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Ross Dunn

Ross Dunn is the CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc., a web marketing company founded in 1997 and based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. StepForth provides cutting-edge search engine optimization services that provide highly successful, targeted results for its clientele. Ross Dunn is a Certified Internet Marketing and Business Strategist (CIMBS) with a background in web design and business management. His broad Internet experience in combination with a talented staff has made StepForth a name synonymous with top results.

How a Google Penalty Can Make Your Site Stronger

Over the past 12 years consulting on web marketing  I have answered countless questions but one question I receive often stands out from all; how to remove a Google penalty....

Google's Latitude Has Vast Mobile Marketing Potential

Google upgraded its Mobile Maps application this week to enable location-awareness. Called Google Latitude, this upgrade is not ground breaking but it does signal a change for the mobile landscape now that Google has put another foot in that arena. So where could this technology lead with Google at the helm? I put a few ideas together that seem entirely plausible and totally within the realm of Google's current capabilities....

10 Tips to Improve Ad Quality Score - Notes from SES San Jose

Last week I was fortunate to enjoy the tutelage and company of some talented web marketers at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose. After attending the informative session "Ads in a Quality Score World" I decided to compile the 10 top tips I noted from the presenters on improving and managing quality score....

Yahoo Champions Internet Accessibility for the Disabled

At Yahoo Anecdotal today Yahoo announced they had recently opened the Yahoo Accessibility Lab; a place where only Yahoo employees (for now) can experience the world of the Internet as a disabled web surfer would. Read on for a peak at accessibility guidelines and more on what Yahoo had to say about this important issue....

Free Survey Tool Fuels Marketing Insight

Over the past few days I have inexplicably come across a number of marketing tools that were new to me; I am not sure if it was by chance or a lot were just released or something. Anyway, I am still testing a few of the more promising ones but one free tool called 4Q could really help many a webmaster understand their visitors better....

How to Simply Create Your Own Mobile Website

Mobile web browsing is gaining popularity and acceptance thanks to the extensive proliferation of iPhones and other mobile appliances with surf-friendly interfaces. As a result it is becoming more and more important to offer a mobile-friendly alternative to your current website....

How to Optimize for Ask

Ask has some incredible and unique features that I believe will slowly but surely steal search share from its more popular brethren. Consequently, it seems appropriate to provide some tips on how to optimize for Ask without sacrificing rankings on the other search engines.

Keyword Research for PPC

Although researching keywords for SEO is similar to that for PPC there still are many core differences. In many cases using the generic targets with high searches can be very costly in the world of PPC. While they can offer a good return, often long tailed, very specific phrases can offer more qualified traffic at a lower price

How to Optimize for MSN

Last week I discussed the best tactics for achieving rankings in Yahoo, the web's number 2 most popular search engine. Now it is time to pick on the third most used search property - MSN, which has 6.6% of the search market and is currently found at www.live.com.

How to Optimize for Yahoo!

Algorithmically Yahoo is Google's much younger sibling. I say this because many of the requirements for a successful ranking mirror Google's requirement about 4 years ago and they sum up to one distinct fact; optimize your content boldly on Yahoo and you will be rewarded.

How Search Integrates as a Brand Vehicle

I attended an interesting seminar at Search Engine Strategies San Jose that discussed how search can be used to aid in branding instead of just as a direct response sales vehicle. Each point, stat or anecdote is in itself intriguing but overall add up to a helpful overview of how to use search to brand.

Tips for Optimizing Blogs and Feeds

I caught an interesting seminar today called "SEO Through Blogs and Feeds" with Stephen Spencer, Rick Klau, Doug Hay and Greg Jarboe on the panel. The following are my point by point notes that stood out as noteworthy. Some of these tips are mirrored in my 3 part tutorial on blogging called Blogs 101 but as always some great new tips popped up.

SEO is More Important Than Ever

Lately I have noticed more and more writers stating that search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer as important for online success. This spin may make sense to those writers (and their financial goals) as they try to push industry cash flow away from SEO but I disagree wholeheartedly and throughout this posting I will explain why....

Is Wikipedia Corrupt?

My previous article about using Wikipedia ethically was based on an excellent article published at Search Engine Land called "SEO Tips & Tactics from a Wikipedia Insider" written by a Wikipedia Administrator with the pseudonym Durova. Since my posting I received a few comments on the posting that were obviously from people who felt very strongly that Wikipedia, and in particular Durova, had serious issues with ethics....

