any part of your website especially on your shopping cart can significantly improve your conversion rate.

On the flip side, your conversion will likely suffer without a seal. Or what do you think?

4).  Keeps data secure

While SSL certificate shows everyone that your website is legitimate it also allows you to secure your customer’s credit card details, bank details, and their passwords.

Hackers are constantly creating phishing websites but having an SSL certificate can significantly combat this practice and differentiate real websites from phishing websites.

More so, it’s important that you use a trusted SSL company that can really help you with adequate security; they would scan the web for a duplicate of your domain DNS and SSL private key constantly — you need this to be double sure about your user’s safety.

This is important — it ensures that your DNS and private key aren’t easily stolen with a malware just the way it happened to NiceBank, a large financial institution (NiceBank is a fictional bank that was used in a case study by Venafi).

NiceBank’s DNS and private key were stolen and used to create a phishing website that tricked a lot of the bank’s customers into submitting their credit card details to the site thinking that it’s the correct website. How sad!

And eventually, the credit card details were sold on the dark web at the AphaBay market — a fraud marketplace in the dark web.

alpha ba market

 

This is very important for all websites that accept credit cards, debit card and passwords.

Honestly, your customers will like to stay with your brand knowing that you care about their safety online.

Conclusion

I’m sure you’re now aware of the need to use an SSL certificate on your website.

Without one, users will hardly trust you and search engines will give other website preference over yours.

You can acquire an SSL certificate from any trusted company or get it for free from Let’s Encrypt, if you don’t yet have a budget for it.

However, the fact that it’s free doesn’t mean it’s trash. But here’s my candid advice: If you truly care about user’s safety on your website, invest in a premium SSL certificate.

Side note: If you don’t accept payments or collect emails and passwords on your website, you might not need an SSL certificate.

But you should install it because you’ll most likely be losing traffic to your competitors that have installed SSL certificate and also because that’s the norm online right now.

As usual, I’d love to hear from you. Do you use an SSL certificate on your website? What results have you seen so far?

 



michael chibuzorAbout the Author — Michael Chibuzor is a professional content writer and digital marketing expert. He helps software companies acquire more leads and 10x revenue. You can check out his
marketing cost breakdown before investing in search engine optimization or any channel. You can also reach him on Twitter @mikecoder

deconstructing googles algorithm in code

Deconstructing Google’s Algorithm to Understand Advanced SEO

Let me introduce you to a hard-hitting reference that is useful in making adjustments to your website to help improve your search ranking and, in turn, let you benefit from any increase in search traffic. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the act of maneuvering website pages to become accessible by search engine crawlers so they can be indexed and easily spidered.

Understanding the art and science of how search engines recognize pages pertinent to a query of viewers and designing market strategies based on this, is called search engine optimization. It is a cost effective tool to acquire “live” and “real” business leads. In most cases, SEO delivers a better return on investment (ROI) than any other online ads like affiliate and pay per click advertising, digital campaigns and promotions, email marketing, social media marketing, and newsletters.

An algorithm is the key to a search engine. Web pages are evaluated, and relevance is determined by using an algorithm. All the gathered data from web pages passes through a crawler, a robot that scans all these pages for inclusion in the search engine.

SEO experts across Canada and the United States are prey to Google’s algorithm standards. If found to be guilty of violating Google rules, their sites may end up being penalized. Others, who outsource social media services along with their SEO efforts are also bound by the same rules.

golden key on keyboard

Google’s Algo Is The Key

Google has a highly developed and comprehensive technology, an uncomplicated interface, and a wide array of mechanisms which enable the viewers to have easy access to some information.

Google can search the web and locate information in numerous languages, generate maps, provide a collection of quotes, read news articles, and find friends by utilizing the phonebook lists available or search 3 billion web pages online.

Google takes pride in having the largest archive of Usenet messages in the world since 1981. You can access Google’s technology from any conventional PCs or desktops or from many wireless platforms such as smartphones, WAP, handheld devices, and gadgets that are internet equipped.

Social media marketing services are also highly linked to Google’s standards and processes that almost everything online works the same way Google does. In fact, Google created its own social media and marketing channels such as Google+ and YouTube.

Popularity Based on Pagerank

Leading portals and websites’ choice of technology on web search has always been Google. It has also been beneficial to advertisers because of its unique programs in advertising which do not hamper the surfing experience online and at the same time, bring profit to those running the ads.

