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How To Maximize Your Local SEO Performance For Health Benefit Firms

How To Maximize Your Local SEO Performance For Health Benefits Firms

How To Maximize Your Local SEO Performance For Health Benefit Firms

Local SEO uses different algorithms compared to your standard search engine optimization campaign, confusing many health benefits business owners looking to maximize their local traffic. Thankfully, our experts have created a guide on how to get ahead in the competitive local SEO game. Below are seven techniques guaranteed to increase your organic search engine traffic and ultimately provide a much-needed boost to your bottom line.

1. Research Related Keywords

Anybody who has ever done anything related to search engine optimization is probably tired of thinking about keywords, but we assure you that they are a necessary evil if you want your campaign to produce results. Unlike other platforms that tell you keywords are essential without explaining how to use them, we’ll walk you through the process.

The first step is to download Google’s AdWords tool and set up a campaign. Next, type your website’s URL into the provided keyword tool. This brings up a list of the keywords associated with your business and website.

On the left-hand column, you will see a list of “Ad Groups” from which your results above are derived. Manually delete any that do not pertain to you, and you should be left with between five and 15 groups of words that you’re looking to rank for.

Finally, highlight each group and ensure that your website has a page optimized for those terms. If you don’t have one yet, create them as needed using the guidelines below.

2. Construct Landing Pages For Search Phrases

Keywords work best if each page on your site only focuses on a few of them, so it’s best to have multiple landing pages instead of one gigantic one. First, identify which page you want to associate with a particular group of keywords. Examples of this in the health benefits would be “dental benefits”, “health benefits,” and “employee benefits.” Then, optimize the page you selected by including the relevant phrases in the following five places.

  • A. Meta Title
  • B. Meta Description
  • C. Actual URL
  • D. H1 Tag
  • E. Body Content

These are the areas Google looks for keywords in, so including them in all five locations should increase your SEO substantially.

3. Acquire Local Citations

There are three primary factors considered in local SEO rankings: time in operation, links back to your website, and reviews. The first element is mostly outside of your control, so let’s focus on the other two starting with backlinks.

Local SEO demands a specific type of link called a citation that includes your location. The best way to get these is to create a profile on local online directories such as Google My Business. Make sure that all of your listings have the same NAP (name, address, phone number) information, as even an insignificant discrepancy such as writing out “avenue” versus abbreviating it “Ave.” can be enough to confuse Google.

A variety of powerful tools are available to help you get these citations, including White Spark and Moz Local. Alternatively, YEXT offers an automated directory solution if you would prefer to do it yourself. However, we have noticed that professional services such as Moz Local consistently deliver better results than trying on your own.

4. Building Editorial Links

Citations are a good start, but all of their links include “rel=nofollow,” programming language that prevents Google from following that link to crawl to your site. We need Google to find you, so editorial links are required as a roadmap.

The best way to get these is to perform a quick Google search on “Guest Contribution Health Benefits,” where “health benefits” is the name of the field you’re in. You could also search for “Guest Contribution Dental Benefits.” The resulting websites should all allow guest contributions, enabling you to write content containing your links to them.

Any links provided in your author’s bio are likely to be of the “nofollow” variety, but the actual articles you contribute will not. Therefore, make sure to include relevant links in every post!

5. Social Media Signals

social media apps

It isn’t enough to merely post on social media: you need to use it to build valuable relationships with your target market. First, you need to start by providing quality content. If you’re not, the tips below cannot help you.

Once you have quality content, you can retarget it toward your local target audience and use the provided advertising tools to rack up likes, comments, and shares. This interaction tells Google that people are talking about your health benefits business, boosting your reliability for the keywords you identified during the first step.

6. Obtain Reviews

User-generated content such as reviews is the final thing considered in your local SEO performance. The best way to get positive reviews is to just ask for them, providing your Google+ and Yelp pages to make it convenient for your customers to do so. You can find additional review sites to recommend by adding the word “review” to the keywords you are trying to rank for.