Keyword Research for Organic SEO

So you have decided to venture out into the world of SEO. The first thing you will need to do is determine the direction of your campaign in relation to the key phrases you are choosing to target. This article will focus on how to find keywords for your organic campaign, as the process is slightly different for PPC....

Do it Yourself Social Media Marketing - A StepForth Whitepaper

A key concept to social marketing is that it is not designed to immediately provide business but instead it provides the visibility your brand needs to ultimately convert fans into buyers....

Summarized SEO Tips from SMX Advanced - Part 2

The SMX Advanced conference was jam-packed with info that I know many site owners and webmasters who could not make the show are dying to see. In part one of the SMX Advanced summary I discussed duplicate content issues and some other tips that I felt deserved immediate attention. In part two, I will tackle tips for efficient marketing and search engine optimization and a list of the top SEO tools including my own favorites....

Summarized SEO Tips from SMX Advanced - Part 1

Today marks my first day back from a short road trip through Oregon and from Danny Sullivan’s inaugural SMX Advanced Expo in Seattle. There were two 'tracks' within this seminar series; paid and organic. I stuck to the organic track but even this covered a whole host of topics so please bear with me as I provide the first of a couple rundowns on the most interesting facts from the range of seminars and discussions I witnessed....

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 3

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the basics of a blog and some of the necessary steps to take before starting one. In Part 2, I explained blog feeds and how to optimize a blog. Now in Part 3, I will explain social media marketing and outline a selection of strategies for socially marketing your blog....

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 2

Blogs 101 is a resource to provide our clients and readers with a clear concept of what a blog is, why a blog might be a positive addition to their website or marketing campaign, and how to implement, optimize and promote a blog. Today, I will explain blog feeds and how to optimize a blog....

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 1

StepForth's Blogs 101 is a resource to provide our clients and readers with a clear concept of what a blog is, why a blog might be a positive addition to their website or marketing campaign, and how to implement, optimize and promote a blog. In Part 1 of this series I will discuss the basics of a blog and some of the necessary steps to take before starting one....

Raising Flags Over Google's Newly Inherited SEO Firm

Google is treading in dangerous waters right now. The prolific company will inherit its own search engine optimization (SEO) company called Performics after purchasing the online advertising giant DoubleClick on April 13th (takeover due to complete at the end of the year) and so far there is no sure indication of the company's future....

Mobile Search Site Creation and Optimization: Part 2 of 2

The following is Part 2 of the coverage of the Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York presentation called "Mobile Search Optimization" by Cindy Krum of Blue Moon Works, Gregory Markel, President of Infuse Creative LLC and Rachel Pasqua, Director of Mobile Marketing at iCrossing....

Mobile Search Site Creation and Optimization: Part 1 of 2

The following is coverage of the Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York presentation called "Mobile Search Optimization" by Cindy Krum of Blue Moon Works, Gregory Markel, President of Infuse Creative LLC and Rachel Pasqua, Director of Mobile Marketing at iCrossing....

Adobe's Apollo Offers Intriguing Marketing Capabilities

What Impact Might Apollo Have on Online Marketing? This is my loaded question of the day because Apollo will conceivably extend interactive marketing Internet to both the online and offline desktop which opens a variety of doors....

What Happened at RegisterFly and How to Protect Your Domains

On March 16th, the International Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) publicly de-accredited the domain registrar RegisterFly.com for fundamental contractual breaches. Perhaps this post will help you protect your domain(s) and ultimately your livelihoods from future train wrecks....

How to Reduce the Pain of Switching Domains

Transferring traffic and popularity to a new domain is a painstaking process that no one on the web appears to be immune to, or so Topix.net has realized. Topix.net is a leading news aggregation resource that has been in the news lately because they are planning to move their site from Topix.net to Topix.com after purchasing the .com for a cool million from a Canadian animation company....

Does Article Syndication Amount to a Duplicate Content Penalty?

Please keep in mind duplicate content is not an exact science or anything close to that. As I wrote this article, I often imagined exceptions where a penalty would or would not take place. That said the following answers are based on what my experience dictates to be the most common scenarios....

An Interview with Expert Web Copywriter Scott Smith

The fact is web copywriting is a perfect mate with search engine optimization and this has been the case ever since SEO became a reality. After all, as an SEO it is abundantly clear to me that getting people to your website serves no purpose unless they can be converted into sales; which is where a great copywriter comes in....