When a user looks for a particular keyword or phrase online, various search engines give back the phrase or keyword in a page order depending on the number of times it was initially searched. Google’s technology on web search utilizes hypertext-matching analysis and PageRank Technology that implement calculations without intervention from humans. As the internet grows, structural design of Google simultaneously expands.

PageRank Technology is an algorithm that utilizes a million terms and variables and calculates a factual computation of web pages to determine which are significant. It then measures the pages by computing 500 million variable equations and terms up to 3 billion. Compared to other search engines, Google does not calculate links but makes use of the sizeable link structure of the web as a tool for organization.

Back Links are Considered Popular Votes

chain links

Quintessentially, the importance of a page in Google is calculated by the number of “votes” received. Aside from this, Google makes an assessment of how important is the page involved in the voting process. As a result, significant pages with a high ranking can boost other pages that are just as relevant. One thing to consider is the technology of Google has no intervention of humans in any way and utilizes intelligence inherent of the internet and its data to make calculations on the importance and ranking of a page.

Aside from backlinks, marketing, and social media referrals can also be one good way for your site to get a “vote,” which greatly helps your chances of getting onto the first page of Google’s SERPs.

Hypertext-Matching Analysis

Google, unlike its conventional counterparts, is hypertext-based. Meaning, all of the content on the web is analyzed including font factors, subdivisions and correct positions of all terminologies on a page. Also, Google evaluates the closest web pages and contents. Any subject matter not disregarded by Google pays off in the end and enables Google to retrieve results closest to queries of viewers.

Google has three simple ways in managing a question submitted in a search box:

  1. Upon submission of the question and when the enter key is pressed, the web server communicates with the index servers. An index server is composed of the same index as the book that displays the particular page that contains a query.
  2. Afterward, the query is submitted to doc servers, and these servers reclaim the documents stored. Snippets or page descriptions are then produced to suitably recount results of the search.
  3. The results are retrieved then returned to a user in less than a second. Every month, Google updates their indexing by doing a recalculation of the Page Ranks of every crawled web page. This update is referred to as the “Google Dance.”

Do You Know The “Google Dance”?

couple dancing

The Algorithm Shuffle

The assessment of the algorithm takes days to finish. It is during these periods that results of searches fluctuates. These fluctuations are known as the “Google Dance.” It usually occurs in the third week of the month. Google search uses two servers, and during the monthly update, these also change. There are also fluctuations that occur sometimes, but they are not part of the “Google Dance” rather they are a fresh crawl of Google and are commonly termed “Everflux.”

Google’s other servers, www3.google.com and www2.google.com usually provide the same results, but they differ during the dance.

For the better part of the “Google Dance,” the rankings on www2 and www3 are new rankings that will be transferred to www when the dancing stops. Whether the calculations are done 40 times or not, the final rankings become visible only as early as can be. That is because, during the first recap, the assessed figures emerge too close to the final numbers.

By checking the data box and making some calculations, you can see visibility of this in the Page Rank Calculator. Sometimes, results from www2 & www3 are visible on the www server during the dance but only for a short time. Also, www2 & www3 results disappeared in shorter periods. After the Google dance, results on www2 & www3 matches that of www.

Author’s Bio:

Patrick PanuncillonPatrick Panuncillon is an SEO and Digital Marketing Expert and the CEO of Linkvista Digital Inc., a company based in the Philippines. Together with his team of highly skilled digital marketing professionals, they help their global clients increase their online visibility and enhance their worldwide reach by dominating the first pages of SERPs.

what types of business benefit most from local SEO

What types of businesses benefit most from local SEO strategies?

In today’s blog post we have Thomas Eder of Sawgrass Digital Marketing here to tell us about the types of businesses that benefit most from SEO, why SEO isn’t right for every business, and how you can predict if SEO will have a high ROI.

Thomas has also included a simple formula you can use to calculate the ROI of an SEO campaign.


All local businesses can benefit from a proactive SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Customers are searching for local businesses at an ever increasing rate, and it pays to be a part of the conversation when a consumer is evaluating products or service providers in the local area. Even if you aren’t ready to invest in a full-scale SEO campaign that ranks your website for competitive keywords you can still engage in other tactics that ensure your brand is properly represented in a search.

If you are interested in launching a full-scale SEO campaign, there are factors to consider before making the investment. I’ll be exploring those factors in this article, and it’s my goal to give marketing managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs insight into the viability of a local SEO campaign. Because from an investment perspective SEO isn’t right for everyone but when it is right, it’s really right.