Google values positive reviews very highly, so adding them to your online resume is sure to boost your SEO performance.

7. How Are You Doing?

Finally, you need to track your SEO so that you know it is working as intended. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are both great ways to segment your search traffic. What are your customers searching for? How often do they make a purchase? Affirmative answers to questions like these serve as reliable indicators that the campaign for your health benefits business is going well!

roofing-company-better-seo

How To Choose Keywords For Roofing Companies For Better SEO

If you own your own roofing business and your goal is to improve your search engine rankings, knowing the ins and outs of keyword research is a must – unless you are using an SEO agency. Using the free keyword planner from Google can help you to find roofer themed keywords that can boost traffic:

  1. List The Services You Offer
  2. What Is Your Main Target Service Area?
  3. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to Research the Phrases
  4. Incorporate Your Keywords On Your Pages
  5. Add The City You Service To Your Keywords

List The Services You Offer

list

Write down all services provided by your roofing company, such as commercial roofs, inspections, and repairs, installing new roofs. The point is to research your keywords for SEO purposes although eventually, each service will have its own page.

What Is Your Main Target Service Area?

It’s highly recommended to keep things simple by ranking in the main town or city that your physical address is based in.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to Research the Phrases

Enter the services you provided in the list above as keywords in the keyword planner. Use your primary service area as the city when prompted.

Look for the keywords that have the highest volume when it comes to search volume from potential customers, and then organize based on the service they are under, once you have chosen the high volume keywords.

Incorporate Your Keywords On Your Pages

Quantum Roofing Keywords

Quantum Roofing in Maple Ridge does a great job incorporating keywords into their content – http://quantumroofing.ca/areas-served/maple-ridge

Of course, your goal is to enjoy stronger SEO rankings and to achieve that goal you should now incorporate these keywords into the text on your roofing company’s website. Make sure you don’t overstuff these keywords, but at the same time use each of them in their respective pages on your site.

It’s worth making the point again that you absolutely should not stuff keywords into your text, however tempting it might be to do that – effective SEO is about so much more than just stuffing the keywords into your blog or content.

Add The City You Service To Your Keywords

Cooper Roofing City Serviced With Keywords

Example of how Cooper Roofing added the city they service with their keywords – http://cooperroofs.ca/

Use city phrases too on each of the individual pages on your roofing company website, alongside your chosen keywords, but make sure you are only using the keyword on its relevant page.

Here’s an example of how it begins to come together. If your location is in Vancouver, and your chosen keywords are ‘best roofing repair’ you may want to incorporate an H tag on the page that relates to repair services that might say something like ‘Why You Should Choose Us For Roofing Repair In Vancouver.’

 

7 ways dentists improve seo

Seven Ways For Dentists To Improve Their SEO

7 ways dentists improve seo

Dentists running their practices lead hectic lives, so it’s understandable if you have put off getting into SEO. However, SEO is vital for any modern business’s chances to succeed. Consumers are increasingly likely to use a search engine to help them locate a local dentist, so you could be losing out on a lot of potential patients without an optimization strategy. Here are seven tips that will help you improve your search engine performance:

Contents

1. Claim A Variety Of Local Listings

The first step in getting search engines to prioritize your business is to claim a local business listing on platforms such as Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. Search engines smile upon business owners who have filled out and verified their listing on these services, and doing so is 100 percent free of charge.

While you’re filling out your company’s information, it is essential to be both thorough and accurate. Be sure to update all of your listings if your phone number, address, or any other critical information changes.

2. Using Local Keywords

The average private dental practice has no chance of rating highly for extremely competitive search terms such as “dentist,” but thankfully you don’t need to. Individuals almost always seek a dentist in their local city or neighborhood, meaning that it is good enough to rank well for “neighborhood name dentist .” For example, a dentist in Richmond, BC would be more interested in his ranking for “Richmond BC dentist” than he would be for “dentist” or even “BC dentist.”