The Most Common Reason for Dropped Rankings: Duplication

Repeatedly my sales and consulting staff find themselves explaining that using duplicate content can and will negatively affect search engine rankings and it is heartbreaking to see clients having to rebuild rankings due to such a simple mistake. As a result, I felt it was time to write this article and hopefully dispel many misled website owners....

SEO Answers #13: Duplication, Google Backlinks and Datacenter Headaches

Ross Dunn answers reader questions on repetitious catalog text, finding your back links in Google and understanding the differences between Google data centers and Google.com....

StepForth's Predictions for 2007

Another New Years has come and gone and over the past few weeks search industry professionals have been releasing their search market predictions for 2007. I have steered clear of reading them because it is time for me to write down StepForth's predictions and the last thing I want to worry about is duplication....

Domain Stop Words, Duplicate Web Sites, & Increasing Article Backlinks

Ross Dunn offers up answers to three quick SEO questions. Get the skinny on topics like stop words, duplicate content issues and increasing link popularity....

Stake Your Claim on the Mobile Web

With the Internet growing so rapidly do you ever wonder if you are missing a new trend or technology that could boost your bottom line? Well, there just happens to be a piece of the Internet that I bet you haven't made the leap to yet and it is going to be BIG. This new space is mobile search and mobile Internet surfing....

The Ten Minute Optimization REDUX - A StepForth White Paper

by Ross Dunn - In April 2003 I wrote an article called �The 10 Minute Optimization� which outlined a 10 minute process to optimize a web page for top search engine rankings. Well, a few things have changed since then so I thought a redux (revision) would be a good idea....

Ross Dunn Answers SEO Questions Edition #6

Ross Dunn answers reader questions on topics like dynamic web sites and maintaining a good site design while retrofitting for search engine optimization needs....

Ross Dunn Answers SEO Questions #4

Quality inbound links are indeed an extremely important element of any promotion and when many are obtained I am certain they are a significant cause for rankings....

Blogs: How They Can Make You Money

Blogs have been around a while but in my opinion, they were made popular by the breaking stories that were released faster than the largest news agencies. This article focuses on the various ways that a blog can be used to promote your business and the benefits of each....

Calendar Sharing Becoming New Social Phenomenon and Marketing Tactic

Online calendars have been available for many years now but the calendar-sharing feature that Google has included in Google Calendar has opened the door to a great a form of social marketing that is bound to make waves and possibly increase your bottom line....

Supplemental Results

Supplemental results are generally pages that Google has determined to be secondary to other, more relevant pages that Google has indexed on your website. In effect, supplementary results are actually a secondary database of results that are only called upon when the most obscure queries force Google to check all its indexed resources....

Are Search Engine Spiders Infringing on Copyright? Belgium Speaks Out

Last Friday (Sept 15th) a Belgium court dealt a stunning blow against Google and its Google News search service. The court is now forbidding the popular search engine from indexing Belgian newspaper content without paying each newspaper for the use of their content....

Have Your Company Listed Free in Google Maps

Do you want to advertise the physical location of your business for free and get a little extra Google exposure? Thanks to Google Maps this is possible and not many people (read your competition) seem to know about it....

Is Your Website Search Engine Friendly? Your Personal Checklist

When I sit down with new clients and discuss the status of their new or existing site they are often shocked when I am forced to inform them that their site is not search engine friendly. Often this is represented by an inflexible design, overuse of advanced web technologies, or simply a weak navigation scheme....

Google Launches Enterprise Software Solution

Google launched a free packaged business solution for enterprises today including online chat, email, calendars, and hosting. Called "Gmail for Your Domain" (a ghastly name that is only slightly better referred to as "Google Apps" within the actual admin area) this application package will allow a business owner or administrator to create a separate account per employee....

Examining Yahoo!'s Site Explorer Tool: How it Can Help You

Webmaster tools are becoming a hot topic in the major search engines these days. This article is devoted to Yahoos Site Explorer tool and how you can harness it to help you improve your search engine rankings and improve your odds for online success....

Did You Know You Had Stats?

Stats, better known as statistics, conjure up bad memories for many who unhappily sat through this post-secondary statistics course. Hey, lets face it; pouring over statistics is not for everyone. Before you delve into the world of analytics I want to provide you with a brief outline of the more popular analytics terms that you will often encounter....

What Are Good and Bad URLs and How to Fix the Bad Ones.