Good SEO is not cheap

Now this isn’t meant to discourage your from investing in SEO, but I do wish to create some awareness. Notice I used the word “investment”? This is a crucial distinction; SEO should not be treated as a cost. A cost is a simple and often necessary expenditure of money, time, or other resources. SEO is intended to produce a return in the form of increased exposure and new customer relationships. Therefore you need to be confident that your investment will generate a return. SEO is an investment in the success of your business, and it’s your duty to make sure it’s a prudent one.

There are more than enough agencies and freelancers out there willing to sell cheap SEO as an add-on to an existing marketing campaign to make more money on the back end. These happen to be the same agencies that have poor track records with SEO; this is not a coincidence. The mistake is in treating SEO like an afterthought. A good SEO agency will price their services depending on your location, industry, and the competitive landscape in your area. This increases the odds of success for your campaign and is just plain smart.

Good agencies approach the pricing situation in this manner because it’s important to know what level of resources will be required to achieve the desired ranking. This means that the business owner needs to weigh the pros and cons of the SEO campaign. They need to take into account the return on investment and determine if the campaign is worth it. Below are a few factors that will help you decide what sort of businesses can see high returns from an SEO campaign.

stick figure holding magnifying glass

Population and Search Volume

If your local area is small, it’s obvious that you’re going to have fewer customers to sell too. It’s important to know for sure how many new customers you require per annum to evaluate the viability of an SEO campaign. A good indicator of the feasibility of the local market is search volume or the average number of monthly searches your desired keyword has. If the volume is high, it’s a good indicator that there is a healthy and thriving market available to support an SEO campaign.

High-Cost Per Customer

Also, known as LTV or lifetime value, a business should be acutely aware of the average lifetime value of their clients. Knowing the LTV allows you make informed decisions when it comes to investments in operations, marketing, and other crucial business activities. For example, industries like law, dentistry, or HVAC typically see significant returns from an SEO campaign. The average LTV for their customers can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, making the investment worth it.

In contrast, a high volume low margin business like a restaurant will benefit from an SEO campaign but will likely struggle to pay off their investment. It’s also important to note that a business that has customers with a high LTV will benefit more because they aren’t pressured to make as many sales as a lower margin operation, thereby increasing the success rate of the campaign on the whole.

emergency services for search engine optimization

Emergency Services

When the furnace breaks in the middle of winter or when your tooth cracks on vacation you aren’t going to want to wait to get it fixed which means you’re probably going to make a quick decision based on availability. This is where SEO can shine for a business that offers emergency or on-call services. If you can be found online and rank higher than your competitors when a customer is in a moment of crisis, odds are you’ll be getting a phone call, and your competitors are going to be left out of the conversation.

So how can you know if SEO is right for your business?

Here’s a simple formula you can use to determine if SEO is right for your business.

First, determine the search volume for the particular keyword you wish to rank for. You can use an SEO tool like SEMRush to accomplish this. Alternatively, ask your SEO provider for their insight. Next, divide that monthly search volume by the average click-through-rate for that position. It’s typically somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% for a number one ranking. Now you should have a clear picture of the number of website visitors you can expect if you invest in SEO.

The remainder of the formula involves taking the expected traffic and dividing it by a reasonable conversion rate for your business and industry. You’ll likely have better insight into this than anyone else; it is your business after all. Once you know how many new customers that ranking will result in you can multiply that number by your average LTV (lifetime value) for that customer to get an accurate picture of an SEO campaigns ROI. If the return is greater than the investment, you’re good to go!

Remember, this is a practical, numbers only perspective and many other factors go into an SEO campaign. Always consult with your SEO provider to ensure maximum success, and don’t forget to ask for referrals or case studies. Past successes are the only accurate indicator of future success.

Thomas Eder of Sawgrass Digital MarketingThomas Eder is the Founder of Sawgrass Digital Marketing a traffic and conversions focused digital marketing agency. He posts resources and content for marketers on his Facebook page. You can also find him on Twitter @thom_eder and YouTube.

 

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press release

Google Flip-flops Regarding Press Releases

For quite some time us SEOs have been using press releases as one of the many things we help rank our own sites and our client’s sites. They allow us to get our client’s info out to many different media outlets and their websites with links back to our client’s site from authority websites. These links then help our site or our client’s sites rank higher.

Last year, Google decided to reduce the value of press releases as an SEO technique because a lot of companies and search engine optimization companies were distributing these press releases that were of low quality and added no news value what-so-ever. Even though Google made this change, a lot of businesses were still using press releases for what they were intended for.