It is important to remember local neighborhoods and alternative names when selecting your local keywords. For instance, the dentist above may need to rank highly for “dentist downtown Richmond BC” if he wants to attract patients just in the downtown area of Richmond, while a more specific listing such as “dentist Steveston” may appeal to a hyper-local prospective customer base. The best way to know which terms are essential for you is to see what your competitors are using.

3. Ask For Reviews

ask for reviews

Positive reviews have the apparent benefit of reassuring prospective patients of your skills and reputation, but they can also boost your SEO. Positive reviews on sites such as Yelp feature prominently on Google as well, so they are read by many who would never visit the source site. Reviews posted on your local listing above are also extremely prominent, especially since Google’s search engine algorithm considers reviews for its rankings.

The best way to get a patient to leave a review is to just ask for one. Reviewers tend to stress the courtesy of your office staff and how long they had to wait before you could see them, so excel in these two areas if you want the most favorable reviews.

4. Inform The Public What You Do

It may be tempting to provide a link to your website and expect potential clients to visit it, but this does not always happen. Instead, try to include all of your information in every listing you have. Not only will this entice more people to visit your site, but it will also appeal to patients looking to limit the hassle on their end.

For example, a dentist with a specialty in pediatric dentistry should mention this fact in every online listing they can. This will help them rank well in searches for their area of specialization while simultaneously encouraging prospective clients to give them a closer look.

5. Ensure That Your Listings Are Consistent

Search engines are smart and getting smarter, but they’re still prone to dumb mistakes. For instance, if your NAP (name, address, phone number) information varies between listings, search engines assume that it is two or more separate practices! This is true even if the discrepancy is silly, such as writing out Avenue in your address on your website but shortening it to Ave. on Google My Business. Make sure that every listing is perfectly identical for the best SEO performance.

Another common problem for dentists is an inconsistent name. John P. Smith, DDS and Smith Dental Associates, Inc. could well be the same company, but search engines may not realize it. Pick one name and use it throughout your entire digital footprint.

6. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

mobile friendly website

As more people browse the internet on a tablet, smartphone, or another device, it is becomingly increasingly important for your website to run well on these devices if you hope to secure their business. One easy way to do this is to ensure that the guts of your site use responsive design, guaranteeing that it automatically adjusts to any screen size. Click here to see a dentist’s site that is mobile-friendly.

It is also easy to test your page’s performance on mobile. Google offers a Mobile Friendly Test to give you a baseline of what customers can expect. You should also try to access your site using a variety of devices and internet browsers for firsthand knowledge of what prospective patients are experiencing.

7. Write A Blog

Finally, a blog is a great way to help Google’s algorithm find you. It loves content that updates or changes over time, so a site that lists only critical business information can start to feel stale. A maintained blog ensures that this never happens to your site, keeping it relevant indefinitely.

Dentists have a broad variety of topics to blog about, including mouth maintenance tips, scientific breakthroughs, and dietary information. Topical keywords or your areas of specialization are also strong subjects to consider writing on. Your blogs will also add additional keywords to your site, helping search engines respect you as the authority figure in your industry that you are.

Conclusion

The seven tips above can help transform a dental practice with mediocre SEO ratings into a leader in their local market. Good luck!

local-seo-rank-better-in-google

Local Carpet Cleaning Company SEO: Use These 5 Steps To Rank Better In Google

local-seo-rank-better-in-google

Just like other companies, carpet cleaners must find ways to entice new customers.  Unfortunately, when most people need their carpets cleaned, they only look at the top companies in online Google searches.  If you aren’t one of these listed companies, you’re missing out on new customers.  Thus, it’s imperative that your company ranks highly in Google searches via SEO or search engine optimization.

This article discusses a 5-step process that will help your company get higher search engine rankings.  However, it’s good to understand this SEO process and its potential to gain more carpet cleaning customers.