The tweak I was speaking about is used to modify your dynamic URLs in order to make them appear static. Essentially this is a customization that needs to be done to a server to ensure that dynamic URLs (where lots of ?&= appear) look like static URLs. By creating static URLs you can be reasonably sure that the search engines will index your website deeper and in a quicker fashion....

What Exactly Are Good Backlinks?

I have had enough of comments from everyone saying the website should have quality backlinks. I would agree to that too. But when you say Quality, can anyone really define it? It becomes TOO vague sometimes. I am sure this will be a great help to other SEO people around....

SEO Strategy for a Struggling Site on a Limited Budget

Over the years we have answered many a phone call where a prospective client is frustrated with the poor performance of their website(s). Check out this sample conversation of what a business and client might go through in deciding what direction to take a small business SEO project....

Demystifying Your Competitor's Ranking Success

Demystifying your competitor's success requires you to put on your detective garb because you are going to have to investigate all aspects of their website; even the deepest darkest corners....

Seeing Red - Search Engine RedZee Reviewed

RedZee is a Meta Search Engine that opened its doors officially in July 2005. Now open just over a year it was recently brought to my attention that this search engine with a darn cute mascot along with some decent design concepts also have some significant caveats that I believe my valued readers and clientele should be made well aware of....

Google Adds to SEO Toolbox

So what is Google Trends? It offers a genuine but prototype (beta) peek into Google's search history so that you can better understand search trends....

Blogs and Barcodes The Online Blurs into the Offline World

A new technology has been slated to emerge within the next 2 years that will blur the lines between the web and the real world and make blogging and in-turn SEO even more of a necessity for retailers. The key to this new world will be the popular cell phone and the emergence of barcode search technology....

The Simple Way to Beat Your Competitors

Look for examples of companies that are currently successful and find out why they are. This can be easier said than done; however, there are definitely some tricks of the search engine optimization trade that can make this type of analysis easier....

Is It Really A9 Out of 10?

Amazon.com has just launched a new search engine called A9 which provides a more personalized search experience. Lets see just how personalized this service is....

Did Yahoo!'s Rising Storm Finalize a Shift in AskJeeves Colors?

It appears that Yahoo!'s bold and less than brilliant foray into "Looksmart-like" paid inclusion may have been the final nudge that AskJeeves needed to shut down their paid inclusion program, Index Express. This significant shift of AskJeeves away from their 18 month-old paid inclusion program appears to be a timely distancing from the pending storm coming to Yahoo! after it announced its new Site Match system....

How to Improve Search Engine Placements with Content

We all know that well written content is paramount to maintaining repeat traffic to a web site. But, just what qualities peek the 'interest' of the major search engines?...

Preparing for a Competitive Holiday Season

If you are not ready for the shopping season yet, you better get ready soon or you might find your competition making sales that should have been yours....

Link Building for Top Search Engine Placement

With these practices put in place your link-building efforts, while time-consuming, will be well worth the effort....

Inspecting Your Web Site For Spam

In the search engine optimization field, the word Spam is used to describe techniques used to try to fool search engine spiders. This article will outline a few of the more frequent Spam techniques used by webmasters or unscrupulous SEO practitioners....

A 10 Minute Search Engine Optimization

Many small businesses simply do not have the resources to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) company to promote their web site. This article is my opportunity to offer more of my SEO experience in the form of a 10-minute optimization process....

How to Switch Hosting Providers During Your Search Engine Campaign

Taking basic precautions during a server switch will maintain the necessary stability in your search engine marketing campaign as well as providing a stable online presence for your repeat traffic....

Working Well With Your Search Engine Optimization Firm

A successful SEO enriched marketing campaign will require a few simple but crucial elements: timing, organization, and commitment. Understanding these elements and having realistic expectations is critical to the success of your search engine marketing efforts....

Will Search Engine Acquisitions Impede or Intensify Innovation?

Perhaps these moves will open the doors for new products to emerge to fill vacuums left by the old. However, given the state of the Internet economy, the moves of the past months are more likely to produce even more instability as the market struggles to define and redefine itself....



About the Author

Ross Dunn is the CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc., a web marketing company founded in 1997 and based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. StepForth provides cutting-edge search engine optimization services that provide highly successful, targeted results for its clientele. Ross Dunn is a Certified Internet Marketing and Business Strategist (CIMBS) with a background in web design and business management. His broad Internet experience in combination with a talented staff has made StepForth a name synonymous with top results.

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