Now, Google has changed their mind and their algorithm to give press releases more value in their search results. This means that companies can now use press releases for SEO value again.

Business 2 Community wrote a blog post about the change:

Don’t Call It a Comeback: Google Just Made Press Releases More Valuable

Recently, Reuters discovered that Google quietly changed its algorithm to increase the prevalence of press releases in Google News search results, which presents a tremendous opportunity for organizations to more widely raise awareness for their news.

Less than a year ago, Google’s Panda 4.0 update devalued press releases as a SEO tactic, in response to far too many companies distributing press releases with zero news value to boost search rankings. As a consequence of rooting out spammy content, legitimate announcements were unfairly penalized, and the traffic to most of the major wire services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, etc., dropped almost overnight.

[Read more]

 

How you increase your rankings on search engines: Cartoon

search engine algorithm

In case you are all wondering, you need to figure out this math problem in order to rank better in the search engines. Sort of reminds me of Matt Damon’s character in Goodwill Hunting who solved the math problem at M.I.T.

seo is not dead

The Rumours Of The Demise of SEO is Premature

Everyday I read through blogs that say SEO is dead. Usually this comes from either:

  • Fear mongers
  • People trying to sell a product or informational book about getting traffic without SEO
  • Uninformed journalists not in the SEO industry
  • People saying the new SEO is social signals

Obviously SEO (search engine optimization) is not dead. It’s still very much alive. Just look at the first page of results for things like “buy viagra online” or even “las vegas personal injury lawyer”. Every single web page listed on the first page is there due to SEO.

There are hundreds of ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. A few of them are listed in this article:

Google Ranking Factors: SEO Is Not Dead

Tyler Collins – Huffington Post
CEO, Orange County SEO.

First, stop assuming SEO is dead because the rules changed. If you are a business owner with a website, or a digital marketer offering services, you are aware of how important it is to connect with people interested in the products or services you or your clients offer. You also know the power of search marketing, and how useful a top position a search can be.

SEO criteria frequently changes and becomes more difficult, so many website owners (and so-called SEO professionals) fall out of their practice claiming that SEO is dead – this could not be farther from the truth. Obviously, people are still using search engines to source information, products, and services, therefore, if your website has content people should find, you should still be optimizing your website. The sky hasn’t fallen and SEO still works.

[ read  more ]

The rules for SEO change many times a year at the whim of Google and their algorithm. This means that anyone doing SEO has to change their strategy along with the algorithm. A few of the general things you can do to rank better are:

  • Better and longer content (1000 words or more is ideal right now)
  • Content optimized for “things” not “strings”
  • Original images on each page
  • Backlinks (other websites linking to you)
  • Social signals – (eg. Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, Google +1s, etc.)

Of course, those are very general topics and there is much more to each in order to get your site to have better rankings. Doing just one of those things mentioned won’t be enough. A successful SEO campaign includes all of those things in order to rank as high as possible.

don't be evil the documentary

Don’t Let Google Get Away With This

 

On October 4 of 2013, Google released the updated version of their algorithm which included their fifth confirmed release of the “Penguin” update. Google called it “Penguin 2.1”. This update was far more punitive than the previous updates and decimated businesses. Some lost everything. They went from having lots of traffic to none overnight within a few hours on a Friday afternoon.

Businesses everywhere live or die by their listing in Google including lawyers, dentists, home renovation companies and even one person house cleaners. Their listing means more leads and more customers. But what happens when Google takes this away from them? Google can control whether a business lives or dies with an algorithm change. Not only does this effect the owners or management of a small business, but the employees as well.

No Way Out For Over a Year

After the “Penguin” update in October of 2013, Google didn’t run the update for over a year. Those businesses that were affected by the update were left wondering what they had to do to recover without any answer from Google. Essentially, they were punished for a year without Google giving them any chance to fix what they did wrong. Some didn’t recover after the update in 2014 because they had no idea what they had to do in order to get out of the penalty. They didn’t take the steps necessary likely because they had no idea what the steps were. It wasn’t like Google gave step-by-step instructions on how to fix it or even some sort of assurance that this would help. We came up with a solution for businesses that came to us after being penalized that helped them recover in as little as 10 days (ask us how if you disappeared – click here). But imagine the thousands of businesses that didn’t have that solution.