Contents

3 Reasons Why You Must Take Local SEO Seriously

Customers No Longer Use the Yellow Pages for Company Inquiries

In the past, it was easy to advertise in the Yellow Pages and get new customers.  However, 97 percent of consumers search online to obtain information, and Google is the number one online search engine.

Get Free Traffic

Business advertising has changed over the years, but this doesn’t mean it’s gotten cheaper.  The higher your company ranks in online searches, the more free traffic it could receive.  More traffic means that you have more chances to get more customers and spend less money to get that traffic.

Receive Quick Results

For most national and global companies, it can take as long as 12 months for their online search rankings to increase.  However, most carpet cleaning companies are local.  This is beneficial because you don’t have to compete with national and global companies.  You only have to worry about local competitors, and most of them haven’t tapped into local SEO yet.  The good thing is that your rank could greatly improve within only a couple of days.

Thus, local carpet cleaning companies should use the following five steps to boost their overall rankings in Google:

1. Find Keywords

The first step to getting better SEO rankings involves putting together a list of carpet cleaning keywords.  For example, pick generic keywords such as “carpet cleaning,” “cleaning carpets” or “rug cleaning.”  Find words that describe your company’s services. Once the list is complete, open a Google AdWords account.

Don’t worry because the account is free, and you won’t have to pay to initiate an ad campaign.  Opening an account just gives you access to Google’s Keyword Planner, which lists thousands of keywords from numerous niches.  Use the planner to research your list of keywords.  It has statistics about how many times your chosen keywords are searched for.  Not only can you estimate possible future traffic, but also find other keywords that you may not already have on your list.

keywords

Now, it’s time to compile a final keyword listing based upon your keyword planner research.  Divide your keywords into the following two types of keywords:

  • Buying Intent – When a person uses this type of keyword in an online search, chances are, that person is ready to buy. For instance, a keyword such as “professional carpet cleaning Vancouver” means that this person is looking for a carpet cleaning service in Vancouver. All in all, concentrate on buying intent keywords because they will attract buyers quickly.  Make sure they are prominent on your company homepage.
  • Research Intent – When a person uses this type of keyword in an online search, at this point, he is just researching your company. Do not focus on research intent keywords as much as buying keywords during advertising campaigns. This is because they don’t lead to quick conversions.  Use them in posts that describe your company’s services.  When customers are ready to make a buying decision, they’ll already be informed about your company’s carpet cleaning services.

2. Optimize Keywords in These Two Important Places

Make sure that your final keywords are optimized on your company website, and on your Google My Business page.

Google My Business Page

Consider this page to be a little summary of what your company has to offer.  This information is usually listed on the “Map” area of Google’s local business results.  Not only will this make your company more noticeable, but you can also expect to get higher rankings in Google’s search results.

It’s harder to get this type of ranking with just a regular website.  But make sure that your Google My Business has the following complete and correct information about your company:

  • Verification – Create a page and submit it to Google for verification. Once it meets Google’s approval, you will see a green checkmark by your company’s name.
  • NAP – This stands for the company name, address, and phone number. Make sure that all three things are correct. Keep in mind that this will be shown all over the internet, but you want to emphasize that you have a local business.  Do not list your company with an 800-phone number.  Choose a local number.
  • Categories – According to Google guidelines, you must list company categories per the services performed, and not by the benefits received. List both primary and secondary services. For instance, carpet cleaning may be your primary service.  However, your company may also offer upholstery cleaning, RV detailing and even leather cleaning.  Do not leave these secondary services out.  Try to list at least 3 to 5 service categories.
  • Description – Create a description of your company with a minimum of 100 words. Make sure it ends with an attention-grabbing call-to-action. Use the following format for your company description: Name the company and its main services.  List the city where your company is located.  Talk about company history and why customers keep coming back.  Provide a local company phone number and end with a strong call-to-action that tells potential customers what to do.  Consider offering a nice discount.
  • Hours – List your company’s hours. Ensure they are the same as other listings on the Internet. Also, distinguish between service and office hours.
  • Pictures – Put plenty of images on your Google My Business page. This is a great way to grab the attention of potential customers. All photos must be crisp, sized a minimum of 10KB and have a resolution of 720px x 720px.  Also, change the default Google My Business background.  Choose a background that displays your company’s brand instead.

