Apr 5, 2012

Google Hate Me

Running your own website and trying to get it to rank well in search results can be a frustrating experience. Even though you put a lot of time and effort into your site, and you think you’re following all the rules, you still feel like you’re walking around in a t-shirt silk-screened with “Google Hate Me” in 8-inch letters.

Google, like most other search engines, isn’t out to get you. But search engines are pretty picky about the quality of their search results. Some sites don’t rank well simply because of poor SEO practices. Other sites, however, may do a lot “right” with SEO and still not rank well because they also feature very big “wrongs” in other areas. […]

When Google rolled out the initial “Panda” update to their search algorithm a little over a year ago, a lot of formerly profitable websites abruptly disappeared from the search engine. The update was touted as an attempt to sort out “quality” content from the vast wave of repetitive, duplicate and/or barely literate riff-raff on the big, wide Internet.

The definition of “quality,” obviously, is subjective. Duplicate content is pretty easy to spot, but deciding what constitutes “quality” content is a bit more difficult. As it stands, 67 percent of the search world (Google’s market share) has to play by Google’s definition of quality. Some of Goggle’s take on quality is yet being argued in court cases, but regardless of the various legal results, the basics of Panda-friendly website construction aren’t going to change for the average site owner. […]

Most business owners have heard the old saw: Marketing is the gas that makes your business go.

If consumers don’t know who you are and what you do, they can’t do business with you. Simple enough, right? But let me ask a follow-up question: What kind of gas mileage are you getting from your marketing? Don’t take a guess; speculation won’t do. Unless you want to risk a lot of wasted money, you need the hard numbers. […]

It’s one of those silly myths of cooking. Throw a pasta noodle at the wall; if it sticks, it’s done.

You don’t even have to be addicted to the Food Network or the Cooking Channel to know that just isn’t true. If a noodle sticks, it usually means nothing more than you just threw a wet noodle at the wall. Since pasta gets gummier the more it cooks, it might even mean your pasta is over-cooked. […]

Online review sites are becoming more and more vital to consumers as they research businesses and products online.  Sites like Yelp and Google Local allow customers to post their reviews for others to read, making them a powerful influence in consumer buying decisions. According to the MIT Technology Review, for every one dollar U.S. consumers spend online, another five or six are going to off-line purchases that are influenced by online research. In fact, 97% of Internet users in the U.S. gather shopping information online. Yet many business owners still have not ventured into the world of online reviews, even though their customers are researching them and making purchasing decisions based on the online reviews they find.

Here are some tips to help you get started and take control of your online reviews: […]

Social networking can be a time-consuming endeavor, so the temptation to cut corners is big.  There are tools, techniques, and add-ons available that seem like a great idea to help you streamline your social media strategy and save time… until they start to undermine your efforts to connect in a real way to your customers.  Here are 4 things you should avoid: […]

Backlinks are links from related websites to your site, and they continue to be one of the most important elements in search engine rankings.  Search engines consider websites with lots of backlinks to be “authorities” or “popular.”  Unfortunately, getting backlinks from valuable website relevant to your keywords and search terms is one of the most difficult parts of search engine optimization (SEO).  Here are some major DOs and DON’Ts to help you build your backlinks.

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So you’ve heard that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the U.S., second only to Google (who owns YouTube and includes YouTube search results in Google SERPs as well), and that 20 million visitors search YouTube every month.  A savvy web marketer would jump on the opportunity to corner search results on YouTube. But just uploading a digital version of the commercial the cable company produced for you will probably not result in more website visitors and increased sales.  Follow these steps to create and promote effective online videos that generate business. […]

Search engine experts and online marketers agree that the key to attracting search engines and customers to your website is useful, unique, relevant content that can’t be found elsewhere.  Therefore, content creation is the most important task for all website developers and owners. Unfortunately it is also the most difficult.  It is very tempting to recycle content available elsewhere on the web (like manufacturer descriptions of products), or to provide bland, dated material that doesn’t engage your website visitors.  However, there are a few content types you can focus on that will drive engagement, higher search engine ranking, and conversions on your website. […]

If you’re serious about online marketing, and you’ve already crafted a solid search engine optimization strategy, launched a Pay-Per-Click campaign, and undertaken a link building campaign, your next step just might be a display ad campaign (or banner ads).  However, knowing the lingo and technical jargon can mean the difference between the success and failure of your ad campaign. […]

Pay-Per Click, or PPC, is an online advertising strategy offered by the major search engines. Basically the premise is to have a sponsored link that you only “pay” for when somebody “clicks” your ad. In this post I’ll discuss how to tell if PPC is right for you and/or your company. […]

Quora’s goal is to be able to answer questions that Google and Wikipedia can’t. They are accomplishing this goal by posting user generated questions answered by the rest of the Quora community. A rating system that pushes answers up or down depending on community agreement moves the “best” answer to the top. Currently Quora is generating a large amount of buzz online. The main reason for this buzz isn’t the concept – questions and answer sites like Yahoo! Answers have been around for years – but instead the user group is Quora’s greatest strength. It seems that very influential business owners, celebrities, and other major industry leaders are actually active Quora users. Case in point, the question “What is an ideal use case for Amazon PayPhrase?” was personally answered by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. […]