Some businesses were forced to buy Google Adwords (pay-per-click) ads in order to be found in search results again so that they could acquire new leads. This can be incredibly expensive if you consider that keywords like “dui lawyer phoenix” cost as much as $190 per click. No wonder Google’s ad revenue in 2013 was over 50 billion US dollars. They hypocrisy is that Google tells us that businesses shouldn’t buy links to get on the first page of their search results yet Google sells those links each day.

Negative SEO – Thanks Google

This punitive strategy has also spawned negative SEO. Now your listing on the first page of Google’s search results can disappear because of strategies that someone else is doing to you. That means that someone can partake in activities that will have your site’s rankings drop or have your site vanish from search results. Don’t be fooled to think that it’s only somebody in a dark room at their computer creating links from bad sites to link at your site. There are companies partaking in negative SEO to hurt their competitors. I can confirm that it’s a fact as we have and are being attacked by negative SEO. (I’ll have more about this in a future post.)

Taking a Stand

Google has been making changes to their algorithm and search results pages for the past three years in order to aggressively attack websites that don’t conform to their standards. Now there is somebody trying to do something about this. Josh Bachynski, a well known SEO expert who writes about ethics and SEO is making a documentary to show Google’s treatment of these small businesses and how they have affected people’s lives. He’s created a teaser video (below) and also wrote an outstanding long post questioning Google’s ethics (or lack there of) at The Moral Concept. As Josh states in his teaser video:

“There is a war between websites and search engines. Between democracy and monopoly. Between Google and you.”

Josh is looking for businesses affected by the Google algorithm updates and would like to hear from them in order to make his documentary. We can stop Google and hold them to their motto of “don’t be evil.”

For more information about Josh’s documentary and contributing, visit “Don’t Be Evil, the Documentary.

Common SEO Campaign Misunderstandings

SEO with an arrow showing growthSearch Engine Optimization is a critical piece of any company’s online marketing strategy or campaign, however many fall into the pitfalls of promises made by fly-by-night “experts”, promises that simply cannot be made or kept by anyone. It’s important that we give our clients the best search engine optimization service in Vancouver, and have provided an excerpt from an article to help shine some light onto a particular myth regarding placement.

“SEO Lies, Myths & Misconceptions

By Justin Downey

SEO Myth: Search Engine Optimization’s Goal is Top Placement

This myth is as wide-spread as it is inaccurate. Search Engine Optimization’s goal is to make a site more “findable.” At JDM, we call it “Search Engine Visibility”. On average, website’s only receive 6% to 7% of their traffic from commercial search engines. A site that has undergone Search Engine Optimization should shoot for that number to increase to 10% to 30%—at best. It’s important to note that SEO is based on visibility and relevancy. That is, how well a search engine spider can read the site and index it as well as targeting search queries (keywords) that are of maximum relevancy to the site. In other words, if the site doesn’t receive the top placement you want, don’t just blame SEO—blame the content.” [ read more ]

While ranking first overall is great, getting to rank near the top can be just as beneficial. Simply put, SEO is an important piece of any companies marketing success, but that success cannot be determined by being ranked first overall. It’s important to ensure that the content you are providing is rich and provides value, keeping clients coming back on a regular basis and generating more business.

7 risky mistruths that an SEO content creator may tell you

SEO content creationWith the latest changes in Google’s algorithm, it’s now more important than ever to have high quality content for Search Engine Optimization. It’s always a struggle for a number of our clients to supply good content that is not copied from another source online. Google and other search engines can now check your content to see if it is duplicate content. If it is duplicated, they’ll pretty much not give you any credit for it and it’s almost impossible to get that page to rank on the first page of Google. Even worse, Google may even penalize your site for having duplicate or poor content.

7 Dangerous Lies Your SEO Content Writer is Telling You

by Nicole BeckettSiteProNews

Far too many of the content writers out there can’t actually write! As a result, they prey on people like you – hoping you’ll believe their promises and never notice that they don’t actually have any talent. Sadly, the odds are high that you’ve been lied to by an SEO content writer. Heck, you may have been told several lies!

There are some real doozies being told out there, but these 7 are the most common – and they’re also the most damaging to your business…[read more]

As with any service or product your purchase, it’s always good to get references before hiring an SEO content writer. We’ve seen a lot of very bad content. We had one piece of content on how SEO can benefit a personal injury lawyer sent to us for approval that said “Therefore, by making good use of SEO, lawyers can easily attract lots of clients ideal for the plummeting of their businesses.” Plummeting? I had to re-read three times to make sure that was correct.

Do your own research before hiring a content writer who understands how to write for Search Engine Optimization.