Your Company Website

Focus on SEO for your company core pages. These are the homepage and service pages.  Make sure they are optimized with plenty of buying keywords.  Next, optimize your company’s blog and FAQs pages with intent keywords.  Concentrate on the following:

  • Homepage – When it comes to your homepages, pay the most attention to the title tag. Consider it to be just as important as book chapter titles. It should have at least 50 characters and formatted to show your company’s, name, primary service and city location.
  • Meta Description – this element should be a minimum of 100 characters. It should also name your primary service and have a call-to-action. The best format is to list the company name, the primary service, your city, a phone number and something to entice customers such as a discount.
  • H1 Headline – This headline must list your company’s main service. Not only should it describe what your company does, but it must also have a great call-to-action.
  • Page Copy – This copy should review your company within 500-1000 words. Display company history, services and customer testimonials. Be certain that it does not contain grammatical errors.
  • Service Pages – Each primary service must have a separate page that is filled with numerous buying intent keywords. The same rules used to optimize your homepage should be used for each primary service page.

Since the foundation of your SEO campaign is done, start creating links and citations.  Both of these things can significantly boost your rank with Google.  Also, it helps you to get more potential customers.

  • Citations – What is a citation? It lists your company’s name, address and phone number. It is an online company NAP.  Place citations in places such as Facebook, yellowpages.com, your local Chamber of Commerce and even different carpet cleaning directories.  Such directories are both free and paid.  Research Google Analytics to see which type of directory will drive the most traffic and lead to the most conversions.
  • Links – Google uses many factors to rank websites. One such factor depends on whether or not your website has a lot of inbound links from other authoritative websites. Connect with other companies in your industry in different cities. Obtain links from these types of websites.  You could even consider trading web links with industry companies.  Also, find out where the competition is getting authoritative links by utilizing online tools such as Moz Open Site Explorer.

4. Ask for Company Reviews

reviewsAsking for reviews is very beneficial. First, this convinces potential customers to take a chance on your company.  Also, it shows Google that your business is legit.  Most review sites can help in this respect, but Google My Business will drive the most traffic in a quick manner.  Email satisfied customers and ask them to review your company’s services.  Make sure there is a link to your Google My Business profile in all emails.  Do this on a regular basis, and you’ll find it very advantageous for your company.

5. Track Results

Track the results of all SEO campaigns.  This is the only way to know if they are working and if adjustments need to be made.  There is a lot of information to track, but concentrate on the following three things the most:

  • Rankings – Google factors in your browsing history when it determines your page rank. In order to get the right rankings, you must use a specific tool known as the Google Search Console. The name was changed from Google Webmaster.  Use this tool to check search engine rankings a minimum of once a month.  Also consider purchasing a paid tool that is listed on RankRanger.com.  This tool allows you to get information from each SEO campaign.
  • Traffic – Use Google Analytics, which is a good way to track results. It shows how much traffic is received and which website pages are providing the most traffic. You’ll also see how much traffic is generated based upon the Google search engine.  Track results and look for trends.
  • Conversions – When your website visitors do what is listed in your call-to-action, this means that you have a conversion. For instance, if they want them to call you for carpet cleaning, you’ll give them a discount. Google Analytics lets you monitor phone and website conversions.  Also, you’ll see which of your website pages have the worst and best conversions.

tracking

It’s Time for You to Follow These Steps!

Now, you can see how SEO campaigns can drive traffic to your business.  Follow these steps in order:

  • Find keywords
  • Optimize keywords in these two places
  • Create links and citations
  • Ask for company reviews
  • Track results

 

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.

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.